Gorski on Recovery and Relapse – Warning Sign Indentification

Relapsers need to identify the problems that caused relapse. The goal is to write a list of personal warning signs that lead them from stable recovery back to chemical use. There is seldom just one warning sign. Usually a series of warning signs build one on the other to create relapse. It’s the cumulative affect that wears them down. The final warning sign is simply the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Unfortunately many of relapsers think it’s the last warning sign that caused the relapse back to Alcohol and Drugs. As a result they don’t look for the earlier and more subtle warning signs that set the stage for the final disaster.

When Jake first came into relapse prevention therapy he thought that he was crazy. “I can’t understand it,” he told his counselor, “Everything was going fine and suddenly, for no reason at all I started to overreact to things. I’d get confused, make stupid mistakes and then not know what to do to fix it. I got so stressed out that I got drunk over it.”
Jake, like most relapsers, didn’t know what his early relapse warning signs were and as a result, he didn’t recognize the problems until it was too late. A number of procedures are used to help recovering people identify the early warning signs relapse.

Most people start by reviewing and discussing The Phases and Warning Signs of Relapse (available from Independence Press, www.relapse.org). This warning sign list describes the typical sequence of problems that lead from stable recovery to alcohol and drug use. By reading and discussing these warning signs, addicts/alcoholics that have not been able to stop relapsing will learn and develop a new way of thinking about the things that happened during past periods of abstinence that set them up to use. They learn new words with which to describe their past experiences.

After reading the warning signs they develop an initial warning sign list by selecting five of the warning signs that they can identify with. These warning signs become a starting point for warning sign analysis. Since most relapsers don’t know what their warning signs are they need to be guided through a process that will uncover them. The relapser is asked to take each of the five warning signs and tell a story about a time when they experienced that warning sign in the past while sober. They tell these stories both to their therapist and to their therapy group. The goal is to look for hidden warning signs that are reflected in the story.

Jake, for example, identified with the warning sign “Tendency toward loneliness.” He told a story about a time when he was sober and all alone in the house because his wife had left with the children. “I felt so lonely and abandoned, he said. I couldn’t understand why she would walk out just because we had a fight. She should be able to handle it better than she does.”

The group began asking him questions and it turned out that Jake had frequent arguments with his wife that were caused by his grouchiness because of problems on the job. It turned out that these family arguments were a critical warning sign that occurred before most relapses. Jake had never considered his marriage to be a problem, and as a result never thought of getting marriage counseling.

Jake had now identified three warning signs: (1) the need to drink in order to feel like he belonged, (2) the need to drink in order to cope with stress, and (3) the need to drink in order to cope with marital problems. In order to be effectively managed each of these warning would need to be further clarified.

The next Gorski Blog on the Challenges Website (https://challenges-program.com/) will review each of these nine steps in more detail. By Terence Gorski, Director of Relapse Prevention Service, Challenges, F. Lauderdale, FL © Terence T. Gorski 2009

Remember, Challenges in the only drug treatment center in the country where Terry
Gorski personally supervises the relapse prevention plans of all clients. (https://challenges-program.com/)

Why Drug Rehab Programs are the Right Fit for Addicted Loved Ones

When drug abuse takes over a friend or family member’s life, it can be difficult to deal with…to say the least.

The person that you thought you knew is suddenly replaced with someone who is distant, unstable and destructive. You want to help, but aren’t sure how. Coming to a decision about your friend or family member’s care can be hard to make in the moment. There are so many emotions involved, and several different options. You may not be sure whether you should turn them into the police, cut them off emotionally and financially or check them into a drug rehab program.

What Do You Do When a Loved One is Addicted to Drugs?

Compared to the other options, drug rehab programs give your addicted loved ones an opportunity to break their physical addiction to drugs in a controlled and safe environment. Through detoxification, your loved one will be able to get the drugs out of their system, reduce their cravings and set the foundation for recovery.

However, detoxing on its own won’t lead to long-term success. Drug rehab programs also include another important piece of the recovery puzzle – therapy. Group and individual therapy can help your friend or family member uncover the problems that lead to their drug use in the first place: Were they trying to deal with stress? Were they avoiding problems in their life? Were they trying to overcome past pain by burying their feelings in drugs?

Through therapy, they can uncover the problems that make it easy for them to turn to drugs. That is a key reason why, compared to the other options, drug rehab programs are the best chance for your friend, family member or loved one to get over drugs and move on with their life.

Which Drug Rehab Programs are Best?

Not all drug rehab programs are created equally.

There are several different types of programs that have varying levels of success:

Residential rehab programs keep patients in house during treatment and provide around the clock care. Most of these treatment programs last 28 days or more so patients can take time away from their life and work toward their recovery.

Outpatient drug rehab programs let patients live in their own homes and they continue their normal daily routines – like work or school. For rehab, patients will go to the rehab center at regular intervals on a weekly and then monthly basis.

Both residential and outpatient drug rehab programs have proven to be effective, but one may be better than the other for your loved one. The best thing to do is to speak with a qualified drug rehab program professional who can go over your options and help you make the best choice.


Drug Rehab in Florida: Why Choose a Program in the Sunshine State?

Choosing to go into drug rehab is no easy matter. Not only does a patient have to deal with the repercussions of years of their addiction, but they have to select the best option for their recovery program at the same time.

If you’re in a position where you’re researching drug rehab options, you may notice that there are a lot of centers for drug rehab located in Florida. The Sunshine State is home to some of the best addiction treatment programs in the United States. Choosing drug rehab in Florida might be an ideal option to get the help that you need.

The Components of Successful Drug Rehab

One of the biggest mantras in recovery is that you don’t have to change anything; you just have to change everything. Hanging around the same people, frequenting the same places and taking place in the same activities that led to your drug abuse won’t help you maintain sobriety.

  • Changing your friends – If you want to get and stay sober, hanging out with the same people that you used drugs with will be an exercise in futility. This behavior will most likely directly lead to relapse because you’ll feel like you must do drugs with these people in order to fit in. Rather than spending time with people who are stuck in addictive cycles, you need to look for friends who are positive, working on themselves and staying drug-free.
  • Moving away – In the same way, being in the same locations where you used drugs can easily lead to relapse. Staying in the same home, driving through the same areas and visiting the same stores can trigger addiction and bring back memories of your drug use. Taking the time to change your environment and move away (even temporarily) to a completely new area, like Florida, can help you get on a path toward recovery.
  • Switching your activities – If you’re like most drug users, you have a certain set of hobbies or activities that you like to participate in while you are high. These activities have to go if you want to remain sober. The great thing about drug rehab is that you may rediscover old hobbies and passions that fell to the wayside when you were getting high all of the time.

Changing your friends, changing your location and changing your hobbies and activities are the only way to build a new drug- or alcohol-free life.

Why Choose Drug Rehab in Florida?

If you need to get away from it all, Florida is a great place to do it. There is terrific weather year-round, and a relaxing atmosphere that makes it easier to go through the difficult physical and mental changes you must make in order to get off of drugs and alcohol.

When you select drug rehab in Florida, you will be able to get away from your old, abusive life and piece together the components of your new drug-free life.

Are Baby Boomers More Susceptible to Drug Abuse?

A study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) showed some surprising statistics about baby boomers and drug abuse. The Baby Boomer age group, which ranges in age from 66 down to 48 (as of 2012), showed an increase in drug use and drug abuse in the years between 2002 and 2007.

The study covered admissions data provided by the SAMHSA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Researchers worry that this generation, born between 1946 and 1964, has a higher lifetime user rate of illicit and prescription drugs – making them more susceptible to abuse in alter life.

When combined with increased stress, pressures of being sandwiched in between their aging parents and dependent “rebound” grown children and the economic downturn, this can spell a big problem for the aging population and the country’s healthcare system.

Prescription Drug Abuse and the Baby Boomer Generation

Like other sectors of the population, prescription drug abuse has increased among those in the Baby Boomer generation. According to the SAMHSA survey, the admissions to facilities for prescription drug abuse increase from a mere .7% in 2002 to 3.5% by 2007. Increased access to prescription drugs have spelled trouble for many Baby Boomers who seek out a quick and still-legal fix to their problems.

There are four categories of prescription drugs that are most commonly abused by those in the Baby Boomer demographic:

  • Stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall are more likely to be used by young adults, but there are still Baby Boomers taking part. These drugs stimulate the nervous system and stave off sleep, which can seem like a benefit to overworked adults.
  • Antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft and Lexapro have a slight potential for abuse – and may paradoxically cause suicidal tendencies in some individuals.
  • Sedatives like Valium and Xanax are used for anxiety and insomnia, which can make them tempting for Baby Boomers who are dealing with both. They carry a high risk of addiction if they are taken incorrectly or used more often than they should be.
  • Pain relievers carry the highest potential for abuse. Oxycodone, Vicodin, Morphine and other prescription pain relievers are most often the cause of prescription-medication related emergency room visits for the post-50 set.

Narcotics Abuse and the Baby Boomer Generation

Prescription medications weren’t the only category that saw an increase in the SAMHSA survey. In addition to pain relievers and stimulants, Baby Boomers have increased their intake of cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

Medical Marijuana, which is technically a prescription drug in some states, saw an increase in abuse from 0.6% to 2.9% Admissions to facilities for cocaine abuse rose from 2.9% to a staggering 11.4% in the five-year period. Heroin abuse more than doubled with admission numbers rising from 7.2% to 16%.

With substance abuse rising in the aging generation, health care professionals and family members will need to be on the lookout for signs of abuse in patients and loved ones over 50.

Five Signs of Bath Salt Addiction

Bath Salts, also known as White Dove, Cloud-9 and other commercial names, are powerful psychoactive drugs that are growing in popularity.

Since the ingredients that go into these synthetically made products aren’t well known and aren’t yet regulated, bath salts are being sold legally and inexpensively at smoke shops, online and elsewhere. The intensity of the high, the cheap price and the availability have led to a skyrocketing number of users around the world.

What Are The Effects of Bath Salts?

The effects of bath salts are similar to those of amphetamines in that they are stimulating and increase the heart rate. They can create feelings of euphoria and a positive mood. Other side effects can include appetite suppression, a mild increase in libido and more energy.

However, there are also hallucinogenic side effects that can cause outbursts of rage, self harm and intense psychotic experiences. Each time someone uses bath salts, he or she is risking these damaging side effects – and more. Overdose can lead to anxiety, panic attacks and high fevers.

What to Look For With Bath Salts Addiction

Although there are no medical studies that prove that bath salts are addictive, professionals in the medical industry and drug addiction recovery industry have noticed such an increase in their use that there has to be an addictive component to the drug. Since it is chemically similar to amphetamines and other addictive drugs, all-too-many users continue to do the drug again and again.

If someone in your life is dealing with bath salt addiction, here are five signs to look for:

  • Dilated pupils – This is a common side effect of most amphetamines, and bath salts are no different. A person on bath salts will have a wide-eyed stare.
  • Twitching muscles – Involuntary muscle movements are a result of the stimulant nature of the drug. An addict may also be grinding his/her teeth and rolling his/her tongue.
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss – Since bath salts suppress hunger, addicts will avoid eating and may rapidly lose weight.
  • Drastic changes in sleep patterns – Bath salts mess with a person’s internal clock. The addict may stay up for days getting high, but then need to sleep for a few days afterwards.
  • Anxiety – This is a side effect of both use of and withdrawal from bath salts. Addicts will get anxious and paranoid. They may act out violently because of their anxiety.

If someone you love is showing these signs, there is help. Bath salts addiction treatment can help people overcome their dependence on the drug. Through medically supervised detoxification and therapy, patients can overcome bath salts addiction.