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What Are Drug Dreams?

Dreams about using or drinking again in early recovery—called “drug dreams”—can be alarming for those worried about relapsing. However, these dreams are common and can even indicate progress in recovery. At Believe Detox Center in Los Angeles, California, we know how unsettling these dreams can be. That is why we teach relapse prevention and coping skills to clients struggling with drug dreams and other withdrawal symptoms.

Why Do People Have Drug Dreams?

The purpose of dreaming in general is largely unknown. However, there are many theories about why we dream. Understanding why we have dreams can help to shed light on the function of dreaming about substance abuse.

The Purpose of Our Dreams

Dreams can occur throughout all stages of sleeping, though they are the most vivid and intense during the REM stage of sleep. REM (rapid eye movement) sleep begins about 90 minutes after falling asleep. During REM sleep, a person’s brain is in a flurry of activity and their eyes move rapidly behind closed lids.

According to MedlinePlus, certain phases of sleep help a person “learn information, get insight, and form memories.” In REM sleep, dreaming stimulates parts of the brain associated with learning, memory, and emotional processing. Thus, dreaming helps restore these parts of the brain to prepare a person to learn and process information during waking hours.

Early Recovery and Dreams

So, why do clients in early recovery have drug dreams? Well, throughout early recovery and detox, clients are talking about their past substance abuse, potential relapse triggers, and the underlying cause of addiction. Therefore, as a client learns more about and focuses on learning about their addiction, their brains will process this information during dreams.

In addition, some substances, like alcohol, hinder a person’s ability to enter the REM stage of sleep. During detox, when a person stops using drugs or drinking alcohol, they might have intense and vivid dreams. This is because substance abuse has limited their ability to dream. Now that dreaming is restored, dreams could appear more realistic and intense than before.

Are Drug Dreams Helpful to Recovery?

Clients often worry that dreaming about substance use could lead to a relapse. In some cases, a person’s dreams are so realistic that, upon awakening, they fear that they did relapse. However, drug dreams can be a sign of progress and can aid in recovery.

Dreams can highlight concerns and fears, which the subconscious mind processes throughout sleep. When a person recently stopped using or drinking, triggers and cravings can be overwhelming. As they learn new skills to stay sober, they are usually quite concerned about the potential for relapsing. Before having a foundation of coping skills to manage cravings, these concerns are warranted.

Thus, these dreams could highlight a client’s fears during early recovery. They can illuminate stressors and triggers that they might not be fully aware of. By talking about and reflecting on drug dreams, clients can benefit by learning new skills to combat these concerns during their drug and alcohol treatment program.

How to Cope With Drug Dreams

Of course, even if dreaming about substance abuse can be a sign of progress, these dreams can be distressing. Vivid dreams and flashbacks can be especially upsetting if a person has a history of trauma or disturbing experiences related to drug and alcohol abuse. Therefore, drug dreams can become a nightmare, which could leave a person feeling excessively stressed during early recovery. The following can help a person cope with dreams about substance use in detox and early recovery:

Talk About It

If a person is currently in a treatment program, they can bring these concerns up during peer support meetings or group and individual therapy sessions. Sometimes, dreams can be a good way to begin a psychotherapy session, as they often reflect subconscious concerns about a person’s waking life.

Identify Triggers for Drug Dreams

When these dreams are distressing and overwhelming, a person might be feeling triggered throughout the day. For instance, drug dreams might only occur following specific events in a client’s daily life. They might have smelled something similar to their drug of choice or are feeling emotions that triggered substance abuse in the first place. Identifying patterns and connections between waking and dreaming life can help a person manage potential triggers.

Relapse Prevention Plans

The best way to prevent a relapse is to get ahead of it. By taking proactive steps to prevent relapse, clients increase their chances of success in recovery. Rather than reacting to triggers and cravings as they come up, clients can learn ways to prevent these issues from occurring or minimize the impact. Since relapsing is a part of recovery from any chronic disease—including addiction—drug dreams can offer unique insights into relapse prevention planning.

Find Relief From Drug Dreams Today

Dreaming about drug and alcohol abuse when a person stops using or drinking can be distressing. Many people worry that these dreams mean that a relapse is on the horizon. However, these dreams can offer insight into a person’s triggers, emotions, and concerns. Believe Detox Center in Los Angeles, California, is here to help those in early recovery manage withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse with our detox programs. Contact us today to learn more.

Understanding Holistic Drug Rehab

Have you been looking for a drug rehab that isn’t like the rest? When you research drug rehab facilities online, does it feel like they’re all more or less the same? The truth is that your situation, your addiction, what you’re going through, isn’t exactly like what anyone else ever has. So, you need a unique treatment, one that’s specifically designed for what you need. That’s where our holistic drug rehab comes in. Here at Believe Detox Center, we can put together a one-of-a-kind treatment that’s made for you and you alone.

What Holistic Drug Rehab Tends to Focus on

Often, we’re asked some variation of “what does holistic mean in the context of rehab?” Simply put, it just means that you’re getting a personalized treatment that is, in many ways, “non-medical.” That’s not to say that it’s “non-proven” or anything of that nature. These methods have been around for many years and we’ve utilized them to help so many to get the help that they need. Rather, it means that we treat the body as well as the mind, dealing with addiction symptoms that are physical and mental in addition to imbalances in terms of nutrition and your emotional health as well.

Holistic Drug Rehab

Goals of This Treatment

For one, this treatment is about discovering what the underlying causes of your addiction are. We believe that our goal isn’t to treat “addiction,” per se. Rather, the addiction itself is a symptom. Specifically, it’s a symptom of some underlying trauma, some underlying cause. Thus, if we can work with you to find that cause, then, over time, you can overcome that and, in turn, overcome the addiction. Along the way, this treatment will also help you to become more physically fit and find ways of making yourself feel good that are healthy, safe, and positive – the opposite of misusing substances.

What Your Holistic Treatment May Consist Of

Yoga is a great example of holistic treatment. It makes you feel great physically, helps you to develop self-discipline as well as improve your fitness, all while improving your mind and your emotional health, too. Additionally, we can work with you on establishing proper nutrition, too. So many who have struggled with addiction may not be in the best of health, thus finding a way to eat right for the long term can do wonders. Of course, as with all of our treatment modalities, counseling, one on one therapy and group therapy can be a part of it as well.

Different Holistic Addiction Therapies

Another very effective holistic treatment: meditation. It can help you to be fully present in the moment so that you’re right there with your body right now, and not dealing with so many distractions, overwhelmed by your emotions, and the like. This can help to reduce stress over time, thus making it less likely that you’ll give in to cravings, strong emotions, and other triggers that could cause you to abuse substances.

More Than Holistic Treatment

Holistic therapy is one of the ways that we can help people just like you to receive help for their addictions. However, it’s just one of the ways that we can do so. When you arrive at the Believe Detox Center, our medical professionals will give you a thorough, comprehensive evaluation. From there, they’ll determine the best way to meet your needs through a treatment plan. We understand that reaching out to a facility like ours may be one of the most difficult things that a person ever does. To start the process or just to learn more, you can reach us at (818) 308-3118.

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