What is the Success Rate for Addiction Treatment?

What is the success rate for addiction treatment?

What is the Success Rate for Addiction Treatment and How Can We Measure it??


A common question among people looking into treatment is ‘what is the success rate for addiction treatment?’   This should not surprise anyone. It’s only natural that someone who is desperate to escape the suffering that a life in addiction can bring would want to know there is cause for hope. The friends or family of a person with a substance use disorder may ask what is the success rate for addiction treatment, too. They know they cannot sit idly by while they watch the person, they care about destroy themselves. We want to do something to help, of course. But is addiction treatment the answer? And if it is, how do you know it will work? These are weighty questions that require careful thought.


Difficult Questions and Complex Answers


There isn’t a simple answer here. The biggest reason why is there are many variables. For instance, think about all of the factors that can affect a person’s chances at getting sober and staying sober. Secondly, how do you measure success? If you are to determine a “success rate” you must have a clear definition of success. Is it being sober with zero relapses? For how long? A year after addiction treatment? Two years? Ten years?


What if a person who was a chronic relapse case who overdosed on heroin several times a year goes to treatment? Suppose that person graduates treatment and over the course of 5 years they relapse twice, smoking marijuana at a party once and having some drinks on a holiday another time. But they never touch heroin and they never overdose? Is that person a failure or a success? Did addiction treatment fail? The person slipped twice in 5 years after all. On the other hand, for the first time in their adult life they put together 5 years without touching heroin or overdosing even once. Now you can begin to see why “success” can be so difficult to define in this context.


What is the Success Rate for Addiction Treatment? What is Success?


You want to know what is the success rate for addiction treatment. But, no one can answer that question accurately without knowing exactly what your definition of success is. If anyone gives you a number, they must qualify it. For example. You ask a treatment program what is the success rate for addiction treatment and the person on the phone says “Our success rate is 73%”. That information by itself doesn’t mean anything without context. Your response should be “OK, how do you define success?”. At that point, ideally the treatment representative would tell you. It may be something like, “73% of our patients are still sober 6 months after being discharged”. Even in that case though, how is this information gathered? In most cases it’s based upon calls made by the treatment center’s alumni department. But what about people who they can’t reach? What about people who don’t answer honestly? Again, we have a lot of variables we can’t possibly hope to control for. Have you considered that your definition of success is the only one that really matters?


Things to Consider


Let’s table the question: what is the success rate for addiction treatment for a moment. Instead, let’s look at what your goals for yourself or your loved one are. For instance, consider what would feel like a success to you. Ask yourself why you want to go to treatment in the first place. Think about what may happen if you don’t go to treatment.


Ponder these questions for a moment instead:


  • What can you do to improve the chances of success for my own recovery and can you improve your own odds?
  • How would you define successful recovery for yourself? What does success look like to you?
  • Think about what failure looks like. Which areas do you need the most help in? What are your biggest triggers to use or drink?
  • Consider what you are willing to do to succeed in your recovery. Do you have any reservations holding you back?



‘What is the Success Rate for Addiction Treatment’ is the Wrong Question


What we should be asking ourselves is what our definition of success in recovery is. How does that look? Can I improve my own odds of success in recovery? Which areas do I need the most help in? Do I know my triggers and how can I develop effective defenses against them while my recovery grows stronger? What am I really willing to do for my recovery? Notice something all of these questions have in common? They’re all about you.


Asking about success rates is about other people. You aren’t here to watch other people recover. This is about your recovery and the truth is you have much more control over your chances for success in this mission than you can even imagine. All of the questions above are to get you thinking in the right direction. Recovery is a deeply personal thing. It’s not about statistics and odds. If you are here and trying to get help for yourself, you’ve already beaten the odds. So, stop focusing on stats and percentages and start thinking about what you are ready to do for your own recovery. Do that and you will be in the right mindset for success.


If you or someone you love is living with a substance use disorder, Recovery in Tune can help. Give us a call at 1 (844) 7-IN-TUNE or reach out to us via our contact page here.

The Long Term Effects of Heroin Use

Shows one of the long-term effects of heroin use

The long term effects of heroin use occur at the physical, mental, and psycho-social levels. In this post, we’ll examine these long-term effects and present a counterargument against some common misconceptions.

The Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use: An Honest Account

Researchers and qualified medical personnel understand the long-term effects of heroin use very well. A quick internet search will turn up dozens of peer-reviewed studies on the subject. And while there are some areas of disagreement, one thing is undeniably clear. In short, the damage that long-term heroin use can do extends far beyond the mind-boggling number of overdose deaths we typically associate with the opioid epidemic.

Unfortunately, the availability of this information has done little to dislodge the strange combination of myths and ignorance that inform the average user’s view on heroin’s long-term effects. This post is designed to help heroin users and their families understand that there’s more to worry about than the dramatic overdose event.

Before we begin, we’d like to be clear about our perspective. While our only goals are clarity and evidence-based conclusions, we approach the subject of heroin use as advocates of the abstinence model of recovery. We openly admit that there are other legitimate ways to approach heron use. This includes the brilliant work of harm reduction advocates all over the world, as well as the occasional scholar who has questioned the abstinence model through insightful sociological inquiry.

The work of these fine people is wise, beneficent, and necessary. This is especially true in the informing of public policy and acknowledging the importance of the group. Our motive here is much simpler. We hope to help a single addict stop suffering.

Physical Effects

We’ll begin with a look at the long-terms effects of heroin on the user’s body. Obviously, even a few uses can lead to the following difficulties:

  • Rapid increase of tolerance
  • Physical dependence
  • Skin infections
  • Withdrawal symptoms

Now, these things can start early in your heroin career. We call it a career because heroin use is a full-time job, but that’s another story. In any case, these rather severe early effects give way to much graver consequences later on.

In all fairness, we need to add the following disclaimer. Most of the health consequences we’ll be discussing apply to the chronic, addicted user. We attach no moral evaluation to this habit. It’s simply true that heroin does severe damage to the body with chronic use. They likely do not apply to those few people (at one time called ‘joy bangers’) who can get away with an occasional fling with heroin. But you wouldn’t be reading this article if your relationship with dope was a mere fling, so that’s kind of beside the point.

Does the Method of Ingestion Matter?

Some of the physical consequences of continued use have to do with the way the drug is ingested. Like most drugs, heroin can be ingested in several different ways. These include snorting, smoking, and injecting it. And while the form of ingestion makes little difference in terms of dependence, it does influence the form that the negative health outcomes of heroin users take.

Here are a few examples:

  • Snorting heroin tends to damage nasal tissue and the mucus membranes that help fight off infection.
  • This leads to breathing difficulties and an increased risk of a variety of respiratory maladies.
  • Even snorting heroin a few times can cause nose bleeds and start to damage the sense of smell.
  • Swallowing difficulties, often leading to malnutrition.
  • Snorting heroin can also tear or carve out holes in the septum.
  • Smoking heroin can lead to lung problems and will eventually compromise the functioning of the liver.
  • Injecting heroin can cause anything from skin infections, painful abscesses, and numerous severe pulmonary difficulties.
  • The long-term effects of IV heroin use can also lead to scarred or collapsed veins, as well as dangerous bacterial heart infections.

So yes, in one sense, the method of ingestion does matter. But despite all this, it’s important to know that heroin is highly addictive drug no matter how it enters the body. Additionally, any form of chronic heroin use can lead to long bouts of insomnia, constipation, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. Chronic users of all genders often experience sexual dysfunction as well.

Of course, there is the constant risk of overdose death from any opioid drug. It doesn’t matter how long someone’s been using, or how high their tolerance is. Anyone who ingests heroin at any time exposes themselves to the risks of overdose, respiratory failure, and death.

Cognitive and Emotional Effects

Long-term heroin use inevitably leads to cognitive and emotional problems. This should not be surprising. For one thing, people who witness a loved one descend into heroin addiction often describe them as having become ‘a different person.’ Well, in a very real sense they have become a different person.

We say this because chronic heroin use changes the structure and chemical make-up of the brain. In fact, it actually damages parts of the brain’s white matter. This typically results in poor executive functioning and difficulties in controlling behavior. This is especially true in stressful situations, as the chaotic heroin user simply lacks the brain cells to adapt to changing situations.

The damage can eventually worsen significantly. A high number of heroin dependent people develop moderate to severe mental disorders. These can range from anxiety and depression to mood and/or personality disorders.

Needless to say, these difficulties lead to a variety of social and financial problems as well. Chronic heroin users usually isolate themselves from friends and family as their addiction deepens. They also have difficulties maintaining stable employment and sometimes resort to criminal activities to support their increasingly expensive habit.

The Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use: Fact vs. Fiction

Understandably, many people focus on the possibility of an overdose when they consider the plight of the chaotic heroin user. Clearly, we must do everything we can to reduce or eliminate this heartbreaking events. However, overdose is not the only risk that heroin users face.

As we have seen, the long-term effects of heroin use include other significant risks as well. Yes, our first priority must be to prevent unnecessary deaths. However, we should not focus on this possibility so much that we ignore these other significant consequences. If you or someone you care about is struggling with any form of substance abuse, please seek help immediately. Recovery in Tune offers evidence-based, compassionate treatments that work.

How to Explain Drug Rehab to Your Kids

Explain Drug Rehab

Protection Is Instinct

You want to protect your kids. Your roof keeps rain off of them. The walls of your home make boundaries against the outside world. Your fence designates the limits of your property. That innate desire to protect your kids informs your family’s diet. It shapes how you teach your kids about relationships – especially with those outside your home. Protection is the whole reason you ask them to hold your hand when crossing the street. Or when you tell them not to touch a hot stove.

Your Protection Has Limits

But life happens. Sometimes you can’t protect them. Not from some things. Raising children might be the hardest thing you’ve ever done! Having a partner who struggles with substance abuse makes it even harder. When your partner’s life is unbalanced, so is yours. Like anybody who loves somebody else, you prop them up when they fall. You become a pillar. You shift the weight of their life onto your shoulders. That’s devotion. But what about when that lack of balance affects your kids? How do you protect them then? You can’t live in denial. You must face the problem head on. You might hate that. But you must do it nonetheless. You have to explain to your kids, in language they can understand, that their mom or dad struggles with substance addiction. But how?

Practice Empathy

First, practice empathy for your kids. Empathy will help you talk with your kids, instead of just talking at them. To really start this conversation, ask your kid questions. Try something like, “What do you understand about what is happening to Mom/Dad?” Asking an open-ended question like this will motivate your kid to think about their answer. And they’ll be honest – kids are nothing if not honest! Look your kid in the eyes. No matter how much pain you feel – you must put that aside for the moment. You must actively listen to your child’s response. Don’t argue, scold, judge, or critique. Just listen. Once they’ve spoken, then you can begin to dialogue more deeply with them. If they say they don’t know, don’t falter. Keep the conversation going.

Your Partner? Or Your Kids?

You may be angry at your partner. They might’ve done or said something that hurt you. Their decisions might have cost you money. Time. Energy. These internal resources get expended in any relationship. But they really get tested if you love someone struggling with substance abuse. But your feelings about your partner are for your partner. Any anger, any unresolved tension, any conflict. Take those things up with your partner. Focus on what’s right in front of you: your children. Feel their emotions. See the world how they see it. Control your anger. Don’t use this time to insult or belittle your partner. Your family needs unity. Not division. Remember: your children most likely blame themselves for your partner’s choices. If you’re distracted with upbraiding your partner, you will be unable to help your children. No matter what your partner has done. No matter how much you might think they deserve your anger – your children don’t need to hear about it.

Remember The Truth

Your children might feel guilty for your partner’s choices. They might think they are the cause of your partner’s drug abuse or addiction. You must remind them of the truth. Your partner is a human being. Your partner loves your children. Your partner’s choices are theirs, and theirs alone. They are where they are because of things they decided to do. Or because of things they decided not to do. Their life is theirs to deal with. Of course, your children love your partner. Of course, they want your partner to get better. But kids must really believe that they didn’t make your partner do anything. Nor can they make your partner change. They have no control over what your partner does or how s/he acts. They can love and support your partner. But it’s not their job to fix them.

OK, So What Do I Actually Tell My Kids?

Trust is critical at this time. Tell your children the truth about what’s going on. For younger kids (under 10), tell them your partner is sick. They have a disease that’s called “addiction.” They put things in their body that aren’t good for them. They make choices that hurt people’s feelings. They say things that are mean. They sometimes act in ways that confuse the people that love them. For teens and tweens, keep it short and simple. Tell them what’s happening. Fact-by-fact, piece by piece. “Mom/Dad is addicted to _______. That’s why s/he’s been doing _________ or acting ___________.” With older kids, you have more room to be honest about your feelings regarding your partner’s addiction. Remember not to speculate or analyze your partner. Don’t gossip. But do, by all means, tell your child how you feel. “I feel _______ because of the situation.” Own your feelings. Put them on you, not on your partner. But be open, vulnerable, and transparent.

How Do I Explain My Partner’s Treatment?

If your partner is seeking treatment, tell your kids about it. There’s no need to be technical. Use everyday language your kids understand. If it’s intensive outpatient (IOP), explain to your kids how it works. “Mom/Dad will be going to see a doctor on these days and these times.” If your partner needs more serious or long-term treatment, then tell your kids how it works. “Mom/Dad is very sick and will have to go to the hospital to get better.” Tell your kids to expect changes. Tell them it will be hard. If they need to cry, then they should. If they need to talk, make yourself available. You may even consider individual therapy for your kids. Or family therapy if need be. Tell your kids that it’s ok to be angry at your partner. It’s ok to be sad. Those emotions are normal and healthy. There are appropriate ways to express them, but the emotions themselves are ok to feel.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, call Recovery In Tune now at 1 (844) 7-IN-TUNE.

Returning to Work in Recovery

Returning to Work in Recovery

Work In Progress

You were so desperate. Your decisions felt like they just exploded in your face. No matter what you did, everything just seemed to fall apart. You needed relief. It seemed to take forever to get here. But it did come. You admitted that you needed help. You got treatment. That’s a very significant step. That is a decision you should feel good about. Now, inch-by-inch, you’re starting to put your life back together. Once crucial way for you to continue to recover is to invest in your work. You’ve been in treatment, so you’re familiar with the importance of a schedule. Work helps continue that schedule. Work helps you keep a routine. It lets you know what to expect and when to expect it.

So, what do you do now? How can work aid in your recovery? That depends on the season you’re in. If you’re returning to a job you had prior to treatment, your path will look one way. If you’re job hunting after treatment, your path will look another way.

Punch In, Zone In

If you like your job well enough to continue working there, then you must engage with your work. Commit to being present while you work. You’ve likely heard athletes describe being “in the zone” when they train. Or, maybe you’ve heard something similar from people wrapped up in their favorite hobby. Don’t dismiss that; it’s a legitimate experience. The phrase “in the zone” is short for zone of proximal development. It refers to the space between your current, comfortable skill set, and what lies just beyond it. When you’re at work, do your best to try and get “in the zone.” No matter how menial your tasks, focus intently on them. Sink into your work. Forget about your other obligations for just a little while. And just work.

Around The Water Cooler

Meaningful relationships with coworkers can make a huge impact. You may have a job you don’t like. Or at least one you don’t love. And that’s ok. But chances are, there’s at least one person there you can tolerate. Consider that a win. As your work duties allow, nurture meaningful relationships with coworkers. Use common sense, and keep your conduct professional. Don’t hunt for flirtatious or romantic encounters. But look for people you can invest in. People who will encourage your path to recovery (even if they don’t know you’re in recovery). If your schedule allows, step out to lunch with them. Have discussions about the future, whether work-related or otherwise. Cultivating and maintaining relationships like these makes drab work more interesting.

Educate And Elevate

The road to recovery runs uphill. So does the road to advancement at work. Now that you’re in recovery, you can use your time to think about the future of your job. Is it a feasible career path for you? If so, look for ways to move forward. Check to see if your company offers training programs for promotions. If none are available, try looking for a lateral move. Doing so might provide a way for you to progress faster. Do you need to start (or finish) a college degree? Contact colleges in your area to see what programs they offer for working adults. Many professions have certifications that make you a better candidate for increased responsibility.

Humility Goes A Long Way

What if you’re starting over with work? Maybe you’ve got a gap in your resume and you’re beginning a new career path. Or, what if you’re a young person entering the workforce for the first time? Two words to keep in mind: stay humble. Everyone has to start somewhere. If what’s available to you doesn’t fit with your skill set, or doesn’t pay enough, that’s fine for now. Life has brought you very low. And that’s a good place to be. If you think a job is beneath you, then you must shift your perspective. Carl Jung said that people don’t see God because they don’t bow low enough. You can’t recover upward if you’re looking down your nose at your job. If you aren’t humble, you’ll be aiming down instead of up.

Rate Of Return

Financial investors and business types often mention “rate of return” (ROR). It’s a measure of the loss or gain of money put into an investment. That principle also holds true for life. The amount of money you are paid at work isn’t the only way to measure your success (or lack of it). The very idea of work implies investing in the future – doing something hard or unpleasant now for a reward later. When you punch a clock, you’re actively investing in your future. You’re shaping who you could become tomorrow. What’s your rate of return at work? What level of satisfaction does your job provide? If you’re not getting what you want out of your work, consider what you’re putting into it.

Make Hay While The Sun Shines

In treatment, you stuck to a daytime schedule. Doctors, therapists, counselors, and other medical staff regulated everything for you. In recovery, you must self-regulate. You must lay down the law for yourself, so to speak. When possible, find work that will allow you to participate in evening home groups. This isn’t always possible, especially in job fields like retail, hospitality, or restaurants. But if you can, find work that lets you work daytime hours. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid night shifts. If it’s night shift or nothing – take the night shift. But transition to daytime work ASAP. Regular sleep remains paramount during this stage of your life. Definitely steer clear of bars, liquor stores, and clubs. Even if you’re a young person, you don’t need a night life right now. You’re a person in recovery. You must treat yourself like one.

Work can make a difference in your future. Recovery focuses on the future. Because it’s in the present that we build the future. Finding a job that you like, even just a little bit, helps build that future. Don’t look at your work like something you have to do. View it like an ingredient in your new, recovering life.

Why Just Being Sober Isn’t Enough

Being Sober Isn’t Enough

A Fork In The Road

Sobriety isn’t easy. You tried really hard to get here. Now you’re trying really hard to stay here. That’s significant. Feel the weight of that accomplishment. You’ve made a critical decision. You deserve to feel that sense of accomplishment. But sobriety isn’t the end of your journey. It’s the beginning. You’re at a major fork in the road of your life. You aren’t doomed. You have choices, and those choices matter. You’ve done good work so far. But human willpower is a finite resource. It will weaken, eventually. And remember: sobriety is not the same thing as recovery.

Being Sober Isn’t Enough

If you’re sober, that means you can think clearly. Your emotions are balanced. You can make accurate judgments about external things. That’s your normal state, right? Not exactly. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change itself. The brain works through systems and habits. Whatever your goals are, your brain wants you to have them. It will motivate you to push toward your goals. It will also disregard anything that gets in your way. What does that mean for your sobriety? It means your sobriety is no longer your normal state. Dependence is your balance now. Your mind and body must have your substance of choice in order to function properly. That’s your “new normal,” as it were. Sobriety is about stopping something that’s not good for you. Sobriety is good, but it isn’t enough. It’s just step 1.

Sobriety vs. Recovery. What’s The Difference?

Sobriety is about stopping. But recovery is about starting. Think of someone who can’t swim. Throwing them a life preserver is good. They aren’t drowning anymore. They’re ok. But they still don’t know how to swim. To boot, they’re still stranded. They need to learn how to swim and find land. That’s the main difference between sobriety and recovery. Sobriety involves moving away from old patterns. Recovery is about moving toward new ones. Sobriety draws a line in the sand and says “no more” to things in the past. But recovery creates new thoughts, new patterns, new habits. Recovery rejuvenates. It creates. For that reason, it’s more powerful than sobriety. But it’s also more difficult.

Why Is Recovery Better?

For most people, maintaining sobriety alone isn’t sustainable. It’s a well-intentioned choice. And a good one. But it’s always looking backward. For that reason, it’s easy to get too attached to guilt and shame. Sobriety doesn’t look forward. It focuses on what’s behind you. Recovery allows you to build something better. It engages with the future, and allows you to remake yourself. Recovery paves the way for you to be at peace with yourself. In recovery, you can dig into what’s beneath your addiction. You can heal. You can realize hope. That hope can carry into your relationships and mend them. Recovery helps you see your life from a critical lens. It lets you be honest about your past choices, mistakes, and traumas. Only through dealing with past hurts can you experience healing. Remember: sobriety is good. But it’s just the beginning for you. You’ve done well so far. Keep up the good work. Reach out to learn more about recovery.

If you’d like to know more about recovery and treatment options, call Recovery In Tune now at 1 (844) 7-IN-TUNE.

What Should I Do to Get Rid of My Addiction?

group of happy coeds celebrating freedom from addiction

“It’s not hurting anyone else.” “What does it matter what I do with my own life?” “Not your body, not your problem.”

Do these ideas sound familiar? Even if you haven’t had these exact thoughts, you may have had similar ones. As addicts, we sometimes like to believe that our behaviors only affect us. We’re whole people. We think our own thoughts, feel our own feelings and act as we see fit. We have a will, the ability to choose what actions we believe are best. What we choose to do with our own minds and bodies is our business, right?

To be sure, addiction can increase the chances of harming your health. We all know this intuitively. However, our thoughts, feelings, and choices do impact others. We may tell ourselves that what we do only affects us – but it just isn’t true. An addict’s lifestyle can lead to cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, Lung disease, and mental illnesses (1). That much we may admit. But what about relationships with parents, children, significant others, and friends? How have these relationships been affected by addiction?

In order to begin ridding ourselves of addiction, we must understand that we’re not alone. We’re not merely drifting through life disconnected from everyone else. We are not our own; we do not belong just to ourselves. Our choices matter and they reach beyond us and our bodies. We need the people around us – just as much as they need us. We each have a unique role. We are all endowed with gifts that are specific to us, and addictions all too often rob us of realizing those gifts.

If we believe that we are powerless, we will remain so. If we believe we are beyond help, we will not seek it. But if we can breathe, then hope is possible. We know we can control our breathing. We can breathe short and shallow, or long and deep. If we can grasp that, then we can grasp the power of the present moment. What’s past is a memory, and the future hasn’t arrived yet. Therefore, the present is all we really have.

Remember that recovery is a lifestyle and that it continues after treatment. Aftercare options include 12-step programs like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. Other alternatives include Rational Recovery and faith-based programs like Celebrate Recovery.

To paraphrase the Greek philosopher Epictetus (2), it’s not life that bothers us. It’s not other people or circumstances. It’s what we think about these things that cause us pain and discomfort. Our attitudes have immense influence over the quality of our inner lives. How we think about ourselves frames how we act in relation to others.

If we choose hope in the present, we can choose recovery. We need not live in addiction. Our fate is not set in stone; it can be changed. It may be difficult. It might involve having conversations that aren’t comfortable. It might involve new routines and regimens. But it is possible. One single breath, one single choice linked to another. That’s how we begin to rid ourselves of addiction.

If you or someone you love needs help, contact Recovery In Tune now. Read more about our different treatment options here.


(1) https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/addiction-health
(2) https://www.gutenberg.org/files/45109/45109-h/45109-h.htm

Is Your Loved One Addicted? Questions to Ask

two men outside near a river talking about addiction in their relationship

Addiction is a cruel master, it is said. Like most behavioral health disorders, it impacts not only the sufferer, but their loved ones. Over 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet only 10% of them receive treatment. Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 are most likely to use addictive drugs and more than 90% of people who have an addiction started to drink alcohol or use drugs before they were 18 years old. (1)

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

It is important to be honest with yourself about signs you may have observed in the potentially addicted person. Often there is a tendency to want to deny what is happening. Loved ones of addicts may find themselves choosing to believe lies and accepting excuses because they are frightened of the truth. Enabling behavior is another dangerous pitfall. Enabling consists of doing things which may be well-intentioned, but instead, help the addict continue his or her destructive behavior. It can take the form of giving them money, covering for their behavior, or anything else that insulates them from the consequences of their actions. The focus must always be on getting the addict real help for their problem, rather than putting out the fires while they continue to use.

Here are some questions you can ask to help determine if your loved one may be an addict:

  • Have you seen a profound change in behavior over just weeks or months?
  • Is the person much more secretive than usual?
  • Is the person angrily defensive when asked where they’ve been or with whom?
  • Are financial problems suddenly evident where none were before?
  • Has the person’s health and appearance declined over weeks or months?
  • Are they spending time with new friends they are reluctant for you to meet

One of these items in isolation may not be cause for immediate concern, but several together should be viewed as a red flag.

To someone not struggling with addiction, it can be incredibly difficult to understand why a person would continue these behaviors, even in the face of severe consequences. It is important to understand that addiction is a disease that disrupts logic and priorities. In the case of addiction to drugs or alcohol, the substance itself can create profound chemical changes in the brain. This can make quitting challenging even if the addict has good intentions of doing so. Fortunately, clinicians have developed treatments that can help people recover from addiction and lead productive lives. (2)

Confronting addiction takes courage. Both for loved ones and the addict themselves. The important thing is to emphasize that you support the addicted person and are willing to help, but that you will not enable or tolerate the addictive behavior continuing. When willingness is expressed, there is often a short window of time to get an addict into treatment. Be prepared so when the addict becomes open to treatment, you are ready to act. (3)

What Can Be Done?

Getting a loved one to accept help may be difficult. Avoiding enabling behavior is especially critical with an addict who is resisting help. When a loved one is resistant to treatment, family, friends, and a trained specialist can come together to stage an intervention. This is an opportunity to address the addict and convince them that accepting help, there and then, is the best option and path of least resistance. (4)

If you believe your loved one may be struggling with addiction, you do not have to face it alone. Help is available ranging from support groups to professional intervention and everything in between. Feel free to call us for guidance and information.

(1) https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_2716/ShortReport-2716.html
(2) https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/addiction-science
(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64269/
(4) https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Alcohol-and-Drug-Addiction-Happens-in-the-Best-of-Families/SMA12-4159

Foster Care: Rebuilding Families After Addiction

Foster Care Awareness Month: Rebuilding Families in the Aftermath of Addiction

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month.

One in three children in foster care are there due to parental Addiction. Foster care and substance abuse are intimately linked and can cause long-term problems for afflicted families. Today we’re talking about starting to heal the trauma that addiction can cause in a family with children, and how to re-build. 

First things first, opening the paths of communication is key.

How far the conversation goes depends on the age of the children but be sure to apologize for anything they may have experienced directly (i.e. an outburst) or indirectly (your absence, etc.). This doesn’t need to be an exhaustive list but anything that stands out can be noted. Tell them they are you here for them now and are doing your best to recover from your problem. You children may not have much to say but if they do, put your listening hat on. Hear them out, validate their feelings, tell them that you love them. All strong relationships are built on communication and child-parent relationships are no different. 

Once you’ve cleared the air it’s important to establish a “new normal.”

This is where you will be speaking with actions rather than words, showing up and being there for them. Create routines, spend time with them, and maybe even start a new tradition like Spaghetti Night or a Sunday morning bike ride. Even something as small as watching their favorite movie with them can mean the world. For most kids, your presence is enough. 

The truth is, this process can take time.

Even if you are feeling miles ahead in terms of recovery and rebuilding, they might not be. Or if you are having hard days, be kind to yourself. The recovery process is different for everyone and having the family rebuild process in the mix is additionally challenging. Just remember why you’re doing this, your children need your sobriety as much as you do. They need their parent. You don’t have to be perfect, just keep showing up for them.


Every scenario looks different. The ultimate goal is to heal, and let go of resentments and the shame. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and their children have been placed in foster care our case managers might be able to help. Contact us below or click here.

Advice for Staying Sober Over the Holidays

Staying Sober Over the Holidays | Recovery in Tune

In a perfect world, the holidays should be a time of festivity and thankfulness. But for many, it’s a time wrought with triggers time and facing family dysfunction, stress, and pressure to meet particularly high expectations.

These factors can make it challenging for anyone to remain sober over the season, but this may be far more difficult for anyone in recovery or trying to overcome an addiction. The following are several tips that can help people stay clean or sober and on the best path throughout the holidays.

Advice for Holiday Sobriety

Identify and Address Potential Stressors Related to Family Gatherings

At some point during the holiday season, most people must deal with family, and this can cause a significant amount of stress for a few different reasons. Family time may be associated with a traumatic history, bad memories, conflicting opinions, excessive judgments, and less-than-reasonable expectations. Despite the best of intentions, many holiday family gatherings are rife with stress just waiting to happen.

Knowing what to expect in advance and how you plan to address problems can be key to staying strong and avoiding triggering situations. Moreover, just because you are sober doesn’t mean everything is going to be ideal. You may have to deal with many of the same stressors that you always have, and this time, you are going to have to do it sober. Be prepared for this.

On a different note, if the thought of having to maintain sobriety during this time is daunting, remember that it is okay to politely decline family events in place of other activities, such as volunteering or attending group support meetings. Your sobriety needs to be a priority, and if other people don’t understand this, then that is on them.

Be Wary of Attending Work-Related Events

Holiday parties thrown by employers can be riddled with temptations. Employees have to figure out how to mingle with supervisors and coworkers using an appropriate level of friendliness while respecting boundaries and not overdoing it. Combine that with alcohol, which is often served at many of these events, and you may have a recipe for disaster.

While many professionals feel obligated to attend these parties, in many cases, skipping out might not be a big deal. Furthermore, if you are struggling with sobriety, it might be wise to limit your time. Sometimes it’s okay to be open with employers and coworkers, and other times it’s wise to keep an addiction problem under wraps. In any case, you still must put sobriety first. If that means avoiding a situation where alcohol flows freely or at least limit your time there, you are best off finding a way to diplomatically navigate this situation without putting yourself in harm’s way.

Staying Sober Over the Holidays | Recovery in Tune

Prepare to Deal With Financial Issues

The holidays come with a lot of extra expensive. If you’re traveling these can include gas or airfare. And then you have the cost of gifts, gatherings and food. If you are already on a fixed budget, the added costs can worry you and cause you stress.

The answer? Make a budget regarding spending or try to make a little extra (take on some overtime). If money continues to be a problem, find ways to create or obtain relatively inexpensive gifts for people. If you feel comfortable, be honest about your financial situation with others. Chances are, they will understand.

If you are expected to pay for something very expensive, such as airfare, and it is stressing you, reconsider the trip. It might be better to sit this one out and depend on the support of others who are also sober, such as AA sponsors.

Find Solutions By Focusing on Support

Whether you are traveling or staying relatively close to home, it’s important to keep going to support meetings. It’s not even a bad idea to go to multiple meetings, and “bookend” them around family gatherings or other holiday events.

Locating meetings and times beforehand and making a plan to go can be very helpful in structuring your day. Or, it’s certainly possible to go to one on the fly after you’ve found yourself in a compromising position or under stress. If meetings aren’t possible for some reason, keep an AA sponsor or sober friend readily available for a phone call or visit.

Set Boundaries in Advance

If you have dangerous influences at work, with your friends, or in your family, be proactive. Make sure to establish your boundaries ahead of time. Identify those whom you should avoid altogether, or can only handle for a limited amount of time. It might also be useful to come up with dialogue for setting the necessary boundaries with others.

Find Alternative Activities

Identifying other healthy activities may be relevant for both family gatherings and an office or work party. Games, movies, crafts, and cooking are among the many ways you can stay busy during events without imbibing.

Going to a theater or watching marathons at home is an excellent way to have an enjoyable time without temptations. You can bring movies to a family gathering, or invite others throughout the season to watch along with you. And, of course, in the age of the Internet, there are plenty of places to find movies online.

Staying Sober Over the Holidays | Recovery in Tune

Don’t Neglect Self-Care and Mindfulness

Do not neglect important rituals that have to stay busy and avoid triggers and deal with cravings throughout the day. It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas or New Year’s, engaging in self-care is vital. It ensures that your recovery comes first.

Most people in recovery are well aware of what this entails. For many, it’s a combination of exercise, healthy eating, meditation, and yoga. Plus, reminding yourself each day why you choose sobriety.

It is also critical to keep living in the present moment, which is precisely where sobriety occurs and is sustained. Staying busy and coping with cravings appropriately is key to long-term recovery.

Take it one day or hour at a time. That way you can get through holidays in manageable increments. This is definitely better than feeling fearful of the days and weeks as a whole.

Getting Help for Addiction

There are many ways to make it through the holidays while still keeping sobriety in check. But if you continue to struggle, you shouldn’t feel ashamed—just know that help and support is available for you.

Recovery in Tune offers comprehensive, state-of-the-art programs with a full spectrum of care, including medical detox, partial hospitalization programs, outpatient treatment, medication-assisted therapy, and much, much more.

Addiction is a chronic, challenging, sometimes life-threatening disease, but you don’t have to battle it alone. Contact us today and discover how we help those who need it most. You can break free from the cycle of addiction and begin to experience the healthy and satisfying life you deserve!

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Mirtazapine Withdrawal

Mirtazapine Withdrawal | Recovery In Tune | Treatment Center

Mirtazapine (brand name Remeron), like most antidepressants, has a relatively low potential for abuse and addiction. Still, long-term use can result in dependence and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when a user attempts to quit or rapidly cut back.

Doctors usually advise patients to follow a tapering schedule to help reduce the intensity and duration of withdrawal symptoms. During this time, the dosage amount will be decreased gradually over time. Although this results in a lengthier withdrawal period, symptoms are much milder, and it is easier for patients to adjust to living with the drug’s presence in their system.

Mirtazapine tends to remain in the body between 4-9 days. Biology, kidney and liver function, age, dosage, and history all effect how rapidly a person’s body processes the drug. When gradually tapering off mirtazapine, the withdrawal period can last several weeks or months. 

Mirtazapine Withdrawal Symptoms

If an individual attempts to stop using Remeron abruptly, he or she can expect to encounter withdrawal symptoms that may persist for several weeks. Those who would rather quit “cold turkey” than undergo a drug taper are strongly advised to undergo a medical detox and consult addiction professionals.

Common mirtazapine withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Headache
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Rebound depression
  • Irrational beliefs
  • Appetite changes

  • Vertigo and dizziness
  • Sweats
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

Mirtazapine withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening but, if intense, may become very unpleasant. However, it is important to realize that those with severe dependencies on mirtazapine who try to quit abruptly may experience profound depression or anxiety, and this could lead to self-harm or suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

You should consult with a doctor or addiction specialist if you are experiencing a worsening of symptoms after a few weeks of discontinuing mirtazapine. While these withdrawal symptoms may be frightening, working with a medical practitioner and having a recovery plan can mitigate the effects.

Mirtazapine Withdrawal Timeline 

Mirtazapine Withdrawal | Recovery In Tune | Treatment Center

Mirtazapine is a tetracyclic antidepressant. It works by preventing the reuptake of feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin. This effect increases serotonin levels in the brain. These neurochemicals are thought to regulate mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. If a dependent person wants to stop using mirtazapine, they need time to restore healthy serotonin levels in the brain.

The duration of withdrawal depends on the length of time mirtazapine has been used, as well as the dosage. If the dosage is on the higher end, tapering can take several months if done properly. However, withdrawal symptoms will usually subside within one month after stopping. However, the severity of the symptoms will be relatively mild if a person gradually quits mirtazapine versus stopping abruptly.

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms of Mirtazapine

As noted, the most effective way to manage withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing mirtazapine is to reduce the dosage every month gradually. The dosage reduction rate will depend on how the person’s body responds to discontinuing use. Still, it is typically recommended to taper down only about 10% every month. 

If you choose to wean yourself off of mirtazapine gradually, there are medications you should avoid using during this process. These include any other antidepressants, such as MAO inhibitors or SSRIs, and any other medications that cause drowsiness. It is also advised to avoid consuming alcohol or using marijuana while withdrawal from mirtazapine, as these substances can increase the severity of withdrawal effects. 

Getting Treatment for Drug Dependence

Many people successfully wean themselves off of mirtazapine using a tapering schedule devised by a primary care physician and can do so safely at home. However, others, especially those who have dependencies on other substances, may benefit from more intensive treatment for drug or alcohol use.

Moreover, finding the best treatment for mirtazapine dependence is vital to the process of recovery. When discontinuing antidepressants such as mirtazapine, you should seek a center that also specializes in the treatment of co-occurring disorders. By treating any existing emotional issues in addition to withdrawal symptoms, this will help you to better concentrate on your recovery from whatever substances apply.

Comprehensive treatment programs, such as those offered by Recovery in Tune, should feature experiential activities, psychotherapy, counseling, substance abuse education, and an aftercare program to help you achieve long-term recovery goals. 

If you are attempting to discontinue your antidepressants, or stop the abuse of drugs or alcohol, contact us today! Treatment consultants are standing by to answer your questions and help you reclaim the happy and healthy life you deserve.

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