Rehab for College Students

Rehab for College Students

Transitioning into college is a significant life milestone. A student’s life in college or university helps shape the person they become in the future. Going to college usually means separation from home and independence. But living in a new social environment can challenge a person’s values and beliefs.

University and college students in the U.S. face immense pressure to succeed and build a career. Most students get concerned about their academics and experience the stress of meeting new people and trying new things. Striking a balance between all the new events can be difficult, and some students turn to drinking or drug use as a coping mechanism.

Keep reading to find about the reasons why students turn to unhealthy drinking and drug use, and the most effective ways of getting help!

Get Help with Drinking and Drugs on Campus

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over a third of all American full-time college students between 18 and 22 binge drink regularly. The unique circumstances of college students make it necessary for customized addiction treatment programs tailored to meet their needs.

Substance use is among the most severe public health issues for the young American population, causing adverse health and socio-economic impacts for adolescents and their families.

Read on for more info about rehab for college students, and to get help if you are struggling while in college, or have a loved one that might be!

Drug and Alcohol Abuse in College Students

Although some college students abstain from use, most are of legal drinking age and have more independence on campus. This increases the need to set personal goals and boundaries. You might want to unwind from the school week with a pint with your pals to help you relax in social situations. But for many students, the burden of expectations from their families, educators, peers, society, and even themselves only grows heavier during their time at university.

Over 6 million young adults have substance use disorders (SUD). Under competing pressures, college students must learn to live a new lifestyle around factors that can predispose them to college drug abuse. Alcoholic beverages are readily available on college campuses, and students sometimes use drugs to relieve stress or enhance performance. Prolonged drug use may cause the students to develop substance use disorders or alcohol addiction.

One in every five American adults experiences mental health disorders annually. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 75% of mental health illnesses develop by 24 years. Students may experience symptoms of conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, or PTSD for the first time in college. Survivors of traumatic events like sexual assault are at a high risk of a mental illness diagnosis. Students with mental illness may turn to alcohol and drug use to cope with the symptoms.

Commonly Abused Drugs in College

Commonly Abused Drugs in College

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) explains that drinking alcohol is a ritual that students consider an essential part of college or university life. Although alcohol is the most commonly abused drug by young adults, most students also use:

 

  • Marijuana
  • Ecstasy, LSD, and other psychedelics
  • Study drugs and stimulants such as Adderall
  • Cocaine
  • Prescription painkillers
  • Opioids
  • Prescription or opiate painkiller abuse can cause injury, overdose, and death

Marijuana

Also called marijuana or weed, cannabis is among the most popular drugs on U.S. college campuses. Most marijuana users smoke it, while others incorporate the drug into edibles, like baked products and confectionery. Marijuana’s psychoactive and hallucinogenic effects vary by strain.

Nearly half the college student population reported using marijuana in 2018. Marijuana may not be as harmful as other illicit drugs, but occasional use might become problematic and aggravate a student’s anxiety. Addiction can develop with prolonged usage of this substance. If you suffer from a marijuana use disorder, call us at +1 (855) 728-4363 for confidential advice on getting help.

Cocaine

Despite cocaine’s popularity as a party drug on many universities and campuses, its stimulating effects are not worth the risks involved in using the drug. To feel more energized or productive, some young adults may opt to snort, inject, or inhale the white powdery substance. Others smoke it as crack cocaine.

Cocaine is lethal on its own, but when combined with other drugs commonly found on college campuses, such as Adderall or marijuana, it becomes exceedingly dangerous. Using cocaine has severe effects on mental and physical health. Given these potential long-term effects, helping someone addicted to cocaine could save their life.

“Study Drugs” and Prescription Stimulants

College students often use prescription stimulants like amphetamines to improve focus. Doctors prescribe drugs like Adderall and Ritalin to treat hyperactive issues, major depressive episodes, and irregular sleeping patterns. Some students use these drugs without a prescription as study aids, even though doing so is illegal and dangerous.

College students widely use stimulant tablets because of their ability to increase wakefulness and attentiveness momentarily. Examples of other study drugs include Modafinil and Concerta. Stimulant use disorders that involve study drugs require professional addiction treatment. Call Pathfinders for more information on study drug misuse.

Benzodiazepines

Also known as “benzos,” benzodiazepines are prescription drugs commonly used to treat anxiety, panic disorders, and seizures. Addiction professionals also prescribe these drugs to relax muscles and promote sleep. They are among the most often prescribed medications in the United States, and college students frequently abuse them for their sedative properties. Examples of benzodiazepines are:

 

  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Ativan
  • Klonopin

 

Benzodiazepines like Xanax are highly addictive and have some of the most dangerous and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms of any form of drug.

The Effects of Drug Abuse on College Students

Substance misuse can have severe implications for college students that extend beyond their academic careers. The following are some of the short- and long-term consequences of drug and alcohol use disorder in college students:

  1. Poor academic performance: Substance misuse can result in reduced study time, missing class, and a lower GPA. Drug use can also lead to falling behind on assignments, dropping out, or being expelled.
  2. Risky behaviors: Drug abuse also leads to risky behaviors like driving under the influence, being involved in an alcohol-related sexual assault, getting into fights, indulging in dangerous sexual practices, and date rape.
  3. Health issues: Substance abuse can cause many physical health problems, including hangovers, sickness, and effects on your immune system.
  4. Social ramifications: Substance abuse can cause losing friends and vital relationships. You may become socially isolated if you spend a lot of time drinking or using drugs.

What are the Warning Signs of Substance Abuse?

Substance Abuse

Signs and symptoms of drug abuse among college students may include the following:

  • Poor personal hygiene
  • A decline in grades and absenteeism  from school
  • Needing drugs or alcohol to unwind or enjoy oneself
  • Avoiding social interactions
  • Mood changes
  • People stop engaging in activities they used to enjoy
  • Falsely denying the usage of drugs or alcohol
  • Spending a lot of time using and recovering from the effects of drugs
  • Physical and mental illness
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and cravings
  • Using drugs or alcohol while knowing the risks
  • Legal issues like arrests
  • Substance abuse in potentially dangerous settings like while driving
  • Engaging in potentially harmful activities while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

 

Talking about a drug abuse problem might be a difficult conversation to have with someone who doesn’t believe they do. This conversation is more beneficial in the presence of someone trustworthy, like a professor or counselor.

When talking to a friend or loved one, let them know you’re worried about their health, happiness, and academic progress. If they are unwilling to listen, don’t criticize or blame them; instead, back off and try again later.

It is best to keep the conversation specific and inform them of scenarios you deem detrimental to their health. You don’t have to say everything all at once, but you might want to offer them a list of valuable resources and then follow up with them periodically.

Rehab treatment can help prevent the adverse effects of substance use on your health, academic career, and overall well-being, and there are various ways to get help. These include consulting with the campus health center, speaking with a counselor at your campus counseling center, or checking into a hospital or rehab center.

Treating Addiction in College Students

Some young adults in higher education refuse treatment for substance abuse because they don’t believe they have a problem. Students often avoid discussing therapy because of the stigma associated with drug abuse.

Accepting to get addiction treatment shows that you care about your health and your future. According to research, the sooner someone seeks addiction treatment, the more likely they will recover fully. Most rehabilitation centers cater to the needs of students without interfering with their studies.

Detoxification

Detoxification is often the first step in the rehabilitation process after assessment. During detox, substances like alcohol and narcotics are eliminated from the body. In this period, many addicts suffer from unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Many of these symptoms are avoidable through medical detox.

Since quitting cold turkey can be fatal, medically supervised detox is essential when detoxing from benzodiazepines or alcohol. The average withdrawal periods for various drugs include:

  • Cannabis        – 2 weeks or more
  • Alcohol           – 5 to 7 days
  • Tobacco          – 2 days to 2 weeks
  • Cocaine          – 2 to3 days
  • Opioids           – 1 to 4 weeks
  • Benzos            – 10 to 14 days

 

Detox from opioid use disorders varies widely depending on the length of use and method of delivery. Opioid detox patients experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. But they lose tolerance to opioids within days of abstinence.

Overdosing is a potential risk during relapse, which is, unfortunately, rather often. Relapse is avoidable with the help of medication in a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program. Those with severe opioid addiction may benefit from starting on MAT for an extended time before attempting to wean themselves off the drugs.

Some recovering addicts think that withdrawal is the most challenging aspect of the process, while others say overcoming cravings after detox is the most difficult.

Behavioral Treatment

Mental health therapy and counseling help treat psychological and behavioral challenges that may have contributed to addiction. Counselors can assist college students in learning how to cope with drug urges and the challenges that might lead to drug usage.

Anxiety

Many college students have a co-occurring disorder that has led to drug use. Treating underlying mental health issues is critical to a successful addiction recovery process.

Common co-occurring disorders that students confront include:

  • Depressive disorders.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Anxiety.
  • Bipolar disorder.

 

Most higher learning institutions have on-campus mental health counselors. These counselors assist pupils in coping while keeping confidentiality. At Pathfinders, our comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment programs handle co-occurring mental health problems.

Outpatient Rehab vs. Inpatient Rehab

College students who are addicted to drugs usually require the assistance of a drug rehab facility to recover. Many inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment centers can help college students achieve sobriety without interfering with their studies.

Inpatient treatment centers provide a distraction-free environment away from campus temptations. College students in rehabilitation improve their grades and overall health. Many inpatient rehab facilities also cater to college students by being close enough to campus for residents to attend class during the day.

For a college student with milder addiction, outpatient rehab is a suitable treatment option. These outpatient centers offer withdrawal medication and counseling while not interfering with the student’s daily routine. Mental health counselors and support groups can help break down addictions psychologically.

How Long Does Rehab Take?

The length and intensity of rehabilitation can change depending on whether you choose inpatient or outpatient care. If you are worried about attending rehab for college students because you don’t want your grades to suffer or you don’t want to fall behind in your education program, consider what will happen if you don’t get help.

If you have to leave school for substance abuse treatment, various mental health resources can help you during and after the process. They include counseling programs, medical leaves of absence, or transition plans that involve modified programs of study. It takes courage to get help for a substance use disorder before your life completely unravels, but it’s admirable that you’re ready to do so.

The average time spent in inpatient treatment is between three weeks and ninety days, while some programs may need a longer commitment. If you choose outpatient care, you may be able to keep up with your daytime classes while receiving therapy in the evenings. Look for a rehab center, such as our programs at Pathfinders, that will work with you to identify the best treatment alternatives for your specific situation.

Rehab can seem daunting or intimidating, but if you don’t want your family or friends to know, no one has to. Taking charge of your life can set you up for a more peaceful, prosperous, and successful tomorrow.

Maintaining Sobriety as an Undergraduate

Rehab for College Students

The next step after finishing addiction treatment is to remain sober while pursuing higher education. Some college rehab programs include sobriety and behavioral contracts to encourage sobriety. The students have to agree to things like going to 12-step meetings, staying away from drugs and alcohol, not engaging in risky behavior, and keeping up with their schoolwork.

Some educational institutions even provide rehabilitation housing for students who are experiencing substance abuse issues. Students in recovery from addiction may benefit from additional peer support from campus-sponsored events.

After finishing a college student rehabilitation program, the next step is to receive aftercare support. This is of utmost importance for those in recovery while attending college. Most universities provide their students access to outpatient treatment and recovery support groups. Getting sober takes effort, but it’s feasible to maintain that effort for the rest of your life.

Get Help Now and Keep Pursuing Your Degree

Pathfinders Recovery Centers are addiction and dual diagnosis treatment centers that offer cutting-edge drug addiction treatment services. If you are battling substance use, connect with us for a solid foundation for starting the journey to recovery.

Reach out now to our Admissions team and discuss the process of Admission and how we can best help you to get sober and get to the podium to celebrate your graduation!

Al-Anon 12 steps

Al-anon 12 steps

Al-Anon is a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics that was established in 1951. Sixteen years after her husband created Alcoholics Anonymous, Lois Wilson (often known as Lois W.) created Al-Anon. She founded the group after experiencing firsthand the challenges faced by those who care for a family member or friend with an alcohol use disorder.

Support for Al-Anon comes solely from member contributions. Even if the addict in your life hasn’t yet found sobriety, you may still find support and learn how to best assist them by attending a meeting. Al-Anon’s goal is to help its members feel less alone by showing them they aren’t facing their problems alone.

Keep reading to find out more about the steps involved in Al-Anon and what you can do to help both yourself and a loved one who is struggling with alcohol and/or drug use.

Addiction and Alcoholism as a Family Disease

Because of the devastating effects, alcoholism can have on both the alcoholic and their loved ones, Al-Anon approaches the problem as one that affects the entire family. Recuperating successfully requires a strong network of loved ones and friends.

Some loved ones may place the blame for their alcoholic relative’s drinking on themselves, or they may not comprehend why their relative isn’t making recovery a top priority. These topics are discussed at meetings, along with the concept of alcoholism as a genetic disease and its effects on family members.

While technically Al-Anon is centered only around those whose loved ones have issues with drinking and does not encompass drug use, in reality there is not a clear distinction for most Anon groups.

If your loved one tends more toward drug use, and your area has Nar-Anon meetings, these can be another helpful resource for support, while still firmly based on the twelve step philosophy.

What Happens at a Meeting?

Anyone who another person’s drinking or drug use has harmed is welcome to attend Al-Anon sessions. Al-Anon is there to support you if you are concerned about an alcoholic or an alcoholic’s lifestyle affecting you.

Due to uncertainty about the nature of the initial gathering, some potential attendees may be unwilling to show up. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about going to a meeting:

  • Firstly, Al-Anon is a completely confidential organization.
  • Every individual attending an Anon meeting has been directly or indirectly impacted by drinking or drug use by a loved one/
  • It is recommended, but not needed that everyone stands out and shares their struggles.
  • Various kinds of gatherings exist. It’s possible that some will be more useful to you than others.
  • The fellowship as a whole, known as Al-Anon, has no religious affiliations. However, the basis is on a type of spiritual awakening or acceptance of a higher power being in control. There is certainly a primary spiritual aim regarding the 12-Step Program.
  • The meetings are based on Al-Anon’s twelve steps.

Participants in Al-Anon sessions are encouraged to “take what you want and leave the rest.” Instead of lecturing attendees on what they should do, meetings become opportunities to reflect and commiserate on how best to remain healthy while dealing with a loved one’s drinking.

What Are the 12-Steps?

What Are the 12-Steps

These are the steps, word-for-word, from the original and official 12-Steps of Al-Anon:

  1. “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.” —You must learn that alcohol abuse is a disease that ran your life.
  2. “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” —Participants drive themselves to the breaking point trying to change something in a loved one’s personality. When you admit you’re powerless, your higher power will bring you back to sanity.
  3. “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” —You must learn to let go and accept in order to heal.
  4. “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” —You must make a list of things you’ve done to harm family and friends. This is done through a deeply personal self-assessment.
  5. “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” —Each member must dive into their memory bank and analyze every act of wrongdoing.
  6. “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” —This step is very important, as it is the full acceptance of the recovery process supported by a Higher Power.
  7. “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.” —This part of the 12 Steps helps members understand how they may have been controlling or judgmental toward an addict and how that is counterproductive.
  8. “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.” —Oftentimes, making amends starts with yourself. Many people blame themselves for their loved one’s addiction. They must be willing to forgive themselves and make amends. In the future, when wrong, promptly admitted mistakes and slipups lead to less damage.
  9. “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” —After you are willing to make amends, the next step is to take action.
  10. “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” —Going through the 12 Steps is a process that takes time. Although members have already made an inventory, slipping up is normal. Step 10 recognizes this is an ongoing process.
  11. “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” —This is a personal, spiritual step that encompasses acceptance and comfort amid the stress of recovery.
  12. “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” —The last step is a realization that the member’s journey is not over. Members are then encouraged to support other members with what they’ve learned by passing their knowledge on during future alcoholics anonymous meetings.

Other Al Anon Groups

Additional Al Anon Groups exist that practice Al Anon’s twelve steps or focus on addiction treatment. Through these al anon meetings, family members and other individuals, such as the children of those going through alcohol abuse, may participate and maintain personal anonymity.

Meetings are also crafted for adolescents, known as Al-A-Teen, are al anon meetings for teenagers and young people to take personal inventory of where they stand in addiction treatment and gauge the exact nature of their alcohol abuse challenges. These additional al anon entities are a part of a broader family known as Al Anon Family Groups.

What can you expect from an al anon meeting? In the section below, you’ll find example topics of discussion during a normal al anon meeting.

All Our Affairs: Topics of Al Anon Meetings

Topics of Al Anon Meetings

Topic discussions are the norm in Al-Anon Family Group and standard Al-Anon sessions. This implies the meeting’s chairman will select a subject matter linked to their own personal experience coping with an alcoholic loved one. It is not uncommon for the chairman to solicit ideas for topics from the audience.

Participants in the meeting can then share their knowledge, courage, and optimism about the chosen topic.

The Reasons For and Causes of Alcoholism

Realizing that alcoholism is a disease helps shed light on the alcoholic’s repeated attempts to kick the habit, only to relapse a few days later. Learn more about it.

Dealing With Anger at an Alcoholic

You and your family members may receive conflicting messages on handling rage. Do certain family members get to let off steam, while you’re admonished to keep your cool? At Al-Anon, you learn that anger is a natural and normal emotion. It’s fine to feel rage; the important thing is to figure out how to channel it constructively.

Altering Perspectives on Alcohol

In the Al-Anon meeting’s opening statement, “So much depends on our own attitudes, and as we learn to set our issue in its real perspective, we discover it loses its ability to dominate our thoughts and lives.” Which mindset is ruling your daily activities?

Enabling Alcoholic Behaviors

It’s possible that your well-intentioned attempts to aid the alcoholic instead encourage the person to keep up their destructive patterns.

Confronting Uncertainty

The ideas discussed and practiced in Al-Anon Family Groups can be useful for adapting to the inevitable and, at times, dramatic shifts that occur in everyone’s lives. You may not be able to change the conditions much, but you can change your attitude about the problem.

Detachment with Compassion

It might be challenging to master the art of detachment. Do you want to be the one to step in and rescue the day when a person with alcohol use disorder has a crisis? This could be the last thing you should do if you want that individual to finally ask for assistance.

Unrealistic Expectations and Managing Them

When dealing with a loved one with an alcohol use issue, are your expectations too high? If you don’t learn to adapt your expectations to be more aligned with reality, you may end up feeling disappointed and frustrated.

Powerlessness Over Alcohol

Powerlessness Over Alcohol

You may have joined Al-Anon believing the entire time that there was something you could do to make the alcoholic realize there was a problem and seek help. The first step is realizing you can’t control your drinking.

Mind Your Own Business

In Al-Anon, members are reminded that they are not responsible for the drinking habits of their loved ones. Embarrassment and humiliation are not yours; they are theirs to bear because of their actions. It is not a reflection on your worth as a parent, friend, husband, or sponsor if they make “poor” decisions.

They should be allowed to learn from their own errors. You can only contribute effectively by speaking up and sharing your wisdom, fortitude, and optimism when the time is right.

Day by Day: The Only Way to Live

The tagline “one day at a time” may sound like just another overused adage, yet it has a lot of insight in its reminder to focus on the now rather than dwelling on the past or imagining the future.

Find Lasting Addiction Recovery at Pathfinders

If you are looking for a treatment center that can support your loved one in addition to getting help from a 12-Step Al Anon program, look no further than Pathfinders Recovery Centers in Colorado and Arizona.

Pathfinders takes a different approach to healing and believes that alcohol and other substance abuse issues are best treated through evidence-based avenues, the treatment of underlying mental health disorders, and a holistic healing environment.

Contact a member of our warm and welcoming Admissions team today to learn more about how we can help your loved one begin a lasting recovery journey of their own!

 

Friends of Bill W

Friends of Bill W

In the early stages of your sobriety journey, you may decide to enroll in a 12-step fellowship, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. There is a whole new way of thinking and making decisions that come with recovery, and there is also what may seem like a whole new language to learn: “AA jargon,” like the term ‘friends of Bill W.’

William Griffith Wilson, also known as Bill Wilson, or “Bill W.,” and co-founder Bob Smith, or “Bob,” are the originators of several AA terminologies, sayings, and expressions. Since the group’s inception, several idioms have emerged, including the association with Bill W that has become synonymous with membership, especially as shorthand on cruise lines and ships.

Keep reading for our guide to what 12-step programs offer as well as a helpful resource for the AA jargon often used by members.

What Is AA Language?

Many expressions and idioms associated with sobriety may be found in AA and NA literature. They might be used by other 12-step groups that follow the AA paradigm. The AA jargon originated for several causes.

Phrases like “it works when you work it” is meant to serve as reminders of basic ideas for the group. Following the AA Traditions, the organization chooses to use phrases like “Friends of Bill W.” to ensure that its members’ anonymity is maintained.

You may learn the language of the organization and its members by looking at some real-life instances of the most popular AA jargon, and you may even be familiar with some sayings like, “One Day at A Time.’

Taking the Next Right Action

Participating and working the 12 Steps and regularly attending AA groups is known as the “Right Action.” More specifically, attending an AA meeting and participating with the help of a sponsor is considered the right action. At any given meeting, you’ll find many participants attending with their sponsors, who are in recovery themselves.

“Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Over a Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism” is the basic text of AA and is usually referred to as “The Big Book.” There are many inspiring accounts of AA members’ journeys to sobriety outlined within its pages.

Actions that are “correct” for AA members are those that are accomplished via working the steps. Following the Steps is meant to help one develop a more positive outlook on life, other people, and the recovery process as a whole. In an effort to alter a substance-abusing lifestyle, a shift in outlook and approach is essential.

Friends of Bill W. and Cruise Ships

Friends of Bill W. and Cruise Ships

The term “a friend of Bill W.” used in AA does not relate to anyone you may know in real life. Instead, it is a code term used to conceal the identities of the group’s participants. Why do individuals in recovery value anonymity so highly, and what does it entail exactly?

The anonymity of its members is one of AA’s core tenets. In a word, anonymity in AA meetings implies that everyone there will respect your privacy and keep whatever you say to themselves.

You may be asked if you know Bill W if you are seen loitering around the meeting place and peering through doors or windows.

The person asking you this code word is trying to determine whether you are truly seeking the AA meeting in a method that keeps your identity secret.

Originally, the term “friends of Bill W.” was used as a cruise compass to find meetings onboard cruise ships where members wanted to stay completely anonymous on vacation but still sneak in a meeting or two. Signage that indicates a meeting for ‘friends of Bill W’ can still be seen on cruise lines around the world, though the term is used somewhat less as many people proudly acknowledge their recovery and membership, even in otherwise Anonymous 12-step programs.

The Importance of Anniversaries and Birthdays in Sobriety

All recovery steps are celebrated as successes in AA and other 12-step programs. When a member of AA or NA reaches certain sobriety milestones, such as 30 days, 90 days, six months, etc., they get a “chip” as a physical reminder of their accomplishment.

The passage of another year signifies the occurrence of a “birthday.” The moderator of a meeting may inquire if someone is honoring one of these dates. At an alcoholics anonymous meeting, a “10th yearly birthday” is the anniversary of a person’s sobriety rather than their actual birth date. Thus, it’s understood that the individual has been sober for 10 years.

Importance of Anniversaries and Birthdays in Sobriety

In the Eastern part of the United States, anniversaries are more common than birthdays, so you might not hear much about a person’s “anniversary” instead of their “birthday.” Biological anniversaries are sometimes referred to as “belly button birthdays” to avoid confusion.

Old-Timers and The Traditions of the 12 Steps

The phrase “old-timer” is commonly used among AA group members, but you might be startled to learn that the person being referred to as such is actually rather young. That’s because the only factor that matters for determining whether or not someone is an old-timer in AA is how long they’ve been attending meetings and maintaining continuous sobriety.

A long-term AA member is a veteran of the program. These people may take up roles as meeting facilitators, sponsors, or event volunteers within the organization. Some long-time members can even recite large chunks of The Big Book verbatim.

Of course, there will always be some “old-timers” who have “been around the block,” so to speak, when it comes to AA recovery, so you might encounter an “old-timer” who is actually older. In such an instance, “a seasoned AA member” could be the most accurate description.

A Dry Drunk and the Importance of Active Participation

Addiction recovery communities outside of AA may find the phrase “dry drunk” unpleasant because it is not a clinical word. This word describes a person who has abstained from substance use but has taken no further measures toward recovery.

In an AA context, this might signify that the individual has ceased working the 12 Steps and attending meetings.

A “dry drunk” is someone who has stopped drinking or doing drugs but hasn’t changed their outlook on life or the way they think about things. When someone is in this mental state, they may have feelings of nostalgia, fixation, and a desire to reexperience the euphoric benefits of drug or alcohol usage.

Clinical research has confirmed that this is a real phenomenon that can occur during either the emotional or mental relapse stages. According to the research, when alcoholics relapse, it is a slow process that typically begins with thoughts and feelings of obsession with drugs or alcohol.

It Works If You Work It

Setting up chairs for AA Meeting

The “work” of AA revolves around the 12 Steps, a set of recovery principles. Using the AA fellowship, going through the 12 Steps, and living by the 12 Traditions of AA are all examples of “working it,” and the statement “it works if you work it” describes this process well. The “work” of AA includes not just meeting with other members but also performing acts of service to the community. Examples of this service include the following:

  • Community service (e.g., setting up chairs, making beverages, or other tasks required for a meeting)
  • Reaching out to fellow 12-steppers to aid a struggling newbie.
  • Meeting leadership
  • Accepting and supporting newcomers via sponsorship
  • Putting in a request to share your AA success story as a speaker

Step 13: A Step Better Left Alone

If you’re lucky enough to avoid having to go through Step 13 during your time in recovery, the expression simply refers to a sexual relationship between a seasoned AA member and a newcomer to the fellowship who has just discovered meetings.

Suffice to say, when you’re first becoming sober, it’s not a good idea to jump into a new romantic relationship.

Friends of Bill W. and Methods of Celebrating Fellowship

Whether it’s friends of Bill W. or another type of lingo used at get-togethers, if there’s one thing this “secret code” does besides maintain anonymity, it also promotes a higher level of support by creating a camaraderie. This gives people who join a new type of hope and a sense of accountability, as there’s a distinct feeling that they’re a part of something unique and special.

At Pathfinders Recovery, we use a similar mindset, organizing get-togethers in the form of a 12-Step Meeting, giving clients a chance to bond with peers, in addition to taking part in some type of spiritual or holistic experience.

Not only does this give clients a chance to bond with peers, but there’s additional expert advice available via group meetings you wouldn’t otherwise have access to with counselor meetings.

We would love to get you on board with our groundbreaking treatment program! To find out how we can help you on your path to recovery and lay a strong spiritual foundation, contact a member of our admissions team today.

 

Books for Parents of Substance Abusers

Books for Parents of Substance Abusers

Getting Help for Children Who Use Drugs or Alcohol

Across the U.S., millions of preteens and teenagers drink or take drugs at least occasionally. Significant numbers of younger children are also involved in some form of substance use. Compared to adults, children are more susceptible to the major risks of using drugs and alcohol. They also have additional risks that are not a factor for adults.

Having a child who drinks or takes drugs is a cause for serious alarm. In this situation, you naturally want to do as much as possible to help your affected loved one. One key step is following the advice of verified addiction and substance treatment specialists. Among other places, you can find this advice in expert-recommended books and other resources for parents of substance abusers.

Why Read About Substance Use Disorders and Addictive Behaviors

Knowledge is power when it comes to helping your substance-using child. The more you know, the better your ability to understand what is happening to your loved one. You also have a better chance of responding to your child’s substance use in effective, supportive ways.

Reading is an excellent way to educate yourself about substance problems and addiction. Potential sources of useful information include:

  • Addiction specialists
  • Public health experts
  • Other parents who have faced similar situations
  • Books and articles from the wider substance recovery community

What to Read If Your Child Suffers From Addiction

All children who drink or take drugs are at-risk for addiction. Addicted children no longer use drugs or alcohol voluntarily. Instead, they have a chronic brain disease that leads to involuntary substance use.

What should you read if your child suffers from addiction? As a rule, the most reliable sources are federal public health officials. These officials belong to organizations dedicated to providing accurate information on addiction-related topics. One top federal source is the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA. NIDA features a resource page geared toward both parents and teachers. This page includes:

  • Information on the most commonly abused substances
  • Advice on how to talk to your kids about substance use
  • Links to a vast range of relevant articles and guides
  • Dozens of short, informative videos

 

What to Read If Your Child Suffers From Addiction

NIDA also offers much more detailed information on addiction-related topics. One key publication is the short book Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment – A Research-Based Guide. This online book:

  • Explains the general principles of effective treatment
  • Answers common questions about addiction and its treatment
  • Describes the treatments used for specific forms of addiction
  • Identifies treatments that are especially helpful for teenagers

 

Another excellent source of information is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA. SAMHSA offers more than 100 publications designed specifically for parents and other caregivers.

Online Resources Related to Staging an Intervention

An intervention is designed to provide effective help for anyone caught up in substance abuse. When performed properly, it can encourage your child to seek needed recovery support. However, when performed improperly, it can have the opposite effect.

A well-designed intervention requires detailed planning. For this reason, you must choose your online sources of intervention information very carefully. One of the best online guides comes from the Mayo Clinic. This guide provides comprehensive advice on topics such as:

  • Relying on professional help when making your intervention plan
  • Creating a team of people to carry out an intervention
  • Deciding what to say during an intervention
  • Holding the actual intervention
  • Taking follow-up measures after an intervention

Titles That Look at Drugs and Addiction in America

A quick Google search will bring up countless titles of books that look at drugs and addiction in America. Some of these books take a historical perspective. Others look at current aspects of drug use and addiction. Still others offer advice on how to help teens affected by addiction.

How can you wade through this sea of information? After all, in today’s world, anyone can write a book and publish it online or in print. Some of these authors are acknowledged experts in their field. However, others may have little expertise to offer, if any. How can you tell the difference?

One thing you can do is consider the credentials of a given book’s author. Do they have a background in the subject they are covering? Do they have academic positions or work for organizations that specialize in addiction-related topics? What do reputable reviewers have to say about a given book? These kinds of questions can help you separate reliable authors from those whose advice may be less valuable.

Books From the Alcohol and Recovery Support Community

Books written by members of the alcohol and recovery support community can also be useful. The authors of these books typically:

  • Have children or other loved ones who have been affected by addiction
  • Speak from personal experience rather than from formal expertise

 

Recovery Support Community

Dozens of publications in this category are released every year. There is a good chance that you can find one suitable for your current situation. The right book may:

  • Offer timely advice
  • Help you gain a better perspective on your situation
  • Direct you toward important treatment resources

Fentanyl and Harm Reduction Reading Resources

Harm reduction is an approach designed to prevent overdoses and other severe outcomes of substance use. Today, public health officials sometimes take this approach to help people using the powerful opioid fentanyl. Why? Fentanyl use inevitably comes with a very real chance of experiencing an overdose. Harm reduction can potentially help lower your child’s overdose risks.

A variety of reliable online resources cover the topics of fentanyl and harm reduction. Some of these resources are provided by federal public health experts. Many state governments also provide similar resources.

Reading Materials for Kids With Addicted Parents

Children in communities across America grow up with parents affected by addiction. You may know teens or younger children in this situation. If so, you may want to provide them with helpful, supportive reading materials. You will find informative brochures on this topic at SAMHSA. The nonprofit organization Common Sense Media also provides a listing of recommended books for kids with addicted parents.

Finding Effective Treatment for a Loved One at Pathfinders

Resources for parents and loved ones of addicted individuals come in a variety of forms. Some of the most sought-after resources are books for parents of substance abusers. Books of this type can help you understand addiction’s effects on your child. They can also help you respond to your child’s needs in ways that support their eventual recovery.

Generally speaking, public health officials are the most reliable sources of information. However, you may get crucial help from other knowledgeable professionals. Books written by members of the recovery community may also offer important support and advice.

In addition to reading up on addiction, you must help your child enter an effective treatment program. At Pathfinders, we specialize in the treatment of all forms of substance addiction. No matter how your loved one is affected by addiction, our customized care will help them recover. We can also help your loved one recover from mental illnesses that often occur in people with substance problems. Ready to get the process started? Call us today to learn more about our available inpatient and outpatient treatment options.

How To Live With A Drug Addict Spouse

Drug-addict-spouse

Co-dependency Can Be A Killer

I only ever had a couple of relationships when I was sober. One was my first girlfriend in high school. The second is my current relationship. The span in between was relationship after relationship founded on alcohol or other drugs. As you probably know, you are not making the same decisions while under the influence that you would be if you were sober.

For me, that meant dating a lot of people that I had nothing in common with except for booze. Spotting signs of addiction in a loved one is hard if you yourself are an addict. It’s hard to know how to avoid enabling an addiction when you are also being enabled. This is how codependency works, and it can be a killer. It can kill your relationship and potentially kill you.

Binge Drinking and Toxic Relationships

I was often sober during the week. I was the kind of drunk you’d label the “weekend warrior”. A large part of it was that I didn’t like the person I was with. Most importantly, it’s important to like yourself. I didn’t like myself for a long time.

It’s important to realize whatever mistakes you think you have made; people are really just there to teach us lessons about ourselves. My second marriage was a textbook example of good cop, bad cop.

I was with a wonderful person who did everything they could to help me, but it didn’t work because I didn’t want to help myself at the time. The effects of addiction on relationships depend on where you both are. It is hard to be in a relationship no matter what issues exist. If one person is an addict and the other is not, there are very unique circumstances.

Moving on From Codependent Relationships

She did all she could do with me before she needed to do what was best for herself, which was to leave. The next relationship I was in was with another addict like myself. I actually felt good about this at the time. Finally, someone, I can abuse drugs and alcohol with! It’s crazy to think of how warped my mind was. Codependent relationships and addiction go hand in hand.

Steps to Take with an Addicted Spouse

Living-with-a-drug-addict-spouse

There are certain steps to take with an addicted spouse. An intervention is the best way to go. If the intervention fails, then you’ve done pretty much all you can do. If you have addressed your concerns and there is still resistance, how much more can you repeat yourself?

You have to consider leaving an addicted spouse if there aren’t any other options. Talking treatment with your spouse can only go on for so long before they actually seek treatment. Otherwise, you’re just going in circles.

If there are children involved, which there were in my case, it makes things so much trickier. My new spouse had children, and it was hard for them to not be affected by our behavior. Modeling positive behavior for children is not going to come from two addicts.

They will grow up thinking addictive behavior is normal and it will most likely lead them to engage in it themselves. She ended up losing custody of her kids for a while after a drunk driving arrest, which was probably the best-case scenario for all involved. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but with a clearer head, I now know it was for the best.

Taking Care of Yourself in Recovery

My new spouse and I had tried couples addiction treatment centers, but our addictions were far too much for us to overcome together. A clean break is what was needed for us both to succeed. We ended up leaving each other and going on our own paths. I entered Pathfinders Recovery Center and got my addiction under control. I am not sure what happened to her after that. I can only hope she put all her effort into recovery and getting her kids back. I don’t know what happened, but ultimately I am only responsible for myself.

Self-care in an addict relationship doesn’t come up much. You aren’t focused on yourself. At least I wasn’t. I only tried to make my spouse happy, which was only ever achieved by supplying her with more drugs. It was beginning to feel exhausting. I would never find someone real until I started to find myself. The time I wasted worrying about someone else’s happiness robbed me of my own. It’s important to make your significant other happy, but not at the expense of your own well-being. And definitely not if your definition of happy is staying addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Prioritizing Recovery in all Relationships

Things didn’t begin to change for me overnight. It took time. It took practice. The last two people I dated before I met my current partner were stepping stones. One was a realization that I didn’t want to date people who did drugs anymore. This person did.

I broke up with them. It felt good. It was the first time my thinking was about myself rather than the other person. Then, I met another person. We lived in different parts of the country at first and had a long-distance relationship.

Eventually, I moved to be closer to them. It seemed like the right move at first, but my old habits ended that hope. I had been sober for a while before relapsing, and it took a while for me to go back to my old ways. I started drinking socially at first, but that slowly changed and I got right back to my old ways.

The stress of a new relationship can do that and you have to be very careful. Even though this new person I was with didn’t drink, it didn’t matter. I just needed something to take the edge off and relax. It was a huge mistake. It took me such a long time to realize that a good relationship is based on a positive attitude. So many of the couples you see out there have a cloud of negativity around them. They argue all the time. They aren’t fulfilled. They are just going through the motions. I didn’t want to do that anymore.

Changing Destructive Behavior Patterns

After this new person broke up with me because of my drinking, I decided that I need more of a change to avoid the same patterns. I decided to get sober. Support and healthy boundaries for recovery are what I needed most. I needed to stop worrying about finding the right person and become a better version of myself first.

Marriage and family therapist resources may helpHow-to-live-with-a-drug-addict-spouse some people, but I was determined to not go back to that pattern. I needed to be alone for a while to fix myself so that I didn’t need to go right back to couples therapy when I began a new relationship. This was a huge thing for me to realize.

I started to put time into hobbies. I put time into taking care of my body by exercising. I read all of the time. I learned guitar. I went on hikes and felt nature healing me.  I decided to stay. It was only six months until I met my current partner. We met through an event. We began a sober relationship.

 

We hung out and got to know one another. We had a lot in common. I learned after months of dating that I really enjoyed being around this person. It didn’t happen overnight. But because I was sober, I was able to enjoy the process at my own pace and move forward as I felt. We are still together, and things couldn’t be more positive.

Healthy Sober Relationships Can Happen

Dating sober is more about finding yourself than anything. No matter who comes into your life, if you are sober you will have a better chance at attracting the person you deserve. A person who will honor you for who you are, rather than who you pretend to be while chugging a beer or doing a shot.

I used to need these things to feel content in my relationship. I can’t imagine having another codependent, addiction-based relationship.

It’s not that you won’t have bad dates, you will just understand that they are a part of life. A passing moment like every other moment. It will all be worth it to know yourself. To love yourself. There is no more important love than the love you have for yourself, no partner can fulfill that.

I was sober for a long time before I even thought about dating again. I knew that in my early days of sobriety, a new relationship was too much to maintain. Maintaining my progress through recovery was the only thing that mattered.

Long Term Recovery through Self-Love

I didn’t want to deal with denial and interventions. I didn’t want to be involved in more sober spousal support groups. I wanted a relationship to be based on love and love only. I wanted to be at my best mentally. It took a long time to get there, which is what makes this new relationship so rewarding. I never thought I could achieve what I have. Anyone can do it if I could. We are all looking for love and attention in some way. Applying self-love to your life will get you off to a good start.

Chest Pain Drinking Alcohol?

chest-pain-and-alcohol

Why Does Alcohol Affect the Heart?

Most of us know that overdoing it with alcohol can cause health problems. However, there are plenty of longtime alcoholics who don’t even think about that. It’s not something I ever thought about until I began experiencing serious health complications.

I remember my grandfather complaining a lot about chest pains near the end of his life. He was a lifelong drinker himself and didn’t put a lot of thought into his health. He ended up dying from alcoholic cardiomyopathy. He had a number of other issues going on including diabetes and alcohol-induced gastritis.

A Family History of Alcoholic Heart Conditions

You’d think watching him drink himself to death would’ve stopped me, but it didn’t. I became a heavy drinker myself and was in and out of trouble all through my younger years. Drunk driving charges, disorderly conduct, I was a mess for a long time.

I began dabbling with other drugs during this time, and excessive drinking also led me to pick up smoking. I’ve known a lot of people who started smoking because of alcohol. Smoking when drunk is pretty common due to alcohol increasing the craving to smoke. It’s just like mixing any other drugs. One enhances the other.

Should Alcohol Consumption Cause Chest Pains?

Side Effects of Alcohol Consumption

The short answer is: it depends on your consumption. The fact of the matter is if you drink heavily, you are going to experience some type of health difficulty. A lot of factors are in play. When it comes to chest pain, there are many causes of chest pain after drinking. Alcohol has a great effect on the heart. There is a direct link between alcohol and heart attack risk.

Alcohol temporarily increases heart rate and blood pressure. When you drink, the alcohol enters the bloodstream and is released into various parts of the body. Long-term alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure and weakened heart muscles.

Side Effects of Alcohol Consumption

There are a lot of additional alcohol side effects that may not be as severe. Heartburn from alcohol consumption. Alcohol typically contains a lot of sugar which can take longer for your body to break down. We’ve all had uncomfortable heartburn before. Imagine having it on a consistent basis.

Other uncomfortable side effects of alcohol include organ stress and damage, pancreatitis, and dehydration. There is also a link between acid reflux and alcohol. Alcohol is known to contribute to acid reflux due to its interaction with your esophagus.

Alcohol and Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation

Another scary side effect of alcohol abuse is atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a rapid, irregular heartbeat, commonly referred to as ‘afib’. This is commonly referred to as holiday heart. It’s important to understand the holiday heart and its risks. Everyone seems to overdo it around the holidays. We overdo it with food and alcohol.

Doctors tend to see more cases of ‘afib’ around the holiday season. The bottom line is that a lot of bad things can happen from excessive alcohol intake. Alcohol toxicity (commonly referred to as alcohol poisoning) is a very common occurrence and is most often deadly.

Seeking Treatment For Alcohol

Even if you know you have a drinking problem, getting help is not as easy as it may seem. A lot of people try to get help to save their job or marriage. The truth is, unless you truly want to do it for yourself, it probably won’t work. Recovery is an ongoing process and is something that has to be maintained.

You don’t just get sober and then never have to put any effort into it. You get out of it what you put in. If you put in the work, sobriety can be a very rewarding thing.

Find Your Reason for Getting Sober

Reason for Getting Sober

We all have different reasons that help us get clean. Finding recovery for your heart is one of the most common reasons. As you get older, you start paying more attention to your mortality. Especially when the things you once enjoyed begin giving you health issues. I would wake up almost every day with ‘hangxiety’ and chest pains. Hangxiety refers to the anxiety that can occur over getting a hangover. Worrying about whether or not you will be hungover can be very distressing and can easily make your situation worse.

How Can I Cure my Hangxiety?

First, we have to know, can you cure hangxiety in general? From my research, it seems that the best you can do is figure out why you are having it in the first place. I know that alcohol makes me anxious, but it is much more than that. My anxiety and my drinking are rooted in something deeper within me. I used to ask myself why alcohol gave me anxiety, instead of asking myself why I needed to drink so much.

It turned out I was trying to hide the pain and suffering that I was going through my entire life. I had a rough upbringing and didn’t have both of my parents. My father was in and out of prison, and my mother was often homeless and unable to take care of me or my siblings. Both of my parents had problems with alcohol. Was it any surprise that I would end up this way myself?

Anxiety and Hangover Guilt

Hangover guilt is another common feeling that drinkers who suffer from anxiety will experience. A lot of us who binge drink wake up not remembering the events from the previous day or night. We instantly began worrying about what transpired. Did I say or do something I shouldn’t have? Did I call anybody and leave an embarrassing voice message? A bunch of these questions comes to mind, and they feed your feelings of anxiety.Drinking-alcohol-and-Chest-pain

I know that if I overdo it, which I used to do frequently, I would usually feel pretty guilty about it. We tell ourselves that we won’t overdo it, and when we do, we beat ourselves up about it. We find it hard to forgive ourselves. It just points to the fact that you probably don’t have any control over your drinking.

It took me a long time to realize that I needed help. I knew I needed to change my habits. I couldn’t go another night with alcohol making me anxious. I couldn’t go another day feeling like death. I had more to deal with than just my drinking. I was not in a good place mentally after suffering from hangxiety day in and day out.

I needed to do something. I checked myself into treatment through the Pathfinders Recovery Center and began to put my life back together. It wasn’t easy, but it was the only thing that was going to fix my issues.

Regain Control with Alcohol Treatment

It’s common to experience anxiety and depression days after binge drinking. Alcohol alters our mental state, and it can take a while for our brain to recover. Feelings of anxiety and depression after drinking are very common. After all, alcohol is a depressant.

It slows down our brains and impairs our cognitive functions. When you aren’t drinking, you have to face the effects that come with it. It’s very similar to what a drug addict feels when they can’t get the drug. Remember, alcohol is not only a drug but probably the most abused drug of all of them.

Regain Control with Alcohol Treatment

Because of the level of my anxiety, I was pretty nervous about detox. I felt the same feelings of anxiety that I felt when I was hungover. I just tried to tell myself that this would give me the positive result that drinking didn’t. It was going to be uncomfortable, but I was going to have something to show for it when all was said and done.

That helped curb my anxiety and put me in the place where I needed to get better. The people at Pathfinders did everything they could to make me feel comfortable during such an uncomfortable process. They did an amazing job of getting me through that initial struggle.

The children of alcoholics usually suffer at some point in their lives. They often develop anxiety, depression, and addictions of their own. It is a cycle that isn’t easily broken. Once we get too far into an addiction, we often think we are beyond being saved. We are the way we are and that’s that. There’s no fixing it. Meeting other folks in recovery helps a lot. I met so many people in group therapy who drank for decades. They assumed there was nothing that could be done. Once your body and mind have gone through years of damage, you think there’s no reversing it.

Listening to other people’s stories made me understand that this cycle can be broken no matter where you are in your struggle. You can be an addict for years and still quit. It all comes down to you wanting it bad enough. I used to think I wanted to get clean, but it took me a long time before I wanted it bad enough to go through with it.

We like the idea of being sober and leaving all that suffering behind, but you have to put in the work. It’s a practice that takes time and effort. Once you get sober, it doesn’t mean the process is over. It’s a daily struggle sometimes, but one you will be well equipped to deal with the following treatment. Reach out to the folks at Pathfinders Recovery Centers today to get started, and let your own hangxiety become a thing of the past!

Drug Addiction and Hair Loss

Drug Addiction and Hair Loss

Is There a Link Between Drug Addiction and Hair Loss?

Hair loss is a natural part of life. We lose hair as we age, from genetic conditions, and under high levels of stress. But not all causes of hair loss are natural ones. Alcoholism and drug addiction, for example, are two conditions that few people know may also cause hair loss. 

How Does Drug Abuse Cause Hair Loss?

How Does Drug Abuse Cause Hair Loss

For many years, experts have examined the link between drug addiction and hair loss. While there aren’t many studies that prove a direct link, there are studies that show a connection. The connection lies with drug use and the body’s production of adrenaline. 

Adrenaline, in turn, affects the hair growth cycle. This is proof that drug addiction does not just impact one aspect of your life or another. It impacts all of them. Your mental health, physical health, relationships, career, and even criminal record can all be impaired by drug addiction. 

What to Know About Drug-Related Hair Loss

It is far more common to talk about the health impairments of drug abuse. Conditions like lung disease, liver damage, and problems with our mental health take priority, as they should. Our health should always be more important than our looks. 

But that does not mean that cosmetic issues are easy to ignore. Drug-related hair loss can damage your self-esteem and confidence. It can also be triggering for individuals who have or are prone to depression or anxiety. 

In turn, these negative feelings can lead you to continue abusing drugs to cope. It is the same with drinking to ease anxiety. Sometimes, we drink to feel better or boost our moods. But over time, drinking often does the opposite. 

So, we drink more to improve our moods. And as the alcohol impairs our moods rather than improving them, we come back around for another drink. On paper, these cycles are illogical. But they are much harder to identify and avoid when you are in them. 

We create these detrimental cycles for ourselves. And the longer we allow them to continue, the harder they become to break out of. From top to bottom, drug addiction can change you. But once you choose to live a better way, we can help you find it. 

Ways Addiction and Hair Loss Are Linked

We mentioned earlier that hair loss is triggered by an increase in adrenaline. Additionally, drug users regularly add harmful toxins to their bodies that may prevent them from getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy. 

And when they do get the nutrients they need, the drug use may interfere with the way the body uses them. Whether the lack of nutrients is from a poor diet or the inability to properly absorb and use those nutrients, drug abuse can damage your appearance, including your hair.

Addiction can cause hair loss or other changes in its growth. In long-term use, drugs can interrupt the hair’s growth cycle, causing them to pause temporarily or stop growing permanently. 

Drugs may enter hair from multiple sites through multiple mechanisms and at different times throughout the hair growth cycle. Strands of hair grow at different rates, and there is no way to tell where on the head or how much hair will be lost due to drug use. Everyone is different.  

How Bad Will Drug-Related Hair Loss Get?

The type and severity of hair loss that you experience can vary depending on many individual factors. Some of these factors include: 

  • The type of drug used. 
  • The frequency and dosages of the drug used.
  • Family history of hair loss. 
  • Other health conditions. 
  • Stress levels and age. 

Family history, certain health conditions, and high stress levels can make it more likely for you to lose your hair prematurely. And age is a factor that affects each of us when it comes to hair loss. 

While there is little we can do about aging or our family history, we can take steps to improve the other areas. Living an overall healthy life starts with ceasing drug abuse, eating nutritious foods, and learning how to cope with stress and other negative emotions. 

We can help you achieve each of these goals in any of our drug addiction treatment programs. We offer full-time and part-time programs, as well as support meetings, to ensure that you have access to the help you need when and where you need it.  

What Drugs Cause Hair Loss

A large number of drugs may interfere with the hair cycle and produce hair loss. Two of the most common and illicit drugs that cause hair loss are cocaine and LSD. One study tested hair samples from users of cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and LSD under electron microscopes. 

In this study, the drug-free hair shafts from the control group were intact, regular, and undamaged. However, when it came time to examine the hair from the cocaine users, the keratinized structures were damaged in 97.2% of the samples. 

And the outer layer of the hair was damaged in 95.8% of the samples, as well. They found that hair shafts from cocaine abusers are very thin and fragile. Meanwhile, the hair samples tested from the heroin and cannabis abusers were intact and regular. 

The LSD samples told a different story. In nearly all the tested samples (97.9%), the cuticle layer was destroyed, and cuticle cells were lifted from the hair shaft. In 95.8% of the samples, the hair was fragile, broken, and detached. 

The hair fibers from the LSD users were very weak and fragile, similar to the results of the tests on the hair from the cocaine users. The researchers who performed these studies maintain that further research and a more comprehensive analysis of hair samples from different illicit drug abusers is necessary to gain more information. 

How Do the Drugs Get to Your Hair?

Illicit drugs, through any method, accumulate in the hair in a few different ways. They may build up there by entering the bloodstream, absorbing through the sweat, or attaching to the strands from smoke vapors. However they get there, it is clear that certain illicit drugs can cause hair loss, no matter what method you use to ingest them. 

Treating Your Addiction to Prevent Hair Loss

Treating Your Addiction to Prevent Hair Loss

Addiction programs like the ones that we offer can help you address and overcome a wide variety of issues. Cosmetic concerns, like hair loss and weight changes, often improve as you work on building an overall healthier lifestyle. 

From there, there are several different options for treatment for hair loss if it is still needed. But one of the best ways to reverse the damage done and prevent further damage is to stop abusing drugs first. As you detox, you flush toxins from your body. 

Your body learns how to find its balance, regulate itself, and return to normal. The effects of building a healthy, sober life will be felt from top to bottom. 

Getting Started at Pathfinders Recovery Center

At Pathfinders, we offer a unique variety of personalized addiction care programs to help you meet your goals and improve your quality of life. With a helping hand, recovery is possible. And a new life is just a phone call away. 

With centers in Arizona and Colorado, we make it easy to get the help you need where and when you need it. Our addiction counselors are available now to answer your questions, perform your intake, or verify your insurance. Call them at 866-576-4892 to get started.

Alcoholism and Hair Loss

Alcoholism and Hair Loss

Does Alcohol Cause Hair Loss?

There are many different causes of hair loss. Family history, hormonal changes, medications, and aging are among the most common causes of hair loss. These are the cited the most when people ask, ‘ Does alcohol cause hair loss?’ 

With these other reasons in mind, it comes as no surprise that many people do not realize that alcoholism and hair loss are also linked. Hair loss can affect your scalp alone or your whole body. It can be a temporary loss or a permanent one. 

Alcohol and Hair Loss

Alcohol and Hair Loss

While alcohol abuse or addiction is not a direct or common link to hair loss, there is a connection between the two. It is important to note that alcoholism affects everyone differently. No two people will experience the same side effects or symptoms each day. 

Alcoholism alone will not cause you to lose all your hair. But chronic alcoholism does put you at a higher risk for hair loss than others. Primarily, this comes down to the tendency of alcoholics to suffer from physical or nutritional deficiencies. 

Ways Alcohol and Hair Loss Are Linked

Alcoholism has a way of taking over your life. This makes it harder to focus on things like work, family, friends, and your mental and physical health. As such, chronic alcoholism patients are typically deficient in certain vitamins due to a poor diet. 

Vitamin deficiencies that are often associated with inadequate dietary intake and alcoholism include vitamins A and B6, thiamine, and folate. While alcoholism itself isn’t the only cause, it is a contributing factor. 

Alcohol impairs the way your body absorbs, stores, metabolizes and activates these vitamins. Alcohol also raises your estrogen levels. This elevation of estrogen is, in part, what causes hair loss. People who struggle with alcoholism typically do not follow a healthy or balanced diet. 

The loss of vitamins, the deficiencies that follow, and the increase in estrogen contribute to increased rates of hair loss, along with other troubling symptoms. In addition to vitamin deficiencies and estrogen production, elevated stress levels and chronic dehydration are other links to hair loss. 

Alcoholism and Chronic Dehydration

Because it is a diuretic, alcohol can cause dehydration. When we drink socially, we often forget to drink enough water to avoid a hangover the next day. When someone is battling chronic alcoholism, it gets even harder to remember to drink the appropriate amount of water each day. 

Water is a crucial component in the growth of hair follicles. This means that regular dehydration can damage these follicles, causing your hair to become brittle and break. When your hair grows back, it is thinner than it was before, which makes the hair loss look more noticeable. 

To recap, alcohol and hair loss are linked through: 

  • Vitamin deficiencies from a lack of a healthy diet. 
  • An increase in estrogen levels. 
  • Chronic dehydration. 
  • Elevated stress levels. 

Other Side Effects of Alcoholism

Alcoholism can alter your mind and body in many ways. You may experience mood swings or other concerning personality changes, including depression, anxiety, excessive worrying, paranoia, or full-blown panic. Memory loss and impaired judgment are also common. 

And on the physical side, alcoholism can lead to an increased risk of

  • High blood pressure and stroke. 
  • Heart or liver disease.
  • Cancer of the liver, colon, mouth, throat, esophagus, and breast. 

These conditions are part of a longer list of potential health risks associated with alcoholism. From your relationships and work habits to your diet, mental health, and physical health, alcohol can wreak havoc on your routine. It does not impact just one aspect of your life or another. It impairs all of them.  

Treatment for Hair Loss

As we age, we naturally begin to lose our hair. But this happens faster for some than for others. If you believe that you are losing hair faster than you should be for reasons other than alcohol consumption, there are things you can do to improve it. 

In recent years, there has been a major push for aging gracefully. Accepting your hair loss and allowing it to run its course untreated and unhidden is admirable. You can also improve its appearance with a strategic hairstyle, makeup, hat, or scarf. 

If these tricks are not sufficient, there are options for hair loss treatments. They may help prevent future hair loss, restore growth after hair loss, or do some combination of the two. Your doctor can help you find the best treatment options available to you. 

But if you are losing hair due to alcohol abuse, your options may look a bit different. Thankfully, avoiding hair loss with alcoholism treatments can help you prevent further damage and improve existing damage, too. 

Avoiding Hair Loss with Alcoholism Treatments

When it comes to alcohol-related hair loss, the good news is that there are ways to regrow your hair naturally. But first, you will need to address your alcohol intake. After all, what good is addressing your hair loss if you continue to do the thing that causes it in the first place? 

When you address your alcohol intake first, your body can relearn how to properly absorb the vitamins it needs, regulate the production of estrogen and other important hormones, and find the right overall balance. 

Once you address the root of the problem, there are several things you can do to correct or improve your hair loss. Low-level laser therapy is a method that helps restore the health of your scalp, stimulate hair growth, and regenerate old cells. 

There are also supplements you can take to address and restore any nutrient deficiencies that may be contributing to your hair loss. These supplements contain nutrients that improve your hair, nails, and skin naturally. 

And of course, building a healthy routine in the kitchen will help, too. Vitamin-rich foods like avocado, nuts, and eggs can help improve the health of your hair. While hair loss can be unpleasant and uncomfortable, it does not have to be permanent. 

Treatment Options at Pathfinders Recovery Center

Treatment Options at Pathfinders Recovery Center

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, reaching out for help is the first step. And at Pathfinders Recovery Center, we have everything you need to meet your short-term and long-term addiction recovery goals. 

With our well-rounded and personalized programs, we help you improve each aspect of your health and routine. From our first phone call through aftercare and support group meetings, we will be with you every step of the way. 

Among other research-based and proven treatment methods, our alcohol addiction treatment programs feature: 

  • Monitored detoxes. 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy. 
  • Contingency management.
  • 12-step facilitation therapy.
  • Motivational enhancement therapy.
  • Community reinforcement. 

Getting Started

The best recovery outcomes start with a personalized approach. We will help you learn how to take care of your mind and body so that they will take care of you. Whether you need full-time, inpatient care, part-time outpatient treatments, or sporadic support through peer meetings, we have options here for all different types and levels of addiction. 

And we will tailor the program you choose to better suit your unique needs from there. Call us today at 866-263-1808 to get started. Why spend another day wishing that things could change? A new life is just one phone call away.

Exploring the Link Between Family Genetics and Addiction Tendencies

Exploring the Link Between Family Genetics and Addiction Tendencies Pathfinders Recovery Center - A family all holding hands together, an analogy for exploring the link between family genetics and addiction tendencies.

We often hear of people having an addictive personality, or even that addiction runs in families.

It does bring up the question: “Why does one person get addicted to drugs or alcohol and another doesn’t? Is addiction linked to genetics?”

Is it possible to be predisposed to addiction? Is there a genetic link to addiction? If your parent or relative struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, do family genetics mean there’s no hope for you?

We’re going to answer all of these questions for you in this article.

Keep reading to learn about the genetic predisposition to addiction and general addiction tendencies based on your DNA.

What Is Addiction?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine states that addiction is a direct effect of the reward and motivational part of our brains being affected by an overwhelming need to “pursue reward or relief by substance use and behaviors.”

Alcohol addiction is one of the most common addictions in the United States.

An estimated 15.1 million people have an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

While most of us immediately think of alcoholism when we think of addiction, you can be addicted to many different substances and/or behaviors.

Some other examples of common addictions include:

  • Tobacco
  • Opioids
  • Sex
  • Cocaine
  • Benzos
  • Gambling

Any substance or behavior that affects your pleasure and/or reward system in the brain has the potential to become an addiction.

Exploring the Link Between Family Genetics and Addiction Tendencies Pathfinders - A husband and father is pouring another drink at the dining room table while his wife and daughter stand behind him depressed and watching him suffer with his alcoholism, as he wonders whether addiction is linked to genetics or not before seeking treatment.

Is Addiction a Disease?

Addiction is defined as a chronic disease of the brain that affects you mentally, physically, and socially.

Addiction directly disrupts normal brain function that impairs your judgment, learning, motivation, memory, and reward/relief systems.

Genetic Links to Addiction

As with other diseases, there are a number of factors that contribute to the development of the disease.

These factors include social settings, environmental factors, behavioral factors, and family genetics.

Let’s get a little bit more into the genetic predisposition associated with addiction.

“Addiction Genes”

There has been a scientific effort to uncover the specific genes that would result in addiction and drug abuse disorders.

This brings up two questions: “Why would there be genes for addiction anyway? If addiction is so harmful, shouldn’t those types of genes have already been eliminated from our population due to natural selection?”

Some argue that “addiction genes” may have helped our early ancestors to promote motivation and feelings of pleasure/reward for things like gathering food, procreating, etc. Once these genes are in place to reward us, it can affect how we behave with other things that give us pleasure, like drugs and alcohol.

There has been some success in finding particular “addiction genes.” As with most things concerning genetics, there is no one specific “addiction gene.” Instead, it’s a complex system of different genes and chemicals that can lead to addictive tendencies.

One common gene found in many drug addicts and alcoholics is a gene that affects dopamine receptors in the brain, specifically the DRD2 gene.

Dopamine is this “feel good” chemical in your brain. When you do something pleasurable (like drugs), your brain releases dopamine, which makes you feel good and makes you want to do more of that thing.

If your dopamine receptors are changed or more receptive to dopamine, it could make it easier to become addicted to drugs.

This is just one example of a potential “addiction gene” found by scientists. Hundreds of other genes can contribute to a predisposition to addiction. See some more examples here.

Twin Studies

Some of the most telling facts about addiction and genetics are genetics looking at family history and relatives with addiction.

Studies show that genetics amount to up to 50% of the likelihood that you’ll develop an addiction.

How do we know this? One study looked at over 1,000 sets of twins. Identical twins have the same genetic make-up. Therefore, if addiction were solely genetic, we would assume that if one twin had a substance abuse issue, the other twin would as well.

However, they found that if one twin had an addiction, the other twin was likely to have an addiction. But, they found that if one twin had an addiction, it didn’t mean the other twin had an addiction too.

In simple terms, this study found that genes have a large factor in addiction since the likelihood of twins having an addiction was high.

However, when one twin had an addiction, many of their twins with the same genes did not have an addiction.

This indicates that other factors that contribute to addiction besides genetics, even if addiction is linked to genetics.

Other studies support these findings.

This leads to the consensus that genetics amount to half of the predisposition/risk of developing an addiction.

Children of Parents Struggling with Addiction

When thinking about addiction’s genetic component, we have to look at the history of drug addiction in families.

One of the easiest ways to study the genetic links to addiction is to look at the children of those struggling with addiction.

These individuals struggling with substance abuse pass on their genes to their children. So, if there is a genetic link, logic tells us that the children of these individuals should also have substance abuse issues at one point or another. They should at least be at a much higher risk of addiction compared to children of those that do not have drug or alcohol issues.

And studies have found that this is, in fact, the case.

Children of those struggling with addiction are eight times more likely also to develop an addiction than children of individuals without substance abuse issues.

Another study showed that people who use drugs are more likely to have at least one parent that also uses drugs.

Is It Really Genetics? Digging Deeper

After everything we’ve just gone over, from the specific genetic findings to the family statistics, you might think it’s definite that genetics is the factor that causes addiction.

While it’s true addiction is linked to genetics, there are questions related to how much this means in terms of genetic predisposition.

However, we can’t ignore the behavioral and social aspects of family life that have nothing to do with genetics.

Children growing up with parents who normalize drug and alcohol use may simply use drugs because socially, it seemed normal. This doesn’t have to do with their genes; it has to do with their social environment.

While family statistics and studies show a link between genetics and addiction, it’s also important to remember that addiction is a complex disease with many factors, including social and behavioral factors.

Exploring the Link Between Family Genetics and Addiction Tendencies Pathfinders - A man struggling with substance abuse has decided to enter treatment after learning that addiction is linked to genetics and his parents struggled with addiction. He is taking part in an initial group therapy session to discuss his story and gain insight for healthy coping mechanisms to break free from addiction.

Other Factors that Can Lead to Addiction

Continuing with this idea, let’s look at some other factors that can contribute to addiction besides “addiction genes.”

Some of the most significant risk factors for addiction include:

  • Stress
  • Mental health disorders, such as depression, eating disorders, anxiety, etc.
  • Emotional/physical trauma
  • Peer pressure
  • Pop culture exposure
  • Easy access to drugs/alcohol
  • Social environment

Predisposition Is Not Certainty

This brings us to a very important point.

Just because you’re predisposed or have a higher risk of developing an addiction doesn’t mean you definitely will.

Your entire family could struggle with alcohol and drug abuse, and you could have multiple “addiction genes.”

But this does not mean addiction is inevitable for you.

If you feel you have many risk factors and can feel yourself potentially going down the wrong path, you can learn coping skills and enter treatment before an addiction develops.

Understanding your risks as a child or relative of someone who struggles with substance abuse can be a way to regulate your drug use. It can also help you understand you’re predisposed to addiction, which might motivate you to seek help before things get worse.

Each of these factors could lead to a higher risk of addiction, no matter what genes you have.

Addiction is complex and is the result of not one but many factors.

Genetics could be a big part of what leads someone down the addiction path, but it’s not the only factor. Although it is still essential to be aware that addiction is linked to genetics.

Family Genetics and Addiction: Bottom Line

You’ve probably heard that alcoholism is a family disease, and on some level, that’s true.

Addiction is linked to genetics and drug abuse disorders.

However, it’s also important to recognize that addiction is a complex disease that cannot be pinpointed on one factor or cause. It’s a myriad of social and biological triggers that come together to form the perfect storm known as addiction.

If you or a family member is struggling to stay sober, contact us today.

We can help those suffering from addiction overcome their reliance and live a healthier, more stable life.

 

How to Avoid Drug Use in College

Group of students having fun, to show How to Avoid Drug Use in College

If you’ve watched a lot of movies about college students, you might be under the impression that everyone experiments with drugs when they’re in college. But this simply isn’t the truth. Because of this, we’ve decided to highlight exactly how to avoid drug use in college, and reasons to consider it.  

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, some college students do admit to using drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. But surveys have shown that only about one out of every five college students uses illicit drugs regularly.

Are you concerned that drug use in college could potentially be a problem for you? Whether you’re a recovering drug user who wants to steer clear of drugs in college or someone who has never used drugs and wants to keep it that way, there are steps you can take to avoiding using drugs during your college years.

Check out the things you can do to avoid drug use in college below.

Pick a College That’s Not Known for Its Party Scene

Every year, a variety of print and online publications put together lists of the top party schools in the entire country. These schools are very popular among those who are focused on spending a lot of time partying during their college careers.

But if your goal is to avoid drug use in college at all costs, these schools are not going to be for you. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in the middle of a place where you’re going to be subjected to heavy drinking and drug use all the time.

This doesn’t mean that you need to enroll in a school that has a “dry” campus. You can if you want to, but you don’t have to go to that extreme if you don’t like any of the schools with dry campuses.

You should, however, try to find a school that has little to no party scene, if possible. You won’t have to duck and dodge parties where drugs are being used all the time if you’re at a college where parties are few and far between.

Make the Right Living Arrangements

There is something to be said for spending at least a year or two living on-campus at college in a dorm. You can learn a lot about yourself and how you interact with others by setting up shop in a dorm.

But if you think that living in a dorm might expose you to drugs and increase your chances of using them, you don’t have to do it. You can either get an apartment off-campus or, better yet, live at home with your parents as a commuter student.

If you choose to move into an off-campus apartment, just be careful about who you move in with if you decide to live with roommates. You could end up putting yourself into a position where you’re living with someone who uses drugs and exposes you to them every day.

Fill Your Academic Schedule Every Semester

One of the most effective ways to avoid drug use in college is by staying busy as often as you can. Rather than taking the bare minimum number of college credits each semester, jampack your schedule so that you’re always either in class or studying.

Outside of helping you stay away from drugs, filling up your academic schedule will also allow you to graduate sooner than expected. This could cut down on your college tuition and make it easier to pay off student loans if you’re planning on taking them out.

Get Involved With the Clubs on Your College Campus

While it’s good to stay busy when you’re in college in an effort to avoid drugs, you shouldn’t spend your whole life sitting in the library. If the only thing you do is study, study, and then study

some more, you’re going to burn yourself out.

Why not give yourself a break by joining one of the many clubs that are available on college campuses? Every college campus is obviously a little bit different, but you can often join:

  • Cooking clubs
  • Community service clubs
  • Religious clubs
  • Sports clubs
  • Music clubs

Joining clubs will help you to meet new people who share interests similar to yours. You’ll often form longer-lasting friendships with people when you meet them at clubs as opposed to meeting them at parties, bars, or nightclubs.

Choose Your College Friends Wisely

If you want to stay as far away from drug use in college as you can, it’s going to be important for you to pick and choose the friends that you make wisely. You don’t want to spend your days hanging out with a habitual marijuana user if you’re trying your best to avoid drugs.

When you’re in the process of getting to know new people in college, look out for the signs that they might be a drug user. You might want to reconsider hanging out with someone if you know that they’re using drugs on a regular basis.

Let People Know You’re Not a Drug User in No Uncertain Terms

Peer pressure is something that’s often associated with high school students. In fact, one recent survey suggested that about 90% of high school students admit to experiencing peer pressure.

But peer pressure can affect college students, too! Since college students are still trying to forge an identity for themselves, it’s not uncommon for them to succumb to peer pressure at the start of their college years.

You should mentally prepare yourself for this when you head off to college and vow to stick to your strict “no drugs” policy. You should also go out of your way to let those that you meet in college know that you’re not someone who is interested in using drugs under any circumstances.

This won’t prevent people from asking you to use drugs altogether. But it will make it easier for you to turn them down when people ask if you’re interested in taking drugs.

avoiding-drugs-in-college

Speak With an Advisor About Any Struggles You Face in College

When most people think about going away to college, they think about how much fun they’re going to have when they do it. What they don’t always realize is that, while college can be fun, it can also be very stressful.

About 75% of college students say they’re stressed out a lot of the time. Additionally, about 20% say they’ve thought about committing suicide in college due to the stress, anxiety, and depression they feel while in school.

Many students turn to drugs and alcohol to manage the stress that they feel in school. They take this approach instead of trying to find better ways to cope with the stress that comes along with being a college student.

Rather than doing this, you should set up meetings with your school advisor when you feel stressed out and talk to them about your struggles. They can provide you with ways to manage your stress more effectively and help you avoid turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with your feelings.

There are so many people who find themselves addicted to drugs or alcohol because they utilized them as a coping mechanism in college. Do everything in your power to avoid falling into this trap.

Remind Yourself of Why You’re Choosing Not to Use Drugs

You likely have a great reason for wanting to avoid drug use in college. What is it?

Some people choose not to use drugs in college because they want to make sure they’re able to get good grades. Others decide not to use them because they want to graduate as quickly as they can and pursue a career that they’re passionate about.

You need to come up with a reason for wanting to stay away from drugs and write it down. Put it on a piece of paper and hang it up next to your bed if you have to.

Keep your reason in mind at all times, especially when you’re feeling pressured to use drugs. Your reason will help you say no each and every time that you’re offered drugs at a party or another event.

Over time, you’ll find that it will become easier and easier to avoid drug use in college. You won’t have to remind yourself about your reasoning once you see how much better your college experience is when drugs aren’t in the picture.

You Can Avoid Drug Use in College and Still Have a Great Time

Just because you’re choosing not to use drugs in college does not mean that you can’t still enjoy yourself. You can meet a ton of people, get awesome grades, and soak up every bit of the college experience—all without drugs.

By avoiding drug use in college, you’ll keep yourself on the right path and hit your academic goals before it’s all said and done. In four years (or maybe less!), you’ll leave college with a diploma and a great understanding of where your life is headed next.
Are you a college student who suspects that you might have a drug problem? Stop letting drugs hold you back. Contact us today to find out how we can help you get clean and stay clean so that you can get back to focusing on your studies.