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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 | No Comments

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 | No Comments

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

Mushrooms legalized in Denver Colorado

By | Media

Legalization of Mushrooms

We learned on Wednesday May 8, 2019, that Denver voters narrowly passed an initiative decriminalizing psilocybin mushrooms (also referred to as magic mushrooms or shrooms). Denver is the first city in America to decriminalize mushrooms. While Psilocybin is still illegal, the passage of the bill will mean that the city cannot prosecute adults 21 or older who possess the fungus.

 

Effect on the Body and Mind

Psilocybin mushrooms are a naturally occurring fungus of which there are over 200 species that when consumed produce hallucinogenic effects. They belong to a group of drugs known as psychedelics. The effects of psilocybin include euphoria, visual and mental hallucinations, changes in perception, and a distorted sense of time. Shrooms also can produce adverse reactions such as nausea, anxiety, vomiting, disorientation and psychosis.

Consumption of mushrooms generally occurs through oral ingestion, brewing as a tea or added to foods to mask the flavor.

Generally considered non-addictive, repeated use of mushrooms has been shown to produce psychosis, and Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder.

Following the passage of the initiative, many have speculated that more states will enact similar legislation in the coming years. The DEA office in Denver has stated that they will continue prosecuting psilocybin possession and trafficking at the federal level.

 

Reaching Out for Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with hallucinogen addiction, alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. We treat both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. 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.

Fly Fishing as a Component of Substance Abuse Recovery

By | Addiction

Spending Time Outdoors

Despite the challenges of working in the addiction field, I feel so blessed to have a career which allows me to integrate my passions. I love to expose the people I work with to fly fishing, as a set of self-care tools they can use in their daily lives and recovery.

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 believe that spending time outside is necessary in all aspects of recovery and well-being. My story illustrates how fly fishing has been an important part of recovery from my substance abuse and addiction—it could be part of your recover, too.

 

On the River Bank

Deep in a forested canyon, I stood 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 could hear the power of the water, and could see the calming riffles steady into a slow, spiraling eddy. Watching intently, my eyes caught flashes of rising trout, and emerging mayflies that were preparing to take flight from the water’s surface.

It was early June, and I had just walked two miles down a steep trail, lined by red willows, pines, and bright orange algae-covered granite rocks. The birds sang 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 gauged the distance to the feeding trout, I measured ten feet of leader to the eyelet of the rod, and pulled out an extra fifteen feet of fly line. Finally, I began taking cautious casts with my right hand, back and forth over my left shoulder.

Allowing the line to release organically, I dropped the fly in the riffle between the fast moving water flowed into the eddy. There was a slow rise five feet to the right, a few moments passed, and then another two feet to the left. I recasted. Then, I watched nervously for a moment, and suddenly felt the line go taught. In an instant, I am connected to the natural world in a way I can never quite predict.

 

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 begin reeling 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 where his comrades continue to feed.

 

Finding Joy on the River

While I sit down on the side of the river, I feel a wave of sun on my face, and let go of a breath that I have been holding in for what feels like month. My attitude shifts to one of gratitude. I appreciate that just yesterday, I was a crustacean on a bar stool drinking mercilessly in spite of the world. By the river, I feel at home, full of pure, unadulterated joy. These moments on the river are what I spent tireless hours chasing while staying up late into the night pounding whisky, doing cocaine, and funneling pills into my gut.

 

Saving Grace for My Recovery

Fly fishing has been a saving grace for my recovery in a number of ways. In my thirty years on this planet, it feels like I have participated in almost every sport or outdoor activity under the sun. However, nothing has inspired and focused my mind like the pursuit of connecting to the natural world via rod and reel. Fly fishing disconnects one from technology, disrupts the monotony of a 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.” Benson’s theory studied 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. Much of this study’s findings are important in how we, as addicted people, continue to improve our lives and the lives of newcomers who walk in our doors at the Redpoint Center.

 

Recreation as Meditation

As a person in “long term” recovery since 2011 (I still VERY MUCH feel like a beginner), 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 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, and 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 immense 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 does a remarkable job of supporting its clients to regularly get outside. We invite both staff and participants to bring all of themselves, the good, the bad, and the awkward. 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.

We are here to help.



Address

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


Phone

(888) 509-3153


 

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