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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Caregivers: Steps to Stress-Proof Your Diet

Have you ever effortlessly finished off a bag of chips or box of cookies after visiting your loved one in rehab? Have you noticed that your pants are getting a bit snug? Does working out seem like a selfish and lofty goal right now? 

If you’re a caregiver and answered "yes" to these questions, you’re not alone. For many, the reality is that caregiving can easily lead to weight gain – whether due to emotional eating or a lack of time and energy to cook and exercise. 

But the reality is also that compromising your health to care for someone you love is not doing you or your loved one any favors. Instead, practicing self-care by eating right, managing stress and exercising will help you be a better caregiver. It will also set a good example as your loved one embarks on a new healthy and sober life. 

Don’t wait for the New Year – start today and manage your stress and your weight with one of these tips.  
  • Think moderation. You don’t have to completely ditch the comfort foods, but you do need to pay attention to portions. Make an effort to stick with a serving’s worth. Hint: Never eat from the bag or box but instead doll chips or cookies into smaller bags.
  • Choose smart snacks. While there’s no one food to eliminate stress, certain nutrients do provide a steady, reliable source of energy to get you through the day feeling focused and balanced so you'll have the ability to conquer anything. Some winners: asparagus, avocado, berries, nuts, oranges and green tea. 
  • Distract yourself. The next time the desire to eat away your anxiety strikes, do your best to divert your cravings. Go for a walk, listen to music, read a book, or even toss in a load of laundry – whatever will keep your mind and hands busy. 
  • Make an effort to move. It’s not new advice but it works. Exercise has been continually proven to boost feel-good endorphins and bust stress. And even a brisk 15-minute walk can do the trick when food cravings hit, according to a study in PLOS ONE.
  • Start a food journal. Writing down how you’re feeling when hunger strikes can help you identify any patterns and help you become more conscious of what you’re eating and why. Journaling is also a great way to let go of any bottle up emotions. 

Help for Families
At Red Oak Academy, we understand how easy it is to feel out of control when a loved one is addicted. We have a strong commitment to providing support to the parents and families of those entering treatment. Becoming involved with their treatment in a supportive manner gives them the best chance of success. To learn more about our family program, call today: 866-831-9107.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Make the Most of Rehab This Holiday Season

Being in rehab during the holidays is tough – but it may also be crucial to your long-term sobriety. Food and alcohol-laden parties can be tricky to navigate. Plus, there’s the added stress and emotions from ramped-up family time. And, if you don’t have close family ties, you may also be struggling with feelings of loneliness. 

For these reasons, many rehabs strongly discourage leaving the facility for the holidays. The temptation to relapse is just too strong. 

Think of it this way: Getting help and being somewhere safe at holiday time is the best gift you can give to yourself and your loved ones. And just remember: You won’t be in rehab forever! 

In the meantime, try some of these steps to make the most of the days ahead:
  • If possible, ask a loved one or friend to come visit and spend a few hours with you. 
  • Arrange a time to Skype or Facetime with your family or friends, even if you can’t see them in person.
  • Find out if it’s possible to bake cookies or a favorite holiday treat with the staff. 
  • Use this time to do a little extra work on your recovery. This way, you’re a step closer to being able to go home. 
  • Write letters or make cards for your loved ones. Fill them in on your recovery or holiday wishes.
  • Get involved. Whether there’s a gift exchange or volunteer opportunity, seek out and participate in whatever holiday activities are offered at the rehab.
  • Take some quiet time and reflect on all that you have to be thankful for this season. 
Rehab for the Holidays: The Gift That Keeps On Giving
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use disorder or addiction, call 866-831-9107 to speak to an admissions specialist and begin your journey toward recovery today. We are available 24/7, every day, including holidays. Season's greetings!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Nostalgia During Recovery: What You Need to Know

The road to recovery comes with dozens of mixed feelings and emotions – some helpful and some harmful. One such feeling is nostalgia, or a wistful longing to return to past times or circumstances, which can be tricky and may even lead to relapse if you’re not careful.

This is because nostalgia can enable you to romanticize things and remember only the good – whether you’re nostalgic about getting high with friends, bar hopping with buddies, or a past romantic relationship or friendship you had during active addiction. And you’ll likely forget all of the bad – feeling sick the morning after, embarrassing yourself in public, hurtful remarks uttered to friends and family, etc.

Remind yourself daily why you choose to commit to sobriety – and then try these tips to use nostalgia to support your recovery:

Be selective. You can be conscious about what you are and are not nostalgic about. For instance, it’s okay to summon pleasant memories of your loved ones – and, in fact, these memories might even help give you the strength to get through some tough times in rehab. Reminiscing about your drinking or drugging days is dangerous, however, and can work on the mind to tempt you back to addiction. 

Focus on your new sober life. It’s not easy to get past the positive feelings you associate with your addictive days – it was likely a big part of your life for a long time. However, you now have the chance to find fulfillment in experiences, people, and activities that will ultimately improve your life. 

Make new memories. Recovery is the perfect time to repair past relationships, form new friendships with peers, and create new sober memories. The more you focus on the present, the less likely you’ll be nostalgic for the past. 

Your Individual Path to Recovery
Everyone’s journey from addiction to sobriety is different and we’re here to help guide and support you in yours. Red Oak’s addiction programs utilize many paths to develop lasting change in emotional and spiritual growth. To learn more, call today: 866-831-9107.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dos and Don’ts of Digestive Health

Years of alcohol or drug abuse can wreak havoc on your gut. Plus, some studies suggest that your digestive health can impact your overall mental health. This is because gut bacteria has been found to play a key role in anxiety and depression, influencing how you think and how you feel. 

Luckily, boosting your digestive health doesn’t require a huge overhaul to your dietary and lifestyle habits. And many of these steps may already be integral to your addiction recovery plan.

Say “yes” to…
  • Fiber. Loading up on fiber-rich foods (veggies, legumes, and fruits) will help prevent constipation and keep things moving through your digestive tract. Experts recommend 25 grams of fiber a day. 
  • Water. Good old H2O is great for dissolving fats and soluble fiber and keeping you regular. 
  • Probiotics. They’re found in foods like yogurt and kefir and have been study-proven to combat poor diet and stress and improve digestive functioning. 
Say “no” to…
  • Coffee and cigarettes. These stimulants can be a recipe for heartburn, ulcers, and overall poor digestive health. Try cutting back until you manage to quit entirely.
  • Supersized meals. Eating or drinking too much at a single sitting can cause fullness, reflux, and bloating. Staying full with frequent small meals will also keep blood sugar levels stable and help you resist giving in to other problematic cravings.
  • Stress. Unmanaged stressed is a surefire way to kick your digestive system into overdrive. Try incorporating yoga or meditation into your daily rehab activities.
Nutritional Therapy at Red Oak Recovery
Our nutritional therapy program, as part of our drug and alcohol treatment, approaches food and eating holistically. The food we prepare is designed to heal the body from the malnutrition and dehydration that substance abuse can cause. To learn more, call: 866-831-9107.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

3 Habits of Grateful People

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, it’s a perfect time to take a look at how gratitude can play a positive role in your life – even after the leftovers are eaten and the family china is packed away. 

Being thankful for little things or “having an attitude of gratitude” has been touted by many 12-step advocates as a crucial step in addiction recovery. That’s because being grateful can help you stay on the path to sobriety by reminding you of all of the good things in life due to your recovery efforts. 

While it’s not always easy to be grateful, especially on those hard days when the smallest act seems like a huge hurdle, it is a skill that can be practiced and learned. There are even some daily habits that can help.
  1. Keep a gratitude journal. This is especially helpful for redirecting any negative thoughts and focusing on the small, positive gifts of life. Just be sure that you plan this activity into your daily day – whether you write for 15 minutes when you wake up or before you wind down for the night. 
  2. Spend time with loved ones. It may sound silly, but making a habit to spend quality time with those who love and support you will help you to become more thankful. Gratitude has been found to strengthen relationships, which is key during recovery. 
  3. Pay it forward. Volunteering has a host of benefits for your mental health, including decreased feelings of depression and increased overall well-being. Giving to others also has the power to make you feel more grateful – for what you have and who you are as a person.
Giving Thanks at Red Oak
The expansive, open spaces of The Willows at Red Oak Recovery® offer opportunities for our clients to spend the solitary time needed to reflect and to focus on how gratitude can play a key role in recovery from addiction. To learn more, call 866-831-9107.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

How to Become a Better Listener

Now that you’re in recovery, you have an incredible opportunity to make things right in your life, including repairing any relationships that may have been neglected during your addiction. A good starting point is to learn how to be an active listener. 

This simple yet overlooked skill will help you build rapport, understanding, and trust with the loved ones who will be by your side along your hard-won journey toward sobriety. Start by trying these tips for becoming a better listener: 

Do put down your cellphone. If you’re like most Americans – 92 percent according to the Pew Research Center -- not only do you own a mobile phone, but you often keep it within arm’s distance. Glancing at a recent text or checking your Facebook feed during a conversation with a loved one is not only rude but it sends a message that you are uninterested in what the other person has to say. It also prevents good eye contact, which is a crucial element in effective communication.

Do paraphrase (not parrot) what the person said. Every so often it’s helpful to repeat what you heard the person saying in your own words. This will show that you are listening and make sure there aren’t any misunderstandings along the way. 

Do acknowledge your loved one’s problems, issues, and feelings. You might say, for example, “I known this is a difficult issue and appreciate your willingness to talk about it with me.” This type of dialogue will show that you are listening openly and with empathy.

Don’t just wait for your turn to talk. Be mindful of the exchange. Even if you’re excited about the subject matter or feel the urge to interject, it’s important to slow yourself down and pay attention to what the other person is saying.  

Don’t discount the other person’s opinion. Instead, give your loved one space to share his or her perspective and try to absorb his or her point of view.

Addiction Help for Families
A strong factor in long-term recovery and increased, sustained success includes the entire family entering treatment. At Red Oak, we can help you explore your own journey while healing the connection between relationships. To learn more, call: 866-831-9107. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Smart Snacking for Better Recovery

Healthy snacking isn’t just smart, it’s also an essential part of your recovery plan. After all, proper nutrition is key to healing your body and mind from the damage of addiction. And staying properly nourished throughout the day will give you more energy and focus to complete recovery tasks and distinguish hunger cues from cravings. 

In general, it’s best to avoid processed, sugary foods, which could lead to a sugar addiction, or at the very least, an energy roller coaster. Instead, choose nutrient-rich foods and filling combos of protein and fiber. Here are some other smart snacking tips to follow. 

Snack for better energy. If you’re feeling super tired it may mean that your meal didn’t provide enough calories and that your body needs a snack. Fuel up on something with protein and fiber, like low-fat string cheese with whole-wheat crackers or turkey roll-ups wrapped in lettuce with apple slices.

Skip constant snacking. When you snack, you’re adding several mini meals to your regular sized meals. This isn’t the same as grazing, which means portioning your regular meals into smaller servings.

Avoid emotional snacking. It’s easy to turn to food when you're bored, sad, mad, or scared. Before you grab that snack, make sure you’re not eating to calm down or numb yourself from experiencing an emotion.

Snack mindfully. Your first step is to notice your triggers. For example, do you tend to reach for a sweet treat at 4 pm? If so, try changing this habit by drinking a glass of water first. If you’re still hungry, then go for a healthy alternative like banana slices with Nutella or plain Greek yogurt with berries. 

Think real food. Don’t grab processed junk but focus on the real stuff. Cut up an apple and serve it in a bowl so it feels like a treat. You can even add some almond butter for protein. Other options: sweet potato, avocado, carrot, hummus, or fruit and veggie smoothies. 

Nutritional Therapy at Red Oak
At Red Oak,
we value the importance that good health and eating habits have on a lasting and fulfilling recovery. Our nutritional therapy program, as part of our drug and alcohol treatment, educates and encourages our clients to make inspired choices in the food they eat. To learn more, call: 866-831-9107.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

4 Steps to Boost Your Self-Worth

Now more than ever is the perfect time to hone in on your self-worth and that means making conscious decisions to respect yourself and to enjoy your new, sober life. Here’s how to get started:

Step 1. Practice self-care. Your daily routine should include personal grooming (bathe, brush hair and teeth, and dress in clean clothing), proper nutrition, and exercise. Take an active role in prepping your meals, shopping for clothes, and finding a fun fitness routine that you can stick with. In addition, schedule those regular visits to the doctor and dentist. Now that you’re sober, staying healthy should be a top priority.

Step 2. Find time to relax and have sober fun. Recovery is hard work, but it’s also a time to discover new interests and hobbies that don’t involve alcohol or drugs.  Use this time to try something new: Take an adult class at your local community college; sign up for a yoga or Zumba class; join a group hike, community garden, or drama club. The possibilities are endless.

Step 3. Be grateful for each day. Making gratitude part of your daily routine can help you keep a healthy perspective and remind you that recovery is something to be thankful for.

Step 4. Accept and give support. You don’t have to endure recovery alone. Share your feelings and experiences with a trusted family member, addiction counselor or support group. You may find that supporting others in their recovery will help you along the journey, too.  

Supporting Your Recovery at Red Oak 
At Red Oak Recovery®, our comprehensive, clinically driven addiction programs helps clients rehabilitate their body, mind, and spirit. To learn more about how you or someone you love can start making behavioral changes and achieve long-term sobriety, call today: 866-831-9107.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Willows at Red Oak Recovery Expands

the willows at red oak recovery
Red Oak Recovery, a leading trauma Informed substance abuse and dual diagnosis treatment facility for young adults, announces the expansion of our gender separate women’s program, The Willows at Red Oak Recovery. 

This expansion will allows us to serve 18 women on a completely separate 38 acre campus located 25 minutes outside of downtown Asheville, NC. The Willows campus includes gorgeous long range mountain views, ponds, walking trails and gazebos.

In addition to our integrated clinical care model, we incorporate a 12 step philosophy, life skills and service work blended with adventure therapy such as canoeing, white water rafting, fly fishing and rock climbing so clients can learn to have fun in recovery.

The Willows at Red Oak Recovery incorporates our unique clinically sophisticated young adult model with Trauma Informed Treatment to develop a foundation for sustained recovery. For additional information, please visit our website at or call the admissions team at 866-831-9107

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why Quiet Time Counts

Once you’ve completed detox and the early stages of recovery, you may find yourself trying to fill your schedule with an activity, volunteer opportunity, or social engagement. After all, the saying goes: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Right?

While it’s true that keeping busy can serve as a healthy distraction from your addictive ways — and it can help you discover new hobbies and friends — you also need to carve out some quiet, reflective time as part of your sustained recovery. 

Quite time not only enhances your mental focus but it also let’s you better process and integrate things you’ve learned, heard, or done. Even taking just five minutes to tune out from the hustle and bustle of life and tune into your inner dialogue will make a difference. You’ll give your brain the breathing room it needs think, relax, brainstorm, and reflect on how far you've come and where you want to go next. 

3 Ways to Carve Out Quiet Time
These activities will help you create stillness among the madness and busyness of daily life. 

Take a more mindful walk. This is different than power walking to get your heart rate up. Walking mindfully means taking time to experience the beauty of nature — note the flowers, trees, sounds of birds, etc. The goal is to encourage a more reflective state where your problems take a back seat and out-of-the-blue thoughts come to the forefront.

Make time for journaling. Writing about your feelings and inner thoughts (uncensored and without judgment) can help release feelings that may have gotten buried during the bustle of daily life. 

Practice meditation. Meditating helps quiet your mind from its constant chatter, creating a calmer state-of-mind. The result: Less stress and more space for reflection. 

Holistic Healing at Red Oak
The expansive, open spaces of The Willows at Red Oak Recovery® offer opportunities for our clients to spend the solitary time they need for processing, meditation, and stillness in connection with nature. To learn more, call 866-831-9107.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Mental Health: Not a Dirty Word

In honor of World Mental Health Day on Monday, October 10, advocates, celebrities, and even royals spoke up to stop the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Perhaps one of the most poignant quotes from the day was from Prince William, who along with Princess Kate and Prince Harry, attended an event hosted by Heads Together, the mental health organization the royal trio helped create.

“Mental health is not a dirty word — we all have mental health like we do physical health, good or ill. But not seeking help at those times when it all seems too much, or we are depressed or anxious, can impact the rest of our lives,” William said. “Put simply, the three of us want to make asking for help no longer a big deal.”

Addiction and Mental Illness: The Connection

Seeking help for a mental illness, including depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, or an eating disorder, is especially important if you also suffer from addiction. Unfortunately, both conditions are often intertwined. Nearly one-third of people with a mental disorder and one-half of people with severe mental illness also struggle with substance use disorder (SUD), according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

There are even several terms for it: co-occurring disorders, dual diagnosis, or co-morbid disorder are all defined as having an addiction(s) and a mental disorder(s).

Some more facts about mental illness:
• You’re not alone. Mental illness impacts roughly one in 17 U.S. adults, interfering with or limiting one or more major life activities, like performing duties at work or in school. 

• You can’t overcome it through willpower, not is mental illness a reflection of your character or intelligence.
• Failing to get help can lead to serious health consequences, even death. Sadly, a large percentage of Americans fail to get help for co-occurring disorders — only 7.4 percent receive treatment for both the addiction and the mental illness — and 55.8 percent receiving no treatment at all.

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders
Your best chance of recovery lies in integrated dual-diagnosis treatment that addresses both conditions in one recovery program. Our clinical team at Red Oak understands the challenge of co-occurring mental health disorders and works with you or your loved one to create a personalized treatment plan. To learn more, call 866-831-9107.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Real-life Lessons from Recovery

While there’s no such thing as a “do-over” button in life, there is a silver lining to some bad experiences. Mainly, you can use what you’ve learned to help others navigate a rough patch. 

A recent article published by the grassroots organization Collective Evolution asked a handful of people in recovery to share their best hard-won advice when it comes to battling addiction. 

Of course, everyone’s recovery journey is different – and what works for one person might not work for you – but these insights may just give you the inspiration you need to stay the sober course.

“Don’t give up after one meeting.” Whether you decide to go the 12-step route or along an alternative addiction treatment path, the message is the same: Recovery takes time and you owe it to yourself to give it a chance.  

“Be in it for yourself.” Recovery is something you should do for you – not for a family member or friend. Along these lines, if someone is threatening your sobriety, it’s best to steer clear.

“Accept that not everyone is ready to forgive you.” Even if you’re doing your best to make amends, not everyone who you hurt will be willing to forgive and forget. You can’t fault them, however, nor can you push the process. 

“Use what you’ve learned to help others.” While it’s important to put yourself and your recovery first, it’s also healing to help others. By doing so, “you’re taking a negative (your addiction) and turning it into something positive (helping others recover),” writes author Amanda Bartow.

Your Individual Road to Recovery
At Red Oak, we know that everyone’s journey from addiction to sobriety is different and we’re here to help guide and support you in yours. 
Our addiction programs utilize many paths to develop lasting change in emotional and spiritual growth. To learn more, call today: 866-831-9107.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Getting to the Basics of Gestalt Therapy

What is gestalt therapy and will it work for you? 

Developed in the 1940s by Frederick "Fritz" Perls and collaborators Laura Perls and Paul Goodman as an alternative to conventional psychoanalysis, gestalt therapy has been used today to successfully treat a host of addiction disorders and mental illnesses, including substance use disorder, sex addiction, compulsive gambling, eating disorders, trauma, bipolar disorder and depression.

The word gestalt comes from the German word shape or form, and can be defined as “unified whole.” It makes sense, then, that gestalt therapists use this technique to enhance awareness, freedom, and self-direction. The goal is to focus on the here and now and to avoid dwelling on the past or anxiously anticipating the future. This isn’t to say that past experiences are ignored, however, but merely addressed to determine how the present moment is impacted by those experiences of the past.

The Benefits of Gestalt Therapy
Generally speaking, gestalt therapy helps promotes awareness of your thoughts, emotions and perceptions, and helps you better understand how these internal dialogues play a role in actions and behaviors. When used as an integrated approach to addiction treatment, gestalt therapy can also help you:
  • Monitor thoughts and actions in “real time”
  • Discover suppressed feelings or feelings masked by other feelings
  • Accept and trust your emotions
  • Provide a greater sense of freedom, control and serenity
  • Promotes conscious and thoughtful actions
  • Gain a new sense of self as overall awareness
Finding the Right Therapy for You
The Willows at Red Oak Recovery offers gestalt therapy along with a host of conventional and holistic treatment modalities. Our flexible length of stay allows for a self-change process which follows the client’s rate of change, not that of a “one size fits all” approach. To learn more, call 866-831-9107.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Selfie Shows Face of Addiction

A woman’s recent selfie on Reddit is sending a very real message about the harmful effects of drugs on your skin and the positive transformations that can occur from getting sober.

She posted two photos – shot 826 days apart – of herself while using heroin and then in recovery. The result: a dramatic improvement in her complexion.

The change of her appearance didn’t surprise dermatologist Hooman Khorasani, MD, Chief of the Division of Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. “Drug and alcohol abuse can have skin manifestations with underlying nutritional, infectious, and neurological factors,” he told Yahoo Beauty. 

Vitamin and protein deficiency caused by malnutrition are common culprits, noted Dr. Khoransani. “For instance, vitamin A deficiency can cause severe dryness of your skin, and thiamine deficiency can make your skin look waxy and swollen,” he said. “A B-2 deficiency can cause a rash in the face, and a B-3 deficiency can cause cracking of the corners of the mouth and tongue. Zinc deficiency can cause hair loss and skin rashes.”

Here are some other ways that long-term drug abuse can take a toll on your appearance:

  • A loss of skin elasticity, resulting in premature sagging and wrinkles 
  • Tooth decay and gum disease, most often caused by methamphetamines (aka “meth mouth”) 
  • Bad breath (known medically as halitosis) caused by poor dental hygiene 
  • Damaged tresses including changes in hair color and texture 
  • Red, bloodshot, or glazed eyes 

Stopping the Side Effects of Addiction
The best way to combat the physical and emotional health consequences of substance abuse disorder is early intervention. Don’t wait. If you or someone you love has a drug problem, Red Oak can help you get the help you need today. Call: 866-831-9107.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Unraveling The Causes of Addiction

Why are some of us prone to addiction — whether alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, or sex — and others aren’t? It’s a complicated question and one that continues to be investigated and debated by scientists and addiction specialists alike. 

A column written by Daniel Sumrok, MD, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and director of the Center for Addiction Science, recently addressed this much-debated topic. 

Among the causes of substance abuse disorder, Dr. Sumrok noted the role of trauma. Specifically, “physical trauma in the form of adverse childhood experiences and other psychological damage, mediated by genetics and environment, that physically change the way the human brain functions,” he wrote. In fact, he explained, these changes can even be seen on functional scans of the brains of people who have suffered trauma.

“Traumatized brains seek comfort and reward through the systems of the brain that control pleasure, motivation, satisfaction and reward reinforcement,” Dr. Sumrok said. “Desperate brains seek comfort desperately, often resulting in substance use, and hold on tight, even when this results in negative consequences like jail, disrupted families, hepatitis C or loss of a job.”

The link between trauma and addiction is perhaps most evident among the female population: Studies show that as many as 80 percent of women seeking treatment for drug abuse report lifetime histories of sexual and/or physical assault. 

Luckily, despite the many unknowns, addiction specialists remain steadfast in trying to better identify the causes and prevent addiction early on. “Reducing addictions in the future will take a commitment by all to create safety and security for our children at home, at school and in the community,” Dr. Sumrok says. 

Addressing Trauma and Addiction
The Willows at Red Oak Recovery is a clinically dynamic, trauma-informed treatment center. In helping women to recover from the impact of trauma in their lives, we utilize an integrated approach based on theory, research, and clinical experience. To learn more, call: 866-831-9107.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Nutritional Whammy of Addiction

It’s likely not too surprising that years of substance abuse can take a nutritional toll on the body. That’s because both alcohol and drugs can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which threaten physical and mental health, damage vital organs and the nervous system, and compromise the immune system.

For instance, research shows that alcoholics can consume as much as 50 percent of their daily calorie allowance from alcohol itself. Other drugs, like stimulants, are known to suppress appetite. And opiates wreak havoc on the digestive tract, causing severe vomiting and diarrhea (and vitamin depletion) during withdrawal.

Harmful lifestyle choices associated with addiction can also play a role. Most often, the need for the addictive substance is prioritized over the need for a well-rounded, healthful meal. And poor eating patterns combined with lack of exercise can increase the risk of such long-term health problems as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, hypertension, weight problems, and eating disorders.

Top 10 Benefits of Nutrition Therapy
It makes sense that more addiction treatment centers are adding nutritional therapy as part of their recovery programs. Nutritional therapy approaches food and eating holistically. You’ll learn how to change your diet to cut back on salty, fatty, and sugary fare — and to focus on foods that give your body the nutrients it needs to:
  • Rid itself of toxins
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Build and repair organ tissue
  • Enhance your mood
  • Improve your sleep
  • Increase energy
  • Manage stress
  • Regulate blood sugar
  • Curb emotional eating
  • Boost self-esteem
Good Nutrition at Red Oak Recovery
We value the importance a healthy relationship with food has on a lasting and fulfilling recovery. Our intention is to educate and encourage our young women to make inspired choices in the food they prepare and eat. For more information, call 866-831-9107.

Friday, August 26, 2016

5 Benefits of Exercise for Men in Recovery

You know that exercise is good for you – and it’s also a great recovery tool. Among the many health benefits, working out can improve heart health, increase concentration, remove toxins from the body, ease anxiety, and reduce substance cravings. 

Here are a few more of the many ways that a good sweat session can be
beneficial for men in addiction recovery.

  1. Exercise heals the brain. Many men recovering from substance abuse disorder experience lack of concentration and forgetfulness. Exercise, especially when combined with a traditional rehab program, can help rebuild your brain and minimize these mental side effects. 
  2. Exercise fills a void. Having a schedule that includes healthy activities is an important part of staying sober. To this end, exercise provides men in recovery a healthy distraction and replacement for alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, or drugs.
  3. Exercise helps you fight back. There’s no better defense than a healthy body to fend off stress, cravings, and withdrawal symptoms. 
  4. Exercise increases confidence. Getting stronger and building endurance will help minimize any feelings of self-loathing and hopelessness, which are all too common among men in recovery. And it will also help give you the motivation and confidence to take charge of your recovery and make lasting changes. 
  5. Exercise restores inner peace. Mind-body techniques like yoga, Pilates, and tai chi aren’t just for women. In fact, they are proven to help both men and women alike unwind, focus, and better cope with daily stressors. And the less stressed you are, the less likely you’ll return to using. 
Men’s Drug Addiction Treatment
In addition to therapy, our young men will learn about what triggers and motivates them to use substances in the first place, and will work to develop new healthy coping strategies and positive skills for recovery and relapse prevention. To learn more, call: 866-831-9107.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Even Olympic Athletes Suffer Depression

U.S. Olympic swimmer Allison Schmitt, 26, is making waves when it comes to breaking the stigma surrounding mental health.

This week, the Olympian, who finished second in the women's 4X100m freestyle relay, spoke candidly about her own struggles with depression and how therapy and the support of her friends, family, and coach have helped her battle through.

"When I woke up in the morning, I would look forward to going back to bed. As soon as my alarm went off, I knew that it's time for practice. But my thoughts were, 'Okay when can I get back into bed," Schmitt told TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager.

Signs of Depression

While the symptoms of depression can vary, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, the most commonly reported signs include:
  • Feeling sad or "empty"
  • Feeling hopeless, irritable, anxious, or guilty
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Feeling very tired
  • Not being able to concentrate or remember details
  • Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
  • Overeating, or not wanting to eat at all
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
There's No Shame in Depression Treatment
Schmitt is further proof that depression can happen to anyone — and that it’s not a sign of weakness or something to be ashamed of. Depressive illnesses are serious and affect more than 19 million American adults, occurring most frequently in women ages 25 to 44.

Fortunately, depression is very treatable. More than 80 percent of people with depression are treated successfully with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both, according to Mental Health America. If you or someone you love is showing signs of depression, take a cue from Schmitt and get the help you need. 

Addiction, Depression, and Trauma Treatment at Red Oak

One out of three depressed people also suffers from some form of substance abuse or dependence. The Willows at Red Oak Recovery℠ is a clinically dynamic, trauma informed treatment center that addresses the underlying emotional issues that are fueling self-destructive thoughts and behavior. To learn more, call: 866-831-9107.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Trauma-Informed Addiction Treatment for Women: What You Need to Know

It’s likely not too shocking that trauma and addiction are intertwined. In fact, trauma has been linked with drug abuse as well as with overeating, compulsive sexual behavior, and other types of addiction. And the connection is most profound among the female population: As many as 80 percent of women seeking treatment for drug abuse report lifetime histories of sexual and/or physical assault.

The statistics are indeed heartbreaking — but they also highlight the importance of addressing trauma alongside addiction treatment to help women overcome the underlying issues fueling self-destructive behavior as well as the co-occurring mental problems that arise from the trauma itself. For example, women with a history of sexual and physical trauma are often struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, too.

Luckily, there’s hope as more research continues to investigate gender difference in addiction treatment as well as the way in which trauma can impact recovery.

According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), trauma-informed addiction treatment for women should address six main principles:
1.     Safety
2.     Trustworthiness and transparency
3.     Peer support
4.     Collaboration and mutuality
5.     Empowerment, voice, and choice
6.     Cultural, historical, and gender issues

If you’re looking for trauma-informed treatment for yourself or for someone you love, SAMHSA advises looking for a program, organization, or system that:
  • Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery
  • Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system
  • Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices
  • Seeks to actively resist re-traumatization
Finding the Help You Need
The Willows at Red Oak Recovery is a clinically dynamic, trauma-informed treatment center. In helping women to recover from the impact of trauma in their lives, we utilize an integrated approach based on theory, research, and clinical experience. To learn more, call: 866-831-9107.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Men and Body Image

Just as we now know that alcoholism is not just a “man’s disease,” we also know that eating disorders and poor body image aren’t just “women’s problems.” 

At least one million men suffer from eating disorders, according to the National Institutes of Health. A study in JAMA Pediatrics revealed that nearly 18 percent of adolescent boys are highly concerned about weight – and this also makes them more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors like binge drinking and drug use. 

In fact, food and body image struggles often surface after the substance abuse has ceased, during early recovery. 

6 Things to Tell Yourself to Boost Body Image
If you’re suffering form poor body image, in addition to seeking help from a professional, there are some things you can say to yourself to help you feel better about your body. Get started with these tips adopted from the National Eating Disorder Association:

  1. You are not just your body. Body size, shape, or weight doesn’t determine your worth as a person, or your identity as a man. In fact, it’s those qualities not related to appearance that make you, well, you. For example, are you patient, caring, creative, a good friend? Focus on honing your unique gifts and potential, developing meaningful relationships, establishing goals, and contributing to life.
  2. Your body is unique. Bodies come in all different shapes and sizes and there’s no such thing as a “right” body shape or size. Consider giving up your goal of achieving the “perfect” male body and work at accepting your body just the way it is.
  3. Your body is amazing. If you’re going to focus on your body, take note of what it does not what it looks like. For instance, marvel at the way your thighs help you run or your arms enable you to hug a loved one. 
  4. You have the power to think positively. Negative self-talk does more harm than good, so the next time you find yourself saying, “I look fat,” stop and substitute the thought with a positive message: “I’m a worthwhile person and my weight does not define me.” 
  5. Your friends do matter. Now more than ever it’s important to surround yourself with people who respect and support you. If you’re struggling with body image, you may want to limit interactions with friends who are overly concerned with weight or appearance.
  6. Diet and exercise are not just for weight loss. A healthy focus on physical activity and proper nutrition is important for your own self-care and to give you energy for lasting sobriety. 
Body Image Help at Red Oak
For clients who struggle with body size and image, we offer groups and individual support. We encourage clients to address their concerns and the challenges they may be facing as their newly sober body begins to change. To find out more, call today: 866-831-9107.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Controlling Anger in Recovery

Learning to control your anger is an important step in your lasting recovery. While we all get angry, feeling anger too strongly or displaying it frequently and aggressively can be harmful to your health. It can place extreme physical strain on your body and, if you’re not careful, it can become a harmful habit that's hard to break.

The good news is that you can control how you express anger. Despite common myths, the way you express anger is not inherited but a learned behavior. Here are some helpful hints to control your anger during recovery and beyond.

Learn your triggers. Take note of the people, places, situations, and memories that set you off. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) lists the following examples of events or issues that may be red flags:
  • Long wait to see your doctor
  • Traffic congestion or crowded buses
  • A friend joking about a sensitive topic
  • A friend not paying back money owed to you
  • Being wrongly accused
  • Having an untidy roommate
  • Being placed on hold for long periods of time while on the telephone
  • Rumors being spread about your relapse or recovery 
Identify your anger cues: This is an important step in monitoring your anger as these cues can act as a warning sign that you have become angry or that your anger is about to escalate. According to SAMHSA, there are four cue categories:
  • Physical: How your body responds (increased heart rate, tightness in the chest, feeling hot or flushed)
  • Behavioral: What you do (clench your fists, raise your voice, stare at others)
  • Emotional: Other feelings that may occur along with anger (fear, hurt, jealousy, disrespect)
  • Cognitive: What you think about in response to the event (hostile self-talk, images of aggression and revenge) 
Take a timeout. This basic anger management strategy is easy and effective. In general, taking a timeout means taking a few deep breaths and time to think before you react. It can also mean leaving the situation or stopping the conversation that’s provoking your anger, according to SAHMSA. Take a five-minute walking break to get some fresh air, or if your anger stems from the traffic jam you’re stuck in, turn up the radio and sing at the top of your lungs.

Snap yourself out of it. Wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it when your blood begins to boil. Then take a few minutes to review what triggered your anger and what you can do to calm yourself down.

Set a timer. The next time you start experiencing anger cues, take a look at your watch and don’t take action until at least two minutes have passed. This will give you time to think and act in a more appropriate way.

Anger Management for Young Men
Our Men’s Program at Red Oak Recovery® focuses on the unique needs of young men in early recovery, including anxiety, depression, and anger. Our clients learn about what triggers and motivates them to use in the first place, and work to develop new healthy coping strategies and positive skills for lasting recovery. Call today: 866-831-9107.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Could You Have Binge-Eating Disorder?

Most of us have overstuffed ourselves at one point in time — whether after a particularly stressful day at work or during a calorie-laden holiday feast. For the 3.5 percent of American women and 2 percent of American men with binge-eating disorder, or BED, this type of overeating becomes frequent — leading to recurrent binges and often thousands of calories consumed in a less than two-hour period of time.

Binge Eating and Addiction
Binge eating is an addictive behavior — and, in fact, many people with disordered eating also have substance abuse disorders. Some individuals turn to heroin and cocaine, for example, to boost weight loss and increase metabolism or abuse over-the-counter medications to suppress appetite or purge their body. Food and body image struggles can also surface during early recovery, after the substance abuse has ceased.

Like an addiction to alcohol or drugs, people with BED turn to food as a way to self-medicate. And just like other types of addiction, this attempt usually backfires and leads to greater self-loathing, reduced emotional security, and poor coping skills.

Symptoms of Binge-Eating Disorder
Do any of these signs of binge-eating disorder sound familiar?
  1. You can’t seem to control what or how much you eat
  2. You consume large amounts of food in a short period of time (a couple of hours) — even if you’re not
  3. physically hungry.
  4. You frequently eat until you’re uncomfortably full.
  5. You feel depressed, guilty, ashamed, or disgusted after eating.
  6. You often eat alone or in secret
  7. You diet frequently, but without weight loss
  8. You have a loss of sexual desire
Disordered Eating During Recovery
At Red Oak Recovery®, we understand that substance abuse can often go hand in hand with disordered eating. Our nutritional therapy program assists clients in creating a healthy relationship with food. To learn more, call: 866-831-9107.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Strawberries Top Dirty Dozen List

Strawberries Top Dirty Dozen List

Succulent strawberries may seem like the perfect summertime treat –  these berries are loaded with vitamin C (which is known to be helpful in the detoxification process of withdrawal) and they’ll surely satisfy any sweet craving!

Unfortunately, however, they’ve also just reached the number-one spot on the “Dirty Dozen,” or rankings released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) of foods with the highest pesticide residue — even after they’ve been picked, rinsed in the field, and washed before eating.     

Strawberries tested by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2009 and 2014 bore an average of 5.75 different pesticides per sample. What’s more, strawberry growers use jaw-dropping volumes of poisonous gases to sterilize their fields before planting, according to the EWG.
While there’s scant research when it comes to the link between these pesticides and gases and addiction — it can’t hurt to do all you can to keep your body free and clean of any toxins. After all, it’s already fragile and working overtime to repair the damage from years of addiction.

The “Dirty Dozen”
You don’t want to stop eating colorful, vitamin-rich foods, but you do want to choose wisely. The EWG suggests going organic when it comes to the following produce:
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Celery
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
The “Clean 15”
These foods are practically pesticide-free, according to the EWR.
  • Avocados
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peas frozen
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Mangos
  • Papaya
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
Nutritional Therapy at Red Oak Recovery
The Red Oak Recovery® nutritional therapy program, as part of our drug and alcohol rehab, approaches food and eating holistically. Clients are taught horticulture skills and cooking techniques, and they get to enjoy the fruits of their labors with every meal. To learn more, call 866-831-9107.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Do You Know the Signs of an Opioid Overdose?

Signs of Opioid Overdose
It’s no news that the United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. The abuse of heroin and prescription painkillers — opioids like oxycodone, vicodin, percocet, methadone, and hydrocodone — continue to be the leading cause of unintentional death for Americans. In 2014, 28,647 of drug overdose deaths involved some type of opioid, including heroin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, studies show that every 19 minutes someone dies from an opioid overdose.

The surge in prescriptions being written is partly blame: In 2012, healthcare providers dolled out 259 million painkiller prescriptions – enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills, notes the CDC. Luckily, these prescriptions have declined in the last three years.

Spotting the Signs: The Opioid Overdose Triad
An individual who is experiencing an opioid overdose needs immediate medical attention. Currently, 32 states and the District of Columbia have “Good Samaritan” statutes, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This law prevents arrest, charge, or prosecution for possession of a controlled substance or paraphernalia if emergency assistance is sought for someone who is experiencing an opioid-induced overdose.

In general, an opioid overdose can be identified by a combination of three signs and symptoms — referred to as the “opioid overdose triad” — which include:
• Pinpoint pupils
• Unconsciousness
• Respiratory depression

If you think a friend or loved one is getting too high, don’t leave them alone. Your best bet is to monitor their behavior and breathing and make sure to keep them awake, says the Harm Reduction Coalition.

Call 911 immediately if a person exhibits the following symptoms of an overdose:
• Awake and unable to speak
• Limp body
• Pale or clammy face
• Blue or purplish black fingernails and lips (for darker skinned people, grayish or ashen)
• Slow, raspy breathing or stopped breathing
• Slow or stopped pulse (heartbeat)
• Death rattle, which refers to chocking sounds or a snore-like gurgling noise
• Vomiting
• Loss of consciousness
• Unresponsive to outside stimulus (shouting the person’s name, for example)

Finding Help for a Loved One
One of the most important decisions you can make is to support your loved one in seeking treatment for opioid addiction. At Red Oak Recovery®, we believe the engagement of the entire family is crucial in supporting your loved one in recovery. To learn more, call 866-831-9107 today.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Mental Illness and Addiction: Exploring the Connection

Mental Illness and Addiction 
May is Mental Health Month, led by Mental Health America (MHA), so what better time to discuss the link between addiction and mental illness?

More and more experts are seeing a lot of overlap between the conditions. In fact, about 37 percent of alcoholics and 53 percent of those with a drug addiction have at least one serious mental illness, according to the Journal of American Medical Association.

And it works the other way, too: Nearly 50 percent of people with severe mental illness – mainly depression and bipolar disorder – also have some form of substance abuse disorder or dependence.
Unfortunately, despite the growing prevalence of these co-occurring disorders (also known as dual diagnosis or co-morbid disorder), few people seek treatment for both the addiction and the mental illness. A slippery slope, indeed, as a healthy mental state is imperative for battling addiction.

Warning Signs of Co-Occurring Disorders
Spotting the signs of a dual diagnosis can be tricky – since they’ll vary depending on your addiction and your mental illness. For example, the signs of depression and alcoholism will differ from, say, cocaine addiction and anxiety disorder.

In general, however, co-occurring disorders make it difficult to function on a daily basis and can lead to the following, according to MHA:
• An inability to maintain employment
• An inability to maintain functional relationships
• Legal problems
• Financial issues
• Extreme mood swings or an inability to control their emotions

Getting the Help You Need
If you or someone you love is showing signs of co-occurring disorders, it’s important to know that you’re not alone and that help is out there. At Red Oak, our clinical team is comprised of Master Level therapists, dually licensed in Mental Health and Addiction disciplines. Call today: 866-831-9107.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Benefits of Pet Therapy During Recovery

benefits of pet therapy during recovery

Teens and young adults face many challenges as they work to find their unique place in the world, especially while they struggle with substance misuse or a dual diagnosis like depression or anxiety. The Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine says pet therapy programs can be especially useful for the treatment of adolescent mental health disorders, since animals provide a source of comfort and security that facilitates communication during therapy.

When an adolescent is reluctant to share his or her feelings, the relaxed behavior of a therapy animal can be calming. Researchers hypothesize this is because humans have developed a subconscious capacity to use animal behavior as an indicator of environmental safety. Since therapy animals respond affectionately to attention, they also serve as a nonjudgmental source of emotional support during the recovery process.

Man's Best Friend Proves His Worth
Although pet therapy can involve many different types of animals, dogs are especially popular in pet therapy programs due to their status as “man's best friend.” The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids studied teens that spent time playing with dogs during substance abuse treatment. Participants reported increased joy, improved attentiveness, and feelings of serenity. The teens that were also struggling with depression, ADHD, and/or PTSD reported a significant decrease in symptoms after their pet therapy session.

Building a Foundation for Recovery
Red Oak Recovery® offers young adults struggling with substance abuse an innovative rehab program utilizing canine therapy, as well as experiential therapies in the form of yoga, acupuncture, mixed martial arts, gardening, music therapy, and expressive arts. Following National Institute on Drug Abuse(NIDA) principles for effective treatment, we strive to give young people the tools they need to move forward with their lives. Complete our contact form to connect with an admissions counselor today, or dial 866.831.9107 to get help now.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Support Addiction Recovery With Amino Acids

amino acid addiction recovery
Food should do more than just taste good. Choosing a diet rich in amino acids gives your body the nourishment it needs to repair damage caused by drug or alcohol abuse. Think of proper nutrition as a key part of your recovery toolbox: working in tandem with counseling and other treatments to help you begin a life free from the burden of substance abuse.  

What Are Amino Acids? 

 Amino acids are used as a source of energy by the body. Foods referred to as complete proteins contain all nine of the essential amino acids recommended for optimal human health. Eggs, milk, fish, poultry, and meats are generally classified as complete proteins, but vegetarians can get complete proteins by combining beans, lentils, and nuts with grains such as rice, corn, or wheat. For example, a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread is a complete protein offering ample amounts of all the essential amino acids.  

Benefits of Amino Acids for Substance Misuse 

Intravenous amino acid supplements are becoming more common as a therapeutic aid for recovering addicts. The logic behind this approach is simple. Since amino acids help balance chemistry in the brain, supplements address the deficiencies created by addiction. However, studies show that including essential amino acids in every healthy, prepared meal is an excellent way to help your body heal—physically and mentally—after its battle with substance misuse.  

Request NC Substance Abuse Recovery 

At Red Oak Recovery®, nutritional therapy is a key part of the recovery process. Situated on a North Carolina property tended by staff and clients, Red Oak produces a wide range of delicious farm-to-table fruits and vegetables, while chickens provide eggs that are rich in amino acids. Fill out our confidential contact form to speak with an admissions counselor about taking the first step towards recovery, or to request more information about our young adult facility for dual diagnoses and chemical dependencies.