Why Alcoholism Occurs After Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery has helped people combat obesity, diabetes and even the risk of heart disease. While it may be helpful for many people, it can also increase the effects of alcohol use. In fact, research shows an increased risk of alcohol use disorder (AUD) in patients after just three years post-procedure.

Understanding the risk of addiction associated with gastric bypass can help you prevent or address this issue. Keep reading to learn about the connection between this weight loss surgery and alcohol addiction, the symptoms of AUD and ways to get help if you or a loved one is struggling.

What Is Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Gastric bypass is one type of surgery for weight loss. During the procedure, a medical expert alters how the stomach and small intestine work to digest food. The surgeon creates a small pocket out of the stomach, which is then connected to the patient's small intestine. Food will then enter the small pouch before moving throughout the digestive system, bypassing a large part of the stomach and the initial portion of the small intestine.

Gastric bypass surgery can aid weight loss by:

  • Limiting how much food the stomach can hold
  • Reducing the nutrients and calories the body can absorb
  • Altering gut hormones to make someone feel fuller longer

Why Is There a Connection Between Alcohol Addiction and Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Researchers aren't entirely sure why gastric bypass may lead to issues with alcohol, though there are a few possible explanations and theories:

1. Changes to Blood Alcohol Content Level

Many patients report a higher sensitivity to the effects of alcohol after gastric bypass surgery. The stomach lining contains an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase that metabolizes alcohol. When alcohol enters just a tiny stomach pouch after gastric bypass, it comes into contact with less alcohol dehydrogenase and moves to the small intestine quicker, leading to more alcohol entering the bloodstream. As a result, patients drinking alcohol after gastric bypass surgery:

  • Have higher blood alcohol content levels.
  • Get drunker faster.
  • Have alcohol in their system longer than those who have not had the surgery.

These effects may impact how the brain responds to alcohol and explain the increased potential for an alcohol use disorder. This is similar to why women are more sensitive to alcohol than men. Women have significantly less alcohol dehydrogenase in their stomach lining, making alcohol enter the bloodstream easier. One alcoholic drink can affect a woman more strongly than one drink for a man.

As a result, drinking alcohol after gastric bypass surgery can result in more alcohol consumption — patients might get drunker faster and take longer to sober up, making drinking seem more appealing to some.

2. Changes in Gut Hormones and Reward Circuitry

Another potential cause is that weight loss surgery affects your gut hormones, including dopamine. This and other hormones impact feelings of hunger and fullness, but they also influence the sense of reward we feel after eating and drinking. Essentially, drinking alcohol after gastric bypass might be related to a changed hormone balance, and the boosted reward sensation can lead to AUD.

Alcohol is, therefore, recognized differently in the brain following gastric bypass surgery. If the pathway to a reward sensation becomes more activated after drinking alcohol, it can lead to addiction.

3. Addiction Transfer

Another possible reason for the connection between gastric bypass surgery and AUD could be addiction transfer. Like addictive substances, food can trigger feel-good chemicals like dopamine. Patterns of overeating might transfer to substances like alcohol after gastric bypass.

While researchers cannot entirely dismiss this theory, it's more likely the chemical, physical and biological changes that occur as a result of gastric bypass are most responsible for causing AUD in post-surgery patients.

That said, the following are risk factors of addiction transfer to be aware of:

  • Personal or family history of substance use disorder
  • History of eating disorders
  • Past trauma, such as childhood abuse
  • Regular alcohol use before surgery
  • Lack of healthy coping mechanisms
  • Lack of social support
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Depression, mood or anxiety disorders

Who's Most at Risk for an AUD Following Gastric Bypass?

Some factors can affect the likelihood of alcohol addiction among gastric bypass patients, such as being male, being young and feeling left out or like you don't belong. Those who already struggled with alcohol use before surgery are also at a higher risk of AUD.

Overall, people at the most risk of alcohol addiction after gastric bypass include:

  • Men
  • Smokers
  • Young adults
  • Those missing a support system
  • People who use drugs recreationally
  • People who regularly consume alcohol

Factors that did not appear to influence the development of alcohol misuse post-surgery include binge eating tendencies before treatment.

Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder After Gastric Bypass Procedure

The signs of alcohol use disorder after gastric bypass surgery might not be noticeable at first. The following are symptoms of addiction you might notice in yourself or a loved one following the procedure:

  • Spending the majority of your time drinking or hungover
  • Unsuccessful attempts to reduce or stop drinking
  • Having cravings to drink
  • Drinking's interference with daily responsibilities
  • Engaging in reckless behavior while intoxicated
  • Quitting previously enjoyed activities in favor of drinking
  • Relationship issues
  • Drinking to the point of blackout or losing memory of events while drunk
  • Having to drink more to get the same effect
  • Drinking more or for longer periods than planned
  • Having withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop alcohol consumption

If you or a loved one has experienced two or more of the above symptoms, an alcohol use disorder may be developing. Luckily, there are several alcohol treatment services available that can help you overcome the cycle.

Why 24/7 Rehab Is the Way to Go

Today, over 20 million Americans have substance use disorder and require help from some type of recovery program. While many people succeed in outpatient drug rehab centers, others appreciate the benefits of 24/7 inpatient rehab. Inpatient treatment provides a supervised setting with a team of addiction experts to help clients safely recover from substances and prevent relapse.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder, know that you are not alone and recovery is possible. Keep reading to learn about the difference between inpatient and outpatient rehab and the benefits of 24/7 rehab.

What Is Inpatient or 24/7 Rehab?

Inpatient drug rehab centers, or 24/7 rehab, are places for people seeking help for drug or alcohol addiction, where they live full-time. Also called residential treatment, inpatient rehab is helpful for severe addictions and offers care 24 hours a day. It's typically a non-hospital setting that provides a community of support and around-the-clock supervision for people recovering from substance use disorder.

The length of your stay varies depending on your needs, though the average time ranges from 30 to 90 days. Some clients might require a long-term 24/7 rehab to address their issues and meet treatment goals. While not appropriate for everyone, 24/7 rehab can be significantly helpful for many people with drug or alcohol addiction.

Treatment at 24/7 rehab typically consists of the following:

  • Evidence-based clinical interventions
  • Medications prescribed by physicians
  • Holistic and traditional individual therapies
  • Support groups

Inpatient treatment requires clients to live onsite and take time off work, family or school to get the help needed to recover from substance use disorder. Generally, the goals of 24/7 rehab are to keep you safe, help you recover and prevent relapse. The type of rehabilitation setting consists of health care providers, therapists and other addiction specialists. They are there to help you combat drug cravings and learn healthy coping mechanisms to avoid drug use. They also provide 24/7 medical assistance and mental health support to help you stay safe.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab

While addiction is often a chronic and complex health disorder, inpatient and outpatient programs can aid in your recovery. Both programs provide individual and group counseling programs to treat addiction and help you stay sober. The primary difference is inpatient, 24/4 rehab is offered in a supervised setting where you live full-time. At the same time, intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are typically attended just a few times a week during the day, so clients return home at night.

Neither plan is more effective or better than the other. The severity of your addiction and your unique needs will determine the type that's appropriate for you.

24/7 rehab provides around-the-clock care and supervision, healthy foods and a comfortable place to rest your head at night. Outpatient rehab offers a more customizable approach, and factors such as your home and work life are considered to design the most effective recovery plan. Like inpatient rehab, professionals will track your progress throughout outpatient treatment and customize it for your needs.

7 Benefits of 24/7 Rehab

Inpatient rehab is most beneficial for those with severe addictions or co-occurring mental health conditions. It's also helpful for those who lack an immediate local or experienced support system. The following are seven benefits of 24/7 rehab:

1. Medical Assistance for Withdrawal

One of the most significant benefits of 24/7 rehab is that it provides medical assistance for withdrawal. Detoxification programs involve safely and effectively removing substances from the body, usually through prescribed medications and other forms of therapy. Physicians will closely monitor you to ensure your safety and comfort to avoid withdrawal complications and help you begin the recovery process in inpatient rehab.

2. 24/7 Psychological Treatment and Protection

You can access 24/7 care and protection from experienced, highly trained therapists in residential treatment. It can be challenging to curb cravings and deal with life changes caused by substance use disorder. Therapists can help you reach goals and maintain sobriety by teaching healthy coping mechanisms and treating you for any co-occurring mental health disorders.

3. Community

One of the primary components of addiction treatment is the community created between staff, counselors and fellow recovering individuals. That's one of the reasons 12-step programs like Alcohols Anonymous have success. In 24/7 rehab, you'll have a support system of people who understand the struggles of addiction and can be a shoulder to lean on. These relationships are often crucial for recovery.

4. Structure

Structure and routine are essential for helping you recover from substances. Inpatient rehab programs emphasize creating daily routines with productive activities and counseling sessions to keep you engaged. Routine also helps eliminate distractions so you can focus on your sobriety. You'll learn how to replace self-destructive activities with positive ones focused on healing.

5. Multiple Therapies and Treatments

Addiction is a mental and physical disease, and therapy is crucial for helping you understand your emotional triggers and develop new healthy coping techniques. With several types of treatments, inpatient rehab programs can help reduce your chances of relapsing and help you get back on track if it does happen. You'll learn new attitudes, beliefs and behaviors concerning substance use and be encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Some evidence-based therapies typically offered include:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Contingency Management
  • Family therapy
  • Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)

6. Setting Goals and Building New Habits

In 24/7 rehab, counselors will help you set and accomplish goals. Building healthy habits is a critical part of self-care for a person in a recovery setting. Objectives will focus on your physical and emotional health, relationships and aspirations. Ultimately, it's designed for your success after completing the program.

You'll learn the tools needed to manage stress, avoid triggers and manage them when unavoidable to help prevent relapse.

7. Ongoing Support

The goal of inpatient rehab is to help clients engage in abstinence and recovery on a long-term basis, which is why many offer aftercare programs. You'll often continue meeting with support groups and get recommendations for counselors after completing inpatient treatment, allowing you to get the ongoing recovery assistance you need after returning home.

For many, this step in the recovery process is one of the most crucial, as it helps you translate a successful addiction treatment into a successful future.

How to Know if You Need Inpatient Rehab

Everyone has unique requirements in addiction treatment, though generally, you might enter inpatient rehab if you:

  • Are attempting to live sober for the first time
  • Struggle with severe addiction and require medical detox
  • Are a danger to yourself or others
  • Have a non-supportive home life
  • Have a co-occurring mental health disorder
  • Have had no success with past outpatient programs or support groups
  • Are worried about triggers or lack healthy coping tools

In 24/7 rehab, you'll find a team of health providers, therapists, addiction specialists and peers eager to help you recover.



Get Comprehensive 24/7 Rehab at Transformations By The Gulf

Addiction treatment is often an ongoing process and one that you don't have to go through alone. There are so many benefits of 24/7 rehab, including community, structure, medical support and aftercare.

Through inpatient treatment at Transformations By The Gulf, you'll have 24/7 access to addiction specialists and medical professionals who want to see you recover and live a happier, healthier life. Our residential treatment programs offer a safe, homelike environment for recovery. We provide evidence-based therapies, medical assistance and holistic practices for comprehensive, personalized care for your needs.

To learn more about our inpatient rehab programs, contact us today.

Benefits of Didactic Group Therapy

Didactic group therapy is an educational approach providing knowledge, support and beneficial coping skills. Substance abuse groups surround people in recovery with others experiencing similar challenges to reduce feelings of isolation and guilt. Treatment programs that implement didactic group therapy provide additional support by teaching clients about their substance use disorder and equipping them with healthy coping skills.

What Is Didactic Group Therapy?

Another name for didactic therapy is psychoeducational therapy. It's an instructional technique that provides comprehensive information about substance use disorders. Didactic therapy uses a classroom-type format to teach people about substance use disorders, so they can recover successfully. In didactic therapy, you can learn about:

  • Signs of substance abuse and relapse
  • How substance abuse has affected your life
  • Symptoms of substance use disorder and relapse
  • Neurobiological associations with substance use
  • Specific interventions for aftercare and recovery, such as nutrition, meditation and anger management

Group therapy involves interactive conversations held under a counselor's supervision. During didactic group therapy, several people meet to receive expert guidance from a therapist. The therapist may lead the discussion and provide feedback when group members share their experiences, or they may present a short lecture to encourage members to express themselves. Each session focuses on a specific topic, and meetings can vary in length based on group size.

The primary purpose of didactic group therapy is to teach members about their substance use disorder and healthy coping skills. Attending and participating in these discussions can provide you with:

  • Improved self-awareness about substance use and its consequences
  • A comprehensive understanding of the recovery process
  • Evidence for change and growth
  • Community resources
  • Healthy coping strategies

Benefits of Didactic Group Therapy

Didactic group therapy is highly beneficial during recovery. Gaining a clearer understanding of substance use, its effects and healthy ways to cope and recover provides the following advantages.

Better Awareness

Didactic group therapy educates members about their substance use disorder for enhanced mindfulness. You'll learn how addiction affects the brain and body to understand what you are experiencing and why. You'll also discover the science behind the recovery process and how to maintain sobriety.

Knowledge to Make Healthy Choices and Motivation to Actively Participate in Recovery

Members also learn about healthy coping strategies and how to recover successfully in substance abuse groups. You'll have opportunities to reflect on the information you receive and apply it to your specific experiences, lifestyle and routines.

With this additional knowledge and support, you can approach your recovery with more motivation to take the necessary steps to maintain sobriety. Healthy coping strategies can also help you manage a co-occurring disorder.

Increased Support and Decreased Isolation

Recovery takes patience, and the process can feel lonely sometimes. Didactic group therapy provides extra support because it surrounds you with others who have similar experiences and challenges to overcome. It removes isolation and reminds you that you are never alone on your journey.

Improved Self-Esteem

Identifying the root causes of addiction and learning about successful coping strategies can provide a much-needed self-esteem boost, while reducing any guilt or shame you feel. Belief in yourself is vital during recovery because a healthy self-image can prevent relapse.

Better Interpersonal Skills

A relapse prevention group is a safe, judgment-free place where you can share your thoughts, experiences and obstacles. Healthy, positive interactions challenge group members to relate to others and themselves in healthier ways. Honest feedback will help you reflect on your perceptions and behaviors, positively adjust your habits and form meaningful, healthy connections with the people in your life.

Privacy in Group Therapy

While didactic group therapy does not require you to share personal experiences, you can feel safe doing so. Therapists must maintain confidentiality, and they hold group members to the same standard. No one will share what you say with non-members, so you can feel sure your identity and information will stay in the room.

How to Get the Maximum Benefit From Didactic Group Therapy

In didactic therapy, you can overcome challenges and maintain sobriety with healthy lifestyle changes. To benefit from this therapy, you must attend group sessions with an open mind and a willingness to accept the facts and content you learn. Acknowledging how substance use has impacted you psychologically and physically can be hard, but it will give you a better appreciation of what you need to do to recover.

Sharing your experiences and challenges during didactic group therapy sessions can also maximize each session. Talking about what you're going through can make you feel more connected to other members and allow you to receive valuable feedback. After each session, you should reflect on what you learned and how you can apply it to your life.

How to Prepare for Your First Group Session

Attending a didactic group therapy session is an excellent step toward sobriety. If you are unsure what to expect at your first session, you can prepare in the following ways.

Listen and Share

Didactic group therapy sessions are instructive. Be ready to listen and focus, so you can retain the content presented. As an instructor-guided approach, the goal of didactic therapy is to help you learn about your substance use disorder, recognize the consequences of it and take steps to make healthier lifestyle choices.

Understand Others in the Group Have Similar Experiences

If you feel nervous about attending your first meeting, remember many of your fellow members have been through similar challenges. You are not alone, and you can attend sessions without shame or guilt. Think of the group as an outlet for your most complex emotions.

Why Didactic Group Therapy Is Beneficial in Substance Use Treatment

Didactic group therapy benefits people by providing them with valuable knowledge. Didactic therapy's academic structure fosters logical thought, leading you to develop healthier problem-solving and life skills. By providing knowledge and productive coping strategies, didactic group therapy can enable you to resist self-destructive behaviors and influences.

The Role of Codependency in Addiction

Both addiction and codependency are psychological issues that often reinforce one another. Also known as “love addiction” or “relationship addiction,” people who are codependent often find themselves in one-sided relationships, whether they be familial, platonic or romantic, where they're constantly “the giver” while the other person is “the taker.” More commonly, codependency is associated with people who have loved ones struggling with substance use or who are in addiction recovery.

Though everyone has codependent tendencies in relationships, people who are codependent feel a much more intense need to save others. As a result, they may find themselves attracted to those who are emotionally unavailable or where they're in the caretaking role. Keep reading to learn the signs of a codependent relationship and how to get help for addiction recovery.

What Is Codependency in Addiction?

Codependency is an unbalanced relationship that, while seemingly caring, perpetuates and enables a loved one's irresponsible or destructive behavior. While it may seem completely normal to care for a loved one, the codependent partner aims to alleviate any pain or inconvenience their partner is feeling. This is often an attempt from the codependent partner to try to justify or excuse their partner's irresponsible or reckless behavior.

However, their sole focus on the other person only exacerbates deep-seated issues. The relationship often becomes a cycle that takes on a life of its own, where the person with substance use disorder (SUD) and the codependent reinforce each other's behaviors. The codependent becomes obsessive, and the person with SUD might become more self-destructive or manipulative, leading to an unhealthy dynamic.

Some codependents feel that caring for others gives them self-worth and validation. In that sense, they may be motivated by a lack of self-love, hoping they'll get the same love they provide in return. Like many relationship issues, codependency can be rooted in a dysfunctional childhood. For instance, children may have learned their only value was how much they gave to others, translating into codependency in adulthood.

Signs of Codependency in Addiction

Addiction and codependency often go hand in hand. Like individuals, families dealing with addiction often use codependency as a coping mechanism. They usually don't realize how their behavior enables the person struggling with addiction.

While they may not recognize the signs listed below, the following signs typically indicate codependency:

  • Having trouble expressing feelings and emotions
  • Being unable to set clear boundaries
  • Ignoring or denying problems
  • Having poor communication skills
  • Feeling responsible for other people’s feelings
  • Wanting to be liked by everyone
  • Being withdrawn and depressed
  • Suppressing thoughts and feelings out of fear or guilt
  • Needing to control and fix others
  • Having low self-esteem and self-worth
  • Setting aside your interests to do what others want
  • Being too loyal
  • Refusing to seek help because you feel like the problem isn’t bad enough or can't be changed

If the codependent individual can't recognize the above signs or chooses to ignore them, they may unknowingly hinder their partner's recovery. Poor boundaries, martyrdom and resentment often characterize codependent relationships with a person with SUD.

Codependent Relationship Dynamics

Experts note that substance use disorder isn't just about the one affected but also the family and friends interfering with the recovery process.

Codependent individuals often believe they can take away another's pain. This belief may subconsciously encourage codependents to enable their partner's behaviors. Over time, this can create an unhealthy relationship dynamic that only feeds the codependent's self-esteem and self-worth. It might also cause the codependent caregiver to become entangled in their partner's lifestyle, leading to resentment.

If a codependent person enters a relationship with someone who allows the caretaking to continue, both people will be unable to grow or maintain a healthy dynamic. Three common types of substance abuse and codependency dynamics include:

  • Codependent relationships with people with SUD: Codependents may provide money to enable their loved one's addiction. They might also let them stay with them rather than attend treatment or even supply them with substances.
  • Codependent relationships with people who are abusive: In relationships where one person abuses the other or their power, the codependent is forced to comply with their orders to keep the abuser in control. For example, the abuser may attempt to rationalize their poor behavior or manipulate the codependent to continue enabling their self-destructive behavior.
  • Codependent relationships based on peer pressure: A codependent with self-esteem issues will typically fold under pressure to accommodate their partner's demands.

How Can Codependency Affect Recovery?

Addiction codependency creates a fear of change for each person in the codependent relationship. Individuals undergoing recovery may be afraid to let go of their old behaviors for fear they'll stop receiving care and attention from loved ones. At the same time, family members might avoid intervention, believing treatment “won't work” or their loved one “won't go.”

The actual reason families may be fearful is they see intervention as a step toward giving something up rather than an opportunity to help themselves and their loved ones. These fears aren't based solely on the change itself but instead on the unknown that comes with change. One of the major issues to focus on in addiction recovery is to break the co-dependent patterns at home that enable and negatively support the person in treatment.

When a family member acquires maladaptive coping mechanisms and displays codependent or enabling behaviors, these skills become the new normal. The longer it takes for the SUD to be addressed, the more difficult it can be to change the dynamics, and the more likely families will ask fear-driven questions about recovery. Often, these expressions conceal their true feelings — a fear their loved one might say yes.

A loved one accepting help might give family members the message they need to change their behaviors. A successful intervention also means no more martyrdom or codependency. They now have to give up the caretaker role to the treatment center, which can be alarming to a codependent.

These thoughts and behaviors don't make family members bad people but rather individuals caught in the throes of another's issues and the resulting family roles. Fortunately, addiction treatment centers are equipped to handle substance abuse and codependency situations. We help families see their position from another perspective, so they may allow their loved ones to receive help.

Speak With Transformations By The Gulf for Help Today

Whether you believe you may be codependent or wish to seek addiction treatment services, Transformations By The Gulf can help. Our inpatient and outpatient programs can help you based on your psychological, biological, social and familial needs.

Our residential homes and treatment facilities provide a discreet, comfortable setting for rehabilitation. If you or a loved one needs help, contact us to learn more about our recovery services.

Family Roles in Addiction

Substance abuse is a disease that can affect an entire family. When you’re living under the same roof with someone struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you’ll navigate an unpredictable world filled with many uncertainties. You might also have trouble knowing where to turn for help.

Unique family roles can pop up in the event of addiction, which may worsen the situation. To understand how this disease manifests itself, we’ll discuss the family dynamics of addiction below and provide addiction recovery information and resources for you and your loved ones.

Victim or Addict

Family dynamics are affected by at least one victim of addiction. People struggling with substance abuse live in a constant state of chaos, and drugs may become their primary way to cope with emotional issues. Victims display negative behaviors or symptoms that might include:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Confusion
  • Irritability, anxiety or paranoia
  • Rapid or rambling speech
  • Shakes, tremors or slurred speech
  • Dilated pupils
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Bloodshot eyes

The victim might display anger and avoidance behaviors as they find it harder to manage their mood swings. They’ll often show dependent behaviors such as manipulating or lying to supply and sustain their addiction.

Over time, the victim will become the focal point of the family while other members attempt to deal with their behavioral choices and life changes. The victim might isolate themselves or blame other family members for their problems, negatively affecting those around them.

The Scapegoat of the Family

The scapegoat of the family is often the one who gets blamed for the family issues caused by addiction. Most commonly the middle or second oldest child, the scapegoat exhibits deviant behavior and hostility to divert attention from the victim.

The scapegoat will often lash out and voice the family’s collective anger. They’re also more likely to participate in risky behaviors, so parents focus on their punishment rather than deal with the scary and unpredictable world of addiction.

The scapegoat also distracts family members from internal blame and resentment surrounding the victim’s addiction issues. When scapegoats get older, they’ll find it harder to manage their emotions and may display avoidance behaviors by running away or acting out in violence.

The Enabler

The enabler will deny that there was ever a problem in the first place. They’ll downplay the victims’ behavior or life choices to “protect” the rest of the family from the adverse effects of addiction. They’ll convince themselves that substance abuse isn’t a real issue and make light of the situation by excusing their loved one’s behavior and fueling the addiction.

The enabler has difficulty creating boundaries with the family member who suffers from addiction. They’ll let problems go unchecked rather than deal with them straight away. While they may not realize it, the enabler can assist in the self-destruction of the victim by:

  • Treating an adult victim like a child and making excuses for their behavior.
  • Giving them money to pay for necessities rather than allowing them to pay for their own.
  • Ignoring harmful behavior and not addressing how it’s affecting the family.
  • Helping the victim obtain their substance of choice.

This role is often filled by the victim's spouse or even a child of the family. They often believe they’re helping the family or victim when in reality, their reaction creates a more significant issue by making it difficult for everyone to heal.

The Hero of the Family

The hero of the family tends to be controlling and perfectionistic. They achieve many successes to give their family the illusion that all is well. Often seen as over-responsible and self-sufficient, they’ll also attempt to make decisions for the family behind closed doors.

The hero will feel like the leader of their siblings, though, over time, they'll find it challenging to manage the stress and anxiety that comes with this role. The hero might also attempt to overshadow the victim and be the center of attention, derailing recovery efforts.

The hero believes they are the only one who can solve the victim’s problem. They’ll often harbor ill will toward the victim as they attempt to establish themselves as the focal point of the family and solve family drama. The hero harms rather than helps the situation by making it more difficult for the family to work toward recovery.

The Mascot

Often the youngest sibling, the mascot is the comedian of the family. They’ll typically use humor to resolve family tension, which might come from a place of fragility and a desire for approval from those around them. Employing constant humor might also result in their inability to deal with confrontation or express their emotions.

Supplying comic relief helps the mascot shield themselves from the pain associated with negative family dynamics. Fear, sadness and feelings of vulnerability plague this person as they conceal their emotions by cracking jokes and making light of family arguments. While their humor may lighten the mood, the mascot distracts the family from solving deep problems.

Due to their deep-seated issues, mascots tend to self-medicate as a coping mechanism. This can continue into adulthood and perpetuate the addiction cycle.

The Lost Child

Typically the youngest or middle child, the lost child is uninvolved in family relationships. They’ve likely never received the same level of attention as their siblings, which makes them go virtually unnoticed when there’s an addict in the family.

When this child stays lost, they learn their needs don’t matter and hiding becomes a way of life. They’re shy, withdrawn and commonly depressed for most of their childhood as they use invisibility as their defense.

The lost child often grows up feeling inadequate. They’ll blame themselves for the lack of attention they received growing up and believe that something is inherently wrong with them. This makes it challenging for them to form intimate and lasting adult relationships, and they may self-harm or become involved in abusive relationships. Like the mascot, the lost child might also turn to self-medicating as a way to cope.

If You've Noticed These Dynamics Within Your Family, We Are Here To Help

As you’ve learned, addiction significantly affects the victim and those around them. If your family is struggling with the effects of addiction, we’re here to help.

Transformations By The Gulf is a wellness center that provides substance abuse and alcohol addiction recovery services. Our residential and outpatient programs emphasize compassion, honesty and self-accountability through the path to recovery.

We understand the complexity of addiction and design custom recovery plans for each individual to help them achieve a better quality of life. We also provide family therapy to navigate you through the challenges and unpredictability of an addictive household.

To learn more about our services, contact us today.

Can a Rehab Center Report My Addiction as a Crime?

In short, a rehab center can't report your substance use to the police in most cases. Simply admitting to drug use isn't enough for the rehab to call the police, even if you have an existing criminal record. Whether your substance use disorder is current or in the past, a drug treatment center can't call the police if you're simply seeking drug abuse treatment.

Ultimately, jail shouldn't be a concern if you're seeking treatment for a substance use disorder. Rehabilitation facilities are focused on helping you recover from your substance use and taking you through the drug rehabilitation process — they aren't going to call the police to send you to jail for illicit substance use. Their goal is to help you recover and provide you with healthy coping skills to live an enriching, sober life.

While most cases can't be reported to law enforcement, there are a few instances where a rehab center can call the police. Continue reading to learn more about your rights as a patient, why a rehabilitation center might contact law enforcement and more.


Patient Confidentiality: Knowing Your Rights

As a patient at a rehab center, you have rights that protect your private information. You should familiarize yourself with the laws that protect your medical information to ensure you know what's being done with it. When you start treatment, a rehab center employee will give you the center's privacy and confidentiality guidelines to sign. This paperwork outlines your rights as a patient. The staff at the rehab facility must also sign these documents.

Most of the information and protections in these guidelines come from laws established to give patients more rights than they once had. The following are a few of the laws that health care providers must follow.

The Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act of 1996

The Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) was first introduced in 1996 to prevent health care providers from sharing patient information without explicit consent from the patient. The information you share with your physician or any other health care provider must remain private, which is known as doctor-patient confidentiality.

Drug treatment centers fall under "covered entities," which means they're subject to the HIPPA Privacy Rule. Medical staff at the rehab facility can't divulge your medical information to anyone, including law enforcement. The Privacy Rule also allows patients to control how their medical information is used.

Your medical information can only be shared without your consent in specific instances, including:

  • Medical emergencies
  • Suspicion of neglect or abuse
  • Legal warrants or subpoenas
  • Specific research situations

If a medical facility has to disclose your information for any reason, it can only be enough to fulfill the needs of the situation, such as disclosing medications you're taking in the event of a medical emergency. Breaking HIPPA guidelines can result in considerable legal repercussions for the treatment center. If someone in the facility divulges your information with malicious intent, they can face up to 10 years in prison.


The Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records

This regulation was initially instated in 1975 and revised in 1987. It states that rehab facilities can't directly or indirectly divulge information that would identify you as a current or past patient at said facility. If the facility has your explicit written consent, they would be able to share your information with certain parties — but otherwise, they must keep your information private.

If a police officer enters the facility trying to seek information about your substance use and they don't have a warrant or a subpoena, the rehab facility is not allowed to give them your information. Like HIPPA laws, if a staff member shares your medical information with your consent, the facility will face legal repercussions.

There are a few exceptions to this regulation. If there are court-ordered criminal investigations, warrants or subpoenas, your information can be shared with law enforcement. Your information can also be shared if there is suspected child abuse or neglect, a medical emergency or a program evaluation.

However, in most cases, a rehab facility can't share your information since it's legally part of their job to protect your medical records.


Can I Be Charged in Rehab?

Upon admittance to a drug treatment center for substance use disorder, you won't be charged for using drugs, whether you're seeking treatment for a past or current substance use. However, there are some reasons that a rehab facility might call the police.

If you were arrested in the past for a nonviolent drug offense, you might be able to go to drug court rather than jail. Drug court specifically handles drug cases for adults and juveniles. A drug court can sentence you to court-ordered rehab to reduce relapse and the chances of you committing another crime.

If you fail to show up to court-ordered rehab, the facility can call the police, and it'll be seen as a violation of your sentencing, resulting in harsher punishments.

A rehab facility can also contact law enforcement, or law enforcement can get involved, if:

  • You exhibit destructive or violent behavior.
  • You admit yourself into rehab to avoid an arrest for a criminal act.
  • You have a warrant out for your arrest.

You can also be arrested in rehab if a staff member catches you using or possessing drugs within the facility. The facility staff keeps a careful eye out for substance use. If you're caught with drugs, you can be charged with drug possession. If you're caught with a significant amount of illicit or prescription drugs, you can be charged with possession with intent to sell, which comes with more severe legal repercussions.

If you committed a minor crime before admitting yourself into a treatment facility, law enforcement may wait until you've completed treatment to make an arrest.

If you're looking into treatment for substance use, you can rest assured that you won't be arrested in rehab simply for having a substance use disorder. The priority of treatment facilities is to treat your substance use disorder and any underlying conditions contributing to it, not to have you arrested for illicit drug use.


Supporting Your Loved One During Relapse

A relapse is when someone with a substance use disorder stops maintaining their sobriety after recovery. Some people believe that relapse is a sign that someone will fall back into drug abuse, but you can prevent further damage by catching a relapse early.

If your loved one is going through a relapse, you can do things to support them during this time. Below, we'll guide you through some of the common causes of relapse, how to support your loved one and when you should consider seeking professional help.

Why Did My Loved One Relapse?

Relapse is a common occurrence in someone struggling with and recovering from addiction. About 40%-60% of people who have substance use disorders experience relapse as part of their recovery process. A relapse does not mean that addiction treatment has failed. If your family member has experienced a relapse, there are many reasons this can happen.

People who have struggled with addiction have triggers, which are situations or instances that spur a craving, inducing an urge to use a substance. While addiction treatment and professional help can provide your loved ones with healthy coping skills to overcome these urges, a relapse indicates that a change needs to be made to their treatment plan.

Some common triggers include:

  • Withdrawal symptoms: Physical and psychological withdrawal from a substance can be uncomfortable, and your loved one might relapse to prevent these feelings.
  • Mental health: Some people who have a mental health disorder also have a co-occurring substance use disorder. Your loved one might be trying to cope with their mental health symptoms by using substances, and if their mental health condition is left untreated, it can cause a relapse.
  • Peer pressure: Many people use substances in groups with their peers. If someone has just gone through treatment for their addiction and continues to hang around others who continue to use substances, they feel pressured or compelled by their cravings to relapse.
  • Environments: Certain environments encourage substance use, such as bars, clubs or parties. Simply being in these environments can be enough to trigger a relapse.
  • Uncomfortable feelings: Some people might experience boredom, isolation or loneliness after they go through treatment, especially if they don't have a robust support network. Your loved one might relapse to avoid these feelings.

What NOT to Do When Someone You Love Relapses

If your loved one goes through a relapse, you'll want to give them all the support you can offer. However, there are certain things you shouldn't do:

  • Don't get upset or lose hope: Relapse is often a standard part of the addiction recovery process. It's more than possible to recover from a relapse and reach sobriety again. If you show negative emotions, it can make your loved one feel unsupported and prevent them from seeking the treatment they need.
  • Don't assign blame or get angry: Blaming your loved one for their relapse and getting mad at them for it will only make the situation worse, and they may feel discouraged from seeking treatment. Instead, you should try to react calmly and offer support.
  • Don't make excuses: On the other side, you shouldn't make excuses for your loved one's relapse. Recognizing that there is an issue can help you encourage your loved one to seek help.
  • Don't push: You should encourage your loved one to seek treatment, but don't push them too hard. It can make them resistant to treatment, and ultimately, it should be their decision to seek treatment and make plans for their recovery.
  • Don't dismiss the problem: Relapse can sometimes seem like a one-time thing from people standing on the outside. However, it's essential not to ignore your loved one's behaviors. Avoid enabling them to relapse again or allowing them to become codependent.

By stopping yourself from taking part in these behaviors, you can instead offer support and care to your loved one during their recovery process.

9 Things You Should Do for Someone Who's Relapsing

Your loved one will need plenty of encouragement and support during their recovery process. If a loved one in your life is going through a relapse, you can take steps to help make their recovery process smoother. Here's what to do when your loved one relapses:

1. Remain Positive

Keeping a positive mindset will help your loved one feel supported during this challenging time. Know that relapse is a normal part of the recovery process, and achieving sobriety again is possible.

2. Offer Your Support

A support network is vital for the recovery process. If your loved one can rely on you for support during this time, they'll feel more motivated to seek treatment after a relapse.

3. Educate Yourself

You can support your loved one by educating yourself on the signs of relapse so you can spot the symptoms sooner, offer your support and help them seek therapy before the relapse becomes severe.



4. Find Professional Treatment

If your loved one is going through a relapse, finding a professional treatment center for them can help take some of the burdens off their shoulders. Having a treatment plan set up can help streamline the process once they decide to pursue treatment.

5. Encourage Support Groups

Support or therapy groups can be an excellent way for your loved one to connect with other individuals with the same experiences. They're also a perfect tool for holding someone accountable and preventing relapse.

6. Identify Triggers

If you can identify your loved one's triggers, you can prevent them from being exposed or help them through the situation. If bars trigger their drinking, you help them find another location to spend time at, such as a coffee shop.

7. Enjoy Sober Activities Together

Someone who went through addiction might need to find new activities for occupying their newfound free time. You can enjoy enriching activities, such as hiking, yoga and meditation. These hobbies are great for physical and mental health and can create a healthy outlet for loved ones recovering from addiction.

8. Set a Healthy Example

One of the best ways you can help a loved one going through relapse is to establish a healthy standard for them. Take care of yourself during this time and participate in healthy activities so your loved one can look at your behavior as an example.

9. Open a Line of Communication

You should discuss your feelings with your loved one to show that you care and that you're empathic about their situation. Be careful not to blame them, but let them know how this affects you and that you're here for them if they need support. Knowing how you feel can encourage your loved one to seek treatment for their relapse.

When to Get Professional Help

You can look out for certain signs that might indicate that professional help and treatment are necessary. These signs include:

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Disinterest in hobbies or passions
  • Hostility when asked about substance use
  • Denial when confronted by friends and family
  • Absences or poor performance at work or school
  • Lack of self-care, such as bad hygiene
  • The appearance of mental health symptoms after treatment
  • Staying out at bars or parties

While not all of these signs can indicate a relapse, it's essential to be aware of these signs and talk with your loved one and a professional to determine if further treatment is necessary.

Treat Relapse at Transformations By The Gulf

If someone you love has struggled with addiction in the past, there's a chance they might relapse, but there's no need to worry. Relapse is a normal part of recovery for many people, and it's possible to overcome relapse, even if it happened after rehab.

At Transformations By The Gulf, we help our patients free themselves from addiction with the structure and skills they need to transform their life. If a loved one is struggling with an addiction or you're worried about a relapse, contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs in Florida.

intensive outpatient therapy

How Intensive Outpatient Therapy Helps Patients Cope With Depression

17.3 million people in the United States are affected by major depressive disorder. If you're one of them, you know how bad the bad days can truly be.

If you're dealing with depression surrounding your sobriety, you know how bad days can turn into devastating days.

You should reach out for help even if everything seems like it's okay. One of the best resources out there is intensive outpatient therapy. Keep reading to learn about this amazing treatment.

Intensive Outpatient Therapy: The Basics

Intensive outpatient therapy is less structured than an inpatient mental hospital. However, it's still more structured than traditional therapy.

This kind of therapy typically meets three to five times a week for three to four hours a day. Many participants work or go to school full-time while they're in therapy.

Intensive outpatient therapy is also great for those who have just left an inpatient treatment center. This kind of therapy can help individuals transition back into the real world. This is useful for them as they navigate their symptoms and situations again.

This is a great way for people to continue recovery while working their ways into old patterns and old situations. It is also a safer way of doing this for people who struggle with suicidal ideations.

Intensive outpatient therapy also typically also offered in group settings. This means that you will be surrounded by people who are going through what you're going through. These people are also trying to navigate the world with you.

Having people to bounce ideas off of it great for those who may feel alone in the cloud of depression. Their situations may also help with learning coping mechanisms and living strategies.

This group will become a community of people to build off of. Having a counselor tell you who to approach situations may be nice, but having others who understand your situation offer you advice is better.

Intensive Outpatient Therapy: The Goals

There are different forms of intensive outpatient therapy. Different forms help people with different conditions.

There are intensive outpatient therapy programs for people with anxiety, people with depression, and people who struggle with substance abuse. Some groups are even catered to certain ages and genders.

There is bound to be a program that you'll succeed in. With all of these forms, there is bound to be a group that can meet your personal goals.

Intensive outpatient therapy is made to help you build a successful foundation for mental health skills. Furthermore, it is made to help those individuals face any triggers or other stressors that they may face as they experience life.

More specific goals will shift with the purposes of the program that an individual joins. However, the main goal of trying to help the individual navigate life stays the same throughout all of the programs.

For example, there are programs that are designed to help people with substance abuse disorders. There are made to assist individuals in identifying triggers and maintaining sobriety in the presence of those triggers.

There are other goals involved in these intensive outpatient therapy programs as well. You will learn problem-solving skills, coping skills, and self-awareness. These skills will help you maintain sobriety.

Intensive Outpatient Therapy: The Difference

You may be wondering why some people choose intensive outpatient therapy over inpatient alternatives.

The most commonly reported reason is that outpatient therapy allows the patient to be present in the world while getting therapy. Inpatient therapy does not allow the patient to be present in the world while getting help.

The advantage of the outside exposure is that the patients can ask real-world questions and transition into the hardships rather than being shielded from them. The transition into the real-world is better for those people who may experience triggers throughout their lives.

However, inpatient therapy does use physical separation. Someone in an inpatient facility will not have access to any of their triggers.

You will have access to alcohol and drugs in the real world. Outpatient therapy will give you the resources you need to feel confident about your sobriety. Even though you do have access to substances, you will understand how to cope.

People who are employed, in school, or have families have more trouble completing inpatient treatments. This is because of the time commitment. Outpatient therapy allows its patient to balance life while still receiving the help that they need.

Intensive Outpatient Therapy: The Patients

Outpatient therapy is not for every patient. Intensive outpatient therapy is not for every patient.

Inpatient therapy may be best if you have severe depression and cannot thrive in the real world yet. You may want to consider outpatient therapy after you've had a stay in an inpatient therapy program.

There are levels of addiction treatment for those who experience substance abuse disorders. These different levels represent the severity of their substance abuse disorder. It also shows what treatment each level of severity may benefit from.

Level 0.5: This is the earliest stage of addiction treatment in which early intervention services work the best.

Level 1: This is where outpatient services may be needed. These patients are still able to benefit from outpatient therapies.

Level 2: These patients benefit the most from intensive outpatient programs. They could also see improvement with partial hospitalization programs.

Level 3: These patients may want to take part in residential treatment services or inpatient treatment services.

Level 4: This is the highest level of addiction treatment. Medically managed intensive inpatient treatment services may be best for patients at this level.

Intensive Outpatient Therapy: Our Services

Here at Transformations by the Gulf, we offer intensive outpatient therapy programs. Our program occurs three days a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 AM to 12 PM. Our participants typically take part in our services for 8 to 16 weeks, depending on their individual needs.

Our services are accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer a 3:1 client-to-counselor ratio so that your treatment is more individualized.

If you're interested in intensive outpatient therapy, feel free to contact us for more information. We'd love to talk to you about how we can help with your specific situation.

Transformations By The Gulf Response to the Coronavirus

A Message to Our Customers on Coronavirus

At Transformations by the Gulf, we remain committed to our community throughout the COVID-10 outbreak. Keeping you informed with available news and information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) is a top priority.


  • Daily sanitization of all hard surfaces
  • Admissions department screening potential clients prior to entering facility
  • Proper gloves and masks are worn in the facility
  • Increased sanitization throughout common areas

The safety and health of our patients, staff, and community are of the utmost importance.

intensive outpatient program

6 Tips to Help You Adjust to Your New Life After an Intensive Outpatient Program

Adjusting to life after an intensive outpatient program can be both overwhelming and exhausting to think about. It can also be terrifying for a recovering addict because completing the program isn't the end of your recovery journey.

While some walk out of the rehab doors excited and looking forward to the future, others may be terrified about relapsing once treatment has ended. Most programs that are centered around substance abuse treatment only last for a couple of months.

With the help of counselors, patients within the program learn to process life without the haze of drugs and alcohol. The program will also teach them coping tools so that they are able to handle future decisions without turning to drugs and alcohol.

Here we are going to provide you with information that will help make your transition from treatment back into the real world less intimidating.

Have a Post-Treatment Plan

If you are returning home or making your way to a sober living house, you will need to have a plan once you get there. Once you are nearing the end of your outpatient program, the counselor should be working closely with you to develop a plan to help you maintain your sobriety.

The plan will include treatment outside of the program that will help an addict continue to move forward rather than backward. A treatment plan will insist that a recovering addict has a healthy support system.

This system will be made of family, friends, and health care professionals that are reliable and will help them maintain their sobriety one day at a time. The plan will also illustrate ways to continue living a healthy lifestyle.

Things such as exercising daily, spending time meditating or writing in a journal, and perhaps perfecting a new hobby will help you stay focused on maintaining your sobriety. For some former users, the treatment plan includes medications that will help to curve cravings.

Counseling may be apart of a post-treatment plan because not every single life crisis can be worked out in 3 months. Recovering addicts must continue to meet with someone that helps them to process their feelings and thoughts regularly.

Lastly, the treatment plan will outline how the addict will need to manage situations that could cause them to be triggered to use.

Find a Support Group

After rehabilitation programs, most recovering addicts will attend support group meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These 12-step programs, and at each step of the program, the addict works on a different phase of the healing process with a sponsor.

It may sound incredible to finally have to stop going to meetings after a rehab program. Still, it is recommended that you join a support group such as the ones listed above. This is because, in these programs, you will be around other addicts and can speak freely without the feeling of being judged.

It takes the stress off your shoulders that you may feel if you were attempting to share your feelings with your family or friends. Plus, your sponsor will be able to point out any backsliding you may be doing that family and friends can't easily spot.

Make Better Friends

It can be comfortable to sleep back into the same old circles with the same old friends, but after rehab, when you're adjusting to life again, you should make new sober friends. Your friends will help you steer clear of things that may trigger you and tempt you to use it again.

Some addictions began because people were peer pressured by their friends to start using. Therefore a recovering addict should eliminate that negative peer pressure. If you are upfront with your new friends about your past struggles, they can help you maintain your new lifestyle.

Continue to Work on Your Mental Health

Mental health plays a large part in addiction, and some addicts have underlying psychological issues. Life after alcohol rehab can leave a recovering addict with anxiety and stress about the things that they will soon face. The important thing is to focus on establishing a positive new routine.

This routine could mean starting the day with positive affirmations and meditations throughout the day. It can also mean maintaining your new exercise regiment.

Working on your mental health means doing your best to steer clear of focusing and obsessing about all of the negative thoughts that are swirling around in your head. It is crucial to find a way to silence the noise in your head and remind yourself that you can do this.

If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed and overcome with negativity, it is never to early to seek a therapist.

Intensive Outpatient Program: Volunteer

A significant focus of the recovery process is sharing your story with other recovering addicts. In that way, you are helping one another. Your past struggles and traumas may be beneficial and help another addict relate to you and the things you've gone through.

When your program is complete finding a place where you can volunteer and continue giving back to others. It will make you not only feel good to help others, but it will also keep you busy and help ward off thoughts of using.

Know the Signs of Relapse

Within the first year of sobriety, more than 85% of recovering addicts will relapse and begin using drugs and alcohol again. This doesn't mean that your outpatient program wasn't effective. It just means that adjusting to life is hard, and you may not have seen all of the signs.

Before treatment ends, you will discuss your triggers and things that make you vulnerable to using again. After treatment, you must continue to be on the lookout for triggers that may cause you to relapse.

Triggers can come from anything, and once you allow it to grow in your mind, it is easy to relapse.

You've Got This

Whether you are fresh out of an intensive outpatient program or have been out of your program for a while, we can all use some support. It is crucial that you use these tips above to maintain your sobriety.

If you want more tips and information on maintaining sobriety and continuing the steps of rehabilitation, check out our blog.