5 Devastating Psychological Effects of Drug Addiction

1 week ago ·

5 Devastating Psychological Effects of Drug Addiction

Substance abuse and mental health are linked because psychoactive substances, including alcohol,

Female Psychologist With Clipboard Sitting Near Young Man

 cause changes in your body and brain. A careful balance of chemicals keeps the cogs turning inside your body, and even the smallest change can cause you to experience negative symptoms. 

Excessive alcohol and drug use sends your nervous system into disarray, rewires your brain and causes inflammation — all of which can cause mental illness. Read on to find out more about the emotional effects of substance use disorders. 

Drug Abuse Rewires Your Brain

One of the most profound changes that occur in people who struggle with addiction is in the reward center of the brain. Dopamine is responsible for feelings of motivation, pleasure, and reward — and alcohol, prescription medications and illegal drugs all hijack this pathway. If you or a loved one is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, you’ll have noticed a shift in priorities. 

As an addicted person needs an increasing amount of their substance of choice to get the same high, they become more and more preoccupied with procuring and using substances. This is what leads to the most damaging effects of addiction. To the sufferer, friends, family, work, and being an upstanding citizen become less important than inebriation.

Often, people in addiction treatment centers are recovering from experiencing an endless cycle of guilt, emotional pain, and short-term relief from substances. This negative feedback loop can eventually lead to mental health issues and other side effects. 

Health Problems Associated with Addiction

In addition to the psychological effects of addiction, drug and alcohol abuse have the potential to lead to an array of other health conditions. Chronic substance use is a risk factor for the following illnesses:

  • Disorders that affect decision-making
  • Heart disease including high blood pressure
  • Psychosis
  • Reduced immune function
  • Stomach issues
  • Respiratory problems
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney disease

5 Psychological Effects of Drug Addiction

Dopamine isn’t the only neurotransmitter that affects your mood and mental state; serotonin, norepinephrine and many more play a part. Just like addiction, mental disorders aren’t usually the result of one trigger or cause. Not everyone will experience the following, but many people do.   

1. Anxiety

Anxiety is best described as a disorder of the fight-or-flight response, where someone perceives danger that isn’t there. It includes the following physical and mental symptoms:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Excessive worrying
  • Sweating
  • An impending sense of doom
  • Mood swings
  • ​Restlessness and agitation
  • Tension
  • Insomnia

There are a lot of similarities between anxiety and the effects of stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine. Conversely, using central nervous system depressants can also increase the risk of a person developing anxiety. Although they calm a person’s nerves while they’re intoxicated, they intensify anxiety when the effects wear off. 

Additionally, many addicts experience anxiety around trying to hide their habits from other people. In a lot of cases, it’s difficult to tell whether anxious people are more likely to abuse substances or if drugs and alcohol cause anxiety.

2. Shame and Guilt

There’s a stigma attached to addiction in society, and there’s a lot of guilt and shame for the individuals who struggle with the condition. Often, this is adding fuel to a fire that was already burning strong. People with substance use disorders tend to evaluate themselves negatively on a regular basis, which is a habit that has its roots in childhood experiences. Continual negative self-talk adds to feelings of shame and guilt.

When you constantly feel as if you’ve done something wrong, it’s tempting to try to cover up these challenging emotions with drugs and alcohol. These unhelpful emotions contribute to the negative feedback loop that sends people spiraling into addiction.    

3. A Negative Feedback Loop

From an outside perspective, someone with an addiction looks like they’re repeatedly making bad choices and ignoring reason. However, the truth is far more complicated and nuanced — so much so that it can be very difficult for people to overcome a substance use disorder without inpatient or outpatient treatment. This is partly due to a negative feedback loop that occurs in the mind.

When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they feel a sense of comfort they haven’t been able to get elsewhere. Inevitably, this feeling is replaced by guilt and shame as they sober up and face the consequences of their actions. However, the weight of these feelings forces them to seek comfort in substances.    

4. Depression

Another mental illness strongly associated with addiction is depression. Like anxiety, it’s not clear whether the depression or substance abuse problem comes first — but there is a clear link. The main symptoms associated with depression are:

  • Hopelessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Dysregulated emotion
  • Loss of interest
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Suicidal ideation

Some withdrawal symptoms overlap with the signs of depression, which can make diagnosing coexisting addiction challenging before the SUD has been treated. Most people require ongoing therapy to help them overcome depression.    

5. Loss of Interest

Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy is a key symptom of both addiction and depression, but overcoming the former makes it much easier to gain control over the latter. It’s such a destructive symptom because of how demotivating it is to feel there’s no joy in the world. Everyone has passions and interests, but getting back to finding them isn’t easy for someone with these conditions. 

Treatment programs help you unravel the reasons behind your unhealthy substance use so you can find new coping mechanisms and address any underlying issues in therapy.

Get Help for the Physical and Emotional Effects of Drug Addiction

If you think the behavior of a loved one is a sign of a serious problem, call Recovery at the Crossroads today at 856-644-6929 for more information about the emotional effects of drugs.

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3 months ago ·

The Five Stages of Addiction Recovery

woman sitting by the ocean looking out into the distanceAlcohol and drug abuse can tear families apart and transform loving and successful individuals into desperate, lonely husks of their former selves. Even though the impact is devastating, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Anyone can overcome addiction with the help and guidance of a substance abuse treatment program.

Understanding the five stages of addiction recovery can be useful for addicted people and their family members. It’s an integrated theory that’s compatible with most evidence-based and holistic treatments, like the 12-step program and behavior therapy.

What Is the Transtheoretical Model?

woman embracing the sunlightProchaska, DiClemente and Norcross created the stages of change or transtheoretical model in 1983 to help people quit smoking. It was then updated in 1992, when it started being used in clinical settings for a variety of behaviors. By studying various mental health and substance use disorder treatment plans, Prochaska, DiClemente and Norcross noted patterns that occur as people progress through a major behavioral shift.

The stages of recovery aren’t necessarily linear, and people don’t stay in them for a set amount of time. Of course, some people sail quickly through the stages, in perfect order. Plus, there are certain principles that counselors and therapists on rehab programs can use to guide clients through the recovery process.

It can also be helpful for the addicted person themselves to gain self-understanding using this model. Insight is a powerful tool for change because it makes it easier to be mindful of decisions you’re making in the moment.

What Are the Five Stages of Change?

The five stages of addiction recovery are precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. Read on to find out more about the various stages.

1. Precontemplation Stage

People who are in the first stage aren’t yet ready for treatment. This phase is characterized by defensiveness and endless justification of their behavior. There’s a clear lack of insight into the negative impact of excessive drug or alcohol use and a strong focus on the positive effects they experience from using their drug of choice.

Someone might remain in this stage due to a lack of information about addictive behaviors. Another reason we regularly see people get stuck in the precontemplation stage is disappointment with multiple failed attempts at recovery. Most individuals in precontemplation feel that recovery simply isn’t possible for them. The truth is that anyone can recover from any stage.

2. Contemplation Stage

The next phase is characterized by contemplative readiness. This means the person is ready to bring about change in the future, but not immediately. Unlike the previous stage, they’re aware of the pros of becoming drug-free.

However, they are also still acutely aware of the benefits they perceive from alcohol or drug abuse. This is a critical stage for family members and treatment providers because the person is more likely to listen to reason. By avoiding blame, judgment and accusations, it’s possible to guide them to the next stage.

3. Preparation Stage

When it comes to the preparation stage, the individual is building a sense of urgency regarding their desire for sobriety. They’ve usually made steps toward taking action, such as intending to join a gym, seeing a counselor or attempting to quit by themselves without attending a treatment center.

It’s normal for people in this phase to go for a day or two without turning to drug or alcohol abuse, but it’s also perfectly usual to see people jump back to contemplation or precontemplation in case triggers or difficult emotions arise.

4. Action Stage

During the action stage, the person has made significant changes in their lives and is committed to change. This stage of change is characterized by prolonged periods of abstinence and the inclination to turn to professionals for help before or after relapse.

It won’t just be a case of halting the destructive behavior; change will be apparent in multiple aspects of their lifestyle. Self-care and self-understanding are both present in this stage, but counseling is required to keep them on the right path.

5. Maintenance Stage

During the maintenance stage, the individual is working hard to prevent relapse. They’re also keeping up the lifestyle changes they made, like getting regular exercise, paying attention to sleep hygiene and attending support groups. They don’t feel the urge to relapse as frequently as people in the action stage, so their confidence grows and they truly believe in their ability to maintain sobriety long term.

This stage can last from six months to five years, depending on the severity of the addiction and the individual’s genes and experience. It takes a small minority of people six months of abstinence to reach the point where they don’t go back to their addictive behavior. However, for most people, a commitment of two to five years is necessary to truly break the habit and solidify change.

The Importance of Aftercare

Even when someone has reached maintenance, it doesn’t mean they’re cured of addiction. Like diabetes or heart disease, it’s a chronic condition that requires major lifestyle changes to keep under control. As such, it’s crucial that people in recovery make continuous active efforts to maintain sobriety. Complacency or a sense that the work is done once you reach maintenance is often a one-way ticket to relapse.

Aftercare helps you stay on track and keep practicing what you learned while in rehab. Whether it’s individual therapy, support groups, 12-step meetings or an outpatient treatment program, we recommend staying in some form of aftercare for at least one or two years after you complete a course of rehab.

Find Out More About the Stages of Addiction Recovery

If you or a loved one needs help with substance abuse, Recovery at the Crossroads can help you along every step of the way. Call our New Jersey rehab today at 888-342-3881 to find out how to enroll in one of our alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs.

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My Story

5 months ago ·

My Story

Walking down the aisle on a beautiful Spring afternoon, there was no doubt that this was going to be my forever. A journey together that was going to create the future that we’d hoped for. As we embarked on this journey, the road took an unexpected turn. The journey became one of pain, abuse, and what seemed like, no way out.

I am an Orthodox Jewish woman that as a young girl grew up in small rural communities. I was carefree and happy. I come from a big family and always felt loved and cared for. I valued and appreciated who I was as a person. I embraced my flaws as something beautiful about who I am. Those same flaws, as much as I accepted them, were an integral part of the downfall. My greatest gifts were my biggest challenges. I am selfless. I love to give of myself and help others. I want to impact lives. That is all wonderful, but to what expense. It put me in a place where I wasn’t able to stand up for myself, to say no when I didn’t want to do something, to feel that it didn’t make me any less of a person for not always doing everything for everyone.

Over the course of my decade-long marriage, I wasn’t given the ability to be. I didn’t have a voice, an opinion. I wasn’t valued as someone who was important. Everything was conditional. Nothing I ever did was good enough. My children were becoming victims. The day I decided I was leaving, was the day I decided that my worth and value was just as great as his. I wasn’t going to stay and keep going through the abusive cycle, thinking as I always did, tomorrow will be better.

I found courage and strength to have a voice. A voice that allowed me to become a warrior. Nothing was going to stop me from fighting for mine and my 3 beautiful children’s freedom. The journey to get a Ghet, a Jewish divorce agreement, was a long and painful process. Everyday felt like a year. I did not waiver. The support I had from my friends and family was above and beyond. Holding on as I rode the waves of the process, keeping my vision on the goal.

The person I became through my journey is one of strength, self worth, love, and empowerment. I showed my children what it is to stand up, to not only protect them but to protect myself. If I had to go back, I would relive my journey all over again. I appreciate who I am. I developed my sense of self and have become a person that has touched so many lives.

My journey gave me knowledge and understanding into the world of mental health, abuse, and trauma. I took what I went through and empowered myself to go out there and connect with others. I found myself again. I was an empty vessel during my marriage and once I left, I was able to blossom. I was given the ability to recreate myself, combining the old and new self. I took my selfless qualities and went on a new journey, touching lives.

Touching lives is exactly what I did. My home became open to girls who were struggling with substance abuse, mental health, and needed an unconditional space to be. I became involved in an all women’s recovery house. As I continue to evolve as a person, I embrace who I became based on the journey that I had been through. I made me. As my journey continues, I continue to do what I love, every single day. I am currently a Clinical Outreach for a substance abuse and mental health treatment center. A role that has given me the opportunity to continue to impact lives. To make a difference. To empower. To encourage. To guide. To support.

I have been entrusted with a gift that I value and that I am grateful for every single day. We all have a story. A story that started with us being brought into this world, a story that carried us through our childhood, and a story that has pushed us into adulthood. The direction that story goes is up to each one of us. Taking our past and creating our present. A present that is going to evolve into our future. The power is ours and nobody can take that power away. Make that story one that you are proud to live. Make your future yours. It is your story. Own it.

If you or a loved one is seeking help please reach out to, Recovery at The Crossroads – Where you never walk alone.

(888) 342-3881

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6 months ago ·

A Simple Explanation of the Relationship Between Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Mental Concept DesignMental health and substance abuse are undoubtedly linked. In the past, there was confusion about whether addiction or a mental health condition comes first. The reality of it seems to be that it’s different for everyone. Some people don’t experience mental health symptoms before using drugs, others use drugs to cover up mental health symptoms or it can be a mixture of the two.

Science is giving us a clearer understanding of mental health and substance abuse, so we’re better equipped than ever to help people with both. If you’re struggling with drug addiction, it’s crucial to diagnose and treat any co-occurring mental health issues as well. Otherwise, the uncontrollable feelings associated with poor mental health put you at an increased risk of relapse.

What Is Mental Illness?

Depressed man holding hand over faceMental illness describes feelings, thoughts, reactions and beliefs that differ from how the majority of people experience them. People who have a mental illness don’t necessarily look different on the outside, and many learn to mask their symptoms, but their brains work differently behind the scenes. This causes some people to start abusing alcohol or drugs in the first place, and those who don’t get treated for a co-occurring disorder are often held back from recovery success.

If you experience trauma, you’re more likely to develop a mental illness. This is because traumatic events are outside the realm of normality for most people in our society. However, the potential must be there in your genes — which is why not everyone who experiences trauma develops a mental health issue. These are the mental illnesses most closely associated with substance abuse:


Anxiety is best described as excessive, inappropriate fear of everyday situations and events. If you struggle with anxiety, abusing substances is appealing because it eases these feelings. Some common symptoms include:

  • Feeling on edge constantly
  • Focusing on worst-case scenarios
  • Nausea, trembling and dizziness
  • Racing heart
  • Jumpiness


Depression is a debilitating condition that clouds the judgment of the sufferer and prevents them from getting joy from life. People who are depressed might use stimulants to feel good or depressants to numb the pain. Of course, the overall effect is that these drugs make the depression worse. Some signs of depression are:

  • Loss of energy
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Feeling guilty and unworthy
  • Unable to experience pleasure

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder I and II are distinct, with the former often leading to hospitalization. Both include manic episodes in combination with episodes of depression. With Bipolar II, people go through hypomanic episodes, which aren’t as extreme. Symptoms of mania include:

  • Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs
  • Feelings of euphoria or intense irritability
  • Racing thoughts and talking fast

Conditions such as schizophrenia, antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder also have high rates of comorbid addiction. But what is the relationship between mental health and substance abuse? Read on to find out.

What Is the Relationship Between Mental Health and Substance Abuse?

Abstract background with colorful puzzle piecesMental health and substance abuse cross over at specific points, with both drugs and mental illness causing delusions, impaired judgment and physical symptoms. A substance use disorder and a mental health issue can manifest suddenly at the same time, without any actual connection. Causation varies so much between people that it’s impossible to say that one causes the other or vice versa.

Drug and alcohol abuse unquestionably makes mental health problems worse, however. Although it might feel like it helps you in the short term, therapy and psychoeducation can help you to see how misguided that thinking is.

Our mental health is thought to be controlled by electrical connections in the brain. Alcohol and drug abuse tend to cause an influx of these, which feels great at the time but explains why you feel much worse during the comedown. Over time, you can heal your mental health, and therapy can help to retain those electrical connections so they work in your favor.

Serious Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

There’s a striking connection between the most severe forms of mental illness and substance abuse. A serious mental illness is one that prevents you from functioning socially, professionally or interpersonally.

An astounding one in four individuals with a serious mental illness has also suffered from a substance use disorder. This is significantly higher than the one in 10 people without mental illness who have suffered from a SUD.

Is Addiction a Mental Illness?

Addiction appears in the DSM 5, which is the American medical journal dedicated to mental health disorders. People used to think that addictive behavior was the result of poor choices, but science seems to suggest otherwise. A mixture of genetic and environmental factors makes certain people more susceptible to the disease than others, which disproves any moral theories of addictions.

Young People, Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Drug and alcohol dependence can start at any point in life but often begin in adolescence. Adolescents are more prone to mental health issues and, while their brains are still developing, they’re particularly at risk of addiction.

Research has shown that people who start any harmful addictive behavior in their teenage years — smoking, drinking, marijuana — are far more likely to struggle with addiction in later life. This was previously known as the gateway effect — which doesn’t go far enough in explaining what actually happens.

When young people use substances habitually, they’re setting up a pattern of behavior that usually requires rehab treatment to break. As such, youngsters’ mental health must be carefully monitored and looked after to give them the best chance of future success.

You Can’t Treat Addiction Without Addressing Mental Health

When performing the initial assessment for each individual, rehab centers must analyze patients for co-occurring mental health disorders. When illness of this kind goes untreated, it creates impulses, thoughts and feelings that make maintaining recovery extraordinarily challenging.

With the help of experienced professionals, you can untangle your mental health and substance abuse struggles. This leaves you free to gain the skills you need in the present to enjoy the future you want to have.

Get Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders Today

If you’re worried that you might be suffering from a mental health disorder that causes you to abuse substances, call Recovery at the Crossroads; a Jewish drug rehab in NJ at 888-342-3881.

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The Importance of Family Support

6 months ago ·

The Importance of Family Support

Isolation is addiction’s greatest antagonist. Without a stable support system an addicts
chances of maintaining sobriety are near impossible. Unfortunately, many of us in recovery are
learning that the hard way during quarantine; with relapses skyrocketing, and overdoses spiking
18.6% since the pandemic COVID-19 started in February (rollcall.com).

A recovering alcoholic myself, over the years I was told many times that I only had to
change one thing in my life to keep sober. That one thing was “everything’’. We are told to drop
our old ways of thinking, attend treatment, work a 12 step program, and build a strong sober
network. But what happens when those supports all seemingly vanish in one day? When
treatment centers can’t accept new clients, 12 step meetings are terminated indefinitely, and
your sober network is isolating in place?
COVID became the point where I realized sometimes family support is all I have, and it
can be enough.

Like most alcoholics, this was not always the case. My binge drinking tore my family
apart. I created a dynamic of dysfunction, blame, enabling, frustration and anger. As mentioned
earlier, isolation is addiction’s greatest antagonist, and isolation befriended me quickly. The
more my family tried to intervene, the more it hindered my ability to drink, and to stop drinking
was not an option.In their eyes I was driven, successful, focused, and unstoppable. I finished college and
started a career in Public Relations, was engaged in a healthy relationship, and had more
friends than they could remember names. They did not understand why I became a stranger,
losing interest in everything I loved, including them, stumbling into an alcoholic depression that
would last the better half of a year.

It was not until I had absolutely nothing left to lose that I decided to complete treatment. I
engulfed myself in the Alcoholics Anonymous program, a program that I was now ready to have
my family be a part of. Although my parents had attended al-anon meetings in the past, it was
important we worked through our emotions together, as I dismissed theirs and buried mine for
so long. In recovery, we often refer to our physical and emotional existence in active addiction
as “self”. We realize we became so far dissociated, that we have to take a step outside of
ourselves to even comprehend the choices we’ve made. It made me think, if we can not even
recognize ourselves, how do we think our families felt about our decisions?
The groups gave a platform for those discussions. They were guided personal
conversations of experience, strength, and hope, from diverse families with the same core
dysfunction. This did not change when the pandemic hit, but every family was able to go
through the new challenges together, so no addict and no family was alone.

COVID brought many to their knees, but I was able to stand on two feet because of the
support I had built over the years with the one aspect of recovery support that could not be
taken away from me. My family support.

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7 months ago ·

Does Insurance Cover Rehab?

Insurance LogoIn 2010, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, which expanded insurance coverage and created tax credits to make health insurance more affordable for low-income and middle-class Americans. With the ACA in effect, insurance companies are now required to provide coverage for drug rehabilitation and other mental health services, which is good news for anyone considering inpatient or outpatient rehab for a drug or alcohol addiction. So, does insurance pay for rehab? Coverage varies by plan, but many plans now cover the following services.

Inpatient Rehabilitation

When people ask “Does insurance cover rehab?” they’re usually wondering if their insurance will cover an inpatient treatment program. Residential treatment is ideal for people with severe addictions, as well as people who don’t have an adequate support system at home. In a residential rehabilitation program, you’ll receive the support and encouragement you need to discover the underlying causes of your addiction and get started on the path to recovery. Inpatient programs are highly structured to ensure you spend most of your time working on your physical and mental well-being.

Outpatient Rehabilitation

If you can’t take time away from your work or family obligations long enough to attend an inpatient rehabilitation program, outpatient rehab is an excellent alternative. Outpatient treatment is well-suited for people with strong family support systems as it allows you to receive daily addiction treatment and then return to your home each evening. You may even be able to receive outpatient treatment around your work or school schedule.

Insurance may cover a day program or an intensive outpatient program, both of which can help you uncover the root causes of your addiction and learn how to overcome life’s challenges without drinking or using drugs. A day program involves attending daily meetings for five to seven days per week. These meetings may last for several hours and include individual therapy, group therapy, meditation and other therapies designed to help you address your addiction and your overall mental health.

Intensive outpatient treatment involves attending frequent meetings at the beginning of the program and reducing your attendance as you gain control of your addiction. Once you set your treatment goals, you’ll participate in a variety of therapies to help you avoid relapse and learn how to respond to your addiction triggers. These therapies may include group therapy, individual therapy, music therapy and art therapy.

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Male talking about mental health disorderIf you have a mental illness and a substance use disorder, you have what’s known as co-occurring disorders or dual diagnoses. Research shows that having a mental illness increases the risk for addiction, which means it’s important to treat both disorders at the same time. You may need medication or therapy for your mental illness and inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation for your addiction.

For people with co-occurring disorders, treatment centers typically offer an integrated approach, which involves treating the disorders together instead of receiving treatment from a separate set of professionals. Insurance may cover medications, therapy sessions and other elements of your treatment for co-occurring disorders.

Medical Detoxification

One of the reasons it’s so difficult to recover from an addiction without professional help is because the withdrawal period can cause serious physical and psychological symptoms. When you stop using alcohol or drugs, you may experience nausea, vomiting, shaking, chills or other symptoms that make it difficult to abstain from substance use.

Medical detoxification is a safer option, as it involves treatment at a facility staffed by experienced professionals who can help you withdraw from drugs or alcohol in a supervised environment. At a medical detox facility, you may receive medications to lessen the severity of your symptoms and make you more comfortable while you complete the withdrawal process.

Follow-Up Care

Once you complete the initial rehabilitation process, your insurance company may also cover follow-up care to ensure you continue to abstain from alcohol and drugs. Follow-up care may include ongoing therapy sessions or continuing care at a treatment facility. Continuing care is important because it can help you avoid relapse and learn how to better manage stress without turning to alcohol or drugs.

Does insurance cover rehab? It’s important to note that, traditionally, insurance doesn’t cover the rent at a sober living home. There is usually a private pay rental fee that can vary from agency to agency. In an outpatient treatment setting, you may be responsible for your rent outside of your treatment in an affiliated facility.

Regardless of your coverage, the compassionate staff members at Recovery at the Crossroads are standing by to answer your questions and get you started on the road to recovery. Contact our NJ rehab today at 888-342-3881 for help overcoming your addiction.

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Interview With Laura Genco, Primary Therapist at RAC

7 months ago ·

Interview With Laura Genco, Primary Therapist at RAC

Laura is a bright new star and comes to us recently as a primary therapist. Laura finished her degree in December of 2019 and was hired full time at the start of the COVID-19 onset on March 23, 2020. Laura is from Manahawkin, Ocean County, New Jersey and attended Richard Stockton University for her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and completed her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Georgian Court University. Laura hit the ground running with us and was immediately active counselling our clients in a unique mix of in-person COVID-19 compliant social distancing and telehealth. Our agency in Blackwood never went Telehealth “only” and still maintains a balanced mix of in-person and Zoom HIPAA compliant telehealth counseling sessions.

I asked Laura, why Psychology? She said plainly that she always had a passion to help individuals and could always connect with people in a non-threatening way. Laura grew up loving the editorials of Carolyn Hax and Dear Abby. She likes to explore an individual’s strengths and see what makes people “tick”. She says whether biochemical or a faulty life issue through trauma, many people are not living their best lives. People get “stuck”. Laura wants to help people be their best selves. Clients tend to rediscover themselves through therapy and get better as they approach recovery.

Laura explained some of the challenges she sees during Shelter in Place and COVID-19. She sees personal growth and the lack of coping mechanisms hindering people. The isolation limits old habits, like going out with friends, a lack of touch, a hug, and social distancing taking away certain natural sensitivities. She thinks wearing masks limits facial recognition and hinders reading people’s emotions. She observes that the structure associated to helping stop the spread of the virus hurts the humanity and social nature in people and to a minor degree is counterproductive for good mental health.

Laura is also active in her counseling association. She is a volunteer with the NJCA New Jersey Counseling Association and seeks to recruit new members. Laura is an optimist and a pleasure to speak to. We wish her great success in her career and journey forward with Recovery at the Crossroads.

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8 months ago ·

Feeling Safe Going to In-Person Rehab During the Pandemic

safe in-person rehab during pandemicWe are currently living in unprecedented times, with COVID-19 affecting almost every single aspect of our daily existence. For people who use drugs or alcohol, the increased anxiety, uncertainty and isolation could tip them over the edge into addiction. If you’re someone who is currently struggling with your relationship with substances, please seek the professional help you need. You might not be sure about going to rehab during a pandemic, but rest assured — it’s one of the safest places you could be.

How Safe Is Rehab During COVID-19?

Health care services have had to react quickly to adapt to the added risks posed by the coronavirus. This is especially true in institutions like rehab, where people need to come into close contact with their peers and caregivers. The most effective way to control the virus is by testing rigorously and isolating as much as possible. In a drug and alcohol treatment program, you can feel safe that you’re in a contained, isolated space with minimal risk of infection.

At Recovery at the Crossroads, we’ve introduced testing from a lab that uses blood samples to indicate if you’ve had the virus before. In a statement, one of their experts explains, “This test is marketed as part of the US FDA notification process with an Emergency Use Authorization pathway. The testing performed is based on a newly released test system from Abbott and will be run on Abbott’s ARCHITECT i1000SR and i2000SR laboratory instruments. These instruments can run up to 100-200 tests per hour. “

When you begin the recovery process with us, you can rest assured that everyone in the building has been tested for COVID-19. We’ve taken this precaution to keep all of those under our care feeling safe in rehab during the pandemic.

Does Coronavirus Affect Addiction?

Enforced stay-at-home measures and fear of the unknown have added to the underlying emotional issues that underpin the majority of substance use disorders.

Most recreational activities have been put on hold, making it much harder for people in recovery to distract themselves. Additionally, boredom and anxiety could push people who were abusing alcohol or drugs into addiction.

Is Addiction a Risk Factor for COVID-19?

When someone is struggling with addiction, their judgment is impaired and they’re much more likely to take risks. Certain drugs involve sharing paraphernalia, which is enormously risky under normal circumstances and even more so in the current climate.

One worldwide trend that’s particularly significant is men being at a higher risk of dying than women. This is thought to be because more men smoke than women, weakening their lungs and making them a target for coronavirus. Cannabis, meth, crack and heroin are inhaled — users usually breathe in unfiltered fumes from the burning substances. The strain this puts on the lungs could make you more susceptible to contracting the virus.

Tips for Coping With Isolation

If you’re waiting to start rehab, there are plenty of ways you can try to distract yourself while in isolation. It’s not an ideal situation, but do your best to make an active effort to take care of your well-being. We’ve compiled some tips to help you find some normality in these strange times.

Stay Connected

With social distancing measures in place, it can be easy to slip into an unhealthy pattern of not speaking to people enough. Make sure you take the opportunities you’re allowed for exercise and say hello to neighbors from a safe distance. Use technology to stay in touch with family members and friends, or use meet-up websites to find new friends. Most sites are making use of videoconferencing tools to host meet-ups.

Think Carefully About Social Media Usage

The internet is an incredible tool for this pandemic — but only if you use it wisely and don’t get caught up in social media. Try unfollowing accounts that post negative or unpleasant sentiments to your feed in favor of uplifting, positive people. Try not to obsess over how much better everyone seems to be doing in lockdown, either. Remember, what your friends post on social media is what they want people to see!

Be Mindful

The considerable disruption to everyone’s schedule, along with global uncertainty, has turned our lives upside down. In these times, you must make an extra effort to create a routine for yourself and stick to it. Wake up and go to sleep at a set time, exercise at regular intervals and make space for total relaxation.

Create Something Awesome

If you’re working from home or looking for new work, you might have plenty of extra time. Make use of it to get started on the projects you’ve always wanted! Write a book, make a podcast, learn an instrument or try painting. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of the situation, find opportunities and ways to make yourself proud.

Find Safety in Rehab During the Pandemic

Addiction doesn’t stop for coronavirus, so please seek the help you need if you’re concerned about your intake of drugs or alcohol. At Recovery at the Crossroads, we can help you get started on your journey to long-term recovery. Call us today for more information at 833-342-3881.

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10 months ago ·

Intensive Outpatient Programs Versus General Outpatient Programs: What Is the Difference?

peaceful bridge and bench next to riverThe types and levels of alcohol and drug rehab can be confusing, especially for someone who is at a time of need and trying to figure out what the right treatment might be. Know that you can always reach out to Recovery at the Crossroads for assistance if you’re ready to take steps toward sobriety and a drug-free lifestyle. Our admissions counselors can work with you to help you understand your options and which steps might be right for your particular journey. But it does help to have your own understanding of some of these options, so discover more about the differences between intensive outpatient programs and general outpatient programs below.

What Are Intensive Outpatient Programs?

Jewish Intensive outpatient programs provide a structured, supportive environment for continued addiction treatment without requiring that participants give up entire days or remain in a 24-hour residential rehab facility. For example, the IOP at Recovery at the Crosswords requires 10 hours of attendance at our facility each week, and sessions are scheduled during the day and evening to help individuals balance continued treatment with other life obligations, including work, school or caring for family members or children.

During intensive outpatient addiction treatment, you typically engage in a variety of sessions, including individual and group therapy. These therapy sessions help you continue to learn about addiction and recovery and offer a chance to get support and assistance in dealing with issues that can come up as you move through the process. During IOP, you may also participate in recreational therapy programs designed to encourage healthier coping mechanisms, develop new skill sets and build your confidence.

What Are General Outpatient Programs?

Jewish General outpatient programs usually involve a reduced number of hours spent in sessions. For example, GOP at Recovery at the Crossroads requires one to three hours of time spent at the facility, typically in individual or group counseling. At this point in the recovery process, you’re almost fully integrated into a new normal life. That may include working a full-time job, parenting children full-time or returning to school or other obligations.

General outpatient programs are usually considered the step-down from IOP. Step-down refers to the process of leaving one level of addiction treatment and moving into the next and lower level. You can work your way from inpatient rehab all the way to aftercare and day-to-day life by stepping down through various program formats.

How Are IOP and GOP the Same?

Both programs are designed to help you work through the recovery process at critical times — or crossroads — in your journey. They both include treatment that meets your needs in the moment while also preparing you for success with sobriety in the future. Both are also recognized and valid treatment methods that may be covered by your insurance plan, reducing the out-of-pocket costs you might incur seeking treatment. Recovery at the Crossroads accepts most major insurance plans, so call us today to start the insurance verification process to find out which treatments may be covered by your plan.

How Do You Decide Which Treatment Option Is Right for You?

A common approach to treatment includes the following steps:

  • Inpatient detox
  • Residential rehab
  • Partial hospitalization program
  • Intensive outpatient program
  • General outpatient program
  • Aftercare, such as individual counseling or 12-step program participation

But you didn’t come into addiction on the same path as every other person, so you don’t always find recovery on the same road as another person. That’s why it’s important to work with professional counselors and other providers to understand your relationship with drugs or alcohol and where you are in the addiction cycle. This information, coupled with a look at your goals for recovery, overall mental and physical health and the existence of any natural support systems, can help decide what treatment option is right for you.

How Do You Enter Outpatient Treatment?

If you think our intensive outpatient or general outpatient program can help you, complete our online admissions form or call the facility at 888-342-3881 to speak to a caring, compassionate admissions counselor. Either way, we’ll listen to your story to gain an understanding of where you are in the addiction or recovery process and help you decide what might be the best option for you at this point.

If you’re already enrolled in our partial hospitalization program, we’ll work with you as you prepare to step down into one of these programs. And if you’re in an inpatient or residential rehab facility and ready to transfer to an IOP or other outpatient option, we can work with you and your current provider to make that happen.

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10 months ago ·

Utilizing Telehealth for Online Addiction Treatment During Isolation

COVID-19 has brought about uncertainty over the future and startling change to our everyday lives. Individuals who struggle with addiction are particularly vulnerable when they feel alone, especially when accompanied by anxiety regarding the pandemic. Telehealth drug rehab allows us to offer addiction treatment online while maintaining social distancing. This light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel service lets people attend group and individual therapy while adhering to social distancing standards.

If you or someone you love is suffering because of a substance use disorder, the virus doesn’t have to stop you from seeking help. Teletherapy has been a growing trend, but it’s now an essential component in diagnosing and treating drug and alcohol addiction. Whether you’re anxious about a potential relapse or you’ve never been in rehab before, remote addiction treatment can provide the guidance and companionship you need to maintain sobriety.

The Connection Between Loneliness and Addiction

Substance use serves a variety of functions for different people. It numbs painful feelings, cures boredom, relieves physical symptoms, induces sleep and often prevents the user from feeling lonely. Unfortunately, the bad feelings that drugs or alcohol are covering up tend to be even stronger once the effects wear off.

Addiction is often accompanied by ultrasensitivity and low self-esteem, which can make it difficult to socialize. During ordinary times, attending therapy and taking part in support groups are two of the most vital aspects of successful recovery. In uncertain times, people trying to stay sober need this support network more than ever.

How Does Remote Rehab Work?

Over the last couple of decades, technology has evolved to allow us to stay in touch in a variety of creative and wonderful ways. What used to be a fun convenience is becoming a lifeline as the world finds itself on lockdown due to the virus. Remote video communication is driving workforces, families and therapy. Telehealth addiction treatment for alcoholism and drug abuse is changing the lives of individuals with substance use disorders by bringing people together and encouraging the use of this new channel of communication for counseling.

If you’ve ever attended a remote work meeting or a webinar or even watched live streaming online, you have an understanding of how remote rehab works. You get a secure password so you can log in and attend group and individual therapy sessions from the safety and comfort of your home.

You’ll use your webcam and microphone so the other participants can see and hear you, and you’ll be able to see them on your computer, tablet or cell phone. Just like regular appointments, you’re expected to be on time and offer positive contributions. You’ll look forward to getting the chance to interact with your support network socially. Talking about how self-isolation — and anything else on your mind — is affecting you is the best way to deal with it.

What Are the Benefits of Addiction Treatment Online?

  • Teletherapy and telehealth allow you to attend therapy, counseling, support groups, psychoeducational groups and family therapy — without the risk of being exposed to someone displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
  • You can stay in the safety and comfort of your home while maintaining regular contact with your health care providers and peer support network.
  • In some cases, clients find the extra sense of privacy afforded by remote counseling sessions helps them to be more open. Honesty and communication are vital aspects of recovery, and video conferencing can be an excellent platform for both.
  • Remote rehab is ideal for people who are shy or may not feel able to attend rehab in person, for whatever reason. It also appeals to the younger generations who conduct a large portion of their lives online.

Is Telehealth Confidential and Secure?

All video conferencing software is HIPAA compliant, so you don’t need to worry about your online security while taking part in teletherapy sessions. Your counselor or therapist is licensed and registered and sworn to confidentiality. Telehealth drug rehab is as secure as if you were attending rehab in person, with all the same benefits.

Telehealth Rehab Schedule

Isolation and drug or alcohol abuse go hand in hand. Boredom, as a result of self-isolation, has the potential to combine with anxiety about COVID-19, tipping vulnerable individuals into substance abuse. At Recovery at the Crossroads, we’re supporting the community by providing telehealth rehab services. Remote technology can bring people together and provide you with the support and guidance you need to overcome addiction. We use Zoom to provide videoconferencing counseling, outpatient and intensive outpatient services on the following schedules:

Monday through Friday 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 6 pm – 9 pm

Partial Care services are provided on the following schedule:

Monday through Friday 9:30 am to 3:15 pm

To get more information about telehealth from an addiction expert, call us today at 833-272-6246.

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