mental health stigma statistics

Mental Health Stigmas: Recognizing and Fixing the Problem

A stigma occurs when someone is viewed in a negative way as a result of a discriminating characteristic or some trait that is assumed. A stigma is a negative stereotype. When people react to this stereotype, and in turn, adjust their attitudes and behavior, then this becomes discrimination.

Mental illness in America is damaging from all angles. For example, a mental health stigma exists about a disease. Someone suspects they might have the disease, as a result of the stigma, they fear the reaction from family and friends, so they don’t even get tested. On the flip side, we have the family and friends who remain in a whirlwind of disinformation regarding the disease. While the stigma continues, more people will choose not to get tested, and more people will continue to propagate incorrect stereotypes concerning the disease.

Read this article to discover how catastrophic stigmas can be for mental health. In addition, learn the statistics of how Americans feel about some health-related topics versus how it really is. Lastly, this article will provide some solutions that people can try to help cope with stigma or to lessen the magnitude that stigmatized perceptions may have in our lives.

Mental Health Stigma Statistics

The most accurate way to judge how mental health stigmas guide popular views on a variety of subjects is to analyze mental health stigma statistics. For example, according to almost every poll, the public accepts the severity of mental illness in America and also recognizes a need for treatment. However, according to the American Psychiatric Association, more than half of those suffering with a mental health disorder do not seek medical treatment. Oftentimes, people might avoid treatment from fear of being treated differently as a result of being categorized with mental illness.

Mental Health Stigma Statistics: Stigmas and Mental Illness

Mental health stigma statistics tell a very sad story. A CBS poll concluded that “2 in 3 Americans think mental illness is a very serious public health problem.” In addition, the poll found that “roughly 9 in 10 Americans believe individuals with mental illness suffer discrimination on some level.” 

The poll also illustrated that 51% of Americans believe that people with mental health disorders experience “a lot” of stigmas and discrimination, 35% of Americans believe that they experience “some” stigmas and discrimination, and 13% of Americans believe that they experience “little to none stigmas and discrimination. 

Mental Illness Discrimination Statistics: The Importance of Ending the Discrimination

Few things are more terrible than a poor public perception of an illness that someone is going through. Not to mention the damaging aspects that a mental health stigma can have on society, but the individual suffering with this mental health disorder will find it more difficult to seek treatment. As a result, they will most likely see their mental health disorder become worse. 

Larger consequences of stigmas worsening someone’s mental health could balloon to affect a country’s mental health costs. Someone with a debilitating mental health disorder will unlikely have a job and insurance. As a result, the nation will cover the costs of mental health stigmas. If less money was spent on such easily rectified factors, then more could be spent on cures and new treatments.

Three Different Sorts of Stigmas

Mental illness discrimination statistics start with stigmas and mental illnesses. According to the American Psychiatry Association, there are three different sorts of stigmas.

Public stigma

Public stigma is caused when the public endorses negative stereotypes of mental health issues. Eventually, these stereotypes will result in discrimination against individuals suffering from these specific mental health disorders.

Self-stigma

Self-stigma results when a person internalizes the public stigma that surrounds them. 

Institutional stigma

Institutional stigma is more difficult to find blame with because it comes from an organization and not an individual. Policies from a government or organization that may limit opportunities for people with mental disorders could be an institutional stigma.

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How Someone with Should Deal with Stigmas and Mental Illnesses

If you are suffering from a mental health disorder, correcting erroneous logic regarding your illness lies more on you than with them. For example, the most effective way to correct mental health stigma is for people with mental health disorders to get treatment. Treatment often provides relief and reduces symptoms that may get in the way of social life as well as a working career. When people allow the fear of being classified as someone with a mental health disorder to prevent them from seeking help, they are only encouraging these damaging stigmas to persist. 

Here are some other ways that people with mental disorders could abolish the harmful effects of stigmas and mental illnesses: 

Do not hide your illness

Instead of seeking out treatment, a person with a mental disorder often boards themselves away in their apartment, refusing to speak to family members. However, family and friends and even members of the community, such as members of the church, will show support if the person in need reaches out. Hiding beneath a shell will only exemplify the disturbing characteristics a person may be trying to conceal. We all need to interact with other people. Seclusion often just makes us more sick.

Join a support group

If you have a mental disorder and feel that you are surrounded by discriminating people, you must become a member of a support group. Failure to do so and remaining in a hostile and derogatory social circle will have damaging consequences in the long run. Often, the most beneficial treatment could be simply discovering that other people share the same disorders. Discrimination is often intended to make someone feel that they are alone. Join a support group and learn otherwise.

Don’t allow the stigma to affect your own self-image

Anyone will allow constant discrimination to affect how they view themselves. People with mental health disorders could even be more likely to succumb to discrimination. Once a person feels that their disorder is a symptom of personal weakness, they may be reluctant to seek out treatment. However, the best way for someone with a mental illness to overcome self-judgment is to acquire treatment, counseling, and education.

Abolishment of Mental Health Discrimination Starts with You

So what could you start doing today that would help reduce the stigma and prejudice against people with mental health disorders? Essentially, the most effective thing to do is to understand the struggles of those suffering from a mental health disorder. Such a bold task could be achieved by practicing the following rules.

Educate yourself

Understand mental health issues before forming incorrect perceptions of them. What causes such mental health disorders? Who is most likely to develop such disorders? How can the severity of such disorders be reduced?

Educate others

Just because you know all that there is to know regarding a certain mental health disorder, your friends and family members might still be in the fog. Make it a point to educate them. With every person’s faulty mental health knowledge you correct, you will be making life better for those suffering from a mental health disorder.

Choose your words carefully

Nothing spreads discrimination more than how we talk about people to others. When talking about someone with a mental health disorder with a friend or family member, don’t use derogatory terms. Instead, use sensitive and considerate language. Terms like ‘nuts’ and ‘whacko’ will only validate that such language is acceptable to those listening.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

Humans are good at heart. Often, when people speak ill of someone less fortunate than themselves, it is because they lack self-esteem. Treating those with mental health issues with dignity and respect is extraordinarily beneficial and therapeutic for both parties involved.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment is Imperative

Quite often, individuals suffering from mental health disorders are also abusers of alcohol or drugs. If this patient undergoes treatment for either one of these disorders and not the other, the chances that the disorders will return are very high.

Therefore, it is imperative that patients suffering from mental health disorders are treated with co-occurring disorders. North Jersey Recovery Center, for example, uses its dual diagnosis program to treat a number of combinations of mental health disorders and addictions.

Dual diagnosis is when an individual is diagnosed with alcohol or drug abuse in addition to another medical condition. When someone with a mental health disorder abuses drugs or alcohol, in most cases, both conditions become much worse. 

Find Help With North Jersey Recovery Center

Mental health stigmas can be just as damaging as the disorder that they discriminate against. As this article has illustrated, a stigma will affect an entire society’s perception of a mental health disorder. Not only will such consequences have lasting implications, but for the mental health suffering individual, who is constantly hearing these stigmas, they will eventually learn to accept them, and their mental health will suffer as a result. 

On the bright side, there are plenty of ways to abolish such stigmas of mental illness in America. Society has an obligation to ensure such stigmas are not spread. Equally important, those suffering from mental health disorders also can help to destroy stigmas by joining support groups and refusing to let the stigma-fueled shame overcome them.

Allow our team here at North Jersey Recovery Center to help you to find hope and healing. We are here for you!

Stress and Addiction: Understanding the Relationship Between the Two

The connection between stress and addiction is a dangerous and harmful one. Research shows that people who experience chronic stress are at an increased risk for problematic substance use, addiction, and eventual relapse. Stress is the way the body responds to external events such as moving to a new home, starting a new job, or getting a divorce. 

Stressful life events combined with unhealthy coping skills can lead to self-medication. Self-medication is the use of substances to help cope with stressors, mental illnesses, or physical pain without the supervision of a doctor. 

Learning more about how stress and substance abuse relate to one another can help individuals properly deal with both issues in their lives. If stress exacerbates substance use, individuals must learn how to address stressful situations in a healthier way. The opposite is also true: individuals who suffer from stress caused by addiction will need help in ending substance abuse.

What is Stress?

Stress is the way our body responds to external pressure. Deadlines, changes, and threats to our physical, financial, or emotional safety can all be sources of stress. When we experience stressful situations, our bodies release stress hormones called adrenaline, epinephrine, and cortisol. 

These hormones create something called a “fight or flight” response. This response is something ancient humans had to develop to fight off immediate danger such as predatory animals or flee the situation to escape safely. 

The release of adrenaline causes pulse rate and blood pressure to surge, leading to rapid breathing. This rapid breathing sends extra oxygen to the brain and increases alertness. Alongside the release of adrenaline, epinephrine causes blood sugar and fats stored in the body to be released to increase energy. Cortisol levels increase in moments of stress to help the body recover from the release of blood sugar and fat by increasing appetite and storing the extra nutrients in the body as fat. 

The way people deal with stress depends on their genetic makeup, upbringing, personality type, and resources.

Types of Stress 

The American Psychological Association has identified three different kinds of stress: acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress. Each varies in the amount of time it is experienced, treatment options, and symptoms. 

  • Acute stress: Acute stress lasts the least amount of time out of the three types; it is also the most common type. This type of stress usually entails having negative thoughts about a stressful situation. Persistent worry about an upcoming deadline or the future in general. 
  • Episodic acute stress: When you experience acute stress frequently, you are considered to be struggling with episodic acute stress—people who take on too much responsibility and feel overwhelmed experience this kind of stress. There is a constant feeling of tension and anxiety that puts people at a higher risk of overeating, binge drinking, and frequent drug use. 
  • Chronic stress: This kind of stress is caused by things such as living in poverty, war, and trauma. There is no clear end to when you will feel relief with this kind of stress, and it is the most damaging type. Experiencing chronic stress changes the neurobiology of the brain and wears people down with each day that passes. 

Experiencing episodic acute stress can lead to symptoms like irritability, gut issues, and issues in close relationships. Chronic stress can cause suicidal ideation, strokes, cancer, and depression. These kinds of stress also increase the risk and problematic drug consumption leading to substance use disorder or relapse for those in recovery. 

Signs That You Are Experiencing Stress 

Signs-That-You-Are-Experiencing-Stress-The first step you need to take to get your stress under control is to know how to identify the symptoms of stress. Often, we adjust to being chronically stressed and do not even notice we are living with these symptoms. Stress affects cognitive functioning, the physical body, and mood. Here are a few symptoms to look out for: 

  • Emotional symptoms of stress: Stress can manifest in irritability, frustration, and feelings of being overwhelmed. Often, if you are stressed, you can feel out of control and find it challenging to control racing and negative thoughts. People who feel chronically stressed may isolate themselves by avoiding socializing with friends and family. 
  • Physical symptoms of stress: You can notice stress in the physical body by seeing signs such as headaches, grinding of the teeth, and chest pain are common. Chronic pain is a good indicator of stress because high levels of cortisol are correlated to chronic pain. Other common physical symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, digestive issues, frequent infections, cold hands and feet, and lack of libido. 
  • Cognitive symptoms: If you experience an inability to focus, pessimism, procrastination, fidgeting, nail-biting, and changes in appetite, it is a good indicator that stress is affecting your cognitive functioning. Increased use of drugs such as nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, and illicit substances is also a clear indicator that you may be trying to ease your symptoms of stress by self-medicating. 

How Is Addiction Related to Stress? 

Now that you know what stress is, the different kinds of stress, and how to identify stress, it is time to start exploring the connection between stress and substance abuse. The research shows that the chronic stress tied to domestic violence, family conflict, sexual/physical abuse, and neglect correlates with a higher risk of developing an addiction. Things such as divorce, dysfunctional marriages, unhappy work environments, and discrimination also tie into a higher risk for addiction. 

The more stressors you are exposed to, the more likely you are to develop an addiction because of the likelihood to self-medicate to ease symptoms related to stress. When experiencing chronic stress, it is common to become more impulsive due to the gray matter in the brain decreasing over time. The gray matter in the brain connects to regulating stress and having more control over thoughts and behaviors. 

Due to the dwindling of the grey matter in the brain that is associated with a lack of reflection and less cognitive functioning, people who are stressed are more likely to engage with impulses such as smoking, eating, and drinking to relieve stress. 

Healthy Ways to Deal With Stress in Recovery

While you are working to overcome alcohol and drug abuse, you may encounter situations that cause stress in your life. It is important, even vital, to develop safe and healthy ways to deal with stress in recovery from addiction. Here are some ways to address and manage stress:

  • Practice breathing exercises
  • Ask for support from friends and family
  • Keep a journal and write about what you’re dealing with
  • Exercise and remain physically active
  • Improve sleeping habits
  • Spend time in nature
  • Talk to a therapist

Dealing with the combination of stress and substance abuse is far from easy. But, you can overcome these challenges by reaching out for help from professionals who truly understand your struggle. Learn how we can help you here at North Jersey Recovery Center today!

Treating Insomnia When a Person Suffers From Addiction

Addiction can be a stressful and uncomfortable disease, one that does not discriminate. When abusing or overcoming addiction, a person may experience symptoms and other disorders. One of the most common and disruptive symptoms/disorders people experience is insomnia. Addiction can be bad enough alone but throwing insomnia in the mix can be extremely disruptive. 

Apart from medical treatment for insomnia, there are a few tips you can try to help with your insomnia. If you are experiencing insomnia, you can improve the layout of your bedroom, select a soft mattress, take melatonin and try meditation. You could also choose natural supplements that contain magnesium (which helps to relax the muscles, increase levels of serotonin, and prevent insomnia). Knowing how to treat insomnia without medication can be very helpful in the long run. 

Many experts have recommended natural supplements that could modulate the circadian rhythm, but you should avoid medications that may cause side effects. Some medications can increase fatigue, reduce attentiveness, affect your appetite, and decrease coordination. Let’s take a look at how to treat insomnia without medication. 

What is Insomnia?

Before diving into nonmedical or medical treatment for insomnia, it’s important to define the term. Insomnia is a sleeping disorder that makes it hard for a person to go to sleep or stay asleep. This can be a short-term or long-term disorder depending on the person. 

Ways to Deal with Insomnia

Let’s take a look at how to treat insomnia without medication and other alternative options. 

Meditation 

Generally, meditation can prevent insomnia, increase levels of endorphins and enhance well-being. Once a person meditates, the brain may also release extra serotonin, which can modulate the circadian rhythm and prevent insomnia.

Choosing a Comfortable Mattress

Before you select a mattress, you should evaluate soft mattresses that can decrease muscular tension, improve comfort, and relieve stress. Several reports have indicated that soft mattresses could substantially reduce insomnia, and while you are sleeping, a soft mattress may increase delta waves within the brain. Delta waves can enhance the quality of sleep, regulate your circadian rhythm, and improve cognition.

Conversely, you may choose a firm mattress that can consistently support your joints, your muscles, and your bones. Numerous surveys have suggested that a firm mattress could decrease chronic soreness, and the efficient mattress can evenly distribute your weight.

Many insomniacs have purchased mattresses that feature memory foam, and typically, these mattresses are made of polyurethane. The memory foam can significantly increase the density of the mattress, the durability of the materials, and the firmness of the mattress. While you are sleeping, the memory foam consistently reduces stiffness, decreases chronic pain, and improves the quality of sleep.

Preventing Distractions

Many reports have suggested that distractions can substantially increase the risk of insomnia. If you are experiencing insomnia, you should develop a list of distractions. You can also examine multiple situations that may cause chronic stress. Once you examine numerous distractions, you can evaluate strategies that could minimize distractions, improve attentiveness and reduce chronic anxiety.

Improving the Environment and Customizing the Room

While you organize your bedroom, you should eliminate clutter, add several decorations, remove unnecessary electronics, and open the windows. According to numerous surveys, an organized bedroom could significantly decrease the risk of insomnia as well as minimize chronic stress.

During the evening, you should turn off multiple lights. Purchasing dim lights can also substantially improve relaxation. Once you turn off the bright lights, the brain may produce extra melatonin, which can prevent insomnia.

Reducing the Temperature of the Room

If your bedroom is warm, you should utilize an air conditioner that could consistently decrease the temperature of the room, reduce humidity and improve comfort. Once experts evaluated how to treat insomnia without medication, the specialists indicated that this technique could considerably improve the quality of sleep, and the strategy may reduce stress, prevent insomnia and mitigate the symptoms of restless legs syndrome.

Working out and Exercise 

Generally, you should frequently complete training sessions that can increase strength, improve endurance, decrease anxiety, and enhance your flexibility. While you are exercising, the brain may release extra norepinephrine, which is a neurotransmitter. Norepinephrine can increase attentiveness during the daytime, but after each workout, you may experience fatigue. If you become tired, you could easily improve the quality of sleep, reduce disturbances and increase the duration of sleep.

Once you complete an enjoyable workout, the brain can produce extra endorphins, and sometimes, the nervous system may create additional endorphins for more than 24 hours. According to numerous reports, natural endorphins can prevent insomnia, reduce chronic soreness and increase neurogenesis.

Requesting a Massage and Evaluating the Benefits of Massages

After you have experienced insomnia, you should receive a massage. A masseuse can relax your muscles, alleviate anxiety, decrease chronic pain and prevent muscle spasms. Once experts examined how to treat insomnia without medication, the researchers indicated that massages can also increase the levels of endorphins within the central nervous system. 

When a person is suffering from a sleep aid addiction, the natural endorphins could noticeably improve well-being, increase attentiveness, and enhance cognition, yet the endorphins can also prevent insomnia. Moreover, the endorphins may considerably reduce the level of cortisol within the adrenal glands. Subsequently, the endocrine system can increase levels of beneficial hormones, and the pineal gland may release extra melatonin.

Eating Foods That Contain Tryptophan

Typically, you should frequently choose foods that provide tryptophan, which is an amino acid. Once a person eats these foods, the brain can produce extra serotonin, which can, in turn, reduce anxiety, increase motivation, and improve long-term memory.

Some insomniacs frequently eat bananas, turkey, chicken, and sesame seeds. These foods contain high levels of tryptophan, and consequently, the foods could reduce chronic stress, decrease muscle spasms, and mitigate the symptoms of insomnia.

Avoiding Caffeine and Improving Relaxation

Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase the production of adenosine, triphosphate, and caffeine could temporarily improve attentiveness while increasing energy. However, caffeine could also cause anxiety, affect the circadian rhythm, and increase the risk of insomnia. If you are experiencing insomnia, you should avoid caffeinated beverages, and you should avoid energy drinks that contain synthetic ingredients.

Evaluating the Benefits of Melatonin

During the nighttime, the pineal gland will naturally produce extra melatonin, a hormone that can prevent insomnia, reduce anxiety, and regulate the circadian rhythm. If a person is suffering from addiction, the pineal gland may not create enough melatonin. Consequently, the patient may experience insomnia, chronic anxiety, and restless legs syndrome.

Some insomniacs frequently take supplements that provide at least 5 milligrams of melatonin. Typically, melatonin can improve relaxation for more than seven hours, and the natural hormone could enhance the quality of sleep, increase delta waves while preventing disturbances.

Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant and several reports have indicated that the natural hormone can considerably reduce inflammation. While you are sleeping, melatonin could help the nervous system to heal itself. During the nighttime, the natural hormone can significantly decrease oxidation that may affect the neurons, the axons, and the dendrites.

Reducing the Brightness of Phone Screens 

Reducing-the-Brightness-of-Phone-ScreensAccording to several reports, more than 55 percent of people frequently utilize their smartphones before bedtime. Sometimes, the bright screen can increase wakefulness, and when the light enters your eyes, the bright light may affect the pineal gland, which can produce melatonin.

Before you use your smartphone, you can easily customize the settings, reduce the brightness of your screen and deactivate your ringtone. If you are watching videos, you may also reduce the sound, and you should deactivate autoplay, examine the length of the videos and choose relaxing videos.

Creating a Detailed Schedule

Typically, you should develop a schedule that helps avoid distractions and garner more sleep. Along with a set schedule, there are also several mobile apps that can allow you to manage your schedule, evaluate important tasks, receive many notifications, and create detailed notes. You should also take a look at when you decide to go to sleep as well. 

Considering Medical Treatment for Insomnia and Addiction

If you are suffering from a sleep aid addiction, we invite you to learn more about our multiple treatment options, valuable resources, and our informative blog. After our experts provide medical treatment for insomnia, the specialists can increase the quality of sleep, improve your circadian rhythm, relieve anxiety, and decrease disturbances.

We’re ready at a moment’s notice to help you find the treatment that suits you best. Our team is ready to evaluate your needs, schedule an appointment and recommend multiple types of treatments. Don’t wait, give us a call today and get started on your journey towards recovery.

It’s Time for a New Type of Fun!

‘Fun’ is usually not the first thing you think of when the topic of recovery emerges. This is especially true in the early stages of addiction recovery. But believe it or not, it is possible to have fun in recovery. Having fun in recovery is possible with the mindset and routine. Being strong and persistent during recovery can open many doors for a person, some of which can bring fun and joy. 

Sometimes not giving up can be all that’s needed to bring fun and joy into recovery. It also helps to change perspective on a person’s life and their goals. Happiness and fun in recovery are not only achievable, but they can also make the process much more enjoyable. In the end, it comes to redefining the definition of fun in recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, North Jersey Recovery Center is here to help! 

How Drug Addiction Affects a Person’s Mind and Happiness

Drug addiction can have a lot of effects on a person’s mind and thought processes. What once was a pleasurable experience may be dull or uninteresting. Intense drugs like heroin can affect the brain and can make only substance use enjoyable. Frequent drug use can numb a person’s experiences with fun and pleasure. 

Addiction can affect a person’s brain chemistry and can end up sucking the fun out of life. Certain drugs end up overflowing the brain with dopamine, which is the rewarding chemical in the brain. This surge in dopamine begins to create the basis for addiction. A person will be compelled to keep experiencing the euphoric effects of drugs. Over time, a person becomes tolerant of drug use, needing more for its desired effects. 

As time goes on, a person will begin to lose interest in pleasure in almost every part of their life. This is why addicts lose motivation and sense of accomplishment when it comes to their daily lives. What once would’ve brought excitement and joy has been replaced with the need to use the substance to numb the pain/feel its effects. With this also comes withdrawal symptoms that persist until after treatment. All this can make the idea of ‘fun in recovery’ a far-fetched thought. 

Understanding the Idea of Fun in Recovery

Understanding-the-Idea-of-Fun-in-RecoveryWhen a person is recovering from addiction, their idea of fun in recovery may be completely skewed. They may feel that the only way to feel any happiness or joy is through drug and substance use. This is why a person may continue to drink or use drugs even if it causes harm. After a person overcomes this addiction, they may still have this thought. Fun in recovery may feel like a distant thought. The effort and time that recovery takes may also add to these feelings as well – recovery is not easy. 

However, it is possible to have fun in recovery without the use of drugs. Sometimes revisiting old hobbies can have a big impact which can reignite an old sense of pleasure. A person recovering from addiction should think about the hobbies they used to enjoy and try to go back to them. There is a way they can create new and healthy ways of having fun and thinking about it as well. As with anything else in recovery, this takes time and commitment from the person. 

How Boredom Can Be The Downfall During Recovery

The early stages of recovery can sometimes be rough, especially if a person has been in an inpatient program for a long period of time. Getting back into life can be a stressful experience, but after that is said and done, sometimes boredom can set in. Glamorizing past drug use can end up taking place when boredom is present. 

This frequent thinking, especially paired with the emotional aspects of early recovery, can be a recipe for disaster. A person may not be able to cope with these feelings and may end up experiencing a relapse. This is why it is important to find fun in recovery in a healthy and productive way. There are many activities that can bring joy and fun to a person’s life. Boredom can be a person’s downfall if a person does not act. 

Trying New Thinkings During Recovery

Having fun in recovery starts with stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing new ventures. Having an open mind can allow a person to try new things and activities, some of which can become favorites. Some activities that may not have interested a person before recovery may be worth giving a second thought. 

Reading, picking up an instrument, or even yoga can change a person’s life for the better. There are many activities that a person can do to have fun in recovery. Having fun in recovery doesn’t have to be a complicated and long process, all it takes is some patience and an open mind. It’s important to do activities that are healthy and keep you away from drugs or alcohol. 

Saying ‘yes’ to something that you may not have said yes to before addiction is something worth considering. In the process, a person can create connections and support groups that can lead to more fun in recovery. These are healthy ways to cope while still having fun in recovery. 

Ways to Have Fun in Recovery

Ways-to-Have-Fun-in-RecoverySince drug use completely changes a person’s mind when it comes to ‘having fun’, it’s important to have some options available when things get rough. There are many healthy ways a person can tackle feelings of boredom or even cravings that may arise. There are tons of different hobbies that can help bring joy and pass time, even bringing help from others. 

Let’s take a look at some of the ways of having fun in recovery, that are both healthy and productive. These include:

  • Yoga/meditation
  • Learning new things
  • Join a sports team or club

Yoga/Meditation

Having a relaxed and focused mind is crucial to remaining sober in recovery. Meditation and yoga are both often used to center a person. Both practices help the body, mind, and spirit with the idea of centering yourself and focusing inwards. This holistic approach has been shown to help those struggling with addiction and can be a great tool in having fun. 

Yoga, in particular, can not only be fun, but it can be productive as well. Millions of people use yoga to center their mind and body. Yoga can be a great pastime and can open the door for other healthy habits like meditation and diets. While yoga may not be for everyone, it can be a great opportunity to try something new and fun.

Learning/Trying New Things

As mentioned, many different hobbies can end up being a person’s favorite activity. All it takes is persistence and trying new things. Whether it be reading, writing, learning an instrument, or dancing. There are many healthy ways of experimenting and trying new things out that you may not have before addiction. 

There are many resources online that help a person find groups and communities. Continuing to learn can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience in the long run. With the vast amount of choices and resources available, there is no excuse for not trying something new, even if it is just here and there. 

Join a Sports Team or Club

The idea of exercise and physical activity, in general, is extremely useful when it comes to having fun in recovery. Sports can be a great way to have fun in recovery while getting benefit out of it. One of the best ways to replace the high from drug use is by experiencing the natural high of sports (like kayaking). Exercise can also help the body and mind as well, there are so many benefits to exercising – it is fun and healthy. 

Accepting that Recovery Can be Fun and Enjoyable

One of the biggest hurdles is looking past the ups and downs of recovery. What many people forget is that you can have fun in recovery while maintaining sobriety. By changing your mindset and understanding this fact, a person can truly get the most out of recovery. While it may not be the easiest road to go down, there are plenty of positive things that can come out of it (besides living a life free of addiction). Having fun in recovery is possible with the right mindset and attitude going in. 

Start the Journey Towards a Better Life

Before you can have fun in recovery, the first steps must be taken towards a life, free of drugs. At North Jersey Recovery Center, we provide all the necessary tools to overcome addiction in the smoothest way possible. Our team has helped many struggling addicts overcome their addictions. With constant support and decades of experience, we’re here to help you. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, it may be time to get help. Give us a call today to learn more about our addiction treatment services and resources in North Jersey.

Here’s Why You Should Avoid Leaving Rehab Early

Can you leave rehab early? Yes, you can. However, it is not advised. Leaving rehab early against medical advice (AMA) is an issue that treatment facilities often have to deal with. But leaving rehab before it’s recommended by your treatment team can affect your long-term fight against addiction, in the wrong way.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), people progress through addiction treatment at various rates so there’s no predetermined length of treatment. But research has shown, without a doubt, that good outcomes are dependent on adequate treatment length. It’s not recommended for anyone to leave their rehab program early.

What Could Happen?

Lack Of Necessary Skills

People who leave rehab early have frequently not learned the skills needed to maintain sobriety. Leaving rehab early can make you feel secure in your recovery when you’re really not. You might feel that you are cured of your addiction when recovery will probably continue for months or years after your treatment has ended.  Even if a person completes detox, long-term recovery depends on additional factors including:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Building a post-rehab support system

Relapse is a lot more likely for people who leave AMA.

Harming Relationships with Family and Friends

Addiction often has a negative effect on the important relationships in a person’s life. Deciding to quit rehab can put a serious strain on the relationships with the family and friends who are supporting their recovery. Alienating your support system makes relapse more likely.

Legal Issues

Some people are in rehab because of a court order.  They may be required to complete rehab as part of their sentence. Leaving rehab early may result in legal penalties.

Financial loss

Rehab can be expensive and so is addiction. Quitting could take a toll on a person’s finances, especially if they relapse and need to start over again. Leaving rehab early can end up causing problems that could take a toll on a person’s finances. 

Why Do People Leave Early?

There are many factors that influence a person’s decision to leave early. Some of the reasons are:

Overpowering withdrawal symptoms

Coping with the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of withdrawal is not easy. People experience intense cravings and anxiety during detox and this often leads them to believe it’s easier to keep taking the drug than quit. However, leaving rehab early will only make the situation worse. 

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS)

A drawn-out withdrawal period may lead to the development of PAWS. PAWS usually develops when a person stops using after long-term addiction.  Symptoms include: 

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue 
  • Mood swings 
  • Loss of focus
  • Violence.

This again leads them to believe it is easier to resume using the drug than quit.

“I’m not like the other people here.”

People affected by addiction often experience denial. They see themselves as stronger or smarter than the other people who use drugs or alcohol. This way of thinking can prevent them from addressing their issues and getting the help they need.

“I don’t need rehab.”

To make sure a person is ready to leave, some skills need to be learned over a longer period of time. However, after finishing detox and a couple of weeks of rehab, some people think they have learned all they need to beat their addiction. Although confidence is an important part of healing, overconfidence is often hurtful to long-term recovery. Those who leave rehab with a less developed set of skills may not be able to avoid relapse.

How To Encourage A Loved One Who Wants to Quit Rehab

How-To-Encourage-A-Loved-One-Who-Wants-to-Quit-RehabTalking to a friend or family member who wants to leave early can be hard but it’s important to do it if they’re thinking of leaving rehab. Here’s what you can do:

  • Give comfort: Let them know that they are loved and provide reassurance.
  • Offer support: Tell them that you’ll be there for them during and after rehab is completed. Praise them for their courage and strength for sticking with treatment.
  • Remain positive: Remind them that you knew them before they became addicted and that you want that person back.
  • Set realistic goals: If your loved one is thinking of leaving rehab early, setting a goal of just one more day could be the key to their completion of rehab.
  • Encourage sharing: Show interest in what they are learning and doing in rehab.
  • Look forward to the future: Help them focus on a future in which they are sober and healthy. Remind them of what they want to achieve after completing treatment.

When you talk to them, it’s important to be loving and firm but it’s best to avoid threats. An individual in addiction treatment who has strong, genuine social support is less likely to leave early and experience a relapse.

10 Reasons Rehab Helps You Fight Addiction

Rehab isn’t always shown accurately in the media. There are many myths around what treatment centers are really like. It’s not an expensive vacation resort where people spend their time idly fighting withdrawal nor is it just for the rich and famous.

It’s also not a terrifying place like a jail full of criminals either. What it is, is a place where regular people receive treatment for substance abuse and other types of addiction. If you or a loved one are battling an addiction, here are some reasons to consider rehab.

    1. Your recovery is on your terms. You won’t be made to do anything you don’t agree to. With the help of the staff, you will set up a program to address your individual needs.
    2. Around-the-clock professional support. Once you agree on your plan, your support team is always available to help you stay on track.
    3. You won’t have to go “cold-turkey.” You may be able to taper off your drug of choice or be given medications to help ease you through withdrawal symptoms.
    4. You may be able to receive outpatient treatment. If it’s not possible to stay at a facility, you may be able to opt for an outpatient treatment program. It might be a little more difficult and take longer but you will still receive a high level of care.
  • You will learn to develop a healthy routine. A treatment plan is designed to help you get better. Part of that includes learning and developing healthy habits for your general well-being. Adding structure to your life will help you leave the habits of your addiction behind.
  1. Your support team can help you during weak moments. In rehab, you are in the care of doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, and other experts. These professionals should protect your health and safety at all times and to do anything in their training to help you overcome your addiction.
  2. You’ll receive guilt-free self-care. Some people feel guilty for putting themselves first. However, in rehab, the point is to focus on yourself and nurture your body, mind, and soul to regenerate and restore yourself.
  3. You’ll improve more than just mental health. Recovery is more than breaking out of your addiction. Treatment plans usually include proper nutrition and exercise which will help in recovery and also help you stay well after treatment has ended.
  4. You don’t have to feel alone. In rehab, you work with your care team and your fellow patients. There are many opportunities to meet other people who are going through similar challenges.
  5. You’re much more likely to recover in a rehab facility. Rehab is a stable, safe, supportive environment where the only goal is to help people recover. You may have self-discipline. And you may be able to eliminate all your triggers and distractions and be successful on your own for a while. But nothing compares to the level of professional attention and care you will receive at a facility that specializes in the treatment of addictions. 

How Long Does Rehab Last?

How-Long-Does-Rehab-LastPeople progress through drug and alcohol addiction treatment at various rates so there isn’t any predetermined length of treatment. Generally speaking, residential or outpatient treatment for less than 90 days is limited in its effectiveness. 

To maintain positive outcomes, treatment lasting significantly longer is recommended. For methadone maintenance, 12 months is considered the minimum although some individuals addicted to opioids go on to benefit from methadone maintenance for years.

Treatment dropout is one of the main problems confronted by treatment programs. So motivational methods that can keep patients engaged in treatment can also improve outcomes. Treating addiction as a chronic disease and offering continuing care and monitoring will aid the success of programs, but this often requires multiple episodes of treatment and quickly readmitting people who have relapsed. Leaving rehab against medical advice will end up causing more harm. 

What Helps People Stay in Rehab?

Since successful outcomes frequently depend on a person’s staying in treatment long enough to get the full benefits, strategies for keeping people in treatment are very important. Whether or not someone stays in rehab depends on factors associated with both the individual and the treatment program.

The individual factors related to commitment and retaining information usually include:

  • Motivation to change drug-using behavior
  • Amount of support from family and friends 
  • Pressure from the criminal justice system 
  • Child protective services
  • Employers
  • Family

In a treatment program, successful therapists can build a positive, healing relationship with their patients. The therapist should make sure that: 

  • The treatment plan is developed with the cooperation of the person in treatment
  • The plan is followed
  • Treatment expectations are clearly understood

In addition, medical, psychiatric, and social services should be available.

Complications

Because some issues such as serious medical or mental illness or criminal involvement increase the chances of patients dropping out of treatment, intense actions may be required to keep them in treatment. Following a course of intensive treatment, the treatment provider should make sure there’s a transition to less intensive continuing care to support and monitor these people in their ongoing recovery.

Recovering from Addiction

Recovering from addiction is the process of treating: 

  • The cause of the addiction
  • The problems caused by the addiction.

This takes a lot longer than just detoxing the drugs from your system. For some people, treating the cause of addiction can take years.

Take Advantage of All the Benefits of Rehab

If you or a loved one is in rehab, thinking about rehab, or thinking about leaving rehab early, you now know why it’s important to stay in your treatment program. And if you are in need of addiction treatment we are here for you. At North Jersey Recovery Center, we will design a program specifically for you and with your input. Don’t wait for a disaster. Waiting to hit rock bottom is never the solution. Contact us today and start taking control of your life.

drinking after work

Drinking After Work: The Problem With Stress Drinking

Drinking after work is a common practice that millions of people in the U.S. engage in. It’s completely normal to go out and have a drink of beer or wine after work with your co-workers or alone. However, this ordinary act can sometimes end up becoming a problem as time goes on. Having beer or wine after work to cope with stress can eventually become a bad habit. What begins as casual drinking can escalate to problem drinking and even addiction. 

It’s important to understand the issues that can come with drinking after work and when it’s time to stop. Many drug addictions and alcohol use disorders develop without a person even noticing. Before addiction, people typically start to become dependent on drinking. They may feel off or experience symptoms when not drinking. This is a clear sign that something is wrong. What starts as a drink or two after work every day becomes a routine and addiction.

Why Do People Drink After Work?

The-Problem-With-Stress-DrinkingThere are several reasons why a person may want to drink after work. Apart from simply wanting to go out with co-workers or friends, they may drink to cope with the day’s stresses. Unfortunately, many occupations come with stress while others may take lots of manual labor. Those who work in construction or manual labor tend to abuse alcohol much more after work.  

However, it is not just working-class people who may struggle with substance abuse due to drinking after work. There are those at the professional level who also struggle with the same problems. This goes to show that substance abuse can happen to anyone if they aren’t careful. Stress in a person’s life can be the root cause of drinking and drug use. Without the proper control, a person can eventually develop an addiction. 

Stress After Work

Some people rely on alcohol use and drinking after work to relieve their stress. While this habit may seem normal and safe, problems can begin to develop over time. As mentioned, work or life, in general, can be a great source of stress for some people. There are many ways to relieve stress in a healthy way but some people see drinking as a quick and easy way to take their mind off these thoughts. 

Having some wine after work to reduce stress can quickly evolve into an alcohol use disorder if a person is not careful. 

Let’s take a look at some of the stresses that may arise in the workplace. While each workplace is different and there are different factors to take into account, there are still a few common reasons. Common work-related stresses may include the following:

  • Job insecurity
  • Salary stresses
  • Repetitive work
  • Long and grueling hours
  • Lack of control in the workplace
  • Problems with co-workers or a boss
  • No room for growth/advancement
  • Unrealistic expectations

These problems can eat away at a person’s wellbeing. Sometimes, people find solace in drinking to ease the tension in their work-life. It’s important to ease this stress without always resorting to drinking after work. While it is okay to enjoy a drink here and there, it is not normal to rely on drinking. This is where alcohol use disorder and alcoholism come into play. 

Stress from Outside Sources

Work may not be the only source of stress in a person’s life. Outside of work, there are just as many stressors if not more. Some may even resort to drinking after work to avoid or numb their stresses back at home. As with all cases of life’s stresses, it’s important to manage them in a healthy way instead of resorting to drinking immediately. 

Some of the most common sources of stress come from:

  • Financial problems
  • Illness and disease
  • Relationship issues (fighting with a partner, breakups, etc.)
  • Death in the family or other tragic event
  • Mental illness (depression, anxiety, etc.)
  • Other responsibilities or obligations

These are just a few of the many different reasons why a person may experience stress and turn to drugs or alcohol for relief. 

How to Control Drinking After Work

Why-Do-People-Drink-After-WorkWhen it comes to drinking after your workday has ended, it’s important to be aware and focused on how much you’re drinking. There are specific phone apps that can help you keep track of how much you’ve had to drink throughout the night. More than that there are certain things you can do to make sure you are taking the necessary precautions when drinking after work. 

1. It’s Okay to Say ‘No’ 

Peer pressure can be your downfall if you aren’t careful. While your co-workers may want to drink with you, it is okay to say ‘no’. Maintaining your control over the situation and taking the safer route can save you trouble in the long run. While having a drink initially may be fine, if it begins to escalate into alcohol abuse, saying ‘no’ is the best route to take before it’s too late. 

2. Suggest Sober Activities

Going out with co-workers after work doesn’t have to necessarily involve drinking. You can suggest some sober activities to HR that are fun and don’t necessarily involve drinking or drugs. While some workplaces are open about their drinking policy, this shouldn’t be an excuse for excessive drinking. There are many activities that can be fun and fulfilling such as bowling, going to see a movie, escape rooms, and other activities. These are great ways to build bonds and connections while remaining sober. 

3. Find Alternatives to Alcohol

Believe it or not, there are many non-alcoholic drinks that can mark the end of the day. It can be something simple like sparkling water or even just soda. There is nothing wrong with drinking one of these alternatives instead of alcohol. While they may not have the same impact, you’ll come to realize that you don’t need alcohol to cool down after work. Drinking after work can become a problematic situation if a person loses control. 

Identifying a Drinking Problem

Drinking-After-WorkIt’s important to know when simple drinking has become a problem. Alcohol abuse will become apparent through several areas of a person’s life. When a person’s drinking habits become a problem their behavior and thought processes begin to change. Alcohol use disorder or alcoholism occurs when a person’s drinking starts to have a negative impact on their life (at work, at home, and in all aspects of life) 

Some of the common signs of alcohol use disorder may include:

  • Building a tolerance to alcohol use
  • Time spent being drunk, sick, or hungover
  • A desire to stop drinking but being unable to
  • Getting into legal or financial trouble due to drinking
  • A worsened performance at school, work, or in a person’s home life
  • Continuing to drink even if it causes depression, anxiety, or other negative consequences
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking (nausea, sweating, racing heart, trouble sleeping, etc.) 

When it comes to drinking after work, it’s important to be wary of these red flags. If these symptoms begin to develop, it may be a sign that professional help is needed.

Getting Professional Help

If you or someone you know has developed a drinking problem, it may be time to get professional help. At North Jersey Recovery Center, we are dedicated to making sure all our clients get the best treatment possible. Regardless of how a person develops a drinking or substance abuse disorder, we believe recovery is always possible. 

There are several stages to overcoming alcoholism and alcohol abuse. North Jersey Recovery Center offers several paths to make sure treatment is personalized and effective. Typically, all cases of addiction begin with medically assisted detox. During this stage, a person eases their way into quitting alcohol use entirely. During this time professionals will be by the person’s side through the whole experience. 

Detox is best done under the supervision of medical professionals. This is because detox can sometimes be unpredictable and without the proper guidance, can be fatal. This is why having trained professionals with the right resources can make a big difference and is much safer. Other programs we offer include:

These are just a few of the quality programs that we offer at North Jersey Recovery Center (NJRC). Drug and alcohol addictions can wreak havoc on a person’s life if left untreated. This is why it’s important to act sooner rather than later.

Start the Journey At North Jersey Recovery Today

Drinking after work may seem innocent enough but this can lead to more severe problems down the road if you or a loved one is not careful. When it comes to getting proper help for addiction, North Jersey Recovery Center is the recommended choice. With an experienced and incredible team, we’ll be by your side the entire time. Don’t wait for things to get worse, give us a call today to get started on the journey towards a better life.

talking to a mental health professional about how to prevent substance abuse

9 Tips on How to Prevent Prevent Substance Abuse

Finding ways to prevent substance abuse starts with recognizing that the potential exists. There could be many reasons why addiction is a possibility, but by being proactive, you’re less likely to develop a serious problem. 

While there is no foolproof way on how to prevent addiction, there are many ways to make the possibility less likely. Developing a game plan and having a support system in place can drastically reduce the opportunity from arising. There are several activities and individuals that can help keep you on track. Find the best methods of prevention that will work seamlessly into your life. 

Learn How to Maintain Balance in Your Life

Life is all about maintaining a balance between work, leisure, family, and alone time. The ability to prevent substance abuse starts with the opportunity to maintain a proper balance between each of these. Stressors often occur when someone is spending too much time working or consequently not working and being alone. 

Everyone is different as it pertains to their perfect balance in working and family life. And as we get older, these preferences will change. It’s important to have a deep understanding of self and optimal time management for each. Learn to recognize the signs of burnout from working too much or stress from spending too much time on leisure activities. 

When switching between work to family activities or visa versa, you should be excited to move from one to the other. This is a key indicator that you have spent enough time in one area of your life and are ready for the switch. If you feel nothing but exhaustion or stress from the change, you might need to reconsider how you’re spending your time. 

Take Time for Self Care

Self-care is important as you should ultimately be the person that loves yourself the most. While things like hair cuts and massage appointments may feel selfish, they are not. In order to feel like your best self, you have to treat yourself as such. 

Self-care can also include simple activities like blocks of time reading alone or simply taking 10 minutes a day to meditate. Small breaks in your day to sit and reflect can make a world of difference and can stop a person from making a huge mistake. Substance use disorder often occurs in individuals as a way to cope with stress and change. 

Substance abuse is the opposite of self-care. Although both activities stimulate brain activity as they both make the person feel good. Therefore, substituting a self-destructive activity like drinking alcohol or abusing drugs with a productive activity like getting a massage can ultimately provide a better result. Utilizing self-care when necessary helps prevent substance abuse.

Consider the Value of Proper Nutrition

“You are what you eat” is not just a catching phrase; it’s also extremely valid in recognizing how food can ultimately affect our emotions. The best meal to enhance your mood is a balanced one. Combining complex carbohydrates with lean proteins and colorful produce can increase levels of serotonin in the brain, making you feel good all day long! For example, sweet potatoes provide an excellent source of both carbs and protein, while quinoa provides some much-needed fiber for digestion.

A diet that is also rich in vegetables and fruits provides the body with doses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants. These will not only nourish your body and boost the immune system, but they can also boost levels of happiness. 

Foods that are rich in fats and simple carbohydrates are well known to affect overall health negatively. These foods will leave you feeling drained, sluggish, and less alert. When you’re not feeling your best, you’re more susceptible to abuse drugs or alcohol

Seek Treatment for Mental Health Disorders and Medical Conditions

Nearly 1 in 5 adults in American are living with a mental health disorder. Seeking treatment for these conditions is crucial in regulating mood and overall well-being. The stigma surrounding mental health is changing. Getting help for these disorders is encouraged by more and more employers as celebrities and many other personalities speak out against negative connotations. 

Mental health disorders are often a co-occurring cause of substance abuse. The best way to prevent substance abuse lies heavily in finding an appropriate treatment for mental health concerns. 

Work with your medical provider and find the best treatment regimen that works for you. It takes some time to find the right blend of medication and therapy to combat mental health conditions in many cases. Learn to be patient and vigilant in your treatment, and make sure you find a mental health expert that understands your specific condition. 

Create a Solid Network

Surround yourself with people you want to emulate, hard workers, and go after what they believe. It’s a lot easier when you’re surrounded by friends who support you for the choices that will help you succeed rather than push you towards failure. Peer pressure doesn’t go away once you leave high school; it still exists as an adult. The best way to avoid dealing with negative peer pressure is to make sure the people closest to you support good decisions. 

Having a large social circle of acquaintances can leave you open to peer pressure. Make sure the people you associate with enjoy the same healthy activities that you do. Your friends and family should provide you with positive influences and encourage you to be a better person. 

Develop a Game Plan for Stress and Other Negative Emotions

Stress, sadness, and other forms of emotional pain will occur. There are many healthy ways to express and get over these emotions. Substance abuse never actually cures these feelings; it simply delays the pain. In order to get over a bad situation like losing a loved one or getting fired from your job, you must learn to work through the pain. 

If you’re looking to prevent addiction, it’s crucial to pay attention to transitional life moments. It’s common to feel so overcome with sadness that you think you’ll do whatever is necessary. Talking to a friend, exercising, watching a funny movie are all ways you can alleviate pain. It’s important to develop a game plan to work through those emotions before they overwhelm you. 

Find Out How Addiction Occurs

Substance abuse typically starts with the recreational use of alcohol or other addictive substances. It progresses to seeking out a state of intoxication each time that substance is used. Alcoholics can’t have just one drink but need to get drunk- even if it means overindulging to achieve this effect. 

If you’re concerned about someone who may be drifting towards addiction – whether they’re doing so intentionally or not – there are some important actions to look out for:

  • Abusing addictive substances to become intoxicated
  • Seeking out substances on a regular basis
  • Abusing prescription medication
  • Never having any money despite working or constantly borrowing money
  • Changes in weight or the way the person looks
  • Getting into trouble with law enforcement

Risk factors can also help determine if someone may be more likely to develop an addiction. Preventing substance abuse can start by recognizing these factors and taking steps to steer the person in the correct direction. Individuals who grow up with little or no parental guidance or a low income are statistically more likely to develop a substance problem.

Examine Your Family History with Substance Use Disorder

Family environment and genetics are two major factors that influence substance use disorder. The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) conducted a study that found if you have family members with drug or alcohol problems, your likelihood of becoming addicted to drugs is much higher.

Growing up in a home where a loved one (or several loved ones) consistently misuse drugs or alcohol makes the behaviors easier to adapt. Studies show that the trait of addiction is heritable, depending on an individual’s relationship with a person who has substance abuse. For example, if someone closely related to you has problems with alcohol and drugs, it places them at high risk of developing these same addictions themselves. 

How to prevent addiction when it’s a learned act? It starts with a plan for treatment and a long-term strategy for recovery. 

Have a Strategy to Ask for Help

If you or a loved one is susceptible to substance abuse, it’s best to develop a strategy to ask for help. There are many ways to go about doing so. Designate a friend or family member as someone you can reach out to in an emergency situation. You should also find a trusted doctor or mental health provider that you can confide in. Having multiple options is always best if one is unavailable. 

Talk to an Addiction Treatment Specialist Today

Substance abuse can cause devastating consequences for an individual, their family members, and loved ones. Fortunately, prevention is possible with some effort. Knowing what to look out for in friends or relatives who might be struggling enables you to provide support rather than enable them. 

It’s often not as easy as one may think when trying to prevent substance abuse. However, if just a little bit of attention during transitional times goes towards helping someone get through difficult periods. In some cases, it may just not be enough. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, call North Jersey Recovery Center today to speak with a specialist. We can help answer common questions related to addiction and treatment options. Ask for help from a professional; that’s what we’re here for.  

women alone and thinking about rapid detox

Rapid Detox: Is It a Good Idea?

Before people can break free from addiction, they first need to get through a detox process. With some drugs, people can simply stop at any time without experiencing serious symptoms. Although patients may experience some discomfort, the withdrawal symptoms associated with some substances are not dangerous.

However, when people are detoxing from certain drugs and prescription medications, they need to do so safely. In many cases, people have to wean off substance use over an extended period of time. This helps to prevent patients from going into shock when drug use suddenly stops. The most common drugs that require detox before patients can move forward include opioids, such as heroin.

The detox process requires getting help at a medical facility for several months. Sometimes, severe symptoms are associated with coming down from some drugs. Common withdrawal symptoms that worry patients considering rehab include excruciating pain and terrifying hallucinations. Therefore, many patients want to consider rapid detoxification, a procedure that can get patients through the rapid drug detoxification process in only a few hours. But the question stands: is rapid detox a good idea?

What Is Rapid Detox?

Rapid detoxification attempts to prevent the pain and suffering associated with ordinary detox methods. The term ‘rapid detoxification’ is normally used to describe methods that exist to quickly remove opioids from a person’s system. Methods of rapid detoxification can be used for other types of addictions and overdoses. But the severity of the opioid epidemic has made rapid detoxification strongly associated with opioid addictions.

Patients who undergo rapid drug detoxification are anesthetized for a period of up to 6 hours. During this time, opioid antagonist drugs, such as naltrexone, are used to remove opioids or heroin from a person’s system. Since patients are asleep during the detox process, they do not have to go through the discomfort of withdrawal.

When patients wake up, the detox process is complete. Most hospitals ask patients to stay at their facility overnight after a rapid detox procedure to monitor their health before sending them home. However, patients can safely stop using a substance once they have left the hospital.

Rapid Detox vs. Traditional Detox

Patients considering rapid detoxification should understand that this procedure is very different than traditional detox. 

Rapid detox presents more dangers. When patients go through the traditional detox process, there is a very low risk of experiencing life-threatening complications. On the other hand, rapid detoxification is associated with serious side effects that are life-threatening in some situations. Therefore, patients considering rapid detoxification should be fully informed about the procedure they are considering before making a decision with the help of a medical professional.

Traditional detox may offer a safer process. Ordinary detox is also known as opioid tapering. In traditional detox, medical professionals monitor the patients. They make sure individuals safely wean off drugs and/or alcohol over a period of several weeks. This enables patients to safely come down from using the substance.

As the quantity of a substance that a patient takes reduces, patients will experience withdrawal symptoms. The goal of detox is to balance minimizing discomfort with the need to get through detox in a timely manner.

Withdrawal symptoms may be more noticeable during traditional detox. Patients considering traditional detox should understand that detox is often a painful process. 

Traditional detoxification often requires people to live away from home. Patients who enter detox may have to stay at a medical facility because their urges to use the substance will be so strong that it would be practically impossible to stop at home.

As a result, many detox patients have to take time off from work. The reality is that some employers may not be supportive of recovering drug users who want to take time off. Living at a detox facility may cause people to become physically and emotionally distant from their families and friends.

Why Do Some People Choose Rapid Detox Over Traditional Detox?

The problems associated with getting through detox are a major reason why some patients consider rapid detoxification. In the past, rapid drug detoxification was seen as a miracle treatment that helped patients to safely get clean without having to go through the ordeal of detox.

Today, however, the medical community has recognized serious risks associated with rapid detoxification that patients should consider before undergoing a procedure. Although these risks are not serious enough for governments to ban rapid detoxification, the reality is that these symptoms are serious enough to warrant serious consideration.

Understanding the Dangers of Rapid Detox

The first major problem with rapid drug detoxification that every patient should consider is the potential for serious reactions and fatalities. In a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in 2012, the outcomes experienced by 75 patients who went through rapid detox were analyzed. The study found that 2 of the patients died, and 5 had reactions to the treatment that required hospitalization.

As a result of the study’s findings, the New York Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services sent an alert to healthcare providers warning of the potential dangers of rapid detoxification. However, the procedure was not banned, and the medical community still acknowledges the reality that there are situations where the procedure can be more beneficial.

More on the Cons of Rapid Detox

Rapid drug detoxification does not help to break the habits and thought patterns that ultimately drive an addiction. During traditional detox, patients are taught on a daily basis how to avoid using addictive substances. In many cases, the social contacts of a patient are brought in to encourage them to support a patient’s recovery. In other cases, patients are taught to nurture a new circle of friends who do not encourage substance abuse.

As a result, many patients who go through rapid detoxification still have to spend significant time at an inpatient drug rehab facility. Some patients also experience relatively minor withdrawal symptoms after their procedure. Although the major pain associated with the recovery process is avoided, patients still have to get used to staying sober.

Many detox programs can enable patients to spend part of their day outside of a care facility once they are a few weeks into their recovery, but these programs can be inadequate for patients with a history of relapses.

Also, rapid drug detoxification is surprisingly expensive. Many insurance providers will not cover rapid detoxification unless it is deemed necessary for the survival of a patient. As a result, most patients have to pay for it out of pocket. In most cases, patients perceive the costs associated with rapid detoxification to be unaffordable.

Finally, the relative ease associated with rapid detox can give drug people a sense that relapses are not a big deal. Patients may reason that they can simply go through rapid detoxification again if experiments with drugs lead to problems again in the future. Misunderstandings about rapid detox may also make drug addictions more common among the general public. In reality, the serious risks associated with rapid detoxification mean that patients need to use it only when absolutely necessary.

Is Rapid Detox Ever Useful?

The most common situation when medical professionals recommend rapid detoxification is when patients have a history of leaving rehab. People have different levels of pain tolerance, and the reality is that people who abuse opioids tend to have lower levels of pain tolerance. Also, some patients are accustomed to using larger doses of a substance, and coming down from a high dose can result in more serious withdrawal symptoms.

As a result, some patients insist on leaving detox before their treatment program is complete. In most states, rehab facilities are required to let voluntary patients go when they insist on leaving. There are situations when patients can be forced to undergo rehab, such as when patients enter into a plea bargain after being caught doing something harmful to society as a result of their addiction. When court orders are in place, patients cannot leave rehab once they enter a facility.

Rapid Detox May Be an Option for Some People

The bottom line is that some patients are not able to get through detox. After several attempts at getting through ordinary detox, care providers may recommend rapid detoxification. Some care facilities may also recommend rapid detoxification to high-risk patients at the point when they are on their way out the door because they cannot tolerate the withdrawal process.

Rapid detox may also be preferable for patients who are physiologically accustomed to extreme doses of a substance. Care providers may determine that the risks of gradually coming down from a high dose of a drug exceed the risks associated with faster detoxification.

Some patients also voluntarily pursue rapid drug detoxification as a matter of personal preference. Reasons for wanting a rapid detox vary, but many people simply want to avoid disruptions to their schedule or want the nightmare of drug addiction over as soon as possible. 

But, the truth of the matter is that a rapid detox process is rarely the safest or most effective option. Individuals who wish to end substance use should absolutely seek professional and medical guidance. 

Is Rapid Detox Right For You?

Patients considering rapid detoxification should put substantial thought into what recovery program they want to pursue. Of course, many patients who have hit the point where they need to go into detox may not be in a good state of mind. Therefore, some patients may ask someone they trust, such as a parent, spouse, or close friend, to work with their doctor to weigh the risks on whether they should pursue rapid detoxification.

The reality is that you have to look at your own situation to decide whether rapid detoxification is right for you. At the North Jersey Recovery Center, our licensed medical professionals can work compassionately with you to determine which mode of detox and rehab is most likely to lead to a full recovery in your situation. Contact us today to learn more about the rapid detoxification services that we offer.

alcohol and aging

Does Alcohol Make You Look Older?

From time to time, most people enjoy an alcoholic beverage. However, alcohol abuse is known to bring negative health effects. For example, it can lead to liver damage, cancer, immune disorders, and brain damage. Also, it may worsen pre-existing conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. Besides a person’s health, drinking alcohol can have other negative effects on his or her body. Does alcohol age your appearance? Here is a closer look at how a person’s looks suffer from excessive alcohol consumption.

Alcohol and Aging: What are the Effects of Alcohol on the Appearance?

Alcohol affects every part of the body. Furthermore, chronic heavy drinking often causes extreme damage to internal organs. In fact, one study uncovered that alcohol makes the body age at the cellular level, which heightens the risks for developing age-related illnesses. Also, alcohol can damage the liver, which is responsible for the detoxification of the body. When this occurs, premature aging results and has vast negative effects on a person’s appearance.

Effects of Alcohol on Skin and Aging

Excessive drinking can wreak havoc on a person’s skin. Since alcohol depletes levels of vitamins, (especially vitamin A) the skin’s collagen levels plummet. As a result, a person’s skin may lose all elasticity and become wrinkled. Wrinkles may be caused by alcohol’s ability to dehydrate the skin as well.

Markedly, most heavy drinkers experience puffy and red faces. Alcohol is a vasodilator. In other words, it expands blood vessels. Drinking alcohol on a regular basis leads to widened blood vessels in the face. With time, this leads to loss of skin tone and a permanent red color. Spider veins may appear as well. Also, a person may have heightened risks of developing skin infections.

Lack of Sleep

Alcohol can cause a lack of rest from a depleted sleep cycle. This leads to puffy eyes or bags. This makes a person appear old and tired. Usually, alcohol makes a person toss and turn during the night. In other words, a person suffers from poor quality of sleep. Without being able to enjoy deep sleep, which is known to restore health, a person will look and feel much older than his or her actual age.

How Excessive Alcohol Consumption Ages the Mind and Body

Again, alcohol affects the skin and can cause negative deterioration of various internal systems. When a person becomes a chronic drinker, the habit takes a toll on multiple organs within the body. This leads to intangible aging. By the time a person uncovers a problem, it may be too late. In fact, permanent damage may even lead to fatality.

  • Heart. Heavy drinking on a regular basis causes high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. Also, it places an individual at high risk for a stroke.
  • Liver. Steatosis, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis are all conditions of the liver that are caused by over-drinking. As a result, a person may experience fatal consequences.
  • Pancreas. When a drinking problem is present in a person’s life, it can cause harm to his or her pancreas. When this organ becomes swollen and inflamed, serious complications occur.
  • Brain. In fact, premature dementia is related to alcohol-related brain damage. Through investigation, it has been shown that excessive drinking can cause a person’s brain to shrink and deteriorate.

Does Alcohol Age Your Appearance in Other Ways?

Besides the negative effects of alcohol on skin and aging, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol on a regular basis has other aging effects on a person’s body.

Alcohol Affects a Person’s Weight

Most alcoholic beverages are extremely high in empty calories, sugar, and carbohydrates. When heavy drinking occurs, means that weight gain is likely. Also, alcohol raises insulin levels, which makes the body store more fat in the stomach area.

Next, alcohol increase a person’s appetite. Research conducted at the University of Liverpool found that individuals who drink alcohol regularly throughout the day are attracted to salty and fatty foods. This may be explained by a shift in hormones, especially leptin. Leptin regulates the appetite. It was uncovered that leptin levels decrease by half after a person consumes large amounts of alcohol.

Alcohol Affects a Person’s Hair

Although it is common for a person to lose a few hairs each day, excessive drinking can cause severe hair loss. In fact, there is no direct link between alcohol consumption hair loss. However, scientists believe that drinking heavily may lead to nutritional deficiencies or hormonal problems that affect a person’s hair. For example, too much alcohol in the body may prevent the absorption of zinc, copper, and protein. Scientific studies have shown that low protein can cause a multitude of skin, hair, and nail problems. Drinking in excess may cause thyroid issues as well. This can lead to thinning hair.

Alcohol Binges Lead to Poor Hygiene

When a person drinks large amounts of alcohol, it is easy to make poor decisions. He or she may stuff themselves with food or simply pass out in bed at the end of the night. In the moment, it becomes easy to forget to practice a normal hygiene routine. For instance, a person may forget to wash their face or brush their teeth. Habitual actions like these will lead to cavities, acne, and similar issues. All these problems will cause a person to appear older.

Alcohol and Body Odor

Besides physical appearance, most individuals are conscious about the way that they smell. Between deodorant and cologne, most people go out of their way to have a pleasing scent. Unfortunately, a night of heavy drinking can leave a person sweaty and odorous. The Institute of Alcohol Studies reports that 10% of alcohol leaves the body by sweating, breathing, and urinating. In other words, after a night of heavy drinking, a person will suffer from bad breath, smelly urine, and body odor. Typically, this is not part of the appearance of a young and healthy person.

Other Ways that Alcohol Impacts Aging

Along with a person’s exterior weight and skin, there are other aging issues that are related to excessive drinking. In particular, the brain takes a hit from alcohol. It becomes difficult to plan, pay attention, remember information, and learn. Excessive alcohol use increases free radicals in the body and causes sleep disruptions, which can lead to poor cognitive function.

How Alcohol Changes the Aging Process

When doctors consider the way that drinking large amounts of alcohol affects the body’s aging process, they have come to a few conclusions. First, medical professionals explain that early signs of aging stem from the fact that alcohol speeds the release of stress hormones in the body. Next, alcohol harms various organs, especially the liver. This disrupts the body’s chemical balance. As a result, premature aging occurs.

Are the Effects of Alcohol and Aging Reversible?

Once a person has identified a problem and wants treatment, it may be possible to reverse certain signs of aging that come from abusing alcohol. It is advised to eat a balanced diet so that adequate nutrition returns to the body. Also, it is essential to drink plenty of water so that dehydration is no longer an issue. Finally, it is essential to visit a medical professional so that tests can be run to examine certain organs and systems. For example, if a person experiences hair loss for a thyroid problem caused by drinking, this issue may be resolved when alcohol abuse ends.

About Alcohol Addiction

Obviously, the smartest way to prevent aging from alcohol consumption is by lowering daily intake. Also, a person may totally stop drinking. However, when a person has a preoccupation with alcohol, he or she may lose control and have the inability to stop. This person may develop a tolerance, which means that he or she must drink more and more to get the same pleasing effects. When addiction occurs, alcohol interferes with work and social interactions. In fact, a person may experience relationship problems with friends and family. Also, a person with a misuse disorder may experience early signs of aging on his or her body.

Seeking Help From a Trusted Rehab Facility

When a person suspects a problem with alcohol, it is essential to seek help. With assistance and support, it is possible to return to a sober life and to enjoy a more youthful appearance. When a person’s body is rid of toxins from alcohol, he or she will have better skin, healthier hair and nails, and a younger complexion. Weight loss may occur as well.

At North Jersey Recovery Center in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, we offer various therapies so that a patient can enjoy a successful recovery from alcohol misuse. After a person becomes sober and learns ways to live healthier, he or she will notice an improved appearance. To take the first step in the right direction, contact us today.

signs of xanax overdose

Identifying the Signs of Xanax Overdose and Learning How to Help

For many patients, Xanax may seem like an absolute lifesaver. However, while Xanax can have great benefits when used properly, it can also be very dangerous in excess. Unfortunately, Xanax is an easy drug to abuse, and an overdose can quickly lead to death. Therefore, it’s very important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a potential overdose.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax is a brand name of the generic drug alprazolam, and you may find the drug under several different names. Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine that is used to treat anxiety, seizures, insomnia, and other disorders. This drug works by increasing the level of the GABA neurotransmitter in the brain. After using alprazolam and other benzodiazepines, patients tend to feel calmer and more lethargic until the drug wears off.

Symptoms and Effects of a Xanax Overdose

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When a person uses too much of any substance, it can potentially lead to an overdose. Although overdoses aren’t always deadly, they typically do a ton of damage to the brain and organs. Therefore, even if someone hasn’t used Xanax, you should contact emergency services when they exhibit any of the following symptoms.

Slurred Speech

Since Xanax inhibits the central nervous system, individuals will find it harder to perform basic tasks as they ingest more and more of the drug. Often, this results in slurred speech and difficulty forming coherent sentences. While most people may seem somewhat incoherent when they first wake up, they usually snap out of it very quickly. If a person continues to slur their words, then that’s a big sign that something is wrong.

Severe Drowsiness

When a person takes too much Xanax, they may feel extremely sleepy. If you notice someone having a hard time keeping their eyes open after taking Xanax, then there’s a good chance that they had too much. Furthermore, a person suffering from a Xanax overdose may fall asleep on the floor or in some other unusual place or position.

Confusion

A person under the influence may have trouble expressing their thoughts, opinions, and concerns. Moreover, they may constantly repeat themselves. These symptoms are also very common following excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol can hasten the effects of a Xanax overdose, so you should quickly call emergency services if you think that someone drank while using Xanax.

Trouble Breathing

People need oxygen to maintain the health of their blood, tissues, and organs. If they can’t breathe properly, then they will suffer damage to their brain and organs. After enough time, they will eventually die. Therefore, if you notice shallow or irregular breathing, then you must call an ambulance and stay by that person’s side until medical help arrives.

Unconsciousness

If an individual who uses Xanax is unconscious, it is important to call emergency services immediately. Also, be sure to remain by the individual’s side until medical help comes to the scene.

Nausea or Vomiting

An individual who took too much Xanax may complain about an upset stomach. If you see them constantly running to the bathroom, then there is a good chance that they are vomiting. A person has to take a lot of Xanax to induce nausea and vomiting. Therefore, if you notice this symptom, then you should seek medical help immediately.

How You Can Help

Call Emergency Services

If you suspect a Xanax overdose, you should call emergency services as quickly as possible. Otherwise, their condition could quickly worsen, and they may even die. 

Stay With Them

First and foremost, if you suspect an overdose, then you should not leave that person alone. Otherwise, their symptoms may progress, or they may consume more Xanax, potentially worsening their condition. Emergency personnel will arrive eventually, so you just need to keep the person safe and monitor their condition in the meantime.

Check the Person’s Vital Signs

You should consistently check their pulse and monitor their breathing. If you notice any abnormalities or strange pauses in their pulse or breathing, then you must communicate that information to emergency service professionals when they arrive. This knowledge will help them make more informed care decisions that could save the patient’s life.

Try to Keep Them Awake

If someone falls unconscious during an overdose, then there’s a possibility that they may never wake up. This is why it is critical to stay with that person while trying to keep them awake. You can do this by talking to them, asking them questions, and keeping a conversation going. It’s much easier for medical personnel to judge an overdose patient’s condition when they’re awake, so your efforts will be very helpful.

Lay Them on Their Side

Often, people vomit after consuming too much Xanax, and this is especially common when Xanax is taken with alcohol or other drugs. If you suspect an overdose, then you should not allow the person to lie on their back. Otherwise, they may choke on their own vomit.

Find Out if There are Any Other Substances in Their System

Excessive Xanax use is harmful enough on its own, but it can be even worse when combined with other substances. Therefore, you should ask anyone who was around that individual if they noticed them taking any other substances. While you may not get precise answers, any little bit of information can help emergency medical personnel later on.

Remain Calm

A Xanax overdose can be a very worrying experience. However, panicking won’t help anyone. In order to increase the person’s odds of survival, you need to do your best to remain calm. With a calm mind, you can call emergency services and monitor the individual’s condition so that the situation doesn’t get any worse. Staying calm is a lot to ask, but someone’s life may depend on it.

Signs of a Xanax Addiction

Some people who struggle with addiction may be able to maintain a façade of normalcy for a long time. However, for most people, cracks will eventually start to show. Although the following symptoms are very common signs of addiction, you shouldn’t just assume that someone has a substance use disorder because they happen to exhibit one of the symptoms on this list. Conversely, you shouldn’t assume that someone doesn’t have a substance use disorder just because they don’t exhibit noticeable symptoms. Everybody’s different, and the following signs should only serve to corroborate other evidence of a Xanax addiction.

Constant Lethargy

Xanax tends to make people seem sluggish or sleepy. Also, this drug affects a person’s coordination and balance. If an otherwise active person suddenly starts taking regular naps, moving clumsily, or avoiding physical activities, then that may point to a bigger issue. When you notice these symptoms, you should gently voice your concerns. While a defensive response may not necessarily point to a Xanax addiction, it certainly isn’t a good sign.

Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person consistently misuses a drug, their body will eventually depend on it to function. Consequently, once that drug is unavailable, the person may experience withdrawal symptoms. It may not always be possible for someone struggling with addiction to maintain a constant supply of Xanax. As a result, they may experience headaches, mood swings, intense sweating, hallucinations, and other withdrawal symptoms between doses.

Sudden Financial Troubles

With health insurance, a Xanax prescription can be very affordable. However, over time, an individual struggling with addiction will need a higher dose to feel the same effects. To get an adequate dose, they may have to buy Xanax on the black market. Eventually, this will affect their finances, and they may have trouble paying their rent or fulfilling other financial obligations.

Dishonest Behavior

When the money runs dry, an individual who is suffering from addiction may resort to stealing in order to afford their next dose. Moreover, they may lie about their whereabouts or dodge very basic questions. Naturally, these behaviors are frustrating and cannot be condoned. However, you may want to try to help them seek treatment before taking more drastic measures.

Social Isolation and Neglecting Responsibilities

Finding, purchasing, and using the next dose can be a very lengthy process. Consequently, individuals suffering from addiction may not spend as much time around friends and family members. They may also have trouble going to work and fulfilling other obligations. On top of that, people with substance problems often feel diminished self-worth and confidence. As a result, they may not feel good enough to spend time with friends and family.

Common Addiction Treatment Options

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Every patient is unique. So, the right course of action for one patient may not be the best treatment for another patient. The addiction professionals at a reputable facility will develop unique treatments for each patient, and most treatment regimens usually incorporate one or more of the following methods.

Detoxification

When someone goes through withdrawals, the body eventually starts to adapt to life without Xanax. This process is necessary, but it can be very uncomfortable. To avoid complications while maximizing the odds of success, patients should undergo the detoxification process with professional medical supervision.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

A person’s thoughts have a significant impact on their actions, values, and choices. Consequently, if someone has negative or self-destructive thoughts, then they won’t make the best decisions. CBT works by addressing how patients think about their addiction so that they can take action to avoid damaging behaviors.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Substance use disorders are commonly accompanied by other mental disorders. In fact, many people abuse substances to deal with poor social relationships, stress, anxiety, anger, and other negative feelings. DBT helps patients develop the skills to manage these feelings without drugs.

Family Therapy

When it comes to substance use disorders, a person’s family can make a world of difference. Often, people spend the most time with their family members, so everybody in the family needs to be on the same page. Family therapy allows everybody to communicate their needs in a safe environment while giving them the tools that they need to foster a sober environment.

Group Therapy

Addiction can be extremely isolating, and that can affect a patient’s self-esteem. In group therapy, a group of peers with similar struggles can express their feelings without interruption. Not only does group therapy allow group members to vent, but it also allows them to see that they are not alone.

There’s a Light at the End of the Tunnel: Call Us Today

Addiction is a terrible thing, and it’s not easy to overcome alone. The longer a person remains addicted, the harder it will be for them to live a normal life. However, there is still hope. The professionals at North Jersey Recovery Center have the tools, facilities, and expertise to help patients overcome their addiction and achieve true happiness. Therefore, if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, then you should contact us as soon as possible to find the right treatment option. Avoid the occurrence of Xanax overdose by seeking help for Xanax abuse today.