Parents Reveal Their Mistakes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Trauma Factors In

One of the reasons why seeking South Florida drug rehab centers over just attending a 12-Step program is that often times a person suffering from substance use disorder has more than just the use of the substance to work through. The National Institute on Drug Abuse surveyed just under 200 people within an inpatient treatment program and found that fifty-five percent had suffered some sort of childhood trauma. Through the years, they developed symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is more commonly associated with soldiers coming back from a war zone. The traumas experienced were physical abuse, sexual abuse or both.

Trauma itself is defined as something that causes emotional, mental or physical harm and often times when witnessed or experienced can affect emotional and mental development. People that go through these events, no matter the age, often become compelled to self medicate to deal with their emotions internally, often finding it difficult to relate to others even close to them. It’s one of the main reasons why substance abuse treatment in Florida focuses on a holistic approach to treatment methods, focusing not only on the substance abuse itself, but also the underlying causes which are often contributing factors. Without healing the emotional scars and creating a social support system for a person who has experienced trauma will not effectively treat addiction in any permanent way.

Trauma can also happen to people later in life as well. Many veterans who experienced traumatic events from their service have a high risk of substance use disorders as well as suicidal tendencies, even going so far as to using their substance of preference to attempt to carry out the suicide itself through intentional overdose.

For modern treatment of substance use disorder, trauma is heavily tested for along with general mental health. Chemical dependencies are only part of the equation, even for highly addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin. With the statistical probability of trauma, along with other mental illnesses such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), chronic depression and acute anxiety disorders frequently coming along with addiction, it’s necessary to address the total health of a patient seeking treatment in Pompano drug rehab or elsewhere.

Over the years, the American healthcare system has been heavily criticized for its lack of mental health care availability. While some people who go undiagnosed have become tragic bearers of the need for this service when they become infamous mass shooters in movie theaters and other public places, most direct their damage inward through self medication. It’s believed that a large portion of the increase in addiction across America is tied to lack of mental health care and, unfortunately, some may never receive it until they’ve developed a severe substance use disorder, making the preventability of these outcomes even more tragic when they happen.

If you are suffering from substance use disorder, call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126.

West Virginia Bill Template For Other States

Substance abuse treatment in Florida, along with the rest of the country, faces many hurdles, especially with regards to access. The demand for south Florida drug rehab often outstrips the supply and more often, due to how it’s funded, is out of financial reach for many people.

The opioid crisis in particular has hit West Virginia especially hard. Not only is their overdose of fentanyl among the highest in the country, their geographical makeup and low income offers exceptional barriers which prevents a lot of treatment options from being available to people. In an attempt to address these issues, their state senate drafted and passed a bill which may become a possible template for other states like Florida to follow, which expands the reach of services like residential detox.

According the West Virginia Gazette Mail, the bill was ‘drafted with help from Huntington officials and the Association of Recovery Residences…and [supported by the city of Charleston]”, according to committee chairman Senator Mike Maroney, a Republican representative from the city of Marshall.

Since the opioid epidemic, many halfway homes and residential detox centers have begun operating, with communities trying to help themselves where the government would not or could not. The bill opened up the ability for those operating houses to help people suffering from substance use disorders to be inspected by state agencies and fast-tracked to approval for operation in an effort to combat the state’s exceptional numbers of people overdosing on opioids and other addictive substances.

Huntington City Attorney Scott Damron told the Recovery Committee flatly, “We believe [the bill] will save some lives.”

The situation with the operating but uncertified facilities is that they are essentially out of the referral system of the state. If someone is, say, arrested for possession of heroin, the non-certified treatment houses which may be closer and more accessible either by distance or price, are simply not suggested or looked at by the state as a possible course of action for their recovery. The hope here is that by allowing the lesser houses to be inspected and then certified will create more supply of treatment facilities and thus have a reduction on both the amount of people suffering from addiction in the state as well as lowering the numbers of people dying from overdose. In 2018, overdose deaths in the country outnumbered automobile accident fatalities for the first time in American history. This number is even more incredible when considering that the ratio of drivers to drug and alcohol use is about 1:1000.

States all over the country are taking action where the federal government is still determining the best course of action to deal with the crisis. When a state succeeds in any way, it can help other states formulate a working plan for their own citizens with a case study that backs up the reasoning and path to the results they want.

Substance use disorder is a serious condition that requires professional treatment for success in breaking the cycle of addiction. Call First Step Behavioral Health for more information on treatment options for you or someone you care about at (866) 319-6126.

Yelp For Treatment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Odd Difference

Substance abuse treatment in Florida has a unique problem; treating oxycodone withdrawal symptoms has regulation roadblocks that prescribing oxycodone doesn’t have. When a patient comes into a hospital and has a need for pain medication, far fewer regulations are in place to restrict doctors in prescribing addictive substances like opioid-based medications like oxycodone, despite all of the research that shows it has a high probability of adverse effects including severe addiction. Even knowing that many patients, when they either run out of money or run out of doctors to ‘shop’ for another refill, will continue to feed their substance use disorder with heroin, the use of medication to treat the exact same addiction is highly restricted.

The US Drug Enforcement Agency (USDEA) has a system in place for buprenorphine, which is a special kind of opioid used in medication assisted treatment (MAT) that helps people addicted to opioids safely wean off of the chemical and neurological addiction and has proven to be highly effective when mixed with other treatments such as mental health screening and treatment. The drug itself curbs cravings and blocks the withdrawal symptoms that often drive opioid use disorder sufferers to continue use despite knowing the consequences. Often, not using is calculated to be worse than using to someone in such a position.

Another drug used in MAT, methadone, is even more regulated than buprenorphine and requires waivers, periodic training and is even limited with how many patients they can prescribe the drug to, which is typically between 30 and 50 patients in their first year, 100-150 in their second year and typically caps out just over 250 for their third year. On top of this, in order to reach those limits, the doctor must return to training. If they do not go back to the required training course, they face either having their cap remain low or their privileges are revoked.

Compared to the very lax regulations surrounding prescribing drugs like oxycodone which have contributed greatly to the over 70,000 drug overdose deaths of 2018, it creates a supply-side problem for people seeking the best treatment options for their condition. Even with the federal government now supplying drugs like naloxone to some hospitals, it’s main use isn’t in treatment of addiction but simply preventing overdose as it’s function as a drug is to block opioid receptors in the body, negating the effects of drugs like heroin and oxycodone. Overdosing on opioids often involves the body shutting down from being overwhelmed by neurological signals to opioid receptors, resulting in heart failure or ceasing breathing.

While there are a great many ways that the prescription drug industry can be criticized for their contribution and encouragement of promoting the addiction epidemic we now face as a country, there are some government-side regulations for treatment that deserve to be re-litigated and adjusted to meet the needs of the current situation concerning drug addiction in the United States.

If you or someone you know is seeking treatment for withdrawal from Oxycodone, call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126.

Quantitative Electroencephalography

There are few things harder to read and figure out how to pronounce than Quantitative Electroencephalography so we should be thankful it also goes by the shorthand of QEEG. It may be relatively unknown not because of the fact it’s a mouthful to say and looks like a cat jumped on the keyboard when spelled out, but because it’s actually a little discussed important part of addiction diagnosis and research and is rare even in south Florida rehab centers.

The process is a form of brain imaging of a kind that first appeared in the late 70’s and began really taking hold in the medical field for mental illness research in the 80’s. Among many of the advancement in understanding mental illness this imaging has contributed to identifying multiple kinds of attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD). One of the more recent discoveries about addiction has been the 25% overlap in substance use disorders and ADHD and the more that addiction is studied through QEEG, the more accurate kinds of treatment can be administered to that not only treat the addiction itself, but the often underlying adjacent conditions that can accompany them.

Of note, QEEG, and another kind of imaging called SPECT, short for single-photon emission computed tomography, can identify past substance abuse history. For instance, nervous system relaxers such as alcohol, marijuana and opiates will have excessive ‘fast brain wave activity’ in a person. Likewise, nervous system stimulants such as cocaine, methamphetamine and ritalin will result in a person’s brain having more slow wave activity in people who have abused those substances in the past. It’s also possible for people to exhibit a mix of both, giving away not only their history of use, but also contributes to their likelihood being susceptible to future addiction to both kinds of substances.

Unfortunately, the use of such imagery is not widely used throughout substance use disorder treatment, almost entirely due to length of time that such an approach of brain imaging requires which also increases the price dramatically for a patient. Typically, using a treatment method that tracks brain activity directly can last upwards of forty weeks, nearly a year, with each weekly visit costing upwards of two to five thousand dollars, an amount that is far outside of the scope most insurance plans are willing to cover and especially beyond what typically would be within the budget allocated for treating addiction as it is now within government means.

While using neurofeedback as part of a treatment is far more effective, the roadblocks to introducing it into the public also are inhibited by lack of knowledge of the process within the medical community as well. The research side of treatment is very well aware of it and utilize it often, but it’s dissemination into the public hasn’t exactly bridged the gap into popular treatment options. Hopefully, this will change in the future.

1st Step Behavioral Health works towards having the most advanced treatment options available, but even QEEG itself is extremely rare throughout the country. No substance abuse treatment in Florida currently employs these techniques. With a little luck, in the future south Florida drug rehab will employ these advance and effective techniques. However, waiting until then if you or someone you know is suffering from substance use disorder is unadvised. The options available today are still effective and calling 1st Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126 is the best option today.

Geographical Boundaries

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

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

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

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

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

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

Specialist Supply & Demand

Substance abuse treatment in Florida, especially in Pompano drug rehab centers, rely on specialists, experts and certified practitioners to ensure patients seeking help have the best possible chance at recovery. Addiction treatment has come a long way since the early days where the only option was to either try (and often fail) to get well alone or to submit to generally ineffective faith-based programs that usually did more to make people attending feel terrible about themselves rather than treat the causes of addiction itself. Even as recently as the 1960’s, addiction was clinically seen by psychologists to be a form of psychosis and psychotic behavior.

As the medical, scientific and psychology fields have continued to advance and accumulate information which paints a more complete picture of how addiction works to change the neurobiology of a person’s brain and the mechanics which surround the forming of a substance use disorder, treatment itself has become more effective. There are, though, still problems that are occurring within the treatment options that have two problems that must be overcome; training and information.

For some kinds of treatment, such as the use of some medication assisted treatments for opioid use disorder, a physician is required to attend special seminars, typically on their own time and their own dime, to be approved to prescribe the helpful medication. Some of these drugs will also be highly limited in terms of the maximum amount of prescriptions they can give out and often require ‘refreshers’ to keep their privileges or to expand how many patients they’re allowed to prescribe to. For this reason, treating addiction with clinically proven drugs that inhibit cravings is relatively rare, and contributes to the other issue of training.

Many hospitals will see patients coming in who have overdosed on a drug and along with the lack of medications that can help with preventing the worst effects of the overdose, many will not know that such drugs exist. Compounding the problem is that if a patient comes in exhibiting the early signs of addiction, doctors aren’t typically trained to recognize the symptoms. Worse yet, doctors themselves may still hold on to the outdated beliefs of morality as part of addiction and even harm a person’s chances of seeking treatment by the way they interact with a patient they suspect may have an addiction.

Overall, this has created a very terrible situation in which finding a quality south Florida rehab centers largely the job of the person addicted rather than health officials and practitioners who are expected to do whatever is necessary to improve overall public health, which itself presents a lot of problems as well. With the demand for quality treatment centers going up, there’s a high probability that centers without quality staff may fill the ‘market need’ which could be worse than doctors simply not knowing how to handle patients that come through their office or the ER and their substance abuse problems.

If you or someone you know is suffering from substance use disorder, treatment options are available from First Step Behavioral Health. Call (866) 319-6126 for more info.

Poverty, Addiction & Homelessness

Not everyone seeking substance abuse treatment in Florida is someone of means or capable of realistically considering such decisions and often times is not reflective of their experience with life. Substance use disorder, once it changes a person’s neurobiological functioning, can have devastating results on their life, particularly in the realm of income and class status, often times putting options like getting treatment from south Florida drug rehab centers completely out of reach. It also often creates a perpetual energy of negative outcomes, gaining more speed the further down the spiral they fall.

Consider a person who’s of modest means. They maybe have a car, are married, maybe have the proverbial 2.5 kids. Your typical picture-esque ‘average’ scenario. Imagine one of the parents in that family gets into a severe accident doing a daily activity. Maybe while teaching their son to play football, they end up fracturing the ankle. They can afford to drive themselves to the hospital and also afford the bill. The physician, under virtually no restrictions to prescribing painkillers, introduces them to oxycontin, a potentially addictive opioid.

Because they look down on people with addiction, they see themselves as impervious to developing a substance use disorder, not being careful to watch their use of the medication. Within 2 weeks, they’ve gone through a month’s supply, but their doctor realizes the fracture may have been more serious than originally thought, and happily refills their prescription. Over the next two weeks, they fly through their prescription again, but the pain of not only their ankle returns, but the pain of withdrawal from opioids begins to take over. They go doctor shopping, pouring in more money than their insurance covers on medication. Their ankle heals, but they continue to take the medication to keep the withdrawal symptoms at bay.

Months later, they’re now hiding the cause of their fatigue and mood swings, blaming stress-like outbursts on work, the kids, maybe their spouse for their emotions resulting in their situation. A fight maybe ensues. The spouse has no idea they’re still using the drugs, and the entire situation comes off to the user as if that ankle just won’t heal right, they don’t even realize they have an addiction. But their prescription gets cut off and they learn that opioids and opiates are nearly the same kind of drug and that heroin has the same pain relieving effects.

Moving onto heroin, much stronger in nature, they start missing work, eventually get fired. Their habit is now known to their spouse, who moved out, possibly filed for divorce. But the withdrawal is too much to handle, so they continue to spend their last bit of savings on drug use. No longer able to pay the mortgage, the house goes away, their car goes away, and they wonder how they ended up as the thing that happens to other people.

The links between addiction and poverty are often overlooked, but it’s not a farfetched scenario. Many people with severe addiction started with an ideal situation.

Substance use disorder can happen to anyone for any reason. If you or someone you know might be suffering from addiction, call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126 for treatment options.

Education, Not Scare Tactics

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

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

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

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

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

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