alcohol rehab for seniors

Alcohol Treatment for Seniors: A Growing Problem of Alcoholism in Senior Citizens

Alcoholism is no stranger to our world. Most countries have encountered cases of alcohol dependence. Most communities are currently seeing the negative effects this substance has on some people’s lives. And most families have been impacted by alcohol use disorder. Many younger individuals have struggled with alcohol misuse. But, while it’s certainly important to make sure these individuals have helpful resources can be detrimental as there are many seniors who also suffer from alcoholism. This means alcohol rehab for seniors is absolutely necessary for our communities.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, is a condition in which a person excessively and uncontrollably uses alcohol. Those who suffer from alcohol use disorder depend on alcohol and feel unable to function properly without this substance. Often, individuals who struggle with alcoholism drink far more often and in larger doses than others. 

Although alcohol is a legal substance and many people tend to enjoy a drink from time to time, some individuals struggle to limit themselves. This could be an indication that alcoholism is developing.

Some of the common signs of alcohol dependence, alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism include the following:

  • Irritability
  • Moodiness
  • Memory loss
  • Recklessness
  • Inability to stop or limit drinking
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Drinking first thing in the morning
  • Secrecy (i.e. drinking in private or alone)
  • Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities
  • Prioritizing drinking alcohol over responsibilities
  • Defensiveness when approached about drinking habits
  • Drinking in dangerous situations (i.e. before driving, along with medications, etc.)

Individuals who experience some or all of these signs and symptoms are likely suffering from alcohol dependence or misuse. If you have noticed any of these signs in the life of an older adult that you know, it may be time to intervene and help the individual to enroll in an alcohol rehab program for seniors.

Alcoholism in Seniors: Statistics and Effects of Senior Alcoholism

It’s easy to assume that alcoholism and other substance use disorders are mainly prevalent in the lives of younger individuals. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 11.0 million adults aged 26 or older had suffered from an alcohol use disorder within the past year. But, many of those adults who suffer from alcoholism are over the age of 65. 

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) states that “one-third of older alcoholic persons develop a problem with alcohol in later life”. Research states that alcohol is the most commonly used substance in the older population. The AAFP also states that approximately 6% of aging adults can be classified as heavy alcohol users.

Why Does Senior Alcohol Dependence Develop?

Alcohol use disorder occurs as a result of many different factors. Each individual is different and has varying experiences. So, the causes of substance dependence will be different from case to case. However, when it comes to older individuals, several factors may contribute to the development of an alcohol use disorder. 

Grief/Loss

Many seniors who suffer from alcoholism have experienced great loss. They may have lost a spouse to illness. Or, their long-time friends may pass away. Many older individuals may lose adult children due to illnesses, violence, or other causes of death. In some cases, even the loss of a dear pet could be very difficult for older individuals. Any other type of companion or caregiver who passes away could also cause a very serious and overwhelming sense of grief to occur in the lives of senior men and women.

Loneliness

The loss of a loved one can leave older individuals alone. This is especially the case in cases where a close companion or caregiver dies. Also, as adult children get older and begin to move away from home, their older parents may feel lonely or empty. Even those who live in facilities or communities that are specially designed to accommodate the needs of older adults may begin to feel severely lonely. 

Retirement/Inactivity/Boredom

Many older individuals are simply unsure about what to do as life changes. Retiring from the workforce can lead to inactivity and, frankly, boredom. It can be hard for people to find a new “normal”, especially after having worked or been extremely active in previous years. Transitioning into a life of retirement can cause older people to feel unsettled or leave them feeling empty.

Depression

Loneliness, uncertainty, and grief can all lead to the development of depression. Physical health conditions can also be another contributing factor. Many older individuals suffer from depression. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians reports that approximately 5 million Americans who are 65 years or older have clinical depression. According to the same report, about 1 million adults in this age range have major depression.

The same report says that depression has been seen in 17%-37% of older patients who received treatment in primary care settings. About 30% of these individuals have been diagnosed with major depression.

Depression can worsen, its symptoms becoming more and more severe. This can lead to many challenges and effects, including:

  • Worry
  • Self-harm
  • Restlessness
  • Helplessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Overwhelming dissatisfaction
  • A lack of interest in interpersonal activities
  • An overall loss of motivation or inspiration

These symptoms and effects of depression can become overwhelming and decrease the quality of a person’s life. It can become even more challenging for older individuals to cope with these symptoms if they are also faced with physical illness, loneliness, or grief.

Stress/Anxiety/Fear

Unfortunately, many elderly individuals suffer from immense fear and worry. Anxiety and severe concerns may plague the hearts and minds of older people. Sometimes, this fear can come to older individuals who live alone. Or, elderly men and women may be overcome by concern or worry for their family members or for their own safety. Financial concerns might also become overwhelming for senior citizens as they are no longer working. 

Turning to Alcohol for Help

Sadly, countless older adults are unsure about where to turn for help. They may not know how to get the support or companionship that they need as they suffer from the challenges we mentioned earlier. As a result, many individuals turn to substance use in order to cope with these difficulties. Alcohol is often to “solution” in many people’s lives. Unfortunately, this can cause damaging and life-altering effects to occur.

Alcohol often seems to provide relief and rescue from the negative emotions and obstacles that life presents. It’s not uncommon for people to drink alcohol in order to relax or feel more at ease. But, the truth is that this behavior can lead to alcohol dependence and cause people to develop alcohol use disorders. 

When a person becomes dependent on alcohol, he or she may not feel able to cope with or manage the difficult situations that may arise. This might just lead to even more harmful habits and behaviors, including prescription drug misuse or illicit drug dependence. 

Health Complications Due To Alcohol Use in Seniors

Many older individuals who suffer from alcohol misuse develop very serious health complications as a result of excessive alcohol use. Alcohol use disorder can contribute to, cause, or worsen the following health problems:

  • Stroke
  • Ulcers
  • Diabetes
  • Confusion
  • Osteoporosis
  • Forgetfulness
  • Memory problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver diseases (i.e. cirrhosis)
  • Depression and other mood disorders

Some older individuals who misuse alcohol may engage in risky or harmful activities. This might include driving or trying to manage machinery or equipment while under the influence of alcohol. Also, some elderly individuals may develop very serious problems if they mix alcohol with medications. Many individuals do not intentionally use alcohol along with prescriptions. For example, a person may forget that he or she took medication and may drink alcohol. This could lead to adverse and severe effects, some of which could be deadly. 

Since the effects of alcoholism and excessive alcohol use can be so harmful, those who suffer from alcohol use disorder should seek help immediately.

Alcohol Rehab for Seniors

It is highly important for seniors who suffer from the effects of alcohol misuse to have access to treatment services. Again, alcohol dependence can have a very major negative effect on the lives of older individuals. So, finding the right resources can help to prevent further physical damage and end substance dependence altogether. Here are some of the treatment services that may be a part of alcohol rehab for seniors:

Detox

The detoxification process usually involves a medication-assisted treatment process. A professional detox program can help to cleanse the body from the toxic and harmful properties of drugs and alcohol. Throughout this process, individuals can work through the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal in a safe environment. These symptoms can be very difficult to deal with and may even lead people to relapse in order to avoid them. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms might involve:

  • Fevers
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Moodiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleeping disturbances
  • Inability to think clearly

It’s best for those in recovery to go through a detox process as they work through withdrawal. This will ensure that recovering individuals have access to professional and medical assistance should withdrawal become overwhelming or even dangerous. Also, the medication involved in MAT can help to block or lessen the effects of withdrawal symptoms. This may make the process more comfortable for those who are working to recover from alcohol misuse.

Residential Treatment

Often, those who are working to end addiction can benefit quite a bit from inpatient treatment, Also known as residential care, this approach to addiction treatment offers people the option to live at their addiction recovery facility.

Doing so can allow people to have access to 24/7, around-the-clock care. It also helps to create a healthy distance between individuals and any outside factors that could lead to a relapse. This enables people to develop relapse prevention skills and the other experiences they will need in order to remain free from substance dependence after treatment. 

Residential treatment involves therapy programs, such as individual therapy and group therapy. These approaches can help people to work through the effects of addiction and find healing.

Intensive Outpatient Program

Also known as an IOP, an intensive outpatient program can be considered as a step down from residential treatment. Although individuals do not live at their treatment center, they still have access to care and treatment on an intensive level. Individuals may receive treatment between 9 and 12 hours every week. 

Those in an IOP may continue living at home while getting treatment. This might allow them to go to work or enjoy life with family while they are not in treatment. Intensive outpatient programs usually involve therapeutic services, like those offered in residential care.

Outpatient Treatment Program

Just as is the case with intensive outpatient treatment, outpatient care does not require people to live at a treatment center. Instead, individuals may continue living at home while getting treatment several hours per week. 

Outpatient treatment enables people to hold jobs, tend to various responsibilities, or comfortably live at home while still benefitting from addiction treatment services. However, this approach is not usually recommended for those who have what might be considered “severe” cases of addiction. Instead, people may enter outpatient programs after going through detox and residential care.

Therapy is also involved in this type of treatment. Individuals can continue to benefit from individual therapy, group therapy, and even family counseling. Individuals in an outpatient addiction treatment program can continue to receive care and even transition through a sober living program. 

How to Help an Older Loved One Who Is Struggling

If you’ve noticed signs of alcoholism in the life of an older loved one, you may be unsure about how to help. It can be difficult to know how and when to intervene. But, there are several things you can keep in mind in order to make the best choices as far as this matter is concerned.

It’s important to take special note of negative or unhelpful terminology when it comes to substance dependence. It is imperative that you and your family avoid referring to your struggling loved one as an alcoholic. Also, be sure that you learn more about addiction and how it affects those who suffer from it. The idea that substance dependence is a choice rather than a disease or a disorder can be extremely harmful. It can also prevent you from being able to truly help your family member.

Continue to respect your elderly loved one. Those who suffer from substance use disorders often experience quite a few physical and emotional changes. But, if you continue to offer love and respect to your older family member throughout his or her transitions, you will find that it tremendously helps your loved one to feel supported.

Be honest with your family member about your concerns. If you’re concerned about his or her safety, it’s best to say so. Inform the individual of the effects his or her alcoholism is having on your family. Bear in mind, though, that the person may not be aware of these issues. So hearing about them may cause the individual to feel guilty, ashamed, or even upset by these conversations. Be prepared to offer support and reassurance. But, also, be prepared to offer solutions. 

One of the main and most helpful solutions to addiction is professional treatment. Be sure to present this option.

Finding the Support and Guidance You Need

If you have an older loved one who is suffering from alcohol use disorder, there is no time like the present to help him or her to find hope. Here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, we are committed to offering individuals the resources they need in order to end substance use and dependence. 

Programs that offer alcohol rehab for seniors can be extremely helpful and even necessary for elderly individuals. Alcohol use disorder affects seniors differently than it affects younger individuals. So, it’s important for older adults to get treatment from a program that takes their individual and unique needs into account. 

At Sana Lake, our goal is to assist our members in finding support and guidance that will address their physical and emotional needs throughout recovery. So, whether your aging loved one needs detoxification services, residential treatment, outpatient treatment, or an intensive outpatient program, we can help! 

To learn more about our services or how we can assist you and your family, just contact us today. Our trained and knowledgeable staff is here and ready to help bring hope and healing to the situation your loved one is facing. Now is the time to bring a positive change to your family member’s life. We are dedicated to helping throughout this process!

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5439499/

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4146436/

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0515/p2375.html#afp20040515p2375-b4

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0315/p1710.html

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/harmful-interactions-mixing-alcohol-with-medicines

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5439499/

alcohol and obesity

Craving Alcohol: The Link Between Alcohol Use Disorder and Obesity

Alcohol use disorder and obesity can both be linked to cravings. Craving alcohol can lead to continuous drinking, and it can also lead to obesity in yourself or loved ones. Eating high-calorie foods and drinking are both linked to reward centers in your brain, and people like feeling good, so they’ll usually indulge these cravings. However, suffering from both alcohol use disorder and obesity can greatly harm your body and well being.

Alcohol use disorder and obesity are linked, and we’ll break the connections and how you can be free of both conditions at Sana Lake Recovery Center.

What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

Alcohol use disorder occurs when you can no longer control your drinking and experience withdrawal symptoms when not drinking. About 15 million people in the U.S. have alcohol use disorder, and alcohol is one of the most misused substances out there. This is due to the fact that it’s cheap and widely available in bars, restaurants, and supermarkets.

Craving alcohol can lead to alcohol use disorder. Binge drinking often can also lead to this, and unfortunately, this practice is common in the U.S., especially among young people. Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women in two hours.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

Signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder include:

  • Continuing to drink even though it impairs your relationships and interferes with work
  • Experiencing frequent memory loss or blackouts
  • Making excuses to drink to feel normal
  • Drinking alone
  • Isolating yourself from family and friends
  • Feeling irritable

Craving alcohol, while initially harmless, could also be a warning sign for alcohol use disorder. 

If alcoholics don’t have a drink for a few days, they go through withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms of alcohol use disorder include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Delirium tremens (DTs), which involves shaking, fever, hallucinations, and high blood pressure

Delirium tremens is rare, but it can happen in serious alcoholics.

Risk Factors for Alcohol Use Disorder

There are a few factors that may make you predisposed to developing alcoholism.

  • Family history of alcoholism
  • Having a mental disorder such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder
  • Having low self-esteem
  • Experiencing peer pressure as a young adult

Why Do We Crave Alcohol?

We often crave alcohol when we are stressed and when we’re feeling strong emotions. Alcohol releases endorphins, which make us happy and give us feelings of pleasure. Low blood sugar can be another cause of alcohol cravings, and in other situations, alcohol cravings occur after not eating for a long time. On the whole, people mostly crave alcohol because it makes them feel good. 

The more alcohol you drink, the happier you feel. This leads you to feel intoxicated, and it also dulls your senses.

Alcohol is common and parties and weddings because they are times of celebration and joy. Drinking is also common after the death of a loved one or after a long week of hard work. Some people are able to drink in moderation even when craving alcohol, and some others who crave alcohol end up binge drinking. If you can seem to control your drinking after having one or two beverages, you may be dealing with a form of alcoholism.

How Craving Alcohol Can Lead to Alcoholism

It’s common to crave alcohol after a long, hard day at work or after a stressful day. Alcohol dulls our senses and releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness and satisfaction. However, these feelings are temporary, as alcohol is ultimately a depressant. The more you give in to alcohol cravings, the more toll they can have on your physical health.

Giving in to alcohol cravings can also lead to tolerance, which requires you to drink more and more to achieve the same feeling. Drinking more can then make you dependent on alcohol, leading you to develop alcohol use disorder.

How to Cope with Craving Alcohol

There are going to be times when you have a craving for alcohol. The good thing about cravings, though, is that they are temporary. If you learn how to ride these out, you can control them and keep on living a life of sobriety.

  • Recognize your triggers: There are two types of triggers: external and internal. External triggers are people, places, and things that may remind you of drinking, while internal triggers are emotions and thoughts that may set off alcohol cravings.
  • Avoid risky situations: Don’t keep alcohol in your house. This will keep you from drinking whenever you feel an urge to. You should steer clear of activities with friends that involve drinking. Once your cravings subside, you can begin to hang out with your friends again and suggest alternate party activities.
  • Deal with unavoidable triggers: There are some triggers that you have no control over. Here’s how you can cope with them:
    • Do a short-term activity. Call or text someone, listen to music, go to the gym, or meditate to clear your head.
    • Talk it out with someone you trust. Talk to your sponsor or a trusted friend who you can call on the phone.
    • Ride out the trigger. Accept the feeling you get from the trigger as normal and temporary instead of trying to fight it. The feeling will go away eventually.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is the state in which someone has so much body fat that their health is in danger. People who are obese have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. Being overweight is not the same as being obese. If you are overweight, you’ll usually have a BMI between 25 and 30.

With the rise of fast-food restaurants and processed foods, obesity has rapidly increased over the years. From 2011 to 2014, more than one-third of adults aged 20 and older were obese. 

Dangers of Obesity

Obesity can cause you to develop many harmful health conditions.

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Certain cancers, including liver, kidney, and esophageal

Causes of Obesity

A major cause of obesity is consuming more calories than you burn through exercise and regular physical activity. Other common causes include: 

  • Eating high-calorie foods often
  • Not exercising
  • Having certain medical conditions like hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Eating when you’re sad or depressed
  • Slow metabolism
  • Excessive drinking
  • Family history of obesity

Women who have gained weight during pregnancy may also be more susceptible to obesity. This weight can be difficult to lose after you’ve had the baby.

The Connections Between Alcohol Use Disorder and Obesity

We already know that having a family history of alcoholism can make you more likely to develop the same disease. Obesity rates are now higher than ever, and this has also been shown to be linked to alcoholism. If you abuse alcohol, you could cause a loved one to become obese without meaning to do so.

If someone sees a family member misusing alcohol, they may avoid drinking. However, rather than craving alcohol, they may turn to other substances to make them happy. In many cases, these are high-calorie foods, which taste good and are a cheaper, more accessible option for dealing with their problems. 

In some cases, alcoholics are almost malnourished since they depend more on drinking than eating. Alcoholic drinks, especially mixed ones with juices, usually have a lot of calories. For example, a pina colada packs about 650 calories, and a gin and tonic has up to 300 calories. Since alcoholic drinks don’t satisfy hunger, people will end up eating more on top of the drinks to feel full. As a result, they’re probably consuming much more calories than they should.

Finding Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Sadly, less than 10 percent of people with alcohol use disorder get treatment for it. Before finding treatment for alcoholism, you need to realize that you have a drinking problem. This may come after an intervention or a bad experience that you had with alcohol. Once you find the right treatment program, you can begin your journey to sobriety. 

Medical detox will be the first step for your alcohol use disorder treatment. Detox is crucial because it rids your body of alcohol and helps lessen your withdrawal symptoms. Licensed clinicians at Sana Lake Recovery Center monitor these symptoms and keep close watch over you as you recover. Once detox is complete after 30 days, you will begin the process of rebuilding your life without alcohol dependence. Although you may still be craving alcohol at this point, these cravings will be managed under our care.

Holistic treatment is effective in treating both alcohol use disorder and obesity. With holistic treatment, you can not only overcome substance use disorder, but you can also exercise, practice mindfulness and conquer your food cravings. Individual and group therapy can also help change the way you think about craving alcohol. 

Below are some examples of holistic treatment that we offer at Sana Lake.

  • Yoga: Yoga enhances your fitness and mental well being. This ancient Indian practice provides a well-rounded mix of breathing techniques, poses, and meditation. 
  • Guided meditation/mindfulness: Meditation is known to calm the mind and “rewire” the brain. It can relieve anxiety and put difficult emotions at ease.
  • Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be therapeutic for people suffering from alcohol use disorder and obesity.

Besides practicing mindfulness, the best way to fight obesity is to eat right and exercise. 

Cure Your Alcohol Use Disorder at Sana Lake Recovery Center

Why wait to change your life for the better? Let the licensed medical staff at Sana Lake Recovery Center treat your alcohol cravings and get you back to your old self. We know how hard it is to take that first step, but once you do, you’ll know you made the right choice. Contact us today to learn more about our programs.

References:

https://www.livescience.com/10371-craving-alcohol-linked-obesity.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/alcoholism/basics#risk-factors

https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/tools/Interactive-worksheets-and-more/Stay-in-control/Coping-With-Urges-To-drink.aspx

alcohol myths

10 Common Alcohol Myths: Breaking the Myths About Alcoholism

There are many alcohol myths as alcohol is a substance that people often and commonly consume. It’s legal and fairly easy to access as restaurants and grocery stores all sell it. While most people tend to use alcohol without excess, some people have trouble limiting their alcohol intake. This is due to a disease called alcoholism or alcohol use disorder. It’s an uncontrollable dependence on alcohol that many people suffer from.

But, when it comes to alcohol use disorder, individuals are often unsure of what it means to suffer from it. This leads people to believe in myths about alcoholism. But, whether you think you or someone you know suffers from alcohol use disorder, it’s important to know the truth about alcoholism. It’s time to debunk the alcohol myths you may have heard.

Myth 1: “Alcohol dependence is a choice.”

It’s very unlikely that anyone who has a tolerance for alcohol or is dependent on it ever meant to be in that position. When an individual becomes dependent on alcohol, it means that his or her body struggles to function without alcohol. People who struggle with alcohol dependence are unable to control the amount of alcohol they consume. This is due to changes in the brain’s chemical composition.

Alcohol can negatively affect neurotransmitters within a person’s brain and body. This substance can also prevent the brain’s chemical symptoms from sending and receiving signals from each other. (This is what usually causes people to have slurred speech or impaired judgment when they drink.) 

When an individual drinks alcohol, he or she may eventually build a tolerance for the substance. This is not at all uncommon. But, what happens after that tolerance occurs is important as tolerance can lead to addiction. The simple explanation of tolerance is as follows:

A person has a tolerance for alcohol if he or she needs to drink more alcohol in order to achieve the same effect that a smaller amount of alcohol used to produce. In other words, to be tolerant of alcohol is similar to being used to its effects. So, individuals who build a tolerance for alcohol stop feeling the effects of it. In order to experience the desired effects again, they need to consume larger amounts of the substance.

It’s important to understand that many people don’t realize that tolerance is developing. So, eventually, tolerance may give way to dependence as people may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms when they’re not drinking. These symptoms can prevent people from feeling “normal”, as though they can’t function without alcohol. This means that they suffer from alcohol dependence or alcoholism.

Myth 2: “You can overcome alcoholism if you try hard enough.”

This is a fairly common yet harmful myth. Again, people who suffer from alcoholism do not choose to do so. While willpower and self-motivation are certainly important in recovery, individuals who struggle with substance dependence also need help from other sources. In the end, self-control and willpower are not exactly what will end or prevent substance dependence. 

As mentioned before, alcohol dependence is a matter of the brain; people who suffer from alcoholism have a physiological dependence on alcohol. So, simply choosing to stop drinking isn’t enough. Often, people who want to overcome substance abuse can only do so with the help of a professional treatment program. In these cases, individuals may need more than “willpower” to end substance dependence.

Myth 3: “People who suffer from alcohol use disorder have ‘hit rock bottom’.”

There’s a common misconception about the “appearance” of a person who struggles with alcohol use disorder. People tend to believe that it’s easy to identify alcoholism. It’s easy to assume that the only people who suffer from this issue are those who may have lost their jobs, homes, and money. But, alcohol use disorder doesn’t look the same for everyone who suffers from it. 

Some people continue to hold jobs throughout their struggle with alcohol use disorder. Some continue to take care of their families and homes despite their battle with addiction. So, it’s important to avoid only looking for “rock bottom” signs, such as home loss or unemployment. Instead, it’s best to seek signs such as:

  • Memory lapses
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to focus
  • Changes in weight
  • Excuses regarding alcohol use
  • Isolation and social withdrawal
  • Alcohol use to cope with stress
  • Inconsistent or irregular emotions
  • Defensiveness about drinking habits
  • Inability to stick to alcohol use limitations
  • Plans that seem to revolve around alcohol
  • Increased tolerance (i.e. ability to “handle more” than usual)
  • Withdrawal symptoms (headaches, appetite loss, anxiety, etc.)

If you’ve noticed any of these signs in your life, it may be time to seek help for alcohol use disorder. Also, if you have ever thought that you might have an alcohol dependency, it’s possible that you are dealing with addiction. 

Myth 4: “If I drink a little too much, I can just drink coffee and I’ll feel better in no time.”

People often shrug off the intoxicating effects of alcohol by saying that they can simply drink coffee or “sleep it off”. But, alcohol can remain in your system for hours. So, no matter what a person does in order to eliminate the effects of alcohol on their body, the impact of this substance will remain.

Myth 5: “The type of alcohol determines the severity of the addiction.”

Often, individuals think that drinking beer (as opposed to hard liquor) is not likely to lead to alcohol dependence. Some may even feel that it’s not harmful to drink wine excessively. But, there are many people who currently suffer from the effects of alcoholism after developing a dependence on wine. Alcohol in any type of beverage can be addictive.

Also, many people assume that alcoholism isn’t as “serious” as, say, heroin dependence. Or, perhaps dependency on legal substances such as prescription drugs isn’t as “severe” as dependency on cocaine. But, this ideology is both untrue and harmful. It can lead people to misuse “less harmful” substances and, eventually, develop substance dependencies. It might also lead people to minimize the effects of risky alcohol use or prescription misuse. 

When it comes to addiction, it’s important to avoid using a “level” system. Alcohol use disorders are serious, regardless of the type of substance people may use. So, whether a person is suffering from risky alcohol use, prescription drug misuse, or cocaine dependence, seeking help is absolutely necessary.

Myth 6: “Once a person develops substance dependency, he or she will always struggle with it.”

While it’s certainly true that recovery is a lifelong process, individuals who overcome addiction do not have to live with the fear of relapse forever. Those who suffer from a substance use disorder may need to be intentional about avoiding triggers and any other situations that could encourage relapse. However, the idea that a person will continuously suffer from alcohol misuse even after treatment simply isn’t true.

Myth 7: “Addiction only affects people of certain age groups.”

Many people believe that older individuals can’t develop substance use disorders. They may also believe that substance dependence doesn’t really affect young users. But, this isn’t true. Addiction can impact the lives of people of all ages, including seniors and young adults

When it comes to substance dependence, it is important to understand that this disorder can affect anyone who drinks in any capacity. So, having the mentality that addiction won’t become a reality in your life is dangerous. 

Myth 8: “I can still drink alcohol to help me sleep or relieve stress.”

In many cases, people develop alcohol dependence as a result of self-medication. In other words, people who turn to alcohol use in order to cope with issues such as insomnia, stress, or depression. 

When an individual goes through treatment for alcohol misuse, it’s highly probable, even inevitable, that stress and sleep disturbances will continue to occur. People who are in recovery may be tempted to use alcohol in order to deal with these issues. After all, they may believe that this method of self-medication worked before. They may feel as though they can still drink alcohol for these purposes as long as they “limit consumption”.

But, those who are in recovery from alcohol use disorder may struggle to place or stand by a limit on the amount of alcohol they consume. The brain and body may respond to alcohol in a negative way, desiring more and more of the substance and leading to physical relapse.

Myth 9: “Alcohol use disorder only affects the individuals who suffer from it.”

This is one alcohol myth that is completely untrue. Many people think addiction only impacts the lives of those who struggle with it. Substance dependence has a way of causing behavioral changes to occur in the lives of those who suffer from this disease. These changes can cause people to act differently toward their family members and friends. Behavioral changes may also prevent people from being able to connect with their loved ones. 

Sometimes, addiction can cause people to become irritable, angry, and even violent. Their family members and friends may suffer because of these occurrences. Previously healthy relationships may begin to fall apart. Spouses may drift away from the partners who struggle with substance dependence. Children may not feel comfortable around their struggling parents. Addiction can cause separation to occur within even the closest family units.

It can be beyond difficult to see someone you love suffer from the effects of alcohol dependence. So, if your family is currently struggling with a family member’s addiction, it’s important to seek support and guidance. While counseling and treatment will certainly be helpful for your loved one, your family can also benefit from these things. Family therapy is one of the best ways for families to find healing as individuals recover from substance dependence.

Myth 10: “I can just quit alcohol misuse without getting help.”

The “cold-turkey” approach is no stranger in the world of substance dependence recovery. It’s quite common for people to try to quit using alcohol abruptly without getting help from professionals. This is often thought of as the cheapest way to overcome substance dependence. However, this is often the least safe way to end alcohol use.

It’s important for people to seek professional help in order to overcome alcoholism. There are several reasons for this, including the following:

  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be intense and, in some cases, harmful. So, people who want to end alcohol use may not be able to do it “cold turkey”. Instead, professional detox and treatment programs may be necessary in order to help with the process.
  • Support will be absolutely necessary throughout the recovery process. Individuals can get the support and guidance they need through a treatment program.
  • It’s likely that those who have a substance use disorder have specific underlying causes. These underlying reasons for addiction will only remain in place if a person chooses to end substance use without professional guidance. So, it’s important to identify and address these underlying causes in order to help individuals to remain free from alcohol use disorder.
  • Some people may have dual diagnoses (mental health disorders and substance dependence). Co-occurring disorders exist, it’s possible that the disorders affect each other. For example, a person may use alcohol to self-medicate the symptoms of major depressive disorder. In this case, his or her depression will still remain, even if alcohol isn’t in the mix anymore. This could lead the individual to relapse or use another substance in order to cope with depression. Professional treatment can help to address dual diagnosis cases.

Needless to say, professional treatment may be best for those who want to end alcoholism in their lives.

Defying the Myths of Alcoholism: Overcome Alcohol Use Disorder Today

Maybe you have heard many of these alcohol myths before. Perhaps, some of them have prevented you from seeking help for alcohol dependence. If so, know that you are not alone; many others have struggled to get past these thinking processes and determine the best course of action for their recovery. But, help is available for everyone who needs it. So, if you’re unsure about how to end substance misuse in your life or you’re simply not sure whether or not you need help, we’re here for you.

At Sana Lake Recovery Center, we understand the many challenges people face when dealing with substance dependence. Alcohol use disorder is serious and can cause major issues in the lives of those who suffer from it. So, if you have been dealing with the effects of alcoholism, now is the time to reach out for help. 

Contact us here at Sana Lake to speak with professionals who can both understand your struggle and work to provide solutions. Take a step toward a healthier, addiction-free future today!

References:

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

https://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/specialfeatures/alcoholmyths.aspx

Nutrition and Mental Health

Food for Thought: The Link Between Mental Health and Nutrition

You are what you eat. No doubt, you’ve heard this saying before. And, while it’s unlikely that you’ll turn into the chocolate bar you just ate, the old saying has a bit of truth to it. When it comes to the food we eat, it’s important to remember that it has a real impact on many areas of our lives.

It’s easy to assume that food is only meant to serve a simple purpose: to fill our stomachs and provide us with energy. But, the truth of the matter is that food affects us in more ways than that. A healthy diet can help to improve our physical, emotional, and mental health. But, consuming food that isn’t healthy can negatively impact our health, both physically and mentally.

That’s correct — there’s a connection between mental health and nutrition.

Can a Poor Diet Cause Mental Illness?

In a word, yes. However, medical professionals and scientists are still researching the exact connection between nutrition and mental health. But, many scientists are certain that there’s at least some sort of link between the two. There are several reasons why professionals believe this connection exists. 

You can think of your diet as the type of fuel you feed to your brain. The food you eat can affect your mental health in many ways. Certain types of food can either intensify or bring about symptoms of mental health disorders. For example, foods and beverages that are high in sugar have been linked to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. ADHD is a mental health disorder that is characterized by hyperactivity and difficulty focusing. In cases like this, the foods people eat may have a somewhat direct correlation to their mental health.

Also, food can affect one’s overall mood. Since the systems within your body affect one another, what happens in one area of your body intertwines with and impacts what happens elsewhere. Simply put, what you eat goes into your digestive system. But, this has an impact on the neurons that flow throughout your brain and body.

To explain further, your brain produces a neurotransmitter called serotonin. This neurotransmitter, which you can think of as a “messenger chemical”, plays a role in sleep and appetite regulation. What you consume has an impact on the production of neurons and neurotransmitters in your body. So, when you consume harmful or unhealthy foods, this affects the production of serotonin. As a result, you may begin to experience sleep problems or disturbances in your appetite. As you might imagine, this can lead to changes in your emotions and your overall mood. That’s why it’s best to focus on the importance of a healthy diet.

Nutritional Psychiatry: A Closer Look at Nutrition and Diet

The study of food and mood (diet and mental health) is often referred to as nutritional psychiatry. Some also refer to this ideology as nutritional neuroscience. But, regardless of what you may call it, it’s important to realize that there is, in fact, a connection between what one eats and his or her mental well-being. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “consistent epidemiological evidence, particularly for depression, suggests an association between measures of diet quality and mental health”. In other words, your diet can be a contributing factor when it comes to the development of certain mental health disorders, including depression.

It’s important to note, however, that mental health disorders are both serious and complex. Depression disorder, anxiety disorder, ADHD, and all other mental illnesses are caused by much more than poor diets. Many other factors contribute to the development of these mental health disorders. So, it’s not likely that individuals who have poor eating habits will develop mental illness solely because of their diet. 

Even so, the fact that food has an at least partial connection to one’s mood and mentality, proves the importance of clean eating. With that being said, let’s discuss some of the food items you might consider avoiding or limiting in order to prevent any mood disturbances due to diet. Then, we will address some dietary options that can boost and encourage physical, emotional, and mental health.

Food Items That Contribute to Poor Mental Health

When it comes to the connection between mental health and nutrition, individuals should consider some specific truths. Firstly, remember that nutrition plays a major role in physical health. As a result, it can also have a massive impact on the way a person feels and behaves. What we consume has the ability to affect our energy levels, ability to focus, level of motivation, and much more. So, it is absolutely necessary to take care of our bodies by giving them the fuel that they need.

Here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, we know that each individual has different needs when it comes to mental and physical health. So, you should certainly speak with your physician and other medical professionals to find out what’s best for you as far as your diet is concerned. However, there is some general nutrition-related information to consider when it comes to taking care of your physical and mental health.

Having said this, here are some foods that you might avoid or simply limit, especially if you already have a diagnosis of a mental health disorder:

  • Red meat
  • Foods that are high in sugar
  • Large amounts of sodium
  • Excessive amounts of saturated fats

Again, it is certainly best to speak with your doctor about your diet. As we have mentioned, your diet is not the only thing that affects your mental health. But, it can definitely contribute to low moods or symptoms that are related to mental health disorders. So, it may be necessary to adjust your eating habits in order to improve your health in every area of your life!

Now that we’ve discussed some foods that you may need to consume less of, let’s talk about some dietary components that may prove to be beneficial to your health.

A Diet That Promotes Emotional, Physical, and Mental Health

If you’re not sure where to start as you seek to improve your diet, know that there are many options. The following foods can be thought of as “brain food” as most of them can improve your brain’s functionality and increase energy levels within the body.

  • Fish
  • Fruits
  • Beans
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Vitamin D-rich foods
  • Lean meat/protein (fish, chicken, etc.)

Taking care of your mental health is beneficial for many reasons. When your mind is healthy, the rest of your body can also become healthier. Also, mental health disorders can cause other difficulties to occur in your life. Believe it or not, this could include substance use disorder.

Dual Diagnosis: Mental Health and Substance Dependence

Once a person develops a mental health disorder, it’s possible that other challenges could arise. For instance, an individual who suffers from depression may begin self-medicating with alcohol use. Unfortunately, many people turn to alcohol and drug use in order to find relief from the symptoms of their mental health disorder. As a result of this substance use, people may develop a dependence on drugs or alcohol.

Chemical dependency is very serious and can cause negative effects on the lives of those who suffer from them. These effects are only intensified by the presence of a mental health disorder. 

When a person suffers from both substance dependence and mental illness, it means that he or she has co-occurring disorders. Professionals call this a dual diagnosis and it’s important that individuals receive treatment and care through a program that can treat both disorders.

Thankfully, many treatment facilities offer this kind of program. We certainly do here at Sana Lake. So, if you or someone you know needs help overcoming the effects of substance dependence and mental health challenges, please reach out to us right away.

Let Sana Lake Help Treat Mental Health Disorders in Your Life

As we discussed earlier, mental health is not solely influenced by diet. There are many other factors involved. Some mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are influenced by past experiences. Disorders such as anxiety or depression can occur because of the effects of stress or grief. So, it’s important to keep all of this in mind when it comes to getting treatment for mental health disorders. 

Here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, we strive to treat our members with excellence and understanding. We are aware of the fact that many of the individuals who come to our facility need individualized care. After all, everyone is different and has unique needs. We work to meet those needs and help members to live healthy lives once treatment is complete.

Whether you are dealing with mental illness or someone you know is struggling, we’re here to help. Just contact us to learn more about our services. Begin your journey to a healthier life today!

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28942748

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5360575/

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/10/09/768665411/changing-your-diet-can-help-tamp-down-depression-boost-mood

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738337/

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/09/food-mental-health

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/food-and-mood-is-there-a-connection

Addiction vs. Dependence

Addiction vs Dependence: Where Are You at in Your Substance Use?

Addiction and dependence are terms that people often use interchangeably. However, there is a difference between the two. The sooner you can recognize the signs of each one, the sooner you can seek help. Here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, we’re here to guide you through those differences.

What is Dependence?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that dependence is “a state in which an organism functions normally only in the presence of a drug.” Drugs alter the balance of chemicals in the brain. Consequently, the brain has to adapt by changing its natural chemical production. The adaptation then leads to tolerance to the substance.

Through consistent use, the brain starts to depend on the presence of the drug in order to function. If you’re dependent on a drug or alcohol and you stop using the substance, it will affect the chemical balance in your body and withdrawal symptoms will occur.

Dependence can be a sign that addiction is right around the corner. In other cases, dependence can be a side effect of drug and alcohol addiction.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is the compulsive use of a substance despite negative consequences. Similarly to dependence, addiction is caused by chemical changes that occur in the brain. These changes affect the reward and motivation parts of the brain. Your brain starts to correlate using the drug with intense relief and joy after an extended time.

Unlike dependence, a combination of genetic and environmental factors impacts one’s risk of developing an addiction. For example, let’s say a daughter has grown up with a mother that has a heroin addiction. In this case, the daughter will be more likely to experiment with drugs and develop an addiction.

The Difference Between Dependence and Addiction

The World Health Organization states how dependence describes a collection of different characteristics that grow to become a much higher priority in a person’s life than other previous behaviors that were more important at one time. In other words, your priorities change and the substance you’re using becomes your main focal point. Thus, leading to drug or alcohol addiction.

Addiction is characterized by an inability to stop using a drug; failure to meet work, social, or family obligations; and oftentimes tolerance and withdrawal. On the other hand, physical dependence is the adaptation of your body to the drug, requiring more of it to achieve a certain effect (tolerance).

Dependence also elicits drug-specific physical or mental symptoms if the individual drops the substance “cold-turkey” (withdrawal). 

The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment believes that the discussion of addiction vs dependence is an important one. They state that it is “the single most important concept to understand when learning about addiction and evidence-based treatment” 

In his opening statement to Congress, Dr. Gottlieb (commissioner) explained, “Someone who requires long-term treatment for opioid addiction with medications – including those that cause a physical dependence – is not addicted to those medications,” and that the stigma surrounding MAT, because of this misunderstanding, “serves to keep many Americans who are seeking a life of sobriety from reaching their goal.

In this case, in the setting of a public health crisis, we need to take a more active role in challenging these conventions around medical therapy.”

Insight Into Tolerance

It’s important to note that there are three main types of tolerance. Tolerance to a drug is often a result of dependence. The more of the drug that your body is exposed to, the harder it is to achieve the same effects without increasing dosage. This is why overdosing is such a dangerous effect of developing a tolerance to any substance.

The three main types of tolerance are:

  1. Acute or short-term, tolerance occurs after repeated exposure to a drug over a fairly short period. For example, cocaine use often results in acute tolerance. 
  2. Chronic, or long-term, tolerance begins when a person’s body adapts to constant exposure to a drug over weeks or months. For example, individuals who consistently misuse prescription opioids build up chronic tolerance to the intense, euphoric effects. This can consequently lead to an increase in the dosage taken.
  3. Learned tolerance can result from frequent exposure to certain drugs. For example, people who misuse alcohol for a long time often do not appear intoxicated to others. 

How Do I Know If I Have a Dependence on Drugs or Alcohol?

Drug or alcohol dependence occurs when you need drugs to function daily. Looking at behavioral patterns is key when diagnosing a dependence on drugs or alcohol versus an addiction. This dependence will also result in withdrawal symptoms when the drug isn’t used. 

Physical symptoms of withdrawal are a result of the body becoming stressed without the drug. These symptoms may include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nightmares
  • Body aches
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

How Do I Know If I Have an Addiction to Drugs or Alcohol?

Drug and alcohol addiction is a severe brain disease that impacts people of every race, age group, nationality, and socioeconomic background. Recognizing toxic habits and being-self aware is key to conquering this disease. It’s important, to be honest with yourself about where you’re at.

Some signs can help you determine if you’re experiencing drug or alcohol addiction. Problems with relationships, your job or school, and even legal issues stemming from substance use can be a warning sign that you’re suffering from addiction. There are certain questions you can ask yourself to help determine whether it’s a dependence or an addiction to drugs or alcohol. 

Some of the many questions include:

  • Has your substance use negatively impacted the relationships in your life?
  • Do you continue to use substances despite negative consequences?
  • Have you ever lied to a doctor to attain prescription drugs?
  • Have you ever used substances without knowing what they were or what they would do to you?
  • Do you think about drugs or alcohol often?
  • Have you ever attempted to stop or reduce your substance use but weren’t able to?

The Statistics of Drug and Alcohol Addiction/Dependence

Although addiction and dependence are two different obstacles, they often intertwine. A dependence on substances to alleviate pain can lead to addiction. In other cases, making substance use a habit can chemically alter your brain and body, thus leading to an addiction

It’s important to address the statistics behind drug and alcohol use in the United States. Ignoring the issue will only cause further pain to people and communities nationwide. Did you know the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) states that 19.7 million American adults (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder in 2017?

Nearly 74% of adults struggling from drug and alcohol addiction struggled with an alcohol use disorder in 2017 as well. But it doesn’t stop there. In 2017, 8.5 million American adults suffered from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorders.

Whether you’re suffering from addiction or dependence, you can choose to seek help today. No matter how lost you feel, there is always a chance to improve and learn from your mistakes. Although it may seem overwhelming, we encourage you to make that first step towards a lasting change in your life.

Treatment for Addiction and Dependence of Drugs or Alcohol

Based on your unique circumstances, a treatment program can be tailored to meet your needs. We believe in personalizing treatment for each person. If each addiction and person is unique, treatment should be too.

However, it’s important to understand that all treatment lies under the umbrella of the levels of care rehab provides. There are very intensive programs and then there are those with more flexibility. Keep reading to learn more about the levels of care for addiction and dependence on drugs or alcohol.

Drug and Alcohol Detox

Detoxification helps people safely withdraw from drugs or alcohol until their system is clear. Detox is typically the first step of any treatment plan. In certain situations, detoxing from certain drugs requires medication-assisted therapy to alleviate the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Medications prescribed during detox are often tapered down until the individual is no longer physically dependent on the addictive substance.

Detox must be done under medical supervision. Withdrawal symptoms can be difficult, and even deadly to undergo. That’s why our medical team provides 24/7 supervision and care during detox.

Inpatient Rehab/Residential Treatment

Inpatient rehabs, also referred to as residential treatment, is the highest level of care we offer. These treatment programs are structured to address all aspects of an individual’s addiction. During residential treatment, patients reside in a substance-free facility and receive around-the-clock medical care and therapeutic support.

If you’re struggling with chronic addiction, as well as a co-occurring mental or behavioral disorder, then residential treatment may be best suited for your needs.

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab programs are another level of care when it comes to comprehensive addiction treatment. Outpatient rehab offers many of the same kinds of effective treatments and therapies as residential treatment does. However, outpatient rehab allows patients to live at home during the recovery process.

Patients travel to the facility for scheduled treatment sessions throughout the week.

Outpatient treatment is best suited for those with mild forms of addiction and a committed, disciplined approach to recovery. In other cases, individuals choose to complete an outpatient program after completing a more intensive level of care. 

Start the Road to Recovery Today for Drug or Alcohol Addiction/Dependence

Addiction vs dependence is a discussion that must happen for you to realize where you’re at. Substance misuse can lead to many consequences. Addiction doesn’t deserve to rob you of another day. Dependence can also be conquered. 

We encourage you to give us a call today if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. We’re here to guide you through the entire process. 

You can contact us at Sana Lake Recovery Center here. Our caring staff can help you make the final decision in choosing the right rehab center for you. 

References:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/there-difference-between-physical-dependence

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2017-nsduh-annual-national-report

https://www.centeronaddiction.org/the-buzz-blog/understanding-difference-between-physical-dependence-and-addiction

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 you go to the hospital and get 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 another 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.

Family

You might not have had the best relationship with your family while you were using it. 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.

Money

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 today!

References

https://www.usccr.gov/pubs/ada/ch4.htm

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/health-consequences-drug-misuse/kidney-damage

alcoholism

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: 

Accessibility 

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. 

Fun

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. 

Preference

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. 

Curiosity 

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 the 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 today!

References

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

https://www.healthline.com/health/stages-alcoholism#addiction

https://www.alcohol.org/alcoholism-types/stages/

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.

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:

Feelings

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

Thoughts

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

Physical Sensations

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

Behaviors

  • 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 today!

References

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/supersurvivors/201707/why-the-five-stages-grief-are-wrong

https://familydoctor.org/grieving-facing-illness-death-and-other-losses/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/end-of-life/in-depth/grief/art-20045340

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/bereavement

https://www.crisistextline.org/texting-in

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3788822/

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

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.

Anger

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.

Trembling

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 

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

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.

Solitude 

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.   

Denial

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 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

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. 

Hallucination 

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:

Evaluation

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 

Counseling 

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! 

References: 

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/alcohol-withdrawal-symptoms-treatments

https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/alcohol-withdrawal-a-to-z

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/withdrawal-timelines-treatments/alcohol