Choosing an Addiction Treatment Centre

Once an addict has made the decision to go through an addiction rehabilitation program, then comes the tough decision of choosing where to go. There are a wide range of options for addiction treatment, including inpatient and outpatient programs.

Choosing an addiction treatment center will require addicts and their support systems to do a little bit of work ahead of time. This is because addiction centers offer a wide range of services, programs and tools, and some will cater to individuals better than others.

To ensure an addict is getting the right care for their needs, the following are some of the best tips for choosing an addiction treatment center.

  1. Do your research 

Whether it’s you that is heading into rehab or a loved one, doing research ahead of time is key to finding the right center. Some online research should be able to tell you about the programs offered, the facility’s design, their recreational options, patient reviews and more.

If you have specific questions, don’t be afraid to make a call to the center as well for some additional information. Being thorough during your search is much better than admitting yourself to a location that isn’t equipped for your needs.

  1. Visit the center

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s a good idea to make a visit to each of them. Choosing an addiction treatment center is a process that should be taken very seriously, which means physically touring the facility and getting a feel for the services offered.

  1. Learn about the programs offered

There are all kinds of programs that a center might utilize for its patients; however, some of them may be more reliable or scientifically-proven than others.

Some of the most well-known approaches to addiction include behavioural therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), group therapy and motivational incentives.

There might also be unique programs such as gender-specific counseling groups, which may speak to some addicts more strongly than others.

  1. Look for individualized treatment programs

It is impossible to offer the same kind of treatment program for everyone; each addict has their own experience and will require specialized treatment for their needs. If you are choosing an addiction treatment center, be sure to ask whether the center offers individualized treatment programs, that consider a wide range of factors including age, sex, family history, culture, length of time in addiction, etc.

These factors differ between every individual, and signal the potential therapies that will work best.

It is also important to be sure that treatment programs evolve as the addict’s current state begins to improve and change. This will require professionals to keep track of an addict’s progress, and to apply changes that mirror their new needs.

  1. Consider the distance

There are benefits to both inpatient and outpatient treatment options, with inpatient treatment being the more consistent and monitored.

However, not every addict wants to leave their everyday life for months at a time, and some may feel that they only require treatment a few days out of the week. Regardless of the decision, be sure to consider the benefits of both programs, and whether or not the addict would benefit more strongly from one over the other.

Choosing an addiction treatment center should not be a rushed process; however, in saying that, it may be critical to get an addict into rehabilitation as soon as possible.

To increase the chances of finding the best center for you or a loved one, be sure to do your research. Choosing any location nearby is risky, since the program may not offer the programs and tools that a specific addict needs most.

Increase your chances of success by planning ahead of learning everything you can about your treatment options.

mental health

How Do Drugs Affect Your Mental Health?

When we talk about mental health, we’re referring to the psychological and emotional well-being of an individual. A person who is in good mental health does not suffer from a mental illness, and their own personal outlook on life is generally optimistic.

The stigma around mental health is quickly breaking down, as more and more people are talking about issues with mental health and how it affects our everyday lives. No one is immune to problems with their mental health, and there are both internal and external factors that can affect it.

For those individuals who ingest drugs or alcohol on a consistent basis, these substances can make a huge difference in your mental health. It is helpful to know just how and why this happens, so individuals can make more educated decisions that affect their well-being.

Drugs and Mental Health

So, how do drugs affect your mental health? Drugs are a prominent external factor, considering that they can have a significant effect on our emotions and behaviour. Some drugs, including marijuana, alcohol, cocaine and heroin are all popular substances, which have the ability to arouse various emotions and downplay others.

When we ingest these substances, they immediately begin to tamper with the chemicals in our brains. The messages that the chemicals would normally send are slowed or skewed, and we often feel and think much differently than we would in a sober state.

Although many people choose ingest drugs or alcohol for the short-term rewards, it is vital to know that these feelings are fleeting. There are far more unhealthy, even dangerous short-term and long-term effects to take into consideration.

Short-Term Effects on Mental Health

Psychoactive drugs such as alcohol and marijuana can have immediate effects on mental health, even if they have only been taken once. While not every experience will be the same for every individual, some of the less comfortable feelings that may arise include anxiety, depression, mood swings and psychosis.

Anxiety caused by substance use can result in full-blown anxiety attacks, where an individual will experience a faster heart rate, sweating and fear of losing control.

Mood disorders can also occur as a result of short-term drug use. Individuals will feel extremely down and depressed, irritable and tired, followed by elevated emotions that create delusions and impulsive behavior. This can be caused by cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, etc.

Long-Term Effects on Mental Health

Not everyone experiences long-term effect; it is suggested that some drugs may trigger mental illnesses we were unaware of, or alter or brain chemistry in a different way than others.

Depression is one of the long-term effect on your mental health, and it’s often caused by the emotional roller-coaster caused by drugs such as ecstasy. When the individual is high, they will feel happy and euphoric, and when they are down they will feel an intense sadness.

Schizophrenia is another serious, long-term effect on mental health. There have been connections made between cannabis and schizophrenia, which can occur from pre-existing triggers that users didn’t even know they had.
Schizophrenia can have a serious effect on mental health by creating hallucinations and confusion that make an individual question who they are and what is going on around them.

If you’re wondering how do drugs affect your mental health, keep in mind that every individual is different. What one type of drug does to one brain, won’t necessarily happen to another. To avoid mental health issues, it’s best to avoid substance use as much as possible, to maintain your overall mental health.

Heroin Withdrawal

What to Expect During Heroin Withdrawal?

Heroin is a highly-addictive drug, commonly used for recreational habits to obtain feelings of relaxation and euphoria. Although most first-time or casual heroin users don’t expect to become addicted, heroin is a strong substance that can quickly cause dependency.

As one of the most commonly-used drugs in Canada, many Canadians know about the harmful short and long-term effects of using heroin. However, it is the heroin withdrawal effects that not everyone is familiar with.

When an individual attempts to rid their body of the need for heroin, the detoxification process will begin. It is ideal that each individual is aware of the potential symptoms of heroin withdrawal, so that they may better prepare for the experience.

Consider the following information if you’re not sure what to expect during heroin withdrawal.

Strong Cravings

If taken enough times, the intensity of cravings for heroin will intensify when the substance begins to leave the body. Cravings are also felt when there is a desire to remove the negative feelings associated with withdrawal.

In many cases, users will continue to obtain heroin to avoid the intense cravings, and as a result a dependency can begin to take place. During detox, it is critical that users fight their cravings, so that they may move on to the next phase of recovery.

Mood Swings

Experiencing the feelings of euphoria from drug abuse can only last so long, and as that high comes down, withdrawal can cause anxiety, irritability, depression and more.

These feelings might also intensify for those who are experiencing stressful situations, or who have dealt with suppressed feelings from negative past experiences.

If you’re not sure what to expect during heroin withdrawal, prepare to feel a lot of negative emotions as the substance leaves your body. Keep in mind that having a strong support system in place during detox can help to offer encouragement and stability.

Nausea

Common symptom of heroin withdrawal include nausea and vomiting, which often also result in dehydration and exhaustion. Individuals who experience these symptoms should remember to hydrate and get their daily vitamins, since appetite may also be lacking.

Aches and Pains

Heroin is an opioid, which means it has the ability to block feelings of pain. When an individual is in withdrawal, it is common for any sores or pains to return. Plan to feel an all-over ache, particularly in the legs and back.

Restlessness

Meny addicts report having troubles sleeping during withdrawal, and heroin is no different. Addicts may experience sleepiness, restlessness and nightmares that cause added feelings of anxiety and stress.

Excessive Body Fluids

When an individual goes through withdrawal of heroin, the body has to work to re-balance itself again. This means working to get rid of harmful toxins and re-establishing the inner fluids. As a result, detox might be the cause of excess sweating, tears and a runny nose.

For those who don’t know what to expect during heroin withdrawal, it’s important to know that every individual’s experience will be different. Symptoms typically begin 6-12 hours after the last use, peaking at 1-3 days and ending after 5-7 days.

Withdrawal can be dangerous for many people, and it is suggested that you have someone with you during this part of the process to ensure your safety.

Young Adults Use Marijuana

Why Do Young Adults Use Marijuana?

Marijuana continues to be a popular choice for substance users all across Canada, and it is the most common illicit drug used worldwide. Meny children are exposed to the drug in the pre-teen and teenaged years, and Canadian indigenous youth are at particular risk with almost two-thirds of teenagers aged 15-19 reporting marijuana use.

The use of cannabis in young adults is common; unfortunately, the ramifications of early use can be detrimental to their future health. Adolescent use of marijuana has the ability to cause structural and functional damage to the brain, as well as increased chances for mental illness, cognitive decline and impaired neurological development.

So, why do young adults use marijuana? Unfortunately, there are various reasons for ingesting this popular substance. However, recognizing an individual’s specific reasons may make it easier to pinpoint the cause of use, and the solutions for quitting.

Here are some common answers for those who are wondering, ‘Why do young adults use marijuana?’:

Miseducation

Like many substances, a lot of young adults just aren’t educated enough about marijuana. One of the reasons that so many people are comfortable smoking this popular drug is because they assume that it’s harmless and much safer than other options.

The media is a prime suspect for this thinking; marijuana use is constantly made acceptable in song lyrics, music videos and movies. Young audiences see their favorite singers and role models casually smoking, and perceive it to be harmless, cool and care-free.

Unfortunately, many young adults don’t understand the potential effects of smoking marijuana. Short-term effects include anxiety, loss of memory, bad coordination and cognitive issues. The long-term effects can include a weaker immune system, lung infections, paranoia and addiction.

Curiosity

Young adults are constantly experimenting and figuring out what they like and don’t like. Drugs and alcohol are two common items that they will come across on the school yard or during after-school activities, and the curiosity of smoking marijuana is a common reason for trying it.

Availability

Obtaining marijuana continues to get easier and easier for young adults, and it is one of the most affordable drugs as well. Not to mention, many states in America are legalizing the drug, making it even easier for people to obtain it.

It is also possible for individuals to grow their own marijuana, and while the process is illegal, many young adults attempt this action to obtain their own supply.

Peer Pressure

One of the things that young adults struggle with is finding a place where they fit in. For many, giving in to peer pressure is a way to get in with the cool crowds, and the temptation often wins.
For parents who are wondering ‘Why do young adults use marijuana?’, one of the main reasons has nothing to do with their own curiosity or rebellion; it is merely a tool for finding a place in their social circles.

Young adults use marijuana because of its accessibility, and the notion that it is far safer than alcohol or harder drugs. Unfortunately, one puff often leads to more, and the long-term effects can start taking place much sooner than expected.

If you suspect your child of marijuana use, consider educating them about the dangers of using drugs. By providing them with sound information, they will be able to make more informed decisions about their choices.

Loved One Has an Addiction

When A Loved One Has an Addiction

In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences an addiction. Even though we never imagine it happening to anyone we know, the statistics show that you likely know someone who is currently experiencing or who has previously had problems with addiction.

When addiction hits closer to home, it can be extremely hard to understand why and how a loved one has become addicted to a particular substance. In many cases, family members and friends deny a loved one’s problem, or do not find effective ways to be of help.

When a loved one has an addiction, it is important to be as informed as possible about the situation. Education is key to understanding how addiction happens, why it is hard to control and how loved ones can be of assistance. Supportive friends and family can have a much greater impact than even they are aware of.

Characteristics of Addiction

Addiction is a very powerful thing; once addiction takes over, individuals will struggle to or be unable to quit even if they wanted to.

When addiction begins, an addict will continue to ingest a substance regardless of the harm it is doing to their health, finances, relationships and lifestyle. This is usually because the functions and structure of the brain have already been compromised, and the brain has begun to tell the body it needs the substance.

When a loved one has an addiction, it is important to remember that they cannot simply quit their addiction cold turkey. The best response in this kind of situation is to offer full support and encouragement of their sobriety in whatever way works best for them.

How Addiction Develops

When we ingest substances, dopamine begins to fill our “pleasure centers” in the brain. As feel-good chemicals from drugs or alcohol begin to blend with the neurotransmitter glutamate, they begin to take over some of the brain’s processes that are related with reward.

As these systems are flooded with dopamine, the nerve cells in the pleasure center begin to associate the pleasure felt from taking a drug with wanting more of it. The brain begins to tell the body to actively seek out the drug, and this is when addiction begins.

Dependence vs. Withdrawal

Dependence and withdrawal are usually used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. While addiction makes the brain crave more of a substance, dependence sees the brain function at a better level when it’s working on drugs versus when it’s not.

Withdrawal symptoms will begin when the body is not getting the substance that the brain craves. The brain will tell the body that it cannot function properly without ingesting the substance.

Treating Addiction

When a loved one has an addiction, it is not always easy for them to recognize that they have any kind of problem. It is often the case that family members and friends will need to bring the issue to their attention; this kind of notion creates different reactions from every addict.

Addiction can be treated with a variety of tools and approaches, and rehabilitation centers can offer helpful counseling and therapy sessions for both the addict and their loved ones. The length of treatment often reflects the severity of one’s addiction, and treatment doesn’t necessarily work perfectly right away.

Conclusion

When a loved one has an addiction, understanding what is happening is the first step to fighting it. There are many assumptions about addiction that simply are not true; gathering the right knowledge is key to being as helpful as possible.

Inpatient Rehab

The Benefits of 90-Day Inpatient Rehab

When it comes to rehabilitation for substance abuse, there are a wide range of programs to choose from. The main two options are inpatient and outpatient, with inpatient treatment requiring the individual to stay in overnight facilities for a specific duration of time.

The kind of program that an addict chooses to utilize is up to them, with some people choosing shorter stays such as the 30-day program, and some staying for as long as 120 days or longer. While a shorter stay of 30 days used to be the popular choice, it has been widely-recognized that the longer a patient receives treatment, the better their chances of staying sober.

For addicts who aren’t sure how long they should stay, it might also be made clear based on their symptoms and how severe their addiction has become. Some of the factors that are taken into account include cravings, inability to quit, multiple relapses, relationship problems, tolerance and withdrawal symptoms.

Based on the number of criteria that are met, it will become easier to gage how severe the addiction truly is. With this kind of information, addicts can get a better idea of how long they should stay to ensure that the rehabilitation truly sticks.

Even if an addict only has a mild addiction, considering a 90-day program is beneficial. This is based on the knowledge that addictions generally get worse over time; this week could be a mild addiction, whereas a month from now it may be severe.

If you or someone you know is considering a longer stay in rehabilitation, the following are the benefits of 90-day inpatient rehab to help you make your decision.

The Benefits of 90-Day Treatment Programs

Longer Time for Healing

As mentioned, even a mild addiction can quickly become a serious one. With that said, a 90-day treatment program offers a lot more time than a 30 or 60-day treatment, where there is less time to truly grasp the lessons and solutions for addiction.

Typically, in a 30-day program, an addict will spend the first week getting through their detoxification process. On top of that, the last week often sends addicts into a frenzy that has them focusing more on going home and less on completing their program properly.

In between these times, there are only two weeks to truly get a grasp on the personal issues at hand, as well as soaking up all of the information and knowledge available from counselors and therapists.

A 90-day program, on the other hand, ensures that the individual is given more than enough time to work through their issues, and to learn how to cope with their life outside of rehab.

This means targeting triggers, setting up a recovery plan, learning about transitioning and gathering a support group.

Time for Practice  

In a 30-day program, addicts are essentially given the tools they need and then expected to apply them in the outside world. These expectations are usually too high when given such a short time to learn them; a 90-day program allows individuals to apply the things they’ve learned, and to practice them within rehab.

This means practicing talking about problems, working through cravings, maintaining relationships and learning how to have fun sober.

Essentially, the benefits of a 90-day inpatient rehab all have to do with extra time. While each of the inpatient programs offered will provide addicts with the basic necessities, a longer program is able to instill new values and behaviours, as well as giving addicts more time to become comfortable and confident with their new lifestyle.