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What IS addiction?

July 21, 2011

The average person may have a hard time defining what addiction truly is. Hopefully we can help you understand.

“Addiction means using a substance repeatedly, despite knowing and experiencing its harmful effects. The person using the substance cannot control the urge to use it and needs increasing amounts to achieve the effect he craves. On abruptly stopping use of the substance, the person can experience withdrawal effects like watering of nose and eyes, vomiting, diarrhea, sleep disturbances, aches and pains and epileptic fits.” -World Health Organization (WHO)

Short term consequences are only one of the negative aspects of addiction. Other consequences that are more lasting can include kidney or liver damage, increased likelihood of STDs, AIDS, tuberculosis, and hepatitis. Mental illness is often concurrent with addiction. Also, there are social consequences such as loss of closeness with family and friends, negative stigmas, loss of work due to addiction, and others.

Even though there are many negatives to addiction, it is difficult for the addict to stop using. There is still some mystery involved in what factors cause or create addiction or an addictive personality. Many people become addicted at a young age, making recovery even more challenging.

At Serenity Acres, we understand the causes and effects of addiction and are equipped to provide the tools for the addict to use to help overcome their addiction. If you or someone you know needs, help, please reach out to us at 1-800-335-7440.

What exactly does “Holistic” mean?

July 19, 2011

In today’s world, “holistic” is a word you see tossed around quite a bit. But what does it really mean? In terms of drug addiction treatment programs, “holistic” refers to a program that treats the person as a whole. Instead of only treating the medical aspects of drug addiction, or the physical dependence upon the drug, a holistic drug rehab program treats the emotional, spiritual and psychological aspects of addiction as well.

At Serenity Acres, our treatment philosophy is strongly grounded in holistic practices. Everything from nutrition, to counseling and group sessions, to the the Eastern medicine and practices we utilize, are all aimed at helping the person as a whole. Holistic practices are especially beneficial from those suffering from both drug addiction and psychological issues like depression.

What Makes Serenity Acres Holistic?

Because a holistic program is designed to reach every part of every person who enters, we offer highly personalized treatment plans. The treatment services that will be woven into these individual plans will vary, addressing a wide range of issues. There is no cookie-cutter approach to holistic treatment, it all depends on the individual. This is why our treatment center is so successful, because each person is treated specifically according to their needs.

Serenity Acres offers treatments including group and individual therapy sessions, daily exercise, dietician recommended eating plans, life coaching, acupuncture, yoga, massage, meditation, and a variety of activities to help you recover from addiction and learn to enjoy life sober and begin loving yourself.

Is Holistic Right for You?

If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol then you will thrive at a holistic drug rehab program. Addiction rarely manifests all by itself. Many times other issues are at the root or at least contributing to the addiction. Addiction is not treated effectively in a psychiatric facility and a straight 12-step center will not be able to help you address your co-occurring disorders.

Serenity Acres is unique. Unlike other drug rehabs, we have the staff and the experience to provide a treatment program that will address your physical issues with addiction and your psychological disorders that increase or contribute to your drug or alcohol abuse.

How Does it Work?

Through the admission process at Serenity Acres, our team including medical professionals, counselors, and other service providers will speak with you individually to help you develop a treatment plan, an outline for what will happen during your stay with us. As time goes on and you progress, this treatment plan will be reevaluated according to your changing needs. Your treatment is not a static plan, because you will be changing and growing each day.

If you or a loved one is interested in learning more about our services, please call us at 1-800-335-7440.

Why do some become addicted and others do not?

July 18, 2011

Why do some people become addicted? This is a great question. There are several key factors that will influence whether one will become addicted or not. More often than not, it is a combination of these factors that will lead to a greater chance of one becoming an addict. It should be said that the more factors one has, their likelihood increases. Those factors are:

Environment- Family, friends and socioeconomic status all play a huge part in addiction. Furthermore peer pressure, sexual abuse and stress all contribute as well. I love the below quote from Nietzsche which basically states that no matter how strong or grounded one may be, we are all subjected to our environments.

“Even the strongest have their moments of fatigue”

You cannot continue to subject yourself to unhealthy or negative influences. It is important to cultivate positive relationships if we expect to stay grounded.

Biology/Genes- It is said that what you are born with along with your environment may account for about half of all those who will become addicted. From your gender, ethnicity and having a mental health disorder all influence your risk for drug abuse.

The First High/ Development- We know that the earlier one begins to take drugs, the greater the chance to become addicted. That is not to say that drug use at any age can become addictive. But the younger one is in their development, the more likely it will progress into serious abuse.

Just by knowing the factors you can help protect yourself and your family from the disease of addiction. Prevention and education are still our first line of defense. Please do not be fooled into thinking that this is a disease of will power. It is far from it. Addiction is a life threatening disease. However with the basic knowledge and education you can minimize your chances of being affected by this disease.

*Please consult with a licensed physician for proper diagnosis and treatment if you suspect that you have a drinking or drug problem.

How long should I stay in treatment?

July 15, 2011

We always get the same question from prospective residents: How long will I/my loved one need to be in treatment?

The answer is different for everyone, but generally speaking, we promote 90 days of inpatient followed by ongoing outpatient treatment. Addicts do not get sick overnight, the issues and problems that have led to their addiction in the first place have built up over time. Studies have proven that 90 days is an effective general amount of time to provide the best results:

*Research published in 1999 by Bennett Fletcher, a senior research psychologist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has shown that though 90 days isn’t a magic number, anything less than that tends to increase the chances of relapse. One study, of 1,605 cocaine users, looked at weekly cocaine use in the year after treatment. It found that 35% of people who were in treatment for 90 days or fewer reported drug use the following year compared with 17% of people who were in treatment for 90 days or longer. The study was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

The first 30 days of treatment are focused on crisis stabilization, basic recovery skills, and getting the addict on the road to being physically healthy. The second 30 days will focus on more advanced recovery and relapse prevention skills and extensive life coaching. The last 30 days at Serenity Acres are focused on getting back into your “real” life and how the best make the changes that will help the addict to be successful and remain in recovery.

When you put everything you learn over the course of 90 days into work, it gives you a solid framework to leave the safety of inpatient treatment and reintegrate into your world and your family. Our ultimate goal is to provide as much education and information as possible in a way that can be remembered, utilized, and built upon further. If we do this, and the addict takes an active role in their recovery, success is almost inevitable.

Relapse, Really?

July 14, 2011

Why do you say I relapsed if I haven’t used any drugs? This is a question that we hear all the time. For so many in recovery they think of a “relapse” as using. When in fact that is not true. Relapse defined- occurs when a person is affected again by a condition that affected them in the past. This could be a medical or a psychological condition or both. In other words relapse is not an individual occurrence or event. Relapse is a process. When you have consumed that drug or drank, you in fact have “used”.

So if a relapse is the process that leads you to use, what are the warning signs of this process? There are many warning signs and this is when it helps to be involved in a 12 Step Community. Its the human condition, we don’t always see the warning signs ourselves. Having this community or a sponsor can help identify unhealthy thought patterns when the addict is in active relapse. The most common warning signs are:

Hanging around the old places that lead you to your addiction {commonly called slippery places.}

Not following your treatment or recovery plan.

Isolating and missing your meetings.

Stress and major life changes.

Mental Health issues or stopping/starting medication.

Ongoing relationship issues.


There are truly many more warning signs and triggers. That is why it is so important to know your tools, have a plan and embrace a supportive {clean} community. Relapse is that unhealthy process that leads the addict to use. While it is common for the person in recovery to have thoughts of using, what we are talking about here is the obsession and counterproductive behaviors that will ultimately cause them to use.

So while so many look at relapse as a bad thing, if you have that supportive community they can help you realize that you are in active relapse. You then can begin to take the necessary steps to keep from using.

Relapse, Really? Yes really. So now you know. Use it to your advantage. Get the help that you need before you use.

RIP Betty Ford

July 11, 2011

Betty Ford was a pioneer in substance abuse treatment. The Betty Ford Clinic is world famous, and most treatment centers are built upon some of the same philosophies and treatment models that they made commonplace. The world lost a great woman, but fortunately her work lives on. Those of us here at Serenity Acres are certainly thankful for being able to treat addiction as a disease, not a weakness or character flaw. We have Betty Ford to thank for bringing this knowledge to the forefront. RIP Betty. Thank you for everything.

When Should You Seek Help?

July 8, 2011
Addiction- When is the best time to start treatment?


I often get asked when is the best time to start treatment. For me, the answer will always be the same. If you’re asking that question, the answer is now. Working in the field for 25 years has taught me that addiction is not any different form any other disease. The longer you wait to get treatment, the harder it is to treat.
So what is addiction? Addiction is the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming. Or Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in the individual pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. The addiction is characterized by impairment in behavioral control, craving, inability to consistently abstain, and diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships. Like other chronic diseases, addiction can involve cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death. {American Society of Addiction Medicine.}
If you or a loved one is suffering with an addiction, please seek help immediately. The most effective treatment is usually one that incorporates both traditional and non traditional therapies. Here at Serenity Acres we do just that. Our holistic approach will be tailored to suit your needs. No matter what your Drug Of Choice {DOC} is, our team of doctors, therapist, counselors and staff will give you both the treatment and tools to best deal with your disease. 
Serenity Acres is more than just a treatment center. It is a way of life. So if you’re asking when is the best time to start treatment? The answer is now. Are You Ready?

Low Energy? Your addiction may be to blame

July 7, 2011

Low Energy States:

What They Are, How to Overcome Them


By Dr. Alan Weiss

Of all the concerns and complaints that people bring to physicians, one of the most common is “I just don’t have enough energy to get through the day”. People often feel like they just have enough energy to get to work and come home, and collapse with the hope that tomorrow will be better.

How do you know if you are in a “LowEnergyState”? Besides not having sufficient energy to make it through a regular day, you may feel like if you take on anything extra that would be the straw that breaks the “camel’s back”. You may find yourself not sleeping well, or simply not feeling rested after a night of sleep. You may be achy following any kind of exertion, which can also wipe you out for a few days.

Other features of Low Energy States are the inability to lose weight no matter what or how you eat, even if you get a bit more exercise than usual. Often when interviewed people will acknowledge a lowered libido, feeling cold, and intestinal symptoms such as bloating and constipation. People may notice problems with hair and nails, feelings of dizziness, and a whole slew of other symptoms.

Undoubtedly as people including physicians read the above paragraphs, a range of possible reasons such as Chronic Fatigue, low thyroid, and depression, among others, emerge.

One approach to dealing with such a condition is to consider that when the human body has what it needs to work well and is relieved of what it does not need it will generally work well.

Any hormonal deficiency or excess can produce aLowEnergyState. This includes not just the thyroid, but also the adrenals glands and sex hormones, especially testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. While deficiencies of these are more commonly going to cause Low Energy States, excesses can also produce this situation.

Nutritional deficiencies can result in low energy. Most common of these are Vitamins B12 and D, as well as calcium and magnesium. Any significant electrolyte or mineral disturbance can create a condition of low energy, as can sleep disturbances, overmedication, and addictions to caffeine, foods, alcohol, or street drugs.

The common energy currency of the body is called ATP. ATP is produced in the mitochondria of each cell. Various supplements such as Ribose and Coenzyme q10 can help augment ATP production and thus energy availability.

One overlooked reason is the spiritual domain. When a person is living life with an ever-increasing mass of complaints, resentments, upsets, and regrets, the cumulative weight of the incomplete past will weigh a human being down in a way that will erode the life force very quickly.

Once  a person realized they are in a Low Energy State, going on a hunt with a wide net will often reveal the cause (or causes) of the issue. Then the healing can begin.

The latest in holistic drug treatment…

June 3, 2011

Holistic treatment is an alternative form of therapy used to treat addiction and other disorders. Although holistic medicine has been practiced for more than 5,000 years, it only started gaining popularity in the Western culture during the twentieth century.

Recovery is an ongoing process that requires the implementation of the strategies obtained through these residential rehabilitation programs into everyday life. Successful recovery is bolstered by the support of loved ones, medical advice or treatment when necessary, therapy, and recovery support groups.

At Serenity Acres, we focus on treating the whole person—body, mind, and spirit—in treating addiction. Holistic treatment assumes that all parts of the individual need healing, not just the body.

Treatments can include:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Art Therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Equine therapy
  • Natural cleansing