Mr. Jan Veselak, licensed addiction counselor, offers court ordered Relapse Prevention Counseling, along with chemical dependency assessment and level of treatment assessment services. The staff at Garden Gate Counseling also offers individual relapse prevention and aftercare services to address the full spectrum of issues which drive relapse.
While some recovering addicts/alcoholics are able to stop using on their own, or after treatment through a program or a 12-step process, many people find themselves chronically relapsing or living sober with lots of cravings and emotional or physical distress. Our program believes that there are specific reasons for relapse which can be pinpointed and successfully addressed.
- Hypoglycemia: 80%+ of recovering people have medically diagnosable hypoglycemia, an issue with blood sugar regulation which leads to wildly swinging blood sugar levels, mood and behavior. Missing a meal, or a high sugar consumption quickly sets up these people for relapse. To learn more, see ARTICLES.
- Hormone Dysregulation: PMS and Menopause are very high risk times in a woman’s life for relapse. Dietary change along with nutrient and herbal support and sometimes bio-identical hormone intervention can make a huge difference. Some men also have low testosterone which can drive cravings for stimulant drugs.
- Pyroluria: This is a genetic disorder which can be tested for and easily addressed using the right nutrients. It drives lifelong social anxiety along with a variety of psychiatric disorders such as depression, violence and ADHD. Some statistics indicate that it appears in 60% of alcoholics (Joan Mathews Larson)
- Depleted neurotransmitters from ongoing substance use along with genetic issues such as Reward Deficiency Syndrome, lack of proper nutrients in the diet such as protein, vitamins and minerals, and impaired digestion. This often shows up as PAW (post acute withdrawal, and drives depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia and aggression.These can easily be addressed using over-the-counter supplements and amino acid therapy.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Many chronically relapsing people report a more than 1 concussion or head injury in their lives, and often quite a few! These can cause ongoing impairment, even if they did not seem very significant at the time. We refer out for neurofeedback – LENS is currently our favorite form – and have found it extremely effective in decreasing symptoms of ADHD, lack of follow-through, insomnia, anxiety and depression.
- ADHD with or without hyperactivity: ADHD is over-represented in the addicted population for a variety of reasons. While the conventional treatment of stimulant medication may not be appropriate for many recovering people, there are many other effective approaches, including LENS neurofeedback.
- Untreated PTSD. It’s a rule of thumb in the adiction world to not address trauma for the first year, out of fear of overwhelming the fragile coping skills of the newly sober person, and triggering relapse. However, many people cannot stay sober because of the intensity of the emotional pain they are carrying inside due to untreated acute and complex PTSD. Talk therapy, whether individual or in a group setting generally is not sufficient to heal trauma. Being stuck in the nervous system and muscles, as well as in the psyche, PTSD is most effectively treated using techniques such as EMDR, hypnosis, inner child work and somatic approaches such as SE.
- Inadequate Emotional and Stress Management Skills: Sometimes we tend to experience strong emotional reactions to life events, or simply don’t know how to relax and calm ourselves down when upset. Thus we are likely to relapse when emotionally overwhelmed. DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy), for which we refer out, teaches these skills within a group setting, and is often indicated in place of simply cycling through yet another treatment program. Addressing the underlying trauma and adequately feeding the brain tremendously help as well.
- Pathogenic Beliefs about Self and Others: Many of us suffer from internal voices that tell us we don’t deserve to have a good life, that we will always be failures and shouldn’t even try, that we are unlovable and that no-body cares. These negative beliefs keep tripping us up and prevent us from doing what we need to do to stay in recovery. They are often driven by complex PTSD, or chronic failure due to undiagnosed and under-treated TBI’s, ADHD and trauma.
- Lack of a Sober Support System: It is crucial to surround oneself with a supportive sober community. This can be challenging if you have always been a loner and don’t trust other people. However, trying to do it yourself, or clinging to familiar using buddies tends to result in failure. You could start with an on-line recovery group or a sober recreational organization like Phoenix Multi-Sport to break the isolation and get support, even if you don’t feel ready to go to 12-step meetings or other groups such as Life-Ring or Women for Sobriety.
- Love & Sex Addiction/Co-Dependency: These patterns of turning to another person or sex for comfort, relief from loneliness and distraction are probably the most frequent social causes of relapse in early recovery. Lack of self-care, poor boundaries and the drive to “fix” others before yourself can sabotage recovery every time! Using the support of Alanon/Naranon, CODA or SLAA meetings can tremendously help, as can individual counseling to address these self-destructive patterns.
Life Skill Deficits:
- While some people start using later in life, after having achieved a stable work and home life, others start very young, and miss out on the opportunity to successfully launch into adulthood. Job skills, shopping, cooking and healthy eating skills, and problem solving skills were never learned, making successful recovery impossible. This is where long-term programs which teach these skills and support the launching process are crucial. They will also identify and treat the issues which can prevent success such as PTSD, brain injuries and ADHD.
For more information or to make an appointment, please CALL NOW at 303-718-6853