Managing Impulses in Recovery

Managing Impulses in Recovery

Impulse is often talked about in addiction recovery because it can be hard for individuals to exert self-control with certain stimulations, such as those who’ve battled with substance abuse.  Addiction affects the prefrontal cortex, which influences the way a person makes decisions, speaks, learns, judges and more. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for helping us make rational decisions, but addiction can mix things up as it alters the way a person thinks and makes choices. When this happens, a person is no longer using substances for pleasure – rather, they are seeking out substances because their mind and body feel compelled towards it.

Previous research has explained that addiction causes a person to make choices based on immediate reward, rather than long-term benefits. For years, researchers have tried to explore more the ways that impulsivity occurs when addiction is involved, as this plays a major role in both addiction and recovery. There are three general “types” of impulsivity that people tend to experience in regards to addiction:

·       Impulsive Choice – choosing immediate rewards over longer-term ones

·       Impulsive Action – having trouble with holding off on reacting to something that could bring immediate rewards

·       Impulsive Personality Traits – having a personality trait that coincides with impulsivity

Impulsivity, attention and working memory deficits are common occurrences for people who’ve battled with addiction, and much of this is tied to impulsivity and the way the brain stores memories as a person is going through addiction. Even those who’ve been working hard towards sobriety in addiction recovery may experience issues with impulsiveness, and it’s something to work on every day.

In the past, much research has been done on impulsivity and how it’s experienced with various addictions. A clear example of this is shown with meth addiction, where people often experience much more difficulty with attention and working memory, planning, and organization and mental flexibility compared to people who’ve never struggled with substance abuse.

The effects of addiction, including impulsivity, can weigh heavily on a person’s recovery at times – but it’s truly a process of recovery that involves learning and relearning in order to get back on track.

Those in recovery can benefit from trying out different approaches to combat impulsivitity – and while it may seem uncomfortable at first, it just takes time to develop skills necessary. As time continues and a person keeps working hard towards healing, the brain learns to ask questions, problem solve, weigh out decisions and more, which are tools towards combating relapse and living more mindfully.

Of course, impulsiveness can still rear its head, even for someone who has been working diligently towards their recovery for quite some time. In some moments of vulnerability, we may find that we’re more susceptible to acting on our emotions – and that is when we have to remind ourselves that recovery is a process and that it truly takes some time.

When it comes to relapse prevention, it’s a gradual process. Different stages take place and along with that come with different milestones as it relates to personal, professional and recovery goals. One of the main tools of recovery is cognitive behavioral therapy, where certain skills are focused on for a person to be able to navigate tough situations regarding impulsiveness. A clear example of this includes being confronted by a slew of thoughts of wanting to revert to old habits – cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) then gives the person choices with which to choose from. In this type of instance, a person can think about what they need to do to address the thoughts and feelings that they’re experiencing in the present moment, and then determine what action should be taken that would be most beneficial to them.

Recovery can be challenging, but it’s absolutely worth it if you’re able to gain back some of what you lost when addiction was active. It is never too late.

The Bougainvilla House has created a safe and welcoming environment for adolescents and their families which focuses on helping you overcome your feelings and connect you back to the beauty of the world. With a variety of outpatient treatment options and individualized programs, we are confident we can get you feeling healthy and happy. Call now to find a support that works for you and your family: (954) 764-7337

How Is Social Media Effecting American Teenagers?

For many teenagers, social media is a fun and easy way to stay connected with friends. However, there are dangerous risks in every new profile created. And Child Psychologists are starting to take notice! While there is still much to be learned about the implications of social media, here are the facts…

  • Over 75% of teenagers in the U.S. are using social media. 
  • Over 50% of teenagers in the U.S. use social media on a daily basis. 
  • Over 25% of teenagers in the U.S. are considered “heavy social media users” 

Social Media Is Addicting 

According to scientists, American teenagers are becoming addicted to social media. Why? It’s all about the likes! A study at UCLA observed that likes, especially on personal images, send a positive signal to the reward region of the brain. The brain’s reward region is significantly more sensitive during adolescence, leaving teens vulnerable to the gravitating effects of social media and the risk it poses on their mental health. 

Behavioral Health Risks

At The Bougainvilla House Family Therapy Center, we work closely with our clients to identify and resolve sources of teen anxiety and depression. The 21st Century is a fast-paced and interesting time to grow up in! Phones now serve as mini-computers, social apps connect users with major influencers across the globe, and risky behavior is propagandized throughout every media outlet. 

Now, more than ever, teenagers are pressured to conform their bodies, minds, and habitats to follow mainstream status quo. Furthermore, expecting to capture every moment perfectly, creating virtually appealing posts and avoiding scrutiny from cyber-bullies. Bullying has long threatened the likelihood of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem amongst teens. And social media creates a new platform for bullies to lurk victims and attack users without confrontation. It’s difficult for anyone to handle! 

Working Together 

Social Media is affecting American teenagers in ways we haven’t even begun to measure. While we can’t do much to stop negative user activity, we can teach teenagers how to manage the anxiety they are feeling about their social media. The Bougainvilla House Family Therapy Center helps families to establish healthy routines together and dissolve risks of social media on adolescent behavioral health. 

If your teen is showing signs of socially induced anxiety or depression, please reach out to us. We’re always here to answer your questions. Fill out our online form or call now to schedule an appointment.

⦁ Over 75% of teenagers in the U.S. are using social media.
⦁ Over 50% of teenagers in the U.S. use social media on a daily basis.
⦁ Over 25% of teenagers in the U.S. are considered “heavy social media users”

What is a Community?

There are two popular definitions of the word community. The first is “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” This definition is how perhaps people from the outside might view people who come to a treatment facility. It is definitely true, on the surface, everyone is living there and they are there for the common purpose of beginning recovery from various types of mental health challenges and addiction.

However, at The Bougainvilla House, there is so much more to treatment than just people getting together in a shared space with a common characteristic. The sense of community is maybe not something that is visible on the surface. Rather, it is something that truly binds people together. When we choose recovery, we become more like the second definition, “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.”

More than Commonalities

It would be easy to come together with all that we have in common and just form groups of people in recovery. But recovery isn’t like having a barbecue or other social event. Recovery is where we dig into the depths of our souls. We find the very best and the very worst in ourselves, and everything in between. We suffer physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. And we make life-changing transformations, too.

At The Bougainvilla House, we are never asked to do all of that alone. Amongst the people with which we have both differences and commonalities, we also find fellowship. We are all on this path together, even many of the employees, and so when one of us is suffering, we all suffer. When one of us has a breakthrough, we all rejoice. We cry together, laugh together, and help each other stand when maybe alone we didn’t feel like we could.

Although each of us has our own journey in recovery, it is impossible to do it all on our own. So we reach out to those around us who support us, and we support them. They are people with commonalities and differences, people with strengths and weaknesses, people who have good days and bad. They are just like us and yet different from us, but ultimately, we all share the same goal: to be well. It becomes a fellowship of freedom from our addictions and a family of warriors for life.

Building Relationships in Recovery

Friendships made in recovery are made stronger because of the incredible things we go through during the treatment and recovery process. Also because we are learning to be present, sometimes for the first time, we are able to learn about healthy relationships. We can ask for help, learn to trust, and we can reciprocate help, too. Despite the fact that we are all pretty raw, we can build a support system of friends that we can lean on and they can lean on us.

These friendships are different from some we may have had before because we are all healing together. We all share the same guidelines, we are learning together how to set healthy boundaries. We know better than to be distracted by romantic relationships because we are carefully rebuilding our lives and our hearts. Instead, the relationships we build while starting out in recovery are the kinds of friendships that will fortify us and help us to find our feet again. The kind of friends that we know we could call at any time, and we know they will be there for us.

The Community of Family

Within recovery, those who believe in us, stand by us, and lend us a hand when we think we can’t go on become closer than typical friends, they become like a family. They understand what we have been through, because they have been there, too. They understand where we are at, because they are right here with us, too. And we know they will be a part of our future because together, we are stronger. Not only do they reach out for us to lift us, but we can reach out and help them, too. 

The friends and family we have had prior to recovery may or may not understand us, it may not even be healthy to keep them in our lives. But the family that we make while in recovery will not let us get away with anything, will call us out when we need it, and love us for who we are, no matter what. And we can do the same for them. It is truly a gift in our lives to join this fellowship of wellness.

Do we feel alone and helpless?

At this time of the year, wouldn’t it be nice to become part of something bigger than ourselves? This is the perfect time to recover our lives and give ourselves a new kind of family,  the gift of community.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health challenges and/or addiction, don’t fight it alone.

Call Now: 954-764-7337

Vaping-Related Illness Claim Its First Victims

When kids hit their teen years, they want to be in control. They want to choose everything from their food options, their friends, and of course, their bedtime. They are ready to be adults who are free from their parents’ reign. But when it comes to vaping, there is a touch of irony that seems to be lost on the masses. Kids want to be free yet can’t seem to realize that their rebellious choice to vape is actually another governing body telling them what to do and when. Why? Because vaping is an addictive behavior that aims to control a person’s life.

If you pay attention to the news, you’ve probably seen the latest stories about vaping-related deaths. While the CDC is still investigating the incidents, we know the victims were, in fact, using vaping pens/e-cigarettes. Because vapes are so new, there is limited data surrounding their effects and now, death-related experiences.

What Do We Know?

  • Case 1: An adult male from Illinois died from what the CDC is calling “a vaping-related condition.” They know he suffered from a respiratory issue and passed shortly after.
  • Case 2: A middle-aged person from Oregon died from an e-cigarette illness. The THC oil and pen were both purchased legally from a dispensary. This is the first death related to items purchased from a licensed pot shop.

While these cases were fatal, they are merely a piece to a larger puzzle.  At the beginning of September, the CDC reported “215 possible cases of severe lung disease associated with the use of e-cigarettes” by 25 states. There have also been over 200 cases of vape users who have been suffering from unexplained respiratory issues and other side effects. The CDC has a lot of questions and is launching a full investigation. Are the issues stemming from the THC/nicotine cartridges? Are people mixing other substances? Were these cartridges and devices legally sold, or were they from a second-hand dealer? Without this information, we are sitting in the dark, once again, in a smoking-related conflict.

Bottom Line: Is Vaping Harmful?

If you think back to cigarette marketing in years past, doctors and celebrities willingly advertised the deadly sticks. Cigarettes were popular, but we can’t forget why. They were, and are, marketable and addictive. At the time when cigarettes were starting to take off, researchers didn’t know the full extent to what a cigarette would do long-term, but if we use some rational thinking, there are a few conclusions we can make about vapes and e-cigarettes without the help of a Ph.D. and a lab.

  • Nicotine is addictive-the chemicals in THC/nicotine cartridges are addictive. They create a physical need in the body and an emotional need in the mind. Spin it any way you want, but the product many people want to defend is addiction’s voice telling you to keep smoking.
  • Smoking can cause cancer and other health issues– we know what smoking does to the body. It causes respiratory issues, mouth and teeth issues, and can ultimately lead to cancer. These are hard facts about smoking, and they haven’t been ruled out when it comes to this new form of smoking.
  • Sucking on a battery cannot be good for you– whether you want to argue that THC isn’t harmful like the chemicals in cigarettes, one thing holds true. We do not have enough information to prove sucking on a battery won’t cause harm. The same discussion happens regarding other technologies such as cell phones and microwaves. There is a correlation waiting to unfold in the years to come.

The CDC’s Brian King commented about this very issue. He stated while people perceive vaping to be far less dangerous than regular cigarettes, there are still chemicals in the product that are known to cause illness and cancer, such as heavy metals and diacetyl which gives the vape it’s “buttery flavor.” They are still working on correlations, but one thing he can say for certain is that “the e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless.” We may not know the end result, but because of all the research connected to smoking, we know this behavior will have a consequence.

How Can I Stop?

When it comes to vaping, the first thing we must acknowledge is an addiction. If we need to vape, we are caught in addiction’s web. There are no ifs, ands or buts around the issue. Vaping is a behavior that directly connects to chemicals altering our body and our minds. Like any addiction, to break the habit, it’s going to take some will power and some coping mechanisms.

Many have been using vapes to stop smoking. However, this is like saying I’ll stop drinking vodka and switch to beer, or I’ll stop doing opioids and take Suboxone instead. Yes, you might be trying to use the step-down method in good faith, but the truth of the matter is you’re switching out one addiction for another and rationalizing it with weak argumentation.

To fully break an addiction, it means figuring out why you need the substance, acknowledging your triggers, and setting up an accountability plan. There are myriad programs out there to help you quit smoking. There are online resources, group therapy, and even individual therapy to help you get to the root of your triggers. Most importantly, if you’ve experienced any of these side effects—breathing issues, coughing, pain in your chest or throat, or fatigue—reach out to a healthcare professional immediately.

Quitting anything isn’t easy. Whether it’s a negative relationship to an illegal substance or what we perceive to be a harmless task of using an e-cigarette, addiction is going to do its best to beat our willpower down. If you or an adolescent you know is struggling to overcome an addiction, reach out to The Bougainvilla House family therapy center today. We pride ourselves in helping our youth break negative patterns and thrive with their families. Call 954-764-7337 today to learn about our treatment options and group programs:

Avoiding Binge Drinking Culture in College

For many college students, drinking heavily and experimenting with drugs is almost considered a rite of passage. It’s assumed that everybody does it.  That isn’t necessarily the reality, although it can be difficult not drink at college. For those who choose to stay sober, today’s climate of binge drinking can make avoiding alcohol a challenge.

For many college students, drinking heavily and experimenting with drugs is almost considered a rite of passage. It’s assumed that everybody does it.  That isn’t necessarily the reality, although it can be difficult not drink at college. For those who choose to stay sober, today’s climate of binge drinking can make avoiding alcohol a challenge.

The tendency among college students to drink excessively might lead others to think that drinking alcohol in large quantities is the socially accepted norm. Many of their friends may drink or do drugs, so the pressure to participate makes it harder to stay sober.

College is a stressful time for most students. After all, they are not only studying difficult subjects and trying to get their life in order, but they are also dealing with unique personal and romantic problems. Unfortunately, many of these students turn to drugs and alcohol.

When teenagers go to college, they are often away from their parents for the first time in their lives. As a result, they want to impress those people and begin feeling the need to fit in. This is true even for students who avoided alcohol and drugs in high school.

In college, what starts as seemingly harmless experimentation can quickly progress to regular abuse and even addiction. Binge drinking can have many negative consequences for those involved. About 25 percent of college students who frequently binge drink are more likely to miss class and experience a drop in grades. Those who binge drink are also more likely to be involved in vandalism, experience an injury, engage in unplanned and unprotected sex, driving while intoxicated, experience arrests and other legal implications.

Those who would like to maintain their sobriety should take measures to avoid triggers and situations in which heavy drinking is likely to occur. Students should:

 

  • Learn how to say “no” if they don’t want to drink.
  • Volunteer to be the designated driver.
  • Tell friends that you are not drinking.
  • Hold a nonalcoholic drink to cut down on drink offers.
  • Try to engage in school-sponsored activities or help organize sports or other activities for sober people.
  • Have friends that don’t drink.

 

If your child is struggling with alcohol addiction, The Bougainville House can help. We offer individual, couple, and family therapy programs.  Call us to learn more. 954-764-7337

Teen Vaping: A New Epidemic

Teen Vaping: A New Epidemic - Teens are especially drawn to vaping products because they are easy to conceal & come in many flavors. Some may be as small as a USB drive & easy to hide. The Bougainvilla House can help

Teen Vaping: A New Epidemic, While originally thought of a safe alternative to cigarette smoking, vaping has quickly become a dangerous new epidemic for high school students. These products may have originally been intended to ween adult smokers off of cigarettes, but this new method of inhaling has addicted a new generation to nicotine.

Vaping involves using an electronic cigarette or similar device to inhale certain vapors or aerosols, which could contain substances such as nicotine, marijuana or flavoring. Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among both middle and high school students.

E-cigarettes may be a “safer” option for adult smokers, but they are not safe for young people. Most e-cigarettes, especially the most popular brands, still contain nicotine, and nicotine is a highly addictive drug — especially for teens, who are likely to get hooked on the drug more easily than adults.

Teens are especially drawn to vaping products because they are easy to conceal and come in many flavors. Some may be as small as a USB drive, and as easy to hide. The small size makes it easy for a teen to sneak them into school or hide from their parents. Some teachers have even reported students vaping in class. The student is able to slip the vape their pocket or sleeve quickly without being caught.

The increase in teen vaping is a growing concern because of the adverse health effects of nicotine and the other substances that can be found in vape liquid. Many vape users may not even know that there is nicotine in the liquid they are vaping. Health officials say nicotine is harmful to developing brains. Some researchers also believe vaping will make kids more likely to take up cigarettes, and perhaps later try other drugs.

The epidemic has become so threatening that the FDA has pulled products off the shelves. They want manufacturers to take more responsibility for their marketing practices. New legislation threatens to punish companies that advertise these products in a way that appeals to children. Hopefully, with time, these measures will help reduce vaping among teenagers.

If your child is struggling with vaping, another addiction or a behavioral health issue, The Bougainville House can help. We offer individual, group, couples, and family therapy programs. Call us to learn more. 954-764-7337

Examining Oxycodone Use in Florida

Prescription drug abuse is a significant issue nationwide, but in Florida, it is an epidemic. Ease of access to drugs like oxycodone has led many young people into addiction in Fort Lauderdale and beyond, thanks to the powerfully physical and psychological addictive nature of the substances. Watch this video to see how oxycodone has affected people across Florida.

Oxycodone, prescribed for pain, can cause feelings of euphoria when taken and severe withdrawal symptoms when a user tries to stop. Many young people end up facing oxycodone drug addiction after pilfering legally prescribed pills from their parents. The intensity of oxycodone addiction can be overwhelming and lead teens to crime to support their habits. In some cases, oxycodone addiction leads to heroin addiction, as young people try to get the same feeling as oxycodone at a lower price. Substance abuse treatment is a necessary step in overcoming oxycodone use.

Assessing Your Child’s Addiction Treatment Needs

For teens and their families who are dealing with drug addiction and alcohol abuse, an assessment is often the first step in recovery. When parents take the step of enrolling their teen in rehab in Fort Lauderdale, the treatment team will perform an assessment to determine the best treatment approach. This assessment will shape the rehab process for every patient.

During an assessment, the rehab team will use evaluative tools to determine the type and severity of your teen’s addiction, or in some cases, whether your teen can benefit from rehab at all. The results of the assessment are used to decide the right level of care for your teen, from mental health treatment to substance abuse rehab services. After the assessment, if it is determined that your teen can benefit from rehab, he or she may be advised to go into outpatient therapy or intensive outpatient therapy, which include different degrees of counseling and therapy services. With the right treatment approach and aftercare services, your teen can overcome addiction and get back on the road to a healthy life.

Answering Questions About Addiction Aftercare

One of the most important parts of addiction recovery happens after rehab and substance abuse counseling. A good aftercare plan reduces the risk of relapse and helps people who are overcoming the disease of addiction rebuild their lives. If your teen is entering rehab in Fort Lauderdale, be sure to consider the aftercare services before treatment even begins. Here are the answers to some common questions about addiction aftercare.

Aftercare is a general term that refers to the kind of support that a rehab center provides people when they finish their initial phases of drug or alcohol addiction treatment. People have different needs for aftercare based on a number of factors, from their age to the point they are in their treatment plan. For some people, aftercare can mean help finding a job and finding a sober living home to help them transition back to life outside of a treatment center. For teens who are getting treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, aftercare might mean family counseling and plans for dealing stress without relapsing.

Why is aftercare important?

Aftercare plays a number of important roles in addiction recovery. For many people, drug addiction or alcoholism leads to unemployment, financial and legal problems, and damaged relationships. Aftercare offers a support system for putting the practical parts of life back together after addiction. It also offers support as people transition to dealing with stressful events without using drugs or alcohol. Aftercare can make this transition easier to reduce the risk of rehab.

How can aftercare help teens?

For teens in addiction treatment, aftercare is usually focused on reinforcing positive behavior changes and helping patients learn new ways of coping with stressors.

With teen patients, aftercare is more of a family affair. Often, an aftercare program will include a clearly defined outline of behavioral goals and consequences for violating family rules. All of these services are designed to help reduce the risk of relapse and to spot the warning signs of a potential backslide into negative behavior.

Advice for Talking to Your Kids About Their Sibling’s Addiction

Addiction is a family disease, particularly when the person who is abusing drugs or alcohol is a teen living at home with their parents and siblings. For parents, the prospect of helping one child fight addiction in Fort Lauderdale is exacerbated by questions about how to address what is happening with the other children in the family. Although it may be tempting to try to pretend like everything is fine for as long as possible, it is usually beneficial to be direct and confront the issues head-on. Even young children are likely to sense when there is a problem, and not addressing the issues could cause them unnecessary distress. When addiction strikes someone in your family, use these tips to confront the problem with your healthy children.

Be Honest

Tell your children exactly what is happening in age-appropriate terms that they can understand. For very young children, simply telling them that their sibling is sick may be enough. With older children, be direct about the problem without conveying any sense that you don’t have control. Let your children know that the issue is something that you are working on and that the problems have nothing to do with them, nor do they have to take on any kind of responsibility for what is happening. Remind them that their sibling still cares for them but has an illness that may not let him or her show it right now.

Open Lines of Communication

Make your kids aware that you are always open to their questions and concerns about what is happening and that they can always be honest. Not only does making yourself approachable give your children an outlet for their fears, anger, and sadness about the situation, but it also lets them know that they should tell you if they witness dangerous behavior.

Get Help

Substance abuse treatment for teens involves family counseling, and aftercare services are focused on helping teens with addiction issues repair their relationships with the family. While this kind of counseling may help your other children, consider other resources, such as Alateen, where teens in families dealing with substance abuse can go to vent and get support. Private counseling can also be helpful.

What to Do if You Think Your Teen Is Abusing Alcohol

Discovering that a teen is engaging in drug or alcohol abuse is devastating for parents. It can be difficult to know what to do in these situations. Every family will respond in a slightly different way. However, in all cases, it’s necessary to reach out to addiction professionals for help. The counselors at a rehab in Fort Lauderdale can help you figure out what to do next about your teen’s alcohol abuse or addiction.

Make Observations

In some cases, a parent might only suspect that a teen is abusing alcohol because of changes in behavior, grades, or personality. If you have suspicions, but need to confirm them, evaluate your teen’s behavior carefully. Does he or she often break curfew, hang out with new friends, or behave in a secretive manner? Perhaps your teen comes home smelling strongly of perfume or body spray; this could be an attempt to mask the smell of alcohol. Consider whether you’re willing to violate your teen’s privacy by searching his or her room for hidden alcohol.

Contact a Rehab

Even if you don’t have definitive proof that your teen is abusing alcohol, you should contact a rehab to discuss your concerns with a professional. A counselor can offer guidance on confronting your teen and convincing him or her to seek help. You might need to take your teen to a specialist for a screening prior to admitting him or her to outpatient therapy.

Teen-Proof the Home

When your child was a toddler, you childproofed your home to prevent accidental access to dangerous substances. Now, it’s necessary to do the same thing for your teen. Don’t assume that if your teen is drinking, he or she will stick to alcohol. You’ll need to lock up prescription medications, cough syrups, and your own alcohol, if applicable. Your teen needs a clean environment in which to work on his or her recovery.

Eliminate Pocket Money

While your teen is going through counseling, you should eliminate the temptation to begin drinking again. Avoid giving your teen cash for school lunches, movie tickets, clothes or other items. Instead, write a check to the school cafeteria and directly purchase items your teen needs.

Provide Ongoing Support

Regardless of how upset you may be at your teen for abusing alcohol, remember that he or she needs your ongoing support. Let your teen know that you love him or her and are proud of him or her for getting treatment. Attend family counseling sessions and parent support groups.