naltrexone shot for medication assisted treatment

Can a Naltrexone Injection Help Me Overcome Opioid Dependence?

If you struggle with opioid dependency, Naltrexone might help you quit. It works by blocking the effects of opioids. As a result, you have fewer cravings. Therefore, when used alongside traditional and holistic therapies, Naltrexone injection can further encourage recovery. 

What is Naltrexone?

Naltrexone is a drug commonly used in treating opioid dependence. But, if you use it while still using opioids, it will trigger withdrawal symptoms. So, it is vital to be free of opioids for 7 to 10 days. This period will reduce your risk of withdrawal symptoms. However, the length of time depends on your opioid dependence, the dose, and how long you’ve been dependent. 

Although recovery takes patience and time, the process is worth it. Moreover, treatment centers like Sana Lake are with you every step of the way. Additionally, with the help of doctors and therapists’ help, you will weigh the benefits and risks of naltrexone vs naloxone.

Brand Names for Naltrexone

The brand name for naltrexone injection is Vivitrol. This form is an extended-release that’s injected once a month. However, a naltrexone injection is only used in inpatient settings. 

The oral brand-name form of naltrexone is ReVia. It’s a tablet that’s taken once a day. It is generally taken with food to reduce stomach upset. To make sure you use naltrexone as directed, it’s best to have someone else dispense it. 

Another brand-name for oral naltrexone is Depade. Like ReVia, Depade can lead to stomach upset and other side effects. So, it’s vital for you to eat before taking Depade. 

What is Naloxone?

Sadly, 1 person dies every 12 minutes from an opioid overdose. But, naloxone could prevent these deaths. Naloxone is known by the brand name Narcan. It is a medication that reverses an opioid overdose. 

Using opioids such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone can lead to a life-threatening overdose. And if an overdose is not treated immediately, it can lead to permanent damage and death. 

Three common signs of overdose include:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Unconsciousness
  • Respiratory depression

Other symptoms of opioid overdose, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:

  • Slow heartbeat
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Inability to respond to others

Drugs Naloxone Can Counteract

Beside opioids. Naloxone counteracts the dangerous effects of:

  • Morphine
  • Heroin
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone

Uses of Naltrexone vs Naloxone

In opioid dependence treatment, Naltrexone injection works differently than other medications. Some medications, like methadone and buprenorphine help, reduce cravings. But, naltrexone injection takes away any desire to use opioids. It works by blocking receptors, so you don’t experience the “high” effects of opioids.

However, naloxone helps prevent respiratory and CNS depression. These issues happen when breathing has slowed to the point of almost stopping. However, naloxone injection takes effect within minutes. But, naloxone is a temporary fix, and you must seek emergency care. 

Naltrexone vs Naloxone: Using Naltrexone Injection in Addiction Treatment

In addiction treatment, naltrexone vs naloxone works differently. Often, opioids give you a “rush” or “high.” These effects give you a feeling of contentment and pain relief.

But, if you take naltrexone, these feelings are blocked. As a result, your brain stops focusing on the drug. Refocusing allows you to focus on your recovery and a healthy lifestyle.

Although naltrexone injection is common in opioid treatment, it may not stop drug cravings. As a result, it works best if you have completed the withdrawal process. You must also want to succeed in recovery for naltrexone injection to work. 

However, you may be sensitive to even low dose opioids after taking a naltrexone injection. So it is vital to not take any drugs after completing treatment. Above all, the recurrence of use of heroin or other opioids increases overdose risk. 

Naltrexone vs Naloxone: Using Naloxone for Opioid Dependence 

Naloxone is used only to treat an overdose. But, it is not used in the treatment of opioid dependence. However, treatment does require a comprehensive program. Treatment plans should include multiple therapies, support, and relapse prevention. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 10,000 doses of naloxone were given between 1996 and 2010. You may benefit from naloxone if:

  • You have had a long-term dependence on high dose opioids.
  • You consume opioids regularly for chronic pain.
  • You have had a previous overdose.

Administering Naltrexone: Naltrexone vs Naloxone

You can receive naltrexone via a tablet, injectable, and implant device. ReVia and Depade are common brand names for the tablet form. But, naltrexone injection is sold under the brand name Vivitrol.

Naltrexone Tablets

If you take the tablet form of naltrexone, the dose will vary. The dose will depend on the strength of the tablet and the amount needed every day. It is crucial to follow your doctor’s orders. Tablets can be taken in treatment centers or at your house. However, if you take it at home, have someone else give it to you. 

Naltrexone Implant

An implant is another way to give naltrexone. They are small pellets inserted into the lower abdomen wall. To insert the implant you must go under local anesthetic. However, once implanted it releases naltrexone for 3 to 6 months. Because of potential side effects, implants are only available in inpatient settings. 

Naltrexone Injection

Naltrexone injection is an extended-release form of the drug. The naltrexone injection is given once a month in your muscle. For this reason, it is given in a clinical setting. But if you must attend every appointment. If you miss a naltrexone injection, the drug will not be beneficial. It is common to see bruising, swelling, or feel pain after your naltrexone injection. 

Administering Naloxone: Naltrexone vs Naloxone

At the moment, there are 2 forms of naloxone available. Most, if not all, first responders and medical staff have the drug on-hand. But, more states are approving pharmacies to release it.

The nasal spray is a single-use, single-dose device. It is easy and requires no assembly. Above all, a patient only needs to be on their back to receive the drug.

The auto-injector is a single-use device. It is easy to use with one hand. It also gives verbal instructions for use. Although naloxone stops an overdose, it’s temporary. For this reason, you must seek emergency care after taking naloxone. 

Naltrexone Injection Side Effects

Taking naltrexone in any form can cause side effects. But, once you adjust to the naltrexone injection, they typically disappear. However, the minor side effects of naltrexone injection may include:

  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Restlessness
  • Appetite loss

It is vital to discuss all your concerns with your doctor. You shouldn’t start a naltrexone injection without knowing all the side effects. 

Naltrexone Interactions

A naltrexone injection can have unpleasant interactions with other drugs. Naltrexone interaction includes not just other prescription meds. Naltrexone interactions also include over over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and herbal remedies. 

Several common naltrexone interactions include:

  • Opioids
  • Methadone
  • Disulfiram
  • Thioridazine
  • Some diarrhea, cough, and pain medications

You should always keep an updated list of all your medications. This list is important because many drugs have interactions. So, before starting a naltrexone injection, you should be aware of naltrexone interactions. 

How Can a Naltrexone Injection Help Me in Recovery?

If you are dependent on opioids or alcohol, naltrexone may help you. But, how it helps is dependent on you and your addiction. For alcohol use disorder, it can stop your desire to drink. In contrast, naltrexone injection stops the effect of opioids on your brain. 

However, naltrexone injection doesn’t treat withdrawal symptoms. But. once you have gone through detox, it can help you in recovery. So, if you are free of alcohol and opioids, then naltrexone injection can prevent recurrence of use

Can Naltrexone be Misused?

Many people wonder if naltrexone injection or tablets can be misused. Also, can you become dependent on naltrexone? However, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there isn’t a risk of addiction. Besides, there are no euphoric feelings that accompany a naltrexone injection. 

Side Effects of a Naltrexone Overdose

In theory, naltrexone overdose is possible. However, it is highly unlikely. But, what is more likely is you would take higher doses of opioids to get high. As a result, you will likely overdose on opioids. 

Because you have to go through detox to receive naltrexone injection, your tolerance to opioids is lower. This change increases the risk of overdose if you have a recurrence of use. Although the risk of naltrexone injection overdose is low, it does come with some uncomfortable side effects. 

Statistics on Naltrexone vs Naloxone

Almost three-quarters of those struggling with opioid use disorder also drink alcohol. Because naltrexone also helps with alcohol use disorder, it can benefit both disorders simultaneously. Drugs like naltrexone increase your chance at a successful recovery. They also reduce overdose rates by 30 to 50 percent. 

Because opioid overdose deaths have tripled over the last 20 years, naloxone needs to be widely available. In fact, naloxone prescriptions jumped up 1170 percent between 2013 and 2015. As a response to the overdose increase, over 600 community programs educate and distribute naloxone. 

How Can I Get a Naltrexone Injection? 

You must have a prescription to receive naltrexone. Your doctor or treatment center will work with you to develop a treatment plan, including naltrexone. However, the form of naltrexone you receive will depend on the treatment setting. 

Get Help Now at Sana Lake Recovery 

Do you or a loved one struggle with opioid use disorder? Are you still curious if naltrexone can help you on your recovery journey? We are waiting to answer all these questions and more. Contact us today and discover a life free of drugs and alcohol. 


mixing stimulants and depressants

What are the Consequences of Mixing Stimulants and Depressants?

There are very few reasons why people take stimulants and depressants together. For instance, on rare occasions, doctors recommend mixing the drugs. However, the main reason is for recreational purposes. 

Stimulants and depressants are two different drugs. Stimulants increase energy and mental awareness. But, depressants slow down physical and mental functions. They also produce relaxing and sedative effects. For this reason, when people combine stimulants and depressants, the body receives mixed messages. 

What are the Potential Consequences of Mixing Stimulants and Depressants?

There are many different stimulants and depressants. They also have different results when taken together. So when someone asks, “What are the potential consequences of mixing stimulants and depressants?” there are multiple answers. 

Mixing drugs like stimulants and depressants is also known as polydrug use. Typically in polydrug use, the user has one drug of choice. However, they use other drugs to amplify the effects or to counteract them. 

However, polydrug use of stimulants and depressants is extremely dangerous, and reactions are often unpredictable. To make it worse, many people who mix narcotics also use illicit substances. These substances include cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. They are very powerful and possibly fatal drug combinations. 

The polydrug use of stimulants and depressants puts the body under undue stress. The cardiovascular, respiratory, and central nervous system (CNS) receives mixed messages to speed up and slow down. 

So, what are the potential consequences of mixing stimulants and depressants? Well, they include:

  • Slowed, depressed, or stop breathing
  • Cardiac arrest, heart attack, or heart failure
  • Coma
  • Overdose
  • Death

And 10 Other Questions Related to Mixing Substances

Many people use depressants to “come down” from a stimulant high and vice versa. People may also be seeking a certain high. For instance, the polydrug use of heroin and cocaine (speedball) produces an intense and long-lasting high. However, these and other drugs are fatal drug combinations. 

But, fatal drug combinations can happen by accident. Subsequently, those taking medication for pain, depression, or anxiety need to be careful. For example, many people like to have a drink or two after a long day. But, if they also take benzos for anxiety, it can increase the effects of benzos. 

Polydrug use minimizes the side effects of either drug. This use creates the feeling of not being as intoxicated as they are. Stimulants motivate the user to continue partying. They also hide the fact that the CNS system is slowing down. At the same time, depressants might hide a dangerously high heart rate. 

For example, if a stimulant is taken with alcohol, it can lead the user to drink more. The body’s response to alcohol is to induce unconsciousness, but stimulants stop that from happening. Therefore, a person can drink more before passing out. If other depressants are taken, it can lead to coma or death. 

Is Alcohol a Stimulant?

Everyone knows that alcohol changes brain functions. But is alcohol a stimulant? Or is it a depressant?

Many people think alcohol is a stimulant that increases heart rate and gives them energy. Alcohol also lowers inhibitions. However, alcohol isn’t just a stimulant. 

Although alcohol has some stimulant effects, it is primarily a depressant. This effect means it slows the body down. But how it affects a person depends on how much a person consumes, their tolerance, and polydrug use. 

Stimulant Effects of Alcohol

Initially, consuming alcohol causes the brain to release dopamine. It is the chemical that causes feelings of stimulation and energy. Alcohol also increases heart rate and can lead to aggression. These are typical symptoms of stimulants. 

Stimulant effects of alcohol typically occur when BAC is around 0.05. However, depressant effects kick-in around 0.08 BAC. At this level, a person is considered legally impaired.

Depressant Effects of Alcohol

After the stimulant effects, alcohol slows down the CNS. This slowdown causes a decrease in blood pressure, heart rate, and mental clarity. Additionally, large amounts of alcohol slow reaction time and cause sleepiness and disorientation. 

The depressant effects of alcohol occur when BAC levels reach 0.08. However, if a person continues to drink, it is extremely dangerous. The depressant effects of alcohol can lead to coma and even death. 

Is Marijuana a Stimulant or Depressant?

Marijuana is complex and affects users in various ways. At times, marijuana acts as a stimulant and a depressant. The reaction depends on the strain and the chemical reaction with the body.

Marijuana typically affects attention span, long-term memory, and psychomotor skills. However, long-term use may lead to psychotic episodes. It can also cause brain damage and mental functioning.

Marijuana is a Stimulant

A strain of marijuana called “Sativa” has stimulant properties. It can raise moods, heighten creativity, and increase energy. However, it can also have the harmful effects of stimulants. For some people, marijuana may cause anxiety and paranoia. But, in severe cases, it can lead to panic and fear. 

Marijuana is a Depressant

A strain of marijuana known as “Indica,” has depressant effects. It produces a calm, relaxing effect that can ease anxiety. It can also treat insomnia and help people sleep all night. However, the adverse effects can be similar to depressants. These effects include a decrease in energy and short-term memory loss. 

What Substances are Commonly Used WIth Marijuana?

Because many states have legalized medical or recreational marijuana, many people forget it has risks when mixed with other drugs. For the most part, marijuana is safe compared to other drugs. But, when mixed with alcohol, antidepressants, or benzodiazepines, it can be dangerous. 

Marijuana and Alcohol

Oftentimes, people like to have a drink after consuming marijuana. But, this comes with significant risks. For starters, combining marijuana and alcohol intensifies the feelings of both. This increase in effects can lead to:

  • Weed-induced panic attacks
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Disconnect from reality
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Loss of motor skills

Marijuana and Antidepressants

Most drugs don’t mix well with antidepressants. This includes marijuana. However, many people on antidepressants also consume marijuana. But, many mental health disorders are intensified by polydrug use of marijuana and antidepressants. 

For example, someone with Generalized Anxiety Disorder who consumes marijuana may experience higher anxiety. Additionally, marijuana can counteract the medication and increase anxious thoughts and feelings. 

Marijuana and Depressants

Many people mix marijuana and depressant drugs like benzodiazepines because it intensifies the high. But, this can cause the heart rate to drop very low. It also slows a person’s thinking, speaking, and reaction time. Above all, marijuana and depressants’ polydrug use can lead to serious health issues and fatal drug combinations. 

What are the Polydrug Use Risks of Heroin and Cocaine?

The polydrug use of heroin and cocaine is called “speedballing.” Many people like the effects of both highs and the different feelings it provides. People also take heroin to counteract the effects of cocaine. While this may work, they are fatal drug combinations. Additionally, large doses of heroin can also lead to respiratory failure when the cocaine wears off.

What Happens When Cocaine and Ecstasy are Taken Together?

Because cocaine and ecstasy are both stimulants, when taken together, it increases the user’s rush.  Furthermore, it increases heart rates and the risk of heart attack or stroke. However, mixing any two stimulants can have these effects.

What are the Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Hydrocodone?

Alcohol dangerously intensifies the effects of hydrocodone. However, these are possibly fatal drug combinations. But, mixing alcohol and hydrocodone can lead to:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Depressed breathing
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Coma

Is it Safe to Use Cocaine and Drink Alcohol?

People who struggle with cocaine addiction often drink alcohol to reduce the adverse side effects of cocaine. Although the polydrug use of cocaine and alcohol usually occurs in social situations. Sometimes, a person may consume cocaine to wake them up after drinking too much. Whatever the reason, these drugs can be fatal drug combinations. 

The most severe risk of mixing cocaine and alcohol is the production of cocaethylene. The liver produces this chemical when it metabolizes both cocaine and alcohol together. When this chemical builds up, it increases the euphoric effects of the drugs. But, it also increases blood pressure, aggression, and violent thoughts. In increase in cocaethylene is toxic and can lead to sudden death.

Can I Take Xanax to Counteract the Effects of Cocaine?

Xanax and cocaine are both dangerous drugs on their own. But, when taken together, they limit the power of the other. This reaction causes people to take more of one or both drugs. 

The polydrug use of Xanax and cocaine increase the feelings of sadness and irritability. As a result, people are at a higher risk of suicide. Overdose is another severe risk of polydrug use. 

When people combine these drugs, they don’t notice when the cocaine has their heart racing. They don’t notice because the Xanax has them feeling relaxed. On the other hand, they may not notice their body slowing down from the Xanax. However, they don’t realize it because cocaine has them feeling alert and energetic. 

Are Meth and Heroin Fatal Drug Combinations?

Yes, meth and heroin can be fatal drug combinations. For example, heroin slows down breathing, but meth increases it. As a result, people feel like they are breathing normally. This rollercoaster can lead to a heroin overdose and even death.

But, the reverse can also happen. The effects of meth typically last longer than heroin. As a result, when meth wears off, the effects of cocaine spike. This spike dramatically increases the heart rate. For this reason, meth and heroin combinations lead to sudden death, arrhythmias, and heart attack. 

What Happens if I Drink While Taking Oxycodone?

Because alcohol and oxycodone both are central nervous system depressants, they can be fatal drug combinations. The respiratory system becomes overwhelmed and can lead to respiratory depression. Respiratory depression is when a person is not breathing or barely breathing. As a result, respiratory depression causes brain damage and even death.

Treating Polydrug Use at Sana Lake Recovery Center

After learning, “what are the potential consequences of mixing stimulants and depressants?” the need for treatment is more obvious. If you or a loved one struggles with substance use disorder, we can help. Contact us today and find out how. 


is drug addiction a disability

Is Drug Addiction a Disability?

Unfortunately, disabilities have long been at the root of financial hardships and all-around discomfort. Many places of employment have, sadly, discriminated against people with disabilities, leading to laws and regulations that prohibit such actions. But, there are also those who are unsure about what classifies as a disability. Namely, a question that might arise often in this regard might be, “Is drug addiction a disability?” 

Truly, this question is one that many people pose. This might especially be a concern when it comes to insurance coverage for addiction treatment. It may also be a question that comes to mind for employers and other people who may feel the impact of an individual’s addiction.

This is why it’s important to address the questions individuals may have on the subject of substance use disorders. It is also necessary to discuss the right and more favorable ways to speak to people who suffer from addiction. These methods include using person-first language and having an attitude of genuine understanding.

An Overview of Drug and Alcohol Use Disorders

First, it is critical to understand what it means to have an alcohol or drug use disorder. When a person suffers from a substance use disorder, it means he or she has a substance dependency. This dependence on alcohol or drugs prevents the individual from being able to function normally. Instead, those who suffer from addiction rely on the influence of these substances.

Substance use disorders can affect people of any age group. It occurs and develops as a result of various unique causes and circumstances. With that being said, it’s important to recognize the fact that addiction requires customized care. Professionals who offer treatment for alcoholism and drug misuse must have an in-depth understanding of these disorders. It also helps for family members, friends, and employers of struggling individuals to have a working knowledge of addiction.

Alcohol Use Disorder

A person who suffers from alcohol use disorder (or alcoholism) uses alcohol more often than experts consider to be healthy. Consuming an excessive amount of alcohol can be harmful and even life-threatening. However, despite the risks and dangers that present themselves, those who suffer from alcoholism cannot control their alcohol use. 

This is due to the effect alcohol has on the brain and body. Those who develop a dependence on alcohol feel as though they cannot function without it. Their bodies struggle to perform “normally” without alcohol. This is a result of increased tolerance and alcohol use. 

Drug Use Disorder

Individuals who suffer from drug use disorders depend on drugs. Excessive drug use alters the brain structure, causing various chemical imbalances and functionality changes. As a result of these changes within the brain, individuals often become unable to control their substance use. 

This inability to control or end drug use leads to mental, emotional, and physical health problems. Many people who suffer from drug dependence experience serious and life-altering effects. These include financial stress, medical emergencies, legal issues, relationship problems, and more.

What is a Disability?

By definition, disabilities are impairments on a person’s physical body, emotions, and/or mind. Individuals can suffer from disabilities that relate to their mental and cognitive abilities. For example, learning disabilities sometimes affect children in school. Also, people who experience injuries may develop physical disabilities. Some may be born with physical or emotional disabilities.

Is Drug Addiction a Disability?

According to the Department of Health & Human Services, “Section 504 of the Rehabilitation

Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act” answers the question, “is drug addiction a disability?”

These Acts state that drug addiction is considered to be a disability in cases where the addiction is causing major limitations in an individual’s life. Certain and specific elements must be present for a drug use disorder to qualify as a disability. Individuals who meet these criteria can have access to and protection through disability laws.

Firstly, individuals who have completed treatment for addiction and are not actively using drugs can receive protection through federal laws regarding disabilities. Also, those who are currently working through a treatment program for addiction and are not using illegal drugs may qualify. Or, individuals who are may mistakenly be regarded as involved in drug use, but are not actually using drugs may qualify. 

With protection under federal disability rights laws, individuals receive protection from discrimination. In other words, individuals cannot be excluded from services or denied certain benefits due to their disabilities.

Understanding the Exceptions

There are certainly exceptions and circumstances that may alter one’s ability to qualify for disability benefits. The Department of Health & Human Services gives information on this, as well. In cases where individuals are actively using illicit drugs, they are not exactly considered to have a disability. This results in an exclusion when a covered entity takes “adverse action” due to current use. Still, however, health services or addiction treatment-related services cannot be denied. 

Also, individuals who are receiving medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be able to have protection under disability acts and laws. But, this is mainly based on the specifics of each case. In other words, protection and rights will vary from case to case.

Addiction Treatment and Insurance

Experts recognize addiction as a disease. Since this is the case, insurance companies must provide coverage for those who suffer from substance use disorders. Individuals who struggle with the effects of drug or alcohol use disorders can seek help from professional treatment centers with help from insurance companies. (However, it is important to note that coverage options will vary. It is also critical to find out more about in-network and out-of-network options when seeking treatment.)

Those who suffer from co-occurring disorders can also find the hope and help they need through treatment. Many insurance plans cover treatment for mental health treatment in addition to substance use disorders.

How to Properly Address Addiction

Once an individual realizes the need for addiction treatment, it is necessary for the person to seek help. Unfortunately, however, many individuals find that recovery centers are ill-equipped or unprepared to truly help them. One of the main ways in which facilities can best prepare to treat struggling individuals is to gain more information about how to approach these individuals. Likewise, family members and friends of sufferers should learn more about this matter as they seek to help.

Substance dependence is a very serious matter. Those who suffer from it are often met with stigma and misunderstanding. But, the truth of the matter is that addiction is a disease. People who struggle with alcoholism or drug dependence do not choose to suffer in this way. So it’s important for families, friends, and treatment specialists to understand the right way to approach those who are suffering. 

One of the most important elements of helping individuals who are struggling with addiction is through communication. The way in which a person speaks to a suffering individual is more effective than many realize. This is why it is vital to understand the importance of “person-first language”.

What is “Person-First Language”?

Person-first language, as the name implies, is language that places the person first. It is an approach to addiction that places the individual before the condition. For example, calling an individual an “addict” does not place the person before the disease. Instead, it prevents them from being a separate entity from their condition. Another harmful way of verbally addressing suffering or struggling individuals is to say “disabled person”. 

Person-first language would instead recognize that an individual is not his or her addiction. It would place the individual before the substance use disorder. An example of a person-first language approach would be as follows: “a person who suffers from substance dependence”. Also, it is better to refer to individuals who have disabilities such as addiction or other physical disabilities as having a disability rather than being disabled.

When approaching an individual who is suffering from a substance use disorder, it is critical to come with understanding. Part of addressing addiction is knowing how to discuss it and how to approach those who suffer from it. 

Treatment specialists and families alike can be more helpful just by adjusting the way they verbally approach addiction. Person-first language is one of the most effective ways to appropriately address cases involving substance use.

Why is Person-First Language Important?

Placing the person ahead of the substance use disorder prevents causing individuals to feel inseparable from their addiction. If people feel as though they are no more than what they suffer from, they will eventually begin to feel that recovery is impossible. The point of addiction treatment is to prevent this mentality from developing.

The truth of the matter is that person-first language isn’t about making a person feel better. It is not about sounding more professional or creating an illusion of understanding or political correctness. It is simply a sign of an accurate understanding of addiction and other disabilities. Those who truly understand the effects of addiction will know that this disorder can cause major challenges in a person’s life.

When approaching those who have substance use disorders, specialists must be able to do so properly. Otherwise, mutual trust will never be established. Individuals in treatment will not be able to learn from misunderstanding professionals. Thus, recovery may never truly take place.

Find Help, Hope, and Healing at Sana Lake

Here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, we do more than simply treat addiction. We strive to address and bring healing to every area of our members’ lives. Those who come to us can expect to find a team that understands the importance of treating the whole person. Members of our treatment facility are more than the addictions they are facing. We seek to recognize the potential in each one who comes to our center.

If you have been suffering from substance dependence, you know all too well how this disorder affects one’s life. Perhaps you are experiencing changes in your family or within your relationships. Maybe you are dealing with major difficulties at your job or struggling to stay afloat with your studies at school. You may even be facing problems in your physical or mental health. Sadly, many people who suffer from addiction experience these issues.

However, the good news is that you don’t have to struggle any longer! At Sana Lake, we are here to equip you with the tools you need as you seek recovery. Our team of compassionate and skilled addiction treatment specialists and therapists offers the best of care to our members.

Today is the day to begin experiencing a change. Now is the time to move forward, leaving substance use in the past. Please contact us here at Sana Lake Recovery Center today. We will work with you to overcome addiction and begin a new life. Allow us to help you through our comprehensive and individualized treatment and therapy approaches. Reach out to us now and begin your new journey to freedom!


clonidine for opiate withdrawals

Clonidine for Opiate Withdrawals

What is Clonidine?

Clonidine is part of a class of drugs called centrally acting alpha-agonists or antihypertensives. It works in the part of the brain that helps regulate behavior, attention, and how we express emotions.

Doctors commonly prescribe clonidine to lower blood pressure, and it does that by lowering the levels of certain chemicals in your blood. And when the chemicals are lowered, it allows your blood vessels to relax and your heart to beat more slowly and easily. 

Because of the calming effect it has on the body; clonidine is also used to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Clonidine is not a controlled substance, so it doesn’t have a DEA drug rating. But each state has its laws prohibiting the possession of a prescription drug without a prescription. Depending on the state, possessing clonidine without a valid prescription can bring a charge of a misdemeanor or a felony. Penalties range from fines and probation to time in jail or prison.

Clonidine for Opioid Detoxification

Medically supervised opioid withdrawal is also known as a medically assisted detoxification. It involves giving medication to patients to relieve the severity of withdrawal symptoms. 

Medications used in the treatment of withdrawal symptoms include opioid agonists such as buprenorphine and methadone (types of opioids). This form of detox also utilizes alpha-agonists like lofexidine and clonidine (non-opiate).

For many years, the main plan for detox involved suppressing the withdrawal symptoms with methadone and then gradually reducing the methadone dose. Using methadone this way has been limited by government restrictions on the prescribing of methadone and the dislike of the drawn-out feature of methadone withdrawal.

The use of clonidine in detoxification from opiates has proven that it can quickly suppress the signs and symptoms related to opiate withdrawal. Recent studies also indicate that clonidine is useful for withdrawal from methadone maintenance. It can help detoxify the patient in less than 14 days instead of the usual 3 to 6 months on methadone. There is a high rate of success in achieving a zero dosage. 

Treatment of Choice

According to the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), studies have shown that clonidine weakens the opiate withdrawal syndrome considerably. Inpatient and outpatient clinical studies show clonidine to be reasonably safe, specific, and effective for detoxifying opiate addicts. It is the “go-to” medication prescribed by most physicians for the treatment of opioid withdrawal.

ACCP also states that clonidine seems best suited as a transition from opiate dependence to a maintenance drug such as naltrexone. They consider it to be an important treatment option for certain selected opiate addicts. It may be the “treatment of choice” when detoxification using methadone is not appropriate, not available, or unsuccessful.

Why Clonidine?

Clonidine is an extremely powerful medication for easing opiate withdrawal symptoms. It is the most prescribed medication because it works. Clonidine doesn’t eliminate all the symptoms, but, when used correctly, it can ease many opiate withdrawal symptoms.

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Clonidine provides relief to many of the physical symptoms of opioid withdrawal, including:

  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps 
  • Chills
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Slows down a racing heartbeat
  • Helps you fall asleep and stay asleep

The main reason for supervised withdrawal is to successfully and safely ease the patient into medically-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. Withdrawal alone does not usually result in continued abstinence. 

Likewise, it doesn’t focus on the reasons the patient became addicted in the first place or the damage done to mental health, physical health, relationships, employment, and finances. 

Detox is just the beginning of the treatment of an opioid use disorder (OUD). A continuing program of therapy, peer support, and tapering off medications is necessary for long-term abstinence.

Clonidine Side Effects

Using clonidine for opiate withdrawal can lead to side effects.

Emergency side effects 

You should get emergency medical help if you show signs of an allergic reaction such as:

  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat

When to call a doctor

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Severe chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeats
  • Very slow heart rate
  • Severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears
  • Nosebleeds
  • Anxiety or confusion
  • A light-headed feeling like you might pass out

Common side effects

  • Drowsiness, dizziness
  • Irritability or fatigue
  • Dry mouth, loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Dry eyes
  • Sleep problems, insomnia, nightmares

Is Clonidine Addictive?

Clonidine has mild sedative effects, and that’s how it works to relax the blood vessels and make it easier for the heart to pump blood in people with high blood pressure. 

However, some people take clonidine to enhance the effects of methadone and other substances. Its sedative properties make it attractive to people who just want to experience a sense of relaxation and happiness. 

Long-term use of clonidine can produce serious consequences, including low blood pressure and slow heart rate. The American College of Medical Toxicology warns that stopping clonidine suddenly can cause dangerous spikes in blood pressure, agitation, and tremors.

It has been determined by studies conducted by Professor David Nutt et al. that clonidine and other sedatives have the potential to become addictive. In fact, they have a higher addictive potential than LSD and ecstasy, which are usually considered more dangerous.

Signs of Clonidine Addiction

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, some of the signs of addiction are:

  • Taking more frequent or larger amounts of the drug than originally intended.
  • Unsuccessfully attempting to cut down or stop.
  • Spending a lot of time trying to get, use, and recover from the effects.
  • Experiencing cravings for the drug.
  • Inability to fulfill school, work, and home obligations due to drug use.
  • Continuing to use the drug despite social or relationship problems.
  • Taking the drug when it’s unsafe to do so. (driving, operating machinery, etc.)
  • Continuing to use the drug knowing that you have a physical or psychological problem due to the use.
  • Tolerance (you need more of the drug to achieve initial results).
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not using.

Is There a Risk of Overdose on Clonidine?

Clonidine and other sedatives have been suspected in thousands of overdose deaths. 

Public health officials are particularly concerned about the use of sedatives with synthetic opioids. Data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2016 showed that almost 80% of overdose deaths involving a synthetic opioid also involved alcohol or another drug.

In most cases, the other drug was the sedative, benzodiazepine. Combining sedatives such as clonidine, with an opioid, causes lethality.

However, overdoses mainly seem to occur because of unintentional ingestion by children, prescription errors, and intentional overdoses in adolescents and adults. In a study of overdoses in adults, consistent bradycardia (slow heartbeat) and a depressed central nervous system were found. 

An overdose causes deep sedation and affects the ability to breathe normally. But the poisonous effect of the drug was not life-threatening.  

What’s the Difference Between Opioids and Opiates?

The term “opiate” refers to any drug that is naturally occurring in the opium poppy plant. Opium, codeine, and morphine are opiates. 

The term “opioid” refers to any drug synthesized or partly synthesized from an opiate and causes a similar effect. An opioid is any substance, either natural, synthetic, or partly synthetic, that attaches to receptors in the brain and causes opiate-like effects.  

Examples of opioid drugs include heroin, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and methadone.

This means that all opiates are opioids, but not all opioids are opiates. Many organizations have stopped using the term “opiate” and are now using “opioid” to refer to all the opioid and opiate drugs. 

It’s important to point out that although opiates are made from naturally occurring substances, they are not safer than synthetic or semi-synthetic opioids.

Types of Opioid Drugs

The three main types of opioid drugs are:

  • Opiates
  • Semi-synthetic opioids—created in labs from naturally occurring opiates.
  • Synthetic opioids—created entirely in a lab.

Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder


After an initial assessment by your doctor or another medical professional, you will probably need detoxification. This is the process of ridding your body of toxins. Withdrawal from opioid dependence is extremely uncomfortable and often causes people to give up. That’s why a medically supervised detox is so important. 

Medical professionals can prescribe medications such as clonidine to help ease the way through the symptoms.


After detox, you may still need medication for a period to address your cravings for opioids, depending on the severity of your addiction. Treatment involves therapy and combinations of therapies specifically for your situation. Counseling for opioid addiction can help you:

  • Change your behaviors related to drug use.
  • Learn and build healthy life skills.
  • Stick with your other forms of treatment, such as maintenance medications.

Treatment Programs Available

Depending on your home situation and other considerations, you may choose from different treatment programs such as:

  • Residential—where you will live at the treatment center.
  • Partial hospitalization—which is designed for people with a mental health or co-occurring condition. You may live onsite or not as needed.
  • Intensive outpatient—where you will live at home but attend intense counseling sessions each day at the treatment center.
  • Outpatient—is for people who have support at home, are stepping down from a more intense program, or do not have a severe addiction problem.
  • Sober living—for after you complete your initial program, but before you go home to face day-to-day stresses on your own. You live in a residence with other people in recovery.

Making It All Work for You

If you or someone close to you has an opioid addiction, you know first hand how debilitating and controlling it is. It doesn’t have to be that way. At Sana Lake Recovery Center, we have medically proven methods and evidence-based therapies to help effect a long-term and lasting recovery.

Our staff of professionals will be with you from entry to completion with one concern—helping you achieve your best life. There is no reason to wait. Contact us. Discover our programs and therapies, and you will understand why we are the best treatment facility in the Midwest.


is baclofen addictive

Is Baclofen Addictive? What is it Used For?

What is Baclofen?

Baclofen is a prescription drug that individuals can use to treat muscle spasms. These spasms may be caused by medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), as well as spinal cord diseases or injuries. Baclofen may also be known by other brand names such as Lioresal and Kemstro. 

This medication works to relieve pain and it operates as muscle relaxers. Baclofen also helps to improve the overall movement of muscles as it combats spasms. But, addiction treatment professionals are finding a use for this drug on the rehab scene as well.

However, those who are considering medication-assisted treatment of any kind for addiction recovery may wonder about the possibility of further addiction. After all, some individuals know all too well how unfortunately easy it is to become develop prescription drug addictions. 

So, some may wonder, “is baclofen addictive?” This is a valid question and a concern that recovery centers should certainly address. It’s important for those who are suffering from addiction to find hope at addiction treatment centers that have their best interest in mind. So, here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, our mission is to help inform you of your treatment options and address any concerns you may have.

The History of Baclofen

Originally, baclofen was meant for treating epilepsy. But, this treatment did not prove to be overwhelmingly successful. Medical professionals did find, however, that baclofen was helpful in minimizing spasticity.  

In the early 2000s, an individual by the name of Oliver Ameisen provided details about his recovery from alcoholism with the help of baclofen. As a cardiologist, Ameisen’s memoir about this process was certainly one that captured many people’s attention. 

The experimental use of baclofen is swiftly catching on and becoming more and more of a topic of discussion. So, it only seems fitting that, since using this medication for addiction treatment is still in the experimental stage, people would wonder about its qualities and characteristics. Learning about whether or not baclofen is addictive and gaining more information about baclofen withdrawal can be helpful for those who are wondering about this treatment method.

Information About Baclofen Dosage

In regards to baclofen dosage, those who use it typically experience varying doses. Sometimes, medical professionals may increase or decrease a person’s dosage depending on the individual’s needs and how the body responds to the medication.

It is not recommended to use more than 100 mg of baclofen per day. In many cases, the recommendation will be to use smaller and frequent doses of this medication as opposed to large, single doses.

When it comes to the side effects baclofen use may produce, it is important for individuals to be aware of the ways in which this drug may affect them. Baclofen may cause people to feel dizzy or drowsy. It may also cause confusion, physical weakness, or discomfort in the stomach. In severe cases, baclofen use can lead to seizures or breathing problems.

It’s important to note, however, that the more severe side effects of baclofen are not as likely to occur as the moderate symptoms. Still, individuals should also consult medical professional advice when it comes to using any sort of medication, including baclofen. This will ensure that people are using it safely and effectively without danger of severe and serious effects.

Also, the effects of baclofen can vary depending on the following:

  • Age
  • Underlying or co-occurring physical health conditions 
  • Underlying or co-occurring mental health disorders

Again, it is critical to speak with your doctor about using baclofen as the effects may be different for you than they are for others. This is especially necessary if you have specific mental or physical health concerns or conditions.

About Baclofen Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person uses baclofen for a while, the individual’s body will learn to depend on this substance. So, suddenly ending baclofen use may lead to withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms may include confusion or anxiety. Some individuals may experience symptoms of psychosis. Convulsions may also occur in some instances.

This is why it is best to avoid abruptly ending baclofen use. Instead, individuals should consult a medical professional and decrease the dosage for a week or two. Eventually, they will likely be able to stop using the drug altogether.

Is Baclofen Addictive?

As the study on baclofen and its use in addiction treatment continues, many cannot help but wonder, “Is baclofen addictive?” After all, individuals often find themselves wondering if MAT, in general, is effective as it uses prescription drugs to help people end substance dependence. Some wonder if this approach to alcohol and drug use treatment is the same as “trading one addiction for another”. 

Those who wonder about this should not be concerned; medication-assisted treatment involves expert supervision and guidance. However, the question about the addictiveness of baclofen remains viable.

In truth, individuals who use baclofen for a while may develop a tolerance for it. Their bodies may begin to depend on it. Baclofen causes a pleasurable calming effect, which many may grow to desire often. Some individuals may begin to use baclofen outside of the recommended use. This can lead to addiction.

Should this occur in a person’s life, it is absolutely necessary to seek assistance from addiction treatment specialists. Through professional treatment programs, those who suffer from addiction can break free from substance use disorders.

Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

Those who suffer from substance use disorders should never attempt to end substance use without help. It’s both important and even necessary for individuals to seek assistance from others. This certainly remains true in cases of baclofen dependence and addiction.

Individuals who are suffering from baclofen dependence can find hope and healing here at Sana Lake Recovery Center. Through our services and programs, those who are struggling will have access to professional treatment and resources that can help guide the way to recovery.

If you are currently dealing with the impact of addiction and you’re not sure how to overcome these challenges, you may benefit from our addiction treatment services. You may need to consider enrolling in an inpatient or residential program. In this type of treatment program, you will be able to live in a drug- and alcohol-free environment, away from any negative influences that may exist at home.

Or, you may benefit from an outpatient program. This may include a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP). While these programs are not as intensive as residential treatment, they offer individuals the tools and resources they need in order to work toward a life that is free from substance use disorders.

Treatment for addiction typically involves various types of therapy. Some individuals may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Another helpful therapeutic approach is dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT. Other types of therapy and resources for substance use disorders include the following:

Therapy for Recovery

Those in recovery can take advantage of the benefits of group therapy and individual therapy. Both of these methods can help people as they seek liberty from substance dependence. While in an individual therapy session, a person can discuss his or her needs, feelings, emotions, experiences, challenges, and more with a therapist. This one-on-one setting allows people to freely express themselves without fear of judgment. It also enables people to receive individualized and personalized care and guidance.

Group therapy sessions are helpful for many reasons. Firstly, being in a group setting can help to make individuals aware of the fact that they are far from alone. Physically being around others can help give individuals the emotional support they need. Also, group therapy enables people to freely talk about their experiences with people who truly understand and relate to them. Group therapy also gives recovering individuals an atmosphere in which they can develop healthy and supportive interpersonal relationships.

Finally, family therapy can also be beneficial and helpful during the recovery journey. Unfortunately, substance use disorders affect individuals and their families alike. Since this is the case, it is important for families to seek support and guidance as they navigate through the challenges that occur as a family member works through recovery. Family therapy helps to equip family units with the education and understanding they need throughout this time.

Let Sana Lake Help You: Seek Help And Guidance Today!

Here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, we understand the importance of helping people find freedom from substance use disorders. Our team offers compassionate and comprehensive care to those who are working to end drug and alcohol use. So, whether you are suffering from addiction or you are struggling to maintain freedom from this disorder, we’re here to help.

Our facility is in Dittmer, Missouri and its serene surroundings offer individuals a peaceful and safe environment. With our treatment programs, comfortable atmosphere, and understanding staff, Sana Lake offers people hope and healing. 

If you’ve been looking for addiction treatment resources and services, allow us to help you. At Sana Lake, you can find what you have been searching for and gain the skills you need to overcome substance use disorder in your life. 

Today is the day to begin anew. Contact us now to start a new path, one that leads away from addiction and toward health and happiness. Recovery is a lifelong journey that can certainly present many challenges. But, it also provides many opportunities for growth and development. We are committed to walking beside you on this journey. So, reach out to our representatives today!

LGBTQ and substance abuse

How Substance Use Disorder Affects the LGBTQ Community

Sadly, no community has been left untouched by the effects of substance dependence. Many people all over the world and from varying backgrounds are currently experiencing the impact of addiction and the challenges that this disorder brings. So, unfortunately, members of the LGBTQ community are also subject to the difficulties that occur with the development of alcoholism and drug misuse. 

However, by bringing more awareness to this issue, individuals can find hope and healing through recovery. Thankfully, here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, we work to offer treatment to everyone who comes to us for help, regardless of sexual orientation or gender. We believe part of providing hope and help to those who need it is to begin raising awareness and sharing information about the prevalence and effects of addiction within the LGBTQ community.

Addiction Defined: What Is It and How Does It Affect Those Who Suffer From It?

A substance use disorder (SUD), commonly referred to as “addiction”, is a disorder that causes individuals to depend on alcohol or drugs. Those who suffer from SUDs may be physically dependent on drugs or alcohol. They may also become physiologically pr psychologically dependent on these substances.

Substance use disorders develop after individuals use alcohol or drugs for an extended period of time. For instance, if a person uses alcohol for a while, he or she may build a tolerance for the substance. This means that the individual’s body becomes so accustomed to the effects of alcohol that it requires more of the substance in order to elicit the same physical and emotional responses within the body.

Sometimes, those who have a substance dependence may not even realize the presence of the disorder. But, it is important to note the signs and symptoms of addiction in order to speedily get help and treatment.

Types of Addiction

There are many types of substance use disorders. Some of the substances people may use and become dependent on may include the following:

Using these substances can lead to the development of an addiction. So, those who regularly use drugs or alcohol may find themselves struggling with substance dependence and its effects. When this occurs, it is absolutely necessary for individuals to seek professional help immediately.

The Prevalence of Substance Use in the LGBTQ Community

Substance use and dependence have certainly made their presence known in the lives of many LGBTQ individuals. Professionals estimate that between 20-30% of those within the LGBTQ community suffer from substance misuse. This is in comparison to about 9% of the general population.

One study found that students who are transgender are 2.5 times more likely than others to use cocaine or meth. Also, transgender students are also 2 times as likely to misuse prescription drugs (including prescription opioids or benzodiazepines).

When it comes to alcohol use, studies say that 20-25% of the LGBTQ community have an alcohol dependency, both moderate and severe. In regards to heroin use, members of the LGBTQ community are 9.5 times more likely heterosexual individuals to use heroin.

According to data from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, adults in the LGBTQ community were more than two times as likely as heterosexual adults to have used any illicit drug in the past year. This equates to 39.1% of LGBTQ adults as opposed to 17.1% of heterosexual adults.

LGBTQ individuals are 12.2 times more likely than others to use amphetamines. Nearly one-third of sexual minority adults used marijuana in the past year. This equates to about 30.7% compared to 12.9%of heterosexual adults.

About 1 in 10 (10.4%) of individuals in the LGBTQ community misused prescription pain relievers in comparison to 4.5% of heterosexual adults.

Causes of Addiction Amongst LGBTQ Members

Addiction develops for different reasons. Each individual who suffers from substance dependence has unique life experiences and genetic factors that could contribute to the development of addiction. However, some of the reasons why people suffer from substance misuse and dependence may include general factors such as:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Peer pressure
  • Environmental factors
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Physical health complications (i.e. chronic pain)

When it comes to members of the LGBTQ community who suffer from drug and alcohol dependence, the causes of addiction may be very specifically related to the challenges many individuals face on a regular basis.

For instance, unfortunately, countless LGBTQ individuals know the pain of loneliness and rejection all too well. As a result of these negative emotions, many people enter a low mental state, possibly developing depression or turning to substance use for relief. 

Also, the sad truth is that many individuals within the LGBTQ community have experienced sexual trauma. The effects of these horrifying experiences can certainly lead to drug or alcohol misuse and dependence.

Another possible cause of substance use and dependence could be related to self-image. Sadly, people within the LGBTQ community often struggle with feelings of low self-esteem and even self-hatred. These harmful ways of thinking can lead individuals to feel overwhelmed and alone. These emotions, in turn, can result in excessive alcohol or drug use as a coping method.

Addressing Specific Needs in Treatment for Substance Use Disorder

Mental health disorders often co-occur with substance use disorders among those in the LGBTQ community. Individuals within the community often struggle with mental health disorders such as stress, depression, and anxiety. Many of them also show signs of suicidal ideation or even suicide attempts. Self-harm also commonly occurs among LGBTQ individuals.

Due to the challenges many LGBTQ individuals encounter on a regular basis, the effects of addiction can become even more difficult to manage. However, despite the evident difficulties, many people do not seek professional assistance in overcoming addiction. 

This happens for varying reasons. Firstly, a person who is suffering from addiction may not feel as though their needs will be addressed. Some may not feel comfortable with the idea of going through a residential or inpatient treatment program. On the other hand, some people may not feel extremely comfortable with the idea of going through an outpatient program.

Also, some individuals who are looking for addiction treatment may wish to find gender-specific programs. They may also be interested in getting treatment that is age-specific and age-geared, whether for seniors or young adults.

Finding the Right Addiction Treatment Center for Your Needs

While searching for a treatment center for substance use disorder, it is essential to find a facility that best suits your needs. To do that, it is important to first identify your needs and determine the best ways to meet those requirements.

If you are suffering from a mental health disorder in addition to substance dependence, it is best to seek help from a dual diagnosis program. A dual diagnosis treatment program works to identify and address co-occurring disorders simultaneously. This is important because addressing only one disorder without treating the other can lead to relapse. Or, at the very least, this approach could prevent the individual from overcoming the unaddressed disorder.

You may also want to consider whether or not a treatment center offers inpatient and outpatient programs. Some individuals require around-the-clock care as they begin their journeys to freedom from addiction. So, having access to a comprehensive residential program can prove to be absolutely essential.

On the other hand, some individuals may need to tend to other responsibilities outside of treatment. These may include duties at home, school, work, or other obligations. In these cases, outpatient services may be best suited for individuals who wish to end substance dependence. 

Distance is one more component you may need to consider when looking for a facility. It’s important to determine whether or not you would like to travel to treatment or attend a local recovery center.

Contact Sana Lake Recovery Center Today!

If you or someone you know is suffering from a substance use disorder, please know that there is hope. Here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, our mission is to provide individuals with the resources and services they need in order to overcome the impact of substance dependence. 

Whether you are struggling with alcohol use disorder or drug dependence, we are here to help you. Our goal is to equip our members with the tools they need as they begin walking on the path to lifelong recovery and freedom from addiction. We understand that this journey is full of many challenges and hurdles.

Our team also understands that these challenges are often only intensified by the presence of other unrelated difficulties that may arise in a person’s life. As mentioned before, we understand that many members of the LGBTQ community face challenges that may not be comparable to any of those that other individuals may encounter. But, we strive to make the recovery process accessible and successful for every individual who comes to our facility.

The road to recovery is never simple or easy. Many complications and challenges occur on this journey. But, throughout your time in our treatment programs here at Sana Lake, you can be sure that you will receive encouragement and guidance from our professional and understanding team members.

Unfortunately, many addiction treatment facilities fail to understand the needs of individuals within the LGBTQ community in regards to recovery. But we work tirelessly to make sure each of our members has exactly what is necessary to ensure a successful recovery. So, if you need help ending substance use in your life, please contact us today. Allow us to assist you as you shift your focus to a life that is addiction-free!

chronic pain and addiction

What’s the Relationship Between Chronic Pain and Addiction?

Chronic pain affects up to 50 million people in the U.S., even though it’s hard to control and often misunderstood. For people who experience chronic pain, opioids are usually the go-to choice for relief. As effective as these are, though, they also carry multiple side effects and are prone to addiction. Doctors wrote opioid prescriptions for about 260 million people, and 2 million of those people ended up developing an opioid addiction. 

Learn how painkiller addiction can stem from chronic pain. We at Sana Lake Recovery can give you the best program for pain management and addiction treatment.  

Acute vs. Chronic Pain: What’s the Difference?

Acute pain is the normal pain you feel when you injure yourself, while chronic pain is more severe. Acute pain doesn’t last long and it happens suddenly, like when you burn your finger on a stove, hit your thumb with a hammer, or break your arm. Once an acute injury has healed, the pain will stop. Acute pain is considered by doctors to be “good” pain since it lets you know that you have an injury.

When pain becomes chronic, however, it’s a disease. Chronic pain is typically diagnosed after three to six months of consistent pain, and it can even last years. 

What Causes Chronic Pain?

It’s not always clear what causes chronic pain, but it can happen when a disease or medical condition alters the nervous system. As a result, the body can then feel more sensitive to pain, and certain sensations can last longer or feel more severe than normal. Chronic pain can also result from a serious injury or infection, or even a surgical incision. 

Here are a few examples of medical conditions that cause chronic pain:

  • Migraines: While headaches can be an occasional nuisance, migraines are recurring headaches that can last anywhere from a few hours to three days. Migraines affect about 15% of people all over the world.
  • Lower back pain (LBP): There isn’t always a cause for lower back pain, but in many cases it’s caused by long-term joint or muscle strain. Although 40 to 90% of people with LBP have no pain after six weeks, chronic LBP lasts more than 12 weeks. 
  • Arthritis: Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints. Symptoms include swelling, redness and low range of motion. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common forms of the condition.
  • Cancer: Since cancer can be extremely painful, opioids are often chosen to help relieve severe symptoms.
  • Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia involves musculoskeletal pain throughout the body and tends to heighten painful sensations. People with fibromyalgia experience chronic pain and are more likely to get the condition from child abuse. 
  • Shingles: Shingles is a viral infection that causes painful rashes and itchy blisters. Shingles comes from the same virus as chickenpox, and you’re more likely to get it if you’re under a great deal of stress or you’ve had a critical injury.

You should talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing pain that lasts longer than expected. He or she needs to treat it as soon as possible so that the pain doesn’t get worse.

Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can take many forms and feel anywhere from mild to extremely painful. Signs and symptoms of chronic pain include:

  • Sinus pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Neck pain or backaches
  • Pain after an injury
  • Headaches
  • Shoulder pain
  • Fatigue
  • Weakened immune system
  • Nausea
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Mood swings, anxiety and depression
  • Inability to participate in many activities

The Psychological Effects of Chronic Pain

Living with chronic pain doesn’t only cause physical strain; it can also cause plenty of mental anguish. Dealing with constant painful sensations can be debilitating and limit the way you live your life. It’s not uncommon for people with chronic pain to become depressed or get anxious about the next time symptoms will flare up.

When someone with chronic pain gets anxious or depressed, neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin decrease, and this can lead to an increase in severe pain symptoms. 

These neurotransmitters are the body’s natural painkillers, so when they decrease it can mean more trouble for the person suffering. At this point, people with chronic pain can start taking their pain management to a dangerous level by misusing painkillers. 

Commonly Misused Pain Medications

Although medication treatment for pain management can be helpful, certain prescriptions can become addicting, especially opioids. Here is a shortlist of the most commonly misused prescription meds for pain management: 

  • Opioids 
    • Oxycodone (OxyContin), oxycodone/acetaminophen (Percocet), hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin), oxymorphone (Opana), hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Diazepam (Valium) – This is a benzodiazepine (sedative) that’s usually prescribed for anxiety disorders, but it’s also used for several other medical reasons.
  • Pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal) – This is a barbiturate used before surgical procedures and to manage insomnia.

Why Are Opioids Used for Pain Management?

Opioids have long been doctors’ first choice for managing both acute and chronic pain. Opioids block pain receptors by interacting with the brain’s chemical makeup and the central nervous system. These drugs increase levels of dopamine in the brain and release feelings of relaxation and happiness, while also slowing down heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. 

Even though painkilling prescription drugs are often provided by doctors, only 58% of people with chronic pain feel relief from them. There are many synthetic opioids available on the market, but the following are the ones most prescribed for pain. 


Codeine is used to treat mild to moderate pain. It’s usually found in cough syrups and can also treat diarrhea. Some side effects of codeine include constipation, lightheadedness, 


Morphine is prescribed for both acute and chronic pain. It can be used to alleviate labor pains and pain from a heart attack. 


Methadone clinics provide people with this medication so they can recover from opioid addiction. It’s also used to treat moderate to severe pain. 


Oxycodone (OxyContin) is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Oxycodone is also available with acetaminophen (Percocet), aspirin, ibuprofen and naloxone, which also helps stop heroin overdoses.


Hydrocodone is a fairly potent opioid used to treat both acute and chronic pain, and it can be used as a cough suppressant as well. It’s also combined with acetaminophen to make Vicodin. 


Fentanyl is the most widely used synthetic opioid in medicine as of 2017, and it’s also one of the strongest opioids. It’s used to treat chronic pain like cancer pain. Fentanyl is one of the most potent opioids on the market.

Side Effects of Opioids

Some side effects of taking opioids for pain management include:

  • Impaired coordination and thinking
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation

The most dangerous side effect of opioids is that they are highly addictive. 

The Problem with Pain Management and Addiction

Opioids can be highly addictive, and people dealing with chronic pain can become addicted to painkillers. People who take opioids for pain management don’t intend on developing an addiction. Unfortunately, this ends up happening with a lot of users. Doctors will usually only prescribe opioids on a short-term basis so that addiction isn’t a possibility, but these medications are still powerful.

When drug dependent persons take opioids, they usually work at first. The user starts to feel better because of the pain medication and they begin to have a new lease on life. However, they can eventually build a tolerance and require more and more to achieve the same effect. Oxycodone, hydromorphone, fentanyl and oxycodone/acetaminophen (Percocet) are some of the most commonly misused opioids for pain management.

Alternative Treatments for Pain Management

Although opioids are usually the first choice for managing chronic pain, you shouldn’t use them if you’re addicted to them or at risk for developing a dependence. Fortunately, there are other options. However, some of the alternatives listed below might not be effective for your specific severe pain. Chronic pain must be managed carefully and comprehensively since it can affect how you function daily. Talk to your doctor to see what might be the best medication option for you.

Prescription-strength nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs have long been used to manage acute pain, but it usually takes prescription-strength NSAIDs to take care of chronic pain. NSAIDs are usually taken in pill form, but they also come in topical forms like creams and gels.

Common NSAIDs include:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Celecoxib (Celebrex)

NSAIDs are also often combined with opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone to relieve pain, but as opioids can be addictive, use them with caution.

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

SNRIs treat chronic fibromyalgia and musculoskeletal pain, as well as depression. SNRIs include venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta).


Anticonvulsants like gabapentin, pregabalin and phenytoin are used to treat epilepsy. It’s believed that anticonvulsants change how pain signals flow throughout the body.

Holistic medicine

Some practitioners feel that holistic or alternative medicine is a better option for treating chronic pain than traditional medication. Tai chi is believed to relieve stiffness and low back pain, and it’s also known to improve the quality of life in people with bone conditions like osteoporosis.

Other forms of holistic medicine thought to improve chronic pain include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Yoga

Pain Management and Addiction Treatment at Sana Lake Recovery Center

For so many people suffering from chronic pain, pain management and addiction treatment unfortunately go hand in hand. Sana Lake Recovery Center understands this, and our clinical staff can help you get rid of your pain medication addiction for good.

When you enter our center and are evaluated by our staff, you’ll first undergo medical detox. This will cleanse your body of harmful toxins from the pain addiction medication you’ve taken. Medical detox is a safe way for people to stop using drugs since it’s under the constant supervision of medical professionals. 

Once detox is complete, there is still work to be done. Therapy and aftercare programs are key to mitigating your psychological drug dependency and helping you find ways to healthily deal with your chronic pain.

  • Individual therapy: Here, you can have one-on-one time with your counselor, who will help you discover why you developed an addiction to painkillers. He or she will also show you how to best cope with your chronic pain when it’s at its worst.
  • Group therapy: Group therapy will place you with other people who have chronic pain and deal with addiction. A counselor will lead your sessions and give each member a chance to discuss how chronic pain has affected their lives.
  • Holistic medicine: As mentioned earlier, holistic or alternative medicine can be a good solution for pain management. The point of holistic medicine is to achieve balance of the spirit, body and mind. 
    • Mindfulness
    • Journaling
    • Yoga
    • Nutritional therapy

Dealing with Chronic Pain in Recovery

Recovering from a painkiller addiction doesn’t necessarily mean that your chronic pain will go away. If you are still dealing with chronic pain while in recovery, here are a few tips:

  • Regularly attend counseling sessions. Therapy will teach you new life skills and ways for coping with your chronic pain, as well as how to balance your emotions.
  • Work on your problem-solving skills. Look at dealing with your chronic pain as a way of growing. How can you solve your problems effectively?
  • Eat balanced meals. Nutritious food can do wonders for your physical and mental well being. Aim for foods that are low in saturated fats and refined sugars, high in protein, and rich in nutrients. 
  • Find a support group. Narcotics Anonymous and other support groups can bring you to like-minded people who have also suffered from painkiller addiction. 

Get Quality Pain Addiction Treatment Today

Are you addicted to prescription medication as the result of a medical condition or accident? Don’t worry. Although addiction is a tough disease to fight, it’s not impossible to beat. Sana Lake Recovery Center has the tools you need to escape the cycle of addiction and get you on the right path to long-term recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our services.


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. 


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.


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.


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!


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:


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


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

Physical Sensations

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


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

Professional Help Can Stop You from Relapsing While Grieving

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

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

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

What Can I Do to Avoid Relapsing While Grieving?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sana Lake

If you need help returning to your road to recovery after the loss of a loved one or if you know someone who does, please contact us today!