Alcohol and substance use disorders are on the rise. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there were more than 20 million Americans over the age of 12 with a substance use disorder (SUD).
But despite the alarming numbers, millions of Americans are getting the help they need and taking the first step on the road to recovery, strength, and hope. If you or someone you love has an alcohol or substance use issue, there is hope and help.
Every day researchers are learning more about the disease of addiction. As knowledge about this issue grows, the approaches to effective treatment also grow. At one time, those with the disease of addiction were confined to hospitals and institutions. Today, there are treatment centers offering a variety of treatment modalities and options. From evidence-based treatment for professionals at luxury facilities to experiential and adventure-based programs, there are options for everyone who wants to recover from alcoholism or addiction. Futures Healthcare Recovery offers options for everyone from the discerning professional to the active, athletic adult.
Our society today is inundated by the ‘glamour’ of alcohol, partying, and even prescription drug use. From reality shows to A-list celebrities, we see images every day of drinking, having fun, and come to believe that the use of alcohol and even some drugs can add to fun and excitement in life. And while for some, the use of alcohol isn’t an issue and can add to the fun, for many this simply isn’t true.
Dependency on alcohol or drugs can cause serious health issues, wreaking havoc on the body and mind and even becoming lethal. It’s important to seek professional help to stop using a substance or alcohol.
It’s important to take an honest look at your use of alcohol or a substance (or that of a loved one) first. Remember, even if you think you may have a problem there are many different types of effective treatment options available today and you can surely find one that works for you or your loved one.
Signs of Alcohol or Substance Use Disorders
If you think you or someone you love may have a problem with alcohol here are some signs to look for:
- Drinking more or for longer periods of time than planned.
- Trying to cut down on drinking but are unable.
- Increasing how much you need to drink to get the same effect.
- Continuing to drink despite experiencing negative consequences from drinking such as legal problems, health issues, relationship problems, depression, etc.
- Experiencing blackouts
- Spending a lot of time drinking
- Giving up hobbies or previously enjoyed activities to drink
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking or try to quit.
It’s important to understand that even if you think you (or a loved one) is struggling with alcohol misuse, you can take the first step, get help, and recover. While many people have a problem with just alcohol, there are others who struggle with both an alcohol and a substance use disorder (SUD).
If you think you may have a SUD, look at the following signs and see if you can relate:
- Sudden changes in weight
- Bloodshot or dilated eyes and pupils
- Different sleeping patterns like not sleeping much or sleeping a lot
- Poor physical health
- Noticeable changes in personality/mood
- Unexplained depression and anxiety
- Unusual changes in habits and routines
- Increased mood swings particularly irritability and aggression
Alcohol and drug abuse issues do not discriminate and impact people from all walks of life, different socioeconomic backgrounds, family situations, cultures, genders, and education levels. Individuals from each of these backgrounds seek help every day and find a happy life free from the pain of alcohol and drug addiction.
Oftentimes those who have an AUD or SUD also are experiencing mental health issues. It is common for these to occur together for many people.
Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders
Addiction to alcohol or drugs is a medical and mental health disorder that affects the brain and changes behaviors, according to The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). There are genetic and environmental factors that influence addiction to alcohol or drugs. As research in this area grows it will help medical professionals to not only better treat but also prevent alcohol and substance use disorders.
There are definitely common factors amongst those with AUDs or SUDs. One common factor is a co-occurring disorder which is also referred to as a dual diagnosis. In fact, in 2018 the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported there were 9.2 million Americans with a co-occurring mental health and substance abuse problem.
It is often very difficult to decipher which issue was first. Often those with mental health issues such as anxiety or depression turn to alcohol or other substances to help them cope. Many times those with these issues are prescribed medications to decrease the anxiety or other issues and they can become addicted to these medications originally intended to help as well.
Another problem is that those who misuse alcohol or other substances for extended periods of time can develop mental health issues. No matter which came first, these co-occurring disorders can be successfully treated together at the right addiction treatment center.
If you or a loved one has a co-occurring disorder as described, it’s important to seek treatment at a reputable treatment center with experience and expertise in these areas. Futures is well-versed in successfully treating co-occurring disorders with evidence-based, compassionate care focused on the individual needs of each person.
Exercise, Addiction, and Mental Health Treatments
At the forefront of addiction treatment, particularly with co-occurring mental health disorders is activity-based recovery. Exercise and physical activity have long been touted to help with mental health such as depression, anxiety, and more. One reason is that exercise stimulates the body’s production of endorphins and enkephalins, the feel-good hormones in the body.
According to an ever-increasing amount of research, regular physical activity not only improves physical health but is effective at treating chronic mental health illnesses. In fact, Psychology Today reports that the impact of exercise may be as good as pharmacological treatments for less severe issues like depression, dementia, anxiety, and even cognitive issues associated with schizophrenia.
Not only does research show how exercise can be effective in improving these mental health issues, but it is also now being shown to be effective in the treatment of substance abuse disorders. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that when combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy, exercise is an important and proven component of treatment for addictions.
How Physical Activity Supports Recovery
Exercise and regular physical activity, when combined with evidence-based psychotherapies, can give those who want to recover from an AUD or SUD what they need to be successful on the road to recovery.
The impact of physical activity and exercise in supporting recovery include:
- Improving physical and mental health
- Increasing positive self image and self-esteem
- Restoring health including organ function, blood pressure, sleep, executive function, etc.
- Distracting individuals from cravings
- Creating structure in the day
- Establishing healthy, sober living habits to continue through life
- Forming positive social connections with others
The Experiential Program at Futures guides clients in gaining all of these benefits through their unique adventure-based experiential programs. This proven-effective and innovative addiction treatment program emphasizes exercise and daily rigorous activity to help adults recover from alcohol or substance abuse issues.
Through challenging oneself to engage in new activities such as scuba diving, paddle boarding, golf, and more, clients learn new coping skills for stressful situations, interpersonal interactions which helps to build trust, improve self-image, and more.
In addition, the program boasts a team of experienced and highly skilled physical therapists who work with each client to create customized exercise programs. These programs address the individual’s current fitness level and work to maximize each of their strengths while building other weaker areas. Combined with therapy sessions, lifelong habits and recovery skills are built and strengthened which serve to increase chances of long term recovery.
If you or someone you love is living with an alcohol or substance use disorder there is help and hope just a call away. At Futures, we offer programs and support to get you on the road to recovery and the expertise to help you enjoy life in lasting recovery. Contact us confidentially online or by phone at 561-475-1804.