Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) text on colorful sticky note

OCD and Methamphetamine: Understanding Addiction Causes and Treatment Options

People who suffer from co-occurring disorders often find themselves in a place of helplessness due to the lack of adequate treatment resources. Many addiction treatment centers lack the ability to help patients with mental health disorders, focusing more on the addiction problem.

Of course, people attend treatment because they want to overcome a substance use disorder (SUD). But, the best professional rehab centers work on understanding addiction causes and treatment options for their clients.

It’s important to view addiction as a problem that extends past the surface. Substance use disorders are about more than harmful drug and alcohol use. Individuals who suffer from SUDs also struggle with underlying causes and co-occurring disorders.

One of the mental health disorders that commonly occur in the lives of those who are suffering from addiction is obsessive-compulsive disorder. This disorder, also known as OCD, affects people in many different ways and often prevents individuals from leading lives of normalcy.

Sometimes, OCD can cause people to struggle to build and maintain healthy relationships with others, stay focused on work or school, and remain emotionally connected to their loved ones.

In many cases, this disorder affects people who have a SUD. And, when an individual is suffering from both addiction and OCD at the same time, it can be difficult for them to find their way out of that struggle. This is why professional treatment programs that deal with addiction and underlying causes are so important.

About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and How it Affects People

Most people have heard of OCD but, sadly, this disorder is often misunderstood. Many people believe that OCD is less of a disorder and more of a choice. In other words, some individuals think that people choose to obsess over certain thought patterns or activities. They believe that these individuals could stop thinking or feeling that way if they’d only choose to do so.

But, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. People who suffer from OCD would certainly state otherwise. The truth of the matter is that those who are living with obsessive-compulsive disorder often feel stressed and emotionally upset because they simply can’t control their obsessions.

OCD is characterized by recurring thoughts and behaviors that are usually unwanted by the individual. So, people who have OCD usually do not want to feel or think the way they do. But, because of the disorder, it’s extremely difficult (even impossible) to control those thoughts and feelings.

Those who are living with this particular disorder may find it very hard to maintain a normal and regular daily routine because of their uncontrollable obsessive-compulsive behaviors. This can be very stressful and often causes individuals to feel even more anxious.

A person who has OCD may obsess over certain thoughts, fears, or behaviors. For example, he or she may constantly feel afraid of losing a loved one or friend to death. Some individuals deal with recurring fears of getting sick.

As a result of these recurring fears, an individual may constantly desire to keep their loved ones in sight or constantly ask their loved ones if they’re okay. They may continuously clean and disinfect their living spaces in order to avoid getting sick. Or they might wash their hands abnormally often.

Sometimes, these behaviors are misunderstood by those who don’t suffer from OCD. It can be difficult to understand people’s need to engage in obsessive-compulsive behavior. But, it’s important to understand that these actions are not choices.

Again, the fact that they can’t control the effects of their OCD often causes individuals to look for relief. Unfortunately, many people resort to alcohol or drug use. These substances offer a way of escape, even if it’s only a temporary escape.

Of course, the effects of drugs and alcohol don’t last forever. They wear off after a while. In order to return to the state of mind which substance use offers people, individuals have to use more of their drug of choice. As a result of constant substance use, many individuals develop SUDs.

When a person uses drugs or alcohol excessively, it’s likely that he or she will eventually become dependent on the substance they’re using. Unfortunately, this has happened to many individuals who also suffer from OCD.

Some individuals use alcohol in order to find relief from the symptoms of OCD in their lives. Others turn to particular drugs. One drug that is commonly used amongst those who are living with obsessive-compulsive disorder is methamphetamine.

When OCD and Methamphetamine Abuse Co-Occur

Individuals who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder often seek relief in substance use. But, after using a certain drug for a while, many people become dependent on and even addicted to that substance.

This happens often in cases where people use methamphetamine in search of an escape from stress and anxiety. This drug, commonly called “meth”, is a highly addictive and harmful drug. But, it produces euphoric results, giving its users a pleasurable experience for at least a while before the effects wear off.

Meth causes the body to release dopamine, which is a chemical that’s responsible for causing individuals to feel pleasure. This chemical also plays a role in various mental processes and some bodily functions, such as movement.

One of the main problems with meth use, however, is the fact that this drug is highly addictive, causing people to feel that they need the substance in order to feel any sense of happiness. This is dangerous because those who use this drug can become dependent on and addicted to it fairly quickly.

Meth addictions can have very serious effects on a person’s life. Some of the results of methamphetamine abuse might include:

  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Moodiness
  • Violent behavior
  • Sleep problems
  • Increased anxiety
  • Delusional thinking
  • Loss of coordination

These symptoms can actually worsen the effects of OCD. So, despite the initial pleasurable effects, drug use actually does more harm than good.

1st Step Identifies Addiction Causes and Treatment Options

Here at 1st Step Behavioral Health, we work to help our clients overcome substance abuse problems. But, we also help to address addiction causes and identify the best treatment options for each individual.

So, if you’re struggling with OCD and methamphetamine addiction or any other co-occurring disorders, please reach out to us today. By calling (866) 319-6126, you will be able to speak with the professional and compassionate staff members of our facility.

We understand that successful addiction treatment should deal with underlying causes to prevent relapse. So, we help our clients to work through and address the symptoms of mental health disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder.

If you or someone you know could use some help breaking free from substance use and addiction, please contact us today.

bi-polar disorder and alcoholism

Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism: Understanding this Common Occurrence

Alcohol abuse, also commonly referred to as alcoholism, is no stranger to most communities. In fact, every year, countless individuals become aware of an alcohol use disorder in their lives or in the lives of someone they love.

It’s always difficult to come to terms with the truth about an addiction problem. And it’s often very challenging to figure out what to do about the issue. It can be even more difficult when alcoholism is paired with another health concern, such as bipolar disorder.

Those who suffer from the co-occurring disorders of alcohol use disorder (AUD) and bipolar disorder often struggle to overcome either or both issues. This is mainly due to the way these disorders affect one another.

In many cases, bipolar disorder and alcoholism combine to create a really big problem in the lives of those affected by these disorders. Sometimes, alcohol use can worsen the effects of bipolar disorder and vice versa.

This is why treatment is so important. If you or someone in your life is struggling with an AUD and bipolar disorder, it’s time to truly understand the seriousness of this occurrence and learn what you can do to help turn things around for the better.

Defining Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism

First of all, it’s important to begin by understanding these two disorders. What exactly does it mean to have bipolar disorder and how does it affect those who are living with it?

Well, bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that causes people to become psychologically unstable. It’s a mood disorder that affects the way people think, feel, and behave. Often, the effects can be very drastic and intense.

Many individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder experience moments of extreme depression in addition to intense states of euphoria. Often, individuals deal with major shifts in emotions and moods. This can cause people to behave and act differently than normal.

Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, is a problem that many people deal with. It is an uncontrollable use of alcohol. Since this substance is legal, it’s fairly easy to access. So, sadly, many people become dependent on alcohol and may eventually abuse is and develop an alcohol addiction problem.

When Alcohol Use and Bipolar Disorders Co-Occur

Perhaps, you’re wondering how or why people end up living with bipolar disorder and alcoholism. Well, the truth of the matter is that these co-occurring disorders affect people as a result of various factors.

In other words, the reason behind this occurrence varies from case to case. But, for many people, bipolar disorder leads to the development of alcohol use disorder. Those who suffer from the effects of bipolar disorder often struggle with deep depression because of their mental health disorder.

Sadly, it’s common for people who feel depressed to seek comfort in substance use. Some may turn to drugs. Maybe they begin using medications and prescriptions that are meant to help them overcome depression. But, after using the substance for a while, they may have grown dependent on and addicted to that drug.

This can also happen in cases where people turn to alcohol in order to cope with the negative effects of bipolar disorder. Some individuals seek comfort in drinking. But, the relief they feel is only temporary and leaves when the effects of alcohol wear off.

In order to escape from the unpleasant impact of bipolar disorder, including depression, uncontrollable thoughts, irritability, agitation, and low self-esteem, many individuals use alcohol. But, again, the stress-relieving effects that people get when they drink wears off after a while.

When reality returns, the desire to escape also comes back. As a result, some people may resort back to alcohol use. This can turn into a problem with excessive drinking. Eventually, these alcohol use habits can become extremely problematic.

Alcohol use disorder is dangerous for more reason than one. This addiction problem affects individuals’ lives on multiple levels. And the effects can be intensified when the alcohol use problem co-occurs with bipolar disorder.

How Bipolar Disorder and Alcohol Use Affect People

When a person suffers from bipolar disorder, he or she may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Poor judgment
  • Appetite loss
  • Manic episodes
  • Racing thoughts
  • Euphoric episodes
  • Excessive worry
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Loss of energy
  • Memory problems
  • Lack of concentration
  • Excessive or lack of sleep
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Suicidal ideation and thoughts of death

The intense changes in mood and emotions can cause people to feel very overwhelmed. It’s difficult to understand and work through the effects of bipolar disorder. So, it goes without saying that people who suffer from this disorder often struggle to lead regular and normal lives.

Bipolar disorder can impact people’s day-to-day lives. In many cases, people who are suffering from this mental health disorder have trouble focusing in school, keeping up with family responsibilities, establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships, and holding jobs.

All of these things can contribute to the development of alcohol abuse. And, if a person becomes addicted to alcohol, he or she may begin to experience even more difficulties in maintaining a normal schedule.

Alcoholism can cause people to feel:

  • Depressed
  • A lack of energy
  • Less motivated
  • Alone and isolated
  • Distanced from loved ones

No doubt, as these effects combine with the symptoms of bipolar disorder, individuals may struggle to manage their lives and may experience a downward spiral.

Unfortunately, this is has been the case in many people’s lives. But, thankfully, there is hope for those who are dealing with these co-occurring disorders!

Finding Hope and Help at 1st Step Behavioral Health

If you’ve been struggling with alcoholism and bipolar disorder, then you know just how difficult it can be to overcome these problems. Fortunately, though, a professional dual diagnosis treatment program can help you to find freedom and peace once and for all!

Here at 1st Step Behavioral Health, we work to help people to find the freedom they truly deserve. You don’t need to continue struggling with alcohol abuse and the effects of bipolar disorder. Let us help you! Just call us today to get started on the journey to recovery.

Opioids and Depression

Could Your Opioid Addiction be Caused by Depression?

Addiction is very complex. There are so many factors that can contribute to the development of a substance use problem. But, it’s very common to find that individuals who are dealing with an addiction problem are also suffering from a mental health disorder. In fact, it’s been reported that over 40% of those who have a problem with substance use also have a mental health disorder.

Depression, also called clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is one of the most common types of mental health disorders that affect people who have alcohol or drug addictions. This particular disorder impacts thousands, even millions, of lives every year. And it most certainly has made a name for itself amongst the population of those addicted to drugs.

In some cases, clinical depression leads to substance dependence and addiction. You see, many individuals use opioid prescriptions which are generally designed to treat moderate to severe pain. As a result of continued and excessive opioid use, some people become dependent on opioids. Some may also develop an addiction to these substances.

If you’ve been suffering from an opioid addiction problem, it’s possible that depression is one of the main causes of your struggle. If so, you’re not alone; there are many others who are suffering from the co-occurring disorders of addiction and depression. Thankfully, though, there is hope through professional treatment!

How are Depression and Opioid Addiction Connected?

Again, some people begin using opioid medication as recommended by a medical professional. After using these medications for a while, individuals may develop a tolerance for these substances. This means that their bodies become so used to the effects of the opioid medications that individuals need to use a higher dosage in order to get the desired result.

As people build tolerance for opioids, their bodies begin to depend on the substance. It becomes difficult for them to function or feel normal without using opioids. After a while, they may even become addicted to the drugs, having an uncontrollable craving for them.

In other cases, people may begin to use opioids to treat pain in their bodies and, after using these medications, develop clinical depression.

When a person is suffering from both depression and opioid addiction, the co-occurring disorders tend to impact one another, making the effects of each one even worse. In other words, people who struggle with clinical depression may become even more involved in substance abuse. And an individual who is suffering from an opioid addiction problem may become more deeply depressed over time.

The Challenges of Living With Depression

Unfortunately, people who are suffering from depression often feel hopeless and helpless. If you are dealing with the effects of major depressive disorder in your life, you know how difficult it can be to live with depressive disorder. It’s challenging to communicate what you’re experiencing and connect with your loved ones.

Depression deprives people of the happiness they deserve, often causing individuals to feel discouraged and downhearted for days, weeks, years, and even months at a time.

Sometimes, people who are dealing with clinical depression lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. The things they were passionate about seem to become completely unimportant to them as they feel overwhelmed by the effects of depression.

Individuals who suffer from clinical depression frequently have feelings of loneliness. They may isolate and distance themselves from the people who care about them. In most situations, people who are living with depression feel trapped, as if they can’t break free.

The pressure and discomfort of living with depression often cause people to turn to things that may give them at least temporary relief. Sadly, many individuals resort to alcohol use. Others may turn to drugs, such as opioids.

Many may become dependent on opioid medication, such as Vicodin or OxyContin. Other individuals may begin to use illicit forms of the drug, such as heroin.

It’s common to believe that illicit drug use and addiction are more harmful and dangerous than the problems people develop after using prescription opioids. But, the truth is that any type of substance abuse can lead to very serious effects.

So, whether you are struggling with an addiction to prescription medication or an illicit drug like heroin, it’s important to seek professional help right away.

When You’re Dealing With Depression and Addiction

On its own, the battle against depression is extremely overwhelming and challenging. Those who are dealing with clinical depression often struggle to find comfort and peace. Relief is extremely hard to find.

So, again, many people attempt to find it in drugs or alcohol. Opioid use is certainly a common problem amongst those who are dealing with depression. Even though these substances may seem to help relieve the pressures and symptoms of depression, they can be extremely harmful to those who abuse them and become addicted to them.

Opioid use can cause:

  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Breathing problems

If a person continues to use opioid drugs and become dependent on or addicted to them, he or she might lose control over the drug use. As a result of this uncontrollable use of opioids, many individuals find themselves at risk for overdose.

Opioids tend to slow down one’s breathing. So, after a person uses an excessive amount of opioids, the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain will decrease. This can lead to unconsciousness and a state of coma. It’s possible that the individual will suffer from permanent brain damage. But, the results can also be fatal. So, it’s important to end opioid abuse and addiction as soon as possible in order to avoid an overdose.

Help is Available at Our Pompano Beach Treatment Center!

If you are struggling with opioid addiction and depression, there is hope for you. You don’t have to feel bound by these issues any longer. Here at 1st Step Behavioral Health, we offer professional detox and treatment programs for those who are suffering from addiction.

If you want to become free from substance abuse, please contact us by calling (866) 319-6126.




Addictive Personality

5 Ways to Overcome An Addictive Personality

People all over the world are dealing with what is known as an addictive personality disorder. It’s more common than people may think. And it’s more harmful than people may believe. Often, addictive personalities lead to addiction.

Sometimes, people who have an addictive personality disorder become addicted to things like alcohol and drugs. Other individuals may develop an addiction to certain behaviors or activities.

In any case, though, addiction is unhealthy and harmful. So, it’s extremely important for those who struggle with an addictive personality to get help right away.

Maybe you’ve recently noticed an addictive personality in your life. Perhaps you’ve been trying to figure out how to overcome it in order to avoid further problems. Whether you are trying to prevent the development of an addiction problem or avoid addiction relapse, it’s best to seek professional help in overcoming the traits of an addictive personality.

The Importance of Overcoming Addictive Characteristics

There are countless reasons why it’s important to overcome the effects and symptoms of an addictive personality disorder. It’s clear that addictive personalities can lead to addiction, which is certainly something everyone wants to avoid. However, there are even more reasons why you should work to prevent this disorder from affecting you any longer.

Addictive personalities may not always lead immediately to addiction. But, they certainly cause problems and challenges in the lives of those who deal with them. These personality traits have a tendency to interrupt everyday routines and prevent individuals from leading normal lives. They can cause short-term and long-term negative effects.

Sometimes, people who struggle with addictive personalities may struggle with anxiety or depression. Both of these are mental health disorders that affect a person’s overall mood, mental and emotional health, ability to communicate with others, and much more. Often, people who have anxiety or depression become emotionally withdrawn, keeping all of their feelings and emotions inside.

This prevents them from successfully connecting with their loved ones. In some situations, this can lead to marital problems. It can also cause an emotional separation between siblings, parents and their children, and friends.

Many people who have addictive personalities feel the need to engage in risk-taking and impulsive behaviors. This could be anything from risky, reckless driving to impulsive experimentation with drugs. These behaviors and actions could lead to very serious consequences. In some cases, they could result in injury or even fatality.

Impulsivity also extends to things like impulsive shopping and spending. This could result in financial hardship. Of course, this has a negative effect on the entire family as it may stop household needs from being met.

Addictive personality disorders can also make people feel insecure, lonely, and paranoid. Some individuals become antisocial and withdraw from those around them. These emotions and behaviors can cause problems in every area of life. They can prevent people from developing and maintaining healthy relationships. And they can keep individuals from succeeding at work or school.

So, it’s definitely important to deal with and overcome addictive personality traits, even if you are not currently suffering from an addiction problem. Now, let’s talk about 5 ways you can work to overcome these traits and behaviors!

Overcoming Harmful Addictive Personality Traits

If you are currently dealing with the effects of an addictive personality disorder, then you probably know that it can be very hard to break out of the grasp of this disorder. It can be extremely challenging to fight the urges of impulsivity, compulsive behaviors, depression, and anxiety. Overcoming these challenges is far from easy. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible!

Many people feel that it’s not possible to overcome addictive personality traits. They feel that, if you have this disorder, you will inevitably struggle with addiction and will, most likely, never break free from these problems. But, this is definitely not true. You can certainly become free from these issues through commitment, dedication, and professional treatment.

There are plenty of ways in which you can work to overcome the effects of addictive personality traits. Here are 5 of them:

  • Talk about it. There’s nothing like talking about your problems to someone who can offer you help and comfort. Sometimes, your family members or friends will misunderstand what you’re going through. They may not understand the struggles you’re facing. So, speaking to them will help you to feel less alone and isolated, which are two things people often feel when they’re dealing with an addictive personality disorder.
  • Get counseling and attend therapy. Speaking of talking about it, therapy is a great place to speak with someone who understands and can offer you guidance in dealing with the addictive characteristics in your life. Therapy approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you to identify and work through the triggers and underlying causes related to the addictive traits you’re experiencing.
  • Hang out with other people. If the people within your circles are also struggling with the effects of an addictive personality or they don’t help you to overcome the struggles in your own life, it’s best to avoid spending time with them. Surround yourself with positive people who are genuinely concerned about your well-being and won’t enable harmful behavior in your life.
  • Work to do less of what “feels” good and more of what “is” good for you. Addictive personalities are characterized by engaging in activities mainly because they feel good. But, this kind of behavior can be problematic. So, it’s best to learn how to focus on doing what is best for your health and the well-being of those who love you.
  • Think positively. The way we think usually determines the way we behave. Through CBT, you can learn more about how to replace negative thought patterns with healthy and positive ones. You’ll need to incorporate these strategies in your everyday life, focusing on the positives and spending time with like-minded individuals. Sometimes, it will be really challenging to stay on the right track. Avoid becoming angry with yourself if you fall. Just dust yourself off and keep going!

Treatment and Therapy at 1st Step Behavioral Health

If you are suffering from an addiction as a result of an addictive personality or you want to avoid relapse, just contact us here at 1st Step Behavioral Health. Let us help you overcome addictive personality traits once and for all! Call us today: (866) 319-6126.

dual diagnosis

You Just Received a Dual Diagnosis. Now What?

Approximately 15% of the world’s population is afflicted by either a mental health condition, a substance use disorder, or both.

If that isn’t startling enough, it’s generally accepted that the numbers are underreported. When it comes to having both a mental health condition and a substance use disorder, the problem is more complicated.

Dual diagnosis describes co-curring mental health and substance use disorders. A new insight for the fields of mental health and recovery, these can be difficult to understand.

But there are solutions. Part of that is knowing what you’re dealing with, and the second part is to understand your options. Keep reading to find out all that and more.

What Is a Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is also known as co-curring disorders, comorbidity, and comorbid disorders. But the most commonly used term for describing a patient that has both a substance use disorder and a separate mental health condition is a dual diagnosis.

In a dual diagnosis patient, either the substance use disorder or mental illness can develop first. It’s very common for someone with a mental illness to turn to a substance as a form of self-medicating. Often, they find relief for their mental health symptoms in the substance they use.

But a dual diagnosis isn’t always associated with the use of a substance. People with mental health disorders might also turn to things like gambling, food, sex, exercising, and even shopping as a way to cope with their condition.

Common Mental Health Conditions of Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis isn’t as rare as one might think. In fact, 7.9 million Americans are classified as having a dual diagnosis.

Some mental health conditions are more common than others in dual diagnosis patients. The more common mental health condition associated with dual diagnosis are:

  • Depression. Substances can mask symptoms such as hopelessness, loneliness, sadness, and suicidal thoughts.
  • Bipolar disorder. One of the most common disorders associated with alcohol abuse, bipolar patients use substances differently depending on their cycle. It’s especially dangerous during a manic phase which already makes a patient prone to reckless and careless behavior.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Substances are appealing to OCD patients because it distracts them from the sometimes debilitating symptoms of their disease.
  • Anxiety. Substances may help anxiety sufferers by allowing them to relax and place their focus on something other than what’s causing their anxiety.

Among the general population in the US, depression affects 300 million people, anxiety as many as 40 million, and bipolar disorder nearly 6 million. With this kind of prevalence in the American population, it’s important to know the symptoms of a dual diagnosis. 

Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis

Diagnosing a co-curring disorder requires professional medical intervention. But recognizing the symptoms can help you get help for yourself or your loved one sooner.

The symptoms of a substance use disorder include:

  • social isolation from friends and family
  • engaging in risky behavior
  • sudden and unexplained changes in behavior
  • loss of control over using substances
  • a craving to use substances
  • developing tolerance and experiencing physical withdrawal when the substance isn’t taken in the same amounts
  • needing a substance to function 
  • using a substance despite the negative and harmful consequences

But because a dual diagnosis suggests the presence of a mental health condition, you should know how to spot those symptoms as well. They include:

  • confused thinking
  • problems with focus and upholding responsibilities
  • extreme changes in mood and/or behavior
  • isolation from friends and family
  • suicidal thoughts

Patients with a dual diagnosis, especially one that involves bipolar disorder or depression, have a high likelihood of developing suicidal thoughts and ideation. This is why getting immediate help upon discovery of the problem is so important.

How Is Dual Diagnosis Treated?

Dual diagnosis requires special treatment. Unfortunately, many traditional rehab facilities aren’t equipped to properly care for a dual diagnosis patient. But a treatment center that specializes in dual diagnosis treatment will have the resources needed to adequately care for you or your loved one.

Because the conditions and substances involved vary greatly between one patient and another, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for dual diagnosis. But there is a general process that most patients will benefit from knowing more about. Keep reading to learn more about what you can expect. 


If the substance use disorder has to do with a drug instead of something like sex or gambling, the patient will have to detox from the substance. This is a process that can last as long as 7 days, and in many cases, requires 24/7 monitoring by trained medical staff. This allows the patient to safely and effectively get the substance out of their system so they can begin the real work of recovery.


Too many treatment facilities focus on substance use disorder and not the underlying mental health condition. That’s why facilities specializing in dual diagnosis perform an initial assessment that evaluates both aspects.

A trained mental health professional will work with the patient to evaluate and understand their mental health. They can then offer a personalized program that addresses both substance use and mental illness.


While medications aren’t typically used after the detoxification part of drug rehab, they’re often used in dual diagnosis situations. This is because many of the mental illnesses involved in dual diagnosis require medication to stabilize the disease and begin recovery with clarity and balance. 

Therapy and Counseling

Therapy provides coping skills and the tools needed to better deal with the symptoms of mental illness. Armed with more understanding of their illness and better ways to deal with it, they’re less likely to turn to substances to alleviate their symptoms. 

But therapy is also an important part of recovering from substance use. It gives a patient insight into their self-destructive behavior and helps change their thought patterns.  

Getting Help With a Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis requires a lot more than traditional rehab can give. Because the symptoms of the mental health condition are often worsened by the substance use disorder, recovery takes a lot of time, patience, and understanding. But with the right treatment program, you or your loved one can begin leading a normal life.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a dual diagnosis, they need professional help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can be the help you need.

alcohol and depression

What Is the Connection Between Alcohol and Depression?

What if you were sliding further into depression without even knowing it?

Many people use alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with their depression. However, there are many scary links between alcohol and depression.

Wondering what the connection really is? Keep reading to find out!

Chicken and the Egg Problem

There is a simple reason that people are confused about the connections between depression and alcohol. First of all, it’s not always clear which causes which!

For example, many people with depression turn to alcohol as a way to seek relief. This works temporarily because of how alcohol affects the brain (more on this later).

However, alcohol dependence and alcoholism can cause a number of negative consequences in someone’s life. And such consequences put them at extreme risk of developing depression.

We’re going to do a deeper dive into all of the factors surrounding the issue. However, it’s important to understand how each of these things can effectively cause the development of each other.

Depressingly Common

Many people claim to have depression. And morbid jokes about depression have become the regular subject of memes. But just how common is depression?

On average, depression affects one out of every fifteen people every year. And there is a higher potential for depression among those who are in their teens and twenties.

This means that there are over 200,000 people suffering from depression in the United States alone. It’s almost certain that you know someone who is currently suffering.

Now that you know approximately how many people experience depression, it’s important to know how both depression and alcohol affect the chemicals in your brain.

Chemical Connection

As we mentioned before, many who suffer from depression turn towards alcohol as a form of treatment. And this is an approach that may work…right up until it stops working, that is.

Depression is persistent because it involves the chemistry of your brain. When your brain experiences a chemical imbalance, you may experience depression.

This is why most antidepressants seek to restore some of that chemical balance. Unfortunately, most antidepressants are expensive and require prescriptions, meaning that not everyone who needs them will be able to get them.

Because of this, many people turn towards alcohol as a cheaper and more accessible way of treating depression. And while it may provide temporary relief for some people, this relief is not lasting.

Basically, alcohol can temporarily help someone feel good by boosting certain neurotransmitters and blocking others. And it can help someone with activities ranging from socialization to sleep.

When a depressed person stops drinking, though, their depression may be worse. They may experience increased stress levels and feel like many of their symptoms are worse.

Different Kinds of Depression

Alcohol affects many people with depression in different ways. This is largely due to the fact that there are so many different kinds of depression.

Some people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder. As the name implies, SAD symptoms primarily last through the winter, resulting in what many simply identify as the holiday blues.

Psychotic depression is on the more extreme end of things. This can cause extreme paranoia, insomnia, emotional instability, and even hallucinations.

Persistent Depressive Disorder refers to symptoms of depression lasting for two years or more. Such symptoms may include poor self-esteem, difficulty making decisions, poor concentration, and social isolation.

Finally, there’s Major Depression. This is when depression symptoms begin to affect someone’s daily life. Symptoms may include low energy, irritability, frequent crying, and thoughts of suicide.

Alcohol may alternately hold off or exacerbate any and all of these symptoms. So while alcohol affects different depressions in different ways, it’s good for all depressed people to avoid it altogether.

One Thing Leads to Another

We have focused on how depression can lead to alcoholism as a form of coping with symptoms. But how does alcohol consumption itself lead to depression?

First, there is nothing inherently wrong with mild, occasional drinking. And many studies suggest there may even be health benefits to drinking the occasional glass of wine.

However, regular drinking may eventually turn into alcohol dependence or outright alcoholism. And this eventually starts having a negative impact on a person’s personal and professional life.

If someone begins losing friends or even a job due to their drinking, they will experience sadness and regret. And this may eventually blossom into full-blown depression.

It’s true that not every heavy drinker develops depression and not every depressed person is a drinker. But the risk factor for one thing leading to another is very clear.

Diagnosing Depression

You now know exactly how prevalent depression is. But do you know how to diagnose depression in yourself or those you love?

The best way to seek diagnosis is to seek out a medical professional who has experience with depression. However, there are some “warning signs” to be on the lookout for in your own life.

For instance, those whose mood often fluctuates or who experience insomnia may be at risk. Similarly, those who think about harming themselves or others are at risk of depression.

Persistent feelings of sadness are a major warning sign. And, as we have discussed, regular use of alcohol may be a factor.

The final warning sign is whether these feelings have begun to affect your personal or professional life. If the answer is “yes,” then you may well have depression.

Treating Depression

There are many kinds of therapy and forms of medication that can help treat depression. However, those with alcohol dependence and depression may need more specialized treatment.

Numerous treatment centers are able to treat alcohol dependence and depression at the same time. This can help to restore the body and mind simultaneously.

Keep in mind that alcoholism and depression have another big connection: the first step in getting better is admitting that you need help!

Alcohol and Depression: The Bottom Line

Now you know more about the link between alcohol and depression. But do you know who you can turn to for help?

At 1st Step Behavioral Health, we are ready to help you rediscover the real “you” again. To begin that journey, just contact us today!

Opiate Use and the Risk of Suicide

Over 30,000 Americans die each year as the result of opiate use. Recent studies have shown that the risk of suicide doubles for men with opiate addiction and women are 8 times more likely to complete suicide if they have an opiate abuse problem. Opiates raise your risk of depression, while depression may raise your risk of abusing opiates, making it a vicious cycle. All demographics are affected regardless of income, race, sex, religion, and occupation. The risk exists for everyone addicted to opiates.


Are You At Risk?

Symptoms of opiate addiction vary and include physical and behavioral traits. Below are lists of common symptoms those addicted to opiates face.


Physical Symptoms

  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Exhaustion
  • Sweating
  • Constipation
  • Euphoria
  • Constricted pupils


Behavioral Symptoms

  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawnness
  • Social isolation
  • Feelings of desperation or suicidal ideation
  • Reckless behavior


Recovery and Suicidal Ideation

Recovery is a tumultuous time for an addict. For so long an addict has relied on substances for happiness and relearning this skill while sober can be difficult, but it can be accomplished. Recovery is a long journey that can appear overwhelming at the beginning. This journey often includes major lifestyle changes and may require the addict to remove themselves from certain social situations, which can lead to feelings of isolation and despair. An addict is dealing with both physical and psychological healing while recovering.


What You Can Do

If you are feeling hopeless reach out. Speak with your partner, friend, colleague, or doctor. Do not face these feelings alone and know that there is treatment. Use specific words to explain your feelings or write them down if speaking is too difficult.  Remember that suicidal feelings are temporary and emotions change. There are highly qualified professionals who are there to help, not to judge or condemn. They have successfully helped others with these feelings. Getting help is the most critical step in ending addiction and preventing suicide.

Rehab programs like Oxycodone treatment in Florida can be just the thing needed for some people to end an opioid addiction. Contact us now to learn how to get started.

The Complications of Co-Occurring Disorders

What are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Co-occurring disorders are what it is called when someone has both a mental illness and an alcohol or drug addiction. In most cases of co-occurring disorders, either the mental illness or the addiction led to the other disorder, which means that to treat the addiction properly, the mental illness will need to be addressed as well.  


Is There a Difference Between a Dual Diagnosis and Co-Occurring Disorders?

According the the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Co-occurring disorders were previously referred to as dual diagnoses. According to [their] 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 7.9 million adults in the United States had co-occurring disorders in 2014.” That being said, in the rehab center industry the terms “dual diagnosis” and “co-occurring disorder” are interchangeable. The reason that the government decided on this shift to co-occurring disorders is likely to more accurately reflect that there can be more than two diagnoses happening at the same time, be it a mental illness paired with addictions to two substances, two mental illnesses tied to a single substance addiction, or multiple mental illnesses accompanying multiple substance addictions.


While the official stance is to call these types of cases a co-occurring disorder, most patients and rehab centers are more likely to use the older term of dual diagnosis. Either way, a dual diagnosis and co-occurring disorders are the exact same thing.


How is a Co-Occurring Disorder Treated?

When going into a rehab center in Pompano, the patient will go through their detox phase and then join the general population at the facility. During their time in rehab, the addiction is addressed first and foremost and the rest of their cognitive behavioral therapy sessions are spent focusing on the mental illness and how it can be dealt with to avoid relapse in the future.


If you believe a loved one has a co-occurring disorder or you think you do, please reach out to 1st Step Behavioral Health as soon as you can – the earlier rehab is entered, the more likely the patient is to avoid relapse in the future.


Finding the End of Your Dual Diagnosis Drug Addiction

What is a Dual Diagnosis?

In the rehab world, a patient’s case is referred to as a Dual Diagnosis when they have a mental illness and an addiction at the same time. Sadly, this affects many more people than you might think. The prevalence of dual diagnosis addictions is because having either one of the conditions means being at a higher risk of developing the other. Substance abuse and addiction often leads to mental illness, and vice versa, and it can happen to anyone. People from every economic level, race, religion, creed, and education have been afflicted with a dual diagnosis. Like many illnesses, cases of mental illness combined with a substance addiction are democratic in nature – that is, they’re just as likely to happen to anyone as they are anyone else.


Difficulties in Treating a Dual Diagnosis

As you have probably assumed, treating a dual diagnosis addiction is more difficult to treat than an addiction without an accompanying mental illness. When a rehab patient has “just” an addiction to a substance, then only the addiction itself needs to be treated. That patient will go through detox, if deemed necessary, then spend their time in rehab focusing on learning how to live life without using the substance.

On the other hand, when a patient has a dual diagnosis, they will go through detox like a non-dual-diagnosis patient, but the rest of the rehab experience is notably different. The time spent in rehab will have their focus on both rehabilitating from drug abuse as well as treating the mental illness. Nevertheless, both of these hypothetical patients will have the same goal – to live a long life of sobriety, it can just be more difficult or take longer for those with a dual diagnosis.


If you or a loved one has an addiction to alcohol or drugs, contact us immediately to receive proper treatment as soon as possible.


Beat Your Addiction with Drug Rehab in Ft. Lauderdale

If you or a loved one is dealing with a substance abuse issue, your best course of action might just be drug rehab in Ft. Lauderdale. While getting away from the triggers that cause you or that loved one to continue using is an excellent reason to start rehab, there are additional benefits for using a rehab center than just getting away from it all.


Dual Diagnosis Drug Treatment

For many people, one addiction comes entwined with another. When someone is addicted to two substances at the same time, it is referred to as a dual diagnosis. While getting help quitting any singular substance is certainly possible with an internet search, dual diagnosis situations are completely different. The symptoms and withdrawals don’t simply add to each other, they end up multiplying and warping in ways that reading about online just isn’t going to help you get through. That’s when a professional facility like First Step Behavioral Health should be contacted right away.


Levels of Care

Depending on how bad the addiction is, there are many variables that can be changed to offer the best drug rehab in Ft. Lauderdale. Some of the things that can be changed include the types of therapies that the patient will go to, whether they are in an inpatient or outpatient setting (or residential rehab if possible), how long detox will take to complete, and much more. When setting up rehab for you or a loved one, keep everything in mind and discuss all options available.


Addiction Therapy

Whether you are going to an inpatient or outpatient treatment program, you will go through a couple different types of addiction therapy to help you better understand the addiction and what the causes for addiction are. Going through both group and individual therapy is a very powerful tool in helping people break free from an addiction for good.