ER and Medical Detox: What’s the Difference?

When an individual shows up to the emergency room, it’s because that person needs immediate assistance. The ER is for people who have medical emergencies. Alternatively, medical detox is where individuals rid their bodies of any traces or toxins left behind by substance misuse. 

At medical detox, members will typically work out what their detox treatment will look like ahead of time and then attend detox for a set period of time.  While it’s important to take immediate action to overcome addiction, it’s technically not an “emergency.” Thus, medical detox is different from the ER. Prospective medical detox members will communicate with admissions and see whether an inpatient or outpatient detox program is best suited for them. 

The emergency department of a hospital is just for inpatient treatment, which may occur for an indefinite period of time. Unlike with medical detox, there isn’t usually a discussion about insurance beforehand when receiving care at an emergency department because people in the ER are experiencing life-threatening emergencies that need immediate attention. 

Should You Go to the ER or Detox for Alcohol Poisoning?

Despite its legality, alcohol is a psychoactive substance. Hence, some might find themselves in the hospital if they drink too much. Alcohol poisoning is a common emergency room (ER) reason for admission as it is life-threatening and is a medical condition that comes upon someone suddenly. Individuals that want to detox from alcohol due to alcohol use issues or alcohol addiction though, should attend medical detox.

Alcohol often makes people feel relaxed and more friendly because of the way that it affects the brain. The substance increases the availability of certain chemicals in the brain, which affects the body’s systems as a whole. 

The respiratory system is one bodily system that is affected by alcohol use and abuse. The effects that alcohol has on the respiratory system and other systems in the body can be extremely harmful when a person suffers from alcohol poisoning though. 

While alcohol withdrawal symptoms can also be life-threatening and unbearable at times, people usually don’t feel these symptoms in a severe manner until they detox. Thus, a medical detox facility with doctors, medical staff, and substance use and detox specialists on standby is the best place to treat alcohol use issues and alcohol addiction. 

Should You Go to the ER or Detox for Drug Overdose? 

The emergency room is for serious situations which require speedy attention. When someone has a drug overdose, the emergency room can be the difference between life and death. This is especially true when an individual is mixing multiple substances. 

Yet, if someone is having trouble overcoming an addiction to substances, a medical detox facility would be a more appropriate place to receive treatment. There is some overlap between the symptoms of overdosing and extreme withdrawal symptoms. Medical detox will likely be able to control extreme withdrawal symptoms though through medications such as: 

  • Naltrexone 
  • Disulfiram
  • Methadone 
  • Buprenorphine 
  • Suboxone 

Medical detox can also help in the treatment of mental health disorders that co-occur with substance addictions. Medical staff at a detox center will be able to assess any co-occurring mental illnesses that a person with a substance addiction may be suffering from. Then doctors at a medical detox facility can prescribe individuals medications that can not only help treat any lingering substance withdrawal symptoms that the individuals are suffering from, but also any mental health disorder symptoms that they are still dealing with. 

Beware though that doctors will only prescribe individuals with mental health disorder medications during detox if the mental illness stems from withdrawal rather than the actual dual diagnosis

Individuals who suffer from more than one type of health disorder at the same time contain a dual diagnosis. A substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental health disorder would qualify as a dual diagnosis. 

How To Avoid an ER Visit Through Detox at Sana Lake 

The best way to avoid an ER visit altogether as a person that abuses substances or is addicted to substances is to receive a medical detox. Neglecting to do so will only make it more difficult to overcome a substance use disorder. This, in turn, makes it all the more likely for a person to develop a drug overdose. 

Instead of a costly ER visit, contact Sana Lake BWC to see how our medical detox services can help you or a loved one achieve recovery and live a healthier life today! 

The Importance of Hobbies in Recovery

Addiction recovery activities can offer multiple benefits that ease the process. Life after addiction can often be frustrating and temptations only need a single trigger. Activities and hobbies enable the opportunity to rediscover meaning through passion.

Why Is It Important to Have Hobbies During and After Recovery? 

It is important to develop hobbies during and after recovery to prevent relapse. Apathy is one of the main triggers for relapse and the individual needs to seek alternative options. Life after addiction can open up plenty of free time, which can be a trigger for those in recovery but it doesn’t have to be that way. The time that was dedicated to using must be replaced.

The person in recovery must adapt to a new lifestyle where they can’t suppress their emotions and develop healthy coping mechanisms that could last. By building a hobby or network, the person can branch out from the negative environments they used to inhabit. Leisure time hobbies should be a doorway to reconnect to the essence of humanity.

What are Some Addiction Recovery Activities?

The process of discovering a new hobby doesn’t have to be an obstacle. Life after addiction doesn’t have to be a mountain to climb, especially with so many options to choose from. Addiction recovery activities can manifest an entirely new passion and can be fruitful. Those within a support system can encourage addiction recovery activities. The person struggling with addiction is given a chance to form relationships with others who share the same passion. Preventing loneliness and depression is vital to the recovery process. 

Exercise and Life After Addiction

Exercise is one of the hallmarks of crafting a healthy experience for oneself. Exercise triggers endorphins that boost the overall health of the body. After exercising, expect to be in a better mood and reduce levels of stress. It’s better to shed that trauma through sweat than a hole in the wall. 

The key to maintaining consistent exercise is to schedule and find what works best with your body. Every person tackles exercise differently but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it your best to find a solution tailored for you. Exercising in bursts (Ex. 30 minutes of walking or pilates) serves as a solid technique to keep the consistency. An organized sport like pickup basketball or biking isn’t a bad option either. Since humans are social animals, we should strive to reconnect when we can.

Yoga as a Sober Activity

Yoga is the practice of breath work alongside stretching, sometimes in a meditative state. This enables the practitioner to find a sense of relaxation and nowness to avoid emotional overload. Yoga has many proven benefits that shouldn’t be uncommon. By building a connection to the mind and body, the practitioner has a better ability to pinpoint the unique processes of the body.

Writing Can Be a Leisure Time Hobby

Writing could serve as a great outlet for the individual to chronicle their experiences and reflect on the growth they have made. Another benefit of writing is that it can be done anywhere and has no true rules. By expunging the feelings and thoughts of the recovery process, the writer has a chance to see their growth and apply the techniques used during treatment. Journaling has proven mental health benefits. Storytelling could be a skill developed that might transfer into a memoir.

Volunteering 

Giving back to the community is always a tremendous opportunity to learn about oneself and others around them for a common goal. Volunteering is one of the sober activities attributed with recovery to foster empathy through giving. Fulfillment through action recognizes the role we all play and to contrast the life before the illness took hold of the individual. Spending a few hours at a local animal shelter or community center could prove to be beneficial. 

Martial Arts

Martial arts would be a graceful outlet for the person in recovery. In addition to the exercise, martial arts offer the lifestyle of discipline necessary to perform at the highest level. The community is often supportive and with lifelong friendships in the making. Competitions are a totem for fulfillment and setting goals  — similar to the 12-Step Program. 

Art and Music with Life After Addiction

Music is another tool for expression that many find comforting. Music therapy is often used in treatment facilities and forgoes traditional services through rhythm. Art therapy is another resource used to aid the recovery process. By transcribing the emotional experience, this offers a rich window into the mind of the person in recovery.

Gardening

Gardening is one of those sober activities that springs to life a sense of discipline for another living being. The nutritional quality of gardening has many benefits; planting some of your fruits and vegetables to eat and share. Gardening is a perfect introduction for anyone with curiosity.

Continuing Education

Education through online classes or seminars proves to be another opportunity for growth. By seeking knowledge that might have been missing from your curriculum or developing life skills, the person is primed to use what they’ve learned. The local library or bookstore could serve as a resource, especially for potential job hunting. There are countless catalogs of free online content and courses to choose from. Online courses are flexible, however, in-person classes could be another option.

How Can Hobbies Help Reduce Stress and Reaction to Triggers? 

Elevated levels of stress have dire consequences on the body. Sweaty palms and beating hearts transform into headaches and digestion issues. Losing the sense of joy or pleasure in interests is best defined as anhedonia. Anedonia is one of the first signs of depression.

A person in recovery could be under varying degrees of stress, from learning to practice new coping skills and processing trauma. It’s critical to avoid replacing the former addiction with another, in the shape of love or gambling. Although a tempting distraction, comfort eating or romanticizing should also be avoided in favor of addiction recovery activities.

Leisure time hobbies trigger the reward system in the brain through the familiar chemical messenger; dopamine. Dopamine can motivate the person to continue the activity due to the association of pleasure. People struggling with addiction often suffer from other disorders and medical conditions that could lead to long term effects. Physical hobbies provide mental clarity and keep the bodies’ functions at a tighter level.

Productivity doesn’t have to be a component of defining your leisure time hobbies. People typically don’t factor in the time they spend and could focus on a few hours a week for a hobby. Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals are an efficient marker for charting success. For example, if you’re looking to start painting, outline a plan to get materials and work on a piece per month. By taking the first step, the road to discipline is set for rewards and challenges. 

Why Are Hobbies Good For Mental and Physical Health? 

Research indicates that those who take up a hobby have a decreased likelihood of developing mental and physical health related issues from stress. Group activities such as sports, social clubs and counseling are a superb way to improve communication and relationships skills. The added benefit of hobbies are that they can be done alone or with a group. 

How Do Leisure Time Hobbies Relate to Addiction? 

Boredom can be a crutch for those struggling with recovery and it’s critical to understand these feelings. The quiet moments in between family and friends can be challenging for those struggling with addiction. Although relapse is common and expected, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t find pleasure in the recovery process. These feelings of exhaustion or weariness might have a negative effect on the person’s determination to recover. Life after addiction prompts for leisure activities to offset these experiences and to reignite a lust for life without anything else.

Focusing on new addiction recovery activities is a core principle in maintaining abstinence. Engaging in leisure time hobbies rewires the person’s brain for activity and expression. In order to combat the return to old coping mechanisms, the progress of sober activities must be organic but diligent.The sight of a loved once overcoming the darkest depths of addiction through an anchor can be rewarding.

Addiction poisons the body with symptoms of shame, guilt, and anxiety. Building self-esteem and confidence through sober activities has proven to be therapeutic for those in recovery. The internal love and support is allowed to flourish in the new life they have created, all by sheer willpower. The motivation from addiction recovery activities could also present work opportunities.

Find Care at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center

The road to recovery has been built and we hope you’re in it for the ride.  If you or a loved one seek a lending hand towards healing, Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center wishes to support this process. We are determined to find a flexible treatment option that will fit your needs during these difficult times. The door is open for recovery for you and those who cherish health. Contact us today.

References:

https://www.headtohealth.gov.au/meaningful-life/purposeful-activity/hobbies

https://connecthealth.org.au/enews/pursuing-a-hobby-can-improve-your-mental-health/

https://www.psychreg.org/hobby-mental-health/

https://research.reading.ac.uk/research-blog/the-science-behind-why-hobbies-can-improve-our-mental-health/

How to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs and Addiction

Parents are obligated to protect their children from the dangers they will encounter in life. But what about drugs and alcohol? Parental guidance goes a long way when it comes to an individual’s perceptions about the truth about drugs and alcohol. 

Above all, make your child feel comfortable when discussing this topic with you. Make sure that your child understands that they can speak to you about anything. If not from you, your kids will find answers, whether right or wrong. If they do not feel comfortable speaking to their parents, they will find answers elsewhere – on the internet, from a classmate or through their own risky use experiments.  

How to Explain Drugs to a Child

1 – Start Sending Out the Message as Early as Possible

At an early age, around preschool, parents should start indirectly sending out the desired messages about drugs and alcohol. The younger a child is, the more receptive the child will be. When they get fever medicine or an antibiotic, for example, you could explain what the drugs do to the body. You could also take this opportunity to explain how medicines should be used only by people who need them. 

Also, when they eat candy or drink a soda, you should explain the effects of sugar. Allowing your child, at an early age, to recognize how substances can make the body feel different, will pave the way for a more thorough cognition of drug dependency.

Drugs and alcohol are addictive and can be fatal, but don’t forget to mention that some substances are very good. Smoking a cigarette will damage the body, but eating an apple or any nutritious food will strengthen the body. It is very important that children are not pushed into the world thinking that everything is unhealthy. With the knowledge that some things are good whereas others are bad, the child will be able to forge a desirable path through life. 

2 – Monkey See Monkey Do

A parent is the most influential person in a child’s life. When it comes to explaining the truth about drugs and alcohol to a child, this influence can be good and it could also be bad. A parent could give the most effective and powerful speech about the dangers of alcohol, but if every night, the child watches the parent get drunk, mixed messages will inevitably cloud the child’s mind.

The main message you need to convey when you talk to your kids about drugs is responsibility. Drinking in moderation reinforces this concept. But if your kid watches you drink in excess, lectures about responsibility might be in vain. Imagine listening to someone talking about the dangers of drugs and alcohol while they are drinking beer and chain smoking.

3 – Use Your Judgment When Talking About Your Past

Knowledge of your kid should guide your discussion. A parent could give the most effective speech about how to avoid drugs, but if they say something about their past or present that turns out not to be true, it could have major consequences. On the flipside, a parent could tell a little too much about past drug use, which might inspire curiosity in a child. 

When you talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol you may have the child asking questions about the parent’s usage. Did you ever try drugs? Why? And what was it like? Tell the truth about drugs and alcohol. Your child will respect you no matter what your past was like. In fact, someone who was once a user could become an authority on the subject. Such experience could be the most persuasive element of your speech. It all depends on your child. Some kids respect honesty. Whereas others may just want to talk.  

If you are not honest with your children when you talk to your kids about drugs, why would you expect them to be honest with you? By opening up and revealing your faults, your child will only respect you more. Because of your honesty, perhaps in the future, they will be honest with you, if they slip and try something.

4 – The Pitfalls of Peer Pressure

What if your child’s education consisted of sitting in an empty class room everyday, watching a teacher on a television screen? Such a scenario would certainly be lonely, but the advantage would be that this child would not be introduced to drugs. Kids experiment with drugs and alcohol because they want to fit in. 

Explain to your child that we are either leaders or followers. Don’t dance to the beat of someone else’s drum, but your own. What is more cool – to smoke a cigarette because everyone else is doing it, or to walk away, and not to succumb to peer pressure? 

Of course, this is easier said than done. Tell your child some of your own stories, where you prevailed against peer pressure, or maybe a story where you succumbed to the crowds, but describe the guilt you felt afterwards or sickness you might have endured.

How Not to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs

1 – One Chat is Certainly Not Enough

Teaching your kid the truth about drugs and alcohol will arguably be one of the most important lessons that they learn from you. Don’t think that this epic topic can be covered during a commercial break of a baseball game. When teaching a child about chemical dependency, one of the most important things is to talk to your kids about drugs often. In fact, the more often a parent discusses the truth about drugs and alcohol, the more likely that the topic will sink in.

Though these conversations are immensely important, do not think of them as such. While you are watching a movie with your kid, and a character starts smoking a cigarette or drinking a beer, seize the opportunity and remark about the hazards of those specific drugs. Your kid may reply or they may not. That doesn’t matter. Just try to continually reinforce these perceptions that drugs and alcohol are addictive and fatal.

2 – Ideally, Do More Listening Than Talking

When you try to talk to your kids about drugs, your kids may not react or they may be silent. The trick to the conversation though, is to make the kid start talking. Ask lots of questions about anything related to drugs and alcohol. 

If you are watching television with your child, and a character on-screen performs drug use, strike up a conversation. Ask your child if they know what that drug is. Ask if they know anyone at school who also does the drug. 

If you are at a restaurant, point to the bar and ask about alcohol. Because alcohol is legal, a child may dismiss the danger and addiction that alcohol poses. As a result, children may be more comfortable while talking about alcohol. Use this to your advantage. A parent needs to make their child feel comfortable while discussing drugs and alcohol.

3 – Don’t Use Long-Term Smoking or Drinking Effects to Deter Your Child

Parents should focus on immediate effects. Drinking and driving could be fatal, however a kid might consider getting their license taken away a far more ominous threat. Cigarette smoking causes bad breath, bad skin and a constant cough – not exactly the most attractive date to the prom. Likewise, drug use will affect an athlete’s performance. 

4 – Don’t Be a Buddy All the Time – Lay Down the Law

An effective drug and alcohol discourse between a parent and a child will only occur if the child trusts the parent. This can not be repeated enough. However, there comes a time when the parent must ditch the buddy persona and assume the role of the judge and the enforcer. Children must understand that there will be consequences if they abuse drugs or alcohol. 

Knowledge About Today’s Drugs Puts a Parent in a Good Position

When you talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol, try to know what you are talking about. Any parent that attempts this topic without the knowledge, will be ignored at best and mocked at worst. Remember, the purpose of these talks is to communicate – sharing the dangers of alcohol and drugs with your kid. A complete lack of knowledge about the drugs your kid is being tempted with, will just be more resistance to this trusting bond. 

How to Convey That Addiction Is a Disease

The first time someone drinks alcohol or uses drugs, they believe that they can control their usage. Remember, the young are invincible, this cigarette or this bottle of beer are no match. However, due to tolerance, after some time, the user will need to take more drugs or alcohol to achieve the initial intoxication. This is how chemicals react in our body. The more that the user consumes drugs, the more indestructible the tolerance becomes hence, more drugs need to be consumed. 

Show your child how the diseases of drug and alcohol dependency are treated. Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center is a leader in treatment for those suffering from addiction. Sit down with your child and examine the extensive list of effective treatments used at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center, such as their Urgent Access Center, Outpatient Detox, Inpatient Treatment, Partial Hospitalization Program, Intensive Outpatient Program, Recovery Supportive Housing and so many more.

When your kid learns that drug and alcohol dependency is actually a disease, with an elaborate industry of facilities and technology aimed at treating it, they might begin to view the disorder differently.

What and When to Tell Your Kids About Drugs

Start discussing the truth about drugs and alcohol with your child as early as possible. Jennifer Carrano, an assistant professor of human development and family science with the University of Delaware, suggests preschool age as the ideal time to start the discourse. 

Preschool

At such a young age, say preschool to seven, there is no need for the parent to frighten their children with stories of overdoses and heroin addiction. Start with the basics of drugs. Like when a parent dispenses fever or pain medicine, they should include a brief summary of when and why they are used. If a character on television is smoking a cigarette or drinking a beer, be sure to explain how such substances are harmful to the body.

  • Teach the benefits of eating healthy and staying fit.
  • Award children for making their own decisions, by allowing them to choose what to eat for dinner or what movies to watch. As a result, a child will be confident in their decision making.

Eight to Twelve

When kids are a bit older, say eight to twelve, parents should expect their kids to know what drugs are. This is a good age for a parent to begin a dynamic conversation about drug and alcohol usage with their children. Parents should ask their children what they think about drugs. Open conversations on the subject at an early age will allow a child to feel more comfortable about the topic at a later age, when they may feel less inclined to talk about the topic with their parents. 

  • Lay down the laws. At this age parents should illustrate the harsh consequences of trying nicotine or other substances.
  • Puberty is at this age, and could cause insecurity in children. Be sure to shower them with praise, so they don’t feel a need to experiment with substances. 
  • Parents should get to know their children’s friends. Also, know the family of their friends. What goes on in their homes?

Teenagers

At this point in a kid’s life, they most likely know people who do drugs or have tried drugs themselves. This is a good time to explain the gritty aspects of drugs, like the legal consequences as well as addiction. If the child feels uncomfortable discussing the topic, the parent should explain that they are ready to talk about it whenever the child is. 

  • Explain what the laws are involving drugs and alcohol and vehicles. 
  • Continue to praise your child. High school could be a tough time. As long as children are confident with themselves, they should be able to avoid temptation.

Check Out a Treatment Center Website With Your Kid Today

The talk is something of a coming of age event. After all, your kid might see drug use on their favorite television programs and perhaps they discuss drug use with their friends, but for the first time, their parents are speaking to them about it. During this conversation, for the first time, the child’s two worlds – in the house and outside the house – collide. 

A very effective way to show your kid all the consequences that may come with substance use is to go to a treatment center website. Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center is an excellent site to illustrate the complete damage that drug and alcohol usage can cause.

Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center offers a complete variety of therapies such as holistic wellness, family therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and many more. By offering so many kinds of treatment, your child will learn that every journey towards recovery is different. 

References:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/monitoring-future-2020-survey-results

Forgiveness in Recovery: Learning How to Accept Your Faults and Continue

Many of us struggle with self-acceptance. We may even hold grudges against those we feel did us wrong. These feelings often lead to self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. But, learning forgiveness in recovery builds a positive and fulfilled future. 

What is Self-Acceptance?

Self-acceptance is the complete acceptance of yourself – the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is easy to accept your good qualities; however, our less-desirable qualities are harder to accept. 

Some people think self-acceptance means you are who you are and you shouldn’t change. But, that is not true. It simply means being aware of who we are, both positive and negative, without negative emotion or judgment. 

The Importance of Letting Go of Grudges

Resentment and bitterness over our past become an obstacle to finding true happiness in life. Although we may have been mistreated, learning to forgive those who hurt us is the only way to heal. Furthermore, when anger and bitterness take over, it affects our ability to see anything positive. 

Common Grudges Held By People Struggling with Substance Use Disorder

You don’t have to use drugs or alcohol to hold a grudge. But, people how misuse drugs or alcohol are full of resentment and anger. They typically have a list of grudges that justifies their behavior. 

It is easier to blame others for the reason they struggle with substance use disorder. To others, the reasons may be irrational, but to the person misusing drugs or alcohol, it makes perfect sense. Furthermore, some people take these grudges to their graves. 

Common grudges include:

  • People didn’t live up to your standards. While you have low expectations for yourself, you have high expectations of others. 
  • Angry that others are telling you what to do. Many who struggle with substance misuse are defiant against others telling them what to do.
  • I was traumatized by other people. Trauma such as abuse and rape can cause justified anger. However, using drugs and alcohol is an unhealthy coping mechanism.
  • Friends and family have lied and let you down.
  • I was a victim of manipulation.
  • I was wronged in a relationship. 

What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a deliberate, conscious decision to release feelings of resentment and anger toward someone who has wronged you. It is a choice you make even when the person doesn’t deserve your forgiveness.

Many of our grudges stem from childhood. Maybe a parent struggled with substance use disorder and wasn’t there for you growing up. Or, perhaps you were bullied throughout school. Do you think the bullies let their actions affect them daily? 

We don’t forgive people so they can heal. We forgive people so that we may heal. While we are not responsible for what happened to us or how people hurt us, we control how we react, forgive, and move on. 

How Does Forgiveness Help With Self-Acceptance?

When you struggle with substance use disorder, you often say and do things out of character. As a result, you often feel shame and embarrassment. And, while you may be quick to forgive someone else’s behaviors, you may be harder on yourself. 

Here’s the thing. None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes and are sorry for the things we have done. But, when you have compassion for yourself and forgive yourself, you are practicing self-acceptance.

Why is Forgiveness in Recovery Crucial?

Without forgiveness, we remain angry and resentful towards those who have hurt us. This anger isn’t hurting others, but it is hurting us. In fact, anger is linked to high blood pressure, high cortisol levels, and increased heart attack risk. 

Without forgiveness in recovery, anger keeps you focusing on the negative feelings of the past. But, to maintain recovery, you must stay in the present, and that means forgiving those who hurt you. 

Moreover, anger continues to make you a victim. It gives the person who hurt you the power to keep hurting you. It also stops us from seeing our mistakes and how we have hurt others. But, with forgiveness in recovery, we learn to release the grudges and anger.

How Does Forgiveness in Recovery Break The Cycle of Substance Use Disorder?

Substance use disorder is commonly the result of pain, trauma, and anger. Whether the pain is self-inflicted or caused by someone else, the cycle will continue if you don’t find forgiveness in recovery. But, this is much easier said than done. 

Forgiveness in recovery and self-acceptance will take work. It takes looking inside yourself to understand, accept, and let go of the emotions holding you back. Ignoring these feelings and covering them by misusing substances allows them to fester and build. But with commitment, you can achieve self-acceptance, forgiveness, and Recovery for Life. 

Steps to Self-Acceptance and Forgiveness in Recovery

Self-acceptance and forgiveness are crucial to your mental health, well-being, and recovery. While forgiving yourself and others doesn’t mean you condone the behavior, it does mean you accept what happened and are moving on. 

While maintaining life in recovery is the goal of treatment, it all starts with ending substance misuse. A big hurdle in treatment is overcoming the feelings of guilt, shame, and regret. But, forgiveness in recovery is crucial to preventing a recurrence of use. 

But, forgiveness takes work. And without the proper tools and skills, you may fall back into the same patterns that led to substance misuse. There are 5 simple daily steps to forgiving yourself and building a healthy future. 

Journal Every Day

Recovery is full of ups and downs, and you will experience a range of emotions. Journaling can help you get these thoughts and feelings out. When negative thoughts and grudges pop up, write them down. This holds you accountable for these thoughts and feelings.

Your Past Does Not Define You

You struggled with substance use disorder. But, you learned from it and accepted it. It doesn’t define you, and neither does anything else that has happened to you.

Self-acceptance is a big part of forgiveness in recovery. The shame you feel because of things you did during your addiction will no longer have power over you after you forgive yourself.

Show Yourself Compassion

It can be easy to show compassion for someone else when they make a mistake. But, showing compassion for ourselves can be challenging. Once you do, it eases the negative thought patterns that lead to drug or alcohol misuse.

Look at where you were. Now, look at where you are. Be grateful for how far you have come. Fighting a substance use disorder is hard, and you are doing it!

Being grateful for your present life helps bury the negative thoughts that fuel substance use disorder. Holistic therapies such as yoga and meditation can help cultivate mindfulness, compassion, and gratitude. 

Make Amends

Making amends with those you have harmed is part of forgiveness in recovery. Making amends is crucial to healing the negative feelings about the past and overcoming substance use disorder. Reaching out to those you have hurt along your journey heals not only the guilt and shame but also builds a support system. 

A support system is a group of people who encourage your recovery and support you in your weak moments. Making amends and asking forgiveness from those you hurt shows your willingness to change. And, those who forgive you will likely also be your biggest supporters.

Be Patient

Substance use disorder is a chronic disease. So, recovery is a lifelong process. It won’t always be easy, and there will be good and bad times. But, without patience and self-acceptance, your recovery will be at risk. 

Just know the bad times don’t last. Even if the bad times include a recurrence of use, it is not the end of the world. It is a mistake, and when we learn from our mistakes, we avoid repeating them. Having a good support team is crucial during the bad times and can help prevent a return to drugs or alcohol.

Loving Kindness Meditation for Self-Acceptance and Forgiveness in Recovery

The Loving Kindness Meditation or LKM is a popular technique to reduce stress and boost well-being. Regular practice of LKM increases your ability to forgive, connect with others, and accept yourself. However, it takes practice to allow yourself to receive and send love to yourself.

While there are various ways to practice this meditation, they all use the same core operation – sending kind intentions and love to yourself and others.

Try the following simple loving kindness meditation technique. 

  1. Sit quietly and comfortably. Close your eyes, relax your muscles, and take deep breaths.
  2. Imagine you are experiencing physical and emotional wellness and inner peace. You have perfect love and gratitude for yourself. You are perfect just as you are. Focus on this inner peace – breath out tension and breath in love.
  3. Repeat 3 or 4 positive affirmations such as:
  • I am happy.
  • I am loved.
  • I am healthy and strong.
  • I will give and receive appreciation today.

You can either keep the focus on yourself or slowly move your focus to loved ones. Feel your love and gratitude for them, sending them positive affirmations. It can also be helpful for forgiveness in recovery to include those you feel harmed you. Sending them love can help you reach a higher level of forgiveness.

Healing Shame and Guilt at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center

Are you or a loved one struggling with substance use disorder? Are the grudges you hold stopping you from lasting recovery? At Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center, you learn the importance of self-acceptance and forgiveness in recovery. Contact us to find out more.

15 Remedies to Stop Alcohol Cravings

We have all tried home remedies before going to the doctor. A steamy shower to clear congestion or the old chicken soup fixes everything remedy. People struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD) may also try home remedies to stop drinking alcohol. 

In a perfect world, everyone struggling with breaking the alcohol habit would seek recovery treatment. But, the stigma still exists, and some people are too embarrassed and ashamed to seek help. 

However, alcohol use disorder is a complex and chronic disease. Furthermore, the medical community is still learning about it. While many people try home remedies to stop drinking alcohol, the best chance at recovery is often in a treatment program. 

Many people who go through alcohol withdrawals at home often go back to drinking because the cravings become too intense. Depending on the individual and their addiction, there are natural ways to stop alcohol cravings.

1. Self-Care Helps in Breaking Alcohol Habit

Alcohol use disorder takes over your life and steals your joy and your fun. And if you do join the family fun, most likely, you are drunk. However, being stuck in that cycle isn’t fun, and it destroys self-esteem. 

So, how do you break the alcohol habit? You focus on the most significant thing alcohol took away from you; you take care of yourself. Take a long walk and focus on the sun on your skin and the smell of fresh-cut grass. Vitamin D is good for your health and your soul. 

Learn something new. What is something you always wanted to learn? Cooking, photography, a new language, or maybe golf? Replacing alcohol with a healthy self-care ritual can ease alcohol cravings and help in breaking the alcohol habit.

2. Healthy Support Systems are Natural Ways to Stop Alcohol Cravings

Natural Ways to Stop Alcohol Cravings

While only you can control when you stop drinking alcohol, a healthy support system makes the recovery journey more manageable. A support system is a group of family, friends, and community organizations that you can rely on when the alcohol cravings become overpowering. 

But, not everyone you know has your best interest at heart. So, those in your support system should meet a few essential qualifications, including:

  • Caring about your future
  • Willing to hold you accountable
  • Being reliable and available
  • Being clean of drugs and alcohol

3. Managing Stress and Anxiety Aids in Breaking Alcohol Habit

If you used alcohol to cope with stress, you are not alone. For example, 20 percent of Americans with social anxiety also struggle with alcohol use disorder, according to the ADAA ( Anxiety and Depression Association of America. 

Natural ways to stop alcohol cravings and reduce stress and anxiety include:

  • Getting regular sleep – 6 to 8 hours every night
  • Limit caffeine which increases anxiety
  • Eat consistent meals
  • Focus on relaxation techniques
  • Listen to music or paint

4. Using Herbs in Home Remedies to Stop Drinking Alcohol

There are several herbs useful in home remedies to stop drinking alcohol. While the benefits of herbs in breaking the alcohol habit vary from person to person, they can be highly beneficial and natural ways to stop alcohol cravings. 

Besides fighting alcohol cravings and breaking the alcohol habit, herbs can help the body repair itself. The following herbs are just a few natural ways to stop alcohol cravings. 

Kudzu

An ancient Chinese herb, Kudzu is well known for controlling alcohol cravings and withdrawals. The roots of the plant can be eaten or used in an herbal tea to get its effects. The amount you have to consume to be effective varies from person to person. 

Milk Thistle

Another herb used in breaking the alcohol habit, milk thistle, has strong detoxification abilities. It also treats many physical discomforts from withdrawal and alcohol cravings. The active ingredient in milk thistle is silymarin. It heals the liver, which speeds up the natural detox of alcohol.

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort is known for its antidepressant qualities. And because many people who drink struggle with depression, this herb can improve mood and stop alcohol cravings, and aid in breaking the alcohol habit. 

5. Breaking the Alcohol Habit with Lots of Water

We all know water is good for us and we should drink about eight glasses a day. If you are looking for natural ways to stop alcohol cravings, you found the number one way to stop drinking alcohol; Drink lots of water. 

When you’re breaking the alcohol habit, your body gets dehydrated, and you get nauseous. Drinking water not only hydrates you but also lessens the shakes and alcohol cravings by flushing toxins out of your body. While you can also add electrolyte-rich sports drinks, never drink more than 2 quarts of fluids every hour. 

6. Eating a Healthy Diet Eases Alcohol Cravings

Great natural ways to stop alcohol cravings is eating a healthy diet. A healthy diet will include lean proteins such as chicken, eggs, and fish. It also contains lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, potatoes, beans, and whole grains. 

Eating every three hours helps avoid hunger which can lead to alcohol cravings. And, once the shakes set in, the alcohol cravings become more intense. Avoiding sugary snacks can also help in easing alcohol cravings. 

7. Remind Yourself Why You Quit Drinking Alcohol

Alcohol Cravings

Are you thinking about picking up that drink because the alcohol cravings and withdrawals are too hard to handle? Don’t. Grab a pen and paper and start writing down all the reasons you are breaking the alcohol habit. 

Is your marriage at risk of breaking apart? Are you tired of breaking your mother’s heart? Has alcohol taken your self-worth and self-esteem? Write it all down. Look at pictures of your loved ones.

Keep the paper where you can see it. Every time you want to drink alcohol, read it. Remind yourself why alcohol was destroying your life and why you are breaking the alcohol habit. 

8. Think About the Consequences if You Drink Alcohol

After you remind yourself why you quit drinking alcohol, write down the consequences if you start drinking again. Of all the home remedies to stop drinking alcohol, pulling at your heartstrings can sometimes be all it takes not to drink. 

9. Don’t Fight the Alcohol Cravings, Ride Them Out

The term “urge-surfing” means riding out the urge or craving. If you think of alcohol cravings as ocean waves, they will soon crest, break, and dissipate. So, don’t fight the urge, and don’t judge yourself. But, do not ignore it either. When thought of in this way, cravings can pass quickly. 

10. Distract Yourself From the Alcohol Cravings

There is always something to be done around the house. Laundry, dishes, floors, pick on and distract yourself from the cravings to drink. Another excellent home remedy to stop drinking alcohol is to take a cold shower. Cold showers can clear your mind, ease the hot flashes of alcohol withdrawal, and refresh your body. 

11. Learning a New Hobby or Sport are Home Remedies to Stop Drinking Alcohol

Now that you have quit drinking alcohol, you have all this time on your hands. You may even be surprised at how much time alcohol took up in your day. Natural ways to stop alcohol cravings are taking up a new hobby, such as horseback riding or rock climbing. 

In fact, finding healthy adrenaline-inducing hobbies can make breaking the alcohol habit easier. However, picking up an old hobby can take you back to when life was simple. 

12. Volunteering is Great for Breaking the Alcohol Habit

Home remedies to stop drinking alcohol can also benefit your community. Volunteering is a great way to get your mind off what you are dealing with and think about others. Besides volunteering within your recovery community, you can also:

  • Help the homeless
  • Build homes for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity
  • Help a local animal shelter

13. Mindfulness and Meditation Can Ease Alcohol Cravings

Mindfulness is a form of non-judgmental observation. When you are mindful, you are focusing on the present moment. 

Meditation allows you to calm your mind and body and connect with yourself. Mindfulness and meditation can help avoid reacting to alcohol cravings and help in breaking the alcohol habit.

14. Acupuncture is A Natural Way to Stop Alcohol Cravings

A traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is a needle-based natural way to stop alcohol cravings. It is also effective in relieving withdrawal symptoms while easing anxiety and depression. Putting the needles in specific areas can relieve particular symptoms when you are breaking the alcohol habit. 

15. Knowing Your Triggers is Key to Breaking the Alcohol Habit

Alcohol cravings can be very intense, particularly up to 6 months after you stop drinking. So, if you want to make alcohol cravings easier to cope with, you should have a routine of natural ways to stop alcohol cravings. 

Practice saying no to alcohol in social situations. But, the best way to avoid alcohol cravings is to avoid the people, places, and things that remind you of alcohol. This dramatically increases your chance of achieving and maintaining recovery from alcohol use disorder. 

What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

stop alcohol cravings

Alcohol use disorder or alcoholism is a pattern of behaviors where a person drinks alcohol despite the consequences. People will drink even if they aren’t enjoying it and when it is destroying their relationships. 

Alcoholism is a chronic, relapsing disease and is diagnosed by meeting two of the following criteria:

  • Drinking more than and more prolonged than intended
  • Unable to stop or cut back despite the desire too
  • Spending most of your time obtaining, using, and recovering from alcohol’s effects
  • Experiencing cravings to use alcohol
  • Can’t fulfill obligations at home, work, or school because of alcohol
  • Continuing to use despite the consequences
  • Developing withdrawal symptoms without alcohol

What is a Recurrance of Use?

Recurrence of use or relapse is when a person in recovery returns to using drugs or alcohol. Addiction is a chronic disease, and those in recovery constantly deal with the risk of relapse. However, it is common for a person in recovery to relapse at least once, if not more. In fact, it is considered part of the recovery journey. 

How Does Recurrance of Use Happen?

An essential part of preventing relapse is understanding how it happens. This allows you to recognize the signs of relapse and get help before it happens. In short, a relapse begins with a high-risk situation which is followed by inadequate coping responses. For this reason, continuing relapse prevention therapy is your best chance at maintaining your recovery. 

Having the proper relapse prevention support in place can help you achieve Recovery for Life. Treatment programs teach members how to prevent relapse and empower them to remain in recovery. 

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and other community support groups should become part of your recovery life. The bonds and support you receive in these groups can be the difference between recovery and relapse. 

Stop Drinking at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center

Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction? Have you tried to quit at home, but the cravings were too strong? Our detox programs and comprehensive treatment programs give you the skills and tools needed to achieve Recovery for Life. Contact us today and find out more. 

References:

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder/social-anxiety-and-alcohol-abuse

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4106278/

The Importance of Honesty in Recovery

Honesty is a valuable characteristic which many people find admirable. Honesty isn’t just about being truthful. It’s about being your authentic self. Honest people are real and genuine. Honesty in recovery promotes openness and empowerment through being your authentic self. 

There are several reasons people who struggle with substance use disorder (SUD) lie. They may lie to friends and family to hide or downplay their addiction. They may also lie because they are in denial about how bad their habit is. However, it is possible to repair the damage of addiction through honesty and recovery. 

Honesty and Recovery: Dishonesty is a Common Trigger for Relapse

Lying often becomes a habit because of the fear of consequences. Although lying is a protective response, it is an unproductive coping method. While it’s normal to fear being caught in a lie, it’s important just to be honest. 

Without honesty in recovery, many people may relapse because of the guilt of lying. Keeping a journal, for example, can hold a person accountable for their honesty and recovery. It also helps understand when you struggle with honesty in recovery. 

Honesty in Recovery Brings Feelings of Freedom

People in active addiction are often trapped because of dishonesty. People in denial typically lack the motivation or encouragement to face their fears. Let’s face it, sometimes it is easier to hide from a challenge. But, without honesty in recovery, a person will never truly heal. 

It is also important to face each challenge as it comes. Therefore, recognizing the problem allows you to take action to solve it. While it can be challenging initially to manage life without drugs or alcohol, remember honesty in recovery breaks you free from the constraints of addiction. 

The Importance of Honesty in Recovery

Relationships Improve with Honesty and Recovery

The key to rebuilding relationships is honesty in recovery. The lies told in addiction can be devastating to friends and family. In addition, dishonesty hinders your recovery treatment. Your therapist can only track your progress when you are completely honest.

While in active addiction, it proves addiction is more important than your loved ones when you lie. Trust is generally not quickly rebuilt. However, through honesty in recovery, those you love will start to believe you again.

Maintaining Honesty in Recovery

To overcome a substance use disorder, you must be truthful about your difficulties and challenges. The biggest challenge in recovery is admitting you need help. And you have done that. However, now it’s time to face the truth of your situation. 

At the beginning of recovery specifically, you may wonder how you can continue being honest. But, it’s crucial to maintain honesty in recovery to prevent recurrence of use. Keep reading to learn different ways to maintain honesty in recovery.

Acknowledge your Emotions and Feelings

Experiencing feelings of self-doubt, shame, and guilt are common for people in recovery. Substance use disorder typically leaves people feeling hopeless, unworthy, and helpless. For this reason, negative emotions are common, specifically in early recovery. 

It is crucial to acknowledge your feelings as they come. Ignoring or suppressing your emotions leads to even more emotional pain and distress. However, once you acknowledge your emotions and feelings, they must be addressed. 

Addressing emotions and feelings can look different for different people. Some common ways to address your feelings include:

  • Writing in a journal
  • Discussing with your therapist
  • Be open in group therapy
  • Attend holistic therapies

Maintain a Commitment to Recovery

Frequently people in recovery experience a feeling of newfound freedom. For the most part, this freedom is a wonderful feeling. But, others may lose motivation for treatment. While some also feel they no longer need treatment. However, this is far from true. 

For success in recovery, you must keep your commitment to honesty and recovery. Whether you are just starting your recovery journey or have years in recovery, counseling and support groups are crucial.

One of the most effective tools in recovery is psychotherapy. You should always be present in therapy, whether you are new to recovery or alumni. Hold high your commitment to honesty and recovery. As a result, you will maintain healthy communication with others. 

Being held accountable will help you remain on your recovery track. While staying in therapy is one way of accountability, it also prevents relapse. While in therapy and involved in support groups, you continue building your honesty in recovery skills.

Be Honest with Loved Ones

Honesty and Recovery

When facing a difficult or awkward situation, people in recovery often avoid the truth. It can be particularly hard with faced with emotional hurt to your friends and family. It can be extremely challenging to address these issues. But honesty in recovery is imperative to rebuilding relationships with loved ones. 

Honesty in recovery includes your spouse, children, parents, siblings, and friends. It’s essential to be honest about your addiction and its impact on your life. Tell them what you have been through and what you are experiencing now. 

Your honesty in recovery and openness with loved ones can help close the gap between you. These behaviors also create open communication within these relationships. Your honesty with loved ones helps involve them in your new life.

Honesty in Recovery Includes Your Struggles and Mistakes

Relapse or recurrence of use is more than just the act of using drugs or alcohol. Relapse actually comes in stages. They include emotional and mental relapse. For this reason, honesty in recovery includes when you’re experiencing symptoms of mental or emotional relapse. 

If you come close to physically relapsing or you do relapse, it is crucial to seek help. It’s common in relapse to feel guilty and shameful. Nevertheless, you must reach out to your therapist or sponsor. You may also consider re-entering treatment. There is no room for shame as long as you remain committed to honesty and recovery.

The Risk of Relapse without Honesty in Recovery

Although honesty in early recovery is crucial to prevent recurrence of use, it is required to maintain Recovery for Life. Because relapse is more than just a physical act, honesty in recovery is crucial to uncover any emotional or mental symptoms of relapse. 

Emotional Relapse and Honesty in Recovery

The first stage of relapse is an emotional relapse. During this stage, you are not actively thinking about using drugs or alcohol. But, your behaviors and emotions can be leading you that way. 

Warning signs of emotional relapse include:

  • Bottling up emotions
  • Avoiding recovery support groups and therapy sessions
  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Change in eating habits
  • Poor sleeping habits
  • Not sharing at meetings
  • Avoiding your issues by focusing on others
  • Intolerance
  • Defensiveness

Honesty in recovery means admitting when you are in an emotional relapse. If you’re anxious, use deep breathing techniques. When you have denied an emotional relapse for a while, it can make you uncomfortable, restless, and irritable. But, sharing your feelings is crucial to prevent the recurrence of use. 

Maintain a Commitment to Recovery

Risking Mental Relapse Without Honesty and Recovery

If you ignore the signs and symptoms of emotional relapse, it increases your risk of mental relapse. Mental relapse is a war inside your mind – part of you wants to use, while part of you doesn’t. Without honesty in recovery, you are at high risk for physical relapse.

It is common to fantasize about using drugs and alcohol during a mental relapse. The longer you stay in the mental relapse stage, however, the lower your resistance to use. It is vital in this stage to talk to someone. 

And remember, there is a difference between a fleeting thought of use and considering actually using. Keeping your honesty in recovery commitment can keep these thoughts in check. 

Signs of mental relapse include:

  • Physical and mental cravings to use drugs or alcohol
  • Continually thinking about people, places, and things involved in substance use
  • Hanging out with the “wrong” friends
  • Glamorizing your past drug use
  • Lying
  • Thinking of ways to hide substance use
  • Imagining, fantasizing, and planning your relapse

Bargaining is a sign of relapse that can be seen in various forms, which include:

  • Giving yourself permission to use it on holidays and special occasions.
  • Thinking you can relapse periodically, for example, twice a year.
  • Believing you can switch one substance for another.

Suppose you are struggling with any of the above signs of recurrence of use or any other challenges; you must speak to someone. No one can maintain their recovery alone. Speak to your therapist or a trusted friend. Your honesty in recovery is vital to achieving Recovery for LIfe. 

Finding Recovery for Life at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center

It can be challenging to maintain your honesty and recovery. Being truthful about your addiction struggles and the mistakes made during active addiction is the key to Recovery for Life. At Sana Lake BWC, once you are a member, you are always a member. If you or a loved one is struggling with maintaining honesty on recovery, we can help. Contact us today for help. 

References:

https://www.aacle.org/importance-honesty-recovery/

Is It Alcohol Poisoning: How to Recognize the Signs and the Symptoms

Like with any drug, drinking too much alcohol can cause adverse effects on the human brain and body. One adverse effect that can occur to someone that has been consuming too much alcohol is the development of alcohol poisoning. In fact, the symptoms of alcohol poisoning are often so severe that individuals that develop this illness must be rushed to see a doctor. Due to how intense alcohol poisoning is, one can only assume what the alcohol poisoning recovery time is. 

So that you’re aware if you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol poisoning, learn about the signs and symptoms of the illness. Also, learn how to treat and prevent alcohol poisoning.

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is when the level of alcohol in a person’s blood is so high that it’s causing that person’s brain to shut down. Essentially, alcohol poisoning is the same thing as an alcohol overdose. 

If alcohol poisoning is severe enough, it could lead to brain damage, or even death. In fact, according to the National Vital Statistics Reports (NVSR) that the CDC published in 2017, alcohol poisoning caused 75,354 deaths in America. Alcohol poisoning also caused 31% of the injuries that led to death. 

Due to the seriousness of the effects of alcohol poisoning, it’s important for people to not let themselves linger with the illness for too long without calling 911. To not do that though, you must first be aware that you or your loved one is even suffering from alcohol poisoning. 

That’s why it’s so important to know what causes alcohol poisoning. It’s also important to know the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning and the alcohol poisoning recovery time. 

Causes of Alcohol Poisoning

Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is the ingredient in alcoholic drinks that causes people to overdose. This is because this ingredient isn’t meant to be consumed in large portions. Unfortunately, many people choose to binge drink alcohol. 

Binge drinking is when a man consumes five or more drinks in less than two hours, or a woman consumes four or more drinks in less than two hours. Extreme binge drinking is when a man consumes 10 or more drinks in less than two hours or a woman consumes eight or more drinks in less than two hours. 

Due to how much ethanol people consume when they binge drink, binge drinking is a major cause of alcohol poisoning. There are other factors that can also influence whether or not a person that is drinking or binge drinking will develop alcohol poisoning. 

Factors That Influence the Likelihood of Someone Developing Alcohol Poisoning

There are many social and biological factors that impact the chance of a person developing alcohol poisoning. Some of them are described below.

Gender

For example, men are more likely to develop alcohol poisoning than women. This is because men tend to drink more than women.

Age

A person’s age can also impact the chance that he or she will develop alcohol poisoning. For example, middle-aged adults are more likely to develop alcohol poisoning than younger adults. This is because middle-aged adults are more likely to take prescription medications that, when mixed with alcohol, heightens the chance of a person overdosing. 

Height and Weight

Signs and the Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

A person’s size and weight can also impact the chance that that person will develop alcohol poisoning. This is because people that are taller and weigh more have more blood and water in their bodies that the alcohol can go to and be flushed out by. Thus, people that are taller and bigger must consume more alcohol to develop a high enough blood alcohol level to get alcohol poisoning. This means that smaller individuals tend to develop alcohol poisoning much more easily than their taller and heavier counterparts.

Overall Health

A person’s overall health can also impact the chances of that person developing alcohol poisoning. This is because illnesses such as alcohol poisoning can develop more easily in people whose bodies are already in poor condition. 

Alcohol Tolerance

A person’s general alcohol tolerance, along with how much that person eats and drinks can influence the chances of that person developing alcohol poisoning as well. This is because the bodies of individuals with greater alcohol tolerances have become accustomed to handling a certain amount of alcohol. Therefore, people with higher alcohol tolerances need to consume more alcohol to get alcohol poisoning. 

On the flip side, it takes less alcohol to get people with low alcohol tolerances to develop alcohol poisoning. This is especially true if those with low alcohol tolerances haven’t eaten much food recently to absorb some of the alcohol that they’ve consumed. 

Alcohol Poisoning Signs and Symptoms

There are numerous signs and symptoms that show if a person is developing alcohol poisoning or not.  Many of these signs and symptoms start off small but then grow to become extremely dangerous. Many of these signs and symptoms also slow down the body due to the fact that alcohol is a depressant. 

Some of the initial alcohol poisoning signs and symptoms include:

  • Smelling like alcohol
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Poor coordination
  • Damp or clammy skin

As alcohol poisoning progresses, symptoms will include:

  • Severe confusion
  • Trouble staying awake
  • Vomiting
  • Choking on one’s own vomit
  • Seizures
  • Slowed biological responses 
  • Low body temperature
  • Very slow heartbeat
  • Bluish or pale skin
  • Severe dehydration
  • Hypothermia
  • Brain damage
  • Coma 
  • Heart Attack 
  • Death

Alcohol Poisoning Recovery Time

Alcohol poisoning recovery time can vary depending on the individual and the situation. This is because factors like weight, height, the amount of alcohol and food that a person consumes, etc. all impact how long alcohol poisoning will last. 

How to Treat Alcohol Poisoning

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol poisoning, you need to immediately call 911. Also, make sure to stay by the side of the person that is suffering from alcohol poisoning. 

Also, keep the person with alcohol poisoning awake. In fact, if you can, also try to make the person with alcohol poisoning sit up and drink water as he or she waits for an ambulance to arrive. 

If the person with alcohol poisoning is cold, feel free to cover that person with a blanket. If the person with alcohol poisoning is passed out, try to get the person to lay on his or her side. That way the individual won’t choke on his or her own vomit when throwing up. 

Once the ambulance comes to take the person with alcohol poisoning to a hospital, make sure to inform the paramedic about every detail about his or her alcohol poisoning as you can. That way, the paramedic can relay the proper information to the emergency doctors. Doing all these things will ultimately help shorten the alcohol poisoning recovery time. 

Once in the emergency room, some people that suffer from alcohol poisoning must get their stomachs pumped. Getting a stomach pumped helps keep leftover alcohol from getting into the bloodstream. Some people also flush their stomachs and blood of toxins. 

People that are in treatment for alcohol poisoning can also receive IV fluids to help treat their conditions. Depending on how severe a person’s alcohol poisoning is, that person may also need to receive oxygen to breathe. 

How to Not Treat Alcohol Poisoning

Just like there are ways to treat alcohol poisoning, there are ways to not treat alcohol poisoning. For example, making a person with alcohol poisoning take a cold shower could actually harm the person. This is because individuals with alcohol poisoning are already struggling with extremely low body temperature. This is due to alcohol being a depressant that slows the body down.

To prevent the person with alcohol poisoning from starting to vomit, don’t give the person any more food. Also, don’t even try to have the person with the alcohol poisoning intentionally throw up as doing so can cause that person to choke.

Another thing that is a don’t when taking care of someone that is suffering from alcohol poisoning is making the individual walk. This is because walking while struggling with alcohol poisoning could cause someone to fall. Instead, just have the person with alcohol poisoning sit up as he or she waits for the ambulance.

How to Prevent Alcohol Poisoning

To avoid developing alcohol poisoning, always try to drink in moderation. Also, it’s important to drink water in-between drinking alcoholic beverages. 

To make sure that you have something in your body to help absorb some of the alcohol that you consume, eat before you drink. Plus, people that take prescription medications shouldn’t take them while drinking, as doing this could increase the chances of developing alcohol poisoning. 

Treat Your Alcohol and Drug Disorders Here at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center

At Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center, our goal is to meet each member’s needs and figure out the best plan of action that fits each of them individually. That’s why we offer so many pathways to recovery. 

To further ensure that we meet the individual addiction recovery needs of all of our members, our physicians concentrate on addiction medicine and mental health. Thus, whether you need help getting sober from alcohol and healthy after receiving alcohol poisoning or you need help treating a co-occurring disorder, we can help you. 

To learn more about Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center and the various addiction treatment and mental health services that we offer, contact us today! Our compassionate, trained, and experienced staff members are able to connect with you 24/7.

What Is This New Super Pill?: The Latest Dangerous Drug

There’s a new serial killer on the streets. This serial killer targets innocent people who make the wrong decision to buy street drugs. The murderer doesn’t discriminate between individuals with a substance use disorder or teens trying substances for this first time. The super pill is a deadly combination of pills that can quickly lead to the worst-case scenario in a single dose. 

It’s disguised as a pharmaceutical, leading its victims to believe the worst that will happen is a few hours of fun and maybe a nap. Mothers of dead victims say differently. The so-called new Xanax pill is one of the deadliest drugs to surface in the United States in the past few years. Knowing more information about it can stop an untimely death. 

What Is the New Xanax Pill AKA the Super Pill?

The new Xanax pill isn’t the latest brand of anti-anxiety medication prescribed by doctors. It’s a combination of two powerful medications that should never be mixed. Xanax and fentanyl is this murderous combo. 

Xanax and the Super Pill 

Xanax, also known as alprazolam, is a medication prescribed to treat anxiety, panic disorder, and some symptoms of depression. It belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, or benzos for short. Benzos are known to make people feel calm on their own. 

It does it by providing the central nervous system (CNS) with more gamma-aminobutyric acid to use (GABA). GABA is scientifically referred to as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Basically, this type of brain chemical inhibits the flow of chemical messages. Hence, the influx of GABA causes the body’s systems to slow down more than usual. 

Fentanyl and the Super Pill 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), fentanyl is a dangerously powerful synthetic opioid typically prescribed by doctors to treat people with severe pain. Fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than morphine. It’s not usually prescribed long-term. The exception is for people who just underwent surgery. Though, individuals suffering from chronic pain may receive a prescription of fentanyl if they’re resistant to other painkillers. 

What Is This New Super Pill?

Sometimes it’s diverted to a clandestine market, but might be made secretly in makeshift labs. Humans have opioid receptors in the CNS. When an opioid, like fentanyl, is consumed, it makes a person feel calmer, happier and reduces the amount of pain they feel. 

In prescription form, fentanyl is known as Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze. On the streets it may be known as:

  • Dance Fever
  • Apache 
  • Goodfellas 
  • Tango 
  • Cash 
  • Murder 8 
  • Jackpot 
  • Friend 

Whatever the name, it’s dangerous to take without the advice of a doctor. Opioids are responsible for the most deaths in the United States. Plus, 59% of deaths involve fentanyl. The chances of death are increased when mixed with a substance like benzos. This is what makes the super pill much more deadly than other street drugs. 

Signs Of Super Pill Consumption and Dependence

There are limited research and literature available surrounding “the new Xanax pill” AKA the super pill. Yet, the combination of an opioid and benzodiazepine likely exacerbates both intended effects and the side effects. Though, most people don’t intentionally take the super pill. 

It’s dubbed the new Xanax pill not only because it’s one of the ingredients, but because it looks like one. Reports say that it can look like a Xanax in size and shape. Even worse, some have the word “Xanax” pressed into the tablet. Law enforcement speculates drug dealers want to pass it off as Xanax so it will sell, despite it killing people. 

Individuals who consume the super pill and survive might experience: 

  • Drastic change in appetite 
  • A sense of relaxation 
  • Euphoria 
  • Sleepiness 
  • Drowsiness 

Since Xanax and fentanyl can be highly addictive. This can happen after a small dose of the new Xanax pill: 

  • Inability to function normally 
  • Intense cravings for more 
  • Asking for money from strangers and acquaintances randomly 
  • Stealing from loved ones to buy more 
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Loss of interest in their favorite activities 
  • Visibly losing an unhealthy amount of weight 
  • Not taking care of important responsibilities (ie: picking up a child from school) 

A substance use disorder doesn’t look the same for every individual. Yet, the commonality is that it makes people forget about everything except for securing more of what they crave. While this is dangerous in all scenarios, it might be more for the super pill because of the low cost. 

Reports from multiple news outlets say that the new Xanax pill can be bought for as little as five dollars. Unfortunately, this could disproportionately affect poor Americans. According to the American Public Health Association, substance use and poverty is the main factor for first-time homelessness. 

Short-Term Effects of the Super Pill 

It seems like most people who consume the super pill don’t get to experience the short-term effects. It’s likely short-lived. Law enforcement quoted by NBC News stated that it seems like people who sell the super drug are trying to kill people. Yet, if they are able to survive this substance serial killer, they might go experience a multitude of unpleasant effects. 

Super Pill?

4 Short-Term Effects of the New Xanax Pill

  1. They might get vivid nightmares. The combination of both of these highly addictive, powerful substances can result in terrible dreams. People should never experience a high level of GABA and increased opioids in tandem. So, the brain can react violently. Those close to a person using the super pill might be able to notice their loved one has developed irregular sleeping patterns and always looks tired. 
  2. Hallucinations might occur because of the super pill. The mixture of benzos and opioids can cause vivid hallucinations visual or auditory. A sign of this is a person has detailed stories of events that never happened. They might tell a story of how they lost a leg but clearly have two legs. Additionally, paranoia can come about because of these hallucinations which develop into a psychotic break.
  3. Those who consume the new Xanax pill might experience gastrointestinal issues. A drug overdose can cause nausea and vomiting. In short, this is the body’s way of trying to purge the substance. For this reason, nausea can be because of any number of substances, including alcohol. Though, it could be a warning sign of this deadly little pill. 
  4. They will most likely have breathing issues. NIDA writes that 30% of opioid overdoses also involve benzos. They claim that this is a more dangerous combo than most because both types of substances “sedate users and suppress breathing.” In some cases, benzos and opioids may be prescribed at the same time (unfortunately, notes NIDA). But doctors understand the dosage, dealers don’t. 

Long-Term Effects of the Super Pill 

Unfortunately, there’s really only effects with the super pill versus short-term and long-term. It acts quickly, leaving many people without loved ones. A mother interviewed by NBC News tearfully told viewers that her son was only 17 when he took the super pill. She found him dead in bed the next morning. She told NBC he had a promising future and just made a bad decision. 

Dozens of cases across the country echo a similar sentiment. The long-term effects of the new Xanax have a much shorter timeline in comparison to other street substances. Common long-term effects include the following. 

3 Long-Term Effects of the Super Pill 

  1. This substance can leave individuals in a coma and intense sedation. As mentioned before, NIDA writes that the combo of opioids and benzos can force an extreme form of sedation. This is the case even when doctors prescribe the two together. A study found that overdose deaths were 10 times more likely in those prescribed both. Since the super pill combines the two without any regard to dosage, it can cause a coma or extreme sedation without overdosing. Narcan can help them survive this scenario. 
  2. The new Xanax pill can cause a slowed heart rate. The Xanax portion of the super pill causes the body’s systems to slow down. This includes the pulmonary system. A slowed heart rate isn’t always dangerous. A sleeping person has a slow heart rate. But after a certain point, it can be deadly. This is the case with the super pill. 
  3. They will likely die from taking the super pill. Some people are lucky enough to survive taking the super pill. But as shown before, many are not. They’ll likely fall into a coma or fall asleep before. If caught early enough, a doctor can save their life. It only takes a few hours and a small dose to kill a person. 

Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center Knows the Super Pill is Life-Threatening 

The simple truth is we don’t deal with too many members that have a super pill use disorder. It’s because most of them die before they can get help. But, other substances can be just as life-threatening. Before it leads to serious consequences, contact us to get effective behavioral wellness treatment in Missouri. 

References: 

How Do Drugs and Alcohol Affect Neurotransmitters?

Drugs, both legal and illegal, work on the brain in various ways. One way is they change how neurotransmitters work. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that relay information between brain cells. Understanding the following about neurotransmitters and drugs can help you battle through addiction.

  • How do drugs affect neurotransmitters?
  • How does alcohol affect neurotransmitters?
  • Which neurotransmitters are involved in drug addiction?

What Are Neurons?

The brain is like a complex and intricate computer. But, instead of electrical circuits, the brain has cells called neurons. Neurons send messages back and forth in the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nervous system. 

To send a message, the neurons release neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitter crosses the synapses and attaches to another neuron. This action signals the brain cells to do specific things, such as produce feelings of joy, anxiety, and anger. 

They also produce drug cravings in those struggling with substance use disorder. Substances such as alcohol, heroin, and Zoloft affect the neurotransmitters by creating euphoric feelings. However, they also have adverse side effects, such as depression, psychosis, and addiction. 

Neurotransmitters also regulate:

  • Heart rate
  • Breathing
  • Emotions
  • Mood
  • Coordination
  • Ability to learn
  • Physical sensations

Neurotransmitters and Drugs: Do They Affect Each Other?

How drugs and alcohol affect brain cells dramatically depends on the type of drug or alcohol consumed. Most drugs bind directly to neurotransmitters. Additionally, multiple neurotransmitters can be affected at once. 

There are dozens of neurotransmitters. Our understanding of how the brain and neurotransmitters work and their effect on addiction continues to grow. Dopamine, for example, is an important neurotransmitter. It helps regulate:

  • Happiness
  • Anger
  • Aggression
  • Mood
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Learning
  • Attention
  • Motivation
  • Sleep 
  • Pain processing
  • Nausea and vomiting

How Do Drugs Affect Neurotransmitters?

Opioids, heroin, alcohol, and other substances affect the brain’s output and use of neurotransmitters. While some drugs speed up the production of neurotransmitters, others slow it down. Furthermore, some drugs can even mimic neurotransmitters.

how do drugs affect neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitters and Drugs: What Happens If You Stop?

Depending on the type and length of the addiction, it can take days, months, and even years to regain neurotransmitters’ normal production. Heroin, for example, mimics a natural neurotransmitter. It bonds to neurons, causing an increase in the production of other neurotransmitters such as dopamine. 

Another example includes an individual who misuses methamphetamines, for instance, will stop producing its own neurotransmitters. Additionally, high doses of meth over extended periods can have severe effects on the brain. As a result, it can take up to 4 years to produce natural neurotransmitters.

Which Neurotransmitters are Involved in Drug Addiction?

While dopamine plays a significant role in how substance use disorder forms, progresses, and ultimately recovers, several other neurotransmitters are also responsible. Keep reading to understand more about which neurotransmitters are involved in drug addiction.

Dopamine: Neurotransmitters and Drugs

Dopamine is often called the “grand-daddy of drug addiction” because it plays a role in nearly all substance addictions. However, it is most noticeable in cocaine, opiate, and meth addictions. Dopamine activates the reward processes in the brain. The constant use of drugs or alcohol can lead to cravings and addiction.

Endorphins: Neurotransmitters and Drugs

Endorphins are neurotransmitters for opiates such as heroin, morphine, Oxycontin, and Fentanyl. Opiate use disorder is thought to be the most powerful drug addiction because of the potent effect of endorphins on the brain.

Serotonin: How Do Drugs Affect Neurotransmitters?

Primarily drugs such as MDMA, LSD, and psilocybin are linked to serotonin. Serotonin affects sexual desire and desire during drug use. However, after an individual stops using, it can affect the healthy functioning of both. 

Serotonin affects individuals:

  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Aggression
  • Happiness
  • Sadness
  • Confusion
  • Self-esteem
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bone density
  • Blood clotting

Norepinephrine: How Do Drugs Affect Neurotransmitters?

The class of drugs, which includes speed, and meth interferes with the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. Cocaine also interferes with norepinephrine’s normal function. This interference can result in anxiety and other sensory processing issues. 

Glutamate: How Does Alcohol Affect Neurotransmitters

Glutamate is a dangerous and powerful neurotransmitter if released in large amounts. Substances such as alcohol, ketamine, PCP, and angel dust can trigger its release. This neurotransmitter and drugs can affect fine and gross motor skills and learning abilities.

How Does Alcohol Affect Neurotransmitters and How Do Drugs Affect Neurotransmitters?

There are seven categories of drugs. Each class interacts with neurotransmitters in unique ways. 

Central Nervous System Depressants

Central nervous system (CNS) depressants are often called depressants. They increase the activity of GABA, which reduces brain activity and slows the heart and other organs. Commonly misused depressants include:

  • Alcohol
  • Barbiturates – Amytal, Butisol, Nembutal
  • Benzodiazepines – Xanax, alprazolam
  • Opioids – morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone

By depressing the brain and body, individuals experience:

  • Relaxation
  • Sleepiness
  • Euphoria
  • Mood swings
  • Increase in self-confidence
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma
  • Death

Central Nervous System Stimulants

CNS stimulants produce the opposite effect of depressants. For instance, stimulants increase alertness, attention, and energy. They also increase dopamine and norepinephrine production. As a result, individuals feel a euphoric rush. 

Stimulants include:

  • Adderall
  • Concerta
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Ritalin

Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens produce different effects on different people. People often see, hear, or feel things that are not there. Also, the results of hallucinogens depend on the person’s mood and if they consume other substances. If a person has an adverse reaction, it’s known as a “bad trip.”

Hallucinogens and Cross Tolerance

When a person has a tolerance to one substance that heightens the tolerance of another substance, it is called cross-tolerance. Tolerance is when a person needs more of the substance to feel the initial effects. For example, LSD, a hallucinogen, can produce a tolerance to psilocybin or magic mushrooms. 

Central Nervous System Depressants

Dissociative Anesthetics

A dissociative anesthetic is a form of anesthesia. But, they don’t always involve a loss of consciousness. However, they inhibit pain and cause users to feel a disconnection from the world or themselves. 

Ketamine: How Do Drugs Affect Neurotransmitters?

Ketamine has long been used as an anesthetic for people and animals undergoing surgery. It is also used as an antidepressant in hard to treat cases of depression. However, ketamine produces a long-lasting high that can last 24-hours.

Ketamine causes a surge in glutamine and GABA. It also affects serotonin transmitters. But, ketamine can be very dangerous. Because it is so strong, it is easy to use too much, leading to severe consequences including:

  • Psychosis
  • Ketamine cystitis – damage to the bladder
  • Cardiac arrest

Narcotic Analgesics and How do Drugs Affect Neurotransmitters?

These drugs cause extreme euphoria because they stimulate dopamine production and prevent the neurotransmitter from being reabsorbed. Narcotic analgesics include heroin, opium, methadone, and heroin. Furthermore, these opioids attach to opioid receptors, which changes the brain.

How Do Inhalant Drugs Affect Neurotransmitters?

Similar to alcohol, most inhalants slow down the brain. Users often experience slurred speech, euphoria, dizziness, and lack of coordination. Common inhalants include paint thinner, hair spray, and chest pain inhaler medication. 

Cannabis: Neurotransmitters and Drugs

The legal name of marijuana is cannabis. The use of cannabis in any form is believed to chemically and physically change the brain. Furthermore, cannabis increases dopamine production. 

The short-term effects include happiness and increased appetite. Although the effects are still being researched, long-term effects may consist of decision-making, memory, and focus issues. 

How Does Alcohol Affect Neurotransmitters?

Alcohol is the most commonly misused substance. To illustrate, the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) states over 14 million Americans over 18 struggle with alcohol use disorder. This number includes over 5 million or 4 percent of women. 

Neurotransmitters and Drugs

One reason alcohol is so addictive is that it stimulates dopamine production. However, the brain adapts to this dopamine overload with continued drinking. As a result, your brain quits producing natural dopamine. 

As these levels of dopamine plummet, so does a person’s mood. This drop can lead to an increase in drinking. And, as we know, an increase in drinking can quickly lead to an alcohol use disorder

Alcohol and Brain Equilibrium: Neurotransmitters and Drugs

The brain likes neurotransmitters to maintain balance or equilibrium. But, alcohol disrupts this balance by increasing GABA production. To balance this slow-down, the brain releases glutamate to speed back up. But, this only further damages the brain.

How Does Alcohol Affect Neurotransmitters and Recovery?

Alcohol use disorder can be difficult to treat due to the changes in neurotransmitters. Without neurotransmitter stimulation from alcohol, individuals start experiencing cravings. Without committing to inpatient addiction treatment, it is almost impossible to quit drinking. 

If you are struggling with alcohol use disorder, it is crucial to seek professional help.

Can Naltrexone Help Ease Alcohol Cravings?

Naltrexone is often used in medical detox to reduce the urge to drink. In severe cases of an alcohol use disorder, Methadone may be used. At the same time, both medications are also used in opioid use recovery

Neurotransmitters and Drugs: The Importance of Detox

The withdrawal symptoms from alcohol can vary depending on the severity of your addiction. For this reason, professional care in a medical detox program can be life-saving. In detox, you are closely monitored and given medication to prevent the following possible side effects.

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

After completing detox, treatment isn’t over. The preferred method of treatment is inpatient treatment. However, some people may only be able to attend outpatient treatment due to other factors. 

Repairing the Effects on Neurotransmitters and Drugs at Sana Lake BWC

There is not a quick fix in recovery; it takes commitment and hard work. But the reward will be great. You will build friendships and support systems along to help maintain Recovery for Life. Contact us today and find out about our various programs to fit your needs.

References:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drugs-brain

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4065474/

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics

Check out this article on Forbes from our very own Paul Melnuk!

How Addiction Treatment Industries Can Provide Successful Long-Term Outcomes

“This past year has been a tough one for everyone. Communities, government bodies, businesses and individuals have all dealt with the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and continued civil unrest that have gripped the country for much of the year. 

While statistics have been coming out en masse for months regarding the impact of 2020’s events, the conversation around substance use and addiction rates can’t take a back seat. I believe it is every bit as much of a crisis and, left unfettered, it will continue to inflict prolonged damage on the country on both a sociological and economic level…”

Read the Full Article Here:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2021/01/07/how-addiction-treatment-industries-can-provide-successful-long-term-outcomes/?sh=5196919e7e64

Paul Melnuk - Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
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