The Transformative Power of Altruism in Recovery

Have you ever helped someone and found yourself feeling a little happier than before? It’s a scientifically proven fact - helping others makes us feel good too.

You might not think so, but small acts of kindness, also known as altruism, can help you in your recovery journey. Find out how here.

What Is Altruism?

Simply put, altruism is all about putting others first and acting selflessly. It could be as simple as giving a gift without any expectations or helping someone out with a chore.

The Power of Giving Back in Recovery

Substance abuse leaves a long-lasting impact. Even once you’re in recovery, you’ll have to face up to past mistakes and understand how your actions have hurt others. You’ll also need to learn to forgive yourself.

Aside from the emotional and mental effects of drug abuse, you can expect to encounter withdrawal symptoms in rehab. All these factors can sometimes make it difficult to focus on getting better, let alone helping others. However, as noted above, altruism is a powerful tool in recovery.

Why, you ask? We explain below.

Improves Mental Health

Helping others helps us. Whenever you make someone else feel good, your brain instantly releases endorphins that give you that pleasurable feeling.

A decades-long study conducted by Maria Pagano proved that altruism positively impacts mental health, indicating that it increases feelings of wellbeing and reduces stress among individuals. After all, when you’re feeling good, you’re more likely to stick to sobriety and avoid relapse.

It’s also worth remembering that helping others is a form of social interaction. In addition to boosting your happiness, you’ll also be building a support network that you can make use of both inside and outside of rehab.

Provides a Sense of Purpose and Accomplishment

Helping others offers a sense of accomplishment. Although you may have many goals to achieve during your recovery, simple acts of kindness are easy to achieve. They will also help give you a purpose.

Overcoming addiction can seem frightening. After all, it was your life. When you’re suddenly stripped of the one thing that was important to you, you might start to feel like you lack a sense of direction. Helping those around you will help you see the power of recovery through others, making it easier to stick to your goals.

Sets the Stage for the ‘New You’

During active addiction, you’re a different person. Things that once interested you no longer do, and you might have pushed family and friends away in a bid to hide your addiction from them. Now that you’re in recovery, you’ll probably want to rebuild yourself and the image you created throughout the height of your addiction.

By helping others and putting them before yourself, you will be able to set the stage for the new you. Not only will this give you a renewed purpose, but it will be visible proof to others that you’re making positive changes.

Practicing altruism in recovery

Now that you understand what altruism is and its benefits, you may find yourself wondering how you can practice it throughout your recovery.

There are several different ways to practice altruism in recovery, and we have shared a few suitable options below.

Attend the Twelve-Step Program

It’s easy enough to give a gift to a stranger or lend them a helping hand, but what happens when it comes to already established relationships? Practicing altruism, especially if the relationship is strained, can be difficult.

Going through the twelve-step program will push you to recognize your mistakes and make amends with those you have hurt. You might not think so, but making peace is a form of altruism. This is because you’re offering an olive branch to someone without any expectation. Because they could ignore you or reject you, it’s a selfless act.

In addition to having the opportunity to make amends, attending a twelve-step program group will enable you to connect with others on a similar journey. In doing so, you can build a support network.

Since much of the twelve-step program is group-based, you’ll be provided with the perfect setting to practice altruism. As well as giving you space to be more generous with others, the twelve steps will also help you stick to sobriety. You won’t just be learning how to give up your addiction; you’ll also be learning how to accept yourself and start developing healthier habits.

A 2019 study proved this point, indicating that individuals who participate in the twelve-step program enjoy an overall better quality of life than those who don’t.

Be Open to Listening to Others

Rehab provides the perfect opportunity to listen to others. As well as attending group therapy, you could make an active effort to forge friendships with others. Instead of just focusing on your own problems, give others a chance to open up. You don’t even need to offer advice - listening is just as effective.

Volunteer Your Services

It’s a no-brainer, but volunteering is a great way of putting altruism into action. Just because you’re in rehab or recovery doesn’t mean you have to focus your efforts there. Pick something you’re passionate about and get involved in the cause.

For example, if you love animals, you might enjoy helping out at a local animal shelter or horse ranch. Not only will the act of altruism give you a boost of happiness, but you’ll also be doing something you love.

To Conclude

The road to sobriety isn’t always easy, and sometimes you’ll face challenges. However, getting out of your bubble and putting your attention on others is a great way of focusing your mind on something other than your problems. It will also make it easier to forge friendships and lay the right foundations to begin your new sober life.

The Worrying Correlation Between Opioid Dependency and Early Life Adversity

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, misuse and addiction to opioid drugs is a serious national crisis in the United States. Every year, opioid misuse costs the country $78.5 billion, and in 2019 over 50,000 people died from an opioid overdose.

To help tackle this crisis, extensive scientific research has tried to uncover some of the reasons behind opioid dependence and abuse. Recent studies have suggested that early life adversity - stressful childhood experiences - could be an important risk factor for developing an opioid addiction.

What Is Early Life Adversity?

Early life adversity is the experience of distressing or traumatic events in a person’s childhood. Adverse childhood experiences may include physical or sexual abuse, exposure to violence, neglect, lack of affection, or witnessing a parent’s alcohol or drug addiction.

Early childhood adversity can affect brain development and have a major impact on a person’s later life and mental and physical health. It can start destructive thought and behavioral patterns that can be carried through to adulthood, affect the ability to form healthy relationships and cause low self-esteem, distrust, and aggression. 

Early life adversity increases your risk of developing many kinds of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, panic attacks, alcoholism, and other substance use disorders.

What Is the Link Between Opioid Dependency and Early Life Adversity?

Recent studies have uncovered a worrying correlation between opioid dependence and early life adversity. They have found that individuals with a history of child abuse and adversity are disproportionally prone to opioid addiction. 

Advanced and sophisticated research is currently taking place into exactly how this relationship works. A Molecular Psychiatry study found that, in rats, stressful early life events may lead to increased relapse-like behavior and major increases in opioid demand. They may also increase the desire for treats, leading people to seek highly pleasurable experiences like opioid highs.

Another study found that early life adversity like child abuse, neglect, and low socioeconomic status can affect your stress response system by diminishing your cortisol response to stress. Cortisol is a hormone that your body naturally releases in stressful situations that helps you respond to and recover from these events in a healthy way. Diminished cortisol responses can have a range of effects, including alcohol abuse and experimentation with drugs, and may help explain the link between early life adversity and opioid dependency.

A third study found that childhood adversity could have an impact on the reward system in the brain. Disruption to the reward system is an underlying feature of most addictions and can contribute to the development of opioid addiction. It causes the brain to compulsively seek a substance in pursuit of a reward, even when it is harmful to your health and well-being. 

Treatment and Prevention

The effects of early life adversity can be extremely damaging in the long term, leading to opioid dependencies and psychological disorders. However, adults, children, and families can seek treatment to safely manage the feelings connected with traumatic early life experiences and prevent them from causing further problems later in life.

Effective, evidence-based programs are available to treat opioid dependence and addiction. Rehabilitation centers offer various therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, talking therapies, and other treatment approaches to support people through the recovery process and help them maintain abstinence.

Most programs offer dual diagnosis treatment plans where early childhood adversity can be treated alongside addiction for people who have also suffered from childhood trauma. Treating co-occurring disorders as part of an addiction treatment program helps substance users overcome the underlying causes of addiction, so they do not slip back into old habits at the end of the treatment program. 

This approach facilitates holistic healing of the entire person and supports them on the road to a happy and productive sober life.

 

 

 

How do opioids affect the brain?

More than 191 million Americans have been prescribed opioids. This alone is concerning due to the addictive nature of opioids and the effects it has on the human body, but opioid use is more widespread than this because many people obtain opioids illicitly to misuse.

Whether you obtain opioids as part of a prescription or have bought them illicitly to seek a high, it is important that you understand the effects of opioids on the brain and what you are putting yourself at risk for when you misuse opioids.

How do opioids affect the brain?

Opioids are usually prescribed to help people manage pain. They work by binding to opioid receptors on the cells in your brain, spinal cord and other organs in your body. When they do this, they block pain signals sent from your body to the brain and trigger a large dopamine release, which induces a more euphoric state. 

The euphoric state that opioids create is so powerful that it often drives opioid users to want to use again. And, as the brain becomes accustomed to the intake of the opioid, it requires more to achieve the desired effect. At this stage, it may be difficult to quit using opioids without suffering withdrawal effects, and you may become addicted. 

Getting treatment for an addiction is important because of the short- and long-term effects opioids can have on your brain.

Short-term effects include:

Long-term effects include:

Additionally, an addiction that grows out of control can end up taking over your life. Your daily routine revolves around the need to use opioids, which can affect your work, education and family life. 

Please don’t ever let stigma or shame keep you from seeking the treatment you need. When you’re facing an addiction to opioids, it can be extremely challenging to overcome it on your own because of the powerful effects opioids have on your brain. However, with a team of caring professionals by your side, recovery is within your reach.

Start your recovery journey at Tulip Hill Recovery

At Tulip Hill Recovery, we focus on discovering what factors in your life may be contributing to addiction in order to treat it at its main source. Our treatment model emphasizes the dual diagnosis approach, which means we treat addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders that might be fueling the addiction. This helps a person in recovery become better equipped for dealing with the challenges of mental health disorders without feeling like they need substances or alcohol to cope.

Are you ready to talk to someone about treatment for addiction for you or someone you love? Please contact us online or call us at 877-845-8192 to get in touch with our team and help start the recovery journey.

Three ways you can help end the relationship between stigma and addiction

For too many people, the relationship between stigma and addiction keeps them from getting the treatment they need. This is unfortunate because people struggling with an addiction usually find it extremely challenging to overcome it on their own. Professional treatment can help a person break free of addiction and live a more rewarding and fulfilling life.

Society is changing its views on addiction, but we still have a long way to go. People need to view a struggle with addiction as they would someone who is sick with a life-threatening disease. Rather than being ostracized or criticized, a person struggling with addiction needs compassion, support and professional help.

Ending the relationship between stigma and addiction

While society is slowly overcoming its addiction stigma, there is more each of us can do to help speed up the process. Eliminating this stigma is invaluable because it may be just what someone needs to overcome social fears they have that prevent them from seeking treatment.

Some ways you can help end the relationship between stigma and addiction may include:

  1. Overcoming your own stigma — Before addressing the stigma of others, do you have any baggage you need to unload? You might have compassion for someone struggling with addiction, but do you have that same compassion for someone who relapses or do you hold them to a different standard? Do you see someone with addiction as someone who needs your pity rather than your respect and compassion?Ask yourself some hard, honest questions about stigma and whether you are immune to it. If there are some areas you need to work out, focus on that before the stigma of others.
  2. Getting involved — Get involved with local organizations, such as fundraisers or annual events that benefit those in recovery. It doesn’t matter if you have gone through recovery, know someone who has gone through recovery or simply have passion for those struggling with addiction. There are different ways you can get involved. Check with local recovery centers in your area about what you can do.
  3. Sharing your story — If you or someone you know (and you have their permission) has gone through recovery, you can help break down stigma by sharing your or their story. Stigma thrives in the absence of information. Sharing your story with addiction recovery or a loved one’s recovery can help put a face on the issue and break down the barriers of stigma.

Start the recovery journey at Tulip Hill Recovery

Do you or does someone you know struggle with an addiction to substances or alcohol? Don’t let stigma be a barrier between addiction and treatment. At Tulip Hill Recovery, we can provide professional treatment as well as resources for friends and family to help be bastions of support throughout the recovery process.

Our treatment model emphasizes the dual diagnosis approach, which means we treat addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders that might be fueling the addiction. This helps a person in recovery become better equipped for dealing with the challenges of mental health disorders without feeling like they need substances or alcohol to cope.

Are you ready to talk to someone about treatment for addiction for you or someone you love? Please contact us online or call us at 877-845-8192 to get in touch with our team and help start the recovery journey.

PTSD signs and symptoms that may mean you need help

Addiction may develop on its own from simply abusing a substance or alcohol for too long. However, addiction also often develops as a result of a co-occuring mental health disorder. As a means of coping with the symptoms of their mental health disorder, people turn to using substances or alcohol.

One condition that often fuels an urge to consume substances or alcohol as a coping mechanism is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What exactly is PTSD?

PTSD is a mental health condition that may develop after experiencing or witnessing an extremely traumatic event. Circumstances that cause such experiences often include war, sexual assault, automile accidents, natural disasters or an animal attack.

Sufferers of PTSD usually experience triggers that bring back memories of the traumatic event. Along with these memories comes intense emotional and physical reactions. This may take place in the form of extreme nightmares when sleeping or as flashbacks when experiencing a form of trigger while awake.

PTSD signs and symptoms

PTSD signs and symptoms vary from person to person depending on a number of factors, such as the experience itself, the person’s background, the person’s training and the support (or lack thereof) they have.

Signs and symptoms of PTSD may be best understood by breaking them down in categories. If you or someone you know experiences any of the following symptoms for a month or longer, you may need to seek treatment for PTSD. Especially if the symptoms are driving the urge to use substances or alcohol.

Flashbacks

Heightened alertness

Avoidance

Treat your addiction and PTSD with the help of a professional at Tulip Hill Recovery

At Tulip Hill Recovery, we focus on discovering what factors in your life may be contributing to your addiction in order to treat it at its main source. 

Are you ready to talk to someone about treatment for addiction and building a better future for yourself? Please contact us online or call us at 877-845-8192 to get in touch with our team and start your recovery journey.

Signs you may be wrestling with co-occurring disorders

When struggling with an addiction, you may find it to be very difficult to try to recover on your own. Addictions alter your brain chemistry, which makes it hard to break free from addiction on your will alone. Additionally, mental health disorders can fuel the desire to use substances or alcohol.

The latter is more common than most people might realize. Mental health disorders, especially those that have not been diagnosed, can cause stress, anxiety and other symptoms that can drive one to turning to substances or alcohol as a coping mechanism.

These are known as co-occurring disorders, and treating them is as important as treating the addiction itself.

Signs you may need treatment for co-occurring disorders

If you are struggling with an addiction to substances or alcohol, it’s important to seek help for treatment. You may need additional therapy and other support if you have the symptoms of a co-occurring disorder. 

Symptoms of co-occurring disorders vary depending on the condition, but some overlapping symptoms may include:

If you notice these signs in yourself or in someone you love along with an addiction to substances or alcohol, please seek help from recovery professionals like those at Tulip Hill Recovery.

Start your recovery journey at Tulip Hill Recovery

Living with an addiction and co-occurring mental health disorder is hard. It might feel impossible to break free, but with the right help and support by your side from friends and professionals, recovery is within your reach.

At Tulip Hill Recovery, we emphasize the dual diagnosis approach in treating addictions. This is an approach that includes treating addiction as well as equipping people to manage co-occurring disorders in healthier ways. Treating co-occurring disorders along with the addiction can help you continue your recovery without relapsing. 

Are you ready to talk to someone about treatment for addiction and building a better future for yourself? Please contact us online or call us at 877-845-8192 to get in touch with our team and start your recovery journey.

The common connection between mental health and addictions

Some people struggle with mental health disorders. Some people struggle with addiction. Then there are those who struggle with both. Those who struggle with both are known as having co-occurring disorders, both a mental health issue and a drug or alcohol addiction. It’s taken health care professionals a long time to realize this, but co-occurring disorders are more common than you might think.

Roughly 50% of people with severe mental health disorders suffer from substance abuse as well. This is typically attributed to the fact that people with severe mental health disorders who do not receive professional treatment frequently turn to self-medicating with substances or alcohol to cope with their symptoms. As the mental health disorder continues without treatment, the substance or alcohol abuse continues as well, leading to an addiction that creates a wide range of other issues.

Treating mental health and addiction

Identifying co-occurring disorders in yourself or someone you care about is very difficult, which is why it should be left to the professionals. Pay attention to the signs of mental health disorder or addiction to get an idea of when you or someone you love needs help, but don’t attempt a diagnosis or treatment by yourself. This can lead to misdiagnosis and mistreatment that can end up making the condition worse.

Addiction treatment professionals and mental health professionals can work together to identify co-occurring disorders. They can form a dual diagnosis treatment that emphasizes recovery from addiction as well as helping you work through any mental health issues that fuel addiction. This often includes a strategy for developing healthier coping mechanisms for mental health disorder symptoms rather than using drugs or alcohol to cope.

This treatment approach can be more effective in helping you break free of your addiction and stay free from it because you are better equipped to deal with your personal challenges.

Start your recovery journey at Tulip Hill Recovery

At Tulip Hill Recovery, we focus on discovering what factors in your life may be contributing to your addiction in order to treat it at its main source. 

Are you ready to talk to someone about treatment for addiction and building a better future for yourself? Please contact us online or call us at 877-845-8192 to get in touch with our team and start your recovery journey.

What is dual diagnosis treatment?

Life with a mental health disorder is hard. Depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress can drive you to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. This is often why peoplrj3nnnze end up developing an addiction, which just adds to the list of challenges you face when you have a mental health disorder.

Historically, people seeking help for mental illness could be denied treatment if they were struggling with substance abuse. However, because substance abuse is often driven by the mental health disorder, it was practically impossible for someone to get clean and get the treatment they needed. 

To address this issue, addiction recovery centers developed the dual diagnosis treatment approach.

What is the dual diagnosis treatment approach?

Addiction recovery centers that specialize in the dual diagnosis approach recognize the need for treating both the addiction and the mental health disorders that drive it. Instead of drawing a line and saying you must treat one before the other, a dual diagnosis treatment center specializes in treating both at the same time.

In the dual diagnosis approach, addiction professionals and mental health professionals work in tandem to help clients recover from addiction and cope with mental health disorders that derive addiction. 

Addiction professionals help you safely stop using drugs or alcohol while also helping you develop the skills to live sober and independently after your recovery program. Mental health professionals work closely with you throughout your recovery process to help you develop healthy coping mechanisms that can replace your tendency for turning to drugs or alcohol to cope.

This approach can help someone with an addiction achieve recovery with less of a chance of relapsing because they now have the skills for dealing with mental health disorders that drive addiction. 

Take your first step to recovery at Tulip Hill Recovery

At Tulip Hill Recovery, we focus on discovering what factors in your life may be contributing to your addiction in order to treat it at its main source. 

Are you ready to talk to someone about treatment for addiction and building a better future for yourself? Please contact us online or call us at 877-845-8192 to get in touch with our team and start your recovery journey.