Understanding Addiction with Reflections Recovery Center

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Genetic Testing & Addiction

How Genetic History Impacts Addiction

The science behind genetic testing used as a method to understand addiction may be relatively new. Still, it is making a significant impact. It is not a perfect fix when it comes to resolving or preventing addiction, but it helps in understanding addiction and treatment. If medical professionals fully understand their patient’s history and makeup, they are better equipped to help them. At Reflections, we firmly believe in fully understanding and treating each patient. When we work with genetic testing, we are not going to get a magic book with all of the answers. However, we will better understand each patient. This will help the patient in their recovery and they will have a better chance at maintaining sobriety.

When someone is already suffering from addiction, our goal is to understand their history and how they got there. Is there anything in their history and genetic make-up that made them susceptible to addiction? In a study published by the National Institute of Health (NIH), they noted, “Addictions are moderately to highly heritable.”* This does not mean that every person with addiction in their heritage will suffer from addiction. The risks are higher but there a lot of factors. The possibility of addiction can greatly depend on the availability of an addictive agent, exposure to the addictive agent, and their choice to take it (NIH)*. Nonetheless, the reality is that there can be a greater risk and this is important to keep in mind. Identifying genes that make a person susceptible to addiction make it easier to then identify tools to help prevent relapse.

Genetic testing is only one piece of a very complex puzzle in resolving the problem of addiction.

-Robert Parkinson, U.S. News

Understanding Addiction with Genetic Testing

At Reflections Recovery Center, Lisa Parsons is the Medical Director. Dr. Parsons is particularly interested in understanding every aspect of the patient’s physical makeup to fully help them. It helps to look at the DNA of patients to understand if they are carrying any vulnerability in their genetics. If so, did something occur in their life that turned that vulnerability on? Someone that is prone to stress and anxiety might be fine until something traumatic happens. Part of their genetics that drive the stress and anxiety can be what then makes them susceptible to substance abuse. The testing our team does, including Dr. Parsons, looks at these factors and check for imbalances. Once an imbalance is identified, we can begin treatment to regain a proper balance again. As with any treatment, nothing is a perfect or a total fix on its own. Nonetheless, regaining balance in any area is hugely important and helpful.

DNA Methylation

One of the genetic structures we look at is DNA methylation. Methylation is a chemical reaction that occurs in every cell and tissue in our bodies.* It is, understandably, an incredibly important part of our health. As methylation is a process that involves DNA, understanding it and our genetic history is so important. Within the brain, there are reuptake proteins which act like vacuum cleaners. They live between brain cells that take away neurotransmitters to create balance. Balance is incredibly important for health in every aspect and especially so when it comes to methylation.

When someone is undermethylated, with too many reuptake proteins, they may feel chronically depressed, tense, and anxious. Some people may feel suicidal or a lack of care for their own life or safety. With too few reuptake proteins (overmethylation) someone might feel fidgety, tense, have a hard time relaxing, or have a hard time sleeping. With either imbalance, this can leave someone susceptible to addiction as they try to cope with these symptoms.  Methylation is a process that significantly impacts our health and lives more than most of us realize.

There are, of course, many other aspects of genetic testing to look at. This is just a brief example of what we will look at to thoroughly help each patient.

Treating Addiction with Genetic Testing

Not everyone suffering from addiction carries the same genes indicating addiction. Likewise, not everyone with vulnerable genetics will suffer from addiction. For those that are vulnerable or carry “addiction genes”, understanding their genetic makeup will help. Genetic testing allows us to determine if a patient is suffering from any number of disorders. We can see what in their genetic makeup may have made them vulnerable to addiction in the first place. It can also help to determine what is the best course of action for treatment. The more precisely we can understand genetics, the better we can tailor treatment to each individual.

In an article for U.S. News, Robert Parkinson writes, “Genetic testing is only one piece of a very complex puzzle in resolving the problem of addiction.”* This is incredibly important for any person, or loved one, dealing with addiction to know. Genetic testing is not going to provide a clear map for curing addiction and ensure there is never a relapse. What it will do is provide clarity and direction in some aspects. Addiction may be a complex puzzle and genetic testing may only be one part of that puzzle, but each piece is still vital. We want each patient to maintain sobriety, not just become sober for a short amount of time. If we are going to meet this goal, then we have to look at everything we can to help them.

*Resources:
NIH – Genes and Addictions
Revolution Health – What is Methylation and Why Should You Care?
U.S. News – Genetic Testing for Addiction

Trauma and Recovery

Trauma is often a significant part of life for many people dealing with addiction. This may have occurred before and separate from their addiction, but also may occur during addiction. When trauma precedes addiction, people often begin to abuse substances to numb pain and cope with difficult memories. Treatment after trauma can feel invasive and it is possible to cause harm even with good intentions. Medical professionals or caregivers should be mindful that trauma can possibly be a part of the patient’s history. From an article by Massachusetts General Hospital, Liz Speakman explained, “Good care is approaching every patient with the assumption that at some point in their lives they may have experienced trauma and tailoring their care based on that knowledge.”*

As the patient and professionals work to address trauma, it should be done in a caring and sensitive way. Some patients may need treatment with their traumatic history in mind, but they are not ready to address it head on. If the treatment team addresses trauma without consideration for the patient, they risk re-traumatizing the patient. Some patients will be able to engage in therapy that directly addresses trauma. Others will need the same thorough care and treatment, keeping trauma in mind, but not as direct. For any patient dealing with trauma, treatment should be laid out clearly and each step completely understood. Counselors and caregivers will work with each patient to assess where they are and how best to deal with trauma.

Trauma and Addiction

Trauma can occur in any person’s life and can come from a number of situations. Some people develop trauma from something that happens on a massive scale. Others develop trauma from situations that occur in their personal life and possibly something they go through alone. Each person’s experience is valid and deserves to be properly treated. In a study published by the National Institute of Health (NIH), they cited previous studies that showed people increased substance use or relapsed after significantly traumatic events.* Moreover, many people also develop substance abuse disorders as a way to cope with emotions they do not feel they can handle.* Not everyone will develop addiction from trauma, but it is very common. If you or a loved one are dealing with this type of situation, there is no shame in seeking help.

From a study done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 1998, they found, “As many as two-thirds of all people in treatment for drug abuse report that they were physically, sexually, or emotionally abused during childhood, research shows.”* While the study is from 1998, the information is still relevant. Addiction is not inevitable after trauma, however past trauma can be a factor in turning to substance abuse to cope with the pain. Still, with these numbers it is important for caretakers to keep the possibility of trauma in mind.

Trauma Therapy

Two types of trauma therapy that Reflections engages in are Exposure Therapy and EMDR Therapy. With Exposure Therapy, the client is carefully exposed to memories and emotions from the trauma. This is helpful in moving on from trauma. With EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), the client does not talk but rather follows hand motions of their therapist. They will work with clients to work through trauma and reprocess it in a way that it will allow the clients to move forward. For both types of therapy, it is important that the client feels safe and in control. If they need to stop or slow the process, they should know they can do that. Both therapies obviously require a qualified professional, which you will find at Reflections.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is another form of therapy that can help with trauma counseling. With CBT, you work to identify and challenge harmful thoughts that you may have because of trauma. CBT helps to change behavior through managing negative thoughts and developing anxiety management techniques. Trauma can clearly leave someone with severe anxiety and depression. This can lead to thoughts that hold you back and you may be more susceptible to relapse. A qualified team of therapists at Reflections will help clients engage in CBT as necessary. CBT is not exclusive to trauma, but it can help those who need it for traumatic experiences.

Patient Focused Care

When the treatment team is working with clients, they do not need to push to find out more about the trauma. If the client is able to address it directly, then they can do so through therapy. However, what is most important is that the client should feel comfortable and in control. As stated above, EMDR is a great therapy to engage in without having to discuss trauma. With trauma-informed care, therapists will work with the clients with the assumption of a traumatic history. This means that our therapists and treatment team will work with sensitivity and care. Any treatment is clearly spelled out for clients and done with their consent. Our hope is that any clients dealing with trauma in recovery will feel safe and empowered. If we can help clients work through trauma, our goal is that they also learn helpful behaviors to prevent relapse.

Finally, there is no shame in seeking help for trauma. Every person deserves support and care in a safe environment. Anyone who has lived through trauma is resilient even just making it to the point where they are at. Addiction does not change or take away from that resiliency. It is possible to overcome trauma and addiction. If you or your loved one needs help, contact us today.

*Resources:
Massachusetts General Hospital – Understanding trauma-informed care
NIH – Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services
National Institute on Drug Abuse – Exploring the Role of Child Abuse in Later Drug Abuse

Dual Diagnosis & Co-occurring Disorders

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) defines Dual Diagnosis as, “…when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance use disorder simultaneously. Either disorder-substance use or mental illness-can develop first.”* Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers may not be the easiest to find, but they are incredibly important. Clients need doctors that can properly address both psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders.

Co-Occurring Disorders in Men

Addiction and mental illness can clearly create a vicious cycle. To properly address it there needs to be a clear diagnosis of addiction and mental illnesses. Not every person struggling with addiction will face a mental illness and their path will be a little different, though no less thorough. The people that do face addiction and mental illness though will need specialized care to properly address both issues. In a 2017 study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), it was reported that 8.5 million adults, or 3.4 percent of adults (18 or older) had co-occurring disorders in the prior year.*

Moreover, when it comes to seeking treatment, men rarely seek treatment for any disorder. If they seek treatment for addiction, they are less likely to seek treatment for mental illness due to shame and social stigma (NIH).* At Reflections, we are a men’s only rehab which we believe allows us to thoroughly treat the men we help. We work to be proactive in identifying and treating any mental illness with which our clients may be struggling. Our aim is for all of the men we treat to feel comfortable and to know that there is no shame in seeking help.

A Comprehensive Recovery

For recovery to be comprehensive, it is important to treat a patient as a whole person. This means thoroughly going over their physical and mental health. We also will look at their history up to the point where they have entered rehab. Addiction is a complicated disease and treatment should be varied to thoroughly address all of the underlying causes. With dual diagnosis, the aim is to address the mental illness and drug addiction as separate but co-occurring disorders. The best plan for treatment is to integrate different forms of therapy. This will allow each issue to be addressed individually, but coordinated to adequately tie everything together. Treating only the mental health problems or only the addiction will not allow for a full recovery.

Our goal is to accurately and thoroughly understand each patient and how to best help them.

Behavioral Therapy to address Dual Diagnosis

At Reflections Recovery Center, clients will go through complete intake assessment within a few days of arriving. This will allow us to do physical and mental health evaluations. We will review medical history as well as family’s health history, if possible, to look for any patterns and to gain a thorough understanding of the patient. Each client with have a variety of therapies that they can engage in to best help their recovery.

Among the different types of therapy that we engage in, clients can participate in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). CBT works to help clients adjust their thoughts and attitude, leading to improved emotional stability. DBT is similar and helps clients learn to regulate emotions, tolerate pain in stressful situations, and maintain healthy relationships with other people. CBT and DBT both greatly help someone who is dealing with a dual diagnosis. Reflections also has a number of other relevant and beneficial therapies that our clients have the opportunity to engage in.

Nutrition and Biochemical Deficiencies

A physical evaluation will be essential to understanding what state the patient’s body is in. It is important to understand what nutrition the client is lacking or if they have any physical disorders. Nutrition plays a significant part in addiction. With regard to nutrition, part of what we are especially interested in is your cholesterol and vitamin D. Sleep is essential for any person and is absolutely necessary when in recovery. Cholesterol helps the brain to function and that can help manage feelings of impulsivity. When your brain is functioning better, sleep should be easier to get back to normal. Furthermore, lack of vitamin D can potentially lead to bone demineralization, myopathy and immune system problems. These in turn can lead to other symptoms like pain and fatigue, which begin to disrupt your sleep.

Addiction deprives the body of nutrients and your body will let you know that it is struggling. When our doctors know how the patient’s body is deprived, this allows us to begin the process of healing. When your physical and mental health are in a better place, you will have gained important tools in your fight against relapse. We will of course look into much more than cholesterol and vitamin D. Those are just a few examples of how important seemingly small parts of our health can greatly impact our lives. When you are working to treat an entire person, you need to look at the details that are often overlooked.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers

The truth is, a dual diagnosis is not something that is easy to treat. However, a dedicated medical professional works to find the root causes of the disorders and properly treat them. If you or a loved one is possibly dealing with a co-occurring disorder, then you need an experienced and licensed dual diagnosis treatment center. We have a qualified medical team that can treat psychological issues and substance use disorders. Our goal is to accurately and thoroughly understand each patient and how to best help them. We aim to help each patient develop the skills and knowledge to maintain sobriety wherever they go. Contact us today to find out more!

*Resources:
Dual Diagnosis – NAMI
National Survey on Drug Use and Health – SAMHSA
Men with Co-Occurring Disorders – NIH

Relapse Prevention for Alcohol Abuse: Tips for Staying Sober


Alcohol treatment centers are the oldest consistent forms of addiction treatment programs. People have been struggling with addiction to alcohol since we started manufacturing alcoholic drinks thousands of years ago. In all that time, alcohol relapse has remained a problem, with alcohol relapse rates averaging anywhere from 30-80%.

Relapse prevention has become a needed component to alcohol addiction recovery, due to the fact that urges and triggers are ever-present in sobriety. Quitting drinking is one thing, but how do you stay sober after alcohol rehab?

How Long Does It Take to Become Addicted to Alcohol

How long does it take to become addicted to alcohol, or physically dependent? The exact time it takes for the body to develop a chemical dependency to alcohol has many variables, but many recovering alcoholics will admit that they can remember a single moment when their alcohol problems began. This doesn’t mean that it took a split second to become addicted, but it certainly did only take a moment for the seeds of addiction to be sown.

In early alcohol addiction, the signs of a problem are obfuscated – meaning the signs are hazy and not exactly clear. Binge drinking, and drinking 6-15 beers in a single night is an obvious red flag, but most don’t recognize that as being a problem in the early stages. When you start craving a drink every night after work, that is another obvious red flag, but many simply write it off as a stress-reliever.

Alcoholism is a progressive disease, and in its early stages it can look similar to the habits of social drinkers. The problem is that problematic drinking doesn’t go away, it worsens. For that reason, it could take as little as a month to develop the early stages of alcoholism and alcohol addiction. This may seem like a short amount of time, but when you think of the fact that severe alcoholism and end stage alcoholism can develop in the short span of 5 years, a single month of binge drinking is more than enough time to do damage.

10 Tips to Quit Drinking Alcohol and Stay Sober

Before you can focus on staying sober, you first have to quit drinking. Quitting alcohol is the first hurdle in alcohol abuse recovery. This is easier said than done for most people who have been chronic drinkers or binge drinkers for a long time. The best way to deal with an alcohol use disorder is to seek help and treatment from an alcoholic treatment program. However, it could be beneficial for you to take these tips to stop drinking.

  1. Take a Good Look at Your Social Circle and Your Entertainment Habits

    Your entertainment habits include what you do to relax and enjoy yourself. It includes going out to dinner, watching movies, attending events with friends, and what you do to keep yourself busy. If dinner with friends always includes or is based off of drinking – that is a problem. If you go to sports events, movies, or concerts, and you have to have a few drinks to enjoy the event – that is a problem.

    Look at why you need to drink to enjoy these things. Is it because your social circle is drinking and you want to feel part of the crowd, or do you not truly enjoy the activity, and enjoy the drinking aspect instead? Looking at this and making a change to how you spend your free time can be the biggest help in cutting down or quitting your drinking.

  2. Look at Your Mental and Physical Health

    Self-medicating with alcohol is very common for a host of mental and physical issues including depression, anxiety, and underlying medical conditions you might not be aware you have. Find out what makes you happy and what doesn’t. If you find that you have to have alcohol to boost your mood or feel the excitement, then there is likely an underlying condition that needs to be addressed. In many cases, treating anxiety, depression, or other health concerns can fix the perceived need for alcohol.

  3. Replace your Alcoholic Beverages with Non-Alcoholic Drinks

    An issue that is very common amongst long-term beer drinkers is that the habit and action of drinking alcoholic beverages has become an addiction. In short, your drinking is just a habit that you have fallen into. You might be able to recognize this if you have ever had an empty drink, and the feeling of needing a replacement could almost drive you mad. What do you need another drink for? Is it just to have one?

    Try switching drinks to non-alcoholic choices, and have those choices available to you at all times. Sugary sodas are not the best option, but seltzer water, juice, tea, and flavored waters are great choices.

    Try and break the habit of giving the body an alcoholic drink every time the urge comes along. It might be tough to break the habit at first, but in many cases where the issue is problematic drinking, and not alcohol dependence, this solution may be enough to get you to cut out alcohol completely.

  4. Focus on Better More Quality Sleep

    Sometimes our cravings for alcohol equate to self-medication due to exhaustion and stress. The body’s natural remedy for these feelings is to get a good night of deep and restorative REM sleep so you can awake relaxed and refreshed for another day. If you are caught in the cycle of working late, drinking even later, waking up feeling sluggish and sick, and repeating the whole cycle over again, you are due for some rest and relaxation.

    Try getting a full night’s rest and waking up in the morning naturally (no caffeine), and see if this decreases your cravings for alcohol. Alcohol may feel like it helps you overcome a fast lifestyle, but when the alcohol becomes a bigger problem than you can handle, nipping it at the bud and focusing on slowing down your lifestyle might get to the root of the problem.

  5. Compare Your Drinking Habits to Those of Your Significant Other

    If you are in a relationship with someone, you can definitely adopt their habits, or their drinking habits can affect yours. Similar to our first suggestion of “Take a Good Look at Your Social Circle and Your Entertainment Habits,” take a look at what you and your spouse or significant other do together to keep each other busy.

    How much of your relationship is built on drinking? Would cutting down or quitting drinking put you at odds with your S/O, or would they be willing to cut down or quit as well? If your significant other is unwilling to change, how do you expect to be able to spur a change in yourself?

  6. Find Your Hobby. What do you love to do?

    Drinking is very much an affixation. When you are young and drinking is a new experience, it quickly becomes an easy go-to for entertainment. Think about those early experiences with alcohol – when it was new, it quickly became something that you planned on doing on weekends, or created a new angle on activities you enjoyed. The problem is that alcohol quickly takes over, and soon enough you look forward to the alcohol more than the activities. Instead, replace the alcohol with activities.

    Find out what you love to do, and can see yourself doing for hours on end, without even worrying about alcohol. For some, exercise is a natural replacement activity; for others, creating art or writing is a replacement. We can give more generic examples, but really it comes down to finding what you like to do. Can’t think of anything that interests you? Start trying new things and search out what makes you happy. Just don’t let alcohol be the only thing that brings you (what you perceive as) joy and fulfillment.

  7. Exercise, Eat Healthy, and Focus on Bettering Yourself

    Exercising and being healthy can be the activity or hobby that some find they love to spend their time on; but even if this is not going to become your hobby, it should be a part of your routine. Focusing on moderate exercise, healthier diet choices, and an overall focus on a healthier attitude and daily routine is essential for everyone – not just those looking to cut down on unhealthy habits.

    Diet and exercise plays the biggest part in who you are. A poor diet and lack of exercise can make you depressed, anxious, moody, emotional, and pretty much hate life. If you have these types of negative feelings, simply cutting out alcohol isn’t going to reverse everything and fix all your problems. Cutting out alcohol, eating a healthier diet, and getting a moderate amount of exercise will make you feel better though.

  8. Stay Away from Social Media (Or Moderate its Use at the Very Least)

    Social media is a very tricky thing; while it promotes that it is an easier way to help you stay connected to friends, social media is not your friend. In fact, it is the enemy of your mental and emotional health. Health agencies are starting to find that we are in the midst of a mental illness epidemic the likes of which has never been seen before – and it can be tied directly back to social media usage.

    Researchers have also begun to link increased drinking and an increase in alcohol use disorders to those that spend more than an hour per day on social media. Social media is built on reward triggers in the brain, just like drugs and alcohol trigger reward centers. Removing the source of these triggers can help greatly in reducing urges to drink when first quitting alcohol, or when trying to stay sober.

  9. Spend Time with Friends (and Without Alcohol), or Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself When Alone

    Social interaction (real social interaction, not social media interaction) can greatly help your mental health, and can help to prevent urges to drink. Spend time with your friends, and get your brain to spark the reward centers based off interaction with others. The reward your brain gives you for enjoying a conversation with a friend or talking about what you two have in common is chemically the same as reward response triggered by alcohol.

    Not only that, but talking about your feelings, problems and emotions with a good friend gives you another viewpoint. Talk through your problems with someone else, or vent a little – it can take a load off your shoulders.

    What if you’re an introvert, and prefer some time alone over too much time with others? Hey, no one loves you like you love you… but make sure it is self-loving and not self-loathing. Spending too much time focused on your problems, shame, embarrassment, or what doesn’t make you happy will only cause more negativity in your life. Don’t ruminate! If you don’t have anything nice to say about yourself, find a community or group activity that you can get involved with and try and get some new experiences that teach you to love yourself.

  10. Take a Look at Your Behaviors

    Nearly every aspect of staying sober comes down to your behaviors – whether it is what type of drink is in your hand, who you hang out with, how much exercise you get, or what activities and hobbies you are engaged in. There is a good reason alcohol abuse is often referred to as a behavioral health issue – the act of drinking is a behavior that is detrimental to your health.

    Take a deep look at your behaviors and ask yourself, why am I doing this? Why do I want do drink that drink? What reward am I going to get from that drink? What would I be missing out on if I don’t drink that drink…? This deep look at why you do what you do is a staple of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and CBT is one of the best therapies for alcoholism and alcohol abuse.

    CBT does work best when you have someone objective that is guiding you through the process (at least in the beginning), but you can get into CBT all by yourself, and it can change your life. For everything you do in life, there is a thought process that happens in the blink of an eye, too fast for you to even realize the decision-making process that just happened. By slowing down and looking at that decision-making process, you can make better choices, or at least make choices that guide you toward better outcomes.

Alcohol Relapse Rates 

All of the ideas we have given are great examples of how you can fight urges to drink when you are first quitting, or if you find yourself in a situation where your sobriety is tested. However, alcohol addiction and the urges to drink can be powerful, they can even be stronger than your better judgement, in some cases.

*Short Term Alcohol Relapse Rates (Within the First Year of Recovery):

  • With Treatment – Vary between 20% and 50% depending on the severity of the alcohol use disorder
  • Without Treatment – Vary between 50% and 80% depending on the severity of the alcohol use disorder.

*Long Term Alcohol Relapse Rates (Within the First Year of Recovery):

  • With Treatment – Average 23%
  • Without Treatment – Average 40%

This is why we urge those who have struggled with alcohol use to get into treatment,if they can’t do it on their own. When we look at the numbers, we can see that alcohol relapse rates are much higher in those that do not receive any help at all. You are stronger than addiction, but sometimes you need a coach in your corner that motivates you to show that extra strength and knock back the urges.

We can also see that the rate of relapse drops significantly if you can stay sober in your first year. Getting through that first year is key, and most of us need professional help for alcoholism and alcohol abuse to get through all of the triggers that present themselves in the first year.


*Moos RH, Moos BS. Rates and predictors of relapse after natural and treated remission from alcohol use disorders. Addiction (Abingdon, England). 2006;101(2):212-222. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2006.01310.x.

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Unresolved Grief and Addiction: How Self Medication Turns into Addiction


Grief hurts. There is no magic pill for healing your grief. And honestly, it’s insulting when people tell you to just get over it and move on. It just plain sucks.

Who among us can say it takes this amount of time or that amount of behavior to stop grieving? Time heals nothing you don’t work on.

And it’s tough. The emotional pain of grief is tantamount to a slow recovery from major surgery. So, naturally, we avoid it if we can. But avoiding it heals nothing either.

It’s easy to see why people use substances to avoid the pain, often falling into addiction and adding another problem to their grief.

What Causes Grief? 

There are many life events that cause grief. Here are some of the things that cause normal grief:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Death of a friend
  • Divorce
  • Divorce of a parent
  • Loss of a pet
  • Ending of a friendship or relationship
  • Loss of a job
  • Trauma of physical or emotional abuse
  • Seeing a loved one suffer
  • Loss of familiar surroundings
  • Remembering past losses and abuses
  • Major change in any meaningful part of life

Any great loss, change or traumatic experience can cause significant grief. Perhaps particularly apropos for people abusing substances, the loss of identity, loss of self and a life wasted in substance abuse can be the biggest grief-causing trauma of all. Regret turns into grieving.

The Impact of Grief

Although grief and loss are deeply personal issues and there is no typical response, psychology experts recognize five main stages of grief:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

These stages aren’t necessarily in order, and are as individual as human DNA. However, being aware of our feelings and understanding them does help us cope. It’s also nice to know we’re not alone and we’re not the only ones who’ve ever felt this way.

Being capable of coping and being able to accept loss does not mean we’re OK with what happened, but it does mean we are willing to get better and begin to live again.

Uncomplicated Grief

Uncomplicated grief, or normal grief, is the natural sorrow we all go through when dramatic situations arise. Going through the grieving process is how we deal with loss. It’s not a bad thing; it’s a healthy response to a difficult situation.

Symptoms of uncomplicated grief include:

  • Pining for a lost relationship
  • Longing for a person who has passed away
  • Yearning for a lost companion
  • Preoccupation with loss, sadness and depression
  • Difficulty accepting a change in one’s life
  • Agitation, irritability and anxiety

While these symptoms are excruciating, people learn to accept them and come to terms with their loss. Although the memory of a loved one or relationship will never be forgotten, bereaved individuals learn that they have other people and goals in life to pay attention to. After a period of emotional work and spiritual growth, people with uncomplicated grief recover.

Complicated Grief

Unresolved Grief and Addiction: How Self Medication Turns into AddictionTen to 20 percent of those grieving develop complicated grief. In these cases, sorrowful feelings worsen over time instead of improving.

People with complicated grief are often predisposed to addictions. They can be codependent, love addicted, sex addicted or have none of those conditions. Grief itself can be an addictive habit.

People suffering from complicated grief do not let the memory of the person or loss go. They keep the memories alive in their heads by focusing on them and inadvertently feeding their own pain. Stimulating these thoughts in one’s head activates the reward center in the brain.

Similarly, clinging to a past love fires the brain’s pleasure signals, resulting in a chemical reward resembling being with your lover in person. In this way, complicated grief sucks people into an ever-winding whirlpool of sadness and painful/pleasurable emotion. Having complicated grief or bereavement disorder makes one prone to abuse drugs and alcohol.

Coping with Drugs

For people getting clean and feeling emotions, they are not used to coping with without substances, it can be overwhelming. Many of us can’t handle the rush of emotions that flood our souls once the drugs and alcohol wear off. So much of our society buys into the “I need a drink!” way of thinking, and we learn to numb our feelings with alcoholism, substance abuse and other unmanageable addictions that give our brains feel-good chemicals.

It seems fine at first. After all, “It’s what everyone does,” we reason. Unfortunately, substance use turns into addiction and numbing the pain becomes the only way we deal with (or neglect dealing with) feelings. When grief is stuffed down and out of mind, instead of getting better, people get worse.

Addiction and Grief 

While drug and alcohol abuse seems to offer solace to grieving souls, that temporary escape fuels the same neural pathways as the grief-love cycle. Both addiction and relationship attachment – including the memory of love – arouse the same part of the brain.

People in bereavement are vulnerable to drug addiction, and people abusing drugs are prone to cling to grief until it becomes a disorder. Ultimately, which comes first is irrelevant.

Self-Medicating Grief

Cross-addictions come in many forms like alcohol and heroin, meth and Oxy, alcohol, and gambling. For people suffering from loss, it is not uncommon to self-medicate grief with alcohol and drugs.

When simple grief evolves into complicated grief, it becomes a chronic, debilitating mental health condition. And in this weakened state, seeking emotional pain relief through self-medicating substances ramps up.

Codependency and addiction to a person, love or sex carry much grief and loss when the relationship ends – whether due to death or a break-up. At times like these, people are drawn into drugs and alcohol to quiet their minds and to stop feeling.

Toxic Grief 

Grief is painful. Pain makes us gravitate toward relief of suffering. It’s natural.

Even superheroes grieve. With powers like the ability to regrow limbs and stave off cancer, they can find no superpower to avoid emotional pain. And without treatment, even heroes grieve violently, ingest large doses of drugs or attempt suicide. Prolonged complicated grief is toxic.

In dealing with grief and substance abuse in men, effective treatment involves addressing not only the symptoms of substance abuse and addiction, but also the work necessary to overcome deep grief. Although feeling pain is tough, going through it with guidance and support is the way to get emotionally healthy and abandon self-medicating habits.

Summoning the strength to quit drugs and let go of unhealthy attachments takes work. It takes a commitment and surrender to the process. But with the proper treatment and a desire to change, men are accomplishing such feats every day at Reflections Recovery Center.

How to Help a Family Member Suffering from Grief and Addiction

If you have a loved one dealing with substance abuse and you suspect it’s tied to grief – either through the loss of a family member or friend, a divorce or other type of deep-seated grief from the past – you need to get your loved one help at a dual diagnosis rehab center. A dual diagnosis treatment center for men, specifically those dealing with grief and addiction, will offer the best chance at a full recovery from both co-occurring disorders. Reflections Recovery offers just such a program for men.

Regardless of whether your loved one is predisposed to addiction or not, whether the addiction or grief came first, treating substance abuse is the initial therapy. Until a person can think clearly and feel things soberly, no grief work can be done.

Only getting help for addiction and not treating the grief leaves people vulnerable to relapse or developing another addiction. Unresolved emotional issues like complicated grief can wreak havoc for a lifetime.

Read More About Trauma and Addiction

Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy: Symptoms, Causes, Life Expectancy, and Recovery


Alcohol abuse – especially binge drinking and long-term chronic alcohol abuse – takes its toll on the heart muscle and vascular system. We often forget just how dangerous alcohol can be, and wrongly assume that it takes decades for severe problems to show up from excessive drinking. 

How Alcohol Affects the Heart 

There are several concerns about the heart and circulatory system with heavy drinkers:

  • Arrhythmias
  • Strokes
  • Hypertension
  • Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy (Heart Failure)

Arrhythmias Caused by Alcohol Abuse – Abnormal heartbeats are quite common in heavy and chronic drinkers. The severity of arrhythmias ranges from mild to severe, with the least concerning being “innocent” heart palpitations and arrhythmias. These innocent heart arrhythmias could be temporary and could stem from a simple electrochemical imbalance or from poor nutrition and diet caused by alcohol abuse. Both atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia are forms of arrhythmias in common with alcohol abuse.

Alcohol-Related Strokes – A more serious concern is the risk of strokes with alcohol abuse. Binge drinking and chronic alcohol consumption for months or even a few short years can increase the risk of ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes. Alcohol-induced strokes can occur in otherwise healthy patients and without existing coronary artery disease.

“Binge drinkers have an increased risk of ischemic stroke, are 56% more likely to have a stroke than non-binge drinkers, and are 39% more likely to have any type of stroke.

Alcoholic Hypertension – Binge drinkers and chronic drinkers know all too well the fact that heavy alcohol use raises blood pressure – sometimes raising it to dangerous levels. Alcohol causes your arteries and veins to stiffen, instead of flexing to the beat of the heart. Worsening the problem, continued alcohol abuse can cause the blood vessels to constrict within the already shrinking arteries and veins. Hypertension is an early sign of the increased risk of stroke and heart disease.

Alcohol and Cardiomyopathy 

Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy is the most serious concerns of the effects of alcohol on the heart. Cardiomyopathy means “heart failure,” and alcoholic cardiomyopathy simply means that the heart failure is caused by alcohol. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a progressive disease, meaning that it worsens over time – especially with continued alcohol use.

“Quitting alcohol as soon as possible, and staying sober can immediately stop the progression of alcoholic cardiomyopathy in many cases – as long as the heart failure is not in the late stages of progression.”

Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy Symptoms 

It is good to note first that just because you have one or more of these symptoms, it does not mean that you immediately have heart failure. The symptoms of very serious cardiomyopathy are similar to the symptoms of less serious heart issues that can be temporary and also caused by alcohol. If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor and have them test to know for sure what is causing those symptoms.

That being said, the following are the symptoms that should prompt your doctor visit:

  • Edema (swelling of the ankles, feet, and legs)
  • Swelling in the extremities, neck, torso and overall swelling
  • Shortness of breath, especially when running or with strenuous activity (dyspnea)
  • Difficulty breathing (especially when laying on your back)
  • Weakness, Fatigue, and feeling faint or lightheaded
  • Foggy head (decreased alertness or difficulty concentrating)
  • Coughing and a cough with mucus discoloration (pink or frothy)
  • Decreased urine output (oliguria)
  • Increased urination at night (nocturia)
  • Heart Palpitations (irregular heartbeats)
  • Rapid pulse (tachycardia)

 Can Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy be Reversed? 

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy can be treated, which is good news for those suffering the symptoms of early stages of the disease, however, it does require a change of lifestyle to be effective. It all depends on how early you catch the disease, and whether or not you can quit drinking for good – that means no alcohol at all.

Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy Life Expectancy

Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy: Symptoms, Causes, Life Expectency, and RecoveryWhat is the prognosis and life expectancy for someone who has been diagnosed with alcoholic cardiomyopathy? The prognosis really depends on whether or not the patient is able to quit drinking. If he/she stops drinking and the damage to the heart is not severe, the outlook is very good, and one would not expect a shortened lifespan. However, if the disease is in late stages and the damage is severe enough, it may be too late. Someone with end-stage alcoholic cardiomyopathy is not expected to live more than 4 years.

If someone does not quit drinking, the progressive disease is expected to get worse, and the outlook is grim for someone who continues to drink alcohol and let the disease progress to final stages. Let us be clear that if you do not stop drinking, alcoholic cardiomyopathy will lead to death – although this could take anywhere from 2-10 years, depending on how much existing damage there is.

“We cannot say this enough: quitting alcohol completely gives you the best shot at slowing or reversing this disease, and continued drinking only leads to worsening the disease and eventual death.”

Preventing Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy: Alcohol Treatment Programs 

Again, alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a progressive disease, and gets worse as you continue to drink. When diagnosed with this disease, it is imperative that you quit drinking completely. It is at this stage – when trying to quit – that many binge drinkers and chronic drinkers find that they cannot quit, or can’t stay sober for an extended period of time without relapsing.

When alcohol has such a strong hold on you that even the threat of terminal heart failure can’t get you or a loved one to quit drinking, the need for an alcohol treatment program that is intensive and offers a high chance of turning around both your lifestyle and health is needed. Individuals at this point are in a serious position where the stakes are high, and they need the best clinical and therapeutic care they can get.

Reflections Recovery Center is a leading alcohol treatment center in Arizona that can deal with unique needs an of alcoholic men facing health problems due to chronic drinking. The Reflections program puts emphasis on adopting a healthier lifestyle and finding joy in being sober and caring about your health and happiness. Our program can be just what men need when faced with the reality that they need to quit drinking, or face serious health problems.

Is Your Young Adult Child Addicted to Alcohol? Take Our Assessment to Find Out.

Best Books on Addiction Recovery to Help You in Early Sobriety


Even in a primarily digital age, books still hold a lot of power. The power of books can help you to look deeply into yourself and recognize traits that are holding you back or can give you ideas on how and what to change about yourself to achieve desired results. During addiction recovery, books can be your best friend; comforting you when you need to be comforted, and giving you ideas on how to better yourself. Everyone’s recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is different, and recovery happens in different phases.

That being said, not all of these books will be a perfect fit for everyone, and some of the choices may offer more help in different phases of recovery, yet may be a trigger for others in other phases of recovery. These suggestions are merely suggestions, and you should find the book that speaks to you and where you are at in your recovery.

Books on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse: 

Pour Me: A Life by A. A. Gill 

Best Books on Addiction Recovery to Help You in Early SobrietyA raw and profound memoir, this book serves as an often humorous account of the life of A. A. Gill – a food critic who found that his fast life and career in his 20s had left him with serious problems with alcohol. The way Gill describes the symptoms of alcoholism can be quite brutal at times, and some readers may find the early parts of the book a trigger – reminding them of their own struggles with alcohol. By the end of the book, though, Gill shows how he personally faced his inner demons and found a new outlook on his life and his passions.

 

 

 

 

Living Sober by Alcoholics Anonymous 

Best Books on Addiction Recovery to Help You in Early SobrietyFor those that find AA and the 12 Step process helpful in early addiction recovery, Living Sober is a great companion book to the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous. This book lays out the steps of building a new life in sobriety, without drugs or alcohol. Early recovery can be difficult, and this book offers great ideas for creating a sober life while teaching you easy to use practices for dealing with stress and urges to drink or get high. For those looking for an easy read filled with tips that can be attributed to their personal lives and sobriety, this is a highly recommended read.

 

 24 Hours A Day by Richard Walker

Best Books on Addiction Recovery to Help You in Early SobrietyAn older book that was published in 1963, this book could be considered timeless to anyone who has known the struggles of addiction, particularly alcoholism. This book offers mediation, guidance, and prayers for sober life and living in sobriety. What makes this book so easy to use is that it is divided into 365 days, with each day offering motivational thoughts and lessons, as well as prayers and affirmations. This book is often considered to be a great companion book to the “Big Book” of AA and other complementary books in the Alcoholics Anonymous series.

 

 

 

 

Books on Drug Addiction and Treatment 

Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change by Nicole Kosanke, Stephanie Higgs, Carrie Wilkens, Geoffrey Foote 

What makes this a great book for some in recovery, is the fresh outlook and opinions if gives on addiction science and addiction treatment. If the older “classic” books about addiction feel outdated to you, or you are interested in new ideas and approaches to recovery and addiction treatment, this will be a good read for you. This book can also be helpful for parents of addicts and family members who are caring for a loved one struggling with addiction. This book will give families greater insight into what drugs and alcohol do to change a person, and puts the struggle that addicts endure into perspective.

The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison 

This book offers a recount of the authors own experiences with alcohol as well as her commentary on the struggles of many other contemporaries. This book is written in a prose style, rather than a guide like AA books or books dedicated to sober living and recovery. Jamison’s writing is incredible, and she touches upon the fact that sobriety is a place to either find, re-evaluate or lose your creativity. The book is hailed as a great commentary on substance abuse in popular culture, and even writer Stephen King has suggested that this book be required reading.

Other Good Books for Recovering Addicts: 

Food for Recovery: The Complete Nutritional Companion for Overcoming Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, and Eating Disorders by Joseph Beasley MD and Susan Knightly [H3]

Diet is one of the biggest factors in successfully recovering from substance abuse, alcohol, or drug addiction. When in recovery, it is essential to make good dietary choices and to rehabilitate body and mind with nutritional therapy.  Making good dietary and nutritional decisions in your sober life can be difficult, or feel overwhelming, but this book helps to make it easier. It includes recipes and great advice for getting over unhealthy eating habits and teaches you how to put nutrition first and avoid dietary dangers in recovery like sugar addiction.

 Books for Spiritual Recovery and Enlightenment: 

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron 

Based on the author’s Buddhist spiritual beliefs, this book is blunt and direct. It shows you how to deal with life’s harder moments from a spiritualist perspective, and offers great insights on spiritual growth. “Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth,” says Pema addressing the fears that we all have, but are especially prevalent in times of great change and growth. If you are a spiritualist and like to enjoy introspective reading, this is a great book that offers a wealth of wisdom. 

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle 

Best Books on Addiction Recovery to Help You in Early SobrietyHow to address negative thoughts and feelings about the past and future is just one of the intentions of Tolle’s powerful book on spiritual can be used as a daily guide for dealing with life’s stresses. Tolle begins by showing you that YOU are the source of enlightenment in your life, and you are also the source of pain – depending on how you think and act. “Start living NOW,” is the message throughout the book, and it gives you practical ways to get into that type of thinking. The spiritualism covered it is not heavily religious or tied to any specific spiritual beliefs, and the advice given can easily fit into YOUR life.

 

There are many great books that can help you in your first weeks of sobriety and in the first year of recovery from addiction. Not only are the above-referenced books great introductions to the various types of books for addiction recovery, but each can guide you along to finding other related books and topics that might fit with your personal recovery needs.

If you are not traditionally a “book person,” or a big reader, just remember to start slow. Take your time and enjoy the words and advice given in these and other recovery books. Learning how to stay sober and learning how to be comfortable in your sobriety will take time – spending your time with these and other books is a great way to start off.

Check Out Other Addiction Resources

Getting Off Suboxone: Do I Need Addiction Treatment and Detox?


If you have struggled with opiate addiction, you may have begun a medically assisted detox program that utilizes Suboxone to minimize withdrawal symptoms. While this method can benefit those who begin the program with a taper down program. However, many people begin a treatment program that simply replaces the opiates with Suboxone, this is called Opioid Maintenance treatment. While this treatment is approved by the FDA, long-term use of Suboxone carries its own set of risks.

 If you are considering getting off Suboxone without going back to Opiates, you may wonder if a detox program is necessary. Detoxing from Suboxone breaks that last chain that Opiates have around you. Once that chain is broken you have the freedom to live the life you want without daily or weekly appointments are your local Suboxone clinic. Imagine being able to travel freely for work or leisure without worrying about if you have enough Suboxone for the time you will be gone.

How Does Suboxone Addiction Happen

For people who have been heavily abusing opioid drugs such as OxyContin or Heroin, Suboxone has been used to control withdrawal symptoms while getting the patient off illegal opioids. The type of treatment plan used usually depends on the amount and frequency of the patient’s use of opiates. For a patient that has been a heavy long-term user of heroin, a quick taper down treatment plan may do more harm than good. However, studies have shown that several outpatient treatment facilities use Suboxone to replace opiates for long periods of time which can lead to suboxone addiction rather than recovery from addiction. If you have been using Suboxone at high doses for a long time, Suboxone detox will be necessary to break the cycle of addiction.

Quitting Suboxone Safely

When attempting to get off of Suboxone after long-term elevated maintenance doses, it is important to find a reputable Suboxone rehab facility such as Reflections Recovery Center. Detoxing from Suboxone should be done in a closely monitored environment at a slow pace. There can be health risks associated with getting off of Suboxone if done incorrectly. Just like any addiction, quitting cold turkey is never a safe plan for recovery. The risk of relapse or death is much higher when trying to kick an addiction cold turkey without help.

Tips for Getting Off Suboxone

The first step to getting off Suboxone is to find a treatment and recovery program that fits your needs. An ideal program would address the use of Suboxone as a maintenance plan for Opiate recovery. The program will examine the dosage you are currently taking and design a customized gradual taper down Suboxone detox schedule. This will allow your body to slowly adjust to the lower dosage over time.

Once you have found a treatment program, it is important to have a good support system in place with your family and friends. These people will keep you focused on recovery and often will hold you to your promise of recovery. Having a strong support system can make all the difference when recovering from addiction.

Why Suboxone Detox is Important

Getting Off Suboxone: Do I Need Addiction Treatment and Detox?When you made the first step toward recovery from Opiate addiction, you were given a great start with Suboxone treatment. However, this treatment was never meant as a long-term solution to the problem. Suboxone was approved for a taper schedule to help manage withdrawal symptoms. Over time, research showed that in some cases a long-term maintenance schedule was more beneficial and safe for heavy opiate users that could have adverse health events if taken completely off of all opiates or their alternatives. While in these rare extreme cases this may be the solution, it is the exception not the rule. Most opiate abusers would benefit greatly from full sobriety from drugs.

Once you have been Suboxone for a length of time, it is important for your physical, emotional, and mental health to complete an appropriate suboxone detox program. The safest way to detox from Suboxone is the taper down method. This method will successfully help lower your dosage over time until you no longer need the medication and are able to live a healthy and sober life.

How We Can Help

As a men’s only Suboxone rehab facility, we offer a distraction-free environment to focus on your recovery and detox. We offer a variety of outdoor activities to keep you both physically and mentally active. This will help you maintain or regain your overall health while recovering from addiction. We are not a short-term recovery program but rather a long-term Suboxone rehab for men. We will be there for you from day one through the end of your program. We help to ensure you have a solid foundation for a sober lifestyle upon completion of our program.

If you are ready to live a life that doesn’t include Suboxone Maintenance therapy, call us today at Reflections Recovery Center. We are here to help you live the best life you can. Get on the road to recovery today.

 

How to Help a Family Member Addicted to Pain Medication


Opioid addiction is a serious problem in our society and has rightfully been labeled a national epidemic. However, after surgeries or during injuries, some people are looking for relief, and pain medication can be helpful.

Finding a balance between alleviating pain and preventing dependency can be tricky. Dependency can overtake someone’s life quickly, and it’s often easier for a friend or family member to see when an addiction begins to take hold.

Despite pain medication’s help in times of need, many believe that there are other ways to treat pain that shouldn’t lead to addiction. Medical professionals wrote 207 million opioid painkiller prescriptions in 2013, and that number has risen every year since. On a related note, the United States has almost 100 percent of the world’s hydrocodone.

Hydrocodone is an opioid that affects the levels of dopamine in the brain and is often prescribed after a surgery or when someone is recovering from an extremely painful injury. If someone takes it regularly for a while, a tolerance begins to build. This means people need to take more and more of the drug to continue to feel the pain-numbing effects.

If people stop taking the medication, they will be met with painful withdrawal symptoms that they may not even realize are a consequence of stopping the medication. Talking with loved ones about this downward spiral can be difficult, but it’s crucial that they find help for prescription drug abuse.

The Average Timeline of Opioid Withdrawal

Hydrocodone withdrawal generally begins between six and 12 hours after the last dose. This can vary depending on the specific dosage and the length of time the person has taken the medication.

Withdrawal symptoms usually peak within three days and can last any amount of time. Some experience withdrawal symptoms for a week and some for a month. If the person addicted does not find help, relapse can be almost impossible to avoid – if the medication is available. If it isn’t, some turn to street drugs, which create another, more deadly issue.

Opiates act as nervous system depressants, reducing:

  • Breathing rate
  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Body temperature

The body eventually becomes dependent on the chemical changes that happen in the brain during this time. When the drug is gone, withdrawal symptoms ensue.


Common Painkiller Withdrawal Symptoms

Help for addiction to prescription drugs starts with watching your loved one who may be dependent. Therefore, some of the opioid withdrawal symptoms to watch for include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive tears
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Chills

Psychological symptoms include difficulty concentrating, anxiety and countless others. These side effects can reach any level of intensity. The reaction depends on the person’s level of addiction and dependence on the drug.

If you’ve noticed these symptoms in a loved one after he or she stops taking medication and you see the drug-seeking behavior, your loved one may have a dependency on painkillers.


How to Respond If You See Addiction in a Loved One

You may be nervous about approaching someone regarding this issue; after all, a doctor prescribed these drugs because your loved one needed them, but their future may be in jeopardy. Considering the countless deaths from opioids that have swept this country, that isn’t an exaggeration.

If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, talk to him or her, but don’t encourage stopping cold turkey. Get them to their doctor or another professional for prescription painkiller help before they begin experiencing further dependency.

The more dependent a person is on a drug, the more difficult the withdrawal can be. People suffering from withdrawal should be under the care of medical professionals who can help counsel and stabilize them through the process.


Prescription Painkiller Help: Seek Alternative Pain Relief

Your loved one may be afraid to stop taking painkillers – not because of withdrawal symptoms – but for fear of chronic pain. For people who are dealing with chronic pain, it is frightening to think of cutting pharmaceuticals out of their life completely.

You may not have the answer for them in this situation, but a professional interventionist may be able to help. He or she can talk your loved through the need to seek help and discuss methods for pain management that do not involve opioids.


New and Overlooked Pain Relief Techniques

There are many interesting innovations on the horizon for pain management. Some researchers have suggested applied gaming as a strategy for pain management. The research is not completely finalized yet, but people are discovering that enjoyable activities like playing video games could help relieve the pain that people would usually take medication for.

Mental techniques are another way to combat chronic pain. Therapists have been known to be able to teach patients certain tricks that can help them deal with their pain. It is currently central in the military. Military members are taught these mental tricks and skills so they can keep fighting.

Similar methods can also work on civilians. At Reflections Recovery Center, we work with the individual to see which methods work best for them, both during their time in treatment here and when they walk out the door.


Men’s Rehab for Prescription Drug Abuse

The most important thing that people struggling with addiction need is support. Reflections Recovery Center offers this – along with compassion and professional medical care. We leverage personalized treatment plans and the full continuum of care to offer our clients their highest chance of lifelong recovery.

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Why Men's Only Rehab Works - Reflections Recovery Center

The Benefits of Outpatient Addiction Treatment


What Is Outpatient Rehabilitation?

Outpatient addiction treatment has a multitude of benefits and can be a successful form of addiction rehabilitation as a main recovery program or as part of the larger continuum of care.

What is outpatient rehab? Outpatient rehab or addiction treatment is a good option for many people who need help without a hospital or inpatient stay. It is an affordable and effective form of addiction treatment for people in the early stages of addiction or those just out of inpatient care. It involves a low number of participation hours per week, typically around 9 hours, and provides education, treatment and support for recovery from substance abuse and alcoholism.

Whether it’s outpatient treatment for heroin, cocaine or alcohol addiction, the program has the same goals and benefits: to stop the use of drugs and alcohol, provide new skills and education to the client, offer individual therapy and support groups, and prevent relapse.

Outpatient addiction treatment is not:                                                              

  • Subpar treatment
  • A replacement for inpatient treatment
  • Lower-quality treatment

Continuum of Care

A continuum of care is a long-term plan for treatment that includes multiple phases. The continuum of care delivers health care over a period of time at multiple levels and stages. It provides continuity in the management and quality of treatment a patient receives.

Therefore, it is critical to choose a rehab facility that focuses on comprehensive services and not just one type of treatment. A good rehab center will also involve the family in the client’s care.

Levels of Addiction Treatment

Within the continuum of care there are various types of treatment for addiction. All of these levels of treatment are equally valid and helpful to individuals, with one type not being necessarily superior to another.

These types of services are most helpful when provided within the larger continuum of care. One thing to remember is the level of intensity of treatment has no bearing on the quality of care. For instance, outpatient care is focused on less severe cases than residential inpatient programs, but equal in the level of high standards.

All focused on optimal recovery, these treatment stages have unique attributes to offer. And each individual’s recovery plan should be different.

Someone who has been brought to the hospital due to an alcoholic coma will require several levels of treatment with graduations and transitions, while a person who binge drinks and has experienced few consequences will have different needs to be addressed. Both situations should be viewed within the scope of the continuum of care for optimal results.

Intervention

Intervention:  A service provided by a professional interventionist or in consultation with medical professionals to confront a loved one about their addiction and urge them to accept treatment.

Often, an intervention is the first step in addressing a loved one’s drug or alcohol addiction. In a typical intervention, a group of family and friends gather to present a rehearsed message to their loved one in an effort to get them into rehab. Letting a professional interventionist take the helm of the process is always recommended, though.

At an effective treatment facility, like Reflections Recovery Center, the family involvement in an intervention carries on throughout the recovery process and into aftercare.

Residential Inpatient Services

Residential inpatient services are often required for those who have developed severe addictions. Patients in inpatient care have access to medical attention 24 hours a day, including medically supervised detox during the first week or so.

Partial Hospitalization Services

Partial hospitalization services are offered to addicted patients that require more care than outpatient programs usually provide. Clients typically attend a partial hospitalization program, or day program, for 4 to 6 hours a day at a recovery center.

This program is well suited for someone who has a strong support system at home and a stable living environment, but who also requires a high level of treatment and medical supervision. Addicted patients with dual diagnoses who have completed an inpatient program often go to a day program as their next care level.

Intensive Outpatient

Intensive outpatient treatment usually involves partial hospitalization or at least constant access to medically supervised care. The person addicted to drugs or alcohol involved in intensive outpatient care lives at their home or a residential home and receives treatment during the day.

Sometimes, a sober living facility houses people doing intensive outpatient treatment for alcoholism or drugs. In some cases, a person can receive the same benefits they would as an inpatient by staying in a sober living facility and receiving intensive outpatient treatment off-site.

Outpatient Rehab Services

Outpatient rehab, a less intensive treatment than inpatient services, is commonly offered to people who are in the middle stages of addiction recovery. There are many benefits to outpatient rehab.

Outpatient services can be ideal for individuals coming out of inpatient rehab or a hospital who need to learn new ways of living sober and to fortify their recovery. It is a great place to get more support and ease the transition from residential treatment to aftercare.

Outpatient programs can also be the first line of treatment for those struggling with less severe addictions. Please note that Reflections Recovery Center offers inpatient and outpatient programs (not to mention intervention and aftercare services), which are based in Prescott, Arizona.

Benefits of Outpatient Addiction Treatment

The benefits of outpatient treatment within the continuum of care are numerous. For one, people who are the breadwinners for their families can continue to keep their jobs while seeking the treatment they need. Those in school can continue their studies and still get help for their addiction. And parents can still spend time with their children and families while receiving the help they need to recover and be even better parents.

Enhancing spiritual life, becoming educated on the disease-like nature of substance abuse and alcoholism, and learning skills to avoid relapse are only a few of the myriad benefits of outpatient care.

Here are a few more noteworthy advantages of outpatient rehab:

  • More affordable than inpatient care and usually covered by insurance
  • Can be of equal efficacy as inpatient care, yet at a lower cost
  • Builds a support system
  • Provides outreach resources, like contact info for support groups and sober friends
  • Psychiatric care
  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Participants can maintain their normal daily routine while receiving treatment

Support in Many Forms

Multiple research studies show that family, social and community support greatly affect a person’s well-being and recovery from addiction. During outpatient treatment, individuals meet others who know firsthand what the struggle to overcome addiction is about. Building a support community while in outpatient care can bring new friendships that will help on the road to recovery.

In outpatient rehab, once-addicted individuals can find additional resources to enhance their recovery. From AA/NA meetings and support groups for non-addiction related issues to lists of helpful books and counseling referrals, resources for recovery are readily available in outpatient treatment.

Although outpatient care may not be the best standalone option to meet all of the needs of some who are dealing with addiction, it can be a satisfying program in conjunction with other aforementioned elements of the continuum of care. The goal is meeting all of the individual’s needs through the chosen treatment plan.

Get a Personalized Patient Assessment for Yourself or a Loved One

Only a licensed clinician can properly evaluate someone with an addiction. A trained medical professional will make the appropriate assessments, diagnoses and proposal for a plan of care.

If you or an addicted man in your life is curious about what options are available, please contact us today for a personalized patient assessment and to find out what path to recovery we recommend for your specific situation.

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What real clients have to say about Reflections Recovery Center in Arizona
Reflections provided me with the tools that got me where i am today with 14 months sober.
— Ricky A, Long Beach CA
Reflections gave me a life and an opportunity to become part of society. They challenged me and shaped me into the man I want to be.
— Dyer K, Gilbert AZ
I learned how to stay sober, found my best friends and created a new life at Reflections
— David S, Phoenix AZ

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