National Recovery Month: What Palm Beach Institute Has in Store

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September is National Recovery Month, which means the Palm Beach Institute definitely has something up its sleeve for readers to enjoy.

Some of the main goals of National Recovery Month is to motivate those afflicted with addiction and their loved ones to seek treatment and guidance. By spreading awareness on substance abuse, the Palm Beach Institute hopes to encourage its readers to research treatment methods and begin the process of bettering their lives.

So for September, the Palm Beach Institute would like to shed light on a drug that is still prevalent and at large today: cocaine.

Read “Cocaine: When the Party Drug Goes to Work” this month, and learn how cocaine abuse has shaped itself over the past few decades.

Featured Series: Sex, Drugs, and Ozzy

In honor of National Recovery Month, the Palm Beach Institute will also be presenting a weekly, four-part series on Ozzy Osbourne and how he’s inspired a dialogue on drug and sex addiction in older communities.

People in the 65+ crowd can often be overlooked when it comes to discussion about addiction and recovery, but many of the issues that affect young people struggling with substance abuse and sex addictions also—believe or not—affect older generations as well.

In Sex, Drugs, and Ozzy, each segment will feature a new look into how older people are affected by addiction, paralleled by Ozzy Osbourne’s living proof that recovery is a lifelong process and may start much later than planned.

PART 1 – “Sex, Drugs, and Ozzy: Older Adults Are Struggling with Addiction

PART 2 – “Sex, Drugs, and Ozzy: Age Won’t Slow Down Senior Drinking

PART 3 – “Sex, Drugs, and Ozzy: Opiate Abuse Up Among Baby Boomers

PART 4 – “Sex, Drugs, and Ozzy: Intimacy in the Golden Years Still a Risky Affair

National Recovery Month: Inspiring Wellness

A Special Campaign Brought to You by Delphi Behavioral Health Group

National Recovery MonthThe Palm Beach Institute is part of six participating treatment facilities under Delphi Behavioral Health Group that will be presenting all sorts of article series and featured stories on addiction and recovery!

Throughout NationalRecovery Month, Delphi and its associated facilities will be posting several article series and featured stories on various addiction and recovery topics. Whether it’s updated analysis on how certain drugs are affecting certain demographics or learning about different types of treatment methods, our National Recovery Month campaign will cover a whole variety of topics that aims to educate and inspire our readers to pursue their own wellness.

Make sure to check back to this post throughout September for updated links to our articles.

We’ve also got some hidden surprises scheduled, so keep a look-out for all of our content this September!

 

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Learn About the “Inspiring Wellness” Scholarship!

Delphi Behavioral Health Group will be giving someone battling drug and/or alcohol addiction an unbelievable opportunity to receive the treatment they need to turn their lives around.

The “Inspiring Wellness” Scholarship will be awarded to one person, who will then be able to go through addiction treatment at one of our participating facilities, free of charge.

Contestants may submit an essay on Delphi’s website, where one (1) winner will be chosen to receive a 90-day treatment prize, all costs covered. National Recovery Month is a time to give resources to those wanting to change their lifestyle, and what better resource than a scholarship for treatment?

For more details about how to enter, read about the “Inspiring Wellness” scholarship here.

Check back to this post for more exciting articles from Palm Beach Institute and more!

The Palm Beach Institute is eager to teach and provide readers with all sorts of information on recovery—not just for National Recovery Month, but for every month. Our call agents are available 24-7, ready to answer your questions on addiction and recovery. If you, or a loved one, are suffering from addiction, the time to change is now. Call (844) 318-0071 today.

7 Sure Signs of Opiate Addiction

There are many substances and even behaviors to which people can become addicted, each with a number of destructive effects on one’s health, behavior, and overall life. Over the years, the rates of abuse of certain drugs wax and wane as the trends of substance abuse evolve. Recently, the United States has been hit by a major epidemic of drug abuse and addiction, especially with regard to opiate narcotics. Opiates are synthetic substances that are derivative of the opium obtained from the opium poppy; common opiates include oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet) and hydrocodone (Vicodin, Zohydro) as well as a number of others that are typically used to treat moderate to severe chronic pain.

Although opiates offer an improved quality of life to those who would have to deal with debilitating pain without these powerful narcotics, opiates are very powerful and notoriously addictive. In fact, a number of opiate addicts became addicted to these medications after being prescribed opiates for legitimate conditions; over time, they increase the dosage on their own volition and the situation becomes such that they experience painful withdrawal symptoms without an exceptionally high dose of opiates.

However, many opiate addicts developed dependency after illegally buying prescription painkillers off the street, abusing them recreationally rather than using them to treat a medical condition. As a result, it’s been estimated that there are as many as 12 million Americans abusing prescription pain medications, though rates of painkiller addiction have been steadily declining as many individuals have switched to cheaper and more widely available alternatives such as heroin.

Oftentimes family members, spouses, and friends have a front row seat to the deterioration and destruction of an opiate-addicted loved one. They watch helplessly as the addict continues on the path of active addiction, sacrificing their financial independence, employment opportunities and prospects, and even their relationships in the process.

Though not a failsafe plan, staging an intervention for an addicted loved one is a common strategy for encouraging an addict to receive addiction treatment in order to overcome chemical dependency. However, before an intervention can occur it’s important to be able to determine with a fair amount of certainty whether a loved one is, in fact, suffering from opiate addiction. As such, here are seven common signs of opiate addiction.

#1 – Extreme Lethargy and Lack of Energy

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Individuals who are addicted to and under the influence of opiate painkillers often display a pronounced drowsiness, lethargy, and a total lack of energy. This can be subtle with an addict simply appearing to lack motivation, or this can be as prominent as the individual drifting in and out of consciousness, often called “nodding out” by members of the opiate-abusing community, even while standing up. Even if this drowsiness is brought to the individual’s attention, he or she will likely still be unable to control it and continue to intermittently doze.

#2 – Being Unreliable and Flakey

When an individual suffers from an addiction to opiates, his or her life revolves around seeking and consuming the drug in order to keep withdrawal symptoms at back and makes them frequently run late for appointments or other events to which they had been planning to attend. This can occur either from being too intoxicated on opiates to remember they needed to be somewhere or because obtaining their substance of choice took longer than they expecting, causing them to miss other important obligations or events. What’s more, this pronounced unreliability is pervasive, causing them to be late or absent much more often than not. It’s not uncommon for this to lead opiate addicts to become increasingly absent from work or school, eventually resulting in the loss of employment or dropping out of school.

#3 – Distracted and Inattentive

man distracted at work struggling with opiate addiction

As mentioned previously, substance abuse is the primary and most important concern of addicts, especially when the substance to which one is addicted is an opiate. Due either to cravings or intoxication, those who are addicted to opiates typically seem disinterested in their surroundings and are often very distracted. They can abruptly lose focus in a conversation, participating very little in social activities and conversations with individuals who do not share their addictions.

#4 – Forgetfulness

Possible related to some of the previous signs, opiate addicts are frequently forgetful. In fact, this forgetfulness can be quite severe, forgetting things like loved ones’ birthdays, important meetings and appointments, or even something they’re about to say in conversation. This is a result of opiate addicts’ constant fixation and preoccupation with opiates.

#5 – Slow and Uncoordinated Movement

When under the influence of opiates, addicts’ movements tend to be noticeably slow. In fact, if they are extremely intoxicated they may appear as if they are in slow motion or walking like an astronaut on the moon. And whereas sober individuals move slowly in order to be more careful and exercise caution, opiate addicts’ slow movements are very uncoordinated and even clumsy. As a result, it’s easy for them to trip and fall or knock things over, making a mess of their surroundings. They may try to clean up messes that they make, but their lack of energy and sleepiness make it incredibly difficult.

#6 – Sudden Financial Change

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Most drugs don’t cost very much for a single dose; however, as addicts require several large doses throughout a single day, sustaining an opiate addiction quickly becomes so expensive as to require more money than they’re able to make by working. Opiate addicts will often spend virtually all of their money—even money meant for more important things like paying one’s mortgage or rent, child support, or for the electric bill—on opiates, which will result in their quickly becoming financially destitute. Conversely, it’s not uncommon for opiate addicts to begin selling drugs in order to make their habit less expensive; as a result, the addict may suddenly have much more money than he or she used to have but doesn’t appear to actually be earning it.

#7 – Legal Troubles

As a result of needing more money to sustain their drug habits than they’re able to make by working, opiate addicts will frequently resort to criminal behavior in order to increase their substance abuse budget. This typically takes the form of stealing from loved ones, robbery and burglary, forgery, and so on. More often than not, addicts committing such crimes get caught and, consequently, will begin having legal troubles as they face charges for their crimes.

There are numerous signs and symptoms of being addicted to opiate narcotics, ranging from physical to behavioral and even social. Although variable from one addict to the next, the signs mentioned above comprise a general overview of the most common manifestations of opiate addiction in others.

Are You Struggling With Opiate Addiction? Call Us Today

If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction to opiates or another substance, the Palm Beach Institute is here to help. We have a team of caring, experienced addiction specialists available to help those in need in overcoming dependency through an effective recovery program at our facility. Don’t wait—call us today at 1-855-534-3574 or contact us online and begin the journey to a new, healthy life free from the many devastating effects of addiction.

The In’s and Out’s of Interventions

The time has come for your alcoholic or chemically-dependent loved one to get help— health or work problems, school or legal issues, financial or home life at risk— the telltale signs just can no longer be brushed off while lives are being destroyed. You, the families and friends, are in pain because of the powerlessness of the situation and the denial which extends to the addicted loved one. And, the reality is until that person acknowledges and admits the need for help, there may be little you can do. However, you can set appropriate boundaries for yourself and your loved ones, as well as engaging professionals who can help with formal interventions.

To learn about setting boundaries for yourself and your family, one of the best resources is an Al-Anon/Alateen Family Group. In every state and country, Al-Anon/Alateens suggest their common “experience, strength, and hope” offers “changed attitudes that can aid recovery” (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon). Its program encourages the practice of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. A second program, Families Anonymous, with a smaller footprint, also offers help for those dealing with chemical dependents and family members with unmanageable behavioral issues. Both have extensive websites with meeting lists and recovery literature for sale.

Where to Begin

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For some, professionals can be part of the intervention process. Chances are your chemical dependent or alcoholic has been seen by either a physician or mental health provider. Both may be resources to lead you to a professional interventionist or be willing to recommend a therapist trained in intervention. By holding up a mirror and thoroughly addressing the problem in a loving but firm way, these professionals may be persuasive enough to allow your loved one to confront their disease before they lose everything. And, it doesn’t take sitting in too many open Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings to discover the collateral damage of the disease of alcohol or chemical dependency: jobs, health, and families.

Yes, the meetings and intervention organized by family and friends, employers, possibly, aren’t always attended with the patient’s full engagement. Yet, those family and friends who participate by expressing their love and concern for the alcoholic or addict’s welfare may be surprised to learn that if they can frame the intervention as an act of mutual aid, that they themselves are also reaching out for help for themselves, the alcoholic/addict might be more grateful than angry. One family remarked, “We were encouraged to say, ‘I love you and I care deeply about you, but I am concerned. Here’s what I see happening to you and to our relationship. And, I am willing to change my behavior with the help of professionals and Al-Anon.”

During the Intervention

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During interventions, families and friends usually give concrete examples of how the disease of addiction is impacting them. One therapist uses letters termed, “impact letters,” that might include an actual scenario, one written by a child or an adult child. For example, an actual letter might read, “I had friends over for dinner one night, and Mom had to escort you to your bedroom; everyone knew you’d been drinking. I was so embarrassed.” By tying their feelings to the statements, the family members are allowed to express their feelings without threatening or blaming.

An intervention may not work, particularly if a negative, confrontative approach is used. If addiction is framed as a disease, which the American Medical Association has termed it, the person should not be “beat up” in the process of intervention. An interventionist expressed, “If the person had diabetes or any other illness, there’s little chance a family would blame the patient.” The last thing, according to Al-Anon, one would desire to do is treat the person “like an irresponsible naughty child” (ODAT 3).

A few protocols to follow for family or friends considering intervention include:

  • Educate yourself first about the disease of addiction before you intervene. If you choose to write letters, be concise, provide examples, and accentuate the positive. Rehearse with a friend or relative, or even a professional, before you actually present.
  • Interventions are most effective on neutral ground, a therapist’s office, for example.
  • Participants should be limited to close family, friends, and if appropriate, employers or fellow employees.
  • Interventions should be timed, less than 90 minutes. Longer sessions tend to become eruptive and non-productive. Compassion also tends to decline, according to one therapist, if over 60 minutes.
  • Schedule an addiction evaluation or assessment to follow the meeting.
  • Be clear about the consequences should the person not choose help, and make sure the addict/alcoholic understands that this boundary is for you, to keep you sane, financially safe and secure, and in good health. Be prepared to act on that boundary whether it is a physical or emotional one.

After the Intervention

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Recovery is a process for the addicted person as well as the family. An intervention cannot be counted as a failure, even if the person doesn’t choose recovery, for the family and friends have sought and received help for themselves. They’ve also planted a seed for recovery. Additionally, once families attend meetings such as Al-Anon, they learn what it means to enable which can be a destructive pattern in the addiction cycle. The sooner families get help, the sooner their alcoholic or addict may choose change for themselves.

Whatever form of intervention, therapists caution that families need to think carefully and plan ahead and do the work necessary because the power of an intervention comes from a framework of compassion. Some people can quit drinking on their own and using on their own, but many need to detox medically, under a doctor’s care. Many also need some professional treatment to help them get through those tough first days and weeks.

While the subject is a tough one to approach for families, the reward can be critical to healing their loved one’s brain, as addiction does nothing less than hijack the neural pathways. Recognize that the person is ill, that decision-making has been compromised, and impulsivity or lack of control is the signature of an addicted brain. It’s a tough place to be in—both for families and the addict.

For additional reading, Vernon Johnson authored Intervention: How to Help Someone Who Doesn’t Want Help, as a guide for families and friends considering intervention.

Recovery is one of the largest clubs around. Millions have chosen recovery over dying of alcohol poisoning, of liver damage, or in a car accident, or drug overdose. Many of them are waiting in your community to help your alcoholic or addict, and other programs such as Al-Anon/Ala-teen are just waiting to welcome your family.

Staying Clean and Sober Through the Holiday Season

The holiday season is intended to be a happy time–one of revelrous get-togethers, jovial festivities, and social gatherings. It often brings about happy feelings among family, friends, and co-workers. Unfortunately, that is not true for everyone. For people who struggle with alcohol and drug abuse and addiction, this season can spark memories of a time of overindulgence, among other things, and it can bring on the “holiday blues.”

For some, the holiday season means they’ll deal with feelings of sadness, loneliness, anxiety, and hopelessness, which can be a recipe for disaster or the “perfect storm” for relapse. But raising awareness about the dangers associated with the holiday season can help one to adequately plan for situations that could be possible triggers. And, once those possible triggers are identified, one can create a contingency plan. While this contingency plan is not a surefire defense against relapse, it certainly helps to have a well-thought-out plan beforehand.

Holiday Stressors

The holiday season is a hectic time of year for us all. The holidays can be an especially trying season for those of us in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Family gatherings, office parties, and other miscellaneous social occasions can pose a real threat to our sobriety. Some family gatherings and most parties typically revolve around alcohol consumption, but this is especially true during the holiday season.

Traveling can be stressful. Also, being around family members can be stress-inducing. Families each carry their own unique dynamics, and complexities, which can become very apparent during the holidays. Often, this happens because family members who may not have seen each other in a while are together. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous claims that resentments are the “No. 1 offender” for relapse. Resentments that run deep with family members may crop up during the holiday season, even if you have worked the steps.

Also, the holidays can impose a significant amount of stress on someone. Financial troubles are one reason the holidays can be stressful. For example, if you have a family of five and have three weeks sober time, are just starting back going to work after treatment, or are out of a job, Christmas or Hanukkah can be a huge trigger. If you can’t buy gifts for your family or are trying to scrounge up change to buy gifts, feelings of guilt, shame, and inadequacy could lead to a relapse.

The holiday season can also magnify any significant losses you may have experienced as the result of death, divorce, or a severing of ties. Seeing others sharing this time with their families and loved ones can be very difficult if you don’t have a family or are missing loved ones. Loneliness is a huge trigger for relapse.

There are a variety of reasons why the holiday season can be a difficult time of year. Being aware of these stressors and being prepared to handle them is essential to staying sober through the holidays. Staying proactive in your recovery is a huge part of maintaining long-term sobriety.

How to Handle the Stress and Prevent Relapse

Preparing for the holidays is the best way to prevent a relapse. Some things may happen that we simply cannot plan for, but planning for what we know will be difficult is key.

Increasing your support during the holidays is crucial. You may want to ramp up your 12-Step meeting attendance and make sure that any holiday plans you have will not conflict with the meetings you plan to attend. Also, stay in touch with your support group, whether that is sober friends, supportive friends and family members, a therapist, or your sponsor. The more you stay in touch with your supports, the better.

If your holiday plans take you out of town, you need to have your meeting schedule lined up for wherever you are going. You can locate Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings on both of their websites: AA.org and NA.org. Also, there are different smartphone apps designed to help you stay sober and locate meetings in out-of-town areas.

Being self-aware is a large part of maintaining sobriety. Meditation and other self-care techniques will help you to be aware of whether or not you need to HALT. H.A.L.T. means hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Any of the above can make you susceptible to relapse.

Make sure that you get plenty of rest and get all of the nutrients you need. If you are getting all the nutrients and sleep your body needs, its chemicals, like your neurotransmitters, are more stable, which keeps you more stable. Also, be careful not to overindulge on sugary or high-fat foods, nicotine or caffeine, during the holidays. All of these substances can be detrimental to your recovery if consumed in large quantities.

There are a few ways to avoid relapse in holiday party situations. First, make sure you bring your own vehicle or mode of transportation so that if you start to feel uncomfortable, you can easily remove yourself from the situation. Second, only go to a party where alcohol is served if you absolutely have to, especially if you feel stressed out from other situations before the party. Make sure you don’t put too much on your plate at one time.

Next, if you do attend a party, keep a non-alcoholic beverage in your hand so that people are less likely to offer you an alcoholic beverage. Another way to engage in holiday festivities or a dinner party without feeling pressured is skipping the “cocktail hour” before the event itself. Taking a sober friend or companion can be helpful, also.

Being of service is a great way to stay sober, year around, but also, during the holidays. The holiday season presents unique service opportunities, like serving in a soup kitchen on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, or shopping for homeless children or those less-fortunate than yourself. Even if you can’t spend money on someone during the holidays, there are plenty of ways to be of service that are totally free.

Also, finding new ways to celebrate the season is a key component in maintaining sobriety. So, create new traditions, like going to a 12-Step holiday function, and mainly, make sure you avoid isolation.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol and drug addiction during the holidays, contact us at The Palm Beach Institute, today. We can help you to achieve sobriety during the season and year-round. Reach out to us anytime.