Do I Need Transitional Living?

Though everyone in addiction recovery progresses differently, there’s a direct correlation between time spent in treatment and sustained sobriety. If you discover you need extra support after you complete a treatment program, an aftercare plan that includes transitional living can help you succeed with all your goals.

Benefits of Transitional Living Homes

Spending 90 days or more in extended residential care is an accomplishment to be proud of, but you will need to carefully consider what your next steps should be. For many people, immediately trying to rush back into the “real world” can be overwhelming after the support and routine found in inpatient treatment.

In a transitional living home, you will find a comfortable environment surrounded by other men who are also in recovery and working on their sobriety one day at a time. Transitional living homes provide many valuable advantages during a vulnerable phase of your life.

1. A Substance-Free Environment

Relapse prevention is vital for people in addiction recovery. However, if you are newly out of rehab, any surroundings you can’t control may be too triggering – including the presence of alcohol or drugs. Transitional living removes this danger by requiring all residents to remain sober and substance-free.

2. Structure and Stability

Substance use disorders eventually bring adverse financial, personal and emotional consequences. You may not have a secure home to return to after finishing your residential care program, or perhaps the environment where you used to live isn’t conducive to long-term recovery. Transitional living can offer safety, consistency and the opportunity to continue participating in addiction and mental health treatment alongside life skills and vocational training.

3. A Chance to Make New Friends

The isolation, secrecy and denial necessary to maintain an active addiction can destroy the foundations of relationships. In transitional living, you can practice improving your social skills with a built-in peer group of people who are facing similar challenges. Because PACE Recovery Center’s programming is gender-specific, you can forge lasting relationships with men who will become like brothers.

4. Less Stress

Stress is a fact of life, but it’s something you should take every possible precaution to avoid in early recovery, since it can increase your risk of a relapse. Transitional living homes can provide a secure, less hectic environment with fewer potential triggers.

5. Reinforcing Healthy Habits

Addiction changes the brain in ways that can take some time to reverse. During addiction treatment, you can begin learning how to think and act differently. Still, forming new habits takes time, and your stay in transitional living can afford you the space and patience you need to make healthy routines feel more like second nature.

Transitional Living for Long-Term Rehab

Do you need extra time to acclimatize to a sober lifestyle and avoid relapse triggers before transitioning into fully independent living? PACE Recovery Center’s men’s-only transitional living can provide the solution you’re looking for. Don’t wait to get the help you need for your substance dependency. Contact us today to verify your insurance coverage and learn more about what our California treatment center can do for you.

Signs of an Alcoholic

Alcohol is legal, easily accessible and socially acceptable. As a result, some people believe drinking is a safe way to relax, make friends and enhance activities like concerts and sports events. However, alcohol has done more cumulative damage to people’s health, relationships and overall quality of life than any other drug. In addition, its harmful societal effects are wide-ranging and can result in illegal activities, irresponsible decisions, violence and legal and financial problems.

Alcohol Abuse Tendencies

Sometimes, it can be challenging to tell when drinking has crossed the line into problematic behavior because for most men, the progression from tolerance to dependence to full-fledged alcohol addiction happens gradually. Occasionally having a beer or a glass of wine doesn’t mean your loved one has a substance use disorder, but when he starts feeling the urge to drink daily, that’s an early warning sign. Another red flag of a growing addiction is craving alcohol or talking about wanting to drink when sober.

Here are some other issues problem drinkers might experience as alcohol begins to take over their lives.

  • Wanting to stop drinking, but finding the habit is too hard to break
  • Prioritizing drinking over other aspects of life
  • Lying about the amount they drink or trying to hide the evidence to prevent other people from suspecting they are addicted
  • Drinking alone because they are ashamed about how much they drink
  • Frequent blackouts, during which they do things they have no memory of the next day
  • Doing irresponsible things under the influence, like driving drunk
  • Becoming distressed or anxious when they run out of alcohol
  • Trying to change the subject if someone mentions that they might need help

The Dangers of Alcohol Withdrawal

Addiction is a chronic disease that affects brain chemistry by hijacking the built-in reward system. Eventually, it will become increasingly difficult to take pleasure from any other activities, and problem drinkers may only feel like their genuine selves when they’re drinking.

The human brain is a plastic organ, which means it can reconfigure and adjust itself in response to changing circumstances. When your loved one’s brain adapts to alcohol’s effects, it will struggle to achieve the same equilibrium when he tries to cut back or quit entirely. At that point, alcohol withdrawal begins.

Withdrawal symptoms include a range of physical and emotional issues that vary in severity. These include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia and chronic fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Sensitivity to light, noise and touch
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances to try quitting cold turkey because some heavy drinkers are at risk of delirium tremens, a serious condition characterized by hallucinations, uncontrollable sweating and shaking, seizures and heart palpitations. Delirium tremens is sometimes fatal, so it’s a medical emergency that requires immediate attention from experienced health professionals.

Addiction Treatment for Men

One long-lasting stigma about addiction is that it only happens to people who have some inherent weakness or moral flaw. At PACE Recovery, we know that couldn’t be further from the truth because we have worked with clients from all belief systems and ways of life.

If your loved one struggles with an alcohol use disorder and has tried to quit, a men’s-only rehab program tailored to his needs will equip him with the tools he needs to manage his illness for the rest of his life. The first step is medically managed detoxification, during which health care providers will monitor withdrawal symptoms and work to make your loved one as comfortable as possible. Then, he can move into the next phases of treatment. Call us today to learn more about thriving in recovery.

Major Depressive Disorder Treatments

A diagnosis of major depressive disorder can feel intimidating and leave you wondering what the next steps are. Often, the mental health provider who gives this diagnosis will talk you through what this means and where to go from here, but if you’re still feeling unsure, let’s talk a little about the implications of and potential treatment options for major depressive disorder.

What is Major Depressive Disorder?

When people think of diagnosed depression, they are most likely thinking about major depressive disorder (MDD). This mental health diagnosis is characterized by a persistent low mood, loss of interest in activities, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and sleep disturbances among other symptoms. While suicidal thoughts can accompany symptoms of MDD, these thoughts do not have to be present to meet diagnostic criteria. Children and adolescents may also present with increased irritability. 

Receiving a Diagnosis of Depression

Noticing changes in behavior and mood is the first step in pursuing an official diagnosis. If you’re noticing a decrease in desire to complete necessary tasks or a loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed, start making note of the patterns you see. Are you lacking the energy to get out of bed or losing motivation to attend to your basic hygiene needs? Do you find yourself ruminating over situations, leading to feelings of guilt? If you are noticing changes in someone you love, you may look for more external behaviors. Are they isolating themselves from others more frequently? Do they seem to anger more quickly and become defensive of their actions?

Whether these behaviors are becoming evident in yourself or someone you love, you may want to consider seeking out a depressive disorder diagnosis. The first step in this process is often to talk to your primary care doctor about your concerns. They can help eliminate the potential that health issues may be contributing to your symptoms. After this initial conversation, they will likely refer you to a mental health professional: either a psychiatrist or a licensed psychologist. Either of these professionals will be able to provide necessary testing or evaluations to provide you with a diagnosis, if appropriate. They will also be able to answer any questions you have about major depressive disorder and connect you with any necessary resources.

What Are the Treatments for Major Depressive Disorder?

Once you have received a diagnosis, if you are not already connected with mental health resources, this is the first step in treatment. To provide comprehensive care for those with major depressive disorder, often a variety of treatment modalities are combined. Some of the main treatment options for this diagnosis include:

  • Talk Therapy: Talk therapy can be both in an individual and group setting and provides you a space to process the life events that may be contributing to your symptoms. This is also a space where you can work on developing coping skills to better manage your depression.
  • Medication Management: Many times, mental health professionals will encourage you to start with therapy before introducing medication. There are exceptions to this, though, especially if your symptoms are severe and interfere with your ability to function on a daily basis. This is something you will talk through with your providers to determine what the best course of action is for your specific case. 
  • Residential or Inpatient Treatment: Sometimes, your symptoms may be so severe that your safety is at risk. If this is the case, your treatment team will discuss more intensive options, such as a hospital stay, residential treatment, or an intensive outpatient program. These are decisions you will make together, and you will have the opportunity to discuss any questions you have before this happens. 
  • Coping Skill Development: Outside of your mental health provider’s office, you can also work on developing coping skills independently to manage your depressive symptoms. Some effective coping skills include: journaling, meditation and mindfulness, exercising, engaging in a new hobby or activity, and spending time with friends and family. 

Support for Men with Depression

Participating in a treatment program is vital to properly manage a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, and gender-specific treatment ensures your needs are fully met. PACE Recovery Center offers mental health treatment for men diagnosed with mood disorders, such as depression, both in outpatient and residential settings. Located in Orange County, our treatment model blends group and individual therapy and provides men with the skills they need to fully embrace life and its challenges. Our residential program provides intensive treatment without the distractions of regular life, so you can fully focus on your recovery. We also offer academic support for young men who are still in school but would benefit from our residential program. If you’d like to learn more about our treatment options for mood disorders, like major depressive disorder, contact our team today. 

 

Reference:  Bains N, Abdijadid S. Major Depressive Disorder. [Updated 2021 Apr 20]. StatPearls (Internet), 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559078/

Emotional Symptoms of Stress in Men

Men often bear the burden of responsibility in areas related to work, school, finances, and relationships. When the weight of these starts to compile, it’s natural to start to feel overwhelmed.  But when is this something to be concerned about? And how do you know when to reach out for more help?

What Causes Stress?

We have all experienced changes in our lives that affect our mood, and these can influence how we interact with others and the world around us. When we go through a difficult period or have added responsibilities, our desire to perform well can alter our physical and emotional selves. If you’re experiencing a change in emotions but aren’t sure what is causing it, stress could be the culprit. Some common situations that can increase feelings of pressure include:

  • Added responsibilities at work or school
  • Major life changes (moving, job change, relationship changes, etc.)
  • Legal issues
  • Upcoming deadlines
  • Lack of support in navigating challenges
  • Financial problems

Any of these circumstances can increase anxieties in your life, so it’s important to begin to recognize when you are feeling the effects of stress. 

Symptoms of Stress in Men

If you are managing a situation that could be increasing anxiety in your life, start taking note of how you are feeling on a daily basis. Monitoring your emotions and physical self can help you determine how these changes are affecting you. Specifically for men, the symptoms of managing challenging situations could be more subtle, so taking note of any differences in how you feel can help you pinpoint where you need more support. Common emotions men experience related to stress include:

  • Increased irritability
  • Worry, guilt
  • Depression, mood swings 
  • Racing thoughts, anxiety

Let’s take a minute to look at how each of these appears, specifically in men.

Emotional Responses to Change

Men commonly feel a sense of responsibility for the situations they experience in life, and stress can increase frustration related to these responsibilities. When you are feeling pressure in one area of life, you may find that you have a “shorter fuse” and become angered more quickly in unrelated situations. This could look like increased frustration at tasks incomplete in the home or hostility towards your family members who are not experiencing the same levels of strain. 

You may also notice increases in worry and anxiety. As you try to navigate life changes or challenges, you might fixate on the issue at hand and have difficulty refocusing your mind. Guilt related to the situation may also be an issue, especially if you are spending a lot of time focused on these circumstances. As your mind continues to try to sort through your emotions, you could also experience periods of depression or mood swings as these feelings change. All of these are normal reactions to stress, but it becomes a problem if your emotions are interfering with your ability to complete the tasks you want or need to do. 

Managing Life Stressors

Sometimes changes in life feel like too much, and it feels unmanageable. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your life circumstances, try some of these tips to better manage your emotions related to stress:

  • Keep a journal to process what you’re feeling
  • Practice deep breathing and meditation
  • Take breaks when completing tasks
  • Prioritize your responsibilities

There are times, though, that professional support is necessary. Outpatient therapy services provide a space for you to work through the emotions related to stressful life events while helping you develop coping skills. PACE Recovery Center offers gender-specific inpatient and outpatient therapy services for mental health conditions and mood disorders. If your feelings of anxiety or mood changes are interfering with your responsibilities in life, contact us today to learn more about our counseling services.

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