Steffen lived through some tragic adversities as a child growing up. Although his family loved him, he felt alone in dealing with his pain. The hardship of his mental illness, bipolar disorder was also difficult to carry. He became addicted to heroin. Hear this message from the grieving family of an addict.
Steffen went to counseling and tried medication. But the medication made him feel like “a zombie.” So, he stopped taking it and turned to drugs and alcohol for relief.
Steffen grew up, got married, and had three children. But he was also nursing a severe heroin addiction throughout these years. Soon the addiction got in the way of his ability to be a husband and father.
Although he finally found his way to addiction treatment at A Better Today, the journey wasn’t easy. However, he left the treatment center with hope in recovery and with new lifelong friends and family.
Upon returning home, he relapsed. The small amount of heroin he took had an adverse interaction with the new medications he was on for bipolar disorder. Three days after he returned home from the treatment center, he died of a heroin overdose.
“I walked into his room to find him unresponsive,” recalls his mother. “I knew when I saw his face that I lost my oldest son.” She doesn’t want her son’s death to be in vain. Steffen’s mother shares, “If we [Steffen’s family] could save one person through our devastation, that’s our number one goal here.”
A Message from the Grieving Family of an Addict
Their advice to anyone currently struggling with a substance addiction is to “surround yourself with positive people. People who care and love you.”
“You are worth it,” she continues. “Embrace your success. Be proud of yourselves. Even though we don’t know you, we think you’re worth it.” She ends with a profound message of hope.
“And I have endured this pain totally sober. So, if I can do this, we can do this,” she says with her family by her side, “then you guys can endure anything that comes your way.”
“Just please take care of yourselves and do what you need to do.” This grieving mom certainly knows the agony of losing her child. She wants to save other moms from having to know it, too.
You’re not alone. Addiction treatment does work. If you or someone you care about needs help with substance abuse, call A Better Today Recovery Services. We’ll help you find your way out. We’ll show you how to build a meaningful, joyous life in recovery. For more of Steffen’s story, click here.
There may be nothing more stressful than living with an addicted family member. It doesn’t matter what drug they are addicted to. While the drugs they use may be different from family to family, their behaviors are very similar. When you live with a family member who abuses drugs, and things are at their worst, you have to remind yourself you’re not alone. No one chooses to be an addict. You also need to realize it’s going to take more than wishful thinking to help you and your drug-addicted family member. But you can find a solution that works.
How Widespread is Drug Addiction?
Statistics on drug abuse in the United States are staggering. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over 17 million adults are suffering from alcoholism. Almost 15 million people abuse marijuana, while almost 3 million people have a cocaine addiction. Methamphetamines and Ecstasy have over 1 million addicts, and over 7 million people are suffer with prescription drug addictions. Drug abuse continues to grow in the United States. With that growth comes more family members being impacted by drug abuse.
How Do You Deal with an Addicted Family Member?
You’re never able to make a deal with an addicted family member. Addicted family members don’t deal back even if you try. The addicted family member will take advantage of almost any type of comfort or positive reinforcement you give them. As they continue to take advantage of every offer you give them, you find yourself becoming an enabler. You want to believe them every time they tell you they’ll quit using drugs and that this time it will be different.
It will never work until your addicted family member gets help. You also need to seek help through support groups with other families who have had a similar experience. Drug interventionists call denial being part of the drug abuse cycle. Being part of a drug abuse cycle means you may not be addicted to drugs, but because a family member is, you’re in the drug abuse cycle with them. You stay impacted by their drug abuse unless you and your family member seek a drug intervention, so you can both follow a new path.
Families Who Rationalize Not Seeking Help for Their Drug-Addicted Family Member
Most of the time, families go from crisis to crisis when they have a family member who suffers from drug addiction. Families have no idea what to do or where to go when this happens. Families often end up in an endless holding pattern where the drug-addicted family member promises to quit using drugs. The family member wants to believe this time it will be different, but they often watch their family member go right back to using again.
One fear that holds a family member hostage to inaction is that they see the impact the family member’s drug addiction has on them. It’s the belief that making no decision and hoping things will improve is better than making the wrong decision. Unfortunately, by not doing anything and believing that your family member can and will seek treatment in most cases is not a realistic possibility.
Finding Out Addiction is Controlling Your Family Member’s Life
You may tell yourself you’re not codependent or enabling your drug-addicted family member. If you have taken on the role of the caretaker by paying a bill, so they don’t lose their apartment, electricity or something else, you’ve become a caretaker. You’ve taken on the role of a caretaker if you’ve made excuses for their boss, so they don’t lose their job when they don’t go to work. You’re a caretaker if you’ve picked them up when they were too high or drunk to get home. Sometimes it’s as hard to break a codependent relationship, as it is being addicted. But it can be done.
How Do You Break a Codependent Familial Relationship?
When you’re deep into a codependent addiction within a familial relationship, there are many times you fear what will happen if things change between you and the addicted family member. Change is never comfortable, but it is necessary in this case. You need to understand if things remain the same; things will change anyway. But it won’t be a change you planned or prepared for. An unplanned change happens when your drug-addicted family member has a run-in with the law, overdoses, or run out of places to go.
It takes a lot of courage to ask for help if you suffer from addiction or if you’re a family member of an addict. There are places you can go to help you learn healthy tools in a step-by-step process for dealing with your drug-addicted family member. Success rates of addiction treatment are only as successful as the addicted person makes it.
Rehabilitation and recovery programs are the best chances a drug-addicted person has at recovery. Going through a rehabilitation process as a patient or a family member of a patient helps both of you. You learn about the new dynamics needed for successful family healing.
What’s Your Next Step?
Family members of drug-addicted people can’t wait until things get better tomorrow. But sometimes, when you’re dealing with addiction, tomorrow never comes. By learning how to stop being codependent with an addicted family member, you start forging a new path forward. By staying on this new path, you find a way to live your life in a healthy and fulfilling manner.
Break the cycle of the drug addiction’s impact on your family. Find a treatment program that works for you, no matter what your drug-addicted family member decides to do. Your future path doesn’t depend on what path your family member is on. It only depends on what path you’re on. That path certainly needs to be free of drugs and their impact on your life. Once you’re on that path, you’ll find out just how strong and able you really are. You’ll find the life you’ve always deserved.
The shortage of drug addiction doctors who specialize in addiction is adding to the growing epidemic. Read further to learn about why we need more doctors to pay attention.
Drug Addiction is Overwhelming America
Many people assume that people addicted to drugs or alcohol are homeless and jobless. But this isn’t always the case. With 5.47% of the population in America addicted to alcohol or drugs in 2017, drug addiction affects every demographic. There are many people who become addicted to drugs after being in an accident. Some people start drinking to numb their feelings instead of seeing a medical professional to get the help they need. The shortage of addiction doctors who specialize in addiction add to this problem.
Anyone can become addicted to something at any time. Certain people are more likely to become addicted to certain drugs than others. Women, for example, are far more likely to become addicted to stimulants than men. This is because many are self-conscious about the way they look. Many use stimulants to try to keep their weight down and end up addicted to them. Men are far more likely to become addicted to harder drugs, such as heroin.
Recovering from a drug addiction without help is very difficult to do. Those trying to recover often need professional help in order to overcome their addiction. This is where medicated assistance becomes valuable. Addicted people can’t buy medications that reduce withdrawal symptoms over the counter. An addicted person needs to get a prescription for the medications in order to gain access to them. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of addiction doctors within the United States who have the credentials to prescribe these medications.
We Need Drug Addiction Doctors More than Ever
People often think that any doctor can prescribe addiction medication, but that isn’t the case. There are actually less than 3,000 doctors throughout the nation who can prescribe these valuable resources to those trying to recover from addiction. We’re proud to have one of these addiction specialists at the head of our team.
Nicki Rippeteau, M.D. has committed herself to saving lives and helping others for over 30 years. Her philosophy aligns with ours, and together, we’ve pledged to help as many people as possible. But we need more addiction specialists. In order to gain access to this addiction specialty, doctors must go through thorough training and certification.
The training and education are essential when it comes to prescribing these medications. The doctor needs to be able to identify real addiction. They need to know how much of the medications each addiction needs. What’s more, they also need to assess the appropriate dosage for their patients. In addition to focused medical training, doctors need board certification from the American Board of Preventative Medicine. Finally, he or she needs to obtain certifications from multiple addiction boards such as the American Board of Addiction Medicine or the American Osteopathic Association.
Addiction doctors need to monitor the progress that their patients make in recovery. They need to identify if a relapsed has taken place to ensure that they get the best care possible. Having medical and psychological treatment helps patients overcome every aspect of their addiction.
Many people make the mistake of assuming that addiction is only physical. In fact, addiction is a mental health condition with physical and psychological symptoms. People often relapse when they start to experience the withdrawal symptoms that come when they stop using drugs. The medications that are prescribed to treat withdrawal symptoms make recovery easier. Pairing the prescription medication with mental addiction treatment can better the chances of long-term success with their recovery.
What’s the Solution to the Shortage of Drug Addiction Doctors?
It’s important to know that drug abuse often occurs in rural areas. With only a little over 5% of people actually getting the addiction help they need, providing more treatment options is crucial. The growing epidemic has been exacerbated by the lack of addiction treatment facilities in these areas. In order to slow down the growth of the epidemic, we need to provide people with access to the help that they need.
The first step that needs to take place is for people to voice their concerns about the addiction epidemic. Letting legislators know that constituents want to see change can spark change. The government spends money based on where they see a need for change. Letting your legislators know that there needs to be a change in the availability of addiction treatment can make it more accessible for people in rural communities. You can contact your legislators by email, phone or even by mail.
For more drug addiction treatment to be available, there simply needs to be more doctors going into the field. There are new models for addiction care being introduced on a regular basis. These new models entice providers to want to work in addiction care. The models make it easier to provide those suffering from addiction to get the care that they need.
Educating people about addiction is important. Medical professionals need to inform their patients when they are taking medications that could lead to addiction. Helping people realize that there is help available to them is also crucial. Establishing more drug treatment facilities across the United States will make it easier to diminish drug addiction in this country.
To encourage more people to reach out for the addiction help that they need, we need to erase the stigma that comes with addiction. Addiction can happen to anyone. People don’t choose to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. It often happens before they realize it. Many people hide their addiction as much as they can for fear of being judged by others. This weaves a life of isolation and secrecy.
The stigma that comes with addiction can be debilitating. Supporting loved ones who are battling an addiction can be the best way for them to get the help they need. While it may be difficult to find help in certain rural areas, there are treatment options available elsewhere. Your loved one may have to travel for treatment. In fact, some doctors suggest that traveling for treatment is ideal. It removes distractions and temptations. Providing addicted loved ones with transportation, financial assistance or simply emotional support could be the change that they need.
The sooner the country gets more access to drug addiction treatment, the sooner the epidemic can be managed. Doing everything that you can to promote drug addiction treatment can help make the epidemic more manageable in your area.
Are you addicted to drugs and alcohol? Do you think it’s too late to ask for help? If drugs and alcohol are taking over your life, it’s never too late to get sober. Whether it’s been a year or more living with addiction, you can still overcome its hold by getting professional help. Read on to learn more about treatments and support for you during this difficult time.
What is Drug Addiction?
Are you unable to stop taking drugs or alcohol? When someone abuses a substance, they can’t stop their destructive intake even when parts of their life is negatively affected. Why is it so hard to recover? According to A Better Today Recovery Services, too much drug and alcohol abuse can lead to affecting the actual structure of your brain.
This means you will become physically dependent on the drug and require medication to reverse or weaken your addiction. What might have started as social drinking or trying something new, affects your brain so much that it becomes a disease that you can’t run away from.
Why You Need Professional Help
People often ask addicts “Why can’t you just quit?”. The trouble is that it’s not as easy as it sounds and it’s not the same for some people. Without professional help, you could end up dependent on the drug, because your brain is telling you it wants more and more. Even if you want to quit, it can take over your free will to do so. There are treatment options out there that can help you get through the worst of your cravings.
Family Support and Therapy
Has your personal life become affected? If you are lucky, your family might understand that you need help to get better. Having the support of your family can be crucial in recovering from addiction. They can assist you in researching the best treatment center for you, but they can support you throughout the process by being there for you. Knowing that you have them in your corner during your stay in an inpatient treatment center can benefit your recovery.
You might also need their assistance during and after your treatment by going through family therapy. Working through family issues can reduce the chances of relapse occurring in the future.
Treatment Plans For Your Addiction
People around you might tell you that you’re too far gone to seek help from medical professionals. Or maybe doubts are lingering in your head that you’ll never get sober. However, no matter how addicted you are to drugs, you can reach a life of sobriety again. It’s never too late to get help, but you still have to ask for it. After you admit you need professional help, then you can figure out which treatment option is right for you.
If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol for a long time or have an extreme addiction, then you might require inpatient rehab treatment. Inpatient is more expensive since they need you to live on-site with 24/7 medical supervision. Medical professionals can administer drugs and other types of treatments to help combat what your altered brain is telling you to do.
This treatment is excellent for those who aren’t able to trust themselves to live on their own while trying to remain sober after their detox process. Inpatient is also more strict than outpatient since you are on a routine schedule that includes individual and group sessions with a therapist. There could be other activities during the day to help distract you from your cravings.
A professional therapist can also help identify your triggers that make you use drugs. They can create a prevention plan with you that will give you tips on how you can overcome your urges. This will help reduce your chance of relapsing after you leave rehab.
Are you short on extra cash? Or do you need to keep your job? Sometimes life is too difficult to get the treatment you need, but this is where outpatient therapy can help. It is more affordable since you can live at home. You will still have to attend individual and group sessions with your therapist. Outpatient rehab also allows you to work around the hours you have to work or take care of your children.
However, being tempted to visit old hangouts or people associated with drugs could be a downside to this treatment. After your detox, you might not trust yourself from going back to your former habits. You might have to work harder to resist going back to using drugs again.
Relapses Can Occur
There’s always a treatment plan out there that’s perfect for you, but remember that addiction is a disease. This means that it could take several tries recovering in a treatment center. You might want a quick fix, but that isn’t always going to happen.
Be prepared to go through the relapses just like anyone else with a disease, such as diabetes or heart disease. As reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there is a 40- 60% relapse rate for those with substance abuse disorders. However, even if you are among those who relapse, this doesn’t mean everything is too late for you.
You might have to pick yourself back up and start over again. This sounds daunting and hard, but this is life as an addict. Your life will be full of challenges since there’s no cure for addiction. Remaining vigilant in staying clean is essential, but relapsing is all a part of the recovery process.
Try not to give up on yourself even if you face several relapses because there’s always a perfect treatment plan for you out there. So, ask for help today by contacting an addiction treatment center near you. You won’t regret asking for help in getting and staying sober. It will show your family you want to make healthier choices for yourself. You can be happier without drugs and alcohol poisoning your brain and your life.
Recovering from an addiction is difficult for anyone. There are many people who try to recover on their own and fail. When you stop using drugs, your body goes through a lot of changes as you detox. A Better Recovery Today Services are available to make the process safer and easier. The following guide walks you through a few ways their services can benefit you before, during and after your recovery.
Reduce the Withdrawal Symptoms as You Detox
When you stop using drugs, your body will detox and begin to go through withdrawal symptoms almost immediately. The symptoms can be quite intense. They can include insomnia, nausea, shaking, headaches and more. A Better Recover Today Services can provide medically supervised treatment.
When you go to the treatment center for help, the medical staff can give you medication. These medications decrease the withdrawal symptoms that you experience during detox. Some of the symptoms can be quite painful, but medication can minimize them. When you don’t have to experience the physical withdrawal symptoms, it becomes easier to stick to your recovery.
People who try to recover on their own often cave during detox and relapse. It’s common for people to overdose when they relapse. Their body isn’t used to the drugs that they’re taking. Medical professionals carefully dose your medications for maximum efficiency during detox.
Ensure Your Health is Always Maintained
Recovering from a drug addiction can be dangerous. Doctors need to monitor your vital signs throughout recovery. This is vital to ensure that you remain as safe as possible at all times. The medical staff is on-site 24 hours a day. This means that someone is always available if any surprises arise during your recovery process.
Doctors can also ensure that you’re able to stay hydrated and are provided with the proper nutrition. You need to eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water during your recovery.
During your recovery, it’s important to have your vital signs monitored constantly. There’s often a risk of developing an irregular heartbeat, which could lead to a heart attack. Another risk includes shallow breathing. This condition must be addressed immediately. The doctors and nurses are there to not only help you overcome your addiction, but also keep you safe throughout recovery.
Get Help with the Mental Side of Addiction
People who are in the thralls of addiction often think that they will be able to regain control of their life immediately after their physical addiction is gone. This isn’t the case, though. Physical addiction to drugs is much easier to overcome than a mental addiction after you detox.
At A Better Recovery Today Services, you get to experience counseling in many different ways. First, you get to meet with counselors for private counseling sessions. Within these sessions you get to discover the root of your addiction. You learn what steps you can take to resist the urge to use again the future.
You also have access to group counseling sessions. Group counseling provides you with the opportunity to meet with others going through similar issues to you. This allows you to feel more comfortable and speak openly. It can also offer hope and encouragement because you can see how far along other people have come.
Increase Your Chances at Long-Term Sobriety
Even if you were able to recover from your addiction on your own, there is still a risk of relapse. This is because you haven’t built the foundation for your sobriety or learned the keys to making sobriety work for you. At A Better Recovery Today Services there is an aftercare program that makes it easier to stay abstinent from drugs and alcohol.
You build a support system that you can rely on and turn to when temptation strikes. You learn how to identify what your triggers are so that you can avoid them. There are also outpatient treatment options to ensure that you get the care that you need for as long as you need it. You also learn how to set goals for yourself. Additionally, you’ll gain the strength set personal boundaries to prevent exposure to things or places that may tempt you to use.
Recovery is never easy for anyone in addiction. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get clean. But once you’re sober, you’ll quickly realize everything that life has to offer. Contact A Better Recovery Today Services to discuss the options that are available to you.
A recovery plan is established for each person on an individual basis. Your plan may include medically supervised treatment and inpatient care, or it may be determined that outpatient treatment is best for you. Getting sober once and for all is a decision that you have to make. Once you do, A Better Recovery Today Services is here to help.
Federal health officials have proposed a revamp of the strict patient confidentiality rules enacted in the 1970s. The revamp is meant to allow coordination among medical professionals offering treatment to victims of the widespread opioid epidemic. A patient’s consent will still be required to share this information.
According to the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, the goal of these reforms is to ease the process of sharing a patient’s drug treatment history with doctors treating a drug addiction victim for other medical problems. Azar insists that this information sharing is important and can prevent serious and sometimes fatal errors. Think about when a doctor unsuspectingly prescribes opioid painkillers to a surgical patient with a history of dependence.
The Secretary feels that change is necessary to get a breakthrough in mental health treatment. An alliance of closely 50 groups, made up of mental health professionals, insurers, hospitals and pharmacists, has been insistent on a change. This push enjoys bipartisan backing in Congress.
A brief history of confidentiality rules
In the early 1970s, Congress acknowledged stigma associated with substance abuse and the fact that fear of prosecution stopped people from seeking addiction treatment. To address the problem, the Congress enacted a legislation to allow clients in a substance abuse treatment program a right to confidentiality (42 USC §290dd-2). These are commonly called Federal confidentiality regulations (42 C.F.R. Part 2, or Part 2). It has been a foundation practice for substance abuse treatment programs nationwide.
Primarily, confidentiality rules were meant to reassure individuals pursuing drug treatment from federally funded programs that their medical information would not be shared with police. But the paper-era rules haven’t caught up in the age of electronic records and doctor-patient communication via text message.
What information was protected?
· Information about any individual that has applied for or received any substance-abuse-related assessment, treatment, or referral services, and all information about that person that are not exactly permitted by nine limited exceptions.
· More restrictive of communications in many instances than either the doctor-patient or the attorney-client privilege.
· Current and previous clients from the time they make an appointment and apply to any information that would identify them as individuals who use substances either directly or by implication.
· Clients who are directed into treatment as well as those who enter treatment voluntarily
· On whether the person in search of information already has that information, has other means of obtaining it, has some kind of official status, is ratified by State law, or comes armed with a subpoena or search warrant.
Is the change of original rules necessary?
According to Azar, “This was all well-meaning”. “The idea was people won’t seek treatment if they feared that information would be available to law enforcement. (But) a highly restrictive regime on the control of that information has served as a barrier to safe, coordinated care for that same patient.”
Azar gave a typical example of what could happen when addiction treatment is not disclosed in patient’s files. Imagine a case where a hospital doctor sees a patient who is on treatment for heroin addiction using methadone. The doctor may decide not to mention the methadone treatment in the patient’s record perhaps with a concern that it could prompt official scrutiny of the hospital’s own records system. At a later date, another doctor treating the same individual might prescribe another drug that’s not safe to take with methadone, as are most anti-anxiety medications. Such exclusions could have serious ramifications for the patient.
The downside is that now that many patients communicate with doctors via text messages; the 1970s privacy rule has generated unanticipated problems. For instance, when a doctor receives a text from a patient in a recovery program, does the doctor’s phone have to be electronically wiped or smashed to safeguard sensitive information? The new rule would make clear that such texts can simply be deleted.
Azar insists that the proposal will uphold privacy protections for people getting addiction treatment through federally funded programs. The patient will still have to give consent on whether the information can be shared.
What does the revamp mean for addiction treatment?
Of course the concerns that led to enactment of these confidentiality rules still exist. It may mean that people and especially teens and ex-convicts may be afraid to come forward to seek drug addiction treatment. This is for fear of stigmatization or being reported to authorities. This might mean mental health department may suffer blow by having lesser people signing up for treatment.
Some lawmakers, insurance community and health providers seek expansion of the proposed changes to make it easier to navigate the heavily guarded substance use treatment privacy requirements of Part 2 and the broader HIPAA.
On the positive side, though …
· The proposed changes “are common-sense, responsive changes to concerns that both patients and providers have raised regarding providing holistic, collaborative, patient-centered care,” according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
· The risk of prescribing drugs that could affect the health of the person under substance abuse treatment is real and could be fatal. In the wake of sky-rocketing opioid abuse crisis it is important that this information is shared among practitioners to protect lives of clients.
· It will also help come up with rules that are applicable in an era where electrical documents and digital communication are in use. Therefore doctors and facilities do not have to be in dilemma about how they handle substance abuse treatment information
The proposal will be open for public comments for 60 days after publishing in the Federal Register. The revamp is based on a recommendation by President Donald Trump’s commission on the opioid epidemic.
What is your opinion? What are your dilemmas or fears as someone under a treatment program, planning to enroll in one or have a loved in this situation? We will be providing more updates and our views on this proposal, so visit us often and get more insights about the issue.