man smoking rolled marijuana

How Do You Know if You’re Addicted to THC?

Smoking or consuming THC has evolved into a socially accepted activity across the US despite it still being Federally Illegal.  THC itself has proven medical benefits in particular formulations however it is becoming more commonly abused and people are seeking for medicinal purposes.  It was reported in a study performed by Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston that 17.1% of people who received medical marijuana developed Cannabis use disorders.

Like other addictions There are different types of addiction.  Unfortunately, many people do believe that because a substance does not have physical addictive properties that with increased usage can lead to painful or life threating withdrawals that a substance is not addictive.

Addiction can be either physical or behavioral, and often they go hand in hand. Though alcohol and tobacco are commonly recognized types of addiction, there are actually hundreds of types of medically and scientifically recognized addictions.

Cravings, compulsions, inability to stop, and lifestyle dysfunction all point to the existence of some type of addiction. A person can be addicted to behaviors just as seriously as one can be addicted to substances such as THC.

The addictive behaviors that result from both types of addiction can have serious negative consequences though, from all that comes with a substance use disorder. Addiction is a complex disease. Some people try to justify their THC use comparing it to drugs that are more addictive. At the end of the day in most cases there are underlying issues that cause the individual to chase that feeling which can lead to long term issues and psychological dependence.

These adverse effects with the development of addiction can include financial issues, destructive behavior, relationship issues, family conflict, and the negative feelings that come up as a result of these things.

Behavioral Addictions

Behavioral addiction is classified as any time that one loses control of their actions in order to engage in behaviors that result in brief feelings of happiness. That person becomes dependent on the pleasurable feelings that come as a result of certain behaviors and begins to compulsively act on that behavior.

Physical Addictions

Physical addictions are the ones that are generally better known. These are addictions to substances that are ingested or otherwise put into a person’s body.

Is THC Addictive?

Despite the common misconception, people can become addicted to THC.  As more states either decriminalize or legalize cannabis, more people are using it than ever before. Like other addictions There are different types of addiction.  Unfortunately, many people to believe that because a substance does not have physical addictive properties that with increased usage can lead to painful or life threating withdrawals that a substance is not addictive.  According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2021, approximately 19 percent of Americans 12 and older used cannabis, and nearly 6 percent of teens and adults qualified as having cannabis use disorder — the clinical name for addiction. (For comparison, close to 11 percent of Americans over the age of 11 have alcohol use disorder.)

more recent study conducted in Washington State, where recreational cannabis use is legal, found that 21 percent of people who had used cannabis in the past 30 days qualified as having the disorder.

“Most people who use cannabis do not have problems related to their use and are not going to develop a cannabis use disorder,” said Dr. Ayana Jordan, an associate professor of psychiatry at N.Y.U. Langone Health. But, she added, “just because cannabis is being legalized — and I actually think it should be legalized — it doesn’t mean that there is not any harm associated.”

The potential consequences of cannabis use disorder are not as severe as with other drugs like opiates, where overdose deaths are a dire concern. But cannabis addiction can cause “a dramatic decrease in quality of life,” said Dr. Christina Brezing, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University. Here’s what to know.

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, defines cannabis use disorder using 11 criteria that loosely fall into four symptom buckets (the same diagnostic criteria apply for all substance use disorders). If you meet at least two of the below criteria, you qualify as having a use disorder:

  • Taking more of the drug or using it more frequently than you intend to

  • Spending a great deal of time obtaining or using cannabis

  • Having an uncontrollable urge, or craving, to use it

  • Trying to stop or cut back and not being able to

  • Foregoing other social or recreational activities in order to use cannabis.

  • Experiencing interpersonal conflicts as a result of your cannabis use

  • Failing to fulfill obligations at work or at home as a result of use.

  • Putting yourself in potentially dangerous situations as a result of obtaining or using cannabis

  • Continued use despite negative physical and psychological effects.

  • Developing tolerance — having to use more of the drug to achieve the same effect.

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop using cannabis, such as insomnia, irritability, anxiety, depressed mood and decreased appetite.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment Program

What Causes Addiction in the Brain?

Addiction is a complex and often devastating condition that's shockingly widespread — one study revealed that 40.3 million Americans struggled with a substance use disorder in 2020. While the causes of addiction are multifaceted and can vary from person to person, one thing is clear: Addiction is a brain disease.

Researchers have made significant strides in understanding addiction's underlying neural mechanisms and how they contribute to developing and maintaining addictive behaviors. By examining how drugs and other addictive substances interact with the brain's reward system, scientists are uncovering new insights into the nature of addiction and how best to treat it.

Join us as we dive deeper into what causes addiction in the brain and what it means for those struggling.

Understanding the Brain's Reward System

The brain's reward system is a network of neural circuits that plays a crucial role in regulating feelings of pleasure and motivation. At the heart of this system is a group of structures called the basal ganglia, which are involved in positive forms of motivation and forming habits and routines.

When we engage in pleasurable or rewarding activities, such as eating, socializing or having sex, we activate our brain's reward system, which responds by releasing a chemical called dopamine. This dopamine surge produces a sense of pleasure and satisfaction, signaling the brain to remember the activity so it can experience the same feelings again. Neural connectivity changes make it easy to repeat the action over and over again without much thought, leading to habit formation.

There are many ways to trigger dopamine release naturally, including the following:

  • Physical exercise
  • Listening to music
  • Meditating
  • Spending time in nature
  • Engaging in creative pursuits like painting or writing
  • Spending time with loved ones
  • Engaging in acts of kindness or volunteering
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Reducing stress
  • Eating a nutritious diet rich in protein and healthy fats

What Causes Addiction in the Brain?

Natural, healthy dopamine triggers aren't the only way to stimulate the brain's reward center. Unfortunately, it can be hijacked by drugs and other addictive substances, leading to an addiction.

Often, people turn to addictive substances when they feel stressed or depressed. When these drugs reach the brain, the reward center floods it with dopamine, producing a much more intense and prolonged surge of pleasure than a person would experience with healthy rewards like eating or social interactions. This process starts to change the brain chemistry, and the person needs increasing amounts of the substance to feel good.

Genetics and environmental factors can also influence addiction. Certain genes may make individuals more susceptible to addiction, while environmental factors like stress, trauma and peer pressure can increase addiction risk. Additionally, early exposure to drugs or alcohol can increase the likelihood of addiction later in life.

What Does the Brain Do During Addiction?

As a person continues to feed their addiction, the brain adapts to the flood of dopamine by reducing the number of dopamine receptors. This is known as building tolerance and means the person needs more and more of the drug to achieve the same level of pleasure.

As addiction progresses, the reward system in the brain of an addict becomes increasingly dysregulated. Pursuing drugs or other addictive substances becomes the individual's primary focus in life, while activities they once enjoyed lose their appeal. This is because the brain's reward system has become hypersensitive to drugs and desensitized to other rewards.

Addiction can also affect a person's focus, learning and memory, as well as their judgment and decision-making ability. The pursuit of drugs becomes a habit rather than a conscious decision.

Addiction can also change other areas in the brain, including the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. The prefrontal cortex is involved in thinking, planning, problem-solving, decision-making and impulse control. The amygdala helps regulate emotions like irritability, anxiety and unease, which individuals feel when a drug wears off, prompting them to seek more of it.

These changes in brain function can lead to compulsive drug-seeking behavior and a reduced ability to experience pleasure from other activities.

Even when the individual wants to quit their addiction, the brain's reward system can make it incredibly difficult to do so, as the withdrawal symptoms and cravings can be overwhelming.

Can an Addicted Brain Heal?

The good news is that addicted brains can heal. While addiction changes the brain's structure and function, research has shown that the brain has a remarkable capacity for neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to form new neural connections and reorganize existing ones, allowing it to adapt to environmental changes and recover from injury or damage.

Neuroplasticity indicates that the brain is not a fixed, static organ but rather a dynamic and adaptable one that can change in response to learning and new experiences. This means that with the right treatment and support, it's possible for the brain to recover from the effects of addiction.

One of the most essential factors in the brain's ability to heal from addiction is the individual's motivation to change. This motivation can come from many different sources, including a desire to improve one's health, relationships or quality of life.

Another important factor in the brain's ability to heal from addiction is the availability of effective treatments and support. Various evidence-based addiction treatments, including behavioral therapies and medications, have helped individuals overcome their addictions. Emotional support and encouragement from friends, family and peers can also be a key part of recovery.

Remember that addiction recovery is not a one-size-fits-all process, and the healing timeline can vary widely depending on the individual and the severity of their addiction. Some may experience a relatively quick recovery, while others may require ongoing support and treatment to maintain sobriety.

Start Healing Today at Transformations By The Gulf

Addiction is a complex disorder that's largely influenced by brain chemistry. While some people are more susceptible to addiction than others, anyone can develop an addiction upon exposure to substances or behaviors that trigger the brain's reward system.

Understanding the underlying mechanisms of addiction allows us to develop more effective prevention and treatment strategies that address the root cause of this condition. Ultimately, breaking the cycle of addiction requires a combination of medical, psychological and social support to help individuals overcome their dependence and achieve long-term recovery.

If you or someone you care about is ready to heal from an addiction, you can find support at Transformations By The Gulf in beautiful St. Pete Beach, Florida. We offer a combination of holistic practices and traditional therapies to help clients overcome their addictions and reclaim their lives. Get in touch today to discover which programs and services are best for you.


A young man looking down with his shoulders slouched while a man with a clipboard and glasses puts a hand on his shoulder.

Allergic Reactions to Meth: How Common Are They?

An unexpected allergic reaction to meth is common. Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug with substantial side effects that can worsen the more it is used. For some, a single dose can activate a severe reaction, while others may react after a period of usage.

Allergic reactions to meth can be fatal. Continue reading to learn more about what signs to look for to see if you are having an allergic reaction to meth and how Transformations By The Gulf can help.

What Causes an Allergic Reaction to Meth?

Allergic reactions to this drug are primarily due to an unexpected allergy to an ingredient in the substance — often from an added ingredient.

Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug, and it can contain additives that make it even more harmful. Dealers usually add these other materials to make the substance weigh more, ultimately selling less for more money. Common additives include powder-like substances, other medicines and metals — all of which have the potential to trigger an adverse reaction.

Symptoms of Allergic Reactions to Meth

Allergic reactions to meth often resemble overdoses, with symptoms such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Circulation numbness
  • Chest pains
  • Muscle spasms
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

Meth users may also experience distinct allergy symptoms, like:

  • Hives
  • Swelling of lips, tongue and throat
  • Difficulty breathing

What to Do If You Have an Allergic Reaction to Meth

Allergic reactions to meth can be fatal and should be taken seriously. If an allergic reaction occurs, call emergency medical services immediately. Whether the allergic reaction is life-threatening or not, you should see a medical professional to monitor your symptoms and facilitate healing.

It is also essential to remain calm in these situations. We understand that this is not easy to do, but feeling flustered may worsen symptoms. Staying calm and collected as the individual undergoing the allergic reaction or as the loved one assisting the situation can save a life.

Following medical care, methamphetamine addiction rehabilitation can be the next healthy step in recovery. These centers guide patients through therapeutic sessions and inpatient rehab programs to ensure this event does not happen again.

Contact Transformations By The Gulf and Start Your Journey Today

Regardless of whether you have suffered an allergic reaction to meth, this powerful substance can harm your body. At Transformations By The Gulf, we are committed to helping patients work through addiction and learn applicable skills in real-world situations to prevent relapse.

Please reach out to our team today to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one recover from addiction.

5 Lies Addicts Tell Themselves

5 Lies Addicts Tell Themselves

It's common for people with substance use disorder to lie to their friends, families, bosses and, most of all, to themselves. These lies help protect themselves from the truth — that they've lost control of their drug addiction. Attempting to help someone with an addiction can be very challenging, and you may feel shocked to see your loved one caught in lie after lie. It helps to know that substances change a person's brain structure and behavior.

Cravings usually take precedence over all aspects of life, causing the person to spend most of their time sustaining their substance addiction. While recovering from substance use disorder can be challenging, treatment can help. Learn about the falsehoods people with addiction tell themselves and how to get help for a loved one with substance use disorder.

1. “I Can Stop This Whenever I Want.”

If someone you know has a substance use disorder, you may recognize this specific lie. They might wish or feel it to be true that they can stop substance use whenever they want. However, they can't stop anytime they wish unless they've proven they can successfully abstain from substances without cravings or withdrawal symptoms.

Lying about being able to stop taking substances is one of the most common signs of denial. Despite your loved one's best intentions, stopping substance use has nothing to do with willpower. The body changes as it adapts to substances, shifting the balance of chemicals in the brain that causes physical cravings and withdrawal.

The mind will crave substances, and these feelings won't go away on their own, even if your loved one tells themself they can quit. Without addressing withdrawal and the actual reasons behind their addiction in recovery, they're still vulnerable to relapse.

2. “At Least I’m Not Like Them.”

Comparing themselves to someone they believe is worse off is one of the other significant signs of denial. It's a standard way to justify their drug addiction and deflect criticism from themselves. They cannot compare their substance use to someone else's, as everyone's addiction and recovery process look different. It often just reveals that both people require professional addiction help.

In recovery, health professionals can help your loved one overcome addiction and become the best version of themselves. A big part of treatment is connecting with people who are also in recovery, which can help clients minimize those comparisons and feel humbled when they realize they are not alone in the process. They'll learn more about the consequences addiction have on their lives and those around them and get the encouragement to make changes that benefit their life.

I Need This to Relax.3. “I Need This to Relax.”

The temporary relief accompanying substance use often makes people believe they need substances to relax. This couldn't be further from the truth. Alcohol, for example, might temporarily relieve stress and anxiety. However, anxiety is a symptom of alcohol withdrawal, and if you drink regularly for a long time, anxiety can return and worsen after you stop.

Your loved one may continue taking substances to achieve the desired results, only to find themselves in a cycle of drug addiction. There are many ways people can relax without substances. Healthy stress management skills can help manage stress and anxiety long-term versus the temporary relief that substances provide.

Therapists can help with underlying conditions like depression and teach healthy coping strategies to combat addiction. Tactics might include exercise, therapeutic art, animal-assisted therapy and other recreational activities. These strategies can combat stress, anxiety and depression — making them critical for addiction recovery.

 4. “This Only Affects Me.”

At times, it seems like people with an addiction live in an alternate reality. They may believe their addiction only affects themselves and no one else around them. The truth is that addiction harms everyone they love, especially those closest to them.

People with drug addiction lie because it can help create distance from themselves and the actual problem. They may be in denial of needing help since addiction can make people more likely to ignore the negative consequences of their actions. They might believe that substance use only affects themselves, though it can also result in adverse effects for those around them.

When one family member has an addiction, the entire family can be impacted by:

  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Side effects of the substance
  • Strained relationships
  • Financial hardships
  • Exposure to other substances
  • Reckless behavior within the home
  • Poor school performance
  • Running away from home

According to studies, around one in eight children grow up in a home where a parent has a substance use disorder. Addiction can create a chaotic and unhealthy environment, causing emotional distress for the child as they witness arguments or family members fighting. Seeing addiction and surviving trauma at a young age can have long-term effects on that child, making it more likely for them to develop substance use disorders in adulthood.

Individual therapy can address trauma, and family therapy can address the impact that one's substance use has on the family unit.

5. “I Don’t Do [Specific Action], So I’m Not Really Addicted.”

There are several other lies that people with a drug addiction may tell themselves, including trying to justify their use with specific reasons why it isn't a problem. Examples include:

  • “I don’t drink in the morning, so I don't have alcohol use disorder."
  • “I only drink [wine or beer], so I can’t have alcohol use disorder.”
  • “I’m still employed, so my substance use isn’t so bad.”
  • “These are prescription medications, so taking more of them is OK.”
  • “I only drink or take substances on weekends, so I can't have an addiction."

They might tell themselves the above lies to sustain their substance use and avoid getting help. However, it's challenging to diagnose a substance use disorder without the help of a medical professional. Everyone is different and has different criteria, and professionals can evaluate your loved one to come up with the best course of action for their needs.

How to Know If Your Loved One Has a Drug Addiction

There are a few steps you take to determine whether your loved one has an addiction that needs to be addressed professionally:

  • Note any behavioral changes: The people closest to the one with addiction will often notice side effects or personality and behavior changes if they are struggling with substance use disorder. These signs can include a lack of interest in hobbies, neglecting relationships, risk-taking tendencies, increased secrecy or abrupt weight changes.
  • Long-term life changes: Severe, long-term drug addiction can result in several long-term changes, such as poor school performance, damaged relationships with family members or friends, legal troubles or job loss.
  • Mental health symptoms: Substances can significantly impact existing mental health disorders or worsen symptoms. Take note of sudden mood swings, anxiety or paranoia. In severe cases, addiction can lead to thoughts of suicide. If you notice these changes in your loved one, seek medical services immediately.
  • Talk to a professional: The best way to learn whether your loved one has a drug addiction is to have them speak with a health professional. They can evaluate them, point out how addiction might impact their lives and help them reach sobriety.

Is Someone Close to You Struggling With Drug Addiction? Transformations By the Gulf Can HelpIs Someone Close to You Struggling With Drug Addiction? Transformations By the Gulf Can Help

Addiction and denial often go hand in hand. It can be tricky to determine when a close friend or family member has a substance use disorder, though professionals can help. At Transformations By the Gulf, our highly trained team can help them discover how substances impact their life and develop a plan to help them overcome drug addiction.

At Transformations by the Gulf, they'll gain more awareness of their specific challenges and learn how to adopt healthy coping mechanisms. Our team can help them restore balance in their life through behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment and holistic treatment services. To learn more about our treatment programs, contact us today.

A man with muscles sitting on a bench in a gym with his head down. The test says,

Addiction Rehabilitation for Athletes

Athletes demand a lot of their bodies. Whether they are involved in sports professionally or recreationally, they push themselves through training and competition. While this level of physical performance can be good for the body, athletics can also put incredible strain on people physically and mentally. Athletes can experience physical injury and endure intense pressure to maintain peak performance.

It is not uncommon for athletes to take illicit substances, whether to cope with the pain caused by an injury or to enhance performance. While addiction can be a difficult cycle to break, there are treatment options for athletes with addiction.

Risk of Addiction in Athletes

Nearly half of people 12 and older have used illicit substances at least once. Of course, illicit drugs are not the only substances that come with the risk of addiction. It’s also common to see alcohol, prescription medications and performance-enhancing drugs in sports. For instance, anabolic-androgenic steroids may boost strength and mood, which may appeal to athletes hoping to improve their performance.

Athletes might have a high risk of substance use disorder for the following reasons:

  • Availability: Addictive substances may be readily accessible to athletes. For example, alcohol and binge drinking can be part of the culture for college athletes. Athletes at all levels may also have ready access to performance-enhancing drugs through fellow athletes or authority figures, such as coaches.
  • Pressure: Athletes can face an enormous amount of pressure, both external and internal. For athletes who publicly compete, they may feel pressure from their teammates, coaches and fans to deliver on their performance. Internally, athletes of any level often feel the need to drive themselves to achieve their goals. If they aren’t performing as well as they think they should, they might turn to performance-enhancing drugs or use other substances, like alcohol, to cope with feelings of failure.
  • Injury: Physical injury is common among athletes. Whether from overuse or an accident, athletes can break bones, tear muscles and tendons and experience head injuries. Chronic pain can lead to misusing prescription medication.

Doctors might prescribe medications like opioids to treat sports-related injuries and chronic pain. One study shows that, among the 52% of athletes prescribed opioids during their NFL career, 71% of people misused them. Athletes might feel pressured to return to the competition before their injuries are resolved, which may lead to misusing pain medications by increasing their dosage. Over time, this can lead to addiction and withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop.

Athletes might also seek boosted energy, endurance and focus, which may lead to misusing stimulants like amphetamines, cocaine or ephedrine.

Prescription Painkillers for Sports Injuries

Some sports injuries can resolve quickly, with no lingering effects on performance and comfort level. Other injuries can result in chronic pain. Some athletes may be prescribed medication to manage that pain. If the pain persists, they may start to self-medicate or misuse painkillers.

Common prescription painkillers for sports injuries include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): You can buy several NSAIDs, such as Advil, over the counter. But there are also strong versions of NSAIDs that are only available via prescription. Celebrex and Nalfon are examples of prescription NSAIDs used for back and neck pain.
  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids, such as cortisone and prednisone, are prescribed to address inflammation. Athletes may receive an injection of corticosteroids to treat an injury.
  • Muscle relaxants: Benzodiazepines are a common type of muscle relaxant that can be prescribed to help ease pain and improve mobility in athletes. Benzodiazepines can be addictive if misused. Athletes with addiction to benzodiazepines can experience many adverse symptoms, such as poor decision-making abilities, blurred vision, confusion and slurred speech.
  • Opioids: Opioids are commonly misused painkillers. In 2019, more than 10 million people misused opioids. This class of drugs, including prescription medications such as Vicodin and Oxycodone, consists of powerful painkillers. Athletes may be prescribed an opioid to manage pain following an injury or surgery.

What Are the Risks of Using Performance-Enhancing Drugs?

Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) are used by athletes to gain a competitive edge. Anabolic steroids and human growth hormones are considered PEDs. Natural testosterone is a steroid, though the term “anabolic steroid” is often used to describe synthetic variations of testosterone injected into the body. Most of these drugs are banned in sports, regardless of the level of competition. In addition to the possibility of disqualification, PEDs come with other risks, including:

  • Physiological: PEDs affect a person’s body in many different ways. Some of the common physiological consequences of using PEDs are acne, changes in breast and testicle size, changes in sex drive, infertility, joint pain, high blood pressure and liver damage. Depending on what drugs are used and for how long, the effects may be permanent.
  • Psychological: PEDs can also affect your mental health. Psychological effects of these drugs may include changes in mood, depression, impaired judgment and suicidal thoughts.

Long-term use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports can lead to irreversible physical damage like heart attacks, strokes and psychiatric problems. Many athletes who use PEDs do not consider the negative side effects of these drugs, focusing instead on the potential gains in their performance.

Warning Signs and Symptoms for Drug Use in Athletes

If you are concerned someone you know is struggling, look for the common signs of athletes with addiction:

  • Changes in appearance: PEDs can significantly impact a person’s appearance. Men may develop breasts, while women begin to appear and sound more masculine. Some drugs can lead to dramatic weight gain or weight loss. Any change in appearance without explanation may indicate drug misuse.
  • Sudden changes in performance levels: Many athletes improve over time with hard work and training. Sudden leaps forward in performance beyond what you might expect could be an indication that an athlete is misusing PEDs. On the other hand, an unexplained decrease in performance could mean that an athlete is struggling with an addiction to alcohol or prescription painkillers.
  • Personality changes: Many addictive substances can impact a person’s mood, behavior and personality. If an athlete is struggling with sudden outbursts and bouts of irritability, these issues could be related to substance use disorder.
  • GI symptoms: Many PEDs and painkillers can affect the stomach. If an athlete is exhibiting regular signs of nausea and diarrhea, substance misuse can be a possible explanation.
  • Anxiety: Anxiety and substance use often go hand in hand. The drugs can make the person more anxious than normal. Additionally, the athlete who is misusing a substance may be anxious about keeping that behavior hidden from others.

Sometimes it can be hard to recognize the warning signs of addiction. It can be even harder to speak up if you do recognize the signs in a loved one or in yourself. If you suspect you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, do not ignore the symptoms. It’s best to seek help as soon as possible.

Hope for Athletes With Addiction

For some athletes, the first step toward overcoming addiction is overcoming the fear of asking for help. Many athletes with addiction may feel pressured to continue taking certain medications or experience feelings of shame that keep them from reaching out. Professional addiction rehabilitation for athletes can provide hope and a sense of belonging when you’re unsure where to turn.

Athlete rehabilitation first addresses the underlying cause of drug misuse before designing an individualized treatment program for your needs and goals. Programs might include the following treatment methods:

  • Medical detox to safely withdraw from substances
  • Motivational interviewing to help you work through your ambivalence to change
  • Behavioral therapies to identify and change harmful behaviors
  • Group therapy to gain advice and feel a sense of support and belonging
  • Potential medication for muscle dysmorphia
  • Medications to restore hormonal balance
  • Antidepressants for co-occurring conditions like depression and anxiety
  • Aftercare and relapse prevention techniques, such as 12-step programs

The best athlete rehabilitation program addresses all aspects of a person’s addiction, including co-occurring conditions and other triggers that might contribute to drug misuse. This way, individuals get a more comprehensive, individualized treatment that addresses all of their unique needs.

Depending on your goals and health needs, you might benefit from an inpatient, residential program or a partial hospitalization program (PHP). Residential treatment is where you live in the treatment center and receive 24/7 assistance and supervision to help you through addiction recovery. PHP programs let you receive intensive medical care during the day and leave to be home with your support system at night.

There are also intensive outpatient programs (IOP) where you only receive treatment at certain days and times of the week that fit your schedule. The option that works for you will depend on factors like the severity of your addiction and whether you have co-occurring conditions that require more intensive care.

Reach out to Us Today

Asking for help can be hard, particularly if you are used to pushing yourself in your athletic pursuits. However, recovery is possible if you take the first steps. At Transformations By The Gulf, we take a personalized approach to addiction treatment to give every client the individual care they need. Your experience is unique, and your road to recovery will be too. You don’t have to go it alone, either — support is always available.

Our team partners with you to address your needs and give you varied treatment options. We are here to help you get back on your feet and move forward with your life. If you are ready to make a change in your life, reach out to us to get started.


drinking problem

Casual Drinking vs Alcoholism: Warning Signs You Have a Drinking Problem

Did you know that as many as 1 in 8 Americans struggle with an addiction to alcohol?

When most people think of addiction, they tend to imagine the most severe cases. This is why it can be hard to recognize if you or a loved one may have a drinking problem.

Do you want to learn more about the symptoms of alcoholism? Keep reading to understand the important warning signs.

How to Tell If You're an Alcoholic: Are You Emotionally Dependent?

Lots of people have a drink to loosen up in stressful social situations. Although this is fine to do occasionally, one of the most important signs of an alcoholic is that they can't have a good time without drinking. If you drink often to escape reality or improve your mood, then you're at risk of becoming dependent on alcohol.

Getting Drunk Alone or Unintentionally Are Signs of Alcoholism

Drinking is a social activity, which means that being compelled to drink alone can lead to trouble. An important factor to consider is your reasoning to drink. Having a glass of wine with your dinner each night is acceptable whereas drinking alone at odd hours is questionable.

Many people who suffer from alcoholism also get drunk unintentionally. If you have a hard time stopping once you get started, you could have an addiction.

You May Have a Drinking Problem If Alcohol Sabotages Your Life

Sometimes the negative influences of alcohol can be subtle, which is why you may not realize you have a problem. If drinking has ever gotten in the way of your job, your relationships, your finances, or your happiness, then you need to think about your habits. No healthy habit would ever sabotage your life.

Do You Ever Notice Physical or Mental Symptoms of Withdrawal?

Depending on how much or how often you drink, it's possible to start feeling mild withdrawal symptoms within a few hours since your last drink. The top mental symptoms of alcohol dependency include irritability, brain fog, mood swings, memory loss, and trouble concentrating. The top physical symptoms of alcohol dependency include shakiness, trouble balancing, headaches, and nausea.

You've Tried to Quit in the Past Unsuccessfully

Even people who identify as casual drinkers may have a hard time cutting back or quitting altogether. If you've tried to quit drinking in the past but failed, this is a telltale sign of alcohol dependency. If you don't have the freedom to choose what you want to do, then addiction could be controlling your life.

Are You Looking for Addiction Recovery Centers in Tampa, Florida?

If you have any of these symptoms, it's possible you may have a drinking problem. The best way to get a diagnosis and gain control of your health is to seek professional help.

Are you in need of a rehab center in Tampa, Florida? If so, Transformations By The Gulf would love to take care of you. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help you overcome your addiction.

Tampa Cocaine Addiction Center

Florida Cocaine Addiction Center: Your Brain on Cocaine

Many people view cocaine as a party drug, but the reality is there's nothing fun about it at all. Every year, there are thousands of overdose deaths.

While you may take extra precautions to ensure you don't overdose, you may still be doing a lot of damage to your body. In addition to that, your addiction may be affecting your ability to manage your relationships and responsibilities.

This article will explain everything you need to know about your brain on cocaine and a Florida cocaine addiction center can help.

What Does Cocaine Do to Your Brain?

There are two main ways cocaine affects your brain: physiologically and emotionally.

Physiological Effects

One of the main physiological effects cocaine has on your brain is addiction. With repeated use, your brain chemistry changes, which makes you crave and physically rely on cocaine.

With long-term use, you may start having seizures or seizure disorders. Abusing cocaine can possibly also increase your risk of developing Parkinson's disease.

In addition, cocaine usage can raise the cortisol levels in your brain. This can have a permanent negative impact on your blood pressure and, in turn, damage your cardiovascular system.

Cocaine can cause your brain to literally be eaten away. This condition is called cocaine-induced leukoencephalopathy, and while it's very rare, it can still happen to you.

A more common occurrence is the advanced aging of your brain. A study showed that in people who had either used the drug recently or in the past, their brains were losing double the amount of gray matter per year when compared to non-addicts.

Needless to say, cocaine has only negative effects on your brain, even though using will give you temporary pleasure.

Emotional Effects

While cocaine can make you feel extremely happy and sensitive, these are only short-term effects. You may also feel paranoid, restless, or irritable and you may not feel like eating much either.

Because it also boosts dopamine in the brain (in the beginning), you may feel more energized as well. This is why many people use it to stay up when partying.

However, as time goes on, you'll start suffering from adverse effects regarding your mood. The main problems are anxiety and aggression. As a result, your personality can completely change due to the abuse of cocaine.

Check into a Florida Cocaine Addiction Center

Cocaine can have a devastating effect on not only your brain but also the quality of relationships with your loved ones. It can make it challenging to keep up with your priorities, like work, school, or childcare.

Don't miss out on the important things in life. While sobriety can seem like a long and difficult road, you can achieve it. With the proper support and treatment at a Florida cocaine addiction center, you can get a second chance at a fulfilling and happy life.

Want to address your cocaine addiction and get into recovery? Then get in touch with us now.

cocaine addiction

5 Warning Signs of a Possible Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction has been a major public health concern in the United States over the years. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) have found that 1.7 million people age 12 years or older abuse cocaine annually.

This translates to about 1 in 20 young adults using cocaine, a powerful and highly addictive stimulant that can be snorted, smoked, or injected. The trend in drug abuse is no exception in cocaine use.

Regular use of cocaine can impact a person’s brain, making it challenging to call it quits without help. Cocaine use may have started as harmless experimentation but can quickly turn into a life-threatening addiction.

Do you suspect your loved one is abusing cocaine? We have compiled the top five warning signs of addiction you should be on the lookout for. Keep reading to find out!

1. Physical Appearance

The terms "cocaine pupils" and "cocaine eyes" have been used to indicate how the eyes of people who take this drug look. Most cocaine users have dilated eyes that are always a giveaway of drug use.

The eyes usually appear large, and when pupils are dilated, they become sensitive to light. The eyes of cocaine users may also look red or bloodshot as the blood vessels expand.

Besides dilated pupils, other physical signs of cocaine use include:

  • Runny nose and frequent sniffles as a result of snorting cocaine
  • Nosebleeds due to snorting
  • Track marks as a result of injecting cocaine into the bloodstream and
  • Burned fingers and lips as a result of smoking cocaine

If you notice these signs, talk to your loved one about getting treatment.

2. Heart Issues

A cocaine user may also show some signs associated with heart complications. Cocaine abuse can increase the risk of certain cardiovascular effects.

Some of the heart problems caused by cocaine use include:

  • Heart attack (Myocardial Infarction)
  • Heart failure due to inflammation of the heart muscle
  • Fast heart rate
  • Aortic dissection
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Stroke

If not managed, abuse can eventually cause death due to these problems. We advise that you stage an intervention to save your loved one.

3. Deteriorating Mental Health

Using cocaine can also lead to mental complications. Many times, cocaine addicts use the drug in binges. Taken repeatedly at high doses, it can lead to mental health problems. Some of the mental symptoms of cocaine use include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia and anxiety
  • Aggressiveness
  • Euphoria
  • Panic attacks

In addition to drug addiction treatment, users may require to undergo counseling to restore mental health.

4. Behavioral Abnormalities

The behavioral symptoms of cocaine use may be more evident than physical signs. These are signs associated with changes in a user’s personality. Some of the common behavioral cocaine addictions signs include:

  • Excited and fast speech
  • Lying and hiding about cocaine use from loved ones
  • Being unable to limit cocaine use
  • Engaging in risky behavior such as unprotected sex

Risky behavior exposes one to STIs, especially if they engage in unprotected sex. Talk to your loved one about these consequences so they can see the need for treatment.

5. Withdrawal Signs

Some cocaine users may experience few withdrawal effects. However, there are others who experience devastating cocaine addiction symptoms. Common cocaine withdrawal signs or symptoms include:

  • Slow thought process
  • Increased appetite
  • Cravings for cocaine
  • Fatigue
  • Extreme depression
  • Mood swings
  • Low energy

Get Help for Cocaine Addiction Today

Cocaine has adverse effects on the health, behavior, and life of the user. Luckily,  it’s never too late to get help for cocaine addicts.

We know how disheartening it can be to see a loved one suffering from drug use addiction. Reach us today for treatment and rehabilitation solutions to save your loved from cocaine addiction.

Drug Rehab Florida: How to Help a Loved One With an Addiction

Drug Rehab Florida: How to Help a Loved One With an Addiction

Most people never expect to see a loved one struggle with addiction. But addiction is far more common than we tend to believe.

One in seven people will struggle with a substance abuse disorder over the course of their lifetime.

Would you know what to do if a loved one became addicted to drugs? Would you know what drug rehab in Florida to take them to?

Read below to discover how you can help your friend or family member overcome addiction and where to take them for treatment.

Learn About Addiction

Despite the widespread nature of drug addiction, certain stigmas and misunderstandings are still quite pervasive.

Many people believe that an addict can simply stop using drugs anytime they want. In truth, addiction is a complex chemical process that affects the body, mind, and soul. It even changes the brain's chemistry.

The first step in tackling any problem is to understand it.

Research the realities of addiction. Look at the common signs, symptoms, and causes of drug abuse so you can approach your loved one from a place of care and understanding.

Empathize but Don't Enable

Understanding and empathizing are two great places to start. However, that doesn't mean you have to like or even tolerate an addict's behavior.

Empathizing with an addict simply means that you're putting yourself in their shoes. You're doing your best to understand their mindset and the struggles they're going through.

Don't let your kindness become a weakness, though.

If an addict is acting in a dangerous or destructive manner, call them out and stand your ground. You can still be a great friend while hating the disease.

Enabling only makes the situation worse.

Be Honest About Your Loved One's Behavior

Most people don't know how to address addiction. And that's understandable.

It's one thing to read about a topic, but another to experience it firsthand.

As a result, people think that talking with an addict has to be a big, dramatic blowout. On the contrary, talking to someone instead of at them always generates better results.

Be open and honest with your loved one. Let them know how their behavior is affecting those around them.

And don't think you have to wait for an intervention to do so. While interventions are great tools, sometimes a conversation is all it takes for an addict to understand the gravity of the situation.

Research Treatment Options

Whether you choose to host an intervention or hold a one-on-one discussion, you'll want to provide your loved one with treatment options.

Not all rehab facilities are the same. Location plays a huge role in a person's recovery.

Beachside recovery programs, for instance, allow an addict to recover in a relaxing, peaceful environment. On the other hand, many rehab facilities may feel colder or impersonal, making the addict's recovery process even more difficult.

Help Your Loved One With Drug Rehab in Florida

To sum things up, addiction is a complicated illness. However, it's possible to overcome addiction and live a rich, full life.

If you'd like to learn more about drug rehab in Florida, be sure to contact us today.

We'd love to explore treatment options with you and outline our one-of-a-kind program.

Cocaine Rehab in Florida: Cocaine Addiction Signs and Symptoms

Cocaine Rehab in Florida: Cocaine Addiction Signs and Symptoms

You've probably heard by now that drug abuse and addiction is an epidemic in this country. Almost half of all Americans have a friend or family member who is or was an addict.

On a brighter note, abuse rates of some drugs are falling. Among them is cocaine. Less than one million people in the US are believed to be addicted to cocaine.

What do you do if you think someone you love is using cocaine? How can you be sure?

We'll tell you about some signs in the paragraphs below. If you can, and happen to live nearby, convince your loved one to go to cocaine rehab in Florida.

1. Excitability

One of the first things you may notice when looking for signs of cocaine us is increased energy and excitement. This is owing to the effect cocaine has on the dopamine levels in our brains. Dopamine is a chemical that regulates our sense of joy and reward.

Cocaine is a stimulant, meaning that it causes these levels to elevate. Other, legal drugs, such as caffeine and antidepressants, function the same way.

However, these substances are differents in a few key ways. Antidepressants work over the course of several weeks, giving the body time to adjust. Caffeine works almost immediately, but isn't strong enough to cause a high.

A cocaine high is quick and intense. The user may be overjoyed and hyperactive. In some cases, they may have some twitches or tics.

2. Dilated Pupils

You may have heard that drugs do really strange things to the pupils of out eyes. This is true, but the whole story is a bit weirder. Some drugs will shrink our pupils while others will make them expand.

This has to do with how drugs affect our brain. For instance, stimulants, such as cocaine, often make the pupils expand.

Before you check anyone into cocaine rehab, in Florida or elsewhere, it should be said that dilated pupils are no guarantee. Cocaine can cause your pupils to expand,, but so can other substances, many of which are perfectly legal.

For instance, a person on SSRI's, a form of antidepressant, might show the same symptom. The original function of pupil expansion is to absorb light in darkness, causing our eyes to adjust, so you should also make sure the person hasn't just walked out of a dark place.

3. Strange Sleep Patterns

It's not uncommon for people with cocaine addiction to stay awake for long periods of time. If the person you're concerned about seems to be developing a sudden case of insomnia, they may have a cocaine problem.

Again, insomnia by itself doesn't mean anything, but coupled with some of the other sympoms, it should raise a few alarms.

Cocaine Rehab in Florida

There are a lot of potential symptoms that could indicate cocaine use. We didn't have time to go over all of them, so we encourage you to do more research on your own. Everybody presents a little differently, so don't dismiss suspicions just because one of them isn't there.

If you ever need to help someone struggling with addiction, please look into rehab. Cocaine rehab in Florida is some of the best out there, if you're willing to go there.

We at Transformations By The Gulf are big believers in boating therapy. Believe it or not, it really works, and you can learn more about it on our website.