PTSD and Addiction

PTSD and Addiction

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The Link Between PTSD and Addiction

The deep-seated emotional effects of having experienced a life-altering trauma will often result in the use of coping techniques to help soothe the pain.  Those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have a particularly difficult journey, as the pain and suffering connected to the traumatic event or events lingers, often causing debilitating anxiety and depression that can result in using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. The link between PTSD and addiction is a common one.  In fact, according to a 2012 article published in Current Psychiatry Reports [Berenz and Coffey], approximately half of those receiving treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction meet diagnostic criteria for co-occurring PTSD.

About PTSD

When someone is exposed to a shocking, dangerous, or frightening experience the body will instantly release the hormone adrenaline, which causes the fight-or-flight response to kick in.  Our brains are wired to tell us to flee or do battle in order to survive a threatening event.  While most people will eventually overcome the shock and emotional effects of a traumatic event, some will continue to suffer the after effects, re-experiencing this fight-or-flight response ongoingly.

PTSD is the condition that reflects an individual being emotionally “stuck” in the trauma.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the diagnostic criteria that define PTSD include the following symptoms lasting at least one month:

  • A minimum of one re-experiencing symptom, such as flashbacks, nightmares, or recurrent frightening thoughts
  • A minimum of one avoidance symptom, such as avoiding places, events, or things that remind the individual of the trauma, or attempts to block thoughts and feelings related to the trauma
  • A minimum of two arousal and reactivity symptoms, such as being easily startled, feeling tense or on edge, sleep disturbances, and angry outbursts
  • A minimum of two cognition and mood symptoms, such as difficulty remembering details of the traumatic event, negative thoughts about self or the world, inappropriate feelings of blame or guilt, and loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.

The Relationship Between PTSD and Addiction

Those who suffer the ongoing symptoms associated with severe trauma may look toward drugs or alcohol to help them manage the emotional pain they live with.  The daily symptoms, such as a chronic sense of irritability or edginess, insomnia, anger, and feelings of guilt are hard to bear.  Using alcohol or drugs to numb the emotional pain or to promote relaxation or sleep is a common coping mechanism.

Addiction develops when tolerance to the substance continues to ratchet up, leading to more frequent and higher dosing of the substance.  The brain chemistry changes in response to the influx of chemicals of the substance of abuse, impacting the natural neurotransmitters and hijacking the brain’s normal responses and messaging.  Over time, the brain adjusts to the constant dosing of the substance, demanding it.  This process, chemical addiction, leaves the individual with not only the haunting effects of the trauma, but addicted to the substance as well.  This combination of disorders is known as a dual diagnosis, a mental health disorder coupled with a substance use disorder.

Treatment for Co-Occurring PTSD and Addiction

To treat the client with both PTSD and a co-existing drug or alcohol addiction it is necessary to use an integrated approach.  Both disorders must be treated simultaneously for the best chances of sustained recovery, so a treatment program that offers dual diagnosis treatment is essential, starting with a medical detox.

In addition to the addiction treatment elements that include detox and withdrawal, individual and group counseling (using cognitive behavioral therapy), addiction education, antidepressant drug therapy, relapse prevention planning, and medically assisted treatment (optionally), treating the PTSD piece relies on specialized therapy.  Exposure therapy is an evidence-based therapeutic intervention that slowly desensitizes the individual to the person, place, or object associated with the trauma through exposure.  Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is another therapy that has been used successfully to treat PTSD.  In EMDR the therapist will use movements that the patient follows with their eyes while the therapist has them recall the traumatic event, eventually weakening the impact of the negative thoughts and memories.

Capo By the Sea Offers Treatment for PTSD and Addiction

Capo By the Sea is a leading dual diagnosis provider of both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment programs, located in beautiful Southern California.  Treating a dual diagnosis of PTSD and addiction is a specialty provided by the expert clinical staff at Capo By the Sea.  Each client is given a customized alcohol and drug treatment plan, addressing the unique features of the individual’s diagnostic needs and improving recovery success.  For more information about our dual diagnosis program, please contact Capo By the Sea today at (800) 300-3965.

Why Alcoholism Runs in Families

Alcoholism in families

And What You Can Do About It

If you grew up in an alcoholic family, you may have promised yourself that once you got out, you’d never make the same mistakes as your parents. You may even have sworn never to put your kids through what you went through as a child. Perhaps you even attended an executive detox or rehabilitation program, and thought your problem was solved without additional follow-up treatment.

But alcoholism is an illness that runs in families, and you may not be able to prevent it from impacting your life. In order to avoid its destructive force, you must be aware of alcoholism’s presence — and take daily steps to fight it.

Genetics plays a role

Many studies concur that genetics plays a strong role in who becomes an alcoholic. In fact, if one or both of your parents was an alcoholic, you are roughly four times as likely to have trouble with drinking yourself. Children of alcoholics are also at a higher risk for behavioral and emotional problems. If you are currently in therapy for alcoholism, or attending an executive detox, your practitioner can help you examine genetic factors to see if they contributed to your drinking.

The effect of learned behavior

As important as genetics are, more than one–half of all children of alcoholics actually do not become alcoholics themselves. This means there’s more to alcoholism than meets the eye – learned behavior also plays a part. For instance, you are more at risk for developing alcoholism if:

  • Your parents’ problems with alcohol were severe
  • Your alcoholic parents also had psychological problems, such as depression
  • Both your parents were alcoholics, or had issues with drugs
  • There was a great deal of conflict, aggression, and/or violence at home

If alcoholism runs in your family, there is hope

Just because alcoholism runs in your family doesn’t mean you should despair – or to let this disease control your life. Once you are consciously aware of alcohol’s destructive influence, you can take action to prevent old patterns from repeating themselves. Learn more about how to do this at an executive detox facility.

Take the first step in fighting alcoholism

Take the first step in fighting the disease of alcoholism – contact an executive detox. Capo by the Sea offers first-rate treatment, luxurious amenities, and a peaceful setting in which to begin your recovery. Speak to one of our intake counselors today. We are here for you.

(photo: Kerem Tapani)

How Healthy Living Can Fight Addiction

Woman on beach

Learn why you need a healthy lifestyle to stay off drugs and alcohol

If you’re attending a luxury rehab or other program to combat addictive illness, you’ve taken an enormous step towards a longer, healthier life. After all, nothing will steal your well-being faster than the degenerative nature of drug and alcohol dependency. But there are other steps you can take to maintain your newfound lifestyle that will continue to keep you in shape for years – both mentally and physically.

Eat the right foods

Good nutrition keeps you alert, energized, and well enough to resist the temptations of drugs and alcohol. Everyone has done something they wish they hadn’t when they were hungry and irritable, but by maintaining good eating habits, you can minimize the risk of this happening. Consider meeting with a nutritionist to develop a customized plan, and be sure to take any vitamins necessary. The assigned physician at your luxury rehab may be able to make recommendations for auxiliary practitioners, such as registered dieticians.

Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep can lead to all sorts of problems, especially if you have an addictive illness. Arrange your schedule so that you get an adequate amount of sleep. Otherwise, you may be prone to stress, poor decision-making, and getting sick or run down. A luxury rehab is a great place to learn good sleep habits, as your private room will be both comfortable and relaxing.

Relieve stress

Don’t forget to engage in stress-relieving activities such as yoga or other forms of exercise. In addition to providing an emotional and physical outlet for everyday frustration, exercise boosts “feel good” endorphins in your brain. For example, this is part of the frequently described “runner’s high” – a safe and legal way to enjoy yourself. Spending time outdoors in the sun is a proven mood booster, so consider a luxury rehab that has beach access and waterfront activities.

Start living healthy today

Our luxury rehab can get you started on the road to a healthier life. After beginning with our detox program, you may transition to an inpatient setting to treat addiction to drugs or alcohol. Located in the beautiful beach resort city of Dana Point, Capo by the Sea is a tranquil, peaceful facility about an hour south of Los Angeles. Enjoy our restful private rooms, outdoor activities, and other healthful tools to conquer addiction once and for all.

(photo: 666ismoney)

The Top 3 Excuses to Ignore Addiction

Man with beer

And why you can’t use them anymore

Maybe you’ve taken the first step in combating addictive illness — recognizing there’s a problem. There’s nothing to be ashamed of when you realize you struggle with the disease of alcoholism, or are unable to control your cravings for dangerous drugs. But if you’re putting off addressing it, it can be just as dangerous as not acknowledging the issue at all. Read on to find the top three excuses to ignore your addiction — and why you can never use them again.

I don’t have time

If you think you don’t have time to combat your addiction, or attend an executive recovery program, it’s highly recommended you take a second look. The truth is, you don’t have time not to combat it. If your cardiologist said you needed emergency surgery or you were at high risk for a heart attack, you’d schedule the surgery as soon as possible. If you had a broken leg that needed immediate treatment, you’d tell the doctor to get you a cast ASAP. Just because addiction seems to be invisible doesn’t mean it’s any less of a serious illness – one you need to make time to treat.

It’s not really that bad

“It’s not really that bad” and “I can handle it” are all offshoots of the “I don’t really have a problem” excuse. Like wolves dressed up in sheeps’ clothing, it’s your addiction telling you lies so it can continue running your life. You may tell yourself you have more important things to do than attend an executive recovery program – work more hours, for example, or deal with family issues. But addictive illness is degenerative, and if left untreated, can reach a critical point quickly. If you wait, there’s a chance you may not have a job, a family, or even a life to go back to.

I’ll get to it later

The sad and shocking part of addictive illness is that there may not be a “later.” For instance, all it takes is one drink too many behind the wheel to cause a fatal car accident. The last injection of an illegal drug could be the one that results in an overdose. When it comes to addiction, there’s not a moment to lose: you need to seek help now.

No more excuses: contact our intake counselors today, and let Capo by the Sea’s executive recovery help you.

(photo: prostophotos)


Why You Need IOP (Intensive Out Patient) Treatment after Rehab

Why You Need IOP

Anyone battling addiction will tell you that the initial detox process can be difficult. Get through that, and you’ve taken an enormous step towards living a healthy life without alcohol or drugs. Attending inpatient luxury rehab afterwards helps get you ready for life outside the treatment center. But once you’re on your own, it’s important to follow up with an IOP (intensive out-patient) program as well.

Residential treatment only goes so far

Residential treatment at an executive rehab is a safe, comfortable environment where you can begin to tackle addiction issues. However, once you step foot outside it, old pressures and temptations are sure arise. An IOP can provide a stepping stone from a residential setting to regular support group or twelve-step meetings.

You need support early in recovery

The earlier you are in your recovery efforts, the more support you’ll need to face challenges associated with addiction. One meeting a week may not be enough to reinforce the lessons and skills you learned in executive rehab. Yet, you are beyond needing the intense therapy you achieved while you were there. An IOP is often just the right amount of support for this stage in your journey.

So what exactly happens in IOP?

Intensive outpatient treatment is nothing to be afraid of. In many ways, it’s like the luxury rehab you just left. Your treatment team usually consists of medical professionals, such as physicians, counselors, and possibly family therapists. You’ll have an individual treatment plan and recommendations that support your recovery.

IOP’s are typically attended for several hours in the mornings or evenings, allowing you to fit them into your schedule around work or family life. Patients come in for services several days a week, as opposed to every day. You’ll typically have individual and group therapy sessions, during which you’ll process your post-rehab experiences and challenges. These sessions are also ideal for reinforcing the skills you learned as an in-patient that support a clean and sober lifestyle.

Looking for an outstanding executive rehab?

If you’re a busy professional who needs executive rehab, call Capo by the Sea. Our staff caters to the needs of executives in a luxury setting, so you can begin a healthy, addiction-free lifestyle without compromising the excellence and amenities you’re used to. Call us today at (877) 958-6349, and speak to one of our intake counselors.

(Image: Liz Grace)


Why You Need to Stay Connected with Your Rehab Alumni

Why You Need to Stay Connected

Some of the most enduring bonds and friendships come out of executive rehabs. Detoxification and the treatment program that follows are intense physical and emotional experiences. To successfully navigate them, you need the support of like-minded individuals. But it’s important to stay connected to the people you meet in rehab – not only while you’re there, but after the program ends as well.

You need structure

The poet John Donne said that “no man is an island,” and nowhere is this more true than in alcohol and drug recovery. After attending an executive rehab, you need structure to reinforce the lessons you learned there, and resist the challenges and temptations that are sure to arise. Staying connected with the alumni you met as an inpatient is a natural extension of the structure you received there.

You need support

Similar to the concept of structure is the need for support after completing a luxury rehab program. Leaving the safe cocoon of inpatient treatment can make a person feel anxious and untethered. Although not as constant seeing fellow patients on a daily basis, your support system acts as an anchor as you continue life sober. They are there as a shoulder to cry on and a place to go for advice when the early stages of sobriety threaten to overwhelm you.

Staying active in whatever support system you choose

If you didn’t happen to connect with anyone in particular when you attended luxury rehab, that’s okay. Not everyone meets people they click with at that stage in their sobriety. However, it is crucial to your recovery to find a support system and stay involved in it. If you do this after attending rehab, it usually means progressing to an IOP (Intensive Out-Patient) program, and then a twelve-step or similar support group. Whatever you choose, spend time with people who are actively recovering, and who will reaffirm the new life you’ve chosen to lead.

Real treatment starts here

A safe, supportive, and friendly environment is waiting for you at our luxury rehab, Capo by the Sea. In addition to our experienced physicians, counselors, and auxiliary staff, our treatment center is full of people just like you who need a helping hand getting started on recovery. Call us today at (877) 958-6349, and one of our intake counselors will be happy to help you.

(Image: Jeb Banegas)


How to Have Fun in Rehab

How to Have Fun

Yes—it can be done!

If you think attending drug or alcohol treatment is nothing but a drag, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. Not only is it possible to have fun while battling your addiction, it may even be necessary! Human beings are programmed to do things we find enjoyable. Therefore, if you can make recovery fun, you increase your odds of sticking to a clean and sober lifestyle.

See the light at the end of the tunnel

Often executive rehab seems so serious – and it is, because you are battling a serious problem. But it helps to remember there’s a light at the end of the tunnel: a clean and sober life that you will enjoy. Keeping in mind that better times are ahead – full of more fun than you ever imagined – can help keep your spirits up.

Be an inspiration

It’s easy to get down on yourself in recovery, but one of the best ways to have fun is by encouraging others. If you’ve been in a program for a while, you can serve as an inspiration to those who are new. Sharing success stories and imparting lessons that were taught to you makes recovery a more pleasant experience for everyone. In addition, one of the best ways to maintain and enjoy your own sobriety is to help others do the same.

You don’t need drugs or alcohol to enjoy yourself

Addiction often whispers in your ear, “You need me to have fun. Life will be dull without me.” But if you’ve attended an executive rehab, you know addiction is a liar. There are plenty of ways to have fun without drugs or alcohol, including doing things that your addiction prevented you from enjoying. Advancing in your career, spending time with friends and family, finding new hobbies, and even starting romantic relationships are all ways to have fun. They are all also things addiction may have stolen from you.

Don’t wait to begin your new life

The sooner you face up to addiction, the sooner your life will begin. Many former addicts say the real fun didn’t start until after they got their drug or alcohol problem under control. Our luxury rehab, Capo by the Sea, offers all kinds of enjoyable ways to start treatment; call us today at (877) 958-6349 to learn more.

(Image by Pawsitive Candie N.)

Why You Have to Make Recovery a Priority

Why You Have to Make Recovery a Priority

Focusing on sobriety every day is a “must”

Once you leave the safe and structured environment of a luxury rehab, it can be difficult to find time and motivation to focus on your sobriety. Everyday life tends to interfere: the stresses of work, family, and other things can wear you down quickly, potentially leading to relapse. However, that is why it’s even more important to make your recovery a priority – every single day.

Addiction isn’t going anywhere

One of the biggest reasons to make recovery a daily priority is that addiction is a lifelong disease – it isn’t going anywhere. Addiction will be with you every day for the rest of your life, but that’s no reason to despair. You’ve taken the first step towards recovery by attending a luxury rehab or detox – and for that you should be commended. As long as you take steps on a regular basis to combat your illness, you stand an excellent chance of enjoying a long, full life – without the destructive force drugs and alcohol represent.


How many times have you heard the phrase “Practice, practice, practice?” Whether you’re trying to learn to play the piano, or battling addiction after leaving an executive rehab, practice makes perfect. The more you reinforce the skills you learned to stay clean and sober, the easier it becomes to continue the healthy lifestyle you committed to.

Reducing the risk of relapse

It’s normal to want to ease up on your recovery efforts when things are going well. You haven’t given in to your addiction in a while, so why not skip a twelve-step meeting every now and then? But that’s a bad idea, because it’s often when you feel you have complete control over the illness that you’re most at risk for relapse. Maintaining good habits – like regular twelve-step meetings – reduces the chances you’ll slip up and begin the descent back into uncontrolled addiction.

Let’s start making your recovery a priority

At Capo by the Sea, we are committed to making every patient’s recovery a priority. With professional staff, outstanding amenities, and individualized treatment programs, our executive rehab is ready to get you started on the road to sobriety. Take the first step and call us today at (877) 958-6349. Our intake counselors are ready to discuss your concerns twenty-four hours a day.

(Image: DafneCholet)



Why You Need a Support System after Leaving Treatment

Leaving treatment for alcohol and drug abuse can feel like breath of fresh air – a new start. You’ve faced your problems, conquered your demons, and all the hard work is over. Right ?serenity

Well, yes and no. One of the biggest steps – admitting your problem and grappling with it – has been faced. But anybody in recovery can tell you that it’s a lifelong endeavor, and one that will require constant maintenance. That’s part of why you need a solid support system after leaving treatment.

Pick up where treatment left off

Your support system picks up where inpatient alcohol and drug treatment left off. Whether you choose a 12-step group or a more non-traditional support setting, you’ll want to meet with your group on a regular basis. This helps reinforce the lessons you learned in treatment, in addition to teaching you new coping skills. The right support system can show you ways to stay sober as you adjust to life outside the residential treatment center.

Get the right motivation

On your journey through sobriety, there are times your willpower will falter. Far from being a personal failure, this is a normal part of recovering from drug or alcohol abuse. If and when you feel the urge to begin using substances again, your support system will be there to point you in the right direction. They’ll remind you of all you overcame to get where you are, and why continuing to live a healthy lifestyle is so important.

Listen to the cautionary tales

It’s a sad truth that, sometimes, your outside support system can be a source of cautionary tales. If you stay in recovery long enough, eventually you’ll hear stories of relapses into drug and alcohol abuse that ended badly. By listening to the experiences of your peers, you may be reminded of what your addiction cost you, and all you still have left to lose if you succumb again. It may make you think twice before reaching for your substance of choice.

Looking for a supportive treatment environment?

If you’re looking to detox or start addiction rehabilitation in a comfortable environment, consider Capo by the Sea. We offer competitive rates, private rooms, unmatched luxury, and accept numerous insurances. Speak to one of our intake counselors today, and get started on the path to a better life.

Speak with a trained drug intervention
professional right now:
(888) 529-2114

The Coping Skills You Need in Recovery

If you’re in recovery for drug or alcohol addiction, one of the cornerstones is learning new coping skills.


If a person has been turning to substance abuse to numb pain, or deal with complex emotions, they will need a healthy replacement once that substance has been taken away. Brainstorming coping skills in advance is probably the best method; if you’re grasping for one at the last minute, it can be a recipe for a relapse. Read on for some coping skills you can use instead of drugs or alcohol.

Keep a journal

Keeping a journal is great coping skill to utilize in your recovery. Having a private space to vent your thoughts can be a cathartic way to deal with problems — without having to resort to substances.

Get some exercise

The benefits of exercise cannot be overstated when it comes to the general population. However, exercise is particularly helpful to those in recovery. It provides an outlet for tension, and supports the “feel good” endorphins you used to access through drugs or alcohol.

Get enough sleep

Although sleep is not something we usually think of as a coping skill, it can be a very useful weapon in your arsenal against relapse. Studies show that most adults need between eight and ten hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately, very few get the required amount. Lack of sleep can lead to poor judgment, reckless behavior, and ignoring possible consequences.

Talk to friends

Recovery is not a solitary activity — you need coping skills that involve a robust support system. Being able to call and meet with friends who are actively involved in a healthy lifestyle can provide a sense of relief. Previously, you may only have been able to achieve this sense of well-being through substances.

Call a sponsor

If you have a sponsor in rehab, calling on this person can be a fantastic coping skill – as well as a source of many others. Those in recovery are urged to call sponsors or attend a 12-step meeting whenever they feel an overwhelming urge to use their substance of choice.

Get creative

Using the arts is a perfect way for you to express frustration and emotion without using drugs or alcohol. There are even art therapists who can teach you coping skills through mediums such as drawing, painting, dance and even theater.
Go here if you’re looking for a luxury drug and alcohol rehab center.

Speak with a trained drug intervention professional right now:
(888) 529-2114