What Sober Living Homes are Like

Think of sober living homes as the bridge that spans the time between inpatient treatment and a return to normal life. It’s an excellent opportunity to apply the coping skills you’ve learned during therapy.

Taking a Bite out of Adjusting to “Real” Life

If there’s a common concern among those overcoming addiction, it would have to be the fear of returning home. Will you be able to maintain your sobriety? How do you build a routine that doesn’t include buying, selling or using drugs? What should you do if cravings hit again when you face your triggers?

Within the safe environment of sober living homes, you get a dress rehearsal of sorts. While you adjust to daily chores, living with roommates, and cooking nutritional meals and keeping your surroundings clean, you’ll have support and accountability. It’s important to practice these activities before moving back home, where someone expects you to function like that on a daily basis. You also get used to doing things that you let go by the wayside while using.

Who are Good Candidates for Moving into Sober Living Homes?

Naturally, the caring staff at an alcohol and drug treatment center won’t send you to one of these residences until you’re ready. In fact, therapists and those overcoming addiction typically work together to determine when someone’s prepared to give it a try. Candidates who have excellent chances for success come from various programs.

  • Outpatient treatment. Graduates from the inpatient treatment program move on to the outpatient setting. Even though individual therapy sessions continue, these program participants are ready to start building independent routines. They also have the opportunity to attend events in the community to practice their social skills.
  • Partial hospitalization. Those participating in a partial hospitalization program may be living with parents or loved ones who are helping them get back on their feet. However, since the goal of sobriety is independent living, the participation in the sober living program can make a big difference. Learning to function independently significantly assists someone overcoming substance abuse to gain the confidence they need to move forward.
  • Setback management. Someone in an aftercare setting may realize that living independently is too difficult. If you’ve moved right past participating in the sober living experience, now is a good time to come back and regroup. Taking advantage of this practice opportunity gives you a chance at working on daily life and social skills.

How to Get Help Now

It all starts with a call to 1st Step Behavioral Health. The caring therapists work with you to check you into a drug and alcohol detox center. Once you finish there, they’ll help you select any drug treatment programs that are right for your unique circumstances. Don’t let addiction rob you of another day of life. Call (866) 319-6126 now to get help!

What is IOP Treatment?

Intensive outpatient programs or IOPs are treatment programs that are used to target addictions, depression, eating disorders, or other dependencies that do not need detoxification or 24/7 supervision. IOP therapy allows the patient to have a more normal daily routine. IOP therapy is also a more science-based approach to addiction recovery. However, outpatient treatment isn’t right for every rehab attendee. There are plenty of treatment options available. What is IOP, and why do therapists base participation eligibility on specific factors? The experts at 1st Step Behavioral Health have answers to your questions.

Treatment Options for Individuals Struggling with Substance Abuse Problems

Before answering, “what is IOP,” it’s important to highlight that it’s only one approach to help people attain sobriety. For example, other drug treatment programs include:

  • Inpatient. In inpatient treatment, you enjoy a safe and well-monitored addiction-counseling environment. Personalization determines the types of therapies you participate in. It’s the ideal choice for individuals who fear negative outside interactions with friends or family members during early recovery.
  • Partial hospitalization. When you live in a safe home environment, a partial hospitalization program may be ideal for you. Although you live at home in a PHP program, you spend your days at the rehab facility to participate in treatment. This alternative is a good option when family or peers support your goal of sobriety without enabling a return to using.
  • Outpatient program. Standard outpatient treatment is the next step after a program participant graduates from the inpatient setting. This stage enables individuals to practice the life and social skills they learned in residential rehab while still being held accountable. Another alternative is a sober living home for those who still need a bit more structure before returning to their lives.

You Know about Outpatient Treatment, so What is IOP?

Therapists might recommend that you participate in another program once you complete your residential treatment. Even so, you may not be quite ready for the standard outpatient setting. Adding the intensive care management component to the outpatient setting ensures that you receive supplementary therapy sessions. They are invaluable resources when you have made significant strides in some areas but still need to catch up with others.

From this vantage point, it’s a natural stride in the gradual step-down of rehab care. However, this treatment option is also an alternative for individuals whose addiction problem is fairly mild. When these individuals also have a stable home environment, they’re excellent candidates for an intensive outpatient program. Even so, it’s more intensive than a standard outpatient setup to make heightened care and access to therapeutic modalities possible.

The success of the treatment rests, in part, on the relationship between participants and their primary therapists. Because the professionals carefully track attendance, progress, and possible problem markers, attendees don’t flounder. Instead, individuals that treat them disclose any worries they may have. If individuals in treatment decide to withdraw from the IOP and move to a more concentrated setup, counselors make the transition easy.

Getting Help is Easy and Convenient

With so many treatment program alternatives, there’s bound to be one that’s ideally suited to your situation. Whether it’s an inpatient, partial hospitalization, outpatient, or intensive outpatient program, you can get help. Call (866) 319-6126 today to connect with caring therapy specialists and learn more about your treatment options.

Important Components and Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)

You understand that there are basically two main forms of addiction treatment; these are outpatient and inpatient. We have clearly stated how adding intensive outpatient management can enhance the quality and standard of supplementary therapies when you’re in a recovering stage.  

However, if you are still confused, here are some important components and benefits of IOP.

Components of Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)

There is no doubt that IOP is one of the great first lines of treatments that 1stStep Behavioral Health Center offers. It is an excellent step up from structured outpatient programs when a patient wants to freely participate in social activities while staying in the supervision of his/her therapists.  

In other words, it is a step down from 1stStep Behavioral Health’s residential program. Patients who enter the program have already made some progress toward recovery. It is like a seamless continuum of well-being and care.

While IOPs may vary depending on where you’re availing the services, in general, it has the following core services:

  • Individual and group counseling
  • Different behavioral therapies in both settings
  • Monitoring of drug and alcohol levels
  • Pharmacological tools
  • Case management
  • Educational opportunities
  • Mental health and medical treatment
  • 24-hour crisis management

In addition to these components, recovering patients at 1stStep Behavioral Health Center receive fitness programs, vocational training, family therapies, nutritional services, and other services as part of the IOP program.  

Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Services

The recovery program is designed to facilitate individuals who want more monitoring during their recovery stage. An IOP treatment has plenty of benefits to offer.

You Maintain Household Responsibilities 

This one benefit is what distinguishes IOP from inpatient treatment. The treatment option allows patients to maintain and manage their household responsibilities while completing their recovery phase.  It especially benefits people who have children to look after and need continued supervised care. 

Plus, people with demanding jobs or those who can’t afford full-time nannies can manage everything with this option. In short, IOP treatment offers flexibility and freedom when needed.

Allows you to Strengthen Family Networks

IOP brings you a great opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your close friends and family by making a strong network with them. You intentionally meet or spend time with them as a part of the treatment process.

Helps You Keep things Private

You might not have thought of IOP from this perspective, but it is no doubt one of the important aspects to consider. A lot of people feel a great deal of embarrassment when it comes to disclosing that they are recovering from an addiction. 

Admitting to recovery centers is one of the roadblocks for them. At 1stStep Behavioral Health Center, our professional therapists are committed to providing privacy if you opt for intensive outpatient treatment. You don’t only feel confident, but also safe during the recovery process.  

Inexpensive Process

Another great benefit that you get when you choose IOP treatment is that it costs you less money. As it is significantly inexpensive and feasible, more patients tend to choose it.  

Is IOP Therapy Right For You?

IOP therapy is a crucial part of the road to recovery for people seeking help in overcoming addiction. Inpatient care, such as being in a hospital, clinic, rehab, or other facilities – can be challenging for some people. Although these kinds of treatments provide the highest level of care, they’re not always suited for people with certain obligations. Perhaps you have family or work commitments that attending to is important. Leaving for a substantial amount of time may not be a realistic option for you.

If you’re someone with those kinds of obligations, IOPs are often the best choice. You get the best of both worlds by undergoing treatment and being able to stay at home at the same time.

Ideal candidates for IOP therapy have a safe home environment. This includes encouraging family members and friends who provide a strong support system. If a person lives with other people who use drugs or drink, residential treatment is typically suggested to get the person away from these triggers for relapse.

What to Expect

IOP therapy is centered around about 10-12 hours of group and individual therapy each week, as well as encouraging participation in a 12-step program. Patients in IOPs typically visit a facility three to four times per week, often for three hours at a time. Depending on your specific needs, our programs and hours of participation required may vary. It is important for us to guide you through the process of reaching your goals and tailor the treatment for your specific needs. An IOP includes a higher level of care than general outpatient programs, and this means more time attributed to treatment each week.

IOP Treatment is almost always centered around the approaches below. IOP therapy is focused on the power of therapy and the community in the road to recovery. Your treatment will incorporate these core aspects in an organized approach that sets you up for success.

•   12-Step facilitation

•   Cognitive-behavioral

•   Motivational

•   Therapeutic community

•   Matrix model

•   Community reinforcement and contingency management

Our different kinds of methods are customized to make your experience as smooth for you as possible. When you’re ready to begin your road to recovery, 1st Step Behavioral Health can help. Contact us online, or by calling us (866) 319-6126 to learn more about one of our programs in Pompano Beach, Florida.


types of mental illness

Types of Mental Illness That Contribute to Addiction

When discussing various types of mental illness against the backdrop of substance abuse, it’s important to consider the whole picture. Does one cause the other? Can you overcome an addiction without also addressing a mental illness? Evidence suggests that dual diagnosis treatment is your best solution for lifelong sobriety.

When Substance Abuse Affects Mental Health Disorders

It’s hard to tell whether a psychological condition precedes an alcohol or drug addiction or vice versa. Researchers can prove, however, that some drugs make mental health problems worse. For example, cycles of drinking alcohol to excess and experiencing bouts of depression go together. Stimulants such as amphetamines and cocaine may affect anxiety, panic attacks, and paranoia.

The Types of Mental Illness That Contribute to Addiction

Did you know that schizophrenia, depression, and psychosis affect a specific part of the brain? This part is strongly associated with dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that plays a substantial role in feelings of wellbeing. Medications that treat these mental illnesses act directly on dopamine. Incidentally, this is also true of a broad range of addictive drugs.

The link between mental health and the need to heighten the dopamine effect is strong. When someone’s psychological condition remains undiagnosed, addictive tendencies often cause them to self-medicate and manipulate dopamine levels. During a detox process, individuals struggling with substance abuse restore the body’s chemical baseline. Adding subsequent rehab to the mix can make a huge difference in the way they handle their dopamine adjustment needs.

How Rehab Helps with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders

Do you suffer from one of the types of mental illness that affect the neurotransmitter, dopamine? If you suspect that this is the case, dual diagnosis treatment centers can make a significant difference. They may impact your ability to overcome addiction in the following ways:

  • Prescription drugs reduce self-medicating behaviors. Find out if you have a mental health condition. If so, appropriate medication can help your brain to achieve the chemical balance it needs. Doing so cuts down on your urge to self-medicate.
  • Dual diagnosis treatment supports long-term sobriety. Because you no longer have dopamine deficiencies, you have a better chance at achieving lifelong sobriety.
  • Inpatient programs explore coping mechanisms. It takes most medication for mental health conditions a little while to build up in your system. During your inpatient stay, medical professionals help adjust your treatment as needed. This is also the time to undergo talk therapy and learn about the development of coping skills.
  • Sober living homes enable life skills development. As you prepare to adjust back to regular life, sober living homes provide the bridge between rehab and independence.

Taking the First Step on the Road to Recovery is Possible Today

You don’t have to allow this vicious cycle of using and craving to continue. Break the chains that drugs or alcohol have on you today. At 1st Step Behavioral Health, a dual diagnosis evaluation is a starting point that promises success. Call (866) 319-6126 to find your way out of substance abuse!

Is Addiction a Disease?

It’s a common misconception that an alcohol or drug habit is a sign of character weakness. Knowing that it isn’t a character flaw leaves a lot of people wondering what it actually is. Is addiction a disease? And if so, is there are a cure?

Understanding the Difference between a Character Flaw and an Illness

It’s true that plenty of people start using drugs or alcohol voluntarily, which may be a character flaw. Some of these individuals then develop a dependence on their substance of choice. At this point, they no longer choose to continue to take the drug or drink. Instead, an uncontrollable craving compels them.

So, is addiction a disease with a self-infliction component? It’s interesting to note that even this question doesn’t have a clear answer. Researchers argue that those struggling with a substance abuse problem may have a genetic predisposition to addiction. Other contributing factors include upbringing and current socio-economic environment, which often fall outside a person’s control.

Is Addiction a Disease with a Cure?

There’s good news and bad news. Researchers, physicians, therapists, and scientists agree that addiction is indeed a disease. Unfortunately, there currently isn’t a “cure.” As a result, someone struggling with a substance abuse problem is highly likely to battle with it for a long time.

That said, this disease is treatable and it’s possible to go into remission with the right addiction therapy.

  • Caring environment. You wouldn’t dream of treating a heart disease or diabetes patient harshly. Someone fighting an addiction also needs a caring environment that expresses itself with a supportive staff presence.
  • Dual diagnosis treatment. Therapists understand that mental health conditions often factor into the development of a substance abuse problem. Although it’s sometimes unclear which came first, addiction or mental illness, there’s little doubt that the conditions aggravate one another. Overcoming substance abuse problems, therefore, requires attention to both illnesses.
  • Residential treatment option. The level of personalization that patients receive in an inpatient setting is difficult to replicate with other treatment models. It combines supervision with round-the-clock care and encouragement. For many, these factors are instrumental aspects of overcoming addiction.
  • Sober living support. After completing a residential drug treatment program, it’s time to move to a supported sober living environment. In this setting, individuals learn to apply the skills they garnered during therapy sessions. That said, there’s still a safety net that allows therapists to intervene as needed.
  • Aftercare support. There’s no shame in needing help even after living sober for a while at home. Because the therapy environment encourages peer group support formation, help is always only a call away.

Getting This Level of Help is Possible Right Now

You don’t have to go on living a life controlled by addiction. Instead, break free now by entrusting your disease to a caring treatment team. Call 1st Step Behavioral Health today at (866) 319-6126 to turn your life around!

Most Common Psychological Disorders

Why does it make sense to discuss psychological disorders when talking about substance abuse? For starters, there’s a good chance that a mental illness may be one of the reasons for someone’s struggle with addiction. Secondly, the presence of mental health disorders can get worse during times of substance abuse. What conditions should you be aware of?

Stigma Leads to the Absence of a Diagnosis

Although mental illness is very common, it isn’t common for most people to admit that their is a problem. For various reasons, individuals who have psychological disorders or simply battle with their mental health, often they hesitate to come forward. They may not feel comfortable seeking out a diagnosis because no one really wants to admit that they may not be “normal”. As a result, they cannot adequately meet their mental health needs and more often than not, they person will begin self-medicating with drugs and/or alcohol keeps unwelcome thoughts and feelings at bay, keeping the person in a vicious cycle of mental illness and substance abuse. 

Below is a list of the most common mental disorders that lead to dual diagnosis:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
    • GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.
    • Women are twice as likely to be affected as men. GAD often co-occurs with major depression.
  • Bi-Polar Disorder (BPD)
    • It may affect as many as 60 million people worldwide.
    • More than half of all patients begin seeing symptoms between the ages of 15 and 25, but it can begin at any age.
    • There is no cure, but for many people state the symptoms can be controlled with treatment.
    • Bipolar Disorder is sometimes referred to as manic depression.
    • Some people may experience mood swings that are less extreme than a full manic episode, known as hypomania
    • People with Bi-Polar Disorder often also have other mental disorders.
  • Eating Disorders
    • 13 percent of women over the age of 50 have symptoms of an eating disorder.
    • The rate of children under 12 being admitted to a hospital for eating disorders rose 119 percent in less than a decade.
    • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, with nearly 1 person dying every hour as a direct result of an eating disorder.
    • Sufferers aren’t always underweight; about 35 percent of binge eating disorders and 30 percent of bulimia patients are medically obese.
    • Anorexia is the 3rd most common mental illness among adolescents, after asthma and obesity.
    • Over 70 percent of those who suffer with eating disorders will not seek treatment due to stigma, misconceptions, lack of education, diagnosis and lack of access to care.
  • Psychotic Disorder
    • Can include but are not limited to Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Schizophreniform Disorder, Brief Psychotic Disorder, Delusional Disorder & Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder.
  • Panic Disorder (PD)
    • PD affects 6 million adults, or 2.7% of the U.S. population.
    • Women are twice as likely to be affected as men.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
    • SAD affects 15 million adults, or 6.8% of the U.S. population.
    • SAD is equally common among men and women and typically begins around the age of 13. According to a 2007 ADAA survey, 36% of people with social anxiety disorder report experiencing symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking help.
  • Specific Phobias
    • Specific phobias affect 19 million adults, or 8.7% of the U.S. population.
    • Women are twice as likely to be affected as men.
    • Symptoms typically begin in childhood; the average age-of-onset is 7 years old.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are closely related to anxiety disorders, which some may experience at the same time, along with depression.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    • OCD affects 2.2 million adults, or 1.0% of the U.S. population.
    • OCD is an equally psychological disorder common among men and women.
    • The average age of onset is 19, with 25 percent of cases occurring by age 14. One-third of affected adults first experienced mental illness symptoms in childhood.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    • PTSD affects 7.7 million adults, or 3.5% of the U.S. population.
    • Women are more likely to be affected than men.
    • Rape is the most likely trigger of PTSD: 65% of men and 45.9% of women who are raped will develop this type of common mental disorder.
    • Childhood sexual abuse is a strong predictor of lifetime likelihood for developing PTSD.
  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
    • The leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44 years.
    • MDD affects more than 16.1 million American adults, or about 6.7% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in any given year.
    • While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5 years old.
    • More prevalent in women than in men.
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) * formerly called dysthymia* is a form of depression that usually continues for at least two years.
    • Affects approximately 1.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. (about 3.3 million American adults). Only 61.7% of adults with PDD are receiving treatment. The average age of onset is 31 years old.
  • Related & Common Mental Illnesses 
    • Many people with an anxiety disorder also have a co-occurring disorder or physical illness, which can make their symptoms worse and recovery more difficult. It’s essential to be treated for both psychological disorders and substance abuse.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are closely related to anxiety disorders, which some may experience at the same time, along with depression.

Most Common Co-Occurring Disorders (Dual Diagnosis)

  • Major Depression AND Stimulant Abuse/Addiction
  • cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription stimulants, like Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta.
  • Panic Disorder AND Alcohol Abuse/Addiction
  • Wine and/or Spirits.
  • Schizophrenia AND Poly-Drug Abuse/Addiction and Alcohol Abuse/Addiction
  • Drugs Used in Conjunction with Methamphetamines:  Ecstasy, Cocaine, Dexamphetamine (Dexies) GHB (Liquid Ecstasy), Ketamine and/or LSD.
  • Wine and/or Spirits.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder with Episodic Poly-Drug Abuse/Addiction 
  • The Addict is in an Intoxicated State Without any Preference to a Particular Drug and/or Substance.

In a lot of cases, addiction and substance abuse appears to actually be the cause of common mental disorders, while in other cases, the opposite may occur.

Several common mental disorders come from similar factors such as addictive disorders; family history, brain chemistry and trauma in ones’ life. When it comes to recovery from co-occurring disorders and dual diagnosis, treatment must target both the mental illness AND the addictive disorder in order to produce effective, lasting and long term sobriety. 

Common Psychological Disorders Frequently Affect Substance Abuse Patients

In the absence of a mental health checkup, subsequent psychological disorder diagnosis, and eventual overall health treatment, individuals often feel helpless because they often confuse addiction as just that, addiction. In more cases than not, it’s a missed dual diagnosis of a mental illness or mental disorder that leads to the addiction or substance abuse.

They may know that something’s wrong but attempt to deal with the addiction or substance abuse on their own. Self-medication with drugs or alcohol is the most common result because of the stigma attached to psychological disorders. For this and the following reasons, a dual diagnosis treatment center can mean the difference between remaining an addict and long term mental health healing:

  • Comprehensive mental health evaluation pinpoints the primary psychological disorder and any secondary conditions.
  • Targeted therapies for mental disorders/mental illnesses management include talk therapy and prescribed medication use.
  • Development of coping skills, which take into account the effects of mental health disorders on daily life and activities.

Is it possible to undergo inpatient or outpatient treatment without a dual diagnosis? Although you could most certainly seek out this type of treatment, most would only only spot-fix the symptoms creating a much higher chance of relapse. While you might be able to give up the drug and/or alcohol for a little while, the underlying condition remains in place. Before long, there’s a high probability that you’ll return to using for self-medication and only increasing the severity of the psychological disorder and substance abuse.

The co-occurring condition (dual diagnosis) approach offers you a long-term way out of addiction and mental illness and helps pave the way to sobriety and sanity. Sure, there might still be setbacks along the way, but the therapies work to help you cope with REAL life. As you continue your mental health treatment and substance abuse counseling, you have a greater chance of remaining on track with rehabilitation aftercare which leads to long term sobriety and a healthier mind.

Is Mental Illness & Substance Abuse Adversely Affecting You?

It is possible that a mental disorder or illness is contributing to the substance abuse problem you may be experiencing right now, if you have the “not so” common ability to recognize that – then now is the time to seek REAL and lasting mental health treatment. Getting treatment for a common psychological disorder with dual diagnosis, will be stressful; but it doesn’t have to be difficult; let us show you how.

Consider this your first real step to taking back control by seeking only the best professional help, and get your life back!  One quick call to the qualified staff at 1st Step Behavioral Health can put you on the road to sobriety. Call (866) 319-6126 now or contact us here!