Category Archives: Rehab Retreat

Energy Drinks and Addiction

While energy drinks are known to boost as person’s stamina and energy, they can also be highly addictive. These drinks contain high amounts of caffeine, which is just one of the reasons as to why a person can become addicted to drinking them. Drinking too many energy drinks in a short period of time can be very damaging to a person’s health. However, the effects can be far worse since addiction to energy drinks can heighten the risk of using other drugs and eventually suffering from drug abuse. The best way to avoid becoming addicted to energy drinks is by being educated about the dangers of these drinks and the links that they have to addiction.

 

Troublesome Links Between Energy Drinks and Addiction

 

Energy drinks act as a stimulant that affect the reward centers of your brain. People experience more intense feelings of happiness as well as a substantial boost in energy. As is the case with prescription stimulant medications, it’s possible to become addicted to energy drinks. Consuming these beverages on an occasional basis shouldn’t cause any problems. However, regular consumption can start making the body dependent on the drink in order to receive the energy that’s necessary for normal bodily functions. When the body and brain become dependent on energy drinks or a similar drug, it’s possible for side effects and withdrawal symptoms to develop whenever the substance hasn’t been consumed for a long time, which will in turn heighten cravings of the substance.

 

While addiction to energy drinks is harmful, the addicted individual may be prone to taking more serious drugs if their body starts to become tolerant to the effects of the energy drink. For instance, they may need to drink more of the beverage in order to receive the same energy boost that they once did. If so, this individual may start to experiment with other drugs that can provide them with the same boost or “high” that they were once able to achieve. A study that was performed by the National Institute of Drug Abuse found that individuals who regularly consume energy drinks have a much higher chance of taking prescription stimulants and cocaine. This study has found that the risk of alcohol abuse is also greater.

 

While energy drinks have yet to be classified as gateway drugs, there are some dangerous links between these beverage and drug abuse and addiction. Keep in mind that this stimulant affects adolescent brains more severely than it does with adults. Teenagers who consume high amounts of energy drinks during their adolescent years will oftentimes turn to the use and eventual abuse of more serious drugs as they grow older. It’s also much easier for teenagers to build a strong tolerance to the effects of energy drinks than it is with adults.

 

Signs of Energy Drink Addiction

 

If you suspect that someone close to you may be suffering from an energy drink addiction, there are a wide variety of signs and symptoms that you should look for to help determine if treatment is necessary. When a person has started to become addicted to energy drinks, they will need to consume this caffeine so that their energy can reach normal levels. If these people don’t consume energy drinks for a certain amount of time, they will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, which primarily include regular headaches and fatigue.

 

Mood changes and issues with concentration are also likely. Individuals who consume too many energy drinks will likely experience increased blood pressure, palpitations, and irregular heart rates. While it can sometimes be difficult to identify these symptoms, it’s important to look for any changes in a person’s behavior that come with drinking a large amount of energy drinks. These behavioral changes could be the first signs that the person is becoming addicted.

 

Additional Health Risks to Consider

 

Along with addiction, there are also some additional health risks that everyone should be aware of when regularly consuming energy drinks. Because of the high amount of caffeine found in energy drinks, it’s possible to become intoxicated from the caffeine, which means that withdrawal symptoms are possible. There’s even a chance that the addicted individual could overdose on caffeine, which could be life-threatening if not treated immediately. Some of the other health risks to keep in mind include:

 

  • Cardiovascular issues

 

  • Obesity

 

  • Dental Problems

 

  • Sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea

 

  • Calcium deficiency

What Addiction Recovery Involves

 

Drug addiction is considered to be a chronic disease, which means that it’s essentially impossible to become fully cured from the disease once it has developed. In some ways, the body will always crave whatever drug or drink the addicted individual has become dependent on. However, addiction recovery is possible and can be very effective at lessening dependence on the drug in question. Any individual who has become addicted to another drug like cocaine because of their energy drink usage should seek addiction treatment immediately.

 

This treatment can either be administered in an inpatient or outpatient capacity. Outpatient treatment for addiction takes place several days each week for a couple of hours each day. The treatment will be provided at some sort of outpatient facility, which could be a medical office or a hospital. The addiction treatment provided in outpatient care is very similar to inpatient care but with the added benefit of being able to go home at anytime. Inpatient rehabilitation for a drug addiction or an addiction to energy drinks takes place in a residential facility where the patient will be required to stay 24/7 for a certain period of time, which could be anywhere from a month to more than a year.

 

When enrolling into an inpatient care program, treatment will begin with a detoxification process, which is designed to make sure that the drugs or energy drinks safely leave the body without causing severe withdrawal symptoms. Once the substances are out of the body, further treatment can begin. This treatment typically includes group therapy, individual counseling, and even family therapy if necessary. Group therapy aims to provide attendees with a welcoming and friendly atmosphere among people who are going through the exact same issues, while one-on-one counseling is designed to help the addicted individual identify what has caused their addiction, which should help them manage the addiction in the future.

 

While addiction to the caffeine found in energy drinks is problematic, the high that’s caused by strong doses of caffeine can invariably make an individual yearn for something stronger. Addiction to caffeine can be difficult to overcome. However, this type of addiction is not nearly as severe as becoming addicted to prescription stimulants or cocaine, both of which provide a similar yet more potent boost of energy as energy drinks.

 

Addiction treatment is so important because of how damaging a long-term addiction to stimulants can be to a person’s health. When abusing these drugs for a lengthy period of time, both psychological and physical effects will invariably occur. The psychological effects of long-term abuse include delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, and depression. The physical effects can be even more severe and include:

 

  • Stroke

 

  • Seizures

 

  • Muscle deterioration

 

  • Cardiovascular damage

 

  • Headaches

 

  • Breathing issues

 

  • Extreme weight loss

 

  • Gastrointestinal problems

 

Dependence on stimulants and energy drinks can be reversed with treatment, which means that the long-term effects of this dependence can be mitigated if treated early enough.

 

If you believe that someone close to you has recently become addicted to energy drinks or has started taking more potent drugs because of this dependence, make sure that you seek addiction recovery as soon as possible.

 

End Of Article

Alcoholism in America

An estimated 17 million Americans suffer from alcohol abuse. Americans that have problems with alcohol qualify them for diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder, and the cost of alcohol abuse and use in the country is estimated to be significantly over $200 million per year. This places the burden on society as a result of alcohol abuse, this does not include the impact on productivity. A large portion of the costs associated with alcohol addiction are due to medical complications associated with moderate to heavy alcohol abuse. For alcoholics in recovery from an alcohol use disorder, a significant portion of their initial success involves being able to deal with the complications associated with physical addiction to alcohol. The physical dependence that occurs as a result of having an alcohol use disorder can result in severe withdrawal symptoms that can even be deadly. Medically assisted detox is often required to help the person maintain their abstinence from alcohol in the early stages of recovery.

Alcohol Dependency

Alcohol dependence, aka “alcoholism”, is the most serious form of drinking problem and describes a strong, uncontrollable, desire to drink. An alcoholic is powerless over the drug. Alcohol is one of the most powerful, underestimated, socially accepted and readily available drug in the world.Drinking dictates the day to day life of an alcoholic, over time, excessive drinking leads to increased physical tolerance or experiencing withdrawal symptoms if they stop.There are varying degrees of alcohol dependence and they don’t always involve excessive levels of drinking. If you find that you need to have a bottle of wine most nights of the week, or always go for a few drinks after work, just to unwind, you’re likely to be drinking at a level that could impact your long-term health.You could also be dependent on alcohol. If you find it very difficult to enjoy yourself or relax without having a drink, you could have become psychologically dependent on alcohol. Physical dependence can follow, that’s when your body shows withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, shaking and nausea, when your blood alcohol level falls.

 

Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT)

Rapid Resolution Therapy is a gentle and effective therapeutic modality, created by Dr. John Connelly, LCSW that resolves trauma and other distress in as little as one session. Because the root causes of problems are pinpointed and cleared, positive changes endure. Negative emotions and destructive behavioral patterns are eliminated. 

Unlike other forms of treatment, with Rapid Resolution it is not necessary to relive past events or experience any pain. Rapid Resolution therapy integrates hypnosis, cognitive and playful techniques, to name a few, allowing for optimal healing through multiple levels of the mind. This type of therapy leads to dramatic improvements in thoughts, feelings and behavior. Rapid Resolution Therapy has effectively treated PTSD, other trauma/stress related disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, sleep disturbance, frozen grief, guilt, resentment and even aided in successful recovery from addiction.

Along with creating Rapid Resolution Therapy, Dr. Connelly has also founded The Institute for Survivors of Sexual Violence, a non-profit (501C3) organization providing mental health professionals with state-of-the-art training in advanced clinical methods of eliminating the negative influence of trauma. You can learn more about Rapid Resolution Therapy and how to find providers in Austin, TX and all over the country by contacting me directly for a referral or by visiting the main Rapid Resolution Therapy website: www.rapidresolutiontherapy.org

Schedule a Free Consultation with: Julia Thompson:

 MSW NBCCH

TEXAS LMSW #66100

FLORIDA LCSW #SW14616

NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFIED CLINICAL HYPNOTHERAPIST

https://juliacthompson.com/rapid-resolution-therapy

RESOURCES

Article on Army website discussing RRT:  http://bit.ly/2ZTmQxh

Ted Talks video: “Life Changing power of words.” http://bit.ly/2GZDQuw

Julia Thompson: https://juliacthompson.com/

Vacation Hacks for Staying Sober

Vacation is a great way to get away from the stresses of life, spend time with people you care about, and have fun. But if you’re in recovery, vacation isn’t as simple as getting away for a while. Everything you do need to help support your sobriety, including vacation. Just because you’re in recovery doesn’t mean you can’t go on vacation. But if you’re thinking about taking some time away, it’s important to stay sober the whole time. Understanding why you should stay sober for life, including on vacation, and using some tips to help support your sobriety can make the difference between a great vacation and a relapse.

The importance of sobriety on vacation

When you’re in recovery, establishing routines in your daily life can make it easier to maintain your sobriety. You know what to expect each day, and your habits throughout the day help promote your sobriety. But when you go on vacation, your routines are disrupted. That can make it harder to resist temptations, especially if you’re in an environment where your will power is being challenged. But it’s just as important to stay sober on vacation as it is in your regular daily life. If you slip up, you run the risk of turning back to the life you had before and undoing all the work you did to get sober.

How to stay sober on vacation

Vacation should be a part of normal life. But when you’re working to stay sober, vacation can be a trigger for falling back into past behaviors. Here are some things you can do to help yourself stay sober when you’re on vacation.

Make sure you can handle the vacation

The timing of your vacation is a big consideration. Recovery is a process. The longer you’re sober, the easier it may be to go on vacation and use your willpower to avoid temptation. If you’re still early in your recovery, going on vacation may not be a good idea. Instead, it would be better to stick with your normal daily routine so you can reduce the risk of relapsing.

Communicate with your travel buddies

It’s also important to have open communication with the people you’ll be traveling with. They should know that you’re working on staying sober for life, and that a relapse could cause major problems in your life and recovery. Being open and honest with your travel buddies can help make sure that the vacation will be enjoyable for everyone and you’ll have the support you need to stay sober while you’re away from home. If your travel buddies can’t support your sobriety on vacation, it might not be the best idea to go.

Plan your itinerary around your needs

Staying sober means that you make decisions for your life based on your sobriety needs. The lifestyle you develop in recovery can be maintained while you’re on vacation. But that means that the itinerary for your vacation needs to be built around your needs for sobriety. If you need down time every day, make sure you get it. If you need time to exercise or have diet restrictions, make sure that your vacation can accommodate those needs. You want to have fun while you’re on vacation, but you still have basic needs that have to be met. If your vacation can’t meet your basic sobriety needs, it’s not a vacation for you.

Suggest activities that work for you

When you and your travel buddies are planning activities for the vacation, be sure to suggest activities that work for you. The people you’re traveling with may want to be supportive, but they may not know what that looks like on vacation. By suggesting activities you can do, it’s more likely that your vacation itinerary will be fun for you as well as for the people you’re traveling with. This is especially important if you’ve developed new interests and hobbies since getting sober. If your travel buddies are set on certain activities and those activities don’t support your sobriety, that may mean that you should reconsider going on vacation with those people.

Research destinations carefully

Some vacation destinations are better than others. Some vacation locations are built around drinking, for example. So if you’re working on sobriety, that wouldn’t be a good place for you to visit. As you’re planning your vacation, be sure to do research into what’s available in the area, what the big attractions are, and what you want to do while you’re away from home. For example, you might want to look for a destination that’s more “family-friendly.” Those locations tend to have activities that are good for people of all ages, which means there would be things to do that don’t involve substances or activities that might be triggering for you.

Don’t be afraid to use your ‘no’ muscle

Ultimately, whether or not you can and should go on vacation is up to you. If there are any red flags about the trip, or you think it’s too soon for you to disrupt your regular daily routines, don’t be afraid to use your ‘no’ muscle and say no to the vacation. Your travel buddies may be disappointed, but they want you to be healthy, happy, and sober. They’ll understand if it’s just not a good idea for you to go on vacation with them at that time. Your sobriety is the most important thing, so every decision you make should be for that goal.

Your sobriety is important. That doesn’t mean you can’t go on vacation with people, but if you’re going to, then you have to make sure that your vacation is going to support your sobriety. From communication to planning to being willing to say no, your vacation can be a way to get away from the stresses of life without relapsing. Use these tips as you prepare for your vacation, and then you can be sure that you’ll come home with great memories and that you’ll still be sober for life!

Powdered Alcohol Risk to Teens

One of the newest social trends among teens and young adults in Texas is the use of powdered
alcohol at parties, in school, at home and in the workplace. Called ‘palcohol’, as an abbreviation
for powdered alcohol, the once rare substance is now mass produced and sold all over the
world. The very bad news is that it is much more dangerous than liquid alcohol and has the
potential to encourage alcohol abuse and destroy those who seek sober living.
The new scourge of palcohol is especially rampant in the state of Texas, where legislators have
already begun to make an attempt to outlaw the potent powder. Non-profit groups and informal
associations that work to treat alcohol abuse are also on board the legal bandwagon to stop the
palcohol problem before it becomes an epidemic.
Science
Perhaps it was inevitable with recent advances in chemistry, newly relaxed attitudes about drugs
that make people high, and a national trend toward drug legalization. The most pernicious aspect
of powdered alcohol, say its many critics in the scientific community, is its ability to go undetected
by law enforcement, school authorities and parents. But on top of that is the exceedingly high risk
of poisoning.
Legislation in Texas, introduced by Trent Ashby, a state rep from Lufkin, would prohibit the powder
from being manufactured, imported or sold in the state, but says nothing about homemade
powder, which is apparently a simple recipe to master. Critics of Ashby’s proposal say it’s a good
start but neglects to address moonshine versions of the stuff that any teenager can concoct in a
garage or basement with minimal equipment.
It’s Not Cannabis
The comparisons between powdered alcohol and cannabis fall short for several reasons. First, when
marijuana was illegal in every U.S. jurisdiction, it was difficult for home-growers to cultivate
enough of the stuff for much more than personal use. And they did so at great legal risk.
Making powdered alcohol requires no special lamps, illegal seeds or expensive equipment. By
simply adding ordinary sugar to a bottle of whisky and then letting the mixture dry, anyone with
$10 and a cup of sugar can make their own bottle of undetectable rotgut. But besides the legal
invisibility of powdered alcohol, what are the dangers? Here’s a very short list courtesy of the many
organizations who hope to stem the tide of the powerful powder:
1. Top of the list: the risk of poisoning, almost always unintentional. Adding a scoop or two of
powdered alcohol to a drink makes it an instant cocktail. Adding it to an alcoholic beverage makes
that drink a super-high proof liquid. This danger is one of the main reasons there are strict laws in
place that regulate the alcohol content of beer, wine, and spirits. Powdered alcohol lets any
backyard chemist create 150 proof brew without labels, warning statements, or disclosures of any
kind.
2. The fact that it’s easy to sneak into a party or bar means an increased risk of drink-spiking, a
social hazard for dozens of reasons, some obvious and some not. Public drunkenness might
become a national curse, and everyone would have to keep an eye on water and sodas in public
lest the barroom joker decides to slip a mickey into an otherwise innocent drink.
3. Injection and snorting are already a problem in Texas and some of the other 26 or so states that
have outlawed, or are ready to outlaw, powdered alcohol. For underage teens and others who want
a secret way to consume a powdered beer before class or during the lunch hour, it’s easy to
forego the liquid additive (which can be water, lemonade, milk, soda, or anything else) and just
snort the powder, or even inject it! Setting aside the obvious dangers of using needles without
medical supervision, snorting brings its own physical risks like overdoses and damage to the nasal
passages.
4. People who want to conceal a vast supply of alcohol (which includes anyone not allowed to have
it by law or regulation) use powdered substances to build a tidy stash of perhaps 100 cases of
beer, wine or whiskey. Imagine if a child had a secret hiding place, not known to adults, where he
or she could store virtually any substance in mega-quantities? The implications are frightening.

5. Manufacturers of powdered alcohol, most of whom are based in foreign countries or offshore and
out of reach of U.S. regulators, are now making dozens of varieties and strengths of the product in
many flavors, thus upping its marketing appeal. Flavored alcohol has the potential to draw in
young users by the droves.
6. Maybe the most valid criticism of powdered alcohol manufacturing is that it does an end-run
around current U.S. laws, all of which are in place to prevent the very real dangers posed by the
new product: poisoning, inadvertent overdose, easy concealment, the ability to attract underage
users, and the risk of encouraging dangerous modes of ingestion like snorting and injection.

What’s the Verdict?
In Texas, lawmakers are working feverishly to join the growing list of states that already ban the
dangerous powder. As far as law enforcement officials know, there are not any powdered alcohol
manufacturers in Texas a this time, but the threat is not so much from in-state manufacturers as it
is from those elsewhere. While about half of U.S. states have banned sale and manufacture of
powdered alcohol, another 15 or so have laws in the pipeline that will do so.
Powdered, ultra-concentrated alcohol has the potential to become a widespread public health
problem in Texas unless the state acts quickly to join other U.S. jurisdictions that have taken
significant steps to make sure that this potential hazard does not get a chance to take hold and
add one more obstacle in the path of Texans who want to live without the dangers of extremely
potent drugs floating around their communities.
Organizations interested in sober living, like 12-step programs and addiction support groups, are a
big part of the effort to stop dry alcohol from becoming a common product. Some entities have
even pushed for federal legislation to stop powdered alcohol in its tracks, but so far the U.S.
Congress has not taken up the topic.