This is something you wish you were wrong about, but also something that you need to be right on if its true. Does that make sense? In other words, no one wants to believe a friend or family member has an addiction. At the same time, you also do not want to see your loved one succumb to an addiction. It’s very important that if you start to see signs a friend or family member may be experiencing issues with addiction, it is your duty (as well as ours) to help them enter treatment.
A Shift in Moods and Motivations
Sounds vague, right? Of course any sudden mood shift is not indicative of addiction. However, when that behavior is accompanied by lying and dishonesty—it’s clear that something must be going on. This is often the first sign that arouses suspicion but it is too often the case we ignore that sense of something being off for a long time. That is why you should trust your instincts and keep an eye out for more unusual behavior and circumstances.
A shift in mood can be more pronounced such as volatility in behaviors, angry outbursts, disproportionate sadness, anxiety. Remember, many Substance Use Disorders are often comorbid with a mental health condition such depression, an anxiety or personality disorder.
Sudden Weight Loss or Gain
This is the next sign that can be passed off as almost normal, the truth is people don’t just randomly gain a large amount of weight or lose it. Your body strives to achieve homeostasis—or stability, in medical terms sudden gain or loss in weight is grounds for further medical inquiry and testing. This may seem like a minor point, but many statements from those who have realized their loved one had an addiction have reflected on the past and realized just how many behaviors they recognized but brushed aside as irrelevant.
Having Enlarged Pupils and Bloodshot Eyes
Certain drugs can cause your pupils to become dilated—these are typically psychotropic drugs or stimulants such as cocaine. Be aware of bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils as they are dead giveaways that your loved one is misusing drugs. Dilated pupils are not so easily explained away, there are many charts online that can show you what normal pupil dilation in response to factors such as light look like in comparison to drug use.
Poor Work or School Performance/Financial Difficulties
If your friend or family member is suddenly flunking their classes or experiencing troubles at work—even have been let go, this is yet another sign that they are failing to maintain their daily obligations for a reason that is unclear. If they were financially stable and are now having financial difficulties, this is another red flag. This one can be difficult to determine with friends as opposed to family members as we are typically not privy to their finances.
Drug use is incredibly expensive in that the substances themselves are costly, but also the user’s increasing tolerance to those drugs requires more and more. As the addiction takes hold, the desire to use more frequently also occurs in tandem, creating a vicious cycle of abuse that wrecks the person’s health, finances, and takes control of their life.
Pre-treatment Addiction Consultation in Virginia
Do you suspect your loved one is struggling with addiction? There are many more signs and symptoms we at Recovery Care Partner can recognize. We have dealt with many cases of addiction and intimately understand what to look out for. We offer guidance and support to those who believe they may have a friend or family member dealing with addiction.
Contact us today to tell us your story so that we can help your loved one enter treatment, whether that is through coaching and consulting with you, or offering our intervention services so that a more direct approach can be taken.Learn More
What is Enabling Behavior?
What is enabling behavior? Enabling occurs when friends or family of an addict are actively enmeshed with the addict’s substance use disorder and attempt to micromanage the condition. While enablers are often seen as people with malicious intent who want to bring others down with them, the truth is that most enablers—and most enabling behaviors come from people who genuinely care about the addict.
Examples of Enabling Behavior: Denial
There are many causes for enabling behaviors to surface, but the most common reason for enabling behavior is denial. For many people, it’s not entirely clear when a proclivity becomes an addiction. What’s the difference between someone who really likes to drink and someone who is addicted to alcohol? While many people would agree that it’s when it becomes an uncontrollable urge that causes self-destructive behavior, that’s where you draw the line. The issue is that there is a significant lag time between those behaviors manifesting and those close to the addict coming to grips with them. This is why addiction is often seen as the elephant in the room. Many people can recognize the signs of addiction, it’s just difficult to accept that your friend or family member is an addict.
Caring More About Reputation Than Recovery
As much as we’d like to say it isn’t so, there are many families who attempt to cover up a family member’s addiction because they do not want to tarnish their family image within their circle of friends and other families. This is one of the worst types of enabling because it is socially reinforced by many people and often combines many aspects of other enabling behaviors such as denial.
Not only does reputation management greatly delay any kind of recovery for the addict, but it also creates a highly toxic environment that often does lead to overdosing and/or death. This is a tragic situation that happens to many people, as they are addicted and require help, and the people around them impart nothing but further shame and guilt which reinforces using behaviors in the addict. This leads many addicts to be pushed into even greater levels of danger with their substance abuse than they likely would have alone.
Misguided compassion manifests itself as friends and family members of the addict attempting to help the addicted person with day to day tasks which they should be able to do by themselves. The person helping mistakenly believes that they’re alleviating some stress or burden from the addict’s life which will help them get on their feet. It almost never works out this way though, in most cases, the addict is made less accountable and experiences fewer consequences for their addiction because other people pick up the pieces of their life that would ordinarily serve as indicators that things are going south for them.
Addiction Consulting in Virginia
Addiction is not just something affects the person addicted. It affects their friends and family as well. If you or someone you know has a substance use disorder, get in touch with our addiction counseling specialists at Recovery Care Partner. Our team of highly experienced specialists has helped hundreds of people get on the path to sobriety. We also offer consulting for family members and subsequently, intervention services for a loved one. Give us a call at (240)-206-6324 or get in touch with us on our contact page so you or a friend/family member can be on their way to a healthier lifestyle!Learn More
The road to recovery is one fraught with many perils and traps. You could argue it’s the simplest path in the world, simply do not engage in that which you are addicted to. Of course, simple and easy are two very different things. It is for this reason that relapse is considered a part of recovery itself. While it’s never a good thing, many people do relapse and it’s important to remember that it’s not the end of the world. You’re not a “bad” person for relapsing.
Battling addiction is a high stakes game of management. Understanding your relapse triggers, avoiding situations where you may be offered substances or tempted, as well as keeping yourself busy and healthy are all important factors to addiction recovery. Forgiveness is incredibly important when dealing with addiction—especially when the addiction is more psychological in nature. There is, however, another thing just as important as forgiveness—it’s accountability.
The Importance of Accountability
Accountability in addiction is a term that you perhaps have heard many times in regards to work or responsibilities in management. It means to be held responsible for something. There’s no easy way to say this, but you’re accountable for your addiction. It is a difficult thing to say as professional addiction treatment specialists. It sounds harsh, but in truth, it’s one of the most beautiful realizations someone who has suffered from addiction can realize.
Imagine this, for your whole life you’ve battled this thing which ruined your relationships, drained your bank account, hurt your health and inflicted psychological wounds on you. Then, as you’re trying to get better, someone tells you to hold yourself accountable. Emotionally, it may feel as if they are saying it’s all your fault.
That’s not at all what accountability is. Accountability for addiction is not the same as finger-pointing, rather, it’s a realization that regardless of the unfortunate circumstances that led to your deepening substance use disorder, recovery starts with you. Really, it’s one of the most empowering things you can realize—that you’re actually in control. As we mentioned with relapse earlier, you may not win every battle you fight, but that it is infinitely better to strive towards a better future than to be stuck, hopeless and addicted. This is also why group therapy is so effective because instead of feeling singled out and isolated, you can share your experiences with other people who can help you feel more accepted and accountable for what you do.
Sober Companion Services in Virginia
Having someone who can help you stay accountable as you get through the initial stages of recovery can be a critical helping hand when beginning sobriety. That is why we offer sober companion services for situations including but not limited to:
- Helping those who live alone and need a headstart in establishing healthy new habits.
- Giving support to people who come from an unsupportive environment.
- Support for those who have travel needs and require addiction supervision
- Accompaniment to various places such as school, social functions, work or doctor’s appointments.
At Recovery Care Partners, our mission is to be a one-stop full support system for those who wish to live a life of sobriety. There is nothing more gratifying for us than seeing the many people who have been taken under our care go on to lead stable and fulfilling lives. One tool in our toolbelt for that is the sober companion service we offer. If you would like to find out more about our sober companion services and accountability for addiction, please do not hesitate to visit our contact page or give us a call at (240)-206-6324.Learn More
A certified substance abuse counselor is an important facilitator of conversation for in recovery or recovering addicts. A certified substance abuse counselor can make the difference in a persons life by offering keen addiction education and helping addicts come to terms with behavioral patterns or thought patterns they may not realize they’re stuck in. In group therapy, people can come together and share their thoughts and join in on an atmosphere of solidarity.
Group Therapy Reduces Isolation
Many around the world suffer from addiction or substance abuse issues, the vast majority of them are receiving treatment nor are they seeking it. Therefore, when a person comes to an addiction treatment center to receive care, it is doubly important to make sure they understand that they are not alone.
One of the best ways to do this is through group therapy. In group therapy, participants come together to discuss their issues maintaining sobriety or the day to day challenges they face in trying to reach or sustain recovery.
In substance abuse group therapy, some common questions or procedures would be:
- Introductions – Be asked to introduce yourself and what your main addiction issues are. This appears deceptively simple however it serves to create the foundation of acceptance. Without acceptance and acknowledgment about where you currently are in your journey.
- Triggers – What stress factors do you think drive you to use. Have you relapsed? If so, looking back what do you think was the trigger which preceded your relapse and how can you best avoid that in the future?
- Keeping Busy – How do you keep busy? Ask any reformed addict or someone who has been in recovery for many years, cravings never stop entirely. You can be sober for 10 years and the desire to have a drink can still come on suddenly. Accepting this as a part of you can go a long way to preventing relapse, just like how someone who may have a problematic relationship to food must accept that they will always be drawn to sweets or be susceptible to stress eating. The best way to keep cravings at bay is to always have things to keep you busy. Hobbies, fulfilling work or responsibilities to your family can be great ways to channel that energy towards something productive.
This TIP (Treatment Improvement Protocol) by the NCBI states that group therapy can be powerful in reducing isolation and treating substance abuse. The reason for this is because humans are intrinsically very group-oriented, as we have lived in this manner for thousands of years.
The effect of being able to witness and learn from the lives and progress of other people uplifts those who are struggling and gives them a positive example to emulate. Having a role model is important when trying to formulate new ideals to aspire towards. These things give hope to people on the road to recovery.
Substance Abuse Group Therapy in Virginia
At Recovery Care Partner, our mission is to provide all the tools necessary for you or a loved one to be on the path to recovery. We pride ourselves on being able to tailor our methods to the unique circumstances every individual possesses. We specialize in interventions and our founder, Don Sloane, has facilitated hundreds of interventions rooted in compassion over the course of 30 years. If you would like to take the first step towards recovery, visit our contact page or reach out to us at (240)-232-5464.Learn More
Blame is often one of the most toxic and self-destructive thought patterns that can emerge. At Recovery Care Partners, we understand that addiction is just as much a mental hurdle as it is a physiological one. On the road to recovery, almost all former addicts struggle with blame and issues of identity. Blame is an important concept to understand—that is, understand why it is a fruitless endeavor to spend your time questioning if addiction is your fault or if it isn’t.
The Psychology of Blame
What is blame, exactly? What function does it serve? In the simplest terms, blame is both an emotion that facilitates guilt and is also a concept that offers utility. Whether you are blaming yourself (often unduly) or blaming someone else (often unfairly), in both situations it is a way to reframe a situation to reflect positively or negatively upon you. Something is either your fault (negative) or not your fault (positive).
In the simplest sense, in terms of blame, there are two paths. An addict may blame him or herself for some traumatic event or situation in life and this may turn them to substance abuse to cope with the knowledge of that thing. The blame rests squarely on an issue of identity, in which the person believes that they are the addict and that is all they will ever be. This could not be further from the truth, however, in the moment it is a powerful sense of negative attachment. This is similar to if not the same as victim mentality, where we feel ourselves a victim to forces outside of our control all the way up until the point where we no longer have an identity outside of “the victim”.
On the contrary, an addict may also seek to blame others for their addictions. Some perceived wrong is done to them in the past or a traumatic experience—often in childhood, which has created a complex that fuels a type of existential stress that is everpresent. At the root of addictive behavior, there is an action that is pleasurable in the short term to do but is devastating in the long term. The addict can not stop themselves from indulging in this behavior at the expense of the rest of their life and thus, they are on a self-destructive path. This existential stress is the trigger which creates the itch to use, and abuse is the temporary relief.
Blaming others is the flipside of blaming yourself, but the result is the same. There is some emotional wound or trauma that becomes a tragic pain point that enables the person to fall deep into a victim mentality.
Accountability is Key
Accountability means that you should take responsibility for the actions you take but also the things which happen in your life. The idea is that regardless of whether a situation is in your control, you can control and own your actions—thus empowering you and making you feel in charge of your fate. The issue is that many people mistakenly believe that accountability means blaming yourself for everything that occurs. No.
That is not the same thing, that is just toxic blaming in disguise coming to rear its head. With the proper perspective, accountability is the number one thing that can melt right through the hazy lies of the blame game. Remember, fault and blame are more or less the same terms, spending time contemplating whether it is your fault or another person’s fault that you are driven to substance abuse is not helpful or conducive to recovery.
Instead, consider that only about 20-30% of drug users become addicted to drugs. The reason for this is that some people are simply—for neural reasons or physiological reasons, more susceptible to addiction to particular drugs. If you find yourself in this camp, you understand why some addictions are more akin to disease more than anything. You would never fault someone for being susceptible to high blood pressure or diabetes, addiction is no different.
Sober Companion for Addiction Recovery
Recovery Care Partner is an expert in facilitating interventions, post-treatment support services and providing a sober companion to aid those transitioning into a recovery lifestyle. A sober companion is a phenomenal way to have someone around to keep you accountable for your life as well as just provide empathy and emotional rapport. Our team of highly driven and empathetic individuals has guided numerous patients towards recovery. We offer our services in Philadelphia, South Jersey, Atlanta, Richmond, Greenwich, Baltimore, and the Greater Washington DC area. Visit our contact page or give us a call at (240)-206-6324 to help you or a loved one take the first step towards recovery.Learn More
Intervention is the catalyst that can propel an individual to a new, happier life. Days become very dark in the life of an addicted person; consequently, they may not see – or care – that they have a problem. It’s one of those powerful tools that families can use to urge a person to seek help and enter treatment. Generally, an intervention is necessary when someone’s addiction begins to destroy their personal relationships, work obligations, hobbies, and the happiness of their family. When a loved one continues to abuse drugs, despite negative consequences, intervention and treatment may be the only option.
To Intervene or Not to Intervene?
There are a few warning signs and factors that may send a person into an addiction. Co-occurring mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, and fear may exacerbate drug addiction. Social isolation, erratic behavior, financial issues, problems at work or school, and un-needed stress in personal relationships can be the result.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of drug abuse is necessary if you wish to help your loved one. An intervention will force uncomfortable, emotional conversations; the individual in question may not be very responsive to the intervention at first. However, drug addiction tends to spiral out of control, with the National Institute on Drug Abuse considering addiction a progressive, chronic disease.
Signs that someone needs an intervention
- Drunk driving and other activities that endanger others
- Amnesia, or the inability to remember behaviors – especially negative ones – that affect family members and people close to them
- Legal issues or pending legal issues, especially those with drug charges
- Multiple failed attempts to reduce quantity and frequency of use
- Increased conflict with family, friends, and coworkers
- Shunning of basic responsibilities, such as house chores and going to work
- Intense mood swings
- Degradation of physical appearance, sleep cycles, and eating habits
- High levels of drug tolerance
- Large amounts of mysterious debt
- Worsening mental health problems
Stepping in before things get worse can help save your loved one’s life. This is especially important if your loved one is abusing hard drugs, as one bad batch can result in overdose.
Interventionist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
An intervention should be highly structured and controlled to decrease the chance of the intervention going off the rails. If your loved one has a history of suicidal ideations, violence, mental illness, and/or rationalization, professional help may be necessary to avoid a compromising situation.
Addiction is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Effective treatment requires a solution, which requires professional support. At Recovery Care Partner, we intervene in such as a way that the addict/alcoholic will likely be more receptive to the intervention and will be more likely to attend treatment. If you are in need of an intervention in Atlanta, Richmond, Philadelphia or South Jersey, contact us today!Learn More
Although the opioid epidemic is still unfortunately rampant, another drug has recently popped up on college campuses and popular culture as a whole. That drug is Xanax, a derivative of the housewife drug Valium, first prescribed in the 1960’s. Valium and other similar drugs, belonging to the classification benzodiazepines, have been silently popular since their inception, but have witnessed a sharp increase in popularity quite recently. Benzodiazepines are sedative, anti-anxiety drugs that include Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam) and Ativan (lorazepam), of which Xanax is irrevocably the most popular. They are used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms and seizures. While those are the intended purposes, many users also take the drugs for their soothing and numbing effects on both brain and body; they are also utilized by many millennials as a way to “come down,” after being on psychedelics or uppers.
The Problem With Benzos
Benzodiazepines (also called benzos) are so insidious because of their ubiquity in popular culture and also a benign connotation because of their legality. While many young adults are buying Xanax illegally from friends or drug dealers, the origins of these pills are primarily legal (i.e. people are selling prescriptions they obtained with reported problems as simplistic and widespread as generalized anxiety). There are many pills being sold on the dark web as well, with manufacturers often pressing alprazolam (or other benzodiazepine) powder into casing typical for “bars” (the street name for 2mg Xanax pills popular for their rectangular shape and powerful effects). This is especially terrifying because it is incredibly easy to press more than 2mg into a bar (or to press the bar with laced materials, such as fentanyl), which is an already high dose.
Effects of Xanax
When a large amount of Xanax is consumed, it robs the user of basic mental abilities and motor skills. If you are concerned your loved one is using Xanax, look for vacant eyes, sleepiness, slurred speech, impaired motor skills and vision, reduced inhibition (people high on Xanax will often do or say things entirely out of character, because even normal, appropriate anxiety is taken away when given enough of the drug) and increased hostility or bluntness. These effects are exacerbated when the pill is taken with alcohol, as it is often consumed, especially on college campuses. It is also not uncommon for Xanax to be used as a date rape drug, put into individual drinks or the “jungle juice” buckets and coolers that litter American universities.
Xanax in Popular Culture
So what put it in millennials’ heads to take Xanax in the first place? Besides its incredible prevalence (often, teenagers have to look no further than their parents’ medicine cabinet to try the drug), Xanax has become incredibly popular in television, movie and especially, music culture. Rappers, primarily, glorify use of the drug in songs like “56 Nights,” in which rapper Future claims to have taken “56 bars all in one month.” Rap culture has an undeniable effect on which drugs are used and how often. A spike in codeine, molly and marijuana usage have been witnessed over the past years in which rappers (and their lyrics) have become increasingly centered on said drugs.
Some Celebrities Bashing Benzos
But some rappers, and other public figures, are beginning to publicly decry the drug and and debunk its harmless status. Chance the Rapper has publicly claimed Xanax to be the new heroin and has spoken to the havoc it wreaked in his own life in several songs. Former member of Fleetwood Mac Stevie Nicks is also unabashed in bashing benzos, citing her addiction to Klonopin as the worst time in her life and the reason why she never married or had children and likening her condition while under the influence of Klonopin to be akin to that of a “zombie.” The backlash from these two stars is a humble beginning in battling the drug and its addictive propensities, but it’s a necessary start. Of the 22,000 deaths that resulted from prescription drug overdoses last year, 31 percent of those were benzo-related. Additionally horrifying, is the fact that benzodiazepines are incredibly hard to withdraw from, with effects as severe as psychosis, seizures and death. With that said, if you or a loved one is suffering from benzo addiction, find help immediately and do not try to wean yourself off cold turkey as that may result in severe, acute withdrawal.