Experts in Young Adult Addiction and Trauma Treatment

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Culinary Arts Benefit Clients During Active & Post Rehab Process

Culinary Arts Addiction Rehab Recovery
At Red Oak Recovery®, clients embrace gardening, cooking and eating as key parts of their recovery program. Nutrition plays an integral role in physical and emotional healing, and residents discover this by growing and harvesting their food, taking culinary classes, and making nutritional lifestyle changes that give them energy and stamina for their sobriety journey. In addition, clients enjoy meals prepared by a professional chef and featuring local farm-to-table ingredients. This hands-on approach to food helps young adults learn the importance of nutritional management during the addiction recovery process.

Benefits of Culinary Arts in Addiction Recovery 

Clients recovering from addiction have many nutritional obstacles to overcome. In most cases, healthy eating has been neglected for weeks, months, or years. Therapeutic food prep and cooking teaches clients to address nutritional deficiencies while re-learning an appreciation for delicious, healthy foods that nourish both the body and spirit. Cooking therapy and nutrition management are life skills that will serve young adults well during all phases of sobriety. Additional benefits of culinary therapy include:

  1. Stress relief 
  2. Social fellowship 
  3. Opportunity to develop a new hobby 
  4. Enhanced focus, organization & time management 
  5. Elevated confidence & self-esteem 
  6. Improved physical health 
Culinary therapy and nutritional classes also benefit clients with co-occurring anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Under the supervision of our chefs, nutritional counselors, and credentialed addiction specialists, each of our clients develops a new appreciation for a balanced diet and its ability to heal the body, fuel the mind, and stimulate the soul.

A Nutritional & Holistic Approach to Recovery 

Organic tasks like gardening and cooking are part of the life-changing experience offered to young adults living at Red Oak Recovery®. In our beautiful North Carolina setting, clients learn to share and appreciate the healthy connection between food, physical health, emotional health, and cooperation. Paired with gender-specific clinical treatment and life-skills classes, nutritional therapy is one of the building blocks on the pathway to successful sobriety. Dial 866-831-9107 or fill out a confidential contact form to get in touch with our admissions counselors or learn more about our culinary therapy program.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Animal-Assisted Addiction Therapy

Animal assisted addiction therapy
The internet is overrun with animal videos and cute animal memes: evidence of our love for animal antics. Now, therapists are using the human affinity for animals as a treatment pathway for mental and physical conditions, including addiction—and the results are nothing short of amazing.

Positive Human Responses to Therapy Animals 

Pets and rescue animals have been used in hospitals and nursing homes for years to engage and comfort patients. Horses have been used to help adults and children with mobility challenges. Doctors who monitored these activities began to notice some interesting physical and mental side effects in their patients:

  1. A drop in blood pressure & heart rates 
  2. Improved mood 
  3. Reduction in anxiety, anger, & stress 
  4. Growth in self-esteem & feelings of empowerment 
  5. Improved social function 

Canine Therapy in Addiction Treatment 

These beneficial effects are now being used to impact addiction treatment. Patients respond to the unconditional affection and acceptance of dogs, and often reveal hidden trauma, grief, and abuse. Observing the patient/dog interaction, a therapist can gain insight into the hidden causes of the patient’s addiction. Patients also learn from the interaction, becoming aware that successful social behavior requires acceptance, boundaries, and control of one’s own emotions.

Spiritual and Emotional Reflection and Growth 

Red Oak Recovery®’s beautiful campus in the foothills of North Carolina is a perfect setting for innovative drug treatment that includes canine therapy, recreational activities, and gender-specific programs for young men and women. Our treatment model addresses the emotional and mental conditions that often underlie addictive behavior. At the same time, we provide individuals with the time and space they need for reflection and personal growth. Call 866-831-9107 to speak with an admissions counselor today and begin your journey from addiction to recovery.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Tips To Keep Your Holiday Eating In Balance

healthy holiday eating
If you are a young adult in recovery from disordered eating, you may be wary of the approaching holiday celebrations. How will you be able to face the abundance of food and drink? How will you cope with the scrutiny of concerned relatives? How will you resist slipping back into unhealthy behaviors?

Use These 5 Planning Tips to Keep Your Recovery on Track 

  1. Review your attitude about food and holiday eating. Try to eat mindfully, enjoying the whole holiday experience: sights, aromas, sounds, and camaraderie. 
  2. Plan your eating. Holiday meals are often delayed or protracted. Eat a small, healthy meal on your regular schedule. Then you’ll be able to enjoy a small portion of the holiday feast or party goodies without straying too far from your meal plan. 
  3. Use your support network. Consult your nutritionist about keeping balance in your holiday food choices. Entrust a friend or loved one to act as monitor and support at a large social function so you do not slip back into old behaviors. 
  4. Anticipate stress and manage it. Review your trigger points and coping strategies. Keep up your exercise and meditation regimens. Anticipate situations that are uncomfortable and have an exit strategy. 
  5. Control your schedule. Give yourself permission to say “no” to activities and relationships that are at odds with your goals. 

Recovery Help for Co-Occurring Disorders 

Are you a young adult facing this holiday season with the anxieties of disordered eating and co-occurring drug and alcohol abuse? Red Oak Recovery® has treatment programs that will help you make sense of your feelings and give you the support strategies you need to develop a healthier approach to food. Learn to successfully manage stress and addiction, during the holidays and beyond. Call 866-831-9107 to speak to an admissions specialist and begin your journey to recovery today!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Redefining Creativity During Your Recovery Journey

maintaining creativity in addiction recovery sobriety
If you’ve bought into the myth that you must use drugs or alcohol to “spur your creativity,” you’re not alone. For decades, artists, musicians and other creatives have been credited with producing great works of art when they were drinking or using. Unfortunately, many of these creative geniuses have died at the hands of their substance of choice, since perpetual creativity required an ever-increasing exposure to heavier, deadlier chemicals.

According to (15-years sober) Seattle musician John Roderick from The Long Winters, “The idea that drugs fuel creativity is nothing new. The same can be said of almost any new experience or recognition of a new reality. But like anything perception—love, adrenaline, or being a U.S. Senator—the effect dulls with time. The feeling you never thought you’d get tired of, eventually you get tired of. And, unlike love, there are only so many ways you can reinvent the experience of taking drugs—eventually it boils down to the fact that you’re just taking more drugs and stronger drugs, chasing the dragon. Drugs do fuel creativity, but being addicted to drugs, and especially dying from drugs, doesn’t.”

What is Sober Creativity?

One reason that substance abusers give for not getting clean is the fear of losing their creative edge. The truth is that sobriety brings a form of clarity that can deliver groundbreaking creative results. Author Stephen King is an example. Though he was concerned that sobriety would dampen his creative pursuits, he has produced some of his most successful works since overcoming addiction.

If you are feeling a loss of creativity during your recovery journey, it is more than likely due to the “brain fog” caused by post-acute withdrawal symptom (PAWS). PAWS can interfere with intellectual clarity for months, but symptoms begin to subside over time. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms include:
  1. Insomnia that contributes to creative lag. 
  2. Difficulty concentrating. 
  3. Depression & lack of desire. 
  4. A frustrating emotional rollercoaster. 
  5. Short-term memory issues. 
As PAWS subsides and mental clarity improves, creativity increases. When your thinking is not delusional and you decide to devote your time to healthier pursuits, there is no limit to what you can create. To make the most of creativity during addiction recovery, try:

  1. Meditating. Inward focus is proven to increase mindfulness, which leads to creative success. 
  2. Journaling. In your journal, keep track of your recovery progress and jot notes about imaginative or inventive ideas. 
  3. Overcoming fear of failure. This type of fear is a creative stumbling block. Rather than fearing defeat, determine that you will not give up until you have achieved a creative goal. 
  4. Developing character. The most successful creatives are compassionate, humble, and open about their art. Chart a course to become the person you wish to be—without using drugs and alcohol as a crutch. 
  5. Finding a sober community. Many artists, engineers, and other creative professionals thrive as part of a creative group. Your therapist or addiction counselor can help you get plugged into a community of people who are working to develop their talents without relying on alcohol or drugs. 

Begin Addiction Treatment at Red Oak Recovery®

If you fear losing your creative edge when you give up drugs and alcohol, our North Carolina treatment program can help. Serving young adults with all types of addictions and mental health issues, we help clients take charge of their talent—and discover new meaning for the role creativity plays in their lives. Our expressive arts instructors desire to help you reach your creative goals and expand your mind without the need for substance use, and our admissions counselors can help you get plugged into our holistic therapy and art programs. To learn more or begin the insurance approval process, call 866-831-9107 today!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Is Your Family History A Guide To Treatment?

family genetics and addiction
One size does not fit all when it comes to alcohol and addiction treatment. You are an individual, and the treatment model that works for you will be based on your unique characteristics and experiences. Addiction counselors and clinicians are learning; however, that a look into your family history can provide valuable clues to the factors influencing your addiction.

Recognizing Genetic Influence 

New research has revealed that inherited genetic traits may play a significant role in alcohol and drug addiction.
  1. Although a predisposition to alcoholism in families has long been recognized, no specific genetic link has yet been identified. We do know, however, that children of alcoholics are four times more likely to develop alcoholism. 
  2. Some addicts being treated with methadone carry a genetic variation that metabolizes the drug more slowly, leading to potential overdose. 
  3. Mental illnesses like depression and bipolar disorder are linked to genetics, and often co-occur with substance abuse. Knowing the family history of such disorders can lead to effective dual diagnosis and treatment. 

Identifying Social and Environmental Factors 

Family interaction, trauma, abuse, and emotional response are just some of the environmental factors that contribute significantly to the development of addictive behavior. Family members may also exhibit patterns of ineffective coping skills and emotional responses to stress, and these can give therapists key insights into how you deal with people and uncomfortable situations in your life. This knowledge can help them focus your recovery therapy on those areas most important to you.

Your Addiction, Your Recovery 

Has your struggle with addiction left you wondering why this has happened to you? Sometimes finding the answer to this question is the key to unlocking recovery. At Red Oak Recovery®, you’ll find an individualized, young adult treatment model that recognizes this fact. Let our seasoned clinicians help you understand and overcome the physical, mental, and familial dynamics that have contributed to your addiction. Call 866-831-9107 to begin your recovery journey today!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Think Twice Before Lighting Up During Rehab

smoking during drug rehab
For young people working their way through addiction treatment, a smoking habit may seem like the “lesser of evils.” Not so. In addition to cancer and disease risk associated with cigarettes, a recent study now shows that smoking actually increases the risk for relapse among recovering alcoholics.

“Quitting smoking will improve anyone’s health. But our study shows that giving up cigarettes is even more important for adults in recovery from alcohol since it will help them stay sober,” reported lead study author Renee Goodwin, associate professor of epidemiology at New York City’s Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

The study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Experimental and Clinical Research, included tens of thousands of U.S. individuals recovering from alcohol addiction. After following subjects for three years, Goodwin and her team found that daily and nondaily smokers were twice as likely to return to alcohol dependence than nonsmokers, even taking factors like nicotine dependence, illicit drug use, and mood disorders into consideration.

Smoking is an all-too-common habit for problem drinkers, and it is often not addressed when rehab facilities customize addiction treatment plans. While researchers are unsure why smoking triggers alcohol relapse, previous studies indicate a connection between neurochemicals, behavior, and smoking/drinking. In some cases, alcoholics may smoke to compensate for the physical withdrawal symptoms they experience during rehab. It is also thought that many alcoholics justify cigarette use with the assertion that it is “just too difficult” to give up smoking and drinking simultaneously.

Begin Addiction Treatment at Red Oak Recovery®

If you are struggling with addictive substances and are ready to take charge of your life, Red Oak Recovery® can help. Our young adult drug and alcohol treatment program believes in addressing all addiction and mental health issues in an integrated fashion, and our holistic therapies can help clients achieve success with alcohol and cigarette abstinence. To learn more about our North Carolina treatment program, call 866-831-9107 to speak with an admissions counselor about an individually tailored recovery program for your child or your loved one.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Preparing The Garden For Winter - And Yourself For Life

gardening addiction treatment
Autumn at Red Oak Recovery® is filled with activity as we harvest the last bounty of our garden and mountain orchard. All hands join in to harvest apples, and tomatoes are picked green before the first frost and hung to ripen. Fall vegetables like winter squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins add variety and rich nutrition to our daily meals.

Then, before winter sets in, it’s time to enrich the garden beds, mulch the orchard, and turn autumn leaves and garden debris into compost that will nurture next year’s crops. Soon, the berries, trees, and vines that have provided for our sustenance will turn dormant, as they rest and replenish before returning in the spring.

For clients recovering from addiction, the gardening chores of autumn provide a wonderful opportunity to connect with each other and put into practice the recovery skills they have been learning. This is a time to:
  • Practice new social skills, share experiences & forge supportive friendships 
  • Develop the competence and confidence that come with accomplishing a task 
  • Learn to tend to their own nutritional needs just as they tend to the garden’s needs 
  • Understand the importance of physical and spiritual renewal 
The result is a greater understanding of themselves and their ability to live healthy and productive lives.

A Holistic Approach to Recovery 

Organic tasks like tending to the garden and mountain orchard are part of the unique experience here at Red Oak Recovery®. In our beautiful N.C. setting, young adults learn to share and appreciate the connection between nutrition, health, and cooperative work. This therapy for the soul is coupled with gender-specific clinical treatment to provide a lasting change to sobriety for our clients. Call 866-831-9107 to speak with an admissions counselor about an individually tailored recovery program for you or your loved one.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Advantages Of Sober Living After Treatment

young adult sober living
For many recovering addicts, and particularly for young people, the transition back home from a treatment facility can be a very challenging time. Experts note that most relapses occur within the first 90 days of the recovery period, with the home environment being especially difficult for a variety of reasons. For some young adults, the stresses and dynamics of the home environment can be a root cause of substance abuse and addictive behavior. For others, feelings of having failed or disappointed loved ones can send the recovering patient back into the cycle of addiction.

To help ease this sometimes-difficult transition, addiction counselors may recommend sober living halfway houses. These specialized facilities offer many advantages to recovering addicts whose personal situations may make returning home challenging.

Sober Living Halfway Houses: Benefits for Recovering Addicts 

While some patients find it challenging to make an abrupt return from a treatment facility back into the home environment, addiction experts unanimously agree that recovering individuals need structured environments to reinforce the skills, lessons and strategies learned during the intensive counseling period. Study after study has shown that recovering addicts are at much greater risk of relapsing when they lack a stable, substance-free living environment during the critical months following treatment.

Sober living communities and halfway houses provide just this type of environment. Many responsible, well-run halfway houses require residents to adhere to sobriety contracts, which may include screenings and tests to make sure agreed-upon terms and conditions are being honored. To help residents meet their obligations, onsite support services are readily available. They are also highly structured: demanding that residents be employed, enrolled in school or volunteering while participating in ongoing group therapy programs.

When combined, these features help boost the recovering addict's chances of making it through the critical first months without a relapse. At Red Oak Recovery®, we employ a multimodal treatment strategy built on a clinically dynamic treatment model, taking advantage of every available advantage to promote the health and recovery of our patients. If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, we have the skills, resources and experience to help. To learn more, please contact our team by phone or confidential email today.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Addiction In Males: Risks, Treatment, and Recovery

Young Men's Drug Rehab N.C.
While addiction is an issue that affects just about every imaginable demographic group, research has shown that there are stark differences in the respective addiction experiences of men and women. Addiction experts have pointed out that from a societal standpoint, boys and men have historically been rewarded for behaviors like risk-taking, competitiveness, and impulsiveness. In certain contexts, these behaviors can lead to an increased risk of addiction, especially among adolescents and young men.

While the addiction gender gap continues to close, men have always had—and continue to have—higher rates of addiction than women. Research also shows that from a statistical standpoint, young men are in one of the highest-risk categories for developing substance abuse issues. A recent comprehensive study found that men between the ages of 25 and 34 were two times more likely to develop an addiction than men ages 45 to 50.

Key Differences in the Addiction Cycle in Men and Women 

Men are most likely to become addicted to:
  • Alcohol 
  • Gambling 
  • Sex and pornography 
  • Illicit drugs 
The only areas in which women exceed men in terms of addiction rates are prescription tranquilizer drug abuse and food addiction.

For men, the good news is that statistically speaking, they are more likely than women to remain enrolled in an addiction treatment program for a period of 30 days or more. Women also appear less likely to seek professional help for addiction or substance abuse. Studies have shown that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work when it comes to gender and addiction. Men and women develop addictions for different reasons and their bodies react differently to substances. Cultural and emotional factors also play a significant role, especially in group-recovery settings.

The Red Oak Recovery® Program for Men 

At Red Oak Recovery®, we recognize that there are no easy answers to addiction, and that every person's experience with substance abuse and addiction is unique. Our groundbreaking young men's program is specifically developed to help males of all ages address not only the problematic behavior itself, but also its underlying causes and complicating factors. In addition, our credentialed addiction specialists prioritize the specific developmental and transitional issues faced by young men in addiction recovery, and deliver a therapeutic curriculum that promotes healing of mind and spirit as well as body.

If you or a young adult you care about is suffering from a substance abuse or addiction problem, we can help. For further information, please contact a Red Oak Recovery® admissions counselor to discuss insurance authorization, self-payment options, and affordable addiction treatment plans.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pill Popping & Prescription Drug Abuse

Pill pping and prescription drug abuse
The statistics are staggering. At just five percent of the world’s population, the U.S. consumed 75% of the world’s prescription drugs in 2010. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 54.2% of people taking prescription drugs got them from a friend or relative—not their physician. And 62% of teens surveyed said that they take prescription drugs because they are “easy to get from their parents’ medicine cabinet.”

The “Whys” Behind Prescription Drug Abuse 

We take medication to alleviate physical and psychological pain, bring us up when we’re down, focus when we’re distracted, and relax when we’re tense. It’s an epidemic—and it is wreaking havoc on our families, marriages, workplaces, and relationships. The need to medicate our problems away begins early. Studies show that more and more adolescents and young adults are self-medicating to deal with life and stress. Earlier this year, WebMD reported that 24% of high school students (over five million kids) have abused some type of prescription drug. The majority of them believe that it is safer than taking street drugs, so they don’t consider it a problem.

The truth is, addiction is addiction, no matter what you are addicted to. The intense cravings, poor decisions, and compulsive pill seeking behaviors are part of a “short circuit” in the brain: a disease that impacts learning, memory, and our ability to control our behavior. It takes more than willpower to stop abusing prescription drugs. If you have been dabbling in prescription pills for a long time—or have recently become physically dependent on prescribed painkillers or medication for ADD, help is here. 

Holistic Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse 

At Red Oak Recovery®, we are experts in prescription drug addiction rehab. Combining traditional addiction treatment programs with holistic therapies, nutrition therapy, and mindfulness techniques, we have a high success rate in addiction recovery and relapse prevention. If you began using prescription painkillers because you have a documented medical condition, holistic therapy options like acupuncture and eco-therapy are often a beneficial alternative to the drugs you’ve come to rely on. Specializing in wilderness experiences and team building, we teach clients to get in touch with a reality beyond drugs and step out of their comfort zone to develop pro-social coping mechanisms.

Get Help for Prescription Drug Abuse

Don’t become a statistic. If prescription drug addiction has a hold on your life, make the call today. Red Oak Recovery® intake specialists are available 24/7. Our clinically driven adventure therapy program is rooted in evidence-based research that has helped thousands of young men and women recover—physically, emotionally, and spiritually—from prescription medication abuse. Call 866.831.9107 now.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Nutrition and Addiction: Caring For Your Body During Rehab

Substance addiction can damage both the mind and body. Intensive outpatient and residential addiction treatment programs clients heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Detoxification and cognitive-behavior therapy help purge the body of substances and the mind of negative thoughts that cause destruction. As you’re “unloading” what’s weighing you down, you’ll also need to think about replenishing the things that you’ve lost to your addiction, such as good nutrition.

The Need for Nutrition Therapy and Planning 

Drug or alcohol addiction and poor nutrition often go hand and hand. Reasons may vary:
  • Loss of appetite & weight loss with drug use (cocaine, methamphetamine) 
  • Not enough money for drugs & nutritious food 
  • Organ damage due to alcoholism 
  • Nausea and vomiting from withdrawal 
When you’re on the journey to recovery, you need your strength to follow through with your goals to reach sobriety. Healthy meals and if required, vitamin supplements prescribed by your doctor, can help you gain weight and make up for essential nutrient deficiencies. Top-ranked NC rehab facilities often include meal planning and nutritional consultation services in an integrative approach to treating addiction.

Research Backs Nutritional Therapy for Mental Health 

Research shows that a healthy, well-rounded diet plays a valuable role in drug and alcohol addiction treatment, as well as co-existing mental health conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder.

One recent study suggests that vitamin D may have a protective effect on the brain of people who are addicted to methamphetamines. Vitamin D is safe for most people to take as a supplement; milk is also fortified with vitamin D if you do not have a dairy intolerance. Ask your doctor if vitamin D is appropriate for you.

Researchers have found that some people who have clinical depression also have deficiencies of vitamins C, B and omega-3 fatty acids. Eating foods rich in these nutrients, such as oranges, broccoli, whole grains, and salmon can boost your levels, and may help boost your mood.

As you progress work through your treatment program and follow a healthy diet, you’ll start feeling better and stronger—both physically and mentally. It’s important to remember; however, to talk to your clinician or physician about making major dietary changes.

Young Adult Addiction Recovery in North Carolina

Red Oak Recovery® offers a range of traditional and holistic addiction treatment programs for young men and women. Our individualized approach helps drive healing, sustained sobriety, and peace of mind in a way that’s right for each client, and we focus on nutrition and addiction throughout your stay. Call 866.831.9107 to learn more about our facility, staff, and programs or inquire about insurance coverage for your residential addiction treatment.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Are Video Games Really Addictive?

are video games really addictive?
While the American Medical Association has yet to identify gaming addiction as a diagnosable disorder, compulsive video game use has become a widespread epidemic. Stories abound on the web of gamers who have become obsessed, relinquishing normal life pursuits to continue playing. Anecdotes by self-identified gamers and their families have led scientists to conduct increasing research on the subject, and health professionals are developing programs for treatment. According to many, excessive gaming delivers a rush similar to drug and alcohol addiction.

“I like to play games a lot, but how do I know if I’m addicted?” 

For many young people, video gaming starts as a simple social activity. However, as playing begins to consume more and more time and attention, it becomes isolating, preoccupying, and results in these addictive behaviors:

Playing for longer & longer periods of time. 

Gamers report that they often neglect their responsibilities to have more time to play video games. They seem to be immune to the threat of job loss or failure in school, opting instead to immerse themselves in the game.

Neglecting sleep, nourishment & personal care. 

Chronic gamers neglect their health and well-being. Families report preparing meals that go uneaten, even when set within easy reach. Often, gamers fail to do even the most basic personal tasks like bathing, dressing and brushing their teeth or hair. Long hours at the game screen result in health problems like chronic headache, backache, and sleep deprivation.

Choosing the game over real life. 

For young people who are still developing social skills, video game addiction can have grave and long-lasting consequences. Rather than participating in activities that form healthy relationships with peers, they may choose to isolate themselves with their game personas. They never give themselves an opportunity to mature and learn to interact with friends and family.

Can Treatment Help? 

Breaking the cycle of video game addiction can be done, but like other compulsive behaviors, it may require professional help. For some gamers, it is as easy as unplugging the computer and reconnecting with family and friends. For others, 12-step programs and cognitive behavior therapy may provide the answer. Long-time gamers sometimes need help learning the social skills and nutritional habits they failed to develop during adolescence.

Young adults respond especially well to wilderness therapy addiction programs like Red Oak Recovery®. Our credentialed addiction specialists also offer nutritional therapy and life skills training, in addition to clinical guidance and support. Call 866-831-9107 to learn how we can help you or a loved one escape the tyranny of addiction and learn to live a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mantras For Addiction Recovery

mantras for addiction recovery
While the word mantra originated as a Hindu “sacred utterance," people use mantras every day to guide their efforts at home, at work, and at school. The popular culture definition of mantra has evolved to mean repetitive slogan, personal truth, or structured thought. Adopting one or more mantras as part of your addiction recovery experience is a focused way to achieve your objectives and remain motivated. Words have a powerful way of changing behaviors, thought patterns, and emotions over time. Consider mantras a tool in your toolbox: useful for chanting when you are tempted to use or for achieving focused calm during meditation.

Mantras for Drug & Alcohol Treatment 

I am a worthwhile, deserving person. By undervaluing themselves, addicts spiral into a dangerous pattern of self-deprecation and low self-esteem. Use this mantra as a reminder that you are lovable, valuable, and deserving of wellness and joy.

I am in control of my life. At first, these words may seem hollow. After all, most addicts feel as if their lives are spinning out of control with drugs and alcohol in the driver’s seat. Use this mantra to take a stand. Addiction does not control you; you are in control of your destiny and you have a supportive rehabilitation team ready to help.

I am not alone. Feelings of isolation can quickly give way to destructive behaviors. When you are in the grip of loneliness, remind yourself of this truth and call on your community of family, friends, and counselors to help you avoid making a negative choice.

I am making progress. While your steps may seem small, you are moving in the right direction when you seek addiction treatment. Live in the moment, celebrating small triumphs and reminding yourself that each forward step takes you further from the bondage of addiction and toward the freedom of sobriety.

I will not give in to my drug or alcohol craving today. While it is important to acknowledge that sobriety is a lifelong effort, getting through today is the most important thing on your agenda. Chant this mantra when you are feeling tempted to drink or use drugs. Meditate on it when you are in the middle of a stressful situation. Resisting substance use today fuels you to take another stand tomorrow.

Red Oak Recovery® Addiction Treatment Program

At Red Oak Recovery®, our comprehensive, clinically driven program meets young adults where they are and helps them rehabilitate their body, mind, and spirit. To learn more holistic techniques for making behavioral change and achieving long-term sobriety, call 866.831.9107. Our team provides the tools you need to walk away from addiction. Begin your recovery journey today!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Do You Have An Adderall Addiction?

Adderall is a prescription drug that brings proven benefits to those suffering from narcolepsy and attention disorders like ADD and ADHD. It has long been a “study drug” of choice for healthy high school and college students seeking higher GPAs, and now it’s making its way into a hard-driven workforce requiring long hours of focus and motivation. Because Adderall releases dopamine that gives users an inflated sense of wellbeing, they feel infinitely productive and ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, studies conducted by the University of Pennsylvania found that students taking Adderall did not actually perform better on cognitive function tests; they only thought they did.

Adderall is easy to obtain. Not only is it is readily available through dealers, but students and professionals are borrowing pills from friends or faking symptoms to get their own prescription. And—because it is prescribed—many users consider it “safer” than street drugs.

What is Adderall? Am I Addicted? 

Adderall combines two stimulant drugs: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. These medications speed up the central nervous system, improving energy, mood, and ability to concentrate. Like all drugs, though—over time, Adderall users require more of the med to get the desired effect. With increased use comes a variety of serious physical and psychological symptoms. If you’ve used Adderall to get ahead at work or school and have lost control of your dependency, it’s time to get help. As with most drugs, you’ll begin to notice constant cravings and increased use in the midst of negative consequences. Other addiction signs vary in severity, and may also include:
  • Headaches 
  • Shaking 
  • Nervousness & restlessness 
  • Aggressiveness Paranoia & hallucinations 
  • Sleep problems 
  • Nausea & stomach pain 
  • Weight loss & loss of appetite 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Seizures 
  • Fast heartbeat & shortness of breath 
  • Psychosis (in rare cases) 


Adderall Addiction Treatment 

Known by the street names peppies, dexies, truckies, black beauties, double trouble, and beans, prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin cause long- term damage to your body and mental health when they are abused. If you’re stuck on the hamster wheel of Adderall or Ritalin use or you have a friend who’s addicted, it’s time to get help. In the confines of a skilled, compassionate residential recovery center, you’ll safely detox and begin a behavioral therapy program where you will:

  • Discover the root of your addiction 
  • Gain support from a community of young adults 
  • Use holistic therapies to deal with cravings & withdrawal 
  • Gain the tools you need to recover 
  • Develop an aftercare program to help you fend off relapse 
  • Learn healthy, alternative ways to focus, study & stay motivated 


Get Help for Adderall Addiction 

To learn more about Adderall and Ritalin addiction treatment for young adults, click here. To begin your recovery journey or discuss Adderall addiction recovery you can reach us at 866.831.9107.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Specialized Addiction Recovery For Young Women

specialized addiction recovery for young women
While men are more likely than women to become chemically dependent, women face unique challenges throughout their addiction and recovery. Biological, emotional, relational, and societal factors differ between the genders, so it’s important that addiction specialists understand the unique needs of female clients and gear recovery programs to meet those needs.

Facts About Female Addiction

Studies indicate that women:
  • Progress from substance use to substance abuse more quickly than men, even when they are using less.
  • Struggle more with relapse than male clients.
  • Recover differently than their male counterparts. 

Brain chemistry & hormones. Women’s brains light up in different areas than men when they are using substances, and female hormones may also play a role in addiction susceptibility. These biological differences could be partly to blame for women “telescoping” more quickly from drug dabbling to physical addiction. (Unfortunately, women also develop liver cirrhosis twice as quickly as men.)

Trauma. Women are more likely to suffer from mood disorders, sexual trauma, or other forms of abuse, which can readily lead to addiction. A high-quality women’s recovery facility should be aware of these problems and understand how to treat them. Treatment-complicating issues may include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, poor body image, dysfunctional family relationships, self-esteem problems, and self-harm behavior.

Getting help. A study in the journal Substance Use & Misuse reported that, unlike men who are culturally encouraged to solve problems on their own, women are more likely to recognize their need for help. Unfortunately, they are also more liable to put off going to rehab because of the stigma attached to female addiction. Immersed in guilt and shame, they see themselves as a bad person rather than as someone struggling with a treatable illness. When women finally seek treatment, they are more likely to leave treatment early because they feel pulled to return to their families, friends, and caregiving responsibilities.

Relapse rates. Women relapse more often than men. There is much speculation about why this occurs, but it could be because they suffer from co-occurring conditions more than men—or because they tend to return to unhealthy relationships after rehab. Believing that they can change toxic relationships for the better, they end up falling into the same negative patterns that drove them to addiction in the first place.

Red Oak Recovery® Program for Young Women

At Red Oak Recovery®, our women’s program is geared toward the unique needs of young adult female clients. We begin by teaching young women to create and maintain safe physical and emotional boundaries, and we specialize in the nuances of addiction and trauma in young women. Our program helps young women exchange negative behaviors like manipulation, deceitfulness, self-harm tendencies, disordered eating, and irrational belief systems for healthy, productive responses to stress.

Using 12-step programs, nutritional and recreational therapy, addiction education, and holistic treatments, we provide supportive addiction treatment that encourages young women to connect with others facing similar problems. Since women are hardwired for relationships, group therapy is a critical part of any successful rehab program. To learn more about gender-separate treatment programs for young men and young women, click here. To begin your recovery journey or discuss addiction recovery financing, call 866.831.9107 today!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Young Adults And Opiate Abuse

Opiates (also called narcotics or opioids) are a class of prescription painkillers with the potential to become highly addictive. Typically prescribed for post-surgical recovery or moderate to severe pain, opiate use has become an epidemic among young adults. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that the abuse of prescription medications is highest among 18 to 25 year olds.

It’s a Big Problem 

In years past, the abuse of prescription drugs was swept under the rug and not discussed because “It’s medication, not illicit drugs.” It was the secret nobody talked about, but that didn’t mean the problem didn’t exist.

Statistics range widely concerning the use of opiates for reasons other than pain relief. Research suggests that “problematic use” (defined as misuse or abuse) occurs an average of 21 to 29% of the time. Physical addiction to narcotics occurred in 8 to 12% of cases studied. These numbers show the high frequency of opioid abuse, and the need for treatment programs that aid young men and young women who struggle with overcoming addiction.

Risky Behavior

Substance addiction can lead to potentially dangerous physical issues such as slowed breathing and irregular heartbeat. Addicts may also display poor judgment and are more likely to suffer from mental illness and co-occurring conditions, including depression. Poor judgment can take many forms, including sexual behavior.

Studies show that young adults who are dependent on opiates engage in high-risk sexual behavior such as unprotected sex and a greater number of partners than those who don’t have drug problems. Furthermore, research has proven that the young adult children of opiate-addicted parents are more likely to take sexual risks. These risks not only threaten personal relationships, but physical health, as well.

New Guidelines for Opiate Addiction Treatment 

The vast problem of opiate abuse is no longer a dirty little secret, and that’s good news. Highly qualified professionals committed to creating effective treatment plans are now getting into the game to treat people who want to overcome narcotics addiction.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) recently announced the forthcoming release of new practice guidelines for the “Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opioid Use.” The guidelines will explore medications that are designed to treat opiate addiction, as well as reference multidisciplinary treatment plans aimed to help patients kick the habit. This is a huge step, and a welcome one, in the medical community.

We’re Here to Help 

Red Oak Recovery®’s substance abuse treatment facility combines clinical, evidence-based programs with innovative outdoor recreation and nutritional therapy in a holistic approach that gets you the help you need. Call 866.831.9107 today to learn more about Red Oak Recovery®’s programs for young men and women. With treatment plans for those in early recovery, our credentialed treatment team is committed to supporting our patients’ physical health and emotional challenges in a compassionate, safe environment.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Secrets Keep You Sick

Living a Secret Life as an Addict 

Is your substance abuse making you ashamed of who you are? Are you living a secret life that not even your closest friends and family know about? As a young adult, you may feel trapped or like you have lost control of your own life, but you are not alone. Lying about your drinking or drug abuse habits might be a way you try to convince yourself that everything is okay. However, there are consequences to this behavior including feeling more isolated and less in touch with the world around you. Continuing to lie and a life of secrecy can affect your personal relationships, your health and your safety.

Secrets Keep You Sick

Signs of addiction can be very obvious if you open yourself to recognizing them. Neglecting responsibilities, degraded school or work performance, physical and health changes, relationship problems and sudden mood changes can all be signs of a drinking problem. You might start keeping secrets from your family and friends about how much and how often you drink or abuse drugs and about your own personal life. Recognizing these signs and getting help early can bring normalcy back into your life. These secrets can grow over time, leaving you isolated from your loved ones and your true self. The more secrets escalate, the more detrimental they become to your physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Taking the First Step

The first step in getting better is to not keep the secret of your substance abuse to yourself. Being honest with yourself and admitting you have a problem is the most difficult first step - but you are not alone. At Red Oak Recovery® you will be among a community of young adults who have shared experiences and learn how to move away from secrecy and into honesty together. If alcohol addiction is contributing to the secrecy in your life, early treatment and intervention can help connect you with an alcohol treatment center that works best for you. At Red Oak Recovery®, our licensed therapists can help you through this early phase of acceptance and recovery.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Nutrition & Exercise In Recovery

Nutrition and exercise in recovery
By the time an individual enters an addiction treatment facility, their addictions have likely taken a toll on their overall health. A large percentage of addicts are malnourished, and haven’t been getting proper nutrition in their bodies for some time. Many alcoholics get a large portion of their daily caloric intake from alcohol, which contains empty calories. This lack of nutrition can lead to dehydration, a weakened immune system and an unhealthy weight. Exercise is also far down on the to do list for many in active addiction. The lack of a proper diet and exercise, coupled with substance wreaking havoc on the body, can deteriorate one’s overall health rapidly.

The absence of addictive substances is a small piece in the puzzle of getting well. Being sober must be coupled proper nutrition and exercise to properly recover. Addiction treatment offers a safe haven for individuals to re-identify themselves. As a young man or woman progresses through our Young Adult Rehab Program, they will begin to feel better physically, spiritually, and emotionally. After feeling better for some time, they begin to re-identify themselves as active and healthy and they seek to perpetuate the feeling of wellness this brings.

Red Oak’s program provides a healthy diet, with a great amount of the food grown here at the facility. We offer many therapeutic adventure-based therapies (such as rock climbing, rafting and hiking) that provide our residents with the physical activity that their bodies need. These are just a few of the aspects of our program that assist in the physical improvements of our residents.

A proper diet and exercise not only help heal a person physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. Feeling better physically helps one realize that feeling good is possible in recovery, without the use of addictive substances. It also helps the individual become comfortable enough to reach a place where change becomes a more acceptable notion.

Nutrition and exercise are basic qualities of a healthy lifestyle. At Red Oak Recovery®, we help young people get back to the basics to rebuild themselves. This is a small, but important, aspect of addiction recovery at Red Oak. Our program implements many therapies and activities that teach young men and women the qualities needed to not only stay sober, but grow into healthy, outstanding human beings.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Young Adults, Decisions and Consequences

Young adult decisions have consequences
Regret, guilt and shame are common sentiments experienced by young adults after a night of heavy drinking. The level of regret is often akin to the level of problems a young adult has amassed in their life as a direct result of drinking. For many, romantic relationships, friendships, grades or jobs suffer. Many can recover from these dips through changing the decisions they make and how they live day to day, which they learn in addiction recovery.

For some, one bad decision can change their lives. Two cases that made headlines last week reveal how alcohol abuse can lead to negative lifelong consequences. They involve young adult women who decided to get behind the wheel after a night of drinking. These women, both from Florida, were charged with DUI manslaughter.

Kayala Mendoza got behind the wheel drunk in November 2013 and it resulted in the death of 21-year-olds Kaitlyn Ferrante and Marisa Catronio after a head on collision. This incident made headlines because of a harrowing tweet Mendoza composed a few hours before the crash that read “2 drunk 2 care.” She is now set to serve for 24 years in prison and banned from driving for life. Prior to her sentencing she said “I know that I have made mistakes and the outcome is so much more than I could ever imagine,”... “No matter how much time passes by, [Ferrante and Catronio] will never leave my heart. I think about them every day and I regret my choices every day.”

The second tragic DUI case involved a young adult, Mila Dago, 24, who pleaded not guilty to the DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges despite a text message that indicated she was drunk before getting behind the wheel and killing a passenger in her car in an August 2013 crash. Her blood alcohol was taken 2 hours after the crash showed she had BAC of .178 – more than twice the legal limit. Recent evidence showed that in the hours before the crash she sent 60 texts to her boyfriend, including one 3 minutes before the crash that said “driving drunk woo ... I’ll be dead thanks to you ... lata.”

Both of these tragic cases magnify how grave the consequences of alcohol abuse can be on a young adult’s life. Often, the substance abuse starts before a major incident occurs as bad decisions increase over time as the addiction erodes their inhibitions. Young adults are aware of the dangers of drunk driving and many plan around how to get to and from places when they intend on drinking via designated drivers and car services. However young adults with substance abuse problems usually find themselves drunk or high without prior planning and don’t have a safety net in place.

In active addiction the decision to use or drink is often eroded – it just happens – and the decisions that follow are poor and impacting. Red Oak Recovery®’s treatment program helps many young adults recover when they begin to see the negative consequences of their addiction fueled decisions. Our addiction programs can help before lifelong consequences occur within a young adult’s life resulting from drug and alcohol induced decisions.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Drug Addiction And Its Very Real Medical Consequences

Parents and guardians who seek drug and alcohol treatment in North Carolina often do so out of an awareness of the consequences of addiction that go beyond the spiritual or an inability to get on with day-to-day life. Drug addiction has long been associated with various medical issues, ranging from stroke, cancer and mental disorders to lung or cardiovascular disease, many of which can be prevalent in drug-abusing young adults.

It is known from research that tobacco smoke, for instance, causes cancers of the throat, mouth, bladder, kidney and cervix, among other areas. Then, there are the certain drugs of abuse - like inhalants - that have a toxic effect on nerve cells, damaging or destroying them in the brain or the peripheral nervous system. Mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and schizophrenia also frequently co-exist with drug abuse, potentially preceding addiction, or even being triggered or exacerbated by it.

Specific abuse substances are linked to specific medical consequences. Those who use nicotine, for example - the addictive stimulant found in cigarettes and other forms of tobacco - put themselves at heightened risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, bronchial disorders and emphysema. Alcohol can also adversely impact on the brain and most body organs, with the cerebral cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum being the areas of the brain that are particularly susceptible to alcohol-related damage.

The most commonly abused illegal substance, marijuana, is another to have detrimental medical consequences for addicts, short-term memory and learning, coordination and the ability to focus attention all being potentially impaired. Marijuana abusers can be at risk of psychosis if they have an underlying vulnerability, and they are also likely to experience a quickening heart rate and to sustain lung damage.

Severe medical consequences can also arise from the use of cocaine, the heart and the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems being commonly affected. Young adults may also misuse prescription medications like Valium, Vicodin or Ritalin for the purposes of getting high, self-treatment and/or the improvement of performance, and again, the consequences of such drugs' misuse or abuse can be grave, including death.

So many more drugs that are commonly misused or abused by young adults - ranging from inhalants and amphetamines to LSD, MDMA (Ecstasy or "Molly") or heroin - can have immensely negative medical effects. This is all the more reason for inquiries to be made quickly by a concerned parent, guardian or other adult about the most suitable drug and alcohol treatment in North Carolina that has been conceived and developed with young adults' particular clinical needs in mind.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring Garden Ceremony: Nutritional Therapy

Spring Garden Ceremony
We are gathered here to celebrate of the spring garden – this ceremony is meant to connect us to the natural moment that is happening all around us - to remind us that we are not lonely souls that hover above the earth, but that we are deeply connected to the earth! That we are connected to each other.  This moment is meant to bring awareness to the fact that all personal and spiritual growth is mirrored in the changing of the seasons and the transformation of the earth throughout.

We have now come out of the winter- where it was cold, dark; we were in dormancy - the time of the year when we return to our deepest self and rest- nourishing our deepest thoughts and desires. During winter, the whole earth around us appears dead, but it too is resting, it too has returned to the deep well.

And now it is Spring- the light has come to wake us and the earth around us as well.  The grass is growing.  The ground has thawed, and the mud of spring is everywhere!  The trees are swelling – their buds just about to burst open and bloom.  All of the stored energy of winter is now available to the earth, now available to us!, for the work of growing- this moment is about planting the seeds of our deepest hopes and desires and devoting our stored energy to nourishing them to grow- out of the darkest, every year, comes this moment when Spring offers us the experience of HOPE and REBIRTH.

The force of Spring is palpable!  It cannot be stopped – hitch a ride onto this moment and let it move you too!

 In the words of the poet Pablo Neruda, "You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming."

Today we will plant the seeds for this year’s harvest- carrots, peas, beets and lettuce- which, if properly tended to, and if the season allows it, will feed us!  And I ask you, what else will you plant today? What hope will we sink into the earth?  What will we collectively plant? What will we nourish, together? Let's relish the hope today!

Let's relish the end of the cold and dark.  And as we plant the seeds, plant as small blessing or wish or prayer for this garden, and for the community that tends to it!

 "The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life."  Wendall Berry

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Scourge of "Drugged Driving" Among American Youth

There are seemingly endless reasons for the importance of young adult treatment in North Carolina. One reason that may not receive the emphasis that it deserves, is 'drugged driving'. Deaths among young people can be largely attributed to car crashes which often occur to at least some degree due to drug and/or alcohol use.

Driving after the use of illicit drugs or drinking of alcohol sadly remains all too prevalent among United States high school seniors and college students, who risk great harm to both themselves and others as a result. Many other young adults put themselves at risk by riding in a vehicle helmed by an intoxicated driver.

Various damning statistics have emerged that demonstrate the scourge of 'drugged driving' among young adults across North Carolina and the wider U.S. Of the 32 million people across the country who drove after using alcohol or drugs in 2012, for example, it was those in the 18-25 year old age category who were most strongly represented.

Indeed, it was revealed in late 2014 that 22 percent of those aged between 18 and 25 had driven under the influence of illicit drugs or alcohol over the past year, compared to 12 percent of those aged at least 26 and three percent of 12-17 year olds.

Driving after marijuana use may be a cause for even greater concern among parents and guardians who have considered the merits of young adult treatment in North Carolina for their loved one. Almost one in three college students drove after marijuana use and nearly half of them rode with a driver who had been using marijuana, according to one infographic recently published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The equivalent figures for high school seniors gave little extra cause for encouragement - one in eight of them driving after marijuana use and one in five riding with a driver who had been using the drug. These are more shocking figures that demonstrate the vital role that can be played by clinically dynamic treatment that has been suitably tailored to the very specific drug abuse issues affecting American young adults.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What Effects Do Designer Drugs Have On The Brain?

Capable mental health therapists assisting substance-addicted young adults get back to full physical and spiritual health will know of the importance of keeping up to date with the latest knowledge about drugs and their effects. The situation is no different with what are known as "designer drugs", which are manufactured to chemically resemble illicit drugs, but with their chemical structures often modified by the manufacturer to circumvent drug legislation.

Examples of designer drugs include spice (synthetic cannabinoids) and bath salts (synthetic cathinones), the cocaine or marijuana-esque effects that they produce being a key factor in their popularity. However, the chronic use and/or high doses of designer drugs have also been associated with such dangerous medical consequences as psychosis, tachycardia, violent behaviors, hyperthermia and even death.

Designer drugs are also sometimes referred to as "new psychoactive substances" (NPS) and despite the alarming rise in the levels of abuse of such drugs, there is a lack of scientific data about them. It was in order to review what is presently known about designer drugs' effect on the brain that a symposium was recently held.

One or a combination of synthetic cathionones can be included in bath salts, these chemicals acting on transporters for the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. It is these same transporters through which the psychoactive effects of ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamines are produced. It is a similar situation for synthetic cannabinoids, which resemble marijuana in their activation of the same cannabinoid receptors as marijuana's main psychoactive component, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

According to animal studies, there are also behavioral effects caused by both classes of designer drugs that resemble the drugs of abuse that they share mechanisms with. However, some different effects are also produced, due to slight chemical structure differences. The cathionone MDPV exerts 50 times greater strength on the dopamine transporter than cocaine. Meanwhile, synthetic cannabinoids do not last as long as THC and also differ in how they are metabolized, which could mean greater potential for abuse, as well as for interactions with medication and other toxic effects.

The easy availability of designer drugs is only making it all the more crucial for both their expected and unexpected effects to be better understood, so that the public - including many young adults - can be better-informed on the health and safety risks that they pose.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Marijuana Use May Have Impact On Offspring's Heroin Susceptibility

The list of reasons for young adults addicted to marijuana to seek suitable experiential therapy in North Carolina is doubtless a long one, but an addition to that list could be the potential for offspring to have a heightened risk of opiate addiction - even if the drug use ceases prior to offspring being conceived. That is at least the suggestion of the findings of recent animal research.

The study, which was carried out by scientists supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), showed that rats with parents that had been exposed to marijuana's main psychoactive ingredient as adolescents were more vigorous seekers of heroin than unexposed animals' offspring.

The findings cannot be confirmed and explained without further research, but nonetheless back up other studies indicating that even prior to conception, a parent's history of drug use could affect the brain function and behavior of a child.

Dr. Yasmin L. Hurd and colleagues at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City proposed the hypothesis that if a rat's parents were exposed during their adolescence to the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana - delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC - the offspring would inherit epigenetic changes that would alter how they responded to heroin.

The researchers tested this hypothesis by injecting THC into adolescent male and female rats for three weeks on an intermittent schedule, corresponding to the amounts that the typical recreational marijuana user would consume - specifically 1.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight every three days. A two to four week period was allowed for the drug to be washed out of the rats' bodies, before they were paired and mated.

On the offspring of these matings reaching adulthood, they were presented by the researchers with a lever that delivered heroin amounting to 30 micrograms per kilogram of body weight when pressed. The animals initially self-administered the drug at about the same rates as a group of control animals with parents that were not exposed to THC.

However, when the animals were made to work harder by being required to press the active lever no fewer than five times in order to receive a dose, those whose parents had been subject to drug exposure pressed almost three times as often, on average, as the control rats. More pronounced withdrawal symptoms were also observed among the THC-exposed rats' offspring when the animals were no longer able to access heroin.

Dr. John Satterlee, Project Officer at NIDA's Genetics and Molecular Neurobiology Research Branch, commented: "If the effect is real, it's important. If studies show that marijuana use also shows cross-generational effects in people, those results would add to the known dangers of the drug and amplify the importance of prevention efforts, especially those aimed at youth."

What Needs To Be Understood About Drug Abuse And Addiction

If effective, sustained recovery from drug abuse is to be achieved, it will help the addicted young adult and their parents to develop a better understanding of the nature of addiction, including clearing up some persistent misconceptions. Many parents inquiring about the services of a young adult rehab in North Carolina may initially imagine their child to be lacking in the moral principles or willpower that they presume to be necessary to achieve a change in behavior.

The truth is that drug addiction is a complicated disease, recovery depending on so much more than a strong will or sound intentions. Even those who desire to stop using can find the process extremely difficult, due to the changes that drugs cause in the brain that simply increase the likelihood of further compulsive drug abuse.

Scientific breakthroughs over the years have given us a much-improved understanding of the effects that drugs have on the brain, making it easier for us to devise effective treatments based on a well-informed, evidence-based clinical approach. This is crucial, given just how damaging drug abuse and addiction are for both individuals and society as a whole - encompassing family disintegration, academic failure, loss of employment, child abuse, domestic violence…to name a few things that may occur.

 It is vital that parents and young adults like realize the true nature of addiction as a chronic, often lapsing brain disease. Although the affected person may initially take drugs voluntarily, the brain changes that this causes over time adversely impacts on that person's self-control, making it harder and harder for them to resist what may become very intense drug-taking impulses.

There is no single factor that dictates a young adult's likelihood of becoming addicted to drugs, although individual biology, age or stage of development and social environment can all have an effect on the level of risk. But when a person does begin to use drugs, certain chemicals can tap into the communication system of their brain and cause disruption to their nerve cells' sending, receiving and processing of information.

The good news is that in common with such other chronic, relapsing diseases like diabetes, heart disease or asthma, drug addiction can be successfully managed. Through the right combination of addiction treatment medications and behavioral therapy, or another treatment approach appropriately tailored to the young adult's drug abuse patterns and any co-occurring problems, that person can achieve a sustainable return to a happy, healthy and productive life.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Important Facts About Marijuana For Teens

Regardless of the widespread prevalence of drug addiction programs in North Carolina, it is far from the case that every teen smokes marijuana - indeed, only about 1 in 7 teens do. There has actually been a steep drop in the proportion of teens using marijuana since the 1990s, but with the last few years having seen usage figures creep up again, we should not presume that it has ceased to be a threat to our young people.

More teens seem to be turning once more to marijuana and it may be an indication of the increasing misconception that it is not a harmful drug, perhaps due to it being "natural". This is despite the fact that not all natural plants are good for one's health, tobacco being one example. It all means that addiction remains a serious risk to American teens and young adults, with almost 4.2 million people 12 and older having a marijuana abuse or addiction problem as of 2011.

A person may smoke marijuana for many reasons, such as to fit in socially, feel better or even feel different. Whatever the reason for such use, there can be no denying the very real consequences, particularly given marijuana's addictive nature. Although not everyone who smokes marijuana becomes addicted, about 9 percent, or 1 in 11 people, do - a rate that rises to 17 percent, or around 1 in 6, for those starting in their teens. For daily users, there is a 25-50 percent risk of addiction.

Marijuana has many more potential consequences besides addiction, however. The adverse effect that the drug has on alertness, coordination, concentration and reaction time makes driving unsafe, and sure enough, there is no illegal drug that is more frequently involved in auto fatalities. Marijuana is also linked to academic failure due to the negative impact it has on attention, memory and learning, while psychosis or panic is another possibility when taking high doses of the drug.

The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the amount of which determines the strength or potency of the drug. The amount of THC content in marijuana has been on the increase since the 1980s. Furthermore, THC is rapidly absorbed by the body's fatty tissues, with traces often being detectable several days after use.

The many unwelcome short-term and long-term effects of marijuana on the human body - including the brain - only make it all the more crucial for the right drug addiction programs in North Carolina to be offered to teens and young adults to assist them on the road to recovery.  

National Drug Facts Week 2015 Educated Teens On Dangers Of Abuse

January 26 to February 1 2015 was the fifth annual National Drug Facts Week (NDFW) held, which helped teens, young adults and families learn the facts surrounding drugs and drug abuse, directly from the scientific experts. With sponsorship from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a part of the National Institutes of Health, the event was much welcomed throughout the North Carolina rehab community.

NDFW was intended to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse, subjects that are of great relevance to so many American teens and young adults. This aim was supported by the delivery of teen-oriented community events, NIDA's Drugs Facts Chat Day and partnerships with leading organizations, media outlets and other government agencies.

Drugs Facts Chat Day, for instance, took the form of an annual live chat between high school students and NIDA scientists. It gave students from across the United States the opportunity to ask whatever questions they wished to ask about drugs and drug abuse, including drug effects, the causes of addiction and how drug abusers among their friends and family could be helped. Participants were given the facts by NIDA's expert scientists.

Although the Drugs Facts Chat Day was held online and involved hundreds of high school students, the week saw similar question and answer sessions between teens and scientists taking place across the United States. Students on the Chat Days have previously asked such questions as "Are there any medical benefits to illegal drugs?", "Is smoking marijuana more harmful than smoking cigarettes?" and "How many young people are addicted to drugs?"

NIDA even challenged both teens and adults to take its Drug IQ Challenge, an interactive 10-minute quiz designed to test their knowledge on drugs and drug abuse. Answering the quiz questions allowed the risks and side effects of drug use to be better understood by participants. For example, despite marijuana's active ingredient - THC - being more than four times higher than it was two decades ago, most high school seniors do not consider regular marijuana smoking to be harmful.

Dr. Wilson Compton, NIDA Deputy Director, commented: "An open and honest dialogue that connects teens with leading experts on drugs, National Drug Facts Week has grown exponentially – from 92 events at its inception to now more than 1000. The continued popularity of this effort demonstrates the value in giving teens science-based facts that counter widespread misinformation about drugs."

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Long-Time Drug Addicted Young Adults May Be Assisted By Mindfulness

Substance abuse therapists across the United States will be interested to learn of recent research pointing to the usefulness of mindfulness training in reducing the deficits in natural reward processing that may arise for those with more chronic pain and drug addiction issues.

This should be reassuring news for those drug-dependent people who do not show as much behavioral and brain reactivity to natural rewards as non-drug users. This typically leads drug-dependent individuals to spend less time attending to natural rewards, and more time attempting to obtain the drug.

However, new research suggests that opioid-dependent users' natural reward processing could be restored with the help of a cognitive-based intervention. The study involved the randomization of chronic pain patients at risk for opioid misuse to eight weeks of either a support group (control) or a Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) intervention.

The MORE intervention's participants used mindfulness meditation to focus on all of a pleasant experience or object's (such as a sunset or other beautiful natural scene) sensory features, while reflecting on any positive emotions that they experienced as a result of this event. Meanwhile, in the support group, topics and emotions related to chronic pain and opioid use/misuse were discussed.

These interventions were followed by images representing natural rewards (such as endearing animals, appealing foods and landscapes) and neutral images - like household items, furniture or neutral facial expressions - being shown to all of the participants. Late positive potential (LPP) brain activity was also measured by the researchers as the images were viewed, to indicate the attention paid by the participants to emotionally salient information.

When compared to the control group, those participating in the MORE intervention displayed greater LPP responses to the natural reward images than to the neutral images. Furthermore, participants reporting higher LPP responses tended to report decreased opioid cravings.

Such findings indicated that misusers of opioids could be assisted in the control of their cravings by being taught to mindfully attend to positive aspects of their life, given how this may heighten the perceived value of natural rewards. Such processes can be diminished in those with chronic pain or addiction issues, as is well-recognized by substance abuse therapists.

What The Young Adult Needs To Know About Comorbidity

A great many of those who are admitted to a young adult rehab program present with more than one disorder or illness, a phenomenon known as comorbidity. Any given young adult may have both emotional and substance abuse issues simultaneously, or they may have developed one prior to the other. Indeed, the two coexisting illnesses or disorders can interact to the point of mutually worsening.

It is important for those considering a young adult rehab program to realize that drug addiction and mental illness may occur simultaneously, meaning that both mental and alcohol or drug issues need to be tended to by therapists. The brain is fundamentally changed by addiction, with a person's normal hierarchy of needs and desires being disturbed and substituted with new priorities connected to the procurement and use of the drug.

The resultant compulsive behaviors of those who abuse substances result in their impulses becoming progressively more difficult to control, despite the all too real negative consequences. Such a pattern has been observed in other mental illnesses. Nor should one doubt the widespread prevalence of comorbid drug addiction and other mental illnesses.

It is all too common for drug addicted young adults to also be diagnosed with other mental disorders, to the extent that they are about twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders as the general population - the reverse also being applicable.

However, it would be inaccurate to presume that a drug use disorder and co-occurring mental illness are linked to the extent of one having caused the other, even if one appeared first. There have, however, been a few possible reasons for such common co-occurrence suggested by research. These include that symptoms of another mental illness may be brought about by drug use, a hypothesis supported by the heightened risk of psychosis for marijuana users.

Alternatively, mental disorders can be a precursor to drug abuse, perhaps as a result of 'self-medication'. Anxious or depressed patients may try to temporarily alleviate their symptoms through reliance on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. There are other shared risk factors for such disorders, ranging from overlapping genetic vulnerabilities and overlapping environmental triggers to the involvement of similar brain regions.

The high comorbidity rates between drug use disorders and other mental illnesses only makes it all the more crucial for a comprehensive treatment approach to be taken that identifies and evaluates both. Such an approach is embraced today by any good young adult rehab program offering clinically dynamic, combined treatments and therapies.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Self-Control Shields Urban Minority Youth From Drug Abuse And Depression

It should certainly interest many of those families considering young adult recovery programs to read the findings of recent research by Dr. Kerstin Pahl and colleagues at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine. The study found self-control among 14 year old urban African Americans and Puerto Ricans to strongly predict low levels of both marijuana use and depressive mood up to age 29.

The findings suggest that when the self-control of ethnic and racial minority children and early adolescents is bolstered, they can be better shielded from both drug abuse and depression into adolescence and young adulthood. The study built on past research suggesting that low self-control in white populations heightened the risks for substance abuse and depressive mood, when the two are considered in isolation.

The new research goes further in not only replicating those results in an ethnic/racial minority population, but also showing the impact of self-control on the likelihood of a young person developing both marijuana use and depression. When the Harlem Longitudinal Development Study began in 1990, the self-control of students across 11 schools in the East Harlem area of New York was assessed.

Those students were asked to agree or disagree that a set of eight statements, which characterized a lack of self-control, applied to themselves, examples including "You'll do anything on a dare", "You feel like losing your temper at people" and "When rules get in the way, you ignore them". The students were also quizzed by the researchers on the amount of marijuana they used and whether they had an unhappy, sad or depressed and hopeless attitude to the future.

Re-interviews of the participants about their drug use and mood took place every five years until they reached 29 years of age, with a total of 838 participants completing at least three of the four interviews. About one quarter of respondents consistently stated that they seldom or never used marijuana, in addition to experiencing minimal or no depressive mood. However, the 15 years of study also saw almost 1 in 7 follow a trajectory of increasing marijuana use as well as high depressive mood levels.

For the other 60 per cent of participants, mixed trajectories were reported of minimal or increasing marijuana use with low or intermediate depressive mood. The self-control level of the respondents in adolescence strongly predicted the trajectory group to which they belonged, with those indicating high levels of self-control at 14 having a significantly greater likelihood of reporting slight or no marijuana use, alongside low depressive mood levels.

However, with depressive mood also becoming less prevalent among the participants up to the age of 29, Dr. Pahl also emphasized the positive effect of maturity and the malleable nature of self-control, commenting: "The good news is that self-control can be improved over time, and that early interventions can make a difference." That is certainly a lesson to be taken in by those comparing young adult recovery programs like Red Oak Recovery®.

How To Respond If You Suspect Drug Addiction In Your Young Adult

Have you noticed your young adult or adolescent behaving differently recently, with no obvious explanation? Perhaps they always seem to be tired, hostile or depressed? Alternatively, they may simply appear withdrawn. If this is the case, your loved one may have a drug-related problem necessitating the right attention - such as from a young adult rehab program.

It's easy for even conscientious parents to overlook all manner of behaviors and changes in their young adult as simply a normal part of puberty. However, if you see particularly unexplainable signs as mentioned above, potentially along with such others as a decline in academic performance, change in peer group or carelessness towards personal hygiene, they may have a developing addiction to alcohol or drugs.

Other potential first signs of a problem that may require the intervention of a young adult rehab program include deteriorating family and friend relationships, changing eating or sleeping habits, trouble with school or the law, missing school classes or work and/or decreased interest in favorite activities.

The important thing in identifying such signs is to intervene quickly. Recent scientific advances have taught us about the effects of drugs on the brain, with one of the most crucial of these lessons being that addiction in young people can be best treated at the earliest stages.

Even in cases of more established addiction, a young adult rehab program and associated help can be highly effective in leading your adolescent back to a healthy and productive life. The changes wrought on the brain from repeated drug use can make it difficult for those who feel ready to quit to do so. Your young adult should know that their drug abuse is an illness that requires treatment, not a moral failing.

The first step for parents or guardians wishing to help their young adult is to seek help from a professional. You may initially decide to bring your loved one to a doctor, so that they can be screened for signs of drug abuse and other associated health issues. Your chosen doctor should be comfortable with this kind of screening - otherwise, you should request a referral to a doctor with skills in this area.

Your loved one may be subsequently referred to a relevant young adult rehab program - or you could get in touch with one directly. The right rehab program will be able to provide the best-tailored care, courtesy of suitably seasoned and skilled professionals in young adult drug addiction treatment, addressing both substance abuse and underlying emotional issues.

How Marijuana Use And Mental Illness May Be Linked

If there is one explanation for the popularity of services offering mental health support in North Carolina among the families who may be concerned about the drug use of their teen or young adult, it is because of the correlation between mental illness and the abuse of drugs like marijuana.

Indeed, studies have been carried out in the past drawing associations between marijuana use and an increased risk for such mental illnesses as depression, anxiety and psychosis (schizophrenia). However, it has been more difficult to pinpoint marijuana use as a direct contributor to these conditions, and if so, to what extent.

What is known is that the relationship has been shown to be affected by how much of the drug is used, the teen or young adult's age at first use and their genetic vulnerability. There is an especially strongly-evidenced link between marijuana use and psychotic disorders in those with a preexisting genetic or other vulnerability.

Recent research has indicated a heightened risk of the development of psychosis for those marijuana users carrying a specific variant of the AKT1 gene, which codes for an enzyme that affects dopamine signaling in the striatum. This is a part of the brain that becomes activated and flooded with dopamine in the presence of certain stimuli.

According to one study, daily marijuana users with this gene variant face a seven times higher risk than those who use the drug infrequently or not at all - another reason for concerned families to inquire about the appropriate mental health support in North Carolina when they suspect their teen or young adult of marijuana abuse.

Another study suggested that an increased risk of psychosis also applied to adults who used marijuana in adolescence and while carrying a specific variant of the gene for catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), an enzyme responsible for the degradation of such neurotransmitters as norepinephrine and dopamine.

Patients who already have schizophrenia have also been shown to see the course of their illness worsen as a consequence of marijuana use. Even non-schizophrenic users of the drug have been known to experience a brief psychotic reaction, particularly from a high dose, although this does fade as the drug wears off.

Nonetheless, with marijuana also having known - if less consistent - associations with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and personality disorders, it's clear just how crucial the right mental health support in North Carolina is to the teen and young adult abusers of marijuana.