Childhood Issues – Causes and Consequences of Addiction

June 27, 2018

Family and addiction are often difficult topics to discuss. Addiction doesn’t just hurt those abusing, it can seriously affect everyone around them, especially their children. One of the long term effects of growing up in a home where addiction and substance abuse are present is trauma- specifically, familial trauma. This trauma affects everyone differently and to varying degrees, just as everyone’s experience with addiction is different.

Children need basic stability, trust and predictability in their home life in order to develop emotionally. Unfortunately, these are the very things that tend to be absent in households where at least one family member is an addict. This leaves children struggling to deal with some unusual stresses that they aren’t yet emotionally or psychologically prepared to handle.  The disruptions and upheavals can be very frightening, and this fear can alter the child’s mental development.

Children simply aren’t developmentally mature enough to rationally process the kinds of fear and chaos that they may be facing in a family addiction setting. For one, until they are four years old, the child’s hippocampus isn’t sufficiently developed, which means they can’t tell if stimulus is legitimately threatening or not. Before they are eleven, their undeveloped prefrontal cortex leaves them unable to understand their fears and need someone else, usually a parent, to help them. Unfortunately, many children in homes where addiction is present have no access to such care. This has debilitating long term effects.

As they grow up, these children often struggle with the close relationships in their lives. They may feel hyper-vigilant, untrusting and always on edge. After all, their young brains had been trained to be in a state of fight or flight due to the unpredictability of their parent’s behavior and the instability of their normal routines. They may self-medicate and begin their own abuse of substances. This pattern which was formed early in their life is then repeated in the next generation, putting their own children at risk for the same trauma they endured.

Family Therapy and Resilience

Not all children who grow up in addicted family homes fail to thrive in adulthood. Some children prove to be resilient and are able to overcome their traumatic childhood. How do they do this?

  • One key component that helps these children to not only cope, but also thrive is that they have strong, close relationships with at least one other person in their family, perhaps a grandparent or an aunt or uncle. This close bond with another adult helps to keep them grounded and feeling secure and loved.
  • Another factor that can help children overcome their childhood trauma is their ability to adapt and be resourceful – two skills that can be strengthened in family therapy. These children are often able to develop some truly unusual personal strengths and abilities in the face of adversity.
  • Children who have the support of their faith community can also prove to be resilient, as they may have a supportive environment that welcomes them and their families. These communities can help the family to rebuild lost trust and to learn how to relate in a healthy way. They learn how to reach out for help- and how to accept it. This structure can help sustain a family through its period of recovery and rebuilding.

Studies have shown that children of addicts are four times more likely to become addicts themselves. These statistics don’t even include addictions which may show up later in their lives, such as food, gambling, sex or work.

Growing up as the child of substance abusers or addicts may be difficult but the trauma can be managed if family therapy and support are actively sought and taken seriously by each member of the family unit.

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.

How Behavioral Therapy Benefits Addicts & Their Families

June 19, 2018

Addiction often has roots in dysfunctional relationships and communication within the family unit. Because of the complex network of relationships and interactions, family therapy is an important part of treatment.

We know that often, substance abuse is the visible manifestation of a more complex, deeper cause and that is why Destination Hope specializes in family therapy as part of every therapeutic modality we offer. Not only does our family therapy program help the addict face the complexities in his life head-on, it also helps the families themselves:

  • Families have the chance to work out their most complex issues with the guidance of a therapist in a non-confrontational and controlled environment. This leads to better communication and an environment conducive to healing.
  • Families can increase their knowledge of addiction and mental health issues. Knowing the signs and stress triggers that cause addiction can help avoid relapse.
  • Family healing can lead to better general health as the stress of addiction, behavioral issues and confrontation is improved or resolved.

Family Therapy for Helping Addicts

The following aspects of family counseling are integral to its effectiveness:

Honesty and Understanding:For family members to aid in a loved one’s recovery after substance abuse, as well as to heal themselves, understanding addiction is essential. Also, it’s important for the recovering individual to understand the impact addiction has on the family as a whole. In family counseling sessions, this understanding is gained through honest discussion of the various effects of addiction.

Support: Support is crucial to the individual in therapy. Without a network of supportive friends and family members, the chances of relapse are significantly increased. Family therapy sessions are designed to strengthen the familial bonds that may have been weakened as a result of substance abuse, which will help ensure emotional support both during and after the treatment phase of recovery.

Accountability: Responsibility and accountability boost self-esteem by giving the recovering patient a greater sense of achievement. Being held accountable for one’s actions can serve as motivation to continue with sobriety and recovery. In family therapy, counselors often instruct family members on how to provide accountability to recovering loved ones.

Coping Strategies:In most cases, coping strategies are necessary for effective recovery. In family therapy, the formulation of coping methods often entails exploring the family’s role in a loved one’s addiction. For example, issues like codependency and family dynamics are often discussed as well as ways to restructure activities and interactions in a way that’s conducive to recovery.

Although addiction and substance abuse can have devastating effects on clients and their loved ones, family therapy can help repair damage and significantly strengthen relationships. Family counseling not only aids in the recovery of the patient, but of the family unit as well.

5 Reasons Outpatient Drug Treatment Fails

May 24, 2018

Outpatient drug treatment has a proven track record of success but does not provide the controlled environment of inpatient drug treatment. The flexibility of outpatient treatment is an amazing benefit but also presents a potential hurdle. Here are five common reasons why outpatient drug treatment programs fail:

#1. Clients Return to Their Old Haunts During Outpatient Drug Treatment

Outpatient drug treatment loses much of its effectiveness if you return to the places you frequented when using. Even if you turn down offers to use or no one is using in that venue anymore, simply being there is problematic. You are exposing yourself to triggers that are harmful to the success and stability of your recovery.

#2. Continuing to Hang Out with the Bad Crowd

Continuing to spend time with the crowd you used with in the past is not a good idea. These people are triggers for relapse regardless of their current use or abstinence and whether or not they use in front of you. Take care of yourself and spend time with people with positive and healthy interests during outpatient drug treatment and afterwards. Refer to your relapse prevention strategies for specific steps of how to avoid these and other triggers.

#3. Not Taking the Recovery Process Seriously

Simply showing up to treatment isn’t sufficient to get you into a stable recovery mindset. You have to be ready and willing to make a change. The clients who succeed are prepared to commit to outpatient drug treatment with hard work and dedication. Further, some clients believe that outpatient treatment is less structured than inpatient. While your time commitment is reduced, the level of care requires just as much dedication.

#4. Stop Going to Support Group Meetings

Support group meetings provide you with an important source of valuable support. It also keeps you active in your recovery long after outpatient drug treatment. You’ll be strongly encouraged to go to support group meetings as often as you can. When you stop attending meetings, your focus on recovery may suffer. Learn more about our alumni program.

#5. Choosing the Wrong Treatment Facility (and Admissions Specialist)

The facility you choose is important in this capacity. During the admissions process, a knowledgeable and experienced admissions counselor can help determine the right level of care for your circumstance. Only certain addicts are suitable for outpatient treatment and your admission specialist must have the deep understanding of addiction and your unique situation. Learn more about our programs.

10 Songs about Addiction That Will Make You Feel Empowered

October 27, 2017

We all crave inspiration in the form of music at one point or another. For a recovering addict, the need for music to empower and strengthen the spirit can strike at any time. However you source your music, it is always a smart idea to keep an addiction playlist at the ready for those moments when you could use a little extra inspiration.

We have compiled a list of our favorite songs about addiction that will motivate you and help you out through even the darkest of days.

#10 Chandelier by Sia

The song “Chandelier” by Sia is about the pain and emptiness you feel when you have a substance use addiction. The writer and singer Sia tells the story of her own struggle with addiction. The lyrics read “Party girls don’t get hurt, can’t feel anything, when will I learn? I push it down, push it down… One, two, three, one, two, three, drink.”

Although this song is very much about Sia’s rollercoaster emotions while in the whirlwind of her addiction, the tone of the song is very empowering and you really cannot help but want to belt out the lyrics and break out dancing when you turn it on.

#9 Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind

Do not let the upbeat and pop-like tune fool you. While “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind ruled the radio airwaves for the better part of the late 1990’s, very few realized that the lyrics are actually very thought-provoking, and centered around addiction.

The lyrics by Third Eye Blind read “We tripped on the urge to feel alive, and now I’m struggling to survive… I want something else to get me through this life.” Sometimes the simplest statements can be the most profound.

#8 Sober by P!nk

I don’t need to tell you that staying sober is not always easy. In the emotional song “Sober” by P!nk, she opens up about the way sobriety can offer both comfort as well as fear of embracing a new normal. The lyrics read “No pain, inside, you’re like protection. But how do I feel this good sober?”

While making the transition into a life of sobriety can be difficult and at certain times terrifying, songs like this will make you realize the new normal you are adjusting to is completely worth it.

#7 Nobody Drinks Alone by Keith Urban

Keith Urban’s country songs are often emotionally stirring and powerful, and “Nobody Drinks Alone” is no exception. In this powerful ballad, you can hear the pain that Urban pulls from his own struggle with addiction (he is now 11 years sober).

The lyrics read “There’s nothing but empty there inside that glass, so you pour a little more. And there’s no one there to judge you, at least that’s what you tell yourself. But don’t you know, nobody drinks alone? Every demon, every ghost, from your past, and every memory you’ve held back follows you home.” This song is perfect for those moments of weakness when you need inspiration and powerful words to pull you out of a slump.

#6 One Day at a Time by Joe Walsh

The Eagles guitarist once introduced this song at a concert as being about “learning how to live my life without my best friend, vodka.” It is a great song about leaving addiction in the past, and learning how to deal with the struggles of life without alcohol.

#5 Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Written in 1991, this hit song by Red Hot Chili Peppers is about member Anthony Kiedis’ struggle with drug addiction and how, ultimately, it lead him to indescribable loneliness. The bridge that the title is named after refers to a bridge that the song writer used to purchase his drugs under. This song is a good reminder of the ugly things you leave behind when you decide to cut ties with addiction for good.

#4 Captain Jack by Billy Joel

Billy Joel described “Captain Jack” as an “anti-drug song” inspired by watching teenagers in the inner-city purchasing drugs from a dealer they called Captain Jack. The lyrics read “So you play your albums, and you smoke your pot, and you meet your girlfriend in the parking lot. Oh, but still you’re aching for the things you haven’t got. What went wrong?”

The song is a good reminder of the deep, aching sadness that all addicted people feel. It will make you want to pick yourself up, take a deep breath, and keep moving forward.

#3 Addicted by Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson’s normally upbeat, pop chart toppers take a dark turn with her song “Addicted.” The powerful ballad describes the struggle between addiction and quitting for good. In her lyrics, she writes “I’ll handle it, quit it. Just one more time, then that’s it.” It is a great reminder of the inner demons you deal with when you quit a substance, and how proud you should be of your accomplishments to get to where you are now.

#2 Recover by Natasha Bedingfield

This beautiful song by Natasha Bedingfield speaks about pain, scars, and the fight left in all of us to survive. This is the perfect song for those moments when you need a powerful melody to motivate you and keep you on the right path. In it, she writes “The worst is over, all those fires we’ve been walking through, and still we survived somehow.” It is powerful and inspiring for anyone – but recovering addicts will relate with its stirring message the most.

#1 Starting Over by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

When writing “Starting Over,” Macklemore decided to be completely open about his recovery. In this powerful hip hop song, he shares his relapse after three years of recovery. He writes, “If I can be an example of getting sober, I can be an example of starting over.” Macklemore’s lyrics are powerful and heartfelt, and will make you realize how lucky you are to be sober.

Whenever you need a little extra inspiration to get you through your day, try plugging in your earbuds and turning the volume up with these motivational songs about addiction and recovery. You will feel empowered to keep moving forward with every lyric.

Common Forms of Co-Occurring Disorders that Need Dual Diagnosis

October 25, 2017

Co-occurring disorders can manifest themselves in many different ways. In some cases, a person may have a pre-existing mental condition that hasn’t been treated correctly, leading them to substance abuse. In other cases, substance abuse creates mental illness. Whatever the case, the combinations of substances and mental health conditions can lead to a unique treatment plan for patients.

It is surprisingly common for a person to have a dual diagnosis of a substance addiction and mental health condition, and this number is only increasing. The following are the most common co-occurring disorders.

Cocaine Addiction and Anxiety Disorders

The most common co-occurring diagnosis is cocaine addiction and anxiety disorder. This is most likely because prolonged use of cocaine leads to symptoms that are synonymous with anxiety disorder, such as:

  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Suspiciousness
  • Insomnia
  • Violence

The addiction cycle can be vicious if both of these disorders are present in a patient. The addict may abuse cocaine for the euphoric and powerful high that makes them feel numb to their anxiety. However, the continued use of cocaine only makes their anxiety symptoms worse.

Heroin Addiction and Depression

Heroin produces a short-term euphoric high that is quickly and incredibly addictive. Over time, however, the portions of the brain which are responsible for producing pleasure signals burns out. When heroin is abused over a period of years, this brain damage can develop into depression. This depression can make withdrawal symptoms for heroin more intense, creating a more dire need for rehab to assist with the withdrawal and recovery process.

The symptoms of heroin addiction and depression can include:

  • Negative mood
  • Flat emotional affect
  • Low energy
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Social isolation
  • Suicidal thoughts

Alcoholism and Anti-social Personality Disorder

There is a strong correlation between anti-social personality disorder and alcoholism. Alcoholism is often used to mask the symptoms of anti-social personality disorder, which can include lack of remorse, irresponsibility, aggressiveness, and deceitfulness. Although every person is different, in most cases the addict is first diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder, and later diagnosed with alcoholism.

This co-occurring disorder is incredibly dangerous, as certain symptoms that are present in a person with anti-social personality disorder, such as anger, aggression, and physical violence, are amplified when combined with alcohol. It is vital that a person with this dual diagnosis receives professional help right away to understand and recover successfully from alcoholism and anti-social personality disorder.

Marijuana Addiction and Schizophrenia

Common symptoms of schizophrenia include delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thinking. In order to cope with these symptoms, or in an attempt to subside them, schizophrenics often begin abusing marijuana.

The truth is that often times marijuana actually increases symptoms associated with schizophrenia, making their condition worse in the long-term.

It is imperative that when an addict enters treatment with co-occurring disorders, they receive treatment for both to ensure the most effective recovery possible. In order to do so, Destination Hope creates an individualized plan for each of our clients. The standard protocol for this plan includes:

  • A preliminary psychiatric evaluation
  • Individual counseling
  • Family counseling
  • Group counseling
  • A comprehensive discharge plan

Two different treatments operating as one dual diagnosis program allows us to give greater attention and detail to each factor causing addiction. You’re only one step away from conquering a co-occurring disorder. Contact Destination Hope to get started on your path to recovery. Call 877-771-1750.

Can You Learn to Drink in Moderation?

Have you been sober for a period of time, and are wondering if you can ease back into having a drink on special occasions? Or, perhaps, you believe you may have a drinking problem, but do not want to give up alcohol entirely? We all know drinking to excess is unhealthy, especially for those who have an addictive personality – but is the occasional glass of wine acceptable, if only reserved for rare evenings?

Before considering whether or not it is a safe option for you to drink in moderation, consider the following, and bring your thoughts to the attention of your sponsor if you are currently in recovery.

The Temptation of Moderate Drinking

It is easy to understand where the temptation to partake in a casual drink every now and then comes from. Office parties, dinners out, birthdays – it seems like everywhere we go, alcohol is being consumed in abundance.

However, it is important to remember that the majority of recovering addicts who attempt to socially drink end up relapsing back into their alcoholism. The small percentage of those who successfully move back into social drinking on occasion are normally considered to be “problem drinkers” rather than alcoholics. The three main categories of drinkers include:

Social drinkers – Individuals who drink in low-risk patterns. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “low-risk drinking for females consists of no more than 7 drinks per week and no more than 3 drinks per sitting. For males, it consists of no more than 14 drinks per week and no more than 4 drinks per day.”

Problem drinkers – This group of individuals drink to the point where it affects certain aspects of their life. For example, a problem drinker may drink too much on occasion and miss class or work. However, they have not yet developed a full-blown dependence to alcohol yet.

Alcoholics – Alcoholics have both a physical and psychological addiction to alcohol and the effects associated with it. Alcoholics are frequently intoxicated, and continue abusing alcohol even after it has caused major problems in their life, such as being fired from a job or losing friendships and other relationships as a result of drinking.

In short, while problem drinkers should strongly consider practicing complete abstinence from alcohol in order to lead the best life they possibly can, alcoholics have the disease of alcoholism and must seek treatment to overcome this.

Can Recovering Alcoholics Ever Drink Again?

It is common to wonder, as a recovering alcoholic, if it is really that harmful to have a drink or two once in a while. After all, you have made it this far and have not slipped back into alcoholism, right?

The issue for recovering alcoholics is that they possess an addictive tendency. And while it may all be well and good to set out for the night telling yourself you will only have one drink, this is never a promise you can make to yourself before drinking. This is because as soon as you have a single drink, the brains chemical messengers inhibit the signals that control our processes, behaviors, and emotions. So, while you may truly believe you can handle one drink, after one drink your brain thinks differently.

While social drinkers, and maybe even problem drinkers, can decide that they do not wish to have a second, third, or fourth drink, an alcoholic will not be able to control this impulse. This is the reason why a slip often turns into a full blown relapse for recovering alcoholics.

You may believe that you are ready to return to social drinking after successfully staying sober for a length of time – but for majority of people who have a problem controlling the amount of alcohol they consume, this is simply not worth the risk. If you are a recovering addict and are having problems with temptation, the counselors at Destination Hope can help. Give us a call at 877-785-3199. Whether you are seeking professional help for the first time or are looking to get back into an aftercare program to aid in your recovery, we can provide you with quality behavioral health treatment through a variety of innovative approaches.

How to Speak to Your Employer about Addiction

If you have recently returned to work after attending a rehabilitation program, or are beginning a new position, it is important that your employer understands the position you are currently in (if you feel comfortable speaking to them about it).

Not only will having a discussion with your employer about your addiction help you understand your employment rights, but it will help them understand you a bit better. Read on to learn a few helpful tips when speaking to your employer about your previous or ongoing addiction.

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The Importance of Honesty in Recovery

Admitting that you are struggling with an addiction or mental health issue is one of the hardest things you will ever do. Once you admit to yourself, it also means that you will need to admit to others that you have these issues and need help to overcome them.

Dishonesty is all too common among addicts and those with a mental health condition – most of the time it’s about the denial that you have an issue or need help. For some, it could also extend into lies they have told friends and family, i.e. lying about how much they have been using or how much they have spent.

When you first enter recovery, you can begin being more honest with yourself by examining how much you truly use, making a list of how it has affected your life, totaling up how much you have spent, and paying attention to what your loved ones say about your mental health illness or substance abuse. During this time of reflection, you may also want to think about how you have been dishonest to others while in the throes of your addiction or mental health condition.

Lying enables addicts to escape the consequences of their behavior, for a little while. Achieving sobriety requires complete honesty. Even the smallest fib, whether to yourself, a friend, a family, or a counselor, can set you on a path toward relapse.

By being honest with yourself, you are no longer living in a state of denial and can face the world as it exists – without the escape of substances or other behaviors. You will be more adept at handling uncomfortable realities and hardships when you do so honestly and earnestly.

The Dangers of Dishonesty

Research has suggested that lying can actually impact your health. Research results from a psychology professor at the University of Notre Dame revealed that lying can trigger the release of stress hormones, which can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Stress can reduce your body’s blood cells, which over time, could contribute to lower back pain, tension headaches, menstrual problems, and more.

Not being honest with yourself about your addiction or mental health can lead to further harm for you and those around you. Addiction tends to be progressive, which means it will continue to get worse over time. Even after you complete a recovery program, it is important to continue being honest with yourself. When you need help, reach out to a trusted confidant or your sponsor, attend a counseling session or a meeting to help you stay on the right path. Being dishonest about needing help can make the recovery process not only harder but also lonelier.

Being honest with yourself about your addictions or mental health can help you move forward in recovery and make the changes necessary to improve your life.

Healthy Friends vs. Unhealthy Friends

October 23, 2017

You are who you surround yourself with. Although it may be a clichéd belief, for many, the saying holds true. If you’re in treatment, it is important to surround yourself with positive, healthy relationships that will be a source of support during and after the recovery process.

For many people, this may mean avoiding friends you used to hang out with before you entered treatment. It doesn’t stop there. Developing new friendships can also be tricky as you try to find a healthy network of friends.

The Difference between Healthy & Unhealthy Friendships

It might seem like a safe bet to turn to those who are not using, drinking, or engaging in negative behaviors, for friendship. However, even those friendships can negatively impact your recovery. In general, anyone who is insensitive to the difficulties of recovery, who makes hurtful comments, or who disrespects your boundaries can cause more harm than good.

Such behavior might include a friend questioning your food choices knowing that you’re in recovery for an eating disorder; engaging in emotionally charged situations such as an argument that can trigger you, or a friend encouraging you to skip meetings or counseling sessions.

Positive friends will accommodate your new lifestyle. They will never drink or use in front of you, make demeaning comments, or question your choice to remain sober or overcome your mental illness. A true friend will be considerate and supportive in your time of need and will never force you to do something that could lead to a relapse or mental break.

How Healthy Relationships Can Aid in Recovery

Positive, healthy friendships provide hope and support. These are the friends that will never place you in triggering situations, who will talk to you when you’re experiencing cravings, and encourage you to attend meetings or counseling sessions. Healthy friendships can encourage you through recovery, keeping a positive attitude that will help you thrive.

How Unhealthy Relationships Can Harm Your Recovery

Unhealthy friendships can make it difficult for you to avoid relapse. These relationships can be physically or emotionally abusive and enable or even encourage you to go back to your former lifestyle. Any type of unhealthy relationship could trigger you to relapse.

Making New Friends

After recovery, you can reestablish old relationships, however, you will need to examine if the relationship is healthy or not. Recovery can often help those in recovery make amends and renew relationships with family and old friends.

Healthy, new friendships may be formed through participation in support groups as well as through recreational organizations or religious organizations. Volunteer activities are also a great way to form new friendships. By making new friends, and being a good friend, you can find a network that will support you through recovery and beyond.

It’s important to recognize that loneliness can be a relapse trigger. Whether you’re suffering from a mental illness or recovering from substance abuse, loneliness can lead you to believe that life in recovery is disappointing and boring. You can also talk to your counselor or caseworker about these new friendships as they can help identify whether these relationships are healthy or unhealthy.

Social Media & Mental Health

October 20, 2017

Social Media & Mental Health Infographic

Social media has dramatically changed the way everyone communicates. Although Facebook remains the most popular social media site, other platforms also allow people to connect and share. Although social media has the power to motivate people into action, it can also impact users negatively. The link between social media use and mental health has been heavily researched with some studies suggesting it could lead to low self-esteem, depression, body dysmorphia, feelings of disconnection, and more.

Learning how to maintain a healthy social media presence and identifying if you are becoming addicted to social media can help you stay connected without damaging your mental health.


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