In What States Can You Force Someone Into Rehab?

In What States Can You Force Someone Into Rehab?

Many families concerned about a loved one suffering from addiction have wondered what states can you force someone into rehab. Laws regarding involuntary commitment for addiction treatment have followed a long and winding road since the first was legislated in 1812.

Currently, most states have involuntary commitment laws for substance use disorders. A few states also have involuntary commitment laws for substance use disorders only and states with involuntary commitment laws for specifically alcoholism only. While some states do not currently have laws of this nature, many are now considering adopting them. Several states are currently in the process of revising their laws in response to the increasing numbers of people dying from alcohol or drug overdose.

About Involuntary Commitment Laws

Many states have adopted laws that allow parties who are closely connected to individuals suffering from addiction to petition for the involuntary commitment of the addicted individual. Generally speaking—and it should be noted that requirements for these laws differ considerably between states—family members may file a petition for their loved one to be placed in rehab if that person has threatened to harm themselves or someone else or if they can no longer provide for their basic needs.

Currently, 37 states have created statutes that allow individuals suffering from addiction to be detained against their will for a short period of time even if they have committed no crime. Nuances of law aside, many families simply want to know in which states can you force someone into rehab in order to save their lives?

In What States Can You Force Someone Into Rehab?

Currently, the states that allow for involuntary commitment for alcoholism or substance use disorder are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Family Is Valuable

If you’ve asked in what states can you force someone into rehab, these are the states that currently have laws on the books. Some states not currently listed, such as New Jersey, Alabama and Maryland, are debating measures to put in place.

Pros and Cons of Involuntary Commitment Laws

Having wondered in what states you can force someone into rehab, you might also be wondering why some states have not created these laws. There is criticism from some quarters that these laws infringe on individuals’ rights, especially if the involuntary commitment extends beyond medical detox.

Some experts believe that involuntary commitment increases the chance for overdose upon release from rehab; many individuals who leave rehab after a short stay may not have the desire to abstain or the necessary relapse-prevention skills to promote long-term recovery.

Even so, when families are faced with the strong possibility that their loved one is in danger, they often have no other option except to petition a healthcare provider or the courts to involuntarily commit their loved one to an addiction treatment center. If you are contemplating this decision concerning a loved one or if you are concerned that your family might be considering this step, research the specific statutes associated with your state.

The Late Stages of Addiction: Addiction and Dependence

The Late Stages of Addiction: Addiction and Dependence

This is part three of the four-part series The Stages of Addiction. Read part two, The Middle Stages of Addiction: Substance Abuse


The late stages of addiction begin when the addiction and dependence develop. Addiction and dependence are not the same thing. Addiction is characterized by compulsive drug or alcohol abuse despite the problems the abuse causes. Dependence is characterized by withdrawal symptoms that set in when you stop using a substance. Both are caused by brain changes resulting from chronic, heavy drug or alcohol abuse in the later stages of addiction.


In the later stages of addiction, drugs and alcohol change the activity of brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Different drugs act differently on the brain, but one thing they all have in common is that they produce a large dopamine rush.

Dopamine is a “feel-good” brain chemical that’s released when we engage in pleasurable activities like eating delicious food or having sex. It’s designed to keep us motivated to do these things, because in nature, these are the things that keep us alive and procreating.

The brain has natural thresholds for how much dopamine it releases during these types of activities. But when we use drugs, the dopamine system is hijacked, and far more dopamine than is natural is released in the brain, leading to feelings of intense euphoria and well-being.

In the late stages of addiction, the learning center of the brain begins to associate drug or alcohol use with this intense pleasure. Eventually, the area of the brain that governs the planning and execution of tasks becomes involved. The ultimate result is intense cravings and drug-seeking behaviors that lead to compulsive use despite the fact that using is causing problems in your life.

These brain changes in the late stages of addiction lead to dysfunctional patterns of thinking and behaving, which further perpetuate the addiction.

Signs and symptoms of addiction include:

  • Using more than you intended for longer periods than you intended
  • Spending a lot of time seeking, using and recovering from drugs or alcohol
  • Repeatedly neglecting duties at home, work or school
  • Experiencing relationship problems with friends, family, classmates or co-workers due to your substance use, but using anyway
  • Continuing to use drugs or alcohol despite experiencing physical or mental health problems related to your substance use
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Experiencing intense cravings for drugs or alcohol
  • Using drugs or alcohol in a way that puts you in hazardous situations
  • Wanting to cut down or quit but finding that you’re unable to


Once an addiction develops, professional help is almost always needed to end it for the long-term.


Dependence is also the result of brain changes caused by heavy substance abuse in the late stages of addiction. As heavy drug and alcohol use changes neurotransmitter activity, the brain attempts to compensate.

For example, alcohol increases the activity of the relaxation neurotransmitter GABA while decreasing the excitability neurotransmitter glutamate. With heavy abuse, the brain begins to reduce the activity of GABA and increase the activity of glutamate in an attempt to normalize brain function. This results in tolerance, which occurs in the late stages of addiction and is the main indication that dependence is developing.

Tolerance means that you need increasingly larger doses of drugs or alcohol to get the desired effects. But as you increase the dose, the brain continues to compensate, and your tolerance continues to increase, leading again to larger doses. At some point, brain function may shift so that it now operates more comfortably when drugs or alcohol are present. Then, when you stop using, normal brain function rebounds, and this leads to physical withdrawal symptoms.


Read the final entry of this series, Addiction Is Progressive—But Treatable, or download the entire series as a fully illustrated eBook, The Stages of Addiction.

The Early Stages of Addiction: Initiation and Experimentation

The Early Stages of Addiction: Initiation and Experimentation

The Stages of Addiction

Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease of the brain, and it’s largely misunderstood. To better understand how addiction develops, it’s important to understand the stages of addiction, which can begin in childhood, adolescence or adulthood. Interventions during the early, middle or late stages of addiction can help individuals prevent the onset of addiction or recover fully once an addiction has developed.

The Early Stages of Addiction: Initiation and Experimentation

The stages of addiction start when an individual first begins using drugs or alcohol. Whether the early stages of use will lead to an addiction depends on a number of factors. Initiation and experimentation are the earliest stages of addiction.


Initiation is the initial introduction to drugs or alcohol. This stage typically occurs during the teenage years. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 7.3 percent of eighth graders, 19.9 percent of tenth graders and 33.2 percent of twelfth graders used alcohol in the past month. Likewise, 5.4 percent of eighth graders, 14 percent of tenth graders and 22.5 percent of twelfth graders used marijuana in the past 30 days.

Children naturally assert their independence as they mature. They seek new challenges and take new risks, and these risks often include trying alcohol, marijuana or other drugs. Additionally, peer pressure, curiosity and the desire to feel independent can lead to the initiation stage of addiction.

Research shows that the earlier the initiation, the greater the risk of developing a substance use disorder down the road and the faster the stages of addiction will likely develop.


The experimentation stage of addiction is characterized by using substances more regularly in particular situations, such as during parties, at the bar on the weekends or after a tough day on the job.

During the experimentation stages of addiction, substance use is largely a social endeavor associated with friends, relaxation and fun times. There are no cravings, and using is a conscious choice, usually guided by what’s happening socially.

Risk Factors for Addiction

Addiction almost always has underlying causes. Some people are at a higher risk of becoming addicted than others starting from childhood. Around half of the risk of addiction is genetic, and the other half is environmental. Research shows that events and experiences in infancy and childhood have an important impact on later stages of addiction. Additionally, mental illness and chronic stress can be powerful motivators for substance abuse.

The stages of addiction often begin with childhood trauma, when children develop unhealthy coping skills or a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. While trauma at any age can lead to substance abuse as a way to cope, childhood trauma—physical and sexual abuse, neglect and witnessing violence—dramatically increases the risk of addiction later on, according to a study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety. The National Survey of Adolescents and other surveys show that more than 70 percent of adolescents in treatment for a substance use disorder had a history of trauma.

Mental illness is also an important risk factor for substance abuse and addiction. People with mental illnesses like anxiety or mood disorders often use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate unpleasant symptoms. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people who are diagnosed with a mental illness are around twice as likely as the general population to also have a substance use disorder. Similarly, people who are diagnosed with a substance use disorder are around twice as likely as the general population to also have a mood or anxiety disorder.

Chronic stress is another common underlying cause of addiction. This is the kind of stress that comes from living with poverty, abuse or family dysfunction. People who are under constant stress are likely to use drugs and alcohol to relax and numb unpleasant emotions.


Read part two of this four part series, The Middle Stages of Addiction: Substance Abuse, or download the entire series as a fully illustrated eBook, The Stages of Addiction.

What Is a Rehab Loan?

What Is a Rehab Loan?

For many people who suffer from a substance addiction, getting help isn’t a matter of willingness; it’s a matter of money. Many health insurance providers only pay partial costs for addiction treatment, depending on whether the facility is in network or out of network. Many individuals struggling with addiction may not have health insurance or may not have the required funds needed to pay for their much-needed treatment.

This has been an ongoing problem that treatment centers and healthcare facilities all over the country have been keen to solve. One way that individuals are paying for addiction treatment is with a rehab loan. While no one enjoys taking on extra debt, this type of loan is an investment in health, an investment in a future. If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, a rehab loan could be your solution to paying for treatment.

What Is a Rehab Loan?

A rehab loan is essentially a personal loan that you can use to pay for your stay in rehab. Loans allow people to finance treatment that they might otherwise be unable to afford.

Some people prefer the funds of this loan to be paid straight to the addiction treatment center. Some individuals might take out a home equity loan to pay for treatment. Some treatment facilities offer rehab loans and financing options for clients or can help individuals locate lenders who specialize in rehab loans.

Will a Bank Extend Me a Loan If They Know It’s for Rehab?

A person’s health is a private affair. It’s not surprising that a person would be loath to share information regarding a health concern with a banker or loan officer. So, individuals applying for their rehab loan are left with this perplexing situation: Do I tell them that I’m using the money for addiction treatment or do I make up some other reason for needing the money?

Fortunately, there are lenders today that will finance addiction treatment in the form of a rehab loan. Lending programs designed for people suffering from addiction will take financial history into consideration. If you qualify for a rehab loan then you may also qualify for low interest rates, depending on your credit score.

You Shouldn't Be Afraid To Finance Your Treatment

If you apply with a traditional bank, you may be asked to supply a reason for your request. However, some banks don’t factor that into consideration. Instead, many banks are primarily interested in your current income and expenses, employment history, credit score and repayment history that may be associated with any previous loans. If they extend you a loan, they may not be concerned what you intend to use it for.

Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Finance Your Treatment

Taking out a loan for addiction treatment is an investment in your health and your future. People take out loans for all sorts of reasons—to buy a new car, build a garage, pay for school or take a trip. Your health is the worthiest reason to request a loan. Financing rehab also means you don’t have to fund it with high-interest credit cards or by tapping family or friends for financial assistance.

Recovery In Tune can help clients find resources to secure financing. If you do choose to finance your treatment, you’ll be funding a treatment that has the power to save your life. That’s money well spent.

Addiction Is Progressive—But Treatable

Addiction Is Progressive—But Treatable

This is the final part of the four-part series, The Stages of Addiction. Read part three, The Late Stages of Addiction: Addiction and Dependence


Addiction is widely considered to be a chronic disease of the brain. While choice is initially a factor in the early and middle addiction stages, once the addiction sets in, it’s marked by physical and chemical brain changes that lead to compulsive use. At this point, choice is no longer a factor in the substance abuse. While addiction can be sent into remission during recovery, using again after a period of abstinence can quickly lead back to the stages of addiction marked again by altered brain function and compulsive use despite negative consequences.

Addiction is progressive. It will continue to grow worse with time, as brain changes continue to affect thought and behavior patterns and compulsive use affects all areas of an addicted individual’s life. During the late stages of addiction, individuals are at an increased risk of serious medical problems, including overdose and death.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse stresses that good intentions and willpower are rarely enough to end the stages of addiction to drugs or alcohol for the long-term. Professional help is almost always needed.

Professional Detox: The First Step of Rehab

For those who are dependent on drugs or alcohol, medical detox will be the first phase of treatment. Detox is the process of allowing all traces of drugs or alcohol to leave the body so that brain function can begin to return to normal.

Professional detox is supervised by medical and mental health professionals who administer medication as needed to help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms associated with the late addiction stages and prevent or treat dangerous symptoms like seizures or spikes in blood pressure and heart rate.

The detox process may take a few days or a few weeks, depending on factors like the drug in question, how much is in the body at the time of detox, the length and severity of the dependence and an individual’s biology and general state of health.

Addiction Treatment: A Holistic Approach Is Best

Addiction is far more complex than dependence and requires intensive therapy to end for the long-term. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, during any of the addiction stages, a holistic approach to treatment offers the best outcomes.

This approach addresses issues of body, mind and spirit for whole-person healing. It involves a variety of both traditional “talk” therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, and complementary therapies, such as art or nature therapy.

Through therapy, individuals in treatment:

  • Identify and learn to change unhealthy thought and behavior patterns
  • Address any co-occurring medical or mental illnesses
  • Develop coping skills for handling stress, cravings and other triggers
  • Address the underlying issues behind the addiction
  • Learn about addiction stages and the process of recovery
  • Repair relationships damaged by the addiction
  • Restore function to the family system
  • Address a variety of needs, such as vocational, educational, financial or legal needs
  • Learn to relax and have fun without drugs or alcohol
  • Find purpose and meaning in a life of abstinence


In general, inpatient treatment offers the best outcomes and involves living at a residential rehab facility while in treatment. But outpatient treatment can work for people who have intrinsic motivation to recover, live in a safe and stable household and have a high level of support at home and in the community. Either way, the National Institute on Drug Abuse stresses that treatment for all stages of addiction should last for an adequate period of time. Anything less than 90 days is of limited effectiveness, according to research.

Rehab works for most people who engage with their treatment plan, stay in treatment for its duration and engage with the aftercare plan that’s implemented once treatment is complete. If you or someone you love is experiencing any of the stages of addiction, treatment can help you end substance abuse for good while restoring your life on many fronts. Treatment transforms lives, and it can transform yours, too.


Download this entire series as a fully illustrated eBook, The Stages of Addiction

The Middle Stages of Addiction: Substance Abuse

The Middle Stages of Addiction: Substance Abuse

This is part two of the four-part series, The Stages of Addiction. Read part one, The Early Stages of Addiction: Initiation and Experimentation


The middle stages of addiction are marked by problematic use of drugs or alcohol, which is known as substance abuse. Substance abuse isn’t the same thing as addiction, but it can lead to addiction.

During the middle stages of addiction, problem-free social use transitions to abuse. Substance abuse is defined as using drugs or alcohol in a way that causes problems in your life. These include:

  • Relationship problems. Substance abuse often leads to interpersonal problems with friends, family or co-workers. Deteriorating relationships due to substance use may occur when others have to take over the substance abuser’s responsibilities; when drinking or drug use leads to arguments or even physical or emotional abuse; or when others see the abuse as problematic but the substance abuser does not. Interpersonal problems resulting from substance use are an important indicator that use has transitioned to the middle stages of addiction.
  • Financial problems. Financial problems can result from substance use in the form of lost time at work or job loss; the expense of buying drugs or alcohol; or costly legal issues resulting from drug or alcohol use.
  • Health problems. Both physical and mental health problems often result from substance abuse. Heavy use can lead to mental illnesses like depression or anxiety. Physical health problems caused by substance abuse often begin in the middle stages of addiction. These include high blood pressure, abnormal heart function, digestive problems and infections.
  • Legal problems. A variety of legal issues may stem from substance abuse in the middle stages of addiction, including charges of driving under the influence, public intoxication, drug possession and domestic abuse.
  • High-risk situations. If your substance use puts you in high-risk situations, it’s considered substance abuse. High-risk situations include things like walking alone in a dangerous area, having unprotected sex and engaging in illegal activities or activities that may lead to personal harm or harm to others.

Types of Substance Abuse

There are several different types of substance abuse associated with the stages of addiction.

Alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse is the most common type of substance abuse in the U.S. The most common form of alcohol abuse is binge drinking, which occurs in the middle stages of addiction and is defined as consuming enough alcohol in the space of two hours to bring your blood alcohol level up to .08 percent. For women, this is typically four drinks, and for men, it’s typically five.

Prescription drug abuse. Prescription drug abuse is the use of prescription drugs in a way other than exactly as prescribed by a physician. This includes using other people’s prescription medications, taking larger doses than prescribed and using prescription medications to get high.

The most commonly abused prescription medications are:

  • Opioid painkillers, including OxyContin, hydrocodone and Fentanyl
  • Central nervous system stimulants, including Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta
  • Central nervous system sedatives, including benzodiazepine drugs like Klonopin, Valium and Xanax

Legal drug abuse. Legal drug abuse is the act of using legal drugs, such as over-the-counter medications, in a way other than as directed. It also includes using inhalants. In states where marijuana is legal, using this drug in a way that causes problems in your life is considered abuse.

Illegal drug abuse. Any use of illegal drugs is considered drug abuse. Illegal drugs include heroin, cocaine, meth, ecstasy and—in most states—marijuana.


Read part three of this four-part series, The Late Stages of Addiction: Addiction and Dependence, or download the entire series as a fully illustrated eBook, The Stages of Addiction

What to Look for in South Florida Drug Rehab

What to Look for in South Florida Drug Rehab

Not all South Florida drug rehab programs are created equal.

In recent years, rogue rehab facilities have cropped up. These unethical treatment centers are accused by Florida officials of deceptive marketing practices, insurance fraud and offering illegal benefits to desperate individuals looking for help. The treatment offered in these rehab centers is rarely of high quality, leading to low retention in treatment and high relapse rates. In some cases, drug use and overdose deaths occur on the premises.

Since Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg created a task force two years ago to address the growing problem of fraudulent rehabs in his county, 44 arrests have been made, and numerous South Florida drug rehab facilities have been shuttered by officials.

South Florida has seen numerous young people flocking to rehab here. According to Aronberg, 75 percent of all individuals who enter private rehab here are from out of state. Many arrive at the facility sight unseen, and some end up stranded and on the verge of relapse when their insurance runs out.

Knowing how to choose a high-quality treatment program is essential when considering a South Florida drug rehab center.

What to Look for in South Florida Drug Rehab

Knowing what to look for in South Florida drug rehab can help prevent you from becoming the victim of a rogue treatment center. Here are five things to look for when choosing a South Florida drug rehab program.


Accreditation is an indication that a treatment facility has been rigorously and extensively evaluated by an independent, third-party accrediting body. An accredited facility meets high standards for care, programming, operations and staff members.

CARF International and The Joint Commission are the largest accrediting organizations. Other accreditations include the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program, or HFAP; the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium, or IC&RC; and the Council on Accreditation, or COA.

Licensed, Experienced Staff

A high-quality South Florida drug rehab center will hire only licensed, experienced staff members who are capable, compassionate and well-trained in their field. Staff members at a reputable facility will likely hold professional certifications in a variety of therapies.

Research-Based Treatment Therapies

Research-based therapies are those that have been shown through studies to be effective for treating addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the cornerstone of most addiction treatment programs due to a large body of research showing its effectiveness. A high-quality South Florida drug rehab program will avoid controversial or experimental therapies and instead offer those that have a proven track record for effectiveness.

A Holistic Approach to Treatment

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stresses that there is no single pathway to recovery that works for every individual. A high-quality rehab program will offer a variety of research-based traditional and complementary therapies that address issues of body, mind and spirit for whole-person healing. This type of program offers the best possible outcomes of treatment.

Individualized Treatment Plans

Individualized treatment plans are essential for successful recovery. Effective South Florida drug rehab facilities will develop a personalized treatment plan for each individual, based on their unique needs and issues. The treatment plan will be continually evaluated and adjusted to reflect changing and emerging needs.

Treatment Works

Research shows that most people who engage with their treatment plan successfully recover from an addiction. The most important consideration when seeking help for an addiction is to choose a high-quality treatment program with a proven track record. Anything less will be of limited effectiveness.

Why Treatment Isn’t Enough: The Importance of Fulfillment in Recovery

Why Treatment Isn’t Enough: The Importance of Fulfillment in Recovery

One of the best ways to prevent relapse is to cultivate a sense of fulfillment in recovery. Fulfillment is a sense of happiness and satisfaction that comes from working to find purpose and meaning in a life without drugs or alcohol.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fulfillment has a number of real benefits, including:1

  • Higher productivity
  • Social connectedness
  • Better immunity against disease
  • Healthier relationships
  • Longevity

Finding fulfillment in recovery requires practice and mindfulness. It requires using your inherent strengths and living according to your values.

Why Fulfillment in Recovery Is Central to Success

Addiction robs you of your sense of well-being. It causes feelings of frustration, alienation and hopelessness. It brings disorder and chaos to your life. These contribute to continued drug abuse and an ongoing cycle of personal dysfunction.

Treatment helps you end your drug abuse by addressing a variety of underlying issues. Therapy also helps you develop a toolkit of practical skills and strategies for coping with cravings, stress and other relapse triggers.

But these skills and strategies aren’t typically enough to sustain long-term recovery if you’re unhappy with your life, or if you feel like you don’t belong. If your life feels futile, it can be difficult to abstain from using in an attempt to feel better about yourself and about your life.

When you have a sense of fulfillment in recovery, however, the likelihood of turning back to drugs or alcohol is far lower. That’s because when you have a sense of purpose and fulfillment in your life, you no longer need drugs or alcohol to fill a void. You begin to feel authentically happy, which is an amazing feeling. Authentic happiness, according to the University of Pennsylvania, is made up of positive emotions, engagement and meaning in life.2

High-quality treatment programs will use a variety of therapies to help you find purpose, meaning and fulfillment in a life of recovery.

How to Find Fulfillment in Recovery

Fulfillment doesn’t happen overnight, and in fact, it’s a continual process of becoming. Martin Seligman is a pioneer of positive psychology, which uses the scientific method to study what makes people authentically happy. Seligman stresses that happiness and fulfillment are cultivated through a variety of avenues:

Finding and using your signature strengths. We all have strengths, and when we use them, they become stronger and contribute to a sense of purpose and happiness. When you’re using your strengths, you enter a state of “flow,” where time ceases to exist and you’re thoroughly and happily engaged in a task.

Finding meaning. Finding meaning involves using your strengths for a greater good. Working in the service of something bigger than yourself helps bring meaning and fulfillment to your life.

Pursuing positive emotions. We often assume that happiness causes positive emotions, but it’s actually positive emotions that cause happiness. Studies show that positive emotions are associated with better health, larger social networks, and a longer life. Positive emotions can be cultivated by learning to appreciate and savor basic pleasures. Being mindful in the present moment and expressing gratitude for what you have can help cultivate positive emotions.

Dealing with the past. Unhappiness with the past can put a dent in your overall level of happiness and fulfillment. Gratitude and forgiveness—of yourself and others—is central to letting go of the negative emotions associated with the past and building optimism and hope for the future.

Taking good care of yourself also helps to foster fulfillment in recovery by promoting feelings of health, strength and well-being. Exercising every day, eating healthy food, getting plenty of sleep and staying mindful of your thoughts and emotions can help bring a higher level of self-awareness and mental clarity.

Striving for fulfillment can help you improve your quality of life by leaps and bounds, putting an end to the need for alcohol or drugs and leading to long-term, successful recovery.



Are Depression and Addiction Connected?

Are Depression and Addiction Connected?

Trying to get a handle on an addiction can feel like the battle of a lifetime—because it is. This struggle can be even more challenging when a mental health disorder exists as well. When depression and addiction are both present, the two conditions have a significant effect on each other. The presence of one condition can actually make the other condition worse, and it’s often difficult to determine which one came first.

If you or a loved one is experiencing these co-occurring disorders, it’s important to choose a high-quality treatment center that addresses both the depression and addiction at the same time. In this article, we’ll explore the link between depression and addiction and discuss the best treatment options.

Understanding Depression and Addiction

Everyone has experienced sadness at some point or even periods of intense grief, but clinical depression is far more than just a case of “the blues.” For people who are diagnosed with depression, their feelings of sadness don’t go away and can prevent them from living a full and productive life.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, clinical depression persists more than two weeks and can impede the ability to hold down a job, maintain relationships and fulfill basic obligations.1 Depression often presents as feelings of despair and a lack of energy, but some people with the condition also experience feelings of irritability and anger.

A Vicious Cycle

There is a clear link between mental health disorders, such as depression, and addiction. These disorders are known to increase the risk of addiction, because using drugs or alcohol is a way to numb painful feelings and block out unpleasant thoughts.

Unfortunately, substance abuse won’t make depression or any other mental health disorder go away. In reality, drug or alcohol abuse is likely to make the condition worse. Over time, a person who continues to engage in substance abuse has a high risk of developing an addiction. Research from the National Alliance of Mental Illness indicates that at least 7.9 million adults in the United States suffer from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder at the same time.2 That figure represents about a third of the total number of American adults struggling with addiction.

Getting Help

If you’re struggling with depression and addiction, integrated treatment is essential for a successful recovery. Treating one condition at a time is likely to end in relapse, because either the addictive behavior or the depression symptoms are likely to return once you finish treatment for the other condition.

An integrated treatment program will include the counseling, relapse-prevention training and support needed to address both depression and addiction. For some people, antidepressant medication can also play a key role in treating these two conditions, alleviating depression symptoms so you can focus all your energy on recovery.

The connection between depression and addiction is real, but effective help is available for both conditions. An integrated treatment program can help you overcome both disorders simultaneously and turn your life around.



What Do Clients and Therapists Talk About During Individual Therapy?

What Do Clients and Therapists Talk About During Individual Therapy?

Addiction is a highly complex disease that almost always requires professional treatment to overcome.1 During addiction treatment, a variety of therapies help individuals dig into underlying issues connected to the addiction and develop essential coping skills for long-term recovery.

These therapies include group and individual therapies. Individual therapy takes place between a single client and a licensed therapist. This article looks at what clients and therapists might talk about during therapy.

Addressing the Underlying Causes of Addiction

Addiction almost always has underlying causes, and getting to the bottom of all contributing facts is central to successful recovery. The most common underlying issues behind addiction include:

  • Chronic stress, such as the kind that comes from living with poverty, abuse, work stress or family dysfunction
  • A history of trauma, such as sexual abuse or being the victim of or witness to violence
  • Mental illness, such as anxiety and depression

It’s very common for people to use drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with stress, trauma and mental illness. Treating an addiction requires addressing these and other issues unique to the individual. During individual therapy, a therapist will help you work through these issues.

The therapist will help you express difficult emotions and process traumatic experiences. You’ll learn how these experiences have shaped your current thought and behavior patterns, and you’ll learn how to restore healthier ways of thinking and behaving. You’ll develop a toolkit of coping skills and strategies to help you reduce your stress, and you’ll learn to manage symptoms of mental illness. If you’ve experienced trauma, therapy will help you reduce fear, anger and intrusive thoughts and effectively cope with other unique problems and issues.

Recognizing and Changing Stinking Thinking

Addiction changes the physical structures and chemical functions of your brain, and this affects your thoughts and behaviors. Addiction leads to a number of dysfunctional ways of thinking, which psychologists dub “stinking thinking.” Some common patterns of stinking thinking include:

  • Black-and-white thinking. Here, there’s no room for shades of gray. Any situation that falls short of perfect is a total failure. I ate this chocolate chip cookie, and now I’ve completely blown my diet.
  • Overgeneralizing. Using words like “always,” “never,” “everyone” and “nobody” shows that you see a single negative event as a never-ending cycle of defeat. I always mess things up.
  • Fortune-telling. You predict that things are going to turn out badly. I’m going to bomb this interview.
  • Mental filter. You dwell exclusively on one negative detail and ignore numerous positive ones, creating a distorted view of reality.

Your therapist will help you recognize these and other unhealthy thought patterns and learn to think in healthier ways.

Exploring Your Triggers

For successful recovery, it’s crucial to know the people, places, thoughts, emotions and situations that trigger cravings to use. During individual therapy, your therapist will help you identify your triggers and high-risk situations and develop skills and strategies to avoid or cope with them. You’ll also learn how to reduce the intensity of cravings and get through them successfully when they do occur.

How to Get the Most Out of Individual Therapy

Most people who engage with their treatment plan during rehab enjoy successful long-term recovery, according to the University of Pennsylvania Health System.2 The best way to ensure you get the most out of therapy is to fully engage with it. Be open-minded, and be as honest as you can with your therapist—and yourself.

Through individual therapy, you’ll learn a great deal about yourself, and a lot of things in your life will begin to make sense. You’ll come away with a higher level of self-awareness and greater clarity that will help you in your journey to long-term recovery.