Can Drug Addiction Cause Bipolar Disorder?

14 hours ago ·

Can Drug Addiction Cause Bipolar Disorder?

Once called manic depression, bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition that can severely disrupt a person’s life. Bipolar symptoms include extreme mood swings, emotional dysregulation and drastically shifting energy levels.

In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between mental disorders like bipolar disorder and substance use disorder diagnoses. In many instances, people who struggle with substance abuse have underlying mental health issues or unresolved trauma. You’ll also find the answer to the question, “Do addiction issues cause people to develop bipolar disorder?”

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

People with bipolar disorder experience extreme changes to their mood and struggle to regulate their emotions. Depressive and manic episodes can last for days, weeks or months at a time and might occur a few times a year or several times in a week. People who struggle with this disorder have a significantly harder time than most with relationships, school and work. They’re also more likely to get into accidents, have suicidal thoughts and commit suicide than people without the disorder.

Bipolar disorder impacts behavior, mood, activity and energy levels, and the extreme manic highs and depressive lows give it its name. While there’s no cure for the disorder, professional medical advice, medication and therapy can help people with bipolar disorder live rich, full lives.

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Comorbid bipolar disorder

There are two types of bipolar disorder: bipolar I disorder and bipolar II disorder. In the former, a manic episode must be present, but a depressive episode isn’t required for a diagnosis. For a diagnosis of bipolar II disorder, depressive episodes must be followed by hypomanic episodes. The symptoms of bipolar disorder vary from person to person but always include different configurations of the various types of episodes.

Below is an explanation of what’s involved with a depressive episode, manic episode, mixed episode and hypomanic episode.

Depressive Episodes

Depressive episodes are characterized by fear, despair, shame, sadness and disinterest in daily life. Episodes can last for days, weeks or even months, depending on the mood cycle. Bipolar disorder treatment is particularly challenging during depressive phases due to the increased risk of self-harm and suicide and feelings of hopelessness. Examples of the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Lack of energy
  • Problems with concentration
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Suicidal ideation

Manic Episodes

Mania is best described as a period where the individual is on a high. While it might sometimes seem like the sufferer is happy, productive and self-assured, mania is just as dangerous as depression. People in a manic phase are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as increased spending, dangerous driving, promiscuous behavior and other problems related to a lack of inhibition. Examples of the manic symptoms of bipolar disorder include:

  • Switching between feeling extreme pessimism and extreme optimism
  • Grandiosity
  • Talking fast
  • Insomnia
  • Delusions
  • Irrational behavior and impaired judgment

Mixed Episodes

In a mixed emotions episode, there’s no clear distinction between mania and depression. For example, someone might experience symptoms such as grandiosity and delusions alongside suicidal ideation and sleep disturbances. Professional guidance from a mental illness specialist is usually required to help people who struggle with any form of bipolar disorder manage their symptoms.

Hypomanic Episodes

Hypomania symptoms are less intense manic episodes that are usually present in people with a bipolar II diagnosis. People experiencing this type of episode can usually remain functional but have a higher level of energy, happiness or irritability. They might feel they don’t require sleep or that they can take on huge, unrealistic responsibilities and might be more talkative and friendly than usual.

Hypomania can be confusing because the individual in question can be extremely productive and seem happy, without the presence of any psychotic symptoms. This makes it less likely that the sufferer will seek help, and they might simply turn to depressive substances to manage their mood.

How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed?

Doctor diagnosing bipolar disorder syndrome

A mental disorder like bipolar can only be diagnosed by a medical professional. It’s one of the most challenging mental health issues to diagnose, particularly when there’s also a substance abuse issue at play. Bipolar disorder and substance use disorders share common symptoms, and the following tests help diagnosing professionals make the distinction:

  • A doctor uses a range of psychological tests to evaluate the mood, behavior, thoughts and feelings of the individual. They identify examples of depressive or manic episodes and might speak to friends and family to get a more varied perspective.
  • Doctors often ask people who display symptoms of bipolar disorder to fill out a mood chart that displays the frequency and intensity of episodes, making an accurate diagnosis easier.
  • The medical professional assesses the individual’s medical history and history of substance abuse.
  • The doctor checks the symptoms the individual displays against the DSM-5 criteria for other mental health disorders — addiction and major depression share similarities to bipolar disorder.

Can Drug Abuse Cause Bipolar Disorder?

Experts believe that both a substance abuse disorder and bipolar disorder might impact neurotransmitters in the brain and may be typified by dysregulated reward and motivation systems. Data shows that people who suffer from bipolar disorder are more likely to turn to substance use than other people, in theory, as a means of self-medicating and trying to rebalance mood. In fact, most studies suggest that people with bipolar disorder have an extremely high rate of co-occurring SUDs.

Other theories to explain the commonality of substance abuse among people with bipolar disorder include:

  • Substance abuse is a symptom of bipolar disorder.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse cause bipolar disorder.
  • Bipolar disorder and addiction share common risk factors.

Risk Factors and Causes of Bipolar

There’s no single cause of bipolar disorder according to scientists, who believe a culmination of factors are responsible for triggering the mental illness. It’s exactly the same with drug and alcohol addiction. Although current research doesn’t give a clear idea of what each risk factor is, the following factors are theorized to play a role.

Genetic Factors

There’s evidence to suggest that bipolar disorder is inherited in families. People with a sibling or parent who has the condition are more likely to receive a diagnosis than individuals without an affected family member.

Environmental Factors

Major life changes and stressful events are thought to be capable of triggering bipolar disorder. Grief and serious illness are examples of environmental risk factors. Drug abuse is also considered a risk factor for bringing on the disorder, and people with anxiety and seasonal depression are at an increased risk.

Brain Chemistry

There are findings from images from specific brain scans that might provide an insight into bipolar disorder. Evidence is preliminary, and more research is required to find out more about this phenomenon and whether there are implications for diagnosis and treatment.

Risk Factors and Causes of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

There’s a larger body of evidence exploring the risk factors for addiction, but there are still no conclusive answers to exactly what causes the condition. Let’s take a look at the risk factors for drug and alcohol addiction:

  • Genetics: As much of half of a person’s potential to develop addiction is hereditary. People with addicted family members are more likely to become addicted themselves.
  • Environment: Lack of parental involvement, peer pressure and access to substances are three of the biggest environmental risk factors for addiction.
  • Mental illness: If you have a co-occurring disorder that affects your mental health, you’re at an increased risk of turning to alcohol or drug use. Medical conditions that require prescription pain pills or sleeping pills can also increase the risk for addiction.
  • Early use: Evidence suggests that using substances heavily as a young person can impact brain development and make you more susceptible to addiction in later life.

Substance Abuse Disorders and Bipolar Disorder Share Characteristics

It’s not just risk factors that bipolar disorder and addiction have in common. There are also shared characteristics, which can make it challenging to diagnose either condition. For example, someone who’s using cocaine can display almost identical symptoms to someone going through a manic episode. Likewise, someone going through withdrawal experiences many of the same mental symptoms as someone in a depressive phase.

Substance and alcohol abuse

How Are Co-Occurring Disorders Treated?

Diagnosing and treating bipolar disorder and addiction at the same time has shown great promise. Treating substance misuse and co-occurring bipolar disorder usually includes individual therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, family counseling and holistic therapy.

Integrated treatment usually involves the following:

  • Centralized treatment at an addiction treatment center
  • Individualized care from addiction therapists, psychologists and other relevant professionals
  • Group and individual therapy to help you understand addiction and learn to develop new, healthy coping mechanisms
  • Medication to help you manage bipolar disorder, if necessary

Dual Diagnosis Integrated Treatment at Recovery at the Crossroads

If you’re worried that you’ve been using substances to self-medicate due to symptoms of bipolar disorder, we can help you. At Recovery at the Crossroads, we’re experts in dual diagnosis, and our team is fully equipped to offer the support and guidance necessary to get sober and gain control over your mental health symptoms. Call today at (888) 342-3881 for more information.

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How to Choose the Right Outpatient Rehab Facility in New Jersey

2 months ago ·

How to Choose the Right Outpatient Rehab Facility in New Jersey

If you’re trying to figure out how to choose a rehab facility in New Jersey, it might feel daunting at first. Addiction treatment is a sensitive subject and an incredibly brave pursuit, so congratulations on having the strength to start the process! In this article, you can find advice to help you choose the right rehab facility to ensure it meets your specific needs.

Research Addiction Treatment in NJ

Before homing in on a specific treatment provider, we’d recommend gaining an understanding of how substance use disorders and rehabilitation programs work. Seeking treatment is much easier when you understand what you’re looking for and have some indication of what to expect.

It’s a good idea to seek professional treatment advice before jumping into a program. For instance, if you have any co-occurring mental health disorders or are at risk of severe withdrawal symptoms, you’ll need a treatment facility with staff who are qualified to care for you.

Is the Addiction Treatment Center Licensed and Certified?

One of the most important features to look at when comparing treatment facilities is licensure and certification. Make sure the rehab facilities you shortlist meet the necessary state and local requirements to ensure you’re getting addiction treatment from a team that’s above board. Be cautious attending a rehab facility that doesn’t meet the requirements or makes promises without backing them up with qualifications.

Approach to the Recovery Process

The right treatment program is one that uses love and understanding and immerses you in a community that’s designed to uplift. When researching the websites of various treatment programs, look at the type of language they use. Does it sound warm and caring, or cold and generic? An excellent treatment center is one where the staff see the inherent value of each individual and are passionate about helping people through alcohol and drug addiction treatment.

Are the Treatment Providers Qualified to Treat Mental Health and Behavioral Health Disorders?

Another vital aspect of choosing the best rehab program is ensuring that all treatment programs are overseen by a certified addiction professional. Ideally, therapists at the rehab facility should be qualified to master’s degree level, and counselors should have at least a bachelor’s degree. Check the websites to see if there’s a Meet the Team page that introduces you to the rehab center staff.

Types of Addiction Treatment Program

Now that you know the treatment facility is legitimate and the mental health workers are qualified, it’s time to think about the type of treatment program that’s best suited to your needs. Different treatment facilities offer different levels of care, with many treatment centers offering several types. Below is an outline of some of the most popular treatment models.

Residential Drug and Alcohol Rehab

If you have a severe, debilitating addiction that requires you to step away from your daily life and dedicate months to a rehabilitation program, you might require inpatient rehab. In these treatment facilities, you have access to around-the-clock care in case of a medical emergency and spend every day and night in the building. Residential care is generally only necessary for extreme cases, and it’s not the right rehab option for people who have responsibilities to attend to at home or work.

Partial Hospitalization Program

A partial hospitalization rehab program is practically identical to residential drug and alcohol rehab options, except you spend the night in your own bed. You’re also responsible for coming to and from the treatment center and won’t have access to 24/7 care. While attending the rehab center, you’ll spend several hours in group and individual therapy, in addition to taking part in creative pursuits such as music or art therapy to relieve stress.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment

Intensive outpatient rehab programs usually involve spending several days a week attending treatment, with plenty of spare time to pursue work or education. You still take part in individual and group therapy and recreational activities, as well as reinforcing healthy coping mechanisms and learning about the mechanism of addiction.

General Outpatient Rehab

An outpatient rehab facility is a flexible approach to drug and alcohol addiction treatment, where you spend as long as necessary at the rehab center. Substance abuse affects each individual differently, and sometimes a flexible approach to care is the most effective. Most people live at home or in a sober living community while attending this type of treatment facility.

Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Services

Once you’ve decided which level of substance use disorder treatment is appropriate, you can start thinking more deeply about what you need from a treatment facility. Let’s take a look at some of the specializations you might require from the right rehab, depending on your individual circumstances.

Young man speaking in a co-occurring therapy session

Dual Diagnosis

Some treatment centers specialize in treating co-occurring mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. If you have a diagnosis or you think there might be something else at play, it’s vital that you get it treated alongside the addiction to prevent it from interfering with your recovery. Make sure the treatment center lists dual diagnosis as a service; otherwise, there’s a good chance the staff doesn’t have the necessary qualifications.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is a key component of the treatment you receive in a rehab center, so make sure there are licensed therapists at the treatment centers you shortlist. Modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, psychotherapy and personality theory influence addiction treatment.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is just as important as one-on-one counseling because it offers indispensable insights into how addiction affects people. Not only does learning about other people’s stories give you a better understanding of your own situation, but actively sharing your feelings and displaying empathy to others is an essential aspect of the healing process.

Family Therapy Sessions

The best treatment centers understand that addiction is a family disease. As such, they offer family therapy to help you and your loved ones understand each other better and learn how to communicate in a constructive manner. It’s important to look for this offering when researching the right rehab facilities for your needs.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

If you’ve been struggling with opioid addiction, you could need MAT. The rehab facility must have the necessary license to prescribe medication, so make sure this is an option if you think it’s a service you might need. Severe alcohol and drug abuse, particularly involving opiates, might require you to take medication to minimize withdrawals.

Ongoing Treatment

While it’s the backbone of the recovery process, rehab is just the beginning of your journey. An excellent drug rehab center places major importance on aftercare and following up with the community as you progress along the road to long-term abstinence.

Location

For many people, location is a key question when selecting the right rehab. Do you want to stay close to friends and family where you feel safe? Or would you feel safer and more secure by removing yourself entirely from daily life and placing yourself in an unfamiliar location? While location shouldn’t necessarily be your main point of comparison when looking at rehab centers, it’s certainly important.

Length of Substance Abuse Programs

Rehab centers tend to offer programs of varying lengths, but it’s important to note that most experts recommend spending at least 30 days in a drug and alcohol rehab center. In fact, it’s often the case that the longer you receive treatment, the more effective the outcome. Outpatient care is a great option because you can slot sessions in around your existing schedule and take as much time as you need to heal.

Personal Considerations

There are other elements to consider when looking into which treatment provider is best for you. For example, at Recovery at the Crossroads, we offer Jewish addiction treatment services that include kosher meals, religious services and the celebration of special events. At critical times, we need to be surrounded by people who understand us on a fundamental level. Being in a community that shares your culture and values can be comforting and uplifting.

Substance Use Disorders Are Treatable

Now that you know how to choose the right rehab, why not ask an addiction expert any questions you might have? Recovery at the Crossroads is a drug and alcohol treatment center in New Jersey, with a team of passionate, highly qualified staff who are ready to take your call.

Get in touch at 856-644-6929 or fill out the form on our contact page and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We help residents across New Jersey and in the following cities of Camden, Cherry Hill, and Woodbury.

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Dual Diagnosis vs Co-Occurring Disorders: What’s the Difference?

3 months ago ·

Dual Diagnosis vs Co-Occurring Disorders: What’s the Difference?

Alcohol and drug use can occur on their own, but they’re often associated with other addictions or mental health issues. People with a mental disorder are more likely to have issues with substance abuse compared to those without a mental health disorder. Most rehab programs also include mental health treatment, so co-occurring conditions are dealt with at the same time as the substance use disorder. Understanding the difference between dual diagnosis vs co-occurring disorders can help you anticipate the kind of treatment you can expect in a substance abuse program.

What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

group sitting together at a dual diagnosis therapy sessionSubstance abuse and mental health are often linked together, and treatment centers have begun to recognize and address this. Co-occurring disorders are simply mental health disorders that occur at the same time as an alcohol or drug addiction. Certain mental health disorders, including mood and anxiety disorders, are fairly common in people who are being treated for substance abuse.

Young adults in particular have a high rate of co-occurring disorders along with mental illnesses. According to Youth.gov, between 60% and 75% of adolescents with substance use disorders also have co-occurring mental illnesses. Some specific mental disorders that frequently occur alongside alcohol and drug abuse include:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

In some cases, the symptoms of your mental health disorder and your substance abuse issue don’t always show up at the same time. You might have mood disorders that have been hidden, so you could discover new co-occurring disorders during addiction treatment. Withdrawal symptoms may also mimic or mask symptoms of an underlying mood disorder. A treatment approach that includes watching for co-occurring mental disorders can catch any potential problems before they become serious.

While all these mental health conditions can make it more difficult to treat the co-occurring substance abuse disorder, the good news is that drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs are often designed to handle mental health services along with substance abuse issues.

What Is a Dual Diagnosis?

A dual diagnosis occurs when two or more disorders are diagnosed at the same time. These could include mental health conditions but also might involve other illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer or HIV. In general, when considering a dual diagnosis vs co-occurring conditions in a rehab setting, the terms typically refer to the same situation: someone with health issues that encompass both substance abuse and mental disorders.

One thing to keep in mind is that addiction itself is considered a mental health disorder. So a dual diagnosis can include addiction plus one or more additional co-occurring conditions. You might also hear the term comorbidity during discussions about a co-occurring disorder. Comorbidity means that the diagnosed conditions are interrelated. This might mean that the mental health condition developed as a result of the drug abuse or that drug addiction developed when substance use was used as a coping mechanism for a mental disorder.

Receiving treatment for substance abuse and a co-occurring mental health problem helps ensure your long-term recovery success because all the conditions are treated at once.

Why Do People Develop Co-Occurring Conditions?

Sometimes, a co-occurring disorder develops because of brain changes that happen when a person uses alcohol or drugs. In other cases, the comorbid condition exists before the substance use disorder develops.

Mental illness can cause symptoms that affect everyday life, and some people turn to drugs or alcohol to ease these symptoms. Self-medicating may temporarily make the person feel better, but it can also lead to substance abuse disorders as the person becomes unable to cope with mental health symptoms in healthier ways.

Integrated Treatment for Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse

When you enter a rehab program for substance abuse treatment, part of the check-in process includes assessing you for any underlying mental illnesses or issues that might affect treatment.

Treatment programs at Recovery at the Crossroads include a comprehensive assessment of co-occurring mental health issues and a personalized treatment plan that takes into account any mental health disorders that can be treated simultaneously along with the substance use disorder.

Working on both substance abuse and mental health conditions at the same time also helps reduce the risk of relapse after treatment ends. Severe mental illness can cause someone to return to substance use as a coping mechanism if the initial addiction treatment didn’t also address the mental health disorder.

What Happens During Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders?

Treatment programs for substance abuse and a co-occurring disorder can involve a combination of therapy and prescription medication. The medical director and psychiatrist lead the treatment team and work with nurses, counselors and addiction specialists on staff to develop a comprehensive treatment program. Your treatment planning team can establish benchmarks for measuring your progress, and medical professionals on the team may prescribe medicine for any serious mental illness that responds well to medication.

If you have one or more disorders that affect your substance abuse treatment, you may participate in group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotherapy to investigate the underlying mental health condition while also developing new coping mechanisms.

While dealing with co-occurring disorders alongside substance abuse issues can be complicated, an integrated treatment approach can help with both. If you’re ready to tackle your substance abuse and mental health issues in a comfortable, supportive treatment setting, contact our drug rehab in NJ today at 888-342-3881.

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10 Effective Ways to Cope With Alcohol Withdrawal

4 months ago ·

10 Effective Ways to Cope With Alcohol Withdrawal

Although stopping alcohol abuse is a great decision, it’s not as simple as quitting cold turkey. During alcohol detox, you may experience withdrawal symptoms ranging from mildly uncomfortable to life-threatening. 

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome can put your health at risk and make it difficult to get through the detox process to start addressing the roots of your alcohol addiction. Keep reading to learn 10 effective ways to cope with alcohol withdrawal if you have an alcohol use disorder and want to stop drinking for good.

1. Tell a friend or family member before you start the detox process.

About six hours after your last drink, you may start to feel some of the earliest alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, fast heart rate and vomiting. Within 12 to 48 hours, you may experience more serious symptoms, including hallucinations or even seizures. Therefore, it’s important to have someone you trust with you during the detox period.

If you don’t feel well enough to care for yourself, a trusted friend or family member can bring you cold drinks, make sure you get enough to eat and talk you through some of the most severe withdrawal symptoms. If you experience signs of delirium tremens (DTs), your loved one can also call for medical attention or take you to the nearest hospital for treatment. 

2. Have medical supplies and comfort items on hand.

It may take 24 to 72 hours to eliminate all the alcohol from your body. During detoxification, you may not feel well enough to go to the grocery store or visit your local pharmacy, so be sure to stock up on any needed supplies before you have your last drink. Have acetaminophen, anti-nausea medication and other over-the-counter medications on hand to control symptoms like headaches, nausea and vomiting. You may want to get a heating pad, a warm pair of slippers and comfortable clothing to wear while you go through the detox process.

3. Talk to your doctor.

Before you stop drinking on your own, ask your doctor if anything can be prescribed to control your alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Depending on your age and history of medical conditions, your doctor may recommend blood pressure medications, benzodiazepines to reduce anxiety and improve your mental health or anticonvulsants to prevent seizures and relieve other symptoms of the nervous system. Your health care provider may also prescribe diazepam, a sedative that reduces anxiety and relaxes the muscles. It’s important to seek medical advice before taking any of these medications.

4. Adjust your lifestyle.

During the withdrawal process, it’s important to avoid triggers that may cause you to relapse and start drinking again. Avoid attending parties or other events if you know alcohol will be available. Let your friends and family members know that you can’t be around them if they’re going to be drinking alcohol. For best results, stay away from high-risk places, including bars, nightclubs and sporting venues that serve alcoholic beverages. This advice applies to anyone with a drinking problem.

5. Stay active.

Another great way to cope with alcohol withdrawal is to stay active. Your first instinct may be to snuggle up in bed and wait for the symptoms to pass, but exercise can help improve your mood and help you sleep better as you go through alcohol detox. You don’t need to run several miles or hit the gym — just go for a walk each day or do some calisthenics in your home.

6. Use relaxation techniques to stay calm.

Anxiety is one of the most common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Several relaxation techniques can help reduce your anxiety and keep you calm as you finish detoxification and prepare for the next stage of addiction treatment. Meditation, yoga, aromatherapy and deep breathing are all things you can do at home to increase your comfort. Another good way to cope with alcohol withdrawal is to have a massage therapist come to your house and give you a professional massage.

7. Consume nutritious foods.

Anyone with alcohol use disorder should focus on eating nutritious foods during the withdrawal process. Fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, poultry, eggs and lean meats contain the vitamins, minerals and macronutrients you need to stay as healthy as possible during the detox process and prevent health problems in the future.

8. Stock up on sports drinks.

A smart way to cope with alcohol withdrawal is to keep your fridge stocked with sports drinks. When you vomit, which often happens during the withdrawal process, the fluid contains sodium, potassium and other electrolytes. If you lose too much of this fluid, you may develop an electrolyte imbalance, resulting in dehydration and low blood volume. Sports drinks are made to replace electrolytes lost through sweating, so drinking them during the withdrawal process can help you avoid a serious electrolyte imbalance.

9. Pick up a new hobby.

When you’re ready for substance abuse treatment, it’s wise to develop a hobby that can take your focus off severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms and help you pass the time until all the alcohol has been eliminated from your body. Try doing crossword puzzles, reading, playing online games or practicing your drawing skills.

10. Clear your schedule as much as possible.

Before your last drink, clear your schedule as much as possible. Arrange to take time off from work, ask for help with childcare and do whatever else is needed to ensure you have plenty of time to focus on your sobriety. 

It’s important to have support during the alcohol detox process. Recovery at the Crossroads has experienced, compassionate staff on hand to monitor your health and keep you as comfortable as possible during withdrawal. For more information on treatment options, contact us at 888-342-3881. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about our inpatient and outpatient treatment programs and overall approach to substance abuse treatment.

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6 months ago ·

How to Go to Rehab and Keep Your Job

Young woman feeling tired during a long hard day at work at the computerAccording to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, most of the people who struggle with addiction in the United States are employed. They work jobs, have bills to pay and families to support and a chronic disease that makes everything much harder. Nonetheless, individuals in this situation often feel trapped, unable to seek help because they think they can’t take time off for substance abuse issues.

Thankfully, there are federal laws in place that protect individuals seeking help for drug and alcohol addiction. Read on to find out exactly how to go to rehab without losing your job.

Will My Boss Fire Me If I Take Time Off for Addiction Treatment? 

Luckily, you don’t need to worry too much about how to go to rehab and keep your job. The most challenging aspect of taking a leave of absence may be speaking to Human Resources or your boss about taking time off to attend a substance use disorder treatment program. While there’s undeniably a stigma attached to addiction, rest assured that it’s unfounded and unfair.

In many cases, a modern, professional employer won’t display any negative reaction and will show the appropriate level of support. Not only does drug and alcohol abuse negatively affect job performance, but it also contributes to an unhealthy team environment and stifles your chances of career progression.

There are laws in place that protect you in case you need to attend a treatment center to help for alcohol or drug abuse. Addiction is a health care issue, not a moral problem, and you wouldn’t think twice about getting care for a physical problem. As such, you shouldn’t stress yourself over applying for leave using the following reasons.

Legal Protection for People With Substance Abuse Problems

There are two laws that can help employees get peace of mind when accessing unpaid leave for detox and rehab services.

The Americans With Disabilities Act 

The ADA considers addiction to be a serious health condition that’s equal to a disability within the context of seeking treatment. This means people in recovery are protected against discrimination, and their employers can’t fire them as a result of seeking help at a treatment facility. If you feel like you’ve been discriminated against as a result of substance abuse treatment, you can file a claim against your employer.

Family and Medical Leave Act

FMLA leave is 12 working weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period granted to qualifying individuals for personal or medical reasons. If you need to seek treatment for drug or alcohol use, your employer is bound by law to keep the information confidential.

Employee Assistance Programs 

Some employers offer EAPs, which provide reasonable accommodations to individuals struggling with substance abuse or mental health in-house. Helping employees with substance abuse problems as opposed to firing them is more practical for the employer in the long run.

Inpatient or Outpatient Drug Rehab?

Outpatient rehab programs are often more accessible than inpatient rehab, with many centers providing evening and weekend classes to fit around your schedule. However, with an intensive outpatient program or partial hospitalization, you may still need to take some time off from work. Whichever type of program you opt for, you’re covered under the FMLA and ADA.

Work Performance and Alcohol and Drug Addiction

If you’re still worried about psyching yourself up to ask for leave to get help for alcohol or drug use, bear in mind that it benefits your employer as much as it does you. Even if you’re currently able to perform at a decent level, the nature of addiction as a progressive disease means your productivity would eventually suffer.

Workers who take drugs are also at a much higher risk of having an accident in the workplace, which can be extremely damaging and expensive for a business. By seeking the help you need, you’re doing your part to make the workplace a safer, healthier environment.

How to Speak to Your Employer About Attending a Rehab Center

Drugs and alcohol are psychoactive, which means they change the way your brain functions at a fundamental level. Many people with substance use disorders report struggling to focus, oversleeping, forgetting to pay attention to detail and finding it difficult to stick to a routine. These behaviors have an impact on the workplace, and you should make it clear to your boss that your intention is to protect your job and environment by seeking medical attention.

Take the following steps to ensure a smooth transition into the recovery process with regard to work:

  1. Be honest and up-front with your employer so you can get the maximum amount of help available from a legal standpoint.
  2. Speak to your coworkers so they know you’re taking time off, but you’re under no obligation to tell them why.
  3. Make sure you’re diligent about completing any projects you’re responsible for and organizing the appropriate cover for while you’re away.

Don’t Stress!

One of the biggest contributing factors to addiction is mental stress, so try not to be too hard on yourself. The fact you’ve decided to seek help at rehab is an exceptional achievement, and you should celebrate it rather than feeling ashamed to ask for time off to get the help you deserve.

Your boss should be supportive and understanding of your situation, particularly if you take the time to explain your situation and assure them you’ll do everything within your power to maintain your performance at work.

Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs in New Jersey

Starting a treatment plan is a life-changing event and well worth taking a little time off from work. Recovery at the Crossroads is a supportive and loving New Jersey rehab where you can get the care and guidance necessary to fight addiction and win. Call us at 856-644-6929 or contact us to get help now.

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7 months ago ·

What to Expect During a Typical Day in Rehab

young man drinking whiskey while looking at the laptop screenAlthough millions of people suffer from substance use disorders, only a small percentage of them receive addiction treatment. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20.4 million Americans had a substance use disorder in 2019, but only 2.1 million received any substance use treatment for alcohol or illicit drug use in the same year.

Substance use treatment, such as rehabilitation, is designed to provide a safe environment for people to address problems associated with their use of alcohol or drugs, including medical problems related to substance abuse. To be effective, individuals should participate in a substance abuse treatment program for at least 90 days, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. However, the entire period doesn’t need to be spent in a residential facility. Oftentimes, an individual may begin inpatient treatment and then transition to an outpatient treatment program to manage their disorder and continue the treatment process.

Specific schedules will vary based on individual needs as well as program or facility, but there are some consistencies between most addiction treatment programs. To learn what to expect, we outline a typical day in rehab and the differences between treatment programs.

Inpatient and Outpatient Addiction Treatment 

Alcohol and drug treatment programs generally fall into one of two categories: inpatient or outpatient rehab. While both are focused on rehabilitation, each setting offers unique benefits and qualities. Generally, inpatient rehabs are intensive residential treatment programs for people who require 24-hour care. Outpatient rehab programs are part-time programs that enable people to receive addiction treatment while accommodating family and work life.

Residential Addiction Treatment

Residential treatment, also known as inpatient treatment or residential rehab, is commonly used for individuals with severe substance use disorders, unstable living situations, limited social support or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders who need highly structured care. Residential treatment models vary, but all provide housing and medical care in a 24-hour environment. Generally, services at a residential treatment center include detox, medication-assisted treatment, individual therapy, group therapy, recovery coaching, family education and more. Short-term programs often last 30 to 90 days, followed by outpatient treatment. Long-term programs can last six to 12 months.

Partial Hospitalization Program

A partial hospitalization program, sometimes called outpatient rehab, is a structured outpatient service that’s designed to recreate what an inpatient stay offers in terms of treatment but in an outpatient setting. In other words, individuals are not required to stay at a facility overnight; however, the intensity of the program is similar to residential rehab. This level of care typically provides 20 or more hours of addiction treatment services a week, according to the American Society for Addiction Medicine. On average, patients visit an addiction treatment facility five days a week, with treatment sessions lasting from 4 to 8 hours a day. In the evenings, patients return home to be with family or take care of life obligations.

Intensive Outpatient Program 

An intensive outpatient program is a step down from a partial hospitalization program and requires less time for treatment per day or week. Generally, patients are required to attend about 10 hours of treatment each week. An intensive outpatient program, therefore, enables individuals seeking treatment for substance use disorders to participate in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction while accommodating other obligations, such as family, school or work. Patients may receive services during the day, before or after work or school, in the evening and/or on weekends. Intensive outpatient treatment may be recommended for people who don’t need medically supervised detox or don’t need to attend rehab daily.

General Outpatient Program

A general outpatient program is usually considered a step down from an intensive outpatient program. It usually involves a reduced number of hours spent in treatment each week. On average, a patient receives fewer than 9 hours of addiction treatment services a week. Treatment typically takes the form of individual therapy or group therapy sessions.

What to Expect During a Typical Day in Residential Rehab 

A typical day in rehab can vary from program to program and depends on the specific needs of the individual. However, the structured part of a day within an inpatient program at a rehab facility for alcohol addiction or drug abuse usually begins between 7 and 8 a.m. and lasts until 8 or 9 p.m. A general format is outlined below.

Sample Weekday Schedule

7:00 a.m. – Wake up
7:30 a.m. – Exercise/Gym
8:00 a.m. – Personal Hygiene/Breakfast
9:00 a.m. – Individual Therapy
10: 00 a.m. – Group Therapy
11:00 a.m. – Recreation/Free Time
12:00 p.m. – Lunch
1:00 p.m. – Art/Music/Creative Expression Therapy
2:00 p.m. – Psychoeducation
3:00 p.m. – Mindfulness Walk
4:00 p.m. – Yoga/Boxing/Anger Management
5:00 p.m. – Recreation/Free Time
6:00 p.m. – Dinner
7:00 p.m. – Group Session/Discussion/12-Steps (AA)
8:00 p.m. – Chores
9:00 p.m. – Snack/Hygiene
9:30 p.m. – Meditation/Relaxation/Journaling
10:00 p.m. – Lights Out

Daily Therapy 

Addiction treatment commonly consists of a combination of individual and group therapy sessions that focus on teaching those in treatment the skills needed to stop or limit the use of alcohol or drugs. Holistic therapy courses may include:

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy consists of an individual engaging in the therapeutic process on a one-on-one basis with a therapist. Behavioral therapy is one of the most commonly utilized treatment methods used during substance rehabilitation. Forms of individual behavioral therapy may include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy, contingency management and motivational interviewing, among others.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which a group of patients meets to discuss their concerns and issues together under the supervision of a therapist. One of the most common forms of group therapy for addiction is a 12-step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. This form of drug addiction therapy aims to promote long-term recovery by engaging people with a 12-step peer support group. Group therapy may also include family therapy in the recovery process.

Psychoeducation 

The stigma attached to alcohol and drug addictions can hinder positive treatment outcomes. Although addiction is recognized as a chronic disease with biological origins, the detrimental attitude persists that individuals with addictions lack moral principles or willpower. Therefore, psychoeducation, a therapeutic intervention that transfers knowledge about an illness and its treatment to help patients better understand and cope with their illness, is an important component of addiction treatment.

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8 months ago ·

How Alcoholism Can Negatively Impact Your Health

Alcoholism infographic with various diseases

Alcohol use can take a toll on your mental and physical health. The health effects of alcohol are wide-reaching, and some last a lifetime. Health problems can develop if you drink alcohol frequently or if you drink a lot in a single session. 

Factors that Impact How Alcohol Affects Health

Every person responds differently to alcohol consumption, so some people are at a higher risk of developing health complications than others. Genetics, gender, body composition, and your patterns of drinking can all affect how alcohol impacts your health.

How much you drink and how often you drink also affect your health risks. Different health problems may develop if you drink a lot in a single sitting compared to drinking daily for a long period of time. In general, the more you drink, the more your health is at risk.

Short-Term Effects of Alcohol Consumption

Binge drinking can cause short-term health effects that impair your ability to function normally, and heavy drinking over the course of just a few hours could have deadly consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines binge drinking for women as having 4 or more drinks on a single occasion and for men as having 5 or more drinks on a single occasion. While most people who binge drink don’t have alcohol use disorder, they can still suffer from short-term health issues due to excessive drinking.

Some of the health issues that might develop from a single drinking session include:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Flushed skin
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Mood swings
  • Lowered body temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Passing out

If you drink too much alcohol in one sitting, alcohol poisoning is a possibility. An overdose of alcohol can be fatal. Some signs of alcohol poisoning include: 

  • Slowed breathing
  • Pale or blue-tinted skin
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Hypothermia
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizures

People who drink heavily also may be prone to acting irrationally or impulsively while under the influence of alcohol, which can lead to dangerous situations with significant health impacts. Drinking and driving is a significant cause of motor vehicle accidents, and alcohol use may also put you at higher risk of falls, burns or drowning. 

Alcohol can lower inhibitions, which may make you more prone to getting into fights or engaging in unsafe sexual behavior that could lead to injuries or a higher risk of catching sexually transmitted diseases. Unwanted pregnancy is another potential risk of unsafe sexual behavior while under the influence of alcohol.

Long-Term Health Effects of Alcoholism

People who are addicted to alcohol and those who drink heavily are at higher risk for a wide range of health complications. Women who have more than 8 drinks a week and men who have more than 15 drinks per week are considered heavy drinkers by the CDC. Chronic health conditions that might develop from heavy drinking include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease, including cardiomyopathy and irregular heartbeat
  • Strokes
  • Cancers, including cancers of the throat, larynx, esophagus, colon, rectum, liver, and breast 
  • Liver disease, including fatty liver disease, hepatitis, cirrhosis, and fibrosis
  • Pancreas damage, including an increased risk of acute and chronic pancreatitis

Heavy drinking also makes you more prone to developing a substance abuse disorder or becoming addicted to alcohol. 

Mental Health Issues and Excessive Drinking

Depressed Man with Problems holding hand over his Face and CryingExcessive alcohol use can affect your mind as well as your body. Alcohol abuse can cause long-term brain damage, and mental health disorders can occur in conjunction with addiction to alcohol. Long-term alcohol abuse or addiction can reduce the amount of gray and white matter in the brain, which can damage your ability to concentrate and retain memories.

For some people, this damage is permanent, meaning brain function isn’t restored after the person quits drinking.

If you have an existing mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, drinking heavily could make your symptoms worse. Some people use alcohol as a way to cope with emotional or mental distress. This can lead to difficulty developing healthier coping mechanisms, which causes an ongoing cycle of alcohol use that exacerbates your existing problems.

Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol could bring on psychiatric symptoms, such as psychosis and anxiety. If you’ve become addicted to alcohol, you might experience psychiatric symptoms during withdrawal, such as hallucinations.

The Effects of Heavy Drinking During Pregnancy

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy affects the unborn child as well as the mother. Heavy drinking has been associated with poor pregnancy outcomes, including a higher risk of stillbirth, miscarriage, premature birth, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a serious long-term health condition in infants born to mothers who consumed alcohol during their pregnancy. Babies with fetal alcohol syndrome may be born with damage to the nervous system as well as growth problems and distinct facial features associated with the condition. Fetal alcohol syndrome is part of a set of related disorders called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) that range in severity from mild symptoms to lifelong organ damage.

While the long-term health impact of alcohol use are significant, many can be mitigated if you stop drinking. If you or a loved one is ready to begin a journey of recovery, give Recovery at the Crossroads a call today at 888-342-3881.

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8 months ago ·

5 Devastating Psychological Effects of Drug Addiction

Female Psychologist With Clipboard Sitting Near Young ManSubstance abuse and mental health are linked because the psychological effects of drug addiction, including alcohol, 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

blue and yellow brain impulse iconOne 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 Emotional and Psychological 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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The Five Stages of Addiction Recovery

11 months ago ·

The Five Stages of Addiction Recovery

Alcohol 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. Each stage clearly describes the process of recognizing and admitting the problem, preparing for addiction treatment, and dealing with life after treatment of alcohol and drug abuse. It’s an integrated theory that’s compatible with most evidence-based and holistic treatments, like the 12-step program and behavior therapy.

Young woman having counselling session as part of the stages of substance abuse recovery

What Is the Transtheoretical Model?

Prochaska, 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.

woman embracing the sunlightThe stages of addiction 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 of addiction recovery aren’t yet ready for any addiction treatment program. 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 and treatment options. 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 addiction. This is a critical stage for family members and treatment facilities 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.

woman sitting by the ocean looking out into the distance to contemplate - stages of recovery

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 addiction 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 treatment 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 addiction recovery relapse. They’re also keeping up the lifestyle changes they made, like getting regular exercise, recreational activities, staying sober, 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.

Group of individuals putting hands together during a group therapy

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 addiction 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 recovery 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 program.

Find Out More About the Stages of Addiction Recovery Process

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

1 year 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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