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Nutrition: Healing The Body After Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Nutrition: Healing The Body After Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Your body is a war zone. Consistent alcohol or substance abuse erodes your organs’ ability to take in and process vitamins and minerals. Similar to cancer or other diseases, alcohol and substances take over, breaking apart bits and pieces of your body. Both alcohol and substances can eat away at the brain and other organs or linings. Over time, the body shows signs of decay and malnutrition. The result is a body riddled with disease and pain.

The damage done by drinking or substance use is not permanent. A comprehensive approach to recovery includes building the body back up through proper nutrition. A proper diet with nutritional supplements begins the healing process for those with less severe damage. Those who suffer from severe damage to their body may require short-term intravenous therapy to provide the body with needed nutrients. Nutrition needs are determined by whether a person drank or used substances.

Lack of Self- Care

Alcohol is calorie-dense. Alcohol has seven calories per gram of alcohol second only to fat, which has nine calories per gram. The result of drinking empty calories is that the drinker feels full. The decrease in appetite because of drinking leads to inadequate nutrient intake and, eventually, malnutrition—the feeling of being full yet not being nourished results in unhealthy weight.

Often, alcoholism is portrayed as a person with red eyes, cheeks, and/or nose with a belly that protrudes against their clothes. Functional alcoholics don’t always look like this. They may appear fit and healthy, but the damage sustained by long-term abuse or dependence still exists.

Opiate and cocaine users focus on the cycle of getting high, crashing, and seeking a new high. They do this to the point of forgetting to eat or forgetting to take care of themselves. Alcohol or substance users may skip meals or fast to increase the feelings that occur during their use. Any or all of these habits affect gastrointestinal and brain function.

Damage to the Body

Continued drug or alcohol abuse damages the digestive system. Symptoms of a damaged digestive system are:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite

Other effects on the body include:

  • Damage to the liver and reducing its ability to store nutrients
  • Lean tissue and muscles breakdown
  • Suppression of the immune system

Alcohol, painkillers, and heroin damage and can shut down the digestive process. When the digestive process stops, the brain doesn’t receive vitamins or minerals.

Alcohol and heroin use also can damage the inner lining of the intestines. Vitamins and minerals aren’t absorbed by the intestines, causing a lack of nutrients sent to the brain. A healthy gut equals a healthy brain.

Fresh foods rebuild organs and tissues damaged by alcohol or substance abuse. In time, the nervous and gastrointestinal system receives the vitamins and nutrients they need repairing caused damage by alcohol or substance abuse.

Proper Nutrition and Recovery

The damage from alcohol or substance use is reversible. A well-nourished brain means a decrease in withdrawal symptoms and a higher chance of remaining in recovery. Natural foods retain good fats, macronutrients, and micronutrients that are vital to the body.

At the beginning of treatment, it is essential to learn about dietary habits. Eating nutrient-dense fresh food provides what the body needs to heal—putting aside processed food filled with fat and sugar benefits the body—processed food strip necessary micronutrients from foods. Healthy fats convert to trans fats, which create barriers to enzymes.
Healthy calorie consumption is vital and is easily accomplished by eating foods such as:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Fish
  • Nuts

With time and knowledge of how to eat well, you will see a difference in how your body and mind function. Healthful eating affects moods, creating positive feelings. Learning to make healthy food choices can initiate the path to healing.

How to Be Healthy

You are learning how to choose healthy foods while in treatment. A healthy diet builds a foundation for recovery. Changing habits pose challenges. Learning how to make a satisfying meal takes time. Meals, when prepared correctly, are filled with necessary vitamins and minerals.

The education process—combined with psychological and social education—teaches self-care. Eating healthy, exercising, and having hobbies are essential during recovery. When combined, the recovery process is more durable. Your body is no longer a war zone; it is a place of healing and good health.

Every treatment program should view you as an individual. We understand you have different needs, so we use different approaches to help you in your recovery. We are here to help and want to aid you in your search for answers.

The Mind-Body Connection

Proper nutrition will aid in initial recovery and sustained recovery. While understanding how nutrition plays a role in the recovery process, it is also important to understand why nutrition must be used in conjunction with a treatment program. Mark Hyman writes in his book, The Ultramind Solution: Fix Your Broken Brain by Healing Your Body First:

The chemical imbalances underlying “psychiatric illness” can now be seen as linked to more systemic chemical, metabolic problems, which can be treated at the bodily level. While just treating the brain chemistry can lead to drug dependence, treating systemic chemistry can fix the brain chemistry imbalance and lead to real sustainable healing.

Addicts abuse alcohol or substances in an effort to treat brain chemistry. The attempt to mask feelings and ease anxiety, depression, or other psychological conditions creates dependence. Through comprehensive treatment, including learning about nutrition, the body can heal.

Addiction robs a person of many things. The damage done to the body may appear overwhelming, but with the right tools—such as therapy and nutrition—it can be healed. Nutrition is important in healing after recovery. Long-term alcohol or substance dependence breaks down the body and mind. Understanding how alcohol or substance dependence affects organs, the gastrointestinal system, and brain chemistry is necessary in order to understand the importance of a proper diet. Learning how to cook, shop, and replace fatty, sugary foods with fresh, healthy foods allows the body to heal itself. The body is an amazing organism that can repair itself while providing the necessary functions for life. To learn more about how nutrition can aid in recovery, call Achieve Concierge. We offer appointments with a Registered Dietician to help guide you in healthy eating habits. Do you want to know more? Contact Achieve Concierge today by calling (858) 221-0344.

Life After Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment

Life After Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment

Admitting you have an addiction is life-changing. A person’s path to recovery begins when they realize they have no control over their use of alcohol and substances, they take action, and they seek help. Asking for help is a powerful thing to do.

It means recognizing you have a loss of control over a part of your life and taking steps to get it back. Calling a treatment center can be scary, but going to treatment will bring about positive changes. Once active treatment finishes, life will not be the same, and there may be a time when you mourn the loss of your addictive environment.

The New Normal

Throughout our lives, challenges occur and they test our commitment to the new state of normalcy. A need to stay vigilant exists. Navigating how to remain sober is different than finding ways to drink alcohol or use substances. The reality is that the new normal takes some adjustment.

Peoples and places are difficult to leave, especially when a person can’t move to a different home or start a job in a new place. There are ways to recognize triggers and be aware of behaviors. Treatment never ends because staying sober is a lifetime commitment.

Being in treatment facilitates a sense of safety and positivity. After treatment, it feels like everyone leaves. One person said treatment is like being in a nest, and successfully finishing treatment is like being kicked out of the nest where you are expected to fly on your own. But are you truly alone? Leaving treatment doesn’t mean leaving your support system. Keeping in touch with therapists, group counselors, and sponsors can build on the foundation you created in treatment.

Stay Vigilant

Addicts are always working on their recovery. After going to treatment and completing a program, a part of the new normal is staying vigilant. Everyone has their moments. Outside factors affect us, leading us to be tempted. Even those who are in recovery for months or years can relapse.

The key is to be aware of your environment, your emotional health, and any shifts in your behavior. It’s not easy to always be vigilant, but there’s help available. Use the tools from treatment to push past barriers. Fall back on:

  • Group sessions at your treatment center
  • Individual therapy
  • Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous
  • Calling your sponsor
  • Calling your sober buddy

You’re not alone in the journey toward recovery. As with any journey, there are unexpected turns, but people will want to help you because they care.

Beware of Cross-Addiction

Cross-addiction occurs when a person replaces one addictive behavior with another. The switch from one addiction to another may not occur immediately. A person in recovery can go years before they turn to another vice to help them with feelings of anxiety, grief, depression, and not being in control.

The person knows the dangers of their addiction and will avoid going back to alcohol or substance abuse. Instead, they seek other ways to help them cope with their feelings. Replacing alcohol or substances with work, sex, or strict diets, for example, only facilitates dependence on another form of addiction.

In some cases, the person will replace alcohol or their preferred substance with something they believe to be less harmful, like marijuana. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that about 20 million people over the age of 12 have an addiction problem in the United States.

A support system can spot a new addiction. Friends, sober buddies, therapists, or those in group sessions can point out cross-addiction and help you. It is important to listen to those who want to help you.

Support Systems

Treatment and recovery go hand in hand. Every group session, meeting, and individual therapy appointment is another step in the recovery journey. When addicts use alcohol or substances to numb their feelings, they also push people away. Pushing people away protects the addict from facing their addiction.

Treatment is about learning to let those who love and care for you into your life. People who care about you want to help; they want to know how they can support you in your journey. Let them. Some ways to let them in are:

  • Talking with them about your addiction, triggers, and what recovery means to you.
  • Attending meetings. The people at meetings understand how addiction can rip your world apart. They also know how hard it is to put it back together. Listen to their stories and share yours.
  • Inviting family members to an individual session with your counselor or therapist. Therapy sessions provide a feeling of safety. Talking with our family in a safe place like a therapist’s office allows you to share your feelings and how behaviors of individual family members affect our addiction recovery.
  • Scheduling in-home visits with your therapist
  • Working privately with your therapist as needed

There’s Hope

You’re not alone. The new state of normalcy isn’t a lifestyle void of a support system. Lean on those who want to see you succeed. Accepting support and being vulnerable can be hard. Emotional and relapse prevention support tailored to your personal needs is possible. Zen Habits, a mindfulness blog, recently recommended a few things we can do to help adjust to the new normal:

  • Have a willingness to feel what we’re feeling
  • Have a willingness to face and sit in the middle of difficulty (patience)
  • Have compassion for ourselves and others
  • Have the ability to create connection and meaning

Take the lessons learned in treatment and apply them to new feelings and situations. Learn to be grateful for what you have now. Recognize the feelings that occur after treatment aren’t necessarily new, but the remainders of old feelings; use your coping strategies. Never forget you can always go to a meeting, join a support group, or talk with sober buddies or your therapist. You are not alone.

The new normal is scary, but it isn’t impossible to deal with. The chance to change, grow, and embrace opportunities is exciting. Spend time each day thinking about what you are grateful for, what you want to work on, and what your goals are for your recovery. Reach out to others in the recovery community to help you continue to feel like a part of something. There is meaning in your recovery and your life; belief in yourself is important. Connecting with others and creating a change in your life are positive steps in embracing who you are and want to become. There can be times when you feel isolated in your journey and need someone. If you feel you are alone, please call Achieve Concierge. We are here 24 hours a day to keep you on your path. We want you to succeed because we know you can. You can contact Achieve Concierge today at (858) 221-0344.

Linking Bipolar Disorder With Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Linking Bipolar Disorder With Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Bipolar disorder often goes undiagnosed in those who have an alcohol or substance use disorder. Too often, the use of alcohol or drugs masks bipolar episodes. Undetected bipolar disorders create frustration for those who are in treatment or recovery. Bipolar disorder and substance use are linked together in many cases. The failure to address bipolar disorder makes it harder for a person to go through treatment and more likely to relapse.

Bipolar Disorders

The National Institute of Mental Health reports three types of bipolar disorders. The classes are Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, and Cyclothymic Disorder. Bipolar I & II are the two disorders frequently connected to substance use or dependence. A research study found the following:

Bipolar I

Bipolar I is the more severe of the two types of disorders, marked by periods of critical mood changes from depression to mania. 60.7% of people with bipolar I disorder have some co-occurring substance abuse, alcohol use, or dependence.

Bipolar II

Bipolar II includes episodes of hypomania: a mild form of mania, highlighted by elation and hyperactivity. Periods of depression also occur in Bipolar II. 48.1% of people with bipolar II disorder have some alcohol use or substance abuse or dependence.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic Disorder includes periods of hypomanic and depressive symptoms lasting up to 2 years. The disorder does not meet the diagnostic requirements for hypomania or depression.

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

People with bipolar disorders seek to find ways to control their mood episodes. The use of alcohol or drugs does not reduce mania or depression, however. Rather, these substances further destabilize a person’s mood and can cause rapid cycling. The mood changes may cause individuals to feel aggression toward or others or even themselves. Suicidal tendencies or fits of rage increase, especially among males. Other signs or symptoms of bipolar disorder include:

  • Impulsivity
  • Euphoric mood
  • High agitation or irritability
  • Pressured speech
  • Rapid thoughts
  • Decreased need for sleep

Different people have different responses to their episodes of mania. People with bipolar disorders talk about their bouts of mania as times when they feel they can do anything, go anywhere, and become anyone. Others engage in high-risk behavior, take off on road trips without plans, stay up for days, and report they don’t want the feeling of mania to stop. They seek substances that will help them feel good. Another reason they drink or use substances is to help keep them elevated because they know eventually depression will follow.

Profound lows follow elation, bursts of creativity, and feelings of invincibility. Cycling out of mania and into depression can occur rapidly or take place in a steady decline. Thoughts of suicide, desperation, sleep, and sadness can then overtake everything. Normal activities become burdensome and even undoable. During episodes of depression, those with bipolar disorders seek alcohol or substances to lift them out.

According to The National Institute for Health, there are additional issues that can occur with Bipolar Disorder. Many people with bipolar disorder may have other mental health disorders or conditions, as well, such as:

  • Psychosis. Sometimes people who have severe episodes of mania or depression also have psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. The psychotic symptoms tend to match the person’s extreme mood. For example:
    -Someone having psychotic symptoms during a manic episode may falsely believe that he or she is famous, has a lot of money, or has special powers.
    -Someone having psychotic symptoms during a depressive episode may believe he or she is financially ruined and penniless or has committed a crime.
  • Anxiety Disorders Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Anxiety disorders and ADHD often are diagnosed in people with bipolar disorder.
  • Misuse of Drugs or Alcohol. People with bipolar disorder are more prone to misusing drugs or alcohol.
  • Eating Disorders. People with bipolar disorder occasionally may have an eating disorder, such as binge eating or bulimia.

There are instances when some bipolar disorder symptoms mimic other illnesses, such as schizophrenia. Misdiagnoses such as this can delay treatment and increase the risk of alcohol or substance use in a person’s effort to ease or control the feelings associated with Bipolar Disorder.

Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorders

A doctor or therapist will order tests in order to diagnose a person. Physical exams, different medical tests, or a referral to a psychiatrist are examples of ways to diagnose bipolar disorder. Tests are ordered to rule out other potential physical or psychological illnesses.

Medications

There are medications that can assist in controlling the symptoms of a bipolar disorder. Finding the right medication and dosage typically takes time. Doctors and psychiatrists will regulate how the medication affects the brain and body, to ensure the health and safety of the patient. This is done through blood tests. In time, the right dose and medication can be determined.

Treatment

Treatment centers focusing on treating bipolar disorders and alcohol or substance abuse as co-occurring is vital. People who go undiagnosed and go through treatment will exhibit the symptoms of bipolar disorder and suffer needlessly. A proper diagnosis provides insight on how to proceed with treatment. Diagnosing a person entering treatment can also determine if medication is necessary to help regulate episodes.

An opportunity exists for a person once a bipolar and substance or alcohol use disorder is determined. A treatment plan can be combined with prescribed medications that will help regulate episodes of depression or mania. Comprehensive treatment of a person is vital because being viewed as a whole person—not a disease or disorder—creates a better sense of self. In therapy and recovery, understanding why a person turned to alcohol or other substances helps build a solid foundation in recovery.

According to the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), bipolar disorders affect approximately 2.8% of people 18 years or older in the United States. An average of 4.4% of all adults will experience bipolar disorder at some point in their life. The relatively low numbers of people affected by bipolar disorder contribute to the misdiagnosis. Family members may not recognize the symptoms of bipolar disorder, which delays treatment. Those with bipolar disorder can feel overwhelmed, lost, and unable to control their mood cycles. The urge to use alcohol or substances is increased by these feelings and can lead to abuse or dependence. If you think you or a loved one suffers from bipolar disorder, we can assist you by answering your questions or scheduling an appointment with our knowledgeable and experienced staff. Achieve Medical Center provides comprehensive treatment and testing for Bipolar Disorder. To find out how we can help you, contact Achieve Concierge today at (858) 221-0344.

Family Roles in Addiction

Family Roles in Addiction

Families play an essential part in the process of addiction recovery. Each family member’s role creates a unique pattern that affects the whole family unit. Recognizing the roles that family members play is integral in helping an individual face their addiction.

Ideally, in treatment, the family would be involved, but there may be a reluctance for some members to participate. Not every treatment center includes the family in the patient’s therapy treatment. Treating the person struggling with addictive behaviors as a whole person helps them redefine who they are and find their new place in their family.

There are six family roles in regards to addiction. Family members may take on more than one role, depending on their coping skills and what they can offer. It is essential to recognize the positions adopted by individual family members in order to better understand the dynamics that exist in the family.

The Addict

The addict is the core of a family’s attention. Discussions, actions, decisions, and energy are centered around helping the addict receive care from other family members. The role of the addict forces others to fill a void left by the addict’s alcohol or substance dependence.

Family members adopt roles they believe will smooth out the imbalance in their unit. As each family member takes on their role, the addict will display forms of emotions such as guilt, shame, and stress. In some cases, the addict will drink or use substances more because of the feelings mentioned.

The Hero

The hero wants to help the family look good to those on the outside. They want to appear as if everything is perfectly fine in their family, so they act positively when they are with others. They smooth over any action or behavior the addict displayed while in public. The act of being calm and positive in public may ease family members’ minds, thinking the hero is doing well. However, the hero can feel a degree of pain and isolation.

The Jester

There is usually a member of a family who uses humor to deflect feelings. They tell jokes, play pranks, and do other things to alleviate tense or negative situations. Jesters can appear to be superficial, but they use their jokes as a means to protect them from feelings of hurt, shame, and embarrassment. They usually have a hard time understanding why their family member is addicted and understanding how they can effectively help.

The Scapegoat

The line between the jester and the scapegoat may blur in some families. The scapegoat uses humor and constructs situations meant to draw attention away from the addict. The acts of the scapegoat are often dramatic. They want solutions to problems. Their need to fix situations and interactions comes from not being able to fix addiction.

The unruly behaviors caused by the scapegoat are fixable unlike the addict’s alcohol or substance dependence. The family can focus their attention on finding solutions to the scapegoat’s problems rather than dealing with addiction issues, where it can seem like there are no solutions.

The Caretaker

The caretaker puts all of their energy into making things okay. They, like the hero, want to present a unified, happy family to the public, despite the turmoil going on at home. They make excuses for the addict and find ways to protect the addict from the harm they are causing to themselves.

In many ways, the caretaker is an accomplice. The caretaker swoops in when the addict is in trouble or might suffer from their use. They believe they must help, but their help actually ends up harming the addict. The effort to protect and rescue the addict is harmful because it distorts the addict’s reality of addiction.

If the addict is consistently being protected from their choice to use or drink, they never feel the effect their behavior has on their family. The caretaker feels loyalty and love for the addict. However, their feelings of fear regarding what may happen to the addict are misplaced. The caretaker needs to free themselves from any responsibility they may feel towards the addict.

The Family

Addiction can scar a family. The effects of addition leave pain, shame, guilt, fear, and anger. The roles family members play in order to maintain a sense of normalcy ultimately hurt everyone and can cause the addict to dive deeper into their addiction. As a result of the roles of addiction, there is a need to involve family members in addiction treatment therapy sessions.

The family as a unit can suffer without these codependent roles. Without the assumed roles, family members may not know how to act around the addict before, during, and after treatment. Comprehensive treatment includes the family. When undergoing treatment, the addict is learning about who they are and their role in their family. They gain self-confidence, tools to cope with stress, boredom, anxiety, depression, and other feelings.

By addressing the family as a whole, therapy can help the family cope, push negative feelings away, and focus the proper amount of attention on the addict. Family therapy may reveal the foundation of each family member’s role. We all have a part to play in our families.

Addressing the roles we play is vital to working toward our own recovery or the recovery of a family member. Asking questions, facing realities, and admitting we need help are strengths. With this strength, we find who we are and who we will become.

Addiction affects everyone in the family. Facing a loved one’s addiction isn’t easy. The first impulse of the family, when faced with addiction, is to ignore it or hide it. Neither reaction is a long-term solution to their loved one’s alcohol or substance dependence. Taking on roles diminishes the family’s ability to help the addict. Instead, the roles adopted by the family hinder treatment, increase the use of alcohol or substances, and can delay the family from seeking help. Every family member needs to understand their role and how they can help not only themselves, but the addict, as well. Recovery is not a process that is achieved alone. Family members are essential in helping an addict succeed, once they complete treatment. Including family members in individual therapy sessions built around addressing their roles and feelings towards the addict strengthens the recovery process. To learn how you can be involved in supporting your loved one, contact Achieve Concierge by calling today at (858) 221-0344.

Holistic Addiction Treatment

Holistic Addiction Treatment

Treatment for alcohol or substance abuse focusing entirely on addiction doesn’t include the whole person. A holistic approach to addiction treatment—including mind, body, and soul—is gaining popularity. The standard care for addiction therapy combined with a comprehensive approach addresses addictions, the behaviors of the addict, and biological findings. Research shows that standard care combined with holistic modes of therapy can be very effective as it includes strategies focused on the mind, body, and spirit.

Holistic Approach

Dictionary.com defines holistic as “the idea that the whole is more than merely the sum of its parts, in theory, or practice.” Therefore, holistic treatment is the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just symptoms of the disease. Holistic treatment is effective because alcohol or substance addiction doesn’t exist as a lone part of our personality.

Our experiences and genes form our ability to respond to treatment. By integrating various types of therapy, alcohol and substance addiction can be addressed as a symptom of our whole being. Different holistic activities include yoga, meditation, massage therapy, and equine therapy. Let’s look at each of these therapies individually to understand better how they affect treatment.

Yoga

Yoga began in India centuries ago. It combines breath and body movement creating awareness of how the body and breath work together to strengthen the body and focus the mind. As a person flows through various poses and stretches, the body is relieved of pain, tightness, and discomfort. Releasing these feelings helps the practitioner release feelings of sadness, stress, depression, and anxiety.

The release of emotions is essential because it helps shift attention away from stress-related situations, depression, and anxiety. Alcohol and substances mask these feelings and create a cycle of denial, pain, guilt, and shame. Yoga helps ground people while they let go of negative feelings.

Researchers have found that yoga regulates the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol and adrenaline are the way bodies respond to feelings of stress. The regulation of these hormones decreases perceived feelings of pressure resulting in lower stress. A decrease in stress lessens the need to self-medicate by drinking or using substances. Yoga increases a sense of calmness and positivity.

Meditation

The popularity of meditation is increasing. Meditation, like yoga, involves the practice of “mindfulness.” Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by being aware of the present while calmly processing and accepting thoughts, emotions, and body. The process of meditation encourages a person to turn off their thoughts and focus their attention on their body. Meditation requires a person to seek answers inside of their mind and body. There is a need to loosen the grip used to control or hide feelings.

The act of meditation is difficult at first because it requires the mind to stop thinking and start relaxing. During a guided meditation, the instructor will begin by asking her/his students to get comfortable. Becoming comfortable includes lying down, seated, or resting in a relaxing position. The instructor then guides students through different steps including:

  • Slowing down the breath
  • Closing eyes
  • Releasing feelings of stress, sadness, guilt, anxiety, and depression
  • Focusing on the breath
  • Thinking of something that the student wants to work on
  • Envisioning how to make changes in their lives
  • Relaxing

Identifying places of tension

Meditation teaches a person to slow down, recognize their feelings, and let go of what troubles them. According to a Harvard study, meditation improves brain health. The study results show how roughly 30 minutes of meditation every day provides numerous benefits for your brain. A few of the benefits are: increased memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. Focusing on slowing down is essential for those in early recovery, as their brains are often healing from drugs and alcohol.

Art Therapy

Researchers from the 1950s discovered Art therapy, especially in early recovery, has many therapeutic benefits. The US News and World Report discusses the power of arts in health and healing and lists some of the benefits of Art therapy. These include:

  • Reducing denial and opposition to treatment
  • Providing a healthy outlet for communication and expression of one’s feelings
  • Decreasing stigma-related shame
  • Motivating positive behavioral change
  • Facilitating group discussions and relational connections

The benefits of Art therapy provide a creative release. Art doesn’t need to be perfect; art is a way to express feelings, including those buried deep inside.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is another form of treatment that is currently gaining popularity. People crave the feeling of being touched. Many addicts shy away from being touched or isolate themselves from others, leaving them with no one to hug or touch them. Positive care shown through touch increases feeling good about yourself and happiness.

Touch stimulates the release of serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters that regulate positive moods. Massage therapy does the same thing. Being massaged by a therapist soothes your mind allowing the feeling of relaxation to take over and releasing stress from the body. In early recovery, the body is withdrawing from alcohol or drugs; massages ease the physical pain a person may feel as a result of the withdrawal process.

Equine Therapy

Patients who are able to access equine therapy learn to take the time with the horse to “get out of their heads.” Horses can sense the emotions of humans and respond to those emotions by mirroring them. Patients are then able to access hidden or dormant emotions. Reconnecting with unexpressed feelings help patients heal.

Holistic treatment, which addresses the mind, body, and soul, is beneficial to treatment and recovery. Integrating various therapies to address past experiences, buried emotions, and latent thoughts help round out therapy. While in therapy, a counselor or therapist can use what is learned through holistic therapy sessions to build a better understanding of triggers, emotions, and strengths. Comprehensive treatment is an important part of healing and creating a strong foundation for the future. Often, holistic therapies are offered on an individual basis in order to recognize, acknowledge, and process painful feelings. Another benefit of individual sessions is the ability to find the type of therapy that fits your needs. You may find one type of therapy feels better and/or respond more positively to therapy in a safe, private setting versus a group setting. The option to receive private care is offered at Achieve Concierge. Achieve Concierge’s website and helpline provide answers to your questions. Contact Achieve Concierge today at (858) 221-0344.

The Dangers of Teens Using Marijuana

The Dangers of Teens Using Marijuana

Marijuana is a safe drug. At least that’s what advocates for marijuana use want us to believe. There are many names for cannabis, including pot and weed. Search the internet with any of these names, and you will find research and claims regarding how safe it is.

Chat rooms, websites, and social media sites discuss how much it helps anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and other psychological issues. However, the fact is that marijuana is addictive, and there is little proof that it helps reduce anxiety or the effects of ADHD. Smoking or ingesting marijuana is risky.

The effects of smoking cannabis can occur within the first 30 minutes after the initial high, and the after-effects can last anywhere from 2-3 hours. Ingesting marijuana via an edible product tends to increase the effects of marijuana, and can have a number of other potential risks, as well.

It is difficult to be aware of or control the exact strength or amount of marijuana you are ingesting. Additionally, the resulting high from ingesting marijuana may last for several hours.

The Internet

You can find any answer you want if you search long enough for it on the internet. Parents and teens seeking alternatives to medication for ADHD, anxiety, or other disorders often rely on what social media users say. Often, the users on these social media platforms lack scientific or medical expertise necessary to determine how marijuana affects the brain.

More often, those who advocate using marijuana to ease anxiety, ADHD, and other psychological issues have little to no background in research or medicine. The lack of expertise presents a danger to those who are seeking answers via the internet. The truth is teens and adults diagnosed with ADHD are at a higher risk for alcohol or substance abuse.

Unfortunately, marijuana is not the answer they are seeking to help them manage their disease. Before taking advice from a person, website, or group on the internet, be sure to take the time to thoroughly research the findings they are reporting—you will find that the quoted research is not actually from scientific studies.

Marijuana Laws

States throughout the country are legalizing marijuana. Some states restrict legal use to medical use only, while others do not. These states include Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, and Alaska. The laws in those states restrict the age of use but fail to address substance abuse or addiction issues.

It is important to remember that the legalization of cannabis doesn’t mean it is safe to use. The side effects on the body and mind have not changed, even though the laws regarding the use of marijuana may have changed. Regardless of the laws, marijuana still isn’t safe for kids, teens, or adults. The misconception with the legalization of marijuana is that it is fine for recreational and medicinal use without any need for concern.

Psychological Effects

At first, the use of marijuana appears to be positive. People report feeling calm; they claim that their minds stop racing and they feel in control. The initial effects of marijuana are similar to what one experiences when using alcohol and drug use.

The body responds to it, allowing the brain to relax. However, much like alcohol or substance abuse, the danger of repeated use is very real. Once marijuana use becomes recurring and habitual, it begins to change the chemical structure of the brain.

Brain cells adapt to THC—the chemical that affects mood—and adjust their structure. Over time, the development of genes alter. Your response to the use of marijuana also alters over time. The frequency and amount of marijuana smoked or ingested builds up a tolerance, so the habit becomes more and more of an interference in your life as your body craves larger quantities. Ultimately, marijuana use transitions from casual use to abuse, followed by dependence as your body’s reliance on the effects of THC increases.

Smoking or eating marijuana doesn’t always guarantee that you will feel good. It can also produce feelings related to:

  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions

Scientists aren’t sure of the reasons why these feelings occur, since studies involving children and teens are considered ethically wrong. The government set in place regulations and laws that explain the special considerations regarding minors’ participation in research.

Research, such as the effects of marijuana on teens, is considered too risky and unethical. Ethics combined with the impact marijuana has on the brain and body, especially developing minds and bodies, restricts using children and teens as research subjects.

Effects on the Brain

Marijuana reduces brain function. How your brain reacts to the use of marijuana depends on the strength, the amount, and previous history of use. Its use impacts memory, cognitive, verbal, and decision-making abilities. Your judgment is clouded. Marijuana might:

  • Lower your inhibitions
  • Slow motor skills
  • Distort the sense of time
  • The capacity to perform day to day functions decreases

The use of marijuana is not harmless, and its effects aren’t limited to psychological or brain function.

Physical Effects

Movies and television paint a picture of the “fun” you can have while using marijuana. People are portrayed as relaxing, laughing, and hanging out with friends. There are jokes about the “munchies” and references to being more creative. Music also normalizes marijuana use.

Singers and rappers describe how they feel, different ways to use marijuana, and glorify the effects. What music and media forms don’t show are the physical side effects. Smoking marijuana hurts your lungs. Starting to smoke in your teen years increases the risk of breathing problems, a persistent cough, and discolored mucus.

Weight gain is not uncommon because marijuana increases appetite. Marijuana use can also cause heart problems related to heart attacks or strokes. When combined with prescription medication or alcohol, the effects of marijuana are altered

. The dangers associated with alcohol can also increase, such as the risk of driving under the influence. Another danger associated with teens or adults using marijuana is that a variety of academic, professional, and personal problems can arise.

The bottom line is marijuana use isn’t safe. Despite what movies, musicians, and social media say, marijuana poses a threat to your health. Marijuana use places you at a higher risk for physical, cognitive, and psychological problems. Using marijuana to ease feelings associated with anxiety, ADHD, and other psychological issues results in long-term harm to your body. The countless websites, blogs, and chat rooms found online that advocate for the alleged safety of marijuana do not provide credible information. Take the time to research their information; you will find it lacks scientific data. Research studies conducted by scientists and medical researchers provide safe, truthful answers. These answers are available and are easy to discuss with a trained counselor or therapist. Instead of relying on faceless people with unknown qualifications, reach out to someone who can help. Do you need to talk with someone about the risk of using marijuana? Contact Achieve Concierge today at (858) 221-0344.