positive psychology

The Power of Positive Psychology: Recovering From Addiction

Psychology is a science that studies people’s human behaviors. Human behavior is learned behavior, which is especially true with addiction. Various studies and psychological research has helped people to try and understand the motivations behind substance abuse, and the choice to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as drinking and taking drugs. 

Drug and alcohol addiction are learned behaviors, and recovery from addiction requires individuals to be motivated enough to get help and make significant changes in their behavior and lives. The power of positive psychology has been proven to help people with substance use disorders (SUD) believe they can truly change their lives for the better. But, how? 

The addiction specialists at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare would like to teach you about the power of positive psychology in addiction recovery. 

What is Positive Psychology?

Positive psychology (PP) is defined as the field of study called the “good life” phenomenon. The name refers to just what this notion means. It focuses on people and their beliefs and behaviors, and the makeup of their characters, and how that influences them to act the way that they do. 

Studies conducted at the Positive Psychology Center at The University of Pennsylvania describe the notion of positive psychology similarly to the socio-psychological phenomenon called a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

This theory refers to someone’s belief, prediction, or expectation that something will come to fruition because they believe it will. As a result, a self-fulfilling prophecy indicates that people’s beliefs influence their actions, which is true, just like Professor Jim Orford’s addiction theory stated. This is the foundation for the scientific study behind positive psychology. 

The theory behind positive psychology allows individuals to find a way to build a meaningful life full not just of survival, but one of purpose. It is all based on the principles of having a positive mindset and shifting one’s perspective. 

For those with addiction, the use of positive psychology in treatment and recovery helps patients be able to focus on how they can not just survive, but also most importantly, become happier and more fulfilled in their lives, to have an optimal chance of a successful recovery and maintain long-term sobriety. 

Rather than focusing on the pain of one’s addiction and mental illness, the science behind positive psychology has helped addiction specialists, medical professionals, and caregivers understand what it is that helps to make a person truly happy and healthy. The emphasis of PP is to focus on someone’s mental wellness and not solely just their illness. 

Power of Positive Psychology for Addiction Recovery 

Benefits of Staying Positive During Recovery 

Having a positive outlook whether it’s for a situation or making a decision, is undoubtedly a huge predictor of an outcome. It is extremely true when they say if you have a negative attitude the outcome will not be positive. Positivity is extremely powerful.

Vice versa, if you have a more positive outlook on things, the outcome will be a positive one. Things do not always go as planned, but research has proven that our beliefs are greatly influenced by our thoughts. 

In terms of addiction and treatment, positive psychology is an extremely helpful tool. Despite the good intentions, many treatment strategies aim to help a person recover, but, aside from therapy, sometimes those who are going through recovery for drug and alcohol addictions are not taught proper life or coping skills to be able to properly manage and take control over their conditions. 

Therefore, while it is not intentional, some strategies weaken one’s belief in their power and abilities to take back control over their lives and stay sober. The possibility of relapse is always around the corner. 

During effective addiction treatment, positive psychological approaches do play a significant role in achieving long-term addiction recovery goals. Traditionally, people who have chosen to enter a rehab facility for treatment, are diagnosed with a condition, told they will have to manage it, to expect the possibility of relapse, and that there is also a chance of death. While all of this is true, this negative prognosis can feel extremely demoralizing and can set someone back. 

At Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, our addiction specialists practice positive psychology. Based on our patients and their different needs, we try and suggest that their addiction is a behavioral disorder that was a consequence and result of poor choices. 

We not only diagnose our patients accurately but teach them that with the right help and techniques in therapy and throughout treatment, that these bad habits and behaviors can be changed. 

While we are not denying the negative side of addiction, and the statistics surrounding addiction recovery, we like to reframe a negative situation into a positive one, so people who suffer from substance abuse feel like recovery is possible. 

As a result of positive psychology and encouragement, we have seen a real difference, and most importantly, that with a different perspective and mindset, that people feel more empowered and motivated to tackle their recovery head-on. 

Understanding Addiction From A Psychological Perspective 

The Excessive Appetites Theory of Addiction 

Evidence-based research has demonstrated that much of our behavior as humans is generated from our thoughts and beliefs. This includes addictive behaviors, for example, binge drinking and taking drugs such as opioids.

According to verywellmind.com, in 1985, Jim Orford, an Emeritus Professor of Clinical & Community Psychology at Oxford in the United Kingdom, developed a theory to help people better understand addiction. This “disease” model of addiction was outlined in his ground-breaking book titled, Excessive Appetites: A Psychological View of Addictions.

In Professor Orford’s Excessive Appetites theory, he makes one of the clearest and strongest arguments surrounding behavioral addictions. He states the five core addictions are, gambling addiction, food addiction, drug addiction, and exercise addiction. 

In his research, Orford describes that addiction occurs in two main stages.  

Stage 1: Addiction is a major psychological process rather than a physical disease. 

Stage 2: Addiction occurs as a response or reaction to a wide range of different behaviors. 

In the book, addictions are described as types of excessive “appetites” rather than a dependency on drugs and alcohol for example. 

The theory depicts in-depth the idea that addictions are appetites, which are extremely common, excessive, and troubling when strong attachments to the core addictions are developed. He states that addiction to drugs and alcohol are more recognized as examples of addiction. 

Orford’s model describes his main point, that addiction develops as a gradual process, and because of compulsive behaviors, the main stage being appetitive behavior.

The whole point of his theory, in conclusion, is that there are negative consequences that occur as a result of our behaviors. As a result, it can cause serious harm to people and those around them. 

This is very indicative of addiction. An individual may or may not like a certain activity that they partake in, it is a choice, and not the act of liking or disliking that is the problem. 

The real reason behind why people psychologically become addicted, Orford states is because addiction is a result of the indulgence to do something, in other words, an appetitive behavior. 

Something we tend to want to do over and over again despite what can happen as a result. It is not because addiction is a disease, it is the degree to which one’s compulsive behavior ends up hurting someone. Despite the person wanting to stop, the behavior persists, which is what the real problem is more than anything.  

To sum it up, Orford stated in the book, “The uptake of new behavior does not occur in a psychological vacuum, but as part of a constellation of changing beliefs, preferences, and habits.” 

So, in other words, this theory perfectly explains addiction as not just being a complex psychological process, but one in which involves a large number of contributing factors.

Contributing Factors Behind Addiction

Based on Professor Orford’s proven addiction theory, addiction is defined as chronic compulsive behaviors that occur despite the negative consequences that could occur as a result. 

Did you know, that people who abuse substances, such as opioids or cocaine, are four to ten times more likely than those who are not dependant or addicted, to develop other addictive behaviors, particularly to gambling? From discovering this, we can discern that addictions go hand-in-hand, substitute for one another, and reinforce one another. 

Addiction impacts the lives of people in various ways. Everyone is unique, and so is their battle. Due to this negative consequence to behaviors that they chose to partake in, addiction does not only cause health complications but socioeconomic ones as well. 

Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It costs people their freedom, finances, relationships, problems at school and work, etc. 

However, the most important repercussion from addiction is definitely the human cost. Not only does this choice cause mental, physical, and emotional stress, what it does to the support system (friends and family) of a person suffering is unparalleled. 

Professor Orford states, that this cycle of addiction commonly begins in a person’s teenage years, as it is when an individual at this age starts to become more exposed to certain activities which tend to have addictive tendencies. 

Teenagers usually like to rebel or become experimental. They begin to gain more responsibility and a chance at choosing what they spend their time doing, and how much they spend doing it. 

As teenagers grow into adults, they tend to mature out of addictive behaviors, but some do not. The reason why someone engages in a certain behavior or not is dependant on a few factors including: 

  • Personality
  • Environment
  • People
  • Culture 

Engaging in various addictive behaviors, often allows people to cope and feel better about whatever it is that they are going through. This is especially true in the early stages of the addiction cycle. 

In other words, acting a certain way in situations all depends on various factors, including personality, environment, culture, socioeconomic status, etc. People tend to drink and take drugs to reduce tension, reduce inhibitions and self-awareness, and escape from bad situations and negative emotions. Addictive behavior is also a result of the following contributing risk factors:


When people engage in addictive behaviors they discover that it enhances their mood. Due to levels of neurotransmitters called dopamine and serotonin being released in the brain, individuals can start to see their mood changing. 

Often, when someone has an addictive personality and engages in certain behaviors, such as taking drugs and alcohol. The mood aspects of addictive behavior can also help with self-esteem or social image, and it can help people to cope with past trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse.

Unfortunately, it does not necessarily make them feel better, it just masks it. This is because these addictive behaviors are mood enhancers. When someone takes a substance or engages in these risky behaviors, the feelings of sadness or depression become suppressed, while the body releases endorphins, producing emotions of happiness, pleasure, and euphoria. 

Social Factors 

The act of drinking alcohol especially is a very social activity. Also, alcohol is very accessible and enjoyed around the world by various cultures. The process of engaging in addictive behaviors is known to be a direct result of social and cultural situations. Research has shown that drinking or doing drugs is highly dependent on conforming to social norms and family history. 

The more that people are around family and friends who like to engage in risky and addictive behaviors such as drinking and doing drugs, strongly predicts whether they will go on to develop not just a dependency on the substance of choice, but an actual addiction. The people who usually become addicted, don’t, unfortunately, see becoming addicted as a personal choice. 

Learned Associations

They say from a young age that people, especially babies learn by association. People are natural observers and like to mimic or attempt to mirror other people’s similar behaviors. This is no different for those suffering from addiction and substance abuse. 

Once people have started to engage in certain behaviors, in this case, addictive ones, something called associations begins to develop. This means, that when a person feels a certain way, how they act is very much a reflection of that. 

The behavior and state of mind are closely linked. Therefore, these associations between mood and behavior develop within the brain, along the neurological pathways, and become involuntary. 

Certain things can trigger a person’s memory, and remind them of a certain behavior, which can influence someone to seek out these behaviors. As a result, over time our brain has taught us to associate a feeling with addictive behavior. 

For example, because a person realized that they felt less anxious after drinking, the brain and body crave that behavior and tell us that it makes them feel better when in reality, it isn’t, and symptoms are just being suppressed. 

Individuals with addictive personalities or tendencies, attribute positive feelings with behavior and construct a whole belief system and explanation of why their behavior makes them feel better. They come to believe that drinking or taking drugs is the key to making them feel better regardless of the negative consequences that often follow, including health complications, coma, overdose, and death. 

Attachment and Commitment 

People who become more attached to their addictive behaviors are more inclined to engage in them and carry them out. This level of attachment gets higher and higher as time goes on. 

Committing and attaching yourself to these risky behaviors repetitively can lead to new ways of breaking down the walls and barriers surrounding these behaviors, automatically increasing one’s chances of increasing the effects of the drugs or alcohol, and becoming not just dependent anymore but addicted. 

Developmental Maturity

Psychologically, the capacity of aligning our actions or behaviors with our beliefs and values depends on someone’s maturity level. Maturity is what ultimately distinguishes one person from another. 

People with addiction or addictive tendencies tend to routinely act without thinking. And, with no regard to the consequences, these types of people are very focused and intent on pushing the limits. 

Ways to Practice Positive Psychology During and After Addiction Recovery 

So, we have talked about how we use the power of positive psychology to help our patients with substance use disorders recover. Have you wondered how you or a loved one can practice positive psychology on your road to recovery? These are some ways in which we have seen a difference:

  1. Meditation
  2. Connect with others 
  3. Keep a gratitude list
  4. Engage in activities that you enjoy 
  5. Talk to someone- know there is always help out there

There have been great strides made in quantifying which behaviors and attitudes foster feelings like, serenity, love, joy fulfillment, and peace. Helping yourself practice this idea of positive thinking will then emanate to others going through addiction feel like they are not alone on their journey to recovery. 

Within itself, the idea of positive psychology is another component or resource of support that everyone, not just people with addiction should utilize more. 

Granite Mountain Can Help You Recover!

A life of health and long-term sobriety is attainable with our help. We work with our clients to help them re-envision their lives, putting them on a path of self-discovery, so, they can ultimately regain control over their lives and rekindle the relationships that are most important to them, to achieve optimal recovery. 

The study of positive psychology and its relation to addiction treatment has been proven to be revolutionary. Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare believes in the power of positive thinking and has seen it keep our patients on track and motivated to reach sobriety and empower others to do the same. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and substance abuse, the addiction specialists at Granite Mountain can help. Contact us today to take back control of your life! 





fentanyl addiction

Fentanyl Addiction: The Latest Deadly Opiate Addiction in Arizona

Fentanyl drug overdose rates are at an all-time high across the country but more so in Arizona. Arizona is fighting a war on “Mexican Blue Oxy” Oxycodone laced with fentanyl. While the government is looking for ways to stop the flow of the drug into their state, families are seeking ways to help their loved ones before the horrible drug destroys them. 

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic schedule 2 narcotic analgesic that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. Fentanyl works by blocking pain receptors in the brain and increases the production of dopamine, which increases the feelings of happiness, relaxation and decreases the perception of suffering. Fentanyl is prescribed for severe pain, after surgery and for chronic pain patients who are no longer finding relief with other opioids. In 2017, In 2017, Arizona providers wrote 61.2 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people.

  • Fentanyl is an extremely strong synthetic opioid that is very effective at relieving moderate-to-severe chronic pain.
  • Oral versions of fentanyl contain an amount of the drug that can be fatal to a child.
  • The difference between a therapeutic dose and a deadly dose of fentanyl is minimal.
  • There are many illegal analogs and derivatives of fentanyl that are much stronger than the legal prescription version.
  • Recreational users often use fentanyl as a substitute for heroin.

Fentanyl Addiction: Why is Fentanyl so Addictive?

Many people become addicted to fentanyl very quickly due to its euphoric “high” similar to heroin. Fentanyl enters the bloodstream and immediately crosses the blood-brain barrier, where it quickly binds with opioid receptors. The quicker the binding process, the stronger the feeling of euphoria, which makes fentanyl the most dangerous opioid. Compared to other opioids, it takes a very small amount of fentanyl to produce the same effects, 

Fentanyl affects everyone differently. The effects are dependent on an individual’s size, weight, the overall state of health, the amount that is taken, whether fentanyl is taken in combination with other drugs, and whether the person is used to taking opioids.

  • Fentanyl’s effects include
  • extreme happiness
  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • sedation
  • problems breathing
  • unconsciousness

Fentanyl analogs produced in illegal laboratories can be hundreds of times stronger than street heroin and tend to produce significantly more respiratory depression, making them even more dangerous to users than heroin.

Individuals using heroin or cocaine, or in recovery for a drug use disorder may not know that the potency of street-sold heroin and cocaine can be greatly enhanced by adding fentanyl. Because the potency of such drugs is not known, and they are not told about the addition of fentanyl, any illicit drug use – even a reduced dose – can result in an accidental overdose or death. In many cases, drug dealers are mixing fentanyl with other drugs, like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and MDMA. This is because it takes a very small amount to produce a high with fentanyl, making it a less expensive option. 

Fentanyl may be taken orally, smoked, snorted, or injected, and no one method of use is safer than another. 

Fentanyl Addiction: The Signs of an Addict

The abuse of and addiction to fentanyl or a synthetic form of fentanyl may be shown by the following signs and symptoms:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Secrecy and deceit
  • Withdrawal from loved ones and friends
  • Little to no participation in significant activities

Physical symptoms:

  • Fatigue and extreme drowsiness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Low heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Gastrointestinal distress

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Inability to concentrate and focus
  • Impaired decision making

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Euphoria
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Severe mood swings


People addicted to fentanyl who stop using it can have extreme withdrawal symptoms that begin as early as a few hours after the drug was last taken. These symptoms include:

  • muscle and bone pain
  • sleep problems
  • diarrhea and vomiting
  • cold flashes 
  • uncontrollable leg movements
  • severe cravings

Fentanyl Addiction: The Numbers In Arizona Are Alarming

Since 2013, opioid-involved deaths rose 76 percent in Arizona, with 928 deaths reported in 2017. That is 13.5 deaths per 100,000 persons, compared to the average national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons. The greatest increase occurred among deaths involving synthetic opioids, mainly fentanyl which increased from 36 deaths in 2012 to 267 deaths in 2017.

Data from one report showed that in 2018, fentanyl was reported in 18 percent of all fatal and non-fatal reported overdoses in Arizona. Since Governor Doug Ducey’s opioid emergency declaration in 2017, fentanyl is the most commonly reported drug involved in fatal overdoses with 301 deaths since June 2017.

The most recent data about overdoses in Arizona shows that:

  • In January 2019, there were 47 reported overdoses involving fentanyl in Arizona. Five of these were fatal.
  • In February 2019, there were 36 reported overdoses involving fentanyl in Arizona. Two of these were fatal.
  • In March 2019, there were 21 reported overdoses involving fentanyl in Arizona, with three fatalities reported.
  • Fentanyl is more commonly reported in overdoses among younger Arizonans. Among teens 15-17, fentanyl was the most commonly reported drug involved in suspected overdoses.

Thirteen out of the total 15 counties in Arizona have recorded fentanyl deaths between mid- 2017 and early 2019. The hardest-hit county, La Paz has recorded 597 deaths in 100,000 people in the same period, while the least affected has 106 deaths in 100,000 people within the same period.

Fentanyl deaths have surpassed those of heroin and have affected all Arizona demographics. Residents say it is the worst kind of drug invasion seen in the last 30 years. For example, according to the DEA in Arizona, in 2017, its agents seized 172 pounds of powdered fentanyl. In 2018, they confiscated a total of 445 pounds, pointing to a 159 percent increase.

In 2017, DEA agents had also confiscated over 95,000 pills of fentanyl-laced pills. This amount increased in 2018 to 379,000, which translates to an almost 300 percent increase. So far, in 2019, 1,138,288 illegally manufactured fentanyl pills have been seized. Such a significant increase in illegally created fentanyl shows that war on fentanyl deaths is far from over

Fentanyl Addiction: What is Arizona doing to combat the Issue

In June 2017, Governor Doug Ducey declared a statewide emergency after data was released on the increased number of opioid overdoses primarily from fentanyl.

On January 25, 2018, Governor Doug Ducey signed the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act. The Act includes measures to cut down on doctor shopping by making it mandatory for doctors and pharmacies to keep databases up to date. The state has also started placing safe disposal bins for all opioids and other prescriptions. There is a limit on the first fills of 5 days. Research shows that any more than 5 days of continuous use leads to a higher risk of addiction.

Since June 2017, the Arizona Department of Health has trained over 1200 first responders to carry and administer Naloxone and has provided over 5100 new Nexalone kits to law enforcement agencies.

Other measures call for $10 million to be spent treating opioid abusers who are underinsured and ineligible for Medicaid. The Good Samaritan Law protects anyone who is overdosing and anyone who witnesses an overdose from prosecution for seeking help. The governor has also implemented the Angel Initiative. It will help individuals struggling with fentanyl addiction, and other opioid addictions seek treatment without prosecution. Meaning that an addict can walk into any police station, turn in their drugs, and ask for help without the fear of going to jail. It also helps parents who seek treatment place their children into care without the children going into foster care. 

Ducey called the package a comprehensive model for other states looking to address what has become a nationwide crisis.

Fentanyl Addiction: Destroying Families in Arizona

As the war on fentanyl and fentanyl addiction continue, the destruction of Arizona families is on the rise. There has been an increase in the number of babies being born with a fentanyl addiction, in 2008 there was 1.8 in 1000 hospital births up in 2019 to over 10 cases in every 1000 hospital births. And babies born with a fentanyl addiction suffer lifelong issues. Opioid use during pregnancy has also been associated with developmental delays and intellectual impairment. But most studies were conducted before the use of synthetic fentanyl, and scientists don’t yet know the long-term implications of these substances on babies but are certain that we will see complications that will have devastating effects during their life. 

As fentanyl addiction continues to rise, the number of children in homes with family members addicted to fentanyl continues to rise. Witnessing the trauma of a parent suffering fentanyl addiction at a young age has long-term effects on the child. Children growing up seeing a parent addicted to fentanyl are more likely to develop a fentanyl addiction in their teens and adulthood. They are also three times more likely to be neglected, physically, and sexually abused. Since children are still developing their personalities and learn from what they see, they run the risk of repeating such behaviors. Children may be exposed to aggression or violent behavior due to a parent’s fentanyl addiction. 

Fentanyl addiction takes over the life of the victim it has claimed. They give up important life activities, such as work, family time, hobbies they once loved. Fentanyl takes over their life; they spend most of their day using fentanyl, looking for fentanyl or finding ways to get money from people to support their fentanyl addiction. Fentanyl becomes such an important part of the addict’s life; they will say and do anything to get the money to support their habit. 

If someone you love has a fentanyl addiction, you are likely to experience changes in your thoughts and behaviors. You may find yourself:

  • Worrying about your loved one’s drug use
  • Losing sleep
  • Experiencing constant anxiety
  • Lying or making excuses for the addict’s behavior
  • Walking on eggshells around the addict
  • Withdrawing from your loved one to avoid mood swings and confrontations
  • The constant feeling that calling the police when your loved one is high is better than finding them dead
  • Putting yourself in dangerous situations to look for or rescue your loved one
  • The fear of losing your family member if you talk to them about their drug use

Fentanyl Addiction: How To Get Help

If you have a family member who has a fentanyl addiction, it is a battle of keeping the peace or starting a war of uncertainty. Keeping the peace means not talking to your loved one about their problem, but that comes at the cost of watching them destroy their life. Starting a war of uncertainty means putting it all on the line and giving them no choice.

There is no perfect way to approach someone with a fentanyl addiction to getting help. By the time you get up the courage to fight the battle and talk with your loved one, you already feel defeated by the day to day battle. You are not alone in this war on fentanyl. Families all across Arizona are in this war. Like you, they feel defeated. 

Let the caring and compassionate family of Granite Mountain Behavioral HealthCare help you or your loved ones. You contact us here. 


alcohol addiction

How to Maintain Recovery from Alcohol Addiction

Whether you’re just beginning or ending your road to recovery, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Recovering from alcohol addiction requires special aftercare. It is crucial to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Taking care of yourself entails taking action to change your life for the better

There are a variety of measures you can take to ensure you stay sober. We understand that recovering from alcohol addiction is an emotional rollercoaster at times. There will be ups and downs.

However, just keep in mind that with every down, there is an up on the other side. From pain comes growth and we believe that you can always prevail. Keep reading to learn more about the different ways you can recover from alcohol addiction. 


Journaling is a fantastic way of coping with stressful thoughts and emotions. Recovering from alcohol addiction means having to work through a wide scope of feelings. Some days you may feel proud of yourself and joyful. 

Other days you may feel disconnected from who you are and a little anxious. Please understand that this is all okay. The key to a sober and happy life is to understand that the downs don’t have to keep you down. You can work through the painful moments and prevail. 

Keeping a journal can be helpful in many different ways. For example, keeping track of your emotions every day is a great start. Write down how you feel and why. If you find yourself getting anxious, write those thoughts down.

Oftentimes getting our uneasy thoughts and emotions onto paper makes us feel a lot better than we’d expect. Holding emotions in isn’t healthy. It’s important to let yourself feel the negative feelings and healthily release them. 

Another helpful way of journaling is finding different prompts online. There are different questions you can ask yourself and then base your writing on that. 

Some examples are:

  • Think about at least three positive things that happened to you today and write them down. Use as much detail as possible.
  • Write a letter to yourself. Make it a love letter and recall what makes you proud to be you.
  • If you’re prone to anxiety attacks, write down all the strategies you’ve used in the past that have helped you overcome an attack. 
  • Write down your favorite quotes or song lyrics that inspire you.

Keeping Active

It’s no secret that exercising is good for you. It allows your body to release endorphins. Endorphins boost your mood. Even a simple walk can help you release endorphins.

Exercising also helps to clear your mind. Recovering from alcohol addiction can take a lot out of your body. It’s important to take care of yourself mentally and physically. If one is off, the other is affected too. Not everyone is a fan of going to the gym and that’s completely okay. 

There are many different ways to exercise and release those awesome endorphins. For example, you can take a hike on a beautiful trail. Nature is something that can make a huge difference in how you feel as well. Being around luscious green trees and fresh air does wonders for clearing negative emotions and thoughts.

Other options include taking fitness classes such as kickboxing or Crossfit. There are countless ways for you to incorporate exercise as you work through recovering from alcohol addiction.

Yoga is another method that’s helped, countless people. Yoga postures, known as asanas, help to alleviate physical pain. These yoga postures work to stretch, lengthen, and balance the muscles. 

Yoga is also centered around the belief that your body and mind are connected. Many yoga classes begin with choosing an “intention”. For example, let’s say that a particular day you’re struggling with letting something go. You can set your intention as finding peace and then the entire class is centered around achieving that intention and working towards it.

Socializing with Sober Friends

As you’re working through recovering from alcohol addiction, the circle you keep close to you is crucial. If your friends are constantly going out and drinking, how is that going to benefit you? It’s important to surround yourself with healthy relationships centered around sober fun. 

There are so many different ways to have fun when you’re sober. You can try out food from different cultures at restaurants with your friends. You can go to an arcade, bowling, rollerblading, etc.

If none of that sounds appealing, you can take a trip to a museum. Still no good? Take a trip somewhere near you that you’ve never been to before and do some exploring. Alcohol recovery is a lot easier with a great group of friends around you. 

Be honest with your friends about needing to have sober fun. Supportive friends will not only understand, but they will encourage you to be the best, sober version of yourself. Although going out for drinks may seem tempting, the consequences are nowhere near worth it.

Get a Job

Are you already working or is there a career path you’ve always wanted to try out? This is your time to focus on what you want. Keeping busy is a great way to stay focused on what matters. You want to make sure you take steps each day to help your future self.

Recovering from alcohol addiction allows an addict to start fresh. Everyone goes through their obstacles. Don’t let yours affect your life for the worst. You can completely change your life if you stay sober.

Indeed is a great search engine to use when searching for jobs. You can choose whether you’d like to work part or full time. You can search through different levels of jobs, as well as the proximity to your home. 

Setting goals also goes hand in hand with getting a job. Your goal can be to move up within the company or to save a certain amount of money each month. Be clear about your intentions. There are so many positive things that can come from having a job. Make sure to search for a career that you’ll enjoy. 

Too many people settle for jobs that don’t make them happy without realizing they can change their circumstances. Perhaps they do realize it but are too scared to change it. Regain control and work towards a goal that’ll fulfill you in the long run. 

Keep an Agenda/Clear Schedule 

Structure and consistency are key when recovering from alcohol addiction. Alcohol addiction can cause chaos in your life. Days may become centered around grabbing a drink. Now is your chance to turn that all around!

You want to make sure to be clear about where your time is going. Invest in an agenda and write out what you have planned for each day. Regardless of whether you’re a recovering addict or not, this is immensely beneficial.

When we’re not clear about where our time is going, we tend to waste it. It’s easy to do a bunch of things that don’t help you or are just plain lazy. Take the time to write down your priority action items for the day and then how you’ll reward yourself for achieving them.

Don’t want to buy an agenda? No worries – just get yourself a Trello board. It’s great online tools that allow you to organize your life by different lists and sections. You can create separate jobs for your personal life and work. 

Take Up a New Hobby

Is there something you’ve always wanted to try? Does something, in particular, bring you a lot of joy? This can be anything from drawing to working out to taking a dance class. There are so many ways for you to keep busy as you recover from alcohol addiction.

It’s important to incorporate things that make you happy in your life. This may seem obvious, but sometimes we can get caught up in the day-to-day stuff. We forget that life has countless opportunities and resources out there made for us. No matter who you are, you can find something out there for you.

Learning a new skill is not only rewarding, but it’s also a fulfilling process. Watching yourself go from beginner to expert is a pretty awesome feeling. As cliche as it may sound, you need to believe in yourself. With addiction out of your life, there’s a lot more time for you to put to use.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Recovering from alcohol addiction can catapult you into a new, much more beautiful life. You have complete control over what direction you want your life to go in. There are countless ways to not only maintain sobriety but to improve your life overall.

At Granite Mountain Behavioral Health, we’re here to guide you through the entire process. We understand it’s not always easy, but we can promise you that it’ll be worth it. From staying active to journaling, maintaining sobriety is possible.

If you’re ready to start your road to recovery or are interested in an aftercare program, you can contact us here. You can also call us at (877) 389-0412 and talk to one of our alcohol addiction experts. Remember, we’re here for any questions, comments or concerns you may have. We’re waiting for your call!


alcoholism and binge drinking

Alcoholism vs Binge Drinking

When it comes to understanding alcoholism, people often confuse it for binge drinking. Even though both deal with the abuse of alcohol, the two are entirely separate concepts.

Just because somebody is binge drinking doesn’t mean they’re an alcoholic. It is imperative that people know that there is a difference. 

Understanding both of these can help people better understand what treatment program is necessary for their recovery journey, as well as the different negative impacts alcohol, has as far as substance abuse is concerned. 


Alcoholism is best described as an insurmountable desire to partake in consuming alcohol. It is one of the most dangerous forms of substance abuse. Those who suffer from alcoholism usually spend a lot of time thinking about alcohol; most often, it’s all they can think about. Because of this, the temptation to use or abuse escalates, and eventually, the user is seduced by the hold that alcohol has on their psychological well-being.

When somebody uses alcohol, the pleasure center in the brain is triggered. Because of this, the user’s desires are manipulated, and eventually, that desire becomes insatiable. When this happens, users place the consumption of alcohol as their top priority.

People who suffer from alcoholism make drinking their top priority, and this has a monstrous effect on family and loved ones. It could cause addicts to neglect them or even treat them poorly. Not only that, but monetary problems could come as a direct result of alcoholism. Financial stressors are difficult for families, and dependency on alcohol is expensive. That being said, alcohol addiction has the power to tear loved ones who were once inseparable apart.

Factors of Alcoholism

Some contributing factors for alcoholism include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Peer pressure
  • Marital problems
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse

Alcoholism is much more complicated than a person choosing to drink once because they felt like it and then being hooked. There is a vast array of circumstances that can lead to somebody finding solace in alcohol abuse.

Symptoms of Alcoholism

If you or your loved one are suffering from alcoholism, you may be experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Lack of interest in any activity
  • Consistently inebriated 
  • Consistently lying
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lack of self-control with alcohol

One of the hardest parts of identifying alcoholism is the fear of calling it what it is. Those who suffer are likely aware that they have a problem, but have trouble confronting it, and could become angry if the truth is pointed out. This is why you must seek help when confronting a loved one who suffers from alcoholism. Approaching them in a loving, non-judgemental way is also important when confronting someone suffering from alcoholism. 

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is defined as the prolonged use of alcohol in one sitting causing a person’s blood-alcohol concentration to be considerably high (0.8g%). Those who are binge drinking drink a vast amount of alcohol within a short amount of time. This is different from alcoholism in that the person is not addicted, they are merely misusing the substance in a manner that lacks upright judgment.

Over 50% of alcohol that is served to people is done so for someone who is binge drinking. This alarming statistic highlights just how common alcohol abuse is in those who use it. When consuming alcohol this way, the pleasure centers of the brain are impacted greatly. Binge drinking is known to lead to damage in the pleasure center of the brain. 

Not everybody who struggles with binge drinking is suffering from alcoholism. For example, an alcoholic may have a dependency on the substance, but they’re not always drinking enough to cause the short term effects of nausea, vomiting, and memory loss. Those who binge drink are likely going to experience these symptoms and more.

Some immediate effects binge drinking may have on a person includes the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blackout
  • Hangovers
  • Alcohol poisoning

Binge drinking also could have long term effects on a person, which includes the following:

  • Heart problems
  • Depression
  • Brain damage
  • Liver damage
  • Memory damage
  • Cancer

Sometimes binge drinking can even lead to tragedies such as car accidents, domestic violence, or even death. Being aware of the impact that binge drinking can have on an individual is imperative to prevent the risks of it and also providing somebody with the help they need to stop.

There is often a misconception that binge drinking only happens at parties. Sadly, this is not the case. Binge drinking could take place in a variety of different circumstances. For example, somebody could be binge drinking alone so that they can hide their troubles from a loved one, or they might drink at a sporting event. Binge drinking could also take place when friends get together, become bored, and start playing a drinking game. 

Binge drinking can often lead to unfortunate circumstances or have long-term effects that someone hadn’t seen coming. They must recognize the symptoms, as it may lead to getting the help that they never knew they needed.


Key Differences Between Binge Drinking and Alcoholism

The differences between alcoholism and binge drinking include:

  • Binge drinkers are not dependent on alcohol
  • Binge drinking is defined by a specific blood-alcohol percentage
  • Alcoholism is a chronic condition
  • Those suffering from alcoholism can’t control their consumption
  • Those suffering from alcoholism have an increased tolerance

Alcoholism and binge drinking can often become grouped within the same category, but it does not mean they’re the same thing. There are vast differences between the two; understanding these differences is key in identifying which of the two somebody is struggling with, and also in combating substance abuse in any form it takes.

Consequences of Alcoholism and Binge Drinking

The consequences of binge drinking are as follows:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blackouts
  • Hangovers
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Accidents and injuries
  • Unplanned pregnancy 
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

The consequences of alcoholism include:

  • Cancer
  • Psychological problems
  • Liver disease
  • Heart issues
  • Depression

Understanding the consequences of both binge drinking and alcoholism are imperative to a person’s recovery. These two forms of substance abuse may lead to unfortunate circumstances that nobody saw coming. If you believe that yourself or a loved one is suffering from either of these two forms of addiction, it is important to seek help immediately.

How Granite Can Help

When it comes to understanding alcoholism, it is just as important to familiarize oneself with what kind of treatment is available. So that somebody understands their need for help, a person must first communicate their love and understanding for the one affected. These people require real love and compassion. This begins first with understanding. 

Once you’ve approached someone struggling from substance abuse in a caring manner and they’re ready to receive treatment, then it’s time to explore your options. Thankfully, at Granite, we offer a wide variety of treatment options to meet your loved one’s needs. 

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient care is used to treat serious cases of addiction. This treatment includes 24/7 access to medical personnel if the need arises, allows the patient to live in the care of one of our treatment facilities and lasts anywhere from 28 days to six months. If your loved one suffers from a serious addiction, Granite’s inpatient treatment program may be for them.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient care is a recovery method that gives patients access to professional psychiatrists and therapists anywhere from 10-12 hours weekly. Designed to treat mild cases of addiction, patients can recover with minimal disruption to their daily lives as this method allows them to be treated while living in their own homes. This treatment option is extremely convenient for those who have a mild case of addiction and need to stick around their home to support themselves or their families.


Detox from drugs and alcohol could include the following symptoms:

  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Seizures 
  • Nausea or vomiting

Cutting somebody off completely from drugs or alcohol who have been addicted for quite some time can lead to serious withdrawal. Drug cravings are extremely difficult to overcome and can have a frightening impact on someone who struggles with addiction. Medically assisted treatment (MAT) uses medicine wean a patient off of drugs or alcohol in a more comfortable way than cold-turkey.


Therapy in addiction treatment helps patients evaluate their past with substance abuse, and also shapes their attitudes towards it in a more positive direction. The goal is to improve the way they cope with their drug cravings by providing them with skills that encourage self-control.

Moving Forward

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, then it may be time to seek out professional help. Throughout the recovery process, Granite’s philosophy is to guide those who wrestle with addiction to a place of sobriety and stability. We do this with the help of specially trained professionals who are experts in all of the treatment methods mentioned above. If you are interested in what Granite can offer you as far as a patient’s recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is concerned, contact us here, or call us at (877) 338-6287.









Five Ways to Convince Someone Go To Rehab

Living with addiction is difficult, and every individual approaches the reality of it in different ways. Some people know they need to find help but are reluctant to do so, and some even deny that there is a problem altogether. This makes recovery difficult not only for them but for those that love them as well. That’s why their support system must find them the help they need in the most loving way possible.

For anybody struggling with their problems, the truth can be an unfamiliar friend. They may have cut ties with that friend altogether. In these cases, their best shot at moving on to a life of stability are their loved ones. 

As a family member or loved one, it takes an insurmountable amount of effort to conquer the hill that is convincing somebody that they need help. This could be because they’re denying that there is even a problem, to begin with, or because they simply fear the concept of rehab. Either way, there’s no denying that this is a difficult task to accomplish.

To convince somebody that they need help, a person must first make up in their minds that the goal is not to deceive that person into thinking they care. That is manipulative behavior that will only be a set-back for those that need help. 

These people need love – not fake love, but actual love. This begins with understanding somebody first. That is the first of five ways to help somebody recover before rehab even begins

1. Understand

To understand somebody, especially one that is dealing with something as difficult as addiction, one must first listen to and validate them. They don’t need to be responded to; chances they are hearing enough critique from their heads. However, even if they aren’t aware that their substance abuse is an issue, they still deserve to be understood. 

Addiction is simply a symptom of a greater cause. That being said, it’s better to first identify the core of the disease rather than to try and alleviate the effects of it. If this can be done, the disease can be cured. To do this, one must first sit down with the one directly affected and hear their hearts.

In most cases of addiction, an addict’s disorder is the result of a more significant problem such as depression, anxiety, or even peer pressure. In this case, it’s better to dissect the side-effect that is an addiction and find the root cause. When this is done, the person involved will realize how much you truly care for them. Caring enough to listen is often all they need to be convinced of. Most often, people just want to be heard.

Opening up to somebody, especially a loved one, can be very difficult. This is due in large part to the vulnerability of it all. These people need to know that you can be trusted. This is why it’s important to communicate to them that you understand without explicitly saying, “I understand.”

Communicating Effectively

Some ways to communicate effectively include the following:

  • Asking Questions: Unless somebody is attending a convention, the last thing they want is for somebody to give long-winded, unsolicited advice. This is why it’s imperative to talk as little as possible. To do this, ask open-ended questions. This gives them a chance to process their thoughts externally.
  • Comprehension: Actively comprehending what somebody is saying is key to communicating effectively. If you do this, you’ll be able to understand responses and ask even deeper questions, which will allow someone to process their thoughts even further. This will allow you to understand a person completely.
  • Repetition: It is imperative that whenever somebody makes a statement or answers a question, you repeat what you think you heard back to them. This allows them to confirm whatever it is that they’ve said and also shows them that you are listening to and affirming them.
  • Body language: Communicating understanding with your body is a significant part of active listening. It’s just as important as any of the skills mentioned above. Maintaining eye contact and keeping a relaxed posture in a circumstance such as this will help somebody feel as though they are free to communicate openly and honestly.

Communication is difficult to perfect. This is likely because humans naturally have a hard time doing it well; it’s in our nature. That’s not to say that it’s a skill that can’t be mastered, it’s just one of the more difficult skills to learn. However, if you hold to these principles of effective communication, you can be sure that you’ve displayed your understanding effectively, and thus gained the trust of whomever you’re speaking with.

2. Talk to Somebody

After talking with someone struggling with addiction, it is imperative that you seek wise counsel, or even just somebody willing to listen to you. There will likely be a lot of information going through your head, and it may even feel as though the world is crashing in around you. In times of crisis such as these, it is perfectly normal to feel that way. 

The reality of substance abuse is that it doesn’t only affect those addicted; it affects everybody that surrounds them as well. Addiction is such a messy disease, that it stains the entire fabric of a person’s social circle, not just the sleeve of the individual. 

Admitting that you need somebody to understand you is just as important as understanding those struggling with addiction. Processing your own emotions will enable you to help those affected by substance abuse; chances are, you also need to be validated and affirmed. Often, watching a loved one struggle with substance abuse can open up a vacuum for depression or anxiety to form. This is why it is important to exercise self-care before you try and care for somebody else.

3. Do Your Research

When trying to lead someone away from the harmful nature of substance abuse, one must educate themselves on recovery properly. Before action is taken, understanding the specific needs of the individual is necessary to close the gap between addiction and recovery. Knowing the difference between inpatient care, outpatient care, detox treatment, and general therapy is imperative in addressing the needs of a specific individual.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient care is designed to treat more serious cases of addiction. This particular treatment, lasting anywhere from 28 days to six months, allows a patient to live at a care facility as well as receive 24/7 access to medical personnel if they should need it. 

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient care is another recovery method lasting anywhere from one month to over three years and is specifically designed to treat mild addiction. Patients in an outpatient program can recover with minimal disruption to the flow of their daily lives. Patients have access to psychiatrists and therapists anywhere from 10-12 hours weekly. 


Detox from drugs and alcohol could include, but is not limited to the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Seizures 
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea or vomiting

Cutting off somebody who struggles with addiction can lead to serious withdrawal. Drug cravings are incredibly difficult to conquer and can have a detrimental impact on an addict. Medically assisted treatment (MAT) uses medicine to comfortably wean a patient off of drugs or alcohol.


Therapy approaches addiction treatment by helping patients evaluate their experience with drug or alcohol abuse, and help shape their attitudes towards it in a new direction. It also aims to improve the way they cope with and control their drug cravings by providing them with skills that encourage self-control.

4. Schedule an Intervention

Interventions are imperative to the progress of addiction treatment. This is because it brings the issue to a loved one’s attention from multiple points of view. A skilled professional must be also involved so that they can help mediate the conversation. The overall goal is to communicate the effect their addiction is having on themselves and those surrounding them. 

Sometimes the reality of substance abuse can be frightening, and it can even seem hopeless. Most often, people ultimately want their loved one’s mind to be changed immediately, but this should never be the goal (at least initially). It is imperative that family or loved one’s share how they’ve been affected by the person’s addiction.

5. Lead With Compassion

Addiction is a disease; there’s no question about it. As such, it should be treated with care and compassion. The ugly reality of it all is that somebody has arrived at this place as a result of ill-informed decisions. For whatever reason, they believe that drug use could help a larger issue they’re dealing with. 

Those struggling with addiction already want help, they’re just looking in the wrong place. It is imperative that you understand this because once that becomes clear, you can then guide them towards receiving the right help. Your compassion will show them that you truly care and want them to recover from whatever is causing them to abuse drugs or alcohol.

People want to know that others care for them. With some, it’s not as evident, but everybody wants to know that they’re not alone. Practicing compassion and grace with those who wrestle with substance abuse could mean the difference between avoiding help and pursuing it.

Granite Can Help

If a loved one is struggling with addiction, it could be time to practice the five steps mentioned above. Throughout the recovery process, Granite’s philosophy is to help those who struggle with substance abuse pursue a life of purpose and stability with the help of our trained professionals. If you are interested in what Granite can offer for your recovery needs, contact us here, or call us at (877) 338-6287.








You’ve Relapsed on Opiates, Now What’s the Next Step?

Does a Relapse Mean the Treatment Failed?

Of course not. The chronic nature of addiction means that for some people relapse, or a return to drug use after an attempt to stop, can be part of the process.

Opioid dependence is a common relapsing condition.  People do well if they stay in treatment and if they are compliant.  Longer treatment is consistent with better outcomes.  Abstinence rates after completion of treatment vary widely, but between 60-85 percent are back using heroin within 6 months. 

Relapse rates for people treated for substance use disorders are 40-60 percent, compared to 50-70 percent for people with high blood pressure and asthma.  Relapse is common and similar across these illnesses. Therefore, substance use disorders should be treated like any other chronic illness.  Relapse serves as a sign for resumed, modified, or new treatment.

While relapse is a normal part of recovery, for some drugs, it can be very dangerous—even deadly. If a person uses as much of the drug as they did before quitting, they can easily overdose because their bodies will not tolerate their previous level of drug exposure.

Why Did I Relapse?

It is very common for addicts to relapse at least once during recovery and some fall off the wagon several times before getting clean for the last time. Relapse happens for a variety of reasons, but one of the major ones is an individual’s perception of having gained more control and a desire to test it out.

Their thinking maybe something along the lines of “I know I struggled with heroin (or another drug) in the past, but this time I know I can control my  use and stop before the situation gets out of hand.” Other reasons for relapse may include:

  •         Thinking “one last time can’t hurt.
  •         An inability to cope with stress (often caused by conflicts at work, home or within a relationship) without the use of drugs.
  •         Difficulty managing physical and/or emotional pain without the use of drugs.
  •         Substituting one drug for another.
  •         Difficulty addressing triggers (places, people and objects associated with former use) and cravings.
  •         An intentional overdose to end one’s life.

An addiction specialist or another mental health professional can help you develop coping mechanisms.

Key Strategies

According to Therese Borchard, editor at PsychCentral, HealthCentral, and a contributor to PBS.org, there are 7 key strategies to help you recover from a relapse. She reports that these, along with therapy, have helped her get through relapse recovery

  1.   Listen to the right people.  You are really not stupid, ugly, weak, or pathetic. Unfortunately, the person telling you that is probably you.  Affirm to yourself that you aren’t any of those things.
  2.   Make time to cry.  Your body purges toxins when you cry.  Release all your emotions and cry like a baby.
  3.   Ditch the self-help.  Self-help books can be helpful for a person with mild to moderate addiction or depression.  With severe depression and a crippling addiction, you need the help of professionals and specialists.
  4.   Distract yourself.  Do mindless things like word puzzles and reading trashy novels.
  5.   Look for signs of hope.  Occupy yourself with looking for signs that there is hope left in the world.  Whatever that sign may be for you.
  6.   Say yes anyway.  Always say yes to an invitation out.  Don’t isolate yourself.
  7.   Break your day into moments.  Most addicts would agree that “a day at a time” doesn’t cut it.  That’s way too long. Break the day into shorter “moments.” Whatever you feel you can handle.

What are Behavioral Therapies?

Science has taught us that stress triggers linked to drug use (people, places, things, and moods), and contact with drugs are the most common causes of relapse.  Scientists have been developing therapies to interfere with these triggers to help patients stay in recovery. 

  •    Cognitive-behavioral therapy:  This therapy seeks to help patients recognize, avoid, and cope with situations in which they’re most likely to use drugs.
  •    Contingency management:  Uses positive reinforcement such as providing rewards or privileges for remaining drug-free, for attending and participating in counseling sessions, or for taking treatment medications as prescribed.
  •   Motivational enhancement therapy:  Uses strategies to make the most of people’s readiness to change their behavior and enter treatment.
  •  Family therapy:  Helps people (especially young people) with drug use problems, as well as their families, address influences on drug use patterns and improve overall family functioning.
  •   Twelve-step facilitation (TSF):  An individual therapy typically delivered in 12 weekly sessions to prepare people to become engaged in 12-step support programs.  Twelve-step programs are not medical treatments but provide social and complementary support to those treatments.

What Opioids are You Using?

Opioid addiction is second only to amphetamines in terms of illegal drug dependence worldwide.  Interestingly, there has been a shift in the type of opioids associated with addiction.  Abuse of illicit opioids such as heroin now represents a small proportion of opioid abuse. Prescription pain medications, such as OxyContin (oxycodone) and Vicodin (hydrocodone) are now among the most abused opioid-based drugs.

Dependence on and abuse of prescription opioid drugs is now a major health problem with prescription opioid abuse exceeding cocaine abuse in young people.  Opiate dependence is less prevalent in the general population than nicotine or alcohol dependence but represents a severe public health problem because it runs the course of medical and psychosocial dysfunction and high mortality rates.

Depression and Relapse

Opioid dependence is a complicated disorder in which multiple factors interact to influence addiction and relapse.  Negative emotional states such as anger, frustration, depression, and boredom are associated with the highest rate of relapse.  Researchers have found that depression is a significant risk factor for relapse after inpatient detoxification as it may lead to self-medication.  Major depressive disorder may become a conditional cue for drug use during abstinence.

Four hundred sixty-six patients were studied for one year. Every two weeks the patients were interviewed using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale.  The relapsed and non-relapsed groups were compared. Both showed a high average depression score throughout the one-year of follow-up. But the relapsed group had an average score that was almost double that of the other group.  Very severe depression was seen in more than 16 percent of the relapsed group and was absent in the non-relapsed group. 

The researchers concluded that regular screening for depression is needed during the post-detox period, and timely intervention may prevent a relapse. A study found a 30-50 percent decrease in depression rating score from day one of abstinence to the end of the second week.

What Can be Done to Help Reduce the Risk of Relapse?

A new study by  Dr. Joshua Lee published in the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists report on the results of the first study to look at an approved drug, naltrexone, for treating opiate dependence.  The team of researchers looked at the possibility that an extended-release version of naltrexone, a once-monthly injection, could help those in recovery to stay off opiates. “This buys people some time, it’s an insurance policy against relapse,” says Lee. 

The effects, however, last only as long as the people continue getting the injections. When Lee’s team looked at how the two groups (those receiving the injections of naltrexone and those who weren’t) were doing six months and a year after the last treatment, they found that the differences between the two had disappeared.  To prevent relapse, the injections would need to continue.

While some start on methadone or buprenorphine, eventually many stop taking the daily medications or are interested in finding non-opiate ways to recover, such as naltrexone.

Depending on your situation, reducing your risk of relapse might include the following:

  •  Taking medications for underlying conditions
  • Speaking to a therapist on a regular basis
  • Adopting mindfulness techniques, such as meditation

Can a Phone App Really Help?

Hey, Charlie is a phone app that was conceived at a 2016 Massachusetts Institute of Technology “health hackathon.”  The aim of the app is to help people avoid environmental triggers that might threaten their recovery from opioid addiction.  The app monitors a user’s contacts and location and sends pop-up notifications to caution them about risky acquaintances or neighborhoods.

“People and places can remind you of using drugs and stress you out,” said Emily Lindemer, co-founder of Hey, Charlie.  This app chimes in with a different reminder: recovery.  It helps them keep their sobriety at the front of their minds.”  Even for those who receive medication-assisted treatment, “you live your life doing normal things and you still have to battle these constant environmental triggers,” she said.

What Should I Do Now?

Managing relapse is part of the long-term strategy of drug recovery. This means that the solutions are both immediate and focused on long-term behavioral changes.

Asking for help is an important first step. Call upon your previously agreed on a support network,  friends, and family members Seek medical support. Pick up the phone and call (877) 338-6287 to speak to a specialist. At Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, we understand addiction, relapse, and recovery.

Your Granite Mountain doctor, counselor, or therapist can help you find the right mix of medication and psychological help.  It can take time to find the right mix of strategies; there is no “quick fix” to some of the underlying issues like depression or bipolar disease.   

Because addiction can affect so many aspects of a person’s life, treatment must address the needs of the whole person to be successful. Counselors may select from a menu of services that meet the specific medical, mental, social, occupational family, and legal needs of their patients to help in their recovery.

Our goal is to set you up for success.  You need to believe that you can succeed and transform your life.  Our addiction specialists understand because they have been through it just like you.  Call (877)338-6287, or you can reach out by contacting us here.  









Polysubstance Abuse

The Vicious Cycle of Polysubstance Abuse

What is Polysubstance abuse?

Polysubstance abuse is exactly what it sounds like.  Polysubstance dependence refers to a type of substance dependence disorder in which an individual uses at least three different classes of substances indiscriminately and does not have a favorite drug that qualifies for dependence on its own.  Although any combination of three drugs can be used, studies have shown that alcohol is commonly used with another substance.

Polysubstance dependence is listed as a substance disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV TR), which is used by mental health professionals to diagnose mental disorders.  When an individual meets criteria for dependence on a group of substances (at least three used in the same 12-month period) he or she is given the diagnosis of polysubstance dependence.

For example, an individual may use cocaine, sedatives, and alcohol without any “drug of choice” for a year or more. The individual may not meet the criteria for cocaine dependence, sedative dependence, or alcohol dependence but may meet the criteria for substance dependence when all three drugs are considered as a group. 

Dangers of Polysubstance Use

While the combination of certain substances can enhance the desired effects, polysubstance abuse also enhances the negative effects of each drug.  According to the University of Michigan, mixing drugs can bring unpredictable consequences. This means that users can not predict the array and severity of negative consequences that could result.

The Effect on Learning Ability

The effect of polysubstance dependence on learning ability is an area of interest to researchers.  A study involving 63 polysubstance dependent women and 46 control participants (not using drugs) used the Benton Visual Retention Test and the California Verbal Learning Test to look at visual memory and verbal ability.  The study showed that in the substance-dependent women, verbal learning ability was significantly decreased, though visual memory was not affected. Besides, alcohol and cocaine use led to more severe issues with verbal learning, recall, and recognition.

Certain drugs were associated with particular mental functions, but the researchers found that the impairments for working memory and reasoning were caused by the misuse of multiple substances.

Short-term and Long-term Effects

Specific short-term and long-term effects related to polysubstance abuse will differ according to the drugs that are being combined.  However, there are some general dangers associated with polysubstance abuse. These include:

  • Increased severity of side effects:   All drugs have the potential for negative side effects but when substances are combined, the side effects are increased exponentially.  It isn’t as simple as 1+1=2. The substances combine to cause addictive effects which are usually unique and more severe than the separate effects of each drug.  More like 1+1=100.  
  • Acute health problems: The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction has found that drug interactions can reduce metabolism which increases the blood concentration of the substances used which boosts the toxicity of the drugs.  Other diseases and disorders are more common in those who abuse multiple substances. Hepatitis C is often seen in heavy drinkers who inject drugs, and tobacco smokers who use cocaine are more at risk for myocardial infarction.
  • Overdose:  Overdose is always a possibility with any kind of substance abuse but when multiple substances are used the risk is heightened.  Since certain substances mask the effects of other substances, users often take more than they would because they don’t feel the effects of one of the drugs.  This can easily result in an overdose.
  • Complicated treatment:  Overdose from multiple drugs is more difficult to treat.  An overdose of opiates can be treated with the quick use of Naloxone, it may not be effective if the overdose is due to overdose of other substances as well.
  • Complications due to co-occurring mental health issues: When a substance use disorder occurs along with another mental health disorder, the user is more likely to engage in polysubstance abuse. The drug abuse worsens the symptoms of the mental disorder which worsens the drug abuse. 

Gender Matters

Women and men differ when it comes to addictions.  Research has shown that women are more likely to be polysubstance dependent.  A larger percentage of women abuse legal drugs such as tranquilizers, sedatives’ and stimulants.  Men, on the other hand, are more likely to abuse illegal drugs such as cocaine, meth, and other street drugs. Women addicts more frequently have a family history of drug abuse and describe their addiction as a sudden where men describe their onset of drug use as gradual.

Females have a higher percentage of fatty tissues and a lower percentage of body water than men. This slows the absorption rates of drugs, which means these substances are at a higher concentration in a woman’s bloodstream. Women addicts are at a greater risk for fatty liver disease, hypertension, anemia, and other disorders.


The DSM-IV TR states that three or more of the following symptoms must occur at any time in a 12-month period in order to meet diagnostic criteria for substance dependence.

  • Tolerance:  The individual either has to use increasingly higher amounts of the drugs at any time during the 12 months or finds that the same amount of the drug has much less of an effect.
  • Withdrawal:  The individual either experiences the withdrawal symptoms when he stops using drugs or may begin using drugs to lessen the withdrawal symptoms.
  • Loss of control:  The individual either repeatedly uses more drugs than planned or uses drugs over longer periods of time.
  • Inability to stop using:  The individual has either unsuccessfully attempted to cut down or stop using, or has a persistent desire to stop using.
  • Time:  The individual spends a lot of time obtaining drugs, using drugs, being under the influence of drugs or recovering from the effects of drugs.
  • Interference with activities: The individual either gives up or reduces the amount of time engaged in hobbies, social activities or occupational activities because of the use of drugs.
  • Harm to self:  The individual continues to use drugs despite having either a physical or psychological problem that is caused by or made worse by the drugs.

The Alcohol Connection

Although any combination of three drugs can be used, studies have shown that alcohol is commonly used with another substance. This is supported by one study on polydrug use that separated participants who used multiple substances into groups based on their preferred drug.  The three substances were cocaine, alcohol, and heroin, which implies that those three are very popular. 

Opiates, cannabis, amphetamines, and inhalants are often used in combination as well.  The results of a long-term study led the researchers to observe that using one drug excessively increased the probability of excessive using another drug.

The University of  Michigan’s research found that reports of prescription drug abuse were 18 times higher in participants who were dependent on alcohol.  Alcohol is often mixed with prescription opiates like Vicodin and OxyContin. It’s also commonly combined with stimulants like Ritalin and anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax.  Mixing alcohol with prescription drugs can lead to dangerous interactions and potentially life-threatening results.  

Cocaine and alcohol are commonly combined.  When a cocaine user drinks alcohol, the amount of cocaine in their system increases by 30%.  A metabolite is produced that stays in the bloodstream longer which causes their heart rate and blood pressure to increase.  The person may then consume more alcohol because the cocaine reduces the perception of the alcohol’s effects which sets up the possibility of alcohol poisoning. 

Research Regarding the Causes of Polysubstance Dependence Include:

  • Biological—There is data to support that some genes contribute to substance abuse. A problem with this study is that alcohol is commonly used with other drugs, so the results may not have been caused by a single substance.
  • Socio-cultural (social causes)—Some studies have shown that adolescents have one of the highest rates of polysubstance dependence.  One study shows that this population, ages 12-25 accounts for about half of the nation’s illegal drug users. Some of these young people start using drugs to fit in. After a while, they start to develop a tolerance for these substances and experience withdrawal if they don’t have enough substances in their system.
  • Psychological—A 1989 study found that 93% of an opioid-dependent sample group had a simultaneous (comorbid) disorder, which implies that the comorbid disorder plays a role in addiction. It was also shown that depression and polysubstance abuse are often both present at the same time.  

Clearly, care should be taken to look into a dual diagnosis with any addiction.  As with any course of treatment, it is important to identify the root cause of the polysubstance abuse.  By exploring the underlying causes of the addiction, it is possible to get the patient on a clear path to sobriety.

Does Abstinence Matter In Polysubstance Abuse?

The results showed that neuropsychological ability did not improve with increases in the length of time abstinent. This suggests that polysubstance dependence leads to serious impairment which cannot be recovered much over a year. 

Researchers set out to answer this question by testing 207 polysubstance dependent men.  They used the BVRT for testing visual memory, the CVLT for verbal memory, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale vocabulary portion for knowledge of words along with other tests used to test inhibition, abstract reasoning, and attention. 

Detox in Cases of Polysubstance Abuse

If you or a loved one are showing signs of polysubstance addiction, finding treatment is the best thing you can do. Since detox in the case of multiple substance abuse is more complicated, inpatient medical detox is generally recommended.  With medical detox clients are supervised 24 hours a day by medical professionals. This ensures continuous monitoring of vital signs and prompt action should any medical emergencies occur. Physicians often administer medications to counteract certain withdrawal symptoms such as nausea and mood fluctuations.

In some cases, long-term maintenance medications may be administered.  For example, if a person was regularly abusing painkillers like Vicodin along with cocaine, medical staff may give a replacement medication such as methadone to ease the severity of the opioid withdrawal. 

Due to the unpredictability of withdrawal from multiple substances, continual monitoring is always needed.  And the continual support and encouragement in medical detox increase the chance of successful withdrawal.

Is Polysubstance Dependence Treatable?

It is complicated but it is treatable. While detox is an important first step to recovery, it is not an effective treatment on its own.  It must be followed up with a comprehensive addiction treatment program that primarily includes therapy.

The most common forms of treatment for polysubstance dependence include:

  • In and out-patient treatment centers
  • Counseling and behavioral treatments
  • Medication

An in-patient treatment center is a facility where addicts move to the facility while they are undergoing treatment.  They offer a safe environment where patients will not be exposed to situations that could potentially harm their endeavors to become sober. Inpatient treatment for polysubstance dependent patients sees a much higher success rate. 

Inpatients usually undergo detoxification under medical supervision in the treatment center. During their time in the center, patients learn to manage and identify their drug addictions and to find ways to cope with whatever is the cause of their addiction.

Outpatient treatments offer many of the same activities that are offered in an inpatient facility, but the patient is not protected by the secure environment.  The patient usually continues to hold a job and goes to treatment nightly.

Twelve-step programs are offered in both in-and outpatient treatment.  They offer meetings were members can discuss their experiences in non-judgemental and supportive surroundings.

Patients are also offered one-on-one counseling sessions and cognitive behavioral therapy.  The goal of CBT is to identify the needs that the addictions are being used to meet and develop skills and alternative ways of meeting those needs.  Patients are taught how to identify harmful thoughts and drug cravings.

Medications can be very helpful in the long term treatment of polysubstance dependence. Medications are a useful aid in helping to prevent or reduce drug cravings and prevent relapse.  It is not as useful as the sole treatment method.


Recovery from multiple drug abuse is possible but it is a serious and complicated process. That loss of control you feel, or that you are witnessing in your loved one can be brought back into control and the person who is determined to get help has made a very important first step.  Contact us at 877-338-6287.







Getting help for Opioid Addiction

Identifying the Signs of Opioid Abuse and How to Encourage Someone to Go Get Help

One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with drug addiction is how it affects an individual physically and psychologically. Opioid addiction affects not only the addict but everyone in their circle. 

Admitting or identifying the signs of when the addictive cycle has grabbed ahold of you or a loved one’s life is a hard pill to swallow, and one that is often hard for people to solve on their own. 

In other words, this tendency to want to see the best in those we love is a natural tendency.  However, when dealing with addiction it makes the identification of a potential or actual addiction issue even harder for one to spot.

Denial is one of the main risk factors of addiction and is what mainly stops a person from getting the professional help that they need. This is often because the person struggling does not believe that there is help available, and most likely has not found the right resources or places to reach out to. 

We want you to know that access to high-quality treatment is available. There are locations near you that are ready to help people suffering from addiction recovery and get back control over their lives. 

The addiction specialists at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, strive to educate people on the disease of substance abuse to show that getting help will not only save their lives but help encourage others to do the same. 

We help to identify the signs of drug addiction, with the main goal of breaking this ongoing epidemic through our substance abuse programs, especially for opioid use. 

Breaking The Stigma Of Addiction

Today, it is very common for our community to view addiction as a moral failing on the part of the addict. This is an outmoded view of substance use disorder and has no clinical or medical support. If however we were taught this view of addiction it can be easy to view our loved ones as failing in some respect or as having a moral or constitutional shortcoming. 

Addiction is not a shortcoming, it is a disease that affects millions of people worldwide. In other words, while an addict makes a conscious choice to take drugs and alcohol, it is not their choice or goal to become addicted. The chemicals released in the brain influence the body to become dependent on these substances. As a result, the mind becomes controlled by its addictive nature.

There is no doubt that addiction has a cultural stigma associated with it that needs to end. Just because someone becomes an addict, does not mean they are a bad person. It is not a matter of lack of willpower or moral compass, it is again a disease that takes complete control over one’s life, almost like a possession.  

This stigma surrounding addiction and mental health is counterproductive and is a major factor that is preventing individuals from getting the treatment that they need. It is doing way more harm than good. 

A study done by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health demonstrated that the general public was more likely to have negative attitudes towards those dealing with drug addiction than those with mental illness.

We live in a society where millions of Americans are addicted to drugs and alcohol, but sadly, due to many factors, only a small percentage receive treatment at a rehab facility. However, by far, research shows that this burden and stigma placed on those suffering, assuming that they wanted the burden of addiction placed on them, is killing people. 

While accepting that you need help is hard in addition to finding a facility to accommodate one’s needs, not seeking treatment because of feeling immense societal pressure. The main point to drive home is that becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol can happen to anyone. Stigma affects all of us, and the statistics show that we can all do a better job of decreasing this stigma around drug addiction and mental illness. 

Remember, that many people are suffering just like you or your loved one. We don’t view people with cancer or other diseases as burdens, and therefore, addiction should only be viewed as a horrible consequence of a harmful choice, not that a person is bad and deserves it. 

Needing and wanting to get help are two different things. Although, for someone to acknowledge that they need to make a major change in their lives to avoid overdose or death, is a huge first step, and one that can save their life. Therefore, empathy, compassion, and support are crucial in this process. 

Spotting The Signs Of Opioid Addiction

Opioids are potent prescription painkillers such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine, and many others. The street drug heroin is also classified as an opiate. These drugs are extremely strong and addictive, and research has shown that addiction to opioids due to overdose has killed more people than car crashes. 

Opioid use has become a worldwide epidemic, and therefore, as with cancer and other life-threatening diseases, the sooner we can identify a potential substance abuse such as opioid use disorder (OUD) as it develops, the closer we will be to ending this severe ongoing prescription drug problem. Most importantly, early detection will also help to ensure that people receive the treatment that they need, to have a successful recovery and achieve long-term sobriety. 

However, with other chronic illnesses, the sufferer once diagnosed freely admits they have a problem. For those with a substance use disorder, especially with opioids, this is almost always not the case.

For people with addiction, there is an inability of the suffer to admit they have a problem. Therefore, it is important to find resources that can help spot the signs of opioid addiction before it is too late. 

There are many early signs and symptoms of opioid addiction, and addiction in general, that could prove useful for the loved ones of anyone currently using opioids and other addictive substances. 

The Signs of Opioid Addiction Include:

  1. Loss of control over the amount of a substance consumed
  2. Unexplained or excessive absences from work or school 
  3. An extreme change in behavior, resulting in negative consequences at work and school
  4. Extreme mood changes and increased levels of stress
  5. Loss of interest in hobbies and activities that used to be important
  6. Withdrawal from friend and family relationships
  7. Important engagements are not attended or fulfilled
  8. The individual continues to use despite consequences
  9. Drug and alcohol us a consistent topic of conversation
  10. Disrupted sleep patterns (Sleeps far more or far less than usual)
  11. Persistent financial problems due to buying opioids 
  12. Rapid weight loss

The above list is not meant to be inclusive of every possible scenario. Everyone and their case of addiction are different. The list above is meant to give a rough picture of the emotional, mental, and behavioral changes that can be an early sign of an opioid use disorder.  If you are concerned that a loved one may be suffering from this type of drug addiction, it is important to seek a consultation with a qualified professional immediately. 

How to Discuss Treatment Options With A Loved One

While it is true that we can never make someone do something they don’t want to do, in the case of addiction, sometimes things have to happen in order for it to get better. Therefore, it is important to discuss treatment with your loved one, despite how hard it may be. 

As mentioned before, the bad news is that only one in three people tend to seek help for addiction. Research shows that these are the people that most likely need it the most, but don’t for various reasons. 

One major reason people don’t seek help is due to self-reliance. This is something that is embedded in our psyche, but in the case of addiction, self-reliance becomes an issue. When a disease such as addiction takes control, it does in all aspects of a person’s life. 

Dependency is the opposite of self-reliance, and when someone is sick, most likely they either don’t realize they need help or want to, but can’t due to certain things burdening them. Many people who are sick have a lack of insight and simply do not think they are sick. This is why, oftentimes, it takes the good people in their lives to guide them back to reality, even though it is difficult. 

Stigma is a huge factor in why people don’t receive help, as they often feel ashamed, embarrassed, and weak to admit it, due to the skewed perception and cruelty of society. A person with an addiction to opioids is not a burden. 

While it was a choice to take these harmful substances despite the consequences, wanting to become addicted to them was not a choice. Addicts need help, and should not feel like they can’t receive it. 

This is why it is crucial for friends and family to step in to help their loved ones realize that they need to seek treatment, but without meddling. Rather than meddling, people on the outside have the opportunity and power to save someone’s life. 

Here are the steps you can take to help your loved one seek professional treatment:

  1. Let your loved ones know that you would like to have an important conversation with them, but only when it is a good time and place.
  2. During the conversation speak firmly, but approach your loved one or friend with empathy. Remember that they are struggling, so, support and understanding are what matters most. For example, you may say, “I know this is extremely hard for you, but I’m talking to you about your struggles with pain and the medication you are taking because I love you. If I didn’t care, we wouldn’t be having this talk.” Be prepared for the person to be upset, and try to not get defensive. Use statements with “I” in it, such as “I am concerned for and about you.” Don’t ever use words like crazy or abnormal.
  3. Facilitate the process by finding a professional and scheduling an appointment at the rehab facility. Even if they refuse to go, you should still meet with the doctor or specialists to be prepared and one step ahead. Then, you can talk to your loved ones and all the ways it could help them. 
  4. Tell them that rehab isn’t a place that will suffocate them, but a place of love and support surrounded by people who are sorting out similar things. Remind them that while they took bad substances, it is not their fault, and they will recover from this, but with hard work and determination. Most, importantly that they will be supported every step of the way. These words will most likely generate some motivation to get help, even with some reluctance at first. 

Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare Can Help

If you find yourself wondering if you or someone you love has a substance abuse problem, specifically with opioids, please reach out to the specialists of Granite Mountain BHC right away.  We can provide an evaluation that may save years of heartache for your loved one and your family, and in many cases may save his or her life. Contact us today by calling (877) 389-0412. We are here to help. 


The Importance of Medically-Assisted Treatment

For many people suffering from addiction, particularly drugs, and alcohol, admitting they need treatment often is a hard pill to swallow. However, when this life-saving decision is made, the first step of this comprehensive process is called detoxification, or formerly known as Medically-Assisted Treatment (MAT). It is important to note that detox is not a replacement for treatment, but a crucial first stage of the recovery process.

When someone is addicted to prescription painkillers such as opioids, or other drugs such as alcohol, the brain and body become negatively affected by these substances when abused. When someone has substance abuse issues, their body reacts differently. 

With every dose or drink, the body becomes dependent or tolerant of the chosen substance. While addiction is a disease, just like cancer and diabetes, there is no cure, and therefore, requires professional help to treat it.  

Here at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare in Prescott Valley, AZ, we believe in saving people’s lives through Medically-Assisted Treatment (MAT). MAT aims to make detoxification safer and more manageable, and most importantly, lower the rate of relapse and deaths due to overdose.  

The First Step: Detoxification 

Medical detoxification is a process of eliminating and removing the addictive substance from the body. Done in an inpatient or outpatient rehab setting, the purpose of detox is to prepare an individual for recovery, and most importantly, help patients overcome physical dependency. 

For those who have substance abuse, their systems have already been accustomed to functioning with drugs and alcohol. In other words, their organs and brain have figured out ways to accommodate and flush these chemicals from the body. The process of detoxification is used to reverse that dependency. However, once this addictive substance has been removed through this process of detoxification, the body doesn’t adjust as quickly. 

What to Expect During Detox

Everyone and their addiction stories are different, and therefore, treatment options will vary, as each individual has different and specific needs and issues that need to be tended to. How long a person spends in a rehabilitation program depends on the frequency of use, underlying medical conditions, the use of single or multiple substances, and how long has the abuse been occurring.  During the comprehensive intake process, addiction specialists will get to know each patient, including their entire medical history and lifestyle, to fully understand the reasoning behind their addiction, including why and how.

A psychological evaluation is also performed to assess a person’s mental state and history. Oftentimes, people with substance abuse may have also developed a mental disorder, such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. 

Mental health disorders often go undiagnosed which is not beneficial as mental health is a major risk factor and reasoning behind someone’s addiction problems. Evidence shows that people with substance abuse often have a mental disorder, and therefore, abuse drugs and alcohol to rid themselves of their symptoms or suffer from addiction because they have an undiagnosed underlying issue. When substance abuse and a mental disorder occur simultaneously, this is known as dual-diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. 

The detox process helps specialists get a full overview of a person’s life with addiction, making it easier to create an extensive treatment plan tailored to their specific needs. At Granite Mountain, we believe in treating the “whole” person.  Both substance abuse and mental disorders are treated separately, with the hopes of increasing the success rate of one’s recovery. 


Oftentimes, people who want to get help, but don’t know where to start, tend to begin by trying to self-detox, which ends up making matters worse, because it often is not done with the proper methods. Treatment for addiction, especially to drugs and alcohol is not an easy feat by any means, and therefore, requires professional help. Attempting to do it yourself can further health complications, especially during withdrawal.

In other words, while detox is seen as a beneficial process, it also comes with its downfalls. As mentioned above, during detox, substances, commonly drugs and alcohol, are abruptly being forced out of the body more unconventionally, and therefore, due to the body not being used to it, severe unpleasant physical side effects known as withdrawal symptoms occur as a result. These symptoms range from mild to severe, including: 

  • Sweats
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Stomach Pain / Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Lightheaded / Dizziness
  • Headaches

While withdrawal is known to be a necessary, but often brutal part of the detoxification process, it is necessary to prevent complications and manage these symptoms that follow the cessation of drugs and alcohol. 

Patients seeking to detox should not only seek professional treatment but should also be not afraid to talk about their mental health, and what they are feeling during this difficult process. This is easier said than done, as most people do not know that mental health is a crucial part of one’s health, especially during rehabilitation. 

Not only does receiving treatment and detoxing affect a person physically but also psychologically. The physical discomfort of withdrawal can be severe and in some instances, the anguish that is caused to one’s mental being can be too much for some people, resulting in the following: 

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia / Sleeplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Intense cravings 
  • Desire to relapse and use again

So, if you are experiencing mental anguish due to withdrawal, both medical and mental therapeutic support can significantly increase the chances of a successful recovery and reduce the risk of relapse and even death.

What is Medically-Assisted Treatment? 

It is important to note that detoxification is not a cure for addiction and substance abuse. That is why, after the detox process is complete in hopes to reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, it is often recommended that people continued to be monitored and treated.

Aside from therapy and counseling, medications play a major part in the success of treatment for those with substance use disorders (SUD). A major part of addiction is attributed to a person craving their substance of choice. 

When specialists create a treatment plan to commonly treat opioid use disorder (OUD), alcohol use disorder (AUD), and drug addiction, they often factor in how to reduce unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, but also how to tell a person’s brain and body that they will no longer be dependent on and crave these substances. This use of medications within treatment is called Medically-Assisted Treatment (MAT). Question is, what exactly is medically-assisted treatment? 

MAT is very similar to detoxification, as it aims to flush these addictive substances from the body. Although, instead of ridding the body of toxicity to mainly reduce withdrawal symptoms through medication, medically-assisted treatment combines the use of both medication, counseling, and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders. 

People are not commonly addicted to drugs and alcohol, but to opioids too. The abuse of prescription painkillers is on the rise and continues to be a widespread epidemic not only in the United States but worldwide. There are three medications commonly used during MAT to treat substance abuse. These anti-craving medications include: 

  • Methadone: This narcotic is used to treat severe pain. Those with addiction, especially opioid dependence. Used during drug addiction detoxification and maintenance programs,  methadone is taken orally or injected to block the pleasurable effects (euphoria) that these drugs cause. 
  • Naltrexone: For those who are addicted to opioids, such as heroin, and oxycodone, Naltrexone is either taken in pill form or injected. This drug works by blocking opioid receptor sites, and as a result, it reverses the toxic effects of an overdose. 
  • Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is a medication used during MAT that is a more potent and longer-lasting analgesic than morphine. It works by diminishing the effects of physical dependence on opioids, such as withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

As with any disease, the best way to diminish the number of people impacted by drug and alcohol abuse is through education and prevention. 

Benefits of Medically-Assisted Treatment

If a person practices abstinence but ends up relapsing after some time has passed, they are also at high risk of overdosing, because their body is not used to absorbing the same dosage or amount of drug. 

Research has proven that there is always a high risk of relapse during treatment for those suffering from addiction. However, for those receiving treatment with the help of medications, the risk, and probability of relapse greatly decreases. Additional benefits of medically-assisted treatment include: 

  • Expert symptom relief
  • Clean and safe
  • Professional medical help
  • A supportive and therapeutic environment
  • Increases abstinence from opioids 
  • Increases treatment retention 
  • Improves social functioning
  • Reduces the risk of overdose
  • Reduces withdrawal symptoms

Life After Treatment

The treatment journey for those suffering from addiction, especially substance use disorders, is never over. The saying “Once an addict, always an addict” rings true. While in treatment and after one leaves the facility to go to another one or home, it is just another phase in the process. 

As supportive as friends and family may be, trained professionals are the best option to treat addiction, and help with the unique physical and mental after-effects addiction sufferers may experience during or after detox. 

The importance of medical supervision during the beginning of treatment especially, can’t be stressed enough. Medically-assisted treatment (MAT) is known as the safest and best step individual suffering from addiction can take, in hopes to have any chance at recovering, and most importantly, saving their life. 

If you or someone you know requires detox, many facilities can provide the best possible detox options, including medically-assisted treatment.

By using medically-assisted treatment methods during recovery, as a means of opioid detox, during one’s recovery, this will reduce one’s risk of overdose, relapse, and most importantly, death. This support while in treatment is crucial, as these programs provide a source of comfort while adjusting to sober living.

Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare Can Help

Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare located in Prescott Valley, AZ, believes in the use of medically-assisted treatment. This method is best suited for our patients needing treatment for substance abuse, including addiction to alcohol and drugs such as opioids. Our mission is to help our patients throughout all stages of their recovery process, and beyond. 

Through MAT, we aim to achieve long-term sobriety, by treating our patients as a “whole” from beginning to end. In other words, we believe in patient-centered care and treating all aspects of addiction to end substance dependency and the control addiction has over people’s lives. 

By using this evidence-based treatment method involving medications in addition to therapy, has been proven to drastically reduce one’s risk of overdose, relapse, and most importantly, has saved lives. Most importantly, we provide the necessary resources to effectively teach someone how to cope and adjust to their newfound healthy lifestyle and maintain sobriety.  

Know you are not alone, and help is available! If you are ready to take back control over your life and become sober, contact us today at (877) 389-0412.