How Long Does it Take to Detox from Alcohol?

In 2015, 15.1 million adults had alcohol use disorder with only 1.3 million receiving treatment. When alcoholics finally seek the help they need, they expect quick results and a fast recovery. Some alcoholics don’t realize that their recovery and detox from alcohol can take longer than others. Many people with alcohol use disorder don’t even know what to expect when they seek treatment for their problem. While everyone experiences recovery and detox from alcohol differently there is some general information on what to expect.

What is alcohol detox?

Detox, short for detoxification, is the first phase of recovery from alcohol abuse. This detox period is a time after the last alcoholic drink where the body gets rid of all the alcohol and toxins. People go through the detox period in order to start recovery with a clean slate. The main goal of detox is to safely enter a period of abstinence from alcohol. The recovery process truly begins once the detox is complete.

How long does it take to detox from alcohol?

The detox process is an extremely uncomfortable one. So, it’s not surprising that people entering detox want to know how long it’s going to last. However, the length of time the detox takes is different for everyone. An article from the National Library of Medicine states that alcohol withdrawal symptoms typically occur within 8 hours of abstaining from alcohol, but sometimes these symptoms occur days later. These symptoms peak by 24 to 72 hours, but can go on for weeks for some people.

What happens during detox?

A person drinking a significant amount of alcohol or drinking it on a regular basis creates a chemical addiction to alcohol within their body. The alcohol tricks the body into thinking it needs it in order to survive. So, when there is no more alcohol the body goes into shock. Alcohol consumption also heavily suppresses the brain’s neurotransmitters. Once alcohol is gone, everything that was suppressed comes back in full force causing the brain and body to experience adverse effects.

Withdrawal symptoms are a big part of the detox process. The withdrawal symptoms that occur during detox are dependent on the severity of the alcohol addiction. Symptoms can be as mild as nausea and headaches to more severe symptoms of seizures and hallucinations. Delirium tremens causes the most severe withdrawal symptoms and longest lasting detox. Not all recovering alcoholics experience these extreme symptoms. However, when someone experiences delirium tremens they need immediate medical attention.

Phases of Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal tends to follow a course of three distinct phases:

  • Acute Withdrawal: This stage includes the worst of the withdrawal symptoms, dominated by tremors, hyperactivity of the autonomic nervous system, and a risk of delirium tremens. Tremors and seizures usually occur within the first 48 hours of alcohol abstinence and peak after 24 hours. People experiencing the more extreme symptoms of delirium tremens usually peak 72 hours after symptoms begin. Common symptoms of acute withdrawal include increased heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, and gastrointestinal problems.
  • Early Abstinence: This second stage sees anxiety, depressed moods, and disturbed sleep patterns without the symptoms of acute withdrawal. Anxiety is elevated for about three to six weeks after abstaining from alcohol. Woman tend to take longer to get through this stage than men.
  • Protracted Abstinence: This final phase in detox from alcohol is a time when many people relapse. Anxiety is still present along with a state of unease and negativity. Small challenges may provoke a higher emotional response than normal leading to alcohol craving and relapse.

Why is professional help important during detox?

Detoxing from alcohol without professional help is extremely dangerous and is not recommended. Professional help is especially important for someone experiencing delirium tremens which can cause death if not treated correctly. The safest way to detox is to enter a rehabilitation facility where professionals are on hand to help with any problems. At Meridian Treatment we have a detox program that is tailored to the individual. A professional detox program makes the journey to sobriety much easier.

songs about addiction

10 Songs About Addiction

There are many people in the world that struggle with drug and alcohol addictions. These people are regular average joes, successful entrepreneurs, and even celebrities. In the music industry, the public sees quite a few musicians suffer from addiction. Drug and alcohol addictions are prominent in the music industry and countless songs are written about experiences with addiction. This list is comprised of songs about addiction. It’s highly likely you have heard some of these songs before.

  1. Breaking the Habit by Linkin Park

    The lead singer of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington, struggled with substance abuse for many years. This formed the common misconception that Bennington wrote Breaking the Habit. However, it was band member Mike Shinoda that wrote the song before even meeting Bennington. The song was written about a close friend of Shinoda’s that struggled with drug addiction. Bennington teared up when Shinoda showed him the lyrics. As Bennington was still struggling with his addiction at the time of the song’s release he related to the lyrics to the point that he had trouble performing the song almost a year after it’s release. Chester Bennington has been sober since 2011.

  2. Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers

    Anthony Kiedis, the lead singer of Red Hot Chili Peppers, struggled with addiction for a good part of his life. The song Under the Bridge was originally a poem Kiedis wrote in his notebook while feeling alienated from his bandmates when he entered a new life of sobriety. The lyrics reflect the loneliness Kiedis felt during this time and also the feelings of his past struggle with addiction.

    Kiedis wrote Under the Bridge while feeling distraught and emotionally drained and thinking back on how his heroin and cocaine addiction ruined many relationships for him. Instead of spending time with his girlfriend at the time he went to buy drugs literally under a bridge. While Kiedis was nervous to show the band members his lyrics, they immediately responded by developing more upbeat music to provide contrast to the serious lyrics. Under the Bridge is the song that helped Red Hot Chili Peppers enter mainstream media and Kiedis has been sober for nearly 20 years.

  3. Amazing by Aerosmith

    Aerosmith band members were known as rock n’ roll stars that knew how to party. The band briefly broke up after staging an intervention for lead singer, Steven Tyler. In 1986 Tyler entered rehab as it was seen as the only way to save the band for good. The song Amazing is about Tyler’s troubled life and drug addiction after Aerosmith briefly broke up. The narrator of the song hits rock bottom and is amazed at how his life turned around after getting professional help. As the lyrics go, “it’s amazing with the blink of an eye you finally see the light, it’s amazing when the moment arrives that you know you’ll be all right.” Although the song came out in 1993, Steven Tyler had continuous problems with drugs and alcohol until finally getting sober for good in 2015.

  4. It’s Been Awhile by Staind

    Staind’s best-known song, It’s Been Awhile, hits home with many fans struggling with addiction. The song was written by lead singer, Aaron Lewis, following a narrator with a drug addiction problem. While Lewis never claimed the song to be about himself, in interviews he has stated that it was an “acknowledgment of his past.” In the song, the narrator calls up an old love apologizing for the drug addiction ruining their relationship. The song was a huge hit for Staind on the Billboard charts and prompted many fans to write about their drug addictions to Lewis. Fans found the song so relatable they poured their hearts out in letters to Lewis where they described their struggles with addiction.

  5. The A-Team by Ed Sheeran

    The upbeat tempo and flow of The A-Team mask its dark subject matter. Many listeners don’t know it’s a story about a prostitute with a cocaine addiction. Ed Sheeran is not an addict and found inspiration for the song while at a homeless shelter. When Sheeran was 18 he did a gig at a homeless shelter and was surprised by the troubling stories he heard from the occupants. The A-Team is inspired by the story of one particular woman at the homeless shelter named Angel. The song describes a woman living on the streets since she was 18, darkened from a life of addiction. Sheeran’s subtlety and upbeat tune made the song extremely popular among his fans while bringing a daunting story of addiction to light.

  6. Don’t Leave Home by Dido

    Dido wrote one of the more unique songs on this list. While the song tackles drug addiction, it also takes on the unusual perspective of the drug. To clarify, the drug is singing to the person who is addicted to it. The drug takes over the life of the addict to the point they don’t even want to leave home. Dido has found it puzzling how so many people mistake Don’t Leave Home for a love song. A friend of Dido’s asked her to play the song at her wedding and Dido suggested she use a different song. “It’s actually a song about drug addiction,” Dido has stated on multiple occasions.

  7. Going Through Changes by Eminem

    Eminem is extremely honest in his work and describes his use of drugs in many of his songs. The song Going Through Changes was on his album Recovery that was released shortly after his album Relapse. Eminem has struggled with getting sober off and on for many years. He currently has 9 years sobriety. In the lyrics of Going Through Changes, Eminem admits “inside I’m dying, I’m finally realizing I need help.” He took on the new life of sobriety for his health and his daughters. The song details his problems with depression that led to his addiction and how the addiction started deteriorating his health. An overdose and decline in overall health, mentally and physically, made Eminem finally seek the help he needed.

  8. Animal I Have Become by Three Days Grace

    In the early 2000s the lead singer of Three Days Grace, Adam Gontier, struggled with an addiction to OxyContin. He entered rehab for his addiction in 2005 where he wrote the song Animal I Have Become. During his addiction, Gontier felt that he had no idea who he was anymore as his addiction led him to become abusive and angry. The lyrics of Animal I Have Become reflect these feelings that Gontier had about himself. In the music video for the song Gontier literally fights with a dark entity that he then becomes showing the ‘monster’ he felt he was during his addiction. Gontier got rid of the monster within him by checking into rehab.

  9. The Girl You Lost to Cocaine by Sia

    Although it’s not widely talked about, Sia has been sober for almost 7 years. The song The Girl You Lost to Cocaine was released in 2008, a couple years before Sia got sober. In the song, the protagonist leaves a toxic relationship where the person chose drugs and alcohol over her. The friend in the song constantly uses the protagonist as a crutch and the protagonist decides they can’t be that crutch anymore. She sings, “I don’t see you change, you’re always at a meltdown,” as she leaves the toxic relationship behind. Addictions place people around the wrong type of people that sometimes exacerbate the addiction. Unfortunately, in order to recover some relationships have to end.

  10. Save Me by Shinedown

    This song is clearly about addiction as the lyrics pose a person calling out for help. The chorus is a literal cry for help, “Someone save me if you will and take away all these pills.” A majority of addicts never plan on getting addicted and the protagonist of the song demonstrates this as he asks “how did I get here?” after losing control of his life. A lot of fans of Shinedown that suffered through addictions related to the song on a deep level. Some fans even said the song helped them through tough times during their addictions.

    Shinedown’s lead singer, Brent Smith, struggled with an addiction to alcohol and drugs for many years. It wasn’t until he received ridicule from Kathy Lee Gifford on her show ‘Today’ about his weight gain that he started to take care of himself. He got help with his addiction in 2012 and turned to exercise for a healthier life.

    As these songs about addiction show, it’s not easy to get through this hard time alone. Follow the example of many of these musicians and get the help you or your loved one deserve. At Meridian Treatment Solutions we have many different programs to help the individual find a successful way through recovery.

Ohio Lawsuit Against Makers of OxyContin, Percocet and Others Over Opioid Epidemic

Last week Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine filed a lawsuit against five pharmaceutical companies. The lawsuit claims these companies knowingly misled the public about the safety and benefits of opioid painkillers. An ongoing opioid epidemic currently runs rampant nationwide, which resulted in the increase of heroin use all over the country. This opioid epidemic has had a drastic effect on communities all over America due to the fact that opioid addiction is the hardest to break compared to other addictions. Ohio’s attorney general believes that the big pharmaceutical companies fueled the fire of this epidemic.

Ohio’s Opioid Crisis

Ohio is one of the first states to open a lawsuit against drug companies for their role in the current opioid epidemic. In 2014, Ohio had the most deaths by overdose in the United States. Reportedly, this death toll continued to increase as 2015 saw 3,050 deaths. This number has grown every year with 2016 seeing a possible 30 percent climb in Ohio’s death toll. County officials of Cuyahoga County are projecting 775 deaths for 2017, which exceeds the number of murders in Chicago last year. The city of Chicago is twice the population of Cuyahoga County, which shows how dire the opioid crisis is in Ohio.

The Five Pharmaceutical Companies

Although the state of Ohio has cracked down on prescribing opiates, these drugs have already led to more dangerous drug use with heroin and fentanyl. These street drugs are responsible for a majority of opioid overdoses. The biggest claim in the Ohio lawsuit is that the big pharmaceutical companies failed to disclose the risk of addiction from their painkillers. The following companies are part of the Ohio lawsuit:

-Purdue Pharma
-Endo Health Solutions
-Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and subsidiary Cephalon
-Johnson & Johnson and subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals
-Allergan, formerly known as Actavis

The Lawsuit Claims

The biggest claim from the lawsuit is that the pharmaceutical companies downplayed the risk of addiction tied to the medications. Ohio saw more than 3.8 billion doses of opioid medication prescribed between the years of 2011 and 2015. The lawsuit alleges that the companies overstated the benefits while understating the risks of opioid use. These companies continued to push false information that countered scientific evidence. As can be seen from an Endo sponsored website, painknowledge.com, which claimed back in 2009 that “people who take opioids as prescribed usually do not become addicted.”

The lawsuit further addresses complaints against pharmaceutical companies for overstating the benefits of chronic opioid pain therapy. Additionally, the companies are believed to have purposely targeted vulnerable patient populations like the elderly community and veterans. One of the final claims brought against the pharmaceutical companies is the violation of state anti-fraud and consumer protection laws.

Millions in Damages

Ohio’s lawsuit is seeking damages for the overspending on drugs along with costs associated with drug addiction prevention and treatment. If the lawsuit falls in favor of Ohio state, then the payout will be in the millions. Ohio seeks to gain back millions spent by Medicaid on these medications. The state also wants retribution for other state spending used to lessen the effects of the opioid epidemic. Over 10 years, from 2006 to 2016, the Ohio State Department of Medicaid spent nearly $175 million dollars on opioids. The state claims they would not have paid for these medications had they known the true risks and benefits.

Other States that Took Action

While Ohio is one of the first states to file a lawsuit against drug companies, some other states have taken action. In 2015, Mississippi filed a lawsuit against the same companies under a similar claim of Medicaid fraud and violation of consumer protection laws. During the same year, Kentucky reached a settlement in two separate cases against Purdue and Janssen, receiving almost $40 million collectively. However, in both Kentucky cases, neither company admitted to wrongdoing. Recently, several cities and counties in Oklahoma have opened cases against these companies too. It’s possible the companies will come to a settlement with Ohio but still deny the responsibility of fueling the opioid epidemic.

The entire lawsuit, a total of 107 pages, is available to read via PDF at this link.

How To Recognize a High-Functioning Alcoholic

A high-functioning alcoholic is a person that generally leads a normal life. These people usually have full-time jobs, families, and thriving social lives all while hiding their addiction. Everything looks good on the outside while the person is really spirally out of control. Since the life of a high-functioning alcoholic tends to show success, they are strongly in denial about their problem. In order to recognize a high-functioning alcoholic lookout for the following signs and behaviors.

They Can’t Have Just One Drink

When someone is a high-functioning alcoholic, they can never have just one drink. They start out saying “I’ll only have one”, and end up drinking several more. As a high-functioning alcoholic, they are unable to limit their alcohol consumption. So, parties or social gatherings at bars usually end with heavy drinking. Sometimes when it’s closing time at the bar the high-functioning alcoholic quickly downs their drink to go find another open bar. When you are around a high-functioning alcoholic no drink is ever left on the table. If someone in the group of friends doesn’t finish their drink a high-functioning alcoholic will gladly finish it for them.

Extreme Behavior Changes 

A high-functioning alcoholic turns into an entirely different person when they drink. Alcohol changes their behavior in dramatic ways. A typically shy and quiet person becomes more sociable and loud. A more problematic behavior change is an amiable person becoming more aggressive. Many friends and family members excuse the harmful or reckless behavior because “it only happens when they’re drunk.” However,  when this change in behavior becomes the norm, it’s time to for the person to get some help.

Frequent Blackouts

Another sign of a high-functioning alcoholic is constant memory loss. There is absolutely no recollection of the reckless or weird behavior they did while drunk. Plans and promises made while drunk are forgotten when brought up the next day. In the moment, the person may not seem extremely intoxicated but when told of the night’s endeavors, everything sounds completely new to them. These blackouts tend to occur every single time they drink because of their lack of impulse control of the consumption of alcohol. Frequent blackouts are not normal and are a prominent warning sign of a serious problem.

Joking About Alcohol

Sometimes a high-functioning alcoholic admits that they have a problem, albeit jokingly. They talk about their drinking habits in a joking manner. Saying things like “we can’t let good alcohol go to waste” or “rehab is for quitters” as an excuse to keep drinking. When faced with the amount they drink on a daily basis, they laugh it off, making light of a serious situation. This joking manner shows the deep denial a high-functioning alcoholic is in and how they’re in desperate need of help.

Drinking Takes Priority Over Eating

While a high-functioning alcoholic uses mealtimes as an excuse to have a drink or two, an actual meal is usually missing. A few drinks at lunch, dinner, or even breakfast replace any food. Alcohol becomes their regular meal, and they tend to lose all interest in food. These are times when behavior begins to spiral out of control because there is no food to soak up the alcohol. If you ever notice a friend or family member never eats but always drinks when you go out, they may have a serious problem with alcohol.

Isolation

One of the biggest reasons a high-functioning alcoholic flies under the radar is because at work, parties, and social events they’re always outgoing. They put up an image that they have it all together until they get home. Once at home a high-functioning alcoholic isolates themselves from the outside word, drinking on their own. Many times there is at least one family member that sees the problem but they struggle to get the alcoholic help because others outside the home don’t see a problem. In order to hide their drinking habits from others, a high-functioning alcoholic rarely invites guests to their home. Extreme isolation comes later on when they are no longer high-functioning and alcohol interferes with every aspect of their life.

Attempt to Quit But Always Fail

At least once, or many times, in their life a high-functioning alcoholic tries to quit. There is a vicious cycle with high-functioning alcoholics where they have periods of abstinence followed by binge drinking and then followed by abstinence again. During these periods of abstinence, the high-functioning alcoholic becomes more irritable and anxious. The withdrawal symptoms from quitting alcohol become too much and they start drinking again. Even after going through this cycle multiple times a high-functioning alcoholic denies professional help.

Denial is extremely common with high-functioning alcoholics. Since they are able to have success in other areas of their life they believe they can be successful in quitting on their own without the help of others. The first step to recovery is for them to admit that they have a problem. As a friend or family member of a high-functioning alcoholic it’s your job to support and encourage them to get help. It’s not an easy task but treatment for alcoholism is the way to lead them to a happier life.

Hobbies That Help With Recovery

Entering the world of recovery means starting an entirely new lifestyle. In order to break the addiction, those in recovery must find something to replace the drugs in their sober life. This new sober life has a lot of downtime, previously filled with drugs, that needs to be replaced with healthier activities. Below are activities and hobbies that are a great way to fill time and help with staying sober too.

Exercise

Making exercise part of your daily routine is a smart way to succeed in recovery. There are a wide variety of physical activities to get involved in. Find an exercise that you enjoy and motivates you to make your life better. Regular exercise is not only good for your physical health but also for your mental health. At certain intensity levels exercise has the ability to create the feelings of pleasure that usually makes you crave drugs.

Aerobic exercise is proven to be the most effective at helping those in recovery stay sober. This type of exercise includes running, jogging, cycling, swimming or rowing. These activities elevate the heart rate and makes the body use oxygen at a higher rate which releases endorphins that produce euphoric feelings. Exercising with a group of people is also beneficial because it helps the individual feel like they’re a part of something. An exercise group is a good support system to help motivate you to keep doing your best to stay healthy and sober.

Yoga and Meditation

While yoga falls under a type of exercise, it warrants its own place on the list. Yoga goes beyond exercise by not only treating the body but the mind and soul. This is why yoga and meditation go hand in hand. Yoga classes frequently integrate meditation into the beginning or end of a session to help heal the mind and soul. Physicians and researchers found that drug and alcohol use are linked to the stimulation of dopamine in the brain. For someone in recovery, using yoga and meditation helps diminish the dopamine stimulation. This, in turn, helps reduce dopamine impulses and cravings for drugs and alcohol.

The deep and controlled breathing used in both yoga and meditation stimulates a relaxation response that helps reduce stress and anxiety. This is important for those in recovery because stress and anxiety are the biggest factors in developing a drug or alcohol dependency. Yoga is easily integrated into the regular 12 step program because it treats the mind, body, and soul. Taking care of all aspects of yourself is the only way to get better and stay sober. At Meridian Treatment we have the option to provide yoga as part of your recovery. Click here to learn more about it.

Reading

As time goes by and people get older, they find less time to read. For those in recovery, there is a countless amount of time to fill. Picking up a good book is a great way to immerse yourself into something that helps take your mind off of drugs and any negative thoughts that sprout in your mind. There are self-help, motivational and recovery-related books that are a great aid to helping someone in recovery. However, works of fiction that interest you are still a good source of entertainment that are a helpful distraction from the urge to use drugs.

Another great idea for someone in recovery is to join a book club. As stated earlier, being part of a group helps the person in recovery feel like they belong which leads to a higher satisfaction in life. Book clubs are a great place to get involved with others and discuss the same book with one another. Of course, you want to make sure the book clubs you attend don’t have alcohol or any temptations that could mess up your sobriety. Even better would be to start a book club with other people that are in recovery.

If reading is just not your thing then try writing your own stories. Writing is a great hobby to get into because it allows you to write out your thoughts and feelings. Whether it’s writing into a journal or forming an actual story, this hobby is therapeutic for those in recovery.

Gardening

There are quite a lot of benefits when taking up gardening as a hobby. A study at the Wageningen University and Research Center in Netherlands found that gardening is better at decreasing stress than other leisure activities like reading. Since gardening requires effortless attention it helps relax the mind. This is great for the mental health of someone in recovery. Gardening outside in the fresh air and around the sounds of nature releases endorphins that ease depression. This serves as a healthy alternative to drug use. In addition, gardening can be equally effective indoors with special planters if gardening outside is not an option.

If you had trouble finding an exercise that worked for you but you love gardening, then there is good news for you. Gardening has proven to be a great low-impact exercise. Digging, planting, weeding, and other repetitive tasks are a big part of gardening. Theses tasks require strength and stretching that are a great form of low-impact exercise. This is especially beneficial for older people in recovery that are unable to do higher impact exercise. Gardening is also an exercise that gives back by blooming beautiful flowers or growing helpful herbs for the kitchen.

Cooking

Cooking is a wonderful hobby to get into during recovery. It’s a complementary hobby to gardening. The garden provides the herbs, vegetables, or fruits that can be used for cooking. So, if you’re thinking of trying one of the two hobbies it’s a good idea to try both. There is something magical about cooking the food you grew with your own two hands. Together, gardening and cooking are a great way to spend time while getting used to sobriety.

When someone uses drugs for a extended period of time their taste buds are altered. Food either becomes completely bland, tasting like nothing, or overwhelming with overly bitter or sweet tastes. Once in recovery the brain and body start to go back to a healthy equilibrium allowing food to taste normal again. Cooking, as a hobby, allows you to rediscover the wonderful tastes of food at your own hands. This hobby also gives you a sense of control, as you get to choose the types of food you put into your body. Additionally, cooking is a way to give back to family and friends that are supporting you through recovery.

The Difficulty of Breaking an Opioid Addiction

According to the CDC, 91 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose. Over half a million people died from opioids between 2000 and 2015. This data shows that opioid-related deaths have quadrupled since 1999. Presently, opioid deaths are considered an epidemic throughout the United States. Even within the last couple weeks, Florida governor Rick Scott declared a public emergency over the opioid crisis.

What are opioids?

Opioids are drugs that act on the nervous system to relieve pain. They come in tablets, capsules, or liquid form. They are used mainly for medical purposes but they are abused by people addicted to them. Heroin is one of the most well-known and abused opioids. However, prescription opioids are equally dangerous and addicting. In 2014 the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that more than 4 million Americans were currently abusing prescription opioids. These prescription opioids include morphine, fentanyl, codeine, methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone.

What are the effects of opioids on the body?

“Opioids exert their effects through receptors,” says Dr. Wilson Compton, Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health. These receptors trigger a chemical reaction that affects the opioid user. The chemical effect of opioids occurs in the brain and throughout the entire body. As time goes by, the body adjusts to this effect and reaction when opioids are regularly used. As the body adjusts, the opioid user needs more of the drug in order to get the same effects. Tolerance keeps building and the user takes increasingly larger amounts of the drug making an overdose much more likely.

The use of opioids causes a rush of pleasure, relaxation, and pain relief for the user. These feelings become intensely desirable and lead users down the road to addiction. This happens because things that cause pleasure are things the body wants to repeat which creates a habit and addiction.

Why is an opioid addiction so difficult to break?

Extended use of opioids changes the brain chemistry of the user and creates a dependency and necessity for the drug. This chemical dependency tricks the brain into believing that the opioids are needed for survival. Which makes the addiction extremely hard to break.

Usually, when people stop using the drug, withdrawal occurs within 12 hours and becomes unbearable. The behaviors from withdrawal are what makes the addiction so hard to break. Users in withdrawal have a lack of motivation, constant discomfort, and hopelessness. These behaviors lead to a resistance of treatment, extreme irritability, and sensationalizing the drug to the point that they start using it again.

In withdrawal, addicts feel the physical pull of the drug the hardest during the first week. Since opiates leave the body fairly quickly, it’s really the psychological pull of the drug that makes recovery difficult.  The psychological pull is harder to break because the brain remembers the change in feelings produced by the drugs. In order to avoid using opiates again, the addict must learn to manage the psychological pull by rebalancing and rewiring of the brain. This rewiring can take months and while the first 90 days are the hardest, anything can trigger the psychological pull of the drug at any time. Treatment is the only place addicts can learn the tools that help prevent this pull.

How to get help?

The best way for an opiate addict to break the addiction is to enter a treatment center. An opioid addiction is too hard for someone to kick on their own and inpatient treatment provides the extra discipline and help the addict will need. While addicts need help treating the physical effects from the drugs, treating the psychological effects of the drugs is the key to their recovery.

Meridian Treatment Solutions believes that the patient should be treated from the inside out and place focus on the mental aspects of recovery. Treatment at Meridian includes activities such as meditation, yoga, group therapy, and individual counseling to help each patient identify the reason they have become addicted and help them overcome that obstacle. The mind, body, and soul must be healed in order for the patient to avoid temptation and channel their stress and anxieties into positive means rather than their previous drug of choice. When patients leave Meridian Treatment Solutions, they will be able to say that they didn’t waste a second of their time and that they have learned how to live a sober life.

5 Things to Avoid in Early Recovery

Early recovery, especially during the first year, is a delicate time for newly sober people. Major emotional, psychological, and physical changes occur and can become overwhelming. This is a time for those in recovery to take it easy and focus on being sober. There is no need to make recovery any harder than it needs to be. So, below are some tips on what to avoid in early recovery to increase the success of sobriety.

Avoid Temptations

Entering into a newly sober life is difficult in a world filled with temptations. There are temptations everywhere, a friend’s birthday, a work get-together, or even a family gathering. This is not a time to prove yourself to others or push yourself into situations you may not be ready to handle. If a friend invites you out and you know you will be tempted then decline. In early recovery, events and gatherings are difficult to attend since they’re laden with temptations. It’s okay to miss out on things in order to stay sober. Never feel guilty for putting your well-being first. True friends and family understand your situation and there will be plenty of chances to spend time with them in temptation-free environments.

Avoid Self-Sabotaging

A huge reason people in early recovery relapse is because they allow self-doubt to take control. Recovery is hard enough without the added weight of being too hard on yourself. This is a good time to start practicing positive thinking and helpful mantras. It is okay to have negative thoughts as long as you don’t let them consume you. Recovery group is a good outlet to talk about negative thoughts and feeling. This allows others in recovery to encourage you and provide tips for staying sober.

There is no such thing as perfection in recovery. Take it one day at a time and do everything at your own pace. This is a time to leave the past behind and live in the present. Allow yourself to make mistakes or else you’re going to crack under all the pressure. Show yourself compassion and self-love. Recovery is not going to be easy and you can use all the love you can get.

Avoid Toxic People

Early recovery is a good time to find out who is not good to hang around. Stay away from people that trigger your addiction. It doesn’t matter if it’s a parent or a close friend. If they trigger your addiction separate yourself from them until you’re in a stable place with your sobriety. This is a time to focus on helping yourself and it’s a good idea to surround yourself with people that can help with your recovery. People that empathize and respect your sobriety are the ones to keep by your side. Recovery groups are a great place to meet these kinds of people if you don’t have any family or immediate friends.

Avoid Relationships

Early recovery is not an ideal time to start a new relationship. There are too many risks involved, especially during the first year of recovery, that can lead to a relapse. A relationship takes time and attention that should be going towards working on staying sober. If the relationship goes awry during the vulnerable time of early recovery there is a high chance for a relapse. Even if all goes well in the relationship it can become a distraction from recovery, an addiction substitute, that risks falling back into old ways. Sobriety is the priority in the first year of recovery and a new relationship fights against that. Take this time in early recovery to build a healthy relationship with yourself before jumping into any new romances.

Avoid Stress

Early recovery brings a lot of stress on its own, as you’re changing your entire lifestyle and mentality. Most recovery groups warn that major life changes add too much stress in the first year of recovery. This added stress puts you at risk of a relapse. Once you are firmly secure with your recovery, major life decisions can be made. To decipher whether or not a decision is too major for the first year, ask yourself if the decision will take priority over your sobriety. No decision should take priority over your recovery during the first year.

However, some people in recovery have no choice but to make a major life decision in the first year. Whether it’s moving to a new place or changing jobs, these things are sometimes unavoidable in early recovery. In these situations, it is highly recommended to get all the support needed. Surround yourself with supportive people, go to a recovery group, and take on activities that help de-stress like meditation. Sobriety is still the priority at this early stage of recovery and as long as you find healthy ways to deal with extra stressors then the chance of relapse should be minimal.

How to Counteract Boredom and Loneliness in Recovery

Two of the biggest things people experience in recovery are boredom and loneliness. This doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does people in recovery are at a higher risk of relapsing. The important thing is for those in recovery to acknowledge this problem and be proactive about it instead of ignoring it. There are quite a few actions that people can take to battle both loneliness and boredom during recovery. Below is a compilation of helpful tips to put a stop to loneliness and boredom.

Talk About It

First off, talk to somebody about how you’re feeling. Ignoring the boredom or loneliness that you feel only makes it worse in the long run. Be open about your feelings with your friends and family members. Or find a therapist who you can talk out your feelings with. A lot of times talking it out helps the feelings disappear or lessens them at the very least. Take the time to find someone who will listen to you. When you do, it will be a huge weight off of your chest.

Join a Recovery Group

Most people in recovery already attend AA or NA meetings and have a recovery group. But, if you haven’t done this yet it would be extremely helpful to have a weekly recovery group to attend. Recovery groups provide the chance to share your feelings and struggles with the group. Since a majority of the people attending are going through similar situations they are able to suggest tips and activities that help with boredom and loneliness. Sometimes attending the group helps reduce the feelings of boredom and loneliness. If you’re unable to find or attend a group locally there are recovery groups online that can be equally beneficial.

Volunteer

Give back to the community by volunteering. There are plenty of places that need volunteers including animal shelters, police stations, local parks, and much more. Volunteer somewhere meaningful to you and it will help build a greater sense of purpose for you. It’s also a great way to connect with others in a positive setting. Once you’re busy with volunteer work, feelings of boredom and loneliness will be minimal.

Enroll in a Club or Course

If you have a lot of extra time on your hands joining a club or a class helps to prevent boredom. Put your time to good use by joining a book club or something that piques your interest. These clubs are a great way to connect with new people that hold similar interests. It’s also good to try something new by enrolling in an educational course. This could be learning how to cook, draw, or do accounting. Whatever you have been wanting to learn, get out there and learn it because this is the perfect time to do so. You’ll be too busy learning to be bored or lonely.

Date Yourself

This might sound cheesy but dating yourself and learning to be happy with yourself is a great way to boost self-esteem. Many people spend a lot of time looking for a partner to fill the void of loneliness. But, that is something only you can do for yourself. Learn to love being alone and go out and do things you love to do on your own. Take yourself to the movies, a fancy dinner, or a walk alone. Boredom and loneliness can’t exist when you enjoy your own company.

Meditate

When bad thoughts and feelings become overwhelming, meditation is a great tool to use. Mindfulness meditation is a great tool in particular because it’s a way to examine thoughts and feelings without becoming wrapped up in them. Meditation allows you to take a step back and acknowledge feelings without letting them consume you. This makes feelings of boredom and loneliness less powerful. Find a relaxing place to meditate, inside or outside, wherever you feel comfortable, and let those feelings of boredom and loneliness float far away.

Use Recovery Apps

Thanks to the internet and smartphones there are quite a few apps to help those in recovery. There are apps that help with mindfulness meditation and apps that encourage healthy habits. An app specifically made to help people through the steps of their recovery is Cassava. It gives a great visual of all the progress made so far and tracks activities like work, sleep, and exercise. The app contains tips to encourage and provide help for those trying to stay sober. There is even a place to track and discuss your emotional well-being, including stress and social activities. This app also includes virtual recovery groups when you’re unable to make a meeting locally. While online interaction shouldn’t be the only social connections you make during recovery, it will help combat boredom and loneliness as you work on getting yourself out there.

Get a Pet

A pet can easily reduce all feelings of loneliness and boredom. Pets are a great comfort to come home to and provide a plethora of mental benefits for those in recovery. Boredom can’t exist when you have a pet because they’re in constant need of your love and attention. Dogs, in particular, are a great way to help those in recovery get out of the home and be more social. When a person in recovery has a pet it puts their focus onto something and someone else. This helps them build up self-discipline which in turn helps with their own recovery. Of course, you should only get a pet if you’re 100 percent sure you can take on that responsibility.

Spend Time with Family or Friends

Use your support system of family and friends to help you when you’re feeling lonely or bored. Spending quality time with close friends and family members has the ability to increase feelings of connectedness. If there are some friends or family members you have lost connection with then now is a good time to try and make amends. By doing this you will help with your recovery while repairing relationships that can be a big help for keeping you sober. It’s wise to stay away from anyone that is toxic or bad for your recovery. Keep a list of positive friends and family members that are able to help with your recovery.

Inpatient Treatment

Sometimes it can be too hard to handle the boredom and loneliness of recovery on your own. This is when inpatient treatment serves as an ideal solution. At Meridian Treatment our inpatient care is tailored to the individual. Our inpatient program is for those needing full-time attention and help to stay sober. We thoroughly discuss the needs of our guests before entry so the program is personally built to help them feel at home. Our program helps reduce feelings of boredom and loneliness and ensures guests reach their goals of long-lasting recovery.

10 Common Dangers That Lead to Drug and Alcohol Abuse

There are plenty of risk factors that may lead to drug and alcohol abuse, and we might not be able to avoid them all. However, being aware that certain behaviors and situations may pose a greater risk for abuse can help the prevention of abuse from happening at all.

Always be aware of your surroundings and the situations you find yourself in.  If you have already had a drug or alcohol problem and are on the road to recovery, avoid the people, places, and situations that got you in that position in the first place.  Proactive prevention is the best way to avoid drug and alcohol problems from the start.

Here are ten of the more common situations people find themselves in that lead them to drug and alcohol issues.

  1. Being around drugs and alcohol 

    This is easily the biggest reason people fall into bad drug and alcohol habits, it’s simply available for them and easy to access and use.  When something is so easy to use, it becomes very easy for them to abuse.  Even being in places where that kind of activity happens can have a negative impact on you and those you’re with – the best option is to avoid it altogether.

  2. Negative feelings 

    This is a fairly large category and can impact most if not all of us. We all feel negative, sad, angry, anxious, guilty, lonely, or afraid at least once in our lives.  Issues arise when we give in to these feeling and try drugs and alcohol to alter our mental state.  Many people find themselves in these situations and continually make a pattern of this behavior.

  3. Positive feelings

    On the other hand, positive feelings may have just as powerful of an impact on us than negative ones. Extreme elation or the desire to celebrate may quickly push someone to use alcohol or drugs for recreational use.  Be aware of your emotions, both negative and positive, and do not make any rash decisions based on a fleeting emotion.

  4. Previous experience with any drug

    If you have previously used any drug you are at a much higher risk to use it again. With continual use there is an increased chance of addiction, which can cause extreme health issues, destroy relationships, and lead to a premature death.

  5. Family history

    If your family has a history of heavy drug or alcohol use, you are at a much higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse. Growing up in an environment full of drugs and alcohol sets a precedent for the rest of a child’s life.  Children often take cues from their parents and family members, and if those family members abuse drugs and alcohol, that behavior may be emulated later by them in life.

  6. Abusing prescription drugs

    Abusing prescription drugs is a common gateway into more dangerous drugs. Even if you are using the prescription as directed, the side effects may cause a prescription drug abuse to start.  Some common side effects cause feelings of elation, euphoria, or other altered states of mind.  If not monitored this can easily lead to a drug abuse issue.

  7. Boredom

    Without a solid support structure of family and friends, you may find yourself turning to drugs and alcohol simply because it is something to do. Instead of relying on drugs and alcohol for recreation, focus your energies on a positive outlet.

  8. Suddenly coming into a lot of money 

    This may seem like a strange reason, but there are indirect correlations between having excess money and drug use. Many people may not know what to do with extra money and feel they can try drugs – as soon as a person uses drugs, that’s where the trouble begins.

  9. Not following through with proactive steps

    If you or someone you know has already had an issue with drugs and is on the road to recovery, they may feel that it is acceptable to occasionally use the drug. This can quickly lead to major problems and potentially a relapse.

  10. Pain

    Many people turn to drugs and alcohol to help alleviate both physical and mental pain – while it may provide a false sense of relief, using drugs and alcohol for pain reduction can lead to serious issues in the future.

 

At Meridian Treatment Solutions, we provide the highest-quality care and compassion when it comes to dealing with a drug or alcohol problem.  We have an experienced staff that can help you and your loved ones during your most trying times.  Seeking help for a drug or alcohol problem is the best step to take toward recovery.  If you or someone you know is struggling with drugs or alcohol, be sure to get in touch with us today for more information on what we can do for you.

Is Inpatient Better Than Outpatient Treatment?

When it comes to inpatient versus outpatient treatment, the better option is subjective. Determining whether you or your loved one receive inpatient therapy or outpatient therapy depends entirely on the individual. The best way to decide which treatment is the better option is to first understand the difference between inpatient and outpatient.

What is the Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment?

Inpatient treatments include intensive, residential programs designed to treat serious addictions needing full-time attention. Whereas, outpatient treatments are part-time programs for recovering users. You may be a local resident who has been in recovery and simply needs support by way of intensive therapy you can do after work or school. On the other hand, whether you’re local or from out of town, you may choose one of our longer programs which require staying as a guest.

Which choice is the best for you?

Guests of Meridian’s inpatient or outpatient care receive a personal experience tailored to their needs for long-term recovery. Regardless of which program guests enter, they will have a space that looks and feels like home. At Meridian, everyone is a guest first. We design our programs starting from the staff that supports you to the experience we offer for treatment so that you may be successful.

Our admissions department thoroughly discusses the needs of our guests to match them with the best programs. The best thing about Meridian is that we understand there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. Our methods are built for you, the individual. By focusing our programs on the individual, we maintain a family environment. Regardless of whether you select inpatient or outpatient treatment, Meridian will be sure you reach your goals for lasting recovery.

Recovery Starts Today!

Fill out the form below and get your free assessment today