Understanding Stimulants

Understanding Stimulants

While the broad class of drugs is known as stimulants, you may not be 100% familiar with which drugs that includes in practice. Before delving into the finer points of stimulants like – what they are, what they do and their addictive nature – let’s list the common ones and some usage stats.

Common Stimulants

  • Caffeine
  • Amphetamines
  • Methylphenidate (prescription drugs like Ritalin and Concerta)
  • Dextroamphetamine (prescription drugs like Dexedrine)
  • Dextroamphetamine/amphetamine (prescription drugs like Adderall)
  • Ephedrine
  • Cocaine 

You might first notice caffeine and for good reason, studies note “caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive substance in the world. In Western society, at least 80 percent of the adult population consumes caffeine in amounts large enough to have an effect on the brain”.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that “five million American adults misusing prescription stimulants”.

Cocaine “was involved in nearly 1 in 5 overdose deaths during 2017.  Almost 5 million Americans reported current cocaine use in 2016”, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What Are Stimulants?

Stimulants, in the simplest terms, are drugs that increase the activity of your central nervous system. They stimulate it, in other words.

When used by prescription and under the guidance of a doctor, stimulants can be taken to treat issues like:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Narcolepsy
  • Congestion of the sinuses
  • Nasal congestion

They can also be used to enhance performance in athletics. You may have heard of the term “doping” as it relates to cheating in sports, well one of the ways to dope is with central nervous system stimulants. One study summarizes it like this, “central nervous system (CNS) stimulants may be used to reduce tiredness and increase alertness, competitiveness, and aggression. They are more likely to be used in competition but may be used during training to increase the intensity of the training session”.

The last big silo of stimulants is those used illegally and for recreation. This includes:

  • Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy)
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine

MDMA is classed as a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), meaning it has no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Cocaine and methamphetamine fall under Schedule II and also carry a high potential for abuse that can lead to dependence.

So, what do stimulants do once you’ve taken them?

What Do Stimulants Do?

Whether it’s a prescription or not, all stimulants act in the same basic way. NIDA explains it as such; “stimulants increase the activity of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is involved in the reinforcement of rewarding behaviors. Norepinephrine affects blood vessels, blood pressure and heart rate, blood sugar, and breathing”.

Dopamine is of course colloquially known as the “feel-good” hormone so one of the effects of stimulants is something of a rush of euphoria.

Additionally, stimulants can do the following:

  • Increase heart rate
  • Increase blood pressure but decrease blood flow
  • Increase alertness
  • Increase blood sugar
  • Open sinuses and breathing passages
  • Reduce appetite

Are Stimulants Addictive?

Indeed they are.

The euphoric, feel-good sensation coupled with the other effects mean that prescription stimulants are ripe for abuse if not taken exactly as directed. It also means that recreational stimulants can quickly hook a user as well.

The longer you take stimulants of any kind, the more of a tolerance you develop which translates to needing to take more and more to achieve the same effect as before. Before you know it, you have a full-blown substance use disorder on your hands.

Get Help With a Stimulant Addiction at Principles Recovery Center

At Principles Recovery Center, we understand full well the dangers of using stimulants and specialize in treating those who’ve become addicted; particularly to crack/cocaine.

If you want to learn more about stimulants and how we can help you or a loved one recover from them, reach out to us today.

One of the Best Rehabs in Florida

Best rehabs in Florida

When you think of Florida, you no doubt think of sea and sun, it’s why we’re known as the Sunshine State after all.

In recent years though, it’s become much more than just a vacation destination and is now well regarded for the quality drug and alcohol treatment centers throughout the state too.

We’d humbly submit that our own facility, Principles Recovery Center, is among the best rehabs in Florida.

Located in Davie, Florida just outside of Fort Lauderdale and stone’s throw from the coast, what makes Principles an exceptional choice comes down to one word: experience.

Sure, the beach is nice but what you really need in recovery is a team of caring and dedicated professionals who’ve devoted their lives to not only providing help for those who need it most but continuously improving along the way.

We’ve been at this for over 30 years and that commitment to helping you confront and overcome addiction has been and will remain, our driving force.

Addiction Treatment We Offer At Principles Recovery Center

Treatment for substance abuse is a process and we can take you from the beginning all the way through to the end (in Spanish too!).


The very first step of that process, just after deciding to enter rehab, is detox. Substance use disorders (SUDs) may be classed as brain disorders but addiction is heavily interwoven with the body as well. You need to break the physical dependency before we can help you through the mental side of it. While we don’t offer detox at our facility, we partner with many facilities in the area who you can detox with before visiting us. 

Inpatient Care

Detox isn’t a treatment in and of itself, it’s just the start. The next step for those with more severe addiction is most likely going to be a stay in inpatient care. We create a highly customized program suited to your needs and you live with us for 1 to 3 months on average, getting the 24/7 care, guidance and support you need. While we don’t offer traditional inpatient care, we have onsite housing for our clients that join us for partial hospitalization. You get all of the benefits of inpatient care with just a little more freedom. 

Partial Hospitalization

Think of this as a step below inpatient care, it essentially affords you all the benefits of an inpatient program without having to be an inpatient. In other words, you can go home in the evenings. Typically, this would be 25 hours a week and can be used as a transition from inpatient care or a starting point.


Another step down in terms of intensity and time commitment is outpatient care. We use all the same methods and modalities you would encounter in the aforementioned treatments with the difference here being that the sessions are shorter, affording you more time for work, school or family life. You can expect 12 to 20 hours depending on the severity of your addiction.


Addiction doesn’t always happen on its own. Often people have a co-occurring mental illness along with their substance abuse problem and treating one without touching the other is setting yourself for failure. It’s critical to address and treat both disorders so you can build your newly gained sobriety on a sturdy foundation.

Adolescents & Teens

Not everyone experiences a substance use disorder in the same way and that’s particularly true for teens. More importantly, if we can get to adolescents and young people before things get out of hand, we can help them avoid a prolonged addiction and the difficulties associated with it later in life.


Recovery doesn’t end when your program does, it’s an ongoing and lifelong journey. At Principles Recovery Center we offer aftercare planning services that help set you up for the rest of your life, things like; career workshops, developing your interview skills, assistance with finding housing and more.

Alumni Program

It’s important to stay connected, you’re part of the PRC family after all! During your time with us, you’ll make connections with us and we’ll connect deeply with you too, so we make it easy to stay connected long after you’ve moved on because those relationships are cherished!

With alumni meetings, remote outpatient care, events and a newsletter you’ll never be too far from a friend.

How to Get Yourself or Your Loved One Help With Addiction Today

Whether it’s for yourself or someone close to you, overcoming addiction is possible.

Reach out to us today to learn more about how Principles Recovery Center can help you achieve lasting sobriety. 

Tips for Overcoming Trauma and Addiction

Tips for overcoming trauma and addiction

Traumatic experiences can come to hold immense power over your thoughts, feelings and actions in life. Touching all aspects of your inner world as well as wreaking havoc on your external relationships. 

While some may go through a harrowing experience and be able to easily put it behind them, for others overcoming trauma is a much more arduous journey. In the worst cases, trauma can lead you down the road of addiction and the potentially fatal consequences that accompany prolonged substance abuse.

The co-occurrence of the two – trauma and addiction – isn’t uncommon either, with studies showing that “individuals with PTSD were 2 to 4 times more likely than individuals without PTSD to meet criteria for an SUD (substance use disorder)”.

Before getting into the tips for working through anything though, we need to properly define the terms.

What Is Trauma?

As defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being”.

What qualifies as a traumatic event is different for each person, some examples are:

  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Divorce and separation from parents
  • Combat
  • Serious illness
  • Death of family member or friend
  • Natural disaster
  • Significant medical procedures 

Importantly, keep in mind that something can be traumatic for one person and have no effect on another and, also, there’s no statute of limitations on when trauma can affect you. Trauma experienced in childhood has a well-documented adverse effect in adults.

What Is Addiction?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as “a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. It is considered a brain disorder because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control. Those changes may last a long time after a person has stopped taking drugs”.

Tips for Overcoming Trauma and Addiction – Dual Diagnosis Treatment

When you’re dealing with two or more disorders simultaneously, it’s referred to as a comorbidity. NIDA explains “this occurs frequently with substance use and mental disorders. Comorbidity also means that interactions between these two disorders can worsen the course of both”.

Given that, the best tip for working through co-occurring disorders is to treat them both at the same time.

There isn’t a silver bullet or shortcut to overcoming one and not the other because they tend to make each other worse, as mentioned. Trauma may well lead you to substances as a coping mechanism to get through the difficulties. 

As your dependency on drugs or alcohol grows you feel like you need the substance to feel “normal”. As your tolerance builds, you consequently need more and more to feel like “yourself” and avoid thinking about the trauma that brought on the addiction to begin with.

That cycle becomes dangerous quickly.

Getting treatment for only your substance use disorder and not addressing the trauma that preceded and caused it, in many ways leaves you untreated. Sure, you may leave rehab sober but the coping mechanisms you learned might not stand a chance when something triggers you to remember that prior traumatic experience.

That’s why working through them together, in a dual-diagnosis treatment program, gives you the best shot at overcoming them both and leading a substance-free life without the pain and torment of trauma.

If trauma (or any other mental disorder) and addiction seem insurmountable for you or a loved one, reach out to us at Principles Recovery Center in South Florida, and we can shine more light on the benefits of dual-diagnosis treatment.

The First Step to Getting Clean: Drug Detox in Florida

First steps to getting clean in Florida

Drug addiction is something that takes hold of the body and mind.

The longer you or a loved one is addicted, the more control is lost and the stronger the dependency grows.

That’s the nature of the beast.

It doesn’t get better until you choose to get better and getting to the point that you can confidently make that choice is a big win in its own right. Once you’ve decided to commit to getting clean though, a new journey begins; the one towards sobriety.

As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

And the first step is detox.

Why Is Drug Detox Usually the First Step to Take When Getting Clean?

As mentioned, a substance use disorder is both mental and physical. In order to treat the mental side of addiction, you first have to break the physical dependency. 

In layman’s terms, detox is the process of the body ridding itself of drugs or alcohol.

Depending on the severity of the addiction and the substance, this can be assisted by medication to help mitigate the withdrawal symptoms.

Of course, detox on its own is not the end of the road. It’s not rehab or a “cure” by itself. It’s merely a step. An absolutely critical and imperative one but still just one step on the road to recovery with the next typically being inpatient or outpatient care.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse puts it this way, “detoxification alone does not address the psychological, social, and behavioral problems associated with addiction and therefore does not typically produce lasting behavioral changes necessary for recovery. Detoxification should thus be followed by a formal assessment and referral to drug addiction treatment”.

Why You Want to Detox From Drugs at a Rehab

It’s tempting to go it alone and try to detox at home – through sheer power of will – but there are a number of reasons why that may not be the best idea.

Dangerous to Do It at Home or Alone

Simply put, it’s unsafe and depending on the substance, withdrawal may actually kill you. Detox from alcohol and benzodiazepine, for example, can be fatal if done without proper care and guidance.

With more severe addiction, it’s particularly important to detox at a rehab because medication-assisted detox is an option to lessen the effects of withdrawal.

Avoid Temptation

Withdrawal symptoms are not pleasant and that’s just about the nicest way to put it. Your body and mind have both grown accustomed to a constant supply of chemicals – a supply which increases steadily as you build a tolerance – cutting it off abruptly throws your entire system into havoc.

If you’re on your own, you could easily succumb to the discomfort and fall back to using it to get relief. 

Supervised, Safe & Supported

Choosing to detox at a rehab means you’re able to overcome the dangers of quitting cold turkey and the cravings that withdrawal brings.


Because at a facility, you’re under the supervision of trained addiction specialists and supported by the staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Should any complications arise there are medical professionals on hand to administer aid and manage the situation safely. 

Everyone is there to help guide you safely through the process and get you to a point where you can take the next step in recovery which is starting to work on the mental side of addiction.

Reach Out to Us Today at Principles Recovery Center for Help With Your Addiction

Ultimately, getting clean requires cleaning out the body and detoxification under the direction and care of experts is the best way to minimize risk and maximize the possibility of success.

Reach out to us at Principles Recovery Center to learn more about our program for alcohol and drug detox in Florida.

How To Get Help With Anxiety and Addiction Recovery

Get Help With Anxiety and Addiction Recovery

Anxiety isn’t necessarily what you think it is.

It’s not the occasional bout of worry or stress, it’s not irrational and it’s not all in your head.

Being worried from time to time and stressed out goes with the territory of living. It’s something we all go through. While being anxious is a reasonable response to many of the situation’s life throws at us, there’s a difference between that and the chronic and persistent anxiety that some people grapple with.

Anxiety Explained: Are Anxiety and Addiction Related?

For starters, anxiety disorders are recognized and diagnosable conditions, of which there are 5 major types:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry and tension with little that triggers it
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – Recurring, unwanted thoughts, aka obsessions, and/or repetitive behaviors, aka compulsions. Performing them only brings temporary relief, skipping them brings on ever-increasing anxiety
  • Panic Disorder – Unexpected and repeated instances of intense fear which comes with physical symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Anxiety that develops after a terrifying event like, assault, disasters, accidents, combat in the military, etc.
  • Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder) – Overpowering anxiety and extreme self-consciousness in normal, day-to-day situations. It can be specific to one type of experience or, when more severe, more broad and occurring when at any time that you’re around others.  

It goes without saying that any of those conditions are going to be inherently difficult to live with. They can become so overwhelming in fact that it can lead to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. An escape from the onslaught of emotion, panic, feelings, fear, etc.

As a person finds that the occasional drink or use of drugs allows them to feel “normal” again, they begin to chase that. Slowly but surely, they begin to build a tolerance and need more drink, and more drugs, to get back to what seems like stable footing. That cycle continues until a person is addicted and they have a full-fledged substance use disorder.

The symptoms of any of the given anxiety disorders creep in when sober, and before you know it, eventually you start to avoid being sober altogether. They play off and exacerbate each other in ways that further entrench both. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) observes that “multiple national population surveys have found that about half of those who experience a mental illness during their lives will also experience a substance use disorder and vice versa”.

Now that’s a net cast fairly wide, but they go on, “data show high rates of comorbid substance use disorders and anxiety disorders—which include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder”.

Ultimately, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 in 4 people have a co-occurring serious mental illness (SMI) and a substance use disorder (SUD).

Getting Help With Addiction Recovery and Anxiety 

Given how one can cement and ingrain the other, anxiety and addiction recovery are best dealt with together. Anxiety disorders and substance abuse disorders are both, at their core, mental illnesses and treating one without tackling the other is essentially only doing part of the job.

To free yourself of the physical and mental pull of drugs or alcohol but not touch the anxiety disorder which was at the core of why you were using to begin with, is leaving the door potentially wide open for relapse.

Fortunately, at Principles Recovery Center in South Florida, we offer a dual-diagnosis program that treats both simultaneously. Working through those underlying issues gives you a markedly better chance at maintaining the sobriety you will have worked so hard and diligently to achieve.

Get in touch with us today for a free consultation to see if our program is right for you.

Self Care For Recovering Addicts

self care for recovering addicts

It’s already easy enough to beat ourselves up, get lost in a chaotic life and fall into a negative feedback loop that has us down and doubting which leads us to things like drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Addiction shakes you to the core, grabs hold of your life and, at its worst, engulfs it completely. The pursuit of drugs and alcohol shifts to become your absolute priority and everything else falls by the wayside, leaving destruction in the wake. Substance abuse wreaks havoc on your mind and body, destroying relationships and leveling aspirations. It’s the pinnacle of self-neglect.

Getting sober is a monumental step in rebuilding those things but you need to add what was missing in your previous life: self-care. Once clean and on the path of recovery, it’s important to internalize that taking care of yourself is an unequivocal necessity to success. Both mentally and physically. At Principles Recovery Center, we hope all of our clients put an emphasis on self care.

What Is Self-Care for Recovering Addicts?

Simply put, self-care is “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health”. For recovering addicts, it means finding and prioritizing healthy ways of taking care of oneself. Like all aspects of recovery, a productive self-care regimen is purely dependent on each person’s personality, interests and what they value.

Importance of Self Care in Recovery

As you’ve probably gathered, self-care is more than a bubble bath every now and then and requires dedication and attention. It’s a concept that’s as multifaceted as your life and as such, it needs to touch every part of your life.

Mental – Getting yourself into a good headspace is perhaps the most difficult part of dealing with substance abuse and where self-care can help the most. It was a long road into addiction and it’s a long road out with many distractions along the way. Your treatment equipped you with the tools to not let those distractions steer you towards substances but there’s a difference between that and actively working towards feeling good in your mind. 

It requires making time to learn your triggers on a deeper level and how to cope with them positively. It’s allowing yourself to relax, not beat yourself up and strive towards balance. It’s getting comfortable being alone and delving into and discovering your interests. Exploring what makes you happy.

Mental self-care is learning to love and accept yourself. 

Physical – Food and exercise have a dramatic effect on how we feel. Don’t take exercise to mean that you have to become a triathlete or champion bodybuilder to care for yourself. Nope, it’s as easy as going for a walk or jog, playing some pick-up basketball, taking a swim, etc. the idea is to get those endorphins flowing to create those good and positive vibes.

It goes without saying that what you put in your body has an effect, drugs and alcohol proved that, but the food you eat does too. A diet full of soda and junk food is going to have you feeling like, well, junk. A healthy diet, conversely, will lift you up. It’ll increase your overall energy and enhance your attitude.  Good food = good mood as they say.

Social – Your relationships also are an important aspect of self-care. Prolonged isolation is devastating to mental health so making sure you’re surrounding yourself with positive people is huge. Joining a 12-step group or even entering sober living are fantastic ways to connect with people who understand what you’re going through.

On the flip side, you will likely still have relationships with people from your past life and it’s vital to set boundaries with them and make it very known that you’re 100% committed to your sobriety.

Take Care of Your Addiction at Principles Recovery Center

This may seem unnatural and out of character to you, to devote this much attention to yourself. It’s understandable but the big takeaway is that it’s not selfish to care for, and about, yourself. Not doing that is part of what may have led you to substance abuse in the first place.

At Principles Recovery Center, we see developing an empowering self-care plan as an integral part of recovery and would love to tell you more about how we go about it, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

Also, bubble baths are fine, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Importance of Mental Health Awareness

It wasn’t too long ago in human history that mental health was poorly understood. Depression was just a matter of needing to make yourself happier, while other debilitating disorders like bipolar and schizophrenia were written off as someone being “crazy” and not worthy of society. We know much better now, but better mental health awareness is still needed. 

The truth is, mental health issues and disorders like addiction often go hand-in-hand. Sadly, there is a lingering negative stigma associated with both addiction and mental illnesses in modern-day society. As a result, the majority of people suffering from mental health issues do not receive the care and treatment they need. For many, this leads to unsafe self medication and trying to cope through drug and alcohol abuse. 

The good news is that spreading awareness and education about mental illnesses can help end the stigma. And by better understanding mental illnesses and their effect on the human body and behavior, we can work to treat them and better the lives of people everywhere. 

Taking Mental Health Seriously 

A mental illness isn’t just feeling sad or anxious — it is a physical illness manifested in the brain that can affect a person’s ability to function and lead a normal, healthy life. We still have a lot to learn about mental illnesses, but modern research has revealed that they are most commonly the result of chemical imbalances in the brain. Other contributing factors are genetics, brain structure, trauma, and even other health conditions. 

When mental illnesses are left untreated, they can lead to unhealthy behavior (like drug abuse and addiction) and also result in poor work or school performance, feelings of suicide and social struggles. Many people with undiagnosed mental disorders also rack up high medical bills from self harm or even physical symptoms that are reminiscent of other illnesses. 

Common Mental Illnesses 

There are more than 200 different kinds of classified mental illnesses. However, there are two classes of mental illnesses that are particularly common and have a close correlation with drug abuse and addiction:

  • Anxiety Disorders Anxiety disorders manifest themselves in many forms, including generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder and intense phobias.
  • Mood Disorders – Depression is one of the most common mood disorders and can have debilitating effects on sufferers when left untreated. Another common mood disorder is bipolar disorder (including bipolar depression), characterized by intense mood swings and challenges in keeping mood regulated.

Now, it’s important to know that just getting diagnosed with a mental illness does not automatically mean you are going to start engaging in substance abuse. Instead, it’s best to avoid using substances and seek professional treatment for your mental illness to prevent an addiction from forming. 

Promoting Good Mental Health

Spreading awareness about mental health and the benefits of treating its disorders is the first line of defense in the battle against mental illness. However, there are many other things you can do to look after your own mental health and decrease the chances of developing mental illness:

  • Get plenty of sleep – Underlying mental illness can be significantly worsened when lack of sleep is involved. 
  • Exercise regularly – Exercise will not only help keep your body healthy; it also releases energizing endorphins. This natural hormone helps stabilize your mood. 
  • Work out your brain – Just as it’s important to keep your muscles limber, it’s important to keep your brain sharp. Research has shown that reading and doing activities that involve critical thinking (like puzzles) help keep cognitive thinking clear and can help prevent mental illnesses from forming.
  • Eat a balanced diet – Practicing good nutrition goes a long way in keeping your mood regulated and cognitive thinking clear. Making sure you are meeting your daily vitamin needs will also help.
  • Get plenty of Vitamin D – Make sure you are spending time outdoors and in the sunshine for a natural source of Vitamin D for a mood booster. Fresh air and brightness have also been shown to help keep your brain’s chemistry regulated. 
  • Avoid alcohol, drugs and smoking – Research has shown that even small amounts of alcohol, drugs and smoking can have a negative effect on mood. 
  • Maintain your social life – Having good relationships with family and friends is crucial in keeping yourself in a good place mentally. Though everyday life is often busy, try to set some time aside each week to spend with the people you care about. 

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment Works for Both Mental Health and Addiction

At Principles Recovery Center in Davie Florida, we understand the close link between mental illness and addiction. This is why we offer dual-diagnosis treatment, which focuses on assessing and treating both mental health and addiction at the same time. By doing so, we can get to the source of the addiction problem and greatly reduce the risk of future relapse. 

Neither mental illnesses nor substance abuse discriminates among demographics or social backgrounds. Our family-focused treatment program offers services to people from backgrounds, and we believe in the importance of spreading awareness among all. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our program! 

How Depression and Substance Abuse Are Linked

How Depression and Substance Abuse Are Linked

Many people diagnosed with clinical depression drink. Many people who drink heavily also develop depression. We call this a bidirectional occurrence.

The two diseases co-occur in many individuals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the neurological disease, clinical depression affects about 10 percent of the American population.

Not all of those who have clinical depression undergo treatment. They may go undiagnosed and untreated. They often self-medicate with alcohol or illegal drugs. In fact, the National Bureau of Economic Research reports that in the US, people diagnosed with a mental illness drink 69 percent of the alcohol and consumer 84 percent of the cocaine.

Depression: Gateway to Addiction

While the two diseases of substance abuse and depression co-occur, untreated depression can lead to developing an addiction. The self-medication process only deepens the problem though. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. It actually triggers the depression symptoms of hopelessness, lethargy, and sadness. While they expect it to numb the pain or provide temporary happiness, it serves to worsen their existing symptoms.

Recognizing Depression

Not everyone with depression curls up in a ball on the couch. It just is not that obvious. Many people with clinical depression walk through life seeming perfectly functional. They may be quite successful. Read the following list of symptoms. If you feel or experience five or more of these symptoms during each day, then you should seek treatment for depression:

  • anxiety,
  • experiencing otherwise unexplainable ache and pains,
  • feelings of guilt or hopelessness,
  • feeling worthless,
  • general irritability,
  • having a hard time concentrating on daily tasks,
  • loss of appetite/weight loss or an increase in appetite/weight gain,
  • loss of energy/lethargy,
  • loss of interest in activities or hobbies you once loved,
  • sleeping too little or too much,
  • suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts,
  • tearfulness.

Recognizing Alcoholism or Other Substance Abuse

Since it goes both ways, you may notice the signs of alcoholism or other substance abuse first. There are four main signs to look for as a sign of a developing substance abuse problem – tolerance, withdrawal, remorse following use and relapse when you attempt to stop using.

Tolerance refers to your body acclimating to the drug, thus developing a need for larger quantities to achieve the same high or numbing affect. When you cannot consume the drug, for example at work, you experience physical withdrawal symptoms such as agitation, cold sweats, nausea, nervousness or tremors, also called DTs or deets. You feel guilt, remorse or sadness after consuming the drug. Though the high makes you very temporarily feel better, once you come down, you feel the remorse. You may try to stop on your own. If it leads to relapse, meaning you go back to using once withdrawal symptoms or cravings kick in, you have developed an addiction.

Seeking Treatment

Rather than turning to alcohol in an attempt to boost mood or escape negative feelings, turn to treatment instead. You can successfully treat depression with therapy and medication. You can also successfully treat substance abuse with rehabilitation and therapy.

While the diseases often co-occur, so does treatment. You can obtain treatment at a center that address both the depression or other underlying neurological or mental disease and the substance abuse problem. These centers treat both the underlying cause and the alcoholism or drug abuse with substance deprivation, counseling, appropriate prescription medication and various one-on-one and group therapy sessions.

You can beat the co-occurring diseases of addiction and depression. A dual diagnosis requires dual treatment. You stand the best chance of getting a handle on both your addiction and your depression by checking into a rehab facility that treats both at the same time.

Substance Abuse & Sex Addiction: Co-Occurring Disorders & Recovery

Addiction comes in many forms, most addictions involve the abuse of a psychoactive substance such as illegal drugs or alcohol. The word “addiction” comes from the Latin phrase, “ad dictum,” which means “to the dictator.” That alone is very instructive. But addiction might best be described as a progressive disorder of choice where the sufferer persists in a given harmful behavior despite both the pernicious consequences and a desire to stop.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Of course, few addictions come as stand-alone behaviors with no compulsive build-up involving other compulsive, destructive behaviors. It is much more common for one compulsive behavior to coincide with, or compliment, another. Alcohol and tobacco abuse often go hand in hand, for example. Likewise, overeating and compulsive TV or Internet use also tend to work in tandem.

In addiction medicine, we treat co-occurring disorders very seriously. Also known as co-morbid disorders- addictive behaviors that come in pairs or clusters- can be extremely destructive, and startlingly dangerous.

Sex Addiction in Tandem with Other Addictions

So it should not be surprising that substance abuse and sex addiction – what might better be referred to as a compulsive intimacy disorder – would also tend to coincide for many people.

Sex addiction might best be described as persistent and recurring compulsion to engage in harmful levels or amounts of sexual activity. This could mean abusing pornography, spending inordinate amounts of time and/or money on erotic materials. It could mean compulsively seeking out more and more sex partners. It could also mean excessive masturbation.

Common signs of sex addiction include, but are not limited to;

  • Sex with multiple partners despite wanting to quit
  • Libido interferes with other responsibilities and commitments
  • Excessive sexual activity, even when the addict does not want to
  • Failure to curb sexual activity
  • Behavior restricted only to those that could lead to sex
  • Canceling obligations to pursue sex
  • Sexual behavior that damages other important relationships
  • Escalating intensity of the behavior to achieve the same effect
  • Feeling like a “failure” during long periods of abstinence

Whether sex addiction comes in the form of pornography and masturbation, or the seeking out of sexual adventures – it is extremely common to pair these behaviors with other drugs. Alcohol, cocaine, and other drugs associated with hyperactive social seeking are common drugs of abuse which pair with the compulsive behavior of the sex addict.

Alcohol, for example, is a powerful dis-inhibitor and anti-anxiety substance. Cocaine, on the other hand, gives the user a powerful (albeit brief) boost of endorphins and energy, and can drive the user to be inordinately enthusiastic about social situations.

Co-occurring addictive behaviors can be mutually triggering, one leading to the other – or one being necessary to obtain the other. Some people may use sex to obtain drugs, while others may use drugs to obtain sex. Whatever the case may be, the destructive downward cycle can be devastating to the user and to the people who care about her or him.

Recovery from Co-Occurring Sex and Substance Abuse Disorders

As with any addictive disorder, recovering from co-morbid sexual and substance abuse, addiction can only happen when the addicted person is ready to admit that he or she has a problem and is willing to do the necessary work to achieve lasting recovery.

Addiction is an impairment of the facility of choice. It is a condition wherein the afflicted person’s ability to make healthy, long term decisions is impaired. It is not a moral failing or a sign of weakness, but a medical condition that requires treatment.

The good news is that evidence-based therapies and techniques exist and have been in use for many years that have been shown to make recovery much more obtainable. All that is needed is for the addiction sufferer to commit to treatment. Sometimes, reaching the bottom is the only way for the addicted person to see that treatment is necessary.

If you or someone you love is suffering from a sexual compulsion and substance abuse co-morbid disorder, programs exist with proven track records of helping those who are ready to change. Lasting recovery may be months or years away, but it can only start by reaching out for help.

Your decision to pick up that phone and contact us might be the first step to achieving a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life – free of the cycle of abuse and addiction. Principles Recovery Center is here to help.

Why a Dual-Diagnosis Program Can Help You Recover

When some take on a substance abuse disorder, there is more to treat than just the physical symptoms. In recent years, those who are experts in the field of addiction recovery have discovered that mental health therapy is just as important as the physical therapies offered during treatment. In this type of treatment, the mental and physical are no longer treated as separate with one taking a priority over the other, but as equal parts needing recovery in order to maintain success and sobriety. Substance abuse treatment includes treating both the physical and the mental health of the patient through co-occurring treatment. Having yourself or a loved one enter a treatment program, there are significant benefits to a dual-diagnosis program that will prompt recovery on a permanent level.

Underlying Sources & Mental Conditions

Many of those who find themselves fighting with substance abuse come to that point as a way to self-medicate for an underlying cause or condition. Co-occurring treatment options allow the physicians and counselors working with the patients in rehab services to determine the underlying cause for the addiction, and if there are any underlying disorders that can affect sobriety outside of the rehab facility. This treatment allows counselors to focus in on what may have initially encouraged the use of the substance and promoted its continued use until it reached a physical addiction. Long-term substance abuse could also have encouraged a mental health disorder that needs treating. This is also considered by the counselors and psychiatrists working with patients suffering from an untreated mental health diagnosis.

For those who have been misdiagnosed in the past or not diagnosed at all, they have the ability to receive access to the appropriate diagnosis and the right medication. Having these underlying conditions properly treated will allow them to continue to be sober and productive post-treatment. Research on mental health has discovered that its treatment is just as essential as physical health. When patients complete treatment, they should be as strong or stronger mentally than physically.

Treating Body, Mind, & Spirit Equally

A dual-diagnosis program that includes co-occurring treatments give patients the ability to not only treat their body, but also their mind, and their spirit. While detoxing the body has always been important and still is, it is not the only essential step of a treatment program any longer. Strengthening patients mentally give them the ability to move forward with physical treatment. Their mental health is as important as their physical health. If these patients are healthy in their body and their mind, their spiritual health will develop on a more positive level, and continue their success in treatment. Include treatments such as yoga, massage therapies, or meditation allow these patients to seek a spiritual balance in their life that centers their health and gives them a foundation for continuing to move forward with a sober lifestyle.

New Option For Relapsed Patients

Some patients who enter a dual-diagnosis program have completed and relapsed from other substance abuse treatment facilities. These treatment programs were more likely focuses on physical treatment more than the mental health portion. Because of this, these patients were released from a treatment program when their mental health was not stable, and they eventually relapsed.

The co-occurring treatment option gives these patients another option. Appropriate attention to the mental health of these patients is considered. With this diagnosis, they are provided the appropriate medication that allows their mental health to stabilize and healthily function. The focus on both the mental as well as the physical treats these patients with a different focus than they have experienced in the past, giving life and hope to someone who may not have had it previously. This attention to their health and medication opens the doors for recovery for these patients and allows them to properly complete substance abuse treatment and take enter sobriety with a new outlook.

Principles Recovery Center Understand The Importance OF A Dual-Diagnosis Program

A facility located in South Florida, Principles Recovery Center understands that treated patients suffering from substance abuse require treatment in both physical and mental health. With over 30 years of experience in substance abuse recovery, we provide treatments that serve to help recovery on a more permanent basis, as our story began with an addicted mother seeking recovery. Recovery is instilled in our foundation from its very beginnings and it is what we strive for today with our patients and their families.

Our facility understands that in order to provide the necessary resources for our patients after treatment then we should treat the mind, body, and soul. We must first treat them with the right diagnosis, medications, and proper treatments that establish solid physical and mental health. If you are looking for a facility that will treat you or your loved one thoroughly, contact us for more information on our treatment programs and set up a consultation today.