Addiction Recovery

female after achieving addiction recovery on top of mountain

Addiction, which is classified as uncontrollable substance use despite negative consequences, is often accompanied by both physical and psychological dependence. Physical dependence is typically indicated when the amount of a substance consumed must be increased in order to achieve the desired effect; withdrawal is often a risk factor for people who are physically dependent. Psychological dependence involves the complex emotional and cognitive aspects of a person’s addiction. With both physical and mental components at play, addiction recovery on one’s own can be extremely difficult to achieve. 

Transcend Recovery Community provides access to addiction recovery treatments. If you’re seeking addiction help, we can assist you in overcoming your addiction.

What Is Addiction Recovery?

Addiction recovery is a multifaceted process, targeting the physical and psychological wellness of one’s life. People pursuing recovery are empowered to reach their full potential through physical and emotional sobriety. Oftentimes, addicts will seek treatment for addiction at a rehab or designated treatment facility; once treatment is completed, additional support and continuous engagement in their recovery is necessary to attain long-term sobriety.

A fairly common misconception regarding recovery is that a “finish line” is reached once a treatment program is completed or total abstinence is achieved. However, most people who relapse do so within the first 90 days of treatment. Therefore, recovering addicts need multiple resources of support in order to thrive in sobriety. 

Does Transcend Provide Treatment for Addiction?

Transcend focuses attention on having programs that cater to the individual needs of those who are suffering from addiction. We work diligently with our sister program, The Heights Treatment, to provide addiction treatment options that are inclusive of those with varying needs. Additionally, we further strengthen the pillars of recovery by focusing on aspects of life such as community, self-care, life skills, and spirituality.

Our treatment program is one in which we employ a targeted and in-depth approach to achieving and maintaining client sobriety. Instead of solely focusing on the addiction present, we also aim to understand the underlying issues that led to its occurrence. We believe that adequately solving a problem requires a comprehensive understanding of the root causes behind it. Using this information, we assist our clients in addressing their personal barriers to sobriety. 

Overcoming addiction also requires consistent client commitment to their program. With our skilled staff and thoughtful programming, clients will ultimately gain the sense of motivation needed to maintain their newfound lifestyle.

Can Addiction Be Treated Successfully?

Much like diabetes or cancer, addiction is a chronic and progressive disease. If left untreated, addiction can and often does result in death. While it is not considered curable, it is luckily a treatable disease that can be managed. Our practice would not exist if the desired outcome of recovery was impossible.

Although it is treatable, overcoming addiction is not necessarily an easy process. Plenty of people relapse, and unfortunately, many of them never consider the possibility of treatment again. While other progressive diseases are treated aggressively in case of relapse, the general public often places blame on the addict to make them feel like they failed.

It is essential to remember humans are capable of mistakes, and relapse does not indicate that a person is beyond help. Successful treatment requires a proper understanding of the client and a detailed and feasible addiction recovery plan. Perhaps one of the most key components to long-term sobriety is engagement in treatment on the client’s behalf. Chances of relapse diminish significantly with steady commitment and willingness to participate in one’s recovery.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Addiction?

While addiction affects individuals differently, there are general signs and symptoms that can be present to indicate active addiction. Evidence of addiction is found through various physical, social, and psychological changes. An addict may experience many or only some symptoms.

Physical symptoms arise in addiction as the body’s functions and organ systems are significantly affected by repeated drug use. Physical symptoms include:

  • Changes in appearance
  • Insomnia or increased need for sleep
  • Increased drug tolerance 
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not using 
  • Changes in appetite
  • Diseases spurred from using drugs (i.e. liver problems, respiratory illness, vascular disease, etc.)

Social symptoms manifest as changes in the ways that addicted individuals interact with their peers. Social symptoms of addiction include:

  • Decreased interest in hobbies
  • Financial difficulties
  • Avoiding detection by having stashes of the addictive substance in various places
  • Isolation 
  • Denial of addiction 
  • Using alone or in secret in order to hide it from others
  • Legal issues

Psychological symptoms can be the most challenging addiction symptoms to identify. Psychological symptoms include:

  • Unable to stop using despite previous attempts
  • Using substance as a coping mechanism when dealing with problems
  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Becoming obsessed with the drug
  • Ignoring/denying health problems related to using, etc.

How Do Behavioral Therapies Treat Drug Addiction?

There are various therapy modalities used to assist clients in recovering from their addiction. Having multiple approaches is essential, as one certain type of therapy may not be suited for all clients. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy used to reprogram a person’s cognitive and emotional processes. A goal of CBT is to reframe a client’s negative thoughts and beliefs, which ultimately influence their behavior. CBT is frequently used in relapse prevention, as it provides the client with tools to alter their perceptions, moods, and behaviors leading them to a relapse.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and is often highly effective in tough-to-treat cases and in clients with co-occurring psychological disorders. This type of therapy aims to improve stress management and communication skills, heighten self-confidence, and motivate clients to remove potential triggers from their daily lives. 

Though CBT and DBT are our most commonly implemented therapies, Transcend does have other approaches used in addiction treatment. The ultimate goal of all therapies used is to rewire the client’s brain and adjust perception in crucial areas. With steady progress in therapy, clients begin to develop the mental and emotional fortitude needed for long-term sobriety.

Can Someone Overcome Their Addiction?

Developing an addiction does not signify weakness or unworthiness in a person. Oftentimes, willpower, and self-control alone are not enough to overcome an addiction and maintain long-term sobriety. 

Though it may seem daunting or even impossible, recovering from an addiction is an attainable reality for many who seek it. The process demands commitment, willingness, and honesty with oneself; additionally, with adequate support and dedicated motivation, a client’s chances of recovery are strong. It is essential to note that recovery from addiction does not occur overnight. While some may progress quicker than others through treatment, the life-changing experience that is sobriety requires time and steady effort. Recovery is often considered a marathon, not a sprint.

Transcend accepts clients for where they’re at in their recovery journey, regardless of how quickly or slowly they’re advancing through the process. Our ultimate objective is to provide clients with ample support and encouragement as they walk the road to a happier and healthier life.

Is There Addiction Recovery Treatment Near Me?

Transcend currently offers addiction treatment services at our Houston and Los Angeles locations. If you or a loved one is considering treatment, we urge you to contact us to discuss your options. As we place a high value on clients’ success in our programs, our centers stand ready to provide the appropriate level of care necessary for recovery and sobriety maintenance. 

Call the recovery specialists at Transcend today at 800-208-1211 or use our contact us form to see how joining the Transcend community can change your life.

You Can’t Afford The Consequences Of Addiction

Consequences of Addiction | Transcend Recovery Community

Addiction is more than personal pain – the consequences of addiction are real and can reverberate through your life and lives of those around you for years to come. A few months spent in the throes of addiction can redefine your entire life and can remain a burden long after your last high.

This is not a condemnation or a judgment of those who have gone through addiction. Anyone who has struggled through addiction knows these things – and they are living them. But it may serve as inspiration for some to continue their hard work in recovery, to remind them of how bad things get – or it can spread awareness of how addiction is not something to be taken lightly, and any chance of it should be avoided if possible.

The consequences of addiction can be unimaginably high, and it sheds light on how this disease does much more than destroy relationships and cause physical damage. The effects of addiction on a family can echo through decades of debt and destitution in the worst of cases, and massive financial regrets in the best of cases. Understanding why and how can give further insight into how addiction takes a person and warps them, manipulating them, forcing them to do things they never thought they’d do – and giving them memories filled with shame and regret that some swear they may never live down.


How Much Does Addiction Cost?

There is no specific price tag on any given addiction. Just like how treatment exposes the individuality of addiction and the uniqueness of every case, the cost differs entirely based on the exact specifics of a person’s habits, their drug or drugs of choice, specific binges based on mood spikes, costs associated with the consequences of their addiction, and much more.

Of course, there is no such thing as a cheap addiction. A six-pack of beer a day will still add up over the course of a month and turn into a massive chunk of your yearly income. And that does not cover the costs of potential DUIs, medical bills associated with liver and brain damage, legal fees or lawsuits over drunken behavior and rowdiness, and much more.

No matter who you are, the cost of addiction is always severe. For people in poverty, addiction is about as ruinous as it can get – and it is unfortunately common. High stress and negative thinking are the perfect breeding grounds for self-medication, even with the most dangerous and addictive substances the street has to offer. But several stories up, in any major city’s night scene, people with more money than they know what to do with end up spending incredible amounts of it purchasing the most expensive drugs on the market. A single night can produce a tab running up into the tens of thousands of dollars.

There’s more to addiction than just the cost of drugs, of course. You pay every step of the journey – from the first hit, to your last day in recovery. Every step taken is one of the consequences of addiction.


The Cost Of Failed Careers

The first and most major of the financial consequences of addiction is loss of a job. We’ve all heard of “functioning alcoholics,” but someone with a full-blown drug addiction will rarely be able to hold onto their job. Once that goes away, every day spent struggling with addiction is a day you are not collecting any wages or making any money, and even with investments and efficient financial planning, drug misuse breeds recklessness, unnecessary risk taking and brain damage, often leading to poor financial decisions, misuse of funds and rash behavior.

Many who go down that path end up losing a big chunk of what they own, and too many end up having to go into debt because of it. Some lose out on life-changing careers over drugs, and about 60,000 people lose out on life per year due to them.


The Cost Of Legal Issues

Drugs are criminalized – and their possession is criminal as well, even in low amounts. Even worse are high amounts of drugs with the implied intent to distribute, or, if you planned on making drugs to fuel your addiction and continue to finance it, the price gets steeper.

But many people struggling with addiction end up paying out both in time and money not due to drug-related charges, but due to their behavior while high. From something as dangerous as driving under the influence or neglecting a child due to addiction, to something as simple as public indecency, drugs can make us do reckless things and pick bad choices. These consequences of addiction rack up over the years into a sizeable cost.


The Cost Of Shame

The emotional consequences of addiction is considerable. Some believe that relapses, rather than part of the neurological disease aspect of addiction, are instead tied to the shame and guilt many people feel shortly after rehab, as they reflect on their days spent as an addict, and the mistakes they made. Addiction is commonly tied to anxiety and depression not only because people with these conditions are more prone to addiction, but because addiction also greatly amplifies them, or even triggers them in the first place.

This can lead to a debilitating emotional pain, one that can prevent people from progressing in their recovery, even going so far as to struggle with the idea of a future for themselves.

Addiction treatment is meant to help people recover past that point, reconciling with themselves and seeking solace in the fact that they can strive to be better, and never again cause the sort of pain they once did. That said, this is one of the consequences of addiction that is harder to quantify, but is clearly present in many recoverees.


The Consequences Of Addiction On Society’s Budget

While the cost of an average addiction is not a very helpful statistic given the massive disparity in wealth and the various costs of the many various drugs Americans consume on a yearly basis, there is a national figure meant to represent how much damage addiction deals financially every year, as represented through unpaid debts, lost productivity, the cost of law enforcement, and the money spent providing addiction-related healthcare: $442 billion.

The country spends nearly half a trillion a year fighting the consequences of addiction, and many Americans pay out of their pocket to fight the symptoms of this problem, either directly or through taxes. No matter who you are or where you live, addiction affects us all. And we all must acknowledge what it is, how it works, and what we must do to prevent and treat it.

It’s Not Too Late To Kick Addiction And Turn Your Life Around

Not Too Late to Kick Addiction | Transcend Recovery Community

Addiction is not a death sentence. Unlike far too many terminal diseases, getting addicted to a drug does not guarantee an overdose, or an otherwise painful death. With the right treatment, and the right people, you can get better and kick addiction – no matter how long you’ve been struggling.

There is no time limit for rehab, no point in life where giving up drugs has stopped being an option. No matter how many years you feel you’ve been trapped and enthralled, you can still turn your life around.


It’s Definitely Not Too Late To Kick Addiction

Addiction only “wins” when you stop trying to get better. And until the day you pass away, every waking moment gives you the opportunity to get help and reclaim your life. It’s never going to be too late, until the day you die.

Understanding that means understanding that no matter how powerless and lonely you feel, you do have one small modicum of power – the ability to ask for help and find that help. Sober living programs and treatment clinics exist across the country, and most forms of health insurance will even shave off a significant amount of the cost from addiction treatment.

You’re not alone. Elderly addiction is a growing phenomenon, and from alcoholism to drug abuse, a growing number of aging Americans will have to face down their addiction and get treatment over the coming years. By 2020, the numbers are estimated to be 60% higher than they were in 2000. The takeaway, however, is not just that addiction is becoming a growing issue in America – it is that there’s always hope for getting better. Even just brief abstinence has shown to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of certain illnesses, like liver failure and cirrhosis, while helping add on numbers to a person’s life expectancy.

So long as you live and think and breathe, you can fight this – and if you keep fighting, the addiction will never win. But for many, time and time again, relapse or tragedy puts them back in the hole and takes them out of that mentality of strength and determination. Keeping motivated and staying in recovery requires immense willpower and a solid social structure – it’s important to have a clear reason in mind for why you want to kick addiction and be sober, aside from staying on this planet a little longer.


Why You Should Get Sober

Sobriety at its core means not being intoxicated.

But to stay sober, you’ve got to fight. And fight hard. Drug cravings are incredibly powerful and become more powerful the longer you’ve been addicted – breaking away from an addiction fully and ignoring the temptation can take years.

That’s where motivation comes into play. People need reasons to stay sober, other than not wanting to be addicted anymore. With sobriety and abstinence come a whole host of benefits. Many of these benefits may seem almost foreign to someone who has been fighting addiction for years and decades – but they’re worth the fight to get there.

For one, when you kick addiction it means seeing things more clearly and being able to experience life for what it is. At first, this can be incredibly scary and unbelievably painful. Confronting your past with sharp sober clarity can bring up some powerful emotions, including anger, shame, and sadness. This makes early recovery so difficult and dangerous: the emotional rollercoaster of experiencing real joy and happiness, alongside the potential for crushing depression and thoughts of shame.

As time passes and you learn to process your thoughts and emotions with more clarity and honesty, you will find the opportunity to take these moments of pain and convert them into times of learning and forgiveness. All the people you’ve wronged and the mistakes you’ve made will at first coalesce as sobriety begins but clear up and open a way to self-acceptance.

That is when sobriety becomes worth it. After the initial trial, you’ll find new ways to enjoy life, you’ll find it in your heart to open to others and make new friends, and you’ll find that there is so much more to life than getting high or looking for the next one to avoid the physical and emotional pain of withdrawal.


There’s More Help Than Ever

We have come a long way in addiction treatment over the past few decades. Therapies and programs are no longer cookie-cutter, build upon addressing an individual’s unique circumstances and grievances rather than a classic once-size-fits-all approach, and treatments today are data-driven, backed by science, statistics, and decades of research rather than unproven concepts and faulty ideas.

The growing pains for addiction treatment are in the past, and we are fast approaching an age of bountiful innovation, with solutions built upon psychotherapy, a combination of emotional, physical, and social treatments, and a greater understanding of addiction and its relationship with the body, with stress, with mental illness, and other related factors.

There is no perfect treatment – but there are plenty of treatments to choose from, enough for anyone to find their best way to getting better and staying sober. All you need to do is sign into your nearest reputable treatment facility or reach out and ask for help from friends or family.


You Can Start Today

There is no limit on when you should start your treatment, and no reason you can’t start on the path to kick addiction today. You don’t have to show up to a clinic and sign yourself up for residential treatment – but you can take the crucial first few steps towards long-term sobriety by deciding to get help.

Look in the Mirror

Step one is always admitting to yourself that you have a problem – a severe one – and accepting that you need help trying to beat it. Some people mature out of addiction over time, or even quit on their own – but many do not, and as the years go by, being passive about the problem will not help.

To that end, you must look into the mirror and ask yourself if you really care about quitting. If you do, then you have taken the first step.

Find Help

Help can come in many forms – from asking a friend to go check out a facility with you, to asking your family or friends to help you fight addiction, or to finding a professional on your own and signing up for treatment, there are many ways to start your recovery. The best one is the one you start with on the journey to kick addiction for good.

Remember What’s Important to You

It’ll be a long road until you get to a point where you can feel comfortable in your sobriety. Getting the cravings under control and living a happy life in a world filled with stress and temptation can take years of training and dedication – which is why it’s important to have something to hold onto.

For some it’s a dream, for others it’s family. What gives you a reason to keep going? Find it and never let go.


Seek Help For Addiction – Don’t Become A Statistic

Help for Addiction | Transcend Recovery

Don’t become a statistic. The words were plastered all over the New York City Subway at a time when getting onto the tracks gave you a dangerously high chance of death. It was meant to raise awareness of the danger lurking just a few feet below and advise subway passengers and commuters to exercise more caution when standing on the platform.

Yet we cannot help but be a statistic. You either do or you do not, but at the end of the day, you end up as a tick on a graph. So, what can you do? Be on the right side of the statistic.

What does this have to do with getting help for addiction however?

Roughly 20 million Americans over the age of 12 struggle with substance abuse and addiction. Only about 2.6 million, however, seek treatment. And about 64,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2016.

There are no concrete numbers on how many Americans successfully got sober and stayed sober, because the criteria differ wildly. Therefore, if you want to get out of being a statistic, your best bet is to stay sober.

Without treatment, addiction will kill you. There are only two options when you find yourself addicted to a drug – either it slowly takes your life, or you quit the drug.

Many choose the second option alone, but the cravings, the pain and the temptation drive them back, and they feel even worse than before. Addiction treatment exists to prevent that, to provide help for addiction and get people past the hardest part so they can work on themselves and hopefully stop using forever.


Why Addiction Is So Dangerous

To someone who has never been addicted, the cravings can best be explained as thirst rather than want. It is not like looking at something extremely desirable and being overcome with the feeling of wanting to have it, to the point of obsession. It is more like being in a desert with a parched throat, knowing you could quench your thirst with some water, but actively deciding not to.

Over the months and years, the thirst gets weaker, and you find other ways to survive the desert. But in your mind, you will always know that nothing can quench that thirst like ice cold water.

Addiction is a terrible thing. It makes you unaccountable to the point where you cannot trust yourself. It makes betraying others and doing terrible things much easier. It enthralls you to a substance that is slowly but surely killing you.

But there is a solution. Help for addiction exists and it can be beaten. Modern-day treatment options have shown that it can be done. The only question is which treatment suits you best.


Can Addiction Be Prevented?

No one truly chooses to be addicted. Everyone makes a choice when they take their first sip of alcohol or shoot up their first hit of heroin – but after a while, choice blurs away, because you lose the ability to stop. If you can quit on your own, it was not an addiction. And in the moment, you realize that you need help for addiction to stop, you understand why choice has little to do with it after a while.

So then, can addiction be prevented? Of course. By never taking a sip of alcohol, or a taste of any other drug. If you can skip the addiction and the rehab and go straight to permanent sobriety, then do so.

But many do not. For one, substance abuse and substance use is not the same. While drugs like heroin are incredibly addictive and alcohol consumption is the norm for most adults in the US, while alcoholism remains relatively rare in comparison. That alone is enough to tempt people to try it. The same goes for marijuana, which over half of the US adult population has tried.

Whether recreational use of certain drugs is okay or not is a very debated question that many people ask themselves. For at least some, they reach the conclusion that it is fine, despite the risk of addiction. And for them, there is no telling what will happen down the road.

For some people, addiction is genetic. It takes them very little time to get hooked, and when they do, it takes many years to feel unhooked. In other cases, it is a matter of a perfect storm of environmental factors, such as childhood abuse, grief, mental health issues and peer pressure. Others deliberately use addictive drugs to drown out certain emotions, self-medicating and thus turning one issue into two and magnifying the help for addiction that they need.

We cannot judge people for making the choices they did when they got addicted. We can judge the choices, but not the people. Because even if they made bad choices, they can be good people. All it takes is a little bit of help for addiction from the outside, and a willingness to getting better.


It Is Not Wrong To Be Addicted

It is common for people to judge themselves for their actions as addicts. Of course, it is only human to show remorse for the mistakes you made. But to drag it out from being conscious of your wrongdoing to feeling sorry for yourself and wallowing in shame helps no one.

Learn from your mistakes, get help for addiction, and always do your best to never repeat them. Life is never perfect for anyone, and everyone stumbles. The key is using them to be better in the future.


Getting Help For Addiction: You Are Never Alone

It has been said once before, but it can be said again. Over 20 million Americans struggle with addiction today. There are countless others who get help for addiction and are sober to this day. And yet others who lived full lives, fighting addiction, and living and loving despite it, passing away and leaving behind a legacy to be cherished.

You are not alone. Through the internet, and through treatment centers, group meetings and clubs everywhere, you can meet people at any time and at any place and talk about your feelings and troubles among others who have gone through many similar experiences.

No matter how crazy your story, no matter how bad your experiences, someone out there will know what it was like and will be able to sympathize. And even in your darkest hour, if you have a few sober friends around you and seek help for addiction, it will all be okay.


How Addiction Starts

How Addiction Starts | Transcend Recovery Community

When addiction starts it is neither a curse, nor a guaranteed doom. Instead, addiction behaves similar to a disease, and like other diseases, it can be fought, cured, and even prevented. However, that doesn’t mean addiction can be tackled quite in the same way we tackle the common cold.

Instead of passing judgment onto people who struggle with it, it’s important to understand how addiction starts, why it starts, and how we can work together as a society to prevent its negative effects from spreading throughout generations.


The Process Of Addiction

Addiction is not a simple process, nor is it strictly defined by any one example. Rather than possessing a predictive pathology like many diseases, addiction develops more like a mental health problem, and has both many causes, symptoms, and treatment options. For example: while the effects of addiction on the brain are always noticeable, and a definite part of addiction, the reason addiction starts to develop in the brain is different from person to person – as is their resistance to addictive substances, their reaction to them, and their reaction to different types of treatment.

Behavioral addictions like gambling and sex addiction are just as valid as an addiction to heroin, and can be just as life-threatening in different ways, but their development is very different. While substance abuse creates a drug tolerance and warps the brain’s pleasure center, behavioral addiction leads to similar issues in the brain’s pleasure center without addictive substances or drug-related tolerance and withdrawal issues.

To understand the process of how addiction starts, we have to go to the source – the brain. The brain is a complicated organ, but one aspect of it in particular is susceptible to addiction – our reward pathways. Several parts of the brain are involved in the reward process – this is an important part of our psychology, and our evolution. We have neurochemicals in us that are released to make us feel good, or happy. Certain stimuli release these neurochemicals in greater amounts than others. Hunger, when satiated by food, turns into a great relief and happiness. We crave sex and feel good about it because part of our genetic code is to procreate, and the brain reinforces that behavior in most people.

Even things that we don’t immediately correlate with pleasure, like challenge and physical exertion, bring about a release of rewarding chemicals in the brain when done “right”. This is why gambling and risk-taking feels so good – part of us, especially in men, seeks out risky challenges because these tend to provide greater reward. Sure, it’s risky to take on a mammoth, but the meat will provide for a group of people for a long time, whereas a single smaller mammal may be easier to catch, but would not be as rewarding to the group. Beyond that, however, risky behavior often translates into social value – basically, you become more popular. And that’s valuable as well.

Although it is a very simplistic example, this same sort of thinking applies to many activities and behaviors. Both our biological needs, and the effort we go through to satisfy them, equals reward; both in nature, and in our brains.

Drugs bypass the effort needed to attain something, and goes straight to giving us the satisfaction of having it, but amped up by several factors. This extreme release of positive emotions occurs through different manipulations of various receptors within the brain’s cells. Stimulants block the release of neurotransmitters, thus causing us to be easily motivated and much happier, while depressives like alcohol decrease our inhibition and anxiety.

But these effects only last for a while. When we’re bombarded with an excessive amount of anything, our body works hard to get used to it quickly. While this is great when working on pain tolerance or endurance, it works the same way for pleasure – driving people to engage in increasingly risky behavior or take more drugs in order to retain that initial high.

This greatly messes with the brain’s reward system, to the point where the satisfaction from regular tasks – such as food, work, and hobbies – wanes. From there, addiction starts to take over quickly.

Understanding Why People Get Addicted

In many cases, there is a strong correlation between drug use or behavioral addiction and unhappiness, stress, or even depression – but in other cases, people can fall prey to an addiction without an emotional compulsion towards using a behavior or drug as a distraction or coping mechanism.

These inconsistencies confuse many people who try to strictly quantify addiction as being one with or another, rather than being a problem all of its own. Stop thinking of addiction as something other than an addiction, and don’t attach to it any concept of morals or justice. Addiction doesn’t befall “bad people”, it affects everyone. While addiction starts with a wrong choice, we all make bad decisions in our life, and no one is infallible 100% of the time.

All it takes is one bad episode to make someone lose hope and go down a path that leads to addiction, or a small, intrusive thought that grows into a behavioral problem. From one small drink after work to two, bad habits like drinking can turn into the way addiction starts in the blink of an eye, and not because of moral weakness, but because we’re human.


When Addiction Starts & How To Prevent It

Drug addiction can be prevented by never taking drugs, including alcohol. But behavioral addiction can be a bit more difficult to avoid. We need to eat, preferably without developing an eating disorder. Regular exercise is also important, preferably without becoming a sports addict. And many people enjoy the thrills of sex, without developing an unhealthy relationship to it. The key here seems to be finding healthy coping mechanisms.

While addictive drugs can turn anyone’s life into a living hell through addiction, behavioral addiction is usually a sign of over-reliance and obsession driven by a need to cope with some pain or burden. This isn’t true for everyone, and an insight into your own family history might help you be more mindful of certain behavior with an addictive history – but for the most part, behavioral addictions can be seen as symptoms of a greater issue, ranging from post-traumatic stress to stress brought about by toxic relationships, and instances of severe bullying.

Healthy coping mechanisms, coupled with eliminating undue stressors at their heart, are key. Having sex to satisfy your sex drive and/or be intimate with a loved one is one thing; having sex to escape the drudges of an unfulfilling and stressful work environment is another. Address the issue at hand by finding another job, or another line of work, and utilize a constructive hobby like exercise or art to get rid of excessive tension without jeopardizing your relationship by making your partner feel like a stress ball.

Sometimes, addiction can’t be avoided. But even then, treating addiction is not unlike preventing it. After the initial withdrawal period, recovery is all about making sure you don’t fall prey to old habits.


How Do People Get Addicted In The First Place?

How People Get Addicted | Transcend Recovery Community

For all the years that we’ve been dealing with the issue in an official medical capacity, addiction is still relatively difficult to describe, and harder to truly understand. Many don’t, and controversies on the nature of addiction still exist. While many agree on how to treat it, it’s harder for us to come to terms with how to explain it. However, there are a few things we generally comprehend and have a solid explanation for, such as how people get addicted to begin with.

Science is, in every aspect, a learning process. This is not any different for addiction. As the years go by, we will have a better understanding of how it works both from the standpoint of neurochemistry and psychology, and with time, even the public will have an accurate understanding of what does and does not work when dealing with addiction personally, or in the family, or as a problem in the community at large.

The key question to ask is how addiction works – how a people get addicted to a substance, to begin with. When we know why something happens, we can prevent it. But with addiction, it isn’t quite that simple. Here’s why.


The Allure To Get Addicted

An addiction can be most simply defined as an unhealthy obsession, one that even with the willingness of the individual cannot simply be stopped. This obsession might be with a behavior or a substance, and in the context of addiction recovery and the various methods used to address addiction, this is something that happens on both a physical and emotional level.

When you get addicted to something, you can’t simply stop yourself from doing it, despite the harm it’s doing to you and their family. Sex addicts often endanger not just their relationships, but their careers and reputation engaging in increasingly dangerous and controversial behavior, despite the absence of addictive substances. In much the same way, someone hooked on an opioid may go through extreme lengths to obtain another dose, even if the source is questionable, or the consequences include run-ins with the law.

It’s important to highlight the dangers people are willing to go through to get high. Once this is understood, you will see that there is no logical sense or real reasoning behind addicted behavior. It’s tied to a malfunction of the brain, a problem with a person’s way of thinking under the influence, separate from their character or their ability to make decisions as a person. More directly, it’s not just that a certain kind of person can get addicted. It’s not a matter of a weak will or lack of trying to get better.


Addiction Can Affect Anyone

While there are risk factors that increase someone’s chances to get addicted, some of them can apply to any person. For example: suffering a trauma or heavy loss can contribute to a kind of unresolved grief that makes it easier for someone to self-medicate to escape their feelings.

Anyone can find themselves at such a point of emotional despair that, without the proper help, their only options become finding the quickest way out of the pain either through medication or a more final option.

There are other factors to consider, but the point is that addiction, while certainly harmful and capable of ruining lives, doesn’t “just happen to people who make bad decisions”. Those who get addicted and struggle with it are going through an incredible internal conflict, and they need support, not judgment.


It’s In The Brain

Addiction is a malfunction of the brain’s reward system. This is a relatively complex system in the brain that relies on the release of certain neurotransmitters meant to induce pleasure, and reinforce behavior. In simple terms, this is part of our base programming, and gives us inherent preferences.

Most people, for example, like food. But we often prefer fatty, salty, or sweet food. These tastes are indicative of a highly valuable food item in nature. Nowadays, these items are easy to come by – and we must exercise greater restraint to ignore these urges, and develop a greater palate. Kids have trouble with this, because they have trouble understanding restraint in general.

Addiction is a little like how kids love sugar, but massively amplified. When a drug passes the blood brain barrier into our brain, the drug interacts with certain receptors in our neurons, causing the release of transmitters that induce pleasure, far greater than normal. The repetition of this type of pleasure can lead a person to get addicted, to the point where things they used to enjoy – like playing games or reading books – don’t measure up, and fall to the wayside.

This goes for certain behavior, as well. Sex, video games, TV, gambling, and even adrenaline-inducing extreme sports – people can get addicted to these activities, but in a different manner. While behavioral addiction also involves the reward pathway, there are deeper psychological issues attached here. However, the real trouble begins when someone tries to stop using.


A Terrible Cycle

When someone is addicted, they can’t simply say no to drugs. They’re past that point. And there’s a reason for it. Addiction traps you in an emotional and neurological cycle that is hard to break out of – incredibly hard without help. Continuous use of a drug not only reinforces the behavior, but it also dulls its effects. This is the same for behavioral addiction, where someone needs an even greater stimulation each time to feel the same amount of pleasure.

You can’t always feel amazing. Your brain gets used to it. And one day, you take too great a risk or take too much of a drug, and it kills you. That’s the trouble with addiction. But stopping induces cravings, intense emotional shifts, and sometimes, it can even bring about physical symptoms called withdrawal symptoms. These often include nausea and headaches, and in the cases of certain drugs such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, a sudden withdrawal from heavy use can lead to death.

The typical tale of addiction is not a sudden one. It takes time, and the reasons aren’t simple, or few. Everyone has a different story. Some are tragic, others are unfortunate. But with help, and a willingness to forgive yourself when you make mistakes, you can find your way out of addiction and onto a better life.


Are You Ready To Get Clean? Understanding The Different Approaches To Medical Detox

Medical Detox | Transcend recovery Community

You’ve already passed the first major hurdle. By admitting you have an addiction, it’s now possible to seek out a method that will help you get the substance out of your system and be ready for the next phase of the drug rehab program. What you may not know is there are several different approaches to medical detox that you can consider. Here are some examples to think about.


Natural Detox

The most basic form of detoxification is known as natural detox. A common slang term for this strategy is called going cold turkey. While you are under the care of a medical detox team, you simply stop taking the substance and do not substitute anything for it.

How quickly you go into withdrawal depends a lot on how much you normally take and how severe the addiction happens to be. It’s not unusual for an addict to notice the first wave of withdrawals within a matter of hours. The symptoms may range from minor irritants to serious reactions that require constant monitoring by your medical team.

This approach to medical detox does come with some risks. The team taking care of you during those first critical hours and days are trained to administer treatments designed to prevent the withdrawal from triggering issues with your heart or breathing. You will find that the desire to stop can be overwhelming at times. The team watching over you will provide the support needed to deal with each wave of pain, emotional outbursts, and the disorientation.


Step-Down Detox

This medical detox approach calls for employing a step-down approach that allows you to wean off the substance you’ve been using. Over a period of weeks or months, you incrementally decrease the amount of the substance ingested each day. The goal is to keep withdrawal symptoms under control as your body learns how to function again without requiring a higher dosage.

This approach also requires careful monitoring. Depending on what you are addicted to and how bad the situation happens to be, you may check into an inpatient facility for those first weeks. While there can be complications, having a medical professional on hand who can monitor your state and take appropriate action increases the odds of regaining control of your life.


Rapid Medical Detox

Rapid medical detox is a method used to clear your body of the substance faster and keep the level of discomfort to a minimum. With a rapid approach, you are given anesthesia and put into a state of sleep. While asleep, you are injected with blockers that prevent further absorption of the addictive substance. Some medical professionals will also use methods designed to get the remnants of the substance out of your system faster.

You remain asleep for the entire medical detox period. The professionals monitor your vital signs, ensure you receive nutrition by means of an IV and take whatever measures are necessary to protect your well being. When you are allowed to wake up, the physical craving for the addictive substance will be under control. That frees you to focus on ridding yourself of the emotional craving.

Work with your doctor to determine which detox approach is the best choice for you. Factors such as the general state of your health, the substance you are addicted to, and the severity of the addiction will all be factors in settling on the best method. Whatever approach you choose, know that once you get through the withdrawal phase, the chances of learning to control your addiction and reclaim your life are much higher.


Staying Clean

Recovering from an opiate addiction requires more than going through medical detox to purge the drugs from your body. Medical detox is just the first step in recovery and does not cure you from your addiction. Recovering opiate addicts must follow an aggressive aftercare program to help avoid relapse and sustain recovery.

Opiates, also known as opioids, are powerfully addictive requiring more than just an initial medical detox. You must pursue and sustain continuing treatment to overcome, or “arrest” your addiction. Here are some best practices to help you on your road to recovery.


Counseling and Therapy

By working with a behavioral health specialist, such as a psychiatrist or a substance abuse counselor, you may uncover what caused your addiction other than the drugs. You may learn how to change negative thought patterns and behaviors, and most importantly for addicts, how to handle environmental triggers. Psychotherapy can help you learn how to avoid self-destructive behaviors, and cognitive behavioral therapy can help you with depression and anxiety, which are significant in the treatment of substance abuse.


Drug Treatment Programs

After you complete the initial medical detox from opiates, you will start to go through a psychological change, and you must fine tune that change. Drug treatment programs specializing in opiate addiction help you adjust your biological clock. Although your body is free from the physical addiction to opiates, the mental side of addiction remains steadfast, and you must learn to cope with the obsession to use again. Inpatient treatment programs, where you stay in a controlled environment for 30, 60 or 90 days, help you push your mental reset button.

If an inpatient treatment program is not an option, you can choose an outpatient treatment program. This form of treatment allows you to attend therapy sessions, meetings and receive supervised care during the day. However, many experts recommend you have a strong support system in place before you choose outpatient treatment. After completing medical detox, substance abuse professionals will conduct an assessment to determine whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is best for your level of addiction.


Peer Support During Medical Detox

A powerful tool in addiction aftercare is surrounding yourself with people who faced similar situations. Peer support provides a network of individuals who offer first-hand knowledge regarding addiction and aftercare. Seeking the counsel of an individual with a long period of sustained sobriety provides you with an opportunity to share your experiences with someone who has been through and understands the addiction cycle. This can be achieved alone or through a sober living community.


Physical Health And Nutrition

Opiate addiction causes many people to make poor lifestyle and nutrition choices. A key ingredient to the success of opiate medical detox aftercare is replenishing your body with important nutrients. In order to promote recovery in aftercare, you must heal your body by eating foods with complex carbohydrates that are rich in protein. Many addicts experience an increased appetite after medical detox, which can help or harm your recovery. If you experience an increased appetite, try to avoid foods with high levels of sugar or processed foods such as packaged lunch meats or boxed white pasta.



Get Sober for Your Community

Recovery Help | Transcend

If you have nothing to get sober for then do it for your community. Although it’s common for people to get sober for their children, their marriage, career, or to heal from the past, there are some people who may need a reason to get sober. In Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), they encourage those who don’t have a reason for recovery to do it for the group, to get sober for their community.

Think about all the people who have gotten sober in the past, many of them were able to do so because of their community. They probably attended 12-step meetings and support groups, where they met supportive people who were also trying to stay sober. They likely gained a great deal from new friends, sponsors, and professionals in their sober community.  A community of those who are after the same life goal can be an incredible force in a person’s life.

And you can add to that force by making your sober community your reason for staying alive, changing your life, and making new choices.

In fact, Transcend Recovery Community recognizes just how important community is that we’ve included it in our name. Community is one part of a three pronged approach to help our clients create a new and healthy lifestyle. The other two key approaches to assisting our clients include accountability and clinical collaboration. However, in many cases, it is community that makes the difference. A person can be held accountable but if they don’t feel accepted, embraced, and acknowledged for where they’re at in life, then they may not feel compelled enough to stay sober.

Transcend was founded upon the belief that a combination of accountability and a loving community will provide a person suffering from drug addiction the very best recovery experience. For this reason, we nurture our community and value it highly. Transcend’s immediate community is comprised of house members, alumni, and staff who welcome new clients to our homes. This helps residents feel accepted and safe right from the beginning. Our community extends to leading physicians, clinical resources, and alumni, all of whom are a part of a collaborative community helping our clients build new lives. And our community doesn’t end there. We also help our residents get acquainted with the abundant 12 step community in our local neighborhoods.

Community is incredibly important at Transcend because we know just how powerful it is to feel welcome and a part of a group. You might have felt alone in your problems prior to arriving at Transcend, but once you arrive here, you’ll have an engaging, nurturing, and fun experience because of the abundant and supportive community you’ll find here. And it is in the spirit of a recovery community that many recovering addicts have found their voice, a new life, and the power to change themselves.

If you need a reason to stay sober, do it for your community. Community has the power to influence others in incredible ways. In fact, by making community your raison d’etre, you make the community stronger. And, in turn, you help others stay sober because of the way community positively influenced their recovery.

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Don’t Let Years Pass Before You Finally Get Sober

A recent study found that it takes men much longer than women to finally get the sober help they need. However, statistics show that for both genders, the time is takes to finally get sober is not months – but years!

A recent article in HealthDay news reviewed the results of a study on addiction treatment. Apparently, researchers surveyed 669,000 adults who were admitted to addiction treatment for the first time. The results revealed that the average length of time that passed since participants of their study started using substances before treatment was 15.6 years.  Furthermore, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the average length for men to get treatment is 16.5 years and for women it’s 13.8 years.

Looking at certain drugs and the length of time to get treatment also revealed interesting information. For instance, the average length of time between using alcohol for the first time and getting treatment for alcohol addiction was 20.2 years. And the average length of time between using prescription painkillers for the first time and then entering addiction treatment was 7.8 years.

Certainly, there is a long journey between trying a drug for the first time and then realizing that you need treatment for addiction. The first time you use a drug you might not even like it. However, pressure from peers, discovering a means for escape, finding that it lifts your mood, or any other benefit can keep you returning to drugs or alcohol again and again. It’s the habit of using substances time and again that can eventually lead to addiction.

However, a habit alone does not mean addiction. If a person continues to use a drug and develops a strong psychological and/or physical addiction, then it’s quite possible that an addiction can develop. When a person cannot stop using a particular substance even if he or she wanted to – this indicates an addiction might be present.

Yet, a person still might not get treatment. Even if he or she realizes that there is a problem, there are often many obstacles that can get in the way of getting sober. For instance, a lack of money, time, energy, or willingness can prevent someone from getting sober. They might continue to use drugs for years – as the research suggests – before they finally get the help they need. It might take hitting rock bottom. It might take a requirement from the courts. It might take losing a marriage before one realizes that it’s time.

Getting sober is a hard decision to make. And following through on getting sober is even harder. No wonder it can take years before someone finally gets help. However, if you already know that substance use is a problem in your life, why wait?

Why not get the help you need now? No matter the obstacles that are preventing you from getting treatment, find a way. Getting sober and participating in treatment can indeed save your life!


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How Alcohol and Drug Rehab Works

Knowing a bit about how addiction treatment or rehab works can immensely help someone who is about to start the process. It’s not an easy experience. But knowing what it entails might help a person mentally prepare for it. On the whole, it’s a positive. Although there may be challenging moments, if you know that you’re changing your life for the better, you may feel alright even during those difficult times.

Rehab is short for rehabilitation. And rehabilitation is the act of restoring something to its original state. So, addiction rehab is an opportunity to rehabilitate your mind, body, and spirit. It’s an opportunity to return to who you were before the addiction. And if before the addiction wasn’t a good time for you either, at the very least, addiction rehab can help you get to a better state. It can help remove the substances from your body. It can help restore healthy thinking patterns. It can also help you develop better coping tools so that you can manage the stresses in your life without the use of drugs and alcohol.

Alcohol and drug rehab will often start out with an assessment to get a clear picture about your physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. The assessment might ask plenty of questions about your life, your medical history, and any psychological illnesses. Try not to take it personally. The purpose of the assessment is to find out the areas in your life that may need support. For instance, if you’ve had or currently have a mental illness that may affect addiction treatment and the range of services you receive. The more information you provide, the better the treatment will be able to support you.

Depending upon the type of rehab experience you’ve chosen, you might reside at a facility for a few weeks or months. There, you may receive services like:

  • Medical detox.
  • Drug counseling.
  • Behavioral therapy.
  • 12-step meetings.
  • Family therapy.
  • Nutritional counseling.
  • Classes on relaxation, such as meditation and/or yoga.
  • Healthy and nutritious meals.

This is a list of services you might receive at alcohol and drug rehab, depending upon the facility you’re working with. Once you’re done with this form of treatment, you may decide to reside at a sober living home. This is a transitional home that helps ease the transition between addiction treatment and returning home. It’s often hard for people to return to the same family, friends, and environments in which they used and stay sober. However, a sober living home can more greatly facilitate long-term sober living. It can help provide a smooth transition into living in the community again substance free.

And even after you return home (either from addiction treatment or from a sober living home), you might find that you still need support to stay sober. Many men and women in recovery do. For instance, you might hire a sober mentor, boost your attendance to 12-step meetings, and see a therapist on a regular basis.

This article provided an overall explanation of the process of getting sober. Millions of people around the world have gotten sober in this way – and you can too!


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