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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Teens Exhibit Heightened Response to Cigarette Use

teens exhibit heightened response to cigarette useRecent magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) of teen brains indicate that they may be more likely to develop cigarette addiction. During imaging, researchers found elevated levels of dopamine in the brain as teens watched videos of adolescents smoking cigarettes. Dopamine is a brain chemical that modulates pleasure and emotion, and according to study co-author Adriana Galvan of the University of California Los Angeles, “The dopamine system undergoes significant maturation during the teenage years, rendering the teen brain more reactive to rewards and perhaps more vulnerable to addictive substances.”

During this small study, Galvan and co-author Kathy Do (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) analyzed 39 teen and 39 adult MRIs while participants viewed video clips of actors who were smoking. After completing the MRIs, researchers asked participants whether they wanted to smoke while watching the videos. Teen smokers seemed to have a stronger connection between dopamine production, reward activation, and their reported desire to light up.

The study was limited by the fact that participants were not asked to abstain from smoking for a period before viewing the videos, which may have independently influenced their craving levels. This limitation was reported in the Journal findings. Adam Leventhal, director of the Health, Emotion and Addiction Laboratory at the University of Southern California, commented on the study and reported that findings may have been impacted by the fact that older adults found it difficult to personally identify with video clips of younger smokers.

“For the adults in the study, the video of young people smoking might not have been realistic enough to produce the natural response that they might have had if encountering smoking in the real world,” said Leventhal in an email. He also added that the study might have shown heightened cravings in teens because the part of the brain that reacts to pleasure cues develops faster than the part of the brain regulating impulse control.

If teen brains are actually more sensitive to nicotine than adults, it may make sense to set the legal cigarette purchase age to 21 to reduce the risk of more vulnerable adolescents falling prey to cravings, said Dr. Nancy Rigotti, Harvard University researcher and director of the Tobacco Research and Treatment Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The study does not claim to prove that teens are more likely to become addicted to cigarettes, but according to an email from Rigotti, it provides “very nice supporting data.” (Rigotti was not involved in the study.)

SOURCES: bit.ly/1QZTZzE Journal of Adolescent Health, online December 8, 2015; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/teen-smokers-may-be-hard-wired-to-crave-cigarettes_56855f14e4b014efe0da6194?cps=gravity_4370_6431796634698924277.


Monday, December 28, 2015

U.S. Department of Transportation Launches New Drunk Driving Ad Campaign

USDOT Drunk Driving CommercialsWith New Year’s Eve looming and travelers continuing to hit the road to visit family and friends for the remainder of the holiday season, U.S. DOT has kicked off a new ad campaign to discourage drunk driving. The campaign, called Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, has begun running on TV, digital outlets, and prior to movie showings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

“We hope the millions of Americans who will be on the road over the holidays will make the safe choice not to drink and drive,” said Anthony Foxx, U.S. Transportation Secretary. As is typical this time of year, law enforcement officers across the country are out in force: policing the roads to protect innocent drivers from the perils of alcohol-impaired decisions.

The Christmas and New Year holidays remain one of the most dangerous times on the road, with the 36/day drunk driving fatalities increasing to 45 or more per day during the holiday season. According to AAA estimates, almost 28,000 Americans will be severely injured and 250 will die during accidents occurring during this time period.

Before you get into a car during the holidays, be sure that the driver is sober and in control. If you question their ability to drive safely, remember:

• Don’t fall for the “cup of coffee” myth. You cannot sober someone up by giving them a few cups of coffee. Though caffeine is a stimulant, research shows that it takes roughly one hour per drink to detox from excessive alcohol consumption.
• Take action and take their keys. Call them a cab and pay for it yourself, or have another responsible designated driver take them home.
• Request that they spend the night at your home or a loved one’s home. Have them return for their car the next day—after sobering up.

“In the time it takes to watch a two-hour movie, two or more lives will be lost in drunk-driving related crashes,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator, Mark Rosekind. “Drunk driving doesn’t just happen. It’s a decision people make.”

The new U.S. DOT ads, “Man in the Mirror” and “Woman in the Mirror,” portray a young man and woman looking in the mirror after a night of drinking. Their reflections argue with them, attempting to convince them that they are capable of driving. Both ads are designed to show viewers that people cannot trust themselves—or their judgment—when they have been drinking.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Benefits of Alternative Medicine in Addiction Recovery

benefits of alternative medicine in addiction recoveryWhile there is no doubt that Western medicine and traditional addiction rehab programs have their place in addiction recovery, there have been many alternative medicine developments over the past decade that have shown great promise for men and women recovering from addiction. Today, rehab clients find solace in yoga classes, acupuncture, meditation, massage therapy, and other complementary medicine techniques, which help to lower stress, minimize withdrawal symptoms, and reduce cravings.

Holistic Therapy Augments Conventional Therapy 
According to the April 2014 journal, Substance Use & Misuse, mindfulness-based relapse prevention was found to be more effective than traditional relapse prevention methods in decreasing drug and alcohol use up to one year later. “There have been several randomized clinical trials, as well as smaller controlled studies, that have found meditation to be as effective or more effective than existing treatments for addiction,” said addiction researcher and UNM associate professor of psychology, Katie Witkiewitz.

Few addiction therapists believe that alternative medicine treatments should be used on their own to treat drug and alcohol use. Instead, Complete Harmony uses holistic therapies in conjunction with behavior modification, life-skills courses, intensive counseling, family therapy, and other programming features to deliver best possible rehab success.

Alternative Treatment Options 
At Complete Harmony, we offer a full range of holistic and traditional addiction treatments that are customized to your medical needs, recovery objectives, and personal values. Options include, but are not limited to:

Cognitive behavioral therapy
Dialectical behavioral therapy
Yoga & mind-body exercise
Massage & bodywork
Acupuncture & chiropractic care
Hybrid treatment
SMART® Recovery

Get Out of Your Box with Alternative Addiction Treatment 
The most fulfilling form of sobriety is achieved when you stretch yourself and engage in new experiences. If you have never tried Eastern medicine approaches or holistic therapies for addiction or co-occurring disorders, our credentialed addiction recovery specialists can recommend the most effective therapies for you. Explore our program online, or call 866-930-4673 to speak with a Complete Harmony recovery advisor and begin the enrollment process today.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Count Down the New Year with Recovery in Mind

new years resolutions addiction recoveryOnce again, it’s time to sing “Auld Lang Syne” and bid farewell to the past year. Whether you have been in recovery for many years, or for just a few months, this is a time for reflection and celebration: reflection on your recovery accomplishments during 2015, and celebration of the opportunities that await you in a sober 2016.




And the Countdown Begins!

5. Be thankful.
Make a list of sobriety’s blessings: “I’m getting treatment for my mental health disorder.” “My children are starting to trust me again.” Gratitude will help you keep wonder and appreciation in your life.

4. Take stock of your recovery resources and tune up your toolkit.
Have you encountered situations in sobriety that you didn’t feel comfortable handling? Consult a rehab expert or join a therapy group. Anticipating problems and knowing how to get help will help keep you on track.

3. Give yourself credit for a job well done.
People are always quick to criticize themselves for their failings, but they rarely take notice of what they do right. As 2015 ends, make a list of small recovery victories you have had. “I’ve gone 6 days without a drink.” “I spoke for the first time at group therapy.” Acknowledgement of these positive actions reinforces your belief that you can lead a successful sober life.

2. Share your story.
Do you remember the help and inspiration you received as you began your recovery? Were there books that held special meaning for you? Did a sponsor help you when you were struggling? Find an opportunity to support or inspire someone else who is trying to escape addiction.

1. Plan new challenges to meet in 2016.
In addiction, you desire only the substance that steals your health and joy of living. In sobriety, a world of possibilities opens up for you. New experiences, better health, a wider circle of friends await you. Set some goals and then take small and steady steps to achieve them. Perhaps you’d like to train for advancement at work. Or maybe you’d like to run a marathon, or learn to dance.

Enjoy your recovery! Happy 2016! 

Start Your Sober Life with Complete Harmony
Deciding to seek a sober life and entering rehab is a big step, but it must be followed by many small steps if recovery is to last. At Complete Harmony, we can help you progress along your journey, from comfortable detox through hybrid treatment to lifelong holistic practices like meditation and yoga. If you are starting the New Year with a resolution to begin life without addiction, call 866-930-4673 to speak with a Complete Harmony recovery advisor and begin the enrollment process today.

Monday, December 7, 2015

3 Ways to Stay Sober During Holiday Parties

3 ways to stay sober during holiday partiesFor many people, the holiday season is filled with high expectations, social commitments, and stressful shopping lists. For men and women working their way through addiction recovery, managing holiday stress is critical to sobriety success. When it comes to holiday party invitations, keep in mind the following tips as you prioritize your recovery over a fleeting temptation to drink or use:

1. Choose events wisely. Turn down invitations to parties where you will face multiple triggers (people, places, substances) that may be difficult to fend off. You are not obligated to attend every event you are invited to, so don’t feel pressured to say, “yes” if you are uncomfortable. If you decide to attend an event, take an accountability partner with you: someone who supports your sobriety and is willing to have a tough conversation if necessary. Also, develop an exit plan in case the temptation becomes too much to bear. After all you’ve worked for, it’s far better to cut the party short than risk a relapse.

2. Rehearse a script for saying “no.” Chances are at some point you will be offered a drink, a smoke, or something stronger at a holiday party. Before the conversation arises, develop a script that you can handily recall. Sometimes all you need to do is politely decline the substance. If the host persists, request a club soda instead—or let them know that you don’t drink for health reasons. If inquiries continue and the party turns into a high-pressure situation, it’s time to make an exit.

3. Attend bookend meetings. Whether you are part of a non-12-step or traditional 12-step group, it’s wise to plan a meeting or sponsor contact before and after the party. The first meeting prepares you to be strong, and gives you the opportunity to tell others where you are going. Attend the second meeting or check in with group members after your party so they can hold you accountable to your post-party sobriety promise.

Reclaim Your Holiday Peace
The holiday season is one of the most challenging times to pursue addiction rehab, but it’s an important time to remember that you are empowered—to say, “no,” to be thankful for your recovery, and to surround yourself with sober supporters who want the best for you.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed during the holidays, reach out to an addiction specialist, counselor, or support group. With the help of wise decisions and accountability partners, you will emerge from the holiday season proud of yourself—and hopeful about reclaiming a life of health and self-control.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Resisting Cravings During Addiction Recovery

resisting cravings addiction recoveryIf you are recovering from substance abuse and have been working your way through SMART Recovery, you know that “Coping with Urges and Cravings” is Point 2 of the program. Everyone who has struggled with addictive behaviors understands the power of cravings. At times, they are so intense that they can cause you to lose focus on your sobriety goals altogether. If you fear that you won’t be able to fend off the next urge to drink or use, remember that cravings are normal. Normalizing these uncomfortable desires can help you realize that they won’t last forever.

4 Ways to Beat a Craving
According to the SMART Recovery program, there are dozens of ways to deal with addiction urges. Consider these sample strategies offered by SMART Recovery UK next time you feel compelled to drink or use:

Delay. We are more likely to give into temptation when we allow a craving to hold our attention. The urge to use drugs may come from exposure to a place, a person, or a bad feeling, but the key to overcoming it is removing the stimulus and riding out the craving. Urges pass when you choose not to give in. Over time, you will have fewer cravings—and they will become more manageable. Stay strong in the meantime.

Escape. It stands to reason that if you are in a threatening situation, you should leave. The same is true for cravings. When your sobriety is on the line, take action. Change the television channel, leave the party, or avoid shopping in stores that sell alcohol. Escape the trigger that is tempting you and focus on something else.

Substitute. When cravings come on fast, be prepared to shift gears. Have a list of activities that you substitute for drinking or using. These may include exercise, reading, music, massage, or yoga. The quicker you are able to deploy a substitute activity, the lower the chances of giving into an unhealthy urge.

Accept. Put substance urges into perspective and learn to accept discomfort as you travel through the recovery process. Remember that cravings won’t kill you. Instead, they present an opportunity for you to overcome them and experience growth in your sobriety journey. With each craving you combat, you become more able to deal with the next one.

Complete Harmony Helps You Say “No” to Cravings
Complete Harmony is a non-traditional drug and alcohol recovery program offering SMART Recovery training, among other options. Empowering clients to achieve and maintain sobriety through non-12-step and holistic therapies, we help you find the inner strength you need to become your very best you. To begin fighting cravings and discover the freedom that comes with taking charge of your sober lifestyle, call 866.930.4673 today. Our compassionate team members are waiting to take your call and begin the admissions process.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The New Frontier: Virtual Reality Therapy

virtual reality therapy addiction treatmentScience fiction is becoming reality in addiction treatment as researchers bring online the newest application for virtual reality: drug and alcohol addiction therapy. Teams in South Korea and at the University of Houston have been studying this new form of therapy, and their research is yielding promising results.

Situational Therapy at a New Level
For years, therapists have employed role-playing as a technique to prepare their recovering patients to deal with uncomfortable interactions and relapse triggers. Modeling situations which might induce a return to addictive behaviors gave therapists insight into the vulnerability and unpreparedness of their clients. They were then able to replay the scene, using strategies and coping mechanisms for successfully managing such situations without returning to risky behaviors. With the advent of virtual reality, such role-playing scenes become much more realistic and provide an experience that more closely mirrors real life.

Involving All the Senses
The virtual reality programs that are being developed for addiction therapy are rooted in realism, using input from actual users. Scenes reference the settings, sounds, smells and activities common to drug and alcohol use. These atmospheric cues are used to induce cravings, indicating how completely users can be involved in the program. More sophisticated VR programs are giving operators the ability to change details and present specific cues, indicating the extent to which such programs may one day be tailored the individual.

Still in the Research Stage
Virtual reality as a treatment for drug and alcohol abuse is still being developed and tested. Studies have been small, and more research is needed to measure the long-term effectiveness of the therapy. For the time being, VR programs are being studied as a complement to established therapies.

The potential for virtual reality therapy is enormous. The technology is being tested in conjunction with treatments for smoking cessation and PTSD, as well as alcohol abuse, marijuana use, and even heroin addiction. The greatest promise lies in the potential of VR to offer a low cost, individualized, avoidance therapy which may some day be delivered right to your smart phone, for use whenever you need it.

State of the Art Holistic Treatment
If you have tried to shake off your addiction without success, Complete Harmony, CA’s holistic drug treatment center, may hold the answer for you. Cutting edge therapies and alternative approaches address the needs of the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. You will be empowered to take charge of your life, your choices, your recovery. Call 866-930-4673 to learn about our comprehensive residential treatment plans and start your admission process.

Monday, November 16, 2015

For a Happy Holiday Season, Stay the Course in Recovery

holidays in addiction recoveryThis is the time of year when traditions take center stage as friends and families plan to gather for festive meals and holiday celebrations. Decorations come out of storage, favorite recipes are featured on the menu, and friendships and family ties are renewed. Life takes on a warm aura of happiness and anticipation.

At least, that is the myth. 
The reality is that these holiday celebrations often bring feelings of stress, anxiety, and dread. For people in early recovery, the holidays can be an especially difficult time, when you are likely to be exposed to social occasions with alcohol, uncomfortable questions, old friends, and old habits. In other words, you will probably encounter every one of those relapse triggers you were warned about in rehab.

Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the holidays and still stay on your recovery path. 

1. Feel free to say, “No.” Give yourself permission to stay out of situations that are unhealthy for you – even if they are fine for other people.
2. Anticipate uncomfortable situations. Prepare an answer for those life-update questions your great aunt always asks. Make sure your favorite non-alcoholic beverage is on hand. Have an alternative engagement planned in case old friends try to coax you into old partying habits.
3. Stick to a regular schedule. Don’t neglect your exercise, meditation, sleep, and nutrition routines. You’ll be better able to cope with holiday stress.
4. Use your support network. Attend extra meetings and talk with your sponsor, counselor, or pastor. Your support network may offer holiday social functions that are now more satisfying for you. Enjoy your new friends.
5. Break with tradition and try something new. Plan a holiday trip or a local excursion. See a play or attend a museum. Volunteer to help distribute toys or serve a holiday dinner for the homeless.
6. Practice gratitude for the opportunities recovery has given you. Look beyond the holidays to your life in sobriety. New interests, new friends, a sense of self-worth, energy, and accomplishment are all possible in a sober life.

Are the holidays the right time to begin your recovery? 
There is no season to addiction or recovery. If it is time for a new beginning in your life, don’t let the holidays stand in your way. Complete Harmony, CA’s alternative, holistic rehab center, can tailor a treatment program to meet your needs at any time of year. Call 866-930-4673 to begin the streamlined admissions process and insurance verification today.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Empowering Change with SMART Addiction Recovery

SMART addiction recovery rehab CAAt Complete Harmony, we partner with clients seeking to fuel their recovery success with non-traditional, non-12-step programs. One of our program offerings, SMART Recovery® (Self-Management and Recovery Training), helps people recover from cocaine addiction, prescription drug addiction, gambling addiction, alcohol addiction, pornography addiction, chemical dependency, and other destructive behaviors by providing the tools for self-directed change. During your SMART experience, you may participate in face-to-face and online meetings, 24/7 chat rooms and forums, and other recovery support opportunities.

What makes SMART Recovery® different from 12-step programs? 

• SMART Recovery provides a groundwork of evidence-based addiction science to help participants take control of themselves and abandon destructive, self-defeating behaviors. The science of addiction is a critical part of the SMART Recovery plan. The program is a secular alternative to AA, NA, and similar 12-step programs, and it continually evolves as addiction research evolves.

• While participants may embrace spirituality on their own, the SMART Recovery program does not focus on religious or spiritual beliefs. Instead, it emphasizes that real change lies in self-empowerment.

• You will not have a sponsor in SMART Recovery, and are encouraged to avoid labels like “addict” or “alcoholic.”

• You will talk with one another rather than to one another during SMART Recovery meetings. The SMART Recovery program encourages dialogue as part of the learning process, but participants are not pressured to participate.

SMART Recovery’s 4-Point Program 

SMART Recovery teaches men and women a four-point program, offering support and teaching tools for each point. The four points include:

1. Building & maintaining motivation to abstain from addictive behaviors.
2. Coping with urges and cravings.
3. Problem solving through rational management of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
4. Achieving lifestyle balance by learning to balance short-term and enduring pleasures and satisfactions.

Smart Recovery Program at Complete Harmony

SMART Recovery is ideal for men and women seeking an alternative to 12-step approaches, which may not align with their spiritual values, personal beliefs, or recovery objectives. The Complete Harmony team will help you determine if the Self Management for Addiction Recovery plan is right for you, and will help you join a community of individuals seeking a self-reliant approach to treatment. To learn more about our other alternative therapies and non-12-step plans, call 866.960.4673 today!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Dual Diagnosis: Body Dysmorphic Disorder & Addiction

dual diagnosis: body dysmorphic disorder addiction treatmentFew of us are 100% satisfied with what we see in the mirror, but those with body dysmorphic disorder fixate on what they perceive as “flaws” in their appearance. Finding these traits hideous, disgusting, and even unforgivable, those with body dysmorphia become desperate to change their appearance or hide their body from others. In some cases, men with BDD become addicted to anabolic steroids that they use to bulk up and enhance their physique. Women with BDD may depend on stimulant medications or appetite suppressants that they believe will deliver a perfect body. At times, individuals with BDD drink or use drugs simply to escape the devastating pain caused by feelings of fear and inadequacy.

At Complete Harmony, we specialize in dual-diagnosis treatment for men and women suffering from mental illness and drug or alcohol addiction. Co-occurring disorders go hand-in-hand, and must be treated together to be treated successfully.

Symptoms of a Body Dysmorphic Disorder Dual Diagnosis 

While it can occur in anyone, BDD is typically an early-onset disease with most clients presenting in their 20s. Soon, they become obsessed with minor or imagined body image issues—which eventually take over their lives. Symptoms include:

• Preoccupation with perceived flaws in breasts, face, hair, veins, or other body parts
• Belief that their body is misshapen and even “monstrous”
• Obsession with looking in the mirror
• Scratching skin or picking at scars & scabs
• Compulsive diet & exercise
• Social withdrawal
• Severe anxiety or depression
• Becoming addicted to plastic surgery
• Drinking or using drugs to escape negative feelings
• Suicidal thoughts

Experience Dual-Diagnosis Therapy at Complete Harmony 

If you or someone you love is battling body dysmorphia and addiction, it is critical to seek knowledgeable support and begin a recovery program. Treatment may include behavioral modification therapy, antidepressants, self-help groups, holistic treatment, and group or individual counseling. At Complete Harmony, our multi-modal program is tailored to the unique needs of clients caught in the grip of BDD or other illnesses beyond their control. Using traditional and alternative therapies, we care for patients from detox through relapse prevention planning—and beyond.

Learn to love yourself again. At Complete Harmony, you’ll experience non-judgmental, compassionate dual-diagnosis treatment with a proven addiction recovery success rate. Dial 866.930.4673 to begin the admissions process or share your confidential concern today.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Turning a Post-Rehab Slip Into a Learning Opportunity

turn post rehab relapse into opportunityAt some point in your addiction treatment program, you probably felt invincible: ready to take on the world, grab life by the horns, and sing the praises of your newfound sobriety. Then you blinked. While it may sound trite, it’s true: Successful addiction recovery requires daily, second-to-second work. Let your guard down for a moment, and you could find yourself consuming the very substances you’ve been swearing off for months—or even years.

Over 60 percent of recovering drug and alcohol users will experience a relapse within the first 90 days after completing rehab, and many more relapse once or multiple times after this. The key to preventing your “slip” from becoming a full-fledged return to addiction lies in quickly recommitting to your sober life before you have time to give in to the feeling of failure. Tricks to achieving this include:

Avoiding panic. When you make a poor choice, your first temptation may be to throw your new identity out the window and conclude that you weren’t cut out for life as a sober person. This is a lie. Remove yourself from the risky situation, find a place to think clearly, and speed-dial a therapist or sober companion.
Making a list of the reasons you went to recovery in the first place. In the midst of temptation, it is easy to forget why you chose to get clean. Write down, in black and white, a comprehensive list of valued relationships, life goals, spiritual goals, and personal objectives. Keep this list handy today—and for future weak moments, as well.
Being grateful for a learning opportunity. Few of us would disagree that mistakes and wrong-turns help us grow into the people we are longing to become. Without life’s difficulties, there is no opportunity for refining. When you take a sip of that drink or are tempted to use, tell yourself that this is merely a chance to look adversity in the eye—and walk away a better person.
Keeping emotions in check. Studies show that people often relapse because they have allowed depression, sadness, anger, or stress to get out of control. Now is a good time to sit down with your counselor and determine whether anger management, holistic therapies, couples counseling, or other treatment options might be a wise and healthy addition to your sober journey and your relapse prevention plan. 
Considering a return to treatment. If slips are becoming all-too-routine, you may simply not be ready for life after rehab. Consider re-enrolling in a residential program, committing to an intensive outpatient program, or moving into a sober house where you have accountability from therapists and colleagues.

At Complete Harmony, we offer non-12-step recovery programs and traditional treatment options for men and women of all ages. During holistic aftercare planning and therapy sessions, you will learn to identify and avoid potential triggers and prepare yourself for post-rehab success. To begin a journey to mindful empowerment, call 866.930.4673 today. Don’t allow one poor decision to derail your recovery. If you find yourself in a place of temptation and need immediate assistance, our compassionate team is here to help, 24/7!

Friday, October 16, 2015

OCD & Addiction: How Self-Medication Increases Risk

OCD and Addiction Treatment RehabLike other mental health conditions like bipolar disorder and depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can significantly increase the risk of drug or alcohol addiction. This is, in large part, because people with OCD frequently turn to self-medication to deal with the symptoms, which can lead to a dangerous pattern of substance abuse.

OCD is characterized by a repetitive cycle of obsessive thoughts that spur afflicted individuals to engage in compulsive behaviors. These obsessive thoughts can become so intrusive and overwhelming that the person feels powerless and out of control, and the compulsive behaviors represent attempts to relieve them. While the condition can be managed with professional guidance and treatments including therapy and medication, those who do not have their OCD under control often turn to alcohol or drugs in an effort to chase their obsessions away.

The OCD-Addiction Cycle

Drugs and alcohol can provide a temporary, though unhealthy, escape from the afflicted person's overpowering obsessions. This can lead to addiction, since the patient may turn to substance abuse more and more frequently in an effort to compensate for the increasingly ephemeral relief drugs or alcohol may provide. Research has also conclusively shown that while alcohol and drugs may offer short-term relief from anxiety, depression and other OCD symptoms, they actually make these underlying problems worse over time.

Get Help for OCD & Addiction 

The caring addiction counselors at Complete Harmony have extensive experience treating OCD-related cycles of substance abuse. Using cutting-edge holistic and alternative therapies, the Complete Harmony team helps OCD patients take control of their condition and more effectively manage its root causes using healthy, reliable strategies. Combining OCD therapy with addiction treatment, our program is highly successful.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with OCD-related substance abuse problems, we can help. Please contact our intake specialists to learn more or request information about our dual-diagnosis treatment programs.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Substance Abuse Becomes an Issue in 2016 Election Campaign

substance abuse 2016 electionDrug addiction and substance abuse emerged as a hot-button issue in the 2016 election campaign after Republican candidate Jeb Bush met with hospital staff, police personnel, and recovering addicts during a stop in New Hampshire. Reacting to alarming recent statistics, Bush was quoted as saying, "It is all over the place; it is something extraordinary; it's heartbreaking."

Bush was reacting to sobering stats compiled in the New Hampshire city of Manchester, where drug abuse has become a significant problem. In the 30-day period prior to Bush's appearance, there were 102 confirmed drug overdoses in the city alone, leading to 10 deaths. New Hampshire has also seen a statewide spike in drug overdoses compared to last year, with data suggesting that emergency room visits related to drug abuse climbed more than 75 percent year-over-year.

On the Democratic campaign trail, presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first candidate to forward a substantial pledge on the issue. She is proposing a $10 billion strategy that will seek to help addicts rather than punish them with jail time, while providing frontline law enforcement personnel with more immediate access to potentially life-saving medications that can reverse overdoses.

Political perception of drug abuse and addiction is showing signs of change. In years and decades past, lawmakers tended to revert to a punitive approach: cracking down hard on offenders without paying much mind to recovery or alternatives. According to Linda Paquette, executive director of a New Hampshire nonprofit drug prevention center, "In the past, addiction was often viewed by policymakers as a moral failing." But with social media providing new tools for recovering addicts to share their stories, politicians have been taking a new view. "Minds are being changed," Paquette said.

While it will take time for top-level policy changes to have a tangible effect in the social sphere, progressive treatment facilities like Complete Harmony offer understanding insight and compassionate care that can help people slay the demons of drug and alcohol addition. If you or someone you care about is suffering, we can help. Please contact us today to discuss insurance coverage, inquire about medical detox and holistic treatment, or speak confidentially with one of our admissions counselors.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Benefits of Our Southern California Retreat

Southern California Holistic Drug RehabComplete Harmony’s facility is an oasis appointed with comfortable furnishings, private and semi-private rooms, and beautiful natural surroundings that play an integral role in the holistic healing process. Home to in-state and out-of-state guests, we offer customized addiction rehab programs that encourage men and women to take advantage of all that So-Cal has to offer.

Southern California’s Recovery Community

Southern California is home to a growing sober community. Proud to be part of this amazing recovery initiative, Complete Harmony welcomes women and men of all ages and all walks of life. Our location has something for everyone: from surfing and fitness fanatics to theme park enthusiasts and history buffs. Perhaps most importantly, our center provides the privacy clients seek when then turn their focus to mind, body, and spirit health. As you begin rehabilitation, outside diversions understandably take a backseat. Your body needs time to physically heal; you need time to develop clarity about your treatment program; and your spirit needs to be renewed. You can do all of this from the comfort of our near-coastal location.

Over time, recreation and activities will become a positive way to get your mind off of relapse triggers and difficult relationships. A beach BBQ, surf lesson, mountain hike, or kayaking session may be just what you need to commune with nature and enjoy the company of sober friends. Many of our clients take advantage of the close proximity of Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland, and other theme parks when they need a day of old-fashioned fun—and Complete Harmony guests participate in these types of recreation as a group or during family visitation.

Many celebrities, executives, and high-ranking officials seek confidential treatment in Southern California, as well. Luxury facilities and the opportunity to rehab in complete anonymity is an appealing feature of Complete Harmony and its family of centers. In some cases, clients travel from out of state to distance themselves from the temptations they might have on their home turf, and Complete Harmony is happy to accommodate guests from outside the So-Cal region.

Experience the Complete Harmony Difference

If drug rehab in Southern California sounds appealing to you, step out of the confines of your addicted life and call 866.930.4673 today. Our beautiful beach community retreat offers alternative and conventional therapy methods, and our compassionate team is available 24/7 to answer your questions and pre-authorize your admission. Take the first step toward vibrant health—and welcome the Southern California sunshine. Tomorrow is a brand new day!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Binaural Beats: Technology Meets the Ancient Art of Meditation

binaural beats meditation rehab
Meditation is widely used in drug and alcohol rehab programs as a supportive therapy for reducing stress and anxiety naturally. Proven by centuries of practice and by recent scientific studies, it provides mental, physical, and spiritual benefits that are especially important to someone in recovery. These include:

• Decreased anxiety & stress
• Calming of internal dialogue
• Relaxation & restfulness
• Increased energy & awareness
• Improved focus & mood

Meditation Is Easy to Learn, But…

Even beginners can reap benefits from meditation, but achieving the profound brainwave changes of deep meditation takes concentration, dedication, and usually many years of daily practice. That’s a challenge that is often too much for busy Americans.

Now there is an alternative.

An audio technology that has been around for 75 years is now being combined with neural-science to produce programs that induce the same brainwaves as deep meditation. Here’s how it works:

1. The listener uses stereo earphones to listen to an audio track of relaxing music, ocean waves, gentle rain, or musical chimes.
2. The stereo soundtracks actually contain binaural tones, which are delivered separately to each ear at slightly different frequencies.
3. The listener does not consciously hear the difference in tones; instead the brain synchronizes the sounds into a third tone.

The ability of the brain to synchronize electrical patterns is at the heart of this neural-audio technology. Embedded binaural sound patterns can induce the brain to produce different wavelengths and even to synchronize the hemispheres of the brain. These are the same changes that occur in people who have spent many years perfecting meditation techniques.

Relax, Listen & Feel Better

Like meditation, binaural beats technology is not a cure for the stresses of modern living, including substance abuse. But for those who are having trouble with the focus and time required by traditional meditation, it is an effective and easy way to achieve similar results. Just put in your ear buds, sit back in the recliner, and let your brain do the work.

CA Rehab at Complete Harmony Wellness Retreat 

At Complete Harmony, we know that recovering from drug and alcohol dependence is a struggle that requires a major lifestyle adjustment. At our beautiful CA wellness retreat, our goal is to empower our clients to live successfully in sobriety. Cutting-edge treatments and holistic alternative therapies distinguish our program. Call 1-866-930-4673 to speak confidentially to an intake specialist and begin the admissions process today!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Overcoming the Pain of a Dual Diagnosis

California dual diagnosis rehab programAddiction is one of the most painful things a family can go through, but when there is a complicating co-occurring disorder, life is even more painful and unpredictable. Whether you began using drugs and alcohol to dull the impact of mental illness, or you have developed a mental impairment after years of drug abuse, the results are often the same. Your life begins to feel as if it has been taken over by fear, depression, panic attacks, anger, paranoia, and an inability to focus. The good news: Complete Harmony’s team of addiction experts can help.

Dual diagnosis is common among the chemically dependent; yet, according to a study conducted by a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only 12 percent of the 4 million Americans suffering from a dual diagnosis received treatment for drug addiction and their co-occurring condition. Unfortunately, the chance of sobriety is drastically reduced when both conditions are not dealt with simultaneously.

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment at Complete Harmony

If you meet the criteria for a mental health disorder, Complete Harmony provides customized dual-diagnosis treatment plans that address both your mental illness and your addiction. When therapists and physicians understand both portions of your struggle, they can provide mental health care alongside addiction recovery for more successful results. Treatment methods include, but are not limited to:

• Parallel therapy for addiction & mental illness
Holistic therapies that induce calm & improve mental clarity
• Nutrition & exercise plans for improved wellness
• Psychotherapeutic medication management from specialty physicians
• Family therapy & counseling sessions
• Inpatient & outpatient rehabilitation
 • Support groups & community sober living situations
Smart Recovery programs
• 12-step and non-12-step therapy

Does Someone You Love Have a Dual Diagnosis?

You may be aware of a loved one’s addiction, but how do you know if they also have a dual diagnosis? Sometimes it is difficult to tell where addiction stops and mental illness begins. If your friend or family member exhibits the following symptoms, have them evaluated by a psychotherapist or a physician to determine if they struggle with a co-occurring disorder:

• Helpless or hopeless behavior
• Loss of energy
• Disinterest in daily activities or recreation
• Sudden & frequent panic attacks
• Insomnia or decreased need for sleep
• Hyperactivity & increased energy
• Anger & rage
• Impulsivity & judgment impairment
• Behavior that alternates between euphoria & sadness
• Inability to concentrate
• Sudden, unexplained weight loss or weight gain

Get Help in CA for Dual Diagnosis

Fortunately, when you have a care team that understands addiction and mental illness, there is hope for a new tomorrow. The Complete Harmony team provides specialized counseling and medical treatment for dual diagnosis clients, and our team will help you identify the root of your addiction and set achievable recovery goals. To learn more about the connections between mental illness and addiction, or to speak with our admissions team about residing at our beautiful beach community during your recovery, call 866.930.4673 today.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Acupuncture & Addiction : Holistic Healing During Recovery

acupuncture addiction treatment
Acupuncture has been used for the treatment of illnesses and pain for hundreds of years. It was first encountered by the Western world in Portugal, and its popularity has been steadily on the rise since then. Acupuncture is a holistic way of treating and managing pain, and yes—even drug addiction and alcoholism.

The Acupuncture Process

There is a preconceived notion that acupuncture is painful. The important thing to remember—as with any treatment—is to relax and approach the procedure with an open mind. The needles that are placed gently and slightly into the skin are only the width of a hair. When inserted, there can be a tingling sensation, but once the session is complete there is a general sense of calm and tension release.

Acupuncture has been successfully used to treat many different ailments like muscle pain, insomnia, depression, and food allergies. While this Chinese modality has been around for hundreds of years, its use for alcoholism and addiction is relatively new. Studies have shown that acupuncture helps to release our body’s natural painkillers, called endorphins. Endorphins positively affect one’s physiological and emotional wellbeing, helping people overcome addictive behaviors.

Advantages of Acupuncture for Addiction

While the advantages of acupuncture for addiction vary from person to person, many cutting edge facilities like ours have seen benefits such as:

·      Managing withdrawal symptoms during the detox process
·      Ridding the body of built up toxins from years of abuse
·      Achieving an overall sense of contentedness and wellbeing
·      Releasing natural chemicals that encourage relaxation

More Than Just Acupuncture

At Complete Harmony, we incorporate the use of acupuncture as part of our cutting-edge holistic treatment program. When used in conjunction with other evidence-based treatments, acupuncture can be highly effective in addiction recovery—and even preventing relapse. Many people continue to benefit from it long after they have made it through the active recovery stages.


Acupuncture is only one a small portion of our full-service holistic healing program. We will help you choose the services that are best for you in order to create a truly customized addiction recovery experience. Begin the admissions process online, or call 866.930.4673. We can also assist you with payment and insurance options, and your call is always 100% confidential!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Making Peace with Addiction

“What happens to a man is less significant than what happens within him.” 
-       Louis Mann


Addiction or no, life will always be difficult in some way. We’ll face consequences resulting from poor decisions, health conditions that are out of our control, overwhelming relationship conflicts, and career decisions that keep us up at night. If we’re not careful, peace can elude us—and life can seem relentless. But, when we seek inner peace, even the most burdensome problems seem more manageable.

As addicted individuals, there are a few ways we need to make peace:

  1. With ourselves. With time, therapy, and mindful meditation, we can learn to forgive ourselves for the bad choices that led us down the road to substance abuse. Learning this now is important, because there will be missteps later—and you’ll need to give yourself grace. 
  2. With addiction. Addiction is an equal-opportunity destroyer. It did not “target you” specifically. Remember that you are accountable for your decisions, and that addiction cannot destroy you once you decide to fight.  
  3. With family and friends. Whether you’ve been addicted for months or years, you’ve burned bridges. You’ve hurt loved ones. You’ve ruined relationships. Once you are sober enough to recognize this, it’s time to make amends, develop healthy boundaries, and work to rebuild trust.

How to Embrace Peace on Your Addiction Journey

Learning to be at peace with yourself and others is a marathon, not a sprint. Your therapist will work with you to achieve these goals over time, but it may take awhile. At first, most of your energy during treatment goes toward educating yourself about addiction and staying clean for short periods of time. When the time comes to revisit your peace and happiness, consider:

-       Engaging in regular mind-body exercise, acupuncture, massage, and other holistic practices. These complementary modalities help you to release tension physically and emotionally so you can feel at peace. At first, it may be fleeting peace. But, as you learn to concentrate and center yourself, it will last longer.
-       Attending family counseling. Addiction is a family disease, and many people are suffering. Having a trained, unbiased counselor to help can facilitate healing and encourage cleansing dialogue.
-       Working to let go of regret. Yes: You made bad choices; you put your addiction ahead of your loved ones. But holding onto regret will only keep you in bondage. Tell yourself things like, “I can change. I am taking steps to heal. I made mistakes, but I can also make amends.”  

Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery in California


At Complete Harmony, we help you learn to be at peace as you pursue the day-to-day challenges of sobriety. Our drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs include evidence-based holistic therapies, counseling, and family therapy, and we are hear to support you from your first phone call to your customized aftercare program. Click here to begin the admissions process.  


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