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.

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.  

Natural Healing

Natural Addiction Treatment: The Healing Power of Nature

The idea of addiction recovery is to confront the negative thoughts or emotions that keep one from their desired sober state. Through therapy and addiction education, one can understand the benefits of becoming a sober individual. To become better associated with oneself and the perception of life, natural addiction treatment has been a likelier form of therapy as it encourages self-analysis. The healing power of nature when it comes to addiction recovery is worth considering if you are working to end substance abuse in your life.

The Benefits and Healing Power of Nature

healing-power-of-natureThe outdoors is a valuable thing to those who find the indoors boring. For many, being in an enclosed space confines them to certain activities; when confined to certain spaces and activities, many resort to drinking alcohol or taking drugs to help create a less boring atmosphere. 

Being bored while inside may act as a trigger for some and result in the relapse and consumption of drugs or alcohol. Individuals who previously filled their hours with substance use may find it hard to dedicate those hours to a new hobby or lifestyle. 

In cases of addiction recovery, connecting with nature allows the individual to put their life into a new perspective. A change of scenery can be good when transitioning from life with substance use to life without. In nature, one can view their obstacles more clearly and decide the world has more to offer. Reconnecting with nature can be crucial for anyone who wants to continue a balanced, healthy, and fulfilling lifestyle. The healing power of nature can be critical to anyone looking for a new purpose in life.

Vitamin D: The Sun

Depression and anxiety are common mental health disorders that occur in individuals when making an effort to become clean. Even after completion of addiction treatment, depression and anxiety can be detrimental to the recovery process. To combat mental health disorders and addiction simultaneously, spending time in nature is highly recommended. 

The healing power of nature may be partly due to sun exposure; regular exposure to the outside is valuable as the sun is the body’s main source of vitamin D. An average of 10-30 minutes a day can help one maintain healthy blood levels. By being in the outdoors, an individual’s body can receive vitamin D from direct sunlight. 

Exploring the Mental Benefits 

Natural-Addiction-Treatment-300x172A study was conducted that would compare the brain activity of individuals that took a walk outside for 90 minutes and those that didn’t. It didn’t matter whether the individual took the walk in an urban or natural setting. Those who completed the walk found more activity in the lower prefrontal cortex.

The lower prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain— when overstimulated— responsible for feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety. In short, it helps people set and achieve goals. Those individuals who went on the 90-minute walk and found more activity in their lower prefrontal cortex also found benefits including:

  • Improved memory
  • Elevated moods
  • Strong immune system
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increased self-esteem 
  • Better nutrient and vitamin absorption

Natural addiction treatment can be highly beneficial to those looking to improve their mental state. Since incorporating nature within an everyday routine is proven to increase the mental state, those who do not experience addiction issues can enhance their lives as well.

Identifying the Emotional Benefits

Exposure to nature has been scientifically proven to improve mental health; the use of natural addiction treatment in the context of therapy sessions has been extraordinarily valuable. 

In any individual, there are quick fight-or-flight responses in return to an event that is perceived as stressful or frightening. However, addicted individuals face more intense fight-or-flight scenarios as their drug or alcohol use intensifies each situation. 

Research related to fight-or-flight responses indicates that nature and the sounds of nature can lower cortisol, the stress hormone that activates a fight-or-flight response. By getting a half-hour of sun every day, one can accomplish:

  • Lower BMI
  • Mood stabilization
  • A good night’s sleep
  • Feelings of natural euphoria

Furthermore, spending just a half-hour in the morning sun can decrease the chance of developing multiple sclerosis and autoimmune diseases such as cancer. If you used to choose drugs or alcohol to self-medicate, spending time in nature can be a good replacement option. Spending time in nature minimizes:

  • Health risks
  • Trauma triggers
  • Stress and fatigue
  • Chance of premature death
  • Dangerous and negative thoughts 

One of the many ways people find joy in the outdoors is to try their chance at gardening. Finding out the value of a green thumb gives people a hobby to keep up with in place of their previous lifestyle habits. Research also indicates that gardening can boost the immune system and trigger the release of serotonin through microbes in the soil. With something as simple as gardening, the healing power of nature is obtainable.

Finding Healing and Hope in Natural Addiction Treatment

Nature can help bring healing and hope to those who are dealing with addiction recovery. Natural addiction programs aim to restore self-confidence in an individual while becoming self-aware of their worth; they may begin to believe they can be successful in life again. 

Any type of outdoor time can be beneficial whether it be in the backyard of your home, a nearby park, or a hike in the woods. Any type of outdoor time can bring a sense of well-being. If the weather is inclement, a natural sound machine can be useful as it will bring a sense of the outdoors inside. 

For those that don’t know how to incorporate nature into their recovery, a few activities one can take part in are:

  • Gardening
  • Birdwatch
  • Meditate
  • Exercise
  • Taking a walk 
  • Follow a nature trail
  • Spending the day at the park
  • Explore outdoor recreational activities (fishing, biking, kayaking, etc)

Exercise can be valuable to a recovering individual as it increases the release of hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. By exercising, one can build stamina and strengthen their body to help better sustain themselves throughout the recovery process. 

Research related to natural addiction programs documents the decrease in mental health issues such as stress, depression, and anxiety. Even more so, those who complete a natural addiction program have regressed in their addiction; results in this program took an average of a 6-month follow-up period. After 12 months of natural addiction recovery, the addicted individual went from an elevated substance range to a normal substance range. 

In other cases, the use of a journal can come in handy. Writing down an experience in nature can help one connect with that adventure and the lessons to learn from it. Some may not realize there was a lesson to learn in the first place and writing it down helps them communicate their feelings about it.

Meditation is also a powerful tool to connect with the wilderness. One can meditate at any location and at any point in their life to help find inner peace. Engaging in mindfulness activities can prove to help those who are working to overcome substance abuse.

Rehab Options

Discover-healing-the-power-of-nature-todayMany recovery centers are working to incorporate nature with recovery as they have seen the benefits first-handedly. Incorporating a form of ecotherapy or wilderness therapy — as some recovery centers refer to it— has become more popular in recent years. To put it simply, this therapy is created through activity and adventure-based techniques that are combined with traditional therapy methods. 

The idea of natural addiction recovery is to simultaneously include another form of treatment therapy. By attending both programs, an addicted individual will get the attention and full treatment needed. To get to this point, family members or friends may have to create an intervention for the individual to get the help they need.

Rehab options to complete while doing natural addiction recovery can include a 12-step program, SMART recovery, counseling, and experiential therapy.

12-Step Program

The 12-step program— influenced by Alcoholics Anonymous— was created with direction for those wanting to overcome addiction; the program is based on 12 spiritual steps that one has to accept as they overcome the addiction process. As one approaches the 11th step, natural addiction treatment could be considered part of the 12-step recovery process.

SMART Recovery 

SMART Recovery is a program designed for like-individuals that need assistance in the recovery process. Based on scientific knowledge, this program will follow a different approach than the usual 12-step program or AA meeting. Attending this program may be a form of natural addiction recovery as it’s considered relapse prevention, a form of healthy distraction like nature. 

Counseling/Therapy

Counseling will focus on the positive aspects of recovery. Focusing on the negative may trigger a relapse, so it’s important to keep a light and positive environment when meeting. Therapy is goal-oriented and will have specific objectives to meet in the process. The counselor will focus on individual strengths and improve areas that are lacking. A therapist can help ensure smooth life transitions, better self-awareness, achievable goals, and improved quality in that individual’s personal and professional life.

Experiential Therapy

Experiential therapy is opposite to what a counselor works toward. In this therapy, expressive tools and activities, such as role-playing, music, animal care, guided imagery can help recreate or re-experience emotional situations. The patient will re-experience these situations and begin to identify the emotions they associated with them. Those ranges of emotions could include success, disappointment, responsibility, and self-esteem. Being guided by a therapist will help the patient explore past and present relationships that present feelings of anger, hurt, or shame. These feelings may come back in strong waves as the patient might have blocked it out or still feels it lingering.

Contact Us

Incorporating nature with daily routines can be favorable to those who have had a hard time transitioning from life before addiction to life after. To discover how we can help you to work toward total freedom from addiction, please reach out to us today! We look forward to walking with you on this journey to health and happiness.

dating in recovery

Should I Be Dating in Early Recovery?

Making the decision to enter drug rehab is an important step. You must do so with the intention of not only becoming sober but also learning how to maintain your sobriety. You shouldn’t go into rehab with the intention of finding your soul mate. Sometimes, though, love pops up in the most unexpected place.

The truth is that dating in recovery isn’t something that you should take lightly. That’s why you won’t find many recovery professionals that recommend dating during rehab. However, let’s take a deeper look at the question, “Should I be dating in recovery?”

Learning to Love and Let Yourself Feel Emotions

One of the most challenging parts of rehab may be forgiving yourself. Part of that involves learning to let yourself feel emotions again, including intimacy and love. While this is challenging, it’s also one of the most rewarding things that you can take away from rehab.

Like with everything else, though, you have to take your time. Jumping headfirst into a relationship while you’re still learning to control your addiction can lead to a destructive and dysfunctional relationship. Before you can learn to care for someone else, you must first be able to care for yourself.

Reasons to Avoid Dating in Recovery

Dating during the early stages of rehab can put your whole recovery in jeopardy. Should you be dating in early recovery? The short answer to that question is no. Here are a few reasons why it isn’t a good idea.

Dating in Rehab Often Breaks the Rules

Many rehab centers have very strict rules about clients dating each other. New relationships are fun, but they often take focus and attention away from what’s really important. In rehab, the focus should be overcoming addiction and becoming healthy, not getting intimate with someone else.

Trading One Addiction for Another Is Common

People who have addictive personalities often trade one addiction for another. Those with drug addictions are used to finding pleasure from outside sources instead of from within. When they remove the substances from their lives, they tend to replace those substances with new addictions. In some cases, love becomes the new drug.

If you find yourself in such a situation, you might be seeking love for all of the wrong reasons. You may not actually love the person you start dating. Instead, you might be using that individual to fill the void that your addiction left behind.

It’s only fair to yourself and the person dating a recovering addict, that you don’t become romantically involved. You shouldn’t begin a relationship because you want to fill a void. If you seek love before you finish rehab, you could lack the insight to recognize that you’re making this mistake.

Focusing on Yourself Is More Important

When you get into a new relationship, you can’t just focus on yourself. You have to focus on the needs of your partner as well. However, rehab is a time for you to be selfish in terms of focusing on only yourself. You must use this time to concentrate on the consequences of your addiction and to find your inner power to overcome it.

Dating in recovery is a distraction that you don’t need. While it can be hard to focus, you have to make an effort to move forward. Otherwise, you could put your whole recovery in jeopardy.

Dating Is Emotional and Can Make Staying Sober Harder

Rehab is already hard enough without adding the weight of relationship emotions. Dating can be an emotional roller coaster, which is even more true for new relationships. While the ups are great, the downs are even harder. For someone just learning to deal with addiction, this emotional roller coaster could be too much to handle.

It’s even a bigger problem if you’re in an outpatient program because you don’t have the luxury of living in a drug-free environment. When the emotions of a relationship get you down, you might turn to drugs for comfort, which puts your entire recovery in jeopardy.

Instead, dating in recovery is something better left until after you have a better grasp on your own needs. Once you can handle the emotional stress that comes with a new relationship, you could consider dating.

Tips for Dating in Recovery

It’s easy to give you a list of reasons why you shouldn’t date in rehab. That said, you might not always be able to control when you fall in love. While you shouldn’t actively pursue a relationship in rehab, you can use these tips if you catch feelings for someone by chance.

Be Upfront and Honest

If you start to hit it off with someone, you must be upfront and honest with that person. Every individual has the right to know when he or she is dating a recovering addict. While this might seem like a lot to throw at someone, it’s better for the person to understand the situation. If the individual can’t handle dating a recovering addict, it’s better to know to begin with rather than finding out later in your relationship.

Take the Relationship Slow

It’s easy to jump into a relationship at warp speed. When dating in recovery, though, it’s imperative to take the relationship slow. In fact, consider treating the relationship like a part of your rehab.

Think about it. Typically, addicts are used to getting instant gratification from the substances that they abuse. It stands to reason that they would want it from their relationships as well. In order to keep the “high” of the relationships alive, they tend to keep upping the stakes.

For example, they might get into relationships, move in with their partners, and get married all within a short time. Once there’s no more ante to up, they lose focus and look for something else to scratch that itch.

However, a good relationship is a marathon, not a sprint. Get to know with whom you’re getting into a relationship. Additionally, it’s essential for the person dating a recovering addict to understand the need to take it slow. The individual shouldn’t push you into doing anything too quickly. Once again, that’s why it’s so important to let the person know that you’re in recovery when you first start dating.

Put Your Sobriety First

When you’re on a plane, the staff tells you to put on your oxygen mask in an emergency before helping the loved one next to you. Think of being in a relationship while in recovery the same way. While being in a relationship can change your priorities, it’s crucial to remember that your sobriety has to come first.

Don’t put your time in rehab on the back burner for your relationship. Also, avoid situations that might put your sobriety in jeopardy. For instance, let’s say that your new partner is going to a family get-together, and alcohol will be there. If you’re not far enough into your recovery, this might be too big of a temptation.

While it might hurt your partner’s feelings, you have to explain that going to such a gathering might put your sobriety in danger. By doing so, you put your sobriety ahead of your new relationship.

Don’t Date People From Places That You Frequent

Nothing is more important than structure and routine during recovery. That’s why, when you’re dating in recovery, it’s necessary to avoid dating anyone from places that you frequent. Avoid dating people from work, your rehab meetings, or even your gym.

The reason is that dating people from these locations may put you in a stressful situation if you break up. If you date someone from your favorite gym but break up, you might find yourself avoiding the gym so that you don’t see your ex. This hurts your routine and puts you at risk of relapse.

In addition, there’s a possibility that the people you hung around before your recovery were bad influences. You should weed out such individuals during recovery. The last thing that you want is to date someone who will steer you down the wrong path.

When Is It Time to Start Dating?

A good rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t even think about dating for the first six months to one year after you start rehab. Waiting gives you time to focus on yourself, find balance in your life and get a firm grasp on your sobriety. It will make it easy to deal with the hardships that come along with dating, including the stigma of being a recovering addict.

According to a study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, there’s a greater stigma for drug addiction than for any other mental health issue. It can be tough to deal with, so you should be mentally prepared before you get back into the dating scene.

Once again, that’s why it’s vital to take things slow and be upfront with whoever is your partner. Whether you’re dating in recovery or afterward, being honest about your situation is a crucial step in achieving a healthy and happy relationship.

Get the Help You Deserve at North Jersey Recovery Center

At North Jersey Recovery Center, we take great pride in offering the best addiction treatment possible. We offer a wide range of programs so that we can provide treatments that work for everyone. Some of these programs include:

Don’t wait any longer to get the treatment you deserve. Let us guide you down the path to recovery. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.

pets and recovery

The Benefits of Pets in Recovery

Loneliness is the downfall for many people struggling with drug addiction. Moving away from old friend groups and starting a new life free of drugs can be a lonely experience at times. This period can be hard to deal with alone for some people. However, one of the best ways to cure loneliness and have a companion by your side is owning a pet during recovery. There are several therapeutic benefits of animals. 

There are so many great benefits to having a pet around to keep you company. They are always excited to see you and they can cure your loneliness. Addiction recovery doesn’t have to be a lonely journey and you don’t necessarily need other people to be in company. Pets can be that bridge between loneliness and sobriety. At the end of the day, having a pet might just be the reason you stay sober and clean. These are just a few benefits of pet therapy during recovery.  

The first step of all recovery journeys starts with reaching out for help. Before you can embrace a new life free of drugs, it’s important to get comprehensive treatment. North Jersey Recovery Center is here to help you get started on your journey to recovery. We offer many options for drug and alcohol addiction treatment. After you finish your journey with us you can discover the benefits of pet therapy and self-care during recovery. 

What Is Pet Therapy?

Pet therapy is best described as using a pet for companionship and help during the recovery process. Whether it be a dog, bird, or cat – having a pet to rely on can be a great addition to your recovery journey. 

Many people use dogs to help them through hard times and guidance. While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of staying sober – having a pet can go a long way in keeping you focused and less lonely. The benefits of pet therapy come in the form of better wellbeing, companionship when lonely, and less stress. 

The Benefits of Pet Therapy

The idea of utilizing pets for company and therapy is not a new concept. We can see the technique for those struggling with autism, lonely senior citizens, and even veterans struggling with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). As simple as it may seem, there are many therapeutic benefits of animals for those entering addiction recovery. If you are feeling overwhelmed or lonely during or after treatment, you may want to consider getting a dog, cat, or other pet. 

There are many different options for a possible pet, these depend on your personality and your lifestyle. It can be an exciting journey picking a new pet to aid you during your recovery. Many people rely on dogs to help them feel better and stay on track. A pet can end up becoming an important part of your life and can ease the journey as well. Let’s take a look at some of the therapeutic benefits of animals:

  • Lower stress levels
  • Lower agitation or anger
  • Helps you maintain a routine/schedule
  • Encourage exercise
  • Lessen depression and anxiety
  • Empower and motivate us
  • Help with social interactions

Millions of people own pets but owning a pet as a recovering addict can be a great help in your journey. These benefits of pet therapy could make all the difference when it comes to relapse and addiction treatment. Let’s take a look at each of these individually. 

Lowers Stress Levels

Stress can be extremely problematic when it comes to recovery. Sometimes it takes a wave of negative emotions and stress to cause a relapse or worse. Pets have been shown to help lower stress levels and improve overall well-being. It’s important to keep a clear and happy mind when it comes to recovery. Stress management is something that is taught during treatment, however, your pet can offer an extra hand in your efforts. 

There has been much research in understanding the therapeutic benefits of animals for recovering addicts. Studies have shown that stroking the fur of your pet can actually help decrease your body’s cortisol levels; which is a prime stress hormone in the body. Keeping your stress to a minimum and practicing a healthy mind can make all the difference during recovery.

Lower Agitation or Anger

In the same vein as lowering stress, pets can help you come to terms with your anger and other negative emotions. Recovering from an addiction (especially in the early stages) can be a tough and emotional journey. Anger and resentment may be in the cards – which can end up cluttering a person’s mind and thoughts. Caring for your pet and embracing its affection towards you can help you calm down and forget about your anger. This is one of the many benefits of pet therapy. 

Helps you Maintain and Create a Routine/Schedule 

Sometimes as simple as maintaining a set schedule and routine can help you find balance and calm during recovery. Taking care of your dog or cat throughout the week can help streamline your schedule and can help you maintain a routine. Additionally, creating a set sleep routine and morning routine can make all the difference. 

Pets can help you keep track of when it’s time to get up when it’s time to eat, and when it’s time to go for a walk with them. Having a set schedule has been shown to help those recovering from addiction stay more focused and sober for longer. Included in these therapeutic benefits of animals is the fact that you get to spend time with your pet – which is a great thing to look forward to each day. While it may seem like a small change, introducing a structured routine can make all the difference. 

Encourage Exercise

Exercise is a vital part of your well-being and your mind as well. Pets, specifically dogs, can help encourage fitness and health. Those who own dogs are said to be way more active than those who don’t. This is because a dog typically encourages you to get out of the house even if it’s raining! Many people underestimate the power of exercise during recovery. Exercise not only keeps your body healthy but also helps clear your mind and reduces your stress. 

Piggybacking off the idea of keeping a routine – walking, or playing with your dog can be integrated into your weekly routine. Exercise and a healthy body are just one of the many benefits of pet therapy. Sometimes just a simple walk here and there can be very beneficial for you and your pet! 

Lessen Anxiety and Depression

Sometimes being lonely or living alone can be a tricky situation for recovering addicts. Being stuck inside your own head can cause problems and may lead to depression/anxiety. Having a pet to take care of can help you get away from your worries and stresses. Understanding and valuing your pet’s wellbeing, health, and safety can help you take your mind off things. Having a pet can help with a person’s anxiety and depression along with overall stress. Relieving stress and the symptoms of anxiety are just some of the therapeutic benefits of animals and pets. 

Empower and Motivate Us

Motivation and empowerment are both worth adding to the potential benefits of pet therapy. Caring for a pet can help boost your confidence and empowers you to keep moving. Successfully keeping your pet happy and taken care of can be a therapeutic and wonderful experience. Seeing your work pay off can help give you the power and courage to not give up and keep moving. This simple act can create a domino effect of successes in your life for you and your pet. 

Help with Social Interactions

One of the more hidden benefits of pet therapy is the ease during social interactions. Sometimes we may crave to connect with other people and having a pet can be a great way to do that. Many people love dogs and may be more inclined to speak to you and pet your dog/cat. It also gives you something to talk about when meeting new people for the first time. Your pet may lead you to meet new friends and people to further help you on your journey towards recovery. 

Take The First Steps Towards Recovery Today! 

While there are many benefits of pet therapy, you must first take the first step towards addiction recovery. At North Jersey Recovery Center, we offer several options for addiction treatment. No matter how bad things may appear, it is never too late to turn things around. At North Jersey Recovery Center, our staff is determined to make sure you overcome the chains of addiction. Don’t wait, take the first step towards a brighter and more fulfilling future for you and your loved ones. 

Give us a call today to learn about the next steps in your recovery journey – if you have any questions, we’ll be happy to assist you as well. 

two women discussing what rehab is like

What Does a Typical Day in Rehab Look Like?

Before you enter rehab, it’s normal for you and your loved ones to have uncertainty. Fear of the unknown often keeps people like you from seeking the treatment that they need. However, you’ll soon learn that one of the hardest parts of seeking rehab treatment is walking through the door for the first time.

Once you get into rehab, you’ll settle into a daily routine that will help you take positive steps toward living a life without substance abuse. That said, what is a typical day in rehab like? Getting the answer to this question might be just the reassurance that you need to finally take the first step toward getting treatment.

What Is Rehab Like?

To make you feel more at ease with what a typical day in rehab is like, let’s walk through it. Using this information, you’ll see that you have nothing to fear from seeking rehab treatment. Rather than a place to fear, rehab is a place of healing.

It’s essential to remember that rehab is here to help not only you but also others. When you come in with a negative attitude, it affects those around you. Instead, go into rehab with a positive mindset. Rehab is only as helpful as you allow it to be.

Starting Your Day: Early Morning

In rehab, mornings typically start early. You begin by watching the sunrise and planning your goals for the day. Having daily goals is an important part of staying on track during rehab. Along with keeping you focused, completing goals makes you feel good and helps you maintain motivation throughout treatment.

After setting your goals but before starting the rest of your day, you may participate in yoga or meditation. These activities not only get you ready to go for the rest of the day but also provide extra time for reflection. Self-reflection plays an important role in rehab. The more that you can do it, the more that you’ll get out of the whole experience.

Healthy Eating and Preparing for the Day

Once you’re done setting goals and meditating, it’s time to eat a healthy, well-balanced breakfast. You won’t be able to overcome addiction or mental health issues without a proper breakfast. Eating right provides your brain with the nutrition it needs to focus on the challenges that you’ll face for the day.

If you take any medications, you’ll receive those during breakfast. Typically, staff at the rehab center handles and distributes medications of any kind. This is, of course, for safety reasons.

After breakfast, you might have a little free time before you tackle the therapy to come. You may do a little journaling, which will help you focus. On the other hand, you may get your blood pumping and burn off some of the calories from breakfast by going for a walk.

The key takeaway here is that rehab doesn’t always put you on a strict schedule. You’ll have moments of downtime to engage in other activities. How you choose to spend this free time is up to you, but focusing on self-improvement is always the best option.

Starting Therapy for the Day: Mid-Morning

Once breakfast is over and your free time ends, it’s time to start your morning therapy sessions. Therapy is the cornerstone of treatment. In most cases, you’ll participate in group therapy sessions after breakfast. These sessions help you build healthy relationships with other adults and provide a support system.

Understanding the Types of Group Therapy

Group therapy comes in many forms. In fact, the term “group therapy” is an umbrella that refers to many types of therapy. In most cases, it involves multiple individuals engaging in a discussion that a certified therapist leads. Psychoeducational and process-oriented therapies are two examples. Some of the benefits of group therapy include:

  • Improves speaking skills.
  • Builds trust.
  • Develops skills that help deal with conflict.
  • Teaches the power of having a support system.
  • Instills the importance of accountability.

Like after breakfast, you could have some free time to yourself after morning group therapy. Usually, the rehab center staff recommend that you write in your journal to help you reflect on the breakthroughs that you made during the session.

Time for Lunch: Noon

Group therapy can be emotionally exhausting. Thankfully, it’s usually lunchtime after the morning session. The break gives you time to relax and nourish your body. After all, addiction is a hard battle that you can’t win on an empty stomach.

One of the great things about lunchtime in rehab is that you can turn it into a social activity. You can make new connections. The support system that you build can make all the difference in overcoming your addiction.

Next Round of Therapy Starts: Afternoon

What is rehab like? It’s a lot of going to therapy and learning to overcome your addiction. Once you finish lunch and socializing, it’s time to start the next round of therapy sessions for the day. Typically, these therapy sessions differ from the morning group sessions.

The type of one-on-one therapy that you receive depends greatly on the rehab center that you choose. However, there are some specific types of therapy that have proved to be helpful in overcoming addiction. Below is a quick breakdown of these therapies, so make sure that your rehab center offers them.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is based on the theory that, if you can change the way a person thinks, you can change the way that the person behaves. It’s all about ridding yourself of negative thoughts in order to get rid of negative behaviors.

Of course, CBT isn’t just good at helping people overcome addiction. It’s beneficial in helping people deal with other mental issues as well. It’s an important part of rehab because people very rarely suffer from addiction alone. They typically have other underlying mental issues. CBT and dual-diagnosis treatment can deal with both.

Family Therapy

Oftentimes, the root cause of an addiction starts within the home. Family therapy is a great way to unearth the cause. Also, addiction doesn’t only affect the person with the addiction. It affects those around that individual too.

Family therapy doesn’t have to just involve blood relatives. Anyone who you consider to be close or like family can participate in family therapy. This includes adopted parents, spouses, in-laws, and even best friends or roommates. The goal here is to rebuild the relationships that addiction has strained.

Relapse Prevention

Addiction isn’t an illness that medicine can cure. It’s a chronic disease that you must learn to manage, like diabetes or heart disease. That’s why it’s crucial to have a relapse prevention plan in place. The risk of relapse is always there, so it’s vital to have a plan to avoid it.

Relapse prevention sessions help you develop a plan that you put into action in the real world. The environment is always in your favor during rehab, but that won’t always be the case when you get out. You might find yourself around temptations or triggers.

Usually, relapse prevention sessions involve teaching you how to spot internal and external triggers. Your relapse prevention plan will give you steps to take in the event that you start feeling like you may spin out of control.

Night Therapy Sessions: Evening

Before the day ends, you’ll have more therapy sessions to go to. Often, late-night therapy sessions are a mix of one-on-one and group therapy. It just depends on your personal treatment program.

Sometimes, the day ends with a 12-step meeting or a group meeting where you can talk about your successes or failures throughout the day. Talking about them can motivate you to continue treatment or do better tomorrow. You’ll even learn that others deal with the same daily struggles as you.

Dinner and Bedtime

Depending on your schedule, dinner happens either before or after your evening therapy sessions. Like breakfast and lunch, dinner is an essential meal that keeps you healthy. Once you’re finished with dinner and therapy, it’s time to start getting ready for bed.

In rehab, bedtime comes early. You need to go to sleep early so that you can get up early to prepare for tomorrow. Additionally, it helps get you on a schedule for when you get out of rehab.

Nighttime is full of temptation. There’s an old saying that “nothing good ever happens after dark.” When struggling with addiction, this saying carries even more weight. Getting into the habit of going to bed early and continuing that routine once you get out of rehab can replace some of your more negative habits.

Visit North Jersey Recovery Center for Rehab Treatment You Can Count On

At North Jersey Recovery Center, we pride ourselves on offering high-quality drug and alcohol abuse treatment that works. We offer a wide array of services that can help you overcome addiction. Some of the programs that we offer include:

  • Sober living.
  • Dual-diagnosis treatment.
  • Intensive outpatient rehab.
  • Inpatient treatment.
  • Relapse prevention planning.
  • Therapy services.

Don’t wait any longer to get help for yourself or a loved one who struggles with drug addiction. Contact us to learn more about creating a custom treatment plan that fits your needs.

Mindfulness and Addiction Recovery

The Importance of Mindfulness in Addiction Recovery

Mindfulness and addiction recovery skills are learned over time. But, small changes can make a large impact. North Jersey Recovery Center provides mindfulness addiction recovery treatment in New Jersey to heal the body and mind. 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) defines mindfulness as, “the process of focusing the mind, body, and soul what is being sensed at the moment”. In other words, it’s practicing self-awareness at the highest level. It’s more than being aware of the surroundings. Instead, mindfulness helps people stay aware of how their thoughts and feelings affect them.

How Mindfulness and Addiction Work

Mindfulness is a powerful and effective process; those who are recovering from addiction can deeply benefit from it. Countless studies and organizations have addressed the power of mindfulness and addiction recovery. It works because mental illness often affects people suffering from a substance use disorder. For instance, NAMI states that 9.5 million US adults were diagnosed with a mental illness and substance use disorder. This is known as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. 

The-Importance-of-Mindfulness-in-Addiction-Recovery-300x169

The most anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the US. Anxiety disorders affect 18% (40 million) of American adults every year. Psychiatry Times writes that decades of psychiatric research show drug addiction is a predictor of an anxiety disorder.  

People with this type of disorder focus on negative thoughts. Ultimately, these thoughts turn into reality as the illness progresses. Mindfulness can help a recovering individual to stay in the moment instead of thinking about the past or future. 

The Power of Mindfulness and Addiction 

Mindfulness shifts the thought away from outcomes. Instead, it says satisfaction should come from the intention behind an action. A mindset like this encourages those suffering from a substance use disorder to not dwell on what went wrong. 

The Journal of Mind-Body Regulation states how mindfulness has therapeutic benefits in the following ways: 

  • It’s a self-directed practice.
  • It reduces psychological stress for many disorders.
  • Mindfulness helps people think in terms of intentions instead of expectations.
  • Mindfulness training asks people to reframe their way of thinking in a positive way.
  • It works by letting people approach a stressful situation through the eyes of a friend, family member, or stranger.

At its core, mindfulness helps recovering addicts by holding them accountable for a situation without shaming them. This helps them think in terms of action and acceptance. Addiction recovery can fail without practicing mindfulness. The shame of addiction can cause a relapse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) around 40-60% of addicts relapse

7 Activities that Help With Mindfulness and Addiction During Recovery 

Practice Forest Bathing 

The magazine, Time, writes about the practice of forest bathing. It’s also known as shinrin-yoku. This ancient Japanese practice is when a person sets the intention to stay in the moment through visiting a forest. During their time there, they will use their senses to fully take in what the forest feels like. 

Those who want to try it out are asked to observe nature through: 

  • Sight 
  • Taste 
  • Smell 
  • Touch 
  • Hearing

The author of the piece, Dr. Qing Li, writes that anyone can practice shinrin-yoku wherever there are trees. Just take a seat and let nature be the therapist. A part of why it works is because Americans spend around 93% of their time indoors. 

Eat Healthily 

A healthy diet is a big part of mindfulness and addiction recovery. When a person suffers from a substance use disorder they don’t care about what they’re putting in their body. Those suffering from substance use disorders often have problems with malnutrition. Instead of mindlessly eating, eat a diet that enriches the body and mind. 

Eat a diet full of: 

  • Nuts 
  • Fish 
  • Eggs
  • Fruits 
  • Beans
  • Poultry 
  • Vegetables 
  • Lean meat 

When you prepare or eat a meal, stay in the moment. Focus on how fast you’re eating. Savor all the flavors or make a mental note of how to improve the dish for next time. 

Practice Mind-Body Activities 

NAMI released a digital pamphlet where they wrote that medication can be a crutch. Practicing mindfulness during recovery is a lifestyle choice that leads to success. The organization also writes that doing mind-body exercises changes the way the brain functions, can relieve stress, boost sleep patterns, minimize chronic pain, and reduce the risk of health disorders. 

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The National Cancer Institute defines mind-body exercises as those that use movement, focus, and breathing techniques to improve overall health. Popular examples are tai chi, yoga, and qigong. Mind-body exercises are forms of moving meditations. Anyone can practice them and benefit in the process.  

Keep a Journal 

A large part of cognitive-behavioral therapy is mindfulness. Some therapists who practice it will ask their patients to keep a journal. They will ask them to record how they feel and things they are grateful for. From there, patients can see all the things they appreciate in life. Also, it shows what stops them from appreciating it. 

The American Psychological Association (APA) offers research about how journaling boosts mental health. It does so by reducing intrusive thoughts, suppression of negative thoughts, and improves memory. The process simplifies and organizes thoughts logically.  

Practice Meditation 

The Harvard Gazette writes about how the mental benefits of mindful meditation are backed by science. Gaëlle Desborders, an instructor of radiology at Harvard and neuroscientist, used magnetic images of brain scans to show the benefits of meditation. After practicing mindful meditation, people were able to steady brain activity even when they weren’t meditating 

Participants in the study were taught how to practice meditation for two months. Meditation asks people to focus on breathing and their heartbeat. This allows them to be in the moment and be mindful of their thoughts. Research shows how people who practice meditation can reduce intrusive thoughts.  

Make Art 

Making art is another great way to practice mindfulness. Engaging in activities that force your mind to process and focus on present feelings can resolve anxiety, depression, and stress. Creating art is a way to do that. Harvard Women’s Health Watch writes that a German study in 2014 found making art improves emotional resilience. 

Recovering individuals need emotional resilience to get through treatment. Recovery is a tough road to travel along. The road takes patients through peaks and valleys, even after treatment. Staying present and resilient can help individuals stay sober. 

Exercise Mindfully 

NAMI writes that people who want to improve their mental state should aim to exercise for at least 20 minutes every day. But, using mindfulness to aid addiction recovery means being in the moment. Whatever the exercise is, focus on the sensation and setting. Is it hurting too much? Do you feel stronger/faster than last week? What about the scenery? Exercise can help recovering addicts stay grounded. Also, exercising releases feel-good chemicals. 

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Mindfully exercising helps with health disorders such as: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Obesity 
  • Stroke 
  • Depression
  • Type 2 diabetes 
  • Cardiovascular disease

CBT Acts As Mindfulness Addiction Recovery

One of the most popular forms of therapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This version of psychotherapy came about when Dr. Aaron T. Beck saw that a person’s thoughts could drastically affect their mental health. In the 1960s, he studied the power of self-talk, and how “automatic thoughts” can help or hurt a mental disorder. 

He separated automatic thoughts out into three categories:

  1. Negative ideas about themselves 
  2. Automatic, negative thoughts about the world 
  3. Negative ideas about the future 

Before this school of thought, doctors didn’t realize how mindless thoughts could hurt mental health. Dr. Beck asked his patients to use mindfulness to identify negative, automatic thoughts. He found that awareness about these thoughts helped patients think realistically. Then, has asked them to rephrase that thought in a positive, realistic way. Ultimately, this kind of therapy resulted in long-lasting recovery. 

Since then, thousands of studies reveal the power of mindfulness and CBT. Drug and alcohol rehabs, like North Jersey Recovery Center, encourage mindfulness in addiction treatment. They use it to make them aware of their harmful thoughts and behaviors. In turn, it lets recovering patients think more clearly and respond to triggers in a positive way. Also, it provides them with a lifetime of healthy coping skills. 

CBT treatment for addiction involves: 

  • Facing fears 
  • Practicing radical self-love 
  • Role-playing to decenter from the problem 
  • Using healthy coping mechanisms to relax the body and mind 
  • How to use problem-solving skills instead of using drugs and alcohol 
  • Learning how to reprogram the brain’s way of automatic thinking 

CBT as mindfulness addiction recovery usually happens during individual treatment. Though, North Jersey Recovery Center also lets patients practice it in a group setting. Family members and friends can choose to join in if a patient prefers. Also, our therapists may use alternative therapies to complement CBT. 

NJRC Helps Improve Mindfulness and Addiction Treatment in New Jersey

Checking into a drug and addiction treatment center in New Jersey is the first step to recovery. Though, lasting recovery comes from a combination of mindfulness and addiction treatment. If you suffer from a substance use disorder and mental illness, actively choosing mindfulness can instill life-long skills. 

You’ll have to do the work, but we will guide you. After, you can take them with you for the rest of your life. Contact us now to see how a mindfulness addiction therapy plan can give you the tools to remain sober.

Social Media and Drug Use North Jersey Recovery Center - A woman is centered in on her phone, checking all of her social media accounts, which can lead to negative effects for those struggling with addiction when it comes to how the media influences drug use

Social Media & Drug Use

How Does the Media Influence Drug Use?

While there are sober influencers all over social media outlets such as Instagram, social media and drug use are still glorified.

With subtle but suggestive posts of peers taking shots of alcohol or smoking a joint together, we are constantly bombarded with drug use, whether we realize it.

If you look for it, many media influencers promote sobriety and a healthy lifestyle.

If you want to be an influence for change, let North Jersey Recovery Center help you rediscover a healthier you.

How Does Social Media Glamorize Drugs and Alcohol?

How does the media influence drug use? Famous influencers, such as rappers Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg, consistently glorify smoking marijuana.

Rapper Devin the Dude often posts illicit drugs on his Instagram as well.

We are impressionable as a community, and if we see Snoop Dogg light one up, we figure — why not us too?

If you find yourself using because “everyone else is,” North Jersey Recovery Center helps you understand the risks of this behavior.

Understanding Social Media and Drug Use

If you remember the DARE Campaign of the ’90s, it was a laughable attempt to scare kids from drug use.

The anti-drug campaign came across anecdotal and exaggerated, causing them to be easily dismissed.

For drug abuse to be taken seriously, social media influence needs to be credible and honest.

With shows like Drunk History glamorizing alcohol abuse and targeted Instagram advertising for vaping products, it’s hard to look away.

The tobacco and alcohol industries have widely used social media platforms to integrate marketing strategies accessible to the most vulnerable population.

North Jersey Recovery Center’s continual support programs can help you utilize social media as an influence to find community.

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Effects of Social Media and Drug Use

In a recent study, researchers found that people with multiple drug users in their social network abused drugs.

This study proves just how detrimental social and social media substance glorification can be to your physical well-being.

There are increasing behavioral consequences, such as mimicking behavior seen on platforms like Instagram, Tik-Tok, and Twitter.

These social media platforms market themselves as fun, safe places to connect with peers and family.

The dark reality is that these negative influences could be fueling your addiction.

Instagram images are perfectly photographed to sweep the grim reality of dependency under the rug.

How Does the Media Contribute to Substance Abuse?

The media is connecting users in a very troubling way.

Studies show that young adults communicate substance use related messages via popular social media platforms.

Social media and drug use are now not only a negative influence but a means to talk about using addictive drugs.

Substance abuse is glorified by celebrities and others on social media, opening doors for marketing strategies that promote substance use.

Media also allows access to “the dark web” that takes dealing and buying drugs to a new platform — the internet. At North Jersey Recovery Center, our therapists modify addictive behaviors and thought patterns to make you impervious to the impacts of harmful influences.

How Does the Media Influence Drug Use?

Social media influences us, whether it is your mother sharing political ads or a pre-teen looking for Tik-Tok followers.

With social media and drug use statistics on the rise, addiction is becoming a community concern.

Exposure to substance abuse imagery is strongly associated with substance abuse and addictive behavior.

Often, you may see your peers engaging in drug and alcohol use and feel you have to do the same to be seen as “cool” in the eyes of your peers.

If you think that social media use affects addictive behavior, we can assess this area during our initial evaluation.

Our team of nationally accredited professionals is dedicated to analyzing every aspect of your addiction to optimal recovery.

Seeking Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse

If you feel you have lost your battle to drug and alcohol addiction, we can help you rediscover a sober lifestyle.

Depending on your physical dependence, we may recommend you complete medically assisted treatment in getting you through critical withdrawal symptoms.

We know this can be a scary step, and we have a team of professionals who can tell you what to expect.

We will be behind you every step of the way, providing guidance and emotional support.

If your schedule does not allow inpatient care, intensive outpatient programs offer you continual support from the convenience of home.

Our partial hospitalization program assures you of the support of continued therapies while transitioning back into your routine.

Treatment Methodologies

North Jersey Recovery Center addresses your emotional health for a complete and successful recovery.

Professional therapists provide counseling and coping techniques to assist you in your process of rehabilitation.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing are innovative treatments that we use to approach addiction’s underlying causes.

We also offer dialectical behavioral therapy for clients that suffer symptoms from drug or alcohol abuse and mental health disorders.

Art therapy is a fun and healing way to manage stress and get in touch with your creative side.

Our professionals are passionate about seeing you succeed in your journey to rediscovering health.

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Find Peace of Mind at Our Facilities

We know that it can be challenging to leave your safety zone, so we provide only the best accommodations.

Your commitment to change is our goal by providing luxury and executive facilities.

We offer 100% anonymity for all of our patients as we understand the sensitive nature of investing in rehabilitation.

Amenities like group exercise, golf, tennis, and basketball courts provide a much-needed dopamine boost during recovery.

Outdoor meditation spaces, healthy meals, massage treatments, and open floor plans offer our guests much-needed relaxation.

Free Insurance Verification

We offer the convenience of paying online through your insurance, and we also accept cash payment methods.

North Jersey Recovery Center provides free insurance verification to establish your benefits as well.

Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, state-financed health insurance, and military insurance are accepted, providers.

We will negotiate the best treatment plan with your insurance, so you don’t have to.

Our team will confirm the extent of coverage benefits and provide the best treatment options.

Supplying the best level of care without sacrificing quality is one of our top priorities.

Kiss the Influence of Social Media and Drug Use Goodbye

While we cannot regulate what is available on social media, we can control our exposure to it and how it influences our decisions.

While social media can be a fun diversion, it can also be a means to feed our addictions and negative behavior.

You could be an inspiration to others struggling with addiction by sharing the advantages of sobriety on social media platforms.

Social media and drug abuse influence do not have to be the only authority on the internet.

We want to equip you with the tools to avoid drug and alcohol abuse pressures, no matter what you see online.

Let our professionals help you lead a clean and sober life by giving us a call today at 877-786-0572.