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Alcohol​ ​And​ ​Dental​ ​Disease

Every alcoholic will probably be aware that their addiction is damaging many aspects of their lives. Personal and professional relationships may have been strained to breaking point. The emotional stress related to alcohol dependence will invariably take a significant toll on mental health. And of course consuming large amounts of alcohol may irreparably damage general health and wellbeing. There is, however, another health aspect that is usually overlooked because of more urgent medical, psychiatric and social problems but is none the less still an important part of living a long and healthy life and that is dental health.




The adverse effects of drinking heavily are well documented, alcohol gets absorbed by the stomach, enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain and central nervous system, and the remains are processed by the liver. This means that there is a risk of stomach ulcers, artery clogging, and liver cirrhosis. The effects on the brain include memory loss, impaired motor functions, and alcohol dependency.

Alcohol is the second leading cause of cancer in human beings, second only to smoking. Also, the risk of heart disease, impotence, wrinkles and early aging increases significantly with heavy alcohol consumption.

The effect on teeth is no less dangerous, as alcohol is consumed through the mouth, meaning it is the most affected organ of all, and since most alcoholic drinks contain added sodas and\or citrus drinks, the effects are multiplied.

Alcohol dental health

Oral diseases related to alcohol abuse are numerous and diverse, including:

    • Teeth staining (as they contain artificial colors and chromogenic bacteria).
    • Bad breath, as alcohol disrupts the balance of bacteria in the mouth.
    • Dryness of the mouth and as saliva is a buffer and can wash away the food remnant and plaque and clean the teeth, the risk of dental decay and gum disease increases. Not only that, but many alcohol abusers tend to skip dental care altogether, causing the damage to increase significantly.
    • Alcohol is acidic in origin, which causes demineralization and softening of the enamel (outer surface of the teeth), also leading to increased decay rate in addition to teeth sensitivity.
    • Due to this acidic nature, it causes changes in the taste sensation of the tongue, as well as burning of the tongue, gums and the insides of the cheeks.
    • Excessive use of alcohol can also lead to vomiting, and since the stomach contents are highly acidic, this causes chemical erosion of the teeth. Significant erosion leads to teeth sensitivity, decay, and bad appearance.




  • Swelling of Salivary glands, especially the Parotid gland (which is present in front of the ear. This carries a lot of risks including decreasing the flow of saliva, nerve compression (as more than 5 nerves that supply the face pass through this gland) and in severe cases, even hearing problems.
  • Alcohol dependence has also been linked to gum disease which can, in turn, lead to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke diabetes, respiratory disease, and cancer.
  • Research has shown that statistically, drinkers are more likely smoke as well. The combination of drinking alcohol and smoking is especially harmful and early research suggests that the combination of using both substances together multiplies the chance of certain cancers.
  • Oral cancer risk is multiplied 6 times with alcohol abusers compared to average risk, especially if combined with smoking.

Alcohol and dental disease

“What​ ​should​ ​I​ ​do​ ​to​ ​avoid​ ​these​ ​effects?”

Unfortunately improving dental health while still suffering from alcohol addiction is very difficult since the user will likely be facing considerable challenges emotionally, socially, physically and financially, but there are some small steps that can be taken to keep the damaging effects to a minimum.

  • Every effort should be made to attend a dentist or clinic regularly to clean the teeth professionally, check for teeth and gum infections and importantly monitor for any sign of mouth cancer.
  • Surveys and research indicate that while practically no addicts floss at all, most still make an effort to clean their teeth regularly and actively maintain an interest in oral health. Unfortunately, in many cases, the daily oral hygiene routine is not still not sufficiently adequate to prevent the buildup of plaque and the resulting decay and gum disease. Interestingly alcoholics often choose a hard bristled brush. Perhaps in an effort to thoroughly scrub away the smell of alcohol from their breath. Hard bristle brushes are not ideal for cleaning teeth as they can potentially damage teeth enamel and contribute to gum recession. A better option is to use a soft bristle brush that is better able to flex into the spaces between the teeth and that won’t damage the teeth. An even better option is to use an electric toothbrush that can reduce the effort required to clean every tooth surface properly. Dentists often recommend Oral-B toothbrushes because of the efficiency of the cup-shaped cleaning heads. Some electric toothbrushes like the Oral-B Pro-2000 have a built-in pressure sensor that will alert the user if excessive pressure is applied during brushing, this is especially useful for people who drink regularly during the day because alcohol has a softening effect on tooth enamel making them susceptible to toothbrush erosion.
  • Brushing directly after drinking is not recommended, but heavy rinsing of your mouth is highly advised. Using a higher fluoride-containing toothpaste and mouthwash is also advisable, although some mouthwashes do contain alcohol, and thus should be avoided since they can further dry out the mouth. Also, there are some suggestions that mouthwashes containing alcohol may be a contributing factor to mouth cancer.
  • Many alcoholics make every effort to cover up their dependence to those around them. One of the giveaway signs of drinking is the smell of alcohol on the breath so it is common practice to use strong breath mints to freshen the breath. Sucking on breath mints or chewing gum is a great way to stimulate saliva production. Saliva is nature’s way of keeping the teeth and gums clean. For people who are are going to use breath mints or chewing gum, it is a great idea to use products containing xylitol. Bacteria thrive on sugar, and it is the toxic byproduct of the metabolized sugar that causes tooth decay and infection. Xylitol is a natural sugar that disrupts bacteria’s ingestion process and effectively kills and reduces the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth. Regularly using xylitol mints, gum, sweets or toothpaste is a very easy way to improve oral health.

Of course, the most important course of action for any alcoholic is to seek help for their addiction as soon as possible, only then can the recovery and healing process really begin. Rebuilding a life after addiction can be a very long process with many fences to mend along the way. Dental health usually takes a back seat compared to other aspects of life but poor oral health can have a very real impact on many chronic and systemic diseases not to mention confidence and self-esteem.

Effects of alcohol on dental health

Dental​ ​Health​ ​Recovery

Alcohol and substance abuse can have a devastating effect on dental health but with a little time and effort, it is possible to regain a healthy smile. Achieving a good level of oral health, in theory, is relatively simple.

By following these simple steps it is possible for anybody to improve their dental health.

  • Schedule regular dentist visits to check and monitor for decay, gum disease and mouth cancer. The dental team will also scale and polish teeth if required.
  • Always brush teeth for 2 minutes twice a day.
  • Floss teeth at least once a day. Flossing can be done with string floss, interdental brushes or electric power flossers like a Waterpik.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid brushing teeth immediately after eating or drinking acidic foods and drinks. This is when tooth enamel is at its softest and most vulnerable. Wait for at least half an hour to let the mouth chemistry to stabilize.Avoid brushing teeth immediately after eating or drinking acidic foods and drinks. This is when tooth enamel is at its softest and most vulnerable. Wait for at least half an hour to let the mouth chemistry to stabilize.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to protect teeth.
  • Chew or suck on Xylitol chewing gum or sweets regularly to reduce oral bacteria.Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Eating natural foods that are rich in vital vitamins and minerals will help teeth and gums stay healthy.

Smile Recovery

Smile​ ​Recovery

Having a healthy smile will do wonders for a person’s confidence. For people with missing, discolored teeth or crooked teeth it is worthwhile asking your dentist for available options to improve the appearance of the teeth. Today’s advanced dentistry techniques can easily resolve dental problems and recover a person’s smile.

It is important to replace missing teeth for many health reasons and there are a number of options available:

  • Full dentures
  • Partial dentures
  • Flexible dentures
  • Fixed dentures
  • Implants
  • Mini implants

Discolored teeth can leave people embarrassed to smile, but there are many options available to remove staining and discoloration:

  • Whitening toothpastes
  • Teeth polishing
  • In office professional teeth bleaching
  • At home professional teeth bleaching
  • Veneers

Crowns Crowded or crooked teeth can also cause embarrassment but there are many procedures that can be performed to straighten any smile:

  • Cosmetic contouring
  • Bonding
  • Porcelain veneers
  • Crowns
  • Braces
  • Invisible braces

A genuine smile releases endorphins oxygenate the brain and make us feel relaxed and happy. Don’t underestimate the power of a beautiful smile.


About The Author

Dr.​ ​Mohamed​ ​Abdel​ ​Hamid​ ​BDS,​ ​MFDS​ ​RCSEd,​ ​Member​ ​of​ ​AACD


 

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Understanding Addiction Treatment in Rehab Centres

Rehab usually refers to drug or alcohol treatment programs that are conducted in a residential setting.  The purpose of a rehab is to help you shake off your addiction to alcohol, drugs or other behavioural conditions, so that you can stay sober and maintain long term recovery.

You will be provided with a program of intensive support and care at the rehab by highly trained medical and therapeutic care specialists. They help you stay off drugs and alcohol and guide you through the program, which includes detox, group therapy and individual therapy.

Addiction treatment rehab centres

There are essentially two types of rehabs

#1: Traditional rehabs are facilities where the patient gets a complete break from work and current circumstances. The patients stay at a centre that is at a fair distance away from their home or any familiar environment.

#2: Newer models of rehabs are facilities where you will have access to a structured treatment and local services, in addition to supported housing.

Many rehabs provide the treatment in various stages, such as…

Stage 1: The first stage of the rehab usually consists of a short to long-term stay in the residential facility – which is usually 4 to 12 weeks. Here the focus is on intensive therapeutic care and on the responsiveness of the patient to the treatment.

Stage 2: The second stage is for longer stays at the rehab clinic of 12 weeks and more. Here the focus is on helping the patient develop critical life skills, and to help them reintegrate into the mainstream with high quality education and training. The patients are provided with essential job skills that help them compete in the job market following their stay at the facility, so that they find work and live a productive life that is free from drug use.

Stage 3: The third and the final stage of the rehab program is offered by some organisations only. It involves providing independent living facilities to the patient and providing them extensive support and mentoring through the main rehab centre.

Not all recovering addicts need to go through Stage 2 and 3. However, Stage 1, where the duration of the stay is between 4 to 12 weeks is a must.




Rehab ‘Philosophies’ and Approaches

There are essentially six important philosophies or approaches used by most traditional rehabs. Each of these philosophies have a real impact on how the rehab programme and are customized based on the individual needs and requirements of the patient.

It is important that the right philosophy is used to match the specific issue faced by the client, whether it relates to drug or alcohol abuse or a behavioural addiction, such as sex addiction or gambling addiction.

12 step program rehab treatment

12 Step Programs

12 Step programs are considered to be the most important approach to helping people get over their addiction to drugs or alcohol. These programs were originally based on the 12 Steps of the Minnesota Model, and are today widely used by self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

In this approach, the addiction is seen as a disease that has to be cured.  The residents work their way through each of the 12 steps on their way to recovery. The program is constantly modified and adapted to changing circumstances, and is very flexible.

Residents are required to spend time in different “step” groups. This is different from the individual and group therapies they attend daily. The duration of this program can be 3 months or less. Even after leaving the facility, the residents are expected to attend local meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.




Therapeutic Community

Therapeutic community is a type of treatment where the staff and residents jointly participate as members of the same community. The community is based on a hierarchy. Residents participate in different activities and take on growing responsibilities. They are given more freedom with every improvement, develop practical job skills through education and training and participate in special one-to-one keywork sessions. This approach is similar to the 12 step program but is more flexible. However, it takes more time – anything from 6 to 12 months.

Christian Philosophy/Faith-based

Faith-based services or those that are based on Christian philosophy are deeply religious and incorporate sacred religious texts and beliefs in the various activities geared at helping the residents get over their addiction to alcohol, drugs or other abusive behavioural patterns. Residents spend time studying the Bible (or a religious text of their choice) and discuss the teachings. Prayers are an important part of these programs.

Faith based recovery addiction treatment

Eclectic/Integrated

Eclectic or integrated programs are not based on any particular philosophy. They consist of several different methodologies and interventions. Their goal is to meet the specific needs of each of the residents.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and social learning

Programs that are based on cognitive behavioural therapy consist of psychological treatments, where the actions of the residents are thought to have an impact on their future behaviour.

Group therapy addiction treatment

Personal and skills development

The personal and skills development approach is based on helping the residents develop critical life skills and job skills that can help them get work later, after leaving the facility. These programs consist of educational classes, team work and practical training on skills such as carpentry, construction, electrical and plumbing and computer repair, to name just a few. They may also involve on the job learning to help the residents build valuable work experience.

Does the Rehab Provide Residential Detox Facilities?

Many rehab clinics provide detox facilities. This is in addition to the rehabilitation program provided by them. Some rehabs don’t provide detox and expect you to have undergone the detoxification prior to your admission into the program.

All rehabs expect residents to be completely drug free before getting started with the rehabilitation program. In case you want to join a rehab program that does not offer detox, you should get the detoxification done at a hospital or a clinic prior to joining the rehab facility.


About The Author

Written by Shane White for Rehabs.asia – The leading resource for addiction rehabilitation programs in Asia.


 

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Careful Not to Trade One Addiction for Another After Treatment

The world is full of temptation. Some of us can go through life having a cigarette once a year, a few beers a month, some can even experiment with drugs and never feel the need to do it again. If you have already been through addiction and recovery once, then you know your limitations. Most people do not, in fact, discover precisely where their weaknesses lie, so while it was a tough lesson, you can yourself lucky in that regard. So now that you know your limitations, now that you know your weaknesses and your strengths, you already have a solid foundation for spotting a new potential addiction when you see it.

Careful not to trade one addiction for another

Not Every Addiction Seems Immediately Dangerous

We probably don’t need to tell you that addiction is not limited strictly to dangerous drugs and alcohol. If you’re going to choose a drug to do every single day, marijuana is certainly safer than cocaine or opiates. But, when you spend all day every day as high as you can possibly get, other areas of your life are still going to suffer. Even a so called healthy addiction can do more harm than good, and addiction can take the form of, well, just about anything. For instance:

  • Gambling
  • Sex
  • Video games
  • Weightlifting
  • Running
  • Food
  • “Softer” drugs like coffee and marijuana
  • Shopping
  • Work

Cross Addiction into work

Are All Addictions Bad?

This is just a list of common addictions, and yes, some of them, like running, are healthy. Even food addiction can be healthy if you’re eating well and exercising, and addiction to work at least makes you money rather than costing you money. The problem is not so much the activity itself as your relationship with the activity. Is it costing you time you’d like to spend with friends and family? Is it interfering with other areas of your life? Is it a healthy habit, or a dangerous compulsion? Luckily, you should remember what it was like the first time you developed an addiction, how to spot the signs and keep yourself in check, but it’s not always easy to be objective about your own behavior.




Ask Someone Who Can Be Objective

If you have a friend who’s always able to give you some tough love when you need it, you can ask them to keep an eye on you. It’s a good idea to pursue new hobbies and interests following recovery, so as you’re exploring these avenues, you can check in with your friend now and then and ask if you’re showing any familiar patterns.

Meaningful Pursuits Vs. Addiction

You’ve got to fill your time with something, right? That’s all we can really do on this Earth. Truth be told, the line between addiction and a healthy pursuit can be blurry. A passion and an addiction sound almost the same on paper. If you’re a bit of a bookworm, maybe you spend a lot of your disposable income on books, and you spend most weekend alone in your room reading. That sounds a lot like being a drug addict or an alcoholic, and yet it’s not really the same thing. It’s not always easy to tell the difference, but generally speaking it comes down to this: Do you control it, or does it control you? If you’re concerned that your routine is less a healthy habit and more of an addiction, take a day off and see how you feel.




Pace Yourself

Moderation in all things is essential. If you have a new routine that does not involve drugs or alcohol, and it’s a routine that you really enjoy, if it’s helping you to meet like-minded individuals and if you find it fulfilling, there’s no reason to quit just because you’re worried it might be growing into an addiction.

But, pace yourself, keep an eye out for familiar patterns, and make sure that you’re the one in control.

Developing good habits is part of living a successful life, and keeping those habits under control is how you keep them from becoming addictions. If you love spending all your free time at the gym, there’s really nothing wrong with that as long as you know how to turn it off and relax when appropriate. And be patient with yourself. Just because you completed treatment doesn’t mean you’re magically cured, so go forth with the understanding that a tendency towards compulsion is something you taper off.

Trading one addiction for another is a common occurrence post-rehab. By making yourself aware, you can prevent going down the rabbit hole and stay tuned in to your recovery.


About The Author

Authored by Ocean Hills.


 

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5 Ways Nutrition Plays A Vital Role In Recovery From Addiction

Everything that you put into your body has an effect on your physical and your mental well-being. Taking drugs and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol not only cause damage to your body, but they also often prevent your body from absorbing the vitamins and minerals your body so desperately needs from the food that you eat.

A very common consequence of addiction is that addicts and alcoholics eat very little while using. It is also very common for addicts to vomit during binges so the little food that they have managed to consume is lost.

Depending on the drug the addict may also binge on food, such as marijuana addicts.




Whatever the addicts habits their relationship with food is bound to be unhealthy, causing even more havoc to their body in addition to the physical damages from the alcohol and drugs.

Getting clean from drugs and alcohol is not an easy process and the role that good nutrition plays is often overlooked. When looking for treatment for addiction it is a good idea to ask what emphasis they put on nutrition before choosing a treatment center.

Nutrition Recovery Addiction

Here are some vital ways that nutrition impacts your recovery from addiction:

1 Detoxing from alcohol and drugs

Coming off your drug of choice and going through a withdrawal period is inevitable if you want to get clean. You will need to detox from drugs.

Depending on the drug you are coming off this process can be relatively simple with a small amount of discomfort, or it can be a traumatic and painful process if you are coming off a drug like heroin which has serious withdrawal symptoms and very often has to be medically supervised.

The foods that you eat during this time won’t magically cure you from withdrawal symptoms but you can lessen symptoms significantly by ensuring that you are eating properly.

One of the most important things to do during this time is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Stay away from high caffeine drinks such as coffee and avoid drinking sugary carbonated drinks. If you struggle to drink a lot of plain waster a great option is to drink sugarless iced tea which you can make yourself using an iced tea maker. It is a much healthier option than Coke or Coffee which is what so many addicts drink in recovery!

2 Repairing Body Damage

Drugs and alcohol cause significant damage to your body. While there are some things that won’t be able to be undone such as cocaine damage to your nose, a lot of your body’s internal organs will start healing to some degree once you stop using.

Getting in vitamins and minerals to your body will now be vital to helping your body to recover from drug abuse.

Eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and natural foods will give your body the boost it needs. Focus on getting in foods high in protein, fiber and natural fats.

Stay away from processed foods and foods high in sugar.




3 Healthy Living Habits

While in active addiction addicts often don’t look after themselves in any way. They are often dirty and malnourished. Part of being in recovery is changing your lifestyle and habits. You need to learn to look after yourself properly.

Eating regular, healthy meals is a huge part of this process along with good personal hygiene habits, good sleep habits and exercise.

Recovery from addiction is about change, it is about moving from an unhealthy mindset and lifestyle to the a healthy mind and life.

4 Mental Well-being

While many may think that addiction is just a physical problem this is incorrect. While there definitely is a physical craving for drugs this is not the deeper problem. The mental state of an addict is what needs the most work.

Getting over the physical cravings very often is they easy part, getting over the physical withdrawal and cravings happens in a short space of time.

Staying clean and being mentally well is much harder and has to be maintained. Good nutrition plays another essential role here. By eating properly you can control your blood sugar levels which will help to keep your moods stable.

Eating correctly can help to combat depression and anxiety which can greatly impact your chances of being successful in your recovery from addiction.




Many addicts have a dual diagnosis, meaning that they often get diagnosed with a mood disorder along with addiction. This makes paying attention to your mental health so important since your mood disorder can affect your recovery from addiction and in turn your addiction can affect your mood disorder.

It is important to stay focused on both of these issues and treat them both simultaneously. Good nutrition and healthy eating habits aids you in your recovery from addiction and is highly beneficial to your mental health.

5 The Dangers of Cross Addiction

The importance of healthy eating is not just to help the addict to get physically and mentally well. It is also essentially important to educate the addict against the dangers of cross addiction.

When an addict is withdrawing from a substance, even from cigarettes, it is common to crave unhealthy foods such as foods with high sugar or caffeine. While this may help the addict in the short term to pull through withdrawals there is the possibility that the addict can then form a cross addiction into food.

People can become addicted to anything, from the more obvious things like drugs and addiction, to things like gambling, sex, food, online dating, online games, work and exercise.

With food often being the only thing left that an addict has access to when in treatment for recovery from addiction this needs to be looked at.

Teaching an addict to have a healthy relationship with food is therefore essential on so many levels and can have a direct impact on the addict’s recovery from addiction, both short term and long term.


About The Author

My name is Eva Swain, I am the founder of Women’s Guide. I have a passion for keeping up with the latest information and providing the audience with the facts they need to make better choices in their lives. I started Women’s Guide for women who want to advance both for themselves and the greater good. Follow Eva @EvaCSwain


 

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5 Reasons Why Therapy is Important for Recovery from Addiction

Getting clean from alcohol and drugs is not an easy process, and very often getting off the actual substance is the easiest part. Thereafter the addict or alcoholics behavior and thought processes need to be addressed otherwise the chance of relapse is incredibly high.

There are many ways for an addict or alcoholic to get clean, including attending 12 step meetings (such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Gambling Anonymous, Eating Disorders Anonymous), SMART Recovery meetings, church addiction support groups or booking into a rehab.

Receiving addiction therapy in addition to your chosen plan of recovery from addiction is always a good idea. If you have chosen being booked into an addiction treatment facility you will receive therapy while you are there, and very often also attend addiction support groups too.

However when you leave rehab it is a good idea to continue with an addiction therapist.

If you choose to get clean through support groups very often you will have a sponsor that will guide you and help you with your recovery, however it is important to note that while a sponsor is great support, your sponsor is not a professionally trained addiction therapist.

Why Therapy is Important for Recovery from Addiction

Here are 5 reasons why therapy is important for recovery from addiction:

1 Recognize Behavior Patterns and Triggers

Once an addict is clean from mood and mind altering substances there is still a lot of work to do. A trained addiction therapist can help the addict to not only recognize their destructive behavior patterns but also determine what triggers those behaviors in the first place.

Addicts are well known for what is called Stinking Thinking and it is important for an addict to change these thought patterns, which if left will ultimately lead to using.

These thoughts and behaviors are what prevents the addict from leading a healthy and fulfilling life.

2 Healthy Coping Skills

Everyone goes through stress at some stage in their life and an addict will naturally want to cope by using their drug of choice. It is vital for the addict to learn and practice new and healthy coping skills in preparation for when things get tough.

An addiction therapist can help the addict to be more mentally healthy and cope with stressful situations in a healthy way that is not damaging to the addict or anyone else.

3 Dealing With Past Issues

Addicts usually have a lot of past issues that they need to deal with. Very often an addict has grown up with addiction in the family and very often the addict has been a victim of some form of abuse.

There are also lots of addicts that have grown up with a perfectly stable and loving home environment, however while in active addiction may have gone through many traumatic events.

Dealing with past hurt, pain, anger, resentment and humiliation is not easy for anyone to deal with and addicts usually have a lot of these unresolved feelings.

Having a safe space to work through these past issues with a trained specialist will be the most beneficial for the addict.

It is also vitally important that these past issues are dealt with properly, very often the triggers and destructive behavior patterns can be traced back to past issues. If these things are not addressed chances of relapse are much higher.

4 Dual Diagnosis

Addiction is not simple and a dual diagnosis is very common. A dual diagnosis is when someone has a mood disorder such as depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, as well as a problem with alcohol or drugs.

It is important to firstly recognize that there is a mood disorder, but also to have an additional treatment plan for the additional illness.

If a mood disorder is not diagnozed and treated it will keep the addict mentally unhealthy and the chances of the addict staying clean will diminish significantly.

5 Relapse Prevention and Long Term Support

Having regular sessions with an addiction therapist will help an addict to stay mentally healthy and decrease chances of relapse. Going into rehab is a short term solution that very often will get the addict clean, but what will keep the addict clean after leaving treatment?

Old behavior patterns can creep easily creep back and stinking thinking can return which can lead to relapse. In addition to that, if an addict goes through a stressful time it can be risky.

Having an addiction therapist can help an addict through any future rocky periods and help to keep the addict in check if they start to slip.

Addiction doesn’t go away, it can’t be cured, but it can be managed long term. If you had any other life long illness, like diabetes for example, you would have regular check ups at the doctor. Addiction is just the same, it needs to be managed and having a check up every now and then would give you the best chance of staying healthy.


Christy Forrester LMFT LPCC is an addiction therapist in Laguna Hills CA. Christy is also in recovery and endorses a 12- step model. She offers individual, group, and intensive outpatient services


 

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Cocaine: Understanding How It Can Harm Your Nose

Cocaine addiction can cause significant long-term health effects that can cause problems to a recovering addict for many years to come. The nose can become damaged when cocaine is snorted by the nose.

The blood vessels in the nose are located close to the surface and allow the drug to rapidly be absorbed, causing a quick high. Unfortunately, because the blood vessels are located close to the surface, they can easily be damaged. A perforated septum can also occur. This happens when a hole is formed in the septum. This can cause nosebleeds, foul odors, infections and even a nasal collapse.

Cocaine nose damage

What damage can cocaine cause to the nose?

Many people do not realize that the nose is a complicated organ. When it is exposed to cocaine, a number of issues can arise, including:

* Nosebleeds (epistaxis)

* Infections of the sinus cavities and nasal passages

* A Perforated Septum

* Loss of the Sense of Smell

* A Collapse of the Nasal Passages

* A Nose Hole Caused by Cocaine Usage

Why Does Cocaine Cause These Issues?

The nose contains delicate tissues that are lined with blood vessels. These blood vessels are located very closely to the inner surfaces of the nose. One area that is particularly prone to these injuries is the septum. Cocaine causes the blood vessels in the nose to constrict. When this occurs, the blood flow to the area does not provide the nasal passages with enough oxygen. When these passages do not receive enough oxygen, the lining begins to die. When this occurs, the lining cannot support the cartilage. With continued use, cocaine can even cause the cartilage in the nose to die, resulting in a hole in the septum, known as a septal perforation. Once the septum becomes perforated, it can no longer support the nose structure and can cause a nasal collapse.

When the nasal passages do not receive enough oxygen, it can also be damaged and more prone to nosebleeds and infections. These infections can further damage the nasal tissues, resulting in an increased risk of a septal perforation.

Can It Be Treated?

The first step in treating these injuries is to stop using cocaine. This will help the blood vessels to recover, which will supply more oxygenated blood to the nasal lining. When blood flow is increased, the lining can begin healing itself. However, if you experience a septal perforation, quitting cocaine will not be enough.

A perforated septum is at an increased risk of infection. Additionally, the perforation will increase over time. If the perforation is not corrected, the appearance of the nose can change. When this occurs, your voice may be affected and you may be able to hear a whistle as air passes through the perforation.

Perforations of the septum that are crusted, have dried blood or are large, will need a perforated septum repair by a cosmetic surgeon. Once the repair is completed, the perforated septal defect will be almost invisible.

Septal perforation repair helps to restore airflow to through the sinus passages.

Before the perforation becomes large enough to cause a saddle nose, you should seek out treatment. This treatment is complex and should only be handled by a surgeon that has extensive nasal reconstruction experience.

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10 Things to Do If your Teenager is Drinking Alcohol

Knowing that your teenage daughter or son is drinking alcohol can be quite heartbreaking for any parent. When such is the case, the first thing you need to do is allow this reality to sink in before taking any steps.

Once you have accepted this reality, the next thing to focus on is to understand your teen’s drinking problem to identify how you can help him/her out.

It is important that you do not accept a teen’s drinking behavior as normal. This is because the problem can escalate to addiction and make it hard for your teen son/daughter to quit alcohol.

Teenager Drinking Alcohol

Here are some steps to follow if you have found out your teenager is drinking alcohol:

1 Stay Calm and Assess the Situation

Although you may be absolutely livid it won’t be helpful if you come at your hormonal (and possibly hungover) teenager with guns blazing.

Yes your teenager has been drinking alcohol and it could be serious, but the facts are that teenagers are notorious for experimenting and getting into trouble. Its what they do at that age.

Stay calm and try to assess the situation objectively. What exactly happened, how severe was the incident and who was involved?

Talk to your spouse, or the other parent of your teenager if you are separated, about the incident and make sure you stand together. You don’t have to always agree with each other but you must present a united front.

2 Talk To Your Teenager About the Incident

Talking to your child is essential in this situation for a number of reasons.

The number one being that having a healthy, honest and open relationship with your child is your ultimate goal. If your child feels safe to talk to you and tell you exactly what is going on for him or her a lot of future problems can be avoided or dealt with easier.

Tell your child that you would like to know exactly what happened and you will promise not to judge or freak out.

Be prepared that your teenager may well be defensive and upset. So be prepared for it. Remember to come from a place of love, stay calm and be direct.

3 Explain the Dangers of Alcohol and Drugs to Your Teenager

Be ready to explain to your child why minors are not allowed to drink alcohol, point out things like loss of control and humiliation, getting into trouble with the law and the dangers of addiction. Discuss that dangers of peer influence and how that can lead him or her down a dangerous path.

If your family has a history of addiction chances are you child has a much higher chance of becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs than some other children. It is important that your teenager understands this.

4 Study Your Teenager and Trust Your Gut

During these discussions watch your teenagers body language and reactions to the discussion. Do you feel your teenager is being completely open and honest or is he avoiding eye contact?

Trust your gut instinct here to guide you on whether this was a one off experimental episode with alcohol or is there a deeper problem?

5 Hand Out An Appropriate Consequence

It is important to highlight to your teenager that every action has a consequence. You may want to ground your teenager for a period of time or perhaps you will have to curb your teenagers freedom in other ways such as an earlier curfew for a period of time, or even until further notice. You could also limit who your teenager is allowed to spend time with or the places he goes to.

You could also stop pocket money for a period of time. It is up to you to come up with something that you feel is appropriate.

Remember that the goal here is not to punish your teenager, it is to get your teenager to realize the seriousness of his actions so that he hopefully does not repeat them.

6 Set Boundaries for the Future

Let your teenager know that part of the consequences of his actions you need to relook at boundaries with your child and set new rules.

You may want to change the ways you manage your child’s freedom and privacy. You may feel it necessary to check your teenager’s phone, access his room and limit time online.

Let your child know what the new boundaries are and why they are being set.

Decide on what the consequences will be if there is a future incident with alcohol or drugs and let your child know what it is. Be fully prepared to carry it out.

7 Talk to Other Parents

Being friendly with the parents of your teenagers friends will mean that you can talk to them if any of those teenagers were also involved in the incident. Having all the parents on board and taking similar steps might mean all the difference.

8 Stick to the New Boundaries

It is vitally important to stick to the new boundaries that you have set for your teenager, as we all know they just love to push the boundaries. Having firm boundaries sets a safer space for your teenager.

If your teenager crosses a boundary or breaks a rule you must carry out consequences for that so your teenager knows that you mean business.

Hopefully things ends here, where you teenager pushes a bit, finds firm boundaries and decides not to test again.

9 Contact Professionals

If there are repeat episodes of your teenager drinking alcohol, taking drugs or breaking important boundaries that have been set it is a sign that there could be a much deeper problem. Or perhaps your gut instincts just tell you that something is wrong.

Contact a professional in your area (addiction counselor, therapist, family psychologist) to discuss the way forward.

10 Adolescent Treatment Program

A last and final step may be to look at sending your child to an adolescent unit or an addiction treatment facility.

 


 

This guest post is contributed by Danny from MyParentingJournal.com, a blog dedicated to parenting tips, advice, best practices, and resources.

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Ways To Combat Depression Naturally

Depression can make you feel extremely helpless. However, you are not alone. This problem occurs with various symptoms, consisting of sad mood, loss of appetite, fatigue, or feeling of helplessness in your common activities. When it comes to depression, the causes can vary ranging from stress, hormonal imbalance, unresolved emotional issues to the lack of nutrition.

Depression is reported to negatively affect more than 20 million Americans each year. It can become severe if left untreated properly. In fact, there remain some types of medication and therapies to help treat depression, however, natural home remedies can even work better to aid in lifting your mood and restoring the excitement in your life.

Ways to Combat Depression Naturally

Here are some ways to combat depression naturally:

  1. Consume A Healthy Diet

You might even know that what you eat can have a positive or negative impact on your feeling. Healthy eating plays an important role in boosting your mood naturally, but there are certain types of food help with serotonin, a chemical in the brain contributing to happiness. You can opt for some foods that are rich in serotonin to help raise naturally its levels, including:

  • Fish-oil ( high in Omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Healthy fat ( coconut oil)
  • Eggs
  • Sour cherries
  1. Drink Green Tea

One of the most effective and natural ways to combat depression is drinking green tea. Some people might prefer coffee, however, it turns out to be one of the main contributors to depression. Meanwhile, green tea is loaded with essential nutrients, including L-theanine, which enables to enhance your mood and get rid of fatigue. If you want to maximize the benefits of green tea, you had better sip the tea several times per day, particularly after your breakfast in the morning.

  1. Chamomile Tea

In addition to green tea, let’s include chamomile tea as part of your daily diet to help boost your mood. Chamomile tea can reduce one of the leading causes of depression, sleep deprivation. To take advantage of this tea, you can follow these steps below:

  • Prepare a glass of boiling water and mix it with a teaspoon of dried chamomile
  • Cover and allow it to steep for 5 minutes
  • You can add milk and honey to improve the taste
  • Consume the tea 30 minutes before your bedtime
  1. Writing

This sounds quite irrelevant but health experts showed the close relationship between writing and the improvement of your feelings. Basically, when you feel depressed, you tend to do nothing; however, writing can help remove the problem and bring about happiness for any writer. Hence, whenever depression passes by, just make sure you are holding a pencil and write anything you want to get rid of in your mind. Interestingly, depression can go away with each word you are noting down.

  1. Acupuncture

Another handy tip on how to get rid of depression is trying acupuncture. In fact, there are a great number of researches reporting that acupuncture helps ease pain, thereby curing depression as well as anxiety. As the needle penetrates into your skin, your body can respond by discharging endorphins. This can make your body feel happy, calm, and relaxed and lots of people state that the feeling lasts long after each session ends.

  1. Exercise

Don’t forget to practice exercise regularly even you do not contract depression. Daily exercises helps cure lots of mental and physical problems. It supports the formation of endorphins in your brain, which is known as the root of happiness. Besides, exercises are extremely good for solving some stomach-related problems, including irritable bowel syndromes treatment.

  1. Meditation

Meditation is believed to be even a better cure for depression than exercise. The reason is it helps stressed sufferers find peace in their mind on a long term basis. Also, the meditation can potentially prevent depression creeping up in the future. Some studies have revealed that health benefits of meditation can be equal to several anti-depressant drugs.

  1. Sleeping Well

Of course, lack of sleep is one of the main catalysts of depression, hence, getting enough sleep is among the best ways to deal with your depression both effectively and naturally. Sleep deficiency causes damage to the formation of serotonin, making you unable to cope with tiredness, pains and tension. You had better practice sleeping at a particular time each night and wake up at a particular time each morning. Solving your sleeping problem can help deal with many health-related problems.


This article is written by Ashley Bennet, a co-owner of AuthorityRemedies. I have worked and trained in the field of Nutrition and Health for over 3 years, consistently providing people with useful information about nutrition as well as helping them with their common health problems.

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Retreat Centers As A Recovery Tool

We all are different, it is what we all have in common.  Therefore, I believe with good guidance from a sponsor, that we each need different tools to achieve a full recovery and a happy life.  I have been sober for a long time, long enough to see people come and go.  Long term stable recovery involves changing who we are on many levels.

Some say meetings and conference approved literature are the only way to go.  Some have very regimented concepts of how the steps and recovery occurs.  If that works, then it works, don’t fix it.  I find that I need other tools to help me with my recovery.

One tool outside of the program that I use are retreat centers.  I have found that getting away from my routine occasionally helps me to better understand myself, and work in a focused manner, or learn something new.

One of my character aspects is routine.  Routine, like most character aspects, can be a positive force in my life.  It can be a negative one as well.  I can show up every day to the same job/meetings etc.  Occasionally I need to recover from this by getting out to a safe place where I can see and experience myself from a different angle.

Remember, if we could recover by ourselves, many of us would.  Our higher power works through others, occasionally I need to cut my higher power a break and get to a new place with different people.  Retreat centers can help me with this.

Retreat Center as a recovery tool

I went to my favorite retreat center for the first time in September 2009 for a Labor Day retreat.  It was a social retreat, no big agenda, just fun and meeting others.  Like going to a family event, I took my own car, I backed in.  I felt as out of place as I can get without bolting out the door.  I did not feel right until I had a massage on the second day.

After that, I could understand that there were two folks there that bothered me.  The rest of these folks were amazing friends I just had not met yet.  By the end of the weekend, I was able to understand why the two folks bothered me.

So, some of my core issues are control and isolation.  I cannot control others, so to feel better, I gravitate away from people.  I also learned in recovery that the people I do not like or do not trust, or flat out hate, will teach me the most about myself.

If I have a strong emotional reaction to someone (good or bad), I try to the best of my ability to stick with it and learn what that is about.  Going to a retreat where the entire goal was to be with new people was terrifying for me.

I can go to almost any 12 step meeting anywhere (been to meetings on several continents, different languages, different cultures, same message).  It is safe, I know pretty much what will happen.  If I am uncomfortable, deep in my heart I know it will be over soon…. and I can go on my way.  I can fake it for an hour or two, no problem.  At a retreat center, it is different.  I am there for a few days.

It is not over in an hour.  I have to live with it and try to understand it.  My favorite retreat center provides me with a safe place to be uncomfortable.  I am usually there long enough to figure out what the issue is, and usually enough time to either confront myself about it, or learn that this is part of who I am.

So, retreat centers can be a recovery tool.  The programming often pushes a limit or two within me, but at the same time provides a safe container of spiritual people for me to be with long enough for me to face who I am and understand what is bothering me.

12 step meetings can be formulaic.  They can have stifling routine.  I can hide in that routine.  My favorite retreat center is free flowing and causes me to run in to issues I did not expect.  It gives me people to work with to help figure it out.  Sometimes it gives me someone to just hold me while whatever energy (fear / loathing / love / warmth / whatever…) flows through me and dissipates or grows in me in that moment.

I have found that retreat centers can provide the connection and space that can help me move to the next level in my recovery.  Retreat centers can do this by providing a different environment from a meeting to allow different issues to surface so you can understand them better, to see them from a different perspective.  At least this has been my experience.

At meetings I am usually juggling one ball.  At a retreat center the environment that the staff and volunteers create forces me to juggle a few balls at once.  So, I have to be in a room with a bunch of people, I am opening myself up (something called intimacy, gosh I need to google that one of these days), I am walking through my fear of rejection, I am sometimes allowing myself to be held.  And then to top it all off, I am doing I for 48 hours straight.

I don’t back in any more, I show up, I grow and I learn.

Note:  At the beginning, I mentioned with “good guidance from a sponsor”.  I want to stress this.  Retreats and retreat centers are a tool that need to be used carefully.  Your sponsor will hopefully help you understand what your motives are.

Retreats are not a substitute for meetings and working with others.  Also, some people become retreat junkies, again, your sponsor with help guide you.  You are looking for growth and moderation.  If you figure out moderation, teach me.

I will be leading a 4th Step weekend January 20-22nd, 2017 at Easton Mountain in New York, all are welcome.  Collectively as a group the leader and participants will walk through this transformative step.

Each will take stock of who they are, what they are.  They can then use this tool to figure out what patterns and character aspects combine to produce the toxic mix that one’s drug/behavior covers up or relieves.  Finding this combination opens the lock and lets you out.

I love leading these weekends, I have the privilege of watching recovery take off.  Yes, the change is uncomfortable, the love is amazing.  I do not back in, but do what you need to do to show up.


Andrew Kerivan has been in continuous recovery for 32 years. The Twelve Steps are the cornerstone of his recovery. Andrew does not subscribe to one method of doing the Twelve Steps. He feels that balanced recovery requires that each step be approached with different methods depending on one’s particular experience.


 

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