There's a lot of stigma around drug and alcohol misuse. People with substance use disorders continue to be blamed for their illness. Although medicine has long concluded that dependence is a complex mental health issue, many employers, law enforcement, and healthcare systems, continue to see addiction as a sign of flawed character, or as a moral weakness. Oregon's decriminalization law hopes to change that.

Thanks to the media and the heavily-politicized ‘war on drugs’, people see those who use drugs as bad people, who are deserving of punishment. There have also been policies that systematically criminalize addicts – throwing them behind bars each time they're caught in possession of personal or noncommercial drugs. But arresting an addict repeatedly for possession because they are unable to get treatment doesn't help. Well, at least not from the lens of Oregon's Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act.

Oregon ranks almost last out of the 50 states when it comes to accessibility of drug addiction treatment resources. It also has one of the longest waiting lists in the United States. The latest report by the Oregon Substance Use Disorder Research Committee, shows that 1 in 10 Oregonians struggle with alcohol or drug use. And that 2 in 3 Oregonians either struggle with a substance abuse problem, or they have a friend or family member who does. The report further shows that addiction costs the state about $6 billion dollars a year in everything from policing, to healthcare, to lost productivity and other associated costs.

Oregon's-drecriminalization-law-addiction-crisis-drug-treatment-recovery-poverty-homeless-population-substance-abuse-problem
With limited access to treatment, many addicts in Portland, Oregon and surrounding communities are facing a vicious cycle of homelessness, addiction and poverty.

Going by the numbers, Oregon is in the middle of an addiction crisis. Substance use disorders devastate the state’s youth, communities, finances, and governments. Issues surrounding drug and alcohol misuse also exacerbates many of the state's most pressing issues, like poverty and homelessness. Loss of employment, high medical costs, violent crime, and the destabilization of families are also common concerns. Other impacts include poor educational achievement, huge burdens on Oregon's criminal justice system and the growing need for state-sponsored social services.

The aforementioned report mainly recommends treating substance abuse like a disease, as opposed to a moral failing. This is the general consensus among members of the modern medical and mental health fields. After all, addiction behaves like any other chronic medical condition. It cannot be cured easily, but with medical intervention, it can be controlled. Health care treatment is effective at helping individuals who abuse drugs, to regain control of their lives. Criminal punishment doesn't typically help in this way. Sometimes jail time can make the substance abuse worse, over time. The modern health care approach includes an overall assessment to determine an individual's needs. It then connects them to the services they need to turn their lives around.

Before the new decriminalization law, Oregon was treating addiction as a criminal problem. In 2017, for instance, the law enforcement officers arrested over 8000 people in cases where possessing small amounts of drugs was the most severe offense. In many cases, the same people were arrested for possession, over and over, because they were unable to get treatment for their addiction.

Unfortunately, criminalizing drugs burdens people with criminal records. These records hinder them from going to school, getting jobs, receiving licensing, housing, or even keeping their job. The criminalization of drugs in the United States typically has harsher consequences for people of color and the poor.

negative-stigma-associated-with-addiction-homelessness-socioeconomic-barriers-to-treatment
Due to the negative stigma associated with addiction and various other socioeconomic factors, many who struggle are unable to find the help they need.

Oregon's decriminalization law: what it means for addicts

In a bid to address the drug issue, the Oregon State introduced Measure 110. This measure is intended to expand access to treatment services and eliminate unfairly harsh punishment for minor, nonviolent drug offenses like simple possession. This approach will allow individuals to recover more easily.

Oregon's Measure 110 (aka, Drug Addiction and Recovery Act) seeks to make addiction to hard drugs a public health issue instead of a criminal one. When the act goes into effect on the 21st of February, 2021, oxycodone, meth, heroin, cocaine, and other illicit drugs will be decriminalized in the state. From now on, people won't be arrested and jailed for possession of small amounts of drugs. Instead, they will get a fine of up to $100. And they can have the penalty waived, if they complete professional addiction assessment within 45 days of getting the citation.

These assessments have to happen in an addiction treatment center. In which case, the individual goes through a series of substance use disorder screenings and, upon completion, expresses the need to get treatment. At this point, the case manager works with the individual to create a personalized drug rehabilitation plan.

How Measure 110 works

Oregon's decriminalization law: Measure 110, focuses on recovery. As mentioned above, it aims at removing penalties for low-level drug possession charges and replacing them with a $100 fine. This fine can then be waived if the individual seeks treatment. On top of that, the measure tries to enhance treatment options in Oregon. It reallocates marijuana tax dollars and the savings from law enforcement making fewer arrests, to fund assessments, harm reduction, addiction treatment, and other services for people who are struggling with addiction.

According to the chief petitioner for the measure, Janie Gullickson, Oregon's existing laws have been a failing system. It is costly and in many cases, the penalties ruin people’s lives. The decriminalization law addresses how the current laws treat drug-related crimes and how Oregon promotes and supports addiction treatment. Measure 110 makes Oregon the first state in the United States to decriminalize all drug use.

drug-crime-jail-arrest-inmate-negative-consequences-of-addiction-find-treatment-recovery-Oregon's-decriminalization-law-measure-110
Simple possession of drugs will no longer be considered an arrest-worthy offense in Oregon.

Criminalization of drugs

Under the measure, drug possession is a civil violation, like a traffic offense, and is subject to a $100 fine without the possibility of jail time. Initially, possessing personal/noncommercial drugs was a misdemeanor in many cases and a felony where one has more than two prior convictions of possession or any felony. But now, these offenses are termed civil violations.

Possessing large amounts of drugs like 2 grams of meth, heroin, or cocaine or 40+ Oxycodone pills was a felony that attracted criminal penalties. The new measure reclassifies these offenses as misdemeanors. But Oregon still applies strict penalties, when there is evidence of a commercial drug offense, like manufacturing or distributing drugs. Oregon will continue to charge these types of crimes as a felony. Other factors include when a person is selling drugs, or they have weapons or stolen property in their possession.

A detailed analysis by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission says that this measure should  minimize 3,679 or 90.7% of drug-related convictions.

Addiction treatment

Oregon's decriminalization law also targets addiction treatment. It redirects some marijuana tax revenue from schools and other programs into a new grant for substance use disorder treatments. Cannabis tax is projected to reach $91million between 2021 and 2023. The measure will use some of this money to develop addiction and recovery centers that will run every day to address drug users' needs and help connect them to a wide-range of healthcare services.

Oregon-coast-addiction-treatment-center-recovery-substance-use-disorder-decriminalizing-recreational-drug-use
Soon, Oregonians will be able to receive treatment for their addiction, rather than face jail time and harsh legal penalties associated with their drug use.

In addition to treatment, these funds will cater to the housing needs of those with addiction problems and provide harm reduction services like needle exchanges. The Oregon Health Authority will appoint a committee that oversees the centers and decides how to use the fund's money.

Addiction is more than a physical dependence on substances. Even after detox, when the body is no longer hooked, one is still at high risk of relapse. Factors like stress, environmental cues, and social networks can create a strong ongoing urge to use again. That's why therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) come in handy. CBT helps one escape cravings and learn to manage what life throws at them without alcohol and drugs.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of talk therapy. It bases on the belief that addictions arise and are worsened by a series of negative thought patterns. CBT helps people identify and explore thought patterns that tend to undermine their ability to make healthy choices. It then arms them with the right tools to reframe their thoughts and go back to a healthy and addiction-free life.

CBT is a problem-specific and purposeful approach that needs one's active participation to succeed. It uses different strategies to identify thought patterns that lend towards an addiction. These strategies include mental distractions, relaxation techniques, role-playing, and journaling. Unlike other therapies that dwell on the past, CBT focuses on present-day thoughts, challenges, and behaviors.

what-is-CBT-how-does-it-help-treat-drug-related-addiction

Types of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Different approaches and techniques can help address behaviors, emotions and thoughts. Here are some common therapeutic approaches that involve CBT:

Cognitive therapy: It finds and changes negative thinking behaviors, patterns and emotional responses.

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT): REBT finds and changes irrational beliefs. It also helps one to learn to identify and change these thought patterns.

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT):  DBT focuses on behaviors and thoughts. It also integrates mindfulness and emotional regulation approaches.

Multimodal therapy: It looks into psychological issues by addressing the seven modalities. These include imagery, cognition, sensation, affect, behavior, interpersonal traits and biological/drug considerations.

Disorders that have shown success when treated with CBT

CBT can be used as a short-term treatment geared to help people with:

This article will focus on CBT and its help in treating drug-related addiction.

mental-health-drug-related-addiction-CBT-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-drug-abuse

How CBT works as an addiction treatment

Cognitive-behavioral therapy's primary goals in treating drug and alcohol addiction are:

In the therapy session, the patient will learn different attributes that will help uphold their sobriety. They will learn coping skills, resilience, assertiveness, stress management skills and relaxation skills. CBT has two main components in its use to treat drug-related addiction. These are skills training and functional analysis.

Functional analysis (FA)

FA is an essential step in CBT. In FA, the therapist and patient break down behavior chain into its respective parts. They seek to identify the feelings, thoughts, and situations that caused the substance abuse in the first place. Once they determine how and why a behavior was formed, the therapist and patient can then change parts of the behavior chain to get a different result.

Skills training

People turn to drugs or alcohol to manage stress, anxiety, depression and so on. If a person gets to a point where they're receiving treatment for substance abuse, it’s likely they’re abusing drugs as a way to cope with some set of problems. Skills training tries to help these people unlearn bad habits and learn better coping skills. This way, they’ll know how to apply them in situations that trigger their substance use. Skill training changes the way people think about their addiction. It also teaches them better ways to tolerate their inner feelings of distress.

skills-training-personal-development-functional-analysis-mental-health-care-alcohol-drug-addiction-treatment

Effectiveness

CBT was initially designed to prevent relapse when treating alcohol issues. This is according to a research-based guide by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Later on, the therapy was adapted in the treatment of drug-related addictions. These drugs include cocaine, nicotine, marijuana, and methamphetamine. It was also applied in the treatment of addiction to prescription drugs. The National Institute on Drugs Addiction post cited one interesting study. This study showed that 6 in 10 patients in CBT had a clean toxicology screening at their 12-month follow up.

Another evidence from several large-scale trials and quantitative reviews point to the effectiveness of CBT for addiction. An NIH group did a meta-analytic review of CBT for drug use and addiction, including 34 randomized controlled trials. CBT treated a total of 2,340 patients. The results revealed that marijuana patients got the best outcomes. Opioids and cocaine patients also got incredible results. But individuals with polydrug dependence had the smallest effects. That's to say, those struggling with multiple-drug use issues would benefit more from other treatments.

CBT for drug addiction includes a range of interventions, either combined or used in isolation. The interventions can also be provided in individual, or group therapy. Group formats involve therapy with groups like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcohol Anonymous. Individual formats include detox, pharmaceutical, or residential treatments

Benefits of CBT for addiction

Cognitive Behavioral therapy banks on the idea that feelings and actions are caused by one's thoughts as opposed to outside stimuli like situations, people, or events. While a person cannot change their situation, they can change the way they think about them. CBT has been shown to help an individual in recovery to:

When untreated, a person can turn to drugs and alcohol to try to avoid the discomfort or pain that these situations cause.

mental-health-addiction-treatment-CBT-group-therapy-sobriety-addiction-recovery-stories

The cognitive-behavioral therapy treatment program

CBT is an intense short-term treatment program. Under normal circumstances, a patient gets a weekly session for about 5-20 weeks. However, the frequency of sessions and length of treatment tend to differ based on a range of aspects. For instance, individuals with strong support from family and friends may have shorter treatment duration. The same applies to those with mild cases of addiction.

Other factors that might influence duration and treatment plan include patient needs, personal experiences and the duration of substance use. The type of disorder and level of withdrawal symptoms may also weigh in.

There is a strong connection between drug use and crimes. In 2004, 18% of federal and 17% of state prisoners said they committed their current offense to get money for drugs. But other than that, drugs are also connected to crime through the effects they have on the user’s behavior or lifestyle. A drug court is one method that many state and local governments have implemented to help people overcome their addictions and reduce their criminal liabilities.

Drug addiction has become an unprecedented public health crisis. Incarceration alone might not help as many drug offenders who struggle with underlying issues. Most eventually go back to using drugs after serving their time in jail, or prison. Drug courts are a great alternative to this vicious cycle. They’ve shown incredible results helping offenders recover from addiction and avoid a lifetime of further criminal activity. Drug courts connect with other stakeholders to address the offenders’ needs, through comprehensive case management, job training, housing, education, and mental health referrals.

Drug courts are designed for people who are struggling with a substance use disorder. They give participants a chance to go into a long-term addiction treatment program and agree to court supervision instead of getting jail time. In turn, drug court participants need to maintain their recovery and work towards lifestyle changes as they take on life’s responsibilities. Ultimately, drug courts help to reduce crime and bring about a real positive difference in people’s lives.

drug-court-sentencing-alternatives-jail-time-addiction-treatment-therapy-recidivism
Drug courts can offer someone convicted of a crime to serve their sentence getting clean, instead of just going to jail.

An Overview of Drug Courts

As the name implies, a drug court is a court tasked with handling cases involving non-violent offenders who abuse alcohol or drugs. It provides complete supervision, drug testing, substance abuse treatment, as well as immediate sanctions and incentives for individuals charged with drug-related crimes.

Drug courts use a holistic and supportive model as an alternative to conventional ways of prosecuting individuals charged with drug-related crimes. The holistic approach gives drug court participants a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program that involves a non-adversarial and multi-disciplinary team of:

The main goal of drug courts is to end the substance abuse among offenders and the resulting criminal behaviors. Drug courts differ from other criminal justice systems as they create a close collaboration between treatment experts and criminal justice.

drug-court-judge-addiction-treatment-rehabilitation-prison-jail-alternatives
Drug courts are the result of collaboration between the criminal justice system and addiction treatment science.

Steps in the Drug Court Process

Although the steps vary from one jurisdiction to another, some aspects are pretty standard, and include:

Drug Courts and their Effectiveness

The effectiveness of drug courts is not a matter of speculation, but a product of more than 20 years of comprehensive scientific research. From the onset, the program embraced science like no other criminal justice program. It integrated best practices and evidence-based approaches and had experts measure the outcomes. The drug court even encouraged federal agencies like NIJ, BJA, CSAT and NIDA along with state agencies to bring in the scientific community to analyze the program and uncover its strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.

In 2006, the scientific community ruled, beyond any reasonable doubt from meta-analyses, that the drug courts lower criminal recidivism. In individual analysis – as illustrated in the table below – the results show a significant decrease in reconviction or re-arrest by an average of about 8 to 26%. This included results of offenders on probation as well as those going through traditional criminal case processing.

InstitutionNo. of Drug CourtsAverage crime reduction (%)
Washington State Institute for Public Policy578
University of Cincinnati228
University of Nevada769
Canadian Department of Justice6614
Campbell Collaborative5514-26

Other supporting studies also show that drug courts are successful in diverting substance-dependent offenders away from incarceration and minimizing their risk of recidivism. In a 2012 NIJ’s Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation, drug court participants reported less drug use and less criminal activity compared to other groups.

In another national   study funded by the Department of Justice, 84% of drug court graduates haven’t been re-arrested and charged with a serious crime within 12 months of graduation. 72.5% haven’t been arrested two years after graduation.

Candidates for Drug Court

While drug courts are effective in rehabilitating an offender, not all offenders qualify to join. High-risk offenders like those who are dependent on drugs or alcohol and are high risk of recidivism are good candidates for drug courts. But violent offenders, on the other hand, are not good candidates for the court.    

Studies reveal that a drug court gets the most ROI from offenders with the following characteristics:

mandatory-minimum-sentencing-alternatives-jail-time-prison-criminal-record-drug-laws-United-States
Drug courts help many people move on from drug addiction and the criminal lifestyle associated with the use of illegal drugs.

Phases of the Program

Offenders move through three phases, namely bronze, silver and gold, as follows.

Bronze: this is the first phase, where an offender goes to court every week to try to end drug or alcohol use. They have to attend probation appointments and participate in agreed treatment options or employment. They also have to meet with drug court once or twice in two months for their personal progression plan.

Silver: this is the second phase, where an offender goes to court every two weeks to monitor their progress. The offender must show progress in reducing the use of non-prescribed drugs as they move towards quitting altogether. They also must proceed with training, education or finding a job.

Gold: this is the final phase, where the offender goes to court once a month to track progress. At this stage, the individual needs to completely stop drug use, remaining drug-free and they must attend all appointments, including counseling sessions. The offender begins to prepare for a life without drug court supervision once they complete the program.

Drug courts help offenders recover from their dependence on drugs or alcohol, which can help prevent future criminal activity. These proceedings also help lower the financial burden of repeatedly processing low-level, non-violent offenders through the country’s courts, prisons and jails, which saves taxpayer money.

"How does it feel being sober?" might seem like a weird question to someone who has never done drugs. But for those who struggle with withdrawal symptoms or are just fresh from a treatment program, the question couldn't possibly get any more real than this.

Consider two parts of the brain, the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. Amygdala registers the memory and emotional reactions like fear, intrigue, or worry. The prefrontal cortex, on the other hand, controls inhibitions, strategizing, and focus. These two rev up during traumatic events – including the daily traumas of living in a world with constant violence, fear, and threats. But for some, the revved up effect doesn't cut it. So they turn to drugs to help escape, cope, or manage life situations.

"The thing with alcohol and I would argue a lot of drugs, is that at the root of it is a lot of pain," said Alicia Valentin, a recovering alcohol abuse patient. "We don't use to get drunk or high. Sure, that may have been it at the beginning. But really, it was to cover pain, so we wouldn't have to deal with anxiety, depression, abuse, sadness, grief, loneliness, self-pity, and anger."

Alicia was responding to the question, “how does it feel being sober?” On Quora.

Substances have a sedating effect.

substance-use-disorder-addiction-recovery-sobriety-feels-good-healthy-choices-life-success
Drugs may make us feel good temporarily. Sobriety feels better, even when the world is uncertain.

Alcohol and drugs can give one a fleeting sense of euphoria. They can also take one from their present state of being or help them detach from reality. But as you and I both know, this is usually a temporary fix. Drugs and alcohol produce rapid and large amounts of dopamine into the brain. Basically, they hijack the brain's normal reward/pleasure center, directly stimulating it with readily available dopamine. Unfortunately, this dwarfs the ability to release dopamine from smaller but sustainable sources, like hanging out with friends, watching a nice movie, or hitting a target, and so on.

So, it makes sense to wonder what it's like being sober after using for a while – or longer. This article will dive deeper into how people feel while they mentally and physically detox from substance abuse. But before we do that, you should know that life does get a thousand times better when sober. Here are some perks of being sober:

So, how does it feel being sober?

"One of the most important words in your question is "feel". I used to drink to numb myself from the pain. Now that I'm sober, I feel things. I feel happy. I feel sad. I feel frustrated. I feel the whole gamut of feelings," responded Dana M Dietz, a Quora member, who has been sober for eight years.

Significant mood swings

People abuse substances to try to escape their emotions. Drinking or using drugs can offer temporary release but comes with a hefty price. Abuse and addiction can destroy every good thing in someone's life to the extent where all that's left is them and their substances of abuse. Drugs and alcohol numbs their emotions that they hardly feel anything anymore.

mood-swings-withdrawal-symptoms-drug-rehab-alcohol-rehabilitation-recovery-uncertainty
Becoming sober will have its definite ups and downs. For the most part, sobriety will feel great. Uncertainty and emotions can still get the best of you. Monitor your own mental health, with honesty.

But when they’re in addiction recovery and no longer abuse substances to conceal their emotions, they experience a perception shift that may result in an emotional rollercoaster. It may take a little getting used to, to manage emotions and lead a happy life. Some common examples of extreme moods that people experience in recovery include:

A sense of loneliness

A person may feel lonely during recovery because their support system is suddenly taken away. In many cases, those who abuse drugs and alcohol surround themselves with other users. So, until they find support networks to replace their old ones, they may feel lonely. Loneliness is often accompanied by powerful emotions like depression, anxiety , or panic. Since loneliness can't be treated with medications, recovering patients should learn to be comfortable in their skin without escaping to substance use. Solitude can be an excellent opportunity to recharge the brain, discover new passions, and learn new skills.

Happy and victorious 

From mended relationships to staying sober to savings to new life and everything in between, there are definitely plenty of things to be happy for. Those who go through treatment successfully report feeling happy and optimistic about their new life. They feel good because they've managed to regain control of their lives. They feel good because they get to wake up in the morning without swollen hands or broken feet or with a terrible headache. They feel good because they no longer have to deal with shaking or getting arrested.

"Sometimes, I feel exhilarated, happy, joyful," Alicia said."Most days, I feel clear-headed. Able to tackle things. I used to lay awake at night, wondering if I was dying or afraid to sleep because I was afraid I would die. I would feel an intense amount of guilt. Guilt for hiding my alcoholism from my partner. Guilt for not having any friends … for being shut-in," she added.

how-does-it-feel-to-be-sober-addiction-recovery-sobriety-mental-health-social-anxiety-common-withdrawal-symptoms
Sure, sobriety has its definite challenges. You can live a rewarding life, free from drugs and alcohol with the right types of help.

Pretty awkward 

Awkward might be the last thing that someone recovering from drug abuse expects to feel. But as it turns out, it is a pretty common feeling. People use drugs and alcohol to ease their anxieties or feel comfortable in their skin. But now that they aren't using anymore, they may feel uncomfortable or socially anxious during the early stages of recovery – sometimes even beyond. But the good news is that the awkwardness will eventually wear off (or lessen).

“Drunk me didn’t have to worry if I was alone at a party because drunk me didn’t abide such things. Drunk me didn’t worry if she belonged, or said the right thing, or had to have small talk because drunk me just handled that. Drunk me had loose neck muscles.” Read one post. “So now I’m sober, and I have zero choice but to be me in all situations. There is no escape route, or greasing the wheels, or magic potion that makes people less terrifying, or me more “socially normal.” I can’t do anything about who I am, which is perfect because we should all be so lucky to be ourselves in public,” it continued.

Comfortable in social situations

Many people drink to feel comfortable in social situations. However, in most cases, they end up too drunk and say stupid things that they can't even recall the following day. Ironically, when they go through treatment and sober up, they learn to like themselves and trust what they say or do in public. Some even start preferring to go out and be with people and are no longer shy or anxious.

"The important thing to know is that life will not be all candy canes and buttercups when you are sober. Life happens. Good things and bad things happen. The wonderful thing is that you learn more about yourself as you learn to cope with these feelings. Most people I know are grateful alcoholics. They are much better off for having had to deal with their alcoholic issues," concluded Dana.

Emotional sobriety stemmed from Alcoholics Anonymous, the 12-step program for those struggling with alcohol abuse. And while it is a challenging, long-term, and ever-changing process, it's worth it. Those struggling with emotions can benefit from working with addiction professionals in a good treatment program. No one achieves perfect emotional sobriety. The most crucial thing is to keep working toward greater emotional awareness, better balance and use of coping strategies that are productive and healthy.

Meth users have a range of symptoms that are commonly seen in people with other substance abuse disorders. They experience high blood pressure, increased heart rate, as well as strong delusions and paranoia. Like other drug addicts, they may also suffer from memory loss, brain damage, stroke, mental health disorders, among other issues with long term use. However, meth users have a few signs that are specific to the drug, like meth mouth, which we will explore in this article.

Methamphetamine is one of the most commonly abused synthetic drugs in the world. In the US alone, 5% of the population, or 12.3 million people, have used meth at least once in their lifetime. Another 600,000 Americans use it every week. But you shouldn’t mistake its popularity for something good.

Meth is a dangerously addictive drug that can cause severe addiction and mental and physical health issues.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise because meth is made from strong industrial chemicals corrosive to the body. Again, it comes in a wide variety of forms – including tablets, powder, or crystals. This makes it easier for users to smoke, inject, sniff/snort, eat, or swallow depending on their environment and preferences.

crystal-meth-mouth-methamphetamine-drug-addiction-treatment-rehab
Crystal meth can be smoked, snorted, ingested or injected with needles.

How to identify meth use

Unlike other drugs such as cocaine and heroin, its cravings are way more intense. Meth users will go on a “run” where they keep on ingesting the drug for long periods until they overdose or run out of their supply. So, the signs will be evident within a few weeks of use.

Meth addiction is difficult to hide because it causes open skin sores and eats away at the teeth. The harshness of meth’s chemical makeup makes it corrosive to both soft and hard tissue. The acid in the drug eats away the user’s tooth enamel, causing rapid decay. It also corrodes the gum, causing it to bleed and pull away from the tooth. Dental issues associated with meth abuse are referred to as meth teeth or meth mouth.

Meth mouth

Meth can be devastating to one’s dental health. According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, it’s use can cause extensive tooth decay, dry mouth, gum disease, and cracked teeth that affect the smile of users and their ability to chew. Meth mouth describes the visible effects of oral disease in a user due to rampant tooth decay and gum disease that happens with the drug use.

When someone ingests or smokes meth, they will rot their gums, teeth, and surrounding tissues. In most cases, they will experience painful dental abscesses and oral sores and even lose their teeth, and parts of their lips or mouth like tonsils, and tongue. Of the 571 meth users in the JADA’s 2015 study:

methamphetamine-drug-abuse-struggling-with-addiction-treatment-rehabilitation
Meth abuse can cause a variety of negative health consequences.

According to the American Dental Association, the pattern of cavities found in meth users is similar to those in baby teeth. Meth abusers are twice as likely to have cavities, twice as likely to have at least two decayed, missing or filled teeth, and four times as likely to have ever developed cavities compared to the general population.

Why does meth affect the teeth?

One of the few ways meth affects the teeth is through hyposalivation (or dry mouth). Saliva is usually the first line of defense in fighting harmful bacteria in the mouth. The enzymes in saliva buffer acids and moisturize the mouth, keeping it in a homeostasis state. But meth use affects salivary glands, preventing the production of saliva, resulting in dry mouth.

Although studies and debates regarding meth use and tooth decay are still ongoing, one theory suggests that meth narrows blood vessels in salivary glands, inhibiting saliva flow. Other theories argue that drug abuse affects the parts of the brain that controls the salivary glands. Either way, meth, by itself, contains some level of acidity which directly affects the teeth.

Additionally, meth users drink lots of fizzy drinks to combat the effects of very dry mouth. But with little to no saliva in the mouth, that only creates an even better environment for bacteria to thrive.

To make matters worse, meth users grind or clench their teeth due to drug-induced nervousness, anxiety, and physical stimulation. Add that to already decaying or corroding enamel, as the situation gets out of hand.

And when all the focus is on acquiring and consuming the drug, methamphetamine users are less likely to practice good dental hygiene like flossing or brushing. Most of them won’t take care of their overall body, let alone oral health. And since the meth high lasts up to 12 hours, that’s a long enough time for acids to erode the teeth.

Can meth mouth be reversed?

People who struggle with meth addiction and its effects may benefit from addiction treatment. Treatment programs exist to help those who abuse meth to quit and lead normal healthy lives. Most of them offer holistic treatments to address the underlying problem along with the side effects of using, like meth mouth, or skin sores, etc. However, like most conditions, it’s always best to catch the addiction early, before things have gotten out of hand.

methamphetamine-snorting-lines-powder-crystal-meth-mouth-illegal-drugs-addiction
A long-term addiction to methamphetamine can become deadly without proper treatment.

Meth mouth is incurable if the damage is widespread. This is why the importance of early treatment can never be overstated. Gum diseases and tooth decay, for instance, are highly treatable when caught early. But it might prove a challenge when the damage is severe. When untreated for prolonged periods, the patient may need extractions, dentures, and implants to reconstruct the damage.

Conclusion

The use of meth is linked to a range of severe health issues and irreversible mental and physical damage. Effects like bone and tooth loss, scarring, heart issues, organ failure, and permanent memory loss are common among meth users. Studies even show that long term use of meth can induce changes similar to dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s therefore essential for the patients to go enroll to reputable treatment centers for medical detox and rehabilitation. Treatments can help fight the addiction, and resulting problems.

Biophysics is a field of science that applies methods and theories of physics to understand how biological systems work. It seeks to explain how life molecules are created, how different parts of a cell function, and how body systems – like circulation, brain, immune, etc. – work. Rehabs are now using the biophysical addiction treatment approach to create a powerful remedy that not only offers long-term effectiveness but one that addresses the physical emotional and psychological aspects of substance abuse.

Addiction does significant damage to an individual’s mental health, physical health, and overall well-being. Traditional rehab systems do a great join of arming these individuals with the right tools and resources to overcome addiction. But still, cases of relapse after 12-step and other conventional treatments are widespread. But the good thing is that more and more treatment centers are now incorporating biophysical addiction treatment programs that cater to individual needs, as opposed to taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

Biophysical addiction treatment

biophysical-addiction-treatment-drug-rehab-whole-person-health-care-biology-technology

Biophysical drug rehabilitation looks at the whole-person health of an individual. This can help facilitate lasting change in the patient's life.

Biophysical rehabilitation programs use physical principles and methods to solve biological problems – like drug or alcohol abuse. Substance use overloads the body with toxins that disrupt its delicate balance, leading to damage to different processes and systems. Biophysical treatments are designed to reverse this damage that often occurs on the cellular level. It allows patients to regain balance and restore the body’s optimal functioning.

Biophysical treatment bases its model on the concept that life-long sobriety only happens when treatment is done at a physical, mental, and cellular level. It not only seeks to achieve sobriety but also to arm the patient with the necessary skills and mindset to have an optimal state of health for years to come. When the body is devoid of toxins on the cellular level, the treatment model suggests that both the physical and mental cravings will cease.

A holistic approach with the highest success rates

Relapsing is part of the recovery journey. But unlike the traditional programs which suggest that addiction is an incurable disease, and that relapse should be treated with more drugs or medication, biophysical treatment rehabs have proven that addiction is curable. The latter has shown that patients can experience permanent recovery using alternative treatment modalities.

Biophysical treatment centers report the highest success rates. This is partly because the non-traditional, non-12-step approach treats patients holistically. They do much more than offer one-size-fits-care or weekly follow-up meetings or limited patient success tracking. The other reason is that the programs run for around 90 days (or more), giving patients enough time to heal physically and mentally.

science-healthcare-successful-drug-rehabilitation-detox-therapy-relapse-prevention

Using more than just the 12 steps and a higher power, biophysical drug addiction treatment aims to heal the whole person, both mentally and physically.

Rather than treating a single facet of an individual, the biophysical treatment acknowledges that each person is different, and their addiction problem revolves around the total of their experience. That’s why the model focuses on both the physical and physiological aspects of addiction. The first part of the program involves healing the physical aspects through detox. And the second part addresses mental health concerns.

Treatment methods in biophysical treatments

An exciting yet incredible aspect of biophysical therapy is that they are often 100% natural programs. Unlike the conventional rehabs that use drug replacement therapies or medications to wean an individual off drugs, this program takes a drug-free approach to improve the health and well-being of the patient. These rehab facilities provide long-term and residential treatment programs that deliver all the essential elements for complete substance abuse rehab.

The module uses unique sauna programs to address the biochemical and biophysical imbalances. It also uses social education along with other methods that include light exercise, nutritional supplements, and counseling to help patients achieve long-term sobriety.

Sweat therapy

Medical sauna procedure is not only a great way to de-stress and relieve stress, but also release chemicals from the body. The sweating process gently and safely releases toxic chemicals. Medical studies show that most toxins can be expelled through the skin, relieving the burden on the liver and kidney. Biophysical treatments use sauna programs to detox their clients.

Counseling 

biophysical-addiction-treatment-counseling-drug-rehabilitation-mental-health

Counseling is important in any addiction treatment program, as it helps address any mental health issues that may be occurring.

Since substance abuse and mental health problems often co-occur, detox alone won’t cut it. That’s why rehabs use different types of therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy and family therapy, to treat the physiological aspect of addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, behavioral therapies provide incentives for patients to modify their attitudes, increase their life skills to handle triggers, and remain abstinent.

Nutritional supplements

Many people with substance use disorder don’t eat well-balanced meals. So, in most cases, they will lack essential nutrients that are critical to overall health and recovery. Biophysical treatment centers offer a nutritional supplement to help ease withdrawal symptoms like irritability, depression, and fatigue that are common in patients with nutritional deficiencies. In his book dubbed Biochemical Individuality, Roger J. Williams, PhD., explained that rats that lacked specific vitamins consumed more alcohol than their healthier counterparts. But once the deficiencies were addressed, the consumption was lowered.

Light exercise

Exercise provides vast benefits. In addition to helping patients structure their days and provide a general positive feeling, exercise helps heal the body and brain. Research shows that exercise helps heal the body, even among healthy individuals. But it’s even more beneficial to recovering patients as it increases the number of new nerve connections in the brain. This allows the brain to recover from the harm that the substance had caused. Biophysical rehabs offer different kinds of exercise, including yoga, meditation, walks, and so on.

exercise-addiction-treatment-drug-rehabilitation-mental-health-physical-biology

Light amounts of exercise can help heal both the body and the mind after a long-term struggle with drug or alcohol addiction.

Long-term tracking

Once the treatment is over and the patient is discharged from the facility, most biophysical rehabs offer two or even more years of program follow-up to ensure long-term success. The same cannot be said for traditional programs that provide short-term follow-up and rarely track progress.

Why biophysical treatment can provide complete recovery where traditional and 12-step programs have failed

Most substance abuse programs treat addiction symptoms with more medications (for mental illnesses and withdrawal symptoms). Biophysical rehab centers address addiction using a holistic, biophysical approach. These centers recognize that drug therapy sometimes leads to relapse and that many patients resist the treatment for apparent contradictions. So, they provide a different approach that offers:

The natural approach is safer and effective in addressing addiction. Once all drug residues are eliminated from the body, the patient can then focus on clearing their mind and working to ensure they stay sober.

Conclusion

The main focus of biophysical rehab treatment is to give individuals more abilities in life. This is achieved by integrating skills and cognitive therapy that lets the patient raise their awareness and make pro-survival decisions. Through treatment, the patient gets to understands why they started abusing substances and are armed with skills not to fall back to the trap. They are also empowered to take control of their lives and communicate better, just so they can associate better with people.

Drug rehab statistics show that the percentage of those who will relapse after a period of recovery ranges from 40 to 60%. These recurrence rates are similar to those of chronic illnesses like hypertension and diabetes. People spend a lot of money and effort on treatment, so why is drug rehab so frequently unsuccessful?

Addiction is commonly known as relapsing disease. This might explain why over 85% of patients with drug use disorders relapse and return to use within a year of treatment. Studies show that at least two-thirds of recovering individuals relapse within weeks to months of starting treatment.

How effective is a drug addiction treatment 

The aim of substance use treatment is to help individuals achieve lasting abstinence and return them to productive functioning in the community, family, and workplace. According to research that monitors patients for extended periods, a majority of those who enroll and remain in treatment quit abusing substances, reduce criminal activity, and enhance their social, occupational, and psychological functioning. But the treatment outcome bases on:

drug-rehab-so-frequently-unsuccessful-relapse-rates-drugs-alcohol-struggling-with-addiction-

Relapse is a normal part of recovery, just like for other diseases, like diabetes or hypertension. It is important to keep receiving treatment.

“Relapse rates for patients treated for drug abuse are similar to those for people treated for chronic illnesses like asthma and high blood pressure.”

Relapse to drug use doesn’t mean that treatment has failed. The chronic nature of substance dependence means that relapse can be part of the healing process for some patients. When someone returns to drug use after a period of abstinence, he or she needs to speak with their caregiver to resume, modify, or try other treatment options.

Recovery and relapse

Ending drug use is a huge milestone, but it’s just a part of a long and complex recovery process. Individuals still need to overcome many challenges. Relapse occurs when one gets stuck along the way. They’re faced with a challenge but are unable or unwilling to confront it. So, they turn to inappropriate coping mechanisms as a way to deal with their inner turmoil and dissatisfaction. Unfortunately, this only leads them right back to substance abuse.

Reputable drug rehabs offer remarkable help to people in need. The training, therapies, support, and supervision included in these treatment programs aid individuals in depths of substance dependence find new way of living. But the National Institute of Health states addiction is a chronic condition that requires ongoing care. For that reason, more than 50% of those who pass through drug or alcohol rehabs need multiple rounds of therapy to attain a form of recovery that lasts. But even so, not all of these individuals emerge successful in their fight against addiction.

This begs the question, why is the drug rehab so frequently unsuccessful? 

drug-rehabilitation-success-rates-relapse-addiction-treatment-scam-proven-results

Why is drug rehab unsuccessful? It's not really a failure if you just keep trying.

Completing substance abuse treatment doesn’t guarantee sobriety. After leaving rehab centers, patients usually go back to environments where they abused drugs. Some places, people, or things can spark memories of drug use, and trigger urges that cause relapse.

Different aspects can increase the chances of relapse, including:

  1. Poor rehab services
  2. Internal and external aspects

Internal and external aspects

  1. Triggers

Triggers include anything from sensations, feelings, or thoughts to relationships and situations that cause the recovering patient to use after a period of abstinence. Holiday parties involving social drinking, exposure to drug-related objects, walking through drinking joints, or hanging around friends who are still using are examples of triggers that can cause a relapse. Unfortunately, recovering patients are consistently exposed to these triggers, making it hard to abstain.

  1. Not seeking further assistance after treatment

Substance abuse treatment doesn’t end at the rehab facility. Recovering patients should continue with further treatment as specified in their relapse prevention plan. Rehab may stop the urge momentarily, but taking the right steps ensures long-term recovery. After-care services like 12-step, support groups, and other prevention programs arms individuals with coping skills that are essential to staying sober. A strong support system from friends, family members, recovery coaches, and peers can also encourage one to soldier on. But many patients don’t get this assistance, so they end up sliding back to their old habits.

  1. Other issues that make drug rehab so frequently unsuccessful 

Other internal and external factors like fatigue, physical pain, depression, self-pity, dishonesty, and unemployment can cause an individual to relapse. Researchers from one study discovered that risky drinking is common among the unemployed and that unemployment is a risk factor to drug use. Pity parties – when one feels sad, they can no longer hang with friends at bars or events -- can spark thoughts and eventually cause a relapse.

  1. Sabotaging sobriety in treatment

Just because a patient accepts to enroll in a rehab center doesn’t mean they’re all for the idea (or ready for that matter). There are different things that one can do to undermine their recovery process. For instance, one can join a program with no sense of commitment to life after addiction. Although therapists may use cognitive behavioral therapy among other treatment modalities to address such a problem, it takes dedication and desire to get better on the patient’s side to succeed in treatment.

relapse-prevention-drug-rehab-therapy-triggers-sobriety-troubles

Many factors will come into play with addiction treatment success. If you're reading this, it's not too late to achieve sobriety.

The same applies to patients who won’t share their insights during group therapies or ones who mock others in the counseling sessions. These individuals often have unresolved issues and disrupt meetings, which are essential in addiction treatment. Patients who don’t listen or are adamant about opening up aren’t able to take advantage of the healing and usually return to using soon after treatment.

Rehab facility and its contribution to unsuccessful treatment 

The addiction rehab industry is packed with false claims and unsubstantiated care. As we’ve mentioned earlier, a significant percentage of recovering patients resumes drinking shortly after treatment. Research also shows many individuals who pass through rehabilitation wind up with a greater sense of personal failure and despair. This could be because of one or a combination of the following reasons:

  1. Minimal or no personalized treatment

With so many factors contributing to addiction, creating a standard treatment approach that works for everyone is impossible. The National Institute on Drug Abuse details the principles that rehab centers should use to individualize care for each patient. But still, most patients only pass through a short detox period, followed by a series of lectures, 12-step, and group therapy. Generalized treatment isn’t effective in addressing the mental, physical and emotional needs of each client.

  1. Not enough detoxification

The intensity of detox varies depending on the type of substance abused, length of use, etc. When a patient doesn’t get enough detox, it means he or she may still have the toxic build-up in their body. This will predispose them to cravings or flashbacks that may act as a trigger. Sadly, run-of-the-mill detox programs don’t consider this and leave their patients not fully detoxified.

  1. Not treating co-occurring disorders

Substance addiction often co-occurs with mental illness or other conditions. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revealed that there were about 9.2 million people who experienced both mental health and substance abuse disorders in the US in 2018. Combining strategies from fields of addiction and psychiatry treatment is a great way to ensure long term sobriety, according to SAMHSA. When the dual diagnosis isn’t taken into consideration, then the patient is highly likely to suffer a mental relapse and end up using the substance again.

equine-therapy-horse-drug-rehab-fequently-unsuccessful-body-broker

While horses are cute, and equine therapy has been proven to offer help for adolescents who struggle with depression and anxiety, there is no proof on its effectiveness in drug rehabilitation.

  1. Unnecessary services

Some rehab centers – particularly the luxury ones – go above and beyond to make the lives of their patients comfortable. They offer vast services like ocean therapy (riding a yacht), equine therapy (tending to or riding a horse), aquatic aerobics, fitness training, qigong therapy, work assignments, leisure skill groups, among other services along with other care programs. While these are great, there’s no scientific evidence of their effectiveness in substance abuse treatment. These services are great differentiators, but none of these rehabs monitors patient outcomes, despite promising quality results. These are just some of the reasons that drug rehab is so frequently unsuccessful, depending on how you look at things.

Have you ever wondered why some addiction patients act with no thought of consequences? Like they run into a friend in town and accept a sudden invitation to get high when they have a job interview? Or they take part in pathological gambling despite the well-known risks of doing so? What really makes an addict so impulsive?

As it turns out, most people who are struggling with substance abuse act on impulse. So, this means many have trouble controlling their behaviors or emotions. Impulse disorder could be a sign of an underlying problem, like a mental health issue or other personality disorders.

In this article, we will look at the things that make addicts impulsive and the treatments that can help them. But first, let’s understand what an impulse disorder is.

Impulsive behavior and impulse control disorders

impulsive-disorder-mental-health-alcohol-drug-addiction-treatment-therapy-ADHD-personality

Many addicts also struggle with their mental health. Co-occurring disorders are common amongst people who are prone to alcohol and drug addiction.

An addict with impulsive behavior finds it hard to resist the sudden desire to do something that’s contrary to the societal norms. They may do so quickly, repeatedly, and with no consideration of the consequences.

Examples of impulse behaviors include:

impulsive-behavior-disorder-mental-health-suicide-drug-overdose-anger-temper-irrational-decision-making

Irrational, impulsive behavior is a common trait amongst some people whoo struggle with addiction.

Acting on impulse is not a bad thing. It can be a motivating force behind the artistic genius. For instance, some incredible music, books, and art come out of impulsive action. But most addiction patients are impulsive often, sometimes multiple times in a day.

Impulsive behavior becomes a disorder when:

Why are Addicts so Impulsive?

While the cause of impulsiveness is not always evident, studies show that it may have something to do with the prefrontal lobe. According to this study, the prefrontal cortex is responsible for higher-order functions. These functions include conscious thought, spatial learning, decision-making, and judgment.

Addiction negatively affects this part of the brain and alters its functioning. So, someone who’s dependent on drugs or alcohol might be unable to make rational decisions or override impulsive urges. So, they end up acting on impulse without thinking, which is not usually in their best interest.

The ability to resist impulse urges allows us to function well in society. It keeps us from danger by enabling us to consider the outcomes of our actions. But when that part of the brain is no longer functioning well, we become susceptible to impulse actions.

Addiction causes changes that promoted impulsive behaviors. So, the addict desires to only live in the present moment with no regard for the future.

mental-health-disorder-drug-addiction-treatment-United-States-opioid-epidemic

If you are struggling with addiction, your life choices typically revolve around one thing: getting your next fix.

Other Reasons why Addicts can Act on Impulse

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Impulse behavior is an immediate factor between ADHD and addictive disorders. According to one study, both impulsive acts and impulsive choices are observed in ADHD and addiction disorder. Experts believe that there’s a strong link between ADHD and addiction and that many individuals with ADHD often turn to alcohol and drugs.

Different studies have shown that people with ADHD have higher levels of impulsive and hyperactive behaviors. That’s why:

Again, those with ADHD usually turn to substances. While there isn’t a clear reason why that’s the case, experts believe that these patients have problems regulating neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine. But it could also be that they turn to alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with ADHD symptoms.

It is especially challenging for adults with undiagnosed or untreated ADHD. One expert matched the situation to playing with an invisible fire and wondering why the hands are burning.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Impulse behavior is a hallmark of BPD, a debilitating personality disorder that distorts a person’s self-perception. BPD patients are seen as highly dependent, manipulative, and dramatic. However, mental health experts say that these behaviors arise as a dysfunctional way to deal with emotional pain and overwhelming fear.

Patients with borderline personality disorder often suffer from insecurity, anxiety, and low self-esteem. They also have substance abuse issues. Alcohol, in particular, makes them comfortable when they are in the company of others.

alcohol-addiction-borderline-personality-disorders-ADHD-mental-illness

Many people with BPD consume alcohol, often to excess to mask their insecurity in social situations.

Alcohol dependent individuals with BPD express a wide-range of impulsive behaviors. These include:

Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)

IED is an impulse-control disorder that’s characterized by the inability to resist impulses. This may lead to property destruction, serious assaults and frequent verbal aggression in the form of temper tantrums.

The condition results from a combination of environmental, biological, and genetic factors. Many IED patients grew up in families where verbal and physical abuse and explosive behaviors were common.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, IED starts in adolescence and affects someone throughout their lives. It’s one of the many impulse control disorders where a person is unable to control aggressive behaviors that violate other people’s rights.

An episode of intermittent explosive disorder could manifest as:

Treatment for Addicts With Impulsive Behavior Issues

In addition to substance use treatment, a patient needs treatment for the specific impulsive behavior condition. One general approach is behavioral therapy, where one learns to work through and better handle situations that trigger impulsivity.

mental-health-treatment-options-medications-therapy-CBT-drug-rehab-addiction-recovery

A combination of therapy and medication may be necessary to help people with impulsive behavioral disorders.

Healthcare providers may use several medications to treat impulse-related severe conditions. They recommend a dopamine agonist, opioid antagonists, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants for treatment. Antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can also help treat IED and other impulse-control disorders. Methylphenidate or amphetamine and dextroamphetamine treat ADHD.

Family therapy is also an effective treatment for impulse behavior. This is especially true since the roots of severe impulsive behaviors may stem from the family environment. And in some cases, the impulsive behavior also hurts other members of the family. Family therapy can help address both of these issues.

Confidence is an integral part of recovery. It not only influences your choices and decisions but also leaves you empowered. There are ways to boost your confidence while in recovery and they are crucial to your success.

But if you're like most people, you likely had self-confidence issues before you developed an addiction. Unhealthy decisions, guilt, shame, anxiety, and fear can wreak havoc on your self-esteem.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to boost your confidence levels. For instance, you can get a nice haircut, get new clothes, take a new hobby, exercise, and so on. You can also try to honor your emotions, know your strengths, eat healthily, and be open to helping others. 

Let's look at how addiction and low self-confidence relate and ways to boost your confidence after getting clean.

The connection between addiction and low self-confidence

When you lack confidence, it becomes easy to get influenced by the world around you. For example, you may have a hard time overcoming negative thoughts. So you turn to outside activities or experiences to change those negative thoughts into positive ones.

how-to-stay-sober-after-getting-clean-drug-abuse-quit-using-substances-recovery

It is crucial to believe in yourself during recovery from addiction. There are some simple ways to help you increase your self-confidence and help prevent a relapse.

Some people turn to drugs or alcohol to try to get rid of the negative state of mind or situation. According to one study, low confidence levels can lead to a lack of development and a tendency toward the consumption of alcohol and drugs.

In many cases, there isn’t necessarily a direct connection between addiction and low self-confidence. Other factors like behavioral or mental disorders and family history also play a role in drug abuse.

But addiction affects confidence because it is an unusually dehumanizing condition by itself. A person with low-confidence levels acts and think in ways linked to not feeling as though they’re a good and worthy individual.

Seven ways to boost your confidence after getting clean

  1. Get a nice haircut

You may not know this, but something as simple as getting a new hairstyle can boost your confidence levels. An excellent style will put you in a fantastic mood.

How you may ask.

Haircuts make you look and feel better about yourself. You get compliments and enjoy catching your reflection in the mirror. Loving what you see in the mirror is critical in recovery.

Besides, going to the salon means getting pampered. A massage or wash go along way - but having your hair stroked along is enough to release the feel-good hormones.

feel-good-activities-mental-health-substance-use-disorders-preventing-relapse-boost-conficence-sobriety

Sometimes looking good can help you feel good too. Take pride in even the smallest accomplishments. This will help you celebrate even the smallest of victories all the time.

  1. Get some nice clothes

Self-care is usually the last thing on the minds of those with substance abuse disorders. Their top priority is to get drugs and alcohol.

Now that you are clean, you may take advantage of this time to get some nice looking clothes. Tag a friend or loved one along, and let them help you find something that looks good on you.

When you look and feel good about yourself, you'll be more willing to go out of your comfort zone. You'll also be open to meet new people and try new things.

Several studies have shown that dressing well boosts your performance and improves others' impression of you. It can also change the way you interact with others.

  1. Practice positive thinking

Negative self-talk can lower your confidence levels. So, you may want to replace any negative thoughts with positive ones. Being thankful for what you have is a good start to thinking positive.

Positive thoughts attract good things to you. And when good things come your way, you'll feel more confident. Your recovery is a huge step. Let nothing or no one tell you otherwise.

When you shift your perspective to a more positive one, your outlook on life will change. You'll love more, hate less, demand less, and so on. Over time, your new way of thinking will help you prevent relapse and build meaningful relationships.

Positive self-talk is one of the easiest things you can do to feel more confident. After all, it’s all about telling yourself good things - like "I'm beautiful," "I'm enough," "I'm worthy." Keep doing that every time, and you'll see the difference.

  1. Exercise 

boost-confidence-after-getting-clean-sobriety-addiction-recovery-drug-abuse

Healing your physical body with rigorous exercise also has an impact on your mental health. The more consistent, the better!

You may know this, but we'll repeat it. Exercise and healthy eating are great for your body. Most treatment programs teach different types of workouts that you can still do. But it's a good idea to explore your options to see if you'll love others more.

You can try out yoga, swimming, running, walking, tai chi, team sports, and group classes.

Exercise offers the following benefits:

  1. Self-care to boost your confidence

Your physical and mental health are connected. The more you care for yourself, the better you'll feel about yourself. You’ll also gain more confidence.

You don't have to make significant life changes to rebuild your confidence. You've been through enough change anyway.

You can keep a gratitude journal, for instance. After all, there’s plenty to be happy for: a sober life, a bright future, supporting family, new hobbies and so on.

Cleaning your room and tidying up space can also work great. Although they may seem like a bummer, these activities can boost your mood. A clean space will make you feel much better than a dirty one. Psychologists say that the state of your surroundings can affect your mental state.

Other self-care practices that are worth trying out include:

  1. Practice a new hobby

Once you're clean, you may find it hard to feel good or happy all the time. This is because alcohol and drugs often fill a social void. Finding new hobbies can be a great way to fill your time, interests, and energy.

Addiction treatment is not enough to maintain mental health over the long term. You need hobbies -- especially social hobbies -- to get a healthy amount of serotonin and dopamine. This way, you won't have to think about the pleasures of substances.

feel-good-hobby-instrument-music-therapy-addiction-recovery-sobriety-relapse-prevention

Finding a productive hobby will help you boost your confidence while in recovery from addiction.

Hobbies are healthier alternatives to drugs and will help you feel included in society. Examples of good hobbies include public speaking, playing music, team sports, fitness, cooking, and gardening. These activities:

  1. Join support groups

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are great groups to be part of because they allow you to meet with others who’ve been in the same position as you. They also provide a platform where you can express yourself without fear of judgment. Being in the company of peers can help elevate your confidence and keep you motivated towards achieving your goals.

Family therapy can also be a great way to repair any strains or damage brought about by addiction. Although treatment facilities often provide such therapies, you may still want to explore options if there’s an underlying problem.

When a loved one goes through the tough recovery journey and comes out on the other side sober and clean, there’s a lot to feel good about. However, the joy almost always comes with the fear of relapsing. After winning the difficult battle against substance abuse, it can be heart-wrenching to imaging that the victory may not last forever. But the reality is that the recovery from addiction seldom goes as planned. Many patients slide back to their old habits of using, so much so that relapse (although dangerous) is considered a normal part of the recovery journey. If you or a loved one has relapsed recently, please understand, it is not a failure.

No matter how diligently one pursues their recovery or how committed they are to lifelong sobriety, there’s a chance that they will relapse at some point. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the relapse rates for addiction mimic those of other chronic diseases like asthma, hypertension, and diabetes.

According to the study, relapse rates for people treated for substance use disorders are 40-60%, which can be compared with those for people treated with asthma, 50-70%, and hypertension, 50-70%. Understanding how relapse happens is critical to preventing relapse because the patient learns to identify the signs (or triggers) and course-correct before they begin using again.

What is a relapse? 

Relapse is a normal part of recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. It occurs when symptoms of a condition reappear after a time with no symptoms. According to the Marlatt and Gordon model, relapse starts with a high-risk situation that’s accompanied by a poor coping response. When this happens, the patient experiences decreased self-efficacy and becomes more prone to a lapse, or one-time use of the substance. For some patients, a lapse comes with a sense of failure or guilt about using again. They feel that they’ve broken some personal expectation or moral law, and assume that alcohol or drugs will lift the negative feelings.

relapsed-needs-help-relapse-prevention-substance-use-disorder-evidence-based-addiction-treatment-drug-rehabilitation

If you or a loved one has relapsed recently, know that you are not alone. There should be no shame associated with a relapse. There are many people who understand what you're going through and they're willing to help.

Unfortunately, when relapse happens, many people – especially those around the patient – assume that treatment did not work, or that the patient lacks the willpower to stay sober. But a successful treatment for substance use disorder needs continual assessment and modification. Relapses along the way don’t indicate failure; they only signify that addiction treatment needs to be adjusted, changed, or reinstated.

What happens after someone has relapsed? 

When a person with substance use disorder slips back to their old habits, it doesn’t mean they failed. It means they have to try again and continue to practice healthy habits. In case the relapse was an isolated incident, and the patient is committed to adjusting or examining their recovery care plan, they may not need to go to an inpatient drug rehab. They may only need a supervised medical detox to overcome withdrawal. But if the patient has relapsed full swing, they’ll benefit more by going back into strict treatment programs.

Relapse comes with an increased risk of overdose. When patients abuse substances for a prolonged period, they develop tolerance, meaning they no longer respond to the substance in the way they did in the beginning. So, it takes a higher dose of the substance to get the same effect as when they first used it. Tolerance reduces with treatment.

If the recovering patient relapses and uses the same dose as they did before treatment, they are at a very high risk overdosing, which can be fatal.

Long-term inpatient drug treatment should address relapse and prevention

Finding a safe living environment that removes access to substance and negative influences is the best way to address relapse. Long-term inpatient treatment facilities provide residential treatment options for relapsing patients who need intensive levels of substance use treatment. This extended care options are often provided outside of hospital settings and run anywhere from six months to 12 months or more. And while some treatment centers have structured length of stay, others only allow the patient to graduate when they are ready to do so.

A high-intensity rehab program may be the best option for patients experiencing severe addiction, chronic relapses, among other situations that can benefit from prolonged treatment. Most long-term inpatient rehabilitation programs focus on creating a safe and steady environment that encourages sober living. It helps patients to heal from social damage resulting from addiction. Some addiction treatment programs are better than others. Do some research on ethical drug rehab facilities before you make the final decision.

Benefits of long-term residential care 

Structure is one of the biggest benefits of residential care. Relapse can consume a patient’s life, create instability in their family, job, or school, and deplete their self-worth. The robust structure of long-term treatment facilities can help a patient regain a sense of responsibility, confidence, and ability to plan and carry out vital goals that support sobriety.

long-term-inpatient-drug-rehab-relapse-prevention-addiction-recovery-group-therapy

Finding the right kind of help is crucial in maintaining sobriety. There are many different options out there.

Throughout the course of treatment, the patient’s day will include activities and care that are designed to help them achieve their goals. Patients have 24-hours access to support from fellow peers and trained addiction specialists. They have time to interact, meditate, and even join peer support meetings. Patients can also be part of self-help groups, which play a significant role in building accountability, confidence, inspiration, and a sense of acceptance.

Long-term centers approach treatment from the idea that no patient is similar to another, and will, therefore, have different paces of recovery and coping. Often, these facilities will adjust the length of treatment according to how well a patient is recovering. Those who have a hard time may have to spend more time in the facility – but the result is often worth it.

Most inpatient treatment centers provide incredible support for physical health, particularly when it intertwines with mental health. Patients can expect exercise, nutritional therapy, and information on these two influences the mood and overall health. Since the aim of in-house therapy is to arm patients with tools to manage their happiness and quality of life without alcohol or drugs, this information is critical in long-term recovery.

There’s also the aspect of easy access to transformative treatments and therapies while in long-term addiction facilities. These programs give patients enough time to learn and be able to cope with exposure to drugs, stress, and other triggers without a likely relapse.

Is long-term inpatient drug treatment effective in addressing relapse?

addiction-recovery-relapsed-substance-use-disorder-sobriety-sober-inpatient-drug-rehab-treatment-rehabilitation-detox

The road to recovery may be a long one. Your journey will have some bumps along the way. Stay the course.

As you may have realized from this article, addiction treatment is not all about ending addiction. It involves helping the patient resolve the complex underlying issues (stress, mental health issues, peer pressure, unstable home) that caused the addiction in the first place. It’s about helping the patient uncover the true meaning and purpose in their life, and regain a sense of fun and joy devoid of drugs or alcohol.

Long-term residential drug treatment centers or therapeutic facilities, as they are commonly referred to, are ideal for relapsing patients. Unlike short-term rehab, long-term rehab continues treatment until the patient is ready to carry on – when they’re stable and able to fit back into society. These facilities help relapsing patients change negative patterns of behavior and thinking and develop strategies, skills, and techniques they require to combat cravings, reduce stress and cope with other powerful forces to enhance the chances of successful recovery. These centers also address disorders (depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, anxiety or conduct disorder, etc.), that often co-occur with addiction to treat the patient holistically.

Struggling With Addiction 2020 © All Rights Reserved
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram