Medication-Assisted Treatment: Finding What Works

When you want to try and get sober, there’s going to be a lot of options for you to consider. One of those options could be medication-assisted treatment. This type of help could help you keep safe and successfully stick to your sober goals…

Medication-Assisted Treatment: How It Works

What it is

Medication-assisted treatment, like its name implies, is a form of treatment which makes use of special medication. These medicines will help you deal with withdrawal symptoms, which is key during those early days. They can also help subdue cravings, which are another potentially difficult area to deal with.

Still, this type of treatment isn’t just done on its own. Many facilities will use it alongside other treatment options, such as counseling. The combination of medical and personal help can be very helpful for those trying to get themselves clean. As a result, this method has been growing in popularity.

Effectiveness

Unlike other options, medication-assisted treatment is rather new. This does cause some to question just how effective it truly is. However, several types of studies have shown that this type of treatment does appear to be rather successful.

For example, one study showed that use of this treatment dropped heroin-related admission rates from 35% in 2002 to 28% in 2010. Another study showed that this method helped lower the rates of relapses for those recovering from opioid addictions. Similar results have occurred for those recovering from alcoholism as well.

Pros and cons

The biggest advantage of medication-assisted treatment is how a doctor can set it up to personally match your needs. Plus, by reducing the chances of a person relapsing, it also helps to prevent overdoses in the process. Those with things such as depression may also benefit from this treatment when used with something like counseling.

Still, it will require you to keep track of daily doses and intake levels. It also works best when it’s part of a wider treatment plan. Other may worry about potential stigmas they feel this sort of treatment brings. If you’re willing to stick with the treatment though, then it can end up being very helpful as a part of your recovery.

Addicted Loved One: Providing Support

Many people struggle with knowing how to best help an addicted loved one. While they want to offer support, they also don’t want to potentially push them away either. However, your support can play a big role in helping them get clean. In general, it’s good to adhere to some basic guidelines…

 Addicted Loved One: Offer Your Support

Understand the signs

First, it helps to know what the signs of an addicted loved one look like. You won’t want to make any potentially baseless accusations. Rather, you want to have a reasonably good idea that the loved one in question may be struggling with some kind of addiction.

While sometimes it can be very easy to tell, other times you’ll really need to look close for the signs. You may also notice different things depending on what kind of addiction is occurring. Still, if you detect a lot of the common signs in their behavior, then you can talk to them about it with a bit more certainty. This is good as they may try to deny things, so having a lot of evidence will help.

Be honest and build trust

The hardest thing for an addicted loved one to do is admit they have an addiction in the first place. For them, it could be very embarrassing, especially when a friend or family member talks to them about it. That’s why you need to make sure you focus on honesty and trust when you sit down to talk to them about it.

When you go to talk to them, be sure you do it in a private space. Be honest and compassionate with them, but also let them know what consequences could occur because of their addiction. At the same time, make sure you let them know that they can trust you to help and keep matters private until they decide to tell others. Sometimes, they need someone else to help them realize how dangerous their behavior has become.

Expect some difficulty

It isn’t always an easy process helping an addicted loved one. They may be combative, still struggle to see the issue, and have other problems which are behind their addictions. As such, you’ll need to be prepared to face some difficulty. However, if you stick with helping your loved one, you can seriously help them begin to turn things around.

Elderly Substance Abuse: Common Causes

Most people assume that its mainly young and middle-aged adults who have to deal with substance abuse the most. However, elderly substance abuse is actually a rapidly growing issue. In fact, there’s a few reasons as to why older adults in particular may develop an addiction…

Elderly Substance Abuse: Why It Happens

Multiple prescriptions

One factor behind elderly substance abuse is just how many prescriptions an older adult may have. As a person gets older, they may find they need multiple prescriptions to help them manage their needs. Over time, this can quickly become overwhelming.

Having so many prescriptions can cause a person to easily lose track of their intake. As a result, they may end up accidentally taking more than they should be. In turn, they develop an addiction and will take their prescription whenever they crave it.

Health issues

Health issues are also a common reason behind elderly substance abuse. It’s pretty common for people to develop new health problems and see previous ones worsen as they age. This is why they may end up having so many prescriptions, as they’ll all try and treat each specific issue.

Due to these issues, an older adult might try and take more of their prescription than they should in order to try and feel better. However, this tends to cause more issues for them, most notably an addiction. It could also be the case that issues with memory could cause them to accidentally take higher doses, as they forget when or if they’ve already taken their medication.

Life changes

Getting older comes with a number of life changes, which can be hard to deal with. For instance, many people find themselves unable to do thing they had no issue with before, such as working or driving. It could be the case that they may also be unable to live on their own, instead requiring assistance and needing to move to a new living facility.

It can be a struggle to cope with these changes, especially after years of independence. This is why they may try to deal with their stress and sadness by using their medication. The temporary high they get from taking higher doses can make them “feel better”, even though it’s just causing them more problems in the long run.

College Addiction: Common Stressors & Factors

The transition to college can be an exciting time for many students. However, it can also be a time when they develop a college addiction. There’s a few reasons as to why a college aged-student might end up struggling with some type of addiction…

College Addiction: How Did I Get Here?

Stress

Perhaps the largest reason behind a college addiction is stress. Having to go from the more-structured environment of high school to college isn’t always an easy transition. The extra workload, combined with potentially attending a school away from home and old friends, can be hard to handle on one’s own. Aside from stress, this could lead to things like anxiety and depression.

In an effort to cope with these feelings, a student might end up turning to drugs or alcohol. Of course, an addiction is just going to make things even harder for them. That’s why it’s much better for them to seek out on-campus counseling, to learn how they can manage this stress and adjust in a healthy manner.

Peer pressure

A college addiction could also occur due to peer pressure. In an effort to fit in, a student might do drugs or drink more than they would on their own. When everyone around them is encouraging them, it becomes harder for them to refuse and instead, they’ll go along with it.

This is one of the major reasons behind why college students have such high binge drinking rates. Usually, it’s because they’re at a party and want to impress their friends and other people who are there. Over time, this will lead to some pretty severe issues, both academically and health-wise.

Studying

It might be odd to think that studying can somehow end up causing a college addiction. However, it’s mainly due to a student feeling like they either can’t study effectively, or don’t have enough time. This can cause for them to look for ways to try and “boost” their studying efforts.

Many students end up turning to stimulants, such as Adderall, to get an energy boost which they think will help them better focus. The thing is, as they take these pills each time they study, they build an addiction. Ultimately, this undermines the very reason they started taking them, as their focus will be on the pills rather than their schoolwork.

Sober Diet: Making Positive Changes

Those looking to make some healthier changes in their diets might start by changing what they drink. However, for those who are getting sober, they’ll need to look elsewhere. Having a good sober diet is not just important for the health benefits. It’ll also help you to remain clean…

Sober Diet: Helpful Changes

Have a healthy routine

The first step to any sober diet is making sure you have a healthy eating routine. Many people who were battling an addiction tend to not have good eating habits. Rather than eating the standard three meals a day, they may either sporadically eat too much or not enough throughout the course of the day.

Therefore, you want to work on correcting this. Be sure that you get the three meals a day which your body needs. This not only helps you get your proper nutrition, but it also helps get you back on a schedule and bring some extra structure into your life.

Avoid sugar

Those recovering from either drug or alcohol addiction should avoid having sugar in their sober diet. When those with an alcohol addiction stop drinking, they tend to see a drop in their blood sugar levels. In turn, they end up craving sugar in order to try and replace this feeling.

It’s a similar situation for those recovering from a drug addiction. High sugar intake can feel similar to the dopamine released by the drugs, leading to similar cravings. That’s why you’ll want to opt for sugar-free options for food whenever you can, or just avoid sugary foods outright.

Eat easy foods

It can be helpful to start your sober diet off with some easy-to-eat foods. These should be food choices which won’t upset your stomach. Those who had been dealing with an opioid addiction especially tend to suffer from issues with digestion, even as they’re getting clean.

For example, try to incorporate foods like oatmeal and rice into your diet, which are really easy on the stomach. You’ll also want to eat foods which are high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables. Doing so will help keep your digestive system healthy and make adapting to your new diet a lot easier.

Sober Stress: Sticking To Your Goals

Stress is present in most adult lives. However, we all have different ways of managing it. Maybe your typical stress reliever is a glass of wine at the end of the day. However, if you’re trying to get sober, this isn’t an option. When facing sober stress, you have to find ways to relax and manage emotions outside of alcohol. While it might not be your typical route, it is one that will encourage you to make the improvements you’ve been working for.

Sober Stress: Relax And Prioritize

Prioritize

One of the most common causes of any stress, sober stress included, is having too much to do all at once. This can be especially common for someone who is quitting drinking. As you try and get things back on track, you can quickly feel like there’s just so much you need to do, and not enough time to get it finished.

To help prevent getting overwhelmed, it’s good to take some time and plan. Figure out what you need to do right away, what can wait, and what is optional. By being able to prioritize, you can reduce a lot of that stress you’ve been dealing with.

Write your thoughts

Another helpful way to manage your sober stress is through writing. Keeping a journal is handy because you can write in it at pretty much any time. For instance, while talking to others is another good way to reduce stress, you may not be able to do that every time you’re dealing with stress.

On the other hand, you can easily keep a journal with you and write when you feel stressed. You can even make use of journal apps on your phone to make it even more convenient! Having a place to work out your thoughts is great for putting your worries in a more-clear light and letting go of some stress.

Exercise

There’s a reason that exercise is great for relieving sober stress. Science has shown that exercising helps our brains release dopamine and lower stress levels. In effect, you transfer all that negative energy from your mind and out through your workout.

The nice thing too is that you don’t need to do anything crazy to get those stress-relieving benefits. Just going on a walk or doing some daily at-home workouts can go a long way. Not to mention the other health benefits you’ll get as well!

Relapse Triggers: Cause and Avoidance

As you try to get sober, one of the toughest parts can be trying to avoid relapsing. Therefore, it helps to know some common relapse triggers. These situations tend to make people more tempted to relapse than others. That way, you’ll know what to avoid and good ways to do so…

Relapse Triggers: Common Types

Withdrawal symptoms

The most frequent type of relapse triggers are withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can range from being mildly annoying to quite severe. When they get to the point of being nearly unbearable, some people will relapse in an effort to try and get their symptoms to stop. This could lead to them accidentally overdosing, because they ingest more than their body can handle.

For the most part, these symptoms will go away after a couple of days. Still, those cravings can last for months, and come back unexpectedly even years down the line. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure you have strong support from friends, support groups, and other professionals to help you avoid a relapse.

Emotional distress

Severe emotional distress can also be some people’s relapse triggers. In general, these tend to be things like stress, anxiety, or depression. As someone is trying to get sober, they also have to adapt to any other changes occurring in their lives. They may end up relapsing in an effort to “feel better” if they struggle to cope properly.

A good way to prevent this is to learn healthy ways to cope with those negative feelings. It may help to meet with a mental health professional to accomplish this. That way, you can learn what may be causing those feelings and how you can respond in a healthy way when they come up.

Peer pressure

Unfortunately, the people around you could potentially become relapse triggers. While most people will have friends and family support them, others may have them try and encourage risky behaviors. For example, they may tempt you to just have “one drink” when you’re out, despite your efforts to keep clean.

The best way to avoid this is to try and tell them how it makes you feel when they pressure you in such a way. It’s possible that they didn’t realize what they were doing and will stop. For those who don’t, however, the safest thing is to just avoid being around them as best as you can.

Withdrawal Insomnia: Finding Relief and Catching Z’s

Many people are trying to use their time spent in quarantine to sober up. However, this does mean you’ll have to deal with frustrating withdrawal symptoms, such as withdrawal insomnia. Not being able to sleep can be both draining and unhealthy. Therefore, it’s key to know how you can potentially find relief…

Withdrawal Insomnia: Ease Your Symptoms

Sleep and withdrawals

Withdrawal insomnia is something which can occur with any sort of addiction, whether it be alcohol or prescription pills. Everyone is different, therefore the symptoms you experience could vary. For example, it could be that you have trouble falling asleep when you want to. Or, you might not be able to get any sleep at all.

In fact, it could take up the 6 months to return to normal sleep patterns! Still, those first few days are important for getting plenty of sleep. Being sleep deprived will make the rest of your symptoms worse and make it harder to stick to your recovery goals.

Set up sleep rituals

One good way to fight withdrawal insomnia is by having sleep rituals. A large part of the recovery process is replacing bad habits with healthy ones. It’s possible that you’re used to staying up late and sleeping in a lot. Now is the perfect time to try and set a “normal” sleep schedule.

One good way to do this is by setting times for when you’ll try to sleep and wake up. That way, your body becomes accustomed to the new schedule. You can also try some activities which’ll help you wind down before bed, such as reading. This will help you get nice and calm before trying to sleep.

Try natural methods

When dealing with withdrawal insomnia, you’ll want to be careful about taking any sleep medication. The last thing you want is to replace one form of addictive behavior with another. Instead, try to opt for some more natural methods instead.

One popular option is to drink some soothing, caffeine-free tea before trying to sleep. Others like to try meditation or exercising during the day. These natural options will not just help you fall asleep, but they’ll also help make your body feel better in the process.