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Moderation VS. Abstinence

Abstinence VS. Moderation

It is relatively normal for everyone to drink a little too much from time to time, especially during days of heavy experimentation, such as adolescence and young adulthood. Alcohol consumption may play a large role in the lives of some adults, but this does not mean that all adults who drink heavily on occasion are alcoholics. Even adults who drink on a near-daily basis may not suffer from dependency of any degree. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (the main piece of literature utilized by 12-step fellowships across the globe), states that there are three main types of ‘drinkers’.

Three Types of ‘Drinker’

There is the normal drinker, who can enjoy alcohol in a social setting and very rarely (if ever) experiences consequences as a direct result of his or her drinking. There is the problem drinker, who drinks too much quite frequently. This individual enjoys the effect produced by alcohol – just as the alcoholic does. However, once this individual begins to experience consequences as a result of his or her drinking, he or she has little issue putting down the drink altogether. For example, if a loved one expresses concern and gives an ultimatum, or if a doctor warns of looming health issues, or if a DUI is obtained – the drinker will successfully quit and not look back. The alcoholic, on the other hand, will not be able to successfully quit despite consequences. In fact, he or she will not likely be able to put down the drink for any extended period of time without professional intervention.

abstinence alcohol rehab

Total Abstinence and The Alcoholic

The great obsession of every alcoholic is learning how to both control and enjoy their drinking. In many cases, entire abstinence is not even a viable option early on. As alcoholics, alcohol is truly our solution. Without it, we are ill-equipped to deal with life. We don’t know how to adequately cope with negative emotions – or positive emotions, for that matter. The reaction an alcohol has to alcohol of any kind has been described many a time as ‘allergic’. Of course, this is not an allergic reaction in the typical sense, with the swelling of appendages and the closing of the throat and the necessity of a massive hydrocortisone shot in the rashy behind. This allergy is predominantly psychological. Once an alcoholic has consumed one drink, he or she will be unable to mentally resist the second… and the third, and the fourth, and so on. If one drink is “successfully” consumed, the mental obsession that follows will drive the alcoholic so insane that behaviors will be erratic and serenity will remain utterly unachievable. It has been proven time and time again since the development of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935 that abstinence is the key to a happy and fulfilled life when it comes to an individual truly afflicted with the disease of substance dependency.

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Drinking in Moderation

So how do you tell whether or not you can successfully drink in moderation? Well, the answer is actually exceedingly simple. Have you tried to moderate or control your drinking? If not, give it a shot. Commit to abstinence for a one-week period of time. Every time you begin thinking of alcohol or drinking, make a note on a small piece of paper or in a small notebook. Be as honest with yourself as possible. If you find you cannot make it to one week, or if you find that you spend an excessive amount of time thinking about alcohol, you may struggle with an alcohol dependency disorder. Fortunately, if you decide you do, there is ample help at your disposal. There are numerous alcohol rehab facilities throughout South Florida – ours being among the best and most reputable.

Dependence and Addiction Differences on Crack

Addiction and Dependence on Crack

There are over 8.5 million people who have admitted to using crack cocaine in America at one point in their lives. The use of crack cocaine has become a worldwide public health problem because of its high abuse and dependence liabilities. But how dangerous can crack be and what is the difference between addiction and dependence?

Dependence and Addiction Differences

When someone is dependent on crack the neurochemistry of the brain changes. These changes can develop quickly. The difference between dependence on crackdependence and addiction is that dependence on crack will create withdrawal symptoms when the doses are lowered or stopped. Addiction of crack is the psychological compulsion to use crack, this turns into obsessive thinking and cravings.

Addiction is usually present in those who have a dependency to crack but it can be possible to be physically dependent and not addicted. “In fact, studies have shown that over 30% of people who have smoked crack experience dependence symptoms within 2 years of initial use. What makes crack so difficult to quit is the physical and psychological dependence that it creates.”

The fastest way to addiction is by smoking the drug, which is the most common way. Smoking crack can start an addiction within three days and can only take a few times.

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Physical and Psychological Dependence on Crack

When crack enters the brain it increases the levels of dopamine. This amount of dopamine changes the brain activity and signals the craving for more of the drug. “Strong psychological dependency can occur with only one “hit” of crack, but mental dependency usually occurs within several days.” The euphoric high lasts around five minutes. Once the high feeling wears off the user tends to get depressed and experience the craving.

Symptoms of Dependence on Crack

These symptoms are according to the American Psychiatric Associationdependence on crack

  • Isolation from friends and family from being occupied with finding cocaine
  • Not able to reduce the amount smoked
  • Tolerant of euphoric effects
  • Job loss and unable to find work
  • Using crack in large doses
  • Continuing to use despite withdrawal symptoms

When using crack, all of the intensity of pleasures are increased. If you or a loved one has an addiction or dependence on crack cocaine, you should seek help immediately.

Family Programs in South Florida

Family Programs in South Florida

You may have heard someone say, “Addiction is a family disease.” If you have lived under the same roof as a loved one who is struggling with substance dependency, this statement likely seems a fairly obvious one. Of course addiction is a family disease – when one individual in the family is afflicted, the whole family tends to suffer immensely. It is never easy to watch someone you love slowly kill themselves, perhaps denying that an issue even exists. It is even more difficult to remain uninvolved.

In many cases, the entire family unit will unwittingly begin to revolve around the emotional instability and behavioral patterns of the addict. However, addiction specialists do not refer to this psychological disorder as a ‘family disease’ simply because the entire family will inevitably be affected. The family is usually in some sense partially responsible for the exacerbation of and the severity of the addiction itself. How can this be? Isn’t addiction a blameless disease? While the families of addicts typically only have the very best of intentions, it is all too common that failure to set and uphold boundaries, enabling, and enmeshment prevent the addict from getting well. Take a look at the role the family plays in addiction, and at our comprehensive list of family programs in South Florida.

Effects of Addiction on the Family

We at Lighthouse Recovery Institute firmly believe that in order for an addict to comprehensively recover, his or her family must heal concurrently. We offer a thorough therapeutic recovery program to the family members of our clients, teaching them that their mental and emotional wellbeing is equally as important. Our licensed therapists work with addicts and their families to foster healthier communication, the art of setting boundaries, and a comprehensive education regarding the disease of addiction and all of its implications. We also offer the family individualized support, outside of our clinical location. For more information on our specific family program, please contact us today. We will gladly provide you with any resources you may need to make the process as easy as possible on you and your loved ones.

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Does the Family Play a Role?

It is important that the family members of addicts understand that there is more to comprehensive recovery than simply undergoing restorative treatment themselves (on a less intensive scale than the addict, but following the same therapeutic format). More often than not, the family plays a major role in the exacerbation of the disease. It is in our nature to want to protect our loved ones. Sending them from our homes knowing their lives are on the line may seem heartless, cruel, and ruthless. In actuality, setting harsh boundaries may be life-saving. Coddling addicts as they use lets them know that no matter how much damage they do to their own lives, they will always have a place to stay, food to eat, and familial support. We at Lighthouse Recovery Institute teach family members how to set and maintain healthy boundaries, while pointing them in the direction of programs that are geared towards helping with codependency, enmeshment, and addicted loved ones.

For any additional information, please call today.

Wet Brain and Other Alcohol-Related Disorders

Wet Brain Syndrome

Those who drink too much may brush off their bad habit more easily than a heroin addict or an individual who regularly abuses crack cocaine. Drinking is just so common – if you haven’t been good and plastered at least once in your life you may be questioned by your peers, in fact. What many who drink heavily and regularly do not know is that prolonged alcohol abuse can lead to a host of severe and potentially permanent medical issues. Some of these issues result in conditions that can damage the brain enduringly. Wet Brain (or Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome) is perhaps the most well-known form of alcohol-related brain damage. This condition typically occurs after years of excessive drinking, provoked by a thiamine deficiency caused by malnutrition. If this condition is caught in its very early stages, it can usually be at least partially reversed with intensive treatment involving large doses of thiamine. If the disorder reaches the late stages, however, the damage is permanent and nothing can be done to reverse the symptoms.

Who is at Risk of Wet Brain?

Wet Brain is the result of a thiamine deficiency caused by poor eating habits that lead to eventual malnutrition. Those who are in the late stages of chronic alcoholism will likely maintain a predominantly liquid diet, physically unable to hold solid food down because of the strain put on their digestive systems by disproportionate alcohol consumption. Binge drinking can cause major gastrointestinal damage, leading to an inability to properly absorb nutrients. Liver damage that is frequently caused by alcoholism will also lead to reduction in thiamine processing, and without this essential nutrient utilized by the brain to aid in glucose conversion, significant brain cell death can and will occur. The brain stem is harshly affected, as is the pons and the cerebral cortex. Those who are in the advanced stages of alcoholism and do not receive professional treatment are exceedingly more likely to develop Wet Brain.

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Symptoms of Wet Brain Syndrome

Those who suffer from Wet Brain will typically exhibit the following symptoms:

–               Loss of control over eye movements

–               Dementia

–               Hallucinations

Hallucinations can be aural, tactile, or visual

–               Confusion

Confusion often manifests as a seeming apathy to surrounding and an inability to verbally participate in conversations (at least coherently)

–               Confabulation

Believing certain events that did not actually happen to be true, and repeating them to others as if they had, in fact, happened

–               Ataxia

This is a strange symptom, but it is relatively telltale – it refers to an irregular gait, usually a short step and wide stance

Treatment for Wet Brain

Late stage patients have not been known to benefit from any known treatment – they are essentially doomed to suffer from the disorienting and obtrusive symptoms of Wet Brain for the remainder of their lives. The mortality rate for this specific alcohol-related condition remains at around 20%. If those in the early stages are treated promptly and efficiently, there is about a 20% chance that they will make a full recovery. This specific disorder is far more prevalent amongst homeless and elderly individuals, though it can affect anyone. If you or someone you know and love is suffering from alcohol abuse or dependency, please contact one of our trained representatives at Lighthouse Recovery Institute today.

Unique Approach to Fighting Drug Addiction

New, Unique Approach to Fighting Drug Addiction

Psychologists in Atlanta, Georgia have begun experimenting with a new approach to treating drug addiction – one that involves completely altering the brains of the afflicted. For the past several decades, addiction has been scientifically and medically classified as a brain disease. Responding to this classification, psychologists have developed a method of treatment they currently call The Synapse System. This specially developed outpatient treatment program is currently available to adolescents and young adults, and utilizes intensive therapy along with some newly emerging technology to help improve the overall health of the brain.

How Does the Synapse Treatment Program Work?

As part of their treatment, patients are hooked up to electrodes that measure their brain waves. An interactive computer program is then introduced, which shows patients how to adjust their brain waves and thought processes. Over time, the exercises provided by the software help young adults permanently adjust their brain waves. Damaged neuropathways are repaired, and new neuropathways are simultaneously created. This program has proven extremely successful for those who have already been exposed. Several patients have reported decreased feelings of depression and anxiety, improved self-confidence, and an overall enhancement in general wellbeing.

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Core Principles of the Synapse System

There are 5 main principles at the root of the Synapse System, based on the collective experiences and accumulative understanding of the program founders.

The principles are as follows:

  1. Addiction is a disease of the brain, and effective forms of treatment must therefore address brain functioning.
  2. It is very common for substance abuse and addiction disorders to co-occur with other psychological disorders. It is crucial that all co-occurring disorders are adequately uncovered, assessed, and treated.
  3. It is important that all impacted members of the family are addressed and treated accordingly – addiction is a family disease.
  4. Adequate treatment of substance dependency disorders requires a holistic, multi-faceted, and highly individualized approach that addresses the aforementioned components of neurological functioning, c-occurring disorders, and the family.
  5. Treating substance misuse may prevent the onset of full-fledged addiction, which may lead to chronic underachievement, delinquency, and ultimate death.

For more information on the Synapse System, please visit For more information on which rehab facilities in South Florida have begun to utilize this specific program, or other similarly structured programs, please contact one of our trained representatives at the Lighthouse Recovery Institute today. We have been utilizing a similar method of cognitive therapy for quite some time, and would be more than happy to discuss implications and past successes with you.



Dangers of Gambling Addiction

Gambling Addiction

Many people do not hear about gambling addiction as much as drug and alcohol addiction, but it is still affecting millions of Americans. When an individual is addicted to gambling, everyone in their life is also affected: coworkers loved ones, family, friends. So, what really is gambling addiction and how dangerous can it be?

What is Gambling Addiction?

There according to the clinical definition of addiction of gambling, the person must have four or more of the following criteria.gambling addiction lighthouse

  • Amount of money spent
  • Frequency of gambling
  • The types of games played
  • Lack of control
  • Persistence

There are many different variations of gambling. Money, types of games, and frequency may not be factors of an addiction to gambling, but rather the amount of control an individual has. A person can have a gambling problem when they continue to get negative results but are still unable to control their behavior and stop.

The research conducted so far has not indicated any specific race, gender, or ethnicity to relate to gambling addiction, it can affect anyone. But, there is proof that family history and genetic factors can play a role in determining if someone is predispositions to developing a gambling disorder.

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Is Gambling Addiction Dangerous?

gambling addiction addiction recovery

As mentioned earlier, when an individual is addicted to gambling, everyone in that person’s life is also affected.

Disordered gambling has among the highest suicide rates of any mental disorders, including other addictions, with treatment-seeking individuals reporting rates of actual suicide attempts as high as 1 in 4-5, with the majority of the remainder reporting suicidal ideation.”

Among suicide, there are also other consequences such as:

  • Loss of jobs
  • Extreme financial difficulties
  • Potential criminal activities
  • Harm to relationships


Many people are currently seeking treatment for an an addiction to gambling. Fortunately, for those who need the help, it is a treatable disorder. There are programs such as Gambler’s Anonymous and 12-step programs that have proven to help with treatment. Lighthouse Recovery Institute can help those who have a gambling addiction. If you or a loved one knows someone with a gambling addiction, do not hesitate to call 1-844-I-CAN-CHANGE.


Students and Adderall Drug Addiction

People always tell students to not take drugs because it will ruin your grades, which will spiral into ruining your life. There has always been a negative association to teenagers that take drugs are usually the troublemakers that get bad grades. But with a larger selection of prescription drugs available. There are , like Adderall, there are more students taking drugs than just the ‘troubled teens’. “One of the fastest-rising groups of teen drug abusers are some of the top students with overachiever tendencies.” A lot of these students do not think they have a drug problem either. So, what is Adderall and why are smart students using it?

What is Adderall?

adderall addictionAdderall was created to help students who have ADD and ADHD or other symptoms related to attention disorder. It is a stimulant drug and also similar to Ritalin as well. It alters the mind and behavior of those who take it and helps them focus.

It allows users to boost their attention and focus, which is why it is common and popular among teens that are looking to help with their academics.

Many students are buying the pills illegally or faking ADHD to get a prescription from a doctor.

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How Is It Harmful?

Adderall is a stimulant, which stimulates parts of the body when in use. It always ends in a crash and can lead to mood swings, irregular heartbeats, and depression. One of the biggest side effects of taking Adderall is addiction. There are now current studies on the long-term effects of Adderall but that doesn’t mean that is will not lead to any health issues in the future.

How To Help

Having an addiction to Adderall can become serious and dangerous. If you or a loved one has an addiction to Adderall, it is best to seek help immediately. Light House Recovery Institute can help.



Dealing with Sorrow In Recovery

Sorrow in Recovery

Changing your lifestyle can bring lots of different emotions, including sorrow. Sorrow is a mixture of sadness, fear, and anxiety. While in addiction recovery, feeling sorrow can stifle determination and growing. Here is how feeling sorrow can start while in starting recovery and how to find the strength to carry on.

Those who become addicted may have used addiction to avoid any pain or emotions. When they start sobriety, it becomes time to face those emotions that were being avoided. Facing these emotions that can become rather difficult can bring about self-pity and/or sorrow.

Many people use self-medication, but the more it is used, the more unhealthy habits are being developed. It is used to avoid instead of comfort.

Dealing with Sorrow In Recovery

Ways to Move Past the Sorrow in Recovery

It takes time and steps to remove sorrow from our life. “Sorrow is an illusion derived from the belief that we’re strong enough to take care of ourselves. However, the deeper the issue, the more we need qualified help to move us past the hurdle. The hurdle is our training ground and the quicker we submit to those that can help, the faster we can obtain useful knowledge of moving forward in our lives.” Things like positive influences and surrounding ones self with boundaries and self-improvement drastically help. There are four main steps to help overcome sorrow while in recovery.

  1. Acknowledge you need help. Even strong people need help. A couch who has already been through the situation can help.
  2. Facing the issue is a big commitment. You have to avoid the flight response and face the issue to get better.
  3. Create a plan to help improvements. Growing takes one step at a time. Small accomplishments will soon turn into big accomplishments.
  4. Accountability can come in forms such as written actions, counselors, and coaches. Plan dates on when you want to complete different goals.

“Many times, the first step to healing is allowing ourselves to be broken. As you move forward, remember to reach out to those around you for support and to open up the conversation about the sorrow you’re experiencing.”

For help call 1-844-I-CAN-CHANGE

Does Marijuana Maintenance Work?

Marijuana Maintenance

Marijuana maintenance is the use of people in recovery smoking marijuana to help with their cravings of the substances they are actually addicted to. The recovery community condemns it even though a large amount of people use marijuana to help their cravings while in recovery. But does this method actually work? Find out its effectivenessmarijuana maintenance and other options of marijuana maintenance.

Why People Choose Marijuana Maintenance

A good amount of people who smoke marijuana do so on the regular as a day-to-day basis. It is a habit it for them and if there is a day when they do not have it, their mood could change. They might use it when they wake up like people drink coffee or they might smoke it at the end of the day to relax, or do both. The regular use of the drug creates a familiarity to them. This familiarity makes the drug seem benign. But according to the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, people who stop using marijuana will start to have symptoms such as

  • Shakes
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness

In addiction to these symptoms, it also creates withdraw symptoms that many people can feel.

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Why Marijuana Maintenance Can Be Dangerous

From the symptoms associated to withdraw symptoms that people can feel when they stop using marijuana, it is basically replacing one addiction with another when choosing marijuana maintenance.

A study in the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior says it can be just as dangerous in terms of recovery. Smoking marijuana makesmarijuana maintenance 1 the user calm and less inclined to do everyday tasks. While a person is in recovery and using marijuana, they may feel less determined to do things like attend therapy sessions, meetings, working with a sponsor, and other requirements.

“Similarly, marijuana has been known to trigger episodes of psychosis in vulnerable people. A study in Current Psychiatry suggests that marijuana alone can’t bring about a chronic disease like schizophrenia, but it could bring about changes in concert with genetic malformations in some people.”

Other Options

While in recovery, it is best to not replace an addiction of one drug with another but instead with an action. Part of treatment and recovery is learning how to live a life without the substance. There are many different tools people can use to help with recovery such as the 12-steps, holistic treatments, and more.

If you feel you know someone that is using marijuana maintenance with his or her substance addiction, call 1-844-I-CAN-CHANGE for help.

Is Gaming a Real Addiction?

Video Game Addiction

Addiction is quickly taking over the US. Many people are getting addicted to substances and alcohol, but there have recently been new addictions that researchers are discovering can be dangerous and even deadly. Some of these addictions that require treatment are eating disorders, porn addiction, Internet addiction, and now video game addiction. How serious is video game addiction and does it have any effect on the brain?

How Video Games Affect The Brain

According to behavioral scientists, we learn by mimicking others. This is how we become socialized. It is how children learn at such a young age, but adults still learn this way also. The same way of learning works with video games.

Gaming is considered a real addiction and it does affect the brain. The main part that is affected is dexterity. This is our skill that connects our reflex time with our brain to our hands. Video games increase dexterity. When we play video games, our hands and mind our being shaped. But there are also negative effects towards excessive gaming. Dopamine is released when video gaming. The more we play, the more dopamine is released which makes an impact on our brains.

This give people trouble focusing and concentrating because dopamine is a chemical that contributes to concentrating and learning. When there is a lot of dopamine being released, it will make it hard to concentrate.

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Research on Video Games

From the research done on video games, scientists have found that everyone experiences video games differently. For example, those who play MMORPG tend to become more anti-social in the real world because they are socializing so much online while others aren’t affected as much.

There are many different types of video games that anyone will be able to find a style of gaming they like. Now you can play games on your television, computer, tablet, and phone. With all the devices available and different types of games to choose from, it is easy to see why video game addiction can become a real thing.

In the end, gaming can be both beneficial and harmful; it all depends on the person.

We are here to support you during your time of need and help you make the best decision for yourself or your loved one. Click below to speak to a member of our staff directly.

Lighthouse Recovery Institute