What You Should Know About Drinking on Antidepressants

Antidepressants are prescribed medications that help people cope with symptoms of anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder, dysthymia, and several other mental health conditions. These medications attempt to balance neurotransmitters in the brain that are responsible for behavior and mood. Drinking on antidepressants introduces a variety of issues and can be extremely dangerous. Combining alcohol and antidepressants leads to worsened symptoms and other health risks.

How Do Antidepressants Work?

Humans tend to experience occasional sadness, which is completely normal. When sadness becomes persistent and overwhelming, it may be time to consult a doctor. Your doctor will expose you to treatments and may eventually prescribe medication that can help your specific circumstance. 

The most common prescribed antidepressant types are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medications boost serotonin levels in the brain in an attempt to treat anxiety and depressive disorders. Doctors typically prescribe antidepressants to individuals who do not respond well to other treatments.

Antidepressants are not a perfect solution for everyone. They often work best alongside talk therapy. In general, doctors will try to use therapy and other treatments before prescribing medication to their patients. Many people believe using antidepressant medication will dull their personality or make them feel different, but studies show this is not always the case.

Antidepressants may cause some side effects, especially during the first few weeks of a new regimen. Mild side effects may include gastrointestinal issues and some medications may worsen depression.

Types of Antidepressants

Antidepressants are generally divided into five primary types:

SSRIs

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the most popular antidepressants. Doctors prescribe this medication for treating depression. SSRIs tend to have the fewest side effects when compared to other types of antidepressants.

SSRIs work to block the absorption of serotonin in the brain. By doing so, brain cells can more productively send and receive messages, which results in more stable moods. The first “S” in SSRI stands for selective, which is an essential distinction of the medication. “Selective” refers to the medication’s ability only to affect serotonin and not the other neurotransmitters in the brain.

Mixing Prozac and Alcohol

Prozac is a common SSRI. Combining Prozac and alcohol can lead to rapid sedation. It is recommended not to mix the two substances.

Mixing Zoloft and Alcohol

Combining Zoloft and Alcohol can increase the adverse side effects of Zoloft. This may include issues with concentration, dizziness, and drowsiness.

Mixing Lexapro and Alcohol

Along with other antidepressants, it is best not to use alcohol while taking Lexapro. Alcohol can inhibit the medication from functioning correctly, which may aggravate symptoms of depression and anxiety.

SNRIs

Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors are most commonly used to treat major depression and mood disorders. In some cases, SNRIs are used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), menopausal symptoms, anxiety disorders, chronic neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia.

SNRIs essentially raise levels of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain. These neurotransmitters play a crucial role in stabilizing mood. Though SSRIs and SNRIs can be highly beneficial for some, they do have some potential side effects, including:

  • Low sodium
  • Rash
  • Dry mouth
  • Low blood sugar
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Tremor
  • Insomnia
  • Sedation
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Abnormal thinking
  • Agitation and anxiety

TCAs

Tricyclic antidepressants are used to treat depression, some types of anxiety, fibromyalgia and are sometimes used to help manage chronic pain. It’s reported that during the first few weeks of taking the medication, TCAs can affect coordination and make the user feel drowsy. Manufacturers of the medication recommend avoiding alcohol while taking TCAs. Some report it is safe to drink alcohol in small amounts while on the medication.

Side effects of taking tricyclics may include:

  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Rash
  • Anxiety
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Hypertension
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Urinary retention
  • Sexual dysfunction

MAOIs

Before the introduction of SNRIs and SSRIs, MAOIs were the most commonly prescribed antidepressant. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs, inhibit a brain enzyme called monoamine oxidase, which helps break down serotonin. In theory, MAOIs help stabilize moods by allowing more serotonin to circulate through the brain.

MAOIs tend to interact with several foods and other medications. Therefore, doctors typically prescribe SSRIs more often than MAOIs. Doctors may prescribe an MAOI to their patients if other antidepressants have not worked. These medications are known to have bad reactions to certain types of alcoholic beverages. MAOIs can cause issues with blood pressure if mixed with alcohol. In general, people who take MAOIs should completely avoid drinking alcohol.

Side effects of taking MAOIs include:

  • Rash
  • Seizures
  • Adema
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • High blood pressure
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Drowsiness or insomnia

NASSAs

drinking on antidepressants

Noradrenaline and specific serotonergic antidepressants are mainly used to treat anxiety disorders, depression, and some personality disorders. NASSAs work by antagonizing adrenergic and certain serotonin receptors in the brain. It’s reported that NASSAs are not likely to cause serious health threats when combined with alcohol. It is possible that combining the two substances can increase the effects of sedation, drowsiness, and symptoms of depression.

Side effects of taking NASSAs include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight gain
  • Sedation or drowsiness

Some severe reactions that have been reported include fainting, white blood cell reduction, seizures, and allergic reactions.

Is It Bad to Mix Alcohol and Antidepressants?

Drinking on antidepressants can worsen symptoms and also introduce potential health concerns. Since alcohol is a depressant, it depresses bodily functions when consumed in excess. Therefore, mixing alcohol and antidepressants can heighten the effects of each substance respectively.

Drinking on Antidepressants

Each type of antidepressant medication may be affected differently by alcohol. Each type affects different neurotransmitters, yielding different side effects if mixed with alcohol or other substances.

Mixing alcohol and antidepressants may lead to a series of issues, including:

Increased depression and anxiety

Consuming alcohol can limit the potential benefits of antidepressant medication, which can make depressive and anxious symptoms more difficult to treat. Alcohol may increase a person’s mood in the short term but have overall negative effects after that. In short, alcohol tends to worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Combining antidepressants, alcohol, and other substances

Some individuals take medication for a variety of disorders. For example, if someone takes antidepressants and sleep medication simultaneously, they should completely avoid alcohol. This goes the same for prescription pain medication as well. Side effects may become more prevalent, as well as other side effects unique to the different specific medicines.

Impaired cognition and alertness

Drinking on antidepressants will affect an individual’s motor skills, reaction time, judgment, and coordination more so than just alcohol alone. Depending on the type of antidepressant, the combination of alcohol and antidepressants can lead to severe drowsiness. This can make it extremely dangerous regarding a person’s ability to drive or complete other dangerous tasks.

Drowsiness

Both alcohol and antidepressants, without even being mixed, cause drowsiness. When mixing the two substances, their drowsiness effect is compounded. The effect is intensified and can present danger in many circumstances.

Alcohol Is a Depressant

For many people, alcohol consumption is a means of relaxation. However, the effects can actually induce anxiety and increase stress. Alcohol’s classification as a central nervous system depressant means it slows down brain functioning and neural activity by enhancing GABA neurotransmitters. This has been shown to impair cognition and have an effect on judgment.

Alcohol can depress the central nervous system so much that it results in impairment, like slurred speech and unsteady movement. Mentally, alcohol reduces an individual’s ability to think rationally, lessening inhibitions and distorting judgment. If too much is consumed at one time, then respiratory failure or death is possible.

Alcohol and Antidepressants

Antidepressants require consistent doses to function properly. Stopping medications in order to consume alcohol can have adverse reactions. Starting and stopping antidepressant medication can make symptoms of depression even worse. Drinking on antidepressants is not advised and often leads to negative outcomes.

If you have depression and are having trouble stopping the use of alcohol, you may need treatment for addiction.

Detoxification

Detox treatments can help rid your body of any substance-related toxins. This form of treatment is necessary when quitting the use of drugs or alcohol. At Sana Lake, we offer specialized programs that can help you or your loved one recover from addiction. Following a successful detox, many of our members enroll in our inpatient rehabilitation program.

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Residential works well for individuals with moderate to severe addictions. We offer personalized treatment that combines traditional and holistic methods. Members of our inpatient program have access to round-the-clock support and treatment. During residential treatment, our members develop skills and coping mechanisms that will help them maintain and sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Get Help at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center

At Sana Lake, we believe in long-term recovery. Our evidence-based programs and therapies can help you or your loved one recover from addiction or an unhealthy lifestyle. We believe no one should fight addiction alone. If you have any questions or would like to inquire about any programs that we offer, please call us today.

What is a Gateway Drug?

You have probably heard the term gateway drug. But, what is a gateway drug? It is a habit-forming drug that in itself may not be addictive but leads to using other addictive drugs.

This term has been around for decades. It is most commonly used to describe nicotine, alcohol, and marijuana. Although some people argue these are not gateway drugs, research shows the transition is clear.

How Can One Drug Easily Lead to Using Another One?

We are all motivated by pleasure. Whether it be sports, music, or nature, different things make different people happy. But, the way our brains process pleasure is the same for everyone.

When we feel pleasure, our brains release dopamine which makes us seek that pleasure again. When people do gateway drugs, it releases large amounts of dopamine. In addition, the drugs block the reabsorption of dopamine. As a result, the sense of pleasure is prolonged.

The euphoria from gateway drugs can be so powerful that your brain wants more. With continued use, the brain and body can become so dependent that the current drug isn’t working anymore.

As a result, people move on to more potent drugs. Hence the term gateway drug.

Why are “Softer Drugs” a Myth?

The term “soft drug” is an arbitrary term with no clear criteria. While “hard drugs” are typically heroin and meth, marijuana and alcohol are generally “soft drugs.”

But, these terms just raise more questions than answers. Are crack and meth “hard” when they are injected but “soft” when they are smoked? Is cannabis oil a “hard drug” while cannabis flower is a “soft” drug?

Furthermore, what about prescription medication? You don’t hear these terms used even though some medications are similar to heroin. So, for the most part, the terms “soft drug” and “hard drug” are just for dramatic effects.

Gateway Drug Examples

When talking about gateway drug examples, people’s first thought is typically marijuana. While the initial effects of marijuana are mild, it can still be harmful. For some, the use of marijuana leads to the misuse of more dangerous drugs. Besides marijuana, other gateway drugs include tobacco and alcohol.

gateway drug

Marijuana

While marijuana is the most commonly known gateway drug, it is also the most disputed. Today more than ever, the medical benefits of marijuana are believed to outway the harm. However, studies do prove the theory.

For example, the National Epidemiological Study of Alcohol Use and Related Disorders found people who use marijuana are more likely to develop alcohol use disorder (AUD) within three years. Furthermore, those with an AUD who consume marijuana typically have a worsen alcohol use disorder.

While studies show, marijuana is a gateway drug, most people who use marijuana do not go on to use “harder drugs.”

Tobacco

Research shows smoking cigarettes in your late teens and early 20’s changes the brain putting them at risk for experimenting with other drugs. Another study in 2020 found university students who smoke have higher levels of depression. Mental disorders such as depression are known causes of substance misuse.

Over recent years, researchers have recognized that alcohol and cigarettes increase the risk for later use of illicit drugs. Over 90% of cocaine users between the ages of 18 and 24 had smoked cigarettes at some point before using cocaine. Researchers are led to believe that nicotine exposure may be the reason smokers have an increased vulnerability to cocaine. However, there is no absolutely identified biological mechanism.

Alcohol

Alcohol like tobacco is viewed by many as a gateway drug. So, just how many people misuse alcohol? According to SAMHSA, in 2019, 20.4 million people struggled with substance use disorder (SUD). Of those people, 14.5 million struggle with AUD.

Alcohol is often a gateway drug because it lowers inhibitions and causes risky behaviors. For example, a person scared to try an illicit drug or take a friend’s prescription may do so while drunk.

Another reason is a person may tire of the “buzz” or getting sick from alcohol. As a result, they start looking for a new high. This is the true meaning of a gateway drug.

Are Prescription Drugs Also Gateway Drugs?

The ’80s were when Nancy Regan and the D.A.R.E. program starting pushing alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana as gateway drugs. Kids all over the country were told these three drugs would lead them down a path of despair. But, little did they know, the ’90s would bring opioid painkillers.

Opioids hit the market and with little knowledge of the risk of misuse. Doctors prescribed them to almost every individual with mild to severe pain. And when taken as prescribed, they are effective painkillers.

But, users were becoming dependent on their medication. As a result, people started misusing their medication. By the 2000s, there was a full-blown opioid epidemic.

Some doctors were still writing endless prescriptions, but it can be expensive to continue buying medications. As a result, people started buying heroin and prescription opioids off the streets.

Although buying these illicit drugs is cheaper, heroin is three times stronger than morphine and twice as strong as oxycodone.

Controversy Surrounding Gateway Drugs

According to the New York Times, D.A.R.E. officials admit most people who smoke marijuana do not go on to use harder drugs. Some critics even believe marijuana may reduce the chance of using other drugs.

How Can Using Drugs With Low Risk of Overdose Lead to Using Drugs with High Overdose Risk?

Most of us know that drugs like cocaine, heroin, and meth can lead to life-threatening overdoses. However, other drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are viewed as harmless and acceptable.  But are gateway drugs really harmless?

Yes, on their own, these acceptable substances are harmless to most people. But, combining gateway drugs and specific factors can be risky. Above all, it can lead to using more addictive drugs and a life-threatening overdose.

Gateway Drugs and the Risk Factors For Substance Use Disorder

Why can some people use marijuana or drink alcohol and never have a substance use disorder, and some people can not? A variety of factors play a role in the development of addiction.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the following are risk factors that may lead to misusing drugs or alcohol.

  • Genetics
  • Family history of substance use disorder
  • Unhealthy home environment
  • Stress at work or school
  • Childhood trauma
  • Mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety
  • Peer pressure
  • Lack of drug education
  • Access to drugs or alcohol

If you have any of these risk factors, you should be careful about using any gateway drugs.

Why Does Using Drugs and Alcohol at a Young Age Lead To Using More Powerful Drugs?

Our brains continue growing until our mid-20’s, especially the prefrontal cortex. It is the last to finish developing and is responsible for decision-making. When teens use drugs or alcohol, it interferes with important brain growth.

Gateway drugs also affect the ability to make decisions. As a result, teens engage in risky behaviors such as driving under the influence, unsafe sex, and using more potent drugs. Unfortunately, these decisions can cause lasting damage.

The earlier teens use drugs or alcohol, the higher their chance of developing a substance use disorder later in life. Furthermore, using gateway drugs as a teen can lead to developing adult health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep disorders.

Is Vaping a New Gateway Drug?

E-cigarettes are meant to be a safer smoking alternative. But, people who never smoked cigarettes now vape, including a high number of teens. Whether the vape contains nicotine or marijuana, they affect brain development and lead to using other drugs.

A lot is still unknown about vaping, and studies are ongoing. But, early evidence suggests vaping is a gateway drug, and teens go on to use other nicotine products and marijuana. Research in the New England Journal of Medicine states vaping increases the risk of addiction to cocaine and other drugs.

Many states are raising the tobacco buying age to 21 in an effort to curb teen vaping. By doing so, they also hope to minimize future drug misuse.

Treating Gateway Drug Use

Treatment options typically depend on the individual and their gateway drug of choice. Many treatment programs combine psychotherapy, behavioral and group therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and peer support.

Medication-assisted treatment is especially helpful for those struggling with opioid use disorder. Medications such as naltrexone and methadone can ease cravings, stop withdrawal symptoms, and prevent relapse.

Find Help at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center

Are you or someone you love struggling with drug or alcohol misuse? You are not alone. At Sana Lake BWC, we understand the importance of support from others who have walked in your shoes. Our peer support specialists and professional therapists are here to support you along your journey. We believe that no one should battle addiction alone. Please reach out if you have any questions or would like more information on recovery.

Call us today and find out how we can help you.

References:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-gateway-drug

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt29393/2019NSDUHFFRPDFWHTML/2019NSDUHFFR090120.htm#:~:text=Among%20the%2020.4%20million%20people,alcohol%20use%20disorder%20and%20an

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16394201/

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0227042

https://drugfree.org/drug-and-alcohol-news/e-cigarettes-may-increase-risk-addiction-cocaine-drugs-researchers/

How To Talk To Someone With Addiction

It can be incredibly frustrating to try and talk to someone about their addictive behaviors and the impact it’s having on their life and relationships. Often you’ll be met with defensiveness, manipulation, and deflections.
The first thing you need to know in order to make headway is that substance use disorder (SUD) is not caused by a person’s circumstances. The progressive nature of SUD creates this illusion. Initially, the use seems like a reasonable response to a life situation. This is one of those slowly dawning awarenesses, at first it looks like their behavior is a stress reaction to a relationship breakup, work disappointment or other life stressor. But upon closer inspection, it’s evident that the person has been using substances to manage their stress for many years. In fact, most people with SUD report their use began in their teenage years and because of this many developmental opportunities were missed.

While the rest of us navigated the stressors of life without substances we were afforded the opportunity to develop tools for living, tools that allowed us to build resilience, character and the capacity to be uncomfortable. But the person with substance use disorder repeatedly turned to substances to soothe those same stressors which reinforced their need to use substances to cope.

It’s easy to be misled because the person with SUD is often convinced that their addictive behaviors are caused by their life circumstances. So the first thing that needs to happen in order to speak effectively to the person with SUD is for you to shift your perspective. Look back over the person’s life and you’ll see a pattern emerge. A pattern of substance use in response to life’s challenges. It’s a profound and empowering shift in awareness when you’re able to see that the problems are actually coming from the person themself. No longer are they a victim, unlucky or powerless. Now that the problem has been identified change can begin. What an amazing moment of empowerment for everyone!

Because the person with SUD has a neurobiological illness they will have great difficulty seeing themselves with clarity. This is why so many people report feeling incredibly frustrated and/or giving up on the person with SUD. It’s so tricky to convince the ‘broken’ brain that the problem is coming from SUD and not external circumstances.

This is where you come in….

Unfortunately, love and support alone won’t cure an addiction. Take a moment to review how long you’ve been providing love and support to the person with SUD and notice how your efforts have not resulted in improvement. Likely your efforts have caused you to suffer as well. Because SUD is a chronic condition, it will consistently get worse, sometimes slower, sometimes faster depending on the substances being used.

As a family member, it’s essential to understand the dynamics of the family system and the ways that some of the responses to the trauma of addiction allow the illness to progress. Sometimes subtly and sometimes profoundly the entire family system is impacted by SUD and requires support, education, and healing to move forward together. Your instincts to comfort and help your loved one are beautiful and a natural response when someone is suffering however we see many family members diminished physically, emotionally, and spiritually as they struggle with patterned responses to active addiction.

the problem is coming from SUD and not external circumstances

Set yourself up for a successful conversation by never getting into a position where you’re trying to prove to the person with SUD that they are dependent on drugs and alcohol. This creates a power struggle and distraction from the problem. Simply state, repeatedly, your experience of their behavior and how it impacts you, your hope for their future and your willingness to do whatever is necessary to support their recovery and your unwillingness to do anything that supports their SUD. It goes without saying that this conversation needs to happen when the person is not under the influence.

Something simple and heartfelt like “I love you and it breaks my heart to see you destroying your life” is very effective in breaking through denial and opening up communication. “I hope you’ll choose life. I understand that ultimately you choose how you live but I need you to know that I can no longer be part of this destruction. It’s too painful for me.” “You have a treatable illness. Millions of people have gotten into recovery.” If they push back with manipulative statements like “you don’t love me.” or “if you loved me you would…”. Let them know that this is what real love looks like, it makes difficult decisions, takes a leadership position and sets healthy boundaries. Restate your willingness to do anything to support their recovery and nothing to support their addiction. This is not an ultimatum or manipulation technique, it’s a simple fact.

Family members can be powerful motivators of change. In order to develop the resilience to hold to your integrity and boundaries, in the midst of the crisis of active addiction, participation in a support network is critical. By embracing your own healing first, you’ll naturally disengage from the enabling system of active addiction. When recovery behaviors are incorporated into the family system you’ll be able to invite your loved one into the support of a resilient, recovery-oriented family system. As the system changes a new normal is introduced that has the potential to break generational patterns of substance use disorder.

As family members, you can take a leadership position and let your loved one know that there are an array of solutions from free peer groups, to intensive outpatient programs, to residential treatment, all designed specifically for the problem they have.

Here you’ll need to do your own work to gain support and process the greatest fear many families face… losing your loved one to addiction. By gaining awareness about what you can and can not control you’ll be able to focus on the choices that empower you to live your best life while modeling recovery-oriented behaviors for your loved one. Family members that embrace their own healing have the ability to differentiate the authentic voice of their loved one from the voice of addiction.

At Sana Lake Recovery Center we spend a significant amount of time working with families to enable them to speak to their loved ones in an effective manner. Introducing recovery into the family system has profound effects and while it may feel counterintuitive to embrace your healing first, it’s truly the way to make significant changes.

We recognize that addiction has a profoundly negative impact on systems and that healing those systems is the most powerful way to affect change. Introducing recovery principles to your family creates significant, lasting change. We’ve seen remarkable results when families embrace their own personal journey. Connecting with others having similar experiences fractures the isolation commonly experienced in families living with active substance use disorder.

“Families First” is a strategic approach to addiction recovery, one that has been researched and proven to significantly impact positive outcomes. Incremental adjustments and adaptations within the family system lead to profound psychological, emotional, and spiritual losses. The family living in active addiction organizes around the crisis, rather than their mutual values. These coping strategies play a part in keeping the cycle of addiction going and parallel the progression of substance use disorder or process addiction.

Facilitated by our family program director Ashley Murry LCSW, this group builds connections that fracture the isolation commonly experienced in families living with active substance use disorder.

Panic Disorder Treatment Centers

Panic disorders are one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 18.1 percent or 40 million adults struggle with panic disorders every year. However, only 36.9 percent of those suffering go to panic disorder treatment centers.

What is a Panic Disorder?

A panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. A panic attack causes a sudden feeling of extreme fear, although there is no danger. Physical symptoms of a panic attack may include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Chest or stomach pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Dizziness or weakness
  • Sweating
  • Feeling hot or chilly
  • Numb or tingly hands

Because panic attacks can happen at any time and anywhere without warning, you may even live in fear of another attack. Often, this fear prevents some people from leaving their homes. 

Diagnosing Panic Disorders

What is Desensitization in Panic Disorder Recovery Treatment?

Many mental health disorders come with dysfunctional levels of anxiety and panic. For this reason, having anxiety doesn’t mean you have a panic disorder. To be diagnosed as an anxiety disorder, it must be the primary cause of your dysfunctional behavior and when:

  • The panic level is out of proportion to the actual danger and the person’s age
  • The duration of panic is disproportionate to the danger and the person’s age
  • Panic attacks last longer than six months
  • The attacks and anxiety interfere with work, school, and personal relationships
  • The anxiety is not related to any other mental health disorder or the use of drugs, alcohol, or medications

What is Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder?

Substances such as drugs, alcohol, and medications can cause anxiety and panic disorders. This is known as a substance-induced anxiety disorder. It’s common to experience some anxiety in stressful situations and even have feelings of panic while using substances. But, substance-induced anxiety disorder causes significant distress and physical impairment.

Because people often associate substances such as drugs and alcohol with feeling good, they don’t realize the substances are causing anxiety. As a result, they don’t seek panic disorder recovery treatment.

Diagnosing Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder

Before a diagnosis of substance-induced anxiety disorder is given, doctors check to see if you struggled with anxiety before using substances. Because of the various types of panic disorders, if you had anxiety before the drugs or alcohol, then it isn’t a substance-induced anxiety disorder.

Substances that may cause substance-induced anxiety disorder include:

  • Alcohol
  • Cannabis
  • Hallucinogens
  • Inhalants
  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Antidepressants
  • Mood stabilizers

Types of Treatment in Panic Disorder Recovery

Panic disorders are treatable conditions, and panic disorder recovery is possible. Panic disorder treatment centers may use medication and psychotherapy to treat panic and anxiety disorders.

Medications for Panic Disorder Recovery

Various medications are safe and effective in treating panic disorders. These medications are either antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. These medications typically reduce the feeling of anxiety while lessening the severity of panic attacks. However, they may produce the opposite effect in some people. 

Antidepressants

Antidepressants were first used in treating mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder. However, later on, it was discovered they treat anxiety and panic disorders. The most common medications in treating panic disorder are a class known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).

SSRIs, like all antidepressants, affect neurotransmitters or chemical messengers in the brain. Above all, it targets serotonin or the mood stabilizer. SSRIs help balance mood, decrease anxiety, and improve sleep. While there are some side effects, SSRIs typically reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks.

Common SSRIs include:

  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Paxil (paroxetine)
  • Celexa (citalopram)

Anti-Anxiety Medication

Nutritional Therapies in Panic Disorder Treatment Centers

Anti-anxiety medications, often known as tranquilizers, are fast-acting and sedative. They cause a person to feel calm and relaxed by slowing down the central nervous system. The effects of anti-anxiety medications can significantly reduce the symptoms of a panic attack. 

Benzodiazepines or benzos are commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications. While they may lead to misuse and dependence, they are generally safe as well as effective. Common benzos include:

  • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)
  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Ativan (lorazepam)

Psychotherapy in Panic Disorder Recovery

Psychotherapy or individual therapy is effective in treating panic disorders. In psychotherapy, therapists help members work through unresolved issues and traumas while building healthy thought and behavior skills. Psychotherapy is a crucial and necessary part of panic disorder recovery.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT is a form of psychotherapy effective in treating panic disorders. One main goal of CBT is changing negative thoughts and unhealthy behaviors. For example, a person with panic disorders may have negative or distorted beliefs about themselves and the world around them.

However, these distorted beliefs lead to maladaptive behaviors such as feared avoidance. By changing a person’s negative beliefs, CBT also helps develop healthy behaviors. Therapists may use desensitization techniques to help members overcome fear and panic disorders.

What is Desensitization in Panic Disorder Recovery Treatment?

During desensitization therapy, a therapist introduces anxiety-inducing stimuli while teaching members to gain control of their fear. Members learn to manage their panic attacks in feared situations as they face more things and places they fear. 

People overcome their fears by learning new ways of thinking and behaving in desensitization therapy. For example, a member who has panic attacks just thinking of flying may start with images of planes to build relaxation techniques. As panic disorder recovery progresses, members may visit airports and even get on a flight. 

How Does Substance Misuse Worsen Panic Attacks?

The ADAA estimates around 20 percent of those with a panic disorder diagnosis also struggle with substance use disorder. This can make it difficult to distinguish between anxiety and addiction since anxiety is a side effect of substance misuse. 

Drugs and alcohol interfere with the serotonin levels in the brain. And serotonin is the chemical associated with mood. As a result, drugs and alcohol may worsen anxiety and panic attacks. Consequently, you may struggle with worsening panic disorder after the substances wear off.

Are There Holistic Treatment Options in Panic Disorder Treatment Centers?

As more people are stepping away from pharmaceuticals, the demand for holistic or alternative treatment options is rising. Holistic therapies treat the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. While medications often have unwanted side effects, holistic treatment aims to improve overall well-being with little to no side effects. 

Many panic disorder treatment centers, such as Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center, incorporate holistic therapies in panic disorder recovery programs. Holistic therapies are not a “quick fix” to panic disorders. So, psychotherapy typically complements a holistic panic disorder recovery plan.

Nutritional Therapies in Panic Disorder Treatment Centers

It’s essential to have a balanced diet whether you have a panic disorder or not. At the same time, eating whole and fresh foods while limiting sweets and fast food makes you feel better. Unhealthy eating is stressful for your body, making it harder to handle other life stresses.

Furthermore, limit the caffeine you drink. Although that morning coffee helps get you moving, it may also make you jittery, which can increase anxiety. Caffeine raises your heart rate and blood pressure, which can lead to a panic attack. 

People often use alcohol and nicotine to relieve stress and anxiety. However, this relief is only temporary. Unfortunately, alcohol and nicotine can even increase the symptoms of panic disorders. 

Exercise and Nature Therapy in Panic Disorder Recovery

Diagnosing Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder

Exercise of any kind is an excellent reliever of stress and anxiety. Cardiovascular exercise, or getting your heart rate up for 30 minutes or more, is proven to improve the immune system and decrease panic attacks if practiced regularly. 

Relaxation Techniques in Holistic Panic Disorder Recovery

It seems today that life never slows down. People always need or want something from you. That means you can be put in some uncomfortable situations. For some people, this can lead to anxiety and developing a panic disorder. But, learning ways to calm your fears and relax can help.

Yoga

Yoga combines breathing techniques, meditation, and body movements to relieve anxiety and encourage panic disorder recovery. According to the ADAA, yoga is one of the top holistic therapies in treating panic disorders and reducing anxiety. While yoga doesn’t provide immediate relief, regular practice makes it easier for you to find your relaxed state. 

Meditation

Our brains never stop thinking. For some, this increases anxiety and causes panic attacks. So taking time to clear your thoughts and quiet the mind can be highly beneficial in panic disorder recovery. 

Meditation is simply sitting in a quiet place and only focusing on your breathing. And, when thoughts creep in, acknowledge them and let them go. Meditation doesn’t have to be a long session every time. If you feel overwhelmed, step away and take a minute to calm yourself. 

Breathing Techniques

Panic attacks can cause you to hyperventilate, which can worsen the panic. However, breathing techniques in holistic panic disorder recovery teach you to control your breathing. Slow deep breathes through the nose and out the mouth relieves tension and prevents panic attacks. 

Panic Disorder Recovery at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center

If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance-induced anxiety disorder or panic attacks, we can help. Our panic disorder recovery program can help you find freedom from the fear holding you back in life. Contact us today to find out more. 

High-Functioning Depression Symptoms

According to psychotherapist and author Jodi Aman, “Depression affects all personalities and can look very different in various people.” A  person with high-functioning depression symptoms can be suffering invisibly. Many mental health experts point out that, although statistics show how common depression is, the ways that people experience symptoms are varied.

Depression may not be obvious to people around you. High-functioning depression symptoms may be more difficult to detect than major depressive disorder because the people living with it are often high achievers. They make you think everything is alright, all the time.

Are High-Functioning Depression Symptoms Real?

Because experts don’t recognize high-functioning depression as a disorder, there are no clear-cut clinical symptoms. But, many people confuse high-functioning depression with PDD (Persistent Depressive Disorder). PDD involves low-grade depression with symptoms that persist for at least two years. 

When you have PDD, the depressed mood lasts for most of each day and occurs more often than not. Along with low mood, people with PDD may also have at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Problems with concentration and decision-making
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless, and guilty

In addition, those who have PDD may have periods of normal mood that may last less than 2 months. They are also more likely than other people to develop major depressive disorder (MDD).

What’s High-Functioning Depression?

High-Functioning Depression Symptoms

High-functioning depression is merely a term and not a clinical disorder or a diagnosis. In fact, many mental health professionals disagree with the use of the term. There are some experts that believe the term comes from a lack of understanding about persistent depressive disorder (PDD), also called dysthymia. PDD is an ongoing form of depression. PDD is different from major depressive disorder (MDD), or major depression because the symptoms of PDD are less severe but have a longer duration.

Depression may affect your desire for activity and action, but high-functioning individuals tend to push ahead, trying to succeed with their goals. Their drive to accomplish often sustains action and moves high-functioning people towards getting things done. 

This means that some people who have depression can still continue every day, sometimes exceptional, tasks. Some successful people who have claimed to have depression are Winston Churchill, Charles M. Schultz, Owen Wilson, and Emily Dickinson.

Moderately Severe Depression and High-Functioning Depression Symptoms

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders and it commonly coexists with substance use disorder (SUD). Typical symptoms of depression include:

  • Downcast mood
  • Hopeless and guilty feelings
  • Appetite, sleep, and weight change
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Low energy
  • Physical aches and pains with no clear reason
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Pain, anger, and reckless behavior (mostly in men)
  • Lack of enjoyment of anything

Types of Depression

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

A loss of interest in things you used to enjoy and a sad or depressed mood are the main symptoms of MDD. One or both must be present as well as 3 or 4 of the other depression symptoms. The symptoms must be severe enough to interfere with daily life.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

This is sometimes called dysthymia and is a type of depression that lasts at least two years or longer. The symptoms may improve or get worse but they must be present throughout that time.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a disorder in which depressive symptoms alternate with manic periods. While in the depressive phase, you may have any number of general depression symptoms. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD typically begins during the winter months and subsides in the spring. It’s believed to be related to the amount of natural light available during the day. Common symptoms are social isolation, weight gain, and oversleeping.

Postpartum and Perinatal Depression

Perinatal depression happens to a woman when she is pregnant and postpartum depression occurs after she has given birth. These types of depression have symptoms of MDD and the most common are anxiety, sadness, and fatigue which can become serious enough to interfere with the mother’s ability to care for her child.

How Common is Depression?

A 2015 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), estimated 6.1 million adults 18 and over in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. This represents 6.7 percent of all U.S. adults. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 264 million people of all ages experience depression worldwide. 

Triggers

Depression doesn’t always need a trigger. However, there are certain situations and factors that may be more likely to trigger a negative way of thinking. Some examples include:

  • Financial problems
  • Intensely high levels of stress
  • Death of a loved one
  • Loneliness
  • Major life changes

Risk Factors

Possible risk factors for dysthymia (PDD) include:

  • Genetics
  • Prior mental illness
  • Epigenetics (influences on behavior that are not genetic)
  • Neuroticism (a personality trait that tends toward anxiety, and other negative feelings)
  • High levels of anxiety
  • Low feelings of self-worth
  • Psychological health
  • Trauma
  • Life stressors
  • Social factors

Depression and Substance Use Disorder (SUD)

What’s High-Functioning Depression?

It’s common for people struggling with a depressive disorder to also have a SUD. Depressed individuals often turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to lift their moods or numb painful thoughts. As a result, depression and substance use feed into each other with each condition making the other one worse.

When a person has a mental disorder and also a substance use disorder, it’s called a dual diagnosis. It may be any combination of mental disorder and SUD. In fact, more than 50 percent of people with serious mental illnesses also have an addiction.

Which Condition Happens First?

Mental health issues like anxiety and depression are closely associated with alcohol and drug use. Although one doesn’t directly cause the other, using substances such as marijuana and methamphetamine can cause extended psychotic reactions. And alcohol use can make depression and anxiety symptoms worse. 

Alcohol and drugs are often used to self-medicate the symptoms of an undiagnosed mental problem and individuals with high-functioning depression are frequently undiagnosed. Sadly, medicating with drugs or alcohol can cause side effects that only worsen the symptoms in the long run. Or they may trigger new symptoms.

On the other hand, drug and alcohol use can increase any underlying risk for mental disorders. If you are already at risk, substance use can push you over the edge. Likewise, there is evidence that people who are struggling with opioid addiction are at a higher risk for depression.

Alcohol and Serotonin Deficiency 

Many studies have proven that depression increases the likelihood of drinking and eventually developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD). It is not guaranteed, but because of the way depression affects the brain, the likelihood increases rapidly. Research suggests that those with depression lack serotonin. 

When an individual with depression drinks to relieve symptoms, it affects the neurotransmitters in their brain. This means that the chemicals in the brain (like serotonin) that control their emotional state and reward system will experience quick fluctuations. This is bad for anyone and especially bad for someone who is already trying to cope with depression. After a while, the consumption of alcohol can make the symptoms of depression worse instead of providing the relief that many people are seeking as they drink.

Symptoms of a Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorders can mean substance use or substance dependence. Symptoms of substance use disorders may include:

Behavioral Changes Such As:

  • Drop in attendance and performance at school or work
  • Getting into trouble frequently (fights, accidents, illegal activities)
  • Using substances in physically dangerous situations, such as while driving or operating a machine
  • Taking part in suspicious or secretive behavior
  • Appetite or sleep pattern changes
  • Unexplained change in attitudes or personality
  • Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts
  • Bouts of unusual hyperactivity, unrest, or carelessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Appearing anxious, fearful, or paranoid for no reason

Physical Changes Such As:

  • Bloodshot eyes and abnormally sized pupils
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Decline in physical appearance
  • Unusual smells on body, breath, or clothing
  • Slurred speech, tremors, or impaired coordination

Social Changes Such As:

  • Abrupt change in friends, favorite gathering places, and hobbies
  • Legal problems related to substance use
  • Unexplained financial problems or need for money 
  • Harmful use of substances even though it causes problems with relationships

Treating a Dual Diagnosis

Symptoms of a Substance Use Disorder

An individual struggling with addiction may not even be aware that they are suffering from a mental health disorder too.  Your best chance for long-term recovery is to get treatment for both issues at the same time by the same treatment provider or team. 

Treating SUD

Substance use treatment typically includes:

  • Detox – As the harmful substance withdraws from your body there may be extremely uncomfortable and possibly dangerous symptoms as your body goes back to normal. It’s wise to have medical monitoring during the withdrawal process.
  • Treatment programs – The purpose of detox is to prepare you to enter a treatment program. There are many factors that influence what treatment program is best for you. Typical programs offered are residential or inpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, standard outpatient, sober living/aftercare
  • Behavioral therapy – There are evidence-based behavioral therapies that are frequently used in the treatment of SUD as well as mental health disorders.
  • Group and individual therapy – Working with trained professional therapists can help you uncover the deep reasons why you may have been using drugs or alcohol.

Those Suffering From High-Functioning Depression Symptoms Need Treatment Too

Just because you have been getting by doesn’t mean you don’t need help. But because high-functioning depression is not a clinically recognized diagnosis, there aren’t any specific treatment options.

However,  treating PDD may include both: 

Psychotherapy (Talk Therapy)

Therapy is the best place to start treatment if you’re experiencing bouts of depression. A therapist can help you recognize the negative thoughts, beliefs, and habits that may be adding to your feelings of depression.

Also, it could include things like learning mindfulness skills and participating in activities linked to improving mood, such as exercise. Research has found that crafting may have promising benefits for people dealing with depression.

Medication

A doctor may prescribe drugs including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other antidepressants. SSRIs work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is one of the chemical messengers that carry signals between brain nerve cells. Some commonly used SSRIs are:

  • Celexa
  • Prozac
  • Paxil
  • Zoloft

Are You Carrying a Weight?

You may be successful and a leader in your profession, but one high-functioning sufferer said it was “like running a race with a 100-pound weight tied around your waist.” If you can relate to that, or worse, you have been treating your depression by harmful use of substances, then you deserve to have that weight lifted. 

Think what your life would be without the constant daily battle. At Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center, we are experienced in treating a dual diagnosis like this. Our certified professionals and licensed therapists have helped many people overcome problems like these. We have several treatment programs and can create a plan as unique as you are. Contact us now. You don’t have to bear this alone.

It Matters How We Talk About Addiction

Amazingly, the treatment community is still fighting for addiction to be viewed as a medical condition

By Chad SaboraJune 22, 2021 (from https://treatmentmagazine.com/truth-in-treatment/it-matters-how-we-talk-about-addiction/)

I’m Chad. I’m a person in long-term recovery from substance use disorder. I refuse to use terms like “clean,” “addict” or “abuser.” I’m a human being and a person first, and I happen to have a certain condition as well.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of America doesn’t view people in recovery in the same light. Much of society still sees both those in recovery and those currently struggling with substance use as bad, selfish, lazy and—perhaps most detrimental—criminal. The idea is that these people chose to become addicted, and this opinion of the general public implies a lack of morality.

Click to read the full article here

Cough Syrup Addiction Treatment: Do You Really Need It?

When you think of commonly misused drugs, you might think of heroin or cocaine. But, cough syrup with codeine is one of the most commonly misused drugs. Unfortunately, an addiction to cough syrup often begins in the teen years.

Prescription cough syrup contains both alcohol and codeine. Although codeine is thought to be a pain reliever, it’s incredibly effective for coughs. However, there are various negative side effects of codeine cough syrup. The most significant side effect, addiction, can have you seeking cough syrup addiction treatment.

Why an Addiction to Cough Syrup?

It surprises many parents and caretakers that teens misuse a common substance in the medicine cabinet. But, some cough syrups contain codeine, dextromethorphan (DMX), promethazine, and other narcotics. As a result, people may feel relaxed and even high. 

Common brands include:

  • Tylenol-Codeine Elixir
  • Robitussin
  • Phenergan
  • Dimetapp DM
  • Nyquil
  • Robitussin
  • Theraflu
  • Vicks Formula 44

Even store brands such as Wal-Tussin and Wal-flu may produce a high. A study in 2017 by the University of Michigan found 3 percent of teens misuse cough syrup with codeine. But, an addiction to cough syrup is dangerous. Side effects of codeine cough syrup can include damage to the brain, heart, nervous system, and other organs. 

What are the Symptoms and Side Effects of Codeine Cough Syrup?

Taking cough syrup with codeine in high quantities may make you feel euphoric, happy, and relaxed. However, it may ultimately have you seeking cough syrup addiction treatment. Cough syrup with codeine also has adverse side effects, which may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Poor coordination
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Weakness

However, frequent high doses can lead to severe side effects, including slowed or stopped breathing. Unfortunately, people often misuse cough syrup with codeine by mixing it with alcoholic drinks, making it even more dangerous.

Cough Syrup Addiction Treatment

What is Purple Drank?

Although the main ingredient of cough syrup with codeine is a mild opioid, people seeking a high often misuse this prescription drug. However, cough syrup with codeine no longer contains alcohol. 

So, people mix it with alcohol to enhance the buzz. Often called Purple Drank because of the color of cough syrup with codeine, other street names include:

  • Purple Drank
  • Sizzurp
  • Syrup
  • Lean

How Long Does Cough Syrup with Codeine Stay in Your System?

Although many factors determine how long cough syrup stays in your system. These factors include how much and how often you use codeine, your age, weight, and metabolism, among other factors. 

While there is no exact time, estimates include:

  • Urine – 2 to 3 days
  • Blood – up to 24 hours
  • Saliva – 1 to 4 days
  • Hair follicles – up to 2 to 3 months, but it may take a few weeks after use to register

The Side Effects of Codeine Cough Syrup Mixed With Alcohol

Misusing cough syrup with codeine by mixing it with alcohol can produce dangerous and even fatal side effects. Some of these side effects include:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Sedation
  • Memory loss
  • Dissociation
  • Seizures
  • Cravings and dependence
  • Withdrawal symptoms

Both alcohol and codeine are central nervous system depressants and can slow breathing while you sleep. So, by mixing the two, the effects are enhanced, which can lead to an overdose. 

What Are the Signs of an Overdose?

If you suspect a cough syrup with codeine overdose in you or someone else, call 911 immediately. An overdose can quickly turn fatal. Signs of an overdose may include:

  • Breathing problems – slow, shallow, labored breathing or no breathing
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Muscle twitches
  • Tiny pupils
  • Weakness
  • Weak pulse

What is an Addiction to Cough Syrup?

When medication containing codeine is taken as prescribed, they’re generally safe. However, if you start to misuse or take more than prescribed, you build a tolerance to the drug. So, you take more cough syrup with codeine to get the same effects.

Eventually, the tolerance turns to dependence. Now, your brain can’t function without codeine. At this stage, you develop a substance use disorder which means you:

  • Take the drug more often 
  • Take higher doses than prescribed
  • Take medicine just to get high
  • Keep using to avoid withdrawal symptoms

What are the Withdrawal Side Effects of Codeine Cough Syrup?

If you’re misusing cough syrup with codeine frequently then suddenly stop or cut back, you may go into withdrawal. As the body tries to adjust to not having the drug, you can have noticeable symptoms. The side effects of codeine cough syrup can be mild to severe, which may affect you physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Physical Side Effects of Cough Syrup with Codeine Withdrawal

  • Stomach discomfort
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dehydration
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive yawning
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Muscle aches
  • Rash
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue

Severe physical signs may include:

  • Chest pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizure
  • Shortness of breath

Mental and Emotional Side Effects of Codeine Cough Syrup Withdrawal

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Restlessness
  • Cravings

Severe mental and emotional side effects include:

  • Psychosis
  • Thoughts of self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
Break free from addiction

Is Cough Syrup Addiction Treatment Necessary?

Because of the side effects of codeine cough syrup withdrawal, some people give up and go back to using it. Plus, withdrawal symptoms from an addiction to cough syrup can last up to 30 days. For these reasons, entering a cough syrup addiction treatment center can help you achieve and maintain recovery.

Treatment for an addiction to cough syrup with codeine often begins with detox. The safest and most effective way to detox is in an inpatient cough syrup addiction treatment center. Inpatient facilities like Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center help you through the physical and mental struggles of addiction to cough syrup.

Medication-Assisted Treatment in Cough Syrup Addiction Treatment

Depending on the person and their addiction to cough syrup, the use of medication in treatment may be necessary. Medications can help ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings for cough syrup with codeine and include:

  • Buprenorphine
  • Lofexidine
  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone

These medications block codeine’s euphoric effects, which may help prevent further use. However, medications alone cannot treat addiction to cough syrup. 

Behavioral Therapies for an Addiction to Cough Syrup

Like all substance use disorders, an addiction to cough syrup begins for many reasons. Whether it’s because of peer pressure or trying to cope with mental health struggles, it changes our behaviors and thought patterns. So, your treatment plan will likely include various behavioral therapies.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for an Addiction to Cough Syrup

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a form of talk therapy. It’s designed to help members change harmful and negative thoughts. In CBT, therapists help you focus on the present and not the past. Staying present is essential in treating many mental health disorders. 

CBT helps treat addiction to cough syrup by helping members:

  • Manage mental health disorders
  • Learn the skills to cope with stress
  • Manage emotions
  • Learn healthy communication skills
  • Manage chronic symptoms
  • Prevent relapse

Multidimensional Family Therapy in Cough Syrup Addiction Treatment

Often an addiction to cough syrup begins as adolescents. In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported in 2008, over 3 million teens and young adults used cough syrup with codeine and other cold medicines to get high. And that number continues to grow today.

Unfortunately, when a teen struggles with an addiction to cough syrup with codeine, it affects the whole family. Multidimensional family therapy, or MFT, is essential in rebuilding healthy family dynamics and lasting recovery.

Motivational Interviewing in Cough Syrup with Codeine Addiction Treatment

Motivational interviewing, or MI, is talk therapy designed to motivate members to make healthy, positive changes. For example, a person may want to change their behavior. However, they don’t think they are ready to change. 

In motivational interviewing, the therapist does not impose their views. Instead, the therapist helps members uncover the true motivation for recovery from addiction to cough syrup with codeine.

Long-Term Recovery Support for an Addiction to Cough Syrup with Codeine

Depending on your addiction to cough syrup and any co-occurring disorders, lasting recovery often requires long-term treatment. Substance use disorder is a chronic disease that changes the brain. For this reason, it’s not uncommon to struggle with a recurrence of use. 

So, to encourage lifelong recovery, members must treat the disease for life. This doesn’t mean you have to be in therapy and group meetings every day (unless you’re having an exceptionally challenging time in your recovery). Attending 12-step meetings and staying involved in the recovery community are great therapeutic ways to maintain your recovery.

Get Help Today at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center

Are you or someone you love struggling with drug or alcohol addiction? Have you been to treatment for an addiction to cough syrup and then relapsed? Our Continuum of Care approach to treatment means we are with you every step of your recovery journey. Contact us today to find out more.

References

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment: What are the Differences?

You did it! You took the first step in recovery! Now, how do you know if you need inpatient or outpatient treatment? For many people, the difference between inpatient and outpatient can also mean the difference between recovery and relapse. Understanding the difference between inpatient vs. outpatient treatment can help you understand which would be best for you. 

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment Programs

Treatment programs for substance use and mental health disorders fall under one of two categories – inpatient or outpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment is the most intense program and often the next step after detox. 

Outpatient programs, however, may vary treatment around your schedule, allowing you to handle your responsibilities. Knowing the difference between outpatient vs. inpatient treatment can help you and your family make the right choice in treatment.

What is Inpatient Treatment?

Inpatient or residential treatment programs require you to live in the facility full time. Inpatient facilities provide a safe and controlled environment with 24-hour medical and mental support. If you are struggling with a severe substance use disorder, inpatient treatment may offer the best chance at lifelong recovery.

Features of Inpatient Treatment

While every inpatient treatment facility is different, they typically include:

  • 30,60, and 90-day programs
  • Individual, group, and family therapy
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) if necessary
  • Treatment of co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Recreational therapy
  • Participation in 12-step programs

Pros and Cons of Inpatient Treatment

Some benefits of inpatient treatment include:

  • 24-hour supervision and support
  • Comprehensive treatment plans including mental health disorders
  • Removing the outside triggers that can lead to relapse

There are a few cons in inpatient treatment which include:

  • The inability to work during treatment
  • Costs more than outpatient treatment
  • Some insurance companies may not entirely cover the cost

How Do You Prepare for Inpatient Treatment?

Entering inpatient treatment takes a little time and planning. However, this time may only be a few hours or a few days. Since you will be living in the facility, you need to take care of your personal responsibilities beforehand. 

Depending on your responsibilities, you may need to:

  • Talk to your boss
  • Find living arrangements and care for your children
  • Arrange a ride to and from treatment
  • Pack only allowed personal items

Can Family Visit in Inpatient Treatment?

Family support is critical in recovery. This support can keep a member in treatment and encourage lasting recovery. And while treatment centers understand the importance of family, they all have policies on when members can communicate with family. 

What is a Day in Inpatient Treatment Like?

One significant benefit to inpatient vs. outpatient treatment is the ability to focus solely on yourself and your substance use disorder. Inpatient treatment takes away all the outside distractions that prevent you from healing.

Every minute of your day is planned out and accounted for. You generally meet with therapists, psychiatrists, or psychologists in individual and group settings. Additionally, most inpatient facilities offer holistic therapies such as yoga and meditation to encourage “whole person” wellness.

What is Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient treatment is less restrictive, allowing you to work, go to school, or care for your family while attending treatment. You typically attend treatment 10 to 12 hours a week. However, this depends on the type of outpatient program you choose.  

Outpatient treatment programs include:

  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
  • General Outpatient Program 

There isn’t a difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment when talking about the types of programs offered. Both programs provide individual, group, and family therapy to encourage lifelong recovery. 

Those with a “mild” substance use disorder may find outpatient treatment enough to stay free of drugs or alcohol. However, for others, outpatient programs may be a step-down in a continuum-of-care treatment plan.

Outpatient Treatment Features

Just like inpatient programs, outpatient programs may vary from one facility to another. However, they all typically offer the following features:

  • The typical program lasts three months
  • Individual, group, and family therapies
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment when necessary
  • 12-step meetings
  • Recreational therapy

Pros and Cons of Outpatient Treatment

Choosing between outpatient vs. inpatient treatment takes careful thought. While there are many positives to outpatient vs. inpatient treatment, there are also many negatives. 

Pros of outpatient treatment include:

  • Flexibility in the treatment schedule
  • Ability to work or attend school
  • Access to support from family and friends
  • More affordable

Some cons of outpatient treatment include:

  • Greater access to drugs or alcohol
  • Coping with daily triggers and cravings
  • Less medical support
  • May miss underlying co-occurring mental health disorders

Recurrence of Use Rates in Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment

Success rates in substance use disorder treatment are defined as an individual remaining free of drugs or alcohol for an extended period of time following treatment. Because substance use disorder is a chronic disease, 40 to 60 percent of individuals have a recurrence of use after treatment. 

Although studies show little difference in inpatient vs. outpatient treatment success rates, many factors can encourage lasting recovery. For example, a person struggling with a severe substance use disorder may relapse after outpatient treatment. However, after inpatient treatment, they maintained their recovery. 

The Cost Difference Between Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment

A significant factor in choosing inpatient vs. outpatient treatment is the cost. Because of the intense level of care and supervision, inpatient treatment generally costs more than outpatient treatment. For instance, inpatient programs can run upwards of $27,000 or more for a 30-day stay. 

Insurance plans may not always cover the cost of inpatient treatment. For this reason, it’s essential to know your out-of-pocket expenses. However, because outpatient programs typically cost less, insurance companies may cover all treatment costs. That’s not to say that your insurance provider won’t cover the costs of inpatient treatment. 

Seek Help in Choosing Outpatient vs. Inpatient Treatment

Choosing which treatment is best for you, inpatient vs. outpatient, can be overwhelming. And while researching the differences between inpatient and outpatient is helpful, it can be beneficial to consult a professional. Your doctor or therapist can help you decide while finding you a facility to meet your needs. 

Main Differences Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment

The key difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment is members in inpatient treatment live in the facility, while members in outpatient live at home or in supportive recovery housing

There are other differences between inpatient vs. outpatient treatment, including:

  • Inpatient treatment provides better support during withdrawals and intense cravings
  • Outpatient treatment works around your schedule and responsibilities
  • Inpatient treatment provides 24-hour supervision
  • Outpatient treatment is more affordable

Knowing the Basic Principles of Substance Use Disorder Can Help in Choosing Outpatient vs. Inpatient

Often, people try to choose between inpatient and outpatient treatment, but they don’t really understand what part of addressing addiction needs is. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) lays out the fundamentals of recovery. Effective substance use disorder treatment includes but is not limited to the following.

Physical Wellbeing

Many people struggling with substance use disorder enter treatment with extreme health issues. Treatment centers must work to reverse the damage done by drugs and alcohol while also easing sometimes painful withdrawal symptoms. 

Mental Health 

According to NIDA, 7.7 million Americans struggle with substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health disorders. Sometimes mental health disorders can lead to substance use disorder, and other times, substance use disorder may lead to mental health struggles. 

Social Skills

Many people who misuse drugs or alcohol often do so in social situations. Subsequently, these substances can become a crutch for those with social anxiety. As a result, substance use disorder treatment should include building healthy social skills.

Environmental Triggers

People who misuse drugs or alcohol have environmental triggers. For instance, work is extremely stressful, so they have a drink or two or three on the way home. Some people may not realize something is a trigger until treatment.

Meeting just these few needs, treatment centers can increase lasting recovery in their members. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is the rest of your life, and you want to pick the best treatment program you can.

How Do You Determine Which is Best For You? Outpatient vs. Inpatient Treatment

Deciding which treatment option is best for you, whether that’s outpatient vs. inpatient, is a personal decision. While an addiction therapist can help you determine what is best, it is ultimately up to you. Here are a few questions to ask yourself that may help you decide.

  1. How long can you be away from your family?
  2. Do you have child care?
  3. Will your employer be supportive?
  4. Can you afford to be away from work?
  5. Do you have reliable transportation?
  6. Do you have insurance, and will it cover treatment?
  7. How severe is your substance use disorder?
  8. Have you been to treatment and had a recurrence of use?
  9. Are you in danger of having severe withdrawal symptoms?
  10. Do you have a co-occurring mental health disorder?

The hardest part of recovery is resisting the cravings and temptations to use drugs or alcohol. In outpatient treatment, you will still be exposed to the daily stressors and triggers that led to your substance use disorder. So, if you cannot avoid being around drugs or alcohol and fear you may use again, inpatient treatment  is the better choice for you. 

Let Sana Lake BWC Help You Decide Between Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment

Are you or someone you love misusing drugs or alcohol? At Sana Lake BWC, we will answer your questions and help you decide the right treatment option for you. Contact us today and start your journey to lasting recovery.

References:

What is Benzo Belly?

When people have been taking benzodiazepines for several weeks, they experience “benzo belly” during the withdrawal process. Benzo belly encompasses uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms, and it can cause users to return to their benzodiazepine use. Although benzo belly is a real condition that people experience, you don’t have to live with it. Just by entering into a treatment facility, you can go through the detox process without having to experience gastrointestinal discomfort.

What Are Benzodiazepines?

Physicians prescribe benzodiazepines to treat insomnia, anxiety and seizures. These medications increase the effect that the neurotransmitter known as “gamma-aminobutyric acid” or GABA has on the brain. For example, when the patient is experiencing anxiety, the brain is being overstimulated. Benzodiazepines cause the brain to send signals that reduce this increased brain activity. When this occurs, the patient doesn’t feel as anxious.

The several types of benzodiazepines include the following:

  • Ativan or lorazepam
  • Valium or diazepam
  • Klonopin or clonazepam
  • Xanax or alprazolam

Classification Under Schedule IV of the Schedules for Controlled Substances Act

The Drug Enforcement Administration classified benzodiazepines under Schedule IV of the Schedules for Controlled Substances Act. This means that benzodiazepines have a low potential for abuse as compared to the substances classified under Schedule III; they also have a low risk of causing dependence. Schedule III substances may cause the user to experience a low to moderate risk of physical or psychological dependence.

Although benzodiazepines are classified under Schedule IV, people believe that this is an error. In fact, research exists that demonstrates that people can become physically dependent upon benzodiazepines in just a couple of weeks. This is the case even if the patient takes these drugs at low doses.

In general, addictive drugs cause the brain to release large amounts of dopamine. When the person stops taking these addictive substances, the brain doesn’t receive as much dopamine. This is the reason that withdrawal symptoms begin. Benzodiazepine withdrawal begins the same way.

What Is Benzo Belly?

benzo belly

When people take benzodiazepines for longer than two weeks, they are at risk of becoming addicted or dependent on the medication. As this occurs, their bodies become accustomed to the drugs being in their systems. Their bodies prevent users from stopping the use of benzodiazepines by sending out withdrawal symptoms and causing benzo belly.

The symptoms of benzo belly include the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Differences in appetite
  • Gas
  • Bloating

Gamma-aminobutyric Acid

Gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain. It works within the central nervous system to block signals so that the brain’s activity can slow down. The result is that it helps the person sleep better, reduces stress and relieves anxiety. Increased GABA production also prevents brain damage.

Benzodiazepines increase GABA activity, and the body enjoys this increase. If you stop taking these medications, it takes some time for the body to become accustomed to the reduced GABA activity. Because the brain and the gastrointestinal tract are connected in this way, it causes abdominal symptoms when people withdraw from benzodiazepine use.

How Long Do Benzo Withdrawals Last?

How long benzo withdrawals last will depend on the person. Specifically, it will depend on the following factors:

  • Whether or not you were misusing alcohol or other medications
  • Whether or not you were engaged in polydrug use
  • Whether or not you have an underlying mental health condition
  • Whether or not you were taking benzodiazepines without a prescription from a physician
  • Whether or not you were misusing your prescription
  • The amount you were taking
  • How long you were taking the medication

If you have become accustomed to taking benzodiazepines, you will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms approximately 24 hours after your last dose. These symptoms can last several weeks.

How Long Do Benzo Withdrawals Last?

Benzo belly withdrawals last in three different phases.

Immediate Withdrawal

Immediate withdrawal symptoms begin right after the person stops taking benzodiazepines. For example, Xanax has a short half-life, so withdrawal symptoms begin rather quickly. On the other hand, Valium is a long-acting drug, so the symptoms take a little longer to develop. These are known as “rebound symptoms.”

Another thing that may rebound is the symptom that the medication was prescribed to treat. After stopping the use of benzodiazepines, the person experiences the symptoms of anxiety again. It may even be worse at this point.

Acute Withdrawal

Acute withdrawal symptoms start a couple of days after the immediate withdrawal symptoms. In general, these symptoms last between five and 28 days. It isn’t unusual for these symptoms to last for several months. The majority of the benzo belly withdrawal symptoms occur during this phase. This is the time when benzo withdrawal symptoms need to be treated the most.

Protracted Withdrawal

During this phase, people experience benzo withdrawal symptoms that tend to linger. Only about 10% to 25% of the people taking benzodiazepines for long periods of time continue to experience symptoms during the protracted phase. The symptoms may last as long as a year when this occurs or longer.

During the protracted withdrawal stage, additional symptoms may develop. These are known as “post-acute withdrawal symptoms,” and they include the following:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Low libido
  • The inability to concentrate
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

During the protracted phase, people can experience the symptoms listed above as well as physical pain that may be mild but could also be severe. It is highly important to have benzo withdrawal pain relief because benzo withdrawal symptoms cause people to return to their use of benzodiazepines. The solution is to go through the medical detox process.

What Is Medical Detox?

Relieve Benzo Belly with Lifestyle Changes

Medical detox is a program that allows the body to relieve itself of the presence of benzodiazepines. This process is advantageous because the medical staff at treatment centers manage the withdrawal symptoms and provide benzo belly relief. This prevents patients from having to experience the withdrawal symptoms that can be so unpleasant.

During medical detox, the medical staff administers medications that cause you to tolerate the withdrawal symptoms as comfortably as possible. If you were to stop taking benzodiazepines on your own, you wouldn’t be able to cause benzo withdrawal pain relief, and you would feel compelled to return to your use of drugs.

Continued Treatment in a Treatment Facility

The medical detox process is not treatment for your addiction to benzodiazepines. Treatment for a substance use disorder requires that you obtain therapy in a treatment center. At Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center, you may receive several types of therapy that address the reasons for your substance use. These include cognitive-behavioral therapy, family therapy, group therapy, individual therapy, and peer support.

Are There More Natural or Holistic Options?

There are holistic options for benzo belly relief.

Yoga

Yoga is an example of this. People endorse yoga as a practice that relieves the chronic pain of benzo belly. It makes people feel healthier overall and decreases their cravings. Yoga also heals people after they have been taking benzodiazepines. They notice that yoga reduces their anxiety, decreases their pain, helps them sleep better, and improves their physical health.

Nutrition Therapy

Making an effort to make the most nutritious food choices increases your chances of relieving benzo belly withdrawal symptoms. If you begin to make healthier choices before you begin the withdrawal process, it may even eliminate the need of experiencing benzo belly.

For example, probiotics are yeasts and live bacteria that your digestive system needs. Even though they are bacteria, they are very good for your digestive tract. They are the reason that your digestive tract can be healthy. By taking supplements or eating foods that contain them, your digestive tract will maintain a full supply of this “good” bacteria.

Avoid Acidic Foods.

Acidic foods create a harsh environment in your stomach. You can avoid this by eating less of these foods. Acidic foods are proteins, carbonated beverages, starchy foods, processed meats, fish and other seafoods, and dairy products.

Eat Lighter Meals.

Heavy foods will have high levels of protein. Protein is an element that causes you to feel the most full. Heavy foods also have a large amount of fiber. Fiber adds bulk to the food and slows down the digestive process. Heavy foods also have a lot of air or water in them. Foods that contain a lot of water and fiber are also very heavy. You will want to eat less of these foods.

Eat Smaller Meals.

Eating many large meals each day is not the reason that you are experiencing abdominal discomfort. However, it is a good idea not to make your digestive tract work too hard.

Relieve Benzo Belly with Lifestyle Changes

Benzo belly responds well when you implement lifestyle changes. If you are not currently exercising, it would be a good idea to start. While you are detoxing from benzodiazepines, your brain chemicals are out of balance. Exercise will help bring the balance back to your brain chemistry, but it will also help your gastrointestinal tract work efficiently again and relieve your benzo belly.

Psychiatry at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center

At Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center, we offer our members psychiatric services. Psychiatry is the branch of medicine that diagnoses and treats behavioral, emotional and mental disorders. If you were taking benzodiazepines to treat anxiety or another mental health condition, you will need to obtain therapy while you are receiving treatment for your substance use disorder. Your psychiatrist will treat your anxiety disorder, and your therapist will treat your benzodiazepine use disorder.

Contact us today at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center so that we can move you toward your new life without drugs.

References:

https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Benzodiazepenes-2020_1.pdf

https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bcp.12023

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/drug-addiction-treatment-in-united-states/types-treatment-programs

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684001.html

https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/drug-addiction-treatment-in-united-states/types-treatment-programs

https://withdrawal.theinnercompass.org/coping/yoga-0

The Myths About Alcoholism

Today we know more about alcohol and its effects than in the past. Still, alcohol myths and myths about alcoholism exist. As a result of these misconceptions, people may make unhealthy drinking choices. Learn the facts vs. myths about alcohol and alcoholism to lower your risk of developing alcohol use disorder.

Myths About Alcoholism #1: I Only Drink on the Weekends

“I don’t have a drinking problem because I choose when I drink.” Some people have some self-control over their drinking. They may only drink at certain times of the day while not drinking on others. 

For the most part, this “controlled” drinking only fools themselves and their loved ones to believe they are not struggling with alcoholism. However, when a person works so hard to show they have control, it typically is an obvious sign of alcohol use disorder (AUD.)

Alcohol Myths #2: I Can Hold My Liquor, So I Don’t Have a Problem 

Many drinkers brag about being able to have a few drinks and not feel it. But that is not a good sign. In fact, if you need to drink more to feel the effects of alcohol, it is a sign of a bigger problem. 

People who drink alcohol on a regular basis typically build a tolerance. When this happens, it will require more alcohol to start feeling the “buzz” from drinking. Seeking help at this early stage can stop further serious health issues.

Myths About Alcoholism #3: I Only Drink Beer and Wine, So I Don’t Have a Problem

Having a drinking problem isn’t about what you drink; it’s about how it affects your life. You may be struggling with alcohol use disorder if you can answer “yes” to any two of the following statements.

  • I often drink more and for longer than I planned to. 
  • I have tried to cut down my drinking, but I can’t.
  • Many of my days are filled with drinking, being sick from drinking, and recuperating from drinking. 
  • Often my thoughts are consumed by drinking, and I can’t think about anything else. 
  • My drinking often prevents me from handling my responsibilities at home and work.
  • I continue drinking, although it is causing trouble in my family.
  • I stopped participating in hobbies and activities that I love. Instead, I use the time to drink.
  • My drinking leads to risky behaviors such as driving under the influence or having unsafe sex.
  • My drinking is causing anxiety, depression, and other health issues but, I can’t stop.
  • I am drinking more than I use to to get a “buzz.” 
  • If I don’t drink, I have withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, nausea, and sweating. Withdrawal symptoms also include hallucinations and seizures. 
Alcoholism myths

Alcohol Myths #4: I Am Too Old To Have A Drinking Problem

One myth about alcoholism is drinking problems begin at an early age. But, it is common for people to develop alcohol use disorder later in life. To start with, some people may become more sensitive to alcohol. At the same time, some people don’t start drinking till they are older. 

If you are over 65, what is a healthy drinking range? It is recommended that over 65 not drink more than 3 drinks a day or 7 drinks a week. A standard drink is:

  • 12 fluid ounces of beer
  • 5 fluid ounces of wine
  • 1 ½ ounce of liquor

Myths About Alcoholism #5: Drinking Helps My Chronic Pain

People with chronic pain will try anything to help with the pain. Frequently, they turn to alcohol because it is considered safe compared to illicit drugs. However, there are several reasons why this is an unhealthy choice. 

  • Pain-relieving drugs and alcohol do not mix. If you drink while taking pain killers, it can increase your risk of stomach bleeding, liver issues, and various other health complications. 
  • Your risk of alcohol use disorder is increased when you combine alcohol and pain medication. 
  • Chronic alcohol use can actually worsen the pain. In addition, alcohol withdrawal can make you more sensitive to pain. At the same time, chronic heavy drinking can lead to permanent nerve damage. 

Alcohol Myths #6: Coffee Will Sober Me Up If I’m Drunk

One of the most common myths about alcoholism drinking coffee or eating food will sober you up. Unfortunately, time is the only thing that works. Although the caffeine in coffee may make you feel awake, it doesn’t improve decision-making skills. In fact, alcohol can impair your decision-making skills for several hours. 

Myths About Alcoholism #7: I Can Spot A Drinker By their Appearance

You know the expression, you can’t judge a book by its cover, that is also true in alcoholism. People who struggle with alcohol use disorder come in every shape, size, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background. Some people may be even highly functional and can hide their disorder. 

According to a Gallop poll, alcohol use is the highest in well-educated, high-income earning individuals.  For example, 80 percent of college graduates and 78 percent of those making over $75,000 a year report drinking alcohol.

Alcohol Myths #8: It Only Hurts The One Who Drinks

The most untrue myth about alcohol is, it isn’t hurting anyone. Many drinkers believe they are only hurting themselves. But, alcohol use disorder causes behavioral changes in drinkers. These changes can make you act differently around your friends and family. 

Alcohol use disorder sometimes makes you irritable, angry, and violent. These outbursts can scare your loved ones. At the same time, it can tear even the strongest relationships apart. And, children may become uncomfortable in their own homes.

Alcohol Myths and Myths About Alcoholism vs. Facts About Alcohol

myths about alcoholism

Myth: Alcohol is a sedative.

Fact: In small quantities, alcohol can act as a stimulant. In larger amounts, alcohol can be a depressant. 

Myth: Alcohol affects everyone the same.

Fact: Alcohol, like all other substances we put in our bodies, affects each person differently. 

Myth: Everyone who drinks alcohol will develop an addiction.

Fact: Most people can have a drink daily, and some can binge drink without developing alcohol use disorder. 

Myth: People who drink responsibly do not struggle with alcohol use disorder. 

Fact: Many people drink responsibly for years and then develop alcohol use disorder for a variety of reasons. 

Myth: Some people with alcohol use disorder can still drink responsibly.

Fact: Even after years in recovery, people who have alcohol use disorder can never return to drinking. Any amount of alcohol can trigger old habits and feelings, leading to recurrence of use. 

Myths About Alcoholism and the Dangers Of Stereotyping Drinkers

Common stereotypes of people with alcohol use disorder include:

  • They don’t have much money.
  • Often drinks cheap alcohol out of a brown bag.
  • Unemployed and unemployable
  • Estranged from their families
  • Physically and verbally abusive
  • Drinks every day
  • Drinks as soon as they wake up
  • Has frequent blackouts
  • Their life is a mess
  • Poor hygiene, unkempt appearance
  • They like drinking alone

Although some myths about alcoholism are true of some drinkers, most drinkers do not match any of the alcohol myths. In reality, many people with alcohol use disorder are described as:

  • Financially stable with nice belongings
  • Only drinks top-shelf alcohol
  • Highly respected in their successful careers
  • Extremely loved by their families
  • Is never aggressive when they drink
  • Can stop drinking for days
  • Doesn’t drink in the mornings
  • Never blackouts
  • Highly respected in the community
  • Always well-groomed
  • Generally drinks with others

Facts to Debunk Alcohol Myths

  1. Alcohol is a depressant. As a result, it slows down brain activity.
  2. A 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 86.4 percent of adults drank alcohol in their life. 
  3. Also, the NSDUH found that 70.1 percent drank the previous year. At the same time, 56 percent drank last month. 
  4. Alcohol triggers dopamine releases. This chemical is associated with pleasure and reward.
  5. Alcohol tends to relieve stress because it increases the neurotransmitter GABA. 
  6. Alcohol is the most commonly misused substance.
  7. Alcohol is processed in the liver.
  8. Men typically use alcohol more often than women.
  9. Women are more likely to encounter health complications from drinking than men.
  10. Teens who begin drinking before the age of 15 typically develop alcohol use disorder later.
  11. Alcohol withdrawal can cause symptoms of seizures, hallucinations, and even death. 
  12. The use of alcohol is a significant risk of dementia.

Defy the Myths About Alcoholism by Overcoming Alcohol Use Disorder Today

Maybe you grew up believing these alcohol myths. Did you start drinking in high school because the myths about alcoholism made you think it was harmless? Are you struggling with alcohol use disorder but afraid to seek treatment because you don’t match the stereotype? You are not alone. Help is available today.

At Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center, our compassionate staff understands the many struggles of addiction and recovery. So, if you or a loved one struggles with alcohol use disorder, now is the time to seek help. Contact us today and find out how you to can live a life free from addiction. 

References:

https://news.gallup.com/poll/184358/drinking-highest-among-educated-upper-income-americans.aspx

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000856.htm

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.htm#tab2-41b

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