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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. 









Friday, May 18, 2018

Self-Care Rituals for Recovery

self-careCertainly this isn’t the first (or last) time we’ll talk about the importance of self-care. You likely know by now that self-care is crucial for your recovery and lasting sobriety – and that it goes well beyond good hygiene, diet and exercise. 

Practicing self-care means carving out time each day to nurture your whole self – mind, body and spirit.  There are so many self-care rituals out there – from dry brushing to detoxing – but which ones will really work to enhance your recovery? Here are a few proven strategies to try today: 
  • Stop and smell the roses. Whether literally or figuratively, taking time to slow down and smell the roses has multiple mental health benefits. You'll learn to live in the moment and appreciate your surroundings and, if you practice this outdoors, you'll reap the anxiety-busting benefits of nature, too. 
  • Make the most of your mornings. Whether you take a morning walk or sip green tea and jot down your goals for the day, carving out some “you time” in the a.m. can help set the tone for a great day in recovery. 
  • Practice spirituality. Spiritual practices like prayer or meditation can play a big role in recovery. Some perks: less anxiety, more optimism, fewer cravings and relapses. 
  • Start a daily journal. Journaling is a simple and super powerful self-care ritual – and there’s really no right or wrong way to do it. Write down what you’re grateful for or the worst part of your day or some inspirational quotes – just get your thoughts flowing and down on paper. 
A Healthier Lifestyle With Deeper Purpose
At Complete Harmony, our holistic relapse prevention plans provide the tools you or someone you love needs for lifelong sobriety. After recovery, our staff encourages you to continue holistic therapies and find groups and community resources that support your commitment to sobriety. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.


Friday, May 11, 2018

Study: Cirrhosis Patients Often Female

More than one-third of cirrhosis cases are related to alcohol, revealed a seven-year national study of more than 100 million privately insured people. The results were published in the journal Hepatology.

Among 294,215 people with cirrhosis, 105,871 (36 percent) had alcohol-related cirrhosis – and that group was sicker and admitted or readmitted to a hospital more often.

“When I look at this data, it tells me that this is a big problem,” Jessica Mellinger, MD, a Michigan Medicine gastroenterologist and health services researcher at the Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation, said in a statement.

And it’s especially a big problem for females, who had a 50 percent increase in alcohol-related cirrhosis during the seven-year period, according to the study. Men showed a 30 percent increase.

The reason for this heightened risk? “Women process alcohol differently than men and they are more susceptible to damage in the liver than men,” said Dr. Mellinger. “They can develop cirrhosis with less alcohol and in a shorter time frame.” 

Hormones are likely to blame, yet more research is needed to discover exactly why they are so much more susceptible to the damaging effects of alcohol than men, she added. 

A few more study findings:
  • The rates of patients with alcohol-related cirrhosis nearly surpass those of some common cancers.
  • Health care for these patients can cost as much as the cost for cancer patients.
  • Patients often wait until cirrhosis has progressed to see a doctor. This prevents a chance for early diagnosis and treatment.
The study had its limitations, however. For one, researchers have yet to examine cirrhosis claims related to substance abuse. 

What’s more, said Mellinger, many people with alcohol-related cirrhosis are “too sick to remain employed, so more of these patients are insured through government-sponsored insurance such as Medicare and Medicaid.”

More About Alcohol-Related Cirrhosis
Between 10 and 20 percent of heavy drinkers develop cirrhosis, usually after 10 or more years of drinking, according to the American Liver Foundation. If left untreated, cirrhosis caused by alcohol can be a life-threatening disease. Symptoms of cirrhosis can be the same as alcoholic hepatitis and also include:
  • Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen (ascites)
  • High blood pressure in the liver (portal hypertension)
  • Bleeding from veins in the esophagus (esophageal varices)
  • Behavior changes and confusion
  • Enlarged spleen
Help for Alcohol Addiction
If you or someone you love has an alcohol abuse problem, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. At Complete Harmony, we have helped hundreds of patients detox and restore their whole body using holistic therapies for symptom management and improved wellbeing. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.




Friday, May 4, 2018

Smart Tips to Take Control of Stress

It’s Mental Health Month and one of the many important messages of this year’s campaign, Fitness #4Mind4Body, is the link between good stress management and good mental and physical health. 

You likely already know that stress is a relapse trigger – and it can lead to serious mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Plus, chronic stress can cause inflammation in your body. The result: a greater risk of common colds and viruses, heart disease, headaches, intestinal problems, sexual dysfunction, diabetes and even cancer, according to Mental Health America (MHA). 

The goal isn’t to stress out if you find yourself unable to manage your stress. Instead, try one of these tips – if it doesn’t work for you, try another one – until you find your sweet spot for dealing with stress. 
  • Exercise your “no” muscle. If you feel overwhelmed by how many things are on your schedule, it’s ok to say “no” to new activities! This is especially important during early recovery when you need to make sure that you and your sobriety are your number-one priorities. 
  • Squash the “superman/superwoman” urge. A constant need for perfectionism can take a toll on your mental health. Ease up on yourself and ask for help if you need it. 
  • Carve out quiet time. According to MHA, just 10 to 20 minutes of quiet reflection (via meditation) can help you learn to tolerate stress as well as provide relief for the symptoms of chronic stress. 
  • Aim for 30 minutes of exercise. Physical activity benefits both the body and mind and helps the brain release some stress-busting chemicals in the brain. 
  • Make time for a hobby. “Zoning out” on a passion project is a great way to relax and take your mind off of your worries. Indulge in your interests, says MHA, whether that means gardening, painting, doing jigsaw puzzles or playing video games.
Continual Self-Growth at Complete Harmony

Our team of credentialed clinicians can help you explore your own recovery journey while learning to better manage stress. For more information about our cutting edge treatments, call today: 866-930-4673.



Friday, April 27, 2018

Does Vaping Lead to Pot Use Among Teens?

That’s what researchers set out to answer in a new survey of more than 10,000 teens. The result: Teens who use e-cigarettes are twice as likely to smoke pot as their non-vaping peers. 

According to lead research Hongying Dai, more than one in 4 teenagers who reported e-cigarette use eventually progressed to smoking pot, compared with just 8 percent of non-vapers. And the younger they begin, the greater the risk. Adolescents, aged 12 to 14, who tried e-cigs were 2.5 times more likely to become heavy marijuana users, which the researchers defined as smoking pot at least once a week.

One possible explanation: The nicotine in e-cigarette vapor may be altering young teen's brain chemistry, noted Dai. "The brain is still developing during the teen years; nicotine exposure might lead to changes in the central nervous system that predisposes teens to dependence on other drugs of abuse," he said, in statement. 

Another possibility is that using e-cigarettes might spark a teen's curiosity about smoking pot – and reduce any worries about the use of marijuana, Dai added. And, in fact, this isn’t the first study to suggest that e-cigarettes could be a gateway drug, especially for risk-taking kids.

Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, NY, told HealthDay that parents should “put their foot down hard” and have a “zero tolerance” for e-cigarette use. He also urged parents to learn the warning signs of e-cigarette use, including:
  • Marked irritability
  • Hiding things
  • Skirting the truth
  • Constant dry mouth or dry skin
  • Nose bleeds 
Help for Drug Addiction
If you suspect your loved one has a problem with pot, don’t hesitate to contact us. At Complete Harmony, we have helped hundreds of patients restore their whole body using holistic therapies for symptom management and improved wellbeing. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.







Friday, April 20, 2018

Smartphone Addiction Tied to Loneliness, Depression

smartphone addiction
Smartphones have become a staple in today’s world, allowing us to stay connected and in-the-know 24/7 and helping us to better manage daily life. However, they’ve also created a constant need for phone time – whether you find yourself always refreshing your Facebook feed or responding immediately to every ding and vibration – and this can lead to a host of problems. 

For one, the endless stream of information and stimuli can wreak havoc on our ability to focus on one task at a time. Recently, researchers linked smartphone overuse to increased feelings of isolation and worsening of depression and anxiety symptoms – similar to the effects of other types of addiction. 

In fact, researchers from San Francisco State University likened smartphone addiction to opioid dependency: “The behavioral addiction of smartphone use begins forming neurological connections in the brain in ways similar to how opioid addiction is experienced by people taking Oxycontin for pain relief — gradually,” said Erik Peper, co-lead author of the study and professor of health education at the school, in statement.

The good news: Unlike drug addiction, we can train ourselves to be less addicted to our phones and computers, noted the researchers. They suggest the following common-sense tips to get started: 
  • Turn off push notifications.
  • Only respond to email and social media at specific times.
  • Schedule periods with no interruptions to focus on important tasks.
More About America’s Smartphone Addiction
Here are a few surprising findings from a survey conducted by Deloitte in 2017:
  • U.S. smartphone owners check their phones 47 times per day.
  • 80 percent check their phone after an hour of getting up/before going to sleep.
  • 85 percent use it while talking to friends and family.
  • 47 percent have made an effort to limit their phone use in the past. 
Complete Harmony CA Rehab
If compulsive cell phone use is a problem that co-occurs with your drug or alcohol addiction, Complete Harmony’s team of practitioners and addiction specialists can help. Join our family and begin to live life on healthier terms, without the need for technology overload. Call 866-930-4673 to inquire about our dual-diagnosis programs, or speak with a counselor about developing a customized recovery program for you or someone you love. 



Friday, April 13, 2018

Is Your Drinking Risky?

is your drinking risk?It’s a good question to ask – and it’s especially timely as we celebrate Alcohol Awareness Month, started by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) in 1987 to reduce stigma and spread awareness about alcohol, alcoholism and recovery. 

Drinking too much alcohol – at one time, too often, or both – can lead to a host of health troubles, including an increased risk of: 
  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep disorders
  • Depression
  • Stroke
  • Bleeding from the stomach
  • Sexually transmitted infections from unsafe sex
  • Several types of cancer
  • Alcohol use disorder
The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) “Rethinking Drinking” site offers several tools to help you identify any risky patterns along with tips on how to reduce your risks. 

Let’s start with the basics: What counts as a drink? According to NIH, a standard drink in the U.S. is any drink that contains 0.6 fluid ounces (14 grams) of “pure alcohol.” So this can include a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine and a 1.5-fluid ounce shot of 80-proof distilled spirits. 

For women, “low risk” drinking is generally defined as having no more than three drinks on any day and no more than seven per week; for men, it’s no more than four drinks on any day and no more than 14 drinks per week. Only about 2 in 100 people in these “low risk” groups have an alcohol use disorder, according to the NIH. Women experience alcohol-related problems at lower drinking levels than men, which is why the numbers differ. 

Still “low risk” isn’t the same as “no risk,” notes NIH. This is because of factors like drinking too quickly as well as other health problems. For example, your best bet is to not drink at all if you are: 
  • Taking any medications that could interact with alcohol
  • Managing a chronic medical condition, like addiction or diabetes, that could be aggravated or made worse by drinking
  • Pregnant or trying to become pregnant
  • Under the age of 21
What’s more, if you can’t cut back or control your drinking and/or if your drinking causes distress or harm to your personal, professional, financial or social life, it’s time to take steps to get help. 

Help for Alcohol Addiction
If you or someone you love has an alcohol abuse problem, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. At Complete Harmony, we have helped hundreds of patients detox and restore their whole body using holistic therapies for symptom management and improved wellbeing. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.



Friday, April 6, 2018

How to Spring Clean Your Mental Habits

Spring is the season of growth and renewal and this goes for your emotional health, too. In fact, the next few months are the perfect time to purge yourself of any negative thoughts and emotions that could be interfering with your full recovery. Here are a few steps to clear the “mind weeds” and “plant the seeds” for healthier mental habits this season and beyond.
  • Identify your stressors. Stress is one of the leading causes of relapse, so there’s no better time than now to take action. Your first step is to figure out some sources of stress; try keeping a journal. Next, test out some relaxation techniques to calm anxiety and relieve tension. Some ideas: exercise, meditation, yoga, massage.
  •  Dig up a long-overdue apology. A heartfelt apology can help reduce guilt and internal discomfort and regrow a damaged relationship with a loved one.
  • Release your grip on a grudge. Along the same lines, forgiving yourself or someone else can help free up emotional energy so you can focus on more positive aspects of your life. Sure, it’s normal to experience emotions like anger and hurt, but allowing these feelings to fill up your heart will hurt you and your recovery.
  • Sweep away self-criticism. This will definitely take some practice, but you can do it. In fact, uttering phrases like “I can do this” or “I’m doing my best,” is a great first step. Another important part is making an effort to recognize that you will make mistakes and that it's okay as long as you learn from them and move onward and upward.
Continual Self-Growth at Complete Harmony
Our team of credentialed clinicians can 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, March 30, 2018

5 Renewal Rituals for a Healthy Recovery


renewal rituals
Spring is the perfect time to begin thinking about how we can re-group, re-prioritize and renew ourselves so we can be our best selves during recovery. Here are some “renewal rituals” to help you get started.
  1. De-clutter your living space. Piles of unsorted bills or unorganized clothes can make you more stressed out. UCLA researchers found high cortisol (a stress hormone) levels in women with homes with a "high density of household objects." In other words, the more clutter, the more inner chaos. 
  2. Clear the mental clutter. In the spirit of renewal, why not rid yourself of negative emotions so there’s more room for positive growth. Make a conscious effort to find the positive side of things, give yourself permission to let go of any past mistakes and make an effort to re-acquaint yourself with the unique qualities that make you, well, you. 
  3. Start a daily spiritual practice. Spring is the perfect time to bring some more mindfulness to your life and to focus on your inner self. Some ideas: yoga, meditation, prayer, deep breathing or even mindful walking.
  4. Try something new. What better time than the season of new beginnings to try something you’ve always wanted to do – from learning a new language to trying a new fitness class to visiting a new city. A comprehensive recovery plan should include sober fun, creativity and any stress-lowering activities that can serve as a healthy escape.
  5. Make time for nature. Whether you decide to plant a vegetable or flower garden or take up hiking as a hobby, make a commitment this spring to make a connection to the earth by spending more time outdoors. 
Renewing Your Whole Self During Recovery
At Complete Harmony, we encourage the use of many different cutting-edge techniques to help clients heal the mind, body and spirit. To learn more about our treatment center and our approach to addiction recovery, call today: 866-930-4673.






Friday, March 23, 2018

Opioid Overdoses or Suicides?

In the midst of the opioid epidemic, suicide rates have hit a 30-year high – is there a connection?

This was the question posed in a recent NPR article titled “How Many Opioid Overdoses Are Suicidal?” And it’s not the first (or last time) this relationship will be examined. In fact, there are several studies linking drug addiction and suicide. 

One study of nearly 5 million veterans found that diagnoses of opioid use disorders (OUD) led to an increased risk of suicide for both males and females. And women were eight times more likely to be at risk for suicide; men faced a twofold risk. What’s more, researchers found the suicide rate among those with OUD was 86.9/100,000, compared to the already alarming rate of 14/100,000 in the general U.S. population, notes the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Another study of 41,053 participants found that prescription opioid misuse was associated with anywhere between a 40 and 60 percent increased risk for thoughts of suicide, notes the NIDA. And those reporting at least weekly opioid misuse made suicide attempts at a rate 200 percent greater than those unaffected.

While researchers continue to study the link, there are still many unanswered questions. For instance, "no one has answered the chicken and egg [question]," Dr. Kiame Mahaniah, a family physician who runs the Lynn Community Health Center in Mass, told NPR. Is it that patients "have mental health issues that lead to addiction, or did a life of addiction then trigger mental health problems?"

For now, experts like Mahaniah say the best bet is to “provide treatment that covers all those bases." 

Do You Know the Warning Signs of Suicide?
The National Institute of Mental Health recommends seeking help as soon as possible if you or someone you know exhibits any of the following signs:
  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities - seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped - like there's no way out
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and society
  • Feeling anxious, agitated or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes
  • Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life
Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Complete Harmony
When you're struggling with a mental illness and a substance use disorder, rehabilitation may seem like an impossible journey. Using traditional and holistic therapies, Complete Harmony has a proven history of successfully addressing a dual diagnosis. To learn more, call 866-930-4673




Friday, March 16, 2018

Study: Could Mindfulness Meditation Prevent Major Depression?

Mindfulness meditation prevent depression
By now you’re likely familiar with the fact that depression and addiction often go hand and hand – you or someone you love may even be suffering from both. But what if we told you that mindfulness mediation could help prevent major depression? Well, that’s what researchers set out to prove in a new study published in the Annals of Family Medicine. 

For the study, researchers selected 231 adults with subclinical depression, which is defined as the presence of depressive symptoms that are not yet severe or persistent enough to warrant a diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD), according to researchers. The study participants were split into two groups: The first group took part in a two-hour mindfulness mediation session once a week for 8 weeks; the second group received usual care. The patients were recruited from 16 outpatient clinics in Hong Kong. 

The results: The mindfulness meditation group showed fewer depressive symptoms – MDD was diagnosed in 10.8 percent compared to 26.8 percent in the usual care group. 

What Is Mindfulness Mediation and How Can it Help Your Recovery?
Mindful meditation is a psychological practice that helps us to be “fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us,” according to Mindful.org. Another definition: It helps give us a necessary pause so we approach daily life with warmth and kindness – not judgment – toward ourselves and toward others. 

Being more mindful can certainly help your recovery. For one, it will prevent negative thoughts, feelings and emotions from distracting you or interfering with lasting sobriety. Here are a few more of the study-proven benefits: 
  • Better emotional control
  • Less anxiety 
  • Reduced anger and increased compassion
  • Greater self-awareness
  • Improved focus and impulse control
  • Deeper spiritual connection
Finding Holistic Treatment for You
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, March 9, 2018

Study: Smartphone Addiction — Hyper-social, Not Anti-social?

Are you constantly checking your phone, texting or scrolling through social media? Smartphone addiction has been in the news more and more, with many experts believing this type of behavior to be antisocial. New research, however, is looking at smartphone addiction in a new way – wondering if it’s a sign of being hyper-social?

In the new review, researchers believe the most addictive smartphone functions share a common theme: they tap into the human desire to connect with other people.

The desire to watch and monitor others — and also to be seen and monitored by others — runs deep in our evolutionary past, explained professor Samuel Veissière, a cognitive anthropol
ogist, in a statement. Social media is a way for us to find meaning, goals and a sense of identity.

“There is a lot of panic surrounding this topic,” said Veissière. “We’re trying to offer some good news and show that it is our desire for human interaction that is addictive and there are fairly simple solutions to deal with this.”

Still, the researchers agree that the pace and scale of hyper-connectivity can push the brain’s reward system to run on overdrive, leading to unhealthy addictions. 

So what are these "fairly simple solutions"? Experts says turning off push notifications and setting up appropriate times to check your phone can go a long way toward helping prevent smartphone addiction.  

And, above all, we need to “start having a conversation about the appropriate way to use smartphones,” noted Veissière. “Parents and teachers need to be made aware of how important this is.”

Complete Harmony CA Rehab
If compulsive cell phone use is a problem that co-occurs with your drug or alcohol addiction, Complete Harmony’s team of practitioners and addiction specialists can help. Join our family and begin to live life on healthier terms, without the need for technology overload. Dial 866-930-4673 to inquire about our dual-diagnosis programs, or speak with a counselor about developing a customized recovery program for your needs. 




















Friday, February 23, 2018

Chronic Drinking Linked to Dementia

A study of nearly one million adults in France found a link between chronic drinking and early-onset dementia.

Researchers, using data from the French National Hospital Discharge database, found that of the 57,000 cases of early-onset dementia (younger than 65), the majority (57%) were related to chronic heavy drinking. Alcohol use disorders were diagnosed in 16.5% of the men with dementia and 4% of the women with dementia — over twice as much as in those without dementia for both sexes, according to the study.

"Given the strength of the association, what is the most surprising to me is that alcohol use disorders had received so little interest in dementia research and public health policies," Dr. Michael Schwarzinger, a researcher at the Transitional Health Economics Network in Paris and a leading author of the study, told CNN.com.

According to the researchers, there are multiple ways heavy alcohol use can lead to dementia, including:
  • Ethanol and its byproduct acetaldehyde are known to have a toxic effect on the brain that can lead to long-term structural and functional brain damage.
  • Heavy alcohol use can lead to a condition called hepatic encephalopathy, characterized by a loss in brain function due to increases of ammonia in the blood caused by liver damage.
  • Heavy drinking often correlates with smoking habits and/or depression, also factors for dementia onset. 
People outside of France should take these findings seriously, too, Dr. Schwarzinger told CNN.com. “While the rate of alcohol use disorders is lower in the USA, it remains substantial enough to be considered a major risk factor for dementia onset."

Help for Alcohol Addiction
If you or someone you love has an alcohol abuse problem, know that you’re not alone. Our team has helped hundreds of patients detox and restore their whole body using holistic therapies for symptom management and improved wellbeing. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.



Friday, February 16, 2018

Few Depression Patients Seek Treatment

Here’s some depressing news: Only one-third of those newly diagnosed with depression follow through on doctor’s orders, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine

Using electronic health records, insurance claims and demographic data, the researchers studied nearly 250,000 patients who received a new diagnosis of depression in primary care settings in five large health care systems between 2010 and 2013. Only 35.7 percent initiated antidepressant medication or psychotherapy within 90 days of their diagnosis. The numbers were slightly more promising among those diagnosed with more severe forms of depression, with roughly about half starting treatment. 

Depression is a highly treatable condition, and it’s estimated that 16 million Americans experience at least one depressive episode per year.

What’s behind this non-compliance? The reasons ranged from stigma to challenges accessing behavioral health services, said Beth Waitzfelder, PhD, lead author and investigator of the study, in a statement.

And this is despite a growing effort nationwide to detect and begin treating depression during primary care visits. “Over the last decade, there has been a growing effort to raise awareness about mental health and to integrate mental health care into primary care,” said Dr. Waitzfelder. “This is a positive development, since most people receive care from primary care providers. However, our study shows there is a lot more work to do to understand why many depressed patients do not begin treatment.”

Depression and Addiction: Getting Help
A depression diagnosis may exist prior to substance abuse, or develop as a side effect of drug and alcohol dependency. When you're struggling with a mental illness and a substance use disorder, rehabilitation may seem like an impossible journey. Using traditional and holistic therapies, Complete Harmony has a proven history of successfully addressing a dual diagnosis. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.




Friday, February 9, 2018

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders More Common Than Believed


More children than previously thought may have some type of disability caused by maternal drinking during pregnancy, according to a new study published in JAMA. Researchers suggest that 1.5 to 5 percent of U.S. children — up to five times previous estimates — have a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. To put things in perspective, that's as common as autism, which impacts roughly 1.5 percent.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (also called FASDs) can range from moderate to severe and include cognitive, behavioral and physical difficulties, according to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention: 
  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip 
  • Small head size
  • Shorter-than-average height
  • Low body weight
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty with attention
  • Poor memory
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ
  • Poor reasoning and judgment skills
  • Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones
The study, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, evaluated nearly 3,000 students as well as some of their mothers. More than a third of the children’s moms declined to answer questions about drinking during pregnancy.

“When you identify a kid with FASD, you’ve just identified a mom who drank during pregnancy and harmed her child,” Susan Astley, director of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Diagnostic and Prevention Network at the University of Washington, who was not involved in the study, told The New York Times.

Health authorities in the United States have pretty clear warnings when it comes to drinking during pregnancy: don’t do it. A 2015 American Academy of Pediatrics report said “no amount of alcohol intake should be considered safe” during any trimester. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, advised sexually active women who are not using birth control to “not drink alcohol at all.”

Even a small amount of alcohol can seriously affect a baby, said Dr. Astley. “There’s probably no two women on the planet who drank the same amount on the same day of pregnancy. And alcohol doesn’t impact every fetus in the same way.”

The researchers hope that these findings will serve as a wake-up call for moms-to-be: “Alcohol can damage every system of the body,” Dr. Svetlana Popova, a senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s Institute for Mental Health Policy Research in Toronto and a co-author of an editorial about the new study, told NYT. “We have to scream about this problem to the world.”

Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse
If you have a drinking problem and are pregnant or considering pregnancy, we can work together to create a plan to help you live a happy and alcohol-free lifestyle. To learn more about our holistic addiction program, call today: 866-930-4673.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Building a Healthy Heart After Substance Abuse

It’s Heart Health Month, held each year to remind Americans to learn about the impact the heart has on one’s overall health, as well as the lifestyle factors that can promote a healthy heart. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, so it’s never too soon to start caring for this vital organ. Certainly getting help for drug or alcohol abuse is a great step. Both drugs and alcohol can pose very serious risks to your cardiovascular health, increasing your risk for heart attack and stroke. 

Here’s a look at how to best care for your ticker after years of abuse from addiction. Perhaps the best part, these tips from the American Heart Association (AHA) can work double-duty and benefit your overall recovery, too: 

Get active. If you get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day (like brisk walking), five times per week, you can almost guarantee yourself a healthier and more satisfying life while lowering your risks for heart disease, stroke and diabetes, according to AHA.

Watch your cholesterol. Too much bad cholesterol (LDL) can form plaque in your veins and arteries – and these blockages can lead to heart disease and stroke. Firstly, if you don’t know your numbers, schedule a visit with your doctor to get checked. If your numbers are high, engaging in moderate exercise, avoiding tobacco smoke and eating a heart-healthy diet can help.

Manage high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Again, get your numbers checked and make an effort to follow these steps from the AHA:
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet, including reducing sodium
  • Get regular physical activity
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress
  • Avoid tobacco smoke.
Pay attention to your diet. Healthy foods are the fuel our bodies use to create the energy we need to thrive and fight diseases, notes AHA. So do your best to load up on veggies, fruit, low-fat dairy, fiber-rich whole grains, and lean meats including fish.

Nutrition Planning at Complete Harmony
Helping clients plan healthful meals to enrich their body and mind is just one of the many features of our hybrid addiction treatment. By integrating conventional and holistic recovery approaches, we help restore balance to the whole person. To learn more, call: 866-930-4673.


Friday, January 26, 2018

5 Ways Yoga Helps Recovery

A regular yoga practice may not be for everyone – but everyone can give it a try. Here are five ways this ancient practice can help you on the road to recovery: 

1. You’ll feel calmer. Perhaps the most widely known benefit of yoga is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, which can interfere with your recovery and even trigger relapse.

2. You’ll have greater self-awareness. Yoga can put you in a state of calm and focus so you can reflect on where you are and where you want to be in your recovery. It also teaches you to be more self-aware – but without judgment or reaction – and this can certainly help you better manage any negative feelings you’re having.

3. You’ll handle cravings better. Again, this greater self-awareness brought on by yoga can give you an edge when it comes to identifying and managing any drug or alcohol cravings. 

4. You’ll be in a better mood. The deep breathing exercises taught in yoga have been found to boost mood (lowering stress hormones) and lessen depressive symptoms. In fact, one study found that a specialized set of breathing exercises called Sudarshana Kriya Yoga (SKY) helped people during detox for alcohol dependence. SKY uses three types of seated breathing: victorious breath (a slow deep breathing), bellows breath (a forced inhalation and exhalation) for 12 to 15 minutes, and cyclical breathing of slow, medium and fast cycles for 30 minutes, according Psychology Today.

5. You’ll become more confident. Yoga challenges you mentally and physically and can help build confidence in your body and your ability to set and reach recovery goals. 

Making Yoga Part of Your Addiction Treatment
Stepping out of the confines of traditional rehab programs, Complete Harmony empowers clients to achieve and maintain sobriety through the use of holistic therapies and non-12-step alternative approaches. To learn more about our complementary therapy approaches, including yoga, call us today: 866-930-4673.




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