The Journey Starts Now

Addiction is a rising health concern—a chronic brain disease that knows no boundaries and affects individuals regardless of age, race, gender, and financial status. The disease can negatively impact every aspect of a person’s life—from their physical and psychological health to their relationships and finances. But with the right treatment and personalized support, recovery is possible.

What You Need to Know about Marijuana

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Opioid Addiction

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7 Warning Signs Someone You Love Might Need Substance Abuse Treatment

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Aging and Addiction:
A Silent Epidemic

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Relapse and Recovery

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Addiction and The Body

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The Science of Addiction

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Choosing an Addiction Treatment Center

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Caron helps you go from relapse to recovery

It’s common for people in recovery to relapse, and there are a lot of reasons why it can happen. Caron knows that the inclusion of family is just one of the many vital components to helping those in recovery stay on the right path, and that’s why we make it a focus of our uncompromising care.

Aging and Addiction: A Silent Epidemic

There is no one face of addiction; it affects individuals from every demographic regardless of gender, age, religion, race or socioeconomic status. Despite this, there is a prevailing misconception that older adults are not as vulnerable to substance abuse. Research, however, shows that addiction in the elderly—adults 65 and older—is a growing problem that is often underdiagnosed and, therefore, undertreated.

Addiction Causes

Older adults are particularly at risk for prescription drug abuse because they are more likely to take medications to address co-occurring and age-related conditions. These drugs, which often have a high potential for addiction, include:

  • Opioids – used for pain management, examples are oxycodone, fentanyl, and morphine.
  • Stimulants – used to enhance brain activity, examples are amphetamines and methylphenidate.
  • Benzodiazepines – used to treat anxiety and insomnia, examples are diazepam, chlordiazepoxide HCI, and alprazolam.

Prescription drug abuse occurs when an individual misuses the medicine in a way that is not instructed by their doctor—such as, taking more medication than prescribed or mixing the drug with alcohol.

The concurrent use of different medications is frequent among older adults. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 30 percent of people ages 57 to 85 take at least five prescriptions, increasing the risk of unintended drug interactions and dependency.

In addition to the increased availability and accessibility of prescription drugs, as a person gets older, their body changes. These changes can impact the way they absorb and filter medicine, making them more vulnerable to addiction than a younger adult.

Many older adults are also going through stressful life changes, such as the death of a spouse, development of a chronic illness, and decreased mobility, all of which can contribute to depression and substance abuse.

Consequences

The abuse of prescription drugs impacts the overall health of older adults in several ways. Patients increase their chances of falling or having an accident, and they can worsen neurological, respiratory, and other age-related conditions. Overall, patients who abuse prescription drugs tend to have higher rates of morbidity.

Signs of Addiction

Family members, caretakers, and health care providers frequently mistake the signs of drug abuse for other physical and mental disorders associated with age. Older adults are also more likely and able to hide their substance abuse as they are often retired and not prone to getting in trouble with the law, so there are seemingly less negative consequences to their behavior.

If you are concerned about an older adult’s use of prescription drugs, here are some signs to watch out for:

  • Use of the medicine outside of the doctor’s instructions.
  • Seeking a prescription from multiple doctors or filling an order at multi pharmacies.
  • Behavior changes, such as becoming angrier or withdrawing from everyday activities.
  • Defensive about and making excuses for taking the medicine.
  • Hiding the medication.
  • Previous substance abuse problems.

What You Can Do

When seeking a treatment center for an elderly patient who is abusing substances, look for one that addresses their unique age-specific needs, including co-occurring medical conditions, cognitive functioning, biology, psychology, and social factors.

One facility that offers a rehab program specifically for older adults suffering from substance abuse is Caron Treatment Centers, a leading not-for-profit provider of addiction treatment and behavioral healthcare with centers across the country. The reason Caron is so effective at helping older adults is that they provide each patient with a multidisciplinary team that creates an individualized, holistic, and integrated plan for treatment. The program also incorporates family members into the patient’s recovery to address issues of anger, denial, and fear often associated with addiction.

As the “Baby Boomer” generation continues to age, it is expected that prescription drug abuse in the elderly will also rise. The good news, according to addiction specialists at Caron, is that with the proper treatment, this population has the highest rates of recovery of any age group. There is help, and there is hope.


Families can trust Caron to be their solution

With older adults, it can be difficult to assess if a change in behavior is a sign of addiction or a sign of aging. Because of that, it’s crucial to address the situation in a respectful way. At Caron, our proven treatment services offer older adults the dignity they deserve, to help lead to lifelong healing. Trust Caron to assess your situation and be the solution for comprehensive, personalized behavioral health care.

Addiction and The Body

The impact of drug addiction is extensive. Depending on a host of factors, including the substance used, the duration of abuse, and an individual’s overall health, drugs can have a range of short- to long-term effects on the body. Here are some of the health issues correlated with drug abuse and how treatment and recovery can help reverse some of the damage.

Physical Impact

Different drugs and their method of use—smoking, snorting, swallowing, and injection—affect the body in different ways. Drugs that are most addictive activate the brain’s cerebral cortex and limbic system—or reward center—by flooding pathways and synapses with the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Addiction is considered a brain disorder because drugs have the potential to rewire the brain’s reward circuity. This change to the brain obstructs not only a person’s decision-making abilities, emotions, and impulse control, but also their capacity to experience pleasure from everyday activities. Drug dependency occurs when the user compulsively repeats the behavior despite devastating consequences to their lives, bodies, and loved ones.

In addition to changing the way the brain functions, research shows that people with substance use disorders often experience a host of other physical health problems, including:

  • Higher rates of lung and cardiovascular disease
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney damage
  • Chronic pain
  • Organ system injury
  • Hepatitis C
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer

There are several reasons why people who suffer from substance abuse disorders are likely to have co-occurring physical health problems. Previous medical conditions can contribute to the development of addiction—or addiction, which impacts the body’s immune system and often accompanies risky behavior, can cause additional medical issues. The co-occurring conditions can also exacerbate each other.

Psychological Impact

Compared to the general population, people who suffer from substance use disorders are twice as likely to experience mental health issues. This does not necessarily mean that one causes the other, but research shows that there is a connection. Drug abuse can trigger mental health symptoms, and mental illness can contribute to substance abuse. Both conditions are often caused by similar influences, such as genetic vulnerabilities, biology, and environmental factors.

While under the influence of the drug, a person can experience short-term mental health symptoms like paranoia and delusion. If the symptoms last after the drug effects subside, it can indicate an underlying mental health issue. The negative consequences of drug use on a person’s professional and personal life can also trigger depression.

Mental health disorders and substance abuse often impact each other. For example, when a person’s mental health issue is untreated, they are more likely to abuse drugs, and when a person’s drug abuse escalates, it can worsen their mental health symptoms.

Recovery

Recovering from addiction is difficult and can be complicated by additional mental or physical medical conditions, but there is hope. An essential part of the recovery process involves detoxing from the drug and rewiring the brain’s pathways to restore normal functioning. This takes time and, often, medical intervention.

It is vital that a person with a dual diagnosis find a rehab that addresses both issues simultaneously. A facility like Caron Treatment Centers offers world-class integrated behavioral health programs that treat addiction alongside co-occurring physical and psychological conditions.

According to addiction specialists at Caron, the faster a person receives help and the longer they stay drug-free, the more likely they are to reverse the damage and restore their health. Healing is possible.


Trust Caron to provide comprehensive treatment

At Caron, we understand that addiction is complex. That’s why we don’t just treat drug and alcohol problems, but also the underlying and related issues that often accompany these conditions. By addressing the physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of each patient, Caron provides uncompromising treatment.

The Science of Addiction

Once thought of as a moral failing, addiction is now recognized by the U.S. Surgeon General and the American Medical Association as a chronic brain disease. This shift in perspective has fundamentally changed the way we understand and treat substance abuse, and scientific advancements are continuing to help destigmatize the illness.

What is Addiction?

Characterized by the compulsive use of a drug despite harmful consequences, addiction is considered a disease because it changes the structure and functioning of the brain on a physiological level. Research shows that these changes can be both immediate and long-lasting and that they contribute to the development and persistence of addiction.

What Causes Addiction?

There are many reasons a person might first take a drug—from experimentation to pain management to self-medicating a neurological or psychological disorder. After the initial use, a range of risks, including genetics, environment, and life circumstances, can determine an individual’s vulnerability toward addiction. Different drugs also have different impacts on the body and brain. The most highly addictive substances are those that target the brain’s reward system with the “feel-good” neurotransmitter dopamine.

How Does Addiction Change the Brain?

When a person participates in healthy and fulfilling activities like exercise or spending time with loved ones, normal levels of dopamine are released into the areas of the brain that control, among other things, emotion, pleasure, and reward-motivated behavior. However, when a drug floods the brain’s neuropathways with dopamine, the user experiences a high that can rewire their brain to compel them to compulsively seek out and use the substance regardless of the cost to their bodies and lives.

The physical changes that occur in the rewiring of the brain impact and influence the user’s behavior—from impairing judgment and cognitive functioning to affecting memory and learning. The more the brain changes, the more likely a person is to exhibit the habitual and destructive behaviors associated with addiction. After continued abuse of a substance, the brain produces less dopamine naturally, and everyday pleasures become less enjoyable. At that point, a person feels they need more of the drug to function on a base level and to prevent or ease symptoms of withdrawal, including intense cravings, physical pain, and depression.

What Is the Best Course of Treatment?

According to addiction specialists at Caron Treatment Centers, an internationally known leader in drug and alcohol treatment, it is essential to understand addiction as a chronic brain disease so that shame and stigma no longer prevent people from asking for and receiving the help they need to manage the illness.

Caron’s philosophy is that a person suffering from a substance use disorder should not be expected to treat their condition through mere willpower any more than a patient with another chronic illness, such as cancer or diabetes. At their centers, which include both inpatient and outpatient programs, they offer evidence-based holistic and integrated behavioral health treatment plans that combine medicine, psychology, cognitive and dialectical behavior therapy, and 12-Step integration.

There is no cure for addiction, but it is treatable. Like many chronic diseases, managing addiction requires the right treatment, plenty of support, and daily vigilance. A facility like Caron provides the tools needed to help patients learn how to live an addiction-free life.


Only Caron provides such an integrated approach

At Caron, we blend the latest evidence-based treatment practices with historically proven treatments to provide fully integrated, comprehensive treatment. It’s a whole-person approach that provides tools for sustained recovery and healthy living.

Opioid Epidemic & Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

How Medication-Assisted Treatment is Transforming the Way We Treat Opioid Addiction

An estimated 2.4 million Americans suffer from a severe opioid use disorder (OUD), and, in 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared opioid drug abuse a public health emergency. In response to the epidemic, treatment facilities like Caron Treatment Centers, a world-class provider of addiction treatment and integrated behavioral health, are using evidence-based care, including Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), to help place OUD patients on the road to long-term recovery.

The U.S. Surgeon General recognizes addiction as a chronic and progressive brain disease that is typically caused by a combination of biological, environmental, and behavioral factors. MAT is one of the safest and most effective components of treatment for opioid dependency. The FDA-approved medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone, must be one part of a comprehensive treatment program that includes behavioral therapies and other support services.

Just as with any other illness, the medicine is prescribed to each patient based on his or her lifestyle and specific needs. It helps to relieve debilitating cravings, block the high brought on by opioids, and restore the brain’s normal chemistry and circuitry. MAT has also been clinically shown to improve patient retention rates in treatment, prevent relapse, and increase their chances of sustainable recovery and survival.

MAT should never be the only course of treatment for opioid addiction. However, it does serve as an important and supportive tool that allows patients to focus on their treatment and develop healthy strategies for life without the physiological effects of withdrawal and ongoing cravings, which often threaten longer-term recovery.

“Opioid addiction is an illness, one that requires specialized treatment by trained and licensed professionals and a lifetime of careful management,” said Dr. Joseph Garbely, FASAM, Vice President of Medical Services and Medical Director at Caron Treatment Centers.

Caron’s medically-driven Opioid Treatment Program addresses the unique needs of patients with OUD. The program features a multi-disciplinary, whole-patient approach that incorporates MAT with other treatment modalities, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), medical evaluation, 12-step integration, family services and therapy, and ongoing post-treatment care and support.

Buprenorphine and extended-release injectable naltrexone are the two medications that Caron currently uses for its MAT treatment strategy. Here’s how they work:

  • Labeled an “essential medicine” by the World Health Organization, buprenorphine is used as a detoxification or maintenance medication. Buprenorphine helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms and increases safety in case of an opioid-related overdose.
  • Extended-release injectable naltrexone reduces cravings by blocking opioid receptors in the brain. In the case of relapse, the medication prevents the person from feeling the euphoric effects of the abused drug. There is no abuse and diversion potential with naltrexone.

As part of the Opioid Treatment Program, these medicines are made available to all Caron patients with OUD and are administered and monitored by specialty-trained, certified medical professionals who manage all aspects of the patient’s treatment plan.

“We are focusing on the science of opioid addiction to provide solution-driven care,” said Dr. Garbely. “Our program leverages our proven best practices and merges expert-level care to support the physical, mental, and emotional needs of patients and their families. This is critical to help them successfully navigate long-term treatment. With this approach, we can save lives.”


“One of the things that we talk about so frequently is, it’s not just about prescribing the medication, but the medication is a part of a recovery picture.”
– Kate Appleman, Senior Clinical Director

At Caron, medication assisted treatment (MAT) is an important component of comprehensive treatment plans that can help set patients on a path to long-term success.

Choosing an Addiction Treatment Center

Addiction is a devastating chronic brain disease with far-reaching impacts, but with the right treatment, those who suffer can learn skills to maintain sobriety and go on to live a more meaningful life. Here are six reasons why choosing a rehab like the world-renowned Caron Treatment Centers can help put you on the path to recovery.

Inpatient Vs. Outpatient

Recovering from addiction is hard work, but rest assured that effective treatment is available in a variety of forms. Many treatment plans involve a combination of approaches, including support groups, inpatient programs, outpatient programs, and extended care. Caron offers a wide range of treatment options. It’s best to speak with a specialist to determine which is best for you.

Recovering from addiction is hard work, but rest assured that effective treatment is available in a variety of forms. Many treatment plans involve a combination of approaches, including support groups, inpatient programs, outpatient programs, and extended care. Caron offers a wide range of treatment options. It’s best to speak with a specialist to determine which is best for you.

Individualized Treatment Plans

At Caron, every patient works with an integrated, multidisciplinary team. That team creates a personalized treatment plan based on the patient’s individual needs, incorporating the latest clinically proven practices in medicine, psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, 12-step integration, counseling, and positive peer culture.

Peer-to-Peer Programs

Caron believes that no two patients are alike. Their circumstances for entering treatment are a result of varying factors, therefore we meet patients and families where they are in life by tailoring treatment specific to each. We also have found that patients are most successful when they participate in treatment with peers who have similar life circumstances and are going through similar life stages, such as high school, parenthood, successful careers, and retirement to name a few.

Treating the Mind, Body and Spirit

Substance abuse often coincides with other mental and physical health issues.1 At Caron we believe that addressing patients’ core physical, mental and emotional issues is the only way to reverse the addiction process. Therefore, we take an evidence-based and holistic approach to treatment and one’s wellness. Treatment includes individual and group therapy aimed at helping patients develop healthy coping skills and emotional regulation. We take time to focus on exercise and fitness with patients, along with nutritional counseling and proper diet, with the goal of learning skills to promote a healthier approach to wellness. We also focus on reconnecting and strengthening the spirit and building connections to one’s self, others, nature and personal faith.

Family Integration

Like most chronic diseases, addiction affects not only the patient but the whole family. At Caron, we believe the patient is the family and the family is the patient. This means that we’re equally committed to caring for those suffering as well as their families; integrating the family into the patient’s treatment to begin the process of healing for everyone. Integration can be in the form of regular contact with loved ones, a separate counselor for the family while the patient is in treatment, education for the family around addiction and behavioral health, an alumni “buddy family” to depend on for support and understanding, or intensive treatment programs in the form of our Residential Family Restructuring.

67%

Success Rates

Different rehabs measure different rates of success. Caron statistics are based on a number of sources, including the My First Year of Recovery Program – This individualized aftercare program utilizes random urinalysis with a 68% program completion rate and an overall abstinence rate of 67%, as well as collaborative research projects with outside universities.

67%

After-Treatment Support

To achieve long-term success, you need a facility that not only prepares you for living a sober life but also offers continued support after treatment. A chronic illness like addiction requires ongoing support, accountability and structure. Caron’s My First Year of Recovery is a post-treatment counseling and monitoring program for recent patients and their families. The goal of the program is to help families navigate the ups and downs of that first, pivotal year following treatment, as well as achieve and sustain a healthy, sober lifestyle. Professionals work with patients and families to reach very personal milestones. Various services are available based on the needs of each person in order to help one achieve their milestones.

Back to Life

From prevention to family education to collegiate recovery programs, Caron offers services from across the continuum of care to help patients get back to the life they want to live.

Not all treatment plans are created equal

Every treatment plan at Caron is fully customized to the individual to provide comprehensive, well-coordinated care that best positions each person for success. We offer full-time, on-site medical professionals whose only job is making sure you have the best chance at a life of successful recovery. Trust Caron to be your uncompromising solution.

7 Warning Signs

Someone you love mightneed substance abuse treatment

Behavior Changes

Depending on the person and substance

Physical Signs

Financial Problems

Borrowing or stealing money or selling items from the home can be indicative of people with substance use disorder (SUD). In addition to the cost of the substance, whether drugs or alcohol, people with SUD are often burdened with income loss due to a lack of productivity and increased costs in healthcare and legal fees.

Increased Tolerance

The use of medications prescribed by a physician out of medical necessity or recreational alcohol and/or drug use can quickly evolve into substance use. Look for signs that the person is growing more tolerant of the drug and note if it takes a stronger dose to achieve the desired euphoric high or relief of pain.

Risky Behavior

Seeking out substances can make people more likely to take risks or ignore the negative consequences of their behavior. Look for criminal activity, such as driving under the influence and stealing money.

Relationship Struggles

Because a person with SUD can be singularly focused on getting and using the drug, they often struggle to maintain healthy relationships with friends, family, significant others, and co-workers.

Social Interaction

New acquaintances:

Spending time with a new group of friends that demonstrate similar behaviors or in new hangouts.

Avoidance:

The person may avoid those closest to them to hide their substance abuse problem and spend less time on the activities and hobbies that once brought them joy.

What You Can Do

If you recognize any of these signs, try reaching out to an addiction specialist at Caron Treatment Centers to discuss options available to you and your loved one. Caron is a not-for-profit leader in addiction treatment and behavioral healthcare with a focus on treating both the individual and the family. Recovery is possible, and you may be able to stop the problem from getting worse.

Things you should know about
Things you should know about
Marijuana

What You Need To Know

As the majority of states across the U.S. work to either decriminalize or legalize marijuana, there is a growing perception that the drug is safe and offers health benefits. However, it is important to remember the risks associated with marijuana and how both experimental and regular use can lead to negative consequences. Here are the facts.

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What is Marijuana?

The most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, marijuana—commonly referred to as weed, hashish or pot—is the mixture of flowers, leaves, and seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. The psychoactive and mind-altering compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) activates the brain’s limbic system, or reward center.

Different Types of Users

According to specialists at Caron Treatment Centers, a leading not-for-profit in addiction treatment and behavioral health, not everyone who consumes marijuana is at risk of addiction. David Rotenberg, Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer at Caron, places users—particularly teens—into three categories:

Use a small amount

Do not experience any serious consequences

Use recreational marijuana

Impacts grades or jobs, relationships, and social activities

Addicted to marijuana

Impact co-occuring mental health issues

Impact on the Body

Impact on Mental Health

Depending on the method of consumption, the chronic use of marijuana can negatively impact a person’s physical health in the following ways:
Chronic lung problems
Increased risk of heart attack
Impaired coordination
The development of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, which causes severe nausea, vomiting, and dehydration that can require medical attention
The National Institute on Drug Abuse lists the following short- and long-term effects of marijuana use on a user's mental health:
Impaired memory, judgment, and cognitive abilities
A higher risk of depression, anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis
Studies show that teens who develop a marijuana use disorder lose an average of 8 IQ points between the ages of 13 and 38. These mental abilities do not return in adulthood even if the person stops using the drug

Increased Potency

The amount of THC content in marijuana from 1990 to 2014

There are concerns that this increased potency could make the consequences of using the drug even worse, especially for younger people whose brains are still developing.

Impact on the body

Depending on the method of consumption, the chronic use of marijuana can negatively impact a person's physical health in the following ways:
Chronic lung problems
Increased risk of heart attack
Impaired coordination
The development of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, which causes severe nausea, vomiting, and dehydration that can require medical attention

Impact on Mental Health

The National Institute on Drug Abuse lists the following short- and long-term effects of marijuana use on a user’s mental health:
Impaired memory, judgment, and cognitive abilities
A higher risk of depression, anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis
Studies show that teens who develop a marijuana use disorder lose an average of 8 IQ points between the ages of 13 and 38. These mental abilities do not return in adulthood even if the person stops using the drug

Increased Potency

The amount of THC content in marijuana from 1990 to 2014

There are concerns that this increased potency could make the consequences of using the drug even worse, especially for younger people whose brains are still developing.

Methods of Consumption

Select a Method of Consumption

Smoking

Vaporization

Dabbing

Edibles

Methods of Consumption

Select a Method of Consumption

Smoking
Vaporization
Dabbing
Edibles

Drugged Driving

Marijuana is the illicit drug most often detected in the blood of drivers involved in both fatal and non-fatal car accidents. With new methods of consumption for both medical and recreational marijuana, many users are not familiar with the delivery of the “high” or how it may impact their driving performance.

Studies confirm the following adverse effects of marijuana on drivers:


Studies confirm the following adverse effects of marijuana on drivers:


What You Can Do

If you notice all or some of the symptoms outlined here, whether they are physical or mental health-related effects of marijuana use—either in yourself or a loved one—don’t panic. Consult with an addiction specialist at Caron Treatment Centers to determine the best course of action. They will help you to navigate the next steps.