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Boulder County Mental Health & Drug Rehab |

Is Addiction a Family Disease? 

By | Addiction, Alcohol rehab, Community, Longmont Drug Rehab, Mental Health, Therapy, Treatment

Is addiction a family disease? What does this mean? Those suffering from addictive behaviors are suffering. And their loved ones suffer immensely, too. It goes without saying that living with substance use disorder is incredibly difficult. 

When someone using drugs begins to hurt their family, they may experience various behavioral symptoms. They may show disrespect to their siblings and parents. In addition, they might lash out, challenge boundaries, or project their emotional struggles. Furthermore, other family members may modify their behaviors to manage the stress of it all. Some may try and help the individual using drugs or alcohol to protect them from getting into trouble. Thus, becoming the enabler. Others may take on the role of caretaker and attempt to compensate, providing care that may be lacking. These are only a few examples of the dysfunctional roles that family members might play.

Addiction: A Family Disease

In a recent study at Texas Tech University, the saying, “addiction is a family disease” took on new meaning. Not only is the addicted brain affected by the substances. In addition, the family members’ brains actually change as well. The study found that family members suffer as a result of the addict’s behavior. The prefrontal cortex of one using substances shuts down when faced with temptation or triggered to use drugs. Research shows the family members’ prefrontal cortex malfunctions as well. Hence, studies validate that addiction is a family disease. Parents and siblings can actually crave patterns. They seek to rescue and care-take their addicted family member. Therefore, this is similar to the substance abuser who craves their substance of choice. 

The conclusion of the Texas Tech study, 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, therapeutic 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.” 

Family Therapy Changes Outcomes

This study proves the concept of addiction as a family disease. The entire family needs to participate in treatment. Family members who turn to support groups such as Al-Anon or partake in family therapy find great success. Consequently, they are able to change their behavior. Also, families learn “the three C’s”: You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it, and you can’t control it. If the alcohol or substance user is the only one getting treatment, it’s a vacuum. And then they go back into an environment where the rest of the family is still unwell. Hence, the individual’s likelihood of success goes down. The disease of addiction is viciously contagious. Therefore, it is important for everyone 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. You are not alone. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. To learn more, call us 888-509-3153.

Canine-Assisted Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Addiction

By | Addiction, Community, Media, Mental Health, Misc, Therapy, Treatment

Canine-Assisted Psychotherapy utilizes therapy dogs in mental health and substance abuse treatment. Animals enhance the benefits of therapeutic modalities. As an animal-friendly program, we see the impact animals have each day. Furthermore, there are many ways that dogs impact us through the human-animal bond.

Research shows Canine-Assisted Psychotherapy benefits:

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

Dogs provide unconditional love and acceptance. This can promote health and healing when used in substance abuse and mental health therapy. Also, this positivity provides clients with healthy bonds. The connection creates an opportunity for clients to feel self-love and self-acceptance. Furthermore, animals can help decreases stress and anxiety. Hence, this is positive for the therapeutic process.

Dogs, Emotions, and Self-Regulation

Dogs provide immediate feedback. And they connect on nuanced levels. They can reflect emotions. Also, they help people to identify emotions and practice emotional regulation. Therefore, this allows clients to practice healthy coping skills. This is enhanced with the support of a clinical therapist.

The therapeutic experience can be challenging and stressful at times. A therapy dog can help to decrease anxiety. In addition, time with animals can increase feelings of well-being. This value is significant. As a result, physical activity and dog training can help to improve physical health, communication, and patience.

Benefits of Canine-Assisted Therapy include:

  • 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

It is important to ensure that both the client and the therapy dog are comfortable. Also, it is key to ensure that both will benefit from the therapeutic encounter. Consequently, this happens prior to engaging in canine-assisted interventions.

At Redpoint, we are lucky to have our own therapy dog named Parker. Parker is generally in the office on most days of the week. He is happy to sit in on a client’s therapy session if he isn’t busy chewing his toys.

Studies reveal the efficacy of animal-assisted modalities. In conclusion, animals have a positive impact. Our furry friends bring love and more!

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, or mental health concerns, we are here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol abuse. Learn more about our program.  Call us any time 888-509-3153.

More information on Canine-Assisted Psychotherapy:

  • 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

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.

Redpoint Center Sober Fly Fishing Recovery

Sober Fly Fishing and Substance Abuse Recovery

By | Addiction

By Jay Fullum, therapist on the Redpoint Center Team

Spending Time Outdoors

Fly fishing sober is a real gift. There are challenges of working in the addiction field, but I feel so blessed to have a career which allows me to integrate my passions. In addition, I love to expose the people I work with to fly fishing. It is a self-care tool they can use in their daily lives and recovery. Fly fishing sober brings great joy.

At The Redpoint Center, we provide outdoor-based skills to help our participants explore Colorado as an element of their recovery process. From personal experience, I know that spending time outside is necessary in all aspects of recovery and well-being. Furthermore, my story illustrates how fly fishing is an important part of recovery from my substance abuse and addiction. Hence, it could be part of your recovery, too.

Fly Fishing Sober: On the River Bank

Deep in a forested canyon, I stand on the Blue river, gazing out to the flowing waters and the shores of the river widened. On this bank, I feel grounded and connected to my recovered spirit. On this day, I can hear the power of the water, and see the calming riffles steady into a slow, spiraling eddy. Watching intently, my eyes catch flashes of rising trout, and emerging mayflies that were preparing to take flight from the water’s surface.

It is early June, and I just walked two miles down a steep trail, lined by red willows, pines, and bright orange algae-covered granite rocks. The birds sing a taunting song of laughter that only a humbled angler can really appreciate. The birds are the true fishermen of the canyon, but allow for the rarely skilled two-legged to impress.

Finding Connection

I opened my fly box and reached for a reliable dry fly pattern. As I gauge the distance to the feeding trout, I measure ten feet of leader to the eyelet of the rod, and pull out an extra fifteen feet of fly line. Finally, I begin taking cautious casts with my right hand, back and forth over my left shoulder.

Allowing the line to release organically, I drop the fly in the riffle between the fast moving water flowed into the eddy. There is a slow rise five feet to the right, a few moments pass, and then another two feet to the left. I recast. Then, I watch nervously for a moment, and suddenly feel the line go taught. In an instant, I am connected to the natural world in a way I can never quite predict. Hence, I am truly in the moment.

My Catch

The fish jumps powerfully out of the water. I see the brown, yellow, and red mosaic tattooed on the fish’s left side. It is a German brown trout. I allow the fish to make a run, and as soon as I feel him begin to slow, I reel the line in. He makes one more tremendous run, but I patiently pressure him back toward the slow water I am standing below. I approach cautiously, and as gracefully as I can, I slip my net under him. Next, I gently remove the fly from the fish’s lip which is considerably worn but intact. I immediately notice the fish’s radiant beauty.

I hold him up, and take a mental snap shot of the browns and reds painted perfectly across the body, matching the rocks and willows on the shoreline. Then, I gently move my thumb over a glossy blue spot tucked behind the eye of fish as I lower him back into the water. The fish and I share one last moment, as I rock it back and forth, moving water back into its gills. The fish builds strength and returns into the run.

Finding Joy on the River

While I sit down on the side of the river, I feel a wave of sun on my face. In addition, I notice my breath. I let go of a breath that I have been holding in for what feels like month. My attitude shifts to gratitude. I appreciate that just yesterday, I was a crustacean on a bar stool drinking my life away. By the river, I feel at home, full of pure, unadulterated joy. These moments of sober fly fishing on the river are what I  chasied back in the day. In addition, the magic of time in nature is one I can always come back to, for free.

Redpoint Center Sober Fly Fishing

Saving Grace for My Recovery

Fly fishing sober has been a saving grace for my recovery in a number of ways. In my thirty years, I have participated in almost every sport or outdoor activity under the sun. However, nothing has inspired and focused my mind like connecting to the natural world via rod and reel. Fly fishing disconnects us from technology. In addition, it disrupts the monotony of the daily routine and stimulates physical, mental, and emotional health.

Scientific Effects of Fly-Fishing

In 2008, Herbert Benson MD, a professor of medicine and director of the Benson-Henry Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, found that one of the most critical ways to reduce stress is “breaking the train of everyday thinking.” Furthermore, Benson explored cortisol levels before and after activities that provoke a relaxation response. He defined the relaxation response as “a purposeful initiation of a physical state of deep rest that changes a persons physical and emotional response to stress.”

Benson, an avid fly fisherman, qualified fly-fishing as a “beautiful way” of evoking the relaxation response in the parasympathetic nervous system. Over the course of eight weeks, his research study monitored cortisol levels in people engaging in fly fishing as a relaxation response. At the end of the eight weeks, he found that over half of the sample group actually had decreased cortisol levels. Consequently, the practice lowers stress levels and boosts overall well-being.

Recreation as Meditation

As a person in recovery since 2011, I have been fortunate enough to study addiction and recovery personally and academically. In 2017, I received my masters degree in Contemplative Psychotherapy, a program that studies the disciplines of Tibetan Buddhism and western psychology. Naturally, I was exposed to a lot of meditation and have spent the last seven years of my life practicing a vippasana style of meditation.

Although sports and hobbies are not meditation, fly fishing is still a deeply meditative experience for me, and evokes Benson’s “relaxation response.” Calming activities include the back and forth casting motion, the attentiveness required for learning river ecology, and the deep in and out breaths required for patience and persistence. These can help the fisherman to access the present moment if they are willing to humble themselves to the outdoors.

Incorporating Sober Fly Fishing in Your Recovery

There have been a number of incredible fly fishing inspired organizations. They are using the healing methods of fly fishing. These include Casting for Recovery for women with breast cancer, and Project Healing Waters who work with disabled active military personnel and disabled veterans. However, the door is still wide open for an addiction and recovery sponsored fly-fishing initiative. With overdoses rising nationally each year (70,237 in 2017 according to drugabuse.gov) any and all positive efforts are needed now more than ever. For that reason, we are beginning to incorporate fly fishing at The Redpoint Center.

I find incredible symbolism in fly fishing. Also, I use some of these lessons with adult and adolescent clients I work with therapeutically. Many who walk into the The Redpoint Center have experienced tragedy and feel a sense of failure. But in fishing, as in recovery, our failures teach us just as much as our successes. We try to help our clients see that if they accept some simple instructions, they can hook into a new life pretty quickly.

Get Started on your Journey

The Redpoint Center supports clients to regularly get outside. We invite both staff and participants to join us in nature. Please come work with our team and call our admissions line for questions regarding the services we offer.

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.

Images courtesy of unsplash

Do I Have a Drinking Problem?

By | Addiction

A drinking problem can be debilitating. In addition it can impact one’s overall health. Also, it can affect our family, work life, and can threaten our well-being. At The Redpoint Center, one of the most common addictions we treat is Alcohol Use Disorder. The high prevalence and social acceptance of alcohol use can influence behavior. Furthermore, alcohol addiction can be insidious and hard to detect. Therefore, it’s key to know the signs of a drinking problem to determine how to help.

Stats on the Drinking Problem in the US

A 2016 summary, the United States National Survey on Drug Use and Health, reports that of Americans over the age of 12:

  • 7 million report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days.
  • 3 million report binge drinking (drinking 4+ drinks on at least one occasion in the past 30 days for women, and 5 or more for men).
  • 3 million report heavy drinking (binge drinking five+ days in the past 30 days).

These statistics show how extensive alcohol use is in our country. Most of us are familiar with the term alcoholism as an addiction to alcohol. The term alcoholism is defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine:

Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial. Hence, alcoholism is a very serious condition. Consequently, professional support is key.

A Drinking Problem Defined

The term alcoholism is now Alcohol Use Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-V). In the DSM-V, Alcohol Use Disorder is categorized into mild, moderate, or severe. These categories depend on the number of symptoms.

The list below includes the criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder in the DSM-V. These are the symptoms that doctors use to diagnose a drinking problem or Alcohol Use Disorder.

Read through the following alcohol addiction symptoms. In addition, count the number of statements that apply to your (or a loved one’s) drinking habits. This list applies to adolescents and adults. The endorsement of two or more of the following criteria indicates a problematic pattern of alcohol use.

Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

  • Often drinking larger amounts or over a longer period of time than intended.
  • Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use.
  • Spending a great deal of time in activities necessary to obtain, use, or recover from the effects of alcohol.
  • Craving alcohol or a strong desire or urge to drink alcohol.
  • Recurrent use of alcohol results in a failure to fulfill obligations at work, school, or home.
  • Continuing to use alcohol despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol.
  • Giving up or reducing important social, occupational or recreational activities because of alcohol use.
  • Recurrent use of alcohol in situations where it is physically hazardous to do so.
  • Continuing to use alcohol despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by alcohol use.
  • Tolerance to alcohol, needing to use increasing amounts of alcohol to get the desired effect.
  • Physical withdrawal symptoms that occur when alcohol consumption is stopped.

Alcohol Use Disorder

If you can relate to two or more of the above, you may have an Alcohol Use Disorder. Hence, the severity is measured in terms of the number of items endorsed.

2 or 3: Mild Alcohol Use Disorder

4 or 5: Moderate Alcohol Use Disorder

6 or more: Severe Alcohol Use Disorder

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, The Redpoint Center is here to help. Please feel free to contact us. Even if we are not the right fit, we will support you and your loved ones on the journey to recovery.

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.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

By | Addiction

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

At the Redpoint Center, Alcohol Use Disorder is the most common type of substance abuse disorder that we treat. For this reason, our staff is familiar with the signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and know when to refer clients to see our medical director or to a higher level of care.

Many people with Alcohol Use Disorder do not manifest symptoms of alcohol withdrawal when they stop drinking. In fact, it is estimated that only around half of people with alcohol use disorder experience withdrawal when they stop consuming alcohol.

Some predictors of alcohol withdrawal are as follows:

  • How often a person drinks
  • How frequently a person drinks
  • The presence of alcohol related medical problems
  • The severity of the dependence on alcohol
  • A history of alcohol withdrawal in the past
  • A history of alcohol withdrawal seizures or delirium tremens

Like most medical conditions, the severity of alcohol withdrawal varies between individuals and depending on the above variables. In most cases, alcohol withdrawal is mild, but 20% of individuals undergoing alcohol withdrawal experience severe symptoms such as seizures, hallucinations or delirium tremens.

In most cases, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal begin within 6 to 24 hours of the cessation of drinking or a sudden reduction in the amount of alcohol consumption.

Mild alcohol withdrawal is the most frequently seen type of alcohol withdrawal. Common symptoms include the following:

  • Anxiety, agitation and/or restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Tremor (the shakes)
  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Craving more alcohol

Alcohol hallucinosis is a more severe type of alcohol withdrawal that typically occurs between 12 and 24 hours after the cessation of alcohol consumption or a sudden decrease in the amount of alcohol consumed. The risk for alcohol hallucinosis may be partly determined by genetics and /or a decrease in thiamine absorption.

Alcohol hallucinosis typically involves visual hallucinations, often involving insects or animals, but auditory or tactile hallucinations (feeling something crawling on your skin) can occur as well. These hallucinations typically resolve within 24 to 48 hours.

Alcohol withdrawal seizures are a worrisome type of alcohol withdrawal, and occur in 10-30% of individuals in alcohol withdrawal. The seizures are typically tonic-clonic seizures (grand mal) and occur in clusters of 2 or 3.

Alcohol withdrawal seizures can occur between 6 and 48 hours of the cessation of alcohol consumption or a sudden decrease in the amount of alcohol consumed. Personal history of an alcohol withdrawal seizure greatly increases the likelihood of recurrence in subsequent episodes of alcohol withdrawal.

Delirium Tremens, or DT’s, is the most severe type of alcohol withdrawal and can be fatal if not treated in a timely manner. Delirium Tremens typically doesn’t occur until 72 to 96 hours after the cessation of drinking or a significant decrease in the amount of alcohol consumed. Signs and symptoms of Delirium Tremens are as follows:

  • The rapid onset of fluctuating cognition and attention in the face of alcohol withdrawal
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • Drenching sweats
  • Increased blood pressure

As noted above, Delirium Tremens can be fatal. In fact, the fatality rate has historically been as high as 20%, but with appropriate medical treatment can be as low as 1-4%.

Any sign of alcohol withdrawal is very concerning and requires immediate medical attention. Proper evaluation by a medical professional can determine the appropriate type of care needed, which may range from home management to formal alcohol detox or hospitalization.

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.

We are here to help.



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The Redpoint Center
1375 Kenn Pratt Blvd
Suite 300
Longmont, CO, 80501


Phone

(888) 509-3153


 

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