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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Healing Your Brain During Addiction Recovery

healing your brain during addiction recoveryWhile practitioners are divided on whether or not addiction is an actual “brain disease,” it is undisputed that drug and alcohol abuse takes a neurological toll. Drugs wreak havoc on your brain’s natural chemicals and neurotransmitters, sending your mind and body false pleasure signals that prompt you to continue getting high. Street drugs, prescription drugs, and alcohol also alter the way your brain processes, sends and receives information. When you decide to stop using, healing requires the creation of new neural pathways and the healthy balancing of natural chemicals.

How to Reprogram Your Brain 
Your brain adapts to environmental stimuli, and this “plasticity” allows it to adjust to sobriety in the same way it adjusted to addiction. Brain healing will happen, but you need to be patient with the process. The brain’s healing timeline is largely based on your chemical/s of choice, the length of time you have used, and the quantity of drugs you’ve taken.

Chances are you’ve built a tolerance to the drug or drink you enjoy, so you have increased the quantity over time to get the same reward. Retraining your brain not only requires detoxing from substances and abstaining from future use, but it also hinges on retraining through healthy eating, exercise, sleep, meditation, social connection, and proper levels of non-drug stimulation.

Healing Habits for the Brain
Engaging in meditation, group therapy, social activities, and holistic therapies are important for post-addiction restoration. Other healing habits for the brain include:

• Getting proper levels of quality sleep. This is one of the most critical parts of recovery since your brain repairs itself while your body is resting. During sleep, your brain processes information, cements and transfers memories to storage, makes creative connections and cleans out toxins. Proper sleep also energizes you for the next day, improves mental performance, and allows for the release of hormones that control essential body function.

• Eating clean. Up to 25% of the nutrients you consume are required for brain function, but you were probably malnourished while you were using. During rehab, it is critical to avoid junk food and empty calories and, instead, provide your body with the nutrients it needs for physical and mental healing. Healthy fats like fish, nuts, and seeds are building blocks for the brain. Your body also requires adequate protein intake (to create new neurotransmitters), and fruits and vegetables for their powerful nutrients and antioxidants.

• Committing to an exercise routine. Your addiction has caused a chemical imbalance in the brain: one that can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Exercise has been found to ward off depression and anxiety through the release of natural dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. As a healthy side effect, exercise provides a good diversion to fill your new, sober hours.

• Enjoying daily reading time. Many addicts cannot focus on reading while they are in early recovery since drugs and alcohol have impacted their concentration. During addiction recovery, choose a favorite genre and read every day. Reading “exercises” your brain by forcing it to decode visual cues, process words and images, and store information. Reading has been shown to impact your brain’s recovery by healing your occipital and parietal lobes and rebuilding your memory.

Complete Harmony CA Rehab
At Complete Harmony, our team of practitioners and addiction specialists believe in healing the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. As you purge your body of harmful substances and engage in intentional activities for brain healing, you will begin to think clearly and see your new, sober life in a new light. Dial 866.930.4673 to inquire about California drug and alcohol addiction treatment or speak with a counselor about retraining your brain and restoring your vitality.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

New CDC Opioid Use Guidelines

New CDC Opioid Use GuidelinesAmid growing concerns about the dramatic nationwide increase in addiction and overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued new opioid prescribing guidelines for physicians. Overdose deaths from opioids have quadrupled since 1999, and health officials believe this is tied to the increased use of these drugs for treating pain associated with chronic conditions like arthritis and back pain.

The New Protocols
Opioids are now believed to pose a risk for abuse and addiction to all patients, and the CDC has shifted their former safety precautions from “high-risk patients” to include all patients except those who are undergoing cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care. The new guidelines recommend that primary care doctors wait to prescribe opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin until after they have first exhausted these more benign approaches to pain management:

• Physical therapy
Cognitive behavior therapy
• Exercise
• Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers

More Informed & Cautionary Approach 
When opioids are called for, the CDC encourages physicians to discuss the risks and benefits of opioid therapy with patients and to establish treatment goals. Further recommendations call for:

• Prescribing the lowest possible effective dose
• Using immediate-release opioids instead of extended-release
• Prescribing only enough opioids to cover the expected duration of the painful condition
• Combining opioid therapy with non-pharmacological therapies to maximize relief
• Regularly monitoring patients to check that opioid therapy is helping the condition & not having harmful effects
• Preparing to help the patient withdraw from opioids if the therapy proves ineffective or shows adverse effects

Safety of Opioid Use a Motivating Factor
“We’re trying to chart a safer and more effective course for dealing with chronic pain,” said CDC director, Dr. Tom Frieden, in an interview with The Associated Press. “The risks of addiction and death are very well documented for these medications.”

Holistic Therapies for Recovery & Overall Well-Being 
If chronic pain has led you to opioid abuse, Complete Harmony has a recovery path to help your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Our model for hybrid addiction treatment includes comfortable detox and holistic therapies like massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic care. Call 866.930.4673 to speak with our caring admissions specialists. Your path to a healthier, sober life is just a phone call away!


Monday, March 14, 2016

Is Food Addiction Real?

is food addiction real?The idea of food addiction is a growing area of interest given the U.S. obesity epidemic. Like men and women who are physiologically and psychologically addicted to drugs, researchers believe people develop addictions to certain foods that are highly processed, filled with sugar, or high in refined carbohydrates. Science has shown foods like pizza, potato chips, cookies, French fries, and chocolate to be particularly habit-forming.

According to family physician Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, “The ‘just say no’ approach to drug addiction hasn’t fared very well. It won’t work for our industrial food addiction either. Tell a cocaine or heroin addict or an alcoholic to ‘just say no’ after that first snort, shot, or drink. It’s not that simple. There are specific biological mechanisms that drive addictive behavior.” 

Non-industrial, “whole” foods like salmon, brown rice, apples, and broccoli—on the other hand—were not found to be addictive. Researchers believe that food addiction occurs when an individual’s reward center reacts to the properties of certain foods. “If properties of some foods are associated with addictive eating for some people, this may impact nutrition guidelines, as well as public policy initiatives such as marketing these foods to children,” said Erica Schulte, University of Michigan doctoral student and lead author of a U-M 2015 food addiction study.

Other Things to Note About Food Addiction 

• Overeating is not necessarily a willpower problem. In many cases, science finds that people go through brain changes when they eat particular foods—similar to what occurs during drug, alcohol, or smoking addiction.

• Food addicts have a compulsive urge to eat even when they are not hungry. They may gravitate toward fast food and foods high in saturated fats and sugar.

• Food addicts may also be addicted to salt, which has been found to trigger a dopamine (pleasure chemical) release. Some studies estimate that salty foods are as addictive as alcohol or nicotine.

• Some people are prone to addiction transfer, and find themselves trading one addiction for another (drugs for binge eating or cigarettes for sex, for example).

Complete Harmony Treats Substance Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders
At Complete Harmony Rehab, we help you face your addictions head-on and encourage you to fill free time with healthy hobbies rather than replacing one addiction with another. The holistic therapies at our innovative rehab center help clients manage addiction triggers, get a handle on stress, and pursue lasting sobriety and a more fulfilling life. Call 866.930.4673 to inquire about California addiction treatment or speak with a counselor about treatment for co-occurring disorders.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Raise Your EQ to Succeed in Recovery

emotional quotient in addiction recoveryDid you know that people who struggle with addictive disorders may have a low EQ (Emotional Quotient)? Alcohol and drug use may interfere with their ability to recognize and interpret their emotions, or the lack of this ability may lead to misinterpretations that result in substance abuse. Either way, for someone with a low EQ, the pathway to successful recovery must include developing emotional intelligence.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Everyone feels emotions and acts on them during all phases of living. Emotions, like instincts, are innate decision-making shortcuts left over from a time when primitive man needed to act quickly in order to survive. Emotions gave our ancestors an edge, and modern man still benefits from them—if we learn to correctly recognize and interpret them. Emotional intelligence is the ability to (1) reliably identify and assess emotions in ourselves and others, and (2) control our emotions and influence the emotions of others.

Why Low EQ Is a Problem in Recovery
Stress, anxiety, suppressed anger, and isolation are some of the emotionally based problems that recovering addicts face. Substance use probably masked the discomfort of these feelings, but in recovery, they must be brought out in the open and confronted. Without emotional intelligence to guide them, recovering addicts are unable to judge their own emotions and the emotional responses they receive from others.

Emotional Intelligence in Recovery Activities
Most rehab programs recognize the dangers of a low EQ and incorporate exercises to raise emotional intelligence into their therapy and support programs. Recovery activities include:

• Self-awareness: recognizing, identifying, and gauging emotion; identifying triggers and cravings.

• Relationship skills: recognizing and correctly identifying emotion in others; learning to empathize.

• Stress management: using exercise, yoga, meditation, & other interventions to relieve stress & anxiety

• Social skills like effective listening, understanding body language, and the use of humor to find connection and dissipate tension.

• Anger management and conflict resolution skills.

• Mindfulness and gratefulness meditation to develop perspective and self-understanding.

Develop Your Emotional Intelligence at Complete Harmony
When you have made the decision to enter recovery, you will have to face the emotions that may originally have driven you to addiction. The holistic therapies at Complete Harmony’s innovative rehab center will help you develop the emotional intelligence you will need to succeed in recovery and live a healthier, more fulfilling life. Dial 866.930.4673 to begin the admissions process today.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Adjust Your Point of View: Consider Chiropractic for Addiction Recovery

chiropractic care for addiction treatmentAs part of the complementary therapies offered by Complete Harmony Rehab, we provide chiropractic care to treat pain, spinal alignment issues, and other body imbalances. While many of our chiropractic patients are managing pain conditions that may have led them to opioid abuse, some clients simply use chiropractic to encourage proper nervous system performance or rid their body of toxins.

Benefits of Chiropractic for Addiction Treatment
Acupuncture, chiropractic, yoga, and meditation are all ways of managing pain and stress without the need for drugs. Chiropractic is a natural, non-medicated treatment that can be helpful for migraines, scoliosis, spinal subluxation, sports injuries, and whiplash from auto accidents. Many men and women who try chiropractic care while they reside with us enjoy pain relief and a feeling of improved wellness after one or more visits. Advantages of chiropractic for addiction recovery include:

• Endorphin release (natural pain killers)
• Reduced cravings for drugs or alcohol
• Restored joint mobility or reduced joint pain
• Improved immunity & overall health
• Removal of toxins from soft tissue
• Enhanced sense of peace & wellbeing

There is also research to show that chiropractic care restores appropriate neurological connections between the brain and spine and stimulates receptors that help with optimal brain function.

The connection between chiropractic treatment and addiction recovery was studied at the Exodus Treatment Center in Miami Beach, FL. Jay Holder, a physician and chiropractor, studied nearly 100 people during their recovery program. His research, published in Molecular Psychiatry, found that when chiropractic care was integrated with traditional therapy techniques, participants had a reduced incidence of anxiety, depression, and emotional problems. They were also more likely to complete their rehab program.

Begin Holistic Addiction Treatment Today
Complete Harmony is proud to provide a long list of holistic therapies that help clients detox more comfortably and pursue improved wellness during active rehab. To experience a chiropractic adjustment or learn more about our acupuncture clinic, mind-body therapies, and other alternative treatment avenues, call our admissions team at 866.930.4673 today.

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