Drug addiction rehab or therapy can be safely carried out within a clinic, hospital, or medical center. Alternatively, based on an agreement or other conditions, an outpatient drug rehab program could be arranged. Both types of medical care have their merits, and the decision on which to go for depends on such factors as financial strength, the severity of the case, the patient’s disposition, etc. Many have wondered, what is outpatient addiction treatment about and what are the benefits? Without further ado, here are the answers.
What Is Outpatient Addiction Treatment?
Medical intervention is generally performed in a formal hospital or clinic setting. But, of course, medical intervention can happen just about anywhere, provided that the necessary equipment is arranged.
Outpatient treatment programs also called intensive outpatient treatment (OIP), is a form of rehabilitation for patients struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, dependence and abuse, and who are past the stage where they need detoxification or intensive monitoring/supervision. The unique feature of outpatient drug rehab is that the patient can try to live a normal life outside the hospital while trying to overcome the addiction problem. Usually, patients only visit the addiction clinic, hospital, or addiction treatment center or other designated professional regularly, on specific periods within the week. Outpatient treatment also incorporates the necessary support for patients to participate actively in the whole process.
The main difference between inpatient and outpatient rehab programs is that the living arrangement for patients is more flexible in the latter. This allows patients in that category to have a structured, inclusive, and strict but yet comfortable therapy whilst having the barest disruption in their day-to-day life.
Benefits of Outpatient Addiction Treatment
More degree of freedom: Outpatient addiction programs afford patients greater freedom in living their lives while still getting treated. There is a vast difference between being stuck within a treatment center no matter how comfortable it is and the privilege of going and coming as you please while still receiving therapy. This freedom to live a healthy life as much as possible is quite important to many and may be vital in helping them succeed.
Structured, adapted medical care: Outpatient treatment makes it possible for patients to have specially structured medical care to suit their needs and schedule. Patients can sit with the medical personnel and draw up the best plan that suits them. Such privilege of plan assures the patient that the care is specific for them. It is amazing how well patients respond when they are in a specially designed program to take in their needs, desires, and prioritize their comfort.
Access to support from family and other community: Outpatient care makes it easier for patients to receive support from their family members and communities of people with similar situations, who have achieved success. This is another way of helping them gain independence from drugs and alcohol. The more patients interact with someone who beat the problem, the more likely it is for them to beat it too.
Better chance at integration with the society: Inpatient treatment, especially for a protracted period, can alter how the patient relates to the community. For example, some extroverts could become less extroverted after some months or years in a hospital. This affects not just their temperament but also impacts the way they live.
Saving costs: It could cost so much to be admitted to a hospital or to live in a rehab home for a long time. Opting for outpatient treatment is a safe way to cut costs while getting therapy because you do not have to pay for the extra bills that come with inpatient treatment.
Outpatient treatment is never the first method for drug rehab, and there are factors to consider before opting for it. However, outpatient drug rehab offers patients the best chance to live a normal life during therapy and helps in easing the integration back to society.
At first, you start off with raising a toast at celebratory events or enjoying an occasional drink at office parties. Or you hang out with your buddies, besties, or colleagues after school or work, and drinking alcohol or taking the latest party or club drugs seem like the “in thing.” Before you know it, you are sucked into a vortex of substance abuse and your life tumbles down a dark hole. Now alcohol consumes you or drugs take precedence over everything that matters in your life.
You start panicking and realize you need help before it is too late but a nagging feeling at the back of your mind keeps telling you that staying away from substance abuse and turning over a new leaf is easier said than done. Worse still, you cannot take a break from study or work, and family commitments stand in the way of you seeking help. But what if you could explore treatment options without turning your personal/professional schedule upside down? Let us handhold you through the myriad doubts and questions arising in your mind and find doable and practical solutions so you can walk down the road to sobriety.
What Happens at a Detox Center?
You might have heard stories of family members, friends, colleagues, or neighbors who have successfully completed drug rehab and are now leading meaningful lives. You might even be wondering what happens at a detox center and how you can identify the right program for yourself.
The outpatient alcohol rehab process involves four stages — Assessment, Detox, Therapy, and Aftercare. Assessment is done to design a treatment plan based on an individual’s type, duration of substance abuse, and severity of drug and/or alcohol abuse, as well as other challenges such as domestic violence or co-occurring mental health issues.
Detox is the second stage and targets managing withdrawal symptoms and eliminating or negating the body’s dependence on drugs and/or alcohol.
Therapy delves into the roots or underlying causes of the addiction and gives a patient the tools to combat it.
Aftercare ensures that a person continues to receive support and embarks on a lifelong journey of recovery.
You should take care to select the right detox program and look for evidence-based treatment approaches offered by a team of trained and certified professionals, including doctors, therapists, counselors, and support staff. Questions you should seek answers must include:
What will my treatment plan look like and who will design it?
How many hours will I need to commit each week to successfully finish it?
What does a typical session include and how will it be implemented?
Are there evidence-based therapies and treatment options?
Can I sign up right away or is there is a waiting list? If yes, how long do I need to wait before I can enroll?
What facilities or support are offered in terms of aftercare? Will I receive the usual follow-up telephone call or have access to programs involving my family members and friends?
Will I be offered help for co-occurring health concerns such as mental health disorders?
A detox center primarily offers inpatient and outpatient programs for those struggling with substance abuse. A substance abuse evaluation is conducted to recognize the intensity of the problem, analyze it, and customize a treatment plan best suited to your needs.
Understanding Substance Abuse Evaluation
People who are coping with addiction or substance abuse experience a range of feelings and emotions. They may feel scared or overwhelmed; at other times, they may feel hopeful and have a strong urge to change and go clean. Recognizing one’s addiction and the desire to seek help is the first and foremost step toward a successful recovery.
A substance abuse evaluation is a clinical tool used by doctors and healthcare providers to identify and analyze the extent of a person’s alcohol or drug addiction, determine co-occurring concerns like a mental health disorder, evaluate the magnitude or impact of the addiction on the person’s life and everyday activities, and obtain and assess the medical and social history relating to general health concerns and drug use.
Substance abuse evaluations are comprised of two parts — an initial screening and a more holistic assessment. Both these parts are used to determine a treatment plan, as screening helps to understand whether or not a person has a substance abuse disorder, and the subsequent assessment identifies the type of problem, determines possible options for diagnosis, and helps in recommending a tailored treatment strategy. Entry-level professionals can be engaged to carry out screenings, while assessments need to be conducted by certified and/or qualified doctors, nurses, therapists, or social workers.
Some of the more common tools used for screening include the CAGE Questionnaire, and Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI). For instance, the CAGE Questionnaire is an essential tool for assessing the drinking patterns of individuals considering outpatient alcohol rehab or inpatient treatment. The questions give shape to the acronym CAGE as they seek to find answers to four questions — Have you ever felt the need to Cut down on your drinking? Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking? Have you ever felt Guilty about drinking? Have you ever felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning (Eye-opener) to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?
An assessment is done by recording discussions, asking diagnostic interview-style questions (structured and semi-structured), and collating written responses on the history or usage of drugs and alcohol, substance-related behavior, health concerns, and history of possible treatment so that a proactive strategy can be drawn up to arrest the progress of the substance abuse disorder. The Diagnostic Interview Schedule-IV (a fully structured tool) and the Addiction Severity Index (a semi-structured interview) are two of the most commonly used tools for assessment.
Ambulatory Outpatient or Outpatient Care
If staying away from your loved ones – particularly children – or taking a break from work or study is not a feasible option for both personal and practical reasons, outpatient detox programs or ambulatory outpatient care could be exactly what you need as your attendance is required only during treatment sessions. You can return home and go about your daily routine without disrupting your normal activities or incurring additional expenses. It is important to note that a majority of people enroll in outpatient alcohol rehab programs at some stage of their treatment plan as even those who initially opt for intensive inpatient or residential treatment programs also need to make the transition to outpatient care as a means of continuing and eventually completing their treatment programs.
You can avail yourself of services for ambulatory outpatient care at health centers, urgent care centers, hospital-based outpatient clinics, rehabilitation centers, offices of physicians, and a host of other places offering medical assistance. Outpatient alcohol rehab scores big in terms of affordability, and it offers greater flexibility as there is little or no need to readjust your daily schedule. It also provides enhanced confidentiality as you can seek treatment discreetly or anonymously; there is no need to explain your prolonged absence to your employer or family members and friends, and you can immediately apply or use the lessons imparted in everyday situations.
Types of Outpatient Alcohol Rehab Programs
Each outpatient alcohol rehab program is different in terms of schedule and structure as it is customized and based on a person’s needs and goals. Some programs require an individual to attend treatment sessions for several hours a day for 5 days a week, whereas people enrolled in other programs may be required to meet only once or twice each week. The deciding factors are the severity of the addiction and the need for concurrent psychiatric or medical care.
There are three primary types of outpatient programs for drug and alcohol addiction — standard outpatient, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs. The programs differ in structure, intensity, and types of services offered.
Standard Outpatient Programs: These programs are the least intense. People enrolled in these programs typically require little medical supervision and meet for 1-2 hours once or twice a week. Sessions may involve one-on-one counseling with a therapist or group therapy.
Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs): According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, an IOP is defined as a program that requires a minimum of 9 hours of intensive treatment per week. People enrolled in these programs can avail themselves of a wide range of services, including individual and group counseling sessions, 12-step meetings, and medication. Participants are required to meet for 9-20 hours each week. Many IOPs require individuals to meet 3-6 hours, 3-5 days a week.
Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs): These are day treatment programs offered at free-standing clinics or hospitals. Treatment sessions are conducted for 3-8 hours a day for up to 7 days a week. The sessions include individual, family and group therapy, on-site medical care, and psychiatric care and help people in making a transition from an inpatient program to outpatient care.
Therapies Used in Outpatient Care
Therapies used in outpatient programs are based on a number of factors and vary depending on an individual’s history of substance abuse, the substance or substances abused, co-occurring mental health disorders, and other underlying health concerns. Some common therapies that are used include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the Matrix Model, Contingency Management, Motivational Enhancement Therapy or Motivational Interviewing, and Family Therapy.
When Not to Opt for Outpatient Detox
Before you enroll in an outpatient detox program, you need to weigh your options carefully. Scrutinize your history with drugs and/or alcohol with a fine-toothed comb to make a realistic assessment of your needs. Choosing a drug rehab program in an outpatient setting may not be the ideal choice if a person experiences a constant urge to use drugs and/or alcohol, or fails to regularly attend therapy or group sessions, or requires treatment or medical supervision for multiple disorders.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Psychological Association do not recommend outpatient alcohol rehab for patients if they have complicated withdrawal syndromes such as psychosis and potentially fatal seizures, severe or multiple addictions, co-occurring disorders like chronic medical issues or cardiovascular disease, a history of relapse or several failed or unsuccessful attempts at recovery, poor support systems and exposure to toxic environments such as stressful living conditions, the risk or a history of complicated withdrawal symptoms, or referral requests from therapists or doctors to put a patient in an inpatient treatment facility.
Alcohol Withdrawal and Outpatient Alcohol Rehab
If you’re still thinking about relapses and visions keep flashing before your eyes of people in your social circle who have successfully battled the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and yet have gone back to outpatient alcohol rehab, you need to understand that it is an uphill task and that only your commitment and dedication – coupled with the right circumstances – can help you achieve long-term sobriety. Rehab can have a substantial positive effect on your life as it is a progressive and ongoing journey.
You need to identify and avoid triggers and/or temptations, build a strong support network of family members and friends, and keep yourself busy and motivated so that your addiction does not end up being an on-again, off-again battle.
The determinants of successful rehab are based on research-based treatment and practice-based evidence. If you want to beat the odds, outpatient alcohol rehab can help you stay strong and offers a solid pillar of support on this lifelong journey of recovery.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there is “no cure” for addiction as it is a relapsing and chronic condition. Although there is no magic potion that offers instant relief or cure, the condition can be managed with support from programs for drug rehab and alcohol rehab, proper guidance from doctors and healthcare professionals, and the love and support of family members, and friends. These factors, and most importantly, your belief in yourself, can help you achieve lifelong sobriety.
Whether you’re planning to embrace motherhood or discover that you are pregnant, your world is suddenly filled with a newfound joy and happiness. But at the same time, if you are caught in the web of substance abuse, you know that it’s time to reach out and seek help. If you let the fear of being exposed or engulfed by social stigma take over, you must understand that battling substance abuse and seeking intervention at the right time can make all the difference between having a healthy baby and giving birth to a child with serious birth defects and other complications.
The use of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy
During pregnancy, the umbilical cord and placenta (i.e., the layer of tissue and blood vessels lining the uterus) become the lifeline for the developing fetus and filter the essential nutrients and oxygen from the mother to the growing infant. When a woman who is addicted to alcohol and/or drugs becomes pregnant, the harmful chemicals and compounds in these substances can reach the baby via the placenta and affect its growth. It can even affect the placenta itself and hinder the path of nutrients and removal of waste and toxins.
The use of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy have long-term implications that do not stop at childbirth. Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) can be seen in babies who are born to mothers addicted to alcohol and drugs, particularly opioids. Complications in babies who have been exposed to alcohol or drugs during the prenatal period can manifest in the form of learning problems, behavioral disorders, developmental delays, a greater risk of premature death due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and other forms.
Abstaining from drugs and alcohol can significantly reduce the risk of premature labor, miscarriage, stillbirth, and placental abruption. Proper medical intervention and treatment at drug rehab centers can alleviate the risk of developmental problems and serious birth defects like fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), neurological defects, facial deformities such as cleft palate, and deformities of the skull like an abnormally small head.
Fetal Health and Common Drugs of Abuse
Some common drugs of abuse include heroin, cocaine, marijuana, prescription drugs, and alcohol.
According to The Merck Manual, exposure to alcohol is the primary cause of birth defects, and pregnant women who consume alcohol are almost 50% more likely to suffer a miscarriage and have a baby with low birth weight. Alcohol consumed during any stage of pregnancy can lead to developmental defects and congenital abnormalities as it is a known teratogen; the central nervous system is known to be sensitive to teratogens. Alcoholism during pregnancy can cause stillbirth, FAS leading to neurological deficits, low fetal birth weight, and a host of other complications. You can consider outpatient alcohol rehab and look at treatment plans if you want to avoid getting admitted to a hospital but have a keen desire to lead a sober life.
Pregnant women who “shoot up” heroin intravenously are exposed to the risk of communicable diseases, while the fetus can suffer from fetal growth restriction, birth defects, and opioid dependence resulting in withdrawal syndrome after birth.
The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology states that prescription drugs such as sedatives and opioid pain relievers can have an adverse impact on pregnant women. Babies born to mothers who are addicted to opioids show an increased rate of neural tube defects, neonatal withdrawal syndrome, and defects of the spinal cord and brain.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists hydrocephalus, glaucoma, congenital heart defects, spina bifida, and gastroschisis as potential birth defects that can be seen in expectant mothers who take opioid analgesics or drugs containing opioids (like Suboxone).
The Importance of Drug Rehab
Shedding your inhibitions and getting in touch with a detox center is the first positive step in achieving sobriety during pregnancy. A comprehensive evidence-based treatment program at a detox center helps you win the battle against cravings or triggers, manage potential complications and risks, and relieve withdrawal symptoms.
The effect of a particular drug on a fetus is based on the fetus’s stage of development, the purity or strength and dose of the drug taken, and several other factors. A drug rehab program can be customized as doctors and support staff analyze the needs of each individual and draw up the best treatment plan beneficial to the mother and her child. For instance, a woman using heroin can look at a heroin rehab program tailored to suit her requirements and ease the recovery process. Or if a pregnant woman takes methadone, she can get in touch with New Jersey methadone clinics for therapeutic drug monitoring, regular check-ups for maternal withdrawal symptoms, and empiric adjustments of dosage during pregnancy.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists cautions that addiction to drugs and alcohol brings in its wake physical dependence, and going ‘cold turkey’ can result in complications and withdrawal symptoms that may be life-threatening. A woman undergoes changes in terms of metabolism and body chemistry. This, in turn, impacts her withdrawal timelines. The duration and intensity of withdrawal symptoms depend on how long a person has been taking drugs, the type and quantity or dose used, the method used (i.e. inhaled, oral or injected), and numerous genetic, environmental, and biological factors. Timelines published by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services state that, typically, it takes 6 to 60 hours for the onset of symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal to manifest in expectant mothers, and 12 to 72 hours for symptoms linked to opioids, as seen in the case of suboxone withdrawal.
If you are looking for specific deaddiction programs like heroin rehab or trying to combat the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal or suboxone withdrawal, drug detox or medically assisted detox programs can provide the requisite care and support you need to complete your program successfully. Or, if you are worried about methadone pharmacokinetics, you can contact methadone clinics to work on split-dosing regimens to achieve a more sustained serum concentration of methadone as well as improve your compliance in terms of completing the maintenance program.
Ambulatory Outpatient or Home-Based Detox Programs
If you have small children to look after and staying away from home is not an option, you can explore ambulatory outpatient detox programs offered by your local hospital or drug treatment center. The objectives of such programs involve helping a person manage withdrawal symptoms in a safe and supportive environment, monitoring the person’s mood swings, providing early intervention in case of adverse consequences, educating patients about the course and timeframe of withdrawal and the possibility of enduring symptoms, maintaining a commitment to withdrawal, drawing up a plan to stay clean, and coordinating with various support networks for effective aftercare. Ambulatory outpatient detox programs such as outpatient alcohol rehab can be successful if a person lives in a drug-free, stable and supportive environment at home, remains committed to withdrawal, and does not have any medical complications that require round-the-clock monitoring or treatment in a hospital setting, among other factors.
Outpatient detox programs offer greater flexibility, particularly for pregnant women who wish to continue working or studying. Women who sign up for outpatient detox programs can choose to attend meetings and counseling sessions at any time of the day and/or evening, and go back to their home at night; however, the recommendation by the National Institute on Drug Abuse clearly states that the duration of treatment must last for a minimum period of 90 days.
Rehab centers walk with you down the road to recovery and support you at every step. Individual counseling sessions with therapists, cognitive behavioral therapy, peer-to-peer support groups, group therapy sessions, workshops giving advice on life skills, classes on parenting and prenatal care, pregnancy education and counseling, assessment and therapy or treatment for co-occurring disorders, 12-step programming, and a host of other supportive measures can offer you and your baby the best chance at a full recovery. Let this be a journey of continued recovery so you can enjoy the newfound joys of motherhood and sobriety.
What is the Impact of Drugs on Our Brain and Body?
If you feel like you are walking around in circles and trying to find your way out of a labyrinth of troubles, and that substance abuse will offer you a quick-fix solution, think again. You may be facing a plethora of personal and/or professional issues, and the urge to “feel good” or “stop feeling like a misfit or unwanted’ or succumbing to plain curiosity may trigger the need to just “give it a try.” But the impact of substance abuse on your brain, body, and, most importantly, your life, will throw you into an abyss where getting your life back on track will be a Herculean task. Read on to learn more about the devastating impact of drugs and the many options to help overcome drug addiction.
Understanding the Intricacies of Drug Addiction
You may have heard of or read about people being addicted to drugs or being tagged as drug addicts, but what makes someone addicted to drugs? When you just can’t stay away from drugs and your urge gets the better of you despite knowing that it causes harm, you may already be on the dangerous path to full-blown drug addiction. If prescription medicines or illegal drugs start to take center stage in your life – even taking precedence over food and sleep – and control every moment of your life, cut you off from family and friends, and even lead you to steal, lie and hurt people who matter to you, it may be time to seek intervention.
Drug addiction is akin to a chronic ailment, and you can experience a “trigger” at any time. Triggers can arise from troubles at home, hanging out with people who use drugs, mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety, difficulty in making new friends or adjusting to a new environment, visiting a particular place or meeting a person, seeing a picture or thing, getting a whiff of a familiar smell, or even a feeling or memory associated with certain events.
Your Body — Different Drugs, Different Effects
Drugs can have psychological as well as physical long- and short-term effects on your brain and body. It doesn’t take long for a “casual user” to become completely addicted to drugs. The effects of a particular drug and the duration before it becomes an addiction depend on several factors, including the type and purity of the drug, the substances used to manufacture the drug, the quantity taken, the physical traits of the user (such as weight, height, age, metabolism, and body fat), the duration and frequency of drug abuse, the manner of ingestion (i.e., injection, oral, or inhalation), the user’s mental health and surrounding environment, and the use of a cocktail of drugs that often includes alcohol.
This begs the question: what does it mean to misuse drugs, particularly prescription medication?
Misusing prescription medicines implies using a drug in a manner contrary to professional medical advice, such as taking more than the prescribed number of pills, crushing tablets to snort or shoot up, procuring drugs using someone else’s prescription, or simply getting high on drugs not intended for you. Gradually, increasingly larger quantities of the drug are needed to experience the same feel-good effect, and your brain and body just can’t do without it because, with time, higher tolerance levels increase a person’s dosage requirements for experiencing the same level of euphoria or whatever effect the drug promises.
The patient usually feels anxious, ill, and irritable without taking the drug. Some of the harmful effects of drug addiction include trouble with decision-making and focusing on things, remembering things, irregular heartbeat, panic attacks, paranoia, and damage to the lungs, heart, and kidneys.
Drugs impact how a person behaves, thinks, and feels, as it affects the body’s central nervous system or CNS. Depressants, hallucinogens, and stimulants are the three primary categories of drugs that have damaging consequences on the CNS.
How it Affects your Brain
The chemicals present in drugs change the manner of sending, receiving, and analyzing information by the nerve cells. Drugs imitate the natural chemical messengers of the brain, over-stimulate the “reward circuit”, send abnormal messages by filling the brain with excessive chemicals, and attach themselves to the brain’s receptors.
Although drug addiction is considered to be a relapsing and chronic brain disease, some substances and drugs also alter the brain’s chemistry and enhance the risk of mood disorders and depression. Other drugs are associated with brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and alcohol have the most dangerous impact on the brain’s health. If one keeps ignoring the symptoms of alcohol or substance abuse for a prolonged period, it can result in long-term health issues and may even lead to a higher risk of death. A detox center for addressing symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse helps restore the brain’s balance and reverse or improve the damage caused by substance abuse.
Decoding the Science Behind a Comedown
The after effect or “comedown” refers to how the body reacts to drugs that a user has taken. It describes the feeling that occurs after the initial reaction. A person’s gender, tolerance level, and age determine the duration and severity of the comedown. Some common after-effects are exhaustion, headaches, depression, nausea, fatigue, sweating, dizziness, feeling shaky, not feeling hungry or sleepy, or an inability to sleep.
One can get in touch with a detox center and sign up for drug rehab programs specifically targeted at addressing and managing the effects of a comedown.
Fighting Your Drug Addiction
If you’ve come to terms with your drug addiction and have realized that you need help, you have already taken the first step in the right direction. Whether you are looking to address concerns relating to alcohol withdrawal or suboxone withdrawal symptoms, heroin rehab, or methadone clinics, choosing a drug rehab program that’s tailored to your needs treats the root of the problem. Alcohol and drug rehab centers treat addiction in its entirety by using a range of therapies. For example, if a person is suffering from alcohol withdrawal or suboxone withdrawal symptoms, drug detox is used to treat a user’s physical dependence on alcohol and drugs, while other therapies are used to address the psychological disorders that are triggered or aggravated by the addiction, as well as mental issues behind the craving for drugs. One can consider medication-based therapy (also known as replacement therapy) for opioid drugs by contacting methadone clinics for heroin rehab or addiction issues related to prescription painkillers.
If being hospitalized puts you off for practical and/or personal reasons, you can consider outpatient detox programs such as an outpatient alcohol rehab program or ambulatory outpatient care to walk down the path of a successful and safe recovery from addiction issues. These programs can be customized based on affordability and offer the flexibility to continue working as well as receive treatment. One can avail of ambulatory outpatient services at a doctor’s chamber or clinic, an emergency room, an outpatient department at a hospital, and other places. Outpatient detox programs focus on counseling sessions, educating a patient, and providing a support system involving family members and close friends. For instance, if a patient needs outpatient alcohol rehab, they can explore options such as Day Programs and Intensive Outpatient Programs, and seek the support of Continuing Care Groups to successfully finish the program.
One can define recovery from addiction as staying clean and relearning or exploring healthy ways to deal with life’s problems. As you start thinking and feeling positive, stay away or avoid people or places that might trigger a relapse, and re-establish family ties and bonds with your friends and colleagues, the journey to discovering a new and better life begins.
Nationally Recognized Addiction Expert, Dr. Indra Cidambi, Suggests Ways to Maintain Sobriety
New Jersey, NY – May 5th, 2020 – The myriad restrictions and dislocations caused by COVID19 is challenging to everyone, worldwide. “But for people in recovery, it has created the perfect storm for relapse,” noted Dr. Indra Cidambi, a nationally acclaimed Addiction Expert and Medical Director of New Jersey-based Center for Network Therapy. “The proven triggers for relapse – stress, anxiety, boredom and financial strain – are present concurrently during this crisis, and it is important to cope with them effectively to prevent relapse,” she added.
Restrictions imposed by COVID19 make it difficult to “manage your environment,” a primary relapse prevention technique, to get away from certain triggers. So, Dr. Cidambi offers people afflicted by substance use disorders alternate strategies to stay sober and healthy:
Not having anything to do will feed into the negativity of the situation. Remember the things you always wished you had the time to do – color code your clothes, get your financial documents in order, etc. – get these done. It will keep you distracted, and reduce stress in the future.
Working out is a good way to kill time, reduce stress and stay healthy. Various exercise, yoga, and meditation regimens are available online at no cost. Pick one that is suitable to your living situation and practice daily.
Line up your doctor appointments in advance as they are more restricted, and pharmacies are not fully stocked – you don’t want to run out of buprenorphine or naltrexone that help you remain abstinent.
Leverage Support System
Attend AA and NA meetings regularly through online platforms and talk to your sponsor by phone to process your triggers and feelings as they arise. This will reduce stress and provide you with tools and strategies to cope with people and situations around you.
Access your therapist or other health care providers through telehealth platforms, as health insurance providers have eased reimbursement restrictions during COVID19. Call your provider for details.
Recent research suggests that smokers who contract COVID19 are 2.4 times more likely than non-smokers to face severe outcomes – ICU admission, need for mechanical ventilation or death. It may be time to think seriously about quitting smoking. FDA approved, over-the-counter smoking cessation products are safe and effective and you may want to consider using them.
“Resisting cravings caused by triggers is important because, if you give in to them, it will only make the cravings stronger the next time around,” said Dr. Cidambi.
For more information on substance abuse, chemical dependency, addiction and treatment please go to www.RecoveryCNT.com.
About Dr. Indra Cidambi
Indra Cidambi, M.D., is recognized as America’s leading addiction treatment expert. She started New Jersey’s first licensed Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification program for all substances seven years ago at CNT. Dr. Cidambi is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and double Board Certified in Addiction Medicine (ABAM, ABPN). She is the President of the New Jersey Society of Addiction Medicine. She is fluent in five languages, including Russian.
About Center for Network Therapy
Center for Network Therapy (CNT) was the first facility in New Jersey to be licensed to provide Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification Services for all substances of abuse – alcohol, anesthetics, benzodiazepines and opiates. Led by a Board Certified Addiction Psychiatrist, experienced physicians and nurses closely monitor patient progress. With CNT’s superior client care and high quality treatment, Dr. Cidambi and her clinical team have successfully detoxed roughly over 2000 patients in seven years. CNT also offers Partial Care and IOP programs.
Holiday Binge Drinking: 5 Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse
When the holiday season reaches its peak, parties and the prevalent cheerful mood give us every reason to bring out the booze and raise a toast to the numerous celebratory occasions in our lives. But on the flip side, even those who tag themselves as social drinkers tend to cross the line and indulge in binge drinking, especially in these hard times of social distancing. As more and more people are forced to go into self-quarantine and remain at home for days on end due to the pandemic created by the deadly novel coronavirus, binge drinking has taken on a new form and meaning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking has emerged as the commonest pattern of alcohol abuse in the USA.
Dr. Indra Cidambi, an addiction expert and a leading exponent of Addiction Medicine, draws our attention to the 5 warning signs of alcohol abuse, particularly during the holiday season; more to the point, during this trying time when isolation is the order of the day and there’s little else to do.
The first symptom seen in people with alcohol addiction is the emotional crutch that alcohol becomes. People who suffer from stress while going about their daily routine sometimes find it too difficult to go on, particularly now, when being cooped up at home causes a sense of isolation from the rest of the world. This leads to some people reaching out for the bottle and indulge in binge drinking to find an escape route from this novel type of stress.
Dr. Cidambi states that nearly all individuals trying to cope with addiction end up abusing their preferred substance due to emotional issues. She adds that drinking alcohol as a way to alleviate feelings of negativity is a dangerous practice because it merely offers a short-lived respite from stress and can take the form of alcohol abuse in the long run.
Second, one of the early signs of alcohol abuse is not realizing one’s limits, i.e., not realizing you went overboard until it was too late. A lot of people keep drinking without realizing the number of drinks they’re having and, as a result, are taken by surprise by the inebriation that rapidly engulfs them.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, if the quantity of alcohol consumed results in the blood alcohol percentage reaching 0.08% or more, it is defined as binge drinking. In other words, consuming alcohol can be termed as binge drinking if men consume about 5 drinks or more and women have 4 drinks or more in a span of 2 hours.
The third warning sign that Dr. Cidambi points out is not being able to stop once you start. She explains that if an individual invariably finishes an entire bottle of wine after opening it or drinks a bottle of beer but still feels the need or urge to keep at it until they’ve reached a point of intoxication, the person is unable to check their drinking habit and might be suffering from addiction.
According to evidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 out of 6 adults in America indulges in binge drinking approximately 4 times in a month, drinking around 8 drinks per binge-drinking session.
Fourth, if a person starts letting responsibilities slide, it is a warning sign that the individual might need help. Dr. Cidambi draws our attention to the fact that if an individual starts neglecting important tasks or jobs, the person may have a drinking issue. She adds that if a person gives undue importance to drinking over their routine activities or tasks, it is a signal to take it easy.
For instance, if a person is was partying the previous night like there’s no tomorrow and ends up being late for work, or an individual opts for drinking instead of exercising, it is time to seek help.
Finally, if a person is not comfortable in social situations with no alcohol, they should consider seeking help. During the holiday season, some individuals feel uneasy and, in all probability, turn down invites if they are faced with a situation where they are invited to social gatherings and are aware of the fact that their drinking habits would be frowned upon by another person.
According to Dr. Cidambi, it is alright to enjoy a drink or two but if someone needs at least a couple of drinks to interact with other people at a social gathering, the person might have an issue.
Dr. Cidambi points out that a majority of people who indulge in binge drinking should not be tagged as alcoholics, and a drinking problem does not necessarily end in addiction all the time. But if you are aware that a person indulges in binge drinking or consumes excessive amounts of alcohol, it is prudent to get in touch with a physician and sign up for a substance abuse evaluation or enroll in alcohol and drug treatment programs in your area to seek assistance.
If you want to help a loved one suffering from an addiction and are looking for advice, guidance, counseling or information on treatment options (including heroin rehab and detoxification for other substances), or a friend or colleague is suffering from symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, please log on to www.recoveryCNT.com.
How to Identify the Telltale Signs of Addiction in your Kids?
Summer holidays have arrived and it’s time for students to head home from college and teenagers to look forward to spending time outside school. According to Dr. Indra Cidambi, an addiction expert and a leading name in Addiction Medicine, excessive free time on their hands and, invariably, no adult supervision, results in enhancing the susceptibility of these kids to cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs. That’s why this is the right time to keep a close watch on your children’s habits and look for any evidence of addiction. It has also recently been found that adolescents are more exposed to the dangers of substance abuse in the summertime.
Dr. Cidambi has been working with patients suffering from substance abuse disorders for more than 10 years and has observed that people who have addiction issues began experimenting when they were as young as 13 years old – with marijuana. Therefore, the sooner you talk to your children about substance abuse and look out for warning signs, the better. Although we are all aware that addiction brings about a change in an individual, it is often not easy to recognize the signs in your own kids as they take you by surprise and are often confused with the challenges of growing up.
There are 5 common changes that can be identified in people suffering from substance abuse. Dr. Cidambi speaks about these changes:
First, one can notice a change in friends. As your child starts getting addicted and substances take precedence and start consuming your kid’s life, it typically results in a change in who they hang out with. Your child starts spending more time with his or her “new friends” who support and approve your kid’s newly discovered lifestyle, while the old group of friends slowly start disappearing as they do not want to be a part of such behavior or activities. Dr. Cidambi believes that, in many cases, adolescents end up with a substance abuse problem as a solution to overcome stress or gain acceptance by their peer group, whom they find to be “cool.” She adds that it is necessary to speak to your children each day and try to be aware of what is happening in their lives, help them to understand their feelings, and nurture an atmosphere where they can turn to you first and seek assistance in finding a solution to the issues bothering them.
Second, one should be cautious about changes in behavior. According to Dr. Cidambi, substance abuse seen in young children can be reflected in changes in mood, difficulties in doing homework or slipping grades in school, social interaction changes, worsening mood swings, and increased risk-taking. Dr. Cidambi further explains that one can easily notice the changes in a person during social interactions. For example, if your kid is extrovert but, all of a sudden, prefers to keep to himself or herself or looks away when speaking to anyone, you should be concerned. If your child is irritated, stays depressed or morose, that should also ring alarms bells as it could be a telltale sign. Automobile accidents, driving irresponsibly or recklessly, and unexplained scratches or dents on the vehicle could be early warning signs.
Third, changes in appearance should be looked at carefully. Dr. Cidambi states that if your child’s appearance catches you off-guard, chances are that something is wrong. She adds that if your kid becomes sloppy about the way they dress, sports an untidy or disheveled look or suffers from a continuing case of a runny nose, it could be time for you to sit down and talk to your child. Although it is not easy to accept the harsh fact that your kid is gradually starting to look like an addict, it is vital to identify and recognize changes in the way they look; particularly, glassy or red eyes, inexplicable marks on the legs or arms or a preference for arm-covering clothing in summer, and incessant scratching of the arms and face.
Fourth, a change in their favorite hobbies deserves attention. Dr. Cidambi points out that if your child does not enjoy their hobbies or the things that they loved doing previously, like playing soccer, dancing, ice-skating, or training in gymnastics or martial arts, it could be that they have become obsessed with acquiring and abusing alcohol or drugs and it is dominating all facets of their being. The hobbies that they once found stimulating seem to lose their importance. The activities or hobbies that had positive and constructive elements and resulted in emotional and intellectual motivation fail to attract them as they turn to alcohol and drugs to deal with the emptiness this creates.
Lastly, a change in eating habits is one of the most easily noticeable signs of substance abuse. Dr. Cidambi emphasizes that usually, parents tend to quickly notice this sign of substance abuse. Based on what they’ve become dependent on, your kid can develop several new food habits, the sudden urge to keep eating (aka the “munchies”) or a loss of appetite. These sudden shifts in dietary habits can result in a harmful effect on your kid’s health and wellbeing and nutritional requirement and need to be dealt with.
Is Your Physician Unknowingly Boosting Your Addiction?
Opioid and benzodiazepine abuse are a significant issue in the U.S. Some patients may be unaware of the fact that they are now addicted to either benzodiazepine or an opioid until they give it up and start feeling the effects of benzodiazepine withdrawal or opioid withdrawal; at this point, the need to detoxify becomes increasingly important.
Often, patients rush to seek the advice of their doctors or turn to urgent care centers and other facilities offering medical intervention. Although the health care patients receive there is medically sound, a considerable number of doctors are not too proficient at understanding controlled substances and are absolutely clueless about the fact that these medications are habit-forming.
Doctors and nurses treat a large number of patients on a daily basis and are invariably swamped with too much work. If a person comes with a complaint of acute pain, prescribing opioids is often the easier option.
Dr. Cidambi believes that many doctors lack the expertise to delve deep into and understand the cause or source of a patient’s anxiety or pain because a majority of these physicians and nurses are family practitioners who don’t always have the knowledge or expertise that a psychiatrist or pain specialist does. More than 50% of these medicines are prescribed by nurses or doctors who are primary care providers.
This begs the question: why do some doctors unknowingly prescribe medications for alcohol withdrawal or suboxone withdrawal and facilitate a patient’s addiction to controlled substances?
When to Prescribe Opioid or Benzodiazepine
Pain: If a person is suffering from pain, one can prescribe opioid medicines only if the pain is acute. If the pain is due to an ankle that’s been sprained or because of muscular cramps during the menstruation cycle, one should steer clear of opioid medication. Patients should always ask their primary care providers regarding the risks associated with opioid medications; one should aim at striking a balance between the risks involved and benefits they can expect.
If a patient takes opioid medications for pain for a duration of more than 90 days, they should undergo a substance abuse evaluation to find out whether they are developing an addiction.
The best approach is to wean a patient away from these medications as fast as possible and prescribe pain medications that are non-addictive. One can also consider alternative methods of alleviating pain, like yoga, massage, meditation, or acupuncture.
Anxiety: Often, patients suffering from anxiety are prescribed benzodiazepines but it should not be given for extended periods as part of any therapy plan.
Several patients who take benzodiazepines for diagnosed mental health disorders develop a reliance on these medicines. Once a patient successfully completes the acute phase of the treatment plan, they can be introduced to alternative treatment options that are just as effective in the long term.
ADHD: Highly addictive medicines are commonly prescribed by doctors for patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. These medicines are also known as stimulants. Two common medications that are prescribed for patients suffering from ADHD are Ritalin and Adderall. Patients often misuse such medication.
If the medicines are used for a long duration and affect a loved one’s quality of life, it might be time to transition to other forms of therapy.
Patients who use such medicines are often not addicted to them in the beginning. Although there is an improvement in the symptoms of anxiety or acute pain, such patients may find it difficult to perform their daily activities normally or get through the day without them.
What Can Aid the Withdrawal?
If a patient decides to quit these medicines cold turkey, they might find it extremely difficult if they’ve developed a chemical dependence on it. Also, it might be counterintuitive to suddenly stop taking these medicines because it exposes them to the risk of having a stroke or a seizure.
Maybe the first time you experimented with drugs was because of peer pressure or the need to blend with the crowd and look “cool.” Little did you realize that your life would be turned on its head. Before too long, you become addicted and takes its toll on your career, relationships, health and finances.
You realize that you are in dire need of help but are hesitant to seek help because you know from your friends’ experiences that you will likely be sent away from your living environment for treatment – sometimes to another state. Find out how outpatient drug treatment could make accessing treatment less daunting by scheduling a substance abuse evaluation, if you are looking at options for drug rehabilitation or alcohol rehabilitation in New Jersey.
Outpatient drug treatment allows you to access high-quality treatment while living at home. As treatment integrates your home living environment, the learning that happens in therapy and drug counseling sessions can be applied to the activities that make up your daily routine and tested. The duration of treatment depends on your individual needs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA recommends up to 30 hours a week of programming. In case you experience a crisis at home, outpatient detox treatment providers are reachable 24X7.
Individual drug counseling is an integral part of rehabilitation. SAMHSA lists various types of therapy to achieve long-term sobriety and may include the following: cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, contingency management, motivational enhancement therapy, group counseling, medication, case management services, lectures and educational programs and, most importantly, family support. Some specialized forms of treatment:
Partial Hospitalization Programs: This is suitable for individuals with severe medical conditions or psychological issues. Usually, people enrolled in these programs meet for 3-5 days each week for periods of four hours or more in a hospital or clinic but can go home at night.
Intensive Outpatient Programs: Patients receive intensive treatment for a minimum of nine hours a week and typically meet 3-5 days a week. The frequency of the sessions decreases as one progresses and achieves milestones in the rehab program. Such programs are suitable for individuals with severe issues, co-occurring or dual disorders, or those who have multiple relapses but do not require round-the-clock supervision.
Outpatient Drug Rehab in NJ
Outpatient drug rehab is gaining popularity due to a number of factors. The advent of new medications over the past few years that address withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol more effectively has played a major role. The second most important factor, in our view, is that science has proven that addiction is a chronic disease as it causes changes in the brain. Other chronic diseases such as diabetes HIV or hypertension hardly ever call for inpatient treatment, let alone being carted off to far off locales.
Inpatient treatment is based on the belief that addiction is a behavioral problem and the individual involved needs to be isolated from his/her living environment in order to learn modified behaviors. Outpatient detoxification, on the other hand, reduces the stigma associated with addiction as it normalizes the disease. Ambulatory detoxification also increases access to treatment as individuals afflicted by the disease of addiction often find it difficult to “drop” their lives and go away for treatment. This is especially true for especially homemakers with school going children or individuals with high pressure jobs such as lawyers.
“Reach NJ” is an initiative launched by Gov. Christie (now getting an overhaul by the Murphy administration with a $5 million budget) to help find facilities that provide treatment for addiction. It is generally preferable to find facilities that are in-network with your health insurance provider as costs to you are likely to be the lowest possible. One such facility is Center for Network Therapy (RecoveryCNT.com) that is in-network with all major private health insurance providers in the NorthEast.
Find a center close to you and avail of addiction treatment tailored to your needs and personal circumstances. Call us now and we can help!
As the coronavirus pandemic threatens our way of life, everything is changing and everyone is adapting. Remember, individuals suffering from substance use disorders are at higher risk of contracting CoronaVirus due to comorbid conditions and urban/suburban demographics. If you or a loved one suffer from addiction, it is critical that treatment is accessed immediately!
Opioids, meth, alcohol, smoking/vaping, etc. can suppress respiratory function, restrict blood vessels and aggravate respiratory distress caused by COVID-19.
Risk of overdose is greater, as life-saving measures such as CPR or the administration of naloxone may not be as effective.
Individuals who need urgent withdrawal management or detoxification services may be unable or unwilling to go inpatient due to a higher perceived risk of infection. Luckily, there is a more effective outpatient option for detoxification from alcohol, anesthetics, benzos and opiates.
The Center for Network Therapy is the first licensed ambulatory or outpatient detoxification program (all substances). Outpatient detox works better due to the integration of the patient’s living environment into treatment, customization of medication protocols and longer length of stay. CNT has 3 locations – West Orange, Middlesex and Freehold. We adhere to CDC hygiene standards during the ongoing pandemic. CNT is in-network with all major health insurance plans – Aetna, AmeriHealth, Cigna, Horizon BCBS (EPO, HMO, PPO), BCBS family, United Healthcare/Optum/Oxford, MagnaCare, Qualcare, Oscar, etc.
All of CNT’s locations are open and accepting patients immediately. Please call now for admission today: 732 484 9661.