What is Complicated Grief?

What is Complicated Grief?Many people will grieve at some point in their lives; however complicated grief describes extreme, unhealthy grieving. Complicated grief is a condition where an individual is unable to move past the grieving stage and continues to experience intense feelings of loss and pain. Though it is not known what exactly causes complicated grief, it is widely believed to be a result of genetics and/or environment.

Symptoms of Complicated Grief

Those who are grieving will typically move through stages that eventually allow them to move past the period of upset. Those with complicated grief cannot make this progression. Some of the most common symptoms of complicated grief include the following:

  • Intense focus on the issue that is causing grief (usually loss)
  • Inability to accept loss
  • Feelings of numbness
  • Detachment issues
  • Development of bitterness, anger, depression, or sadness
  • Inability to function on a regular basis
  • Ceasing social activities
  • Experiencing hopelessness

These symptoms are often present in most people who are grieving, however the key to identifying if an individual is having normal grief symptoms or complicated grief symptoms comes from how long his grief lasts. Should these symptoms last more than a few months, they could be dealing with complicated grief.

Addiction and Complicated Grief

Since complicated grief can be so invasive in an individual’s life, it can cause him to experience symptoms that turn him onto substance abuse. Some of the many reasons addiction results from complicated grief include:

  • Depression – Most individuals experience feelings of depression during their grief that cause them to abuse drugs and/or alcohol to lift their spirits.
  • Anxiety – It is possible that complicated grief can cause individuals to feel as though they are at risk of experiencing loss again and again. This anxiety makes it easy to turn to drugs or alcohol to wash away those anxieties.

In addition, individuals might also abuse drugs and alcohol because they feel as though they have nothing left to live for, especially after experiencing loss.

Treatment for Complicated Grief

There are not many medications that are used to help treat complicated grief, however psychotherapy is the most viable option for care. Through psychotherapy, individuals can work through their grief and all the emotions that come with it in ways that allow them to cope without using drugs or alcohol. Doing this can relieve them of their grieving, and help them move forward with acceptance of their loss.

Do You Need Treatment for Complicated Grief?

Call our toll-free, 24-hour helpline right now. Do not waste one more day living with complicated grief or substance abuse. Call us today to get the help that you deserve.

How Grief Affects Mental Health

How Grief Affects Mental HealthEveryone experiences times of grief in their life, whether it is the death of a loved one or some other major life event. Periods of grief are normal, but even during healthy periods of grief the feeling can have an effect on a person’s mental health. Whether you are mentally healthy or suffer from a mental disorder, suffering from grief changes the way you process things and can result in behavior that is out of the norm. While mentally healthy people may not notice much of an effect, and people with a mental disorder may be more at risk, everyone suffering from grief must take extra care to avoid abusing substances as a way to cope with their grief.

How is Grief Different if I Have a Mental Disorder?

For the most part, the best thing you can do if you are experiencing feelings of grief is to grieve and let the process take its course. If you suffer from a mental disorder and are dealing with feelings of grief, you should speak with your therapist about what you are going through and keep him up to date with how your grief is playing out. If you suffer from a mental disorder your brain’s chemistry may be different than it would be if you did not. Speaking with a therapist will help you work through your grief in healthy ways.

Coping With Grief in Healthy Ways

Coping with such a powerful emotion as grief is difficult, but there are plenty of healthy ways for you to cope and work through your grief. Speaking with loved ones that are also going through grief during your time of loss can be a great way for you to cope with your grief. Sharing stories about the deceased loved one or talking about how you feel can help you work through your grief. Other ways to cope with grief include exercise, reading, writing, playing music, making art, or meditating.

Addicted After Grief? Seek Addiction Treatment

If you have been going through a time of grief and found yourself turning to drugs and alcohol to cope instead of finding a healthy way to cope, you should seek addiction treatment immediately. Abusing drugs or alcohol will only make your grief worse, and addiction treatment is available that can help you get over your habit. Call our toll-free helpline today to speak with a trained addiction expert who can answer any questions you have about addiction or addiction treatment and direct you to an effective treatment center. We are here for you 24 hours a day and can let you know if your health insurance will help pay for rehab treatment, so call now.

How Chronic Illness Affects Mental Health

How Chronic Illness Affects Mental HealthChronic illnesses are those that are long lasting and persistent. They can take many forms, but some of the most common chronic illnesses include the following:

  • AIDS
  • Allergies
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease

These illnesses and many other chronic conditions can have a profound effect on a person’s life and affect how he or she acts, thinks and feels. Managing a chronic illness involves coping with and addressing symptoms and learning how to stay healthy mentally and physically.

The Mental Health Effects of Chronic Illnesses

Even mild conditions can impact daily life and mental health, as the American Psychological Association (APA) reveals that “patients suffering from chronic tension headaches experienced diminished performance in their jobs and social functioning, and were three to fifteen times more likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety or mood disorder.” Fear, uncertainty and concern about symptoms and the future leads to feelings of depression and anxiety in many individuals with chronic illnesses. Physical limitations related to certain chronic illnesses can also lead to depression.

Learning the signs and symptoms of mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety can help you find support at the first signs of co-occurring mental and physical issues. The APA also states that “the highest risk of depressive symptoms occurred within the first two years” of a chronic illness. Knowing that you may face difficult or dark moods and mental states can help you prepare for them and develop healthy coping skills such as talking with loved ones and professionals or finding healthy outlets for emotions through journaling or other activities. Unaddressed mental health concerns can lead to the development of unhealthy coping methods such as substance abuse. Additionally, ignoring mental health concerns will only make them worse, and may impact your physical health. Poor eating habits, lack of activity and isolation are common symptoms of depression, and they can have a negative effect on recovery from or maintenance of chronic illness-related symptoms.

Finding Physical and Mental Health

Chronic illnesses are enough to worry about without the added burden of mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety or addiction. If you or a loved one is struggling to find mental and physical health, call our toll-free helpline. We are here 24 hours a day to help you find the resources you need for long-term recovery.

Digestive Issues and Drug Abuse

Digestive Issues and Drug AbuseThe gastrointestinal tract is a complex system of organs that includes the stomach, intestines, mouth, and esophagus, and it is susceptible to numerous diseases and digestive issues, including irritable bowel syndrome, reflux (heartburn), peptic ulcers, gallstones, lactose intolerance, and celiac disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2013, ulcers are among the most common digestive diseases with 6.7 percent of US adults (15.5 million people) having an official diagnosis. Some disorders, such as Crohn’s disease, can cause problems outside the gastrointestinal tract, such as eye inflammation, arthritis, skin rash, and anemia. The pain and discomfort involved in many digestive issues can motivate a person to abuse drugs, but certain drugs can also inflame or directly cause gastrointestinal problems.

Health-Motivated Drug Use

Digestive issues range from embarrassing and uncomfortable to painful and life threatening. They can even cause erratic eating habits that compromise a person’s overall health. Professional medical care can treat many of the issues, but some people opt to self-medicate the problem or suppress the symptoms using drugs. There are a number of potential motivations for such use, including the following:

  • Using narcotic opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin to minimize pain
  • Taking benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium to reduce anxiety and stress
  • Overcoming disorder-related insomnia with sleep aids like Ambien and Sonata
  • Countering diarrhea with narcotic drugs known to cause constipation
  • Chasing euphoric drug highs to drown out digestion-related discomforts

In many cases, using drugs outside medical care will exacerbate the problem. For example, taking aspirin or ibuprofen for ulcer pain will make the stomach lining sores significantly worse.

Drug-Related Digestive Problems

Normal drug use can have gastrointestinal-related side effects, and the problems multiply when an addict takes excessively large doses. Several types of digestive problems can occur, including the following:

  • Deterioration of the mucous membrane lining along the digestive tract
  • Dehydration and decreased saliva production used to break down food
  • Potential depletion of nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and vitamins C and D
  • Discomforts such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, gastritis, and stomach pain
  • Development of ulcers, gangrene, internal bleeding, and organ-wall perforation

In 2008, a study published in the Serbian Acta Chirurgica Lugoslavica journal warned that substance abuse could also cause cancer in all of the digestive system organs. Moreover, a 2011 online article in England’s Daily Mail made the risks particularly clear with the headline, “How taking painkillers can destroy your stomach lining in days.”

Addiction and Digestive Health Treatment

Whether the drug use preceded or followed the digestive issue, rehabilitation centers know that treating both issues is crucial to facilitate a lasting recovering. Treatment typically involves numerous potential services, including the following:

  • Medically supervised detoxification with efforts to minimize withdrawal symptoms
  • Integrated care for depression, anxiety, mania, and other co-occurring mood disorders
  • Diagnosis and treatment for digestive issues and other physical health problems
  • Life skills development to improve decision making and stress/anger management
  • Therapies to change maladaptive attitudes and thought patterns related to behavior
  • Group counseling to develop a sense of connectedness and mutual support
  • Individual counseling to strategize defenses against substance use triggers

Treating the digestive disorder is especially important to minimize potential drug use triggers. Uncomfortable symptoms can be cues that trigger carvings and increase the risk of addiction relapse.

Rehabilitation Help

If you have questions or need help, speak with an admissions coordinator at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline. We can discuss treatment options and recommend facilities for addiction and digestive disorder care. If you have health insurance, we can look up the policy’s benefits. Help is available so please call now.

Why Are Some Drugs Illegal?

Why Are Some Drugs Illegal?Drug use and abuse are not new phenomenon. Humans have long known about the potential positives and negatives of using various substances. Medicinal and recreational or spiritual use of various plants and compounds has been a part of society for centuries, but regulating this use is relatively new. As individuals began to specialize in the use of medicinal drugs or creation of psychoactive ones, “social and religious rituals arose as a way of controlling their use…The general population could be protected from harm” (Paul Gahlinger, Illegal Drugs: A Complete Guide to Their History, Chemistry, Use and Abuse). As our society and culture evolved and refined, rituals, guidelines, and social mores in relation to substance use became laws.

Drug Regulation and Public Health

The core logic behind drug regulation and making some drugs illegal is keeping people healthy. Gahlinger explains that “Illegal drugs are not necessarily those that are most poisonous, but those that result in other hazards such as addiction…If a drug causes someone to act in ways that are offensive to others, it presents a threat not only to the individual but to the whole society.” However some of these drugs also have incredible medicinal potential, so the Controlled Substances Act categorizes drugs based on potential harm and potential usefulness and sets guidelines for use based on this assessment.

The Legal Status of Drugs

Some drugs, such as hallucinogens like MDMA and LSD, have no perceived medical benefit but have the potential to create addiction and changes in behavior that can endanger users and those around them. These substances are considered illegal for any use, and Gahlinger shares that there are 178 drugs deemed illegal in the United States. However other drugs such as opioids can have similar negative effects on personal and public health, but these substances have important medical roles. Additional substances such as glue and paint thinner can be abused as inhalants, but they have practical use and so are not illegal. Some addictive substances, like alcohol and tobacco, remain legal despite known negative effects on health and behavior, as, “they are an accepted part of American culture” (Gahlinger). Cultural and social factors play into the regulation of drugs in addition to the facts about and effects of the substances themselves.

Getting Help for Addiction

While using some drugs is considered a crime, addiction is not. Addiction is a disease that requires professional treatment and support for long-term recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with the abuse of any substance, legal or not, we can help. Call our toll-free helpline to get connected to resources for intervention and treatment. You can find a drug-free future. Call today.

Substance Abuse as a Remedy for Chronic Jet Lag

Substance Abuse as a Remedy for Chronic Jet LagWhen issues like jet lag disrupt the natural rhythm of the body’s biological clock, the brain and body may suffer significantly. The body has an internal clock known as the circadian clock, and changes in sleep activity can disrupt the natural ticking or rhythm of this clock. These rhythms are dependent on things like social cues and daylight exposure, and traveling into another time zone can throw these instinctual cues off.

The term ‘jet lag’ is used to describe the effects of traveling into different time zones. These effects have minimal interference in a single occurrence, but people who frequently travel long-distance for work can develop chronic jet leg as their bodies try to align their biological clocks to the local time.

Chronic jet lag syndrome is considered a man-made circadian rhythm disorder characterized by the temporary mismatch between the timing of the sleep-wake cycle and sleep-wake pattern. Symptoms of chronic jet leg syndrome include:

  • Difficulties initiating and maintaining sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Reduced alertness
  • Impaired cognitive functioning and performance
  • Gastrointestinal function disturbances
  • Frequent urination
  • Malaise
  • Eye and nasal irritation
  • Intermittent dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Edema

Chronic jet leg can result in the development of several other conditions and disorders like sleep disorders, depression, chronic pain symptoms, gastrointestinal problems and more.

How Self-Medicating Jet Lag Symptoms Leads to Substance Abuse

Whether an individual is traveling for work or pleasure, he or she does not want the symptoms of jet lag to disrupt the experience. In order to combat these symptoms, individuals often use a substance to improve their mood, and boost energy and alertness during the day, or to knock themselves out when unable to fall asleep at night.  Frequent travelers that experience chronic jet lag are more inclined to self-medicate their symptoms on a regular basis, which can quickly lead to substance abuse, drug dependence and addiction.

Substance abuse will significantly impair one’s ability to recover from jet lag and lead to a long-list of other serious repercussion. Mind-altering drugs only further complicate the body’s internal clock, so the misuse and abuse of substances is highly dangerous.

Alternative Jet Leg Remedies will Help Avoid Drug Dependence

There are several homeopathic, alternative remedies for dealing with the symptoms of jet lag. A health care professional can provide the name of several homeopathic medicines and herbs that treat symptoms of chronic jet lag such as sleeplessness, restlessness, irritability, stress, anxiety, digestion issues and more.

Other recommendations include maintaining a healthy diet, eating light, starting the day off with a high-protein breakfast, exercising and avoiding stagnancy, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and drinking plenty of water. Experts also have created anti-jet lag diets that individuals can adhere to before traveling.

Know a Frequent Traveler Struggling with Jet Leg and Substance Abuse?

If you know someone who may be struggling with jet lag and substance abuse, call our toll-free helpline and learn about options for treatment and recovery. Our recovery professionals are available 24 hours a day in order to assist you and your loved one with any questions, concerns, or needed information. We have connections to a diverse-array of high-quality substance abuse and addiction treatment services and can help you find the programs and professionals that will work for your particular needs.

How Should I Pay for Rehab?

How Should I Pay for Rehab?One of the first concerns many addicts have is the cost of rehab. Many people mistakenly assume that addiction treatment costs much more than it often does. Others fail to comprehend the many financial aid options that are available to them. Unfortunately, many addicts allow financial concerns to prevent them from seeking the help they so desperately need. The simple truth is that no treatment expense can be as costly as continuing untreated substance abuse. If you don’t get help, you are likely to experience an excruciating decline in your physical and mental health that ultimately ends in a premature death. Understanding and preparing for the cost of rehab is important, though the expense should never be used as an excuse to postpone or avoid treatment.

Rehab Payment Options

Though the particulars are often varied, paying for rehab often comes down to one or more of the following options:

  • Insurance coverage of all or most of the costs
  • Public or private financial aid or grants to cover the costs
  • Payment for treatment out of pocket

There are benefits and disadvantages to each of these options. Our admissions coordinators are ready to help you decide which form of treatment and payment plan is right for you.

Benefits of Insurance Coverage

Most health insurance plans cover inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment. In fact, many states require that all health plans offer confidential addiction treatment and require employers to allow their workers time off for treatment if needed. In some cases, however, you must fight for the treatment benefits you have been promised. Our rehab helpline is open 24 hours a day, and our staff members are happy to advocate your rights and coverage to your insurance company.

Benefits of Personal Payment or Financial Aid

Some people, for issues related to privacy or other preferences, prefer to pay for their own rehab expenses. This may be because they seek personal privacy and do not want their employer or coworkers to know about their addiction. It may be that they prefer not to let their insurance company know. Others, including the unemployed and the self-employed, may not have any health insurance to begin with. Regardless of the reason, however, the fact is that many people choose to pay for their own rehab. Whether costs are paid in advance or paid over time, this is certainly an option for some people. There are also several local, state, and federal programs available to help the uninsured receive addiction treatment.

24 Hour Rehab Helpline

If you would like more information about funding, insurance, self-payment, or other rehab options, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our staff members can answer any questions you have about addiction, finances, or anything else related to substance abuse and insurance. Don’t use money as an excuse to postpone treatment. We can help. Call now.

Dissociative Disorders and Addiction

Dissociative Disorders and AddictionSymptoms of dissociative disorders include secondary personalities, multiple personalities, amnesia and detachment. These symptoms often cause people to have little control over their actions, so patients may unknowingly or unwillingly abuse drugs to cope. The problem is that this can create an addiction, and someone who has both a dissociative disorder and drug addiction needs treatment that addresses both problems at the same time. Several dissociative disorders may co-occur alongside an addiction, but professional help can get you clean and well simultaneously.

Types of Dissociative Disorders

Dissociative disorders are conditions that people involuntarily use to escape reality. They often develop as reactions to severe trauma, so people slip in and out of reality to avoid memories that are too painful to acknowledge. Four types of dissociative disorders are described below:

  • Dissociative identity disorder (DID) – Formerly known as multiple personality disorder, DID frequently develops in response to a traumatic childhood. It is characterized by multiple identities or personalities that will come and go in response to stress levels. Substance abuse and dependence is common among those who suffer from DID, but the nature of this illness may cause people to abuse drugs and be unable to remember it.
  • Dissociative amnesia. Those who suffer from dissociative amnesia experience severe memory loss that has no medical explanation. They may be unable to remember certain events or people, especially childhood memories associated with trauma. Dissociative amnesia can lead to difficulty recalling important personal information. Someone with dissociative amnesia may abuse drugs simply to cope.
  • Dissociative fugue. This disorder involves one or more episodes of amnesia that cause people to lose memory of their past and identity. Sometimes dissociative fugue causes people to create new identities. When people with dissociative fugue develop new identities, they may travel a great distance from home or work and abuse drugs, even if the person’s real identity has no history of drug abuse.
  • Depersonalization disorder. Characterized by symptoms of depersonalization, this disorder causes people to detach from themselves or their environments, so they may feel as if they do not fully occupy their own bodies. As a result, they feel little control over their words and actions while feeling disconnected from their own thoughts and emotions. They may suffer from out of body experiences, all of which can lead to substance abuse.

With professional treatment, many people with dissociative disorders can develop healthy coping skills that facilitate normal living. Psychotherapy, hypnosis and medication can treat dissociative disorder, but substance abuse only complicates mental problems. Those who suffer from a co-occurring dissociative disorder and substance abuse need integrated treatment to address both of their problems at the same time.

Find Treatment for Co-Occurring Dissociative Disorders and Addiction

If you or someone you love suffers from a dissociative disorder and substance abuse, then please allow us to help. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to reach our admissions coordinators that can connect you with high quality treatment. Call us now to begin recovery today.

Despair and Drug Addiction

Despair and Drug AddictionDespair is an extremely common human experience.  Most individuals have felt despair during difficult periods with marriage, family, finances, jobs, and etc. Despair is a deep discouragement and loss of faith about one’s ability to find meaning, fulfillment, and/or happiness. Individuals suffering from despair believe they are unable to create a satisfactory future for themselves. Because of these feelings or thoughts, individuals suffering from despair may try to alleviate their symptoms by using or abusing drugs.

Signs an Individual is Suffering from Despair

Each individual suffering from despair will experience different severities of symptoms.  Included in the following are some examples of the signs of despair:

  • Hopelessness
  • Helplessness
  • Powerlessness

Many individuals suffering from despair may need psychiatric medication to help both the prevention of further despair and help lift them from their feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and powerlessness. Medications such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers can help alleviate or suppress at least some of these symptoms. However, despite the benefits of medication, especially at first, it is well-known that severe cases of despair persist despite medications. The symptoms may have been slightly diminished, but not defeated. In these situations, the individual may need to face their despair with the right psychotherapeutic support or treatment.

Treatment Options for Despair and Addiction

Each individual seeks a type of treatment for different reasons. Included in the following are some examples of treatment options for despair and addiction:

  • Inpatient treatment
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Community resources and programs

Inpatient treatment is a great asset for addicts, providing individuals with a drug-free environment that is medically supervised by medical personnel. While in inpatient treatment, addicts are also given psychiatric testing to help determine the depth of their despair and help tailor a treatment plan to increase their chances for long-term sobriety. Outpatient treatment is made of both individual and group counseling sessions to help the addict overcome current obstacles. Community resources and programs are a great tool which cost the addict little to no fees to attend.

Drug Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our highly trained counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your addiction questions and help you find the best treatment available. One call today can change your life forever!

Adult Addiction and Reactive Attachment Disorder in Children

Adult Addiction and Reactive Attachment Disorder in ChildrenThe relationship between a child and its parents is critical to overall mental health and development. It is during the first five years of life that a child learns how to regulate emotions, trust others, be sensitive to others’ needs and develop a healthy self image. Neglect during the first years of life often leads to a condition called reactive attachment disorder (RAD) that can have a severely negative impact on that person’s emotional development and happiness throughout life. The symptoms of this disorder are as follows:

  • Unresponsive to others
  • Emotionally distant
  • Resistant to comfort or care
  • Inhibited
  • Withdrawn

A parent’s addiction to drugs or alcohol will always impact his ability to be fully present, reliable, and connected to a child. Many children of addicts grow up with feelings of insecurity, self-esteem deficiencies, and even trauma. One expression of this disorder, known as disinhibited RAD, causes a young person to form indiscriminate, inappropriate, and risky relationships. If left untreated, individuals suffering from this disorder are significantly more likely to mimic the addictive behavior of their parents.

Successfully Treating Reactive Attachment Disorder

Various types of counseling are used to treat children suffering from reactive attachment disorder. If the condition is identified early enough many children can be spared the most devastating effects RAD afflicted children face later in life. It is crucial, however, that the adult in these children’s lives finds the help he needs in order to stop abusing drugs and alcohol permanently. Several new treatment programs are specially designed to help addicted parents with the following services:

  • Personal counseling
  • Support group meetings
  • Education
  • Coping skill development
  • Medically supervised detox
  • Dual Diagnosis treatment of any underlying or co-occurring disorders

Many parents put off getting help by telling themselves that they don’t have the time or money to get help, or by using their responsibilities as a parent as an excuse. The simple truth is that if you are an addict your number one priority needs to be overcoming that disease before it destroys your children.

Help for Addicted Parents

If you are a parent that is unable to stop using and abusing drugs or alcohol, you need help. Your children depend on you and deserve your best. You don’t want to see your child grow up facing the repercussions of reactive attachment disorder. We are here to help you right now. Call our toll-free helpline any time of night or day for immediate, confidential, and caring help. Our staff members are ready to offer you the following free services the moment you call:

  • Answers to any questions you have about reactive attachment disorder
  • Referrals to the most successful addiction treatment programs for your specific needs
  • Help confirming insurance coverage of treatment costs
  • Access to services for your child or children to help them recover alongside you
  • Referrals to family counseling services

Your substance abuse problem is affecting your kids. Maybe you suffered from reactive attachment disorder due to your parent’s addiction and it’s now time for you to break the cycle in your family. You can do it.