Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning, also known as alcohol intoxication is a serious and life-threatening consequence of drinking too much. With the continuing rise of people binge drinking and more people becoming alcoholics, it is important to know the symptoms and signs of alcohol poisoning and what to do if you are experiencing it or with someone who is. 

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol Poisoning happens when a person consumes too much alcohol, and the body can not process it fast enough. The poisonous effects become too much for the body and can lead to death. Everyone’s body processes alcohol differently. There are so many different factors that come into play when trying to figure out how much is too much. 

  • Age: older people tend to suffer from alcohol poisoning more due to chemical changes in the body
  • Gender: females can not break down alcohol as quickly as males
  • Weight: a heavier person, has more water and blood so they will have a lower BAC
  • Metabolism: the higher the chemicals in your liver, the quicker it breaks down the alcohol.
  • Alcohol tolerance: gives a false sense of security, a high tolerance does not mean lower BAC

Alcohol is broken down mostly through the liver. In most people, the liver can break down one shot of hard liquor, one 12 ounce beer, or one five-ounce glass of wine per hour. If a person drinks more than that in an hour the excess alcohol that the liver can not break down stays in the bloodstream. And as a person continues to drink, the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) continues to rise. As a person’s BAC levels rise, so does the level of impairment. 

The signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning

M- Mental Confusion

U- Unresponsive/passed out

S- Snoring/Gasping for Air

T- Throwing Up/Vomiting

H- Hypothermia/low body temperature

E- Erratic Breathing

L- Loss of Consciousness

P- Pale Skin

This is an easy acronym to remember if you think someone you love may be suffering from alcohol poisoning. 

Binge Drinking and Alcohol Poisoning

Binge drinking is defined as consuming a significant amount of alcohol in a single setting. Binge drinking is the number one cause of alcohol poisoning. 4-5 drinks in 2 hours is considered a significant amount since your body can only process one drink in an hour. 

Binge drinking is thought to be most common in teens and young adults but is on the rise in adults over the age of 65. For some, they binge drink once a month, and some binge drink once a week. The more times a person binge drinks, the harder it is on the liver to stay healthy, and the amount of alcohol it can process in an hour starts to lessen. 

Someone who thinks that because they drink all the time, they can’t get alcohol poisoning is sadly mistaken.

Signs of Impairment

  • Speech- As reflexes start to relax, so does your mouth and tongue making it harder to form words.
  • Balance-The more you drink, and the more relaxed your body becomes, the more likely you are to fall or lose your balance. 
  • Vision- Blurred vision is temporary and will go away once a person is sober.
  • Vomiting- Vomiting is your body’s way of getting rid of toxins. But be careful since gag reflexes could be too relaxed and a person could choke.
  • Blackout- Blacking out is a body’s response when a person won’t stop drinking. This is extremely dangerous as the chances of death increase once a person passes out. 

Most people, once they have a second or third drink, start to feel the effects of alcohol. It starts off feeling good and happy. Some people become more social and outgoing as their inhibitions start to fade. And for some, once they get to this feeling, they will start to slow down and not drink as fast, but for those who just keep drinking, the above starts to happen.

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

  • Seizures- Too much alcohol in the bloodstream causes a drop in blood sugar levels, and if they drop low enough, it can cause life-threatening seizures. 
  • Vomiting- Choking on vomit is not the only danger from vomiting. A person can aspirate or inhale vomit into the lungs and cause serious medical problems. 
  • Slow breathing- A slow breathing rate is a key indicator of alcohol poisoning. It’s not uncommon for those experiencing alcohol poisoning to have gaps of as much as 10 seconds in between each breath.
  • Low body Temperature- In an attempt to deal with a large amount of alcohol flooding the system at once, the body can lower its temperature.
  • Pale skin- Pale skin is the first indication of low body temperature.
  • Confusion- A person is likely to forget things that are going on or have an emotional outburst. 
  • Passing Out-One of the most dangerous things a person can do is let a friend or loved one “pass out” after consuming too much alcohol. An alcohol overdose can cause unconsciousness, meaning that the person in question can’t be woken up. This is dangerous for a number of reasons, one of which is that many individuals suffering from an alcohol overdose can vomit while unconscious. In certain positions, they can choke on their vomit and die.

Treating Alcohol Poisoning

When someone is suffering from alcohol poisoning, it is very important to stay calm and get help immediately. Alcohol has suppressed the brain’s automatic life functions that a person could stop breathing at any time, so knowing the things to do and not to do are important and could save a life. If you are with someone who has alcohol poisoning, the most important thing you can do is to stay calm. It is a very stressful situation, and most times, you will have been drinking too. 

If they are responsive:

  • Stay with the person- NEVER leave them alone, a person could get worse in a matter of seconds
  • Body Positioning- ALWAYS keep the person laying on their side, never on their back in case they vomit and never sitting up in case they fall over
  • Stay Calm- the calmer you are, the calmer they will be
  • Give them time- make the person comfortable, not too hot, not too cold, DO NOT give them food or anything to drink as it could make them vomit, DO NOT give them showers as the water may put the body into shock further causing harm or causing the person to fall and get hurt even more

If they are unresponsive:

  • Call 911 immediately
  • Roll on their side- if they vomit they can choke or inhale the vomit into their lungs causing more problems
  • Stay with them- never leave a person alone
  • Check their breathing- 8 or fewer breaths a minute is considered slow breathing and is extremely dangerous

Remember that alcohol poisoning is extremely dangerous, and once a person reaches the stage on passing out, they may never wake up again. So it is important to get help right away. 

What Not to Do 

What not to do is just as important as what to do when treating alcohol poisoning.

  • Do not leave them alone! Things can change in a second.
  • Do not lay them on their back, so they do not choke.
  • Do not make them stand, walk, or shower as they could fall and hurt themselves more.
  • Do not give them coffee. Caffeine worsens dehydration.
  • Do not give them food. It could cause more vomiting and could cause choking.

What Happens if Alcohol Poisoning is Left Untreated?

What most people do not understand is that even once you quit drinking, the body is still trying to process all the alcohol. A person’s blood alcohol content still continues to rise for almost an hour after they stop drinking. By that time, some people have gone home and are asleep or are alone. The chances of serious health consequences or even death are extremely high in these cases.

  • A person’s breathing could slow down to the point of stopping.
  • A person may choke on their own vomit.
  • A person’s heartbeat can become so slow it just stops.
  • If blood sugar levels drop, it could cause seizures.
  • Vomiting causes severe dehydration, which leads to brain damage and can cause seizures.
  • A person’s body temperature could drop so low it can cause severe medical issues.

What’s Next When You Have Had Enough

Did you wake up today after a hard night of drinking, and you are in the hospital because of alcohol poisoning? Or maybe you are at home feeling like you got hit by a truck. Or is someone you care about killing themselves by binge drinking to the point of alcohol poisoning? Are you lost as to what the next step is or where to turn for help? The wonderful and caring staff at 1st Step Behavioral Health will guide you every step of the way. 

If you notice signs of alcohol poisoning in yourself or others, do not ignore them. Never leave a person who is unconscious alone, and call for emergency medical help immediately. Alcohol consumption that borders on binge drinking regularly is one sign of alcohol addiction. In the days that follow, seeking substance abuse treatment might be a smart move to ensure that an overdose never happens again.

Understanding the signs of alcohol poisoning can be vital in helping loved ones. For more resources and help in treating substance abuse and addiction, reach out to 1st Step Behavioral Health today! We can help you or your loved one get on track toward sobriety and health for a lifetime. 

Rewiring Your Brain

Have you ever watched a guitar player at the top of their game moving their fingers around on the fretboard so fast that you wonder how they can think that fast? The answer is, of course, they don’t really. It’s what we call muscle memory. 

Athletes, musicians, and doctors learn to practice some tasks so many times that they can respond so quickly that consciously thinking about it slows them down. Addiction and mental illness hijack this ability to reinforce negative behavior, but we can hack it for good as well. Keep reading to learn more about how to rewire your brain for the better. 

Rewiring Our Brains: How Does It Work?

Our brains don’t work the same way computers do, but in many ways, they are similar. As we go about our lives, our brains program themselves in response to surroundings, successes, and failures. If there is something our brain feels is important, it builds faster connections to the ability to perform that thought or action.

In a nutshell, the things we practice the most are the things that get faster connections. It may seem strange to think about it in this way, but when we are thinking negative thoughts, we are practicing negativity. The brain makes it easier for us to think negative thoughts because that’s what it thinks we want. 

The same goes for addictions. While there is a physical dependency on most drugs, there is also a psychological component. When we feel happy from a drug hit, the brain rewires itself to make it easier for us to do the things that caused it, even if it’s harmful.

Our Brains: The Science Behind Addiction

Many people seek drugs to escape to a happier place. Although it’s temporary, an addict may feel like that is their only way to get away from the pain they feel day-to-day. A brain on hard drugs is overcome with an abundance of chemicals – dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, glutamate, and adrenaline. With a single drug hit, you can feel like you just won the lottery.

Reproducing this feeling in our daily lives is a little bit of a different story. Feeling happiness can be a tamer, more controlled feeling. It’s hard to replicate that kind of overflowing chemical excitement in our normal worlds. This is how chemical dependency often starts.

The more you light up the reward pathways, the more your brain demands that you do little else. You are no longer in the driver’s seat. The brain’s pleasure centers do the talking and give the orders.

Sigmund Freud states how “Anatomy is destiny.” The pleasure centers of the brain are areas many people aren’t too familiar with. Examples include the ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens, amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex. These names may be new to you…However, they are major parts of your daily functioning. Especially when it comes to substance abuse. 

Here’s the upside. The brain also has a built-in override system, the frontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that makes a person moral and humane. The catch is that the frontal cortex needs regular maintenance. You can train this part of the brain to help you.

There are many solutions to overcoming addiction. It may help even to view this as a game of mental strength. Remember, it is you in control. You can choose to “beat your brain” and make it work for you. Building self-awareness, removing trigger environments and trigger friends, finding other healthy outlets, and having a mentor or support group – are all great strategies to help you rewire your brain.

Exercising Your Brain

So, if you’ve realized that your brain is quite good at feeling bad, don’t worry, the great part is that we can rewire our brains. It can take time, and it’s not easy, but if we start exercising our minds, we can create new pathways for good coping skills. 

There are several evidence-based techniques for this, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness, mental health rehab, and meditation. Even simple things like giving certain feelings names or breathing in deep and slow when there’s a trigger can sound silly, but they do work.

Methods for Rewiring Your Brain

Rewiring your brain starts with four basic concepts. Recognizing these concepts can help you gain control back into your life.

“What fires together, wires together.”

Addictive behavior is our brain’s and body’s way of reacting to certain stimuli, whether external or internal. What we need to do is form a new reaction to replace the old one. Neural pathways are a way for our brain to form new habits/patterns.

If you consistently respond to stress or triggers the same way, a neural pathway forms in your brain. Then when the trigger becomes apparent again, the brain/body automatically goes to that response. “What fires together wires together” is the most prominent aspect of this philosophy. 

For example, if we become frustrated or experience depression and then decide to take a drink of alcohol or abuse a substance, the physiological changes that take place (i.e., sense of euphoria) reduce the unwanted feelings. Consequently, this causes the cells to wire together so that when we become used to this fixated pattern. The more often we do this, the stronger the synaptic connections become in the brain.

The Perception of Ourselves

We all have the special ability to be able to step outside of our world and observe what’s going on. We can recognize the good and bad decisions we make. In other words, we are not our thoughts; we are not our behaviors or our feelings. We have thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. This allows us to not only recognize negative thoughts or behavioral patterns but to alter them for the better.

This requires us to understand the importance of our thoughts. We have the power to change our toxic habits if we recognize that it starts with reframing what we’ve become so used to.

We recommend doing a series of exercises, such as taking a moment to sit down and talk through some positive affirmations. 

These affirmations can be something along the lines of, “I have the power to change.” “I am full of potential.” “I am mentally strong.” Doing this throughout the day consistently can have immensely powerful benefits. 

Another great exercise is to name the behavior. When you get an urge to use a substance or partake in a bad habit, stop for a moment, and identify the urge. This will help show you that the urge itself is not a part of you. Let’s say you have an urge to take a pill.

Say to yourself, “This is my urge to take opioids.” Once you have stopped to look at it, you can ask some questions that might be helpful, such as “What just triggered this urge?” “What happened just before I had this thought?” 

Total Behavior

Addiction is made up of four components. It is easy to get caught up on the doing component of our bad habit. When we take the time to understand the other three, we allow ourselves to rewire our brain. 

The four components of every behavior are:  

  1. Doing (or active behavior): This is the behavior or action we do use our body. This can be driving to the liquor store, opening up a bottle of pills, or taking a hit of a joint.
  2. Thinking: These are the thoughts we have before or after the behavior. These are often negative thoughts centered around self-loathing.
  3. Feeling: These are the emotions we feel as a result of the thoughts we think or the behaviors we do. This can include feelings such as depression or guilt.
  4. Physiology: The brain releases neurochemicals and hormones that cause a physiological response in the body when we partake in an action. This response typically feels good in the moment when the drug is being consumed. However, this body response can then drive more of the behavior as the body builds up a tolerance.  

The next time you have an urge to do an addictive behavior, notice the urge, name the urge, and replace it with a different behavior first. For example, let’s say you have an urge to grab a drink. 

After you recognize and name the urge that you want to drink, replace it with a more positive behavior. For example, go outside and take a 10-minute walk. Maybe, you can do a mindfulness exercise and do a quick meditation. There are many different options.

Using your Mental Power for Good

What we want is to replace old neural pathways with new ones that supplement the kind of life we want to live. The more we fire the neurons on the new pathway, the weaker the old ones will become. It is important to understand that this can’t be a nonchalant choice. We must become aware of our thoughts. 

Brain research has shown that there is a split-second of time between a thought or urge and the resulting action. This is referred to as “free won’t.” This concludes that before we participate in something that’s damaging towards ourselves, we have the power to take a step back. Within this split second, we can ask ourselves the question, “What positive behavior can I replace this action with?” 

Rewiring your brain is all about replacing toxic patterns. 

Call Us Today

If you’re struggling with drug addiction, don’t shy away from getting help. Many people are in the same boat. No matter what struggle you’re going through, the right treatment can help propel you forward. Rewiring your brain is possible, and we’d be honored to help you.

Our doors are open for you! Our mission is to help you live the life you deserve. We’ll help you get the treatment you need. Call 1st Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126 or contact us here for more information about available programs.

addictive personality

What to Expect When Dating Someone with an Addictive Personality

You’ve been thinking about it for a while. It’s been filling your thoughts every day and keeping you awake at night. It’s not easy, you know, dating someone new. And, it’s even more challenging when the individual has an addictive personality. So, building a successful relationship with this individual is a challenge you’re not sure you can face.

It’s something that a lot of people are dealing with right now. So, believe it or not, you’re not alone in your uncertainty. There are many people who are a little unsure about what to expect when dating someone with an addictive personality.

It can be challenging to understand what your significant other is dealing with and experiencing. So, it’s best to be prepared when beginning a relationship with the individual you care about.

Let’s first discuss some of the traits of a person who has an addictive personality. Then, we’ll talk about the ways in which you can work through challenges within the relationship and how you can make sure the relationship remains healthy for both you and your partner.

Dating a Recovering Addict or Someone With an Addictive Personality

Perhaps the person you’re interested in used to struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. Maybe the individual suffered from substance dependence for months, even years. Now, he or she is in recovery, working to build a life free from addiction.

Many times, people who are in recovery are advised to avoid romantic relationships for at least a year. It allows them to spend more time working on themselves and overcoming the negative effects of addiction. It also gives them time to heal from the pain of substance dependence.

Addiction is complex and it isn’t always easy to understand the effects of it. Even after treatment, people who have struggled with substance abuse and addiction often have a hard time working through the changes that addiction brought to their lives.

Drug and alcohol addictions can cause people to feel isolated and distanced from others. It can cause separations in families and amongst circles of friends. People who suffer from substance dependence and addiction often spend more time using or in search of substances to use than they do with their loved ones.

Drug and alcohol addictions literally take over people’s lives. So, once an individual reaches out for help and goes through professional addiction treatment, it’s best for him or her to take time to completely overcome the effects of addiction.

In many situations, people who develop addiction problems have what is known as an addictive personality. So, even after treatment, they may struggle to stay free from addiction because of their personality traits.

This is why it’s so important to understand what you should expect when dating an individual who has an addictive personality. The challenges that your partner will face will also affect your relationship with him or her. They’ll impact the way your significant other interacts and communicates with you.

Since the romantic partner in your life has struggles of his or her own and shows characteristics of an addictive personality, it’s important for you to understand exactly what life will be like while you are involved with the individual.

The Importance of Identifying and Understanding the Traits of an Addictive Personality

First, it’s important to address the fact that many people feel that there is no such thing as an addictive personality. Individuals, including some professionals, believe that people don’t necessarily have personalities which could lead them to develop addiction problems.

The truth is that diction is caused by many different elements. There are many contributing factors. One’s personality is only one of those factors; environment, genetics, mental health, and emotional health also play a role in the development of addiction.

Still, it’s important to avoid tossing out the idea of how one’s personality and characteristics can cause people to become addicted to drugs, alcohol, and even other things such as shopping, eating, gambling, sex, and much more.

A person who has an addictive personality usually shows certain traits. These characteristics often show themselves in more ways than one. And, they can certainly become evident to the people who spend a lot of time with the individual, including family members and romantic partners.

So, if you think the person you are in a relationship with may have an addictive personality, it will be helpful to know more about the traits and characteristics that are usually found in those who have this kind of personality.

What You Can Expect in Your Relationship

While it’s true that you should be wise and cautious about beginning a relationship with someone who has an addictive personality, it’s important to understand that you don’t necessarily need to avoid spending time with people who are dealing with these traits.

Instead, take the time to learn more about this type of personality and how you can help those you care about as they work to overcome these traits. You should, however, make sure that the person you’re dating is aware of the problem their facing and is actively working to improve.

Now, let’s talk about a few of the things your significant other may struggle with if he or she has an addictive personality. Your partner may:

  • Suffer from anxiety.
  • Feel depressed often.
  • Exhibit obsessive behaviors.
  • Be impulsive and take risks often.
  • Seem unnaturally cautious at times.
  • Struggle to connect with you emotionally.
  • Have a hard time controlling his/her feelings.
  • Show signs of instability in various areas of life.

Sometimes, the person you care about may struggle to regulate his or her emotions. This can negatively impact the way he or she interacts with you. And, since your loved one may have trouble expressing what’s going on in their life, misunderstandings can happen frequently.

As you work to establish a meaningful and successful relationship, it’s important to understand that things will be far from easy. It may be beneficial to get counseling and learn how to work through difficult moments.

If, however, this relationship is proving to be anything but healthy for you or your significant other, then it’s important to avoid going any further.

How 1st Step Can Help

If you think someone you care about is struggling with addiction or has an addictive personality, you can help them by pointing them toward treatment! Through professional treatment and therapy, your loved one can find peace and freedom. Just contact us today to learn more about our services! Call (866) 319-6126 today.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) text on colorful sticky note

OCD and Methamphetamine: Understanding Addiction Causes and Treatment Options

People who suffer from co-occurring disorders often find themselves in a place of helplessness due to the lack of adequate treatment resources. Many addiction treatment centers lack the ability to help patients with mental health disorders, focusing more on the addiction problem.

Of course, people attend treatment because they want to overcome a substance use disorder (SUD). But, the best professional rehab centers work on understanding addiction causes and treatment options for their clients.

It’s important to view addiction as a problem that extends past the surface. Substance use disorders are about more than harmful drug and alcohol use. Individuals who suffer from SUDs also struggle with underlying causes and co-occurring disorders.

One of the mental health disorders that commonly occur in the lives of those who are suffering from addiction is obsessive-compulsive disorder. This disorder, also known as OCD, affects people in many different ways and often prevents individuals from leading lives of normalcy.

Sometimes, OCD can cause people to struggle to build and maintain healthy relationships with others, stay focused on work or school, and remain emotionally connected to their loved ones.

In many cases, this disorder affects people who have a SUD. And, when an individual is suffering from both addiction and OCD at the same time, it can be difficult for them to find their way out of that struggle. This is why professional treatment programs that deal with addiction and underlying causes are so important.

About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and How it Affects People

Most people have heard of OCD but, sadly, this disorder is often misunderstood. Many people believe that OCD is less of a disorder and more of a choice. In other words, some individuals think that people choose to obsess over certain thought patterns or activities. They believe that these individuals could stop thinking or feeling that way if they’d only choose to do so.

But, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. People who suffer from OCD would certainly state otherwise. The truth of the matter is that those who are living with obsessive-compulsive disorder often feel stressed and emotionally upset because they simply can’t control their obsessions.

OCD is characterized by recurring thoughts and behaviors that are usually unwanted by the individual. So, people who have OCD usually do not want to feel or think the way they do. But, because of the disorder, it’s extremely difficult (even impossible) to control those thoughts and feelings.

Those who are living with this particular disorder may find it very hard to maintain a normal and regular daily routine because of their uncontrollable obsessive-compulsive behaviors. This can be very stressful and often causes individuals to feel even more anxious.

A person who has OCD may obsess over certain thoughts, fears, or behaviors. For example, he or she may constantly feel afraid of losing a loved one or friend to death. Some individuals deal with recurring fears of getting sick.

As a result of these recurring fears, an individual may constantly desire to keep their loved ones in sight or constantly ask their loved ones if they’re okay. They may continuously clean and disinfect their living spaces in order to avoid getting sick. Or they might wash their hands abnormally often.

Sometimes, these behaviors are misunderstood by those who don’t suffer from OCD. It can be difficult to understand people’s need to engage in obsessive-compulsive behavior. But, it’s important to understand that these actions are not choices.

Again, the fact that they can’t control the effects of their OCD often causes individuals to look for relief. Unfortunately, many people resort to alcohol or drug use. These substances offer a way of escape, even if it’s only a temporary escape.

Of course, the effects of drugs and alcohol don’t last forever. They wear off after a while. In order to return to the state of mind which substance use offers people, individuals have to use more of their drug of choice. As a result of constant substance use, many individuals develop SUDs.

When a person uses drugs or alcohol excessively, it’s likely that he or she will eventually become dependent on the substance they’re using. Unfortunately, this has happened to many individuals who also suffer from OCD.

Some individuals use alcohol in order to find relief from the symptoms of OCD in their lives. Others turn to particular drugs. One drug that is commonly used amongst those who are living with obsessive-compulsive disorder is methamphetamine.

When OCD and Methamphetamine Abuse Co-Occur

Individuals who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder often seek relief in substance use. But, after using a certain drug for a while, many people become dependent on and even addicted to that substance.

This happens often in cases where people use methamphetamine in search of an escape from stress and anxiety. This drug, commonly called “meth”, is a highly addictive and harmful drug. But, it produces euphoric results, giving its users a pleasurable experience for at least a while before the effects wear off.

Meth causes the body to release dopamine, which is a chemical that’s responsible for causing individuals to feel pleasure. This chemical also plays a role in various mental processes and some bodily functions, such as movement.

One of the main problems with meth use, however, is the fact that this drug is highly addictive, causing people to feel that they need the substance in order to feel any sense of happiness. This is dangerous because those who use this drug can become dependent on and addicted to it fairly quickly.

Meth addictions can have very serious effects on a person’s life. Some of the results of methamphetamine abuse might include:

  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Moodiness
  • Violent behavior
  • Sleep problems
  • Increased anxiety
  • Delusional thinking
  • Loss of coordination

These symptoms can actually worsen the effects of OCD. So, despite the initial pleasurable effects, drug use actually does more harm than good.

1st Step Identifies Addiction Causes and Treatment Options

Here at 1st Step Behavioral Health, we work to help our clients overcome substance abuse problems. But, we also help to address addiction causes and identify the best treatment options for each individual.

So, if you’re struggling with OCD and methamphetamine addiction or any other co-occurring disorders, please reach out to us today. By calling (866) 319-6126, you will be able to speak with the professional and compassionate staff members of our facility.

We understand that successful addiction treatment should deal with underlying causes to prevent relapse. So, we help our clients to work through and address the symptoms of mental health disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder.

If you or someone you know could use some help breaking free from substance use and addiction, please contact us today.



Developing a Strategy for Sobriety: South Florida Resources to Help You Stay Sober

Congratulations! You’ve recently completed the treatment process for alcohol abuse! You have found freedom from alcohol abuse and you couldn’t be happier. This is a wonderful accomplishment that deserves to be celebrated!

In many cases of addiction, people feel that they can’t become free. Many people who are suffering from alcoholism are tricked into believing that sobriety will always be out of reach. Some even feel that they don’t deserve to be free; guilt and shame plague their minds and keep them from moving forward.

But you didn’t let shame stop you. You didn’t allow guilt to hold you back. You did one of the hardest things people with addictions could ever do — you asked for help. It wasn’t easy but it was the best choice you could have made!

Now, you’re living a life that is free from alcohol addiction. At this point in your life, it’s important to remember that your recovery journey is still unfolding. Although treatment may be coming to an end for you, there is more to your story.

As you work to continue to live in your newfound freedom, it’s best to keep in mind your recovery is a lifelong journey. So, it’s important to gain and use the skills you need in order to prevent alcoholism relapse in your life.

Many times, people feel that the effort they used during their treatment process will no longer be needed after the program is over. But, this isn’t the case. You have worked extremely hard to overcome addiction. Now, it’s time to keep up the good work and continue winning over alcoholism!

The good news is that you don’t have to fight on your own. There are many South Florida resources to help you maintain your sobriety!

The Importance of Relapse Prevention Skills

During the treatment process, you attended addiction therapy sessions. Through therapy, you were able to learn how to best deal with triggers, things that might lead to relapse.

Some common triggers include stress, fear, anxiety, conflict (arguments and disagreements with others), anger, sadness, depression, guilt, and self-doubt.

Sometimes, when people feel guilty or begin to doubt themselves, they become vulnerable. Unfortunately, it’s in moments like this when people find themselves emotionally, mentally, and physically relapsing.

Depression, anxiety, and stress often cause people to return to substance use. Conflict with other people can also cause people to think about drinking again. Many individuals struggle to deal with these things in a healthy way.

And, in an attempt to at least temporarily feel better, people may entertain the thought of drinking. Sadly, in many cases, that thought turns into action and individuals end up physically relapsing.

Thankfully, addiction therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy, help individuals to learn ways to address those difficult moments in a healthy and helpful way. These coping methods don’t involve alcohol or drug use. Instead, they involve mindfulness and self-control.

These relapse prevention skills are more than rules and regulations. They’re more than optional guidelines to follow. These skills give people the ability to regain the control they had over their lives that went away when addiction entered the scene.

Learning to use these skills gives you the opportunity to take your life back into your own hands and conquer addiction once and for all!

It’s important to remember, however, that recovery is not always going to be easy. Difficult moments will come. You may sometimes struggle with harmful thoughts and negative emotions. But, if you keep your eyes on the goal of sobriety, you will be able to stay on the right track!

Celebrate Your Success by Working to Remain Sober!

You’ve worked hard to become sober. It’s been a long journey but you should celebrate every single moment!

Now, as your journey continues, remember that you don’t have to fight addiction alone. There are many resources here in South Florida, each offering help and hope to people in every stage of their recovery.

Whether you have just begun your road to recovery or you have successfully completed alcohol addiction treatment, there are resources that can help you continue to overcome alcoholism.

It’s not always easy to stay on track. In all honesty, there may be times when you feel as though you can’t keep going. But, you can do it! Here are a few things you can do in order to stay on the right path:

  • Be patient with yourself. Don’t expect to be perfect and always remember how far you’ve already come.
  • Relax. Allow yourself to breathe. Go for walks and engage in fun, alcohol-free activities. You’re free and you deserve to enjoy this freedom!
  • Avoid spending time with people who drink excessively. They may encourage you to relapse.
  • Hang out with positive people! The way other people treat you and interact with you has a big impact on your life. So, be sure to surround yourself with people who have your well-being in mind and will speak positively to you.
  • Continue attending therapy. Even though your treatment program is nearly or completely over, you can continue to get therapy and counseling. Believe it or not, this is one of the most helpful things you can do after treatment is done.
  • Take care of your body. Rest well and be sure to get enough sleep at night. Exercise and keep in shape. Eat foods that are good for you. Ride your bike, go hiking, take a swim here and there!
  • Look after yourself emotionally. Work to build yourself up by saying positive affirmations every day. Again, spend time with other positive people to help improve your emotional health. Avoid spending time feeling guilty or ashamed of your past.

Finding Helpful South Florida Resources for Your Recovery

At 1st Step Behavioral Health, our goal is to help our clients become and remain free from addiction. So, if you are ready to take another step in your journey to recovery from alcoholism and you’re looking for helpful resources in South Florida, look no further!

Whether you’ve already begun your journey to freedom or you want to start now, we can help you! Just contact us today by calling (866) 319-6126!


personality changes

5 Personality Changes That Occur in Opiate Addicts

With the American Opioid Crisis showing no signs of slowing down, there’s more of a chance than ever before that you know someone who has become addicted to this horrific class of drugs. 

You may find it hard to reconcile the person you once knew — a happy, loving, and successful individual — with the addict who is in your life today. You know that their true self, the person they were before their addiction, is still inside of them somewhere. 

You miss that person dearly, and it feels like you’d do anything to be able to bring them back

If you’ve noticed and been hurt by the often drastic personality changes of an opioid addict, you’re not alone — and help is available for both you and the addict you care about. 

In this post, we’ll tell you about some of the most common behavioral changes you can expect to experience. This may also be helpful in understanding whether or not someone in your life is currently abusing opioids. 

1. Increased Lying and Secretiveness

One of the earliest personality changes that you may notice is constant, sometimes ludicrous, lying. 

It doesn’t matter if the addict has been caught red-handed, or if there are a hundred different ways you can verify the fact that they’re not telling the truth. 

The addict will continue to lie, often turning their issues around on you and accusing you of lying or of “interrogating” and “not trusting” them. 

This will soon escalate to secretiveness. 

They used to lie about where they were going and who they were with. Now, they sneak out of the house when you’re asleep or when you’re not home. They stay up in their rooms for long periods of time, they don’t pick up the phone, and they never offer any details about their plans. 

2. They Become Selfish

Another erratic personality trait that you’ll likely notice in the opioid addict? 

They become incredibly selfish. 

If you can’t lend them money, drive them to a drug deal, or let them sleep in your home? You’re the worst parent in the world, you’re a horrible spouse, or you’re a child that never appreciated everything the addict sacrificed for you. 

In some cases, their selfish behavior will directly impact, inconvenience, or even harm or risk the safety of other people. 

They don’t care that they didn’t make it into work, that they missed their daughter’s ballet recital, or that they drove high out of their minds. Their ability to think about the needs of others or the consequences of their actions is gone. 

Instead, they only care about one thing: getting their next fix. 

3. They’re Depressed and Anxious 

One of the biggest commonalities between opioid addicts and alcoholic behaviors and attitude is an overwhelming sense of depression in the addict. 

Often, they talk about feeling worthless and hopeless. They say they know they’re a burden and that everyone would be better off without them. They feel it’s “too late” to turn their lives around. 

They may isolate themselves, socially withdraw, and refuse to accept invitations from old friends. They don’t enjoy their hobbies and passions anymore. They may even make outright threats about killing themselves. 

Additionally, they may seem extremely anxious, almost to the point of paranoia. They don’t trust you, they’re convinced that people are “out to get them,” and they may even speak in a nervous, fast, and erratic manner. 

4. They’re Angry and Abusive 

Anger is one of the most difficult personality changes in an opioid addict. 

You and other loved ones likely feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells around the addict — and you never can tell what’s going to set them off. They scream, cry, and rage over the smallest things, and you’ve never seen this level of anger from them before. 

It’s scary. And more often than not, it can escalate into very real abuse. 

This abuse can be both physical and emotional, and it’s especially devastating when young children are involved. 

There is no reason for you to remain in an abusive situation. You have every right to get out and to protect yourself and other innocent people first. 

Often, it’s this kind of abusive behavior that causes friends and family members to come up with ultimatums and boundaries to present to the addict.

This usually takes place during an intervention, right before encouraging the opioid addict to seek help

5. They Indulge in Risk-Taking Behaviors

Before they became addicted to opioids, the person you knew would never have done things like trade sex for money, experiment with other drugs, or drain their bank account in a single night. 

But that’s exactly the kind of person the addict in your life has become. 

They’re constantly doing risky things and behaving impulsively. 

They may decide to hop a train in the middle of the night, enter into a dangerous relationship, allow themselves to be physically and/or emotionally abused, or hang out in seedy areas. 

If they have other health conditions, they may stop taking their medications. 

They just don’t care anymore, and it seems like they no longer have any limits. 

Are These Personality Changes Familiar to You?

If you have an addict in your life, then we suspect that many of these devastating personality changes will be familiar to you. 

You may have experienced just a few of these changes, or all of them. 

No matter what, you know one thing for sure: you want it to stop, and you want the person you love back. 

We can help to make that happen. 

We offer excellent rehab and drug treatments for a variety of addictions. When you’re ready to help your loved one get back on track, reach out to us on behalf of your loved one to learn how to get started. 



A Higher Standard of Care: Why You Should Consider Residential Treatment in South Florida

In South Florida, the fight against drug use and addiction has been quite the ordeal. It has been far from easy to loosen the tight grip of addiction in this part of the state. In fact, fairly recent studies have found that the use of drugs like Fentanyl has increased rapidly here in South Florida.

Between the years 2013 and 2017, Fentanyl use has taken this area by storm, increasing Fentanyl-related deaths from 292 to 2,088. Needless to say, this increase in drug-related deaths has caused many to realize the importance of treatment.

Perhaps you know someone who has suffered from addiction for years. Maybe a friend has lost their life due to substance abuse. Sadly, the number of families who have been left untouched by drug and alcohol abuse here in South Florida is very small. So, you are far from alone when it comes to being impacted by addiction.

If you are among those who have fallen prey to substance abuse, then you know how difficult it is to break free from this epidemic. No doubt, you have tried various ways to overcome addiction in your life. But, the challenge of recovery has left you feeling afraid, even hopeless.

But, the good news is that there is hope. There’s hope for you, no matter how long you’ve been struggling with addiction. And it comes in the form of residential treatment in South Florida.

The Truth About Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Substance abuse is a serious matter. People who suffer from this problem have difficulty ending their struggle with addiction. It often begins as an innocent, casual drink here and there. Or, for others, it starts with an experimental, one-time use of an illicit drug. For some, it begins with the use of opioid medication for chronic pain treatment.

In most cases, people don’t really consider the possibility of addiction. Individuals don’t choose to develop addiction problems. But, over time and after repeated use of a drug or alcohol, dependence and addiction begin to enter the picture.

Unfortunately, this happens far too often here in South Florida. Drugs and alcohol have certainly made their presence known in this area of the United States. With every passing year, more and more people are finding out what it means to live with an addiction problem.

The truth about addiction is that, when it has a person in its grip, it’s very difficult for that individual to break free. Leaving a life of substance abuse is much easier said than done. But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Through professional, residential treatment, people can receive the guidance they need in order to become completely free from substance dependence and abuse. And, just like the many others who have found freedom through treatment, you can find the peace you so truly deserve.

Residential Treatment: Definition and Benefits

When it comes to getting treatment for addiction, many people are unsure about what to expect. So, a lot of individuals opt to do without professional treatment. This may sound strange, but, it happens often. See, although living with an addiction problem is very difficult, it’s familiar.

Addiction treatment is completely new territory for many individuals who are suffering from substance abuse. So, the thought of attending therapy and sharing the truth about their lives is often a difficult idea to handle.

Sometimes, people become so uncertain and even afraid that they avoid treatment altogether. But, though understandable, it’s not a healthy or helpful choice to make. So, if you’re currently on the fence, now is the time to make the choice to change for the better.

Although it’s difficult to take the first step toward recovery, you’ll soon find that choosing treatment is one of the best decisions you could make when it comes to your recovery!

Now, it’s also important to consider the fact that South Florida offers multiple types of treatment. Some people opt to attend outpatient treatment or partial hospitalization programs (PHPs). Each type of treatment program presents its own benefits and advantages.

But, you may consider choosing residential treatment in South Florida. This type of program ensures around-the-clock care for people in recovery. It also gives individuals the chance to interact and work closely with others who are working to overcome substance abuse.

Residential treatment is a type of program in which people live at their treatment facility while receiving care and developing relapse prevention strategies. Individuals who go through residential treatment programs often transition to outpatient programs after the initial part of their treatment is over.

This kind of treatment program offers plenty of benefits to those who are in recovery. In addition to receiving 24-hour care, individuals who are in residential treatment here in the South Florida area can:

  • Learn how to avoid addiction relapse.
  • Spend time with like-minded individuals.
  • Gain information about dealing with triggers.
  • Receive care away from active substance abusers.
  • Get treatment in a drug- and alcohol-free atmosphere.
  • Develop meaningful and helpful friendships with others in recovery.
  • Regularly attend individual and group therapy to help fight addiction.
  • Quickly get medical assistance during withdrawal and recovery.

A residential program for addiction is often the idea people have in mind when they think of professional treatment. Sometimes, individuals feel a little nervous about spending time away from all that’s familiar to them in order to get treatment.

But, sometimes, a change in scenery is the best thing for those who are beginning their journey to recovery. It may be more helpful to spend time away from home and the people and places that influenced you to engage in drug and alcohol use.

By the time the treatment process is over, you will be equipped with the tools you need in order to avoid relapse. You can then use those skills to continue leading a successful, healthy, addiction-free life!

Getting Residential Treatment in South Florida

Do you think residential treatment is right for you? If so, then we can help you here at 1st Step Behavioral Health! To learn more about our addiction treatment services and programs, just contact us today by calling (866) 319-6126.

Take a step toward health and freedom. Let us help you overcome addiction in your life for good!



7 Essential Elements of a Good Aftercare Program for Addiction

Did you know that only about a third of people who are abstinent for less than a year after a treatment program will remain abstinent? 

Upon leaving an acute rehabilitation program, individuals face numerous challenges and temptations that can lead to a setback.

And those setbacks can subsequently lead to a relapse.  

That’s why an aftercare program is vital to the success of those in recovery. They provide individuals with ongoing assistance and support to greatly increase their chances of long-term recovery.

But not all aftercare programs are the same. 

What Elements Make an Aftercare Program Effective?

While relapse prevention is a high priority, it cannot be the only goal for an aftercare program.

An effective aftercare plan serves first as a guide to help individuals identify every possibility of relapse. From there, it empowers them to cultivate a healthy, productive and meaningful life.

The fact is, recovery is an ongoing and lifelong process. For addicts, life after treatment is built upon the progress they’ve made.

In order to achieve this, a successful aftercare program should do the following:

1. Make It Easy to Participate

Life in recovery is complicated enough without the added stress of figuring out how to fit aftercare into the schedule.

An effective aftercare program is one that individuals can attend with little or no disruption to other activities or responsibilities.

This is why social support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, for example, have proven so effective. Meetings are regular, frequent and are held in locations that are easy to access.

2. Offer Comprehensive Treatment 

In the past, getting addicts to stop using and usher them through the withdrawal period was considered enough. There was no consideration for other variables that could spark a relapse.

Aftercare treatment programs need to consider the individual at all levels. That means making accommodations for an individual’s medical history, cultural background, age, gender, education, social situation, and other issues.

Another important issue that must be considered is co-occurring mental health disorders or cognitive issues.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that roughly 7.7 million adults struggle with a co-occurring substance use disorder. Known also as a dual diagnosis, this is when addiction is accompanied by some form of mental illness.

In treating just one diagnosis, there is the chance that the co-occurring issue will worsen. And this could result in relapse. 

3. Teaches Accountability

One of the biggest lessons addicts must grasp is that they’re accountable for their behavior. This can be difficult for individuals who have relied on a substance for much of their life.

An effective aftercare program will, therefore, stress that the individual is accountable for not just attending therapy sessions or social support group meetings, but also for actively applying the principles learned in treatment to everyday life.

And in that crucial first year of recovery, there should be an objective measure to ensure that the individual is remaining abstinent. This includes the use of breathalyzer tests or urine analysis for drugs or alcohol administered by a therapist, physician, or other qualified individuals.

4. Lays out a Relapse Prevention Plan

After exiting a treatment program – whether outpatient or residential – it’s not unusual for a people to believe they’re out of the woods. And they have every right to be proud of the progress they’ve made.

But this feeling can make it difficult for individuals to consider what they’ll do when faced with the possibility of a relapse. And they’re often remiss in making a plan that will either help them actively work to prevent relapse, or what they’ll do should it happen.

Aftercare programs make it clear that the possibility of relapse is a major part of recovery. They help those in recovery to identify their triggers and warning signs, why they decided to get sober, and what they need both physically and mentally to maintain sobriety.

5. Offers a Support Network

Success in recovery relies on having a reliable support system. It is simply not something that can be done alone.

Because without a network of supportive friends, peers, and even family who understand your situation, the call to return to substance abuse can be far too tempting. 

A component of recovery is recognizing that certain people, places, and situations are no longer beneficial. Going back to those familiar places and faces can cause a relapse.

Those in recovery need others around them who are committed to helping them stay sober.

6. Teaches Healthy Coping Strategies

Working with a therapist or case manager can be the difference between relapsing and continuing to make progress.

Just because an individual completes treatment, it does not mean that he or she will be clear of cravings. These can persist for years or even decades after treatment. 

In tandem with a support network of friends and peers, a therapist or case manager helps individuals build healthy coping skills – such as having a sponsor or a list of people to call when feeling shaky or tempted.

7. Provides Ongoing Contact 

Continued assessment is crucial for recovery. 

It’s not unusual for individuals to enter a 12-step program and want to blow through all 12 steps in record time. But that’s just not the reality.

In the first year after treatment, it’s beneficial for those in recovery to maintain contact with their treatment professionals. Regular check-ins allow them to assess their progress.

After that, continued participation in social support groups, therapy, or complementary and alternative treatments, should continue for a minimum of 5-7 years after treatment. It’s at that point that the probability of relapse significantly drops.

And even then, there’s no guarantee.

Those who remain sober and involved in treatment-related activities for 5-7 years are often considered to be successful in their recovery. Even so, there are more than a handful of cases where individuals have relapsed after a decade or longer of abstinence.

So keeping vital connections with others in the community enables individuals to apply the principles learned in recovery over the course of their lifetimes. And it greatly reduces the possibility of relapse.

Find the Best Program Today

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and is ready to receive help, now is the time.

Please don’t hesitate. Contact us today to start taking those first important steps toward recovery.

And remember, there is life after treatment! With treatment and an effective aftercare program, life is SO worth living.


how to do an intervention

5 Pitfalls of Interventions and How to Do an Intervention That Works

In 2016, the Surgeon general released a report stating that one in every seven Americans will face a substance addiction in their lifetime. 

That same report found that only 10% of people with addictions receive treatment. Treatment offers an opportunity to live a normal life, and it’s an important part of recovery for any addict.

Knowing how to do an intervention can increase the chance of getting a loved one the help that they desperately need. There are five reasons why interventions fail and avoiding these will help make your intervention more successful.

Keep reading to find out what an intervention is and how to do an intervention that works.

What’s An Intervention?

An intervention brings together family and friends of an addict. As a group, they share their concerns about the addict and discuss the effects of their behavior on family and friends. Usually, they itemize a list of consequences that will result from their continued substance abuse.

The purpose of doing this is to change the context in which the addict has been living and operating. The consequences for their continued use following the intervention means that they’ll no longer be enabled to use by the friends and family present.

In this way, interventions are a way of encouraging an addict or alcoholic to admit to their problem and get the treatment they need. They don’t always work, but there are ways to avoid those pitfalls. We’ll discuss those in the next section.

How to Do an Intervention: What to Avoid

Below are the five main reasons why interventions fail. We’ll tell you what to do to avoid these and ensure your intervention goes as well as it can.

1. Disorganization

Organization can make or break an intervention. If you don’t have a clear plan for who is going to speak, what everyone should be saying, and next steps, the overall message of the intervention won’t be clear. Without timeliness, a strategy, and organization, the intervention isn’t focused or effective.

Instead, make sure that everyone involved knows what to talk about, how long they have to speak, and is well prepared for their turn. Have backup plans in case the person decides to walk out of the room. Being prepared for all the possible reactions can help you keep the intervention on track.

If you’re not confident in your ability to properly organize the intervention, you may also consider hiring a professional interventionist. These professional have the experience needed to organize and execute a successful intervention. They’ll also know how to deal with an addict who becomes psychologically unstable or physically dangerous.

2. No Clear Course of Action

Part of being organized is having a clear course of action for after the intervention, especially if the end goal is treatment, which it most often is. There are a few things you want to avoid in this respect.

Don’t give the addict an option for when they have to go to treatment. The goal is to get them to treatment immediately following the intervention. If you allow them to choose when to go, they may think their addiction isn’t bad enough to warrant immediate help.

Don’t give the addict options in terms of what treatment program they’ll go to. An intervention can be confusing and overwhelming. Having them choose where to go will only add to that confusion and sense of overwhelming and could cause them to back out.

Instead, have a residential treatment center lined up. Tell the addict that they have to go to treatment immediately. And if they agree, then they should be taken to the facility straight from the intervention.

While this type of intervention doesn’t give the addict any input, it also takes a lot of the pressure off of them. It also gets them into treatment while emotions are high and the consequences of not receiving treatment are fresh in their mind. 

3. Focusing on the Problem

Members of the intervention should list how the behavior of the addict has negatively affected their life. And of course, this should be shared with the addict. But after that, this is not an environment in which placing blame and focusing solely on the problem is helpful. 

Don’t focus all your time on the past mistakes of the addict. Instead, focus on the solution… which is to get treatment. 

4. Lack of Follow-Through

Each person who shares their experiences with the behavior of the addict should also have a list of consequences should they decide not to seek treatment. These consequences can be anything from no longer lending money to no longer giving the addict a place to live. If the person decides not to go through with treatment, then following through on your list of consequences is important.

5. Giving Up

There is no way to measure whether or not your intervention will be successful. Even if you avoid all of the above and execute the intervention perfectly, the addict in your life may not be ready to admit they have a problem and seek help. But if that’s the case, then don’t give up.

Some people need more time to process the consequences of not seeking treatment. Once they see what life is like in this new context, they may very well change their mind. Others need to get over the shock and anger of intervention before they can see the truth of the matter.

In some cases, a second intervention might be what’s needed to get the addict help. This shouldn’t take place until well after the first intervention, so the addict has time to process and the group has time to rethink their approach.

Do You Know Someone Who Needs Help?

Knowing how to do an intervention can help you avoid the common reasons they fail. These reasons include a lack of commitment in regards to following through on consequences, disorganization, and not having a clear course of action for after the intervention. 

Now that you know what a successful intervention looks like, you may start considering treatment centers. Have a look at our drug addiction services and find out how we can help. 


IOP for Cocaine Abuse South Florida

Intensive Outpatient (IOP) Treatment for Cocaine Addiction In South Florida

In 2017, over 900,000 Americans over the age of 12 were suffering from an addiction to cocaine. This powerfully addictive illicit drug has found its way into the lives of many individuals throughout the United States and, unfortunately, families are still being affected by it.

Here in Florida, many individuals and families are certainly feeling the effects of this harmful drug. During the years 2016 and 2017, many cases of drug-related hospitalizations and deaths involved combinations of cocaine and fentanyl. Sadly, the drug spread like wildfire, causing danger to everyone in its wake.

The need for substance abuse treatment is certainly evident. That’s why treatment facilities like ours here at 1st Step Behavioral Health offer intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment for cocaine addiction in South Florida.

Drug addiction is making its presence known in this state. But, we are working to fight back through the successful recoveries of our clients. Addiction doesn’t need to be the end of the story. It can become a thing of the past with help from professional addiction recovery services.

What is Cocaine and Why Do People Use It?

Since cocaine is an illegal drug, it’s known as a street drug, meaning that it’s sold and distributed illegally by dealers. Cocaine goes by quite a few nicknames, including coke, crack, and snow. This substance is sometimes mixed with other drugs in order to produce more revenue for dealers.

Sadly, people have become dependent on and addicted to this drug after a short period of use. This drug is derived from a coca plant and is often seen in the form of a white powdery substance. Cocaine is a stimulant drug that stimulates the central nervous system (CNS) causing pleasurable effects to its users.

Cocaine use has led to addiction in countless lives throughout the years. It has destroyed meaningful relationships, isolated people from their loved ones, and led to serious financial problems. In some instances, cocaine use has caused fatalities.

So, why do people use this drug? If it’s so dangerous and harmful, why do so many individuals get involved in using cocaine? It seems strange, but there are actually plenty of illicit (and legal) drugs that are currently being used despite the consequences and negative effects.

Well, most people start using illicit drugs like cocaine out of curiosity. Experimentation is often the beginning of the journey to substance abuse and addiction. The initial effects of cocaine are usually pleasurable, so, many people use the drug in order to experience those effects.

How Do People Become Addicted to Cocaine?

The short-term effects of cocaine include mental alertness and euphoria. Euphoria is a feeling of happiness that occurs as a result of the brain’s release of a chemical called dopamine. Individuals often feel a rush of energy after using cocaine.

Cocaine also causes people to feel irritable and sensitive to light and sound. Even so, the pleasurable effects usually cause people to crave more cocaine. And, after using cocaine for a while, most individuals become physically dependent on it.

This means that they will feel abnormal or “off” unless they use cocaine. Of course, they are actually operating normally when they aren’t under the influence of cocaine. But, the drug causes them to believe and feel otherwise.

Eventually, if the dependence problem goes untreated, people may develop an addiction to cocaine. When people are addicted to a drug, it means that they have no control over their drug use habits and have a very difficult time if they try to stop using the substance.

It’s difficult to stop substance use after a dependence or addiction problem has developed because of the effects of withdrawal. When a person stops using cocaine after having used it for a while, his or her body goes into a state of withdrawal. The symptoms can be very difficult to deal with and often lead people to relapse.

Some of the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Excessive increase in appetite
  • Cognitive problems (impaired thinking, etc.)
  • Sleeping problems (nightmares, insomnia, etc.)

Many people think that withdrawal symptoms only start after a couple of days without cocaine use. But, the symptoms actually begin to affect people just hours after use. Once the effects of the drug wear off, people may begin to feel anxious or irritable. As time goes on, they may begin to suffer from a state of depression, restlessness, and exhaustion or fatigue.

Cocaine Use Can Affect the Body in Many Ways

So, what exactly is the harm in using cocaine? How does it affect the body and why is it dangerous to use this substance? In truth, the effects of cocaine use can be very serious, even deadly, if individuals continue to use the substance.

Besides the short-term effects of cocaine use we mentioned earlier, other consequences of using this drug include:

  • Nausea
  • Shakiness
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • High body temperature
  • Damage to blood vessels

Many times, people who are addicted to cocaine become emotionally and physically withdrawn from their family members and friends. Addiction tends to isolate people, making them feel alone.

Often, those who are suffering from addiction may struggle to communicate with others. So, not only does cocaine addiction affect one’s physical and emotional health, but it also impacts social health.

People who are dealing with a cocaine addiction may also struggle to do well at school and some may have trouble keeping their jobs. This can lead to major financial problems.  

Can an IOP Help Me Overcome Cocaine Abuse?

If you or someone you know is struggling with cocaine abuse or addiction, it’s time to get help from the professionals. Here at 1st Step Behavioral Health, we work to make sure that no one has to fight addiction alone.

We provide a drug detox program to help our clients end substance use in their lives. We also offer an intensive outpatient program (IOP) which allows people to get the care they need without having to live at our treatment facility.

While in treatment, people can receive therapy and counseling that will help them to avoid addiction relapse. Therapy approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) gives individuals the tools they need to develop healthy thought processes and relapse prevention strategies.

Through therapy and treatment, you can certainly overcome addiction for good!

Finding Hope Through Intensive Outpatient (IOP) Treatment for Cocaine Addiction In South Florida

Are you currently living in Florida and looking for some help in moving past a cocaine addiction? Why not give our IOP treatment for cocaine addiction a try? At 1st Step Behavioral Health, we walk with our clients through their recovery journey, every step of the way.

Let us walk with you! Contact us today by calling (866) 319-6126.