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Monday, January 7, 2019

Packing for Rehab: What Items to Leave at Home

If you’re getting ready to go to rehab or you’re helping a loved one prepare to go into a drug and alcohol treatment center, you need to know that certain items are not allowed for clients in treatment. Some of them are barred for health and security reasons, while others are not permitted because they would potentially interfere with a client fully immersing himself in the experience.

What Kinds of Items Should I Leave at Home During Rehab?

Each inpatient recovery center has its own rules about the types of items that should be left at home during rehab. If you have questions or concerns about whether a specific item would be allowed during your own or a loved one’s stay, contact the facility directly. They will be happy to answer your questions.

If you happen to bring something to the center that isn’t allowed, it will be either given to a family member to hold onto while you are in treatment or stored securely until you are ready to leave.

Items Not Allowed for Health Reasons

For health reasons, most facilities ask you to avoid bringing the following:

  • Over-the-counter medications. This would include any herbal or dietary supplements, as well as protein powders. The staff needs to strictly monitor anything clients are taking, since supplements and other products may contain ingredients that can affect medications being given at the treatment center.
  • Hand sanitizers or mouthwashes containing alcohol. While you may not be personally be tempted to drink either of these products, there may be other clients in treatment who may be. The best option is not to have anything containing alcohol brought into the center at all.
  • Toiletries that are not in the original containers. All shampoo, body wash, and other personal care products must be in their original containers. Otherwise, there is no way to confirm their contents.

Items Not Allowed for Security Reasons

To provide a safe and secure environment for everyone, facilities often ask that you avoid bringing:

  • Cameras and cell phones. Clients go into treatment with the expectation that all aspects of their stay will be held in the strictest confidence. No one wants to be recorded without their knowledge while seeking help for substance abuse, since they will be sharing some very personal information during their stay. The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to ban all cameras and cell phones from the facility. Make a list of anyone you’ll want to contact while you are in the treatment facility on a piece of paper, including their address and phone numbers, since you won’t have access to your cell phone.
  • Items that could be used as a weapon. Pocket knives, small scissors, and similar items should be left at home.
  • Candles and incense. Candles and incense can be soothing, but they can present a fire hazard and a risk to the security of clients and staff at an inpatient facility. They are best saved for after you return home.

Items Not Allowed for Social Reasons

Depending on the facility you choose, you may be asked to leave certain items at home because they tend to discourage interacting with others. Part of the treatment at a residential program includes encouraging clients to interact with each other. Staff members want clients to improve their social skills. For this reason, some facilities ask that clients refrain from bringing solo games or decks of cards with them.

Preparing for Treatment at English Mountain Recovery

English Mountain Recovery has prepared a detailed guide outlining what to bring to treatment and what you should leave at home. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

By Jodee Redmond

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Women Experience Substance Abuse Differently

Addiction may be a chronic disease that affects both men and women, but that doesn’t mean that both genders experience it in exactly the same manner. There are distinct differences in substance abuse patterns for women.

Gender and Substance Abuse

Statistics show that gender is an important factor in substance abuse. Consider the following:

  • The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2011) found that men over the age of 18 have close to twice the rate of substance dependence as women. Among adolescents aged 12-17, though, the rate of substance dependence is the same for both males and females at 6.9%.
  • Men are more likely than women to say that they use alcohol and marijuana, but women are more likely to report that they are using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes.
  • Men are more likely to visit emergency rooms or die from an overdose than women.
  • Women are just as likely to become addicts as men and may be more susceptible to cravings.
  • Among seniors aged 65 and older, women who were admitted to treatment facilities were more three times more likely than men to state that abuse of pain medications such as oxycodone was their reason for seeking help. 

Women and Stimulants

Women may be drawn to stimulants such as cocaine or methamphetamine because they are looking for something to give them more energy or help with weight control.

Animal studies have revealed that females will start taking cocaine sooner, and in larger amounts, than males. Female cocaine users appear to have some protection from the brain damage seen in male users, and researchers speculate there is some gender-related factor at play.

Methamphetamine does effectively control appetite, but it causes significant damage to a person’s skin and teeth. The trade-off for less exhaustion likely isn’t worthwhile, since female methamphetamine users also report high levels of depression.

Women and Heroin

There are also clear differences in how men and women use heroin. Women are usually younger than their male counterparts when they use this drug. They use smaller amounts than men and are less likely to use needles to inject it. Women who inject heroin state that social pressure and encouragement from a partner are factors in making their decision to start using that method.

According to one study, women who inject heroin are at higher risk than men for overdosing on the drug during their first few years of exposure to it by injection. It isn’t completely clear why this would be the case. Lack of experience may be part of it, and researchers speculate that women who inject heroin may also be abusing prescription drugs.

Women and Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug misuse is using a medication that was prescribed for someone else, using it in a way other than for which it was prescribed, or using it for the feelings the medication produces.

Women may be more sensitive to pain than men and more likely to complain of chronic pain to their doctor. As a result, they may receive more opioid prescriptions than men. They may also share opioid prescriptions with each other to cope with their pain instead of seeing a doctor. This pattern is also seen for anxiety and tension.

Opioid misuse has the potential to be fatal, since opioids act on the central nervous system and can suppress breathing. From 1999 to 2010, deaths from prescription pain medications jumped 400% for women, as opposed to 265% for men. Women between ages 45 and 54 are particularly at risk.

Women and Alcohol

Men and women’s bodies metabolize alcohol differently. When given comparable amounts of alcohol, women have higher blood ethanol concentrations (BAC) due to differences in their stomach tissue activity. This means a woman will become more intoxicated than a man on the same number of drinks.

Drinking alcohol over a long period of time is likely to be more dangerous for a woman than a man, even if the woman has been drinking less alcohol or for less time. Death rates for women with alcohol use disorder are up to 100% higher than for men, when taking into account the following:

  • Alcohol-related accidents
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Stroke
  • Suicide

Women who drink heavily are also at higher risk of becoming a victim of violence, including sexual assault, or having unprotected sex that leads to a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Gender Specific Treatment at English Mountain

Since women don’t experience the disease in the same manner as men, it follows that gender specific treatment is an appropriate approach to addiction recovery. English Mountain Recovery offers supportive residential inpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs. Our gender-specific, 12-step recovery programs were developed to meet the specific needs of both our male and female clients. Contact us today to learn more.

By Jodee Redmond

Thursday, December 6, 2018

How Seasonal Affect Disorder Can Influence Your Recovery

Seasonal affect disorder and recovery
It's not just your imagination...the change of seasons, in particular, the lack of natural sunlight we get in the fall and winter, can affect your mood and mental health. With it, your recovery can be affected as well. This is known as seasonal affect disorder (SAD).

Addiction Recovery in Winter

During the winter months, it’s challenging for many people to be active. The combination of colder temperatures and snowy or icy driving conditions makes it tempting for many people to limit their time spent outdoors. 

As a result, it’s difficult for anyone, much less someone in recovery, to stick to their social commitments. Many people would rather socialize during more temperate times of the year, when weather is less of a factor. Winter can become a time when people have more time on their hands, and, as mentioned above, boredom sets in. 

For someone in recovery, boredom can lead to reminiscing about past substance abuse, as well as cravings for drugs and alcohol. This doesn’t mean that your schedule needs to be jam-packed full of activities, but big blocks of time with no plans at all should be avoided. 

Addiction Recovery in Spring

Spring is a time when seeds are planted and the trees come back to life after their long winter sleep. There is an urge to clean up our homes and yards to make way for something fresh and new. 

Someone with a substance use disorder may make a change in her life at this point and seek drug or alcohol addiction treatment. Those in recovery may look forward to longer days and more sunlight as they continue to take their journey one day at a time.

As the springlike weather continues, there will be more people moving around in public. Restaurants and bars will start to set up tables outside for their customers. Each person in recovery will need to evaluate, as they are enjoying the warmer temperatures, whether they need to alter their route to avoid certain areas where sights, sounds, or smells might trigger the urge to drink or use drugs. 

Having to avoid something due to a trigger is not a sign of weakness. It’s a fact for that person. It’s not a point that can be argued or that she can ignore temptation “just this once.” Family members and friends who respect her recovery need to understand this. 

Addiction Recovery in Summer

Summertime is the traditional time of year for spending extra time with family and friends over long weekends and annual vacations. The good news is that there is no shortage of activities during the summer for people in recovery. Any type of activity that would be appropriate for families would work, since alcohol would probably not be served and anyone under the influence of drugs wouldn’t be welcome. 

Parties and barbecues are more challenging to navigate for someone in recovery. These are traditionally events where alcohol is served. Often, binge drinking may occur.  It may not be possible to avoid these types of events entirely, which means that a person in recovery should plan how he will respond when someone offers him an alcoholic drink. One effective strategy is to bring a cooler with soft drinks, water, or juice to the party. 

Addiction Recovery in Fall

As summer turns to fall and the temperatures start to drop, there are new beginnings for students as they take on the challenge of a new school year. Some people like to “turn over a new leaf” at this time of year, since fall represents getting back to regular responsibilities.

This season takes us from warm afternoons to the first snowfall. It is a time of year when people bundle up as the weather gets cooler. As friends and family are getting ready to start cocooning for the winter, does it make sense for someone battling substance abuse to want to start getting rid of their personal layers of protection and go to treatment?

It does if they want to get well. There is no “best” time of year to seek help from English Mountain Recovery for drug or alcohol abuse. If you are looking for information for yourself or a loved one who has an addiction problem, contact us today. 

By Jodee Redmond

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

4 Reasons to Consider an Intervention During the Holidays

The holidays are a time when families look forward to getting together to enjoy the best of the season. This includes celebrating with music, food, and drink.

During this festive time, you may be thinking about the year that has passed, as well as previous holiday seasons. In a number of families, there is someone who overindulges. As you look back, you realize that although most of the other people you know enjoy the holiday treats and “good cheer” that flows at this time of year, your loved one seems to be overdoing it all the time.

As you consider the situation in more detail, you realize that he always seems to have a problem when alcohol is being served. Someone always seems to have to look after your friend or family member when they’ve been drinking, either to stop an argument or to keep him from slipping from being unsteady on his feet.

Your loved one needs help to stop drinking. Should you schedule an intervention during the holidays? Yes, and there are some good reasons why the holiday season shouldn’t be a barrier to seeking help for someone with a substance abuse problem.

Why Scheduling an Intervention During the Holidays Can be Particularly Effective

1. Addiction doesn’t stop when the holiday season starts.

The holidays are a time that people look forward to; however, the season can be stressful, as well. It’s not uncommon for someone with a substance abuse problem with alcohol to drink more during this time of year. They may be attending several social events or have vacation time during the holidays, which allows for more time to consume alcohol.

2. Waiting won’t make the situation any better.

If you’re waiting for the “right” time to approach your loved one about her drinking, there isn’t one. The saying, “There’s no time like the present” applies to scheduling an intervention.

You may have heard the someone with a substance abuse issues needs to “hit rock bottom” or “needs to want help” before an intervention can be successful. Both of these statements are myths. While waiting for someone with an alcohol addiction to hit their personal rock bottom, they may be involved in an auto accident that will injure themselves or someone else, lose their job, or lose their home.

It isn’t likely that your loved one will decide that he wants help to stop drinking, either. Left to his own devices, he will continue to drink and the addiction will become more ingrained and harder to treat.

3. Holidays are a good time to gather family and friends for the intervention.

When you’re putting together the team of people who will be participating in the intervention, ask yourself whether there is anyone who your addicted loved one may hold in particularly high esteem. If so, make a point of asking this relative or childhood friend, who may not have seen your loved one for some time, to attend the intervention. Their memories of your loved one before the addiction took hold and hope for a sober future may help to influence her to make a positive change.

4. The holiday season is a time for gift giving. Through an intervention, your family can help to give the gift of sobriety.

Your loved one didn’t start drinking with the expectation of developing an addiction. No one who picks up a drink ever does.

Most people who have a substance abuse problem need help to stop. Holding an intervention over the holiday season sends a powerful message that your family is not prepared to stand by and let your loved one continue on the same path any longer.

English Mountain Recovery provides long-term residential inpatient alcohol and drug treatment for men and women. Clients receive an individualized treatment plan that includes a traditional 12-Step program and holistic options to heal the mind, body, and spirit.

By Jodee Redmond