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Treatment

Why is Addiction Considered a “Family Disease”? 

By | addiction, Alcohol rehab, Community, Longmont Drug Rehab, Mental Health, Therapy, Treatment | No Comments

While those suffering from addiction are experiencing their own type of hell, the loved ones surrounding them suffer immensely, too. It goes without saying that living with an addict is incredibly difficult. 

When an addict begins to hurt their family, disrespect their siblings and parents, lash out, and challenge boundaries, the other members of the household also change their behaviors. Some may try and help the addict and protect them from getting into trouble, thus becoming the ‘scapegoat’. Others may take on the role of “caretaker” and attempt to compensate for the lack of care given by parents because the parents may be too busy trying to protect the addict. These are only a few examples of the dysfunctional roles that family members can take on when an addict is among them.

 In a recent study done at Texas Tech University, the saying, “addiction is a family disease” has taken on new meaning. Not only is the addict’s brain affected by the addiction, the family members’ brains actually change as well. What the study found is that members of the addict’s family have become sick as a result of the addict’s behavior. Just like when the prefrontal cortex of an addict shuts down when they are faced with temptation or are triggered to use, the family members’ prefrontal cortex  will malfunction when they are attempting to help the addict. Family members actually “crave” rescuing and care-taking of their addicted family member just like the addict craves their substance of choice. 

The conclusion of the study, which took place at Texas Tech, states the following: 

“The present study provides preliminary evidence that family members’ symptomatic behaviors associated with a loved one with a Substance Use Disorder  (such as fear-based behaviors), as hypothesized, may be related to altered brain functioning. Given these findings, problematic symptoms and behaviors may likely not decrease simply because the loved one struggling with a Substance Use Disorder finds abstinence or engages in a process of recovery. Should altered pathways be present in the brains of affected family members as has been found in individuals struggling with Substance Use Disorders, it becomes of great importance to help family members recognize their own personal need for support, ther- apeutic treatment, and/or recovery. Part of the recovery process should include family-based therapeutic support, and it is therefore important to make sure that the appropriate systemic and relationship training is available to helping professionals.” 

This study proves the necessity of the entire family getting treatment, not just the addict. Family members who turn to support groups such as Al-Anon or partake in family therapy have found great success in changing their behavior and learning “the three C’s”: You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it, and you can’t control it.” If the addict is the only one getting treatment, and then goes back in to an environment where the rest of the family is still unwell, the addict’s likelihood for success goes down. The disease of addiction is viciously contagious, and it is important for everyone who is touched by it to seek help. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. To learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153.

Canine Assisted Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Addiction

By | addiction, Community, Media, Mental Health, Misc, Therapy, Treatment | No Comments

Canine Assisted Psychotherapy occurs when therapists partner with therapy dogs to enhance the therapeutic experience.  As an Animal Assisted Therapist, I have seen the many ways that dogs can enhance the therapeutic environment through the human animal bond.

 

Research has shown that Canine Assisted Psychotherapy can benefit people with:

  • Behavioral problems
  • Addiction
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Autism
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Treatment Resistance

 

Dogs also provide unconditional love and acceptance and can promote health and healing when used in therapy. This type of experience provides clients with the opportunity to find self-love, self-acceptance, and can decrease stress and anxiety related to the therapeutic process.

 

Dogs are unique in that they provide immediate feedback to the people they interact with.  They can reflect emotions and in doing so can help people to identify their emotions and practice emotion regulation. This allows clients to practice healthy coping skills and emotion regulation skills within the therapeutic setting with the support of their therapist.

 

In general, the therapeutic experience can be stressful and overwhelming.  The presence of a therapy dog can help to decrease the anxiety clients feel during therapy.  Lastly, the physical activity and dog training that is associated with Canine Assisted Psychotherapy can help to improve physical health, communication, and frustration tolerance.

 

Some of the benefits of Canine Assisted Therapy include the following:

  • Strengthen the therapeutic alliance between therapist and client
  • Increase self confidence
  • Improve psychosocial functioning
  • Decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
  • Decrease Stress
  • Improve communication skills
  • Better Mood
  • Improve anger management
  • Better physical health

 

As an Animal Assisted Therapist, I have seen the many ways that dogs can enhance the therapeutic environment through the human animal bond. The therapeutic experience can be stressful and overwhelming.  The presence of a therapy dog can help to decrease the anxiety clients feel during therapy.

 

Overall, Canine Assisted Psychotherapy can be a beneficial therapeutic practice for many people.  However, it is not for everyone.  Canine Assisted Psychotherapy will only be beneficial if the client is interested in dogs or enjoys dogs. It is important to ensure that both the client and the therapy dog can remain safe and benefit from the therapeutic encounter prior to engaging in canine assisted interventions.

 

The Redpoint Center is a substance abuse treatment center in Longmont, Colorado.  We are lucky to have our own therapy dog named Parker.  Parker is generally in the office on most days of the week and is happy to sit in on a client’s therapy session if he isn’t busy chewing on his toys.

 

For more information on Canine Assisted Psychotherapy please reference the following research:

  • Incorporating animal-assisted therapy in mental health treatments for adolescents: A systematic review of canine assisted psychotherapy

Melanie G. Jones, Simon M. Rice, Susan M. Cotton

  • Research on Benefits of Canine-Assisted Therapy for Adults in Nonmilitary Settings

Janet S. Knisely, Sandra B. Barker, and Randolph T. Barker

  • Patient benefit of dog-assisted interventions in health care: a systematic review Martina Lundqvis, Per Carlsson, Rune Sjödahl, Elvar Theodorssonand   Lars-Åke Levin

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. To learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153.

The Redpoint Center Staff’s Favorite Songs About Addiction, Drug Use and Recovery

By | addiction, Community, Media, Mental Health, Misc, Therapy, Treatment | No Comments

Stories of addiction and drug abuse have worked themselves into our culture in the form of books, music, theater and songs for centuries.   Often times, a song we love is actually about addiction and drug abuse and we aren’t even aware of it until we take the time to really look at and listen to the lyrics.  This isn’t surprising, considering the fact that addiction and drug use is common among singers, songwriters and musicians that we listen to on a daily basis.  We also know of a multitude of extremely talented singers and members of popular bands who have died from addiction and drug overdoses., so it is not uncommon to find stories about drug and addiction in their music.

 

Just last month, the staff at The Redpoint Center, an outpatient substance abuse treatment program in Longmont, Colorado, shared their favorite movies about addiction and recovery.  We therefore found the next logical step was for us to recount our favorite songs about addiction, drug use and recovery.  The following is a summary of our musings, in no particular order, along with a link to the song and the staff member who chose it.

 

  • Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind- This song is the title track from the rock band’s self-titled debut album that was released in 1997.  Despite the easy going and peppy pop sound of this song, it is actually about using crystal meth and the shiny looking outside of people who are sick and hurting on the inside.ur medical director, Dr. Honor Ashbaugh.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beINamVRGy4

 

  • Under the Bridge by The Red Hot Chili Peppers- “Under the Bridge” appears on the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s fifth album, titled Blood, Sweat, Sex and Magik. Anthony Keidis, the rock band’s lead singer, wrote the lyrics of this song to depict feelings of loneliness and despondency, and to relay the impact that a heroin addiction had on his life.  This song was picked as a favorite by our clinical director, Nikki Summers, and therapist Quddus Maus.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLvohMXgcBo

 

  • Hurt by Nine Inch Nails- Hurt is a song that appears on Nine Inch Nail’s second studio album, The Downward Spiral, released in 1994. The song includes references to self-harm and heroin addiction.  Others contend that the song acts as s suicide note written by the song’s protagonist.  Nonetheless, the entire album is about a period in the singer’s life when he abused drugs and fell into a deep depression.  This song, and the cover by Johnny Cash, was picked as a favorite by The Redpoint Center’s founder, Cody Gardner.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPz21cDK7dg

 

  • Hurt cover by Johnny Cash- In 2002, Johnny Cash covered the song “Hurt”.  Reznor, the Nine Inch Nails lead singer, said he was flattered when Johnny Cash wanted to cover this song, but was worried that it was a “bit gimmicky”.  After seeing the video, however, which was best music video of the year by Grammy’s and CMA Awards, Reznor liked what he saw.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt1Pwfnh5pc

 

  • Soul to Squeeze by The Red Hot Chili Peppers- “Soul to Squeeze” was released as a B-side on the The Red Hot Chili Peppers “Give it Away” and “Under the Bridge.” It was then released as a single in 1993.  “Soul to Squeeze” Is thought by some as depicting the entire mental process between addiction and recovery. It focuses heavily on what recovery has to offer rather than glorifying or self-deprecating the addictive thought process.  This was picked  a asfavorite by The Redpoint Center’s Drew Dyer..

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XcN12uVHeQ

 

  • Lost in the Cold by Twiddle- “Lost in the Cold” was also picked as a favorite by Drew Dyer. In his own words, the song reminds him of “grabbing onto the fear of recovery and facing it rather than hiding from it.”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0NyOcf7h8c

 

  • Heroin by The Velvet Underground- The song “Heroin” was released by The Velvet Underground on their 1967 debut album called The Velvet Underground & Nico. The song was written by Lou Reed and beautifully depicts heroin use and abuse.  The song “Heroin” neither endorses nor condemns the use of heroin, which has made it a troubling song in the eyes of some listeners.  This song was picked as a favorite by The Redpoint Center’s wellness coordinator, Shane Niemeyer.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFLw26BjDZs

 

  • Not if You Were the Last Junkie on Earth, by The Dandy Warhols- This song was released in 1997 on the second studio album released by The Dandy Warhols, called The Dandy Warhols Come Down.  The song, according to front man Courtney Taylor-Taylor, was written about his girlfriend (at the time) who got addicted to heroin while he was on tour. This song was picked as a favorite by The Redpoint Center therapist, Desmond Cohen.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APrpB-i4d_E

 

  • Down on the Bottom by The New Basement Tapes- Down on the Bottom was the first song recorded by The New Basement Tapes on their album titled “Lost on the River.” The lyrics were written by Bob Dylan in 1967, and are interpreted to be about drinking and hitting rock bottom with nowhere to go but up.  This song was picked as a favorite by The Redpoint Center’s Katie Fischer.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXXEG6kY96E

 

  • You’ll Never Walk Alone by The Dropkick Murphy’s- This song first appeared in a 1945 musical called Carousel. It has been covered by many different bands and musicians, and appeared on The Dropkick Murphys album “11 Short Stories of Pain and Glory” when it was released in 2017.  This song, explains bassist and vocalist Ken Casey, came on when he was leaving a wake for a friend who had overdosed on opiates.  It summed up to him how he was feeling at the time- sad but knowing that there is hope. This song was picked as a favorite by The Redpoint Center’s therapist Stephanie Winkler.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8SK8JHKn1k

 

  • Lover I Don’t Have to Love by Bright Eyes- “Lover I Don’t Have to Love” was released by the American, Indie Rock band as a single in 2002. The Redpoint Center’s family advocate, Taylor Cole, picked this song as a favorite about addiction and shared her words.  “I listened to this song throughout the throws of my addiction when I was touring with a band the year before I got sober. I knew I was an addict and I was not ready to get sober. I wanted to put myself into so much pain it would force me to get sober or I would just not make it. Every time I listen to it, I remember that feeling and am grateful that I don’t have to live like that anymore.”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuXkhE0VMcw

 

  • Staying Alive by Cursive- The song “Staying Alive”, by Cursive, was also picked by Taylor Cole as her favorite song about recover. She quotes, “Bad ass song that makes my insides feel warm and fuzzy. Choosing life and looking forward.”

 

 

  • Suicidal Thoughts by Biggie Smalls- “Suicidal Thoughts” was the last song on the debut album, “Ready to Die”, released by Notorious B.I.G. in 1994. Although not strictly about addiction, the song was listed as very meaningful to The Redpoint Center’s founder, Cody Gardner, who states that he “used to write the verses of this song on all his notebooks” while in rehab.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4M8GjgfG9k

 

  • Alive by Sia- “Alive” is the lead single from the Australian singer songwriter’s 7th studio album, titled “This is Acting.” The Redpoint Center’s admissions director, Rachael Messaros, notes that this song is one of her favorites about recovery. In her words, “On my 6th sobriety birthday I put all of my songs on shuffle, and this song came on. I cried because I was like, holy shit, I survived.”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2NgsJrrAyM

 

  • Billy Walker, by Israel Darling- Billy Walker was released in on the album by Israel Darling titled “Dinosaur Bones & Mechanical Hands.” This song was picked as a favorite by one of The Redpoint Center’s therapists, Jay Fullam. In his own words, “I heard this song when I got sober at an open mic.  It really stuck with me and I listened to it regularly during my first year of sobriety.”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2rS0chMWFw

 

  • Needle and the Damage Done by Neil Young–“Needle and The Damage Done” first appeared on the Harvest album which was released in 1972. This song was written by Neil Young to describe the destruction caused by the heroin addiction of musicians he knew, including his friend and Crazy Horse bandmate, Danny Whitten. It previews the theme of a later album, “Tonight’s the Night”, that expresses Young’s grief over the subsequent overdose deaths of both Whitten and Bruce Berry, who was a roadie for Young and Crazy Horse. This song was picked as a favorite by The Redpoint Center’s Executive Director, Donnie Hagenbart.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd3oqvnDKQk

 

 

  • Rehab by Amy Winehouse- Rehab appeared on Winehouse’s second and final album, Back to Black, in 2006. The lyrics are in fact autobiographical, and describe Winehouse’s refusal to enter into a rehabilitation clinic for substance abuse and addiction. The song won three Grammy awards at the 50th Winehouse, as most know, subsequently died of alcohol poisoning on July 23rd, 2011.  This song was picked as a favorite by one of the Redpoint Center’s adolescent therapists, Bridget Camacho.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUmZp8pR1uc

 

  • Mansion by NF- The song Mansion, by NF (which stands for Nathan Feurstein) is a song on this American rapper’s debut album, titled the same, which was released on March 31, 2015. This song was picked by The Redpoint Center’s Samantha Jackson. In her own words, “I like this song because for so long I was in my head about a lot of things and I thought keeping that to myself was a lot safer than talking about it or getting help. Also, I thought using was a good way to take care of my problems, but it just acted as a temporary fix. This song is a good reminder to myself that I don’t want to be in such a dark place again. It also puts me in the mindset of when I was still using and how much I didn’t like what I was doing.”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF5QE3-ox4o

 

 

We hope you enjoy this compilation of The Redpoint Center staff’s favorite songs about addiction, drug abuse and recover.  If you think you or your loved one might have an addiction or problem with drug or alcohol use, The Redpoint Center can help.  Please call us with any questions, as we’re here to help.

 

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. To learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153.

EMDR and its Role in the Treatment of Addiction

By | addiction, Community, Mental Health, Therapy, Treatment | No Comments

Helping To Address Trauma During Addiction Treatment

The Redpoint Center is a trauma focused substance abuse treatment center in Longmont, Colorado. We understand that trauma is a risk factor for addiction and substance use disorder. Our treatment of trauma is key in helping individuals recover from their addictions. We use several different types of treatments for trauma, which differ from talk therapy.  One reason talk therapy doesn’t effectively address trauma is that those memories are stored in the hippocampus, part of the mid brain. Our talk therapy doesn’t effectively access these memories stored in the mid brain—it tends to involve utilization of our frontal lobes.

 

Using EMDR to Cope With Trauma and Stress

EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy is a helpful tool used to treat trauma. It helps us access and process memories stored in the mid brain. Our use of EMDR is expanding, and helping more people with issues that are causing them distress. We’ve found that people with substance abuse issues commonly have a history of trauma, struggle to cope with stress, and often benefit from EMDR.

Research has shown that EMDR causes changes in the brain chemistry that reverse the damage caused by trauma or acute stress. Bessel van der Kolk, an expert and researcher in the field of brain chemistry and trauma, has performed several brain studies. His work involved taking PET scan photographs of the brain before and after EMDR sessions.

The PET scans of someone who is remembering trauma show the amygdala in the brain to be well lit. This is part of the limbic system (in the mid brain) that is responsible for emotions, survival instincts and memory. The amygdala is well lit when trauma and acute stress exist. It is the “smoke detector” that scans the environment, and lets us know if there is something going on that is relevant to survival.

When people experience a threat, the amygdala becomes activated and is well lit in a PET scan. The frontal lobe, where cognition and understanding take place, is quite dim because the amygdala is more activated. When people are experiencing “normal” memories, the frontal lobe is bright and outshines the amygdala.

 

Studies About the Benefits of EMDR

In one study, van der Kolk had several individuals go through EMDR sessions. Before the sessions, the PET scans showed a brain in a trauma state. After the EMDR sessions, the brain appeared normal when the client was bringing to mind the same stressful event. The memory was no longer held as a traumatic memory but as a normal, processed memory.

We found another study where van der Kolk showed that subjects with a complicated traumatic history, after six EMDR sessions, had greatly reduced PTSD symptoms that continued to decrease even more for up to six months after the study.

We do not know exactly how psychotherapy affects the brain’s neuro-biology. However, we do know that when people are upset, their brains cannot process information normally. EMDR is similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

During REM sleep, the information from the day is being processed. When people experience trauma, the amygdala becomes hyperactive, and stores the traumatic information and memory. This makes it difficult to process this information. EMDR creates the same stimulation that occurs during REM sleep. This assists the brain in processing the trauma or issues related to stress.  The end result is that people see disturbing information in a new and less distressing way.

 

Getting Started with EMDR in Your Treatment

We know addiction is connected to acute stress and often trauma. Once our client has dealt with trauma and acute stress through EMDR, he or she is better able to experience healthy relationships, cope with stress and live a more successful life.  In addition, people can recover from addiction since they are no longer, or less affected, by their distress.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. Learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, by calling 888-509-3153.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter

By | addiction, Community, Media, Mental Health, Misc, Therapy, Treatment | No Comments

It is a common occurrence amongst therapists to joke that if they bring their clients to tears then they know they’ve done something right. We believe that laughter can be one of the most powerful tools at our disposal. 

Other reasons why laughing is therapeutic:

Connection: Laughter increases one’s ability to be close with others, and is an expression most often used in a social context. We are 30 times more likely to laugh if we are with another person. Cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott said we laugh “to show people that you understand them, that you agree with them, and you are part of the same group with them. You’re laughing to show them you like them, you might even love them. Laughter is doing all that emotional work for you.”

See what else Sophie has to say in her Ted Talk Why We Laugh

Nervous System Regulation: laughter reduces sympathetic nervous system activity (fight or flight response) and increases parasympathetic system activity, which can relax the whole body, thus reducing the impact of stress on the body and mind.

Read more about laughter and the nervous system here.

Perspective: it offers a new way to look at a situation and

“Humor and laughter can shift perspective and change the way the our mind views or experiences an event.”

Emotional Health

Emotional health, but physical health have been linked to laughter as well.  Norman Cousins, who wrote Anatomy of an Illness (1979), describes his experience using laughter to help him live a longer, and more pain free life while suffering from an illness affecting the immune system. According to Cousins:

  • Laughter:
    • Releases endorphins in the brain that fight physical pain.
    • Protects our immune systems.
    • Increases antibodies that fight infection.
    • Increases natural killer cell activity. Natural killer cells attack cancerous cells in the body.
    • Improves cardiovascular health
    • Activates neuro-chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, acting as a natural antidepressant.

And one final thought; did you know there is something called “Laughter Yoga”? Make sure to check out this Ted Talk by Dr. Madan Kataria, the pioneer of Laughter Yoga, which is now a worldwide practice for improving overall health and wellbeing.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. To learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153.

Three Steps To Get Through the Tough Times in Recovery

By | Community, Treatment

Throughout my time in recovery, to say that I have had ups and downs would be a great understatement. Life happens, and when it does, look out! Not unlike a roller-coaster, it will throw you for loops, spins, climbs and descents, as well as equal parts of excitement and fear.

Life is not always easy. In fact, it seldom is. This is one very important lesson that I have learned from being in recovery for 9 years.

Throughout my recovery, I have been divorced, engaged, not engaged, employed, un-employed, loved and had my heart broken. I have buried some friends and also seen others get married and become parents. I have seen my 3 nieces become Bat-Mitzvah. I have had great successes professionally as well as great disappointments.

What really matters is what we do when things aren’t easy, so that we can get through and come out the other side to enjoy the good things that life has to offer. My journey has included several steps that I know I need to take when presented with difficult times.

First, I need to recognize what’s happening, and to shine a light on my problems instead of running and hiding from them. By confronting them, I can break them down to manageable issues.

Second, I need to come up with a plan of action. This can include therapy, walks with friends, healthy coping skills, being around those who love me, meditation and prayer, and even workshops that encourage honest and real growth.

Third, and this is only what I know works for me, I dive back into my AA community. I attend more meetings, I work the steps again, I get a service position, and I call my sponsor and ask for help.

These things have helped me get where I am today. It’s when things are the toughest that we most need to recommit to what got us here in the first place. Anyone in long-term recovery will tell you that it takes effort and work to maintain what you have achieved.

“I’m not telling you it is going to be easy, I’m telling you it is going to be worth it”

-Arthur Williams Jr.

Written by Ben Marbach, Sober Living Program Manager/Case Manager

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. To learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153.

Medically Assisted Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

By | Treatment

SAMSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, defines Medication Assisted Treatment, or MAT, as the use of FDA approved medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.

At The Redpoint Center, one of the most common substance use disorders that we see is Alcohol Use Disorder. This is largely a result of the prevalence and societal acceptance of alcohol use in our country.

Alcohol Use Disorder, as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, 5th Edition, (DSM-V), was previously referred to as Alcohol Abuse and/or Alcohol Dependence in the DSM-IV. Alcohol Use Disorder  is a broad term for any drinking of alcohol that results in mental or physical health, behavioral, interpersonal relationship or occupational problems.

At The Redpoint Center, we believe that recovery from an Alcohol problem is a process, not an event. We also believe that this recovery requires a combination of treatment modalities including individual and group therapy, recovery coaching, physical and wellness coaching, community building and medical evaluation. In some cases, our medical director, who evaluates all clients upon admission, might suggest Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) to assist in the recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder.

There are several medications that can be invaluable in helping an individual abstain from alcohol and subsequently recover from Alcohol Use Disorder. If MAT is suggested by our medical director, it is only after a comprehensive physical examination has been performed and in conjunction with the other treatment modalities mentioned above.

One of the most commonly used medications to treat alcohol use disorder is naltrexone. Naltrexone works by blocking a receptor in the brain known as the mu-opioid receptor. The stimulation of these receptors is what causes the euphoric effects of alcohol, and by taking medications to block this receptor, a person will not get the same pleasurable sensations if they drink alcohol. Naltrexone has also been found to reduce cravings for alcohol, which can be very helpful in the initial stages of abstinence from alcohol.

Naltrexone comes in two forms: oral and injectable. The oral form, of course, only works if you take it. Therefore, some people prefer the injectable form (Vivitrol) which is given intramuscularly and stays in your system for four weeks.

The most common side effects of naltrexone are nausea, headache and dizziness, and these tend to diminish as a person continues to take the medication. It can also cause a mild elevation of liver enzymes, so your doctor might monitor blood work while you are taking this medication.

Another medication that has been used to help people with alcohol use disorder maintain abstinence is acamprosate. This medication works by modulating the neurotransmission of glutamate, which is a completely different mechanism of action than naltrexone. One drawback to acamprosate is that it needs to be taken orally three times daily, which is challenging for most people.

Although it has been shown to increase the duration of abstinence in people who stopped using alcohol in some studies, other studies have shown that it is no better than placebo. The results, therefore, are conflicting. The primary side effects of acamprosate include nervousness, diarrhea and fatigue. These symptoms usually diminish with continued use of the medication.

Disulfiram is another commonly used drug in the treatment of alcohol use disorder. It is also known by the trade name Antabuse. Antabuse doesn’t work by decreasing the desire to drink, but instead will cause a very unpleasant physical reaction if a person drinks alcohol while taking it.

Antabuse works by blocking an enzyme that breaks down one of the metabolites of alcohol, acetaldehyde. If a person drinks alcohol while taking Antabuse, acetaldehyde accumulates in the body and causes uncomfortable symptoms such as sweating, headache, flushing, shortness of breath, low bread pressure, nausea and vomiting.   The result is that a person will not want to drink alcohol while taking Antabuse because they don’t want to get sick. Again, Antabuse only works if a person takes it, so a person has to be highly motivated to stay sober, or take the drug under supervision, for this drug to be considered.

There are other drugs that are being studied to treat alcohol use disorder, but clinical trials are limited. If one of the drugs above cannot be used, other options might include topiramate and nalmephene.

In summary, some medications have been found to be effective in the treatment of alcohol use disorder. MAT is used to increase a patient’s chance of long term sobriety, since up to 70% of people getting psychosocial treatment (counseling and behavioral therapy) alone, will relapse. However, it is imperative to stress that these medications should never be used alone, without some sort of psychosocial intervention, to treat alcohol use disorder.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. To learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153.

Loveland Drug Rehabilitation

By | Treatment

If you are seeking help for a loved one in Loveland, CO we know how challenging it can be to find the right drug rehab for yourself or your loved one. At The Redpoint Center, we provide comprehensive, personalized substance abuse and mental health treatment. Our participants engage with us mostly on an outpatient basis, but we do have structured, monitored sober living options. We believe that we are more than a normal “IOP” or “Extended Care” in that our minimum level of service comes with many services not normally available to those at the IOP level of care.

We know that the decision to get help for addiction can be difficult and that searching the internet for the right program can sometimes make it more confusing.

The research tells us that only 1 in 10 Americans with a drug addiction will receive treatment. Furthermore, we know that addiction to all drugs including heroin, methamphetamine, prescription medications, marijuana, benzodiazepines, and many others are on the rise in Loveland Colorado.

In response to these growing numbers, Colorado has worked hard to implement more ways for people to access treatment. Even with these resources, it can be very hard to find the right fit. Many times, the person seeking does not even know the right questions to ask.

If someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth. To learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153. Call our admissions line today to speak with someone who can help. If we cannot help, we will make sure to help you find the right treatment.

What is MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment)?

By | Treatment

Trying to overcome an drug addiction or alcohol addiction can be one of the most challenging and difficult tasks that any individual embarks upon. At The Redpoint Center, our drug rehab in Longmont Colorado, we understand the challenge that our clients are up against when they try to quit using their substance of choice. We also believe that pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, and just “quitting”, is an outdated idea that is not effective.

Successful recovery from a substance use disorder requires many different interventions. I like the use of analogies, and often compare successful recovery from substance abuse to recovery from a medical condition such as a myocardial infarction, or heart attack.

If a person suffers a heart attack, which is the result of a blockage in one of the arteries that supplies the heart with blood, I would offer a variety of interventions to help this person recover. This person would be started on an exercise regimen, a heart-healthy diet, instructed to reduce stress and get adequate amounts of sleep, and given medications to help with blood pressure and heart rate, cholesterol and a type of blood thinner as a part of a comprehensive recovery plan.

At The Redpoint Center we understand that recovery from substance use disorders and addiction is no different. We offer a variety of addiction interventions, including group and individual therapy, coaching and case management, family support, health and wellness instruction and medical evaluation and follow-up. Sometimes medications are necessary and extremely helpful, when used in conjunction with the above interventions, to help an individual stop using a substance they are addicted to and find a path to recovery.

At The Redpoint Center, we have a full-time, board certified physician on staff that cares for our clients. Medication Assisted Treatment, or MAT, is sometimes used to help our clients stop using an addictive substance, if it is indicated.

SAHMSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, defines Medication Assisted Treatment, or MAT, as the use of FDA approved medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.

MAT is always supervised by a physician on a case-by-case basis. At our addiction treatment center, all of our clients are evaluated by our medical director on admission, where the pros and cons of medication assisted treatment is typically discussed. MAT can be used in many ways to help people stop using their drug of choice. We believe that MAT is most successful when used in conjunction with other treatments.

Most people think of MAT as drugs used to help with withdrawal symptoms or cravings. There are many drugs available for these purposes, and physicians can prescribe medications to help with withdrawal from alcohol, opioids, cannabis, and nicotine, to name a few. There are also medications that can be prescribed that will block the effects of drugs if they are used, which is another common strategy. One medication which has had a lot of publicity recently is Suboxone otherwise known as Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is used in MAT to help people quick using heroin or other opiates. The benefits of Suboxone is that it contains the anti-craving medication buprenorphine as well as naloxone, an abuse deterrent drug.

But Medication Assisted Treatment can also include the treatment of co-occurring conditions, especially mental health conditions, that can make it difficult to abstain from the use of substances if the substances are being used to treat symptoms of the mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression.

At The Redpoint Center, we evaluate every individual on a case by case basis to see if MAT is something that would be helpful for our clients. Our medical director spends time with each client individually, explaining the pros and cons of the suggested medical treatment if one is recommended. In some cases, clients are resistant to the idea of medications, because they feel like they are “cheating” in some way. However, we believe the opposite to be true. Addiction is an illness, and MAT can in many cases make recovery from a substance use disorder possible in cases where it once seemed insurmountable.

There are many aspects of recovery from a substance use disorder, and MAT is only one of these tools, but it is a very important tool that The Redpoint Center takes very seriously.

Some of the MAT options that are available at The Redpoint Center, Longmonts premier drug rehab:

  • Suboxone
  • Vivitrol
  • Antabuse
  • Naltrexone
  • Depression Medications
  • Anxiety Medications

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. To learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153.

The Paradox of Comfort

By | Therapy, Treatment

com·fort:

a state or situation in which you are relaxed and do not have any mentally or physically unpleasant feelings

Comfort is a funny thing. In small doses it allows us to recover and marshal our resources, but in excess it can become crippling. Most of us unwittingly allow unhealthy levels of comfort into our life. This typically presents as settling for comfort at the expense of putting up with some level of discomfort to help us grow.

The truth is that actively pursuing resistance makes us stronger. Friction and resistance mark the boundary between our current ability level and our potential. Challenging our boundaries extends their borders, thereby expanding the field of possibilities available to us. Where there was once a boundary, now there is newfound strength of character and capability in its place.

This principle applies to every aspect of our lives, including exercise and diet. If we don’t have access to motivation, we can manufacture it. When we are tempted to make poor choices we can summon the force of will to overcome the seduction of complacency. You can contend with the familiarity of comfort when you should be exerting mental or physical effort over an aspect of your life you want to improve. With practice, over time, we can make discomfort and resistance our allies.

Here are a couple of questions to consider.

  • What are some of the habits you wish you had?
  • Can you identify a few areas of your life that you want to improve?

All of our aspirations depend on sacrifice and discomfort. We have access to the same 168 hours each week, yet those who continually reach and strive to get out of their comfort zone are able to achieve much more with their time. The greatest gift we can give the world and everyone we meet along the way is the gift of self-improvement.

In conclusion, the paradox of comfort means something different to each of us. The question is, how can you best apply the virtue of welcoming discomfort in your own life? Personally, I see opportunity for growth and challenge in little moments. I embrace being cold or hot. I work out late or early, often outside in the dark. I read when I would rather watch television. I write when I would rather not. Each moment offers a chance to step over our smaller self and closer to our more ideal self.

Have a good week, and FULLY get after it.

Shane Niemeyer is the Director of Wellness Services at The Redpoint Center, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Longmont Colorado. The Redpoint Center specializes in helping those suffering from alcoholism and addiction in Colorado to create a compelling vision for their future that encompasses recovery and sobriety. Each participant at The Redpoint Center has the opportunity to work with Shane both individually and in a group setting.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. To learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153.