Phentermine and Alcohol
Phentermine and alcohol use could spring disastrous for those seeking a quick fix for short-term weight loss. Phentermine can come in capsule form, typically prescribed for up to 12 weeks. Phentermine is a Scheduled IV drug with a relatively low cost (at $24.04). Phentermine is recognized as a monoamine alkaloid derivative.
Originating in 1959, Phentermine is not an over-the-counter medication. Phentermine is classified as anorectic. The lowest dosage that phentermine can be administered is 3.75mg, while 15mg can be prescribed if there is no weight loss after 12 weeks. Your doctor will be the one to advise your dosage and use throughout the weeks.
Phentermine is common in obesity cases. Since 1975, obesity cases have tripled. However, obesity is treatable. Obesity is best described as the build of excessive fat that may affect the function of the body. According to the WHO, obesity affected approximately 38.2 million children under the age of 5 in 2019.
Phentermine and the Obstacles Against Obesity
The core cause of obesity is an imbalance of energy between calories consumed and calories burned. Stimulants such as phentermine are a common practice for short-term weight loss. Increased consumption of high fat, processed and sugary foods can lead to this, coupled with minimal physical activity.
A change in environment can help reduce the risks of these factors, including a balanced diet and consistent exercise. Obesity can increase the risk factors for:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Certain cancers
- Musculoskeletal disorders, such as osteoarthritis
How Does Alcohol Abuse Disorder Affect Me?
Alcohol abuse disorder is a growing issue globally. Alcohol is the second most commonly abused addictive substance, especially in polydrug use. Severe alcohol addiction can have devastating effects on the body, with long-term health complications such as liver and brain damage. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. Alcohol slows down the pathways in the brain, which manipulates your mood, learning, and memory processing.
Alcohol is recognized for its social drug status, from birthday bashes to wedding celebrations. Alcohol can produce feelings of euphoria, motor imbalance, and increased sociability.
What is Phentermine?
Phentermine is best described as a stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system. Phentermine activates similarly to an amphetamine. Phentermine is prescribed to treat obesity, which is considered when a person’s BMI is over 30.
Some common brand names you’d expect from phentermine are Adipex-B, Obenix, and Ionamin. The recommended use of phentermine is through a low-calorie diet and plenty of physical activity such as biking. Phentermine has potential for tolerance build-up, but no psychological dependence or cravings when taken accordingly.
Phentermine should not be mixed with other substances, for the risk of tampering with other side effects. For example, you must advise your doctor if you’re pregnant before taking phentermine due to possible birth defects such as cleft lip. Phentermine has been detected in breastmilk, which can pose health risks to the baby.
Treatment of more than a few weeks of phentermine poses an increased chance of developing an addiction. Tolerance can build up the effects of appetite messengers in the brain. Phentermine can be crushed and snorted for an immediate effect. Phentermine in high doses can produce wakefulness for a few hours.
How Does Phentermine Work?
Those who use phentermine have reported losing a pound a week. Phentermine functions similarly to an amphetamine drug by decreasing appetite or extending the “full’ feeling after a meal.
Despite the mystery, experts point out that phentermine stimulates the neurons in the brain, causing a release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Phentermine has been noted for increasing leptin levels; a neurotransmitter designed to regulate eating and energy regulation. These chemical messengers have a direct effect on the reward system in the brain and other functions of the central nervous system.
What Does Phentermine Addiction Look Like?
A sign of phentermine abuse may present itself in the person losing an excessive amount of weight in a short time. “Doctor shopping” is a common technique for prescription drug abuse.
The person struggling with phentermine addiction could be going to different doctors and pharmacies. Additionally, this person may be finding illicit ways to obtain phentermine.
The person could feel helpless in the grip of phentermine, believing that it is the only way to maintain weight loss. If that person is not overweight and still uses phentermine, that would be considered phentermine abuse. This could be a sign of an eating disorder. Phentermine has the possibility of overdose.
Phentermine addiction treatment is possible through a prescription drug addiction program. A person recovering from phentermine is less likely to have long-term cravings. The root cause could be due to underlying emotional issues and poor coping skills. An intervention would be the first phase in this process.
What Are Some Common Side Effects of Phentermine?
Although considered a safe prescription drug, phentermine might cause certain side effects such as:
- Increased heart rate
- Dry mouth
- Tingling in hands or feet
- Blurred vision
Withdrawal symptoms from phentermine can begin within 48 hours of last use. These withdrawals may last up to a week, depending on the amount used and frequency. Phentermine creates unpredictable outcomes with polydrug use.
Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Phentermine?
While it is possible to drink while on phentermine, it is not recommended to mix these two. Alcohol is a depressant on the central nervous system while phentermine is a stimulant. This combination can create conflicting responses in the body.
Alcohol can influence the intensity of the side effects of these substances. Alcohol can have the reverse effect of weight loss by slowing the metabolization in the liver. Alcoholic drinks will contain empty calories and tempt the drinker to overeat. On top of that, alcohol causes calories to burn rather than be stored for fat — but this decreases how quickly sugar is processed.
How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?
After a few shots of your favorite brand, alcohol will:
- Increase heart rate
- Expand blood vessels
- Mostly absorbed through the liver
- Break down in the stomach and dries out the body
- Irritate the small intestine and colon
In the US, an average drink of alcohol is considered 0.6 ounces. Excessive alcohol use has been linked to many accidents, particularly DUIs or risky sexual/aggressive behavior. Alcohol is noted for binge drinking or ingesting more than 5 drinks in one sitting.
If you’re beyond 5 drinks, you run the risk of alcohol poisoning. Drinking alcohol excessively can weaken the immune system. Those who drink frequently are at a higher risk of developing diseases and other health complications.
For example, excessive alcohol can cause the pancreas to release toxins that lead to pancreatitis. Alcohol manipulates the function of the liver, causing it to work hard to filter out toxins in the body. This can cause liver damage down the line.
What are the Side Effects of Mixing Phentermine and Alcohol?
Those who combine phentermine and alcohol may begin to feel a series of health complications. These side effects may demonstrate:
- Stomach aches
- Chest pains
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
Is Combining Alcohol and Phentermine Dangerous?
Combining alcohol and phentermine can increase the risk of intensifying the side effects of both. Some users might experience gastrointestinal and cardiovascular complications down the road.
Since alcohol affects the stomach lining, it can produce painful reactions such as stomach aches and nausea. Phentermine and alcohol can increase the risk of heart failure if you have a pre-existing heart condition.
Phentermine and alcohol side effects can even cause drowsiness, depression, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating. It’s best not to operate machinery to avoid any substance-related accidents. Even natural sources such as ginseng, yerba mate, and guarana can have mixed effects with phentermine.
The symptoms of a phentermine overdose may present as:
- Uncontrollable shaking of the body
How Do You Treat Phentermine Addiction?
Phentermine addiction may be treated through a medically supervised detox. Depending on the severity of the phentermine addiction, medically assisted treatment could be suitable to wane the body of the substance. Psychotherapy is an efficient tool to diagnose the addiction and discover what led to the abuse.
Recovery requires understanding and determination. You must be accountable for the steps needed to sustain sobriety, whether it’s counseling or a hobby. If you have been abusing phentermine, it would be best to contact your medical provider and doctor to take the next steps. Phentermine could have worsened underlying health conditions.
The continuum of care within addiction treatment is designed to target the recovering individual’s stage of addiction. Outpatient treatment programs are a flexible option for those seeking a supportive environment and to have the freedom to work or spend time at home. Group therapy and support groups can provide a wealth of knowledge and support for you during these times.
If shame and guilt pressure you to use phentermine, it’s vital to reach out. The fantasies of phentermine use can draw you in and make recovery seem impossible.
Addiction is a treatable disease and you do not have to withstand these feelings alone. Seek someone trustworthy in your support system, if you have one.
Recovery Begins At Sana Lake BWC
Combining phentermine and alcohol can increase the drastic effects on the body in the long run. Addiction is a disease that can infiltrate the best parts of yourself. The recovery process introduces many challenges for those struggling with addiction. Sana Lake BWC is dedicated to providing the welcome support you deserve. If you or a loved one are combating addiction, please contact one of our facilities today.
Is Alcoholism A Mental Illness?
The recurring question that has been researched and discovered is, “Is alcoholism a mental illness?” According to one of the most recent editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (DSM-5), alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcoholism is a diagnosable mental illness that occurs in individuals who undergo at least two of the 11 criteria for this disorder. The two entities have always been connected.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence describes alcoholism as “a mental obsession that causes a physical compulsion to drink.”
When an individual engages in alcohol use, it can lead to experiencing mental health anguish without undergoing treatment can result in individuals utilizing alcohol as a way to cope. Therefore concludes with mental health symptoms.
Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism, is an extremely complex disease presenting the following components:
The second recurring question is, “Is alcoholism a chronic disease?” Absolutely, and just like any other chronic disease, it involves cycles of relapse and remission. Many individuals can engage in alcohol use and even overindulge on certain occasions but do not become addicted to the substance.
However, for other individuals, alcoholism and mental illness are known to completely invade their livelihood.
What Is Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) and What Does It Consist Of?
AUD is an alcohol use disorder. This disease does not discriminate on the following when it comes to disrupting an individual’s life.
- Geographic location
Alcohol use disorder has the power to impact an individual:
Alcohol misuse is a contributing factor to about 88,000 deaths in the US every year. This disorder is chronic, progressive, and often fatal as it coincides with the following mental health conditions:
- Borderline personality disorder
- Bipolar disorder
AUD is known to affect the following states of an individual:
What Are the Stages of AUD?
With problematic drinking, the individual’s close friends and family members normally begin to take notice. As psychological and physical dependence, also known as chemical dependence, sets in, withdrawal symptoms will begin to be experienced. During this stage, many individuals will engage in attempting to conceal their drinking habits from others.
The problems that can occur in this stage include:
- Poor work and school performance
- Declining physical health
- Financial struggles
Severe Alcohol Abuse
During this stage, individuals become more psychologically and physically dependent on liquor. The symptoms that typically occur here are:
- Out of control cravings
During this stage, individuals begin to experience:
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Avoiding responsibilities
- Becoming secretive
- Relationship issues
Obsessive Alcohol Abuse
This is the final stage which could typically occur for years. During this stage, individuals experiencing AUD will experience being under the influence of alcohol more often than not. The psychological fixation with liquor becomes compelling and all-consuming with an added heightened sense of physical dependence.
The end-stage is identified as intense distress to an individual’s alcoholism and mental illness. People dealing with alcohol addiction can undergo the following medical issues here.
- Proper nutrition and personal hygiene neglect
- Liver damage
How Does Alcohol Affect Our Brain Chemistry?
According to a report by the U.S. Surgeon General in 2016, there is well-documented evidence suggesting that an alcohol use disorder leads to dramatic modifications in the way that a brain functions.
Alcoholism Normally Follows a Three-stage Cycle
- The first step involves an individual binge drinking to the point of intoxication or with an exceptionally high tolerance, the point of reaching a sense of “normalcy.”
- When the alcohol effects wear off, the withdrawal symptoms kick back in, including physical and greatly uncomfortable mental sensations.
- Until more liquor is acquired or consumed, an individual struggling with alcoholism becomes obsessively preoccupied with the thought of consuming alcohol.
When the AUD is extreme, the cycle can result in dramatic shifts in brain function. When this occurs, it becomes almost impossible for a person struggling to control their drinking habits.
Also, the Surgeon’s General report outlines how alcohol addiction disrupts the three areas of the brain:
- The basal ganglia are mainly responsible for the extended amygdala, which is involved in reward cognition, motor control, and the prefrontal cortex, which supports an individual’s essential cognitive functions such as moderating social behaviors and decision making.
The brain disruptions above significantly increase the desire to drink alcohol, reduce overall impulse control, and heighten feelings of stress. Many of the defining characteristics of alcoholism are behavioral and mental.
The physical effects in the final stages could be detrimental:
- Complications due to infections
- Cardiovascular problems
- Respiratory disease
- Alcoholic hepatitis
- Heart disease
- Liver damage
Does Drinking Make You Depressed?
There is a massive connection between drinking and depression. Depression can be defined as a low sense of energy that lingers and interferes with daily life. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, one in five individuals will be affected by depression at some point in their lives.
The common triggers of depression include:
- Relationship issues
It’s important to note that alcohol is a depressant. Alcohol is known to alter the fragile chemicals in the brain. As an individual drinks an alcoholic beverage, the alcohol begins to affect the section of the brain that is associated with inhibition.
When the two entities are combined, drinking and depression can present a vicious cycle. As an individual engages in drinking regularly and heavily, symptoms of depression can arise. Alcohol is known to affect various nerve-chemical systems, which are vital in regulating mood.
As the series is further studied, it is evident that individuals can undergo feelings of depression after consuming an alcoholic beverage. It is shown that stopping or reducing drinking can improve an individual’s mood.
It’s pivotal to note that prescribed medications for depression should not be mixed with alcohol. The most commonly used prescribed antidepressants tend to increase the risk of relapse in individuals who immerse in heavy drinking in individuals who are trying to abstain or cut down usage. Therefore, antidepressants should be taken with great caution.
Once depression symptoms are caused by alcohol dependence, stopping alcohol use should result in a significant improvement. Matter-of-factly, individuals often find that taking alcohol out of their life entirely for just four weeks sees a clear difference in how they feel. After lowering alcohol consumption for a couple of weeks, many individuals feel brighter.
Is Being an Alcoholic A Mental Health Issue?
Being addicted to alcohol is a mental health issue. Mental health issues refer to the scope of conditions that prevent individuals from interacting normally with others, as well as the environment. The most common types of mental health issues are:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Personality disorder
- Anxiety disorder
- Eating disorder
- Bipolar disorder
This condition can intentionally affect an individual’s ability to deal with everyday life, ultimately becoming so bad that the individual might need to reside in long-term care. When individuals struggle with mental health conditions, there can be an intense deal of embarrassment surrounding it. It’s important to note that over a quarter of the population will develop this type of issue later in life.
There is a stigma associated with alcoholism and mental illness that prevents individuals from receiving help. As a result, many individuals self-medicate with substances such as alcohol. The mental state of an individual can be bothered to such an extent that it can be a struggle to interact normally with their environment.
Is Alcoholism A Mental Illness?
Alcoholism is a real disease of the brain. As an individual engages in overconsumption, their brain chemistry is altered. Once tolerance to alcohol increases, the person has to utilize more and more alcohol consumption to reach the same climax of feelings. Therefore, further damaging their body and their brain. Once an individual is dependent on alcohol, they seem to drink at the expense of fundamentally everyone and everything, even the people they love dearly.
Addiction Shares the Following Attributes With Fellow Chronic Diseases
- An influence of environmental behaviors or conditions
- A tendency to run in the person’s family
- The ability to respond to the appropriate treatment method
The Three Main Areas the Disease Manifests Negative Effects
A Lack of Control
Once an individual has become addicted to alcohol use, the brain becomes affected by the substance to the extent that intense willpower will not be enough for a healthy lifestyle to be maintained. Several individuals engage in quitting drinking on their own only to return right back to it. The loss of control use contributes to the following factors:
- How much is used
- Stopping use
- When they use
When a loved one isn’t able to simply quit, it means that their brain has been altered psychologically by addiction, and the normal sense of willpower has been ultimately compromised. The typical determination and energy for goals to be pursued has been unavailable when it comes to addressing addiction on its own. This is where we come in as alcoholism, and mental illness treatment centers aimed to enhance long-lasting recovery.
Damage to the Brain
When a person engages in long-term and heavy drinking, extensive structural changes are performed on the brain. The extent and nature of the physical toll on a person’s overall brain health varies and depends on the following factors:
- The amount of alcohol being consumed
- Age of the person
Brain damage can present the following factors:
- Decision making refers to reaction times
- Inhibited functioning
- The ability to learn new things
Damage to the Body
When chronic abuse of alcohol is engaged in, there is incredible damage performed on the body. For that reason, it is the cause of exceedingly frequent preventable and avoidable deaths. It is well known the detrimental effects alcohol has on one’s heart, brain, and liver.
However, the other effects include:
- Injury or death from falls, drowning, suicide, homicide, motor vehicle crashes, fetal alcohol syndrome, and domestic violence
- Conditions caused by risky sexual behaviors relating to alcohol use
- High blood pressure
- Mouth cancer
Recovery Awaits at Sana Lake BWC
Here at Sana Lake BWC, we believe in the importance of long-term recovery. Alcoholism and mental illness are challenging conditions, but it’s not impossible to beat. No addiction should be fought alone. Contact us today to hear more about our evidence-based therapies and programs.
World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day is approaching, on October 10th, 2021. The world may seem unshapen and cloudy, but there is always something meaningful on the horizon. The current global environment has been tested with division and conflict from all ends. World Mental Health Day dedicates the vision of healing through an expansive voice.
The stigma surrounding mental health has frustrating consequences, especially as LGBTQ+ and POC are consistently mistreated. Stigmas present in the culture and greater society must change for our existence to breathe without the burdens of feeling incomplete in an indescribable world.
The government is currently in the process of reforming the Mental Health Act. The NHS Long Term Plan had dedicated to crafting a community model for mental health care. The importance of mental health awareness can not be stressed enough.
Stigmas involving mental health can impact the following:
- Personal relationships
- Difficulty finding work
- Decreased motivation to seek treatment
What’s The Difference Between Mental Health And Mental Illness?
Mental health can be described as “our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.” This explains how well you feel internally and where it impacts your daily behavior/attitude. It dictates how efficiently you solve problems and make decisions.
Mental Illness can be classified as conditions that affect a person’s feelings, thinking, mood or behavior, according to the CDC. You might be familiar with depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia. There is a common misconception between these two concepts.
The World Health Organization has determined that mental, neurological, and substance use disorders contribute to 10% of the global burden of disease.
What Are Some Common Mental Illnesses?
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), there are nearly 300 mental disorders. Health professionals rely on DSM-5 to help diagnose patients. Mental illnesses crossed borders and cultures. Properly defining a mental illness has been up for debate within the medical community.
- Mood disorders such as depression
- Anxiety disorders
- Personality disorders
- Psychotic disorders
- Eating disorders
- Trauma-related disorders
- Substance use disorders
What Is Mental Health Day And How It Benefits The World?
Mental Health Day brings awareness to the complexities and resources for mental health awareness. Nearly 1 billion people have a mental health disorder. Approximately 20% of the world’s children have a mental health disorder. Additionally, close to 3 million people die annually from substance use.
Building literacy involving mental health has been a battle. World Mental Health Day has introduced more eyes from different countries to the slow-changing tides of change. Mental Health Awareness week lasts from October 3-9th. 1 in 20 American adults experiences a serious mental illness, with a suicide happening every 40 seconds.
Mental health news and resources can serve as a launching point for someone’s recovery. The current pandemic has disrupted 93% of the world’s mental health services in contrast to the higher demand. The global landscape required a harder look at worldwide mental health before Covid-19.
Roughly 70% of countries have adopted telemedicine or teletherapy methods to treat people. According to the WHO, more than 80% of high-income countries have used teletherapy/medicine to meet the increased demands. The WHO has closely monitored the global shift; highlighting countries to allocate resources and services to mental health.
The importance of mental health awareness has transformed into the economic stakes of the world. According to the WHO, the United States loses approximately $1 US trillion annually from anxiety and depression. A study reported that every $1 spent on evidence-based care reaps a return of $5.
Mental health programs worldwide could use a significant boost. The uncertainty, loss, isolation, and fear-mongering that has influenced the world is taking a tremendous toll on society. Underfunding is no longer an excuse considering the social and economic fallout from neglect.
How Did World Mental Health Begin?
World Mental Health Day was first observed in 1992, by The World Federation of Mental Health. Deputy Secretary-General Richard Hunter was the person to initiate it. It has solidified the date of October 10th. A global telecast was used during the first few years of the event. It was designed to improve the importance of mental health awareness.
The theme became apparent in 1994 (“Improving the quality of mental health services throughout the world”). Shortly, 27 countries became involved in the campaign. Within a few years, this initiative gained traction throughout the world, with governments and programs being built around World Mental Health Day.
The promotion through language allowed the materials to be more accessible. Mental health news was now available from Arabic to French to Hindi. Each year, a theme would be chosen to highlight a topic. World Mental Health Day began to stretch beyond the scheduled day. World Mental Health Day has increased the chances of reestablishing a new order for mental health awareness and treatment.
What Is The Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan?
The WHOs endorsed the 2013-2020 Comprehensive Mental Health Action plan has been designed to increase the accessibility of mental health treatment at all levels. This includes materials and guides to resources if you know someone struggling with mental health issues. The importance of mental health awareness extends throughout all ages and backgrounds.
During the 66th World Health Assembly, 194 Ministers of Health enabled the WHOs Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan in May 2013. The plan was extended in 2019, with further expansions in 2021. This incorporates promoting mental health, preventing mental health conditions, and updating resources.
The main goals of the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan include:
- More effective leadership and governance for mental health
- Providing comprehensive and integrated mental health care
- Including social care services in community-based environments
- Implementing strategies for promotion and prevention
- Strengthening systems, evidence, and research
How Does Mental Stigma Affect People?
Mental health stigma is a topic that lingers in the discussions for those who need help. Mental health treatment has become more accessible throughout the past few years. Online counseling and telehealth services have introduced a floodgate of new patients who are a step closer to healing.
According to the CDC, roughly 33-65% of people with mental illness report feeling that their condition was understood by others. A stigma can be described as an incorrect notion that a person carries, which can be believed by many others. You might have experienced a passive-aggressive comment at school or a coworker that is unable to perceive your illness as legitimate.
Many stereotypes swim throughout the media, conversation, and misrepresentations in professional environments. It’s vital to understand the language used to describe individuals with mental illness.
Terms such as “You’re crazy” or “Psycho” doesn’t deliver the justice to describe this experience. Societal influences have spread throughout the ages. These stereotypes can present drastic effects on those with these conditions, deepening the pain of these illnesses.
Unfortunately, this outlook can be a conscious one, as a way to strip the humanity of the person with a mental illness. You can’t shrug off major depression or bipolar disorder. This misunderstanding of mental illness can affect those who wish to seek treatment. Discovering mental health resources could be the breaking point for someone on the tail side of their condition.
What makes these conversations more difficult is recognizing that mental illness is not always visible. Mental illness still has a variety of vague pockets that medical professionals are still working on. The chemical messengers that inspire activity in the brain are not fully understood, which makes crafting empathy a bit more challenging.
What Are The Treatment Options For Mental Illness?
World Mental Health Day aims to highlight the importance of seeking help for your mental health conditions. There isn’t a true one size fits all treatment for mental health issues. Choosing the right mixture of treatments is vital to your recovery. There are improved outcomes for those who specialize in the care they intend to receive.
Educating yourself about your mental health condition will only encourage proper action. With advancements in medications and therapies, a person does not have to suffer from mental health conditions.
Psychotherapy is an evidence-based approach to identify and treat patients with mental health issues. It is designed to help you pinpoint the relationships between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. A patient can anticipate therapeutic options that merge with their form of illness such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprogramming).
Medication will not be the single solution for mental illness. However, the updates in medication for mental health issues have promising results. Medication is usually paired with psychotherapy, to enrich the treatment outcomes.
Medications can be used to treat the symptoms inspired by the condition such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. These medications could include Ritalin, Zoloft, and lithium.
Alternative medicines and therapies are available. It’s critical to research the medicine and practitioners of these alternative options. There are no universally accepted guidelines for these medicines and therapies. The evidence of successful outcomes requires additional research.
You can be assigned a case manager to iron out the details of your case. They can provide a plan and strategies to encourage your recovery. A case manager is often more discreet and can provide insight into your journey.
Depending on the severity of your case, a hospitalization program for mental health is not uncommon. You may be required to be monitored and medications administered to keep track of your progress. Mental health conditions can worsen without proper care and guidance.
Support groups are a welcome tool for those seeking understanding from multiple perspectives. A support group is a meeting where members coach each other to achieve their recovery goals. One of the benefits of support groups is how varied each one can be, focusing on specific issues to address.
Depending on the severity of your case, a self-help plan can be used towards recovery. You can expect to address your condition and devise a plan to overcome it. You’ll have to dig deep and remain motivated to recover through addressing your triggers, overall wellness, and warning signs.
What Are The Benefits Of Mental Health Therapy?
Psychotherapy has become a significant resource for mental health. Even if you don’t struggle with mental illness, it’s worth trying to discover parts of yourself.
- Psychotherapy can reduce symptoms and enrich your physical health
- Therapy can guide your developing passion, productivity, and balance
- Therapists are third-parties that can provide options and non-judgmental support
- Therapy can improve your interpersonal relationships
- Building self-esteem and confidence through speech
- Therapists can help you with setting goals
- Therapy can help relieve symptoms such as migraines and reduction in digestive problems
Discover Wellness At Sana Lake BWC
For such a vital part of your human experience, mental health issues can often become neglected. Wellness should come in all shapes and forms to heal every fiber of a patient’s being. Sana Lake works to engage you in this journey towards an alternative lifestyle. If your or a loved one is struggling with addiction, contact us today.
World Mental Health Day
Get help for substance use disorder today.
Nurses take on many roles in their careers. They care for people when they are sick, cheer on women as they give birth, and are often the last to hold their hand during a person’s final moments. Processing these emotions is challenging and often leads to substance misuse among nurses.
Substance Use Disorder in Nursing
Although substance misuse affects people of all careers, 1 in 10 nurses misuses drugs or alcohol during their career. While nurses typically drink less than the general population, one NIH study shows they binge drink more than the general public over age 35.
Drug misuse among nurses also occurs at higher rates. This is common due to their access to prescription drugs. Nurses generally have easy access to painkillers, benzodiazepines, and stimulants.
Common ways nurses access drugs for personal use include:
- Taking leftover drugs after a trauma
- Taking a patients ‘as needed’ medication
- Withholding a patient’s medications for themself
- Giving a patient IV saline, so the patient doesn’t know.
However, these behaviors will eventually become known, and nurses face disciplinary actions or lose their license.
Why is Substance Use Disorder in Nursing Common?
Nursing is a demanding career – sick, crying babies, unruly patients high on drugs, and doctors who always need help. Shifts are generally 12 hours or more, and most of them have families waiting at home. Many factors of this career increase the risk of drug misuse among nurses.
Unlike the general population, nurses have easy access to controlled substances. Although the monitoring and charting of medications have improved over the years, situations such as trauma, controlled substances may not be as closely monitored. Studies show nurses with access to controlled substances misuse drugs more often than nurses without access.
Higher Stress Levels
The intense pressure of nursing is often overwhelming. Not only are nurses responsible for their patient’s well-being, but nurses are also often overworked and have a lack of support at work. A study published by the National Institute of Health states chronic stress increases the development of substance use disorder.
Lack of Education on Substance Use Disorder in Nursing
Because most people know drugs and alcohol are addictive, nurses often receive very little training on the signs and symptoms of substance use disorder. As a result, it can be challenging to recognize substance misuse among nurses.
Without proper education about drug misuse among nurses, many don’t understand it is a chronic disease. The lack of education also promotes the stigma about substance use disorder, which can prevent nurses from seeking help.
Gender Can Effect Substance Use Disorder in Nursing
Women dominate the nursing field by 92 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. While females typically take drugs at lower doses than males initially, their use escalates rapidly. Women also experience a recurrence of use at higher rates than males.
Physical Pain Increases Substance Use Disorder in Nursing
Nursing is not only mentally demanding; it is also physically demanding. The constant standing, walking, and moving patients can lead to back injuries. Nurses are often prescribed pain medication. However, these medications are intended for short-term use, and taking them long-term can have severe consequences.
Fatigue is Common in Nursing
Nurses typically work 12-hour rotating shifts. This schedule can quickly lead to burnout which can affect their overall health. Nurses commonly work on-call shifts and have to be available on short notice.
Add in the nights, weekends, and holidays nurses often work, and it’s no wonder they are sleep-deprived. Some nurses may turn to drugs or alcohol to unwind after an exhausting day. However, this builds unhealthy coping skills and often leads to drug misuse among nurses.
The Risk to Patients Due to Substance Use Disorder in Nursing
A nurse’s primary focus is on the patient’s safety and well-being. But, if a nurse is struggling with substance use disorder, medical mistakes are made. For example, a patient could receive the wrong medication or the wrong dose.
Substance use disorder in nursing can also limit their ability to assist patients. Withdrawal symptoms can cause weakness and tremors. These symptoms can cause a nurse to lose grip on a patient, resulting in the patient falling and being injured.
Substances Commonly Misused by Nurses
Nurses who struggle with substance use disorder use various drugs to cope with the stress of work. Most often, they turn to alcohol, benzodiazepines, and prescription painkillers such as fentanyl. The highest rate of drug misuse among nurses is found in nurse anesthetists.
Common Signs of Substance Use Disorder in Nursing
Many nurses are considered high functioning, which makes it difficult to recognize substance misuse among nurses. High functioning means a person can handle their career, personal life, and substance use disorder without others noticing.
Common signs of drug misuse among nurses include:
- Changing jobs often
- Volunteering to work night shift where there is less supervision
- Falling asleep on the job
- Offering to administer narcotics
- Excited to work overtime
- Takes frequent bathroom breaks
- Misses work often
- Smells of alcohol or tries masking the smell with mints or spray
- Openly talks about their financial and relationship issues
- Small pupils or glassy eyes
- Incomplete work, repeatedly making the same mistakes
Challenges of Treating Substance Use Disorder in Nursing
At Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center, we offer programs designed for professionals like nurses. Treating substance use disorder in nursing is different because nurses are used to being caregivers, not patients.
The issues that lead to substance misuse among nurses are also different than the general public. For this reason, nurses need a comprehensive treatment program that begins with medical detox.
Since most nurses struggle with misusing benzos and painkillers, the withdrawal symptoms can often be severe. A medical detox program provides 24-hour medical care and supervision to rid the body of all toxins safely.
Another challenge in treating drug misuse among nurses is the restrictions on medication-assisted treatment or MAT. Many nurses struggling with substance use disorder choose to enter specific programs in order to keep their nursing license which adds restrictions to their treatment plans. Suboxone or buprenorphine, which is used to treat opioid use disorder, is generally not allowed because of its high risk of misuse.
What are Alternative-to-Discipline Programs?
Boards of nursing may use alternative-to-discipline to allow nurses struggling with substance use disorder to keep a clean license if they receive treatment. Nurses are provided a confidential approach with strict monitoring and random drug screens.
Alternative-to-discipline programs are proving to be highly successful in treating substance misuse among nurses. Furthermore, long-term recovery rates of nurses who completed treatment are also high. While patients are now safe from a nurse working while using drugs or alcohol.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment for Nurses
Inpatient or residential treatment programs involve staying in the facility under 24-hour supervision. These programs are typically 30,60, or 90 days and offer the best chance at recovery. Nurses in inpatient treatment get to step away from the stress of work and their personal life and focus solely on their health and recovery.
However, not all nurses can attend inpatient treatment. They may be single parents and have no one to help with their children. Or they may care for sick family members. In that case, outpatient treatment programs offer a variety of intensities to accommodate a person’s schedule and substance use disorder.
Whether a nurse chooses inpatient or outpatient treatment, aspects of their treatment may include:
- How to restore your reputation and career
- The process of returning to work
- Addressing licensing matters
- How to avoid triggers at work and outside of work
- Monitoring program participation
- Participation in an after-care program
Holistic Therapies for Substance Use Disorder in Nursing
Holistic therapies such as yoga and meditation are beneficial in the long-term recovery of substance use disorder in nursing. While alone holistic therapies won’t treat substance use disorder, but alongside behavioral therapies, they can increase long-term recovery rates.
A healthy diet and a regular exercise program are the first steps in holistic healing. Starting healthy eating habits and exercising while in detox is crucial to begin the healing process. Physical exercise increases blood flow and promotes mental health. While yoga and acupuncture can ease pain, reducing your need for painkillers.
Meditation alongside psychotherapy and behavioral therapies promotes emotional well-being. Journaling, for example, can force you to take an honest look at yourself and heal from past trauma and substance misuse.
Spirituality is an essential aspect of treating substance use disorder. However, spirituality looks different to each person. Spirituality in treatment is not specifically about religion. It is about finding your spirituality and a better sense of self.
Are You a Nurse Struggling With Substance Use Disorder?
If you or someone you work with are struggling with substance use disorder, you are not alone. At Sana Lake BWC, we understand the unique needs of substance misuse among nurses. Contact us today and find out how we can help you.
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:
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.
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
- Dry mouth
- Low blood sugar
- Weight loss
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Sexual dysfunction
- Abnormal thinking
- Agitation and anxiety
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:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Weight loss
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Urinary retention
- Sexual dysfunction
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:
- Blurred vision
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Sexual dysfunction
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Drowsiness or insomnia
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 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.
- 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.
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.
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
- 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
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:
- 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 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 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 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
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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
- Major life changes
Possible risk factors for dysthymia (PDD) include:
- 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
- Life stressors
- Social factors
Depression and Substance Use Disorder (SUD)
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
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.
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.
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:
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.