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Dopamine and Exercise: Beat Addiction By Getting Fit

How Can Activities Such as Yoga and Meditation Serve as Alternatives to Drug Use?

Exercise is typically not what comes to mind when people think about ways to beat addiction. However, exercise can actually help people reboot brain dopamine. There are several ways that exercise can help people fight off addiction.

 

There is a Direct Link Between Dopamine and Exercise

Drugs and alcohol disrupt dopamine production. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the pleasure and reward system. Exercise helps increase the production of dopamine. It produces what people refer to as the runner’s high. The runner’s high is a feeling of deep euphoria. You can experience this feeling regardless of the type of exercise that you do.

This high is not as intense as the one would experience from drugs and alcohol. However, the effects of it are mentally and physically pleasurable. Furthermore, exercise can increase endorphin production. This is another chemical that can also help ease pain and help people feel happy and calm. Exercise is a great way to prevent relapse.

 

A Healthier Craving

Not only does exercise help reboot brain dopamine, but it also helps you develop a craving for something healthy. People like the way that they feel when they exercise, which is why they keep doing it. Studies have shown that exercise can actually help people overcome drug cravings.

 

Improve Mental Health

Many people turn to drugs and alcohol because they want to alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, substance abuse worsens these problems. Studies have shown that exercise has anti-depressive effects. It can also alleviate physical and emotional stress. Additionally, exercise can help promote restful sleep. Simply put, exercise is good for mental health.

 

Restore Brain Damage Caused by Addiction

Not only is there a direct link between dopamine and exercise, but exercise can also reverse some of the damage that is caused by a drug addiction. Exercising can restore brain damage. It increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, which helps heal the damage.

 

Ways Different Exercises can Affect the Body Differently

Many people who are overcoming addiction are asking “How can activities such as yoga and meditation serve as alternatives to drug use?” Even though all exercise can help you beat addiction, it is important to remember that certain exercises will affect you differently.

 

Walking and Hiking

Taking a 15-minute outdoors can boost your dopamine levels. It can also help you fight off cravings.

 

Yoga

Many addiction treatment centers include yoga. Although yoga is less intense than other forms of exercise, it is still highly beneficial. Yoga sends your body into a state of meditation. It can also prevent relapse by reducing anxiety and stress.

 

Strength Training

Cardio exercise is often touted for its benefits, but strength training is just as important. Strength training can improve your body’s sleep cycle. Many people who are recovering from addiction suffer from insomnia.

 

Team Sports

Team sports, such as basketball and soccer, are a great way to work out and socialize at the same time. People will be able to develop long-lasting friendships. They can also build skills that help them integrate back into society.

 

RecoveryFit at Launch Centers

We recognize the benefits of exercise for those recovering from addiction. For this reason,  Launch Centers offers a revolutionary fitness program called RecoveryFit.

RecoveryFit is a group fitness and wellness program designed to address the unique needs of substance abuse, mental health, and dual diagnosis clients.

We specialize in treating addiction in young people (ages 18-35) by prioritizing education and skill development in addition to therapy. Contact Launch Centers today to find out how we can help you or a loved overcome addiction and develop healthy habits that last a lifetime.

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Dual Diagnosis: How Emotional Pain Feeds Addiction

Substance abuse and addiction problems can be hard enough to get over on their own. The fact that most substance abuse issues lead to chemical changes in the body makes overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction far and away one of life’s biggest challenges.

Unfortunately, a large number of people with substance abuse issues also suffer from mental health problems that can make overcoming their drug or alcohol issues that much more difficult. Depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and even uncontrollable stress or anxiety can greatly exacerbate substance abuse issues. In many cases, these types of mental health issues are one of the primary factors that lead to substance abuse issues in the first place.

This condition is known as dual diagnosis, and it is important to make the distinction between it and normal substance abuse issues. The fact that these individuals are dealing with not one, but two serious conditions at the same time can make it essential that they receive the proper treatment for both.

In essence, the two conditions work together to form an unending cycle on abuse and mental health issues, and the only way to finally escape is to undergo simultaneous treatment for both instead of treating them as separate, unrelated problems.

 

Dual Diagnosis Definition: Understanding the Extent of the Problem

Understanding the true dual diagnosis definition is important in helping to explain why this issue can be so complicated and so impossible to treat unless properly diagnosed. In simple terms, dual diagnosis is when a person is clinically diagnosed with both a substance abuse disorder and an accompanying mental health disorder.

Unfortunately, there is nothing simple about these cases since it is generally necessary for the person to overcome both issues. The specific mental health disorder that the person suffers from plays a hugely important role both the type of treatment required and the difficulty and time involved in completely overcoming it. Still, it is essential that the individual gets this treatment and fully overcomes their mental issues along with their substance abuse issues. Otherwise, their ongoing mental health issues ensure that there is a very high chance that they will quickly relapse back into using drugs or alcohol.

 

The Importance of Learning How to Deal with Emotional Pain

Probably the biggest obstacle facing people with both substance abuse and mental health issues is understanding how their mental and/or emotional problems directly contribute to their substance abuse issues. It is also important to understand how one of these problems usually contributed to the development of the other. While knowing which of the two issues came first doesn’t really affect the overall treatment, it is still helpful to understand the full extent of the interrelationship between the two.

For some people, it was their mental health issues that eventually led them down the path to addiction, whereas others eventually begin to suffer depression or other mental health issues as a direct or indirect result of their substance abuse. Either way, the first step is to get a better overall picture of how both problems developed and why.

One of the biggest factors in successfully treating both disorders simultaneously is teaching the person how to deal with emotional pain and other emotional problems. Constant feelings of depression, anxiety, anger or worry can all be extremely difficult to deal with, and this is precisely why many people turn to drug or alcohol use in the first place.

Alcohol and drugs often serve as a coping mechanism—allowing a person to at least temporarily forget about their stress and worries. Drug and alcohol use also causes your body to release endorphins, dopamine and other chemicals that can boost your mood and quickly lead to elevated feelings of happiness and euphoria.

The truth is that a majority of people use drugs or alcohol occasionally for these reasons. Still, there is a huge difference between a clinical mental health disorder and feeling occasionally sad or overly stressed out. The problem becomes when a person continues to reach for this coping mechanism as this can quickly lead down the slippery slope to addiction in an extremely short amount of time. Without proper emotional healing, the mental health issues will continue to lead to more drug or alcohol use, and things only ever get worse over time.

 

Treating the Underlying Emotional Pain and Mental Health Issues

The fact that it is emotional pain that cause many people to turn to substance abuse in the first place means that this is also the first place that treatments typically start. In simple terms, focusing on emotional healing and learning how to better cope with mental problems often holds the key to overcoming both the substance abuse and mental health issues. Of course, people dealing with severe depression, bipolar disorder and other serious mental health disorders may also need intensive counseling, medication and other potential treatments.

The actual treatment method varies from person to person depending on both the type and extent of their mental health and substance abuse disorders. Still, that’s not really the point here. Instead, the point is to show you just how important it is to treat the mental health side along with the substance abuse issue in order to affect real, lasting change.

 

Outpatient Treatment Program in Los Angeles

At Launch Centers, we have years of experience treating dual diagnosis patients, and our knowledgeable, patient counselors will help to come up with a treatment plan that gives you the best chance of finally overcoming both your mental health and drug or alcohol issues once and for good. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re ready to get started on the road to recovery.

Alternative Treatment for Addiction Recovery: Is It for You?

There is no single cure-all method for treating addiction. Instead, therapists and treatment facilities offer a variety of therapies, which often include both traditional and alternative recovery methods. Though some people are skeptical of certain supplemental therapies, sometimes, having an extra layer of security can encourage long-term change. Experts suggest that adding alternative recovery methods may improve sobriety results. Read on to find out if an alternative treatment is right for you.

 

What Are Alternative Treatments for Addiction?

According to The Fix, alternative recovery methods are those that take a holistic approach to healing. They include therapies like acupuncture, neurofeedback, yoga, hypnotherapy, meditation, biochemical restoration, pet therapy, horticulture therapy, and art-based therapy. These complementary therapies often address the brain chemistry changes involved in addiction, attributing addiction to biochemical imbalances in the brain. They can also focus on freeing the mind and training the body to relax naturally. Alternative treatments are typically used in combination with traditional addiction therapy to boost its efficacy.

 

When to Seek Alternative Recovery Methods

If you’ve relapsed after trying traditional treatment methods before, it may be time to seek out alternative treatment to help guide you on your journey. Psychology Today suggests that alternative therapies can make people more receptive to conventional treatments. For example, using art or music to express your feelings may help you come to terms with the initial cause of your drug or alcohol use.

Remember, fully participating in treatment is necessary for success. If you find yourself struggling to manage your addiction through one method, supplementing your recovery can keep you on track. By combining both traditional treatment and those that focus on holistic healing, you give yourself the best of both worlds.

 

When to Avoid Alternative Addiction Treatment

Research has found that recovery programs are most effective when patients have a high satisfaction with their treatment. Often, people are too skeptical of the efficacy of certain holistic approaches to get any benefit from them. If you can’t get fully engaged in alternative recovery methods, it may be best to stick to conventional programs.

It’s also important to consider cost before jumping into alternative treatment since these recovery methods can be expensive. Longer duration treatments increase efficacy, and quitting halfway through your program will put you at risk of relapse. Alternative treatment might just not fit into your budget.

Finally, if you’re intent on tackling addiction yourself with natural methods, be aware of withdrawal symptoms. Some drugs can be dangerous to stop cold turkey, so you may need to enroll in a medical detox program for your own safety.

 

How Diet and Exercise Facilitate Addiction Recovery

One newer type of alternative treatment is called biochemical restoration. This aims to replenish and balance biochemicals in the body through nutrition plans, supplements, physical activity, and relaxation. In fact, diet and exercise are important supplements to any addiction recovery program.

Many addicts suffer from malnutrition which can cause liver disease, brain damage, pancreatitis, and complications in pregnancy. Adopting a healthy, balanced diet will help rebuild your body through recovery. Plus, getting all your required nutrients will lessen drug withdrawal symptoms. Everyone in addiction recovery can benefit from a fitness routine as well. Exercising on a regular basis reduces stress and boredom, both of which are common triggers for relapse. Plus, physical activity causes the body to produce endorphins. These reduce feelings of pain and mimic the euphoric feelings of certain drugs. Simple cardio exercises like walking, jogging, or bicycling are great for anyone in addiction recovery.

Addiction recovery shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all treatment process. Individual needs differ depending on factors including personalities and values. For many people, alternative recovery methods can be a valuable addition to their addiction treatment. Others may prefer to stick to conventional therapies. Either way, the best results will come from treatment that is designed and catered to you and your needs.

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Am I An Alcoholic?

If you’ve been abusing alcohol on a regular basis and are wondering “am I an alcoholic?” there are numerous signs of alcoholism that can help you answer this question. Alcoholism is a dangerous disease that needs to be treated quickly so as to mitigate the damage caused by the condition. It can sometimes be difficult to notice that you or someone you love has become an alcoholic. This is why it’s important to focus on identifying whether or not you or the individual close to you has become dependent on alcohol.

 

Signs of Alcoholism

To recognize the signs of alcoholism, you should first be aware of the difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Alcohol abuse occurs when you are drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis. If you continue to abuse alcohol, the problem may turn into alcoholism, which is a type of chronic disease where the primary treatment is learning how to manage the symptoms that come along with the condition.

There are a vast array of different signs of alcohol addiction that can help you identify whether or not addiction has occurred. A few of the common signs include going through short blackouts, suffering from memory loss, experiencing extreme mood swings, and choosing to drink instead of completing everyday responsibilities.

If you have resorted to drinking alone, this could signify that you have become an alcoholic. If you find yourself making different excuses to your friends and family members about why you drink, this is a strong sign that you are starting to become dependent on alcohol. If ever you feel guilty about drinking or find that some of your friends and family are criticizing you for doing so, it’s likely that you’ve become an alcoholic and are no longer able to control how much and how often you drink.

 

How to Quit Drinking

When you’re thinking of how to quit drinking, the most important thing to realize is that the process of doing so can be difficult. Some days are more difficult to avoid drinking than others. Once you fully understand the difficulties that come with quitting drinking, you can be more confident that you will be able to do so. The first step towards quitting drinking is to admit that you have a problem. If you’re unable to stop drinking whenever you want to, this means that you have a problem. Focus on why you want to stop drinking, which can be anything from wanting to remain healthy to wanting to get better sleep.

With these goals in mind, you can always remind yourself of them if ever you start to slip up and pour yourself a drink. Make sure that all of your friends know that you’re not going to be drinking. In general, the first three days are going to be the most difficult when attempting to quit drinking, If you start to experience withdrawal symptoms, this likely means that you are an alcoholic and will require some form of treatment to more effectively quit drinking.

 

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

When you are suffering from alcoholism, one of the best ways to manage the withdrawal symptoms that occur when you stop drinking is to be aware of the standard alcohol withdrawal timeline.

First Stage of Alcohol Withdrawal

The first stage of withdrawal will typically occur within the first eight hours after you stop drinking. This stage includes such symptoms as insomnia, nausea, anxiety, and a substantial amount of pain within your abdomen.

Second Stage of Alcohol Withdrawal

The second stage of withdrawal can last for anywhere from 1-3 days depending on the severity of your addiction. You will likely experience symptoms like higher body temperatures and high blood pressure during this stage.

Third Stage of Alcohol Withdrawal

The final stage can be one of the most difficult to handle without relapsing unless you seek treatment to help manage the withdrawal symptoms. The third stage will last upwards of 3-4 days following the conclusion of the second stage, during which you will experience such symptoms as a high fever, hallucinations, increased agitation, and severe seizures. Without treatment, all symptoms of withdrawal should start to subside after 5-8 days.

 

What to Expect With Outpatient Rehab

One of the most effective treatments that will assist you once you’ve admitted that you’re an alcoholic is an outpatient treatment program. This is a type of rehabilitation that takes place at an outpatient facility, which means that you can still go to work and school during treatment. Most rehab centers start with detoxification to help you manage your withdrawal symptoms.

Once detox has been completed, you will go through a number of sessions that focus on both group and individual counseling while also educating you about substance abuse. This treatment can last as long as it takes for you to learn how to cope with your alcoholism. You should expect to attend treatment sessions for anywhere from 8-12 hours each week.

If you have recognized that you are an alcoholic and are looking to obtain help for your addiction, contact Launch Centers to learn more about the outpatient care we offer.

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The Emotional Consequences of Substance Abuse

The impact of substance abuse has far-reaching consequences. It is estimated that over 23 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol. When you consider the families and friends affected by the cycle of addiction, both directly and indirectly, the problem goes much deeper. Struggling with addiction is incredibly difficult, but it’s also difficult for loved ones who have to deal with an addict as they ride a wave of self-destruction. The emotional effects of substance abuse are widespread and the consequences are severe. Addiction is a family disease.

 

When people think about the harrows of addiction, the focus tends to center around the physical and economic aspects of the problem. The perception that the impoverished and homeless are the only ones suffering from substance abuse disorders needs to fade away. Being able to hold down a steady job and be functional while abusing substances doesn’t render the problem less serious. Quite the contrary. Living a double life isn’t sustainable in the long run, and often cause tremendous hurt and neglect to those around you.

 

While the physical dangers of addiction pose a very real threat, the mental and emotional hardships often go unaddressed. In fact, most substance abuse is a byproduct of an existing mental health disorder that can be benefited with dual diagnosis treatment. Dual diagnosis is a model of addiction treatment that treats addiction while simultaneously uncovering and treating mental and emotional issues. And the emotional stability of the addict isn’t the only issue that needs to be addressed. Family therapy can greatly benefit everyone involved by bringing to light the way a family functions as a unit.

 

The emotional consequences of addiction can run deeper and last longer than the physical ones. Trauma leaves a lasting mark. Not only for the addict but for their friends and family. Emotional scars can last a lifetime without treatment from trained mental health professionals. In most cases, substance abuse is an unhealthy coping mechanism that was developed as a reaction to early childhood trauma. In order to fully recover from years of substance abuse, these issues (and the damage they have caused loved ones) must be addressed. To fully recover from a substance abuse disorder, it is necessary to undergo a variety of therapies to get to the heart of the problem.

 

Launch Centers is dedicated to helping young adults find a path that helps them gain the tools and coping skills to succeed. Our experienced treatment team works with each individual client to design a therapeutic, vocational, and educational curriculum to meet the client where they are at, to set new goals, and reach them. If you or someone you love suffers from the emotional effects of drug or alcohol addiction, contact Launch Centers to seek immediate help.

Relapse Prevention: Activities for Recovery

Enrolling in and experiencing a rehab program is a wonderful step that you’ve taken for yourself. Now, however, you are emphasizing your need to stay away from drugs and alcohol. As a result, you want to make certain that relapse doesn’t occur. Knowing strategies for avoiding relapse and what to do if a relapse does happen are crucial.

 

Create a Relapse Prevention Plan

Before entering rehab, you may have asked yourself, “What is a relapse?” Now, you know that a relapse is when you go back to using drugs or alcohol. It is important to speak with your counselor about specific conditions that govern your relapse. For example, you may want to know more about the specific factors that could influence you to relapse, and what to do to prevent it.

 

Manage Emotional Triggers

You’ve probably also learned about emotional triggers in your inquiry into “What is a relapse?” Understanding how to identify and manage your own triggers is pivotal. You may learn that you need to entirely stay away from certain scenarios, yet doing so may prove difficult. Therefore, it is also imperative to understand how to handle triggers when you are faced with them.

 

Call Someone You Trust

In the event that you feel yourself about to relapse, you should speak with another individual. In discovering what to do when you relapse, you will realize that you do not need to face this situation without guidance and support. You could speak with a counselor from a rehab facility, or you could talk with a trusted loved one who can help guide you through the situation.

 

Exercise

Learning about relapse prevention also involves finding activities that you can pursue in place of using drugs and alcohol. Working out is definitely a helpful method because it can take your mind off of the desire to relapse. Also, exercising is a way to get your body into a more healthy state. You may very well not want to hurt the health that you’ve worked so hard for by using drugs and alcohol.

 

Meditation

Sometimes, finding a strong sense of internal peace is a power relapse prevention strategy. As you’re considering relapse prevention activities, think about meditation. You could join a class where other people are meditating, or you could do guided meditations at home by yourself. These meditations can help to direct your emotional and mental energy in a positive way, and you may learn about yourself too.

 

Art

Depending upon the rehab program you attended, you might have engaged in some art therapy practices during your time in recovery. Even if you don’t think that you have the best art skills, you could draw, paint or work with clay as part of your relapse prevention plan. It’s true that these activities give you something positive to do, but they also allow you to convey your emotions in a safe manner.

 

Recovery Journaling

Whether you’ve always wanted to polish your writing skills or you are already proficient in the art, picking up a pen or opening up a laptop and pouring out your emotions can provide a tremendous release. You may find that you’re writing personal information in a way that allows you to let go of negative feelings and urges. You might also discover a love for creative writing that you want to share with the world.

 

Socializing

Having healthy, meaningful activities in which to engage is an important part of your relapse prevention plan. However, this statement doesn’t mean that you have to constantly participate in your hobby. You can also socialize with the people whom you love. Think about how much a text message from a friend or phone call from a relative can put you into a better state of mind. It takes a village to beat addiction.

 

What To Do When You Relapse?

Relapse prevention activities offer helpful ways to avoid relapse, yet it is possible that you will relapse. Understanding what to do when you relapse is, therefore, also important. Whether you have relapsed or you feel on the verge of a relapse, you can speak with a counselor. Know that people are here to help you.

Launch Centers is dedicated to helping young adults find a path that helps them gain the tools and coping skills to succeed. Our experienced treatment team works with each individual client to design a therapeutic, vocational, and educational curriculum to meet the client where they are at, to set new goals, and reach them.

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How Drug and Alcohol Dependence are Fueled by Depression

Bad days are a normal part of life. Everyone is impacted by the emotional weight brought on by romantic relationships, work, family, or loss. For people prone to depression, the weight of emotional conflict can be a heavy burden. Ordinary setbacks are not only prolonged, they can be far more difficult to navigate. For those who regularly experience despair, depression, and feelings of hopelessness, these burdens can last for weeks, months, or even years. This type of depression can have severe side effects and requires the intervention of trained mental health professionals.

 

Symptoms of Depression

Over 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide. Depression symptoms can be physical, psychological, or both. The psychological symptoms of depression include lack of interest in daily activities, feeling low, decreased thinking and focus, suicidal thoughts, and feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or worthlessness.

Physical depression symptoms often include exhaustion, weight fluctuation, low energy, and sleepiness. If left untreated, depression can have a negative impact on personal relationships, job, and long-term health (mental and physical). Another common side effect to depression is the prevalence of substance abuse. People who struggle with depression often abuse drugs and alcohol in an effort to counteract low moods, isolation, or overwhelming feelings. This is referred to as a co-occurring disorder and is treated as a dual diagnosis.

 

Depression & Addiction

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that people who are diagnosed with anxiety or mood disorders are nearly twice as likely to have a co-occurring diagnosis that includes a substance abuse disorder. Substance abuse carries a cultural stigma misunderstanding. But medically speaking, people with depression often abuse drugs and alcohol as an adaptive strategy – self-medicating the underlying symptoms of depression. In this way, addiction is not the result of a degenerate character, but rather a unhealthy coping strategy aimed at relieving other symptoms caused by chronic emotional distress.

 

Long Term Effects of Substance Abuse

Self-medicating is unproductive at best and dangerous at worst. Recreational drug or alcohol abuse can lead to dependence, all the while, damaging healthy emotional regulation. Drugs and alcohol have an immediate (and significant) effect on moods. For this reason, people struggling with depression often develop a substance abuse disorder in their attempts at managing their anxiety and depression.

Additionally, addiction and depression are both characterized by feelings of hopelessness and are difficult to manage without help. The co-occurring disorder formed by addiction and depression negatively reinforce each other. This creates a devastating web of shame, guilt, and feelings of worthlessness.

 

Finding a Substance Abuse Treatment Plan

Dual diagnosis treatment is complex and requires trained mental health professionals. The disorders are potent in and of themselves, but can potentially intensify the symptoms of each other. An individualized treatment plan that centers around the unique needs of the individual is required. At Launch Centers, our addiction and mental health treatment programs can help you steer your life back on the right track. We specialize in treating young adults who suffer from substance abuse and mental health disorders. Our unique programs offer education and vocational training so that your life has purpose and potential after treatment. Get ready to Launch!

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The Link Between Addiction and Attachment Disorder

What is Attachment Disorder?

Human beings are designed for community living and social bonding. As a survival mechanism,  infants will instinctively attach themselves to caregivers. Attachments are developed when psychological, physical, and emotional needs are met. Ideally, these attachments are grounded in trust, communication, and a level of growing independence. Because infants rely entirely on adult caregivers for emotional regulation, their development is directly correlated to the level of security given to them by parents or caretakers. This is the foundation of how humans learn emotional self-regulation.

When infants do not receive reliable attention from parents (or caregivers) they begin to develop alternative ways to calm the distress. Crying babies are a challenge for even the most patient adults. Attentive and loving parents are unable respond to their baby’s every need. Inevitable factors such as this, as well as more tragic factors such as abuse, neglect, and trauma further hinder a child’s ability to develop healthy attachments.

Various forms of childhood attachment disorders, while unique in and of themselves, share a common trait. Namely, the child’s attempt to seek out external modes of self-comfort during stressful situations. A healthy attachment to caregivers is a necessity in early development. For this reason, infants that develop attachment disorders oftentimes never learn how to self-soothe in productive manner.

 

Understanding How Addiction Develops

How exactly does an attachment disorder correlate to drug addiction and alcoholism? As children grow into adolescence, they naturally become more independent. That is to say, the become less dependent on parents and caregivers. This is a completely natural part of growing up.

However, children that have developed an attachment disorder will seek out external forms of coping to fill this void. Humans need emotional support healthy self-regulation. When children reach their teenage years, they often begin to be exposed to drugs and alcohol. If an attachment disorder has been developed, these teens will find the illusion of security in negative behaviors. There is an increased vulnerability to substance abuse, eating disorders, self-mutilation (cutting), aggression, and perfectionism. This is also a time of heightened social emphasis. Young adults with attachment disorders may begin to establish unhealthy relationship habits that are distinguished by dependency, manipulation, or avoidance.

Drugs and alcohol can seem like an effective way to self-soothe to the teenage mind. Alcoholics and drug addicts oftentimes recall their first experience with substance abuse as a notable experience, filled with feelings peace. Drugs and alcohol can have profound emotional effects. They create fleeting feelings of euphoria.

At an early age, people that have developed an attachment disorder oftentimes have low self-esteem accompanied by feelings of worthlessness. Later in life, this can manifest itself as a fear of intimacy. Adolescence is awkward, and intoxicating substances offer the illusion of refuge and understanding to young people seeking emotional comfort.

 

Moving On From Addiction & Attachment

At Launch Centers, we use the awareness of the link between addiction and attachment disorders to customize treatment programs to the unique needs of each individual client. This approach to treatment is known as Dual Diagnosis. This is when mental health issues are treated simultaneously with substance abuse disorders. The two are typically intertwined.

Drugs and alcohol feed feelings of isolation and detachment. This is way addiction recovery programs prioritize the development of healthy relationships with reliable people. Relationships that promote intimacy offer a solid foundation for people in recovery – helping to repair patterns of avoidance that are so often prevalent in addicts.

Contact Launch Centers today to learn how our addiction and mental health treatment programs can help you steer your life back on the right track. We offer educational programs and vocational training so that your life has purpose and potential after treatment. Get ready to Launch!

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Addiction Treatment: Treating the Individual

The Flawed Individual: The Addiction Stigma

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), alcoholism and drug addiction are a form of chronic and progressive brain disease. Prior to the 1970’s, individuals who suffered from substance abuse disorders were viewed as flawed individuals and degenerates. Think of how many decent people this kept from getting the help they needed.

When the AMA changed their view of addiction it opened up the floodgates and helped to destigmatize our cultural understanding of addiction and the way it is treated. Sadly, large portions of the population still view addicts and alcoholics flawed citizens who are solely responsible for the circumstances leading to their substance abuse disorder.

Culturally, we tend to admonish addicts. We fail to understand the invisible circumstances that lead to drug-seeking behavior. Co-occurring disorders often accompany substance abuse disorders – this is referred to as dual diagnosis. Effective addiction treatment necessarily must include a compassionate understanding of the circumstances that contribute to the disease of addiction.  

In order to most effectively treat drug and alcohol addiction, mental health professionals and addiction treatment centers need to provide unique recovery plans that provide follow-up (and job placement programs) to ensure success. This will ultimately reduce the potential for relapse.

 

Addiction Treatment: Healing the Individual

The best way to treat addiction depends on a biological, psychological, and social variables. Everyone is different. The job of mental health and addiction treatment professionals is to uncover the unique way to get through to the client.

Biologically speaking, it is important for the treatment team to understand the genetic factors that influence the addicted individual’s predispositions. Some important things to consider are family history and intergenerational drug and alcohol abuse.

The addiction treatment team then needs to examine the psychological factors at work by properly detecting and diagnosing any co-occurring disorders that may be present. This allows addiction treatment professionals to provide the most appropriate care. Co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated to long term substance abuse. Clinicians need to understand the unique psychological complexities of each client so they can customize treatment, therapy, and medication accordingly.

Lastly, the client’s social history (and current social environment) need to be explored to identify factors that contribute to addiction. Do dynamics with friends and family enable the substance abuse? It is the job of mental health and addiction treatment professionals to prepare the addict for being discharged back into their everyday life. It’s much easier to be healthy in a controlled environment than it is when back in an environment that nurtured (or tolerated) addiction and negative behavior patterns.

How does Launch Centers help clients understand triggers and provide support as they assimilate into everyday life?

 

Aftercare: The Beginning of Sober Living

One of the primary benefits of Launch Centers is that we treat the individual. We do this by customizing treatment to fit the needs of the individual, and through providing aftercare support when addiction treatment ends. In an intensive outpatient treatment setting, you adhere to a routine schedule in a healthy environment that promotes healing. Removing clients from the triggers that spark the urge to self-medicate is a necessary step. But it is equally important to have a plan when all of that ends. This is where many addiction treatment centers fall short.

After rehab, the sober journey is just beginning. The compassionate and experienced addiction treatment team at Launch Centers works with each client to establish a plan for after treatment. We set up follow-up appointments, offer ongoing support, and give clients the tools required for a successful recovery. We even offer job placement and internship programs to ensure that those who pass through our doors leave with confidence and excitement about their new journey. The goal here is long-term sobriety and fulfillment.

We believe in treating addiction at the earliest stage possible. Launch Centers specializes in treating young people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol by treating the underlying mental health issues that often lead to addition. We do this through therapy, education, and job placement programs.

Our job doesn’t end the moment you walk out the door. Contact Launch Centers today if you or a loved one needs to help of trained addiction professionals. We provide Intensive Outpatient care as well as a network of sober homes to provide the solution the best fits your lifestyle.

Addiction vs. Habit: Know the Difference

Habit and addiction are words that are frequently (and incorrectly) interchanged. But there’s a significant distinction between the two. A habit can be a negative or positive behavior. Addictions, on the other hand, are exclusively negative.

To identify whether a behavior is a habit or an addiction, you only need to pay attention to the amount of time it takes to stop the behavior in question.

 

What is a Habit?

Habits become habits due to triggering the reward center of the brain. When a behavior releases certain chemicals that the brain likes, it compels us to keep doing that behavior. Through repetition, the behavior becomes a habit.

An example of the brain’s system of reward would be when your alarm clock goes off in the morning. When the alarm clock rings it acts as a trigger. If you are in the habit of drinking coffee when you wake up, this is a routine. The result of consuming a stimulant (coffee) when starting your day gives your body and mind a jolt. The alertness you experience after consuming the coffee is the reward.

 

How Long Do Habits Take to Form?

Developing a habit can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days. On average, it takes approximately 66 days for a behavior to become a habit. Some studies suggest that it takes roughly 21 days to eliminate a habit, but this largely depends on not only the behavior but also reasons the behavior became a habit in the first place.

When a habitual behavior substitute for another behavior, such as when eating becomes a coping mechanism rather than nourishment, it can be difficult to break without resolving the underlying reason. The reason is often an underlying mental health issue that needs to be addressed.

 

How Do Bad Behaviors Become Habits?

Many behaviors are good habits. Exercising, brushing your teeth, going to work, etc. These types of behaviors also trigger the reward center of the brain. Typically, good habits can be adjusted with minimal effort.

Bad habits, on the other hand, serve an emotional function. For this reason they become encoded in brain. People who suffer from a substance abuse disorders constantly chase that “feel good” feeling. This causes them to feel emotionally empty when the addiction isn’t fed.

Certain substances, such as opiates, cause a physical sickness when the substance isn’t consumed. This can terrify the user and strengthen their dependency. With substances such as opiates, it’s incredibly difficult to quit without the aid of addiction and mental health professionals.

 

When Do Habits Become Addictions?

When a harmful substance is used as a coping mechanism, or to fill an emotional void, the brain feels rewarded – this is when habits become addictions. This cycle establishes a physiological connection in which the brain is rewired. It begins to acknowledge the “bad” habit as useful and vital.

Drinking a glass of wine after work may be a harmless habit. When it becomes an everyday necessity, one glass becomes a bottle, then the habit can easily become an addiction. Substance abuse is a serious issue that needs to be treated by trained addiction professionals.

 

This is Your Brain on Drugs

Regardless of what substance is being abused, the habitual use of any substance that over-stimulates the natural “feel good” chemicals produced in our brains can cause serious issues. The dopamine receptors of addicted individuals reduce over time, making it difficult for addicts to feel good without the addictive substance. This causes powerful withdraw symptoms that make it difficult to quit.

Being aware of the dangers of substance abuse is a step toward preventing usage. For people who are already addicted to drugs or alcohol it’s critical to help them identify and understand the underlying causes their substance abuse. Offer love, support, and understanding.

Enrolling in an addiction treatment center will provide them with a chance to rewire their brains and develop healthy habits.