COVID-19 Update

 

Dear ATS Patients,

I know that you all are thinking about safety during the current coronavirus spread. I am writing today not to alarm you, but to put you more at ease in knowing the steps we are taking at ATS to keep you safe and healthy. The virus is likely to cause only mild symptoms in most of us, but it is crucial that we all do our part in preventing its spread.

CLEANING AT ATS
As always, the staff will be thoroughly washing hands before each patient but will also have hand sanitizer for additional use . We will be thorough in cleaning the rooms including furniture, doorknobs and between each patient by using disinfectants to reduce risk of exposure.

ILLNESS AT ATS

Staff will be checking themselves for fever or symptoms and will take time away from clinic as warranted.
We also have hand sanitizer available or you can use the bathroom sink to wash with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
Please stay home if you have a dry cough, shortness of breath or have had a fever in the past 21 days.
If you become exposed to anyone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, we humbly ask that you not come in, (and consider self-quarantine) for 21 days. While many are advising 14 days, there are cases of people spreading it up to 21 days.

LIFESTYLE AND SUPPLEMENTS TIPS TO BOOST IMMUNITY
Maintain healthy lifestyle habits. Sleep deprivation, stress, excess alcohol or caffeine all decrease immune function. Set yourself up for success with good self-care. Nourish your body with healthy whole foods and drink plenty of fluids.
Consider stocking up on healthful pantry items such as frozen veggies and berries, frozen meats, poultry and fish, bone broth, soup, nuts, seeds, canned beans, grains and teas in case you need to spend an extended time at home.

Thanks in advance for your understanding and patience as we navigate implementing best practices during this time. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.

RESPECTFULLY,
John P. Crum LCPC

Why is fentanyl dangerous

Why is Fentanyl Dangerous?

Why is Fentanyl Dangerous?

Most individuals who have an addiction are looking to recreate the initial high they had the first time they tried it. What’s happening as a result of that is, people who are selling the drugs, manufacturing, or adding to heroin or other substances, whether they’re cutting it with doorman, cutting it with brick dust, or cutting it with baking soda, they are also adding fentanyl to it. Fentanyl is measured in micrograms which means its a hundred times or a thousand times more powerful than heroin itself.

Adding fentanyl to other drugs makes them lethal, as well. Since the FDA does not control heroin,  the use of heroin, or who is manufacturing it – what then happens is the heroine is getting stronger and stronger and there’s no way in the world to tell how much or what percentage of the heroin is present or how pure the heroin is. In addition, one cannot determine how much fentanyl has been added to a substance. It’s basically a roll of the dice to see what’s happening when someone ingests fentanyl.

The latest trend in adding fentanyl to a substance is the ignition of lidocaine. Lidocaine is making patients go through very severe withdrawals – so with the addition of both fentanyl and lidocaine, patients are upping their use of heroin at a lot quicker rate. This is increasing tolerance in the individual and also increases the potential for lethality.

With all these things, this is what’s dangerous about both fentanyl and heroin.

If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction, read some of our previous posts to learn more or contact us at (618) 692-6880

Support

Alcoholism Signs and Treatment

How Do You Recognize the Signs of Alcoholism and Help a Family Member?

That’s a difficult question. There is a number of variables, the age of the person, in terms of whether we’re talking about a young person sixteen or seventeen, or we’re talking about someone who’s in their thirties or forties. The most simplistic answer is if someone’s consuming a large amount of alcohol on a regular basis, perhaps, for example, they’re employed. They start missing work, their personal hygiene deteriorates, they no longer have the motivation to do anything other than drink, seek substances or their daily chores around the home start to fall off. All those things are for sure signs and symptoms in some of the elementary things. It’s primarily an inability to control the amount that they’re drinking with a continued increase in that volume and the inability and the inability to stop using.

Professional Treatment is the Way

It’s going to be very difficult to have that person seek treatment because, for the most part, the reward salience of that substance has now overpowered the part of the brain that’s responsible for regulations. The executive function of the prefrontal cortex is no longer able to stop the person from engaging in that behavior. Often times when that occurs the patient becomes extremely deceitful. Family members may know it, but the patient may not know they need treatment. So the most effective way to get those people involved in some type of treatment is to get them to a professional, have them, have them do a substance abuse assessment or a clinical history of what it is they’re consuming.

ATS Approach

What we look for here at ATS is what impact the drinking is having in four areas; health, legal, vocational, and relationships. Health-related issues, in terms of alcohol, what we’re looking for are elevated liver enzymes, we would send blood work off and urine work off, make sure liver enzymes are within normal limits. Legal implications, if they have a DUI or multiple DUIS or transportation of alcohol, those are always an issue. Vocational would cover if they have lost a job, are they at risk of losing a job as the result of their substance abuse, and is it interfering with a relationship.

Health, legal vocational, and relational issues are always questions we ask in an initial interview. Most places will do an interview for nothing or minimal cost to see if a person actually needs treatment.

Contact us at (618) 692-6880

Do Interventions Work for Addiction Treatment

Do Interventions Really Work?

Do Interventions Work?

Intervention and the concept of intervention are popular on television, but in regards to clinical outcomes, it’s not particularly effective. The concept is being in a position where a number of people can encourage or coerce an individual to seek treatment. That has something to do with the belief that willpower has something to do with an addiction. In reality, willpower has nothing to do with an addiction.

What we’d like to be able to do is get someone into treatment who is unwilling to get to treatment. At the current time that’s difficult because the laws have not changed since the Communal Health Act in 1963. We no longer have the legal authority to get someone into treatment against their will. So if you really want good, strong clinical outcomes it would be to put people who have an addiction in treatment for a minimum of six to eight months, not residential treatment, but an outpatient treatment. This will put them in the position so they will have the cognitive skills to know they are disturbed or have an addiction because it may take a six-month program to get their attention.

By the very definition of addiction, being a chronic relapsing disease in which the structure and function of the brain have changed, it is the prefrontal cortex where people make a rational cognitive. The prefrontal cortex has been damaged at this point, they’re not able to think rationally. The power of the drug causes an impulsion and craving to use and the prefrontal cortex, in terms of willpower, isn’t even considered anymore.

Legal Processes Need to Change

We have to be in a position where we can save people’s lives virtually against their will. The only way it’s really going to be effective would not be intervention, but rather being in the position to mandate someone to get some sort of clinical help against their will and ATS thinks that’s really where the change needs to take place, on a legal process.

Learn more about treating addiction hereContact us at (618) 692-6880

What Are Some Ways Of Treating Alcoholism IL

What Are Some Ways Of Treating Alcoholism

The most effective strategy in dealing with any type of addiction specifically alcohol or alcohol – because it is everywhere in the culture and encourages people to drink and it’s a social lubricant so lots of problems surround the use of alcohol. Plenty of people can consume great amounts of alcohol and not develop an addiction but for those patients who have developed an addiction to alcohol, the most effective treatment strategy is engagement in a scientifically approached treatment program through an extended period of time so that they can learn coping strategies. In my opinion, the best way to do that is on an outpatient basis because it is essential that people stay employed while being treated and stay in the environment in which they live.

Why Else Are Outpatient Programs Superior?

Often times, 30 days of going away lead to the loss of a job and certainly hampers development in relationships at home and also creates a different level of stress that people have to respond to once they get out of rehab. Results of rehab treatment for patients, while they are in a patient rehab, are extremely good. For patients who have gone to rehab, at the end of one year: 86% of all patients have relapsed within that year and those are national statistics for people who have relapsed in that year.

Have Addiction Questions or concerned and seeking help for a loved one? Contact us at (618) 692-6880

Why Don't Addicts Just Stop

Why Don’t Addicts Just Stop?

Why Don’t Addicts Just Stop Drinking, Taking Pills, or Shooting Up?

If people could just stop using or quit using then they wouldn’t have an addiction. Consequently, the diagnostic criteria involve a compulsion and craving to use, that’s a neurological change in the brain. This is not something that has anything to do with willpower, it’s something that’s involuntary. People engage in all sorts of involuntary muscle movements.

In terms of compulsion, we do about 95% to all of our activities are a result of condition responses to things. People don’t actively think about how to turn left or turn right when driving a car, that’s a conditioned response where you calculate the speed of the automobile and what’s going on on the left, so your brain is already conditioned to do those things. You’re not actively thinking about driving when you’re driving. The same thing applies to an addiction. When you have an addiction, neurologically in your brain what’s happening is those things are going on full time. Your brain may be actively looking at the next time you can use drugs or what’s going on so that in couple with anxiety puts the person in a neurological position where the reward salience of the drug is a positive reinforcement on the subconscious level is overpowering the cognitive ability prefrontal cortex to down regulate or to inhibit those impulsive behaviors.

Addiction for sure is an impulsive behavior that gets people to use a substance to decrease that stress or anxiety they feel and they have no control whatsoever over that until they are treated successfully, which takes an appreciable amount of time, perhaps up to two years.

Contact us at (618) 692-6880

How to Treat A Xanax Addiction Edwardsville IL

How To Treat A Xanax Addiction

Xanax is a benzodiazepine and ranks in the same category as alcohol in regards to withdrawal effects. Both alcohol and benzodiazepines, if withdrawn from too quickly can cause seizures in the patient. So, you have to monitor those things very carefully so there needs to be a titration schedule in order to get people slowly and gradually off benzodiazepine or alcohol. Once that has been accomplished, whatever the Xanax was treating – most generally it’s anxiety or panic attacks – then the physician can look at a different medication to treat the symptoms as well or perhaps a different combination of medication that can help patients without the risks of increasing the dependency on the Xanax or another benzo as well as decreasing the withdrawal effects of that particular medication. It takes an appreciable length of time to decrease from Xanax, perhaps up to two months.

How Would Someone Know They’re Addicted To Xanax?

Most people can use or take Xanax very safely, it comes in various doses. Some patients we see are very effectively treated on even half a milligram a day, as prescribed or as needed. Some of our patients are on one milligram. If we have a patient who has an increased demand to use that Xanax and it’s not working, what we look for is increasing demand and decreased efficacy where someone went from one to one and a half to two, two and a half milligrams as needed. They then have established a dependency on that medication and we need to look at that carefully to make sure that they don’t develop the dependency that then moves in on to an addiction on that Xanax.

Have Addiction Questions or concerned and seeking help for a loved one?

Contact us at (618) 692-6880

How to cope with stress when recovering from addiction edwardsville il

How to Cope With Stress When Recovering From Addiction

This question is probably one of the most common as well as complicated problems that we encounter with patients who are dealing with addictions. For the most part, a lot of our patients are using the substance that they have as a medication to cope with stress. So, what you have to do is uncouple that learned response to cope with medication whether that’s alcohol, methamphetamine, crack, or heroin – we have to teach them what we call planned alternative responses which are a cognitive behavior therapy concept where we teach people behavioral coping strategies that will uncouple the relationship between stress and immediate use “on-the-go” response to treat the stress.



Our Approach For Patients Dealing With Stress

Here at ATS, we use stress as one of the partial components of a definition of addiction. Indeed, we believe that addiction is a stress-induced impulse control disorder that leads to the use of a behavior or a substance in order to decrease the stress. What that means is if I feel stressful: I am going to engage in a behavior – whether that’s cutting, some type of self-mutilation, or even gambling to decrease the stress. It may also mean that if I am stressed, I am going to abuse medication to decrease the stress. So, you can see stress is inherent in not only the definition but as well as the solution to how you can help overcome some of the problems related to using substances to self-medicate.

Have Addiction Questions or concerned and seeking help for a loved one?

Contact us at (618) 692-6880

Best Coping Strategies for Addicts During the Holidays Edwardsville IL

Coping Strategies for Addicts

What are some Coping Strategies for Addicts during the Holidays?

The holidays really create a lot of chaos because it changes people’s routine. We’re talking about the holidays basically from Thanksgiving to the last part of November to about the middle of January with New Year’s Eve. In terms of family life and employment, people are off of work and there’s a very complicated daily routine. So it’s very difficult to be in a position to take care of people who are in the process of recovery and they are needing routine at the time of recovery. People aren’t going to work nine to five, the temperature is changing, and we’re having early onset of darkness. All those things make it very complicated.

The essence of treating someone who has an addiction during that time is to make sure you have a daily schedule, a daily plan, and you are getting things accomplished. Make sure to have something to get accomplished in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. Those three things are really important and have some level of accountability that forces people to focus on consistent behavior. The holidays for sure for almost a two month period of time, things are chaotic with family life, people coming and going, so it’s really important to have a daily routine.

Here at ATS we really stress having a daily routine, that includes exercise every day, if you can get to the gym every day. It will release substances call BDF, which will grow your brain and improve your mood and self-esteem and make you feel overall better. So exercise in conjunction with other types of activities throughout the day, that you can have a checklist and have those things done everyday despite how you feel.

How Can Loved Ones Help Someone Struggling With Addiction?

Family members can assist with that by helping them devise what a checklist should be. Give them daily tasks that you want them to do, whether it’s helping around the house, make your bed, make sure you exercise, both physical and cognitive exercise. Whether it’s playing the piano or learn to play the fiddle, just doing something that helps your brain. The boredom or the lethargy that usually occurs at that time. Their time needs to b structured.

Anything that loved ones can do to structure their time or even spend time with them, even if it’s playing board games, all that is great. Anything you can do to encourage and get patients with an addiction engaged, well those are all positive things.


Contact us at (618) 692-6880