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Friday, July 13, 2018

Are You at Risk of a Cross Addiction?

cross addiction
A cross addiction, or when someone moves from one addiction to another, is pretty common for people in recovery from a substance use disorder. In fact, this tendency is partly why addiction is viewed as a chronic, relapsing condition. In the case of a cross addiction, the relapse is with a new drug of choice – whether an addictive substance or behavior. 

Cross addictions come in various forms and people can become dependent on almost anything that causes dopamine activation in the brain. For example, someone can go from marijuana to painkiller addiction; drinking to food addiction; cocaine to gambling addiction; or sex to exercise addiction – or any combination. Falling back into old patterns with a new substance and/or behavior – even if the behavior seems “less dangerous” – is still risky business. This is because the brain is still engaging in addictive behavior and not getting the time it needs to heal. 

Men typically outnumber women in sex and gambling addictions. Eating disorders and exercise addiction are common cross addiction for many women – using exercise, food or starvation to replace the high of drugs and/or alcohol. It’s also common for cross addiction to go unnoticed until it's become a big problem – and it can happen during any point of recovery.  

Staying mindful of any compulsive thoughts and behaviors and seeking support from counselors, recovery peers and trusted loved ones can help. And so can recognizing some of the warning signs, including:  
  • Tolerance: Do you need more and more to get the same “buzz?”
  • Withdrawal: Are you experiencing symptoms like anxiety, irritability, restlessness and sleep trouble if you try to cut back or stop the substance or behavior?
  • Continuance: Are you continuing in spite of negative consequences, including missed responsibilities, interpersonal problems and physical and mental health issues?
  • Lack of control: Have you tried and failed to stop or cut back? 
  • Reduction in other activities: Are you avoiding friends and family or skipping favorite hobbies in favor of the substance and/or behavior? 
  • Time: Are you spending a great deal of time thinking about, planning for and recovering from the substance and/or behavior?
Relapse Prevention at Complete Harmony
Relapse prevention is key for long-term recovery – and we're here to help. At Complete Harmony, our holistic treatment and relapse prevention plans provide a firm foundation for lifelong sobriety. To learn more, call: 866-930-4673. 


Friday, July 6, 2018

Could a Mindfulness App Help Your Recovery?

Mindfulness mediation is more than just a hot trend but a core part of lasting sobriety. As we’ve discussed in the past, this ancient practice can help you experience each moment of life – the good and the bad – without judgment or preconceived notions. The result: less stress, anxiety and depression and more self-esteem and enthusiasm for life.

mindfulness app
With all of the mental health benefits of mindfulness, it’s not too surprising that more and more companies are developing mindfulness apps. Certainly an app can never replace professional counseling, but it could be a helpful tool once you’ve completed your primary or residential addiction treatment. It’s something you can turn to 24-7 to ease anxiety and manage stress.  

With so many apps on the market, how do you know which to choose? Ask yourself why the app would be helpful and how it will help you. For example, if it’s for stress, then which features help reduce stress? It’s also important to make sure any claims are backed by studies. Before downloading an app, talk to your addiction counselor or therapist to make sure the app aligns with your individual recovery goals. 

Here are three science-backed meditation apps touted by numerous health professionals:

Insight Timer: Thousands of guided meditations and talks by top mindfulness experts, neuroscientists, psychologists and meditation teachers 
  • Discussion groups and community features
  • Stats and milestones for tracking your progress
  • The world's most popular meditation Timer
  • Follow your favorite teachers
  • Music tracks from world-renowned artists
Calm: Guided meditation sessions available in lengths of 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 minutes
  • Daily calm: a new 10-minute program to help ease you into the day or unwind with before bed
  • Sleep stories: adult bedtime stories to lull you to sleep
  • 7-day and 21-day programs for both beginner and advanced users
  • Breathing exercises 
  • Unguided timed meditation
  • Open-ended meditation
  • 25+ soothing nature sounds and scenes 
Aura: Daily science-backed and personalized mindfulness meditation exercises
  • Meditations specifically created for your feelings 
  • Track your mood to learn about your mood patterns
  • Daily reminders for mindful breathers and meditations
  • Daily reflections to make gratitude a habit 
  • Various relaxation sounds and music for unguided meditations before sleep 
Finding Peace at Complete Harmony
At Complete Harmony, we encourage the use of many different cutting-edge techniques to help clients heal the mind, body and spirit, including mediation. To learn more about our treatment center and our approach to addiction recovery, call today: 866-930-4673.



Friday, June 29, 2018

Avoiding the Temptation to Use This Summer

Beach parties, outdoor music festivals, barbecues — tis the season for additional triggers and temptations, but don’t fret. You can enjoy the summer season and safeguard your recovery with the following tips:  
  • Identify your triggers. Understanding which triggers can derail your recovery will help you better stick to your recovery plan this summer. In general, a trigger can be any person, situation or thing that leads to cravings or a slip up. And this can also include difficult emotions like anxiety or depression. 
  • Focus on your health. Just because it’s summer, it doesn’t mean you can take a vacation from your recovery must-dos. This means doing your best to stick to a normal sleep and exercise schedule, eat a healthy, well-rounded diet and manage stress.
  • Connect with sober friends. Take the time to hang out with sober friends during the summer, whether you grab a quick coffee, go for a long walk or meet up at the beach. You’ll be more relaxed and less likely to relapse if you surround yourself with other people who support and understand your sobriety. 
  • Try something new. Have you always wanted to write a blog or try yoga on the beach or experiment with a cute summer craft project you’ve been eyeing on Pinterest? Summertime is the perfect time to tackle a fun, sober project or hobby that keeps you busy and makes you feel good about you and your hard-won sobriety.
Summertime at Complete Harmony
The summer season is the perfect time to begin your journey toward lifelong sobriety. At Complete Harmony, we help you explore your own recovery journey while learning to heal relationships and build a sober social network. For more information about our cutting edge treatments, call today: 866-930-4673.


Friday, June 15, 2018

Helping Your Loved Ones Help You

You’ve likely heard of addiction referred to as a “family disease,” meaning it impacts not just the person in the throes of substance abuse but also his or her loved ones. This means that while recovery is challenging (to say the least) for you, it’s also daunting for family and friends. They may feel guilty or unsure of what to do or say to help support your sobriety. And you can help by learning to communicate your feelings and needs. It’s really a win-win. Helping them is helping ensure that you have the support system in place that you need to endure the ups and downs of recovery.  

But where do you start? The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a few suggestions. Take a look and then talk to your counselors or recovery peers for some more ideas. 

What Might Help Me: 
Consider not only what your loved ones can say but also what they can do when, for example, you’re having a down day or struggling with feelings of guilt, hopelessness, anxiety or intense cravings. Ask yourself:
  • Do you want to be held or do you need a little space?
  • Can your loved one exercise with you or cue up a funny movie?
  • Can you sit together and color or listen to music for relaxation?
  • Should your loved ones just listen (without judgment, advice or criticism) or do you want them to reassure you that you’re doing the right thing?
  • Can your loved one cook you a healthy meal or take you for some coffee?

What Might Hurt Me: 
Now more than ever you need a solid support system, so don’t be afraid to speak up if someone is saying or doing something that could possible jeopardize your hard-won sobriety.  
  • Does your loved one lose his or her patience or judge, criticize or scold you? 
  • Does he or she tend to talk “at” you or “down” to you?
  • Is he or she trying to do your recovery work?
  • Is he or she drinking or doing drugs in front of you?

Our Customized Addiction Treatment
At Complete Harmony, we understand that each person’s addiction history, family dynamics and emotional experiences differ. To this end, we customize care to your personal objectives, religious beliefs and health considerations. To learn more about our holistic addiction treatment, call today: 866-930-4673.







Friday, June 8, 2018

Suicides Rates on the Rise in U.S.

suicide rates
Amid the startling news of the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain came a disturbing new statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since 1999, the suicide rate in the United States has risen 28 percent.

Despite growing efforts toward prevention and awareness, suicide rates increased in almost every state between 1999 and 2016. Since 1999, rates rose more than 30 percent in half the states and, in 2016 alone, nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide. 

While nearly half of those who lost their life to suicide had a diagnosed mental illness, other factors also played a role, including relationship problems, financial troubles, health issues and substance abuse. 

This is further proof that using alcohol or drugs to self-medicate or escape life’s stressors is risky business.

Recognizing the Redflags
It’s important to recognize the following warning signs of suicide in yourself or someone you love. 
  • Talking about suicide — for example, making statements such as "I'm going to kill myself," "I wish I were dead" or "I wish I hadn't been born"
  • Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
  • Mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next
  • Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence
  • Feeling trapped or hopeless 
  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Risky or self-destructive behavior (driving recklessly, substance abuse, cutting)
  • Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order for no logical explanation 
  • Saying goodbye to people as if they won't be seen again
  • Personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated
Suicide is preventable and any suicidal thought or ideation warrants immediate attention. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

Getting Help for Depression and Addiction
For men and women struggling with mental illness and addictive tendencies, rehabilitation may seem like an impossible journey. Complete Harmony offers integrated therapeutic, holistic, and medical support for clients dealing with co-existing addiction and mental illness. Our experience with mental illness is broad and deep. For more info, call 866-930-4673.





Friday, June 1, 2018

Study: Exercise Can Help Treat Addiction

exerciseExercise really is crucial for long-term sobriety. A new study by researchers at the Research Institute on Addictions at the University at Buffalo found that daily aerobic exercise altered the mesolimbic dopamine pathway in the brains of animal models. 

So what exactly does that mean? Doing “cardio” each day can help stop the flood of the feel-good chemical dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with drug and alcohol use disorders. 

"Several studies have shown that...aerobic exercise has been effective in preventing the start, increase and relapse of substance use in a number of categories," Panayotis (Peter) Thanos, PhD, RIA senior research scientist and senior author of the study, said in a statement. This includes alcohol, nicotine, stimulants and opioids (heroin, morphine and fentanyl). 

Dr. Thanos adds: “Current work is looking at whether exercise can normalize dopamine signaling that has been changed by chronic drug use, as this may provide key support of how exercise could serve as a treatment strategy for substance abuse.” 

While more studies are underway to determine new ways to “integrate exercise into treatment regimens,” it certainly can’t hurt to get your heart pumping with a bit of brisk exercise. Current exercise guidelines recommend adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week.

The physical and mental benefits are far-reaching, including reducing stress, anxiety and depression, which often co-occur with addiction. Plus, a regular cardio routine can help you sleep better, manage your weight and prevent arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Finding Your Fitness Motivation
The best form of exercise during addiction recovery is the kind that motivates you and supports your new sober lifestyle. At Complete Harmony, our hybrid addiction recovery program offers exercise planning to strengthen your body and mind during addiction recovery. To learn more, call: 866-930-4673.


Friday, May 25, 2018

Steps for a Safe and Sober Memorial Day

Memorial Day
Memorial Day weekend is here and you deserve to have a little fun — you just need to make sure it's sober fun! Here are a few tips and tricks to avoid temptation and relapse.
  • Prioritize self-care. This means doing your best to eat well, stick to a regular sleep schedule and exercise routine. These seemingly simple self-care acts will help you stay strong and make smart decisions this weekend.
  • Be prepared. Readying yourself for a social event involves several pre-party steps. First, you’ll need to identify your personal triggers and make sure you have an exit strategy in place should you need to flea the scene. Also, consider preparing responses for any awkward questions like "Why aren’t you drinking?" Figure out what you are (and aren’t) comfortable sharing. You can just say something simple like: “I don’t feel like drinking." Experts also recommend carrying around a glass of water with lemon or lime so know one even notices. 
  • Create a gratitude list. Whether you jot down a few reasons why you’re so grateful to be in recovery in the notes section of your smartphone or write it on a piece a paper and slip it into your pocket, a simple list can be a powerful reminder of why you’re fighting so hard to stay sober. 
  • Remember to breath. Excuse yourself and focus on your breathing for a few minutes to slow down any negative thoughts or tame any cravings.
  • Enlist a sober friend. You’ll never regret a little extra support, especially if you’re attending a social event where alcohol may be involved. Try to stay close to your trusted friend or, at the very least, have a meeting spot and exit plan in place if things become too overwhelming.
A Chance at Lasting Recovery
At Complete Harmony, we utilize cutting-edge addiction treatment and holistic therapies to offer you the best chance for a lasting recovery. Our goal is to find the underlying causes of your addiction so you can learn the strategies and tools you need to avoid relapse and addiction transfer. Call 866-930-4673 to speak with our dedicated enrollment team about your personalized recovery options. 









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