Tag Archives: california drug treatment

Ecstasy Addiction

Ecstasy is a man-made psychedelic drug with hallucinogenic properties. Ecstasy’s active ingredient, MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), acts as a psychoactive stimulant, causing hyperawareness of the senses, heightened empathy, emotional openness and intense euphoria.

Fueled by a release of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, ecstasy users experience a rush of energy and happiness, leading to feelings of hyperactivity and emotional connectedness.

However, due to the rapid release of serotonin, ecstasy users experience the depletion of this vital neurotransmitter in the days following an ecstasy trip, leading to depression, anxiety and lethargy. One of the most serious risks of ecstasy addiction is dehydration, leading to intense fevers, overheating and possibly death.

With continual use, ecstasy users can also experience other side effects, such as tooth and gum disease, bruxism (teeth grinding), jaw clenching and high blood pressure, as well as transmission of sexually transmitted diseases from lowered inhibition during intoxication.  Chronic ecstasy use can also lead to severe depression, anxiety, lethargy, memory loss and cognitive disturbances.  At Passages, we treat ecstasy addiction and provide a medically supervised full detox.

Crack Cocaine Addiction

Crack is a smokeable form of cocaine that is manufactured by mixing cocaine with baking soda and water through a heat-intensive process. The resulting “rock” state of cocaine (known as base-cocaine) forms as the water evaporates from the mixture, creating the crackling sound that gives crack its name. As a result, crack cocaine will vaporize at low temperatures, making it easier to inhale for a fast-acting high. However, crack cocaine is by nature impure, generally including less than 40 percent cocaine, depending on the degree to which it is “cut” with additives. 

On a physical level, crack cocaine becomes addictive largely because of the effects it creates in brain chemistry. Crack sharply increases the levels of dopamine in the user’s brain, resulting in intensified feelings of excitement and euphoria. While this creates a sense of disoriented pleasure while the crack high lasts, dopamine levels become depleted after use.

Additionally, continued crack cocaine use can cause the brain to lower dopamine levels over the long run, sensing excess dopamine present. When users attempt to cease crack cocaine use, they experience this cocaine-initiated chemical imbalance, causing depression, withdrawal symptoms and anxiety.  If you or someone you know is addicted to crack cocaine, Passages can help.

Why Primarily Group-Based Treatment is Ineffective at Drug Rehab Centers

The vast majority of drug rehabilitation centers revolve around a group-oriented approach to treatment. Unfortunately, drug and alcohol withdrawal and recovery requires a deep, focused and attentive process that cannot be achieved in a group setting. Only in the safety and confidentiality of committed therapy can true healing from the psychological and emotional roots of substance addiction begin.

Group therapy programs at rehab clinics have become notoriously overpopulated and understaffed, short-changing addicted individuals from receiving the depth of healing they deserve for recovery.  In the long run, the lack of individualized care and targeted therapy applied at many rehabilitation centers may cut costs for facilities, but proves incredibly costly to the addicted individual. These lapses in care lead to chronic relapse, mental breakdowns, and physical complications as drug use endures. While short-term rehabilitation may be achieved, long-term group treatment programs experience roughly the same success rates as placebo therapies in treating addiction.  At Passages, the majority of our treatment program is comprised of one-on-one, customized therapy.

Holistic Treatment for Addiction

Drug addiction is an extremely complex problem that does not adhere to a one size fits all approach, and many treatment centers are realizing this fact and altering their programs.  For many years, the 12-step treatment center was considered the only option when it came to drug rehab.  In more recent years, the holistic model of treatment has emerged and has changed what people look for in an effective drug treatment center.

Essentially, holistic treatment centers use a variety of different modalities such as one-on-one therapy, marriage and family therapy, hypnosis, acupuncture, physical training, and a healthy diet plan.There are many benefits of a non 12-step model versus a 12-step drug rehab center, both in terms of what the center provides and what clients should expect.  12-step centers still use the outdated model that addiction is an incurable disease, and that the addiction itself is your primary problem that you will always have and just need to manage. As a result, these centers offer mostly group therapy and no therapy geared towards individual problems.

At holistic treatment centers, caring professionals realize that every person is dealing with different underlying issues and life circumstances, and that private attention and individually tailored therapy is really the key to getting sober.  Passages Malibu is a holistic, non 12-step treatment centers with years of experience in treating addiction.

Volunteer Work in Drug Treatment

There are several things beyond just group meetings and psychotherapy that are effective at helping with addictions within drug or alcohol treatment programs.  Many treatment centers are incorporating various forms of volunteer work and community services programs into their treatment plans.  These activities allow individuals in treatment to interact with one another and get them involved in the community.

According to a new study, volunteer work and community service may also help support relapse prevention efforts.  Volunteer work and community service helps substance abusers focus on something outside of them and put their energy towards a greater good.  In a recent study, researchers found that 40 percent of alcoholics who provided emotional support to individuals with a similar addiction stayed sober for a longer period of time than those who did not.  Many experts in the addiction field now believe that helping others should be a regular component of relapse prevention programs, and that this strategy may help more recovering alcoholics and drug users learn to remain substance-free.  At Passages Malibu, we allow our clients to do volunteer work as a part of their individualized treatment program.

Caffeine Addiction

Caffeine is a controversial substance in both the medical and professional addiction communities.  Although there are numerous medical studies that show health benefits as a result of caffeine use, caffeine is also considered to be the most commonly used stimulant and psychoactive drug in the world.

According to research, approximately 90% of American adults consume caffeine on a daily basis.   Just like other addictive drugs, caffeine has been shown to affect mood, stamina, the cerebral vascular system, and gastric and colonic activity.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Medical Association classify moderate ingestion of caffeine as safe, however they agree that people can become dependent on the substance to the point of addiction and symptoms of psychological and physical withdrawal.

Caffeine withdrawal can include fatigue, headaches, decreased energy, decreased alertness, drowsiness or sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, depression, irritability, and confusion. There is no disputing the fact that caffeine addiction is not as intense or dangerous as drug or alcohol addictions, however, experts wonder what effects we will see in the future as a result of our nation’s extreme dependence on caffeine.  Studies have also shown that individuals who are addicted to stimulants, particularly cocaine, amphetamines, and cigarettes, consume a much higher amount of caffeine than the average population.

Alternate Pain Management at Drug Rehab Centers

Many individuals addicted to drugs, especially prescription pain killers, began abusing such drugs as a result of an ailment or injury.  Often times, individuals who have been treating chronic pain with opiate drugs develop an extreme physical dependency on their prescriptions, and are extremely reluctant to stop taking them even if the injury or pain is long gone.  In order to reduce this fear of recurring pain once drug use has ceased, many drug rehab centers now include alternative pain management programs.

Detoxing from prescription pain killers will not do much good if the addicted individual is dealing with an intense amount of chronic pain and does not know how to manage it.  At Passages, we help our clients develop an individualized pain management program to deal with their unique circumstances.  Whether it is through our natural supplements, acupuncture, yoga, or seeing a specialist at an outside pain management clinic, at Passages we are very successful at helping our clients heal their pain naturally, without the help of addictive and damaging medications.  We provide a full medical detox, where our staff can manage withdrawal symptoms and keep clients comfortable and safe.

Addiction and Relationships

Addiction can be very damaging to relationships, whether it be friendships, romantic relationships, marriages, or family relationships. Thousands of families in North America alone are struggling with the issue on a daily basis, which can have many serious and detrimental repercussions.  Individuals coping with some other underlying issue or personal pain often see their social drinking or drug usage gradually turn into alcohol abuse or drug dependency and eventually into a full-blown addiction.  This can be very difficult on friends or family members, and especially on children. 

Marriages where one or both individuals are drug addicted have a much higher rate of divorce and infidelity than the general population.  Also, children of addicted individuals have a higher likelihood of becoming addicts themselves or displaying other negative emotional or psychological behaviors.   Often times, even if it is unintentional, an addicted individual ends up neglecting or abusing their friends and family, damaging their health, and often causing financial problems. If you are involved in a dysfunctional relationship with an alcoholic or drug addict, Passages Malibu can help both you and the individual dealing with dependency.

LSD Abuse

LSD is a hallucinogenic drug that has been around for decades.  Although the precise mechanism by which LSD alters perceptions is still unclear, we do know that LSD abuse can have detrimental affects on the brain.

Several lab studies suggests that LSD acts on certain groups of Serotonin receptors and that its effects are most prominent in two regions of the brain.  It first affects the cerebral cortex, which is an area involved in mood, cognition, and perception, and then it affects the locus ceruleus, which receives sensory signals from all areas of the body and can been described as the brain’s detector for important external stimuli. LSD effects or an LSD “trip” typically begins within 30 to 90 minutes of ingestion and may last as long as 12 hours.  When LSD is ingested, it can result in hallucinogenic experiences with both pleasant and unpleasant aspects.

LSD is extremely unpredictable; the results may vary with the amount ingested and the user’s personality, mood, expectations, and surroundings.  A bad LSD experience may include terrifying thoughts and nightmarish feelings of anxiety and despair that include fears of insanity, death, or losing control. A dangerous thing about LSD is that users quickly develop a high tolerance for the drug, and have to keep taking more and more to get the same desired effects.  Long term LSD abuse can cause permanent and irreversible brain damage or psychosis.

Oxycontin Users Turning to Heroin

Oxycontin and heroin are two drugs that have many similar qualities, although it may not seem like it at first.  Drugs and opiates, both are extremely addictive, and both can cause death. Many people still do not attach the same stigma to Oxycontin addiction as they do to heroin addiction heroin; many people see Oxy as less dangerous because although it is a very powerful painkiller a doctor can prescribe.  However, many people do not realize that Oxycontin abuse can lead directly to heroin addiction, and that there has been a startling spike in heroin use across the country.

Often times, individuals who had been using and addicted to Oxycontin switch to heroin several reasons.  Heroin is more accessible and does not require a prescription, and heroin is much less expensive. Although heroin use in on the rise all over the country, most law enforcement statistics state that most heroin is still purchased in big city environments, but that it is definitely spilling into the suburbs. When the addict cannot access heroin or Oxycontin, they will experience numerous withdrawal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, hyperventilation, chills, body aches and extreme restlessness.  If you or someone you know has a problem with either of these drugs, Passages can help.