What Is Medical Detox? & Other Types of Drug Detox Programs

Drug detox is the process by which the body rids itself of toxic substances. Detoxing from drugs and alcohol is never easy, and in some situations, withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and even deadly. Medical detox, also known as medically monitored detox, is the safest way for most people to withdrawal from long-term dependence on drugs and/or alcohol. 

What is Medical Detox?

When you stop using drugs and alcohol after repeated long-term abuse, your body must readjust since it has become accustomed to the substance. Depending on the type of substance abuse, users may experience a variety of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, headaches, tremors, fatigue, or flu-like symptoms. 

Medical detox is a type of drug detox program that uses prescription medication to aid in the detoxification process and help with withdrawal symptoms. Although detox is the all-important first step in the recovery process, the thought of getting through withdrawal is discouraging, especially when you aren’t sure what to expect. If you’re worried that withdrawal will be too difficult, a medically monitored detox program ensures that the process is as safe and comfortable as possible.  

How Medical Drug Detox Programs Keep You Safe

The goal of a medical detox program is to ensure withdrawal takes place in a safe, controlled environment. Your vital signs will be checked regularly, and you’ll likely receive medications to help with a variety of withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, nausea, or severe anxiety. If necessary, you’ll receive meds to lower your blood pressure or to stave off the possibility of seizures.

Medically monitored detox often takes place at an inpatient medical detox facility, where you’ll have attention from trained staff around the clock until you get through the worst part of detox. Some inpatient rehabs have on-site drug detox centers, or you may be referred to an independent detox center or clinic. 

If you’re deemed high-risk, a hospital or psychiatric center provides a higher level of medical attention. 

How Long Does Medically Monitored Detox Take?

In general, most substances clear your body in eight days or less. However, there is no predetermined timeline for drug detox, and the length of medical detox varies depending on the type of substance (or substances), how much you’ve used, your health, age, and gender.  Keep in mind that some withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, or insomnia, may take weeks or months to resolve. 

Once you complete a medical detox, it’s critical to get into a good treatment program. Although detox is a huge accomplishment, it doesn’t address the problems that prompted you to turn to drugs or alcohol in the first place. You may feel great when the toxic substance has left your body, but without treatment, the risk of relapse is high. Look into drug detox centers that offer multiple types of rehabilitation programs and mental health services

What is Rapid Medical Detox?

People who undergo rapid medical detox are sedated under general anesthesia and will be asleep during the worst symptoms of withdrawal. Ultra-rapid detox is similar, but the process of withdrawal is even faster because the patient is given a drug to speed up withdrawal. 

Although rapid medical detox is touted as a quicker, easier method of detoxing from drugs or alcohol, it’s controversial. Many medical professionals feel it is no more efficient than standard detox. They are concerned that the risks may outweigh the benefits, especially for people with liver or heart disease or other health concerns. 

Also, even though rapid medical detox will get you through the worst symptoms, withdrawal doesn’t magically end. You may still experience pain, nausea, or severe cravings. Rapid detox can also aggravate depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.

What Is Non-Medical Detox?

You may be a candidate for non-medical detox if you are in relatively good health, and your withdrawal symptoms are expected to be mild to moderate. However, it’s essential that the drug detox center staff is trained in CPR and first aid, and that your vital signs are monitored. If you need a higher level of care, you’ll be transferred to a medical detox clinic or hospital. 

Why At-Home Detox is Usually a Bad Idea

At-home detox without professional help is risky. Detoxing from alcohol is unsafe because you may experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms like delirium tremens, high blood pressure, hallucinations, seizures, or heart failure. Similarly, benzodiazepines (benzos) should be tapered gradually with the guidance of a physician. Stopping cold turkey may lead to nausea and vomiting, panic attacks, hallucinations, racing heart, seizures, and other dangerous symptoms. 

Stopping stimulants on your own is also unsafe, mainly due to the risk of anxiety, mood swings, and severe depression. Stopping heroin and other opiates usually isn’t life-threatening, but withdrawal is extremely unpleasant. 

Also, keep in mind that severe withdrawal symptoms may derail your attempts at getting clean. You’re more likely to complete an alcohol or drug detox program if you have professional support.

How to Detox Your Body from Drugs: Detoxing at Home

If your addiction isn’t severe and you think withdrawal symptoms will be mild, talk to your health-care provider before deciding to try detoxing at home. She may prescribe medications to help with vomiting and other difficult symptoms, and will help you determine if gradual detox, or tapering, is safer in your particular situation. 

The following suggestions may help as you detox your body from drugs:

  • Arrange for treatment or rehab before you begin, then get started as soon as you feel able. 
  • It’s critical that you have support from friends or family, and that somebody is with you around the clock. Never attempt to detox alone. 
  • Eat light, healthy meals, especially if you feel queasy.
  • Stay hydrated, as dehydration can lead to heart failure and other serious health complications. 
  • Avoid caffeine and sugar as much as possible; both can worsen anxiety and insomnia.
  • Call for help immediately if withdrawal is harder than you anticipated. Remember that addiction isn’t a sign of weakness, and detox is challenging, even if you’re young, strong, and healthy.

If you’re deciding between at-home and medical detox, determining the severity of potential withdrawal symptoms is a good place to start.

Medical Detox: A Safer, More Comfortable Way to Get Clean

Detoxing from drugs and alcohol isn’t easy and there are no simple answers. However, medically monitored detox ensures the process is as safe and comfortable as possible. Call 1st Step Behavioral Health at 855-425-4846, or contact us here for more information, and we’ll help you decide your best course of action.  

IOP vs PHP: Comparing Treatment Types

A decision to enter treatment for drug and alcohol addiction will change life for the better, but figuring out the alphabet soup of program options and sorting through the various choices is always challenging. For example, IOP vs PHP. What is IOP treatment, what is PHP treatment, and what’s the difference? These two forms of substance abuse treatment share much in common, but the differences are significant. 

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) vs Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) are two types of outpatient substance abuse treatment options. Both offer higher levels of care than standard outpatient treatment, and both are less intensive than inpatient (residential) treatment programs. While standard outpatient treatment is typically the most expensive, IOP and PHP both tend to be less expensive than inpatient rehabilitation treatment.

What is PHP Treatment?

PHP stands for Partial Hospitalization Program, sometimes known as day treatment or rehab. PHP treatment isn’t right for everybody, but it often fills the bill for people who need more care than traditional outpatient treatment can provide. Depending on the specific PHP program, you may reside in community-based housing provided by the treatment center, or you may go home every evening.

PHP treatment is often a step-down for people who have successfully completed inpatient treatment but aren’t ready for the stresses and demands of regular day-to-day life. 

Because PHP treatment programs are flexible, they also work well for people with less severe addictions who don’t need intensive treatment or around-the-clock care.

What is IOP Treatment?

IOP stands for Intensive Outpatient Program. With IOP, the time commitment isn’t as significant as PHP, and participants go home every night. 

IOP treatment programs work well for people who realize they need substance abuse treatment but are unable to leave work for an extended time, or those who need to keep their treatment private. It can also be part of a gradual step-down approach to treatment, such as inpatient treatment followed by partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and lastly to standard outpatient. 

What’s the Difference Between Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient? 

The main difference between PHP and IOP is the number of hours and days spent in treatment. Although programs vary depending on the treatment provider, people who choose PHP receive treatment for 20 to 35 hours per week. For instance, a person might attend treatment for six hours per day, five to seven days per week.  

Typically, a person who chooses IOP receives approximately nine hours of treatment per week, generally three hours per day for three days per week, usually during the mornings or evenings, or on weekends. The flexibility of IOP is helpful for people who have family obligations, or who need to continue with work or school while still receiving a fairly high level of treatment. 

Detox Programs Vary between PHP and IOP

Partial hospitalization programs may include detox when withdrawal symptoms are mild or moderate. Medical detox at a specialized facility is more appropriate for people with severe addictions that must be monitored around the clock to prevent cardiac arrest or seizures. 

Most intensive outpatient programs require that you detox before beginning treatment, but they will refer you to a detox clinic or hospital if needed. 

Typical Addiction Treatments at PHP and IOP

Both forms of substance abuse treatment generally include various types of individual therapy, as well as addiction education, aftercare planning, and relapse prevention; however, PHP tends to be more demanding and in-depth. Both rely heavily on group treatment. 

Family and close friends are encouraged to be part of your treatment. You’ll also receive care for mental health issues, and you’ll have access to medical care.  

Some partial hospitalization programs include medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which combines counseling with medicines such as methadone, Suboxone, or bupropion that can help control cravings or block the effects of drugs. Although programs vary widely, IOP programs are typically less intensive and don’t usually include MAT. 

Otherwise, PHP and IOP treatment are much like residential treatment, and depending on the provider, may offer nutritional counseling, vocational counseling, or other specialized forms of treatment. You may be encouraged to take part in a 12-Step program. 

The length of treatment varies widely and depends on your needs, but a stay of 90 days is typical. 

PHP or IOP: Which is Best for Me?

Partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient may work best if:

  • You have a dependable network of supportive friends and family.
  • Your home life is safe and stable.
  • You are strongly motivated and committed to your treatment.
  • You are in good physical health.
  • You have no severe mental health issues.
  • You do well in group settings.
  • You don’t need medically supervised detox.
  • You can manage cravings on your own for part of each day.

IOP is suitable for people with less intensive needs, and may NOT be appropriate if:

  • You have experienced multiple relapses.
  • Previous attempts at PHP or IOP have failed.
  • You have severe depression, anxiety, or other serious mental health issues.
  • Your addiction is severe or long-term.
  • You require formal detox for severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • Your cravings are difficult to manage.
  • You’re worried about your ability to cope with stress and triggers.
  • You need medical supervision.

Choosing between IOP vs PHP

If you haven’t been to drug and alcohol treatment before, an addiction professional can assess your situation and help you determine the level of treatment that will work best for you. If your addiction is severe, if you’ve overdosed in the past, or have had frequent relapses, you may need inpatient or residential treatment. 

Similarly, if you’re “graduating” from inpatient treatment, an assessment will determine if you’re ready to re-enter your regular life, or if you need the more gradual, step-down approach from inpatient to PHP, to IOP, and then to outpatient treatment and/or a Twelve-Step program.

Most importantly, keep in mind that a decision to enter PHP or IOP isn’t a sign of weakness, but merely an admission you still have work to do. Both will provide essential support as you continue to cope with cravings and risk of relapse. 

Take the Next Step

At 1st Step Behavioral Health, we’ll connect you with experts that will determine the best substance abuse treatment option that will work best for you. The sooner you begin, the sooner you can get your life back on track. Give us a call at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information.


Common Physical Signs of Xanax Abuse

If you’re concerned that you’re using too much Xanax, or if you’re worried about a friend or family member, it’s essential to recognize the common physical signs of Xanax abuse. Spotting the signs is tricky because Xanax abuse symptoms are similar to the effects of alcohol or narcotics. 

What is Xanax?

Xanax is the generic name for alprazolam. It is a type of drug known as a benzodiazepine, a class of sedative medications that includes Klonopin, Ativan, and Valium, although Xanax is much stronger. Physicians frequently prescribe Xanax for anxiety, panic disorder, and insomnia, and it provides relief for most people who take the drug. In fact, it works almost too well. 

Unfortunately, Xanax is very habit-forming, and it’s easy to get hooked. Nobody sets out to be addicted, but people enjoy the feelings of peace, calm, and relaxation so much that they take more Xanax than they should, or they keep taking the drug for long periods despite the many dangers. 

Most addiction experts agree that the potential risks of long term Xanax abuse may outweigh the benefits, yet many physicians continue to prescribe the drug for unsafe lengths of time. Xanax is intended for short periods, and a treatment period of three to four weeks is safe for most people.  

Xanax addiction develops quickly, however, and is common for people who take the drug for more than six weeks. In time, many people learn that the symptoms of long-term Xanax abuse are far worse than the problems that prompted them to use the drug in the first place. 

See 1st Step Behavioral Health’s article about spotting the general warning signs of Xanax addiction. 

3 Physical Signs of Xanax Abuse

Like most substance abuse addictions, there are some common physical signs of Xanax abuse that are easy to recognize. They include:

1. Changes in Appearance

Changes in appearance usually show up after a long-term Xanax abuse. At this point, finding and using the drug becomes all-important, and personal hygiene takes a back seat. 

Xanax addiction also affects self-confidence. A person who typically takes great care with her appearance may become sloppy and unkempt. You may notice bad breath or unpleasant body odor. 

Other noticeable physical signs of Xanax abuse may include bloodshot eyes and sudden weight gain or weight loss. Failure to brush and floss regularly may cause yellowing of the teeth. 

2. Breathing Problems

Xanax slows down impulses throughout the body and can slow breathing to the point of coma or death. The risk becomes much greater when the drug is used with other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol, or opiates like heroin, hydrocodone, or oxycodone. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), more than 30 percent of opiate-related overdoses also involve Xanax or other benzodiazepines.

People who have experienced respiratory depression associated with the use of Xanax report shortness of breath and feelings of being smothered or choked. Infections of the nose, throat, and lungs are also more common among Xanax users. People with emphysema or other lung problems are at even higher risk of respiratory problems. 

3. Dizziness and Drowsiness

Sleepiness is a common side effect when people start taking Xanax, but it usually wears off in a few days when the drug is taken as recommended. However, misuse of Xanax can cause dangerous dizziness and drowsiness. A person who is hooked on Xanax will probably seem tired, lethargic, and entirely uninterested in activities at work, school, or home.

The effects of Xanax are magnified when the drug is used with alcohol or drugs that cause sedation. If you use Xanax, it’s a good idea to avoid other substances, and never drive a car; you may be drowsy without realizing it.

If you use Xanax (without or without other substances), and you feel tired, weak, lightheaded, or drowsy, contact 911 immediately. 

Dangerous Signs of Xanax Use: What are the Effects of Xanax Abuse? 

Respiratory depression and drowsiness or dizziness are two severe signs of Xanax abuse. Other dangerous physical side effects of long-term Xanax abuse may include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Severe headaches
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Speech problems
  • Painful rash
  • Heavy sweating
  • Swollen hands or feet
  • Menstrual problems
  • Constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or other stomach problems
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Seizures
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain and increased risk of heart attack

Symptoms of Long-Term Xanax Abuse

The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Science defines long-term use as lasting for more than two weeks. 

Tolerance, which occurs when the brain and body become accustomed to the drug, is one of the most troublesome effects of long-term Xanax abuse. When Xanax no longer works as well as it did in the beginning, the natural inclination is for people to take larger doses, or to take the drug more frequently. Tolerance can quickly turn into full-fledged addiction.  

People who take the drug for long periods, generally two years or more, may experience a variety of muscle problems, often severe enough to interfere with daily activities. Troublesome symptoms may include uncontrolled muscle movements (tics), fidgeting, pacing, impaired muscle function, clumsiness, lack of coordination, stumbling or falling, or muscle weakness.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

When you stop using, you may experience a variety of Xanax withdrawal symptoms, such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, blurred vision, impaired concentration, muscle cramps, and seizures — which are associated with most benzodiazepine withdrawals

If you’re addicted to Xanax, detoxing by stopping “cold turkey” can be dangerous, or even life-threatening. Your doctor can help you devise a plan for stopping gradually, so the discomfort and danger of Xanax withdrawal symptoms are lessened. 

With Help, You Can Detox and Stop Using Xanax

Once you’re spotted the signs of Xanax abuse, it’s time to seek help before the problem gets worse. With quality detox treatment, you or a loved one can learn healthier ways to cope with anxiety, panic disorder, and insomnia. At 1st Step, we’re ready to help. Give us a call at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information.

Cocaine drug in resealable bag

3 Common Signs of Crack Cocaine Use

Although there are many signs of crack use, dramatically increased energy levels and noticeable facial changes are common red flags. Drug paraphernalia and a distinctive, unpleasant odor are also signs of a person using crack. 

What is Crack and How Is It Different From Cocaine?

Although crack and cocaine are both derived from the cocoa plant, cocaine is the drug in a powdered form. To make crack, cocaine powder is mixed with water and another substance, typically baking soda. The mixture is boiled, solidified, and broken into small, uneven chunks that pop and crackle when hot. 

Cocaine is usually snorted. While crack can be injected, it is typically smoked or inhaled. Both are dangerous, highly addictive drugs that ravage the mind and body very quickly, and both can lead to many serious effects, including stroke, seizures, and cardiac arrest.

Although crack is substantially less expensive than regular cocaine, it becomes very costly when the brain becomes accustomed (or tolerant) to the drug and increasingly larger doses of crack are needed to achieve the desired high. 

3 Common Signs of Crack Cocaine Use

We’ve talked about the three common signs cocaine use, but there are also three common signs of a person using crack that are easy to recognize:

1. Changes in Energy Level

Crack belongs to a class of drugs known as stimulants, which includes illegal drugs such as meth, ecstasy, and cocaine. Legal stimulants include prescription medications like Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin, as well as tobacco, energy drinks, and caffeine. 

All stimulants dramatically increase energy levels and bring on behavioral changes such as hyperactivity, increased alertness, and nervousness. A surplus of energy may cause unusual shaking or fidgeting.

A person under the influence of crack may be more talkative than usual, and speech may be fast or rambling. Increased energy can also show up as irritability, anger, volatile changes in mood, and unpredictable, erratic or bizarre behavior.

2. Physical Signs of Crack Use: Facial Changes

General changes may seem relatively insignificant at first, but regular or long-term crack cocaine users may look puffy and bloated, or they may look pale, haggard, or emaciated due to rapid weight loss, poor nutrition, and lack of sleep. It’s common for regular users of crack to appear sick, worn out, and much older than their years.  

Dilated pupils are one of the most common physical signs of crack use, but you may also notice:

  • Puffiness
  • Muscle twitches and facial tics
  • Red, runny, or bloody nose
  • Inflamed nostrils
  • White powder around the nostrils,
  • Burns or blisters on the mouth or lips

When a person seeks treatment for a crack addiction and the drug leaves the body, overall health improves, and most outward signs of crack abuse are resolved. 

3. Recognizing Paraphernalia

The U.S. Department of Justice defines paraphernalia as “any equipment used to produce, conceal, and consume illegal drugs.” Items used to smoke crack can be challenging to identify because they are often commonly found around the house. 

Smoking crack delivers the drug to the lungs quickly. Smoking usually involves glass pipes with a bulb on one end, or simple glass tubes, often with a wad of steel wool to let the smoke filter through without burning the mouth. With use, crack pipes will have burn marks and smoke residue.

Also, look for makeshift devices with burn marks. For instance, if pipes or other paraphernalia aren’t available, a regular light bulb makes a good substitute. The inner workings of the bulb are removed. The crack is placed inside the glass bulb and then heated from the outside with a cigarette lighter. 

Freebasing crack

Freebasing is one of the most common ways of smoking cocaine or crack, producing an intense rush of pleasure. This method involves melting the crack to form a vapor, which is inhaled. People who freebase crack may place the crack on a piece of tin foil, heat it from below and inhale the vapors with a straw or hollow pen. Foil used for freebasing is often wadded-up, and will probably burn marks.

Injecting crack

Crack cocaine is usually smoked or freebased, but it can also be injected, often by heating the crack in the bowl of a spoon. A hypodermic needle is inserted into the warm liquid before it is injected.

Crack users are often creative when it comes to containers, which might include small plastic bags, empty lipstick containers, pill bottles, empty cigarette packs, or breath mint containers. 

What Does Smoking Crack Smell Like?

Does crack have a smell? If you’re concerned that somebody you love is using crack, this is likely one of your first questions. Crack has a distinctive smell, and it isn’t pleasant. 

Keep in mind that smoking crack smells nothing like smoking pot. Marijuana plants have an earthy, somewhat “skunky” odor that intensifies as the plant gets larger, and gets even stronger when it’s smoked. The aroma, which varies somewhat depending on the strain, has also been compared to the odor of burning rope. 

The odor of crack, on the other hand, is difficult to distinguish from meth. Many people say that crack smells like burning rubber. Others use even more descriptive terms to describe the odor of crack, such as burning chemicals, melted plastic, stale body odor, car exhaust, vomit, fingernail polish remover, or burning hair. The odor can cling to clothing and may cause the breath to smell sour. 

Hope and Help for Crack Abuse and Addiction

Crack cocaine is so potent and habit-forming that recreational or casual use generally isn’t possible. Even a single use begins the process of addiction in the mind and body. Behavioral and physical signs of crack use are dramatic and frightening, but the good news is that even long-term users can recover and enjoy a life free of crack and other drugs. 

If you or somebody you love is abusing crack, quality treatment offers the best hope of long-term sobriety and a return to overall health and wellness. Call 1st Step at 855-425-4846, or contact us here for more information.

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.



https://mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/do-you-have-addictive-personality-traits https://americanaddictioncenters.org/the-addiction-cycle/traits-of-an-addictive-personality

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.