By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

If you or a loved one are affected by any mental health, addiction or eating disorder issue then I encourage you to use HALT as an easy-to-remember tool for staying healthy.
HALT is an acronym that stands for:

It’s wise to avoid getting too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired because when we do, any underlying issues (such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, addiction, eating disorder, etc.) can be negatively impacted.

HUNGRY–have you seen those Snickers commercials where Marcia of The Brady Bunch turns into Machete because she’s too hungry (hangry)? It is both funny and true!

While I’m not recommending a candy bar, I do recommend that you keep healthy snacks with you throughout the day such as almonds, protein bars, or fruit. When your blood sugar drops your brain stops working at an optimal level and that means a bad decision or bad mood could easily happen. Keep your mind and body fueled for peak performance!

ANGRY–I love this quote from Thomas Jefferson: “When angry count to ten before you speak, if very angry count to one hundred.” Great advice here! Give it a try when you get angry.

Four Square Breathing is another great tool to use when you feel angry. It can help you calm down and regain focus so you do not make any bad choices. Here is a link to easily learn how to do four square breathing.

LONELY–Human beings need healthy community, healthy companionship. There is a great body of research proving that isolation has numerous negative side effects even causing cancer.

There is a very wise quote which says, “Two are better than one…” (Ecc 4:9). This is so true!

If you find yourself isolating–reach out to a friend, family member, or neighbor. Or join a club, group or activity that connects you to others.

If you know of someone that is isolating, reach out to they. They may need you more than you know.

TIRED–Being tired is bad for our health and can lead us to make bad decisions. Have you ever said anything that you didn’t really mean because you were too tired? Or have you ever failed to have a peak performance because you were too tired?

Research clearly shows that we need 7-8 hours of sleep per night to be at our best. I encourage you to have some discipline with this–turn off the TV and put down the phone or iPad early enough for you to get a good night’s rest. Don’t sleep with your phone right by your head–the light interferes with your sleep.

If you have trouble falling asleep, try the following:

  • Be sure to limit caffeine during the day–especially later in the day.
  • Try relaxation and visualization exercises to help induce sleep.
  • Use a sound machine or app to create a calm, soothing environment.

So give HALT a try. If you apply the concept on a daily basis you just might find yourself having a much healthier and happier life.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
You can email me at
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About Randy Moraitis

Randy is married to Kim and they live in Laguna Niguel. Together they have a blended family of five adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. (If you don’t believe Randy he will gladly show you pictures!)Randy is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and expert in helping families affected by addiction and/or mental health issues. He is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and is both licensed and ordained as a pastoral counselor. He has five professional coaching certifications and loves working with clients on executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching and recovery coaching. Randy has a master’s degree with emphasis in theology and counseling, a bachelors degree in management and leadership, and a certificate in health and fitness with emphasis in exercise physiology and sports psychology from UC Irvine. He has been helping groups, individuals and families get mentally, physically and spiritually healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

In my last blog post entitled “10 Facts About Opioids” I shared that according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the United States is in the midst of a prescription painkiller overdose epidemic and discussed important facts about opioids such as heroin, vicodin, etc.

This post will follow up on our look at opioids with a discussion of treatment options for opioid abuse and addiction.

Treating Opioid Overdose
Currently there are some very effective drugs for opioid overdose. If someone overdoses on opioids and is barely breathing and close to death, an opioid antagonist such as naloxone, can be administered. This can provide immediate relief because it blocks the opioids from binding to the receptors in the brain.

Thankfully, more and more first responders, as well as citizens, have been trained in the use of naloxone and this has led to saving many lives.

Treating Opioid Addiction 
The first step to treating opioid addiction is detoxification (detox). Detox is extremely challenging because opioid users experience such intense withdrawal symptoms when they quit taking the drug.

I have seen this first hand numerous times while helping addicts get clean. I even once had an individual do their entire detox in my home without medication as they had no other treatment options. It can get messy and ugly!

Users encounter severe withdrawal symptoms that mirror the opposite effects of the drug. Instead of feeling euphoric, the user is extremely depressed. Instead of pain relief, users experience many aches and pains. Instead of constipation, users have diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms.

It is common to treat opioid addiction by administering a slower, longer acting opioid, such as methadone instead. Methadone maintenance is the most common treatment for heroin addiction and it has had significant success. One study showed that 80 percent of people who stick with a methadone maintenance program for one year end up abstinent from heroin for one to three years afterwards. By contrast, only 12 percent of people who drop out of methadone maintenance stay abstinent that long.

Other opioids are also regularly used in the treatment of heroin addiction. In fact, heroin itself is used in the treatment of heroin addiction in a number of countries. The idea is to give users a lower, but stable, prescription dose of heroin without all the risks associated with obtaining and using heroin on the street. Not surprisingly, heroin addicts are more likely to stick with a heroin maintenance program compared with a methadone maintenance program, and perhaps as a result, they’re less likely to use illegal drugs.

Other opioid drugs are frequently used in treating opioid addiction. Of course, this is very controversial as this is simply substituting one addiction for another.

Another common approach to treatment is to remove any reward associated with relapse. This is done by having the patient take an opioid antagonist such as naltrexone which blocks the rewarding effects of the opioids. This treatment works well with individuals highly motivated to quit who continue taking the naltrexone, but a problem arises when an individual gets very strong cravings and stops using the naltrexone.

In addition to pharmacological treatments, it can be most helpful if opioid addicts also receive cognitive behavioral therapy where they are trained to recognize and avoid their triggers for drug use.

It is also very helpful for the addict to receive counseling and coaching to move forward with a healthier life, and to be in a healthy supportive community which may include 12 step groups like Narcotics Anonymous or Lifelines.

Finding freedom from opioid addiction is very difficult, but it can be done with effective treatment, as well as healthy community and support in the life of the addict. If you have a loved one struggling with an opioid addiction, do not give up on them. Do all you can to get them into treatment, perhaps even an intervention, as it just may save their life!

For more information or to take the first step in getting a loved one help call 949-303-8264 or email

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