What Puts Someone At Risk For Addiction?

Addiction Treatment Malibu

Although the use of alcohol and drugs among young people is widespread, only a relatively small percentage of people who try drugs develops addiction.  In many cases it can be difficult to identify particular markers that may lead to increased substance abuse risk and consequent addiction in adult life.  There are however, many factors we can point to that may predispose someone to becoming an addict.
Addiction can be at least partially attributed to genetic factors. Children may inherit certain factors that directly or indirectly, like temperament or psychiatric disorders, put them at risk for a predisposition towards substance abuse and addiction.  Vulnerability factors for addiction may include things like abnormal brain function, impulsivity and hyperactivity.  These vulnerabilities point to the special importance of genetic and biological factors in addiction.
Individual temperament and personality may also increase susceptibility to addiction. Genetic factors alone are neither necessary nor sufficient to produce addiction.  Environmental factors can put certain individuals at higher risk for developing addiction as well.  However, individuals with genetic vulnerabilities tend to result in a higher rate of substance abuse when the environmental factors are present as well.
These factors include temperament and personality, anxiety, mood disorders, as well as attitudes and beliefs. There is also evidence that a number of characteristics such as early childhood aggressive behavior, impulsivity and attention deficit disorders can put a person at risk for substance abuse.
Studies have also shown that early adolescent substance abuse and addiction directly correlated with character traits emerging as early as pre-school. Teens who abused substances seem to have been those that had a greater degree of difficulty of adapting to change during childhood.  As early as age seven, these children were shown to already be incapable of building stable friendships and were generally more socially insecure than their peers.  Among boys, aggressive behavior during this period of development has also been shown to be a clear indicator of later adolescent substance abuse.
The presence of a mental disorder, particularly anxiety and mood disorders, are also important predictors of adolescent and adult addiction.  For example, a clear relationship exists between anxiety in childhood and subsequent substance abuse.  It has been proven that behavior or personality disorders, such as antisocial personality disorder, correlate strongly with later alcoholism and drug abuse as well.
Familial factors like marital problems, family conflicts and violence also influenced the vulnerability of young people towards later substance abuse. Parents or siblings, particularly older siblings that abuse drugs or alcohol, also influence the risk factor for a young person to develop a dependency later in life. This can take place either through observed example or directly by promotion.  In turn, this can affect the types of people children choose as their peers, as they may also tend to choose friends who are more likely to experiment with drugs/alcohol.
There are a number of treatment programs available for people beginning to develop problems with substance abuse.  Choose wisely.  Oceanside Malibu Addiction Treatment Center offers a structured environment that provides our clients with the best opportunity to build a solid foundation for their recovery.

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Identifying Drug Addiction

Malibu Addiction Treatment

Why is addiction so rampant?  The illness of addiction is cunning, baffling & powerful.  The process of drug addiction can be so subtle, that by the time one hits the final stages of addiction, it may be hard to pinpoint at what point exactly, you got there.
Once drug use begins, the user maintains access to the substance and begins to use it more frequently as a positive reward system is set in place. The main goal is to regain the positive experience felt the first time drug use began. While this usage may be controlled at first, eventually it’s not. The rate of usage will increase proportionally with a newly forming tolerance. This begins drug addiction.  In a sense, drug use becomes a new hobby or obsession and begins to manifest itself in different aspects of a person’s life. Signs might include unexplainable change of temperament, mood, personality or habits, coupled with increased secrecy around behaviors.
Putting powerful drugs into one’s body causes chemical changes in the brain, which in turn alters normal functioning. Given time & increasing usage, the drug becomes a coping strategy, especially during stressful situations. This pattern is then set or hard-wired into the brain & body.  Drug addiction is a certainty when, after varying amounts of time without the substance or between periods of using, the brain & body experiences withdrawal symptoms. Nausea, insomnia, depression, and headaches are common. Once this begins and the drug is not presently available, obsession with the substance becomes a pattern as well. At this point, drug use usually intensifies in an effort to avoid withdrawal symptoms and mollify obsession.
The phenomenon of craving begins once addiction has taken hold. An individual with drug addiction may become irritable and start acting out in all sorts of ways, many quite alarming. Cravings can start to dominate thoughts, making it more difficult to concentrate and function.  At this point, a lot of time and energy of all sorts, focuses on the process or rituals surrounding gaining access to and using drugs.
Addiction is an illness which affects a person physiologically, psychologically and spiritually.  Whether subtle or overt, drug addiction can wreak havoc in all areas of a person’s life. In order to fully grasp an illness or disorder such as this, it is important to be armed with a few basic facts and then take action.

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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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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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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!

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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