Brainspotting vs EMDR: What’s the Difference?

Trauma can leave deep scars on the mind and body. Living with trauma can affect every aspect of a person’s life. Whether it stems from a single traumatic event or prolonged exposure to upsetting circumstances, the impact can be serious and long-lasting. In search of help for their trauma, individuals often turn to treatment centers and therapies to find relief from the symptoms that accompany trauma-related disorders. Two such approaches, brainspotting and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), have gained importance in the field of trauma therapy. While both treat trauma and its aftermath, they differ in their techniques and methodologies. When it comes to brainspotting vs EMDR, which is right for you? Aliya Health Group is here to help you decide. 

What Is EMDR?

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, commonly known as EMDR, is a psychotherapy approach developed by psychologist Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s. EMDR therapy is guided by the adaptive information processing theory, which describes that traumatic memories cause emotional distress because they were never fully processed and released. Instead, they’ve gotten stuck in the brain, causing negative beliefs and intense emotional responses. The brain continues attempts at reprocessing certain emotions, images, thoughts, or beliefs associated with the traumatic event. This is why, years later, you can re-experience trauma symptoms.

EMDR is used to treat trauma-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. Some therapists also use EMDR for OCD symptoms. The benefit lies in the relief EMDR can provide for underlying issues that fuel compulsive and unhealthy coping behaviors. Since its discovery, EMDR has gained steady popularity, with famous people like Prince Harry sharing that it helped him process childhood trauma after losing his mother to a car accident at a young age.

Unlike traditional talk therapy, EMDR incorporates specific techniques that trigger the brain’s natural healing process. Sessions are conducted by licensed mental health professionals who have undergone specialized training with EMDR equipment. While recalling a traumatic event, the therapist guides you through sets of bilateral stimulation, which can include eye movements and an EMDR light bar, as well as audio cues using EMDR tappers or EMDR buzzers. As you move through the process, your brain can reprocess how the memory is stored. This reduces the distress associated with the memory and instills positive thoughts and emotions instead. Your EMDR therapist is with you the entire session to facilitate the treatment.

What Is Brainspotting?

Brainspotting was developed as an offshoot of EMDR by clinical social worker David Grand, PhD, in 2003. While treating patients with EMDR, he noticed their eyes would flutter when they stared at certain areas in their field of vision. That spot, which he coined the “brainspot,” is believed to be a point of unresolved trauma that can be processed and released to ease distressing symptoms.

Trained mental health professionals use brainspotting to treat trauma-related disorders like PTSD, anxiety, phobias, and other emotional disturbances. The benefits of brainspotting also include anyone experiencing performance anxiety, chronic pain, or issues related to personal growth and self-improvement.

The main difference between brainspotting vs EMDR is the fixed-gaze position. During a brainspotting session, a trained therapist will identify and access brainspots through eye positioning and somatic awareness (noises). With focused mindfulness and bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements or hearing cues, the therapist helps the patient process the targeted trauma, leading to resolution and emotional release.

What Are My Options for Trauma Recovery?

When it comes to recovering from trauma, there are various options available that can lead to healing and relief from upsetting symptoms.

  • Trauma Therapy
    One option for trauma recovery is seeking support from mental health professionals who specialize in trauma therapy. These professionals, such as psychologists, counselors, or therapists, are trained to provide evidence-based treatments tailored to address the unique needs of individuals affected by trauma. Therapy sessions offer a safe and confidential space to explore experiences, process emotions, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  • Peer Support
    In addition to professional therapy, individuals may also find support through peer groups or support networks. Connecting with others who have experienced similar traumas can provide validation, understanding, and a sense of belonging. Peer support groups offer opportunities to share experiences, receive encouragement, and learn from others’ coping strategies.
  • Self-care
    Self-care practices play a crucial role in trauma recovery, promoting overall well-being and resilience. Engaging in activities such as exercise, mindfulness meditation, journaling, and creative expression can help individuals manage stress, regulate emotions, and cultivate a sense of empowerment. Developing a self-care routine that puts physical, emotional, and spiritual health first is essential for long-term healing and recovery.
  • Alternative Therapies
    Some individuals may benefit from complementary and alternative therapies alongside traditional psychotherapy like EMDR and brainspotting. These may include techniques such as yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy, and art therapy.

It’s important to remember that trauma recovery is a unique and individualized process. What works for one person may not work for another. Exploring different options and finding what resonates best with your needs and preferences is key to finding effective trauma support and healing.

What Are the Benefits of Working with Mental Health Professionals?

Brainspotting and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing are quickly becoming the standards in treating trauma. Since trauma can play a significant role in substance use, many people choose to seek help from mental health professionals at a treatment center. These professionals have specialized training and expertise in addressing trauma-related issues. They can provide tailored treatment plans to meet each person’s unique needs.

Therapists and counselors create a safe and supportive environment for individuals to explore their experiences and emotions, fostering healing and growth. Through evidence-based practices such as EMDR and brainspotting, trauma therapists help clients process traumatic memories, develop coping skills, and reclaim their lives from the grips of distressing memories.

Mental Health Treatment at Aliya Health Group

Aliya Health Group is well known for its trauma-focused approach to substance abuse treatment. Many of our addiction professionals are trained in EMDR, brainspotting, and other trauma therapies, and all our treatment methods are steeped in an evidence-based approach.

Levels of care and highlights of our treatment centers include:

  • Drug and alcohol detox
  • Residential treatment programs
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Outpatient programs
  • Sober-living residences
  • Continuing care
  • Treatment for co-occurring disorders (dual diagnosis)
  • Individual, group, and family therapy
  • Holistic therapies

We all deserve to live a life where we feel emotionally safe. You shouldn’t feel the need to self-medicate or do therapies like EMDR at home. Contact our recovery centers today to learn more! 

How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your System?

Whether you’re a smoker, vaper, or occasional tobacco user, you may have wondered how long nicotine stays in your system. But do you know what nicotine is and what it does to your health? Understanding this addictive substance can help you stop using it or avoid it altogether. Quitting smoking is something you should consider if you want to live a healthier life. Smoking cessation can be hard, but there are programs and therapies available to help. Those who have stopped smoking report feeling happier and healthier than when they were using nicotine products.  Aliya Health Group can help anyone dealing with nicotine dependency, even if you’ve been a heavy smoker for a long time.

What Is Nicotine?

Nicotine is a mild stimulant substance found in tobacco plants. It’s what makes smoking cigarettes, vaping, and using other tobacco products addictive. People use nicotine for various reasons, but mainly because it can create a feeling of pleasure and relaxation. Others use it to help them concentrate or stay awake.

While nicotine itself isn’t as harmful as other chemicals found in tobacco smoke, it still poses health risks. It can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which can be harmful, especially for people with heart conditions. Nicotine use, particularly among young people, can sometimes lead to the use of other drugs or drinking alcohol.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • The tobacco industry spends billions of dollars each year on marketing cigarettes
  • In 2021, 11.5% of U.S. adults (an estimated 28.3 million people) currently smoked cigarettes
  • Most adults who smoke cigarettes want to quit
  • Vaping has become increasingly popular among young people in recent years, with millions of teens reporting using e-cigarettes

Overall, nicotine is a powerful substance that can have both positive and negative effects on health. While some people use it for its stimulating effects, it’s crucial to understand the risks associated with its use and to use it responsibly.

What Has Nicotine in It?

Nicotine isn’t just limited to cigarettes. It’s also present in various tobacco products and their alternatives:

  • Cigarettes: The most common and traditional way of consuming nicotine is through smoking cigarettes. Curious how much nicotine is in a cigarette? The average cigarette contains approximately 12 milligrams of nicotine, although this can vary depending on the brand and type.
  • Vapes: E-cigarettes or vapes heat a liquid containing nicotine, creating an aerosol that users inhale. It’s hard to judge how much nicotine is in a vape, as nicotine content in e-liquids varies widely, from nicotine-free options to high concentrations exceeding that of traditional cigarettes.
  • Cigars: Like cigarettes, cigars also contain nicotine, although in varying amounts depending on their size and type. Premium cigars tend to have higher nicotine levels compared to smaller or flavored cigars.
  • Chewing Tobacco and Snuff: Smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco and snuff also contain nicotine. Users place these products inside the mouth, allowing nicotine to be absorbed through the gums and oral tissues.
  • Nicotine Pouches: These small pouches contain nicotine and other flavorings but lack tobacco leaf content. They’re placed between the gum and cheek, providing a discreet and smoke-free way to consume nicotine.

Is Nicotine Bad for You?

You might wonder if nicotine is bad for you. The answer is yes, but it is more complicated than that. Let’s break it down.

Health Risks

Nicotine isn’t the worst part of smoking or vaping, but it’s still not great for your health. It can speed up your heart rate, raise your blood pressure, and even affect your brain.

Addiction

One big problem with nicotine is that it’s super addictive. In fact, nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs. That means once you start using it, it can be really hard to stop. This addiction can lead to smoking or vaping more, which brings other harmful chemicals into your body.

Damage from Smoking or Vaping

While nicotine itself isn’t as harmful as some other contents in cigarettes or vapes, it’s still part of the problem. When you smoke or vape, you’re not just getting nicotine—you’re also inhaling chemicals that can damage your lungs, heart, and more. Secondhand smoke can also be dangerous. Tobacco smoke contains substances like tar that are harmful to the lungs.

Ignorance

Another worry is that young people might start using nicotine without knowing how bad it can be. This can lead to problems later on, like addiction or health issues. Nicotine addiction doesn’t happen overnight, but the longer someone uses nicotine products, the more likely they are to develop a serious addiction.

How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your System?

The amount of time nicotine remains detectable in your system varies depending on several factors, including:

  • Type of Tobacco Product: Different tobacco products deliver nicotine at varying rates, impacting how long it stays in the body.
  • Frequency of Use: Regular smokers or vapers may have higher levels of nicotine in their system, which can take longer to metabolize.
  • Metabolism: Individuals with faster metabolisms typically process nicotine more quickly, reducing the time it stays in their system.
  • Body Mass Index (BMI): Nicotine is fat-soluble, meaning it can accumulate in fatty tissues. Individuals with higher BMIs may retain nicotine longer than those with lower BMIs.

On average, nicotine can be detected in the body for 1 to 3 days after use. However, in heavy users, it may remain detectable for up to 10 days. Nicotine metabolites, such as cotinine, can be detected in blood, urine, saliva, and hair samples, providing a timeline of recent nicotine exposure.

Nicotine Detox Process and Withdrawal Symptoms

If you’re looking to detoxify your body from nicotine, the process can take time, and withdrawal symptoms may occur. Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal include:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood swings.

These symptoms typically peak within the first few days after quitting and gradually subside over several weeks.

To make progress detoxing from tobacco, consider the following tips:

  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help flush nicotine and its metabolites out of your system more quickly.
  • Exercise regularly: Physical activity can boost metabolism and promote the elimination of nicotine through sweat and urine.
  • Seek Support: Quitting nicotine can be challenging, so don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or healthcare professionals.
  • Consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT): NRT products like a nicotine patch, gum, or lozenges can help manage withdrawal symptoms by providing a controlled dose of nicotine while gradually tapering off usage.

Addiction Treatment at Aliya Health Group

Addiction is a disease that changes your brain. That’s why professional treatment is needed for long-term recovery. Aliya Health Group provides you with a team of medical and behavioral health experts that will help you recover from a nicotine addiction physically, mentally, and spiritually. 

Our treatment centers use different levels of care, psychotherapies, and techniques in the addiction recovery process, depending on individual goals. Some of the evidence-based tobacco addiction treatments we offer include:

  • Individual, group, and family therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Identify and replace unhealthy and inaccurate ways of thinking and behaving with substance abuse
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): CBT and mindfulness techniques to regulate emotions and manage stress
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): Trauma-based psychotherapy to address the underlying cause of addiction
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT): A form of CBT designed to treat past trauma
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): Accepting challenging emotions and thoughts while committing to value-driven actions
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI): Enhancing motivation for change and promoting commitment to treatment
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): Complementing treatment with FDA-approved medications that help with cravings and side effects

If you’re considering quitting nicotine, remember that support and resources are available to help you on your journey to a healthier, nicotine-free life.

How to Manage Weed Withdrawal Symptoms

Many supporters of marijuana deny the possibility that you can become addicted to the drug. They’ll say things like, “I used weed every day for 30 years and then quit without any issues. It’s not addictive.” The fact is, research shows you can develop an addiction to the drug and experience weed withdrawal symptoms. Why are there so many misconceptions about weed, and what should you do if you’re unable to stop using it?

What Is Marijuana?

Marijuana is the street name for cannabis, a flowering plant recognized for its psychoactive properties. The plant has acquired many other nicknames including pot, weed, Mary Jane, ganja, herb, and many more.

The plant contains compounds known as cannabinoids, with the most notable ones being THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). These compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, influencing a range of physiological functions.

Marijuana’s history dates back thousands of years, with various civilizations using it for its therapeutic properties, from pain relief to spiritual ceremonies. Throughout history, marijuana has faced both acceptance and skepticism in society. Its standing is often influenced by cultural, political, and legal factors. In some cultures, marijuana is revered for its medicinal properties, while in others, it has been stigmatized due to its psychoactive effects. Today, It’s the number-one drug used by Americans. It’s estimated that 55 million people use marijuana, and 4.4 million people suffer from a marijuana use disorder.

Stereotypes surrounding marijuana users have also evolved. From the outdated image of the “lazy stoner” to more nuanced portrayals in media, these views often oversimplify the diverse range of individuals who choose to engage with marijuana.

Is Marijuana Safe?

The safety of marijuana has been a topic of increasing relevance, especially with the changing legal status in various states. Marijuana legalization has created regulated markets, contributing to a more structured and controlled environment. This shift has facilitated research on marijuana, providing a deeper understanding of its effects and potential benefits.

Medicinal Benefits
Marijuana has been recognized for its medicinal properties, offering relief to individuals facing conditions such as cancer and epilepsy. For cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, marijuana can help alleviate nausea and vomiting, enhancing their overall well-being. Certain strains of marijuana, particularly those rich in CBD, have shown promise in reducing seizure frequency in individuals with epilepsy. Additionally, marijuana has been explored for managing chronic pain and anxiety.

Modern weed, with its increased potency, presents both opportunities and challenges. The many forms of marijuana, including concentrates, edibles, liquid weed, and vapes, offer unique experiences. It’s important to recognize the potency of today’s marijuana can lead to stronger effects.

The safety of marijuana also depends on individual factors such as health conditions, tolerance, and susceptibility to adverse effects. Some individuals may experience side effects like anxiety, paranoia, or impaired coordination, especially with high-THC strains. If you’re considering using weed, you should consult with your healthcare professional, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or concerns.

Regular and heavy marijuana use can lead to the development of tolerance, where higher doses are needed to achieve the desired effects. Some people combine the prescription drugs with weed for an enhanced experience. For instance, Adderall and marijuana are a popular combination, with users reporting a more intense high.

Is Marijuana a Stimulant or Depressant?

Many people wonder, “Is marijuana a stimulant” or “Is marijuana a depressant?” The drug can act as both a depressant and a stimulant, depending on the strain and the chemical reaction it has in a user’s body.

Stimulant Effects
Sativa-dominant strains are often associated with these stimulant effects. These include heightened energy levels, increased alertness, and enhanced focus. Individual experiences may vary, but users often report feeling more sociable, creative, and motivated after consuming marijuana with stimulant properties. This can make it a popular choice for activities that involve mental engagement and social interaction.

Depressant Effects
Indica-dominant strains are commonly associated with these depressant effects. These include relaxation, sedation, and a sense of calm. Individuals using marijuana with depressant effects may experience a sense of tranquility, making it great for relaxation and sleep-inducing purposes. This makes indica strains popular choices for evening or nighttime use.

Hybrid Strains
Many marijuana strains available today are hybrids, combining characteristics of both sativa and indica strains. Hybrid strains aim to provide a balanced experience, offering users a blend of stimulant and depressant effects.

Is Weed Addictive?

Marijuana use ranges from casual and occasional use to more frequent and habitual patterns. Habitual use implies a regular and consistent engagement with marijuana, often as part of a routine or for recreational purposes. On the other hand, addiction involves a more profound psychological and physiological reliance on a substance. You may experience cravings and an inability to control or stop consumption.

While marijuana is not considered chemically addictive in the same way substances like nicotine or opioids are, it can lead to psychological dependence. Psychological dependence involves a reliance on marijuana to cope with stress, anxiety, or other emotional states. Individuals may develop a habit of using marijuana as a coping mechanism, and breaking this pattern can be challenging.

Are There Weed Withdrawal Symptoms?

Deciding to stop using marijuana can bring about withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms happen as a result of this decrease in your body’s natural cannabinoid level. This imbalance without a substance is referred to as being “physically dependent.” The most typical symptoms of weed withdrawal include:

  • Irritability, anger, or aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Reduced appetite or weight loss
  • Restlessness
  • Depressed mood
  • Stomach pain
  • Shakiness or tremors
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache

Less common signs and symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Racing heart
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Runny nose

How Long Does Weed Withdrawal Last?

In general, withdrawal symptoms peak within the first week of stopping and gradually go away over the following weeks. Withdrawal symptoms can last up to two weeks.

Tips for Managing Withdrawal:

  • Gradual Reduction: If possible, consider tapering off marijuana use gradually rather than quitting abruptly. This can help mitigate the intensity of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can aid in flushing out toxins from the body and alleviate certain withdrawal symptoms.
  • Healthy Distractions: Engage in activities you enjoy to distract yourself from cravings and withdrawal discomfort.
  • Seek Support: Reach out to friends, family, or support groups to share your journey and receive encouragement.
  • Professional Guidance: In severe cases, seeking guidance from a healthcare professional or addiction specialist can provide tailored support, weed detox assistance, and more.

Marijuana 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 programs
  • Outpatient programs

Throughout the weed detox process, you’ll work with a dedicated group of counselors, medical professionals, and other personnel. 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.

Contact us today to learn more about our programs and how we can help.

What Does a Depression Therapist Do?

Depression is a common mood disorder that can feel overwhelming at times. Often, people wonder if seeking out the expertise of a depression therapist can help. From understanding the causes of depression to deciding whether treatment is needed, arming yourself with knowledge is a good way to know what steps to take.

What Is Depression?

Depression (also known as major depression, major depressive disorder, or clinical depression) is a far-reaching mental health disorder. It causes constant negative feelings like sadness and hopelessness, and a profound lack of interest in activities. Depression often seeps into various aspects of an individual’s life, influencing thoughts, behaviors, and overall well-being. It also tends to affect the lives of friends and loved ones, creating challenges and influencing relationships, family dynamics, and social connections.

Depression can happen to anyone, anywhere. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 264 million people suffer from depression globally. Women are more likely to have the disorder than men. Those who have lived through abuse, severe losses, or other stressful events are more likely to develop it. Other notable statistics:

  • Depression can impact individuals of all ages, with its onset occurring as early as childhood
  • Mental health conditions, including depression, cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year

How Is Depression Treated?

Depression, even the most severe cases, is a very treatable disorder. As with many illnesses, the earlier depression treatment begins, the more effective it can be and the greater the likelihood that recurrence can be prevented.

To properly address depression, it’s important to see a doctor first. They’ll check if other issues like certain medications or medical conditions might be causing similar symptoms. The doctor will also ask about alcohol or drug use and if the person has thoughts about death or suicide.

Recognition and Reaching Out
The first step in seeking depression treatment involves recognizing the symptoms and bravely reaching out for help. Whether through self-referral or with the support of friends, family, or healthcare providers, this important step sets the wheels in motion toward a path of healing.

Licensed mental health professionals play a pivotal role in administering depression treatment. This diverse group includes therapists, counselors, and, in certain cases, psychiatrists. Their collective expertise allows them to tailor treatment plans to the unique needs of each individual, fostering a personalized approach to recovery.

Depression Therapy is Tailored to the Individual
Once diagnosed, depression can be treated in different ways. The main treatments are medicine and psychotherapy (also called talking therapy). Approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and mindfulness are proven effective in different scenarios. Medicine can also help by easing symptoms like intense worry, so people can get the most out of talking therapy.

CBT: Widely recognized, CBT focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors contributing to depressive symptoms. Through CBT, individuals learn to challenge and reframe distorted thoughts, fostering a more positive and adaptive mindset.

DBT: Effective for individuals dealing with intense emotions and self-destructive behaviors, DBT combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness strategies. It helps individuals regulate emotions and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

IPT: IPT concentrates on improving interpersonal relationships and communication skills. It addresses how relationships and social interactions contribute to or exacerbate depressive symptoms, helping individuals navigate relationships more effectively.

Mindfulness-Based Approaches: Mindfulness-based interventions, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), incorporate mindfulness and meditation practices. These techniques promote self-awareness and help individuals manage stress and anxiety associated with depression.

Medication-Assisted Treatment: In some cases, a treatment plan for depression may include the use of medications. There are several options, so speaking with a treatment professional is always advised before starting down the road to recovery on your own.

The duration of depression treatment varies, influenced by the severity of the condition, individual responsiveness to treatment, and the chosen depression therapy approach. While some individuals may find relief in a relatively short period, others may engage in more extended treatment, emphasizing the need for patience and a commitment to the process.

The Advantage of Depression Treatment Centers

Holistic recovery is one of the key therapy goals for depression. Treatment centers offer a structured and supportive environment that can help people achieve this in a more focused way. These centers bring together a multidisciplinary team of professionals, ensuring that various aspects of an individual’s well-being are addressed comprehensively. They provide:

  • Comprehensive Approach: Depression treatment centers address not only the symptoms of depression but also the underlying factors contributing to the condition. This holistic perspective contributes to a more thorough and sustained recovery.
  • Structured Environment: The structured environment of a treatment center lessens external stressors with a focused space for healing.
  • Diverse Therapies: Treatment centers offer a diverse range of depression therapies, including individual therapy, group therapy, and specialized interventions. This variety allows individuals to explore and engage in approaches that meet unique needs.
  • Intensive Care and Support: Treatment centers provide intensive care, support, attention, and guidance necessary for a recovery journey. The collaborative effort of professionals creates a nurturing environment leading to positive outcomes.
  • Education: Treatment centers provide educational components that help people handle the challenges associated with depression beyond treatment.

While treatment centers provide the option of outpatient or inpatient care, inpatient depression treatment is essential for those at risk of self-harm or struggling with severe symptoms that impact daily functioning. The decision to pursue inpatient depression treatment is made collectively between the individual, their therapist, and other healthcare professionals.

What Is a Depression Therapist?

In the world of mental health, the terms “depression therapist” or “depression counselor” are commonly used, but it’s crucial to note that it isn’t a distinct profession. Instead, it refers to a therapist, counselor, psychologist, or clinical social worker who is trained and licensed to treat mental health disorders, including depression.

While the term depression therapist may lack a specific professional category, certain therapists and treatment centers choose to specialize in depression. This specialization involves acquiring additional training, experience, and expertise in understanding and treating depression with a heightened level of proficiency.    

What Does a Mental Health Therapist Do?

Mental health therapists play a key role in helping people cope with mental and emotional problems. They use a range of psychotherapy techniques to address psychological distress. Some common things that mental health therapists help support people through include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Addiction and substance abuse
  • Phobias
  • Stress
  • Emotional difficulties
  • Self-esteem issues and eating disorders
  • Grief
  • Marital distress

Mental health therapists collaborate with their clients to set realistic and achievable objectives. They focus on improving mood, enhancing coping skills, and addressing specific challenges related to the condition. Therapy goals for depression are tailored to individual circumstances and may evolve throughout the treatment journey. Regular assessments and discussions with the therapist ensure that goals remain relevant and contribute to overall progress.

Depression Treatment at Aliya Health Group

If you or your loved one are suffering from depression, the journey to healing starts with acknowledging the need for support. Aliya Health Group provides a wide range of care and support for all forms of depression. Our levels of care include:

  • Medical detox: It’s common for people suffering from depression to turn to drugs and alcohol to escape their feelings of sadness. This opens the door for a substance abuse disorder. Treating both co-occurring disorders at the same time is key for effective recovery. Detox is the process where you rid the body of drugs and alcohol under the supervision of a professional team.
  • Inpatient treatment: Residential treatment involves living full-time at one of our treatment facilities, attending therapy daily. Inpatient treatment offers valuable structure, so you can focus all your efforts on overcoming depression. Treatments include evidence-based and holistic therapies compiled into an individualized recovery plan.
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP): For those who need the structure of inpatient care with the flexibility of outpatient, a PHP is a great option. You spend five days a week at one of our facilities for treatment. Programs last for around six hours per day, and you live at home or one of our sober living facilities when you aren’t in treatment. The goal of PHP is to begin the transition from recovery back to normal life.
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP): Intensive outpatient care is similar to a PHP, but you spend less time in treatment and more time working on a stable life outside of recovery. Treatment is between three and five times per week, allowing for more flexibility with obligations like family, work, or school.
  • Outpatient rehab: Outpatient treatment for depression offers the most flexibility in recovery. You attend treatment just once or twice per week. The rest of the time, you’re working on integrating back into normal life. Outpatient care also involves aftercare planning, so you have a system of support to draw on after leaving our facility.

There is hope for a depression-free life. Contact us today to discover the possibilities.

What Are the Dangers of Alcohol Induced Psychosis?

Alcohol-induced psychosis can be frightening for the drinker as well as those around them. Whether you’re someone who enjoys drinking alcohol or you’re curious about the impact of alcohol on mental health, knowing what this condition is and why it happens can help more people find the treatment they need.

What is Alcohol-Induced Psychosis?

Alcohol-induced psychosis is a severe condition stemming from prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption. It involves a break from reality, with individuals experiencing hallucinations, delusions, and impaired judgment. This condition can be particularly alarming as it poses risks to both mental and physical well-being.

The exact mechanisms of alcohol-induced psychosis are not fully understood, but it’s believed that alcohol disrupts the normal functioning of neurotransmitters, leading to distorted perceptions and thoughts. This disruption in brain function can result in a range of symptoms, from mild to severe.

Alcohol-related psychosis is categorized into three areas:

  1. Alcohol Withdrawal Psychosis: Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous. It can also bring about a temporary form of psychosis. Alcohol withdrawal delirium (AWD) is a psychosis that long-time heavy drinkers are at risk for when they quit drinking. Alcohol-induced psychosis can be a part of what is more commonly known as delirium tremens (DTs). People with DTs sometimes experience hallucinations or delusions. They may also feel like bugs are crawling on their skin.
    Can you die from alcohol withdrawal psychosis? While it is possible, early intervention and prevention make it rare.
    How long do alcohol withdrawal symptoms last? The alcohol withdrawal    symptoms timeline varies by individual, but the stages are:
                                    Mild: 6-8 hours
                                    Moderate: 12-24 hours
                                    Severe: 48-72 hours
  2. Acute Alcohol Intoxication: While uncommon, acute alcohol psychosis can occur anytime you drink excessive amounts of alcohol. One night of binge drinking can trigger acute psychosis. Most people will become unconscious before any psychotic symptoms appear.
  3. Chronic Alcoholic Hallucinosis: People who’ve been abusing alcohol for years are at risk for alcoholic hallucinosis. If you have alcoholic hallucinosis, you may experience auditory hallucinations: hearing sounds that aren’t there. Some people also experience erratic mood shifts, delusions, and visual and tactile hallucinations. This type of alcohol-induced psychosis may occur sporadically for hours or days. Over time, alcoholic hallucinosis can begin mimicking symptoms of schizophrenia and last indefinitely. In some cases, chronic alcoholic hallucinosis leads to brain damage. This may include Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and long-term psychotic disorders.

Does Everyone Who Drinks Experience Psychosis?

No, not everyone who drinks alcohol experiences psychosis. The likelihood of developing alcohol-induced psychosis depends on various factors, including the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption, individual tolerance, and genetic predisposition.

Factors that raise the risk include:

  • Heavy Drinking: Individuals who engage in heavy drinking or binge drinking are at a higher risk.
  • Pre-existing Mental Health Conditions: Those with pre-existing mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, may be more susceptible.
  • Genetic Factors: Genetic predisposition can play a role in determining an individual’s vulnerability to alcohol-induced psychosis.

The Dangers of Alcohol-Induced Psychosis

Alcohol-induced psychosis can be life-threatening, especially if left untreated. The severity of alcohol-induced psychosis symptoms can vary, but in extreme cases, individuals may engage in dangerous behaviors due to impaired judgment. Additionally, alcohol poisoning and the risk of accidents are heightened during episodes of psychosis.

People with alcohol-induced psychosis symptoms may exhibit a few or several of the following:

  • Agitation
  • Acting strangely or inappropriately
  • Aggression or violence and lashing out for no reason
  • Crying, laughing, or having other reactions inappropriate for the situation
  • False beliefs
  • Fear
  • Hallucinating sounds, sights, or feelings
  • Inability to hold a conversation
  • Jumbled thoughts
  • Losing touch with reality
  • Paranoia, such as fear of persecution or thinking others are “out to get them”
  • Scratching or having the feeling of bugs crawling on the body
  • Talking to oneself or someone who’s not there

What Other Problems Can Long-Term Alcohol Abuse Cause?

Beyond alcohol-induced psychosis, long-term alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on both physical and mental well-being. Alcoholism can lead to:

  • Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD): A chronic relapsing brain disorder characterized by an inability to control or stop drinking despite negative consequences.

  • Liver Damage: Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to liver inflammation, fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis.

  • Cardiovascular Issues: Increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeats.

  • Depression and Anxiety: Alcohol abuse can exacerbate mental health conditions and contribute to the development of depression and anxiety disorders.

  • Neurological Impairment: Cognitive deficits, memory loss, and an increased risk of dementia.

  • Malnutrition: Alcohol can interfere with nutrient absorption, leading to malnutrition and related health issues.

  • Weakened Immune System: Reduced ability to fight off infections and increased susceptibility to illnesses.

  • Increased Risk of Accidents: Impaired coordination and judgment increases the risk of accidents and injuries.

  • Social Isolation: Alcohol abuse often leads to social withdrawal, strained relationships with family and friends, and occupational irregularities.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Aliya Health Group

Addiction doesn’t go away on its own, and often, professional treatment is required. At Aliya Health Group, we have nationwide rehabilitation centers that offer evidence-based addiction treatment programs. To successfully treat alcohol addiction, we provide a full continuum of care across our treatment center locations. Our addiction treatment programs include:

  • Medical detox program
  • Residential treatment program
  • Partial care (PC) program
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Outpatient program (OP)

Our programs are tailored to help you effectively recover from alcohol and drug addiction, ensuring your safety and comfort throughout the healing process. At every step, we create personalized treatment plans to guide our clients throughout their addiction recovery journey.

Our inpatient programs, including detox and residential care, provide round-the-clock medically supervised support, along with holistic therapies. All therapies are conducted in the serene environment of our client’s treatment residences, which allows us to maintain a focused and personalized approach to treatment. Whether on an individual basis or in small groups, our addiction treatment programs are designed to meet the unique needs of each client.

After completing inpatient treatment, clients can transition through PC and IOP to continue receiving comprehensive support to ensure the best possible outcomes. Following aftercare, clients can also participate in our customizable outpatient treatment programs for ongoing support and guidance.

Whether you or a loved one have experienced alcohol-induced psychosis or you’re dealing with addiction, contact Aliya Health Group today to get the help you need.

What Is the Dangerous New Drug Isotonitazene?

In the fall of 2019, a new synthetic opioid made its debut in the U.S. The drug, called isotonitazene (ISO), is as dangerous and deadly as fentanyl, prompting the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to send out national warnings nationwide. What exactly is ISO, and why is it such a threat in the world of opiates?

What Is Isotonitazene?

Isotonitazene (ISO) or “new fentanyl,” is one of the newest synthetic opioids gaining popularity within the world of designer drugs. ISO belongs to the benzimidazole class of opioids. Its potency is similar to fentanyl, and it can be found in pill form, powder, and liquid. Isotonitazene was first synthesized in the 1950s as an opioid alternative for medical use and remained in obscurity until 2019 when it was identified by authorities in the Midwest U.S. In 2020, the DEA classified ISO as a Schedule I substance.

The primary source of isotonitazene is China, where it’s manufactured, marketed, and then exported worldwide. It’s typically mixed with other drugs to create a more potent and cheaper end product. In 2022, the DEA reported that most of the ISO they analyzed was in the form of “cheap filler” for other illicit substances, such as heroin, or sold as counterfeit versions of opioids like hydromorphone.

The population that’s likely to abuse isotonitazene appears to be the same as those abusing prescription opioid analgesics, heroin, tramadol, fentanyl, and other synthetic drugs. As with many synthetic opioids, isotonitazene’s effects range from euphoria and numbness to breathing difficulty, coma, and death.

Why Is Isotonitazene Dangerous?

The major concern is that the potency of isotonitazene can—and has—caused deadly overdoses in unsuspecting victims. While there’s still limited study data available because ISO is so new to the scene, overdose deaths involving the drug have been reported in Europe, Canada, and the midwestern U.S.

Because isotonitazene is produced and distributed illegally, many users are unaware of its strength and potential risks. People can unwittingly consume doses that far exceed safe limits, increasing the likelihood of unintentional overdoses and other health risks. The drug acts on the central nervous system, depressing respiratory function. This effect, coupled with its potency, heightens the risk of respiratory failure—a critical factor in each fatal opioid overdose.

Tragically, many overdose victims have no idea they’re ingesting this dangerous and extremely potent drug. According to the DEA, ISO currently can only be properly identified after a lab test, so most people don’t realize they’re buying it until it’s too late.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Synthetic Opioid Abuse?

Identifying the signs and symptoms of isotonitazene abuse is important for early intervention. Synthetic opioid abuse can cause:

  • Respiratory Distress: Users may experience noticeable respiratory issues, such as shallow or labored breathing. Severe cases may result in respiratory arrest.
  • Psychological Disturbances: Users may have heightened anxiety, paranoia, or hallucinations, reflecting the impact of synthetic opioids on mental health. These psychological symptoms can create erratic behavior and impaired decision-making.
  • Gastrointestinal Disturbances: Persistent nausea, vomiting, and digestive issues can contribute to malnutrition and overall physical deterioration.
  • Skin Abnormalities: ISO can cause skin issues such as itching, rashes, or noticeable changes in complexion.
  • Social and Occupational Dysfunction: Individuals struggling with isotonitazene abuse may experience a decline in social relationships and occupational functioning. This could include isolation from friends and family, job loss, or academic difficulties.

Recognizing these signs is crucial for healthcare professionals, friends, and family members to provide timely support and intervention for individuals grappling with isotonitazene abuse.

What Is Isotonitazene Treatment Like?

It’s important to note that seeking professional help is non-negotiable for effective isotonitazene addiction treatment. Anyone struggling with ISO abuse requires a comprehensive and tailored approach to treatment, involving:

  • Medical detoxification
  • Inpatient or outpatient treatment
  • Counseling and therapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

Choosing the Right Opioid Rehab Center

It’s best to choose a rehab center that offers a full continuum of care for opioid addiction treatment. At Aliya Health Group, our treatment centers provide that and more. To treat opioid addiction, our clinical team offers unique levels of care, including:

Medical detox: Before you can move on to a brighter future, you must remove all the opioid drugs from your system. Medically supervised detox is a safe and effective way to treat withdrawal symptoms and make detox as comfortable as possible.

Residential treatment: Inpatient recovery involves living full-time at our rehab center while you undergo treatment for synthetic opioids. The structure of inpatient programming allows you to focus your entire attention on getting sober and overcoming mental health issues. Our team of clinicians creates a personalized treatment plan that best suits your needs. An integrated approach to treatment offers both evidence-based and holistic recovery practices.

Partial hospitalization program (PHP): PHP is a more flexible treatment option that still offers structure for recovery. You attend therapy five days per week while you live at home or in one of our sober living centers. The goal of a PHP is to build on the skills and tools learned in residential treatment to begin the transition back to normal life.

Intensive outpatient program (IOP): Another step down in intensity from a PHP, an IOP involves regular treatments and meetings at a rehab center, but usually fewer days per week and for a shorter duration. The focus is on preparing you to re-enter your normal life free from the pitfalls of substance abuse.

Outpatient program: Outpatient rehab is one of the last steps in recovery. It’s considered a step down from intensive outpatient treatment. This level of care involves building on all the tools and coping skills learned throughout rehab. It ensures you have what you need to remain sober and keep your mental health on an even keel after completing rehab.

Aftercare: Aftercare is for those who have completed opioid addiction treatment. It helps you maintain your sobriety, build a support network, and address ongoing challenges related to addiction.

If you or your loved one are struggling with synthetic opioid abuse, don’t wait. Call Aliya Health Group today to take the first step toward a brighter future.

Does PTSD Cause Panic Attacks?

Understanding the landscape of mental health requires a deep understanding of the connections between various conditions. Among the conditions that often raise questions is the relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and panic attacks. Does PTS cause panic attacks?  Are there treatment centers with a healthcare professional available to treat PTSD? Let’s take a look.

What Is PTSD?

Most people experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives. It’s typical for anyone to have a reaction to such events and recover over time. Some people develop Post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental health condition that develops and lasts long after you witness or experience a traumatic event.

Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Intrusive memories
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Avoidance of situations or events related to the trauma
  • Irritability or angry outbursts
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating on tasks
  • Difficulties in social situations
  • Trouble sleeping

The 1980s were the first time that PTSD was officially recognized as a mental health disorder. It was known as shell shock or battle fatigue syndrome before it was recognized as a medical diagnosis.

During World War I and II, people thought PTSD mainly affected veterans in combat. Today, we know this condition happens to all kinds of people no matter their age, race, gender, and sex.

Types of trauma that can lead to PTSD:

  • Military combat
  • First response
  • Acts of terrorism
  • Sexual, physical, emotional assault
  • Natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes
  • Unexpected death of a loved one
  • Accidents or injury
  • Witnessing people go through trauma

The word “trauma” is used for many different types of experiences that are stressful. But not all stressful events are the type of trauma that can lead to PTSD. To be at risk for PTSD, the trauma must be a shocking and dangerous event that you see or that happens to you. During this type of event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger.

Individuals with PTSD often find themselves trapped in a cycle of reliving traumatic experiences, creating challenges on the path to recovery.

Some PTSD statistics:

  • 60% of men experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime
  • 50% of women experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime
  • Around 7 or 8 out of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their lives
  • About 10% of women develop PTSD sometime in their lives
  • Around 4% of men develop PTSD sometime in their lives

What Are Panic Attacks?

Panic attacks are sudden, intense feelings of fear that cause physical symptoms like a racing heart, fast breathing, and sweating. These episodes can be triggered by stress, a panic disorder, or seemingly occur out of the blue. The duration of a panic attack is typically short-lived, reaching its peak within minutes, but the aftermath can leave a person emotionally drained.

Panic attacks are closely linked with anxiety disorders, which include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. Anyone can experience a panic attack. The risk, however, is highest for teens and people in their 20s. If you haven’t had a panic attack by age 45, you’re less likely to have an episode later in life.

Women are more than twice as likely as men to get panic attacks, but researchers aren’t entirely sure why that disparity exists.

Can PTSD Cause a Panic Attack?

 Yes. PTSD can indeed cause panic attacks. The heightened state of stimulation created by PTSD can create other stresses and anxiety leading to the onset of a panic attack. The trauma experienced during the initial event becomes ingrained in the individual’s psyche. It manifests in sudden, intense episodes of panic when triggered by intrusive thoughts or memories.

However, it’s important to note that the relationship between PTSD and panic attacks is nuanced and varies from person to person. While some individuals with PTSD may experience occasional panic attacks, others may not experience them at all. Factors such as individual resilience, coping mechanisms, and the nature of the traumatic event contribute to this variability.

Many people with PTSD get a service dog to help with the negative effects of the disorder. A PTSD service dog is trained to know when a panic attack is arising, and it can help ease the person’s physical response.

PTSD Counseling Can Help

The intensity, duration, and frequency of PTSD symptoms vary greatly. That’s why it’s important to see a PTSD therapist for evaluation. They can assess the level of disruption you’re experiencing. Complex PTSD symptoms can impact your ability to function in everyday life and contribute to destructive behaviors like substance abuse.

Inpatient or an intensive outpatient treatment program at a PTSD treatment center may be the best route. Studies show trauma-focused treatment that includes therapies such as cognitive processing therapy (CPT), prolonged exposure (PE), and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can significantly reduce PTSD symptoms.

PTSD Treatment at Aliya Health Group

Recognizing the connection between PTSD and panic attacks is a big step toward effective treatment and recovery. Left untreated, mental health issues can become more debilitating.

At Aliya Health Group, we create an individualized treatment plan based on your needs that includes trauma-focused approaches and treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders. Our trauma-focused treatment centers offer proven approaches like EMDR, CBT, neurofeedback, and more.

Our treatment plans are tailored to each patient’s needs and goals, and we offer a full continuum of care that includes:

  • Medical drug and alcohol detox
  • Residential treatment
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient treatment
  • Outpatient program
  • Sober living residences

Give us a call today to learn about our treatment programs and how we can help you or a loved one recover from trauma.

References:

  • https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_adults.asp
  • https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/ptsd-shell-shock-to-recognized-medical-diagnosis
  • https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4451-panic-attack-panic-disorder
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684250/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6224348/#:~:text=A%20meta%2Danalysis%20on%20the,et%20al.%2C%202010

What Is the Most Addictive Drug?

Drug addiction is a far-reaching and complicated issue that affects millions worldwide. In 2021, 46.3 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD) in the past year, including  24.0 million who had a drug use disorder and 7.3 million people who had both an alcohol use disorder and a drug use disorder. Understanding drug addiction and why some get caught up in its drip leads to a commonly asked question: What is the most addictive drug?

What Is Drug Addiction?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. While people can become addicted to many substances from coffee to gambling, drug addiction (or substance use disorder) can be difficult to overcome.

Gettig hooked on drugs like marijuana, nicotine, or heroin, is like a sickness that messes with your brain and behavior. It often starts when someone tries a recreational drug in social situations, just to see what it’s like. But for some, especially with opioids, things escalate and become more regular. With opioids, it can even start when someone takes prescribed medicines or gets them from others who have prescriptions.

Different drugs have different risks, and some, like opioid painkillers, can get you hooked faster than others. So, it’s important to be aware of the risks and how quickly addiction can happen.

Understanding the neurobiology of drug addiction is important. The most dangerous drugs impact the brain’s reward system, creating a cycle of cravings and compulsive use. This leads to a cycle of addiction and the need for a professional treatment program

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction?

  • Behavioral Changes: Abrupt mood swings, irritability, or a decline in personal grooming habits.

  • Physical Changes: Unexplained weight loss, bloodshot eyes, or a noticeable decline in coordination.

  • Social Withdrawal: Isolation from friends and family, forsaking previously enjoyed activities.

  • Financial Issues: Frequent requests for money with no clear explanation, stealing, or selling personal belongings.

  • Tolerance and Withdrawal: The need for increasing amounts of the substance to achieve the same effect and experiencing physical or emotional symptoms when not using.

What Is the Most Addictive Drug?

Determining the single-most addictive drug is a challenge due to individual susceptibility, method of use, and the presence of other substances. Nonetheless, certain drugs are notorious for their addictive potential.

  • Alcohol: Many people wonder, “Is alcohol a drug?” Yes, it is, and despite its legal status, alcohol ranks high in addictive potential, impacting the brain’s reward system. Long-term use can result in severe health issues, including liver damage and cognitive impairment.

  • Cocaine :A powerful stimulant derived from the coca plant, cocaine increases dopamine

levels, leading to intense pleasure. Short-term effects include heightened alertness and energy, but long-term use can result in severe cardiovascular issues and addiction.

  • Benzodiazepines (benzos): Prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders, benzos can be highly addictive. Prolonged use can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms, requiring careful tapering under medical supervision.
  • Methamphetamine (meth)
    Another powerful stimulant, meth triggers a surge of dopamine, creating intense euphoria. Chronic use can lead to severe dental problems, weight loss, and mental health issues.
  • Opioids: Prescription painkillers and illicit drugs like heroin fall under the category of addictive drugs. They also bind to receptors in the brain. Opioid addiction can lead to respiratory failure, contributing significantly to the ongoing opioid epidemic.
  • Nicotine and Cannabis (marijuana): Substances like nicotine and cannabis, perceived as less harmful, can also lead to dependence and addiction.

While these substances are known for their addictive nature, it’s crucial to acknowledge individual responses, understanding that any drug has the potential to lead to dependence.

Who Can Help with Drug Addiction?

Overcoming drug addiction often requires professional help. Treatment centers provide crucial support and guidance on the path to recovery from addictive drugs. While each treatment center offers different programs, they usually include variations of the following:

Detoxification:

  • Medical supervision during the initial withdrawal phase helps manage potentially dangerous symptoms.
  • Detox is the first step in breaking physical dependence.

Therapy and Counseling:

  • Individual and group therapy address the psychological aspects of addiction.
  • Identifying triggers and developing coping mechanisms are key components.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT):

  • Combining medications with counseling, MAT is effective, especially for opioid and alcohol addiction.

Aftercare and Support:

  • Ongoing support is important. Aftercare programs, support groups, and counseling can help you maintain recovery.

Comprehending drug addiction and substances with high addictive potential is crucial for prevention and treatment. If struggling with addiction, seeking professional help is the initial step toward a healthier, drug-free life. The journey to recovery is challenging, but with the right support, it’s a real possibility.

Drug Addiction Treatment at Aliya

At Aliya Health Group, our drug addiction treatment centers draw on a blend of evidence-based traditional therapies, and experiential and alternative approaches. We also offer medication-assisted treatment programs. Our programs are tailored to help you effectively recover from alcohol and drug addiction, ensuring your safety and comfort throughout the healing process.

Our nationwide rehabilitation centers offer evidence-based treatment programs for those struggling with drug addiction. To successfully treat alcohol and drug abuse, we provide a full continuum of care across our treatment center locations. Our addiction treatment programs include:

  • Medical detox program
  • Residential treatment program
  • Partial care (PC) program
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Outpatient program (OP)

Our inpatient programs, including detox and residential care, provide round-the-clock medically supervised support, along with holistic therapies. All therapies are conducted in the peaceful environment of our your own treatment residence, which allows us to maintain a focused and personalized approach to treatment. Whether on an individual basis or in small groups, our addiction treatment programs are designed to meet the unique needs of each client.

After completing inpatient treatment, clients can transition through PC and IOP to continue receiving comprehensive support to ensure the best possible outcomes. Following aftercare, clients can also participate in our customizable outpatient treatment programs for ongoing support and guidance.

At every step, we create personalized treatment plans to guide our clients throughout their addiction recovery journey. If you or a loved one are struggling with drug addiction, contact us today.

References:

  • https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt39443/2021NSDUHFFRRev010323.pdf
  • https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm

What Do Crack Pipes Look Like?

Have you ever found yourself wondering, “What do crack pipes look like?” or perhaps discovered a strange item among a loved one’s possessions? If so, you’re not alone. From the ins and outs of crack itself to what a crack pipe actually looks like, we’ll provide the insight you need to build a better understanding.

What Is Crack?

 Understanding crack requires exploring its origins, production, and how it differs from its powdered counterpart, cocaine.

Origins and Production

Crack is a crystalline form of cocaine, originating from the coca plant. Indigenous people in the Andean region of South America had been using coca leaves for centuries, and these leaves were traditionally chewed or brewed into tea for their stimulant effects.

In the late 19th century, cocaine gained popularity in Western medicine and was used as an ingredient in various tonics and elixirs. Sigmund Freud, the Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, even praised the drug for its stimulating effects. However, by the early 20th century, concerns about its addictive nature and harmful effects began to emerge, leading to legal restrictions on its use.

The 1970s saw a surge in the recreational use of cocaine in its powdered form. It was associated with the party scene and glamorized in popular culture. However, the transformation of cocaine into crack cocaine can be traced back to the early 1980s.

The development of crack cocaine is often linked to changes in the drug market and the efforts of drug traffickers to maximize profits. Crack cocaine is created by converting powdered cocaine into a smokable form by mixing it with baking soda and water. This process produces small, solid crystals or “rocks” of crack cocaine, which can be smoked. Smoking crack delivers the drug to the brain more quickly than snorting powdered cocaine, producing a more intense and immediate high.

Distinguishing Crack from Cocaine

While both substances share a common origin, crack and cocaine differ significantly. To create crack, cocaine hydrochloride undergoes a chemical process, usually involving the addition of baking soda or ammonia. This transformation results in small, rock-like crystals. Cocaine is typically in a powdered form, meant for snorting or injecting. In contrast, crack, the freebase form of cocaine, is ideal for smoking. The rapid onset of effects distinguishes crack, providing a quicker and more intense high compared to its powdered counterpart.

Slang and Nicknames

Crack goes by many different slang terms and nicknames, with “rock,” “hard,” “base,” or simply “crack” being commonly used. Local lingo may introduce additional street names, making it important to stay informed about regional terminology.

What Does a Crack Pipe Look Like?

Identifying a crack pipe becomes crucial if you’re concerned about a loved one’s potential use of the drug. Crack pipes, with their unique characteristics, come in various shapes and sizes.

A typical crack pipe is a small, cylindrical tube, often made of glass. The color may vary, with a clear or rose crack pipe being most common. You’ll notice the distinctive bulbous end where the crack is heated and vaporized. This end, referred to as the “rose,” is a key feature in identifying a crack pipe.

What Is Crack Paraphernalia?

Crack use is often accompanied by specific paraphernalia. Steel wool or Chore Boy, used as a filter in the pipe, is a telltale sign. Lighters with sooty residue and small plastic bags may also be present, further indicating crack use. Recognizing these additional items can provide crucial confirmation.

Alternative Names for Crack Pipes

While “crack pipe” is the commonly recognized term, other names exist in street culture, including, “stem,” “straight shooter,” or simply “pipe.”

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Smoking Crack?

Individuals under the influence of crack cocaine may show a range of physical, behavioral, and psychological indicators.

Physical Signs of Crack Addiction:

  • Dilated Pupils: Crack cocaine often causes pupils to dilate, resulting in noticeably larger-than-usual eye size.
  • Increased Energy: Users may display heightened energy levels, restlessness, and hyperactivity.
  • Weight Loss: Persistent crack use can lead to a significant decrease in appetite, resulting in weight loss.

Behavioral Signs of Crack Addiction:

  • Erratic Behavior: Under the influence of crack, individuals may display unpredictable and erratic behavior, characterized by impulsivity and poor decision-making.
  • Financial Strain: Maintaining a crack habit can lead to financial instability, with users constantly in need of funds.

Psychological Signs of Crack Abuse:

  • Intense Euphoria: Crack induces a powerful sense of euphoria, often accompanied by increased confidence and talkativeness.
  • Paranoia: Users may experience heightened paranoia and anxiety, leading to social withdrawal and isolation.

Physical Signs of Crack Abuse:

  • Burns on Fingers or Lips: The process of smoking crack involves applying direct heat to the pipe, potentially resulting in burn marks on fingers or lips.
  • Respiratory Issues: Chronic crack smoking can lead to respiratory problems, including coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

Crack Addiction Treatment at Aliya Health Group

Recovery from crack addiction recovery is possible. At Aliya Health Group, we’re ready to support you or your loved one using one of our addiction treatment programs. Everyone is different, so recovery timelines vary, too. Detox is the first step, and it typically lasts a few days. Things that impact that time include:

  • Length of time crack is used
  • Amount crack taken each time
  • Frequency of use
  • Method used to take crack
  • Presence of underlying medical or mental health issues
  • Other drug abuse or alcohol addiction

The first step in treatment is usually detox, which can last for several days to a week. During detox, you’ll typically experience withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, fatigue, and depression.

After detox, therapy begins, which may last for several weeks to months. Therapy focuses on identifying the underlying causes of addiction and developing coping skills to deal with triggers and cravings. In addition, you’ll participate in group therapy sessions and may receive medication to help manage your symptoms. After completing treatment, it’s best to continue attending support groups and meeting with your therapist on a regular basis to prevent relapse.

Recovery itself is a lengthy process. Many people consider it a lifelong endeavor. That’s why most treatment professionals recommend ongoing therapy, peer support, or groups. If you’ve found a crack pipe in a loved one’s possessions or you’re needing help yourself, Aliya Health Group is here for you.

References:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4838786/
  • https://psychcentral.com/health/freud-and-his-biggest-addiction
  • https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-cocaine

Is the Drug Ketamine an Opioid?

When it comes to medications and their classifications, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of pharmaceutical terms. One question that has been gaining attention is, “Is ketamine an opioid?”

What Is Ketamine? 

Ketamine is a powerful drug with a number of medical uses. Originally used as anesthesia during surgery, ketamine is now used in hospitals for pain relief, as a sedative, and as a promising antidepressant. The medical use of ketamine is approved by the FDA, and these days, ketamine therapy is considered safe and effective. While ketamine has an impressive list of benefits and potentially lifesaving uses, many people abuse it without medical supervision.

When used recreationally, ketamine (slang terms include cat valium, K, special K) is a dissociative analgesic. This refers to its pain-relieving qualities, as well as the “out-of-body” effect some users experience. Ketamine can induce a state of sedation (feeling calm and relaxed), immobility, relief from pain, and amnesia (no memory of events while under the influence of the drug). Because of its sedative effects, many people use it as a date-rape drug.

Like many recreational drugs, ketamine can cause specific changes in your brain chemistry that may lead to misuse, abuse, or addiction. Because of its addictive nature and effects on brain chemistry, ketamine is now classified as a Schedule III controlled substance. It can be found laced in weed, as a powder, and as an injection.

How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System?

If you’re wondering, “How long does ketamine last?” you have to look at its half-life (the time it takes for the body to get rid of 50 percent of the drug). The half-life of ketamine can range from 45 minutes to four hours. Ketamine usually clears from the body within one to three days. The exact time it takes your system to eliminate ketamine depends on a variety of factors, like:

  • Age
  • Health
  • Body mass
  • Metabolism
  • Drug dosage

Is Ketamine an Opioid?

The clear-cut answer is no: ketamine is not an opioid. Despite being used for pain relief and having sedative properties, ketamine works differently from opioids. Opioids primarily bind to mu-opioid receptors, altering the perception of pain and often leading to euphoria. In contrast, ketamine targets NMDA (N methyl D aspartate), blocking the activity of glutamate. Opioids act as central nervous system depressants, creating a sense of relaxation and euphoria. Ketamine, on the other hand, induces dissociation and alters sensory perception.

Why Is There Confusion About Ketamine vs Opioids?

In 2018, an article was published about using ketamine in combination with an opioid receptor blocker also known as naltrexone. Researchers found that patients given ketamine with naltrexone had less of an antidepressant effect. From
this, people presumed that since ketamine’s effect was decreased with an opioid-receptor blocker, then it must be an opioid.

However, another pilot study that looked at the combination of naltrexone and ketamine found that pre-treatment with naltrexone had no effect on ketamine’s antidepressant effect. Instead, they found it may actually be a benefit for those who have a combined alcohol use disorder with depression.

Because the overwhelming evidence shows that ketamine works primarily on the NMDA receptor, then it is not a true opioid.

Is Ketamine Addictive?

Like many addictive recreational drugs, ketamine can cause specific changes in your brain chemistry that may lead to misuse, abuse, or addiction. That said, evidence suggests that ketamine has a low potential for addiction compared to opioids.

Studies indicate that Ketamine users are less likely to develop a dependency on the drug. The dissociative and hallucinogenic effects may deter recreational use, reducing the risk of habitual consumption. However, after prolonged misuse of ketamine, users develop tolerance. When you develop a tolerance for ketamine, you end up needing more of the drug to get the same effects. After continued use of ketamine, you can develop a strong psychological dependence on ketamine.

A ketamine high is short and can end abruptly. Thus, ketamine users often take the drug in a binge pattern to maintain the high over a long time. This can lead to building tolerance quickly. When stopping ketamine use, ketamine withdrawal symptoms begin—typically around 24 hours after your last dose. Frequent ketamine users report trying but often failing to stop using ketamine, so medical supervised detox is recommended.

What Is Ketamine Therapy?

Actor Matthew Perry’s tragic death from “the acute effects of ketamine” raised many questions about the drug. But the truth is ketamine therapy — a treatment Perry was receiving under medical supervision — is an exciting frontier in mental health treatment. This innovative approach involves the controlled administration of ketamine to alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. Unlike traditional antidepressants, Ketamine often delivers rapid relief, making it a promising option for individuals who haven’t responded well to other treatments.

In 2021, international group of experts on mood disorders published a paper on the current evidence of two forms of the ketamine — a nasal spray called esketamine and intravenous ketamine — for managing treatment-resistant depression. They noted that the drugs offer “opportunity and hope” to patients, but that there is an “urgent need to clarify the long-term efficacy of these agents as well as significant unanswered questions with respect to safety.” A trusted physician or mental health-care provider should be consulted and present if ketamine therapy is a treatment option for you.

The Experience: Does Ketamine Therapy Get You High?

An intriguing aspect of ketamine therapy is an altered state of consciousness. Patients may experience a “K-hole,” characterized by profound dissociation and introspection. However, it’s essential to distinguish this from the typical notion of getting high. The therapeutic effects of Ketamine are rooted in its ability to reset neural pathways, offering a new perspective to those struggling with mental health challenges.

Candidacy Considerations

While Ketamine therapy holds promise, it’s not suitable for everyone. Ketamine treatment, in general, is for people suffering from serious mental illness who have tried other medications with little or no relief. It has been most widely studied in people with treatment-resistant depression and acute suicidality. It may also benefit patients with conditions such as PTSD, OCD, bipolar depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

Who Is Not a Good Candidate for Ketamine Therapy?

People with certain conditions such as psychosis generally are not candidates for therapeutic ketamine.

Ketamine Addiction Treatment at Aliya 

If you or a loved one are struggling with ketamine use, Aliya Health Group’s treatment programs are here to help. Detox is the first step on your path to recovery. Medical detox provides a highly structured care plan, including 24/7 monitoring. It’s a way to safely and effectively begin treatment for drug addiction. You’ll have high-quality support as you go through ketamine withdrawal.

Your medically supported detox will cater to your unique treatment needs. That’s why medical detox begins with a comprehensive assessment. You’ll meet with a medical doctor and discuss your medical and psychiatric history. Then licensed professionals will assist you with an individualized plan.

Your treatment plan may include:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Transportation aid
  • Skills to manage cravings
  • Aftercare referrals

Treatment does not end with medical detox. After reaching stability, you will need aftercare support for your psychological well-being. This is crucial to addiction recovery. Our team will work with you to create a specialized treatment approach to support your full recovery from ketamine addiction.

Treatment after detox includes:

  • Relapse prevention
  • Therapy
  • Medical support
  • Mental health support
  • Life-skills training

While it can feel scary to begin the detox process, the prognosis for recovery from ketamine abuse is very good. And you don’t have to do it alone. Allow us to help you take your first step on your journey to recovery.

References:

  • https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/ketamine-for-major-depression-new-tool-new-questions-2019052216673 
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32084352/
  • https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.18020138
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6439824/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21777321/
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022395622002394
  • https://me.lacounty.gov/2023/press-releases/cause-and-manner-of-death-determined-for-matthew-langford-perry/
  • https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.2020.20081251