gut mind connection

The Gut-Mind Connection: How Gut Health Affects Mental Health

When Hippocrates said that “all disease starts in the gut,” he made a bold and accurate prediction. For centuries, doctors have been trying to figure out how exactly diseases start but as of recently, there’s finally some clarity thanks to new insights into chronic inflammatory disorders like Crohn’s Disease.

There’s a communication system between your gut and brain called the “gut-brain axis.” What’s more, recent studies show that this connection can affect both gut and mental health. Have you ever had butterflies in your stomach or felt like something might be wrong? This could mean your gut instinct was real all along. 

Can stress cause constipation? Can the mind cause gastrointestinal distress? According to science, the connection is very real and very important to understand. 

The Enteric Nervous System: Your Second Brain

Commonly referred to as your “second brain”, scientists call this the enteric nervous system (ENS). The ENS is two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract from the esophagus to the rectum. 

Researchers are now discovering that the irritability of an individual’s gastrointestinal system may be due to disruptions in the mood. The ENS has been observed by scientists for decades as they studied how emotions affect IBS symptoms such as bloating or stomach pain. What researchers have concluded is that these changes in mood occur because irritation experienced within one part of your body can send signals all over your nervous system including into your brain. This can ultimately affect what we think about ourselves, thus causing anxiety or depression-like feelings.

The Vagus Nerve: The Gut-Mind Connection Highway

All information produced by the ENS is carried by the vagus nerve and vice versa. There are approximately 100 billion neurons in the human brain, however, there are nearly 500 million neurons in the gut. The vagus nerve is one of the biggest nerves in your body. It carries signals in both directions from the brain to the gut, and the gut to the brain. This means that stress can cause stomach pain and stomach pain can cause stress.  

A study that was done on mice showed that feeding them a probiotic ended up reducing a stress hormone in their blood. Afterward, the vagus nerve was severed. The mice were then fed the same probiotic, but this time there was no effect on the stress hormone. Ultimately, this means the vagus nerve plays an important role in the gut-mind connection.

Understanding the connection between our two brains is crucial in treating conditions like IBS and bowel disorders. This new research offers a better understanding of why therapies such as antidepressants, mind-body techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and medical hypnotherapy are successful treatments for these types of health issues. Our brain communicates with itself so we need to see gastroenterologists not just as doctors who treat digestive problems, but also counselors looking for ways to help your second brain.

Neurotransmitters are Produced in the Gut

Your gut and brain are also connected through chemicals called neurotransmitters. These molecules regulate how you feel, think, or act by passing messages from one part of the body to another. Many of these neurotransmitters are also produced by your gut cells. For example, serotonin regulates moods such as happiness. Also, it helps control circadian rhythms (body clock) as a result.

In fact, a large proportion of all these chemicals are actually produced in your intestines. Your microbes also produce the neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is a neurotransmitter that controls feelings of fear and anxiety. This might help explain why people who have anxiety disorders tend to be more anxious when they’re sick with diarrhea than if their stomach was empty.

The Gut-Mind Connection is Also Affected by Other Gut Microbes

The gut also produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) like propionate, acetate, and butyrate when digesting fiber. SCFA’s affect the brain in many different ways and are primarily linked to a reduction in appetite. 

One study found that consuming the SCFA, propionate can reduce food intake and the activity in the brain related to reward from high-energy foods. Another SCFA, butyrate, is also important for forming a barrier between your gut and blood called the “blood-brain” barrier. 

Scientists have discovered that our gut microbes not only metabolize bile acids but also amino acids. This process can produce chemicals that affect the brain and mental health. In two other studies that involved mice, it was discovered that stress and social disorders reduce the production of bile acids by gut bacteria and alter the genes involved in their production.

What Affects Our Gut Mind Connection?

We all have millions of bacteria living in our guts, but no two people are alike. Each individual carries a different assortment of bacterial species and each person’s microbial composition is as unique as their fingerprint. 

We understand that what’s going in our stomach can ultimately affect the way we think and feel. Does stress cause stomach pain? Can stress cause constipation? Yes, they are connected. But what can be done about it? How can we regulate these emotions and gastrointestinal distress? By looking at factors that affect our microbiome (communities of bacteria in your gut) we can regulate and encourage beneficial functions like developing immunity, boosting mood, and increasing metabolism. 

Diet and How it Regulates Gastrointestinal Distress

Clean, fresh, whole foods support a healthy microbiome. All gut bacteria need a variety of fuels to thrive. So why not provide the best possible food for them? Plant-based foods like grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruit will help you feed your microbiome so that it can grow and multiply in number—and thus be more resilient against any stressors or illness. In other words: “you are what you eat.”

Avoid sugar. Sugar has a major effect on gastrointestinal distress as it generally increases bad bacteria that will feed on the healthy bacterial. Watch your protein intake. A low protein diet is better than a high-protein diet because it leads to fewer pathogenic bacteria. Less undigested proteins mean that your body can work more efficiently, which reduces the risk of metabolic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Illicit Drugs and Alcohol Interfere with Normal Functions

Alcohol takes a heavy toll on the stomach and its functions. The consumption of alcohol can lead to decreased gastric acidity which compromises the digestive process. This causes increased gas in the intestines that may cause bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, and ulcers due to chronic irritation.

Alcohol has long-term effects on both short-term health issues caused by being drunk. Vomiting and blackouts are key examples, but there are also other longer-lasting consequences. These include more serious complications like gastrointestinal bleeding, peptic ulcers, and gastric (stomach) cancer. 

There is still little research regarding how illicit drugs affect stomach functions. However, mind-altering, unregulated street drugs can manipulate your normal brain and central nervous system functions making it hard to decipher what’s actually happening in your stomach. These substances mask feelings and emotions, thus making it less likely you will take care of yourself.

Medications and the Effect on the Gut-Mind Connection

Antibiotics are the most widely prescribed drugs in human history, but their use has led to several negative effects on our gut microbiota. These effects can include a reduction of species diversity and metabolic activity. This widespread usage is leading us down a dangerous path as they also allow resistant strains. This is what leads to antibiotic-associated diarrhea and recurrent Clostridioides difficile (a form of life-threatening diarrhea) infections.

Multiple drugs have been shown to alter the composition of gut bacteria. For example, a recent study found that many non-antibiotic prescription medications also affect how your microbiome performs in vitro tests for different strains of bacteria. The categories that largest impact included laxatives, proton pump inhibitors (used to treat gastrointestinal distress), and Metformin (used to treat type 2 diabetes). 

Next time you’ve been prescribed any medication, be sure to discuss with your doctor how it will impact your gut microbiome. In many cases these medications are necessary, but if you focus on preventing illnesses, you won’t be faced with making this decision. 

Can Stress Cause Stomach Pain?

The bacteria in the gut can be altered by stress, which increases inflammation. The types of bacteria that either increase or decrease depend largely upon which type is present. Some are sensitive only to one condition while others respond more variably based on exposure times or environmental factors such as diet composition. 

In many more studies involving mice, short-chain fatty acids concentrations decreased with exposure to stress alone. SCFA’s are responsible for alleviating anxiety and depression. Lack of SCFA’s can also lead to an increase in body weight. Therefore, it can be concluded that stress causes weight gain as well as depression, anxiety, and stomach pain. 

Environmental Chemicals and Gastrointestinal Distress

Environmental chemicals are not as well-known for their effect on the microbiome, but recent studies have shown that they can alter it significantly. According to a study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, bisphenols (chemicals used to manufacture plastics) were found to decrease diversity by changing the composition of the microbiome. 

Bisphenols (BPA’s) are present in many items we use, including trace amounts in the food we eat. BPA’s are used in receipt paper, beverage can liners, water bottles, and medical equipment. BPA’s get ingested through food and beverages that have been contaminated. Sadly, studies have suggested that roughly 90% of the US population over six years old has some BPA in their system. 

Environmental chemicals can be directly responsible for negative health. This includes complications such as developmental defects, diabetes, liver disease, thyroid problems, obesity, and immune dysfunction. Usually, the gut microbiome can remedy many of the toxic side effects from these chemicals but with consistent exposure, microbiome will change and spark a chain of events leading to chronic health issues. 

All Disease Begins in the Gut

The gut and the brain are connected in ways that can be easily understood. When you think about how nervousness could cause nausea before a presentation you realize it’s not just “in your head.” And likewise, gastrointestinal disorders can cause feelings of anxiety and depression. Even though the connection is a bit more complex in hindsight, the feelings and emotions caused by your mind or gut are still easily interpreted.  

How Can I Fix My Gut-Mind Connection?

  • Focus on your diet, eat clean whole foods that consist of lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Follow up on any medications you are currently taking, be sure to ask your doctor for information regarding how they interact with your gut microbiome.
  • Avoid plastics when you can. Store your food in glass containers. 
  • Exercise, and find ways to mitigate stress like taking time for self-care. 
  • Get treatment for any mental health disorders that might be interfering with the health of your stomach. 
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol that may be interfering with either your stomach or brain’s natural functions. 

Sana Lake Recovery is Here to Help

In some cases, you may need professional help to get the health of your gut-mind connection back in harmony. Recognizing that there is a problem is the first step in making a change to a healthier and happier lifestyle. 

If you or a loved one is suffering from substance use disorder or mental health concerns Sana Lake is here to assist. We can help get your stomach health back on track and guide your progress to overall wellness.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6996528/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6969170/

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcimb.2020.572912/full#:~:text=Antibiotic%20use%20can%20have%20several,and%20recurrent%20Clostridioides%20difficile%20infections

https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/for-medical-professionals/tools-for-your-practice/connect-with-nationwide-childrens/pediatrics-online/2019/february/stress-alters-the-gut-microbiome

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30066368/

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/24/bisphenols-bpa-everyday-toxics-guide

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2685866/

Group of young women talking sitting in a circle during iop or php addiction treatment

What’s the Difference Between PHP and IOP?

Addiction treatment programs are both inpatient or outpatient. For many people, inpatient treatment is not an option. So, IOP (intensive outpatient program) or PHP (partial hospitalization program) is their next option. 

But, what is the definition of outpatient rehab? What is an IOP vs. PHP? And, how do you choose which program is best? At Sana Lake, we help you choose an individualized program that offers the best chance at recovery. 

What is the Outpatient Treatment Definition?

An outpatient rehab program allows members to attend treatment while living at home. For members who can’t leave work or have families to care for, PHPs and IOPs work around their schedules. 

Outpatient treatment is beneficial for those with:

  • A mild to moderate substance use disorder
  • Little to no risk of serious withdrawal complications
  • A strong support system
  • High motivation for lasting recovery
  • Transportation to and from treatment

What is PHP?

PHP stands for Partial Hospitalization Program. It is the most intense outpatient substance use disorder treatment program. However, it is less intense than inpatient treatment. 

Members in PHP attend more therapy and group sessions each week than those in IOP. The time commitment in IOP is comparable to inpatient treatment. Generally, the only difference between PHP and inpatient treatment is members live where they want in PHP. 

Is PHP Best for You?

PHP is a good treatment program for those who:

  • Completed inpatient treatment but still runs a high risk of relapse
  • Has relapsed multiple times and struggles to manage cravings
  • Still coping with withdrawals and undergoing detox

How Does Treatment Work: PHP vs. IOP

Members in PHP vs. IOP spend more time in psychotherapy and group sessions. For example, members in PHP may spend up to 8 hours a day in treatment. The length of each session highly depends on the needs of the member. 

To meet each member’s needs, holistic therapies are often added to psychiatric and medical treatments. Holistic therapies are beneficial as members in PHP may still be vulnerable. And holistic therapies bring relaxation, calm, and balance to life in recovery.

What is IOP?

IOP is short for the Intensive Outpatient Program. It’s the next step-down in a comprehensive treatment plan. IOPs require less time in therapy and group sessions, allowing members to have a more normal life. 

Although members may only attend treatment a few hours a week, they are encouraged to participate in 12-step programs. Returning to work and the normal routine of life can also bring back the triggers for drug or alcohol misuse. IOPs allow members to seek support from peers and therapists while building confidence in real-life situations.

Who Benefits From IOP?

As members work through the recovery process, they often want the freedom of working and raising their children. While an IOP offers that ability, it is not always the best choice. 

Members should always be realistic about how much freedom they can handle. With more freedom comes more triggers and cravings. And, while a member may be eager to finish treatment, they need to be confident in their recovery. 

IOP is not beneficial if:

  • Returning to your everyday environment will trigger cravings
  • You will be around people who encourage drug and alcohol use
  • Lack of transportation to meetings and therapy sessions

IOP vs. PHP: How Does Treatment Work

Members in IOP vs. PHP typically go to treatment three days a week for 3 to 4 hours each time. However, treatment sessions are based on the needs of the member. For example, if a member struggles with cravings, they may add more sessions to their therapy. But, as they improve, sessions will become fewer. 

Besides psychotherapy, group sessions in IOP can help those new to recovery learn from those who have been there. Group therapy also helps members feel less lonely and isolated as lasting bonds are made. 

What are the Similarities of PHP vs. IOP?

PHP and IOP are similar in that members receive treatment during the day and live at home in the evening. Treatments and therapies in IOP vs. PHP are also similar. But, IOP focuses more on relapse prevention.

Whether you choose PHP or IOP, you will receive individualized personal care that puts you on the path to lasting recovery. 

How To Choose Between IOP vs. PHP

Choosing the right addiction treatment program can be confusing. In fact, some people may not know the difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment. So, how do people choose between IOP vs. PHP? 

For help in deciding the best choice for treatment, it is best to consider the following. 

Time Commitment

The recovery process is time-consuming. However, your recovery and overall wellbeing are worth all the time it takes to heal. If you want the shortest treatment program, then inpatient is the way to go. These programs typically last 30 days. 

Some outpatient programs such as PHP and IOP may last 90 or even 200 days. The length of time spent in any treatment program greatly depends on the member and their substance use disorder. 

Insurance and Finances

Finances are one of the biggest obstacles in addiction treatment. However, insurance is required by law to cover mental and behavioral health services. For members without insurance, there are options. 

If you qualify, Medicare and Medicaid will help cover the cost of treatment. Besides insurance, some centers may offer payment plans or grants. And, crowdfunding is another way to cover the cost of recovery. 

Lifestyle

Another important factor in choosing an addiction program is your lifestyle. Lifestyle factors include your diagnosis, your career, school, and your responsibilities to your family. These factors often determine whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is best. And, if it’s outpatient, then do you choose PHP or IOP. 

The Pros and Cons of PHP and IOP

Like all decisions in life, there are pros and cons when choosing IOP vs. PHP. Determining which treatment program is right for you can be the difference in recovery or relapse. The following may help you decide between PHP vs. IOP.

Pros include:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Life skills training
  • Family therapy
  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Lower cost than inpatient treatment
  • Flexible hours

Cons include:

  • Access to drugs and alcohol
  • Facing real-life triggers
  • Needing transportation to treatment 
  • Lack of supervision

If you are still unsure whether to choose PHP or IOP, talk to your doctor or call us at Sana Lake, and we will gladly answer any questions you have. 

Can PHP and IOP Treat Co-Occurring Disorders?

Co-occurring disorders happen when a person struggles with drug or alcohol use disorder and a mental or behavioral disorder. This is also commonly called a dual diagnosis. 

It is so common that according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 45 percent of Americans suffer from a dual diagnosis. Furthermore, people with a mental health disorder are twice as likely to struggle with substance use disorder. 

While some co-occurring disorders which are being managed can be treated in IOP or PHP, inpatient treatment is better suited to treat a dual diagnosis. This is because co-occurring disorders need simultaneous treatment to reduce the risk of relapse. 

Why is Outpatient Treatment Better Than Inpatient Treatment for Some People?

When deciding which addiction treatment to choose, it is common to ask people their opinion if they have been in treatment before. But, it is important to remember, addiction is a personal issue, and so is treatment. So what works for one person may not be best for you. 

But, other than a few exceptions, such as a severe addiction and multiple relapses, PHPs and IOPs are often the best programs for recovery. In fact, those who attend inpatient treatment eventually go to outpatient treatment. 

Outpatient treatment is preferred over inpatient treatment for various reasons, including:

  • It is less disruptive to life than inpatient treatment. Members can still work, go to school, and care for their families. 
  • It allows members to immediately use what they learn in treatment in their daily lives.
  • It offers more flexibility and freedom than inpatient treatment.
  • It allows for privacy in treatment. Since members can work and participate in everyday life, they don’t have to tell their boss or friends and family. 
  • Outpatient programs are far less expensive than inpatient treatment. As a result, members have less of a financial burden.

Quick Facts on Substance Use Disorder

According to NSDUH, in 2017, the facts on addiction include:

  • 19.7 million Americans ages 12 and over struggle with substance use disorder
  • 74% of adults with an addiction misuse alcohol
  • 38% of adults misuse illicit drugs
  • 1 out of 8 struggle with both drug and alcohol use disorder simultaneously
  • 8.5 million adults struggle with co-occurring disorders

Outpatient Treatment Programs at Sana Lake Recovery

As the numbers above show, you are not alone in your struggle with addiction. And like you, they are also lost on whether to choose PHP or IOP for their treatment. At Sana Lake, we have helped thousands of people like you achieve lasting recovery. 

Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction and don’t know where to turn? Contact us today. We are waiting to help you achieve lifelong recovery.

References:

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/nsduh-ppt-09-2018.pdf

lean drink

What Is Lean Drink?

Lean drink is a combination of soft drink, prescription-strength cough syrup, and fruit-flavored candy. Lean, also known as sizzurp, dirty sprite, purple drank, and lean drink, often contains an opioid drug called codeine. This presents a danger for those drinking lean, as opioids are known for their dependent characteristics. 

Some cough syrups used in lean drink contain promethazine, which is an antihistamine with sedative properties. Combining codeine and an antihistamine like promethazine could lead to a dramatic impairment of motor function. 

Codeine: What Is Lean Drink?

Codeine is an opioid or opiate drug that has several medical uses. One use is a cough suppressant or mild analgesic. In cases of non-prescription use, when codeine is consumed in large doses, it presents serious harmful effects. While drinking lean, it may be difficult to monitor how much has been consumed because of the nature of the effects and the drink’s familiar flavor – soda and candy. 

The lean drink phenomenon is relatively recent. Therefore, there are not completely conclusive statistics available regarding the substance. Since the primary ingredient in lean drink can be legally obtained with a prescription, it is almost impossible to track its misuse. Popular culture celebrities and athletes have been in several news stories involving the drug. In addition, songs referring to “sizzurp” or “dirty sprite” appeal to adolescents who may not understand the consequences of narcotics. 

How Did Drinking Lean Become Popular?

Lean drink gained popularity primarily in young people in urban communities. The concoction is a cheap and easy way for people to get high. In some cases, it can be even more accessible for young people to obtain than alcoholic beverages or drugs. Some users add hydrocodone, PCP, or cocaine to further increase the highly psychoactive effects of drinking lean. 

What Are the Side Effects of Lean? 

Side effects of lean gradually worsen after continuous use. Lean is especially dangerous because of its addictive properties, urging users to continue using the substance. Drinking lean can lead to widespread health issues. Some of the side effects of lean include:

  • Memory issues
  • Listlessness
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting

Drinking lean regularly can have severe consequences, such as:

  • Dental decay
  • Seizures
  • Weight gain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Breathing issues
  • Urinary tract infections

There may be a misconception that lean is not incredibly unsafe since it contains substances that doctors prescribe. Contrary to popular belief, large quantities or long-term use of these narcotics can lead to lethal drug effects. Health risks when consuming lean are compounded if the user combines the substance with other drugs, such as alcohol

Is Drinking Lean Addictive?

The opioid ingredient in lean drink is highly addictive because of its euphoric and rewarding effects. Opioids are extremely dangerous and addictive. Therefore, they should only be taken under the direction of a medical doctor. Physicians prescribe opioids in a way that mitigates the substance’s addictive potential as much as possible. 

Consistent use of opioids, such as codeine, often leads to drug dependence and increased drug tolerance. The likelihood of a dangerous outcome increases when an individual builds a tolerance to a substance. Consuming more opioids to experience the substance’s desired effects may complete the addiction cycle and solidify the development of the individual’s physical dependence. 

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms from opioids make it even more difficult to break an active addiction. People that are dependent on opioids experience several unpleasant symptoms when going without the substance for an extended period. A person addicted to opioids, such as codeine, may experience some or all of the following withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Excessive sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose and increased tearing
  • Goosebumps and chills
  • Increased breathing and heart rate

What Are Opioids?

Opioids such as codeine are used to treat mild to severe pain. Opioids are a family of drugs that can produce pain relief. When taken as prescribed, the risks tend to be minimal and manageable. Opioid misuse poses more significant health hazards because it leads to dependence and abuse, leading to overdoses and sometimes death. 

Synthetic opioids include substances, such as:

  • Methadone
  • Fentanyl
  • Meperidine
  • Tramadol
  • Loveorphanol

Semi-synthetic opioids include substances, such as:

  • Oxycodone
  • Heroin
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone

Symptoms and Signs of Opioid Use

Individuals developing an opioid use disorder tend to have success in hiding their abuse for a limited time. But the consequences of opioid use are so overwhelming that signs and symptoms will become more apparent over time. Some common behavioral, physical, cognitive, and psychosocial symptoms include:

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Self-isolation
  • Stealing medicine from family or friends
  • Dishonesty regarding pain or symptoms to receive prescriptions
  • Making multiple doctor’s appointments to try to receive multiple prescriptions
  • Bad work or school performance
  • Uncharacteristic or unexplained periods of absence

Cognitive Symptoms:

  • Impaired decision making
  • Impaired judgment
  • Decline in problem-solving skills
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Detachment from surroundings, dissociation 

Lean Cough Syrup Addiction Treatment

Drinking lean and general opioid abuse is a serious and widespread issue that can have long-lasting consequences, including an increased chance of overdose. At Sana Lake, we offer various types of programs to help patients recover from opioid addiction. Some of these programs include detoxification, medication-assisted therapy, residential rehabilitation, and counseling sessions with professionals.

Detox

Cough syrup addiction treatment starts with detox. Detox programs help remove substance-related toxins from the body so the individual can begin treatment with a completely sober body and mind. Detoxing at Sana Lake also provides a sense of safety, as our medical professionals are present each step of the way. We offer medical guidance since withdrawal symptoms of many substances are extremely uncomfortable and, in some cases, may be deadly. 

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Since “lean drink” contains opioids, a medically-assisted treatment may be necessary. This form of therapy is commonly used for opioid recovery. Individuals in medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, can focus more on their recovery since certain medications can help reduce drug cravings and make withdrawal symptoms less uncomfortable.

Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone

Medications like methadone and buprenorphine are very effective in treating addiction. These medicines essentially target the same area of the brain as opioids but do not make an individual feel high. This can help the individual focus on their recovery for an extended period of time without having any cravings or withdrawal symptoms. The goal is to restore balance in the physical aspects of one’s brain affected by substance abuse, which will allow them to recover from addiction.

Naltrexone is a prescription medication used to treat opioid addiction. This drug works differently than buprenorphine and methadone. Unlike more common treatments for substance abuse, naltrexone blocks the ability of opioids such as heroin or codeine from producing any high-inducing sensations in users who take it. Therefore, this treatment option can be helpful when trying to prevent relapse following recovery.

Residential Treatment

Inpatient rehabilitation helps people with severe addictions recover from various substance use disorders. It can act as cough syrup addiction treatment or treatment for several other addictions. 

Residential programs can help people who are struggling with addiction to live a more sober lifestyle. Residential treatment facilities combine housing and clinical support in order to provide patients the best possible chance of long-term recovery. Patients at Sana Lake Recovery have around-the-clock access to professional care, including psychological and emotional support.

Addiction Counseling

In many cases, people with difficult lives or unfortunate mental complexities often look to substances as a coping method for symptoms of trauma or disorder. Addiction counseling is an essential pillar in addiction recovery because it helps the addict understand their emotional motivations and behaviors while providing them resources to cope responsibly without drugs.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is a useful form of counseling that can help individuals overcome traumas and emotional challenges in an effort to stop negative cognitive habits. The therapist spends time with the individual, guiding them through one-on-one sessions as they work towards positive changes. These sessions help form new healthy patterns while celebrating progress made along the way.

Group Therapy 

Group therapy is an essential component of the recovery process. Group sessions are led by a substance abuse therapist and made up of two or more individuals who provide input to foster healthy bonds in addition to addressing their individual issues while undergoing recovery from addiction. In combination with individual therapy, group therapy helps people develop coping skills they will use while maintaining sobriety.

Holistic Treatment

Those with an addiction to drinking lean may find it increasingly difficult to quit the narcotic. Holistic therapy offers an alternative treatment that proves useful with many types of addictions. At Sana Lake Recovery, we combine traditional methods of recovery with holistic practices to treat the whole person. Holistic practices you can expect to participate in at Sana Lake Recovery include:

  • Yoga
  • Journaling
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Massage and acupuncture
  • Aromatherapy
  • Acupressure

Get Help at Sana Lake Recovery

Addiction is a complicated brain disease that is almost impossible to beat without support. At Sana Lake, we believe no one should battle addiction alone. Opioid-related addictions are especially difficult to break. If you or a loved one are looking for cough syrup addiction treatment, please reach out immediately. 

Two Caucasian women having nice lively conversation about alternatives to benzodiazepines for anxiety

Alternatives to Benzodiazepines for Anxiety

Anxiety is something we all deal with on occasion. While anxiety can be a warning of something dangerous, it is also a good source of motivation. But for some, anxiety is severe and interferes with daily life. Benzos often help, but there are alternatives to benzodiazepines for anxiety.

Because benzos have a high risk of addiction, some people don’t want to take the medication. For others, they want to treat the underlying causes of anxiety and not just mask the symptoms. If this sounds like you, there are various benzo alternatives.

Lifestyle Change a Benzo Alternative

When anxiety becomes an issue, it is important to look at your lifestyle choices. What improvements can be made? Can you add anything to improve your mental health?

Your physical health is a great place to make changes. The following are examples of some physical care which in turn improves your mental health.

  • Exercise – Physical activities such as running and swimming release endorphins which create a sense of wellbeing.
  • Eat a Nutritious Diet – The phrase “we are what we eat” is true. Eating a well-balanced diet keeps the body and the brain working it’s best. In the same way, eating junk food makes you feel sluggish and makes anxiety and worry worse.
  • Get Quality Sleep – A lack of sleep adds stress and leads to higher anxiety. But, it’s not just the amount of sleep but the quality of sleep you get. Having a wind-down routine such as a warm shower and reading a book can improve the overall quality of sleep.

Holistic Therapies: Alternatives to Benzodiazepines for Anxiety

People are turning to various holistic therapies as an alternative to benzos. Holistic therapies focus on healing the mind, body, and spirit. So, not only can you cope with anxiety better, but holistic therapies also create a sense of overall well-being. 

Yoga and Meditation for Anxiety and Sleep

When you start feeling anxious, yoga can help calm your mind and body. By focusing on your breathing and being in the present moment, you can quiet the thoughts in your mind and improve your mood. 

Just a few minutes can make a big impact. Find a quiet spot. Focus on the movements of your body and the air flowing in and out of your lungs. If your thoughts scatter, bring yourself back to the sensations of each movement. 

When it’s not feasible to step away for yoga, meditation is another benzo alternative. Meditation can take as little as 60 seconds or as long as you need. By taking time to clear your mind and taking long, deep breathes, you lower anxiety and improve your sleep.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese treatment. It has been used for thousands of years for anxiety, depression, and much more. A practitioner uses thin, sharp needles in the upper layers of the skin. These specific spots release natural painkilling chemicals in the brain and reduce anxiety. 

Nature Therapy Alternatives to Benzodiazepines for Anxiety

Nature therapy is using the benefits of nature to boost growth and healing, specifically mental health. For example, hiking, growing a garden, and being around animals can reduce anxiety and build confidence. 

Nature therapy benefits include:

  • Improve mood
  • Reduce anxiety and stress
  • Relaxation
  • Improving physical health
  • Builds self-esteem and confidence
  • Meeting new friends

Holistic therapies are not an instant fix, and some therapies such as yoga and meditation take practice. This can be frustrating for those use to the quick fix of benzos. But, be patient. Alternatives to benzodiazepines for anxiety are overall more effective in achieving a better life. 

Therapy and Counseling: Alternatives to Benzodiazepines for Sleep and Anxiety

People struggling with daily anxiety often stay up at night with thoughts racing through their minds. This lack of sleep adds more stress and increases anxiety. Psychotherapy or individual therapy is a crucial alternative to benzodiazepines for sleep and anxiety. 

Having a trusted therapist listen to your thoughts and feelings surrounding anxiety helps build the tools needed to overcome these feelings. A few therapies are effective alternatives to benzodiazepines and include:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy – A therapist helps identify situations that bring feelings of anxiety and fear. Then together, you develop the tools to replace anxiety with positive thoughts and feelings.
  • Hypnotherapy – Hypnotherapy works by tapping into your subconscious. The hypnotherapist uses positive affirmations and visuals to promote physical and mental wellbeing. 

Medication Alternatives to Benzodiazepines for Anxiety and Sleep

Severe anxiety is debilitating and may interfere with daily life. As a result, medication is needed. However, benzodiazepine is not the only option. While various medications effectively treat anxiety and sleep issues, the two most common include antidepressants and sedatives. 

  • Antidepressants – Antidepressants effectively treat generalized anxiety and depression without the risk of addiction to benzos. SSRIs such as Zoloft are effective but take a week to start working. As a result, you may need something else the first week. 
  • Sedatives – Medications such as antihistamines and Ramelteon have sedative effects which can reduce anxiety and improve sleep.

What are Benzos?

Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are prescription sedatives for anxiety and insomnia. They work by slowing down the body and the brain. Common benzos include Ativan, Valium, and Xanax

While benzos are very effective, they are also highly addictive. Even when taken as prescribed, the body can develop a dependence on the drug. As a result, you will go through withdrawals if you suddenly stop taking benzos. 

Why Do You Use Benzos for Anxiety?

Benzos are often used in treating anxiety and sleep disorders because of its relaxing qualities. It affects the neurotransmitter GABA. As GABA sends calming messages throughout the body, the overstimulation in the brain also calms. 

Benzos are quick-acting and relieve anxiety symptoms shortly after taking. They are taken either once a day, multiple times a day, or as needed. How much and how often you take benzos depends on the severity of your symptoms. 

What are the Dangers of Benzodiazepines?

When benzodiazepines are taken temporarily and as prescribed are viewed as generally safe. However, they are habit-forming, and any misuse or long-term use can cause various health issues. These issues include mood swings, hallucinations, dependence, and overdose. 

When you misuse benzos along with other medications, drugs, or alcohol, the risk of overdose increases. This is especially true when mixing benzos and opioids. The effects may include:

  • Enhancing side effects of both drugs
  • Respiratory depression or slowed breathing
  • Loss of cognitive function
  • Slower reaction times
  • Increases risk of substance use disorder
  • Overdose

For example, in 2017, over 120 million people left the doctor’s office with a benzo prescription. That is, millions of people can find safer alternatives to benzodiazepines for anxiety. 

Signs and Symptoms of Benzo Misuse

A person misusing benzos will exhibit physical, mental, and behavioral changes. It is crucial to recognize the signs of a benzo use disorder, which include:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Memory loss
  • Increase anxiety
  • Job loss
  • Isolation
  • Taking more than prescribed
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Overdose

The Risk of Withdrawal from Benzodiazepines

When a person takes benzos on a long-term basis or misuses them, the body develops a tolerance for the drug. As the tolerance builds, the more it takes to feel the same effects from benzos. 

But, when they suddenly stop using or reduces their dose, withdrawal symptoms emerge. Benzo’s withdrawal symptoms are physically and emotionally painful. Above all, they can be life-threatening. 

Symptoms of Benzo Withdrawal

Symptoms of benzo withdrawal typically last up to 10 days and may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Trouble concentration
  • Excessive sweating
  • Headache
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tremors
  • Cravings
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis
  • Suicidal thoughts 

Because some benzo withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening, it is safer to detox from benzos in a medical detox center. 

Medical Detox From Benzos at Sana Lake Recovery

Detox is the process of removing toxins from the body. When detoxing from benzos, it is safest under medical supervision. Our experienced staff at Sana Lake Recovery can help you manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms with medication and mental support. 

Another significant benefit to medical detox programs is the ease of continuing into inpatient treatment. Although detox helps your body cleanse all the toxins out, it is not a form of treatment. Without entering a treatment program after detox, a person increases their risk of relapse. 

Treating Anxiety at Sana Lake Recovery

People struggling with anxiety often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. But, this behavior, unfortunately, induces anxiety and can lead to a substance use disorder. At Sana Lake, we offer a variety of alternatives to benzodiazepines for anxiety and sleep. This includes trained therapists, medication-assisted therapy, and holistic therapies. 

If you or someone you love is struggling with severe anxiety or a substance use disorder, we can help. Contact us today. We are waiting to answer all your questions and get you started toward a better life. 

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/benzodiazepines_and_the_alternatives

Alcohol Slows Down Brain Function

Can Alcohol Affect Your Memory?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a serious disease in America. In fact, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports, in 2019, nearly 15 million people age 12 and up had AUD. Unfortunately, less than half of these people received treatment for their drinking.

Alcohol misuse can significantly impact your brain and memory. However, the longer you drink and the more you consume, the more severe and lasting the effects of alcohol on memory. But, seeking treatment can help with alcoholism and memory loss. Sana Lake offers personalized programs to help you achieve recovery from alcohol and memory loss.

Alcohol and Memory Loss

Alcohol-Related Brain Damage

The brain is a delicate organ that must be chemically balanced to function correctly. But, alcohol interrupts this balance. While occasional or “social” drinking can affect short-term memory, heavy drinking can lead to long-term damage and memory loss.

Alcohol Slows Down Brain Function

Alcohol is a depressant. In short,  it slows down brain activity. In heavy drinkers, alcohol can alter a person’s mood and behavior. Alcohol also slows down the nervous system, causing various cognitive impairments. At the same time, long-term heavy alcohol misuse can lead to brain damage and memory loss.

Alcohol Affects Brain Matter

Alcohol not only interferes with memory loss, but also affects the physical makeup of the brain. The white and grey matter in the brain are linked to behavioral and cognitive functions. However, heavy alcohol misuse destroys white and grey matter leading to permanent memory loss. 

Alcohol, Age, and Brain Cells

Although we all lose brain cells as we age, heavy alcohol misuse increases the destruction. As a result, a person may experience earlier symptoms of memory loss and dementia. However, stopping alcohol use and creating a brain-healthy lifestyle can slow the progression.

Alcohol and Short-Term Memory Loss

When people drink too much, they often blackout and don’t remember details. However, during a blackout, a person may be awake and alert. The details can be minor such as, where their keys are. But, they can also forget the whole night, which is a big issue. 

Short-term side effects of heavy alcohol misuse include:

  • Trouble focusing
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired judgment
  • Lack of coordination
  • Mood swings
  • Blackouts

What is a Blackout?

Can Alcohol Affect Your Memory?

The NIAAA defines alcohol-related blackouts as gaps in a person’s memory during times of intoxication. These gaps happen because, at certain intoxication levels, alcohol blocks the transfer of memories to an area of the brain called the hippocampus.

There are two types of blackouts. With a partial blackout, things like people’s names and other minor details cannot be recalled. A complete blackout is the inability to recall batches of time. Blacking out is extremely dangerous and increases the risk of injury and death.

Alcohol and Memory Loss Long-Term

While alcohol slows the hippocampus, heavy drinking causes long-term damage. For example, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, a severe cognitive disorder, is related directly to the effects of alcohol on memory. It develops because of a thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency related to drinking alcohol. 

Chronic misuse of alcohol stops the brain and the body from absorbing this much-needed vitamin. Without proper treatment, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome can lead to dementia and may even be fatal.

Long-term effects of chronic alcohol misuse include:

Alcohol-Related Brain Damage

Chronic heavy alcohol misuse often leads to repeated blackouts. Additionally, these repeated blackouts can cause alcohol-related brain damage or ARBD. This condition is the direct effect of alcohol on memory and causes permanent damage.

Signs and symptoms of alcohol-related brain damage include:

  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Poor judgment
  • Lack of insight
  • Confusion about time and place
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty processing new information
  • Lack of motivation
  • Mood swings
  • Poor balance and coordination

Symptoms of Alcohol and Short-Term Memory Loss

Some effects of alcohol on memory are obvious. Individuals may wake up and not remember how they got a bruise. Or, they can’t recall anything from the night before. However, some effects of alcoholism and memory loss are subtle. 

Individuals that identify with any of the following should know they may be struggling with the short-term effects of alcohol and memory loss.

  • Forgetting making plans with a friend or family member
  • Being easily confused about where they are
  • Paying attention has become a struggle for them
  • They don’t remember things they did while drinking
  • They are in legal trouble but don’t remember what they did.

Long-Term Symptoms of Alcoholism and Memory Loss

The longer a person misuses alcohol, the more damage is done to the brain and memory. But, chronic heavy misuse of alcohol can have long-term damaging effects. If you or a loved one displays any of these symptoms, they may be struggling with the long-term effects of alcohol on memory.

  • They make up stories to fill in the gaps from alcohol and memory loss. This is called confabulation and is often seen in those with Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome.
  • Their personality changes are becoming noticeable. They are angry, frustrated, and often withdrawn. 
  • They repeatedly ask the same questions.
  • They have difficulty learning new things, such as playing a game. 

Treatment of Alcohol and Memory Loss

There isn’t much anyone can do to recall events from a night of heavy drinking. However, there are treatments to improve the effects of alcohol on memory. 

  • Thiamine supplements can help alleviate symptoms of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, which is a result of thiamine deficiency.
  • Certain medications such as memantine, used in Alzheimer’s treatment, may improve memory loss from alcoholism. 
  • Attending alcohol use disorder treatment can reverse the effects of alcohol on memory. Stopping alcohol consumption can cause mild to severe withdrawal symptoms. So, for safety reasons, alcohol use disorder should always be treated in a professional setting.

What is Detoxing from Alcohol?

Alcohol-Related Brain Damage

Detoxing from alcohol is the natural process of the body ridding itself of toxins such as those from chronic alcohol misuse. However, it’s not recommended to go through detox alone at home. Because alcohol withdrawal can cause severe side effects, it is recommended to detox in a substance use disorder treatment center.

Symptoms of alcohol detox include:

  • Feeling nervous or anxious
  • Feeling irritable
  • Depression
  • Exhaustion
  • Tremors or shakiness
  • Sweating 
  • Headache
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Extreme confusion
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • High blood pressure

Medical Detox at Sana Lake: The First Step in Recovery

People struggling with alcohol use disorder often find it challenging to stop drinking. Besides the compulsive patterns of alcohol misuse, the withdrawal symptoms from detoxing can often be severe. Withdrawal can also amplify the effects of alcohol and memory loss. 

However, at Sana Lake, we offer comprehensive medical detox to make the process more comfortable. Additionally, our medical detox program kick starts your recovery with psychotherapy to ease the mental struggles of detox.

Psychotherapy for Alcohol Misuse

Alcohol use disorder often leads to co-occurring mental health disorders. At the same time, mental health disorders can lead to alcohol use disorder. Either way, the effects can lead to challenging behavior and thought patterns. 

The mental challenges of alcohol detox often cause people to return to drinking. However, starting psychotherapy can ease cravings and the mental struggles that lead them to drink. 

Psychotherapy at Sana Lake can help you start:

  • Developing ways to cope with cravings in a healthy manner
  • Managing stress without alcohol
  • Discovering and building your inner strengths
  • Uncovering and healing past and present traumas

Medication-Assisted Treatment in Medical Detox

Depending on the individual and the severity of the effects of alcohol on memory, FDA-approved medications may help in the recovery process. Benzodiazepines or benzos such as Ativan, Librium, and Valium can reduce withdrawal symptoms and prevent alcohol withdrawal seizures. However, these drugs are also highly addictive and should be closely monitored.

Detox is Just the Beginning of Recovery at San Lake

Completing a medical detox program is only the beginning of treating alcoholism and memory loss. Together with your therapist, you will develop an individualized treatment plan that includes inpatient or outpatient treatment. Recovery is a lifelong journey, and therapy helps build the skills needed to achieve an alcohol-free life. 

Programs at Sana Lake include:

Alcohol and Short-Term Memory Loss Treatment at Sana Lake

Struggling with the effects of alcohol on your memory can be difficult. Is the stress of not remembering things is causing you to drink more? Maybe you have an older family member struggling with alcoholism and memory loss but need help talking to them. 

If any of this sounds familiar to you, it may be time to seek alcohol and memory loss treatment. Our compassionate team is waiting to answer all your questions and get you on the road to recovery. Contact us today to learn more. 

References: 

writing in an addiction recovery journal

Creating an Addiction Recovery Journal: How Recovery Journaling Can Help You Heal

When a person has been through treatment for a substance misuse disorder, it is essential to find ways to continue on a positive path so that relapse does not occur. Starting an addiction recovery journal makes the process much easier. In fact, keeping a journal brings a number of benefits. 

For example, it is a powerful tool to document thoughts, reactions, and feelings in a central location. During times of overwhelming feelings, a journal provides valuable insights. At Sana Lake Recovery Center, we teach members how to create successful long-term recovery plans, including keeping a recovery journal.

What Does it Mean to Create a Recovery Journal?

Indeed, writing things down is a helpful way to process feelings and to stop them from tormenting a person’s brain. Oftentimes, problems seem less worrisome when they are down on paper. Instead of writing random thoughts on different pieces of paper, a journal is a good way to keep things together. Also, it allows a person to track progress throughout recovery. In fact, it is possible to look back and be amazed at how much was accomplished.

A recovery journal does not have to be fancy. Overall, a basic notebook, a computer file, or a recovery app may be used. Since no one else will ever read it, a person can be totally honest. In the end, it is a great way to deal with emotions instead of turning to drugs or alcohol.

Certain Things to Include in an Addiction Recovery Journal

  • Daily emotion
  • Overall plan for recovery
  • Any identified triggers
  • Plans for avoiding triggers
  • Thoughts of gratefulness
  • Priorities
  • Motivations to stay on a positive path
  • Victories during recovery
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Meditation or relaxation techniques that are successful
  • Eating habits
  • Short-term and long-term goals
  • Reflections of progress
  • Hopes for the future

How Recovery Journaling Helps with Long-Term Recovery

Even if a person is not a good writer, creating a journal can be one of the most helpful tools for his or her long-term recovery. Also, recovery journaling is healing. Besides helping to deal with a substance misuse disorder, it can help with a mental health disorder as well.

Connecting Emotions and Making Changes

During recovery, it is essential for a person to commit to his or her emotions and to be ready for change. Recovery journaling helps an individual become more open and to comprehend feelings outside of a traditional therapy session. 

In fact, having a record of experiences helps to identify and to appreciate progress. In other words, it becomes easier to set goals and to document the positives and negatives along the way.

Acts as a Reflective Tool

Most people lead busy lives. There may not be enough time to plan for the future. For example, if a person is recovering from a substance use disorder, he or she may not know how to steer clear from alcohol at a friend’s wedding. The individual can reflect on the problem and answer important questions with useful solutions.

Helps the Body

Altogether, writing helps a person process emotions. As a result, his or her mental health is improved. Also, it has been shown that writing strengthens the immune system and lowers blood pressure. In other cases, it has decreased depression and increased emotional health.

Reintroduction

A drug misuse disorder is challenging. Many people lose themselves. In treatment, certain questions arise. Keeping an addiction recovery journal helps to address major issues and to track progress. Also, failures are documented. This shows a person that it is possible to get back on the right path after setbacks.

Replaces Unhealthy Habits

In essence, journaling brings organization to a person’s life. This is a positive way to deal with issues that arise. When a person has an alternative to using drugs, healthy habits can replace unhealthy habits.

Self-Talk Therapy

In treatment, members participate in individual and group therapies. For the most part, keeping an addiction recovery journal is like private therapy. A person can safely write about things that are on his or her mind and focus on feelings that are associated with them. This decreases the weight of the issue and helps to identify responses that are associated with it. Therefore, it is easier to let go of the problem. 

Also, it is possible to write self-affirming reflections that raise self-esteem and offer ways to positively get through the issue.

Keeps Recovery in Check

Recovery is often a rocky process. Many times, a person faces challenges. By keeping a recovery journal, it becomes possible to identify certain things that indicate relapse. For example, a person may note that he or she ignores group meetings or therapy sessions. 

Documentation helps to recognize danger signs. On balance, a person is motivated to remain on a successful path of recovery.

Other Benefits of Journaling

  • Alleviates stress
  • Provides a positive spin on different situations
  • Helps to move toward a goal
  • Helps to maintain accountability

Different Types of Journaling

There are a number of recovery journaling techniques that are beneficial for individuals who battle substance misuse disorders.

  • Stream of Consciousness. This type of journaling occurs as an individual sits for a set period of time and writes anything that comes to his or her mind. It is essential not to edit anything. In other words, grammar and spelling are unimportant.
  • Diary. By and large, a diary is kept as a person writes all essential details of each day.
  • Gratitude Journal. This type of journal is best for a person with negative thoughts. In fact, forcing a person to focus on positive things helps to change his or her outlook on life.
  • Spiritual Journal. All in all, this journal includes regular observations that involve a person’s spiritual development. In other words, it is like a log that follows a person’s internal journey.
  • Health Journal. This type of journal includes an outline of ways for a person to live a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, it is essential for a person who wants to make the most out of his or her recovery.

Things to Write About

Ultimately, there are no right or wrong things to include in an addiction recovery journal. There are no pressures, and things are totally kept personal and private. Therefore, a diary may contain dates, times, and feelings. 

Also, a person may include an event and feelings that are linked to the event. Other times, an individual might add reflections of things that could have been handled differently. To become more appreciative about life’s little things, a journal may include one thing that makes a person grateful each day.

Recovery Journaling Tips

When a person is not sure how to begin an addiction recovery journal, there are a few tips to follow. To begin, a person should set aside a few minutes each day to document feelings and experiences. Also, it is important to write in a private place without distractions. Consistency is key. Therefore, it is essential to stick to a regular schedule. It is always smart to keep a pen and paper handy. 

Ultimately, the urge to jot a feeling down can come at any time. Finally, an individual can review entries every few days so that reflection is possible.

When is the Right Time to Begin Recovery Journaling?

As can be seen, keeping an addiction recovery journal brings a number of benefits. Eliminating mental clutter and enhancing a person’s memory aids in healing and recovery. Therefore, there is never a right or wrong time to begin recovery journaling. However, there may be a few times when a person realizes that it may be exceptionally helpful.

  • When Overwhelmed. Journaling clears the mind. Also, it helps to release negative feelings.
  • Throughout Recovery. Certain studies have shown that journaling inhibits healing. During recovery, a person needs an outlet that takes away the pain and eliminates symptoms of mental illnesses. For example, a person with depression, PTSD, and eating disorders often finds great relief from journaling.
  • When Self-discipline is a Problem. Many times, people get stuck in ruts and procrastinate. In other words, motivation becomes low. In order to achieve goals, recovery journaling provides a visual reminder of what needs to get done.

Long-Term Recovery Tips from Sana Lake Recovery Center

At Sana Lake Recovery Center, we understand that recovery is a life-long process. For example, it is filled with many ups and downs. At our treatment facility, we teach members ways to enjoy success. In fact, one way that we stimulate positive recovery is by encouraging journaling. 

In essence, it offers a safe place to vent frustration, fear, and disappointment. Also, it is a wonderful opportunity to set goals, document success, and be grateful for things that are usually taken for granted. In other words, an addiction recovery journal is a unique expression and a record of a person’s journey to wellness. For more information, contact us today.

Detox

Detox Teas: How Safe Are These Drinks?

Get on any social media site, and endless influencers and celebrities are pushing the benefits of detox tea. Drop a quick 5 pounds! Drink this detox tea and cure that morning hangover!

But, these influencers are paid thousands of dollars to say they drink these teas without proving they drink the tea. Unfortunately, most of them don’t realize that detox teas come with health risks. Keep reading to learn the health risks and the best way to detox your body.

Are Detox Teas Safe?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplements such as detox teas. As a result, the teas often contain chemicals not stated on the package. 

Although most detox teas contain tea leaves and herbs, some may also include medication or drugs. For this reason, always talk to your doctor before drinking detox tea. 

Common Ingredients in Detox Teas

Some detox teas are similar to regular tea – a mix of tea leaves and harmless herbs. However, other detox teas contain harmful ingredients. Ingredients that are harmful to your health may include:

  • High levels of caffeine
  • Strong herbs such as senna
  • Laxatives
  • Medications
  • Illegal substances such as ephedra

Will I Lose Weight With Detox Teas?

Detox Teas

The goal of detox teas is to give you energy. But, you may also spend a lot of time in the bathroom. While all this time in the bathroom may result in weight loss, it is mostly water weight and not toxins. 

Additionally, it is a very unhealthy and ineffective way to lose excess weight. Detox teas can cause you severe health issues such as:

  • Heart attacks
  • Seizures
  • Strokes
  • Death

You should always consult with your doctor before using a detox tea to minimize any risks.

How Does Tea Detoxify the Body?

Generally, teas are healthy and consumed all over the world. Green tea, for example, is extremely healthy. It contains chemicals called catechins which increase fat burning during exercise. 

But, there is no proof that detox teas actually aid in weight loss. Detox teas typically include strict diet and exercise plans. They may consist of eating small but healthy meals and vigorous exercise.

However, even without detox teas, you will likely lose weight if you eat small healthy meals and exercise. So, detox teas most likely didn’t cause this weight loss. 

The caffeine in detox tea is exceptionally high. However, all tea contains caffeine, the high levels in detox tea act like a diuretic. As a result, your body expels “water weight” through urine and bowel movements. 

Some people may achieve a flat stomach after drinking detox tea. This is because detox tea acts like a laxative speeding the food through your system. However, it is short-lived and often dehydrates you. 

Can I Drink Too Much Detox Tea?

Drinking an occasional detox tea is typically harmless. But, drinking detox teas regularly or every day can lead to uncomfortable or serious health risks. While fast weight loss and a flat tummy sound appealing, you should know the dangers of drinking too much.

Detox Tea Can Cause Caffeine Overdose

Most of us need that boost of caffeine to kick start our day. So it’s common for people to have 2 or 3 cups of coffee in the morning. But, adding highly caffeinated detox tea can lead to unpleasant side effects. 

Besides headaches, tremors, irritability, and a rapid heart rate, caffeine can also increase stress levels. According to Healthline, the symptoms of a caffeine overdose may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Increased thirst
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability

Caffeine overdose can also result in severe symptoms which require immediate medical treatment. Serious symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Convulsion
  • Hallucinations
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Uncontrollable muscle movements
  • Vomiting
Will Detox Tea Help With My Cold

Detox Teas Cause Diarrhea

Because some detox teas contain senna, an herbal laxative, they are often used to treat constipation. And, when used in moderation, it can typically be safe. However, using detox teas or any laxative in large quantities can be dangerous.

Continually drinking detox tea can lead to severe diarrhea, causing severe dehydration. At the same time, detox teas can also interfere with regular digestion. As a result, you may become dependant on laxatives to use the bathroom regularly. 

Too Much Detox Tea Can Lead to an Electrolyte Imbalance

As mentioned before, detox teas are diuretics and may cause dehydration. If you become dehydrated, it lowers the electrolyte levels in your blood. 

However, electrolytes are essential for muscle function. An imbalance can lead to muscle spasms and a more serious abnormal heart rhythm. 

Detox Tea May Have Adverse Interactions with Medication

Regular teas, detox teas, and herbal supplements can often interact with your medications. While some enhance the drug, others decrease the effects of the drug. 

For example, chamomile tea interacts with anti-clotting medications. So, if you are on Warfarin or aspirin, you could end up with little clotting ability.

Will Detox Tea Help With My Cold?

Research has not proven that any teas can clear up a cold. But, it is common knowledge that you should avoid caffeine and stay hydrated when you are fighting a cold. An excellent way to do that is a hot cup of caffeine-free tea. 

Evidence suggests that certain herbs added to hot tea may ease respiratory infection symptoms. While detox tea will not help with your cold, the following herbal teas may.

  • Lemon tea
  • Elderberry tea
  • Echinacea tea
  • Green tea
  • Herbal tea with honey

Do Detox Teas Increase Liver Health?

Although many detox teas claim to detox your liver and repair liver damage, they may do more harm than good. While turmeric may help protect from liver damage, and milk thistle decreases liver inflammation, there isn’t enough research to recommend regular use. 

Do I Need to Detox My Body?

According to the Mayo Clinic, there is very little evidence proving detox teas eliminate toxins from your body. Additionally, your body has a great detox system – your liver and kidneys. 

But, if you feel you must detox your body, stay away from the fad detox teas and stick with all-natural herbal detox teas. 

What is the Best Detox Tea?

Tea

Yogi DeTox tea is one of the popular detox teas on the market. The company claims the detox tea cleanses the body by boosting kidney and liver performance. But does it work?

The company also claims the detox tea is all-natural and plant-derived, with a long list of ingredients. Many of the ingredients have reported medicinal properties and have been used for thousands of years. 

While the ingredient list is extensive, the top 5 ingredients include:

  • Juniper berries are anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. Throughout history and worldwide, they are used to treat menstrual pain, congestive heart failure, and urinary tract infections.
  • Burdock root is a known diuretic that stimulates digestion and treats kidney and liver ailments. It also prevents eczema by promoting blood circulation to the skin.
  • Dandelion, the common weed, is a natural diuretic. It can help treat kidney, liver, and spleen issues. Also known to stimulate your appetite, it can improve digestion and has laxative qualities. 
  • Black pepper is full of benefits. The most common benefit being anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits. 
  • Phellodendron bark may help you reduce anxiety and stress, which eases fatigue. And stress is the leading cause of autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, and obesity. 

Common Herbal Teas to Aid in Detoxing Your Body 

While true teas include green tea, black tea, and oolong tea, they are brewed from Camellia Sinensis leaves. In comparison, herbal teas include dried fruits, flowers, herbs, and spices. Common teas showing health-promoting properties include the following.

Chamomile Tea

Many of us know that chamomile tea has relaxing and calming effects, which often induces sleep. According to Healthline, chamomile tea also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and liver-protecting qualities, among many other beneficial properties.

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint is an everyday tea that supports digestive health. Additionally, it has antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, and anticancer properties. So, if you experience cramping, nausea, or indigestion, peppermint tea is an excellent go-to. 

Ginger Tea

Ginger tea is packed full of disease-fighting antioxidants. Mostly known for its effectiveness in treating nausea, it also stimulates your immune system and fights inflammation. 

Several studies also show ginger tea is beneficial for period pain. While others suggest ginger tea may help with blood sugar and blood lipid levels.

How Long Will it Take for My Detox Tea to Work?

Typically it takes 8 to 12 hours after drinking for detox tea to start working. Similar to laxatives, you will know it’s beginning to work by your urgency to use the restroom. However, if you drink detox tea every day, it begins to work faster and faster. 

Unfortunately, people who use detox tea on a daily or regular basis often develop an addiction to the results of drinking detox tea. The development of an addiction to detox teas can become as dangerous as drug or alcohol use disorder.

Sana Lake Recovery Center Helps You Beat Your Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder to detox tea, drugs, or alcohol, we can help. Find out more about our treatment programs by contacting us today. 

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2195579/

Ecstasy vs. Molly

How Long Does MDMA Stay in Your System?

A popular club drug, MDMA, can still be detected in your body after the effects are gone. And like other drugs, many factors are involved in answering how long does MDMA stay in your system. Besides the amount of the drug taken, the type of testing is one of the most significant factors. 

Tests can detect MDMA in your urine, blood, saliva, and hair. And while different tests may be more accurate, MDMA is generally detectable for:

  • Urine – MDMA may be detectable in urine for up to three days. And in certain people, up to five days. 
  • Blood – MDMA can be found in your blood up to two days after last use. 
  • Saliva – In saliva, MDMA is detectable for up to two days and up to three days with heavy use.
  • Hair – Unlike other tests, which generally miss MDMA after the first week, hair follicle tests can detect MDMA for up to 90 days. 

Unfortunately, many people take MDMA at raves or parties without knowing the long-term effects of club drugs. As a result, they end up seeking treatment because MDMA can be addictive. 

What is MDMA?

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) has both stimulant and hallucinogenic effects. It is known on the streets as molly or ecstasy. While it causes feelings of euphoria, most people use it for the heightened sensations of touch, sound, and smell. 

MDMA boosts the brain chemicals dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These three chemicals play a role in various functions such as mood, emotions, and sexual activity. 

Ecstasy vs. Molly

Ecstasy and molly are street names for MDMA. However, molly is the powdered form that is generally snorted. At the same time, ecstasy is the pill form of MDMA that is typically taken by mouth. 

Both forms are often cut with other substances such as meth, ephedrine, and amphetamines. Cutting MDMA with these substances often leads to an MDMA overdose.  In addition, ecstasy and molly can both potentially cause withdrawal symptoms. 

How Long Does Ecstasy Last?

What is MDMA

People who use ecstasy generally feel these effects within 45 minutes of use and may feel them for up to 6 hours. The initial effects of ecstasy include:

  • An increase in energy
  • Euphoria
  • Increase in sociability
  • Sexual arousal
  • Increased feelings of empathy and closeness

However, not all effects of ecstasy are pleasant. These effects may last up to a week after your last dose and worsen the more ecstasy you take. These effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Decrease in concentration
  • Memory issues
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle-stiffness
  • Clenching your jaw
  • Nausea
  • Appetite issues
  • Restlessness

If you take ecstasy in high doses, it can hinder the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. This puts you at risk of dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and swelling in the brain. 

What is MDMA vs. MDA?

MDA (methylenedioxyamphetamine) or sally and MDMA have many similarities. In fact, a test for molly typically can’t tell the difference between the two. While they often cost the same, sally is sometimes sold as molly. 

But, the “highs” from both drugs are different. While both drugs have stimulant and hallucinogenic effects, molly’s effects are more sexual, and sally is more visual and energy-related. Furthermore, sally’s effects typically last longer. 

What is MDMA vs. Molly?

While molly is the street name for MDMA, the difference is generally the pureness. Because molly comes in a powdered form, individuals assume it is pure. But the truth is all forms of MDMA are typically cut with something and not pure. 

What is MDMA vs. Ecstasy?

Really the only difference is, again, MDMA is the medical name, and ecstasy is a street term. Ecstasy is the pill form of MDMA. However, in a liquid form, it is known as GHB. 

There are many dangers to taking any form of MDMA. Drug dealers often “cut” the drug with other substances. As a result, you may actually be taking very little MDMA. MDMA is often “cut” with:

  • LSD
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Amphetamines
  • Methamphetamines
  • Rat poison
  • Caffeine
  • Other substances

Is MDMA Addictive?

What is MDMA vs. MDA?

The question, is MDMA addictive, is still up for debate. This is because little research has been done on MDMA addiction among users in the general population. However, it affects serotonin and dopamine, which is associated with substance use disorder. 

Because ecstasy is a “club drug,” it isn’t generally taken regularly. However, those who take it regularly can become dependant. At the same time, the substances used to “cut” the MDMA may also be highly addictive.

What Are the Common Signs Someone is Using Ecstasy?

If someone you love is misusing ecstasy, it is generally easy to recognize. However, it may be challenging to pinpoint the drug is MDMA because other drugs also have these effects.

  • Hallucinations
  • Heightened awareness
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Paranoia
  • Poor judgment skills
  • Memory loss/confusion
  • Dental issues from grinding teeth

If you are misusing ecstasy or any form of MDMA, it is essential to seek help. If you continue

misusing ecstasy or use high doses of the drug, it can lead to a potentially fatal MDMA overdose.

Can You Overdose on MDMA?

An overdose happens when you take more of a drug than your body can process. Is it possible to have an MDMA overdose? Yes. But, it is rare.

However, the risk of MDMA causing other medical issues is highly possible. For example, hyperthermia is the most common health problem with MDMA.

Hyperthermia results from physical exertion, such as dancing, in an overheated environment. This can lead to liver, kidney, or heart failure, and above all, death. 

Signs and symptoms of an MDMA overdose include:

  • Fainting
  • High blood pressure
  • Losing consciousness
  • Panic attacks
  • Seizures

While the risk of an MDMA overdose is low, combining it with alcohol or other drugs can increase the risk of an overdose. 

Can You “Flush” MDMA Out of Your System?

Contrary to belief, drinking lots of water does not “flush” club drugs out of your system. In fact, it can be dangerous. If you drink too much water within 12 hours of taking MDMA, it can exacerbate the effects. The only way to rid the body of MDMA is for the body to metabolize it. 

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Club Drugs?

As we mentioned earlier, “club drugs” affect dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine levels in the brain. When you misuse MDMA for a long time and in high amounts, it eventually starts depleting these chemicals on your brain.

The most common long-term effects of “club drugs” include anxiety, depression, and paranoia. But, the physical effects of misusing ecstasy are the most negative. It is linked to potentially fatal liver, kidney, and heart issues.  

Furthermore, if you have preexisting health issues such as epilepsy, asthma, and blood pressure are at risk of becoming seriously ill. Because MDMA can be “cut” with anything, one pill could be all it takes to cause a fatal MDMA overdose.

Should You Seek Treatment for MDMA Misuse?

Is MDMA Addictive

If you have tried to stop using MDMA but are unable to, it is time to seek help. A substance use disorder of any kind is challenging to overcome. However, the detox phase of recovery is often the hardest. 

Withdrawal symptoms from MDMA are generally more psychological than physical and shouldn’t be gone through alone. Common MDMA withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations

Although the severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on the length and frequency of use, a medical detox program helps you safely rid your body of MDMA. 

Treating the Long-Term Effects of Club Drugs

Depending on the severity of your substance use disorder, you will enter either inpatient or outpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment requires you to live in the facility during recovery. In contrast, outpatient treatment allows you to work and go to school while attending therapy on your schedule. 

Both programs offer comprehensive treatment for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Because addiction is a chronic disease, maintaining a life of recovery requires treating all underlying mental health issues.

Many people turn to “club drugs” to overcome the pain and sadness in their lives. While there are no medications for MDMA use disorder, behavioral therapies and support groups can improve your chances of recovery. 

Find Your Joy at Sana Lake Recovery

Are you struggling with misusing molly? Is it hard to be happy without popping ecstasy? You are not alone. But don’t continue down this path. There is genuine joy and happiness without having to snort molly. 

Why are you waiting? Contact us today and find the happiness of living a life in recovery!

References:

https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Ecstasy-MDMA-2020_0.pdf

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/mdma-ecstasy-abuse/mdma-addictive

https://drugpolicy.org/drug-facts/can-you-overdose-mdma

Overdose Statistics

What is Gray Death?

Gray death is a potent and extremely dangerous substance made up of several other drugs. Gray death typically comes in a gray coloring and has a chalky texture to it. It is made up of different types of deadly opioids. Alone, these drugs can be very addictive and can end up resulting in an overdose when taken alone. Mixing them together creates a highly dangerous substance and can skyrocket the chance of an overdose. 

Mixing drugs with other drugs is always a dangerous and concerning idea, but doing so with drugs that are prone to overdose and addiction can be deadly. Gray death is made up of several drugs and chemicals and creates a powerful effect on the user. It’s important to know what gray death is and the effects it can have on a person. Those who are suffering from drug addiction should seek professional care from centers like Sana Lake. No matter how far into an addiction a person may be, it’s not too late to get proper help. 

What Drugs Are Found in Gray Death?

The drugs that are found in gray death differ from ‘batch to batch. With this in mind, most of the drugs that are used in gray death are powerful opioids and stimulants, along with whatever the dealer may have on them. These power narcotics create dangerous effects for the person and often lead to overdose and death. The drugs that are commonly found in gray death include the following:

Gray Death
  • Fentanyl
  • U047700 (called ‘pink’)
  • Heroin
  • Carfentanil

When taking a closer look at these opioids and stimulants, it becomes apparent how dangerous gray death can truly be. Carfentanil, for example, is an elephant tranquilizer with a potency that’s 100 times stronger than that of fentanyl. While different combinations may impact people differently, the chances of a fatal overdose skyrocket when mixing substances together in this fashion. 

Gray death is considered so dangerous, reports say that a person shouldn’t even touch the drug. Certain chemicals found in potent substances like carfentanil can be fatal if exposed to the skin or the lungs. Gray death is so dangerous that Gray death is highly dangerous and should not be consumed in any form. 

How is Gray Death Consumed?

Like many drugs out there today, gray death can be injected, smoked, snorted, or taken orally. Each of these different methods creates different reactions, depending on how it’s consumed and the person using it.  Gray death is considered extremely dangerous and problematic for everyone involved. 

What Does Gray Death Look Like?

Gray death can come in many different forms and sizes. However, no matter what form Gray death comes in, it is just as dangerous. Gray death is usually distributed in a powdery form or in tablet form. It comes in a chalky and chunky shape, usually in a gray coloring (as the name suggests). Due to its unknown properties, it can be tough to identify all the drugs that are in gray death, this is because gray death is usually manufactured in illegal/foreign labs. 

The Symptoms of Gray Death Use

The effects of gray death are especially intense since it is a combination of many different opioids and stimulants. Those who use gray death are usually looking for an intense euphoric high. There are several severe and even deadly side effects that come about from gray death use, these include the following:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Overdose
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Constricted pupils
  • Cravings to use
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Heart failure
  • Death due to overdose or other complications

Gray death is highly addictive because of the different addictive properties that are found in it. When a person stops using gray death, they will most likely show signs of cravings and withdrawals. A person should seek medical help from professionals if they have become addicted to gray death. A person should also avoid quitting on their own (cold turkey), this can create dangerous and painful complications. 

Overdose Statistics 

Gray Death Overdose

As such a potent substance, those who use gray death are at high risk of experiencing an overdose. An overdose occurs when a person takes too much of a particular drug/substance and begins to experience negative side effects. Every year thousands of people die of a drug or alcohol overdose in the United States and abroad. Over the years, large portions of gray death have been confiscated and found in Georgia, Florida, Ohio, and other states. 

One of the common trends when it comes to overdosing on Gray death is the unknown contents of the substance. Someone may try gray death without knowing exactly what’s in it – this can end up leading to a fatal overdose for some. 

Specific drugs found in gray death, such as heroin and fentanyl are responsible for the opioid crisis in America. In 2017, 70,980 people died due to opioid misuse. This substance is especially dangerous because its contents are usually not known by the person using it – this can create a deadly situation for some. 

Signs of a Gray Death Overdose

Overdosing can be hard to spot, especially if a person is really under the effects of a particular drug. Gray death creates multiple effects that can end up masking the symptoms of an overdose. As a substance with various drugs and chemicals, it can be tough to pinpoint the exact signs of an overdose. However, there are several common signs of an overdose a person should look out for, these include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Respiratory depression or arrest
  • Bluish skin (cyanosis)
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Hypertension/hyperthermia
  • Seizures
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Slowed or fast pulse
  • Trouble breathing

Since gray death is a combination of many different opioids and stimulants, the signs of an overdose may differ from case to case. If you notice any of these signs or are concerned that someone may be overdosing, call 9-11 immediately. Overdose can be fatal if a person does not get medical attention in a timely manner. 

Treating a Gray Death Overdose

Drugs Are Found in Gray Death

Cases of gray death overdose can be tricky because of the potency and dangers of the substance, however, with the right amount of time, a person can get the proper treatment. Treatment typically involved help from medications, some of which have saved people’s lives in overdose cases. 

Naloxone (Narcan) has been used to reverse the effects of a gray death overdose – this typically takes somewhere between 5 and 10 doses of Naloxone to fully feel its effects. Its also available in a nasal spray and shot form as well. 

While much success has been found with Narcan when it comes to Gray Death overdose and addiction, it may not work in all circumstances. The effectiveness of Narcan is unknown when it comes to gray death cases that contain fentanyl and cocaine (or other drugs). However, as it stands, Narcan is an excellent option for cases of opioid overdoses. 

Once again, if you notice signs of a potential overdose, do not hesitate to get help. 

Treating Cases of Addiction

Opioids, stimulants, and other drugs used in gray death are all extremely addictive and problematic. Using these substances to the point of overdose is a dangerous and problematic situation. Getting quality help is necessary to overcome an addiction and live a better life down the line. Recovering from addiction takes more than just medication assistance, it takes help from qualified professionals to help a person find the root of their addiction. 

Oftentimes, people may think that addiction is just a physical dilemma. The truth is that addiction is just as much of a mental problem as it is a physical problem. Understanding why a person began using in the first place is necessary during addiction treatment. Also, working to change this behavior helps set a person up for long-term sobriety and a better quality of life overall.

At treatment centers like Sana Lake Recovery, we provide several quality addiction services with you in mind. While recovery may not be an easy journey, we’ll make sure the process is as smooth and effective as possible. 

Addiction treatment is a multilayered journey that uses the help of therapy, psychiatric support, and medication to help a person overcome their addiction. Sana Lake Recovery offers the following services:

Together, these different treatment options work to resolve and help a person overcome their thoughts, behaviors, and addiction. If someone you know is suffering from drug addiction or is using gray death, it’s time to get comprehensive help. 

Let Sana Lake Help you Today

Gray death is a dangerous and potent drug that has a high chance of overdose when used. If you know someone who is struggling with an addiction, don’t wait until things get worse. Our trained staff is ready to help you overcome addiction in a smooth and effective process. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options and how you can start the journey today. 

Behavioral Modification Techniques

What is Behavior Modification Therapy?

Behavioral Modification Therapy focuses on helping a recovering addict achieve positive and better outcomes in their life. Behavioral modification therapy is closely tied to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is another widely used form of therapy for addiction.

However, behavioral modification therapy is different from other psychotherapies because it focuses on things that others don’t. Behavioral modification techniques are used during the process to help reduce negative behaviors and outcomes. 

During addiction treatment, a person’s behaviors and thought processes play a huge part in the recovery process. While going through the motions of detox and medication assistance are necessary, therapy is needed for long-term sobriety. When an addiction develops in a person, their way of thinking and acting is rewired negatively. This is where behavior modification therapy comes in. 

Like other types of therapy for addiction, behavior modification therapy is best used with other addiction treatment methods. While the road to recovery may seem rough, with the proper help and supportive team, a person can overcome their addiction. Centers like Sana Lake Recovery are here to help you break bad habits and focus on what matters in life. 

A Closer Look at Behavior Modification Therapy for Addiction

Start the Journey at Sana Lake

As the name suggests, behavior modification therapy means altering or changing how a person behaves. Behavioral modification therapy uses a theory called operant conditioning – this means finding and understanding what makes a person behave the way they do. This therapy notes down the consequences of these behaviors and teaches a person behavior modification techniques in the process. 

Behavior modification therapy doesn’t focus strictly on a person’s thoughts or feelings but rather on the consequences that occur when the behavior happens. When someone has an addiction, they may continue using a drug even if it causes them pain and trouble in the long run. Behavior modification therapy looks at this closely and tries to reinforce a change in behavior through consequence. 

This type of therapy uses behavior modification techniques to reinforce positive/negative behavioral reinforcement. The goal is to effectively and slowly replace negative behaviors with positive ones – which creates room for more positive outcomes and behaviors. Behavioral modification therapy is a great addition to other treatment options and can help a person change their behavior and manage better consequences. 

Positive vs Negative Reinforcement in Behavioral Modification Therapy

One of the primary ideas behind behavior modification therapy is positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. While these terms are usually used to describe parental or teaching techniques, it means something entirely different for behavior modification therapy. This therapy option focuses on trading in behaviors for more positive outcomes in a person’s daily life. This is done by focusing on the reasons why a person uses substances or alcohol, to begin with. 

While understanding and coming to terms with these negative actions can be difficult, it is crucial to overcoming addiction and encountering positive and healthy outcomes. Therapists and physicians work with the person to understand the triggers that cause these negative behaviors and outcomes.  When it comes to behavioral modification techniques and therapy, what is the difference between positive and negative reinforcement? 

Positive Reinforcement 

When it comes to behavioral modification therapy, positive reinforcement can mean several different things. Positive can be recognition, praise, or even a physical or tangible ‘reward’ of some kind. This positive reinforcement comes about after a person alters their behavior for the better and overcomes their triggers. This can be a great way to reinforce and encourage a person to make better choices in regards to their addiction recovery

In the case of addiction treatment, positive behaviors are mostly focused on staying sober and away from drugs. Using positive reinforcement and finding the truth behind a person’s addiction has been proven to be very effective during treatment. Offering a reward or even a compliment can make a big difference in someone’s journey. Positive reinforcement also has its natural rewards like a better and healthier life, free of drugs and alcohol. 

Negative Reinforcement

On the other hand, negative reinforcement is also used during the process of behavioral modification therapy. Many people may confuse negative reinforcement with punishment reinforcement (which involves decreasing a behavior for the desired effect).  In therapy, negative reinforcement comes in the form of removing a specific behavior to get the desired outcome. Simply put, negative reinforcement is focusing on changing behaviors to avoid a negative outcome. 

Ignore Negative Behavior

There is a third category when it comes to behavioral modification therapy and that is ignoring negative behavior. This is usually conducted with a group of people and focuses on completely ignoring behaviors that lead to negative consequences. The idea is that as long as a person ignores this negative behavior/the consequence, their desire to continue this behavior will fade away. Over time, this ends up causing more positive and desired effects for the individual. 

Behavioral Modification Techniques

behavior modification therapy

Each person’s case is different and thus there are several different techniques and methods available to overcome addiction with behavioral modification therapy. However, with this in mind, the main goal of this type of therapy is to identify and change a person’s behavior to achieve positive outcomes. A few behavioral modification techniques include the following.

Cueing

As the name suggests, cueing is a reminder to perform a task/action at a specific time. Cues can also be negative in some cases (triggers to use again). Triggers and social cues can be especially tricky for those in recovery but with cueing a person can reduce these cravings. Cueing in behavioral modification therapy involves forcing these relapse triggers on purpose. Over time as a person continues to come across these cues, these cravings will begin to be less powerful and taunting. 

Modeling

Modeling is a simple technique that involves learning and seeing how others cope with the same situation you’re in. This gives a person a different look at how others have succeeded in sobriety and recovery. Imitating others and learning new processes can be very beneficial in recovering from drug addiction. 

Fear Reduction and Avoidance

Fear reduction is especially useful in cases where a person is struggling with a phobia. Sometimes these phobias can end up being the cause of addiction. Whether it be social situations or other phobias, fear reduction exposes a person to what they fear. Doing this carefully and deliberately can help make these negative stimuli less impactful.

Avoidance on the other hand focuses on avoiding unpleasant and negative situations. With this in mind, avoidance may not be possible with all forms of addiction. Sometimes avoidance can be as simple as avoiding a stressful situation or location. 

Systematic Desensitization 

What is Behavior Modification Therapy?

Similar to fear reduction, systematic desensitization also works to combat a person’s phobias and fears. Systematic desensitization works by replacing an anxious response with a relaxation response. This is done in different phases, these include:

  • The first step is to relax one’s body, this is done through breathing and deep muscle techniques. Mediation is often used during the process to control breathing. Since phobias cause stress and tension, breathing exercises can help a person remain relaxed and in control.
  • The next step involves a type of fear hierarchy. Since there are different levels of stimuli (what the person fears), these phobias are slowly incorporated into the stages. As time progresses, more and more of the stimuli are utilized until a person is eventually shown what they fear most.
  • The third phase is the result after using this technique continuously for a period of time. In the case that a person feels the third phase is too much they always have the option to go down lower on the fear hierarchy list. 

When it comes to behavioral modification therapy for addiction, systematic desensitization helps address the fear that may have led to substance use in the beginning. Behavioral modification therapy can be a great option for those drinking due to social anxiety or other social fears. Controlling these fears and the person’s emotions can make it much easier to stay away from drugs and alcohol use.

Satiation

Satiation is a behavioral modification technique that helps a person grow tired of undesired behavior. While this works for many cases, it is not the best option for addiction treatment because there are a lot of other factors to keep in mind during recovery. 

Behavioral Modification Therapy With Other Treatment Methods

Behavioral modification therapy is best when used with other treatment methods. This technique is often used with other behavioral therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and others. Behavioral modification techniques can be a great way to focus on consequences while using other behavioral therapies to improve your thoughts, behavior, and outlook. 

Start the Journey at Sana Lake

At Sana Lake, we offer many effective and evidence-based treatment options for you and your family. Our team uses several personalized therapy methods (including behavioral modification therapy) to ensure that you overcome addiction and stay sober for years to come. Don’t wait for things to get worse, give us a call today and get started on your journey towards a better, brighter life.