am I an alcoholic

Am I an Alcoholic?

People often wonder, “Am I an alcoholic if I have a little too much to drink?” Interestingly, being in denial about an alcohol use disorder is easy. Mainstream society accepts the use of the drug and even abuse of it on occasion. However, if you’re asking yourself probing questions about your drinking habits, there might be more to them.

Common Misconceptions about an Alcohol Use Disorder Color Perception

Many people believe that alcoholics are the “other” people—the ones who are homeless, jobless, and friendless. In reality, people struggling with an alcohol addiction can have jobs, be moms or dads, and own homes. They run companies, work steady jobs, volunteer for charities, and coach children’s sports. In short, anybody could be suffering from this disease.

Am I an Alcoholic if I’m …?

Typically, there are three distinct signs that your casual drinking has given way to an abuse problem. For starters, you drink heavily. Medical experts consider four drinks a day to be a sign of heavy drinking. If you have more than 14 drinks in a week, they also consider you a heavy drinker.

Binge drinking is another warning sign. It’s possible to go for days without drinking and then suddenly start bingeing. From there, it’s easy for the behavior to become a daily occurrence. Bingeing refers to imbibing more than four or five drinks within a couple of hours.

A third warning sign is the possible outcome of your drinking. A glass of wine or beer with dinner is likely to have no adverse outcome. However, if you find that you neglect responsibilities or engage in risky behavior because of drinking, there’s a problem.

Treatment Can Help You Overcome an Alcohol Use Disorder

When you recognize that your drinking has turned from occasional indulging to addiction, it’s time to seek help. Rehab facilities routinely work with people just like you who need assistance to beat an addiction. Therapists use a variety of treatments to help patients break out of their substance abuse cycle. Examples include:

  • Treatment for co-occurring disorders that makes it possible to explore and handle underlying mental health challenges
  • Talk therapy in the form of cognitive behavioral therapy and similar modalities to change disruptive patterns
  • Group therapy, which allows for peer input and builds self-esteem
  • Holistic wellness treatments that enable the healing on multiple levels via massage therapy or acupuncture
  • Life skills training that helps you get into the swing of going about a typical day without using alcohol

Where to Find Help

Was your answer to “Am I an alcoholic?”, yes? If you or a loved one suffer from an alcohol abuse problem, the therapists at 1st Step Behavioral Health can help. Why let alcohol rob you of your enjoyment and sense of self-worth for another day? Get in touch with the knowledgeable therapists to learn more. Call (866) 319-6126 now for immediate assistance!

Purple Drank Addiction

Purple drink, or drank, is a beverage that might seem harmless. In reality, the drink is incredibly addictive and can cause countless health problems. If you or someone you care about drinks purple drank, learn more about how to recognize and treat it.

The Ingredients in Purple Drank

Just like the name suggests, this drink is purple in color. It’s made up of four primary ingredients: Cold medicine, Sprite, ice and Jolly Rancher candies.

This combination makes the drink both a slight upper, because of sugar, and a slight downer. The cold medicine used is prescription strength, and it contains codeine. This makes so-called purple drinks, also known as sippin’ syrup, a narcotic.

Why People Drink This Dangerous Beverage

Given the extreme side effects and the potential for addiction, the popularity of this drink seems strange. Most people drink the beverage in order to experience a high. There’s absolutely no medical benefit to consuming these drinks, even if they contain cold medicine.

The drink typically makes people feel very woozy. Users might sway back and forth, and it can be difficult for them to stand or walk without leaning from side to side. That’s why one of the common nicknames for the drink is lean.

Other people drink this concoction because they think it’s somehow less dangerous than other types of drugs. In reality, purple drinks are still a narcotic. Since they’re mixed in small batches, their potency is never stable. That means an even bigger risk for an overdose.

Side Effects of Consumption

Aside from the woozy feelings and instability, purple drank can lead to a number of side effects. Some of these effects are short-term and physical, but they can also be long-term or even psychological.

Right away, consuming the drink can lead to some unpleasant and undesirable side effects. For example, many users report uncontrollable eye movement. It may also be very difficult to keep the eyes open, and blurry vision is possible. Even slurred speech is likely after drinking the mixture.

More seriously, purple drinks can slow down the heart. This drug can lead people to feel drowsy, but a short nap might turn out to be the beginning of a coma. Additionally, it can cause urinary retention, kidney damage and dental problems.

Recovering From Purple Drink Addiction

Consuming purple drank is substance abuse, and people can become addicted. That means recovery requires treatment, just like for any other drug addiction. Fortunately, drug detox followed by rehab can be effective.

During rehab, patients learn why they turned to such a dangerous beverage in the first place. One-on-one sessions can also reveal how to prevent it from happening again. Treatments might include:

  • Family therapy
  • Music and art therapy
  • Individual talk therapy
  • Dual diagnosis care for co-occurring disorders
  • Relapse prevention education

With help, you can overcome an addiction to purple drank. At 1st Step Behavioral Health in Pompano Beach, Florida, you can choose a program to help you achieve recovery. Work toward sobriety by calling (866) 319-6126.

Is Alcohol a Drug?

Alcohol is so common in society that many people don’t know what it is anymore. In fact, many people can’t answer the question, “is alcohol a drug?” It shocks many teens and some adults to learn that alcohol is, indeed, a drug.

Is Alcohol a Drug? If So, What Kind?

The short answer is yes, alcohol is a drug and a very dangerous one at that. It’s a type of depressant, which means that alcohol slows down vital bodily functions. Because of this effect, people often slur their speech and stumble around when they’re drunk.

Of course, alcohol doesn’t just impact physical functions. It also has a huge impact on people’s mental processes. Drunk people have a harder time making good judgments and thinking rationally. Alcohol distorts the mind and can lead to blackouts, causing people not to remember anything.

How Much Is Too Much?

Just because people drink occasionally doesn’t mean that they suffer from alcoholism. People who have a drinking problem usually drink too much. Experts suggest that many different factors play a role in determining if people drink too much or not. Some of these include:

  • Age
  • Health status
  • Family history
  • Gender

Determining if people drink too much is important because drinking itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Having a couple drinks during a social event or a glass of wine with dinner is fine for most. It’s when people start abusing alcohol that it becomes a problem.

From Abuse to Addiction

Most people don’t simply start off with an addiction. They have a substance abuse problem first. Alcohol abuse differs from addiction because people still have control over their actions. When they abuse alcohol, they do it out of choice regardless of their reason for doing it.

Addiction, on the other hand, is a mental disease. People no longer have control over their actions when they suffer from addiction. Also, it’s not uncommon for people with addiction to have co-occurring disorders or multiple mental illnesses. For example, those with addiction commonly also have anxiety or depression.

Unfortunately, crossing the line between abuse and addiction is very easy. People who suffer from abuse or addiction need to seek professional help. Rehab centers can help them get their lives back on track. They often use therapy to uncover the root cause of their addiction and address it.

Put an End to Alcoholism

Is alcohol a drug that has taken over your life? Alcoholism is hard to overcome, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. With the help of 1st Step Behavioral Health, you can overcome your addiction. Some of the different addiction programs that we offer include:

  • Family therapy
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Holistic therapy
  • Extended care

Take control of your life again with help from our caring staff. Let us show you the road to recovering your freedom from alcoholism. Contact us today at (866) 319-6126 for more information about the services that we provide.

3 Signs of Addiction

When does the recreational use of a drug or alcohol turn into something more sinister? Since therapists now understand that signs of addiction are symptoms of a disease, is it possible to catch it early? Perhaps more importantly, do you recognize these signs in yourself or a loved one?

Addiction or Abuse?

Typically, abuse starts with the recreational use of a drug. It may also refer to the use of prescription medication in off-label ways. When misuse changes into addiction, the user no longer has control over whether or not to take the drug. There are three signs of addiction.

Physical and Behavioral Signs of Addiction

The most obvious indication that someone has a drug problem is a change in weight and health. If a loved one loses a lot of weight in a short period, it could be a symptom of stimulant abuse. Bloody noses, red eyes, skin abscesses that don’t heal, and oral health problems also point to an addiction problem. You may notice increased sweat and body odors as well.

Behavioral signs are harder to spot since people are good at hiding them. Examples may include problems at work or school, frequent absences from family events, and an unwillingness to welcome visitors. Self-imposed isolation and increasing secrecy about activities and new peer groups accompany drug abuse. You may notice someone with unexpected financial problems who sells personal property such as furniture or heirloom jewelry.

Emotional Signs Underscore the Changes Addiction Creates

If someone has an underlying mental illness alongside an addiction, therapists refer to them as co-occurring disorders. Each can worsen the other one. In some situations, a psychological disorder may go undiagnosed, which leads to the need to treat both diseases. Failure to do so makes a relapse more likely.

Below is what therapists at high-quality rehab centers look at for potential dual diagnosis patients.

  • Assessment. Clinicians assess program participants’ abilities to relate and interact with others. They look for extreme changes in mood and sleeping patterns.
  • Dual diagnosis treatment. After an exhaustive evaluation, those struggling with an addiction and a mental illness receive treatment for both conditions.
  • Residential treatment. This level of care exists at the residential care level, where program participants receive the highest level of support.

Another emotional sign that someone suffers from a substance abuse problem is defensiveness when others ask about it. A person may be in denial and doesn’t want to examine this aspect of daily life. If a loved one does admit to having a problem, her or she most likely plays down the seriousness of the situation. People in this situation may blame shift, lie, and justify their behaviors.

Don’t Wait to Get Help!

Overcoming an addiction isn’t something you can do at home or with the aid of friends. Those who have an addiction need professional drug addiction treatment that assists individuals with overcoming cravings and compulsions. At 1st Step Behavioral Health, talk and family therapies, as well as holistic treatments, assist people to overcome addiction.

Don’t wait any longer. Call (866) 319-6126 now to connect with a caring counselor!

best dual diagnosis treatment centers

What The Best Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers Have In Common

Because of the high overlapping rates of occurrence between mental health disorders and addiction, dual diagnosis is an important aspect of recovery. While all facilities differ somewhat, the best dual diagnosis treatment centers all have some key things in common. If you or someone you know is suffering from co-occurring disorders, it’s time to find a top dual diagnosis treatment center that can help!

The Best Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers Focus on Individual Behavioral Therapies

people holding hands at the best dual diagnosis treatment centers

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there are 7.9 million Americans that have both a mental health illness and a substance abuse disorder. These individuals require dual diagnosis treatment, and the basis of that treatment should be evidence-based behavioral therapy.

There are two primary forms of individual behavioral therapy used in the best dual diagnosis treatment centers: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Cognitive behavioral therapy brings attention to negative thought patterns and helps individuals replace those patterns with positive, healthy cognitive processes. Dialectical behavioral therapy aims to improve self-esteem and lessen strong and overwhelming emotions that lead to harmful behavior.

Effectively Treating Co-Occuring Disorders

In many cases, people who are suffering from the effects of substance use disorders and mental health disorders become overwhelmed by the impact these challenges have on their lives. Sometimes, people who are dealing with these co-occurring disorders may seek professional treatment for one of the problems without realizing that the other disorder also needs attention. In other cases, professional treatment centers may overlook the fact that their patients are struggling with co-occurring disorders, focusing treatment on only the addiction.

It can be dangerous to treat only one disorder when a person is dealing with multiple challenges. For some people, one disorder is actually one of the contributing factors of another disorder in their lives. For example, many people who suffer from alcoholism also begin to suffer from clinical depression. Some individuals struggle with drug addictions and, as a result, develop a mental health disorder. 

So, treatment should focus on helping the whole individual. It should be dedicated to helping people to overcome addiction as well as the harmful effects of their co-occurring disorder. If individuals don’t have personalized treatment that is centered around their emotional, physical, emotional, and mental health, it’s possible that they will eventually experience addiction relapse. 

This happens due to the fact that, when treatment programs do not address the contributing factors of addiction, individuals may not learn how to work through those factors in a healthy way. As a result, they may resort back to their previous coping method — substance use. Thankfully, dual diagnosis treatment programs can help to treat addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorders. With the help of medical professionals who understand how to treat individuals who are suffering from substance abuse and other disorders, people can gain the freedom and peace they need.

Not all addiction centers have psychiatrists or even professionals who have been trained in psychiatry on their staff. But, top-ranking dual diagnosis treatment centers place a lot of emphasis on hiring trained individuals. These medical professionals are able to conduct individual therapy sessions, lead group counseling sessions and identify any co-occurring mental health disorders that need to be addressed during recovery.

Dual Diagnosis: A Long-Term Care Option

Addiction treatment programs come in all shapes and sizes; some are lengthier while others are very short in duration. Dual diagnosis programs, however, tend to be more successful if they are long-term. Centers that focus on dual diagnosis understand that there is no quick fix when it comes to treating both substance abuse and mental illness. Longer programs often have higher rates of success, translating to better health and happiness for patients.

How Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers Work

When a person who has co-occurring disorders begins the treatment at a top-performing dual diagnosis treatment center will first receive an assessment. This allows the professional staff at the facility to become informed about the individual’s challenges and needs throughout the recovery process. It also allows patients to be more aware of what they may not have known about their addiction and mental illness. 

After the assessment, individuals can begin treatment by going through a detoxification process. Detoxification, usually called “detox”, is a medically-assisted process that helps individuals to safely end drug and alcohol use. During this period, patients may experience withdrawal symptoms that would otherwise be very difficult to manage. Thankfully, those in treatment can rest assured, knowing that they have access to medical help whenever it’s needed. 

Next, individuals take part in a treatment program such as inpatient (residential) treatment, a partial hospitalization program (PHP), intensive outpatient program (IOP), or outpatient program. In many cases, individuals go through each of these levels of care as they recover from substance abuse and learn to work through the symptoms of their mental illness or other co-occurring disorders.

Group and Family Therapy Options

The very best treatment centers offering dual diagnosis programs provide a range of therapy options for patients. Notably, they offer therapies that showcase a support system.

Group therapy can be a wonderful way to share experiences. It also allows patients to learn from one another while honing their social skills. Family therapy is another helpful tool that can accomplish all of the following objectives:

  • Differentiating between enabling and helping
  • Utilizing the existing support system of family
  • Rebuilding connections and relationships between family members
  • Educating family members about mental illness and the illness of addiction

Aftercare Options for Relapse Prevention

A vital component of effective dual diagnosis treatment is the acknowledgment that the work isn’t over when rehab ends. To successfully prevent relapse, patients and treatment centers need to work together to create aftercare plans.

Aftercare could include regular meetings in an outpatient program to maintain sobriety for months or even years to come, or life skills training so that patients can learn vital skills on their own. Aftercare might also include learning about available group meetings that can offer accountability for the future.

Finding the best dual diagnosis treatment centers don’t have to be challenging if you know where to look. Start the search at 1st Step Behavioral Health in South Florida. Call (866) 319-6126 and let us prepare you for your journey to recovery.


A Leader in Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Since the 1990s, the behavioral science of addiction treatment has grown and evolved. Very recently, the American Medical Association recognized substance addiction as an actual disease, similar to diabetes or heart disease. This has opened doors for better healthcare for patients who want to overcome their addiction. Because of the AMA’s designation and the Affordable Care Act, insurance now supports addiction recovery.

Another of the discoveries of behavioral scientists in recent years is that of dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis treatment recognizes that co-occurring disorders, such as addiction with depression, delusional behavior, anxiety or PTSD, must be treated concurrently for true recovery to occur. Without treating both conditions, one will inevitably lead the patient back to the other. This is why modern treatment facilities that deal with co-occurring disorders are sought after by patients and doctors making referrals for recovery.

Finding a Quality Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center

For effective treatment of co-occurring disorders, quality treatment centers blend techniques and therapies that work best for mental health care with addiction recovery methods. Clinicians once focusing on addiction recovery and support methods now receive specialized training and credentialing in co-occurring mental health disorder treatment.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that in 2012, 7.9 million people had both a mental disorder and substance use disorder. But finding a rehab program that provides quality treatment for co-occurring disorders is still a challenge. This is particularly true when you are the one suffering within a co-occurring condition and are trying to conduct a search.

How is dual diagnosis treatment different?

Treatment of co-occurring disorders should include specific aspects of care in order to ensure patients the best opportunity of full recovery. Those aspects should include:

  • Concurrent treatment of the mental health disorder and substance abuse
  • Inclusion of psychotherapeutic medications as directed by doctors
  • Support that rebuilds and reinforces positive self-image
  • Inclusion of family in the recovery process

A co-occurring condition isn’t diagnosed by a family member, the person abusing substances or others not experienced in behavioral science. A diagnosis requires the evaluation of a qualified physician, psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist or counselor. While such a diagnosis can sound ominous at first, it’s actually an enormous relief to many people because it helps explain why they have struggled so much with addiction and issues such as mood swings, anxiety and depression. Understanding the condition is the first step into successful treatment and a lifetime of healthy recovery.

1st Step Behavioral Health is a Leader in Dual Diagnosis Treatment

At 1st Step Behavioral Health, co-occurring disorders are understood and treated as part of our comprehensive rehabilitation programs. This combined diagnosis requires support, guidance, education and hope within recovery.

At first, it can be difficult to trust professionals and others when you’re suffering from multiple conditions at once, as patients tend to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed. But trust in the programs of 1st Step Behavioral Health is easy to gain when guests realize that all of their treatment team members are there to ensure complete recovery and a solid chance at a healthy, bright future of sobriety.

Call us at (866) 319-6126 for more information about recovery from addiction and mental health disorders from experts you can trust.