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!



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

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

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

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

What is Polysubstance Abuse?

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

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

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

Types of Polysubstance Abuse 

People commonly abuse the following combinations of drugs such as: 

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

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

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

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

What Happens When You Mix Ambien With Alcohol? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signs of Polysubstance Abuse: Identifying the Risk Factors 

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Is The Difference Between Polysubstance Use And Addiction?

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

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

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

Prevent Addiction With Our Help

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

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

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

Contact us today by calling our addiction specialists in Dittmer, Missouri.



Moderate, Heavy, Binge: The Levels of Problem Drinking

Do you know the different levels of drinking and when consumption is considered problem drinking?

Read this guide to learn the differences between each level.

Problem drinking is described as the tendency of using alcohol in such a way that it affects you negatively. The difference between problem drinking and alcoholism is that, unlike an alcoholic, a problem drinker is not physically dependent on alcohol. The physical dependence on alcohol by alcoholics results in health problems. You may need to seek treatment for this physical dependence.


Several tendencies may classify you as a problem drinker. Here are a few examples:

  • If drinking puts you in a position to miss important activities such as school or job
  • Makes you feel socially isolated even with friends and close family members
  • Makes you an individual who is quick to anger, reacts violently to situations or forces you into depression
  • If it makes you spend unnecessarily on alcohol at the expense of beneficial activities like grocery resulting in financial problems
  • When alcohol puts you in a position where you don’t get along with family and close friends
  • When alcohol results to you making an unsound decision such as sexual offenses
  • When you experience blackouts

The physical dependency created by alcohol may turn a problem drinker into an alcoholic. But how does one understand at what level of drinking they are at? Here is how to learn and understand your drinking tendencies.

The CDC considers binge drinking a serious threat to public health. However, it is preventable. It has been named one of the most expensive and deadly drinking patterns in the United States.

It is characterized by excessive use of alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism describes binge drinking as:

“NIAAA defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after four drinks for women and five drinks for men—in about 2 hours.”


There are severe risks related to binge drinking, such as:

  • Resorting to violence such as sexual offenses
  • The occurrence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
  • Sexual misconducts resulting in sexually transmitted diseases
  • Development of chronic diseases such as liver and heart diseases
  • For pregnant women, it may lead to miscarriage, sudden infant death syndrome, and stillbirth
  • Binge drinking may result in alcohol dependency
  • It might further lead to memory and learning problems


Binge drinking can be prevented. Here are recommendable approaches:

  • Increasing taxes on alcohol is a strategic way of reducing usage
  • Reducing the number of alcohol outlets will result in less exposure hence lowered frequency of consumption
  • Alcohol retailers must be held accountable for any minor who is found in possession of alcohol
  • Restricting days and hours of purchase will reduce overindulgence
  • Before any significant selection, individuals should be screened and counseled for any possibility of misuse


Consumption of alcohol takes a while for effects to manifest. Here are the stages of alcohol binge:

  1. Stage 1: subclinical intoxication- the intoxication may not appear at 0.01-0.05 BAC although impairment may be detected in certain tests. This stage depends on the individual, their level of judgment, and how they react.
  2. Stage 2: Euphoria- it occurs between 0.03 and 0.12 BAC. It is characterized by individuals becoming more talkative and confident.
  3. Stage 3: excitement- occurs between 0.09 and 0.25 BAC. It is characterized by emotional unpredictability and poor judgment.
  4. Stage 4: confusion- occurs between 0.18 and 0.30 BAC. It is characterized by emotional stupefaction and disruption.
  5. Stage 5: stupor- occur between 0.25 and 0.40 BAC. It is characterized by extreme intoxication and may result in poisoning or death.
  6. Stage 6: coma- occurs between 0.35 and 0.45 BAC. This is a hazardous stage characterized by numerous health failures such as depressed motor functions.
  7. Stage 7: occurs estimably at 0.45 BAC. The body cells are failing at keeping up with the alcohol content and are beginning to lose a life.

The Levels of Problem Drinking

There are 3 levels of problem drinking.

1. Moderate Drinking

Moderate drinking has been described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one drink or less for women and two drinks or lower for men.

Compared to heavy drinking, moderate drinking encompasses four or fewer drinks on one occasion or eight or fewer occasions throughout the week. Fourteen grams of alcohol is the standardized amount of one drink rationed in 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine and 15 ounces of liquor.

2. Binge Drinking

Alcohol binge shouldn’t be confused for drinking too much. Unlike drinking too much, alcohol binging can be done when people have an occasion, and alcohol isn’t necessarily a problem. A drinking tendency is considered binging once the alcohol level gets to 0.08 percent or more.

Drinking too much is referred to as heavy drinking. Individuals who take several drinks throughout the day are also classified as heavy drinkers.

That is, within each 24hours, three to four drinks are consumed. This is considered as heavy drinking even when the person never gets drunk.

3. Heavy Drinking

Most heavy drinkers have been associated with alcohol addiction. In this case, they are usually in constant yearning for alcohol and are unable to limit their drinking. Heavy drinkers continue to consume alcohol despite evident psychological and physical harmful effects.

In cases where one decides to stop drinking, withdrawal symptoms may emerge, such as hallucination or fever. Similar to binge drinking, heavy drinkers may develop fatal health problems such as liver cirrhosis, inflammation of the pancreas, heart failure, and high blood pressure.

In severe cases, however, they might even die. Heavy drinkers and alcohol binging may indirectly put themselves at a position where they become victims of unintended dangerous activities. For instance, sexual offenses, death by driving while drunk, etc.

Problem Drinking

Drinking alcohol may be beneficial to your health. Moderate drinking means understanding whether your drinking stage is safe or whether it has become dangerous for your health and social life. Alcohol-related issues such as alcoholism, problem drinking, and alcohol binging differ in men and women.

Contact us if you’d like to talk to someone about your alcohol issue.


medication for alcoholism

Your Ultimate Guide to Using Medication for Alcoholism

When you’re suffering from an alcohol use disorder, you may feel as though all is lost and there is nothing left for you to fight for. But do you know that millions of people, just like you, each year seek treatment to overcome their alcohol use disorder (AUD)?

Sobriety is a journey that takes time, patience, and determination. According to research, alcohol, and drug dependence is at an all-time high. There is a variety of medication for alcoholism that helps people overcome alcoholism. These treatments include:

Medication for Alcoholism

Medication for alcoholism is also a method that can be used to overcome drug and alcohol dependence, but research shows it is currently underused. The FDA has approved disulfiram, acamprosate, and naltrexone (both oral and the injectable medication) for the treatment of alcohol dependence or the prevention of relapse to alcohol use.

Are you interested in using medication to treat addiction? Here is your guide to the different types of medication for alcoholism.

Disulfiram/ Antabuse Medication to Deter Drinking

The FDA approved Disulfiram/ Antabuse as an alcohol abuse deterrent in 1951. This medication is used to assist you to stop drinking alcohol. The prescription comes in a tablet form, and you should take it daily.

Physicians prescribe Antabuse after getting rid of all the alcohol from the body because prescribing it otherwise would make the symptoms of withdrawal worse.
When you consume Antabuse and then drink alcohol, it results in a severe reaction which causes discomfort such as vomiting.

The idea is that the reaction creates a negative stimulus, and, in turn, will make you turn away from drinking after associating Antabuse and alcohol. This, therefore, creates a deterrent to drinking. The side effects associated with this medication include:

  • Mild drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Impotence
  • Headache
  • Acne
  • Allergic dermatitis
  • Metallic or garlic-like aftertaste

It is important to remember that Disulfiram reacts to anything that contains alcohol. The smell of household products such as perfumes or mouthwash, for example, can be a trigger to it. Therefore, when using this as a medication for alcoholism, you should consider this.

Who uses Antabuse? You may wonder. People who are determined to stop drinking alcohol but have attempted and failed at various occasions may use this drug. People who have withdrawal symptoms and are at risk of drinking again may also be prescribed Antabuse by a physician.

Antabuse doesn’t address withdrawal symptoms and requires significant compliance on your part to be effective. So for this drug to work, you must be motivated to stop drinking and continue to take Antabuse.

Naltrexone/ Revia to Curb Alcohol Cravings

Naltrexone is sold under the brand names Revia and Depade. This drug was originally used to reduce cravings for people with opiate use disorders. Research indicates that the drug can also reduce the longing for an alcohol fix.

Some studies also suggest that Naltrexone works better at relieving cravings from alcohol than from opioids.

How does it work? You may ask. Well, it blocks the “high” that you experience in the brain whenever you drink alcohol or take opioids like heroin and Vicodin. In addition to blocking this high caused by alcohol, Naltrexone can curb cravings for the substance.

You should take the Naltrexone pill daily to relieve cravings, the extended-release injectable, on the other hand, monthly. Research shows that Naltrexone is most effective in patients who have been able to quit and stay away from alcohol before taking the medication.

Like any other drug, Naltrexone has its side effects. These may include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Nausea or vomiting

Naltrexone reduces alcohol cravings and decreases relapse rates in alcoholics. The drug does not address withdrawal symptoms in individuals who are in recovery from drug and alcohol dependency.

Acamprosate is a Medication for Alcoholism

Acamprosate / Campral is the most recent medication approved for the treatment of alcoholism in the U.S. It works by reducing the physical and emotional distress people generally experience when they quit drinking.

Drug and alcohol dependence disrupts brain chemistry. Campral comes in to help normalize brain chemistry, which aids in reducing cravings. Physicians prescribe Acamprosate once the withdrawal symptoms dissipate.

The drug may not be effective if you take it while drinking alcohol.
For over 20 years, most parts in Europe used Campral as a medication for alcoholism. It was not approved for use in the USA by the FDA until July 2004. The drug became readily available in the US in 2005.

The most common side effects of Campral may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia

Although severe side effects are less common, they can include:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Vision problems
  • Changes in hearing
  • Fainting

The medication comes in the form of a tablet and is sold under the brand name Campral. You should take Campral a day thrice. As with other medications used during the alcohol recovery process, Campral administration happens once a person completes the drug and alcohol detox.

Furthermore, its use intends to help prevent future drinking temptations, rather than getting rid of withdrawal symptoms.

Turn Your Life Around with Sana Lake Recovery Center

Recovery plans that involve using medication for alcoholism have proven to be effective for many people. Although your recovery is unique, it’s important to seek the guidance of a treatment specialist to determine the best program for you.

At Sana Lake Recovery Center, we understand that alcohol addiction affects a family, Therefore, we focus on restoring your family. If you or your loved one is suffering from alcoholism, it’s time to start on the path to a healthier and alcohol-free lifestyle.

Stop making excuses as to why you can’t get sober and start finding solutions for how you can overcome alcoholism. By committing to getting help today, you are investing in a better tomorrow.

Contact a treatment expert now to learn more about addiction treatment and find out more about our family support program.



importance of nature

7 Arguments for the Importance of Nature to Addiction Recovery

Overcoming an addiction is a difficult experience. Victims of addiction face hardships that extend beyond the addiction itself, impacting mental and physical health.

But one abundant force has the power to aid in recovery, providing support for the individual that furthers the healing process. And it’s something we have plenty of nature.

Increase your chances of recovery and find peace. Discover the importance of nature and how it can help foster a life free of addiction.

The Importance of Nature

Although many people believe the importance of nature is overstated, studies show otherwise. Wilderness therapy for older adults is beneficial and can help on a multitude of levels.

1. Reduce Anxiety and Depression

Individuals who suffer from anxiety are twice as likely as their peers to turn to drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms. Thus, many individuals seeking treatment from addiction also suffer from illnesses such as:

  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorders
  • PTSD

Nature can help with this. Nature lowers the levels of cortisol in the body, reducing anxiety and stress.

Cortisol is a stress hormone that activates in response to situations that are perceived to be dangerous. When we are in nature without the distraction of cell phones or other activities, however, the triggers that increase cortisol disappear.

As a result, cortisol levels decrease. In fact, 20 minutes of nature significantly reduces the levels of this hormone.

Levels reduce even further at half an hour.

For individuals in recovery, this offers a free experience that reduces the pressures associated with overcoming an addiction.

2. Increase Overall Health

High levels of cortisol affect the body. They weaken the immune system, lead to weight gain and increase the likelihood of heart disease.

By lowering these levels, nature literally makes individuals healthier overall. The likelihood of developing chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, decreases.

Being outside encourages exercise, which also increases overall health. Adventuring outside “unplugs” people from the hardships of daily life and encourages them to become active.

Nature time has a number of effects on mood, too.

Exercising increases endorphins, hormones that act as a happiness booster. It increases the brain’s sensitivity towards serotonin and norepinephrine, two other hormones that reduce depression.

It even reduces pain and gives individuals more energy. As you can see, it is valuable for those suffering from the after-effects of withdrawal.

Finally, being outside lets individuals obtain more vitamin D. Vitamin D also uplifts moods.

3. Enhance Self Esteem

It’s normal for people entering and participating in recovery to see themselves as “broken,” as something that needs to be fixed. The recovery process helps you understand that you are whole—you may simply need a little extra help to get back on track.

And nature helps here, too.

Did you know those who spend more time outside report greater satisfaction with their own bodies? Because the trees and birds don’t care what you look like, there is a healthy focus on the body. Those enjoying the benefits of nature focus on what their bodies can do rather than what they look like.

4. Boost Creativity

Life takes a toll on our ability to create, to open our minds to possibilities and utilize our imaginations.

Being outside, however, removes the barriers that hinder creativity and instead encourages us to utilize our five senses. A 2012 study found that an individual’s ability to solve high-level creative tasks after a four-day hike increases as much as 50%.

Researchers hypothesize the upped creativity is the result of opening ourselves to natural stimuli and reducing our reliance on technology. Nature enhances moods and lowers aggression; the constant attention necessary for daily use of technology, however, may increase negative moods that inhibit creativity.

5. Restore Mental Fatigue

We all suffer from fatigue. Those recovering from addiction or drug use do, too, and many times the sensation may feel overwhelming.

Wilderness therapy also alleviates any fatigue.

A prominent theory among researchers is known as Attention Restoration Theory. It suggests that the daily requirements of a technology-driven world require us to continually execute higher-order cognitive functions.

As a result, our brains become tired.

However, proponents of this theory believe that exposure to the outside world restores parts of and circuits within the brain that are stressed from daily use.

This is because the constant bombardment found in society, such as alarms, cars or cells, disappears. The natural world lets our brains breathe.

The consequence is that the higher-order functions we use often are rejuvenated.

6. Create Connections

Wilderness creates connections. It reminds us that we are one part of a much larger world.

It even helps us make friends.

Researchers speculate the spiritual and social benefits of nature arise from the knowledge that we are a sliver of a large ecosystem. It turns our attention away from regular self-interests and doubts that plague us and instead teaches us how we impact the world.

This knowledge fosters healthy ties with others because we are no longer interested only in ourselves.

7. Learn Kindness

Kindness is not only reserved for others. It should also be kept for ourselves.

Being outside inspires kindness and generosity. Recent experiments found groups exposed to beautiful photos of nature were more likely to act kindly towards others.

Furthermore, the experiments showed those around beautiful plant life were more willing to help others than those who were not surrounded by plants.

In recovery, it can be difficult to treat everyone with kindness and to remember that they have your best interests at heart. However, it may be even more difficult to be kind to yourself, to remember that you are working toward a greater life of fulfillment and that you have the ability to become the person you’ve always wanted to.

Plug into the World

Sometimes it takes plugging out, getting away from our cells and computers and televisions, to plug into the world and realize how miraculous every creature and individual is.

The importance of nature isn’t that it gives us all a breather; it’s that it reminds us how beautiful the world is and how beautiful our place is within it.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, reach out to us. We understand your struggles, and we are here for you.




Drug Overdose 101: The Top Signs of Drug Overdose and What to Do if One Occurs

Around 23.5 million Americans over the age of 12 struggle with drug addiction. In fact, the CDC reported over 63,000 deaths in our nation caused by drug overdoses in 2016.

That’s more than double the number of drug overdoses during the last decade. Overdose deaths have spiked. It’s an upsetting trend that’s constantly growing.

We might look to policymakers to solve the problem, but it’s essential to know ordinary citizens have the power to make a difference and save lives.

Being aware of drug issues is the first step during a medical emergency, especially when it comes to drug overdoses.

If you know a loved one who is struggling with addiction, knowing how to act at that crucial moment can make the difference between life and death.

But in order to help save a life, you need to know the signs of a drug overdose and what steps to take. Here are the top signs of an overdose and how to act when it takes place.

How to Assist When You Recognize Signs of Drug Overdose

When a person’s body rejects a large number of foreign substances in their body, they can have an overdose.

Although a person’s individual tolerance and the kind of drug taken affects the particular situation, it’s best to be vigilant and aware than having little concern.

Trust your gut. If you think there’s a problem, there often is.

Signs of a Drug Overdose to Look for

Let’s examine some of the signs and symptoms of a drug or alcohol overdose.

  1. Alcohol Poisoning

Many people don’t see alcoholic beverages as a drug, but alcohol is a depressant. Just like benzodiazepines or opiates, it influences the central nervous system. People might not think alcohol can cause an overdose, but they’re wrong.

Alcohol poisoning can lead to a cardiac arrest, respiratory failure and choking in vomit.

And it gets worse when a person mixes other drugs with alcohol. It elevates the risk of an overdose occurring.

Key signs of an alcohol overdose include vomiting when asleep, slow or irregular breathing patterns, seizures and spasms, skin discoloration, pale, clammy or blue-hued skin or severe lack of coordination and being disoriented.

  1. Overdose Causedby Depressants

Did you know that Opiates and benzodiazepines like heroin, Xanax, Valium, and Oxycontin are depressants? Most people don’t. These drugs slow down a person’s heart rate and breathing.

Overdosing from one of these drugs causes a risk of a person’s respiratory system failing. When the respiratory system fails, it could lead to a permanent brain injury, a coma or death.

Signs of a drug overdose from a depressant include:

  • Blue lips or blue fingertips
  • Shallow breathing or breathing stopped
  • Unresponsive to trying to wake someone up
  • Severe disorientation
  • Gurgling noises or snoring sounds
  • Snoring or gurgling sounds
  1. Overdose Caused by Stimulants

Although often not as fatal as overdosing on depressants, a person can have a drug overdose from stimulants. Some of these dangerous stimulant drugs that can lead to an overdose include speed, cocaine, and methamphetamine.

An overdose from these drugs can cause a stroke, seizure, or a heart attack or even bring on psychosis.

Signs of a drug overdose caused by a stimulant include severe headaches, chest pains, breathing problems, disorientation, high temperature, and unconsciousness.

What Do You Do If You Suspect Someone Overdosed?

The first thing to do if you suspect someone had an overdose is to call 911 immediately. The person can die if you try to treat them yourself at home when they have overdosed on stimulants or have alcohol poisoning.

But if someone is overdosing from depressants such as prescription opioids or heroin there are things you can do until the ambulance arrives.

Since both of these opiates have a depressant effect, the same intervention tactics are applicable in the event of an overdose.

First Step: Check for a Response

When a person is unconscious due to shortness of breath or not breathing at all rubbing your knuckles over their chest can help. Make sure to rub your knuckles hard over their chest bone.

Second Step: Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation

Respiratory failure causes most overdose deaths. You can rescue someone from an overdose with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Here are the steps:

  1. Turn a person’s head
  2. Lift their chin
  3. Pinch the nose
  4. Give two quick breaths into a person’s mouth while their lips are sealed
  5. Every five seconds give them one long breath

Third Step: Administer Narcan

The life-saving drug Narcan or Naxolone counteracts the effects depressants cause on the central nervous system.

Naxolone can be administered in two ways: given through the nose or injected. You may be more familiar with seeing an EMT on a TV show administer it by injection. Here is how to administer both types.

Intranasal Naloxone:

  1. Remove the caps on the syringe.
  2. Take off the cartridge’s red cap.
  3. Screw the naloxone cartridge into the syringe’s barrel.
  4. Push the person’s head back and spray 1cc of the naloxone into each nostril.

Injectable Naloxone:

  1. Remove the orange top from the vial of naloxone.
  2. Put 1cc of naloxone into the syringe.
  3. Inject it into a major muscle like the shoulder, thigh or buttock.

Continue mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until the Narcan does its job. If after three to five minutes the person is still unresponsive, give them a second dose of naloxone.

Final Thoughts on Recognizing Signs of Drug Overdose

Recognizing the symptoms and signs of a drug overdose can mean the difference between saving a life and losing a loved one. One brave action can make all the difference.

Sana Lake offers a variety of treatment options for people struggling with addiction. Explore the educational articles on our website to learn more about you or your family member’s addiction and how to get on the way to recovery.


xanax withdrawal

The Complete List of Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Xanax, also known by the generic name Alprazolam, is a widely prescribed benzodiazepine.

In fact, it is the most widely prescribed psychiatric drug in the United States with about one prescription written every second.

That means that Xanax is widely available and easily attainable for many. While it does have legitimate uses, it’s highly addictive and often abused.

If you or a loved one became addicted to Xanax or you noticed yourself or them abusing your prescription, you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the drug.

In this post, we’re going to go over all of the Xanax withdrawal symptoms that you can, and likely will, experience so you can know what to expect.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax (or alprazolam) is an anti-anxiety medication. It’s used to treat:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Panic attacks
  • Panic disorder
  • Insomnia
  • Other anxiety disorders.

Xanax is a type of benzodiazepine, meaning it’s in the same family as Valium, Estazolam, and Restoril. It’s also known as several other slang names including Zannies, Zanbars, blue footballs, benzos, handlebars, bars, and Upjohn.

How Does Xanax Work?

Xanax and other benzodiazepines work by stimulating the production of a neurotransmitter called GABA. GABA is responsible for helping us feel calm and relaxed.

When you have an anxiety disorder, you may not be regulating GABA properly, which is why Xanax can help: it stimulates the production of GABA to help mitigate feelings of anxiety and reducing anxiety symptoms.

Xanax also works to calm and slow brain activity, which can also serve to reduce stress and anxiety.

Xanax Addiction and Abuse

Those who don’t have anxiety disorders use this drug in order to feel happy and calm. It’s also quite common to combine Xanax with other drug use like alcohol and cocaine.

The effects of Xanax on the brain are usually short-lived. You feel the effects quickly, but you also lose those effects quickly.

The body will also develop a tolerance to the drug, meaning that each time you take Xanax, you’ll need to take more to feel the desired effects. Some Xanax addicts report needing to take 30 pills per day in order to feel the desired effects.

You’ll also start to become dependent on the drug to help you feel relaxed or calm. The brain will start to produce GABA only when you take the drug, which also leads to users needing more and more Xanax in order to simply feel normal.

Studies also support the fact that Xanax is physiologically addictive, even after only short-term use.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Xanax is often prescribed for short-term use only because of its highly addictive nature.

When people take it for longer than recommended (or without a prescription), their chance of developing a physical dependence on the drug is much higher, which makes sense now that you know about how the drug affects the brain.

This also makes withdrawal from the drug physically and mentally tough process. Even short-term users and users who follow their prescription may experience Xanax withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal Timeline

You can experience symptoms as early as 6 hours after your last dose. They will begin to get worse over time and peak in their intensity around 48 hours after your last dose.

Most of your withdrawal symptoms will be gone after 4 to 5 days. However, Xanax can permanently affect the brain, especially if you were a heavy and long-time user. 

Your brain will need time to heal and time to relearn how to function normally without the drug. If you began taking Xanax as a treatment for anxiety, expect your condition to feel worse or more intense after you stop taking Xanax.

Other long term effects that can be lifelong include psychosis, permanent cognitive damage, memory loss, and dementia.

You may also experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) that can also lead to withdrawal symptoms for months or years after quitting. With PAWS, you can experience classic withdrawal symptoms, drug cravings, permanent changes in mood, depression, social issues, and more.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms

After you take your last dose of Xanax, expect to experience some or all of the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Blurred vision
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Delerium
  • Hallucinations

Often times, the severity of your symptoms will depend on the length and severity of your addiction.

Dangerous Symptoms of Xanax Withdrawal

The most dangerous symptom of Xanax withdrawal is the increased heart rate and seizures. Both of these can lead to serious injury and/or death. 

Treatment Options

When detoxing from Xanax, it’s important to taper your use instead of going “cold turkey.” Abruptly stopping Xanax use increases your risk of fatal withdrawal symptoms, and it can be extremely harmful to your health.

Tapering your Xanax use can also mitigate the withdrawal symptoms you feel with some patients saying they don’t experience withdrawal at all when they taper their use.

While you can detox from this drug on your own, the safest method is to be under a doctor’s supervision or in a treatment program. This will ensure that you’re getting proper nutrition and that any serious and uncomfortable side effects can be mitigated. 

It can also inhibit you from giving in to the drug cravings you’ll experience during withdrawal, which can increase your chance of successfully quitting.

Don’t Go Through Withdrawal Alone

Withdrawal from any drug, but perhaps Xanax withdrawal especially, is painful mentally and physically. While you can choose to detox on your own, there are numerous resources out there that can make the entire process safer and more comfortable.

Contact us to learn about your treatment and detox options.