Category: Addiction and Rehab News


How Our Relationships Can Change in Recovery

Substance addiction tends to disrupt close relationships, including those with family members, friends, and co-workers. During recovery, you might face the challenge of rebuilding some of these connections. It is a lot of work.

Meanwhile, you also need to initiate changes in certain relationships, such as with friends who have used substances with you in the past. Remember that your sobriety is a top priority now, which determines what kind of relationships you need to invest in.

Repairing Broken Relationships

If you have decided to rebuild some key relationships with family members who suffered hurtful experiences due to your addiction, be prepared for a lot of trust-building at first. Many people struggling with addiction lied to their families, and that has soured the trust. You need to invest time in mending these treasured relationships by showing true personal accountability and progress in recovery.

One key aspect of rebuilding family relationships is setting up healthy boundaries. This means that the dynamic of the relationship can and should change dramatically. You need to guard yourself against falling back to old habits, such as dishonesty or codependence. Explain what new boundaries you need to maintain sobriety, and ask your family to support you.

If you are a parent who has missed many years of your child’s growing up because of emotional absence, this task of rebuilding parent-child bonding also requires a lot of time and patience. Learn about your child’s experiences and feelings. Be open to communication about your recovery. Develop new hobbies that you can engage with your child. Live a healthy and active lifestyle to show your child that you are making positive changes.

Avoiding Unhealthy Relationships

There are certain relational dynamics that you need to watch out for or even avoid. First of all, you should avoid hanging out with friends who are using. This may sound difficult, but for the sake of your own sobriety, spending time with these friends who show no intention of abstinence may trigger a relapse. Remember how far you have come from that kind of lifestyle. Do not try to play savior to your friends. You need to work harder on solidifying your own sobriety first.

Equally important, you need to avoid toxic personalities and relationships during recovery. These personalities or relationships might show up in workplaces or at family gatherings. Finding yourself entangled in complex or unhealthy relationships can be very stressful. Your top priority for the present moment is to reduce the level of stress from social interactions. Workplace toxic interactions can also be a source of stress. You need to make wise changes to avoid getting deeper into these interactions.

Building Healthy New Relationships

It is not uncommon for recovering individuals to leave rehab with a smaller support system than they had before. During early sobriety, you can start making new friendships. It is actually beneficial for your emotional and mental health to explore new social connections. As human beings, we thrive with pleasurable social interactions. However, the need for sobriety should dictate who you befriend. Try to form new friendships with shared healthy and sober interests.

By now, you should have learned a lot about what makes healthy relationships. These are built upon mutual respect, healthy communication patterns, and they also involve kindness and caring. Prepare yourself to be that kind of friend. When you make new social connections, guide the relationship to focus on each other’s health and wellness.

Valuing the Health of Relationships

When building your relationships and social life after rehab, you should focus on the health of these relationships. Watch out for signs of relational toxicity, including interactions that dimmish your self-worth and self-image and behavioral patterns that perpetuate negativity. Meanwhile, you cannot make your new phase of socialization completely stress-free. At the end of the day, you need to learn how to de-stress from relational frustrations.

Reducing stress and relaxation is also a way to reconnect with yourself. Whether you have realized it or not, your relationship with yourself has also changed since rehab. You need to extend loving kindness to yourself first before you can live out that ideal externally. Your relationship with yourself is the foundation upon which all other relationships are built.

No matter what external relational challenges you encounter, there is always an internal approach you can cope with. First of all, refuse to consider yourself a failure. Be compassionate and gentle toward yourself. Do not blame yourself for your problems and mistakes. Accept responsibility for your problems and simply develop strategies to improve. Remember to lean on your recovery community for support, as they know the same principles well. With time, you will enjoy this exciting new phase of social exploration.

Do you find it challenging to transition back to socializing after achieving early sobriety? You are not alone in this. Many people find that their relationships have changed after coming back from rehab. When navigating this new phase, you need a strong support system. At Capo Canyon Recovery, near Mission Viejo, CA, we provide counseling and other aftercare programs with a holistic approach. Our team specializes in caring for both your physical health and mental health. Even after completing inpatient residential treatment, you can still stay connected to us by using our long-term outpatient care programs. While you are here, we provide excess comfort with an in-house chef, luxurious beds, and our own organic garden. You can rely on us to help your relationships prosper so you can gain their benefits while maintaining sobriety. Do not delay. Let us help you recover. Act now. Call us today at (800) 804-8714.


Tips for Staying Healthy During Recovery

If you or a loved one has completed addiction treatment, the next phase of transitioning to normal life can be a new beginning. However, now that your body has been detoxed of drugs and alcohol, how do you stay healthy and maintain sobriety from here on out? There are a few basic building blocks to your overall health, and you should make them the foundation of a balanced lifestyle.

A Healthy and Balanced Lifestyle in Recovery

Do you know the secret to staying sober? The answer is a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Daily activities keep your body and mind nourished and energized, so you do not need to go back to the old habits of using drugs and alcohol. Physical recovery is a vital part of your journey, and it is important to lay a solid foundation for these lifestyle changes.

Lifestyle refers to how you live your life in various aspects, including diet, work, hobbies, and sleep habits. People with substance addiction tend to gradually shift into a chaotic lifestyle. They consume less food or more processed food, pay little attention to their appearances, rarely exercise, and experience sleep loss. That lifestyle is very unhealthy because the preoccupation with drugs and alcohol has consumed all their attention and energy.

These old habits may still linger in recovery, although you no longer use drugs or alcohol. What these unhealthy habits do to your body and mind is cause continued malnourishment and a lack of balance in life’s rhythm. Detoxing the harmful substances from your body’s system is one step, but it may take longer for the brain and your lifestyle to readjust to a balanced state.

Maintaining a Well-Nourished, Active Lifestyle

First of all, you need to make sure your body takes in enough nutrients it needs. Substance addiction may have already done damage to your physical health. You need to follow a balanced diet regimen to get the body’s systems in sync with healthy eating. Try to stay away from processed fast food if that is your old habit. Consider working with a nutritionist referred by your recovery treatment center. Follow through on this nutritionist’s recommendations.

The importance of good nutrition also lies in the fact that it helps decrease symptoms of depression or anxiety which often accompany recovering individuals. There have been scientific studies showing that certain foods can improve mood. What you eat every day can affect your emotional and mental health. Certain foods may also improve your immune system and the functioning of key organs that were previously damaged by substance addiction.

It goes without saying that a healthy and balanced lifestyle is also an active lifestyle. You should grow into a daily routine of active exercises, including walking, running, aerobics, cardio, swimming, or hiking. Physical exercises in a natural environment can best improve your mental health. Even slow movements like yoga can also help your body reduce stress and increase energy. All these benefits are essential for preventing relapse.

Developing a System of Personal Accountability

You need to be responsible for how your actions impact your health from now on. You can find ways to set up a system of self-monitoring and tracking to stay vigilant. For example, keeping a recovery journal may serve the purpose of tracking progress. It is also a good way to articulate and manage emotions. If you continue to keep daily journal entries, you can look back every month to see how much progress you have made.

Other new routines like talking to your sponsor or concerned family members about your progress are also helpful to keep yourself accountable. The danger is to hide your struggles and deal with stress all by yourself. When you are alone on this journey, it is more likely that you may lose alertness. Keeping yourself in an open space for safe and supportive communication can help you build positive momentum.

Managing Stress by Relaxation Techniques

A healthy and balanced lifestyle is marked by breaks and relaxation. Keeping a recovery regimen can be hard work. Sometimes you may need to just relax a bit. Find some sober activities to distract yourself from the pressure of always keeping up with progress. Develop some new hobbies or simply spend an afternoon wandering at your favorite museum or park.

When you feel tense or stressed, learn to use meditation and mindfulness techniques to help you relax. Deep breathing can help clear the mind and renew the spirit. Loving-kindness meditation is another way to nurture an attitude of gratitude toward life. It is never too late to pick up these exercises and connect with yourself. With enough time, this new lifestyle can become part of your daily comfort zone.

Now that your body has been detoxed of drugs and alcohol, do you know how to stay healthy and maintain your sobriety? There are a few basic building blocks to your overall health, and you should make them the foundation of your new and balanced lifestyle. For better results and sustainable progress, you can work with experienced therapists who can coach you. At Capo Canyon Recovery, near Mission Viejo, CA, we have a professional team of health experts who help clients at each stage of recovery, both in terms of physical health and mental health. We provide excess comfort during your sobriety journey with an in-house chef, luxurious beds, and an onsite organic garden. With Capo Canyon Recovery, you can rely on us to help you achieve long-term sobriety and a healthy lifestyle. Want to work with coaches so that you can start building healthy habits? Call today us at (800) 804-8714.


Find Yourself Having Fun in Recovery

Substance use is often associated with a fast-paced and chaotic lifestyle. Recovery can also seem dull and restricted to some people. This misperception has been a common reason why many people resist entering into treatment. The truth is, you are encouraged to have fun during recovery as long as you are engaging in sober activities. Fun and relaxing things are actually important components of self-care.

Redefining Fun and Relaxing Activities

Having “fun” is a general statement to describe being in a good mood. People with substance addiction may think that using substances is fun because they allow you to feel high. However, long-term negative effects of drugs and alcohol have deprived many people of truly living independent lives. Life with substance addiction is inevitably chaotic and stressful because the brain is constantly stimulated by external chemicals. The “fun” moments are artificially generated and harmful to the body.

Human beings naturally long for fun and pleasure. When we hang out with good friends, taste good food, watch a good movie, or visit interesting places, the brain releases dopamine, a “feel-good” chemical. Your emotional and mental health get boosted. There are many natural and sober ways to have this kind of healthy fun in life. Health professionals actually encourage recovering individuals to carve out time for this kind of sober fun. After you complete treatment, do not go back to working without relaxing and having fun because that will put you under stress, which triggers relapse.

Learn to Relax and Connect With Life

Many working professionals are so preoccupied with work that they cannot afford the time to slow down, relax and do something fun. Overworking can also lead to substance addiction because the latter becomes a way of self-medication to deal with stress. Working professionals need to build a balance of fun and relaxation into their life so that their emotional and mental health are not undermined.

When recovery stops your previous busy and chaotic lifestyle, it is time to consider living differently. Think about what kinds of activities might bring you joy. Maybe you have always wanted to visit certain places or go camping. Join your sober friends on their kayaking tours. Nurture new hobbies such as baking or photography so that you can enjoy creating something again. The bottom line of having real fun is to avoid substances and enjoy natural ways of relaxation.

The Fun of Socializing

One misconception some people have about addiction recovery is that sober people are too lonely to have fun because they get to only hang out with certain boring folks now. The truth is, getting sober does affect who you socialize with and how you go about doing that. People with addiction tend to think that drugs and alcohol help them socialize. Without substances, they have no idea how to socialize.

However, there is nothing lonelier than being caught in the spiral of substance addiction. You actually do not have a lot in common with friends who are also using substances other than drugs and alcohol themselves. That kind of shallow socializing deprives you of building truly meaningful connections and relationships.

In recovery, socializing with sober friends and building relationships offer more fulfillment. When you open up to somebody, or when that person confides in you, that is what human beings consider satisfying. You feel more connected to others in a deeper and more authentic way because you are sharing the real self. Joining a hobby club and creating something together allows you to enjoy the good feeling of creativity.

You Should Not Feel Guilty for Having Fun

Recovery takes a lot of hard work, but it is not all work. Some people have felt the shame of their past addiction that they want to put a lot of serious work into making things right again. If that is the case with you, you need to first practice self-forgiveness. Then you have the chance to re-explore who you are and what the world offers. Addiction recovery allows you to become a child again with curiosity about things around you.

Recovery can and should be fun because this is a new beginning. You can choose a different lifestyle with healthy food, routines, and hobbies. Health professionals have coached you to listen to your body. Have you realized that sometimes a burst of good laughter can be powerful in resetting your mood? Having fun and enjoying fun activities can help get the brain back on the right track. Recovery can be sustainable only when it is also fun.

You can have fun during recovery. You can choose a different lifestyle with healthy food, routines, and hobbies. If you don’t know how to relax and enjoy this phase of life, maybe you should consider working with trained therapists to help you transition to a joy-filled recovery. At Capo Canyon Recovery, near Mission Viejo, CA, we embrace a holistic approach to sustainable and long-term recovery. Our methods are incremental in a satisfying recovery and feeling of overall wellness. No matter what stage you are in, we care for your physical health and mental health. Our inpatient residential care and outpatient, long-term care programs offer unmatched benefits. We provide excess comfort with an in-house chef, luxurious beds, and an onsite organic garden during your sobriety journey. With Capo Canyon Recovery, you can rely on us to help you relax and have fun while recovering. Do not let the hard work rob you of joy and hope. Call us at (800) 804-8714.


How to Be the Parent We Want to Be, in Recovery

Parenting in normal times is already challenging, and the challenges are only amplified when we add recovery into the equation. In addition to caring for your child’s growth, academic work, and social life, you also need to minimize the negative effects of your past substance use history on your child. Creating a stable home environment by rebuilding familial relationships is another aspect of parenting in recovery.

Communication to Children About Substance Use

If you have been in residential treatment for a while, your child might wonder about the reason for your absence at home. Instead of denying the problem, use this as a teachable moment to educate your child about how substance use can develop into a treatable disease. While your child does not need to know every detail of your recovery, you should take enough time to explain your situation in an age-appropriate manner. This also helps dispel some stigma related to addiction.

The importance of open communication in parenting cannot be over-emphasized. By speaking openly about your own challenges and sharing your vulnerabilities, you will gain a lot of trust from your child. This also encourages our children to share their feelings and thoughts with you. There is nothing more precious than keeping an open channel of communication with your child. They will learn how to express and manage emotions by sharing with the trusted people in their life.

Making Amends in Family Relationships

Addiction affects everyone in the home. When you achieve sobriety, invest time in repairing your relationships. When you take ownership of your past mistakes, including substance addiction and many related emotional issues such as anger, you are showing your family members that you are ready to start anew. Make sincere apologies to your family and children for the harm you have brought them while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Parenting can be easier if you have more stable relationships. Consider your spouse or co-parent, if you have one, as a key part of this new transition. Ask for help when you need a moment to destress from caring for your children. Explain how health professionals have coached you to prevent relapse by managing emotions and reducing stress. As parents or caregivers, if you can both prioritize your sobriety around the many challenges in the home, you will feel more supported on this journey toward recovery.

Rebuilding Healthy Boundaries in the Home

Substance addiction and parenting share one common challenge: maintaining healthy boundaries. Apart from your sobriety, this should be another guiding principle when you transition back to family life — for example, many parents in recovery like to overindulge their children because of guilt. However, a responsible parent should set limits to encourage healthy behaviors in children.

Disciplining your child is another area many parents find difficult. The key, again, is setting healthy boundaries and sticking with them. You should balance warm acceptance and rule-setting so that your children know how to take responsibility for their own behavior.

Integrate Self-Care Techniques Into Parenting

Maybe you have been so overworked before that you rarely took time for family activities. In recovery, you can slow down and rebuild your family life around meaningful and fun activities, including exercises, outdoor time, new hobbies, and arts and music. These align with what recovery specialists coached you on how to practice self-care. Building relaxation activities into family life can help create fun memories with your children. You will find this space very energizing too.

If your children are old enough, include them in your meditation and mindfulness exercises. Teach them to identify stress in daily life and use these techniques to relax the body and the mind. Explain to them that these activities help you recover. Also, consider getting involved in community service where you can give back to your neighborhoods.

Rely on a Strong Support System

In recovery, you still need to depend on an external support system as you are caring for your family. Surround yourself with sober friends who enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Attend your peer support groups regularly. Having external support can provide an extra outlet for venting about your challenges and frustrations with parenting when you need it. Exchanging advice with your sober peer group can help you become a better parent. There you will meet people who are in similar situations as yours.

Relapse prevention should always be a part of your ongoing recovery. With parenting responsibilities, stress may likely build into cravings. This is when you need to rely on trusted recovery experts you once worked with. Maybe begin outpatient therapy again to get through this challenging phase. Remember to be honest with your family and do not lie or hide your situation. Trust among family members is a foundational building block. With enough support, you will regain hope and motivation to press onward with recovery.

As you transition to family life after rehab, you still need to depend on an external support system. In your role as a parent, you especially need to keep up with relapse prevention measures. This is because parenting-related stress may likely build up until you are struggling with cravings. This is when you need to rely on the trusted recovery experts you once worked with. At Capo Canyon Recovery, near Mission Viejo, CA, we take pride in our holistic path, which is incremental to sustainable and long-term recovery. We focus on each stage of recovery, both in terms of physical health and mental health. Our inpatient residential care and outpatient, long-term care programs offer unmatched benefits. We provide excess comfort with an in-house chef, luxurious beds, and an onsite organic garden during your sobriety journey. With Capo Canyon Recovery, you can rely on us to help you achieve long-term sobriety. Call us at (800) 804-8714.


Nature Is Nurturing: How Nature Can Aid in Our Recovery

Have you ever enjoyed a walk in nature that leaves you re-energized? Many people get away from their busy lives by immersing themselves in a more natural setting, whether a remote cabin in the woods or just a hike in a park. Nature provides calmness and tranquility that is unrivaled during times of stress.

For people who are going through recovery from addiction, it is good to incorporate nature or outdoor therapy into their daily routines. Placing yourself in green spaces can restore your mental and emotional health while helping you feel connected to a bigger picture of delightful existence.

The Power of Nature Therapy

Healers and religious traditions around the world have long pointed to the healing power of nature. Many integrate the sight or sound of nature (e.g., running streams) into their meditative, immersive experiences. People who participate in nature therapy tend to have lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, and happier moods. Nature also presents signs of wonder and awe that distract from negative self-talk.

Nature’s healing power is almost too mystical to be explained. There are, of course, identifiable health-boosting elements such as natural light, fresh air, pleasant sounds, and uplifting stillness. These sharpen our sensations and help balance our body and mind. For people in recovery, spending time in nature can give a sense of renewal. Watching the sunrise brings hope for a new day. Seeing green leaves growing reminds us of the resilience of life.

Benefits to Physical and Mental Health

Outdoor time usually involves more active moving of the body than a sedentary lifestyle. Whether it is running, hiking, swimming, or skiing, exercise helps the brain increase the production of endorphins, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. For people who have achieved early sobriety, the time spent outdoors allows the brain to re-learn natural ways of finding pleasure.

Not everyone has easy access to green or blue spaces. Still, nature therapy also includes farming-related work, animal-assisted activities or playtime, adventures such as water rafting, wilderness experiences, and forest sensory observation. Some of these activities can be formally guided by trained therapists and counselors. With time constraints, you can also add small-scale nature therapy to your home and workplace. These include adding green plants, decorating with photographs of nature, or downloading apps of soothing nature sounds.

Nature therapy also boosts the immune system and regulates our biological clock. Feeling in sync with nature, we experience a boost in mental and emotional wellbeing. Even a short time spent outdoors can reduce stress levels and calm the mind. The awareness of our symbiotic relationship nature can be fulfilling and therapeutic in its own right.

Taking Nature Breaks for Your Health

Nature is never dull. There are different ways to integrate nature therapy into your daily recovery routines. For example, you can plant a rooftop or balcony garden, even if you live in the city. You may consider joining a community agriculture group and enjoy the company of other nature-lovers. You can stargaze outside on summer nights.

Mindfulness can be incorporated into nature-watching. Notice as many different species of plants and animals as you spend time outside in nature. Embrace a loving-kindness from nature to you. Affirm your own worth as part of Mother Nature. Be content with simply being.

Embrace A Broader Vision of Life

People with substance addiction tend to live in a narrower scope of life. The central focus is on acquiring and using substances for pleasurable effects. They often not only ignore family and friends but also what nature has to offer. Recovery grants them another lens through which to appreciate small and simple beauties in the surrounding environment. Appreciating these simple joys is a marker toward improved emotional and mental health.

Recovery is a unique opportunity to restore a natural rhythm in life. Consider the time you spend in front of a computer screen each day. With the global trend toward urban living, many of us are increasingly removed from our natural environment. Now, we need to intentionally get out into the natural world to enjoy these health benefits. Immersive experiences in nature help restore a sense of wholeness against the fragmenting trends of modern urban life.

Nature restores a sense of true happiness. For children and teens who are recovering from substance use, spending time in green space or with animals may help heal them from psychiatric disorders that co-occur with substance use. Connecting with the earth and its various beings can harmonize our internal system. We can humbly acknowledge and affirm our place in the entire ecosystem. This positive outlook may motivate your recovery progress.

Do you know the full spectrum of benefits from nature therapy? Many people know from experience that nature restores a sense of true happiness. For those who are recovering from substance use, spending time in green space or with animals may heal them from psychiatric disorders that co-occur with substance use disorder. At Capo Canyon Recovery near Mission Viejo, CA, we offer a tranquil environment with all the benefits of nature therapy. You can benefit from both our inpatient residential care and outpatient long-term care programs. With an in-house chef, luxurious beds, and an onsite organic garden, you will feel relaxed and begin healing here. Our team also serves gourmet food, made by our in-house chef, for you to enjoy. If you long for reconnecting with nature and with yourself, you will not find a better place than Capo Canyon Recovery. Call us at (800) 804-8714 today. A fresh beginning is here.


Substance Use Affects Us All

In 2021, the United States saw more than 100,000 overdose deaths, an increase of 28.5% from the year before. On the one hand, the substance addiction epidemic has impacted tens of thousands of American families. On the other hand, many people still attribute substance use to moral weakness and flawed character, a narrative blaming people with addiction for their disease.

Such continued stigmatization does not help curb this public health crisis but is likely to exacerbate it by creating barriers to treatment. Alleviating stigma means that more people are educated with knowledge about addiction and have compassion for those affected. Substance use affects us all, and we have an active role to play to educate and support our community.

Substance Addiction Is a Chronic Brain Disease

Drugs and alcohol are hard to quit because they have a gripping effect on the brain. Typically, the brain sends, receives, and processes information while activating the pleasure center to produce a “feel good” sensation when we engage in activities that have positive psychological effects. Eating healthy, hanging out with supportive friends, exercising, and spending time with loved ones can impact the brain’s pleasure center.

Addictive substances work similarly. They can release multiple times the amount of the brain’s usual pleasure chemical (also known as dopamine). Injected substances can exert pleasurable sensations immediately. This reward to the brain’s chemical pathways is so powerful that it often encourages users to repeat the experience. Gradually, infrequent substance use evolves into dependence and eventually addiction.

It is a widely shared understanding in the addiction recovery community that substance addiction is a chronic brain disease. Once an addiction to a certain substance takes hold, it becomes the dominating priority in a person’s life. This individual may invest more time and energy acquiring and using substances. The addictive patterns can become more and more difficult to break. Even when they want to quit, there are often severe withdrawal symptoms.

Addiction Controls Your Life and Disrupts Family Relationships

Many people buy into the myth that they have the freedom to choose when to quit substance use. But, the fact is, most long-term substance users lose control of their independent, sober life. While investing time and money into acquiring drugs or alcohol, they use less time for activities and hobbies that used to bring them pleasure. Some people lie to family and friends in order to get money and buy more drugs. Deception and lies almost always accompany long-term substance addiction.

Because addiction impacts one’s behavior negatively by causing fatigue, weight loss, and neglected appearances and compulsion, people with addiction may self-isolate. Many also struggle with keeping a regular routine of work and sleep. These all take a toll on their work or life in general. Professionals who are on addictive substances may perform poorly on their jobs. Teenagers may miss school entirely or run away from concerned family members.

Substance addiction also creates disturbances in the family because it leads to parental neglect, domestic violence, or abuse. Children who live with long-term substance-using parents are at higher risk of developing mental health issues or even substance use themselves in the future. Marriages may fall apart when one spouse becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol. Teen addiction also disrupts family life by a host of risky behavior.

Substance Addiction Treatable

After discussing all the above negative impacts of substance addiction, it is essential to emphasize that addiction is still a treatable disease, regardless of whether the condition is mild, moderate, or severe. The first step, however, is recognition of the problem. Ignoring or denying it can delay early opportunities for intervention.

At the beginning of an intervention, a medical professional will conduct a formal assessment of symptoms to identify if there is a substance use disorder (SUD). When designing a treatment plan, health professionals will consider a wide range of issues, including family history, trauma, and co-occurring medical and psychiatric conditions. Because addiction impacts the body and the mind, it takes a holistic and comprehensive approach to make sure that recovery can progress sustainably.

Key Principles of Addiction Treatment

Recovery specialists have found some fundamental principles to guide the successful treatment of substance addiction. A recovering individual and concerned family members need to understand that addiction is a complex but treatable brain disease. Because everyone is unique in his or her condition, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan. It takes time for health professionals and recovering individuals to work collaboratively towards a customized plan.

Generally speaking, people with long-term or severe substance addiction need to remain in treatment for a period of time. This allows for medically monitored detoxification and rebuilding of healthy routines. Medications are often used in combination with counseling and other behavioral therapies. Lastly, recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Because many recovering individuals also have co-occurring mental health issues, addressing all these needs can better prevent future relapses.

Do you know someone among friends and family who is struggling with substance addiction? Although addiction is so prevalent today, many people still hold prejudice against those who suffer from this health condition. Our society at large still needs to understand that addiction is a complex but treatable brain disease. From a recovery point of view, because everyone is unique in his or her condition, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan. It takes time for health professionals and recovering individuals to work collaboratively toward a customized plan. At Capo Canyon Recovery near Mission Viejo, CA, we have experience helping individuals and families heal from the impact of addiction. You can benefit from both our inpatient, residential care and outpatient, long-term care programs. With an in-house chef, luxurious beds, and an onsite organic garden, we’re here to help your body, mind, and spirit recover. Do not delay treatment. Reach out now. Call us at (800) 804-8714 today. 

Monochrome portrait. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

The Meaning of ‘Rock Bottom’ in Recovery

Many people describe their decision to begin treatment as having hit “rock bottom.” This phrase refers to the end of the road where a desperate situation makes one resolve to get well. It is a moment when some people finally realize the harm of substance addiction. A rock bottom situation may describe a mental breakdown, or a near-death overdose situation when they feel completely overwhelmed and broken.

The Necessary Moment of Awakening

Breaking down is sometimes the beginning of waking up to reality. When people with an addiction do not listen to advice and hit rock bottom, this can cause them to pause on their path to more self-destruction and have a moment of reflection on whether there are alternatives. This moment is when they decide to seek help.

It is true that many people hit rock bottom and even then, they don’t ask for help or decide to change. Many overdose deaths happen that way. With enough self-awareness, rock bottom can be avoided. Family and friends may detect signs of a person’s physical and mental deterioration and decide to intervene.

A rock bottom moment may also refer to a sober turning point in one’s decision to quit substance use. It does not need to be a desperate or dramatic event. Simply an internal shift in one’s outlook on life can serve as a moment of awakening. Over-emphasizing that you need to hit rock bottom before coming to a sober realization of the harm of addiction can be a dangerous narrative by itself.

Many Types of Rock Bottom

For people who have a substance addiction, the consequences are external and internal. The first category may include losing a job, family disintegration, financial insecurity, homelessness, legal issues, and social isolation. All of these events may be rock bottom for someone. Many people do end up realizing the harm of addiction and decide to begin treatment.

Some internal consequences can also be rock bottom for people. These include chronic depression, worsening mental health, a feeling of hopelessness and disconnection, and emotional breakdowns. These feelings can be as dramatic as external tragedies. In sum, hitting rock bottom is a personal experience that defies over-generalization.

No Need to Wait for Rock Bottom

It has become a myth in the field of recovery that one has to hit rock bottom before he or she seeks treatment. However, this is not a prerequisite for getting sober. Sometimes, family and friends can pull off a successful intervention before a person’s addiction progresses further. Some people may find any excuse to continue denialism, and using this “hitting rock bottom” rationale to justify continued substance use can be harmful.

As explained above, that turning point may look different for everyone. The journey of recovery is more demanding than just going through detox treatment. Even after one achieves sobriety after hitting rock bottom and beginning treatment, the danger of relapse is still there. Surviving rock-bottom moments do not make them immune to ongoing triggers in life.

Stages of Recovery From Addiction

Instead of using the myth of “hitting rock bottom,” experts in the field of recovery offer another way of looking at the process by stage. First, people who live in denialism and would not consider treatment are in the pre-contemplation stage when there is a lack of insight into the harmful impacts of substance use. Second, a change happens when they gain contemplative readiness in the contemplative stage. Still savoring pleasure from using substances, they are now more open to suggestions.

The next stage is characterized by a sense of urgency regarding one’s desire for sobriety. This preparation stage is vital because people’s agency has been awakened. Some take actions toward quitting or improving their lifestyle toward sobriety. There can be a reversal into stage two (contemplation) or stage one (pre-contemplation) before one finally decides to seek help from recovery professionals.

State five of addiction recovery is characterized by action. A person is committed to change and seeks external help to achieve sobriety. This is often when treatment begins. Medically monitored detoxification needs to be complemented by counseling and coaching of self-care techniques while individuals achieve early sobriety. Then, the most challenging phase is the maintenance stage when the risk of relapse is always present. Treatment centers design relapse prevention plans and expect clients to follow through.

The Importance of Maintenance and Aftercare

Substance addiction is a chronic disease that requires significant lifestyle changes to maintain sobriety. Complacency after the maintenance stage often proves risky. One needs to build a strong aftercare and support system to practice what they have learned during detox treatment. These include individual therapy, support groups, or outpatient treatment for ongoing mental health needs.

Aftercare may continue for months and even years after detoxification treatment. You can work with your treatment center to design a comprehensive aftercare plan which involves using resources in your local community and the support from family and friends.

Are you or a loved one struggling with a substance addiction that is related to mental health issues? You should not wait for a “rock bottom” moment before realizing the need for treatment. Early intervention is key to recovery. At Capo Canyon Recovery, near Mission Viejo, CA., we believe in providing a holistic approach to sustainable and long-term recovery. Our trained health care professionals have experience treating every stage of addiction. We know what our clients need, both in terms of physical health and mental health. Joining us for your recovery will ensure you benefit from both our inpatient residential care and outpatient, long-term care programs. With an in-house chef, luxurious beds, and an onsite organic garden, we offer comfort and support during your journey. At Capo Canyon Recovery, you can feel confident in our methods and your own strength. Start your journey with our experienced recovery experts today. Help is here. Call us at (800) 804-8714.


The Differences Between Opiates and Opioids

Although many people use the terms “opioids” and “opiates” interchangeably, they actually refer to different things. Opioids are chemical compounds that are synthesized or manufactured in the lab. Opiates are substances extracted or refined naturally from plant parts such as poppy sap and fibers. The distinction is between natural and synthetic. Heroin, for example, is classified as an opiate drug because it is made from morphine, a derivative product from the seeds of poppy plants.

It is important to note the commonalities and distinctions. For example, both opioids and opiates can be used medically as painkillers. They are also referred to as “narcotics” (sleep-inducing). Many prescription opioids (such as oxycodone, oxymorphone, and fentanyl) can block pain signals between the brain and the body. Meanwhile, they also make people feel relaxed or happy. Due to their euphoric effects, opioids are highly addictive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) categorizes natural opiates (such as opium, morphine, codeine, and thebaine) as one sub-category under opioids.

Opioid Addiction

People who use opioids and opiates can develop dependence in a relatively short period of time, often in two weeks. They function similarly in the body by binding to receptors in the brain’s central nervous system to boost pleasure and block pain signals, causing a sensation of euphoria. Both opioids and opiates can also be used illicitly, making them very accessible among teens and young people.

People who use opioids or opiates have a high risk of overdose, which happens when they take too high a dose and poison the body. It is widely known that opioid overdoses can be deadly. The signs of opioid or opiates overdose include vomiting, loss of speech, loss of consciousness, slow breathing, limp body, and skin turning blue or gray. For the past few years, opioids have become the leading cause of overdose deaths.

Detoxification and Maintenance

Although people who use opioids can develop an addiction quickly and experience severe withdrawal symptoms, it is still a treatable disease. To recover, they need medically monitored detoxification and a long-term prevention plan. The latter is critical because a large proportion of people who complete detox treatment for opioid use may relapse within a few months. When relapses happen, the chance of overdose is high. Therefore, it is crucial to focus on a long-term plan when treating someone with opioid use disorder.

The medical community has developed a wider range of available pharmacological tools for treatment compared with other drugs. However, the most challenging part is still to get people who use opioids to accept treatment. For example, the large majority of millions of opioid users in the United States are not receiving treatment. Among those who do accept treatment and complete detoxification, many experience relapse in the early recovery stage.

Long-term treatment methods using agonists such as methadone and buprenorphine face many obstacles such as government regulations and cost. On top of all these is social stigma.

Prevention Is as Important as Intervention

If you or a loved one is considering opioids as a painkiller option, it is important to get informed about the addictive effects and explore alternative options. In the United States, opioids are commonly prescribed for pain management. Even among health professionals, the prevention of opioid pain medication use has not been wide-reaching. Scientific research has identified high-risk prescribing practices among health care providers contributing to the ongoing opioid epidemic. These include high-dose prescribing, overlapping opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions, and extended-release opioids.

To prevent and reverse the damaging cycle of opioid misuse, society needs to pay more attention to this epidemic. Take school-based health programs, for example. School-based prevention and education can effectively inform youth and families about the risk and accessibility of opioids, either through prescription or illicit trade, in the community. Many teens had access to opioids after athletic injuries.

There needs to be a strong protective system at the community level with strong parent and peer disapproval of opioid use. Research has shown that having a stronger school bond can also serve as a protective factor. Proper medication use and refusal skills can be integrated into classroom education as a prevention strategy.

Some collaborative efforts between community prevention organizations and schools have been proven successful. The former group provides resources and a framework for action to schools. They also connect schools to local events with the goal of educating staff and students. In sum, because the opioid epidemic is an ongoing and complex public health issue with no simple solution, there need to be collaborative efforts to catalyze change for the most vulnerable groups, especially youth.

Are you worried about a loved one developing opioid dependency? People who use opioids and opiates can develop dependence in a relatively short period of time. The fact that both opioids and opiates can also both be used illicitly makes them very accessible among teens and young people. You should work with health professionals to intervene early. At Capo Canyon Recovery, near Mission Viejo, CA., we believe in a holistic, incremental path to sustainable and long-term recovery. Our trained health care professionals have experience treating all severities of opioid addiction. We know what treatment is required, both in terms of physical health and mental health. You can benefit from both our inpatient residential care and outpatient long-term care programs. With Capo Canyon Recovery, you can rely on us to help you achieve long-term sobriety. We coach clients to cope with upcoming challenges. Start the journey with our experienced recovery experts today. Call us at (800) 804-8714.

Physician noting down symptoms of a patient

What Is a Dual Diagnosis?

The first dual diagnosis was identified in the 1980s among individuals with co-existing substance use disorders and mental health disorders. In the field of addiction recovery, a dual diagnosis is also known as a dual disorder or co-occurring disorder. This refers to a person having both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. Because these two conditions can heighten or worsen each other’s symptoms, it is often difficult to diagnose which developed first or had the most impact.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), around 17 million Americans experience both substance use disorder and mental health disorders simultaneously. Both conditions may seriously jeopardize a person’s normal functioning in life. If untreated, the dual diagnosis can even become life-threatening.

Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis

Depending on the substance a person is addicted to and the specific mental health disorder they are struggling with, there can be many combinations of dual diagnoses. Their symptoms can vary, but they can include some common behavioral patterns. These include:

  • Dependency on drugs and alcohol to function
  • Withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit
  • Alienation of family and friends
  • Risky behaviors
  • Compulsion
  • Deception and lying
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Suicidal attempts

Take alcohol addiction, for example. Common dual diagnoses include alcohol addiction and a range of co-occurring mental health disorders such as anxiety disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and schizophrenia. Because of the difficulties around detecting symptoms of these various illnesses, a dual diagnosis can be hard to pin down. It is not always clear whether a client is under the influence of substances or has a mental illness. Medical professionals need to find the root causes to treat a dual diagnosis.

Why Do Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Disorders Co-Occur?

The causal relationship between a co-occurrence can be complicated. First, both disorders can come from shared risk factors, such as genetics, trauma, and stress. Secondly, mental health disorders can often contribute to the onset of substance use disorder because people use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. When addictive habits form, mental health disorders may condition the brain to turn these habits into an addictive lifestyle.

The causal loop can also work the other way around. Substance use disorder may also contribute to the development of a mental illness. The former can change and rewire the neurological pathways in the human brain. Long-term and repetitive substance use can cause anxiety, depression, and stress-related environmental triggers.

Treatment After Dual Diagnosis

Someone who has been given a dual diagnosis should be treated for both conditions. For the overall treatment to be effective, one not only needs to stop using drugs and alcohol, but their mental health disorders also need to be treated. Otherwise, the presence of mental health issues can pose a high risk for relapse even after one achieves short-term sobriety.

A dual diagnosis requires a holistic or integrated treatment plan that cares for both the body and the mind. The client needs to receive care for both their substance addiction and their diagnosed mental illness. It is the mandate of a dual diagnosis that both conditions are treated simultaneously. This often involves inpatient detoxification, medications, psychotherapy, support groups, and aftercare.

It is essential to know that those with a dual diagnosis are considered high-risk clients. Because of the complexity of these conditions, it can be challenging to treat them for long-term recovery effectively. Moreover, not many treatment facilities are adequately equipped to handle clients with dual diagnoses. Effective treatment requires a facility with in-house psychiatric staff and mental health experts specializing in dual diagnosis and treatment.

The Importance of Integrated Treatment

Facilities that offer integrated treatment for dual diagnosis tend to have more extensive programs that provide various psychotherapeutic interventions. Their goal is long-term recovery, and they are open to inspiration-based treatment methods. Staff at these facilities also focus on community outreach, and they try to build a strong support system for clients.

Complex difficulties facing treating dual diagnosis clients include backsliding, hospitalization, and other co-existing diseases such as HIV or Hepatitis C. Facilities specializing in treating dual diagnoses factor these in. As a result, they often proceed at a specific rate, making programs highly individualized. Sometimes clients with a dual diagnosis also need options such as trauma-informed care and gender-specific programs.

Integrated dual diagnosis treatment often involves an interdisciplinary team, including social workers, psychotherapists, counselors, medical staff, and case managers. Each of them needs to understand what dual diagnosis means and what treatment is required. Take social workers, for example. They benefit from understanding how comorbidity increases the severity of all conditions and aim for better intervention.

If you or a loved one struggles with both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder, it is best to seek professional help that treats both conditions simultaneously. Because these two conditions can heighten or worsen each other’s symptoms, it is often difficult to diagnose which developed first or had the most impact. At Capo Canyon Recovery, we have experience treating dual diagnoses and designing treatment plans around them. Near Mission Viejo, CA, our treatment center is a complete medical facility. You can benefit from our inpatient residential care and outpatient long-term care programs. We also provide a comfortable environment to facilitate clients’ recovery. With an in-house chef, luxurious beds, and an onsite organic garden, we’re here to help you no matter what kind of dual diagnosis you may be struggling with. You do not need to struggle alone. For more information on our program, call Capo Canyon Recovery today at (800) 804-8714.


Effects of Alcohol on Your Body

Alcohol is distributed around your body by your blood as you drink and even the smallest amount can have a physiological effect. You’ll lose a small amount of alcohol as it leaves your body in your breath and urine but your tolerance will depend heavily on how much you’ve had to eat. Food that is high in fat slows down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream and it will take longer to feel intoxicated although there are other, more damaging effects of alcohol on your overall health to take into consideration.