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Should Smoking Cessation Treatment Be Included in Alcohol Rehab Programs?


An estimated 80 percent of alcoholics and those who abuse alcohol chronically smoke cigarettes, and most people in this number are addicted to nicotine. Though nicotine addiction is deadly, treatment for smoking cessation is not usually included in an alcohol rehabilitation program.

Why not? It’s certainly as deadly as drinking. Isn’t it as important to stop smoking as it is to stop drinking?

Myths About Smoking and Alcohol

There are a number of myths circulating about the connection between smoking and alcohol abuse and whether or not it is advisable to attempt to treat both issues at the same time. Some say that trying to quit smoking will decrease the likelihood of success in recovery from addiction. Others say that smoking is not as deadly as alcohol addiction and therefore doesn’t require immediate attention.

Still others say that patients in recovery don’t want to quit smoking, and it may end up stopping them from seeking the help they need to overcome alcoholism if the two programs were intertwined.

The Truth About Smoking

The fact is that all those myths are wrong. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), an estimated 80 percent of alcoholics in treatment who are also smokers would like to quit smoking.

Additionally, the NIAAA reported that smoking is just as dangerous as alcohol abuse. Mortality rates show that more alcoholics die of smoking-related diseases than alcohol-related disorders. Also, there is no evidence to support the idea that it is more difficult to beat alcoholism in recovery when smoking cessation treatment is part of the program.

A Clean Slate

When struggling with both a nicotine addiction (e.g., cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, etc.) and an alcohol use disorder (e.g., alcoholism, alcohol abuse, or binge drinking) it is possible to overcome both – at the same time – and come out of rehab with a clean slate. Leaving behind addiction to every substance means:

  • Increased energy
  • Improved immune system, which translates into better health
  • Improved ability to manage symptoms of chronic health disorders
  • Improved mood
  • Increased ability to manage co-occurring mental health symptoms, if necessary
  • Improved finances
  • Improved employability

Everything about your life gets better when you are free from addiction, and managing life in recovery becomes easier as well. Finding positive ways to relax and lower stress that don’t include substance use or abuse of any kind will be the ticket to long-term recovery and stability. Contact us at Alta Mira today and speak with us about our addiction treatment programs and how we can help you start fresh.

Bipartisan Group Works to Fight Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction

prescription medication

Few things illustrate the depth and severity of prescription drug dependence in our country or the terrible toll it takes on families of all kinds like the fact that Democrats and Republicans are working together to find solutions to the problem. No longer a problem of the upper class, dependence upon stimulant pills, painkillers, and sedatives now takes more lives than car accidents in some states. In response, a bipartisan group of senators is trying to come up with creative ways to address the issue, according to The Hill.

Called the Prescription Drug Abuse Working Group, the goal of the group is to connect government officials, private groups, and the companies that create these drugs to determine how best to limit the number of new patients dependent on prescription drugs and help the current ones successfully break free from their addictions.

Committee Ranking Member Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said in a news release: “Not a day goes by that we don’t hear news of how prescription drug abuse is harming Americans across the nation, including in Tennessee. We are launching this working group to look at the problem from all angles — particularly what the federal government is doing to enable the mayors, governors, and law enforcement and public health officials who are working hard to address the problem.”

How to Help Your Loved One Beat Prescription Drug Dependence

It’s not easy to watch someone you care about struggle under the weight of an addiction of any kind, but when the drug of choice is a medication designed to help treat a disorder like chronic pain, anxiety and others, it can be especially difficult. If you suggest treatment for their drug dependence, it may seem to them that like you are minimizing their medical or mental health ailment. How do you help them through the recovery process when there’s another issue that is causing them just as many problems?

Loved ones are encouraged to support their addicted family member by:

  • Learning about both addiction and the underlying medical or mental health issue that the medication was meant to treat
  • Helping them find alternative and/or holistic options for treatment for both disorders
  • Help them start their recovery at a dual diagnosis rehabilitation program
  • Ask their doctors and/or therapists questions to better understand the treatment and how you can be of assistance
  • Consider attending family therapy sessions in order to work through problems at home therapeutically

Start Treatment Today

The earlier your loved one starts a drug rehab program after developing a drug dependence, the better. Call us at Alta Mira now to get started.

The Benefits of Substance Abuse and Addiction

substance abuseCould there be benefits to living through a drug or alcohol addiction? Is it possible that something so damaging to every part of life could have a positive side?

According to a study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, it may be so. “Positive byproducts” are often the result of tough life events, and addiction is no different. Participants in the study reported that some of the positive byproducts of having gone through addiction include:

  • Increased closeness with others, including family
  • Independence
  • Positive changes in life focus
  • Increased levels of compassion
  • More focus on spirituality
  • More self-awareness
  • Increased ability to help children sidestep the pitfalls of substance abuse

What benefits will your loved one gain from overcoming drug and alcohol addiction?

Personal Addiction, Personal Treatment

Everyone who develops a drug dependence will experiences loss in different ways, and therefore the benefits they experience after going through a personalized treatment program will vary. The opportunity to heal physically and mentally, rebuild relationships and create new ones, and find a new sense of purpose in a life of sobriety can happen uniquely for each person in recovery.

Your loved one may be empowered to:

  • Change careers
  • Rebuild a marriage
  • Rebuild relationships with his children
  • Reconnect with parents, siblings and other family members
  • Rectify legal struggles or financial problems

The possibilities are endless.

Taking the First Step

The benefits of experiencing a drug and alcohol addiction don’t come easily. Addiction is hard, and treatment is arguably even more difficult. Getting through withdrawal symptoms and dealing with cravings during the first 30 months is only the first obstacle. Many patients report that the real hardship begins when therapeutic treatment gets serious and progress is made on underlying mental health issues and/or trauma that drove the substance abuse. It’s uncomfortable mentally and emotionally, and many find that it takes everything they have to stick with it and become stronger in recovery.

A drug rehab program that is multifaceted and comprehensively designed to meet the individual patient’s needs is the first step to ensuring the best chances of success after addiction. There is no better way to give your loved one all the coping skills that he will need as he navigates his personal journey to balance in recovery. You can take the first step in connecting your addicted family member to our treatment program here at Alta Mira when you contact us at the phone number listed above. Call now.

The New Heroin Addiction

Heroin Addiction The old heroin addiction was believed to be the plague of the inner cities, a magnet for junkies who had slowly climbed the ladder of addictive drugs since their youth by first drinking then smoking marijuana, and then experimenting with other “harder” substances.

The new heroin addiction is a problem in rural, idyllic communities and seemingly safe neighborhoods. The victims are not middle-aged “lifers” but increasingly younger and younger people who often don’t fully understand the risk they’re taking with their lives.

How It Begins

For many living with the new heroin addiction, the problem started with opiate painkillers and quickly spiraled out of control when they were no longer able to fill their prescription either due to the hefty price tag or the increased regulations and vigilance of prescribing physicians. The result is an addiction that is often surprising – not just to objective observers but also to the addicts themselves.

The harsh reality settles in when withdrawal symptoms become an ongoing problem and no one will fill their prescription. Many feel forced to turn to the street where they can get heroin much more easily and for less money than their usual pills. In these cases, heroin addiction is just a continuation of a dependence that began with well-meant use of opiate painkillers.

In other cases, opiate addiction starts with experimentation or casual use. Someone may use “leftover” pills from a prescription to self-medicate a headache or escape a tough day. With repeated use, this behavior can lead to a dependence that requires treatment.

How It Must End

Both heroin and opiate painkillers are equally deadly. Each comes with its own risks and dangers, as well as dangers shared by all opiate addicts no matter their substance of choice. Patients who abuse heroin risk:

  • Contracting hepatitis C or HIV if they share needles with an infected person
  • Abscesses at injection site
  • Infections
  • Cardiac problems
  • Respiratory failure
  • Overdose
  • Death

Without treatment, a heroin addict will likely die of an issue related to their addiction. It is practically unavoidable. Whether it is an overdose, an accident under the influence, or an illness caused or worsened by heroin use, heroin will kill its victims. Intensive, evidence-based treatment is the only way to survive the disease.

Get the Treatment That Will Help Your Loved One Heal Today

Extensive resources, educated and experienced staff members, personalized treatment, and long-term recovery support – these are just a few of the essentials that you should look for in your loved one’s heroin rehab program. Contact us at Alta Mira today to find out how our comprehensive addiction treatment program can help your addicted family member begin the healing process.

Modafinil May Help Fight Impulsive Behavior in Alcohol Addiction Recovery, Says Study

alcohol addictionCompulsive use of drugs and alcohol is one of the defining characteristics of addiction. Even with the best of intentions, many patients find that they are still unable to stop themselves when they feel “triggered” to get high or drink. Because the issue is such a huge obstacle to long-term addiction recovery, a great deal of research has been pointed at finding ways to help patients overcome impulsive behaviors.

One study recently explored the efficacy of using a drug called modafinil for impulse control among alcohol-dependent patients. Researchers found that it may have had the ability to improve the percentage of abstinent days among some participants and also may have prolonged the time to relapse in subgroups, according to the results published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology. However, it was not determined that the drug was effective for use in alcohol-dependent patients for the purpose of managing compulsive behavior.

Fighting the Urge to Drink or Get High

Essentially, this is the struggle of every recovering alcoholic or addict, a battle they fight on a daily – often hourly – basis. Learning how to manage the urge to use isn’t something that can be done overnight. Appropriate coping skills may be different for everyone. It takes practice and self-awareness to be able to sidestep a relapse when the urge arises.

An intensive addiction treatment program will help patients to manage the impulse to get high by teaching relapse prevention skills. Depending upon the needs of the patient, these coping mechanisms can include:

The Self-Awareness to Stay Strong

Every addict and alcoholic must understand themselves well enough to determine what people, places, emotions and events are likely to “trigger” them to want to drink or get high in recovery. This is a major focus of psychotherapy in addiction treatment as is learning how to manage those triggering events without giving in to the impulse to use.

Learn more about the necessary components of effective drug and alcohol rehab when you contact us at the phone number listed above today.

Can Massachusetts Ban Zohydro?

ZohydroZohydro ER is the new, pure, extended-release form of hydrocodone that has recently been approved by the FDA for the treatment of chronic pain – much to the chagrin of many. Those who are concerned believe that the abuse potential is too high to warrant the need for such a medication, and Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts is one of those people. In response to the newly approved medication, Governor Patrick has said that Zohydro would be banned for use in his state due to the high rate of opiate overdoses among residents.

However, Zogenix, the company that makes Zohydro ER, filed a lawsuit complaining that such a ban was unconstitutional, and a federal judge agreed with them, said The Wall Street Journal.

Despite Governor Patrick’s good intentions, it appears that residents of Massachusetts will have as much access to the drug as any other American.

Governor Patrick, however, is not giving up. He said: “Addiction is a serious enough problem already in Massachusetts without having to deal with another addictive narcotic painkiller sold in a form that isn’t tamperproof. We will turn our attention now to other means to address this public-health crisis.”

Pain and Addiction

Too many chronic pain patients end up developing a prescription drug dependence due to a legitimate and much-needed prescription for painkillers. Unfortunately, the addiction can make the underlying issue of pain even more difficult to bear, and patients are tasked with learning how to manage their addiction while still treating their pain. It’s a fine line and one that requires a well-resourced drug and alcohol addiction treatment program to address both problems at the same time – efficiently and safely.

Effective Care

It’s not uncommon for chronic pain patients to leave drug rehab early because they are unwilling or unable to manage their pain levels without pharmaceutical intervention. In order to increase the chances of success, patients are encouraged to choose a drug rehab that:

  • Understands chronic pain and is experienced in helping patients to address that issue medically while also addressing the addiction disorder
  • Offers mental health treatment that can support the needs of a patient struggling with chronic pain
  • Provides access to a range of alternative and holistic pain management methods
  • Offers long-term assistance and treatment to ensure stability in recovery

Get Started Today

Chronic pain is not a problem that will magically go away on its own. Neither is addiction. Contact us at Alta Mira now to learn more about our intensive rehabilitation program and connect your loved one with the treatment that will help him or her heal on all levels starting today.