Dealing With Withdrawal During Treatment

Dealing With Withdrawal During Treatment


Withdrawal is uncomfortable and leaves your mind, body, and spirit feeling tired. The most critical choice you can make regarding your recovery is to get professional help during detox and withdrawal. These periods are crucial. According to information provided by the United States Library of Medicine, individuals in withdrawal have the highest risk of relapse. By choosing to attend a rehab facility instead of going through it alone, you will significantly increase your odds of success. At a professional facility, a care team will help you plan for your withdrawal, and they will be on hand 24/7 to prescribe treatment for any severe side effects.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms

The treatments for your withdrawal are going to vary based on what options are available in your area, insurance coverage, and the severity of your symptoms. What type of discomfort you endure during this period is going to be highly dependent on what it was that you were taking. During withdrawal, you can expect mood, behavioral, cognitive, and physical changes, including:

  • Irritability, restlessness, and anxiety
  • Sleeping disturbances, weakness, and tremors
  • Mood swings, depression, and difficulty focusing
  • Flu-like symptoms like shakiness, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, muscle pains, cold flashes, and headache
  • Changes in appetite, cravings, and intrusive thoughts
  • In rare cases, hallucinations, seizures, and dangerously high blood pressure
Risk Factors Associated With Withdrawal

Withdrawal has several risks associated with it depending on what type of substance you were taking and how long you were addicted. Some common risk factors that can impact this stage in your recovery include:

  • Previously diagnosed with a mental health disorder
  • Past experience going through withdrawal
  • Family history of addiction
  • A lack of coping skills

Relapse prevention education is standard in treatment centers because it explains the physical processes of withdrawal and provides coping skills for working through them. Take advantage of these resources to understand what your body is going through and how you can alleviate any emotional distress.

Focus on the Positives

You will experience uncomfortable side effects, cravings, pain, and intrusive thoughts during recovery, but these are temporary symptoms. They are caused by changes your brain and body are experiencing. Once you have completed the withdrawal process, your body systems will find a new healthy balance. Optimism can speed recovery and help eliminate some mental health risks. Focus on the positive aspects of your recovery through conscious thought.

Here are a few quick tips for staying positive when you feel physically and mentally drained:

  • Recognize the strength and courage it took for you to get help and go through the detox and withdrawal process. Let this achievement motivate you.
  • Mark each new stage of recovery as a success in your journey towards long-term sobriety.
  • Make a mental or physical list of the small things that make you happy throughout the day. For example, someone smiling at you or having a good conversation with a loved one.
  • If you are attending group sessions, note the progress that others have made in their recovery and remind yourself that you will get there too in time.
  • Distract yourself from cravings and physical discomfort by doing an easy activity that brings you joy, such as watching relaxing videos or reading something humorous.
  • Use mindfulness and meditation to keep yourself centered in the moment and find something positive around you. Focus on that instead of doubts or anxieties.
  • Remind yourself of previous challenges that you overcame in your life and their positive outcomes.
  • Communicate frequently with loved ones and take their support and encouragement to heart.
Psychological Impact of Withdrawal and Long-term Recovery

The psychological impact of withdrawal after detox is different for everyone depending on various factors, including age, genetics, substance, length of addiction, and family medical history. Frequently psychological and emotional side effects of withdrawal last the longest – sometimes months after the physical symptoms have entirely faded. According to the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, some common mental health issues that appear during withdrawal include:

  • Depression or other mood disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Self-harm or suicidal thoughts
  • Sleep disorders like insomnia
  • In severe cases, psychosis, delirium, or dementia may result

You can get help with these by using talk therapy in one-on-one or group sessions. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication or natural remedies.

Physical Recovery During and After Withdrawal

The timeframe for withdrawal will vary for each individual, but it generally lasts from three to ten days, depending on what substances were used and how long they were used. During that time, your body is under a great deal of stress, and it is essential to look after your physical wellness. Many substances have long-term health effects that you can mitigate by taking care of yourself during detox and withdrawal by eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep, and following your doctor’s advice.

Withdrawal is your body’s response to losing chemicals that it had come to rely on to function. You will experience uncomfortable mental and physical symptoms that can last from a few days to a few months. Most relapses happen during this point in recovery if preventative steps are not taken. You can prepare yourself for the struggles that come with withdrawal by getting educated and working with a professional care team. Many resources are available, including relapse prevention education, facility therapy, and prescribed medications that can lessen more severe symptoms. No matter how difficult your withdrawal feels, you can get through it using healthy coping skills. At Sober Life, we know how challenging this time can be, and we are here to help you get through it. You have what it takes to succeed at long-term sobriety. To find out more about what services we have to offer, call Sober Life today at (619) 542-9542.

Being Capable of Battling Depression and an Addiction

Being Capable of Battling Depression and an Addiction


Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions, and it is frequently experienced by individuals who have been diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD). Coping with depression and recovering from substance use at the same time has the potential to exacerbate symptoms of both conditions. The link between the two reveals a complicated relationship that can include:

  • Self-medication to overcome symptoms of depression leading to addiction
  • Temporary or long-term depression developing as a symptom of the withdrawal process
  • Depression developing during recovery due to unrelated traumatic or stressful situations

Recovering while battling depression is challenging, but coping skills can help you find a healthy way to move forward. Treatments will vary depending on the severity of your symptoms, but there are helpful therapy exercises and lifestyle changes that can improve both conditions.

Talk to Your Doctor About Depression

Not everyone is aware they have depression, and it can be difficult for medical professionals to diagnose it if you have other co-occurring disorders that share similar traits. There is some overlap in the symptoms of depression and the early stages of recovery from SUD. Common signs of depression include unexplained mood, behavioral, cognitive, or physical changes. Being formally diagnosed is critical because it can provide an avenue for getting therapy and treatment aimed towards depression.

Create Recovery Goals for Overcoming Depression

If you have been diagnosed with depression, you can take steps to lessen the impact it has on your life. Recovery from substance abuse involves creating a series of goals that you work towards each day. They act as motivation and success mile markers. You can use the same strategy for overcoming the symptoms of depression. There is evidence that succeeding at goals can increase self-efficacy and improve mood. You can work together with your therapist or other support team members to develop realistic daily, weekly, or monthly goals. Below are a few criteria that can increase the likelihood of success:

  • Make goals very clear and specific. For example, instead of choosing “do more self-care” as a goal, you could say, “spend twenty minutes meditating on positive thoughts each day.”
  • Ensure that whatever you choose is both realistic and easy to quantify so you can keep track of progress. For example, instead of “exercise every day,” you could say, “walk the dog for ten minutes twice a week.”
  • It is helpful to set a time frame for when you would like to start and complete the goal.

Several key features of depression are a lack of motivation and energy combined with feelings of sadness. More minor achievements can be used as fuel to keep you moving forward so you can push past those negative emotions.

Lifestyle Changes to Help You Overcome Addiction and Depression

Your lifestyle has a direct impact on your mental and physical well-being. Below are five changes that can improve your recovery and lessen symptoms. These can also function as structures within which you can build new goals. For example, “regular exercise” can translate to taking a thirty-minute walk twice a week.

  • Exercise Regularly: Exercise to make you feel energized and more motivated by doing something like yoga, swimming, walking, biking, weight training, or learning a new sport.
  • Get Quality Sleep: Excessive tiredness affects around 40% of all people with depression, and getting a healthy amount of restful sleep each night can help. An adult should get between seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
  • Participate in Enjoyable Activities: Make time each week for an activity you enjoy, such as watching a movie, drawing, crafting, cooking, or blogging.
  • Stay Hydrated and Eat Healthily: A balanced diet and staying hydrated can improve cognitive function and general health, which often improves mood and can help with your recovery.
  • Cultivate Positive Relationships: We all need help sometimes, and having positive, encouraging relationships that you can rely on will make a big difference in how you cope.
Practice Everyday Positivity

You can succeed in fighting depression and maintaining long-term sobriety. A holistic approach towards healthy living and a positive attitude can help you cope and provide a way to regulate your emotions. Practicing positivity is straightforward and can be done using simple tasks like listing out all the good things that happened throughout your day or choosing to focus only on the good things you have planned for the week. The more you consciously decide to think optimistically about your recovery and life in general, the easier it will be to make it a habit that will become second nature. Motivation, lifestyle changes, and instilling a sense of optimism into your everyday life are all tools you can use to journey towards a healthier, happier future.

Mental health and substance use disorders are often co-occurring. Their symptoms can overlap and feed off each other if concrete steps are not taken to treat and control them. Depression is one of the most common mood disorders, and it can impact all aspects of daily life. At Sober Life, we believe that everyone experiencing depression during their recovery can use some extra self-help tools to improve their chances of long-term success. Coping skills include creating realistic goals, practicing positivity, and using your support system to encourage you during challenging moments. Proper self-care and a healthy lifestyle will make it easier to combat depression and keep you on track with your recovery. Sober Life is here to help. We have a variety of therapy and treatment options. Reach out today to find out more about our facility and the services we have to offer by calling us at (619) 542-9542.

Transitioning to On-Campus Life After COVID

Transitioning to On-Campus Life After COVID


COVID-19 caused a lot of change for students in 2020, but now there are several effective vaccines, and things are starting to return to a semblance of normalcy. Of course, this includes returning to in-person classes at school. Whether you are starting this next semester or have participated in online courses, there are a few things to consider when attending campus sober.

Social drinking is common on college campuses throughout the country. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that 65% of all college students drink alcohol regularly. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that up to 15% of college students will use an illegal substance during their partial year on campus. The statistics will fluctuate based on geographical location and might be much higher in some areas. What this means is that you will need to be careful about how you approach your recovery. If you recently went through rehabilitation, there may be aftercare resources at your school.

Recovery Aftercare and On-Campus Living

You may be worried about encountering alcohol or illegal substances in your dorm if you choose to live on campus once this option becomes available in your area. Luckily, you can do some things to avoid this, including looking for a nearby off-campus location to stay at, such as a sober living community. There are also sometimes “dry” dorm options available. You will want to speak with the school department responsible for residential services to determine what they have to offer.

Social Pressure and Maintaining Sobriety

There are plenty of things you can do to keep your mind off temptations that may arise. You can overcome social pressures to drink or attend parties and other events where illegal substances might be available by choosing to focus on your education instead. You are paying good money to take your classes, so choosing to spend your time studying and excelling in your courses will be rewarding on multiple fronts. You will improve your grades and get more out of each lesson while decreasing the risk of a relapse.

Some other ways you can maintain your sobriety on campus include:

  • If classmates or friends invite you to go for a drink, suggest going for a meal instead.
  • Avoid spending time with people who were a part of your previous negative behavior.
  • Attend regular support group meetings and therapy sessions.
  • Be honest with the people around you about your struggles and what you are going through.
  • Stay in frequent contact with loved ones and members of your support system.
  • Avoid situations or locations where you might be tempted to relapse.

Social Distancing and Other Post-Covid Safety Measures

While in-person classes have resumed, there may still be social distancing and other restrictions to limit the number of people allowed in certain areas. There are many benefits to this, including fewer dorm parties or different potentially triggering social situations, but there are also downsides. Some community protective measures could make it challenging to meet with support or self-help groups near your campus. The majority of these meetings were moved online early last year and have yet to return to in-person.

Navigating Social Situations While in Recovery

While social distancing and other safety measures make it easier to avoid certain problematic situations, there is no way to prevent all of them. For example, many young people will be trying to reclaim the lost year of fun, and you might find yourself invited to a party in your dorm building where it is known there will be alcohol and other substances available. You have several options for avoiding these types of situations, including:

  • Find sober peers and hang out with them instead
  • Politely turn down the invitation
  • Explain that you are in recovery and avoiding potentially triggering situations
  • If you feel comfortable attending, then be sure to stay aware of your emotional state, the environment, and try to bring a friend for moral support
  • Treatment and Therapy Options

Ongoing therapy is vital for sobriety. You can look for self-help groups on campus or nearby where you can receive peer support and understanding. You may even find it helpful to get a sponsor who also lives at or near your school. Most local colleges and universities also have on-campus clinics where you can be treated for any related symptoms or side effects. There are always options, so no matter what your return to campus life entails, remember that you are in control of your own health and safety. Take advantage of any resources available and take the time to prepare before heading into your first class.

Campus life is fraught with drama and young people trying to get the most out of life. After a year of lockdowns, social distancing, and isolation, many students are ready to make up for lost time now that campuses are starting to reopen across the country. At Sober Life, we believe that a holistic approach to recovery will be the most successful. We understand that preparing for life on campus can be overwhelming. Our staff can teach you coping skills that will make it easier to attend your classes and hang out with peer groups without worrying about triggers or cravings. Navigating social situations while sober can be tricky, but if you have a solid foundation of preventative education and other valuable tools, you can decrease the risk of relapsing or experiencing emotional distress. Sober Life is here to help you in recovery. For more information, call us at (619) 542-9542.

Dealing With Depression After the Loss of a Loved One

Dealing With Depression After the Loss of a Loved One


Grief is universal; at some point in everybody’s life, they will encounter grief at least once. Grief is personal, and everybody experiences it differently. Although the five stages of grief are outlined, it does not mean every person goes through every stage or goes through them in order. However, many people commonly experience the stage of depression. This stage can be overwhelming and feel as if it is consuming you. Luckily, there are ways to cope with depression after the loss of a loved one to continue moving through grief. You can get to the other side.

What Are the Five Stages of Grief?

The Kübler-Ross model outlines the five stages of grief as:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Not everyone will experience all five stages and may not go through them in order. Grief is different for every person; you may remain in one of the five stages for months but skip others entirely.

A Closer Look at Stage Four: Depression

When a person in your life passes away, the strange fact that you will never see them again can be frightening, and knowing this can be one of the only comforts you feel when battling depression that may come on due to loss. Depression is almost inevitable and healthy in the case of death; it is important to mourn the passing of a person you once shared important memories with. With the loss of a loved one, their absence is commonly not taken easily due to the gravity of this loss.

Dealing with the depression stage of grief can be challenging. In the early stages of loss, you may attempt to run from your emotions. However, by the time you reach the stage of depression, your feelings may be coming back full force. At this point, you have come to the certainty and reality of your loss.

During the depression stage, you may feel so sad you feel empty. The depression may feel as if it will last forever. However, it is essential to understand that this is not a sign of a mental health disorder; instead, it is a very natural response to circumstances beyond your control.

Signs you may be dealing with the depression stage of grief include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Poor appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of energy
  • Crying spells
  • Feelings of loneliness
  • Isolating yourself from others
Acknowledge and Accept Your Feelings

It is crucial to acknowledge and accept the feelings you are experiencing to start moving through the depression stage. Avoiding a negative emotion buys you short-term gain at the price of long-term pain. Over time, avoidance can become a prison; you may begin to feel the need to avoid situations, people, experiences, and places that may bring the negative emotion to mind, stir it, or remind you of it.

When you accept a negative emotion, it tends to lose its destructive power. Taking the time to explore that emotion and share with someone else what you feel will help you recover from the pain and alter the negative reaction. The more you take the time to process through your feelings, the more in tune you become and the more control you develop over what you feel and how you respond.

When you can acknowledge and accept your emotions surrounding loss, you are on your way to accepting the truth of your situation. This acceptance means that you don’t have to spend your energy pushing the emotion away. Instead, once the emotion is acknowledged, you can then begin to move towards the acceptance stage of grief.

Allow Yourself Time

The grieving process takes time. There is no set timeline on when you should be done grieving or when you should be through the depression stage. Allow yourself the time to go through your process. Remember, grief is a journey; when you permit yourself to feel the emotions behind losing a loved one, you truly begin that journey. Life will not be the same as it was before, but you will find your “new normal” and start to move forward.

Other people may not understand the depth of what you are feeling, and they don’t have to. You don’t need permission from other people to grieve. No matter how you express your grief, it’s never going to fit into any particular mold. Every single person grieves the loss of a loved one differently, and that’s as it should be. Your journey through grief will be different than everyone else’s, and that’s okay.

You Don’t Need to “Solve” Grief

Grief is not an issue to be solved or resolved. It’s a process you must tend to and live through in whatever form it may take for whatever length of time it may require. Trying to ignore your feelings won’t make the grief go away. Rather than avoid what you’re feeling, give yourself permission to grieve. It just might be the best gift you can give yourself during a time of loss.

The experience of losing a loved one can be emotionally taxing. Although not everybody goes through all five stages of grief, many people experience the depression stage. During this stage, you may feel lost and empty. However, it is crucial to remember that this is a normal part of the process. It’s okay to feel the extent of your emotions. By allowing yourself to feel your emotions, you allow yourself to move through the process. If you are struggling with depression while experiencing grief, Sober Life is here to help. Our mission is to provide trusted, quality recovery solutions easily accessible to everyone. Through our range of evidence-based treatment modalities and holistic services, you can be sure to find healing at Sober Life. Our program includes psychiatric evaluation and med-management, individual therapy, group therapy, and case management with options to include family and couples counseling. Call Sober Life today for more information at (619) 542-9542.

Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy to Reach Radical Acceptance

Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy to Reach Radical Acceptance

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is founded on the concept that two conflicting thoughts can exist in the brain simultaneously without causing a disruption. One of the most critical skills taught in DBT is known as “radical acceptance.” Radical acceptance is the notion that you must radically accept the circumstances of your life, regardless of what they are. While this may sound like a simple idea to grasp, in practice, it can be one of the most challenging concepts a person can learn and incorporate into their daily mindset or ideology.

Acceptance vs. Radical Acceptance

Acceptance, in plain terms, is fundamentally different from radical acceptance because it is fleeting in the definition. Radical acceptance is its own term in that it completely redefines what it means to be aware of your own limitations when it comes to accepting the complications that come with everyday life. There will always be struggles within the mind to comprehend and accept what stresses us out and perhaps forces us to think beyond the realm of comfortable emotions.

How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Aids in Radical Acceptance

In DBT, the fundamental notion of the dialectic demands that there will often be situations where the brain can be troubled by having to process two conflicting ideas simultaneously. Radical acceptance is a component of this idea and aids individuals in managing and processing the two concepts. For example, thinking about the fact that you are both hypothetically on academic probation and just aced your math test can be challenging, but radically accepting both things as truth can help you better absorb the fact.

A Deeper Look at Radical Acceptance

Radical acceptance is to be understood beyond its basic definition: the term is meant to encapsulate the notion that most people are not skilled at understanding and accepting the circumstances of their lives. This could be in any given context but is particularly relevant when considering difficult and stressful situations that are hard to process, not only in daily life but also on a larger scale. Radical acceptance is a beneficial skill that comes into play when one is suffering on a higher level than usual due to difficult life circumstances.

One might think that the idea of radical acceptance is counterintuitive because it forces the individual to come to terms with the reality of their situation, regardless of the magnitude of it. This acceptance might simply be too much for an individual to handle when considering their background and personal experiences. But counterintuitively, when you radically accept that it is unlikely or even impossible that things will not work out for you in a specific situation, it is easier for you to move on and recover faster than you usually would have.

Acceptance Is the Key

Radical acceptance is most powerfully enacted when an individual thinks outside the realm of willpower and inner strength. Instead of considering yourself a victim or martyr who must push ahead using an inner will, radical acceptance begs the question of whether exerting this level of energy is even necessary because, with radical acceptance in play, there is only one need: the need to accept, accept, accept that life will not always give you what you want, and that’s fine. It doesn’t take as much energy to think this way. It would take more to grieve over the loss of an opportunity because life is so fickle and undeterminable. Radical acceptance is an excellent solution for better coping with the unpredictable nature of life.

Radical acceptance sounds easy until you are confronted with a scenario that feels impossible to accept, such as a personal crisis, the death of someone close to you, an addiction, or a similarly tricky situation. When confronted with hard times, the easiest thing to do sometimes is to deflect your feelings and reject your reality, which can sometimes lead to indulgence in self-sabotaging behaviors, making the symptoms of your disorder worse. Radical acceptance demands a level of maturity and discipline that is difficult to apply to everyday life. Still, when learned as a skill instead of a demand, which could alternatively be framed as in situations of receiving “tough love,” it is easier to incorporate into your life, almost as a vocabulary term.

Overcoming Resistance

When learning DBT, or any form of alternative therapy, you may experience resistance to conceptualizing specific topics resulting from their clashing with your previously held beliefs. With this in mind, it may be the most difficult for an individual learning DBT to accept radical acceptance as a continual newly learned benefit to their life. However, logically there are absolutely no downsides to incorporating DBT into your lifestyle because using it as a mindset ensures less disappointment and a greater level of general happiness.


Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT, is one of the most constructive forms of contemporary therapy practiced and taught today. Radical acceptance, a core concept of DBT, encourages individuals to radically accept all circumstances of their life, including those that may be deeply troubling and difficult to acknowledge as a part of one’s reality. In practicing radical acceptance, a person can finally learn to come to terms with not only their general anxiety but the daunting facts of the unknown future. Radical acceptance as a concept presents an alternative to grief over lost opportunities and encourages one to assess their situation objectively and honestly. At Sober Life, we use the skills of DBT to help our clients apply radical acceptance to their lives. We are committed to providing intensive, individualized care that enables you to get and stay sober. Our services offer necessary continued support to patients to make sure they fully recover. For more information on our program, call Sober Life today at (619) 542-9542.