Treating The Person, Not Just The Addiction

whole person treatment program

The whole person treatment approach to substance abuse recovery focuses on the balance of the spirit, mind, and body in order to achieve a healthy state of being.  Oceanside Malibu Addiction Treatment Center offers various treatment approaches to help guide individuals or couples towards tailoring a unique treatment plan designed for healthier, more balanced outcomes in their lives.

Throughout the course of recovery, an addict or alcoholic may encounter challenges beyond just dependency on a particular substance. A whole person treatment approach may guide a person towards better coping skills, accelerated healing, and a healthier outlook. A whole person treatment approach may also help to improve sleeping patterns, elevate mood, boost physical immunity, and reduce stress or anxiety.

The benefits of physical exercise in addiction recovery cannot be overstated.  Exercise can release endorphins in the body. This can produce a ‘natural high’ which helps promote good feelings and may enhance self-esteem. Exercise helps reduce stress and may also decrease stress related cravings. Physical exercise can also function as a healthy distraction. If you’re jogging, swimming in the ocean, surfing, playing volleyball, or riding a bicycle (in other words, staying active), you may be more likely to focus on the task at hand then on your cravings for a particular substance.

Equine therapy, massage, stretching, breath work, yoga, reflexology, aromatherapy, and relaxation exercises may all fit into the category of spiritual exercise. These various techniques have been shown in some instances to improve heart function and even lower cholesterol.  As the mind and body are connected, the staff at Oceanside Malibu focus on both to help as an aid towards achieving sustainable recovery.

It has long been known that meditation is a highly useful in recovery from addiction because it is helpful in slowing down or clearing an alcoholic or addict’s racing thought process. The practice of meditation can also improve impulse control and low frustration tolerance. This is extremely useful for addicts in fighting cravings and dealing with stressful situations in earlier recovery and treatment. Oceanside Malibu offers an ideal environment for the practice of the preceding techniques. Located directly on the beach in Malibu, our clients are afforded the luxury of sunrise or sunset oceanside meditation, surfing, swimming, walking and volleyball — all with the Pacific Ocean — the cliffs and hills of Malibu, as your view.

Contact Oceanside Malibu Addiction Treatment Center

Why Choose A Sober Living Facility?

Choosing A Sober Living Facility

While many may be familiar with the detox and initial stage of the recovery treatment process.  A phase which sees people receiving extensive psychotherapy and counseling, participating in group activities and learning important life skills that help form a foundation for achieving lasting recovery, sober living is often less discussed.  A more thorough approach to treatment such as aftercare, sober living, and transitional living may be less familiar to those who have not personally been through the recovery process.  Furthermore, it is important to understand how outpatient programs, sober living and transitional living programs may be of benefit in helping people further their success rate by building upon the foundation of the work initially begun in the early treatment phase.

Outpatient care is a continuation of the rehabilitative care a person receives after the initial detox at drug treatment program.  A successful treatment plan, particularly with individuals whom have struggled and failed in the past, usually contains some type of transitional or sober living component. These facilities, can be exceptionally comfortable and accommodating to clients. They can help them integrate into the community while providing a high client to staff ration, ongoing consultation with a professional therapist and foster a sense of belonging in a supportive, family like setting. Some facilities will continue to make themselves available to clients after they leave and include follow up aftercare services to their alumni as part of the treatment plan in order to increase the likelihood client will be successful in his or her endeavors.

Sober living is usually intended for people who have recently a residential detox treatment programs or hospitalization for drug addiction, but are not yet ready to return home. This process involves the reintegration of an individual into society and the beginning of an individual effort to take full responsibility for one’s own life, central to which is the abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Individuals can move into a sober living facility after completion of a detox or short term addiction treatment program.

Clients may be required to participate in house activities centered on encouraging an environment of personal responsibility and learning or reestablishing essential life skills. Facilities employ professionally trained staff around the clock to attend to clients at all hours, providing counseling and encouragement in treatment goals. While rules at transitional living facilities tend to be far less restrictive than residential detox centers, active involvement in one’s treatment plan, groups, meetings, obeying curfew and house rules or routine drug screening, depending on the situation, may be required. Transitional living also usually allows for more liberty in regards to weekend passes, family and guest visits.

Sober or transitional living centers, allow people more time after detox to regain their independence and learn responsibility. Moreover, individuals can remain in transitional living for as long as they feel comfortable and deemed to be progressing towards their recovery and treatment plan goals. Sober living facilities offer true hands on aftercare, combing structure, support, recreational activities and community integration with in house professional therapeutic services and treatment planning and around the clock support. The extra or extended layer of care that sober living provides really does help to more greatly ensure positive outcome measures for longer term sobriety rates than detox alone.

Malibu Addiction Treatment, Outpatient & Sober Living

Moving Forward To Sobriety

Moving Forward To Sobriety

The past may have influenced where you are today, but where you want to be in terms of your sobriety tomorrow is up to you. No matter when, how, or why you started using or abusing drugs, at one point it became a learned behavior.  You may have learned about drugs in your own family.  For some, a family member may have turned you on or used with you.

You may have tried to escape feelings or memories that brought you to a place you didn’t want to be and self-medicating became easier. Even with the innocence of having fun with friends, it still can become a bad habit that leads to addiction that could destroy your life. Most importantly, anyone can change bad habits; because anything learned can be unlearned.

While bad habits may be hard to break, good choices are not as difficult as we sometimes make them. Imagine a dog accidently trapped in the trunk of a car. No matter how short the trip was, the dog, if given a choice, would never want to go in a car again. There would be no denial it was a bad experience; one he would not want to relive again. Yet, even if you had a bad experience or a major consequence at any time during your use, why would you ever use again?

Regardless of the consequences, staying builds tolerance. The more you tolerate, the more you use, and the longer you stay. Denial keeps you trapped. You ignore the warning signs and problems that come with continuing to engage in drug use. Ultimately, it’s too late. Many describe this as their “rock bottom.” In order to change a behavior, you must first change your attitude toward it. You must acknowledge that you have the problem and how it has impacted your life

If your perception is you are not addicted, you will continue to use in spite of the problems your using causes. Your faulty thoughts, feelings and interpretations will keep you stuck in denial. Conversely, if you hit rock bottom and are not in denial, you’ll seek help. Changing your attitude will help you change your behavior and the quality of your life. Your attitude can ultimately lead you to addiction or recovery. When you are in denial, your thoughts, feelings, perceptions and interpretations are distorted.

The longer you engage in self-defeating behaviors, the more you train your brain that your chemical use is a viable option in your life.  In reality, if you are addicted, you are not choosing any options. The drug has control.  You may be powerless over your chemical addiction, but you are not powerless over the choice to use or not to use. Your brain works like a computer. It stores memory and connects links together.  When you continue to use, everything you do while using becomes connected and natural.  Not using creates anxiety and overwhelming feelings. The brain looks for normalcy.

Chemical addiction is a disease. You may not have caused it, but you are responsible to find a way to treat it.  Abstinence is the first step. You may be powerless over chemicals, but remember you are not powerless over making the choice to use or not to use.  If you struggle with problems from your past, you do not have to let them have power over you in the present.  Do not let anyone dictate the direction your life will move in the future. Stay sober and live a happier and healthier life.

Contact Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center

Remaining Active In Recovery

Staying Involved in Recovery

The people you surround yourself with may influence your recovery or hasten a relapse. The people that surround you are a reflection of yourself. When you leave treatment, you are no longer the person you once were, but are instead a brand new version of yourself. If you go back and hang out with the friends or family members that got you into trouble in the first place, you are setting yourself up for failure.

A person’s environment is an important factor to maintaining recovery. Your living space can be another contributing factor for relapse. Most former active addicts lived in an area that had easy access to their substance of choice. It is highly recommended that you move into a sober living house or transitional living home for a short period of time. These places will not only help you adjust to life outside rehab, but they will give you a support group of like minded individuals who are trying to stay the same course.

Another factor that puts you at a higher risk for relapse is the lack of a support structure. When you’re in treatment, you are held to a tight schedule, and not many people can deal with life after rehab because their lives lack direction and accountability. There are two ways of going about making your own support structure. The first is getting a counselor that you meet with on a regular basis, the frequency of which is entirely dependent upon your needs.

It’s important to look for and find a support group. This is the more casual route to take since a support support group may be several well-grounded friends or a spiritual center like a church, temple or mosque. In fact, many spiritual centers have support groups designed specifically for people like you who are looking for accountability. There are also long standing support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous who have a great track record and a great mentoring program which helps maintain sobriety and reduces the risk of relapse

Being involved with a sponsor or mentor in your first year of sobriety is crucial. Having a support group around you to keep you accountable is one of the most powerful tools for you to use in recovery tp avoid relapse. Knowing that you have a team that is rooting for you can help in keeping your cravings in check and keep your mind focused.

In order to keep the mind sharp, one could also participate in some mental exercises. This can include mediation and physical exercise, and while that may seem like an odd pairing, both have been known to release dopamine and serotonin into the brain that allow your mind to relax. These chemicals come naturally, and when combined with the rush of endorphins, can create a potent package that will help heal the damaged portions of your brain. The more you do these two things, the better off you are going to be over time in decreasing the odds of a relapse.

Volunteering your time can be one of the most rewarding experiences because you are actively helping to improve the lives of others. Going to your former rehab and support groups can help you not only deal with your daily struggles, but help others see what recovery can look like and know that they are not alone. If you want an extra incentive to stay the course, choose to work at a low bottom or indigent recovery center. These places will show you the worst of the worst and remind you about how far you’ve come in your journey. Also, one can attend conventions and events for AA, NA and NAMI to further educate yourself and reach out to other addicts.

Knowing who you are is also a good way to combat addiction. To know how you are doing, whether you are happy or sad means you can tell when you are having trouble keeping yourself on the straight and narrow. Relapse occurs when you allow certain behaviors to slide. You’ll fall into habits you shouldn’t do anymore and you will soon be hitting the bottle or your drug of choice again. Keeping yourself in check and knowing when you’re slipping is important because you can get help before a relapse occurs.

Being active in your recovery is vital. Thinking that you are able to maintain a sober lifestyle without any work being put into it can end in relapse. One must be diligent about their new lease on life and protect it from the demons you know all too well. If you are able to work on this, and keep doing it, you’ll find that you’ll be the experienced one at the group meetings with years of wisdom under your belt. The road to recovery never truly ends, and success is a war without end, but the little victories will add up and pay off every time.

Contact Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center

How Lonliness Can Threaten Sobriety

Lonliness in Recovery

The belief that people need other people is a universally accepted concept. It has become a gold standard in recovery programs: Don’t get too lonely. Non-alcoholic members of the psychiatric profession tend to equate loneliness with boredom. If there is any one thing that must be included in the alcoholic’s life before he can once again become a whole man it is worthwhile activity. This may be Twelfth Step work, vocation, avocation, or anything else. Such activity must be present in order to fulfill his or her existence and eliminate loneliness.

We must also consider the loneliness brought about because the newcomer lives alone. But this is easily rectified. It takes only a phone call or a visit to an AA-oriented social club.  For the AA Loner, or other members, the Big Book or text to an AA friend may suffice. Under any conditions, Loneliness is the mother of self-pity and the ultimate end is resentment and drinking. The rule of Thumb?  Do something.  Loneliness is a curse. There are few who can live in solitude, alone and detached from fellow man. Human beings do better when they interact with one another.

Those who are isolated and devoid of human interaction may stagnate and suffer from emotional insecurity and self-doubt; their existence a bleak and unfulfilled life. A lack of close friends and a dearth of broader social contact generally bring the emotional discomfort or distress known as loneliness. It begins with an awareness of a deficiency of relationships. This cognitive awareness plays through our brain with an emotional soundtrack. It makes us sad. We might feel emptiness. We may be filled with a longing for contact. We feel isolated, distanced from others and deprived. These feelings effect our emotional well-being

Happiness thrives in groups. Churchgoers are an illustration of a gathering that may be happier because they belong to an extended family with social interaction, community, and shared values. Individuals who have no family may reach out and embrace an extended community of like-minded persons, developing a strong, fraternal unit and infrastructure. Numerous studies have shown that the healthiest, happiest people tend to be more involved in their communities.

While there is debate on whether one causes the other is unclear, there is some sense that having wider social connections and relationships are an important part of being happy.  Lack of emotional connection to others can produce detriments in the ability of the individual to connect with others. Having no connection to others and a sense of belonging may result in depression or loneliness while an abundance of love, friendship and community involvement allows an individual to thrive in recovery.

Contact Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center

Derealization / Depersonalization

Depersonalization Treatment

When we’re dreaming, things normally don’t feel all that tangible. You can pick up your phone or a trophy or a puppy and they won’t feel as solid as those things would in the real world. Then, when you wake up and grab your phone to turn off the alarm, everything goes back to normal. There’s nothing to suggest your phone isn’t real, or that the hands you use to touch it don’t belong to you.  That is. . . usually.

Sometimes, even when we’re awake, our brains decide it might be in our best interest for our environment, or even our bodies, to just, not feel real for a while. This isn’t a rare thing, either. It’s actually a super common experience.  However, when it sticks around for longer than it should, it can merit its own diagnosis. This condition is called depersonalization-derealization disorder, and it’s sometimes abbreviated as DDD. According to the DSM-5, which psychologists use to diagnose disorders, the name of this condition is pretty descriptive.  DDD is defined by persistent or frequent episodes of depersonalization and/or derealization.

Depersonalization is the feeling that your body, thoughts, sensations, or actions aren’t your own, or aren’t real — even though you logically know they are.  Derealization is a similar feeling, but it’s about your surroundings and the things in them.  Some people say that experiencing these things are like having a glass wall between themselves and the world.  For others, everything might feel far away and dream-like, or it might feel like their head is stuffed with cotton.  Regardless of what they feel like though, these symptoms aren’t actually uncommon.

Experiences of depersonalization or derealization are thought to be the third most common mental health symptom after anxiety and depression, and they occur equally in men and women. When these experiences don’t go away, that’s where DDD comes in…and this is much rarer. It’s estimated to occur in only around 1-2% of people.  Unfortunately, the factors that lead to its development and what triggers the symptoms are still fairly unknown.  It’s often been associated with cannabis usage, but there are plenty of purely psychological causes, too.

Some research has suggested that childhood trauma could play a role in developing DDD later in life, especially when that trauma involves emotional mistreatment. Anecdotally, many people have also reported that their symptoms are related to periods of extreme stress or anxiety. That’s led some scientists to believe that depersonalization and derealization are mechanisms the brain uses to protect the mind from potential threats. While they can’t say what specifically triggers these episodes, they are recognizing some general patterns.

Research is finding that certain types of triggers were more likely to induce either depersonalization or derealization. In one study, 73 participants were tested who were prone to either of these experiences, trying to find out if their symptoms would begin in response to different kinds of threats. To do this, they performed something called an implied body-threat illusion task, which, in this case, was a simulated blood-test procedure. In it, the researchers don’t actually draw blood, but they used fake needles and special effect blood to make it look like they did. Everything was made pretty realistic, because the point was to see how participants responded physiologically to threats.

First, participants had this procedure done to them alone. Then, they witnessed it being performed on a person sitting next to them. The whole time, the researchers were measuring their temperature and how their skin conducted electricity, also called skin conductance. While that may seem odd, it’s partly because feeling threatened makes us sweat, and water is a good conductor. When the scientists looked at the data, they found that those predisposed to depersonalization showed normal skin conductance when someone else got a blood test, but decreased conductance when someone was about to perform the test on them. That likely means that their brains were making everything seem farther away and less real— and their dampened physiological response showed it.

On the flip side, in those prone to derealization, their threat response was only dampened when they saw someone else experience the blood test. Even though the threat wasn’t aimed at them, it still existed, so it could have psychological consequences.  In order to shield them from that fallout, their brains chose to make their environment seem less real. These findings support what’s known as the threshold model for these experiences. It suggests that when we detect a threat, the regions in our brain responsible for emotional processing — called the frontolimbic regions — may suppress our stress response to it.  As a result, the stress is more dull and easier to handle.

In those that are prone to depersonalization and derealization, the threshold for this response is thought to be way lower. So their brains might think things like talking to a cashier at a store are enough of a threat to cause those numb and unreal sensations. Sometimes, these symptoms can be managed with psychotherapy. In many cases, the usual treatments aren’t actually effective, so scientists have been looking into other techniques. One promising method is called transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS.  It uses powerful magnets to disrupt the electrical activity of small brain areas. Specifically, using TMS on a brain region called the right temporoparietal junction seems to help symptoms — at least it has so far in a small study of patients. However, the studies’ authors do admit to its limited scope and that they still can’t rule out placebo effects.

Researchers are just beginning to use TMS to target different brain areas. Another promising candidate is an area involved in the brain’s executive control system called the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. A recent study showed that using TMS on this area improved symptoms in six of seven patients after 20 sessions, with few side effects reported. Scientists think that damping down the activity in this region of the brain bumps up the threat threshold mentioned earlier, stopping symptoms from being triggered so easily. While there aren’t yet larger studies to further back this up, psychologists will need to keep working on it.  Sometimes, it can feel frustrating when scientists don’t totally understand a phenomenon or how to treat it — especially with something like DDD. However each small experiment does get us closer to understanding and therefore effective treatment.

Oceanside Malibu Addiction Treatment Centers