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Is There a Link Between Alcoholism and Depression?

The link between alcoholism and depression is clearly defined. The only question remaining is the individual factor of what illness came first. Did depression present such severe symptoms that the individual used alcohol as a coping mechanism? On the other hand, was the individual with an alcohol use disorder engulfed in depression following physical and psychological from the addiction? Dual diagnosis is a common dilemma; both entities’ treatment must be addressed and implemented simultaneously.

Are you experiencing severe depression and feeling lost in sadness and hopelessness? Some people are overwhelmed with their life situations and feel unable to cope. Alcoholism and depression often go hand in hand, with symptoms escalating and no relief, affecting every aspect of a person’s life.

Alcoholism: What if it Comes First?

The relationship with alcohol can go from abuse to addiction quickly. Specific thinking patterns, behaviors, and psychological factors are involved with an alcohol use disorder. Those with a healthy relationship with alcohol do not experience any of these signs or symptoms. Therefore, in understanding the connection between alcoholism and depression, it’s essential to understand alcoholism and alcohol-specific treatment.

Severe alcohol use affects brain chemistry. For example, serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters regulate mood, happiness, and well-being. Those using excessive amounts of alcohol cause the brain’s vital balance to fluctuate, triggering symptoms of depression and health issues. These kinds of effects on the brain can trigger mental illness, demonstrating the link between alcoholism and depression.

The following thinking patterns and behaviors are a direct indication of alcohol use disorder:

  • Lifestyle, occupational, and relationship difficulties because of drinking
  • Irrational thinking allows for consuming alcohol in unsafe situations
  • Building a high tolerance to alcohol
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when drinking subsides or stops
  • An inability to go through the day without drinking

In the case of an individual with an alcohol abuse disorder, first, drinking can initiate changes in the brain to cause depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. Dual diagnosis is more complex to treat than addiction alone or depression alone. Alcoholism and depression can escalate to dangerous levels that are physically disabling and lead to suicidal thoughts and self-harm behaviors.  Finding a treatment center that can treat both illnesses is crucial for success in recovery.

Depression: What if Mental Illness Occurs before Alcoholism?

Depression comes in different forms. Unfortunately, each type of depression is equally disabling. In addition, an inability to incorporate healthy and positive coping mechanisms often results in drinking alcohol or drug use to relieve symptoms. Therefore, understanding the types of depression and the symptoms and causes is an essential educational journey. In grasping the connection between alcoholism and depression, education creates a foundation for possible treatment.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Changes in light or daytime hours are the initial cause of this type of depression. However, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short, is so much more than the winter blues; it is often referred to. Throughout the winter months, individuals with SAD experience debilitating depression. This depression must be experienced for at least two consecutive years for a diagnosis to be determined. Typical symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder can include:

  • Overwhelming feelings of sadness
  • Irritability
  • Long hours of oversleeping
  • Gaining weight from changes in appetite

The link between alcoholism and depression with SAD occurs when the user drinks alcohol to relieve sadness and instill happiness. Catch twenty-two occurs when the individual with SAD craves alcohol to be satisfied. The body becomes dependent, and the brain chemistry is once again affected. Stopping the cycle becomes impossible to achieve alone.

Major Depression

Of all the types of depression, major depression is the most severe. Researchers have proven that twenty to twenty-five percent of adults living in the United States experience at least one major depressive episode. Intense sadness and worthlessness overwhelm individuals and interfere with every aspect of their lives. When alcoholism and depression connect, it’s catastrophic. It is essential to evaluate the following symptoms to conclude you may be experiencing major depression.

  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Excessive crying
  • No or little energy and no motivation for anything
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Recurring thoughts of how to commit suicide

Other Types of Depression

There are many types of depression not mentioned here. Individuals experiencing any form of depression can seldom recover without professional help. In each case, the link between alcoholism and depression is clear. Alcoholism aggravates depression, and the symptoms of depression are aggravated by alcohol use. The problem is more prevalent than most realize. Other forms of depression can include:

  • Psychotic Depression includes symptoms of hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder or dysthymia has symptoms for at least two years
  • Bipolar Depression includes complex and challenging management of severe highs and lows

How Are Alcoholism and Depression Diagnosed?

There is no diagnosis until the individual feels compelled to get help. Both mental illness and substance use disorders are crippling and damage the ability to think clearly. Alcoholism and depression are treated by many treatment centers and can be determined through an assessment, medical examination, and lab testing. Medical and mental health professionals have protocols to make a precise diagnosis before treatment can begin.

The medical professional will eliminate all possible health issues that could be causing the depression from a physical standpoint. Both professions use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to reach a diagnosis for depression. Substance abuse disorders have their criteria to be determined in assessments. Alcoholism and depression present at the same time are described as dual diagnoses.

Find Help in Treating Alcoholism and Depression in Tennessee

If you are searching for a qualified treatment center for alcohol use disorder and depression, Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee has programs to assist you. Dual diagnosis treatment is available, and we can begin an assessment to determine the facts of what you are facing.

Our staff is encouraging and compassionate, understanding the power of mental illness and addiction. We welcome any type of inquiry for more information. Contact us today.

Addiction’s Most Common Co-Occurring Conditions

Co-occurring conditions refer to experiencing a mental illness while locked in a substance use disorder. While many combinations are possible, some are more common than others. Therefore, when seeking treatment for a substance use disorder, it is vital to simultaneously receive treatment for the co-occurring mental health disorder. In addition, educating yourself on the warning signs will help you understand the difficulties faced in treatment.

Mental health disorders and addiction coexist because those struggling with depression or extreme anxiety may resort to drugs or alcohol for relief. On the other hand, those struggling with an addiction can become depressed because of their helplessness. Co-occurring conditions are often referred to as dual-diagnosis. Damaged mental health is common for those experiencing a substance use disorder.

Why Mental Health Disorders Co-Occur with Substance Use Disorders

There are some possibilities for why co-occurring conditions exist between mental health and substance abuse disorders. However, it’s not always true that one caused the other, and it can be difficult to discern which disorder occurred first. Both mental health disorders and substance use disorders can develop from the same genetic and risk factors. In addition, each type of disorder can trigger the other to occur through self-medication. Finally, altered brain functioning with addiction can, in turn, cause the development of a mental health disorder.

Different substances tend to be co-occurring conditions with certain mental illnesses. Alcohol use disorders are closely linked to anxiety-related disorders at a rate of twenty to forty percent.  Generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder are the most common co-occurring mental disorders with an alcohol use disorder. Because alcohol is so easily obtainable, alcohol use disorders occur more frequently and can be a coping mechanism for extreme anxiety.

Many people with a substance use disorder use drugs to cope with mental health disorder symptoms. Dual diagnosis is a broad category of situations with co-occurring conditions. Determining this diagnosis before choosing a treatment center is crucial to treat both conditions simultaneously. Discussing this during intake phone calls can clear up any confusion and be sure all needs are met.

Common Co-Occurring Conditions

Alcohol Use Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Just as some anxiety disorders facilitate the development of an alcohol use disorder, PTSD is similar. Struggling with symptoms such as hyper-vigilance, high anxiety, and quickly triggered fearful episodes, many with PTSD reach out to alcohol to cope. The inability to understand or resolve past trauma is often the cause of addictions, but trauma therapy can address and treat this disorder. Co-occurring conditions feed each other in more ways than one.

Alcohol use disorders can interrupt the ability to discern how to navigate through life without inviting life-threatening and traumatic events. In addition, co-occurring conditions can erupt in the inability to sleep properly, cope with troubled thinking, and resolve memories that continually erupt in turbulence in emotions. Treatment for alcohol use disorder and PTSD helps to resolve old traumas and end the need for harmful coping mechanisms. Unfortunately, veterans and abuse victims have a high percentage of these co-occurring conditions.

Alcohol Use Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder

A very high percentage of those with an antisocial personality disorder also have a substance use disorder, with alcohol being the most common drug. These co-occurring conditions are fed by an inability to relate to people healthily. Quite often, those with antisocial personality disorder have abnormal or destructive behaviors. Using alcohol in excess only exacerbates the mental health disorder.

Substance Use Disorders and Mood Disorders

Among the most common co-occurring conditions are substance use disorders and mood disorders. Major depressive and bipolar disorders are the most significant disorders affecting behavior. Wrought with challenging behaviors, dysfunctional mood levels, energy, and sleep disruptions, mood disorders cause a need for relief. Substance use is the easiest way to deal with these signs and symptoms.

Increasing the possibility of dysfunctional relationships and substance use disorders with co-occurring mood disorders prolongs the signs and symptoms of each entity. In addition, experiencing long-term co-occurring conditions here increases negative thinking and the chance of suicide. The mood disorder causes a need for relief and results in more drug use. Treatment facilities are most likely able to treat this combination of disorders.

Cocaine Addiction and Anxiety Disorder

Cocaine is responsible for influencing the development of almost ten psychiatric problems. Inducing feelings of paranoia, users can participate in violent behavior patterns. Symptoms of cocaine addiction include hallucinations, insomnia, paranoia, and more. This can spur anxiety and eventually cause the co-occurring condition of an anxiety disorder.

Heroin and Depression

Depression and heroin usage are hazardous because of the changes in brain chemistry. These co-occurring conditions counteract the production of neurotransmitters in the brain and reap the inability to experience happiness without the drug. This combination is, unfortunately, debilitating. In addition, there is a high probability of overdose and suicide with this combination.

Treatment for Co-Occurring Conditions

Treatment for co-occurring conditions is possible and essential to treat simultaneously. Once detox has been completed, treatment must begin immediately. When seeking a treatment center, inquire about their programs for dual diagnosis. Mental health professionals typically resort to behavior modification therapies to change coping mechanisms. Delving into past traumatic experiences to resolve them is crucial for those with those backgrounds.

Find Help with Addictions Most Common Co-Occurring Conditions in Tennessee

Find help with your loved one’s addiction and co-occurring condition if you are in Tennessee by contacting Freeman Recovery Center in Nashville, TN. We are very familiar with how one disorder interacts with a co-occurring condition to escalate the symptoms. We have current treatment protocols and use best practices to treat both the SUD and mental illness. Contact us for more information.

Understanding the Cycle of Addiction

Understanding the cycle of addiction is vital when using drugs, alcohol, or other substances and having no control. But, of course, no one intends to become addicted to a substance. Developing the urge to use and the cravings for the highs was never the goal of that first-time user. Recreational use was fun, and everyone seemed to be doing it too. It doesn’t take long, but alcohol and other substances begin to threaten the well-being of people who never intended to become addicted.

With initial uses, the user enjoys the euphoria or the relaxing effect of the substance. However, in a very short time, tolerance builds for the substance, and more is needed to achieve those feelings of being high or relaxed. The cycle of addiction involves the body and mind becoming dependent on a chemical change that occurs as a result of substance abuse. It happens without the user realizing they have crossed a line into addiction.

What is Addiction?

Obsessive thinking and compulsively needing drugs, alcohol, food, sex, or anything, despite the negative results of their actions, define addiction. The cycle of addiction always starts with an innocent initiation to the substance, the attraction to the high or desired effect, and tolerance and dependency.

Other factors of addiction are intense physical cravings and emotional obsessions. Addiction can begin with prescribed legal medications or a few drinks after work with friends, but when chronic usage continues, misuse occurs. After misuse, tolerance, and dependence contribute to the cycle of addiction and abuse begins. The steps of the cycle of addiction include:

  • Misuse
  • Abuse
  • Addiction

What Does Addiction Do to the Brain?

Alcohol, drugs, and other substances alter the brain’s chemistry. Neurotransmitters are part of the brain’s control center, sending messages about the functioning of the brain and body. The changes in brain chemistry are made in the initial stages of the cycle of addiction. The neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine are responsible for sending messages throughout the body.

The effect on the neurotransmitters is where tolerance, dependence, and addiction are built. The brain’s chemistry is altered, and this new alteration becomes the standard brain chemistry. Addiction then alters the thought processes and decision-making capabilities. Although an addict understands they are addicted, they develop denial and other harmful habits involved in the cycle of addiction.

In the cycle of addiction, once denial has become established in the addicts’ thinking, they begin to minimize and justify their substance use. Even in lucid moments when the addict allows themself to think about stopping using, to break the cycle of addiction, the addicted brain says no. The cycle is now more powerful than rational thinking. The brain wants the euphoria, the pleasure, the substance. It is in control.

What is the Cycle of Addiction?

What begins with single use, the cycle of addiction continues to change an individual’s brain chemistry. It began with physical or mental pain resulting in the need for relief through a substance. Once the substance affects brain chemistry, rational thought can’t control it. The following signs and symptoms are characterized by the cycle of addiction.

Do you recognize any of these signs, symptoms, or behaviors?

  • Frustration and emotional or physical pain lead to a demand for relief.
  • Discomfort leads to fantasizing that alcohol or drugs can relieve the intense pain.
  • Fleeting thoughts of alcohol and drugs change into obsessive thinking about how much better life would be if they used alcohol or drugs to alleviate their pain
  • Engagement with addictive activities involving using substances to get relief
  • Loss of control of the usage and behaviors
  • Feelings of dissatisfaction because of guilty, shameful, or remorseful thoughts
  • The addict promises to stop the behavior and substance abuse to themself

The cycle of addiction calls out once the pain returns. The fantasies return, and obsessive thoughts of using the substance for relief. This cycle can be interrupted at times but almost always returns without treatment. The addicted brain controls the situation, and it chooses the substance.

Breaking the Cycle of Addiction

Intervention, a desperate crisis, or a moment of clarity can break the cycle of addiction. Once the addict decides to stop using and expresses it outwardly in public to someone, time is of the essence. The cycle of addiction will pull the addict back in quickly. Family, friends, or the addict themself must seek treatment, get through detox, and begin living a sober lifestyle. Learning how to cope with pain, emotional or physical, without the use of a substance.

Detox is the breaking point. It is advisable to enlist in medical detox and, in some cases, medication-assisted detox. Withdrawal symptoms are brutal. The cycle of addiction breaks when the brain chemistry is restored to normal, new positive, healthy coping mechanisms are learned and utilized, and the promise of sobriety becomes a priority and the goal.

Treatment for Addiction

Breaking the cycle of addiction is staying sober is a new reality. Medical detox helps maintain sobriety. Professional treatment teams provide support and education to maintain sobriety and avoid relapse. In addition, medical professionals monitor physical and mental stress from withdrawal.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is individual therapy between two people. The goal is to learn why old behaviors occurred and how to form new positive and healthy habits. Self-exploration, revisiting past traumas, and finding the addiction’s roots helps prevent relapse. Group therapy offers a support system for peers experiencing the same processes.

Find a New Understanding of the Cycle of Addiction in Tennessee

If you are struggling with an addiction or a loved one is trying to find treatment, contact us at Freeman Recovery Center. Our beautiful facility offers a peaceful environment to find sobriety and begin a new healthy, upbeat lifestyle. We can help you to understand the cycle of addiction and break it. Contact us now with your questions. We want to help you begin a challenging but rewarding journey.

How Will I Know When I Hit Rock Bottom?

Most people think of hard times when someone says they have hit rock bottom. However, addiction can be the most challenging time of anyone’s life. In treatment terms, the addict has a moment of clarity when the realization happens that the consequences of the addiction outweigh the benefits. In these moments, the person with a substance use disorder ends their denial, stops blaming everyone, and asks for help.

The term “rock bottom” is a term that Alcoholics Anonymous coined as the necessary motivation to seek help for addiction. Much like the stigma that surrounds mental health, at one time, physicians believed addiction was a moral failure instead of a disease. Currently, it is understood that thinking you must hit rock bottom before starting treatment is a myth.

What is Rock Bottom?

A place of heartache, pain, and desperation for those who hit rock bottom in addiction and have reached their breaking point; it can’t get worse. In many situations, rock bottom is reached after a significant event. Whether it is a DUI, losing a job, or losing everything tangible in their world, they must get help. Often rock bottom is the turning point for detox and treatment to begin.

With most people experiencing a substance use disorder, there are warning signs that rock bottom is about to occur. Educated treatment professionals can assess or evaluate the status of the addiction by observing what type of warning signs are present. Unfortunately, those who hit rock bottom have had their share of tough times. Therefore, it is essential to understand that not all people who are addicted will reach rock bottom.

The Warning Signs Before Rock Bottom

If your loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, you may recognize the following warning signs. Drugs and alcohol can devastate every aspect of a person. However, understanding and recognizing these warning signs do not ensure that your loved one will hit rock bottom. Instead, understanding the standard thinking and behaviors of those with substance abuse disorders can help you support your loved one.

  • Hygiene fails when you hit rock bottom. One of addiction’s initial signs or symptoms can be depression. When depressed, it takes too much effort to take care of yourself. No shower, brushing your hair and teeth, and getting out of bed can be impossible. When you hit rock bottom, it is a dark place.
  • Physical illness. When self-care fails, those with a severe substance use disorder experience more extreme physical symptoms. When they hit rock bottom, your mind, and body are broken. General overwhelming feelings of being unwell are triggers for desperation.
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness prevail. Those close to hitting rock bottom feel trapped. When you hit rock bottom and are overwhelmed with suicidal thoughts, it is time to seek help. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Alienating the inner circle. When you are in a dark place, you push people away. Then, just before they hit rock bottom, there is a loss of control. Emotions may be high, and dealing with people is impossible so the addict will isolate themselves. In extreme cases, anxiety and panic are extraordinarily high, and some develop agoraphobia.
  • Wild mood swings. Right before addicts hit rock bottom, it’s common for their emotional health to be exhausted. Feeling grumpy, irritable, temperamental, and so restless, no relief exists; the user is on edge. People will want to stay away and steer clear of the negativity. Lashing out at those trying to help is not uncommon.

What Happens When You Hit Rock Bottom?

Not every person will hit rock bottom. Likewise, successful sobriety is not dependent upon hitting rock bottom. However, many treatment professionals can connect with the substance abuse user during this turning point. Then, finally, there comes a moment of clarity when the user can accept help.

Feelings of failure are typical for those experiencing a substance use disorder, especially during the rock bottom moments. However, when you hit rock bottom, you can understand the effects of addiction on yourself and everyone around you. Rock bottom represents the worst moments of addiction, and looking back brings a sense of accomplishment for those who undertake treatment. With the help of therapy, the substance user will understand they are not a failure.

Difficulties Found at Rock Bottom

Rock bottom is challenging and painful. Detox is complex and carries discomfort. Those who hit rock bottom and accept help have a mountain to climb. Facing friends and family who have painfully stood by is difficult. However, the initial stages of treatment and becoming sober can be successful with the help of the treatment team and support system.

Medically monitored detox is advisable for long-term addiction. Then, the individual, group, and family therapies can all work together to form a successful treatment plan for a sober future. Most people who have completed treatment do not like to think back to when they hit rock bottom. It is best to look forward, not backward, and live a happy and healthy lifestyle free from addiction.

Find Help When Someone You Love Has Hit Rock Bottom in Tennessee

If you or a loved one is experiencing rock bottom in their addiction, now is the time to reach out to one of our treatment professionals. Freeman Recovery Center understands that the essential moments of rock bottom could be a prime opportunity to accept treatment help. We can schedule an assessment and begin the journey to sobriety quickly. Contact us to speak with our understanding staff now to find help.

What is Meth-Induced Psychosis?

Meth Methamphetamine, a stimulant most people have heard of in the news, is a dangerous drug to be addicted to. Meth can induce psychotic symptoms and produce hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and aggressive behaviors when the effects wear off. When evaluations are made in treatment, many families ask, what is meth-induced psychosis? While the drug’s name is well-known, the psychotic symptoms it induces are complex and not as known.

Meth addiction is responsible for the devastation of the physical and mental state of the addicted and the disintegration of their lifestyle. Close relationships are lost, and families become estranged. What is meth-induced psychosis?  It is the direct reaction to the effects of the drugs on the brain and a very dangerous symptom.

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a Schedule II drug and a stimulant prescribed to treat ADHD and obesity. Meth is a stimulant that reduces fatigue and appetite. In addition, it has become a recreational drug, and many have become addicted. The symptoms of meth addiction are severe and cause some to ask, what is meth-induced psychosis?

Other well-known Schedule II drugs are cocaine and oxycodone. Methamphetamine’s effects last longer than amphetamines do. Their high is much more powerful as well. What is meth-induced psychosis, and what does it involve? Chronic meth users are at significant risk of experiencing this powerful symptom that produces delusions, hallucinations, and obsessive thoughts and behaviors.

What is Meth-Induced Psychosis?

The definition of psychosis is a severe mental condition where thoughts and emotions are so highly affected that the sense of reality is lost. As a result, meth addicts cannot distinguish between what they imagine and the real world. In addition, this addiction causes such erratic behaviors that their lifestyle and relationships are at risk of destruction. Finally, repeated use leaves the meth addict in the throes of disaster.

Meth-induced psychosis is dangerous and can cause hallucinations, delusions, aggressive behaviors, and a repeated delusional state. Researchers believe that just under half of meth users experience this psychosis. In addition, paranoia and imagined experiences are additional hazards of this drug addiction. What is meth-induced psychosis? One of the most dangerous symptoms of addiction, meth-induced psychosis, can cause permanent long-term consequences.

What Causes Meth-Induced Psychosis?

Stimulants increase brain activity and the production of the chemical dopamine. This feel-good chemical, when overly produced, causes an imbalance in the system. This chemical imbalance can cause psychosis and extreme mood swings. This results from a chemical imbalance in the brain from misusing methamphetamine.

Unfortunately, meth interferes with emotions and impulses through this chemical imbalance. Overstimulation of that brain region can lead to increased paranoia and aggressive behaviors. Leading to acts of violence and dysfunctional fight-or-flight responses that can mean trouble for those addicted. When reality is distorted and behaviors re aggressive, crime or legal trouble can ensue. In such cases, drug rehab might be needed.

Symptoms of Meth-Induced Psychosis

Understanding the symptoms of this psychosis can lead to identifying this addiction in a loved one. Those addicted to meth need understanding and help for treatment and recovery. The symptoms of meth-induced psychosis include all or some of the following:

  • Hallucinations
  • Belief someone is out to get them
  • Agitation and jumpiness
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Inability to communicate clearly
  • Strange or weird beliefs
  • Itchiness or the feeling of bugs crawling on your skin


One symptom of meth addiction is the production of intense hallucinations. The intensity of the individual’s hallucinations varies from person to person. Hallucinations can involve more senses than just visuals. They may experience hearing and feeling things that are not reality.

Visual hallucinations can include the perceived images of anything, animals, cars, or other people who are not present. Meth can also cause gustatory and olfactory hallucinations involving the taste and smell of non-existent environmental factors. This symptom causes one in three meth users to present with sores and scratches on their skin. They feel like bugs are crawling on their skin while hallucinating.

Meth Delusions

The stimulant’s mind-altering effects cause delusions. Meth-induced psychosis can cause delusions both persecutory and referential. Persecutory delusions involve the belief that one is the victim of torture, trickery, or bullying. Referential delusions involve public messages interpreted as personal attacks.

Meth Paranoia

Increased brain activity can result in paranoid thoughts and beliefs. With hallucinations, paranoia ensues with the fear someone is trying to harm them. Paranoia is a common withdrawal symptom in detox from meth.

Treatment for Methamphetamine Addiction

Meth addiction can be complex and challenging to treat. Medical detox followed by individual and group therapy has proved to be successful. The treatment team must consider family therapy because of the devastation of relationships during the addiction. Medical detox may require medication to eliminate uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Find Help with Meth Addiction in Middle Tennessee

Meth-induced psychosis is a complex symptom of methamphetamine addiction. If you or a loved one is experiencing meth addiction, Freeman Recovery Center in Middle Tennessee can explain the changes in the brain from the abuse of meth. Our professional medical detox programs can help you begin a sober treatment journey. Contact us to hear more about meth-induced psychosis and how we can help you.

What to Do if Your Loved One Leaves Rehab Early

Supporting a loved one struggling with addiction is challenging and sometimes painful. Watching the self-destruction that can occur with addiction is devastating. When the decision for treatment and hope reigns high, it can be excruciating to see your loved one leaving rehab early. However, you and your loved one understand that to remain sober, the recommended treatment plan needs to be adhered to stay sober.

There are some ways to support your loved one. First, be prepared for this moment by educating yourself. Keeping your worries, fears, and memories from disrupting your clear thinking is challenging. You must remember that you are not responsible for the mistakes your loved one makes. When your loved one is set on leaving rehab early, you must put a plan into action.

Why Do People Leave Rehab Early?

In addiction treatment, there is always a possibility of relapse and leaving rehab early. Leaving rehab early means the patient is discharged against medical advice or AMA. There are many possibilities for leaving early, but the greatest is the inability to deal with fear. What could they be afraid of? People who cannot process fear feel the fear is too big to handle. Leaving rehab before completion could be from the fear of:

  • The unknown
  • Fear of living sober
  • Fear of confronting their demons
  • Fear of what they will discover in therapy

Recovery treatment is designed to deal with physical, psychological, social, and environmental aspects of life without addiction. Treatment is hard work, and it is very challenging to learn new methods to cope with feelings and emotions without relying on drugs or alcohol. Rehab can feel overwhelming at times. Other reasons why your loved one might be leaving rehab early include the following:

  • Treatment is just too hard for them to handle.
  • There is still denial present about their addiction.
  • Withdrawal symptoms are still lingering, and they want relief.
  • Feel doubt about the commitment they made to become sober.
  • Your loved one thinks they can do it on their own.
  • Too emotionally exhausting to explore past traumas
  • Anger, boredom, and loneliness are overwhelming

The Risks of Leaving Rehab Early

Recovery from addiction is possible with a completed treatment plan and a sound support system. Every day that passes in treatment, there must be a renewal of the commitment made to quit using drugs and alcohol. Rehab is a challenging process, and to decide on leaving rehab early can mean possible relapse. The struggle to fight against cravings and withdrawal symptoms may be too fresh and strong to resist.

Leaving rehab early before completing essential education to live a sober lifestyle is dangerous. Treatment is designed to learn how to identify the triggers that cause the need to use. In addition, exploring how to replace drug use with healthy and positive coping skills is vital for continued sobriety. Finally, learning to process emotions and feelings positively through therapy is crucial to remain sober.

You can encourage your loved one not to leave rehab early by identifying the risks of leaving treatment before completion. But, again, reinforcing the goal of sobriety is vital. Pointing out the negative possibilities may not be enough to change their decision of leaving rehab early. Be sure to take care of yourself through this disturbing experience.

The risks of leaving rehab early include the following:

  • Necessary coping skills have not been obtained
  • Relapse
  • The possibility of an overdose
  • Finding recovery the second time could be more demanding
  • Extreme emotional distress could cause self-harming behaviors
  • Their relationships could be damaged further

What To Do if your Loved One is Leaving Rehab Early

It is frightening and challenging when your loved one in addiction treatment is leaving rehab early. You may feel angry and defeated, but try reflecting on what you learned in family support therapy. You must establish favorable relationship rules immediately. Following these guidelines, you can offer healthy and positive support for your loved one.

Establish Boundaries

Caring for a loved one with an addiction history is challenging. But, above all, you must worry and care for yourself first. When your loved one is leaving rehab early, they will likely return to drugs and drinking again. Therefore, you must set boundaries if they want money or to live with you. Inviting dysfunctional issues into your own home is never a good idea. Set the rules and stick to them.

Do Not Be an Enabler

Behaviors that support your loved ones’ use of alcohol or drugs enable their addiction. Providing your loved one with money, a roof over their head, and covering their relapse is unacceptable. Leaving rehab early did not allow them to learn all the necessary skills to maintain sobriety. Your behaviors cannot allow them to continue to be self-destructive.

Ready Addiction Treatment Resources

If your loved one has a change of heart, have resources ready for them to get back into treatment quickly. The goal of sobriety never changes. Leaving rehab early doesn’t mean they won’t change their mind again. Be ready and encourage treatment at every possible moment.

Find Support For Yourself

The experience of your loved one leaving rehab early will take a toll. Leaning on individual and group therapy can help you understand the situation and be supported with your emotions. In addition, being an example of positive and healthy coping strategies is good for your loved one to observe. Finally, use self-care techniques for a calm and peaceful time to reflect.

Find Help If Your Loved One is Leaving Rehab Early in Tennessee

If your loved one is leaving rehab early and you feel confused and helpless and don’t know how to react, contact Freeman Recovery Center for help. Our experienced counselors can listen to your fears, advise you and speak to your loved one if they respond. Sobriety is the goal; if we can help you and your loved one, it’s worth the effort. Contact us today to see if we can hold an intervention.

What are the Stages of Addiction Recovery?

Addiction has a devastating impact on the lives of individuals and families. Treatment options offer hope for those with a substance use disorder. Addiction is a meaningful, life-changing process. Taking on addiction in stage, the stages of addiction recovery, can help rebuild a solid foundation for a sober lifestyle.

What are the Stages of Addiction Recovery?

Five stages of addiction recovery can lead people with a substance abuse disorder to a sober and healthy life. Individual treatment plans can combine evidence-based therapies with new holistic therapies that are successfully integrated. Addiction recovery demands the decision to get treatment, strong willpower, and support from family, friends, and group therapy. The five stages of addiction recovery are:

  1. The decision to stop using drugs or alcohol and accept treatment. (Some people consider this the “pre-contemplative” stage.)
  2. Initiating treatment through a professional alcohol and drug program (also considered the contemplative stage).
  3. Early abstinence through detoxification (also considered the preparation stage).
  4. Learning to maintain abstinence with treatment through the experience of the action stage completes treatment.
  5. Advanced recovery to prevent relapse and live a sober lifestyle

The First Stage

Contemplating a life that does not include using a substance begins the stages of addiction recovery. Initially, people stuck in addiction are defensive and continually justify their use of drugs or alcohol. This problematic stage involves conflicting emotions, feelings, and thoughts. Lacking the ability to have a clear view of their existence in addiction, they may have tried to quit before and failed.

The person stuck in this stage can not understand that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Still absorbed in physical and mental tug-of-war, the person longs for normality and sobriety. The stages of addiction recovery are implemented to address these fears and complex emotions. The critical concept to grasp in this stage is a seed has been planted, and there is hope.

The Second Stage

The decision to change is the key characteristic of this crucial stage of the recovery process. The stages of addiction recovery are laid out to take advantage of this decision immediately and move forward. Support from family and friends and solid advice from a professional treatment counselor guide their thinking into hoping for a positive outcome.  Somehow the person with a substance use disorder can put aside blame, judgments and accusations and listen to reason.

The stages of addiction recovery begin with complex conflicting thoughts, emotions, and feelings about the addictive substance. Ambivalence and denial are constantly fought in the first hours of rehab, with the help of professional therapists who can ease confusion. During this initial stage, the treatment plan is to keep the goal of sobriety at the forefront and encourage continual participation in recovery.

Assessment is initiated, an addiction history is taken, and the treatment plans are introduced to the patient. Exploration of the stages of addiction recovery includes pointing out the severe effects of addiction. Next, engaging the patient to embrace their decision to change can include looking at their feelings of denial. Finally, one can implement the plan, and treatment proceeds to the third stage.

The Third Stage

This complex and challenging stepping stone of sobriety includes detoxification from the substance and difficult withdrawal symptoms. This stage points to the importance of professional addiction treatment programs. Perhaps the turning point towards sobriety is the most intense of all the stages of addiction recovery; detox or early abstinence is the turning point toward sobriety. The following factors outline the challenges presented in the third stage of addiction recovery.

  • Identifying triggers and how to handle cravings
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Physicality of cravings
  • Psychological dependence

Acquiring coping skills during this phase is imperative. The positive and healthy coping skills learned during this challenging stage will carry the patient through recovery. Encouragement from the treatment team is paramount. Strategies learned in the stages of addiction recovery will be used throughout the first ninety days of recovery treatment.

  • Participating in healthy activities
  • Self-help group participation
  • Learning to recognize triggers as they occur
  • Healthy and positive behavior changes to turn to

The Fourth Stage

Moving out of treatment after ninety days is the action stage of maintaining abstinence. Some patients may have begun treatment involving detox and inpatient treatment during the first ninety days of sobriety. Others may have participated in an outpatient treatment program. The stages of addiction recovery have built the foundation for the newly sober patient to learn how to rely upon their freshly learned skills.

The coping skills learned in treatment help with the following lifestyle factors and avoiding relapse:

  • Avoiding substituting addictions
  • Building positive and healthy relationships
  • Living a drug-free lifestyle
  • Understanding and implementing occupational skills and money management
  • Processing emotions and feelings in a healthy manner
  • A healthy lifestyle, including nutrition and exercise

The Final Stage

Advanced recovery after five years sober includes living a satisfying and fulfilling life as a sober person. People in this stage can develop long-term goals. Therapies may subside, although it is always essential to consider continuation with group therapy. Successful integration of a happy and healthy life incorporates the stages of addiction recovery.

Find Help with the Stages of Addiction Recovery in Tennessee

Finding yourself in that initial stage of addiction recovery can be confusing and complicated. Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee can guide those with substance use disorders in the initial stages of recovery. We understand how complex feelings and emotions can be during this process. Deciding to become sober is life-changing. We can help with the process. Contact us today.

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