Addiction Blog. Insight and Advice from Our Recovery Experts.

Why Doing a Moral Inventory is Key to Finding Balance and Hope for People with Addiction

Putting faith and control into the hands of someone else is difficult under any circumstances. When asking for guidance as lives have become unmanageable with addiction, it helps to think about Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and how to develop a moral …

Military Men at Risk: Hypertension Associated with PTSD

Military personnel are at high risk of post-traumatic stress disorder. An estimated 11 to 30 percent of veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD – the exact statistics vary by service era. Exposure to combat, life-threatening missions, and the stress of deployment all contribute to lifelong trauma after a tour of duty. Using a nationally representative sample of over 194,000 veterans, researchers from the VA Connecticut Healthcare System found another unexpected consequence of post-traumatic stress disorder: increased risk of hypertension. How Trauma Affects the Body In order to understand the correlation between trauma and high blood pressure, we must first examine …

Why Starting at Step Zero is the Best Place to Begin

The path of recovery is different for everyone. Some people love to look at different recovery programs and find the right one, while others step into 12 steps and realize this is the way they will navigate recovery best. Until you want recovery from addiction, you are not likely to succeed at it. You have to be able to let go of denial in order to focus on what you desire. This includes looking at the 12 steps as a journey, starting with step zero. Step Zero Defined Step zero is not talked about much in terms of the 12 …

What is Freebasing and Why is it Harmful?

Cocaine is an illegal stimulant that offers people feelings of euphoria. A cocaine high is not meant to last, but people often chase it over and over again because their brains get addicted. A drug like cocaine can be addictive from the first hit. Even when a person quits, it may change the brain for good. Freebasing is a dangerous way to use cocaine since inhaling the vapor from it can be more harmful than other ways of inhaling or using cocaine. Find out why it is harmful and how to help a loved one with addiction or challenges using …

What is BZP?

BZP, or n-benzylpiperazine, is sometimes the slang term for ecstasy, A2, MDAI, Head Rush, Exotic Super Strong, and other similar street names. This ‘novel’ drug is emerging because they are different from common drugs and professionals are still learning the lasting effects. BZP is a component drug in ecstasy with many similar effects to MDMA. Much less is known about how BZP affects the body and brain than is known about ecstasy. Effects of BZP BZP is often used in so-called party pills, often in combination with other emergent drugs. A typical dose of BZP is 75 to 150 mg …

Do Drug Tests Detect Crystal Meth?

A crystal meth drug test does not always give a black-and-white answer. Meth residue remains in your blood and saliva for approximately twelve hours, in your urine for three to five days, and in your hair follicles for up to ninety days. You can have a positive test under one of these methodologies and a negative test under another. Crystal Meth Drug Test Process A more critical consideration is the purpose of the test. If, for example, a court order requires you to take a drug test (typically in a criminal parole or probation situation), you will likely need to …

Forming Relationships in AA

One of the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is to wait a year before entering into a relationship. For some, this might feel really restrictive. The idea behind this principle of Alcoholics Anonymous relationships is that an individual must learn to love oneself before loving someone else, though. Whether to wait a year or not is an individual choice. However, it’s worth exploring the reasons it is worthwhile to wait according to the theories behind AA and relationships.‍ AA and Relationships Knowing the reasons that it’s beneficial to wait before getting into a relationship can give you the strength you …

Why Men Struggle with These 4 Issues in Recovery

Recovery is a difficult journey for men because they face different obstacles and barriers to getting help. The stigma men face may keep them from seeking help because they are supposed to be strong, fearless warrior-types. They go out and find what they want and go after it. This produces ideology men have to follow that they are not to admit weakness. Addiction is not a weakness, nor is recovery, but culturally, the narrative still seems to support men as being weaker when they ask for help. To maintain recovery, men should be aware of four dynamic issues that may …

drugs in men

Signs of Drug Use in Men

There’s a persistent misconception that addiction results from poor judgment or an inherent flaw. The truth is that substance use disorders are a brain disease that can affect anyone, especially if they have a family history of drug abuse or mental illness. This Men’s Health Month, knowing the warning signs to look for can help you figure out if someone you care about is risking harmful consequences by abusing drugs. 1. Tolerance A tolerance occurs when someone’s brain has adapted to having drugs in their system. These substances are literally mind-altering because they cause the brain’s reward and pleasure centers …

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Xanax (generic name alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine prescribed for anxiety disorders. Unfortunately, some men take it without a prescription, just to get a quick relaxation effect. Over 100,000 people a year wind up in emergency rooms due to nonmedical use of Xanax, often in combination with alcohol or another depressant drug. Even when taken as a legitimate prescription, Xanax carries risks—notably the risk of addiction. Avoiding Xanax Addiction Benzodiazepines are particularly addictive drugs, largely because physical tolerance develops quickly. So if your doctor recommends a Xanax prescription, plan on taking it for a limited time (ideally no more than three …

Do Benzodiazepines Affect Dopamine Levels?

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs designed to alleviate symptoms of anxiety. Introduced in the mid-1950s, “benzos” were originally intended to take the place of highly addictive barbiturates. However, decades of research have revealed that benzodiazepines can be just as habit-forming as the drugs they were meant to replace. The addictive potential of benzos lies in their method of action. Like opioids, cannabinoids, and other drugs, this medication can wreak havoc on a person’s dopamine levels. The outcome? A severe substance use disorder. Dopamine Explained No discussion of addiction is complete without mention of dopamine. It’s the “feel-good” neurotransmitter responsible …

Should I Consider Intermittent Fasting in Recovery?

One of the best things you can do in recovery is to take care of your health. Intermittent fasting may sound intense but it is something to consider if you are sober and ready for a challenge. Daily fasting takes place while we sleep. By taking control of periods of ‘fasting,’ we are better able to manage our cravings, see benefits in our skin, and also intestinal health. Find out more about intermittent fasting and if it is something you should consider for overall health. Benefits of Fasting Fasting has an element of human life, and has been there, since …

10 Common Lies Compulsive Gamblers Tell Themselves

Gambling addictions do not create the same level of chemical dependence that are seen in substance addictions, but the withdrawal effects that compulsive gamblers experience when they are unable to indulge in their chosen gambling activities can be debilitating and disruptive to the gambler’s life. As with individuals who are addicted to alcohol or drugs, compulsive gamblers share common traits, the chief of which is an ability to deceive and to tell lies to both themselves and the people around them. Below are some common lies gamblers tell that show they need gamblers rehab. 10 Common Lies Gamblers Tell “I …

Why is a Daily ‘Pause’ Button Important for Recovery?

When people think about hitting ‘pause,’ it typically means they think of stopping altogether. Not just pausing to reflect on why sobriety is a powerful recovery tool, but how to stop doing what they are doing altogether in favor of a different way of life. While there are bigger pauses in life, there is also an element of hitting pause on the small moments. The thoughts, the triggers, the cravings, and everything in between the margins that can cause recovery to feel more difficult than it needs to. Pausing is a choice to live with intention in recovery and find …

How to Face Your Recovery Obstacles with Courage

Some of the bigger obstacles in recovery can feel like huge stumbling blocks on the road to feeling successful. Whenever you are faced with obstacles, there is also opportunity. You now have a chance to find your way back to a healthier way of looking at things rather than focusing on what isn’t working any longer. To embrace the obstacles in recovery, you might consider some of the following tips. Ask for Help This might seem like a no-brainer, but men are not always the best at asking for help (with anything, period). There is a myth, anyway, that men …

CPTSD

CPTSD Recognized by the World Health Organization

The World Health Organization recently defined a new diagnosis for complex post-traumatic stress disorder. Mental health experts have now summarized the symptoms and issued updated guidelines for clinical assessment and treatment. What Is CPTSD? PTSD is one of the best-known trauma responses. People affected by this disorder suffer overwhelming physical and mental symptoms. But mental health professionals have known for decades that some trauma victims or survivors exhibit a broader array of psychological changes, now officially recognized as CPTSD. Some CPTSD symptoms, such as emotional dysregulation, mimic the characteristics of personality disorders. To receive an accurate diagnosis of CPTSD, talk to …

What Does Being an Empath Have to Do with Addiction?

Empaths are susceptible to pretty much everything because they have a lot of open energy pathways that allow them to feel more than others. Emotionally, psychologically, and physically, they feel more than most, tap into other people’s pain, and overload their senses quite often. Thoughts and feelings can become overwhelming. An empath is someone for whom addiction may take root quickly and not be easy to get rid of because it becomes ingrained in their psyche as to who they are, not just a part of themselves. There are some ways empaths can overcome addiction, it just takes some time …

How to Know if Executive Sober Living Programs Are a Good Fit

Leaving rehab is a time of great challenge for people in recovery. After completion of a program, you may feel ready to return to life but life has other plans. Executives especially may find it daunting to return to the previous pace of life and stay sober. Executive sober living programs can be a good way to meet those demands. Before choosing a sober living program, it helps to answer the following questions about whether or not it is a good fit. Know the Residents Selecting a sober living home for executives is challenging because you have a certain lifestyle …

What is the Difference Between Hard and Soft Drugs?

The term ‘soft drugs,’ and ‘hard drugs’ are arbitrary terms with little to no clear way criteria. The term ‘hard drug’ has been used to categorize drugs including meth and marijuana. Marijuana is usually the only drug included in ‘soft’ drugs, although some people include nicotine and alcohol in this category for legal status use by adults. It is often referred to as a gateway drug, a term equally inaccurate. Questions Raised Use of these terms raises more questions than it answers. Is a drug only ‘hard’ when injected. Heroin, crack, and meth are not ‘soft’ drugs when smoked. With …

How Long Does Heroin Last?

Heroin is an opiate that strongly affects the brain. Once heroin reaches the brain, dopamine levels rise, creating the sensation of reward. Regular heroin use can result in tolerance, meaning that the amount a person originally used to signal reward in the brain is no longer enough to get an equal or better high. Tolerance means that you have to take a larger dose of heroin to achieve the same result as you did before, putting you more at risk for overdose and addiction. Whether you’ve already developed a heroin tolerance or are new to the drug, you may have …

What is Family Sculpting?

Family therapy is part of rehab and recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. Recovery is not something a person does in a vacuum, it is a process that takes people on a journey, along with family, friends, and loved ones. Psychodrama is one tool people can use to grow in recovery from addiction. What is Family Sculpting The first step in family sculpting is to determine who is ready to do the work at this time. When someone steps forward to do the work is most likely ready to begin a deep, introspective process of looking inward at themselves and …

How to Build a Successful Recovery on a Foundation of Humility

Working hard in recovery can put things into perspective. Humility is one of the traits that are helpful to have when looking to build a successful recovery. Shaping your journey around humility helps you see things differently. It may not come naturally to you, but you can work towards this goal if you put in some effort early on. Learn how to shape a recovery that is focused on humility and helps you find hope and healing. Serve Others When you serve others, it is a humbling experience. Whether you work with people who are homeless, or you serve others …