Our Latest Blogs

How Alcohol Affects The Brain

man drinking glass of beer

Alcohol consumption is a common activity at social gatherings, celebrations, and everyday life for many people. Understanding how alcohol affects the brain is crucial for making informed decisions about consumption. From impairing judgment to impacting memory and motor skills, the effects of alcohol on the brain can be far-reaching and profound. Let’s explore the neuroscience […]

The Role of Couples Therapy in Addiction Recovery

couple in therapy session

Addiction is a widespread problem that not only affects individual users but also seriously damages relationships, especially romantic ones. A crucial component of any treatment approach for addiction may be couples counseling. Couples therapy for alcoholism and other addictions is crucial to heal resentments and work through the distrust that has naturally occurred as part […]

The Importance of Self-Care in Long-Term Addiction Recovery

four friends high-fiving

Reaching out for help with addiction takes a great deal of courage, and many people focus only on the detox process or the therapy required for recovery. However, self-care in addiction recovery is equally important. During addiction treatment, your care plan will probably include things like group therapy sessions, giving you a chance to relate […]

Winter Wellness: Embrace Online Therapy for Stress-Free Seasonal Serenity

Two women walking in snow

The holidays have passed, and winter stress is one of the challenges of the season that can make us feel down. With frosty, short days and cloudy weather, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. How you approach these challenges affects how you feel. In this article, we’ll introduce you to winter blues and share some […]

Harnessing the Power of CBT for Effective Relapse Prevention

three friends smiling

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on changing patterns of thinking or behaviors that can lead to problems in your life. CBT is a highly effective evidence-based practice used to treat a range of mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, and addiction. If you’re struggling to stay sober, CBT might […]

Combating Holiday Season Loneliness When You’re in Recovery

Black family cutting Christmas tree

The holiday season, often considered a time of joy and celebration, can be a challenging period for many individuals, especially those navigating the twisting path of addiction recovery. For those who have embarked on the journey to overcome substance use disorders, feelings of loneliness during the holidays can be particularly troubling. The struggle to maintain […]

Effective Strategies for Maintaining Sobriety During the Holiday Season

young woman in holiday street scene.

Navigating the holiday season while in recovery can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. Here are effective strategies to help you stay sober during the holidays, allowing you to embrace the joy and connection of this season without sacrificing any of its special qualities. Acknowledge Triggers and Practice Proactive Steps Being mindful of potential triggers, […]

Barriers to Recovery: Shame

small group seated in a circle.

He was the kind of kid who didn’t back down from a confrontation. But this day, as he sat in my office with his head in his hands, he never met my gaze. Instead, he recounted an earlier event when he took medication from a sick relative to get high. He didn’t look at me […]

A Complete Guide to Writing an Effective Relapse Prevention Plan

woman writing in notebook

If you’re in addiction treatment, most centers will have you develop a  relapse prevention plan at some point. The goal is to avoid relapse entirely, but life happens, and for many people, relapse becomes a stepping stone on the way to permanent sobriety. A relapse is when you drink or use again after a period […]

Social Media Can Kill: The Illicit Drug Trade Goes Online

young adult on smartphone

“The package came in the mail for my daughter—I put it on the counter with everything else. I didn’t give it a second thought. Why would I?” My friend—a retired cop—had called me every day and spoke the exact same words, sometimes more than once in a single conversation. The strange thing was that his […]

Empower, Don’t Enable: How to Stop Enabling Loved Ones with Addiction Issues

Enabling is a pattern of behavior in which a parent, partner, or loved one with addiction issues assists or supports that person’s harmful or self-destructive habits, often unintentionally. This can take many forms, such as giving someone money or covering up for a loved one’s relapse. Enabling can come from a genuine desire to help, […]

How Telehealth is Making Addiction Care More Equitable

black woman on laptop video session

Substance use has come under the spotlight again in recent years, due to the opioid crisis, which has affected millions of Americans. Opioids aren’t the only substance being abused, of course—21.4% of people 12 and over have used illegal substances or abused prescription drugs in the last year. While not all of them became addicted, […]

Opioid Addiction Signs, Symptoms & Prevention

pensive man in orange shirt

While there’s no denying that opioids can effectively treat pain, opioid addiction doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone—even those who take the drug as per their doctor’s instructions. Because of this, learning about what opioid addiction is, how to recognize it, and how to prevent it is of utmost importance if you or your loved […]

The Biological Reasons Why Alcohol Increases Depression

man drinking alcohol.

Most of us know how great alcohol can make us feel—and how terrible. However, the adverse effects of drinking can extend well beyond a Sunday-morning hangover. For some people, regular alcohol use can also contribute to depression, anxiety, or a generally low mood. These effects won’t necessarily be severe for a casual social drinker, but […]

Making the Choice Between Inpatient and Outpatient Rehabilitation

torso of man on couch

Choosing between inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs isn’t easy, especially if you’re dealing with an addiction to alcohol or drugs. On the one hand, going to inpatient rehab allows you to fully immerse yourself in your recovery and work one-on-one with professionals who can help you overcome the hurdles around recovery while providing 24/7 support. […]

The Impact of Alcohol Abuse on Families

Here’s an alarming statistic: around 14.5 million Americans have an alcohol use disorder. What’s even more worrisome is that alcohol dependence not only affects the individuals with the addiction; it also affects their families. No wonder alcoholism is sometimes referred to as a family disease. Without alcohol treatment, the condition not only affects individuals’ physical, […]

How to Change an Aggressive Communication Style While in Recovery from Addiction

Communication is the bridge that connects us to others. If we build it the wrong way, sooner or later, it will tumble down. Rebuilding communication is even more challenging for people in recovery from addiction. They frequently feel frustrated and irritable and often act aggressively toward others. In this article, we’ll discuss the ways to […]

Porn Addiction: How to Break Free and Overcome Temptation

Porn addiction is a topic that is often ignored and rarely recognized. Porn addiction develops early, particularly in young men. Usually, it begins when puberty sets in and sexual attraction is a brand new feeling. Porn becomes the default method for dealing with these foreign feelings at that age and generally sticks around. Most people […]

Understanding and Controlling Rage: The Complex Interplay of Mental Illness, Substance Abuse, and Anger Regulation

You love your family. You cherish your friends. You find pleasure and fulfillment in your work. You have every reason to be a happy, well-adjusted person in almost all respects. Sometimes, though, the pressures of the day and the inevitable challenges of life get to be too much. You lash out. You lose control and […]

Is Psychotherapy Effective in Treating Addiction?

Each year, over 96,000 Americans die due to drug overdose. The internet has made addictive activities such as gambling, porn, or shopping more accessible than ever. But it’s also opened the door for access to treatments such as virtual psychotherapy. If you or a loved one are struggling, you may be considering whether therapy is […]

Key Questions and Considerations When Choosing Addiction Treatment Programs

thoughtful black man

As a Clinical Psychologist, I am often asked by families to assist them in finding an appropriate treatment program for a loved one with an addiction problem. The addiction can vary from drug or alcohol dependency to video gaming and gambling. One of the ways I help my clients and their families is by exploring […]

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Affected People with Substance Use Disorders

sad woman in close-up.

Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges in many people’s lives. But for people with a substance use disorder, the stress of the pandemic may pose unique risks. It’s not uncommon for people to use drugs or alcohol to cope with difficult situations or feelings. Even those without a history of substance abuse […]

10 Ways Women Can Maintain Their Mental Health While in Addiction Recovery

multi-racial women on steps

Addiction is a chronic and relapsing disease. While there is no cure for addiction, it can be effectively treated. This typically involves a combination of medication-assisted treatment and psychotherapy like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). Of the 20.4 million over-12s diagnosed with substance use disorder in the United States, there are some key differences between men […]

The Child of Two Alcoholics Became the Alcoholic… and Recovered

woman drinking wine on floor

I am 6 years old. My dad and mom are fighting—this time over a field trip that I missed because my parents slept in too late. The screaming starts. I go into the kitchen to see what the commotion is about. I hear my dad yell at my mom and then push her into the […]

My Father’s Son: How My Dad’s Drinking Drove Me to Stop

drunk businessman passed out on bed

My dad was a brilliant, hardworking attorney with a great sense of humor and loads of charisma. My dad was also an alcoholic. In many ways, I followed his footsteps. I was 13 when I started working in his law office, and I went to college and pursued a career as an attorney. I worked […]

The Addictive Personality, Recovery, and Relationships

two hands touching

Recovery from an addiction is one of the most challenging, strenuous, but ultimately rewarding and worthwhile things a person can achieve. However, when we talk about addiction and recovery,  it is important to look past the surface at why some are more prone to it than others and how it affects nearly every aspect of […]

The Serious Public Health Issue We Aren’t Talking About: Alcohol Use

alcoholic drinks on bartop

Underlying the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is another public health crisis that has devastated American lives for decades: alcohol misuse and addiction. For years, medical professionals and organizations, including the American Cancer Society, have warned against excessive consumption. Now, the isolation, uncertainty, and stress created by the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated alcohol misuse, as more […]

Finding Myself after Trauma and Alcoholism

I woke up nauseous, with a splitting headache again for the third morning in a row. I couldn’t blame it on being sick or anything else because only my bad decision-making was responsible for the state I was in. You see, I was a functioning alcoholic. I was in a high-stress military job where the […]

12 Step Programs for Addiction Recovery

steps in woodland park

Twelve-step programs are structured support groups for people who want to get help for addiction and various other destructive behaviors. It is the most common form of addiction support around the world and is used by millions of people. The basic premise of 12 step programs is for members to adopt and follow a set […]

The Role of Technology in Addiction and Recovery

hands on keyboard

There is no single aspect of healthcare in the modern digital world that is not impacted by technology. Like most things in life, there is a duality at play regarding the positive and negative role of technology on personal well-being. Relying on the media consumed via smartphones and tablets, people can either improve their mental […]

Common Misconceptions about Addiction and Mental Health in Young Adults

teen smoking bubbler pipe

Being a young adult isn’t easy. Late teens to early twenties mark a stage in life when many people struggle with developing a healthy sense of worth in a world that feels like it is constantly changing. On top of that, young adults have to deal with pressures from external sources such as their parents, […]

Treating Addiction and Anxiety Disorders

glass of alcoholic drink

Addiction and anxiety are serious disorders that can damage your physical and psychological wellbeing. In many cases, treatment is the only way to break the cycle. While anxiety occurs due to our body’s natural response to stress, addictions usually develop over time. About 8.1% of the total United States Population (21.7 million people) is either […]

5 Steps to Mindfulness for Addiction Treatment

lotus blossom

Meditation and mindfulness exercises are used globally by drug and alcohol addiction centers as a complementary form of treatment to help patients improve physical and mental health. Substance abuse can cause problems ranging from kidney failure to depression to parasitic relationships. While professional help is the best course of action for treating addiction problems, meditation […]

My Experience with Cannabis as an Undiagnosed Borderline

young woman vaping.

How cannabis abuse aggravated my borderline personality disorder to the point of medical intervention. Marijuana is a controversial topic when it comes to mental health. I have friends who have been self-medicating for years, insisting that weed cures their anxiety and helps them cope with their depression. I also have friends who refuse to touch […]

The Link Between Loneliness and Substance Abuse: 5 Things You Need to Know

man alone in window

A 2020 study conducted by health insurer Cigna revealed a curious truth about Americans and loneliness: more than 3 out of 5 consider themselves lonely. Though for some, loneliness is a fleeting feeling that they have every once in a while, it can be more serious for others. In psychology, loneliness is defined as the […]

Six Ways to Stay Sober this Holiday Season

holiday self-care with book

All the fun and festivities aside, the “most wonderful time of the year” can be rather challenging for many people. There are added responsibilities, long shopping lists, draining activities, and numerous situations that can feel overwhelmed. Seasonal depression and anxiety are at an all-time high. Some people feel extra isolated watching TV and scrolling through […]

How to Maintain Sobriety During the Holidays

holiday alcohol bottles

Christmas and the holiday season bring joy and a sense of hope to many people worldwide, but for a person in addiction recovery, the holidays can also be a stressful time. If you’re new to sobriety, you may be dreading the holiday season, from events that have a heavy alcohol presence to avoiding relapse during […]

Mentally Managing the Holiday Season During a Pandemic

holiday face mask

The holidays are a joyous time, whether it is Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukkah, or New Years. However, every year millions of Americans battle substance use disorders and co-occurring issues like anxiety and addiction. The time from Thanksgiving to New Years is rough for people struggling with addiction, mental health issues, and anyone in recovery. Along […]

How to Quit Drinking or Using Drugs by Changing Your Thinking

support group holding hands

It can be difficult to quit drinking alcohol or using drugs. However, we can use the power of our mind and thoughts to stop. We can do this by focusing our thoughts on the long-term positive benefits and negative consequences of drinking compared to the short-term benefits. Although it may sound counterintuitive, it can actually […]

7 Sober Hobbies to Help You Overcome Drug and Alcohol Addiction

black couple cooking

Deciding to be sober is the first step to getting treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. The decision to stop may not be easy, especially if you have been into it for a long time and have already gone through detox and treatment but weren’t successful. However, with the help of professionals, and with the […]

Understanding Addiction as a Disease: A Guide for Friends and Family

supportive hands

* Updated – May 2024 * If you have a loved one who struggles with substance use, you might have wondered what triggers the behavior. Is it a choice? Genes? Many friends and family members struggle to understand addiction, believing it results from a lack of willpower or moral failing. Knowing the science makes understanding easier. […]

Marijuana and Psychosis: Evidence Points to Cannabis Triggering Lasting Psychotic Conditions

man smoking marijuana

Growing evidence shows cannabis use, particularly among adolescents and young adults, can trigger permanent psychological disorders, such as schizophrenia. At the same time, marijuana is increasingly being legalized, decriminalized, glorified in pop culture and easier to access.

“It’s heading in a terrible direction,” said Rocco “Rocky” Marotta, MD, PhD, Service Chief for the Adult Transitional Living Program at Silver Hill Hospital. “I see the suffering. I see families suffering. I see these kids’ lives destroyed.

How COVID-19 Quarantine is Testing Recovering Addicts

stressed adult male

When Manhattan set the standard for quarantine lockdown, liquor stores were famously considered essential. Soon enough, bars were allowed to order take-and-go cocktails and drinks as if it were an east coast Las Vegas. Today, liquor stores are one of the few industries that aren’t just surviving amidst a pandemic, but absolutely thriving. For those […]

Managing Your Addiction Virtually During the COVID-19 Pandemic

window view of rainbow

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive worldwide disruption in addition to untold physical and financial devastation, negatively impacting countless areas of our lives. Unfortunately, this has hit more areas than many of us ever would have dreamed, and that includes addiction services. Due to the pandemic, hundreds of millions of people were forced to stay […]

Marijuana and Psychosis: One Family’s Story – From Capable to Catatonic in One Year

young man with cannabis pipe

Carl just wanted his son back.

Jake had become “like a walking zombie who was incoherent and catatonic,” Carl said of his son. Jake had been admitted and released by several state mental health facilities after suffering what Carl believes is cannabis-induced psychosis.

The Dangers of Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

drunk man with bottle

Coping is hard. Life gives us problems, and sometimes they’re not really fixable. They remain sore spots for us throughout our lives, even as we grow and change and move on from the old places and things that used to scare us. Too often, we don’t take the time to process and accept the things […]

Substance Abuse Treatment in Times of COVID-19

group face masks

The COVID-19 pandemic and global quarantine made people’s lives enormously hard. Especially, people with chronic diseases or different addictions suffer because their treatment was impacted the most. For the first weeks of the quarantine, people were not able to get their regular treatment in hospitals, some of them even had to stop it. People with […]

The Importance of Surrender in Addiction Recovery

man praying

I am coming up on five years in recovery from drugs and alcohol. A remarkable feat for me personally as I spent many years attempting to get sober. From the ages of 21 to 26, I went to a handful of treatment centers. Going in, I truly did want to stop doing drugs and wanted […]

Facts About Co-Occurring Disorders That Often Go Unnoticed

Most of us know someone personally who struggles with a dual diagnosis, or the presence of a substance use disorder and coexisting mental health disorder. Many people rely on the numbing effects of a substance to help them manage a difficult mental health issue. Sadly, the end result is often two co-occurring disorders that only […]

Why the Link between Depression and Substance Abuse Is More Complicated Than It Appears

substance abuse depression

So, which came first, depression or substance abuse? The question is akin to the chicken/egg conundrum that has befuddled generations, yet the relationship between substance abuse and depression is much more complex than meets the eye. Of course, those who live with co-occurring disorders understand this complexity all too well. “Co-occurring disorders,” also called dual […]

Rebuilding Bridges: My Story of Addiction Recovery

rebuilding bridges

Active addiction was rough for me. My alcohol and drug abuse, along with the choices I made, damaged me physically, emotionally and spiritually. It was also a terrible time for those around me. Between my lying, stealing, abusive behavior and general acts of craziness, I made a lot of people unhappy. And the people closest […]

Does the Addictive Personality Really Exist?

addictive personality

If someone were to ask what types of people get addicted to drugs or alcohol, most of the population would be able to offer a few general ideas. They may say that individuals with an “addictive personality” would be the ones most likely to become inadvertently and unhealthily preoccupied and reliant on a substance. Yet […]

Local Expert to Speak on Vaping in Wilton, CT

vaping teen

Next week, on January 13th and 15th Ridgefield-based psychotherapist Elizabeth Jorgensen, CADC, will present on the topic of “Vaping: What You Need to Know” at two locations in Wilton, CT. Liz is the owner and director of Insight Counseling, LLC, in Ridgefield, CT. She is a nationally recognized expert in counseling, particularly in engaging resistant […]

What a Whole Year of Recovery Can Do for Someone with an Addiction Problem

You had heard it all before. While still in active addiction, well-meaning friends and family members tried to assure you that your life would be immensely better if you would just get some help. They promised you repeatedly that if you got sober, and stayed that way, you would enjoy a fulfilling and prosperous life. […]

Addiction and the Elderly: Why Drug and Alcohol Abuse is on the Rise

elderly addiction

It’s no secret that binge drinking is a cultural problem in the U.S. and around the world. The behavior is primarily associated with young people, but increasingly, senior citizens are drinking alcohol excessively. In fact, a 2019 study found that more than 10% of Americans aged 65 and over engage in binge drinking on a […]

Effective Ways to Help a Loved One with an Addiction Problem

helping hands

It’s painful to watch someone you love struggle with drug or alcohol abuse. You know he or she can benefit from professional help, but how do you breach the topic and how do you convince someone who is reluctant to seek treatment to go to rehab? Substance abuse is often accompanied by feelings of shame […]

Treating Depression While in Addiction Recovery

calm waters

Recovery from addiction is said to be simple, but not easy. I have no doubt that for many people this holds true. But for some, like myself, there is more than one illness of the mind to fight. Going through recovery with a dual diagnosis adds an extra layer to addiction recovery and can make […]

How Does Someone Develop Co-Occurring Disorders?

co-occurring disorder

By John Kahal, CEO of Capo by the Sea Imagine being trapped in the vicious cycle of both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. On a daily basis, one condition continually aggravates and fuels the other, regardless of which one happened to emerge first. The co-occurring disorders, often referred to as a […]

Drug Abuse and Addiction Among Executives and Professionals

executive drug abuse

By Ken Seeley, Founder and CEO, Ken Seeley Communities You know the signs of the trailblazing workaholic. He seems to have unlimited reserves of energy, remaining laser-focused on his work for hours on end while his mortal colleagues are fading fast. You may scratch your head in awe of his unique ability to plow through […]

10 Coping Techniques When on the Verge of Addiction Relapse

Substance Abuse Relapse Prevention

It is an oft-used phrase that “relapse is a normal part of recovery.” No one ever wants to relapse back into substance use. Not really. They may romance the past or desire the buzz, but anyone who has devoted so much time, attention, and treasure to overcoming addiction surely doesn’t desire to fall down. Regardless […]

Dual Diagnosis: The Connection Between Mental Health and Addiction

man at lighthouse

More than two decades ago, researchers found that treating one person for two behavioral health disorders — even simultaneously — at two separate clinics or care providers was often ineffective. Parallel treatment was the norm at the time. Yet the need for a more combined treatment approach for those with substance abuse issues and a […]

How Substance Use Impacts Mental Health: 5 Commonly Abused Substances

Commonly Abused Substances

The term ‘substance abuse’ refers to harmful or noxious consumption of psychoactive substances, such as alcohol, illegal drugs and other prescribed medications in amounts or quantities that are harmful to a person. Drug addiction or substance use disorders often lead to alteration in thinking, judgment, perception, attention, behavioral and cognitive impairment, physical and psychological dependence, […]

Tips for Setting Priorities During Mental Health and Addiction Recovery

recovery priorities mental health

Seeking help and starting the beginning stages of recovery is extremely hard, but following through with continued recovery is a battle in itself. Recovery lasts a lifetime, whether you’re managing substance abuse, mental health symptoms, or both. How you balance and sort your priorities when you’re in recovery has a big hand in your long-term […]

Laurel House Joins Communities 4 Action’s 6th Annual Recovery Celebration in Wesport, CT

Communities 4 Action Recovery Celebration

On Tuesday September 24, rtor.org Resource Specialists Denise Vestuti and Kim O’Rielly, and Laurel House Mobile Employment Specialist Greg Dunn, joined a group of over 200 people who joyously gathered at Mitchell’s in Westport, CT for Communities 4 Action’s 6th Annual Recovery Celebration in recognition of National Recovery Month. This community-wide event was conceived by […]

Co-occurring Disorders: The Link Between PTSD and Addiction

Most people who struggle with an addiction problem have also experienced significant past trauma. By the same token, 50-66% of individuals diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also live with co-occurring addiction disorders. The presence of one or more mental health and substance use disorders (SUDs) in the same person is referred to as co-occurring […]

New Canaan Residents, Community Groups, and Local Service Providers Join Together for Third Annual Addiction Awareness Vigil

candle light vigil

On Thursday evening September 5, staff from www.rtor.org and Laurel House, Inc., attended the 3rd Annual Community Addiction Awareness Vigil in New Canaan, Connecticut. The vigil was hosted by the New Canaan Parent Support Group and the New Canaan Community Foundation.  Denise Vestuti, Clinical Services Director for rtor.org, and Kim O’Rielly, Youth Services Manager, joined […]

Dabs, Wax, Vaping Weed, Edibles and the Real Impact of High Potency THC Products: What Parents Need to Know

vaping cannabis.

During the month of September www.rtor.org will be observing National Recovery Month with a guest blog series on addiction and substance use disorders. For our second article in this series, we are featuring a guest post from Elizabeth Driscoll Jorgensen, owner of Insight Counseling, LLC, in Ridgefield, CT, and Consultant to Family-Endorsed Provider Newport Academy at its […]

How I Redefined Strength and Resilience in Recovery

tree in the desert

When I was young, my parents raised me to be what they thought was strong and resilient. They themselves are strong, hard-working individuals, and they only wanted the best for me. However, if I was upset, crying was frowned upon, and I would get punished further. Strength, at the time, was defined by not showing […]

6 Worst Side Effects of Medical Marijuana on Mental Health

6 Worst Side Effects of Medical Marijuana on Mental Health

Years of research show that cannabidiol (CBD), an active ingredient in marijuana, can treat a variety of conditions including chronic pain, glaucoma, and seizures. Also, there is evidence that cannabis has chemicals that prevent the spread of cancer and the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. But… Even with the rampant decriminalization of cannabis and documentation of […]

The Link Between Addiction and Anxiety

The Link Between Anxiety and Addiction

Everybody at some point will experience periods of uncertainty and unease in their lives. This can lead to feelings of anxiety. Luckily for most people, these feelings are temporary and will recede with some simple breathing exercises and a re-evaluation of the problem that is causing them stress. However, this is not the case for […]