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Understanding the Misconceptions About Intervention for Addicts

Understanding the Misconceptions About Intervention for Addicts

Sad to say, many Americans base their beliefs and opinions on what they watch on television.  Whether it be the news, sitcoms, movies, or documentaries, some of the information they relay to the public is not always accurate. 

Evidence of this type of distorted information is quite obvious when it comes to intervention for addicts.  Reality shows about intervention usually focus on drama and anger because they want to improve their ratings.  In real life, interventions aren’t always quite so dramatic.

If you’ve watched any intervention reality programs, did you wonder why it seemed to be such a spectacle?  And, what about the person who was supposedly whisked off to rehab?  Did they succeed in overcoming their addiction?  Unfortunately, those questions won’t be answered because these programs are not an accurate portrayal of the intervention process.

When an intervention is conducted properly, it is not likely to erupt into a drama-fest as you see on reality TV.  

A Realistic Picture of Intervention for Addicts

Interventions for addiction are necessary in many cases because a person may be in denial or does not realize the severity of their substance abuse.  Friends and family agree to come together and approach their loved one as a group about the issue.  The goal is to help the addicted person admit they have a problem and agree to enter treatment.  

An intervention is not about placing blame or guilt-tripping the individual.  It should be a loving yet persuasive blend of expressing expectations and setting boundaries.  The end goal is to convince the person to enter treatment right away.  

How to Conduct an Intervention

Sometimes, even the most well-planned intervention can go wrong.  People lose control, get angry, or become physically threatening.  The best way to ensure a successful outcome is to include the expertise of a professional interventionist.  These experts know how to manage emotional outbursts to prevent them from escalating.  An interventionist can coordinate and supervise the process if the family agrees to this arrangement.

To be effective, intervention for addicts should involve the following steps:

Step 1 – Be informed.  

Learn about substance abuse and addiction.  Also, gather information about detoxification and rehabilitation programs.  If you are well-informed before the intervention, it will be easier to talk to the individual about these options.  Choose a facility and make arrangements before holding the intervention so the individual can enter treatment right away.

Step 2 – Write personal statements.

All participants in the intervention should speak about their experiences involving the person’s addiction.  Writing the statement ahead of time will help avoid saying things that weren’t intended.  The statement should describe how the addiction has affected them personally.  The goal is to help the addicted person realize that their addiction has harmed others in their life.  Keep in mind that the statements should be honest but non-confrontational.  

Step 3 – Offer your help.

Let the person know you will support them during detox, rehab, and recovery.  Offer to drive them to treatment or attend therapy and support group meetings.  A person in recovery needs to know they are not alone in their struggle.

Step 4 – Set boundaries.

Everyone should let the individual know there will be consequences if treatment is refused.  Friends or family members can stop their enabling behaviors such as loaning money, providing a place to live, or loaning out their car.  Everyone involved should rehearse this aspect of the intervention together to be sure they are on the same page.

Step 5 –  Manage expectations.

The intervention may not achieve the desired result.  So, if the loved one refuses to enter treatment, everyone must be prepared to follow through with the boundaries they outlined during the intervention.  

What Should You Avoid During an Intervention?

We hear a lot about “tough love” these days.  It is defined as “ love or affectionate concern expressed in a stern or unsentimental manner (as through discipline) especially to promote responsible behavior.”   However,  it can be easy to cross the fine line between tough love and cruelty.  With that in mind, some things should be avoided during an intervention that could be hurtful.  

Things to avoid during an intervention:

  • Using labels such as addict, junkie, alcoholic, etc.  These terms can be taken as accusatory and seem to define a person by their addiction.  
  • Becoming upset or emotional.  If participants become emotional or upset, the intervention can spin out of control.  Before the meeting, think about ways to manage personal feelings so the intervention can stay on course.
  • Involving too many people..  A large group can be intimidating or feel an ambush.  It’s best to choose a small group of close friends and family who genuinely care about helping the individual.
  • Bad timing.  If the person shows up intoxicated, the intervention will not be effective.  Plan the event for a time when you are sure the individual is sober.

Misconceptions about intervention prevent people from getting the help they need.  If friends or family don’t step up and help a loved one face the truth about their substance use, they may never reach out for professional treatment.  So, it’s vital to learn the facts about intervention.

Get Help Staging an Intervention at Cycles for Change Recovery

The prospect of confronting a loved one about their substance abuse or addiction can be a little scary.  You’re not sure how they will react or how the process will unfold.  So, if you’re considering an intervention, but aren’t sure how to begin, Cycles for Change Recovery can help.  Contact us at our Palmdale, CA facility today to learn about our professional intervention services and addiction treatment programs.  Don’t let misconceptions about intervention prevent you from helping your loved one.

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Questions About Addiction? Here are Some of the Answers You Want

Questions About Addiction? Here are Some of the Answers You Want

To truly understand addiction we must abandon stigma and learn the facts.  Thousands of studies show us that addiction is not a matter of choice.  Research by leading addiction specialists proves that the disorder is composed of many factors.  Yet many people still cling to the idea that an addicted individual could quit using drugs if they wanted to badly enough.  

Asking questions about addiction is the best way to learn the truth about this complex disorder.  But, first, let’s look at the definition of addiction.  According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM):

“Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.”

So, what are the questions about addiction we should ask to further our understanding of this life-altering disorder?   

Ask These Questions About Addiction to Find the Truth

Americans have an abundance of information at their fingertips all day every day.  But, many of them are still uninformed about the causes of addiction and the dangers involved.  So, the following questions and answers may help people get the addiction treatment they need.  

#1.  Are addiction and habit the same thing?

Addiction is often referred to as a bad habit.  But, there is a significant difference between the two.  Most habits are things a person does without thinking about them.  They do it because it makes them feel good or makes things easier for them.  Addiction is similar, yet it often results in negative consequences.  But, regardless of those consequences, the individual is unable to stop the behavior.  

#2.  What causes addiction?

Drugs and alcohol contain powerful chemicals that alter brain functioning by reducing dopamine production.  Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the area of the brain known as the reward center.  It is known as the “feel-good” hormone. Drugs or alcohol stimulate dopamine production, resulting in euphoria.  With repeated use of the substance, the brain loses its ability to produce dopamine naturally.  When this happens, the individual thinks more of the drug will help them feel “normal” again.  Over time, uncomfortable or severe withdrawal symptoms force the person to seek more of the substance.  

The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on the duration of the addiction and the substance involved.  But, these are some of the most common symptoms of withdrawal syndrome:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Muscle aches or pains.
  • Tremors or shakiness.
  • Mood swings, agitation, anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Confusion.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Intense craving for the substance.
  • Seizures.
  • Coma.

Several factors influence a person’s risk for developing an addiction.  Here are a few examples of those contributing factors:

  • Environment – Factors such as stress, peer pressure, and parental substance use can play a role in a person’s risk for addiction.  Also, environmental influences such as financial status, family dysfunction, or relationship problems can be contributing factors.  
  • Genetic predisposition – People who have a family history of substance use are at increased risk for addiction.  Studies show that genetics account for 50% of an individual’s risk for substance abuse or addiction. 
  • Mental health – Low self-esteem, depression, anger issues, or other mental or emotional problems can lead a person to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.  
  • Media influences – Substance use is blatantly promoted in movies, social media, music, and books.  These platforms portray drug or alcohol use as a normal way to have fun.  Young, impressionable teens get caught up in the fervor and want to be part of the crowd.  As a result, we have a teenage drug epidemic in America today.  Of course, many adults fall victim to the same influences.

Currently, it’s not possible to determine whether a person will become addicted or not.  The above factors are merely a guideline to help answer questions about addiction that aren’t often asked.  

#3.  What causes cravings for drugs or alcohol?

Drugs or alcohol increase dopamine production in the brain’s reward center.  The brain then learns to associate the substance with pleasure.  As a result, the brain stops producing dopamine and relies on the substance to deliver those feelings of pleasure.  Over time, the brain will produce withdrawal symptoms that cause the individual to crave the substance.  Getting more of the drug becomes the person’s primary focus each day.  The intense craving causes many people to resort to illegal behaviors to obtain their drug of choice.  For this reason, drug-related crime has increased significantly today during the opioid epidemic.

#4.  Are cravings a sign of addiction?

Cravings are the brain and body’s response to a lack of dopamine that the addictive substance provides.  When the substance is no longer present in the body, dopamine levels drop and cravings begin.  Therefore, cravings are a sign of addiction.  Certain things can trigger cravings such as seeing a hypodermic needle, seeing a bottle of alcohol, or anything that reminds the person of their substance of choice.

#5.  What does it mean to be in recovery?

Recovery means different things to different people.  Generally, recovery begins with detox and rehab.  Treatment programs like Cycles of Change Recovery assist with a person’s effort to move past their addiction.  When a person is in treatment, they are referred to as being in recovery.  Unfortunately, recovery has no predetermined end date.  It’s something a person will face each day when they leave treatment and attempt to rebuild their life.  Being in recovery means finding ways to enjoy a lifestyle that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol.  

Understanding Addiction is a Priority at Cycles of Change Recovery 

At Cycles of Change Recovery, we understand that no one wants or chooses to be addicted.  For that reason, our program combines compassion, respect, and expertise to ensure that our clients get the best level of treatment available today.  We offer a comprehensive, individualized program that can adapt to each client’s unique needs.  

If you have more questions about addiction or are ready to enter treatment, contact our facility in beautiful Palmdale, CA today.  

Sources:  

  • asam.org – What is the definition of addiction?
  • drugabuse.gov –  Why Do Some People Become Addicted to Drugs While Others Don’t?
Dangers of Fentanyl: Are they Real?

Dangers of Fentanyl: Are they Real?

Fentanyl is a Schedule II controlled synthetic opioid that can be addictive and dangerous whether used legally or illicitly.  As a prescription painkiller, Fentanyl helps people manage pain following surgery or due to a chronic illness such as cancer.  But, as a recreational drug, Fentanyl is a deadly substance that has killed many thousands of people.  If you are wondering if the dangers of Fentanyl are real the answer is yes.  

You only need to read a few news headlines for proof of how deadly this substance can be.  Or, read the manufacturer’s directions booklet.  The “important warning” clearly states that ‘Fentanyl may be habit-forming and should only be used to treat chronic pain.’  The warning also states that Fentanyl can cause severe harm or death if used by someone who has not been prescribed the medication.  Furthermore, it warns that Fentanyl can cause serious breathing problems or death in those who are not tolerant to narcotic medications.  

Shocking Fentanyl Statistics 

Fatal overdoses involving Fentanyl increased 38.4 percent in 2020.  Many deaths occurred because the individuals were unaware that the cocaine, meth, or heroin they bought was laced with Fentanyl.  Furthermore, DEA analysts found counterfeit pills that contain .02 to 5.1 milligrams of Fentanyl which is twice the lethal dose.  

Drug traffickers typically distribute Fentanyl in kilograms.  The scary thing about this is that one kilogram can potentially kill 500,000 people.  

More Proof of the Dangers of Fentanyl

If the above statistics haven’t convinced you of Fentanyl’s potential dangers, read some of the following news stories.  Prepare to be shocked and saddened by some of these reports.  These are only a few instances of the dangers of Fentanyl.  Many more stories like these happen daily across the US.  

These stories are only a few out of thousands.  Clearly, Fentanyl is big business for some people, and they’re making tons of money.  But, while they’re counting their fortune, hundreds of people are dying from those dangerous substances.

Why is Fentanyl So Deadly?

Fentanyl is a potent painkiller that is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is also 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin.  Another reason Fentanyl is so deadly is that people who buy illicit cocaine, heroin, or meth don’t know it is laced with Fentanyl.  

The effects of Fentanyl are very intense, but they don’t last long.  With each use, the person increases their tolerance, needing larger doses to get the desired euphoric effects.  The increased use can cause fatal overdoses.  In fact, only two milligrams of the drug can be lethal.

Even small doses of Fentanyl can cause a person to stop breathing.  Overdose effects can include:

  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Cyanosis (blue colored skin and nails)
  • Stupor
  • Coma
  • Respiratory failure
  • Death

Synthetic opioids, including Fentanyl, are the primary cause of increased overdose deaths in the US.  This fact alone confirms the dangers of Fentanyl.

Can a Person Overcome Fentanyl Addiction?

As with other addictions, there is no quick fix for Fentanyl addiction.  The best approach for overcoming Fentanyl is with a long-term, inpatient program.  This is especially true for those who struggle with Fentanyl or other opioid addictions.  Addiction specialists agree that the longer a person remains in treatment, the chance of lasting recovery increases.

At Cycles of Change Recovery in Palmdale, CA, we offer a comprehensive inpatient program that begins with medically supervised detox.   The next phase of our treatment program involves helping patients understand what led to their addiction and develop new habits and behaviors to resist going down that path again.

With the right combination of counseling, education, skills training, and aftercare, our patients can reenter society with confidence and a renewed sense of purpose.  If you’re ready to leave addiction behind, contact us now to learn more about our program.  The dangers of Fentanyl are real, so don’t wait too long to seek treatment.  

Sources:  

A married couple works with their counselor in family therapy.

How to Maintain Accountability in Addiction Recovery

 

Recovering from addiction or substance abuse is never easy or straightforward. Parts of your brain have been rewired due to substance use, and getting things back to normal takes work and, oftentimes, some outside help. In the process, there will be certain things that you may be able to do or ways to go about recruiting others to help that will be instrumental in your journey to recovery.

Make a Plan

While it may seem obvious once you think about it, it is not always the first move we take to accomplish things. However, without a plan, recovery becomes significantly more difficult. A plan is important because it sets a standard; it tells you what the conditions of success and failure are, and it tells you this explicitly. Of course, it is easier not to plan because then you cannot fail the plan. This does not mean that you are not failing; however, you are not aware of it as clearly because you do not have a plan to show this to yourself. A plan gives you direction; it tells you step by step what direction to move. While this can be confining or overwhelming, it is an important step to recovery. Making the plan alone, however, is not sufficient.

Let Others Know About Your Plan

It would help if you let others know about your plan. Making the plan establishes a degree of accountability with yourself—you are telling yourself what you need to do. Letting someone else know about the plan establishes some outside accountability. Now, this other person also knows and has expectations of you. This can be a powerful source of motivation to work towards completing the plan you have created. However, it is important that the person you let know about your plan actually cares whether or not you stick to it. Ideally, this is someone who is not struggling with the same issue or in the same way as you.

Find an Accountability Partner

Closely related to the second method of maintaining accountability is this step of finding an accountability partner. This can potentially be the same person who knows about the plan, but the accountability partner goes further than just knowing about the plan and expecting you to stick with it. An accountability partner is someone you meet regularly and with whom you share details about what is going on as you attempt to stick with the plan. This should be someone who deeply cares and holds you to stick with your recovery goal and is understanding and empathetic. This must be someone with whom you feel comfortable being completely honest.

Do Not Be Afraid to Get Treatment

Sometimes these first three options are not quite enough to help you with the journey to recovery. It is not shameful or wrong to seek professional treatment through a rehab center or other treatment facility. This can be an important and effective way of getting further accountability. The professional team at a treatment facility provides an additional layer of structure and accountability that can be extremely beneficial on the journey to recovery. Sometimes, the addiction is so powerful and aggressive that you are unable to handle things alone. Do not keep going in circles with your recovery if you need more outside accountability and assistance.

Surround Yourself with Friends and Family

While this may not be an option that everyone has, it is ideal to surround yourself with family and friends if possible. Whether a family member or friend is your accountability partner or not, having support in this way can be central to your progress in recovery. This can be a difficult process since family and friends may not always fully understand the nature of your struggle, and there will sometimes be conflict; at the end of the day, though, these are the people who are on your side, rooting for your victory. Fostering good relationships with family and friends and allowing them into your journey can be an incredible source of accountability and foster your recovery.

Avoid Sources of Temptation

It is of great importance that any people or places that may be sources of temptation are avoided. For some individuals with an addiction, there are certain people whom they can hang around and find themselves pushed in bad directions, tempted toward the substance again, and so forth. These bad influences must be avoided at all costs. This is a difficult thing to do in many cases since there are often established relationships and the person may be reaching out and trying to encourage you to come to hang out and spend time with them. Unfortunately, this should not be done. No matter how you are pressured, you must avoid hanging with anyone who will lead you into temptation. The same can be said for places. There may be certain environments, locations, or activities, like bars or parties, which open the door for temptation and substance usage. Any time you encounter a temptation of this sort, it is imperative that you avoid it. It may seem reasonable to think that the person or place is not directly connected to substance abuse. It is not a real concern—or to full yourself into thinking that you will avoid certain situations after you go or that you will be strong enough in the moment. But none of these things are true. As humans, we have easily swept away at the moment; you cannot rely on your willpower when you are in the situation. You must prepare in advance by thinking about places and people that open doors of temptation and closing those directions beforehand.

Maintaining accountability is an essential part of addiction recovery. These steps will allow you to begin making headway towards recovery, but there may be other things you find to help you as well. Everyone has individual differences, so be on the lookout for things that you know help you in recovery or make things more difficult and include those in the plan you make. A sure way of never recovering is never preparing to recover. You do not fall into recovery; you work at it. You have to muster your strength and courage, make a plan, gather support around you, and then give it everything you have. It is hard work, but it is doable work, especially when you have the right people.

Alcohol and Anger

Not the Cure for What Ails You: Alcohol and Anger

Your heart starts to race uncomfortably as you see the headlights of your husband’s car as he pulls into the driveway later than usual.

He stumbles into the house, gives you and the kids a quick hello, and makes his way into the living room, where he turns on the ball game.

His ruffled demeanor suggests he had gone to the bar after a hard day at work. He’s gone out for a drink from the office before, and everything was fine. But lately, it’s been more often and slightly more noticeable – the smell of alcohol on his breath and his fluctuating moods.

As you try to make small talk, you can tell he’s uncharacteristically short and inpatient in his responses to you. Even the kids’ happy chatter and playing seem to frustrate him as the evening goes on. Your husband says drinking helps him relax, but it just seems to make him a tense and angry person you don’t recognize.

Everyone has a different response to alcohol. While it relaxes some people, alcohol can make others feel angry. Let’s take a look at why this is.

Why Does Alcohol Make Some People Angry?

Alcohol affects different people in different ways, but lowered inhibitions are a commonly experienced outcome. For some, this may allow repressed anger to bleed through a person’s typical restraint.

Some people use alcohol as a coping mechanism to avoid painful feelings or thoughts. Blaming others for those troubles may follow, as this also helps your loved one avoid accepting responsibility. Anger is often easier to observe than other emotions so that it might be masking different emotional responses to mental or physical trauma or other issues.

Chemical changes in the brain occur with alcohol consumption that disrupts the normal regulation of feel-good chemicals and pain responses. As a person comes down from the alcohol high, he’s hit with a wave of discomfort that can lead to more alcohol use to deal with the feelings—developing a perpetuating cycle of anger and substance abuse.

When people feel judged for their drinking, they may lash out. It’s often difficult to see when you have a problem with alcohol yourself, so as friends and loved ones start pointing this out, it may come across as nagging or overreacting.

How Should You Approach Someone with Alcoholism and Anger Issues?

There’s no easy way to confront a person about alcoholism, but keeping these guidelines in mind can help you stick to your game plan.

  • Talk about it when he is sober.
  • Have the discussion shortly after negative consequences of drinking have been experienced.
  • Approach the conversation from a non-judgmental place of love and concern. Avoid lecturing.
  • If an argument breaks out, don’t take it personally. Denial and anger are common responses. Take a break and resume the conversation once everyone has cooled down.
  • Offer to help your loved one find treatment for alcoholism and other issues like anxiety or depression that could be complicating matters.

Don’t Let Someone’s Anger and Alcohol Dependence Consume You.

It’s easy to get caught up in concern over your loved one’s issues. But you need to remember to take care of yourself, too! Make sure you’re appropriately managing your own responses. Anger and resentment can enable further issues with problem drinking.

Take advantage of support systems in your area. Al-Anon for family members can provide educational materials and counseling for those dealing with an alcoholic in their lives.

Treatment for Alcohol and Anger Issues in Palmdale, CA

If you’ve tried addressing the issue with your loved one without success, it might be time to stage an intervention. Cycles of Change Recovery Services in Palmdale, CA, has skilled interventionists that can help.

We expose clients to various therapeutic techniques—including 12-step programs, music therapy, and more—according to the individual’s specific needs. Family therapy is often an integral part of healing both the individual and those around him.

Talk to one of our compassionate, experienced professionals today about how we can help your loved one recover from alcohol addiction.