Pharmacotherapy for Opiate Rehabilitation

Are you tired of drugs and alcohol controlling your life? With 128 people a day dying from an opioid overdose, are you ready for opiate addiction rehabilitation? Did you know there are new treatments for heroin addiction? Specifically, what is pharmacotherapy, and can it help in recovery?

What is Pharmacotherapy?

Pharmacotherapy or medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medication to treat a disorder or disease. In addiction treatment such as opiate addiction rehabilitation, anti-addiction medication ease withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and reduce the recurrence of use. But, the main goal of pharmacotherapy is helping you maintain Recovery for Life. 

More than 1 in 7 Americans 12 and older suffer from substance use disorder (SUD). However, only about 10 percent receive professional treatment. With new treatments for heroin addiction and anti-addiction medication, the hope is more people seek treatment.

What Makes Pharmacotherapy Successful?

Addiction or SUD is a chronic disease. Like medications for chronic diseases, some addictions require anti-addiction medication. Over 2 million Americans in 2016 suffered from opioid use disorder (OUD) because of prescription opioids. 

At the same time, over 260,000 struggles with OUD because of heroin. However, a common OUD treatment is pharmacotherapy.  When combining anti-addiction medication such as methadone and naltrexone with behavioral and holistic therapies, the benefits include:

  • Increases retention in treatment
  • Lowers illicit opiate use 
  • Decreases criminal behaviors due to SUD
  • Improves members survival rate
  • Improves the outcome of pregnancies in women struggling with SUD
  • Increases members ability to gain employment

Abstinence-Based Treatment vs. Pharmacotherapy in Treatment

If you enter an abstinence-based treatment program, you will not receive medication to help with recovery. You will go “cold-turkey,” meaning you will not receive anti-addiction medication to ease withdrawal. 

Abstinence in addiction treatment refers to the complete cessation of substance misuse entirely. The approach in abstinence-based programs is a person suffering from addiction is always at risk of recurrence of use. 

In addition, SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) says abstinence is the safest approach to treating SUD. These programs also remove unwanted temptations from your life. Lastly, abstinence-based programs are still the most common treatment programs. 

However, the CDC and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommend using pharmacotherapy. These agencies believe a strict regime of medications offers a reduction in opiate misuse issues. Above all, anti-addiction medication provides a stable path to recovery.

For example, anti-addiction medication is often only used in detox or in emergency overdose cases. These interventions can save a life and also help ease withdrawal symptoms. Above all, pharmacotherapy in detox increases your stay in treatment.

Why Are More Opiate Addiction Rehabilitation Centers Using Anti-Addiction Medication?

The best opiate addiction rehabilitation centers use evidence-based treatment approaches. For instance, evidence shows proper use of pharmacotherapy, along with other therapies, works better than detox and therapies without anti-addiction medication.

3 Things Evidence-Based Programs Believe About Pharmacotherapy

First, there are anti-addiction medication proven safe, effective, non-addictive, and little risk of misuse. Furthermore, anti-addiction medication does support total abstinence. 

Second, if an anti-addiction medication has a risk of misuse, the risk can be avoided. For example:

  • Prescribed for short-term use
  • Strictly monitored
  • Part of a comprehensive treatment plan

Lastly, when the risk of pharmacotherapy outweighs the risks of SUD, then it’s acceptable. The dangers of SUD include overdose, death, and crime.

How is Anti-Addiction Medication Used in Opiate Addiction Rehabilitation? 

Anti-addiction medication used in addiction treatment can help in recovery by:

  • Withdrawal – Some anti-addiction medication ease your withdrawal symptoms during detox. In fact, SAMHSA estimates medication is used in almost 80 percent of detoxes. Although detox is not a form of treatment, it is a critical first step in your recovery. 
  • Preventing recurrence of use – When you use anti-addiction medication, it helps reduce cravings. In addition, these medications help restore normal brain function. As a result, you can maintain Recovery for Life. 
  • Treating co-occurring disorders – Many individuals struggling with misuse also suffer from comorbid mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. As a result, these mental illnesses can worsen and be worsened by substance misuse. Therefore, treating both disorders simultaneously increases Recovery for Life.

Types of Anti-Addiction Medication

Depending on your treatment plan, there are several classes of anti-addiction medication. 

  • Agonists – These medications attach to the same receptors as opioids and other drugs. This action reduces cravings. 
  • Replacement medications or Opioid Replacement Therapy (ORT) – ORT is also known as opioid substitution therapy or opioid maintenance therapy. This class of anti-addiction drugs is used in opiate addiction rehabilitation. New treatments for heroin addiction include this safer anti-addiction medication.
  • Aversion Therapy – Some anti-addiction medication classes trigger uncomfortable or painful reactions when you use drugs or alcohol. 

New and old anti-addiction medication in comprehensive opiate addiction rehabilitation treats various SUDs.

New Treatments for Heroin Addiction and Opiate Addiction Rehabilitation

The FDA has approved various medications that are effective in treating SUD. The following includes new and old anti-addiction medications, particularly useful in opiate addiction rehabilitation.

Buprenorphine/Naloxone

Introduced in 2002

Brand names include Suboxone, Zubsolv.

This anti-addiction medication is the first-line treatment for opioid use disorder. However, you must meet the following recommendations:

  • Are you socially stable?
  • Can you comply with your medication schedule?
  • Are you unable to go to a methadone clinic every day?
  • Do you have a job that prohibits sedating medications?

An advantage of this anti-addiction medication is by adding Naloxone to buprenorphine, is it deters opiate misuse. But, this medication has a risk of misuse, such as crushing and snorting or injecting the medicine. Above all, you can still get high from sublingual use. As a result, you can become dependent. 

Side effects include:

  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Fever

Buspirone

Introduced in 1975

Brand names include: Buspar, also available in generic

Buspirone is as effective as methadone at easing opiate withdrawal symptoms. It also helps boost the effects of anti-depressants. However, if you have diabetes, kidney, or liver issues or take MAO inhibitors, you shouldn’t take Buspirone.

Benefits include:

  • Not a barbiturate or benzodiazepine
  • Little to no risk of misuse
  • Not sedating
  • No euphoria
  • Doesn’t affect motor functions
  • No withdrawal symptoms

Methadone

Introduced in 1947

Brand names include: Dolophine, Methadose

Methadone is the most common treatment for opioid addiction. However, Methadone is extremely addictive. It is also often misused. Above all, the risk of overdose is high. For instance, Methadone has almost double the overdoses as any other anti-addiction medication.

Side effects of methadone include:

  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Hallucinations or confusion
  • Allergic reactions – rash, hives, swelling in the face, lips, tongue, or throat

Naloxone

Introduced in 1971

Brand names include: Narcan, Evzio

Naloxone is an emergency anti-addiction medication that reverses opioid overdoses. In most cases, Naloxone is available without a prescription. It’s easy to use, but above all, it can immediately save a life. 

Naloxone only works for opiate overdose, not other drug overdoses.  Also, it isn’t a treatment medication, although a person often seeks treatment after an overdose. Unfortunately, some people will overdose knowing Naloxone can save them.

But, Naloxone also sends you into severe withdrawal, so emergency treatment is necessary.

Naltrexone

Introduced in 1965 but approved in 1984

Brand names include: ReVia, Vivitrol

Naltrexone is an anti-addiction medication used in new treatments for heroin addiction. This medication also treats alcohol use disorder. Naltrexone blocks the effects of alcohol and opiates either by injection or orally. As a result, you don’t feel any euphoric effects. 

Because Naltrexone isn’t an opiate, it has several advantages, including:

  • No risk of dependence or addiction
  • ReVia is a take-home prescription, unlike Methadone
  • Any physician can prescribe unlike Methadone
  • Vivitrol injections are given by a doctor once a month
  • Fewer cravings
  • Prevent recurrence of use
  • Increases treatment time

Disadvantages of Naltrexone include:

  • Must be opioid-free for 14 days
  • Cannot use ANY opiates even if prescribed
  • If insurance doesn’t cover Vivitrol injections, they can cost $1500 apiece

What is Pharmacotherapy for Alcohol Use and Other Substance Use Disorders

Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and other drugs can cause life-threatening seizures. Because alcohol is the most commonly misused substance, many individuals struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD). However, any following anti-addiction medication can help you recover from various addictions. 

  • Acamprosate (Alcohol)
  • Baclofen (Alcohol)
  • Benzodiazepine (Alcohol, Benzodiazepines)
  • Bupropion (Smoking, Cocaine)
  • Calcium Carbamide (Alcohol)
  • Carbamazepine (Alcohol)
  • Dextroamphetamine (Methamphetamine)
  • Disulfiram (Alcohol, Cocaine)
  • Gabapentine (Alcohol, general SUD)
  • Methylphenidate (Methamphetamine, Cocaine)
  • Mirtazapine (Methamphetamine)
  • Modafinil (Cocaine)
  • Nalmefene (Alcohol)
  • Phenobarbital (Alcohol and Benzo withdrawal)
  • Propranolol (Alcohol, Cocaine)
  • Rivastigmine (Methamphetamine)
  • Tiagabine (Cocaine)
  • Topiramate (Alcohol, Cocaine)
  • Varenicline (Alcohol, Smoking)

Other Treatment Approaches to Benefit Pharmacotherapy

If you enter a pharmacotherapy program, you must also receive counseling. This is a requirement of the FDA. Therapies, such as behavioral therapies can help:

  • Build healthy life skills
  • Build healthy thoughts and beliefs
  • Successfully manage mental health disorders
  • Help build skills to prevent recurrence of use
  • Reinforce good behaviors

Whether you choose inpatient treatment or one of the outpatient programs, the same therapy programs are available. If you’re in one of many new treatments for heroin addiction, the therapies and benefits may include:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Benefits

  • Focuses on the present
  • Goal-oriented therapy
  • Building coping skills for cravings, stress, and triggers
  • Works in a group and individual therapy
  • Changing negative thoughts to positive ones

Contingency Management Benefits

  • Increases treatment retention rates 
  • Improves Recovery for Life
  • Can be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Benefits

  • Taking responsibility for behaviors and feelings
  • Identify and manage irrational thoughts
  • Cope with feelings without drugs and alcohol
  • Self-acceptance

Motivational Interviewing Benefits

  • Motivation to make personal changes
  • Increases participation in treatment
  • Prevents recurrence of use
  • Setting goals

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Benefits

  • Reduces self-harm and suicide attempts
  • Learning to regulate emotions
  • Changes negative behaviors that lead to addiction
  • Motivation to make positive changes

Are you ready for Recovery for Life?

Addiction is a chronic disease requiring a lifetime of treatment to maintain recovery. So, just completing opiate addiction rehabilitation is not enough to achieve Recovery for Life. In some new treatments for heroin addiction, you may continue in pharmacotherapy. 

But, the most common aftercare programs are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These groups are 12-step programs that offer support, encouragement, and advice for maintaining Recovery for Life.

Before leaving an opiate addiction rehabilitation center, you and your therapist will develop a relapse prevention plan. This plan will include therapies and groups to help you maintain recovery. If you follow this plan and modify it as needed with your therapist, you can retain Recovery for Life. Are you ready?

Help is Waiting at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center

Whether seeking help for yourself or a loved one, our dedicated staff is waiting to answer your questions. Quit letting drugs and alcohol ruin your life. Contact us today and find out how you, too, can find recovery. 

References:

https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/medications-counseling-related-conditions/methadone

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2874458/

https://www.who.int/substance_abuse/activities/psychosocial_interventions.pdf

https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=3&SID=7282616ac574225f795d5849935efc45&ty=HTML&h=L&n=pt42.1.8&r=PART#se42.1.8_112

Pharmacotherapy for Opiate Rehabilitation

If you’re wondering how to increase serotonin and dopamine without drugs, there are plenty of natural ways to do so. Before we dive into how to increase serotonin and dopamine naturally, let’s first learn more about what these two chemicals are.

What is Serotonin?

Learning how to increase serotonin begins with understanding what it is. Serotonin is a chemical communicator that carries signals from one part of the brain to another. Serotonin plays a major role in consciousness, attention, cognition, and emotion.

Serotonin is generally best-known as a neurotransmitter because it works as a messenger of information between neurons. However, it also doubles down as a hormone. Hormones are chemicals released into the bloodstream that send messages to various body parts, such as the immune system.

Serotonin mainly impacts:

  • Cognition: Studies have shown that high levels of serotonin increase cognitive abilities such as memory and learning speed.
  • Autonomic nervous system function: Serotonin can also increase autonomic nervous system function, as well as the fight-or-flight response.
  • Mood: Serotonin in the brain can also decrease levels of anxiety, stress and depression. This chemical works to regulate our emotions, and contribute to a positive state of well-being.

What is Dopamine?

Dopamine is another neurotransmitter that lives in the brain. Dopamine is often referred to as the “motivation molecule.” This neurotransmitter provides motivation and focus, and is directly associated with attention span, ability to follow-through, and experiencing pleasure.

If you’ve struggled with being able to feel good naturally, there are many ways to increase levels of dopamine without drugs.

A lack of dopamine is often linked to:

  • Apathy
  • Lack of focus
  • Forgetfulness
  • Moodiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Sugar cravings
  • Low levels of motivation

How to Increase Serotonin 

There are many natural ways to increase serotonin without drugs. Fortunately, not only do these methods help increase serotonin; they are also great habits to include in your life. Keep reading to learn more about how to increase serotonin without drugs.

Exercise

The benefits of exercise have long been talked about and proven. Exercise increases the level of endorphins in your body which causes a natural mood boost. Evidence shows that muscle activation during exercise allows more tryptophan, which the body converts to serotonin, to cross the blood-brain barrier. 

Besides, exercise is a great way to strengthen the mind and character. The benefits are far more versatile than merely getting in shape or feeling better. Exercise can even help decrease levels of anxiety and depression. 

One of the best parts about exercise is that there are many different types of ways to get it. Not a fan of running? Try out Zumba classes or yoga. Do you want to start lifting but feel intimidated? Try out cross fit. 

In particular, martial arts can be an incredible way to increase levels of serotonin without drugs. Martial arts, including anything from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to kickboxing, serve as effective ways to increase confidence and discipline. You’ll find fulfillment in learning a new set of skills that makes you feel stronger and more confident than you’ve ever been. 

Nutrition 

Nutrition is a major component of our overall well being. If you’re wondering how to increase serotonin, your diet is another great place to start. Foods that contain tryptophan could increase serotonin production in the body. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid. 

It can be found in foods such as:

  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Eggs
  • Spinach
  • Seeds
  • Milk
  • Nuts

There are also natural supplements that contain tryptophan, but we strictly advise speaking to a medical professional before purchasing any vitamins or supplements. Boosting your mood through diet and exercise are two fantastic, natural ways to increase serotonin without drugs. 

Meditation

An hour-long meditation session can lead to roughly a 65% increase in dopamine levels according to one particular study. Meditation has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression while inducing an overall state of calm. 

Some people may feel intimidated by mediation, but we assure you that anyone can do it! You can even begin noticing the benefits of meditation with a simple five-minute daily practice.

Getting Zzzs

Increasing levels of dopamine without drugs can also be done with adequate sleep. Dopamine levels will naturally rise in the morning and fall in the evening when you fall asleep. 

Staying up late into the night and sleeping in can interrupt your body’s natural rhythm. If you have trouble sleeping, it may help to avoid any screen time an hour before you’d like to go to bed.

Turn Your Phone Off

You may have found yourself feeling oddly empty after scrolling through Instagram or binging a Netflix series. It’s not uncommon to feel low after spending time with your electronics. Research has recently shown that the electromagnetic radiation from your cell phone can interrupt and inhibit dopamine production.

You can increase levels of dopamine without drugs by spending less time on your phone. Instead, go for a brisk walk outside, pick up a book, or listen to some music!

Exposure to Natural Light

Sunlight has been shown to naturally increase levels of dopamine. Going for a light jog or brisk walk outside can help you boost your mood. A study was done on sunlight and dopamine production with 68 healthy individuals.

It was concluded that those with the most sunlight exposure had the highest density of dopamine receptors in both the reward and movement regions of their brains.

Naturally Increasing Levels of Serotonin and Dopamine with Mental Health Treatment Resources

Are you wondering how to increase your levels of dopamine and serotonin? Drug-free therapy may be just what you need! At our recovery center, we offer a plethora of mental health treatment resources such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy. 

But…Do I Need to Seek Help?

If you feel like your mental health is affecting your ability to function daily, it may be time to get help. It’s natural for mental health to vary through a person’s lifetime. After all, we’re all human and can find ourselves in challenging situations. 

However, when mental health begins to seriously interfere with your life, it’s time to take a step back and check-in with yourself.

Some tell-tale signs of mental health issues include:

  • Feeling sad or down
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Mood swings
  • Isolation from loved ones
  • Mental fatigue
  • Physical fatigue 
  • Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia, or hallucinations
  • Major changes in eating habits
  • Sex drive changes
  • Aggression
  • Irritability 
  • Suicidal thoughts

Mental Health Treatment at Sana Lake Recovery Center

Each person’s needs are unique. We consider this for each mental health treatment plan that we create. After a thorough evaluation, we’ll walk you through the best options based on your needs. This is a process that we do together – transparent all the way through.

Although treatment will vary, our core parts of treatment include:

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment, otherwise known as residential treatment, is the most intensive level of care that we offer. You’ll reside at our beautiful recovery center full-time with daily treatment and access to amenities. Daily treatment will include a combination of therapies and holistic treatment methods. Our inpatient recovery plans generally last anywhere from 28 to 90 days. 

It’s worth noting that cleanliness and sanitization is a top priority of ours. We take the health of our members very seriously, always, but especially during these times.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is best suited for individuals with serious obligations outside of treatment, or individuals that require a lot of flexibility in treatment. Our members can expect to receive anywhere from one treatment session a week to five sessions if that’s what’s necessary. 

Rather than live at our recovery center, individuals will travel to us to receive treatment and then return home after. Outpatient programs are also used as a step-down form of treatment after completing residential treatment. Similarly to inpatient care, treatment will include a variety of therapies and top-of-the-line community care.

Feeling Blue? Sana Lake Offers the Highest Quality of Mental Health Treatment Resources 

Treatment plans at our recovery center are based on the combination of evidence-based therapies and methods. We offer many different therapies such as individual counseling and group therapy. We don’t believe in a “one size fits all” approach.

A handful of therapies that we offer, here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT uses different behavioral approaches to discuss thoughts and feelings. The goal of CBT is to replace negative thinking patterns with more positive and productive ways to think. In CBT, you’ll unravel any limiting beliefs that you may have.
  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) – TF-CBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that helps individuals work through the effects of trauma. Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy uses a variety of methods to resolve trauma as a result of abuse, violence, grief, and many more traumatizing events. 
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – DBT helps educate individuals on how to live in the present, form healthy coping mechanisms, stabilize emotions, and improve relationships with those around them.

Reach Out to Our Licensed Professionals Today for More Information

If you’re looking for mental health treatment resources or simply want to learn more about how to increase serotonin and dopamine levels without drugs, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to answer all your questions. You can contact us at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center. 

Resources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23852905/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20875835/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11958969/

What Percentage of Alcoholics Recover?

Have you ever stopped to think about the reasons why people drink alcohol? Social reasons and enjoying the taste are a given, but there’s more to it than that. Alcohol is a substance that is so widely used, accepted, and accessible. 

The reasons why people drink are in relation to various psychological, biological, and environmental factors. While the act of drinking alcohol may be enjoyable for many, it also poses health risks, physically, mentally, and socially. 

Many people use alcohol to cope, but do not realize that it exacerbates the problems in their lives. If not careful excessive drinking patterns can quickly turn into dependency and addiction, which, unfortunately, is an extremely common occurrence. 

What is An Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)? 

Also known as problem drinking, an alcohol use disorder is a chronic brain disease characterized by excessive drinking or binge drinking. This means a person consumes large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time. For men, it is 5 drinks or more, and for women, it is four or more. 

Today, the current 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders  (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in May 2013, classifies alcohol dependence and misuse as the official prognosis of an alcohol use disorder (AUD). 

While alcoholism is a well-known term used to describe the disease of being addicted to alcohol, this is not considered as an official medical diagnosis. This is why it has been difficult for studies and researchers to determine the specific number of alcoholics that there are within the United States. 

To be officially diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder, individuals must meet specific criteria that are specifically outlined in the DSM-5. Any person who meets two out of the 11 qualifications within the same year, will receive an AUD diagnosis. 

Ranging from mild, moderate, and severe, the severity degree of one’s condition is determined by the number of criteria met, exhibited like so:

  • Mild: Two to three symptoms are present 
  • Moderate: Four to five symptoms are present 
  • Severe: Six or more symptoms are present

Based on the DSM-5’s assessment of alcohol misuse and dependence, the 11 symptoms of alcohol use disorder include the following: 

  1. Alcohol was consumed in large amounts over a long period of time, but not intentionally.
  2. There is a desire to cut down on drinking or to control one’s alcohol use despite unsuccessful attempts. 
  3. A majority of a person’s time is spent drinking alcohol, finding ways to get alcohol or recover from its effects such as a hangover. 
  4. Having cravings, urges, and a strong desire to use alcohol. 
  5. The chronic use of alcohol is affecting a person’s ability to function, and complete tasks at home, work, or school. 
  6. Despite the emergence of physical, mental, and social complications that have been caused and made worse by continuing to drink alcohol.
  7. Giving up on social, recreational, and occupational activities that you once loved doing due to alcohol use. 
  8. Drinking alcohol persists despite being in situations that are particularly hazardous to one’s health. 
  9. Continuing to drink despite being aware of the psychological and physical problems that it is causing. 
  10. Developing a tolerance to alcohol defined as becoming used to feeling the effects that alcohol produces by increasing the amount consumed to achieve the desired effect of euphoria and intoxication with each use. 
  11. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are present. Drinking alcohol or taking another related substance, such as benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety, is taken as an attempt to try and avoid or relieve these unpleasant manifestations. 

Prevalence of Alcohol Use Disorder 

Studies done on the prevalence of alcohol abuse have shown, that in 2018, more than 65 million Americans reported that they began to drink excessively within the last month or so, which equates to more than 40 percent of current alcohol users! 

Worldwide, AUD is an extremely prevalent mental health disorder, which is one of the leading causes of injuries, sickness, and deaths. However, in recent years, the rate of alcohol use disorders and binge drinking has increased tenfold within the United States. 

Those with alcohol use disorder exhibit compulsive behavior, lose control of their ability to consume alcohol in a normal manner, and experience anger and emotional instability when not using the substance.  

Alcohol Use Disorder is only under control when treated professionally by addiction specialists and medical professionals at a rehab facility. Although, unfortunately, only 20 percent of adults who misuse alcohol seek proper treatment or ask for help. 

Face the Facts: Alcoholism Statistics

An estimated 88,000 people (62,000 men and 26,000 women) end up dying every year from alcohol-related incidences, which could have been prevented. Aside from tobacco, poor diet, and lack of exercise, alcohol is third on the list for causing the most preventable deaths in the United States.     

More than 17 million adults in the United States suffer from alcohol dependency or an alcohol use disorder (AUD), which proves even more so, that alcohol is the most abused substance in the nation. In 2018, 14.4 million adults (5.8 percent) aged 18 and older, had an AUD. This equates to 9.2 million men and 5.3 million women. 

Is Alcohol Use More Prevalent Than Drug Use?

Yes, addiction to alcohol is more prevalent than drug use, as surveys have shown that about 20-50 percent of all admissions into a treatment facility is due to alcohol use disorders. These statistics prove that excessive alcohol consumption is dangerous and very much present. 

In addition to adults, adolescents can also be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder. Also in 2018, 400,000 

individuals aged 12-17 had an AUD. However, less than 10 percent of these adolescents received the treatment that they needed to recover. The proof is in the pudding, demonstrating that there is a gap where people need and want help, but for various reasons, they don’t receive it. 

However, when an alcoholic does receive the treatment they need, these individuals have a higher success rate of maintaining sobriety at least one year after treatment. This is compared to those who try and recover on their own, which is not recommended. 

Do Individuals Who Go To Treatment For Alcohol Stay in Recovery?

Yes, it was reported, that 40 percent of people who go to treatment versus 23 percent of people who attempted to self-detox have a higher probability of relapsing in the first 12 months. Therefore, that is why getting help can dramatically increase one’s chances of optimal recovery, and reduce the risk of relapse.

Alcohol is one of the most widely used and misused recreational drugs in the world. Over the last 10 years, binge drinking has become a primary concern amongst public health officials and policymakers. 

What Makes Alcohol Addictive? 

When someone drinks alcohol, the region of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, which makes up the reward center becomes overloaded, causing a person to experience the urge to keep repeating the rewarding behavior of drinking alcohol. As consumption continues over time, what began as just a drink has transformed into alcohol dependency, and then, quickly turns into an addiction. 

Research has proven that when someone drinks alcohol it completely changes the chemistry of the brain and how it functions. This plays a huge role in why people engage in addictive behaviors such as drinking alcohol. 

Drinking stimulates the brain’s central nervous system (CNS), causing the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and other endorphins within the reward center of the brain. Dopamine and endorphins cause a person to experience feelings of happiness, pleasure,  and satisfaction. It feels like a natural painkiller that numbs the pain, but only temporarily. 

When someone develops an alcohol use disorder, although they may have had every intention of wanting to stop drinking, the powers of alcohol have already compromised one’s impulsivity, and ability to make rational thoughts and decisions. Thus, as a result, despite the physical, mental, and social consequences, a person continues to drink. 

It is important to note, that some people’s brains are more susceptible to dependency and addiction due to their brain releasing more neurotransmitters than normal. In addition, other aspects such as biological, environmental, and psychological can be risk factors for drinking as well.   

Risk Factors of Alcohol 

There is no formula to properly predict or analyze a person’s drinking habits, a multitude of data and habits have shown that alcohol abuse is influenced by risk biological,  environmental, and psychological risk factors. 

Biological Factors

Genetics play a huge role in alcohol addiction. When there is a family history of substance abuse, children especially are at major risk for developing alcoholism. It has been said, that scientists have revealed that alcohol dependency may be associated with up to 51 chromosomes. These genetics can be passed down through generations in the family, making relatives prone to developing mild to severe drinking problems.  

Environmental Factors

Where you live, go to school, work, etc all have a major impact on your behavior. Environmental factors play a huge role in why someone begins drinking alcohol as to why they can’t stop. Treatment facilities aim to remove people from their negative environments causing triggers of substance misuse and help them recover. 

Psychological Factors

Psychological risk factors that contribute to alcohol are probably the most important to evaluate. As everyone has different needs, how they cope with their feelings impacts behavioral traits, such as drinking.  Different psychological factors may increase the likelihood of heavy drinking. 

Psychological means mental, and for those who have a mental condition such as anxiety, stress, and depression, they are more susceptible to developing an alcohol use disorder. 

Some individuals are dealing with a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder, which means that they have addiction accompanied by mental illness, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, etc. Unless both of these issues are managed professionally, these pre-existing or subsequent conditions make it difficult for a person to effectively recover. 

People use drinking as a means to cope and hide their feelings and relieve the symptoms of an existing mental disorder. Vice Versa, people who drink can develop a mental illness or have underlying signs that have been undiscovered. 

Drinking exacerbates whatever condition a person may be suffering from. Drinking also causes serious health conditions such as cirrhosis (liver disease). When a person is suffering from both, with an alcohol use disorder, it can be difficult to treat.

Social Factors

Social factors are a major contributor to how a person is influenced by alcohol. For example, culture, family, religion, etc. Addictive behaviors, in this case, drinking, is influenced by all of these components. However, the biggest risk factor in dangerous drinking patterns is family history. The likelihood of developing alcoholism for children who are exposed at a young age to alcohol use is extremely high. 

Why Is Recovering From Alcohol Addiction So Challenging?

Alcohol relapse is so common because of how accessible drinking is in society and how anything can trigger someone to crave or have the urge to use again. 

When a person drinks excessively, the brain’s chemistry becomes forever altered. The organ which also controls how the body functions, is no longer working properly itself. Therefore, it re-prioritizes what is most important. The things that were once meaningful such as relationships, hobbies, are overridden. Sadly, the brain reigns alcohol supreme, despite the consequences of physical and mental health, and survival itself.

Truth is, alcohol is a substance that is so widely used and accessible. When it turns into addiction, this disease is so powerful, that any type of environment or trigger, big or small can cause someone to relapse. 

For non-addicts, it may be confusing and incomprehensible as to why people with substance use disorders would recklessly risk their lives by using drugs and alcohol. Well, the brain is the main culprit. 

While relapse is common during the first year of recovery, people who have been sober for years can ruin it by returning to what they once knew made them feel good, resuming the self-destructive addictive behavior of drinking and taking drugs.  

Why Is Alcoholism Relapse So Common?

Feeling lonely is a big reason why people drink, and they often don’t have friends or family that they can talk to about how they are feeling. Before you know it, their cravings are triggered, other issues take over, and relapse occurs. Remember, addiction is a disease that cannot be cured, only treated. 

For example, one of the most prominent stories of addiction was one of the talented Academy Award-winning actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman. No matter the success, talent, and fame, it was no secret that Hoffman was struggling with addiction, especially with heroin. 

After getting sober for 23 years, Hoffman, unfortunately, relapsed in 2014 and lost his battle with the disease. He engaged in polysubstance abuse and was found dead in his apartment after overdosing on a combination of heroin, cocaine, amphetamine, and benzodiazepines.   

This proves the important fact, that relapse can commonly occur in a time when people are struggling emotionally and mentally. Many people use alcohol as a coping mechanism when isolation hits. 

Therefore, it is about finding ways to deal with these obstacles when they arise, and the only way to do so is through professional addiction treatment. 

Beating the Alcoholism Relapse Statistics

Statistical data has proven that the number of recovering alcoholics has greater success when they are committed to a comprehensive treatment plan, consisting of an inpatient or outpatient rehab program, as well as, a post-treatment plan such as relapse prevention therapy, aftercare or recovery housing.    

The success of these treatment programs is higher when they have been designed to fit the needs of the patient. To beat the increasing rate of alcoholism relapse, people need to understand how the cycle of addiction occurs first and foremost. 

The importance of staying committed to a network of support cannot be emphasized enough. Strategies for recovery will help reduce the risk of relapse. Especially, when provided with the necessary tools, education, and additional resources to make healthy lifestyle changes. Learning coping tools will also assist in helping individuals with their intense emotions and work through different situations and obstacles. Eventually, they will be able to handle triggers as they arise during and after recovery. 

Why Relapse Prevention is Beneficial 

A relapse prevention plan helps millions of people with alcohol use disorder and mental illness avoid the high risk of having a setback and returning to a life of unhealthy drinking habits. With treatment, the chances of relapse become more insurmountable. 

Several factors contribute to the significant lifestyle changes an individual learns to make in rehab. The long-term success and benefits of relapse prevention techniques are groundbreaking. These include: 

  • Provides a strong support system: Counselors, therapists, friends, and family provide the support that provides comfort and strength. 
  • Medication management: anti-craving medications help people fight their urges and cravings, stopping them from drinking alcohol. 
  • Personal motivation: One’s commitment to their recovery process is one of the most important factors for a successful outcome. Personal motivation techniques and strategies give individual’s the tools they need to have an alternative opposed to reaching for a drink. Addiction and relapse prevention specialists help get you accustomed to your newly found sober lifestyle. 
  • Teaches strategies and prevention techniques: Helps people avoid triggers and cope with negative thoughts, emotions, and make better decisions. 

Achieving Successful Long-Term Sobriety At Sana Lake BWC

This transition into sobriety takes time and can be extremely challenging! At Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center in Missouri, our team of experts in relapse prevention, addiction, and mental illness teach our patients to manage the chronic disease of alcohol use disorder. 

Our integrated treatment programs for people with alcohol use disorders gives them access to recovery tools and resources that aren’t available to those who don’t reach out to receive help. Individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy, along with other methods help people avoid relapsing to their unhealthy and addictive behaviors because we teach them the following:  

  • To improve their self-esteem, and how to have a stronger sense of worth and purpose
  • To understand the destructive and deadly nature of alcoholism and addiction itself
  • To understand how an alcohol use disorder impacts one’s health, physically and emotionally
  • Coping and life skills for reducing the chance of relapse
  • Repair relationships with friends and family
  • Gain an awareness of how recovery will enhance your life in every aspect (mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally)

If you or someone you know is suffering from an alcohol use disorder, there is help out there and you are not alone. Contact us today to overcome the cycle of addiction and get your life back on track!

References

https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/almost-alcoholic.htm

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201506/what-are-the-eleven-symptoms-alcohol-use-disorder

FMLA Missouri: Understanding How This Act Can Help You Seek Treatment

In 2018, the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH) states there were 388,000 adult residents with an addiction. And according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), 223,000 adults in Missouri have a mental illness. Almost 70 percent of individuals with a substance use disorder are employed. With these numbers, a lot of people are under the influence at work. The Missouri FMLA laws can protect their job if they seek treatment

What Is the FMLA?

In 1993, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted by the federal government. The FMLA allows employees to take unpaid leave for medical reasons. The act applies to substance use disorder and mental health issues as well. 

The purpose of the FMLA is to give security to an employee with a medical condition. An employee is allowed 12 weeks a year of FMLA time. They keep their health insurance and can return to the same job. 

But understand your FMLA leave is unpaid. However, if you have vacation time or sick days, you may be required to use them. If you use vacation or sick pay, then you are still under protection from the FMLA.

Missouri FMLA Laws

Employers in Missouri and every other state are subject to the Family Medical Leave Act. Many states have additional laws to protect employees. However, Missouri is not one of those states. The Missouri FMLA laws are the same as federal laws. 

In Missouri, companies must comply with FMLA if they have 50+ employees for at least 20 weeks a year. And employees can use FMLA leave if:

  • They have worked there for a minimum of one year.
  • They worked a minimum of 1,250 hours the previous year. 
  • The location they work at has at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius.

The FMLA Leave Process in Missouri

Navigating the FMLA process in Missouri can be challenging. And, your employer may have their requirements as well. Being familiar with both can make the process smoother.

  1. Notify your employer of the leave
  2. Your employer has five days to notify you of approval or denial
  3. You have 15 days to provide a medical certification to your employer
  4. Your employer again has five days to inform you
  5. If approved, your leave has Missouri FMLA protection. 

Reasons For Taking FMLA in Missouri

The FMLA has given many Americans a sense of security when severe medical conditions arise. But, there is one reason to use FMLA that doesn’t fall under a severe medical condition. It is the birth of a child! Under Missouri FMLA laws, an employee can take leave to bond with a new child. Missouri FMLA laws also allow for leave in the following situations.

  • To recover after a severe health condition.
  • To care for a family member who is sick.
  • To handle qualifying needs that result from a family member’s military service.
  • To care for a family member injured in active duty.

How Much Leave Is Allowed Under Missouri FMLA Laws

Employees need to meet the criteria to take leave through FMLA. If this is achieved, then an employee is guaranteed 12-weeks leave. An employee is allowed 12 weeks a year. But, this renews every year that the employee is eligible.

The Family Medical Leave Act works differently in the military. Employees are allowed 26 weeks to care for a family member injured in active duty. If another member of the same family is injured in active duty, then the same employee can have additional time off. 

How the ADA Protects You When Using the FMLA for Treatment

Every employee fears their boss finding out about their addiction. What if they fire you or treat you differently? Well, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people from discrimination because of a disability. 

The ADA lists what qualifies as a disability. And an addiction qualifies as a disability under this act. But, it isn’t cut and dry, and the ADA can is only useful in certain situations.

If your performance on the job declines due to drug or alcohol use, then you can be fired. And, you are not protected by the ADA if your employer can prove poor job performance. But, if you choose to go to treatment and then get fired, you are protected. The ADA protects employees from their past mistakes due to addiction. 

If you are actively using drugs or alcohol, you do not have protection from the ADA. Once you seek treatment and stop the use of drugs or alcohol, the ADA applies to you. The ADA does not protect you from drug tests. Your employer can test you at any time. So, if you are struggling with addiction, it is vital to seek help immediately.

A Missouri Employer’s Role in the FMLA

Many employers look at the negative of the FMLA. But, the act promotes a healthy workplace and healthy employees. The United States Commission on Civil Rights states that up to 25 percent of Americans are under the influence at work.

Employers who follow the Missouri FMLA laws allow employees to take care of themselves and their recovery. Healthy employees build morale and productivity, and an employer will help save a life. It is essential to be honest with your employer, but you are not required to give personal details about your addiction or mental health issues.

How To Talk to Your Employer About Using the FMLA

You have made the decision, and it is time to start your recovery journey. Whether your recovery journey is an addiction or a mental health recovery, it is essential to tell your employer. The FMLA can’t protect your job if your boss does not know. 

Admitting to your boss that you have an addiction or a mental health issue can be hard. But, if you have a plan, it can make it easier. The following tips can be useful in talking to your employer. 

3 Tips To Telling Your Boss 

  1. Be honest – Your mental or addiction struggles may not be a secret. So be honest. A good boss will be more understanding if you are open. And, they may even help you on your recovery journey. 
  2. Know your rights – It is vital to know your rights under the FMLA. You have the right not to give details about your situation. So, if your boss is not understanding, just state why you are leaving and follow the rules of the FMLA. 
  3. Ask for Confidentiality. It is vital to tell your boss that you would like the reason for leave to be kept a secret. You have the right not to have your business discussed with co-workers. 

An employer has five days to determine eligibility under the FMLA. When they give you approval, they must also give you the requirement for your return. 

If you have a situation where you enter treatment due to an emergency situation, it is vital to contact your employer. The Missouri FMLA laws will still protect you as long as the proper steps are taken. 

Is a Medical Certification Required Under Missouri FMLA Laws?

Medical certification is not a requirement under Missouri FMLA laws. But, your employer may request one. If it is requested, then you have 15 days to get it. A medical certification includes specific information, including:

  • contact information for the treatment provider
  • when the condition began
  • how long the condition will last
  • medical facts about the condition
  • if the leave is continuous or intermittent 

If your certification is missing information, you have seven days to correct this. And if your employer doesn’t believe the certification, they can ask for another one. If this happens, the employer has to pay for the second opinion. 

Returning to Work After FMLA in Missouri

The FMLA requires an employer to provide the same job or one equal to when you left. If you are not returned to the same position, the new job must:

  • Involve similar duties and responsibilities
  • Include the same level of authority
  • Offer equal pay including bonuses and overtime
  • Offer the same benefits
  • Has the same schedule at the same location

But, if you can’t return to work when the Missouri FMLA ends, then your job is not protected. There are special laws for key employees and teachers. So again, it is vital to know all your rights with the FMLA.

What If My Employer Denies My FMLA?

If your employer denies you the FMLA, they must tell you why. You can reapply for the FMLA if you meet the requirements that were missing. But, if you believe you were wrongly denied, you can contact the WHD.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is responsible for enforcing the FMLA. You can contact them if you feel your Missouri FMLA rights are being violated. Your employer is not allowed to interfere with your contact with WHD. 

Addiction and Mental Health Treatment At Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center

If you are tired of addiction or mental health issues interfering with work, then it’s time to get help. Our trained professionals not only help people in Missouri but across the country as well.

Contact us today and get started on the road to recovery.

References:

https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/legacy/files/employeeguide.pdf

https://www.ada.gov/copsq7a.htm

https://health.mo.gov/data/mica/profiles/AlcoholandDrugAbuse/index.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6179595/#:~:text=patient%2Dcentered%20care.-,Missouri%20Mental%20Health%20Data,quality%2Dof%2Dlife%20indicator.

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