9 Tips to Encourage Your Valentine to “Lean In” to Addiction Recovery

iStock_000008811652MediumIn honor of Valentine’s Day, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment reminds couples that selfless act of love can rekindle a sense of purpose in their Valentines. Without a doubt, the power of love can help people take the first step in overcoming alcoholism and/or drug addiction.

“An act of concern and support may arouse a renewed sense of personal power in others, which changes their perspective from ‘feeling forced’ or powerless to change to ‘feeling confident’ or capable of change,” explains John Larson M.D., Corporate Medical Director, Gateway Treatment Centers.

Building self-confidence and sense of purpose in your Valentine requires genuine respect and judgment-free affection from reliable “agents of change.” To help encourage an open approach versus a confrontation about substance abuse concerns, Gateway offers nine tips:

  1. Get smart about effects of alcoholism and drug abuse as well as potential treatment options to help facilitate a productive discussion.

  2. Timing is extremely important. Choose a time when your Valentine is sober and the mood is calm.

  3.  Set a caring and supportive tone for the conversation–anything less may backfire.
    – “You haven’t seemed to be yourself lately. Is everything okay?”
    – “What can I do to help the situation?”
  4. Use open-ended questions to draw out underlying feelings.
    – “It’s not uncommon for people to drink alcohol to try to appease their tough thoughts and feelings. What are some memories and feelings that trigger drinking?”
  5.  Talk less, listen more. Listen and respect everything your Valentine has to say, and resist interrupting.
    – “What are some of the things that make you happy when you’re not drinking?”
    – “What are some of the not-so-good things about drinking?”
  6. Use affirming statements to demonstrate understanding and to validate a loved one’s feelings. Validating a person’s feelings—no matter what he or she has to say—can help encourage self-guided change.
    – “You are under a tremendous amount of pressure so it’s no wonder you feel so overwhelmed.”
    – “That must have been devastating. I’m sorry you had to go through that.”
  7. Take with a grain of salt any accusations of blame or verbal abuse, and refrain from engaging in arguments.
    – “I understand this isn’t easy to talk about so I’m going to let that one go.”
  8. Substance abuse rattles one’s self esteem so be sure to express he or she deserves better, and is capable of achieving whatever change is desired.
    – “I’m not giving up on you. You are the most amazing person I know.”
  9.  If shut down, don’t take it personal. Rather, just listen and try to withhold frustration or it may be more difficult for him or her to open up later.

“Planting the seeds of recovery from addiction is a delicate balancing act requiring patience and unconditional love but it’s not impossible,” says Larson.

For more insights and tips about helping a person take on addiction issues, download Gateway’s Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse at RecoveryGateway.org/Roadmap.

Another Helpful Article: “What To Do When a Loved One Has a Substance Abuse Problem?”

Editors Note: This post was originally published in February 2015 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness February 2016.

The Irony of Drug and Alcohol Addiction

alcohol addiction substance abuseNearly one in 10 American adults and teens has a drug or alcohol abuse problem; and sadly, only one in 10 Americans who need help with substance abuse issues will seek professional treatment.

Prolonged exposure to alcohol and drugs alters the brain in ways that result in powerful cravings and a compulsion to use. These brain changes make it extremely difficult to quit using by sheer force of will. But that doesn’t mean someone with addiction issues is a helpless victim.

The good news is: Brain changes associated with addiction can be treated and reversed through engaging in therapy and other treatments, taking appropriate medication as prescribed, and leading a healthy, sober lifestyle.

Click to View Gateway's Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Families

Click to View Gateway’s Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Families

So, if addiction can be successfully treated, why are roughly 90 percent of Americans ignoring their issues with alcohol and/or drug dependency? Tragically, that’s the irony of addiction.

There are major hurdles to overcome before people acknowledge they are ready for substance abuse treatment. Denial, stigma, aversion to change, understanding treatment options, and cost of care are just a few.

But there is hope. The Affordable Care Act now makes substance abuse treatment accessible to more people through their insurance benefits. And effective outpatient treatment allows adults to continue working while receiving treatment.

For more information, visit RecoverGateway.org/Roadmap to get a free copy of our new family and parent guide, “Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse.”

Todd Bridges, Star of “Diff’rent Strokes,” Inspires Residents of Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Springfield

Gateway alcohol and drug treatment springfield, Todd Bridges, different strokes, Addiction Treatment

Jan Ruby, Outreach Coordinator, Gateway Springfield; Dana Schanholtzer, Midwest DNA and Drug Testing; Todd Bridges; Kerry Henry, Executive Director, Gateway Springfield

Former child actor, Todd Bridges, provided inspiration and substance abuse recovery guidance to the residents of Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment  in Springfield, IL on Friday, September 19, 2014. Bridges was a long time child actor on the television show, Diff’rent Strokes, and remains active in various movies and television shows today.

Bridges discussed his personal struggle with drug addiction and the damaging effects it has had on his life. During his presentation, Bridges elaborated on his various substance abuse treatment episodes and what it finally took for him to get his life back on track. He shared with adults in the audience the importance of working on themselves; and encouraged those with children to remember the impact drug addiction has on the entire family.  Bridges also encouraged  teens in attendance to make better choices with their young lives; pointing out  they risk losing their freedom, families and possibly their lives. Bridges sprinkled his presentation with humor and laughter and encouraged questions from the substance abuse treatment facility residents.

Remaining gracious and humble, Bridges demonstrated a real life example of how to overcome addiction by meeting life on life’s terms; one day at a time.  Gateway Treatment Centers would like to thank Mr. Todd Bridges for sharing his story.

 

Boosting Memory Aids Addiction Recovery Efforts

memory addiction recovery, gateway treatment centersAccording to findings from recent study, playing those memory games can improve decision-making in recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, which may result in an increase in substance abuse treatment efficacy.

The discovery involves an underlying relationship between memory and delay discounting. Psychologists use the term “delay discounting” to refer to one’s inability to resist the temptation of a smaller immediate reward in lieu of receiving a larger reward at a later date. Discounting future rewards too much is a form of impulsivity, and an important way in which we can neglect to exert self-control. Delay discounting has been linked to substance abuse treatment outcomes, with higher rates of impulsivity associated with a greater risk for relapse after drug rehab. This predictive ability is true regardless of one’s drug of choice, be it heroin or nicotine—the longer you can wait for any type of reward, the longer you are likely to go without using.

Meet Your Brain’s Impulse Control Center

The ability to delay gratification is linked to activation in a specific part of the brain—the dorsal (top) lateral (outside) prefrontal cortex, which is associated with planning and decision-making. Typically, more activation in this area means better self-control. However, the prefrontal cortex is known to be abnormal in substance abusers, and numerous studies have shown that addicts have less brain volume in this region than non-drug users. The decrease in size seems to be directly related to drug use itself, with severity and length of use linked to a greater decrease in volume and activity.

Researchers’ Aha Moment

A recent study alludes when you improve working memory you enhance your willpower. Initially this realization was surprising to researchers—since discounting and working memory are separate cognitive processes. However, the two functions overlap in the brain, and both are linked to activation in the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex. As a result, it appears that improving working memory can strengthen activation in this area, which can subsequently enhance other behaviors that tap into it—like self-control.

“Remembering an event in the past and thinking about the future are really tied processes. And working memory, being able to hold ideas and concepts or facts in our heads for a certain period of time, may be necessary for us to think about and value things that occur in the future,” explains Dr. Warren Bickel, who has been researching drug addiction for the last 20 years.

Losing brain cells is never a good idea, but in the prefrontal cortex it can be especially detrimental, impacting the ability for self-control and making someone even more impulsive than they already were. But all is not lost.

The good news: Studies have shown that our brains can bounce back once off drugs because the cells have the ability to regenerate—similar to leaves sprouting from tree branches after a long, cold winter. If someone you care about needs help getting life back on track, Gateway Treatment Centers can help. Call today to learn about a free, confidential consultation at (877) 505-HOPE (4673).

Do I Have a Problem?: Self-Test for Drug Abuse or Drug Dependency

drug abuse self test, drug dependency, drug treatment, drug addictionMany times people who use drugs think they can handle it, or they can quit anytime. If you feel like you can stop using drugs, but aren’t sure if you have a problem, here are few warning signs to help you understand if you have a drug abuse or drug dependency problem and need help.

Denial is common with drug addiction so as you answer these questions try to be as honest and objective as possible. Also try to think about how things have progressed or changed for you in the last six months. Are there more signs now then there where six months ago?

Please answer every question “Yes” or “No.” If a question is not applicable, select No.

  • Do you feel like you need to have the drug regularly, every day or more than every day?
  • Do you make sure you have a steady supply of your drug of choice on hand?
  • Do you want to stop, but can’t?
  • If you feel you can’t stop using, do you do things you normally would not do to get drugs?
  • Do you feel you need drugs to function normally?
  • Are you willing to do something dangerous while taking drugs, like operating a motor vehicle, or some kind of equipment that could cause bodily harm?

If you answered “yes” to 2 or more of these questions you may have a alcohol or drug abuse problem.

If you or someone you know may be abusing drugs or alcohol, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers can help get life back on track. To learn more about our free, confidential consultation call 877-505-HOPE (877-505-4673).

Gateway Unites Medicine and Therapy to Treat Drug Addiction

Individuals in Alcohol and Drug Treatment See Favorable Results with Medication Assisted Therapy

medication assisted therapy, drug addiction, drug treatmentJordan never planned for his life to turn down a path of drug addiction. At a young age, his life became more difficult after a life-changing tragedy: the sudden passing of Jordan’s father. Consequently, Jordan’s family started to move from place to place and his mother began dating. Feeling abandoned, by the age of 13 Jordan began using drugs to escape his unhappiness. After years of drug experimentation, Jordan first tried heroin when he was 18-years old.

 “Once I started using heroin, there was no stopping it. Within six months, my heroin dosage multiplied by three times,” explains Jordan.

According to the Centers of Disease Control, 100 people die from drug overdoses every day in the United States. Lucky for Jordan, he grew tired of living the way he was before becoming a statistic.

Today, Jordan sees things much differently. After seven years of heavy drug abuse, from marijuana and crystal meth to crack and heroin, and trouble with his relationships, work and the law, he turned to the Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Center in Caseyville, IL, to help him put the use of heroin and other drugs behind him. Jordan is now 20-years-old and in recovery.

Jordan chose Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment to help him with his drug addiction because of its integrated treatment approach, which includes medication assisted therapy. To manage the intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms that occur when heroin use stops, Jordan was prescribed a medication called Suboxone® along with the substance abuse counseling, therapy and education he received at Gateway Foundation.

“Using Suboxone® was a tremendous help. My mind wasn’t focused on getting heroin, and it helped me through the symptoms of physical withdrawal. Getting the medicine, therapy and counseling at the same place, from the same team was both reassuring and convenient,” says Jordan.

Reducing the Likelihood for Relapse

When medication assisted treatment is part of an integrated drug treatment program, the likelihood of a person staying in treatment and remaining drug free is increased. Treatment for dependency on opiates, alcohol or other substances can include the use of a few medications, including Vivitrol® and Suboxone. Gateway physicians and clinicians work closely with individuals to help determine the most appropriate drug treatment plan for them.

“At Gateway Foundation, we educate people like Jordan in intensive outpatient and residential treatment about medication assisted treatment options because they work and save lives. We make our clients aware of their options, benefits and potential risks. As a result, we are seeing that clients are considerably more receptive to how medication assisted treatment might work in their circumstances,” explains Gateway Foundation Caseyville Executive Director Don Bushnell.

In addition to prescribed medications, counseling helps individuals increase their motivation for recovery and enhance their overall quality of life. It also helps people develop the skills they need to recognize events that may trigger their use of drugs or alcohol and how to cope with those situations in a healthy way.

For questions regarding Gateway Foundation’s integrated treatment programs, including medication assisted treatment, please call the 24-Hour Helpline at 877-505-HOPE (4673) or visit RecoverGateway.org.

Family Video Counseling Aids in Substance Abuse Treatment

Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Offers Long Distance Support For Lasting Recovery

substance abuse treatmentCHICAGO, January 30, 2012—When the best substance abuse treatment for a person’s drug abuse or drug addiction isn’t close to home, it makes it difficult for family members to participate in the treatment of a loved one. Recognizing family involvement is an integral aspect that provides both immediate and long-term benefits to individuals in recovery, Gateway Foundation Lake Villa has added a valuable service to its Family Program to assist families that live at a distance through online video counseling.

“At Gateway Foundation, we know substance abuse treatment that engages family members in the treatment process is helpful. We know that a positive and supportive recovery environment helps improve and maintain recovery. That is why we are integrating video technology to make family involvement as convenient as possible,” explains Gateway Foundation Clinical Director Dr. Phil Welches.

Currently available for families of individuals in Residential Treatment at Gateway Foundation Lake Villa with broadband Internet access and a computer, Gateway Foundation’s Family Video Counseling sessions are conducted via a secure video conferencing software application that is fully compliant with federal health regulations to ensure privacy. During the sessions, family situations related to substance abuse issues are discussed in an open and respectful manner. In addition, family members can learn coping skills, increase understanding of how to support a chemically dependent individual and gain insight into what to expect in recovery.

“Based on the encouraging results and positive feedback from families who participate in video counseling sessions, we plan to roll out Family Video Counseling to other Gateway Foundation residential substance abuse treatment centers this year,” says Dr. Welches.

Located approximately 50 miles northwest of Chicago, Gateway Foundation Lake Villa is situated on a beautiful 43-acre campus on the shores of the Fox Lake. For more information about alcohol and drug abuse treatment for adults and adolescents at the Lake Villa center, please visit RecoverGateway.org.

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment

Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment is Illinois’ largest provider of substance abuse treatment, providing services for adults and adolescents at treatment centers throughout the state. Gateway is licensed by the state of Illinois and accredited by The Joint Commission, the leading accrediting organization for hospitals and behavioral healthcare organizations. Each year, Gateway Foundation helps thousands of individual’s successfully complete treatment.

To learn more about Gateway Foundation’s free and confidential consultation, call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Pekin Welcomes New Gateway Foundation Treatment Center

Pekin Welcomes New Gateway Foundation Treatment Center

Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment, a leading provider of substance abuse treatment, opened a new outpatient treatment center providing adult and teenage alcohol and drug addiction treatment in Pekin, IL. The center is conveniently located at 11 South Capital near the Tazewell County Clerk’s office.

Pictured (l to r) at the ribbon cutting for the Gateway Foundation Pekin treatment center are: Aindrea Balagna of the Pekin Chamber of Commerce; Jamie Cates of Tazewell County; David Mills of Tazewell County; Kerry Henry of Gateway Foundation Pekin; Kim Person of Gateway Foundation Pekin; Drew Leman of the Pekin Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about substance abuse treatment programs at Gateway Foundation treatment centers, please call our 24-Hour Helpline at 877-505-HOPE (4673) or visit RecoverGateway.org.

Gateway Foundation at the Southern Illinois Occupational Health and Safety Conference

Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment

Matt Germann
Outreach Coordinator

Matt Germann, Outreach Coordinator for Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Carbondale, recently shared information on the latest drug trends, including synthetic drugs such as K2 and bath salts, at the Southern Illinois Occupational Health and Safety Conference.  The conference was sponsored by Southern Illinois Safety Council and Southern Illinois Environmental Managers Association with continued support from Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center, John A. Logan College, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, Pepsi and Mid America.  The conference took place on Nov. 1, 2012 at the John A. Logan College Conference Center in Carterville, IL.

Gateway Foundation Opens New Outpatient Treatment Center in Pekin

Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment is proud to announce the opening of a new outpatient treatment center providing adult and teenage alcohol and drug addiction treatment in Pekin, IL. Conveniently located at 11 South Capital near the Tazewell County Clerk’s office, the center began serving the Tazewell County community in early October. Gateway Foundation Pekin is led by Executive Director Kerry Henry.

“Outpatient addiction treatment can be a good choice for people that have a strong support system, a stable living situation and the motivation to change. Our substance abuse experts will take the necessary time to understand the specific needs of each person. We then develop a customized treatment plan with recommendations for the most appropriate care based on an individual’s substance abuse and mental health history,” explains Kerry Henry.

The outpatient treatment programs at Gateway Foundation Pekin are not one-size-fits-all, but unique treatment plans that give individuals the highest chance for successful outcomes. The programs include substance abuse education and group counseling tailored to the needs of adults and troubled teens utilizing evidence-based relapse prevention curriculums as well as individual and family counseling as needed. While in treatment, individuals will focus on improving awareness, recognizing one’s strengths and truer personal values, learning strategies to avoid or cope with high-risk situations, enhancing motivation and development of coping skills.

The new center also provides treatment for individuals that may have co-occurring mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, grief or relationship problems in conjunction with substance abuse issues, as well as aftercare for on-going support once treatment is completed.

The outpatient programs have Morning, After-Work and After-School Programs for adults and teens.  Adult programs are offered from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and in the evening from 6 to 9 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday. Teenage substance abuse treatment programs are offered in the evening from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.

For more information, please visit RecoverGateway.org/Pekin or call (877) 505-HOPE (4673).

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