BROADWAY TREATMENT CENTER

Archive for December, 2018

Fentanyl Is Now The Most Dangerous Drug In The United States

Posted on: December 27th, 2018 by

A majority of the substances fueling this health crisis are 100% legal. However, one opioid has been leaving a trail of suffering people and dead bodies in its destructive path: fentanyl. Responsible for the death of musicians Prince and Tom Petty, has risen to become a national crisis, afflicting hundreds of thousands of Americans and, recently rising to a new level of infamy. According to federal health officials, fentanyl is now the most dangerous drug in the United States.

How Fentanyl Became a National Pandemic

Over the past decade, the United States has suffered through a nationwide opioid epidemic. Despite attempts to help people suffering from abuse and addiction, the problem only seems to be picking up speed. In 2015 alone, an estimated 2 million U.S. residents were living with an opioid painkiller addiction, while an additional 117,000 people died from opiate overdoses.

Though the drug has been in use for years, this is the first time that fentanyl has received the title of America’s deadliest drug. Heroin previously held the title, but as the number of deaths caused by fentanyl rose by 113% from 2013 to 2016, fentanyl asserted its deadly dominance in America.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 63,000 U.S. residents died as a result of drug overdoses in 2016 alone averaging to nearly 175 deaths every day. The percentage of Fentanyl-related overdose deaths have skyrocketed from 2011 to 2016, rising from 4% to 29%. These vast increases reveal both the widespread use and the increased potency of this drug.

Something Is Rotten in America

Even as fentanyl became a nationwide pandemic, one its most significant threats come from its propensity to be mixed with other drugs and chemicals.

Dr. Holly Hedegaard, an injury epidemiologist at the National Center for Health Statistics and the lead author of a report into the fentanyl epidemic, stated that overdoses a rarely contained to one type of drug and that people who die from overdoses often have multiple drugs in their bodies.

“We’ve had a tendency to think of these drugs in isolation,” said Dr. Hedegaard.
“It’s not really what’s happening.”

According to Hedegaard, the public at large tends to consider the dangers of addictive substances independently without considering the potential pitfalls of the drugs when they’re combined. For example, 40% of people who died from a cocaine-related overdose also had traces of fentanyl in their bloodstreams, and combinations of fentanyl and heroin also caused a string of accidental deaths in America.

While treating fentanyl addiction in isolation will not stop the opioid crisis, it can have lasting impacts on those suffering. Though the pain caused by fentanyl has spread across the country, you don’t need to suffer alone. A welcoming and professional residential treatment program can provide the care you need if, like thousands of Americans, you are suffering from a fentanyl addiction.

Getting the Drug Addiction Treatment You Deserve

If you are struggling from a severe case of opioid abuse in California or know someone who is suffering through it, multiple resources are at your disposal. It is never too late to save your life or the life of a loved one. At Broadway Treatment Center in Huntington Beach, our addiction

treatment philosophy believes that each of our clients can find and foster ways to live happier and healthier lives. While temptation can be tricky to overcome, you can always overcome your

cravings for drugs and alcohol through a high-quality, integrated addiction recovery program.

 

The opioid epidemic may have personally affected you and your family, but it doesn’t need to define your entire life or your future. Our staff of trained rehabilitation and addiction experts are ready to guide you on your path toward recovery. If you are interested in our treatment programs, contact us today at (714) 443-8218 to take your first steps to a happier and healthier you.

Why Prisons Must do Better at Treating Opioid Addiction

Posted on: December 24th, 2018 by

In what’s being called a landmark decision, a federal judge in Essex County, Massachusetts ruled that a man facing jail time must be permitted to continue his treatment for opioid addiction. This was the first time a federal judge mandated prisons to continue an inmate’s opioid use disorder treatment. While the ruling was specific to 32-year-old Geoffrey Pesce’s situation, it has set a precedent that could have far-reaching consequences for addicts who are forced to discontinue treatment during incarceration.

The Prison System’s Lack of Opioid Addiction Treatment Options

Experts estimate that nearly a quarter of inmates suffer from opioid use disorder. Yet out of 5,100 facilities in the US, only 30 jails offer methadone or buprenorphine, which are proven to effectively treat opioid addiction.

In most US prisons, inmates who are addicted to opioids must go through the painful withdrawal process unassisted. Opioid withdrawal includes flu-like symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, dehydration, fever, pain and vomiting, and while withdrawal itself do

esn’t usually result in death, symptoms like dehydration have killed several inmates in recent years.

The real danger, however, waits outside prison walls. Once an opioid addict gets back on the streets, the risk of overdose is high. After going through involuntary withdrawal, opioid users lose their tolerance for the drug; when they take their usual dose, the results can be fatal. The involuntary withdrawal process is traumatic, and many inmates continue to experience intense cravings throughout incarceration. An estimated 95 percent of untreated opioid addicts who go through the prison system return to drug use within three years of leaving jail, and one North Carolina study found that former inmates were 39 times likelier to overdose on opioids than the general population.

The Massachusetts federal judge found that the prison that attempted to deny Geoffrey Pesce treatment was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and that its actions were comparable to denying a diabetic insulin. Experts are hopeful that the ruling will help change the attitude, still prevalent among prison administrators, that providing medically-assisted treatment (MAT) to opioid addicts is replacing one drug with another.

Despite the Evidence, Stigma Around Drug Rehab Persists

This attitude is baffling in light of the overwhelming evidence that medically assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addicts works, and works especially well in a prison setting. Providing methadone or Suboxone to incarcerated opioid addicts has been shown to reduce post-incarceration deaths by 61 percent in the case of Rhode Island, which is the only state to offer all addiction treatment options to inmates. MAT has also been shown to reduce the risk of former inmates reoffending once released. And anecdotally, prison officials have noted that introducing addiction treatment options has made for a better environment in prisons.

Needless to say, stigma around drug addiction persists in our society, but nowhere is it more evident than in the prison system. One official stated that “The best way to not get addicted to opioids is to never use them,” and other officials have expressed reluctance to replace one drug with another, which shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the treatment method itself.

Concerns Over Logistics Are Costing Lives Amidst the Opioid Crisis

The main objections to MAT that prison officials voice are logistical: inmates would have to be closely watched to ensure they actually take the medication, additional training would be needed for staff administering MAT, inmates would have to be escorted somewhere to take their prescription and precautions would have to be in place ensure the drugs are not sold on the black market. To be sure, these are valid concerns and logistical hurdles that prisons will need to overcome.

However, prisons have a duty of care to inmates that is not currently being met. Support staff have training to administer insulin and inmates with cancer receive treatment (though the quality of prison health care in some states has been disputed). The logistical concerns are not insurmountable, and are a small price to pay for helping to abate the opioid crisis and save lives. When treatment was made available for opioid-addicted inmates in Rhode Island, statewide overdose deaths dropped by 12 percent. This is no surprise given that opioid users are 13 times more likely to come into contact with the criminal justice system. The prison system must not underestimate its vital role in addressing America’s opioid crisis.

The Prison System’s Role in the Cycle of Addiction

In the current state of affairs, the prison system plays a central role in the cycle of addiction that ensnares many opioid users. As money runs out and desperation sets in, opioid addicts often resort to crime to pay for their addiction. They land in prison, stay for an involuntarily detox, and then they’re released and often relapse due to lack of support and proper treatment. Once an addict is caught in the prison system, minor infractions can carry a jail sentence, and the cycle repeats itself until an overdose occurs.

But instead of perpetuating the cycle of addiction, the prison system could be instrumental in breaking it. When incoming inmates are identified as opiate addicts, MAT and even therapy could be administered. And once they’ve served their time, providing addicts with MAT and inpatient or outpatient treatment program options would drastically lower the odds of relapse and recidivism. The recent ruling in Massachusetts is cause for optimism, but it’s only the start of the changes that need to be made to ensure incarcerated addicts get the treatment they need.

Broadway Offers Orange County Families a Way Forward

If you’re struggling with opioid use or substance-related legal issues, you deserve a chance to recover. Broadway Treatment Center offers a Jail Diversion Program as an alternative to incarceration for drug-related offenses. We are located in Southern California, but able to accept jail diversion clients from all over the nation. At Broadway, you’ll have the chance to recover in a safe environment with a personalized combination of one-on-one counseling, group therapy, family counseling, and continuing care.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you get – and stay – sober.

Meth Addiction Is A Public Health Emergency

Posted on: December 18th, 2018 by

In recent years, conversations around addiction usually focus on the devastation that opioid use is causing, or, more recently, the resurgence of alcoholism as a public health issue. These are of course urgent issues that deserve our attention, but while efforts have been focused on managing the opioid epidemic, meth addiction and the urgent need for increased access to meth rehab has quietly become a national crisis in its own right.

The numbers are grim. In 2017, 5.4 percent of Americans over the age of 12 had used meth in their lifetimes, and this number has remained steady in recent years. What hasn’t remained steady is the human cost of meth use: from 2008 to 2015, amphetamine-related hospitalizations soared by 245 percent and an estimated 10,000 Americans died from meth overdoses in 2017.

Dueling Crises: Methamphetamine and Opioids

Law enforcement and medical professionals warn that the resurgence of meth is not getting the attention or resources it merits. Due to the current focus on combating the opioid crisis, one researcher observed that, “meth has been completely overshadowed by opioids.”

The unfortunate reality is that there are finite resources to fight addiction, and meth just isn’t on many lawmakers’ radars. Those on the front lines are sounding the alarm: “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t see someone acutely intoxicated on methamphetamine,” one California emergency room doctor reported.

Though meth and opioids are being pitted against one another in a fight for attention and resources, they are actually interconnected. Local authorities are finding that many street drugs, including meth, are now cut with fentanyl, which causes the majority of overdose deaths among opioid users.

Some meth users are also dabbling in heroin, and as the crackdown on opioids progresses, more opioid users are turning to meth because it’s cheaper and more widely available. The overlap between meth and opioids signals a need for a more comprehensive strategy to combat drug use, as users don’t always stick to one substance and street drugs are often mixed.

Mexican Superlabs Are America’s Main Meth Supplier

During the meth crisis of the 1990s and early 2000s, addicts began making their own meth, putting themselves and others in danger. But after lawmakers placed a restriction on substances used to make methamphetamine, the crisis abated for a time.

However, where there is a gap in supply, bad actors will always emerge to fill it. The majority of the meth in the US now comes from Mexican “superlabs.” Drug cartels then smuggle it across the border and distribute it in the southern states and all the way to Oregon, where meth-related deaths are skyrocketing.

Law enforcement officials are fighting the rise in meth trafficking by seizing meth at highway stops, but judging by its availability on the streets, a lot more is getting through. United States Customs and Border Protection reports that the amount of meth that has been seized has tripled in the past five years. But the drug cartels are winning: meth is now selling for as little as $5 a hit, and it’s more potent than ever.

The Human Cost of Cheap Meth

Meth can cause a terrifying array of health issues, including tooth decay, psychosis, brain damage, and rapid weight loss. It disrupts users’ lives by causing them to behave erratically and sometimes violently, and it tears families and communities apart. Researchers have recently highlighted a few specific trends that exhibit the human cost of meth use.

Heart Failure

The American Heart Association recently reported that meth causes severe congestive heart failure; doctors are seeing a rise in patients with meth-related heart failure, and these patients tend to be young. Congestive heart failure is usually seen in older patients, but meth users as young as 30 have the condition.

Meth Use Among Pregnant Women

Meth use is becoming more common among pregnant women. A study found that in 2015, 82,000 deliveries were impacted by amphetamine use disorder. Meth use during pregnancy increases the maternal mortality rate: expectant mothers who continue to use the drug are at a higher risk of cardiac arrest, death during or after delivery and seizure. Fetuses carried by meth users are at risk of losing oxygen supply or being born prematurely.

Mass Incarceration

In cities where meth proliferates, mass incarceration is close behind. In an attempt to keep afloat, some meth users begin to sell the drug; when they are caught, they face lengthy prison sentences. In Oklahoma, which has some of the highest rates of meth use in the country, more than twice the national average of women are incarcerated. Some treatment programs are available as an alternative to prison, but too many female meth users are being separated from their families without getting the treatment they need.

More Treatment, Less Punishment

Increased legislative focus, more support for addicts and research on treatment methods are all necessary to improve the situation of people struggling with meth addiction. A discussion about how different addictions intersect with each other is also long overdue: medical experts are warning that since drug users tend to switch drugs or use more than one substance at once, a broader focus on addiction is necessary when drafting policies and developing treatment plans.

If You’re Struggling with Meth Use, We Can Help

Meth addiction is insidious and intense, but there is hope: with the right treatment, you can and will recover. You’ll need a facility that understands co-occurring addictions and mental health issues, and in the early stages of recovery from meth addiction, it’s important to have the supervision of trained medical professionals.

Broadway Treatment Center’s team of addiction experts can help you safely detox from meth. We offer unique services such as pet-friendly residential treatment, couples’ addiction treatment, jail diversion programs and holistic treatments like yoga, art and surf therapy. Your personalized treatment plan will address co-occurring addictions and mental health issues and enable you to develop healthy behavior patterns and improve overall health and wellness. To learn more about how we can help you get back on track to the life you want, contact us today.

Overdose Deaths Are Driving Down US Life Expectancy

Posted on: December 11th, 2018 by

As if the opioid epidemic wasn’t concerning enough, new studies paint a grim picture of the role of addiction in America’s social fabric at present, highlighting the pressing need for access to quality addiction treatment. A 9.6 percent increase in overdose deaths from 2016 to 2017 contributed to a lowered life expectancy for Americans, according to new statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Over 70,000 people died of overdoses in 2017, more than any other year in recorded history, and there was a 45 percent rise in overdoses caused by synthetic opioids like fentanyl. The increase in overdose deaths was less than the 21 percent jump seen from 2015 to 2016, but the fact that the death rate continues to rise shows that more action is urgently needed to address the opioid epidemic.

Fentanyl Overdoses Are Behind the Increase

The steep rise in fentanyl overdoses is driving the increase in drug overdose deaths. In 2013, 3,000 people died of fentanyl overdoses; in 2017, that number had risen to over 27,000. Experts point to the rise in fentanyl deaths as a main contributor in the decline of life expectancy for three years in a row.

Fentanyl users are often introduced to the drug through legal or fraudulent prescriptions before switching to heroin once their prescriptions ran out. Much of what is sold on the streets as heroin is actually just a blend of fentanyls, which are more potent and can more easily be misdosed and lead to death. Overdose rates are lower in states where heroin is instead mixed with fentanyl.

How Did We Get Here?

The opioid crisis originated in the 1990s when drugs like OxyContin, an opioid painkiller, were prescribed heavily after pharmaceutical companies assured that the medications were not addictive. Opioids were overprescribed for a long time, leading to addiction in patients and the selling of surplus medication to illicit sellers. As prescription rates have fallen, availability and consumption of street opioids such as heroin and fentanyl have increased.

Another factor fueling the epidemic is the increased availability of illicit drugs as distributors branch out to suburban and rural areas all over America, most notably in the Midwest.

Some speculate that the driving force of the crisis is partially social. The opioid crisis of the 1860s and 1870s is often regarded as a response to the ravages of the Civil War and the social changes industrialization brought; the current crisis could be seen as a response to the deindustrialization of America, as the opioid crisis has particularly affected towns “whose civic life was built around a factory or a mine.”

What Can Be Done?

Efforts to address the opioid crisis have been largely focused on reining in prescriptions, funding painkiller research to find opioid alternatives and making it more difficult to get fentanyl across the border.

These are steps in the right direction, as is the recent allocation of a few billion dollars to fund addiction treatment and other public health services, but to adequately address a crisis of today’s proportions, it’s likely that tens of billions of dollars will need to be spent.

The stigma around addiction may be slowly fading, but this disease still is not treated with the same urgency and medical interventions as other serious illnesses are. Here are some key areas that need to improve for the epidemic to be effectively addressed.

Make Medication-Assisted Treatment Available

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has been shown to reduce mortality rates in addicts by at least 50 percent. And yet, a majority of treatment centers simply do not offer MAT as an opioid addiction treatment option. The medical community has been slow to accept MAT as a viable treatment method, with some arguing that the practice only serves to replace one drug with another. However, the therapy is slowly but surely being increasingly accepted as research continues to demonstrate high success rates.

Improve Standards of Care

As the proliferation of unethical treatment centers in Southern California has shown, the standard of care for addiction treatment is nowhere near where it should be. Only one in four opioid addicts received treatment in the past year, and though not all opioid users seek treatment, those who do are often uninsured or face long wait times to get into rehab facilities. And if they do get into rehab, their success often depends on the quality of the facility. Unfortunately, many facilities do not measure up due to lax regulation.

Integrate Addiction Treatment Into the Medical System

Despite advancements in the acceptance of addiction as a legitimate medical condition, the medical community has been slow to offer treatment. Many doctors don’t feel qualified to treat addiction, and some still blame patients for their addictions. It’s simply unconscionable that in the wake of an overdose crisis, doctors aren’t being trained to screen for and treat addiction with evidence-based techniques as they were during the HIV/AIDS crisis and Ebola and Zika outbreaks.

Make Naloxone More Widely Available

Naloxone is a drug that blocks the effects of opioids and can effectively treat an overdose. It is slowly being made more available to doctors and patients, but many US drugstores still don’t carry naloxone.

Address the Root Causes of Addiction

When mental illness is masked by addiction, getting treatment can be that much harder. In 2014 about 7.9 million people in the US had both a substance use problem and a mental illness. For these people, receiving the proper treatment for both conditions is essential, but the diagnosis and treatment of co-occurring disorders is much more complex and rare.

Getting The Help You Need

If you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid addiction, you should know that you have options. At Broadway Treatment Center, we want our clients to recognize that it is possible to live a fulfilling life without the use of drugs or alcohol.

We’re known for our award-winning detox program and dual-diagnosis addiction treatment plans, which benefit clients who are struggling with both addiction and mental health concerns. Our highly trained and certified addiction experts will work with you to develop a personalized treatment strategy that meets your unique needs. If you’re ready to leave opioids behind and start living your best life, contact us today to find out how we can help.

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Posted on: December 5th, 2018 by

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an addiction treatment method that’s been steadily gaining ground in recent years. However, MAT has divided the medical community and public, some of whom see it as a crutch rather than a vital part of a holistic treatment plan; media conversations around MAT have signaled that addiction is not yet completely accepted as a life-threatening medical condition.

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment is the use of pharmaceutical drugs as part of a holistic treatment plan for addiction. MAT takes into account the complicated nature of substance use and addiction treatment, and is used in combination with behavioral therapy and other methods. MAT takes into account that addiction has both psychological and physiological elements, and by law, MAT must be used in conjunction with counseling and other forms of therapy.

Stigma and Misinformation About Medication-Assisted Treatment

There is no shortage of misinformation about MAT, which may deter patients struggling with addiction from asking for it to be included in their treatment plans. This is a shame: studies have shown that medically assisted treatment can decrease addiction-related deaths by half or more. Yet only half of private opioid treatment centers offer MAT, and in the centers that do offer it, only a third of patients are treated using MAT.

The medical community has come a long way in embracing MAT. The World Health Organization supports MAT as a valid treatment option for opioid addiction, affirming that “diverse treatment options are needed, including psycho-social approaches and pharmacological treatment,” and the US Government in partnership with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prioritized providing guidance and support to the development of MAT solutions.

Part of the initial reluctance to embrace MAT as a viable treatment option came from stigma: addicts are often expected to use willpower to overcome addiction, and viewed as weak when they need more than faith-based 12-Step programs to do so. These programs are a wonderful option that work for many, but every patient is different, and, as one doctor points out, “A lot of people on board with the 12-steps think that if you use MAT, you’re just substituting one drug for another.” Doctors are increasingly concerned about the lack of science-based addiction treatment options, and see the proven success of MAT as an important advancement in this area.

How Does MAT Work?

MAT works by using FDA-approved drugs to help patients end their dependence on illicit opioids. After the dangerous detox and withdrawal period has ended, patients are prescribed maintenance medications that mimic the effects on the brain of the drug of choice, but do not cause physical or mental impairment. Patients can also be prescribed drugs like naltrexone that block the pleasurable effects of drugs like alcohol or opioids, resulting in less need for these substances.

The medications used in MAT work by helping to regulate brain chemistry and physiological functions to help recovering addicts feel more in control of their bodies and minds. The duration of treatment depends on the patient: some will take medication for a few weeks, while others will continue for life. MAT must be extensively personalized to fit the patients’ needs and take into account factors like how long they’ve been using, any co-occurring mental or physical conditions, drug of choice and the extent of physical and emotional dependency.

Which Substance Use Disorders Can MAT Treat?

MAT is gaining visibility as an evidence-based option for the treatment of opioid use disorders, but it can also be used for alcohol use disorder and nicotine addiction.

MAT for Opioid Use Disorder

MAT can help treat addictions to street opioids like heroin, as well as other common opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and codeine. There are three medications commonly used to treat opioid use disorder:

  • Methadone: Methadone helps with withdrawal and cravings by making the brain think that it’s still getting the drug of choice. There’s no high with methadone, and also no withdrawal, so the patient feels normal throughout.
  • Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine works similarly to methadone, and it’s available for prescription or in physicians’ offices, which makes it more accessible.
  • Naltrexone: Naltrexone blocks the euphoric effects of opioids and some other substances, ensuring that if a patient relapses, they won’t get the same effect from their drug of choice that they used to.

MAT for Alcohol Use Disorder

MAT can be used for treatment of alcohol use disorder (AUD), though it’s especially important that these drugs be part of a comprehensive treatment plan, as they do not cure alcoholism.

  • Naltrexone: Naltrexone treats alcohol use disorder the same way it treats opioid use disorder: to block the euphoric effects of alcohol.
  • Disulfiram: Disulfiram causes intense physical discomfort if alcohol is consumed.
  • Acamprosate: Acamprosate can help recovering addicts by reducing the need to drink.

MAT for Nicotine Addiction

MAT can also be used to treat those with nicotine use disorders. The most commonly prescribed drugs are bupropion and varenicline, both of which help to reduce nicotine cravings.

Is MAT Right for You?

A good candidate for MAT is committed to recovery and willing to comply with all prescription instructions. MAT is not right for everyone, and an open and honest discussion with your doctor is mandatory to

determine which course of treatment best fits your needs. If you’ve been addicted for less than a year, if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, if you have a co-occurring addiction or if you have a serious physical or mental health condition, you may not be a candidate for MAT.

Broadway Treatment Center Can Help

If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, you deserve to get help. Broadway Treatment Center provides a holistic approach to addiction treatment, treating both the physical symptoms and also going deeper in therapy to address underlying causes.

We strongly believe that there is more than one way to provide addiction recovery services, and we work with our patients to create a personalized treatment plan that complements their strengths and weaknesses. If you’re ready to get help, please contact us today to find out how we can put you on the road to recovery.

How Do Drugs and Alcohol Effect Feelings and Emotions?

Posted on: December 3rd, 2018 by

What are feelings and emotions?

Why do I feel alone, afraid, happy, or sad?

By definition, a feeling is an emotional state or reaction. “a feeling of joy.” Sometimes a feeling can come as a belief, especially a vague or irrational one. “He had the feeling that he was being watched.” Feelings can be a result of things you picked up on as a child, or even things you learned through regular life lessons. These feelings always have a trigger.

When I first came to detox, and began my journey of recovery, I suffered with severe anxiety. Before understanding myself better, I suffered from social anxiety, which in turn led to me not wanting to speak out about the problems I was having. I tend to bottle my emotions up, because I don’t want to burden someone else with my problems. I also don’t want to feel embarrassed, or suffer from being denied for my feelings.

Drugs, Alcohol, And my Feelings

What are the effects that Drugs and Alcohol have on my feelings?

Humans are seldom aware of the feelings and emotions they have. Feelings are misunderstood, and very unappreciated. Feelings and emotions are normally associated with drinking and drug abuse. We use these chemicals to numb our feelings and emotions. Whether its childhood trauma, or simply trying to get more social at a party or event.

The chemicals I would use temporarily allowed me to function in ways I couldn’t due to my fears, and anxiety.
Before I came to treatment, I never would have thought that maybe I was trying to cover up my feelings and emotions. I would have honestly told you I was a victim of circumstance, and that drugs and alcohol were my issue. Take those out of my life, and help me get on my feet, and everything would be fine.

What’s wrong with numbing my feelings? Is drugs and alcohol really my problem? Can’t I just go to a Drug and Alcohol detox and get right back on with life?

This may sound like a perfect solution to every day life. The truth is, it only makes things worse. Once that drink or drug wears off, it only leads us to craving more of that substance. Or very frequently causes us to seek harsher drugs. Those feelings come rushing back in, and we begin to feel those uncomfortable feelings more than before.

My first realization of this truth is when I started working my 12 steps in A.A. As I stated before, I thought drugs and alcohol were my problem. Being unaware of how life worked, I figured once I get through detox and the withdrawals, everything would be fine. I thought I could live a normal life. I began realizing that I had a lot of negative thoughts, which were very present when my mind cleared up. Finally, I had come to the realization that all of my emotions were being blocked. Not just the negative ones.

What happens when I use drugs and alcohol to numb my feelings and emotions?

As author and researcher Dr. Brene Brown explains, “We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.
When people use alcohol and drugs in an abusive way, they are not only blocking out the pain, hurt, and fear. They’re also blocking out any sense of joy, or happiness they could feel in their life. When they do this, they can also start losing their process of decision making. Lack of connectivity to others, and lack of fear of consequences, can lead us to do some pretty stupid things.

At this point I had lost everything and I just didn’t care, and was content with my life style. Once upon a time, I would live under bridges, end up in jail over and over again. I would steal, and lie, and was never aware of my actions, or the consequences they brought into my life. I would always say, “I am a victim of my circumstances.”

The best part is as soon as I came to terms

with all of this, I had a defense. Cognitive behavioral therapy, and working my 12 steps brought me to an understanding of why I continue to drag myself down. After working the steps, I now realize I was drinking, and getting high because I was covering up my feelings and emotions.

Managing your emotions, and changing the way I react

How can I manage my feelings of anxiety, and fear?

There are multiple forms of therapy that are designed to help you understand, and react differently to feelings or emotions. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It’s most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems. When we learn to recognize a thought or feeling, we can then come to terms with it, and find a solution.

How can I recognize my feelings, and find a solution?

There are a lot of different ways we can go about finding a solution to a negative thought or feeling. When we work the steps of A.A., we begin to trust in our higher power to direct us to react differently. Through CBT we learn positive and negative ways to react.

  • Recognize the emotion.
  • Understand what triggers that emotion, and why.
  • Establish a plan of action to counter that emotion.

Getting out of my comfort zone was the best decision I ever made. Overcoming a fear of rejection, and denial can be a very hard thing to do. Once I came to realization that it didn’t matter what people thought about me, I began to explore things in my life I never knew were possible. I finally understood that I do have a voice.

I finally understand that its not about who I’m trying to “impress.” Or what I’m trying to succeed at. Its about why I do things. I’m not speaking at a meeting to impress people, but to help people. This is just an example of a solution that I learned, and something that has helped me along my journey. Things like meditation, and prayer can also help you become more aware.

If you or a loved one is suffering from negative emotions like anxiety, fear, or depression, we can help you find a solution. Call us today at 714-443-8218.

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