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Monday, May 30, 2016

Training Your Brain to Fight Addiction

training your brain to fight addictionYou may be skeptical that you can "train" your brain out of substance abuse, but Professor Paul Dolan is successfully using cognitive bias modification (CBM) to help people cut back on their alcohol consumption. As the author of the bestselling book Happiness by Design, Dolan believes his work can help people reduce their unconscious preference for alcoholic drinks over non-alcoholic ones.

Dolan's technique works by showing participants pictures of different types of drinks, including beer, wine, soda, juice, water, and milk. Software tracks how fast the user pushes away the images of alcoholic beverages.  If the user is found to have a preference towards alcoholic drinks, he or she is asked to devote 15 minutes to mentally "pushing away" these drinks and "pulling toward" the non-alcoholic alternatives.

This type of CBM is simple but effective. Those who have studied Dolan's work found that alcoholics who underwent four 15-minute sessions in a four-day time span saw a reduced preference for alcohol and had a 13% lower than expected relapse rate one year after receiving the training.

CBM techniques are still being refined, but other studies appear to support Dolan's theory that the brain can be trained to fight addiction. In 2011, Psychology Today reported that people with less working memory had poor executive control. Since executive control is linked to our ability to control unwanted behaviors like drinking to excess, exercises designed to improve working memory make it easier for substance abusers to resist the temptation to relapse. Brain training has also been found to be effective in fighting mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Coast to Coast Can Help You Fight Your Addiction
Although CBM isn't a magic cure for addiction, it's a better tool than relying on willpower alone. Addiction is a chronic brain disease that requires a targeted treatment approach. Coast to Coast Recovery Centers helps you overcome your addiction with proven treatment approaches, including non-12 step programs that use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), yoga, meditation, art therapy, acupuncture, and other holistic methods. We even offer extensive post-treatment support designed to help prevent a relapse.

Ready to get help for you or a loved one? Call us at 800.210.8229 or submit a confidential online request for information.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Acupuncture for Addiction Treatment

acupuncture for addiction treatment

What Is the Role of Willpower in Rehab?

the role of willpower in rehabFor people who have never struggled with drug or alcohol addiction, it's easy to classify the cause of substance abuse as a simple lack of willpower. It is often assumed that someone involved in addiction continues to use because he or she doesn't want to quit. In some cases, people become frustrated and angry with a loved one who can't stop drinking or using drugs: seeing them as weak and powerless.

Addiction as a Disease
In reality, addiction is a chronic brain disease. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains the scientific differences between the brain of an addicted individual and the brain of someone who has never suffered from addiction. Research shows that the density of dopamine transporters in a part of the brain called the striatum are noticeably different in an addict even after he or she has been sober for several months.

Scientists still don't fully understand the mechanisms of addiction, but genetics play a major role. The University of Utah reports that several biological differences make certain people more vulnerable to addiction than others. There are also some genes that appear to offer a protective benefit. For example, alcoholism is relatively rare in adults who have two copies of the ALDH*2 gene variation.

Saying addiction is caused by a lack of willpower is like saying someone who has cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure is sick because they don't really want to be healthy. Addiction isn’t a character flaw. It's an illness that requires treatment.

Finding the Strength to Recover
Although addiction is not caused by a lack of willpower, chemically dependent people do need to find the will to recover. If you are struggling with substance abuse, the first step toward a better future is realizing that you need help. When you admit that you don't have all the answers and see that there's no shame in letting others help, you are demonstrating that will to recover.

Coast to Coast Recovery Centers offer a wide range of services for people struggling with substance abuse, including 30-day rehabs and dual diagnosis programs. Call us at 800.210.8229 to learn more about the treatment options that best fit your needs.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Managing Anger During Rehab

managing anger during rehabPeople often turn to drugs and alcohol to help them deal with their anger about the uncontrollable circumstances in their lives, such as abuse, violence, or the death of a loved one. Substance abuse provides a temporary escape, but doesn’t deal with the underlying issues causing the problem. When a man or women enters addiction recovery, he or she needs to develop new coping mechanisms to process these emotions.

Many people are taught to fear anger. While it's not a good idea to walk around expressing your anger to anyone you encounter, finding constructive ways to channel your emotions is key. For example:

  • Walk away from heated arguments for a cooling-off period. When you return, you'll be able to handle the situation in a calm and rational manner. 
  • Use deep breathing and meditation techniques to calm down so you can objectively evaluate the situation and consider the other person's point of view. 
  • When you need to discuss what's bothering you, stick to the specific incident at hand. Bringing up someone's past mistakes is a surefire way to escalate a tense situation. 
  • Find alternative ways to express anger, such as writing in a journal, drawing, playing a musical instrument, or channeling your emotions through exercise. 
  • Reevaluate your personal relationships. When we grow as people, sometimes we drift from former friends. If someone doesn't support your journey to sobriety and your efforts to enhance mental well-being, ask yourself if they still deserve a place in your life. 
The Journal of Addictive Disorders (JAD) points out that many people who struggle with substance abuse issues also suffer from untreated depression. Even though the public perception of depressed individuals is that they're sad, withdrawn, and prone to tearful outbursts, depression often manifests itself as a struggle to control anger. Antidepressant medication and counseling to address the factors contributing to depression can result in a more balanced outlook.

Treating a Dual Diagnosis
When a patient suffers from addiction and depression, he or she is said to have a dual diagnosis. To promote a lasting recovery, recovery needs to focus on addressing both issues. Coast to Coast Recovery specializes in treating depression and other mental health conditions that can accompany addiction, offering personalized care as well as a range of post-treatment options. Call 1-800-210-8229 to learn more.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

5 Money Management Tips for Recovering Substance Abusers

Recovery means more than just getting sober. Often, a recovering substance abuser needs to work on developing stronger money management skills after addiction has led to job loss, credit card debt, or savings depletion. As you begin repairing your finances and restoring your financial future, remember these important tips:

1. Hold yourself accountable. In the early days of rehab, it's smart to maintain close contact with your recovery sponsor. Ask him or her to check in on you after each payday to make sure you're staying on track financially. If you have a trusted friend or family member who is willing to help, ask them to monitor your finances as well.

2. Don't use shopping as a reward. During the early stages of sobriety, individuals may find themselves seeking thrills in the form of reckless spending on designer clothes, expensive restaurant meals, or other non-essentials. Put yourself on a strict budget for all of your discretionary spending, and leave credit cards at home so you aren’t tempted to use them.

3. Remove unnecessary temptation. If you're worried that having unlimited access to money will make it difficult to resist the urge to use again, set up automatic payments for your monthly bills. Find out if your employer allows you to auto-draft a portion of your check directly into a separate savings account. Keep the savings account at a bank across town with no debit card or ATM access.

4. If you're in debt, seek help. Being in debt creates stress and anxiety that may trigger an urge to relapse. If you're struggling financially, don't be afraid to seek help from a professional who can work with you to get back on track. Depending on your circumstances, bankruptcy or repayment plans may be recommended to give you a fresh start.

5. Focus on your future. When you're recovering from addiction, you are just thinking about making it through the day. A lasting recovery requires you to focus on building a brighter future. Come up with financial goals for yourself, such as saving for a well-deserved vacation, a new car, or home improvements. Saving for a specific purpose helps hone your newfound ability to take control of your life. 

Coast to Coast Recovery knows that getting sober is a daily battle. We offer a wide range of post-treatment support options, including extended care facilities and outpatient support groups. Call 800.210.8229 to learn more.

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Our goal is to help you get it right the first time, so you or your loved one can achieve lasting sobriety. This is largely dependent on selecting the best match for you and your circumstances.

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While we specialize matching you with the right program, it is critical that you own your decision to get help. To ensure that this happens, we (1) present our recommendations, (2) give you the opportunity to ask questions and address concerns, and (3) give you time to weigh the options. Why? Because choosing a program that suits your lifestyle and personal values increases the chances that you’ll achieve sustained sobriety.

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Admissions into our centers can happen quickly - even on the same day. Many clients and families are concerned about navigating this process. Don’t worry, we will handle that for you.

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As your program comes to an end, Coast to Coast addiction professionals help you take the next step into aftercare and beyond. Stressful lifestyles, co-occurring conditions, and dysfunctional family situations act as relapse triggers, so it’s critical that you develop a detailed plan for life after rehab.

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