Category:

Addiction treatment

national recovery month

Addiction can be a debilitating disease that affects not only the individual but also their family members and friends. At South Miami Recovery, we work with people who are addicted every day, helping them to move forward toward a successful recovery. During National Recovery Month at South Miami Recovery, we want everyone to understand how to take steps to recover from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, to live a healthier life.

September is National Recovery Month

The month of September is designated as National Recovery Month, a time to recognize the gains made by those in recovery and to promote evidence-based treatment and recovery practices. Recovery Month is now in its 32nd year and continues to remind everyone that they are not alone in their journey toward a healthier life. In 2021, the theme of National Recovery Month is “Recovery is For Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.”

Overcoming the stigma of getting help for an addiction is a critical focus of the month’s activities. Educating everyone about substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues is important in ensuring that each person understands that recovery is possible for them. Everyone struggles but there is help and hope available at recovery treatment centers such as South Miami Recovery.

Presidential Proclamation: National Recovery Month

The White House issued a Proclamation on National Recovery Month, 2021, that stated, in part:

“During National Recovery Month, we celebrate the millions of Americans who have achieved recovery and reaffirm our commitment to helping more Americans overcome substance use disorder and reach recovery. We also support those who are still struggling to achieve recovery and dedicate ourselves to overcoming these challenges together.

“This year’s theme, ‘Recovery is For Everyone:  Every Person, Every Family, Every Community,’ emphasizes that recovery is possible for all Americans.

“Everyone can support and encourage those working toward recovery.”

Addiction is Treatable

Addiction is a treatable disorder. Research-based methods help people stop using drugs and alcohol and address the underlying causes of their addictive behaviors so they can begin to once again lead productive, fulfilling lives. This process of overcoming the addiction is known as recovery.

Addiction is a chronic disease, just like asthma or heart disease. It may not be curable, but the symptoms can be managed successfully in recovery. Learning how to live in recovery can help an individual counteract the disruptive effects that addiction has had on their brains and behavior so they can regain control of their lives.

The Recovery Process

Effective addiction treatment addresses the whole person to improve their mental and physical health. Treatment typically includes changing deeply rooted behaviors, which can be challenging. Sometimes the person can relapse but that doesn’t mean they have failed, or that their treatment has failed. They may need their treatment program readjusted or they may need to re-enter a program.

Stopping the use of drugs or alcohol is just part of the long and complex recovery process. Addiction can cause serious consequences in a person’s life, often disrupting their daily functioning at work and at home. It can also cause significant health issues that will also need to be addressed.

The Need to Overcome the Stigma and Get Help

When an individual perceives obstacles to getting help, including the stigma associated with addiction treatment, it can result in devastating consequences. At South Miami Recovery, we believe that everyone should be able to access affordable addiction treatment. In the spirit of National Recovery Month, we believe that recovery is for everyone.

Particularly in light of the devastating overdose statistics, it is critically important for the individual who is addicted to get the help they need as soon as possible. The CDC states that almost 841,000 people have died from a drug overdose since 1999. In 2019 alone, there were over 70,000 drug overdose deaths in the US.

Opioids are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. Almost 73% of opioid-involved overdoses involve synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. In 2019, opioids were involved in almost 50,000 overdose deaths. Overdoses involving psychostimulants, including methamphetamine, are increasing with and without synthetic opioid involvement.

South Miami Recovery is Here to Help

At South Miami Recovery, we understand the struggles of addiction and the importance of recovery. If you recognize the signs and symptoms in yourself or your loved one, please contact us for help. Our professional staff includes certified substance abuse therapists and licensed mental health professionals. We offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services as well as safe outpatient services during COVID-19 so you can get the help you need. To learn more, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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how to sleep better

A good night’s sleep can make a huge difference in how you are able to get through the next day. Sleep helps your mind and your body re-energize, preparing you for work, family, and other activities. A lack of sleep can impact many areas of your mental and physical health. Here are some proven tips on how to sleep better so you can feel better day and night.

Small Changes

When you’re preparing to make changes so you can get a better night’s sleep, do so slowly. Making small changes will help you work your way toward healthier habits that will become part of your daily, and nightly, routine. Those changes will involve your environment, your schedule, your routine, and pro-sleep habits.

Light Exposure

Do you go to sleep looking at your cell phone or watching tv? Light exposure can throw off your sleep quality. Light, including light coming from the street as well as the blue light that emanates from electronic devices, can disrupt your circadian rhythm. This is the function within your body that determines how you manage your 24-hour cycle each day. It should tell your body when you are ready for sleep but when it is disrupted, so is your sleep pattern.

Noise and Temperature

Two major factors that can disrupt your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep are noise levels and temperature. When you’re looking for tips on how to sleep better, consider the noise level in your bedroom. You can control the television. You probably can’t control noise coming from outside. Consider drowning that noise out with a fan or a white noise app.

Being too hot or too cold distracts you from being able to fall asleep. You can determine what works best for you, of course, but most experts suggest a temperature of about 65 degrees for the best sleep.

Your Schedule

As tempting as it may be to want to sleep in when you don’t have to get up early, you will actually sleep better if you go to bed and get up at the same times every day. This is an area for small changes, to make your efforts more successful. Adjust your schedule gradually, with a goal of getting an appropriate amount of sleep each night, typically between seven and nine hours for an adult.

During the day, work some exercise into your schedule. Fresh air and physical activity can do wonders for your sleep quality at night. Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine and have an early dinner, to avoid food-based sleep disruptions.

A Pre-Bed Routine

You need time to wind down before you go to bed. About 30 minutes before your bedtime, turn off extra lights, put away the electronic devices, and engage in some relaxing activities. Do some easy stretches, listen to soothing music, or read a good book. Disconnect so you can get into the appropriate frame of mind for better sleep.

Quality Sleep in Recovery

These proven tips on how to sleep better are particularly important when you are in recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. The relationship between substance use and sleep problems is complicated and cyclical. While substance use can cause sleep problems, insufficient sleep and a lack of quality sleep can also be a factor in drug use and abuse.

An addiction to drugs or alcohol can disrupt the regulatory systems in your brain that affect the time it takes you to fall asleep, how long you stay asleep, and the quality of that sleep. When you stop using the substances and go through withdrawal, you may also experience insomnia. That may cause you to relapse from your recovery as you are tempted to use drugs again when you cannot get enough sleep.

You may also find that if you are not getting quality sleep, it can make it harder for you to learn the new coping and self-regulation skills you need for a successful recovery. Sleep deprivation can also make you more impulsive and vulnerable to the temptations to use drugs or alcohol again. Following these proven tips on how to sleep better, making small changes each day, can significantly benefit your physical and mental health in recovery.

You Can Find Help and Support at South Miami Recovery

When you need support for your addiction or mental health issues, the professional team at South Miami Recovery offers evidence-based therapies to guide you toward a successful recovery. We know that your well-being is of the utmost importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. South Miami Recovery offers HIPAA-compliant telehealth services so you can get the treatment you need now. Contact us today for help. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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motivational interviewing

Sometimes just having someone to listen to you can make a huge difference in how you feel about your situation. Talking to a trusted friend can relieve some of your worry and help you gain better insight into what steps you need to take for your life. That is basically the principle behind an approach known as motivational interviewing. If you are struggling with an addiction, you may wonder if motivational interviewing can help you.

What is Motivational Interviewing?

Developed in the 1980s as part of an approach toward treating alcohol addiction, motivational interviewing involves a series of open-ended questions. These are designed to help you understand more about your own situation and to draw out your own reasons for wanting to make a change in your life. In other words, a counselor is not telling you what you should do, but rather asking what you think you should do and what might happen if you don’t make a change.

Who Benefits from Motivational Interviewing?

Today, the technique of motivational interviewing has been shown to be effective in addressing an addiction to drugs as well as alcohol. In addition, many people benefit from the approach when they have physical health conditions such as heart disease and asthma.

It is most effective for individuals who are unmotivated or unprepared for change. If you have been resisting addiction treatment, motivational interviewing may help you move through the stages necessary so you can find your own motivation.

Collaboration, Not Confrontation

You may be hesitant to consider an addiction treatment program because you believe it will be confrontational. However, in motivational interviewing you will find that collaboration rather than confrontation is the key to finding your own reasons for change. When you are taking steps based on your motivation and not on what someone else is telling you to do, you tend to be better able to follow through with the action needed to move forward with your life.

Motivational Interviewing Principles

Establishing trust between the individual and the counselor is a critical piece of the process for getting help with addiction and mental health issues. The principles involved in motivational interviewing are focused on developing that sense of trust and openness.

Empathy: If you are concerned about being judged by a counselor or therapist, you can be assured that motivational interviewing is not about making you feel guilty about your behavior. The person conducting the interview will focus, instead, on understanding more about your situation from your point of view, as they employ empathy throughout the discussion.

Identifying discrepancy: The intent of many of the questions asked in the interview is to help you see the mismatch between where you are now and where you want to be. A clearer understanding of these situations can contribute significantly to your motivation to change.

Rolling with resistance: There are no right or wrong answers when you participate in motivational interviewing. In fact, your counselor understands that it’s natural to change your mind many times about whether you want to make changes in your life and about how you view the process or even what your new life might look like.

Your counselor can help you reframe your situation by offering different interpretations. Based on your own goals and values, changing your viewpoint from self-blame to self-motivation can increase your desire to make a change.

Developing self-efficacy. Basically, this means that the motivational interviewing technique helps you develop your belief in yourself and your confidence in your ability to follow through with a positive behavior to accomplish your goal. In the case of addiction, your target is to make the changes you want to be able to live a healthier life.

The individual asking the questions will guide you through the behavior change, recognizing the positive changes you want to make, and offering you encouragement along the way. You will soon start to recognize your abilities and strengths to change your behavior for the better.

Get Help for Your Addiction at South Miami Recovery

Overcoming an addiction is not easy. At South Miami Recovery, we are here to help you get started on your recovery. You deserve to enjoy true freedom from active substance dependency, so you can live a healthier life.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, we want you to stay safe and healthy, so we offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services to help you get the treatment you need now. To learn more and to sign up for telehealth substance abuse services, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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compulsion vs addiction

When dealing with a mental health or substance use issue, understanding more about what causes it and how to manage it can help you take steps toward living a healthier life. This holds true for people who experience obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as well, particularly knowing the connection between OCD and addiction. It’s also helpful to know the differences between compulsion vs addiction.

Addiction

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as a “treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.” Someone with an addiction to a substance or a behavior will not be able to stop using drugs or alcohol or to stop engaging in the behavior, even though it can cause them harm, mentally and physically.

Compulsion

Playing a role in the addiction process, compulsion is much narrower. It describes the intense urge to do something that can lead to a certain behavior. As an individual’s addiction develops, they will develop a feeling of compulsion to take the addictive substance or carry out the addictive behavior.

Compulsion is one of the primary symptoms of OCD. When someone has OCD, they may have a compulsion to engage in a certain behavior. This compulsion is related to obsession, a repeated thought that generates distress for them. An individual with OCD may have a compulsion to wash their hands or constantly check door locks as a way to try to alleviate their anxiety.

Compulsion vs Addiction

A major distinction between a compulsion and an addiction is connected to the individual’s awareness and acceptance of reality. A person with OCD may be aware that they are not being realistic with their obsessions. They may know that their compulsions are illogical or excessive. It’s possible a person with OCD will feel disturbed by their own thoughts and by their need to carry out their compulsive behavior, but they need to do it anyway as a way to relieve their distress.

Someone with an addiction is often detached from the logic of their actions. They may not recognize that their addiction has negative consequences, as they are in denial that they have a problem or that the problem is causing issues in their life. Denial is a core component of addiction.

Compulsive Behaviors

A person who exhibits compulsive behaviors is driven by repetitive urges and may have limited voluntary control over those urges. They may have a diminished ability to delay or inhibit their compulsive behavior, displaying a tendency to perform repetitive acts habitually or even in a stereotypical manner.

Being compulsive is a central characteristic of OCD and is crucial to addiction. OCD is proposed to be included in the concept of behavioral addiction along with certain other disorders that share compulsivity but are not related to drugs, including pathological gambling and compulsive eating.

OCD and Addiction

Almost 30% of individuals diagnosed with OCD also have had a substance use disorder at some point in their lives, a number that is nearly double that of the general population. The rate of addiction is high among people with OCD but is lower than that associated with other forms of mental illness, such as schizophrenia. Most people report that their OCD symptoms appeared long before they developed a substance use disorder.

A number of people diagnosed with OCD start to use drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication to reduce the severity of their compulsive behaviors or to decrease the distress they experience while living with OCD. They may experience problems in relationships or difficulties at work as a result of their compulsions and obsessions.

Substance use is a particularly poor coping strategy, however, as it can lead to additional mental and physical health issues. An individual’s OCD symptoms will continue to get worse as the substance enables them to avoid dealing with the actual source of their distress. People with OCD who develop an addiction are at greater risk for hospitalization and suicide.

South Miami Recovery is Here to Help

At South Miami Recovery, we understand the struggles of OCD and addiction. If you recognize the signs and symptoms in yourself or your loved one, please contact us for help. Our professional staff includes licensed mental health professionals and certified substance abuse therapists. We offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services as well as safe outpatient services during COVID-19 so you can get the help you need. To learn more, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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relapse prevention

In addiction treatment, you will learn ways to stay sober and to keep from relapsing. You may have questions about this term and what it means for you. What is relapse prevention? It involves some proactive measures on your part to focus on your recovery.

Recovery Takes Time

The first thing to understand is that recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol does not happen overnight. While you need to seek out help in a professionally run addiction treatment program, that is also not an immediate, magical cure. You will need to constantly focus on staying clean and sober. It is a lifelong journey, rather than a short-term solution.

What It Means to Relapse

A relapse, in medical terms, is a worsening of a condition that had previously been improving. Addiction is a chronic disease that needs to be treated and managed throughout your life. If you relapse, you will start using drugs or alcohol again and worsen the disease of addiction.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines relapse as the recurrence of behavioral or other substantive indicators of active disease after a period of remission. In other words, you have participated in an addiction treatment program and have been drug-free or alcohol-free for several months, but then start using one of those substances again. The behavior you learned to control during treatment has become uncontrolled once again and you are considered to have relapsed.

What relapse does not mean is that you’ve failed in your recovery. It is another obstacle to overcome as you work toward a successful recovery. If you accept that you’ve relapsed but then work on your treatment program again, you are more likely to eventually overcome your addiction.

Stages of Relapse

Relapse prevention is important for your long-term recovery from addiction. One of the keys is to recognize the potential stages and then to develop a plan to deal with them. Relapse typically occurs in three stages and can start before you actually take a drink or use a drug again.

Emotional relapse: You begin to isolate yourself and keep your emotions bottled up. You may begin to feel angry or anxious and are not sleeping or eating well.

Mental relapse: You are now at war with yourself. Part of you is tempted to use substances again and part of you does not want to do so. You’re remembering the people and places you used to associate with as well as what you considered to be good times when you were using. You don’t think about the bad times that occurred as a result of your substance use as you start planning to use again.

Physical relapse: You start using again, one pill or one drink at a time. You relapse into regular substance use once again.

Steps for Relapse Prevention

Recovery from addiction is a process. During that process, you will encounter developmental milestones and new risks for relapse. You and your addiction treatment professional can take steps to help you prevent relapse throughout the process and into a successful recovery.

In long-term addiction treatment, you will learn healthier coping mechanisms, including how to avoid those high-risk situations. Remaining in treatment can help you avoid the triggers of boredom, stress, and anger. Steps to prevent relapse will include developing self-care techniques, practicing mindfulness meditation, and participating in cognitive therapy sessions designed to help you understand the underlying causes of your addiction.

One of the main goals of addiction treatment is to help you recognize the early warning signs of relapse so you can develop the skills necessary to prevent it early in the process, when your chances of success are at their highest. This approach has been demonstrated to significantly reduce the risk of relapse.

Get Help at South Miami Recovery

Overcoming an addiction is not easy. At South Miami Recovery, we are here to help you get started on your recovery and learn successful techniques for relapse prevention. You deserve to enjoy true freedom from active substance dependency, so you can live a healthier life. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we want everyone to stay safe and healthy, so we offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services to help them get the treatment they need now. To learn more about substance abuse services, including relapse prevention, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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oxymorphone opana

A pain medication that was challenged by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 continues to be prescribed in various forms. Unfortunately, oxymorphone also continues to be misused and abused. Part of the class of drugs known as opioids, which have contributed to serious problems throughout Florida, oxymorphone is the generic name for Opana. What is oxymorphone? Is Opana addictive? What precautions are needed when this drug is prescribed?

What Are Opioids?

An opioid is a type of medication that can help with pain management. The drug binds to and activates receptors on certain cells on the brain and spinal cord, as well as other organs, which are involved in the feelings of pleasure and pain. The opioid attaches to the receptor, blocking pain signals sent from the brain. It then releases large amounts of dopamine, which can, in turn, reinforce the act of taking the medication, which can then cause the user to want to repeat the dosage.

What is Oxymorphone?

When pain cannot be controlled by other medications, a physician may prescribe an opioid known as oxymorphone. This drug is in a class of medications known as opiate or narcotic analgesics. The medication works by changing the way the body responds to the pain. While oxymorphone, marketed as Opana, can help an individual manage debilitating pain, it also can have potentially negative consequences even when taken as prescribed.

Patients who are prescribed this medication are advised that drinking alcohol or taking a medication that contains alcohol can increase the risk of experiencing a serious, life-threatening side effect. Likewise, taking illegal drugs while using oxymorphone can also have devastating results. Even when taken as directed, oxymorphone can cause serious breathing problems, particularly during the first 72 hours of treatment.

Is Opana Addictive?

Like any opioid, Opana can be highly addictive. Again, even when the medication is taken as prescribed, prolonged use can make it habit-forming. Patients who have a family history of substance abuse or who are experiencing a mental illness may have an increased risk of Opana abuse and addiction.

The risk of overdose is also a serious concern for individuals taking Opana. The medication has the potential for abuse and for a fatal overdose involving respiratory failure. Risks for the patient, including possible overdose and death, are increased with the misuse of the oxymorphone tablets. Crushing, snorting, chewing, or injecting the dissolved medication poses a serious risk for the user.

Opana ER Removed

At the request of the FDA in June 2017, the manufacturer of Opana ER (extended release), Endo Pharmaceuticals, removed the product from the market as the risks of taking it outweighed its benefits. The medication was removed voluntarily in July 2017.

The FDA Commissioner at the time, Scott Gottlieb, MD, said, “We are facing an opioid epidemic – a public health crisis, and we must take all necessary steps to reduce the scope of opioid misuse and abuse. We will continue to take regulatory steps when we see situations where an opioid product’s risks outweigh its benefits, not only for its intended patient population but also in regard to its potential for misuse and abuse.”

Even though Opana ER was removed from the market by Endo Pharmaceuticals, oxymorphone is still available by prescription. Opana ER is also manufactured by Impax, now owned by Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Inc. A suit has been filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleging that a 2017 agreement between Endo and Impax, made after Endo removed their product from the market, violated the antitrust laws by eliminating competition in the market for oxymorphone ER.

Opioids in Florida

Opioids such as oxymorphone can be beneficial to those suffering from physical pain, but they also have the serious potential for abuse and addiction. The opioid crisis that was already a significant issue throughout the state of Florida has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Project Opioid projected that drug overdoses have killed 55 Floridians a day in 2020. That number is up from 35 a day last year and 33 a day two years ago. Many of those overdose deaths involve opioids.

The project’s study found a 43% spike in drug overdose deaths statewide during the first eight months of the year in 2020, as compared with the same time period in 2019. Floridians between the ages of 25 and 44 accounted for over half of the overdose deaths, even though they only represent a fourth of the overall population in the state.

Florida Department of Health (FDH) reports show that, in 2019, there were:

  • 4,294 opioid overdose deaths
  • 5,577 drug overdose deaths
  • 14,884 suspected non-fatal opioid-involved overdose
  • 38,927 suspected non-fatal all drug overdose
  • 16,802 opioid-involved non-fatal overdose emergency department visits
  • 7,711 opioid-involved non-fatal overdose hospitalizations.

Get Help for Your Addiction at South Miami Recovery

Overcoming an addiction to opioids is not easy. At South Miami Recovery, we are here to help you get started on your recovery. You deserve to enjoy true freedom from active substance dependency, so you can live a healthier life. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we want you to stay safe and healthy, so we offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services to help you get the treatment you need now. To learn more and to sign up for telehealth substance abuse services, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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meth addiction

Are you concerned about a loved one’s behavior? Are you worried that they may be using drugs, to the point where they may be addicted? Knowing the signs of meth use can help you better help someone experiencing the devastating effects of meth addiction. Start with an understanding of what meth is so you can recognize the signs.

What is Meth?

Meth is the shortened name for methamphetamine, an extremely addictive stimulant. Meth typically comes in the form of a powder that can be made into a pill. The powder can be consumed by eating it or by snorting it up the nose. Some users will mix the powder with liquid and inject it with a needle. Meth can also be used in the form of a shiny rock, referred to as a crystal, which is smoked in a small glass pipe.

Developed in the early 20th century out of its parent drug, amphetamine, meth was originally used in bronchial inhalers and nasal decongestants. Meth is much different than amphetamine. Even at comparable doses, greater amounts of meth can get into the brain and make it a more potent stimulant. It is also longer lasting and causes more harmful effects on the central nervous system. As such, meth is much more likely to be misused and result in addiction.

Methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II stimulant, which means that it is legally available only through a nonrefillable prescription. The drug may be prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or as part of certain weight loss treatments. The drug is rarely prescribed, though, and the prescribed doses are much lower than the doses usually consumed when it is misused.

What are Signs of Meth Use?

When you are concerned that a friend or loved one may be using meth, watch for the signs. Of course, many of these could be attributed to other causes but taken together, they may be an indication of meth use.

The drug can speed up breathing and raise blood pressure in the person using it. An individual misusing the drug can become hyperactive or full of too much energy. They may talk a lot more and move around more than normal, not stopping to sleep or eat. You might also notice them scratching their skin to the point of causing sores. If they use a meth pipe, they can have burns on their lips or fingers.

Rapid mood shifts can also be a sign of meth use. They may feel excited and then suddenly become violent and angry. They may become paranoid, afraid that someone is out to get them. They may even threaten suicide.

Other visible, physical signs of meth use can include:

  • Facial twitching
  • Pupil dilation
  • Increased sweating
  • Jerky or twitchy body movements
  • Tooth decay
  • Constant, rapid speech
  • Increased body temperature
  • Headaches

Signs of Meth Addiction

Meth is highly addictive. When someone is addicted, they have a chronic, relapsing disease that is characterized by compulsive drug use and almost constant drug seeking. Addiction can cause molecular and functional changes in their brain. Meth addiction arises out of a tolerance to the drug’s pleasurable effects when it is taken repeatedly. The addicted individual will usually need to take higher doses, take it more frequently, or change the way they take it to get the same effect.

Long-term use of meth can result in confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, anxiety, and violent behavior. A person with a meth addiction may also display psychotic features, such as auditory and visual hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. These symptoms can last a long time even after the individual has quit using the drug. The stress caused by these continuing symptoms can contribute to a spontaneous recurrence of psychosis caused by meth use.

Get Help for Meth Addiction at South Miami Recovery

Overcoming an addiction to meth is not easy. At South Miami Recovery, we are here to help your friend or loved one get started on their recovery. They deserve to enjoy true freedom from active substance dependency, so they can live a healthier life.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, we want everyone to stay safe and healthy, so we offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services to help them get the treatment they need now. To learn more and to sign up for telehealth substance abuse services, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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facts about meth addiction and recovery

Methamphetamine is a dangerously addictive drug. When you know more of the facts about meth, you can take steps to get help and stop meth addiction before it causes serious consequences for yourself or for a loved one.

A Highly Addictive Stimulant

Methamphetamine, commonly referred to as meth, is a highly addictive and powerful stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Although chemically similar to amphetamine, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, meth is much more dangerous.

The high from the drug is quick to start and to fade, so individuals will often take repeated doses in an effort to achieve the effect. This is referred to as a “binge and crash” pattern. People may also take meth in a form of binging that is referred to as a “run,” as they continue to take the drug every few hours for several days, usually giving up food and sleep to do so.

Forms of Meth

One of the important facts about meth is that it takes many forms. Crystal meth is one form that looks like shiny, bluish-white rocks or glass fragments. Common names for meth include crystal, blue, ice, and speed. Meth can be taken by swallowing a pill or by smoking, snorting, or injecting the powder in water or alcohol.

Effects on the Brain

Meth works by increasing the amount of dopamine, a natural chemical in the brain. Dopamine is involved in the body’s movement, an individual’s sense of motivation, and the reinforcement of rewarding behaviors. Meth can release high levels of dopamine rapidly in the reward areas of the brain that strongly reinforce the drug-taking behavior, leading quickly to meth addiction.

Over the short term and even in small amounts, meth can cause:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased wakefulness and physical activity
  • Rapid and/or irregular heartbeat
  • Faster breathing
  • Increased blood pressure and body temperature.

Longer term, meth addiction can have devastating consequences. If an individual injects the meth, they will be at an increased risk of contracting hepatitis B and C as well as HIV from the needle and from unprotected sex as they tend to engage in riskier behaviors under its influence. The unfortunate facts about meth are that it also causes significantly negative effects on an individual who uses it long-term, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Severe dental problems
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Changes in brain structure and function, including confusion and memory loss
  • Intense itching, leading to skin sores from scratching
  • Sleeping problems
  • Violent behavior
  • Hallucinations, those sensations and images that seem real though they aren’t
  • Paranoia, an extreme and unreasonable distrust of others.

How Meth Addiction Works

An individual will become addicted to meth because they will develop a tolerance to its pleasurable effects, which causes them to need to take it repeatedly. They will need to take higher doses of the drug each time as well. They may even have to change their method of using meth in an attempt to get the same effect. At a certain point, the individual may even have difficulty feeling any kind of pleasure other than that provided by the drug.

Meth Overdose

When an individual uses too much meth and has a toxic reaction, it can result in serious and harmful symptoms, including death. An overdose usually leads to a stroke, heart attack, or organ problems.

About 15% of all drug overdose deaths involve meth. Half of those also involve an opioid, with half of those related to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. One of the very important facts about meth is that these cheap and dangerous synthetic opioids are sometimes added to the meth when sold on the street, without the user’s knowledge.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

The hopeful news is that meth addiction can be treated. The treatment process will start with detox, which has to be professionally supervised to be safe. Symptoms of withdrawal, which can range from mild to severe, can include anxiety, depression, fatigue, and an intense craving for the meth.

As part of treatment and recovery from meth addiction, the individual will work to discover why they started using the drug and why they continue to use it, addressing their underlying emotions as they overcome their addiction. They will also learn new and healthier methods of coping as well as new, more positive behaviors that will help them get their life back.

Get Help for Your Addiction at South Miami Recovery

Overcoming an addiction to meth is not easy. At South Miami Recovery, we are here to help you get started on your recovery. You deserve to enjoy true freedom from active substance dependency, so you can live a healthier life.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, we want you to stay safe and healthy, so we offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services to help you get the treatment you need now. To learn more and to sign up for telehealth substance abuse services, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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how to tell if someone has a drinking problem

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. One very important thing that everyone needs to be aware of this month and throughout the year is whether they or someone they know may have a drinking problem. There are many ways you can tell if someone has a drinking problem, including yourself. Watch for the signs and take an interactive quiz. It may help save your life or the life of someone you care about.

Signs of an Alcohol Problem

To tell if someone has a drinking problem, pay attention to the tell-tale signs. While these don’t necessarily indicate an addiction, they can be a warning that the individual needs to seek help for their alcohol use.

  • Every time something embarrassing or dangerous happens, they vow to quit drinking and yet they have not quit.
  • Their social life revolves around alcohol, particularly whether there will be alcohol present at meals or events.
  • They are chronically late or a no-show and this is a departure from their previous behavior.
  • The individual tends to end up in risky situations, especially when drinking.
  • Their personality is significantly different when drinking than when sober.
  • They need to drink more to feel the effects, meaning they have built up a tolerance for alcohol.
  • The individual experiences black outs or episodes of memory loss while drinking.

Medical Professionals’ Concerns

When you or someone you know works with a doctor to determine if there is a drinking problem, the medical professional will probably ask some questions about what has taken place over the past year, including whether the individual:

  • Has spent a lot of time being sick from the aftereffects of drinking.
  • Tried to stop drinking or reduce the amount or frequency but couldn’t do so on their own.
  • Found that their drinking or the aftereffects of drinking has interfered with work, family, or other responsibilities or activities.
  • Has wanted a drink so desperately that they could think of nothing else.
  • Continues to drink alcohol even though it may be causing other mental or physical issues, such as anxiety or depression.
  • Experiences withdrawal symptoms, including shakiness, nausea, restlessness, or trouble sleeping, when not drinking.

Take the AUDIT Quiz

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) is an assessment tool for determining whether you or someone you know has a drinking problem. The quiz was developed based on data from a multinational World Health Organization (WHO) collaborative study. The AUDIT is accepted as an effective screening instrument for an alcohol use disorder. It is intended to be used primarily by healthcare providers but there is a self-administered version available online as well.

The AUDIT questions are designed to determine if someone has a drinking problem. The range of answers for most of the questions vary from “never” to “daily or almost daily.” The quiz questions are based on the definition of a single drink as a 12-oz beer, an 8 to 9-oz shot of malt liquor, a 5-oz glass of wine, or 1.5oz of hard liquor.

When taking the self-administered quiz online, you will receive your results along with a recommendation as to whether you need to seek treatment for your alcohol use. The recommendations will be based on the number of times you indicate you have had drinks as well as how often you experienced issues because of your drinking.

  • Has a relative or friend or a doctor or another health worker been concerned about your drinking or suggested you cut down?
  • How often do you have a drink containing alcohol?
  • How often during the last year have you found that you were not able to stop drinking once you had started?
  • How often do you have six or more drinks on one occasion?
  • How many drinks containing alcohol do you have on a typical day when you are drinking?
  • How often during the last year have you been unable to remember what happened the night before because you had been drinking?
  • How often during the last year have you needed a first drink in the morning to get yourself going after a heavy drinking session?
  • How often during the last year have you had a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking?
  • Have you or someone else been injured as a result of your drinking?
  • How often during the last year have you failed to do what was normally expected from you because of drinking?

Contact South Miami Recovery for Help Now

If you’ve determined that you have a drinking problem, we can help. During Alcohol Awareness Month, and throughout the year, you can turn to the professionals at South Miami Recovery for help overcoming your addiction to alcohol or drugs. You deserve to enjoy true freedom from active substance dependency, so you can live a safer and healthier life.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we want you to stay safe and healthy, so we offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services to help you get the treatment you need now. To learn more and to sign up for telehealth substance abuse services, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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recovery month

September is National Recovery Month, a time to celebrate the success of people who are living in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Recovery Month is designed in part to educate others on how people with mental and substance use disorders can live healthy and rewarding lives. It is a good time to explore an answer to a question asked often: Why is it so hard to stop drinking or using drugs?

Recovery is Hope

SAMHSA emphasizes that recovery is a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. Hope, the belief that their challenges and conditions can be overcome, is the foundation of recovery. The process of recovery is highly personal and occurs via many pathways. Recovery is characterized by continual growth and improvement in one’s health and wellness that may involve setbacks. Because setbacks are a natural part of life, resilience becomes a key component of recovery.

Addiction is a Chronic Illness

People in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction have not been cured but are on their way to a healthier life because of their successful addiction treatment. Addiction is a chronic illness, much like diabetes or asthma. Addiction causes significant changes in the brain, which make it more difficult to stop drinking or using drugs.

Even though the first drug use or alcoholic drink is probably voluntary, addiction is not a result of moral weakness, a lack of willpower, or an unwillingness to stop. Most people believe they can control their use of drugs or alcohol. However, research has shown that with time, more and more alcohol or drugs are needed to achieve the same level of pleasure and satisfaction as when they first started.

Seeking out and taking the substance becomes a near-constant activity, causing significant problems for them and their family and friends. At the same time, progressive changes in the brain drive the compulsive, uncontrollable drug use known as addiction. When this happens, individuals can no longer voluntarily choose to not use drugs or alcohol, even if it means losing everything they once valued.

Addiction Affects Millions

People who cannot stop drinking or using drugs are not alone. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 14.4 million adults ages 18 and older (5.8 percent of this age group) had alcohol use disorder. This includes 9.2 million men (7.6 percent of men in this age group) and 5.3 million women (4.1 percent of women in this age group). An estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

In addition, 2018 data shows that every day, 128 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids, including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them. Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.

Addiction Changes the Brain

It is hard to stop drinking or using drugs because addiction actually changes the brain. The more someone drinks or uses drugs, the more difficult it is to break that addiction. Chronic alcohol use changes the brain neurologically, sensitizing certain brain circuits and changing neurotransmitter levels. Addiction also affects the brain’s executive function, the part of the brain that is involved in decision making and that tells the person not to drink or use drugs.

Most people will need to avoid alcohol and drugs for the rest of their lives, because of these changes in their brains. However, recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol is possible. Treatment programs will help the addict detox, or rid their body of the drugs or alcohol, and then move through a successful recovery with effective therapy and relapse prevention options.

You Can Get Help at South Miami Recovery

Overcoming addiction to drugs or alcohol is not easy. At South Miami Recovery, we are here to help you get started on your recovery. You deserve to enjoy true freedom from active substance dependency, so you can live a healthier life.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, we want you to stay safe and healthy, so we offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services to help you get the treatment you need now. To learn more and to sign up for telehealth substance abuse services, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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Telehealth is now offered for all our services. South Miami Recovery will continue to follow the CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19.
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