Why You Should Look For Women’s Sober Living Houses Near Me

Sober living homes play a vital role in ongoing addiction recovery. Many people who are new to sobriety find that the first weeks and months immediately following rehab are some of the most challenging. Staying in a sober living environment during the early stages of your recovery can provide ongoing support and stability while you begin to navigate the process of transitioning back to your day-to-day activities. There are several types of sober living homes, including those open to specific demographics such as gender-specific and LGBTQ-specific environments. Women’s sober living homes provide a greater focus on the unique needs of women recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. 

What Are Women’s Sober Living Houses “Near Me?” 

Women’s sober living houses are uniquely designed to address women’s recovery needs. Although men and women are equally prone to substance abuse struggles, each has different needs during and after treatment. Because women may face challenges unique to their gender as they pursue continued sobriety, it is important to have access to an environment where you feel safe, comfortable, and supported by other women who share your experiences. 

Women’s sober living houses help women continue recovery in an environment free from difficulties that may occur in a mixed-gender sober living home. In a women only house, you are more likely to feel comfortable talking about worries and fears that are specific to your recovery. Also, you have the support of a community of fellow women who have similar struggles and goals. This peer support group is more likely to understand the struggles you are experiencing that are unique to women. Also, gender-specific sober living homes limit the possibility of romantic or sexual contact with the opposite sex, helping you focus on recovery. 

Why Addiction Treatment Is an Ongoing Process

Completing a comprehensive addiction treatment program is only the first step on your journey to recovery. Addiction is a disease without a cure. It is often referred to as a “chronic and relapsing” disease because relapse is an unfortunate occurrence even after treatment. According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), as many as 60% of those who complete an addiction treatment program will experience at least one incidence of relapse. 

A lasting recovery from addiction requires ongoing work and commitment to sobriety. Choosing to stay at a women’s sober living house after completing an addiction treatment program provides the opportunity to reinforce and practice vital relapse prevention skills learned during therapy. It also offers the opportunity to develop peer relationships with other members of the sober community. These relationships are a critical part of relapse prevention during the early days of sobriety. 

How Casa Serena Can Help You Maintain Sobriety Today

If you or a loved one are ready to overcome an addiction to drugs or alcohol, Casa Serena can help. Our caring and compassionate staff at our women only rehab and sober living houses are here to provide the support and guidance you need to get sober and maintain sobriety in the months and years after you complete treatment.  Overcoming addiction is not an easy process, but with a uniquely designed, comprehensive treatment program focused on your unique treatment needs and goals, you will learn the tools and skills necessary to leave addiction in the past. 

If you would like to learn more about our women only treatment program and sober living house, contact our admissions team for more information. We understand the challenges women face when struggling with addiction can be different than those experienced by men. At Casa Serena, we focus on the needs of women seeking to overcome addiction. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you maintain sobriety today. 

Searching for Addiction Services Near Me? Look No Further

Addictions (or substance use disorder) are a disease that has profound and notable physical and functional effects on the brain. Addiction is characterized by an overwhelming urge to use despite known harmful physical and psychological effects on the user and their loved ones. Sometimes addiction can begin due to experimentation. Other times, it evolves from using prescription medications provided by a medical provider to reduce the intensity or severity of illness or pain-related symptoms. 

The risk of developing an addiction varies based on the person, the substance or substances used, and the frequency and amount of use. This is not to say that one must use it for a long time to develop an addiction to drugs. In some instances, addiction can develop quickly, even after just one use. Without comprehensive, evidence-based addiction treatment, achieving and maintaining sobriety can be challenging. 

What Are the Signs of Drug Addiction? 

The signs of drug addiction often vary. Not all drugs produce the same effects, and not every person will react in the same way to drugs. Although there are differences, drug addiction signs will be either physical, psychological, or behavioral. Physical symptoms are often the easiest to recognize as they are the most outwardly visible. Common physical symptoms may include bloodshot eyes or pupil changes, changes in appetite, weight changes, changes in sleeping patterns, and changes in personal hygiene.

Psychological changes are those that affect the user’s mental state or mood. For example, personality or mood changes, sudden mood swings, irritability or aggression, paranoia, fear, or anxiety. You may also notice new or worsening mental health symptoms related to conditions like depression or anxiety. Behavioral changes may include new or worsening legal troubles, skipping work or school, changes to social circles, and drug-seeking behavior. 

Again, the signs of drug addiction will vary between substances and people. However, the above are common across most situations. If you are concerned about a friend or loved one, contact us at Casa Serena today to learn more about addiction treatment at our women-only treatment center. 

What Are Addiction Services “Near Me?”

There are thousands of addiction treatment centers across the nation; however, not all provide the same level of care or the same treatment models. Also, some facilities such as Casa Serena offer specialized services like gender-specific or LGBTQ-specific treatment facilities, veteran-focused care, or care focused on the needs of first responders. Although it can be beneficial to travel to seek treatment in some cases, it is not possible for everyone. Addiction services close to home are those that provide the level of care you need in a safe and supported setting. 

Why You Should Look For Addiction Services Near Me if You Are Struggle With Addiction

Several factors prevent many women in need of addiction treatment from seeking the help they need to overcome drugs. Whether it’s responsibilities at home, work, or motherhood, the important responsibilities you have to your family may limit your ability to seek help at a facility far from home. At Casa Serena, we provide comprehensive addiction treatment services close to home. Our caring and compassionate team of treatment professionals at our women-only treatment center will work with you to design a comprehensive treatment program that helps you get sober while feeling safe and supported. 

We understand how difficult it may be to decide to seek help. We also realize seeking help in a strange place may add to your fears and worries. At Casa Serena, we are here to help. If you would like to learn more about our women-only drug addiction services near you, contact us today.  

What Are the Signs of PTSD in a Woman?

Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a disorder often attributed to the struggles experienced by soldiers returning from war, police officers experiencing trauma in the line of duty, or perhaps emergency services personnel responding to a tragic event. Unfortunately, the impacts of PTSD reach far beyond those who experience trauma as part of employment or military services. PTSD can affect anyone of any age who is unfortunate enough to witness or experience trauma. 

What Is PTSD? 

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental disorder arising from experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Traumatic events come in many forms, including a natural disaster, serious accident, abuse, assault, serious injury, illness, experiencing a terrorist act, and many others. Without treatment to address the symptoms and effects of PTSD, it can have an overwhelming and detrimental impact on your day-to-day functioning and relationships, employment, physical and long-term emotional health. 

What Are the Signs of PTSD in Women? 

Some signs of PTSD are common across genders. Often, someone who struggles with PTSD will typically experience overwhelming emotions and disturbing thoughts related to the event lasting long after the trauma is over. They may also continue to “relive” the event through flashbacks or nightmares. Also, someone with PTSD may actively avoid situations, places, or people that remind them of their traumatic experience and have intensely negative reactions to ordinary stimuli like touch or a loud noise. 

Some PTSD symptoms are more common for women than men. Women with PTSD may be “jumpier” and have more difficulty feeling emotions. Also, women who struggle with untreated PTSD are more likely to feel anxiety and depression. 

It is important to note that not all women who experience trauma will develop PTSD. However, certain factors may increase your risk. These factors relate to your personal mental health history, the type of trauma, and the level of support received immediately after the trauma. Common examples of such factors include:

  • Experiencing sexual assault or life-threatening trauma.
  • Lack of social support after the event.
  • A history of past mental health problems. 
  • Experiencing stressful events immediately after a traumatic event. 

Do Women Who Suffer From PTSD Also Battle Substance Abuse? 

Depending on the individual and the circumstances of their unique traumatic experience, some women may experience new or worsening mental and physical health symptoms. For various reasons, women are more than twice as likely to develop PTSD than men. After trauma, women may feel depressed and anxious. Also, they may blame themselves for the traumatic experience. This can lead to increased use of drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with both physical and emotional pain. Recent research indicates a high rate of substance abuse and PTSD in women, with estimates as high as 60%. 

How to Get Help With PTSD and Addiction

Seeking help to overcome PTSD and addiction is vital to improving your physical and emotional health. At a women-focused treatment center like Casa Serena, you can expect an individually designed treatment program focused on your unique treatment needs and goals. Comprehensive treatment programs typically consist of a combination of therapy, support groups, and in some cases, medication to help alleviate specific symptoms. 

The symptoms you may experience resulting from PTSD will vary from person to person. Depending on your experience and pre-existing conditions, your symptoms may range from mild to debilitating. For many who have experienced trauma and developed post-traumatic stress disorder from their experiences, symptoms do not tend to resolve on their own. Seeking treatment to learn more about your symptoms can help you better manage them today and into the future.

At Casa Serena, our caring and compassionate team of treatment professionals will work with you on a treatment plan to heal your physical, psychological, and spiritual person. If you are ready to overcome the challenges PTSD places on your day-to-day life, contact Casa Serena today to learn more about how we can help.

Substance Abuse in Pregnancy Explained

Years of research into pregnancy and substance abuse (including tobacco, alcohol, prescribed medications, or illicit drugs) indicate the effects of various substances on unborn infants can be harmful. A primary reason for these impacts is many of these substances pass through the placenta. Therefore, when a woman uses substances during pregnancy, consequences are passed on to her unborn child. Current studies also indicate that smoking tobacco or marijuana, taking prescription pain medications, or using illegal drugs during pregnancy can double or triple the risk of stillbirth. Also, when used regularly during pregnancy, some substances can lead to neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), in which the baby experiences withdrawal symptoms upon birth. The type and severity of these symptoms depend on the drug used, how long and how often it was used, and whether the infant was born full-term or prematurely.  

What Is Substance Abuse in Pregnancy? 

Put simply, substance abuse in pregnancy happens when a woman uses drugs or alcohol while she is pregnant. As noted above, drugs of any kind (including over-the-counter medications) have a direct impact on the growing and developing fetus. Unfortunately, the risks extend beyond illicit drugs. Caffeine, alcohol, over-the-counter (OTC) cold medications, OTC pain medications, and prescription medications all put an unborn child at risk. While some risks may be mild, some drugs can lead to brain structure changes in the fetus that can persist into early adolescence. Some substances, such as cocaine, have effects on a fetus that can last a lifetime. Often, the concern for the impact of substances on an unborn child can motivate expecting mothers to seek help to overcome substances immediately. 

What to Do if You Are Abusing Substances and Pregnant

When a woman uses drugs or alcohol during pregnancy, it can lead to significant risks for her unborn baby. Choosing to seek addiction treatment early is a vital step towards achieving sobriety and ensuring a healthy pregnancy. It is also essential to seek treatment in an environment where providers understand the unique challenges associated with providing comprehensive addiction treatment during pregnancy. Currently, there are only a few effective therapies for substance use during pregnancy. These treatments involve primarily behavioral therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management. Motivational interviewing models are also highly effective and have been shown to reduce alcohol and substance use during pregnancy. 

The behavioral counseling methods above have proven successful for a wide range of substances, including alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and cocaine. Standard pharmaceutical interventions have not been analyzed extensively due to unknown risks to the unborn child. Methadone is frequently used for pregnant women with opiate use disorders. Methadone maintenance has been shown to offer greater relapse prevention, reduce risk-taking behaviors, enhance prenatal care, and improve neonatal outcomes. However, medication-assisted withdrawal (detoxification by gradually reducing the dose of an opioid substitute medication) has been associated with elevated relapse risk and higher fetal mortality rates. 

Reach Out to Casa Serena for More Information

Substance use during pregnancy remains a dangerous problem that can lead to harmful effects on the mom and her unborn child. If you are pregnant and using substances, seeking treatment in a professional setting like Casa Serena, where our women-only programs are focused on the unique needs of women seeking treatment, is vital to you and your baby’s health and safety. As with all addiction treatment, early and comprehensive support and guidance offer the greatest opportunities for success. If you are unsure how to begin your recovery journey, contact your primary care provider, OBGYN, or the admissions team here at Casa Serena. Our caring and compassionate team is here to help you take the first steps towards a future free from addiction. If you are ready to learn more about our women-only treatment programs, contact us today. 

Are Women More Prone to Depression?

Over 7% of the United States population meets the diagnostic criteria for major depression. Major depression is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses in the country. Although depressive disorders impact people of all ages and genders, there is a notable gender disparity. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), women are almost twice as likely as men to have symptoms of depression. While this does not indicate depression is an expected “part of being a woman,” the rate of depression among women globally may point to various factors that increase a woman’s risk for developing depression. 

What Is Depression? 

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a mood disorder that leads to feelings of constant sadness and hopelessness. Although everyone feels sad from time to time, depression symptoms will persist for two weeks or more and affect one’s ability to participate in everyday activities, including school, work, and relationships with family and friends. 

Depression impacts the entire person. In addition to mood changes and emotional changes, it can affect one’s ability to sleep, eat and function in their day-to-day environment. It is important to note that depression is more than a case of the blues. When someone has a major depressive disorder, the emotions are so strong and overwhelming that they cannot pull themselves out of feeling down without seeking mental health treatment. 

Are Women More Prone to Depression? 

Pinpointing why women may be more prone to depression is difficult. There is a wide range of potential contributing factors but little research to show a direct link. Biology, genetics, social factors, and psychological factors all play a part. 

The most important link may be biological. For women, rates of depression typically increase at the onset of puberty and remain high through perimenopause (middle age). A high percentage of women experience various depressive disorders during pregnancy, menstruation, and perimenopause. Genetics is also essential to consider. Depression, like many mental health conditions, can span generations. The National Alliance on Mental Illness indicates there is a 25% or higher rate of depression among female first and second-degree relatives. The list of psychosocial factors that may increase the risk for depression in women is long. It includes trauma, sexual and physical abuse, lack of social supports, sexual discrimination, and the stress of managing multiple family and work responsibilities each day. 

The major depressive disorder will not go away without treatment. In many cases, untreated mental health conditions can devolve into more significant medical and mental health concerns, including addiction, self-harm, and new or worsening co-occurring psychological and physical health disorders. If you are concerned about your or a loved one’s mental health, it is essential to reach out for help at a women-focused treatment center like Casa Serena

How to Get Help With Depression and Addiction Today

Depression can increase the risk of other chronic physical and mental health illnesses, including addiction. As many as 1/3 of people with clinical depression also struggle with a substance use disorder (dual-diagnosis). For some, drugs and alcohol lead to addiction, and for others, drugs and alcohol are used to self-medicate their depression symptoms. Unfortunately, intoxication often leads to worsening symptoms. When symptoms worsen, increasing substance use occurs to try to dull the pain. It’s a vicious circle that is difficult, if not impossible, to get out of without help. 

If you or a loved one struggles with depression and addiction, help is here at Casa Serena. At our women-focused treatment center, we will work with you to ensure your treatment plan addresses all aspects of your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. If you are ready to start your journey to health and well-being, contact our admissions team to learn more about dual-diagnosis treatment and how you can get help with depression and addiction today. 

12 Step vs. Non 12 Step Rehab Explained

The 12-steps have been a well-known approach to addiction treatment and recovery for well over 80 years. Since the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous first put them to paper in the 1930s, the guidelines of Alcoholics Anonymous have helped countless addicts achieve and maintain lasting sobriety. Over time, the guidelines of the 12 steps have been modified to help those seeking to recover from a range of addiction and behavioral struggles. But what happens if you want to get sober (or overcome an addiction) but are uncomfortable with the spiritual component of a traditional 12 step rehab program? Fortunately, secular or non-12 step programs provide comprehensive addiction treatment care without the spiritual focus. Having access to both program models allows addicts ready to overcome their addiction to choose the program format that best suits their needs. 

What Is a 12 Step Rehab?

12 step rehabs are based on the guidelines set forth by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. Depending on the program, the program may follow the guidelines to the letter or base their recovery program loosely on the original 12 steps. Today, the 12 steps can be found in a wide range of treatment programs designed to address many addictive and behavioral struggles. 

Although many of the original “steps” are based on spiritual principles, many who are not religious have found success and sobriety using the program’s guidance and process. 12 step programs are a way for addicts in recovery to find support and fellowship with other like-minded peers at any stage in the recovery process. The premise of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and many other modern 12 step programs is that you can help one another to overcome addictions (of any kind) by leaning on each other and seeking the support of a “higher power” throughout your recovery journey. 

What Is a Non-12 Step Rehab?

Traditional 12 step programs are not the only option for those who are ready to overcome an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Although 12 step programs welcome everyone (regardless of faith), the spiritual element of the 12 step process may be uncomfortable for some. For this reason, there are non 12 step rehab programs that provide a secular or non-spiritual approach to addiction treatment and recovery. 

Like 12 step programs, non-12 step programs promote behavioral change. However, they place less emphasis on the influence of a “higher power” as part of the treatment approach. In a secular program, there is a stronger emphasis placed on self-empowerment and evidence-based therapies as part of a comprehensive treatment program. Non-12 step programs incorporate many common and essential treatment elements, including medically supervised detox, dual diagnosis addiction treatment, individual and group counseling based on evidence-based models, and participation in non-12 step peer support groups. 

How Can Casa Serena Help You Get Sober Today?

At Casa Serena, we understand the decision to seek addiction treatment is difficult. When you come to Casa Serena, our caring and compassionate team of medical and mental health providers will work with you to design a treatment plan based on your unique needs and goals. At our beautiful Santa Barbara women’s rehab, we offer a wide range of treatment models designed to help you get and stay sober. We understand recovery does not end when you complete your program. Comprehensive aftercare planning begins when you start treatment, and help is available anytime you need it, for as long as you need it. 

Overcoming addiction is not without challenge, but at Casa Serena, a lifetime of sobriety and wellness are within reach. To learn more about our women’s only rehab here in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, contact our admissions team today. 

Santa Barbara County Mental Health & Addiction Treatment

Statistics show those who experience symptoms related to a mental condition are more likely to have developed or be diagnosed with a drug or alcohol addiction. This is referred to as having a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. Unfortunately, many people who have a dual diagnosis do not get treatment for both conditions. They often tend to seek treatment only for the condition with the most unpleasant symptoms or the most urgent distress. 

Previously, medical and mental health providers believed that mental health and addiction needed to be treated in separate facilities using different treatment models. This belief made seeking dual diagnosis treatment nearly impossible. Consequently, many who struggled with a mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, depression, etc., while addicted to drugs or alcohol would only receive treatment for one or the other. The inability to get the comprehensive treatment that addressed both illnesses often led to increased relapse. 

Are Mental Health and Addiction-Related? 

Fortunately, the outlook and understanding surrounding the relationship between mental health and addiction have changed. Recent data from the United States Department of Health and Human Services on co-occurring disorders indicate as many as eight million American’s suffer from a co-occurring disorder. 

Several theories have attempted to explain how mental health and addiction are related. Although there is no direct correlation showing one “causes” the other, research provides a clear link between addiction and new or worsening mental health symptoms and vice versa. First, the use of drugs or alcohol can worsen existing mental health conditions. If you have a diagnosed (or even undiagnosed) mental health condition and struggle with ongoing drug or alcohol abuse, it can increase the intensity and severity of your mental health symptoms. 

Also, struggles with mental health can lead to substance abuse and addiction. It is not uncommon for someone who experiences symptoms related to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or anxiety to turn to drugs or alcohol to alleviate their symptoms. This is referred to as self-medication, and although it may feel beneficial, it can lead to significant physical and psychological health struggles. With ongoing substance use, the structure and function of the brain change, making the user feel as though they need more and more of a substance to dull their mental health symptoms. Eventually, they cannot control their emotions, good or bad, without using drugs or alcohol. 

How to Treat Mental Health and Addiction at the Same Time

Treating mental health and addiction at the same time requires specialized treatment at a dual diagnosis treatment program. These programs are capable of addressing and effectively treating mental health and addiction simultaneously.  Because addiction is unique and everyone responds to treatment differently, your treatment program needs to be designed around your unique needs and goals. At Casa Serena, our Santa Barbara County based mental health and addiction treatment professionals will evaluate how long you have been using drugs or alcohol, the severity and frequency of your use, the impact of co-occurring mental health conditions, and any other pertinent medical needs that must be addressed as part of a comprehensive treatment program. Through this type of detail, an individual treatment plan and detox program can be designed for you.

Reach Out to Use Today at Casa Serena

If you would like to learn more about dual diagnosis treatment in Santa Barbara, contact us at Casa Serena today. Our admissions team is here to answer your questions. Our treatment team will work with you to design a comprehensive, evidence-based treatment program here at our women-only treatment center to help you overcome addiction while learning safer, healthier ways to manage mental health symptoms. Recovery from dual-diagnosis is not without challenges, but health and sobriety are within reach with the help of our caring and compassionate team here at Casa Serena. 

What is an Aftercare Plan in Addiction Recovery?

Deciding to seek treatment for a substance use disorder is only the first yet likely most vital step on the path to recovery. A comprehensive addiction treatment program dramatically improves your chances of long-term recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. But once treatment is complete, what happens? Are you cured? Do you resume your former life picking up where you left off without continued support? In short, no. 

Aftercare planning is an integral part of the addiction treatment process. Aftercare plans are designed to help someone recovering from addiction ease back into life with a high level of essential support. Without comprehensive aftercare planning, individuals recovering from addiction can struggle with isolation and other challenges pertaining to the drastic changes in their day-to-day activities necessary to maintain sobriety. In a large portion of cases, these struggles can lead to relapse. 

What Is an Aftercare Plan in Addiction Recovery? 

Aftercare plans in addiction recovery are uniquely designed plans that take effect at the end of a residential or outpatient primary treatment program. Here at Casa Serena, we understand the most successful aftercare programs are developed based on your specific needs to help you safely and successfully navigate life after addiction and addiction treatment. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines an aftercare plan as a program that supports ongoing recovery by using evidence-based practices and a range of services designed to help maintain motivation and momentum as one moves forward in sobriety.

Why Are Aftercare Plans Important? 

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition that does not have a “cure.” However, through comprehensive, evidence-based treatment and a robust aftercare program, long-term sobriety can be achieved and maintained. Although each program is different, a typical aftercare program will include a combination of ongoing therapy and participation in community-based support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.  (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Your treatment team may add other components to the plan based on your unique support needs, including time in a sober living community, legal assistance, educational assistance, and assistance finding housing.

Aftercare plans are vital to relapse prevention. A properly integrated aftercare plan begins. Staying connected to the recovery community and support system that the person has become comfortable with is one of the number one ways to remain sober and prevent relapse. The road to recovery from addiction is not always easy. Often, the journey is long, and challenges may arise along the way. Completing a comprehensive addiction treatment program is the best way to identify the barriers that keep you from becoming sober and maintaining lasting recovery. Another benefit to residential treatment is that it provides a safe environment away from triggers, allowing you time to make necessary personal and behavioral changes to aid in your recovery. However, upon returning home to families, friends, and jobs, staying on track can become difficult.

Recovering addicts, regardless of how long they’ve been in recovery, must be consistently attentive to their sobriety to avoid slips or a full relapse. At Casa Serena, our aftercare planning sets treatment program alumni up for long-term health and success in ongoing sobriety. We design our aftercare plans to ensure your post-treatment support needs are met. During your treatment program at our women’s only treatment center, our treatment team will help you start your journey to recovery. As you prepare to discharge from your primary treatment plan, your team will work with you to set up access to essential aftercare elements, including therapy, medical appointments, and peer support group information. 

Learn more about how Casa Serena’s women-only treatment and aftercare programs can help you find lasting freedom from drugs or alcohol today. 

How to Pursue Alcohol Addiction Recovery

The idea of alcohol addiction or an alcohol use disorder conjures many images in people’s minds. However, problematic drinking can range in severity from occasionally drinking in excess (binge drinking) to alcohol dependence and alcoholism. There are many varying levels of addiction severity in between. An occasional drink does not evolve into a substance use disorder that requires comprehensive addiction for most people. On the other hand, others have a significantly more challenging relationship with alcohol and could benefit from pursuing alcohol addiction recovery at Casa Serena

Is Alcohol Addictive?

Yes, alcohol is addictive. Alcohol alters how the brain perceives reward and releases dopamine. When the reward system is changed, it can be challenging for people to “feel” joy or pleasure from typical activities such as socializing, parenting, or social experiences. Eventually, alcohol becomes the primary way for the user to feel happiness and joy. Long-term alcohol use floods the reward system with dopamine leading the brain to reduce the amount of dopamine produced. It also decreases the number of dopamine receptors and increases the number of opioid receptors. 

These changes result in physical and psychological alcohol dependence. It also leads to an increasing need for greater alcohol consumption to overcome tolerance and avoid withdrawal symptoms. 

Signs of an Alcohol Addiction

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Edition) provides a list of eleven criteria to help mental health and medical professionals accurately diagnose the presence and severity of alcohol addiction (alcohol use disorder). One does not need to present with all eleven symptoms to have an alcohol addiction. Generally, two or three signs identify a mild alcohol use disorder; four or five are considered moderate, and six or more are considered severe. As previously mentioned, alcoholism does not develop overnight; however, someone is generally diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder when drinking interferes with work, school, family, and other responsibilities, and they continue to consume (or crave) alcohol despite known harmful consequences. 

The eleven factors listed in the DSM-5 address the physical and psychological symptoms of alcohol addiction. The ability to recognize the symptoms of alcohol addiction can help ensure you or a loved one gets the support and guidance needed to overcome addiction. Some of the most common symptoms of alcohol abuse include:

  • Cognitive changes such as blackouts or difficulties with short-term memory
  • Intense and overwhelming urges to drink
  • Continuing to drink regardless of known physical harm or challenges with family and personal relationships
  • Sudden changes in mood or frequent mood swings
  • Choosing alcohol over essential responsibilities and obligations
  • Increasing isolation and distancing from friends and family
  • Changes in appearance or lack of concern about hygiene
  • Drinking alone or making excuses for drinking

How to Achieve Alcohol Addiction Recovery

No matter the severity of your addiction, the best way to achieve alcohol addiction recovery is to seek comprehensive, evidence-based addiction treatment care. The journey to defeating alcohol addiction should be made with medical professionals’ support and guidance in a treatment facility with staff experienced in medical detox and alcohol addiction disorders. Our women-focused treatment program can provide you with essential guidance and support throughout your entire treatment process. After rehab ends, we will help ensure your aftercare plan is in place with access to support groups and counselors to help you during early and long-term recovery.

Choosing to pursue alcohol addiction recovery, although difficult, is only the first step on your journey to recovery. At Casa Serena, we will work with you to design a unique and individualized alcohol addiction treatment plan that addresses and focuses on meeting your unique treatment needs and goals. Using evidence-based traditional therapies and holistic treatment models, our women-only alcohol rehab provides addiction treatment designed to ensure you have the best opportunity for attaining and maintaining sobriety. If you are ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, contact us at Casa Serena today. 

Am I An Addict? Signs & Symptoms of Addiction

Addiction is a disease faced by more than twenty-one million American’s every year. Like many chronic illnesses, it is one without a cure; however, with comprehensive, holistic addiction treatment, it is possible to overcome the difficulties of addiction and live a healthy, happy life without drugs or alcohol. The first step on the path to freedom from substances is acknowledging and understanding the signs and symptoms of addiction. 

General Signs & Symptoms of Addiction

Most addictions involve various physical and psychological effects. It is important to remember that each person who struggles with addiction does so in their own way. Although two people may share the same addiction, they will not experience the same signs and symptoms. Despite the individual nature of addiction, there are several common indicators experienced in many cases. 

Symptoms of addiction are experienced by the person with the addiction. They may or may not be outwardly visible to friends and loved ones. Symptoms of addiction you may experience include increased tolerance, withdrawal symptoms if you reduce or try to stop using, and an increased concern about getting and using substances. You may also notice extreme changes in mood, changes in your sleeping patterns, reduced energy levels, changes in weight, and a chronic state of “feeling unwell.”

Signs of addiction are the characteristics of addiction that can be seen by others. Signs are often behavioral changes such as lying, stealing, voluntary isolation, new or worsening financial, legal, or relationship difficulties, and the presence of drugs or drug paraphernalia. Depending on the nature and severity of one’s addiction, certain physical symptoms are often visible to others. 

How to Determine if You Are an Addict

If you are concerned you may be addicted to drugs or alcohol, you likely are. Asking yourself some of the following questions about your relationship with substances may help provide additional insight into your addiction and how you can benefit from seeking treatment at Casa Serena’s Santa Barbara, CA, drug and alcohol rehab.

Addiction impacts the addict, their loved ones, friends, and members of their social circle. Considering the effects of addiction can help you determine if your struggles with drugs or alcohol could be an addiction. Consider essential questions such as is your substance use concerning you or your loved ones? Are your important personal relationships suffering because of your substance use? Do you face adverse outcomes from your substance use? Are you experiencing financial, legal, or relationship difficulties because of your substance use? Do you experience cravings or use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate? 

Although these are not the only questions or concerns that could indicate you have an addiction, they provide a place to start when considering your relationship with substances. Many who struggle with addiction are consumed by the urge and “need” to drink or use to the extent that substance use and abuse take over many aspects of their lives. When you are addicted, you may obsess about using when you are sober or turn to drugs and alcohol to treat another physical or mental health condition. When you are sober, you may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. 

Reach Out to Casa Serena Today for Help With Addiction

Acknowledging that you have an addiction is the first and vital step on the path to recovery. Suppose you answered yes to even one of the questions above. In that case, it could indicate you have a substance abuse problem, and seeking addiction treatment could provide the best opportunities for sobriety and long-term recovery. If you are ready to learn more about how an individually designed addiction treatment program at our Santa Barbara rehab could help you achieve your sobriety goals, reach out to Casa Serena today. 

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