Depression After Drug Addiction

The Common Struggle with Depression after Drug Addiction

When it comes to understanding the connection between depression and drug one question that comes to mind is: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Whether an individual was first suffering from depression and then used drugs to self-medicate or if the depression appears after drug addiction, the resulting anguish is the same:  Depression hurts.  For the purposes of this blog the focus will be on depression after drug addiction.

It is well known that drug addiction literally rewires brain chemistry and neural pathways, distinct changes that are visible in an MRI of an addict’s brain.  Over the course of the addiction these physical and physiological changes wreak havoc on the brain’s mood center, the limbic region, impacting brain pathways involved in stress, reward, sleep, learning, pain, and memory.  After chronic drug use, the body becomes unable to produce the chemicals normally associated with pleasure—this biological process has been shut down.  This results in a period of depression after drug addiction that can last for a month to several years.

What Causes Depression after Drug Addiction?

Depression is often a co-occurring condition with substance use disorders, sometimes the impetus that led to the addiction and sometimes the result of the addiction.  When the devastation to one’s life through a drug dependency begins to include the loss of everything one cherishes—loss of custody of children, dissolution of a marriage, loss of a job, being abandoned by friends and family—deep depression can result.  Shame and guilt for the damage caused to loved ones and personal finances rise to the surface now that there is no drug being used to help numb these emotions.

But it is the brain’s reward center itself that is no longer able to produce the natural feel-good chemicals (dopamine and serotonin) after a prolonged period of drug use, and that leads to a pervasive sense of sadness.  The ability to experience pleasure has been shut off, and life just feels flat and joyless.  The addict’s physical and mental state are depleted as a result of the addiction, and emotionally he or she may feel numb and hopeless.

Steps to Take to Alleviate Depression

During the early months of recovery getting help for the depression is imperative.  For the addict in recovery this is a vulnerable period and there is a high probability that he or she will relapse in an attempt to experience euphoria or pleasure once again.  Any symptoms of depression that persist after 30 days of sobriety should be addressed.  Some steps that will help with depression after drug addiction include:

  • Addiction specialists may introduce an antidepressant at this point.  Common medications prescribed for depression, following discharge from a treatment program, are Lexapro and Paxil.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a short-term therapy modality that helps the recovering addict recognize the connection between their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.  Identifying the triggers or thoughts that could derail recovery and replacing old behaviors and responses with new, positive ones can avoid relapse.
  • Avoid isolation. Making the effort to get out and socialize with (sober) friends and family and be physically active will help prevent further withdrawal into depression.  In addition, participating in some kind of service for others can give the newly sober person a sense of purpose.  Getting outside of your own head and helping others is very therapeutic.
  • Eat a healthy diet. A run down body goes hand in hand with a depressed spirit.  Restoring health is essential in the early phase of recovery.  Eat a diet rich in proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and nuts.  To avoid hunger, eat six times a day (3 meals and 3 snacks) and avoid sugar.

Addiction Helplines:  Your One-Stop Resource for Drug Addiction and Depression Treatment

Addiction Helplines can help you get the help you need, whether you are ready for drug addiction treatment or have completed a treatment program but are suffering from depression.  Our compassionate treatment specialists will connect you with a rehab, mental health services, or a dual diagnosis program from our vast network of high quality addiction and recovery providers.  We have partnered with the finest treatment programs and professionals in the country and can match you with one that meets your needs and budget.  Call us today at (877) 228-3270.

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Treatment Locator

Addiction Helplines is a Free Treatment Locator Service

Treatment Locator Service Match Needs and Preferences through Vast Provider Network

 The time has come to seriously address the need for you or your loved one to receive treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction.  Just arriving at the realization that help is needed is the first important step in the journey to recovery.

Faced with what appears to be an endless plethora of addiction treatment options can be so overwhelming that it may even cause you to waiver in your efforts to find help.  Who knew choosing a drug or alcohol treatment facility was so complicated?  A litany of treatment options exist—evidence-based treatment, holistic treatment, faith-based treatment, 12-step treatment, non 12-step treatment, luxury treatment—the list goes on and on!

Do not despair.  All you need is a little guidance to assist you on the treatment selection process, and the Treatment Specialist Team at Addiction Helplines is here to offer that help find the best options through the free treatment locator service.

 What is Addiction Helplines?

Because of the limitless addiction treatment options out there, the need arose for a treatment locator service to act as a conduit, to help connect those in need of help with the best match for a treatment program.  This is the need that Addiction Helplines addresses.  It can guide someone seeking help toward the treatment option that best aligns with that individual’s personal preferences and needs.  By accessing the myriad of providers nationwide that provide various types of programs, Addiction Helplines will narrow down your choices and smooth the process from beginning to end.

Addiction Helplines acknowledges that each person has their own unique set of needs and struggles, as well as personal worldviews and preferences.  We believe that these special differences should be part of the process of selecting a treatment program because a good fit is imperative to a successful treatment outcome.

For example, if an individual does not believe in a higher power or God, then a 12-step based program could be possibly offensive to them as 12-step programs weave spiritual belief throughout the steps.  On the other hand, if someone is a practicing Christian (or Jew, Mormon, or Catholic), they would be most responsive to a treatment program that aligns with those particular beliefs.

Other preferences a person may have might be geographic location, dual diagnosis treatment (when a mental health disorder co-occurs with the addiction, such as depression or anxiety), type of accommodations offered, other amenities offered, medically supervised detox, natural detox, and various types of clinical therapy.  There are rehabs that address all these variables, but why waste time trying to identify and locate them when Addiction Helplines can do the work for you?

Contact Addiction Helplines Today!

The Treatment Specialist Team at Addiction Helplines is ready to help you to get the help you need.  These highly trained, compassionate professionals will walk you through the steps to assess your unique needs and desires for addiction treatment.  They will help determine the detox services you may need, whether you need a dual diagnosis facility, and match up the treatment elements you desire with the rehab that offers them.  These may include art and music therapy, equine therapy, meditation, yoga, or gyms, to name a few.

Our Treatment Specialist team can also assist you with your insurance eligibility.  Addiction Helplines offers free insurance verification and will provide you with the details of your insurance benefits.  In addition, the team can arrange for individualized payment plans in the event there is insufficient or no insurance coverage for treatment.  Call Addiction Helplines today at (877) 228-3270.

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Faith Based Addiction Treatment

Faith Based Addiction Treatment

Faith Based Addiction Treatment

Importance of Alignment Between Faith Beliefs and Treatment

Yes, believers get caught up into alcohol or drug addiction, too.  Drug and alcohol dependency does not discriminate between people based on their religious and spiritual beliefs—or the lack of them.  Addiction is addiction, period, but treatment programs that specifically tailor their message and methods around a specific set of beliefs are an important option for many.

The solace that one’s religion or spiritual practice provides in times of difficulty is particularly important to an individual battling a drug or alcohol addiction.  The spiritual aspect of the battle can be addressed in a faith based addiction treatment program, which is an important supportive element in the recovery process.

 Spiritual vs. Secular Addiction Treatment Programs

Choosing an addiction treatment rehabilitation program should be done with utmost care.  When basic philosophical views are taken into consideration in the selection process, a better treatment outcome can result.  For example, some individuals bristle at the suggestion of a Higher Power or God or Jesus within a 12-step program, where others are deeply offended at the absence of a spiritual element.

Since there are so many options available now for addiction treatment programs, why not make this important distinction for the facility where a month or more will be spent.  There are different faith based treatment programs that specialize in Christianity, Judaism, Catholicism, LDS (Mormon), and holistic (i.e. New Age) philosophies, to name a few, so the first step is to select one that fits one’s personal religious beliefs.  Other things to consider when evaluating the various faith based addiction rehab options include:

  • The program’s spiritual principles, and how they are integrated.

Not all faith based addiction treatment programs are the same.  For example, Christian-based programs can incorporate Christianity into their programs in different ways.  One may include prayer meetings, prayers at meals, visits from a pastor, and a Christian 12-step program (versus the vague “Higher Power” verbiage in AA’s program), whereas another may emphasize Christian music, Bible studies, and include a weekly church service.  Knowing the specifics of a program with regard to the integration of the spiritual component will help an individual find a good fit that aligns with their spiritual comfort level.

  • Is the psychological counseling also faith based?

The field of psychology is a secular one, but there are clinical psychologists who are believers and therefore incorporate religious beliefs into their therapeutic program.  Some will begin and end a therapy session with prayer.

  • Faith based versus secular treatment elements

In many addiction treatment facilities today, adjunct therapeutic elements are available to reinforce and broaden the treatment program results.  Some of these practices may be in opposition to certain belief systems.  For example, yoga is often included in secular addiction treatment programs, but this would not be a practice that some believers would approve of, based on the eastern religious philosophy yoga encompasses.

Faith-based After-Care

Once discharged from a faith-based treatment center, it is important to seek continuing fellowship and support in recovery with others of a similar set of beliefs.  Even selecting a sponsor, if that is part of the post-treatment strategy, should be done with care.  A sponsor who does not value the same set of spiritual beliefs may do more harm than good.  Some of the faith based addiction treatment program options include:

  • Recovered Through Christ. This program states clearly its principle beliefs right there on its home page.  This program uses the basic 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, but fine-tunes the Higher Power language to specify Jesus Christ and God in its steps.
  • Celebrate Recovery. This program was formed at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church by a lay pastor named John Baker about 25 years ago.  Celebrate Recovery merges the 12-steps of AA with biblical citations.
  • LDS 12-Step program. This program was formed by the LDS (Mormon) Family Services in 1993.  It also bases its program on the steps of AA, but adapted them into a framework of the doctrines, principles, and beliefs of the Latter-day Saints.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous. This popular program first formed in the 1930s and has about 2 million members worldwide, and is a spiritually-based program.  These days the 12-steps use the terms ‘Higher Power,’ or ‘God as you understand him,’ but the program was originally Christian.  Still, its 12-steps are based on biblical principles and each meeting ends in a prayer.

Let Us Connect You to a Faith-based Program

The Treatment Specialist – Addiction Helplines can guide you to the leading faith based addiction and recovery program based on your personal spiritual beliefs.  Our team will assist you in matching you with a program that best aligns with your value system.  Contact us today for a free confidential assessment and insurance verification at (877) 228-3270.

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Alcohol Hepatitis

Alcohol-Related Hepatitis

The liver is a vital organ in a person’s body. It affects digestion, energy storage and rids the body of poisons. Hepatitis is the inflammation of this organ. Although typically hepatitis is caused by a virus, drugs and alcohol stress this organ and possibly cause the inflammation.

Those who partake in excessive alcohol consumption, in particular, over an extended amount of time, are more likely to develop this condition. The liver breaks down alcohol to toxic chemicals that damage the cells within the liver that then leads to swelling. The exact reasons behind the development of the condition aren’t completely known since only some heavy drinkers develop it, and people who are only moderate drinkers can develop it as well. Other factors appear to play a role since it doesn’t occur with all heavy drinkers. Genetic factors like how the body processes alcohol, the presence of other liver disorders and malnutrition all are possible factors. Women are more likely to develop alcohol-induced hepatitis. Researchers suspect this relates to the difference between how men and women process and absorb alcohol.

Symptoms depend on how much damage occurred. Those who have a very mild case may not have any symptoms and may not even know they have it. As the damage progresses, people experience a variety of effects such as changes in appetite and weight loss. Dry mouth is a common symptom as well. Because the liver is swelling, pain in the abdomen can occur. Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms. Fever and fatigue have the potential to make a person believe he or she has the flu when it’s actually something much more. Jaundice, especially in the skin or eyes, has the potential to arise. In more serious cases, the person’s mental state can change, and he or she may become confused.

If a physician suspects it’s hepatitis, he or she will evaluate if the person has an enlarged liver. The patient will need to answer questions regarding his or her drinking and health history. It’s important to be honest because it’s possible for a misdiagnosis to occur if the patient isn’t. To confirm the diagnosis , the physician will order testing such as a complete blood cell count (CBC). Other testing options include a liver function test, a computerized tomography (CT) scan of the abdominal cavity or an ultrasound of the liver. If nothing else is able to diagnose the condition, the doctor may order a biopsy, which removes a small portion of tissue of the liver for testing.


Treatment of the condition involves quitting drinking to prevent further complications and to potentially reverse the damage. Alcohol rehab treatment centers help those who are unable to quit. In fact, an alcohol addiction treatment center will help a person to quit alcohol and act as a support system when battling an alcohol-related disorder. Keep in mind, if the damage is severe, a transplant may be needed, and the person must quit alcohol and prove he or she is going to refrain from alcohol use, which is usually best done when participating in a program in one of the alcohol rehab treatment centers in the area. Generally, the physician will monitor the patients for six months to determine if he or she is no longer drinking.

The The Treatment Specialist – Addiction Helplines team provides assistance to those suffering from addiction and dual diagnosis conditions find a treatment program that fits their specific needs. The The Treatment Specialist – Addiction Helplines team will provide a free confidential assessment and insurance verification. For more information on treatment programs for yourself or a loved one, contact the Inspiration helpline at (877) 228-3270.

abusing alcohol and drugs

Do Non 12 Step Rehab Programs Actually Help Addicts Like Me?

A non 12 step addiction recovery program has the potential to provide you with the tools and guidance that you or a loved one needs to stop abusing alcohol or other drugs and to stay clean and sober. Learn how non 12 step rehab programs can potentially succeed where 12 step meetings fail. Learn how to get started on your way to recovery through the benefits provided by non 12 step treatment.

What is a non 12 step treatment program?

Non 12 step treatment does not focus on the “Big Book” commonly used in Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step programs. In fact, Alcoholics Anonymous is not treatment, but rather peer support, like other 12 step-based groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Many treatment programs also follow the 12 step approach.

In a 12 step approach, you “work the program.” You turn your life over to your “Higher power” and rely on your sponsor for support. In a non 12 step treatment program, you rely on the expertise of highly trained treatment professionals for guidance and support, not an untrained individual without formal education and expertise in addiction, other than their own personal addiction experiences.

Non 12 step rehab is a highly individualized recovery process, providing a wide range of treatment services, compared to 12 step meetings and programs that rely on the 12 step approach.

Are There Issues with the 12 Step Approach?

One issue with 12 step programming is the narrow approach. Dr. George Koob, Ph.D., said in a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) press release that popular concepts regarding treatment “Is often limited to knowledge of 28-day inpatient rehab or 12-step programs” and that “There are diverse treatment options of which people may be less aware.” He further explained that alternatives often provide minimal disruption to home life.

Dr. Koob’s assertions of alternative treatment methods rings true of the non 12 step approach. While you receive comprehensive non 12 step treatment, you still maintain contact with family. In fact, family members often become an important component of treatment, an aspect likely impossible with short-term treatment programs described by the NIAAA director.

Another issue is the short-term approach described by Dr. Koob. Simply attending meetings or a short stint in a 12 step program may not benefit some individuals. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggests, “Because successful outcomes often depend on a person’s staying in treatment long enough to reap its full benefits, strategies for keeping people in treatment are critical.”

What Kind of Treatment Outcome Can I Expect in Non 12 Step Treatment?

The outcome of your treatment in a non 12 step program depends on a number of individualized factors. NIDA explains, “Individual treatment outcomes depend on the extent and nature of the patient’s problems, the appropriateness of treatment and related services used to address those problems, and the quality of interaction between the patient and his or her treatment providers.” When you actively participate in the treatment process, you will likely experience more successful recovery.

Even if you relapsed in the past, that does not mean there is no hope for you to successfully complete non 12 step treatment. Relapse occurs more often than people sometimes think. NIDA points out “Relapse rates for addiction resemble those of other chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.”

It is imperative to realize that motivation is critical in recovery. Giving non 12 step treatment a chance to work for you is a big step towards understanding that yes, a non 12 step approach to rehab really can help an addict like you.

The The Treatment Specialist – Addiction Helplines team provides assistance to those suffering from addiction and dual diagnosis conditions find a treatment program that fits their specific needs. The The Treatment Specialist – Addiction Helplines team will provide a free confidential assessment and insurance verification. For more information on treatment programs for yourself or a loved one, contact the Inspiration helpline at (877) 228-3270.

alcohol addiction

Alcohol Addiction with 12 Step

Perhaps you heard about 12 step programs and decided to finally seek help for your alcohol addiction. After all, trying to recover on your own just did not work out, even though you tried to quit drinking several times in the past. Receiving addiction recovery with 12 step program treatment became the answer for countless numbers of people over the years, since the publication of the first edition of the “Big Book,” in 1939.

Learn How Others Benefit from Alcohol Addiction Recovery with 12 Step

Research demonstrates that a variety of treatment services proved successful over the past few decades. According to a report published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “The peer-led, voluntary fellowship known as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) continues to be the most widely accessed resource for people with alcohol problems.”

Research also shows that addiction recovery with 12 step programs are often more accessible for many individuals suffering from alcohol abuse or addiction. When searching for treatment for alcohol abuse, the alcoholic or their loved ones often find other types of treatment programs inaccessible. Perhaps there is a long waiting list or maybe you just decide that a particular type of treatment does not meet your needs.

Another feature that may draw some alcoholics to participate in and do very well in their 12 step alcohol addiction recovery program is the fact that, as stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 12 step facilitation is an “active engagement” strategy, meaning that members actively engage with each other. You learn you are not alone and that others have the same or similar experiences as you in battling their alcohol addiction.

Will a 12 Step Program for Alcohol Addiction Help Me?

In Chapter 5 of the Big Book, the first sentence indicates it is rare that a person fails “who has thoroughly followed our path.” The first step of a 12 step program for alcohol addiction requires admitting that you have a problem. If you were not ready to admit you have a problem, you would not seek out a 12 step program for alcohol recovery. You admit that you lost control and cannot stop on your own. So yes, even people like you benefit from 12 step programs and have the potential to recover, to successfully work your program while in 12 step facilitation therapy and after you leave treatment.

Does my Co-occurring Mental Health Disorder Exclude Me from 12 Step?

The Sonoma County AA points to some of the myths and accusations made when an individual in 12 step has a co-occurring disorder, including:

  • If you take medications you are not sober
  • If you suffer from depression, you suffer from untreated alcoholism
  • All the answers are in the Big Book; you do not need any other help

The article states, “All of these statements are opposed to AA’s principles.” Many people continue other types of treatment when participating in the 12 step process and successfully working their program.

Can I Just Attend Meetings?

While Alcoholics Anonymous meetings offer exceptional support for members, it is not a treatment program. Successful completion of a 12 step-oriented alcohol treatment program, along with aftercare, likely offers you the best chance of abstinence and continued sobriety once you return home. When attending meetings in your hometown, without actual treatment, you run a high risk of relapsing. You are too close to those tempting old people, old places, and old things.

Additionally, in “Outcome Research on 12-Step and Other Self-Help Programs,” researchers discovered that when individuals participate in both treatment and 12 step groups, “these two sources of help appear to strengthen or bolster each other.” Those remaining in treatment longer also demonstrated more long-term success, remaining active in AA much longer than individuals only attending meetings.

How do I get started?

Committing to ending your lifestyle of alcohol abuse and entering into 12-step treatment takes a simple first action. Make the call. When you call to get information and arrange for your treatment, you are treated with dignity and respect. Understanding staff can talk you through the process to start your journey to a better lifestyle with the help of services offered through 12-step treatment.

The The Treatment Specialist – Addiction Helplines team provides assistance to those suffering from addiction and dual diagnosis conditions find a treatment program that fits their specific needs.  The The Treatment Specialist – Addiction Helplines team will provide a free confidential assessment and insurance verification.  For more information on treatment programs for yourself or a loved one, contact the Inspiration helpline at (877) 854-7515.