Habit vs Addiction: Understanding the Difference

A split-image composition with two halves. On one side, a person engaging in a healthy habit, such as exercising, reading, or practicing a hobby. This side is shown with bright colors, positive imagery, and a sense of balance. On the other side, a person struggling with addiction, with visual cues like empty pill bottles, a tangled web of substances, or a person in distress. This side uses darker tones and more chaotic elements to convey the negative impact of addiction. In the middle, the two sides are blended with a gradient or a visual representation of the fine line between habit and addiction. Symbols like a scale, a blurred boundary, or a spectrum are used to illustrate the nuanced difference between the two concepts.

Ever wonder why you can’t stop checking your phone or find yourself mindlessly snacking when you’re not even hungry? The line between habit and addiction can be blurry, but understanding the difference is crucial to gaining control over your behavior.

Habits and addictions are shaped by a complex interplay of biological, psychological, and environmental factors. Here are some key data and statistics:

  • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 130 people die every day in the United States from drug overdoses. Drug addiction affects millions of Americans across all demographics.
  • Research has found that people who are genetically predisposed to seeking out novel experiences and sensations are at higher risk for developing addictions. However, genes are not destiny, and the environment plays a large role.
  • Habits are formed through neural pathways in the brain that strengthen with repetition. It takes an average of 66 days for a new habit to form, but habits can be broken with focused effort and replacement with new routines.
  • Addictions involve changes in the brain’s reward system that go beyond habitual behaviors. Addicted individuals often experience intense cravings and a loss of control over their behaviors.
  • About 9% of Americans over age 12, struggle with a substance use disorder, while only 0.2% to 0.3% have a gambling disorder, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. However, many people exhibit addictive behaviors related to things like social media, video games, sex, food, and more.

In this article, we’ll explore habits and addictions in depth to help you determine if you’re exhibiting a harmless habit or need to make a change due to an addiction.

Get ready to learn all about the psychology and science behind what drives your daily actions, pick up useful strategies for building better habits, and find the motivation and tools you need to overcome addictive tendencies for good. Whether you’re simply curious or seriously concerned about yourself or someone you care about, this guide will provide the answers and advice you’ve been looking for.

Defining Habit vs Addiction

A habit is a routine behavior that becomes automatic over time, while an addiction is a compulsive behavior that is difficult to control. Although habits and addictions share some similarities, there are a few key differences to understand.

Loss of Control

The main distinction between a habit and an addiction is loss of control. With a habit, you remain in control of your actions and can choose to stop the behavior if needed. An addiction, on the other hand, involves a craving that becomes uncontrollable, often continuing the behavior even when there are negative consequences.

Impact on Daily Life

Another sign of addiction is if the behavior begins to interfere with work or relationships. Habits typically do not cause issues with day-to-day functioning, whereas an addiction can become the main focus of someone’s life and compromise responsibilities.

Difficulty Quitting

It is relatively easy to break a habit through conscious effort and willpower. An addiction is much harder to quit, often requiring professional help or a customized treatment program. The urge to relapse into addictive behaviors tends to be very strong.

Underlying Cause

Habits develop from repetition and reinforcement over time, serving a utilitarian purpose. Addictions tend to be linked to an underlying issue, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, or low self-esteem. The addictive behavior acts as an escape or way to cope with negative emotions or or events.

The good news is there are strategies for overcoming addictions and replacing unhealthy habits with positive ones. Understanding the difference is the first step toward making lasting changes and living a balanced life. With support, commitment, recover from addiction. and the right resources, people can and do recover from addiction. 

The Psychology Behind Habit Formation

Habits form gradually, through a process of reinforcement and reward. As we repeat behavior and experience positive outcomes, neurological pathways in our brain strengthen, making that behavior automatic.

Once a habit forms, we can do it without having to think about it consciously. Our habits shape a huge portion of our daily lives, from how we wake up in the morning to what we choose to eat. While good habits can benefit us, bad habits and addictions negatively impact our health, relationships, and quality of life.

The psychology of habit formation involves several key factors:

  • Cue: A trigger that prompts the habit to start, like a time of day, emotional state, or place. The cue signals your brain to go into “autopilot” and perform the habitual behavior.
  • Routine: The actual habit or sequence of behaviors. This can be physical, mental, or emotional. The routine is the most important part of the habit loop.
  • Reward: The benefit you gain from the habit. This could be physical (like a cigarette), emotional (like comfort from a daily routine), or mental (like satisfaction from checking email). The reward further reinforces the habit loop.
  • Craving: The desire and anticipation of the reward. Cravings drive habits and make them hard to break. They activate the reward centers in our brain, even before we engage in habitual behavior

Understanding how habits form is the first step to gaining control over them. By Identifying the cues and rewards that drive your habits, you can work to build healthy new routines and overcome unhealthy addictions. With practice and persistence, you can rewire your habits and transform your life for the better.

How Addictions Hijack the Brain’s Reward System

Addictive substances hijack your brain’s reward system, flooding it with dopamine and tricking it into craving the substance. Your brain remembers the rush of dopamine and associates it with the addictive drug, cementing the addiction.

How Addiction Hijacks the Reward System

Addictive drugs release dopamine, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, in the brain’s reward pathway, the nucleus accumbens. Normally, the reward pathway releases dopamine in response to natural rewards like food, sex, and social interaction. Addictive drugs, however, can release up to 10 times more dopamine than natural rewards.

This flood of dopamine feels highly pleasurable and rewarding. Your brain remembers this dopamine surge and associates it with the addictive substance, essentially rewiring itself. The brain now links the drug with survival by remembering the dopamine rush. This fuels craving and compulsive drug-seeking behavior.

The brain’s prefrontal cortex, responsible for self-control and judgment, is weakened. The amygdala, involved in emotional regulation and stress, is strengthened. This Imbalance makes it much harder to quit using the substance. The brain has adapted to expect the drug.

Addictive drugs have a crucial addictive-drug-sensitive component in the brain’s reward circuitry. They activate a specific receptor, the dopamine D2 receptor, that is critical for addictive behavior.  Blocking this receptor can help overcome addiction.

To overcome addiction, the brain must relearn natural rewards by re-strengthening connections between neurons. This difficult process takes time and conscious effort through lifestyle changes, counseling, medication, and support groups. Understanding how addiction affects your brain can help motivate you or a loved one to commit to recovery and build new neural pathways of health and wellness.

Identifying Unhealthy Habits vs Harmful Addictions

The difference between an unhealthy habit and a harmful addiction can be subtle. Here are some ways to determine if a behavior has crossed the line into addiction.

Loss of Control

With an addiction, you feel unable to stop or limit the behavior, even if you want to. You may make repeated attempts to quit or cut back, but ultimately fail. An unhealthy habit is something you can choose to stop, even if it’s difficult. You’re still in control.

Consequences Don’t Matter

When addicted, you continue the behavior even when it causes significant problems in your life. Addiction becomes more important than relationships, health, work, or financial stability. Unhealthy habits may have minor consequences, but you can weigh the pros and cons and make adjustments.

Physical Dependence

Addictions often involve physical dependence, meaning you need the substance or behavior to function normally. Quitting abruptly can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Habits typically do not cause withdrawal symptoms or the inability to feel normal without them.

Time Spent

Addictions occupy an increasingly large amount of your time and mental space. You may spend hours engaged in the behavior each day, constantly thinking about it or planning how to do it next. Unhealthy habits do not take over your schedule or dominate your thinking. You can still enjoy and focus on other life activities.


Addictions are often kept hidden from others due to feelings of guilt or shame. You may lie to cover up the depth of your addiction. Unhealthy habits, while problematic, are usually not kept a secret or a source of strong shame. You remain open about the behavior with close ones.

The path to overcoming addiction starts with recognizing the problem. Be honest with yourself about whether a behavior has become an addiction, then seek help from medical professionals. Building awareness and a strong support system are the first steps to recovery. There are always alternatives to unhealthy habits and addiction. You have the power to create positive change.

Warning Signs You May Have Crossed From Habit to Addiction

If your habit has crossed into addiction, several warning signs may become apparent. Addiction means you feel unable to stop the behavior, even when you want to or know you should. Some key signs you may have an addiction include:

Loss of Control

You find yourself unable to stop indulging in the habit when you intend to. For example, you plan to have just one drink but end up drinking excessively. You feel a compulsion to continue the behavior that overrides your self-control.

Continuing Despite Consequences

You continue the behavior even though it causes problems in your relationships, health issues, financial troubles, or other negative impacts. Yet you feel unable to quit or cut back.

Cravings and Preoccupation

You experience intense urges and cravings for the habit or substance. When you’re unable to engage in it, you feel restless, irritable, and discontent. The habit occupies your thoughts constantly.

Hiding or Lying About the Behavior

You hide the extent of your habit from others or lie about it to avoid judgment or Intervention. This secrecy and deception is a sign the habit has become unhealthy.

Increased Tolerance

Over time, you need more of the substance or habit to get the same effect. For example, one drink used to give you a buzz, but now it takes three or four. This tolerance indicates your body and mind have adapted to the behavior in an unhealthy way.

Withdrawal Symptoms

When you stop or cut back, you experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms like nausea, shaking, mood swings, and cravings. Withdrawal shows your body has become dependent on the habit or substance.

If several of these signs resonate with you, it’s possible your habit has progressed into addiction. The good news is there are many resources to help you overcome addiction and build healthier habits. Speaking with a medical professional is often the first step.

Building Healthy Habits: Tips and Strategies

Building healthy habits and overcoming addictions is challenging, but with the right mindset and strategies, you can succeed. Start by focusing on small changes and track your progress to stay motivated.

Start small and build up gradually

Don’t try to overhaul your life overnight. Pick one habit to focus on, like going for a 15-minute walk 3 times a week or drinking an extra glass of water each day. Once that habit sticks, build on your success by adding another small change. Taking incremental steps will make the process feel more achievable and help you stay consistent.

Find your motivation and reward yourself

Identify why you want to build this habit or break an addiction. Do it for your health, relationships, finances, or productivity. Remind yourself of your motivation regularly to maintain your determination. Also, give yourself rewards along the way to stay on track, whether it’s a nice meal out or an evening of watching your favorite show.

Track your progress and be accountable

Use a habit tracker, calendar, or journal to record your progress. Note how often you do your new habit or avoid addictive behavior. Seeing your progress in black and white will keep you accountable and motivated to continue improving. Tell a friend or family member about your goal so they can check in on your progress too.

Learn from your mistakes and try again

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up. Everyone falls off the wagon sometimes. The key is to not give up completely. Acknowledge what went wrong and get back to your routine the next day. You may need to revisit your motivation or modify your approach. The more you practice, the easier it will get. Success is a journey, not a one-time achievement. Stay determined and never stop trying.

With practice and perseverance, you can retrain your habits and overcome addictions. Stay focused on your motivation, start small, track your progress, learn from mistakes, and keep trying. You’ve got this! Make each day a chance to build on your success and become your best self.

Overcoming Addiction: Treatment and Recovery Options

Once you’ve identified an addiction, the path to overcoming it typically involves treatment and a long-term recovery process. There are many options available for addiction treatment, including:

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Residential rehab facilities provide 24-hour care and support. Patients stay on-site while receiving intensive treatment through counseling, therapy, and medication (if needed). Inpatient rehab allows you to focus fully on your recovery in a controlled environment.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient programs provide care and treatment while allowing you to live at home.

Options include: Individual or group counseling and therapy. Meet with a counselor or therapist on your own or join a support group.

Partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient treatment. Receive treatment during the day but return home at night. Useful for those transitioning from inpatient rehab to independent living.

Medication and medical care. Work with doctors or psychiatrists to manage withdrawal symptoms and health issues related to your addiction.

Recovery Support Groups

Groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) offer ongoing support through the challenges of sobriety and addiction recovery. Connecting with others struggling with similar issues can help provide motivation and accountability. Support groups are free to join and available in most communities.

The recovery process often lasts a lifetime. Making long-term lifestyle changes and learning coping strategies to avoid relapse are key. It may take trying different options to find what works for you. Don’t get discouraged if you relapse-just get back to your treatment plan and focus on your motivation for becoming and staying sober. With time and dedication, you can overcome your addiction and maintain a healthy life free from substance abuse.

Creating a Supportive Environment for Change

Creating a supportive environment is key to making positive changes in your life, whether it’s developing a new habit or overcoming an addiction. The people around you and the places you frequent can have a huge impact on your success.

Surround yourself with a strong support system of people cheering you on. Let close friends and family know about your goal so they can encourage your efforts and check in on your progress. Consider joining an online community or local group with similar goals. Having accountability partners and a team of like-minded individuals will make the journey much easier.

Similarly, spend less time in environments that enable unhealthy behaviors and more time in those that promote the changes you want to make. If certain friends or locations trigger cravings or temptations, avoid them when possible. Out of sight, out of mind.

Your environment also includes the online spaces you inhabit. Follow social media accounts and subscribe to websites that provide motivation and helpful information related to your goal. Mute or unfollow anything that glorifies addictive tendencies or distracts from what you’re trying to achieve.

Every small change you make to build a supportive environment will help ensure your success in developing better habits and freeing yourself from addiction. Surround yourself with positivity, seek out accountability, and limit exposure to triggers and temptations. With the right mindset and environment, you’ll be well on your way to lasting change.

Habit vs Addiction FAQs: Your Top Questions Answered

FAQs about Habits vs Addictions

What’s the difference between a habit and an addiction?

A habit is a behavior that you repeat regularly, often without thinking about it. Habits are generally harmless or even helpful. An addiction, on the other hand, is a compulsive behavior that you have little control over. Addictions negatively impact your life and health.

How do I know if I have an addiction?

Some signs of addiction include:

  • Losing control over the behavior. You can’t stop even if you want to
  • Continuing the behavior even when it causes problems.
  • Craving the behavior or feeling restless or irritable without it.
  • Finding that you need to increase the behavior to get the same effect. This is known as tolerance.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop. This could include anxiety, sweating, shaking, etc.
  • Spending a lot of time engaging in the behavior or recovering from its effects.
  • Giving up important activities because of the behavior.
  • Continuing the behavior even when it puts you in danger.
  • Lying to others to hide the extent of your behavior.
  • Feeling unable to limit how much you do something.
  • Needing the behavior to relieve bad feelings like stress, anxiety, or depression.

How do I build healthy habits and break addictions?

The keys to building good habits and overcoming addictions are:

  • Awareness. Pay close attention to your triggers and behaviors. Monitor how often and why you engage in them.
  • Accountability. Tell a friend or loved one about your goal and ask them to check in on your progress. Consider working with a therapist or support group.
  • Replace the behavior. Find an alternative behavior to do instead of the habit or addiction. Keep your hands and mind busy.
  • Reward yourself. Give yourself reinforcement and incentives for your accomplishments and milestones. Celebrate small wins along the way.
  • Make a plan. Decide how you will avoid triggers and temptations ahead of time. Have strategies in place for cravings and slips. Planning and preparation are key.
  • Take it day by day. Don’t feel overwhelmed by the big picture. Focus on the current day and the behaviors you want to change right now. You’ve got this! One day at a time.
  • Get support. Connecting to others who share your struggles can help keep you accountable and motivated. Find online communities or local support groups.
  • Be patient and compassionate. Significant change takes time. Avoid harsh self-judgment if you slip up. Learn from your mistakes and get back to your goal. You deserve to lead a happy, healthy life free from addiction.


Now you have a deeper understanding of the critical differences between habits and addictions. Remember that habits are healthy behaviors that you are in control of and can modify as needed to suit your needs and goals. Addictions, on the other hand, are compulsive behaviors that are out of your control and negatively impact your life.

The good news is you have the power to build positive habits and overcome addictive tendencies. Start small by choosing one habit or addiction to focus on, set a concrete and realistic goal, and track your progress. Celebrate your wins, learn from your slip-ups, and stay committed to continuous self-improvement. You’ve got this! With knowledge and determination, you can achieve a balanced and fulfilling life free from addiction. The journey may not always be easy, but it will be worth it. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to be the healthiest and happiest person you can be. Now go out there and make it happen!

What is a Holistic Drug Treatment Program?

Woman doing Yoga in the Park

People talk about holistic health like everyone should understand what it means without ever explaining it. Holistic medicine focuses on treating the whole person, not just the individual disease. A holistic practitioner will not just focus on the person’s unique disorder or illness but on improving the individual’s overall well-being. This is incredibly important, and addiction treatment and recovery are now. 

Treating the condition is excellent, but treating the individual and teaching them how to address the concerns and other triggering factors provides an opportunity for growth and’s long-term recovery.

At Relevance Recovery, our New Jersey treatment programs practice a holistic approach to addiction treatment and behavioral health. Contact a treatment coordinator today to see how we can support your holistic health through recovery.

What is Holistic Drug Treatment Program?

A holistic drug treatment program is designed to minutes the needs of clients struggling with substance abuse disorders. This program addresses the client’s mental, behavioral, emotional, physical, and social needs. Holistic addiction treatment programs combine traditional, evidence-based addiction treatment and alternative methods. A holistic program is designed to help patients develop “a stronger sense of self-identity, self-esteem, and self-confidence.” 

Through this treatment process, there is a “focus on fixing the cause of the element, not just relieving the symptoms and treating a patient as a person, not the disease.” The thought process behind this idea is to promote better overall health in every aspect of a client’s life.

What are Holistic Treatment Practices Available?

Several holistic treatment practices are available for individuals going through drug rehab. Individuals will access physical, mental, emotional, and social treatment practices to facilitate rehabilitation. 

Physical holistic treatment practices that are helpful during rehabilitation are some of the most commonly known physical therapies. Things like dance and movement therapy, tai chi, hiking, chiropractic care, massage therapy, and yoga are all holistic health practices supportive to individuals undergoing substance-abuse treatment. Many traditional treatment centers may offer yoga or movie therapy, but a holistic treatment center will have more options, and a more significant focus will be placed on the client’s physical health and treatment. Holistic treatment practices will also focus on nutrition as a guiding factor in rehabilitative health.

Traditional treatment focuses on cognitive-behavioral and dialectical behavioral therapy as the basis for rehabilitative care. A holistic approach will use conventional and alternative therapies like meditation, mindfulness, and other psychiatric practices for specialized disorders. For example, individuals struggling with a dual diagnosis of depression and substance use disorder will receive therapy for the substance use disorder, and an additional mental health treatment will be in place for their depression. This also applies to several common mental illnesses like anxiety, mood disorders, personality disorders, trauma, and bipolar disorder. 

Clients’ emotional well-being is also a significant focus of a holistic treatment center. Individuals will be encouraged to develop and grow their spirituality and evaluate their emotional connections to people and things. 

Lastly, holistic treatment will encourage social growth as well. This can include vocational services, cultural awareness and appreciation, and other social learning practices encouraging individuals to be a part of their community.

How to Find Holistic Drug Treatment in New Jersey

Define holistic drug treatment in New Jersey; look no further than Relevance Recovery. Our Freehold treatment center encourages holistic, integrative, and multidisciplinary treatment for substance abuse and mental illness. Our clients have access to a combination of holistic therapies and medication-assisted treatment. 

Holistic therapies include bio sound therapy, equine psychotherapy, massage therapy, fitness and meditation, peer support, and life skills. We believe that through these holistic practices, our clients can enhance their self-care progress spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

At Relevance Recovery, clients have access to a high-quality addiction treatment designed to address the root cause of addiction. We believe each individual has a unique experience, and each treatment program is tailored to meet those individual needs. Our leadership and staff understand the path to recovery, which is why we have created an “authentic multi-pathway philosophy attached to an award-winning substance-abuse relapse prevention program that ensures long-term, affordable care for all clients.”

Verify your insurance and speak with a representative today to see how we can guide you on your recovery journey.

Who Can Benefit From Holistic Drug Rehab?

In recent decades, the landscape of addiction treatment has changed. The old viewpoint that addiction and mental health were unrelated illnesses and, therefore, must be addressed independently has evolved into a clearer understanding of the complexities of addiction as a disease of the mind. Additionally, the diversity of the treatment environment continues to grow. Many rehab programs like Relevance Recovery now incorporate holistic treatments into comprehensive programs that address the medical and mental health needs of patients seeking sobriety. Including holistic or alternative therapies as part of our drug rehab program ensures you have the most significant access to the most well-rounded, individualized treatment possible. Even with an understanding of what holistic treatment is, it may be less clear who can benefit from holistic drug rehab.

What is Holistic Treatment?

In recent years, the idea of holistic or “whole person” medicine has grown in popularity. Although traditional interventions that focus on the science of healing remain highly effective, many people across the nation have started seeking a more well-rounded form of treatment to address their physical and emotional health needs. Holistic treatments, sometimes called complementary or alternative treatments, are therapeutic models that focus on healing the mind, body, and spirit as part of a comprehensive treatment approach.

Holistic addiction treatment programs incorporate holistic techniques into traditional programs that include evidence-based therapy models. Program participants benefit from these added interventions by focusing on healing from addiction and healing their emotional health and other areas of their lives. It is important to remember that holistic approaches are generally considered “complementary” and provide the most benefit when incorporated into a comprehensive treatment approach, including evidence-based therapy, medical support, nutritional support, and other peer and family support opportunities.

When is Holistic Treatment Used in Rehab?

Holistic treatment helps those seeking to overcome addiction (substance use disorders) achieve their sobriety goals in an environment that allows them to focus on their overall health and well-being. By incorporating holistic treatments like massage, yoga, meditation, and nutritional therapies into a program, treatment centers like Relevance Recovery encourage our patients to heal their mind, body, and spirit in the way they feel most comfortable.

The disease of addiction does not “look” the same from person to person. Therefore, incorporating holistic treatments into our programs ensures everyone has access to the treatment models that speak to them. Holistic therapies are used in rehab to complement or “add to” the benefits of traditional approaches. Including holistic options in this way can increase treatment success rates, help reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, enhance spiritual healing, and improve stress reduction skills.

Who Can Benefit From Holistic Drug Rehab?

Data from a National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health study indicates that 40% of US adults use some type of alternative and complementary medicine. One of the best parts about holistic approaches is that they can benefit anyone and are generally safe for everyone. Unlike pharmacological approaches to symptom management, holistic options do not typically involve interventions that could adversely impact one’s mental or physical health through invasive treatments or medication-based interventions. This allows more people to benefit from holistic drug rehab as concerns related to underlying medical and mental health conditions adversely interacting with a particular treatment are vastly reduced.

Also, holistic options frequently open the door to treatment for those who may be unwilling or uninterested in traditional drug rehab. Although conventional treatments, including detox, individual therapy, and group therapies, remain vital to achieving lasting sobriety, some who could benefit from treatment may not seek the help they need if traditional approaches are the only available option. This is also true if they have tried a conventional approach in the past and experienced a relapse. Including options for holistic treatment may increase curiosity or make them more willing to try (again) traditional treatments as part of a more extensive, all-encompassing program. The skills learned as part of holistic addiction treatment are beneficial long-term as well. Many holistic therapies focus on stress reduction and centering, two vital skills for relapse prevention and maintaining lasting sobriety.

How to Find Holistic Addiction Treatment Programs

Ongoing struggles with addiction impact you at all levels. Continued use of substances will inevitably have a harmful impact on your mind, body, and spirit. This makes it difficult to heal from within as your mind and body have trouble moving forward on the same path toward wellness. It is crucial to strengthen the mind-body connection to achieve lasting recovery. This is where holistic treatment comes into play. The theory behind alternative or holistic drug rehab is to provide a whole-person, comprehensive treatment approach that addresses all areas of healing.To learn more about how holistic addiction treatment programs can help you on your journey to recovery, contact a member of our admissions team at Relevance Recovery today. We are here to help you learn more about how holistic treatment can enhance and improve overall treatment outcomes as you begin your journey towards freedom from substance use. For a comprehensive addiction rehab in New Jersey, reach out to us today.

What are the Signs of Heroin Use?

The potential dangers of heroin addiction are well known. However, thousands of people try heroin for the first time every year. For some, initial heroin use results from experimentation, and for others, initial heroin use evolves out of a struggle with prescription opioids. Some data indicates that as many as 6% of those who abuse prescription opioids switch to heroin when prescription drugs are no longer available. Seeking help at an addiction treatment center specializing in dual diagnosis like Relevance Recovery can help you or a loved one begin your journey to overcoming addiction.

What is Heroin?

Most people think of heroin and picture a fine white powder. While this is indeed the primary appearance of heroin, it may also be a brown powder or a black tar-like substance referred to as black tar heroin. The composition of the drug varies depending on how it is manufactured. The way it is ingested into the body will also depend on the form of heroin used. Powdered heroin can be liquefied and injected (the most common method of use) or snorted through the nose. Heroin can also be smoked in a form called crack cocaine.

Heroin is a powerful opioid drug. It is manufactured from the seed pod of the opium poppy. These plants grow naturally in several regions of Asia, Mexico, and South America. Many drugs derived from natural ingredients are considered natural opioids, but this is not the case for heroin due to how the opium pods are handled after harvesting.

How Does Heroin Impact the Body?

Drugs affect each person in differing ways. How heroin affects one user’s body may be different from its impacts on someone else. Several factors, including the severity of use, length of use, underlying medical conditions, and whether other drugs or alcohol are also used, will affect how heroin impacts the body. It is vital to mention that heroin use, even short-term, will have health impacts.

The most common effects of heroin use include euphoria, flushing of the skin, itching, heaviness in the arms and legs, runny nose, watery eyes, slowed heart rate, slowed breathing, pinpoint pupils, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, and changes to appetite. Many of these effects are short-lived and subside within hours of last use.

In addition to the short-term impacts on the body, ongoing heroin use can lead to significant illness. Chronic heroin use increases the risk of developing medical issues and life-long disease processes. Common examples include liver disease, lung infections, blood-borne illness (due to IV needle use), skin conditions, alterations to the structure and function of the brain, heart valve infections, kidney disease, and arthritis.

 In addition to disease processes, long-term impacts to physical and mental health include increased risk of collapsed veins, chronic digesting issues and problems with constipation, and new or worsening mental health symptoms, including depression and anxiety. Without detox and treatment at a program designed to help you overcome heroin addiction, the long-term effects of heroin abuse can lead to life-long and potentially fatal illnesses.

What are the Signs of Heroin Use?

The typical signs and symptoms of heroin use mimic the side effects of heroin use. Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, many of the short-term impacts on the body of heroin use, are also indicators of heroin addiction. Signs and symptoms including euphoria, flushed skin, itching, nausea, vomiting, heavy feeling in the arms and legs, cloudy thinking, slowed heart rate and severe drowsiness are all short-term bodily impacts of heroin use but visible signs and symptoms of its use as well.

Some people may experience symptoms of heroin abuse that are uncommon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that these occur in few instances and are often the result of consuming adulterated (heroin with other chemicals mixed in) heroin. Also known as a “bad batch,” using adulterated heroin can cause anxiety, difficulty breathing, headache, tremors, chest pains, and heart palpitations.

In addition to physical symptoms, someone who struggles with heroin addiction may exhibit mood and behavioral changes, new legal and financial problems, secretive behavior, presence of drug paraphernalia, and the presence of visible “track marks” on various areas of the body.

How to Find Treatment for Heroin Addiction

The path to overcoming heroin addiction is not always smooth and should not be walked alone. When you begin to detox from heroin, you will experience withdrawal effects. In some cases, they can be severe and challenging to manage without help and support from medical and mental health professionals. Detoxing and participating in therapeutic programs to help address the root causes of opioid addiction are vital to achieving sobriety and maintaining lasting recovery.If you or a loved one are ready to put struggles with heroin addiction in the past, choosing rehab is the best first step. Contact us today to learn more about Relevance Recovery and how our opioid detox and heroin addiction treatment programs can help you achieve lasting recovery.

Can You Get Addicted to Adderall?

man showing adderall holding in a pinch

Many people are familiar with Adderall and its benefits when used to help alleviate the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall has also shown positive effects in helping people manage symptoms of narcolepsy. Available by prescription only, Adderall is a combination drug containing amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Adderall is classified as a stimulant and is frequently misused for the effects the individual components of the drug produces. When abused, Adderall can have effects similar to those produced by methamphetamine, an illegally manufactured stimulant drug.

What is Adderall? 

Adderall is a prescription medication commonly prescribed by mental health professionals to alleviate the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults and teens. Although the drug is highly effective when used as prescribed, it remains a controlled substance as it is frequently misused or obtained illegally and resold to individuals without prescriptions. Adderall helps manage ADHD symptoms by encouraging the brain to produce higher amounts of dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine, a naturally occurring chemical in the brain, is responsible for essential functions throughout the body, including regulating feelings of happiness and pleasure. Norepinephrine, another naturally occurring chemical in the central nervous system, is responsible for the rate at which the brain responds to stimuli from outside the body.

Can You Get Addicted to Adderall? 

As with any other drugs that impact dopamine production, dependency on the feelings produced by Adderall can develop quickly. Even when used as directed, Adderall impacts how you react to external stimuli. Normal day-to-day events that used to produce feelings of joy and pleasure become insufficient to produce the same level of reaction achieved with Adderall. In time, tolerance to the effects of the drug develops and, shortly thereafter, addiction. When you are addicted to Adderall, you crave the effects of the drug and believe that you must use it to feel content and alert. 

Additionally, because Adderall impacts the rate at which the brain produces norepinephrine, users who have developed a tolerance to Adderall believe they must take larger and more frequent doses to feel the same level of alertness and productivity they used to feel without Adderall or with smaller doses. When you try to reduce the amount you take or quit using Adderall entirely, users report brain fog or feelings of lethargy and confusion because their brain is not producing norepinephrine at the levels it was when they were taking Adderall.

It is important to note that Adderall addiction, like many other stimulant drugs, can produce a range of symptoms, especially when you try to stop using. These include anxiety, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, appetite changes, headaches, new or worsening mental health symptoms, hallucinations, heart problems, and various other potentially dangerous effects. Because of these, it is important to withdraw from Adderall under the support and care of trained professionals at an addiction rehab like Relevance Recovery.

How to Get Help with Adderall Addiction

Detoxing from Adderall can be dangerous. This is especially true if your addiction is severe and you struggle with intense, potentially life-threatening symptoms as you try to cleanse your system of the effects of the drug. For many, although they are ready to begin their journey toward sobriety, the process of getting and staying sober from Adderall addiction is not easy. If you or a loved one are prepared to put Adderall addiction in the past, it is important to choose a setting where skilled therapy providers can provide the support and guidance you need through the earliest and most difficult stages of detox and withdrawal. 
At Relevance Recovery, our treatment team is here to guide you through each stage of detox, therapy, and comprehensive aftercare planning to ensure the most well-rounded, holistic recovery experience possible. To learn more about our programs and how we can help you overcome Adderall addiction, contact our admissions team today.

Is There a Connection Between Social Media and Drug Use?

Is There a Connection Between Social Media and Drug Use?

News, information, and entertainment travel quickly today. In decades past, one had to wait to turn on the nightly news or for the local paper to publish their weekend edition to learn about the goings-on both locally and worldwide. The internet and social media have changed that. Today, things are available to view, download and forward at the touch of a button. Unfortunately, this also means positive and negative information and insight travel with equal swiftness and can significantly impact everyone they touch. 

What Are the Popular Forms of Social Media? 

Before considering the connection between social media and drug use, it is important to understand what social media is. Social media is often loosely defined as a series of smartphone apps that can easily communicate with friends and family. Further simplified, social media consists of various social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Social media is an internet-based technology that helps to facilitate the sharing and exchange of ideas, thoughts, and information across virtual networks and communities. Social media platforms provide users with an instant means of communication with those close by or those on the other side of the world. 

Today, more than three billion people worldwide use common forms of social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, among others. Data from the Pew Research Center indicates as many as ninety percent of people between the ages of nineteen and twenty-nine use at least one type of social media. 

Is There a Connection Between Social Media and Drug Use? 

Drug and alcohol misuse and abuse are not new problems in the United States.  Each year, over twenty-one million people meet the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorder. Struggles with drug use have been a problem long before the advent of social media. However, social media outlets provide a new and concerning opportunity for people to be exposed to drugs in ways they may not have found before. Although people of all ages are vulnerable to the effects of what they see on social media, teens and adolescents are likely more susceptible due to the strength of peer pressure and peer influence. Common social media sites, including Facebook and Snapchat, offer an easy-to-access environment where people are exposed to people engaging in behaviors involving drugs and alcohol or discussing the use of drugs and alcohol.

Unfortunately, consistent exposure to celebrities, friends, or family engaging in substance use inevitably influences those who view the content. The constant presence of drug and alcohol use on social media may normalize or glamorize the behavior making people who wouldn’t usually turn to drugs believe that it’s OK to experiment with illicit or prescription drugs, for example.

Information from a survey conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University showed that teenagers who regularly viewed popular social media sites were more likely to use drugs than adolescents who did not use social media. The same survey showed that this group of individuals was two times more likely to use marijuana than those who did not frequently utilize social media outlets.

For impressionable people on social media, seeking others on social media, partying, and engaging in risky behaviors can lead them to turn to drugs or alcohol to “fit in.” Some studies indicate as many as 75% of young adults who see photos of others on social media sites smoking weed or using other substances encourage them to experiment in similar ways. Unfortunately, the same social media posts do not tend to encourage those struggling with addiction to seek addiction treatment to overcome drug addiction

Reach Out to Us Today at Relevance Recovery 

Social media outlets provide increased opportunities for people of all ages to be exposed to substance use. Either through photographs, chats, or open discussion, information about drug use and abuse is far more widely available today than ever before, leading to new or worsening struggles with addiction for many. If you would like to learn more about how Relevance Recovery can help you overcome an addiction to drugs, contact us today

What Is Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)?

What Is Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)?

Therapy is an essential element of addiction treatment. Some may even say it is the cornerstone of addiction treatment programs regardless of the type of addiction for which you might be seeking treatment. The most common form of addiction treatment therapy is called cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. The premise behind cognitive behavioral therapy is helping people to change negative thoughts and irrational beliefs by thinking about the roots of their emotions and learning to build positive belief systems. Rational motive behavioral therapy or REBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. But what is REBT, and what are its goals? Again, this therapy type focuses on helping those in addiction treatment learn to change irrational beliefs around addiction. REBT (and other types of cognitive-behavioral therapy are often referred to as “action-oriented” approaches to psychotherapy that are designed to help you or your loved ones in treatment manage emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in a positive, healthy way.

REBT Therapy Explained

Albert Ellis, the creator of REBT, believed that people were not disturbed by things, but rather by how they viewed those things. The fundamental idea behind REBT is that the way people feel is significantly influenced by how they think. When people hold irrational views of themselves (or others around them), problems can arise. The goal of REBT is to help you alter the illogical beliefs and negative thinking patterns that have led to addictive behavior.

REBT is best understood by looking at the steps of the therapeutic process. The first step asks you to identify the irrational thought patterns and beliefs that have led to addictive behaviors. In many cases, these are reflected as absolutes, such as “I can’t” or “I must.” Continuing to hold onto such beliefs makes it nearly impossible to respond to triggering situations in a positive and healthy way. The next step is working towards changing irrational beliefs. Once they have been identified, your therapist, skilled in REBT techniques, will help you dispute these beliefs through various methods. The final step involves gaining insight and changing behaviors. 

The REBT process can indeed be challenging as it asks you to face difficult thoughts and emotions that have been perceived as fact for some time, and accepting these thoughts as unhealthy is not easy for anyone. REBT strives to help you learn from mistakes and respond in a healthy way to triggering situations. 

How Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Is Used in Addiction Treatment

REBT has proven to be a highly effective therapy model if you are struggling with a substance abuse disorder. The core essence of REBT is to change the way you think about your addiction and the situations that contribute to your addiction. Participation in REBT sessions, either individually or in a group format, can help you learn how to have more positive reactions to triggers, which, in turn, will help you resist turning to substances to cope with emotional situations. If you are struggling with an addiction, REBT can help you reduce the powerful impact of your emotions. The ability to minimize the effects of emotions leads to fewer self-defeating behaviors, such as using.

There are two primary ways REBT can help you defeat your addiction. First, it helps you learn how to react to situations in more realistic ways instead of irrational thoughts. It also allows you to realize there are things in life you cannot control, but you can control how you react to the specific situation.  REBT is often combined with other treatment methods, such as medical treatments, alternative therapies (or holistic therapies), and other forms of psychotherapy.

Seek Sobriety at Relevance Recovery 

REBT is a highly effective form of therapy that has helped many people meet and defeat their addiction since it was first introduced over seventy years ago. REBT is an evidence-based, validated treatment model that can help you change your negative thoughts and responses to lead a happier, sober life. If you are ready to seek addiction treatment or have questions about how REBT or other treatments may be able to help, contact the caring, compassionate team at Relevance Recovery today. You are relevant.

Seeking Addiction Treatment: What Is Outpatient Rehab?

what is outpatient rehab

What is outpatient treatment? When people think about addiction rehab, they often envision inpatient treatment centers where those seeking help with their addiction spend time away from home while healing. This type of treatment setting is not for everyone, and many seek alternate treatment program options that do not involve a residential component. There are situations where outpatient treatment programs can provide a successful treatment and recovery option for those struggling with a variety of addictions. 

Defining Outpatient Rehab

Unlike an inpatient program, which requires people to move into a facility for a specific period of time (typically 30 to 90 days), an outpatient program allows people to stay home and, in their communities, while they work on their addiction challenges. Some outpatient programs have a set schedule, in which people who enroll are expected to appear in groups with other members of the program. These times cannot be varied or changed, which promotes accountability by participants. Other programs may have appointment-based systems that could accommodate issues such as work or childcare. 

Outpatient programs are often considered a less intense form of addiction care. There is no around the clock supervision involved with these programs, and often no clinicians available when a crisis hits off hours. As a result, these programs are usually recommended for new addiction cases and those in good mental health.

Benefits of Outpatient Rehab

Some of the most significant benefits to outpatient rehab revolve around being able to remain at home. Outpatient programs provide you with the flexibility to maintain your household, school, and work responsibilities while going through the stages of treatment and recovery. Also, remaining close to home allows you to lean on family and friends, helping to reduce the isolation so often experienced when attempting to overcome addiction. Outpatient rehab programs are also less costly than inpatient rehab programs, which may be one of the primary reasons people choose them.

Outpatient Rehab vs. Inpatient: What’s the Difference?

Addiction treatment programs typically fall into two categories: inpatient or outpatient treatment. But how are they different? While each has its benefits, the decision about which treatment is needed should be based on the patient’s individual needs at that time. 

Inpatient Rehab

For most people struggling with addiction, detox at an inpatient rehab provides an excellent start to achieving sobriety and recovery. Inpatient rehab, also called residential treatment or residential rehab, requires the person remain on-site at the treatment facility for the duration of their program. This arrangement gives a person complete focus on their treatment. It also provides the opportunity for medically assisted withdrawal from drugs and alcohol if needed. 

At an inpatient rehab program, clients are provided with a structured environment designed to keep everyone focused on recovery. Immersive, evidence-based care concentrates on individual, group, and family therapies; all focused on promoting healing.

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient is an excellent choice for people with substance abuse challenges that are milder, where they have not become physically dependent on substances, but realize they have a growing problem. Outpatient treatment is also an effective means for continuing treatment progress when transitioning from an inpatient facility. Most notably, outpatient treatment offers convenience and flexibility not available in inpatient settings.

Outpatient programs include a wide variety of options, including detox, individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and opportunities for alternative and holistic treatment options.

Sobriety Is Possible at Relevance Recovery

If you are ready to seek addiction treatment but aren’t sure which type of program is right for you, contact Relevance Recovery to learn more about how our outpatient treatment programs can help you achieve sobriety and lasting recovery! 

Benefits of Holistic Treatment for Drug Addiction

Most drug and alcohol treatment programs generally include a variety of traditional treatment models, including individual and group psychotherapy, family therapy, and aftercare planning. As knowledge about addiction and how people react to treatment has changed, treatment options have evolved to include several holistic (or alternative) treatments for addiction.

Holistic therapies are non-medicinal recovery methods used to complement traditional treatment practices. The goal of holistic recovery is to bring the mind, body, and spirit into alignment to improve healing outcomes. Holistic therapy focuses on the addicted individual’s overall well-being while also treating the physical symptoms associated with addiction and withdrawal.

What Is Holistic Treatment for Drug Addiction?

Holistic treatment programs are centered around personalized, non-medical methods of addiction recovery. Therapists trained in the application of specific therapy techniques treat the physical and mental symptoms as well as emotional and nutritional imbalances that arise during

detox and treatment. Holistic therapy can help treat a lack of sleep, poor diet, and emotional stress, all of which are potential obstacles to addiction treatment. Holistic addiction treatment follows the belief that addiction can be treated more successfully by exploring how a person could be harmed by their substance abuse. Extending beyond just the most severe or the most clearly noticeable symptoms. Examples of common holistic treatments for addiction include meditation, mindfulness and stress management, massage, and equine therapy.

What Are the Benefits of Holistic Therapy for Addiction?

One significant benefit to holistic treatment for drug addiction is flexibility. This ensures treatment programs can be modified to cater to the needs of the individual. Every individual working to overcome addiction has their own unique needs regarding what type of treatment works for them. Addiction treatment programs that offer only traditional forms of treatment can be significantly limited in this regard. Holistic treatment programs are more likely to provide a greater variety of treatment options providing more opportunities for patients to discover the treatment that best suits their needs.

Another benefit to holistic treatments is the ongoing impacts once treatment ends and aftercare begins. Many holistic treatments, such as meditation, yoga, and exercise, can easily continue once a primary treatment program ends. Additionally, these methods serve as excellent, low-cost coping strategies that can be utilized post-treatment when a triggering situation arises.

Also, holistic therapies like mindfulness and meditation practices have proven to provide lasting benefits for many issues commonly experienced by those with chronic substance abuse disorders. A few of the potential long-term benefits of common holistic treatments include improved sleep, stress relief, development of healthy exercise habits, improved nutrition, and reduced substance cravings.

Holistic Treatment Offered at Relevance Behavioral Health

At Relevance Behavioral Health, we understand that everyone heals differently. For this reason, we offer our clients the option to participate in several different holistic therapies to enhance the vital components of the healing and self-care process. Successful addiction treatment requires more than merely healing the body. One must health the spirit, mind, and emotions as well.

Within our holistic programs, clients have the opportunity to explore how addiction has impacted their entire person and begin the path towards recovery. Our treatment programs at Relevance Behavioral Health integrate the benefit of both traditional and holistic treatments to offer the most comprehensive opportunity to achieve sobriety and recovery.

If you are interested in how treatment options such as equine therapy, massage, meditation, Biosound, Yoga, and others may help you achieve a life free of addiction, contact us at Relevance Behavioral Health today. Our dedicated treatment professionals will work with you to create a customized treatment program that combines holistic and traditional addiction treatment to help you reach your treatment goals.


Finding A Drug Rehab Center In New Jersey

Drug and alcohol addiction impacts millions of lives across the United States each day. Unfortunately, only one out of every ten people who struggle with a substance abuse disorder or addiction will ever seek or successfully enter an addiction treatment program. Some individuals will forego or avoid rehab due to the stigma that still surrounds addiction and addiction treatment. Others do not believe or do not realize they have a substance abuse problem.  

Establishing If You Need Rehab

Determining if you need rehab is a multi-step process. First, it should include an honest self-assessment of your substance use. It can be challenging to be objective and admit that you have an addiction. However, if ongoing substance abuse is causing negative impacts in your life, it is time to take a closer look and consider that you might have an addiction for which treatment is necessary. Once you have made this decision, you have already taken the first and most crucial step on the path to recovery. Next, you must decide where and how you will achieve sobriety.

Determining if you need rehab depends on the severity and symptoms of addiction which you exhibit. One of the early signs that you may have an addiction – and not a physical dependence on substances- is the presence of new or ongoing destructive behaviors. These behaviors are often in response to uncontrollable cravings related to changes in the brain that arise from chronic substance abuse. 

For those that struggle with a substance use disorder, there are certain signs and symptoms to look for, which indicate treatment is essential to ongoing health and well-being. Symptoms of addiction can and do vary from person to person, yet they generally have physical, mental, and social impacts. If your life and relationships are being adversely affected by substance use, you likely have an addiction. The severity of your addiction may range from mild to severe, depending on a list of symptoms indicative of addiction. There are eleven in total, including lack of control, inability to quit (despite the desire to), cravings, tolerance, withdrawal, and several others. Even if you have a mild diagnosis, you should still seek help to get sober. 

Benefits of Going to A Drug Treatment Center in New Jersey

Several factors go into deciding where to seek treatment. Whether New Jersey is home or you have chosen to travel for rehab, it is essential to select a rehab facility that provides individual, evidence-based, holistic care. Addiction symptoms present differently for everyone, and therefore no one treatment will work for everyone struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. The best drug and alcohol rehab centers provide a full continuum of care from admission to comprehensive after-care with programs explicitly designed to meet each client’s needs.

Why You Should Choose Relevance Behavioral Health

Achieving sobriety and recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is a challenging road. At Relevance Behavioral Health, our treatment team understands these challenges better than many, as we have lived them firsthand. Our intensive outpatient program was created to solve addiction’s underlying causes, teach new coping skills, and heal all aspects of the mind, body, and spirit. The professionals at Relevance Behavioral Health strive to ensure that all clients leave treatment feeling healthy, motivated, and ready to begin a new life free from the struggles of addiction. Our outstanding team will custom tailor a drug and alcohol abuse treatment plan to help you or your loved one recover from addiction. Our state of the art, individualized treatment plans are designed to meet all types of treatment needs both during and after treatment as we remain by your side throughout the first years of your recovery. If you or a loved one are ready for a different kind of addiction program where everyone is relevant, contact Relevance Behavioral Health today to learn more.