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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Craniofacial features associated with fetal al...

Craniofacial features associated with fetal alcohol syndrome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is when an unborn fetus is affected by alcohol, resulting in physical, and mental defects. The most common effects from FAS include stunted growth, low birth weight, and developmental issues. It can affect behavior, mental development, and physical development. The only cause of FAS is alcohol, therefore it’s 100% preventable.

Binge drinking, excessive drinking, and chronic alcoholism increases the severity of FAS. Even drinking a small amount of alcohol can harm an unborn child.

There is no cure for FAS, so babies who are affected by this syndrome will have to live with the consequences of their mother’s drinking while pregnant. Some people affected by FAS will be able to live normal lives through treatments and training skills, while others will find it extremely challenging to live a regular life.

Research shows that when a mother drinks while pregnant, alcohol passes through the placenta from the mother’s blood into the baby’s bloodstream, which means the fetus has the same blood alcohol level as the mother. This is extremely dangerous, and can cause damage to fetus’ nervous system, and can kill, or stunt developing brain cells. It also blocks essential vitamins and nutrients from being absorbed. Alcohol reduces the amount of oxygen to the baby, leading to low birth weight, birth defects, and brain damage.

FAS may not be obvious at birth, but as the child grows, they may have a delay in development, behavioral problems, and poor coordination skills. Some children are misdiagnosed with ADHD, and may show signs of anxiety, restlessness, and frustration. This is because of FAS’s effect of their brain development.

If you are struggling with alcohol, now is the time to get help. FAS is completely preventable. Here at Synergy Group Services, we offer help to those in need through a specialized alcohol addiction treatment program. There is no judgement, only support for those who take the first steps into an addiction-free life. Mothers, or expecting mothers may find it difficult to ask for help because of the shame they may feel. However, there is no shame in asking for help, it’s courageous. Our holistic rehabilitation center will welcome you with open arms.

The Dangers of Perfectionism

Striving for perfection is dangerous in recovery. Having unrealistically high expectations sets people up for disappointments. They may develop an all or nothing approach, meaning they will end up with nothing. It’s important to learn to be grateful for all the wonderful things in life instead of focusing on things they don’t have.

Perfectionistic people are excessively concerned about other peoples appraisals, are overly critical of their performance, strive for flawlessness, and set unrealistically high performance standards for themselves. People who focus on being perfect are never happy with their progress, it’s never good enough.

The dangers of being a perfectionist include pushing themselves too hard, so they end up exhausted. They will never be satisfied with their performance, so they won’t reap the rewards of a job well done. People who have expectations of themselves which are too high tend to have negative stress and negative thinking. They may expect others to be perfect, which can lead to resentment because people are not perfect. They might think, “I work so hard, they don’t put half the effort I do. They don’t care as much as I do.”

                         Progress Bumper Sticker

Many who give up drugs or alcohol return to being perfectionists. They always been perfectionistic, but turned to addiction to relieve themselves from their sense of failure from not living up to their own standards. Being “perfect” in recovery can sabotage their efforts.

Putting excessive demands on themselves leads to failure and possible relapse. They may even use the idea they failed to return to drugs or alcohol. People in recovery should wear their 12 Step Program like a loose garment and strive for progress, not perfection. Developing an attitude of gratitude for the good things they have in life is helpful. Understanding that it’s okay for goals to shift or change is important. Keeping an even head and understanding that they aren’t always in control is crucial. Putting sobriety first helps set the tone for the day. Expecting family and friends to trust and forgive them immediately may not be realistic. It takes time to rebuild trust, but it can absolutely happen. Here at our Florida addiction rehab, we have a family care program that helps the entire family cope with the disease of addiction.

Being a perfectionist isn’t always a bad thing. People with perfectionistic qualities work very hard and are successful. The dangers come when they constantly feel like they are failing, and not enjoying their achievements. It’s important to recognize when they have done a good job. We offer help here at Synergy Group Services through a chemical dependency program as well as a specialized holistic drug rehab program. We understand the many facets of addiction and can help you find recovery.


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Synergy Group Services was featured on A&E’s INTERVENTION™ in the episode “Kimberly.” The docuseries follows people struggling with addiction through to their intervention and admission into addiction treatment centers. Kimberly suffered from alcoholism and sought treatment at Synergy Group Services.

Last week A&E announced that INTERVENTION™is ending after the completion of Season 13. David McKillop, Executive Vice President of Programming for A&E stated, “As INTERVENTION™ comes to an end, we’re proud to have paved the way for such an original and groundbreaking series.” When it first aired in 2005, the show was indeed groundbreaking and became very popular – earning two Emmy Awards for the category Outstanding Reality Series.

Since 2005 there have been 243 on air interventions and of those 243, 156 are still sober today. With the average relapse rate between 40% and 60% according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the high percentage (64%) that are still sober after INTERVENTION™ is notable.

Those intervened upon in the show are from all walks of life – from professionals needing addiction treatment to young adults. The show also covers a range of addictions from alcoholism and addiction to prescription drugs to sex, food and gambling addiction. The last season of INTERVENTION™ starts in June and it is reported to feature the most “intense” cases of addiction yet.

If you are interested in seeing the INTERVENTION™ episode that featured Synergy Group Services addiction treatment center in Florida, click here.

7,000 Miles of Service in Recovery

Service in Recovery
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A New Jersey school teacher and recovering alcoholic, Brad Spicer, has run almost 10,000 miles as a way to give freely back what he was given. He wants to give others a chance at recovery and sobriety from alcohol and drug addiction.

An essential component of addiction recovery is service to others because it is from the service others give that many individuals are able to get and stay sober today. In recovery, we continue to give back and receive and give back and receive. By living according to the spiritual principles of recovery, such as living with honesty, integrity, discipline and willingness, service to others becomes a natural component of how we live our lives sober.

Brad Spicer has stood out in his service to others through the creation of Project Run 7000, where he has pledged to run 7,000 miles throughout the year to raise money for addiction awareness and treatment. Describing his motivation, Spicer tells the South Jersey Times that, “I’m doing it not only to help my recovery and use it as therapy for myself, but to help others. A lot of people are struggling with huge problems. I kind of look at it as every I mile I finish, I hope it inspires one person to find the sober life they’ve been seeking.”

And every mile Spicer finishes will help him give to The Herren Project Foundation. This non-profit was established by former NBA basketball player, Chris Herren, to help individuals and families in the grips of addiction. The mission of The Herren Project is “to provide assistance in taking the first steps toward recovery and a life of sobriety, educational programs and resources to increase awareness on the signs of addiction and bring hope for a better tomorrow.”

Often times giving back can help benefit the giver as well as the receiver. In Spicer’s case, running helps his brain release natural “feel good” endorphins which the brain needs after excessive use of drugs and alcohol that depress the brain’s production of these same chemicals.

That is why here at Synergy Group Services, we make exercise an essential part of recovery from alcohol or drugs. We have scheduled time in which we brings clients to the local fitness center, offer on site yoga classes and reinforce exercise with healthy eating tips. We also stress importance of service in recovery – which, as in Spicer’s case, has the benefit of making the person giving service feel just as good as the person receiving.

The Importance Of Weekly Progress Reports In Addiction Treatment

How many times do we hear from clients in treatment, that they are not getting their needs met by drug treatment center treating them? This can go both ways because when the addict first enters drug treatment their focus is usually on everything, but recovery. This is somewhat normal in the aspect that they are not thinking clearly. It also could be they are still going through detox and it’s very easy to defocus from the primary goal which is to stay focused on their treatment, and recover from their addiction.

As the client moves through the process of treatment there could very well be some validity to what they are saying, this needs to be monitored very closely. On one hand they could want to defocus, because the issues at hand are becoming very overwhelming, or it could be true. As a family member of an addict in drug treatment these are signs for you to be aware of.

What could be very beneficial in this process is a weekly progress report from the primary therapist at the drug rehab center. These progress updates will help keep the family informed as to the components of treatment being received by their family member.  There comes a point when the client just might be right, due to the treatment process they are now beginning to realize their own issues, on their own, which indicates a positive growth process.

The addict in treatment must trust their therapist. If your family member doesn’t trust the therapist, at any point in their treatment, this could be a red flag. If the client is constantly expressing his/her needs, this may very well be a good sign of growth, but could also be very stressful if these needs are not being met.  

As treatment professionals we are bound by ethics, and should always do what is best for the client, no matter what. Too many times in my own experiences I have seen these ethics compromised. As a treatment professional I question this. If we are not providing the services that the client needs, then who loses?

The client loses, and this is just not acceptable.


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