All posts tagged psychiatric services

Five Successful Sobriety Strategies for the Holidays

The holidays are just around the corner and with them come the challenges to stay sober and still have a good time. The good news is: It can be done!

Thanksgiving and Christmas should never be looked upon as a depressing time for those of us who are sober and want to remain that way. There are millions before us who have not touched a drink or drug over the holidays and made it just fine. However, just like our becoming sober and staying that way, it can’t be done it doesn’t have to be done alone. We have a few strategies for you to employ during the next six weeks that should help you not only keep stay sober but still enjoy the holiday season yourself, substance-free:

  1. Don’t sit still for too long. Idle time can be where the trouble starts dangerously. Instead, get up and get moving! Hike, walk, run, bike, and just be of service to your family and friends. Run in the annual turkey trot race. Set the table, cook the stuffing, or clean the house. There are hundreds of productive things you can do with your time.
  2. Set boundaries and keep them. We all have our “emotional triggers” and most of them can come from our loved ones. One heated conversation with a family member can set tick us off and send us to the local bar to seek old comforts and fall into bad habits. Don’t let that happen. Instead, set boundaries. Make sure they know that your loved ones know politics, religion, relationships, or any other topic you outline that may be contentious and should not be brought to are not on the table for discussion. Keep conversations with family members on lighter, kinder,  and more respectful friendlier topics. Let them know that you don’t want to get into anything that may cause you anyone irritation. If you need to, leave the table and take a walk to cool off. Let them know you have boundaries now and you are keeping them.
  1. BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage). Going to a party is fine. Going to a party without your own preferred beverage is a mistake. Run to your favorite grocer and get the non-alcoholic drinks you like whether it’s a soft drink, sparkling water, iced tea, it doesn’t matter orange juice or chocolate milk. Bring it with you to the event and enjoy it. You will be less tempted and have fun anyway!
  1. Be thankful. Whether you have been sober for three weeks or thirty years, you should be thankful that you have made it this far. Life can be difficult and you aren’t perfect. Accept what you cannot change and work on those areas that you can change. There is no need to be in control of everything around you. It’s impossible. Your sobriety has opened your eyes to the fact that you have your space and it’s better now. Be grateful for that.
  1. Keep your friends close. Have a friend or two you can reach out to when you are feeling stressed. Your sponsor, spouse, BFF, pastor, rabbi, or neighbor whom you can trust and confide in whenever you need to do so. Make sure they have your back someone you can trust knows you’re depending on them. Keep a journal, too. Write down your thoughts or record them. Whatever you do, don’t keep it all inside.

There’s an old saying about sobriety: “I’d rather stay clean than have to get clean all over again.” If you do the 5 steps listed above you won’t have to get clean all over again. Don’t let the upcoming holidays get you down. You can do it.  It’s one more milestone to celebrate with your success.  

If you or someone you know needs substance abuse treatment, consult one of our experienced counselors. The Concerted Care Group of Central Baltimore, MD, and Brooklyn, MD, has a compassionate behavioral health team that includes therapists, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, psychiatric and medical providers a nurse practitioner, and a psychiatrist. Services include individual, group, and family therapy for adults and adolescents. Group therapy and psychiatric services are available for adults.

Contact us at (833) CCG-LIVE to make an appointment.

What is Behavioral Therapy?

Treatments for people addicted to drugs vary in scope and focus. 

One type of treatment that has several types of therapies is known as “Behavioral Therapy”***. Addicts need incentives to reduce and end their dependence on the drug(s). Behavioral therapies accomplish this on several levels: 

  1. It helps the addict develop life skills that help them handle stressors that once caused them to resort to the addiction. 
  2. Cravings are blunted by redirecting environmental cues that make them desire the drug. 
  3. Drug abstinence is incentivized through newly learned behaviors.  

Behavioral therapy intimately involves the patient in changing their behavior and moving forward, addiction-free and permanently changed. There are several types of behavioral therapy that are used for addicts and, specifically, opioid users:

  1. Contingency Management (CM) is a popular behavioral therapy. It reinforces positive behaviors. Abstinence is the focus. This is used in methadone programs and has been shown to promote abstinence and increase treatment retention. 
  2. Voucher-Based Reinforcement (VBR) is for opioid abusers, mainly heroin, and cocaine users. The patient gets a “voucher” when their urine is tested and it’s drug-free. That voucher can then be used to purchase food, tickets, or other valuable items the patient can use. The vouchers start at a low value and increase in value as the patient successfully passes each urine test. If the patient has a positive urine test, the voucher values are reversed. Vouchers are an effective method of incentivizing opioid and cocaine users to stay clean. 
  3. Prize Incentives (PI) is similar to the vouchers but actually uses cash prizes as an incentive to stay abstinent. During a three-month period, the patient participates in breath tests or urine tests. If they are clean, their name is entered into a bowl for prizes worth $1-$100. Additionally, the patient may also get extra draws for attending counseling sessions or accomplishing goal-related activities.  (This method has been criticized for promoting gambling though studies have shown that it does the opposite.) 
  4. 12-Step Facilitation Therapy: Once again, abstinence is focused on utilizing 12-step self-help groups. From the patient’s daily or weekly attendance, they agree that their addiction is overwhelming and that they have absolutely no control over it. They cannot overcome their craving and dependence on it by themselves. So, they must surrender to a “Higher Power”. The patient then seeks the fellowship of other recovering addicts. The patient’s commitment to regular attendance and participation in the meetings has been shown to keep them abstinent and sustain recovery. 
  5. Family Behavior Therapy (FBT): Bringing a spouse, parent or significant other into the treatment has been shown also to be quite effective in leading the patient into positive behavior reinforcement. Opioid abuse is addressed along with other issues such as depression, unemployment, and abuse. Family Behavioral Therapy combines behavioral contracting with contingency management. The patient and family members apply the strategies and skills to improve their home life. Patients use new behaviors to stop opioid abuse. CMS (Contingency Management System) is used as an incentive when the behaviors are demonstrated. At the session, behavioral goals are reviewed. Rewards are given as goals are met. Patients can choose interventions from a menu. 

This is not a complete list of behavioral therapies. There are other therapies that we will focus on in a future blog. If you or a family member have an opioid addiction, please contact a drug treatment center immediately. 

Concerted Care Group of Central Baltimore, MD, and Brooklyn, MD, has a compassionate Behavioral Health team which includes therapists, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, a nurse practitioner, and a psychiatrist. Services include individual and family therapy for adults and adolescents. Group therapy and psychiatric services are available for adults.

Contact us at (833) CCG-LIVE to make an appointment. 

***Click here for more information on behavioral therapy.