LA ADDICTION TREATMENT: DRUG ABUSE AND RECOVERY Though Los Angeles is more commonly known as a hub of active drinking and drug use, LA addiction treatment options are plentiful, comprising one of the most vibrant recovery communities in the country. UNDERSTANDING ADDICTION LA addiction treatment centers, like all effective treatment facilities, operate with a complete understanding of the disease of addiction. Though often mislabeled as the result of poor decision-making, addiction is a medically valid disease that affects both the body and the mind. Drug addiction, as a physical ailment, is understood relatively well by the general public. The physical aspect of drug addiction can be understood in the same framework as addiction to nicotine, a substance that hundreds of millions of people continue to use despite warnings that it can lead to a variety of diseases as well as premature death. Once a person has grown accustomed to consuming an addictive drug (be it nicotine or heroin), the body depends upon the drug’s presence in order to function. From this phenomenon stem the two key characteristics of physical addiction: increased tolerance and withdrawal. Just as a pack-a-day cigarette smoker no longer “gets a buzz” from smoking a cigarette, a heroin addict will need to constantly increase the amount of drugs consumed to achieve a comparable effect. If either the cigarette smoker or the heroin addict abruptly discontinues drug use, the body will essentially go into shock. Though symptoms vary depending on the substance in question, physical withdrawal will occur in some form when any substance to which the body is addicted stops entering the system. Though the mental aspect of addiction is less simple to grasp, the nicotine analogy can again be applied. Thinking about the conundrum of the massive number of people who smoke cigarettes in spite of proof that it is destructive to one’s health, we must acknowledge that there is some sort of mental glitch involved in the decision to continue smoking. The mind tricks itself into believing that it needs nicotine in order to cope with life. The intense fear of living without drugs is what motivates addicts to continue using even while their lives crumble around them. In truth, it is difficult for someone who has long looked to cigarettes, drinking or drugs as a way to cope with stress to adjust to life without vices. The untruth lies in the fact that the addicted mind tricks itself into believing that life without its vice will be miserable. Though quitting is not easy, addicts are almost always shocked at how free and happy they feel once their minds have had some time to re-acclimate to sobriety. WHY CHOOSE ORANGE COUNTY AND LA ADDICTION TREATMENT PROGRAMS? Removing oneself from the environment in which drug abuse has taken place is hugely beneficial in the first stages of recovery from addiction. Entering a treatment facility for at least 90 days is advisable for many reasons, but one of the most important is that it allows addicts and alcoholics to readjust to living sober in a new environment, which encourages them to practice new healthy behaviors. For many, putting some geographical distance between the locale where recovery takes place and the old stomping grounds is helpful. This approach takes troublesome acquaintances and triggering situations out of the picture until sobriety is stronger. When addicts and their families decide that relocation is a good idea, they often select California as the site for treatment. This is likely because Orange County and LA addiction treatment facilities are some of the finest in the country, and the sunny weather and proximity to the ocean are naturally healing and uplifting. OC and LA addiction treatment centers have the added benefit of being surrounded by the most vibrant 12-step community in the world. There are more AA, NA and other 12-step group meetings held each week in these areas than in any other location on the globe. LA ADDICTION TREATMENT PROGRAMMING OC and LA addiction treatment facilities accept individuals addicted to a wide variety of substances – the drug itself is not as significant as the motivations for using and the destructive effects drugs have on people’s lives. Most people who choose to abuse drugs and alcohol enjoy the effects of these substances because they seem to help quiet preexisting mental conditions. Whether these people suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder or another psychological problem, drugs distance people from their own minds, making them seem like a miracle cure. The problem is that these drugs are either not medicinal by nature, or are not used medicinally. Their recreational and euphoric properties impair their ability to act as an effective medicine. This holds true even in the case of addictive prescription pharmaceuticals, such as painkillers and benzodiazepines. OC and LA addiction treatment centers begin their course of treatment with a thorough intake examination. This includes a psychiatric evaluation that allows the many alcoholics and addicts who have been self-medicating for various psychological ailments to finally access appropriate and effective medication that is designed specifically to treat their conditions. At Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, a stand-out amongst OC and LA addiction treatment programs, the daily routine is comprised of structured therapeutic groups, individual counseling sessions, 12-step meetings, life skills development opportunities, and social activities that allow women to bond with one another. Through these different elements women grow in many ways. They learn to understand addiction as a disease and utilize the 12 steps as a means of combating this disease mentally and spiritually. They also explore the core issues that led them to their initial experiments with drugs and alcohol and work to develop new healthy techniques for coping with the stresses of life. Though the structured program Safe Harbor offers is top-of-the-line, it’s vibrant and nurturing community of women is the element that truly sets it apart from other treatment centers. All of Safe Harbor’s case managers, counselors and support staff are women who have recovered from alcohol or drug addiction, making them ideally suited mentors for women in the first stage of sobriety. The bond that exists between members of this community is unparalleled. It is the bond shared by women who strive to overcome addiction and make better lives for themselves. At Safe Harbor there is hope for any woman who wants a better life.