Why Our Bodies Are Prone to Addiction

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. Chronic being the key term. Like other chronic diseases, addiction can be treated and maintained but it cannot be cured. Why?

The Science Behind Addiction

Our bodies are prone to addiction. Our body wants us to feel happy. So, in turn, we naturally seek avenues to which we will have the greatest success. Sometimes that creates a problem. Ridgeview Ranch knows how to help you solve it. Call today for a Confidential & Complimentary Assessment with one of our Recovery Specialists.

Excessive drinking and drug use alter the way our brain functions, attacking our cognitive abilities and capacity for pleasure. In other words…Our bodies are prone to addiction. Have you ever heard of a chemical substance called dopamine? It’s our brain’s way of rewarding us for having fun. We release dopamine when we’re eating, exercising, laughing…and even more so when we’re consuming drugs or alcohol. No wonder the nightlife here in Southern California is so popular! Our body wants us to feel happy. So, in turn, we naturally seek avenues to which we will have the greatest success.

Chronic Diseases Require Ongoing Treatment

If you find yourself inhibited by alcohol, opiates or any other drugs, seek addiction treatment. Trying to recover all on your own is hard and often unsuccessful. Chronic diseases require constant control and treatment. And unfortunately, during a withdrawal, your brain just doesn’t function at its 100% best.

At Ridgeview Ranch, we recognize how hard it is to recover from addiction. We know the effects it has on your body and mind and we work diligently to overcome these obstacles with you. Our individualized treatment plans are customized to fit each person’s needs, no matter how critical they may be, and target mental, physical and spiritual development to retrain your brain and reactions to drug use.

Southern California has plenty of distractions that can deter you from seeking the addiction treatment you need to heal. Keep in mind, our bodies are constantly seeking happiness and the release of dopamine in our brains. That’s just the nature of our biology. However, if you lack the control to manage destructive impulses such as drug and alcohol consumption and bombard your mind with substances it can’t control, you may lead yourself down a path you don’t want to be on.

Balancing Life and Happiness

In addiction treatment, we’ll teach you how to manage your addiction and find balance in everyday life. Recent studies have shown that stress and cognitive pressure greatly impact the ability to avoid tempting situations, like walking past a bar or designated smoking area. At Ridgeview Ranch, we believe that when it comes to beating addiction, managing stress and physical conditioning will put you back on the path to healthy living. We focus on the “Whole Person” and the characteristics that make each individual unique. Our programs incorporate calming activities such as art, music, and yoga to better treat the underlying behaviors that cause addiction and ensure a successful path to recovery.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol or substance abuse, please If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol or substance abuse, please Contact Ridgeview Ranch at (877) 526-7706 for a Confidential & Complimentary Assessment with one of our Recovery Specialists. Calls are answered 24 hours a day, every day. We’ve helped so many people overcome addiction. Let us help you too! Calls are answered 24 hours a day, every day. We’ve helped so many people overcome addiction. Let us help you too!

The Problems at the Core of the Opioid Crisis

Our country has been battling an opioid addiction crisis for nearly 30 years. In the early 1990s, public officials had some justification in blaming patient-prescribed pills as the source of the problem. During that time, physicians increased the number of prescriptions to compensate for undertreatment of pain in patients, and in 1996 Oxycontin was released and vigorously marketed to doctors. Since then, lawmakers and doctors have been trying to find the right balance of regulation and usage among patients, not to mention issues with the drugs finding their way into black markets.

It’s clearer to see in retrospect that policymakers have misjudged possible solutions to the problem by overestimating the patient risk in using prescription drugs. At the same time, they have done very little to encourage and assist clinicians in identifying patients who would be more vulnerable to develop an addiction.

It’s clearer to see in retrospect that policymakers have misjudged possible solutions to the problem by overestimating the patient risk in using prescription drugs. At the same time, they have done very little to encourage and assist clinicians in identifying patients who would be more vulnerable to develop an addiction. In general, they regard drops in opioid prescriptions as a good thing, while in reality, tighter restrictions often prevent many non-addicted patients from getting the opiates they need.

Further clouding the issue is the fact that patients who abuse their pills are often not new to drug use. In the federal government’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it was revealed that more than three-fourths of opioid misusers had previously used non-prescribed benzodiazepines like Valium or Xanax as well as inhalants. Instead of being innocent parties who end up with addiction after being given a prescription, most patients with opioid addiction already have an extensive history of drug use.

Addiction is also a dynamic process. It isn’t something that can be traced to one specific action in one specific moment in time—it usually runs much deeper than, “if only I hadn’t taken that one pill, things would be okay.” Addiction can usually be traced to stressors unique to each individual, such as depression, anxiety, or a seemingly endless variety of concerns that could weigh heavily on one’s thoughts and feelings—being overweight, feeling stuck and frustrated in a job, being able to “come out” to one’s family, etc. When a drug triggers a bodily response that reduces the impact of those stressors, it becomes a seductive alternative to coping with them. This isn’t to say addiction is inevitable at that point, but it’s an indication that the risk is much higher for these individuals.

The problems at the core of the opioid crisis go far beyond the pills themselves. They are much more likely to gain addictive power over people who feel that their use is relieving an inner pain or satisfying an unmet need. So while it has been important to pay attention to the regulation of prescriptions, it is just as important to recognize patients who could be at a greater risk to develop a dependency. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to opioids, other substances, or alcohol, Contact Ridgeview Ranch (877-526-7706) to speak with one of our clinical professionals about seeking treatment.

Links Between Childhood Trauma and Addiction as an Adult

Researchers are constantly gathering more data & gaining a deeper understanding of the physiology & psychology of addiction, specifically the role of children’s biological, social, and experiential background in becoming addicted to alcohol and drugs later in life. For help starting on a path to recovery and healing, call 877-526-7706 to speak with one of our Addiction Specialists. Ridgeview Ranch can help.

The recently released Elton John biography film Rocketman has quickly gained wide acclaim from critics and audiences. One of the highlights of the movie is its treatment of his alcoholism and drug addiction resulting from his childhood experiences. Some have declared this aspect of the film as one of its greatest triumphs when compared to other rock star biopics.

Even if a viewer has not had personal experience with addiction or childhood trauma, Rocketman portrays the relationship between Elton’s childhood experiences and his addiction as an adult in a way that makes it relatable to anyone. As a result, more people are paying closer attention to the connection between childhood trauma and addiction development during adulthood.

Researchers are constantly gathering more data and gaining a deeper understanding of the physiology and psychology of addiction. This includes an ongoing search for answers regarding addiction development and susceptibility. Because a child’s environment and experiences significantly affect their physical and psychological development, more researchers have begun examining the role of children’s biological, social, and experiential background in becoming addicted to alcohol and drugs later in life.

As the brain develops during childhood, it forms, strengthens and even sometimes discards or alters its neural connections. One’s childhood experiences—both the positive and the negative—effect the brain’s growth and physical structure, sometimes determining whether certain connections between neurons become stronger, weaker, or broken. Negative structural changes can significantly impede brain development.

Traumatic experiences create frequent and high levels of stress that have been linked to impeded brain development in children. During this critical period of life when a maturing brain needs to form stable pathways, childhood trauma can instead destabilize and even destroy them. This creates vulnerabilities that raise the risk of future substance dependency, abuse, and addiction.

Many associate childhood trauma with child abuse, but several other intense experiences can contribute to increased risk for addiction. Neglect, loss of a parent, witnessing domestic or other acts of physical violence, and having a family member who suffers from mental illness have been linked to higher vulnerability. Also, in cases of child abuse, the child’s loved ones are the source of the trauma, essentially eliminating the possibility of family support when a child needs it most. Many of these victims later begin to use alcohol or drugs as a form of coping with the lasting emotional effects. While a traumatic childhood does not necessarily lead to addiction later in life, studies have revealed a strong link between trauma experienced as a child and addiction as an adult. This knowledge has helped treatment centers develop new methods to effectively help addicts toward recovery. If you or someone you know suffers from addiction, whether due to childhood trauma or other circumstances, contact Ridgeview Ranch (877-526-7706) to begin on the path to recovery. We offer several treatment programs supported by a trained, compassionate staff committed to guiding patients to sober, healthy lives.

America’s Two Drug Epidemics

America is waging a two-front battle against different substances and addictions that is beginning to overwhelm addiction treatment providers. Ridgeview Ranch is here to help. Call 877-526-7706 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today!

In recent years, public health officials have focused on rising opioid use among Americans. However, it is only one of two drug epidemics that have been spreading in the U.S. The other is methamphetamine use, which is growing rapidly in the western part of the country. The result is a two-front battle against different substances and addictions that are beginning to overwhelm addiction treatment providers.

The Struggle for Attention

Despite the rise of methamphetamine use and addiction in conjunction with that of opioids, local and federal lawmakers have been slow in keeping up with the trend. Indeed, the bulk of their attention—and funding—continues to go toward addressing opioids. Meanwhile, some supporters of opioid addiction treatment are concerned that giving attention to meth use will divert time and resources from their own cause, creating a divide among drug treatment advocates. Basically, opioid and meth treatment supporters are being forced to compete for their “fair share” of attention.

Causes of Rising Meth-Related Deaths

On the surface, methamphetamines are not as inherently lethal as opioids, but the rise of deaths from meth use suggests increased potency in current supplies, or possibly contamination that makes them deadlier. The higher death rate also includes more overdoses among older people. Most meth-related deaths are caused by brain hemorrhage or heart attack, which are unusual in young adults because their brain and heart tissue is typically healthier. As people age, they are at higher risk for both causes when using meth.

Risk of Relapse and Circumstantial Difficulties

As with all forms of addiction to substance and alcohol use, meth addicts are at risk of relapse. Statistically, 60% of meth users start to use again within a year of their recovery. It is an exceptionally difficult problem for them to overcome. The recovery process requires them to go through physical, mental, and emotional difficulties, Meanwhile, a relative lack of awareness, education, and material resources in comparison to those dedicated to preventing or treating opioid addiction deprives meth addicts of proper understanding and care.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance use, including methamphetamines or opioids, Contact Ridgeview Ranch (877-526-7706) for help starting on a path to recovery and healing. Our holistic addiction treatment programs are administered by compassionate experts to help addicts take back control of their lives. We also offer support for post-treatment individuals with sober living.

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. While staying physically healthy is vital to living well, spreading awareness about mental health has never been more important. Ridgeview Ranch is here to help. Call one of our addiction specialists at 877-526-7706.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. While staying physically healthy is vital to living well, spreading awareness about mental health has never been more important. In fact, mental and physical health often go hand-in-hand. People who are addicted to alcohol or drugs often develop mental health disorders, making recovery even more difficult as they have to fight on two fronts.

There are many reasons why a person would choose to drink or use drugs, but usage does not automatically indicate addiction. However, increased usage and a feeling of “need” for a drink or substance can be a sign, especially if it is affecting their behavior and ability to function in their daily life.

Some symptoms of substance/alcohol abuse or dependence include:
• Continuous use even while experiencing negative effects
• Increased usage to get the same “good feeling” they desire—in other words, they have built a tolerance and need more to feel the same effects
• Being preoccupied thinking about their next chance to drink or use the substance, or how to obtain more
• Common withdrawal symptoms like trembling, sweating, high blood pressure, or hallucinations when they try to stop using

People who already have mental health problems are particularly susceptible to become addicted to alcohol or drugs. Some start using them as a way to relieve their stress or pain, which can create a vicious circle in which their usage worsens their mental condition while taking its toll on their body. Common mental health disorders linked to substance abuse include but are not limited to:
• Bipolar disorder
• Borderline personality disorder
• Depression
• Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

If you suspect a friend or family member may have a problem with addiction, their mental health, or both, you can help by watching out for symptoms and expressing concern for their welfare. It’s important to express your concerns in a non-judgmental and supportive manner that is less likely to make them get defensive. Sometimes one of the best things you can do is simply listen, which lets them feel respected and understood. Discussing the issue, let alone making the decision to seek help, is an extremely vulnerable moment for them.

Contact Ridgeview Ranch (877-526-7706) if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and/or mental health problems. We offer a wide range of services treating addiction and mental disorders, from educational programs to carefully designed therapies that give patients every chance to recover.

Sobriety in the Public Eye: Celebrities Who Are Open About Addiction

Some celebrities have seen constant media exposure and the rise of social media as an opportunity to become advocates for sobriety and addiction recovery. They talk out about their own addiction and how their choice to seek help changed—or saved—their lives. Here are a few celebrities who have overcome their addiction and spoken out.

Fame and stardom may look glamorous to outside observers, but celebrities lead lives filled with pressures just like millions of other people. Also like many other people, some celebrities turn to alcohol or drugs to escape the pressures of their everyday lives and develop life-threatening addictions.

Some celebrities have seen constant media exposure and the rise of social media as an opportunity to become advocates for sobriety and addiction recovery. They talk out about their own addiction and how their choice to seek help changed—or saved—their lives. Here are a few celebrities who have overcome their addiction and spoken out:

Bradley Cooper recently opened up to GQ magazine about his struggles with alcohol as well as his addiction to painkillers: “If I continued it, I was really going to sabotage my whole life.” Now 44, he has been sober since he was 29.

Lena Dunham celebrated 1 year of sobriety just this month. She proudly announced on Instagram: “I’ve done a lot of cool things in this life, but none has brought me the peace, joy and lasting connections than being part of a sober fellowship.”

Daniel Radcliffe revealed that he used alcohol to cope with his fame. The Harry Potter star has been sober since 2013 following a brief relapse.

Ben Affleck checked into rehab in 2001 and 2017 for help with alcoholism. He also went for treatment in 2018, completing a 40-day program.

Demi Lovato sought help from addiction after suffering a massive overdose in July 2018. Currently just a couple months shy of 1 year of sober living, she has become one of the more outspoken celebrities, sharing her struggles with fans and encouraging others to get help.

Celebrities are frequently presented as role models, whether they perceive themselves that way or not. Those listed above are only a few of a larger group of public figures who have used their celebrity to become champions in the cause of sobriety. They serve as examples for any person currently struggling with addiction that getting help is possible, and that they can emerge healthier and happier.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, contact Ridgeview Ranch (877-526-7706) or use our convenient contact form and take the first steps toward addiction recovery. Our trained and compassionate staff is dedicated to helping you achieve sobriety.

Traveling During Addiction Recovery

Addiction recovery is a delicate process that relies on routine behavior. Traveling can be extremely stressful for recovering addicts because it disrupts that routine. But you can maintain sobriety by making preparations to avoid and relieve pressures that could trigger a relapse.

Addiction recovery is a delicate process that relies on routine behavior. Traveling can be extremely stressful for recovering addicts because it disrupts that routine. But you can maintain sobriety by making preparations to avoid and relieve pressures that could trigger a relapse.

Take Support Materials with You
If you’re traveling by airplane, train, or bus, you’ll spend a lot of time sitting and waiting. Use this time constructively by bringing recovery-related literature or audio resources. AA’s The Big Book is a popular choice, as it contains 12-step program information as well as inspirational recovery stories. An audio version is also available on a free app.

Seek Support Where You’re Going
While you’re going away from your usual support network, there should be reliable sources near your destination. Do a search for local support groups and their meeting times before departing and try to work them into your schedule. You can often participate in meetings remotely by phone or online if you can’t physically attend. Also, contact the local Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous office and request names and phone numbers of other recovering addicts. Reaching out to them and sharing your experience can help you—both of you—avoid feeling lonely or isolated.

Keep in Touch with Your Home Network
It’s good to find support where you’re visiting, but it’s important to maintain contact with your network back home. A short phone call to check in or a brief text or email exchange can be a great reminder that while the people back home aren’t close by, they’re still available to you. Remember to include your AA or NA sponsor in your communications.

Stick to Your Routine When You Can
Keep as much of your usual daily regimen as possible, such as sleeping hours and mealtimes. If you have a favorite activity you can easily fit into your day—reading, walking, prayer, etc.—set aside time for it. Doing so can provide valuable relaxation.
Because you have an established routine and trusted support network at home, it’s vital to be able to maintain that routine and stay connected while traveling. Technology makes it easier to do that and also to connect to local support sources during your visit. Remember: you have options. Utilize them to minimize your risk of relapse.

If you have any questions or concerns about upcoming travel plans, don’t hesitate to Contact us today at 877-526-7706 or use our convenient contact form for advice on preparing yourself to ensure a stable trip.

The Vital Role of Nutrition in Addiction Recovery

The Vital Role of Nutrition in Addiction Recovery. It’s a given that nutrition, in general, is important, but it’s a critical factor in addiction recovery. Call Ridgeview Ranch at 877-526-7706 to learn more.

It’s a given that nutrition in general is important, but it’s a critical factor in addiction recovery. Substance use and addiction affects your body comparable to an unbalanced diet, taking a toll not only your weight but also on how your organs work, including your brain which influences how you think and feel. The recovery process can place high levels of physical and mental stress on an addict, so the benefits that come from proper nutrition make it extremely important to a successful recovery as well as preventing a relapse.

Physical Dietary Effects
Like addiction, the recovery process creates changes in the body that affect organ functions and metabolism. These changes can be directed toward a healthy physical recovery by eating foods that are low in fat, high in protein, and have complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. The focus here is on avoiding “empty” calories. It’s also equally important to observe regular mealtimes so that your body develops a steady internal rhythm and flow not just for the intake and digestion of food, but also for the distribution of nutrients that follows eating as the food is broken down.

Mental Dietary Effects
A diet lacking in proper nutrition creates a deficiency in amino acids, the building blocks of life. One of their functions is the production of dopamine in the brain. A dopamine deficiency can lead to a wide range of problems, from fatigue and aches to mood swings and insomnia. Because nutrition affects the brain’s biochemical influences on our mental state, holistic addiction treatment centers are constantly looking for effective ways to utilize balanced nutrition to treat substance cravings, anxiety, and depression.

Nutrition’s Role in Our Mission
As a holistic addiction recovery facility, Ridgeview Ranch recognizes the vital importance of proper nutrition to every patient’s recovery. Physical, mental, and emotional health are linked and must be promoted simultaneously. This not only helps to realize a successful recovery, but also helps to ensure continued well-being afterward. In a way, we have two primary goals for our patients: guiding them through the journey toward recovery, and preparing them to walk the path of sobriety under their own power. Nutrition has an important role in both cases.

To learn more about Ridgeview Ranch’s holistic methodology to addiction recovery, including our approach to providing balanced nutrition in the recovery process, call us 877-526-7706 or use our convenient contact form with any questions.

Early Signs of Addiction

Early Signs of Addiction - Ridgeview Ranch is here for you. Call to speak with one of our Addiction Specialists today by calling 877-526-7706

It’s hard to admit you have an addiction or to voice your concerns to a friend or family member you suspect has an addiction. But addiction is an extremely serious condition affecting mental, physical, and emotional health and should be addressed immediately. One of the difficulties of identifying addiction early is that it doesn’t always present itself openly. It can occur through a gradual, subtle process until it’s suddenly too late. However, there are physical and behavioral signs you can look for to determine if addiction is present.

Changes in Appearance
Addicts focus most of their attention on satisfying their addiction, which often causes them to neglect their appearance. They might look malnourished, such as having significantly paler skin, skin blemishes, or bloodshot eyes. Another red flag is if they’ve lost a lot of weight very rapidly. They also might have stopped washing regularly—sometimes for days or weeks at a time—or keep wearing the same clothes.

Altered Behavior
Addiction affects the way people think and act. It can be a radical change under the influence of a substance—a gentle person might suddenly become aggressive—or a shift in their overall behavior. They may act secretive or suspicious and try to hide their addiction, especially if they think they’ve been “caught.” Other significant signs of addiction are withdrawal from social circles like family and close friends, and loss of interest in activities or hobbies they normally enjoy.

Risky & Neglectful Behavior
Because addicts are driven to satisfy their addiction, they can become willing to engage in behavior that puts themselves and others at risk in order to fulfill their craving. This change often reflects itself in their financial situation. They might stop buying necessities like groceries or paying their bills so they can buy more of what they’re hooked on, or resort to stealing to get it. Addicts might also neglect common responsibilities, like showing up at work or school or taking care of their children.

When You See the Signs, Take Action
It’s normal for addicts to attempt to hide their addiction, including refusing to admit it to themselves. But when you recognize telltale signs like those mentioned above, the time to act on it is “now.” You owe it to the ones you care about, and you owe it to yourself.

Admitting addiction doesn’t make the actual road to recovery any easier, but it’s a critical first step to take. Ridgeview Ranch’s highly trained and compassionate staff will do all they can to see that you complete the journey and regain a sober and healthy life. Contact us today at 877-526-7706 or use our convenient contact form to take the next steps.

Apps to Help with Addiction

Ridgeview Ranch knows that addicts face numerous challenges throughout the recovery process. This includes a lack of access to resources for patients after completing an intensive program. However, many have easy access to their phones, computers, or tablets. As a result, this connective technology has emerged as a resource for providing recovering addicts with a safety net.

Addicts face numerous challenges throughout the recovery process. This includes a lack of access to resources for patients after completing an intensive program. However, many have easy access to their phones, computers, or tablets. As a result, this connective technology has emerged as a resource for providing recovering addicts with a safety net.

Currently, there are over a dozen available apps designed to help with addiction. Some of them are simple and free, like a day counter for clean and sober living or a 12-step meeting locator. Others are sophisticated programs that include features like a panic button, or automatic alerts when someone goes near “risky” locations like bars.

Each app is created for use by either an addict, treatment provider, or both. The Freedom 365 app includes activities to reveal the causes of addiction and tools to create a recovery plan. It even has an “empowerment” button, to be pressed when there is a temptation to relapse and suggesting actions to take (such as “attend AA meeting”). Another app, WEconnect, installs its software on treatment center providers’ phones to help support and track patients after they have been discharged.

As convenient and helpful as these apps are intended to be in helping addicts recover and stay sober, their purpose is not to replace treatment from human counselors. One of their primary goals is to reduce the relapse rate, which is at least 60% according to many studies.

However, some of these apps do help recovering addicts find and create social networks among themselves. For some, it is difficult to attend meetings, and they can benefit from technology that encourages them to socially engage with other recovering addicts and find an alternative source of support.

When an app cannot address a recovering addict’s needs, seeking help is highly advisable. Treatment and support from a professional is the best option for addiction recovery. Ridgeview Ranch is here to help addicts on the path to recovery, including support for post-treatment individuals with sober living.

For more information on Addiction and how Ridgeview Ranch can help you, call 877-526-7706 or visit ridgeviewranchca.org