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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How to Stop Procrastinating

We all procrastinate from time to time — whether you put off cleaning your room or wait until the last minute to pay your cell bill. But fighting the temptation to procrastinate can help you start living a more productive lifestyle. And it’s not about being perfect, but feeling empowered and in control of your new sober lifestyle.

Try one of these practical strategies to stop procrastinating and to get things done today.
  • Put it to paper. Take that mental list of all of things that need to get done and plot it out on paper. This will not only help to clear your mind and ease anxiety but it will help keep you on schedule. 
  • Take advantage of mornings. Do you typically put off daunting tasks until later in the day? While this can be tempting, you may consider another approach. Try arranging your to-do list according to difficulty level – and then tackle any tough tasks in the a.m. when you most likely have the most mental and physical energy. 
  • Think baby steps. It’s natural to procrastinate when you’re feeling overwhelmed. The solution: Think of one small step you can take today to get started. This will help give you the momentum to reach your goal.  
  • Loop in your loved ones. Telling friends and family about your short-and long-term goals can help you stay on task. This is because you’ll have someone there to hold you accountable – and you’ll be more likely to follow through (and on time).
Life Skills at Red Oak
From day one, our treatment model prepares young adults with the skills needed to succeed in sobriety and in life after rehab, including the ability to set and meet goals. To learn more about how you can start on your journey toward sobriety, call us today: 866-831-9107. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Role of Yoga in Healing Trauma

Reluctant to step on that yoga mat? You may want to read on. A recent Georgetown Law report showed that yoga programs designed specifically for victims of trauma – as many as 80 percent of women seeking treatment for drug abuse report lifetime histories of sexual and/or physical assault – can have far-ranging benefits. 

Regulated breathing, for example, calms the parasympathetic nervous system. Practicing staying in the moment counteracts some of the dissociative effects of trauma. And the physical activity of yoga, of course, can directly improve health,” reported NPR. 

Yoga for victims of trauma includes modifications – for example, instructors always ask permission before adjusting a pose – which are particularly helpful for suffers of sexual abuse. "Being asked to be touched, it gave us a little power back in a place where all our power is taken," study participant Missy Hart told NPR

Yoga also helped by offering her choices: "You can sit and reflect and think about what you want to think about. It helped us feel normal," she said.

According to the report, other benefits of yoga for people with trauma included:
  • Better self-regulation
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Improved sleep
  • Reduction in gastric symptoms
Yoga for Addiction Recovery
Whether or not you have a history of trauma, this ancient practice can be a smart tool in your addiction recovery. It will help you align the mind, body, and spirit so you can find inner piece and comfort. Some more recovery perks:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety 
  • Redirect harmful and negative thoughts
  • Identify cravings
  • Clear mental fog 
  • Experience a sense of community
Trauma Informed Treatment Modalities 
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.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Instagram Ranked Worst for Mental Health

If you or someone you love is hooked on Instagram, you might want to listen up. The Facebook-owned photo social network, used by more than 700 million people, was just ranked as “the most detrimental” to the mental health of young adults. YouTube was ranked the best followed by Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat.  

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement (YHM) surveyed nearly 1,500 young adults, ages 14 to 24, about the impact of major social media platforms on their mental health. In particular, participants were asked about the following areas: 
  • Awareness and understanding of other people's health experiences
  • Access to expert health information you know you can trust
  • Emotional support 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Loneliness 
  • Sleep 
  • Self-expression 
  • Self-identity 
  • Body image 
  • Real world relationships 
  • Community building 
  • Bullying 
  • FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)
Many participants blamed Instagram's signature photo-filtering feature for making them feel bad about their own lives and bodies and, as a result, negatively influencing their body image and sleep. A pervasive sense of FOMO was also noted.

The study also found that social media was often described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol and that cycling through Instagram for more than two hours per day led to more mental health issues, including increased rates of anxiety, depression and poor sleep. 

“Platforms that are supposed to help young people connect with each other may actually be fueling a mental health crisis,” noted the report.

As a result, the RSPH is recommending pop-up “heavy usage” warnings. "As the evidence grows that there may be potential harms from heavy use of social media, and as we upgrade the status of mental health within society, it is important that we have checks and balances in place to make social media less of a 'wild West' when it comes to young people's mental health and well-being," RSPH CEO Shirley Cramer told BBC.

Researchers also noted the positive sides of social media, especially when it comes to receiving support during tough times. "Everyday people from all over the world use Instagram to share their own mental health journey and get support from the community. For those struggling with mental health issues, we want them to be able to access support on Instagram when and where they need it,” said Instagram's head of policy Michelle Napchan in an interview with BBC. 

Help for a Dual Diagnosis
Geared toward young adults, our addiction facility utilizes the latest clinical practices and state-of-the-art techniques to treat alcohol and substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. At Red Oak Recovery, we believe in addressing issues in a simultaneous, holistic and integrated fashion. To learn more, call 866-831-9107.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Habits That Make You More Stressed Out

Everyone deals with stress and, if left uncontrolled, it can be very damaging to your physical and mental health – and, of course, to your long-term sobriety. In fact, it’s the leading cause of relapse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

While we’re all likely familiar with common stressors – for example, relationships, family, finances, health, school, career – some simple everyday habits can incite anxiety, too, according to a recent article on 

This is especially true if you’re a millennial. Twelve percent of millennials have a diagnosed anxiety disorder — almost twice the percentage of Boomers, according to the American Psychological Association.

Here are a few behaviors outlined in the article:  
  • Poor sleep. Lack of sleep has been found to “ramp up the brain regions that contribute to excessive worrying,” according to a study by the University of California at Berkeley.  
  • Erratic eating. Skipping meals can cause unsteady blood sugar levels, which can lead to dehydration, which is an anxiety trigger, as well as shakiness, dizziness, confusion and difficulty speaking.
  • Too much caffeine. Drinking too much coffee (or other caffeinated beverages like energy drinks) can make you jittery, irritable and nervous, especially if you’re already predisposed to anxiety. It can also cause dehydration.
  • Smartphone overuse. Too much time on your smartphone can increases central nervous system arousal, which can amplify anxiety. What’s more, social media has been linked with low moods and depressions.
  • Hanging out with anxious people. Venting to a friend who also tends to stress a lot may seem therapeutic but it can actually make anxiety worse, according to research. 
Learn to Manage Stress at Red Oak
Our addiction programs focus on the unique needs of young adults in early recovery, including managing 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. To learn more, call today: 866-831-9107.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Beginner's Guide to Running

Running is great for recovery – it will help you get fit, fend off stress, improve sleep and form friendships with other runners. 

Starting a new running habit doesn’t have to be daunting – all that’s required is some well-fitted sneakers and a willingness to get moving. These strategies will help keep you safe and self-confident along the way.

  • Talk to you doctor. Prior to beginning a running routine it’s important to get medical clearance. This is especially crucial if you’re overweight, have a history of diabetes or high blood pressure or if you’ve been sedentary for over a year. 
  • Take it slow. The motto “slow and steady wins the race” is a good one to follow when beginning to run. Along the same lines, it’s essential to listen to your body. Pushing yourself too hard or too quickly can lead to burnout and injuries. 
  • Try the run-walk method. The point of this technique is not to walk when you’re tired but to take brief walk breaks when you’re not. Try a few walking/running ratios to see what works for you. For example: run 10 to 30 seconds, then walk one to two minutes and repeat for the duration of your run.
  • Recruit a running buddy. Whether you pair up with a friend or join a local running club, exercising with another person will help keep you motivated and accountable. 
  • Track your progress. Keep an exercise journal and jot down duration or miles or however you’d like to measure your hard work. And don’t forget to celebrate any reached fitness goals. 
Exercise to Support Your Sobriety 
When young adults physically feel good, they are less likely to fall back on substance abuse as a coping mechanism. Our young adult program encourages exercise and healthy eating to reinforce sobriety. To learn more, call today: 866-831-9107.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

5 Signs You’re Eating Too Much Sugar

Feeling bloated? Breaking out? Can’t seem to focus? A diet loaded with processed, sugary foods can cause inflammation in the body, erratic energy levels and can even lead to a sugar addiction.

Though you likely know that controlling your sugar is a smart recovery move, it may not be that easy. Manufacturers sneak the white stuff into a bunch of so-called  “healthy” foods, including flavored yogurt, nut butters and protein bars. It’s even found in foods that don’t taste sweet, like deli meat. What's more, studies have shown that there are nearly 60 different names for sugar.
So beyond reading food labels, what’s the best way to monitor your intake of sugar – which, according to the World Health Organization, is about six teaspoons of the sweet stuff per day? Listen to your body: Here are some common warning signs: 
  • Your skin: A high-sugar diet can cause inflammation throughout the body. The result: acne. 
  • Your energy: They don't call it a sugar crash for nothing. Loading up on high levels of sugar can create a sudden rise and fall in blood sugar levels. 
  • Your teeth: Cavities are a surefire sign of sugar overload. The sweet stuff causes the bacteria in your mouth to produce the acid that eventually damages your teeth and leads to tooth decay.
  • Your tastebuds: Eating too much sugar basically builds up tolerance so foods won’t taste as sweet and you’ll need more and more sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth. 
  • Your mental health: Too much sweet stuff can wreak havoc on your mood, leading to anxiety and depression. Plus, dips in blood sugar can cause mental fog.
Our Food Philosophy 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.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Got Anxiety? Mindful Meditation May Help

A bout of meditation may do wonders to minimize mind wandering, especially if you or someone you love is coping with anxiety or experiencing anxious thoughts, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo. 

Researchers found that a mere 10 minutes of daily mindful meditation can reduce incidents of repetitive, off-task thinking, which is a hallmark of anxiety. The term mindfulness is often defined as purposefully paying attention to the present moment and without judgement.

This news is especially important considering that people’s minds wander about 50 percent of the time, according to a Harvard study. What’s more, anxious people, as well as those with depression, tend to get caught in the vicious thought cycle in which they hash and rehash what they have to do, what they didn’t do, whether someone is mad at them, and so on. 

"We found that meditation practice appears to help anxious people to shift their attention from their own internal worries to the present-moment external world, which enables better focus on a task at hand," said Mengran Xu, a researcher and PhD candidate at Waterloo. "For people with anxiety, repetitive off-task thoughts can negatively affect their ability to learn, to complete tasks, or even function safely.”

Meditation for Addiction Recovery
In addition to helping people with anxiety gain greater focus, mindful meditation has been found to be a powerful tool in addiction recovery. A few of the benefits include: 
  • Fending off stress 
  • Identifying and fighting cravings
  • Having greater self-acceptance
  • Taming emotional turbulence
Help for a Dual Diagnosis
Are you or someone you love suffering from anxiety and a substance use disorder? Our addiction facility utilizes the latest clinical practices and state-of-the-art techniques to treat young adults with co-occurring disorders. At Red Oak Recovery, we believe in addressing issues in a simultaneous, holistic and integrated fashion. To learn more, call 866-831-9107.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

6 Healthy Ways to Express Your Emotions

Recovery is a roller coaster of emotions – from frustration to fear to anger to guilt. While it’s certainly not easy, taking control of these oft-misunderstood emotions is essential for lasting sobriety. Alcohol and drug addiction can numb your emotions and they may even feel more intense once you get sober. Part of recovery is learning how to manage those feelings without relapsing. Here are a few healthy ways to better cope with and release any feelings felt during recovery.
  • Talk about it. Whether it’s a parent, aunt or uncle, guidance counselor or sponsor, seek out someone you trust to be your sounding board. 
  • Start a journal. Writing down your thoughts and emotions can help you figure out what you’re feeling and why – and then help you let it all go. Try it: Take just 15 minutes per day and write freely, without censoring yourself. 
  • Tap into your creative side. Creativity is a great way to work out your feelings. Choose something you enjoy or try something new, whether writing poetry, painting, playing an instrument, singing or dancing. 
  • Take a long breath in. And now breathe out for the count of five. Repeat. This type of deep breathing can help you quell any negative feelings.
  • Practice meditation. Meditating is gaining more and more ground when it comes to mental health. It’s a simple technique and it’s super powerful for moving through “stuck” feelings into a place of healing. 
  • Let it out. Feeling your emotions fully can certainly help you feel better in the short-term, so go ahead and have a good cry once in a while. 
Finding Emotional Support at Red Oak
Our serene campuses provide a place where our clients can step away from the distractions of daily life and focus on inward reflection. There are many paths we take for emotional healing and spiritual growth. To learn more, call 866-831-9107.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Can Poor Sleep Lead to Pessimism?

Having trouble sleeping? You may have a more difficult time seeing the positive side of things, according to a new study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety. And the link is especially strong if you suffer from anxiety disorder or a major depressive disorder, say researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. 

This is because poor sleep affects a specific region of the brain, called the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, which plays a role in regulating negative emotional responses. Study participants, who had anxiety or depression (or both) as well as severe sleep troubles, were shown disturbing images of violence — from war or accidents — and were asked to not control their reaction or to "reappraise" what they saw in a more positive light. 

An example of reappraisal: Imagining a woman with a badly bruised face as an actress in makeup rather than a survivor of violence, explained researchers.  

"Reappraisal is something that requires significant mental energy," said Heide Klumpp, assistant professor of psychiatry at UIC, in a statement. "In people with depression or anxiety, reappraisal can be even more difficult, because these disorders are characterized by chronic negativity or negative rumination, which makes seeing the good in things difficult."

Sleep Troubles: 5 Steps for Better Sleep
Shortchanging yourself on sleep can harm your recovery efforts and lead to some serious health consequences. Try these tips to set yourself up for sound slumber:
  1. Avoid caffeine after 3 p.m.
  2. Create a sleep schedule, and don’t stray on weekends.
  3. Make your bedroom a smartphone-free zone. 
  4. Don’t study or work on your computer in bed.
  5. Exercise earlier in the day, never just before shut-eye.
Depression and Anxiety Treatment at Red Oak Recovery®
Whether drug and alcohol abuse led to your depression or anxiety or you began self-medicating to escape the pain of a mood disorder, chances of successful long-term recovery are greatest when co-occurring conditions are treated together. To learn more about our individualized and integrative depression treatment and anxiety treatmentcall: 866-831-9107.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Is Your Smartphone Use Becoming a Problem?

Your smartphone may be causing personal, social, and workplace problems – and females are even more susceptible to smartphone addiction, according to small study by researchers from Binghamton University-State University of New York. 

Participants were placed into one of the following types: 
  • Thoughtful
  • Regular
  • Highly Engaged
  • Fanatic
  • Addict
The users in both the “fanatic” and “addict” categories were found to exhibit depression, social isolation, social anxiety, shyness, impulsivity and low self-esteem, with females most likely to exhibit susceptibility to addiction.

"Our smartphones have turned into a tool that provides short, quick, immediate satisfaction, which is very triggering," said Isaac Vaghefi, assistant professor of management information systems at Binghamton University-State University of New York. "Our neurons get fired and dopamine is being released, and over time this makes us acquire a desire for quick feedback and immediate satisfaction. This process also has contributed to developing shorter attention spans and being more and more prone to boredom."

Some warning signs of smartphone addiction, according to Vaghefi: 
  • You use technology to escape problems or relieve feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression.
  • You ignore what's happening in real time in favor of what's happening virtually.
  • You constantly check your smartphone, even when it doesn't ring or vibrate.
  • You get paranoid when you do not have your smartphone with you.
3 Steps to Curb Smartphone Use
  1. Do track how much time you’re spending on your phone. Download a free app to help you track your smartphone usage and then set goals to help you scale back. Some apps even have features to let you lock yourself out of your phone if you go over a pre-set limit. 
  2. Don’t charge your phone bedside. In fact, your bedroom is one place that your phone should never be. This is because the blue-hued light can prevent your brain from releasing sleep-inducing melatonin. Plus, making your bedroom a smartphone-free zone will eliminate the temptation to pick up your phone when you can’t sleep.
  3. Don’t use your phone in the company of others. Unless it’s really necessary, do your best to put away your phone when you’re with family, friends and colleagues. Not only will this help curb your use but it will also help you develop stronger relationships. After all, staring at your phone in the company of others is just plain rude. 
Help for a Dual Diagnosis
Geared toward young adults, our addiction facility utilizes the latest clinical practices and state-of-the-art techniques to treat alcohol and substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. At Red Oak Recovery, we believe in addressing issues in a simultaneous, holistic and integrated fashion. To learn more, call 866-831-9107.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

6 Scary Side Effects of Alcohol Abuse

April is Alcohol Awareness Month – which is a great time to talk about some of the many ways that drinking too much – on a single occasion or over time – can take a serious toll on your health.  

In fact, accidents and addiction are only part of the story when it comes to the damage caused by alcohol abuse. Drinking can also have a negative impact on your appearance, organs, immune system and more.
  1. Your skin: Alcohol causes the blood vessels in your face to dilate up on the skin, resulting in a red and ruddy face. Plus, if you have a skin condition like rhodesia or psoriasis, alcohol can trigger a flare. 
  2. Your weight: When you binge drink, you’re putting tons of empty calories into your body – and yet you’ll still be hungry. Drinking also weakens your judgement and can easily interfere with healthy eating habits. 
  3. Your immune system: Some studies show that your immune system is reduced after drinking alcohol. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much. And drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
  4. Your sleep: Alcohol upsets your REM (rapid eye movement) cycle, or the phase of sleep most important for your body to rest.
  5. Your brain: Alcohol suppresses three parts of your brain: the frontal lobes (helps you make decisions); the amygdala (warns us of danger and makes us feel afraid, worried and anxious); and the hippocampus (makes memories).
  6. Your heart: Drinking can damage the heart, leading to the following problems, notes the NIAAA:
  • Cardiomyopathy (stretching and drooping of heart muscle)
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heart beat)
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure  
Stopping the Side Effects of Alcoholism
The best way to combat the physical and emotional health consequences of a substance use disorder is early intervention. Don’t wait. If you or someone you love has a drinking problem, Red Oak can help you get the help you need today. Call: 866-831-9107.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Depression Leading Cause of Poor Health

Recent findings from the World Health Organization (WHO) say depression is now the leading cause of illness and disability across the globe. And it’s linked to other disorders and diseases, including substance use disorder, according to WHO.

Between 2005 and 2015, the number of people living with depression rose 18 percent, jumping to 300 million people worldwide, according to researchers. Yet, despite these alarming figures, few seek treatment. That’s why on April 7, in celebration of Word Health Day, WHO is urging you to talk about mental health. In fact, this year’s theme is “Depression: let’s talk.” The goal is to stop the stigma and increase access to mental health treatment so folks can get the help they need and deserve. 

“The continuing stigma associated with mental illness was the reason why we decided to name our campaign 'Depression: let’s talk,'” Dr. Shekhar Saxena, director of WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, said in a statement. “For someone living with depression, talking to a person they trust is often the first step towards treatment and recovery.”

Spotting the Signs of Depression
Depression is much bigger than regular old sadness. It has mental and physical effects that can impact your daily life, job, relationships, and sobriety. Here are some common depression symptoms to look for.
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Insomnia
  • Sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite or weight 
  • Physical pain
  • Memory problems
  • Social withdrawal
  • Unexplained sadness 
  • Loss of interest in hobbies/activities
Do You Need Dual-Diagnosis Treatment?
Co-occurring conditions like depression may exist prior to substance abuse, or develop as a side effect of drug and alcohol dependency. Using traditional and holistic therapies, Red Oak has a proven history of successfully addressing the secondary health challenges that complicate substance abuse. For more info, call 866-831-9107.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

How FOMO Can Harm Your Recovery

Do you ever experience “FOMO,” or the “Fear of Missing Out”? This phenomenon, defined as ‘‘the uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that you’re missing out – that your peers are doing, in the know about, or in possession of more or something better than you’’ – impacts nearly three quarters of young adults. 

Not only can FOMO lead to an unhealthy obsession with social media but it can also be dangerous to your long-term sobriety. This is because it can cause feelings of sadness, loneliness, anxiety and envy – for example, thinking about missing out on a party or concert due to your sobriety – and increase your risk of relapse.  

Perhaps the best way to quell any FOMO feelings is to focus on the here and now – and to learn to enjoy the new sober life you’re working so hard to build for yourself. 
  • Track your achievements. Start a journal and jot down your accomplishments, goals, and things for which you’re grateful. 
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. This is especially easy to do on social media – where everyone’s life seems picture perfect. Remind yourself that, despite happy pics and posts on Facebook and Instagram, everyone has their fair share of ups and downs in life. 
  • Give yourself a break. Especially in early recovery, it’s okay if you’re not ready to attend that party, go on that date or run that 5K. Give yourself time and set small, achievable goals to build your confidence.
  • Be more mindful. Mindfulness meditation can help you stay in the moment and stop chasing the next “thrill” or event. 
  • Start moving. A vigorous walk or hike can help keep you calm and focused on your recovery and eliminate feelings of FOMO. 
Guiding Young Men & Women 
Red Oak Recovery® is a unique North Carolina treatment center for young people ages 18 to 30. Combining recreational therapy, clinical treatment and healthy nutrition into gender specific programs, our licensed staff will tailor a treatment program to your individual needs. Ready to begin your recovery? Call today: 866-831-9107.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Addiction and Your Oral Health

People with substance use disorders have more tooth decay and periodontal disease than the general population, but are less likely to receive dental care, according to a study published in the scientific journal Addiction. The review combined the results of 28 studies from around the world, which collectively provided data on 4,086 dental patients with substance use disorders.

Researchers noted that beyond lack of regular dental care, there are many ways that drug use and the lifestyle that usually accompanies it can have an adverse impact on your oral health. This includes: 
  • Dry mouth
  • An increased urge for snacking
  • Clenching and grinding of teeth
  • Chemical erosion, from applying cocaine to teeth and gums 
  • High-sugar diets
  • Malnutrition
  • Poor oral hygiene
What’s more, dental care can be further compromised due to tolerance to painkillers and anesthetics.

Oral hygiene is not only important for self-esteem and overall good health, but it can also help prevent the following conditions caused by the chronic inflammation and bacteria in the blood that accompany bad teeth:
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory disease
Luckily, dentists can take a few simple steps to help improve the problem, including screening patients for any advanced dental or periodontal disease inconsistent with patient age. Doctors and clinicians should also consider using sugar-free preparations when prescribing methadone and educate people suffering from addiction on the oral health risks associated with dry mouth and cravings for sweet foods, say researchers. 

In addition, dental experts note that making good hygiene a habit can help prevent most dental problems:
  • Brush twice a day – in the morning and last thing at night 
  • Clean between the teeth at least once a day with ‘interdental' brushes or floss 
  • Cut back on sugary foods and drinks
  • Go for regular dental check-ups 
Stopping the Side Effects of Addiction
The best way to combat the physical and emotional health consequences of substance use disorders is early intervention. Don’t wait. If you or someone you love has a drug problem, Red Oak can make sure you get the help you need today. Call: 866-831-9107.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Scary Effects of Sugar

Sugar is sneaky and it can be addictive in the same way as drugs like nicotine, cocaine and heroin. This is because when you eat sugar, the brain lights up and causes dopamine (the so-called reward chemical) to spike and increase your desire to have more. Like drug addiction, sugar addiction can lead to tolerance (needing more to attain the same “sugar high) and withdrawal.

An addiction to sugar can happen fairly easy, especially if you tend to reach for sweets to quell any cravings for your former drug of abuse. And giving up the sweet stuff isn’t always easy – added sugars are everywhere in processed and prepared foods for flavor and preservation. In fact, experts recommended that Americans limit their intake of added sugars to 10 percent of daily calories.

CNN recently ran an article, “What Happens to Your Brain When You Give up Sugar,” and the results are pretty astounding. While the piece is directed at those who decide to give up the white stuff for Lent, the takeaway message sure can help you if you’re simply looking to clean up your diet as part of your new sober lifestyle. 

Perhaps the most surprising part of the article was that, according to several studies of sugar-treated rats, giving up sugar resulted in a slew of physical and mental withdrawal signs, including: 
  • Cravings
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Teeth chattering
  • Paw tremors
  • Head shaking
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Feelings of helplessness
The good news: Experts also say that swearing off the sweet stuff can result in boundless energy and newfound happiness, according to the article. How long it will take to reap the positive effects, however, is different for everyone. 

Our Food Philosophy 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.

Friday, February 24, 2017

How to Practice Patience

Recovery doesn’t happen overnight; in fact, sobriety is a lifelong process. It takes time to heal your mind, body and spirit – and being patient with the process will help you slow down and take things in stride. Learning to cultivate patience will also help as you repair relationships and allow friends and family time to heal any wounds caused by your active addiction. 

We can all stand to practice being a bit more patient – and these steps can help.

  1. Train yourself to wait. Count to 20 before responding to a text message or intentionally hold out for dessert. Bonus: This type of willpower exercise may also help you fend off any cravings. 
  2. Practice gratitude. Just like you practice being patient, you can also practice being thankful. One helpful exercise: Jot down three things for which you’re grateful for today.  
  3. Vent in a healthy way. Go for a hike, meditate or talk with an understanding loved one – anything that helps you release frustration and make room for patience. 
  4. Concentrate on your breathing. Breathing is a simple way to slow down when you begin to lose your patience. Try it: Inhale slowly and count to 10. Now exhale. Repeat this three times and notice your frustration slowly melt away.
  5. Remind yourself that all good things take time. If you expect things to happen instantly, you’re more likely to get impatient. Instead, realize that everything takes time – but it’s worth the wait!
Don't Wait to Get Help
From day one, our treatment model prepares young adults with the skills needed to succeed in sobriety and in life after rehab, including the ability to be patient and deal with life stressors in a positive way. To learn more about how you can start on your journey toward sobriety, call us today: 866-831-9107. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tips for Better Financial Health

Drug and alcohol abuse can certainly weigh heavy on your wallet — both in terms of paying for the addictive substance and the time taken away from other activities, including work.

Financial problems are often cited as a possible symptom of addiction. This is partly because active addiction can cause you to neglect important money matters, such as paying bills on time, monitoring credit card spending, saving or invested. One UC Davis study found that long-term, heavy marijuana users have frequent difficulties meeting basic living expenses, such as rent and food.

But take heart: Now that you’re in recovery, you can begin to heal all aspects of your life, including your physical and mental wellbeing, your relationships, your career or education — and your financial health. 

Start by following these simple yet empowering steps to take back control of your financial future:

  • Get organized. Piles of bills can be intimidating and overwhelming — so it makes sense that your first step is to sort through everything and get organized. Make a detailed list of recurring bills and due dates and then set up an automatic bill pay or alert on your smartphone several days prior to the due dates.
  • Take control of credit card spending. Unfortunately, credit card debt is common for many in recovery. Make an inventory of your current balances and take the cards out of your wallet so you’re less likely to do more damage. Another tip: Call your creditors and ask about lower interest rates. 
  • Set a spending budget. You don't have to be a financial wiz; download an app to help you plan a monthly budget — and then do your best to stick with it!. 
Young Adult Addiction Treatment
At Red Oak, we strive to provide young adults with the hope, tools, and encouragement needed to begin a journey toward lifelong sobriety. To learn more about our research-backed therapy, treatment and groups, call today: 866-831-9107.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

E-Cigarettes Less Toxic Than Cigarettes

Thinking of quitting smoking? Using e-cigarettes may be a safe health tool, according to a new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. 

Researchers found fewer cancer-causing substances in the body of people who switched from smoking regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as gum or patches, for at least six months. 

Those who consumed e-cigarettes or NRT but didn’t completely quit smoking, however, did not have the same drop in toxin levels. “Switching to e-cigarettes can significantly reduce harm to smokers, with greatly reduced exposure to carcinogens and toxins,” Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at the government authority Public Health England, said in a statement. “…[But] the benefit is only realized if people stop smoking completely and make a total switch. The best thing a smoker can do, for themselves and those around them, is to quit now, completely and forever.”

While many health experts tout e-cigarettes that don’t contain tobacco as a stop-smoking tool, others still question their long-term safety and worry that they may become a “gateway” to taking up conventional cigarettes, according to Huffington Post.

What's more, new research shows that as many as a quarter of U.S. kids who are using e-cigarettes may be taking them apart and "dripping" — a method that gives them a potentially higher hit of nicotine. More research is needed, however, to determine if it's more dangerous.

Going Beyond E-Cigarettes
Of course, there are many natural methods available to help you quit smoking. Perhaps the most effective and least inexpensive is exercise. Making physical activity part of your quit-smoking strategy can help ease the physical and psychological aspects of nicotine addiction by helping you to…
  • Reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings for cigarettes -- during exercise and for up to 50 minutes afterward
  • Provide distraction from thoughts of smoking
  • Better manage stress
  • Increase your energy
  • Elevate your mood
  • Minimize weight gain 
Healing at Red Oak
At Red Oak, we help our clients learn how to lead a sober and healthy life. We combine conventional and holistic treatment modalities to address mental, physical, spiritual and emotional needs and to increase the likelihood of long-term recovery. To learn more, call today: 866-831-9107.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Can a Mediterranean Diet Help Depression?

According to a new study, sticking to a Mediterranean diet and getting nutritional support could be a powerful duo when it comes to depression symptoms. 

Although the study was small – involving 67 participants with major depressive disorder – the results were striking: Nearly a third of those who got support from a clinical dietician and increased their consumption of Mediterranean-type foods were in remission compared to just eight percent of those who just got social support, according to a study published in BMC Medicine.

The Australian researchers suspect that the healthier diet works against depression by lowering inflammation all over the body and protecting the brain proteins.

While further research is still needed, the study gives credence to the idea of adding dieticians to mental health care teams. “I think the field of nutritional psychiatry, which looks at the effects of nutrients and amino acids on the brain and mood may be taking off in the next 10 years or so,” Sarah Stahl, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, told

Some key components of the Mediterranean diet include:
  • Pile on the fruits and vegetables
  • Choose healthy fats – olive oil over butter
  • Pick seeds and nuts
  • Load up on legumes (peas, beans, lentils)
  • Focus on fish (especially fatty fish) and poultry
  • Choose cheese and yogurt as main sources of dairy
  • Go for whole grains 
  • Stick to lean meats
  • Add herbs and spices instead of salt
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit
Depression Treatment at Red Oak Recovery®
Whether drug and alcohol abuse led to your depression or you began self-medicating to escape the pain of a mood disorder, chances of successful long-term recovery are greatest when co-occurring conditions are treated together. To learn more about our individualized and integrative depression treatment, call: 866-831-9107.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hope for Eating Disorder Recovery

If you or a lady in your life has an eating disorder, you may want to listen up. It is possible to recover – and, in fact, up to two-thirds of women do, according to a small study published recently in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The catch: It took more than a decade for them to get better, said researchers who recruited 246 women with an eating disorder. They ended up focusing on 176 patients, however, as 18 passed away, 15 could not be located and 37 declined to participate.

Nearly 20 million females and 10 million males in the United States will have an eating disorder at sometime in their life – and previous research suggested that only half of those folks will recover. What's more, people with eating disorders experience substance abuse at a rate five times greater than the rate seen within the general population, according to the National Eating Disorders Foundation.

Study participants received various types of treatment – on an off over 20 to 25 years – which included:
  • Outpatient
  • Individual, family and group therapy
  • Inpatient and residential treatment
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Medications
  • Medical care
"Our study showed that given time, most individuals with anorexia and bulimia will recover," said study lead author Kamryn Eddy, co-director of the Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "The findings inspire me to remain hopeful in my work as a clinician with these patients."

Help for Eating Disorders and Addiction
At Red Oak Recovery®, we understand that substance abuse can often go hand in hand with disordered eating. Food and body image struggles often surface after the substance abuse has ceased and often becomes apparent in early recovery. To learn about our disordered eating treatment, call today: 866-831-9107.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Transcendental Meditation Shown to Lessen Trauma Symptoms

Transcendental meditation, a technique used to acknowledge and push away distracting thoughts and promote relaxed awareness, has been found to significantly reduce trauma symptoms in female prisoner inmates, according to a new study published in The Permanente Journal.  

The inmates were taught Transcendental Meditation by certified teachers, and practiced the relaxation technique 20 minutes twice a day. After four months, study participants experienced such benefits as less stress, better sleep, more mental clarity, greater inner peace and improved relationships.

“This study is a valuable addition to the research literature in women's mental health, showing a natural and effortless alternative approach to reducing trauma symptoms," said lead author Dr. Sanford Nidich, director of the Center for Social and Emotional Health at Maharishi University of Management. 

5 Reasons to Try Transcendental Meditation Today
Transcendental meditation is a great tool for your recovery –  and, perhaps the best part, it’s easy and you can do it anywhere or anytime. Here are a few of the many perks:
  1. You’ll learn to quell anxiety and stress – both known relapse triggers.
  2. You’ll learn to stay in the present and to think before you act or react – for example, before you give into a craving.
  3. You’ll learn to be more mindful of your thoughts, behaviors and triggers. 
  4. You’ll learn to notice and accept your thoughts without passing judgment or getting caught up in their meanings.
  5. You’ll learn to better control your emotions.
Trauma-Informed Addiction Treatment for Women
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 treatment approach that includes meditation as well as other conventional and holistic modalities. To learn more, call: 866-831-9107.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Real Impact of Opioid Abuse

The New York Times just ran a poignant article titled “Has Opioid Abuse Affected You? Reader’s Respond,” in which they surveyed readers about the real-life devastating affects of this growing epidemic. Parents and children of people addicted to painkillers and/or heroin as well as those in active addiction as well as recovery weighed in – and the result was pretty powerful. 

Here are some quotes from the article – do any of these resonate with you?

A parent’s perspective: “Seven rehabs, suboxone, doctors, methadone clinics, money, money, money that you do not have but you would sell your soul to get. Begging God to get through to him as I age early. Why?” — Karen, 54, Yardley, Pa.

A child’s perspective: "My mother was a chronic heroin user while my father was in jail for small crimes and different drug offenses. My grandparents went to court to gain custody of my twin sister and me. I always wonder what life would have been like if opioids didn’t take over my mother’s life." — David, Millersville, Pa.

Someone in recovery: “I started taking painkillers when I was 19. I went to the dentist one day for a toothache and was prescribed Vicodin. After that first one, I was hooked. Then one day a friend introduced me to heroin. I started stealing from my family, and they pressed charges on me. I thank God every day because I’m alive today.” — Carla Goff, Shelby, Ohio

Someone struggling with relapse: “I became addicted to prescription painkillers due to an automobile accident. It took me eight years to get my life back on track. I lost guardianship of my older two children and in the midst of all of it ended up in jail, then pregnant; my daughter was born and went through withdrawal because it had such a hold on me. I went to detox and rehab, got my life together for a few months, all to be in another devastating car accident and right back on painkillers due to all the injuries. Now struggling again.” — Meagan, Cadillac, Mich.

Help for Opioid Addiction
Whether you or someone you love is looking to begin rehab, we're here to help. Contact us today to learn about our programs at Red Oak Recovery. It's our goal to serve the whole family and ensure that you feel embraced and supported on the journey toward sobriety. Call today: 866-831-9107.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Social Media Overuse Linked With Anxiety and Depression

Social media can be a great boon to your recovery and help you feel part of an online community. Yet, if you overdo it, your mental health may be negatively impacted. 

In fact, a new study from the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health, reveals that the more social media platforms you use – namely, seven to 11 outlets – the higher your risk for anxiety and depression. 

In fact, this type of social media overuse can make you three times more likely to develop these mood disorders than individuals who use zero to two platforms, revealed study authors. Researchers noted that it works the other way, too: "People who suffer from symptoms of depression or anxiety, or both, tend to subsequently use a broader range of social media outlets," the author of the study, Brian A. Primack, told PsyPost. The reason, however, is still unclear. 

Warning Signs of Social Media Addiction
ames Roberts, PhD, The Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing in Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business and author of Too Much of a Good Thing: Are You Addicted to Your Smartphone? devised six questions to help people determine whether their social media behavior could be bordering on addiction. “If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to three or more of these questions, you might need to scale back.
  • Salience: Would you consider your social media use deeply integrated into your daily life
  • Euphoria: Do you rely on social media for excitement throughout the day?
  • Tolerance: Do you need to spend more or more time on social media to get a “buzz”?
  • Withdrawal symptoms: Are you nervous or agitated when not on social media?
  • Conflict: Has your use of social media caused problems at work or at home?
  • Relapse: Have you tried to cutback on your use of social media but failed?
Help for a Dual Diagnosis
Geared toward young adults, our addiction facility utilizes the latest clinical practices and state-of-the-art techniques to treat alcohol and substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. At Red Oak Recovery, we believe in addressing issues in a simultaneous, holistic and integrated fashion. To learn more, call 866-831-9107.