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addiction blog

The Dangers of Ecstasy

By Jennifer McDougall

Many times when ecstasy users grab ahold of this drug, they don’t realize the amount of danger they are putting themselves in. Ecstasy is one of the scariest drugs because a person can overdose on it before they have time to rewind and retrace their steps or get any help.

Ecstasy eliminates the process in which one can recall events, remember specific things that happened while on the drug. It destroys Nigral cells in the brain, which cannot be recreated or brought back to life.  We are born with about 400,000 of these cells and once you lose under 250,000 of them you could be at risk for getting Parkinson’s disease.

Like many drugs, the chemicals and continued use, destroy parts of your body and vital organs that you need in order to live a long and healthy life.

Someone who abuses ecstasy increases their risk to develop a number of health problems down the road. As for more immediate affects, ecstasy has been known to cause panic attacks, blurred vision, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and too often, lead to death.

One of the more common places ecstasy is used, is at night clubs or live music venues. The reason for this is the rush that is created when someone combines substance, loud music, crowds of people, lots of movement, and low lights. Yes, it is a very dangerous combination and when a person participates in this type of activity, they can easily get caught up in the rush, the fun, the moment when they feel happy and alive; In that moment is when everything can turn and your life, body, and whole world can come crashing down on you in the blink of an eye.

When we use substances to try and increase the amount of “fun” we could have, we increase the chance of losing it all. Don’t be one of the many thousands of people each year who overdose on Ecstasy.

Symptoms of Overdose:

  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Increased body temperature
  • Abdominal pain and pressure
  • Stiff muscles
  • Chest pain

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

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Image via We Heart It

7 Simple Tips for Managing Stress

By Laurel Janssen Byrne

Stress is the body’s mental, physical and emotional response to changes in and around itself. Stress is normal, and everyone experiences it.

So why is managing ongoing stress important? Unrelieved stress can contribute to distress, which is a negative stress reaction. There are many symptoms of distress, like chest pain, sleep issues, blood pressure elevation, gastrointestinal disturbances, and headaches. Over time, chronic stress can contribute to diseases and severe health problems, like depression, anxiety, hypertension, heart disease, asthma, and arthritis.

It is important to control stress in positive ways, avoiding the use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, which can lead to more stress and severe health problems. Thankfully there are many positive, simple ways for you to manage your stress. Here are a few good ones:

1. Regular Exercise releases stress builds strength, and releases endorphins, the body’s natural chemical which relieves pain and improves mood. People who exercise regularly are generally happier due to reduced stress levels and improved health. A little goes a long way – a daily walk, a quick jog, an invigorating hike, lifting weights, practicing yoga, etc. Just get moving.

2. Getting enough sleep is often an overlooked key to great health and reduced stress. In fact, adequate sleep enables our body’s systems to function normally. Inadequate sleep can cause the body to release excess amounts of cortisol, or “the stress hormone.” While our bodies need some, excess amounts of cortisol can lead to weight gain and reduced immunity and can prevent us from experiencing the restorative benefits of sleep. 7-9 hours nightly is recommended by most health professionals.

3. Meditation can provide great relief from the stresses of everyday life. It trains the brain to move into a state of relaxation, rather than a stressed state. Meditation has been known to improve overall health and can reduce negative health conditions like obesity and even cancer.

4. Laughter is the best medicine and has been known to have an anesthesia effect on a stressed body. Whether it’s chatting with your favorite cousin or seeing a funny movie, start laughing!

5. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is crucial to proper bodily function. Ingesting processed foods has negative effects on the body and mind, as the chemicals, sugars, and fats in these foods can cause obesity and addiction. Ditch fast food for healthier options, like lean proteins and plenty of fruits and veggies. These healthy foods allow your body to function smoothly, controlling stress and its harmful side effects. Your grandmother was right – you are what you eat.

6. Joining a healthy community can be a fulfilling, healthy, stress-reducing experience. Whether you go to church, take a fun class, or join a kayaking club, you will benefit from being around others with common interests, which alleviates loneliness. Lonely people often suffer from heart disease more than their social counterparts.

7. Expressing your creative self can be one of the most fulfilling aspects of a healthy life. Creative expression releases endorphins, much like exercise. This lowers your heart rate, decreases your blood pressure, slows down your breathing, and lowers cortisol. Paint. Draw. Sing. Dance. Sculpt. Cook.


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

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Photo credit: Jennifer McDougall

20 Fun Sober Date Ideas

20 Fun Sober Date Ideas

By Jennifer McDougall

Are you and your sweetheart looking for something fun to do, and would prefer not to be in an alcohol or drug infused environment? Well, that’s simple. Here are 20 ideas for the two of you love birds to enjoy some precious time together.

1. Take a hike

Get outside and enjoy the great outdoors together. Hiking is a wonderful form of exercise that the two of you can enjoy together and take photos along the way. Just don’t forget to bring a bottle of water with you!

2. Grab a cup of coffee together 

Find a unique little coffee shop nearby to sit down at, and enjoy a nice cup of coffee together. This is a good way to talk about what is on your mind and share a few good laughs.

3.  Lunch or Dinner Date

Who doesn’t love to eat? Go grab a bite somewhere neither of you have ever been before. This will be a fun experience for both of you and when you think about the place again you will think of each other, and remember the great time you shared, hopefully. Visit Eater to see all the best places to check out near you.

 4. Be tourists for a day 

Who cares if you’ve lived in the same city for the past 5 years; you probably have not explored everything the city has to offer! This is the time to go roam around and check out some of the places on your list you’ve been wanting to visit, but “haven’t had the time.” Visit Things To Do to see what there is to see and do in your city.

5. Go bowling 

You may be surprised to see how much better your game is without blurred vision and feeling off-balanced. There’s a much less chance you’ll slip and fall on the alley too. #ThanksSobriety

6. Dance Lessons

Whether you are a beginner or a skilled dancer, check out your local dance studios for you and your honey to swing in some fun on the dance floor. Don’t be shy! Get out there.

7. Ice Skating

Many cities have an indoor ice skating rink where you and your sweetheart can go ice skating all year round.

8. Go out for brunch

Switch things up and take your loved one out to a nice brunch. Get dressed up and take photos of one another while you dive into your favorite breakfast or lunch item.

9. Take a fitness class together

Break a sweat and shed some calories by getting involved in a fun fitness class. Look at available classes at the gym or local fitness studios. Groupon is a great place to find some local fitness deals.

10. Photography adventure

Plan a day for you and your sweetheart to get out visit a variety of fun and beautiful places in your city. Bring your camera and begin capturing priceless moments together.

11. Go for a boat ride

If you don’t have a boat of your own, visit a local marina and inquire information on renting a small boat for a couple hours. Get out on the open water and enjoy the tranquil scenery.

12. Improv show

Laugh the night away at a local improv show. These shows are usually inexpensive and a lot of fun.

13. Wander a bookstore

Go into a local bookstore and wander around. Browse through the store and pick out the books that spark your interest. Take about the different book titles, covers, and content with your loved one.

14. Visit a local fair or amusement park

Connect with your inner-child and ride some of  your favorite childhood rides.

15. Take a cooking class together

Those who cook together, stay together. Right? Well, maybe, but its certainly worth trying.

16. Take a mini vacation or road trip

Nothing like the feeling of freedom out on the open road. Enjoy some time away from your day to day routine and explore new places and new horizons with the one you love. Don’t forget the music and of course your camera too.

17. Have a nature picnic

Plan a nice little picnic lunch out in the fresh air. Go to a local park, beach, or even your backyard.

18. Get out the old board games

Who doesn’t love a game of Monopoly, or Life? How about Guess Who? There are so many fun board games we might have forgotten about over the years. Maybe its time to break them out and have a game night.

19. Spa day

Spa days are not just for women. Men deserve a spa day from time to time too. Call up a local day spa and reserve a spot for 2, where you and your boo can relax, de-stress, and recharge.

20. Stargaze

Grab a blanket and head outside when the sky is perfectly dark and the stars twinkle bright. Watch for shooting stars and  point out the Big Dipper. Men: don’t forget to bring an extra jacket for your lady in case its chilly outside!


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

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Reasons to Quit Drinking Alcohol

10 Reasons to Quit Drinking Alcohol

By Jennifer McDougall

Besides not waking up with a painful headache and a list of regrets from the night before there are several other reasons to quit drinking alcohol. The amount of damage alcohol does to your body should be enough reason to avoid alcohol altogether, but for many, it’s not.

What if I told you that your overall quality of life would dramatically improve with the absence of alcohol? Within weeks you could see increased productivity at work and more money in the bank. Do I have your attention? Okay, good.

If you are unsure whether or not you should quit drinking, here are a few clues to help you see that this is without a doubt the right move for you.

  • If you find yourself drinking alone more than three nights a week.
  • If you are lying to others about your drinking habits.
  • If you have a reckless attitude which leads you to drive under the influence.
  • If you wake up with one-too-many moral hangovers full of shame and regret.
  • If your relationships are falling apart because of your intoxicated behaviors.
  • If your job or career is suffering due to the lack of arriving on time, performing tasks that are expected of you and failure to follow through on ideas and promises.
  • If your self-esteem is at rock bottom because you no longer see yourself as someone who is making good decisions and prospering in life.
  • If you start fights while your intoxicated and cause unnecessary drama that end up making you look ridiculous.
  • If someone mentions to you that it’s time to give up your drinking habits.
  • If you have increased anxiety and body aches.
  • If your face begins to appear more puffy than usual.
  • If your doctor suggests you dry up and get sober due to health concerns.
  • If you have to ask yourself if 10 am is too early to start drinking.
Quit Drinking with the Help of Passages

Photo by: LoboStudio Hamburg

Now that you’ve established the fact that this habit is making your life more and more unbearable it’s time to look at the benefits of putting down the bottle. Keep in mind there are more than just 10 benefits, but these are the ones we think are the most important.

  1. To promote a healthier brain and liver.

  2. Increase your energy level.

  3. Save a lot more money for valuable things that actually matter and are worth investing in.

  4. You will boost your levels of creativity.

  5. Improve your overall complexion.

  6. Wake up earlier feeling refreshed and more energized.

  7. Gain mental clarity- say goodbye to a cloudy mind.

  8. You will feel empowered to make the most out of life and help other people.

  9. You will feel much happier and self-confident.

  10. Will have more time for productive and exciting hobbies.


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

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How Yoga Can Help in Recovery

By Jennifer McDougall

Whether it is Bikram, Hatha, Power, or Yin yoga there are several benefits you should know. Starting or ending the day with any type of yoga practice is one of the best ways to be sure your body receives the proper amount of daily exercise. Yoga consists of a variety of poses that promote relaxation, full body circulation, flexibility, weight loss, and helps to increase muscle tone and strength.

Years of prolonged drug and alcohol abuse will cause your body to deteriorate. Lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet, and the constant bombardment of toxins cause a multitude of health problems. Passages Malibu offers many indoor and outdoor exercise programs to combat the effects of drug use on the body.

One of the many holistic methods that we offer is yoga. This treatment is a positive, calming technique to begin steadily reversing the negative effects of drug and alcohol use. When combined with our nutrition counseling and physical training, yoga is sure to place you back on the path to healing. As one of the many substance abuse treatment methods we utilize at Passages Malibu, yoga stretches the muscles and soft tissues in your body and releases the lactic acids that build up in the joints and cause stiffness, pain, and fatigue.

After several yoga sessions you will start to experience a better range of motion, giving you a sense of ease and fluidity. Your muscles will start to strengthen, including your heart, and you will also notice an improvement in your cardio performance. Here are just some of the benefits to practicing yoga.


  1. Helps you be more self aware
  2. Improves your inner strength
  3. Decreases your blood pressure
  4. Increases your blood flow
  5. Give you a more positive perspective on life
  6. Helps you gain focus
  7. Improves your balance
  8. Relaxes your racing mind
  9. Clears and strengthens your lungs and respiratory system
  10. Releases tension through your entire body
  11. Strengthens your immune system
  12. Boosts your confidence and self esteem
  13. Reliefs your body of aches and pains
  14. Improves your quality of sleep
  15. Decreases your level of stress
  16. Improves your posture
  17. Aligns your spine and gives your back more support
  18. Eases headaches and migraines


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

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Also see: Yoga, Relaxation, and Drug Treatment


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Center today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by dialing our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Image via We Heart It

Addiction Treatment at Passages Rehab

How to Get the Most Benefit From Addiction Rehab

By Jennifer McDougall


1. Set realistic expectations in the beginning.

It is best to know before going into rehab what you would like your end result to be. If you hope to never have a desire to lay a finger on a single addictive substance again, mend those broken relationships, and find clarity in your outlook on life; remind yourself of that every day.

2. Be present in every moment. 

We all feel a little anxiety at times, but when you learn to focus solely on the moment you will be able to think more clearly and learn from the world around you. Thinking too far ahead about any particular thing can be a bit overwhelming. Take every moment one minute at a time, and you will be rewarded with an abundance of self-awareness and mental clarity.

3. Try your best to remain positive and be optimistic throughout treatment.

When you begin to feel doubtful or hopeless about recovery, remind yourself that you are able to do anything you set your mind to. That includes being completely healed.

4. Obey the rules.

Rules are set in place to help not only protect you, but help you through the healing process. Every rule that is set in place at Passages serves a purpose. Obeying these rules and guidelines promote a smooth transition throughout your individual treatment.

5. Be willing to share your story with others.

It takes a lot of courage to speak in front of a group of people, and sometimes it takes the same amount of courage to speak to one individual about some of the darkest most sensitive situations in your life. Be free to speak openly with your therapist. They are here to help you overcome your troubles so you can leave completely healed and empowered. Don’t be afraid of what anyone will think about you. At Passages we do not judge anyone for things that they have experienced in the past. All of our stories are unique and can be the light in someone else’s life that will make a significant difference.

6. Invite family members to come visit.

At Passages Addiction Treatment Center, we encourage our clients to invite their family members to visit them during treatment. This can be very beneficial for the individual who is in treatment. Family can help provide comfort and give them a boast of care and support. Some of those in treatment may feel a bit homesick at times, but when approved family members visit, those feelings of discomfort tend to vanish and clients typically feel motivated to make the most of their stay in rehab.

7. Do not give up!

No matter how frustrating something might be or how shy you might feel about discussing past traumas or bad experiences with your therapist please know that once you get through your rehabilitation everything will be much better.


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

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Photo by: Jennifer McDougall

Staying Sober During the Holidays

5 Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays

By Jennifer McDougall


There is no need to feel obligated to attend every party that you’re invited to. Find the crowd who is most sympathetic to the healthier choices you’ve made and stick with those friends. Attend the party with someone you trust.


Supportive family members can offer positive reinforcement at difficult times. Remember that just because someone is related to you, doesn’t necessarily make them supportive.  Surround yourself with people who bring out your best self and never judge you for the choices you’ve made.


Sometimes those who are unaware of our sobriety put pressure on us to use addictive substances, thinking it will help us “have more fun”. You already know that you don’t need drugs or alcohol to have a better time. The best way to feel more comfortable in these types of situations is to practice saying, “No, thank you.” Don’t think twice about what anyone is going to think of you or say about you for turning down an offer to use addictive substances. Choosing to live a life free of addictive substances is a wise choice and you will feel stronger the more comfortable you feel saying “No, thank you.”


It helps to drive yourself to wherever it is that you’re going. If you are going to attend an event with a friend or family member be sure to talk to them beforehand and agree to leave if and when the other person is ready to leave.  You will need a backup plan just in case the other person bails on you. Keep a clever excuse, or escape route in your back pocket to get out of an escalating situation. Talk to a close friend who is not attending that event and will be nearby and let them know where you will be in case you need a close contact to come to your rescue. Also, keep your phone and phone charger with you throughout the night.


Allow yourself to celebrate the holidays in ways that distance you from your old habits. It’s your life, remember that. Live it in a way that allows you to thrive, grow, and feel free of anything and everything holding you back from living the life you’ve always imagined.


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

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Image via We Heart It

Physical Effects of Nicotine Addiction

What Does a Nicotine Buzz Feel Like?

The nicotine high can sometimes be imperceptible, as it eliminates withdrawal symptoms and fills nicotine users with a sense of calm. Some users experience a “nicotine buzz,” most common in first-time nicotine users or after a period of abstinence. The main nicotine high starts almost immediately upon ingesting nicotine—especially for tobacco smokers—and lasts for a very short duration. Smokers feel it almost immediately after taking the first puff of a cigarette, while those who chew tobacco tend to feel the nicotine high within a minute of starting to chew. A wave of calmness passes over the user’s body, replacing the agitation of withdrawal, as soon as the nicotine is transferred to the brain. As the nicotine levels increase, nicotine users may feel feelings of calmness and relaxation replaced by a tingling sensation and sense of heaviness.

What Are the Physical Effects of Nicotine?

Because nicotine is a stimulant, heart rate and blood pressure increase as soon as nicotine enters the system. In fact, nicotine users can sometimes feel their pulses over their entire bodies. Additionally, some nicotine users even hear a slight buzzing or hum in the ears. In your brain, nicotine binds to the nicotine acetylcholine receptors that increase the levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine—resulting in a pleasant and relaxed feeling. As another neurotransmitter—serotonin—is released, nicotine users feel increasingly calm and slightly euphoric. The pleasant and euphoric feeling lasts for only a few minutes and quickly fades, though increased heart rate may last for several hours after nicotine use.

Nicotine is extremely addictive, as it acts on many neurotransmitters in the brain. Nicotine is also extremely short-acting, requiring frequent use of tobacco products in order to alleviate withdrawal that quick sets in. Chronic use leads to tar-stained teeth from smoking, oral and esophageal cancers and lung cancer. Many nicotine smokers also put themselves at risk for stroke, heart attack and emphysema. Cigarette smoke in nicotine-laden tobacco also leads to stained fingers and fingernails, yellowish skin, signs of premature aging and yellow-hued teeth. Smokers are also at risk for gum disease and infections.

Can You Overdose From Nicotine?

Yes, you can overdose from ingesting too much nicotine. Nicotine overdose usually occurs by accidentally ingesting too much nicotine from nicotine replacement products such as gum, lozenges, inhalers or patches. If you continue to smoke when using these products, you increase your risk of a nicotine overdose. Common digestive symptoms of nicotine overdose include stomach pains or nausea, resulting in either diarrhea or vomiting. Nicotine addicted individuals may also feel light-headed and confused during an overdose, or have extreme headaches and experience vision or hearing problems. Some nicotine users also experience racing heart and accompanying chest pains. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using products that contain nicotine immediately and call your physician.

What is Ketamine

What is Ketamine

In medicine, Ketamine is an anesthetic used to sedate patients for short operations. On the street, Ketamine—also known as “Special K” or just “K”—is a dissociative drug that produces effects ranging from an amphetamine-like sensation at low doses to a comatose trance with hallucinations setting in at higher doses. While manufactured professionally as a pharmaceutical, Ketamine is illegally sold on the streets, or even processed underground and sold for recreational use.

What Does Ketamine Look Like?

Medical-grade Ketamine is a clear liquid that generally comes in 10 ml injection vials. While sold under several brand names such as Ketalar, Ketaset, and Ketmex, but all vials will state the active ingredient as “Ketamine Hydrochloride” on their labels. When dried out, illegally obtained pharmaceutical grade liquid Ketamine produces a fine white powder that is easier to use recreationally and can be snorted, rubbed in the gums, or fashioned into pills. Small quantities of Ketamine powder can also be mixed with larger amounts of cheaper stimulants such as amphetamines to create pills and tablets that are often passed off as ecstasy to unsuspecting users.

How is Ketamine Used?

Administered by IV drip in highly monitored surgical environments, Ketamine renders patients unconscious and unable to feel pain. A small percentage of people who use Ketamine illegally inject the liquid Ketamine into their muscles to producing a fast-acting and intense dissociative effect.

However, ketamine Injected directly into a vein—while unlikely to result in death—can instantly render a person unconscious, making them susceptible to both accidental injuries from sudden falls, or increase the risk of sexual assault (especially due to paralysis in the company of strangers at dance parties and underground raves). In the dance club scene, people snort powdered Ketamine directly in through their nose—like cocaine—or take it in pill form thinking they are using ecstasy. In order to counteract the paralysis that accompanies high doses, a mixture of Ketamine and stimulants like cocaine is sold under the street name “CK1.”

Is Ketamine Legal?

As a Schedule III drug in the United States, Ketamine is deemed to have medical value and to be less addictive than harder drugs such as heroin. While it is illegal to possess or sell Ketamine, it is authorized for medical use with the proper licensing. Private possession of Ketamine can result in arrest and criminal prosecution.

How to Contact Passages Addiction Treatment Centers:

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

What is Ketamine

How Ketamine Addiction Works

Is Ketamine Physically Addictive?

Ketamine does not meet the criteria for physically addictive drugs. In fact, Ketamine’s widespread use in medicine as a mild anesthetic is due in large part to its nonaddictive properties. However, when used recreationally, ketamine users have the potential of developing a psychological addiction to its effects. In fact, ketamine is one of the few hallucinogens that people tend to develop strong psychological addictions to when use prolongs.

What Causes Ketamine Addiction?

As a powerful dissociative and hallucinogen drug, ketamine can create intense trips with euphoric feelings. Depending on the dose, ketamine can also remove physical pain for short periods of time. As a result, the brain’s reward centers become affected by ketamine use. Over time, the brain begins to associate ketamine with positive feelings and bodily sensations, leading to behavioral or psychological addiction. Especially when ketamine is used to escape from emotional pain, ketamine users can develop a psychological dependency on the drug for frequent emotional regulation and escape.

Ketamine addiction is also affected by tolerance levels. Tolerance to ketamine develops very quickly. In fact, an increased dose will be necessary in order to achieve a high if ketamine is reused within three days of the ketamine dependent individual’s previous use. As tolerance develops, people take increasingly large doses of ketamine—heightening the side effects of ketamine, accompanied by a diminished high.

What Are the Signs of Ketamine Addiction?

Ketamine addiction can have lasting mental impacts on habitual users—including identity confusion and amnesia. Long-term use can result memory loss, the inability to pay attention, and decreased learning ability due to ketamine’s effect on glutamate—the brain chemical pivotal in memory formation. The effects of the repeat hallucinatory experience can heighten preexisting mental disorders, incite Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), cause flashbacks, and stimulate night terrors—episodes of sleepwalking, sleep-motion, adrenaline responses while asleep and nightmares. Physical indications of ketamine addiction include an erratic heart rate, poor vision, and recurring rashes.

Physical Effects of Marijuana Abuse

What Does a Marijuana High Feel Like?

A marijuana high is a generally pleasant experience that creates a dreamlike intoxicated state. Marijuana users often feel a sense of mild euphoria and mood enhancement as relaxation takes hold. Muscles relax, and the world seems absurd and funny, often giving way to uncontrollable laughter or captivating thought even when focusing on the mundane.  Many marijuana users find thoughts flowing more easily and becoming increasingly creative and abstract. However, marijuana highs also lend themselves to slowed physical and mental reactions as well as impaired short-term memory and sedentary behavior.

What Are the Physical Effects of Marijuana?

When smoked, the effects of marijuana begin within seconds—but when eaten, marijuana’s physical and mental effects may take up to an hour to appear. This often causes those who consume marijuana through eating to take too much accidentally while waiting for the initial dose to “hit.”

The effects of marijuana are dose dependant, and usually last for a few hours. As a mild analgesic, physical pain will decrease shortly after use. In addition to a perception of relaxation, marijuana users often find muscle tension and cramping decrease. Marijuana has powerful antiemetic effect, reducing nausea within minutes of use. In fact, marijuana is sometimes used medically to aid those experiencing pharmaceutically induced nausea, such as chemo patients. Additionally, marijuana stimulates the appetite, resulting in sudden and compulsive hunger—and thus, eating—in a process popularly known as “the munchies.” People smoking marijuana will often have bloodshot eyes, a dry mouth, and experience a hacking cough. As the marijuana wears off, users tend to feel groggy, tired, and a little too full.

Can You Overdose From Marijuana?

While you cannot technically overdose from marijuana, users experience a host of negative symptoms with heavy and prolonged use. Many marijuana users report racing hearts, anxiety, agitation, and paranoia, with some users experiencing panic attacks with high doses of marijuana. For others, large doses are associated with a drop in blood pressure, causing an extreme lack of coordination, feelings of lightheadedness, dizziness, confusion, fainting and possibly a loss of consciousness. Most of these experience pass quickly as the body metabolizes the THC ingested from the marijuana.


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Center today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by dialing our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Image via We Heart It

Understanding Drug & Alcohol Rehab Success Rates

One the most important measures of a drug or alcohol treatment program is their success rate. As you are evaluating a rehab program, you will want to inquire about the success rate that it has achieved among past patients. In general, you should seek the most effective program that has the highest rate of success.

Understanding Drug & Alcohol Rehab Success Rates

Here are a few considerations to help you understand the drug and alcohol success rates of different programs. While each rehab program is unique, these basic measures will apply to most drug and alcohol rehab programs.

  • Completion Rate
    One of the first measures of success is the ability to complete a drug or alcohol rehab program. Ask facilities what percentage of people who start treatment complete treatment there.
  • Overall Recovery Rate
    When touring or interviewing a rehab facility for yourself or a loved one, ask what their overall success rate is. Simply, this percentage tells you how many people achieve sobriety during their stay at the rehab facility. The higher the value, the better the chances for successful detoxification and full sobriety. Be cautious about programs that report low recovery rates. Many facilities with lower recovery rates embrace the notion of relapse as part of the recovery process.
  • Long-Term Success Rates
    Ask about the long-term success rates. Anyone kept away from drugs and alcohol can achieve sobriety for a limited time. However, a program is only effective if you maintain sobriety on your own. Find out how many patients who have completed a given program remain clean and sober years down the road. Do not be fooled be people talking about extremely short term measures for sobriety, instead opting for a recovery center that fosters lasting sobriety. Ask if people are remaining clean years past their stay in recovery.

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Diagnostic Tests at Residential Drug Treatment Centers

Diagnostic tests help establish whether there are existing underlying physical conditions causing drug or alcohol dependency to take hold. Establishing baseline measures of metabolism, critical vitamins, minerals, and other organic compounds can help recovery teams at residential drug treatment centers to calibrate and foster healing. Diagnostic tests can be analyzed and their conclusions put into action plans to help create and implement effective recovery treatment that’s tailored to the patient’s body and medical history.

Diagnostic Tests at Residential Drug Treatment Centers

Diagnostic tests are commonly administered at residential drug treatment centers in order to assess physical well-being at a cellular level. Diagnostic testing in the wake of drug and alcohol addiction also measures complex biological processes and issues that simply cannot be detected by surface examinations.

  • Amino Acids
    The levels of the 38 amino acids in the body play a critical role in the absorption and processing of nutrients. Abnormal levels may indicate the body is not be getting all the vitamins and minerals necessary to properly function, and may suggest the presence of underlying problems that require attention.
  • Trace Elements
    Some trace elements may be toxic to the body. Establishing the levels of these elements (such as copper, magnesium, and potassium) in the blood can shed light on damage caused by years of drug use, allowing your treatment team to more accurately craft your personalized recovery plans.
  • Metabolism
    Years of drug abuse alters the how the body metabolizes food and converts it into energy. Abnormal levels of organic acids can indicate metabolic problems and affect recovery and long-term sobriety. Using their years of experience in the recovery field, doctors can chart a course to reestablish a healthy metabolic rate. Diagnostic testing can reoccur at various points during your stay at a residential drug treatment center, in order to monitor your recovery and refine your treatment.
  • Antioxidants
    A common diagnostic test is the oxidative stress test, designed to measure levels of beneficial antioxidants in the body. These antioxidants are critical for an effective immune system and help reduce the presence of free radicals that can cause damage to our body at a cellular level. Low levels of antioxidants can be treated to promote healing and prevent further damage to the body.

Advantages to Onsite Detox Rehab Facilities

After deciding to receive treatment for alcohol dependency, the first stage of recovery is detoxification. This process is necessary to fully free your body of alcohol and to begin the process of restoration of your body and brain to its natural pre-alcohol state, known as homeostasis. There are several advantages to enrolling in an onsite detox rehab facility, all of which increase your chances of lasting sobriety after recovery.

Onsite detox rehab facilities are staffed with medical professionals focused on guiding you through the alcohol detox process. These physicians, nurses and clinicians are experts in their field, with years of hands-on experience in the addiction field. Medical staff can help mitigate physical and emotional discomfort during the alcohol withdrawal process, naturally eliminating cravings. This allows the body to purge itself of toxins and begin to heal, while the body’s hormones and neurochemicals adjust to their natural levels, positively affecting mood while allowing withdrawal pangs to subside.

Advantages to Onsite Detox Rehab Facilities

Onsite rehab facilities allow doctors and staff to closely monitor individuals as alcohol leaves their systems. Medical staff should monitor your vital signs and measure blood chemistry to anticipate and prevent complications. Because the detox process differs for each person—and because each individual’s chemical makeup is unique—individualized care becomes critical in order to ensure successful detox.

Onsite detox rehab facilities can help patients heal by measuring and balancing their nutritional needs. By providing calibrated nutrition, herbal supplements and nutrients, onsite detox rehab facilities can help make the detoxification process easier by correcting physical imbalances caused by years of alcohol use.

Additionally, one advantage of onsite detox rehab facilities is its ability to establish a continuity of care between the detoxification and recovery processes. Therapists get to know you on a first-name basis, and begin their work right away as soon as you finish detoxing from drugs, alcohol and other toxins. Onsite detox rehab facilities provide a seamless transition to the next steps of recovery in a familiar, warm atmosphere, allowing you to focus on emotional healing without battling cravings for drugs and alcohol.

The Importance of Counseling at Private Drug Rehab Facilities

One of the backbones of successful recovery is the therapeutic counseling that takes place in private drug rehab facilities. While drug addiction certainly has a strong physical component, many drug dependent individuals successfully detox, only to relapse later when emotional or psychological issues resurface. The importance of counseling at private drug rehab facilities lies in its ability to address the root causes of addiction that led dependent individuals to use drugs in the first place.

The Importance of Counseling at Private Drug Rehab Facilities

Drug addiction is a complex issue—and like most complex problems, its solution depends on comprehensive treatment. Throughout the course of counseling at private drug rehab facilities, drug addicted individuals can delve into the psychological component of their dependency. With the assistance of a qualified therapist, drug dependency counseling cuts to the core reasons for addiction—often with roots in negative self beliefs, heartache, or emotional, physical or sexual abuse that has gone unresolved for years.

Benefits of Personalized Counseling at Private Drug Rehab Facilities

Here are just a few of the benefits that personalized counseling at private drug rehab facilities can provide.

  • Emotional Healing
    Individualized counseling at private drug rehab facilities affords a safe atmosphere where counseling can be tailored to an individual’s past, relationships, personality and life experience, engendering recovery that is lasting and personal.
  • Accountability
    Personalized counseling at private drug rehab facilities offers a source of accountability for patients. Therapists can evaluate and guide patients’ progress during the drug recovery process, offering positive reinforcement, providing encouragement and gauging recovery progress.
  • Awareness and Perspective
    At private drug rehab facilities, customized counseling programs provide greater awareness of our thoughts, self beliefs, and history. This allows patients to develop higher levels of self-awareness and perspective, giving them the tools they need to recover from drug abuse without relapse.
  • Solutions
    While qualified therapists can provide coping mechanisms that can aid recovery from drug addiction, they will also partner with the patient to create self-driven solutions. As patients heal, they can learn to forge their own solutions, which enables them to cope not only with addiction, but with any life challenges they may face in the future.

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Center today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Photo by: Jennifer McDougall

What Does Outpatient Addiction Rehab Offer?

Outpatient addiction rehab programs can make sense for individuals who do not need to attend inpatient treatment. By nature, outpatient rehab offers lower time commitment and financial investment for those undergoing alcohol and drug addiction treatment. While outpatient rehab is not for everyone, it can provide a viable option for those with financial, career or parenting obligations that would otherwise prevent an inpatient addiction treatment stay.

What Is Outpatient Addiction Rehab?

An outpatient addiction rehab center provides addiction recovery services to chemically dependent individuals—just on a more limited and short-term basis than inpatient addiction rehab tends to. While many outpatient program offerings are limited, they can still be a good fit for those who have less severe addictions that have only endured for relatively short time periods. Outpatient addiction rehab tends to be completed in a shorter time frame, with a weekly time investment, so it tends to be best for those who need less support and who take more initiative in their healing process.

What Does Outpatient Addiction Rehab Offer?

Here are the most common treatment types offered by outpatient addiction rehab programs—and for those who take full advantage of these resources, these offerings may be the key to regaining a safe, peaceful and productive sober life.


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Center today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by dialing our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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Mental Impairment From Ketamine Addiction

As a strong dissociative drug, ketamine (also known as “Special K”) can cause severe mental impairment in chemically dependent individuals. Affecting clarity of cognition, memory formation and even severe delusions, ketamine clouds the mind during both the period of intoxication and beyond. Unless ketamine addiction is properly treated in an inpatient drug treatment facility, dependent individuals can experience brain damage and learning problems that last the rest of their lives.

Mental Impairment From Acute Ketamine Intoxication

Ketamine affects the brain’s neurotransmitters, triggering a host of changes that lead to cognitive impairment. During intoxication, ketamine can cause memory difficulties including temporary amnesia. In fact, studies have shown that ketamine addiction can lead to a sharp decline in working memory, as well as problems with verbal recall.

The mental impairment caused by ketamine can also lead to impaired problem solving abilities. Ketamine dependent individuals experience lowered concentration levels, attention deficit problems, learning disabilities, and even drastically reduced sensory processing of visual and verbal information. In fact, one 1997 study found that ketamine dependent individuals qualified for a clinical thought disorder due to symptoms of mental impairment, experiencing slow thought processes, and compromised spatial thinking.

Mental Impairment From Prolonged Ketamine Addiction

What does seem to be a deciding factor in ketamine induced cognitive impairment is length of dependency and level of dosage. Cognitive impairment has been shown in several scientific studies to vary with dosage among ketamine dependent individuals. With prolonged use, ketamine can affect recognition and procedural learning. In fact, in severe cases, ketamine can trigger schizophrenic-like symptoms in dependent individuals, causing them to split from reality. Additionally, because ketamine drastically reduces heartrate in high doses, dependent individuals who overdose can experience oxygen deprivation in the brain, potentially leading to severe brain damage and permanently impeded cognition.

As ketamine dependency builds over time with tolerance, cognitive impairment increases, as well. Studies have shown that the duration of ketamine addiction makes a significant difference in the level of mental problems that occur—a similar effect as occurs when average dosage increases. Prolonged ketamine addiction can cause a host of secondary mental problems, lessening recognition, compromising procedural learning, and even causing users to split off from reality.

The Effects of Ketamine Addiction on Intelligence

Some ketamine dependent individuals are highly intelligent at the outset of their addictions. In fact, in the mid-’70s, physicians in Southern California were tested for mental responses to ketamine doses. Once high on ketamine, these brilliant individuals underwent tests that revealed they displayed less ability to learn, poor memory skills, and difficulty in associating words and language.

Beyond the Genetics Model for Addiction

Over the years, the addiction industry has insisted on the genetic model of addiction as the only acceptable paradigm. However, while genetics can certainly be a contributing factor to the development of drug addiction or alcoholism, it often only offers a partial picture. In fact, twin studies and other scientific research show that genetics only plays a percentage part in the development of addiction, with at least half of the equation attributable to emotional and psychological factors. Beyond the genetics model for addiction, we can consider a holistic view of alcoholism and drug dependency that acknowledges the minor genetic component, but seeks to find resolvable root causes that have led to alcoholism and addiction in the first place.

Reaching Beyond the Genetics Model for Addiction

While genetic predisposition can play a role in the development of drug or alcohol addiction, it likely isn’t the core cause of either condition. In fact, there are four other major reasons that alcoholism and drug addiction develop in dependent individuals.

  • Chemical Imbalance
    Chemical imbalances occur in the body due to two main reasons. Sometimes, preexistence medical conditions cause dependent individuals to self-medicate by using alcohol or drugs. In other instances, chemical imbalances become created by alcohol or drug intake itself, as dosage amount and frequency increase. As alcohol or drug use develops and escalates, the “need” to use heightens, as chemical changes become triggered in the brain and withdrawal begins to kick in during the time in between uses. In fact, research has shown that as little as a single drink daily can lead the body to initiate a chemical imbalance, predictably leading to alcohol dependency as time passes.
  • Unresolved Emotional Pain
    Buried emotional trauma or heartache often lies at the core of alcohol or drug addiction. In these cases, the mind has repressed and refused to deal with lingering memories due to the inner turmoil, anger, fear or intense sorrow they have caused. As a result, alcohol or drug use becomes a means of escaping these memories, and as a way to compensate for the emotional and psychological damage they have wrought.
  • Inability to Cope With Life Challenges
    We learn our coping strategies quite young, and some of us didn’t have the best role models for dealing with life’s inherent challenges. We also might encounter personal tragedies, peer pressure, toxic or abusive situations, heartbreak or job loss, leading us to feel unable to manage our situations and ourselves. As a result, drug addiction or alcoholism become a shortcut to lasting coping strategies.
  • Negative Self Views
    Many alcohol or drug dependent individuals suffer from incredibly low self-esteem. Often received by others’ negative voices, or due to a lack of correct perspective on life events, negative self views prevent us from treating ourselves with dignity and respect. As a result, many alcohol or drug dependent individuals “throw in the towel,” believing themselves to be incapable or unworthy of accomplishment, enjoyment, love or healing.


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Center today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by dialing our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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