Opioid Addiction

Opioid Addiction

The Opioid Crisis in Canada

Canada is facing a national opioid crisis. According to the Government of Canada, the growing number of overdoses and deaths caused by opioid drugs like fentanyl is now considered a public health emergency. The numbers* in Canada show that:

  • The national opioid crisis continues to grow.
  • 94% of opioid overdose deaths happen by accident.
  • Young Canadians aged 15 to 24 are the fastest-growing population requiring hospital care from opioid overdoses.

The September 2019 National Report sadly shows that the current crisis is not going anywhere. Approximately 12,800 lives have been lost since 2016, at an average of one person every two hours in 2018. Many, many other people are hospitalized each year because of opioid overdoses.

Opioid addiction is powerful and dangerous, but real recovery is possible. As an accredited national leader in treating alcohol, drug, and food addictions for nearly 50 years, Renascent offers specialized intensive inpatient and outpatient programs for opioid addiction. We’ve helped almost 50,000 people recover from addiction. We can help you too.

In this article, we’ll help you understand the difference between prescription and illegal opioid drugs, the risk of opioid addiction, the signs and symptoms of problem use, opioid addiction treatment options in Canada, and how you can achieve lifelong healing and recovery from addiction to these powerful drugs.

Your journey to recovery from opioid addiction starts here.

*Source: Canada’s Opioid Crisis fact sheet

What are Opioid Drugs?

Opioid drugs, or opiates, are medications that relieve pain. When prescribed by a doctor and used properly, opioids can help people. But misuse and overuse of these powerful drugs can cause addiction, overdose, and death.

Some opioids like morphine and codeine are found naturally in opium poppies, while others are semi-synthetic (e.g., hydromorphone or hydrocodone), which means they are made by changing the chemical structure of a naturally occurring opioid. Synthetic opioids include methadone and meperidine, and are made entirely from chemicals in a lab without any naturally occurring opioid ingredients.

Opioids can be prescribed and used as tablets, capsules, syrups, solutions, or suppositories. Some people also inject opioids with needles or inhale opioids as a spray.

Types of medical opioid drugs that can be prescribed by a doctor for pain, or to sometimes treat coughs and diarrhea, but that can also be additive include:

Illegal opioid drugs, like fentanyl and heroin, are made in illegal labs or stolen and sold illegally on the street. Using opioids without a prescription from a doctor, or by getting a prescription for an opioid from more than one doctor, is also illegal.

Carfentanil — A Hidden and Dangerous Opiate

One of the most dangerous opioids right now is carfentanil, a synthetic drug very similar to fentanyl.

Carfentanil is an opioid that is used by veterinarians for very large animals like elephants. It is NOT made for human use. It is approximately 100 times more toxic than fentanyl and 10,000 times more toxic than morphine. This means carfentanil can be deadly even in extremely small amounts.

Carfentanil is being found in other illegal drugs like heroin and counterfeit pills and being made to look like prescription opioids. There is no easy way to know if carfentanil is in your drugs: you can’t see it, smell it, or taste it.

Its side effects are more dangerous than with other opiates: users are experiencing serious overdoses, and even brain death that requires them to live out the rest of their lives in nursing homes. Carfentanil is also currently the leading cause of opiate-related death.

Naloxone has been used to reverse carfentanil overdoses; however, greater than normal doses are required to revive those who have overdosed. If you are using illegal opioids, be aware of how to spot an overdose and how to help someone who is overdosing.

The Effects of Opioids on Your Body

Because opioids are a group of drugs that have morphine-like effects, they produce euphoria, or a mellow, relaxed “high”. At low doses as prescribed by a doctor, they can suppress the sensation of pain in your body and your emotional response to pain. But this is also what makes opioids highly addictive and dangerous.

Misusing and overusing opiate drugs can change your brain and body in ways that can make it hard to stop using. As your body gets used to a regular supply of the drug, you can experience withdrawal when you stop using them, or when you use less.

Also, when people take too much of an opioid, it slows down their breathing, often leading to unconsciousness and even death from overdose.

Opioid Side Effects

In their fact sheets on the opioid crisis, the Government of Canada outlines the many short- and long-term effects of taking both prescribed and illegal opioids.

In the short-term, using opioids can cause:

  • Drowsiness, headaches, dizziness, and confusion
  • Constipation
  • Impotence in men
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slowed or difficulty breathing

With long-term use, opioids can cause:

  • Increased tolerance
  • Liver damage
  • Infertility in women
  • Worsening pain or “opioid-induced hyperalgesia”
  • Life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in babies born to mothers taking opioids

Physical dependence, addiction, overdose, and death are also linked to using both prescribed and illegal opioids.

If you need help or someone to talk to about a possible addiction to an opioid drug, call Renascent for help. We can help you, your family, or friends deal with opioid dependence and addiction.

The Problem with Prescription Opiates

The opioid crisis in Canada means more and more people every year are misusing opioids, overdosing, and in far too many cases, dying from overdose. This includes people from every age group – from teens to older adults – and in every socioeconomic group. Canadians young and old, poor and rich, are being exposed to opioids and suffering from the effects of these powerful, dangerous drugs.

To combat this growing problem, the government has made problem opioid use illegal. This means that using opioids without a prescription from a doctor, or by getting a prescription for an opioid from more than one doctor, is illegal, just like selling or buying opioids on the street. Giving your prescription opioids to someone else, even for free, is also illegal.

It also means that healthcare professionals like doctors, dentists, and pharmacists are much more careful about prescribing opioid medicines to treat pain. You should feel comfortable talking to your doctor or dentist before taking any opioid medicine prescribed to you so that you understand the risks. And you can ask about other pain management options you might be able to use instead.

Spotlight on Tramadol, the “safe” opioid

Tramadol is a type of opiate prescribed by doctors to help their patients relieve moderate to moderately severe pain. It works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain.

The problem with Tramadol and other slow-release or long-acting analgesic (pain-relieving) opioids is that they are commonly touted as being a safer alternative to prescription narcotics. But, Tramadol is a narcotic opiate, and one that can be addictive with prolonged use.

If you’ve been prescribed Tramadol, don’t take any more of it, or more often, than you have been prescribed. If you think you might have a problem using Tramadol, talk to your doctor or call Renascent for a free consultation.

Signs of Opioid Addiction

It can be hard to admit you have a problem with drug use, especially one that has been prescribed to you by a doctor. It can be even harder to ask for help.

But recognizing the signs that your drug use is causing problems in your life at work or at home is the essential first step to accepting help and your successful recovery. This is why honesty is the first principle of every 12-step recovery plan.

You can begin by asking yourself if you are:

  • Craving opioid drugs.
  • Using opioids even when you experience harmful effects.
  • Feeling like getting and using opioids has become the focus of your thoughts and daily life.
  • Having withdrawal symptoms such as:
    • Chills or sweating;
    • Diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain;
    • Trouble sleeping;
    • Body aches;
    • Nervousness, irritability, and agitation.

These are all possible signs and symptoms of a drug addiction to opioids. At Renascent, we understand addiction and we can help.

And if you or someone you know is using opioids, there are also signs and symptoms of overdose you need to know about to stay safe.

Have you witnessed an overdose? Canada’s Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act can legally protect you when seeking emergency help in an overdose situation.

Am I an Addict?

Yes, you might be addicted to opioids, but it’s important to not let this label stop you from getting help to quit. Addicts are always people first, just like anyone else. And you can get the treatment you need to recover fully from your addiction.

It might help you to keep in mind that addiction is considered a chronic disorder by the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 5), a handbook used widely by doctors to guide diagnosis of mental disorders and addictions.

This means that if you’re experiencing problems as a result of opioid use, it doesn’t make you a bad person, or any other label out there – it means you have a psychiatric brain disorder or disease that can be treated like any other health condition. And in Ontario, addiction is recognized as a disability in the Human Rights Code, so you are protected against discrimination based on your addiction from anyone you need to tell at work or elsewhere in your life.

People with addictions can and do experience recovery that lasts a lifetime. At Renascent, all our counsellors have lived experiences of addiction and long-term recovery, so you’ll have the understanding and support you need to ask for help, and at every step of your diagnosis, intake, and treatment.

Opioid Addiction Treatment – How to Quit Opioids

Quitting opioids and finding lifelong freedom from these powerful drugs is hard work, but recovery is possible.

An accredited, personalized, and abstinence-based treatment is recommended for most opioid addictions. At Renascent, we have found in our 50 years of experience, that this model means that even those with the most serious of drug addictions can find renewed health and healing, and a truly transformative experience.

For example, our comprehensive, Toronto-region, opioid addiction treatment programs take place in safe, serene, and caring environments inside beautifully restored heritage homes. Our abstinence-based model integrates 12-step facilitation with other best practices in clinical and medical approaches, which are proven to make a difference in long-term sobriety. Included in every treatment stay at Renascent:

  • Education on your addiction and its physical, emotional, social, and spiritual effects
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy to understand and change your addiction behaviour patterns
  • 12-step facilitation
  • Personalized one-on-one and solution-focused therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Exercise, sleep, and healthy eating

Also, many people with an addiction to opioids will benefit from an inpatient treatment program. These types of intensive, residential treatment programs are like a kick-start to your recovery. A quality program in a home-like residence that is grounded in evidence and a client- and family-centred approach will be like a reset button for your healing and success.

Inpatient programs also have around-the-clock counselling and support, and education in practical recovery and life skills that will make long-term recovery more successful. Plus, a good inpatient treatment program gives you the time and tools you need to get to the underlying issues of your addiction and empower you to manage your addiction.

How to choose your addiction treatment program

It can be hard to decide what type of treatment program you need. There are a lot of options out there, and each person has different needs and resources for addiction treatment.

Our treatment option chart outlines some of the choices you have at Renascent, or through other healthcare providers. Don’t see what you need? Contact us anytime for a confidential assessment where we can match you with the support you’re looking for.

If You Are:We Might Suggest:
Looking for one-on-one supportA one-on-one counselling session with one of our addiction experts
Seeking a community who understandsInpatient treatment with group counselling, or AA/NA/CA/OA meetings
Struggling with relapse42-days of Inpatient Treatment, followed by active participation in our Continuing Care program.
In recovery, but looking to connect with informal supportGetting involved with Renascent’s Alumni Care community. There are regular meetings, engaged committees, and events for everyone. We’re here for life!
Concerned how addiction in your family might be impacting your childrenSafe programs geared for kids and parents/caregivers, such as Children’s Healthy Coping Skills
Worried about your family member or loved one, including siblings, close friends, and partnersOur Essential Family Care Programs, particularly the Introduction to Family Care
A parent in active recoveryA weekend course like Parenting in Recovery, to help you boost your parenting skills
Concerned addiction is affecting your work or workplaceOur Corporate Complete Care Advantage, designed to support employees and employers as they navigate addiction and recovery in the workplace.
Worried about life after treatmentOur Continuing Care Program, to support you as you re-integrate into your daily home life.
Looking for housing after treatmentOne of our many Community Partners who offer post-treatment housing. Call us at 1-866-232-1212 and we can put you in touch.
Looking to get “clean” or detox.The ConnexOntario Helpline, 1-866-531-2600, can connect you with Withdrawal Management Services. If you are interested in treatment following detox, call 1-866-232-1212 and we’ll coordinate this.

Don’t see what you need? Contact us anytime for a confidential assessment where we can match you with the support you’re looking for.

Freedom and Recovery from Opioid Addiction

Staying connected and finding healthy support systems for your new, sober life are key to lifelong freedom and recovery from addiction.

Finding an after-treatment care program, like the Continuing Care and Alumni programs offered at Renascent, extends your counselling support, peer support, and education following your primary intensive inpatient or outpatient treatment period. The goal of a program like Continuing Care is to support you to maintain your abstinence, and help you re-establish it if you struggle with relapse.

For example, our Continuing Care program is available to clients as an in-class format or over the phone, while our Alumni program goes an additional step by providing healthy, safe, and strong social community foundations for long-term recovery to thrive. From group meetings to social events and volunteer opportunities, an alumni program can be a vital part of your personal growth and long-term recovery.

Other peer support programs in the recovery community, like a 12-step meeting through Heroin Anonymous or other group for opioid addictions, are also built on drawing your power to stay sober from people who have walked the same journey as you.

Often, these kinds of peer-support and after-treatment care programs offer just the type of friendship you need with positive ways to celebrate and value your sobriety – key ways to stay connected to your support systems and your reasons for quitting opioids once and for all.

For Healthcare Professionals – Refer a Patient

If you’re a healthcare professional, you’re in the unique position of being able to help your patients and their families reclaim their lives from addiction. Renascent is pleased to partner with physicians and other healthcare professionals to facilitate your patient’s treatment and ongoing recovery.

Our accredited, abstinence-based treatment model results in treatment outcomes that are among the best in Canada. Referring your patients to Renascent is a decision you can trust.

Your Road to Recovery Starts Here

Your addiction recovery journey begins with “I need help.” We’ve helped almost 50,000 people recover from addiction. We can help you too.

For a free and confidential consultation with one of our counsellors, call 1-866-232-1212 anytime, day or night, or Contact Us Today.

Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine Addiction

Understanding Cocaine Addiction and Recovery

“The problem is I’m an addict and one is too many and a thousand is not enough,” says Mark G., in his frank and moving post about addiction and recovery. “It didn’t take long for things to escalate to the point where I was causing emotional and spiritual pain for my wife and children. I put the drugs before the welfare of my family, myself, my job, my friends, everything. Insanity personified in all areas of my life. I was oozing self-pity and the drugs became harder and using was a full-time job.”

Right now in Canada, more than 2 million people are facing an addiction to alcohol and drugs like prescription pills, opioids, heroin, and cocaine.

For these people, addiction makes it hard to lead any semblance of a normal life. It can harden the hearts of your family members, friends, and employers toward you as your addiction rages its way through your relationships, finances, and personal life, with often devastating consequences.

With the right treatment program however, thousands recover.

We know that getting help for addiction can be hard. Admitting you have a problem with a drug like cocaine is a difficult first step. Choosing quality, affordable rehab that you can trust to work can be confusing. But the right help can save your life and lead to lasting recovery and healing.

In this article, we explain what cocaine addiction is, when and how to get the right help, and why Renascent has been a leading addiction treatment choice for people, families, and their doctors for 50 years.

The road to recovery starts here.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a stimulant drug derived from the coca plant. In South America, native people used to chew the leaves of the coca plant for more energy while working in the fields. It was also once used as a local anesthetic and as a treatment for conditions like depression and other addictions.

The importation, manufacture, sale and possession of cocaine has been banned in Canada since 1911. Yet its use became “mainstream” in the 1970s and early ’80s, when it was known as a “rich people’s drug” and considered “not physically addictive” because of its high cost, rarity, and lack of the strong physical withdrawal symptoms characterized by other hard drugs such as heroin.

Today, we know much more about this drug and its dangers.

Cocaine can be snorted, injected, or freebased (cheaper, crack cocaine). It is also known by several street names: blow, C, coke, crack, flake, freebase, rock, and snow. As a stimulant, cocaine can make people feel more alert, energetic, or euphoric. ​

Cocaine is highly addictive: with a rush lasting just two to five minutes, a user needs to use almost continuously to try to maintain their high. In experiments done on mice, cocaine was found to be so addictive that mice will repeatedly choose it over food and water, until they die.

Cocaine Use in Canada

According to the Global Drug Survey 2019, a survey of more than 130,000 people across 36 countries, Canadians are the second-most frequent users of cocaine, reporting using the drug 10 times on average each year, with the global average being six times per year. Canadians in the study also reported using half a gram of cocaine, which matches the average worldwide.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health reports that a 2009 survey of Ontario students in grades seven to 12 found that 2.6 per cent had already used cocaine and 1.1 per cent had used crack at least once in the past year.

The danger of course is that with regular use, people become tolerant to the euphoric effects of cocaine. Users need to take more and more of the drug to get the same desired effect.

What is Cocaine Addiction?

A cocaine addiction makes you lose control over your use of the drug. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health says that once a person has become addicted to cocaine, it can be one of the hardest drug habits to break. But how do you know if you, or someone you love, has an addiction to cocaine?

It’s important to recognize that if questions like “Is this becoming a problem for me?” are already in your mind, it’s a subject worth investigating, not dismissing. You probably wouldn’t be thinking it at all if your substance use wasn’t causing any negative consequences in your life, or the life of someone close to you.

Addiction and users come in all shapes and sizes, from the novice experimenter to the functioning user to the chronically addicted unemployable person, and likewise there isn’t a single question that will definitively determine whether or not you are addicted. But there are signs that can help you determine whether cocaine use is manageable in your life, or whether things have gotten out of hand.

Signs of a Cocaine Addiction

There are serious side effects from cocaine. It’s a powerful stimulant that causes the heart to beat faster and blood vessels to constrict, which can lead to heart attacks. Cocaine overdose can also lead to strokes, and habitual use can cause high blood pressure, weight loss, lung damage, and kidney failure.

Despite its lack of physical withdrawal symptoms (such as the vomiting and sweating associated with opiate withdrawal), cocaine withdrawal is very painful. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms include intense cravings, severe depression, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, anger, mood swings, and sleeplessness. It’s little wonder the relapse rate for cocaine is high.

Specifically, you might need help for a cocaine addiction if you are:

  • Feeling a strong need or craving for cocaine, and find yourself using it even after you’ve decided you won’t;
  • Feeling that getting and using cocaine is the most important thing in your life;
  • Using cocaine more, and more often;
  • Bingeing on coke to avoid a “crash” – the feeling of being high and then suddenly distressed;
  • Having physical withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use coke, such as tiredness, changes in your sleep quality, hunger, irritability, depression, or suicidal thoughts.

These signs of addiction, along with changes to your normal behaviour, are strong warnings that all is not well by outside standards. Yet what really matters in terms of seeking help is whether you feel these problems are serious enough to take a real look at how the substance is affecting your life, and consider modifying your behaviour.

If you think you might have an addiction, we understand and we can help.

Cocaine Addiction – A Chronic Mental Health Disorder

Many of us have unfortunately been raised to believe that admitting to a drug or alcohol problem can seem like weakness or even failure. It’s no surprise then that many people who have become addicted to cocaine find it so hard to admit they need help, despite all the signs of a problem.

In fact, substance use disorder is considered a chronic disorder by the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). That means that if you’re experiencing problems as a result of drug or alcohol use, it doesn’t make you bad, wrong, stupid, unlucky, self-destructive, selfish, crazy, or all the other labels you or others may have applied.

In their post about mental health and addiction, Scott Kellogg and Andrew Tatarsky call on all health professionals to follow the DSM-5 and treat addiction as a psychiatric mental health disorder, recognizing that many, if not most, people who experience addiction also have additional psychiatric issues such as PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, psychosis, ADHD, and various personality disorders.

“With or without a diagnosable condition, people use substances for reasons that need to be respected and addressed,” say the authors in their post, as they also make a strong case for how to fully integrate mental health and addiction treatment for better recovery and lasting healing for more addicts.

Addiction is a serious disorder, for which effective help is available. Finding and attending an accredited and experienced addiction treatment and rehab centre can be the solution.

The Science Behind Addiction

In Bruce Goldman’s post, he explains in detail the science behind our current understanding of the addicted brain. In short, it’s now thought that addiction is a type of physiological learning, which is why it is so hard for our bodies to unlearn drug and alcohol dependency. Willpower is important to quitting, but not enough, and the evidence is piling up for just why short-term detox programs don’t lead to lasting recovery from addiction.

Goldman also explains how addictive drugs mimic natural rewards such as food and sex by reinforcing the network of our brains linked to enjoyment, known as our reward circuitry. But addictive drugs fire up our reward circuitry in a more powerful way that natural rewards can’t, and even once the enjoyment is gone, the long-lasting changes that make you crave that drug are set.

On the outside, we can see the physical symptoms of withdrawal and addiction, such as nausea and cramps. But inside the addicted brain, according to Goldman, the neurological wiring has been changed to make the user “crave, seek and use a drug again and again because of the learned memory of it being more wonderful than anything else, and because your brain has been rewired so that, when exposed to anything that reminds you of the drug, you will feel rotten if you don’t get some.”

At Renascent, our addiction rehab programs work because we use an abstinence-based treatment model that integrates 12-step facilitation with evidence-based programs, up-to-date clinical and medical best practices, and the highest quality standards of care.

And while medical science can’t fully explain why some people develop issues with addiction and others don’t, we do know that alcohol and drug abuse are linked to several risk factors including:

  • Genetics/Family history of addiction
  • Social environment
  • Trauma (particularly in childhood)
  • Other mental health concerns
  • Stressful life events or losses
  • Substance availability

Having one or more of these risk factors does not mean you will become an alcoholic or an addict; the relationship is not cause and effect, but rather something to be aware of.

Treating Cocaine Addiction

In Canada, our publicly funded healthcare systems means everyone has access to some help. Talking to your doctor, going to a walk-in clinic, seeing a public health nurse — any of these healthcare settings can help you and refer you to a reputable addiction treatment centre with a good record. Many of these treatment centres, including Renascent, have financial need pricing if affordability is an issue.

Most importantly, we know that recovery from cocaine addiction is possible. Quitting cocaine is hard, but people can and do recover with the right treatment for their coke addiction.

There is no magic pill, quick fix, or single technique to help someone recover from cocaine addiction. You can change your life and recover from addiction and be happier than you ever were before; it’s just a matter of doing the work.

It begins with taking the first step: admitting that help is needed and accepting that help. Sometimes a cocaine addict has to be badly battered by the drug before they will take this step. But once taken, the journey to recovery from cocaine addiction has already begun. In cocaine addiction, the first step of being honest about your addiction is to be able to say: “I admit that I am powerless over cocaine, and that my life has become unmanageable.”

From there, a successful treatment plan for cocaine addiction will include:

  • Education – understanding the nature of your cocaine addiction and its physical, emotional, social, and spiritual effects.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy – practicing techniques to change the behaviour patterns that led you to reach for cocaine in the first place
  • 12-step facilitationproven steps and principles for recovery that act as a blueprint for a new, sober way of life.
  • Personalized and group therapy – additional therapies personalized to your individual needs and situation, including reality therapy, person-centred therapy, solution-focused therapy, mindfulness principles, and art therapy.

Which Treatment is Right for Me?

We’re here to help match you with the support you need. Call us anytime for a confidential assessment, and one of our trained experts will connect you with the best program for you.

If You Are:We Might Suggest:
Looking for one-on-one supportA one-on-one counselling session with one of our addiction experts
Seeking a community who understandsInpatient treatment with group counselling, or AA/NA/CA/OA meetings
Struggling with relapse42-days of Inpatient Treatment, followed by active participation in our Continuing Care program.
In recovery, but looking to connect with informal supportGetting involved with Renascent’s Alumni Care community. There are regular meetings, engaged committees, and events for everyone. We’re here for life!
Concerned how addiction in your family might be impacting your childrenSafe programs geared for kids and parents/caregivers, such as Children’s Healthy Coping Skills
Worried about your family member or loved one, including siblings, close friends, and partnersOur Essential Family Care Programs, particularly the Introduction to Family Care
A parent in active recoveryA weekend course like Parenting in Recovery, to help you boost your parenting skills
Concerned addiction is affecting your work or workplaceOur Corporate Complete Care Advantage, designed to support employees and employers as they navigate addiction and recovery in the workplace.
Worried about life after treatmentOur Continuing Care Program, to support you as you re-integrate into your daily home life.
Looking for housing after treatmentOne of our many Community Partners who offer post-treatment housing. Call us at 1-866-232-1212 and we can put you in touch.
Looking to get “clean” or detox.The ConnexOntario Helpline, 1-866-531-2600, can connect you with Withdrawal Management Services. If you are interested in treatment following detox, call 1-866-232-1212 and we’ll coordinate this.

Don’t see what you need? Contact us anytime for a confidential assessment where we can match you with the support you’re looking for.

Navigating your Options

During our confidential telephone consultations, our qualified staff help people with questions about their addiction treatment choices, and which options will work best for them. For example, people often ask:

  • How much should I pay? Cost doesn’t always indicate quality, but in general, better programs will have some cost to deliver treatment that work. But in this unregulated market, more expensive does not mean better. Rather, look for accredited centres with professional, experienced staff, and a reliable track record. Not-for-profit centres like Renascent can offer reduced fees and even financial need pricing programs.
  • How many days do I need to commit to? The length of a treatment program varies from person to person, but we recommend a minimum of 28 days for real recovery. And you can always extend your stay if needed to meet your recovery goals.
  • Do I need a residential program? Many people do benefit from removing themselves from triggers for their addiction. A residential program can offer you support and a community of like-minded people if you don’t have a strong and healthy support system at home. On the other hand, some people are not ready for inpatient treatment. An initial assessment will help you determine what type of care best meets your current needs.
  • What about a women’s only program? Many people dealing with addiction are also dealing with trauma and abuse. Being in a safe place makes recovery more successful. Reputable treatment centres offer gender-specific treatment programs where everyone can feel safe to be themselves.
  • Should I go on a waiting list? If you’ve taken the first step of admitting you need help, it’s ideal to start treatment as soon as possible. Renascent’s paid programs offer immediate access, while if affordability is an issue, there might be waiting lists for financial need pricing. Outpatient programs and 12-step Cocaine Anonymous meetings can help you while you wait for your spot to come up.

Facing the Stigma: Am I an Addict?

It’s hard to admit you have a cocaine addiction and can be even harder to step out of your life, work, and community for a month or longer. But you don’t have to tell everyone the details. You will likely want to tell your immediate family and closest friends where you are and why, but for everyone else, you can feel free to keep it private.

Tell people at school, work, or in your broader circle of friends and family that you’re going on an extended medical leave, and provide a note from your doctor or therapist to support your leave. If you need to tell your boss or professors more detail, you can simply tell them you are getting treatment for a condition or disorder affecting your life. In Ontario, addiction is recognized as a disability in the Human Rights Code, and so you are protected against discrimination based on your addiction.

Most importantly, don’t be dissuaded from treatment by labelling questions like “Am I an addict?” or “Are you an addict?” You might be, but whether you’re addicted or not, you’re always a person first, and many people experience addiction. Those same people can experience recovery that lasts a lifetime, and so can you.

At Renascent, all our counsellors have lived experiences of addiction and long-term recovery, so you’ll have the understanding and support you need at every step of your treatment.

Steps to Lasting Recovery

People can and do recover from cocaine addiction. Lasting recovery is possible. However, a certain mindset is generally necessary in order for your addiction treatment to work and lead to life-long recovery. True healing happens when you are willing to surrender to certain principles.

First, you need to have a willingness to admit there is a problem. As with addiction to other drugs, cocaine addiction often leads to denial. Users shrink from confronting what is actually going on, the toll the drug is taking on their lives and relationships, and the severity of the problem. Admitting the truth about the impact of your addiction is an overwhelming experience, but it is essential to accepting help and ultimately recovering. Friends and partners, old and new, will need to know you are in recovery; being upfront makes everything easier.

You also need to have a sincere desire to stop using cocaine. A person must not merely pay lip service to the idea of getting clean and sober; it doesn’t work that way. Of course, you may not feel enthusiastic about having to give up cocaine, indeed you may be terrified at the prospect, but one must be willing to put cocaine aside in order to give treatment a fair shot.

And, you will need a willingness to consider complete abstinence as a means to successful cocaine addiction treatment. Someone with a cocaine or crack problem may not believe they have a problem with alcohol or any other drug, but generally speaking those who are entirely abstinent have a much better chance of recovering from cocaine addiction because alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs can be considered gateway drugs to cocaine.

It’s also important to follow your doctor’s instructions for any medicines prescribed to you for help in your treatment. And talk to your doctor if you think you need to make a change in how much medicine you’re taking, or for how long.

And finally, though challenging, you’ll have to find the strength to resist quitting when the work gets hard; that’s when the real healing begins. Trust that your counsellors and peers will support you through the hard times. And if you feel you need more time to reach lasting recovery at the end of your inpatient treatment, you can always talk to your counsellors about extending your stay. Once you leave inpatient treatment, stay connected to your recovery community — they’ll have your back and be able to understand what you’re going through in a way no one else will.

Staying connected in addiction treatment and recovery

Once you’ve made the decision to get help, and begun your journey to recovery, you’ll also need a supportive, empathetic community around you. We simply need others around us who we can relate to. Some will be fellow recovering addicts who have come from their own individual isolation into a community dedicated to healing. Others may be co-workers, mentors, fellow students, or anyone else we learn to trust and rely on for companionship and community. We need to share our experiences with others, and avoid the old patterns and behaviours.

Try these suggestions for staying connected and supported during your treatment:

Pick your (new) friends. You may need to leave old friends who are still using behind as you move into your new sober life. You can stay in touch, but day-to-day it’s important to surround yourself instead with people who share your interests and support your drug-free lifestyle.

Reach out to an old support. How long has it been since you dropped your first counsellor a note to say how you were doing? How about the woman at detox who practically saved your life those first few days? Or the first speaker in recovery you ever heard, who seemed to be telling your story? Staying in contact helps us stay connected.

Be of service. It doesn’t have to be in the 12-step rooms, although that’s a great place to start; serving others out of a genuine desire to be helpful will increase your sense of connectedness, no matter where in the community you decide to serve.

Find a healthy hobby. Joining a running club or a knitting circle or taking riding lessons or learning tai chi will automatically throw you in with a group of like-minded people with whom you can form new — and hopefully lasting — connections.

Why You Can Trust Renascent

Our team of doctors and counsellors are qualified, certified, and genuinely care for each and every client that walks through our doors. All of our counsellors have lived experiences of addiction and long-term recovery, making them compassionate and committed supporters along your entire treatment journey — something that sets Renascent apart from other addiction treatment centres.

Renascent is one of Ontario’s largest residential addiction treatment providers, and a national leader in the field of addiction treatment. We have maintained a steadfast commitment to our values and vision: to guide all people affected by substance addiction with hope, tools, and living examples to achieve a life of physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Our Boards and leadership team are guided by experts in the field of addiction and recovery, all of them dedicated to ensuring Renascent continues to offer the quality treatment and support needed for long-term healing:

“With over 40 years of experience, and over 45,000 people helped, Renascent has played a historic role in breaking down barriers and helping Canadians find recovery from this disease. Today and in the future, we are committed to bringing the best treatment to those who need it.”

Laura Bhoi, Chief Executive Officer

“Renascent’s abstinence-based treatment through the 12-step modality is extremely well-suited for our Aboriginal clients, encouraging them to honour their own spiritual and cultural framework in recovery.”

Dennis James, Director of Programs

“[Our clients] reach out to us at the most vulnerable point in their lives — we take that trust seriously and honour it every step of the way.”

Tania Archer, Director, Business Development

Read more from our leadership team.

Your Road to Recovery Starts Here

Your addiction recovery journey begins with “I need help.” We’ve helped almost 50,000 people recover from addiction. We can help you too.

For a free and confidential consultation with one of our counsellors, call 1-866-232-1212 anytime, day or night, or Contact Us Today.

3 Ways to Celebrate Your Recovery

3 Ways to Celebrate Your Recovery

What’s the sober equivalent of a champagne toast? In a culture that celebrates life’s successes with glasses raised, the recovery community gets to create their own ways of celebrating the joys that a life in recovery brings us. Here are three ways to celebrate your recovery:

1. Whether it’s been a day, a week, a month, or more, go get your chip. You deserve to have a room of people who know exactly what you’ve achieved cheer for you. Soak up that feeling of being congratulated by your community, and carry that chip like a trophy.

2. Set up a schedule for regularly celebrating you. Allocate time and/or money to treat yourself to something special, whether it’s a massage or a movie, a day to binge-watch a show you’re excited about, or a fancy meal with friends.

3. Pay it forward. Now that you’re enjoying a life in recovery, you have the ability to help someone else find it too. Talk to a newcomer at a meeting, volunteer, offer to be an alumni contact for recent alumni, become a monthly donor, or find another way to contribute to the recovery community that has supported you.

 

 

Understanding the DSM-V Handbook

Understanding the DSM-V Handbook

If you’re working in the mental healthcare profession, including addiction rehabilitation – or if you’re in recovery and treatment for addiction – chances are good that you’ve heard of the DSM-V (often referred to as the DSM-5).

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has been around since the 1950s, helping guide healthcare decision-making by doctors and other mental health professionals in North America and worldwide.

It’s not the only tool doctors use to help diagnose mental disorders like addictions, but it is a commonly used resource. And despite the criticism against it, and some of the challenges of using it in everyday practice, the DSM is a valuable tool healthcare professionals need to know about.

What is the DSM-V?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is a handbook used by healthcare professionals to guide diagnosis of mental disorders. The DSM-5 (or DSM-V) is the latest edition of this handbook, published in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association

The DSM is constantly under review and revision by the Association as research and understanding of mental health increases and improves; further editions are expected if and when updates need to be made.

What makes the DSM so useful is its comprehensive catalogue of descriptions, symptoms, and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders. It provides a common language for doctors to use when talking to each other, and to patients and their families, helping ensure consistent and reliable diagnoses as well as usable data for research. 

Addiction in the latest DSM

The DSM is commonly used in addiction and rehabilitation to help diagnose and treat people’s addictions and other mental health issues.

Importantly, the DSM-5 defines addictions to alcohol and drugs as psychiatric disorders. By including addiction in the DSM as an aspect of mental health, the psychiatric profession has reinforced what we know from research and rehabilitation: that addiction is a brain disease.

The major change regarding addiction in the DSM-5 edition is that it combines together the categories of substance dependence (addiction marked by a pattern of compulsive use or loss of control) and substance abuse disorders (using in a manner that causes problems but does not have a pattern of compulsive use) under one broad category called “substance-related disorders”.

Substance-Related Disorders and the DSM

Specifically, the DSM-5 recognizes substance-related disorders resulting from the use of 10 separate classes of drugs:

Plus, the DSM-5 lists two distinct groups of substance-related disorders: substance use disorders and substance-induced disorders. Both groups are important in the diagnosis, treatment, and research of drug and alcohol use and addiction.

Challenges to Using the DSM

The DSM is not the only reference out there to diagnose addiction or any other mental health condition. The World Health Organization publishes the International Classification of Disease, which is often used side-by-side with the DSM as a compatible tool for diagnosis and monitoring.

Some, like the National Institutes of Health, have criticized the DSM for focusing too much on superficial symptoms and a lack of measurable, scientific signs of mental health disorders. Others, like Alcoholics Anonymous, prefer to use models outside such clinical classification systems.

However, here at Renascent we recognize that the DSM does contain the most up-to-date criteria currently used for diagnosing mental disorders like addiction, and that despite its challenges, it is routinely and widely used. 

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol or Drug Addiction

Even with tools and handbooks like the DSM, it can be difficult on your own to recognize and admit that you are addicted to drugs or alcohol

There is unfortunately no single question that will definitively determine if you are an addict, but if you are here asking that very question, you can likely use help and someone to talk to.

Addiction is a serious disorder and real help is available. We’ve helped almost 50,000 people recover from addiction. We can help you too.

For a free and confidential consultation with one of our counsellors, or to get information on how to refer a patient to us, contact us today.