What Is Harm Reduction?

Harm Reduction Oceanside Malibu Treatment

Harm reduction is an approach to treating addiction that focuses on keeping addicts safe and minimizing death, disease and injury associated with higher risk addictive behavior, while recognizing that the behavior may continue despite the risks. At the conceptual level, harm reduction maintains a value neutral and humanistic view of drug use and the drug user. It focuses on the harms from drug use rather than on the use itself. It does not insist on or object to abstinence and acknowledges the active role of the drug user in harm reduction programs.

At the practical level, the aim of harm reduction is to reduce the more immediate harmful consequences of drug use through pragmatic, realistic and low threshold approaches. Examples of the more widely known harm reduction strategies are needle exchange programs, methadone maintenance treatment, outreach and education programs for high risk populations, law enforcement cooperation, medical prescription of suboxone and other drugs and supervised use facilities.

There are many reasons why people engage in higher risk behavior and not all people are able to make the immediate changes necessary to refrain from such behaviors. This approach offers a set of non-judgmental policies and programs which aim to provide and/or enhance skills, knowledge, resources and support that people need to live safer, healthier lives. It encourages people to build strengths and to gain a sense of confidence.

Harm reduction can help move a person from a state of chaos to a state of control over their own life and health. On average, abstinence is the most feasible way to reduce harm. Interventions that aim for abstinence and for safer drug use both have a place within harm reduction. The key is to balance abstinence-based programs with those that reduce harm for people who continue to use drugs.

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Family Roles That Support Addiction


Oceanside Malibu_Addiction Family Roles

Nothing exists in a vacuum, in order for addiction to grow and thrive within a family system it takes a village.  Everyone plays a part whether they know it or not. Here are some of the roles people may unwittingly play in enabling an addict to thrive and the feelings they serve to suppress:

The Addict:  The person with the addiction is the center, and though the key to alcohol and drug addiction recovery, not necessarily the most important in family recovery. The “world” revolves around this person, causing the addict to become the center of attention.  As the roles are defined, the others unconsciously take on the rest of the roles to complete the balance after the problem has been introduced.

The Hero:  The Hero is the one who needs to make the family, and role players, look good.  They ignore the problem and present things in a positive manner as if the roles within the family did not exist. The Hero is the perfectionist.  If they overcome this role they can play an important part in the addiction recovery process. The underlying feelings are fear, guilt and shame.

The Mascot:  The Mascot’s role is that of the jester. They will often make inappropriate jokes about the those involved. Though they do bring humor to the family roles, it is often harmful humor, and they sometimes hinder addiction recovery.  The underlying feelings are embarrassment, shame and anger. The Lost Child:  The Lost Child is the silent, “out of the way” family member, and will never mention alcohol or recovery. They are quiet and reserved, careful to not make problems. The Lost Child gives up self needs and makes efforts to avoid any conversation regarding the underlying roles. The underlying feelings are guilt, loneliness, neglect and anger.

The Scapegoat:  The Scapegoat often acts out in front of others. They will rebel, make noise, and divert attention from the person who is addicted and their need for help in addiction recovery. The Scapegoat covers or draws attention away from the real problem. The underlying feelings are shame, guilt and emptiness. The Caretaker:  The Caretaker makes all the other roles possible. They try to keep everyone happy and the family in balance, void of the issue. They make excuses for all behaviors and actions, and never mention addiction recovery or getting help. The Caretaker presents a situation without problems to the public.  The underlying feelings are inadequacy, fear and helplessness.

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Treatment For Opioid Addiction

Oceanside Treating Opiod Addict

Opioids are оnе оf thе world’s оldеѕt addictive drugs, ѕurраѕѕеd only bу аlсоhоl іn tеrmѕ оf hоw lоng humаnѕ hаvе uѕеd thе ѕubѕtаnсеѕ.  Thеіr роwеrful ability tо mіtіgаtе pain аnd tо make lіfе ѕееm less stressful comes at a tеrrіfуіng рrісе: an opiod аddісtіоn thаt most people саn’t ѕtор wіth their оwn will. The mоѕt сhаllеngіng аѕресt in treating addiction is taking thе fіrѕt ѕtер оf recognizing thаt thеrе is a рrоblеm. 

Like many other drugѕ, opioids аrе subtle in thе wау thаt they ѕlоwlу fоrсе thе bоdу tо become рhуѕісаllу dependent uроn thеm. Thаt’ѕ why realizing thаt you or уоur lоvеd one has a рrоblеm wіth аddісtіоn is аlwауѕ thе fіrѕt step. Some соmmоn ѕіgnѕ of оріоіd аddісtіоn аrе:  Shaking, anxiety or nеrvоuѕnеѕѕ whеn opioids аrе unаvаіlаblе.  A profound іrrіtаbіlіtу thаt рrеvеntѕ routine ѕосіаl funсtіоnѕ.  Prоblеmѕ mаіntаіnіng a steady rеlаtіоnѕhір or job.  Day-and-night сhаngеѕ in bеhаvіоr. Dерrеѕѕіоn. A lасk of іntеrеѕt іn dоіng аnуthіng.

Fоr many реорlе, seeking hеlр іѕ еvеn harder thаn rесоgnіzіng thаt thеу hаvе a рrоblеm wіth аn аddісtіоn.  It requires themtо ѕhіnе a lіght оn their problem so thаt they can begin thе long рrосеѕѕ of getting the hеlр thеу nееd. If you оr уоur lоvеd оnе is atrisk for harm due tо opioid uѕе, thеn іt’ѕ іmроrtаnt thаt уоu immediately ѕееk hеlр.  Sееk оut a program that wіll specifically hеlр уоu еffесtіvеlу treat уоur оріоіd addiction. 

Dеtоxіfісаtіоn іѕ thе next step in trеаtіng оріоіd аddісtіоn. Thе реrѕоn who іѕ addicted to оріоіdѕ muѕt bе сlоѕеlу mоnіtоrеd bу mеdісаl реrѕоnnеl іn a controlled environment while the body’s chemical dependency оn оріоіdѕ is brоkеn аnd any rеmаіnіng оріоіdѕ are cleaned out of the bоdу.  A treatment center with a detox program is essential.

When уоu оr your lоvеd one іѕ fіnаllу ready tо begin down thе lоng road оf rесоvеrіng frоm opioid аddісtіоn, thеn іt’ѕ time tоget рrоfеѕѕіоnаl help.  Choose a facility with the clinical expertise and experience in treating opiod addiction. Contact Oceanside tоdау.

Salt Water Therapy

Salt Water Therapy

Sea air & salt water are charged with healthy negative ions that builds our body’s capacity to absorb more oxygen. The use of modern technology exposes us to unhealthy free radicals which erodes our body’s natural energy, but when we are by the sea, we feel energized and relaxed at the same time.  People with sleep disorders are usually asked to be around the sea as often as possible because it induces good sleep. Even walking barefoot on sand neutralizes the impact of free radicals in our body as sand contains minerals required by humans. This induces favorable physiological changes that promote good health, boosts our immune system, reduces inflammation and enhances circulation.  Playing in the sand & salt water is highly beneficial for children as it stretches their imagination, gives them a medium to artistically express themselves, promotes cognitive development and enhances their creativity skills.

Seawater is useful in more ways than one, it is used in modern medicine on a large scale.  Salt water and our blood plasma are 98% identical. Our blood has an extra molecule of iron whereas seawater has an extra molecule of magnesium, and apart from this all the molecules are identical. When immersed in warm saltwater the body absorbs the minerals it needs through the skin. Among the many minerals found in the sea is iodine which helps the body fight infection while boosting thyroid function.  Seawater increases elasticity of skin and also improves circulation, helping the body to carry blood to all its vital organs.  Salt water is the cure for several diseases like asthma, osteoporosis, depression, skin diseases like dermatitis, eczema, post pregnancy disorders and fatal infections.
Salt Water Therapy is a therapeutic use of the seawater, its climate, and marine products like algae, seaweed, and alluvial mud. Therapists around the world encourage using seawater as an alternative medicine therapy to treat eczema and psoriasis, joint problems, arthritis, poor circulation, immobility and post-operative conditions.  Swimming in the sea also impacts your muscles and nerve cells – it increases blood circulation and is a great boost to your emotional health.  Along with multiple other benefits, swimming in the sea can add years to your life.  Oceans & salt water can bring a mental shift in the way we perceive our lives; teaching us about calmness, depth, intensity, harmony and open-mindedness.

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How What You Think Affects What You Do

Thinking and Behavior_Oceanside Malibu

Lots of attention has been paid to the physical factors that influence
addiction such as tolerance and withdrawal effects. Far less attention
has been devoted to understanding the psychological influences that
get people stuck. Here is a discussion of some of the most common factors
that can keep people stuck in addictive behavior.

Disturbing, confusing, troubling events occur to everyone in the
course of living, even those who have had relatively protected lives.
Let’s think of a traumatic event as one whose memory continues
to be troubling even though the event is long finished. Just recalling
the event triggers painful emotions that affect thinking and behavior.
Life begins to go off track and the person is stuck in pain and despair.
Addictive behavior often begins as the solution to the hurt. When the
painful memories are neutralized by effective psychological treatment,
energy is released that automatically fuels positive behavior change.

The human mind, because it is protective, will remember all the
details of a disturbing event and be on the alert for any detail that
looks similar. The problem is that what is noticed as similar is
perceived as the same. This explains why the firecracker outside
causes the decorated Army combat veteran to dive behind the couch
shaking with fear. Even though this similar-same confusion operates
on a subconscious level it can be corrected with effective treatment.

Painful emotions are often the legacy of traumatic experiences.
Anger, grief, fear and guilt consume huge amounts of energy and
drain a person of enthusiasm and motivation. These emotions are
almost always worse than useless and contribute in a major way
to stuckness. Although many people may not realize it, painful
emotions can be eliminated rapidly with effective treatment.

How we think about who we really are is a big deal. A negative
identity almost always contributes to unwanted behavior. Traumatic
events often lead to a distorted and negative perceived identity,
the person’s takeaway being ‘I’m just a worthless piece of crap’ or
something similar. When behavior is confused with identity positive
change becomes difficult or even impossible. Even experiences
intended to be therapeutic can cause harmful distortions in perceived
identity. For example, the time honored requirement to own the
behavior and state ‘I am an addict’can have disastrous unintended
consequences. The key phrase is of course ‘I am’. Identity is usually
perceived as unchanging and permanent. So if one ‘is’ something,
how does one not be it? Confusing identity with behavior is a huge
contributor to being stuck.

Many addicts get stuck in some area of life. The human mind, especially
the more primitive subconscious mind, doesn’t deal well with negation.
It’s sort of like asking your server in a restaurant to not bring you
chicken. It’s a good start but needs to be followed with what you do want.
Speaking and thinking only in negation keeps people stuck.

The only animal on the planet that attaches meaning to events is the
human animal. We’re really good at it and we do it all the time. When
the meaning is positive there’s usually no problem. But when the
meaning is negative it can be a big problem that causes even more
painful emotion. The meaning the human mind attaches to events is,
of course, a major source of false beliefs.

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Unhealthy Eating Habits & Addiction

Malibu Food Addiction Treatment


Any of us can be affected by unhealthy eating habits.  Making things worse, we must eat to live. While food addiction makes us feel that we live to eat, there are ways to break free from food addiction. The first step is to acknowledge that a problem exists. We also need to understand that food addiction is just like any other addiction: cigarettes, drugs and alcohol, etc. While moderation is the key here, it is also the problem faced in most addictions.  For those who suffer from food addiction, an all or nothing approach tips the balance into deeper addictive patterns. All or nothing thinking is a hallmark of addictive behavior regardless of the addiction.

Trigger foods can be those foods which are highly processed or refined: potato chips, candy, cookies, ice cream, chips, and the like. If you find it hard to stop eating these foods and feel a loss of control on a regular basis, you may be beginning to struggle with food addiction. These types of processed foods are so addictive because they are loaded with refined starches, sugars, fats and chemicals that our bodies cannot process well. These products deliver chemicals that affect the brain in much the same way as cigarettes, drugs or alcohol. The resulting toxification that comes from over ingesting these types of chemicals can leave a food addict feeling sick, yet coming back for more.

Food addicts often have low self-esteem and use food to stuff emotions. Therefore, an important part of dealing with food addiction is to also work with self-esteem and connect with the underlying emotions. In addition, many food addicts have a general feeling of unworthiness. It is very important to recognize, acknowledge and address the emotions behind these feelings. This awareness can be a powerful tool that can help aid recovery from food addiction. Connecting with and identifying the feelings present just prior to or during a moment when one may reach for trigger foods may help prevent self-sabotage.

It can seem perfectly natural to take comfort in food.  Many cultures celebrate around food and often times our eating habits can be strongly influenced by the families we grow up in. Food can also become the one thing someone can control, particularly if raised in a traumatic, chaotic or dysfunctional environment. Taking refuge in or rewarding oneself with an overindulgence of ice cream, fast food, chips and the like, becomes a way to both disassociate and self-soothe when faced with even nuanced feelings of unworthiness. While the resulting effect may be immediate to blunt emotional disturbances, the end result often leaves the food addict feeling sick, shameful and empty. This may be a cycle, but it’s not a prison, you can free yourself.

Like all addictions, healing from food addiction is an ongoing process, recovery is a work in progress, and perfection is rarely the aim. There are free support groups such as Overeaters Anonymous (OA), Food Addicts Anonymous (FA), treatment centers, individual therapy with specialists in eating disorders, nutritionists, group therapy, many books and literature on the internet which can help guide a person who is struggling alone with food addiction on their path from isolation to recovery.

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