The Family Must Recover Before the Addict Can

January 17, 2020

Families play a significant role in the circle of addiction. That, unfortunately, means that while families are critical to end destructive behavior and support long-term recovery, they may also be partially to blame for the addiction the first place. We now know that addiction manifests from a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Of course, while our genes are fully out of our control, our home environment can breed the beginnings or the worsening of addiction.

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Are You Enabling the Addict in Your Life? 

January 3, 2020

It’s a word that many parents of addicts are deathly afraid of – enabler. And, unfortunately, many family members play the role of enabler in an addict’s life. Typically, this role starts off innocuously and most enablers believe that they are doing their loved one a favor – mitigating the consequences of the addictive behavior. In doing so, these loved ones truly believe they are making their relationship with the addict more comfortable or even thinking that they may be removing them from a bad situation with the hopes that they will “see the light.” Indeed, a hallmark of an enabler is believing that they are doing the right thing, often despite outcomes and behaviors that may suggest otherwise.

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When Does Substance Abuse Become Addiction?

December 17, 2019

When evaluating the statistics on substance use, whether it be alcohol, drugs or any other illicit or legal substance that has addictive properties, it can be shocking to see how many people use on a regular basis. And while substance use is certainly a precursor to substance abuse, not everybody who uses, ends up abusing.

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The True Cost of Seeking Addiction Treatment in Florida

June 13, 2019

Florida is one of the epicenters for drug treatment in the United States. Hundreds upon hundreds of addiction treatment centers have opened, especially, in South Florida in the past several years. With promises of serene walks on the beach, effective treatment and beautiful surroundings, many clients and their families believe that Florida is the ideal place to recover.

To be sure, Florida offers a multitude of benefits, but ultimately a person’s recovery will depend on a number of factors including their willingness to recover, level of support from family and friends and the quality and care provided by the treatment center.

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Open House

October 12, 2018


We cordially invite you to join Destination Hope for the Grand Opening of our new location on Friday October 26 
Everyone is welcome to attend. There will be food and dessert trucks. come mingle and meet the DH staff!

Please RSVP below or contact Meredith Turnbull, Professional Relations
at 850-273-2112 or e-mail:

Friday, October 26 from 12-3pm
8301 W. McNab Road
Tamarac, FL 33321




8301 W. McNab Road
Tamarac, FL 33321

Why Mac Miller’s Overdose Death Matters

September 24, 2018

Malcolm James McCormick, known as Mac Miller, by any measure a successful musical talent, died at his home from an apparent overdose last Friday September 7. It’s easy to dismiss this as yet another celebrity death – particularly a musician – succumbing to drugs: “Hey that’s just their lifestyle, right?” However, Mac Miller’s death means so much more.

Although he leaves behind friends, family and fans who love him dearly, his death seems like just another celebrity overdose in the media and across the Internet. With over 70,000 other drug-related deaths every year (estimated 2017 by the CDC) and hundreds of thousands more hospitalizations, we have become dangerously desensitized to the problem. Yes, we all know that substance abuse is a clear and present danger to our society, but we have lost the shock that each of these tragedies should elicit in us. Until we collectively remember that each of these deaths extinguishes the promise of what should otherwise be a long life and career, we cannot effectively deal with the underlying problem.

Mac Miller’s death also shows us that substance abuse – drugs and alcohol – transcends wealth, socioeconomic status and just about every barrier. There is no part of society or geographic area in the United States that is not susceptible or immune to the problem. For those of us that do not believe it can happen to those around us, let this serve as a wake-up call that it certainly can.

This tragedy makes it clear that recovery is also a lifelong process. Mac Miller admitted doing drugs from the age of 10. At such a young age, who knows what caused or influenced his drug use. Using seemingly continued throughout his life as a crutch to manage stress during his early career. It seems that for a time he was able to get off drugs and stay clean. Miller was then arrested for DUI in mid-2018. Were there warning signs? It seems so. Was there anything anyone could do about it? Maybe, maybe not. Was this overdose part of a wider relapse event or a one-off? We may never know. However Miller’s life, seemingly on an upward trajectory, took a tragic turn for the worst because of drugs and alcohol.

So what can we do and what can we learn from Mac Miller’s death?

First, we need to recognize that addiction can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time; and it must be identified and treated early. Educating ourselves about drug and alcohol abuse, as well as seeking professional help for our loved ones early on, is critical to a more successful recovery.

Second, until we all work together to fight this horrific disease that is killing so many of our promising youth, we risk letting this epidemic spiral further out-of-control. Work with your families, educators, local officials and behavioral health professionals to develop a plan on how you can address possible drug use at your school, in your community, and even your home. Prevention is key.

Lastly, support for those we know and love is a critical part of prevention and treatment of substance-abuse and mental health disorders. Even those who are seemingly “just fine” can always use a little bit of help and support in their lives. Sometimes, those with the most people around them are actually the loneliest, and often those that seem to have it all together are the ones most prone to falling apart. As a close friend or family member, you may see the warning signs; don’t ignore them. Most addicts will fight your help, tooth and nail. Don’t quit, rather get professional and emotional support and redouble your efforts.

Rest in Peace Mac Miller and may we all fight together to end blog posts such as this.

Court Ordered Treatment: A Comprehensive Overview

August 18, 2018

Court ordered treatment is a unique opportunity for individuals with addictions to get the help they need that they may not get for themselves otherwise. Let’s face it, it really is a second chance. There are opportunities to take part in a jail diversionary program for drug addicts and alcoholics alike.

Our jails in this country are overrun with substance abusers, many of who committed no crime other than possessing or using their illicit substance. Many experts don’t believe that incarceration is the best way to handle these situations as they don’t deal with the cause of the crime, the addiction. This is where court ordered treatment comes in.

A judge may have the discretion to sentence an addict to mandatory drug and alcohol treatment, which they can take in lieu of a jail sentence. Things that weigh on whether or not a judge will give you this opportunity include whether this is your first offense, whether you’ve been convicted of a violent crime in the past and whether or not they think you’ll ever get the treatment you need to battle your addiction if they don’t sentence you to treatment.

The goal of court ordered treatment is not to punish anyone or force them to do something they don’t want to do. The goal is to give individuals who struggle with the disease of addiction the chance to get clean and sober in a positive, healthy environment and to give them the time and counseling they need to get to the bottom of their substance abuse habit. Why did they begin using in the first place?

Estimates show that as many as 60 percent of those who seek treatment from a drug rehab have had some kind of trouble with the law related to their drug or alcohol use. Many of these people have been court ordered to rehab because courts are starting to understand more and more that rehab has many benefits over prison or jail time.

Court Ordered Rehab vs Incarceration: Effectiveness

Court ordered rehab has proven to be a far better option than jail time when it comes to long-term recovery and crime reduction. There is a common misconception that court ordered rehab doesn’t work because the person is being forced and not going of their own free will. However, this is a myth and it can be quite effective.

When sentenced to prison, an inmate will usually be sober for the incarceration time period, but studies have shown that this period of sobriety has no lasting effect on whether or not a person will become a repeat offender. On the other hand, studies have shown that those who are enrolled in a court ordered rehab for just three months or more instead of jail or prison time are far more likely to maintain sobriety and discontinue their criminal activity.

In fact some numbers from a recent study show that those who go through an effective court ordered rehab program are just as likely to be successful as those who enroll in the rehab on their own.

Rehab programs, whether court ordered or not, give the client the opportunity to gain much more than just a span of time without drugs or alcohol. Drug and alcohol rehab is a place where a person can gain the knowledge and strategies that they need to stay sober for the long term. Programming includes intensive therapy on an individual and group level, along with medical care from physicians.

Court Ordered Rehab vs Incarceration: Cost

When you consider the cost that taxpayers spend to keep someone incarcerated and add the repeat offenses that will likely result from an addicted criminal who has not received help, the cost of rehab becomes much less expensive. Rehabs differ in pricing, as some are government funded and others are insurance or self-pay based.

How Can Court Ordered Treatment Work If It’s Mandatory

This is a question that comes up regularly and the answer is simple and twofold. For starters, research has shown time and time again that substance abuse treatment does not have to be voluntary in order to be effective. While a positive attitude and motivation are certainly helpful, they are not a necessity.

Secondly, arrests and brushes with the law can often serve as the wake up call so many addicts need to accept the fact that they do have a drug or alcohol problem and maybe court ordered treatment can help them recover from it. The reduced recidivism rates of users who have gone through treatment speak for themselves, not to mention the fact that every dollar spent on substance abuse treatment is estimated to equal seven dollars saved by society on incarceration.

How Does Court Ordered Treatment Work?

People often have a very difficult time wrapping their heads around the concept that treatment can work even when an addict is not there on their own free will. What they forget is that addiction is a disease and therefore doesn’t require a person’s volition to bear results. The first stage of court ordered treatment for an addict is the same for a person who is there voluntarily, and that is mandatory detox.

Detox is the process of abstaining from a particular substance for an extended period of time until the body is completely free and clean of it and no longer physically dependent on it. Detox should always be done under the care of medical professionals, as people’s physical reaction and withdrawal symptoms can vary greatly.

After the individual no longer has any traces of drugs or alcohol in their system, the intense cognitive behavioral therapy can begin. It is in this stage where the shift occurs in many addicts who have been sentenced to court ordered treatment. With a clear head free of substance for the first time in a typically substantial period of time, the addicted individuals participate in individual, group, and family counseling to examine their past behaviors and feelings to get to the root causes of their substance abuse.

Assigned to Court Ordered Treatment? What To Do Next.

Court ordered treatment often means that person receives “deferred prosecution,” which means that the court places you on probation and orders you into substance abuse or alcohol abuse treatment rather than sentencing you right away.

The court may also add community service to your penalty. In exchange for successfully completing treatment and not violating any of the terms of your probation, the court may stop the conviction from appearing on your record.  If you’ve been court ordered to undergo drug treatment or rehab, you may find yourself wondering what you should do next.

For many people, court ordered treatment is a great opportunity. Despite having committed a crime, they have the chance to avoid having an arrest and conviction on their record forever.  Additionally, by undergoing court ordered rehabilitation at an approved and licensed treatment facility, a person has the chance to get clean and sober in a setting that offers professional care and long-term support.

While undergoing court ordered treatment at a rehab facility is certainly no vacation, treatment programs are set up to help people succeed if they want to.  Court ordered treatment should be seen as an opportunity to get help and get your life back on a healthy and productive path.

How to Choose a Court Ordered Treatment Program

If you must undergo court ordered treatment, unless the judge has already ordered that you attend a specific program, your first step will be to research and select a program to attend. You should consider your unique needs, situation and circumstances when choosing a substance abuse treatment program.

Residential style facilities allow you to live on-site during the specified time period of your court ordered treatment. Common time periods for court ordered treatment are 30, 60 or 90 days, although time periods will vary depending on the individual, the judge and the seriousness of the situation.

The benefit of undergoing treatment at a residential style facility is that because you reside there during the entire time of your treatment, you’re supervised and have access to 24/7 care and support.

Outpatient facilities are another option, and these allow you to live outside the facility even though you go through treatment there during the day.  Outpatient facilities may be an option for individuals who have responsibilities to their family or career, but are generally not acceptable as court ordered treatment programs.  Remember that court ordered treatment can be your chance to turn your life around.



Destination Hope is a Joint Commission accredited drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis rehab in Florida for men with a successful history of administering quality court ordered treatment. If there’s a man in your life who’s gotten into some trouble and has the opportunity to receive treatment rather than jail time, please give us a call at 866-756-HOPE so we can discuss your options.

We’re here around the clock to answer any and all questions you may have and have all the faith in the world that you can fight your addiction and come out on top.

Depression: A Comprehensive Overview

August 10, 2018

We all get the blues now and then, but depression is far more serious than occasional feelings of sadness. It can cause physical aches and pains, and it can interfere with daily life. Some people with depression are debilitated by the condition—unable to work, attend school or function socially.

Depression affects men and women differently.1 In men, depression often causes irritability and feelings of exhaustion. They may lose interest in work, family or hobbies, and may suffer from insomnia. And although more women with depression attempt suicide, more men with depression die by suicide.

Depression is a highly treatable illness, but unfortunately, many men don’t acknowledge their feelings or seek help for their depression. Those who do, typically find that a combination of medication and therapy effectively treats their depression and enables them to regain interest in things they once enjoyed.

Clinical Definition of Depression

Depression is a common mood disorder also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder. Around 24 million American adults suffer from depression in any given two-week period, and 14.8 million suffer from an episode of major depression in any given year.2

Twice as many women as men are diagnosed with clinical depression every year, but men are less likely to get help and instead may withdraw socially and suffer in silence, often incorrectly considering their pain to be a sign of weakness or a character flaw.

Three Types of Depression

Major depression is diagnosed when five of the diagnosis criteria are present for at least two weeks. Major depression interferes with the ability to perform daily activities. It may onset gradually or it may occur quickly, stemming from a traumatic life event such as a death in the family or divorce. Sufferers may experience major depression just once in their life, or may experience it in recurring bouts.

Persistent depressive disorder is diagnosed when a depressive episode lasts two years or longer. While the symptoms of persistent depressive disorder are less intense than those of major depression and typically include insomnia and low energy, the condition can cause serious personal problems and dramatically reduce quality of life.

Bipolar disorder occurs in alternating cycles of severe depression, known as the depressive phase, and intense mania, known as the manic phase. The depressive phase is marked by the symptoms of major depression, while the manic phase is characterized by an increase in energy, feelings of euphoria and a reduced need for sleep.

Causes of Depression

While researchers aren’t sure what exactly causes depression or how it interferes with normal brain function, it’s clear that a number of factors have a role in developing this condition:

  • Brain chemistry. According to Harvard Medical School, brain chemicals are involved in the development of depression, but it’s not a simple matter of particular chemical levels being too high or too low. Rather, it’s a highly complex chain of chemical reactions that govern mood, perceptions and experience.3
  • Genetics. Researchers have identified a number of genes that make individuals more susceptible to low moods, and for these people, any stress can affect their systemic balance and leave them feeling depressed.
  • Temperament. How excitable or intense one plays a role in developing depression. Harvard points out that we develop our world view early on in life, and this influences feelings when experiencing loss, rejection or disappointment.
  • Stress. Stress can trigger the release of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for the body’s fight or flight reaction to danger or stress, and when the body doesn’t properly turn off the secretion of these hormones, depression can develop. Studies have found that depressed people typically have higher levels of CRH, and as those levels return to normal, symptoms of depression are reduced.
  • Trauma. A profound loss in childhood, such as the death of a loved one, can trigger depression later in life. Additionally, trauma, such as sexual abuse or exposure to violence, promotes an extreme stress response that can cause small changes in brain function and lead to symptoms of depression or anxiety.
  • The seasons. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that’s triggered by limited exposure to sunlight in the fall or winter and often subsides in spring.
  • Medical problems. Harvard cites medical problems as the root of up to 15 percent of all cases of depression. Medical illness can cause or worsen symptoms of depression, and depression can worsen a medical illness. Twenty-five percent of all cancer patients and 33 percent of heart attack survivors are diagnosed with depression.4

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Signs of depression are indicators that others may notice, and symptoms are indicators that a person with depression will feel. Not everyone who suffers from depression will experience all signs and symptoms, which can range from mild to severe:

  • Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness or guilt
  • Feelings of emptiness or sadness
  • A loss of interest in hobbies and activities in which you once found enjoyment
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • A loss of energy or chronic fatigue
  • Feelings of irritability
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Moving or talking more slowly than normal
  • A loss of motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Memory problems
  • Changes in appetite that leads to weight gain or weight loss
  • Headaches, digestive problems and other aches and pains that have no identifiable cause and don’t get better with treatment
  • Suicidal thoughts

Depression and Substance Abuse

Depression commonly co-occurs with substance abuse, which can lead to addiction. Because depression can lead to self-medication with drugs or alcohol, which almost always worsen symptoms of depression and may even cause its onset, it can be difficult to discern directionality and causality.

According to an article published in the journal Science and Practice Perspectives, 67 percent of people in treatment for alcohol addiction have suffered at least one episode of depression in their lifetime.5Additionally, 32 percent of people who have depression have a co-occurring substance use disorder. People who have a substance use disorder are twice as likely as those without one to suffer from depression.

When a substance use disorder co-occurs with depression, it’s known as a dual diagnosis, and successful treatment depends on addressing both disorders at the same time, each in the context of the other. Dual diagnosis treatment has been shown to improve engagement in treatment and produce better treatment outcomes than treating just the substance use disorder or just the depression.

Treating Depression with Medication

A wide range of medications are used to successfully treat depression. Because not every medication works effectively for every individual, it can take some time to find the right medication or combination of medications.6

Medications for depression work to restore the balance of brain chemicals, including those related to mood. The most common and successful medications for depression are reuptake inhibitors. When neurotransmitters are released to send a chemical message, they’re reabsorbed into nerve cells once the message is sent. Reuptake inhibitors prevent the chemical from being reabsorbed, therefore keeping it the brain longer and improving nerve cell communication.

The most commonly prescribed reuptake inhibitors include:

  • Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors, or NDRIs, which prevent the reuptake of the brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine. Wellbutrin is the only FDA-approved NDRI on the market today.
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs, which prevent the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. These medications include Cymbalta, Effexor and Pristiq.
  • Serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitors, or SARIs, which prevent the reuptake of serotonin and also send this brain chemical to specific receptors for improved function of nerve cells involved in mood regulation. SARIs include trazodone and nefazodone.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, prevent the reuptake of serotonin. These include Zoloft, Lexapro and Prozac, which are effective, safe and have fewer side effects than other reuptake inhibitor antidepressants.
  • Tetracyclics are another type of medication that doesn’t prevent the reuptake of brain chemicals, but instead prevent serotonin and norepinephrine from binding with specific nerve receptors. These chemicals then build up between nerve cells, increasing their levels for better brain function.

Treating Depression with Psychotherapy

The National Institute on Mental Health recommends a combination of medication and psychotherapy, or talk therapy, for treating depression.7 Medication alone can treat the symptoms of depression, but psychotherapy—particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy—helps individuals overcome depression for the long haul.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps individuals:

  • Identify and address underlying issues that contribute to the depression.
  • Identify and address distorted and negative attitudes, behaviors and patterns of thinking to relieve depression.
  • Identify and address feelings of helplessness and hopelessness and work to enhance their emotional well-being by setting realistic goals and working through issues and thought patterns that contribute to these feelings.
  • Develop skills and strategies to combat stress and other triggers of depression, as well as improve the symptoms of depression.

Interpersonal therapy is a 12- to 16-week program that helps individuals:

  • Identify the specific interpersonal issues that contribute to the depression, such as role transitions, social isolation or bereavement.
  • Address these issues and learn healthy ways of expression to gain a higher level of independence and learn how to feel more capable.
  • Address personality issues that make it difficult to resolve conflicts.
  • Improve personal relationships and social functioning.

Treating Depression with Brain Stimulation

In cases where medication doesn’t help depression, certain brain stimulation therapies may be an effective treatment option.

  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, or rTMS, sends electrical currents through specific areas of the brain to stimulate and improve the function of particular nerve cells. During rTMS, an electromagnetic coil is held against the head and small electrical currents are sent into the brain.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, also involves passing electric currents through the brain to change brain chemistry and improve functioning. ECT is administered under general anesthesia.
  • Vagus nerve stimulation, or VNS, involves implanting a device under the skin that sends electrical pulses through the left vagus nerve every five minutes to alter the function of brain chemical associated with mood.

Complementary, Alternative and Lifestyle Remedies for Depression

In many cases, medication and psychotherapy are essential for treating depression. In some cases, individuals can improve their symptoms through other means, including making important lifestyle changes.

These complementary and alternative treatments can have a major impact on the intensity of symptoms associated with depression when used alone or with medication and/or psychotherapy:

Exercise. A Duke University study found that an hour and a half of moderate exercise each week can be as effective as antidepressants for treating depression, and it can also help prevent depression from returning in the future.8 Exercise is extremely effective for easing stress, increasing the production of natural feel-good brain chemicals and reducing the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood.

Eating a healthy diet. A number of studies have found that highly processed foods and those full of unhealthy sugars and fats can lead to depression, while a healthy diet of mostly plant-based foods and fish is effective for preventing the onset of depression or helping to combat it.9

Acupuncture. The practice of inserting thin needles into the skin at various pressure points around the body, acupuncture promotes the release of the body’s natural painkillers known as endorphins and improves blood circulation and lymphatic function. A University of Arizona study found that acupuncture specifically designed for depression reduced the intensity of symptoms in 43 percent of study participants.10

Yoga. A powerful stress reliever, yoga involves certain breathing patterns combined with poses that promote balance, flexibility and strength of body, mind and spirit. Sudarshan Kriya yoga, known as SKY, is a type of yoga that utilizes cyclical breathing. According Harvard Medical School, SKY has been shown to reduce feelings of depression by 75 percent.

Meditation. Meditation is the practice of quieting the mind and focusing attention inward to become closer to your subconscious and communicate with other aspects of yourself. Meditation is quickly becoming a mainstream treatment for a wide range of illnesses and conditions. A recent study by Johns Hopkins University showed that a half hour of meditation each day delivered as much relief as antidepressant medications for symptoms of depression.11

Why Men Don’t Seek Help for Depression

Men of all ages and ethnicities are far less likely than women to get help for depression.12 Some of the reasons for this include:

  • Being so out of touch with emotions that they don’t even realize they’re depressed.
  • Having been conditioned by family and society to avoid expressing vulnerability and suppress emotional responses.
  • Difficulty admitting needing help.
  • Adherence to social norms that say men who can’t “tough it out” are weak.
  • A belief that being depressed isn’t “normal” and fear of admitting being abnormal or dysfunctional.

Does Insurance Cover Depression Treatment?

In 2008, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was passed to require group health plans and insurance providers to ensure that treatment limitations for mental health conditions and substance use disorders are no more restrictive than coverage for medical problems.13 This ensures that people seeking treatment for depression and other mental illnesses are able to be adequately treated without unfair limitations on the number of therapy visits or caps on the cost of treatment.

There is Hope

Depression is very common and highly treatable. You don’t have to continue living under the weight of your depression. Help is available, and treatment can dramatically improve your sense of well-being and vastly increase your quality of life as well as prevent recurrences of depressive episodes in the future.

  1. Men and Depression. (2013). Retrieved from
  2. Depression. (2016, July 6). Retrieved from
  3. What Causes Depression? (2009, June). Retrieved from
  4. Depression Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  5. Quello, S. B., Brady, K. T., & Sonne, S. C. (2005, December). Mood Disorders and Substance Abuse Disorder: A Complex Comorbidity. Science and Practice Perspectives, 3(1), 13-21. Retrieved from
  6. Depression: Treatments and Drugs. (2016, July 7). Retrieved from
  7. Depression. (2016, May). Retrieved from
  8. Study: Exercise Has Long-Lasting Effect on Depression. (2000, September 22). Retrieved from
  9. Zeratsky, K. (2015, March 11). Depression: Can a Junk Food Diet Increase Your Risk of Depression? Retrieved from
  10. Acupuncture Effective in Treatment of Mental Illness. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  11. Meditation for Anxiety and Depression? (2014, January 6). Retrieved from
  12. Winerman, L. (2005, June). Helping Men to Help Themselves. Retrieved from
  13. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA). (2010, January 29). Retrieved from

Understanding Bipolar Disorder in Men

July 25, 2018

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 5.7 million adult Americans are affected by bipolar disorder. Men and women have the same chance of developing bipolar disorder, according to John Hopkins Medicine.

Bipolar disorder in men has distinctly different symptoms than bipolar disorder in women. In this blog post, we explore the symptoms of the manic and depressive states of bipolar disorder in men.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder. Bipolar disorder is characterized by cycles of manic states and depressive states. There is no cure for bipolar disorder, but the symptoms can be managed with proper treatment.

While men and women share many of the same symptoms for bipolar disorder, there are differences in how this disease affects the genders. For example, bipolar disorder in men is often more severe than it is in women. Further, females tend to be more depressed than manic while males tend to be more manic than depressive.

The Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in Men

Manic Symptoms

Bipolar disorder’s manic states are characterized by symptoms such as trouble sleeping, speaking very fast, restlessness, excitability, impulsive behavior, reckless behavior, and more. The manic cycles tend to be much more pronounced with men especially in acting out, the potential for violent behavior, aggression and similar manifestations of reckless behavior.

Bipolar disorder greatly increases the risk for substance abuse during manic cycles. Men who are not seeking treatment for the disorder are more likely to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. Substance only exacerbates these symptoms.

Depressive Symptoms

The depressive states of bipolar disorder are characterized by symptoms such as feelings of hopelessness, depression, trouble sleeping, worry, concentration problems, fatigue, eating and appetite troubles and more. They look very different from the symptoms of mania.

Manic Depression, Substance Use Disorders, and Suicide

Those suffering from bipolar disorder with a cooccurring substance addiction, often find that medications are less effective, and recovery from mood swings is slower, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. NIDA also points out that people who have a dual diagnosis related to bipolar disorder are hospitalized more often and are at a higher risk of committing suicide.

People with manic depression are more likely to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, and while psychoactive substances can seem to temporarily ease the symptoms of both manic and depressive episodes, they almost always worsen the condition. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, between 40 and 70 percent of people who have bipolar disorder also have a substance use disorder, which has been shown to worsen the outcome of this mental illness, including causing an increase in symptoms, longer episodes of mania or depression, more hospitalization, and more suicide attempts.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine indicate that bipolar disorder is the most common psychiatric condition associated with suicide, with between 25 and 50 percent of people with manic depression having attempted suicide at least once.

According to a study published in the journal Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, the association between mood disorders, substance use disorders, and suicide has been recognized for many years. One study cited found that two-thirds of those who committed suicide had a substance use disorder, and another found that those with manic depression and an alcohol or drug dependence were the highest-risk group for suicide.

How to Manage the Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder In Men

There is no cure for bipolar disorder, but the symptoms can be managed with the proper treatment. It’s important to manage the symptoms to maintain good relationships, proper mental and physical health, a proper-functioning professional life and more.

The treatment for bipolar disorder in men includes such methods as psychotherapy, prescription medication and stress management.

  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy helps clients uncover much personal understanding as well as understanding how their lives and the mental health disorder interact. This is important in order to reach better progress with handling the disorder and managing its symptoms.
  • Prescription Medication: Prescription medication is another necessary treatment method for bipolar disorder. Prescription medication, such as lithium, helps clients manage the symptoms on a biological level with regard to chemical imbalances.
  • Stress Management: Stress management is an important consideration in the treatment of bipolar disorder in men. Stress is a major trigger for the disorder as it is for many others and keeping stress down to a minimum and learning how to handle stress properly creates the ability to better manage symptoms and live more comfortably
  • In a clinical trial funded by the NIDA, these researchers found that Integrative Group Therapy reduced the number of days patients abused a substance each month, compared to those who receive traditional drug counseling alone. During the trial, participants who engaged in Integrated Group Therapy used alcohol 4.4 times a month compared to 6.5 times a month for those in traditional drug counseling, and they used illicit drugs 2.1 times a month compared to 5.2 times a month for those in drug counseling alone.

Treating A Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis treatment is conducted as a meaningful collaboration among members of the treatment teams for each illness, and Destination Hope’s Dual Diagnosis program draws on the most up-to-date research and proven best practices in treating patients with bi-polar and other mood disorders who also have a drug or alcohol addiction.

Integrated Group Therapy, which addresses the addiction and the bi-polar disorder simultaneously in a group setting, is a promising new therapy that was developed specifically for a dual diagnosis of addiction and bipolar disorder in recent years by researchers at Harvard Medical School.

We combine Integrated Group Therapy with individual therapy and family counseling and a number of other research-based therapies to address the broad range of issues unique to those with a dual diagnosis.

Managing the Stigma of Bipolar Disorder

Though the stigma for bipolar disorder in men still exists today, it has decreased. These changes are slowly adjusting the way society at large views mental health care and those suffering from mental health disorders.

If you have bi-polar disorder and a substance addiction and you’ve given up hope for recovery, Destination Hope can help. We are a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues. Please contact us today to discuss how we can help you find relief and realize a healthy and productive future free from addiction. Please call us today at 877-771-1750.

Relapse Prevention Strategies That Work

July 8, 2018

Relapse prevention strategies help clients become aware of how to avoid or overcome specific triggers for substance use in their lives. These strategies are developed during drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs and clients continue to use them at home. It’s even a good idea for clients to share their relapse prevention strategies with their loved ones to get additional assistance.

Relapse prevention strategies that are truly effective have been created with honesty and specific details and are carried out with dedication and a realistic approach. At Destination Hope, these strategies are created specifically for the client and their lifestyle.

Triggers for Relapse

The specific triggers for relapse will vary from person to person, but there are certain factors that tend to be universal among recovering addicts.

  • Emotional factors play a significant role in triggering relapse. Depression, anxiety, stress, frustration, boredom and other emotions can be difficult to handle, and the desire to numb painful feelings can be strong. Many recovering addicts end up using drugs or alcohol again as a coping mechanism.
  • Being around people and situations that remind clients of using can trigger cravings. It can be difficult to get together with old friends if you used to drink or use together.
  • Parties and events where people are drinking are also tough to endure, especially in the early months of recovery.

Potential Signs of Relapse

The potential signs of relapse can manifest in certain moods and behaviors that can signal a client is going down the path of relapse. Here are some potential signs:

  • Secretiveness
  • Spending time with friends or associates you’ve used with in the past or suppliers of substances
  • Spending time in places you once used or places centered on using such as wild parties
  • Moodiness, mood swings
  • Lack of proper grooming habits
  • Poor eating and sleeping habits
  • Romanticizing past times of use
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Discontinuing participation in recovery activities such as support group meetings

Implementing Relapse Prevention Strategies

Implementing relapse prevention strategies can help continue a stable and strong recovery. Once relapse prevention strategies have been defined, outlining triggers and potential signs of relapse, it’s time to come up with steps to avoid them. It’s important that the steps of the plan are as specific as possible. Further, life never stays the same so strategies should be updated as necessary to keep them relevant.

Specific Relapse Prevention Strategies That Work

General Relapse Prevention Tips

  • Find support.  Join organizations that will support your sober life. From community recovery meetings to religious organizations to family groups, there are meetings all over the world. Destination Hope also offers a comprehensive aftercare and alumni programmeeting several times each week.
  • Make New Friends. Your friends from before rehab may no longer be the best people to hang out with – it is important you find a social support group that actively supports your sobriety. Being sober doesn’t mean you can’t be social.
  • Gratitude Lists.  Keep your gratitude list close, in your wallet or in your car. Update the list of positive things in your sober life – whether it is people, animals, feelings or accomplishments.  Look at the list and remind yourself how far you have come.
  • Watch for Triggers. You have to be on guard when you get out of rehab, so be mindful to remove as many triggers as you can. If stress triggered you to drink or to do drugs in the first place, find healthy ways to remove that trigger.
  • Stay Healthy. We all feel better after eight hours of sleep.  Treat your body right when you’re in recovery, from sleeping enough to exercising and eating a healthy diet promoting proper nutrition. The better your body feels the better your emotional state and the less likely you are to relapse.
  • Stay Busy. Staying busy is a common element of successful recoveries and aftercare programs. A few positive ways to occupy time include taking up a hobby, volunteering and spending time with sober friends and family members.
  • Consider Outpatient Treatment. Outpatient programs allow you to go about your daily life and commitments but still offer reaffirmation of all the techniques and strategies from full-time inpatient treatment.
  • Consider Educating Yourself. Education not only challenges you and allows you to learn new things, it can also advance your career and financial situation. You may also consider advancement within the recovery industry with The Academy for Addiction Professionals.
  • Affirm your feelings and activities with a journal. It will keep you accountable and provide you with a place to write about your struggles. In today’s day and age, your relapse prevention journal can just as easily be a private blog.
  • Be Reasonable with goals. Recovery is a journey, so be reasonable with the expectations you set for yourself.  Achieve your goals incrementally – 5 days sober, 10 days sober, etc. Breaking it into smaller bites makes it easier to achieve success and ultimately those small successes will lead to a successful recovery!

Specific Relapse Prevention Techniques for the Holidays:

An individual in recovery is in an especially delicate situation during a holiday where alcohol is often present.  Identifying parties and get togethers may be a temptation situation is the first step to preventing a relapse.

It is crucial to relapse prevention that an individual in recovery to have an exit plan if they feel the temptation is too strong. If the recovering individual finds that he or she is in a situation that is too stressful, then that person needs a safe place to go and a plan in place for how to get there.

It is also advisable to have a supportive friend or sponsor on standby to call when the urge to drink arises. Having a friend who has already been through such stressful situations has proven to be a very successful tactic. Occasionally, the triggers that cause the desire to drink are too great and it is often best to avoid those situations entirely. It may be time to find a new way to celebrate the Fourth of July in a setting where alcohol is not present.

Friends and family members of individuals in recovery should also have a plan in place. They can offer support, love and understanding to a loved one in recovery without becoming overbearing and judgmental. Try not to “babysit” someone in recovery during the party, instead, try to make the situation safe from temptation.

Why Relapse Prevention Fails

Relapse prevention strategies are not fool-proof. Following are some of the best methods for developing great relapse prevention strategies for your recovery.

  • Detailed Planning – Some relapse prevention strategies fail because they lack detailed planning. The more general the relapse prevention plan, the less effective it becomes. Details are important because these strategies are not just general concepts – these are vital life strategies used with the intention of maintaining your sobriety.
  • Personalization – The best relapse prevention strategies also need to be personalized. If the plan isn’t designed to work for you, you may not be able to successfully put it into action, which puts your sobriety at risk. 
  • Commitment to The Plan –Creating effective relapse prevention strategies requires commitment. The best strategies mean nothing if you are not willing to commit to them and to work hard on sticking to them for your sobriety. It’s even a great idea to get assistance by introducing them to your closest friends and family for a solid base of support.

Relapse prevention means taking charge of your situation.  Relapse is common, so don’t punish yourself if you slip.  Instead, identify that you have the desire to relapse or have relapsed, no matter how big or small, and take charge.  Call your counselor, therapist or treatment center.  Call a meeting leader, sponsor or someone who can help you get back on track.  No matter what you’ve done in the past, you are worth it and you are stronger than your disease!

If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of alcohol abuse, substance addiction or any other type of addiction, please call us today at 877-771-1750.  Our addiction treatment counselors can help you deal with physical, emotional and psychological consequences of drug and alcohol abuse.  A substance abuse treatment program is effective, safe and has helped many men reclaim their lives. Destination Hope is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues.


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