Skin Abscess from Injecting Heroin

The Dangers of Skin Abscess from Injecting Heroin

The highly addictive, semi-synthetic opioid made from morphine, a substance taken from opium poppy plants that produces intense feelings of euphoria has exploded along with the opioid epidemic in the USA. As prescribed opioids by doctors and prescribers become harder to get, newly formed addicts turn to the street drug known as “heroin” for their latest fix. Mostly in urban centers, drug use has skyrocketed, but also in many major cities and states across the country. Homelessness and abject poverty have created swaths of hardship, disease, and drug laden tent cities where drug use takes center stage. These dens of inequity are breeding grounds for health hazards and complications from intravenous drug use. Along with the increase in drug overdoses and death, another health hazard often develops within user groups, which is a skin abscess from injecting heroin. These skin abscesses themselves can be quite dangerous and lead to further health consequences. That is why it is important to understand what they are and what complications can arise from them.

What is a Skin Abscess?

Usually, a skin abscess is a tender mass surrounded by pink and red flesh, sometimes referred to as a “boil.” This bump is usually bloated with pus or translucent fluid, which is often a sign of an infection. They are usually very painful and warm to the touch and can show up anywhere on your body. An abscess can form when the skin barrier is broken via minor traumas, cuts, or inflammation. Your body’s immune defenses involve an inflammatory response that sends millions of white blood cells to the infected area. The middle of the abscess will then liquefy, containing the dead cells, bacteria, and other scattered waste and remains. Unlike most infections, antibiotics alone will not cure an abscess. These complications may need intervention depending on the severity of the infection and tissue damage. That is why it is important to seek attention as soon as possible.

How Skin Abscess from Injecting Heroin Form

Once a drug user becomes a full blown addict, the fix becomes paramount while all other considerations fall to the wayside. Often times, an addict will find themselves using needles in unsanitary conditions with “dirty” syringes that may be contaminated by other user’s blood, but also by bacterial growth. Each individual, as well as the environment, is covered in microscopic bacterium that may colonize damaged areas of the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis during intravenous drug use. These colonies may jump from needle to user quite effectively without the proper sanitation that can now be found in fix rooms in some major cities. Contaminated needles deliver the bacteria past the skin barrier into the blood stream and also into these soft tissues. Multiple punctures in the same area may worsen the wound and will, in turn, be more likely to be infected during the heroin injections. Forming a skin abscess from injecting heroin becomes common during the constant urge to get another fix. Multiple boils may form as the addict searches for new injection points that aren’t collecting fluid and swelling with pain, redness, and warmth.

Complications from Abscess from Shooting Up

Without treatment, many dangerous complications can arise from these heroin abscesses. If the infection spreads, it has the potential to cross the blood-brain barrier. The key structure of the blood-brain barrier is the “endothelial tight junction.” Endothelial cells line the blood vessels interior and form the blood-brain barrier; these cells are wedged very tightly, so much so, that only small molecules, fat-soluble molecules, and some gases can pass through. A bacterial infection, however, has the potential to bind to the endothelial wall, causing the junction to open slightly. This development means toxins and bacteria can enter and attack the brain tissue, which can mean inflammation, brain swelling, and even death.

Another complication can arise, often referred to as “blood poisoning,” which is used to describe bacteremia, septicemia, or sepsis. Sepsis is a serious and potentially fatal blood infection. These infections can occur in your abdomen, lungs, and urinary tract. Septic shock has a 50 percent mortality rate, so these complications would call for quick attention.

Endocarditis is another more specific infection that is possible from heroin abscess complications, as it is the inflammation of the heart’s inner lining, called the endocardium. The condition is uncommon for those with healthy hearts, but a possibility for long time drug users that have abused their bodies. This condition may develop over time and may go undiagnosed as the symptoms are similar to the flu and pneumonia. Fever, chills, muscle and joint pain, nausea, heart murmur, swollen limbs or torso, and a cough are common symptoms of this infection.

Tissue death or gangrene in the area of the abscess is another concern as it usually affects your extremities, which also happen to be injection points. It can start in a hand or leg and spread throughout your entire body and cause you to suffer shock. Shock will be marked by low blood pressure or hypotension. Vital organs such as the brain may we starved of oxygen and nutrients, creating light-headedness, weakness, blurred vision, and fatigue.

Ken Seeley Communities Provides Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Ken Seeley Communities is a recovery program specializing in addiction and dual diagnosis conditions. With an expert team of recovery agents, Ken Seeley Communities guides individuals through the steps necessary to recover from heroin’s dark path, starting with processing, detox, treatment, and aftercare. Ken Seeley is known for being an interventionist that provides quality and professional care for families dealing with addiction and has the communication skills necessary to persuade individuals to enter treatment. Once entered into the treatment process, individuals will be provided evidence-based treatment solutions, as well as nutritious programs and fitness regimen to support the recovery. Sobriety is a multi-stage and multi-faceted undertaking, which is why our treatments are comprehensive and robust. For more information about the program, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

Codeine Recreational

How to Stop Taking Codeine Safely

Who would ever suspect that an innocent bottle of cough syrup could be problematic? But the reality is that contained in that prescription cough medication is an opioid called codeine. Codeine misuse may start through the legitimate clinical use of the cough suppressant, or it could result from recreation use known on the street as Lean, Purple Drank, Sizzurp, and Texas Tea.

Regardless of the origin of the codeine abuse it can lead to increased tolerance, escalation of dosing, and ultimately addiction. Once someone has decided they are ready to stop using codeine there is a knee-jerk impulse to abruptly stop using it. However, just as with all opioid dependency, it is important to understand how to stop taking codeine safely.

About Codeine Addiction

Codeine is derived from the poppy plant and has been used for medical treatment for 200 years. Although codeine is available as a stand-alone prescription analgesic in pill form, it is often combined with other ingredients. These medications may include other pain relievers such as Tylenol or promethazine and is available in pill, capsule, or liquid forms. Codeine-containing medications are used to treat a variety of symptoms, including cough, diarrhea, and low-level pain. Codeine is a Schedule II substance, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse, which could result in addiction or dependence. In combination medications containing 90 milligrams or less of codeine, the classification is Schedule III, designating a slightly lower risk of abuse.

Codeine abuse tends to be most prominent among young, urban males. Rappers have added to the allure of the concoctions created using codeine, only increasing the popularity of codeine abuse. The drug acts by blocking pain signals to the brain, acting much the same way as morphine does. In fact, a portion of the codeine is converted by the body into morphine in approximately 70% of those who use the drug.

Effects of Codeine Abuse

As with other opioids, the body will become more tolerant to the drug’s effects, prompting the individual to begin using heavier doses. Over time, the drug may be combined with other substances, such as benzos or alcohol, to achieve the desired high, and in some cases switching to more potent opioids.

While the initial effect of the drug is relaxation, pain relief, and mild euphoria, prolonged use will begin to cause side effects. These might include:

  • Itching or rash
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Shallow breathing
  • Mental confusion
  • Problems urinating
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Delirium and hallucination
  • Seizures

When codeine abuse escalates it can depress the central nervous system, dangerously slowing the respiratory rate. Risk of overdose death is increased if the codeine is used with alcohol, which could cause respiratory failure.

Different Forms of Codeine Recreational

Detoxing From Codeine

Knowing how to stop taking codeine in a safe manner is essential when deciding to get clean and sober. There is a risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms if the drug is abruptly stopped, so detoxification should only be accomplished through a residential detox. These residential detox programs will create a tapering schedule that will ease the person off the codeine safely, allowing the body to adjust.

While withdrawal symptoms can be somewhat regulated through tapering, some unpleasant symptoms are unavoidable. These symptoms will be managed through medications and treatments that will help minimize discomfort.

Codeine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Extreme irritability
  • Agitation
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue, malaise

Treatment For Codeine Recreational Abuse

The fact is that, over time, certain addictive behaviors became habit. The mind is a powerful instrument in relaying thoughts that would lead the individual to reach for the codeine. To overcome the codeine addiction or dependency, it is critical to make changes in thought/behavior patterns. Without making these core shifts in thinking and reacting, cravings for the drug, or ingrained addictive thought processes, would simply drive the person right back into using codeine.

After detox is completed, a rehab program will help the person accomplish these fundamental changes using cognitive behavioral therapy as an essential tool. Therapy will be offered in one-on-one settings as well as group settings, and combined with other treatment elements, such as detox treatment, 12-step meetings, and relapse prevention planning.

Ken Seeley Communities Treats Codeine Abuse and Addiction

Ken Seeley Communities offers detox, rehab, and sober living services for treating codeine addiction in California. Because codeine addiction follows the same trajectory as any other opioid addiction, it is helpful to understand how to stop taking codeine recreational through a tapering schedule. This allows the detoxification process to go smoother, increasing the chances of successfully completing detox and then transitioning into treatment. Treatment can be received through either an outpatient or residential program, depending on the severity of the codeine addiction. Ken Seeley Communities offers compassionate support at every juncture of the recovery process. For more details about the program, please reach out to Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

alcohol and social anxiety

The Link Between Alcohol and Social Anxiety

When considering what may drive someone to use alcohol as a soothing panacea for managing mental wellness disorders it is helpful to gain a deeper understanding of the connection between social anxiety and alcohol abuse. It isn’t difficult to identify the causal nature of this link, considering the effects of social anxiety on a person. For individuals who suffer from social anxiety, the intense level of discomfort in social situations can lead to an array of physical symptoms. These include a racing heart, spiked cortisol and adrenaline production, palpitations, sweating, shaking, and nausea. Alcohol can behave as a very quick antidote to these symptoms, producing a calming, relaxing effect in moments.

But as with all substances that produce chemical changes in the brain, alcohol can create a whole host of additional problems on top of the social anxiety it is supposed to be helping. The partnership between alcohol and social anxiety becomes symbiotic, that is the effects of one enhance the effects of the other, as a vicious cycle. Alcohol abuse can enhance the anxiety symptoms, as well as contribute to depression and many negative consequences in one’s life.

Why Do Those With Social Anxiety Use Alcohol?

Someone with social anxiety disorder typically has an intense fear of social events and interactions. This can include fearing simple activities like eating a meal in public or something associated with an extreme fear of being judged, such as public speaking. It has been found that 20% of those who suffer from social anxiety disorder also present with a comorbid alcohol use disorder, according to the article by Book and Randall, “Social Anxiety Disorder and Alcohol Use.” Alcohol can help these individuals relax in social settings, reducing the anxiety symptoms associated with the social phobia.

For those who dread the prospect of being scrutinized or criticized publically, turning to alcohol can be the last thing they do before leaving the house. Self-medicating fears away is only going to provide a temporary Band-Aid as more and more of the substance will inevitably be needed to relax.

Signs of Alcohol Dependency

Alcohol dependency comes in stealthily, like a thief in the night attempting to rob one of everything they hold dear. While the alcohol started out as a crutch for managing social anxiety, over time increased tolerance resulted in higher levels of alcohol consumption. There are some specific signs that alcohol abuse has evolved into a disorder. These signs include:

  • Being unable to control the levels of alcohol consumption. No shut-off capability
  • Turn to alcohol first thing in the morning
  • Hiding alcohol in the house or at work, or lying about alcohol use
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Excessive absences from work or classes
  • Decline in work or academic performance
  • Obsess about getting alcohol, having enough on hand, anticipating drinking
  • Try to quit alcohol but cannot stop
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms when try to quit

Treatment for Social Anxiety

Treating social anxiety will involved a combination of targeted psychotherapy and the use of medication. The psychotherapy best suited for treating social anxiety disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In addition, exposure therapies are also helpful in assisting individuals in overcoming their fear of social situations.

Antidepressants may be effective in managing the symptoms of social anxiety disorder. In addition, other types of antidepressants, such as the SNRI has been shown to be effective for this anxiety disorder. Anti-anxiety medications may also help reduce feelings of anxiety in a stressful situation, however these drugs have a high propensity for abuse and addiction.

Treatment for an Alcohol Use Disorder

When seeking help for an alcohol use disorder the first step in the process of recovery will be the detoxification process. Alcohol detox should always be conducted in the safe and supportive detox environment. Alcohol detox can suddenly introduce serious health risks, such as seizures or the delirium tremens, so detox should never be done without appropriate supervision.

Once the detox is completed, it is time to transition to treatment for the alcohol and social anxiety disorders. Both disorders should be treated simultaneously using psychotherapy, such as CBT and motivational enhancement therapy, medication, 12-step programming, and adjunctive activities that can enhance the conventional treatments. These might include recreational therapy, mindfulness, EMDR therapy, yoga, and hypnotherapy.

Ken Seeley Communities Treats Dual Diagnosis in Palm Springs

Ken Seeley Communities is an integrated alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment center in California. At Ken Seeley Communities, great lengths are taken to match the needs of each individual client based on their particular substance of abuse or co-occurring mental wellness condition. For alcohol and social anxiety, a comprehensive approach to treating the co-occurring disorders would involve evidence-based therapies that are targeted toward social anxiety disorder. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and exposure-based therapies. The alcohol use disorder should be treated simultaneously for the best recovery outcome. For more information about our recovery services, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

Alcohol and Depression

Dual Diagnosis Alcohol and Depression

A dual diagnosis occurs when an individual is struggling with both a substance use disorder and a coexisting mental wellness disorder. Dual diagnosis is a complex and prevalent condition that impacts about 25% of those with a drug or alcohol addiction, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Wellness Services Administration. Of those, the most common is the dual diagnosis alcohol and depression combination.

There are two ways the dual diagnosis alcohol and depression can develop. In some cases, the individual is experience a major depressive episode and may turn to alcohol as a means of self-medicating their emotional pain away. Over time, the tolerance to alcohol increases, resulting in more excessive drinking and potentially alcohol addiction. This is a situation where depression was a precursor to alcoholism. In others, the individual develops alcoholism first. As the consequences that result from the alcohol addiction mount, depression can set in, indicating that alcoholism can trigger a depressive disorder. In both scenarios, the dual diagnosis alcohol and depression is the outcome.

This particular dual diagnosis is a particularly dangerous one. Because alcohol is a depressant, and can cause major devastation in all aspects of one’s life, when co-occurring with depression there is a higher risk of suicide. In fact, suicide rates among alcoholics are exorbitantly high. According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, among alcoholics, the lifetime risk of suicide is 10%-15%, and that, in fact, depression and alcoholism were comorbid in 85% of 100 cases of completed suicide.

Treatment for individuals who present with this dual diagnosis of alcohol and depression will need to be provided through a specialized dual diagnosis provider where both disorders will be treated simultaneously for the best recovery outcome. These programs include psychiatric expertise on staff that are trained to respond to the issues that may emerge during detoxification and rehab.

Signs of the Dual Diagnosis Alcohol and Depression Co-Occurrence

The symptoms of both disorders, depressive disorder and alcohol dependency, will be evident in individuals who have developed this dual diagnosis. These symptoms include:

Depression

  • Sadness, despair, hopelessness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of desire to participate in usual activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Slowed motor and cognitive functioning
  • Inappropriate feelings of shame or guilt
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts

Alcoholism

  • Tolerance increases causing increased alcohol consumption
  • Experiences blackouts
  • Increasing time spent thinking about, obtaining alcohol, and recovering from drinking
  • Continue to drink despite negative consequences
  • Secretive behavior, hiding alcohol, lying about how much is being consumed
  • Efforts to quit or cut back are ineffective
  • Physical signs include bloating, glassy eyes, ruddy complexion
  • Withdrawal signs commence when alcohol is not available

Characteristics of Alcoholism and Coexisting Depression

The fallout for this dual diagnosis can be exceptional. Struggling with both depression and alcohol dependency can result in a slew of negative consequences. This can be due to the increased impulsivity of the alcoholic, an increase in risk-taking behaviors, and neglecting obligations, among other causes.

Consequences of the dual diagnosis of alcoholism and depression might include:

  • Loss of job
  • Divorce or interpersonal relationship issues
  • Loss of custody
  • Financial consequences due to job loss
  • Legal problems, such as getting a DUI
  • Health problems, such as pancreatitis, liver disease, heart disease, cancer
  • Accidents that result in injury to self or others, or damaged property

Individuals with a dual diagnosis of alcoholism and depression should not ignore the need for professional help. Loved ones who recognize these signs and symptoms are encouraged to seek out treatment for the individual.

Suicide Prevention

One of the more devastating consequences of alcoholism/depression co-occurring disorders is the dramatically increased risk of suicide. Primary care providers are being trained to assess for risk of suicide among patients who are alcohol dependent, hopefully increasing referrals to addiction treatment programs. These patients should be questioned about possible presence of depression symptoms as a way of identifying suicide risk in this group.

Suicide awareness includes recognizing symptoms such as:

  • Prolonged and persistent sadness, signs of hopelessness
  • The individual conveys the opinion that his or her loved ones are better off without them
  • Isolating behaviors
  • Loneliness
  • Successive setbacks that occur, such as relationship problems, loss of employment, financial difficulties
  • Appear to be giving away prized possessions
  • Making end of life arrangements
  • Saying goodbye to loved ones and friends
  • Acquiring the means to commit suicide, such as a firearm, rope, pills

Comprehensive Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

Treatment for the dual diagnosis will involve a full spectrum of therapeutic interventions that work together in an integrated approach to recovery. These treatment elements include:

Residential detox and withdrawal: Alcohol detox should always be supervised, as potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms can suddenly emerge. 

Individual psychotherapy: Therapy is an essential core element for treating both disorders. The therapist will guide the individual to examine sources of emotional pain and help them resolve these. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy helps shift addiction responses toward positive, productive behavioral responses, as well as teaching coping skills.

Group counseling. Group therapy supports peer interaction and is a source for sharing and accountability.

Relapse Prevention: Individuals create a detailed relapse prevention strategy by identifying specific triggers or situations that could lead to relapse, and response strategies as well.

Continuing care services: Following completion of the program, sober living housing, 12-step group participation, and outpatient counseling are strongly encouraged.

Ken Seeley Communities Provides Expert Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Ken Seeley Communities is a Palm Springs-based addiction and dual diagnosis recovery program. The expert dual diagnosis clinical staff is trained to treat both disorders, alcoholism and depression, concurrently, providing detox, rehab, and sober living transitional housing. Ken Seeley Communities features a unique approach to guiding individuals into recovery, including intervention services and a subsequent continuum of care throughout the recovery process. For more detail about the program, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

Prescription Opioid

Prescription Opioid to Heroin Use

Over-prescribing prescription opioid has led to a national drug epidemic resulting in millions of people developing an addiction to these drugs. While doctors were initially misinformed about the drugs’ potential for addiction by the manufacturers, financial compensation lured them into unscrupulous prescribing practices that have had devastating consequences.

A pattern emerged about a decade ago, when it was noticed that heroin use had dramatically increased. This was strange because for decades heroin had been relegated to the fringe among recreational drug users. Suddenly, heroin addiction was on the rise in segments of the population where it had not formerly been common, such as in upscale suburban communities. Eventually, a connection between prescription opioid to heroin use was revealed, explaining the spike in heroin addiction.

Why People Shift From Prescription Opioid to Heroin Use

Prescription opioids are extremely addicting, even in as little as two weeks of prescribed use a patient can become addicted. When the prescription runs out, the individual will begin to feel sick, therefore asking for a refill. When the doctor finally refuses to refill the prescription, the now addicted patient becomes desperate. They may search for the opioids on the Internet or purchase the pills on the street. They may begin doctor shopping, hoping to score a new prescription. But when all avenues eventually dry up, the individual may shift from prescription opioid to heroin use.

Heroin is also an opioid, created from morphine, which is derived from the opium poppy plant. Prescription opioids have a similar effect to heroin, so gravitating to heroin when the synthetic opioids are no longer available or affordable is a natural step for the addict to take. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 80% of heroin users report first misusing prescription opioids. Heroin offers these individuals a more potent high at a fraction of the cost.

Overcoming a Heroin Addiction

It is a very difficult decision to seek out treatment for a heroin addiction no matter what devastation it has done to one’s life. The prospect of being “dope sick,” and then going through the painful process of detox and withdrawal can be a significant barrier to treatment. While this fear is understandable, it is important for loved ones to help the heroin addict to focus on the longer view. In some cases, accessing the services of a professional interventionist is the most effective and expedient way to get a loved one to the point of accepting help.

Once the individual has agreed to enter treatment, they will embark on an extended stay at a residential rehab where they will be guided through the early phases of the recovery journey. These phases include:

  • Residential detox. The individual will undergo detox and withdrawal under the supervision of a detox team that will provide interventions to ease withdrawal symptoms.
  • Therapy. Psychotherapy will be scheduled throughout the week, alternating between individual therapy sessions with a licensed psychotherapist, group sessions that are led by a therapist or clinician, and family-focused sessions where family members are invited to participate.
  • Classes. Addiction education helps individuals gain a better understanding of the effects of opioids on the brain and how the drug alters brain chemistry and function. The classes also focus on planning relapse prevention strategies, and equip the individual with essential recovery skills.
  • Holistic activities. Learning how to manage emotions, stress, and difficult life events in recovery is an essential asset. Utilizing activities that promote relaxation and reduce stress will help the individual stay on track. These include deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, massage therapy, and mindfulness.

Continuing Care After Rehab

Once the rehab program has been successfully completed, the individual will need to access continuing care services to reinforce their newfound freedom from drug addiction. These include ongoing weekly outpatient therapy and classes, sober living housing, and active participation in a recovery community such as A.A.’s 12-step meetings or SMART Recovery meetings. Heroin addiction is treatable. Why not break free from the grip of addiction and begin your journey back to happiness today.

Ken Seeley Communities Offers Opioid Addiction Treatment in Palm Springs

Ken Seeley Communities is a comprehensive addiction recovery program offering intervention, residential detox, rehabilitation, sober living, and aftercare services. At Ken Seeley Communities, the expert clinical staff is highly experienced in treating individuals who have segued from prescription opioid to heroin use. Providing the latest in proven, evidence-based addiction treatment protocols, Ken Seeley Communities will guide each client through the phases of opioid recovery with respect and compassion. For more information about Ken Seeley Communities, please contact us at (877) 744-0502.

relapse triggers

10 Relapse Triggers

Like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky pipe before it blows, the onset of a relapse begins with small, nearly undetectable, signs. As anyone in recovery will tell you, the threat of relapse is ever present as the “monster” just lies in wait. As it is often referred to, addiction is a wily foe. It is stealthy and omnipresent, and seeks opportunities should you let your guard down.

While in treatment there is an important emphasis on relapse prevention planning. Clients are encouraged to give this assignment careful attention, and to do a thorough and introspective review of potential triggers. Many triggers are obvious, such as hanging out with people who use or drink or becoming over confident to the point of deluding yourself. But with so many possible triggers that can trip up the newly sober individual it bears reviewing here the most common 10 relapse triggers.

That Are the Most Common 10 Relapse Triggers?

Early recovery requires constant vigilance on behalf of the newly sober individual. The addict brain is cunning and will continue to try to convince you to return to using. Being aware of the traps is intrinsic to overcoming the lure when the wrong path beckons. The 10 relapse triggers that most often befall the recovering addict or alcoholic include the following:

  1. Boredom. Too much down time can allow the mind to conjure up ideas and thoughts about using drugs or alcohol in order to relieve boredom. Just being still and alone with oneself if sometimes very difficult in early recovery, tempting some to return to the substance.
  2. Loneliness. Cutting old friends loose in recovery can result in feelings of loneliness. Loneliness is a very powerful emotion that can quickly lead to romancing the substance again, using it as substitution for a human relationship.
  3. Stress. In many cases, abusing drugs or alcohol was initially used as a coping tool for managing stress, so navigating stress in recovery without the crutch can be challenging. Work and family stress can overpower someone in recovery, leading to a relapse.
  4. Mental wellness disorder. An untreated or undiagnosed mental wellness condition, such as depression or anxiety, can be very triggering. Many with a mood disorder or anxiety used alcohol or drugs to self-medicate, or mask the difficult symptoms.
  5. Glamorizing addiction. After a certain period of sobriety it is common for those in recovery to begin playing head games with themselves, romancing their time as an addict and pining away for those freewheeling days.
  6. Social connections. Continuing to hang out with friends or acquaintances that party and do not support your recovery will eventually trigger a relapse.
  7. Dating. A.A. recommends that someone in early recovery wait a year before initiating a new relationship. Romantic strife or a breakup can trigger deep emotions that may trigger a relapse.
  8. Overconfidence. Many a recovering addict has fallen victim to overconfidence. After a year or so it may seem entirely reasonable that you can handle having just one drink at an event, resulting in a weeklong bender that ends with a readmit to rehab.
  9. Stop working the program. Recovery is hard work. It requires your constant attention and a lot of self-discipline. Some may grow weary from this and begin to skip meetings or continue nurturing sober friendships and connections, and that can leave the person vulnerable to relapse.
  10. Guilt and shame. In recovery, many may feel the full effect of the damage done and harm caused while in active addiction. The feelings of guilt and low self-esteem around these realizations can lead the person to believe there is no point in remaining sober.

Addiction is a complex disease. The triggers that could send one person careening toward relapse may not affect another at all. Knowing your own particular weaknesses and vulnerabilities and humbly seeking support when it becomes clear that the “pipe is springing leaks” and is about to burst. Call someone. Go to a meeting. Distract yourself with a project. Do not let the wily one win.

Ken Seeley Communities is a Full Service Addiction Program in California

Ken Seeley Communities provides a wide range of addiction treatment services, including intervention services, residential detox, outpatient programming, residential rehab, and sober living housing. Our continuing care services can help the newly sober client confront the 10 relapse triggers mentioned above and reinforce relapse prevention. Ken Seeley has a long career in the field of addiction recovery, and is well known for his appearances on A&E’s Intervention series.

Nestled in a beautiful and serene desert setting in Palm Springs, California, Ken Seeley Communities offers an effective blend of evidence-based psychotherapies, complimentary holistic therapies, and a sense of community that helps foster a new healthy life in recovery. For more information about our spectrum of services, please reach out to Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

medication for alcoholism

Drugs To Treat Alcoholism

Anyone who has attempted to quit drinking unsuccessfully understands the powerful grip of alcohol addiction. Alcoholism is a brain disease, a result of the altered brain chemistry and neural pathways that can make it a very daunting and frustrating condition to rise above. While therapy can and does help the alcoholic learn how to break down the deeply engrained addiction behaviors that hold a person captive, it is sometimes not enough to fend off the relentless cravings for alcohol.

In recent years, drugs to treat alcoholism have become available to add additional mettle to the daily battle the recovering alcoholic faces. While recovery from alcoholism requires a comprehensive treatment approach for best outcomes, the medication-assisted treatment for this relentless disease is a welcome treatment element. These drugs are intended as adjunctive measures to further reinforce recovery, and not to be thought of as standalone treatment measures.

Why Is Alcoholism So Hard to Overcome?

Not only can drinking alcohol become addictive, but once addiction or dependency take root, alcoholism can be very difficult—although not impossible!—to overcome. Recovering from alcoholism is very unique to the individual. Some of the same factors that contributed to the addiction in the first place, such as genetics, growing up in a home where alcohol use was prevalent, a history of emotional or physical trauma or abuse, and individual biology, will be issues in recovery.

This means that for some people, beating alcoholism is very challenging. They may have to battle against a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, or mental wellness issues that keep them dependent on using alcohol for coping with the unpleasant symptoms. For every recovering alcoholic there are the societal pressures to drink, the television commercials and magazine ads that promote alcohol use, and entrenched habits to overcome.

Drugs To Treat Alcoholism

So far, there are three FDA-approved drugs on the market for assisting in alcohol recovery. These include:

  • Disulfiram (Antabuse). Approved in 1951 as a measure to support sobriety in alcoholics, Antabuse acts as a deterrent to drinking. Once the individual is on Antabuse, if they drink they can experience highly unpleasant and even dangerous effects, such as extreme headache, nausea and vomiting, chest pain, heart palpitations, blurred vision, mental confusion, and respiratory difficulty. Knowing that these effects will occur if they drink, the idea is to deter any consideration to drink.
  • Acamprosate (Campral). Campral also works to reduce alcohol cravings and relapse. Additionally, Campral can help minimize the lingering withdrawal symptoms that can persist for months, such as sleep disturbances, edginess, and depression.

These drugs may be prescribed singularly or in combination based on each individual’s unique recovery needs or issues.

Are Drugs to Treat Alcoholism Safe?

When taken under a physician’s supervision, these drugs are generally safe, however there are some side effects that should be noted. Antabuse can have serious health effects, even including heart attack, respiratory failure, coma, and death. For this reason, Antabuse is not recommended for individuals with a history of repeated relapses. Vivitrol, ReVia, and Campral can have side effects such as headache, nausea, headaches, diarrhea, and fatigue.

What Is Comprehensive Treatment for Alcoholism?

Because of the complexity of alcohol dependency, recovery from alcoholism necessitates a multi-modal approach to treatment. Going about beating alcoholism from several different angles offers the best chances at a successful recovery result. There are three primary phases  of alcoholism recovery, including:

  • Residential Detox. A Residential Detox is the first step in the recovery journey, and can be one of the biggest obstacles to initiating treatment for an alcohol use disorder. This is because of the harsh, even dangerous, withdrawal symptoms that arise during detox. For this reason, individuals are cautioned never to approach detox alone without licensed supervision. During detox the detox specialists will provide the necessary medications to mitigate many of the withdrawal symptoms, and guide the individual safely through the process. In addition, the detox professionals offer important psychological support as well, as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and mental  confusion are common in detox and withdrawal.
  • Addiction Treatment. Treatment for an alcohol use disorder can be provided in either an outpatient or residential setting. Addiction recovery involves making fundamental changes to the learned behaviors that have kept the person dependent on alcohol. By replacing distorted thoughts and self-destructive addictive behaviors with new positive, constructive thought patterns will eventually become new healthy habits. Medication-assisted treatment is provided as one of the treatment elements for individuals in addiction recovery. Other interventions include psychotherapy, group therapy, holistic therapies, acquiring stress-management skills, active planning to prevent relapse, and 12-step meetings.
  • Continuing Care. An important treatment component includes the continuing care services that will support recovery after rehab is completed. Those in early recovery are very vulnerable to relapse, no matter how committed they are to sobriety. By continuing on with regular outpatient counseling and support services, as well as engaging in a recovery community that provides peer support, the individual will have a supportive backstop when issues that threaten recovery arise. Sober living housing is another excellent continuing care option during outpatient rehab and into the first few months of recovery.

Ken Seeley Communities Offers Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Palm Springs

Ken Seeley Communities and Rehab provides a full spectrum of addiction treatment services in the Palm Springs, California area. These services include professional intervention planning, detox, outpatient rehab, residential rehab, and sober living housing. One of the treatment elements offered at Ken Seeley Communities is medication-assisted treatment, including detox medications to treat alcoholism. For more information about the program and addiction treatment services, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

brain to heal from alcohol

How Long Does it Take for Your Brain to Heal from Alcohol?

Recovery is a beautiful thing. It is a fact that even someone with a lengthy history of alcoholism can regain brain health in recovery, reversing years of damage to brain structures, volume, and functioning. Even after only six months, the individual in recovery will experience significant restoration of brain health.

In fact, even two weeks of abstinence will reveal a reversal of brain damage, according to a study out of Stanford University. The focus of the study was on volume loss caused by alcohol abuse, which is associated

Several factors may influence how long it takes for the brain to heal from alcohol addiction. These include the number of prior detoxifications, if the individual is a smoker, or if he or she has a strong family prevalence of alcoholism. These factors can slow down or prevent a complete brain recovery.

For someone considering getting treatment for an alcohol use disorder, it is encouraging to learn that not only will the individual experience improvements across the board in psychological and physical health, but their brain health will recover, too. These kinds of results will only be experienced when the individual complies with continuing care efforts and remains sober, but knowing that it is possible for the brain to heal from alcohol addiction is a powerful motivator.

How Alcoholism Affects Brain Health

Chronic alcohol abuse has deleterious effects on the brain. The brain matter volume literally shrinks as a result of alcoholism. In addiction, there can be an increase of cerebrospinal fluid. Along with the loss of volume in the insula and cingulate cortex, are other neuropsychological effects, also known as alcohol-related cognitive impairment, such as difficulty concentrating, memory loss, and even increased impulsivity.

Individuals with a serious alcohol use disorder experience changes in the frontal lobe, where executive functions like decision-making and self-control are regulated. The cerebellum is also affected by alcohol abuse, which is the region that contributes to controlling and coordinating muscle movements. Additionally, alcohol dependency can slow brain cell development and accelerate dementia.

5 Ways the Brain Heals from Alcohol Addiction

MRI imaging reveals the rapid restoration of brain volume in studies that measure brain scan results from participants of which half are in early alcohol recovery, starting 24-hours after detox, and half who had little exposure to alcohol. The increase in the cerebellum region was nearly completely restored after 14 days of abstinence.

Although the impact of chronic alcohol consumption on the brain is significant, the brain has an amazing ability to regenerate following abstinence from alcohol. This encouraging news is tempered somewhat by the fact that not all brain damage will be immediately restored, and that some effects of alcohol abuse on the brain may have permanent effects. However, the brain has an amazing capacity to heal. Some of the ways the brain heals from alcohol addiction include:

  1. Brain volume is restored. A dramatic increase in brain matter volume occurs within 2 weeks of abstinence from alcohol, as has been shown on brain imaging tests.
  2. New cell growth. While some brain cell destruction is permanent, sustained abstinence results in new brain cell growth in the hippocampus.
  3. Improved motor skills. Executing a motor skill toward a predetermined movement outcome is a brain function that improves with sobriety.
  4. Improved visual-spatial abilities. While visual-spatial abilities will not recover completely there is some improvement with long-term abstinence.
  5. Improved cognitive abilities. As the brain heals, cognitive functions, such as short-term and long-term memory, and most executive functions are improved.

Recovery of such behaviors as sustained attention span and other neurocognitive functions may take longer to rebound.

Other Benefits of Sobriety

Renewed brain health isn’t the only benefit enjoyed in sobriety. Some of the other positive effects associated with early recovery include:

  • Improved mood. Alcoholism often coexists with the symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. The impact of alcohol on the brain creates emotional instability, and the negative life consequences due to alcoholism only enhance feelings of shame, guilt, and anxiety. After a month or two in recovery an improvement in mood along with a renewed sense of purpose are quite common.
  • You just feel better. Alcohol is a toxic substance that can do serious damage to major organs. High daily consumption results in hangovers and nausea, and a general feeling of illness as the disease progresses. By abstaining from alcohol the body eliminates the associated toxins and the brain will stabilize. After a few months of sobriety the individual may feel more energetic and focused as the body begins to function optimally again.
  • Better appearance. Alcohol abuse has a dehydrating effect that can leave us look old and tired, as the body is unable to produce new cells at a normal rate. Inflammation caused by alcohol can cause a reddish skin tone. In sobriety the individual will notice an improvement in the overall appearance of their skin as collagen levels are restored to normal.
  • Better sleep. People may be under the misunderstanding that alcohol will assist with sleep. Alcohol is a sedative and may help someone fall asleep faster, but its effects in the bloodstream will disrupt the third and fourth phases of the sleep cycle, impacting the circadian rhythm and causing sleep disturbance. Sustained sobriety has the positive affect of better sleep quality, a key component of achieving overall wellness.
  • Weight loss. Alcohol is high in sugar content and calories, therefore alcohol abuse is often associated with weight gain and bloating. Individuals with a moderate to severe alcohol use disorder may also begin to adopt an unhealthy diet. This combination of high alcohol intake and poor diet can lead to extra pounds, liver distention, and water retention. When eliminating alcohol consumption from the daily caloric intake, facial features becoming more defined, your belly flattens, and a trimmer overall appearance will result.

Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder

An alcohol use disorder is defined as the excessive consumption of alcohol to the point that it begins to negatively impact health, quality of life, and daily functioning. Sometimes it can take years for an alcohol habit to begin to reveal negative consequence. It is always best to recognize the warning signs of an alcohol use disorder early on so appropriate steps can be taken to proactively obtain professional help.

Some of the signs of an alcohol problem include:

  • Increased tolerance to alcohol, leading to higher alcohol consumption in an effort to experience the initial desirable effects
  • Neglecting daily responsibilities, such as parenting obligations or paying bills
  • Lying to others about how much you drink, hiding alcohol around the house, in the car, or at work
  • Isolating from friends and family so one can drink in private
  • Becoming obsessive about having alcohol available, looking forward to drinking, seeking excuses to drink
  • Experiencing problems at work, declining work performance, termination from job
  • Legal problems, such as DUI or child custody challenges
  • Negatively impacting interpersonal relationships
  • Alcohol cravings
  • Attempting to stop drinking but cannot
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is withheld

Getting Help for Alcoholism

The road to restoring brain health and general wellness begins with the completion of a medically supervised detox program and commitment to addiction treatment. Following the detox the individual in recovery will need an extended period of professional treatment to acquire new behaviors and recovery skills designed to help them remain sober. Treatment programs are available in either an outpatient or a residential setting. The level of care that is appropriate is determined by the severity of the alcohol use disorder.

During the treatment phase of recovery the individual will participate in a variety of treatment activities and therapies that approach all aspects of alcoholism recovery. These interventions include:

  • Psychotherapy, which allows the individual to explore underlying emotional issues or past traumas that may be a contributing factor.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, which guides the individual toward adopting new thought patterns that replace the dysfunction patterns that have fueled the alcohol abuse.
  • Group therapy, which provides opportunities for individuals in recovery to gain mutual peer support and learn new recovery skills.
  • Family-based therapy helps family members to process and heal their frustrations, emotions, and fears while learning new ways to relate.
  • Medication management using naltrexone can help recovering alcoholics manage cravings, which can reduce the risk of relapse.
  • Relapse prevention planning, which encourages the individual to examine their unique triggers and stressors that might disrupt recovery and lead to relapse.
  • 12-step meetings or similar programming, which provide social support and opportunities for leadership and making new sober friends.
  • Holistic therapies that can assist in regulating stress, such as yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture, practicing mindfulness, and art therapy can enhance the effects of traditional therapy as promote relaxation.
  • Nutritional counseling and exercise, which can help build a healthy lifestyle and promote physical and emotional healing.

Anyone who desires to take back control of their life and enter into recovery from alcoholism should be encouraged by the improvements in brain health, mood, physical health, and quality of life that result from a commitment to sobriety.

Ken Seeley Communities Trusted Resources for Alcohol Recovery Treatment

Ken Seeley Communities is a leader in the field of addiction recovery. Founder Ken Seeley is a renowned professional interventionist who was featured regularly on the A&E series, Intervention. His recovery center provides all levels of treatment for the recovery continuum, including intervention services, medical detox, outpatient rehab programming, residential rehab programming, and sober living housing. If you are ready to address an alcohol use disorder and allow your brain to heal from alcohol addiction, please reach out to Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

 

long term addiction treatment

Long Term Addiction Treatment Facilities

6 Benefits of a Residential Addiction Treatment Program

We humans have been groomed to expect instant results in every facet of our lives. We seek expediency wherever we can find it, whether it’s the highest speed Internet service, the quickest Prime shipments on Amazon, or a swift weight loss program. We want it all, and we want it now. But there are certain things that cannot be rushed, that is, if you want to enjoy a lasting outcome, and addiction recovery is one of those things. For individuals with a deeply ingrained drug or alcohol addiction, a short-term rehab simply will not produce the lasting recovery one is seeking or needing.

When chemical dependency on a substance of abuse develops, the brain has become accustomed to the daily delivery of the substance and has adjusted its own natural chemistry accordingly. These new neural pathways bypass the brain’s normal production of dopamine, for instance, relying instead on the drug of choice to provide the flood of dopamine as usual. This is one reason why a long-term history of alcohol or drug addiction makes a swift recovery impossible. It takes time to normalize brain chemistry and central nervous system functions after discontinuing drug or alcohol use.

Addictive behavior patterns are another reason why a long-term rehab is needed. While in active addiction, the trigger produces the thought that one will suffer unless they acquire and use the substance of choice, so the destructive behavioral response, to drink or use, is then activated. These reflexive patterns have become so entrenched that it takes an extended period of time to replace them with new, healthy, and productive thought/behavior patterns.

While outpatient rehab services are an excellent option for individuals with an emerging or recent substance use disorder, these programs do not offer the oversight needed for individuals with moderate to severe addiction status. Outpatient programs provide flexibility and freedom that, for someone deeply addicted, offers too many temptations that can trigger relapse.

Why Long Term Addiction Treatment Facilities Are the Best Option

Long term addiction treatment facilities offer a much better environment for individuals with established addiction histories. The length of the stay will be determined during the intake interview and assessment process, and may be anywhere from one month to a year in length depending on the addiction information obtained. Here are 6 reasons why long term addiction treatment facilities are the more appropriate setting for individuals with a lengthy history of addiction, a dual diagnosis, or a poly-drug substance disorder:

  1. Structure. A predictable daily schedule is beneficial for someone in early recovery. Residential rehabs offer a full daily schedule of therapies and activities, in addition to meal times, recreational time, and down time. This creates less stress for the clients, knowing their days are full and they will be busy, which helps them focus on recovery and dwell less on cravings or romanticized addiction activities.
  2. 24-hour supervision. Residential rehabs provide round-the-clock monitoring of clients, reducing the opportunities for the clients to engage in drug-seeking or sneaky behaviors that will sabotage recovery. There are clinicians, psychotherapists, addiction specialists, and personnel to keep clients supervised throughout the day.
  3. Comprehensive programming. An inpatient setting has the time available to offer a multitude of recovery programming. This includes individual therapy, group therapy, addiction education classes, life skills classes, family counseling, 12-step meetings, guest speakers, and holistic therapies.
  4. Peer support. Having people around you that understand your struggles because they have the same ones is comforting to clients in recovery. With a shared experience and with aligned recovery goals, the clients can provide social support for each other. In the inpatient setting, new friendships are often established as a result of this shared experience.
  5. Removed from environment. By leaving one’s home community and staying for an extended period in rehab clients are much more able to focus on the work of recovery. Daily stressors, triggers, and obligations do not invade the rehab environment, allowing clients to concentrate on getting healthy and restoring overall wellness.
  6. Fitness and nutrition. An essential part of the recovery process is restoring health. Active addiction tends to put nutrition and fitness on the back burner, often leaving clients with nutritional deficiencies, health conditions, and unfit bodies. By spending a period of time in a residential program, the client has time to establish new healthy habits and routines that benefit overall wellbeing.

Continuing Care Following Long Term Residential Rehab

An often-neglected component of the recovery process is planning what happens after discharge from a long-term residential program. Clients may be anxious to return to their home community and shirk the recommendations of the therapists to continue on with aftercare services, to their peril. Early recovery is a very vulnerable phase that should be carefully prepared for.

Continuing care services allow the client to shore up sobriety and practice recovery tools while still under the care of addiction recovery professionals. It is a mistake to believe one can go it alone right after rehab. Many clients find themselves overwhelmed by the return to freedom and may expose themselves to triggers or people who are not supportive of their recovery. This can lead to relapse, and in the case of an opioid addiction, this can prove deadly.

Plans should be made to follow up the residential rehab program with the following continuing care services:

  • Sober living housing. Spending a few months in sober living increases the sustainability of recovery during the early months.
  • Ongoing outpatient counseling. By continuing to receive support from an outpatient therapist or group therapy session, clients can work through some of the challenges experienced in early recovery.
  • 12-step recovery group. Participating in a 12-step or non 12-step recovery community offers ongoing social support.

Ken Seeley Communities Offers Long Term Addiction Treatment Facilities

Ken Seeley Communities and Rehab is a leading provider of long-term residential rehab in Palm Springs, California. In addition to offering residential detox and residential programming, Ken Seeley also provides day treatment programs, outpatient treatment, and intervention services. For more information, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.