Do I Need An Aftercare Program?

Addiction treatment is a process. For many people, staying in recovery means they have to continue to work it, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In addiction treatment programs, a continuum of care is frequently ideal, including an aftercare program.

Not everyone will participate in an aftercare program, but it’s an incredibly important step in recovery for some people.

Below, we talk about what we mean by a continuum of care, what an aftercare program is, and how it could fit into your treatment plan.

What is a Continuum of Care?

In substance abuse treatment, there is a term, continuum of care, which is important. In substance abuse treatment, a continuum of care references offers a wide variety of treatments to meet the particular needs of people in recovery.

The idea of levels of care isn’t exclusive to addiction treatment. It can refer to any situation where patients are guided and tracked through a period of time as they receive comprehensive services in varying intensities.

For example, someone with a chronic health condition like diabetes might receive a continuum of care.

  • The services that are most generally included in a continuum of care for all health conditions and not just addiction treatment include extended, hospital, ambulatory, and home care, outreach, wellness, and housing.
  • You can also break down a continuum of care into four larger categories—planning and management, coordination of care, care-based financing, and integrated information systems.
  • Another way to look at the continuum of care is as a philosophy where you’re getting a patient from a state of illness to well-being. The patient might be gradually transitioning to a healthier state of being over time. 

It’s incredibly important when we’re specifically looking at the continuum of care in treating addiction. Addiction is chronic and progressive; the longer it goes untreated, the more severe it becomes.

  • With addiction treatment, you could begin at the detox phase of treatment, then begin more intensive therapy where you learn about potential triggers and how to overcome them through group and individual counseling. 
  • Treatment might, at that point, begin to include aftercare plans and connections with a recovery support network. 
  • Addiction is not only a chronic illness but also one with high relapse rates. The longer-term a treatment program, and the more it follows an in-depth continuum of care, the more likelihood of positive outcomes.

ASAM Criteria

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has criteria to define a continuum of care. The goal of this criteria is to provide outcome-driven results in treating addiction.

Under the ASAM criteria, there are five primary levels of treatment making up a continuum of care, and decimal numbers are used to show the intensity for each sub-level of service.

These include:

  • Level 0.5 Early Intervention: At this point in the continuum, individuals might receive interventions based on their risk of developing substance abuse problems. They might not meet the criteria for a substance use disorder diagnosis but could have risk factors predisposing them to this potential. The early intervention relies on helping patients understand their risk factors, so they can adjust their behaviors accordingly.
  • Level 1 Outpatient Treatment: At this level, according to ASAM criteria, patients attend meetings that are regularly scheduled. Patients can keep up with their daily routines but still receive professional addiction treatment services. Level 1 can be a bridge for someone who’s not ready to accept a higher level of care, or it can be a transition following the first level of treatment. Level 1 treatment most often focuses on counseling sessions. 
  • Level 2 Intensive Outpatient/Partial Hospitalization: This category has two intensity levels. Level 2.1, the intensive outpatient program (IOP), and Level 2.5, a partial hospitalization program (PHP). At this level, someone might receive psychiatric and medical care, medication management, and crisis services. They might also receive links to other support services like transportation or vocational training.
  • Level 3 Inpatient Rehab/Residential Treatment: Residential treatment is where people will most likely benefit from a stable living environment for recovery. There are several levels of intensity. For example, Level 3.1 refers to a low-intensity but clinically managed residential rehab.
  • Level 4 Medically-Managed Intensive Inpatient Treatment: This is the most intense type of treatment. Someone at this level will receive medical care 24 hours a day, including daily meetings with a doctor. Someone receiving this level of care may also receive treatment for co-occurring disorders.

What is an Aftercare Program?

Regarding intensity, an aftercare program is usually considered Level 1 on the ASAM criteria scale, but it can also be more intensive.  

  • Once someone can achieve sobriety after a period of detox and withdrawal, they must continually work to maintain recovery. Recovery in addiction is similar to remission in chronic disease.
  • Aftercare is an ongoing approach to treatment that you participate in after achieving sobriety.
  • Depending on your needs and treatment plan, an aftercare program can take many forms.

Two of the most common aftercare programs are 12-step groups and outpatient treatment.

  • A 12-step program involves a group setting where you spend time with others in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. 
  • You voluntarily share what you’re comfortable talking about and encourage others in a format similar to a support group during 12-step meetings. 
  • The environment is safe and confidential, and participating in 12-step programs is a good way to build relationships with other sober people and deal with stress healthily.
  • There is a spiritual component to 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, so some prefer alternatives such as SMART Recovery.

Another type of aftercare can be an outpatient treatment program. 

  • Outpatient treatment might be something that you begin after you receive treatment in a residential setting. 
  • Someone with a less severe addiction could move directly from detox to outpatient rehab.
  • You might participate in individual therapy and group counseling. You could also receive care for co-occurring conditions in ongoing therapy. 
  • Aftercare programs might also be a way to provide resources to people who are dealing with the fallout from their addiction as they return to their daily lives. For example, you may have difficulty finding a job or a safe and secure home when you’re in recovery. It’s tough to navigate life after addiction for some people, which can lead to a higher relapse rate.

Aftercare programs may provide access to long-term support through major life transitions, career counseling, and legal support. 

  • These programs might include coaching, community building, case management, and substance monitoring. 
  • An aftercare program can help provide information resources and connections to affordable housing for a person in recovery, upping their likelihood of long-term abstinence from addictive behavior. 
  • For people with the most severe addictions, aftercare might include time spent in sober living homes, also known as halfway houses. 
  • Sober living homes provide a supportive environment once someone leaves a rehab facility. On the road to recovery, a person may not immediately be ready for re-entry into everyday life after leaving treatment facilities. 
  • Treatment centers might include an alumni program as an effective aftercare program. Alumni programs help you stay connected. 

There’s no one answer as to whether or not you need an aftercare program, but most treatment plans will include aftercare in some way.

Aftercare Program Options in the Bay Area, CA

Aftercare programs are an important way to navigate what your sober life will look like and build a life you can be proud of and thrive in. If you’d like to learn more about addiction treatment, please contact Silicon Valley Recovery at 408-547-4089 when you feel comfortable doing so. Treatment for substance abuse needs to put your needs at the forefront of everything, which is what we focus on.

Why Interventions Work to Mend Relationships

Understanding why interventions work can be important if you have a loved one struggling with substance abuse and addiction. A drug or alcohol intervention is a way to encourage someone with a substance use disorder to acknowledge a problem and get treatment or at least attend something like an Alcoholics Anonymous program. 

Of course, as with anything, a formal intervention process may not be right for everyone. How well intervention for an addict will work and its effects depend on the person and the situation. 

Below, we discuss why interventions work for some people, how they happen, and how they might impact your relationship with the person dealing with substance abuse. 

What Happens During An Intervention?

Interventions at their core are a form of peer pressure. The loved ones of an addict come together to encourage the person to admit they have a problem with substance abuse and seek treatment. When an intervention occurs, close family and perhaps friends gather. This gathering may or may not surprise the person with the addiction.

Typically, each member of an intervention team will go over the harm the substance abuse causes them and its effects on their lives. The group members will ask the person directly to seek treatment and outline the negative consequences they’re willing to enact if they don’t decide.

For example, if an intervention is for a wife and mother, her husband could point out the specific ways the addiction affects the family. He could then say that he’ll leave the marital home without his spouse getting treatment.

An actual intervention sparks heightened emotions, and it’s important to go into specific details about the consequences of substance abuse issues and the impact.

A mental health professional, social worker, or interventionist is an experienced professional who can help a group prepare for intervention and guide it along.

If the person with a drug or alcohol addiction agrees that they will get treatment, they typically go right after the intervention. Someone who says no to the treatment plan during an intervention should experience follow-through of the consequences outlined.

Addiction treatment centers have counselors and intervention specialists who can help prepare for an intervention.

Types of Intervention

While we most commonly think of the surprise intervention like what’s portrayed on television and in movies, there are actually different types. Some types of intervention are surprises, others aren’t. 

The right option depends on various individual factors like what your goals are, the family dynamics, and everyone’s experience with addiction.

Theory-based interventions for substance abuse include:

  • The Johnson Model – This is the most commonly used version for alcohol and drug addiction. In the Johnson Model of intervention, the family and intervention professionals confront the person with the drug abuse or alcohol problem without knowing it will happen ahead of time.
  • Invitation Model – AKA Systemic Family Intervention, This family-focused model includes attending a workshop that an interventionist leads. The group discusses how a drug use disorder or alcohol use disorder affects the entire family unit during the workshop.
  • The Field Model – A confrontational approach that happens without the person’s previous knowledge and is good for potentially complex interventions. The difference in the Field Model is that the interventionist is specifically trained in crisis management during and after the process. A family could choose this option if they believe their loved one could be a danger to themselves or someone else. This model might also be a good option if the person has unmanaged co-occurring mental health issues like bipolar disorder along with substance abuse or alcohol addiction. 

Preparing for an Intervention

Not every intervention will have the desired outcome, but the more prepared your group is ahead of time, the better the outcomes are likely to be. One of the primary reasons some interventions don’t have positive outcomes is that the group didn’t plan properly for unintended consequences. 

Other reasons they fail include hosting an intervention where the person doesn’t feel safe or staging the intervention when the individual is experiencing withdrawal symptoms from substance abuse or is high or drunk.

Another reason for failure comes from blame, shame, or anger. If you approach an intervention with aggression or defensiveness, the addicted person will likely match your emotions. Individuals with substance use disorders are quick to become defensive or even hostile. 

An intervention will be best when you come from a place of patience, understanding, and compassion. Work to be non-judgmental in your approach.

Specific steps to take as you prepare intervention strategies include:

  • Research treatment programs and options. The goal of effective interventions is always to get the person to agree to go to a treatment center, so you need to have options available. You should try to have a specific treatment option prepared so that that action can occur right away. Beforehand, you can start working on the logistics, like whether or not insurance will cover the treatment program and the types of services it offers.
  • If there are medication-assisted treatment options for the particular addiction, you can learn more about those. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, these can significantly help someone with opioid addiction or alcohol addiction and may be an important part of the early days of recovery.
  • Create a team including a professional interventionist. Some people shouldn’t be part of your formal intervention groups, such as people who don’t get along with your loved one, or someone who has their own substance use disorder or unmanaged mental health condition.
  • Create real consequences that you’re willing to follow through with for improved outcomes.
  • Know there are risks. According to the Mental Health Services Administration and empirical evidence, a successful intervention can happen, but it can also backfire and make the person feel attacked. Again, working with an intervention or addiction professional can help you mitigate the risks. 
Why Interventions Work

Why Interventions Work

In the addiction treatment community and among health care professionals, interventions are seen as a useful strategy to encourage someone to seek help for substance abuse. 

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, based on a commitment to seek treatment, has more than 90% success rates. The caveat is that the success rate relies on the appropriate performance of the intervention according to behavioral health statistics and well-supported scientific evidence 

Again, careful planning and research are key here. Having a good rehab center ready and waiting can help improve the chances of success for an intervention.

Rehearsing how the group will communicate and anticipating possible objections is also critical.

You have to prepare to stay on track during the intervention, even if your loved one reacts with hostility or defensiveness.

Can Interventions Help an Addict Improve Relationships?

You may be nervous about staging an intervention for your loved one dealing with substance abuse. You could worry that it will make them angry and resentful toward you. It’s not easy to share how substance abuse affects you. It’s also not easy to outline the consequences of refusing to get help.

Your loved one may express negative feelings toward you in the short term.

In the long-term, however, that’s unlikely to be the case. If your loved one does agree to go to treatment for their addictive behaviors, the intervention could have been your starting point for open, honest, and transparent communication. Then, you can continue to build on that throughout the treatment process and addiction recovery process

If you’re preparing for intervention or you’d like to learn more about drug and alcohol treatment programs, please contact us. By calling 408-547-4089, the Silicon Valley Recovery team can confidentially discuss options and help you explore available programs and treatment providers. We can connect you with intervention resources and information about the general process of treatment for substance use. 

Did the Pandemic Cause People to Relapse on Opioids?

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many adverse effects, even outside the virus itself. Since the start of the pandemic, life has been upended for nearly everyone, including people in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. 

COVID-19 and Drug Addiction

Researchers observe increases in substance use and drug overdoses in the U.S. since COVID-19 was declared a national emergency in 2020. There are distinct challenges for people who have substance use disorders and are recovering.

Some of the reasons the pandemic has affected people with addiction or led to an increased likelihood of relapse on opioids and other substances include:

  • People have been dealing with anxiety about COVID itself for several years. There are worries about getting sick yourself. People also worry about their loved ones and their COVID-19 risk. With hundreds of thousands of deaths in the U.S. alone, many people know someone who has become seriously ill or died because of the virus. These are things that create negative mental health effects. When someone is dealing with anxiety, fear, or depression, they may turn to coping mechanisms like drugs and alcohol. These are also feelings that could trigger a relapse if someone struggles with positive coping mechanisms.
  • The pandemic led to shutdowns and disruptions in normal life and routines, along with fears about the virus itself. When someone uses substances or is in recovery, something disruptive to their routine can lead to a drug craving, drug-seeking behavior, increased usage, or relapse.
  • Since there were shutdowns, many people lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Job loss and economic worries and contributors to alcohol and drug relapse. Stress-induced relapse is an enormous problem for so many right now. 
  • Social distancing required that people not see their friends, family, and perhaps their recovery support network. For a period of time, many support and recovery groups weren’t meeting in person.
  • Health care wasn’t as accessible or available as it usually is, including mental health care. Telehealth options became more common during the pandemic, but they weren’t necessarily readily available at the beginning of COVID in the U.S.
  • An opioid use disorder or another addiction may raise the risk of severe illness with the virus that causes COVID-19. The use of opioids can slow breathing on its own. If you were sick and had respiratory symptoms, these could get worse with opioids. Like many other medical conditions, a substance use disorder makes you high risk. 

Before the pandemic, the treatment infrastructure was strained and faced limitations. Now, even more, comprehensive services are needed.

Increases in Substance Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

According to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, data shows significant increases in many types of drug use in the United States and among people with substance use disorders.

Researchers point to increases in the number of positive urine drug screenings ordered by legal systems and health care providers as evidence. In these reports, doctors are finding positive screens for cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine from past years.

Studies show that people in the U.S. are increasing their use of alcohol and cannabis. This is especially true among people with depression and clinical anxiety and people dealing with COVID-19 stress.

Relapse on Opioids

Record-Breaking Overdose Deaths in 2020

There was progress in the fight against the opioid epidemic before the pandemic. Overdose deaths were trending down for the first time in many years. Then, the pandemic happened, and all that progress seemingly vanished.

According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, there were an estimated 100,306 overdose deaths in the U.S. during 12 months, ending in April 2021. The increase was 28.5%, from the 78,056 deaths during the same period the previous year.

The CDC’s data shows opioid overdose deaths increased to 75,673 in those 12 months. Fentanyl deaths went up, as did deaths from psychostimulants like methamphetamine. Cocaine deaths increased, and deaths from natural and semi-synthetic opioids like pain medications rose.

Deaths due to overdose went above a million for the first time since the CDC started collecting data more than two years ago. A recent study released by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the CDC, found 932,364 people died in the U.S. from a fatal overdose from 1999 through 2020. That doesn’t include the more than 100,000 deaths in 2021.

These deaths have gone up fastest among young and middle-aged adults.

The age group in particular with the highest rates is adults 35-44, and in that age bracket, drug overdose deaths went up 33% from 2019 to 2020. Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 saw the largest year-to-year increase in fatal overdoses. Deaths in this age group were up 49% in 2020.

Alcohol Use During the Pandemic

It’s not just drug relapse rates and the links between covid-19 and drug addiction that worry addiction professionals. Alcohol use soared during this time as well, among other addictive behaviors. 

  • Researchers estimate a one-year increase in alcohol consumption during the pandemic will lead to 8,000 additional deaths from alcohol-related liver diseases. 
  • They estimate it will contribute to 18,700 cases of liver failure and 1,000 cases of liver cancer by 2040.
  • Excessive drinking among adults in the U.S. went up by 21% during the pandemic.
  • When an emergency was declared in the U.S., alcohol sales went up 54% during the initial week.
  • Excessive drinking stems from boredom and social isolation to using it as a coping mechanism.
  • Addiction specialists warn that a drinking problem doesn’t just mean excessively consuming alcohol. Other signs of problematic drinking can include having alcohol when you didn’t otherwise plan to, or in situations where you wouldn’t normally drink.

Warning signs also include alcohol impacting your work performance, your ability to take care of your household or family, or adverse effects on your relationships.

What Can Be Done?

For someone who experiences a relapse on opioids or other substances, the most important thing to do is get help right away. The longer you wait after a relapse, the more likely complications and negative outcomes will occur.

Most treatment centers and mental health facilities reopened, and support groups are meeting again, so there are opportunities to receive help.

There are also telehealth platforms where people can get help for addiction or relapse.

If you experience a relapse, you may need to go through treatment again to regain your footing on your recovery path.

If you’re experiencing new symptoms of a substance use disorder, you aren’t alone. There are so many factors contributing to substance abuse among people who maybe didn’t have problematic use habits before the pandemic.

If you’d like to learn more about specific steps you can take to combat substance abuse while we adapt to “the new normal,” please contact Silicon Valley Recovery at 408-547-4089.

The Guide to Breaking Up with an Addict

If you’re in a position where you’re considering breaking up with an addict, it can be challenging. Being in a relationship with someone with an active addiction can be difficult or even impossible. 

While you may want the best for the person, that can’t come at the cost of your own mental or even physical well-being.

People with substance use disorders can and do recover, but if the person you’re in a relationship with isn’t ready or willing for that, you may have no other choice aside from leaving the situation.

The Dynamic of Being in a Relationship with An Addict

There are plenty of reasons you might stay in a relationship with someone who’s struggling with addiction. You may be in love with them. You could also worry that ending the relationship will worsen the person’s problems.

You might have a fear that if you leave, the addicted person will go deeper into addiction or do something drastic.

It’s also common for people to stay in these relationships because they feel like they take care of the person, or somehow, they can “fix them.”

You could even stay because you are afraid of being alone.

Nearly every reason you could have for staying with someone in active drug or alcohol addiction comes from fear.

If someone is willing to get help for their addiction and actively taking steps to do that, the relationship could be salvageable. If that’s not the case, you need to ask yourself some questions, including, “am I in an abusive relationship.”

Reasons to Consider Breaking Up with An Addict

Maybe you’re on the fence about breaking up with an addict, and you’re not sure whether or not it’s the right thing to do.

If abuse is going on, you should leave. 

  • When someone uses mind-altering substances, it changes their behavior. 
  • A person who maybe was calm and rational when you met could become volatile and irritable because of substance use. 
  • When they’re on drugs or drinking, they could become abusive. 
  • There are many types of domestic abuse, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, and sexual abuse. 
  • You can’t stay in a relationship with abuse. If you remain in an abusive relationship, it can put you at a greater risk of developing a drug or alcohol problem yourself. 

When someone abuses drugs or alcohol, their brain chemicals compel them to seek out that substance, no matter the consequences. The results can be violent, controlling, or irrational behavior, including in relationships.

  • Domestic violence and addiction have several shared features, including a loss of control and continuing the behavior despite adverse consequences. 
  • Both addiction and abuse tend to worsen over time, and both conditions involve elements of shame and denial.
  • Abusive behavior can occur as the addict tries to get what they want. 
  • People with substance use disorders will often become aggressive and defensive if you try to show concern or talk to them about their addiction.
  • When addiction is involved, codependency can also occur. Codependency leads to enabling and controlling behavior. This creates toxic relationships that are very one-sided.

Even outside of them being an overtly  abusive partner, reasons to consider breaking up with an addict include:

  • People with substance use disorders often display dangerous, reckless, and selfish behaviors. They might spend nights away from home, partying. They could blackout or experience hangovers, so they can’t take care of their responsibilities. Driving while under the influence can be an issue as well.
  • Addiction is a disease with connections to other co-occurring mental health disorders. For example, someone with an addiction might also have untreated depression or anxiety. To be in a positive relationship, they first need mental health treatment. 
  • Deception underlies addiction. Initially, someone with a substance use disorder will try to hide it. Then, eventually, you may notice they spend a lot of money, lie, and are deceptive about a lot of what they’re doing. A relationship without trust is never going to flourish.
  • Addicts can become distant, and you may not even recognize the person you’re in a relationship with anymore. Addiction is the priority over everything, meaning a healthy relationship isn’t possible. 

What Should Keep in Mind Before Breaking Up with An Addict?

Someone having an addiction isn’t always in and of itself a reason to leave a relationship, especially one that’s long-term or a marriage.

Every situation is different, and there are things you have to ask yourself, including:

  • Am I in an abusive relationship? We touched on this above, but your safety is the top priority above everything else. If there is physical violence or an abusive situation, you have to create a safety plan and get out of the relationship. 
  • Is my partner willing to change? If your partner is signaling a desire or willingness to change and progress toward recovery, you may be able to work on repairing the relationship eventually. If the person seems completely unwilling to talk about addiction treatment or recovery, leaving may be your only option.
  • Could I be enabling my partner? Enabling is harmful to you and also the addict in an intimate relationship. When you enable someone with an addiction, they’re never held accountable for their behaviors and actions. If you see enabling patterns in yourself, you may have to leave your relationship.
  • What do I see happening if I stay with the person? You have to think long-term about what life might look like if you stay with someone who has a drug or alcohol addiction. The condition will inevitably get worse without treatment. Do you think things could change for the better?
  • Are my children being affected? If you have children, you may need to take them out of the environment with the addict so they’re safe and away from substance abuse.
Breaking Up with an Addict

How to Actually Break Up with an Addict

Figuring out how to leave an abusive relationship is tough to navigate, especially when addiction is involved. You likely worry about your children and yourself. You might also be worried about the person you’re in a relationship with.

Things to remember include:

  • Have a plan for your safety. You should have a place to go before you break up with someone. Break up with them in a public place like a restaurant or coffee shop so that others are around you. You may also want to bring a friend or family member with you. If the person threatens you, take it seriously.
  • If you can set aside an emergency fund and other resources before you end the relationship, do so. 
  • Try to find an opportunity where the person is sober. If they’re under the influence of drugs, they’re more likely to lash out, creating a more dangerous situation. 
  • Be firm in your decision, and don’t let your partner try to bargain with you or talk you out of your decision.
  • Keep your own emotions in check.
  • Consider getting therapy for what you’ve experienced in the relationship, and always practice self-care.

If you love someone who has a problem with alcohol or drugs and is willing to get help, this is a good sign. We can help you navigate treatment in the San Francisco area, so please reach out to the Silicon Valley Recovery team by calling 408-547-4089 to learn more.

Achieving Long-Term Sobriety with Mindfulness

The goal of treatment for substance use disorders is to help you achieve long-term sobriety. Of course, we know that recovery isn’t always linear. There are many situations where you can complete treatment successfully and still relapse in your sober life. 

That’s okay, and that can be part of your recovery process. 

However, we always want to equip you with the tools you need to achieve long-term sobriety optimally.

One such tool that can take many different forms to help maintain long-term sobriety is mindfulness. We’ll get more into that, but first, we’ll talk a little more about sobriety in general and what it can look like to learn how to incorporate it into your life on a longer-term basis.

What is Recovery?

When you finish rehab or a treatment program and you’re no longer in active addiction, you have to re-enter the world. In many ways, you might feel like you’re experiencing it for the first time. Without the cloud of substances, you may have to re-learn what it’s like to be part of the world around you.

Undoubtedly, there will be challenges that come with navigating the real world, particularly in the initial stage of recovery. The risk of relapse is highest in these early days. 

These challenges and difficult times will require reaching into the toolbox you created during treatment to face them.

In technical terms, your recovery or sobriety is when you aren’t under the influence of a substance. Your recovery can look individual to you, but overall, the goal is to learn how to be a fulfilled, healthy person mentally, physically, and spiritually.

If you have experienced setbacks previously on the road to long-lasting recovery, you can use these as learning experiences. These are opportunities to explore your triggers and weaknesses so that you can deal with them in different ways.

What is Mindfulness?

A concept you can apply to all areas of your life in recovery is mindfulness. Mindfulness is our ability as humans to be present and aware of what we’re doing in a broad sense. When we practice mindfulness throughout the stages of recovery, we’re less likely to become overly reactive or stressed out by things around us.

We all have the inherent ability to be mindful, but we must train our brains to engage in it. Mindfulness is very active, even though it might not seem like it at first.

Long-Term Sobriety

How to Maintain Long Term Sobriety

To maintain long-term sobriety, while everyone’s recovery plan can be different, general things to keep in mind include:

  • Identify your personal triggers. You can work on this in a treatment program, but it may also be something you explore outside of treatment as you’re navigating life. For some people, triggers include emotional distress, being around people who still drink or use drugs, relationships, or financial problems.
  • Recognize the warning signs of relapse that are personal to you. A relapse isn’t a sudden event. Relapse tends to happen in phases. You are likely to begin the stages of a relapse well before you drink or use drugs. The three main phases of relapse are emotional, mental, and physical. Learn the earliest warning signs so you can start to do the work to avoid a full-blown relapse.
  • Actively avoid your old habits and routines. If you don’t make changes to your lifestyle and routines, it’s going to likely derail your ability to maintain long-term sobriety.
  • Work toward building healthy relationships. While you were actively using, your past relationships may have been toxic or harmful. You may have damaged the healthy relationships you would have had otherwise. Begin to build a social support network of people who positively influence your life or take steps to rebuild existing relationships.
  • Make sure you have support. It’s almost impossible to sustain long-term recovery if you don’t have support. Support comes in many forms. For example, you might work with a therapist or counselor. You could attend a 12-step meeting like Alcoholics Anonymous, or you might make sure that you’re regularly planning activities with family and loved ones. If you don’t prefer 12-step programs, other local recovery programs like SMART Recovery help you navigate your daily life in sobriety.
  • Have a set schedule. Routine is one of the ways you’re going to help yourself stay on track in all areas of your life.
  • Emphasize healthy living. Prioritize making time for self-care, exercise, nutrition, and hobbies and activities. You should also make sure you’re getting enough sleep, and you’re taking care of yourself in all ways. Your mental health should always be part of your healthy lifestyle when you’re in recovery from addiction. Having an untreated or uncontrolled mental health issue will make your recovery process a lot more challenging.
  • Celebrate your milestones and successes. They can be small, and you should still celebrate them. Whenever you make progress, it’s important to recognize how far you’ve come as part of your long-term recovery and personal growth. 


How Mindfulness Helps with Maintaining Long-Term Sobriety

Practicing mindfulness can help us get into the moment where we are at any given time and focus on what we’re thinking and feeling.

Learning how to access mindfulness can help people in recovery stay on track with a life of sobriety. 

There’s nothing special you need to buy or change about yourself to become mindful. Anyone can practice it, and it’s a way of life that brings a sense of awareness and improvement into all areas of our lives.

It’s not as new-age as it might sound either. A growing body of evidence shows mindfulness has tangible, positive, physical benefits.

So how does practicing mindfulness help in maintaining sobriety?

  • Quiet your mind. When you’re more mindful, and that becomes part of your life, it can quiet the talk in your head that might create self-doubt or negativity. Rather than letting your mind ruminate on things that aren’t positive, which can lead to relapse, you can regain a sense of calm and focus. Being calm and focused is going to help you make good decisions.
  • When you stop using drugs or alcohol, you may have difficulty relaxing without substances for a while. Mindfulness allows you to recognize what you’re feeling, and then from there, you can label your thoughts and move away from them.
  • The more you can calm down the noise in your mind, the more you can cope with stress effectively and positively throughout your daily routine and your everyday life.
  • When you pull yourself into the present, you can think before you do anything that you might end up regretting. You can pull yourself out of thoughts like glamorizing a time when you were using substances and get back to where you are at the moment.
  • A lot of what you learn as you practice mindfulness is nonjudgmental. This isn’t just a reference to other people. You can learn to be nonjudgmental of yourself. Too often, addiction and relapse are rooted in a sense of shame. You can begin to evaluate yourself through that nonjudgmental lens to shift those feelings of shame you might otherwise experience.

Interestingly, mindfulness may even help you with things you go through physically in the early days of recovery, such as pain or physical tension.

Rather than turning to drugs or alcohol, mindfulness and everything that goes with it can become your coping mechanism, regardless of the situation you may find yourself in.

If you would like to learn more about addiction treatment and begin your journey of recovery, please reach out to Silicon Valley Recovery by calling 408-547-4089.

What Does it Mean to Have an Addictive Personality?

In an article in Scientific American written by author Maia Szalavtz, she defines our question as to the myth that it is. She says, “Even when we joke about having an addictive personality it’s usually to justify an indulgence or to signal our guilt about pleasure, even if only ironically.” An addictive personality, some may think, is a person who is more susceptible to developing a drug addiction based on a few character traits that border on obsessing, codependency, impulsivity, and risk-taking. However, many professionals consider there to be no one type of addictive personality. As George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, says, “What we are finding is that the addictive personality…is multifaceted. It doesn’t really exist as an entity of its own.”

What is an Addictive Personality?

The notion of having an addictive personality exists in popular culture as an image that describes a person who is obsessive or guilty of indulging. It is believed to be an indicator in the person who possesses certain characteristics that make him/her destined to become an addict to something. Although the development of addiction is complex and has various contributing factors, having an “addictive personality” is a mix of truth and skepticism.

There is no single personality type that is more prone to develop an addiction than others. There are signs of having an addiction that goes beyond personality traits, as the signs of an addiction are starkly along these lines:

Signs of Addiction:

  • Always wanting and needing more
  • Continuation of the behavior no matter the consequences
  • Not being able to stop
  • Interferes with functioning in daily life
  • Obsession and secrecy

There are, however, a variety of personality traits that exist confluently and can be predictors of drug abuse and alcoholism. There is just not in actuality anything that proves there is a single type of personality that is addiction-prone. There are other high-risk traits that can exist in any individual that are a cause for questioning whether addiction is more likely to develop. There may even be a stark difference between addictive personality and character traits that predispose drug addiction.

These traits may be:

  • Family relations who have addictions
  • Mental health disorders
  • Risk-taking and impulsivity
  • Inability to self regulate
  • Demonstrates a lack of self-control
  • Obsessive-compulsive
  • Disconnected and antisocial

Do I Have an Addictive Personality?

Do you have a difficult time self-regulating? Is your need for reward strong? Do you know your limits and have had accurate insight as to what those are? Are you able to track the quantity of your use and of any repetitive, dependent behavior?

If you are wondering, “Do I have an addictive personality?” look to see if you have insight about yourself for the warning signs of real addiction. Remember that it does not necessarily mean you will be an addict, as there is no character trait that is a single predictor. Be aware of some of these high-risk indicators and whether they exist for you prominently:

  1. Do you know a family member that has been modeling an addiction to you since childhood?
  2. Do you have a history or are currently experiencing a mental health disorder, namely Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Schizophrenia, or Antisocial Personality Disorder?
  3. Do you tend to lean towards a quick fix and engage in any type of self-medicating when you experience difficulty facing an underlying problem? 
  4. Have you engaged in the substance use of nicotine or alcohol socially, alone, or when feeling stressed?
  5. What are your main coping methods when you experience distress?
Addictive Personality

Personality Traits Linked to Addiction

There are other personality types that can lean toward proneness to addiction. An adventurous and risk-taking personality trait may demonstrate that person as having limited impulse control and seeking out risky and dangerous experiences. They can be more likely to try drugs. A disconnected, rigid, or antisocial personality type can seem to be the opposite of the former type mentioned but can be just as susceptible to engaging in substance use. Difficult times in social relationships are a hallmark of this type, as well as the likelihood of depression, anxiety, and isolative tendencies because the person is more likely to want to mask these feelings by self-medicating.

Obsessive-compulsive traits have to do with how someone controls their impulses, even those people who are rigid and overcontrolled or over-controlling. In the presence of ensuing anxiety, stress, and agitation, they may be looking for a way to manage it all. They may swing on the extreme side of a personality and are prone to develop a compulsion as opposed to safer experimentation or single-use.

Another factor in addiction that may exist in the personality is the need for reward and its strength. The feeling that they are never receiving enough of a reward and build up a tolerance to things they once enjoyed or gave them pleasure, needing more and more. While no addictive personality exists, there are addictive traits that a person can experience.

Some of these are:

  • Impulsivity, with little thought of outcome and consequences
  • Sensation seeking, with lots of need and spontaneous actions.
  • Negative affect, reacting to stressors with unpleasant emotions
  • Neuroticism, who often respond to situations with anger, sadness, and anxiety
  • Aggression, high hostility, and violent proneness.

Can You Be Addicted to a Person?

Along with the problems of drug use, it’s important to distinguish if that type of addiction can exist in relation to another person. There are indicators that yes, a person can be addicted to another person. There are healthy delineations within relationships as well as those that lie alongside unhealthy codependency and a host of negative emotions. The most unhealthy extreme can manifest into love and sex addiction and codependency.

Signs you may be unhealthily addicted to a person include:

  • Obsession and dreaming about them constantly
  • Feelings of incompleteness, emptiness, despair
  • Sadness and longing
  • Anxiety and a continual sense of drama
  • Afraid to be alone or without that person
  • More obsessive attention is given to the partner than to oneself

Involvement in bad relationships while being addicted to that person can lead to alcohol and drug abuse and even physical illness and suicide.

Getting Treatment for Addiction in the San Francisco Bay Area

So, if you ask yourself, “Do I have an addictive personality?” or wonder “Can you be addicted to a person?” it’s important to distinguish the extremes of what indicates addiction and whether you tend to lean on extremes in your behavior. If you tend to obsess over things in life or about another person, insight and self-awareness are always going to be helpful. Know that an addictive personality can never be reducible to one stereotype. We can learn, however, that addiction is complex and dependent on multiple factors. 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, call 408-547-4089 and a care coordinator from the Silicon Valley Recovery team will be happy to answer questions and talk about options for treatment. 

The Dangers of Mixing Prozac and Alcohol

Prozac and alcohol interactions can be dangerous. There are also adverse mental health effects that can stem from alcohol. These effects can worsen the symptoms of the condition you’re using Prozac to treat.

It’s important if you take any antidepressant medications to speak with your health care providers about any interactions or adverse effects it may have, including with alcohol consumption. 

What is Prozac?

Prozac is a brand-name antidepressant medicine. The generic name is fluoxetine. Prozac is for the treatment of the major depressive disorder. The medication also has the approval to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and off-label treats other mental health conditions such as anxiety.

Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI. Around 1 in 4 women in their 40s and 50s in the United States take an SSRI medication. Approximately 1 in 10 Americans overall take one.

Prozac was approved in the late 1980s and became one of the most frequently prescribed antidepressants. Now, more commonly prescribed are newer SSRIs such as citalopram and sertraline.

While it’s a safe medicine when prescribed, there are rare possible side effects.

First, the FDA requires Prozac to have a black box warning about the risk of suicide in people younger than 25. Taking an SSRI can lead to suicidal thoughts in children and young people. 

Other common potential side effects can include:

  • Sexual dysfunction 
  • Decreased libido and other sexual side effects 
  • Increases in nervousness or anxiety
  • Strange dreams
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Insomnia
  • Drowsiness
  • Sinusitis
  • Painful digestion (dyspepsia)
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Widening of the blood vessels (vasodilation)

People should not take certain medicines with Prozac. These include MAOIs, drugs metabolized by CYP2D6, and tricyclic antidepressants.

While you can technically use them together, people taking this antidepressant should be careful about combining it with drugs affecting the central nervous system. Benzodiazepines like Xanax are an example.

You shouldn’t take this SSRI with antipsychotics, other SSRIs, lithium, or herbal remedies like St. John’s Worth. Someone susceptible to mania or bipolar disorder may also be adversely affected by Prozac and similar antidepressant drugs. 

If someone takes an SSRI for some time and suddenly stops without tapering their dose, they may experience withdrawal.

Withdrawal symptoms of this prescription drug and others like it can include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Loss of appetite 

When someone takes this medication, it works by blocking the absorption of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. The regulation of serotonin helps brain cells communicate with one another. This communication among brain cells promotes a better mood.

Prozac and Alcohol

Alcohol and Depression

If you’re taking Prozac, you likely have depression or another mental health disorder. Alcohol can negatively affect mental disorders like depression.

  • When you drink, it can make depression worse. Sometimes, people who drink heavily may experience symptoms of depression even when they aren’t diagnosed with the condition.
  • Symptoms of depression include sadness, feelings of worthlessness, and loss of interest.
  • There is a relationship between alcohol and substance abuse and depression that can go in both directions.
  • Many times people with an alcohol use disorder also have feelings of depression. Each disorder increases the risk of the other, and each can worsen the other.
  • Some people susceptible to alcohol abuse problems are also vulnerable to depression.
  • Dealing with depression can lead other people to try and self-medicate with alcohol. Over time, this cycle of self-medication can turn into an addiction. 
  • Even without a diagnosable alcohol use disorder, self-medication is associated with increased psychiatric problems, higher levels of stress, and lower quality of life.

A depressed patient who is a heavy drinker is likely to have worse outcomes from their treatment. Even small amounts of alcohol, according to researchers, seems to worsen depression.

Co-Occurring Alcohol Use Disorder and Depressive Symptoms

If someone is drinking while they’re on Prozac, they’re not following the instructions for the medication’s use. This can be a sign of an addiction or alcohol use disorder. Major symptoms of addiction include continual use of the substance even though you know there are harmful consequences.

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re using alcohol in risky ways and have depression, you may need treatment for a co-occurring disorder. A co-occurring disorder means that you have two disorders that are happening simultaneously.

You may need specialized treatment to deal with both conditions and their relationship to one another.

Co-occurring disorder treatment usually begins with detox. During detox, you can go through withdrawal symptoms in a safe, medically-managed environment. You can be more comfortable. Your treatment team might also adjust your medication levels to help even out your mood during this time.

From there, you may begin a rehab program.

Most rehab programs for a co-occurring diagnosis focus on behavioral therapies and medication management. These approaches can help you get your depression under control so that it’s well-managed, which will be helpful as you also work toward ending your alcohol use.

Can You Take Prozac and Drink Alcohol?

If you take Prozac and have alcoholic beverages, there can be adverse interactions between the two. Some of the negative effects may be temporary. For example, a Prozac and alcohol hangover can be more uncomfortable. Sometimes, the results of a Prozac and alcohol interaction can be more serious.

  • When you drink, it slows your body’s functions, including the ones controlled by your central nervous system.
  • Alcohol can lead to impaired judgment, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. You may also experience problems seeing or hearing and reductions in motor skills.
  • With that in mind, Prozac can cause drowsiness. Prozac can also have the same effects as alcohol, such as reducing alertness and coordination. If you combine the two, you’re more likely to experience profound sedation or extreme drowsiness.
  • You’re more likely to have heightened side effects of both substances when you combine them.
  • You may have dizziness, sudden weakness, and feelings of hopelessness. You may also be more at risk for suicidal thoughts.
  • Another reason to avoid the combination of Prozac and alcohol is that drinking when you’re on the medicine can prevent it from working as well as it should. Alcohol is a depressant, so you could be counteracting the medicine’s benefits.

Getting Help for Co-Occurring Disorders

Because Prozac and alcohol are commonly used substances, people may think they’re safe to combine. The reality is there is an increased risk of side effects when you use Prozac and alcohol together. There are also more mental health risks when you combine the two, and you might be worsening your symptoms or preventing your medication from working.

Contact Silicon Valley Recovery by calling 408-547-4089 to learn more about available substance use disorder treatment programs, including a co-occurring diagnosis. Alcohol addiction is treatable, but it’s likely to continue getting worse without treatment. 

Is an Emotional Support Animal the Same as a Service Animal?

Animals, like the human race, have evolved; they are now more commonly used for purposes other than being pets. As a result, American Addiction Centers grouped pets into emotional support animals (ESA) and service animals (SA), and they have also implemented a pet-friendly rehab policy to treat various behavioral disorders. 

This article will discuss the differences between emotional support animals and service animals.

Emotional Support Animals (ESA) vs. Service Animals (SA)

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an Emotional Support Animal is any animal that provides emotional support to its owners to alleviate one or more symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. They are the preferred pets for those suffering from depression, loneliness, panic attacks, and specific phobias. Furthermore, they offer their owners a sense of security.

On the other hand, service animals have been carefully trained to do certain activities or chores to assist persons with disabilities, including physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory. Until recently, service animals were only dogs. For example, some are trained as hearing dogs, guide dogs, PTSD support dogs, or seizure detection dogs. However, miniature horses are now being trained as guides for the blind.

Emotional support animals do not have specialized training to provide certain services to people with disabilities. All they get are toilets and obedience training. This ensures the animal is not hostile and determines if it is safe to travel on a plane. Their owners must also have obtained a medical letter from their health care practitioner or mental health specialist. This letter must confirm the need for such animals to treat mental or emotional disorders. However, the plane is virtually the only place an emotional support animal is permitted to enter. They cannot accompany their owners into other public areas like shopping malls, movie theaters, or restaurants. This is in stark contrast to service dogs, who are permitted to enter any location at any time. 

However, dogs aren’t the only emotional support animals. Cats, peacocks, fish, and hamsters are some other common examples.

The Addiction Epidemy

Addiction is a long-standing issue. In the past, people primarily used addiction to describe those who couldn’t control their urge to drink alcohol or abuse prescription medicines. However, the meaning of addiction has evolved to include disorderly behaviors such as compulsive urges for gambling, food, sex, work, coffee, workouts, and substance abuse.  Addiction is caused mainly by genetics and environmental factors such as social pressure, early exposure to drugs/alcohol at home or school, family problems, work/educational issues, and many more. Trauma from different types of abuse– sexual, physical, verbal, emotional, and mental– has also been a factor in addiction cases.

Addiction causes a plethora of problems. It can cause physical damage like sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), psychological damage like depression, social damage like incarceration or broken relationships, and economic damage like bankruptcy and debt. 

Finding a quality rehab center, particularly a pet-friendly one, to tackle this issue before it deteriorates is a must. It is essential! It is critical! It is non-negotiable! The sooner this is accomplished, the better the chances of recovery and the lower the danger of relapse.

Emotional Support Animal

The Need For Pet-friendly Rehab Centers

Rehabilitation centers with a pet-friendly policy aid in treating those suffering from various types of addiction and disabilities. This therapeutic approach is referred to as Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT).

As the name suggests, its purpose is to aid in recovering from addiction. However, it is not a cure for addiction! Instead, it is combined with evidence-based therapy to address many mental or emotional illnesses. 

Being responsible for your pet’s needs mirrors the effects of drugs and alcohol on your brain. Drugs momentarily flood the brain’s pleasure centers with the “feel-good hormone,” dopamine. The brain becomes acclimated to these drugs over time, and the patient becomes depressed without them. AAT is utilized to reconfigure the brain to produce more sustained pleasure naturally. This is possible when a patient concentrates on keeping his pet happy, which indirectly brings him joy and speeds up his rehabilitation. Furthermore, the more time you spend with your pet – whether playing with it or caring for it – the less time you have to think about your addictions.

People who own emotional support dogs routinely take their pets for walks, which keeps them physically active and increases their social relationships. It’s a universal truth that most people are drawn to pet dogs.  They always long to touch the dog, stroke it on the back, and comment on how adorable it is. Through this, you get to meet new people and make new friends. This makes loneliness disappear and keeps depression in check. 

Animal Assisted Therapy Is Not For Everyone 

No two men are entirely alike. Support animals are not recommended for people who do not like animals, are known to hurt animals, or are afraid of interacting with certain support animals. People who have allergies to fur, hair, or dander of certain animals are also advised against getting support animals.

Seeking Pet-Friendly Rehabs

Going through loneliness, depression, anxiety, restlessness, mood swings, and other undesirable events associated with rehabilitation for a month or longer is no mean feat. Thankfully, emotional support animals’ emergence has reduced these concerns considerably. Hence, why all addiction rehab centers in the United States of America are now pet-friendly; they now allow support dogs to accompany their owners through treatment on a case-by-case basis. 

Now that you can differentiate between emotional support animals vs. service animals and also understand the importance of pet-friendly rehab centers, like Silicon Valley Recovery (408-547-4089), go ahead and choose what’s best for you!

How to Get Off Heroin Without Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

One of the big reasons people can struggle when dependent on opioids is the opiate withdrawal symptoms. Opiate withdrawal symptoms can be severe and uncomfortable. Managing these symptoms can help you be in a better place to get addiction treatment and begin a life in recovery.

You may wonder how to get off opiates without withdrawal symptoms. The answers can include medical supervision, tapering off your dosage, and medications. Below we detail more about opiate withdrawal symptoms and what you can expect regarding the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

We’ll also talk about management options for this process of withdrawal.

What Are Opioids and Opiates?

Opioids and opiates are a class of drugs that affect the brain and central nervous system by slowing them down. 

  • The opioid drug class includes prescription pain medicines like morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Heroin is also an opioid.
  • Increasingly, synthetic opioids that are highly potent like fentanyl are making their way to the streets.
  • Using an opioid, by prescription or otherwise, changes how pain signals transmitted from your body to your brain. There’s also a slow down of your entire central nervous system. For example, if you use an opioid, you may feel sleepy. Your breathing and heart rate can slow as well, leading to a high risk of overdose.
  • Opioids and opiates are all chemically related to one another. These substances interact with opioid receptors in your brain and body.

Even when you use an opioid by prescription, regular use can lead to abuse, addiction, and dependence. Overdose and death are also consequences of opioid use.

Opioid Dependence

Opioids are highly addictive. When you take an opioid, it interacts with your brain in a way that can create euphoria or feelings of being high. 

  • Those feelings and effects create a cascade effect in the brain. 
  • Neurotransmitters that make you feel good flood your brain. 
  • Then, your brain’s reward cycle experiences stimulation.
  • All of these effects can lead to addiction. 
  • With opioid addiction, you experience out-of-control cravings and use because of the impact of the substance on your brain and your reward centers.
  • Addiction is a psychological disease of the brain.

Dependence is different. 

  • Dependence usually occurs with addiction but sometimes happens on its own. 
  • For example, if you take opioids with a prescription, dependence can form even if you aren’t addicted.
  • Dependence refers to physically depending on a substance to feel “normal.” 
  • Symptoms of dependence include tolerance. 
  • When you’re tolerant to an opioid, you need larger doses to feel the same effects, whether that’s pain relief or something else. 
  • Another symptom of dependence is withdrawal.

Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawal 

The longer you take any opioid, whether by prescription or an illegal drug like heroin, the more likely dependence is to occur. Then, if you try to stop using the opioid suddenly, you may have withdrawal symptoms. 

  • Opiate withdrawal symptoms occur as your brain and body try to readjust without the effects of the drug.
  • Even if you just cut back on your dosage, you might experience withdrawal symptoms.
  • The severity can vary, but opioid withdrawal can be challenging to deal with in some cases.

Early symptoms of opioid withdrawal, which can occur within hours after you take the last dose, include:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Muscle aches
  • Teary eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Yawning
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia and sleep problems

Later physical symptoms of withdrawal from opioids include:

  • Abdominal cramps 
  • Joint pain 
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drug cravings 

You may be wondering how long is opiate withdrawal symptoms expected to last.

  • The simple answer depends on individual factors like your health, organ function, and weight, and body size. 
  • Other factors that play a role in how long opiate withdrawal lasts include the type of drug you typically use and how long you’ve been using it.
  • Early stages of withdrawal symptoms begin anywhere from six hours to 30 hours after the last time you take an opioid for most people.
  • Later stages usually begin around 72 hours after your last dose of the drug. These latter symptoms are generally when there’s a peak in the severity of what you experience.

With opiate and opioid withdrawal, the first week is usually the worst, but some symptoms can linger for weeks or even months. Depression, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep problems are the most common symptoms to stick around for more extended periods.

Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
How to Get Off Heroin Without Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

How To Get Off Opiates Without Withdrawal

Many people want to stop using opiates and opioids, but they can’t make it through withdrawal without taking the first step to recovery.

  • If you can get help during withdrawal and manage your symptoms, then you’re more likely to be then able to receive addiction treatment and stop using the drugs altogether.
  • There are options available that can help you as you go through opiate withdrawal symptoms.
  • For severe or long-term dependence, going to an inpatient medical detox may be the best option for you. In an inpatient detox, you receive medical care and monitoring. 
  • A team of experts can provide you with medications and other treatments to minimize your symptoms and help you stay comfortable. 
  • Many addiction treatment programs include medical detox, so you can seamlessly transition into rehab after completing withdrawal to receive opioid use disorder treatment. 

If your main goal is to figure out how to get off opiates without withdrawal symptoms, professional care and guidance are the only truly safe way.

You should speak to a health care provider before you attempt to stop using opiates, no matter what. Opiate withdrawal typically isn’t life-threatening, but it’s still something to talk about with your doctor. They may be able to help you with a safe tapering schedule at a minimum. 

Treatments for Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

Certain medicines have FDA approval to treat opioid withdrawal as well as addiction. These drug categories include:

  • Opioid receptor agonists, which attach to opioid receptors in the brain. Due to their ability to attach to these receptors, opioid receptor agonists block withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  • Opioid receptor partial agonists partially activate opioid receptors, helping with cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Opioid receptor antagonists block the activity of opioid receptors in the brain, preventing the high you might experience with opioids. This blocking effect helps reduce cravings.
  • Adrenergic receptor agonists are medicines that activate adrenergic receptors in the brain to reduce or alleviate symptoms of withdrawal.

Specific medications for opioid withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Clonidine is a treatment that doesn’t fall into the above categories, but it can be used as part of an opiate detox to help with high blood pressure and other symptoms.
  • Methadone is specifically for opioid dependence, although it’s more common for doctors to prescribe buprenorphine now. Methadone is a long-acting, mild opioid.
  • Buprenorphine is available under brand names like Subutex and Suboxone, and it’s for the treatment of alcohol addiction and opiate withdrawal. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that reduces cravings, among other symptoms.
  • Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Naloxone is an opioid blocker. Taking suboxone can help shorten the intensity of withdrawal symptoms.

The above are medication-assisted treatment options specific to opioid detox. Pain relief medications such as over-the-counter acetaminophen are helpful in some cases. Your health care team can use their discretion to treat individual symptoms as they occur during the withdrawal period. 

The big thing to remember is that many effective treatments are available as you go through withdrawal from opioid addiction and dependence. 

Contact the Silicon Valley Recovery team today by calling 408-547-4089 if you want to learn more about supervised detox and the treatments available to help you manage opiate withdrawal symptoms.

Inpatient Rehab: The First Step to Recovery

Alcohol and drug misuse is the third leading cause of illness, disability, and death in the United States? It accounts for more than 78,000 deaths each year. Each day, 20 Americans die from prescription drug overdoses. Still, even with these sobering statistics, only approximately 10% are treated in an inpatient rehab setting.

Recovery is a long process, and inpatient rehabilitation is where you focus on your addiction for a set period. Inpatient treatment is a residential program offered at some addiction treatment facilities. Inpatient programs may also include recreational therapy to help keep residents busy and active while in treatment and sometimes even after they get back home. The ability to live at the facility allows patients to receive care around the clock, increasing the effectiveness of their treatment.

This type of treatment includes:

  • Medically supervised detox 
  • Regular counseling
  • Group and family therapy sessions
  • Support groups. 

What Is Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient rehab can be an intensive, focused way to break a drug or alcohol addiction cycle. It involves a process of long-term medical management and treatment for the disease of addiction. Inpatient rehab is necessary for people suffering from severe consequences of their addiction, who have lost control over their drug use, and need medical attention to recover.

Offering patients the opportunity to leave behind the life that has led them to substance abuse and focus on recovery, inpatient therapy provides a fully immersive experience where patients can explore the realities of their addiction through multiple perspectives.

Inpatient rehab programs tend to be more expensive than other drug rehabs, but some believe that this investment is worth the cost for those who need the more rigorous structure and environment 24 hours a day. Inpatient rehabilitation facilities require that you stay at their rehabilitation center for a defined period. These periods may vary from 30 days to 90 days or more. The length of treatment is likely dependent upon the severity of your addiction.

Benefits of Inpatient Treatment

The benefits of inpatient treatment are wide-ranging. Inpatient treatment is often the last resort for self-destructive disorders and addictions. It’s possible that the patient has tried other options and simply needs a more intense solution to deal with the substance abuse or self-destructive behaviors.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health data, the number of Americans who went to inpatient rehab in 2013 was 782,029.

Some of these benefits include an increased chance of maintaining recovery after the outpatient programs, reduced risk of relapse, and a reduced risk of entering back into an alcohol or other drug abuse program. Below are the main benefits of inpatient addictions treatment that help addicts kick their drug and alcohol use:

  • Inpatient Detoxification

Inpatient Detoxification is a program for people with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, need medical supervision as they detox from these substances. It provides a safe environment where medical staff closely monitor clients during the detoxification process. Inpatient facilities usually provide medical detoxification, including medications to relieve alcohol withdrawal symptoms and medications to reduce cravings while undergoing behavioral treatment.

  • Success Rate

Inpatient rehab programs are a great option for individuals who have faced a particularly challenging type of abuse. These programs are most often recommended to people who have relied on drugs or alcohol for a very long time and may have engaged in criminal behaviors to procure supplies. 

These programs will provide patients with the tools they need to live without drugs or alcohol. It is essential to realize that treatment is much more beneficial for an inpatient rehabilitation program than therapy as an outpatient or home-based recovery situation. 

  • Reduced Risk of Relapse

The inpatient care offered at drug rehab centers can reduce the risk of relapse. Particular aspects of addiction treatment provided by rehab facilities include the ability of staff to stabilize patients, implement alcohol and drug tests, practice counseling and therapy, and provide education to patients regarding the physiological aspects of addiction.

Compared to other countries, a relatively high percentage of Americans drink alcohol. Attendance at inpatient rehab treatment centers for alcohol-related issues is also pretty high, with up to 6,000 people per day attending various addiction and substance abuse facilities around the country. In 2014, 423,000 individuals underwent treatment for substance abuse issues, and an additional 57,000 attended inpatient rehab.

Knowing how many people attend rehab can help you follow your own or family members’ progress through the treatment process.

Inpatient Rehab for a Pregnant Woman

Inpatient rehab for women is specifically tailored to the needs of individuals struggling with addiction during pregnancy. Using drugs or alcohol during pregnancy exposes a woman and her developing fetus to potentially serious long-term effects. 

Both health care and mental health considerations have to be kept in mind when treating addiction during pregnancy.

Treatment centers that work with pregnant patients are often structured as women-only rehab to promote a more effective and comfortable recovery process. 

When a woman is pregnant and seeking addiction treatment, there are unique considerations to look for in a program. Treating addiction during pregnancy is more complex, and most need care at specialized inpatient rehab centers. 

When someone is pregnant and addicted to drugs, particularly opioids, they can’t stop cold turkey in most cases. Stopping suddenly can be harmful to a mother and her unborn baby. The same can be true with alcohol.

Since detoxing while pregnant can be dangerous, a woman needs a treatment team that understands the unique risks as part of the treatment plans overall. 

For example, there are medication-assisted treatment options that can often be safe for pregnant women in addiction treatment programs. 

Is Residential Treatment Most Effective?

Inpatient rehab for pregnant women does tend to be the best and most effective long-term approach to addiction. 

The Journal of Substance Abuse published a study with more than 300 women. The women were enrolled in a residential treatment program specifically for pregnant and parenting women. The level of functioning was looked at before and after treatment at a drug rehab center. 

Women showed improvement in many areas, along with reductions in substance use.

They also had improvements in employment, fewer legal issues, fewer mental health symptoms, and a more positive attitude toward parenting.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment

Both inpatient and outpatient care can be very beneficial for individuals struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. While each program has its benefits, the type of program individuals are most likely to succeed in depends on their unique needs, professional opinion, and current life situation.

Inpatient treatment is comprehensive and generally provides the most structured, intensive level of treatment. This type of care immerses the patient in a healing environment for a specified period and includes medical and psychiatric support 24 hours a day. Outpatient services involve far more limited periods in a facility with fewer resources; however, the same basic therapy methods are used. 

Outpatient treatment is not always available and can be limited by state. Outpatient treatment programs allow patients to travel home whenever necessary when they are offered. Inpatient care is often more convenient for individuals who cannot take time off work or need around-the-clock supervision. This should not be overlooked when evaluating your loved one’s needs.

Depending on your treatment option and insurance coverage, your recovery plan could be either an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Both offer advantages to recovering from drug or alcohol dependency; the key is to choose the plan that suits you best.

Find the best Inpatient mental health facility in The Bay Area, CA.

At Silicon Valley Recovery, each inpatient mental health facility is designed to focus on safety, comfort, and therapeutic needs. We focus on the well-being of patients at all levels of care, from children to their families and staff members. From emergency services to long-term care, we’re always striving to improve the care experience for everyone. 

Our unique inpatient mental health services combine holistic and evidence-based practices with a core focus on the interdisciplinary treatment of the whole person. We offer various effective therapies to help every individual we treat to heal from addiction, trauma, or an array of other mental health concerns.

Contact Silicon Valley Recovery today to learn more about how we can help improve access to inpatient medical treatment. Speak to a care coordinator now at 408-547-4089.