Thursday, January 26, 2017

New Research Supports the Need for Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment

Scientist with lab mice
The biological effects of hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle have been widely studied. Researchers have found that the normal variations in estrogen and progesterone influence a variety of processes within the body including water retention, sleep patterns and more.

Recently, scientists also explored the impact that estrogen plays in the role of addiction. A team of researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at the Manhattan-based Mount Sinai Hospital observed the brain chemistry of male and female mice to understand how cocaine influences the brain’s reward pathway.

They found that estrogen amplified the pleasurable effects of the drug among the female mice – making it more habit forming and harder to quit.

While the exact reason is still not yet known, the brains of female mice released more dopamine and for longer periods of time when higher levels of estrogen were also present in their body.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Erin Calipari, stated, “When the hormone levels [of female mice] were low they looked a lot like the male subjects,” she said. “When estrogen levels were really high, the rewarding effects of cocaine were greatly enhanced.”

These findings help to explain, in part, that while cocaine addiction is more prevalent among men, women often find it harder to quit and require a more comprehensive approach to recovery.

“Addiction is really a multifaceted disorder,” Calipari said. “There are rewarding effects of the drug, but there’s a lot of other things that happen, too. Humans associate particular environments with the drug experience. These associations are really strong and if the relapse process is driven by environmental cues, we have to understand how to treat that. It may not be as easy as a pharmacological intervention.”

Findings from this study also found a distinct difference among the male and female mice in terms of the environmental influence. In sum, the female mice strongly correlated the environment in which cocaine was distributed and linked it with the pleasurable effects of the drug.

This study is an important step towards the development of more targeted and effective treatments designed to help address the unique needs of women in recovery. At Rising Roads Recovery, we hope that addiction researchers continue to invest in more gender-specific studies to advance the community as a whole.

Women’s Only Drug and Alcohol Rehab

Rising Roads Recovery is a completely gender specific treatment center. Our mission is to provide a program where this is not only possible but is probable. We are a place where every woman can find the path to her own happy destiny. Let the road rise up to meet you and continue on a healing path. Reach out today by calling us at (866) 746-1558.  

Monday, January 23, 2017

How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Being Productive!

Woman making a to-do list at work
Everyone procrastinates from time to time. You might put off washing the car for another week or wait until the last minute to pay your phone bill. But, it doesn’t have to stay that way. You can, in fact, learn how to curb the urge to procrastinate and become more productive.

It’s important to note that fighting the temptation to procrastinate isn’t about being perfect. It’s about continuing to learn and grow as a person on your journey of self-discovery.

Working on a new sober lifestyle? This is an especially powerful skill for those working on their recovery. You’ll feel more empowered and in control of your personal and professional life.

So, how can you start living a more productive lifestyle? Here are four strategies to help you stop procrastinating and get things done.

(1) Tackle big projects early in the day.
While it may seem tempting to put off the most daunting tasks, it’s actually wiser to address them early in the day while you are the most mentally and physically refreshed. If your to-do list has 10 items, focus on the most challenging project first and get it out of the way.

(2) Create some positive momentum.
Have a comprehensive report at work due in a week? If you start to feel overwhelmed about the scope of the project, limit your focus. Think about one small step you can take today to get started. By focusing on what you can accomplish, you’ll likely have more energy to keep making progress.

(3) Loop in your loved ones.
Be vocal about your goals – when and how you aim to get things done. For example, if you’re wanting to stick to a new exercise routine, tell your friends and family about your plans. If you know someone is there to help keep you accountable, you’ll be more apt to follow through.

(4) Write it down.
Have a mental list of things you need to get done today? Take the time to write it down and plan out a deadline for each task. This simple act can help you stay on task – and on schedule.

Life Skills Training During Transitional Residential Care

Rising Roads is set up to maintain the skills you have already learned and practice them. At our California women's recovery center, we will assist you in creating a plan with measurable and attainable milestones -- and we'll walk with you every step of the way on the path of addiction recovery. We’re here to help: (866) 746-1558.

Friday, January 20, 2017

4 Tips for Celebrating Body Positivity

Woman wearing sunglasses
Do you ever look in the mirror and start putting yourself down? Maybe your hair isn’t cooperating that particular day or you remind yourself that it’s time to get back to the gym. Even though these silent critiques seem relatively harmless, constantly berating yourself can dampen your self-esteem while increasing your risk of depression and relapse if you are working on your sobriety.

But, there is good news! You can develop self-care strategies to celebrate body positivity. By adopting a healthier self-image, you can learn to break the cycle of negative thought patterns and feel better about yourself.

Want to promote a more positive self-image? Here are a few easy tips to help you get started!

(1) Consider yourself a role model for other women.
Negativity can become contagious – but positive ideas can spread like wildfire too! By celebrating who you are today, it can boost your self-esteem and inspire others to treat themselves in a compassionate way too.

(2) Celebrate what your body can do and everything that you can do! 
Remind yourself that your body is more than simply what you see in the mirror. It is an amazing gift that enables you to hug loved ones, enjoy long walks with your four-legged friends and feel the warmth of the sun on your face. Pretty amazing, right?

(3) Appreciate what makes you unique.
Are you proud of your curly red hair or hazel green eyes? One easy way to shut down your own inner critic is to consciously replace those thoughts with positive self-affirmations. Compliment yourself and be proud of who you are.

(4) Exercise for the sake of feeling strong and healthy.
Do you go to the gym just to budge the number on your bathroom scale? Consider reframing how you approach exercise. Think of your workouts as a tool to help you feel good about yourself - mentally and physically.

Nutritional Guidance, Yoga and More

As part of our holistic approach to addiction treatment, we offer a variety of services to help women repair the physical and psychological harm caused by drugs and alcohol. Using a variety of therapies including nutritional counseling provided by our registered dietitian, yoga classes and other exercise opportunities, clients can establish a healthier relationship with food and with themselves. We’re here to help: (866) 746-1558.

Friday, January 13, 2017

3 Tips for Setting Emotional Boundaries

Want to create happy, healthy and fulfilling relationships with your friends and family members? One way to do just that is to think about establishing some emotional boundaries.

While this can take many different forms, it’s actually a relatively simple concept. It’s an exercise in thinking through how you want to be treated by others and communicating your needs clearly and directly.

So, why is this so important? By articulating your emotional needs, you can build stronger connections – and avoid feeling “stuck” in relationships that simply don’t serve you well.

And, it is important to note that the act of creating emotional boundaries isn’t about pointing fingers or finding fault in the other person. It’s about being honest with yourself and others to build relationships that work for both parties.

For those on a journey from addiction to recovery, consider taking a few moments out of your day to think about setting boundaries with some of the important people in your life. It can help reduce your risk of relapse by creating a more positive social support system.

Step 1 – First, concentrate on your emotions.
Is there someone in your life who consistently makes you feel bad and has the uncanny ability to lower your self-esteem on a regular basis? That is usually a good signal that you might both benefit from setting emotional boundaries.

Step 2 – Identify what patterns of behavior are putting a strain on your relationship.
Does the other person constantly put you down and criticize your weight? Do you have a friend that tells you personal details about their life and it makes you uncomfortable? Remind yourself that you have the right to own your emotions.

Step 3 - Talk about it. Be direct. Don’t expect people to read your mind. 
Pull the other person aside and talk to them privately about the kind of behavior that you will – and won’t – accept. And frame up the conversation in a positive stance. You value the relationship and want to see it grow stronger and flourish.

Healthy Relationships Coaching at Rising Roads Recovery

There are so many opportunities for growth during addiction recovery and at Rising Roads Recovery, we can help you learn new skills to build healthy relationships, spot the signs of codependency and heal old attachment wounds. By the end of our addiction treatment program, our goal is for you to be able to identify a healthy relationship and actively participate in it. Start your healthy life by calling us today at (866) 746-1558.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

3 Strategies for Communicating Better with Your Partner

Happy couple
(Note: It's important to emphasize that focusing on your health should be your priority during the first year of sobriety. But, after you reach that milestone, talk to your treatment team about establishing new relationships. The right time to invest in a partnership is different for everyone based on their individual journey of addiction recovery.)

Have you ever had a conversation with your partner only to find out later that they walked away with an entirely different take on what you were trying to say? If so, you are not alone!

While you may spend a lot of time together, your significant other will never be a mind-reader so it’s important to work on developing better communication skills as a team. That way, you can reduce your collective risk of interpreting something differently than what the other intended.

No relationship is perfect. But, you can work together to establish healthier communication strategies to grow closer as a couple. 

Here are a few tips for communicating more clearly and directly with your partner!

(1) Be thoughtful about whether it’s online or in person. 
When you think about optimizing your communication skills, instinctually you probably first consider the words you choose. But, it’s also important to factor in your means of communication. 

One good rule of thumb is to reserve email and text messages for everyday topics like where to go for dinner. More serious matters should really only be discussed in person. It’s all too easy to misinterpret the tone of a message when you’re just reading it on a screen.

(2) Don’t put labels on anyone.
During an argument, it’s easy to stereotype the other person. But, ask yourself, would you want anyone to do the same to you? If something is bothering you, focus on the behavior of the other person and how that makes you feel. By avoiding labels, you are respecting their ability as a human being to change and grow as a person.

(3) Ask questions!
If you are working through an issue where you each have differing viewpoints, don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s easy to quit trying to find some common ground on a polarizing issue if you don’t try to learn where the other person is coming from. Instead of just focusing on your partner’s stance, ask follow-up questions to better understand why they hold that opinion. After investigating their underlying emotions, you might have greater clarity into their perspective.

If you or your partner have given up a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol, your relationship may need to be repaired during the journey of addiction recovery. And, focusing on communicating more effectively as a team can help you both grow closer together and build a stronger partnership along the way.

Building Healthier Relationships During Recovery

By the end of our addiction treatment program, our goal is for you to be able to identify a healthy relationship while respecting yourself and your partner in all areas. At Rising Roads Recovery, we can help you create and follow boundaries and learn how do decipher between your inner circle and peripheral people. Start your healthy life by calling us today at (866) 746-1558.