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Author: Lisa Downing

Determining the Appropriate Level of Care

Admissions team and client work through which level of care is appropriate for substance abuse treatment at Destination Hope based on client history and needs

While there is plenty of research and guidance on substance abuse and mental illness, the fact is that each of us is unique and our needs are specific, as is the treatment plan., This is true from the first admission to a recovery program through the last day of treatment. One potentially confusing area of behavioral health treatment is the level of care required for a particular client. With several levels of care (some sounding or seeming similar), it can be helpful to learn more about them straight from Rob, one of our primary therapists, and an admissions specialist.

We look at several factors when considering which level of care is appropriate for each client. This process begins at the first point of contact with our admissions department. To fully understand how we can address the needs of each client, multiple assessments are administered by our trained professionals.

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Six Ways to Stay Sober While Traveling

Woman in recovery works to stay sober even when traveling disrupts her normal routine after substance abuse treatment at Destination Hope

Temptation is all around us; it’s just a fact of life. However, when traveling, it can be even harder to resist. This can be for several reasons. First, it seems that the opportunities to drink or abuse substances are more plentiful in your travels. Second, the stress of travel increases the likelihood of making a mistake. Finally, the laid-back and relaxed nature of a vacation may tempt you into a false sense of security, thinking that one drink or one hit will end there. Unfortunately, these issues can make it very difficult to avoid relapse. In this article, we discuss five ways to minimize the risk of relapse during your trip.

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Cocaine & Other Drug Effects on Your Eyes

Eyes show signs of our overall health including hints of substance abuse according to addiction experts at Destination Hope

It isn’t a surprise that addiction and drug abuse affect all parts of the human body. For some of us, we learned the hard way. And through treatment, we have come to understand that what we were doing to our bodies while dependent on drugs was the slow unraveling of many of our mental, emotional, and physical systems. Simply put, addiction was chipping away at all parts of us. We may not have understood or noticed it at the time, but we have learned that these effects are far more significant than we probably ever realized.

Our body systems, our mental and emotional processing, and even our mood, equilibrium, and sense of well-being are all conditioned while under the influence. Some of this deterioration and damage is no doubt physical, as substance abuse fundamentally compromises our organs and senses.

One of these is our eye health and vision. 

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Case Study: Mid 30’s Male with Substance Abuse, Anxiety & Major Depression

Young man works at grocery as he navigates life in substance abuse recovery after treatment in Florida at Destination Hope for Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Substance Abuse

Client is in his mid-30’s and entering treatment from the southern region of United States. He presented for treatment for substance use disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and Major depressive disorder. Client reported abusing substances at the young age of 11 and shortly progressed to Hallucinogens by the time he turned 13. Client was also struggling with severe family issues including him getting served divorce papers while in treatment. Client was currently employed at a supermarket working in the meat department where client would often drink alcohol in order to get through the day. Destination Hope was his first treatment center.

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Meet Wesly LaGuerre, BHT Supervisor


What inspired you to pursue the career you have today?

I want to help those who are battling addictions and want another chance in life.

What are the responsibilities of a BHT?

The BHT spend more time with the clients than any other staff. Their tasks include observing and reporting client’s behaviors. Provide a safe and supportive therapeutic environment for clients and staff. Assist clients with activities of daily living and personal hygiene. We wake the clients up for medications and breakfast and make sure the clients are ready for the groups and individual sessions with their primary therapist.

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Should I Go Home for the Holidays?

At the best of times, spending a holiday with family can be a stressful endeavor. Virtually all of us have family members that rub us the wrong way and while we hope for an enjoyable few hours around the table, often it is fraught with arguments, egos and general nastiness.

Parents greet family members who have traveled home for the holidays anticipating the struggles for an addict in recovery during family gatherings

Many of us in recovery may have unresolved issues with one or more family members. After all, addiction and mental health disorders don’t only affect the individual themselves, but truly everyone around them feel the effects. Parents and siblings may feel a great deal of resentment toward you while, on the other hand you may resent them for situations that may have led to or worsened your addictive behavior. And while the best addiction and mental health treatment programs endeavor to repair relationships in the family, sometimes this can take a while and other times, it is simply impossible.

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Drug and Alcohol Addiction Intervention

An intervention is a strategic way of confronting a person who needs help with their addiction and requesting that they receive treatment in order to recover. Intervention can be a very valuable first step for some individuals and families as it can help put everyone on the same page and sort through the emotions and consequences of substance abuse. You may even help save the life of a loved one who is struggling with addiction yet refuses to accept treatment.

If your loved one is in denial about his or her addiction- even though it’s apparent to everyone else that alcohol or drug abuse is causing negative consequences in his and others’ lives- an intervention may be the answer. Denial is a way of coping with traumatic events, feeling vulnerable, or threats to one’s sense of psychological well-being. But when it comes to chronic drug abuse and addiction, denial can lead to serious problems, including a worsening of the addiction.

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Meet One of Our Dietitians at DH – Kenneth Snyder, RDN, LDN

Kenny started his career working as a Clinical Dietitian in the acute care setting for two years. From there, he decided to branch out into the world of substance abuse and eating disorders, and has since worked the residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient levels of care as a Registered Dietitian. In addition to experience working in the clinical setting and multiple treatment centers, he has a passion for sports nutrition and extensive knowledge of dietary supplements.

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Meet Katie Bost, Director of Housing

What brought you to Destination Hope?

I worked in the restaurant business for 18 years, but I was always interested in the field of psychology. Throughout life I’ve been around people in recovery, and it always had a special place in my heart. I knew I eventually needed to make a change and follow my passion. I had loved ones in recovery and when I would go to the Family Programs and support them, I realized a lot of people don’t really understand addiction. They would think it was something so simple to change. I realized there needs to be more people in the world in this profession, so I applied as a behavioral health tech almost 5 years ago. I’ve loved it ever since. I love working with the clients on the ground, supporting them, making an impact in someone’s life.  It was very fulfilling. I know this is where I’m meant to be. I became a Behavioral Health Tech Supervisor and now I’m the Director of Housing and manage all the techs and supervisors.

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Vitamin D, an Underappreciated Adjunctive Therapy for Depression

Vitamin D supplements are often prescribed for those struggling with depression related to vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D is an incredibly important nutrient both for our physical and mental health. Vitamin D is best known for allowing our bodies to absorb calcium, warding off brittle bones and osteoporosis later in life. However, there is growing and overwhelming body of evidence to show that vitamin D deficiency may also be a risk factor for mental health disorders including depression.

This interesting research is coupled with the fact that a vast majority of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. Why? There are a few potential reasons for vitamin D deficiency, but the most significant is simply not getting outside in the sun enough. Our parents and grandparents often labored outside and as such received their daily dose of vitamin D with ease. Today, however, most of us have jobs at home or in an office where we are not exposed to natural light. Further, wintertime, in most parts of the United States, reduces the amount of available vitamin D simply because the sun is not as strong, and the sky is often overcast. Even skin color makes a difference – those with darker skin require more exposure to get the same amount of vitamin D. The use of sunscreen while critical in reducing the incidence of many skin cancers has also minimized our UV exposure and, by extension, the amount of Vitamin D our bodies can absorb through the skin.

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