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Category: Addiction Treatment

How Long Does It Take to Become Addicted to Alcohol?

How long it takes to become addicted to alcohol is different for each person. Certain risk factors make it more likely for a person to become addicted to alcohol than others. In addition, how long it takes to become addicted to alcohol depends on a person’s drinking habits as well as the presence of underlying mental health disorders.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health specializes in treating mental health disorders as well as co-occurring addictions. Our treatment programs can help you overcome the underlying causes of your addiction to alcohol for a better life in recovery.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a term used to refer to alcohol addiction or the clinical term alcohol use disorder (AUD). Alcoholism, alcohol addiction, and AUD refer to the same type of substance use disorder. Simply put, alcoholism means that you cannot function normally without alcohol nor can you quit drinking without professional treatment.

Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is a disease that affects a person’s mental, physical, and behavioral health. Therefore, they will show signs of addiction in each of these areas of their lives.

Mental Signs of Alcohol Addiction

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Obsessive thinking about alcohol use
  • Using alcohol to manage a mental health disorder
  • Blacking out

Physical Signs of Alcohol Addiction

  • Cravings and urges to drink
  • Changes in appearance
  • Appetite changes
  • Fatigue and hangover

Behavioral Signs of Alcohol Addiction

  • Loss of interest in activities that don’t involve drinking
  • Isolating from friends and loved ones
  • Spending most of your time drinking or recovering from drinking
  • Engaging in reckless behaviors while under the influence

In addition, if you become addicted to alcohol, you will have withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop drinking. These symptoms can be dangerous and even deadly. Therefore, you need to get help from a professional detox center to manage withdrawal safely.

While many people drink alcohol, not all people who drink are alcoholics. According to the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 84.1% of adults aged 18 and older reported drinking at some point in their lifetimes. However, only a small percentage of adults who drink become addicted. So, what causes a person to become addicted to alcohol?

How Does Alcohol Addiction Develop?

The main reason alcohol is addictive is because drinking produces pleasurable effects in your brain. Alcohol also numbs negative emotions. Thus, you drink to gain pleasure and to reduce negative feelings.

Over time, if you drink regularly or heavily, you continually reinforce the connection between drinking and feeling good. After a while, your brain cannot feel good unless you are drinking alcohol. That means during the times between drinking, you could feel even worse than you would normally if you never drank in the first place.

So, you drink alcohol to cope with these worsening feelings. This is the beginning of the cycle of addiction. Drinking at first helped you cope with stressors and bad feelings. However, now you feel even worse than you did before, and the only way you know to cope is by drinking even more alcohol.

Risk Factors for Becoming Addicted to Alcohol

Of course, not everyone who drinks gets addicted. Many people keep their drinking limited and under control. Certain underlying risk factors make it more likely that you will become addicted than others.

Risk factors for alcohol addiction include the following:

  • Unresolved trauma, especially from childhood
  • Underlying mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder
  • Lack of coping skills for everyday stress
  • Family history of alcoholism, drug addiction, or mental illness
  • Chronic pain
  • Stressful living environments
  • Starting to drink at an early age

Oftentimes, people drink to cope with issues related to their emotional and mental health. For instance, on-the-job stress can cause a person to drink after work to cope. Or, a person in an unhappy marriage could spend their time at the bar to be out of the house.

Regardless of the specifics, if you drink to cope with stress or emotional problems, it won’t take long to become addicted to alcohol.

Does It Take Long to Become Addicted to Alcohol?

Again, it depends on the person and their drinking habits. But, when you drink to cope with life or self-medicate for underlying issues, you could become addicted quickly. This is because the brain seeks solutions to achieve a balanced emotional state—and alcohol is a quick fix.

In other words, when you allow stress to build up over time and then resort to drinking to cope, your brain reinforces this quick fix to balance your emotional state. This could take weeks, months, or even years to develop.

But, if you notice that you are prioritizing drinking over everything else or drinking alcohol is the only thing you have to cope with stress, then you need to reconsider your relationship with alcohol. Otherwise, you are going down a path that will inevitably lead to alcohol addiction.

How Do I Stop Drinking?

Quitting drinking is not always as easy as you might believe at first. Many people assume they can simply quit any time that they want to. And yet, they don’t. Usually, this is because they have used alcohol as a crutch and are fearful of letting go of their only coping mechanism—even if it’s unhealthy.

In addition, withdrawal symptoms make it difficult to stop drinking. These symptoms can be unpleasant and even deadly if your alcohol addiction is severe. That is why many people don’t quit for long when they try to stop drinking without professional help.

So, to stop drinking, you need to go through withdrawal successfully and then find better ways to cope with the underlying issues driving your addiction. First, you need to get into a detox program. That way, you can safely manage the withdrawal symptoms with the help and support of professionals.

After detox, you need to find new ways to cope with stressors. During dual diagnosis treatment after detox, you can learn more about the underlying causes of your addiction. Once you know the cause, you can start finding healthy coping skills so that you can give up drinking—for good.

Get Help for Alcohol Addiction Today

North Atlanta Behavioral Health can help you cope with underlying mental health disorders that drive your addiction to alcohol. We offer psychiatry, psychotherapy, and holistic approaches as well as dual diagnosis treatment options to help you overcome the primary issues causing your addiction.

Contact us today to begin your recovery from alcohol addiction.

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Benefits of Addiction Treatment for First Responders

First responder addiction treatment helps those on the front lines of emergencies and disasters due to an increased risk of mental health and substance use disorders. Firefighters, military personnel, EMS workers, police, and other first responders face significantly more on-the-job stress than most of the general population. This often leads to self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health provides addiction treatment services for first responders as well as dual diagnosis treatment. Oftentimes, first responders develop underlying mental health disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as a result of their stressful careers.

Our programs offer hope to those who serve our communities—often at the risk of their own health and safety.

Addiction Among First Responders

It’s no secret that first responders face more on-the-job stress than most of the general population. While they are trained to face traumatic situations, sometimes, the stress of their jobs can be too overwhelming. Not only that, but the work culture of many first responders, like police, firefighters, and military staff, can stigmatize those seeking help.

When a high-stress job meets a work culture that shames those who struggle as being “weak” or “not made for this type of work,” first responders often try to cope with their problems on their own and in secret. All too often, this leads to self-medicating with drugs or alcohol.

Even among the general population, “More than one in four adults living with serious mental health problems also has a substance use problem,” according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

But, how prevalent are behavioral health issues among first responders compared to the general population?

Behavioral Health Issues Among First Responders

Addiction often develops as a maladaptive coping mechanism for an underlying mental health condition. Since first responders face more stress and trauma than the general population, they are more likely than the general population to develop a mental health disorder. Thus, they are also more likely to develop a co-occurring substance use disorder (SUD).

According to a publication by SAMSHA, several studies have revealed the following statistics about behavioral health issues among first responders:

  • About 30% of first responders develop behavioral health disorders, such as PTSD and depression, while only 20% of the general population develops these disorders
  • Firefighters are more likely than the general population to attempt suicide or have suicidal ideations
  • An estimated 125-300 police officers commit suicide every year

Behavioral health issues like these are often connected to an increased risk of drug and alcohol abuse among first responders. Fortunately, first responder addiction treatment can help treat both addiction and the underlying mental health disorders that cause addiction.

How Does First Responder Addiction Treatment Help?

First responder addiction treatment helps in several ways. First and foremost, treatment programs allow first responders a space to open up about the impact of stress on their mental health.

Often, first responders who struggle with their mental health feel alienated due to the stigma and shame of needing help in their profession. Treatment programs allow first responders to discuss their mental health openly without judgment. As a result, first responders feel less alone in their struggle—resulting in less shame about getting help.

In addition, the following are the benefits of first responder addiction treatment:

  • Dual diagnosis treatment for both addiction and the underlying mental health disorders that cause it
  • Drug and alcohol detox programs help first responders stop substance abuse safely
  • Peer support during addiction treatment reduces the shame and stigma of addiction
  • Holistic treatment offers several coping skills for stress and anxiety
  • Varying levels of care allow first responders to transition back to everyday life as they gain the skills they need to recover
  • Relapse prevention helps first responders recognize their triggers and identify when they need additional support

At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we offer various types of treatment programs to first responders. These programs allow first responders to transition from higher levels of care to lower ones—which further benefits their long-term recovery from addiction.

What Types of Programs Are Available to First Responders?

The following addiction treatment programs are available to first responders:

  • Outpatient Detox: Detox is the first step to recovery from any substance use disorder (SUD). During our outpatient detox program, clients must come to the treatment center at least once per day to check in. This helps first responders stay accountable to their treatment program. After that, most clients attend a residential treatment program.
  • Residential Treatment Program: During residential treatment, first responders live within the same facility where they get treatment. North Atlanta Behavioral Health partners with several residential treatment centers to help first responders get the services that they need before continuing with our outpatient rehab programs.
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): A PHP program, also called day treatment, is the highest level of outpatient care available for substance use and mental health disorders. Throughout PHP, clients attend individual therapy, group processing sessions, psychoeducational courses, and experiential treatment. Afterward, first responders can move on to less restrictive outpatient programs that allow for more flexibility.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): With an IOP program, first responders still get treatment nearly every day of the week, like PHP. However, their program sessions will only last about half that time. This way, first responders can transition back to everyday life while still getting a significant amount of support.

In addition, throughout outpatient rehab, clients can choose to live in a sober living program. Sober living homes provide a safe and secure environment that is conducive to sobriety and a drug-free lifestyle. That way, first responders live with like-minded individuals who can support them on their path to recovery.

Find First Responder Addiction Treatment Programs Today

North Atlanta Behavioral Health is proud to offer support to our community’s first responders. First responders are there for our communities in their time of greatest need. And, we are here for first responders when the stress of their profession overwhelms them and leads to substance abuse.

Call today or visit our admissions page to begin first responder addiction treatment.

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Is Crack More Addictive Than Cocaine?

Both crack and cocaine are highly addictive stimulant drugs. Whether one is more addictive than the other depends on how a person uses the substance. Regardless of whether a person uses crack or cocaine, both types of drugs are illegal and dangerous.

At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we understand the impact of crack and cocaine addiction on our communities. Our outpatient cocaine rehab helps clients overcome their addictions and thrive in recovery.

Which Is More Addictive—Crack or Cocaine?

The simple answer is that neither substance is necessarily more addictive than the other. After all, crack is made from cocaine. So, in terms of addictive properties, both substances are more or less the same.

Crack can indeed be more addictive than cocaine depending on how a person uses cocaine. Crack is smoked, which leads to a more intense and instant high than snorting cocaine powder. However, some cocaine users dissolve cocaine powder into water to inject it directly into their bloodstream. Injecting cocaine causes an intense high comparable to smoking crack.

What Is the Difference Between Crack and Cocaine?

The main difference between crack and cocaine is how most people use these substances. When people talk about cocaine, they generally refer to cocaine in powder form. Most users snort cocaine powder into their nostrils, whereas crack is smoked.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug derived from cocoa plants. As a stimulant drug, cocaine acts on the brain’s reward pathway. Thus, cocaine artificially “rewards” users by flooding the brain with a chemical called dopamine that causes euphoria and pleasure.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), “cocaine acts by binding to the dopamine transporter, blocking the removal of dopamine from the synapse. Dopamine then accumulates in the synapse to produce an amplified signal to the receiving neurons.”

In other words, regardless of how a person uses cocaine, it allows dopamine to flood the brain. This creates intense feelings of pleasure that are difficult to obtain naturally. Over time, users struggle to feel any pleasure without using cocaine and become dependent on it to function normally.

What Is Crack?

Crack is a form of cocaine. It is made by dissolving cocaine powder into a mixture of water plus either ammonia or baking soda and then boiling this mixture. Boiling the mixture creates a solid substance, which is then dried and broken up into chunks. These chunks are called crack, rocks, cocaine base, freebase, or crack cocaine.

Users smoke crack cocaine, which causes a more intense and instantaneous high compared to snorting cocaine powder. In addition, crack is generally less expensive than cocaine powder. For these reasons, crack can be more addictive than cocaine.

How Are Crack and Cocaine Addiction Treated?

Crack and cocaine addiction are the same type of substance use disorder (SUD) called cocaine use disorder—commonly referred to as cocaine addiction. Treatment for cocaine addiction doesn’t matter how a person uses cocaine—whether they snort cocaine powder, inject cocaine, or smoke crack cocaine.

Cocaine Detox

The first step of any cocaine addiction treatment program is detox. During detox, clients stop using cocaine, which can cause withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms occur because clients have become dependent on cocaine to feel any sense of pleasure.

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Feeling “on edge”
  • Cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Nightmares
  • Increase appetite

Most of these symptoms—especially physical symptoms—go away after about a week. However, it is important to get professional help for cocaine detox to reduce the risk of relapsing or having medical complications.

However, after detoxing from crack or cocaine, mental and emotional health symptoms can linger for the long term. This can eventually lead back to a relapse if the person doesn’t seek treatment after detox. At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we offer outpatient programs for addiction that help clients overcome their cocaine addiction and deal with the underlying causes.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) for Cocaine Addiction

Our PHP for cocaine addiction helps clients learn more about their addiction, connect with peers in recovery, and find coping skills for the underlying causes of addiction. PHP is the highest level of outpatient care we offer. Our PHP program follows a schedule of group sessions with one-on-one counseling.

After completing PHP, clients can move on to our intensive outpatient program (IOP).

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for Cocaine Addiction

During IOP for cocaine addiction, clients continue treatment with fewer restrictions and a more flexible schedule than a PHP program. This helps clients transition back to everyday life, yet they still receive a significant amount of treatment. By stepping down from PHP to an IOP program, clients gradually form healthy habits to succeed in long-term recovery from addiction.

Cocaine Addiction Aftercare and Long-Term Recovery

After going through our outpatient programs, many clients continue with some form of outpatient therapy and peer support program. Outpatient therapy helps clients with specific issues or mental health disorders that trigger their addiction. Most clients attend outpatient therapy once a week for about an hour.

In addition, peer support programs are crucial for long-term crack and cocaine addiction recovery. Peer support groups are usually free and available in most communities. These include groups like:

Find Help for Crack and Cocaine Addiction Today

Crack and cocaine powder are highly addictive substances derived from the same source. Both can lead to chemical dependency and addiction when a person struggles to get through the day without using. Crack and cocaine addiction treatment can help you or a loved one overcome addiction and build a new life in recovery.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health offers treatment options for crack and cocaine addiction. Call today or visit our admissions page to begin your recovery journey.

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Residential Vs. Outpatient Rehab

The first step to recovery from addiction is coming to terms with your addiction and seeking help. Now that you are looking for a treatment program, you must find one that works best for you. Two terms you will encounter while searching are “residential” and “outpatient.” But, how do residential and outpatient rehab programs compare, and which type of program will be best for you?

How Do Residential and Outpatient Rehab Programs Compare?

The primary difference between residential and outpatient rehab programs is where you reside during treatment. During a residential rehab program, you will live in the treatment facility. On the other hand, during outpatient rehab, you can live on your own, with family, or in a sober living program.

Thus, the main way that residential and outpatient rehab programs compare is where you live during your program. However, each type of rehab program offers different types of services and levels of care. You can compare each type of rehab program to determine what works best for your needs.

What is Outpatient Rehab?

Outpatient rehab means that you don’t live in the same facility where you receive treatment. You come to the program for a certain number of hours during the day and return home at night. During outpatient rehab, you can live on your own, with family members, or in a sober living home.

Throughout an outpatient program, you get a mix of group and individual therapies. You will also take part in recovery-oriented activities, like experiential groups, as well as, psychoeducational courses. In addition, outpatient programs vary in terms of how intensive the level of care is throughout treatment.

Types of Outpatient Rehab Programs

Compared to residential treatment, outpatient rehab programs offer a variety of levels of care. You can transition from a higher level of care (more intensive) to a lower level, depending on their needs. That way, you can progress through lower levels of care as you advance in your recovery.

The following are the types of outpatient rehab programs we offer at North Atlanta Behavioral Health:

  • Outpatient Detox Program: Detox is the first step for recovery from addiction. At our outpatient detox program, you would check in at the facility once per day. During outpatient detox, you must have a safe and secure living environment. Otherwise, you could be at a higher risk of relapsing. 
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): PHP programs are the highest level of care offered at most outpatient facilities. These programs occur from Monday through Saturday and last about seven hours each day. You get a variety of services, such as group therapy, peer support, and recovery activities.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): During IOP programs, you attend your program for less time per day than PHP. This allows for flexibility if you are busy with other responsibilities.
  • Evening IOP: Many IOP programs have some daytime hours. However, with an evening IOP program, you can attend your program after work or school. Evening IOP programs offer even more flexibility while maintaining a similar level of care as a regular IOP.

What is Residential Rehab?

A residential rehab program, also called inpatient rehab, is a type of treatment program where you live in the facility throughout the program. During residential rehab, you get 24/7 support and supervision from professional staff. You also live among your peers in recovery and learn from one another’s shared experiences.

Throughout your stay, your schedule will include individual therapy, support groups, life-skills training, and experiential therapy. At a residential treatment facility, you can expect additional services and amenities, such as:

  • Recreational activities
  • Nutritious meals
  • Shared or private bedrooms

Residential rehab programs can last from 30 to 90 days. Some extend their stay past 90 days depending on their needs.

You can expect more restrictions throughout residential programs compared to outpatient rehab. For example, you might have limited visitations or surrender your cell phone during your stay. But, these restrictions will help you focus on your recovery with minimal distraction.

Which Type of Program is Best for Me?

When you compare residential and outpatient rehab programs, you want to get to the bottom line—which program do you need? Choosing between residential and outpatient rehab depends on your needs in recovery and your availability to attend treatment.

Residential rehab might be best for you if:

  • You have tried outpatient rehab before and haven’t been successful.
  • Your current living environment is not conducive to sobriety.
  • You have a severe and long-term addiction.
  • You had severe withdrawal symptoms, like delirium tremens, and needed inpatient detox.
  • This is your first attempt at recovery.

On the other hand, outpatient rehab could be best for you if:

  • You have a safe and stable home environment.
  • You have a robust natural support system, including family members, friends, and peers.
  • Work, school, or family obligations have been a barrier to obtaining treatment.
  • You had a minor slip in your recovery, but don’t need inpatient services to get back on track.
  • You are required to attend outpatient rehab for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) or a sober living program.

Overall, you need to find the level of care that is effective for long-term recovery from addiction.

Begin Outpatient Rehab in Atlanta Today

If you are looking for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorder treatment, you might ask how residential and outpatient rehab programs compare. At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we offer outpatient rehabs that allow clients to live within the comfort of their own homes throughout treatment. In addition, we work with clients in sober living programs as well as those transitioning from residential rehab.

Call us today to ask which type of rehab program is best for you. Whether our outpatient rehab programs are a good fit for you or not, we can help you find solutions to meet your needs.

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