Sober Life

8 Reasons to Live a Sober Life

There are many reasons that people choose active substance abuse over sobriety. Sometimes part of the reason for the continued abuse of substances is familiarity. People tend to like what they are familiar with. Sometimes the memory of what it was like before you started abusing drugs might not be or might not seem to have been pleasant.

 This could be because you might have another mental health disorder that you did not know about that caused you so much pain that you self-medicated. We at Sana Lake, are prepared to help you overcome your substance abuse disorder and any co-occurring disorder if you might have, and find a happy road to recovery. 

What is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

A co-occurring disorder is any mental health disorder, like depression or anxiety that occurs in the same person as an addiction disorder. Sometimes people develop a co-occurring disorder before they develop a substance use disorder. However, it is possible to develop a co-occurring disorder after developing a substance use disorder.

There are many reasons to find your road to recovery. That road can often be difficult and full of stumbling blocks. However, you will gain a lot by giving up substances like illicit drugs, including prescription drugs that have not been prescribed to you, and drugs prescribed to you which you might not be using according to your doctor’s orders. Here are 8 reasons to get sober: 

New friends

Many people who develop friendships when they are using substances are developing friends because of the substances and not because of their personalities. How many people who you consider friends would never come around when you do not have drugs? How many times all you have to talk about are substances? If the drugs felt wrong after you took them did, they help you? If you have overdosed, did they use Narcan if they had it and did, they you to the hospital and get you admitted?

The Friends You Make During Recovery are Long Lasting

There are people who want to be there for you, even if you have a slip. You will have the opportunity to meet many people during your clinical rehabilitation program. There is often an ‘aftercare program’ in which patients have the opportunity to meet up after graduating from the recovery clinic for social events. The challenges and rewards of transitioning back to living outside the clinic will bring you even closer together.

12-Step Groups and SMART Groups and Good Ways of Making Friends

Another group of people who want to be there for you, and who want to be your friends are members of a 12-step group, a SMART group, and/or other post clinical rehab group. Depending on how your community’s group(s) are structured and how many groups there are, it is possible to attend 12-step program meetings every day of the week in some places. People who are attending post-rehabilitation programs will also know how you are feeling. They will be able to guide you through your ongoing road to recovery.


You might not have had the best relationship with your family while you were using. Clinical rehabilitation programs often work on repairing and strengthening that bond. That is why many clinics offer family therapy as well as couples therapy.

A Job and/or Education

Many people find at least some degree of fulfillment at work if they like their job. If you want to go back to working for a company, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recognizes substance abuse disorder as a disability and offers some protections. This does not include people who were casual users and it does not include people who are currently using substances. These protections are for people who have gone through a clinical rehabilitation program and no longer use substances. 

Does the ADA Make It Easier to Find a Job?

Finding a new job, or regaining your old job, is much easier because of the ADA. Employers can no longer ask about your past substance abuse unless it would directly affect your ability to perform essential functions. They can not ask about any other health conditions like co-occurring disorders either. This can help you keep your substance addiction private if you choose to. 

Can I Continue My Education Instead of Going Straight to Work?

There are also many scholarships and grants available to people who have substance abuse disorders who want to go back to or go to college for the first time instead of choosing full-time employment right away. There are even more scholarships available for people who have one or more co-occurring disorders. Someone with co-occurring disorders like:

  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Bipolar 
  • Anxiety

As well as other mental health disorders can often qualify for scholarships and grants for only their co-occurring disorder(s) separately, not just their addiction disorder. 

Reach Life Goals

Many people find their lives stalled by substance abuse. If you are spending all of your time looking for your next high it can be hard to take care of less pressing life issues. However, once you get help for your substance abuse disorder you will have time to work on other life goals like:

  • Starting your own business
  • Learning how to code a computer
  • Fixing up a dream car that has fallen into disrepair
  • Add to your family
  • Write a book
  • Learn to play a musical instrument

And much more. You will not only have the time to do these things, but you will have the clear-headedness that goes with sobriety.


People with addiction disorders often suffer financially. Often loved ones will eventually cut them off financially. People with an active substance abuse disorder might find it difficult to find a job or if they can find one, they might have trouble keeping it. 

Addiction is a very expensive disorder. Many people spend every cent they have on substances like alcohol and heroin. This means that there is not a lot of money left for food, clothing, or any other life necessities. There will be even less left for fun things like being able to go out to eat without thinking about how much you are spending that could be spent on substances. Having the money to buy a new kitchen gadget to make a dish that you have wanted to make for a long time is an example of a small luxury.

New Interests and Hobbies

Once you have the time, money, and mental clarity that comes with your road to recovery you will have the time for new hobbies. A hobby or interest is something you enjoy doing but isn’t a life goal or life achievement. You might want to learn a new language, rediscover a love of reading, art, you might pick up some more video games if you like that. 

Hobbies help make life worth living. Just because it isn’t a traditional hobby like building model planes it isn’t an actual hobby. Board games including the newer ones are also hobbies, as are things like skydiving, or extreme sports.

The Chance to Grow Old

There are many health problems that are caused by active substance use besides overdosing. Some of the health problems caused by substance use are:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Dental problems
  • Skin infections
  • Heart and heart valve infections
  • Cancer
  • Other mental health disorders can develop
  • Cancer
  • Liver problems
  • Severe respiratory problems
  • Kidney damage and/or failure

Direct health problems are not the only health problems caused by substances. Often people who use substances are living in an unhealthy, and/or notoriously dangerous environment. Many are homeless and live on the streets. 38% of people who are homeless are dependent on alcohol. Another 26% of people who are homeless are addicted to other substances. Living on the streets can be extremely dangerous at times. 

Other indirect health problems caused by addiction are HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other problems caused by sharing needles and sexually transmitted infections caused by risky sex under the influence of substances.

A Life

Substances like drugs and alcohol can rob you of your life. You spend every day trying to get high instead of living. It will, and often does, suck the life right out of you. All you want is drugs and/or alcohol. That is no way to live.  

We Will Help You Recover!

Now is the time to get help. There are many more reasons to become sober. When you are ready to get back your sobriety and get all of these 8 benefits and more please contact us at Sana Lake Or call us at (636) 707-2097. 



What Are the Stages of Alcoholism?

The prevalence of drinking alcohol in the United States and around the world is unprecedented. In fact, approximately two billion people around the world drink alcohol. All human behavior has a motivation behind it, and the reasons why people drink alcohol are all unique. 

Whatever your reasoning behind drinking alcohol is, we must understand that there are a fine line and difference between casual drinking and abusive drinking. It usually starts with people drinking casually, but then they realize that this habit has turned into an obsession/addiction and that they can’t drink in moderation anymore. 

Alcohol dependency turns into an addiction. Without help, this choice that has turned into a life-changing consequence will become worse and could result in death due to overdose. If someone does not go to treatment and receive the professional help that they need to manage their addiction properly. 

The addiction specialists at Sana Lake Recovery Center want to help individuals recognize the signs and risk factors that lead to alcohol abuse. Therefore, here is our guide to recognizing the stages of alcoholism, which in turn, will help lead you or your loved one to a life of sobriety. 

Recognizing the Signs of Addiction: What Are The Stages of Alcoholism?

What is Alcoholism? 

In the United States, alcoholism is the third leading cause of death, killing 88,000 people every year. 62,000 men and 26,000 were women. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reported that 17 million American adults develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD), resulting in the death of 1 in 20 people. 

An alarming statistic from The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that people who experiment with drinking alcohol before they are 15 years old are five times more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol and become an alcoholic, than those who don’t start drinking until the legal age of 21. 

Alcoholism is more than just drinking an excessive amount. The Mayo Clinic defines it as the inability to control the amount one drinks, due to having an emotional and physical dependence on alcohol. 

In other words, a person who becomes an alcoholic cannot control their craving or urges to drink. Thus, this preoccupation causes them to drink uncontrollably, otherwise known as binge drinking, despite the consequences it causes with work, school, various relationships, financially, and most importantly, with one’s health. 

Alcoholism is a chronic disease that does not discriminate. Remember, people who suffer from substance abuse made a choice that resulted in a consequence; they did not choose or realize that they were going to become addicted. Some individuals are more susceptible and more at risk of developing this disease more than others. It depends on various factors including, genetics/family history, how much one drinks, environment, mental health, etc.   

Why Do People Choose to Drink?

The truth is, there are various reasons why we drink, but most commonly, alcohol is a beverage that is so widely accepted in our society, where everyone has a different experience experimenting with it. The most common reasons why people choose to consume alcohol include: 


Probably the top reason why people drink alcohol is that it is so easily accessible. While the drinking age is 21 in the United States, and around 18 in most countries, including Europe, drinking is a choice people make because it is so easy to, and simply, because they can. 


Drinking alcohol is a very social activity. Being with friends in a carefree environment and drinking makes them feel happy due to the release of endorphins. People simply drink just to have fun and “let loose” because they think it enhances their experience, especially for those who are usually more introverted. Alcohol usually helps people come out of their shells. 


People also drink alcohol just because it is their preference, and they enjoy the taste. Enjoying an alcoholic beverage over other types of drinks is just what some people choose to do. 


Especially with the younger generations, kids, teenagers, and college students will start experimenting with drinking alcohol as some probably have never drunk before. Therefore, they are curious and start to drink to know what it tastes like, or wonder what it feels like to be drunk. It is purely an experimental phase, which can also lead to other dangerous things if not careful. 

Stress and Lower Inhibitions

Being under the influence of alcohol tends to make someone lose their inhibitions, meaning that it gives a person a sense of feeling carefree and that nothing can get in their way. It also allows them to behave in ways that they wouldn’t if they were sober. 

For many people drinking alcohol is a major stress reliever. It helps people unwind and de-stress, or so they think. Drinking appears to help numb one’s pain, allowing them to forget about all the stressors going on in their lives. However, what is ironic is that drinking when you are stressed often creates more complications, and they can develop a drinking problem, which is what often happens. 

The Stages of Alcoholism

Professional help at a treatment facility is a person’s best chance at recovery and a sober lifestyle. Recognizing the signs of becoming an alcoholic is crucial to you or a loved one realizing that they need addiction treatment. 

Alcoholism is a progressive disease that occurs in stages. Therefore, knowing the signs and symptoms of each stage of alcoholism can also save lives, and possibly help someone avoid the consequences of dependency and addiction before they occur.

It is important to note that everyone’s case of alcohol addiction is different and unique. While drinking does affect people in similar ways in terms of getting drunk, how people act while under the influence is not the same. An alcohol use disorder (AUD), typically occurs in five stages. These stages of alcoholism are as follows: 

Stage 1: Early-Stage Alcoholism: Experimentation and Occasional Binge Drinking 

The first and beginning stage of alcoholism is called early-stage alcoholism. During this stage, a person begins to experiment with drinking alcohol, a common occurrence with young adults. Since most people who engage in this stage are just beginning to enjoy drinking, they tend to drink an excessive amount, or what is called binge drinking.

For women that are four or more beverages in two hours, and for men, it is five or more drinks within two hours. This amount is often exceeded. Consuming this large amount of alcohol in such a short period is extremely dangerous, and can lead to serious health complications, coma, or worse, death. 

Stage 2: Middle-Stage Alcoholism: Increased drinking 

In the second stage, also known as Middle-Stage Alcoholism, people have already left this element of experimentation, which occurs in the first stage. Drinking starts to increase and escalate. As a result of increasing the amount of being drunk, people quickly develop increased tolerance and dependence on alcohol. 

Since the body becomes used to large amounts of alcohol becoming consumed in such a short amount of time (binge drinking), the body becomes used to it (tolerance), which results in dependence. Since a person at this stage can no longer control their drinking and do so in moderation, they are now at major risk of developing alcoholism.

Stages 3 and 4: End-Stage Alcoholism: Problem Drinking

Stage three is when a person is considered a “problem-drinker.” This means that they have been abusing alcohol uncontrollably, and finally start to experience physical and social consequences of their actions. In this stage, the problem-drinker can become depressed, anxious, and develop insomnia, and start losing sleep. Relationship issues and decreased social activity usually also will occur because of their preoccupation with alcohol. 

Stage 4: Dependence 

Alcoholism has two main components, dependency and addiction. While they are two different things, they are related to one another. When someone reaches the last stage in the alcoholism cycle, they are attached to alcohol, and it has taken control over various aspects of one’s life. 

While you may be aware of the adverse side-effects and symptoms of drinking excessively causes, it is too late, because all control over how much one drinks is lost. 

As a result of drinking heavily, the body becomes dependent or used to how much of a substance has entered the bloodstream. In other words, because the body has now become tolerant of alcohol, you may have to drink larger amounts of it to feel buzzed or drunk. 

Drinking excessively causes damaging effects to the body, one being symptoms of withdrawal. Each time you sober up, the body is not only hungover but is confused when no alcohol is being consumed, because again, the body is used to it. Therefore, the body reacts by producing undesirable symptoms such as nausea, tremors, sweating, irritability, insomnia, diarrhea, etc. 

Stage 5: Addiction

The last and final stage of alcoholism is addiction. In this stage, a person is officially defined as an alcoholic, as they have become addicted to alcohol, characterized by the need to physically and psychologically drink. The only way to recover from alcoholism and addiction and become sober again is to attend treatment at a specialized treatment center, such as Sana Lake Recovery Center in Dittmer, Missouri. 

Dual Diagnosis: Mental Illness and Alcoholism

A common risk factor of addiction is mental illness. People with any sort of mental illness such as anxiety or depression often turn to substances such as alcohol to cope with their symptoms. 

Alcohol abuse and mental illnesses that occur simultaneously are known as dual diagnosis or a co-occurring disorder. Those who are alcoholics also may have an underlying mental illness, but, because they are oftentimes so hard to detect and diagnose, the addiction and the underlying mental illness is left untreated, resulting in major complications, and even death due to relapse and overdose. 

At Sana Lake Recovery Center, we believe that mental illness is the foundation of one’s health. Therefore, during the intake and detox processes, we make sure to fully understand all of your medical histories, and make a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to each person’s needs.

Everyone is different, so treatments will vary. Both mental illness and alcoholism will be treated to ensure an optimal chance of recovery and sobriety. 

Recovery From Alcoholism is Possible At Sana Lake Recovery Center

At Sana Lake Recovery Center, we educate our members on the stages of alcoholism to help them cope with their disease. People must recognize the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse to identify the problem and receive the necessary help that they need. 

To learn more about the stages of alcoholism, and how you or a loved one can receive the help needed to reach long-term sobriety, contact us by calling (636) 707-2097 today.   


grief and loss

Grief and Loss in Addiction Recovery

Loss is an unfortunate part of life. While the death of a close one is the definition of bereavement, grief can come from many other sources. A divorce or any other change in an important relationship, change in health, change in an environment like retirement, financial insecurity, as well as death can cause grief.

If you are struggling with an active substance use disorder and/or you are on your road to recovery it is important that you take care of yourself during any grieving process. If you grieving are in need of bereavement services, the specialists at Sana Lake can help.

Is the Death of a Pet Serious?

The death of a beloved pet can also cause grief. With the rise of the use of service dogs, service miniature horses, and emotional support animals the ways that humans and animals interact are becoming better and better understood. 

This bond is sometimes so powerful for some people that it is protected by the law as a mental health aid called an emotional support animal. It is important to not invalidate people who are missing a precious pet. It will only make it worse, and if the person has a substance use disorder it might damage their road to recovery. Not all animals who perform the functions of an emotional support animal are designated or even acknowledged to be an emotional support animal. 

The Death of a Loved One Can be Stressful for Someone with a Substance Use Disorder

Sometimes the period right after a person dies can be especially stressful for their loved ones. The family or other loved ones have to make burial arrangements, plan and often provide food to many people during a reception, determine the loved one’s last wishes including cremation or burial if they have not outlined it in their will, and make many other decisions, about many other things that cannot wait.

Many people do not leave wills or any record of last wishes behind so their loved ones have to piece together what they want by word of mouth from other family members and friends.

If the person has left a will, it might be because they were suffering from a terminal condition. When a loved one suffers from a terminal condition their loved ones will often start grieving before the person passes away. This is not uncommon and it is completely valid. All of this can be extremely stressful.

Stress from Grief can Cause You to Relapse

Emotionally stressful situations are one of the top reasons for people with alcohol use disorder relapse. There are small physical changes that go on in a person that happens during emotionally stressful situations like different cortisol levels and changes in basal heart rate that physically trigger cravings while an individual is experiencing a very emotionally stressful situation.

What are the 5 Stages of Grief?

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross outlined the famous steps that people with terminal conditions like late-stage cancer go through. Only later did doctors started to apply the steps to the people the individual has left behind. 

The steps of grieving are:

  • Denial 
  • Anger 
  • Bargaining 
  • Depression 
  • Acceptance

The Steps of Grief are not Predictable

It is noted that one of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s regrets in life was the misunderstanding of her emotional model. A person does not always go through all of the steps, they might not go through the steps in that order, some combination of that, or they might go through all of the steps in that order. 

Some people cycle through several steps over and over. A person can be stuck in a certain phase. Substances are not a way out of a phase. If you feel as though you are stuck in a phase it is time to see a specialist like a therapist who specializes in grief and bereavement.

If you cannot find a therapist with grief and bereavement specialty you should go see any therapist. A therapist is a medical professional and they will be able to advise you on how to find appropriate health professionals. 

How Long Does Grief Last?

There is no set limit to how long bereavement, in particular, lasts or any set limit on how long grief in general lasts. Sometimes the loss of a loved one can cause bereavement for a few months. Other times it can last over a year. 

Can Grief Cause Depression?

 However, grief can sometimes turn into depression. If a person suffers from an addiction and another mental health disorder, it means the individual has co-occurring disorders.

It is important to note that if you develop depression, even if you have been on your road to recovery for years, you still have a co-occurring disorder. If you need help with a substance use disorder either because of a relapse or if you are getting help for the first time it is important to find a treatment facility that treats co-occurring disorders. You cannot treat only one condition. You must take care of all of your mental health conditions if you want to start healing. 

What Could I Feel During the Grief Process?

The process of acceptance of loss is not smooth. It can often feel like being on a roller coaster. However, most of these emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations that a person might experience are:


  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Blame 
  • Guilt
  • Sadness
  • Relief if it was seen as the person’s “time to go”


  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Disbelief
  • Hallucinations 
  • Preoccupation with who was lost

Physical Sensations

  • Dizziness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Hyperventilating
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Weight loss or gain


  • Crying spells
  • Excessive activity
  • Irritability or aggression
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable actives

Professional Help Can Stop You from Relapsing While Grieving

If you find yourself experiencing these symptoms to an extent that worries you or your loved ones it is important to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor who specializes in grief and addiction would be the best fit.

However, if you find yourself in a situation where you are experiencing cravings or thinking about using again but are unable to get to a therapist there are therapists many remote volunteer services that are offered for free.  

There are some services that provide free hotline services that are available in the form of text messages instead of a voice call. This is great if you are in a social setting where you cannot get away to call a hotline.

What Can I Do to Avoid Relapsing While Grieving?

It is important to get help before you relapse. You can guard yourself against starting the relapse process by:

  • Joining a bereavement support group
  • Calling a friend or other loved one and talk about the loss
  • Find a family therapist or a therapy group that you and your loved ones can go to help all of you through this time
  • Experiencing your emotions. During your stages of grief, it is important to not try to deaden your emotions. Suppressing your emotions can be very harmful. It can lead to:
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Overeating 
  • Drug and or alcohol consumption which would impair your road to recovery
  • Overeating
  • Sleeplessness
  • And many other problems

Problems like anxiety and depression can cause relapse on their own, but the problem is greatly enhanced when the person is grieving. It is important to take care of yourself. You cannot help your loved ones through the grieving process if you are abusing substances or in rehab.  

How Can I Take Care of Myself During the Grieving Process?

There are some things that you can do to take care of yourself during the grieving process:

  • Eat healthfully
  • Exercise
  • Continue post-rehab meetings like SMART or the 12 step meetings
  • Do not isolate yourself
  • Join a grief group counseling group
  • Continue to engage in your routine

Can I Reach the Acceptance Stage of Grieving if I Have a Substance Use Disorder?

There is hope. After a person goes the grieving process the last step is acceptance. Sometimes acceptance takes a long time, for other people acceptance comes relatively quickly. The important thing to note is the word relatively. Grieving is a complicated and very personal process. It is just as healthy for someone to go through the steps of grief relatively quickly as it is for someone to take their time. Having an addiction does not stop your chances of finding acceptance and peace after the death of a loved one.

What Can I do if I Relapse Because I am Grieving?

If you have strayed from your road to recovery due to grief, that is very understandable. Many people have problems getting over the loss of a loved one. For someone with a substance abuse problem, that loss might seem overwhelming. A substance abuse problem can often compound the ill effects of grief, making it feel unbearable. But it will be ok. We at Sana Lake can help get you back to your road to recovery after the death of a loved one.

Sana Lake

If you need help returning to your road to recovery after the loss of a loved one or if you know someone who does, please contact us at (636) 707-2097. 


psychological dependence

What is the Difference Between Physical Dependence and Psychological Dependence

The difference between physical dependence versus psychological dependence is physical dependence affects your body and psychological dependence affects your behavior.

Depending on the addiction, it was previously thought to be either one or the other. In actuality, addiction is both physical and psychological. Here at Sana Lake, we have a great detox program that will help you and your body recover physically and psychologically.

Yes, there is a difference between physical dependence versus psychological dependence.  Physical dependence is considered tolerance and withdrawal. Psychological dependence is the dependence on the drugs or the substance of choice.

Physical Dependence

Physical addiction dependence versus psychological addiction dependence has some clear distinctions.  Physical addiction manifests itself in a physical way affecting the body. Physical addiction dependency is chemical level changes in the brain that are changed by the addictive chemicals in the drugs.  In time, drugs change the chemistry of the brain.

Physical addictive dependence can include withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Lack of sleep
  • Gastro-Abdominal issues
  • Trembling
  • Seizures


Depression is a symptom of withdrawal.  Depression or a doubtful attitude can be problematic when trying to go to recovery to get help.  Having a moody disposition is also a symptom of withdrawal. This is a physical common addictive dependency versus a psychological dependency.


Angry outbursts are another symptom of a physical addictive dependency versus psychological addictive dependency. Angry outbursts can be caused by frustration when the person is feeling helpless and they feel the substance they are on is too strong to overcome. The user would need to get professional help to deal with sobriety and help with the angry outbursts.

Lack of sleep

Insomnia or lack of sleep is another physical addictive dependency attribute versus the psychological dependency attribute. Insomnia can lead to other health problems. Sleep is important to maintain a healthy life.

Gastro-abdominal issues

In physical dependence, gastro-abdominal issues can occur. Constipation and diarrhea are two effects that physically manifest themselves. Having diarrhea can cause dehydration which can lead to other health problems.


When being asked, the difference between physical dependence versus psychological dependence, trembling might come up as a symptom of physical dependence.  Trembling is uncontrolled shaking. One cause of trembling is substance abuse. This is a physical addictive dependence attribute.  


Seizures are a physical dependence withdrawal symptom.  If you or a loved one are having seizures, seek medical attention as soon as possible.  Seizures are sudden and uncontrolled actions disturbing the brain wave pattern.

Even less problematic discomforts, such as sweating and teary eyes, are both attributes of physical addictive dependence versus psychological addictive dependence.

It was once imagined in the community that substances like marijuana or nicotine were not physically addictive. That thought process was because there were no withdrawal symptoms. This is just not the case. Symptoms like lethargy, gloominess, fits of anger, trouble sleeping and difficulty eating patterns are all real symptoms. They are all symptoms of withdrawal and associated with these substances.  

Psychological Dependence

Psychological dependence versus physical dependence is the way one behaves.  Some psychological dependencies are:

  • Not capable of stopping drug usage
  • Abusing drugs even when health problems arise
  • Using narcotics to deal with life’s problems
  • Obsession
  • Taking a gamble
  • Taking larger doses

Not Capable of Stopping Drug Usage

Not being able to stop drug usage is a common symptom of psychological dependency versus physical dependency. This is a behavior that is symptomatic of psychological dependency. You and your body are dependent on that substance.

Abusing Drugs Even When Health Problems Arise

The inability to stop using drugs even after health problems arise is another symptom of psychological dependency versus physical dependency. Here at Sana Lake, we offer several programs that can help each patient individually. One such program is our Partial Hospitalization program.

Using Narcotics to Cope With Life’s Problems

When someone uses narcotics to cope with life’s problems, it is a symptom of psychological dependence rather than physical dependence. When someone is using narcotics to deal with life’s general ups and downs there is a dependency on that drug. This proves to be an unhealthy relationship between the substance and the person.  


Obsession is a form of psychological dependency.  Obsession is when someone is infatuated with the substance they are using.  In this situation, the only thing that matters is getting the substance and using the substance.  This can lead a person to do things they would not normally do.

Taking a Gamble

Drug use can make you take a gamble in life’s decisions. This is a symptom of psychological dependency versus physical dependency. Taking a gamble means doing things that you would not normally do. These risks can include trading sexual favors for the substance and even stealing to get your substance.  

Taking Larger Doses

Taking larger doses of a drug or substance is an effect of psychological dependence, not physical dependence. Once your brain is used to the effects of the substance of choice, it requires the person to take larger and larger doses to get the same initial effect.  This causes intensified withdrawal symptoms.

There is also an overlapping of symptoms of psychological effects and physical effects.  An example of one of these effects of overlapping symptoms is to redirect your food budget to buy the substance in question, which is a psychological effect.  However, by doing this, you are unable to consume enough nutrients which in turn is a physical effect.

Social Symptoms

Addiction can cause various adverse social symptoms.  Some of these social symptoms are:

  • Forfeiting activities
  • Discarding hobbies
  • Solitude
  • Denial
  • Excessive consumption
  • Having stashes
  • Legal issues
  • Financial difficulties

Forfeiting Activities

When you forfeit activities that were usually enjoyed before drug use, it is an implication of the social symptoms of an addict. These activities or events, that previously brought joy, are now looked sourly upon due to the substance not being available.

Discarding Hobbies

When hobbies like boating, fishing or crafting no longer have a place in your life as it did before, it is a sign of dependence on substance abuse. When drugs take over and they are more important than hobbies previously enjoyed this is a social implication of dependency.


The desire to be alone is another social symptom of addiction.  The reason for wanting to be alone can be because of shame or just the substance taking over one’s life.  To combat addiction, it would be helpful to have loved ones help you overcome and be a part of your recovery life.   


Refusing to believe there is an addiction problem is another social addict symptom. Believing the person can relinquish the substance at any time is another social symptom of an addict. This may cause a reluctance to get help.

Excessive Consumption and Having Private Stashes

Consuming the drug or alcohol at an excessive level is a social symptom of an addict.  This can lead to hiding private stashes for later use. This is a dependency on a substance that is being abused.  

Legal Issues

Incarceration and legal issues are signs of the social effect of an addict. When analyzing whether or not legal issues caused by substance abuse is a psychological dependency versus a physical dependency, evidence suggests it is a symptom of psychological dependency. They need to do something illegal to get the substance of choice is a psychological dependence of that substance.  

Financial Issues

When drugs and alcohol take over and you need more and more of the substance, this will cause financial difficulties. This can happen when drugs are more important than other things in your life. You need to buy more and more drugs, leaving you with less and less money for life’s essentials.

Combating Symptoms of Withdrawals

Whether you are facing a physical dependence or psychological dependence, self-soothing is a great way to help combat withdrawals. A great way to self-soothe is by exercising. Exercising is a great way to get your mind off narcotics and it helps release endorphins throughout your body. Talking to a professional or even a friend is another way to help combat withdrawals. 

Talking and expressing oneself is a great way to help ease pain both physically and psychologically. Taking either a cold or warm bath is another way to ease the pain of withdrawal symptoms by soothing the discomforts of sweating or chills. Sleeping is another way to ease the pain. Sleep deprivation is another symptom of substance abuse. Getting the rest your body needs can help heal and recuperate your body.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one are going through any of these conditions, do not go through it alone.  Feel free to contact us at Sana Lake Recovery Center at 636-707-2097 for all your recovery needs.

alcohol detox

What to Expect When You Are Going Through Alcohol Detox

Chronic or frequent use of alcohol can lead to dependence that makes it difficult to stop. What may have started as a social activity or a way to ease the stresses of the day can eventually spiral into a full-blown addiction. As the addiction intensifies, physical symptoms of withdrawal will be experienced during the times that the individual is not consuming alcohol. 

Withdrawal symptoms are more than just uncomfortable, they have the potential to cause permanent damage or even death. Sana Lake Recovery Center has trained professionals who are experienced at guiding and monitoring those going through the withdrawal stage. Our detox program ensures a safe and thorough detox to give our clients a strong foundation for their recovery. 

What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal?

The process of detoxification refers to the body filtering out harmful substances and toxins. Alcohol detox is the initial period of time where the body stops consuming alcohol and experiences the symptoms associated with withdrawal. Since the human body becomes physically dependent on alcohol,  detox is crucial for allowing the body to learn how to function without it. 

Alcohol is a depressant and has a slowing and sedating effect on bodily functions. The brains of those who have been drinking intensity over long periods of time have adjusted to the continual exposure to alcohol and its effects. The human brain is smart and always tries to re-balance itself. In the case of alcohol, the brain adjusts its own chemistry by highly stimulating chemicals like serotonin or norepinephrine in high quantities. 

When the individual stops drinking, these chemicals are still being produced. This sends the brain and body into overdrive and causes severe confusion for the body’s organ systems. 

What are the Symptoms of Withdrawal?

The symptoms and intensity of withdrawal will look different for everyone depending on how long and how heavily they have been drinking. Some of the more common symptoms that should be expected include:

  • Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or intense nightmares.
  • Severe nausea and/or vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Tremors.
  • Profound sweating.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Fever.
  • Irritability.
  • Agitation

These symptoms can be alarming and uncomfortable, but don’t typically result in life-threatening conditions. There are however some more serious side effects that can cause permanent damage or even death, and these should be closely monitored. Some of these include:


Tremors usually present themselves within a few hours after the last alcoholic drink and are most intense after 24 to 48 hours. Trembling is often accompanied by a spike in blood pressure and difficulty regulating heartbeat and temperature. 


This symptom can be quite alarming and usually begins within 12 to 24 hours after your last drink. Hallucinations can last up to three days into detox. Hallucinating can be seeing objects, movement, colors, lights, or even people that are not really there. Other versions of hallucinations that are experienced are feelings on bugs or moving sensations on the skin. alcohol withdrawal hallucination can be an extremely vivid imaginative vision.

Alcohol withdrawal seizures 

Seizures tend to occur 24 hours after the last drink and can range from moderate to severe. If not monitored, seizures can create 

Delirium tremens 

This condition describes a severe and drastic change in one’s breathing, oxygen levels, circulation and temperature control. These changes all affect the central nervous system resulting in confusion, disorientation, irrational beliefs, sweats, sleep disturbances, and hallucinations. This is one of the most serious side effects of alcohol detox and can cause permanent damage or even lead to death. Professional monitoring and care will allow for preventive measures if delirium tremens are suspected. 

How Long Will Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal on average last 5 days. They can prolong into a week or more for some, but detox programs typically cap at  7 days. The severity and duration of alcohol withdrawal symptoms will depend on how long the individual drank, how heavily they drank, and their personal medical history. Co-occurring health conditions could also cause withdrawal symptoms to prolong. 

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

This potential phase commonly referred to as PAWS refers to the experience of withdrawal even after detox is completed. Typically, once alcohol is out of the system, withdrawals will subside even if emotional cravings persist. In the even of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, individuals experience intense physical cravings and symptoms for extended lengths of time. Although rare, it can last anywhere from a few weeks to a year.

Symptoms of PAWS include:

  • Mood Swings 
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Memory problems
  • Dizziness
  • Increased accident proneness
  • Delayed reflexes
  • Intense cravings
  • Severe Fatigue

Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal 

Detox will allow the individual to successfully rid their body of any alcohol so they can start their rehabilitation program on a clean slate. It will also give them access to medical professionals who will ensure their safety and care throughout the entire process. Detox can be more strenuous than one would expect, and a lot of difficult physical and emotional challenges will present themselves. 

Sana lake provides a space with employees who know what they’re doing and take pride and passion in their efforts to help those struggling with alcohol addiction. We offer a variety of services to help our clients get through detox as smoothly as possible. Some of the services we offer include:


During the initial evaluation, licensed professionals will check your current health status, go over personal and family health history, and address any co-occurring mental health conditions. The evaluation allows the staff to have a solid understanding of your needs so they can offer the best possible services for the detoxification phase. 

Medicated Assistance

Since Alcohol detox is so physically and emotionally demanding, oftentimes medication is needed to help subside the side effects such as headaches, fevers, nausea, seizures or tremors. Some medications used include:  

  • Antipsychotics – these will help with the emotional side effects as well as addressing any co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Benzodiazepines – This class of drug is FDA approved to treat alcohol withdrawal
  • Barbiturates -These are used when individuals are resistant to Benzodiazepines
  • Beta-blockers- Beta-blockers help alleviate the nervous system effects of alcohol withdrawal  
  • Anticonvulsants – This class of medication helps aid in reducing seizure and tremor symptoms 


Both individuals and group therapy are offered in detox programs to provide a space to verbally work through the challenges of addiction recovery. Licensed therapists will be able to help patients learn new methods of looking at their struggles, and help build healthy coping mechanisms that will be useful throughout the entire length of rehabilitation. 

Counseling sessions with a psychiatrist or therapist will help address both mental illness and alcohol addiction and aid in discovering the root causes of their development. Unresolved childhood trauma, insecurities, genetics, and effects from past experiences can be a major factor in alcoholism and if left untreated, sobriety will be harder to maintain. 

Talking with a professional will enable you to learn how to accept and let go of whatever experiences are triggering your anxiety and addiction.  

What Happens After Detox?

Detox may be a crucial step in alcohol recovery, but the work doesn’t stop there. Clients will move on to a long term rehabilitation program to ensure they are both physically and mentally. Alcohol Recovery programs can last anywhere from 30-90 or more days. These are more intense and focus on staying sober long term. 

Depending on personal circumstances, there are options for both inpatient and outpatient rehab. Additionally, most clients find that attending regular talk therapy aids them in staying sober and working through triggers. Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s important to address every aspect of alcohol addiction and learn to work through it so you can carry healthy coping skills throughout the rest of your life. 

Get Help Now 

At Sana Lake Recovery Center in Dittmer, Missouri, our trained professionals are passionate and ready to give you the smoothest possible alcohol detox experience. We understand the physical and emotional challenges you face when you decide to stop drinking, and we believe everyone is capable of a successful recovery. 

We take our pride in our ability to personalize treatments for every one of our client’s individual needs and give them the tools to succeed under our care and after reintegration. While it starts with you, we will be here every step of the way. Contact us to find out more information or enroll in our detox program! 




court-ordered alcohol evaluation

Court-Ordered Alcohol Evaluation

Alcohol addiction makes life very messy. It’s worth mentioning that it not only affects those who are struggling with addiction but their loved ones as well. Alcohol abuse has a way of completely devouring everything in its path, whether it be a user’s job, family/loved ones, or finances. 

The longer someone abuses alcohol, they risk being in imminent danger to themselves and others. Seeking help is always the best game-plan. In circumstances like these, court-ordered substance abuse assessments may render themselves useful.

Why Alcohol Assessment?

Court-ordered alcohol assessments address the following areas of substance abuse:

  • Determining the range of one’s abuse
  • Evaluating the impact of addiction in their own lives and the lives of those surrounding them
  • Addressing as to whether or not dual diagnosis is necessary
  • Allowing the court to outline the treatment plan necessary for the individual’s recovery

A court-ordered alcohol assessment is necessary in order for somebody to start receiving quality care for their addiction. Streamlining the process for recovery never hurts, and it helps those who are dependant on alcohol get better quicker.

Those who participate in court-ordered alcohol assessments have seen a vast improvement in the areas of family conflict, finances, employment, and education. With that in mind, those who end up taking a court-ordered assessment experience much more success than those who do not.

Am I or a Loved One Suffering from SUD?

Those who suffer from alcoholism experience the following symptoms:

  • Lack of self-control with alcohol
  • Lack of interest in any activity
  • Consistently inebriated 
  • Consistently lying
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Those suffering from alcoholism have one priority that trumps everything: drinking. Alcohol abuse not only has a disastrous effect on the individual, but also on those who care about them the most. Addicts may neglect their families and either hurt them emotionally or physically. Financial stressors are also a direct result of alcoholism. All of this has the potential to destroy even the strongest of families. 

What are Alcohol Assessments for Court?

In a nutshell, alcohol assessments for court are a sort of test that is ultimately used to determine the extent of someone’s substance abuse or addiction. Evaluating the range of a person’s alcohol abuse is imperative to receiving the best treatment. Not only do these assessments determine the vastness of the abuse, but it can also be used to discern what exactly is best for the individual as far as treatment is concerned. 

Figuring out which treatment is best for those with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is pivotal to a person’s recovery process. There are no one-size-fits-all methods when it comes to SUD treatment; everybody is different, and so are their needs. Alcohol assessments for court are a huge help when it comes to discerning which treatment option is best for the individual. 

Anybody from employers to family members can use this test to analyze their loved one’s substance abuse. When suspicion arouses a family member or loved one, every option must be considered when discerning what the course of action should be. Alcohol assessments for court are a full-proof route to take.

Additional Alcohol Assessment Information

Court ordered alcohol assessment can be used for the following circumstances:

  • Reinstating a driver’s license
  • Probation
  • Court appearance

This assessment uses diagnostic screening and interviews to put together the biological, psychological, and social history of each case. Sequentially, the information that was gathered is then analyzed to determine which treatment option is best. 

Whether someone has run into trouble with the law or a loved one is looking out for someone they care for, alcohol assessment can help expedite the recovery process. This is a much better option than starting from scratch. The tests speak for themselves. They’re completely objective, not subject to the opinion of anybody else, and completely unbiased. 

Court-ordered alcohol assessments take less than two hours to finish. Upon completing these tests, a licensed clinician will analyze the test results to evaluate the context of alcohol use. This helps people who don’t suffer from substance abuse; sometimes, these people have misused a substance once and it happened to result in arrest or some other legal issue.

Following the assessment, the clinician makes a recommendation for treatment, and the court will make a decision as well. Some of these decisions include the following:

Occasionally the court will order that somebody use these resources before a substance abuse assessment is required. If this is the case, they should take the offer. This could show the court that the person wants to address their problems and take responsibility for them.

Court Recommendations for Treatment Options

Starting treatment immediately upon completing a court-ordered alcohol assessment is the best route to take. Treatment is scary, but some options have proven themselves successful.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is used for more serious cases of substance abuse. These patients receive 24/7 access to medical personnel if the need arises, and also live in the care of a treatment facility. This could last anywhere from 28 days to six months. 

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is an option that is intended for milder cases of substance abuse. This method gives patients access to professional therapists and psychiatrists anywhere from 10-12 hours weekly. In terms of timeline, this could last anywhere from three months to over a year depending on the individual. Outpatient care renders itself useful for those who suffer from mild substance abuse. Those who need to stay at home to support their family’s loved ones, or themselves can do so.


Alcohol detox could include the following symptoms:

  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures 
  • Nausea 
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

When dealing with substance abuse treatment, cutting somebody off of alcohol can lead to serious withdrawal. It is difficult to manage sobriety and good health in general after making drinking the top priority; it’s so easy to slip up. Alcohol detox should be treated with extreme care. Medically assisted treatment (MAT) uses medicine to help a patient come off of their substance dependence comfortably.

Counseling Sessions

Counseling assists patients in examining their past with substance abuse. Establishing a broad range of coping mechanisms is imperative to the recovery journey. It also plays a significant role in shaping the attitudes of those individuals in a more positive direction. 

Circumstances for Court Ordered Assessment

Some of the most common offenses that require assessment include the following:

  • Public intoxication
  • Fake ID

The cause for any disease, let alone alcohol addiction is crucial to the improvement and of somebody’s life. Treating the symptoms should never take top priority; it is also just as crucial to the court process. A court-ordered assessment determines the best course of action in the fairest and balanced way.  

Sana Lake Wants to Help You Today

Our top priority at Sana Lake is to be sure that you are cared for and recover to the best of your ability. It can be scary initially to even think about substance abuse treatment, but nothing is as imperative as determining the best course of action. 

Destructive tendencies will not help anybody in these situations, especially those addicted to or suffering from alcohol abuse. The best way to handle these situations may be to sit with them and just listen.

This may be difficult to accept, but the reality is that there are so many people who struggle with substance abuse. However, users are not the only ones who suffer; their families and loved ones do as well. It is just as imperative that they receive help. Finding the right kind of care is crucial to the recovery journey. 

Sana Lake believes in walking with and assisting those who suffer from alcohol abuse. Their family and loved ones are not exempt. Our goal is to lead them towards a life of stability so that they can flourish. The first step in this process may be a court-ordered alcohol assessment. 

Due to the unique needs of each individual, finding the right kind of treatment may be difficult. This is why a court-ordered alcohol assessment is vital to the recovery process; it determines what kind of care fits a person’s recovery needs.

Our philosophy is to bring those that wrestle with alcohol addiction to a more stable place. We do this successfully by assessing the needs of each person so that they can receive the best care available to recover as quickly as possible. 

Our passion lies with all of our patients’ pursuit of well-being. If you or a loved one wants to take an alcohol assessment, you can contact us here, or call us at (855) 413-8252.



court-ordered drug evaluation

Court-Ordered Drug Evaluation

Substance abuse and drug addiction have the potential to mess up somebody’s life. Whether it be their family, finances, or even their employment, drug abuse has a way of completely ruining everything in its path of destruction. 

What’s worse is that the longer someone is abusing drugs or alcohol, the more likely it is that they pose a danger to themselves and others. Seeking help is necessary. In circumstances like these, court-ordered substance abuse assessments may find themselves necessary.

Why Drug Assessment?

Court-ordered substance abuse assessments may be necessary to address the following:

  • Determining the extent of one’s addiction
  • Evaluating the impact of one’s substance abuse
  • Addressing the range of one’s substance abuse disorder
  • Revealing whether or not dual diagnosis is necessary
  • Allows the court to outline a treatment plan unique to the individual

For somebody to start receiving quality care for their drug addiction, a court-ordered drug assessment is a significant step to take. It will streamline the process for recovery so that those with substance abuse disorders can get better quicker.

It is worth mentioning that those who participate in court-ordered drug assessments reported a great amount of improvement in the area of family conflict. These people have also required little assistance in areas such as employment, education, and finances. It is safe to say that those struggling with substance abuse who end up taking a court-ordered drug assessment have a much smoother road to recovery than those who do not.

What are Drug Assessments for Court?

In short, drug assessments for the court are tests that are ultimately used to determine the range of someone’s substance abuse or addiction. Evaluating the extent of someone’s substance abuse is significant in receiving the best treatment. Not only do the assessments evaluate the vastness of the abuse, but it can also be used to determine exactly what kind of treatment is necessary for the individual. 

Determining exactly which treatment is best for those with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is essential to a person’s rehab. There is no cookie-cutter SUD treatment method; each individual is unique, and so are their needs. Drug assessments for court are a huge help when it comes to discerning as to which treatment option is best for the individual. 

When substance abuse arouses suspicion for a family member or loved one, it is imperative that not a stone is left unturned when discerning what the course of action should be. Drug assessments for court are a full-proof route to take. Anybody from employers to family members can use this test.

Additional Drug Assessment Information

Court-ordered drug assessment can be used for the following circumstances:

  • Reinstating a driver’s license
  • Probation
  • Court appearance

This particular assessment uses diagnostic screening and interviews to put together the biological, psychological, and social history of each case. After this is done, the information gathered is then analyzed to help determine which treatment is best for the individual. 

Whether someone has been arrested for drug use, or a loved one is seeking assistance for someone they care about, drug assessment can help streamline the recovery process in a more thorough way than starting from scratch. In a way, the tests speak for themselves. They’re completely objective, not subject to the opinion of anybody else, and completely unbiased. 

These court-ordered drug assessments take less than two hours two finish. Upon completion, a licensed professional clinician will examine the test to evaluate the history and context of drug use. This is helpful because sometimes people don’t suffer from substance abuse disorder; sometimes, these people have merely misused a substance once and it happened to result in arrest.

After this takes place, the clinician will make a recommendation and the court will decide on treatment and/or conviction. Some of these decisions include the following:

Sometimes the court will order that somebody take these measures before a substance abuse assessment is required. If this is the case, it’s in the person’s best interest to take the court’s offer. This should be done because ultimately, it shows the court that the person wants to take responsibility for their actions and address their problems, which would expedite the whole process.

Court Recommendations for Treatment Options

Upon learning which treatment option is right for the person that took the assessment, it is best to start immediately. Rehab treatment can be scary, but the available options have proven themselves to be quite successful.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is used when somebody is suffering from a more serious case of substance abuse. With 24/7 access to medical personnel, if the need arises, patients live in the care of a treatment facility. This specific treatment method lasts anywhere from 28 days to six months. 

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient care is a treatment option that is designed to treat milder cases of substance abuse. Outpatient treatment gives patients access to licensed therapists and psychiatrists anywhere from 10-12 hours weekly. Lasting anywhere from three months to over an entire year, this treatment option renders itself useful for those who suffer from mild substance abuse and need to stay at home to support their families, loved ones, or themselves.


Drug detox could include the following symptoms:

  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Hallucinations
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures 
  • Nausea 

Cutting somebody off of drugs, especially somebody struggling from substance abuse can lead to serious withdrawal. Drug cravings are difficult to manage and should be treated with the utmost care. Medically assisted treatment (MAT) uses medicine to help a patient come off of a drug comfortably.

Counseling Sessions

Counseling aids patients in evaluating their past with substance abuse. It also plays a significant role in molding their attitudes towards recovery in a more positive direction. Improving and establishing coping mechanisms for those who suffer from substance abuse is imperative to their recovery. 

Circumstances for Court Ordered Assessment

Some of the most common offenses that require assessment include the following:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Drug possession
  • Manufacturing illegal substances
  • Selling or distributing illegal substances
  • Public intoxication
  • Fake ID

Determining the cause for any disease, let alone substance abuse is crucial to the improvement and overall well being of somebody’s life. However, apart from that, it’s also significant to the process of drug court. A court-ordered assessment helps determine the best course of action fairly and without bias. 

Sana Lake Wants to Help You Today

At Sana Lake, our top priority is making sure that you’ve cared for and recover to the best of your ability. Fear may be at the forefront of your mind at the moment. The need for quick action is important but not as valuable as evaluating the best course of action. 

Acting destructively will not help anybody in these situations, especially those suffering from SUD. The best course of action in this situation may be sitting down and listening to them, and then contacting Sana Lake to help you with what comes next.

This may be excruciatingly difficult, but the reality is somebody is struggling with substance abuse. These people need help as soon as possible so that their next problem doesn’t overcomplicate what is already going on. Not only that, but families and loved ones suffer too. It is just as important that they receive help; theirs may come when they provide their loved one with the assistance they need to recover.

Sana Lake believes in coming alongside and assisting those who suffer from drug abuse, as well as their family and loved ones. Our goal is to lead them towards a life of sobriety and stability. The first step in this process may be a court-ordered drug assessment. 

Treating each patient is complex due to their individual needs. This is why a court-ordered drug assessment is so vital to the recovery process; it helps in determining what individualized care a person needs. 

Our philosophy is to bring people who struggle with drug addiction to a more stable sense of well-being. To do so, we assess the needs of the individual so that there are preparations in place to help fight their drug addiction and that someday they may end up living a more healthy lifestyle. Ultimately, we want to set them up for success.

We are incredibly passionate concerning all of our patients’ state of well-being. If you or a loved one wants to take the next step and take a drug assessment, you can contact us here, or call us at (855) 413-8252.




Polysubstance Abuse: What Happens When You Mix Ambien With Alcohol?

Drugs and alcohol are often taken together, which has been proven to produce negative effects, sometimes lethal if not careful. If you have poor sleeping patterns or are feeling unrested after receiving many hours of sleep, then you may have a sleep disorder. Taking Ambien or other sleep aids should only be done under medical supervision. 

To cope with not being able to fall asleep, or having bad sleep habits, people often resort to having a drink before bed or taking sleeping pills such as Ambien to help them fall asleep easier and faster. Truth is, using any kind of sleep aid such as alcohol, Ambien, or both can lead to dependency and addiction called polysubstance abuse. 

Are you one of these people who has a hard time falling asleep at night? Well, you are not alone, as many as 50-70 million people have some type of sleep disorder, such as insomnia and sleep apnea. reports that the amount of sleep recommended for people to sleep at night is an average of seven to eight hours. After all, sleep is a science, and the amount you do get is important, as it contributes to your overall health and wellbeing. In addition to the amount of sleep, quality is also essential.

What is Polysubstance Abuse?

In the realm of addiction “poly” meaning many, refers to the abuse of more than one substance simultaneously. Within the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), polysubstance abuse is classified as a substance disorder, where a person becomes reliant on a group of three various types of substances. The most commonly affected by polydrug abuse are usually young adults between the ages of 18-24. 

Various studies behind polysubstance abuse have proven that the excessive use of one drug almost always leads to the increased probability of eventually becoming dependant on more than one substance at a time. Almost always, the drug or two is commonly mixed with alcohol. 

Combining drugs is a dangerous game with potentially lethal results. When substances are taken together, the resulting reaction may be unpredictable and potentially hazardous, and, increases the dangers and risk of a polysubstance overdose. 

Types of Polysubstance Abuse 

People commonly abuse the following combinations of drugs such as: 

  • Alcohol and cocaine
  • Alcohol and opioids
  • Alcohol and ecstasy 
  • Cocaine and heroin
  • Heroin and methamphetamine
  • Benzodiazepines and opioids

When an individual abuses more than one drug one on a regular basis, especially combined with alcohol, it can dramatically worsen a person’s reaction and effect the drug has on one’s system.

One of the most common causes of polysubstance abuse is the use of Ambien and alcohol combined. The truth is the dangers and risks of abusing a combination of Ambien and alcohol especially, are greater than people think. 

Not only does alcohol cause severe liver damage, but the use of other drugs in conjunction can also prove to be fatal because the liver cannot seem to break them down properly. As well, alcohol also impairs judgment, which can lead to overdose. 

What Happens When You Mix Ambien With Alcohol? 

Mixing the combination of Ambien and alcohol together has its dangers and risks, particularly of how it affects the body. If you have been prescribed Ambien for a sleep disorder or are taking it to help you go to sleep, it is important to understand what could happen if it is taken while drinking alcohol. 

Evidence-based research has shown, that since Ambien’s development, doctors have seen a notable decline in the abuse of the prescribed pharmaceuticals traditionally used to treat insomnia. Although this may be the case, the rate of people suffering from polysubstance abuse is very much on the rise, specifically the consumption of alcohol and Ambien.   

According to research conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Zolpidem acts similar to benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, a drug used to treat anxiety. Made with a different molecular structure, its main purpose is to decrease the chances for anyone to develop a physical dependence or addiction to Ambien. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), states that there is a low dependency, but only when people used it properly as prescribed. This is where the problem lies. 

Polysubstance abuse is extremely common, and even though its Zolpidem’s job is to reduce the chance of addiction, the negative effects and increase in the number of overdose-related incidences and even deaths due to mixing Ambien and alcohol together remain supreme. 

In other words, addiction to Ambien has not decreased, and the usage of the drug mixed with alcohol has increased tenfold. When mixed together with alcohol, the effect that it has on the body can be diabolical. 

Double Trouble: Ambien and Alcohol’s Effect on the Body

Alcohol is a depressant and Ambien is a sedative, both of which are made to slow down the body’s central nervous system. Adding Alcohol to Ambien will amplify its effects and vice versa. Sedatives are addictive on their own and regular use of both substances together will lead to psychological and physical dependence. Also, it will have a profound impact on a range of different bodily systems and major organs. 

Ambien, known as a sleeping pill, is classified as a sedative prescribed for people who struggle severely to fall asleep. The drug called Zolpidem, a depressant is the active ingredient within  Ambien, which works by slowing down a person’s central nervous system (CNS) and brain activity. 

Ambien is manufactured in two forms: extended-release, which means when it absorbs into the body it does so slowly over a period of time. The other type of Ambien is called immediate-release, which as it sounds, means the drug absorbs into the body right away. 

People are aware that drug labels and physicians warn against mixing drugs with alcohol. Although, what they don’t warn people about it how many people still abuse substances without concern.    

Signs of Polysubstance Abuse: Identifying the Risk Factors 

When a person abuses more than one drug on a semi-regular basis, the individual is prone to developing issues with polysubstance abuse. In other cases, those who abuse more than one drug chronically will become addicted to one drug or more. Identifying drug addiction risk factors is important. 

The National Institutes of Health has reported that having as little as two drinks on an evening after having had Ambien can result in residual effects on the body. Those who regularly drink in addition to taking Ambien are not only likely to start developing a dependence on Zolpidem, but also tolerance to it. 

As mentioned before, there is a real risk of having an overdose when combining these two substances. Therefore it is very important to become aware of the risk factors and what to do when addiction becomes a reality. 

The risk factors that occur when Ambien is mixed with alcohol include: 

  • Slurred speech
  • Unusual behavior
  • Liver damage
  • Respiratory failure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dilated pupils 

If left untreated, polysubstance abuse can lead to a coma or worse death. If you believe you or someone you care about is abusing  Ambien and Alcohol or experiencing an overdose, immediately seek help. The addiction specialists at Sana Lake Recovery Center can help. 

What Is The Difference Between Polysubstance Use And Addiction?

The difference between addiction and polysubstance abuse is a matter to what degree. If a person is abusing alcohol, but have not yet developed a dependence on it, it is possible to still experience some withdrawal symptoms, but not as severe as people who actually have a polysubstance abuse problem. 

It is important to note, that there is a difference between addiction and dependence. The main difference between addiction is that someone who is addicted is unable to stop using despite the negative consequences that may occur. 

When someone uses a substance that doesn’t mean that they are abusing it or are necessarily addicted to it. However, with Ambien and alcohol, there is a high probability that it could lead to addiction. Those with polysubstance abuse are likely to abuse more than one drug and likely to mix it with alcohol. To avoid the chance of addiction, help is available. 

Prevent Addiction With Our Help

At Sana Lake Recovery Center our addiction specialists are committed to helping people suffering from polysubstance abuse. We know that asking for help is extremely difficult. The use of multiple substances can further complicate diagnosis and treatment.

Therefore our comprehensive treatment plans entail providing the best resources and high-quality continuum of patient care within all of our processes to ensure our patients know that there is hope for them and that they are in good hands during and after recovery. While it starts with you, we will be here every step of the way. 

Besides helping our patient’s on the road to recovery and long-term sobriety, we most importantly, strive to provide a combination of high-quality resources, such as prevention tips, education, enforcement, and treatment, which will effectively help to raise awareness about the risks and signs of Ambien and alcohol misuse. This will play a critical role in not only helping people to recover but also empowering one to make safer choices, and in return, prevent the chance of relapse, overdose, and death. 

Contact us today by calling our addiction specialists in Dittmer, Missouri at (636) 707-2097




What Occurs During Benzo Withdrawal Treatment

Benzodiazepine And How They Work

Benzodiazepine, or “benzo”, is a psychoactive drug and falls under the category of tranquilizers. They are sold under many different brand names, some of the most popular ones being Valium and Xanax

More specifically, they are nervous system depressants, meaning they help people “calm down”, “slow down”, or “relax”. It is used as a sedative for the body, and as a depressant for the nerves in the central nervous system.

Benzos are used to treat multiple conditions, like anxiety, panic disorders, insomnia, seizures, muscle spasms, and even alcohol withdrawal. Most of these disorders are caused by excessive nervous activity in the brain. In more technical terms, it stimulates a neurotransmitter, called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA helps nerves “send messages” to one another, and it is responsible for reducing the activity of the nerves.

Addiction to Benzodiazepine

Benzos are a prescription medication, and therefore, can be used safely – but things might take a turn for the worse. Some people might not realize they are prone to addiction. While others might have red flags to look out for, like family history, some might have no idea. Continued use of benzodiazepine, even when prescribed, can cause dependence in as little as 3 to 4 weeks.

While the opioid crisis has been afflicting the country, benzodiazepine has been increasingly causing concern among professionals but getting little to no attention. For benzos, lethal overdoses have increased sevenfold from 1999 to 2015. In fact, in 2015, 23% of people killed by opioids also had trace amounts of benzodiazepine in their bodies.

Not all cases are lethal, but the numbers are still worrisome. In just ten years, from 1998 to 2008, the number of admissions for benzo withdrawal treatment almost tripled. Although it’s been considered a crisis, the number of prescriptions for benzodiazepine has not gone down. From 1996 to 2013,  they increased by 67%, hitting 13.5 million. While other drugs, like opioids, have had a decrease in prescriptions due to the crisis, the same has not happened to benzos.

Risk groups vary, but the age group that is most often linked to the misuse of benzodiazepine are people from ages 18 to 29. It is a popular club drug, being often abused along with other drugs, such as opioids. Even outside of this group, benzodiazepine misuse has been commonly associated with opioid abuse. Gender-wise, while females seem to be more often prescribed benzos, males tend to misuse it more often.

Addiction x Dependence 

When it comes to benzodiazepine, there is a difference between dependency and addiction. Most people that take benzos become dependent, but that doesn’t mean they are addicted. When the brain is exposed to benzodiazepine for weeks, it becomes adapted to its presence. It is considered a dependence because the brain needs it to function normally.

With time, the brain becomes more tolerant of the substance. This means that someone would need a higher dose to get the same effect. Dependency can get to the point where, if a person stops taking benzo suddenly, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. 

The safest way to stop taking benzodiazepine is to lower the dosage gradually, little by little. And this where dependence differs from addiction. A person who is addicted to benzos will not be able to slowly quit the drug. 

Addiction is characterized by a general loss of control in life. Considered a substance use disorder, it can cause chemical and neurological imbalances. Addiction can affect judgment, decision-making, and behavior. This is what can make someone more prone to risky choices to get more drugs.

One of the main reasons why benzos can become addictive is because of dopamine release. The neurotransmitter is responsible for mediating pleasure in the brain. As it is with many drugs, dopamine becomes a strong factor in addiction development. The feeling of pleasure triggered by it might become stronger than the one caused by any other experience.

Symptoms During Benzo Withdrawal Treatment

If a person decides to quit benzodiazepine, they might experience withdrawal symptoms even before benzo withdrawal treatment. The intensity of the symptoms will depend on the level of the addiction, the person’s history with addiction, and/or genetic aspects.

Somewhere between 20% and 50% of people who stop taking benzos to experience some kind of withdrawal symptoms. The most common ones tend to be anxiety, insomnia, and/or behavioral changes, all usually mild. However, these usually only last for a few days, and a person might not require benzo withdrawal treatment for them.

Should the person stop taking benzodiazepine suddenly or need benzo withdrawal treatment for their addiction, symptoms might be more severe. They can experience the following:


  • Mood changes such as irritability, agitation, anxiety, depression, and/or panic attacks
  • Headaches
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea
  • Poor-quality sleep (insomnia, nightmares)
  • Tremors and sweating
  • Lack of appetite
  • Heart palpitations
  • Muscle aches, pains, and/or spasms
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, and/or blurred/double vision
  • Tingling sensations
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Hypersensitivity to light, sound, taste, and touch
  • Seizures

These symptoms can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. They are more often manifested on those that take higher doses of benzo. However, any of them can be experienced at any dose, even during benzo withdrawal treatment.

There have been few cases reported of psychotic behavior as well. Psychiatric, severe symptoms might include delirium, hallucinations, depersonalization, and disorientation.

But the risks during withdrawal go beyond the side effects or withdrawal symptoms of benzodiazepine. If someone abruptly decides to quit benzos, or quit cold turkey, doing so might be dangerous, and even deadly. That is why, even when prescribed, a patient has to gradually lower their dosage. The sudden change in the nervous system can cause seizures, and eventually, death.

That is why, if a person is addicted to benzodiazepine, it is highly recommended that they go through medically-assisted benzo withdrawal treatment. 

What You Need To Know About Benzo Withdrawal Treatment

As it is with any program, benzo withdrawal treatment starts with the detoxing stage. Usually, the patient should do so gradually, but when it comes to addiction, it is very hard for someone to do so on their own. In some cases, a doctor might first switch the benzodiazepine being taken before detox starts. They might prescribe longer-acting benzo in order to lessen symptoms or make them less intense. 

The symptoms experienced and the time it might take to detox will depend on a number of factors. First, there’s the benzodiazepine itself – the shorter-acting ones will trigger symptoms much quicker, for instance. Next, there’s the dosage and the duration of use, which in turn, affect the level of dependence and/or addiction to benzodiazepine. Intense symptoms will most likely require hospitalization and residential treatment.

Not only is it safer to go through inpatient benzo withdrawal treatment, but it can be less painful, too. In this case, doctors can help manage symptoms with other medication that won’t make addiction worse. This will help reduce discomfort and the chance of experiencing serious symptoms, like seizures, that might cause more complications.

Once detox is done, the patient can go through the next stage of benzo withdrawal treatment. They will need to go through a program with medical and psychiatric help for their condition. The type of program they might need to start on will depend on their needs. For some, it is best to continue on an inpatient service setting. This is especially the case if their symptoms were too severe, or if they are a danger to themselves and others.

However, moderate to mild cases could be addressed through an outpatient program. These do not require hospitalization, and the patient only needs to come back to the clinic for assessments, therapy sessions, and medical follow-ups. 

Benzo withdrawal treatment and recovery are not usually linear. Even though there is a constant improvement, there can be a few ups and downs throughout the program, and that is part of the process. Additionally, people who might have used high doses for long periods of time might experience what is called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). This can make the patient have recurrent episodes of withdrawal symptoms for months after quitting.

Getting Benzo Withdrawal Treatment

Addiction to benzodiazepine is a serious issue and can be hard to get rid of on your own. But no matter how you got to where you are, we at Sana Lake Recovery Center can help you. Benzo withdrawal treatment can be made easier if you have the right team behind you.

You can go through all of the stages of the process with us. We offer services from detox to residential or outpatient treatment, where you can get the full help you need. Besides the medical and psychiatric parts of the program, we also provide holistic, naturotherapy, and wellness services. We believe in healing, not just the body, and in aligning it with the mind and the soul. Because recovery has to be done from the inside out.

If you or a loved one need help for benzo withdrawal treatment, or any other recovery help, visit our website and contact us today. You can learn about all the options we have, take an assessment, and find out what the next steps are. While getting sober might not be easy, it can be permanent with the right help and mindset. So give us a call, ask everything you need, and make the decision that can turn your life around


holistic alternative to opioids

Holistic Opioid Alternatives for Chronic Pain

Opioids work directly on the parts of the brain that perceive pain. They are derived from the opium poppy and are the main ingredient to many painkillers. Once they are taken, they act on what are called opioid receptors, present in the brain, spinal cord, and even the digestive tract. Then, they block pain signals and generate morphine-like symptoms on the body.

These receptors are also the ones that allow people to feel pleasure. So while they also lower perception of pain, they also make a person feel relaxed. That is why the chemical and neurological effects of opioids can often lead to addiction

As a legal drug, opioids, or opiates, are used for pain management for moderate to severe pain. They require prescription and monitoring, and in most cases, they should be used for short periods of time. However, some conditions might require some form of pain management for long. Cases of chronic pain or even cancer require long-term use of painkillers.

In this case, a doctor will tell a person the best way and dosage to consume, and for how long. It is crucial that the doctor’s orders are followed, because of the high risk of addiction, and other side effects.

The Opioid Crisis

It is not rare for people to become dependent or addicted to opioids, especially after using it for too long. While they are controlled substances, their effects can only be predicted if used correctly. And even then, there is still a risk. In fact, as of now, the U.S. is going through what is considered an opioid crisis.

Studies have shown that this opioid crisis started in 1999. The year marks the rise of prescription opioid overdose deaths. That was the “first wave” of the said crisis. Next, around 2010, is when the second wave started. The main culprit for deaths was heroin. Not long after, the third and current wave began. It was in 2013, and the drugs that have been causing alarming reports of deaths since are synthetic opioids.

Missouri has not been immune to this wave, either. From 2015 to 2017, the number of synthetic opioid-related deaths almost tripled. However, the number of deaths reported involving prescription opioids hasn’t improved much, either. Since 2010, an average of 250 people has died every year, with yearly numbers reported staying between 200 and 300.

The Dangers of Opioids

As stated, one of the possible outcomes of opioid use is dependence. In the case of prolonged use, one might become tolerant and require higher and higher doses. As for addiction, a person with a tendency for dependence might develop a substance use disorder after treatment.

There are many side effects and symptoms that come from the constant use of opiates. Some of them are: 

  • Sedation (excessive in higher doses)
  • Dizziness, drowsiness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting 
  • Constipation 
  • Physical dependence and/or tolerance
  • Respiratory depression
  • Muscle rigidity and/or spasm
  • Immunologic dysfunction
  • Hormonal dysfunction
  • Increased sensitivity to pain

Although every drug has its side effects, opioids can have some of the most dangerous ones. Its use needs to be closely followed by a doctor, and their instructions need to be followed. For some, however, holistic opioid alternatives might be the only way to go.

Holistic Opioid Alternatives For Treatment

For many, using opioids for pain management is not an option. Family history of addiction or previous experiences with dependency are factors that might discourage someone from taking them. These might actually be reasons why a doctor won’t prescribe opioids, even. These factors put the person at a risk group for addiction to opioids.

But whatever the reason might be, there are healthy, holistic opioid alternatives. Now, the right choice for you would depend on the health condition you are dealing with. But there are options for many different purposes.

Chronic, Physical Pain Holistic Opioid Alternatives

Persistent, physical pain might not have a cure depending on the condition. But even in these cases, there are multiple ways to lessen the pain without using meds. Some of the effects of physical stimuli and stressors can be dealt with through holistic treatment or therapy.

Acupuncture – One of the most popular holistic opioid alternatives for pain management. The technique is comprised of light needle punctures on specific parts of the body. The goal is to place them in a way where the pain signals are cut. Some practitioners might also add in electrical stimulation, a version of the technique which is called electroacupuncture. Generally, a person is supposed to feel numbness, distension, or even tingling in the areas the needles go. 

Massages – There are many different techniques to choose from, so you can experiment until you find what works for you. Shiatsu, Swedish, cross-fiber – there are many to pick from. A professional might be able to recommend the right type of massage for you. Each is meant to mix friction and pressure techniques for different purposes and ends.


Physical Therapy – a mix of exercises, kinesiology (the study of body movement), and shockwave/electrotherapy, physical therapy is the complete package. It is often used even to treat veterans, and others who have had strenuous exercise and severe wear of muscles, cartilage, and/or bones. Probably the most effective, albeit intense, holistic opioid alternative for physical pain.


Cupping – While not a new technique, it has recently become more commonly used among practitioners. Cupping is done by applying local suction on the skin with round utensils. This is meant to help blood flow and avoid blood stagnation or energy. People might get it for pain, inflammation, relaxation, and even as a deep-tissue massage. It is not rare for people to pair cupping with other holistic opioid alternatives for pain, as well.


Chiropractic Care – Described as treatment through manipulation of the spine, there are literally more than 200 chiropractic techniques. The reason for focusing on the spine is because it is the center of the nervous system. In layman’s terms, chiropractors use techniques that help “crack” the spine and readjust the positioning of posture. It is a common holistic opioid alternative for pain management, with many professionals easily found almost everywhere.

Alternative Medication 

For those going through major, severe complications, not all of the previous options are possible. People who need holistic opioid alternatives while battling cancer, for instance, might have limited choices. In this case, there are some medications and less intense remedies that can help with the pain.


Acetaminophen – Mostly recommended for cases of mild to moderate pain. It is known by other popular brand names, such as Tylenol, or as paracetamol. It is also used for treatment for severe pain for cancer patients or post-surgery recovery. However, they are only safe if the patient takes the recommended dosages. 


Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) – In many cases, inflammation is the main culprit for chronic pain. In these cases, an NSAID might be the safest opioid alternative. As they reduce swelling, this might help reduce or stop the pain altogether. However, they should be taken cautiously, since they can cause cardiovascular and/or gastrointestinal problems. 


Non-opioid Prescription Drugs – There are other controlled, prescription drugs that can be used for pain management. Tricyclic antidepressants, for instance, are often used for nerve, muscular, or skeletal pain. Anticonvulsants/anti-seizure medication can also be an alternative to opioids. These, however, are not taken only when needed and need to be taken on a daily basis, with or without pain. Otherwise, they might not be effective, either.


While holistic opioid alternatives might have some side effects, they are more predictable than most opiates. Some of these solutions might only be adequate for short periods of time. Prolonged use of some of those drugs could cause ulcers, blood clotting issues, liver and/or kidney problems, and the list goes on. 


Self-medication, however, is never the best answer. Any medication you might take should be done so through the recommendation of a doctor. Only a professional can tell you how to best treat your pain, especially in the long term. Some drugs can cause a bad, maybe even lethal reaction if combined with others. So always consult with a doctor before taking anything.

Getting Treatment 

If you become addicted to opioids either through treatment or use of illicit drugs, you are not alone. Right now, you are one of many, many more who deal with the struggle of opioid addiction. But it doesn’t have to be like this for long. Opioid addiction can be managed, and there is treatment available for those in need. And we at Sana Lake Recovery Center want to help you get through it.


Along with our many options, we offer a holistic approach to recovery. We believe that treatment can be even more than chemistry and meds. It is also about the mind, the body, and the spirit as well. While we provide psychiatric and medical aid, we also offer neuropathic, holistic, and wellness programming. 


So if this sounds like what you or a loved one might need, visit our website and contact us today. You can learn about all the options we have for you and the tools we can give you to get better. Our team will be glad to guide you through this journey not just into sobriety, but into a healthier, happier life.