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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sleep-Proof Your Recovery

Did you know that the incidence of insomnia is up to five times higher in early recovery than in the general population? Moreover, substance abusers get an average of 5.5 hours total nightly sleep — less than the seven to nine hours per night recommended by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).

The most common sleep problems linked with addiction, include:
  • Poor sleep quality       
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep apnea
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Narcolepsy
  • Depression 
Why Sleep Matters
Healthy sleep habits, or practicing good sleep hygiene, can make a big difference in your recovery. A lack of adequate, restorative sleep can cause daytime sleepiness, “fuzzy” thinking (common in early recovery), anxiety, depressed mood, and poor emotional control. On the other hand, a good night’s sleep can help restore and heal the bodily damage caused by addiction – and enable you to make sound decisions in favor of your lasting sobriety.

6 Steps for Better Sleep
These tips from the NSF can help make sound sleep part of your recovery plan:
  1. Practice a regular sleep-wake routine. Try to wake up every morning and go to sleep every night around the same time, even on weekends. This helps to regulate your body's clock and make it easier for you to fall and stay asleep for the night. 
  2. Know your bedroom’s role. Limit your bedroom for sleeping and intimacy only — no TV, Internet, etc.  
  3. Set a good sleep environment. Keep your bedroom quiet and relaxing. Consider window coverings to block light or invest in an eye mask. Your bedroom should be cool — between 60 and 67 degrees. 
  4. Establish a relaxing ritual. Each night before bedtime, practice meditation or yoga. Or do something relaxing, such as soaking in the tub, reading a book, or listening to some mellow music. The idea is to stay away from any activities that can cause excitement, stress, or anxiety, which can make shut-eye more difficult. 
  5. Watch your nighttime diet. Being too hungry or too full can disrupt your sleep. It’s also important to avoid nicotine and caffeine later in the day; both substances interfere with sound slumber. 
  6. Make exercise a daily priority. Sticking to a regular exercise routine — even a brisk daily walk — will help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly through the night. Vigorous exercise too close to lights out, however, could cause you to feel too energize, disrupting your sleep cycle.
Stress Relief for Recovery
Like poor sleep habits, unmanaged stress can also inhibit progress in your addiction recovery journey. To combat this, The Haven at Pismo Beach offers a variety of alternative therapies that relieve tension and complement your customized treatment plan. To learn more, call: 805-202-3440.

Friday, June 24, 2016

8 Warning Signs of Relapse

The road to recovery is far from a straight path; instead, there’s lots of curves and bumps and even backsliding or relapse. 

The most important thing to remember, however, is that you’re not a failure if you relapse – and, in fact, it’s pretty normal for patients in recovery to return to using. 

Up to 60 percent of people being treated for substance abuse will relapse within one year, according to the to the Journal of the American Medical Association — and, according to the National Center for Responsible Gambling, about 50% to 75% of problem gamblers resume the addictive behavior after attempting to quit.

So how can you tell if you’re slipping and need to grab on to those relapse prevention tools? Of course, it’s different for everyone, but here are some common signs that it’s time to reach out for help and support.  

You’re easily set off. Does everyone and everything seem to get on your nerves and make you angry or annoyed? This short fuse is a red flag for relapse.

You’re letting self-care and recovery tasks fall by the wayside. This may mean that you need to take some time to reinvest in your recovery. No matter how long you’ve been sober, becoming complacent is never a good sign.

You’re stressed to the max. Managing stress, without the crutch of your addiction, is essential for lasting recovery. If you’re drowning in worries, you’ll need to revisit some coping strategies that have worked well in the past.  

You’re ignoring triggers. You may even find yourself gravitating toward risky situations, like old haunts or around friends you used to use with.

You’re questioning the validity of your addiction. Wondering if you ever really had a problem? This is a slippery slope into addictive patterns.

You’re isolating yourself from the outside world. Doing so also means not surrounding yourself with the support system you need more than ever right now. 

You’re withdrawing from family, friends, and activities. In other words, you begin to shy away from the people and activities that once excited you. This is a sign of trouble.

You’re experiencing a sense of hopelessness and despair. These feelings may spark relapse and need to be addressed right away.  

Reaching Out for Help at The Haven
When you need to get back to basics or recover after a relapse, call our team of credentialed addiction specialists: 805-202-3440. Our proven continuum of care includes outpatient treatment for every phase of your addiction recovery journey.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

7 Facts About Mental Illness and Addiction

Unfortunately, addiction and mental disorders often go hand and hand. So what does this mean for you? 

If you or a loved one suffers from a mental illness, including depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, or an eating disorder, the risk for addiction is much higher. 

There’s even several terms used to describe this overlap: co-occurring disorders, dual diagnosis, or co-morbid disorder. They are all defined as having an addiction(s) and a mental disorder(s).

Here are some more facts about the link between mental health and addiction:

  1. About one in 17 U.S. adults suffer from serious mental illness, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities, like performing work duties.
  2. You can’t simply overcome mental illness through willpower nor do mental disorders have anything to do with intelligence or a person’s character. 
  3. Nearly one-third of people with a mental disorder and one-half of people with severe mental illness also struggle with substance abuse disorder (SUD), according to the NAMI. 
  4. Nearly 50 percent of people diagnosed with severe mental illness also have substance abuse disorder (SUD), with depression and bipolar disorder among the most common mood disorders.
  5. Roughly 53 percent of people addicted to drugs and 37 percent of alcoholics suffer from at least one serious mental illness, according to the Journal of American Medical Association.
  6. A large percentage of Americans fail to get help for co-occurring disorders. In fact, only 7.4 percent receive treatment for both the addiction and the mental illness -- and 55.8 percent receiving no treatment at all.
  7. An integrated approach that treats both the addiction and the mental illness is the preferred treatment for co-occurring disorders. The reason: It’s nearly impossible to achieve good mental health while struggling with addiction. 
Treating Co-Occurring Disorders
Your best chance of recovery lies in integrated dual-diagnosis treatment that addresses both conditions in one recovery program. The Haven at Pismo provides a continuum of care for clients with co-occurring chemical dependency and mental illnesses. To learn more, call 805-202-3440.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Unleash Your Inner Artist: Art Therapy and Addiction Recovery

You don’t have to be Picasso to reap the health benefits of art therapy. In fact, tapping into your creativity may be just the ticket to ease anxiety, express emotions, and stay on the right track in your recovery.

And don’t worry if you don’t have any previous art experience; even a couple of uneven strokes of colors can help you feel calm and confident.

What Is Art Therapy?

Art therapy, which has been around since the 1940s, has become an integral part of the counseling and support services in many addiction centers. The American Art Therapy Association defines art therapy as “the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development.”

By drawing, painting, and using other creative media like sculpture, you can increase self-awareness and express emotions (both conscious and unconscious) about your addiction and recovery -- and even the meaning of life.

In general, art therapy is usually guided – for example, you may be asked to draw what a craving looks like or to paint the first thing that comes to mind. Once you’re finished you may be prompted to think or talk about your creation. 

How Can Art Therapy Help Addiction?

Whether you choose pastels, watercolors, or a #2 pencil, art therapy alongside evidence-based addiction treatments, can help you:

• Increase self-awareness and self-esteem
• Express fears and emotions difficult to verbalize
• Communicate better about recovery/addiction experiences
• Process traumatic events
• Manage destructive behaviors
• Reduce stress and anxiety
• Gain greater comfort, freedom, and hope
• Heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually

Art Therapy at The Haven

Through holistic modalities like art therapy, clients at The Haven at Pismo use creative practices to explore grief, anger, or loss in a constructive way. To find out more about our many specialized treatments and customized holistic therapies, call today: 805-202-3440.