Multistate Salmonella Epidemic Linked to Kratom Use

Multistate Salmonella Epidemic linked to Kratom

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with several state public health and regulatory offices, are investigating the cause of a multistate Salmonella outbreak.

The outbreak is thought to have started between October 2017 and January of this year. A reported total of 28 people— from 20 different states— have contracted a strain of salmonella I as of February 16, 2018. While there have been 11 cases of hospitalization, there have been no deaths so far.

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The Four Stages of Recovery and the Supplementary Stages of Trust

Stages of Recovery

Sending a loved one away for addiction treatment can be a big adjustment for everyone. While your loved one may have been the one struggling with the addiction, you and your family have had to live with all the consequences. There’s probably been a lot of arguing, crying, and emotional turmoil. Even now, you might have trouble trusting your loved one. While this skepticism isn’t ideal, it’s normal during the early stages of the recovery. In fact, there are four stages of trust after addiction treatment that all loved ones go through when someone they know enters addiction treatment. Below, you will find summaries of all four stages of both addiction recovery and rebuilding trust, as well as how they relate to one another.

The Four Stages of Recovery and Trust

Stage One

Stage One for Your Loved One: Treatment Initiation

Stage 1 - Paranoia and Treatment InitiationThe first stage of addiction recovery for your loved one is defined by his or her decision to seek professional help. It doesn’t matter if you coerced your loved one into it or not. Either way, stage one of addiction recovery begins as soon as your loved one sets foot into rehab.

Stage One for You: Paranoia

The first stage of rebuilding trust during the early stages of addiction recovery is riddled with “what ifs.” Some of the most paranoid thoughts for people with loved ones in rehab include:

•    What if (s)he is skipping meetings?

•    What if the recovery program isn’t working?

•    What if (s)he is still using drugs or drinking in secret?

These kinds of thoughts are always invasive and never helpful, especially when it comes to a loved one’s addiction recovery. Being paranoid about your loved one’s time in rehab won’t do anything to help anyone— all it will do is hurt your mental health.

If you’re stuck in stage one at any point during your loved one’s recovery, consider getting professional help for yourself. Most rehabs provide family care and counseling. You may also benefit from talking to your own therapist or finding a support group of your own. Take the time to work on yourself while your loved one works on getting sober.

Stage Two

Stage Two for Your Loved One: Early Abstinence

Stage Two - Suspicion and Early AbstinenceThe second stage of addiction recovery for your loved one is characterized by a newly-developed commitment to sobriety. Early abstinence is usually the hardest stage in the addiction recovery process since that’s when your loved one experiences detox, withdrawal, and maybe even physical cravings. This stage can be extraordinarily complicated if your loved one has developed a psychological dependence on their substance of choice. Still, this part of addiction recovery is essential. Once detox is complete, this stage of recovery continues with your loved one learning the coping skills needed to stay sober after leaving rehab.

Stage Two for You: Suspicion

The second stage of rebuilding trust during the early stages of addiction recovery is filled with worry, doubt, and suspicion. During this stage, you might feel hesitant to start trusting your loved one again just because you have no idea what kind of progress has been made in rehab so far.

If you feel that getting past your suspicions has become a challenge, you should talk to your loved one in recovery, if possible. Ask how the meetings are going. Ask about the coping skills (s)he has learned so far. Keep the lines of communication with your loved one open and continue making an effort to heal yourself, too.

Stage Three

Stage Three for Your Loved One: Maintaining Abstinence

Stage 3 - Cautious Optimism and Maintaining Abstinence

The third stage of addiction recovery for your loved one typically begins after the first 90 days of sobriety. This stage sometimes marks the transition from residential rehab to scheduled outpatient rehab for patients who want to continue counseling even after returning home. The primary focus of maintaining abstinence is relapse prevention. So, during this stage of addiction recovery, your loved one will be using abstinence strategies and coping mechanism to handle everything from stress to triggers.

Stage Three for You: Cautious Optimism

The third stage of rebuilding trust during the early stages of addiction recovery is when your loved one’s improvement becomes more evident, but you may not be ready to offer your full trust yet. You may be wondering just how long this will last, especially if this is not your loved one’s first attempt to get sober. Still, your loved one is starting to look, feel and even act healthier.

If you’re unsure of how to feel after your loved one’s transition into outpatient treatment following the first 90 days sober, try to focus on yourself a little more. You have your own recovery to work on, too. Plus, now that you’re past the point of worrying about your loved one, you can focus on other things. Taking up a new hobby or spending more time with friends and family can help ease the tension during this stage.

Stage Four

Stage Four for Your Loved One: Advanced Recovery

Stage 4 - Certainty and Advanced Recovery

The fourth and final stage of addiction recovery for your loved one begins after two years of sobriety. During advanced recovery, your loved one will be able to take what they’ve learned from treatment and utilize it to build a happier, healthier life after substance addiction.

Advanced recovery requires a commitment to maintaining abstinence. Your loved one’s commitment will likely result in some significant lifestyle changes, like healthier eating and sleeping habits, more exercise and relationships with supportive people. These changes, coupled with continued abstinence and relapse prevention, will keep your loved one sober in the years to come.

Stage Four for You: Certainty

The fourth stage of rebuilding trust is the one you’ve been waiting for. At this point, you should be able to move forward with confidence as you continue to help your loved one. You’ll know, with certainty, that your loved one has the right tools, resources, and support to stay sober.

It’s important to remember, however, that relapse is common in addiction recovery. So, no matter how far your loved one has come, you should always be aware of the warning signs. If a relapse does happen, you’ll know what to do and how to handle the recovery process— for both your loved one and yourself.

TTC Outpatient Services Can Help You and Your Loved One Through the Four Stages of Recovery— and Trust

When your loved one decided to seek out professional help for his or her addiction, you each began a journey comprised of four unique but related stages of recovery. Working through these steps might feel challenging, but in the end, it’s more than worth it. Remember, recovery is a lifelong promise that requires work, commitment, and trust. If you or someone you know has a loved one who is working to maintain sobriety after addiction treatment, please contact The Treatment Center’s Outpatient Services at (844) 211-7944. Our team of healthcare professionals can help you and your loved one stay on track for happier, healthier and addiction-free lives.

The Ironic Truths That Could Trigger a Relapse During Christmas

Ironic Truths

Christmas has been and probably always will be the most widely-anticipated event of the year. However, even the most wonderful time of the year comes with its drawbacks— and its ironies. No matter what stage of treatment they’re at, the people in addiction recovery face certain aspects of the holiday season that pose problems and risks of relapse. Here are just a few of the many contradictions surrounding Christmas that contribute to relapse rates over the holiday season:

Christmas is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

…But it’s Also the Most Stressful

Stress and anxiety are two of the most harmful triggers in addiction recovery, and both reach an all-time high during the holiday season. For a season that’s supposed to represent peace and joy, Christmas is absolutely riddled with busy schedules, endless to-do lists, family conflicts, financial pressures and mass feeling of overwhelming exhaustion.

These pressures are enough of a challenge for people going about their everyday lives; a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that, during Christmastime, almost half of the U.S. population cope with stress by engaging in unhealthy behaviors like overeating and binge drinking. For people recovering from substance addiction, this level of stress is more than enough to trigger a relapse.

Christmas Symbolizes Unity and Joy

…But it Also Breeds Feelings of Isolation and Loneliness

Holiday Unity - Ironic TruthsBy now, it’s widely known that depressive feelings surge during the holiday season; probably as much as stress does. While it is true that Christmas is a time for families to gather from far and near to spend time together, ironically enough, this could be a factor in the annual rise of depression and feelings of isolation. After all, no one is exempt from some family drama. Being around family doesn’t always bring about happy feelings or memories. Additionally, people struggling to stay sober may find themselves in awkward situations that could easily trigger a relapse. Such circumstances could include coming into contact with family members who don’t support them or make them feel guilty or ashamed of their struggles. Without guidance from their support group, people in recovery are at increased risk of depression, feelings of isolation or exclusion, and subsequent relapse.

Christmas Embodies Hope for the Future

…But Haunts Us with the Past

The ghost of Christmas past doesn’t make an exception for anyone. Reflecting on the past has always been a favorite family pastime, but for those in addiction recovery, this can be harmful. Memories linked to past substance use are one of the most potent relapse triggers. It doesn’t matter if those memories are associated with feelings of happiness, sadness, anger, guilt or shame. As long as those memories revolve around addiction, looking back on them might be enough to trigger unwanted cravings.

Christmas Can Incite Spikes in Substance Abuse

…But a Decrease in the Number of Addiction Treatment Admissions

Ironic Truths - Substance abuse at holidaysOne of the biggest reasons why Christmas is such a trigger-ridden holiday is because overindulgence is not only expected but encouraged during celebrations. People will eat more, drink more, and indulge more in poor habits that could eventually prove detrimental to their health. In fact, recorded instances of alcohol consumption increase drastically in December and also in the week leading up to the New Year.

This seasonal spike in alcohol consumption, in turn, contributes to the recorded increase in drunk driving incidents during the holidays. And yet, despite the significant increase in substance abuse in general, most people suffering from addiction refuse to seek help during the holidays. The same can be said for the people in recovery who are on the brink of relapse. Instead, the number of admissions into rehab facilities seem to only increase after the start of the New Year.

Christmas Inspires Us to Make Resolutions for the New Year

…But We Almost Never Follow Through on Them

Making resolutions for the New Year following Christmas is something that everyone does. Unfortunately, even the mildest resolutions don’t always come to fruition. Despite the many serious consequences, sometimes those who have not yet sought addiction treatment will put it off so that they can “still enjoy” the holiday festivities instead of focusing on rehab.

So, a lot of the time, the people who promise themselves and others that they’ll enter rehab for addiction treatment after January 1st are just making empty excuses for one last binge. The people who are serious about changing their lives don’t hang their willpower on a flimsy resolution; instead, they take action as soon as possible, even if it means Christmas falls by the wayside.

Avoid Relapsing During Christmas with Help from TTC Outpatient Services

People struggling with addiction struggle more around Christmas. With so many triggers at play, it’s not hard to imagine why. Thankfully, outpatient services can help them stay on the right track to avoid triggers and relapse. Whether you are in recovery already or thinking about entering rehab for the first time, the TTC Outpatient Services are always open 24/7 every day to help those in need— even on Christmas. For more information, please call (844)211-7944. All calls are confidential.

Common Misconceptions: Debunked Myths About Addiction

Debunked myths about addiction

Myths and misinformation surround addiction probably more than anything else. Since the topic of substance abuse varies so much in the public’s opinion of it, it can be dangerous when those opinions are formed based on false information.

The Dangers of Addiction Myths

Spotting the difference between truth and myth when it comes to substance addiction is incredibly important. If you don’t know the truth from the myths, learning and spreading accurate information about addiction will be next to impossible. Myths will always exist, but treating them as a reality can have serious consequences, especially when it comes to substance addiction. Some of these consequences include:

  • Increased drug and alcohol abuse across all demographics
  • Damaged relationships due to misconceptions about substance abuse
  • Higher risk of dangerous withdrawals, overdose, or death among addicts

Gathering and sharing information about addiction from highly reputable sources is one of the easiest ways you can keep yourself, the people you care about, and anyone struggling with addiction safe. Some of the most common (and now debunked) myths about addiction can be found below.

MYTH: Only Illicit Drugs are Unsafe

Only Illicit Drugs are UnsafePeople tend to think that only the “hard” drugs are the ones that are dangerous. Illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine are especially infamous for being potent and highly addictive. While this is true, any substance that has the potential for addiction can be dangerous. Even abusing substances that carry a very low risk of addiction development, like marijuana, can be enough to incite a battle with addiction and dependence.

MYTH: Alcohol Isn’t as Dangerous as Drugs

You might be under the impression that alcohol isn’t a serious or potentially deadly substance. This is probably due to the fact that, unlike most other regularly-abused substances, alcohol is legal— socially acceptable, even. The positive light cast on alcohol, which is often shown as a party-starter in movies and television, leads people to falsely assume that abusing it “isn’t as bad.” However, this could not be further from the truth.

There are some shocking statistics surrounding the abuse of alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has determined that:

  • 88,000 Americans die from issues related to alcohol abuse every year
  • more than 10,000 people die in drunk driving accidents every year
  • Drinking alcohol interferes with normal adolescent physical development (i.e. alcohol abuse can stunt the growth and development of young users)

Alcohol has just as much potential to ruin people’s lives as any other addictive substance— and it’s widely available for consumers aged 21 and above.

MYTH: It’s Impossible to Become Addicted to Prescribed Medication

Prescription Drugs aren't addictiveThis is one myth that, unfortunately, is not true. You stand just as much of a chance getting addicted to prescription medication as you do to any other substance. Many prescribed medications on the market today have as high a potential for abuse and addiction as illicit substances. In fact, prescription medications are often used to create other drugs. For example, opiates are a major ingredient in heroin and stimulants can be used in cocaine.

The prescription medications that seem to have the highest rates of addiction include:

Self-medicating with these drugs— or taking more than your doctor’s prescribed dosage— is one strong indication that you may be developing an addiction.

MYTH: Addicts Have Control Over Their Substance Abuse

So many people struggling with addiction will make the same, unrealistic claim: “I can stop whenever I want.” This can make others believe that any addict has the ability to make the conscious choice to stop using. But this isn’t the case.

This myth goes against the very definition of what addiction is. Substance addiction changes the way the brain functions, making it nearly impossible for the addict to stop using without help. This is called dependence.

When someone becomes dependent on a substance during addiction, that substance cements itself as a necessary part of the brain’s functioning; so, attempting to quit would send the addict into a frenzy of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Loved ones who don’t realize this might make harmful ultimatums like “if you really loved me, you’d stop” or “it’s me or the drugs,” which will only make matters worse.

MYTH: Addicts Will Only Recover If They’re Strong Enough to Do It Alone

People have a tendency to equate addiction with both physical and moral weakness. This perpetuates the belief that if you’re strong, you won’t let addiction get the better of you. This particular myth has a partial connection to the false idea that addicts have control over their addictions: “if they’re strong, they’ll quit.” Part of what makes this myth so dangerous is that it also gives a false promise to future addicts when it comes to initial substance abuse: “If you’re strong enough, you won’t get addicted in the first place.”

The reality is that addiction is not about strength or weakness. Addiction is a disease. And disease cannot be treated without help.

MYTH: Once an Addict, Always an Addict

Some myths about addiction don’t always agree with one another. One of the most popular misconceptions about addiction is that once you become an addict, you’ll be an addict for the rest of your life. While it is true that addiction has no true cure, it is possible for addicts who seek treatment to get sober and stay sober. After all, addiction is a disease; if you work with professionals and find the best ways to manage your symptoms, you can live a healthy, addiction-free life.

MYTH: Rehab Never Works

This myth most likely came about for two different reasons. First, many people don’t seem to recognize— or at least fully understand— what rehab is meant to do. Those who don’t have any firsthand experience with addiction often falsely label rehab as some sort of quick, ultimate solution for addiction treatment. This is often illustrated in movies and television where an addicted character is “cured” after a few short weeks of rehab. The fact of the matter is, rehab is not a cure. Rather, it’s a long-term treatment plan that helps people in recovery with symptom management.

Second, this myth may potentially stem from an exaggerated truth: there are some rehabs that use ineffective methods of addiction treatment. However, this is not an accurate reflection of all rehabs— just because one rehab center failed does not mean they all fail. In fact, the best and most successful addiction treatment facilities are the ones that offer:

TRUTH: The Treatment Center’s Outpatient Services Can Help

There is one universal truth about addiction that professionals and addiction survivors everywhere can agree on: the most effective treatments for substance addiction are the ones that cater to the individual needs of a patient in recovery. Without individualized care, addicts struggling to get sober alone can suffer through extreme cravings, withdrawal, or worse.

At The Treatment Center’s Outpatient Services, we strive to meet the needs of all our patients. With a wide variety of programs to choose from and flexible scheduling at your disposal, you can get sober your own way on your own time, with help. For more information about what our Outpatient Services have to offer, please call us at (844) 211-7944. And remember, all calls are confidential. We’re here to help.

7 Ways to Prevent Relapse

For those in the recovery process, sobriety is of the utmost importance. After all, a desire to quit using and stay clean is often the motivator behind enrollment in a rehabilitation program.

However, remaining sober is often easier said than done. In fact, relapse rates for drug and alcohol abusers hover around 40% to 60%, similar to those of other chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease. Without constant vigilance and focus, falling back into old habits can happen quickly, erasing months or even years of work in one fell swoop.

Avoiding relapse is a mission that often takes just as much commitment as maintaining a healthy weight and other important lifestyle decisions, and a half-hearted effort is not enough. If you want to do your best to avoid relapse and stay safe and sober, these tips can help you adhere to a life of abstinence.

Start a New Hobby

When you’re living as an addicted individual, it’s common to have drugs or alcohol involved in all areas of life. The places you go, people you know, and activities you enjoy often center around drug use, leaving you with no one to talk to and nowhere to go upon committing to sober living. Many recovering addicts find this shift extremely distressing, leading to a high chance of relapse within the days and weeks following successful rehab.

Instead of allowing the temptation to return to old ways overpower your resolve, find new ways to stay busy, happy, and healthy. While it’s normal to mourn the loss of your old life, exploring new hobbies and activities can help you refocus energies on a healthier outlet. It may take some time to find opportunities that rival the rush of your former lifestyle, but with a little time and self-discovery, you’ll soon feel less tempted to return to old habits.

Make New Friends

While your family members and older friends may not be absorbed in drug use, it’s highly likely that the people you were closest to prior to rehabilitation were heavily involved in your substance of choice. As addiction sets in, many abusers distance themselves from former loved ones, choosing instead to spend time with dealers and other users.

As much as the substance abusers in your life promise they won’t use around you, pressure you to use, or even discuss using in your presence, it’s unlikely these accommodations can be maintained for long. In order to stay strong and eliminate the possibility of letting addicted acquaintances drag you back into the depths of addiction, a new group of friends is the best path forward. Many recovering addicts find success in seeking friendships in sober-centered activities, like 12-step programs, aftercare activities, religious groups, recreational sports leagues, and more.

Learn to Live in the Moment

Dwelling on the past can be an extremely powerful lure for many addicts, especially those who still mourn aspects of their old lives. Even those truly committed to staying sober can find these urges to be increasingly hard to ignore, allowing thoughts and feelings from prior days to contaminate current progress.

In order to minimize the risk of relapse, recovering substance abusers should work to focus on life in the present, eschewing the problems of days past. Learning this kind of mindfulness may take time – it isn’t easy to change default thinking patterns – but those who work with their therapists in individual and group counseling to refine these practices can learn to put active, open, intentional attention on the events of today: not yesterday or tomorrow.

Make Positive Changes

After completing a rehabilitation program, it’s not uncommon for participants to feel lost, confused, and alone. With new friend circles, new hobbies, and even new jobs to adjust to, many recovering addicts feel as if they aren’t themselves anymore. So many changes in such a short period of time can lead to a loss of identity, anxiety, or depression, increasing the likelihood of relapse.

Life doesn’t have to be stale and stagnant after rehab, however. In order to keep your life on an upward trajectory, it’s extremely important to focus on making changes that will further your happiness. For example, instead of staying in a job you dislike, take steps to seek a promotion or switch careers. If you’re unhappy or feel pressured in your relationships, consider moving on and seeking a better fit for your new lifestyle. A continued emphasis on setting and achieving goals can help you find fulfillment, reducing the temptation to use.

Practice Healthy Habits

Sobriety is a wonderful first step on the journey to bettering your life, but it’s only one of many. The better you feel, the less likely you are to feel a temptation to use, so making time for health should find a spot on your priority list.

A healthy lifestyle has strong correlations to success in recovery, so simply quitting drugs or alcohol isn’t enough. Instead, a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables, and protein, as well as regular exercise, can show significant benefits to your ability to avoid cravings. This doesn’t mean giving up favorite snack foods or turning into a gym rat; it simply means that the decisions you make in life should take your overall health into account. While changing a long-standing diet or starting an exercise routine from scratch may not be easy, a few weeks of concerted effort is all it takes to transform healthy choices into a comfortable habit.

Stay Involved in Aftercare

Many recovering addicts believe that rehabilitation is the first and last step toward sobriety, but this is far from the truth. While completing a rehabilitation program sets a solid foundation for a commitment to sobriety, it’s certainly not the only measure required to address drug or alcohol abuse.

After completion of your rehabilitation program, aftercare must become a consistent part of your life on an ongoing basis. With options including follow-up care like 12-Step meetings, group therapy, and individual therapy that continues in an outpatient setting, this kind of additional assistance from professionals can ensure you stay on the right track in the time following initial care. Attending meetings and speaking to addiction therapists can be immensely helpful when the urge to use becomes too much to bear.

Outpatient Services offers extensive opportunities for those who have successfully completed a residential detox and treatment program, helping recently sober individuals to stay involved in the recovery community. With customizable services and a full suite of available tools, we can help you stay focused on your goals and avoid the cravings that may arise in your daily life. From Baby Boomer-specific options to faith-based programs, our dedicated team can ensure you get the support you deserve throughout recovery.

Get Help Today!

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, help is here. Outpatient Services is happy to offer the assistance you need, working to bridge the gap between inpatient treatment and life in the real world. With a full range of recovery resources to help you stay sober, no one can provide stability and support like we can.

Contact us today at (844) 211-7944 to learn more about what our facility has to offer. All consultations are confidential.

Can I Treat Addiction at Home?

For the 23 million individuals facing addiction in the United States, admitting a need for help is one of the hardest steps. It’s easy to live in denial for months or even years, operating under the assumption that it’s possible to quit if only one so chooses. In reality, this is rarely the case; without professional assistance and intervention, it’s extremely difficult to break free from the bonds of addiction. Without finally acknowledging a problem, it’s likely that sobriety will remain out of reach.

When you’re ready to search for help for your challenges, however, you’ll likely find yourself with a myriad of options and no clear way forward. Should you go to the hospital, or should you contact a residential treatment program? Can you try to break the habit alone or with the help of friends, or should you seek professional help?

The option to seek treatment at home or near home can be controversial, but many struggling to overcome urges and addictive behaviors feel safest when surrounded by friends and loved ones in a comfortable environment. For those who wish to detox and pursue treatment without leaving work, making childcare arrangements, and boarding pets, at-home care may be a positive possibility that won’t stand in the way of a full recovery.

The Pros and Cons of Treating Addiction at Home

As with many things in life, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to addressing addiction. What works for you may not work for others, and it’s up to you and your healthcare team to make a decision that suits your needs.

Home-based treatment can operate in two distinct ways: with the assistance of professionals, like an outpatient center or a therapy team that visits patients in their homes, or as an independent process. While the former can provide beneficial results and help patients to see long-term success, the latter is statistically more likely to lead to relapse, putting users in danger during detox and back into the depths of addiction sooner rather than later.

Benefits of Home-Based Treatment

As with all treatment options, there are benefits for those who consider addiction treatment at home. From creating a comfortable environment to working around school or work, home-based treatments can help unsure patients to find a path to abstinence.

Comfortable Environment

Most individuals feel safest and happiest at home. Home is a refuge, providing a comfortable place to relax, unwind, and spend time with loved ones outside the demands of daily life. For this reason, many addicts find the option to stay at home to be extremely compelling. Rather than moving into a strange facility, sleeping in a small, isolated room, and eating a pre-determined diet, at-home treatment courses allow users to reside where they are most likely to feel secure and committed.

Strong Support System

A strong support system is a critical part of recovery. For most people, a reliance on a support system comes after time in rehabilitation, but others may benefit from close proximity to family and friends in the detox stage as well. While many inpatient rehabilitation programs bar access to guests until the later stages of a program, a patient living at home can work closely with dependable, trustworthy, and supportive loved ones, potentially making it easier to seek sobriety.

Minimal Life Interruptions

One of the biggest deterrents that hold many substance abusers back relates to life obligations. The time, money, and commitment an inpatient program can require may be daunting, especially to those who have a pet, a home, a family, or a job. Walking away from life for a few weeks or months isn’t always a possibility. A rehabilitation program that involves living at home can alleviate these burdens, ensuring job loss, childcare costs, missed classes, or other challenges don’t stand in the way of seeking help.

Reduced Expenses

The cost of care is often a primary concern for those considering treatment, especially when insurance coverage is limited. At-home care is often much more affordable than weeks spent in an inpatient facility, helping those with financial concerns to still seek help from therapists and addiction medicine professionals at a more affordable rate. While an investment is required to ensure successful treatment, assistance at home can help you provide for your family while working toward sobriety.

Disadvantages of Treatment at Home

Treatment at home isn’t the right choice for everyone. For those who feel as though their addiction is out of control or that higher levels of care are required, an inpatient program may be the best option.

Lack of Oversight

An at-home program offers many benefits, but around-the-clock care isn’t one of them. While seeking care at home should still include plenty of time with therapists and doctors, there’s no option for 24/7 monitoring. Without the oversight and rules imposed by a facility, those lacking a true commitment to sobriety may be unable to stay strong. Instead of doors that lock and security at the front desk, users are free to leave home and seek drugs as they choose.

Proximity to Drug Culture

For many addicts, drug culture provides a strong connection to continued abuse. Even those who want to get clean are drawn back in by their friends, dealers, parties, and events that involve drug use, ruining progress toward sobriety in one fell swoop. Inpatient rehabilitation gives users a chance to break these habits and start over fresh, but when drug dealers and drug-using companions are nearby, it can be much harder for substance abusers to take up new hobbies and break away for good.

Reduced Access to Medical Support

Detox can be a challenging process, especially for drugs like alcohol and opiates that pose acute health risks without proper medical care. With the threat of seizures, coma, organ failure, or death, breaking the physical bonds of addiction for some drugs should not be accomplished without immediate access to assistance. In a medical facility, doctors and nurses are only a call away, but at home, it may be harder to get medical care if an emergency arises.

Pursuing Outpatient Treatment

If you are interested in a private approach to recovery that does not involve inpatient treatment, an outpatient rehabilitation program may be the best step for you. Operated by medical professionals, addiction experts, and professional counselors, outpatient treatment can bridge the gap between an inpatient facility and flying solo.

While outpatient programs can be used as a primary form of care, many individuals enter into outpatient therapy following inpatient treatment, using the resources available to ease the transition back into normal life. From group therapy meetings to individual sessions, those in need can continue the journey to sobriety while proceeding with work, school, and family obligations. Outpatient programs can be intensive, demanding hours of time a day for multiple days a week, or more laid back, requiring a few meetings in the evenings and on weekends to ensure a continued focus on recovery.

Treatment for addiction at home isn’t right for everyone, but Outpatient Services is here to help. With our assistance, patients can live at home while starting or continuing treatment to find the best possible path to recovery. If you or someone you love is considering rehabilitation for a substance abuse problem, please contact us at (844) 211-7944 to learn more about what we have to offer. All consultations are confidential.

Staying Emotionally Healthy for your Sobriety

There’s no way around it: sobriety is never easy. The process of breaking free from an addiction to drugs, from fighting against physical cravings to changing habits and hobbies to avoid drug culture, is a huge undertaking, effectively demanding a completely new and different way of life.

For most individuals struggling to recover from addiction, the physical bonds are of the utmost importance. Resisting the urge to use, working through the painful components of withdrawal, and continuing to relearn a new way to live is often priority number one, putting emotional health squarely on the back burner. However, this can be a mistake, especially for those who ultimately want to lower their risk of relapse as much as possible.

Emotional sobriety can be just as important as physical sobriety, helping those in recovery to regulate emotion and mood in order to control urges and focus on continued abstinence. No matter the perceived strength in your convictions, the art of emotional sobriety can be your ticket to holding strong during the early stages of recovery.

What is Emotional Sobriety?

Emotional sobriety refers to the complex transformation that must occur for recovering individuals to properly cope with feelings that arise during day to day life as well as feelings related to drug and alcohol use.

Humans have an inherent drive to minimize and eliminate painful realities, instead choosing to focus on more uplifting sensations. However, in recovery, this isn’t always possible. Feelings that were previously masked with drugs and alcohol must now be confronted in the cold light of day, leading to an internal weakness that can drive the urge to use again. Truly overcoming the pain of addiction, the drivers behind addictive behavior, and the important changes sobriety demands isn’t something that can be brushed under the mat; instead, substance abusers must come to terms with what they are feeling and why they feel the way they do.

In order to truly break the cycle and avoid relapse, it’s critical for patients to get in touch with their emotions, both positive and negative. Rather than letting feelings define actions, positive emotional health involves managing feelings to avoid rash, unpredictable, or self-harming behavior.

The Importance of Emotional Sobriety

The months and years immediately following rehabilitation is often a fragile period of time. A recovering addict’s ties to sobriety are often tenuous and easily broken, and a few wrong steps can be all it takes to erase a developing pattern of good behavior.

Many addicts unaware of the importance of emotional health pull the metaphorical car over when detox is done, assuming they are finished with the process of overcoming addiction and subsequently have nowhere left to go. Those striving for emotional sobriety, however, keep pressing forward, continuing on the road to a better future, even when conditions get tough.

Emotional sobriety is a big part of continued success in the time following professional rehabilitation, helping to tame destructive behavior and guiding patients toward productive, healthy decisions. Learning how to interpret, utilize, and cope with the fluctuating and extreme sensations that govern addiction is often a long, slow process, but without effectively doing so, relapse becomes significantly more likely.

Achieving Emotional Sobriety

Like many elements in recovery, emotional sobriety is an individual journey. What works for one person may not work for another, creating an truly personal process that requires time, attention, and focus.

For many, taming emotions rather than giving in to them is very uncomfortable. After years of feeding negative feelings with drugs or alcohol, recovering addicts must learn how to stop problematic trains of thought, redirect dark patterns, and actively work to minimize the physiological effects that can come with stress and anxiety.

Tactics for managing emotional stability include:


A practice that uses long, slow, deep breaths to center the mind, promote relaxation, and focus on the present, meditation has many health benefits, from managing stress to relieving anxiety and depression. When problematic emotions begin to arise, defaulting to meditation can help struggling patients to clear the mind, release tension, and calm bodily responses to stress. This can keep emotions under control, giving patients tools to prevent against bad decisions.

Use of a Support Network

A support network is a valuable part of recovery, offering an outlet through which recovering substance users can receive unwavering assistance throughout a quest for sobriety. When negative feelings begin to dominate, speaking with loved ones and other members of the recovery process can help to set these emotions aside. Instead of giving in to the urge to use, for example, a member of your support system can remind you how hard you’re working and how proud you should be of your successes.


Mindfulness refers to the ability to be fully present and aware in life. Instead of allowing thoughts and ideas to become jumbled and disorganized, mindfulness advocates setting aside obsessive, anxious, or erratic feelings in favor of embracing the here and now. When thoughts drift to past mistakes, future stressors, or unimportant actions, mindfulness reminds us to focus on only what can be controlled in a given moment, releasing anxiety in favor of controlled feelings.

Emotional Grounding

Emotional grounding uses positive feelings to counteract negative ones. When, for example, unhealthy thoughts begin to interfere, individuals are encouraged to instead fixate on the good things in life, like a steady job, happy relationships, or a comfortable home. In time, focusing on accomplishments and positive aspects of sobriety will overtake the challenges in remaining sober, helping users to shift feelings in a healthy way.


While not all addicts are religious, those who are can benefit from incorporating spiritual practices into the recovery process. A key tenet in the 12 Steps, spirituality can help recovering addicts to accept “the things you cannot change” while pulling strength from a higher power. Bible study, church services, and worship groups can assist with this process, helping substance abusers to put energy and focus into a force of good.

Emotional Support in Rehabilitation

In many comprehensive rehabilitation programs, emotional health is prioritized just as strongly as physical health. In addition to a detox process that utilizes medical resources to treat withdrawal, highly trained counselors are available to help patients target the key issues that drive addiction, identify healthy coping methods, and teach strategies for self-love and self-confidence that can further emotional sobriety. This process is wholly unique from one patient to another, offering support in a way that speaks to personal life events, addictive habits, lifestyle, and drug of choice. At the completion of a treatment program, patients are armed with the resources necessary to continue to move forward with a focus on emotional health and well-being.

The Treatment Center’s Outpatient Services team employs numerous forms of counseling in both group and individual formats, encouraging patients to grow together while continuing to foster independent progress. Our options include:

Our goal is to provide a holistic approach to recovery, offering a full suite of customizable services that can ensure those in need receive personalized guidance.

Get Help Your for Addiction

Recovery from addiction is a long, challenging road. When you are seeking assistance to help you focus on both physical and emotional health, Outpatient Services is here. Please contact us at (844)211-7944 for a confidential consultation.

How to Deal With Cravings

Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is a lifelong process, and cravings can pop up years after you’ve stopped using. Cravings are a normal part of recovery, and almost everyone who quits drugs or alcohol experiences them. Fortunately, it’s possible to get through them without experiencing a relapse, and cravings do subside over time. No matter where you are in your recovery journey, understanding cravings and knowing how to deal with them can help ensure your long-term success.

Cues and Triggers that Start Cravings

In some cases, a craving can come out of the blue. More often, though, a craving begins when you encounter a trigger or cue that causes your brain to think about the drug. This could include participation in activities that used to lead to drug use, hanging out with friends who did drugs with you or going to places where you remember doing drug. One of the first steps to dealing with cravings is figuring out how to avoid them in the first place. Changing your daily habits or finding new activities to take up your time can keep you from encountering things that lead to a craving.

Coping With Cravings

Sometimes, it’s almost impossible to avoid everything that could set off a craving. Certain smells or a song on the radio might make you think of the time before your recovery, and before you know it, a craving has begun. Having a plan to cope with unexpected cravings can make them easier to get through. Some evidence-based strategies for dealing with cravings at the moment they occur include:

Finding a Distraction

When you feel a craving coming on, distracting yourself with another activity can help. Distractions should take up mental energy to be effective, so passive activities such as watching TV might not work as well as playing a board game with a friend or walking your dog around the block. Putting yourself into a situation where it’s difficult to use drugs is another way to get through a craving. Going to a movie or going out to brunch with a friend keeps you in a safe place for a few hours during the height of the craving. Make a list of distracting activities before your next craving so you have some alternatives already in place.

Engaging in Physical Activity

Physical activity serves as a distraction, but it also has other benefits that help reduce cravings. The natural endorphins released during exercise change your brain physically to make cravings less intense. Everything from shooting hoops to digging in your garden can help increase endorphins and help you get through the craving.

Finding Support & Accountability

Talking to supportive friends or family members can help you get through a craving. You might find that describing what you’re experiencing reduces the intensity of the craving. It’s a good idea to ask someone in advance to be your support person if you plan to talk through a craving. A trusted friend or support group sponsor may agree to help you with this process. Make sure the person you plan to speak with understands that talking about your cravings is a way to get you past them, not a sign that you’re planning to use drugs or alcohol.

Focusing on the Negatives of Drug Use

Cravings often remind you of all the positive aspects of drug use while causing you to overlook the negative things. Write down a list of negative effects of drug use on a small index card and keep it on you to refer to when a craving starts. Reading through the negative effects when a craving starts helps you resist the craving.

Talking to Yourself

Use your inner voice, the one that often voices self-doubt or self-criticism, to tell yourself positive messages instead. When a craving thoughts, voice positive thoughts out loud to convince your brain to move in a positive direction. Tell yourself that the craving may be strong but you can get through it, or remind yourself that no matter how it feels, you won’t actually die of a craving.

Paying Mindful Attention

Mindfulness is a strategy of paying close attention to how you feel, what you’re thinking and how your body is responding. Sitting down during a craving and focusing on your breath moving in and out of your lungs can cause a relaxation response that calms both your brain and body. Meditation, praying or journaling can all be healthy responses to a craving.

Riding the Craving

For some recovering addicts, riding the craving from start to finish is an effective coping technique. One way to do this is to imagine the craving as a difficult task you have to complete, such as climbing a mountain or rowing a boat to a faraway island. Imagining the hard path with a definitive ending can help you power through the experience until the craving has faded away. Another option for going with the craving is to sit quietly and focus on the changes in your body throughout the process. Note where your body physically expresses symptoms during your craving and watch how those symptoms change as you move through the craving. With each craving that you experience, your self-knowledge about the process grows. Eventually, you can start anticipating the strength and length of each physical and emotional reaction to a craving and feel confident that you’re moving through the steps toward the end of the craving.

Different people respond to different techniques, so you might have to try a few different ways of dealing with cravings to find the best options for you. You might use a variety of different techniques at different times, or you might find that doing multiple things at once works best. However you plan to deal with cravings, you should practice the techniques you plan to use beforehand so you’re prepared when one hits. You may also want to reward yourself after making it through the craving by treating yourself to an ice cream or massage. Knowing that there’s a reward waiting at the end of the craving can also help you power through it.

It’s important to remember that most techniques to deal with cravings don’t eliminate them completely. You can reduce the frequency and intensity of cravings, but you might not be able to completely eliminate them.

Get the Skills for Recovery Success

Dealing with cravings is just one component of a successful recovery. Outpatient Services in Lake Worth, South Florida can help you build the skills you need to withstand cravings, prevent relapses and resist drugs and alcohol in the future. Give us a call at (844) 211-7944 today to speak with an intake counselor about starting your journey toward recovery.

Related Articles:
Tips to Avoid Relapse
Negative Thoughts in Early Recovery and How to Avoid Them
How to Avoid Addiction Triggers

Tips to Avoid Relapse

For many former substance abusers who have achieved sobriety, the world feels a little bit lighter. Maintaining relationships is easier, keeping a job requires less effort, and home life is calm and comfortable.

Unfortunately, even in the best of times, addiction is always lurking, threatening to interrupt personal, familial, and professional successes. The desire to use doesn’t go away easily, and going to treatment doesn’t mean the crisis of addiction is over for good.

Addiction is a disease without a cure, a lifelong struggle that doesn’t end with rehabilitation. While professional intervention is certainly a benefit in learning healthy habits and coping methods, it’s no surprise that relapse rates hover around 40% to 60% for recovering drug and alcohol abusers.

For many in recovery, the risks of relapse are highly worrisome. One moment of weakness can be all it takes to unravel years of progress, putting everything you have accomplished in jeopardy. While there’s no true way to completely eliminate all risk of relapse, taking these steps can help you reduce temptation, today, tomorrow, and for years to come.

Create a Game Plan

Even if you’re comfortable now, the desire to use will return sooner or later and you may struggle to stay strong when that time comes. If you’d like to stack the deck in your favor, however, a game plan made early can assist you in seeking help before it’s too late.

Take time now to map out how you will act when the urge strikes. For example:

  • Who will you call to help talk you off the edge? Many organizations, like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, utilize sponsors to help guide those in recovery. If you have one, your sponsor could be this point person. If not, you could choose a family member or close friend.
  • Where will you go if the cravings become too strong? If you are alone or can’t tap into your network, you may need to remove yourself from a situation that is causing a desire to use. For some, this can mean going to a relative’s home to calm down, while others need to visit a rehab clinic or attend an outpatient meeting.
  • What action will you take in the moment to distract your mind from the compelling power of drugs? Overcoming a strong craving can be handled in many ways, from long walks to a favorite movie. Be prepared with an activity or occupier you can use to distract yourself while waiting for feelings to pass.

When you have a plan in place, the pull to use becomes much easier to manage.

Continue With Aftercare

Rehabilitation isn’t a one and done kind of activity. When you’re recovering from an addiction, you’ll continue to do so for the remainder of your life.

Recovery is much easier when you’re consistently engaged, so the more active you are in the sober community, the less likely you are to let drugs take over once again. Instead of leaving rehabilitation and assuming your task is complete, make time for support group meetings, 12-Step groups, or even recreational activities with others in recovery. Many people also find volunteer work to be a healthy way to spend time, especially for those who required the help of others to get back on track while in the midst of addiction.

No matter how you choose to proceed, do your best to make time to dedicate to recovery. When you are engaged in furthering your goals, you are far more likely to see long-term success.

Stay Healthy

Your body’s health is a big part of leading a long and happy life. In fact, many studies have identified links between overall health and quality of life, demonstrating the importance of always making positive life choices.

Drugs and alcohol can take a nasty toll on the body, from damaging skin and teeth to causing serious organ failure. The longer use perpetuates, the more likely it is that you cannot fully return to your old self. However, this is no reason to put healthy habits aside. One study indicated that even those with health challenges were happier overall when symptoms subsided, and making responsible health decisions can do a great deal in minimizing pain and discomfort. Furthermore, the happier you are, the less likely it is that you will feel the need to return to drugs to cope with life.

In recovery, do your best to eat a healthy diet, get frequent exercise, and see medical professionals regularly for both preventative care as well as to address any more urgent complaints. When your body feels better, you feel better, decreasing your overall chances of relapse.

Build a Support System

In recovery, few things are quite as important as the loved ones you have by your side. These are the people you will turn to when times get tough, who will help you find your inner strength when you need it most, and who will help you get back on your feet again. Without a strong network, you’ll find it much harder to move forward.

If you find yourself struggling after rehab, you’re not alone. It’s normal for relationships to deteriorate when your drug use interferes with the lives of others, but that doesn’t mean these ties are lost for good. When you are ready, begin making amends to the people in your life who may have been harmed by addiction. Over time, you can rebuild trust and strengthen bonds once again, helping you to find a connection to your pre-addiction days.

Your support system can include as many people from as many different places in life as you would like. This can mean longtime friends, family members, and even friends from rehabilitation, 12-Step groups, or sober activities you have started since returning from rehab. Remember: the more allies you have on your side, the more likely you are to win the war.

Change Social Habits

When in the midst of addiction, it’s not uncommon for most things in life to revolve around drugs. The people you spend time with, the places you go, and the things you do are usually centered on obtaining, using, or recovering from illicit substances. After rehabilitation, it’s natural to want to fall back into old habits, even if you plan to commit to sobriety. You may have missed your friends and fellow users while in treatment, or you might be nostalgic for the fun times you used to have.

Once sober, however, it’s important to avoid the people and things that were once connected to drug use as the temptations are often too intense to bear. This means saying goodbye to friends that you used drugs with, skipping drug-heavy events, or avoiding places that have ties to drug culture, as hard it as it may be. As a newly sober individual, drugs have no place in your life, and that means actively avoiding the kinds of individuals and situations that can trigger a relapse.

Strive for Growth

No one is perfect, especially in recovery. It is okay to stumble or even fall, as long as you are willing to get back up and keep fighting. Throughout your sobriety, do not push yourself to achieve perfection and let failures drag you back into your addiction. Instead, focus on the positives in your life, and strive for growth each and every day, even if the going gets tough sometimes.

If you or someone you love is facing drug addiction, professional help can make all the difference. Please contact Outpatient Services today at (844) 211-7944 to see what we can do for you.

Negative Thoughts in Early Recovery and How to Avoid Them

Avoiding negative thoughts in recovery

There’s no way around it: recovery from addiction is hard. From handling the physical side effects of withdrawal to working through psychological challenges with a counselor, there is nothing easy about breaking the cycle of addiction. As such, it’s not uncommon for recovering substance abusers to fall into a pattern of negative thinking as they struggle to come to terms with a new kind of reality.

Many individuals believe that negativity is a personality trait, but this is not true. While some people may be more negative than others, these kinds of thoughts are often learned behaviors, not innate characteristics. Positive thoughts can be a choice, too, and learning to highlight good rather than bad is quite advantageous. After all, negative thinking during recovery can actively damage chances of success, as every imperfect moment will further erode self-esteem and focus.

Instead of letting your own personal shortcomings stand in the way of sobriety, you can learn to move beyond negativity. These steps can help you interpret negative thoughts, develop a heightened awareness, and actively choose positive ideas in order to see success on your journey to recovery.

The Reality of Negative Thoughts

No one is happy all of the time and life isn’t a magical world where only good things happen. However, in many situations, your mindset is a choice, not an unavoidable reality. It may take some mental gymnastics, but with a conscious effort to focus on the good, not the bad, you will be able to gradually change the ways in which you react to the world.

A big part of accomplishing this involves identifying common negative thought patterns and striving to move past them. Mental health experts divide these kinds of sentiments into four categories: all-or-nothing, positive elimination, self-labeling, and catastrophizing.

  • All-or-nothing thinking: in this approach to life, nothing but perfection is accepted. If, for example, you finish all but a few minor tasks on your to-do list, an all-or-nothing thinker will not but pleased with accomplishments but will instead fixate on the failure to finish, thus seeing the whole day as a waste.
  • Eliminating the positives: in this kind of thinking, individuals disqualify accomplishments if a primary goal is not met. For example, receiving strong feedback during an internal job interview isn’t worth anything if an appropriate promotion isn’t awarded.
  • Self-labeling: the world is often seen in shades of gray. Negative self-labelers, however, view the world and their role in with finality, equating little mistakes with a final consequential ruling. While most people, for example, can shake off a missed deadline at work, a self-labeler will believe that this kind of error makes them the worst employee ever who is not worthy of maintaining a job.
  • Catastrophizing: in life, few things are all good or all bad. However, those with catastrophizing thoughts will fixate only on the negative and actively expect problematic results. For example, a recovering addict won’t focus on personal successes, choosing instead to assume that relapse is inevitable and rehabilitation is a waste of time.

Implementing Positive Thought Patterns

Once you are aware of the negative thoughts you experience on a day to day basis, it’s time to change. These simple steps can assist you in overcoming negativity, helping you to avoid damaging sentiments as you progress through recovery.

Make a Conscious Effort to Stay Positive

If you’re not naturally a positive person, now’s the time to learn. It may sound next to impossible, especially for those suffering from mood disorders or other emotional struggles related to recovery, but a part of stamping out negative thoughts means identifying them and willfully redirecting them.

First, identify the negative thought patterns you experience most often. Do you expect the worst out of life and catastrophize normal events, or do you always label yourself with the worst possible extremes? Perhaps you fail to see the positives when your primary goal isn’t accomplished. No matter your negative tendencies, knowing where you’re going wrong is the key to seeing changes.

Take the example above for thinkers who eliminate the positives: receiving positive feedback but not ultimately securing a promotion. A negative thinker’s first instinct will be to focus on the bad – I must be terrible if my bosses don’t want to promote me. Maybe I should quit my job and give up on this field – while a positive thinker will see good in the experience – I didn’t get the position, but my bosses had very nice things to say about my progress. If I keep working hard and continue to improve my performance, I bet I’ll get there next time. When you can identify these patterns and see the problems with your thinking, it’s easier to redirect your sentiments in a beneficial way.

Avoid Negative People

Negativity begets negativity, and this is especially true in recovery. Those who do not see themselves sticking to sobriety are likely to inspire a self-fulfilling prophecy: I thought I would fail, so I did.

Personal support is very important in the months and years following drug abuse, but the right kind of support is arguably even more so. Recovering addicts who spend time with negative people are likely to sink even further into a spiral of damaging thoughts, while those who spend time with positive people are likely to begin imitating these thought processes.

When you need a boost in recovery, negative peers are likely to drag you down and make you feel worse about your struggles. Positive people, on the other hand, can support you and cheer for you, reminding you of the good in your situation while motivating you to keep trying. When you want to succeed in sobriety and learn how to think positively about your future, you need to surround yourself with others on the same page. Otherwise, your current bad habits are likely to continue to stand in your way.

Set Attainable Goals

Using goals as milestones is a big part of recovery, especially for those who are in the early stages of rehabilitation. Guided by counselors, newly recovering addicts may be encouraged to set goals regarding sobriety, relationships, or job successes to provide a driver for positive momentum. With well-defined objectives and a clear-cut path, those in recovery are in the best possible position to see true, measurable results.

However, utilizing goal posts to move forward only works when aims are actually achievable. It’s human nature to dream big, but pushing too hard, too fast can be a big mistake. That’s why only 8% of people actually stick to New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, continually coming up short can be a big detriment, perpetuating negative thoughts and encouraging inappropriate behavior (ex: I can’t meet this goal anyway, so why try?).

In order to create a positive trajectory, set goals that make sense for you. Instead of shooting for a year of sobriety right out of the gate, focus instead on making it to one month, and then two, and then three. Rather than striving for a big promotion within a year of starting at a new job, set your sights on a good performance review in your first year and a promotion by year three. When you stay realistic with your goals, you are more likely to meet them – and find the strength to keep forging ahead with confidence.

Find Help for Addiction

Many factors affect the outcome of addiction, and positive thinking is certainly one of them. When you are able to identify the problems with your thought patterns and make a true effort to change, it’s possible to see progress you never thought possible.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Outpatient Services is here to help. With a focus on providing holistic guidance for all stages of the recovery process, we can offer the support you deserve. Call today at (844) 211-7944 to learn more.