Environment and Relapse

For people going through a south Florida drug rehab, they will no doubt hear at some point that two thirds of people who successfully finish treatment will relapse within the first year and may even find those numbers discouraging. However, centers that offer substance abuse treatment in Florida are also aware of this statistic and understand that gaining control over a substance use disorder is not always an easy task, nor is it a quick task. It’s not a one-size-fits-all process when treating patients seeking help and it’s important to not see relapse as a complete failure of treatment, but a sign that more must be done.

Relapses are often triggered by environmental factors. These can be everything from social surroundings to physical surroundings to a mixture of both. They can also come from unlikely places, even as bizarre as seeing a television commercial at a certain time of day. It really depends on the person how these environmental factors play out, which makes it difficult to get ‘right’ in treatment on the first try, especially for obscure environmental ‘triggers’.

It’s well known that environment is highly influential in addiction. Multiple studies by multiple universities and research groups using cocaine and mice have proven that learned behavior in association with addiction is a strong link that can create higher levels of risk of relapse if left unchecked. When a person is developing a substance use disorder, memories play a strong role in how that addiction is registered within the neurobiology of the brain, which changes on each use and is also linked with non-chemical addictions that have also become notable recently such as internet and social media addictions. The environment, when combined with memory and reward structures which can vary wildly but often times are associated with substance use, instill an almost ‘Pavlov’s Dog’ response. Pavlov’s dog experiment involved feeding a dog a treat after ringing a bell. Eventually, the treat was removed and when the bell was rung, the dog would salivate, even after a long time from the treat being removed from the situation.

To an addict in recovery, a similar kind of ‘mental salivation’ or ‘itch to use’ can be triggered in this same way, but without any intentional effort by the person themselves or even others around them. It is often why relapses occur in the first place; someone is taken off guard by something that seems completely innocuous. However, it must be understood that this relapse is not necessarily a failure, but a learning moment for the patient in the right frame of mind to recognize the event, even if they succumb to it. Addressing the environmental factors will strengthen their ability to control their substance use disorder over time. While it might feel like a setback, if the patient is still willing to beat their addiction, there’s much to learn from these moments that will ensure future success in their battle.

Addiction is a chronic illness that affects more than two million Americans and most go untreated. If you or someone you know could be suffering from addiction, call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126 for professional drug rehab in Ft. Lauderdale.

A Court Battle To Pay Attention To

While the stigma of addiction within the public eye changes, which will encourage more people in south Florida to seek drug rehab rather than try to hide it, there are other conditions that also must be addressed as things like residential detox are no longer strongly and harshly judged by society at large, such as legalities associated with treatment.

In Pennsylvania, a court case which may set a precedent on how many states look at laws governing the liability of those who treat both people seeking addiction treatment as well as those seeking mental health treatment. As the culture surrounding addiction begins to understand the intricacies that involve mental health as a major component of the causes of addiction, it brings the necessity to revisit current laws on the books and how they promote and reinforce the things we now know about the illness. For instance, it should be immediately that the ‘War On Drugs’ policies treating possession of substances decriminalized as it would be like criminalizing have Attention Deficit Disorder or criminalizing someone with bipolar.

In this same way, it’s worth revisiting laws that dictate differences or lack thereof in treatment facilities and liabilities of those responsible for their care.

The case in Pennsylvania looks to separate the laws that apply to patients looking for treatment for substance use disorder from other mental health conditions. The case, which involves the surviving family of a person who went into treatment for opioid use disorder and died ten days later under the care of the staff of that facility. So far, the case has moved to state supreme court after a previous court denied the separate since the treatment facility was also treating the patient for diagnosed mental health issues.

Currently, the books there state that the lawsuit cannot hold up because the prosecution is suing for something that happened under a different statute. The outcome could be a reinforcement or setback to how the public perceives substance use disorder as a chronic illness with heavy mental health implications or as this ‘other thing’ that’s more about individual morality and ‘choice’ judgements. Research into psychiatry, neurobiology and psychology already agree that the statistics show a high correlation with issues like trauma and addiction, though no real causation has been discovered with any predictability, meaning that they agree there’s a highly likely link. All research agree that morals of an individual play nearly no role as to how addiction starts or continues.  A case that ignores this correlation legally reinforces the possibility that the War On Drugs will continue to criminalize possession and incarcerate those who have a severe addiction rather than getting them treatment options like drug rehab in Ft. Lauderdale.

All that aside, if the court case gets struck down at the State Supreme Court, there may be a push to take it further up the chain of judicial command which would elevate the consequences of the ruling further.  

Substance use disorder is a chronic illness that becomes more severe the longer it is left untreated. Call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126 for treatment options that are right for you or someone you know who might be facing addiction.

Colorado Attempts To Fast Track Addiction Treatment From the ER

For many people who are looking for south Florida rehab centers, whether for themselves or someone else, one of the places that would seem like a major help often isn’t: the hospital. Finding drug rehab in Ft. Lauderdale, for instance, often times won’t be a referral from a doctor but more likely from an internet search or even something like a billboard on the side of the freeway. Considering the serious health issues that come with addiction, it’s somewhat bizarre that this is the case for most hospitals, that they are neither equipped to really identify addiction in its early stages nor know where to send people for treatment if they even diagnose it.

Colorado has noticed this deficiency in their healthcare organizations and have decided to look for solution, as have many states. Their particular approach is to start getting many of their physicians certified to administer buprenorphine and other medical assisted treatment drugs in their hospitals for addictions that have MAT’s (certain substances do not have any medications of this sort available, the most notable and dangerous being methamphetamine). The efforts are being made in an attempt to at least try and ‘kickstart’ a path into a professional treatment facility by being the first contact with addiction help, primarily in the ER where hospital staff frequently will come into contact with people suffering from an overdose.

There has already been a federal push to fund drugs like naloxone, which is one of many opioid-based nullifying drugs which can prevent overdose as well as partially or completely eliminate both withdrawal symptoms and cravings for further opioid use.

With this new Colorado proposal, a biophysical assessment performed by a licensed therapist at the point of contact inside the hospital will give potential candidates the opportunity to begin their early treatment through the hospital itself through MAT’s such as prescription buprenorphine. The program hopes to encourage not only medical staff to better understand addiction, since even today many physicians still internalize a belief that addiction is a purely self-inflicted morality failure, but also to prevent overdoses and fast track people suffering from substance use disorders into a treatment that can truly help them.

As the country, as well as Florida and it’s plethora of south Florida drug rehab facilities and treatment centers, continues to handle this issue independently, the conversation’s movement and the public opinion needle are slowly inching toward what many believe will be far more effective in this issue which is the marriage of mental health and physical health both in terms of coverage of insurance as well as offerings from medical establishments, especially where conditions like addiction concern both simultaneously. Often times, it’s not enough to simply beat the physical dependency of a substance, but to undergo behavioral therapy and psychological treatments that give a person in recovery the tools to resist cravings and relapse triggers.

If you or someone you know is looking for substance use disorder treatment, call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126 for treatment options.

The ‘Addictionary’

Addiction is currently one of the most widely talked about topics in both the news and the medical and psychology fields of professionals, as is evidenced here by so many people looking for services from south Florida drug rehab centers. The Research Recovery Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, an affiliate of the Harvard Medical School, is a non-profit research group dedicated to the advancement of addiction treatment and recovery, recently published what is called ‘The Addictionary’. It features terminology and definitions that surround the condition and acts as an introductory resource for both the general public and physicians interested in finding out more about the chronic illness of substance use disorder.

The following are some small excerpts from The Addictionary, which can be found in full at https://www.recoveryanswers.org/addiction-ary/:

  • ADDICTION – According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is a primary, chronic neurobiologic disease with genetic, psychosocial and environmental factors influence its development and manifestations. Addiction is characterized by behaviors that include: impaired control over drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, cravings.
  • BEHAVIORAL HEALTH – The health care field concerned with substance use and other mental health disorders.
  • CODEPENDENCY – Emotional or psychological over-reliance on a partner, especially in relation to an illness or disease such as substance use disorder.
  • COERCION – The practice of compelling a victim to act against his or her will by using psychological pressure, physical force or threats or by withholding drugs.
  • COLD TURKEY – Slang term for the abrupt and complete cessation of addictive substance use. It stems from the goosebumps often observable on the skin of individuals in physiological withdrawal.
  • DEPENDENCE – The state in which metabolic status and functioning is maintained through the sustained presence of a drug and it’s removal results in a mental or physical disturbance or withdrawal.
  • DETOX – Short for ‘detoxification’, the medical process focused on treating the physical effects of withdrawal from substance use and comfortably achieving metabolic stabilization is a prelude to longer-term treatment and recovery.
  • LAPSE – A nontechnical term, also referred to as a ‘slip’. It implies a short-term resumption of substance use, usually for a night or day, that is followed by a return to the original goal of moderate use or abstinence.
  • MAINTENANCE DOSE – The amount of a medication administered to preserve it’s desired level in the bloodstream.
  • NEONATAL ABSTINENCE SYNDROME – A postnatal withdrawal syndrome inherited by children exposed to substances, most often opioids, during pregnancy. Babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome are more likely to suffer from low birth weight, breathing problems, feeding problems, seizures or birth defects.
  • NIMBY – Short for ‘Not In My Back Yard’. A characterization of opposition by residents to proposed development within their local area, such as for addiction treatment centers or harm-reduction programs. It often correlates with strong fears of increased crime, poverty, drug use or community degradation. The term tends to carry the connotation that residence would tolerate or even support the new development if it were not proposed in such close proximity to themselves.

Finding drug rehab in Ft. Lauderdale is as simple as calling First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126 which offers many treatment options include residential detox.

Mix and Match

When seeking a south Florida drug rehab for addiction it’s important to educate yourself as best as possible about the options available, which can vary widely depending on the substances that are used, the history of the person, their medical history and whether the person has ever been diagnosed for mental health issues such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

It can seem extremely overwhelming for someone who has never looked into either substance abuse treatment in Florida or even the information into what kind of condition addiction is itself. A lot of information is heavily influenced by cultural beliefs rather than research from the medical and scientific communities so it’s important to be able to discern conjecture and speculation informed by cultural bias from modern medicine and psychology.

The important thing to pay attention to is that a good treatment center will ‘mix and match’, so to speak multiple treatments and even diagnosis’ which is typically called ‘holistic approach’ or ‘holistic treatment’. When looking at a person who has an addiction, it’s important that treatment to be tailored to the individual as best as possible. Just as someone who goes to the dentist will have a visit to determine what kind of work, if any, might be called for instead of just removing the same teeth from everyone that walks through the door, treatment requires a variety of assessments that will include psychological and mental health analysis along with physical analysis.

Because there are parts of addiction that aren’t completely understood either from the psychology field and neurobiology field, the holistic approach is considered the most effective as it combines the pieces of both fields that to put together the best ‘picture’ of how the addiction has affected the patient as possible, basically the idea that the sum of the parts makes a more complete whole. Some treatments such as 12 Step only programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) often do not only a single kind of one-size-fits-all approach, but also mix in elements of spirituality and morality into program, which have, statistically, very low success rates. That is not to say they do not work for everyone, but often this approach alone is not as effective as modern holistic approaches which can include medication, psychological counseling which often uncover unaddressed mental health issues such as trauma and depression or even, as earlier noted, uncover conditions like ADHD which have shown to be found in 25% of addicts and often unidentified at time of treatment for the addiction.

There’s a lot to discover, unpack and learn, especially when going into subjects like inheritance of genes that have been identified as possible contributors to addiction susceptibility, the kinds of drugs that are available for some kinds of physical addictions and so many more aspects, but if you keep in mind that the best treatments don’t just use one kind of approach, you’ll at least have a better chance of finding a treatment that works for you.

If you or someone you know is looking for drug rehab in Ft. Lauderdale, call First Step Behavioral at (866) 319-6126.

The Vultures Are Circling

Substance abuse treatment in Florida faces many problems with regards to being effective. With the spotlight on addiction shining a white hot light on one of the biggest missteps in American healthcare for the last half century, many snake oil salesmen smell blood in the water and are eagerly trying to get their bite on the millions of dollars ready to be shovelled at anyone who can promise a solution to the condition. It’s gotten so out of control that the FDA themselves had to issue over a dozen warnings and advisory letters to companies and investors wishing to cash in on the crisis facing millions of Americans in the face of the very public opioid crisis.

Unfortunately, there are almost no regulations on the supplement industry, which is the totality of the products that incurred the warnings to begin with, meaning that in an industry that can get away with almost everything in terms of claims and effects on people of untested substances, this was bad enough to still motivate the FDA to step in take action. Outlets such as QVC have hawked multiple products claiming to counteract the addictive properties of drugs like oxycontin while being not much more than overpriced bottle of sugar pills.

One of the main things that supplements are able to exploit are the lack of clinical testing before placing claims to their effects. Over the years, there have been life threatening supplements claiming to be safe for everything from weightloss to reversing yellow toenails, but end up having untested ingredients or even more common a combination of ingredients that act together to have unforeseen side effects.

While all of this is happening, there has also been a surge of interest in funding treatment facilities all from a profit motive. For those reading this who are unaware, the prison system in America is profit motivated which has extended the War on Drugs itself to promote more incarceration through simple drug possession and does very little to actually rehabilitate those put behind bars. It’s not far fetched to think that the treatment centers coming in purely for the ability to make profit will do much to improve a person’s quality of life. A recent report on the investor opportunities around treatment centers was published and even the company who produces oxycontin has been investing money into treatment centers to get people off the drug they themselves sell and seem to have no plans on changing or pulling from the market despite everything that is known about it’s addictive properties and its potential to lead people to full on heroin addiction.

With all of this going on, it’s highly important for everyone who is looking to help people they known or to help themselves to be very critical of what is being offered and understand that no treatment exists that simply involves ‘buying some pill’. Treatment is not just something you do for 10 minutes a day with a glass of water, it requires a much more than that and for good reason.

If you or someone you know is looking for residential detox or drug rehab in Ft. Lauderdale, call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126.

Parents Reveal Their Mistakes

South Florida rehab centers often have teens and young adults coming through their doors, but due to the stigma of addiction and the dynamics of family, some don’t have the luxury of finding a substance abuse treatment center in Florida because they lose their lives to the drug.

Recently, parents who lost their children to substance use disorder shared their stories and, more specifically, the signs they missed which, had they known what they were seeing in their child, would’ve allowed them to at least try to help them.

One couple, Sheila and Rich Craumer, failed to notice Briana’s actions that were indicating something more than just general teenager shenanigans. She slept all day, stayed up all night and frequently had mood swings and a lack of patience.

Rich recalls a Saturday afternoon when Briana was nodding off in the living room, “I thought it was so cute, and I was taking pictures of her. I had no idea she was high on heroin.” Briana died at age 18 from a fentanyl overdose.

What Sheila emphasizes is that a lot of the signs are of normal teen behavior like moodiness, spending a lot of time in their room and asking for money. “I was so clueless. If you don’t know anything about it, you are clueless.”

After the incident, they started a support group for other families going through the days of living with a child who’s abusing narcotics, with many of the members sharing signs that tipped them off that something might serious might be going on:

  • Misplaced spoons for heroin use
  • Things around the house go missing because they are being sold for money
  • Constant stuffy nose from snorting substances
  • Spending lots of time in the bathroom dealing with constipation from opioid use
  • Lack of appetite that accompanies drug use
  • Tearing up certain brands of cotton swabs to use as a nasal straw for snorting
  • Lack of hygiene

When confronting children whether they may be using drugs, it’s important to never take an adversarial or judgemental role; the problem is shared by both the parents and the child. Accusations tend to turn a problem of tackling the substance use disorder into one of trying to ‘chase down’ the teen in order to get to the real problem of getting help. Sometimes, the parents themselves will have played some part in the child’s life that lead them to use yet will inadvertently and instinctively blame the kid entirely, which usually has the opposite effect of what simply reaching out with a helping and loving hand can do. ‘Tough Love’ tends to exacerbate the situation rather than diffuse it, and can sometimes end up with speeding up the child’s pathway towards an early grave.

It’s a delicate situation that needs a delicate approach, but with the intent to help rather than judge, you’re already on the right path.

First Step Behavioral Health, drug rehab in Ft. Lauderdale, helps those with substance use disorder take back control of their life. Call (866) 319-6126 for personalized treatment options.

Yelp For Treatment?

Whether it’s an alcohol rehab in Pompano or a drug rehab in Ft. Lauderdale, people seeking substance abuse treatment in Florida have the daunting task of having to research a company, maybe get lucky by seeing a phone number on a billboard to even know that one exists or take the Google Russian Roulette method of searching and hoping to not get taken advantage of.

After all, a person suffering from substance use disorder seeking treatment is often a person desperate for help. The current setup of treatment centers nationwide is primarily privatized and profit driven. In fact, recently, a study was released specifically for investors to speculate on how much money they can make by throwing money into treatment centers in hopes of making millions, rather than having a real desire to help people.

In this kind of climate which is likely only to get worse, one state is trying something a little different, but proposes its own set of challenges to ensure that people seeking treatment for their addiction aren’t simply taken for a ride and drained of their savings before being sent out to the world maybe even worse off than before. Massachusetts is trying out a ‘rating system’ for addiction treatment centers which will examine data from three primary sources; insurance claims, provider surveys and consumer experience surveys. The results will be ‘graded’ and be used to rank centers based on these three points.

However, as noted earlier, there’s a high likelihood of a lot of new money-hunting players and they rarely play fair. Even in your regular news outlets, there’s things such as ‘paid content’ which these days does not even have to identify itself as such and often influences the appearance of the subject in the article. While this isn’t precisely a social media operation, being run by a non-profit called Shatterproof, and headed by real estate and hotel mogul multi-billionaire Gary Mendell, it’s a far cry from the more appropriate approach to addiction treatment which is to tackle a lot of the shortcomings through policies from different states to address their own regional issues.

Likewise, just how a company can possibly forge a positive view even within this particular method of ‘rating’ treatment centers, it can be used to create a negative view of others. In organizations fighting for a profit, often times there’s a large incentive to promote what used to be called ‘attack ads’, which is to say by diminishing the competition, whether legitimately or illegitimately (often attack ads feature lots of ad hominems and dishonest framing), will make the originator of such an attack seem a little better and thus more ‘appealing’. It has yet to be seen how effective this method will be, but it’s not manipulation proof nor is it guaranteed to make things any easier for people seeking treatment.

For now, First Step Behavioral Health is a respectable treatment center with experience in all kinds of addiction and therapy methods.  Call (866) 319-6126 for more information.

Born Into Addiction

With the increasing numbers of people addicted to opioids and other substances seeking drug rehab in Ft. Lauderdale, it’s more likely that some of them will be pregnant women. A study of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) babies born to St. Louis Children’s Hospital found that in the last five years, the number of children born with addiction has doubled. The increase throws a monkey wrench into the often repeated belief that moral failings lead to addiction, but also shows some of the more serious effects of addiction itself on a person’s family and the generational impact of the condition.

While many suffering from substance use disorders will behave in such a way that they become estranged from their family, (possibly steal from them to feed their uncontrollable habit originates from a neurobiological change in the user) pregnant women who are struggling can pass on their addiction to their unborn children. Children born with a heroin addiction give doctors little choice in how to handle the issue, often having to give morphine, another opiate like heroin, in small doses to reduce the child’s withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal, even in adults, can be extremely dangerous and painful, requiring specialist monitoring in south Florida detox.

Dr. Steve Liao, who works at the hospital where the study was conducted admits that in the situation of neonatal abstinence syndrome, there’s not a lot of options. “When I first came into this, I probably had the same set of biases and some of them are hidden, some of them are subconscious.”

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t track the number of children born into the condition of drug addiction, making the issue of finding safe solutions for treatments even more difficult to achieve. Without recognizing the situation, creating a movement to find safe methods of treatment is left up to those who are in the medical field, who often have to ‘wing it’.  

The St. Louis Children’s Hospital is nearly unique and alone in putting together healthcare plans for children born with substance use disorder. Currently, the only thing they’ve found that has any positive effect is to give the child morphine in smaller and smaller doses over time. However, the long term effects of being born with the neurological changes that occur in most addicts has yet to be studied to any extent to understand how the child will grow up and how susceptible to relapse when they get older might be. If they are born into an environment which puts them more at risk to come into contact with illicit addictive drugs, it’s unfortunately a high likelihood they will quickly develop an addiction compared to a child born without NAS.  

The problems from substance use disorders can be generational and the growing number of children born with addiction due to no fault of their own is more evidence that there’s a long way to go before the country’s problem will truly be under control.

Substance use disorder is a serious health issue that requires professional help from south Florida drug rehab centers like First Step Behavioral Health. Call (866) 319-6126 for treatment options.

Quality Control in Life

Quality Control

One reason people may have for finding drug rehab in Ft. Lauderdale would be the obvious; they know they have a problem and it’s negatively affecting their life, maybe their health, their relationships, their emotional wellbeing and their ability to concentrate on things that used to be important to them. Substance abuse treatment in Florida, though, might be a good choice for another, completely different reason if a person is concerned with having control over when they live or die.

Often times, drug addictions involve illicit and illegal drugs. Illicit drugs are those which are typically legal but require a prescription and person obtains them without a prescription or by doctor ‘shopping’, which is to say the person sees multiple doctors to obtain far more of the drug than their condition requires. Illegal drugs are those which the federal or state government has effectively put a ban on and punishes people who have it in their possession, either through fines or imprisonment. Without getting into the discussion of the failure of the War On Drugs that continues today and began in 1971 with Richard Nixon’s signature, there’s another reason why these substances can be far more dangerous to use than the effects that people suffering from substance use disorders seek out from them.

In general, if a person ‘shops’ doctors for themselves, they will get medicine directly from a regulated pharmacy. A trained lab physician will dispense medicines that have gone through governmental regulations to maintain quality. However, the same cannot be said for illicit and illegal drugs bought outside of a pharmacy. There are no quality regulations that manufacturers and distributors must adhere to. There’s no punishment for making mistakes that these organizations must endure, no fines, not even real brand tarnishing as they must operate covertly in order to make their money in the first place.

Last year, drug overdose deaths overtook automobile fatalities with a significant portion of those deaths coming from accidental overdoses tied to illegal and illicit drugs. Fentanyl, an extremely potent opioid, was found in batches of heroin. Where someone was thinking they were getting pure heroin, fentanyl, which is 100 times stronger than heroin, was accidentally ingested, often times causing an overdose, if not outright death. Even cocaine users were dying from fentanyl sneaking into their choice drug.

Even without fentanyl, other issues can occur in drug safety when dealing with illicit sales and illegal sales. A recent report showed that many people were being poisoned from bad batches of kratom, a drug which is primarily only offered ‘under the counter’, though has been proposed to be set to a schedule 1 status, which makes it as illegal as heroin.

It’s not to say that problems don’t occur within legal drugs, but when they happen, there’s recourse to stop the spread, recall bad product, fine the offending company(s) and protect the consumers who are simply looking for the product as described. If nothing else, this should be a reason for someone to break free from their substance use disorder if for nothing else to not be held captive to an unregulated, potentially deadly marketplace.

If you or someone you know is at risk from use of illegal drugs due to their substance use disorder, call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126, which offers heroin drug treatment in Broward.