If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, you may be wondering how you can help them stay sober. It can be a challenging process, but there are many things that you can do to support your loved one. Here are some tips that you can use to help a loved one stay sober.
1. Be Understanding And Supportive
One of the most important things you can do is be understanding and supportive. Addiction can be a very isolating experience, and your loved one may feel disconnected from family and friends. Show them that you care and are there for them, even if they don’t always show it in return. Offer words of encouragement when needed and provide a listening ear and understanding.
2. Help Establish Healthy Routines
Creating healthy routines and habits can help keep an individual on track with their sobriety. Make sure that your loved one is getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, and engaging in activities that will help them stay sober. This could include going for walks or hikes, joining a gym or sports team, or finding other activities to occupy their time, such as volunteering or taking classes.
3. Set Boundaries And Respect Your Loved One’s Choices
It’s important to remember that the choice to stay sober ultimately lies with your loved one. Though you can provide support and guidance, it shouldn’t be done in a way that makes them feel pressured into making decisions they don’t agree with. Respect their autonomy and wishes while still providing advice if asked.
4. Create An Action Plan Together
Sobriety is often a process; it can take time for someone to achieve their goals. Have an honest conversation with your loved one about their progress, any issues, and how you can help. Then, you can create an action plan together where both of you set realistic goals and provide support when needed.
5. Consider A Sober Living Program
If your loved one is struggling with relapse, consider enrolling them in a sober living program from rdsoberliving.com (if in USA, for UK see other programs). These programs provide structure and accountability to help someone stay on track with their recovery goals. They also provide support from peers and mentors who have been through similar experiences.
6. Reach Out To A Professional
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. Consider talking to a professional who is experienced in addiction recovery, or get your loved one connected with a therapist. They can provide additional guidance and support that may be helpful in maintaining sobriety.
7. Take Care Of Yourself
It’s also important to remember to take care of yourself as well. It can be challenging to help someone who is struggling with addiction, and it can take a toll both physically and emotionally. So make sure that you are getting enough rest, engaging in activities that bring you joy, and reaching out for support when needed.
Helping a loved one stay sober can be difficult. However, there are many ways that you can provide support and guidance to help them succeed. Be understanding and supportive, set boundaries, create an action plan together and consider professional help or a sober living program if needed. Also, remember to take care of yourself throughout the process.
Whether it is addiction to alcohol or drugs, deciding to seek treatment for substance abuse is never an easy decision. If it is a family member or yourself who has a problem with substance abuse, there are certain signs that will indicate it’s time to seek treatment at a qualified facility. Though it may be hard to admit, here is how you will know the time has come to admit professional help is needed.
Changes in Personality
If you have major personality changes eg you were once very outgoing but now are withdrawing from those closest to you, this can indicate you may need treatment for a substance abuse problem- you could also be struggling with depression . Another indication is if you lie about your addiction to those you love and try and keep it secret.
If you are addicted to drugs, it won’t take long for this problem to result in you having severe financial problems. Whereas in the past you always had money to pay your bills, you now find yourself having to ask others to help you out financially. Eventually, you may lose your car and even your home. Seek help for your finances when you are able to- perhaps a friend of family member could help you.
Incidents with Law Enforcement
As you live with addiction, you may find that you commit crime or do things you wouldn’t normally do. This may include getting arrested for drunk driving, possession of drugs, or even more serious crimes such as theft or assault and battery. Once this cycle begins, it will worsen very quickly, which is why you should seek out substance abuse treatment as soon as possible. Drugs and alcohol can change your behaviour.
When you are drinking or doing drugs regularly, this will ultimately take quite a toll on your physical health. While the most common signs may be relatively minor such as nosebleeds or eyes that are constantly red, you may also start to notice other signs. Look for signs of liver damage, increased blood pressure, or trouble breathing. Once these signs become evident, you need to get medical treatment as well as substance abuse treatment for your mental health. Look after your body as it can take a battering when you are addicted to substances.
Losing Your Job and Marriage
When substance abuse problems get very bad, your job and marriage may be at risk of being lost to you forever. You may find yourself suddenly being faced with the prospect of being unemployed and possibly divorced due to your ongoing battle with drugs or alcohol. Addiction can sadly strain relationships and make you unreliable at work too, because you are unwell and can’t get better. At that point, if you hit rock bottom, you may admit you need help for your addiction.
Taking that initial step in seeking treatment will be tough. However, doing so will enable you to get your life back on track and overcome your addiction to drugs or alcohol.
There are many places that offer specialised drug and alcohol treatment in the UK and globally. Check out Alcoholics Anonymous, Mind and Action on Addiction.
This article was written by freelance writer Rachelle Wilber.
When a loved one suffers from addiction, it can have just as much of an influence on your life as it does on the addicts. This is especially true if the loved one is a parent or a close relative. Children of addicts within a family are undoubtedly the most affected by addiction. This is particularly true if the addict’s children are still growing up. Unless you’re young or elderly, it’s difficult to cope as the child of an addict. Addiction has the potential to destroy a family. A parent is a glue that ties a family together; if they are addicts, the children must mature and become the house’s adults. This can have a significant negative impact on children’s mental health.
What are the Feelings of an Addict’s Children?
Children look up to their parents as role models. Parents who become addicted to drugs or alcohol, on the other hand, are only concerned with their addiction. Understanding that addiction is an illness is crucial for children of addicts. This is because long-term substance misuse changes the chemistry of an addict’s brain. As a result of this, an addict’s brain is rewired over time as a result of their substance misuse. As a result of their addiction, addicted parents can exhibit poor judgment and decision-making, a lack of self-control, and deviant behaviour choices.
What Can Children Do to Assist Parents Who are Battling Addiction?
Drug and alcohol addiction can have both short- and long-term impacts. Substance misuse can disrupt even the calmest and most loving relationships. When family members quarrel, it becomes commonplace. The level of trust begins to erode. If a relative who consumes illegal substances acts angrily or hides their condition in secrecy, relatives may grow concerned.
Marriages may disintegrate as a result of addiction-related changes. Communication gets more difficult as displeasure is highlighted. In addition, children often take a step back from their parents to separate themselves from them. Family members may observe their loved ones endure the negative effects of drugs or erupt into rages while inebriated. Others may notice that their relatives have lost weight and are no longer recognizable.
How Can I Help an Alcoholic Parent?
Parents are blessings, so if they are addicts you can try to help them recover- but ultimately they must accept help. Here are some of the things you can do to help them.
A person suffering from drug or alcohol addiction needs the support and love of family members. They need someone who will understand what they are going through. As a child, one should make sure that you are fully aware of the supportive needs of your parent- but equally you can’t fix everything.
Talk to them
Talking helps a lot. An addict thinks that everyone is trying to distance themselves from them and if your parent feels like someone is trying to talk to them- they may appreciate it. Children of addicts should make sure to spend some time with their parents, where possible and if able. It can be very difficult to see your parent struggling with addiction and can be harmful also, so you will need to weigh this up.
Encourage Addiction Treatment
Addiction treatment is the only way to treat drug and alcohol addiction. Children of addicts should be aware that to help their parents they should suggest an addiction treatment program near them. Here are some addiction treatments that you can recommend to your parents:
Dual-diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders
Medicated-assisted treatment (MAT)
Outpatient or Intensive Outpatient addiction treatment
Telehealth addiction treatment is a new form of treatment where a patient can receive treatment while being in their own homes. So if your parent avoids or doesn’t want to leave home for addiction treatment, suggest they get Telehealth addiction treatment.
Avoid Fighting with them
There is no need to fight with your parents. They are already going through a very tough time. Try to avoid any sort of confrontation with them.
Make them Feel Wanted
Addicts need their children to make them feel wanted. Spend some time with them. Take them out and have a nice dinner every once in a while.
In The End…
An addict’s brain is rewired, and quitting addictive substances is more difficult than it appears. When a person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, his or her brain becomes fully reliant on them to function. As a result, when addicts cut back or stop taking opioids, they may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Because they are terrified of experiencing withdrawal symptoms, addicts are sometimes discouraged from attempting sobriety.
As much as you may despise your parent for acting the way they do and refusing to seek treatment, you must respect their decision. Simply take a deep breath and recognise that your parent is afflicted with an ailment over which they have no control.
This article was written by Chaye McIntosh. You can see more about treatment here
On the 1st March 2016, I started this blog as a way to provide therapy for myself- as I was going through panic attacks, (caused by trauma due to a hospitalisation for a bipolar manic episode). Since then I have had several years of EMDR trauma therapy and my life changed so much too- I met my husband, we got married and moved to our first home. I also found a career I love after many twists and turns due to mental illness. Life is never plain sailing especially with mental health and I still live with panic attacks/ social anxiety at times but am learning to manage them.
The blog has turned into a book Bring me to Light (with Trigger), writing for Metro.co.uk, Glamour, the Telegraph, Happiful, Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and other incredible organisations, I have partnered with large and small brands, charities, businesses, writers to create content that battles stigma on mental health. We have been awarded as a Top 10 UK blog by Vuelio since 2018 (thank you) and I love to share my story to help others and educate people about bipolar, anxiety, panic disorders, psychosis, mania and mental health in the workplace (amongst other mental health topics!). I have also recorded podcasts – most recently with Dr Rosena Allin Khan MP, shadow minister for mental health, Daniel Rosenberg at SodsPod and was also interviewed by Penny Power OBE with my Dad Mike (who is a mental health speaker).
When I started this blog I had no idea where it would lead and its been the most special, humbling and amazing journey- with so much more to do so watch this space!. I really want to help more people this year and also have a childrens book I would love to get out there to help kids with anxiety.
As always, I want to thank all my contributors and brands (sponsored or not), as well as the digital agencies and freelance writers who provide content too. I hope to keep it going for the next year at least! Let me know what you want to see.
This year heres what we have been talking about (and big thank you to everyone. If it doesnt have a name by it, content has been written by a writer):
How social distancing is affecting social anxiety in the pandemic- Anita Ginsburg
Book Review of the Smart Girls Handbook by Scarlett Clark- me (Eleanor)
Being kind to myself, social anxiety and life in recovery- me (Eleanor)
Self care ideas for positive change in 2021
How to cope with top 4 challenging life events
The Book of Hope launch– me
Sending self care packages- a guide to sending gifts
Feel less trapped with these powerful ideas
6 Tips to stay positive and help mental health
Moving to our First Home and mental health- me
How to reach for help and not be ashamed
Whats the connection between mental health and addiction- Jennifer at Mandala Healing
We are a top UK mental health blog 2021- thanks Vuelio- Me
Can you still get health insurance cover if you have a history of mental illness?
The benefits of seeking mental health support and help
The link between debt and mental health
Start Up founders are 50% more likely to suffer from a mental health condition- Daniel Tannenbaum
How can mental health workers cope with the new normal?
Easing the burden of divorce- Brooke Chaplan
Stress and Panic Attacks Part two- Me
How to remain independent and look after your health as you get older
How selfie changed my life and mental health- Kathryn Chapman
The benefits of personal training for your mental health- Life Force Fitness
Recovery from alcohol or substance abuse: benefits of a sober living home
6 Ways Fathers can Assist New Mothers- Jess Levine
Work in progress- healing from trauma to find the light- me
Is stress affecting your skin? heres how to tell
Prioritising mental health on the world stage, Simone biles- me
Why privacy is critical for our mental health
Goal setting for mental health
Moving house? 5 tips to deal with moving stress
4 Ways to make mental health a priority in your life- Emma Sturgis
What you need to know about post Partum Depression- Kara Reynolds
The Midnight Library book review- me
5 interior design ideas to boost wellbeing
Steps to help aging and wellbeing
How to keep your children in mind during a divorce-Brooke Chaplan
Bryony Gordons mental health card collection for Thortful.com
The Inquisitive-a film on mental health and suicide- Kelvin Richards
Being self compassionate when I have anxiety- me
Keeping things stress free when selling an elderly family members home
7 Bipolar disorder facts everyone should know- Ronnie Deno
Recovering from an eating disorder- Kara Masterson
Wellbeing tips and activities for children- collaboration with Twinkl resources
Building trust in a relationship
How sleep patterns affect your mental health
Choosing life and freedom- my therapy journey- me
Dealing with imposter syndrome
Confidence on return to the office
lifestyles and mental health- Anna Witcherley at Head Hacks
Stress and mild anxiety formula- Nu mind wellness
Mental health problems in the pandemic- Webdoctor.ie
Patient transport helps anxious travellers- EMA Patient transport
How to stop signs of traumatic brain injury- Lizzie Weakley
Looking after mental health in a tense office environment
Dealing with anxiety as a mom/mum- Kara Reynolds
5 Self help books for 2022
Winter mental health and anxiety update- me
Tips to fight addiction- Lizzie Weakley
Lockdown, sleep, anxiety and mental health- collaboration with TEMPUR mattresses (ad)
Helping elderly people to live independently
Getting your loved one help for their addiction- Emma Sturgis
How to support your spouse with mental health issues- Kara Reynolds
Battling co occurring mental health and substance addiction- Holly
Festive season- me
Its Okay not to be Okay by Esther Marshall book review- me
The difference between a therapist and life coach- Lizzie Weakley
Managing mental health over christmas/ festive time- me
Reflecting on a new year 2022- me
Surviving trauma makes relationships difficult- self compassion helps- Taylor Blanchard
Window to the womb launches avocado app for perinatal wellbeing
Where to start when battling addiction- Rachelle Wilber
Mental health new year resolutions
Book review- Pushing through the cracks- Emily J Johnson- me
Depression meals when life gets hard- Kara Reynolds
Jami see mental health campaign blog
Recovering from cancer- the mental health aspect- Rachelle Wilber
Outdoor activities to improve your mental health- Elizabeth Howard
Mental health and eating disorder recovery journey- Emily J. Johnson
Fitness and mental health
Interview with Penny Power MBE, Thomas Power and Mike Segall on bipolar disorder
Self love for Valentines Day- with Kalms (ad)
Being debt free and in good mental health for 2022
Mental health medication- fighting the stigma- me
Overcoming alcohol addiction- Rachelle Wilber
Spiritual tips for helping mental health
Risk factors for post partum depression
Wow! Thank you for supporting me and the blog, for continuing to read and share it and to help battle the stigma around not only bipolar disorder and anxiety- but every mental illness.
Many people might tell you that admitting you have a problem is the first step to battling addiction. Their intentions might be good, but does your journey to sobriety and recovery really start until you decide you want to live better? Knowing where to start when battling addiction is crucial to improving your odds of success.
Your personal physician probably already suspects or even knows about your addiction, even if you’ve never mentioned it to them. It’s their job to help you with your physical health, and they will have access to more tools you might use than nearly anyone. Your conversations with your doctor are totally confidential, so this is a very safe place to start when battling addiction.
Find a Facility
Not all forms of addiction require going into a rehab facility. However, some might. There are facilities available, such as Awakenings Health and Wellness Centre that are top-notch in helping people dig deeper than the obvious superficial issues. Also, the right rehab center can dramatically improve your odds of getting past any addiction and have a better fighting chance at living a clean life ahead of you.
Friends and Family
This one can be tricky. Friends and family might be some of the people most likely to support you through your addiction battle, but some of them might also be the most judgemental. In fact, some relatives might even be contributors to your addiction. Turn to those you think you can trust.
You probably don’t want to tell your actual supervisor that you are battling addiction, but your employee benefits might have a hotline you can call privately. If your health insurance or other benefits include rehab programs or counseling of any kind, it might be at low or even no cost to you.
Spiritual and Religious Advisors
Individuals such as these may not feel qualified to help you with your addiction and recovery, and yet they might also truly want to help you. They might be able to point you in the direction of people and programs who can help you. So, whether it’s a priest, rabbi, or even a yoga teacher you study under, see if they have any referrals or connections you might use.
Help Is Out There
Battling addiction is a journey that can leave you feeling very alone, and overcoming it can only happen if you personally do it. However, even though no one else can get you over your addiction, they can be of tremendous assistance to you while you try to get clean.
What are co occurringmental health disorder and substance abuse?
A co-occurring disorder is when a person is battling some kind of mental health issue alongside substance abuse like drugs and alcohol addiction. Both SUDs and mental health issues share a strong link. In fact, it’s estimated that almost half the individuals suffering from one will develop the other at some time or another.
It’s not uncommon for substance abuse to fuel a co-occurring disorder and vice-versa. The severity of both can also increase over time.
The most common mental health issues to co-occur alongside SUD are –
Anxiety Disorders – Social anxiety and general anxiety share a strong link with marijuana abuse. Almost 19% of people in the US have some kind of anxiety disorder. GAD, social anxiety, and panic disorder can also increase the odds of co-occurring issues.
Personal Disorders – In terms of the general population, around 10-15% suffer from personality disorders. When we talk about those suffering from addiction and substance abuse, the rate is an astounding 35-70%. The commonest personality disorders in those battling SUD are – borderline, avoidant personality, paranoia, and antisocial behavior.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder – Studies tell us that ADHD comes with an increased risk of developing addiction-related issues during adulthood (mainly 20s and 30s.) There is a positive correlation in symptoms of ADHD like impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and inattention with substance use in adults.
Mood Disorder – Around 30% of people suffering from SUD are likely to suffer from one of the mood disorders such as depression and bipolar.
PTSD – According to a survey, people with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder are 4x more likely to develop substance use disorder than those without.
What Causes Co-occurring and Substance Addiction?
It is estimated that over half the people with one disorder will eventually develop the other during their lifetime. While the exact set of reasons that can fuel these two conditions might be long, researchers have found the 3 most prevalent reasons as to why co-occurring disorders may take place.
Overlapping Risk Factors
Many of the risk factors behind SUD and mental health issues are overlapping. Generally, these include environmental factors like exposure to drugs or alcohol at an early age, early childhood trauma, and genetics. All of these factors can make a person more susceptible to developing mental health issues and requiring addiction treatment for drugs such as Cocaine or others.
Dealing with a mental illness can be difficult. That’s why many people resort to alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms. In medical terms, this is called ‘self-medicating’. However, it’s quite misleading as instead of fixing the problems, it only masks them. What’s more, in the long run, it exacerbates the symptoms and worsens the dependency on drugs/alcohol, making it more difficult to detox from alcohol or drugs, often requiring medically supervised detox.
Drug-Induced Brain Changes
Prolonged drug and substance use can change the brains ‘motivation and reward mechanism’. It can give a false sense of wellness causing one to develop a dependence on drugs beyond control. Eventually, it can lead to mental health issues by affecting the brain and neurotransmitters.
Drugs affect the areas of the brain associated with mood, impulse control, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
How to Battle Co-occurring Mental Health and Substance Use
Residential rehab programs begin with an initial assessment to draw an individual treatment plan. This is followed by detox and several other therapies. The patient has to stay in a structured and highly supervised facility. Common inpatient treatment duration for drug addiction is 30 days. Residential programs put the entire focus on recovery as daily triggers and challenges are removed that often lead to relapses.
Outpatient Healing Programs
Under this program, a patient receives all the treatments and therapies as in residential rehab. However, they are not required to live in the facility. This is good for young teenagers, parents, and people with mild addiction who cannot sacrifice work commitments.
This is usually the first step in most addiction treatment programs. Drug detoxification entails medical supervision to get the drugs out of the system. With a clean system, experts can begin further treatment. Generally, therapies and medication cannot begin unless detox is successfully over.
Integrated treatment often includes behavioral therapy and counseling as interventions. Rehab centers in Connecticut and other parts of the United States use integrated treatment coupled with medication. Integrated treatment encompasses several therapeutic techniques with proven results in treating substance abuse and mental health issues. Common integrated therapies are –
Cognitive-behavioural therapy aka CBT aims to understand negative behaviours, thinking patterns, and self-talk that might be causing addiction and other disorders. It then works on changing them.
Dialectical behavioural therapy is used for treating borderline personality disorder. It does so by working on negative actions and thoughts like self-harm, suicidal behaviour, and dependence on a substance to cope with daily stressors.
Contingency management is often used in upscale addiction treatment centres. It reinforces positive changes by utilising incentives for patients who can exhibit positive behaviours such as staying sober and meeting therapy guidelines.
Psychotherapeutic Medications are often integral to treating SUD and co-occurring disorders and are frequently used during alcohol treatment. The commonly prescribed medications include antipsychotics and antidepressants. The latter is used to mostly manage the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Other than that, medications may also be used to lessen the cravings so that relapses don’t happen.
Buprenorphine, naltrexone, methadone, disulfiram, and acamprosate are the common medications used for treating SUD.
Peer Support Clubs
It’s not uncommon for people with psychiatric issues to become antisocial. The withdrawal from social life exacerbates when you throw drugs and alcohol into the mix. By joining peer support groups/clubs like 12-step, Alcoholics Anonymous, and group counseling – patients can find solace in the presence of other people going through similar battles.
They can draw inspiration from their stories and also learn some tips to maintain sobriety. Support groups are highly effective in fostering a long-term, sustainable drug-free lifestyle.
Education and Counselling for Families
Sometimes a toxic family environment or dysfunctional relationships may unknowingly be fuelling a person’s addiction. Family counselling educates people how to create a healthy living environment for a family member to support long-term recovery.
Medical science is embracing the effectiveness and importance of holistic/alternative treatment when it comes to treating drug addiction. Many rehab centres are now adopting a holistic treatment model. Common holistic therapies are – massage therapy, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, yoga, reiki, meditation, and music therapy.
Co-occurring disorders may be a harsh reality in many people’s lives. But, know that if you or your loved one is going through this issue, help is always available.
Holly is a freelance writer who loves to help people who are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. Holly knows first-hand what it’s like to deal with substance addiction, and has now been sober for 5 years. Holly is a frequent contributor to many addiction-related blogs and organizations such as the Addiction Treatment Division and Inpatient-Rehab.org.
If you have a loved one struggling with addiction, you know how it can be an arduous task to get them on the right path. It is imperative to try as best as you can to get your loved one or a friend out of the dark path. It takes commitment, endless struggles, and unconditional love to help a loved one out of their drug usage habit. However, it is imperative to know your approach and approach them with care and kindness. Show that you want to help, and don’t be judgmental. Your loved ones could count on your support during this difficult moment. There will always be obstacles that you can overcome together. You can use these few tips to help your loved one recover from addiction.
Helping a loved one struggling with addiction can be pretty hard. It can be tough if they are not ready to open up or seek help. Convincing them that they have a problem and should seek help should be a challenge to expect. They may also feel embarrassed discussing their problem and fear negative judgment. Your loved one may lack the will to change or do something about their drug usage. They may also have an underlying issue forcing them to seek salvation in drugs. Your loved one may also have a problem talking to a specialist or a counsellor about their drug problem. Be ready to face such challenges to determine your approach to help the recovering addict to seek help.
Know Your Approach
Your loved one is also human, and drug addiction shouldn’t change your feelings towards them. Please don’t treat them cruelly due to their addiction. It is imperative to note that drug usage is a habit that is an illness, and they need your help. . Approach them with care and keep their best interests at heart. Show them that you’re all about helping them, and drug rehab is not a bad idea for helping them get back on track.
Offer Support and Encouragement
Try and reason with your loved one in a calm and friendly manner. Show that they can count on you and that you care about them. You can only help a recovering addict through immense support and personal intervention. Encourage them to seek help and attend sobriety meetings. Ensure your presence throughout their journey as you handle the setbacks and challenges together, if they would like this.
Don’t give up even when the journey becomes difficult. Stay strong even when your loved one gives you enough reasons to quit or lose hope. Your efforts count in helping them cope with addiction and attempting to pave a successful path to recovery.
The journey to recovery from alcohol or substance abuse is a long one and is never a straight line. While rehab and detox are the essential first step in sobriety, they’re just the beginning of the journey that can last for a very long time. Going straight back to your previous life and surroundings can be triggering and jeopardise your progress, leading to relapse.
This is where a sober living home can be the perfect next step on your journey to recovery. These are interim, transitional steps that give you independence based on structure and support. They are designed to help you rebuild your life skills and relationships away from the temptations of drugs and alcohol.
Additional Time To Recover
The more time and energy you can devote to your recovery, the more successful you will be in maintaining it for the long term. In a sober living home, you will be in an environment where there are no drugs or alcohol to tempt you and find a support network of staff and other residents with which to share the experience. Giving yourself this additional time to recover could be the difference between success and failure.
Most sober homes, including Bridgeway Sober Living, have specialist managers on-site 24/7 to give your support and encouragement during your recovery. They are there to help with issues such as feeling depressed right the way through to helping you find a job.
A lot of the support staff in the sober living home have personal experience with addiction either through their own experience or that of a friend or loved one.
A sober living home can let your form bonds with others that aren’t rooted in alcohol. You’ll have lots of things in common and a shared sense of purpose. Your road to recovery will be anything but lonely.
Rebuilding Life & Social Skills
The basics of everyday life can be difficult for someone in the grip of addiction. Even dressing, washing, and taking out the trash can be beyond some people. Sober living homes allow you to put a structure back into your everyday life that can rebuild your life skills. You’ll relearn how to look after yourself and your surroundings.
Regain Your Independence
In rehab, your movements and activity are controlled tightly until you’re discharged. Often, going straight back to your former life can be overwhelming. Sober living homes give you the opportunity to start claiming your independence back gradually. You’ll be expected to go out and find your own job, attend social gatherings and look after yourself, all within the safe space of the sober living home.
Sober living homes are becoming a viable choice for many recovering addicts. You can find them in all major cities and highly populated areas. They are very well designed, as far away from the stereotype as you could imagine. As part of a successful recovery, they can be the transitional step you need to complete your recovery.
Everyone has their own mental health. But people who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or any other substance abuse are more prone to develop mental illness. While on the other hand, individuals who have mental illnesses are also more prone to developing drug, alcohol, or substance addiction.
People struggling with addiction and mental health problems have complained about the co-occurring disorder. However, it can be tough to identify which one is the primary. A mental health diagnosis, such as clinical depression, can undoubtedly worsen an individual’s problems with addiction. Similarly, a person experiencing addiction may find that their mental health declines as their use grows.
If these conditions are left untreated, then co-occurring disorders can lead to a nasty cycle of repeated addiction and worsens mental health symptoms. To overcome addiction and mental health issues, professional care is necessary at a rehab center like Florida Addiction Treatment.
But before that, it is vital to understand the relationship between addiction and mental health when looking for help for yourself or a loved one. Because both addiction and mental health diagnoses are chronic medical conditions, they can be treated and managed with the right and approachable treatment while they cannot be cured.
Understanding the Link Between Mental Health and Addiction:
You might wonder if mental illness can cause addiction or if addiction creates the perfect storm leading to mental health problems. However, in most cases, it is rarely clear which one manifested first.
Addiction to drugs and alcohol or any other substance can occur due to people self medicating if they suffer from any mental health disorder. Self-medicating with addiction in times of crisis may provide temporary relief at first. But it may help you feel more comfortable connecting with your peers or boost your confidence. However, this is part of the danger of the link between mental health and addiction.
Continued use is hazardous and develops the risk of addiction. What you look at as a remedy to your problem can quickly put you on a brutal cycle of misuse and abuse.
Long-term use of addiction often produces side-effects such as anxiety and depression. Taking addictive substances alters your brain chemistry, and extended use of it only increases your chances of developing mental illness.
People coping with these specific mental health conditions are more likely to get addicted to drugs or alcohol (but not in every case)-
Major depressive disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Potential Causes of Co-Occurring Disorders:
Addiction and mental health issues can occur because of many factors; however, some potential causes may involve genetics, age, and environmental factors.
Genetics or family history-
Genetics can play a critical part in the evolution of both addiction disorder and mental condition. It has been studied that genes contribute to many health issues.
As genes are passed down from generation to generation, the family history of a disorder is also a strong indicator. Autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, major depression are all examples of conditions that can be spread through your genes.
However, you don’t have to have the genes for a particular disease, which does not mean that you will develop the condition. The environment plays a key role in how their genes are expressed.
High-stress environments, trauma, physical or sexual abuse can also contribute towards a co-occurring disorder. Looking at your friends and family engage in dangerous behavior like addiction can also play a key factor. People likely to follow the examples of those they are close with. When your close ones behave poorly, you may be more likely to as well.
Exposure to certain things during teen years can also be an element. Being offered drugs or alcohol at an early age can also contribute to addiction and possibly mental illness. Since at an early age, the brain is still in the developing stage. Developing a mental health illness at an early age may also make you more susceptible to addiction.
Treatment for Mental Illness and Addiction:
The best treatment for both disorders is an integrated approach, where both the substance abuse problem and the mental illness are treated together. Whether your mental health or addiction problem came first, long-term recovery depends on getting treatment for both the disorders by the same treatment provider.
Treatment for mental health may include medication, individual or group counselling, self-care measures, lifestyle change, and peer support.
Addiction treatment may include detoxification, managing withdrawal symptoms, behavioral therapy, and support groups to help maintain sobriety.
Reducing anxiety at the moment in our every day lives is so important.
Having anxiety is something that many people have challenges with. It is estimated that about 1 in 5 adults have an anxiety disorder and that more than that will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their life.
The symptoms of anxiety include feeling restless or on edge, being easily irritated, difficulty controlling feelings of worry and having difficulty sleeping, amongst others.
If you feel that you may be experiencing symptoms of anxiety, there are many things you can do to help reduce and manage those feelings.
1. Look at Lifestyle Choices
A number of different lifestyle behaviours could contribute to your anxiety. Drinking alcohol, taking drugs, eating junk food will all play a big role in how you feel. For example, excessive drinking or the use of drugs can cause a multitude of health problems including liver and kidney damage. It also causes mental illness such as drug and alcohol addictions. You may need further support from a psychiatrist or rehab unit if you are struggling with addiction or mental illness.
On the opposite side, exercising regularly and eating healthy foods are proven to boost your mood, increase the chemicals in your brain that make you feel happy and improve your overall physical health.
If you want to manage anxiety, consider looking at your current lifestyle choices and if there is anything you have the power to change. Be honest in your assessment but know you have options for assistance. Making a big lifestyle change is hard but if there is something you know is causing your mental health and anxiety to worsen, it is a good idea to remove that from your life if possible.
2. Talk to Your Family and Friends
Even if you think your family and friends would not understand, you might end up getting some of your most valuable support from them. You should not ever feel you have to hide any of your mental health concerns from them, unless you know that they would react badly.
Try to avoid shutting people out, being secretive about your mental illness or becoming defensive when people ask.
True friends will listen and care. There is still a stigma to mental illness but it is important to find someone you trust.
3. Set Boundaries
If necessary you can set boundaries for yourself. This could mean letting people know there are certain activities you don’t participate in. It could also mean a limit on how much time you spend with friends and family, in order to practise self care and recuperate.
Many people who struggle with anxiety disorders find that setting up a schedule for themselves that they are consistent in keeping can greatly reduce feelings of anxiety. It helps them to feel more in control and gives them a structure that feels secure.
Setting boundaries is a way for you to have control over your situation and environment, although these should not be too rigid. There are certain things that can’t be controlled that can increase anxiety.
4. Let Go of Things You Can’t Control
If something is out of your control that is causing your anxiety there are ways that you can cope with these feelings. One suggestion is to write down how you are feeling to help let those emotions go. The BACP tells us that, “It can help to express this anxiety in a way that you can control. That could be writing down what you feel, or keeping a journal.”
You can also try making a list of things you are grateful for, or use breathing and relaxation techniques.
If you are still struggling to cope with things out of your control seek help from a professional.
5. Get Professional Help
You could turn to all types of mental health professionals to get help, including GPs (physicians), psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors and therapists. You may be referred for talking therapies, cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness or EMDR therapy for trauma. They may also recommend medication for you too.
In the UK, you would go via your NHS GP who can refer you on to see a psychiatrist or to IAPT for counselling. Also check out the Counselling Directory website.
When searching for a good therapist in the USA, Karen Whitehead, who does counseling in Alpharetta, GA tells us that, “Psychologists (PsyD), Licensed Social Workers (LMSW/LCSW), Licensed Professional Counsellors (LPC), and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT) can all evaluate and treat mental illness, provide talk therapy, support and feedback, and teach coping strategies such as mindfulness.”
Your counsellor will be able to help you better assess your situation and get to the core of your anxieties. Even if you already know why you get anxious, you can benefit from learning coping skills.
Your counsellor can indeed equip you with tools adapted for your specific needs. You will have feedback on what is and what is not working. You can learn to live with, manage and in many cases, recover from anxiety.
You Are Not Alone
Do not ever think you are alone when it comes to your anxiety. Try not to beat yourself up if setbacks occur or you have a bad day.
Talk with your therapist about ways that you can help to further reduce your anxiety. They will be able to help you.
This blog was written by freelance writer Samantha Higgins.