Adventure Therapy for Addiction

hikers walking a trail for adventure therapy

What is Adventure Therapy?

The idea of utilizing nature and outdoor activity as a therapeutic aid has been around for a long time. The Outward Bound program for young people began in Wales in 1941. But it wasn’t until the 1970s that adventure therapy for addiction began to enter the mainstream of the treatment field. The concept is simple. Most people find comfort and peace in nature, it’s how we are wired biologically. Programs like Outward Bound also leverage the athletic aspects of outdoor activity. Specifically, they engage participants in challenging and strenuous activity designed to both build character and encourage teamwork among other virtues.

Outward Bound is not specifically targeted at addiction alone though. It also falls at the more extreme end of the spectrum in terms of intensity. This type of program is designed to break a person down and rebuild them in a sense. Participants are brought into the wilderness and taught survival skills. They may spend several nights alone in the wild with only basic tools. Other activities will incorporate teamwork, such as rock climbing or obstacle courses with climbing walls.

Benefits of Adventure Therapy for Addiction

Not all adventure therapy for addiction involves these extremes, however. In virtually every type of addiction treatment, people generally find a change of environment helpful. A change of surroundings alone is scarcely enough. But it does send a signal to the subconscious mind that adaptation is required. It can both remove a person from potential triggers and make them more malleable and receptive to new ideas. Studies have shown it takes between 1-2 months on average to form new habits and get them to stick. (1) Any positive change of environment we can introduce in concert with therapy and structure for a sustained period of time can show benefits.

The focus of adventure therapy is on maximizing the results during that time. Research has shown that simply spending more time outdoors, in nature, has positive effects on brain chemistry. (2) When this is combined with physical exercise and team-building activities, these effects can be leveraged. Addiction robs us of many things, self-confidence and esteem are among them. The sense of achievement one receives from simply completing a challenge is good medicine for this condition. The opportunity to overcome a fear provided powerful counteraction for a poor sense of self-worth. Objectives that require cooperation reinforce the ethic of teamwork.

All of these characteristics are vital to enduring recovery. Anyone who has put together significant sober time will tell you that. Adventure therapy can provide parallels to the struggles faced in overcoming addiction. Most people will find the most benefit from beginning rehab in a medical facility first and following the conventional course of treatment with Partial Hospitalization (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient (IOP) care. Once a patient is medically stable and has some time and traditional therapy completed, exploring adventure therapy is a sound idea. We are living in an era of innovation in the science of addiction and recovery. Adventure therapy is one more tool we can use to craft a life of enduring recovery.


How Yoga Can Support Trauma Healing and Recovery

Yoga for Trauma Healing

Trauma is a key driver of substance abuse and addiction. In fact, people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are 14 times more likely to be diagnosed with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) than the general public. Often people who’ve experienced severe trauma try to self-medicate to mask their uncomfortable symptoms. Unfortunately, SUD and addiction present their own challenges and do not solve the root of the issue. Mindfulness and yoga are now being suggested as complementary therapies for trauma healing and recovery.


Trauma and the Autonomic Nervous System

Much of the research on treating people for trauma focuses on regulating the Autonomic Nervous System. When a traumatic event occurs, the nervous system kicks into “Fight or Flight” mode, the Sympathetic Nervous System response. The body effectively kicks into high gear, with all of the body’s systems and energy focused on escaping or dealing with the threat. Typically, once the threat has subsided, the body can down-regulate from this heightened state back into the Parasympathetic (“Rest and Digest”) mode that we operate in normally. 

However, in the case of PTSD, this down regulation either doesn’t occur or the “Fight or Flight” response is easily triggered. This can occur from memories of the event or even everyday occurrences that wouldn’t normally be considered traumatic. The patient often experiences a near-constant state of anxiety, stress, and heightened nervous system response, also known as hypervigilance. 


Yoga, Mindfulness and Trauma Healing

Mindfulness is an important practice for anyone but is crucial for PTSD. A 2016 study in the Journal of Alternative Medicine states that eliminating the conditioned fear response of PTSD is crucial to resolving the mental health issue. It means that in order to manage the powerful emotions and impulsive responses associated with PTSD, survivors of trauma must learn to stay oriented in the present moment. 

Yoga centers on moving through poses and focusing on linking the breath to each movement. Therefore, mindfulness has always been a key aspect of this ancient practice. Some practitioners suggest that the bodywork aspect of yoga acts as a bridge to achieving mindfulness. This is likely due to yoga’s emphasis on body awareness, breath work, and mental strength. In yoga, the concept of “mind over matter” is practiced when in difficult poses or uncomfortable positions. Similarly, yoga is a moving meditation, which can benefit mental health in a myriad of ways.

Anecdotal data suggests that both yoga and mindfulness are effective as complementary therapies for PTSD, combined with traditional psychiatric and psychological treatments. 


Yoga in Addiction Treatment

At Harmony Recovery Group, we incorporate yoga into our treatment plans. From helping support our patients in trauma healing to teaching mindfulness skills that can benefit their recovery, yoga is a helpful tool that can be used long after treatment has ended. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Contact us today, see how we can help you live the life you’ve dreamed of, free of drugs and alcohol. 



THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE Volume 22, Number 3, 2016, pp. 189–196 ª Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2014.0407

Global Parents Day: Support for Parents of Addicted Children

Help for Parents of Addicted Children

Today, June 1st, is Global Day of Parents, a holiday created by the UN to recognize and appreciate the parents in our lives and society. To all parents of addicted children: we see you, we appreciate you, and we support you. 

We know that holidays can be particularly painful for parents of addicted children, we’ve listed some coping strategies for dealing with this crisis.


Learn all you can about Addiction 

Addiction is a chronic disease that takes over the lives of those it affects and their loved ones. There are many misconceptions around addiction and substance abuse. Learning about how addiction happens, how it affects your child and how it affects you and your family are all important steps to understanding and healing. Educating yourself on the subject can also help you spot signs and symptoms as well as help manage expectations before and during the recovery process. 


Understand the Difference Between Helping and Enabling

As parents, we love our children. We have spent our lives as parents keeping them safe from harm, teaching them, helping them grow. To watch them in crisis is unnerving. Our protection instincts kick in and all we want to do is help. Unfortunately this helping instinct can lead to enabling. Addicted children will take advantage of this to keep the flow of their addiction running. 

It’s important to ask yourself, “Will this action enable my child’s addiction?” To get your child through addiction means you must ask yourself this at every turn. Every action you take, every boundary you establish needs to be working towards getting them into sobriety. 

Enabling comes in when the actions you take make it easier for your child to continue using drugs. Sometimes it’s pretty clear: Giving food or gas money that may be used to buy drugs, paying their rent so they still have a place to live, or bailing them out of trouble their drug use has caused are all overt acts of enabling.

But enabling can also be more subtle. Do you minimize their drug use to family members? Have you ever lied for them to cover their addiction? Do you avoid it altogether, so that when your child comes home for dinner one week things can just “be normal for once”? Staying quiet to keep the peace or minimizing the scope of the situation are both dangerous acts of enabling. Addiction thrives in the dark. 


Understand that their choices are not reflections of your parenting 

Addicts lie, cheat, and steal. They are consumed by finding their next fix. It is not because you did not teach them right from wrong, it is not because you failed them as a parent. There is a phrase in addiction circles called the “3 C’s”: You did not cause their addiction, you cannot control their addiction. All you can do is change yourself and your reaction. Do not blame yourself. Find support groups, seek therapy, and find ways to care for yourself. In truth, all we can ever truly have control over in life is ourselves and our emotional response. Learning to change the natural, impulsive reactions we have to situations like this can go a long way in weathering the storm. 


Create boundaries to protect yourself and your family 

Boundaries are the anti-enabling. It is important to set clear rules and boundaries with addicted children to protect yourself, your loved ones, and ultimately your addicted child. Not letting them come to the house while high, if they’re still living at home not allowing them to have drug-using friends over, not allowing them to abuse, insult, or manipulate you. These are all healthy boundaries that can protect your family physically and emotionally from addictive behaviors. 


Practice Self-Care 

This journey you are on is a painful, stressful, exhausting one. Living in crisis can cause serious mental and physical health issues which is why it is so important to take time to prioritize your wellbeing. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating right, and taking time for yourself. 


Establish an Open Dialogue

Learn to communicate with honesty, vulnerability, and acceptance. Anger, yelling, and/or blaming do not create safe spaces in which to discuss problems and can push the addict further away. Once you have stopped enabling and have firm boundaries set, having this open channel of communication will be helpful when your addicted child does decide to discuss their situation. A safe space is one in which help can be asked for, and treatment can be suggested. 


Treatment is the answer, but they need to want it for themselves 

Getting your addicted child into treatment is the best possible option for getting them into a life of sobriety and health. However, it is important to know that treatment works best when the addict truly wants to change. Sometimes an addict needs to hit rock bottom to make this change but not always. Learn all you can about treatment options and continue encouraging it until they decide they want to get help. When the time comes, professional treatment can change their life. 


Seeking Help

Being the parent of an addicted child is one of the biggest and most painful challenges a parent can face, we hope this article was able to offer some support and coping strategies. If you are struggling with an addicted child and don’t know what to do, please reach out. 

Our expert team at Harmony Recovery Group are here to help, both as a supportive ear and a strategy for change. Call us at (866) 461-4474

Staging an Alcohol or Drug Intervention

Drug Intervention | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Many people once believed that the best way to help a loved one with a substance abuse problem was to wait until he or she hit a state that could be referred to as “rock bottom.” Unfortunately, this implies that addiction is somehow different from other severe health conditions. For example, no one would ever tell someone with diabetes or cancer to wait to get treatment.

The medical community now considers the notion that an addict has to hit their lowest point to be archaic, risky, and very unhelpful. Instead, most professionals have adopted the more constructive view that addiction should be treated as a chronic disease and that an intervention, if needed, should occur as soon as possible.

For this reason, people are increasingly understanding and compassionate toward those who are battling an addiction. Loved ones are beginning to realize that the addict direly needs help, versus further suffering by allowing them to wait.

An alcohol or drug intervention is a process in which loved ones and intervention specialists can reveal to a person in the throes of addiction the adverse effects that their behavior has had on themselves and other important people in their lives.

Intervention Participation

Most often, the families of those struggling with an addiction will organize and perform an alcohol or drug intervention. Still, any person with a genuine and loving relationship with the individual can and should participate whenever possible. In addition to family members, these persons may include significant others, friends, co-workers, religious leaders, etc.

It is highly recommended that those planning to stage an intervention use the services of a person trained to facilitate this process. A professional can provide participants with the information they need to conduct a safe, thorough intervention that has the most potential for success.

The Purpose of an Alcohol or Drug Intervention

The ultimate goal of an intervention is to help the person with an addiction to undergo professional treatment. Ideally, it often takes the form or an inpatient or partial-hospitalization program, but less severe problems may benefit just as much from an intensive outpatient program.

It’s important to remember that the intention of an intervention is not to “gang up” on the loved one who needs help, but instead to show him or her how destructive their addiction really is and to persuade them to get help. Once a person begins to comprehend how their substance abuse problem affects the lives of others, he or she may be moved to seek treatment. An intervention can be used as a final warning, in a way, that loved ones are now refusing to enable or support the person’s addiction and related troubling behaviors.

Drug Intervention | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

How Does an Intervention Work?

An alcohol or drug intervention should be performed in a safe, comfortable environment with the participation of anyone who has a personal stake in the situation. Adults and older children and adolescents may wish to participate, but very young children and toddlers, who can’t be active in conversation or who may become distressed, should not be there. Regardless of who is involved in the intervention, however, each person must receive sufficient training before attempting to participate.

In most instances, the person for whom the intervention is being staged has hurt friends and family members physically, emotionally, or financially. For this reason, best intentions are often not enough, and negative emotions such as anger and resentment are apt to surface and hijack the process if the people involved are not prepared to deal with them and relay them constructively. If an unhealthy conflict occurs, it will likely do more harm than good and could undermind the entire process altogether.

Moreover, an intervention is not an appropriate time to address the hurt and anger each person feels. Instead, it is an opportunity to reassure the person that he or she is loved and supported. Each participating member should compose, in advance, thoughts and feelings they wish to express to the addicted person to ensure that the intervention doesn’t get off track. They should also have their comments endorsed by other participants and the interventionist who is directing the process.

These thoughts can include any of the following:

  • How the individual has been personally and negatively affected by the loved one’s addiction and behavior
  • Changes the person has seen in the addicted individual’s personality, honesty, and self-control
  • The overall impact that the addicted person’s actions have had on the relationship
  • A prepared statement that exudes unconditional love for the addict, and stress that the person intervening is committed to no longer enabling the addict to destroy his or herself

The last step in staging an intervention is to ensure there is a bed available and waiting in a reputable, accredited rehab facility so the struggling addict or alcoholic can immediately enter treatment.

Signs an Intervention Is Necessary

The following are a few common warning signs to look for if you suspect that someone you love is grappling with a substance use disorder:

  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies once considered important or enjoyable
  • Being late for or absenteeism at work or school, and unsatisfactory performance, academically or professionally
  • Financial problems, such as repeatedly asking to borrow money, and incurring debt or not paying bills
  • Altered sleep patterns, such as staying up for long periods or sleeping excessively
  • Bloodshot eyes, bad breath, shakiness, and notable changes in weight
  • Abnormal or erratic behaviors, impulsivity or uncharacteristic moodiness
  • Having repeated conflicts with family members, friends, or co-workers
  • Neglect of loved ones in favor of a new social group that approves of and promotes substance abuse

Drug Intervention | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

What If the Intervention Fails?

The most impactful moment that can occur during an intervention is when the person with the problem understands that his or her loved ones will no longer enable the addiction. Many people suffering from addiction profess their desire to get treatment but do so primarily to manipulate others into continuing to help sustain their substance abuse habit for as long as possible.

You will know an intervention is likely to be unsuccessful if the person at the center of it promises to seek help “soon” or agrees to go under the provision that he or she is provided with money or a place to stay “for a while.” In other words, an intervention has failed if the subject is using any form of manipulation to convince loved ones that he or she is motivated to get help, and ultimately declines to follow through.

It is essential that if the person refuses to enter a rehab program that the intervention participants remain committed to their promises and refuse to enable the person’s addictive behavior. Often, it takes more than one intervention attempt to convince an addict that time is of the essence. The important thing is to remain strong in the face of the person’s addiction and continue to reassure them they are loved and emotionally supported even though you are withholding other means of assistance.

Getting Treatment for Addiction

Staging an intervention is a time when loves ones of addicts and alcoholics can commit to the process of getting them into treatment. But remember, for the person suffering, intervention is just the first step to recovery. The bulk of their work still lies ahead through therapy, counseling, improved means of coping, relapse prevention strategies, and an enormous amount of steadfast faith and resolve.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers programs in formats that include partial-hospitalization, intensive outpatient treatment, and outpatient detox. We use a comprehensive approach to addiction that makes use of evidence-based therapies beneficial for the recovery process, which are conducted by caring addiction specialists with compassion, understanding, and expertise.

If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, contact us to discuss treatment options and find out how we can help!

13 Tips to Help You Stay Sober During the Holidays

Stay Sober During the Holidays | Midwood Addiction Treatment

For many people in recovery, the holidays can be challenging. But you don’t have to let unfulfilled expectations and stressful family dysfunction ruin your sobriety—you just need to engage in a bit of planning. Start preparing your strategy now, and consider the following tips to help you along!

13 Tips for Holiday Sobriety

Tip #1

Take time to remind yourself how good sobriety feels, and how accomplished you will feel in January. Keep this thought front and center in your mind—you might even want to write a note to yourself as a reminder to think about it every day.

Tip #2:

Keep your expectations grounded in realism, so you don’t set yourself up to experience an emotional letdown. Being sober doesn’t mean life is going to be perfect instantly. The other people in your life probably haven’t changed much, and friction that has been encountered at family functions in the past is likely to crop up again. It would be best if you accepted this fact, and despite it, not attempt to control everything. Instead, you have to be ready to stand up for your sobriety, and nothing is worth undermining your recovery.

Tip #3

Plan sober activities other than sitting around and socializing. In many families, this behavior includes drinking and, in some cases, doing drugs. Consider going to movies, museums, concerts, skating, walks, sledding, or sports events that can all fill time and reduce stress. If the weather keeps you inside, there are still activities that will keep everyone busy and focused, such as decorating cookies, board games, movies, etc.

Tip #4

Limit the time you spend with people or situations that cause you to be stressed out. People might include those in which you used to abuse substances or people whom you just tend to engage in conflict. They also include any situation, including family gatherings, that might have triggers and lead to thinking about using drugs or alcohol.

Time limitations may be pre-imposed or spontaneous. That is, you can plan to leave a situation or event after an hour, or politely excuse yourself at whatever time you need to if you feel that remaining there is not in your best interest.

Tip #5

It doesn’t matter if you are traveling or staying near home, go to support group meetings whenever you can, and determine which ones to attend and where to go in advance. You can use these meetings to your benefit in terms of scheduling, as well—people often find it helpful to go to meetings both before and after holiday events, or at the very least, have a sponsor handy to talk to and solicit advice if you need it.

Stay Sober During the Holidays | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Tip #6

Take time to visit friends and family that you enjoy, but avoid those with which you used to engage in substance abuse if it is at all possible. If you must see these individuals, limit your time with them and turn your focus away from their drug or alcohol use and instead get involved in healthier activities.

Tip #7

If you feel you need to steer clear of certain social events, you can plan your own celebration. If you are not up to visiting relatives or friends, get together with group support members or volunteer at a local shelter. Have dinner at home or in a restaurant, rather than put yourself in a position of temptation around loves ones who still drink or do drugs.

Tip #8

Take it easy on yourself. Get plenty of rest, watch what you eat, and engage in the usual daily rituals that help you positive or focused on the present, such as exercise or meditation. Do not neglect yourself or the importance of your recovery for one second because the day is going to be different in some way.

Tip #9

Devise a strategy for coping with cravings. Write a list of things that work for you, such as calling a friend or sponsor, getting in a quick workout at the gym, or praying. If you can’t think of anything, try to remain sober for just one minute, then two, then three. Start another activity, such as cooking or house work, and after you’ve gotten through five minutes, and keep increasing that time. Recovery happens in the present, not the past or future. Always keep this in mind.

Tip #10

Remember that being in recovery doesn’t mean everything is going to go flawlessly. Understand that sobriety is not going to fix everything, despite the fact that many people with addictions expect their world to become perfect. Don’t forget that if you’ve been abusing alcohol or drugs for years, your brain may need considerable time to restabilize and rewire itself. You have to give yourself time to rebuild the life you deserve, and not give up because something less than ideal occurs.

Tip #11

Stay Sober During the Holidays | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Remember that it’s okay to tell people that you are in recovery. Nearly everyone knows someone that has had a problem with drug or alcohol use and is open about it. If you are not comfortable with this, you don’t have to force yourself. Keep in mind that openly discussing such problems with others has gone a long way to reduce stigma and help people understand that addiction isn’t just a moral failure—it’s a chronic disease that no one consciously chooses to have.

Another good reason to be honest with others is that it may discourage others from offering you drugs or alcohol or engaging in substance abuse in front of you. It may also be the catalyst for another loved one to consider seeking help if they, too, have a problem.

Tip #12

Come up with a strategy for staying sober at parties and in social situations. Know what you plan to say to others and come up with a good exit plan if you need it. Serve yourself and drink plenty of water and indulge in a soda or two if you’d like. Alcoholics are especially used to having a drink in their hand while socializing, and if you choose a healthy, non-alcoholic one, you may be less tempted to imbibe in something you should not.

Tip #13

Prioritize your sobriety above all else. If that means you have to decline an invitation this year, that’s okay. There’s always next year, and people new to recovery aren’t always fully prepared for the stresses and triggers they will encounter in holiday situations. Every day during the holidays is still just a day. As long as you have some type of support, it doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you put yourself first. Enact healthy thoughts and behaviors that will help prevent relapse and keep you from being fearful or miserable during this time of year.

Getting Treatment for Addiction

If you suspect that you or someone you love is struggling with sobriety or needs help for a substance abuse problem, contact us today! Midwood Addiction Treatment offers individualized, comprehensive programs that include therapeutic services and activities vital for the process of recovery, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Overcoming addiction can be a lifelong endeavor, but you don’t have to do it alone. Contact us today and find out how we can help you get started and begin your recovery journey, one day at a time!

Benefits of Addiction Medicines

Addiction Medicines | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Addiction is a chronic disease that can thoroughly destroy a person’s life. Fortunately, however, treatments exist that can address its many causes and help an individual recover and regain physical and emotional stability.

While therapy, counseling, and aftercare planning can address many emotional difficulties, medications used for addiction treatment can help to ease the challenging withdrawal period. They can also help to manage any other medical or mental health conditions that may have been previously left untreated. Certain addiction medicines may have some risks of their own. Still, they can be beneficial in stabilizing those in early recovery and assist them in managing cravings and the symptoms of withdrawal during the detox process.

How Do Medications for Addiction Work?

The addictive properties of most psychoactive substances originate from the manner in which they alter the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. So, in turn, many addiction medicines are used to help restore balance to the chemical processes that have been altered by the abuse of substances.

A person entering recovery may be prescribed certain medications that reduce cravings and relieve withdrawal symptoms or even counteract the euphoric effects of a substance. Other times, medication may have off-label uses for battling depression or anxiety and have effects that further support a person in recovery.

Common medications that may be used to treat addiction symptoms directly include the following:

  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol)
  • Buprenorphine (Suboxone)
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
  • Acamprosate (Campral)
  • Modafinil (Provigil)

Naltrexone and Buprenorphine

Addiction Medicines | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Naltrexone works by binding to receptors in the brain that opioids would otherwise attach to, rendering those drugs unable to elicit an addictive high. Naltrexone is best used after medical detox, because using it when opioids are still in a person’s system may produce severe withdrawal symptoms, also known as precipitated withdrawal.

Naltrexone is considered to be an ideal medication for the treatment of opioid dependence, due to its minimal side effects and very low potential for abuse. It’s also very beneficial for the treatment of alcoholism, although the exact manner in which it works for this condition is not entirely clear. It can be taken daily in pill form or once a month as an injection, and seems to block alcohol’s euphoric effects and can also reduce cravings.

Unlike naltrexone, which blocks receptors without activating them, buprenorphine partially activates the brain’s opioid receptors—just not to the extent that other painkilling opioids do. This means that with buprenorphine, there is a limit or “ceiling to its opioid-like effects, and it is not capable of inducing as strong of a high as many other opioid drugs. 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, this limited effect lowers its potential for abuse, as well as the intensity of withdrawal effects associated with the drug itself. When used this way, buprenorphine can help to wean people off dependence on more potent opioids like heroin.

Buprenorphine is commonly found along with naloxone as a combination medication called Suboxone. Naloxone is used by itself as an opioid overdose antidote, as it can completely reverse life-threatening central nervous system depression. As an element of Suboxone, its action makes the medication even safer and also a very effective abuse-deterrent.

Disulfiram and Acamprosate

Other medications that can be used to help people battling alcoholism are disulfiram and acamprosate. When used as directed, disulfiram (Antabuse) will result in highly unpleasant effects if the person consumes even minor amounts of alcohol. It works by blocking the activity of a specific enzyme (acetaldehyde) vital for the metabolization of ethanol. 

The accumulation of this chemical is what causes an adverse reaction. Effects can include headache, nausea, vomiting, sweating, chest pain, blurred vision, breathing problems, and more. Experiencing these uncomfortable and painful symptoms or knowing in advance that they will occur may deter many people from drinking.

Acamprosate (Campral) is designed to reestablish the chemical balances in the brain that are disrupted in a person who has alcohol dependence. Acamprosate is believed to be effective because it protects the brain from hyper-excitation that results when a person tries to withdraw from alcohol. In doing this, the likelihood of relapse may be decreased.

Getting Treatment for Addiction

Medication-assisted therapy should be used as part of a much broader approach to addiction treatment, which also includes psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and various other evidence-based modalities. 

Comprehensive treatment programs that offer these services are shown to be the most beneficial for improving patient outcomes and helping them to sustain longlasting sobriety and wellness.

Midwood Addiction Treatment is a specialized addiction treatment center that offers such programs in both partial hospitalization and outpatient formats. Our highly-trained staff is committed to ensuring that each client receives the highest level of care, and is given the support and tools they need to recover, prevent relapse, and reclaim their lives for good.

If you are struggling with an addiction, we urge you to contact us today to discover how we can help!

Substance Abuse and Sex Addiction Therapy

Sex Addiction and Substance Abuse | Midwood Addiction Treatment

The link between substance abuse and sex addiction supports the idea that addiction itself is not about a moral failing. Instead, compulsions to activate the brain’s reward system by engaging in impulsive, destructive behavior. 

Like drug addicts, sex addicts become dependent on the feelings they experience when specific changes occur in the brain. To intensify those changes, they may also resort to substance abuse either to elevate their high even further or to dull emotions related to the guilt and shame they experience after they engage in sexually addictive behavior.

Sex Addiction

Perhaps the hardest thing to accept about sex addiction is that it is not evidence of a person’s character weakness or how much he or she cares for loved ones. Many sex addicts report that they do not really enjoy sex, at least not in any passionate, fulfilling sense. Rather, it is the brain’s chemical release that drives them to engage in risky sexual behaviors, such as having anonymous partners and unprotected sex. 

After the high has subsided, however, they are left with negative feelings such as guilt and remorse. This emotional fallout can be highly unpleasant, and substances can be used as a means to self-medicate.

Identifying sex addiction may not be easy, but there are warning signs that may determine if you or a loved one is struggling with sex addiction. For example, if a person’s sexual behavior is interfering with his or her life, this is a definite sign of problematic sexual behavior. If the person has also attempted to stop engaging in such behaviors and has failed to do so, this is a hallmark sign of sex addiction.

Sexual thoughts can overtake a sex addict, and this can endanger a person’s employment and relationships. While there is a broad spectrum of healthy sexual behavior, when a person is taking risks or frequently engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior, this may be an indication that there is a problem. 

Sexually addictive behavior may include any the following:

  • Sex with multiple or anonymous sexual partners
  • Frequent one night stands
  • Spontaneous sex with strangers in inappropriate places, such as park bathrooms
  • Self-gratification in inappropriate places, such as during work or school
  • Having multiple affairs, infidelity
  • Having unprotected, unsafe sex
  • Excessive use of pornography
  • Phone or cybersex
  • Using the Internet to find random partners
  • Exhibitionism
  • Voyeurism
  • Engaging in prostitution as either the prostitute or the “John”

It is important to realize that sex addiction is often associated with childhood sexual abuse or assault. Sex addicts sometimes use sex as a means to escape negative feelings of self-worth, depression, and isolation. In fact, many of the same factors that compel someone to abuse drugs or alcohol can result in sex addiction.

Sex Addiction and Substance Abuse | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Substance Abuse and Sex Addiction

Sex addiction and substance abuse can co-occur and feed off of each other, and the effects of both can be compounded. Those who are abusing drugs or drinking alcohol may engage in promiscuous behavior when they are intoxicated. This outcome serves to promote an association of being drunk or high with sex. And it also produces a more intense high overall since the same neural pathways are being affected by both behaviors. 

Also, certain drugs, such as ecstasy, are known to enhance sexual experiences. Therefore, people with sex addiction may turn to specific drugs to boost endurance, heighten sensations, and prolong a sexual encounter.

The link between substance abuse and sex addiction is further strengthened when a person wishes to escape the emotional outcome of their behavior. Remember, sex and drug addicts are not usually particularly bad people. Their actions are being driven a biochemical process, and when they are sober, they must think about the possible consequences of their risky behavior and are often devastated and disgusted by this realization. To mitigate or hide from these feelings, they will either abuse substances or engage in more sexually-driven conduct. 

The origins of addiction often stem back to childhood trauma or some sort of emotional burden. When a person does not have the tools to deal with these circumstances healthily, substances and sex can seem like reasonable options. Of course, no form of compulsive behavior will ever solve such problems, and they can quickly progress into a full-blown addiction. As they are overwhelmed by emotional turbulence, these people will continue their addictive behavior until they agree to get help.

Substance Abuse and Sex Addiction Therapy

You may be comforted to know that, if you or a loved one is suffering from sex addiction and substance abuse, change is entirely possible. Moreover, if it were just a question of a person’s character and moral fortitude, there would be little hope that they could ever become a better person. 

Addiction is considered to be a chronic disease, and like other long-lasting health conditions, treatment can lead to recovery. And we must never forget that all forms of addiction are a sign of emotional distress. When people are in pain, they need help, not to be guilted and shamed. With the support of health professionals and loved ones, people can escape the grips of addiction and begin to foster a happier, healthier life.

Similarly, therapeutic approaches used to treat impulse control disorders and substance abuse are often utilized for the treatment of sex addiction. These approaches often include psychotherapy, medication, support groups, counseling, trauma therapy, and other evidence-based services.

Group therapy can lessen a client’s feelings of shame and isolation by associating them with people who are seeking to recover from the same or similar disorders. These groups can be specifically for people addicted to drugs, alcohol, or sex. They give people a chance to share their stories and garner advice from others in an environment that is conducive to healing, compassion, and accountability.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is especially effective at helping clients confront their self-destructive, delusional thoughts that are associated with sex addiction. In CBT, clients are shown how to identify triggers that instigate unhealthy behaviors and to develop better-coping strategies for managing such situations or emotions in healthier ways. 

In rehab, medications can be prescribed to help control sexual urges, manage symptoms of depression or anxiety, and also reduce cravings for substances. For example, drugs in the SSRI class, such as Celexa and Zoloft, are commonly prescribed to help people with addiction, and compulsive behaviors get relief from associated adverse effects.

Depending on a person’s needs and the severity of their condition(s), treatment can take the form of residential, partial hospitalization, or outpatient programs. Because these disorders are closely associated with profound emotional pain and trauma, the overseeing specialists must be particularly sensitive to the potential for suddenly increasing depression or even suicidal ideation. 

Sex Addiction and Substance Abuse | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Finding Freedom from Addiction

An effective addiction treatment program must include a comprehensive assortment of recovery resources that address all aspects of addiction and mental health. It must consist of therapies that consider the many dimensions of these disorders, including past trauma, substance abuse, and mental illness.

The objectives of both substance abuse treatment and sex addiction therapy are to help clients identify the causes of their compulsive behaviors. Once these causes are identified, counselors work with clients to help them develop healthier approaches for coping with triggers and strengthen their sense of self-worth. 

Through the use of an integrated treatment program, such as those offered by Midwood Addiction Treatment, issues involving both sex addiction and substance abuse can be effectively addressed. 

If you are suffering from an addiction to sex and engaging in substance abuse, contact us today! Discover how we help people recover and begin to enjoy the healthy, satisfying lives they deserve!

How to Detach With Love From an Addict

Detach With Love From an Addict | Midwood Addiction Treatment

According to statistics, an estimated 10% of Americans experience a substance disorder at some point in their lives. Addiction is an unyielding, chronic disease, and once a person is afflicted, he or she will remain afflicted for life. Like other diseases, addiction has a relatively high rate of relapse. Although many people recover successfully for the rest of their lives, many will inevitably encounter ups and downs along the way.

People who are actively engaging in addictive behavior often causes harm to their loved ones. It is normal for those persons to help their friend or family member, but unfortunately, they may do so at the expense of themselves. For this reason, it is important for the loved of alcoholics and addicts to unburden themselves and regain control over their lives and emotional well-being.

Unfortunately, addiction often comes with adverse changes to an individual’s personality and behavior. Loved ones who were once caring and giving of themselves may become incredible selfish and demanding. They may ask more of others than those people are willing to give. Investing energy into these individuals can be taxing, and result in tremendous stress and emotional pain.

However, stepping back doesn’t mean completely leaving the loved one to his or her own devices. If this person is leaning on you to sustain vital aspects of their lives, such as food or shelter, withdrawing support is likely to lead to a worsening of the addiction, as well as their health and quality of life.

It’s okay to continue helping addicts out in these ways, so long as you do not enable their addictive behaviors. By showing them that you still love them, you may eventually be able to solidify their trust and let you help them seek professional treatment. Your support may also be vital in keeping them motivated to do the work that is required to sustain long-term sobriety.

What Is Detaching with Love?

Detaching with love is the gentle process of stepping away from toxic, codependent, one-sided relationships. In doing so, you make the conscious choice to invest less emotional energy in the loved one until they seek help for their active addition and become better able to reciprocate the attention and support you give to them.

Detaching with love means that a person has decided to stop enabling a loved one’s addiction, break the cycle of codependency, and be free to have their own space and attend to their own needs.

Stop Enabling

Detach With Love From an Addict | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Despite best intentions, continuing to invest significant time and energy into a loved one who is an active addict or alcoholic is enabling them to continue harmful behavior. While offering some support, such as, say, keeping them off the streets by sheltering them, may be beneficial, other activities, such as giving them extra money or lying for them, are probably not.

When you step back, you show that you refuse to enable their addiction to the extent that you once did. It also helps to prevent you from unintentionally engaging in behaviors that only serve to foster such a toxic relationship.

Avoid Codependency

Codependency can occur in relationships that do not involve substance abuse, but it is a condition that is closely linked to them. Codependency requires one member of a relationship to be an emotional manipulator to some extent, while the other member is more passive and feels it is necessary to attend to all the needs of the other. Often, codependents are significant others, but they can also be parents, children, siblings, or friends.

Codependency is extremely harmful to everyone involved. Indeed, it not only enables substance abuse, it also forces the codependent person into a situation in which they are perpetuating their own addiction to being a caretaker. Stepping out of a codependent role can be very challenging, and both members of a relationship usually require psychotherapy and counseling. Learning to detach with love is a good start, however, and it may be the stepping stone needed to facilitate the process of long-term recovery and healing.

Take Back Space

Wanting to help loved ones is natural, but it is not healthy to do so at the expense of oneself. People must be allowed to focus on their own physical and emotional well-being. An Individual should live a life that is not entirely devoted to someone else’s—especially when doing so enables another or even harms them in some way.

How to Detach with Love

Detaching with love is about gently but firmly establishing boundaries and adhering to them no matter what. Remember, you are—by far—not the only person who has had to detach with love from an addict. You can find help and support from groups, such as Al-Anon, that consist of the family members of alcoholics and other addicts who can offer advice.

When detaching, remember not to accept responsibility for their actions or blame yourself. It is not your fault. The development of addiction is multi-faceted, and many variables, including genetics and repeated exposure to a substance, come into play. Do not let self-guilt drive you to bail them out of bad situations, time and time again. You must find a more detached way to show them you care.

You can encourage them to seek help, and they can do so when ready. But, you can’t force them—they are making that choice, and it’s not your fault if they are not ready to take responsibility for their health and well-being. You cannot live a person’s life for them.

Detach With Love From an Addict | Midwood Addiction Treatment

One of the most challenging aspects of detaching with love is learning to say no. Saying no is difficult because you will likely have to watch the loved one get hurt and suffer more in the process. They may also be angry, and inflict blame or shame upon you in an effort to change your mind.

Once you say no and establish boundaries, you must stick to them. Failing to do so further enables the addict and undermines your commitment to loving them properly. Addicts are frequently selfish, delusional, and manipulative, and cutting them any slack will display to them that you are someone of which they may continue to take advantage.

Stepping back can be beneficial for both people involved, but remember that this is mostly for your personal well-being. It forces them to cope with their addiction on their own but also serves to protect you from further abuse and harm inflicted by a person with a severe, chronic condition.

Detaching with love can be challenging, but it’s also important to make room for yourself and your own needs, avoid enabling, and still be there emotionally for your loved one. In an ideal world, you would be able to help your loved one get professional treatment, but that’s not always immediately possible. Detaching with love provides you with the opportunity to remain a supportive person in the loved one’s life without allowing them to drag you down into their problems.

Getting Help for Addiction

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers comprehensive, evidence-based programs designed to treat all aspects of a person’s recovery, including mental health support and family counseling. Addiction does not exist in a vacuum. Long-term recovery requires much more work to ensure that a person is emotionally stable enough to use the skills needed to avoid succumbing to triggers and relapse.

We are committed to ensuring that those who suffer receive the very best, most effective care available! If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, contact us today and find out how we can help!

The Role of Grief Counseling in Addiction Treatment

Grief Counseling in Addiction Treatment | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Grief and loss are normal, albeit unpleasant feelings that most people will experience at least once in their lives. Many profound changes can cause an individual to experience grief or loss. For people who have suffered this type of emotional pain, grief counseling can be extremely beneficial. Events that may result in grief include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Death of a loved one, such as a spouse
  • Adverse changes in one’s health
  • Adverse changes in the health of a loved one
  • Marital separation or divorce
  • Adverse changes in interpersonal relationships
  • Marriage
  • Incarceration
  • Personal injury or illness
  • Losing a job or changing one
  • Change in responsibilities at work

  • Adverse changes in financial status
  • Retirement
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Child leaving home and “empty nest” syndrome
  • Spouse starts or stops work
  • Beginning or ending school
  • Changes in living conditions or residence
  • Destruction caused by a natural disaster
  • Loss of trust, approval, or safety

These are just a few common potential causes for grief, but the list is nearly endless. Any change in a person’s life that is perceived as significant or adverse or forces them to leave something cherished behind can lead to emotional pain and feelings of loss.

How Grief Is Related to Addiction

Though destructive, substances and addictive behaviors may offer comfort and respite from unpleasant emotions. Drugs and alcohol can be used to fulfill a need, at least temporarily, regardless of how unhealthy they are. Even people who have not used substances historically to excess may find themselves picking up a bottle of liquor or buying illegal drugs. People who are in recovery from an addiction are at an even higher risk of doing so.

Furthermore, it is not uncommon for a person to experience grief when confronting the possibility that they need treatment for substance abuse. Even those who are very motivated to recover may have these feelings, as they realize that they need to make dramatic lifestyle changes and put many aspects of their former lives behind them. Doing this is not so easy for many people.

Moreover, walking without using the emotional crutch of substance abuse can be frightening. This fear is especially palpable when the person realizes that there is no immediate substitute, only dedication and active maintenance until the end of their lives. People in recovery who experience grief need to be provided with effective tools to manage these feelings, or the possibility of a new way of living may seem impossible.

Sometimes these feelings don’t float to the surface until after the person is in recovery for a short time. Substances tend to stunt emotions, and even after initial withdrawal symptoms have subsided, feelings of grief, anxiety, and depression can manifest. Regardless of when they occur, they will be unpleasant and must be addressed immediately to prevent relapse.

Common feelings of grief and loss associated with entering recovery include the following:

  • Strained or severed relationships
  • Loss of trust
  • Loss of a job due to addiction or the need to enter rehab
  • Being forced to examine the harm that addiction caused to oneself and others
  • Being forced to endure grief and loss formerly blunted by substances
  • Feelings of abandonment from others caused by a person’s addiction

Models of Grief

The experience of grief is unique and personal for each individual. However, there appear to be universal trends in how people tend to cope with loss. Psychologists and other researched have devised various models of grief. One of the most familiar models is what is known as the five stages of grief. Many counselors and therapists have leaned on this model to help a person work through their feelings at various times.

Grief Counseling in Addiction Treatment | Midwood Addiction Treatment

The Five-Stage Model

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist, identified five stages of grief that take place chronologically:

1) Denial

2) Anger

3) Bargaining

4) Depression

5) Acceptance

Kubler-Ross believed that everyone experiences at least two of the five stages of grief, and also acknowledged that some might revisit certain stages throughout their lives.

Stage 1: Denial

In simple terms, denial is hallmarked by the inability to accept the change or loss that is occurring. For example, many people who are confronted with an expected death of a loved one report being in disbelief upon hearing the news and even feeling numb. 

Denial is more or less a natural defense mechanism to help us deal with extremely distressing emotions, or preventing us from experiencing too many feelings simultaneously. Denial usually fades with time, and the person experiencing it will gradually start to feel more emotions.

Stage 2: Anger

Anger can occur at any time following a stressful event, and feelings related to this anger may persist for years. People are often angry at themselves, God, or a person that was at the center of the grief or loss.

Some people are more adept at managing anger than others. Some may require anger management therapy or bereavement counseling to help them work through anger associated with a significant loss.

Stage 3: Bargaining

Bargaining is associated with praying or offering something in exchange for the loss in an effort to prevent the loss from occurring. For example, a man who cheats on his wife may beg her forgiveness and offer to go to couple’s counseling if she agrees to stay.

Bargaining sometimes works, so we use it as a means of avoiding the loss or maintaining some sense of control. Unfortunately, bargaining is often ineffective, and when we can change the circumstances, the next stage of grief may begin.

Stage 4: Depression

When bargaining isn’t successful and reality hits, a person will often experience intense sadness, hopelessness, and become emotionally unable to attend to normal life responsibilities. Depression may be relatively temporary, or it could advance into a clinical depression that persists for months or years.

Indeed, depression associated with grief can be experienced at various times for the rest of a person’s life. This grief can be seemingly random or be related to holidays, birthdays, or other occasions. It may also be triggered by exposure to certain people, places, or things. This is normal and does not necessarily indicate that one’s emotional health is rapidly declining. 

Stage 5: Acceptance

Grief Counseling in Addiction Treatment | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Although acceptance is the final stage, it is not necessarily the end of the process. Acceptance does not mean forgetting the loss or blocking it out emotionally. Rather, acceptance means working through the other stages until you come to a place where you can understand the true depths of your loss and move on emotionally.

Acceptance eventually happens when a person has successfully processed the painful truth that a part of one’s life has been lost. After acceptance, there may be revisits to some stages, but at this point, a person should be allowing him or herself to adjust to and enjoy life again despite the loss.

Grief Counseling and Treatment for Addiction

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers comprehensive treatment programs designed to treat all aspects of a person’s emotional and physical health. These may include feelings of grief, depression, or any number of mental health issues with which a person may be faced.

Grief counseling and other types of therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, help clients learn to navigate the world without feeling the need to resort to substances or harmful behaviors. They learn healthier, more effective coping skills that will allow them to deal with stressful situations, as well as a caring support system to assist them in this process. Our goal is help our clients bring their lives back into balance so they can process their emotions more productively.

By allowing the ever-changing flow of emotions to be felt and expressed, healing can finally begin, and the emotional void felt by an addict can be filled with a healthier state of being. Contact us today if you are ready to take the first step on the road to recovery and begin to enjoy the life you deserve!

What Is Adventure Therapy?

Adventure therapy | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Adventure therapy combines nature, community, and various therapeutic activities. Adventure therapy aims to improve a person’s mental, physical, social, and spiritual wellbeing using engaging outdoor activities to facilitate self-discovery and address adverse life circumstances. Importantly, however, this is accomplished in a wilderness environment free from negative influences that a person would deal with in the real world. 

Adventure therapy helps people to overcome drug or alcohol addiction and mental health problems. It is considered to be a very useful technique, and the adventure therapist endeavors to actively stimulate clients using various tools. This type of therapy is a unique opportunity to provide clients with a variety of fun activities to foster emotional development using an unfamiliar and exciting environment.

Who Adventure Therapy Benefits

Adventure therapy is a powerful approach to treating anxiety, depression, PTSD, grief, loss, eating disorders, addiction, and more. It can also be an inspiring and fruitful component of family therapy. It has been shown to be highly beneficial for teenagers, young adults, and people who suffer from a variety of mental health issues.

How Adventure Therapy Works

Adventure therapy fosters rehab, growth, development, and improvement of a person’s physical and psychological wellbeing through activities that involve firsthand experience. It is often conducted using a family or group. It uses an outdoor environment to evoke change by using experience with collaborative games, trust, and activities, problem-solving initiatives, high adventure, and outdoor endeavors. 

Following each activity, the group processes the events. This part of the program consists of a discussion in which therapists help clients internalize their experiences and correlate them with therapeutic goals.

Empowering ventures commonly used in adventure therapies include the following:

  • Kayaking
  • Rock climbing
  • Camping
  • Canoeing

  • Caving
  • Horseback riding
  • White water rafting
  • Paddleboarding

  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Rafting
  • Skiing

Most activities, such as hiking and caving, are relatively low risk for injury. Paddleboarding merely requires the person to stand on a board and paddle. In doing this, he or she can experience freedom while still remaining in control. 

While rock climbing, the client must facilitate the self-confidence and persistence required to climb. Group efforts, such as canoeing, foster communication, and teamwork. Finally, camping promotes trust and improve’s one’s ability to survive in diverse environments.

What Is Adventure Therapy? | Midwood Addiction Therapy

Wilderness Therapy is a Bit Different

Adventure therapy is frequently but falsely referred to as wilderness therapy. Wilderness therapy is, in fact, a form of adventure therapy, but only uses the climate and landscape. Conversely, adventure therapy often includes the use of challenging obstacles as well. 

In wilderness therapy, the primary focus is adaptability and persistence, and this is a bit different from adventure therapy’s emotional and physical challenges. Also, wilderness therapy tends to pose some risk, and it is comprised of other treatments and techniques.

How Adventure Therapy Is Beneficial

When clients learn mindfulness during enjoyable activities, the main objective of adventure therapy is for them to associate life experiences with current outdoor expeditions. Moreover, patients garner a new sense of self-confidence and develop better social skills. 

For instance, as clients learn how to rock climb, they can be open about their need for interdependence or independence. Adventure therapy provides an opportunity for growth and insight while being joyfully active. There is also the power of hands-on problem-solving while confronting the fear that is connected with such challenging activities. 

During isolation in nature, some clients have a spiritual awakening and will ultimately be transformed by the experience. Lastly, therapists are actively involved in clients’ objective-oriented and decision-making processes in order to emotionally strengthen the groups’ experiences.

Adventure therapy is also beneficial for the following:

  • Encouraging and fostering responsibility
  • Forging healthy relationships and learning to collaborate with others
  • Developing vital social skills, such as communication and cooperation
  • Promoting self-awareness and confidence
  • Increasing emotional resilience
  • Fostering openness and emotional exploration
  • Providing opportunities to confront real-world challenges
  • Mitigating depressive symptoms
  • Cultivating healthier emotional and behavioral functioning
  • Teaching effective coping skills

As a result of stimulating activities, clients feel invigorated and more trusting and self-confident. It differs from traditional therapies and offers more fun and excitement than most traditional methods.

Treatment for Addiction

Adventure therapy is just one modality that can be employed as a component of a comprehensive addiction treatment program. Midwood Addiction Treatment offers adventure therapy in addition to, but not limited, the following services:

Overcoming addiction is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be brutal. You can enjoy your journey to sobriety and healthier life! Surmounting substance abuse requires focus and dedication and a safe and supportive environment. We offer engaging and often enjoyable therapies to encourage a full recovery.

Our caring staff is dedicated to helping those who need it most break free from the shackles of addiction for life! Contact us today and find out how we can help!