What Is a Dual Diagnosis in Addiction?

When you get into the world of addiction there are a lot of words and phrases that get thrown around. 

Some phrases sound intuitive to define, like dual diagnosis, but it’s important to truly know the meaning in order to understand you or your loved ones’ diagnosis better. 

Dual diagnosis does not mean that you are diagnosed with two addictions to two different substances or have been diagnosed with two or more mental health conditions. Instead, it’s a combination of those two ideas, and what it comes down to is that you have a substance use disorder that co-occurs with a mental health condition. 

Dual diagnosis is more common than you may think, as one often comes as a packaged deal with the other. This is why many people with depression or anxiety disorders end up addicted to alcohol or marijuana. The substance you end up using might help to suppress some of the effects of the mental health disorder on your mind and body, giving you only a brief relief. 

Understanding Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis is common, meaning if you or a loved one are suffering from multiple ailments, you are not alone. 

Many people that suffer from mental illness will find relief from their symptoms through substances. No matter which substance it is that is negatively affecting your life, by finding treatment that takes both your mental health and substance use disorder into consideration, you are more likely to find recovery and proper care to treat your conditions. 

When it comes to treatment, you cannot treat one condition that the other. In the case of dual diagnosis, you must figure out a treatment plan that works towards treating both concurrently. This is the most effective way to see positive changes being made in your life, and there are so many resources that can help you. 

People suffering from dual diagnosis would want to consider inpatient or intensive outpatient care at a recovery center like Soba’s. With in-person treatment, you are able to conquer all of your battles with trained medical professionals who are there to support and assist you in your recovery journey. 

How Does It Differ From Cross Addiction?

Often, dual diagnosis might be confused with the term “cross addiction”. Cross addiction is referring to when someone has two or more addictions in their lifetime. 

It can range from a variety of substances, like alcohol, heroin, or cocaine, to having a gambling addiction, or even a sex addiction. One addiction may lead to another, or in many cases, you may be in recovery from one addiction when you develop another one. 

Mental Health Issues and Addiction

If you are struggling with a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, you should seek out treatment to better find ways to treat both conditions at once. 

Several disorders are more common to have a dual diagnosis of substance use disorder with, and they end up being one of the main underlying causes of substance use. It’s not that all people who have mental illness are also substance users, but it’s always important to look deeper into what role your use of substances plays on your mental health.  

Depression

Depression is one of the most commonly reported mental health disorders that people in the United States suffer from. Because depression is also often under-reported, those not getting proper treatment can turn to self-medication to treat their symptoms. 

Certain substances’ effects on the body and brain can trick a person into thinking it’s helping them. Dependencies form, and soon, it’s hard to feel better without the assistance of drugs or alcohol. 

Borderline Personality Disorder

Studies have shown that the link between borderline personality disorder (BPD) and substance use is very high and that over two-thirds of people with BPD have used substances before to aid their symptoms. When you are suffering from BPD and are not getting the proper treatment for it, you might turn to self-medication as a way to cope. 

Schizophrenia

What is challenging about using substances when also schizophrenic is that some of the side effects overlap, and it can be difficult to distinguish what is affecting the symptoms. 

For instance, certain substances might cause hallucinations, but so might the side effects of schizophrenia. When someone with schizophrenia uses substances, they are putting themselves at greater risk, as it may become more difficult to decipher reality from their condition.

Eating Disorders

When you struggle with an eating disorder, it’s often challenging to control what you are consuming. You want to find ways to suppress your hunger, or maybe you want to boost your hunger just to binge eat for a night. Certain substances, like MDMA, work to limit your appetite, whereas drugs like cannabis might increase your hunger drive. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Someone who struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, has undergone some type of event that has altered the way their brain functions and creates trauma that reappears, sometimes randomly or after being triggered. 

At the same time, a person struggling with PTSD will have fewer endorphins being produced in their brains. This means that it will be more difficult for those people to feel happy or good about themselves and their situation. Many people will turn to drugs or alcohol to bridge this gap in their brains. It can help make the trauma seem lighter, or it can sometimes help to erase the memories altogether (for only a little while).  

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

It’s thought that people who struggle with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely than others to use drugs or alcohol as a way to combat their symptoms. People with ADHD usually get prescribed a stimulant to help them focus and stay on task, but improperly using this drug can lead to bad habits, which can develop into addictions. 

While these stimulants can be very helpful to the person struggling with ADHD, you have to take into account your own genetics, your family’s history with drugs and alcohol, and your personality to stay as safe and healthy as possible.

Factors for Dual Diagnosis

Many factors play a role in your dual diagnosis. Whether environmentally or genetically, there are things that can truly change the trajectory of your life and influence your decisions: 

  • Brain Response: How your brain responds to illicit drugs that you take could impact how you and society views you. You might take drugs that have symptoms similar to paranoia or hallucinations, which could eventually lead you to develop a mental disorder.
    The way that your brain responds to the drugs is a good indicator of what kind of effect they will have on you in the long run.
  • Genetics: Depending on your genetics, you might be predisposed to mental illness, especially if family members have struggled before. Genetically speaking, you could also be more predisposed to develop an addiction. Being predisposed to either can later affect how the other materializes in your brain.
  • Environment: People who struggle with chronic stress, undergo traumatic events, or even experience neglect are likely to be influenced by their environment. When the environment around someone is not safe or healthy, it can kickstart a mental health disorder or addiction.
    If you are around people who are constantly drinking or using drugs, it might influence you to participate more, especially as a means for survival.
  • Exposure: People who have seen firsthand how drugs and alcohol can impact someone may either turn away from it altogether to find themselves a better life, but sometimes, this is not the case. Being exposed to drugs or alcohol can cause you to seek them out for yourself at a young age.
    People that experiment at a younger age are more likely to impact the structure and functioning of their brain, which can lead to developing mental health conditions earlier on in life.

Getting Help at Soba Recovery Centers

While we often want to turn away from our problems, the easiest path to recovery comes when you face your problems head-on. You can’t treat one condition without treating the other, and you won’t see proper results unless you are getting help for both. 

With Soba Recovery Center, we understand how it all works together. We want you to find comfort and safety when dealing with your mental health disorders, but that’s hard to do when you are struggling with addiction. Soba’s Recovery Centers allow you to create a personalized treatment plan that puts your mental health and addiction at the forefront. 

If you think that you or a loved one could benefit from this kind of treatment, contact a Soba representative to discuss how to help. It’s never too late to put yourself first. 

 

Sources:

What is Cross Addiction? | American Addiction Centers 

Part 1: The Connection Between Substance Use Disorders and Mental Illness | NIDA

Borderline Personality Disorder And Substance Use Disorders: An Updated Review | NCBI

What Is a Substance Abuse Evaluation?

In order to begin your recovery, you must admit that you have a problem and need professional help in order to overcome it. You might not be a trained professional, and therefore aren’t positive that what you are experiencing is actually substance abuse, and we don’t expect you to know how to treat it on your own. If your substance use is beginning to impact your life, relationships, and future, you might want to seek help as soon as possible. 

Despite your thoughts, you will most likely undergo a substance abuse evaluation, a tool that health providers use to understand your needs and issues with substances better. 

When you undergo the evaluation, your provider is also able to draft up a treatment plan that will best suit you. During this evaluation, it might be that your provider notices other issues you have that are co-occurring with your substance use disorder. The ability to make a dual diagnosis then helps to treat your conditions more accurately. 

What To Expect From a Substance Abuse Evaluation

Undergoing a substance abuse evaluation will:

  • Determine the magnitude of the substance abuse, based on how much it impacts everyday life
  • Gather basic information about a person’s past and present situation
  • Find any co-occurring issues that impact the substance abuse
  • Develop treatment plan options

Most substance abuse evaluations occur in two parts: initial screening and a personal assessment. The initial screening gives you an answer of “yes” or “no” to the question: Are signs of substance abuse prevalent? The assessment portion of the evaluation then helps to determine a diagnosis and create a plan for treatment.

Most entry-level medical professionals can administer you screenings. Still, the assessment portion is usually done by a therapist, social worker, nurse, or doctor, to get more in-depth questions and responses. 

During the assessment porton you might be asked more specific and targeted questions. This is so the person interviewing you can get as much information about your specific needs to create a treatment plan that will actually benefit you. You might be asked about your family’s history with drugs and alcohol, your own personal history, if you have ever undergone treatment, if you’ve ever received therapy for something other than substance abuse, etc.—the list goes on and on!  

Court Ordered Evaluations

Sometimes when a legal case involves a substance, it might be ordered that there is a substance abuse evaluation completed. 

This could happen if you get a DUI (driving under the influence), DWI (driving while intoxicated), public intoxication, MIP (minor in possession), or even disorderly conduct. It might also be court-ordered in the case that there are children involved who could be put at risk.

While the point of these evaluations may seem scary, it’s best to be honest so that you can still receive the proper treatment and make sure that it never happens again. You might end up having to complete community service or undergo inpatient or outpatient services for your substance use as a result of the court’s decisions. 

Screening for Substance Use Disorders

The screening process is the first of two that you go through when determining whether or not you have a substance use disorder. This screening can help figure out what kind of treatment you might benefit from and help to start the conversation on your needs. 

While any entry-level medical professional can do the screening process with you, it’s also something that you can often find online to give yourself an idea if going through the process is worth it. (Hint: It probably is worth it!)

Screening tools that are often used are:

  • The CAGE Questionnaire: This is the most commonly used questionnaire for substance abuse screening, and it is based on four questions. You can answer these questions for yourself, and if they resonate with you, it might be time to reach out to a treatment center.
      • Have you ever felt that you need to cut down on your substance use?
      • Have you been Annoyed by others criticizing your usage?
      • Have you ever felt guilty about your substance use?
      • Have you felt that you need to use substances as soon as you wake up (Eye-opener)?
  • SASSI (Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory): This is an instrument that helps to distinguish what issues you might have with substance abuse and mental health disorders, as well as the level of willingness you have to seek out treatment.
    It is also easy to distinguish those unwilling to see how their substance abuse has impacted them, regardless of how they are trying to paint their issues. The SASSI is an instrument you can purchase online, and it even has versions focused on adolescents and Spanish speakers.

Assessments for Substance Use Disorders

Once you have undergone the initial screening assessment, you might then be pointed to a trained professional who will administer a set of questions and discussion topics. 

This will allow the administrator to get a deeper sense of your history and behaviors with substances. You want to be as open and honest with the administrator as possible because this will help you get the proper care. 

The administrator wants to get a clearer picture of what exactly goes on in your mind regarding substances. But at the same time, they also want to get a better idea of you in general—your mental health, your physical health, your family history, and so on. The easiest way for someone to do this is to have a semi-structured interview with you to ask very personal and specific questions.

The Semi-Structured Interview

The administrator of a semi-structured interview typically has a set of questions that they want to ask that will help clarify the issues of the patient. 

Along with these questions, the administrator may ask other questions based on their professional knowledge that will help give a better assessment of these issues. With a semi-structured interview, you end up getting a more detailed idea of the patient’s use of substances. 

One of the most efficient ways to perform a semi-structured interview is the Addiction Severity Index (ASI). This set of questions focus on seven key concerns:

  • Drug Use
  • Alcohol Use
  • Psychiatric Status
  • Family Status
  • Employment Status
  • Medical Status
  • Legal Status

It’s important, to be honest during these interviews and assessments because it will determine how you are treated. You want to receive the most accurate care you can get, so being truthful and expressing your needs will only help you!

Creating a Treatment Plan

Once you’ve gone through the screening and assessment for substance abuse, the administrator can better understand your personal needs. They might not be the ones to develop an in-depth treatment plan for you, but that’s because they will work with other trained professionals to put you on the right path. 

Once you’ve received your diagnosis, you can finally move on towards recovery. It really does take the act of acknowledging your problems to find the solution. 

Your treatment plan should focus on all of the things you need healing from, so expressing your needs to the interview administrator is so important! You will be placed into group therapy and individual therapy and find out if an inpatient program would be more beneficial or if outpatient services will serve you just fine. 

Most inpatient and outpatient programs will offer individualized treatment plans, so your needs will be put first no matter where you are.  

Finding Help At Soba Recovery Centers

At Soba Recovery Centers, our first step is to provide you with a substance abuse evaluation. If you are on the fence, wondering whether or not you have problems with substance use, we can help you through the process of diagnosing it, creating a treatment plan, and providing support and assistance throughout your journey. 

We offer both outpatient and inpatient treatment options so that you can find a schedule and intensity that works best for you

You know yourself best. You know what you can handle and what you’ve been through. You’ve experienced more than many people can say they have in their lifetime, but we can help you figure out what’s best for your health so that you can live happy and healthy moving forward. 

If you think you could benefit from substance use assistance, contact us here at Soba Recovery Centers to schedule you for an evaluation. Your path to a better future starts today!

 

Sources:

4 Screening and Assessment – Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women | NCBI Bookshelf 

Appendix D: Examples of Screening and Assessment Tools for Substance Use Disorders | SAMHSA

Assessing Addiction: Concepts and Instruments | NCBI

What’s It Like To Go to an Intensive Outpatient Program?

Not everyone can commit themselves to an inpatient program, as it’s difficult to get time off from work, you can have responsibilities that require you to be present, and it can also be more expensive. No matter your reasoning, you still deserve professional and supportive treatment options that work with your schedule. 

While there are many counseling options and treatment programs to choose from, finding one that offers the best support system and treatment services for your addiction treatment is essential.

Intensive outpatient programs might be a great option for those that need more support than they can get on their own but might not require 24/7 around-the-clock care from medical professionals. If you do not need medically assisted treatment sessions but still want professional help, intensive outpatient programs might be right for you. 

What Is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

An intensive outpatient program is a treatment option that allows you to maintain many aspects of your daily life without completely interrupting the while you are getting treatment for substance use. With an outpatient program, you don’t stay housed at the treatment center, so you can come and go and are usually required only for sessions you are a part of. 

Intensive outpatient programs aren’t only reserved for those who struggle with substance use disorder. Outpatient programs can be geared towards individuals who struggle with anxiety disorders, eating disorders, depression, and many other mental health concerns that don’t necessarily need medical intervention or continuous supervision. 

For many people with substance use disorder, intensive outpatient care is a great way to find time for themself and learn to create good habits while finding a group of peers who can support and listen to their struggles.  

Additionally, people who have just undergone inpatient residential care might use an outpatient program as a way to transition back into their normal life. Going from spending all day around people trained to help you back to an environment that you might not have thrived in beforehand can make recovery more complex. 

Using outpatient program services works to ease yourself back into society and find new ways to cope with reintegration and facing your triggers. 

Inpatient Programs vs. IOPs

Your decision to enter an intensive outpatient program will come down to your personal needs. Still, it’s always helpful to learn about the differences between treatment options. 

Deciding whether an inpatient or intensive outpatient program is right for you comes down to some of their main differences. Each provides similar treatments and therapy sessions and focuses on your recovery, but there are different benefits to inpatient programs that IOPs don’t necessarily have. 

Benefits of an IOP

There are many benefits that intensive outpatient programs provide to their patients. 

It’s always good to weigh your options before making any decisions, especially when it comes to your health. Intensive outpatient programs allow you to maintain your routine while ensuring professional treatment and promoting healthier habits and a better community. Some key benefits of attending an intensive outpatient program are:

  • Flexible schedules and more accessibility options.
  • Lower costs compared to residential programs.
  • Ability to practice learned skills or methods every day when you leave the facility.
  • Being surrounded by a similar community that you can still access while at home.
  • Allows you to stay with your family and be present.
  • Learned responsibility.
  • Developing feelings of respect and trust.
  • Can keep your jobs and not worry about a pause in your income.
  • Able to find out about and use local resources easier.

Benefits of Inpatient Care

Inpatient care is an option that is great for individuals who need around-the-clock care and might benefit from medically-assisted treatment. Inpatient care has many benefits, though it is more pricey, considering you are housed there and fed throughout the treatment. Other key benefits of inpatient treatment are:

  • Assistance when you need it, providing a higher level of care
  • Not possible to get access to any substances
  • Surrounded by trained medical professionals
  • Able to undergo the detoxification process safely (even if detox symptoms develop)
  • Medication management (If any)
  • There is a very high success rate with inpatient care
  • Develop close relationships with other patients (peer support) and the medical staff
  • If you are currently dealing with a mental illness or mood disorders along with substance abuse, seeing a therapist or psychiatrist and undergoing cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavioral therapy (dbt) may be an option at your treatment facility.

Regardless of what you choose, you will get excellent care that is dedicated to your success.

What To Expect in an IOP

When you choose to get treatment with an intensive outpatient program, you should expect many therapy sessions, both individual and group, that will focus on ways to cope with triggers and find the best treatments for you. 

IOPs are still meant to be personalized to your own needs, allowing you to find the right treatment plan for you. You might find that you benefit from more group therapy sessions because finding a community through these sessions has helped you to overcome some of your anxiety about going home. 

Understanding what to expect when entering an IOP can help you decide if it’s right for you. Soba Recovery Centers offer an intensive outpatient program that can range from 30 minutes to six hours in just one day, depending on your needs and abilities. You’ll find that group therapy is the main form of treatment that IOPs will offer, but each session will be geared towards your individual needs.

Support Groups

It’s hard to understand the importance of a healthy support group until you’ve experienced one. It can make the road to recovery much easier when you have other people who have your best interests in mind, who might understand some of your hardships and are willing to help you. 

Many recovery centers will offer support groups like AA or other 12-step programs within their facility so that it’s easier for outpatients to access them. You don’t have to be in active treatment to join an AA meeting, so you can also find meetings that happen in your area for you to attend. 

Having support from those in your community can truly make all the difference on your recovery journey. When those around you are supportive and keeping an eye on you, it’s a lot harder to fall into a relapse, and if you do, you have an army of support behind you to help you through. 

1-on-1 Therapy

Along with other centers with outpatient services, Soba Recovery Centers will emphasize 1-on-1 therapy while undergoing treatment. 

This kind of therapy is extremely helpful as it gives the patient the utmost privacy to speak about their issues, relating or not relating to their substance use. For many people who struggle with substance use, there is underlying trauma impacting their addiction. It’s best to get to the bottom of things to treat the addiction properly. 

Individual therapy might be good if you are uncomfortable speaking in group settings. Still, the goal is to find a community to help you through your recovery, as it’s not as easy to get better on your own. By understanding things about yourself you haven’t been able to think about freely due to your substance use, you are setting yourself up for success in your recovery later down the line. 

Group Therapy

Group therapy will get much easier once you start to feel comfortable talking about yourself, your needs, and your substance use within individual therapy. It can be intimidating to speak about your past in front of strangers, but the end goal is finding community, connections, and feeling like you’re not alone. 

Soba Recovery offers group therapy for those that participate in the intensive outpatient program, and it’s a very useful tool to be offered. 

Group therapy tends to be the most useful form of treatment for IOPs because you gain a lot of knowledge from the different kinds of people you are introduced to. Everyone needs individual treatment, but learning about others’ paths can help you form your own treatment and find what is right for you.

Join Soba’s Intensive Outpatient Program

If you are someone who needs treatment for your substance use disorder but doesn’t think you have the ability to enter inpatient treatment, that doesn’t mean that professional and successful treatment is unavailable to you. 

You can find the right treatment with Soba’s intensive outpatient program. If you are dedicated to your recovery, this is the right center. We want you to be successful and find ways to improve your life.

It’s never too late to undergo treatment, and if you’ve read this far, you should call up a representative from Soba to discuss in more depth why our outpatient services might be right for you. We have two locations in Mesa, Arizona, and the other in San Antonio, Texas. If you are in the area and looking to improve your lifestyle choices, join us today!

 

Sources:

Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Programs: Assessing the Evidence | NCBI

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) | American Addiction Centers

Chapter 8. Intensive Outpatient Treatment Approaches – Substance Abuse: Clinical Issues in Intensive Outpatient Treatment | NCBI

How Does an AA Meeting Online Compare to an In-Person AA Meeting?

Things have not been easy over this last year (and then some). With people being laid off, people getting sick, housing prices rocketing, and the state of the future of our world still somewhat unknown, taking care of yourself might have gotten placed on the back burner. 

You may have fallen off and found that the stress of the last several months has caused you to seek alternate ways to fill your time and supply yourself with happiness.

Maybe you were attending meetings before the start of COVID and had a really great time being around like-minded individuals with whom you were able to share your experience, but then they all got put on pause due to the pandemic. If this disrupted your ability to attend AA meetings, you are not alone. 

While discussion meetings in person can create a sense of fellowship where everyone shares a common problem, a hybrid or virtual meeting can serve the same purpose. The only requirement is to seek sobriety, while the group’s primary purpose is to stay sober in the process.

Luckily, like with many businesses and groups, the internet made it easier for people to connect and find time to meet again with their support groups. If you are lucky enough to have access to a smartphone or laptop device that can connect to the internet, the option of AA is still there for you. 

Regardless of whether you have a drug addiction or substance abuse disorder, one type of meeting may be helpful over the other. Both in-person and online aa meetings offer self-supporting capabilities and the fellowship of people.

As more and more people become vaccinated, the ability to return to in-person AA meetings is more likely to happen. Still, not all people are going to be comfortable or ready to do so, and that’s OK! Masks are always an option if you choose to attend an in-person meeting. 

If you want to learn more about how online AA meetings and in-person AA meetings compare, keep reading.

How Does Online AA Work?

Online AA was first started back in the 1990s with individuals who hosted their AA meetings via email. Online AA is overseen by the Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous (OIAA), a group of individuals who participate in AA meetings, just simply online. 

The OIAA helps to regulate each online AA meeting, but the meetings are run by individuals within communities and groups so that you can find groups you fit into and can truly benefit from. 

Online AA doesn’t just provide AA meetings; it also provides resources to members, general guidance and philosophies, and volunteers who are available 24/7 over email for assistance. You can typically access resources at any point in the day, which can be helpful for those with odd schedules or who need separate accommodations. Some meetings take place at a set time, so you have to be available, but you can be flexible with which meetings you attend.

Types of Online AA meetings

An online AA meeting is likely taking place at any given moment. This means that you often will find access to meetings and resources whenever you need them, no matter what time at night! The main kinds of online AA meetings that you will come across are:

  • Smartphone conferences
  • Video meetings (Zoom meeting with a meeting ID and meeting password)
  • Email
  • Message boards

You are allowed to talk about anything in these meetings that pertains to your recovery journey and your struggles with addiction. These communications are usually monitored and don’t accept negligent behavior, so even though it’s online, you should take it just as seriously as an in-person meeting!

You can choose to participate in a few kinds of online AA. Closed AA meetings are for AA members only and might feel more secure and private, especially if you are looking for a specific kind of community. There is the option to participate in Open AA meetings, which is where members outside of the AA community can sit in. This might include family and friends of people in AA or those who haven’t yet joined but are thinking about it and wanted to test it out. 

Having so many options to choose from can make it really easy to try some out. You might not find that every meeting you attend is a good fit, but that’s what’s so great about online AA! There are plenty of meetings you can attend until you find the perfect fit.

Online AA vs. In-Person AA

The most obvious difference between online AA and in-person AA is that one happens strictly on the internet when it comes down to it. Online AA requires access to a device with the internet, while in-person AA expects that you can travel to and from your meetings. Each kind of AA has its pros and cons, and weighing them out could help you decide which is right for you. 

Depending on what type of aa meeting you join, there may be an aa membership or dues to pay before you join.

If you are immunocompromised and cannot attend in-person meetings right now, it’s essential to understand the pros and cons to ensure you are getting the treatment you need.

Pros

You should consider the pros of online and in-person AA before ruling one or the other out. If you are worried that you won’t feel the same sense of community or pay attention to the meeting, let us put your mind at ease. It might take a little more effort to focus, but that can be worked on! If you are committed to recovery, anything is possible. 

Pros of Online AA

  • If you are immunocompromised, you still have access to AA without having to risk your health by attending in-person meetings.
  • It is more accessible for people with certain disabilities, so you can attend without worrying about barriers.
  • If you work “off hours”, you can still find time in your downtime to attend a meeting or speak with supportive peers.
  • Have access to a community of people from all over the world. This could help you later on in life if you ever need assistance outside of your own community.
  • More convenient, so no matter where you are, you will have access as long as you can connect to the internet.
  • There is more anonymity online, especially if you are taking place in meetings that the people in your group aren’t local to.
  • If you are worried about getting sick, social distancing in the comfort of your own home can be a big pro.

Pros of In-Person AA

  • You can develop relationships with peers from your local community easier.
  • It’s easier to stay focused and engage in a conversation when you are physically in front of others.
  • Easier to be held accountable when you are facing people in person.
  • It can help you to find sponsors easily.
  • It helps you build a routine that you can maintain and focus on.

Cons

Just as there are pros, there are cons to both online AA and in-person AA, though they never are a bad idea. The cons are more focused on your accessibility and own comfort levels. It also depends on what you want to get out of the experience and your needs. Some people will do better in person than online, but understanding your options can help you make the most informed decisions!

Cons of Online AA

  • You might not be close to where anyone you meet online lives, meaning your sense of community might not be felt on a physical level.
  • You need to have access to email, a laptop, or a smartphone to best access online meetings. Without internet access, you won’t be able to attend online AA.
  • Easier to be distracted when you are doing AA online at your own home.

Cons of In-Person AA

  • Specifically, in these times, in-person AA could be risky if you are immunocompromised or closely associated with someone who is. 
  • You need access to transportation to get to and from the meetings.
  • There might be set times for meetings in your area that you are unable to get to, due to work schedules or because of transportation.

Signing Up for AA Online

If you want to sign up for AA online, you are going to want to browse OIAA’s website and find out what meetings you might be interested in attending. You can easily find something that might fit with you because you can search by language, meeting time, and meeting type on their site. You will be asked to register for the meeting, and then when the time comes, you can log on with a link that the OIAA will send you. 

It’s just as easy as that. If you want to start, and don’t think that in-person AA meetings are right for you at this moment, this is the best place to start. You can get started on your path to recovery as soon as right now!

Come To Soba When You Are Ready

Once you are at a point where you are comfortable meeting in-person, whether it be because of your nerves or COVID, Soba Recovery Centers will be waiting for you. 

Once you have come to the point where you recognize your need for assistance, you can upgrade your AA meetings to inpatient services or intensive outpatient. Whatever it is that you need, Soba is here to help.

You might not be ready right now, and that’s why starting with online AA meetings is really great. See how they make you feel, and consider whether or not you might benefit from a more personalized approach to recovery. We will be here rooting you on!

 

Sources:

Online Recovery Support Meetings Can Help Mitigate The Public Health Consequences Of Covid-19 For Individuals With Substance Use Disorder | NCBI

Social Network Variables In Alcoholics Anonymous: A Literature Review | NCBI 

Browse the Directory of Online Meetings | OIAA

What Is Inpatient Rehab and How Will It Help With Addiction?

Asking for help is the first step towards recovery. There are several methods that you could attempt to get help and battle your addiction, with inpatient rehab being one of them. Inpatient rehab offers onsite addiction treatment that is catered to your every need so that you can focus solely on your recovery. 

Whether it be for a few days or several weeks, inpatient care is designed to provide you with constant care that will help you get to where you need to be. 

If you think inpatient rehab might be the next step for you, consider joining us at Soba Recovery Centers to get a jumpstart on the rest of your life! 

What Is Inpatient Rehab?

The first thing is understanding what it means when talking about inpatient rehab. Inpatient treatment typically focuses on various methods that will work together and assist you in your recovery. During inpatient treatment, you will live on the premises of the recovery center and work with staff who are available 24/7. 

This kind of around-the-clock care helps by monitoring your progress, being available for assistance in the case of an emergency, and providing you with personalized services that are catered to your specific needs

This supportive environment is where many people who struggle with addiction flourish. Knowing that the people around you have your back and want nothing more than for your recovery can be encouraging and refreshing for someone who is struggling!

When you enter an inpatient rehab treatment program, you show that you are 100 percent committed to your recovery. We take inpatient care seriously, and so should you!

What Do You Do in Inpatient?

There are many components to inpatient therapy that make it work so well. The approach that is taken is all-encompassing. Inpatient rehab centers focus on all parts of your addiction so that they can get to the bottom of your problems. 

Through detoxification, individual and group therapy, and even medically-assisted treatment, inpatient rehab offers everything you’ll need to get your life back on track. 

The main thing that you do in an inpatient is get better. Every activity and group therapy session that you participate in is meant to get you further in your path to recovery. We understand that being away from your friends and loved ones can be difficult, but we can assure you that you are making them proud by taking your health seriously. The main benefit of inpatient treatment is the professional care you are given. You can’t get this kind of intense care just anywhere!

Detoxification

When you enter an inpatient treatment center, you are most likely going through a detoxification process. Going through detox alone can be extremely scary, dangerous, and even fatal. Having medically trained professionals monitoring you at all times through your detox can ensure that you stay safe throughout the process. 

Trying to detox on your own can lead you to relapse because it can be difficult to manage the side effects and properly do it by yourself. Having a safe environment with help nearby can ensure that you persevere through the intensity of withdrawals to make it out on the other side. Withdrawal is extremely harrowing to endure alone, but with inpatient, you are comforted knowing that there are people around you prepared to coach you through it. 

Therapy Sessions

There are two different kinds of therapy sessions that you could participate in at Soba Recovery Centers. We offer both individual therapy sessions and group sessions. 

The benefit of having the ability to participate in both is that you can either work through your needs privately with a trained therapist or with a community of people who are struggling just like you. The community that you find in inpatient can help uplift you and work towards your goals knowing others are right there with you.

Treating your addiction is not just about being sober, avoiding alcohol or drugs, and taking medication to stop any pain from the side effects of using. It also relies on your dedication to unraveling issues of your own that might be contributing to your addiction. 

When you struggle with addiction, you most likely carry trauma that can trigger a relapse, but with therapy, the goal is to find healthy ways to cope when they come about. 

Medical Treatment

When you come into inpatient treatment for addiction, you will likely need medical treatment for various things. You might be malnourished or sick, or you might have neglected your health for some time during your struggles. Inpatient rehab is here to help you in any way that it can, and getting you to a healthy state is just one of the many ways it works. 

In addition to getting you healthy, inpatient rehab will offer medically-assisted treatments (MAT) that are meant to ease your withdrawal symptoms and cravings. You can’t always easily get on your own, but within inpatient, we offer the services for those who struggle with alcohol and opioid addictions.

Benefits of Inpatient Rehab

When it comes to choosing a treatment plan, it’s easiest to pick when you understand all that they have to offer. Inpatient rehab has many benefits that can help you along in your recovery, some that we have already touched upon! 

24/7 Care

The most obvious benefit of inpatient care is that you are provided with 24/7 care and monitoring. If you need help, you will receive it. We understand that going through withdrawal, having intrusive thoughts, and intense cravings are difficult to deal with on your own. One of the purposes of being an inpatient is to know that you are surrounded by people who are capable of helping you. 

Structure

Another benefit of inpatient care is the structure that it brings. The structure can help break old cycles and focus on other things in your life. The rehab programs are going to be structured, with most hours of the day scheduled out. This helps to promote a healthier lifestyle that makes it easier to integrate back into society once you leave treatment.

Community

While in inpatient, you are not isolated. You are surrounded by a community of individuals like yourself, who are all trying to become healthier individuals and overcome their addiction. Sometimes when you are struggling, you can feel alone if those around you don’t share the same struggles and can’t relate to you. 

With inpatient, you meet people who will support you yet understand all of the hardships recovery will cause you to face. 

What’s the Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient?

The main difference between inpatient and outpatient is where the recovery process is taking place physically. Often, many of the activities that are completed while in recovery happen in both inpatient and outpatient. 

You undergo assessments and take part in group therapy when you are undergoing addiction recovery treatment, but some people feel they could use the additional benefits that inpatient services offer.

When you are someone who feels like you aren’t able to control yourself when you are alone or are at the end of your rope, inpatient rehab provides the 24/7 monitoring you might need. Having a built-in support system is one of the many benefits that inpatient provides. 

Inpatient typically ends up being a more intense program because every hour of your day is accounted for, but that doesn’t mean that you receive better or worse care when in either. Choosing which program you go to is completely about the level of needs you require to recover.

Inpatient Rehab at Soba Recovery Center

Your health should be your first priority. With inpatient care, you are putting yourself first in every way. Inpatient care lends you that extra helping hand that you need. It’s no shame at all to get help for something that is so hard to control. Your addiction does not define you and does not make you less worthy of a healthy life. 

There is no better time than today to make this change. If you want to get started on your path to recovery, reach out to a representative at Soba Recovery Centers so that we can best understand your needs. Our team of medically trained professionals is awaiting your arrival!

 

Sources:

Principles Of Effective Treatment | NIDA

Medication-Assisted Treatment (Mat) For Opioid Addiction: Introduction To The Special Issue | NCBI

Benefits Of Peer Support Groups In The Treatment Of Addiction | NCBI

What Is Cross Addiction?

Those who struggle with addiction might find themselves struggling with multiple addictions throughout their lifetime. It’s not uncommon for someone to struggle with more than one addiction, which is referred to as cross-addiction. 

Not everyone who experiences cross-addiction goes through the same process. People become addicted to different things, and there is no real way to determine which addictions coincide with each other. However, some might seem to pair together more frequently, like oxycodone and alcohol. 

Cross addiction can happen simultaneously or can be caused after you have gone through recovery for one addiction. People who struggle with addiction are more prone to developing another addiction later on because there is a tendency to experience addictive behaviors even after you’ve recovered. 

It can be hard to realize that addiction is a life-long battle that doesn’t just end once you’ve stopped adhering to your addiction. Becoming sober and overcoming addiction is a process that can be difficult. Still, with the help of professionals, you can make it easier to persevere while you are in active recovery. 

Cross addiction has also been referred to as Addiction Interaction Disorder or addiction transfer and does not just include addictions to drugs and alcohol. You can experience cross-addiction when you are addicted to behaviors like gambling, sex, or other compulsive behaviors. Often, those with addiction to drugs or alcohol will also experience addictive, compulsive behaviors that are linked and influence the other.

How Does Cross Addiction Occur?

Cross addiction can occur in many ways, and not everyone has the same path that leads them to these addictions. 

It can be accidental or from a lack of understanding or due to unresolved mental health issues, but no matter how it happens, it can be devastating and hard to battle on your own. One addiction is debilitating enough, but having two that occur simultaneously makes things even more difficult when trying to get help because they can enable each other. 

Accidental Cross Addiction From a Lack of Understanding

You might already have had an addiction to alcohol that you went through the recovery process for, but then you have to undergo surgery. You could get prescribed painkillers for the recovery process without thinking it will impact you because it’s not the same as alcohol, and you only have a limited supply. 

The feeling you get from that drug might reinforce you to want more, eventually leading to another addiction. The feeling you get might be different from your experience with alcohol, but it can bring back similar memories and emotions. 

You may not think you would be impacted, but that’s not usually the case. Often, when you struggle with one substance, other substances will be more dangerous to you because there is a higher likelihood that you could become addicted. 

While it is hopeful thinking and probably with good intentions, once you’ve struggled with addiction just once in your life, it is something that will impact you for the remainder of your life.  

Mental Health Issues and Cross Addiction

When you struggle with addiction to substances or compulsive behaviors, it can be linked to a co-occurring mental health disorder or what’s known as a dual diagnosis. This means that you have a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. 

These two can interact with each other and lead to other addictions or behaviors that could be harmful or dangerous to you. You might begin using drugs or alcohol if you have a history of depression or anxiety because they help you relax or escape your reality. You might use drugs like cocaine or heroin as your mental health worsens and becomes harder to control. 

Signs and Warnings

If you think that someone you love is beginning to struggle with cross addictions, there are some ways that you can see what is unfolding. They might begin to act out more impulsively, especially in behaviors like gambling or eating. 

They may also be showing signs of relapse from drugs and alcohol while their impulsive behaviors reveal themselves. It might be likely that the person undergoing this struggle is trying their best not to fall back into their addiction. Therefore, it turns to other behaviors that aren’t necessarily healthy for coping. 

It’s always important to keep an eye out for any unusual behavior when dealing with someone who has struggled with substances in the past. Being able to spot inconsistencies or tension can help you identify when someone you love needs extra support. 

Is Cross Addiction Common?

There aren’t yet specific rates for cross-addiction, but we know that it is not unusual for people to be using multiple substances or participating in multiple addictive habits. 

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) showed that in 2014, 21.5 million people over the age of 12 struggled with Substance Use Disorder (SUD), but even then, only 10 percent of all substance use disorders are diagnosed and treated. It can be very difficult to admit to yourself, let alone others, that you have an issue that you need help with. 

The prevalence of addiction makes it hard to ignore, but many people try their best to as if that will somehow magically make it disappear. When one addiction goes untreated, others are likely to arise, as the substance you use starts to waiver, and it loses the ability to give you the feeling you desire. 

You’ll often see cross addictions occur when two habits “go together.” Alcohol and tobacco can find themselves working as partners when it comes to addiction in one person, just like alcohol and gambling can. Everyone will experience cross-addiction differently, but no matter what they are struggling with, it deserves to be treated and taken seriously!

Treating and Avoiding Cross Addiction

Treating cross addictions might differ depending on where you are receiving your treatment services. In general, going through a 12-step program, undergoing therapy, receiving medically-assisted treatment, and participating in inpatient treatment can be extremely helpful when trying to treat cross-addiction. 

Everyone experiences addiction differently, and when you are dealing with multiple addictions, you might require even more specific treatment. Recovery centers are meant to provide you with the individualized treatment needed to overcome your cross-addiction. 

Sometimes avoiding cross-addiction is impossible, as it can happen accidentally. But if you are aware that you are someone with an addictive personality, who has had previous addictions or currently has one, there are ways for you to try to prevent other addictions from forming. Being educated on addiction can help you understand how cross addiction can occur. 

You should be mindful of other substances or behaviors related to addiction if you have had an addiction before. This way, you can actively take note of how you might be encouraging another addiction to form and the ways that you can ensure that you remain safe and in control. If you struggle with addiction, the easiest way to avoid cross-addiction is to stay clear of addictive substances and behaviors. It is rather easy to fall into an addictive lifestyle if you’ve once found comfort in one before. 

Living your life without any harmful distractions can limit your chances of developing another addiction. You can try to find a better outlet, one that is more creative or active, so that you can pull yourself away from any toxic cycles you find yourself drawn to. Being real with yourself will always benefit you. You know yourself best, so don’t let another addiction slow you down! 

Getting Help At Soba Recovery Centers

Inpatient services can offer you the most when dealing with cross-addiction. There are multiple kinds of methods that recovery centers use to make sure that all needs are met, and at Soba Recovery Center, you’re sure to get the care you need. Personalized methods for care allow the team members at Soba to ensure you arrive in recovery safely. 

We work with you to address your needs, so if you are someone who struggles with alcohol use disorder and gambling, we want to know. The more information we have about your needs, the better we can assist you!

If you think that Soba Recovery Center could be the place for you, reach out to a representative to talk about how we can help you. 

 

Sources:

Prevalence Of The Addictions: A Problem Of The Majority Or The Minority? | NCBI

Concurrent Substance-Related Disorders And Mental Illness: The North American Experience | NCBI

Mental Health And Substance Use Disorders | SAMHSA

Heredity & Alcohol Addiction: What’s the Link?

You may have heard before that people who become addicted to drugs and alcohol and other substances or behaviors are predisposed to having an “addiction” gene. 

Our DNA determines the entirety of our makeup, from our physical appearance to our behavior and mannerisms. Because of this fact, it makes sense that having issues with addiction, specifically alcohol problems, is often passed down through generations.  

Maybe you’ve been told that you have a family history of alcoholism, so that means you might have an addictive personality and should stay away from drugs and alcohol. 

Maybe you’ve heard anecdotes about your uncle gambling away his entire savings, then turning to alcohol to cope with the fact that he had no money to his name as a way to try to scare you away from participating in such behaviors and the development of an alcohol use disorder. Maybe it worked, or maybe it didn’t. 

It’s true that you can have inherent alcoholic tendencies from genetic factors, but often environmental factors and societal factors lead to addiction, and one cannot happen without the influence of the other.  

The best way for you to understand your specific link to alcohol, drug abuse, or other substance abuse is to be open with your family and do your own research on the subject of alcoholism. 

What Is Alcohol Addiction?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines alcohol addiction as a medical condition where you cannot stop or control your use of alcohol, despite the negative effects and consequences it can have on your life and health. 

You can have a mild, moderate, or severe addiction to alcohol that can impact your day-to-day functioning in different ways, including changes to reward and dopamine receptors in the brain. 

People with an addiction to alcohol will see it come between them and their family and friends and damage professional relationships, as well as their future. Luckily for those who struggle, recovering from alcohol addiction is possible, regardless of whether it was passed down to you genetically. 

Is There an Alcoholic Gene?

There is not just one specific gene that can determine whether or not you will end up with alcohol addiction. 

People worldwide struggle with addiction to alcohol, but along with genetic predisposition, social and environmental influences can impact the likelihood of whether or not someone expresses their addiction. 

Research on the human genome has proven that alcoholism is a complex genetic disease, and the presence of certain genes, like ADH1B and ALDH2, are known to affect your propensity for developing an addiction. 

Still, research shows there is no “alcoholic” gene. While family history is sure to increase your risk, the world around you will shape you into whomever you become. In many ways, you control your own destiny through interactions with the world. Environment and society both play a huge role in the influence of alcohol and should always be considered when it comes to alcohol addiction.  

Environment vs. Genetics

While genes can influence your risk of developing a substance use disorder, that’s not the only thing that leads you towards addiction. Our behaviors are hereditary, but they interact with the environment we are brought up in. 

Just because you carry a gene that makes you predisposed to alcoholism doesn’t mean that you are born craving a drink! And that’s because there hasn’t been any action to yet influence your decisions. Your environment will influence whether or not you develop an alcohol addiction.

Some people are more prone to stress and have unhealthy coping methods, like smoking cigarettes or nicotine. Alcohol is a way to relax your system and relieve anxiety, but this can have more negative impacts than good when consumed in unhealthy amounts. 

You may not have had a great childhood and been thrown into harmful situations, leading to a dependency on alcohol. Whatever the case may be, every moment of your life impacts the next, which means recovery is always possible.

Risk Factors

Certain factors can influence whether or not you become addicted to alcohol. The more risk factors you have, the more likely you are to develop an addiction, so it can be helpful to spot them as they are happening. Risk factors can be both hereditary and environmental, so some are easier to control. Some risk factors include:

  • The availability of alcohol for experimentation
  • Parental attention and supervision in critical years
  • Lack of social acceptance or comfortability
  • Living through poverty
  • Experiencing instances of abuse
  • Aggressive behaviors as a child
  • Sheltering from alcohol or overexposure to alcohol
  • Diagnosis of certain mental disorders
  • Drug addiction or other addictive behaviors

Protective Factors

On the other side of risk factors are protective factors that help to limit the chances of someone becoming addicted to alcohol. Different factors influence better decision-making skills, but it’s no fault of your own if you weren’t given the following:

  • Having parental monitoring or guidance
  • Learning about the effects of alcohol
  • Instilling anti-alcohol policies in your household
  • Doing well in school
  • Having access to addiction resources

How To Know If You Are at Risk

To better your chances at avoiding an alcohol addiction, some things can help you know if you are at risk. People who have alcoholism run in their family history can assume that they are at a higher risk of developing it. If multiple family members have problems with alcohol and other substances, you have likely been passed down one of the genes that influence the risk of alcoholism.  

Having the genes inside you does not mean that you are fated to become an alcoholic. These genes have to be activated by environmental and societal influences. 

You cannot avoid some things because they are out of your realm of control, like your genetics and what kind of family you were born into. To prevent a predisposition into becoming an alcohol addiction, you should:

  • Learn about your family history
  • Manage your stress and learn healthy coping strategies
  • Research addiction and its symptoms 
  • Maintain healthy relationships, both with friends and family
  • Seek out counseling

If you don’t have access to all the resources in the world or the means to seek out counseling or treatment, that doesn’t mean that you are bound to become an alcoholic. You can avoid peer pressure and still find healthy ways to enjoy your time and not be ostracized by your peers. 

It can sometimes be difficult to find the best in your situation, but building relationships with people who want you to be successful is one way to ensure that you stay on the right track!

Are You Born with Alcohol Use Disorder?

To put it simply, you can not be born with alcohol use disorder (AUD). If you are born predisposed to becoming an alcoholic due to your genetics, that is different from actively having the disorder. Genetics end up calculating only 50 percent of the risk factors, while the rest is reliant on environmental influence. This means that you have to develop it over time, and you still do have some control over whether or not it ends up happening. 

How Soba Recovery Centers Can Help

If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, it is best to ask for help. Alcohol addiction can happen to anyone—males or females, genetic predisposition or no genetic predisposition. The people around you want you to be successful and see you live your healthiest and happiest life. 

The best way to see success in your alcohol addiction recovery process is to allow the professionals at Soba Recovery Center to help you overcome your addiction. When you join a recovery center, either their inpatient or outpatient services, you gain access to professionals who are trained to treat you, resources for your addiction as well as your physical and mental health, and a community that wants to see you succeed. 

Soba Recovery Centers offer a variety of services that are aimed at your recovery. We provide personalized treatment plans so that we can get to the bottom of your addiction and treat it from all angles. If you feel that your addiction is becoming uncontrollable, consider joining us for a longer inpatient residential stay so that you can get the care you deserve. 

We want to help you in any way we can; through group therapy and medically-assisted treatment, you can fight against your addiction with more support than you might ever have imagined.

You are not alone in this fight! You do not have to be consumed by your genetic makeup, and it shouldn’t prevent you from living the life you deserve. Get help today when you reach out to one of our representatives! We are here to help you figure out the next step.

 

Sources:

Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder | NIAAA

Genetics And Alcoholism | NCBI

Genetics Of Alcohol Use Disorder | NIAAA 

10 Tips for Enjoying a Sober Christmas

It’s the time of year where everyone is stocking up on their best wine for Christmas dinner and making warm spiked eggnog for the adults while the children open their presents. For many, it’s joyous and a time for celebration, but for others, it can be overwhelming and overstimulating for those who struggle with addiction

Maybe you’ve done this before, or maybe this is your first Christmas sober. Congratulations on making it to this holiday sober, and we applaud you for staying strong. 

It can be difficult to stay sober with all of the stress of family gathering, spending money on gifts, carving out time for work to travel, and being present while you deal with your own personal things. Christmas is not always a stress-free and enjoyable time, so getting through it sober is something to be proud of! 

We know it’s not easy, but if you follow these ten tips, it’s bound to be a little bit more manageable.  

1. Plan for Stress

Christmas is not necessarily known as the most stress-free holiday. It can be overwhelming to spend money on gifts for several people, make plans with those you care about and endure the inevitable drinks that get passed around all night long. 

By preparing and planning out your holidays this year, you can hopefully eliminate some of the stress while also setting boundaries for yourself so that you don’t put yourself in a situation where you are tempted to use substances. 

Some ways that you can plan out your trip are by:

  • Figuring out who it is you need to see and setting dates and times with them well in advance
  • Setting a budget for yourself on travel, food, gifts, etc. 
  • Creating a relapse plan, so that you have a way out of a situation and have someone who you can call who understands your situation and can help
  • Staying in touch with your sponsor and planning out phone calls
  • Look for a 12-step meeting that you could attend if you need to

2. Volunteer

If you are looking for activities that make you feel good and don’t include alcohol or substances, you should consider spending your holiday season doing volunteer work. 

There are always gift drives, soup kitchens, and food pantries that are in need. Helping others is a great way to focus on the purpose of the holiday season and stay clear of substances.

People who struggle with their sobriety can understand just how important community is for recovery. There are plenty of people in your own community that need support like you, and deciding to volunteer is one way for you to give back to your community. 

3. Avoid Risky Situations

There will be many parties that you get invited to, and some will be more heavily influenced by alcohol than others. There might be times where there are multiple invitations on the table for you to choose from. 

Opening gifts with your nieces and nephews might be considered a low-risk situation, especially if your family is understanding of your struggles and can hold alcohol-free events. Getting invited to a bar crawl through the downtown with a bunch of your old high school friends might be considered higher-risk for using, meaning that it’s okay to back out and choose the other option.

You are in charge of your choices, which means you can pick where you go and who you interact with. Not everyone is going to be understanding of your needs, so it’s important that you put yourself first and make decisions for yourself without the influence of others. 

Christmas is a time when you are meant to celebrate those you care about, so make sure you choose people who care about you. 

4. Bring a Sober Friend to Parties

If you end up going out and meeting up with friends for holiday parties, inviting someone who is sober to come with you can make the experience more enjoyable and less stressful. Being sober can feel isolating at times, but having someone who understands and is also sober can make saying “No” a lot easier. 

People are less likely to question you if you are not the only one who is not drinking. You can feel some sort of solidarity with you being sober friends with you to places where alcohol is prevalent because you can have each other’s backs. 

5. Say “No”

It might seem too simple, but saying “No” is something you should learn how to do without feeling guilty. You are allowed to say no to people and to decline their offers and invitations. 

You don’t have to feel bad about turning something away that will do more harm than good, and others should learn to respect your personal boundaries. By saying “No,” you often set a boundary that many don’t know how to do themselves. 

6. Join Meetings In Your Area

If you are traveling back home for the holiday and are worried about relapsing or coming in contact with substances, make sure that you know of different meetings you could attend to maintain your sobriety. There are usually plenty of resources around, but you just have to do a little bit of research to find them. 

If you are local to Mesa, Arizona, or San Antonio, Texas, consider joining a meeting or working with the professionals at Soba Recovery Centers. Through one-on-one meetings or group therapy, you can talk with others about your issues and fears going into the holiday season. You aren’t alone; many people share the same fears!  

7. BYOD

If you are attending an event where you know there will be alcohol, BYOD (bring your own drink)! Make your own delicious mocktail to bring, or enjoy your favorite soda throughout the night so that you can avoid having to even talk about or turn down any alcohol. 

This might also signal to others that you are trying to remain sober and avoid them asking you any personal questions that you don’t want to answer! This is one of the most foolproof ways to enjoy being sober throughout Christmas because you eliminate one of the hardest parts of sobriety, which is turning away a drink.

8. Prepare a Backup Plan

You are not going to be fully successful in all situations. While you might remain sober, you could end up feeling anxious or overwhelmed by being around so many substances. 

Because you can never truly know what will happen, preparing a backup plan where you can take yourself away from the situation and put yourself in a safe environment is essential. No one has to know why you are leaving because you can continue to enjoy the season as long as you are comfortable.

A backup plan could look like having a friend call to come pick you up and take you home. Or you could prepare a breathing exercise if you begin to feel anxious or overwhelmed. You owe no one an explanation for your needs, but you can always tell the host in advance that you may have to step out earlier than anticipated to avoid any feelings of guilt.

9. Make a List of Safe People to Contact

Depending on if you’ve traveled or not, you might not have the same support system around you for the holidays. You should have a list of people you could contact in case of an emergency. This is also helpful if others need to step in to help you. You can more easily point them in the direction of who to call when you’ve planned it out in advance! 

10. Understand Your Triggers

It’s important that before you put yourself into any situation, you consider all the triggers that could happen to you. This way, you can be more prepared if they do come about, but also, you can learn to avoid them completely. 

You might be able to sense when a trigger is going to happen, and you can take yourself out of that situation, or you can catch it early on and find a way to cope so that it doesn’t actually influence you. 

Seeing certain family members, discussing certain events, or being spoken to in a specific way could all be triggers that cause you to crave substances. This isn’t the answer! Find ways to prepare healthy coping mechanisms so that you can truly enjoy the holiday without having to worry about your sobriety. 

Conclusion

Christmas is meant to be about spending time with family and enjoying each other’s presence, so make sure you make the most out of it and catch up on the time that substance use took from you!

 

Sources:

What Is Addiction? | American Psychiatry Association

Focus: Addiction: Relapse Prevention and the Five Rules of Recovery | NCBI 

Identifying Triggers of Alcohol Craving to Develop Effective Virtual Environments for Cue Exposure Therapy | NCBI

The Relationship Between PTSD and Addiction

If you or a loved one struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you already know how difficult it can be to adapt and cope with your issues. Having PTSD is not just something that military veterans come home with; it’s something that people worldwide struggle with and often have a hard time explaining to others. 

Unfortunately, with all the other struggles that a person with PTSD endures, many will also have to battle a substance use disorder. 

Knowing the signs and understanding how the two work together can help you to find positive coping methods and learn how to control your emotions and triggers to live a more successful and fulfilled life. 

At Soba Recovery, understand that dealing with addiction is hard on its own, and when you have other factors impacting your mental health, it can feel isolating and never-ending. Read on to learn more about the relationship between PTSD and addiction. 

What Is Addiction?

Addiction, or substance use disorder (SUD), is a complex condition that changes the way your brain functions. It makes you believe you need the substance to survive. It messes with your perception of reality and can make you act out in ways you normally wouldn’t. When dealing with addiction, you are often trying to escape the reality you are living in due to personal trauma. 

When you are addicted to a substance, you cannot control your urges to use the substance and make poor decisions in favor of the substance. As soon as a substance you are using disrupts your daily activities and you can’t function without it, you have reached dangerous and concerning levels of your substance use. 

Signs of Addiction

Some signs that you or a loved one is struggling with addiction are:

  • Having a disregard for harmful situations, they put themselves or others into.
  • Not being able to go a day without the substance.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
  • Becoming easily angered or upset.
  • Inability to sleep or keep up hygiene.

Calling out signs of addiction with your loved ones can be difficult, but having a conversation about your concerns only shows them that someone is willing to help.

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that individuals get diagnosed with after a traumatic experience. People with PTSD might struggle with flashbacks and bad dreams about the event that happened to them, causing them to revert to experience the emotions they had at that moment. It can be debilitating for many and cause severe issues in daily life. 

Things that can cause PTSD are:

  • Military combat
  • Abusive relationships
  • Sexual Assault 
  • Natural disasters
  • Childhood trauma
  • Car accident
  • Death of a loved one
  • Being physically attacked

Often, people with PTSD will avoid certain places, things, songs, and even people to avoid any thoughts or flashbacks. Many people have to fully adapt their lives to live without being reminded of the event, and many have a difficult time coping as it’s like reliving a nightmare over and over. 

People with PTSD can have a hard time separating what’s happening currently with memories, and how their environment is around them in one moment could place them back at the moment they experienced trauma. 

You might notice that someone with PTSD will stare blankly for a while, which can be them rewatching a negative memory unfold and then suddenly snap out of it. 

If left untreated by a treatment program that may include medications and behavioral therapies, occurring PTSD can affect you for a lifetime. 

Symptoms of PTSD

There are a few PTSD symptoms to be on the lookout for; here are some to consider:

  • Having difficulty sleeping due to nightmares or intrusive thoughts.
  • Reliving trauma and experiencing flashbacks and bad memories.
  • Becoming easily irritated or upset.
  • Constant blame on oneself.
  • Feelings of guilt.
  • Feelings of irritability. 
  • Suddenly having a blank look in their eyes as they stare off.
  • Avoiding certain people and places or having visceral reactions to objects, sounds, or names.
  • Drug use or they may abuse alcohol.

If you notice someone is dealing with PTSD, the best plan of action is to try to get them help so that they can learn how to cope appropriately. This can be difficult to discuss, but it’s so important and helpful!

How PTSD and Addiction Are Connected

It is actually widespread for someone with PTSD also to have substance use issues. 50% of people who have been diagnosed with PTSD will be diagnosed with substance use disorder. 

People with PTSD often self-medicate because of how frequent and debilitating their symptoms are. Drugs and alcohol might subdue the pain by making you forget the trauma and feel outside of your body for a brief moment, but this is not a good way to cope overall. 

PTSD alters your brain chemistry similarly to addiction, but they work together to justify the behavior. After experiencing a traumatic event, your brain will produce fewer endorphins, and so the way for people to experience those feelings of happiness is through mood-enhancing substances. 

There are many triggers that people with PTSD have that could use substances to combat that feeling.

Both addiction and PTSD are occurring disorders that affect a person’s memory, and when they are combined, they intensify the feelings that one might feel in a situation. Substance use gives people the ability to forget memories that bring them pain, but with the right help, you can find better ways to cope with your trauma. 

Signs of Substance Use In People With PTSD

It can often be hard to see when people with PTSD struggle with substance use because some of the signs are very similar from an outside perspective. Some examples of substance abuse include alcohol and drug abuse. 

There are a few ways you can tell when someone is using drugs or alcohol to a dangerous extent to help cope with their PTSD:

  • If while intoxicated, the person is extremely withdrawn.
  • They experience more depression and anxiety.
  • They might be extremely nervous until they have used a substance.
  • If they are using substances more frequently throughout the day.
  • If they become secretive about what they spend their time doing and withdraw themselves from situations, they are used to. 
  • Arousal and reactivity.

For those dealing with PTSD and substance abuse like drug use or alcohol use disorder, substance abuse treatment, addiction treatment, and counseling may be helpful for your road to recovery. Substance abuse treatments will have you go through a detox period to help you get one step closer to sobriety. While relapse may be a fear, it is less likely to occur with the right program and support. 

Getting Help At Soba Recovery Centers

When it comes to struggling with addiction and PTSD, you are not alone. Soba Recovery is here to assist you through your recovery and set you up for success upon your return to the community. 

Soba Recovery focuses on the individual’s needs, and so for those who have PTSD and addiction, the sessions you attend will be geared towards treating your PTSD as well. We understand that you can’t treat one without treating the other and that success does not happen if you don’t care for all of your needs. 

By evaluating how the two work together for your specific case, we can help to create positive coping methods to practice when experiencing stress. 

Soba Recovery Centers are located in two treatment facilities: San Antonio, TX, and Mesa, AZ; we offer various services, like inpatient, outpatient, and sober living to help assist you through these darker times. You will leave out facilities with confidence that will help you fight back against your addiction and know how to prepare for PTSD episodes. 

There is a treatment option for everyone, no matter what your diagnosis is. Treatment outcomes will vary upon the person and treatment program.

If you have other questions about the services we offer, please reach out to a Soba Recovery Center representative; we are happy to help! 

 

Sources:

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders: Advances in Assessment and Treatment | NCBI

What Is Addiction? | American Psychiatric Association 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Addiction | Dual Diagnosis 

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Your reaction to cocaine can vary depending on multiple factors, like weight, metabolism, age, or even hydration levels, so it’s hard to give an exact answer of how long it stays in your system. Typically, cocaine can test in your system anywhere from two days to several months, depending on what kind of test you are taking. 

It can show up in a blood or saliva test for up to two days, in a urine test for up to three days, and can last for several months when a hair test is done. You might not feel the effects of cocaine for this long of a period, but that doesn’t mean it’s fully flushed out of your system. 

Cocaine is considered a schedule II drug by the Controlled Substances Act because it has a high risk for abuse and dependence. It also has been used in medical settings for treatments, though rarely anymore. If you are someone who has used cocaine recently or uses it chronically and might be looking for some guidance, Soba Recovery Center offers a variety of services to support you! 

When To Expect the Effects of Cocaine

Depending on how you ingest cocaine, you might feel the effects come on at different times. How cocaine gets into your system might also impact the intensity or duration of the high. You can snort, inject, smoke, and orally take cocaine, and each will produce a different onset of the effects

Smoking and injecting cocaine will result in a much quicker onset of the effects, as quick as 5-10 seconds after using, and will last for 20 minutes. Snorting and taking cocaine orally will show the effects of using anywhere from 3-5 minutes after, but the effects can last up to 90 minutes when taken orally. How long it lasts will change depending on who you are as a person, but overall, it doesn’t last long, hence why people use it frequently–to get that sustained feeling of euphoria.

During your high, you might feel:

  • Overly confident
  • Hyper-stimulated
  • Alert
  • Aroused

But the high will come to a crashing end, where you will end up experiencing quite the opposite feelings and symptoms, like:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Dilated pupils and rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

People might try to skip out on these dark feelings by continuing to gain that euphoria once more, only assisting in the development of a dependency to the drug. 

Overdosing on Cocaine

Prolonged and excessive use of cocaine can result in a condition called cocaine intoxication, which can be very painful and dangerous to experience. You might be able to determine if you think you or a loved one is experiencing cocaine intoxication due to the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Agitation and confusion
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Hyperactivity
  • Kidney damage
  • Stroke 
  • Tremors and intense sweating
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Chest pain
  • Seizures
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Psychosis

If you or anyone you know is experiencing these systems, contact a medical professional immediately to get help. Being monitored by trained professionals is a way to increase your risk of recovery and safety, which is why inpatient treatments are extremely beneficial. 

How Long Will The Effects Last?

Typically, cocaine might affect a person for around an hour, sometimes shorter and sometimes longer. Many factors influence how long it will last in your system. After an hour, cocaine will have eliminated about half of itself from the bloodstream, as it is a fast-acting drug. 

Cocaine will have been metabolized by enzymes rapidly in the liver and blood, which would not be detectable in a drug test. The drug tests screen for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine that is detectable for longer than cocaine. So, if you use cocaine once, you will probably only feel its effects for the next 24 hours, including the comedown. If you are using cocaine daily and frequently, you might have longer-lasting side effects, followed by more dramatic crashing feelings. 

Depending on how you test for cocaine, your results may vary. Different tests can detect either cocaine or benzoylecgonine in your system on different timelines:

  • Blood: A blood test can detect cocaine in your system for up to 12 hours and benzoylecgonine for up to 48 hours. 
  • Saliva: Like a blood test, saliva helps to detect benzoylecgonine in your system for up to two days.
  • Urine: A urine test will probably be the most accurate test you’ll take and can detect benzoylecgonine in the system for up to 72 hours. If you are a frequent and heavy user of cocaine, urine tests can show it in your system for up to two weeks
  • Hair: A hair test can show benzoylecgonine in your system for several months, but that might vary depending on where the sample is taken from. 

Factors that influence the length it lasts

Several factors can influence how long cocaine stays in your system and how long the effects last. These factors are different for everyone, making it hard to say an exact time that cocaine’s effects will last.

  • Frequency: Some studies have shown that the more frequently and the more cocaine you use, the longer that benzoylecgonine will remain in the system and be detected. There will be higher amounts of cocaine in your system if you use it daily, making it harder to flush out.
  • Hydration levels: Water speeds up the excretion process of cocaine, so if you are dehydrated, it may stay in your system for longer.
  • Alcohol consumption: Alcohol can bind to cocaine and slow the excretion process down.
  • Body fat: Benzoylecgonine can be stored in fatty tissue, so if you are someone with more body fat, it might stay in your system for longer as it builds up in the fat
  • The method used: The faster that cocaine gets into the system, the faster it gets out, so if you are smoking or injecting it, it will enter your system and get out quicker than snorting or orally ingesting. 

Getting Cocaine Out of Your System

There are no tricks or tips about how to get cocaine out of your body quickly. Some people claim that drinking copious amounts of water, taking natural antidotes, or eliminating caffeine and alcohol can help to flush it from your system. While the idea behind it might seem somewhat reasonable, cocaine is not impacted by any of these brief and unsubstantiated claims. 

If you are looking to get cocaine out of your system, the only fool-proof way to do so is to quit using it so that it can thoroughly flush out of your body. Your body needs to metabolize and discard benzoylecgonine before it can be free of the drug fully, but if you continue to use it, it will never actually go away. 

Getting Help at Soba Recovery Centers

Quitting any drug means a long and difficult path towards recovery, but it’s always worth it in the end. Cocaine is no different from alcohol or heroin in the way that it can create long-term and short-term issues for those who use it, damaging relationships and putting health and stability at risk. Sometimes recovery means asking for help outside of your inner circle and putting your health in the hands of trained professionals.

Inpatient services offer 24/7 monitoring, different therapy methods to try, and a community of people who want the same thing: sobriety and control of their lives. At Soba Recovery Centers, we create personalized treatment plans that will enable you to become who you deserve to be. You can jump right into inpatient treatment or start with outpatient group therapy. 

Speak with a Soba representative to learn about our many treatment services and what we think would be best for your journey to recovery. Don’t waste another day wondering how you can overcome your addiction. Get started at Soba Recovery!

 

Sources:

Drug Fact Sheet: Cocaine | Drug Enforcement Administration

Cocaine Drug Facts | National Institute on Drug Abuse

Metabolic Enzymes Of Cocaine Metabolite Benzoylecgonine | NCBI

A Sensitive Assay For Urinary Cocaine Metabolite Benzoylecgonine Shows More Positive Results And Longer Half-Lives Than Those Using Traditional Cut-Offs | Wiley Analytical Science

Cocaine And Metabolites Urinary Excretion After Controlled Smoked Administration* | Journal of Analytical Toxicology