Developing a Strategy for Sobriety: South Florida Resources to Help You Stay Sober

Congratulations! You’ve recently completed the treatment process for alcohol abuse! You have found freedom from alcohol abuse and you couldn’t be happier. This is a wonderful accomplishment that deserves to be celebrated!

In many cases of addiction, people feel that they can’t become free. Many people who are suffering from alcoholism are tricked into believing that sobriety will always be out of reach. Some even feel that they don’t deserve to be free; guilt and shame plague their minds and keep them from moving forward.

But you didn’t let shame stop you. You didn’t allow guilt to hold you back. You did one of the hardest things people with addictions could ever do — you asked for help. It wasn’t easy but it was the best choice you could have made!

Now, you’re living a life that is free from alcohol addiction. At this point in your life, it’s important to remember that your recovery journey is still unfolding. Although treatment may be coming to an end for you, there is more to your story.

As you work to continue to live in your newfound freedom, it’s best to keep in mind your recovery is a lifelong journey. So, it’s important to gain and use the skills you need in order to prevent alcoholism relapse in your life.

Many times, people feel that the effort they used during their treatment process will no longer be needed after the program is over. But, this isn’t the case. You have worked extremely hard to overcome addiction. Now, it’s time to keep up the good work and continue winning over alcoholism!

The good news is that you don’t have to fight on your own. There are many South Florida resources to help you maintain your sobriety!

The Importance of Relapse Prevention Skills

During the treatment process, you attended addiction therapy sessions. Through therapy, you were able to learn how to best deal with triggers, things that might lead to relapse.

Some common triggers include stress, fear, anxiety, conflict (arguments and disagreements with others), anger, sadness, depression, guilt, and self-doubt.

Sometimes, when people feel guilty or begin to doubt themselves, they become vulnerable. Unfortunately, it’s in moments like this when people find themselves emotionally, mentally, and physically relapsing.

Depression, anxiety, and stress often cause people to return to substance use. Conflict with other people can also cause people to think about drinking again. Many individuals struggle to deal with these things in a healthy way.

And, in an attempt to at least temporarily feel better, people may entertain the thought of drinking. Sadly, in many cases, that thought turns into action and individuals end up physically relapsing.

Thankfully, addiction therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy, help individuals to learn ways to address those difficult moments in a healthy and helpful way. These coping methods don’t involve alcohol or drug use. Instead, they involve mindfulness and self-control.

These relapse prevention skills are more than rules and regulations. They’re more than optional guidelines to follow. These skills give people the ability to regain the control they had over their lives that went away when addiction entered the scene.

Learning to use these skills gives you the opportunity to take your life back into your own hands and conquer addiction once and for all!

It’s important to remember, however, that recovery is not always going to be easy. Difficult moments will come. You may sometimes struggle with harmful thoughts and negative emotions. But, if you keep your eyes on the goal of sobriety, you will be able to stay on the right track!

Celebrate Your Success by Working to Remain Sober!

You’ve worked hard to become sober. It’s been a long journey but you should celebrate every single moment!

Now, as your journey continues, remember that you don’t have to fight addiction alone. There are many resources here in South Florida, each offering help and hope to people in every stage of their recovery.

Whether you have just begun your road to recovery or you have successfully completed alcohol addiction treatment, there are resources that can help you continue to overcome alcoholism.

It’s not always easy to stay on track. In all honesty, there may be times when you feel as though you can’t keep going. But, you can do it! Here are a few things you can do in order to stay on the right path:

  • Be patient with yourself. Don’t expect to be perfect and always remember how far you’ve already come.
  • Relax. Allow yourself to breathe. Go for walks and engage in fun, alcohol-free activities. You’re free and you deserve to enjoy this freedom!
  • Avoid spending time with people who drink excessively. They may encourage you to relapse.
  • Hang out with positive people! The way other people treat you and interact with you has a big impact on your life. So, be sure to surround yourself with people who have your well-being in mind and will speak positively to you.
  • Continue attending therapy. Even though your treatment program is nearly or completely over, you can continue to get therapy and counseling. Believe it or not, this is one of the most helpful things you can do after treatment is done.
  • Take care of your body. Rest well and be sure to get enough sleep at night. Exercise and keep in shape. Eat foods that are good for you. Ride your bike, go hiking, take a swim here and there!
  • Look after yourself emotionally. Work to build yourself up by saying positive affirmations every day. Again, spend time with other positive people to help improve your emotional health. Avoid spending time feeling guilty or ashamed of your past.

Finding Helpful South Florida Resources for Your Recovery

At 1st Step Behavioral Health, our goal is to help our clients become and remain free from addiction. So, if you are ready to take another step in your journey to recovery from alcoholism and you’re looking for helpful resources in South Florida, look no further!

Whether you’ve already begun your journey to freedom or you want to start now, we can help you! Just Contact us today by calling or texting or texting (866) 971-5531!

personality changes

5 Personality Changes That Occur in Opiate Addicts

With the American Opioid Crisis showing no signs of slowing down, there’s more of a chance than ever before that you know someone who has become addicted to this horrific class of drugs. 

You may find it hard to reconcile the person you once knew — a happy, loving, and successful individual — with the addict who is in your life today. You know that their true self, the person they were before their addiction, is still inside of them somewhere. 

You miss that person dearly, and it feels like you’d do anything to be able to bring them back

If you’ve noticed and been hurt by the often drastic personality changes of an opioid addict, you’re not alone — and help is available for both you and the addict you care about. 

In this post, we’ll tell you about some of the most common behavioral changes you can expect to experience. This may also be helpful in understanding whether or not someone in your life is currently abusing opioids. 

1. Increased Lying and Secretiveness

One of the earliest personality changes that you may notice is constant, sometimes ludicrous, lying. 

It doesn’t matter if the addict has been caught red-handed, or if there are a hundred different ways you can verify the fact that they’re not telling the truth. 

The addict will continue to lie, often turning their issues around on you and accusing you of lying or of “interrogating” and “not trusting” them. 

This will soon escalate to secretiveness. 

They used to lie about where they were going and who they were with. Now, they sneak out of the house when you’re asleep or when you’re not home. They stay up in their rooms for long periods of time, they don’t pick up the phone, and they never offer any details about their plans. 

2. They Become Selfish

Another erratic personality trait that you’ll likely notice in the opioid addict? 

They become incredibly selfish. 

If you can’t lend them money, drive them to a drug deal, or let them sleep in your home? You’re the worst parent in the world, you’re a horrible spouse, or you’re a child that never appreciated everything the addict sacrificed for you. 

In some cases, their selfish behavior will directly impact, inconvenience, or even harm or risk the safety of other people. 

They don’t care that they didn’t make it into work, that they missed their daughter’s ballet recital, or that they drove high out of their minds. Their ability to think about the needs of others or the consequences of their actions is gone. 

Instead, they only care about one thing: getting their next fix. 

3. They’re Depressed and Anxious 

One of the biggest commonalities between opioid addicts and alcoholic behaviors and attitude is an overwhelming sense of depression in the addict. 

Often, they talk about feeling worthless and hopeless. They say they know they’re a burden and that everyone would be better off without them. They feel it’s “too late” to turn their lives around. 

They may isolate themselves, socially withdraw, and refuse to accept invitations from old friends. They don’t enjoy their hobbies and passions anymore. They may even make outright threats about killing themselves. 

Additionally, they may seem extremely anxious, almost to the point of paranoia. They don’t trust you, they’re convinced that people are “out to get them,” and they may even speak in a nervous, fast, and erratic manner. 

4. They’re Angry and Abusive 

Anger is one of the most difficult personality changes in an opioid addict. 

You and other loved ones likely feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells around the addict — and you never can tell what’s going to set them off. They scream, cry, and rage over the smallest things, and you’ve never seen this level of anger from them before. 

It’s scary. And more often than not, it can escalate into very real abuse. 

This abuse can be both physical and emotional, and it’s especially devastating when young children are involved. 

There is no reason for you to remain in an abusive situation. You have every right to get out and to protect yourself and other innocent people first. 

Often, it’s this kind of abusive behavior that causes friends and family members to come up with ultimatums and boundaries to present to the addict.

This usually takes place during an intervention, right before encouraging the opioid addict to seek help

5. They Indulge in Risk-Taking Behaviors

Before they became addicted to opioids, the person you knew would never have done things like trade sex for money, experiment with other drugs, or drain their bank account in a single night. 

But that’s exactly the kind of person the addict in your life has become. 

They’re constantly doing risky things and behaving impulsively. 

They may decide to hop a train in the middle of the night, enter into a dangerous relationship, allow themselves to be physically and/or emotionally abused, or hang out in seedy areas. 

If they have other health conditions, they may stop taking their medications. 

They just don’t care anymore, and it seems like they no longer have any limits. 

Are These Personality Changes Familiar to You?

If you have an addict in your life, then we suspect that many of these devastating personality changes will be familiar to you. 

You may have experienced just a few of these changes, or all of them. 

No matter what, you know one thing for sure: you want it to stop, and you want the person you love back. 

We can help to make that happen. 

We offer excellent rehab and drug treatments for a variety of addictions. When you’re ready to help your loved one get back on track, reach out to us on behalf of your loved one to learn how to get started. 



A Higher Standard of Care: Why You Should Consider Residential Treatment in South Florida

In South Florida, the fight against drug use and addiction has been quite the ordeal. It has been far from easy to loosen the tight grip of addiction in this part of the state. In fact, fairly recent studies have found that the use of drugs like Fentanyl has increased rapidly here in South Florida.

Between the years 2013 and 2017, Fentanyl use has taken this area by storm, increasing Fentanyl-related deaths from 292 to 2,088. Needless to say, this increase in drug-related deaths has caused many to realize the importance of treatment.

Perhaps you know someone who has suffered from addiction for years. Maybe a friend has lost their life due to substance abuse. Sadly, the number of families who have been left untouched by drug and alcohol abuse here in South Florida is very small. So, you are far from alone when it comes to being impacted by addiction.

If you are among those who have fallen prey to substance abuse, then you know how difficult it is to break free from this epidemic. No doubt, you have tried various ways to overcome addiction in your life. But, the challenge of recovery has left you feeling afraid, even hopeless.

But, the good news is that there is hope. There’s hope for you, no matter how long you’ve been struggling with addiction. And it comes in the form of residential treatment in South Florida.

The Truth About Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Substance abuse is a serious matter. People who suffer from this problem have difficulty ending their struggle with addiction. It often begins as an innocent, casual drink here and there. Or, for others, it starts with an experimental, one-time use of an illicit drug. For some, it begins with the use of opioid medication for chronic pain treatment.

In most cases, people don’t really consider the possibility of addiction. Individuals don’t choose to develop addiction problems. But, over time and after repeated use of a drug or alcohol, dependence and addiction begin to enter the picture.

Unfortunately, this happens far too often here in South Florida. Drugs and alcohol have certainly made their presence known in this area of the United States. With every passing year, more and more people are finding out what it means to live with an addiction problem.

The truth about addiction is that, when it has a person in its grip, it’s very difficult for that individual to break free. Leaving a life of substance abuse is much easier said than done. But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Through professional, residential treatment, people can receive the guidance they need in order to become completely free from substance dependence and abuse. And, just like the many others who have found freedom through treatment, you can find the peace you so truly deserve.

Residential Treatment: Definition and Benefits

When it comes to getting treatment for addiction, many people are unsure about what to expect. So, a lot of individuals opt to do without professional treatment. This may sound strange, but, it happens often. See, although living with an addiction problem is very difficult, it’s familiar.

Addiction treatment is completely new territory for many individuals who are suffering from substance abuse. So, the thought of attending therapy and sharing the truth about their lives is often a difficult idea to handle.

Sometimes, people become so uncertain and even afraid that they avoid treatment altogether. But, though understandable, it’s not a healthy or helpful choice to make. So, if you’re currently on the fence, now is the time to make the choice to change for the better.

Although it’s difficult to take the first step toward recovery, you’ll soon find that choosing treatment is one of the best decisions you could make when it comes to your recovery!

Now, it’s also important to consider the fact that South Florida offers multiple types of treatment. Some people opt to attend outpatient treatment or partial hospitalization programs (PHPs). Each type of treatment program presents its own benefits and advantages.

But, you may consider choosing residential treatment in South Florida. This type of program ensures around-the-clock care for people in recovery. It also gives individuals the chance to interact and work closely with others who are working to overcome substance abuse.

Residential treatment is a type of program in which people live at their treatment facility while receiving care and developing relapse prevention strategies. Individuals who go through residential treatment programs often transition to outpatient programs after the initial part of their treatment is over.

This kind of treatment program offers plenty of benefits to those who are in recovery. In addition to receiving 24-hour care, individuals who are in residential treatment here in the South Florida area can:

  • Learn how to avoid addiction relapse.
  • Spend time with like-minded individuals.
  • Gain information about dealing with triggers.
  • Receive care away from active substance abusers.
  • Get treatment in a drug- and alcohol-free atmosphere.
  • Develop meaningful and helpful friendships with others in recovery.
  • Regularly attend individual and group therapy to help fight addiction.
  • Quickly get medical assistance during withdrawal and recovery.

A residential program for addiction is often the idea people have in mind when they think of professional treatment. Sometimes, individuals feel a little nervous about spending time away from all that’s familiar to them in order to get treatment.

But, sometimes, a change in scenery is the best thing for those who are beginning their journey to recovery. It may be more helpful to spend time away from home and the people and places that influenced you to engage in drug and alcohol use.

By the time the treatment process is over, you will be equipped with the tools you need in order to avoid relapse. You can then use those skills to continue leading a successful, healthy, addiction-free life!

Getting Residential Treatment in South Florida

Do you think residential treatment is right for you? If so, then we can help you here at 1st Step Behavioral Health! To learn more about our addiction treatment services and programs, just contact us today by calling (866) 971-5531.

Take a step toward health and freedom. Let us help you overcome addiction in your life for good!


7 Essential Elements of a Good Aftercare Program for Addiction

Did you know that only about a third of people who are abstinent for less than a year after a treatment program will remain abstinent? 

Upon leaving an acute rehabilitation program, individuals face numerous challenges and temptations that can lead to a setback.

And those setbacks can subsequently lead to a relapse.  

That’s why an aftercare program is vital to the success of those in recovery. They provide individuals with ongoing assistance and support to greatly increase their chances of long-term recovery.

But not all aftercare programs are the same. 

What Elements Make an Aftercare Program Effective?

While relapse prevention is a high priority, it cannot be the only goal for an aftercare program.

An effective aftercare plan serves first as a guide to help individuals identify every possibility of relapse. From there, it empowers them to cultivate a healthy, productive and meaningful life.

The fact is, recovery is an ongoing and lifelong process. For addicts, life after treatment is built upon the progress they’ve made.

In order to achieve this, a successful aftercare program should do the following:

1. Make It Easy to Participate

Life in recovery is complicated enough without the added stress of figuring out how to fit aftercare into the schedule.

An effective aftercare program is one that individuals can attend with little or no disruption to other activities or responsibilities.

This is why social support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, for example, have proven so effective. Meetings are regular, frequent and are held in locations that are easy to access.

2. Offer Comprehensive Treatment 

In the past, getting addicts to stop using and usher them through the withdrawal period was considered enough. There was no consideration for other variables that could spark a relapse.

Aftercare treatment programs need to consider the individual at all levels. That means making accommodations for an individual’s medical history, cultural background, age, gender, education, social situation, and other issues.

Another important issue that must be considered is co-occurring mental health disorders or cognitive issues.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that roughly 7.7 million adults struggle with a co-occurring substance use disorder. Known also as a dual diagnosis, this is when addiction is accompanied by some form of mental illness.

In treating just one diagnosis, there is the chance that the co-occurring issue will worsen. And this could result in relapse. 

3. Teaches Accountability

One of the biggest lessons addicts must grasp is that they’re accountable for their behavior. This can be difficult for individuals who have relied on a substance for much of their life.

An effective aftercare program will, therefore, stress that the individual is accountable for not just attending therapy sessions or social support group meetings, but also for actively applying the principles learned in treatment to everyday life.

And in that crucial first year of recovery, there should be an objective measure to ensure that the individual is remaining abstinent. This includes the use of breathalyzer tests or urine analysis for drugs or alcohol administered by a therapist, physician, or other qualified individuals.

4. Lays out a Relapse Prevention Plan

After exiting a treatment program – whether outpatient or residential – it’s not unusual for a people to believe they’re out of the woods. And they have every right to be proud of the progress they’ve made.

But this feeling can make it difficult for individuals to consider what they’ll do when faced with the possibility of a relapse. And they’re often remiss in making a plan that will either help them actively work to prevent relapse, or what they’ll do should it happen.

Aftercare programs make it clear that the possibility of relapse is a major part of recovery. They help those in recovery to identify their triggers and warning signs, why they decided to get sober, and what they need both physically and mentally to maintain sobriety.

5. Offers a Support Network

Success in recovery relies on having a reliable support system. It is simply not something that can be done alone.

Because without a network of supportive friends, peers, and even family who understand your situation, the call to return to substance abuse can be far too tempting. 

A component of recovery is recognizing that certain people, places, and situations are no longer beneficial. Going back to those familiar places and faces can cause a relapse.

Those in recovery need others around them who are committed to helping them stay sober.

6. Teaches Healthy Coping Strategies

Working with a therapist or case manager can be the difference between relapsing and continuing to make progress.

Just because an individual completes treatment, it does not mean that he or she will be clear of cravings. These can persist for years or even decades after treatment. 

In tandem with a support network of friends and peers, a therapist or case manager helps individuals build healthy coping skills – such as having a sponsor or a list of people to call when feeling shaky or tempted.

7. Provides Ongoing Contact 

Continued assessment is crucial for recovery. 

It’s not unusual for individuals to enter a 12-step program and want to blow through all 12 steps in record time. But that’s just not the reality.

In the first year after treatment, it’s beneficial for those in recovery to maintain contact with their treatment professionals. Regular check-ins allow them to assess their progress.

After that, continued participation in social support groups, therapy, or complementary and alternative treatments, should continue for a minimum of 5-7 years after treatment. It’s at that point that the probability of relapse significantly drops.

And even then, there’s no guarantee.

Those who remain sober and involved in treatment-related activities for 5-7 years are often considered to be successful in their recovery. Even so, there are more than a handful of cases where individuals have relapsed after a decade or longer of abstinence.

So keeping vital connections with others in the community enables individuals to apply the principles learned in recovery over the course of their lifetimes. And it greatly reduces the possibility of relapse.

Find the Best Program Today

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and is ready to receive help, now is the time.

Please don’t hesitate. Contact us today to start taking those first important steps toward recovery.

And remember, there is life after treatment! With treatment and an effective aftercare program, life is SO worth living.


how to do an intervention

5 Pitfalls of Interventions and How to Do an Intervention That Works

In 2016, the Surgeon general released a report stating that one in every seven Americans will face a substance addiction in their lifetime. 

That same report found that only 10% of people with addictions receive treatment. Treatment offers an opportunity to live a normal life, and it’s an important part of recovery for any addict.

Knowing how to do an intervention can increase the chance of getting a loved one the help that they desperately need. There are five reasons why interventions fail and avoiding these will help make your intervention more successful.

Keep reading to find out what an intervention is and how to do an intervention that works.

What’s An Intervention?

An intervention brings together family and friends of an addict. As a group, they share their concerns about the addict and discuss the effects of their behavior on family and friends. Usually, they itemize a list of consequences that will result from their continued substance abuse.

The purpose of doing this is to change the context in which the addict has been living and operating. The consequences for their continued use following the intervention means that they’ll no longer be enabled to use by the friends and family present.

In this way, interventions are a way of encouraging an addict or alcoholic to admit to their problem and get the treatment they need. They don’t always work, but there are ways to avoid those pitfalls. We’ll discuss those in the next section.

How to Do an Intervention: What to Avoid

Below are the five main reasons why interventions fail. We’ll tell you what to do to avoid these and ensure your intervention goes as well as it can.

1. Disorganization

Organization can make or break an intervention. If you don’t have a clear plan for who is going to speak, what everyone should be saying, and next steps, the overall message of the intervention won’t be clear. Without timeliness, a strategy, and organization, the intervention isn’t focused or effective.

Instead, make sure that everyone involved knows what to talk about, how long they have to speak, and is well prepared for their turn. Have backup plans in case the person decides to walk out of the room. Being prepared for all the possible reactions can help you keep the intervention on track.

If you’re not confident in your ability to properly organize the intervention, you may also consider hiring a professional interventionist. These professional have the experience needed to organize and execute a successful intervention. They’ll also know how to deal with an addict who becomes psychologically unstable or physically dangerous.

2. No Clear Course of Action

Part of being organized is having a clear course of action for after the intervention, especially if the end goal is treatment, which it most often is. There are a few things you want to avoid in this respect.

Don’t give the addict an option for when they have to go to treatment. The goal is to get them to treatment immediately following the intervention. If you allow them to choose when to go, they may think their addiction isn’t bad enough to warrant immediate help.

Don’t give the addict options in terms of what treatment program they’ll go to. An intervention can be confusing and overwhelming. Having them choose where to go will only add to that confusion and sense of overwhelming and could cause them to back out.

Instead, have a residential treatment center lined up. Tell the addict that they have to go to treatment immediately. And if they agree, then they should be taken to the facility straight from the intervention.

While this type of intervention doesn’t give the addict any input, it also takes a lot of the pressure off of them. It also gets them into treatment while emotions are high and the consequences of not receiving treatment are fresh in their mind. 

3. Focusing on the Problem

Members of the intervention should list how the behavior of the addict has negatively affected their life. And of course, this should be shared with the addict. But after that, this is not an environment in which placing blame and focusing solely on the problem is helpful. 

Don’t focus all your time on the past mistakes of the addict. Instead, focus on the solution… which is to get treatment. 

4. Lack of Follow-Through

Each person who shares their experiences with the behavior of the addict should also have a list of consequences should they decide not to seek treatment. These consequences can be anything from no longer lending money to no longer giving the addict a place to live. If the person decides not to go through with treatment, then following through on your list of consequences is important.

5. Giving Up

There is no way to measure whether or not your intervention will be successful. Even if you avoid all of the above and execute the intervention perfectly, the addict in your life may not be ready to admit they have a problem and seek help. But if that’s the case, then don’t give up.

Some people need more time to process the consequences of not seeking treatment. Once they see what life is like in this new context, they may very well change their mind. Others need to get over the shock and anger of intervention before they can see the truth of the matter.

In some cases, a second intervention might be what’s needed to get the addict help. This shouldn’t take place until well after the first intervention, so the addict has time to process and the group has time to rethink their approach.

Do You Know Someone Who Needs Help?

Knowing how to do an intervention can help you avoid the common reasons they fail. These reasons include a lack of commitment in regards to following through on consequences, disorganization, and not having a clear course of action for after the intervention. 

Now that you know what a successful intervention looks like, you may start considering treatment centers. Have a look at our drug addiction services and find out how we can help. 


Traits of Addictive Personality

What are the Traits of an Addictive Personality?

Have you ever heard people say that they or someone they know has an “addictive personality”? Perhaps, you’ve thought this about yourself after staying up all night to shop online for the umpteenth time. Or maybe you’ve wondered if a loved one is stuck in another financial hardship because he or she has an addictive personality.

On the other hand, maybe you or someone you care about has shown some concerning behavior and may be on the road to developing a harmful addiction problem.

The truth of the matter is that addiction is very complex. People can become addicted to specific substances, behaviors, and activities. And, yes, there is definitely such a thing as an addictive personality.

However, it’s important to understand that not everyone who is extremely interested in or passionate about certain things have an addictive personality. While some have trouble finding a healthy balance between pursuing their passions and taking care of themselves, it doesn’t always mean that they have addictive personality traits.

Even so, though, it’s certainly a good idea to get a better understanding of the traits of a person with an addictive personality. If indeed you or your loved one is dealing with any of these traits, it will be very important to seek help in order to avoid further problems, such as substance abuse.

What is an Addictive Personality?

Often, people use this phrase without truly realizing what it means to have an addictive personality. In short, an addictive personality is the presence of traits that could eventually lead to an addiction.

If a person has particular personality traits, it’s possible that he or she is at risk for developing an addiction problem. Again, addictions can come in many different forms, including gambling, shopping, sex, alcohol, drugs, food, and even exercise.

In many cases, people who have addictive personalities may seem to show obsessive behaviors. Sometimes, it can be difficult for them to gain control over their actions. One of the most challenging parts of understanding addictive characteristics.

But, to put it simply, the brain releases endorphins, which are basically “feel good” chemicals that result in happy and euphoric experiences. When a person is engaged in certain activities, such as shopping or drinking alcohol, the body’s endorphin release may cause that person to associate happiness with that particular activity.

This often causes individuals to feel driven and urged to engage in that behavior more often in search of that good feeling they experienced before. Eventually, individuals may develop addictions for those specific activities or behaviors.

Identifying the Traits of an Addictive Personality

When it comes to identifying an addictive personality, it’s important to focus on the characteristics a person may have if he or she has this personality.

As you learn more about the traits that could indicate that a person has an addictive personality, you may identify some of these signs in your own life or in the life of a family member or friend. If so, it’s important to also learn exactly what to do to avoid addiction.

Now, let’s discuss the signs of an addictive personality.

Impulsivity and Risk Taking: Sometimes, people who have an impulsive nature might be showing signs of an addictive personality. Individuals who tend to act on impulse act quickly without really considering or caring about the possible consequences. Their behaviors may put them in risky and dangerous situations very quickly.

As we mentioned earlier, the body’s internal release of endorphins causes people to associate “feeling good” with the activity they are doing at the time the endorphins are released. Acting on impulse often causes individuals to feel pleasure. So, it may happen more and more frequently, leading to harmful and dangerous consequences, including drug or alcohol use, unprotected sex, and financial problems as a result of excessive shopping or gambling.

Compulsive Behavior: This is different from impulsive behavior in that individuals who act on impulse do not tend to think about the effects of their actions before they act. A compulsion is a strong urge to do something, sometimes against the individual’s will. In other words, compulsive behaviors are often premeditated. People do think about and understand the negative effects of their impending behavior. But, because of the strength of the urge, they may still engage in the behavior.

Depression: In some cases, people who have addictive personalities may suffer from depression. They may feel down or discouraged often and show other signs of depression such as restlessness, lack of concentration, and loss of appetite.

Anxiety: People who struggle with anxiety, excessive and constant nervousness even without the threat of danger, may have an addictive personality.

Constant Need for Stimulation: Some individuals may seem to need stimulation or excitement more often than most others. They may tend to partake in stimulation-seeking activities and behaviors in order to feed that craving. These individuals prefer thrill-inducing, adrenaline-pumping activities over the less exciting things in life.

Although these activities have their place and can even be good for us to engage in, a constant desire to be involved in stimulating behaviors can be dangerous. It can lead people to engage in risky situations and even lead to impulsive and harmful decisions. Sometimes, this personality trait provides a direct line to substance addiction as people may seek to experiment with something new, such as a drug that produces euphoria, or a “high”.

Do I Have an Addictive Personality?

Have you noticed any of those characteristics in your life? The personality traits we mentioned might actually show themselves in the lives of people all around you. Sometimes, the fact that some of these symptoms are fairly common leads to a bit of confusion.

Some individuals think that they have an addictive personality but they may not. Others may not realize that they actually do have an addictive personality. This is why it’s so important to seek help from a professional.

If you have found yourself thinking about drug or alcohol use, it’s possible that you could be on the road to addiction. Maybe you’ve been thinking obsessively about exercising or eating. Obsessive thought patterns and behaviors can definitely be signs of an addictive personality. So, it’s important to seek professional help right away if you think there is a threat of addiction in your life.

If you need to speak with someone about this matter, please reach out to us today here at 1st Step Behavioral Health. Let us help you find the best way to avoid or overcome addiction in your life. Call us at (866) 319-6126.


Alcohol Addiction vs Dependence

Alcohol Detox: Addiction vs. Dependence

There’s often a lot of confusion around the topic of addiction. Things can get especially difficult to understand when it comes to the “addiction vs. dependence” debate. Most of the time, people are a little unsure about the difference between the two. Some even wonder if there’s a difference at all.

Maybe the confusion comes in because of the fact that the two terms are often used interchangeably. Many times, people refer to physical dependence as addiction and vice versa. But, truth be told, there are actually a few major differences between the two. These dissimilarities are certainly important to consider when it comes to substance use treatment.

Perhaps you’ve been wondering if dependence and addiction are two different things. Now that you know that they are definitely not the same, let’s talk about the ways in which they’re different and the importance of addressing each problem with these distinctions in mind.

Addiction vs. Dependence: Why All the Confusion?

For years, people have been referring to substance use disorder (SUD) using the generalized term of addiction. If someone struggles with an alcohol or drug use problem, people might assume that the individual has an addiction.

According to the Addiction Center, some treatment facilities have decided not to use the term “addiction” at all. This might be due to the belief that the word “carries too much negative connotation and is ambiguous”.

In order to eliminate that stigma, people have resorted to using the word “dependence” instead. But, of course, this has lead to confusion regarding the definition of addiction versus the definition of substance dependence.

Eventually, though, the phrase “substance use disorder” began to circulate as an alternative to “addiction”. Still, it’s evident that there is still a bit of confusion when it comes to dealing with these two topics.

When people think of the phrase “substance dependence”, they often think of it as a synonym of the word “addiction”. It would seem that, if a person depends on something, that individual is addicted to the substance. But, this most certainly is not the case.

Many individuals often become confused by the use of these varying terms because some treatment centers may opt to use one term while others will choose alternate terms. Some facilities refer to addiction using the word “dependence”, making it difficult to identify the true definitions between these terms.

The Importance of Acknowledging the Differences

So, why is it so important to pay attention to the dissimilarities between addiction and physical dependence? What’s the big deal? Is it really necessary to differentiate the two?

Well, when getting treatment for a substance use problem, it’s extremely important that your treatment center focuses on your individual needs. The best way to identify a good solution is to accurately identify the problem.

If you are suffering from an opioid dependence problem, you’ll need different treatment than someone who is struggling with an alcohol addiction problem.

So, in short, yes; it’s very necessary to understand and address the ways in which addiction and dependence differ in order to successfully treat those who are dealing with either of these problems.

What is Dependence and How Does it Develop?

When a person uses a drug for a while, even if the substance is medically prescribed, the body might start to get used to the way the drug affects it. Even if the person is using the drug as directed by his or her doctor, the individual’s body might build a tolerance for that substance.

Generally, it doesn’t take an extremely long time for people to develop substance dependence. In some cases, it can take just 6 months of regular and continuous use. As a person’s tolerance for a drug begins to increase, withdrawal symptoms begin to enter the scene, too.

This means that individuals who may stop using a drug that they’ve been using for a while, they will start to feel uncomfortable and feel the need to use the drug again in order to get a sense of normality back.

Tolerance and withdrawal are the two main factors that identify a dependence problem. And one important detail to note is that it’s definitely possible to be dependent on a substance without being addicted to it.

What is Dependence and How Does it Develop?

Addiction is different from dependence in the sense that this particular drug use problem is characterized by more compulsive drug use habits. People who are suffering from an addiction problem often experience major cravings and urges to use or drink.

Often, these uncontrollable cravings lead individuals to use drugs or alcohol “despite harmful consequences”, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states. Addiction is the inability to stop using drugs or alcohol and it often causes major problems in various areas of people’s lives.

Sometimes, people who are dealing with addiction problems have a hard time focusing on the important matters in life, including work responsibilities, schoolwork, family, friends, and much more.

Addiction also causes many emotional and physical consequences. It can lead to depression, isolation, and intense feelings of fear. Many drug addictions cause heart, liver, and brain damage.

Since addiction is also characterized by tolerance and withdrawal, it’s safe to say that many of the people who suffer from addiction also have dependency problems.

Getting Treatment for Your Struggle

As we mentioned earlier, it’s very important to seek help for your specific struggle. If you are dealing with a dependence problem, your treatment program should focus on helping you to work through withdrawal and live without having to use a substance.

If you are living with drug or alcohol addiction, your treatment program should deal specifically with the addiction as well as any underlying problems.

It’s best to seek professional guidance in figuring out exactly what your struggle is and how to approach that particular struggle. If you need help identifying and overcoming a drug or alcohol use problem in your life, the team here at 1st Step Behavioral Health can help you!

Just contact us today by calling (866) 971-5531.


Environmental Challenges When Quitting a Substance

One of the biggest challenges to sober living is our environment. We must find ways to clean up that environment and also to find ways to cope with what we can’t control. The fact that it is external to us, however, makes this easier said than done.

Some Common Situations

  • You’re two months sober and your company wins a big project. The boss celebrates by taking everyone out to drink.
  • You have a family history of alcohol abuse but your friends insist on taking you out drinking for your 21st birthday.
  • You have been doing the same type of drug as your roommates but have decided that it’s time to quit, but they aren’t.
  • Getting together with your friends implies drugs will be used.
  • In your culture alcohol or certain types of drugs are used in work or ceremonial situations and you want to stay clean but also participate in your cultural activity.

What would you do?


Coping Strategies

Living sober is hard because not everyone has the same perspective…and not everyone is as supportive as they would be in an ideal world. Too many people have relapsed because of pressure from their coworkers or friends.

Often this peer pressure comes from ignorance from the situation you’re in. It can also come from fear. Change is scary and maybe your friends can’t accept that the you they’ve known is going to emerge from recovery different. The old lifestyle will not fit the new you. They may also want to be avoiding looking in the mirror because if you need to get clean, maybe they have a problem they are in denial over.

It can be challenging dealing with environments–particularly work and family–where our decision to pursue a healthy lifestyle is not respected. Fortunately, there are are drug programs in Florida that can help us not just with detox, but also how to cope with triggers and our environmental challenges. Call us for more information about drug rehab in Broward County: (866) 971-5531.


Self Care During Recovery

Recovery from addiction is a lifelong practice that can be found to be draining at times. The constant psychological and physical toll that fighting one’s urges takes can wear one down, making an addict more at risk of relapse. While many feel guilty when providing self care, remember that it is imperative to a rewarding recovery. Taking time to ensure that one feels safe, whole, complete, and content during recovery is of great importance and can make the road to recovery considerably more successful.


Basic Human Needs

Rehabilitation is such a large and all encompassing act that many addicts forget to take care of their most basic needs. To heal psychologically the body must also be adequately cared for to thrive.

  • Sleep– be sure to get plenty of sleep. Try to keep a regular and consistent sleep and wake schedule to reap the most benefits.
  • Eat– eat regularly and choose healthy, balanced, nutritious meals. Skipping meals can lead to overeating and discomfort later.
  • Exercise– spend time doing an activity you like; a trail hike, walk around the neighborhood, gardening, or playing with dogs at an animal shelter are all great ways to boost a mood while maintaining an active lifestyle.
  • Hygiene– bathe or shower regularly. It may seem trying at times, but one always feels better after showering. Brush and floss, wash your hands, and take care of your body.


Psychological Needs

An addict cannot be successful in recovery without taking care of their psyche. So much of addiction is in the brain and psychological and it is important to ensure these aspects are cared for as well.

  • Keep appointments– with your doctor, therapist, psychiatrist, or counselor.
  • Take your medicine– as it is prescribed, and tell a health professional if you are having any side effects or you feel at risk of abusing your medications. Refill your medication on time to avoid missing a dose.
  • Practice acceptance– understand that some things are beyond your control and let them go. Don’t engage in negative reaffirmations. Focus on the positive.
  • Do something you love– watch a favorite movie, read a great book, explore a new coffee shop, or engage in a creative art.


Self Care Success

Share your self care plans with others for accountability and to ensure success. This will also let people know that a sober lifestyle is important to you. Once self care becomes second nature it will be easy to recognize that it makes the road to recovery less daunting and far more rewarding.

For additional information regarding inpatient, outpatient, and other forms of substance abuse treatment in Florida, contact us today

Summertime Stress Relief

Summertime is supposed to be fun. School is out, the pool is open and there is plenty of time to work in a road trip or a family vacation. While summer can certainly be fun, however, it can also be stressful. The everyday pressures of your professional life may not end, to say nothing of relationships, finances and health. In fact, summer can be about as stressful as any other point in the year.

The good news is summer is ideal for burning off that stress and for mitigating anxiety. There are plenty of ways to relieve stress during the summer. Here are just a few quick suggestions:

  • Meditate. Even ten minutes each day of stillness and quiet concentration can help lower your blood pressure, clear your mind, and remove your stress. Take some time in the morning to enjoy the outdoors, and sit and meditate somewhere in your back yard or another favorite outdoor spot.
  • Do some yoga, which is ideal for relieving tension and stress—both physical and emotional. Take a yoga class at your local YMCA, or—once again—head outside for some sunny, summertime stress relief!
  • Find a new outdoor hobby. If there are two things that always lower stress, they’re exercise and sunshine. So, take up walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or whatever else sounds appealing, and then stick with it!
  • Relax! There is something to be said for a day spent lounging poolside. Go by yourself, perhaps with a good book or some favorite music, and just pamper yourself for the day.

Stress relief is imperative for maintaining your emotional health—and your recovery. Find a stress management technique that works well for you, ideally one that gets you out in the sunshine, and invest yourself in it during these summer months.

[cta]How do you kill stress during the summer? Share your secrets![/cta]