friends sad over a friend passing away from drug overdose

How Covid-19 Contributed to a Record Overdose Year

The opioid epidemic has been a problem in the United States for decades. However, when the Covid pandemic hit in 2020, the opioid crisis saw shattering numbers. In 2019, the number of overdose deaths per year increased from 2018 by 4.6 percent. 

But Covid led to a jump in overdose deaths – over 93,000 people lost their lives to addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control, that is an almost 30 percent increase or over 21,000 more people than in 2019.

Why are People Misusing Drugs During the Covid-19 Pandemic?

Social isolation and the unknown of the pandemic, while difficult for everyone, can be extremely difficult for individuals in recovery and those battling a substance use disorder. 

The Addiction Policy Forum (APF) surveyed 1,079 people in April and May of 2020. All the participants were struggling with substance use disorders when the pandemic hit. Of the participants, 20 percent said their’s or family member’s substance misuse has worsened due to Covid-19. 

Over 34 percent of individuals had to wait longer for treatment due to treatment centers closing or offering limited access. In addition, 14 percent said they could not obtain needed treatment.

The mental health challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic also increased the use of drugs or alcohol. Three-quarters of participants in the APF survey also reported emotional changes since Covid-19 started. 

These changes include:

  • Worry – 62 percent
  • Sadness – 51 percent
  • Loneliness – 42 percent

These emotions increase a person’s risk of relapsing. And, because of Covid-19, peer support from 12-step meetings and other groups became more difficult. However, if you struggle with substance misuse or mental health issues, it is crucial to seek help.

Grim Overdose Death Records: How Many Overdose Deaths in 2020

Sadly, 2020 set multiple overdose death records. Not only did the United States experience the most overdose deaths per year, but the most overdose deaths were also seen from:

  • Opioids – Deaths in 2019 were 49,860, which increased to 69,710 deaths in 2020.
  • Stimulants such as methamphetamine
  • Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl – Killed 36,359 people in 2019 but in 2020 killed 57,550 people.

Over 375,000 people died in 2020 due to Covid. This is the largest mortality event in a century. According to a New York Times analysis, the over 93,000 overdose deaths in America are equivalent to losing 3.5 million years of life. In comparison, the number of deaths in 2020 because of Covid equals 5.5 million years of life.

How Many Overdose Deaths Per Year from 2019 to 2020

Overdose deaths increased for decades until 2018 saw a slight decrease in fatalities. However, in 2019 overdose deaths rose again. While the first three months of 2020 saw an increase from the year before, the most significant rise in overdose deaths was in the months following lockdown. 

The following breaks down how many overdose deaths per year increased from 2019 to 2020.

  • January – 1,018 more overdose deaths 
  • February – 1,249 more overdose deaths 
  • March – 1,363 more overdose deaths 
  • April – 2,360 more overdose deaths 
  • May – the largest increase of the year  with 3,597 more overdose deaths
  • June – 2,373 more overdose deaths
  • July – 2,371 more overdose deaths
  • August – 2,078 more overdose deaths
  • September – 1,621 more overdose deaths
  • October – 1,229 more overdose deaths
  • November – 1,122 more overdose deaths
  • December – 1,304 more overdose deaths

While overdose death rates were already rising in 2020, Regina Labelle, the acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, says Covid didn’t help and likely exacerbated overdose deaths. 

Why is Covid Causing a Surge in Overdose Deaths?

Overdose deaths are on the rise, and Covid-19 is causing this surge. For instance, the pandemic has led to an increase in mental health issues. Mental health issues are often triggered by isolation. And, unfortunately, 2020 also saw a rise in suicide attempts.  

On top of it all, people were afraid of catching Covid-19 and possibly dying. For this reason, many people delayed seeking help which led to worsening symptoms. Furthermore, lockdowns also meant treatment centers saw a drop in people seeking help. 

Covid’s Impact on Substance Misuse

The impact of Covid-19 isn’t affecting just those with substance use disorders. We were all fearful of the unknown surrounding Covid-19. 

two men discussing the impact of Covid-19 on drug overdose

Will our families stay safe? Will I lose my house? How am I going to pay bills and buy food? As a result of these uncertainties, a growing number of people are turning to drugs and alcohol to cope.  

All group gatherings came to a halt with Covid-19 restrictions. This meant no church on Sundays, eating out with the family, or concerts with friends. But above all, it meant no more 12-step and recovery support meetings. 

Maintaining lifelong recovery is easier with a support group. This is the reason people attend these meetings. Addiction is a disease of isolation, so when these in-person meetings stopped, the isolation from their support left people vulnerable to relapse. 

The Overdose Detection Mapping Program’s report on Covid’s impact on substance misuse shows over 40 states had higher opioid-related deaths. The report also shows:

  • An increase of over 17% in overdoses from March 19 to May 19, 2020
  • May alone shows a 42% increase in nationwide overdoses
  • A 20% spike in weekly overdoses since the beginning of Covid-19

Opioids are the Leading Cause of Overdose Deaths

Opioids are the leading cause of overdose deaths. In 2020, opioids led the nation in how many overdose deaths per year – 69,710 people died from consuming opioids. 

Opioids include:

  • Heroin
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Methadone
  • Oxycontin
  • Vicodin

While opioids are prescribed for moderate to severe pain, they can cause euphoria. This euphoria is why people misuse opioids and eventually buy illicit opioids off the street. However, opioids are sedatives and can cause breathing difficulties and even death.

Why Are Opioids So Dangerous?

Opioids are effective at controlling acute pain. And, when taken as prescribed, opioids are generally safe. However, there are risks even when taken correctly, such as substance misuse and addiction.

At low doses, users may feel sleepy. However, higher doses can slow breathing and heart rate. Furthermore, the euphoria from opioids can cause people to misuse the drug. As a result of this misuse, people can quickly develop an opioid use disorder. 

Opioids work by binding to and activating the opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. By blocking these receptors, it also blocks the feeling of pain. However, the body builds a tolerance over time which means the user has to consume more to achieve the same effects. 

This becomes dangerous when people need more than what is being prescribed. When this happens, people often turn to illicit opioids. But, these drugs may be combined with other drugs, which increase the risk of overdose and death.

Why is Fentanyl Raising the Rates in How Many Overdose Deaths Per Year?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. It is similar to morphine, but it is 50 to 100 times stronger. It is typically used for severe pain after surgery. However, fentanyl is also made illegally. 

Furthermore, fentanyl is the leading cause of overdose deaths in America. For example, in 2010, fentanyl was responsible for 14.3 percent of overdose deaths. By 2017, it caused 59 percent of overdose deaths.

Because it takes a tiny amount of fentanyl to get high and it’s cheap, many dealers are mixing it with drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines. This increases the risk of overdose and death because mixing two potent opioids increases the risk of overdose and death. 

What are the Signs of Opioid Use?

An opioid use disorder or OUD is the inability to stop using opioids, although the drug disrupts all aspects of life. When individuals become physically dependant on opioids, they will develop cravings and withdrawal symptoms without the drug. 

Individuals with an OUD often spend their days locating, buying, and consuming opioids. These behaviors interfere with work, school, and relationships. While a person misusing opioids may not show signs right away, it becomes harder to hide over time.

Common signs of opioid misuse include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent flu-like symptoms
  • Itchy skin
  • Lack of motivation
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety
  • Hyperactivity
  • Confusion
  • Isolation
  • Lack of interest in things once enjoyed
  • Financial issues
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Cravings

Withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on factors such as length of misuse, the amount misused, multi-drug use, and co-occurring mental disorders. Opioid withdrawal can have severe withdrawal symptoms, which can lead to serious health complications and even death. 

Don’t Be Another Statistic, Get Help at Sana Lake Recovery 

If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder, it is crucial to seek help. A substance use disorder, especially OUD, can quickly get out of hand and even lead to an overdose death.

At Sana Lake, we understand the unique challenges of recovery during the Covid-19 pandemic. We offer inpatient treatment and a variety of outpatient programs to meet your needs. Contact us today and find out how we can help you live a life free from drugs and alcohol. 

References:

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/release/2019-national-survey-drug-use-and-health-nsduh-releases

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7014e1.htm

https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/AH-Monthly-Provisional-Counts-of-Deaths-for-Select/r5pw-bk5t

http://www.odmap.org/Content/docs/news/2020/ODMAP-Report-June-2020.pdf

drug addiction

How to Treat Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is a common thing. About one in ten Americans have resolved an addiction-based problem. There are many causes of addiction, and many ways to get out of it. However, when you’re in the throes of addiction, it can feel like there’s no way out. 

The barrage of information and advice out there for those suffering from addiction can be overwhelming. Who are you supposed to listen to? Who are you supposed to trust? If you want to get drug addiction treatment, you’re going to need to tune out most of those voices and focus moment to moment on how you’re going to get better. But how do you do that?

If you’re asking this question, you’ve found the right article. Keep reading for a helpful guide on how to overcome addiction. This article will walk you through how to identify the problem, how to seek support, and let you know what different treatments there are for you.

Identify the Problem

Figure out what’s causing you to stay in the mind frame that traps you within addiction. You cannot find the solution without identifying the cause first. 

If you started using drugs to cope with stress, it might be useful to seek a treatment that you can remove you from a stressful environment. If you have issues with family, you should consider getting away from them for a while. The same is true of a friend group that helps to feed your addiction. 

If your addiction is linked to mental health problems (which is very common), it would do you wonders to get treatment for your mental health issue as well as your addiction. The issues are linked intersectionally, and treating one will help you treat the other.

Your addiction may have been passed down from a parent or a family member. It’s important to remember that even if you’re in a long chain of addiction, you can still break free. The situation is never hopeless. 

Identifying these problems won’t solve your addiction in the short term, but long term it means that whatever addiction treatment you go with is more likely to stick.

Seek Support

After you’ve identified all of your problems, you might not quite be ready to seek treatment. That’s alright, everybody encounters these things in their own time. 

However, you should seek support as soon as you can. If you’re addicted to alcohol, Alcoholics Anonymous is an effective and easy-to-find supportive group you can attend. If you’re addicted to narcotics, Narcotics Anonymous is an option.  

There are many forums online you can post it. Reddit, for example, has many subreddits devoted to addiction. When someone posts something negative on Reddit, other people generally downvote it, and when it gets downvoted a certain amount of times that person gets removed; that way it ensures you won’t get any bad advice. 

If you have any friends/family members who have kicked addictions, or generally live a clean and sober life, now is a good time to reach out to them. More than likely they’ll be willing to share their tips. They might even be able to give you a place to eat and sleep for a bit if you need to get out of a bad situation. 

Treatment 

At a certain point, it’s time to get treatment. However, treatment is a spectrum, not one solution. Do some research into the type of treatment that you think will suit you best. 

Detox 

If your addiction is truly out of control, detox is your best first option. It’s a process by which you’re medically supervised while your body is purged of the drug you’re addicted to.

More likely than not, your body has developed a physical dependence to said drug. This means that when it’s out of your body, your body will think there’s something wrong. It’ll protest, and you’ll get sick. 

Detox programs provide you medical supervision so that you can easily handle any side effects and prevent relapse. This is especially important if you’re addicted to alcohol. Delirium Tremens is an extremely dangerous occasional side effect of alcohol withdrawal, and it can be fatal if not medically supervised.

Outpatient Program

Some people suffering from addiction choose to go to an outpatient program. If you think you have your addiction under control enough to get yourself to therapy every day, and won’t start using again, this is for you. Outpatient programs are generally cheaper and allow you to continue your normal life.

Inpatient Program

An inpatient program means, in essence, that you’re hospitalized for your addiction. If you don’t think you can trust yourself to stay off the drug you’re addicted to, or don’t think you can get yourself to therapy every day, this is a good option for you. It’s a big commitment, however — it costs more money, and means you won’t be able to contact the outside world. 

Partial Hospitalization 

Another option is a partial hospitalization program. If you’re suffering from a recurring disorder or a mental health problem in addition to your addiction, this could be the option for you. If you want and think you can handle the responsibility of staying home in the evening but don’t think you can be trusted during the day, this could be the option for you. 

Intensive Outpatient Program 

If your doctor doesn’t think you need detox and doesn’t think you need to be hospitalized, you might wind up in an intensive outpatient program. This provides you with 9-12 hours of therapy a week — more than the normal amount, but still with enough free time to go about your normal life. 

Find Treatment For Your Drug Addiction

If you’re suffering from drug addiction, you’re certainly not alone. However, you might not be aware of all of the ways in which you can help yourself. It’s not all about AA and other self-help programs.

Make sure you address the issues going on inside of you, find support, and find yourself a good detox, outpatient, inpatient, partial hospitalization, or intensive outpatient program, and you’re far more likely to recover with ease.  

For more information, contact us today. 

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

Other Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness in Recovery

Does Meditation for Addiction Recovery Work?

When people think of meditation, they likely think of New Age hippies or Buddhist monks. The fact is that meditation can benefit anyone. The best part about it? It’s a free tool that individuals can use to aid them in their addiction recovery journeys. Meditation for addiction recovery has proven to be successful through different recovery programs. For example, meditation is used during Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.). 

Contrary to what many may believe, meditation is more than clearing your head. Instead, it focuses on the practice of being mindful of one’s thoughts, while instilling people with the ability to stay calm in heated moments. Hence, meditation during and after addiction treatment can be a great form of self-care

Meditation can also act as a great skill to have while in addiction recovery. In fact, meditation can help people achieve long-lasting sobriety. 

What is Meditation? 

Meditation is the practice of focusing one’s attention and putting oneself in a calm state of mind. Thus, during meditation, it’s important to redirect any thoughts that don’t serve you. 

To meditate on a concept means to deeply think about a topic. The sole concept of meditation is to, through deep thinking and focus, release any emotions that don’t serve a purpose. 

In short, meditation helps people have a stable mind to work with. For example, meditating can be the act of clearing all thoughts and focusing on keeping the mind that way. It can also look like conjuring up peaceful imagery, like a peaceful beach. 

Meditation can even include practices like passing an imaginary light from the top of the body to the bottom. It can take many forms, and for this reason, can serve many purposes. 

What is Guided Meditation?

What is Guided Meditation? 

Guided meditation is when a person (typically an expert in meditation) guides another person through achieving a calm sense of focus. Choosing to do a guided meditation versus meditating alone can actually help people that are new to meditating better maintain concentration. While guided meditation is great for people that are just starting out in the practice of meditation, it’s also still effective for those who already have experience. 

Guided meditations often have a purpose, such as releasing stress, anger, or trauma. The series of instructions that are provided to guided meditation participants will help soothe their minds. It will also help focus the participants’ thoughts on positive purposes. 

Instead of relying on one’s own brain, guided meditation instructions offer a voice to pay attention to. The mind often wanders during meditation. Guided meditation can act as a reminder to maintain concentration. 

What Does Meditation for Addiction Recovery Mean? 

As said before, meditation has an overall goal of achieving a calm state of mind. By having a calm state of mind, individuals that meditate can master their own minds. That said, each form of meditation can serve a different purpose within the grand scheme of things. 

For instance, meditation for addiction recovery helps people that are struggling with substance use disorders release any trapped emotional trauma that they are struggling with that may trigger their desire to use substances. Additionally, meditation can help people with substance use disorders redirect any thoughts that could push them to consume drugs and alcohol. 

Many treatment centers, like Sana Lake Recovery Center, may offer guided meditation for addiction recovery as a form of holistic treatment. Holistic forms of addiction treatment focus on the body, mind, and spirit. While some may be quick to dismiss the practice of holistic treatment, we here at Sana Lake Recovery Center incorporate it into our otherwise evidence-based programs. 

Instructors of meditations for addiction recovery are skilled in letting rehab members form a closer bond with themselves. Guided meditation also allows individuals to embrace self-love and compassion for others to the fullest. This is beneficial for individuals in addiction treatment as many of them struggle with loving themselves and thus, others. 

A.A. and Meditation for Addiction Recovery 

Strict medical treatment for addiction can only help individuals so much. Ultimately, long-lasting recovery involves a sound mind, body, and soul. One of the most widely-known support groups for individuals with alcohol use disorders is Alcoholics Anonymous, otherwise known as A.A. Part of what makes A.A. groups so successful in their treatment of individuals with alcohol use disorders is their use of holistic practices such as meditation. 

The literature that holds the basis of A.A. is called The Big Book. In The Big Book, there are 12 steps that help individuals overcome their addictions to alcohol from start to finish. The eleventh step in the book is as follows: 

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

This step asks individuals to meditate with the intention of being more conscious as a whole. While the step says God, individuals can meditate on the faith they have in themselves to remain sober. In short, this step means to clear the mind of thoughts that don’t serve a purpose regularly and opt to direct thoughts to a peaceful state of mind. 

Does Meditation for Addiction Recovery Work? 

Does Meditation for Addiction Recovery Work?

A.A. isn’t the only addiction treatment or recovery program that utilizes meditation. For example, Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT), also uses guided meditation to help patients overcome trauma. 

There is a clear reason why multiple, successful addiction treatment and recovery programs, such as RRT or A.A., incorporate meditation in their practices. It’s because meditation works. 

The American Counseling Association writes in one of its journals that individuals that struggle with substance use disorders will have to deal with difficult situations. It’s because of this fact that addiction treatment programs focus on giving their patients healthy ways to cope with any negative thoughts and emotions that come up when they’re in the face of these unpleasant situations. Meditation helps people in addiction recovery consistently practice the skill of keeping a calm, positive state of mind even in hard times. 

The Facts Behind Recovery Meditation 

The Harvard Gazette writes about researchers who were interested in finding tangible evidence that meditation works. These researchers examined individuals who learned how to meditate properly through an 8-week course. After the course was over, the researchers measured the participants’ responses to emotional imagery through an fMRI. 

An fMRI measures brain activity, unlike a regular MRI. Individuals who didn’t take the 8-week course had much more brain activity in the portion of the brain that deals with emotional memories. The participants of the meditation class, on the other hand, had much less brain activity in this portion of their brain when shown the same imagery. This means that individuals that meditate will have a less emotional response to traumatic memories. 

This finding is highly beneficial for individuals that are in addiction recovery, as they are often faced with situations that can trigger their emotions and cause them to use substances again. In fact, according to the Harvard Gazette, meditation can be just as effective as other forms of addiction treatment. 

How To Start Practicing Meditation While in Addiction Recovery 

Instructors at an addiction treatment facility can properly show individuals how to use meditation to aid recovery. That said, you don’t need a teacher per se to get started with meditation for substance use disorder recovery. The style and underlying intention of a mediation can be curated to each individual. Hence, there is a form of meditation suited for everyone. 

Mindfulness and Breathing 

Mindfulness and breathing techniques are at the core of every successful meditation. To make the most out of mindfulness and breathing techniques, find a quiet, relaxing space to begin meditating. You can either lie down or sit up straight, just make sure the body is in a straight line. From there, you can keep your eyes open without focus or close your eyes. 

Sometimes it’s best to start with unfocused, open eyes, and then progress to closing the eyes. The main goal of this form of meditation is to clear the mind without giving too much notice to the thoughts that bubble up. 

It’s very likely thoughts will arise as you concentrate on clearing your mind. Instead of paying attention to these thoughts though, acknowledge them and then allow them to float away like boats on a river. 

It can be helpful to focus on breathing or on a word that holds no significance (like “the”) during this form of meditation. You can then move on to breathing exercises. 

Work on taking deep, slow breaths and focusing on the overall sensation. If any unwanted thoughts bubble to the surface, return your focus to breathing. 

Moving Meditation

You don’t have to stay still to practice meditation. There are different forms of moving meditation that can also help individuals reach a constant, calm state of mind. One of the most popular forms of moving meditation is yoga. 

The same techniques applied in stationary meditation can be applied to moving forms of meditation. Moving meditation can be particularly beneficial for individuals that are new to meditation as it gives them something physical to focus on while meditating. This, in turn, will help people turn their attention away from their own mental chatter. 

Other Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness in Recovery 

Meditation for Addiction Recovery

Meditation can not only help individuals in addiction treatment or recovery from substance use disorders, but it can help soothe the mental anguish of co-occurring disorders as well. Many people that struggle with substance use disorders also suffer from mental illnesses. In fact, it’s often the mental illness that triggered people’s desire to first start misusing substances in the first place. Meditation can help individuals that suffer from co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders release the emotional bonds that shackle them to their illnesses. 

Moving meditation allows individuals to engage in physical activity. Exercise is known to boost both mood and self-confidence. Meditation can even help individuals sleep better. This is just another benefit that can help improve the lives and well-being of people in addiction treatment and recovery. 

Guided Meditation for Addiction at Sana Lake Recovery Center 

No addiction treatment plan would be complete without complementary therapies. Here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, we believe in the power of meditation and constant mindfulness. For this reason, we offer a variety of holistic treatments to our members to help them during addiction treatment and long after. Contact us today to see how our programs can offer you peace of mind and freedom from addiction. 

References: 

Biosound Therapy

What Is Biosound Therapy for Addiction Treatment?

If you are suffering from an addiction to cocaine or prescription medications, there are a range of treatments at your disposal. The main treatments available for addiction include inpatient rehab, outpatient treatment, and detox. There are also some alternative treatments and therapies that can help you overcome addiction. 

One such treatment is biosound therapy, which uses sounds and vibrations to assist with treatment. 

What Is Biosound Therapy?

This is a type of addiction therapy that aims to make you feel calm and relaxed. Furthermore, the therapy works by syncing audio frequencies with different physical vibrations. The point of the therapy is to help the individual experience feelings of safety and comfort. While biosound therapy is ongoing, the patient sits in a unique chair that sends vibrations throughout the body. 

Over time, relaxation is induced before binaural audio is sent through headphones. This audio mirrors the brain waves that trigger when someone relaxes.

The biosound experience is something that you can hear and feel at the same time. If the therapy is successful, your heartbeat and cortisol levels will drop. As a result, your stress levels should lessen significantly. 

While this therapy commonly treats depression and anxiety, it also treats addiction to drugs and alcohol. 

The many treatments given during biosound therapy include:

  • Guided imagery
  • Vibrational massage
  • Therapeutic music
  • Sound frequencies
  • Biofeedback

How Is Biosound Therapy Used in Addiction Treatment?

biosound therapy for addiction

This therapy can reduce stress, anxiety, boredom, and depression, all of which are triggers for substance abuse.

To understand the benefits of biosound therapy for drug addiction, it’s important to look at how addiction occurs. There are many factors that trigger substance abuse in a person. These factors include everything from stress to the presence of a mental health condition. Moreover, these triggers can cause the patient to relapse when they stop using drugs or alcohol.

During therapy, a vibrating blanket and foam cushions help to produce sounds and vibrations. These stimuli then sync to the brain to deliver effective results. Keep in mind that this therapy is at its most effective when paired with other addiction treatments. 

The point of addiction treatment is to help the patient understand their addiction and manage the cravings that come with it. If stress and anxiety are your triggers for substance abuse, biosound therapy for addiction treatment can help you manage these triggers.

Additional Addiction Treatment Combinations

Many treatment facilities use this therapy alongside holistic therapy and meditation. In fact, combining these treatments makes it much more likely that the patient will avoid relapse. If you or a loved one believes that biosound therapy is the way to go, make sure that you consider all of your options. In many cases, you can choose between inpatient therapy and outpatient treatment. 

Outpatient vs. Inpatient Treatment

The main difference between outpatient treatment and inpatient rehab is the level of commitment. When a person enrolls into an inpatient rehab program, they remain at the facility 24/7 until the program is over. As such, they are in a drug-free environment, which makes relapse less likely. Whether the patient seeks outpatient treatment or inpatient rehab, the treatment begins with detoxification. This process is medically assisted to ensure that withdrawal symptoms aren’t too severe.

Once detox is over, group therapy and individual counseling begin. It’s during this phase of treatment that the patient receives biosound therapy. By inducing relaxation and a sense of calmness, it’s easier for the patient to manage their cravings. The duration of a treatment program depends on many factors, the primary of which is the severity of the addiction.

An addiction treatment program can last anywhere from one month to more than one year.

How Does the Body React to Sounds and Vibrations?

Sounds can affect the entire body. While a loud sound can frighten, a soft and melodic sound can relax a person. Movies and television shows commonly use sounds to induce different emotions. 

What this therapy understands is that sound causes changes to the brain that can bring about specific mood and emotional changes. Furthermore, beats and vibrations influence the way a person thinks or feels, which is why this therapy is effective during addiction treatment.

This therapy takes numerous frequency waves into account when determining the best course of action.

The five primary brain waves include:

Outpatient vs. Inpatient Treatment
  • Gamma – At least 30 Hz
  • Beta – Between 12-30 Hz
  • Alpha – Between 8-12 Hz
  • Theta – Between 4-8 Hz
  • Delta – Between 0.1-3.5 Hz

The body reacts positively to low-frequency vibrations. As a result, the patient experiences relaxation and a greater sense of calm. On the other hand, high-frequency vibrations induce heightened heart rates and improved concentration.

How Biosound Therapy Uses Frequency Waves

During biosound therapy for addiction treatment, binaural beats induce a theta-level meditative state. What this means is that the therapy only uses the lowest frequencies during treatment. When someone is awake and active, they experience beta and gamma frequency waves. If the individual is relaxing while awake, the frequency waves may decrease to the alpha frequencies. In fact, alpha waves are common when performing repetitive tasks.

When a person goes to sleep, their brain switches over to a lower frequency, which is commonly a theta frequency. In this state, the brain is susceptible to positive affirmations and physical suggestions. Delta frequencies only occur during deep sleep, which is why these frequencies aren’t possible to achieve during therapy. However, the therapy works by altering the natural progression of frequency waves that occurs throughout the day. By creating rhythmic patterns of sound and vibrations, the patient’s nervous system and body are synchronized.

When the patient enters a state of theta, the relaxation they experience allows the body to recover. The positive affirmations help combat addiction by adjusting negative thinking patterns. Over time, the patient should learn how to lead a more positive life that aids in long-term recovery.

What Are the Benefits of Biosound Therapy?

There are many different benefits that occur when a patient receives this therapy. For one, the body and mind are able to relax, which breaks cycles of self-doubt and negative thoughts. Keep in mind that depression and anxiety influence addiction, which means that treating these issues bolsters addiction treatment. 

While each patient receives numerous therapy sessions, the therapy can prove effective after just one session. During an addiction treatment program, this therapy helps patients manage their emotions. If past negative thoughts have led to harmful behaviors and drug use, eliminating these thoughts with biosound therapies can be helpful.

When is Biosound Therapy Most Beneficial During Addiction Treatment?

Benefits of Biosound Therapy

While these therapies are common during individual counseling, they are also beneficial during detoxification. It’s typical for patients to receive medications that ease withdrawal symptoms

However, these medications have their own side effects. When a patient wants to avoid taking medication during recovery, it’s possible for this therapy to provide relief. For instance, vibrational sound therapy could relax the individual, which may provide them with some pain relief. 

Keep in mind that fast pain relief equates to a shorter time in detox.

Following a biofeedback session, the patient can undergo music therapy. The benefits of music therapy can include better healing and a state of relaxation while treatment is ongoing. 

Meditation is also much easier during music therapy. As mentioned previously, this therapy is very effective as a treatment for depression, anxiety, and withdrawal symptoms. If a patient wants to recover without constantly worrying about relapse, biosound therapy is an excellent solution.

Can This Form of Therapy Also Be Used to Treat Mental Health?

Mental health is a common concern for patients who are recovering from addiction. In fact, most treatment centers offer programs for co-occurring mental disorders. These programs treat both addiction and mental health disorders. 

This is especially important as in many instances, the mental health disorder was a trigger for the substance use disorder. Some of the more common mental health concerns that this therapy treats include:

The effectiveness of this therapy depends mainly on the severity of the mental health disorder. At the very least, the therapy will relax and calm the individual, which can help them manage their symptoms. For patients who suffer from a co-occurring disorder, the withdrawal symptoms can be serious during detox. This therapy may be the answer in mitigating these symptoms and allowing the patient to continue to additional treatments.

Learn More about Biosound Therapy for Addiction Treatment 

Biosound therapy can offer many benefits to a well-rounded addiction treatment program. Our team of professionals at Sana Lake can help you or a loved one develop a more complete treatment plan. Our team focuses on each individual member’s Recovery for Life. 

If you or a loved one is suffering from a substance use disorder, it’s important that you seek treatment before the side effects worsen. Contact us today to find out which treatments are right for you.

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. 

What is the Link Between Sexual Abuse and Addiction?

What is the Link Between Sexual Abuse and Addiction?

In the United States, one in five women and one in thirty-eight men have been sexually abused. Furthermore, before the age of 18, one in four girls will be sexually abused. The emotional pain often leads to the co-occurrence of sexual abuse and addiction. But, seeking sexual abuse treatment can prevent the added struggles of addiction.

Sexual abuse is a very traumatic experience. In fact, many survivors of sexual abuse also have PTSD. But, many people try to hide their struggles, afraid of what others might think. Instead of getting sexual abuse treatment, they turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. 

Without sexual abuse treatment, the trauma of the abuse can be impossible to handle. As a result, people self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to cope with their feelings. However, occasional use can quickly turn to everyday use and, eventually, addiction. 

What is the Link Between Sexual Abuse and Addiction?

If you are struggling with sexual abuse and addiction, your sexual abuse treatment should co-occur with addiction treatment. If you only seek addiction treatment, then the real source of your addiction is not being treated. 

A comprehensive dual-diagnosis treatment center, such as Sana Lake, treats your struggles with sexual abuse and addiction simultaneously. 

How is the Trauma of Sexual Abuse and Addiction Linked?

Traditional substance use disorder treatment isn’t always effective with trauma survivors. But, to understand why it’s not, you must understand the link between sexual abuse and addiction. 

Both sexual abuse and addiction can have vague starting and stopping points. Unfortunately, children are at high risk for physical and sexual abuse, especially if they have parents struggling with addiction. 

Drugs and alcohol impair judgment, which interferes with the daily care and support of children. Even if the parent isn’t abusing the child, the lack of supervision due to addiction can leave them vulnerable to other adults. 

Sexual abuse doesn’t mean that a child will turn to drugs and alcohol right away. And they may never use drugs and alcohol. But, the trauma of sexual abuse doesn’t go away. So a person may turn to drugs years later when the emotional pain becomes too much. 

Children who watch their parents use drugs and alcohol may also use drugs and alcohol later. For some, this use can turn into an addiction. Why? Because using drugs and alcohol changes the chemical makeup in the brain and body, leading to dependency and addiction.

Why Do Survivors of Sexual Abuse Turn to Drugs and Alcohol?

Survivors of sexual abuse often feel a great deal of guilt and shame. And many times, they don’t have anyone to talk to. Some survivors feel guilty or responsible for their experience. These thoughts and feelings can be challenging to cope with. 

The shame of sexual abuse often leads to addiction.

Sexual abuse survivors want to escape their painful memories. They don’t want to think about the pain and fear of the trauma. So, they self-medicate. Drugs or alcohol give them temporary relief from traumatic thoughts and feelings. 

However, self-medicating can have negative consequences, including addiction. Often, a person doesn’t even realize they are becoming dependent on the substance. 

In many cases, using drugs or alcohol is the only way to make them feel good about themselves. In other cases, however, survivors use drugs and alcohol as a form of self-harm and punishment. 

Sexual abuse and addiction often co-occur for the following reasons.

  • To reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • To cope and escape from the traumatic memories. 
  • To improve self-esteem.
  • To engage in the form of controlled self-harm.
  • To self-medicate instead of seeking sexual abuse treatment. 

Women, Sexual Abuse and Addiction

Ninety-one percent of sexual assault survivors are female. Before the age of 18, one in 4 girls will be survivors of sexual abuse. As a result, women are at a higher risk of addiction in response to the trauma. 

The long-term effects of sexual abuse on women include:

  • 94% of women experience PTSD in the two weeks following the abuse
  • 30% of women still have PTSD 9 months later
  • 33% of women consider suicide
  • 13% of women attempt suicide

Women who experience sexual abuse and addiction are:

  • Three times more likely to use marijuana.
  • Six times more likely to use cocaine.
  • Ten times more likely to use other drugs.

Men, Sexual Abuse and Addiction

While sexual abuse most commonly happens to females, it does also happen to males. However, males are less likely to report acts of sexual abuse. 

Beyond the challenges females face, additional challenges stop males from reporting the abuse. For instance, there are certain attitudes and stereotypes about men and masculinity. 

Some men who have been survivors of sexual abuse believe they should have been able to prevent the assault. And like women, men may also feel guilty or feel like they asked for it. 

Although the rate of sexual abuse and addiction is higher in women, male survivors also struggle with co-occurring sexual abuse and addiction. Therefore, seeking sexual abuse treatment can minimize the risk of addiction and help you heal from the trauma of sexual abuse. 

Teen Abused Sex: Sexual Abuse and Addiction

While both males and females struggle with teen abused sex, it is more common in females. The trauma of teen abused sex can lead to self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. The use of substances is a way to escape the memory of teen abused sex temporarily. 

Adults who faced teen abused sex are 1.5 times more likely to misuse substances such as drugs and alcohol. Studies by the NIH also indicate drug use is more common than alcohol use in victims of teen abused sex. 

Sexual abuse leaves not only physical scars but also emotional ones. But, self-medicating only creates more problems. If you know a teen who struggles with sexual abuse and addiction, it’s important to urge them to seek sexual abuse treatment. 

What to Do If You Suspect Sexual Abuse

While addiction is typically linked to past sexual abuse, it’s important to emphasize this: if you think someone is being abused in any form, it’s crucial to urge them to seek help. You can help your loved ones by giving them options. Encourage them to call the police or go to the hospital. You can even provide them with the number to the National Sexual Assault Hotline. 

It’s never okay to turn a blind eye to someone being abused. It can be awkward to interfere, but the alternative is much worse. If you don’t know how to help, there are also resources to help you help them. If the situation involves a child, getting child protective services involved is best. 

How Can You Talk to a Loved One Struggling with Sexual Abuse and Addiction

It can be difficult knowing how to talk to a survivor of sexual abuse, whether it’s been ten months or ten years. Besides encouraging them to seek sexual abuse treatment, being an ear for them to talk to and a shoulder to lean on can be valuable. 

There are three primary ways to help a loved one whose been a victim of traumatic abuse. 

Know the available resources. 

Whether you have the number for a sexual abuse hotline or talking with treatment professionals, it’s vital to do your research. Although you may not share all your research with the survivor, it’s essential to understand what they’re going through. The research can help you walk them through the recovery process. 

Remember, recovery is a process. 

Working through the trauma of sexual abuse and addiction is a process. Furthermore, survivors will not be healed overnight. The traumatic memories won’t disappear, nor will the urges to self-medicate. Remind them recovery and healing is a personal journey and doesn’t have a timeline.

Make regular check-ins.

Regular check-ins will be different for everyone. For some, it may be a daily call of encouragement. While for others, it might be a weekly visit. Whatever your check-ins look like, make sure your loved one knows you love and support them. 

However, if your loved one is in sexual abuse treatment, their communication may be limited. Be sure to ask about the center’s guidelines, so you don’t interfere with treatment and recovery.

Phrases to Support Loved Ones Struggling with Sexual Abuse and Addiction

I’m sorry this happened. By acknowledging the trauma of sexual abuse, it shows empathy. It also shows you’re glad the loved one trusts you. 

It’s not your fault. Survivors of sexual abuse often blame themselves. For this reason, it’s comforting to remind them it’s not their fault, and they did nothing wrong.

You are not alone. Being there for your loved ones can encourage them to work through their memories. When survivors have a trusted person to talk to can be valuable in healing. However, you should also encourage them to speak to a professional. 

I believe you. When your loved one shares their story with you, don’t question your loved ones’ memories or press for more details. These actions show you believe them and make them feel comfortable and safe. 

Mental Health Issues from Sexual Abuse and Addiction

After sexual abuse, survivors may feel like their body isn’t their own. They often feel shame, guilt, and terror. They may also blame themselves for the abuse. 

Due to the trauma and emotions of sexual abuse, survivors often struggle with mental health issues and addiction. Sexual abuse and addiction may lead to the following mental health issues. 

  • Depression: Sexual abuse is often brutal to cope with. It can create feelings of hopelessness or despair. It may also lower one’s sense of self-worth. The symptoms of depression may be mild, or they can be intense and long-lasting.
  • Anxiety: Sexual abuse can also cause severe anxiety and panic attacks. Survivors may fear the sexual abuse could happen again. They may also develop agoraphobia and become frightened to leave their homes. 
  • Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD): Survivors of sexual abuse may have intense memories of the abuse. In some cases, flashbacks may be so disruptive they cause a survivor to lose track of surroundings. 

When a person struggles with co-occurring trauma and addiction, it’s crucial to treat both conditions simultaneously. If you only treat the addiction and not heal from sexual abuse, the chances of using again are high. Both seeking sexual abuse treatment that also treats addiction can increase Recovery for Life.

Sexual Abuse Treatment at Sana Lake

At Sana Lake Recovery Center, our goal is to treat your addiction and heal past traumas that lead to addiction. Survivors of sexual abuse have a tough road to recovery. Our caring and compassionate therapists use holistic and trauma-based therapies to heal at your own pace. 

If you or a loved one struggles with sexual abuse and addiction, it’s time to get help. To find out more about sexual abuse treatment, contact us today.

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/sexual-violence/index.html#:~:text=Nearly%201%20in%205%20women,it%20occurred%20before%20age%2010.

https://www.nsvrc.org/statistics

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5082739/