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. 

Why You Should Go to a Women’s Treatment Center for Drugs and Alcohol

Some California addiction treatment centers like Casa Serena provide gender-specific treatment services. A gender-specific treatment environment describes a program designed specifically to treat the needs of men and women in separate programs. Science has proven men and women typically use drugs and alcohol differently and, therefore, often face unique obstacles and challenges while progressing through addiction treatment. Casa Serena’s women’s treatment program addresses these differences and provides a safe space to heal in a supportive environment that addresses the unique needs of women. 

What Is Drug and Alcohol Addiction?

Addiction is a disease that touches the lives of millions of Americans each year. Historically, addiction was considered a choice or moral failing. Many in the medical community viewed substance abuse as a conscious choice. Fortunately, time and a better understanding of how drugs and alcohol affect the mind and body have helped medical and mental health professionals better understand the unique challenges of overcoming addiction. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction as a “chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain.” When you struggle with addiction, you cannot control the impulse to obtain and use drugs or consume alcohol, even when there are negative consequences to your actions. Behavioral and emotional changes are also accompanied by changes in the chemistry of the brain and brain function, specifically the areas of the brain that control pleasure, reward, and inhibition. If you struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol and try to reduce or stop using, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. In many cases, withdrawal symptoms become too challenging to manage without the help of an addiction treatment center like Casa Serena.

Benefits of Going to a Women’s Treatment Center for Drugs and Alcohol

There are distinctive differences between the ways men and women experience addiction. Therefore, there are many benefits to seeking out gender-specific treatment that caters to women’s unique treatment needs. Women-only rehabs like Casa Serena provide specialized treatment designed around how women can best recover from drug and alcohol abuse. Biologically, female bodies are physically different than men, and therefore the speed and ability to process drugs and alcohol out of their system are different. 

Also, women may be vulnerable to different types of drugs than men. For example, common women are sometimes more sensitive to stimulant drugs such as methamphetamines due to how estrogen and stimulant drugs interact. For women to learn and benefit from treatment models, it is important to provide coping strategies and relapse prevention techniques that focus on the ways women’s bodies function and process alcohol. This is best done in a women-only setting.

Socially and psychologically, women have different needs when it comes to the treatment environment. It is not uncommon for women in addiction treatment programs to have experienced trauma or various types of abuse, often (unfortunately), at the hands of significant others or male counterparts. Due to the mental health implications of these experiences, specific therapy models that focus on trauma may be better suited for women than males in the treatment environment. 

Also, while in treatment, it is vital to focus on self-care, self-improvement, growth, and mental health. For some patients, having members of the opposite sex present during therapy sessions or within the treatment facility can lead to emotional distractions that hinder their ability to progress through the treatment process. 

Due to the roots of previous trauma, women in a mixed treatment environment may feel uncomfortable sharing intimate or traumatizing experiences. For these reasons and many more, women-only rehab creates an environment that feels welcoming and safe, especially for women who’ve experienced trauma related to their addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Reach Out to Us Today at Casa Serena 

If you are ready to seek treatment for drug or alcohol use disorders and are interested in what a woman-only (gender-specific) rehab can provide, contact us at Casa Serena’s California drug and alcohol rehab today. Let our caring and compassionate admissions team help you understand how women-only rehab can help you overcome your struggles with drug and alcohol addiction.

CBT and DBT in Addiction Treatment Explained

Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is a common element of addiction treatment programs. When you decide to seek treatment to overcome an addiction to drugs or alcohol, treatment specialists at your chosen treatment facility will use one or more of these therapy models to help address behavioral problems and any co-occurring mental health issues that often accompany addiction.  Although cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy share some similarities, there are also differences in the treatment models. 

What Is CBT?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT is a type of psychotherapy that has proven effective across a wide range of mental health and substance abuse issues. Some studies have indicated CBT is more effective than other forms of behavioral therapy when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. The goal of CBT is to help participants learn to recognize and examine negative thinking patterns. 

CBT encourages the evaluation of thoughts and perceptions to better understand the roots of addiction and various mental health symptoms. Using newly developed problem-solving and critical thinking skills, participants can change negative thoughts and behaviors that further addiction into positive and healthy behaviors. CBT therapy works in the “present” to examine a person’s current life rather than the circumstances or events that led to their struggles with substance use. The goal of CBT is to move forward and, with therapy, develop healthier and safer methods of coping with triggers and stressors. 

What Is DBT?

Dialectical behavior therapy or DBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. The primary goals of DBT are to teach therapy participants safer, healthier ways to cope with stress, regulate emotions and improve their relationships with peers and loved ones. Originally intended to treat borderline personality disorder, DBT has been successfully adapted to treat a variety of other conditions, including substance use disorders.

During DBT sessions at an addiction treatment center, clients work with their therapist to resolve the apparent contradiction between self-acceptance and change to bring about positive changes in the individual seeking to overcome addiction. A vital part of the DBT process includes offering validation which helps participants become more open to the idea of change. Like CBT, DBT is also highly beneficial for those seeking dual diagnosis treatment as the DBT model is proven successful as a part of many mental health treatment programs. 

How Are CBT and DBT Used in Addiction Treatment?

CBT and DBT are used in addiction treatment as part of a comprehensive, evidence-based addiction treatment program. When you begin treatment at Casa Serena, your treatment team will work with you to design an individual treatment plan that focuses on your unique needs and goals. Depending on your needs, your treatment plan may include CBT, DBT, or both. It is not necessary to choose one or the other as many people benefit from elements of both therapy models. Combined, both CBT and DBT can help you overcome addiction while building strong, healthy coping skills to manage triggers and continue with long-term sobriety. 

Both cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy can help you heal from substance use disorders and from the mental health challenges that often accompany addiction. Both therapy models can be used individually or combined in individual, group, and family therapy settings. 

For those seeking to overcome addictions to alcohol or opioids, CBT and DBT are typically integrated with detox and medication-assisted therapy programs to provide the most holistic treatment opportunity possible. DBT and CBT are used across all stages of addiction treatment, including the early days of treatment and recovery, aftercare, and relapse prevention. If you are ready to begin your journey to recovery, reach out to Casa Serena today to learn more about how CBT and DBT programs can help you achieve your sobriety goals. 

Why You Should Consider Women Only Rehab for Addiction Treatment

Gender specific rehab or “women only rehab” describes an addiction treatment setting explicitly designed to address the needs of men and women separately. Although gender preference can be non-binary, it is essential to note that men and women experience addiction differently and face different obstacles while in treatment and recovery. National statistics show that biological gender is crucial to address when examining substance abuse behaviors and patterns. Factors including the severity of use, the onset of use (both age and reason), and frequency of use are often traced back to biological gender. For these reasons and many others, women only rehab treatment programs address these differences and allow women seeking addiction treatment to heal in a safe and supportive environment.  

What Is Women Only Rehab?

Addiction is unique to each person who experiences it; consequently, when it comes to addiction treatment, it is not surprising that each person and each of the sexes have specific needs that are separate from those of the other. For this reason, women-only rehab programs are an excellent option for women seeking addiction treatment. In a women’s only rehab, women can expect to find programs that address their unique and individual treatment needs. Women’s only programs address concerns such as trauma, abuse, and family matters, such as struggles women may experience when leaving behind their family and children to seek treatment. With the support of women and treatment professionals in the program, women seeking treatment are more likely to feel comfortable disclosing their emotions and talking about the challenges of living with addiction while trying to parent and achieve sobriety.

Benefits of Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment

According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there are significant biological and cultural differences between men and women regarding substance abuse. Ongoing research has confirmed there are biological differences surrounding rates of dependence, choices, substance, and how the brain responds to substance use. Also, similar studies show that women have different reasons for substance use and different circumstances that trigger a relapse. Women only treatment programs offer gender specific treatment that addresses these unique needs in a compassionate and supportive environment.

Aside from differences concerning why women use, women also have different treatment goals and expectations. Specialized treatment programs that consider the unique emotional, relational and psychological issues women experience concerning addiction and substance abuse recovery are proven to be more successful. Additionally, at a women’s only rehab, there is minimal sexual and gender-related tension as the sexes are separate during treatment. 

In a gender specific addiction treatment program, you can expect to find gender sensitive therapy groups that inspire open communication about the pressures, emotional challenges, and social struggles that can result from substance use and addiction. Women only addiction treatment programs typically foster higher levels of trust and bonding with peers in the program. Women are often more comfortable opening up about their struggles, fears, and family challenges in a group of like-minded peers who are likely to share similar concerns.

How Casa Serena Can Help You Get Sober Today

There are many drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs throughout the United States; therefore, it is essential to choose the one that meets your personal treatment needs and goals. At Casa Serena in Santa Barbara, CA, our caring and compassionate treatment team have over 60 years of women centered substance abuse and dual diagnosis treatment experience. 

We understand the unique challenges women face when seeking addiction treatment, and our staff is here to help you and your family begin the recovery journey. Our treatment team is skilled in medically managed detox and dual diagnosis rehab. Using evidence-based interventions and comprehensive addiction treatment, we can help you achieve successful, long-term outcomes. 

Additionally, our outpatient program and structured, supportive sober living environments can help our program alumni attain and maintain long-term sobriety. If you would like to learn more about how Casa Serena can help you get sober today, reach out to our admissions team to learn more about our Santa Barbara women’s only rehab today.

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