Beware of a New Zombie Drug Made from Fentanyl and Xylazine

In the world of illegal drug use, dangerous new mixtures pop up all the time. One of the more recent substances, dubbed the “zombie drug,” has been making headlines for its terrifying effects and for being a headache for law enforcement. But what is this illicit drug, and why should you be careful?

What Is the Zombie Drug?

The “zombie drug” name may sound like something out of a horror movie, but its reality is far scarier. At its core, the zombie drug is a deadly cocktail made of two potent substances: fentanyl mixed with the drug xylazine.

While its exact origins aren’t known, it was first detected by drug authorities in the early 2000s in Puerto Rico, where users coined it “Flakka.” Zombie drugs began surfacing more recently in larger metropolitan environments, including Los Angeles, before spreading to Europe and beyond. the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued an alert in 2023 warning of a “sharp increase in the trafficking of fentanyl mixed with xylazine, which is also known as ‘tranq’ or ‘tranq’ dope.’”

Individually, both fentanyl and xylazine are powerful drugs with their own set of risks and side effects. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is a main player in the opioid crisis gripping nations worldwide. Renowned for its extreme potency, fentanyl is estimated to be up to 100 times stronger than morphine. It was initially intended for medical use in managing severe pain. These days, it’s illegally produced, often mixed with other drugs, and distributed on the street. Fentanyl’s strength puts users at risk of overdose, often with fatal consequences.

Xylazine comes from veterinary medicine. It’s used to calm down large animals like horses and cattle. Today, xylazine is added to illegal substances to lengthen euphoric effects.

When combined, fentanyl and xylazine create a toxic brew that causes extreme sedation and detachment. This combination is often referred to as “tranq” or “tranq dope,” due to its tranquilizing effects. The interaction between these two substances increases their risks, including potential overdose and death. The zombie drug xylazine’s effects on users include, among other things, exhaustion, confusion, and a loss of awareness.

Why Is Mixing Fentanyl and Xylazine Dangerous?

The combination of xylazine and fentanyl is extremely dangerous. Beyond its immediate tranquilizing effects on the brain, the zombie drug has a severely negative impact on the physical well-being of its users. Both fentanyl and xylazine weaken the central nervous system, resulting in respiratory problems, coma, and even death.

One particularly distressing side effect of using the zombie drug is the development of severe skin sores and wounds, commonly referred to as “tranq skin wounds.” The drug stops blood flow to the skin, causing tissue damage and necrosis (also known as rotting skin”). The sight and, potentially, smell of individuals who have fentanyl and xylazine wounds is very disturbing. Combined with the confusion and loss of awareness, one could easily believe they’ve entered the Night of the Living Dead.

Who Can Help with Tranq Addiction?

People on tranq are urged to seek drug counseling and treatment from qualified addiction professionals. Overcoming tranq zombie drug addiction requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses professional treatment, peer support, and community resources.

Drug addiction treatment centers provide a safe and supportive environment with the guidance of experienced medical professionals. From detoxification services for xylazine withdrawal to therapy and group support, treatment can be customized to address the unique needs of each individual.

Beyond formal treatment settings, community and peer support play an important role in the recovery journey as well. Peer support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) provide a supportive and non-judgmental environment to share experiences, seek guidance, and draw strength. By fostering a sense of belonging, these support networks serve as a source of inspiration and motivation.

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Opioid Drug Treatment Options

Treatment centers offer a range of programs designed to support individuals on the path to recovery from opioid addiction.

Evidence-Based Therapy

Evidence-based psychotherapy is a proven practice for overcoming opioid addiction. Some of the most common evidence-based therapies for addiction to opioids like tranq include:

  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): MAT is when clinical professionals use medication to help someone recover from opioid abuse. For those addicted to the zombie drug, medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone help reduce cravings for the drug, reduce the severity of fentanyl and xylazine withdrawal symptoms during detox, and reduce the risk of relapse.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT helps opioid users change negative behaviors and thought patterns associated with substance abuse. It helps someone build coping skills and strategies for dealing with triggers and cravings.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT blends elements of CBT with mindfulness to help someone develop emotion-regulation techniques and interpersonal effectiveness skills.
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI): This counseling approach is all about exploring and resolving ambivalence about changing drug-use behaviors.
  • Trauma-Informed Therapy: It’s common for those with an opioid addiction to have experienced trauma at some point. Trauma-sensitive practices are added to treatment to promote safety, empowerment, and healing.
  • Holistic Therapy: Holistic practices like yoga, art therapy, and adventure therapy take the mind, body, and soul into account for more well-rounded treatment.
  • Aftercare: Access to resources, support services, and relapse-prevention strategies help those in recovery stay on track. Peer support groups such as SMART Recovery and 12-step programs like NA are also invaluable to the recovery journey.
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Opioid Addiction Treatment at Aliya Health Group

Aliya Health Group is a nationwide network of alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers that offers evidence-based programs for opioid use disorders. Our highly personalized clinical approach and full continuum of care give you the tools you need to build a drug-free life.

Our opioid addiction treatment programs are rooted in dignity and compassion for all. We utilize treatments like dual diagnosis to aid in treating both addiction and mental illness.  Our unique levels of care for opioid addiction treatment include:

  • Medical Detox Program
  • Residential Treatment Program (inpatient)
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

If you or someone you know needs opioid treatment or xylazine dependency treatment, please contact Aliya Health Group today. We’re here to provide support in ending physical dependence on opioid drugs like tranq and reducing the negative impact of xylazine. Treatment can help prevent overdose deaths, improve mental illness and physical health, end a substance use disorder, and improve public health and public safety. If you’re ready for addiction and behavioral health treatment, call us today.

Are Blue Xanax Pills Real? What You Need to Know

Are you familiar with the medication “Xanax”? Perhaps you’ve heard about it from a friend, seen it mentioned online, or even taken it yourself. Xanax is a commonly prescribed medication used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks.

But what about “blue Xanax?” Are they a real thing or just a myth? Here, we delve into the world of Xanax, explore the truth about blue Xanax pills, and discuss key facts about the potential of addiction to this drug.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax, scientifically known as alprazolam, is a prescription medication categorized as benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that act on the central nervous system to produce a calming effect. Whether it’s brand-name Xanax or a generic variation, it’s prescribed to help alleviate symptoms such as excessive worry, nervousness, and tension.

Xanax is commonly prescribed for the following conditions:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): persistent and excessive worry about various aspects of life, including work, relationships, and health
  • Panic Disorder (PD): sudden and recurrent episodes of intense fear or discomfort, often accompanied by physical symptoms such as palpitations, sweating, and shortness of breath
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) (also known as social phobia): an intense fear of social situations and interactions, leading to avoidance behaviors
  • Specific Phobias: irrational fears of specific objects or situations, such as heights, spiders, or flying.

So, is Xanax a prescribed substance? Is Xanax an opioid? As a benzo, Xanax is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance in the United States. While it’s not an opioid, it has a recognized medical use but also carries a risk of dependence and misuse. Long-term use of Xanax can lead to tolerance and addiction. Eventually, higher doses are needed to achieve the same effect, and withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur when the medication is discontinued.

A healthcare professional should keep close tabs on their patients whenever Xanax is prescribed. It’s also essential to address the underlying causes of anxiety, panic disorder, and phobias through therapy, lifestyle changes, and other forms of support.

Blue Xanax: Is It Real or Fake?

Blue Xanax is simply a variation of alprazolam, the active ingredient in Xanax. Whether it’s blue or another color, the hue of the Xanax pills doesn’t indicate authenticity or effectiveness. The color of the pill, including blue, green, white, or yellow, is often influenced by the specific formulation and the manufacturer’s preference.

Xanax comes in assorted colors and shapes. White Xanax bars are the most common appearance, referencing the rectangular shape. Generic versions can be found in a variety of shapes, such as round or oval tablets. You may also come across blue Xanax bars.

The only way to know if your Xanax is authentic—whether it’s blue or another color—is to have it prescribed and dispensed by a licensed healthcare provider and pharmacy. Counterfeit drugs pose serious health risks, as they may contain incorrect dosages, harmful additives, or even different substances altogether.

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Facts About Anxiety

Anxiety is a widespread and often misunderstood mental health condition. It’s important to note that anxiety isn’t the same as stress. Stress is a response to a perceived threat in a situation, while anxiety is a stress reaction. Anxiety affects millions of people worldwide, with recent statistics showing

  • GAD affects approximately 6.8 million adults in the United States, making up 3.1% of the population. Women are twice as likely to be affected as men, and GAD commonly co-occurs with major depression. Only 43.2% of individuals with GAD receive treatment.
  • PD affects around 6 million adults in the U.S., accounting for 2.7% of the population. Similar to GAD, women are twice as likely as men to experience panic disorder.
  • SAD impacts approximately 15 million adults in the U.S., making up 7.1% of the population. Unlike GAD and PD, SAD affects men and women equally and often begins around age 13. Alarmingly, many individuals with SAD suffer symptoms for a decade or more before seeking help.
  • Specific phobias affect an estimated 19.3 million adults in the U.S., comprising 9.1% of the population. Women are twice as likely as men to develop specific phobias and symptoms typically emerge during childhood, with it starting at the age of 7 years old, on average.

Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Addiction

So, is Xanax addictive? While it can be an effective treatment for anxiety when used as prescribed, it also carries a risk of misuse, dependence, and addiction. Here are some signs and symptoms of Xanax addiction to be aware of:

  • Physical dependence: Individuals may develop a tolerance to Xanax, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effect.
  • Psychological dependence: People may experience cravings for Xanax and feel unable to cope without it.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: Discontinuing Xanax abruptly can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, agitation, and seizures.
  • Social and behavioral changes: Addiction to Xanax may lead to social withdrawal, neglect of responsibilities, and changes in behavior.
  • Continued use despite negative consequences: Individuals with Xanax addiction may continue to use the drug despite experiencing adverse effects on their health, relationships, or work.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Xanax addiction, it’s essential to seek help from a qualified healthcare professional. Treatment for Xanax addiction typically involves a combination of detoxification, therapy, support groups, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

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Xanax Addiction Treatment at Aliya Health Group  

If you think you have a problem with Xanax addiction or you see signs your loved one does, it’s important to get professional help. Aliya Health Group’s treatment centers offer have helped thousands of people break free from dependence.

Addiction treatment has various levels of care, from inpatient to intensive outpatient to recovery homes. The program that’s right for you will depend on the severity of your addiction and what is most supportive of your life situation.

Your treatment will most likely include the following:

Drug Dependence Assessment

A doctor or addiction specialist will document your medical history and ask questions about your Xanax use. They’ll assess and may diagnose co-occurring disorders like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Detox and Withdrawal Management 

Dependence on Xanax happens quickly. Stopping abruptly can result in life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures. During medical detox, a physician will gradually reduce the amount of Xanax you’re taking.

Behavioral Therapy

After detox, you’ll begin addressing the core issues that led to Xanax abuse. You’ll do this through therapy and holistic approaches. Some of the most effective therapies include: 

Individual therapy: A form of psychotherapy that involves one-on-one sessions with a therapist to address emotional, psychological, or behavioral issues. The therapist helps the client gain insight into their challenges, develop coping skills, and make positive changes in their life.

Group Therapy: Like individual therapy, group therapy is a form of psychotherapy. It involves a session with a small group of people who share similar concerns or challenges, such as drug abuse. A therapist leads the session, which provides a supportive and confidential environment where group members can share their experiences, provide feedback, and learn from one another.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a form of therapy that helps someone recognize the connection between negative thoughts and actions. Your therapist will guide you in identifying fundamental beliefs that sustain harmful thought processes, provide strategies to confront undesirable thoughts constructively and help you substitute them with more beneficial alternatives.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT is an offshoot of CBT that teaches mindfulness as a way to regulate emotions. The goal is to help someone become more mindful of their thoughts and feelings to better understand why they turn to drugs or alcohol. DBT teaches people how to manage stressful situations in a healthy way. 

Holistic Treatment: Aliya Health Group is focused on the person as a whole. That means focusing on the body, mind, and soul. Holistic treatment options include yoga, meditation, sound healing, nutrition counseling, and life skills training. The goal is to help someone develop skills they can use following rehab to maintain sobriety in the long run. 

Aftercare

Once you’ve completed treatment, your team will work with you to develop a comprehensive aftercare plan for continuing in recovery. Most often, it includes ongoing therapy sessions and support group meetings. Substance use disorders can be overcome; having the right help can make all the difference. Our recovery center offers dual diagnosis treatment, family therapy, benzodiazepine addiction treatment, and drug detox programs for all. Blue Xanax, yellow Xanax, and green Xanax: no matter what your prescription drug issue is, we’re here to help.

Understanding the facts about anxiety and Xanax addiction can help you make informed decisions about your mental health and well-being. If you have any questions about blue Xanax, addiction, or anxiety, contact Aliya Health Group. Our drugs and alcohol program coupled with mental health treatment can help anyone get back on the right track.

Will Delta 8 Show Up on Drug Tests?

You may have seen headlines about a drug called Delta 8 in recent years. Some people say it’s the next big thing in cannabis, offering a milder high than regular marijuana. So, what exactly is Delta 8? Is it legal, and will it show up on drug tests?

What Is Delta 8?

Delta 8, or Delta-8 THC, is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. Alongside its more well-known counterpart Delta 9, Delta 8 is one of the main ingredients in marijuana. Delta 8 THC can also be produced through chemical conversion of other cannabinoids, such as CBD (cannabidiol), using various methods.

In 2012, Colorado, and Washington paved the way for the legal sale and consumption of recreational marijuana. Many states have followed suit, and to date, the following states have fully legalized marijuana:

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

The remaining states have various legal stipulations regarding medical marijuana and CBD oil. However, there are still four states (Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, and Wyoming) where marijuana remains fully illegal in all forms.

With the legalization of marijuana, a variety of products Delta 8 products have hit the market. According to one recent study, 16 percent of regular marijuana users also use Delta 8. Delta 8 products come in many forms, such as edibles, vape cartridges, and tinctures. Because of the relaxing effects, many people rely on Delta 8 gummies for sleep. Many others combine Delta 8 with other prescription drugs like Xanax to intensify the sense of calmness.

Delta 8 vs Delta 9: What’s the Difference?

Despite their similar names and shared origins in the cannabis plant, Delta 8 and Delta 9 differ in their chemical structures and effects on the body.

Delta 9 THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. It’s responsible for inducing the euphoric “high” that comes with consuming it. Delta 8 is similar, but it delivers a milder psychoactive effect. This is because the two compounds have a subtle difference in chemical structure.

At a molecular level, Delta 8 and Delta 9 differ in the placement of a double bond within their chemical structures. Delta 9 has the bond on the ninth carbon chain, while Delta 8 THC has it on the eighth. This seemingly tiny difference affects the potency and psych activity between the two compounds.

Gummies are one of the most popular forms of consuming both Delta 8 and Delta 9. Their popularity stems from several factors:

  • Ease of Use: Gummies are easy to consume and dose, making them convenient to enjoy without the need for special equipment or preparation.
  • Discreetness: Gummies are discreet and can be consumed in public without drawing attention, unlike smoking or vaping.
  • Variety: Gummies come in many flavors, strengths, and formulations to suit preferences and needs.
  • Duration of Effects: Many people wonder, “How long do Delta 8 gummies last?” and “How long do Delta 9 gummies last?” Typically, the effects of both gummies can last anywhere from 4 to 8 hours, but this can vary from person to person. This is why many people use gummies for sleep.
  • Precise Dosing: Gummies typically come in pre-dosed servings, making it easier for users to control their intake and avoid accidentally taking too much.
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Drug Tests

In terms of drug testing methods, both Delta 8 and Delta 9 have the potential to trigger a positive result on a test. Detecting delta 8 in the body is the same process as detecting delta 9. Standard drug screenings typically detect the presence of THC metabolites in urine testing samples, regardless of whether they’re from Delta 8 or Delta 9. THC can also be detected via blood testing and hair testing, but these are less common. Therefore, you should exercise caution if you have a drug test coming up because marijuana of all kinds stays in your system for up to a month in some cases.

How to Get Delta-8 Out of Your System for a Drug Test

The fact is, clearing Delta 8 from your system isn’t easy and it will take at least a few days. While there are no evidence-based tactics, there are a few things that can help.

  • Hydrate: Focus on drinking plenty of water. Since Delta 8 is excreted via the kidneys, this may help flush out any residue of Delta 8 from your system. Common beverages like green tea or jasmine tea can also make you urinate more often, which could play a role in getting rid of Delta 8. 
  • Exercise: The metabolites of THC tend to store up in your fat cells. Cardio-driven and weight-training exercises may help you boost your metabolism to burn more fat, reducing the amount of THC in your body.
  • Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol can boost the storage of THC in your fat cells. Once THC is stored in your fat cells, removing it becomes challenging. Avoid alcohol if you have a drug test coming up.

Is It Safe to Use New Forms of Marijuana?

The safety of using new forms of marijuana, including products containing Delta 8, depends on various factors. About Delta 8 specifically, the FDA has stated it has received several reports of bad experiences, underscoring the need for caution when using products containing this ingredient.

The safety of new forms of weed depends on:

  • Regulation and Legality: In areas with limited regulation, there may be concerns about the purity of the products.
  • Quality and Source: Reputable manufacturers use high-quality cannabis extracts and adhere to strict manufacturing standards to ensure the quality of ingredients. Without proper labeling, you can’t be sure you’re getting a quality product.
  • Lab Testing: Trusted manufacturers typically conduct third-party lab testing to verify the potency and purity of their products.
  • Dosage and Consumption: As with any substance, including marijuana, it’s crucial to use new forms responsibly and in moderation. Edibles and other oral consumption methods have a delayed effect and last longer. That delay can increase the risk of overconsumption and negative effects.
  • Individual Factors: Things like medical history and sensitivity to cannabinoids can cause potential interactions.

Is Marijuana Addictive?

The question of whether marijuana is addictive is a complex and often debated topic. While weed doesn’t produce physical dependence in the same way opioids or alcohol do, it can lead to psychological dependence or addiction in some individuals.

Unlike drugs such as heroin or cocaine, which can cause severe physical withdrawal symptoms when you stop using them, marijuana withdrawal tends to be milder. Symptoms can include:

  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Cravings for weed

It’s important to recognize that physical withdrawal symptoms aren’t the only sign of addiction. Some people experience psychological symptoms, where they rely on the drug to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, or other underlying issues.

People who use weed regularly, particularly in high doses or with other substances, may be at a higher risk of developing dependence or addiction. Several factors can influence the likelihood of developing marijuana addiction, including:

  • Frequency and duration of use
  • Potency of the drug
  • Individual susceptibility
  • Co-occurring mental health conditions

Treatment options for marijuana addiction typically involve behavioral therapies, counseling, and support groups. They each focus on underlying psychological factors and aim to help users quit. While there are currently no FDA-approved medications specifically for treating marijuana addiction, there are plenty available to manage co-occurring mental health conditions or withdrawal symptoms.

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Drug Addiction Treatment at Aliya Health Group

Aliya Health Group’s drug treatment centers provide a loving, caring, health-centered environment for adults with addiction challenges and their families. We offer a variety of evidence-based and holistic approaches, so you can find the support you need on your recovery journey.

Our treatment team of highly credentialed behavioral health experts brings together unique specializations to provide the best care possible. We believe that anyone can obtain long-term recovery, and we’re committed to delivering exceptional treatment and essential support that will empower anyone to succeed.

For more information about our drug addiction treatment programs, contact us today at (888) 973-2078.

Healing PTSD: Trauma-Based Treatment for Veterans

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects many people who have experienced trauma. Among those most impacted are veterans, who often face higher rates of PTSD compared to civilians. For many vets, trauma-based treatment can help in overcoming the challenges of this condition.

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. These events can threaten your physical or emotional well-being, leaving psychological scars. People with PTSD can cause a range of symptoms, including:

  • Intrusive memories
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Being overly alert
  • Avoidance behavior

Veterans, in particular, face higher rates of PTSD compared to civilians. This has to do with the difficulties of military service, including exposure to combat, deployment stress, and the constant risk of danger. According to 2021 research by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), approximately 10 percent of male veterans and 19 percent of female veterans in VA care were diagnosed with PTSD.

That said, PTSD is not limited to the veteran population. Statistics show:

  • Around 13 million individuals in American are dealing with PTSD at any given time
  • Roughly one in thirteen Americans will develop PTSD at some point in their lives

Can Trauma-Based Treatment Help Veterans?

Trauma therapy can offer hope to veterans dealing with the long-lasting effects of PTSD. This type of trauma treatment and counseling is designed to address the underlying traumas that fuel PTSD symptoms. Unlike traditional therapies that focus on symptom management, trauma-based treatment goes deeper. It’s meant to assist you in understanding and fitting your traumatic experiences into your own life story.

Military trauma treatment can help veterans make sense of tough memories and emotions. In a safe and supportive environment, therapists help vets challenge negative beliefs about themselves and the world, and develop healthier coping mechanisms. Many practitioners who work with veterans have a deep understanding of military culture and the unique challenges faced by those who have served.

Trauma-based treatment involves a variety of therapies, each tailored to meet the unique needs of veterans.

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Therapies for Healing Trauma

When it comes to healing trauma, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, a variety of evidence-based therapies offer veterans options to address their unique experiences. Common trauma therapy techniques include:

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
    EMDR helps you process traumatic memories and emotions. During EMDR sessions, a therapist will help you recall distressing memories while engaging in bilateral stimulation. For example, following the therapist’s hand movements or listening to alternating sounds. This process helps rewire the brain’s response to trauma, reducing the emotional charge associated with traumatic memories and promoting healing.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
    CBT is a widely used therapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with trauma. Through structured exercises, you learn to challenge distorted beliefs about themselves and the world, develop effective coping strategies, and gradually confront their fears.
  • Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE)
    PE sessions repeatedly expose you to reminders of the traumatic event, such as recounting the memory aloud or revisiting locations associated with the trauma. Over time, this exposure reduces the emotional distress associated with it.
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
    CPT helps you challenge and reframe negative beliefs about yourself and the world around you that resulted from the trauma. Through structured exercises and discussions, you learn to identify and challenge unhelpful thought patterns and develop new perspectives.
  • Group Therapy
    Group therapy gives veterans a supportive environment to connect with others who have experienced similar traumas, share their experiences, and learn from one another.
  • Veteran Addiction Therapy
    Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is the most common addiction among veterans. Veteran addiction therapy is particularly helpful for those dealing with co-occurring disorders.

In addition to individual therapy, vets may participate in activities like mindfulness exercises or art therapy.

Are Medications Used to Treat Trauma?

While trauma therapy remains the heart of treatment, medications can help manage symptoms and improve overall functioning, making therapy more effective.

Common Medications for Trauma

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): SSRIs are a class of antidepressant medications commonly prescribed to treat PTSD. These medications, which include sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), and fluoxetine (Prozac), increase serotonin in the brain, thereby improving mood, reducing anxiety, and reliving symptoms of PTSD.
  • Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs): SNRIs, such as venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta) increase levels of serotonin in the brain while also targeting norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter involved in stress response. This dual action helps regulate mood and reduce symptoms of PTSD.
  • Prazosin: Prazosin is a medication primarily used to treat high blood pressure, but it has also been shown to reduce nightmares and improve sleep quality in PTSD sufferers. By blocking the effects of adrenaline, prazosin helps reduce the frequency and intensity of nightmares associated with trauma.
  • Atypical Antipsychotics: In some cases, atypical antipsychotic medications, such as quetiapine (Seroquel) or risperidone (Risperdal), may be prescribed to address agitation, irritability, or dissociation associated with PTSD.
  • Benzodiazepines: While benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax) or clonazepam (Klonopin), may provide short-term relief from anxiety symptoms, they are generally not recommended for long-term use in PTSD. Benzodiazepines carry a risk of dependence, tolerance, and worsening of PTSD symptoms over time, making them less suitable for long-term treatment.
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Trauma-Based Treatment for Veterans at Aliya Health Group

At Aliya Health Group, we understand veterans have unique needs when it comes to PTSD treatment. That’s why we developed the Valor program, which offers trauma-focused, evidence-based treatment for veterans and first responders. As one of our specialty treatment program tracks, our veterans program offers specialized care within a supportive and understanding recovery community.

Your treatment team will include military personnel, veterans, and retired first responders who understand the unique experiences of the service. All veterans program staff are trained in military culture sensitivity and trauma. This allows us to provide specialized behavioral therapy and treatment for PTSD, substance abuse, and other mental health issues commonly experienced by veterans. 

Some of our treatment services for veterans include:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Psychiatric medication management
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Holistic and wellness services
  • Psychoeducation
  • Life skills training
  • Community integration

Do you know a veteran with PTSD? Are you looking for effective treatment for yourself? We offer PTSD treatment for veterans that can help treat combat stress. We’re here to answer any of your questions about our Valor program for PTSD and veteran addiction treatment. PTSD in veteran communities is treatable. Call today for effective treatment for trauma, PTSD, anxiety, and more.

Will an Edible Show Up in a Drug Test?

In recent years, the landscape surrounding marijuana, cannabis, or as it’s commonly referred to, weed, has shifted. With changing attitudes toward purposes, a variety of consumption methods have shown up, including the ever-popular edibles.

But with this newfound popularity comes questions, particularly regarding drug testing. Do edibles show up in drug tests? How long do they stay in your system? Are they addictive? Let’s delve into these questions.

What Are Edibles?

First, it’s worth noting that marijuana, or cannabis, goes by various names depending on cultural and regional factors. Common synonyms include:

  • Weed
  • Pot
  • Herb
  • Ganja
  • Mary Jane
  • Grass
  • Bud

Put simply, marijuana edibles are food products infused with cannabis extracts, typically containing THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This is the compound responsible for the “high” sensation associated with marijuana use.

THC edibles come in various forms, ranging from baked goods like brownies and cookies to candies, chocolates, edible gummies, beverages, and even savory snacks. The process of making edibles involves infusing the chosen food item with cannabis extracts, often in the form of cannabis butter or oil. This infusion allows the THC and other cannabinoids to bind with the fats in the food, to distribution evenly throughout it.

One of the reasons why edibles are particularly popular is their discreet nature. Unlike smoking or vaping, which can produce noticeable odors and require specific equipment, edibles resemble ordinary food items. This makes them less obvious and more convenient to enjoy in various settings.

Of course, just like any other ingestion method, eating marijuana edibles can and probably will trigger a drug test. 

Increased Acceptance of Marijuana 

Changing attitudes toward marijuana have changed for both recreational and medicinal uses. The therapeutic benefits of pot have led to its legalization for medical purposes in numerous states and countries. This change in perception has paved the way for the development and regulation of a wide range of cannabis-infused products. With growing market demand and increased accessibility, marijuana edibles have become the go-to for many people.

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Are Edibles Dangerous?

One of the primary concerns people have about edibles is the possibility of overdosing. While it’s true that consuming too much THC can lead to discomfort and unpleasant effects, fatal overdose from marijuana alone is rare. Unlike certain other substances, such as opioids or alcohol, weed doesn’t suppress vital bodily functions like breathing to the point of causing death.

However, it’s important to recognize that consuming extremely high doses of THC, particularly in the form of edibles, can lead to intense psychoactive effects that may be overwhelming and uncomfortable. These effects can include extreme anxiety, paranoia, rapid heart rate, hallucinations, and even temporary psychosis in some cases. While not life-threatening, such experiences can be distressing and may require medical attention to manage symptoms and ensure well-being.

Due to the delayed onset and lasting effects, avoiding certain activities is recommended. Some things that could pose risks to yourself and others include:

Driving a Car: Operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana edibles can impair judgment, coordination, and reaction time. This increases the risk of accidents on the road. You should wait until the effects of the edible have fully subsided before getting behind the wheel.

Operating Heavy Machinery: Similarly, operating heavy machinery or engaging in tasks that require concentration and coordination should be avoided while under the influence of edibles. Impaired thinking can increase the likelihood of accidents and injuries in industrial or workplace settings.

Making Important Decisions: Avoid making big decisions or commitments while under the influence of edibles. Impaired judgment and altered perception may affect your ability to assess situations accurately and make sound choices.

Going to Work or School: Depending on the potency and duration of the edible’s effects, it may be advisable to refrain from attending work or school. Attempting to function in a professional or educational setting while under the influence can impair productivity, performance, and interpersonal interactions.

Mixing with Other Substances: Combining edibles with alcohol or other drugs can increase the effects of both as well as the risk of bad reactions or overdose. It’s essential to use caution and moderation when consuming edibles and avoid mixing them with other substances.

How Long Do Edibles Last?

Many people wonder how long edibles stay in your system and will an edible show up in drug test results. Several factors can influence how long edibles stay in your system, including:

Dosage: Higher doses of THC in edibles may result in longer-lasting effects and a more extended detection window in drug tests.

Frequency of Use: Chronic or heavy use of edibles can lead to the accumulation of THC metabolites in fat cells, prolonging the detection window in drug tests.

Individual Metabolism: Metabolic rate, body weight, and overall health can affect how quickly your body processes and eliminates THC from your system.

Product Potency: The potency of the edible product, measured in milligrams of THC per serving, can influence both the intensity and duration of effects.

Detection in Drug Tests: How long do edibles show up in drug tests? On average, THC metabolites can be detected in urine for up to 1-7 days after consumption. Occasional edible users typically clear THC from their system more quickly than frequent or heavy users. If you take an edible, there’s a good chance a drug test will detect cannabis. Almost any recreational amount of THC can trigger a positive test. This includes hair follicle tests and urine tests.

Some people who use marijuana daily or close to that may find it takes up to a month or longer to remove all of the drugs from their system. 

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Is Marijuana Addictive?

While weed is not considered physically addictive in the same way as substances like opioids or alcohol, it is possible to develop a psychological dependence on it. This means that some individuals may experience cravings and a compulsive desire to use marijuana despite negative consequences in various areas of life.

The addictive potential of marijuana is thought to be influenced by several factors, including:

  • Neurobiology: THC acts on the brain’s reward system, triggering the release of dopamine, increasing pleasure and reinforcement. Over time, repeated exposure to THC can lead to changes in the brain’s reward circuitry, potentially contributing to addictive behaviors.
  • Genetics: Genetic factors may play a role in predisposing certain individuals to develop problematic marijuana use patterns. Variations in genes related to the brain’s reward system and cannabinoid receptors may influence the possibility of addiction.
  • Environmental and Psychological Factors: Stress, trauma, peer influence, and availability of marijuana can also contribute to the development of addictive behaviors. Additionally, individuals with co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety, may be at greater risk of developing problematic marijuana use.

If you’re struggling with problematic pot use, it’s important to seek support and treatment. Behavioral therapies, support groups, and counseling can help you develop coping strategies, find underlying issues contributing to addiction, and build a supportive network of peers.

Drug Addiction Treatment at Aliya Health Group

If you or someone you know is struggling with the symptoms of weed withdrawal, Aliya Health Group is ready to help.

There are various treatment options available, including:

  • Partial-care programs
  • Inpatient / residential treatment programs
  • Outpatient programs
  • Aftercare programs

Throughout the drug addiction treatment, you’ll work with a dedicated group of counselors, medical professionals, and other recovery specialists who can help you stop eating edibles. This team is trained to evaluate your symptoms and guide you toward a program that’ll help you refrain from using weed in the future.  If you smoke cannabis, it can remain in your system for quite some time. While a THC gummy or any cannabis product may seem safe, you very well may fail a drug test. Programs like dual diagnosis treatment, outpatient treatment, dialectical behavior therapy, medical detox, medication-assisted treatment, individual therapy, group therapy, expressive arts therapy, sober living, and more can help those who are ready to recover. Don’t smoke weed anymore with help from a recovery center.

Contact us today to learn more about our drug counseling programs and how we can help. A treatment center with treatment programs for cannabis edibles can help you. Our rehab centers for drug and alcohol abuse have unique levels of care and behavioral health programs to help. Call today and verify insurance information which can cover the cost of rehab. Stop your edibles consumption and start your recovery today!

The 12 Steps of NA for Beginners: Your Guide to Success

Following addiction treatment, many struggle to maintain their sobriety. If that’s you, then the 12 Steps of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) might be the beacon of hope you’ve been searching for. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what NA is, delve into the 12 steps of NA, offer tips for completion, and shed light on additional avenues for assistance.

What Is NA?

Narcotics Anonymous, often abbreviated as NA, is a support group for individuals grappling with drug addiction. It’s more than just an organization—it’s a lifeline for those seeking recovery and redemption from the clutches of substance abuse. But what exactly is NA, and how does it operate?

At its core, Narcotics Anonymous is a global, community-based fellowship dedicated to assisting individuals in overcoming narcotics addiction. Unlike traditional treatment programs, NA relies on the power of peer support and shared experiences to foster healing and growth. It’s a place where individuals can come together in solidarity, free from judgment, to find solace, strength, and guidance on their journey to sobriety.

The origins of NA can be traced back to the founding principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in the 1930s. As AA gained traction and recognition for its groundbreaking 12-step recovery model, individuals grappling with narcotics addiction saw the need for a similar support system tailored to their specific struggles. Thus, Narcotics Anonymous was born—a sister organization to AA, founded on the same principles of fellowship, mutual aid, and spiritual growth.

NA meetings can be found in communities worldwide, spanning continents and cultures. These meetings take place in a variety of settings, including churches, community centers, and even virtual spaces. What sets NA apart is its grassroots nature—all meetings are run by volunteers who are themselves in recovery, emphasizing the principle of “one addict helping another.”

At the heart of NA lies the 12-step recovery model, a guiding framework for personal transformation and spiritual awakening. Adapted from the original 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, these principles serve as a roadmap for individuals seeking to break free from the grip of addiction and reclaim their lives. From admitting powerlessness over addiction to making amends and carrying the message to others, each step represents a crucial stage of the journey toward sobriety and self-discovery.

But NA is more than just a program—it’s a community, a family, and a source of unwavering support for those in need. It’s a testament to the power of connection and compassion in the face of adversity, offering hope where there was once despair and a path forward where all seemed lost.

In essence, Narcotics Anonymous is a beacon of light in the darkness of addiction, a lifeline for those who dare to dream of a better tomorrow. Through fellowship, faith, and the unwavering commitment to one another, NA stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the boundless potential for recovery and renewal.

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What Are the 12 Steps of NA?

The 12 steps of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) represent a transformative journey toward recovery from drug addiction. These steps serve as a roadmap for individuals seeking to break free from the cycle of substance abuse and embrace a life of sobriety, spirituality, and personal growth. Let’s delve into each step, exploring what it entails and what is required in each phase of the journey.

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.

The first step is about acknowledging the grip that addiction has on our lives. It requires a humble acceptance of our powerlessness over drugs. It’s recognizing that our lives have become chaotic and unmanageable as a result.

Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

In the second step, we open ourselves to the possibility of a higher power—a force beyond our own understanding—that can guide us toward healing and restoration. It’s about cultivating faith and trust in something greater than ourselves to help us find clarity and sanity amidst the chaos of addiction.

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Step three involves surrendering our will and ego to a higher power, as we understand it. It’s an act of relinquishing control and placing our faith in a spiritual principle to guide our actions and decisions moving forward.

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

The fourth step is a thorough self-examination—a fearless inventory of our past behaviors, actions, and motivations. It requires honesty, introspection, and a willingness to confront the shadows lurking within ourselves.

Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step five is about owning up to our past mistakes and wrongdoings. It involves confessing our shortcomings and character defects to a higher power, ourselves, and another trusted individual—a process that fosters accountability, humility, and the courage to seek forgiveness and redemption.

Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

In the sixth step, we build toward letting go of our character defects and shortcomings, trusting in the transformative power of a higher power to guide us toward personal growth and spiritual evolution.

Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Step seven is a prayer for divine intervention. It’s an earnest request for our higher power to help us shed the burdens of our past and lead us toward a brighter future. It’s an act of humility, surrender, and trust in the process of spiritual healing.

Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

In the eighth step, we take inventory of the harm we’ve caused others as a result of our addiction. We compile a list of individuals we’ve wronged and cultivate a genuine willingness to make amends and seek forgiveness for our past actions.

Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step nine involves taking concrete action to make amends for the harm we’ve inflicted on others. It requires humility, sincerity, and a commitment to repairing the damage done, while also respecting the well-being of those we’ve harmed.

Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

The tenth step is about maintaining ongoing self-awareness and accountability. It involves regularly assessing our thoughts, actions, and behaviors, and promptly admitting when we’ve veered off course. It’s a practice of honesty, humility, and continual growth.

Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Step eleven emphasizes the importance of spiritual connection and mindfulness. It encourages us to cultivate a deeper relationship with our higher power through prayer, meditation, and reflection, seeking guidance and strength to align our actions with divine will.

Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The final step is about embracing the transformative power of the 12-step journey and paying it forward. It involves sharing our experience, strength, and hope with others who are struggling with addiction. It’s about embodying the principles of recovery in all aspects of our lives. It’s a commitment to service, compassion, and the ongoing pursuit of spiritual growth.

While each step presents its own unique challenges and opportunities for growth, steps 1, 4, and 9 tend to be the most difficult to navigate for many NA members. Having dedication and willingness is key.

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How to Complete All 12 Steps of NA

Completing all 12 steps of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a profound journey of self-discovery, healing, and spiritual growth. While the process may seem daunting at first, with dedication, support, and a willingness to embrace change, you can navigate each step and become transformed. Here are some tips that can help.

Take it One Step at a Time: Recovery is a journey, not a destination. Approach each step with patience and mindfulness, focusing on the present moment rather than overwhelming yourself with the entire process. Remember, progress is made one step at a time.

Seek Support: Don’t go it alone. Lean on your fellow NA members, sponsors, and supportive friends and family members for guidance, encouragement, and accountability. Sharing your struggles and triumphs with others who understand can provide invaluable support and motivation.

Be Honest and Open-minded: Honesty is the cornerstone of recovery. Be willing to confront your past mistakes, fears, and shortcomings with brutal honesty and vulnerability. Embrace open-mindedness and be receptive to new ideas, perspectives, and ways of thinking that may challenge your beliefs and behaviors.

Work with a Sponsor: A sponsor is a trusted mentor and guide who has walked the path of recovery before you. They offer wisdom, support, and accountability as you navigate the 12 steps. Choose a sponsor who you respect, trust, and feel comfortable opening up to, and be willing to follow their guidance and suggestions.

Practice Self-Compassion: Recovery is a journey of self-discovery and growth, and it’s okay to stumble along the way. Be kind to yourself and treat yourself with the same compassion and understanding that you would offer to a friend facing similar challenges. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small, and forgive yourself for setbacks.

Attend Meetings Regularly: Regular attendance at NA meetings provides a vital source of support, inspiration, and connection with others in recovery. Make a commitment to attend meetings consistently, even when you don’t feel like it, and actively participate by sharing your experiences, listening to others, and contributing to the fellowship.

Practice Spiritual Principles: The 12 steps of NA are rooted in spiritual principles such as honesty, humility, acceptance, and service. Incorporate these principles into your daily life through prayer, meditation, acts of kindness, and service to others. Cultivate a deeper connection with your higher power, whatever that may be for you, and trust in its guidance and wisdom.

Who Else Offers Help for Drug Addiction?

While NA provides invaluable support for individuals in recovery, it’s not the only resource available. Treatment centers offer comprehensive programs tailored to address the unique needs of individuals struggling with addiction. These programs may include:

Detoxification: Medical detoxification programs provide a safe and supervised environment for individuals to withdraw from drugs or alcohol under medical supervision.

Therapy: Various therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and motivational interviewing, can help individuals address underlying issues contributing to their addiction and develop coping strategies for maintaining sobriety.

Support Groups: In addition to NA, there are numerous support groups and organizations dedicated to helping individuals in recovery, such as SMART Recovery and Celebrate Recovery.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): MAT combines medication with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders effectively.

Drug Addiction Treatment at Aliya Health Group

Through an Aliya Health Group rehab program, you can access the comprehensive support you need to embark on the journey to recovery with confidence and determination. Our drug treatment centers provide a full continuum of care for opioid treatment. Our integrated approach to alcohol abuse treatment offers both evidence-based and holistic recovery practices. Please contact us today to learn how we can help you learn more about 12-step programs and mutual support groups for addiction therapy.

We can also help with insurance verification, finding meetings near you, and any questions you may have about AA and NA or addiction recovery in general. Alcohol and drug recovery is possible, our behavioral health and dual diagnosis treatment center can help.

Breaking the Cycle of Depression and Substance Abuse

Depression is a complex mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Often, individuals struggling with depression may turn to substance abuse as a way to cope with their overwhelming feelings. This destructive cycle can lead to further breakdowns in mental and physical health. Why is there a relationship between depression and substance abuse, and most importantly, how can you break free from the cycle?

What Is Depression?

Depression is a complicated mental health condition that goes beyond occasional feelings of sadness. It’s a mood disorder that involves persistent feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and disinterest in once enjoyable activities. While everyone experiences periods of sadness or low mood, depression involves a prolonged and intense emotional state that impacts daily functioning.

Depression is a widespread and serious global health concern. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects over 264 million people worldwide, making it one of the leading causes of disability globally. In the United States alone, an estimated 17.3 million adults experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2017. The signs of depression in women are the same as in men, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all condition.

There are various types of depression, each with distinct symptoms and characteristics. By recognizing the differences, you can better understand your own experiences and seek appropriate treatment if needed. Some common types of depression include:

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): MDD, also known as clinical depression, is the most common form of depression. It involves persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest or pleasure in activities. Symptoms of MDD can vary in severity and duration, but they significantly interfere with daily functioning.
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD): Formerly known as dysthymia, PDD is a chronic form of depression involving long-term, low-grade depressive symptoms lasting for two years or more. While less severe than MDD, PDD can still impair quality of life and lead to functional impairment.
  • Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by alternating episodes of depression and mania or hypomania. During depressive episodes, individuals experience symptoms similar to MDD. Manic or hypomanic episodes involve elevated mood, increased energy, and impulsivity.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): SAD is a subtype of depression that occurs seasonally, typically during the fall and winter months when sunlight exposure is reduced. Symptoms of SAD include low energy, oversleeping, overeating, and social withdrawal, which often resolve with the onset of spring.
  • Postpartum Depression (PPD): PPD is a type of depression that occurs after childbirth, affecting approximately 10-15% of new mothers. Hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and the stress of caring for a newborn can contribute to the onset of PPD, which requires prompt intervention for the well-being of both the mother and baby.
  • Psychotic Depression: Psychotic depression is a severe form of depression accompanied by psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions. Individuals with psychotic depression may experience distorted perceptions of reality, making it essential to receive comprehensive treatment, including medication and therapy.
  • Atypical Depression: Atypical depression is characterized by mood reactivity, meaning individuals may experience temporary improvements in mood in response to positive events. Other symptoms may include increased appetite or weight gain, excessive sleepiness, and a heavy feeling in the arms or legs.
  • High-Functioning Depression: When Cheslie Kryst, a former Miss USA, died by suicide in 2022, the term “high-functioning depression” gained popularity on social media. In statements to the media, Kryst’s mother said her daughter was dealing with high-functioning depression, “which she hid from everyone.” While not a diagnosis or a recognized clinical disorder, many people relate to feeling like a high-functioning depressed person.
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Why Am I Feeling Depressed?

Feeling sad or down from time to time is a common experience for many people. When these feelings remain for extended periods and begin to interfere with daily life, it may indicate depression.

Depression can arise from a variety of factors, and it’s essential to recognize that it’s not simply a matter of feeling sad or unhappy. Some common causes and contributors to depression include:

  • Biological Factors: Changes in brain chemistry, neurotransmitter imbalances, and genetic predispositions can all play a role in the development of depression. Individuals with a family history of depression are at a higher risk of experiencing it themselves.
  • Psychological Factors: Past traumatic experiences, such as abuse, neglect, or loss, can significantly impact mental health and increase the likelihood of developing depression. Additionally, ongoing stress, low self-esteem, and negative thought patterns can contribute to the onset of depressive symptoms.
  • Environmental Factors: External circumstances, such as financial difficulties, relationship problems, work stress, or major life transitions, can trigger or make depressive episodes worse. Social isolation, lack of social support, and feelings of loneliness can also contribute to feelings of depression.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as chronic illnesses, hormonal imbalances, or neurological disorders, can increase the risk of developing depression. Chronic pain and other physical symptoms associated with these conditions can further exacerbate feelings of sadness and hopelessness.

One of the complex aspects of depression is its relationship with substance abuse. Many individuals who struggle with depression turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate and alleviate their symptoms temporarily. However, substance abuse only serves to mask the underlying issues and can ultimately worsen the condition.

Does Depression Cause Addiction?

Understanding the intricate relationship between depression and addiction is crucial in addressing both conditions effectively. While depression and addiction are distinct disorders, they often coexist and influence each other in complex ways.

  • Bidirectional Influence: Depression and addiction frequently occur together, with each condition influencing and making the other worse. Individuals struggling with depression may turn to substance abuse as a way to self-medicate and alleviate their symptoms temporarily. Substance abuse can contribute to the development or worsening of depressive symptoms.
  • Shared Risk Factors: Depression and addiction share common risk factors, including genetic predisposition, trauma, stress, and environmental factors. Individuals with a family history of depression or addiction are at a higher risk of experiencing both conditions themselves.
  • Brain Chemistry: Both depression and addiction affect neurotransmitter levels in the brain, particularly those related to mood regulation and pleasure. Substance abuse can disrupt these delicate chemical balances, exacerbating depressive symptoms and creating a cycle of dependence. Depression can alter brain chemistry and increase susceptibility to addiction by seeking relief through substances.
  • Coping Mechanisms: Individuals with depression may use drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism to numb painful emotions or escape from overwhelming feelings. However, substance abuse only provides temporary relief and can lead to increased dependency and addiction over time.
  • Compounding Effects: The combination of depression and addiction can have profound effects on mental and physical health. Substance abuse can worsen depressive symptoms, impair cognitive function, and increase the risk of suicidal ideation and behavior. Conversely, untreated depression can contribute to the development and maintenance of substance abuse habits.
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How to Break the Cycle of Depression and Substance Abuse

Breaking free from the cycle of depression and substance abuse is a challenging but achievable goal — with the right support and resources. It starts with seeking treatment. This involves:

  • Comprehensive Assessment: A mental health professional can conduct a comprehensive assessment to accurately diagnose depression and any co-occurring substance abuse disorders. This assessment lays the foundation for developing a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
  • Dual-Diagnosis Treatment: Individuals with co-occurring depression and substance abuse disorders require specialized treatment that addresses both conditions at the same time.
  • Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and motivational interviewing address underlying issues, develop coping skills, and promote relapse prevention.
  • Medication Management: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to alleviate depressive symptoms and stabilize mood. Antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety medications can be effective when combined with therapy and lifestyle changes. Close monitoring and medication management by a psychiatrist are essential to ensure safety and benefits.
  • Holistic Approaches: Holistic approaches to treatment emphasize the importance of addressing physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Incorporating holistic therapies such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, art therapy, and acupuncture can complement traditional treatment modalities and promote overall wellness.
  • Supportive Environment: Surrounding yourself with a supportive network of friends, family members, or peers who understand your struggles and encourage your recovery journey is crucial. Participating in support groups or online communities can provide additional validation, encouragement, and solidarity.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can significantly impact mental and emotional well-being. Prioritize regular exercise, a nutritious diet, adequate sleep, and stress-reduction techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises. Avoiding triggers and high-risk situations associated with substance abuse is also essential for maintaining sobriety.
  • Relapse-Prevention Planning: Developing a relapse-prevention plan is essential for maintaining long-term recovery. Identify triggers, warning signs, and coping strategies to navigate cravings and high-risk situations effectively. Regular follow-up appointments with healthcare providers and ongoing participation in therapy or support groups can help reinforce skills and prevent relapse.
  • Continued Support: Recovery from depression and substance abuse is a lifelong journey that requires ongoing commitment and support. Stay connected with your treatment team, engage in self-care practices, and remain aware of your mental health. Celebrate milestones and achievements along the way, and don’t hesitate to reach out for help if needed.

Depression Treatment at Aliya Health Group

At Aliya Health Group, we understand that each person’s mental health needs are unique. That’s why we offer personalized depression treatment centers to assist you on your journey to a brighter future.

Our team of experienced mental and behavioral health professionals provides support and guidance with compassion and empathy. We ensure the highest-quality mental health treatment services through our nationwide treatment network. Each has a variety of programs, along with recovery resources to aid in long-term mental stability.

In cases where mental health disorders have led to substance abuse, our addiction treatment programs provide assisted detox services and residential care. We also offer aftercare services, outpatient services, and sober living options. Each level of care features the same dedication to client growth and improvement as they take the necessary steps toward healing.

If you’re wondering how to help someone with depression, or looking for help yourself, contact us today to learn more about our inpatient and outpatient programs.

Am I Enabling a Loved One’s Mental Illness?

Mental health is an important part of overall well-being, yet it’s often misunderstood and stigmatized. When a loved one faces mental health challenges, it can be tough to know how to support them effectively. Sometimes, our actions, though well-meaning, might unintentionally contribute to their struggles. That means enabling a loved one’s mental illness is indeed possible. 

Here, we explore the concepts of enabling and empowering mental illness and discuss strategies to help our loved ones navigate their mental health.

How Common Are Mental Health Disorders?

Mental health disorders include a wide range of conditions, each with its own unique symptoms and challenges. These disorders can significantly impact an individual’s ability to function in daily life and their overall quality of life.

Today, mental health disorders are widespread, affecting millions of individuals worldwide. Statistics and mental health data reveal that approximately one in five adults in the United States experiences a mental illness each year.

Among the most common mental health disorders are:

  • Depression: persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and disinterest in activities once enjoyed. It can impair concentration, sleep patterns, and overall functioning, leading to difficulties in daily life.
  • Anxiety disorders: including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder, involve excessive worry, fear, and apprehension. These conditions can cause significant distress and interfere with an individual’s ability to manage everyday tasks and social interactions.
  • Bipolar disorder: involves extreme mood swings, ranging from periods of elevated mood (mania or hypomania) to episodes of depression. These mood fluctuations can disrupt individuals’ relationships, work performance, and overall stability.
  • Schizophrenia: a severe mental illness characterized by distorted thinking, hallucinations, and delusions. It can make you feel like you’re losing your mind, affecting your perception of reality and making it difficult to function independently and maintain social connections.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): develops in response to a traumatic event, leading to symptoms such as intrusive memories, flashbacks, and emotional numbness. These symptoms can significantly impact individuals’ daily functioning and quality of life, affecting their ability to engage in activities and form meaningful relationships.

These major mental health disorders represent only a fraction of the diverse range of conditions individuals may experience. Each disorder presents its unique challenges and requires tailored interventions and support. Working with a mental health recovery center is often the best way to turn things around. 

Enabling Mental Illness vs. Empowering

It’s important to understand the distinction between enabling and empowering individuals facing mental illness when attempting to provide support.

Enabling a mental illness involves doing things, on purpose or by accident, that make someone’s mental health problems even harder to deal with. It often comes from well-meaning intentions but can reinforce negative patterns or detract from the individual’s progress toward recovery. Examples of enabling mental illness include:

  • Making excuses for a loved one’s absence from social gatherings due to anxiety, thereby reinforcing avoidance behaviors.
  • Providing financial support without addressing underlying issues contributing to substance abuse.
  • Avoid discussions about a loved one’s depression or anxiety to prevent discomfort. This neglects open communication and support.

Empowering someone with a mental illness involves giving them support and encouragement that helps them feel more independent, capable, and happy. It focuses on resilience, healthy coping mechanisms, and helping the person to take an active role in managing their mental health. Empowerment emphasizes:

  • Balance of collaboration and independence
  • Validation of the individual’s experiences
  • Self-advocacy
  • Creating an environment that encourages growth and positive change

Empowerment differs from enabling in that it focuses on long-term well-being and personal growth rather than short-term relief or avoidance of discomfort. While enabling may offer temporary relief of symptoms or stress, empowerment addresses the root causes of mental health struggles. It equips individuals with the tools and support needed to face challenges effectively.

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How to Help a Loved One with a Mental Health Disorder

Supporting a loved one who is struggling with a mental health disorder can be challenging. Here are several ways to offer meaningful assistance and support:

  1. Educate Yourself

Take the time to educate yourself about your loved one’s specific mental health disorder. Google positive facts about mental health. Learn about symptoms, triggers, and available treatment options. Understanding their condition can help you provide informed support and empathize with their experiences.

  1. Encourage Professional Treatment

Most of us don’t know how to fix mental illness. That’s why one of the most important ways to help a loved one with a mental health disorder is to encourage them to seek professional treatment. This may involve connecting them with a therapist, counselor, psychiatrist, or other mental health professionals. Be supportive and understanding throughout the process, as seeking treatment can be scary for many individuals.

  1. Be a Supportive Listener

Create a safe and non-judgmental space for your loved one to express their thoughts and feelings. Practice active listening by paying attention to what they are saying without interrupting or offering unsolicited advice. Show support for their emotions and experiences, and let them know that you are there to help them unconditionally.

  1. Offer Practical Support

Assist your loved one with practical tasks that may feel overwhelming for them. This could include helping with household chores, running errands, or providing transportation to appointments. By lightening their load, you can alleviate stress and show your support in tangible ways.

  1. Encourage Self-Care

Encourage your loved one to prioritize self-care activities that improve mental and emotional well-being. This could include regular exercise, practicing mindfulness or relaxation techniques, maintaining a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep. Offer to participate in self-care activities together or provide gentle reminders to prioritize self-care when needed.

  1. Respect Their Boundaries

Respect your loved one’s boundaries and avoid pressuring them to share more than they are comfortable with. Let them know that you are there to support them whenever they are ready to talk, but also give them space when needed. Avoid pushing them to open up or discuss their mental health issues in public settings without their consent.

  1. Be Patient and Understanding

Recovery from a mental health disorder is often a journey with ups and downs. Be patient and understanding, and avoid placing unrealistic expectations on your loved one. Celebrate their progress, no matter how small, and offer reassurance and encouragement during difficult times. Let them know that you are there for them every step of the way.

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Mental Health Disorder Treatment at Aliya

At Aliya Health Group, our approach to mental health treatment places compassion and dignity at the forefront so you can heal safely and comfortably.  Our goal is to work with you to develop a mental health treatment plan tailored to your specific situation. We use evidence-based psychotherapies and holistic practices in our healing approach. 

Our outpatient psychiatric care services are designed to offer you the necessary support to understand and overcome a mental health disorder. The outpatient treatment format allows you to maintain your daily routine and responsibilities. Our recovery approach incorporates medications and other pharmacological treatments for a well-rounded treatment plan. This ensures you receive comprehensive and effective mental health therapy throughout your time in treatment.

Our inpatient mental health treatment involves staying at a facility 24/7 while participating in intensive programming. This level of care provides round-the-clock monitoring, support, and a structured environment to address mental health concerns effectively. The benefits of inpatient mental health treatment include:

  • Medication management and medical monitoring
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Individual and group counseling sessions
  • Workshops and wellness skill-building
  • Structured daily routine and healthy environment

With a comprehensive mental health evaluation, we can help you start your journey to living a happier, healthier life. If you or a loved one are currently struggling with a mental health disorder, contact us today.

Beware of New, Powerful Opioids Called Nitazenes

When it comes to substance abuse and addiction, the search for a greater high often leads to new and even more dangerous drugs.  One such group of illicit drug gaining attention from law enforcement and public health officials in recent times is nitazenes, a class of opioids with potent effects and concerning impacts such as a high potential for drug overdoses and overdose death.

What Are Nitazenes?

Nitazenes, also known as isotonitazene or “ISO,” are a group of lab-made opioids that were developed in the 1950s by pharmaceutical companies. Initially studied as an alternative to morphine for pain relief, Nitazenes belong to the benzimidazole family of compounds. They are structurally different than opioids but share similar properties. Despite its promising chemical makeup, nitazenes were never approved for medical use. The risk of overdose and addiction was just too great.

Much like other street drugs, there is still no approved medical use for nitazenes. Drug manufacturers overseas re-introduced the drug to the illicit market, and the first detections in the U.S. occurred in 2019. Unfortunately, their introduction into the drug market has been linked to a concerning number of drug overdose deaths.

Nitazenes are sold in various forms, including white or brown/yellow powder and illegally manufactured pills. They can be taken in several ways, with injections being the most common. However, they can also be ingested through other routes, such as smoking or snorting. The availability of nitazenes in different forms contributes to their widespread misuse and the associated risks of overdose and addiction.

Are Nitazenes Dangerous?

Nitazenes are extremely dangerous to individuals who misuse them, posing a heightened risk of addiction and poor health effects. Overdosing on nitazenes is a grave concern due to their potency. Compared to other opioids, nitazenes are some of the most potent, making them particularly unsafe substances.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), nitazenes can be up to 10 times as potent as fentanyl, a synthetic opioid approximately 50 times more potent than heroin. This extreme potency means that even small amounts of nitazenes can lead to life-threatening breathing problems, coma, and death. Additionally, the questionable purity and dosage of illegally manufactured nitazene products further increase the risk of unintentional drug overdose.

The effects of nitazenes also present both short-term and long-term health hazards. In the short term, misuse of nitazenes can lead to breathing issues like respiratory depression, sedation, and impaired thinking. This increases the risk of accidents and injuries. Chronic use of nitazenes can lead to physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms when stopping, and disruptions to overall health and well-being.

Prolonged opioid use is associated with a range of health issues, including cardiovascular complications, respiratory disorders, gastrointestinal problems, hormonal imbalances, and neurological damage. Moreover, opioid addiction often leads to social and economic consequences, including strained relationships, loss of employment, financial instability, and involvement in criminal activities.

The exceptional potency of nitazenes, coupled with their addictive nature and associated health risks, underscores the significant danger they pose to individuals and communities. Understanding these risks is crucial for implementing effective prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies to address the devastating impact of nitazene misuse and addiction.

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Are Nitazenes Addictive?

Yes, nitazenes are highly addictive substances, posing significant risks to individuals who misuse them. Like other opioids, nitazenes interact with the brain’s reward system. This leads to the release of dopamine and reinforces drug-seeking behaviors. The quick onset of euphoria and pain relief drives individuals to seek out and misuse these substances repeatedly. Moreover, many people develop a tolerance to nitazenes, making them need increasingly higher doses to achieve the desired effects. This further extends the cycle of addiction.

When individuals attempt to reduce or stop nitazene use, they may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, anxiety, and cravings, driving compulsive drug-seeking behavior to escape discomfort.

What Is Nitazene Treatment Like?

If you or a loved one are struggling with nitazene addiction, seeking treatment is essential for recovery. Opioid treatment programs (OTPs) offer comprehensive care tailored to address the complexities of opioid addiction, including the misuse of potent substances like nitazenes.

Opioid treatment programs are specialized healthcare facilities that provide evidence-based treatments for opioid addiction, including nitazene misuse. These programs offer a range of services aimed at addressing the physical, psychological, and social aspects of addiction, helping individuals achieve and maintain recovery. Through medication-assisted treatment (MAT), counseling, peer support, and comprehensive care, OTPs empower individuals to overcome nitazene addiction and build fulfilling lives in recovery.

  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): One of the main components of OTPs, MAT involves the use of medications, such as methadone or buprenorphine, to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with nitazene addiction. These medications are administered under medical supervision.
  • Counseling and Behavioral Therapies: In addition to medication, OTPs offer counseling and behavioral therapies to address the underlying issues contributing to nitazene addiction. These therapies help you develop coping strategies, improve problem-solving skills, and address co-occurring mental health disorders.
  • Peer Support and Community Resources: OTPs often provide access to peer support groups and community resources, such as Narcotics Anonymous meetings and other support networks. Peer support groups allow you to connect with others who have shared experiences and provide encouragement and accountability throughout the recovery journey. Community resources provide additional support and assistance with various aspects of recovery, such as housing, employment, and legal issues.
  • Comprehensive Care and Individualized Treatment Plans: OTPs offer individualized treatment plans tailored to each individual’s unique needs and circumstances. Comprehensive care includes ongoing assessment, monitoring, and adjustment of treatment interventions to ensure optimal outcomes.
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Nitazene Treatment at Aliya

At Aliya Health Group, our treatment centers provide a full continuum of care for opioid treatment. Our integrated approach to treatment offers both evidence-based and holistic recovery practices. To treat nitazene addiction, our clinical team offers unique levels of care, including:

  • Medical detox: Removing all drugs from your system under medically supervision to treat withdrawal symptoms and make detox as comfortable as possible
  • Residential treatment: Living full-time at our rehab centers to focus your entire attention on getting sober and overcoming mental health issues.
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP): A more flexible treatment option where you attend therapy five days per week while you live at home or in one of our sober living centers
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP): A step down in intensity from a PHP, involving regular treatments and meetings at a rehab center, for fewer days per week and shorter duration
  • Outpatient program: A step down from IOP, building on all the tools and coping skills learned throughout rehab
  • Aftercare: Provided after opioid addiction treatment to help you maintain your sobriety, build a support network, and address ongoing challenges related to drug addiction

If you or your loved one are struggling with nitazene addiction or a problem with any street drugs, don’t wait. Opioid addiction is a threat to public health. Nitazenes represent a new threat when it comes to the illicit drug market. Synthetic opioids are a problem for law enforcement and first responders. Do your part and get help from a recovery center with opioid use disorder treatment programs.  Reach out to Aliya Health Group today to take the first step toward a drug-free future.

Take Action Against Addiction: Strategies for Holding a Successful Intervention

Addiction is a complex and challenging issue that affects not only the individual struggling with substance abuse but also their loved ones. Often, it can feel overwhelming to see someone you care about fall into the grips of addiction. In these situations, holding an addiction intervention can be an important step toward guiding your loved one on the path to recovery. What’s it like to hold an intervention, and are there ways to ensure success? Let’s take a look.

What Is an Intervention?

An intervention is a structured and compassionate approach to confronting someone’s addiction and encouraging them to seek help. The main goal is to help the individual recognize how serious their addiction is and motivate them to take the necessary steps toward recovery. Common types include:

  • Alcohol addiction intervention
  • Drug addiction intervention
  • Heroin addiction intervention
  • Opioid addiction intervention

The key to a successful intervention is to bring together a group of individuals who have a meaningful relationship with the person struggling with addiction. These gatherings typically involve people who have witnessed firsthand the impact of the individual’s addiction. Their presence can lend credibility and support to the intervention process.

Helping Your Loved Ones with Addiction

Whether it’s an intervention for a family member or an intervention for a friend or colleague, participants are often guided by a professional interventionist or therapist to address the harmful behaviors associated with the individual’s addiction. It serves as a pivotal moment where the concerned express their love, support, and concern. However, a professional interventionist is not necessary to hold an intervention for a friend or family member. 

Interventions are conducted with empathy and understanding, focusing on expressing love and concern rather than judgment or blame. They provide a safe space for participants to share their observations, feelings, and experiences related to the individual’s addiction. The ultimate goal is to guide them toward acceptance of help.

Interventions typically last a few hours, although the exact length may vary depending on the complexity of the situation and the dynamics of the group. The process typically involves pre-planning, rehearsal, the intervention itself, and follow-up discussions about treatment options and next steps.

Studies show that interventions work 80-90 percent of the time. Over eight in 10 individuals choose to go to drug and alcohol treatment when family members and friends present this life-saving gift.

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How Does an Intervention Happen?

An addiction intervention is a carefully arranged process that unfolds in several key stages, beginning with thorough pre-planning and extending to post-intervention support and follow-up care. You may think you know what to expect because of an interventionist TV series with famous interventionists like Jeff VanVonderen and Candy Finnigan. However, what happens at an intervention is dependent on the individual and their personal struggles. 

Here is a general rundown of how they work:

  • Pre-Planning: This initial phase involves careful preparation and coordination among concerned people. Participants work together to gather information about the individual’s addiction, select the best intervention team, and establish how the intervention meeting will unfold. During this stage, participants may also research treatment options and make arrangements for post-intervention care.
  • Rehearsal: With the intervention date set, participants engage in rehearsal sessions to practice what they want to say. These rehearsals provide an opportunity for participants to work on active listening, maintain a compassionate tone, and anticipate potential challenges or emotional reactions that may arise.
  • Confrontation: During the intervention, each participant takes turns expressing their observations, feelings, and hopes for the individual struggling with addiction. The facilitator maintains focus and order, guiding the conversation and emphasizing the importance of seeking help.
  • Offer Treatment: Following the intervention, the individual is presented with alcohol and drug treatment options and encouraged to accept help for their addiction. This may involve immediate enrollment in treatment programs, attendance at therapy sessions, or participation in support groups. The intervention team helps the individual make informed decisions about their recovery journey.
  • Follow-up: After the meeting ends, the intervention team stays actively involved, providing ongoing support and encouragement. This may include assisting with transportation to treatment facilities, coordinating family and friend involvement in therapy sessions, and providing emotional support during the early stages of recovery. Follow-up care aims to reinforce the individual’s commitment to treatment and provide a supportive environment for long-term success.

Tips for a Successful Intervention

A successful intervention is often when the person with a drug or alcohol addiction seeks treatment following the intervention. Some tips to get to this point include:

  • Express Love and Concern: Start the intervention by expressing your love and concern for the individual. Emphasize that your intentions are rooted in a desire to see them recover and lead a healthier, happier life.
  • Stick to Facts: During the intervention, focus on presenting concrete examples of the individual’s behavior and its impact on themselves and others. Avoid making accusations or engaging in blame, as this can lead to defensiveness and resistance.
  • Use “I” Statements: When sharing your observations and feelings, use “I” statements to convey your own experiences and perspectives. For example, say “I feel worried when I see you struggling with addiction” rather than “You make me worried because of your addiction.”
  • Avoid Judgment and Criticism: Approach the intervention with empathy and understanding, rather than judgment or criticism. Avoid using language that is accusatory or shaming, as this can undermine the effectiveness of the intervention.
  • Offer Support and Encouragement: Let the individual know that you’re there to support them on their journey toward recovery. Offer to help them explore treatment options, accompany them to appointments, or provide emotional support as they navigate the challenges of addiction recovery.
  • Set Boundaries: While offering support, be sure to set boundaries to protect yourself from the negative consequences of the individual’s addiction. Communicate your boundaries and stick to them, even if it means including consequences for continued destructive behavior.
  • Remain Calm and Composed: Emotions may run high during the intervention, but it’s essential to remain calm and composed. Avoid escalating conflicts or becoming defensive if the individual reacts negatively. Instead, focus on maintaining a respectful and supportive tone throughout the intervention.
  • Avoid Ultimatums: While it’s important to communicate the seriousness of the situation, avoid issuing ultimatums or making threats. Instead, focus on the potential consequences of continuing destructive behavior and the benefits of seeking help and entering treatment.
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What If Someone Resists Getting Help?

It’s not uncommon for someone to resist the idea of seeking help. If your intervention for a loved one gets heated and they refuse help, here are some steps you can take:

  • Educate Yourself: Learn as much as you can about addiction and treatment options, so you can provide informed support and guidance to your loved one.
  • Offer Support: Let your loved one know that you are there for them and willing to support them in their journey towards recovery. Offer to accompany them to therapy sessions or support group meetings.
  • Set Boundaries: While it’s important to offer support, it’s also crucial to set boundaries to protect yourself from the negative consequences of your loved one’s addiction. This may involve limiting contact or seeking support from a therapist or support group.
  • Seek Professional Help: If your loved one continues to resist getting help, consider enlisting the support of a professional interventionist or therapist who can provide guidance and support in navigating the complexities of addiction.

Help with Interventions at Aliya Health Group

 If you’re planning to hold an intervention, finding the right professional interventionist can feel overwhelming. Aliya Health Group has relationships with some of the most effective and experienced interventionists, and we can connect you with them. Remember, addiction is a treatable condition, and with the right support and resources, recovery is possible.