Tag Archives: Healthy Living

The Value of Recreational Activities in Substance Abuse and Addiction Treatment

When a person struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, the substance often becomes the person’s only means of feeling pleasure or contentment. Both physically and behaviorally, addictive substances can replace activities that once brought the user joy, such as eating, physical activity and favorite hobbies.

Drugs can alter the brain’s reward center, disrupting opioid receptor function and flooding the brain with dopamine, the chemical responsible for producing feelings of pleasure and happiness. Eventually, a user may no longer experience joy in everyday life without consuming drugs or alcohol.

The goal of addiction treatment is to help the user once again receive pleasure and enjoyment from everyday activities, without the need for substances. At Reflections Recovery Center, we combine talk therapy and other traditional addiction treatment methods with recreational activities in order to maximize the physical, mental and emotional wellness of our clients.

Benefits of Recreational Activities in Addiction Treatment

While talk therapy can be very beneficial and is an important part of treatment, it is also good to get outdoors and take part in physical activities that engage the whole person and allow for different types of expression and learning.

Recreational activities used in treatment can involve highly physical activities such as:

  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Running
  • Yoga

It can also include more leisurely activities such as:

  • Walking
  • Playing instruments
  • Singing and dancing
  • Creating or performing art
  • Hanging out in a safe and comfortable social environment

According to an article in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs on “A Holistic Approach to Substance Abuse Treatment,” patients show improved self-esteem, self-confidence and self-identity when recreational activities were used in treatment.

Physical Health

For physical types of recreational activities, such as hiking and yoga, there are the usual physical benefits that come with any type of exercise. Some types of exercise also stimulate the release of endorphins that lead to a natural high, which in turn can help the body re-balance neurotransmitters – such as dopamine – back to normal, healthy levels.

Yoga, along with meditation and other holistic activities, has also been shown to help reduce symptoms during withdrawal.

Mental & Emotional Health

Recreational activities can be a great way to relieve stress, anxiety, frustration and anger. They also allow people to reconnect with hobbies they enjoyed as a child, or discover new “healthy obsessions” that provide ongoing enjoyment and satisfaction.

Activities that emphasize mind-body-spirit integration – such as yoga, meditation and tai chi – help create a healthy relationship with oneself that is based on self-love and self-respect. This ultimately strengthens the resolve to create a new life of sobriety that includes fun and healthy activities.

When recreational activities are a group experience, they give recovering addicts a chance to bond with one another and forge healthy relationships that can last a lifetime. These social ties become very important both during and after inpatient treatment.

Relapse Prevention

One of the biggest challenges that our clients face after leaving inpatient treatment is finding new ways to fill the time – time they used to spend using drugs or drinking. By continuing the recreational activities they began in treatment, they have a safe and healthy way to combat boredom.

Graduates can also discover new social groups and forge healthy friendships when they join clubs and organizations centered around a favorite hobby or activity. This reduces the temptation to go back to hanging out with people who were part of their substance-laden past.

In short, recreational activities can be an important part of building a new life based on healthy, natural fun that meets the physical, mental, emotional and entertainment needs of people recovering from addiction.

Recreational Activities at Reflections Recovery Center

Mountains Rediscover The Joys In Nature - Reflections Recovery CenterOur treatment center strongly encourages clients to dive into healthy outdoor activities, sports and hobbies that reintroduce them to the pleasures in life outside of chemically induced highs. Over time, these become enjoyable habits that ultimately take the place of drugs or alcohol.

Types of recreational activities that our clients participate in include:

  • Wilderness hikes
  • Mountain climbing
  • Swimming (in pools and lakes)
  • Softball
  • Biking
  • Skateboarding
  • BMXing
  • Bonfires and BBQs
  • Many other fun and exhilarating outdoor activities

Northern Arizona Outings

We often go on outings into the beautiful terrain of Prescott, the Valley, and Northern Arizona. The environment and surroundings of this area offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. We are located amid the gorgeous Bradshaw Mountains and framed by the 1.25 million-acre Prescott National Forest. The temperate climate in Prescott is ideal for year-round outdoor excursions.

We also offer lower-intensity activities such as exploring the local town of Prescott, which is rich in history and culture. We may arrange visits to museums, go on rides at amusement parks and engage similar fun activities.

The town of Prescott has parks for skateboarding, multiple basketball courts, public swimming pools and other outdoor resources.

At Reflections Recovery Center, it’s our mission to help those struggling with addiction rediscover the everyday joys in life and have a good time without relying on a substance.

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Why Nutritional and Vitamin Therapy is Essential In Alcohol Detox and Alcoholism Recovery

Nutrition allows the human body to generate energy and maintain its systems. Proper nutrition is essential to everyone, but individuals attempting to recover from alcohol abuse will have a much smoother detox experience with a diet supplemented by vitamin therapy. Prolonged consumption of large quantities of alcohol has several adverse effects on the body, and poor nutrition makes the detox and recovery process more stressful and uncomfortable.

Alcohol’s Effects on the Body

To recognize how important nutrition and vitamin supplements are to alcohol abuse recovery, it’s vital to understand the effects alcohol abuse has on the human body. Symptoms will vary case by case due to individual health factors, how long alcohol abuse has continued, and how far the addiction has progressed.

Some alcoholics are so severely addicted that the bulk of the nutrients in their diet come from the alcoholic beverages they consume. When the body cannot obtain the nutrients it needs from consumed food and drink, it will start breaking down other tissues in the body. This also impacts the body’s glucose levels. Glucose, or blood sugar, is a necessary component for healthy brain functions as well as other metabolic processes.

Excessive alcohol intake can deregulate the body’s ability to control blood glucose levels. This can cause hypoglycemia (decreased blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (increased blood sugar). These conditions can be harmful, especially for individuals with medical conditions such as diabetes.

Alcohol and Digestion 

After food is consumed, the digestive system breaks it down into its smaller molecular components. The body absorbs these compounds to maintain vital systems and create energy. Alcohol prevents the efficient breakdown of food by inhibiting the production of digestive enzymes. Food may be consumed, but the body is far less capable of breaking it down into a useful form while there is alcohol in the body.

Even when food is successfully broken down, alcohol inhibits the processes the body uses to absorb the nutrients and use them. Over time, this means an alcoholic will progressively receive less and less energy from the food and alcohol they consume, depriving the body of essential nutrients at an increasingly faster pace.

Health Risks of Advanced Alcoholism 

Long-term alcohol abuse is one of the most physically damaging forms of substance abuse. Untreated alcoholism cannot only cause complications in virtually every bodily system, but it can be fatal. Some of the long-term or permanent effects of alcohol abuse include heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver from vitamin A and E deficiencies, nerve damage, and pancreatitis. Additionally, alcoholics often experience seizures due to impaired brain function, and many advanced alcoholics suffer from dehydration and malnutrition.

Wet Brain Syndrome 

An especially dangerous condition, common in advanced alcoholics, is Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, often called “wet brain.” This condition manifests when the body is deprived of vitamin B1 (thiamine) for an extended period, and hinders nervous system and brain functions.

Addiction and Nutrition 

Malnutrition is more dangerous than many realize, and it often goes unaddressed for long periods of time of time with alcoholics. When the body does not obtain the nutrients it needs to continue essential functions, the entire body begins to degrade. Essentially, the human body will begin breaking itself down to survive. Additionally, alcohol is a diuretic, and dehydration is not only dangerous, but over a long period of time, it can be seriously damaging to the body.

Alcohol itself is damaging to the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, but addictive patterns contribute to the damage as well. Most substance abusers will start neglecting self-care and other everyday activities as their addictions worsen. Eventually, the only thoughts are about where to find more alcohol. Not only does alcohol hurt the body when ingested, but the search for more alcohol also prevents the alcoholic from obtaining essential nutrition.

Vitamin Therapy 

When alcoholics seek treatment, it’s vital to address the damage that the alcohol has done to the body’s vital systems. Vitamin therapy describes treatment involving high doses of essential vitamins. This process helps the body regain essential functions. Vitamin therapy not only helps address malnutrition and dehydration and the severe issues they cause, but also helps the alcoholic by allowing them to approach the recovery process with a more solid foundation.

Addiction is deeply rooted in behavior, and while alcohol has a significant impact on physical health, the psychological battle with addiction is far more stressful and difficult. When the body and mind are deficient in essential vitamins, it becomes even harder.

The Detox Process 

Once the effects of an alcoholic’s last drink start to wane, he or she will begin experiencing withdrawal. Once the body has grown accustomed to a particular substance, it reacts negatively when that substance is no longer available – and this is withdrawal. For alcoholics, withdrawal typically entails delirium tremens, also called “DTs” or “the shakes,” and causes violent tremors. Additionally, severe anxiety, seizures, sweating, irregular heartbeat, fever, high blood pressure, hallucinations, nausea, and irritability commonly manifest during the withdrawal period.

Rebuilding the Body 

This is typically an excruciatingly painful process, and an alcoholic in withdrawal will experience intense cravings for more alcohol. With medical supervision and vitamin therapy, alcoholics can have a much easier time handling the onset of withdrawal and working through it.

The high doses of essential vitamins during treatment help jump-start the body’s essential functions. Vitamin therapy can be a valuable part of any alcoholic’s recovery and not only help the physical pains of detoxing, but also pave the way to a smoother psychological recovery with a healthier mind and body.

Though Alcohol Detox and Withdrawals Can Be Dangerous
Proper Detox Under Medical Supervision Is Safe, Painless, and a Necessary First Step in Addiction Recovery:

Removing Drug and Alcohol Toxins

How Illicit Drug Use Contributes to Heart Disease

Many illegal drugs have negative cardiovascular effects, ranging from simple abnormal heart rates to full-on heart attacks. Using such substances leads to other related problems as well, particularly when injecting. Collapsed veins and infections in blood vessels and the heart are unfortunately common. In fact, they may put users on a fast track to heart disease.

A heart disease diagnosis is actually rather broad and covers blood vessel problems as well. Numerous issues develop as a result of atherosclerosis – a condition caused by plaque on the artery walls. The more plaque, the narrower the arteries and more effort required to push blood through. Blood clots form frequently in heart disease patients and can cause other conditions, such as stroke.

Cocaine: The Perfect ‘Heart Attack Drug’

Different drugs present different levels of risk, but cocaine is infamous for its effects on the heart. The substance is available in powdered and “crack” forms. The appearance and texture of this substance changes depending on how it’s created.

Users favor the different types of cocaine for specific consumption methods: Powdered cocaine is generally snorted or dissolved in water and injected, while crack can be smoked.

How Cocaine Affects the Body

Cocaine has earned its reputation as a heart attack drug because it targets the arteries and heart. The substance acts as a stimulant, meaning that it floods the user with adrenaline. The reaction is similar to that of a frightening situation, but without the natural stimuli. Instead, the adrenaline forces an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

A common and direct effect of the adrenaline is chest pain. It’s a sign that the organ is overexerting itself and pumping blood too hard. The stress raises the pressure in the heart and arteries to dangerous levels. It also causes hardening and of the blood vessels and thicker heart muscle – both of which can directly cause a heart attack, in addition to further complications.

Studies have shown that cocaine causes significant physical changes to the heart instead of just mild alterations. Researchers studied various users and found that a 30 to 35 percent increase in aortic stiffness was simply average. They also found that cocaine users had blood pressure that was 8 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) higher than non-users and that the left ventricle wall of the heart was usually 18 percent thicker.

The Prevalence of Cocaine

Despite its danger, cocaine is one of the most popular drugs in America. It reaches people of all ages and backgrounds and has been the cause of countless medical emergencies. In fact, around 40 percent of all illicit drug-related ER visits trace back to cocaine. This equates to more than 500,000 cases of emergency cocaine treatment each year – more than double the number of cases associated with heroin.

The Other Risks of Illicit Drug Use

Using illegal drugs provides a host of threats to the body and mind in addition to heart problems. The issues compound in many cases and result in terrible reactions, hospitalization and even death. This is because most drugs directly affect the central nervous system and modify the user’s consciousness.

Drug use subjugates the entire body to negative side effects, such as:

  • Body temperature changes
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Impaired judgement
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Poisoning from drug additives
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Overdose

In addition to the short-term side effects, drug users suffer from various long-term changes. The exact effects depend on the drug, but brain damage and various cancers are most commonly experienced.

The delivery method of a drug also impacts the body’s reaction. Injecting oneself with dirty needles, for example, can leave the individual with HIV.

Other Drugs Dangerous to the Heart

Despite the fact that cocaine is the most common, it’s not the only illicit drug that causes heart issues. Amphetamines and MDMA (ecstasy) both boost a user’s heart rate and blood pressure, as well. The long- and short-term effects vary, but both have proven highly dangerous.

Seeking Help Against the Temptation

Drug addiction is dangerous. It’s a frightening condition that can erode users’ physical health while also affecting every relationship in their lives. Quitting is difficult, bordering on impossible for many people.

Those who search for professional assistance, instead of at-home remedies, have the best chance at kicking the habit, thanks to proven resources and specialized support groups. Seek professional treatment today if you find yourself in this situation.

Reflections Recovery’s Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center

What Are the Consequences of Alcohol Use as a Diabetic?

Alcoholism leads to a variety of medical issues. For diabetics, however, alcoholism exacerbates an already-compromised immune system and can lead to more serious side effects. These can be fatal depending on the amount of alcohol consumed and the length of use.

Understanding Diabetes

The pancreas creates insulin and the body uses it to control blood sugar levels. Diabetes is a disease that affects blood glucose (sugar) levels. There are two common types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, once referred to as “juvenile diabetes,” the body does not produce enough insulin, the hormone that helps the body transport glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body.

Type 1 diabetics manage their blood glucose levels through glucose monitoring, insulin therapy and diet. This type of diabetes is thought to be genetic, and it is usually diagnosed in children and young adults.

Type 2 Diabetes

In type 2 diabetes, often referred to as “adult-onset diabetes,” the body does not respond properly to the presence of insulin. This discrepancy is called insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetics don’t make enough insulin, so their blood glucose levels rise above normal. This type of diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle, including heavy drinking, and it is usually managed through pills, diet and exercise.

Staying in Control of Your Diabetes

Whether type 1 or type 2, a diabetic can live a happy, healthy and long life – but only if he or she maintains regular control of his or her blood glucose levels.

Risks of Alcohol Use as a Diabetic

Whether a person consumes alcoholic beverages quickly or slowly, the result is the same 1-2 punch to the body. Alcohol depletes the body’s vitamin supply, harms the liver, weakens the immune system and causes dehydration – all when a person’s body functions as it should, without any medical intervention.

Diabetics should avoid alcohol use because it affects their blood glucose levels and leads to other complications. Specifically, alcohol can elevate or lower blood glucose levels, depending on what and how much is consumed.

Here are several important facts diabetics should consider before reaching for that next alcoholic beverage:

Adverse Interactions With Diabetes Medications

Alcohol certainly affects diabetes medications. While each drug is different, type 2 diabetes medications such as meglitinides and sulfonylurea can lower blood glucose levels when mixed with alcohol. These medications stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin while the alcohol inhibits the liver. Such effects can combine and lead to hypoglycemia (also called an “insulin reaction” or “insulin shock”), which is a serious medical emergency.

Lower Blood Glucose Levels (Hypoglycemia)

Alcohol can decrease blood glucose levels only a few minutes after consumption. Specifically, “straight” forms of alcohol, such as liquor, can cause low blood glucose levels. Health care professionals refer to low blood glucose levels as hypoglycemia.

People often assume that an insulin reaction happens fairly quickly. This is simply not true. The effects of alcohol on blood glucose levels can last up to 12 hours.

In non-diabetics, the normal blood glucose level should be 70 to 100 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). For diabetics experiencing hypoglycemia, their blood glucose level drops well below 70 mg/dL.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

• Dizziness
• Tiredness
• Disorientation
• Heart palpitations
• Anxiety

What may feel like a “good buzz” to a diabetic could actually be hypoglycemia – and turn into a serious medical situation. If left untreated, hypoglycemia can lead to a seizure, unconsciousness or even death.

Increased Blood Glucose Levels (Hyperglycemia)

Alcohol also can increase blood glucose levels only a few minutes after consumption. Specifically, alcohol mixed with syrup-based medication can cause high blood glucose levels. Health care professionals refer to high blood glucose levels as hyperglycemia.

Diabetics experiencing hypoglycemia have a blood glucose level above 100 mg/dL.

Symptoms of hyperglycemia include:

• Tiredness
• Blurred vision
• Confusion
• Coma

People with long-term hyperglycemia can develop diabetic neuropathy (decreased sensation and blood flow to feet and toes).

Increased Weight And Risk Of Heart Disease

Alcohol contains a large amount of empty calories. Drinking alcohol can increase a person’s chance of becoming overweight. This, in turn, increases his or her chance of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease.

Diabetics Who Use Alcohol Should Seek Treatment

As a diabetic, your body needs proper care after alcohol use. Contact your physician for additional guidance on alcohol use and controlling your diabetes. If you find that you can’t break your cycle of alcohol use, you should reach out to a substance abuse treatment center and look to get admitted as soon as possible.

Arizona Alcohol Detox Center

The Importance of Exercising During Recovery from Addiction

Regaining sobriety is a journey, and it takes time for both the mind and the body to process. It’s crucial to remember that addicts are going through countless changes and adjustments while trying to get back to a normal chemical state. Regular activity during this time can help flush the drugs and toxins from the body and give the mind goals to focus on during such a challenging time for the brain.

Why Exercise Works So Well

Studies have shown multiple times that adding exercise to treatment (such as counseling and therapy) vastly strengthens the effects of the treatment. Regular activity leads to a sense of accomplishment, motivation, increased confidence and feeling stronger. That’s in addition to the actual physical benefits that make you healthier. There are several reasons why working out can help improve your recovery experience.

Training Can Replicate the High

A huge part of the effectiveness of exercise is that, in a sense, it replaces the drugs. Completing physical activity (like a brisk jog or lifting weights) releases a flood of endorphins into our bodies. These are the same hormones that drug usage affects. Your brain experiences a rush of euphoria and relaxation that mimics the feeling of drugs, without any of the harmful side effects (hence the term “runner’s high”). The feeling is less intense than the effects actual drugs, but it is still a far more pleasurable release than doing nothing at all.

It Fights Unpleasant Symptoms

Detoxification is a challenge, regardless of the drug, and addicts are left not only battling the emotional issues of letting go of a drug, but also the physical ones. Sometimes they’re as minor as a headache, but in other cases, addicts can suffer anxiety, depression, or even weight gain. Regular exercise fights against these feelings.

It Works as an Emotional Outlet

Many people use drugs when they’re experiencing emotional distress, whether it’s anger, fear, loneliness, sadness, or joy. Taking up a physical hobby provides an outlet for those emotions. These kinds of activities are individualized — some may find that running is a perfect outlet, and others may practice yoga for mental and physical control. Still, others will find that a brisk walk creates inner peace.

It Builds Self-Confidence

As exercise transforms the body, it will begin to work on the mind as well. Each time a new personal record is reached or there’s an improvement in physique or ability, it’ll be inspiring. This new confidence can help motivate future treatment, and it can help addicts cope with life in more positive ways, including daily interactions. With more confidence, addicts can trust the recovery process — which will lead to success.

It Can Help Others

Addiction is something that doesn’t just affect one person. When someone’s life is being controlled by a substance, his or her entire family will feel it too. With exercise as a way to self-manage, recovering addicts can be a positive influence on their loved ones. These activities can include family and friends, encouraging a rebuilding of damaged relationships.

Faster Healing and Recovery

Using drugs interrupts processes within the body and skews natural cycles. Exercising will help establish more normalcy within you; it’s also a big part of building a healthy sleep schedule since it helps you feel tired enough to rest. The more consistent and replenishing your sleep is, the faster your body will be able to recover from the drug or alcohol damage.

Exercise for Home Recovery

Even months after treatment, staying active is beneficial. There are many options that don’t involve any equipment or gym memberships, so anyone can use them. Continuing with an exercise regimen can decrease an addict’s chance of relapse, as it helps the head and the heart.

Exercising is a wonderful choice for everyone, but it’s especially helpful for those who are overcoming an addiction. If you or a loved one is considering admission into a treatment facility, look for one that has the equipment and space for proper exercise and movement. Addiction hurts the mind and the body; engaging the body during and after treatment can make a recovering addict’s journey much less difficult.

Outpatient Addiction Treatment Center Offering Convenience