Nov 27

Addressing Nutrition In Addiction Treatment

There are many approaches available in addiction treatment and a holistic approach is the most well-rounded.  Inside the framework of whole person addiction treatment, the importance of good nutrition cannot be overlooked. Many physical complications of addiction can be due to the consequences of inadequate nutrition.
When drugs replace healthy, balanced eating and nutrition in a person’s diet, one becomes malnourished. Consuming little, if any, essential nutrients like proteins, vitamins, fats and minerals can cause a person’s health to deteriorate quickly. Proteins, for instance, are building blocks in the body. People need proteins to maintain cells, tissues, blood and organs. An addict usually is lacking in these proteins, inhibiting the body’s ability to grow and thrive.
Essential vitamins and minerals play crucial roles in the body’s health, including cell maintenance, metabolism and wound healing. In drug addiction, the body experiences greater difficulty absorbing these important vitamins and normal body functions are then disrupted. Over time, addiction and inadequate nutrition wear away at the body decreasing its natural immunity to fight disease and serious health problems may develop like pancreatitis, neurological issues, cardiac complications, stomach ulcers and increased risk of cancer.
The human body is resilient and even those who have severely abused their bodies through drug abuse and resultant poor nutrition can show great progress towards healing and recovery with a nutritional approach. Seeking professional medical help should be the first step towards recovery and this necessitates an addicion treatment program that addresses nutritional deficiencies. Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center helps guide those recovering from addiction in finding the best diet for their recovery and healing. Just as poor nutrition can exasperate complications of chronic addiction, good nutrition can go a long way towards rebuilding health and reversing the damage before it becomes permanent.

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Nov 20

Addiction & Personality Disorders


Understanding addiction as a neurological disease that takes away the self-control one has over their  own behavior helps to differentiate between addictive behavior and native personality traits. An addict’s character may become extremely distorted when they are under the influence of drugs.  Once sobriety is established, the personality then reverts back to individual baseline behavior.
A very high percentage of those with personality disorders also suffered from drug and alcohol abuse at some period during their lives. Up to 77 percent of alcoholics and addicts also met the criteria for a personality disorder. The most frequent observed character issues found in substance abusers were antisocial and borderline personality disorders.
However, these  personality disorders are only two out of a dozen or so outlined by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM outlines a personality disorder as ‘an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture; is pervasive and inflexible; has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood; is stable over time and leads to distress or impairment.’ Personality types can also consist of schizoid, paranoid, melodramatic, self-absorbed, reliant, avoidant, obsessive compulsive and others. When someone experiences addiction as well as a personality disorder they are thought to have a ‘dual diagnosis‘.
Treatment of addiction with comorbid personality disorders is complicated. Recent treatments and methods have been developed, though they are only available at highly qualified facilities such as Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center. In these cases, unfavorable outcomes and consequences will be certain if there is a delayed response in seeking addiction treatment.
Symptoms of repressed mental illness can ignite substance use in an attempt to self-medicate when there is an emotional state of hopelessness.  Addictive behaviors in turn will only worsen that state of hopelessness. Consequently, this is the reason  dual diagnosis patients and people with personality disorders are most in danger for suicide attempts.
Most people who are active in their addiction present indications of personality disorders. Ensuring individual safety in a secure and comfortable setting followed by a full psychiatric evaluation is required before a dual diagnosis can be determined.  Only after this is done can focused, effective treatment begin to address the issues and treatunderlying problems in a fitting manner.

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Nov 16

Art Therapy



Art therapy, though fairly new as a therapeutic technique, can be traced back many centuries in various cultures, and has found a home in substance abuse recovery. It seeks to tap into one’s creative side and has been found to have a host of advantages. Clients may not find it easy to share their inner most feelings. Providing a  medium like art therapy may make it easier for them to share and let their counselor in to begin to help them.
Being responsible for creating and completing various creative tasks during art therapy can be very good for one’s self-esteem.  Low self-esteem is a common risk factor for substance abuse, so art therapy would directly help to address that. Pleasant thoughts and memories may occur during the process, assisting in the happiness and contentment that may be garnered from the experience.
Exploring the inner workings of one’s psyche via creative means can bring forth many revelations. Some may be hard to face. However, ignorance does not always equal bliss, so using the images and emotions that come up during the process can help provide new directions to explore with your counselor.
Art therapy is a pure, raw path to addressing mental and emotional distress, especially feelings that fuel addictive behaviors. There are many options for treatment available. Ensure that you explore them all to find the one most tailored to your needs.

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Nov 10

Is A Sober Coach Right For You?


For those who have had difficulty staying sober in the past, relapse is sometimes expected after addiction treatment. This is not meant to be discouraging, but as addiction is a chronic disease, it is hard to treat and may take some time to adjust to a sober lifestyle. Despite the rate of relapse after treatment being as high as up to 60 percent, you do not have to be a statistic. Working with a sober coach may be the key to success in recovery for those who have experienced prior difficulty maintaining their sobriety.
A sober coach is aware of the variety of barriers addicts face in redefining their life script, participating in healthy surroundings, and forming new, positive alliances in their community. These can be internal barriers such as emotional, spiritual, physical or motivational issues. There may also be external barriers that may interfere with an addict’s ability to address their own needs in relation to transportation, nutrition, housing, work, and socialization.
Working directly with the client and treatment team, a sober coach can help develop a set of specialized outcome goals designed to overcome obstacles. The Sober Coach is also a guide utilizing a vast working knowledge of resources within the community to help, not only navigate the barriers to abstinence, but remove them using a skill set gained through extensive personal experience while teaching by example. The Sober Coach will help a client define exactly what lengths they are willing to go to protect their investment in themselves.
Before being discharged from rehab, be sure to research all the options available to you with your treatment team. Develop a plan of action and stick to it. A sober coach, though unlicensed, is prepared to assist with your recovery by helping you to alter your mindset, and present your sobriety as manageable. They may also be utilized to help you set goals and ensure accountability.
There may be a hard road ahead, but once you’re ready to commit, working with a sober coach can help make transition to recovery after treatment much smoother. A sober coach interfaces with every aspect of your treatment team and your recovery network to help ensure your success.  Come and meet your new sober coach today at Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center!

Nov 04

Addict, Sociopath or Both?


A person in the grip of addiction may display several features which closely mirror that of a sociopath.  However, without achieving abstinence first, it may be hard to sort out whether or not the condition is primary or symptomatic of addiction.  Persistent and sometimes complex dishonesty is one of the primary features of the condition.  While it may seem that being a sociopath would imply that these individuals are not social, that is not the case.  Sociopathic or antisocial personalities use their exceptional social skills against society or normal socialization, in the form of manipulation, intimidation and control.  People around them are simply a means to an end.  This includes friends, loved ones and family members.  They may use others for their own personal entertainment, exhibit a history of hostility or violence and participate in high risk behaviors such as abusing drugs and alcohol.
Substance abuse is often one of the high-risk behaviors associated with most personality disorders.  This may be an attempt by the individual to seek refuge from their symptoms. The specific reasons why an individual with sociopathy is abusing drugs or alcohol can best be determined in treatment but the most important thing is that they treat their problems.
A primary feature seen in a sociopath’s behavior is a lack of respect or concern for the safety of others.  An addict or alcoholic often shows no empathy for others, and may display symptoms such as irritability, agitation, manipulation and control or a dereliction of personal responsibility.  Because the behavior of someone in active addiction so closely mirrors that of the sociopath,  it may be difficult to directly see the difference between the two sets of attributes. Is the family being lied to and neglected because drugs are being abused or is it something deeper and more primary?
It is important to understand that addictions and issues like antisocial personality disorder are treatable to a certain extent. When a person seeks treatment with both or either of these disorders, the clinical staff at the facility will use a variety of methodologies, including accurate basement measures and testing, to determine the best protocol.  This will aid the clinicians in developing a specialized and comprehensive outcome-based treatment plan.
There are various treatments available for sociopaths and those with other personality disorders. The most common of which is psychotherapy.  While medications such as mood stabilizers are sometimes used, people who received cognitive behavioral therapy as a treatment for antisocial disorders generally showed positive results.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a short-term treatment, which lasts several weeks, however individual needs may dictate more comprehensive, longer term measures.
Due to the fact that personality disorders can be both persistent and severe, it is not uncommon for the affect individual to question the need for treatment in the first place.  This denial is the hallmark of addiction and can be particularly strong in an individual with a person with sociopathic traits. The process of treatment itself can take up to six months or a year to achieve results.  Ultimately, the success of any program of recovery from psychological conditions, drug abuse, or alcoholism, will depend on a sincere desire and earnest effort on the part of the individual to get well.
Over a long enough timeline without treatment, the combination of sociopathic personality traits and active addiction will likely lead to legal consequences. Treatment may not necessary be voluntary in order to be effective either.  Prisons, which are full of both addicts and sociopaths, have long benefited from the establishment of rehabilitation programs and 12-step groups. The outcomes tend to be beneficial even in cases where there was some degree of coercion, like a reduced or suspended sentence.

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Oct 31

Gaming Addiction


Human beings respond to a reward system.  In essence, this system helps to cement positive behavior with pleasurable stimuli and discourage adverse behavior with negative reinforcement. At the center of the reward system is the idea of motivation. Motivation may be intrinsic, that is, inherently pleasing or extrinsic which requires conditioning and learned actions. These motivations control the various decisions we make in life from eating to taking drugs to gaming.
It would appear on the surface that the rewarding nature of gaming is understood simply as a finite matter of wins and losses. Howerver, the greater the incentives, the more motivation one has to continue playing. Monetize game play and it puts a twist on the gaming world by upping the ante on winners and losers. The act of betting has to do with beating the odds and can impart upon people of a sense of superiority that reinforces the impulse to play and promise of a greater positive reward.
Financial loss, however does not always limit the act of playing, often quite the opposite. Instead losing may increase the incentive to play in order to once again beat the odds and the promise of even greater positive reward, psychologically and/or monetarily.  Even with video gaming where money is not involved, players can be motivated by ‘virtual’ rewards encouraging continued play. This behavior can indicate a dangerous turn of events behaviorially, perhaps signalling the beginning of reward based impulsive behaviors in a person which are the hallmark of addictive thinking patterns .
While playing games may be fun, be it video gaming, gambling or otherwise, it is important to stay aware of one’s motivation to ensure that habits do not form which may become harmful and debilitating.  A loss of control is at the heart of most addictive or compulsive behaviors.  Once it becomes difficult to stop engaging in a pattern of behavior that begins to develop consequences in one’s life, it may be time to pause, take a look at the situation and reach out for help if necessary.

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Oct 24

Kicking Meth


While the physical symptoms of meth withdrawal are not as bad as the symptoms associated with quitting other types of drugs, it’s not fun either. Crystal methamphetamine is not usually considered a strongly physically addictive drug, common withdrawal symptoms may still include restlessness, fatigue, irregular sleep schedule, and hunger.
One may have some intense psychological withdrawal symptoms when coming off meth. In fact, it is such symptoms that make quitting meth more difficult than you might think. The severity of symptoms will depend on factors such as how long you were using meth, how much you used every day and whether or not you have any medical conditions.
Following your last dose of meth, the substance usually passes through your system in around two days or so. One thing meth does is raise dopamine levels in the brain, which makes you experience a pleasurable a feeling. At the same time, the drug destroys dopamine receptors in the brain. Coming off of stimulant drugs can make some users feel depression and occasionally experience a condition called anhedonia. This is a condition in which someone cannot feel pleasure at all. Other withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, paranoia, suicidal thoughts, psychosis, and nightmares.
Experts state that the best way to stop using drugs is to enter a detox center, as such a center can provide a great deal of support as you go through withdrawal. A detox center can also evaluate the need for medicine if necessary, for other medical conditions. It will take a few weeks or months before the chemistry of the brain improves, but it is possible to make a full recovery.
Along with detox, it is suggested that you seek supportive help from a counselor, an intensive outpatient program, and a 12 step program in order to fully recover from meth addiction and to stay clean. With support, a desire to stay clean and some work, a full recovery is certainly possible. If you’re ready to kick meth, contact Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center for help today.

Oct 17

Eating Disorder & Addiction Treatment

Addictions and eating disorders are often co-occurring. Sometimes food is the thing one may feel most control over during periods of anxiousness and vulnerability in recovery from alcohol and other drugs. Eating disorders and body image issues which were never present or obvious in the past can also develop while in rehab. As maladaptive behaviors in relation to substance abuse are uncovered and discarded, new coping strategies, such as stringent dieting, compulsive overeating, or binging and purging may take their place.
While many of those who struggling with eating disorders and body image issues are women, it can be even more difficult for the minority of men facing some of the same issues to seek help. The process of recovery from eating disorder and body image issues may take some time. New and different coping styles must be developed which may include learning to tolerate new and painful emotions, acceptance of body shape or size, as well as paying attention to when one is actually hungry or full.
Most times, eating disorders are identified during evaluation when a person is just entering a treatment program during initial intake and evaluation. Still other times these issues may come to light through the skilled observation of therapists and clinical staff at a rehabilitation facility. An individual’s eating habits may be observed or staff may notice hearing negative comments about the food at the facility or about body image in particular. Individual and group sessions with the client may then focus on conversation that centers on body image. Learning to see one’s self in a more positive light, while avoiding negative self-talk about the body or food, is a start. The adoption of new, healthier coping strategies and attitudes can become key to recovery from eating disorders.
As in other addictions, causal factors which may lead to the formation of eating disorders and body image issues can be genetic, related to impulse control disturbances, perfectionism and control issues, childhood trauma and sexual abuse. Television and media may also play a role in a culture where many people are afraid of being perceived as ‘fat’. Misguided but well-intentioned family members may place focus or frequently comment on a child’s body in the context of promoting good health or eating habits. Many parts of the country have recovery groups for eating disorders, such as Overeaters Anonymous (O.A.), which focuses on issues like binge eating, anorexia, and/or bulimia. If you suspect that you may be developing an eating disorder, in addition to substance abuse problems, you’d be wise to pick a treatment facility that can treat both disorders.

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Oct 07

Checking Into Rehab


Accepting help and getting treatment for addiction by entering rehab is the first of many steps that you will need to take towards a sober and healthy life. Simply agreeing to start rehab doesn’t mean that your struggles will end there. The actual definition of rehabilitation is ‘the restoration of someone to a useful place in society.’ This is a goal that must be worked towards and maintained throughout the rest of one’s life.
As with anything worthwhile, sobriety isn’t easily obtained. For every high there must be a low, and rehab is a place designed to help you get through the lows and come out clean on the other side. It requires a full commitment towards recovery, and it’s a place where trained professionals and ex-addicts who have been through the trenches themselves can guide you, push you, and help you become the person you are meant to be.
Struggles with addiction can occur at any time in one’s life. It’s never too late to seek help for substance abuse issues. Once a person commits to checking in to rehab, it’s a pledge that will alter their entire lifestyle. Bear in mind that the world is not going to change, temptations aren’t going away and society isn’t going to sober up all around us. You are soley responsible for your life and your choices from now on.
For many people the thought of burdening themselves or family with debt prevents them from taking the step into rehab. However, many rehab facilities such as Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center accept insurance and are dedicated to working with you beforehand to establish flexible payment options that fit your individual needs. As no treatment program is a one-size-fits-all solution for living, getting the help that you need can in fact be tailored for you by choosing the facility.

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Sep 30

The Dry Drunk


Long-term recovery requires some of the most diligent work of our lives. In addition to not picking up a drink or a drug, we regularly make efforts to improve ourselves. This can seem like a daunting task. One must have faith that if he or she sticks with their program of recovery, they will find peace in sobriety. Those who don’t have that kind of faith in the steps may be able to avoid drugs and alcohol, but they might also not make much progress on deeper levels. This is what is sometimes referred to as a ‘dry drunk’.
A dry drunk may be a person who has given up mind-altering substances but has made no effort to create positive changes on an emotional or behavioral level. The term may also refer to someone who has started a 12-step program but is regressing in recovery. Without working the steps, attending meetings and doing everything possible to address the underlying causes of addiction, we can remain abstinent but still live in the same state of misery as when we were using.
The symptomology of a dry drunk may manifest in a number of ways, including poor coping skills and a lack of interest in learning how to deal with life as it is rather than how one thinks it should be. One may romanticize using, feel self-pity, find new vices to abuse or display impulsive behaviors.  They may also act superior to others or overreact to normal situations.
In a general sense, the dry drunk lives in a world of negativity and feels unfulfilled in life. Avoiding or emerging from a dry drunk a requires work on oneself through a 12-step program and the develop a network of supportive friends who keep us honest and accountable. Feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled is a sign that something is not quite right in recovery, however it is not a sign that one should give up.

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