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How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day while in Recovery

A heart-shaped box filled with heart-shaped candy is not necessarily the way to celebrate Valentine's day while in recoverySubstance abuse can strain even the strongest of relationships, so how do you celebrate Valentine’s Day while in recovery? Substance abuse effects all those involved: the addict, their family and their friends. Which is why Valentine’s Day can be a difficult holiday. Not only can it dredge up painful memories from the past, but it can also be a reminder of how substance abuse leaves relationships in need of repair. This can be a real challenge for those in recovery.

And I think we can all agree that there is no escaping Valentine’s Day. Everywhere we turn there are heart-shaped chocolate boxes, bear-hugging cards, and lots and lots of pink and red. So instead of avoiding it, maybe it’s best to use it as an opportunity to gain further progress in your recovery. Here are some tools to help you embrace the holiday of love and celebrate Valentine’s Day while in recovery. Read more

Is Shame a Barrier to Addiction Recovery?

A man hides his face with shame-related behavior during addiction recovery before he relapses.What if a therapist could detect your risk for relapse from addiction recovery just by the way you sat in a chair? For some time now, therapists have found shame to be a barrier for addiction recovery. However, self-reporting of shame has been an unreliable tool to help patients. So how can a therapist detect when a patient is suffering from recovery-sabotaging shame? Read more

Prescribing Suboxone for Ex-Prisoners

New York will give certain state prisoners Suboxone upon release as treatment/prevention from heroin use. The new plan created under the “Medication Support Recovery Project” hopes to help released inmates, who have been drug-free since arrest, stay off of heroin.

Suboxone is a treatment drug created for opioid dependence. It contains buprenorphine (an opioid) and naloxone, which blocks the opioid. When used correctly, Suboxone can minimize a person’s cravings, while prohibiting a high. However, studies have found the drug in and of itself to be addictive and often sold illegally on the street. (NYPD saw illegal Suboxone sales grow from 59 to 287 from 2007 to 2009.)

A member of the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services stated that research shows the brain to still suffer from cravings after the use of opiates has been discontinued. And that inmates who were opiate-dependent prior to incarceration have a higher risk of overdosing once released due to the combination of cravings with a lowered tolerance. (JoinTogether.org)

However, many feel that putting someone who has already detoxed and had a period of abstinence from opioids on another potentially addictive opiate drug is a bad idea. Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan also added, “It’s asking for trouble to put a drug that people want to buy into the hands of prisoners reentering society.” Some are concerned that it’s a situation in which the state is giving the tools without the skills, and that Suboxone without the combination of psychosocial/behavioral treatment and close monitoring is ineffective. In addition, further treatment may then be necessary to discontinue the use of Suboxone.

September is National Drug and Alcohol Recovery Month

In observance of September being National Drug and Alcohol Recovery Month, the national website, Recovery Month, “aims to promote the societal benefits of alcohol and drug use disorder treatment, laud the contributions of treatment providers, and promote the message that recovery from alcohol and drug disorders in all its forms is possible.” Be sure to check it out for stories and event information in your area. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and its Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) created the materials being distributed for Recovery Month.

RecoveryMonth.gov website is a wealth of resources. Download the PDF version of the Toolkit (32MB)

The toolkit contains three separate sections and a special section showcasing real-life examples of people in recovery:

  • Media Outreach – Provides instructions to plan and promote Recovery Month activities and events, as well as templates to customize and send to local and online media outlets.
  • Targeted Outreach – Offers audience-specific information about the benefits of recovery, effectiveness of treatment, and tips to overcome challenges during the recovery process.
  • Resources – Provides resources to help plan and prepare for Recovery Month events, as well as tips to cultivate partnerships with other organizations.
  • Join the Voices for Recovery – Presents a snapshot of individuals who are on the road to recovery after struggling with mental and/or substance use disorders.

Email contact@ExecuCareARC.com or comment below and let us know what you and/or your organization are doing to promote awareness and recovery this month. Let us know about an event. Or share  your own story of recovery!

The Role of Exercise in Treating Alcohol Dependence

A recent study, which will be published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, found exercise to be a beneficial tool in reducing alcohol consumption and alcohol dependence. The results of the study highlighted exercise as being an effective and non-pharmacologic option to include in a treatment program for alcoholism

Alcohol dependence (characterized by routine cravings for and consumption of alcohol, as well as the inability to function normally without alcohol) disrupts the body’s daily circadian rhythms (i.e., the essentials for survival: sleeping, eating, and mating) that are driven by the brain’s circadian clock. Circadian timing in mammals is regulated by light and influenced by food, exercise, and social interaction.

Continual use of alcohol will determine whether one goes to bed too early or too late, not sleep soundly through the night, and create unhealthy eating schedules like eating too late, not eating enough, or overeating. Overtime, it can become a vicious and dangerous cycle. For just as alcohol abuse disrupts the body’s natural circadian rhythms, circadian disruptions can lead to serious health problems and increase susceptibility to chronic alcohol abuse as well as relapse for those in recovery.

By using hamsters and their running wheels, scientists where able to determine that voluntary forms of exercise were a powerful environmental factor that influences brain health, circadian rhythms, and emotional well-being. In other words, exercise played an important role in the non-photic (or non-light) related regulation of circadian timing. And blocking access to exercise had a noted stimulatory effect on alcohol consumption. (Medical News Today)

Simply stated, the more the hamsters ran, the less alcohol they consumed. The less they ran, the more they craved and consumed alcohol. This insight makes exercise an important tool to include in any substance abuse preventative program or comprehensive rehabilitation regime.

Amino Acids: Hope Against Relapse?

Amino acids are known as the natural building blocks of all the cells in the body. They are crucial for forming new cells and repairing old cells. So what does this have to do with addiction? A new study found that the amino acid, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), reversed negative changes in the brain that were caused by cocaine addiction. This reversal lessened the cravings, and as a result, provided protection against relapse.

An IV bag. ExecuCare's NTR protocol supplements amino acids for the recovery of addiction.Repeated exposure to psychoactive drugs, like cocaine, causes an imbalance in the brain circuits that regulate reward and cognitive control. Because of this, an addict will develop drug-associated “cues” that trigger cravings and often times, relapse. The study, which was presented to the Society for Neuroscience by the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, found that amino acids are capable of “restoring normal functioning to [the brain’s] circuit in rats that had been previously addicted to cocaine. In addition, after receiving [the amino acids], the previously cocaine-addicted rats did not reengage in drug-seeking behavior, even in the presence of drug-associated cues” (Science Daily).

How do amino acids work? Normally, amino acids are obtained through a healthy diet. But when a body has a disease, such as addiction, it’s often difficult for the body to get the proper levels of amino acids. With addiction, a person can have severe imbalances of neurotransmitters, which causes depression, anxiety and deeper addiction. By supplementing certain amino acids (precursors) along with vitamins, minerals and coenzymes, we can rebalance healthy levels of neurotransmitters. This is what ExecuCare does with its Neurotransmitter Restoration protocol. It helps an individual discontinue the use of drugs and alcohol by minimizing withdrawal symptoms, significantly reducing cravings, anxiety and depression, normalizing stress levels, and restoring a sense of well-being and clarity of mind. NTR is an all-natural, medical nutritional protocol (amino acids) administered by an IV over a 10-day, outpatient period. By bathing the neuronal cells in an optimal, nutritional environment, NTR repairs the damaged receptor sites and accelerates the healing process.

The difference? Supplementing amino acids works by supporting the body’s ability to repair itself. Amino acids rebalance the body’s health instead of just suppressing or masking symptoms of drug and alcohol addiction, and prevents relapse.

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