How to Avoid Addiction Triggers

How to Avoid Addiction Triggers

You’ve done the hard work and now you’re navigating life as a sober person. In this vulnerable time, it’s important to be educated about potential triggers that could turn you back to your old ways. So, what is a trigger? A trigger is “a person, place, thing or event that reminds you of the pleasures you used to get from your old habits or lifestyle.” Triggers not only make you think about doing drugs, they can actually bring back drug seeking behavior.

There are two types of triggers, emotional (internal) and environmental (external) triggers. For instance, you might hear a song playing (external) that reminds you of your old habit, and reminds you of a feeling you use to enjoy, thus makes you have the urge to use. Or, you may experience a stressful situation like an argument with a loved one that leaves you feeling anxious and upset (internal). The way you used to handle those uncomfortable feelings was to abuse a substance, seeking relief. Identifying your triggers and/or working through them with an experienced counselor is key to avoiding those triggers and staying on your new, sober path.

Types of Triggers


  • Anxiety/Stress – Anxiety is a state of inner turmoil brought on by difficult or stressful circumstances. Every day life can be stressful, not to mention dealing with finances, interpersonal relationships and navigating life newly sober. Anxiety can bring on the urge to use, as using is a coping mechanism. It’s important you be able to identify stressful situations and have other coping mechanisms in place to handle the anxiety, like meditation.
  • Depression – Depression makes you feel negative, sad and unable to cope with life. It can affect how you think and act. Withdrawal itself may cause depression, which in turn may make you feel like you want to use as a coping mechanism.
  • Thoughts – Thoughts are powerful. You may think about your using past and believe they were the “good times,” forgetting the bad parts. You may fantasize about using at first, but it may gradually get to the point where you are actively thinking about using. You may believe you can get away with it, just once. This is a dangerous trigger, and it’s important you have support (calling a sponsor or friend) and coping mechanisms in place to avoid moving from just thoughts to action.
  • Physical – You may experience actual internal physical pain, like fatigue and other uncomfortable issues such as chronic body pain, which are a powerful trigger.


  • People – Friends who used with you are a dangerous trigger. It may be that you have to disconnect from them entirely to create a healthy boundary. People or family members who are toxic or bring drama into your life may also need to be disconnected from while you are in recovery. These people may bring up painful, difficult emotions which are certainly a powerful trigger.
  • Places – A bar where you used to drink, or a friend’s home where you used can bring up strong emotions and even the physical need to use.
  • Events/Situations – Concerts, parties, and social environments that remind you of your past, or make you feel like the only way you can enjoy yourself would be to use, are a trigger. It may be difficult at first to avoid events that are fun and represent the enjoyment of life, but you and your sobriety are worth it.
  • Things – A bottle of alcohol, pills in a medicine cabinet, a friend’s smoking paraphernalia; these are all items you may come across any day.

How To Avoid Addiction Triggers

Know Your Triggers – Everyone has different triggers. It could be seeing someone take a drink or a difficult and upsetting confrontation with a loved one. What are YOUR triggers? Write them down and carry the list with you. Read it often throughout the day. When you feel upset or have an urge to use, read the list. Remember, “yes, this is one of my triggers.” Ask yourself, “how can I cope with this in a healthier way?”

Have a Plan – Have a plan in place when you are triggered. Call your sponsor. Call a trusted, sober friend. Write down what your plan will be and go over the steps one by one. Distract yourself and wait 30 minutes before taking any kind of action you will regret later.

Avoid situations where you will be exposed to your triggers – Avoid situations you know will cause you to be triggered if you can. Whether that is a party, social environment, bars, or groups of friends who you used or drank with.

Take care of yourself – H.A.L.T. – An excellent way to remember to take care of yourself is with the acronym H.A.L.T.

  • H. – Hungry – Are you really hungry, or just bored? Is it a hunger craving, or a craving to use? Keeping nutritious and healthy food available is an important way to stave off your need to use.
  • A. – Angry – Anger creates toxicity and stress in the body. Learn to identify WHY you are angry and HOW to work through the anger to rid yourself of it’s toxic aftermath, instead of using to cope. Exercise and meditation are excellent coping mechanisms.
  • L. – Lonely – It’s hard to feel lonely, particularly in recovery. But loneliness is a natural part of being human. Find healthy ways to connect with others, whether through a 12-step program, classes at the gym, or meeting friends in a coffee shop.
  • T. – Tired – Being tired is a dangerous trigger, for you may have used drugs and alcohol to cope with sleep issues. Again, getting healthy coping mechanisms in place is key to avoiding old habits. Exercise and meditation are ways to help your natural sleep rhythm restore itself.

Build Your Life After Residential Treatment

The Treatment Center Outpatient Services relapse prevention program in Lake Worth, South Florida offers counseling to build life skills for maintaining sobriety after residential detox and inpatient treatment. Our compassionate counselors are standing by 24 hours a day to help. Call us at (844) 211-7944 or contact us today. We look forward to helping you stay on your new path.

Can Outpatient Treatment Fit Into My Schedule?

Can Outpatient Treatment fit into my schedule?

Admitting a substance abuse issue is never easy, even for those who feel as if they can go no further without professional interference.

For many people, taking that first step and saying “I need help” is very important, but fear often stands in the way. Fear of judgment and fear of life disruptions are both very common and very understandable. Many patients are worried about letting their families down, losing their jobs, or even the unknowns involved in entering a treatment program.

However, not all rehab programs mean months spent in a facility without contact with the outside world. Outpatient rehab allows patients to live at home and maintain a semblance of a normal life, giving you a way to provide income and support for your family while getting the help you need.

What Is Outpatient Rehab?

Rehab is available in many different shapes and sizes, but for most people, inpatient rehabilitation – a program that involves living in a treatment center for weeks or even months – typifies a standard rehab experience. However, this isn’t the only option. Outpatient rehab can be extremely effective for those in need as well, providing follow-up care after an inpatient program or serving as a stand-alone treatment alternative.

Outpatient rehabilitation comes in many forms, from meetings a few nights a week to intensive programs that require 25 to 30 hours a week spent in a center, working with counselors, support groups, and other patients to target the issues at the root of addiction. With variable options and a highly desired level of flexibility, outpatient rehab can fit into any schedule, allowing you to maintain a job or care for your family while seeking professional assistance in recovering from addiction.

Truths About Outpatient Rehab

Those who do not feel comfortable committing to an inpatient program may be highly reluctant to seek help. The fear of admitting substance abuse to bosses, children, romantic partners, and family members can be crippling, keeping thousands of rehab candidates from seeking the assistance they require. However, with outpatient rehabilitation, it’s possible to balance the demands of a normal life with a comprehensive approach to addiction therapy.

Many individuals, especially those new to rehab, believe that treatment must take place in a residential center in order to be effective. For some addicts, this is certainly true – after all, inpatient treatment is popular for a reason – but for others, an outpatient program can provide the same level of support and guidance for those seeking an end to addiction. Maintained in a treatment facility but without the residential component, outpatient programs offer a compelling option for those looking for an intermediate step on the road to recovery.

While not right for everyone, these programs allow patients to live at home, attend work, or go to school, all while working to break the cycle of addiction once and for all. Here are the truths you need to know about outpatient rehabilitation.

Outpatient Rehab Allows You to Live at Home

The fear of picking up and leaving spouses, roommates, or children while seeking help can be too hard for many people to bear, especially for single parents or those caring for an ailing relative. However, outpatient rehabilitation can alleviate these concerns.

Patients in an outpatient program are permitted to live off campus, returning home at night and on weekends to take care of normal daily tasks. Instead of interrupting your living situation and putting those who rely on you at risk, an outpatient program gives you a way to get help while living at home.

Outpatient Rehab Works Around Your Schedule

Many people believe that going to rehabilitation means giving up everything, from your job to your family. However, outpatient rehabilitation is different. As a way to get help without leaving home, these programs can work around your schedule in a way that’s right for you.

All programs are different, and some may require an intense hourly commitment, especially at first, that can stand in the way of regular life tasks, but most outpatient programs can work with you to help you seek help without upending your life. Some programs allow for custom scheduling as well, helping you to arrange counseling sessions or choose group meetings that accommodate your job, school, or home life.

Outpatient Rehab Helps You Transition

Outpatient treatment can certainly stand alone, but for many, it’s a bridge between inpatient treatment and normal life. For those who have spent a long period of time in a center, the prospect of re-entering a world filled with drug dealers, liquor stores, and temptation can be hard to bear.

Outpatient programs help these individuals keep a foot in both worlds, living normally at home and among family while still making time for intensive therapy. Since outpatient treatment can often work around job or family schedules, patients have the opportunity to slowly transition back into regular life without putting their positive progress in jeopardy.

Outpatient Rehab Furthers Your Recovery

Recovery from addiction isn’t a one and done kind of event. In fact, many addiction medicine practitioners firmly believe that recovery is a lifelong battle that requires consistent attention and care. While it’s not always possible or necessary to go to inpatient treatment when cravings arise or life gets challenging, outpatient rehabilitation is always there to provide the support you need. Attending meetings or working with counselors can always fit with your schedule, helping you to stay committed to recovery in a way that’s right for you.

Admitting the need for help is a big step forward and outpatient rehabilitation can make all the difference. Providing an option that works around your schedule, these flexible treatment programs can help you seek the guidance you need without risking the well-being of your family.

If you are considering outpatient therapy for yourself or a loved one, Outpatient Services in Lake Worth, Florida can provide the support you deserve. Please contact us today at (844) 211-7944 to speak to an intake counselor. All consultations are strictly confidential.

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What Are 12-Step Meetings?

What happens at 12-step meetings?

12-step programs are a well-known part of rehabilitation and recovery. A common choice after the completion of inpatient therapy or to help people learn more about the process of recovering from addiction, 12-step meetings are held for virtually every substance in almost every city across the United States. But what exactly is a 12-step program and how does this concept work?

The History of 12-Step Programs

12-step programs debuted with the inception of Alcoholics Anonymous. Founded in Akron, OH in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith, known affectionately as Bill W. and Dr. Bob, these fundamental stages of care were originally known as the Twelve Traditions. The foundation of this program was solidified with the expansion of AA in the 1930s and 1940s.

Because AA is specifically intended for alcoholics and is not open to other substance abusers who are not struggling with alcohol, other 12-step models have evolved to fill this need. AA officially provided Narcotics Anonymous rights to use their Steps in 1953.

The Composition of 12-Step Programs

As the name implies, 12-step programs utilize a series of 12 progressive steps to help recovering addicts navigate the path to lifelong sobriety. Designed to cover the main stages in rehabilitation, from identifying weaknesses to seeking forgiveness, participants work through the steps at their own pace while staying as committed as possible to consistent abstinence. The step process is an individual journey and there’s no right or wrong way to use them; some users may continually return to steps while others may go over several at a time.

The Steps

Designed to teach accountability and strength in sobriety, all 12-step programs use a variation on the below format:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

This step is key to sobriety. Addicts need to admit that they cannot control alcohol or drug use and that change is not possible alone. It’s also important to understand that addiction cannot be self-managed.

  1. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

This step addresses the need for outside help and the importance of hope. While originally designed as a religious admission, non-religious members can interpret this step as a need for rehabilitation or recovery resources to successfully break a habit.

  1. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

The third steps encourage participants to dedicate their lives to serving a greater good, whether that means a traditional Christian God or an appropriate interpretation. In essence, this step forces users to accept that they need guidance to move forward.

  1. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

A realistic view on personal shortcomings is a crucial part of admitting a need for change. This step may be uncomfortable – it’s often hard to admit your own failings – but understanding struggles and weaknesses is a necessary step in righting wrongs.

  1. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step five involves admission, or confessing guilt and sins to others as a form of emotional purging. By acknowledging and working through mistakes, you can unburden yourself and better work through personal demons.

  1. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

This step requires participants to let go of their former selves in order to commit to sobriety. By acknowledging bad behaviors and staying dedicated to change, participants can work to avoid negative actions in favor of healthier ways to cope.

  1. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Similar to step six, this step requires an acknowledgment of personal shortcomings and the humility to ask for help in overcoming them.

  1. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Addiction harms many people outside of oneself. This step requires users to recognize the ways in which their actions have hurt others, like friends, family members, coworkers, and romantic partners. This journey isn’t metaphorical, either; participants must be willing to actually apologize and make amends.

  1. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step nine expands on step eight, detailing the need to physically approach individuals who have been harmed through substance abuse and make honest amends. However, there is a caveat on this step: if a personal meeting would be too painful for one or both parties or could implicate another individual in a criminal act, reparations can be bypassed.

  1. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Recovery is an ongoing process that lasts throughout life and requires continual growth to maintain a positive trajectory. In order to ensure continued success, this step requires introspection and consideration of actions, both past and future.

  1. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

A request for spiritual guidance, step 11 asks participants to pray to God and listen to his words and advice in order to live a good, healthy life. For non-religious users, “God” can be interpreted as any force of good in the world, like the support of a 12-step program.

  1. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The final step, step 12 requests a combination of self-serving and selfless behavior to encourage participants to both live by the message provided by the steps as well as to help others do the same.

Seek Help in a 12-Step Program

For recovering substance abusers, a 12-step outpatient program can have a positive impact on the ability to get sober and stay sober. With a built in support network of peers and counselors, it’s possible to find the strength and guidance necessary to continue on the road to abstinence.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and would like to learn more about outpatient treatments like 12-step programs, Outpatient Services is happy to help. Please contact us today at (844) 211-7944.

Fun Activities in Sobriety

Sober activities to do

In the United States, drugs and alcohol play a prominent role in society. Alcohol is advertised on television, partying is glamorized in movies and music, and substance abuse is depicted as almost a necessity in young age. The statistics align with this perception as well; over 86% of Americans drink at least once in life and approximately 10% of the population has used drugs in the past month.

Due to the role of substance use in modern life, it’s hard to picture living without a buzz or a high for those in recovery. Avoiding triggers can be extremely hard, especially when it feels like everyone is having fun with drugs and alcohol – except you. However, it’s important to remember that many people choose sobriety and no activity is improved by alcohol or drugs. Here are eight fun – and sober – ways to spend your time.

Take Up a Sport

Whether you’ve always loved athletics or are simply looking for an easy way to get in shape, a community sports league is a great opportunity to get active and make friends. Most communities host bowling, softball, baseball, kickball, dodgeball, basketball, or volleyball teams in association with community centers or city leagues, providing a convenient and affordable activity that burns calories and builds camaraderie. Best of all, athletics are performed sober, so not using substances will be par for the course.

Work on Literacy

Virtually every city and town in the country maintains some sort of library system, offering a free destination for access to thousands of books. From broadening your horizons to plunging you into a new and fascinating world, reading is a pleasurable pastime enjoyed all over the world. As a solitary activity, there’s never pressure to use while reading, keeping you focused on sobriety without access to triggers. Many libraries maintain book clubs or host academic speakers as well, providing intellectually stimulating activities in a sober environment.

Take Fitness Classes

Sober alternative activitiesExercise is good for your mind, body, and spirit, working your muscles, improving energy levels, and even promoting healthier sleeping habits. If you’re feeling tired, stressed, or anxious, a fitness class can be an excellent way to burn off energy while engaging in substance-free fun. Offered through gyms and community centers, these classes are available in dozens of forms, from CrossFit to hip hop dancing. Find an activity suitable for your fitness level and interests, and see what your body can accomplish.

Take Online Courses

Education goes far beyond classroom learning, especially with the internet at your disposal. With resources like Coursera, EdX, ALISON, and MIT OpenCourseWare, it’s possible to learn pretty much anything from the comfort of your living room. While some classes may cost a nominal fee, plenty are available for free, allowing you to enhance career prospects or simply feed curiosities without a major investment. Courses range from personal interest topics, like knitting or cooking, to complex scientific or financial subjects, making it easy to explore any topic that meets your fancy.


Many charities and non-profit organizations rely heavily on volunteers to maintain operations, providing a time-consuming and rewarding way to get involved in your local community. Countless organizations require volunteers, from faith-based institutions to local landmarks, allowing you to find a topic, service, or destination you are passionate about. Volunteering is often on an as-needed or as-desired basis so your investment can be as minimal or as substantial as you would like. Further, tasks range from paperwork to fundraising and everything in between, giving you a way to play to your strengths.

Learn an Instrument

Music plays a huge role in modern life, from the radio to movie soundtracks to streaming apps like Spotify and Pandora. If you love music, learning to make your own can be a worthy use of your time. Even if you’ve never played an instrument before, it’s never too late to learn. Look at university or school programs for tips or classes for beginners, or to get in touch with private teachers. Picking up skills may not be easy, but the hard work and dedication that go into success can be deeply satisfying. As you improve, you may even be able to join local ensembles or groups to hone your skills and bond with other budding musicians.

Refine Your Cooking Skills

Sober activities to doCooking is a passion for many people, combining a love for flavor with results you can both see and enjoy. While most people know the basics of sauteéing, boiling water, grilling, and baking, the technical skills that go into masterful cooking can be a true challenge to learn. Choose new cuisines, like Indian or Chinese, or a challenging dish you’ve always wanted to try, like beef Wellington or soufflé, and continuing honing your craft until each detail is perfect. Cooking is also a wonderful skill to share with others, providing a way to bond and engage with the people you love.

Plant a Garden

If you have a yard, gardening can offer many rewards to your life. Creating a natural, living experience that takes time and effort to cultivate, your garden can improve home aesthetics, add beauty to your life, and even provide a sustainable source of fruits and vegetables to enjoy. Gardens can contain any plant you’d like, provided it grows well in your region, offering a great way for you to flex your creative muscles and channel energy into a rewarding outlet. Whether you’re a fan of sunflowers or live for fresh tomatoes, your garden can yield the literal fruits of your labors.

Paving a sober path for yourself in a world that seems dominated by substance abuse can be hard, but turning over a new leaf gives you a perfect opportunity to try something different. Virtually any activity can be enjoyed without alcohol or drugs, and it’s up to you to find your best fit. With so many possibilities to have fun and maintain abstinence, you may be surprised by what you learn!

If you are struggling with addiction, the Outpatient Treatment Center can help. As a kind, compassionate, and non-judgmental resource for addiction recovery, we are here to support you from start to finish. Please call (844) 211-7944 to speak to a member of our intake admissions team. All consultations are fully confidential.

Addiction Treatment Industry Under Scrutiny in South Florida

South Florida under Scrutiny for Addiction Treatment

With the opioid crisis in the U.S. growing to unprecedented epidemic proportions, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services took action by completing what it calls the biggest, opioid-related “fraud bust” ever to be conducted by the federal government. According to a Palm Beach Post article, Justice Department prosecutors have charged over 75 people in South Florida (mostly doctors) with “taking advantage” of the deadly opioid epidemic.

However, the Post article also points out this crackdown failed to take appropriate action against another huge problem exacerbating the opioid addiction crisis–hundreds of fraudulent recovery houses operating in Florida at this moment. (Articles often cite ‘Treatment Centers’ when they actually intend to refer to ‘recovery housing’)

“Junkie Hunter”

Arrests in S FL for Patient BrokeringRaided by FBI agents two years ago, a Delray Beach addiction treatment center owned by Eric Snyder was shut down due to Snyder fraudulently billing client insurance companies for nearly $60 million over a five-year time period. Described in the complaint as a “junkie hunter”, Snyder is accused of deliberately bribing addicts who may or may not have been seeking treatment, with cash, airline tickets and trips to expensive strip clubs. Snyder’s cohort, Chris Fuller, regularly trolled motels known for housing drug addicts and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings searching for vulnerable addicts who could be lured into entering their addiction treatment center and billed for nonexistent services.

The case is ongoing. Snyder’s attorney states that his client did not “intentionally participate in fraudulent billing practices and has been involved in saving the lives of many addicts”.

How Fake Treatment Centers Operate

South Florida has been hampered recently by unscrupulous treatment centers seeking young substance abusers who are able to remain on their parent’s insurance policy according to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act implemented by President Obama in 2010. For example, these fake treatment centers let addicts continue using while overcharging insurance companies for unnecessary drug and medical tests. They also utilize patients (who are still abusing drugs and not receiving treatment) as recruiters for reeling in addicts vulnerable to manipulation using money and free places to live.

Addiction treatment center scams often involve so-called patients going through a minimal recovery program and living in sober homes that are financially linked to fraudulent treatment programs. “Sober” homes operated by hucksters purporting to be addiction specialists are usually suburban residences transformed into flop houses in which addicts can continue abusing drugs. In fact, some of these fake treatment centers provide addicts with incentives such as gift-cards, cash, or in some extreme cases, their first insurance premium payment just to have them participate in campaigns meant to defraud insurance companies.

The worst consequence of addicts becoming involved with fraudulent treatment centers is they are allowed to continue abusing drugs and receive no professional help. Many such patients end up dying from overdoses or using drugs contaminated with fentynal or carfentanil. Others die from medical complications attributed to serious drug addiction due to continuous relapsing. To help addicts and their families recognize fake addiction treatment centers and halfway houses, the South County Recovery Residence Association and the Florida Association of Recovery Residences can provide valuable information essential for avoiding criminals intent on preying on vulnerable individuals. These organizations perform inspections on halfway house and only certify those that meet high quality standards.

Where to Receive Professional Addiction Treatment

The Treatment Center Fights AddictionOutpatient Services in South Florida fully supports reform of the addiction treatment industry and actively takes measures to assist law enforcement with shutting down fraudulent sober homes and addiction centers. We focus on one thing–getting addicts the caring, evidence-based help they need to beat their addiction. One reason why we so adamantly support industry reforms is that insurance agencies are becoming more reluctant to provide help for addicts entering addiction treatment. Consequently, this makes it harder for transparent and honest centers like ours to be able to provide the counseling-intensive care absolutely essential for recovering addicts to avoid relapse. We continue to actively assist local commissions to improve industry regulations meant to quickly investigate questionable addiction treatment centers and shut them down, if necessary. We uphold our solid reputation as one of South Florida’s most distinguished addiction recovery centers by leading the fight to reduce addiction rates and hope to one day extinguish the opioid epidemic. If you or someone you know is suffering from an addiction to heroin, pain pills, methamphetamine or other addictive substance, please call us today. We are here to help 24/7/365 by providing the following services:

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, take a moment to consider contacting Outpatient Services today at (844)211-7944. We are nonjudgemental, compassionate and understanding of what addicts and their families are suffering through and will patiently and objectively discuss our program with you and how we can help you or a loved achieve recovery and sobriety.

Emerging Drug Trends in the U.S.

Emerging trends in drugs in the united states

Prescription Opioids

It is estimated that over 30 million people in the U.S. are currently using prescription opioid medications originally intended to be taken for a short period of time. Drugs designated as hypnotic analgesics meant to minimize pain are the most abused and addictive types of prescription opioid medications. Central nervous system depressants and pain killers like Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Vicodin, Oxycontin and Klonopin are commonly abused prescription drugs.

Current Drug Trends - OpioidsAttempting to overcome an addiction to pain or antianxiety drugs by going “cold turkey” can be potentially life-threatening. Because even short-term exposure to anxiety or pain relieving prescriptions produces neuronal pathway adaptations that are counterintuitive to the medication’s effects, the risk of dependency and developing tolerance for the drug is extremely high. Stopping the drug or just reducing the dosage can induce “rebound” symptoms in people addiction to prescription opioids. Rebound symptoms include worsening of pain, severe anxiety, panic attacks or insomnia. Withdrawal symptoms also include seizures, psychotic episodes, palpitations and rapid weight loss from nausea or “dry” vomiting.

For people addicted to prescription opioids, a medically supervised detoxification program provides medications for reducing withdrawal symptoms under the supervision of trained professionals. For example, buprenorphine reduces the strong craving for opiates during withdrawal and does not produce side effects seen with other medications used in an opiate detoxification program. In addition, all detoxification programs are accompanied by individual counseling structured to meet the psychological and physical needs of the patient.


Krokodil use spread rapidly in Russia about ten years ago and has now made its way into the U.S.
drug culture. Containing codeine, gasoline, paint thinner, iodine and hydrochloric acid, krokodil produces a sense of euphoria and relaxation similar to heroin. Krokodil is cooked over an open flame but not purified before users inject the chemical into their veins.

A Krokodil high lasts about two hours and affects brain neurochemistry the same way traditional opioids do– by releasing huge amounts of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine into the brain. Addiction occurs when the brain starts to constantly crave the intense high caused by flooding the brain with mood-enhancing neurotransmitters.

Krokodil addicts who regularly inject the drug can expect to live about two years following the onset of their addiction. In addition, the physical affects of krokodil are worse than the psychological effects. Addicts in a hurry to relieve the painful craving for krokodil may inject the drug into their flesh instead of a vein. Infection inevitably sets in at the injection site that develops into serious abscesses. Failing to get adequate treatment for an abscess contaminated by krokodil ingredients
will cause gangrene, necrosis and possibly death for the addict.

Antipsychotic Medications

Antipsychotic medications are prescribed to treat serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder or schizo-affective disorders (a type of mood disorder that exhibits some symptoms of schizophrenia). Individuals with mental illnesses that cause them to hallucinate, hold delusional thoughts and remain, for the most part, unable to access reality require antipsychotic medications in order to reduce symptoms and hopefully allow them to function better in society.

Although antipsychotic medications are not by themselves addictive, they can cause withdrawal symptoms in recovering addicts who abuse them just for the sake of abusing a drug. A condition called “supersensitivity psychosis” is known to affect people who are abusing antipsychotic medications and stop taking them. In addition to suffering involuntary muscle spasms, addicts experiencing supersensitivity psychosis will hallucinate visually and auditoraly similar to the side effects of an LSD “trip”.


A plant growing naturally in southeast Asia, kratom stimulates opioid receptors the same way morphine affects them. Although kratom is readily available online as a non-addictive alternative to prescription pain pills, research regarding kratom’s so-called medicinal properties have discovered kratom users can become addicted to kratom with regular use. Kratom is legal in the U.S. and can be purchased online through kratom wholesalers who get their kratom from overseas dealers. Kratom abusers drink kratom tea, take capsules containing predetermined amounts of kratom or use kratom powder to give them the hypnotic analgesic effects offered by both illegal and legal opioid drugs.


In 2012, news reports of a crazed man attempting to chew off the face of another man in Miami, FL made headlines across the U.S. Blood tests later revealed the man may have been under the influence of bath salts, a type of designer drug containing synthetic chemicals called cathinones.

Flakka is designer drug made from cathinones derived from the khat plant. Flakka is highly addictive, comes in white, powdery rocks that are easily broken apart and can be snorted, swallowed or injected. Flakka rocks are also being “vaped” or used in e-cigarettes and hookahs by people on the street to avoid the suspicions of law enforcement.

Drug Trends in US , FlakkaThe chemical drug alpha-PVP needed to make Flakka was declared an illegal, controlled substance in the U.S. in 2014 but continues to be manufactured in China and other overseas countries where it is not regulated. In addition, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency thinks that large quantities of alpha-PVP may have already made it to the U.S. by the time it was made illegal, which may explain the sudden rise in Flakka use over the past year.

Flakka produces the following physical and physiological symptoms:

  • Extreme anxiety and panic
  • Combative behavior/aggression
  • Confusion/disorientation
  • Blackouts/memory loss
  • Paranoid delusions/hallucinations
  • Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
  • Chest pain/breathing difficulties
  • Hyperthermia/sweatinghypertension2.

When high on Flakka, users can experience body temperatures as high as 106°F, which induces a cascade of systemic events possibly leading to rhabdomyolysis. A condition where significant muscle tissue breakdown releases creatine phosphokinase and pieces of muscle fiber into the bloodstream, rhabdomyolysis can produce kidney damage and/or kidney failure.

If you or a loved one are suffering from the disease of addiction, the time to get help is now. Call us today to find out how The Treatment Center family can meet you where you are on your journey of recovery. (844)211-7944

Have I Become a Functioning Alcoholic?

Have I become a Functional Alcoholic?

For many young adults and even plenty of older adults, drinking is a way of life. From binging in college to passing time with cocktails after work in the professional world, alcohol plays a significant role in American culture. While most people, even those who begin drinking in high school or college, manage to develop healthy drinking habits as they age, others aren’t so lucky. The rush and intoxication of binge drinking can be too much to overcome, leading to tens of thousands of adults who rely on alcohol to make it through the day.

Unfortunately, societal perceptions of alcoholism often fail to clearly demarcate the line between social drinking and a real problem. In TV shows, books, comics, and movies, frequent drinking is portrayed as normal and even expected, severely overshadowing the threat of alcohol addiction. This can make it very hard for adults who drink regularly to identify or admit to an addiction, severely decreasing the likelihood of seeking help before it’s too late. This is especially true for functional alcoholics.

What Is a Functional Alcoholic?

Functional alcoholism is a form of alcohol addiction in which substance abusers are still able to carry on many standard life activities. Also known as high-functioning alcoholism, these individuals often have close social relationships, attend school, or hold down a job without any major indications of a problem. They may drink to excess on a regular basis, but the illusion of normalcy can mask the depth of the issue at hand from friends, family, and even themselves.

Despite the appearance of control, virtually no one will remain a high functioning alcoholic for long. Eventually, the grips of alcoholism will take over, ruining careers, relationships, academics, and anything else in its wake. Of the over 15 million Americans with an Alcohol Use Disorder, as many as half are of a high functioning variety.

Signs of Functional Alcoholism

In many cases, the signs of functional alcoholism have great overlap with a social or party-centered lifestyle, but there are a number of warnings to watch for in your loved ones or yourself.

Heavy Drinking

A lot of adults drink on a regular basis, but what is considered heavy drinking?

In men, four drinks or more per day or 14 of more a week can be considered heavy drinking, while three drinks or more per day or seven or more drinks a week qualify for women. While some people can maintain this frequency for weeks, months, or even years at a time without being at risk, prolonged heavy drinking is an early indicator of a substance abuse problem and can contribute to health complications like liver disease.

A Functional Alcoholic - What is it?

Frequent Cover Ups

For someone whose drinking has become a problem, it’s common to slip up at home, at work, or at school, even for high performers. This may mean frequent tardiness at work, missed deadlines, skipped classes, or an inability to attend family events due to hangovers or intoxication. It may also be common to seek assistance from others, asking coworkers to punch time cards or lie to bosses, requesting help with children, or lying to get out of obligations.

Isolation, Particularly from Friends and Family

Many high-functioning alcoholics are very social, spending plenty of time with friend groups and maintaining romantic relationships and even marriages. However, during down time, it’s not uncommon for affected individuals to spend time alone, drinking and hiding their behavior from others. Some alcoholics may also skip social events or family obligations unintentionally, often due to getting too intoxicated prior to going out.

Inability to Maintain Commitments

Heavy drinking regularly isn’t a habit that can be maintained for long. Sooner or later, the consequences will begin to pile up, and things will start to slide. Functional alcoholics will often overcompensate, winning awards at work while forgetting appointments and ignoring family. Someone with amazing performance in one place and problems in others may be struggling to balance a drinking problem.

Drinking During the Day

For most people, morning is a great time for coffee, eggs, and a nice, hot shower. For functional alcoholics, however, the morning might be a great time to start drinking. While an occasional drink during the day at a ball game or brunch is normal, drinking in the morning, whether out of boredom or a need for alcohol, is not. Regularly day drinking or frequent suggestions of day drinking can be a sign of a problem.

Getting Angry at Confrontation

Alcoholics of all kinds resist the label, lashing out when friends and loved ones bring up questions and concerns. In many cases, functional alcoholics are no different. While most high functioning alcoholics maintain a jovial attitude about drinking, accusations and interventions are still met with anger and criticism, particularly for those who do not want others to know the true extent of their drinking habits.

Sneaking Alcohol

Flasks may have a time and a place, but that time isn’t always and that place isn’t everywhere. While most adults can attend a play, enjoy a lunch, or tour a museum without a drink, many functional alcoholics will attempt to spice up these kinds of plans. They may play it off as a fun addition to a day out or something that everyone does, but healthy drinkers are perfectly fine enjoying events without alcohol.

Making Jokes about Drinking

While alcoholics in denial often get angry when their drinking is brought up to them, functional alcoholics who are aware of the extent of their drinking may make jokes to avoid detection. Many use these jokes as a way to deflect criticism and dissuade questions, while others try to create a camaraderie around the process of drinking and getting drunk.

Functional alcoholism isn’t a safe or better form of alcoholism; it’s still a serious disease with significant consequences. While some addicts are able to maintain jobs and lives for a while, this situation is temporary at best. With an estimated 88,000 deaths from alcohol abuse a year, staying in this state isn’t worth the gamble.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction, please contact Outpatient Services today. Call (844) 211-7944 to speak to a member of our compassionate, caring staff.

Am I Married to a Drug Addict?

How do you know if you are married to a drug addict

It can be a difficult reality to face, that the person you love is concealing or downplaying their reliance on a substance. Very often someone who has become dependent on a drug will not, themselves, realize they have become addicted. Once the reliance has begun their actions can seem like not their own, and there is some truth to that, as it is now the addict making the decisions, not your spouse. Drug addicts quickly learn how to conceal their habit from partners, friends and people they work with. Addicts understand completely that if loved ones discovered they were addicted to heroin, meth, marijuana or cocaine, their lives would be upended. They could lose their jobs, their spouses might leave them and they would be expected to enter a drug addiction recovery program. With so much at stake, drug addicts will go to incredibly great lengths to conceal their habit. Lying to spouses becomes second nature to drug abusers them as their addiction dictates their every thought and action.

General Signs You May be Married to a Drug Addict

Just having a “hunch” that your spouse is using drugs means you’ve noticed your spouse is acting physically and emotionally different enough to arouse your suspicions. Your hunch may be correct if your spouse:

  • Has lost or gained weight in a short period. Heroin, meth and cocaine reduce appetite while marijuana increases appetite.
  • Has changed their sleep patterns. Did your spouse previously sleep through the night but is now experiencing insomnia, sleeping only an hour or two at a time or sleeping at odd times during the day?
  • No longer showers, shaves or brushes their teeth everyday. Spouses who were once particular about their personal hygiene but have gradually lost interest in their appearance may be spending all their energy into concealing and obtaining drugs.
  • Seems unusually hyperactive or lethargic during the day or night. Methamphetamine and cocaine are stimulants while heroin and marijuana are depressants.
  • Suffers frequent nosebleeds and has bloodshot eyes without a good explanation. Snorting cocaine or meth damages nasal tissues. All drugs can cause reddened eyes due to the dilating or constricting effects of drugs on blood vessels.
  • Develops skin problems such as acne, discolored patches, small scabs (indicative of injection sites) and rashes. Drug addicts often pick or scratch at their skin because of histamine release by the immune system. Excess histamine in the bloodstream makes drug addicts suffer crawling sensations under their skin.
  • Deliberately hides drug paraphernalia–pipes, spoons, syringes, pieces of creased aluminum foil, cut straws, empty baggies, rolling papers.
  • Has made “new” friends that pop in at odd times. Trust what your intuition tells you when you meet these “friends”. Drug addicts value their relationship with drug dealers and drug addicts over all other friendships because it is these people who can get them their drug of choice.
  • Grows increasingly defensive and paranoid when you question where they have been and why they have changed. This behavior is especially evident when a drug addicted spouse is caught in a lie and cannot offer a good explanation for why they lied.

What are the signs that you are married to a drug addict?

Discovering large sums of money missing from a bank account is a solid clue your spouse may have a drug or gambling addiction. When forced to choose between suffering withdrawal symptoms or a spouse questioning the disappearance of $500 from a checking account, a drug addict will always choose the questions.

Physical and Mental Effects of a Cocaine Addiction

If your spouse is addicted to cocaine, he or she is probably snorting “lines” of this drug as often as four or five times a day. Cocaine use causes rapid heartbeat, heart arrhythmia, hypertension and a persistently runny nose, a symptom called “cocaine drip” by addicts. Cocaine snorters also experience reduced sense of smell. If you smell something strong and your spouse says they do not smell anything, this could indicate deterioration of nasal passages.

Cocaine significantly increases dopamine levels in the brain. Too much dopamine causes paranoia, aggression, irritability, manic thoughts and audio/visual hallucinations. Signs of withdrawal from cocaine include anxiety, sweating, chills, stomach cramps and suicide ideation.

Physical and Mental Effects of a Methamphetamine Addiction

Like cocaine, methamphetamine increases dopamine levels in the brain. Meth can be snorted, smoked or injected. As tolerance grows to meth, addicts typically resort to injecting meth after mixing meth powder with water. Your spouse may be addicted to methamphetamine if they:

  • Alternate between acting euphoric and depressed
  • Have muscle tremors and shaking without a good explanation
  • Start suffering teeth and gum disease (meth addicts crave sugary, high-carb foods)
  • Suffer diminished skin health (blotchiness, acne, rashes)
  • Rants incoherently but later cannot remember ranting
  • Wears long-sleeved shirts even in hot weather (to hide needle marks)

Methamphetamine addictions may be the most difficult addiction to defeat. No anti-addiction medications exist to help address a meth addiction. In addition, physicians strongly urge spouses of meth addicts to get professional assistance. Medical detoxification, supportive care and intense counseling is essential for overcoming a methamphetamine addiction.

See our recent blog for more signs of Crystal Meth use

Physical and Mental Effects of a Heroin Addiction

Next to marijuana, heroin is the most commonly abused drug in the U.S. It is cheap, easy to find on the streets and sometimes laced with even more dangerous drugs like fentanyl. Heroin abuse is indicated by the following warning signs:

  • Inability to maintain employment (drug addicts blame repeated firings on their bosses or co-workers)
  • Moodiness, irritability, sudden emotional outbursts (especially when confronted with their addiction)
  • Making poor decisions regarding relationships (choosing to be with drug addicts and dealers instead of family members or previously close friends)
  • Leaving the home at night and staying out until morning without a rational explanation (drug dealers tend to conduct business at night to reduce their visibility to law enforcement)

Finding heroin paraphernalia is a sure sign your spouse is abusing heroin. Paraphernalia include needles; cotton balls (strains liquid heroin for unmelted chunks); bottle caps and spoons (used to cook heroin over heat) and tie-offs to force veins to the surface of the skin (shoelaces, wires, string); lighters to cook heroin.

See our recent blogs for:

Signs you are addicted to Xanax
Signs you are addicted to Opiates
Signs of Alcoholism
If you suspect your spouse is abusing drugs, don’t hesitate to contact our outpatient drug and alcohol treatment facility in Lake, Worth. We are here to help you and your spouse regain the life you once had together. (844) 211-7944

What is the Link Between Alcohol Consumption and Cancer?

Is There a link between Alcohol Consumption and cancer

The short answer is yes: numerous scientific studies have drawn a correlation between alcohol consumption and cancer. As with almost anything related to the human body, it’s obviously more complex than that. A glass of wine here and there probably won’t increase cancer risks substantially — and research shows very moderate consumption of certain adult beverages even has health benefits for many people. That being said, chronic consumption of alcohol can play havoc with your entire body, and one of the negative consequences of that interference can be cancer.

How is alcohol linked to cancer?

The increased cancer risks noted among heavy drinkers are generally believed to be related to ethanol (the chemical form of alcohol) found in adult beverages. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism notes that increased consumption volumes tend to lead to additional cancer risks, so the longer you go without seeking addiction treatment, the more you put your body in harm’s way. Even if you’re only having one drink a day, you could experience a slight increase in cancer risks. The consensus seems to be that three or more beverages a day comes with a marked increase in the risk of development cancer.

Link Between Alcohol and CancerMedical researchers and scientists still aren’t 100 percent clear on alcohol’s complete impact on the body, but they have identified some processes by which alcohol might increase cancer risks. First, when your body breaks down the ethanol in adult beverages, it creates acetaldehyde. This is a chemical known to be toxic to humans; researches believe it may also be a carcinogen, which is a factor in the development of cancer. In short, your body turns alcohol into poison, and if you have too much in your system on a regular basis, your body isn’t able to deal with it effectively.

Alcohol can also impair your body’s ability to absorb key nutrients in food — and many of those vitamins and minerals help your body stay healthy and fend off cancer cells. Couple this with the fact that many people who are caught in addiction don’t get enough nutrients to begin with, and you can see how dangerous the situation can get for your body.

Alcohol also causes unnatural interactions in other areas of your body. Researchers believe these reactions can lead to damage of DNA, lipids and proteins, all of which makes it harder for your body to stay cancer free.

Types of cancer linked to alcohol consumption

Some types of cancers are more linked to alcohol consumption than others. Liver cancer, for example, is highly linked to alcohol and usually the first type of cancer many people associated with drinking. Unlike with some other cancers, liver cancer can be primarily caused by alcohol consumption because the liver plays such a vital role in processing what you ingest. In fact, over-consumption of alcohol is one of the leading causes of liver cancer.

Other cancer types that have been linked to alcohol include:

  • Breast cancer. Studies of more than 58,000 women who had breast cancer indicated a correlation between rising alcohol consumption and the development of breast cancer. Women who drank approximately three alcohol beverages daily (or more) were 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Esophageal cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma, a certain type of cancer of the esophagus, is highly linked with alcohol consumption. Researchers believe drinking too much alcohol is a primary factor in the development of this disease. Some people also have a metabolic deficiency that alters the way alcohol is processed by the body, making them even more at risk for esophageal cancer.
  • Head and neck cancer. The risk of developing cancer of the head or neck rises with alcohol consumption, say researchers. Someone who imbibes 3.5 or more adult beverages daily can be two to three times more likely to develop such cancers.
  • Colorectal cancer. Drinking 3.5 alcoholic beverages or more daily increases your risk of developing colon cancer by about 1.5 times.

What happens if I stop drinking now?

An immediate halt to alcohol consumption doesn’t erase the damage that might already have been done to your body, but continued sobriety can help reduce the risks of cancer. The longer you go without drinking, the better your body is able to recover. Studies have shown that the risks of some types of cancers don’t reduce until someone has been sober for as long as ten years.

However, you shouldn’t let this long-term approach to health stop you from seeking alcohol addiction treatment today. While you can’t reduce damage overnight, you can stop more damage from occurring, and keeping cancer at bay isn’t the only reason you should stop drinking.

If you can’t stop drinking on your own and alcohol is impacting your life — whether it’s with regard to your health, your relationships or your career — it’s never too late for recovery. Call the Outpatient Treatment center today to find out what your options for seeking sobriety — and a healthier life — are. (844)211-7944

Signs you are addicted to Crystal Meth

Crystal Meth - Signs you are addicted

A highly addictive neurotoxic stimulant, crystal meth is a substance that carries devastating consequences. Among the most popular street drugs across the U.S. – approximately 1.2 million Americans used meth within the last year and 440,000 within the last month – the power of crystal meth has given it the moniker “the most dangerous drug on earth.”

Concocted from a volatile mix of household chemicals like drain cleaner and synthetic ephedrine, crystal meth provides an intense and extremely pleasant high. One use is all it takes to develop both psychological and physical dependency, trapping even responsible, mature adults into a crippling cycle of addiction.

Like many drugs, users often sample meth as a seemingly harmless way to party, but this is a perilous mistake. As a stimulant that strongly affects the brain, meth releases up to ten times the standard amount of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that causes happiness and euphoria. It also increases adrenaline production, leaving users feeling energized and on top of the world. During this period, users are impulsive, irrational, and uninterested in food or sleep.

A little bit goes a long way as well; a quarter gram can provide a high lasting 12 hours or more, versus two hours for the same sized dose of cocaine. This leads to a binging pattern in which users take continuous doses for days on end.

Table with Meth Paraphernalia

Signs of Crystal Meth Addiction

When users begin taking crystal meth, most never foresee the possibility of addiction. “It won’t happen to me,” they think. “Addiction is only for other people.”

However, crystal meth addiction can happen to anyone, and a single dose is truly all it takes. If you or a loved one show some or all these signs, meth addiction might be a reality.

Excessive Periods of Wakefulness

Due to the increase in energy derived by meth use, substance abusers can stay up for days without sleep while taking dose after dose of meth. During this time, users will feel hyper, adrenaline-filled, and completely uninterested in sleep. In fact, it’s often impossible to sleep while on meth. As such, many users are jittery, anxious, and uncoordinated due to lack of sleep. They may let sleep interfere with normal activities after a binge, like nodding off at work or sleeping through obligations.

Loss of Appetite

Like sleep, appetite is greatly diminished when taking meth. The intense flood of dopamine can override traditional feelings of hunger, leading to a disinterest in regular meals. Many meth users don’t eat on a normal schedule and often fail to consume adequate calories while using drugs. This phenomenon also has other consequences, like a weakened immune system, risk of nutrient-related diseases like scurvy, and rapid weight loss, including loss of muscle.

Social Isolation

As use increases, many crystal meth users begin to pull away from traditional activities and social groups, choosing drugs over interactions with non-users. When drugs become an overwhelming priority, substance abusers put securing drugs above all others, quitting sports team, dropping out of school, leaving church groups, and turning away from family. Many users will go days or weeks without speaking to other people, choosing to focus on keeping the high going.

Hyperactive, Obsessive Behavior

Meth use often comes with hyperactive, OCD-like behavior during drug binges. This can manifest in different ways for different users, but can include increased motivation to tackle challenging tasks, like organizing personal possessions or taking apart electronics just for the chance to put them back together again. Some users will stay awake for days sorting trash and recycling, tearing up all tiles or carpeting in their homes, and cleaning obsessively.

Unpleasant Physical Changes

Meth in a bagDue to the strong presence of caustic chemicals in conjunction with the side effects of a meth high, meth users often undergo significant physical changes. Meth can cause the destruction of tissue and blood vessels, ruining the body’s ability to heal itself and prematurely aging users. Meth mouth, or damaged, rotten, or discolored teeth, is also common and is caused by the drying out of the salivary glands in conjunction with neglected hygiene. The hallucinogenic effects can also cause users to feel like there are bugs crawling under their skin, leading to obsessive picking that can cause to scabs and infection.

Secretive, Withdrawn Behavior

Drug users of all kinds are often guilty of secretive, withdrawn behavior, and meth users are no different. Many users realize that regular use is looked down upon and thus attempt to hide binges. This can mean ceasing communication with family members, failing to disclose whereabouts, spending days or weeks indoors without leaving, and sneaking away during work hours and family events. In some cases, users begin to neglect parenting obligations, putting their children in danger.

Lying and Theft

For addicts stuck within a pattern of abuse, the only priority that matters is obtaining more drugs. Many substance abusers will go to great ends to accomplish this, lying to loved ones, stealing valuables, and selling possessions to make enough money to buy more drugs. Normal deterrents, like a criminal record or time spent in jail, aren’t enough; addicts will go to virtually any means necessary to feed their habit, resorting to unethical or dangerous behavior in the hopes of an easy score.

Inability to Maintain Obligations

Once meth takes hold, nothing else matters. While newer users will attempt to maintain a normal job for the financial benefits, performance is negatively affected by a lack of sleep and proper nutrition. Meth users skip work frequently, fall asleep in the office, or are unable to focus on tasks. This can lead to termination, which often turns into a cycle that can result in eviction and homelessness. Younger users generally quit school, dropping out in favor of drugs.

The grips of crystal meth addiction are nearly impossible to defeat without assistance. If you or someone you love shows any of these signs, the time to get help is now. The Outpatient Treatment Center is prepared to offer the resources you need, providing dedicated support that can help users to overcome the perils of abuse and addiction. Call today at (844) 211-7944 to speak to a member of our confidential intake team.