Can You Leave Rehab Early | Open Door

Can You Voluntarily Leave Rehab Early, Or Can Rehab Make You Stay?

Can you voluntarily leave rehab? If you’re an adult, nobody can keep you in rehab against your will, even if treatment is court-mandated. You can leave anytime you want, but before you walk out that door, ask yourself why you want to stop treatment. Consider the potential consequences and how leaving early may impact your life. 

Reasons for Leaving Rehab Early: Problem-Solving

If you’re struggling in rehab, tell somebody how you’re feeling. Your counselors and therapists have heard this many times, and they will help you through the rough patches. Here are a few typical reasons for leaving rehab early.

I feel terrible. Detox is tough, and it’s normal to experience a range of unpleasant symptoms, depending on your substance and the severity of your addiction. For instance, you may have nausea, muscle aches, chills, tremors, or headaches. Withdrawal isn’t limited to physical symptoms, and it’s normal to feel depressed, anxious, angry, or irritable. Cravings may be intense, and you may feel empty, like you’ve lost your best friend. 

The good news is that most of the symptoms will ease in a few days, and you’ll begin to feel better. Don’t hesitate to let someone know how you’re feeling; you may receive medications that can make withdrawal more manageable. 

I hate this place. Maybe things just aren’t going well, and you feel like you chose the wrong rehab. Your bed is uncomfortable, the food is terrible, or you just don’t fit in. Maybe you’re bored or frustrated, or you miss your family. It’s normal to feel like a fish out of water at first. Try to be patient; the first couple of weeks are nearly always the hardest. 

I don’t need rehab: Maybe you think you can stop using without help, but be honest with yourself — if you could stop on your own, you would have done so by now. If you’ve made it through withdrawal, or you’ve been in treatment for a while, you may feel like you’ve got the problem licked, and further treatment isn’t necessary. 

Your chance of a positive outcome is substantially improved if you stay in treatment longer. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, research indicates most people need at least three months and sometimes much longer. Think about the progress you’ve made so far; don’t throw it all away. 

What is Court-Ordered Rehab?

If you’re convicted of a crime such as drunk driving, theft, fraud, or selling or manufacture of a controlled substance, the court may offer you a choice to enter rehab instead of spending time in prison or jail. 

After considering your case, the court may believe the crime is connected to your use of drugs or alcohol, and that it might not have occurred if you hadn’t been under the influence. If a court offered you this option, it’s because a  judge thinks you’re not a threat to society and that you have a good chance of making positive life changes. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that for many people, legal pressure is motivation to enter treatment and remain there longer. NIDA also notes that people who complete treatment are less likely to commit drug-related criminal behavior in the future.  

It’s a win-win solution for everybody. Rehab is less expensive than prison, and treatment eases society’s burden of tremendous public health costs associated with substance abuse and addiction. 

The Possible Consequences of Leaving Court-Ordered Rehab Early

Nobody can force you to remain in treatment. The ehab center won’t lock you in a closet or chain you to your bed, and they won’t send the dogs out to track you down. However, the bottom line is that you’re violating a legal agreement, and that’s a serious crime that can land you in a whole lot of trouble. In some states, leaving court-mandated treatment is a felony. 

If you leave court-ordered rehab early, the drug treatment center is legally required to notify local authorities. Then what? It depends on your history and why you landed in the court system in the first place. The court will consider your progress, behavior, and attitude while you were in rehab. They will want to know if you played an active role in your treatment and why you walked out. 

The court might decide to go easy on you, or they can prosecute you to the full extent of the law. The judge can send you to jail immediately or require you to pay a large fine. If this shows up on your record, you may have a hard time renting a house or landing a good job. If you’re guilty of a felony, you may not be able to receive college scholarships or live in public housing.

On the flip side, the court may dismiss your charges when you complete treatment, although you may still need to pay restitution or perform community service. The court may also stipulate that you continue with a 12-Step group or some form of ongoing treatment. It’s a small price to pay when you consider the alternatives.

What Happens if You Leave Rehab Early?

Whether you’re in court-ordered treatment or you entered rehab voluntarily, there are many good reasons to see it through. Rehab is a supportive place to address your substance abuse or addiction and can help if you’re facing challenges such as medical issues, employment problems, or lack of secure housing.

In treatment, you’ll learn how to manage stress and problems such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD, and you may receive meds that will help. Most importantly, you’ll learn strategies to help you avoid relapse in the future.

Don’t Wait to Seek Help

Substance use is considered a chronic disease that should be taken seriously. If your use of drugs or alcohol has landed you in legal trouble, or if you’re finding it difficult to stay in treatment, we are here to help and support you. Feel free to contact 1st Step Behavioral Healthcare here, or give us a call at 855-425-4846.

NAD IV Drug Detox

Everything You Need to Know About NAD IV Drug Detox

IV drug detox, also known as NAD IV therapy, is touted as an answer for people struggling with addiction and difficult withdrawal symptoms whenever they try to stop. Detoxing from drugs or alcohol is never easy, and fear of painful withdrawal is enough to deter some people from entering much-needed treatment. 

It’s tempting to bypass challenging withdrawal symptoms, but is IV drug detox all it’s cracked up to be?  A quick online search produces countless examples of businesses eager to take your money, but their lofty promises may be too good to be true. 

What is NAD IV Therapy?  

NAD is the acronym for Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide, a naturally occurring compound that helps the cells produce energy from food.  Drugs and alcohol can deplete the amount of  NAD in the body, thus limiting the body’s ability to convert food into energy. There’s also a possibility that some people don’t produce enough NAD naturally, making them more susceptible to substance abuse and addiction. 

Proponents claim that NAD IV therapy is beneficial because it allows NAD to bypass the stomach and go directly to the bloodstream and the brain. 

IV Drug Detox: How Does it Work?

If you decide to give NAD IV therapy a try, a physician will assess the severity of your addiction and your overall health. Once the doctor has determined the best course of treatment, you’ll receive IV therapy for 10 to 14 consecutive days. In addition to NAD, the IV may also contain other substances to help prevent infection and regulate nerve function, such as vitamins C and B12, magnesium, and zinc.

You’ll be seated in a comfortable chair while NAD IV drip is administered slowly through a vein. You can watch TV, nap, work on your laptop, read, or eat during the treatment. The first couple of sessions are lengthy, generally lasting between two and 10 hours.  After that, treatments are shorter in duration, typically between 45 minutes and six hours. The doctor will probably ask you to return for a follow-up in a month or two.

Side effects, including mild nausea or chest pressure, appear to be mild. A slower NAD drip usually prevents symptoms, and discomfort usually goes away when the session is completed. Also, there is always a slight risk of infection when needles are inserted into the body.

NAD Drip: Lofty Promises

According to NAD IV therapy providers, treatments flush drugs out of the system and allow the body to produce energy naturally while minimizing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. 

Additionally, some clinics claim that IV NAD therapy will:

  • Enhance mood and energy,
  • Promote weight loss
  • Boost metabolism
  • Slow or reverse the aging process
  • Reduce chronic pain and inflammation
  • Prevent or delay certain diseases, including diabetes and heart disease
  • Lessen symptoms of fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis
  • Improve athletic performance
  • Improve mental clarity and concentration
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Restore energy levels and endurance
  • Improve appearance
  • Provide an overall sense of wellbeing
  • Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Repair damaged DNA
  • Promote restful sleep and ease insomnia
  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Relieve symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Treat symptoms of schizophrenia
  • Help with autism

NAD IV Therapy: Good Medicine or Expensive Snake Oil?

In 2019, National Public Radio (NPR) reported that such claims aren’t supported by scientific research or evidence. Not only that, but unsubstantiated claims may indicate false or misleading marketing of medical treatments. 

Addiction treatment professionals express concern that quitting alcohol and benzodiazepines suddenly is dangerous and may result in psychosis, hallucinations, tremors, or grand mal seizures, which can be fatal. Tapering the drugs slowly, with a physician or treatment center’s support, is safer and more likely to result in long-term recovery. 

Medical experts have called NAD IV therapy “bogus” or “quackery,” which takes advantage of vulnerable, desperate people struggling with substance abuse or addiction. NAD IV therapy is expensive, ranging from a few hundred dollars per session to $1,000 or more. Don’t expect your insurance to pay for unproven treatment. 

The Bottom Line: If It’s Too Good to Be True…

The bottom line is that NAD IV therapy shows promise, but more research is needed before we know if treatments are safe, effective, and dependable. If you think the treatments may help, talk to your doctor or a treatment professional first. Ensure IV therapy is administered by registered, trained nurses who will monitor your vital signs throughout the IV drip treatment.

Avoid popular IV bars and clinics that make unrealistic claims or promise miracle cures. NAD IV therapy is likely to be more successful along when combined with regular treatment or support groups.

Remember that you can boost your body’s level of NAD by exercising more and by eating more raw, nutritious, protein-rich food. You can also buy over-the-counter NAD supplements, but so far, there is no evidence they help with substance abuse and addiction.

Traditional Therapy May Be Your Best Hope of Recovery

Many experts think that NAD IV therapy prevents people from engaging in regular treatment using counseling, education, support, group therapy, and relapse prevention. Also, NAD IV therapy generally doesn’t address depression, anxiety, and other mental and emotional issues. 

Reputable treatment centers and rehabs make sure you are safely detoxed before treatment begins. You will receive medications to prevent seizures and ease nausea, pain, headaches, and other difficult withdrawal symptoms. 

Many treatment centers and rehabs also offer medicine-assisted treatment (MAT), which is highly effective when used in conjunction with traditional therapy. Medications such as buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone are proven to be effective and FDA-approved.  The meds work by minimizing withdrawal, curbing cravings, or blocking the pleasurable effects of drugs and alcohol.

Reach Out for Help Today

Quality treatment for substance abuse relies on a range of tools and methods that can help you say goodbye to addiction for good. There are no miracle cures for addiction, but at 1st Step Behavioral Healthcare, our compassionate professionals are ready to answer your questions and discuss your treatment options. Give us a call today at 855-425-4846, or contact us here.

Adventure-Therapy

What Are Adventure Therapy Programs and Can They Aid in Recovery?

Adventure therapy programs are for at-risk youths or young adults that are frequently in alternative to youth detention or probation, or are a last-ditch attempt to reach a troubled child when nothing else has worked. 

Often known as wilderness therapy, adventure therapy activities allow participants to step outside their comfort zones and focus on their problems in an unfamiliar outdoor environment, free of the noise and temptations of everyday life.  

What is Adventure Therapy?

There are various types of adventure therapy programs, and so far, there is no standard definition. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) defines them as “residential placements that provide participants with a series of physically challenging outdoor activities designed to prevent or reduce delinquent behavior and recidivism.”  

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) says adventure therapy programs provide an alternative to hospitalization or incarceration for youth with behavioral or emotional challenges, such as substance abuse or addiction, self-destructive behavior, family conflict, grief, trauma, or psychological disorders.  

Programs vary significantly in length and intensity. Some may consist of relatively easy day trips, while others focus on challenging activities like wilderness expeditions, challenge courses, or rock climbing. Adventure therapy activities may include camping, canoeing, kayaking, backpacking, sailing,  or horseback riding. 

Duration ranges from a few days to several months. 

Adventure Therapy Benefits

Adventure therapy programs are staffed by licensed therapists and wilderness experts who have gone through specialized training and comprehensive background checks. 

The goals of adventure-based therapy activities are to help children develop self-reliance, responsibility, social skills, teamwork, emotional control, conflict resolution, and healthy coping strategies.  Participants are typically expected to join with other children to accomplish daily chores and tasks and complete various service projects. 

Often, adventure therapy is more effective than weekly visits with a therapist or a stint in detention. Many children can open up and share their feelings with others who have similar issues. 

Although adventure-based therapy activities require children to work hard,  activities are designed to be fun.  Often, troubled youth can break through barriers that prevent them from enjoying life to the fullest.  Rebellious children, or those who have been bullied, regain trust in others while building emotional strength.   

Many children go home with a more positive attitude,  greater self-understanding, improved impulse control, and renewed hope for the future.

Adventure Therapy or Boot Camp? What’s the Difference?

If you’re considering an adventure therapy program for your troubled teen, beware of military-style boot camps that advertise their programs as adventure therapy. 

Discipline-based boot camps for adolescents and young adults have received a lot of bad press in recent years. Such camps, intended to teach self-control and respect for authority, are typically overseen by a drill sergeant who metes out harsh punishment if children don’t adhere to a strict routine. 

Teen boot camps are often staffed by inexperienced, unqualified, or unlicensed individuals that rely on fear and physical or mental aggression, with little time set aside for counseling or therapy. Although some youth initially do well in such a rigid environment, changes are often temporary. Soon, children become angry and resentful, and problems are intensified. 

Legitimate adventure therapy programs aren’t based on fear or harsh punishment, and tough love rarely works. Adventure therapy should promote life skills, responsibility, and self-discipline while exploring problems, empowering personal development, and nurturing body, mind, and spirit.  

Choosing an Adventure Therapy Program

Sending a troubled teen to an adventure therapy program is a huge decision that shouldn’t be made on the spur of the moment. Take time to research the matter carefully. If necessary, speak to a counselor, medical provider, or addiction expert.  

Licensing and Accreditation 

Many states don’t license or regulate adventure therapy, and programs can open and close at will with little oversight. On the other hand, some states have general guidelines, while others have clear, specific rules, regulations, and procedures. Requirements generally govern administration, staff training, staff-to-participant ratios, location, health, nutrition, treatment goals, safety plans, infectious disease control, and transportation. 

Adventure therapy programs may also be accredited by national organizations such as the Joint Commission, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehab Facilities  (CARF),  or the Council on Accreditation (COA). Programs may also be members of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council (OBH), the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP), or the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT), or the Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group (TAPG). 

Making  a Decision: Ask Questions First

  • How long has the adventure therapy program been in operation? Be careful of new programs with no proven track record.
  • Has the program had any license suspensions or reports of problems? Any serious injuries or deaths in the last five years?
  • Will you be allowed to call or visit your child? How are families involved in the program?
  • Are staff members credentialed? Do they have training and experience working with youth? What is the staff to child ratio?
  • Will you have an opportunity to meet the program administrator and staff?
  • Is the staff trained in first aid and CPR? Is a doctor or nurse on staff? What happens if your child is ill or injured?
  • Is there a safety plan in place? What happens in the event of extreme heat or cold, or a tornado, hurricane, earthquake, or fire?
  • Does the program carry liability insurance? 
  • Are the sleeping areas and shower facilities clean and safe? Will special diets be accommodated?
  • What types of counseling are offered. Is therapy based on sound research and evidence? 
  • How will the staff deal with an angry, combative, or struggling kid, or one who wants to leave? Is it ever necessary to restrain a youth? If so, how, and under what circumstances.

Looking for a Healthier Perspective? 

If your teen or young adult faces difficult challenges, the compassionate team at 1st Step Behavioral Healthcare can help. We offer effective rehab programs for youth, including inpatient and outpatient treatment, psychotherapy, intervention, and family therapy. Give us a call at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information. We’ll work with you to investigate treatment options. 

What Is Nar-Anon & How Can It Help Families of Recovering Addicts?

If you’ve been reading about substance abuse and how it affects families, you’ve likely run across information about various support groups and organizations, including many 12-Step groups. You may be wondering, exactly what is Nar-Anon? How can it help?  

What is Nar-Anon?

Nar-Anon is a 12-Step fellowship established to provide support for people with an addicted family member or friend.  Nar-Anon is separate from Narcotics Anonymous, which offers support for people who are battling a drug addiction.   

It can be confusing, but it may help to look at it this way: Alcoholics Anonymous, which was created to help alcoholics get clean and sober, is the original 12-Step group. Al-Anon is a program for friends and family members of alcoholics. Narcotics Anonymous and Nar-Anon are built on the same principles and operate much the same way; however, the focus of Nar-Anon isn’t alcohol, but drugs.

Nar-Anon Family Support Groups

Addiction is a chronic disorder that changes the chemical and physical makeup of the brain. It isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw, and it can happen to anybody without regard for wealth, education, upbringing, or social standing. Addiction is a family problem. Although the struggle is devastating for the addict, it can be just as difficult for the people who care about that person, including parents, children, spouses, partners, and close friends. 

Nar-Anon is an international fellowship created to support people with an addicted loved one and to help them understand the disease of addiction. Twelve-Step groups have a strong spiritual component, and members recite the Serenity Prayer at all meetings. However, beliefs are personal and are never discussed. Although you may hear members talking about a “higher power,” or “God as we understand him,” you will never be asked about your faith. 

Nar-Anon meetings are safe and welcoming, and anonymity is an essential component. Chairs are generally arranged in a circle to encourage open communication, and you will be encouraged to share your story with other members when you feel comfortable. Membership is free and open to everyone, and donations fund expenses such as supplies, refreshments, or rent for the meeting space. Meetings are usually weekly, although individual groups may have different schedules. 

The Nar-Anon fellowship also includes Narateen groups for young people whose lives have been affected by a friend or relative’s drug addiction. Narateen meetings are facilitated by two Nar-Anon members — one male and one female.  There’s no doubt that all family members play an essential role in recovery

What Are the 12 Steps of Nar-Anon?

The 12 Steps of Nar-Anon, based on the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, are devised to help people who are coping with the addiction of a loved one. Members focus on tenets such as looking inward, willingness to change, surrender, self-disclosure, humility, hope, acceptance, making amends, continued spiritual growth, and service to others.

1. We admitted we were powerless over the addict — that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.  

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.  

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 

5. Admitted to God, ourselves, and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.  

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.  

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.  

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. 

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs. 

How to Start a Nar-Anon Group

If you don’t have Nar-Anon family support groups in your area, it isn’t difficult to form a new group with at least three members. Begin by finding a meeting place, which may be a room in a church, community center, hospital, office building, or meeting hall. 

Once you’ve established a core group and a meeting place, you’re ready to register the new group on the Nar Anon website or by snail mail. You can also purchase a new group packet that includes sample meeting guidelines and formats, information for families and newcomers, and other literature to get you started. Outreach packets and posters can help you spread the word about the new family support group. 

Nar-Anon Online Meetings

Many Nar-Anon groups offer virtual meetings as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some have returned to in-person meetings, while others continue to meet online. Contact individual groups in your area for specific information. 

Nar-Anon in South Florida

If you’re looking for a Nar-Anon meeting in Florida, there’s a good chance you can find one in your area. At least 70 fellowships, including in-person and virtual groups, are listed on the Florida Region Nar-Anon Family Groups website.  You can also call the Florida Region Helpline at 1-888-947-8885.

Take the First Step: Find Support Today

If somebody you love is battling drug addiction, you may be overwhelmed with feelings of anger, frustration, confusion, anxiety, guilt, or shame. You may feel afraid, isolated, and alone. Relationships may be hanging on the precipice or damaged almost beyond repair.

If your life has been affected by the addiction of a loved one, the team at 1st Step Behavioral Health can help with resources and information on available programs, including Nar-Anon and other 12-Step support groups. If you think your loved one may benefit from professional treatment, we can discuss that, too. Contact us online or give us a call at 855-425-4846. 

Why Some Doctors Recommend Gabapentin for Withdrawal Symptom Relief

Why Some Doctors Recommend Gabapentin for Withdrawal Symptom Relief

Studies suggest that gabapentin, an anticonvulsant medication that reduces the intensity of withdrawal, may be a valuable tool in the ongoing battle against opioid addiction. 

Withdrawal from opioid drugs is so difficult that addicted people may relapse into substance abuse to relieve the painful symptoms. Others are hesitant to enter treatment at all for fear that detox from opioid drugs will be overwhelming. As a result, too many people remain trapped in potentially deadly addictions.

Opioid addiction is a massive problem across the United States, with no sign of going away anytime soon. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that overdoses have claimed more than 770,000 Americans since 1999. Nearly three-quarters of those deaths were due to opioid drugs, including heroin, fentanyl, or prescription painkillers.

More research is needed before understanding exactly how gabapentin works and whether the benefits outweigh the risks.

Taking Gabapentin for Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

Gabapentin, marketed as Neurontin, Horizant, and Gralise, is a relatively new drug first approved for use in the early 1990s. Doctors prescribe gabapentin for certain types of seizures, diabetic neuropathy, restless leg syndrome, and nerve pain that often accompanies shingles. Doctors also prescribe the medication off-label to relieve anxiety, migraine headaches, insomnia, and to ease withdrawal from addiction to alcohol and benzodiazepines.

For opioid addicts, gabapentin reduces the severity of withdrawal symptoms, including muscle cramps, anxiety, depression, restlessness, tremors, agitation, irritability, and insomnia. Medical experts aren’t sure exactly how it helps, but basically, gabapentin alters and calms the way the brain responds to pain.

Although it isn’t a magic bullet, gabapentin for recovering addicts may help some people stay in treatment longer and remain abstinent when used in conjunction with standard addiction treatment and other medications. However, taking gabapentin for opiate withdrawal isn’t entirely risk-free.

Gabapentin for Opioid Withdrawal: Possible Side Effects

Gabapentin is well tolerated by most people when taken as prescribed, and most side effects tend to be relatively minor, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Hoarseness
  • Lethargy
  • Fluid retention in legs, arms, feet, or hands
  • Involuntary eye movements and problems with coordination are possible and may be more severe. 

The following side effects are less frequent and usually not severe:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Cough or congestion
  • Dry or irritated mouth and throat
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Backache
  • Weight gain
  • Hyperactivity

Depression, anxiety, irritability, mood changes, and respiratory difficulties are infrequent but may be more severe. Side effects such as confusion, hives, serious allergic reactions, increased thirst, gas, liver problems, insomnia, decreased sexual desire, and suicidal thoughts are possible but rare. 

Many side effects are mild and go away as your body gets used to the medication, but call your health care provider if the effects are uncomfortable, or if you have worries or concerns. Some side effects may need medical attention.

Gabapentin is Dangerous When Misused: Addictive Potential

Prescribing gabapentin for opioid withdrawal has helped many people kick the habit and is generally safe when used as directed. However, gabapentin itself can be addicting when misused. 

Gabapentin is a non-narcotic medication, initially thought to present a low potential for abuse. However, law enforcement officials and first responders report that illicit use of gabapentin has risen substantially in the last few years. Gabapentin purchased on the street is typically used to enhance the impact of heroin, methadone, prescription painkillers, and other opioid drugs. 

Opioid addicts may take gabapentin to hold off withdrawal symptoms when a drug of choice isn’t available, or to attempt at-home detox from opioid drugs. Oral use of the medication in pill form is most common, but the medications can also be crushed or snorted, chewed, or injected. 

Gabapentin alone doesn’t generally cause overdoses, even when used at high doses, but the risk is increased significantly when opioid drugs and gabapentin are used together. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes that serious consequences include respiratory depression and a greater risk of fatal overdose.  

The combination of opioid drugs and gabapentin is hazardous for people with substance abuse disorders, the elderly, or those with COPD or other respiratory problems. Although gabapentin isn’t a federally controlled drug, spikes in illicit use and a high potential for abuse have prompted several states to move the drug to their controlled substances lists. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that prescriptions dispensed for gabapentin have increased substantially since 2011.

Gabapentin During Pregnancy: Infants May Experience Withdrawal at Birth

It’s common knowledge that unborn infants exposed to opioids can have severe withdrawal symptoms after birth. More recently, the CDC reported that unborn babies exposed to both opioids and gabapentin could have severe and unusual withdrawal symptoms, including involuntary muscle twitching, tongue thrusting, restlessness of the arms and legs, back arching, and rapid eye movement. 

There are legitimate reasons for women to use medications during pregnancy. Still, physicians should ensure that women who use opioids and/or gabapentin are monitored, and infants should be closely watched for several days after birth. The FDA advises that the drugs be prescribed for pregnant women only when a physician determines that the potential benefit justifies the risk.

Learn More About Gabapentin for Opiate Addiction 

Kicking the opioid drug habit is tough, but 1st Step Behavioral Health and a local research-based drug detox facility will work with you to ensure your withdrawal from opiates is as safe and comfortable as possible. Together, we will devise a personalized treatment plan and determine if gabapentin is the right choice for you. 

If you’re concerned about a dependence on gabapentin, we can help with that, too. Don’t wait to get started. Give 1st Step a call today at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information

Rows of Casino Slot Machines Representing Gambling Addiction

Tips for How to Help Someone with a Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction is a chronic disorder, not a character flaw or a sign of weakness. It has nothing to do with age, intelligence, wealth, or social standing. Most people can gamble occasionally without getting hooked, but gambling becomes a big problem when it causes financial harm, interferes with work or school, or creates conflict with family or friends. 

Left untreated, compulsive gambling can destroy relationships and lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, isolation, guilt, and shame. If you or somebody you love has a gambling addiction, there’s probably feelings of angry, frustration, or worry, and also the desire to help. The good news is that a compulsive gambling addiction is very treatable. 

Understanding the Causes of Gambling Addiction

When looking to help someone with a gambling addiction, it’s important to understand how they got where they are. All addictions are complicated, and there could be many possible causes. Some people gamble because they enjoy the thrill. Others gamble to relieve emotional turmoil, cope with stressful issues such as job loss or divorce, or ease loneliness or boredom. Some may gamble in hopes of solving financial difficulties. 

Problem gamblers may already have a substance abuse problem, or they attempt to relieve distress caused by anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or ADHD. Experts think that those with a gambling addiction may have a genetic disposition for reward-seeking behavior, or have personality traits such as impulsivity or competitiveness.  

Gambling Addiction Is a Progressive Disorders That Get Worse Over Time

Researchers have learned that gambling stimulates the brain’s reward system in much the same way as drugs or alcohol. The same is true for other behavioral addictions, such as shopping, video games, pornography, or binge eating.

Like a person with a substance abuse disorder, compulsive gamblers develop a tolerance and will need more risk or higher stakes to reach the same “high.” They may experience cravings, anxiety, irritability, depression, insomnia, or other withdrawal symptoms when they aren’t gambling. 

How to Help a Gambling Addict

If somebody you care about has a gambling problem, it’s time to sit down and discuss how your loved one’s gambling addiction affects you and others. Be prepared for pushback, and don’t take it personally if your loved one gets angry or defensive. Problem gamblers may deny they have a problem, even when it’s evident to everyone else. 

Prepare for the discussion by learning about compulsive gambling, and look into possibilities for treatment. Visit your local library, search online for reputable websites, or talk to addiction professionals in your area. Most states provide helpful information or free treatment. Many are affiliated with the National Council on Problem Gambling, 

Be straightforward, but don’t lecture, blame, judge, beg, or criticize. Stop and pick up the conversation later if things get contentious, or if you feel frustrated or angry. Most importantly, be patient and supportive and let your loved one know you care. Accept that there may be setbacks and that depression, anxiety, or other issues may arise. 

Beware of Enabling a Problem Gambler

Your loved one needs to take responsibility for their gambling problem, and this may never happen if you protect them from the natural consequences of her behavior. Don’t pay bills. Don’t loan or give money. Don’t make excuses, and don’t cover up or justify their behavior. Don’t feel ashamed, guilty, or responsible, and don’t let them place the blame on your shoulders. 

You may think you’re helping by constantly bailing your loved one out of trouble, but you’re actually removing motivation to change. 

Best Tips to Stop Gambling

If you’re a compulsive gambler, or you know someone who is, here are some actionable ways to try and control a gambling addiction.

  • As with any addiction, the first step is admitting there’s a problem and making a serious commitment to change. This is easier said than done, especially if gambling has strained relationships to the breaking point. Be honest. Acknowledge the trauma and emotional pain gambling has caused. 
  • Own up if your gambling problem has caused financial hardship, if you’ve depleted your savings, or if you’ve turned to fraud or theft to support your addiction. Accept that your loved ones are angry, afraid, or disappointed, and be willing to see a marriage counselor or family therapist. 
  • Turn your finances over to somebody you trust. Cut up your credit cards and keep only enough cash for small purchases. Close online gambling accounts and delete gambling apps on your phone. If you’re having trouble staying away from computer gambling, use a blocking tool. If necessary, make an appointment with a debt counselor to help you get your finances back on track.
  • Don’t engage with gamblers in person, online, or on social media. Stay away from casinos, race tracks, bars, or any other places that may tempt you to gamble. 
  • If you feel a strong urge, stop and think about why you feel compelled to gamble. If the craving feels overwhelming, wait at least 30 minutes. A half-hour may feel like forever, but if you hold on, cravings often ease. Distract yourself by going for a walk, reading, or some other activity that distracts you.
  • If you miss the excitement, get involved with a challenging activity, such as running, high-intensity physical training, or rock climbing. If you gamble to relieve stress, learn healthier ways of relaxing, such as deep breathing, yoga, or mindfulness meditation. 
  • Reach out for help. Contact state-sponsored resources or gambling addiction help in your area. Check into a treatment center or rehab, and consider joining a Twelve-Step program such as Gamblers Anonymous. Seek help if you’re struggling with substance abuse or other issues that make it harder to stop gambling. 

Treatment: Gambling Addiction Programs

Treatment for gambling addiction is similar to treatment for any other addiction and usually includes education, support groups, and counseling. A doctor may prescribe medications to curb the cravings, or for depression, anxiety, ADHD, or bipolar disorder. Treatment may be residential or outpatient.  

Call Today for Gambling Help

Gambling addiction is a complicated disorder that affects thousands of people in the United States. If you or a loved one is struggling with a gambling problem, give us a shout. Call us at 855-425-4846, or contact us online  and we’ll discuss treatment options.

group-activities-for-addicts

COVID-Friendly Social & Group Activities for Recovering Addicts

We’re all feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the stress of isolation and the loss of support can be significant for people in recovery from substance abuse or addiction. The good news is that with a little creativity, enjoying various group activities for recovering addicts may be easier than you think. Connecting with others will help you cope with anxiety, depression, or boredom that may trigger a relapse. 

First Things First: Suggestions for Staying Healthy

It’s possible to get together with friends, but don’t throw caution to the wind. Before you make any plans to organize fun recovery group activities, be aware of recommendations from your local health authorities. Heed warnings about large gatherings, and act accordingly. Wear a mask to protect people around you, and always maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet. 

Reach out to friends or family every day to stay in touch, and don’t let yourself become too isolated. If you aren’t comfortable going out, or stay-at-home orders have been issued, pick up the phone and give somebody a call or have a face-to-face chat on Zoom, or your video platform of choice. Video communication tools are surprisingly easy to use, and they allow groups of people to enjoy virtual, face-to-face conversations. 

If it’s safe to venture out, consider meeting a friend for coffee or lunch, but call the restaurant in advance to ensure they’re open. Ask if the staff wears masks and takes other precautions to protect your safety. If you can’t go out, schedule time for a virtual lunch.

Although in-person support groups are on hold for now, most groups, including Twelve-Steps and Smart Recovery, now have online or phone options. You can also find helpful support groups if you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or other issues. 

Group (and solo) Activities for Recovering Addicts to Curb Boredom

Boredom can be a trigger that may lead to relapse if you aren’t careful. If you have too much time on your hands, use it to try and explore new hobbies or improve old ones. You may discover a talent or skill you didn’t even know you had. 

Best Hobbies for Addicts in Recovery

A new, challenging hobby can relieve stress, build self-esteem, ease depression, and provide a sense of achievement while you’re stuck at home. You may even develop new friends with shared interests. 

Is there a hobby you’ve always wanted to try but lacked the time, or one you enjoyed years ago?  Finding a meaningful activity can be a matter of trial and error, so don’t be afraid to try something new. If that doesn’t work, try something else. You may want to try:

  • Playing a musical instrument or writing a song
  • Drawing or painting  
  • Cooking or baking
  • Growing flowers, vegetables, herbs, or indoor plants
  • Writing short stories, essays, or poetry
  • Crafts such as knitting, weaving, calligraphy, candle making or woodwork
  • How to speak a foreign language
  • Fly a kite (or build your own)
  • Restore old furniture
  • Go stargazing

Fun Group Activities For Recovering Addicts: Staying Indoors

If you miss getting together in person with friends, virtual game nights are a lot of fun. There’s a good chance that your favorite games are suitable for playing on Zoom or other video communication tools.

Charades is a classic game that’s been around practically forever. Getting together with others for a round of virtual charades is different, but it’s just as much fun. You can also use Zoom’s chat feature for a high-tech version of karaoke. Find karaoke songs online, and then take turns belting out tunes in duets, small groups, or individually. 

Pictionary is another game that you can play virtually, using an online word or catchphrase generator. The goal is for one person to draw a picture for a partner or team to guess in a minute or less, without benefit of sound or words. Similarly, if you’re a trivia buff, the Internet has many versions of trivia quiz games. 

Categories games are a fun way to pass the time with friends or family. If you haven’t played for a while, this old favorite game requires participants to fill in a list of categories. Sounds easy, but the word in each category must begin with a particular letter, and there is a time limit. 

Video games are also a great way to connect with friends. Today, more and more games are becoming “cross-platform” allowing friends on different systems to link up and play. If you haven’t invested in a game system like the Nintendo Switch or PlayStation before, now might be a good time to purchase. 

Jackbox — A variety of games for everyone to easily play remote

Jackbox Games is a perfect addition to any video call and an easy way to play games with friends.  These multiplayer games are played either on a phone or web-enabled device that you can use as a controller and are for 1-8 players. 

Fun Recovery Group Activities: Getting Outdoors

Indoor get-togethers can be tricky. Maintaining a safe distance from others is challenging, and indoor spaces tend to have poor ventilation. You can eliminate a lot of worry with outdoor activities, which are generally safer. However, outdoor activities aren’t entirely risk-free.

Stick with activities that allow you to stay at least 6 feet from others unless you live in the same household. Outdoor group activities should be small and include only people from your local town, neighborhood, or community. Remind people to stay home if they aren’t feeling well. As things start to open, places like museums and indoor ice skating rinks can be great places to link up.

Running, hiking, and walking are relatively safe as long as you can maintain the proper distance from other people. Look for wide-open spaces and be careful of narrow pathways and crowded sidewalks. Keep a mask in your pocket and put it on if you’ll be in close contact with others.  

Kayaking, canoeing, and sailing are great ways to get out in nature with friends. Non-crowded beaches are okay, too. You and your friends can enjoy golf, badminton, frisbee, or tennis, but avoid contact sports like wrestling, football, and basketball.

It’s safe to go camping with people you live with, but space tents at least 6 feet apart if you’re camping with other people. Don’t share food, drinks, or eating utensils. Pack hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and soap. 

Similarly, small barbecues and picnics in your backyard or a non-crowded park are good, but order take-out or ask everyone to bring their own food and beverages. Disinfect surfaces frequently.  

Also, don’t be afraid to crowdsource ideas from friends! There are lots of other people in recovery feeling just as antsy that would likely love to get together — virtually or in-person.

Reach Out for Help

If you’re worried about potential relapse or feeling overwhelmed by feelings of isolation, loneliness, anxiety, or depression, don’t struggle alone. The folks at 1st Step Behavioral Health are here for you, and we’re ready to help as you navigate through this difficult time. Just give us a call today at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information.

Social Isolation and Substance Abuse Issues: A Dangerous Combo

Social isolation is difficult for most of us, but those dealing with isolation and substance abuse issues can find it especially challenging.

During times of national crisis — like the Covid-19 pandemic — state or local officials may take steps to slow the spread of disease or “flatten the curve” so that medical facilities aren’t overwhelmed. They may request (or require) that businesses and schools close, and that people avoid crowds and limit travel away from home. Social isolation may continue for weeks or even months.

It’s Normal to Worry

It’s understandable to be concerned about how a crisis may affect you and the people you love. You may worry about finances, like how you’ll pay the rent and buy food or medicine. 

You may feel frustrated, bored, angry, anxious, or depressed. If you have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), you may experience mood changes or an increase in disturbing memories, flashbacks, or nightmares. You may have trouble sleeping, or you may sleep too much. The prospect of battling addiction alone, with limited access to support systems, only contributes to these feelings of stress.

Social Isolation and Substance Abuse Issues

We all have different ways of dealing with stress, and it may be tempting to fall back into old habits. Relapsing, and turning to drugs or alcohol to cope with isolation, worry, and fear may be what you’re used to. However, when we’re threatened by Covid-19 or other infections, we must stay as healthy as possible. Substance abuse weakens the immune system and even more so during full-blown addiction. If you become ill, your body will have a harder time fighting off the infection.

Using alcohol to cope with stress weakens the immune system and increases the risk of illness. However, according to the American Heart Association, alcohol sales in stores and online have risen substantially since the beginning of the pandemic. When 2,200 adults were queried about their drinking habits, 16 percent indicated they were drinking more they did before Covid-19. 

Methamphetamine narrows the blood vessels, which can damage the heart and lungs. NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse), isn’t sure how meth compromises the immune system, but a person with respiratory difficulties may have a harder time healing from infections. 

Cocaine is a nervous system stimulant that can cause constriction in the veins and arteries. Smoking or snorting cocaine may lead to severe lung damage and increase the risk of Covid-19, or worsen illnesses such as emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma. 

Opioids, including heroin and prescription painkillers, can slow breathing to dangerous levels, thus increasing the chance of a fatal overdose. Naloxone can halt an overdose when administered quickly, but when a person is alone, there is nobody present to provide the life-saving medication. 

Smoking or vaping marijuana or tobacco damages the white blood cells and causes inflammation of the lungs, which increases your vulnerability to infections, including Covid-19. Massachusetts General Hospital also reports that people who smoke or vape are more likely to spread the virus by coughing, even if they show no symptoms.

Dealing With Addiction Alone: Practicing Self-Support

There’s no doubt that the risk of substance abuse and addiction increases after exposure to stress. For example, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that substance use disorders rose significantly after Hurricane Katrina, along with dramatic increases in hospitalization for substance abuse.

It’s good to stay up to date on current events, but take a break if you find that the news increases your anxiety. Try watching for only a few minutes every day. Turn the news off at bedtime if it keeps you awake. Be careful about conspiracy theories and bogus news sources.

Don’t hesitate to ask your local health experts or medical providers for information. Keeping the public informed is part of their job.

Mindfulness meditation or prayer may help with fear and stress. Try keeping a gratitude journal; start your day by writing down at least three things that made you smile.

It may seem like life has turned upside down, but do your best to stick to a regular daily routine, which will help you feel more in control. Get enough rest. Eat healthy food and avoid too much fatty or carb-laden comfort food. 

Try to get fresh air every day. Breath deeply. If you’re able, go for a socially distanced walk through your neighborhood. Make time for fun. Stay positive by enjoying humorous or inspirational movies and books.

Fighting Addiction Alone: Reach Out to Others

Staying in contact with other people will limit your feelings of isolation, and by reaching out, you’ll help others who are probably struggling with similar worries. Call your friends and family, or send them an email or a text message. Gather together on Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype. 

Don’t limit yourself to family and close friends. Call an elderly neighbor or relative and offer to help by picking up their medicine or groceries, but always protect yourself by social distancing, hand-washing, and other recommended methods.

Battling Addiction Alone May be Dangerous: What to do When you Feel Overwhelmed

If you’re using drugs or alcohol to cope and you’re feeling overwhelmed or out of control, seek treatment or rehab as soon as possible. If you’re unable to enter treatment right away, ask your medical provider if she can recommend a treatment provider with telehealth options. Consider online support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, or Smart Recovery.

If you’re experiencing depression, anxiety, or PTSD and your symptoms are difficult to manage, contact your doctor or counselor immediately. Let a family member know that you need support. If you’re in crisis, or if you’re thinking about harming yourself, call emergency services. 

If you’re taking meds for depression or anxiety, don’t stop. Your doctor may be able to increase the dosage or prescribe additional meds. If you’re unable to get to your local pharmacy, call and inquire about delivery options.

Similarly, if you’re concerned about yourself or a family member’s physical health, most physicians offer online appointments.  

Don’t Deal with Addiction Alone: Take the 1st Step

Life is stressful right now, but you don’t need to cope with depression, anxiety by yourself, or deal with addiction alone. We’re here for you, and we’re ready to help. Just give us a call today at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information.

Why Will Mixing Xanax and Alcohol Make You Black Out?

Xanax is a brand name for alprazolam, a medication prescribed mostly for anxiety and panic disorders. It’s a central nervous system depressant that works by slowing down activity in the brain.

Like Xanax, alcohol is also a central nervous system depressant that slows down brain activity. Using the two together is extremely risky and can be life-threatening. Although there are many, blackouts are one of the most dangerous side effects of mixing Xanax and alcohol.

Why Will Mixing Xanax and Alcohol Make you Black Out?

When you use Xanax and alcohol together, the effects of both central nervous system depressants are significantly amplified. The term for this effect is “potentiation,” which means that both substances become much more potent when combined than they would be if you used them alone. 

Side Effects of Combining Xanax and Alcohol

Mixing Xanax and alcohol together, it’s easy to drink more alcohol than you realize, and you can become intoxicated very quickly. An alcohol and Xanax combination will make you feel uncoordinated, and you may stumble and fall. If you drive, you are at risk of car accidents, which can be fatal.   

Using both substances together can also make you feel nauseous, tired, dizzy, or faint, and you may have severe headaches. If you use Xanax and alcohol over long periods, you may develop stomach problems, or serious issues with your heart, liver, or kidneys. You’ll be more likely to think about or commit suicide, especially if you previously struggled with depression or other mental health issues.

According to the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, studies indicate that long-term use of Xanax and other benzodiazepines are linked with a heightened risk of dementia, and alcohol may increase that risk. 

Symptoms of a Xanax and Alcohol Blackout

If you’re mixing Xanax and alcohol, blackout is always possible. If you blackout, you won’t lose consciousness, but your brain can’t form memories, and you’ll be in a state of temporary amnesia. In other words, you’ll be awake, but you won’t remember what happens during the time you are blacked out, or you may remember only fragments.  

During a blackout, you may act normal, and your friends may not realize you are in the middle of a blackout. You may carry on conversations, dance, or drive a car. Also, you may commit crimes, drive recklessly, or be date-raped. A blackout can be short, lasting only a few minutes, or for several hours. 

How Many Xanax Does it Take to Black Out?

It’s impossible to predict how many Xanax it takes to experience a blackout. However, Xanax alone usually doesn’t cause this effect if you’re a healthy adult, although it’s possible if you take very large doses. You can have a blackout from drinking alcohol on its own, without taking Xanax.

You’re much more likely to blackout if you use Xanax and alcohol together, even if you use relatively small amounts. You don’t have to be addicted to either one to experience a blackout. 

Xanax Overdose: Can You Die from Taking Xanax and Alcohol?

Don’t kid yourself; mixing Xanax and alcohol is a risky practice. You may only feel a little dizzy and sick, or you may stop breathing, choke on your own vomit, or have a heart attack. The effects depend on many factors, including your age, size, and general health.

It’s also possible to die from alcohol poisoning if you forget how much you’ve had to drink. You may have seizures, a heart attack, or you may fall into a coma. Never get behind the wheel of a car if you’ve been using Xanax and alcohol. You may kill yourself or somebody else.

If you suspect someone you know has overdosed on Xanax or alcohol, or if they have symptoms of alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately. Never assume they will “sleep it off.”

The Dangers of Fake Xanax

Fake Xanax looks identical to the real thing and will be labeled “Xanax.” However, it may be cut with substances that weaken the drug, such as talc or baking powder. Illegal sellers do this to make more money. 

On the other hand, fake Xanax may be much stronger than pharmaceutical-grade Xanax, or it may be laced with Fentanyl, a powerful opioid painkiller that is about fifty times stronger than heroin.  When you buy Xanax on the street, it’s impossible to be sure what you’re getting. 

Xanax and Alcohol Detox

Xanax withdrawal symptoms are challenging, but they usually aren’t fatal unless you’ve used very large amounts. However, Xanax and alcohol detox can be life-threatening. You may experience heart palpitations, high blood pressure, headaches, fever, and sweating, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, dizziness, insomnia, confusion, exhaustion, numbness in your arms and legs, electric shock sensations, delirium, hallucinations, seizures, and coma. 

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal will ease in a few days, but Xanax detox takes longer. You’ll feel better after a couple of weeks, but you may experience symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety for weeks, or even months. You may also experience rebound anxiety, which can be more severe than the original anxiety that prompted you to use Xanax in the first place. 

Typically, Xanax is tapered slowly, and a doctor can help you stop taking the drug gradually without major withdrawal symptoms. The safest way to stop using Xanax and alcohol is to enter a treatment center or medical detox facility, where you’ll be safe and as comfortable as possible. 

With medically-monitored detox, somebody will always be present to help, and your vital signs will be checked regularly. Medications can be prescribed to help with difficult symptoms. You may receive a safer short-term medication to help with severe anxiety.  

Treatment for Xanax and Alcohol Addiction at 1st Step

Seek treatment as soon as possible if you’re dependent on Xanax and alcohol; the longer you wait, the higher the risk that something bad will happen. Look for a treatment center that specializes in dual diagnosis, which means they have the experience and knowledge to deal with both addictions at the same time. A good treatment center will also help with anxiety and will provide support and direction throughout the entire process. 

Don’t go through withdrawal and treatment for Xanax and alcohol addiction alone. Give 1st Step a call at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information. We’ll answer your questions and help you explore various options for withdrawing from Xanax and alcohol safely. 

The Benefits of Going to An Out of State Drug Rehab for Treatment

Attending a substance abuse treatment center close to home may sound like a smart, convenient choice. However, consider an out of state drug rehab before making a final decision. Explore all of your options and weigh the pros and cons of treatment at home versus rehab out of state.

Closer Isn’t Always Better for Substance Abuse Treatment

The best addiction treatment center may not be located in your neighborhood or city. Even if your local rehab offers high-quality treatment, it isn’t best for you if it doesn’t provide the care you need. For instance, if you’re struggling with a dependence on opiates or meth, a treatment center specializing in alcohol abuse won’t be the best solution. Or if you prefer a gender-specific program and the treatment center in your town offers co-ed treatment, it isn’t a good fit. Look at out of state drug rehabs in order to expand your treatment options. 

You’re Likely to Stay May Stay in Treatment Longer at an Out of State Rehab Center

Substance abuse treatment is challenging, and if you’re close to home, you may be tempted to drop out when things get rough, especially during the early days. Leaving on the spur of the moment is much harder when you’re attending an out of state rehab center. You can’t easily give into impulses; like hopping on a bus, or calling a friend for a ride. Things get smoother if you can hang in there through the rough patches. 

The longer you’re able to stay in treatment, the higher the chances of long-term recovery. According to NIDA (the National Institute of Drug Abuse), treatment of less than three months is of limited effectiveness, while longer time in treatment is recommended for a more positive outcome. NIDA also notes that most people who remain in treatment for an extended period are able to stop using drugs, improve their mental health, and move forward with life.

Out of State Rehabs May Offer Better Treatment Programs & Specialties

Treatment programs and specialties offered by out of state drug rehab centers vary substantially, so don’t limit yourself to only looking at what’s nearby You may prefer a rehab that focuses on a particular religion or one that centers treatment around a 12-Step program. Alternatively, you may be looking for a non-religious treatment center or one that offers 12-Step alternatives. You may benefit from a treatment facility that caters to business executives, adolescents, seniors, or LGBT individuals. 

If you have depression, bipolar disorder, or another mental health issue in addition to substance abuse problems, it’s essential to find an addiction treatment center where the staff is trained and experienced in dual diagnosis disorders. Treating two disorders at the same time is complex, and not all treatment centers provide the necessary mental health services on-site . 

In short, you may be more likely to get the care you need if you’re willing to travel.

Other Benefits of Seeking Addiction Treatment Out of State

Aside from increasing your chance of finishing treatment and expanding your program options, there are a few other benefits to exploring out of state rehabs.

Out Of State Rehabs May Have Shorter Wait Times for Admission

The decision to enter treatment is enormous and life-changing, and it’s best to get started as soon as possible. Even if you’re lucky enough to find the perfect treatment center close to home, it won’t do you much good if the waiting list is long. You’re much more likely to find a place with an opening if you look into out of state drug rehabs. 

It Puts Distance Between You and Distractions

Friends and family are wonderful, and they can be essential for your recovery. On the other hand, the people you love can also distract you from focusing entirely on treatment, especially if things aren’t going well on the home front. The distance of an out of state rehab allows you to direct your attention to recovery without stressing about constant anger, tension, and resentment at home. 

Sometimes, your loved ones mean well, but they may not understand how they’re enabling your addiction or neglecting your needs and personal boundaries. Recovery is especially difficult if somebody at home is still using drugs or alcohol. 

Although you may want to include your family in your substance abuse treatment plan, it may be beneficial to wait and begin family counseling after you return home. You may be hesitant to spend so much time away, but sometimes, a little time apart can help everybody see more clearly. This is something only you can decide. 

Traveling to an Out of State Addiction Center May Save You Money

If you live in a city with a high cost of living, addiction treatment is probably going to be substantially more expensive than in other areas of the country. Even after you factor in travel expenses, you may actually save money by traveling to an out of state drug rehab.

In some cities, most substance abuse treatment centers are resort-like facilities that cater to people with healthy bank accounts. A high-end treatment center is great if you can afford it, and it’s nice to have perks like a private room, daily massages, or a professional chef. A hefty price tag may buy many perks, but it doesn’t necessarily equate to better treatment. 

Change is Good for the Soul

Traveling to a rehab out of state removes you from old friends, familiar neighborhoods, and favorite hang-outs that might tempt you, especially in the early days of recovery. At an out-of-state drug rehab in a new environment, you’ll meet different people and new friends that share your desire to get well. You may find it’s easier to discuss your experiences and feelings with people with similar experiences, or who don’t know anything about the difficulties in your past. 

If you’re entering treatment in the dead of winter, a warmer climate might be a very welcome change. If you live where summer heat is punishing, consider an escape to a treatment center in the refreshing coolness of the mountains. Addiction treatment offers an opportunity for a fresh start at recovery, and traveling may give you a whole new outlook.

Privacy Matters

There’s no reason to be ashamed if you have a problem with substance abuse; addiction is a chronic disease that can happen to anybody. You may feel okay about sharing your plans to enter addiction treatment, or you may prefer to keep it private, especially if there’s a possibility your job or reputation may be threatened if word gets out. 

Telling your friends or coworkers is totally up to you. The big problem, however, is that at local substance abuse centers it’s common to run into people you know, even in large urban areas. Traveling to an out of state drug rehab makes it much easier to protect your privacy and focus on recovery.

Get A Fresh Start at First Step Behavioral Health in Florida 

Traveling to an out of state drug rehab might be one of the best things you’ll ever do for yourself. Located in beautiful Pompano Beach, South Florida, our substance abuse and dual diagnosis specialists can help you explore your addiction treatment options. Give us a call today at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information