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Thursday, August 17, 2017

How to Know If Your Loved One Has an Addiction

Have you been wondering whether your loved one has an addiction problem? Are you noticing certain behaviors that seem out of character? Perhaps you just have a feeling that something is not right. Knowing the signs of addiction will help you determine if your loved one has a drug or alcohol problem. Making that determination is the first step toward getting the help your loved one needs to become free of their addiction and start their journey toward recovery.

What Is Addiction?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “addiction” is defined as the “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance.” The definition goes on to state that the substance is known by the user to be harmful.

Many people who are struggling with an addiction try very hard to hide their problem from their families. Some are in denial that they even have a problem. But every person suffering from substance abuse has one thing in common--they are each a member of the rapidly increasing number of people battling an addiction.

Identifying an Addiction
Addiction is often very difficult to identify. For some people, the use of prescription drugs leads to their addiction. For many others, substance abuse begins with the recreational use of alcohol or drugs. Your loved one may drink or use drugs in social settings or to relax at the end of a day.

Addiction occurs over time as the need for the substance increases and the craving for it becomes stronger. Your loved one wants the feeling of the euphoria, or the “high,” they feel. Once addicted, it is very difficult to stop regardless of how badly your loved one wants to.

Warning signs of addiction can be physical, behavioral, or emotional. Some people with substance use issues may display only a few signs of substance dependence while others may show many.

Physical Warning Signs
  • Trembling hands
  • Shaking
  • Sweaty, cold palms
  • A sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Bloodshot, glassy or red eyes
  • Excessive sniffling or a runny nose
  • Slurred speech
  • Strange or unusual breath or body odors
  • Needle marks on the leg, lower arm or bottom of feet
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Being uncoordinated
  • Bruises or marks that cannot be explained
  • Decrease in energy or an excessive increase in energy

Behavioral Warning Signs
  • Denial of substance abuse
  • Using drugs or alcohol at times that are not appropriate, such as at school, work or while driving
  • Increased use of the substance
  • Loss of motivation
  • Not caring about work or school or having excessive absences  
  • Separation from old friends and family
  • Change or loss of sex drive
  • Being withdrawn
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Secretive behaviors such as unexplained phone calls or covering the computer screen
  • Unexplained sudden increase in spending
  • Stealing or borrowing money
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and favorite pastimes
  • Hanging out at new places with new friends
  • Taking risks

Emotional Warning Signs
  • Mood changes or swings
  • Being aggressive or anxious
  • Having feelings of depression
  • Sudden outbursts of anger
  • Becoming irritated quickly
  • Memory loss or blackouts
  • Periods of confusion
  • Excessive hyperactivity
  • Excessive talkativeness or giddiness

What To Do Next
Once you determine your loved one is suffering from an addiction, it's time to open the line of communication.Talk to your loved one about your concerns in a caring, nonjudgmental way. It is not unusual for an addict to become defensive and deny their addiction exists.

Keep in mind that addiction is a disease and an addicted person will lie to be able to keep satisfying their addiction. Be prepared if this should be the case. Have the information ready about treatment facilities that focus on recovery of your loved one’s specific situation. For example, the English Mountain Recovery Center has treatment programs for men and women suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. All aspects of recovery are addressed through therapy, educational groups, advanced holistic therapies, exercise, and nutrition. The team of caring professionals combined with the supportive and structured environment at English Mountain will provide your loved one with the tools needed to rebuild their life while working on their emotional, social and physical issues.

Renewed feelings of self-respect and well-being will help guide your loved one through the journey back to a sober, healthier life.

By Terry Hurley

Friday, August 4, 2017

How to Tell Your Family That You Have an Addiction

Have there been times when you have tried to tell your family about your addiction? You gather up your courage and try to tell them, but, before you start, fear and uncertainty take hold. Maybe it’s not the right time. Maybe they really won’t understand. Will they stop loving me? As these kinds of thoughts race through your mind, you decide to keep hiding your secret longer. You might even try to convince yourself that you really don’t have an addiction problem at all.

General Warning Signs of Addiction
There are many warning signs of addiction. These signs can be behavioral, physical or emotional. General warning signs of addiction include:  
  • Needing more drugs or alcohol to become satisfied
  • Using more frequently
  • Having symptoms of withdrawal
  • Isolating yourself from family and friends
  • Becoming withdrawn or unreliable
  • Experiencing mood swings
  • Having feelings of depression, anxiety or aggression
  • Not caring about work or school
  • Inattention to personal hygiene and physical appearance  
  • Weight loss
  • Face, leg or arm sores
  • Bloodshot, red or glassy eyes

Taking the First Step
Chances are, your family members already know that you have an addiction problem. It is difficult to keep hiding the truth and the longer you try, the harder it becomes. Taking the step and telling your loved ones that you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol takes courage. Saying the words, “I am an addict” to your family is hard, but once the truth is out in the open you will feel better. Admitting the truth will help you begin your journey to overcoming your addiction with the support of those that love you.
Have a Plan
When you make the choice to tell your family about your addiction, it is important to have a plan.
  • Know what you are going to tell them and be prepared for their reactions and questions.
  • Let them know that you want to overcome your addiction and need their support.
  • Show them you are serious about making positive changes in your life by having the information on recovery centers.
  • Tell them if you have made other positive changes, such as joining a support group or dropping friends that helped you with your addiction.
By showing your loved ones that you are committed and prepared to make the necessary changes for your recovery, it will be easier for them to offer their support and assistance.
Choosing a Time and Place  
The best time to talk to your family is when everyone is calm. Choose a location that is comfortable and quiet. Do not bring up the subject when there is a lot of noise and commotion. Sporting events, busy restaurants, or big family gatherings are not good choices. You want your loved ones’ full attention during this important conversation, so choose a time and place where everyone is relaxed and ready to talk.
Stay Calm
When telling your loved ones about your addiction, it’s important to remain calm. Whether you decide to tell one person at a time or your entire family at once, be ready for any reaction. Some may react calmly and supportive right away. Others may cry or raise their voice. It is important that you remain calm and stay positive.
Be Honest
Being honest with your family members is crucial to regaining any trusts that may have been broken. Tell them you know that you have been unreliable. Let them know that you are aware that your addiction has cost you their trust. If you caused anyone hurt or disappointment, apologize to them and make amends. Be open and honest about the cause of your addiction. Whether it resulted from pressure from your friends, being unable to manage the stress in your life or any other reason, tell them the truth. Let them know that you want to make positive changes in your life and you want their help as you go down the road to recovery. Show them your strong commitment and determination to become free of your addiction.
The Road to Recovery
Telling your family about your addiction is often the first step to becoming free of your addiction. Let them help you now that they are aware of your problem. Even if you have done research on a recovery facility, let them do more. They love you and want to support you on your journey to recovery. They want to find the best addiction treatment program for you and make sure it provides you with all the services you need. The professionals at the treatment center, along with your support system of family and friends, will guide you on your journey toward complete recovery.

By Terry Hurley

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Adult Children of Alcoholics

Who Are Adult Children of Alcoholics?

Adult children of alcoholics are people whose lives have been affected by growing up with a parent (or other family member) who drank or abused drugs. Living with somebody who abuses alcohol on a regular basis is chaotic, scary, and can be dangerous. When that person exercises power over your life and is responsible for meeting your physical and emotional needs, the harm caused is unavoidable and can be long lasting.

Adult Children of Alcoholics (or ACOA) is a twelve-step program of people who support each other in recovering from the effects of a damaged childhood. Together they learn to value themselves and each other and to live healthier lives, freeing themselves from the influence and control that growing up with an alcoholic parent has exerted on their emotional well-being and on their outlook on life in general.

How Does an Alcoholic Parent Affect a Person’s Life?

Some common symptoms of being raised by an alcoholic parent include

  • Control issues 
  • Anger and grief 
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 
  • Fear of intimacy 
  • Lack of healthy boundaries 
  • Placating others 
  • Feelings of unworthiness 
  • Taking responsibility for the behavior and choices of others 
  • Seeking out dysfunctional people/relationships 
  • Enabling and supporting unhealthy behaviors in others 
  • Needing to be surrounded by chaos to feel normal 
  • Denial of dysfunction in self and others 

How Do Adult Children of Alcoholics Recover? 

Anyone can recover from the trauma of growing up in a dysfunctional household and go on to live a life blessed by healthy relationships with others. The first step in recovery is recognizing that you have a problem and seeking help.

There are 12 Steps that the ACOA program adheres to, and they are informed by the traditional 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous but not the same.  Just like all 12-step programs, the emphasis is on building bonds with others and then helping yourself and others by getting honest and doing 'the work' that your sponsor recommends. For more information or to find a meeting, visit the official ACOA website.

Contact Us if You Need Help

At English Mountain Recovery we offer adult men and women recovery through therapeutic processes and peer support. Our holistic approach to recovery is welcoming and effective. Call us for more information about our services. Our confidential contact number is (877) 459-8595. You are not alone.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Is Tennessee Ground Zero for the Opiate Crisis

The opiate addiction epidemic has reached crisis levels and is a national emergency.
opiate addicted man

What’s notable about the proliferance of opiate addiction is how it is affecting families in every corner of our nation - from rural areas to urban centers and all the suburban neighborhoods in between. Also, opiate addiction has hit families at every  economic level, rearing it’s head in wealthy suburbs as well as claiming lives and destroying families in lower income urban and rural areas.

Tennessee Has Been Hit as Hard as Anywhere

You may be surprised that Tennessee has just about as much claim to being “ground zero” for the opiate epidemic as just about anywhere else.

Consider these facts:

  • The number of overdose deaths has exploded by more than 300 percent over the last two decades. 3
  • In 2012, Tennessee became No. 2 in the nation for consumption of opioids (topped only by Alabama). 1
  • A 2012  survey of Tennessee 10th- and 12th-graders finds the average age at which they first abused prescription opioids was 14. 1
  • In 2013, Tennessee recorded 912 births of drug dependent babies. 2
  • In 2015, 174 people died in crashes in which a driver either tested positive for drugs or an officer determined drugs contributed to the crash — an 89 percent increase in fatal crashes in which the driver was impaired by drugs in five years. 2
  • In 2015, Nearly 5% of Tennesseeans are addicted to opiates. Tennessee has the second highest rate of opioid prescriptions in the country – more than one prescription fro every man, woman, and child. 1

When it Comes to Opiates – Now is the Time to Take Action

The heartbreaking reality that so many families are discovering every day is that opiate users are facing the possibility of fatal overdose every time they use. There are many irregularities in the potency of street heroin and if the prescription medications are mixed (especially with alcohol), the risk of overdose increases dramatically.  If you are concerned about a loved one who is abusing opiates, we encourage you to take immediate action or risk forever losing your chance.

English Mountain Recovery is Here to Help 

If you have questions about getting help for yourself or a loved one who is abusing opiates, contact us today to have them answered.  We can also discuss your options for getting treatment, including verifying your insurance benefits. Call us today at (877)459-8595.

  1. The Tennessean, "How Opioids Took Hold of Tennessee" 3/26/17
  2. The Tennessean, "Opioid Crisis Timeline" 4/8/17
  3. The Tennessean, "Opioid Epidemic Getting Worse" 4/1/17