What is LSD and Can You Get Addicted To It?

LSD, commonly known as “acid,” is a powerful hallucinogenic drug that completely alters and distorts the user’s perception of reality. Can you get addicted to LSD? Although the matter is up for debate, most professionals agree that LSD isn’t physically addictive. However, it’s possible to become emotionally and mentally hooked on the drug’s mind-altering effects. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), LSD is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which means there is a high potential for abuse, but no currently accepted medical uses.

What is LSD Made of?

 LSD stands for lysergic acid diethylamide, a chemical synthesized from ergot, a toxic fungus that grows on rye and other grains. LSD is considered a semi-synthetic drug because creation also involves manmade chemicals that change its physical makeup into a crystallized form. 

What is LSD?

 Crystallized LSD is liquified into a clear, odorless substance with a slightly bitter taste. Single doses of the liquid are dropped onto square pieces of blotter paper. Users place the paper on the tongue, and the drug absorbs into the body. Blotter paper is the most common way people use LSD, but it is also incorporated into gelatin squares, sugar cubes, or capsules. LSD is rarely smoked, sniffed, or injected. 

LSD has been around since its hallucinogenic properties were accidentally discovered in the 1930s. In the 1950s, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Department of Defense experimented with the drug as a chemical weapon that could control entire populations.  LSD was widely researched as a psychiatric drug, and showed promise as a treatment for severe pain. 

In the 1960s, when it was still legal, LSD was widely used recreationally in the United States, soon spreading to the U.K. and across Europe. The United States banned the drug in the late 1960s after the potential hazards became apparent. Although LSD isn’t as popular as it once was, many people still use it illegally.  

People who use LSD refer to the experience as a trip. A good trip is marked by changes in perception, a heightened sense of clarity and awareness, and intensified emotions. Shapes and sizes may pulse or appear distorted, and users may see geometric shapes on walls and other surfaces. Users may experience a rush of euphoria, a total absence of fear, and a feeling of superhuman strength. Objects may appear to ripple, and colors seem brighter. 

Although LSD’s effects on the human brain aren’t widely studied, research suggests it temporarily interferes with serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates senses, thinking, mood, and behavior.  

Is LSD Addictive?

Experts don’t consider LSD as a physically addictive substance, at least not in the same sense as drugs like heroin, meth, or cocaine. While LSD doesn’t cause uncontrollable cravings and compulsive use, people who use the drug frequently may quickly develop a tolerance, which means more and more is needed to attain the same hallucinogenic effects. Typically, normal tolerance returns after stopping the use of LSD for a few days.

Just because LSD isn’t physically addictive doesn’t mean it’s safe. Using large amounts of LSD is risky because it is unpredictable and doesn’t always act the same from one use to another, or from one person to another. 

A bad trip can involve terrifying hallucinations, confusion, and a sensation of being disconnected from reality. Users may experience despair, severe depression, delusions, panic, frightening thoughts such as fears of dying or going insane. It’s not uncommon to swing rapidly from one emotion to another or to feel several emotions simultaneously.  

A person having a bad trip may be combative and may want to harm others or himself, or he may do dangerous things that lead to injuries or fatal accidents. It’s impossible to predict if using LSD will trigger a good trip or a bad one. 

LSD Side Effects

LSD side effects begin to kick in within 30 to 60 minutes after taking the drug, peaking in four to six hours, and typically lasting eight to  12 hours. Physical symptoms may include:

  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of coordination
  • Incoherent or garbled speech
  • Tremors
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Dilated pupils
  • Chills
  • Weakness
  • Bizarre behavior

LSD Presents a Variety of Risks to Mind and Body

Although bad trips are terrifying, they aren’t usually life-threatening. LSD overdoses are uncommon, and fatal overdoses are virtually nonexistent. However, altered perceptions and distorted thinking may lead to reckless or unpredictable behaviors resulting in legal problems, violence,  strained personal relationships, injury, or death.

Although it’s uncommon, some people experience mood changes, psychosis, paranoia, or suicidal thoughts after large doses or frequent use of LSD. Research suggests that people with schizophrenia or other underlying mental illness, or those predisposed to addiction, are more likely to experience adverse effects. 

Some people experience flashbacks, or feelings of being on a “bad trip,” occurring up to a year or more after using LSD. Flashbacks are more common during times of stress or exhaustion and may be severe enough to interfere with everyday life. 

It’s rare for LSD to be cut or diluted with other substances, but it may cause severe reactions when used while taking certain prescriptions, including some antidepressants; or lithium, a medication prescribed to treat bipolar disorder. Using LSD with alcohol is extremely risky. 

Treatment for Psychological Addictions

Consider treatment if you’re having trouble controlling your use of LSD or if your use of the drug has impacted your life in negative ways. Behavioral therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) are often helpful with psychological addictions to LSD or other hallucinogenic drugs. 

Stopping LSD generally causes no physical withdrawal symptoms, but you may need support and guidance if you experience feelings of confusion, fear, agitation, or depression. 

Don’t Delay

Each person is unique, and at 1st Step Behavioral Therapy, we’ll work with you to create a treatment plan tailored to your particular needs. We’ll help you work through your dependency on LSD in a calm, supportive environment. To learn more, give us a call at 855-425-4846  or contact us online

Pompano Beach residential area

Why People Searching for Rehabs in Georgia Choose Florida Instead

A decision to enter treatment for substance abuse or addiction signals a major turning point in your life, and you understandably want to get started as soon as possible. Timing is critical, but don’t rush to enroll in the first drug rehab in Georgia that catches your attention. Treatment is a major commitment of time and money, so you must do everything possible to ensure the experience is positive and effective. 

If you’re looking at residential drug rehab centers in Georgia, don’t discount the possibility of traveling to a neighboring state like Florida. A treatment center in your area may be more convenient, and may also offer high-quality treatment, but that’s no guarantee that a local Georgia addiction center will be best for your particular recovery needs.

Treatment in Florida: A Fresh Start and a New Point of View

Substance abuse treatment isn’t easy, especially in the beginning, and unless you’re legally mandated to spend a specific length of time in treatment, you can walk away any time you choose. If you decide to enroll at a drug rehab in Georgia, the temptation to fall back into old habits may be too difficult to resist.

On the other hand, you’re more likely to stay engaged in treatment if you break connections and put a safe distance between you and the people and places that threaten your recovery — at least until you’re feeling more confident and secure in recovery. The urge to bend towards social pressures and unhealthy connections can be powerful, but once you’ve invested some time into addiction treatment, and the drugs and/or alcohol have left your system, you’ll be more clear headed. 

Traveling to a treatment center in Florida provides a fresh start in a completely new environment, while still maintaining a relatively close proximity to the comforts of familiarity. Comprehensive drug rehab centers like 1st Step will ensure you have an aftercare or relapse prevention plan in place before you go home. Chances are, you’ll be happy that you were able to achieve some space.

Space Can Help Preserve Personal Ties

Even the most loving and supportive relationships can bend and break under the pressure of addiction. If you’ve struggled with long-term addiction, you and your family are probably exhausted by chaos, anger, and disappointment. Your relationships may be hanging by a slender thread. 

Mending broken relationships takes time and commitment, and there are no guarantees that everything will magically be better once you complete treatment. However, getting away gives everybody time to heal and sort things out.

It isn’t necessary to sever connections with your family. You’ll be able to stay in contact via phone or email, if this is what you choose, and some form of family therapy can become part of your addiction treatment program. Family therapy may be in the form of casual family weekends or organized therapy sessions that will help you and your family establish healthy boundaries, rebuild trust, and break destructive patterns. 

The Importance of Privacy and Confidentiality

Dealing with the stress of a rumor mill or office gossip isn’t something you’ll want to deal with during your stay in treatment. If you enter into treatment at one of the many residential drug rehab centers in Georgia, there’s always a chance that you’ll bump into somebody you know. This is a common occurrence even in large, urban areas, and it isn’t easy to maintain a high level of privacy if you’re too close to home.  

Many Florida drug treatment centers offer programs specifically geared to working professionals. Keep in mind that you don’t need to tell your friends and coworkers you’re traveling for substance abuse treatment. They don’t need to know where you’re going or how long you’ll be gone unless you choose to tell them. 

Florida Offers A Wide Variety of Treatment Center Options

South Florida is famous for its beautiful weather and scenic beaches, but it’s also home to more than 600 of the nation’s top-rated addiction treatment providers. With a little research, you’re bound to find a rehab that fulfills your needs. For instance, instead of choosing an inpatient drug rehab center in Georgia, you may thrive in a rehab that offers the following options:

Dual diagnosis treatment

Specialized dual diagnosis treatment is essential if you need help with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or other mental health issues along with substance abuse. In the past, it was customary to treat mental illness and addiction separately, which often required more than one treatment provider. Research over the last few decades has proven that co-occurring disorders should be treated at the same time.  

Medical detox

You may need medical attention if your substance abuse is severe, or if you’ve been addicted for a long time. With medical detox, a medical team will monitor you around the clock, and you may receive medications that will help you get through the hardest stages of withdrawal.

Medication-assisted treatment

Also known as MAT, medication-assisted treatment combines standard addiction treatment with medications that work by blocking the effects of drugs or alcohol, or by curbing severe cravings or other withdrawal symptoms.

Varied length of stay options

Standard treatment of about a month may not be long enough to address your substance abuse or addiction. Since Florida has such a wide variety of treatment centers you’re bound to find one that offers a program for the length of time you need, and if necessary, will adjust.

Complementary (alternative) treatments

Florida treatment centers offer many alternative therapies that many people find helpful. For example, you may benefit from yoga, mindfulness meditation, biofeedback, art therapy, equine therapy, or exercise and nutrition education.

Treatment for specific addictions

Many Florida treatment centers treat a variety of addictions, and this works well for most people. However, some centers focus on a specific addictions, such as opioids, crystal meth, cocaine, benzos, or alcohol.

Got Questions? Call 1st Step Today

Located in Pompano Beach, Florida, 1st Step Behavioral Health is dedicated to providing quality care, and our staff is always available to answer your questions and concerns. Our substance abuse programs are based on tried and true, research-based treatment methods that give you the best chance of long-term recovery. If you’re looking for help for you or a loved one, feel free to give us a call at 855-425-4846 or contact us online for more information


How to Recognize Crystal Meth Overdose Symptoms

Meth (methamphetamine) is an extremely potent, highly addictive drug that has wreaked havoc in rural and urban areas across the United States. The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that in some regions, meth creates more problems than opiates. Learning how to recognize signs of meth use, and more importantly meth overdose symptoms, are some of the best ways individuals can help save lives. 

What Is Crystal Meth?

Although meth has much in common with cocaine and other stimulants, crystal meth is a neurotoxin that remains in the brain longer, where it can cause significant damage. The more meth a person uses, the faster the central nervous system functions, until the brain and body are dangerously overstimulated.

Can You Overdose on Meth?

If you’re using crystal meth, overdose is always a possibility. All too often, a drug overdose results when the body is unable to process the substance effectively. A meth overdose can lead to severe health problems, and in some cases, death.

Long-Term Crystal Meth Users

Experienced meth users sometimes fight through meth overdose symptoms because their systems have become so desensitized that they can take relatively large doses without immediate problems. On the other hand, long-term users can build a physical tolerance in which increasingly dangerous amounts of meth are needed to reach the same level of pleasure and euphoria — making a successful meth overdose more likely to be fatal.

New Crystal Meth Users

New users are more likely to use toxic amounts of meth because they haven’t developed a tolerance, and they tend to be unaware of how meth affects the body. Inexperienced meth users may take a dose equal to that used by an experienced user, or they may take a second dose before the first dose has worn off. 

Crystal meth overdose may occur when meth is cut with another substance such as caffeine, amphetamines, ketamine, or fentanyl, often without the buyer’s knowledge, or when meth is used with alcohol or other drugs. Sometimes, people overdose when they are unaware they have a health condition such as heart disease or diabetes. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with a meth addiction, give us a call at (866) 971-5531 or contact us online today

How Much Meth Does it Take to Overdose?

Several factors affect the severity of crystal meth overdose symptoms, which can impact survival rate. A heavier person may not be as likely to overdose as a person who weighs less, and a healthy person is less likely to overdose than a person with a heart condition or other physical problems. 

People who have developed a tolerance are typically less likely to overdose than newer users. The frequency of meth use also makes a difference. When meth is injected or smoked rather than snorted, it reaches the brain quickly and effects don’t last as long. Some people may use meth every few hours to stay high, which significantly increases the risk of overdose.

Purity of the meth is also a factor.

What Does a Meth Overdose Feel Like? Acute vs. Chronic

A crystal meth overdose may be either acute or chronic. An acute overdose, which occurs when a person uses a large amount of meth at one time, can be fatal. A chronic overdose refers to harmful effects that build over time. Both are devastating and potentially deadly. 

Common Signs of Meth Overdose: Symptoms of Acute Overdose

  • Profuse sweating
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Tremors
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Difficult, slowed, or stopped breathing
  • Hallucinations
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Dangerously high body temperature
  • Paranoia
  • Aggression
  • Extreme agitation
  • Panic
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures

The meth overdose symptom that is most commonly the primary cause of death is usually failure of the kidneys and other organs. Meth overdose can also lead to convulsions, stroke, heart attack, or coma.

Common Signs of Meth Overdose: Symptoms of Chronic Overdose

Chronic overdose involves side-effects that may occur when crystal meth is used over a long period of time. Many of these meth overdose symptoms are temporary, but some of them can become permanent:

  • Skin sores
  • Rotten teeth (meth mouth)
  • Insomnia
  • Heart problems
  • Muscle deterioration
  • Frequent infections
  • Severe weight loss
  • Psychosis 
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Decrease in mental functioning

Spotting Meth Overdose Symptoms: What to Do When Someone ODs

Rapid response is critical if you suspect somebody has overdosed on meth. Call 911 immediately, even if you aren’t sure. The longer you wait, the higher the risk of adverse reactions, including death. 

When you call, be prepared to provide as much information as possible, such as:

  • Is the person unconscious? Has breathing stopped? 
  • Were other substances used?
  • Are you aware of other medical problems?

How to Help Someone Who Has Overdosed on Meth

After you have called 911 there are a few steps you can take. While you’re waiting for help to arrive:

  • Tilt the person’s head to one side so she won’t choke on her own vomit.
  • If the person is having a seizure, hold his head carefully to prevent injury, but don’t restrict movement of the arms and legs. 
  • Don’t put anything in the person’s mouth.
  • Be careful if the person is agitated, aggressive, or paranoid.

Good Samaritan Laws

It’s critical that you stay with the person until help arrives. If you’re worried that you may be arrested if you call emergency services, most states have enacted Good Samaritan Laws that protect you, and the person who is overdosing on meth, from prosecution for offenses such as the sale or use of a controlled substance. Good Samaritan laws in many states apply even if you’ve violated probation or parole. Don’t allow your fear to prevent you from getting help immediately.

Meth Overdose Treatment 

While there may be ways to treat individual meth overdose symptoms, there’s no specific method of treating a person in the middle of a crystal meth overdose. First responders will likely perform a toxicology screening, administer intravenous fluids, and may take other necessary steps to stabilize the person.

If the crystal meth was taken orally and help arrives within an hour or two, responders may administer activated charcoal to prevent the toxins from moving from the intestines into the bloodstream.

Once the person arrives at the emergency department, doctors will treat specific meth overdose symptoms such as stroke, heart attack, severe agitation, or organ failure.

Meth Withdrawal Occurs in Two Phases

When undergoing crystal meth detox, it’s important to understand that meth withdrawal takes place in two phase:

Phase One

Phase one generally lasts up to 10 days and typically involves:

  • Intense cravings
  • Tremors
  • Aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Clammy skin
  • Irregular heartbeat 
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of energy
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression — including the possibility of suicidal thoughts or behavior

Phase Two

Phase two, which lasts for at least two weeks, is usually the time when meth withdrawal symptoms begin to stabilize. However, withdrawal during this period may involve continued cravings, nightmares, mood swings, depression, and anxiety.

After three to four weeks, symptoms continue to lessen and sleep and energy levels begin to normalize. Cravings may continue for a few months, or they may begin to diminish after about five weeks.

Unfortunately, some meth withdrawal symptoms, such as paranoia and psychosis, may last several months, even with crystal meth addiction treatment. Others, like memory problems and sleep difficulties, may be permanent. 

Detoxing off Crystal Meth: Meth Addiction Treatment

If a person is experiencing any of meth overdose symptoms, that’s a clear warning that something is very wrong. If they survive an overdose, meth addiction treatment should begin as soon as possible. Even though this overdose wasn’t fatal, the next one may be a different story. Getting into treatment and detoxing off of meth should become a top priority.

The Importance of Quality Meth Addiction Treatment

If you’re concerned about your use of meth, or if you’re worried about somebody you love, recognizing the signs of crystal meth overdose may mean the difference between life and death. Meth addiction treatment is challenging, but quality treatment provided by an experienced, compassionate team of professionals offers the best chance of success. 

At 1st Step Behavioral Health, we’re ready to help, using effective, evidence-based treatments for meth addiction. Call us at (866) 971-5531 or contact us online today.

Holistic Treatment

10 Holistic Ways to Help Manage Chronic Pain Vs Taking Prescription Pills

Chronic pain. It’s more than the occasional acute pain everyone experiences here and there. It’s more than your body’s immediate response to injury or recent surgery. Chronic pain is recurring; it comes back over and over again. It constantly impacts and hinders the everyday lives of those who suffer from it.

This kind of pain comes in various forms and affects millions of people from all walks of life. In fact, if you suffer from chronic pain, you’re one of 50 million individuals in the United States who struggle with this pain on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, countless individuals all over the world are facing the challenges that come with having chronic pain. But, this gives us all the more reason to find helpful and effective solutions!

The Trouble With Pain Meds

For years, medical professionals have done what they could to help those who are dealing with chronic pain. Many have prescribed pain relief medication in order to assist people in working through recurring pain in their bodies.

But, this approach to pain management has proven to be a major problem. Often, pain medication use leads to dependence problems. This happens because individuals use these meds regularly and, eventually, their bodies begin to depend on those drugs for pain relief and comfort.

Sometimes, this substance dependence becomes an abuse problem. Many people have found themselves using more of their medication than advised by their doctors because of the intensity of their pain.

As a result of prescription misuse, individuals can become addicted to their prescription medication. This, in turn, can lead to many challenges in life, including emotional, mental, and physical health problems.

If you’re one of the 50 million individuals suffering from chronic pain, you might be wondering how to avoid or overcome an addiction to prescription pain relief medication. Well, the answer lies in holistic pain management strategies!

About Holistic Pain Treatment

Holistic treatment for pain is basically a type of treatment that doesn’t involve opioid (or any other type of drug) use. It allows people to receive help in managing recurring pain without the possibility of drug dependence, abuse, or addiction.

This approach to treatment is an important one to consider for those who are suffering from chronic pain. Whether are currently searching for a solution to your pain or you have been taking opioid painkillers for years, now is the time to consider treating your pain in a different and healthier way.

10 Holistic Pain Management Strategies

When it comes to dealing with chronic pain, it’s important to know that substance use is not always the best move. Sometimes, it causes serious problems and can do more harm than good.

So, the best way to avoid becoming dependent on prescription meds is to simply avoid using them. While it’s true that not everyone who uses opioid painkillers develops dependence or addiction problems, it’s important to realize that substance use disorders are no respecter of persons.

These issues affect more and more lives every single year. Addiction often develops before people realize what’s happening. So, if you want to avoid this situation, it is best to find an alternate route for treating your chronic pain. And holistic treatment methods can definitely help you with that!

Here are 10 holistic and opioid-free ways to treat recurring pain in your life:

  • Acupuncture
  • Exercise
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Chiropractic Care
  • Physical Therapy
  • Massage Therapy
  • Mindfulness Therapy
  • Herbal supplements
  • Vitamins

Each of these approaches has proven to be helpful to those who are dealing with chronic pain. The good news? They don’t involve opioid use. Holistic treatment provides people with the help they need in order to deal with the pain that affects them regularly without causing them to addictive and harmful medication. Sounds like a win-win situation!

A Brief Overview of Holistic Treatment Methods

Now, let’s quickly talk about each of the treatment methods we mentioned. With more information about these types of treatment, you can confidently choose the right method for your needs!

Acupuncture: This method of treatment is an age-old process that has been practiced in Asia for thousands of years. During an acupuncture treatment session, small, thin needles are inserted into various areas of the skin. These needles help to stimulate the body’s muscles and nerves. Acupuncture is meant to help relieve pressure and interrupt pain’s effect on the body.  

Exercise: Depending on the type of chronic pain you are dealing with, regular exercise may actually help you to alleviate the pain. It can also help you to mentally free yourself from the effects of recurring pain.

Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness Therapy: All three of these methods help individuals to develop strategies for working through pain and overcoming the mental effects of this issue. When people are involved in yoga, mindfulness therapy, or meditation, they are able to calm their nerves and relieve the stress and pressure they may feel. Through healthy relaxation processes, individuals can gain peace of mind and become less impacted by chronic pain.

Chiropractic Care and Physical Therapy: Some types of chronic pain, such as recurring neck or back pain, might need attention from chiropractic professionals or physical therapists. It may be helpful to seek help from a chiropractor in order to address and treat recurring pain. Physical therapy can also help to work with the areas of pain. These kinds of treatment can help people to identify and successfully tend to the causes of the pain in their bodies.

Massage Therapy: Most people have experienced soreness and discomfort in their bodies from time to time. Many of these symptoms have been caused by stress and other such issues. Individuals have often found relief as a result of a good massage. Those who deal with chronic pain may also benefit from massage therapy, finding relief from pain through

Herbal Supplements: There is so much healing in natural herbs and vitamins. So, if you’re suffering from chronic pain, it might be a good idea to look into herbal supplements and vitamins that can help to relieve and treat the pain you’re feeling. You may even look into essential oils and other such items that can help!

Getting Treatment for Substance Abuse

If you have found yourself struggling with substance dependence or addiction as a result of pain medication use, there is hope for you here at 1st Step Behavioral Health. We are here to help you overcome the effects of addiction and find true freedom from this problem. Just contact us today by calling (866) 319-6126!




what to bring to rehab

Here Is What to Bring to Rehab

You’ve made that critical decision that you can’t go on like this. You’ve booked yourself into rehab – well done you. The question on your mind now is no doubt how you can make rehab as comfortable as possible.

Two things will help with that. First of all, knowing as much as you can about the facility in advance. Next, knowing what to pack.

To learn more about what to bring to rehab, read on!

Rehab: You’ve Made the Right Decision

Did you know the rate of death from overdose has doubled in the United States in the past decade? It’s expected to double again over the next 8 years. That’s a lot of loved ones missing someone special.

All that serves as a reminder of just why it’s such a big deal that you’ve decided to get sober. With the right rehab, you’ll be able to get sober and stay that way. This might not be your first try at rehab, but there’s every reason you can make it your last rehab by choosing to enter prepared and making the most of it. 

What to Expect

Rehab centers can vary greatly in programs, approaches, and pricing. Always keep in mind that the most expensive rehab is by no means always the best. Be sure sure to shop around by reading online rehab reviews and asking health professionals for recommendations.

Consider asking if your insurance company or workplace Employee Assistance Program (EAP) have a preferred rehab provider. They may have preferential rates or be partially or fully covered. Once you’ve settled on a rehab center, you’ll need to know what to take – let’s have a look.

What to Bring to Rehab

If this is your first time at a rehab center, you may not know just how strict the rehab policies can be about what you’re allowed to bring in. The center you go to is likely to provide you with a packing checklist as well as a list of what’s prohibited. They’ll generally only allow you to bring the absolute necessities.

They’ll search your bag on arrival, so make sure you check our breakdown below on what not to bring too. Generally, you should bring the following, but be sure to double check with your particular rehab center:

  • Insurance paperwork
  • Official identification
  • Alarm clock without a radio to make sure you’re on time for activities
  • Prescription medicine in its original packaging, still sealed and untampered 
  • Jewelry with symbolic meaning such as a wedding ring or religious item
  • Contact details of people who are part of your recovery team, from family and friends to counselors and your General Practitioner
  • Just enough in cash to buy occasional items from the vending machine
  • Diary or notepad
  • Pictures of loved ones to remind you why you need to stick it out

In terms of clothing, go for comfortable options that you can dress down or layer up according to the weather. While your body is in early recovery you can be more sensitive to changes in temperature so have clothes that will help you quickly adapt to heat or cold.

Bring things that can be easily washed. Most rehabs will have access to laundry facilities so you can wash your clothes during your stay. That means that packing for about a week is best.

What Toiletries to Bring

Bathroom products can have alcohol in them so your rehab center may have some restrictions on products such as mouthwash. Make sure alcohol is not listed in the first three ingredients of any liquid you take in your toiletry bag. Pack a month’s worth of deodorant, female hygiene products, toothpaste, shaving cream, hair styling products, sunscreen and face, and body lotion.

You’ll be away from home and working through the issue that may have brought you to addiction – some days will be challenging. Having the toiletries to freshen up and feel good about yourself again can really be a lifesaver. As is so often the case in life, it’s the little comforts that make a difficult situation easier.  

What to Leave at Home

When you check-in, a worker will meticulously search you and your bags to ensure you’re not bringing in anything that puts your safety and recovery – or anyone else’s, at risk. They won’t let you bring in any liquids unless they’re in sealed packaging, in case they have drugs or alcohol in them.

Be sure not to bring anything sharp that could be used as a weapon. You won’t be allowed to bring in prohibited prescriptions, e-cigarettes, pornography, or food and drinks in most cases. Drugs and alcohol are obviously not welcome at rehab.

More surprising objects often on the banned list are playing cards and video games. These can be prohibited not because they’re a risk of harm to patients, but because they’re a distraction. Workers at the rehab center want you focused on your recovery, and that means work, not distractions.

The rehab will have a food and drinks schedule. That means there’s no need to bring in food and drinks, especially anything sugary or caffeinated. If you have special dietary needs be sure to let them know well in advance so they can cater to your needs.   

Time to Get on Your Recovery Journey

There you have it, everything you needed to know about rehab and what to bring to rehab. Remember to leave any potential weapons, distractions, and food and drink at home. The rehab will have most of what you need for your stay, and they’ll give you a checklist for what you should and shouldn’t bring along.

If you’re still considering which rehab center is best for you, consider a comprehensive rehabilitation program like 1st Step Behavioral Health. You can learn about our extensive experience and success at our website today!

is marijuana addictive

Is Marijuana Addictive?

Marijuana is a safe drug because it isn’t ever addictive, right?

Wrong. This is a commonly held belief about marijuana, totally unsupported by research. As many as 30% of marijuana users have a marijuana use disorder.

If you think someone you love might be addicted to marijuana, it’s important they seek help. To learn why the answer to “is marijuana addictive?” is yes, and the options for recovering, read on. 

Is Marijuana Addictive?

Using marijuana can lead to a marijuana use disorder. In severe cases, that can result in addiction. If you know someone who started using before the age of 18, they’re up to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder.

What Is a Marijuana Use Disorder?

Think of marijuana use disorder as a dependence on the drug.

If you have a marijuana use disorder and stop taking the drug, you’re likely to experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include irritability, sleep difficulties, mood alteration, low appetite and a general sense of restlessness.

These symptoms are at their strongest in the first week after stopping marijuana use. They’ll continue for up to 2 weeks

What Causes Marijuana Dependence?

The withdrawal symptoms of marijuana dependence are a result of the ways taking the drug has reduced the production of your body’s own endocannabinoid neurotransmitters. Marijuana not only introduces cannabinoids into the system, but it also triggers your body’s increased production of them.

When you stop using, your body has to reset its endocannabinoid system. 

What Are the Signs?

Like with other addictions, marijuana use disorder becomes an addiction when you see someone choosing to take marijuana even when they are aware of the negative consequences it will have.

Users will seek out the marijuana high even if they know it will cause problems at work, in their friendships, their relationships, or to their financial health.

Some of the signs of marijuana addiction include:

1. Tolerance

This means that each time you’re needing to take more and more of the drug to get the same ‘high’ you used to with a relatively small quantity. Tolerance and withdrawal are both signs of your body’s increasing dependence on the drug.

2. No Limits

Ever find that you take way more pot than you meant to? Perhaps you start out thinking you’ll just have a puff or two, and before you know it you’ve smoked the whole joint.

Now you can’t concentrate at work or study and miss the party your friends are waiting for you at.

3. It’s Hard to Cut Down

You’ve already seen your drug use is a problem. You decide to cut down. But when the moment comes to actually do it, you lose your determination and keep taking as much as you were before.

4. No Other Activities

You used to go to the gym a few times a week. Your partner used to love Sunday evenings at the cinema. These just don’t seem to happen anymore.

It even seems your dog has given up on the idea of a daily walk. He used to run for his leash and wait by the door in the mornings, but he’s learning you’re not leaving the house anytime soon.

This is another indicator of addiction. Increasingly, you’re choosing marijuana over daily activities, and it’s impacting on your life and your relationships.

5. Using It as an Escape

If you’ve had a tough day at work or an argument with your partner, is marijuana your first thought? Many addicts start to use marijuana as their escape from the world.

This is a key way that the problem gets worse quickly. Marijuana use has negative consequences, which you dull by using more. This leads to a downward spiral of marijuana abuse. 

Why It’s Not Taken Seriously

Many don’t take marijuana use as seriously as other drugs as they’re not aware that the marijuana people use today is very different from what was around in the previous decades.

Marijuana potency is steadily increasing. Marijuana confiscated in the 1990s had a THC potency of 3.7%. Five years ago, it was 12.2 percent, and can now be between 50 and 80 percent. 

This is particularly concerning in adolescents since their brains are still developing.

Not much is known about how much more of an effect ‘new’ marijuana might have. High concentrations of THC affect the body much more strongly in the short-term, but we need more research on the long-term consequences of its use.

What Help Is Available?

If you’re hearing your own experience in some of these examples, or that of a loved one, the good news is that you’re not alone. Help for marijuana addiction exists and is easier to connect with than you think.

Detoxing from marijuana can be unpleasant at first. With the right support, you’ll transition from detox to rehab and onto recovery, smoothly.

The power of the rehabilitation process is it equips you with insights into why you developed a marijuana use disorder. Armed with the knowledge of why it happened, you’ll have a recovery toolkit to employ healthier coping mechanisms in the future.

It’s Time to Get Help

Now you know if someone asks “is marijuana addictive?” the answer is yes.

With the right support, you can get clean and on the path to recovery. By stopping marijuana abuse, you can get your life, health, and your relationships back on track. Or that of your loved one.

The good news is you don’t need to do it alone, you can connect to experienced professionals for support. For advice on the next steps toward recovery, get in contact with 1st Step Behavioral Health today.

What You See In The Movies vs Real Drug Addiction

Movies are a reflection of the society in which we live in such as the issues that people deal with all the time. Drug addiction is one thing that can be depicted in movies, but it is a skewed view of the situation. There is a big difference between a movie depiction of an oxycodone or alcohol addiction and what an addiction to these types of substances look like in real life.

Movies show this person and they give a shortened, microcosm of their spiral down into the black hole of drug addiction. It shows them hitting a rock bottom of them living on the street. Then it can show them getting help and their life going back to the way that it used to be, if not even better. It shows them getting healthy and getting their life and their family back by way of sheer willpower. That is very different from the way that it usually goes in real life.


How Addiction Usually Looks

In reality, as a person becomes addicted to a substance like oxycodone or alcohol, their life slowly declines until they reach a point of rock bottom. The movies don’t show the trauma that they cause to the people who love them, like their spouse or their children. It doesn’t show the destruction of these relationships. It doesn’t show how these people destroy their lives to the point of losing a career and being forced to move out of a house that went into foreclosure. If ever these things are explored in cinema, these effects are usually easily reversed or the people lost are more-or-less replaced.


The Worst Side of Addiction

Movies just do not give an accurate portrayal of what addiction really looks like. There are times that the relationships that were destroyed are never repaired and those people never speak again. In some cases that occur far too regularly, some addicts are killed because of the lifestyle that they were leading and the things that they did to their bodies.

If you or a loved one is dealing with a substance addiction, send us a message or call us at (866) 319-6126 to learn more about our South Florida rehab center.

The Nature and Nurture of Addiction

We often hear people describe certain things as being in their genes. While it’s true that our genes describe many of our attributes, it is rarely the case that something has a specific one. Usually traits are expressed by a combination of genes. This means we are unlikely to ever find a specific “addiction gene“. A person with a family history of addiction is more likely to be susceptible to substance abuse–but they are not predestined for it and can avoid it. Similarly, a person with no family history of drug abuse can become addicted depending on their life circumstances. Ultimately, it comes down to both nature and nurture.



Let’s be clear: everyone has some potential for addiction, it’s hardwired into our biology. But some people have a familial predisposition for it that others might not have. Often this goes beyond just drugs and alcohol and may express itself in compulsive eating, hoarding, and even codependency.

For those of us with that predisposition, every time we use drugs or alcohol, it reinforces the brain’s “wiring” that increases our reliance on them. It doesn’t mean that every child of an alcoholic parent is destined to repeat their path–but it does warrant extreme caution.



Nurture is many things. It includes the environment we grow up in, and how safe we feel. A person who might not have a family history of addiction might still find themselves on a bad path. Often, people without the family history can find themselves in trouble because their guard is down and they think it can’t happen to them.

If you’re a parent, you need to take extreme care to create a secure environment for your children, especially if there’s a family history of substance abuse. Call us at (866) 319-6126 to learn more about what options are available in South Florida to provide a clean and sober place to detox in, regardless of what the family nature may be.

Is Drug Rehab Effective?

Drugs are insidious. When an addiction gets into a person’s head, the pleasure and relief felt by the chemical rush leaves subtle barriers in its wake. Thoughts like “Why do I need to quit if this makes me feel good?” begin to slip in, and even if the addict understands intellectually that what they’re doing is bad, even the guilt won’t be enough to make them stop. However, rehab is not only available, but it is also just as effective as any other medical practice. Broward County drug rehab options, as well as rehab at other south Florida rehab clinics are some of the best in the country, and there’s really no reason not to use what’s there.So people who are addicted, don’t be scared to seek help. The only things you have to lose are your chains.


What Rehab Provides

One of the key things that rehab treatment offers is medical help and expertise. Even during the detox stage, which is possible even without medical care immediately available, going forward with medical assistance can make the experience of quitting an addiction much more manageable. However, the most helpful part of the rehab process is the part that comes after detox, rehabilitation.


Counseling Services

Once the physical addiction is beaten, and the mental part of the addiction is beaten, there is a final hurdle, which carries on in perpetuity. The experience of having been a person who took drugs and felt good is a complex psychological wound, and one of the best ways to treat this affliction is with the help of counseling. There are several ways to go about counseling, with one of the most famous ones being group therapy. Group therapy will provide plenty of support by surrounding people in recovery with others who know the same sort of pain. It’s remarkably efficient too, to have fellow addicts help each other. And if group therapy isn’t attractive, then professional counsellors are also well-trained to help those trying to keep clean.


Addiction is tough, so if you or someone you know need help to beat addiction, don’t hesitate to contact us as soon as possible.


How Rehab Centers Will Help the Addict in Your Life

South Florida has a wound in its soul, and drug addiction is one of its symptoms. When it comes down to it, there is nothing more important to so many people as one’s life. While it can be hard to watch someone addicted with drugs carry on with their lives, many people are too afraid to risk their relationship with them to really reach out and make a difference. If there is one thing that is critical in the life of a person suffering from drug addiction, it is them or someone who cares about them taking the first step by contacting a rehab center.


How Detox Helps

The detoxification stage of rehab is crucial in the development of an effective treatment plan. While rehab is also about getting over the mental barriers, when an addict first comes into our programs, they are in a severe state. Their bodies still contain traces of the chemical substance that was being abused, and their bodies in most cases have become physically dependent on them. It can be two weeks, in some cases, before the addict’s system is over the worst parts of withdrawal and detoxification. But this step is necessary to address the underlying problems.


Rehab to End the Addiction

Rehab is a voluntary system for recovery, and it is important for an addict to know that what their doing has meaning and will move them toward a future where they aren’t dependent on chemicals to be happy. However, before that future, they have to address their own reasons for falling into the habit. Rehab is as much about completing one’s detox as it is about rediscovering how to live without chemical dependence. The mind is addicted as much as the body is, and often more. Rehab is like detox for the mind, and takes some time to complete.


Preventing Relapse with Aftercare

Even after the treatment is over at a rehab center, it’s not like a former addict is being booted out into the big, cold, hateful world. Recovery meetings and clinical visits are all wonderful options for extending one’s renewed state of being into a renewed life, and there are even more options than that, if it feels necessary. Aftercare, after all, is just as meaningful as basic treatment.


For more information about our South Florida rehab center to help you or someone you know, contact us online or give us a call at  (866) 319-6126.