Category: blog

What to Know About Choosing a Drug Detox Program

For those committed to long-term sustainable recovery, the first step is selecting a detoxification process to accompany a long-recovery program. Different substances stay within the body for varying periods of time. An average stay in detox is three to 10 days. Think of detox as a way to cleanse and rid the body of these toxins so that the individual can think clearly and begin living a healthy lifestyle.

During the detox process, individuals may experience cravings and physical side effects which may include severe stomach cramping, vomiting, nausea and digestive issues. A residential detox allows medical staff to monitor vital signs, as well as guide clients through both the physical and emotional process of withdrawal. Additionally, a focus on good nutrition and vitamins is introduced during detox.

The combination of a medically supervised detox and the introduction to good nutritional habits prepare clients physically and mentally to enter a treatment program.

Going back out into the real world before one is ready can precipitate the desire to keep using. Help your friends and loved ones get help by directing them to our intensive 28-day detox program.

What Are the Signs of Alcoholism?

Alcohol abuse is one of the most devastating problems for today’s society, and according to the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism, only 15% of individuals who need help receive treatment. Far too often, this is because individuals who struggle with their alcohol use (or their friends and family) don’t know the warning signs. For those worried about their own alcohol use or that of a friend or loved one, there are lifestyle, emotional, behavioral, physical and relational warning signs.

  • Lifestyle Warning Signs:Often lifestyle disruption is one of the most obvious warning signs of alcoholism. For example, a person’s drinking may be a problem if it causes frequent problems with showing up at school or work. Alcohol abuse may also be present if a person’s drinking interferes with the performance of daily duties, such as doing schoolwork, meeting employment obligations, keeping one’s home clean or taking care of children. Showing up to work, school or family events while intoxicated is another warning sign.
  • Emotional Warning Signs:Alcohol misuse can also take a toll on the sufferer’s emotional health. Feeling ashamed of one’s drinking is a commonly-used warning sign, as is the individual responding to feelings of shame by lying about or attempting to hide how much or how often he or she drinks. If someone has developed a psychological dependence on alcohol (meaning the person needs to drink to feel emotionally stable), attempting to stop drinking can also cause emotional withdrawal symptoms, such as feelings of shakiness, irritability, or intense anxiety.
  • Behavioral Warning Signs:Those struggling with excessive drinking often show behavioral warning signs. These can include obvious ones, such as drinking in dangerous situations (like before driving a car or going to work), but can also include more subtle ones, such as falling behind on bills after spending funds on alcohol (often accompanied by lying or being evasive about where the money went). Other behavioral signs including failed attempts to stop drinking (such as by getting rid of all of one’s alcohol only to go out a few hours or day later to buy more).
  • Relational Warning Signs:While alcohol in moderation often functions as a “social lubricant,” alcohol abuse tends to erode relationships. Relational warning signs include frequent disagreements or fights with significant others about how much or how often one drinks, as well as friends or family expressing concern about an individual’s drinking patterns. It is not at all uncommon for someone struggling with alcohol dependence to experience isolation as friends or family who do not share in the individual’s drinking begin to distance themselves from, or even cut of contact with, him or her.
  • Physical Warning Signs:While most people who struggle with alcohol do not experience physical symptoms, long-time problem drinkers often do. Physical warning signs include continuing to drink despite the fact that it creates or exacerbates health problems (such as liver disease), or experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms after abstinence from alcohol. Physical withdrawal symptoms include sweating, tremors or (in severe cases) seizures or hallucinations.
  • Help is Available:Alcohol abuse is treatable. Those who are worried their drinking may be a problem should consult a doctor, or seek support programs. Pathways to Recovery can helpContact us today to find out how.

8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Substance Abuse Treatment Center

Choosing a substance abuse treatment center is not an easy task. It is made difficult by the fact that everyone has unique needs. It also depends on the length of the period one has been abusing the substance. Generally, there are 8 things that should be considered in all cases regardless of the patient.

Below is an in-depth look into these considerations.

  • Center license and other accreditations– one needs to make sure that the center is licensed and meets the entire set of requirements by the health department. This is a guarantee that the patient is going to receive quality care from qualified staff. Some of the accreditation approval is scrutinizing the qualifications of personnel.
  • The success of the center treatments– it is a great idea to analyze the success of past treatments for any substance abuse treatment center. This gives the patient and his family the level of expectation from the program they are about to commit to. A good center will have an impressive past record, receive many referrals from other centers and collaborates with both the community and those on their programs and their families.
  • Provision of after care services– it is wise to plan ahead and picture how things might be after the substance abuse treatment. One thing is to ask whether the center offers post care services. If yes, what at are these services? Post care services prevent the reoccurrence of the addiction at a future time. Good after care services ensure the patient does not experience a relapse.
  • Drug treatment methods offered– there is the need to know what drug treatment option the patient is expected to undergo. Whether it is residential treatment, partial hospitalization or intensive out-patient program. Each of them has a different procedure and it is better to know in advance.
  • Budget– Everything works on a budget. Since it is our loved ones we are trying to help here, we need to be able to support their treatment process financially.
  • Medication method– the type of medication to be offered is better known before the process begins. Whether it is detox or rapid detox; the patient and family should be made aware.
  • Legal issues– the legal issues attached to the program are another consideration to make.
  • The center treatment atmosphere– the center should have an ideal environment to facilitate quick recovery of the patient.

5 Tips for How to Talk to Substance Abuse Patients About Treatment

Before you approach someone about a substance abuse problem, practice what you plan on saying. Find someone who can play the role of the substance abuser or practice the dialogue in your mind. This way you’ll be prepared for what might be a dramatic discussion. Let’s take a look at a few tips on how to talk to someone with a substance abuse problem.

How to Start

Begin the conversation with a statement of empathy like, “I care about you”.  Be straightforward and tell him that the only reason you want to talk is to help him. It will set the tone for the rest of the interaction.

Explain Your Concern

Once you’ve shown the addict that you are talking with him because you care, transition into your observations of his behavior. Talk about what you’ve seen and how it impacts your relationship, the home or the workplace. Be very specific and use concrete examples like “You’ve missed three days of work in the past three weeks”.

State Your Desires

And Ask For His Be sure to outline exactly what you want to change in terms of the addict’s  behavior. Be very specific so that he knows your intended goals. Say something like “I want you to attend counseling sessions two times a week and not consume any drugs or alcohol prior to those meetings”. Ask him if he shares similar goals and find out if he has ideas of how to change his ways.

Listen

Don’t turn the conversation into a one way monologue. Most people who are asked to sit down for a serious conversation like this will want to provide  rebuttals for your statements. When this occurs, remain quiet and listen. Be  sure to repeat some of the addict’s words so that he knows that you are listening and that you actually want to engage in a real dialogue. Pauses to gather your thoughts are acceptable. Make sure that you respond with carefully thought out statements that indicate your true thoughts and feelings.

Offer

Help Tell your friend or family member what you are willing to do to help him.  Let him know that he is not alone. After you tell him what you can do to help, tell him how you’ll go about doing it and when it will happen. This gives him something to look forward to and makes him feel less alone. If you need more information on this, please contact us so we can help.

10 Facts About Substance Abuse and Behavioral Science Integration

It’s a commonly-known fact that substance abuse is heavily linked with one’s behavior, whether that be the behavior leading up to the abuse or the behavior displayed as a result of it. Here are ten basic facts that aren’t so commonly known about the study of substance abuse through behavioral science.

  • Substance use and abuse doesn’t simply affect how the abuser is thinking at the time – it changes the brain in a permanent way, both in structure  and in the way those structures function.
  • The younger a person begins to abuse substances, the more likely  they are to become addicted in the long-term. This is in part because, as expected, adolescents have poorer decision-making capabilities.
  • However, in addition to that, an adolescent’s brain is more malleable and  if it becomes accustomed to having a toxic substance around, it’s nearly impossible to function without that substance later on.
  • Even when an individual is long since ‘clean’, he or she can be triggered  into an intense craving by seeing or hearing a person, place, or thing with which they associate the source of their kicked addiction.
  • Substance abuse can be prevented the vast majority of the time by establishing strong bonds with one’s family and neighborhood, excelling academically, and embarking in healthy friendships. Oftentimes, the turn to addictive substances comes from a lack of one of the above and the internal ’emptiness’ it causes.
  • An individual is much more likely to cease their substance abuse if they witness another person doing the same.
  • Many individuals are shown to abuse drugs for lack of a better way to cover up or ‘handle’ other conditions they may have, like anxiety disorders or depression. This could be remedied by learning proper coping techniques and possibly being prescribed a more helpful medication.
  • Cognitive-behavioral studies have shown almost unanimously that when an individual is rewarded for not abusing rather than punished for abusing, there is a much higher chance that the individual stays clean.
  • Self-awareness is key in preventing a relapse. When an individual objectively identifies their risks and the pros and cons of substance abuse, he or she is much less likely to abuse again.
  • No matter how determined a person may be to kick their addictions and abuse of substances, it is nearly impossible to do so without first figuring out what caused the abuse (and what causes each relapse) and addressing that properly.

If you suspect that a family member or friend may have a substance abuse problem, make sure that you get them the help that they need. Consider finding a 28 day program like Pathways that finds success by using current, evidence-based practices to provide an intensive program that will lead to recovery.

 

Best Substance Abuse Treatment Referral Sources for Physicians

Substance abuse treatment physicians are in business and would wish to remain open and profitable. To make this happen, they need to get patients in huge numbers. One way to ensure an ever flow of clients is depending on referral sources. In this case, where can a physician get the best referrals for drug abuse clients?

Here are the 5 best referral sources:

  • Past clients-a physician who does thorough work with a client can bank on goodwill to get referrals from that customer. If the client was satisfied, he/she would be willing to suggest the same physician to a friend or family. This is why a good physician will always get favorable responses and references from clients he/she served some times in the past.
  • Friends and relatives-friends and family are in the best position to refer other friends to a physician. They know what he/she does and they will be more than willing to refer someone to the substance abuse physician. This is the actual thing to do to family and friends.
  • Fellow physicians-a good drug abuse physician will ensure a good relationship with other practitioners in the same field. This is one way to ensure he/she gets references from them. Drug abuse treatments need a teamwork approach and that is why a physician may refer a client to another physician. The cycle continues and one remains in business.
  • Mental hospitals and centers-hospitals and clinics that deal with mental cases are in a better position to refer clients to private physicians. As a physician, one needs to establish some network and goodwill with such health institutions. This network and mutual understanding will lead to reference of clients from both sides.
  • Health insurance companies-a great deal of medical referrals comes from health insurance companies. The insurers refer their policy holders to health care practitioners that they have had contact with. A good drug abuse physician should be able establish a working relationship with insurance companies. This relationship is able to draw references from both sides and it is a win-win situation for both parties.

Most of all, to get referrals from the above sources, a physician has to be licensed and accredited by the relevant authority. This is a sure way to ensure that clients get the best service.

For more information, please contact us.

 

The Super Easy Way to Screen Substance Abuse Results

Substance abuse tests are not only done in public and private laboratories but also can be easily performed at home. Drug screening at home is sometimes far more reliable, convenient and very affordable. The home run tests will give one results for variety of substance abuse as well as the history of the abuse. Here are 3 super easy ways to screen for substance abuse results. The results are instantaneous and all that’s needed is to wait for a few minutes.

  • Hair substance screening-this method is easily performed and can give results for up to three-month period history. The better part is that it can be used to test not only for one substance abuse but also a couple of others. There is a guideline on how to appropriately collect the hair without risking the accuracy of the results. Afterwards, the sample should be send to a trusted laboratory service through fast mail or the instant courier method. To maintain the confidentiality of the situation, the results may be conveyed through phone or the internet. Only the one who performed the tests will be able to receive the results and decide what action is to be taken.
  • Saliva substance screening-this is the easiest and fastest way to get drug test results. It may take up to three minutes, which is comparatively fast. It’s also used to test for a variety of substance abuse hence a reliable method. The method has an accuracy of approximately 97% and this is way better to getting results one can believe in. In fact, this is the main reason why this method is so popular among parents and schools. The only disadvantage of this way is that it can only be used to test for a drug abuse that has happened in less than 12 hours. This is still good news since there are other methods for longer period tests.
  • Urine substance screening-results from this method can be obtained instantly depending on the time the victim used the drugs. A full test is performed at home and there is no need to send the sample to the laboratory. This method can detect drug abuse for up to one-month history. It’s efficient and reliable if performed with care.

With these super easy screening methods, one can boost the fight against drug and substance abuse right from his/her home. No rocket science needed. For more information, please contact us.

3 Substance Abuse Screening Tools for Physicians

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has created an elaborate Physicians’ Outreach Initiative called NIDAMED that provides physicians with three unique resources for substance abuse screening. These tools will empower physicians to screen patients for illicit drugs, non-medical prescription drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Physicians are important to the addiction identification and recovery process as they can stop drug use before it turns into a potentially fatal medical problem. Numerous studies indicate that a physician’s screening, intervention and consequential referral can decrease drug, alcohol and tobacco use.

The three screening resources are a comprehensive resource guide, an online screening program and a companion quick reference guide. These screening tools are designed to help physicians identify potentially dangerous addictions and behaviors. Here is a deeper look at each of the three screening tools:

Online Screening Program
This web based screening tool is designed with an interactive element. The website provides a series of questions for physicians to answer according to their patients’ responses. Once the questions are completed, the online screening tool develops a “substance involvement score” that indicates whether the patient will need minimal intervention or a high level of intervention. The online screening program is simple to use and can be utilized while the patient is at the physician’s office for his normal visit.

Clinicians Resource Guide
This comprehensive guide has been designed to reinforce the NIDA Drug Use Screening Tool. It offers extensive instructions on how to perform biological specimen screens. The guide also offers extensive instructions as to how physicians can make optimal use of the screening tool, how to approach screening result discussions with patients, how physicians can initiate a brief intervention and the referral of substance abusers to addiction specialists, abuse treatment facilities and counselors.

Quick Reference Guide
This handy guide is small enough to fit in a coat pocket and offers instructions on how to use the NIDA Drug Use Screening tool. It also provides a summary of the tool with an outline of its questions. It explains how the substance abuse scoring system works and describes what steps should be taken after substance abuse is identified.

To learn more about alcohol and drug abuse recovery click here.

Communicating with Someone Who Has an Addiction

It is not usually an easy task to speak with someone about their addiction and is not something we are necessarily born with knowing how to do. The shock alone of finding out that a loved one has an addiction can greatly hinder communication skills.

Communicating can be especially difficult if you have been enabling their addiction, whether knowingly or unknowingly and if they have been lying to you about it or are in denial.

There are, however, changes you can make in the way you communicate with them, which will put an end to enabling but will still show you care.

  • Always Be Kind- Actions can certainly speak louder than words so showing you care through your behavior can be a great ingredient to successful interaction. Always act with compassion and kindness.
  • Listen- Someone with an addiction is more likely to confide in you if you do not interrupt or criticize them even though you may not agree with their behavior. You can find out more about addictions here and try to understand what it is like from their point of view.
  • Be Consistent- Remaining consistent in your message is key so what you are trying to get across is not misunderstood. For example, if you believe a loved one has a smoking problem, don’t offer them a smoke or bring them around smokers.
  • Be Predictable- Surprises can be stressful and in turn, stress feeds addiction. Though addicts can be unpredictable, you can set a good example by being predictable in your words and actions.
  • Show Love or Concern- No matter how severe the addiction, always let them know you love and/or care about them or at least have their best interest at heart. This does not mean, however, that you will be passive about their behavior. Set limits and follow through in order to show you do not make empty threats if necessary.
  • Support the Process of Change- Standing by an addict when they are in need is huge. For example, by attending family/group counseling with them, they may see that you are also willing to look at yourself and make changes, which in turn, will help motivate them.
  • Their Way- Though being clear about what is acceptable, offering in ways to help that they would like will provide comfort and trust.
  • Seek Information on Where to Get Help- Often the biggest obstacle in an addict seeking help is feeling ashamed or the fear of being reported for their addiction. Offer to help find and share information on where to get help and also get help for yourself in order to know how to best aid them.
  • Limits- Always let an addict know your limits and if they are unwilling to change and you feel you cannot help anymore or live with them, gently let them know. If a person doesn’t know how much their addiction bothers you, they have no reason to change. Counseling can be a good place to talk with them about this.

If you have any questions or concerns about your loved one, please contact us.

 

Integrated Screening Tool- 5 P’s for pregnant and child bearing years

The traditional diagnostic criteria and screening tools for determining whether alcohol or substance abuse is an issue with a pregnant woman has proven to be slightly insufficient. This has led to two expansions to the criteria: the addition of one’s partner as a variable in determining if a problem exists and beginning the screening and treatment process before the woman is pregnant. Whether the woman is already pregnant or simply could become so, the following five P’s are valuable screening tools to employ in a clinical setting.

Parents

If the woman’s parents had drug or alcohol abuse problems, the likelihood is far higher that she will develop them at some point. Since a child tends to later pattern the behaviors of their parents when the child grows up, one of the most powerful screening tools available to identify the potential for alcohol or drug abuse in a woman is to learn if her parents had such problems.
Peers
People tend to mimic one another, and this is particularly true in peer groups. Particularly when the woman is an adolescent, peer mimicry is a major contributing factor to habits of all kinds. In the cases of alcohol and drug abuse, this potential is especially strong when a woman largely associates with people who practice these behaviors.
Partner
Studies have shown that one’s partner affects behaviors like smoking. When one partner has an alcohol or drug problem, they are both more likely to attract a similar partner and more likely to reinforce this behavior on a regular basis.
Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time when a woman’s health is of the utmost importance. However, it is also a time when there is a lot of stress. These stresses can trigger escapist behaviors, which often include heavy alcohol consumption and drug use. Both of these behaviors can have long-term health impacts on the child as well as being a negative influence on the child’s future life, which is why the mother’s cessation is so important.
Past 
Has the woman in question had a drinking or drug abuse problem at some point in her past? This is perhaps the most powerful of all screening tools, as people tend to repeat their past patterns more often than they pick up new ones.

Residential substance abuse treatment may be able to help change the future. Interested individuals can find more information and start the healing process today.