7 months ago ·

5 Ways Family Therapy Helps Heal Addiction

People say that addiction is a family disease — and with good reason. The illness brings about changes in the sufferer that get progressively worse and become increasingly difficult for them to hide. They often put an emotional and financial strain on themselves as well as the people they love the most.

Substance abuse disorders aren’t a choice. They leave the individual feeling guilty, ashamed and unable to change their behavior. Family therapy for addiction is integral because it educates every person involved in the best ways to help the addict and avoid relapse.

1. Understand Addiction

The way addiction affects the brain is incredibly complex and differs significantly from the old-fashioned understanding many people still have. Family therapy includes the people closest to the sufferer to ensure everyone is on the same page in understanding the nature of the condition. Learning how to separate the person from the disease can be incredibly liberating for loved ones.

While a family member can be justified in any emotional response they have to the addiction and the effect it’s had on the person they love, they often need help learning how to avoid blaming them.

2. Discover How to Avoid Codependency and Enabling

Codependency is a little different from the way most people perceive it, and it tends to affect spouses and parents who have adapted to a dysfunctional family situation. A codependent person neglects their own needs in favor of obsessing over the actions, behavior and problems of a loved one. They tend to base their own emotions on those of the person with the addiction.

Enabling is when a person removes consequences for the addict as a result of fear or love. They may go out of their way to make everything appear normal to everyone else, accept phony justifications for drug or alcohol abuse or use substances as well.

Family therapy helps to identify these patterns of behavior and work towards changing the dynamic to one that’s healthy and robust.

3. Rebuild Trust and Focus on the Positive

Recovery signals time to draw a line in the sand and make a fresh start. Family therapy allows attendees to have an outlet for their feelings in a safe, constructive setting. The counselor will then focus on rebuilding trust and framing future plans with a positive mindset.

4. Learn How to Communicate Healthily

Communication is crucial when it comes to family, and addiction can severely hamper the way you communicate with the people you love the most. Often, when we don’t say how we feel, it’s out of fear of hurting the other person’s feelings. Family therapy will help you to learn how to express your emotions in a way that makes you all more likely to listen to each other.

5. Restore Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries are guidelines about expectations, behavior and responsibilities that are reasonable, clear and consistent. They help each family member to distinguish their unique identity from one another and prevent manipulation and exploitation. To get your family unit back on track, a family therapist will help you establish boundaries or re-establish boundaries that may have broken down.

For more information about how family therapy could change your life as part of an addiction treatment program, call Recovery at the Crossroads today at 888-342-3881.

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Alcoholism the Family Disease

8 months ago ·

Alcoholism the Family Disease

When speaking to people in long term recovery from an alcohol use disorder and their families, you hear the heartbreak of active alcoholism as well at the joy to be found on the road to recovery.

Alcoholism is a disease. Because of its devastating impact on families, it is called a family disease, a disease of isolation, secrecy, guilt, and shame. The words often used in connection with alcohol use disorders are very punitive and often demeaning. Alcoholics are sometimes described as weak, dangerous, morally deficient, among many other unflattering terms. We describe their families as dysfunctional, possibly a home void of love and filled with abuse. Today we know that alcoholism and addiction do not only come from unhealthy homes but can develop in loving and functioning homes.

If we look at a comparison of the reaction to other life-threatening diseases, we do not find personal attacks on the person or look to their families for blame. No-fault is assigned to those diagnosed with Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Lyme, and other conditions, nor are their families automatically seen as dysfunctional. People rally support with praise of heroism as the affected person battles the disease. There is no shame. No blame.

The disease of alcoholism can equally affect the quality of life resulting in possible death as do other serious diseases. But unlike other diseases, the person is held responsible for having the disease. This incorrect fact often affects how people treat both the alcoholic and their family. More accurately, alcoholics like anyone that is diagnosed with a disease are not responsible for having the disease. They are responsible for making healthy choices in how to treat their disease and seeking treatment.

The story of alcoholism begins with both the person and their family believing that alcoholism could not affect them. The family member is in denial of their drinking, and the family joins them in the dissent, thinking their loved one could not be a problem drinker. Their denial becomes the barrier to addressing the needs for recovery. Rationalizations protect them from feeling the shame and fear experienced in acceptance of alcoholism in their family. Drinker and family offer explanations of why it cannot be true, they are just a social drinker, there are no alcoholics in the family, they never miss work, they are too young, they are too old, they don’t drink and drive, they don’t drink alone, on and on the reasons provide the faulty reasons of why this can’t be. The alcoholic and the family desperately want to believe there is no problem.

There is no religion, social standing, or love that gives full protection from the disease of alcoholism. Once the concern becomes real, families look for solutions. Sometimes they try having a “firm” talk with and bargain for sobriety. Negotiations result in disappointment and frustration. Co-dependency grows as the loved ones try various ways to control their drinking. Not understanding that alcoholism is a disease, not weak will power, makes attempts to promote sobriety fail. Families put off treatment and find excuses for why it is not needed. They look for short term solutions at first, not recognizing recovery needs time.

Not drinking is the first necessary step to recovery. It is a brilliant start but by no means the finish. Due to the shame and secrecy bred into the diagnosis, the strain can be devastating to the person suffering and everyone that cares about their life. Families often consider that the problem lies only with the alcoholic, and if they stop drinking, everything will be fine. Loved ones need to heal from the anger, frustration, shame, self-blame and broken hearts often surrounding alcoholism. This help can be found in treatment and family programs.

The reality that alcohol kills more people than all other drugs combined has faded into the background of many discussions on addiction. With statistics that record 88,000 deaths related to alcohol a year in the United States in comparison to 15,000 from all other drugs combined, the question becomes – how is the devastation of alcoholism and effects on families slipping off of society’s radar? Fifteen million people in the United States are suffering from alcohol use disorders, with only 7% receiving treatment.

We need to bring the truth about alcoholism from the darkness into the light.

Hope needs to replace the fear.

Good treatment is available, free self-help groups are prevalent, and recovery from alcoholism and the impact on families is possible.

Recovery is possible, get help today! https://www.racnj.com/contact-us/

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Health and Wellness at RAC

8 months ago ·

Health and Wellness at RAC

The Team at Recovery at the Crossroads introduced a wellness aspect into our client treatment plans in order to expand each individual’s recovery process. At RAC, we know if you want to do well in all areas of your life, you must make your health a priority. While coupled with a healthy lifestyle, wellness goes beyond the boundaries of general health. It encompasses a positive outlook on mind, body, and soul and is something we often have more control over than health.

There are various dimensions of wellness that can be viewed as a quality, state, or process. Emotional wellness deals with thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It allows you to clearly recognize and accept your feelings, both positive and negative. This includes adapting to stress, life changes, and difficult times. When recovering from alcohol or drug addiction there can be many aspects at play. That’s why health and wellness is a priority at Recovery at the Crossroads. We help clients improve their emotional wellness and teach them skills for daily living, for example:

  • Being optimistic and focusing on the positive aspects of life
  • Learning to accept your emotions, whether good, bad, or ugly
  • Building and maintaining strong relationships
  • Staying in the moment
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Smiling as much as possible
  • Maintaining a good work/life balance
  • Getting enough sleep at night
  • Seeking professional support when necessary
  • Managing stress through positive coping methods

Another dimension of wellness Recovery at the Crossroads focuses on is spiritual wellness. This can be achieved in a variety of ways including organized religion, prayer, meditation, yoga, along with a careful assessment of your morals, values, and beliefs. RAC also implemented Adventure Therapy which consists of martial arts, yoga, and Pilates to add a freedom from stress and build confidence and trust in your physical ability. A weekly spirituality group speaks in a general way to your soul, and the attitude necessary to facilitate healthy change.

Finally, we focus on wellness of the body. Neck and body massages are offered along with wellness consultations, including but not limited to topics of sleep disturbance, depression, and anxiety relief. We also offer other options that can be used daily to improve overall health and wellness of the body, some of those options include:

  • Consuming a well-balanced diet
  • Eating breakfast every day
  • Scheduling routine physical exams with a medical provider
  • Getting enough sleep at night
  • Learning to listen to your body and recognize early signs of illness

Recovery at the Crossroads offers a warm and professional atmosphere enhanced by the commitment of our wellness program to treat all aspects of the client’s life. The program provides a variety of wrap-around services that incorporate a healthy mind, body, and soul. Our program supplies skills to complement state-of-the-art clinical treatment. If you or a loved one are seeking addiction & mental health treatment that focuses on all aspects of an individual’s recovery, then Recovery at the Crossroads is the place for you.

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8 months ago ·

Inpatient vs Outpatient Treatment: Choosing the Right Program

Inpatient VS Outpatient Treatment

Once you’ve decided to take the first step towards recovery and enter an addiction treatment program, you need to choose between inpatient vs outpatient treatment. Although both types of care are recovery-focused and often include elements such as detox, behavioral therapy and group counseling, inpatient treatment is exceptionally more intensive, while outpatient treatment allows the patient to attend rehab on a part-time basis, enabling them to continue working, attending school or dealing with other responsibilities.

What to Expect from an Inpatient Treatment Program

As mentioned earlier, inpatient care is intensive. It typically lasts a minimum of four weeks and in some cases can continue for even longer. In cases where addiction is severe, inpatient treatment is almost always the better choice. When comparing inpatient vs outpatient treatment, inpatient care allows patients to take more time to focus on their recovery without outside distractions or communication with those who many enable them to use drugs or alcohol.

What to Expect from an Outpatient Treatment Program

Outpatient programs are best for individuals who aren’t able to take time away from work, school or family life. While they generally have lower success rates than those in inpatient care, outpatients who dedicate themselves to the program do have the opportunity to successfully recover from their addictions. Outpatient programs consist of treatment plans that are similar to those created for inpatients; the major difference between the two programs is the intensity of treatment and the frequency at which it’s provided.

Considerations When Choosing a Rehab Program

Addicts who have a strong support system might find that they prefer to recover at home and attend treatment during the daytime. However, those who don’t have support at home or whose friends and family enable them to use should consider inpatient care, which ensures patients remain focused on recovery 24 hours a day. Outpatient care is also considerably less expensive than inpatient treatment; for some, the cost alone is the deciding factor.

Inpatient Treatment

  • Each day in treatment follows a rigid schedule
  • All patients are subject to strict rules while participating in the program
  • Medical staff is typically available to provide care around the clock
  • Peers provide motivation and support
  • Treatment is monitored by trained counselors 24/7
  • Best option for patients who experience frequent urges to use drugs or alcohol or are dealing with more than one addiction or mental health condition

Outpatient Treatment

  • Patients are responsible for their own recovery and must adhere to treatment appointments
  • Structured treatment programs are available for those transferring from a partial hospitalization program or inpatient care
  • Best option for patients who require treatment at a lower cost or a flexible treatment schedule

Making the Right Choice

The most important factor to consider when choosing inpatient vs outpatient treatment is your own health. Patients who are dedicated to their recovery can find success in an intensive or general outpatient program, while those who need more structure or medical attention are more likely to benefit from inpatient treatment or a partial hospitalization program.

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8 months ago ·

Treating Addiction With Jewish Values

Jewish male wearing Kippah reading praying book

Substance use disorders often tear people away from practicing their religion, leaving them out in the cold. Jews in recovery usually discover that reconnecting with the faith they grew up with helps them through the toughest times. First, the misconception that a drug addict or alcoholic only presents as a skinny, down-and-out homeless guy is a vital hurdle to overcome.

Even warmhearted, kind and religious people can fall victim to this complicated condition. Not wanting to believe that it could happen to you or someone you love could significantly slow down the recovery process. Accepting help and finding a kosher rehab gives you and your entire family the peace of mind that fellowship and faith are core values in treatment.

Understanding Addiction is the First Step

As the old Jewish saying goes, “Understanding the disease is half the cure.” Addiction is not a moral choice nor a condition that only exists in the mind or only within the body. If you or someone you love becomes addicted, the condition has existed within them from birth. Many alcoholics and drug addicts feel entirely wretched, and that the only way to feel relief from this overwhelming sense of despair is to become inebriated.

There is no need to feel shame or guilt because God is just and merciful. Having the strength to move away from the excesses of alcohol or drug abuse and back into the arms of the Jewish community puts you back on track to realizing your full potential.

Observing Judaism During Rehab

Treatment for substance abuse disorders is most effective when the program and staff relate to the views, values and beliefs of the client’s upbringing. When the doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors and your peer group also follow the Jewish faith, you feel a sense of belonging that can be highly valuable in the recovery process. Enjoying the benefits of a nutritious kosher diet nourishes your body, which, in turn, boosts your mental health and helps you get back to a healthy lifestyle.

Observing the Shabbos is a crucial tenet of Judaism, and following this routine in the way God intended helps to give you a sense of worth as well as ensuring your week is structured. In Jewish rehab, you enjoy these weekly celebrations as well as a wholesome home-cooked Shabbat meal.

The Power of Prayer

Being thankful and mindful and adopting a positive mindset are some of the most important values to keep in mind when making the journey towards long-term sobriety. Praying three times a day allows you to practice these values and connect with God. Morning prayer, birkhot hanehenim and evening prayer give you a vent and enable you to release stress and negative energy healthily.

Meditating on verses in scripture, the divine name and selected chants is another way to experience the holy, giving you an enhanced ability to master your emotions and cravings. Jewish rehab helps you to reconnect with these exercises and find stability in your faith.

If you’d like to speak to an expert about how a rehabilitation center can integrate Jewish values into its treatment program, call Recovery at the Crossroads at 888-342-3881.

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10 months ago ·

7 Reasons to Spend Hanukkah in Rehab Getting Sober

Celebrating HanukkahThe holiday season is a time for joy and celebration. If you’ve been struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, your ability to share in the merriment of this wonderful time is most likely impaired. Getting sober is the only way to move away from yetzer hara and get back on track to reaching your full potential. Addiction is an all-consuming illness, and you may feel there’s no way out. Just remember, “if you improve, it will be forgiven you” (Genesis 4:7).

Hanukkah presents an ideal time for an observant or lapsed Jewish person to rediscover themselves under the guidance of addiction specialists. As someone with a religious background, shame and a sense of betrayal are often intense. You may not be aware that faith-based rehab centers exist or the extraordinary benefits they offer. Recovery at the Crossroads allows you to observe your faith among a ready-made like-minded support network.

1. Show Your Family That You Care About Them

If you’re struggling with addiction to alcohol or drugs or a family member of someone who is going through this turmoil, you know substance abuse takes its toll on loved ones. You never want to think of people you care about as a burden. But there comes a point when the person struggling needs to seek addiction treatment for the benefit of themselves and everyone around them. What better gift could you give your family than your recovery?

2. The Perfect Time to Reflect

During the celebration of light represented by the burning illumination of the menorah, it’s time to move away from darkness. Many of us have happy memories of celebrating this glorious time of year as children. The empathetic addiction experts at rehab can help you to rekindle the innocence within, and traditional celebration is an excellent means of rediscovering the best aspects of yourself. The time for self-effacing is over; confidence in who you are is an imperative aspect of long-term recovery.

3. Enjoy Being Among Like-Minded People

Spending the holidays in a treatment center with other people who have shared not only your experience of addiction but also your religious sensibilities can be truly enlightening. Often, victims of substance misuse disorders feel alone. Rest assured, while your experiences are unique, other people have taken the wrong path and are ready to make the changes necessary to get back on track. Addiction is something you can get over, and harmonious group therapy is one of the most effective methods of treatment.

4. The Ideal Time to Rekindle Your Faith

If you’ve lost your way or turned away from your religion because you feel shame over letting your family and your faith down, recovery during the holidays can show you that this was a misguided decision. The inclusive, loving environment helps to inspire you to put all of your heart and soul into the recovery process. To truly benefit from your time in rehab, you must immerse yourself in the culture and take on board the guidance of therapists, doctors and support staff.

5. Learn The Joys of Getting Sober While Celebrating

Many people who suffer from addiction don’t think it’s possible to enjoy celebrations without the assistance of alcohol or drugs. Once again, we ask you to remember your happy childhood years. Substance abuse rewires your brain to deceive you into believing that you need to be inebriated. Rehab can help to show you that this is illogical and inaccurate, and celebrating Hanukkah while sober gives you tangible proof that this is true.

6. Hanukkah Is a Time For Miracles

Just like the olive oil that kept the menorah alight for eight days, you can take part in your miracle this holiday season. With the right attitude, love for G*d, and love for yourself and your family, you can move toward the light and leave the burden of addiction behind you. The first step on the journey to recovery is admitting you have a problem. From this point, working hard to achieve your goal and accepting professional help will enable you to get better for good.

7. Avoid Triggers

To get sober, you need to discover what your triggers are and learn coping mechanisms that stop you from turning to drink or drugs. Celebratory times are full of these kinds of triggers for people suffering from addiction. Learning how to overcome them while celebrating sobriety gives you an excellent chance of healing.

If you’re ready to spend the holiday season among caring staff who genuinely understand what you’re going through, get in touch with Recovery at the Crossroads at 888-342-3881.

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10 months ago ·

What effects can alcoholism have on a Jewish family?

Jewish father holding kiddish cup blesses family at ShabbatWhat effects can alcoholism have on a family who practices the Jewish faith? The answer to this question is complex. Drinking wine is described as “bringing joy to G‑d and man” (Judges 9:13). On the other hand, praying while drunk is forbidden, and priests are not permitted to bless the congregation while under the influence of any alcohol whatsoever. The way your family is affected depends entirely on how you deal with the problem.

Drinking wine is encouraged on special occasions because, in moderation, it relaxes the body and allows our spirit to shine through. However, getting drunk or trying to escape your feelings is strongly discouraged. This distaste for inebriation and focus on personal responsibility can make those who fall victim to the clutches of addiction feel guilty — sometimes to the extent that you feel you’ll be rejected by the community and take a step back, spiraling further into alcoholism.

This isn’t necessary or encouraged. Tailored, compassionate help is available for practicing Jews. Alcohol destroys families who don’t stick together, but with guidance and therapy from qualified practitioners who understand your unique needs, you can overcome this hurdle. First, you need to gain an understanding of the nature of alcoholism within the Jewish faith and accept that it’s time to make a change.

1. Many Jewish People Feel Afraid to Talk About Alcoholism

The shikur is often the subject of ridicule in our culture, and uncontrolled drunkenness is undoubtedly viewed as evil. As a Jewish person, you will be inclined to please your loved ones and weary of disgracing your family. These factors and the stigma of addiction can lead you to hide or deny your struggles from them due to shame. Facing up to the reality of your situation is imperative as the first step on your journey to recovery.

If your family finds out you are seeking help, they are likely to support you. The community will surround you and guide you as you demonstrate bravery in the face of adversity.

2. Conflict Resolution Is an Important Part of Recovery

Conflicting sentiments in scripture are often cited as a reason for people in the Jewish faith developing addictions. This is especially true concerning alcohol seemingly being revered and demonized at once. Occasionally, you might make excuses or blame your family for adhering to wine-drinking practices including Kiddush, the four cups at the Passover Seder and the importance of alcohol during a brit milah or chuppah.

Along your journey to recovery, you’ll learn the importance of finding the middle ground and avoiding extremes. Not everyone can adhere to the strict moderation required to enjoy alcohol. If you find yourself unable to control your intake, abstaining based on medical grounds is advised and permitted.

3. Reconnecting With Your Faith Will Help You to Recover

Alcoholism is lonely. The people who go through it regularly lose touch with loved ones, the wider community and their faith. There is increasing evidence that isolation is a major contributing factor in someone developing an addiction. Therapy within a Jewish faith-focused rehab program will help you to identify when and how you started going down the wrong path. With the help of nurturing, certified clinicians, you can learn to rebuild your inner strength and the connections you’ve lost.

If you’re the family member of someone who is going through active addiction, you probably feel hurt, disappointed and confused about how your loved one could end up in this position. Standing by them by helping them to get treatment for alcoholism will give you the much-needed support you deserve.

4. Addiction Can Affect Jewish People

There is a persistent myth that Jewish people aren’t impacted by addiction. Awareness surrounding alcoholism has increased significantly in recent years. There is truth in the myth; 20% of Jews possess a gene that makes developing alcohol addiction unlikely. Not only that, but the close family ties and strong moral code within our community make it less likely. Nonetheless, it is possible and it does happen. 

Feeling as if you are somehow “un-Jewish” because you’ve developed an addiction is counterproductive. Discussing what you’ve been through with a certified counselor who understands your unique needs helps you to prevail over these feelings. Recovery aims to regain control over your life and enrich your future experiences with healthy pastimes.

5. When Alcoholism and Family Collide, Therapy is Always Best

You may have been put off attending therapy sessions because you’ve heard that programs such as the 12-step method are for gentiles only. However, AA and NA are no longer affiliated with any religion. An alcohol rehab center, like Recovery at the Crossroads, provides targeted support groups that use these methods while incorporating Jewish principles. Once you’ve been taught how, you can attend nonspecific group meetings and apply what you’ve learned to any setting.

Family therapy is a key component of alcohol treatment at Recovery at the Crossroads, helping you and your loved ones to communicate better and understand each other’s situation. Call us at 888-342-3881 to find out about our admissions process or seek advice from one of our friendly experts.

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11 months ago ·

Getting Through Tough Times with a Reflection on Sukkot

Symbols of Sukkot Lulav Etrog Palm Myrtle Willow

For some, discovering new spirituality plays a part in recovering from addiction. Sukkot is a holiday that commemorates the many years the Jewish people spent in the desert on their way to the Promised Land. During this time, they struggled through an arduous journey and made innumerable sacrifices until they eventually came to a land where they could live in peace and prosperity.

As you begin your journey through substance abuse treatment, you’ll be much like those people who once struggled to find the Promised Land. Like them, you’re on a journey that will lead you to a place of continued sobriety. At Recovery at the Crossroads, we’re here to help you reach the goal of becoming an independent person with control over your life, so you can give back to your community while finding fulfillment through your faith.

How Can Recovery at the Crossroads Help with Your Recovery?

At Recovery at the Crossroads, we want to help you through all stages of recovery, from the moment you arrive until the moment you walk out as an empowered, sober individual. We know your path to sobriety won’t be simple, which is why we offer treatments that help you recover from the ground up. We’ll encourage you to reflect on trauma and past events that may have impacted your decisions. We’ll also help you avoid giving in to the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that may lead to relapse.

We believe that a stronger connection to your heritage, family and community will help you become a more independent person with healthy relationships you’ll need to stay sober once your treatment is complete. Sukkot encourages you to examine everything you and your loved ones have done to get to where you are today. During treatment, you’ll be asked to look back and reflect on your life and what brought you to the Recovery at the Crossroads program.

The Torah tells us how the Israelites depended on God for protection during their 40-year journey in the desert, and at Recovery at the Crossroads, we believe that you can turn to Him for support and know He will lead you to recovery and faith. By the end of your treatment, we hope you will be able to look back on the time you’ve spent with us as a positive movement forward and away from the grip of addiction.

We will encourage you to take part in Sukkot and to eat in the Sukkah, when possible. We’ll develop a kosher meal plan that protects your faith while you focus on commemorating this important tradition in our community. As you celebrate, you will build strong bonds and develop healthy relationships with others who can support you as you continue along your journey to sobriety.

Reflecting on Sukkot Helps You When Times Get Hard

On the hard days, it can be tempting to give up and fall back into addiction, but that won’t help you reach your goal. Although you may stumble on the path to sobriety, you can continue moving forward with the help of those who are surrounding you with love and guidance. The Sukkot holiday embraces the idea that hard work eventually pays off at the end of a difficult journey, and we believe this is true in substance abuse treatment as well. The efforts that you put in today will help transport you to a new place tomorrow, so you can look back on where you once were and be proud of how far you’ve moved forward.

If Rough Times Are Impacting Your Journey to Sobriety, We Can Help

At Recovery at the Crossroads, we are ready to help you as you begin your journey toward sobriety. Like your ancestors who traveled across the vast Sinai Desert, you also have a challenging task ahead of you. Our expertise and treatment programs will get you on track toward living the life you’ve been praying and hoping for. At Recovery at the Crossroads, we know that life isn’t easy, and recovery isn’t easy either. That’s why we’re always here to lend support. Contact us online or call us at 856-644-6969 to speak with one of our substance abuse counselors about how we can help you today.

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EMDR Treatment: A Complete Guide

12 months ago ·

EMDR Treatment: A Complete Guide

When substance abuse disorders occur due in part to unhealthy coping mechanisms that arise after a traumatic event, EMDR treatment may be helpful. Discover more about this option and whether it might be right for you. Then, fill out the Recovery at the Crossroads contact form to find out how our caring, licensed staff can work with you to integrate this interactive psychotherapy into a holistic rehab plan that works for you.

What Is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. It’s a method used in psychotherapy to help someone process old memories and/or retrain the brain to deal more appropriately with triggers or stressors.

This form of therapy was originated by Francis Shapiro, who was a psychotherapist. During her work in the 1980s, Shapiro noticed that when patients considered disturbing memories and had lower emotional responses to them than other patients with similar thoughts, the less emotional patients also presented with a certain type of lateral eye movement. Shapiro started to experiment with this relationship between emotional response and eye movement, developing this psychotherapy treatment in the process.

Basically, during a treatment session, a therapist directs the patient to follow an object (or the therapist’s finger) with their eyes. At the same time, the person thinks or talks about specific aspects of stressful situations or previous traumas. The goal is to assist the person in processing old memories and reactions in new ways, which may lead to a reduced emotional response and the ability to approach stressors in a healthier manner.

This type of psychotherapy treatment can be used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, panic attacks, anxiety and addictions. It may also be useful in assisting in treatments for chronic pain, self-esteem issues, skin issues that are related to stress, and ADHD.

Because the treatment involves the therapist talking to someone while also waving their finger or another object in front of the person’s eyes, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy is sometimes confused with hypnotism. However, this doesn’t involve lulling someone into a hypnotic state where they are more susceptible to the therapist’s suggestions.

How Does Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy Work?

If the therapist isn’t hypnotizing you, what’s the purpose of the eye movement? According to Shapiro and subsequent practitioners of this technique, the type of eye movement created in this therapy session mimics the same natural movement Shapiro noted in patients who were able to cope better with stressful memories. By developing this same eye movement — called saccadic eye movement — individuals can better access certain memories and deal with them in a way that supports a more positive outcome.

What Is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy Like?

According to the Clinical Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, this type of therapy is approached through eight phases, which are summarized below.

  • Phase 1. The therapist works with the client to understand the person’s history and what memories or events may be playing a role in current issues. They work together to plan for treatment and decide what memories and emotions will be targeted with therapy.
  • Phase 2. During this time, the treatment is fully explained, and the eye movement is practiced to help facilitate optimal success.
  • Phase 3. The therapist helps the person access and begin to assess the memory in question. This includes validating the facts of the memory and exploring the emotional response.
  • Phase 4. With the therapist’s assistance, the person focuses on the memory while engaging in eye movement, continuously unpacking emotional responses and developing new ways of responding until the memory is less distressing. This is known as desensitization.
  • Phase 5. The person works with the therapist to strengthen the healthier cognitive response.
  • Phase 6. Next, clients work on understanding how their bodies respond to the memory or trigger. If physical symptoms are associated with the memory, the therapist helps the client work through them.
  • Phase 7. The session comes to a close, and the therapist provides any instructions that the client might need to follow until the next session.
  • Phase 8. In the final phase, the therapist evaluates how the treatment went and works with the person to identify what should be targeted in a future session.

This news clip from NBC 26 shows a small glimpse of how EMDR Therapy Uses Eye Movements to Overcome Trauma, Anxiety, and Phobias.

What to Expect After EMDR Treatment

You should not expect immediate final results from a single session. Like any form of therapy, this is not a one-and-done proposition, and it can take many sessions to work sufficiently through root causes and traumatic memories.

This psychotherapy technique is also not something that works in a vacuum. That is to say, it works best when paired with other cognitive behavioral therapy methodologies. The EMDR Institute notes that Shapiro herself made this clear when introducing the treatment into the professional community. She said, “It must be emphasized that the EMD procedure, as presented here, serves to desensitize the anxiety related to traumatic memories, not to eliminate all PTSD-symptomology and complications, nor to provide coping strategies to victims.”

EMDR Therapy Side Effects

For the most part, doctors and the prevailing medical literature present this type of effective trauma therapy as safe and with few potentially negative side effects. And because the therapy involves developing healthier ways of approaching and coping with memories, it can be more effective for some cases in the long run than medication. Medication stops working when the person stops taking it, but some of the gains achieved from therapy can remain after the therapy is over.

However, the process is not completely without potential side effects. Here are some EMDR therapy side effects to be aware of.

Potential EMDR Side Effects

  • Because eye movement desensitization and reprocessing treatment forces you to confront certain distressing memories, albeit in a safe environment, it could temporarily increase how these memories interact with your daily life. Therapists typically prepare clients for this possibility and offer instruction for dealing with this issue between sessions. 
  • Opening these doors to memories you may have held tight reigns over out of fear or necessity in the past could also bring to light other traumatic memories that you didn’t previously remember.
  • In some cases, individuals report feeling light-headed or having especially vivid dreams as they go through therapy sessions.

In most cases, side effects resolve as you work through treatment, but you should always make your therapist aware of them so you can get the right professional support.

What is the EMDR Success Rate?

More than 20,000 therapists use this technique, and numerous studies have pointed to the efficacy of this treatment. Consider some of these stats and study outcomes.

  • One study that reviewed the outcomes of 61 clinical trials of various treatments for PTSD determined that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing treatment were the top two most effective methodologies.
  • The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry conducted a similar review of 112 studies and found CBT, exposure therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing to be effective.
  • In one randomized clinical trial, 88 people diagnosed with PTSD were assigned to various forms of treatment, including EMDR and a placebo. Results indicated that therapy initiatives, such as EMDR, were more effective than medication in creating long-term results after the treatment concluded. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy was especially successful in assisting with adult-onset traumas (as opposed to traumas that occurred during childhood).

From Addiction to PTSD, there’s reliable clinical evidence that conclusively answers the question, “Does Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing treatment really work?” with a resounding, “Yes.”

How Much Does EMDR Therapy for Trauma and Addiction Cost?

As a form of trauma and addiction therapy that can be delivered in an individual therapist’s office, this is priced similarly to commonly known mental health therapy sessions. That means it can range by provider, but you might expect to pay between $80 and $150 per session, as you would for a regular therapy appointment. You may be able to make payment arrangements to make this type of treatment more affordable. Some therapists also provide some coaching for DIY therapy between sessions, which might reduce the number of sessions you need to attend and the overall cost of treatment.

As of late 2019, there’s not a code specifically for billing sessions to insurance companies, although some professional organizations are working toward this goal. However, if your insurance policy covers individual behavioral therapies, it will probably cover a session that includes Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy as part of the process. You can work with your individual therapy provider to understand whether they accept your insurance and what benefits are covered under your plan.

Finding Psychotherapy and Substance Abuse Treatment Near You

Individuals who are interested in incorporating EMDR therapy into their drug or alcohol recovery process can find therapists willing to provide this treatment in almost every city in the nation. For those in New Jersey, the rehab team at Recovery at the Crossroads can offer this effective approach and other custom solutions like intensive outpatient programs. Contact us today at 856-644-6929 to speak with one of our experts about this potential treatment and other options that can assist you in drug and alcohol treatment and recovery.

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1 year ago ·

Addiction Challenges a Parent’s Love

In my present life, I welcome the opportunity to write on the topic of addiction. But, this was not always the case. Life experiences, knowledge, and the healing of time has brought a clarity of thought and feelings to be shared. For some, this article may be new information and insight on the effect of addiction on families, an opportunity to experience an inside view on addiction, and how it challenges a parent’s love. For others, it may be an all too familiar page from the story of your life, a chronicle that validates personal experiences that happen when addiction comes to your home.

In today’s world, it is common to hear about addiction impacting a family.  It affects the young and old, men and women, good people in good homes. Families bear the shame that accompanies addiction. Parents grieve the loss of the dreams they had for their children. Their world turns inside out, and they start to doubt their worth as a parent.

Years ago, life seemed simpler.  You were taught right from wrong; you kept your family close and followed the teachings of the Torah.  That simpler way of living, built on sound principles, is challenged when the complexity of addiction and mental health enters your life. Marriage and family descend into a foreign way of life. You feel disconnected and disrespected by the once young child that came to you to kiss away their hurt. Darkness crosses the threshold into your home. Shame seeps into the fiber of the family. Answering questions about your child’s absence from a holiday or wedding celebration brings dread and inner turmoil. The simple question, “How is the family?” leaves your stomach tied in knots.  Do you tell the truth? Do you quickly change the subject or make an excuse?  How do you explain to them? More importantly, how do you explain to your other children about their brother or sister’s behavior, how they dress, how they talk, or the arguments they hear?  Your mind goes in a million directions all at one time.  You smile as you recall the happy anticipation of your wedding day, of having a family to love, teach traditions, and build sweet memories. The joy changes to grief as you search for an explanation.

Please know there is someone out there waiting to help you, waiting to help your child.  Start the journey, if they are not ready to join you, start anyway. Support systems for parents are becoming stronger, more visible. The veil of shame that has covered the road of recovery for so many families is lifting. Find people who understand the heartache. Look for supportive people who do not cast judgment.  Cry if you need to and laugh whenever you can.

If you have not had this personal experience but took the time to read this article, hold out your hand without judgment to someone who is in need, what greater mitzvah. There was a time – it seems very long ago – when I knew nothing of the world of addiction. My journey as a parent whose child faced addiction brought me to work in the field of substance use disorders and trauma. It has enriched my life beyond description. I am an international speaker on addiction and trauma.  In my work, I have seen the miracle of recovery happen over and over again.  Parents and their adolescents, young adults, and adult children turn the corner away from addiction and once more find their seats at the Shabbos table.

If you are a parent, a family member, a friend or a concerned person who recognizes there is much to be done to dispel myths, educate and support those on the journey to recovery. Please, extend your hand to them and join your heart with theirs for together we can do what no one should have to do alone. Addiction may challenge a parent’s love, but it does not have the power to stop it.

Alberta Montano-DiFabio is the Clinical Director of Recovery at the Crossroads in Turnersville, New Jersey, providing state of the art treatment while honoring the culture and traditions of Jewish heritage.

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