Author Archives: Chapel Hill

Advantages of Inpatient (Residential) Treatment

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment for Addiction: What’s the Difference?

There are many decisions to make when you or a loved one are faced with the life-changing challenge of entering rehabilitation. With this in mind, it is important to consider many factors before committing. One of the most important factors is deciding on “inpatient” vs. “outpatient” treatment options. 

Inpatient treatment generally refers to a drug or alcohol treatment program consisting of an intensive, residential experience that is designed to treat a more serious level of addiction. 

Outpatient treatment refers to a “part-time” program that is more like going to class or a doctor’s appointment before heading home for the day. Outpatient programs allow for the flexibility to live at home and generally can allow for patients to continue working or attending school. 

It is important for addicts as well as their loved ones to understand the pros and cons of different types of treatment before selecting a program. Finding the best treatment program can be the key to achieving lost-lasting sobriety.   

Understanding Addiction Recovery

It is important to understand some of the fundamentals of addiction recovery before making a final decision about which type to jump into. Rehab must address not only the addiction at hand but also several underlying factors (such as mental health) as well. 

While every rehab facility may have different ideas and strategies, there are some similarities that can apply across the board. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are several factors that all successful rehab programs should address. 

Physical Well-Being

Many addiction patients come into treatment with serious health issues. One of the main goals of every rehab program is to reverse the negative health effects caused by drug or alcohol abuse. This will include easing withdrawal symptoms through medically supervised detox and using other methods (such as physical therapy techniques) to increase physical comfort and reduce pain. 

Mental Health

Over half of addiction cases have an underlying or accompanying mental health issue. These issues range from depression to anxiety or bipolar disorder. Any successful rehab program must address accompanying mental health disorders. If someone struggling with an addiction has a serious mental health disorder, that is known as a “dual diagnosis” or co-occurring condition. There are special treatment programs just for co-occurring conditions but the majority of rehabilitation programs offer mental health care in addition to addiction care. 

Social Skills

Drug and alcohol abuse can take a serious toll on a person’s social life. Addicts often use substance use as a crutch to mask social anxiety or a crutch to help them avoid social situations. Successful treatment programs will integrate therapy that helps patients rebuild and improve social skills.  

Environmental Triggers

Most drug or alcohol addicts have social or environmental triggers that will make sobriety difficult to obtain without a controlled environment. Whether it is stress, unhealthy relationships, or trauma, these triggers can lead back to substance abuse over and over. Addiction therapy must address the issues that cause patients to keep returning to the harmful behaviors of addiction.

Primary Differences Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment

At first glance, it may appear the only difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment is the ability to return home at the end of the day. However, this is only part of the equation. 

Inpatient (also known as residential treatment) is designed to remove distractions, environmental triggers, and temptations that can be present in our day-to-day lives. One main benefit of an inpatient program is the guarantee of a drug or alcohol-free environment. This cannot be said for the home lives of many people struggling with addiction. 

Those in inpatient treatment are constantly surrounded by people who have the same goals and intentions as them and will be there to hold them accountable. Inpatient treatment can be jarring but can also provide the structure and accountability necessary to make lasting changes.    

Outpatient treatment allows significantly more freedom than inpatient treatment, but with that freedom comes increased temptation. While they are more flexible, most outpatient treatment programs require a minimum number of hours spent in treatment per week. This can be done on campus or virtually. An outpatient approach to treatment will allow for a patient to maintain some normalcy with home and work life. Outpatient options can be great for those struggling with less intense levels of addiction or more demanding home lives but many of the environmental and societal triggers will still be present. 

Advantages of Inpatient (Residential) Treatment

Beating any bad habit requires limiting exposure to the triggers that cause the habit in the first place. If someone is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it makes sense to remove drugs and alcohol from their proximity as much as possible. If someone is trying to lose weight, it would not be a great idea to be constantly surrounded by cake and cheeseburgers. 

This theory provides the backbone of inpatient rehab treatment and why it is generally the best course of action for someone with a severe or long-term addiction. Inpatient treatment specializes in providing a consistent, trigger-free environment where someone can focus solely on their recovery. Inpatient recovery allows a patient to be held accountable 24/7 and gives a support system that may not be present at home. 

The immersive nature of residential treatment also allows rehab facilities to offer a variety of different treatment and therapy options including one-on-one counseling, group therapy, recreation therapy, and even specialized opportunities like equine therapy. 

Many inpatient treatment centers also provide 24hr on-call medical care that can aid in some of the more difficult stages of treatment, such as detox. For some of the more habit-forming substances, like cocaine or heroin, this medical treatment can be an invaluable addition to a treatment repertoire. 

Inpatient treatment can be especially beneficial for dual diagnosis patients. The inpatient experience will allow these patients to have the best mental health and drug rehabilitation care in an environment that is supportive, understanding, and consistent. 

Advantages of Outpatient Treatment

inpatient vs outpatientWhile inpatient treatment can be extremely effective, not every patient requires that level of supervision and care. Inpatient addiction treatment can offer a high level of care while still allowing for the freedom to maintain some level of normalcy at home, work, or school. Not everyone has a level of addiction that requires a one- to three-month break from life. Many folks do not have the financial flexibility to take several weeks or months away from their job or family.  This is where an outpatient treatment program can offer a level of convenience that can allow for successful treatment without upending someone’s life. 

The price difference in the different treatment experiences is also something to consider. While an inpatient treatment experience certainly offers “more” in terms of care options, it can also be anywhere from 5 to 10 times the cost. Inpatient treatment can vary in cost from $5000 to $60,000 a month. While insurance can cover a portion of this, an inpatient option will still almost always be the more affordable path.

While price and obligation are certainly factors, inpatient rehab is generally best for patients who are seeking care for more mild forms of addiction. Generally, detox must happen in a supervised, residential treatment setting. Inpatient treatment can offer a flexible, effective environment for the right patients. 

Questions to Ask to Help Decide Which Treatment is Right

While we have discussed some of the pros and cons of inpatient and outpatient treatment, it is important to look at every situation individually and weigh the benefits and obligations carefully. There are some important questions to ask before you or your loved one commits to a treatment plan:

  • How long can I realistically step away from my life?
  • Do I need child care?
  • How serious is my addiction?
  • Are there serious environmental triggers in my home?
  • Will I be around drug or alcohol use often?
  • Is Transportation an issue?
  • What type of treatment does my insurance cover?
  • What type of treatment can I afford?

While there are certainly other factors to consider, this is a helpful checklist to push you towards the best treatment options for you. 

Start Your Treatment Journey with Chapel Hill Detox Today

Treating drug and alcohol addiction can be difficult and complex. Making the best treatment decision for your situation is an important step to successful sobriety. Treatment is a long-term investment that requires work and hardship before success can be achieved. Whether you decide on inpatient or outpatient treatment, our facilities and our team are here to guide you every step of the way.

If you or someone you love are dealing with the effects of drug or alcohol addiction, contact Chapel Hill Detox today. Our beautiful facilities feature professional and compassionate staff, various treatment options, and board-certified physicians. Let us help you begin the journey to recovery.

Medicinal Marijuana Use

Is Marijuana a Stimulant or a Depressant?

Marijuana tends to affect each individual differently. Because of the different forms of marijuana and its various potential effects, many users could find themselves wondering, “Is marijuana a stimulant or a depressant?” The legalization of medical and recreational use of marijuana is becoming extremely prevalent. It is essential people understand the implications of using cannabis products. 

Marijuana and Its Effects

Marijuana affects users in unique ways, but most report a sense of pleasant euphoria and relaxation when smoked or consumed. Other reported effects include:

  • Laughter
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased sensory perception – for example, brighter colors 
  • Altered sense of the passing of time 

Adverse Effects

Many individuals who use marijuana may experience unpleasant effects. Each person may have a different experience when using marijuana. Instead of feeling the pleasant effects mentioned above, some people may experience:

Users who experience unpleasant effects may have consumed too much marijuana. It’s not uncommon for someone to feel undesirable effects if they have taken too much. Potency can often be hard to judge in marijuana. It is reported that large doses of marijuana can cause people to experience sudden psychosis, which could include delusions, a loss of personal identity, or hallucinations. 

Adverse effects related to marijuana are temporary. However, individuals prone to psychotic disorders like schizophrenia may be more likely to experience sudden psychosis after using marijuana. Research suggests a link between psychiatric disorders and marijuana in vulnerable people. 

Drug Classifications

Each drug is classified according to its properties and effects. Most drugs fall into one of the following categories:


Stimulants elevate your mood, energy levels, and alertness. These are known to be highly addictive. Examples of stimulants include methamphetamine, cocaine, and prescription drugs for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as Adderall.


Depressants slow down brain function. They have a beneficial use medically but are sometimes abused. Some examples of depressants include Xanax, barbiturates, and alcohol. 


Hallucinogens change the way nerve cells communicate in the brain. This typically causes an alteration in the individual’s perception of reality. Examples of hallucinogens include MDMA and LSD.


Opiates and opioids are painkillers that produce feelings of euphoria. These can have severe long-term consequences on the brain. Opiates are highly addictive but play a significant role in the medical field. Examples of opiates include morphine, prescription painkillers, and heroin. 

Where Does Marijuana Fit?

The effects of marijuana tend to vary from person to person. It is not completely clear where marijuana fits in the classifications. Aside from how it can vary from person to person, different strains and types of marijuana produce different effects. 

Is Marijuana a Depressant?

Marijuana can be considered a depressant since it affects the nervous system and slows down brain activity. This effect can result in calmed nerves and relaxed muscles. Since you can build a tolerance to marijuana, people tend to increase usage to acquire its desired effects. 

Is Marijuana a Stimulant?

Marijuana can also be considered a stimulant for a few reasons. Right after using marijuana, you may feel energetic and alert, similar to stimulants. Some individuals become dependent on marijuana for the mood effects it causes.

Is Marijuana a Hallucinogen?

Though some people stereotype marijuana as a hallucinogen, it’s rare for someone to experience a hallucination while under the influence of marijuana. Hallucinations are viewed as false perceptions of senses, objects, and events. That being said, the altered sense of time could be considered a part of a hallucination.

Risks of Marijuana Use

is marijuana a stimulantMarijuana is an extremely popular drug. It is often considered the most commonly used illicit drug. Mental health advocates often worry about the potential risks of using marijuana. Some risks associated with short and long-term use include:

  • Decreased motor function: Driving within three hours of marijuana use can be dangerous. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, marijuana is the second most common substance found in drivers. Even with the use of medical marijuana, medical professionals suggest not to operate a vehicle until they can conduct motor tasks successfully. 
  • Schizophrenia relapse: The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has reported that marijuana use can trigger schizophrenia symptoms. 
  • Hallucinations: Though it is scarce, a small portion of people may experience hallucinations. These hallucinations may cause delusions or change your thought processes.
  • Anxiety: Uncontrollable uneasiness
  • Memory: Recall issues 

Youth Marijuana Use

Risks associated with younger users are generally more severe than older users. Marijuana can cause long-term issues for younger people. Research suggests that it may alter the process of normal brain development. Some side effects for younger users of marijuana include:

  • Cognition issues (affecting the ability to understand)
  • Memory loss
  • Decrease in IQ

A University of Montreal study found that early marijuana use can physically and emotionally affect teens. Individuals that started smoking marijuana at around 14 years old scored worse than non-smokers on cognitive tests. The smoking group also had a higher school dropout rate. The study shows that people who waited until age 17 to start using marijuana did not score worse on cognitive tests. 

How Does Marijuana Work?

Marijuana is most commonly smoked. When smoked, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other chemicals enter the lungs and the bloodstream. THC is then carried through the body and eventually to the brain. It stimulates cells in the brain, causing them to release dopamine, which produces a euphoric feeling. THC interferes with how the hippocampus works, sometimes interfering with how it processes new information.

Individuals do not only smoke marijuana to experience its effects. Cannabis can be infused in beverages or food. When consuming edible marijuana, the effects are delayed. This is mainly because the drug must pass through the digestive system. Effects of edible marijuana typically take 30 minutes to one hour to kick in. Because of this, many individuals accidentally consume more THC than they originally intended.

Medicinal Marijuana Use

By 2017, almost half of the United States had legalized medical marijuana. People have been using marijuana for medical purposes for much longer than that, though. Several states have even legalized recreational marijuana use. 

Dronabinol is an FDA-approved drug used to prevent and treat vomiting and nausea that people experience with certain cancer medications. It utilizes the medical aspects of marijuana while having the THC content removed (or synthesized). Dronabinol is also used to increase AIDS patient’s appetites. 

Marijuana: THC and CBD

THC is responsible for the majority of the psychological effects people experience when using marijuana. It acts similarly to the cannabinoid chemicals that naturally occur in the body. THC activates receptors in certain parts of the brain. It may affect areas that are responsible for:

  • Coordination
  • Memory
  • Thinking
  • Concentration
  • Pleasure
  • Sensory and time perception

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is known as the second most active ingredient in marijuana. This is obtained from the hemp plant, which is a plant cousin of marijuana. CBD is not responsible for the “high” people tend to associate with marijuana. Pure CBD is available in most areas of the United States. The World Health Organization reported that “…there is no evidence of public-health related problems with the use of pure CBD.”

Cannabis and Other Drugs

Cannabis is known to have relatively mild interactions with other chemical compounds. When chemical compounds mix, interactions can range from mild to severe. This goes for all substances, including over-the-counter medications, illicit substances, and prescription drugs. Some drugs work exceptionally well with cannabis. 

Marijuana and Blood Thinners

is marijuana a stimulant or a depressantStudies show that CBD and THC may enhance the effects of certain blood-thinning drugs. Drugs that cause blood thinning like heparin or warfarin show an increased effect when combined with THC and CBD. It is worth noting that drugs with side effects resulting in blood-thinning also cause increased blood thinning when paired with marijuana, which may be dangerous for some individuals. 

Marijuana and Opioids

A team of researchers found that cannabis can boost the pain-relieving qualities of opioids. That being said, doctors may prescribe and use lower doses of opioids with their patients, reducing the risk of addiction. Lower doses also result in decreased side effects. 

Marijuana and Blood Pressure Drugs

THC is proven to activate the CB1 and CB2 brain receptors simultaneously. The effect is expressed in stress response in the cardiovascular system. The stress response reduces blood flow and can increase the effects of blood pressure-reducing drugs. 

Marijuana and Alcohol

A general rule of thumb is not to mix alcohol with any drugs. Some studies do show that people are more likely to consume less alcohol following the use of cannabis. Combining cannabis and alcohol poses a couple of different threats:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and cannabis is extremely dangerous
  • Since cannabis is used in reducing vomiting and nausea, it poses a threat in terms of alcohol poisoning. When an individual has too much to drink, the body may not be able to purge toxins, which sets the individual at a higher risk for alcohol poisoning. 

Is It Possible to Get Addicted to Marijuana?

Marijuana use disorder is a real disorder that sometimes takes the form of addiction. Recent research shows that it is possible to develop a physical or psychological addiction to marijuana. The addiction is mainly connected to dependence, though. Some heavy marijuana users can feel withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug. These symptoms, lasting for up to two weeks, may include:

  • Sleep issues
  • Decreased appetite
  • Irritability
  • Drug cravings
  • Physical discomfort
  • Restlessness

Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana addictions typically involve less severe long-term outcomes when compared to other substance use disorders. There are consequences to marijuana addiction, though, as it can impact an individual’s daily life. Most adults who seek treatment for marijuana addiction have used marijuana consistently for ten years without quitting. 

Marijuana treatment programs work similarly to other substance abuse programs. Aspects of the 12-step program prove beneficial. Many different therapeutic treatments have shown positive outcomes with people suffering from addiction, including:

Chapel Hill Detox Can Help You Now

Addiction brings several consequences to the suffering individual as well as their loved ones. At Chapel Hill Detox, we believe each person has the right to recover from their addiction. We offer proven programs, and our licensed staff is experienced in working with individuals from all backgrounds. If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction, contact us today. 


Staying Sober Through a Break-Up

With February 14th right around the corner, love is in the air… wait, is that love, or is that just a kind of triggering, super obnoxious and overly commercialized holiday that was originally developed by greeting card companies exclusively for profit? The truth is, Valentine’s Day does have some historical origins – it was not actually developed by Hallmark in order to boost greeting card sales. Still, it is estimated that Americans spend roughly 20 billion dollars on this day every year. So yeah – there might be a little bit of societal pressure involved. If you are currently in a relationship, you might be planning a cute little (COVID-friendly) dinner date, or expecting the same overpriced bouquet of roses you get annually. If you are currently single, you are probably dreading the holiday or expecting to violently ignore it altogether. Maybe you’re hosting a Single’s Only movie night, or simply locking yourself inside and watching The Notebook on repeat as you cry into your cat. Whatever the case may be, the reality of the situation is inevitable – Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and “relationship-centric” holidays really suck for some of us.

Romance, Valentine’s Day and Sobriety

As far as addiction recovery goes – we are told to stay out of romantic relationships for the first year of our sobriety. There are several reasons behind this sentiment. First of all, romantic relationships serve as a major distraction. Because staying sober is no small feat, we truly do need to give our recovery our full attention during (at least) the initial 12 months. Entering into a relationship takes away from our program, even if we adamantly attempt to convince ourselves that it doesn’t. There will come a day when we skip out on an AA meeting in lieu of a beach day with our sweetie, or a night when we overshoot the halfway house curfew by a solid 45 minutes because we were passionately making out in a Taco Bell parking lot. So yes, in short – romance (or whatever you want to call it) can be a distraction, and can detract from what it is we are actually trying to achieve, which is, uh… becoming a whole and functional human being. Secondly, going through a break-up can serve as a major relapse trigger. Break-ups are never fun, and they often lead to a wide variety of super uncomfortable emotions, like grief, sadness, self-pity and poor self-esteem. All of these feelings are triggering, and there is a good chance that if you are only several weeks into your recovery journey you don’t yet know how to handle them.

If you are reading this and you are both new to recovery and currently romantically involved – of course you are. Getting sober is hard, taking suggestions is even harder. We truly do think we know what’s best for us, even when our very best thinking landed us in rehab in the first place. If this is the case, however, know that all hope is not lost. We have compiled a list of ways to stay sober through anything – even through a heart-wrenching early recovery break-up.

Staying Sober Through a Break-Up

Here are several tips on how to stay sober through even the nastiest of break-ups:

  • Even though it might seem “overly dramatic,” block your ex on all forms of social media immediately. Space is crucial to healing, and taking a break from Facebook might not be enough – if you really want to move on, it’s a good idea to go through the motions and completely distance yourself. Otherwise, you can easily fall back into the pattern you are trying to avoid. Get back together, break-up again, get back together one last time – distance yourself!
  • Even if you don’t feel emotionally up to doing so, stay committed to your daily recovery routine. Go to your homegroup even if you cry through the whole meeting, call your sponsor even if you “really don’t want to talk about it,” and talk to your higher power every morning and every evening, even if it’s just to say, “Why do you hate me?” Even if you’re just going through the motions, stick to your schedule.
  • Find some creative outlets. Working through emotions is tricky, and it might be difficult to talk things out when the wounds are still fresh. Try jotting down your feelings in a journal or utilizing another form of artistic expression, like drawing, painting or collaging. If art isn’t your thing, try exercising – go for a jog on the beach (and if you feel like crying, allow yourself to cry) or take a yoga class with a close friend. Try to move the uncomfortable emotions through your body in any way that feels right, and remember to be patient with yourself while you explore what works for you.
  • Reach out for additional help and support. Maybe AA meetings aren’t enough, and you know that you would benefit from a one-on-one session with a trusted therapist or addiction counselor. Deep down you know what it is you need – listen to your gut, and reach out for additional help if you need to. Sometimes working through a break-up with an unbiased therapist can make all of the difference in the world.

More on Developing a Healthy Support System

Developing a healthy support system does not mean finding a recovery “ride or die” and relying on this person for support and encouragement. Developing a healthy support system means finding a group of men or women (it is generally a good rule of thumb to stick with people of the same gender, or at least people that you don’t run the risk of falling madly in love with) who have been sober for longer than you have. People who have something that you want – whether that be a level of self-confidence that seems entirely unattainable, the ability to open up emotionally and get vulnerable or simply a life beyond your wildest dreams. Find a group of sober role models, and stick with these people. “Stick with the winners,” as they say. A “winner” is not someone who wears the most expensive sneakers or someone who drives the fanciest whip, but someone who has managed to stay sober long-term and who is truly living his or her best life.

Chapel Hill Detox – Begin Your Personal Journey of Healing

If you have recently experienced a relapse or if you have yet to commit to a long-term program of addiction recovery, we are available to help. At Chapel Hill Detox we know exactly what it takes to get and stay sober, seeing as the majority of our staff members have overcome addiction themselves years ago. Our team of experienced medical professionals, licensed therapists and addiction specialists work together to provide the most comprehensive detox program available throughout Southern Florida. In addition to focusing on physical stabilization and a pain-free drug or alcohol withdrawal, we offer therapeutic intervention and rehab placement services geared towards helping our clients continue on in their personal recovery journeys. If you would like to learn more or get started, please feel free to reach out to us today. If you have been tempted to pick up after undergoing an unpleasant break-up or another emotionally difficult experience, we are available to offer any additional support you might need.

Call us today. 844.526.0032

The Benefits of Going Back to Work in Addiction Recovery

Early recovery is a very challenging time for a number of reasons. Not only are you adjusting to an entirely new way of life, but you are essentially starting from scratch while scrambling to pick up whatever pieces of your life still remain. Active addiction does quite a number on everyone involved. By the end of your run, you will likely have little energy for anything other than going to treatment and staying sober day-to-day. The good news is, for the first six months of your sobriety (give or take), this is all you will be responsible for. You will begin with a medical detox program – much like that provided by Chapel Hill Detox. Medical detox will last for between one and two weeks, depending on the unique medical and clinical needs of each individual client. This is a necessary first stage of every program of recovery, during which clients work towards physical stabilization as they detox from their substance of choice. Once a client has been deemed physically stabilized, he or she transfers into an inpatient treatment program, which is also known as residential care or drug and alcohol rehab. This stage of the recovery process is the most intensive and involved, and typically lasts for between three and six months – depending on the severity of the substance abuse disorder. During inpatient treatment, clients will undergo intensive therapy, 12-step program immersion and life skills training, and they will begin developing the coping mechanisms they need to stay sober for years to come.

Once inpatient treatment is complete, the client will generally transfer into a sober living home and continue on with clinical care in an outpatient treatment setting. Intensive outpatient treatment, or outpatient treatment, provides continued one-on-one and group therapy and provides a safe and supportive environment in which clients can work through the real life recovery-related challenges that they are facing. During this stage of the recovery process, vocational training will typically begin. Vocational training helps clients find an appropriate career, apply for the job they want and maintain the job long-term.

Benefits of Working in Addiction Recovery

You might be thinking to yourself, “If I have to focus all of my attention on my sobriety and prioritize my recovery, how will I have time to get anything else done?” Life is all about balance, and considering the fact that recovery is a lifelong process, it is better to get acquainted with balance sooner rather than later. Yes, recovery should remain your number one priority. But this does not mean that it will be your only priority, and that you have to dedicate all of your time and attention to staying sober. Over time, you will develop your own personal recovery routine – you will find out what works for you, and what it takes to stay sober day-to-day. This might look like meeting with an individual therapist once a week, going to a 12-step meeting every day and waking up in time for an 8 a.m. yoga class. This might look like going for a jog on the beach and meditating for 20 minutes, making five 12-step meetings every week and actively working through your stepwork with a sponsor. The point is, while recovery does need to remain your top priority, it does not need to take up every waking moment of your life. You will have time for other things. Part of the beauty of addiction recovery is your newfound ability to get to know yourself on a deep and authentic level. You will learn what you like and what you dislike, what your passions are and what goals you want to pursue. This will allow you to look into a career that has the potential for longevity and that is consistently fulfilling. Before we got sober, we struggled to make it to work on time, showed up intoxicated and got fired again and again. We worked jobs that pay the bills, but that didn’t bring any more to the table than that. While it is a good idea to find a mellow job to begin with, there is no reason why you can’t begin working towards your personal goals the moment you get out of inpatient rehab.

There are many benefits to getting a job in early recovery, including:

  • Working towards financial independence
  • Building self-esteem and a sense of self-worth
  • Providing a built-in social circle
  • Further honing communication skills
  • Learning how to effectively deal with high stress situations without the use of drugs or alcohol

Most inpatient treatment centers will help with vocational training, meaning that they will help clients find a job and teach them the skills they need to build a resume and interview effectively. At Chapel Hill detox, we work closely with many intensive outpatient programs that put a strong emphasis on vocational training, and we are happy to point our clients in the right direction. We focus on thorough aftercare planning, meaning that we work hard to prepare each one of our individual clients for the road ahead by placing them in the next appropriate level of clinical care.

Developing a Schedule for Success

Getting a job also helps with scheduling and structure. As the saying goes, “Idle hands are the Devil’s playthings.” This essentially means that when people are bored or have nothing to do, they are more inclined to fill their free time up with negative behavioral patterns than positive or beneficial ones. When it comes to early recovery, the saying rings particularly true. When we first get sober, it takes a while to adjust to not immediately reaching for chemical substances when we feel a little bored or restless. We need to train ourselves to do other things, like pick up a book, start in on a craft or art project or take a walk around the block. Having some kind of structured routine in place is very important, because early recovery is a vulnerable time and rates of relapse tend to be higher than they are during any other stage of the recovery process. Getting a job automatically structures the week. Doing so will also help you develop a stronger sense of self-discipline, and as you continue to show up to work on time (and not drunk or high off your rocker), you will slowly build up a stronger sense of self-esteem. Most of us feel pretty badly about how we performed in every aspect of our lives while we were active in our addictions. Not only did we struggle to show up to work at all, but we consistently let people down and often pretended like we didn’t care. Of course, deep down we did care. It feels good to do good.

Chapel Hill Detox

At Chapel Hill Detox we offer a safe withdrawal experience and a luxury style setting, complete with around the clock medical care and a thorough introduction to the remainder of the recovery process. While medical detox is the first step of every single journey of addiction recovery, it is never a standalone solution for substance abuse or dependence. In order to be effective long-term, detox must be followed up by a more intensive program of clinical care. For this reason, we offer rehab placement services to each of our clients, helping them plan for the road ahead. For more information on our detox program or to learn more about the benefits that go hand-in-hand with working in early recovery, feel free to reach out to us at any point in time.

Call us today. 844.526.0032

Detoxing At Home

What is Medically Monitored Detox?

Medically monitored detox is the initial stage of every long-term program of addiction recovery. It involves facilitating a safe and pain-free withdrawal process in a structured and closely monitored environment. As clients undergo drug or alcohol withdrawal, all associated symptoms are professionally treated the moment they arise. In most instances (depending on the type of substance that was being abused and the severity of abuse) medical detox lasts for between several days and two weeks. Most reputable detox facilities pay special attention to aftercare planning, and clients transition from detox into a higher level of clinical care (like inpatient rehab) as soon as they are deemed physically stabilized and given the “all clear.” Because some people remain unaware of the resources that are readily available to them, and because some people think that they can effectively undergo withdrawal in an at-home setting, many men and women who desperately need detox fail to seek professional help. It is important to understand just how severe the symptoms of withdrawal can be, and how crucial it is that professional treatment is sought in order to avoid severe medical complications. If you or someone you love has been struggling with substance abuse or dependence and you are unsure as to whether or not professional treatment is necessary, reach out to Chapel Hill Detox today. Our team of experienced specialists is standing by to answer any additional questions you might have regarding the early recovery process, or to start on your own personal journey of lifelong healing.

Can I Safely Detox in an At-Home Setting?

Can you safely detox in an at-home setting after using chemical substances for an extended period of time? Well, it really depends on what chemical substances you were using and for how long. Generally speaking, the answer is no – drug and alcohol withdrawal can be extremely unpredictable, and the symptoms vary significantly on a person-to-person basis. If these symptoms are not adequately treated in a medical detox facility they can even be life-threatening, because they can lead to seizures, heart palpitations, stroke and coma (among many other serious symptoms). Some people will obtain a medication like Suboxone – a medication that was designed to help with opioid withdrawal – and attempt to administer this medication on their own. This is never a good idea, seeing as medications like Suboxone should always be administered by a medical professional. Not only is the dosage extremely important, but Suboxone can be habit forming in and of itself if it is not taken properly. Below we have broken down the withdrawal symptoms that tend to go hand in hand with certain chemical substances. If you or someone close to you has been struggling with substance abuse or dependence and has attempted to quit without help, and has not been successful in doing so, reach out to us today.

Withdrawal Symptoms – A Substance-By-Substance Breakdown

Alcohol – Alcohol is responsible for some of the most severe and potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. The very first signs of alcohol withdrawal typically begin within several hours after the last drink was taken, and intensify until they peak at between 24 and 48 hours. Individuals who drink an excessive amount of alcohol for an extended period of time are at a high risk of seizures, and this risk can remain high from the first day up to the first three days of withdrawal. men and women who struggled with severe alcoholism are also at a high risk of developing delirium tremens, an alcohol withdrawal disorder that includes very serious symptoms, ranging from body tremors and seizures to hallucinations and paranoid delusions.

Benzodiazepines – Benzodiazepines, like alcohol, can result in very serious and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Benzodiazepines are a type of prescription medication generally taken for anxiety or sleep disorders. Some common name brand benzodiazepines include Xanax, Valium, Clonazepam, Ativan and Klonopin. In most instances, benzodiazepine withdrawal begins within the first 24 hours to the first four days after the last use, and usually peaks in severity sometime during the first two weeks of detox. However, if benzodiazepine withdrawal is not immediately treated by a team of medical professionals, protracted or Post acute withdrawal symptoms can last for several months up to a year or more.

Some of the more severe symptoms associated with benzodiazepine withdrawal include extreme anxiety, panic attacks, seizures, severe stomach cramping, insomnia, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Short and Long-Acting Opioid Narcotics – While the symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal are rarely life-threatening, they can be extremely uncomfortable, and the psychological cravings that go hand-in-hand with opioid detox often lead to relapse. Short-acting opioids like heroin and certain prescription painkillers generally cause withdrawal symptoms within the first 8 to 24 hours after the final dose. Individuals who were actively abusing heroin and prescription painkillers like codeine and morphine well typically experience withdrawal symptoms that last for between three days and two full weeks. Longer-acting opioid narcotics, like methadone, cause a range of withdrawal symptoms within two to four days after the final dose, which can last for up to two weeks.

Withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid abuse often mimic the symptoms associated with a severe cold or flu, and include nausea, diarrhea, hot and cold flashes, profuse sweating, runny nose, insomnia and extreme anxiety.

Stimulants – Illicit stimulant drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine, and prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin also result in withdrawal symptoms that are not typically life-threatening. Depending on the type of drug that was being abused, withdrawal symptoms begin within the first 24 hours to the first two days, and typically completely resolve within the first two weeks. Most stimulant drugs result in more severe psychological withdrawal symptoms than physical withdrawal symptoms, the most common which can include severe depression, anxiety and nervousness, irritation and mood swings, hallucinations, suicidal ideation and psychotic episodes.

The Dangers Involved in Detoxing at Home

There are many risks involved in detoxing at home – or attempting to do so. Even if you were abusing a chemical substance for a very short period of time, there is no way of knowing how the detox process will impact you and what symptoms you are going to experience. While the physical symptoms might not be too severe, the psychological symptoms can lead to serious consequences. For example, if you attempt to detox at home and you experience a panic attack, you might not be able to catch your breath or calm yourself down, and you might begin to hyperventilate. Medical detox facilities provide a combination of effective clinical care and psychological intervention, providing clients with the medication they need to overcome all symptoms, no matter how severe.

Chapel Hill Detox – Comprehensive Medical Detox

At Chapel Hill Detox we offer comprehensive medical and psychological care in a professionally run, state-of-the-art facility. Are detox facility was carefully designed with client comfort in mind, and the 12-step model of Alcoholics Anonymous. Because medically monitored detox is only the very first step on the long-term road to recovery, we also help our clients with rehab placement. We work very closely with many reputable, gender specific treatment centers throughout New Jersey and all surrounding areas. Before you attempt to detox in an at-home setting, reach out to a detox facility like Chapel Hill and thoroughly research your options. If you are concerned about covering the cost of medical detox, rest assured that we work very closely with most major health insurance providers. Even if you are currently uninsured, we will help you develop a reasonable plan and get you into treatment as soon as physically possible. We understand that when it comes to seeking professional medical care for the physical and psychological symptoms associated with drug and alcohol withdrawal, there is truly no time to wait.

Call us today. 844.526.0032

Sober and COVID-Friendly Activities

Even though 2021 is already looking a lot better than the year prior – made exceedingly evident by widely circulating Bernie Sanders memes – we are still in the midst of nationwide shutdowns and stay-at-home orders. For those of us who are in addiction recovery, this time has been exceedingly difficult, seeing as many of us rely heavily on in-person peer support groups in order to maintain accountability. We have all had to navigate a series of strange and unprecedented events, and many of us have slowly adapted to what can be considered (at this point) the “new normal.” At the same time, many of us are starting to get a little bit restless – which can be dangerous to our sobriety if we don’t learn how to manage the restlessness and pour our energy into healthy and productive activities. So what do we do? Where do we go from here?

At Chapel Hill Detox we sincerely believe that with the right tools in place, you can successfully stay sober through any challenge that life throws your way. But in order to stay sober, you also have to be having some degree of fun. We have compiled a list of healthy and recovery-friendly ways in which to have fun as you navigate a masked country with a super early bedtime.

Fun Sober Activities to Enjoy During Lockdown

Some examples of fun sober activities to enjoy during lockdown include:

  • Host a virtual arts and crafts night. Get a small group of friends together and settle on an art project, then host a virtual hangout and complete the project together. This is a good way to stay connected to others while engaging in an activity that can be therapeutic. You can look online for pre-organized craft kits, and easily order some to be delivered – or, completely DIY it and use items that can be found in every household.
  • Start a book club. Reading seems to be somewhat of a lost pastime, what with the emergence of social media and the popularity of Netflix and chill. Find a group of friends (or even acquaintances) and settle on a different book every month. Host a Zoom meeting at the end of the month to discuss the book. not only will this help you stay accountable, but it will help you stay connected.
  • Learn to knit. Knitting might seem pretty lame to those who have never tried it, but it is actually extraordinarily fun, and if you get a move on it now you might have a scarf or a beanie to give a loved one come next Christmas.
  • Learn to make memes and send personalized memes to your friends. Take advantage of new technology and make yourself laugh all at once. Making memes is actually pretty cathartic.
  • Learn to cook. Do you miss eating out at your favorite sushi restaurant? Learn to recreate the best rolls yourself. Do you wish that you could enjoy a pasta dinner in that dimly lit Italian joint down the road? Light some candles and learn how to make pasta. Cooking is a great way to pass the time and it can be extremely therapeutic. Not to mention, by the time quarantine is lifted you will be equipped with a completely new skill set.
  • Make a pie for a neighbor. It might be a little weird, but so what. Bake a pie for your favorite neighbor and hand-deliver it to their doorstep. You might accidentally start a movement, who knows.
  • Take an extended break from social media and get to know yourself a little bit better. This is a great time to get to know yourself on a more personal basis. What do you like? What do you dislike? You can even get really weird with it and have a conversation with yourself. Why not, it’s not like anyone is watching.
  • Make up your own TikTok dance. Once the social media break has ended, try choreographing your very own 60 second dance and post your moves online. This is a very new age way to fit some exercise into your daily routine.
  • Clean the living crap out of your personal space. Having a clean space helps facilitate mental well-being. Deep clean everything in sight – you’ll definitely feel good once the cleaning process is over.
  • Take a long bath and read a book. Treat yo’self. You deserve it.

Ways to Stay Sober Amid the Boredom

In addition to having extracurricular fun and finding hobbies and activities that you enjoy, remember to stay up-to-date on your personal program of recovery. Here are several ways in which you can adjust your daily routine but still stay sober long-term.

  • Get engaged in virtual Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Most meetings have moved online, but that is not an excuse to avoid them. You can easily find a meeting in any city or state across the US – which is actually really cool. If you so desire, you can virtually attend a meeting in a different state every single day. There are many groups on social media outlets like Facebook that offer virtual meeting lists, you just have to know where to look. reach out to Chapel Hill Detox for more information.
  • Pray and meditate every morning and every evening (or whenever you see fit). Keeping up with your prayer and meditation is essential to the maintenance of sobriety. Now is the perfect time to explore guided meditations online, or explore different methods of prayer. Explore, explore, explore! There are many ways in which to make your spiritual journey a super fun one.
  • Incorporate a holistic treatment method into your daily routine. For example, Yoga Therapy or Nutritional Therapy. Look back to your treatment days and draw examples from that program. Did you find that yoga helped quiet your mind and relieve stress? Did you find that preparing nutrient-dense meals helped alleviate cravings? Try some alternative methods of therapy and self-soothing that have the potential to transform into helpful hobbies.
  • Find a recovery-related book and read a chapter or an excerpt before you go to bed every evening (or first thing when you wake up in the morning). not only will this add some much-needed structure to your day, but it will help you start and end the day on a solid note. Sometimes something as simple as an inspirational quote can provide you with the motivation you need to make it through the day.
  • Make sure that you are attending to your mental health. If you suffer from a dual diagnosis disorder – and even if you don’t – this is a really good time to keep up with individual therapy sessions. you might not be able to meet with a therapist in person, but you can still orchestrate online visits. Take whatever steps necessary to ensure that your mental health stays intact, seeing as this unique time has been shown to contribute to anxiety and depression.

Chapel Hill Detox and Addiction Recovery

If you are not currently in a program of recovery, and you have been suffering at the hands of a mild, moderate or severe substance abuse disorder, this is an ideal time to reach out for help. Chapel Hill Detox provides essential treatment services to men and women throughout New Jersey and all surrounding areas. Reach out today to learn more about our comprehensive detox program, or to begin your own journey of healing. We look forward to speaking with you soon and helping out in any way possible.

Call us today. 844.526.0032

Interview with a Chronic Relapser

If you have already been in recovery for any extended period of time, you likely have extensive experience with relapse. Even if you yourself have never relapsed, you have heard about it in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on a regular basis, or you have a close friend who has experienced a relapse. Basically, a relapse refers to a return to drinking or drug use after an extended period of sobriety.

For many people, this is simply a reality of the recovery process. Others never experience a relapse and stay completely abstinent from the time they enter into drug and alcohol rehab to the time they leave God’s green earth. While there is no “right way” to recover, it is obviously ideal to never experience a relapse – and if you do, to bounce back super quickly, learn from your mistakes, and never fall into the same pattern again.

There are those, however, who are considered “chronic relapsers.” These men and women cannot seem to stay sober for the life of them. They might scrape together a few days or weeks, but they eventually find themselves picking up their drug of choice or pulling into the parking lot of the neighborhood dive bar.

Learning from the Mistakes of Others

Addiction recovery is a process that relies heavily on peer support. If we allow ourselves to, we can successfully learn from the shortcomings of others and avoid making the same mistakes. We recently sat down with a young man who – up until somewhat recently – could not stay sober to (quite literally) save his life. We asked him for insight as to why he thought he struggled to stay clean, and what advice he had for those who might be struggling with the same issue. If you have had a difficult time staying sober in the past, remember that help is available the moment you reach out for it. At Chapel Hill Detox we have extensive experience helping men and women of all ages maintain long-term sobriety, regardless of how much they have previously struggled to do so. For more information on our comprehensive medical detox program or to get started on your personal journey of lifelong healing, simply pick up the phone and give us a call.

Interview with a Chronic Relapser

Chapel Hill Detox: Thank you for agreeing to meet with us today! First of all, would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself and your personal history with substance abuse?
Mark: No problem! So, I kind of have what could be considered a classic story, and the sense that I was introduced to drugs and alcohol and early age and I had undergone some degree of trauma before that. So, when I did finally try drugs, I was immediately attracted to them because of the way they made me feel. I would say I probably started using around the age of 12, and things just progressively got worse over time. I ended up dropping out of high school because I just didn’t care and I couldn’t keep my grades up, and by the time I was about 17, I had started shooting heroin. For me, that was really it. Just being completely numbed out – not having to deal with anything or face any of the consequences that I had racked up, that was really nice.
CHD: When did you first decide to get sober, and what did that process look like?
Mark: I overdosed for the first time when I was 18, and my younger brother found me unresponsive in my bedroom. That really messed him up. At that point I wanted to get sober for him – I wanted to get sober for my family. But I just couldn’t commit, and I ended up overdosing again about six or seven months later. That’s when my mom involuntarily put me into rehab. She told me that if I didn’t stay sober, she would completely cut me out of her life and my brother’s life. I kind of weighed the options, and I realized that I had to get clean at that point in time.
CHD: What led to your first relapse, and how did straying away from your personal recovery program make you feel?
Mark: So, after I went to rehab – and I was there for I think three months – I got out and went into a halfway house, and I kind of got maybe a little too confident. I started to think that I could skip out on meetings and stuff like that, and also a lot of the guys in my halfway house were using steroids at the time. So, I started getting into that, and I was honestly prioritizing working out and bulking up way more than I was focusing on my recovery. Within the first 30 days of being at the halfway house I started using oxycodone, and then eventually progressed to using heroin again. I was kicked out of halfway and I lived on the streets for a couple of weeks until I was able to get into detox again.
CHD: How many subsequent relapses did you experience?
Mark: It can be kind of difficult to stay sober once you fall victim to that vicious cycle of detox, rehab, insurance fraud… There are a lot of people out there who don’t have your best interest at heart, who just want you to get into their program or halfway house so they can milk your insurance policy. I mean, I’m not blaming the system for my relapses, but it was really hard for me to stay sober because I kept landing in these really shady facilities. Like they didn’t really care if I was getting high or not. So, I don’t really know if you could consider them relapses, because I didn’t stay sober for longer than a week or two every time.
CHD: Do you have any idea as to why it was so difficult for you to stay sober?
Mark: I mean really, looking back, I just wasn’t doing the work. I was going to maybe two meetings a week just to get my slip signed, and I definitely wasn’t working through the steps with a sponsor. I would get a sponsor, and I would call him like maybe once a week, and then I would just fall off completely. I wasn’t being honest with anybody. I was lying to myself.
CHD: What did you finally change in order to maintain the amount of sobriety you currently have?
Mark: I finally called my mom and told her I needed to get into a program that wasn’t sketchy – I told her I needed serious help, and I needed her to do some research for me. She ended up finding a reputable, gender-specific rehab that helped me a lot. After that I just stayed committed to taking all of the suggestions and doing everything I had to do.
CHD: If you could give advice to someone in the same situation, what advice would you offer?
Mark: I would say that things definitely get worse. it can be a vicious cycle, and it’s better to commit to doing things right the first time around to save yourself the pain and the homelessness, or whatever else ends up happening.
CHD: Is there anything else that you would like to add before we conclude the interview?
Mark: I was too afraid to ask for help for a really long time. I thought that I could handle my affairs on my own, and I thought that I knew what it took to overcome my addiction. I would honestly say, even if you do think that you know what’s best for you, pretend like you don’t know anything.

Recovery Begins with Medical Detox

Most long-term journeys of addiction recovery begin with an admission to a medically monitored detox program. Regardless of what type of chemical substance you or your loved one has been abusing, the associated withdrawal symptoms will undeniably be uncomfortable enough to lead to a return to use before the detox process has even concluded. Many people believe that they can successfully detox in an at-home setting, only to find that the withdrawal symptoms are unmanageable, and that the psychological cravings that go hand-in-hand with detox are simply too much to bear. If you are serious about quitting long-term, simply give Chapel Hill Detox a call today. Our dedicated staff members are standing by 24/7 to help you get started on the road to recovery. We understand how difficult getting sober can be – in fact, the majority of our staff members have either battled addiction themselves or have helped a loved one through the addiction treatment process. This offers our staff a unique level of compassion and understanding – we are dedicated to providing you or your loved one with nothing but respect and empathy. For more information on the medical detox services we provide, reach out at your earliest possible convenience.

  Call us today. 844.526.0032

How To Quit Drugs Without Going to Rehab

When given a chance, most people will opt to take the easy route – no matter what. Why make things more difficult than they have to be? This seems to be especially true for men and women who have struggled with substance abuse and dependence and who are now involved in a program of recovery. Cutting corners seems to be the name of the game. Honestly, it all does kind of seem like a lot. Going through detox, going through rehab, working through the 12 steps, living in a sober home, navigating an entirely new way of life… it does add up, for sure. But when it comes to addiction recovery, there really is no “easy way out.” You will have to put in the work, but there is a 100% chance that it will be worth it in the end if you do.

If you have been struggling with drug addiction for any length of time, you might be on the fence about going to rehab. This could be because you assume there’s got to be an easier way. Surely there is a way to overcome drug addiction without throwing yourself into the middle of a year-long process – maybe even moving to a different state in order to seek the professional treatment you need. Of course, no two experiences with drug addiction are exactly the same, and because of this no two recovery experiences will be identical. We have sat down and spoken with several men and women who have struggled with drug addiction in the past – men and women who are willing to share their experiences with treatment and whether or not they believe that rehab is always necessary.

Michelle M., Age 32

CHD: Tell us a little bit about yourself and about your personal experience with drug addiction.

Michelle M.: So, I started using drugs at a pretty young age. I was the youngest of five siblings, and so I kind of had an early introduction to things like alcohol and marijuana. Like, my siblings would have friends over and they would all be smoking, and I would join in. One of my older sisters started using cocaine when I was maybe around 16. She tried to keep me away from it, but I used it with her and her friends eventually. I think I just liked it way too much, and I found out where I could get it without letting her know. So, I had a secret stash of cocaine by the time I was 16, and by the time I went off to college I was kind of just experimenting with everything. I didn’t have any limitations when it came to which drugs I was using. I was introduced to heroin when I was, I think around 20 years old, and that was kind of it for me. Things got really bad really fast.

CHD: How did you end up getting sober?

Michelle M.: For me, it was a life-or-death situation. I had overdosed at a friend’s house, and if they didn’t call the cops I would definitely not be alive right now. That was a wake-up call for me. Just seeing how devastated my parents were when I got out of the hospital and knowing that if I didn’t get help soon that would definitely be the way that I died.

CHD: Do you believe it’s possible to overcome drug addiction without rehab?

Michelle M.: I think if you have a serious drug addiction like me, and if you’re addicted to something like heroin, which constantly puts you in danger of overdosing, rehab is completely necessary. The point of rehab is to teach you the tools you need to stay sober once you’re done with treatment. If I didn’t have those tools in place now, I definitely don’t think that I would be here.

Alex S., Age 22

CHD: How old were you when you decided to get sober, and what led you to that decision?

Alex S.: I actually got sober when I was only 19. Towards the end of high school, I started spending time with a group of guys that were into psychedelics. I took a lot of mushrooms and LSD, and I started to smoke a lot more weed. My senior year of high school kind of went to s*** – my grades dropped, I didn’t have any desire to go to college and everything that I used to enjoy just faded away. I was on the basketball team for a long time and I just stopped caring about anything other than hanging out with my friends and getting high.

CHD: Do you believe that you would’ve been able to get sober without going to rehab?

Alex S.: I mean, a lot of people think that if you’re just smoking weed or taking drugs that aren’t addictive, like hallucinogens, then you can just stop on your own anytime you want. But honestly, weed was kind of addictive for me, and I think that if I would have stayed at home then I would have just kept using drugs with my friends. Rehab was good for me because I really needed the time away. When you’re young like I am, peer pressure is actually a real thing, and it can really mess with your progress.

CHD: What words of advice do you have for anyone who is still on the fence about seeking professional drug addiction treatment?

Alex S.: I would just say it’s better to get help sooner rather than later. If I waited, I would have just kept frying my brain. I honestly don’t know where I would be right now. But now I’m back on track again, I’m going to college and I’ve successfully been able to reclaim my life.

Lisa W., Age 67

CHD: Please tell us a little bit about your personal experience with drug addiction.

Lisa W.: Well, my experience with addiction had to do with prescription stimulants. My youngest daughter was prescribed Adderall for the treatment of ADHD. I was feeling really, really burnt out – I was going through a divorce, my ex-husband wasn’t living at home, and I was taking care of everything all on my own. I had a friend who was like, “Hey, you should try taking one of her pills, it’ll help you get the housework done.” So I did. The feeling that I got was really appealing to me, I was much more productive, I had a lot more energy and I felt like I could actually do what I was supposed to do. But then, you know, I started taking her pills more regularly, and soon I was taking one a day. I had been taking one a day for a couple of weeks when I decided to get help.

CHD: When and how did you get sober?

Lisa W.: I got sober 5 years ago in an outpatient treatment program. I know that residential treatment is usually the best option for people with drug abuse disorders, but I had only been using Adderall for a couple of weeks and I still hadn’t built a tolerance or anything like that. So outpatient rehab really worked for me.

CHD: How do you continue to stay sober?

Lisa W.: I’ve been engaged in a pretty intense program of recovery, one that includes individual therapy, going to a 12-step meeting every single day and sponsoring other women. I attribute my sobriety to a combination of things, definitely to my outpatient program but also to working through the steps with a sponsor of my own.

Chapel Hill Detox

Chapel Hill detox provides a safe and pain-free withdrawal in a structured, medically monitored environment. To learn more about our integrated program of recovery or to learn more about what level of clinical care best suits you and your specific needs, reach out to us today.

  Call us today. 844.526.0032

Interview with an Adderall Addict

Adderall, a prescription stimulant most commonly used to treat attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, has been frequently abused since it was first introduced to the pharmaceutical market in 1996. According to a recent study published by John Hopkins University, the rates of Adderall abuse among young adults has been on the rise over the course of the past several years. (1) Emergency room visits associated with Adderall have been rising since the early 2000s, and misuse was found to be highest among individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. Most of these young men and women obtain the prescription stimulant from family members or friends without a written prescription or the recommendation of a medical professional.

While much of the media focus still lands on illicit opiates like heroin and prescription painkiller abuse, it is important to note that “study drugs” like Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta are being frequently abused and are resulting in vast destruction as well. We sat down with a young woman who has suffered at the hands of an Adderall abuse disorder for quite some time, and who recently entered into a long-term program of addiction recovery. While we asked her many questions about her active substance abuse and subsequent recovery, please feel free to reach out to Chapel Hill Detox with any additional questions you may have. If you believe that you are someone close to you has been suffering from an Adderall abuse disorder or has been actively abusing any other prescription stimulant, it is important to note that medically monitored detox is an important first step. For more information on our individualized and comprehensive detox program, reach out to us today.

CHD: Thank you for agreeing to interview with us today! Why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about your introduction to Adderall, and what the early stages of substance abuse looked like for you:

Carmen: I was first introduced to Adderall when I was a freshman in college. My roommate had a prescription, and one day she noticed that I was studying for a big test and she asked me if I wanted something that would help me stay engaged. I had obviously heard about Adderall before, and I knew that it was considered a study drug, but I had never taken it before that day. I just remember feeling like I was so much more capable than I was before, like I was so focused and alert and even like, excited to study. I remember having a hard time sleeping that night and being like, “Okay, this actually sucks. I need to wake up early. This is totally not worth it.” But then the next day, I was thinking about taking more all throughout my classes. I was wondering how I could get my hands on more, if I could find someone with a prescription and pay them on like, a weekly basis or something. I honestly feel like I became psychologically addicted super quickly.

I asked around a little bit because I didn’t want my roommate to get suspicious or anything. I found someone who had a prescription and who sold the pills for like, $6 a pop or something close to that. I bought a handful at one time and I went through them pretty quickly. At first, I was still using them before a big test or when I was writing a paper, but then I started taking them before going out and then just kind of on a day-to-day basis. I had a sneaking suspicion that this was going to develop into something more sinister, and I knew that was the case when my friend and I started emptying out the contents of my roommate’s pills when she was at class and refilling the capsules with vitamins. This was super screwed up, because she was actually prescribed the medication because she needed it.

CHD: What kind of consequences did you experience as a result of your Adderall abuse?

Carmen: Oh my goodness, the worse my addiction got the more consequences I experienced. It got bad. At first, I was just losing a lot of sleep and losing a lot of weight, which was really dangerous because I had struggled with an eating disorder in the past. I was kind of like a zombie all day long, and I also started getting really anxious – I had never struggled with anxiety in the past. I was getting to the point where I was taking like six or seven 20mg pills every day, before class, before work, before going out… if I was doing anything, I needed Adderall in order to do it. My grades started slipping because I was so scatterbrained all the time. I was actually on academic probation for a little bit. My boyfriend broke up with me because he found out that I had been stealing his Concerta. I started drinking pretty heavily to balance out the effects of the Adderall, and soon I was drinking in the morning after not sleeping all night – it was just a mess. I was totally out of control, and I was completely miserable. I felt like I had totally lost my grip on reality.

CHD: What made you decide to stop using and reach out for professional help, and what steps did you take to get the help that you needed?

Carmen: I didn’t go home for Christmas my sophomore year of college because I didn’t want my family to see what a mess I had become, so I just stayed alone on campus and popped pills and drank myself into a stupor. I cried myself to sleep every night, literally. I hated myself so much, I hated what I had become and how little control I had over my own life. I had a friend, it was actually the friend who would help me steal Adderall from my roommate my freshman year, who had gotten increasingly concerned about me. He told me that he thought I should go to rehab or at least go check out a 12-step meeting. I didn’t want to stop, even though I was severely unhappy and at this point, I was even considering suicide. I wound up in a psychiatric ward because I hadn’t slept in several days and I did start threatening suicide. from the psych ward I went directly into a 3-month long inpatient program.

CHD: What does your recovery look like now?

Carmen: Now I’m almost 2 years sober, I have a 3.8 GPA, and I feel like I’m back in control of my life. I still look back and wonder how I let things get so out of hand, but I guess that I just have an addictive personality and I wasn’t aware of that before. I’m genuinely happy now, and I had completely forgotten what it felt like to actually laugh and smile and mean it. Things are just good, they’re honestly better than they have ever been.

CHD: If you could offer advice to someone who has been struggling with prescription stimulant abuse but who has not yet reached out for help, what would you say?

Carmen: I was embarrassed to reach out for help, because I thought that I should be able to handle stuff on my own. It also just feels like, I don’t know, struggling with Adderall addiction isn’t as “cool” as struggling with alcoholism or heroin addiction or something like that. It was just embarrassing, and I let that prevent me from reaching out for help sooner. If I was to give advice to someone, I would just say if you feel like you need help now, go out and get it. Don’t wait until things get really bad and you’re being held down in a psych ward because you’re seriously out of your mind. You only get one life, and there’s no sense in wasting it at the hands of a substance abuse disorder. If you’re battling an addiction there’s no way that you can live the way you’re meant to live and reach your full potential. There’s just no way.

   Call us today. 844.526.0032

Just One Drink

Being an alcoholic frickin’ sucks. Not only are you really, really bad at drinking, but come to find out, your body literally cannot process alcohol. On top of that, depending on how long your drinking career has been, you’re probably dealing with a giant heap of really obnoxious personal consequences. Maybe you’ve raked up a couple of DUIs, maybe your family hates your guts, or maybe you can’t hold down a job for longer than an hour and a half. Whatever the case may be, you’re a victim of your circumstances, and you flat out cannot drink. Not even a sip. You come to terms with that sad fact eventually and reach out for professional help. It’s a major step – and an absolutely terrifying one – but at some point, you know it’s a decision you have to make. At a certain point, that decision becomes a matter of life or death.

For alcoholics who are new to sobriety, this pill might be a little too hard to swallow. Never drink again? I mean, sure, alcohol wreaked nothing but havoc, completely destroying every single quality of your life up until you found yourself in a psych ward, in jail or in rehab. But never again? I mean, come on. That blows. Surely, there must be a time somewhere down the line when you’ll be able to enjoy just one beer or a single margarita. A time when you will be deemed “all clear,” and you’ll finally be able to drink in moderation. So… Do you really have to stop forever? What’s the point of Alcoholics Anonymous if the program can’t teach you how to successfully control and enjoy your drinking?

Drinking in Moderation

For all intents and purposes, “moderate drinking” is considered between one and two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. One drink is either one 1.5 oz. shot of liquor, one 5 oz. glass of wine or one 12 oz. pint of beer (or one cocktail, if you feel like getting fancy). In most cases, men and women who struggle with a diagnosable alcohol abuse disorder will never be able to return to moderate drinking. Why? Most heavy drinkers eventually admit that they are powerless over alcohol – that they suffer from a physical allergy to the stuff, and even one sip will set them down a path of self-destruction. The idea of total abstinence can be difficult, which is why many alcoholics repeatedly attempt to control their intake. This stressful and fruitless process of rationalization, justification and bargaining generally occurs before an alcoholic commits to seeking professional addiction treatment, or before he or she becomes an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I remember that things started to get noticeably bad for me sometime in college. My friends were fed up with my antics, I was on academic probation, I wasn’t getting along with my roommates and I was really starting to loathe the person I had become. Let’s just say – I wasn’t treating myself with any level of respect. I was drinking on a daily basis, and I was drinking a lot. I knew that I needed to stop. I tried to stop on my own accord. After half a day of sobriety, I realized I didn’t have it in me to quit entirely – not like that, anyways, not cold turkey. So, I bargained with myself. I said, “You can have one glass of wine at dinner.” After a few hours, this changed to, “You can have one glass of wine with lunch and dinner – not breakfast, obviously, you crazy lush.” Then, “Well, if breakfast is at 11am it really doesn’t matter all that much. Maybe champagne rather than wine. Something a little lighter.” Then, “Well, if one glass of wine is good, two is even better.” You get the picture. Soon, I was right back to square one. If this story sounds familiar, there is a good chance that moderation is never going to be an option. I learned this lesson the hard way.

I found myself in a three-month long rehab program, and then transferred immediately into a sober living home, where I stayed for 6 months. Eventually, I had racked up a solid year of sobriety. It was amazing. I had landed my dream job, I had an amazing and supportive group of authentic friends, my parents were actually proud of me and I had become financially independent. Life was so good. Looking back, nothing was missing. I was genuinely happy for the first time in years and years.

Still, I got to wondering, “What would happen if I had just one drink?” I was 23-years old after all – still a youngin. Even though I had it all, my alcoholic brain was not yet healed, and I continued to fantasize about sipping a martini in a fancy restaurant with a hot date. Or something. So, I tried. Guess what happened? I wound up right back where I started – and THAT truly sucked. Sobriety was a blessing. Drinking was a curse, and it always had been.

Why Do You Need to Drink in Moderation?

If you have any length of sobriety under your belt, or if you are still on the fence about getting sober because you fear giving up booze forever – ask yourself, “Why do I feel the need to drink in moderation? What does alcohol really do for me?” You might be struggling with the idea of actually being an alcoholic. This is a pretty intense term – once you admit that all hope of moderation goes down the toilet, right? The truth is, there is really no shame in being an alcoholic. In fact, entering into a 12-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous – a program of continuous self-betterment – allows you to become the very best version of yourself and go on to live a life that is truly beyond your wildest dreams. If you are still wondering whether or not you are actually an alcoholic (or just someone that likes getting drunk on occasion) there are several things to consider. Ask yourself the following questions, and if you answer “yes” to one or more, it might be a good idea to reach out for help (or at least for more information).

  1. Do I try to control my drinking, but find myself unable to do so?
  2. Have I subbed out hard liquor for beer, thinking that will help?
  3. Do I find that I lose control of the amount I drink regularly?
  4. Have people commented on my drinking habits, maybe even expressing concern?
  5. Do I black out regularly, forgetting parts of what happened while I was intoxicated?
  6. Do I find myself thinking about drinking when alcohol isn’t readily available?
  7. Am I avoiding seeking help because the idea of total abstinence is terrifying?
  8. Do I feel a life without alcohol will be unfulfilling?
  9. Do I justify the reasons why I drink and how often I drink?
  10. Have I experienced consequences as a direct result of my drinking patterns?

Begin Your Journey of Alcohol Addiction Recovery

For more information on alcohol abuse and alcoholism, reach out to Chapel Hill Detox today. Our comprehensive program of alcohol detox provides men and women of all ages with the first step on every effective recovery program – a safe alcohol withdrawal.

  Call us today. 844.526.0032