Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Rationalization

Rationalization

Rationalization

Rationalization is a defense mechanism in which a person invents reasons for problem behavior.  Addicts rationalize their behavior to the point where it becomes okay to use drugs and drink alcohol—at least in their mind.

The reasons given for engaging in destructive behavior distract from the unreasonableness of the response.  There are no logical connections to using cocaine excessively due to losing a job or a relationship.  Some reasons a person might give also include, “I’ve been under a lot of stress at work so I drink more” or “I need to take this drug because of my frequent headaches.”  Many people say, so what?  If the person has a viable excuse for their behavior, it is okay.  This excuse-making may be social, psychological, emotional, physical, financial, occupational, or related to one’s family.

Rationalization allows the individual to continue destructive behavior and takes place internally.  It also provides an excuse for not taking action to give up alcohol or drugs.  A person will rationalize to themselves and to others.  Internally, rationalization occurs when an individual’s ego seeks to defend itself through illogical reasons, which in turn, make the actions acceptable to the ego.  If one rationalizes their drug behaviors, they can maintain consistency between their actions and thoughts.  Rationalization allows individuals to get away with not feeling guilty about their destructive behavior.

Rationalization with substance abuse is very common.  Many addicts believe they can stop the addictive behavior at any time and control their addiction.  They rationalize the effects of the drugs or alcohol to such a degree that even with intervention from a medical professional urging them to stop, the addict will continue the drug or alcohol use.

When an individual enters recovery, rationalizing thoughts will need to end.  The addict will need to realize that rationalization only makes problems worse.  It is easy for a person to fall back into old familiar frames of mind and rationalize continued drug or alcohol use.  Early in recovery it is extremely important that rationalization be checked, as a person can be vulnerable to being easily swayed back into drug or alcohol use.  The little voice in your head might begin to surface and tell you that it is okay to have a drink because you had a hard day at work or an argument with your spouse.  During these times, the addict should stop to recognize the old way of thinking and contact someone for support.

Cottonwood Tucson offers a place of understanding, healing, and hope. Our residential treatment programs have gained international renown for an integrative approach to co-occurring disorders. If you or a loved one are struggling, know that treatment is available. Recovery is possible.
A new life is waiting.
Call us today for information: (800) 877-4520

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What are Mood Disorders?

What are Mood Disorders?

What are Mood Disorders?

Mood disorders describe a category of disorders related to changes in mood.  There are many classifications of mood disorders including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and cyclothymia.

Mood disorders are common and about 20% of the U.S. population is reported to have at least one depressive symptoms in a given month and 12% have reported two or more depressive symptoms.  Bipolar disorder is less common and currently occurs in 1% of the general population.  Individuals with other psychiatric disorders have a higher chance of developing major depression as compared to others with a single diagnosis of major depression.

Substance abusers have a high rate of depression or other mood disorder and are often diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder.  There is a general consensus in the psychiatric community that substance abuse can lead to a mood disorder or a mood disorder can lead to substance abuse.  Substance abusers have reported that when they feel depressed, they will often take substances that will take them out of their depressed mood if even on a temporary basis.  If an individual enters recovery for their substance abuse, often the depression will clear up on its own.

Many individuals feel depressed or sad but this is generally due to a life occurrence where one would normally feel depression.  Such occurrences can include divorce, loss of a job, financial hardships, or death of a family member.  People can also feel sad or depressed due to health issues either in themselves or with a family member.  Depressed moods can also be caused by hormonal changes or the weather.

Depression and other mood disorders become problematic when the symptoms last for two weeks or longer.  Many of the symptoms associated with mood disorders last considerably longer.  In addition, there is a cause for concern when the symptoms interfere with daily functioning.  Some of the more common symptoms associated with mood disorders include overwhelming sadness or despair, sleeping too much or sleeping too little, weight loss, feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable.

All mood disorders are treatable and many individuals have found help through individual therapy.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy is quite common in treating mood disorders, as this form of therapy can help the individual recognize and alter negative thought processes that maintain a person’s depressed mood.  Many other individuals have found antidepressant medication to be beneficial.

Cottonwood Tucson offers a place of understanding, healing, and hope. Our residential treatment programs have gained international renown for an integrative approach to co-occurring disorders. If you or a loved one are struggling, know that treatment is available. Recovery is possible.
A new life is waiting.
Call us today for information: (800) 877-4520

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

A traumatic situation can be experienced either through a frightening or dangerous event.  Such events can include a weather phenomenon such as a hurricane or tornado, military combat, serious accidents, or violent assaults.  A trauma experienced for long periods of time can also be considered a frightening or dangerous event.  Losing a loved one can also be considered a traumatic event.

In each person there is a mechanism known as the fight-or-flight response or acute stress response.  It was designed to keep us free from harm by either fighting the danger or fleeing from the danger.  When a person experiences a frightening or dangerous event, the physical body will respond with this fight-or-flight physiological response.  Adrenaline and norepinephrine are produced, as well as acetylcholine and catecholamine.  These chemicals help to prepare the body for fight-or-flight by increasing heart rate, constricting blood vessels, and preparing large extremities (legs and arms) for use.

Following a traumatic event, many people experience the fight-or-flight response and can recover once the event has ended.  For others, the physiological and psychological effects of the traumatic event might last longer and lead to PTSD.

PTSD symptoms usually begin to surface approximately three months following the traumatic event; however, symptoms can surface within one month for some.  Symptoms can include flashbacks, frightening thoughts, bad dreams, mood issues, avoidance behavior, heightened startle response, and difficulty concentrating or keeping focused.  These symptoms can be short-lived and an individual can recover within six months.  In others, PTSD might become chronic.

A diagnosis for PTSD should come from a mental health professional, physician, or psychiatrist familiar with PTSD.  The most common treatments for PTSD is medication and psychotherapy, which can be completed together or separately.  Some individuals with PTSD may find other forms of treatment that work best for them.  Medications for the treatment of PTSD include antidepressants and antianxiety medications.  Some physicians may prescribe medications that can help with sleep problems and nightmares.

Psychotherapy for the treatment of PTSD involves different techniques; however, cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to have a positive effect.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy can include exposure therapy and cognitive restructuring.  With exposure therapy, the individual and therapist work together to slowly expose the individual to the traumatic event.  During the exposure, the therapist can provide a safe environment in which the individual can process the negative emotions associated with the trauma through visualization or writing.  Cognitive restructuring helps individuals to make sense of the bad memories associated with the traumatic event.  The therapist would focus on what happened in a realistic way.

Cottonwood Tucson offers a place of understanding, healing, and hope. Our residential treatment programs have gained international renown for an integrative approach to co-occurring disorders. If you or a loved one are struggling, know that treatment is available. Recovery is possible.
A new life is waiting.
Call us today for information: (800) 877-4520

Monday, January 15, 2018

What does Treating the Family Entail?

What does Treating the Family Entail?

What does Treating the Family Entail? 

A common problem that many drug and alcohol addicts experience is related to interpersonal relationships.  The relationships we have with our family and friends can influence substance abuse overall.  One goal of substance abuse treatment is improving the quality of relationships that we have with others.  We need to learn how to problem solve with ourselves and with the individual who is an addict.  Sometimes the interactions between family members cause the substance abuse and other times it is simply the addiction that stands in the way of healthy relationships with friends and family.

Treating the family involves recognizing and changing the patterns of behavior that influence substance abuse.  There are many types of family treatments used in substance abuse recovery; however, the emphasis is the same—changing how the family interacts with themselves and the substance abuser.

There are many widely used treatments in treating the family including Behavioral Family Therapy (BFT), Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA), and Behavioral Couples Therapy (BCT).

Behavioral Family Therapy (BFT)

BFT is based on the idea that behavior has consequences.  Change can occur through rewarding positive behaviors.  Parents who engage in BFT can learn to reward positive behaviors and ignore negative behaviors to influence change.

Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA)

CRA involves an intervention that includes spouses, other family members, and others in the social network of the addict.  The idea is to change the reinforcements that support the drug or alcohol behaviors.  Triggers are reviewed during sessions and family members and others are trained to remove positive reinforcements when drug or drinking behavior occurs.

Behavioral Couples Therapy (BCT)

BCT is also used to help the couple increase positive communication and behavior.  Skill building is used for problem solving through homework assignments and contracts.  Relapse prevention is also reviewed so the non-abusing person can understand the triggers and warning signs of potential relapse.

There are other family therapy interventions that are used in treating alcohol or drug abuse.  These include Functional Family, Multi Systemic Family Therapy, Structural Family Therapy, Brief Strategic Family Therapy, Multidimensional Family Therapy, and the Matrix model.  Each of these types of family interventions are helpful in treating substance abuse.  The goal of each of these treatment methods involves primarily the same thing--working together as a family to support the recovering substance abuse throughout recovery.

Cottonwood Tucson offers a place of understanding, healing, and hope. Our residential treatment programs have gained international renown for an integrative approach to co-occurring disorders. If you or a loved one are struggling, know that treatment is available. Recovery is possible.
A new life is waiting.
Call us today for information: (800) 877-4520

Matrix Model

Matrix Model

Matrix Model


The Matrix Model is an intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment approach.  This approach was designed to treat those with stimulant addictions such as cocaine or methamphetamine abuse.  This model was developed in 1986 and the goal of the Matrix Model is to improve the quality of treatment for substance use disorders.  This model has components of other treatment methods such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, relapse prevention, psychoeducation, 12-step support groups, and family therapy.  The goal of this treatment is to provide stimulant users with the tools to stop using, avoid relapse, and stay in treatment.  Individuals not only receive support and education for themselves but also for their family members.  Family members are included in treatment and engage with counselors and other mental health professionals for help in understanding the addiction and the addict.  Including family members in treatment has been shown to have an effect on the individual’s continued recovery.

This treatment model is a long-term outpatient program lasting approximately one year.  Treatment if divided into two parts; intensive treatment and continuing care.  The intensive phase lasts 16 weeks and provides group counseling, family education, and individual counseling.  Once the individual has successfully completed this first 16 weeks, they move into the continuing care phase of treatment.  During continuing care, individuals receive social support group sessions.  These social sessions provide a way for the individual to socialize and interact with other individuals who are further along in the program.  This resembles a mentoring approach to recovery and has many benefits.  Continued care lasts for 36 weeks.

The Matrix Model has shown tremendous success in recovery centers that provide this type of intervention.  It is considered an intensive outpatient program or IOP and any treatment center can implement this program.  There are a few drawbacks related to this model of treatment.  Some argue that this model should not be used if detox is needed for the stimulant addict.  In addition, the highly structured approach may not work for all recovering addicts.  This model of treatment also requires all clinical staff to be specially trained and supervised.  Lastly, the time commitment, approximately one year, can be troublesome for some especially those that have demanding jobs or multiple outside the home responsibilities.  This can apply both to the addict in recovery and their family members.

Cottonwood Tucson offers a place of understanding, healing, and hope. Our residential treatment programs have gained international renown for an integrative approach to co-occurring disorders. If you or a loved one are struggling, know that treatment is available. Recovery is possible.
A new life is waiting.
Call us today for information: (800) 877-4520
CARF - Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation FacilitiesNATSAP | National Association of Therapeutic Schools and ProgramsNBCCNAADAC