relapse prevention

Can These Brain Scans Pinpoint Relapse Risk?

Penn State ResearchersIn his landmark report issued late last year, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the United States Surgeon General, made it clear that addiction should be treated like any other clinical, chronic condition. In his 400-page report, Facing Addiction in America, Murthy urged the American public to view the disease of addiction with more compassionate optics. “Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain and it’s one that we have to treat the way we would any other chronic illness: with skill, with compassion and with urgency.”

Taking that same clinical approach, researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine are working to develop a new test that may possibly help doctors predict individuals who are most at risk of relapse.

For the past few years, Scott Bunce has been studying the brain activity of those in recovery from an addiction to heroin and prescription painkillers. To conduct the study, Bunce and his team showed images of drugs and drug paraphernalia to the study participants.

His team then asked the research to participants to state if the images induced cravings for the drug or triggered positive feelings or emotions as a result.

Bunce and his team found that those who reported feeling no temptation as a result of seeing the images yet also exhibited increased brain activity as a result were more likely to experience a relapse.

While additional research still needs to be conducted, the scientists hypothesize that this provides further support that addiction is truly a disease of the brain. Individuals may not intentionally express a desire to use and abuse drugs though their brain chemistry may be prompting them to do just that.

“It’s very important that people understand this is a brain disease,” said Sue Grigson, a professor at Penn State College of Medicine who is involved in the research.

One positive takeaway is that while the brain is indeed altered by the exposure to drugs, it can still recover and heal over time and with the right addiction treatment therapies.

Holistic Drug Rehab in South Florida

At Synergy Group Services, our team of addiction recovery team specializes in helping individuals with a chemical dependency on prescription opioids and heroin. We firmly believe in the power of holistic medicine and leverage a variety of healing therapies including acupuncture, biofeedback and individual counseling. If you are working through a challenging period of your life and want to finally address your addiction to drugs or alcohol, please let us help you. We are standing by at (888) 267-8070 and your call is confidential.

Happy Friends dealing with stress in a healthy way

3 (Healthy) Ways to Deal with Stress in Recovery

If you’re currently in recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, kudos to you for choosing a sober lifestyle! Now that you’re no longer dealing with the dark cloud of addiction, you can finally start to work towards building a healthier and less chaotic life.

During this time, it’s also important to work on building healthy coping mechanisms – especially ones that can help you weather the occasional storms of life. It’s all about learning how to deal with challenging times without using drugs and alcohol as a crutch.

Addiction recovery may not be easy, but it’s certainly worth it. To invest in your personal success, here are a few strategies that can help you navigate the natural ups and downs of life while protecting your sobriety.

(1) Learn how to open up to friends and family members. Drugs and alcohol have a way of making you more socially isolated as you prioritize spending time using and abusing drugs and alcohol. But, over time, it can actually just make stressful situations worse. Learning how to lean on your social network is an important part of building a sober lifestyle. If you’re struggling with a personal or professional challenge, don’t be afraid to talk to a friend or family member. No one is perfect and by reaching out to other people, you can lean on them for emotional support to get you through it.

(2) Think about how you’ve overcome challenges in the past. While the obstacle in your path today may seem daunting, you can gain strength (and leverage that positive momentum) by cataloguing hardships you’ve faced and overcome in the past. And, it doesn’t have to be a formal process. The next time you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by life, jot down a few of your accomplishments on the back of a receipt or on a paper napkin. You’ll remember the skills you used to succeed before – and it can help you better understand how you can use those same strategies again.

(3) Give yourself personal boundaries. People talk a lot about establishing emotional boundaries with others. Developing and establishing clear guidelines for relationships that are designed to support your emotional health. In that same vein, why not create some guardrails to help guide how you treat yourself? For example, if you know that you often wake up in the middle of the night and often overthink your personal obligations, make a pact with yourself to address those issues the next time you visit your therapist. That way, you can feel more empowered and in control of your thoughts and emotions.

Synergistic Outcomes with Unparalleled Success

We’ll work with you to examine past choices, behaviors, and consequences due to your abuse of drugs and give you the tools needed to take back your life and regain balance to your body, mind, and spirit. From detox to aftercare planning, our drug rehab provides a continuum of care designed to help you or your loved one establish a routine that will help minimize opportunities for cravings to grow, identify relapse triggers and develop coping processes to activate accordingly. Contact us at (888) 267-8070. Your call is confidential and we’re here to help you 24/7.

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