A Florida County’s Addiction Problem In The Spotlight

While First Step Behavioral Health aims to help people with it’s south Florida drug rehab center and alcohol treatment facilities, the story of the epidemic of addiction for the whole state is a concern that is important to follow. Even though Broward County drug rehab serves a distinct and defined area, geographical boundaries are of no concern to the illness of substance use disorder no more than the flu respects street signs.  So it is of concern when Florida Today recently ran a story showing that Brevard County addiction that is known may pale in comparison to the unknown amounts of citizens there that could be suffering.

Brevard already ranks rather high in the amount of addiction cases and overdoses within the state, so news that the problem may be deeper than the surface numbers is concerning. The opioid crisis in general has hit Brevard rather hard, which has responded with policies that heavily restrict even prescription dispensing by physicians. Ordinarily, prescription drugs tend to be filled on a per-month basis, but opioids have been singled out into allowing only three-day lengths of time with some special cases allowing up to seven-prescriptions on a case-by-case basis.

Brevard County Opioid Abuse Task Force’s organizer Stanley Brizz, who himself lost his best friend and brother to opioid addiction, will be appearing at a fundraising event in association with Florida Today’s award winning podcast, “Murder on the Space Coast”.  Brizz background in psychology and crisis intervention, along with twelve years experience working with Eckerd Connects youth and community services, will be explored along with the uniquely Floridian version of the addiction crisis that the entire country is tackling.

“This issue affected my life personally before I even thought of starting up Brevard’s Opioid Task Force, but the task idea came from what I saw Orange County’s Drug Free Office doing with their task force,” Brizz remarks regarding his organizing his own opioid task force. His best friend died at 25 of an overdose while visiting a friend and his brother was paralyzed by police when he was twenty when he was shot in the back while trying to rob a pharmacy for prescription medication.

“This is just not a problem for ‘poor’ people or people experiencing homelessness that you see on the street,” warns Brizz. “It affects everyone in a community and the problem is worse in Brevard than many think and many times it begins with legitimate use of pain medication that unexpectedly turns into addiction – for children and adults.”

His appearance on the podcast will be presented live at Surfside Playhouse in Cocoa Beach while the archive will be posted for listening later for those who cannot attend or tune in as it is broadcast.

As Brizz notes, addiction is not a problem of individuals, but a problem that communities must face together.

Substance use disorder is a serious chronic illness that requires professional treatment. Call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126 for treatment options.

Senior Substance Addiction

For many people, the idea of south Florida detox is a place where young ‘goons’ go when they’ve been bad, that Broward County drug rehab is only a place for wayward kids with no parents and discipline. Unfortunately, statistics and measurements exist and they are in the process of painting a completely different picture. Addiction doesn’t care about a person’s age, sex, location or any other arbitrary personal attributes. Religious or atheist, productive or slothy, it actually plays absolutely no role in whether a person can develop substance use disorder.

That said, it should also be both surprising and of no surprise at the same time that the increase of addiction in people age 60 and older has jumped by six-hundred percent in the last ten years. In 2007, there were around 582 recorded addictions to some kind of painkiller in seniors. In 2018, that number is an astounding 2,520 and shows very little signs of slowing down. Many experts believe this is a ‘tip of the iceberg’ moment and that the actual numbers of seniors addicted to some kind of opioid prescription may be far higher.

One reason for this could be a generational understanding of addiction that contradicts the more modern perception of it. For decades upon decades, any kind of addiction, whether it be to drugs or alcohol, was socially believed to be an individual’s shortcomings, an indicator of morals (or lack thereof) and general absence of discipline. Someone with an addiction, even in psychological fields, which have come a long way since the 50’s, used to be considered clinically ‘psychotic’. Then using these primitive and mostly wrong ideas of addiction and drug use, the US Government created the policy called the War On Drugs, which furthered these views by literally criminalizing those who might be suffering from addiction, making no distinction between user and seller; they were equally terrible in the eyes of the law.

Since then, medical research and psychological research has learned an enormous amount about the mechanics and fundamental nature of addiction and drug use which completely contradicts how the country has traditionally treated the condition, often ostracizing and passing harsh social criticism on those suffering. This could be contributing to the belief experts have that the number of seniors checking into treatment centers could be just a drop in the bucket compared to the actual number of seniors who are silently fighting their substance use disorder.

Even today, it’s estimated that there are over two million Americans, young and old, who show signs of substance use disorders who go untreated for their addiction. Stigma only plays a small part in this scenario today with the real hurdle for people affected is often related to access to mental and physical health care. The stigma still exists, but for those who understand addiction to be an illness, finding treatment is still an exercise in futility for many.

No matter your background or age, substance use disorder needs professional treatment by south Florida rehab centers like First Step Behavioral Health.  Call (866) 319-6126 for treatment options today.

Geographical Boundaries

Substance abuse treatment in Florida is available to anyone who wants it, except when it isn’t. One of the biggest misconceptions about drug abuse and substance use disorders in America is that it’s primarily a problem of cities. Ghettos, crack houses and other cartoonish stereotypes flood a typical person’s head when they think about these things, but addiction doesn’t know what a geographical boundary is nor even what race, ethnicity, income, sex or age are. One of the problems facing the ever growing numbers of people with substance use disorder is lack of treatment access.

In most states, rehab and detox centers, including south Florida detox, typically are found in highly urbanized areas, away from rural towns with lower population density. This can pose many problems for those people, especially addicted to opioids who might have developed an addiction from painkillers prescribed by their physician, to find a reliable treatment facility to help them. Even in states where public transportation is more widespread such as California, though, it can be highly difficult for someone who has a need for rehabilitation to get there.

For functioning addicts living in rural areas Florida, who still have a job but know they have a problem and are facing difficulties with withdrawal symptoms, for instance and need professional help, the drive may simply be too far. If a person living far away has financial issues, even paying for gas or cross country bus (if it’s even available) can place help completely out of their reach. This lack of unified treatment availability has contributed to the exploding numbers coupled to the addiction crisis and to the over 70,000 overdose deaths in 2018, which for the first time in American history has totalled more than car accident fatalities.

Some states have began to implement ways to mitigate the problem, but help is coming very slowly. Some solutions have included basic addiction treatment training for hospitals in rural areas to help in early identification of people who might be developing a substance use disorder and to have available any available medication assisted treatment (MAT) drugs if available for those who find themselves in the ER room under overdose situations. Other states have begun looking at funding transportation to treatment facilities that lie far outside the ability of a patient to travel in hopes that getting an addict to quality facility for treatment will entice and encourage them to beat their addiction.

As the country continues to face the spread of addiction out into the countryside, the medical community has struggling to keep up to offer safe treatment options for those seeking help. While groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) tend to be available in most towns, even smaller ones, their success rate of helping addicts is less than ten percent and doesn’t benefit from the decades of advancement in research available in dedicated south Florida drug rehab centers. Only the future can tell whether the epidemic of addiction will be stunted but it’s clear that the current reach of help is not adequate enough.

Broward County drug rehab is available to anyone within reach, so if you or someone you love is suffering from substance use disorder, First Step Behavioral Health’s doors are always open. Call (866) 319-6126 for treatment options and locations.

Education, Not Scare Tactics

Many people today entering south Florida detox were brought up in the era of the War On Drugs, of D.A.R.E., of ‘Just Say No’. Broward County drug rehabs are filled with people, old and young, familiar with these scare tactics, where the threat of the drug use was over emphasized, making it seem as if a single puff of a joint would be the beginning and end of the story; they would be unsaveable or immediately end up with brain damage and in prison overnight, not to mention the morality play on someone who would even think of trying a substance.

This story, however, is unrealistic and, for young people, fuels that rebelliousness that many teens and young adults inherently feel as they grow into their own person and out of the shadow of the authority figures that told them things they discover aren’t entirely true through their personal experiences and aren’t as black and white as portrayed. With the illustration of how D.A.R.E. paints drug use, one would think that the worst drug in the world to ever try is cannabis, but when a young person tries it and nothing serious happens, it creates a contradiction of experience and education, which also fosters distrust of those they are supposed to hold in high regard for guidance, breaking important bonds of trust.

Think about if you were told that everyone who tries to swim the first time immediately drowns, but one day, when you see people at a swimming pool, you decide to try it as well because no one else seems to be drowning. If you started learning to swim with this kind of ‘education’, even if well intentioned, you would start to disbelieve that drowning is even possible. You’d start to think maybe everything authorities say might be questionable or, even worse, a deliberate lie constructed to keep you from exploring the world.

Instead, educating young people and re-educating adults on how drugs and substance use disorders develop and how it’s not an instantaneous event might be more productive. In the swimming scenario, instead of telling a young one that all swimming leads to drowning, we tell them not to swim alone so that if an accident occurs which may lead to drowning. Someone is there to help them out, and swimming itself is not the cause of drowning.

In relation to drug use, instead of telling them fairy tales about how cops will just know they’re high on something no matter what and they’ll be in trouble, the education of how drugs actually affect the mind and body over time, even if addiction and prison time aren’t involved, can affect them, and that those effects largely cannot be reversed, at least not easily. Not only will it build trust with authority, but they’ll have a better, well rounded view of how substance abuse is not just a scary fairy tale like a movie, but has long lasting, real life consequences that build up over time and that the dangers aren’t simply possession, but the effects of the substances themselves.

If you or someone you know has found themselves in the grips of substance use disorder, it’s imperative to find professional treatment. Substance abuse treatment in Florida offered by places like First Step Behavioral Health is available by calling (866) 319-6126.

Cocaine: Serotonin vs. Dopamine

Most people are very aware of long term physical and psychological damages that ravage a person suffering from substance use disorder with cocaine as their preferred drug; heart and vascular issues, nasal problems that include collapsed septum in severe cases, unstable mood and sometimes violent behaviors are well known. The mechanics of the addiction side of the equations are only just now being uncovered by research, but still have many hurdles to fully explain how the drug affects the behavior of people who become addicted to it.

Recently, the Florida Atlantic University’s Brain Institute in association with Vanderbilt University and the Research Triangle Institute, ran a study with mice standing in as an analogue for humans that suggests serotonin might be playing a role in addiction to cocaine in addition to what has already been identified to be contributing factors involving dopamine. The neurobiologists conducting the study deployed the use of genetically engineered mice which were given a a serotonin inhibition trait. This inhibitor blocked the receptors and transmitters of serotonin in their brains.

When these mice were given cocaine, the results, when compared to the mice without this specially engineered trait, did not behave as if they were experiencing the ‘high’. Normally, when cocaine is administered to normal mice, they tend to become hyperactive and run around haphazardly a lot more. However, the mice which had their serotonin levels minimized did not exhibit this behavior in comparison.

The catch to the study, though, shows that despite not exhibiting the immediate ‘high’ effects of cocaine, they were still shown to want to obtain more of the drug with very little difference in this behavior between the engineered mice and the unaltered control mice. It was believed, until this experiment showed otherwise, that dopamine release itself was highly responsible for the high that people experience on cocaine. The experiment, which is the beginning of a new direction for researchers to follow, may be highly important in developing medication assisted treatments (MAT) in combating cocaine addiction, similar to drugs like naloxone which has been shown to be effective as a medication to treat opioid addiction. The resulting drug from this line of research is not likely to have the same approach to the neurobiology due to the findings of research thus far.

The gene in the engineered mice that was altered is also one that is known to be in part responsible for patients diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and bipolar disorder. According to the study’s lead author, Randy D. Blakely, Ph.D., the research was primarily interested in ADHD research but, “we think there may be some very important lessons here that could help those dealing with substance use disorder.”

Our Broward County drug rehab center in Pompano is equipped to handle not only cocaine use disorders but also handle withdrawal from oxycodone and other drugs. Call First Step Behavioral Health for more information at (866) 319-6126.

Overcoming Opioid Addiction

Everyday, substance abuse disorders such as opioid use disorder continue to chew away at individual’s lives and threatens to kill them as it did to nearly 10,000 people in 2018. That’s more than three people per day. Whether the numbers of people finding themselves with addiction either from temporary poor judgment, environmental factors or simply being prescribed the addictive substance, the rate of increase shows no signs of slowing down in the near future.
For many who are suddenly figuring out for themselves that they may have a problem in the form of an opioid addiction, it may be daunting to think about what happens next, but hopefully this short list of actions can help get on the path to sobriety.
First, try to educate yourself as best as you can about addiction, opioids, the current state of treatment, and related information from trusted sources. One resource that can help is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website at samhsa.gov. Understanding your condition and how it’s typically handled by the medical field will alleviate any surprises, while understanding the treatment allows you to ask more informed questions of professionals you might seek treatment from. While it’s safe to assume all treatment facilities want to help, sometimes that help could be operating in a manner that doesn’t include up to date information, or possibly has omitted a kind of therapy or treatment that seems worth looking into.
When seeking heroin drug treatment in Broward, especially for opioids, finding medication assisted treatment (MAT) should be considered a priority. Knowledge of how opioids affect the body have advanced to the point where there are now drugs that have been proven to have positive effects on patients looking to shed their drug addiction.
It is also important to understand that detox, rehab, therapy and treatment are all different things. South Florida detox, for instance, is simply the act of safely removing the substance out of the body. For heavy addictions, dependence develops in the user actually becomes physically threatening to that person when attempting to get clean. Detox manages the physical nature of withdrawal for the safety of the patient, but doesn’t constitute complete treatment. Rehab refers to learning how to live more healthy in the absence of drugs, therapy focuses on behavioral and emotional health and treatment tends to refer to either medication assisted treatment or the totality of seeking help for addiction.
Finally, realize that recovery is not an unattainable unicorn flying through the 5th dimension, completely out of your reach. People overcome addictions every day, including severe opioid addictions that involve heavy use of heroin. As much as addiction can damage your life and hinder your ability to exert control over your actions, it’s never impossible to overcome if you are willing to maintain a positive attitude while getting treatment. Studies show that having a positive outlook on more traditional illnesses and even recovery from surgery can help in recovery because the human mind is, indeed, a powerful force.

If you or someone you know is possibly suffering from opioid addiction or other substance use disorders, call 1st Step Behavioral Health, a south Florida drug rehab center, to speak to a specialist about treatment options.

Signs That You’re Facing Alcoholism

Some people are able to consume alcohol without any problems. However, others find it difficult to stop drinking alcohol. Habitual alcohol abuse can easily lead to alcoholism. It is important for alcoholism to be treated as soon as possible. One of the keys to getting the proper treatment for alcoholism is to recognize the signs. 

You Have a High Tolerance 

People who drink frequently and in excess have a tendency to develop a tolerance. The higher your tolerance is, the more alcohol you will have to drink to get the same effects. Many people have to drink 12 beers just to get a buzz. 

You Experience Withdrawal Symptoms 

If you have an alcohol addiction, then your body is dependent on alcohol to function. You will likely experience withdrawal symptoms if you attempt to stop drinking. These withdrawal symptoms can be intense and may include things such as tremors, fatigue, nausea and withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal can also cause blackouts. 

You Cannot Control How Much You Drink 

If you find yourself setting drinking limits and unable to stay within those limits, then you may have an alcohol addiction. You may also find that attempts to cut down on drinking are futile. The reason that it is difficult to control your drinking is because alcoholism is a disease. 

Your Priorities are out of Order 

Alcoholism can cause problems in your personal life. You may start to overlook your priorities as the result of alcoholism. You may find that you are spending more money than you can afford. You may also find that you are neglecting responsibilities at work and school. 

Your Relationships are Negatively Impacted 

Because alcoholism can cause you to neglect your friends, spouse and children, your relationships with them may suffer. You may also find yourself being more irritable and argumentative. This can also have a negative impact on the relationships that you have with other people. 

You Try to Hide Your Drinking 

If you find yourself lying about how much you drink, then this may be a sign of alcohlism. People who are able to control their drinking typically do not feel the need to lie about it. You may lie to protect the ones that you love. However, if your family members find out that you are lying, then this can have a negative impact on the relationships that you have with them. 

Your Appearance Has Changed 

It is common for people with alcoholism to neglect their appearance. Poor hygiene, bloated face and dull hair are some of the physical signs of an alcohol problem. Alcohol can also deplete the vitamins and minerals in your body, which can cause you to develop a shoddy experience. 

You Keep Drinking Despite the Consequences 

You may be fully aware of the consequences of drinking. You may see the way that alcohol has started to impact your life. You may even feel guilty about your drinking. However, you may keep drinking despite all of the consequences. 

Alcoholism does not have to ruin your life. You can attend Broward County drug rehab and get your life and health back in order. Contact us today.

Trauma and Addiction: Why It’s Vital to Consider Both At Broward County Drug Rehab

Human trauma is everywhere and at some point in their lives most people suffer from some form. Everyone from the poor, the rich, male, female, gender non-conforming persons, people on all levels of the sexuality spectrum, throughout different cultures and races around the world, those persons well known and those whose lives go on without the notice of the wide world, whose lives go on everyday outside of the spotlight. No matter what kind of person or what type of life they choose to live, everyone is effected at some point by a difficult event that personally hurts or damages them personally, if not them specifically they will most likely witness another person suffer great loss or pain.  The Center for Anxiety Disorders says the following about trauma:

“In general, trauma can be defined as a psychological, emotional response to an event or an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. When loosely applied, this trauma definition can refer to something upsetting, such as being involved in an accident, having an illness or injury, losing a loved one, or going through a divorce. However, it can also encompass the far extreme and include experiences that are severely damaging, such as rape or torture. Because events are viewed subjectively, this broad trauma definition is more of a guideline. Everyone processes a traumatic event differently because we all face them through the lens of prior experiences in our lives. For example: one person might be upset and fearful after going through a hurricane, but someone else might have lost family and barely escaped from a flooded home during Hurricane Katrina. In this case, a minor Category One hurricane may bring up traumatic flashbacks of their terrifying experience.” 

The point they are making at the Center for Anxiety Disorders is that the way in which trauma affects a person is directly related to their own lives or their previous life experiences leading up to the traumatic event. It doesn’t matter what a person is experiencing they always come to a new situation with all of their previous ideas and memories present in their minds as a way to see and understand the new experience.


Common Types of Trauma

  • The death of someone close to you
  • Going through divorce as either one of the people espoused to one another, or as a child of parents divorcing
  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Rape
  • Domestic abuse as a child or an adult
  • Chronic pain
  • Neglect
  • Homelessness
  • Emotional abuse in the workplace
  • Emotional abuse by a partner or parent
  • Natural disaster
  • Witnessing a violent act against someone else


Trauma Facts

For a bit of a more simple definition, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or the SAMHSA defines trauma as “an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.”


Facts from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration About Trauma:

  • Between 15% to 25% of women experience a lifetime history of sexual abuse be it in childhood or adulthood, or tragically throughout both stages in life.  
  • Within the different definitions and forms of domestic abuse, domestic violence among women in the United States ranges from 9% to 44%. At this point it is pretty clear that non-male persons are at a higher risk for sexual trauma than men are. Though men can and do experience sexual abuse and many other devastating forms of trauma.
  • When RAND Corporation did a study in 2008, they discovered that almost 19% of veterans who returned from their tour of duty in the military reported that they suffered from some of the signs and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Almost 19% of the men in the United States, and more than 15% of women in the United States report having experienced a natural disaster at some point in their lives.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration informs the public that the cost to the public of trauma such as domestic abuse, or intimate partner violence ends up adding up to 8.3 billion dollars in 2003. The price tag includes treatment for any medical care and treatment or needs of the victim such as treatment for mental health rehabilitation for the traumatized victims as well as the lost productivity of the persons who experienced the trauma. Billions of dollars being spent on this sort of trauma is something that is hard to ignore. Perhaps humanity would be well to consider why it takes billions of dollars funneling out of our pockets to notice the suffering of the traumatized.


This expense clearly shows through the calling out of loss of productivity and other community expenses incurred because of  trauma, that it devastates the lives of more than just the person who experiences the trauma to begin with. Indeed, the trauma extends to the community at large, both in social and economic ways trauma instills a sense of terror or danger in the community, and consequently robs the people of a voice and the sense safety that is most helpful in raising movers and shakers, leaders to fight for the community. None the less there are those have been traumatized who are able to move forward in the efforts to fight for their communities and the underprivileged and torn down. This sort of persistence requires a singular person and communities should not have to wait for someone to come forward. In fact there should be treatment available for those who need it.


Trauma and Addiction by their very natures are linked to one each other. Someone who goes through trauma may be struggling for any scrap of peace, something, anything to ease the pain of flashbacks, shame, the desperation and deep anxiety that often comes with trauma.  


Addicts and Abuse: How Untreated Trauma Is Linked To Addiction

It is virtually impossible to argue with the numbers. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network shows that trauma and addiction are basically inseparable in their white paper: Making the Connection: Trauma and Substance AbuseA person with a history of childhood trauma is five times more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol and almost fifty percent more likely to develop an addiction to drugs. Studies show that up to 76% of adolescents struggling with drug or alcohol addiction developed their chemical dependency after they have experienced some sort of trauma. Many of those who have experienced trauma also develop some kind of mental health disorder, often post traumatic stress disorder.

They may also end up developing any variety of other disorders such as anxiety and depression based mental health mood disorders. The same studies state that trauma may make it virtually impossible for an adolescent to cease using the addictive substance because post traumatic stress disorder, when combined with substance abuse is a dual diagnosis.

Dual diagnosis must be treated simultaneously with addiction if there is any hope that the treatment will actually be effective. Post traumatic stress, and any other types of mental health disorders present, and the drug or alcohol addiction help the other disorder thrive as they bolster each others symptoms, plaguing the victim with what may feel like impossible pain to work through.


Sober Living in Florida is Possible for Trauma Victims Struggling with Drug or Alcohol Addiction

Dr. J Douglas Bremner says that “Traumatic stressors such as early trauma can lead to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which affects about 8% of Americans at some time in their lives, as well as depression, substance abuse, dissociation, personality disorders, and health problems For many trauma victims, PTSD can be a lifelong problem. The President’s New Freedom Commission Report highlights the Importance of providing services for mental disorders related to early trauma.” 


According to J. Douglas Bremner, MD, in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, traumatic stress can change someone’s brain chemistry. “Brain areas implicated in the stress response include the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. Traumatic stress can be associated with lasting changes in these brain areas. Traumatic stress is associated with increased cortisol and norepinephrine responses to subsequent stressors.” Bremner goes on to say that trauma can shrink different regions of the brain, it can increase various hormones and some chemicals within the body, and even change the way memory function. Trauma is a serious medical emergency and should be taken as such instead of ignored or shoved aside.


1st Step Behavioral Health offers addiction and trauma treatment at their South Florida rehab centers that can work to treat both addiction as well as mental health disorders at the same time. We believe that it is important to treat the patients individually because we know that it is the experiencing the trauma of addiction and any other trauma the patient comes to us with is impossible to heal from without help. Our licensed medical professionals qualified therapists will be there with you to support you throughout your journey at our rehab centers and detox. Broward County detox and rehab at 1st Step can help you on your way to sobriety as well as piece of mind. Contact us today to get started

Steps to Recovery Treatment at South Florida Detox & Broward County Drug Rehab

There is not a single step of the recovery process that is easy for the person who is struggling with an addiction to illicit drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol. From the beginning of the recovery process a person seeking relief from a life lived in pain and likely in secrecy must be aware that recovery is not a walk in the park. But it is also the most rewarding thing an addict will ever do for themselves. The hardest part is always breaking the inertia and getting started. The well known steps to getting sober are taking the step to detox and then go to rehab, but there are steps both before and after that are requisite to the recovery process.

Before detox and rehab comes the step where the addict admits to themselves that they have a problem and the next step before detox is telling someone, communicating to someone they trust that the addict is suffering and needs help. Sometimes being honest with ourselves and the difficulty of being out of our comfort zone is enough to stop us from doing the hard things, but like so many other difficult processes in life, the processes of addiction recovery build on themselves and as they do the addict’s ability to deal with the next daunting step gets easier and easier. After the addict garners the courage to admit to themselves they have a problem, telling someone else is, while gut wrenching, still easier.

Telling another person, voicing the words, or writing them down for another person to hear or see puts the addict in a position of solidifying their own understanding of their relationship with their intoxicating substance of choice. This step is vital.  There is nothing more important for an addict, other than being dedicated to their own wellbeing, than having a trusted support behind them while they go through such a vulnerable time. Finding people the addict can trust and whom they can rely on for help and encouragement can mean the difference between success and relapse. An ally who can help the addict deescalate, remind the addict of their growth and motivations is invaluable.

Soon after talking to a friend about their addiction the person struggling with chemical dependence and psychological addiction should begin to seek out a recovery program. It is important to keep in mind that the very best addiction treatment programs will offer a kind of recovery treatment that is built around the unique struggles and life of the person who is seeking treatment. An addict should be very sure to not settle for a program that does not do this as it is the granular struggles of an individual’s life that become inflamed to support and feed an addiction.

Each addiction recovery treatment facility is different even if it appears the same from the onset. Sure, most programs incorporate detox and rehab as high level tiers of treatment, but most facilities have little nuances such as the type of facility a patient will reside in, the types of therapies offered, what kinds of professionals the facility keeps on hand, the variables are many.

The important thing to do is for a person who is ready to confront their addiction along with a friend or loved one they can trust, to do some thorough research and find the program that will mold to their personal needs. They should consider their own personal struggles with mental health, trauma, family situations, and anything else that will need attention throughout their recovery process. Recovery from addiction begins with self acknowledgement, moves on to telling someone an addict can trust about the addict’s need for help and then it is time to find some professional help at a South Florida drug detox or alcohol detox facility.


Medically Supervised Alcohol Detox or Drug Detox Centers in South Florida

When a person begins their pursuit of sobriety at a treatment center they almost always start with some type of medically supervised alcohol or drug detox. As previously stated, an addict should never attend a treatment program that does not shape according to their needs and this is a particular danger with a detox program.

Detox, even more than with rehab, can sometimes feel like a step in the process that should look the same for everyone. No matter who comes to detox, no matter what drug or alcohol they are addicted to – illicit or prescription – this moment in recovery is the same for everyone. This step in the process sees the patient abstaining from their drug or alcohol of choice while their body rids itself of the toxin. It’s as simple as that; afterall, we are all human and our bodies are all more or less the same, right?  

Not exactly.

Even though it can sometimes be hard to understand the particular differences between programs it is in the patient’s best interest that they do the necessary research to fully understand the treatment they will be getting before committing to a program. One way to do this is to call and talk with the facilities they are considering to better understand what the detox programs look like. The smallest aspects of a program can make it easier or harder on the person who is already struggling through so much to be in the recovery process to begin with. In order to engage with a program that can help the addict successfully make changes to their behavioral tendencies and restructure their lives to support their new sober lifestyle, they must be treated with care and specificity from the very beginning of detox.

One of the most important reasons why it is important for someone addicted to drugs or alcohol to go through detox at a medical detox center rather than trying to administer their own detox is to make sure they are safe and as well as possible while they suffer through the withdrawal symptoms that inevitably come along with halting their consumption of the intoxicant their bodies have become accustomed to. Withdrawal symptoms are one of the aspects of detox that makes it necessary to go with a program that treats the addict as a unique individual rather than a carbon copy of the other residents of the program.

Withdrawal symptoms vary based on many different aspects of a person’s life. The substance taken will of course shape the types of withdrawal a person goes through and how intense the symptoms are, but the other aspects that could change the experience for someone is the dosage they were taking of the substance, their physical fitness, the mental health of a patient, such as any dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders that may be strengthening their addiction, chronic pain or other chronic health issues, and others.


The Top Rated Drug Rehab Centers Offer Addiction Treatment in South Florida

Rehabilitation starts with removing the person with the addiction from the environment that they were in when they started developing their addiction, or at least the environment from which they have been supporting their addiction, and placing them in an environment full of medical clinicians and licensed therapists, and most importantly a whole support network of others who are also struggling with similar afflictions.

These aspects of the patient’s everyday life that stress them out, engender fear and shame in them, or make them feel alone or abandoned are all removed and replaced with a sense of safety and care.  Without these triggering aspects of a person’s life it is easier to resist temptation and nail down a resolve and strength that can help to carry them through the recovery program and into a life of sustained health, out from under the powerful pressure of their addiction.   

Rehab is usually designed around some sort of behavioral therapy and other therapies. Some of the forms of therapies that facilities may offer can come in the form of individual therapy or group therapy, yoga or creative therapy, whatever it is these therapeutic experiences can rehabilitate the addict and lead them deeper into an understanding of themselves and the structure of their coping methods. Therapy can help them come to the sort of clarity about themselves that will also lead them to better know how to care for themselves and make their behavioral habits in their own image rather than allowing their behavior to default to a harmful and shame driven response to life.  

Many people find themselves in rehab and feel like it is the hardest part of recovery because it is where they have to put mind over matter and allow themselves to be vulnerable, but rehab is where an addict can begin to build the infrastructure that will hold up their new life; the hard work is not only important to the person’s healing, but it is what they will build on for the rest of their lives to remain sober.


Aftercare Therapy and Relapse Prevention

After detoxification and rehabilitation so very many people make the significant mistake of thinking that all of the work they need to do is in the past. They got through the program! They’re cured! And if they aren’t then their treatment must not have worked, huh? No.

Again, this is a huge misperception and of great consequence. Addiction can never be cured. After someone leaves a rehab center and ventures back into their lives it is absolutely imperative that they seek out relapse prevention in the form of some kind of therapy.

Addiction is a chronic disease. This means that the addict’s best hope is for their addiction symptoms to go into remission. It is one hundred percent possible to keep these symptoms at bay through this kind of consistent therapeutic treatment that can be done in the form of 12 step programs, individual and group therapies, yoga, and other sorts of therapeutic programs.


Addiction Treatment With South Florida’s 1st Step Behavioral Health

With 1st Step Behavioral Health a patient who struggles with addiction to alcohol or drugs will encounter a safe and accepting environment. Our dedicated staff of licensed medical professionals and qualified therapists are there to care and guide our residents so that they can successfully transition into a life of sobriety. Call 1st Step today and take your first step toward a healthy and long life.

Motivational Interviewing Therapy, A Kind of Behavioral Therapy

Motivational interviewing therapy is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to engender a sort of intrinsic need within the mind and heart of the person who is suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol to focus all of their efforts on changing their damaging behavioral habits and learning the kind of life skills that they will need for in order to succeed in the outside world and thrive in active recovery in Florida. It’s a therapy that is less common in residential detox centers but used in some and to good effect. This kind of therapy begins with a behavioral therapist sitting down with and interviewing the patient.

They ask about the reasons why the patient has decided to find help with the addiction that has infiltrated their lives. Why now?  What are the patient’s motivations behind working toward this goal of behavioral change in their actions. As the therapist begins to ask questions and the patient vocalises their answers, it reaffirms to the patient their own motivations and solidifies within their mind that their motivations are real and valid and that these goals of sobriety are reasonable and attainable even after they leave rehab and detox. Broward County drug rehab usually offers some form of behavioral therapy whether motivational interviewing or not, it is almost for sure that you will encounter some form or another of behavioral therapy. Motivational Interviewing, like the others have a few different steps to work through.


Step One


The first step during motivational interviewing is for the therapist. The therapist will approach their patient unconditional compassion and unwavering support. The therapist is to act as a steadying force to fight against the chaos that the patient may be experiencing in their own mind.  The therapist will be sure to treat their patient with respect and dignity in order to be sure that the patient feels cared for and above all, the therapist will be sure that the patient feels listened to and believed.

The therapist will never push back against the patient in these kinds of sessions because they are really there to offer the patient a safe place to explore and solidify their own feelings and motivations in hopes that they can set them clearly in stone. Motivational interviewing for some becomes a memory that they can go back to in their tough moments, so that they can remember their purpose and what is driving them on the road to a sober life.

Step Two


The next step on the short path of motivational interviewing therapy is a portion of therapy where the therapist takes the patient through their own motivations and the story of the recovering patient. This once again helps to solidify and reinforce the user’s hunger for solid change within their lives.

This reminds the patient of that hunger and makes it obvious to them again and perhaps from a different angle and sobering perspective that there is an absolute call for action within themselves, and they have to make the choice to agree to said change. Saying yes to that road to change and to that struggle with addiction recovery affirms to the patient that they are determined and strong enough to do it. Throughout this process something happens within the patient’s brain allowing their psychological needs to change and focus on recovery rather than their own destruction. This kind of therapy is a brief program by nature, however the benefits of doing the motivational interviewing therapy can last for a lifetime.  It is the type of life skills like breaking down goals into meaningful and manageable steps and finding the energy to complete each small goal leading up to the big by remembering motivation and having a focus on the reasons behind one’s goal, in this case sobriety. Mining for motivational energy that helps the patient learn how to self evaluate and can lead to sustained sobriety and success in recovery.


Some common reasons motivational interviewing may be utilized is because the recovering addict has

  • Depression
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Compulsive Gambling Addiction
  • Illicit drug abuse or chemical dependency
  • Prescription drug abuse or chemical dependency


The most important elements of motivational interviewing therapy:

  • The patient will be working with a therapist
  • The engendering of intrinsic self care and safeguarding against apathy. Intrinsic motivation building and using that central desire to to dedicate oneself to creating a safe and practical sobriety moving forward.
  • Autonomy is encouraged for the user in motivational interviewing therapy by making certain that the power in the conversation during therapy stays within the control of the addict themself. The recovering user is in the end the person who is responsible for laying out their own story and revealing their own motivations in the way that feels most real and true to them so that their therapist has the best chance to help them understand themselves and their addictions and motivations in a way that allows them to feel the power that they have over addiction.


If you’re ready to get help for yourself or a loved one, contact us today.