AA Meeting Topics

AA meeting topics

A Quick Summary of Alcoholics Anonymous

AA or Alcoholics Anonymous is more than what you see in the movies. Alcoholics Anonymous is an inclusive and welcoming support group. Since its humble start in 1935, AA has grown to the largest support group model in the world.

With free and open-to-all meetings across the globe, there are over two million Alcoholics Anonymous members. The only requirement for entry into an Alcoholics Anonymous group is the desire to stop drinking.

The Typical AA Meeting Format

The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, outlined in The Big Book, starting with admitting the control alcohol has over us and ending with the spiritual practice of AA principles, are guidelines for overcoming addiction to alcohol.

If you’ve never attended an AA or 12-step meeting, you may be wondering what to expect. The typical AA meeting format has a few different components. First, expect to take a seat in a semi-circle surrounding the meeting chairperson who sits in the middle.

To start, the chairperson will read the AA Preamble, which outlines the AA mission and values and lead the group in the nondenominational Serenity Prayer. After, members will read aloud sections of The Big Book before newcomers are given the chance to introduce themselves.

Don’t worry if you’re not ready for this step, introductions are optional. While the preamble, prayer, and introductions are generally part of every meeting, what happens next may change depending on the type of AA meeting you are attending.

Different Types of AA Meetings

There are four major types of AA meetings, including:

  • Discussion meetings.
  • Speaker meetings.
  • Beginner meetings.
  • Study meetings.

In a discussion meeting, a member of the group acts as the leader, opening the meeting and selecting a discussion topic. In a speaker meeting, one individual or multiple will share their story, focusing on their journey with alcohol abuse and recovery goals.

Beginner meetings are led by AA members who are further along in their recovery journey. These meetings typically follow a question-and-answer format to help newcomers get a feel for what happens in AA.

Rather than diving too deep and risking overwhelming newcomers, leaders of beginner meetings often focus on the first three or the twelve steps. This brings us to the last type of AA meeting, a study meeting.

These are sometimes also called step meetings, tradition meetings, or Big Book meetings. By any name, study meetings focus on an in-depth look at one of the AA steps or traditions. And no matter the type, most AA meetings end with the Serenity Prayer or a moment of silence.

Open vs. Closed Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings

AA Meeting Topics

Sometimes, bringing a friend or family member to a meeting makes it easier to open up and share with the group. In an open AA meeting, any community member is welcome, and you can bring someone with you if they agree to respect the members’ anonymity.

Most open meetings are speaker meetings. Closed meetings, on the other hand, are usually more informal. Attending a closed meeting is limited to existing AA members and new participants who want to stop drinking.

This is an ideal setting for discussing vulnerable topics with other group members who understand them. But both open and closed AA meetings can provide members with support and valuable learning opportunities.

Choosing AA Meeting Topics

If you are leading a discussion meeting, you will get the chance to open the meeting and choose the topic for discussion. Choosing AA meeting topics can be a daunting task for some. But remember that participating can help you gain more from your time here.

The member acting as the meeting’s chairperson may choose a topic and lead the discussion. And there are endless potential AA meeting topics to choose from.

Potential AA Meeting Topics: A Short Listing

Potential AA meeting topics can range from those listed in The Big Book to the current emotional state of the chairperson. The 12 steps and the 12 traditions are two of the most common topics of discussion, but they are far from the only ones.

Some groups discuss one Big Book chapter each week, while others read from the book each week and discuss the chapters as they move through them. But while these are common courses of discussion, AA literature provides dozens of other suggestions.

A shortlist of potential AA meeting topics:

  • Acceptance
  • Forgiveness
  • Freedom through sobriety
  • Hope
  • Inventory
  • Making amends
  • Patience and tolerance
  • Participation and action
  • Sponsorship
  • Willingness
  • Working with others

Click here to read the full list of suggested topics for AA discussion meetings.

What to Bring to an AA Meeting

If you’re not gathering AA meeting topics to lead the discussion in your meeting, you may be wondering what else you need to bring. As we mentioned before, Alcoholics Anonymous is free, and membership is less formal than many other groups.

All you need to bring to an AA meeting is an open mind and a desire to stop drinking. There are no forms, applications, fees, or other formal requirements. Members are free to come and go and participate or observe as they wish.

Getting the Most Out of a 12-Step Meeting

AA Meeting Topics

Sharing your story with others who are on the same journey is a great way to make connections for lasting sobriety. Having a sober social circle or support group you can turn to at any moment provides the social support necessary for true recovery.

Social support helps you better relate to your environment, understand those around you, strengthen your place in the community, and develop healthy communication skills. Social support groups like AA allow you to connect with others with shared goals.

They promote feelings of belonging and shared purpose, while on an individual level boosting our self-esteem and confidence. There are many benefits to attending 12-step and other social support meetings during and after recovery.

And getting the most out of your meetings depends on what you are willing to put into them. If you’re wondering where to start, we recommend that you start by paying attention to the length and frequency of your meeting attendance, combining AA meetings with other treatments, and finding a sponsor.

Alcoholics Anonymous vs. Treatment for Alcoholism

While AA and other support meetings are crucial tools in recovery, they are rarely sufficient as the sole treatment methods for alcoholism. Depending on the severity of your addiction, we can recommend several different treatment types and settings, including:

  • Inpatient care (starting with medical detox)
  • Partial hospitalization program
  • Intensive outpatient program

This list starts with the most high-level program and works down to the most flexible. In an inpatient program, you temporarily relocate and work toward sobriety from the comfort and safety of one of our facilities.

With 24-hour access to medical support and recovery guidance, inpatient programs offer the highest level of care. This makes them ideal for those with moderate to severe addictions and withdrawal symptoms, a history of relapse, or a stressful home life.

In a partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient program, you live at home while attending weekly counseling sessions, support group meetings, and other recovery treatments at our facility. Partial hospitalization is common for those battling both addiction and mental illness.

These programs feature an average of 20 hours per week spent with us. Stepping down another level of care, intensive outpatient programs typically require nine to 19 hours of attendance per week. These are best for people with intermediate-level substance abuse problems.

It bears mentioning that while this is a step down in time requirements, it is not a step down in treatment or effectiveness. And it is also worth mentioning that we do not expect you to know which program will best suit your needs.

If you are unsure of where to start, call our 24-hour line for guidance.

Forging Your Path at Pathfinders Recovery Center

If you’re looking to start your journey with Alcoholics Anonymous, we can help you find a local meeting to aid the other treatments in your recovery plan. Addiction treatments work best when they are well-rounded and holistic.

We can help you build a treatment plan that addresses your emotional, physical, and spiritual recovery needs. The road to recovery starts right here at Pathfinders Recovery Center. Call us today at 866-263-1820.

How Long Does Meth Psychosis Last?

How Long Does Meth Psychosis Last

What Is Meth Induced Psychosis?

My meth addiction made me literally lose my mind. Besides losing my sanity, I also lost nearly everything else in my life. My job, my wife, and my overall happiness. There aren’t a lot of drugs out there like meth. The damage that it does to your body and your mental health is astounding.

Even after you quit using meth, there can be underlying conditions and psychosis. It took me a long time to feel normal again after I went through recovery at Pathfinders. I still have nightmares to this day and wake up wondering if they were real or not.

So what is meth-induced psychosis? Generally speaking, meth psychosis is brought on by a combination of paranoia and hallucinations that result from prolonged meth abuse.

Speaking from personal experience, this is a terrifying condition and can quickly escalate to a point that’s unimaginable. I started using meth when I was a teenager.

I grew up in a rural area, and the manufacturing of meth wasn’t too uncommon in my town. I ended up getting into it through friends, and eventually wound up producing it myself. It didn’t take long for my whole personality to change.

The progression of meth psychosis is rapid. Within several months of using meth, I found myself paranoid and thinking everyone was out to get me. First of all, there is a lot of paranoia that goes along with using illegal drugs and having your life revolve around them.

The people you associate with are less than ideal, and you are always in fear of being arrested or found out by your loved ones. Meth is a very hard addiction to hide from anyone. The damage that it does to your body makes it very obvious. It’s hard to deny you have an addiction when your teeth are falling out and you look as pale and sickly as a corpse.

So the symptoms of meth abuse are obvious. We’ve all seen the meth before and after photos of what the drug does to people over time. The symptoms of meth psychosis are also very obvious. You become incoherent.

There is a lot of fast-talking and rambling. Being unable to concentrate on one subject is extremely difficult. Dealing with that kind of fear and anxiety is totally crippling. You start to believe all these crazy thoughts are real. There is also the issue of thinking things are crawling all over you. Meth Mites are a common occurrence.

You start to believe there are bugs crawling under your skin. Meth crystalizes under the skin, which causes a lot of irritation and itching. It’s extremely uncomfortable.

It sounds nuts, but since you are not in the right frame of mind when you’re using meth, you can quickly start to believe that insects are literally crawling all over you. When you’re just getting into drugs, this doesn’t sound like a very appealing high.

Who in their right mind would want to experience something like that? You don’t get it until you’re in it. You don’t plan on using drugs to lose your mind. You begin using drugs because you want to have fun or you have some sort of pain to cover up.

When your drug abuse gets to the point of visual and auditory hallucinations, paranoia, and anxiety, you’d think that would be enough to get clean right? The answer is usually no. People get so far in they don’t see what they’ve become.

When I look at old photos of myself from when I was using drugs, it shocks me. How did I not know how bad I looked? It’s a brutal reality that you develop drug eyes. You don’t see how bad it’s gotten. Even if you do, it still isn’t enough to do anything about it.

Progression Of Meth Psychosis

Meth hallucinations are very real and they affect every aspect of your life. They can be visual, auditory, and tactile. You can see, hear, and feel things that are not there. There’s no way something like that isn’t going to have a hugely negative impact on you.

The really tricky thing about psychosis is when you are experiencing it, you don’t recognize it as abnormal. It’s easy to look at a meth addict suffering from psychosis and see that they are unwell. When you’re the addict, it’s not all that clear.

Using drugs like meth cause the brain to release large amounts of dopamine, which are trigger feelings of euphoria. When those feelings go away, and the high disappears, you want nothing more than to get that feeling back.

Continued substance abuse and the repeated release of dopamine cause your brain to burn out. It’s the same with almost every drug. In the beginning, your tolerance is low.

As you build up your tolerance to the drug, you need more and more of it to get by. Eventually, this develops into a full-blown addiction, and your brain can’t release all that dopamine fast enough.

How long does meth psychosis last? It depends on the level of your addiction. For some people, it can play out over months or even years. There are some users who develop permanent meth psychosis, however, with treatment this condition is reversible.

There is a lasting recovery from meth misuse. It’s one of those addictions that you don’t ever really defeat. Because it is such a powerful drug, the cravings can continue long after you are sober. This is why it’s important to develop a strong recovery network and understand that you are powerless to the drug.

One of the obvious side effects of methamphetamine use is meth mouth. Meth mouth is defined simply as tooth decay and gum disease as a result of repeated meth use. The damage to the teeth is the result of not only the acidity of the drug but also involuntary teeth grinding and overall poor oral hygiene.

By the time the user seeks treatment, the teeth are often too damaged or broken to be repaired and have to be removed. There is also a direct connection between meth use and voice loss.

Treatment For Meth Psychosis

Treatment For Meth Psychosis

Treatment for meth addiction requires a lot of work on both the user and the person treating the user. I was really surprised at the care and compassion showed to me at Pathfinders.

My addiction and my psychosis were at a very dangerous level. Pathfinders offer a great dual diagnosis program, and for someone like me, it worked wonders. I didn’t realize that my mental health was at an all-time low.

Dual diagnosis treatment is a great way for addicts with mental illness to work on both issues at once. It may seem overwhelming, but it’s proven to be a very effective way to treat substance abuse.

Once the damage is done, it’s pretty difficult to do away with the problem on your own. Because drugs rewire our brains and change the way we think, addicts are not often concerned with their appearance after a while.

It quickly becomes an afterthought. When you are recovering from meth, you become one big restoration project. Your body and mind are equally damaged. If you are done feeling paranoid all the time, dope sick, and strung out, a place like Pathfinders will get you back on track.

If addressed early enough, there is a chance your state of mind can be restored. If you have been abusing meth long term, there aren’t a whole lot of options other than intensive rehab. The solution to fixing meth mouth is to quit using meth, which is not exactly simple.

Meth can be a very difficult drug to get off of, as it completely rewires your brain. If you are serious enough about it, sobriety can be achieved no matter where you’re in your addiction. The damage to your mouth is only something that can be addressed after you face the problem head-on.

When you recover from a drug like meth, it takes a very long time to return to the way you once were. Luckily for me, I have found the pull of recovery stronger at this point than the pull of Meth.

The triggers may still be there occasionally, but I am in a much better frame of mind these days to know the consequences of my actions. When I was using meth, there was nothing on my mind but getting high. I have a lot more positive elements in my life that help me stay on the right track.

Keeping yourself on track is going to be a huge part of your daily life. It takes a lot of work to reach a comfortable level of recovery. It’s something that’s worth celebrating every day.

When you are ready to take on the battle and follow through with it you will find the outcome very rewarding. Once you know you want to get clean, you will be coming from the best possible place.

The Sober Movement

The Sober Movement

What Is the Sober Movement?

The sober community has come a long way in recent years. There are many reasons for this. The rise of the opiate epidemic is a big one, but there is also so much more information out there these days regarding substance abuse.

When I was growing up, I had no idea of the dangers of certain drugs. There were afterschool specials and a few random TV ads about drugs being bad, but they never really told you why. “Just Say No” became a popular term back in the 80s, but what is the reason for just saying no?

I didn’t get it until I became a full-blown alcoholic and drug addict. I dabbled in a lot of different drugs and ended up wasting a lot of my life. I lost multiple jobs and could barely hold down a place to live.

When I entered Pathfinders for treatment, I didn’t know too much about the sober movement or the term ‘sober curious’. The definition of sober curious is a bit different from being actually sober.

Sober curious refers to the option you have to not drink or use drugs. When someone is sober curious, they are more interested in sobriety for health and wellness reasons. Anyone can be sober curious. You don’t necessarily have to have an addiction to be sober curious.

The origins of the term can be traced back to the author Ruby Warrington. Her book “Sober Curious” was published in 2018 and has become a must-read for those interested in the sober movement.

This book has been a big eye-opener for a lot of people, myself included. The sober lifestyle has historically been seen as made up of only former addicts. There are so many people out there who are not addicts that have just decided to not drink or do drugs.

When you meet someone who has never drunk alcohol or done drugs in their life, it’s rare. But these people are out there, and they have just as much wisdom as anybody else.

You don’t have to have a drug or alcohol history to have insight into the world of substance abuse. Obviously, recovering addicts may have more personal experience on the matter, but the information is out there if you choose to educate yourself.

It doesn’t take a drug addict to know that doing opiates can kill you. It doesn’t take you being an alcoholic to know that alcohol can seriously hurt your body and your mind.

Do I have to be an alcoholic to get sober? The answer is absolutely not. The sober movement is made up of all kinds of people. Perhaps you’ve had people in your life who are addicted, and it scared you enough to never want to try drugs or alcohol.

I have met many people in the sober community who were the children of alcoholics. They made the decision early on to never drink, knowing full well that it probably wouldn’t go so well. If you have a family history of substance abuse, chances are you won’t be one of those people who can just drink socially.

Changing The Sobriety Stigma

Changing The Sobriety Stigma

Another question sober curious people may ask themselves is why am I expected to drink to have a good time? There is so much peer pressure in our society and an emphasis on drinking to have fun.

Why is this the case? When you really try to wrap your head around this issue, it makes you question a lot of things. We’ve seen what drugs and alcohol can do to people, yet drugs and alcohol are so closely associated with having a good time.

Sober people are often looked at as boring and uninteresting. Since I got sober, I can’t count how many fun and interesting sober people I’ve met. This is one of the great tricks that society plays on us.

Just like there is a stigma with drug addicts, there is also a stigma around sober people. Some people think we are miserable because we can’t get high or drunk anymore.

There are people that are sometimes referred to as ‘dry drunks’. This is defined as a recovering alcoholic who still exhibits the behavior and attitude of an active alcoholic. You may meet these people, but in my experience, most of the people I’ve come across in the sober community are full of life and couldn’t be happier to not be addicted.

The trend vs. lifestyle of the sober movement is also something to consider. Sure, some people may consider themselves sober curious because they see it as the cool thing to do. Some people may be trying to impress others by bragging about their sobriety.

In my experience, no matter what community you are part of, there are going to be people who aren’t all in. Some people just want to feel like they are part of something bigger. Sometimes people just want to try it out and see for themselves.

No matter what, I treat everyone I meet in the sober community the same. If they no longer want sobriety, it isn’t my place to judge. If one of my peer’s relapses and doesn’t come back from it, it’s sad, but there isn’t a lot I can do for them personally other than offer my insight.

I look at achieving recovery from drinking as a way of life. This is who I am, and it plays a big role in every aspect of my life. When you become sober after being addicted, it’s something you need to put a lot of work into. It doesn’t come easy, but the rewards are very much worth it.

There is a lot to be said regarding social media and the sober movement. Social media is a huge part of our daily lives today, and a lot of influencers online have taken to the sober movement.

There are a lot of celebrities involved in the sober movement, which can be encouraging to younger people. I never want to be influenced in any way by something just because of what a celebrity says, but it really does have an impact on a lot of people.

All the great actors of the golden age of Hollywood were known for their drinking habits and exploits. These days, you will find just as many sober entertainers as you will ones that engage in substance abuse.

Forms of Treatment for Assistance In Sobriety

Forms of Treatment for Assistance In Sobriety

Your approach to sobriety very much determines how well you will do. If you are all in, and you truly want it for yourself, you have a great chance of succeeding. While you do have to do a lot of the work on your own, you are going to need help along the way.

I know that for me personally I really needed all the peer support that I’ve gotten over the years. It plays a big part in me staying on the sober path. I’ve met a lot of other problem drinkers like myself who made the decision to get sober before it was too later.

The definition of problem drinking is someone who abuses alcohol but is not yet chronically addicted. Luckily for me, I managed to get help before becoming physically addicted. Unfortunately, some people don’t seek help until they are late-term alcoholics.

There are a lot of different and unique ways to enjoy sobriety. I used to really enjoy cocktails, and luckily for me, there are a wide variety of non-alcoholic drinks that are commonly referred to as mocktails.

Mocktails and other sober movement drinks allow you to continue to have fun and indulge a little bit. When I first got sober, I switched to non-alcoholic beer. It was a great bridge drink for me. I always enjoyed beer and all the different varieties of beer. Being able to have my NA beer after I got sober was a good way for me to ease into my sobriety without completely dropping the drinks I used to enjoy.

The rise of the sober movement and sober curious people have been very fun for me to witness. The word is out on drugs and alcohol. They ruin lives, families, and careers. People don’t usually ruin their lives simply because they are sober.

With drugs and alcohol, no matter where you are in life, you are going to experience turmoil. Some addicts are violent and their behavior changes when they are under the influence. Some addicts are non-confrontational, and their addiction doesn’t affect their personality. Even though that is the case, they are still doing a great amount of damage to their bodies.

I was never a violent or angry drunk. I was what you’d call a happy drunk. I was nice to everyone, and I never engaged in any lewd or illegal behavior. Everything seemed fine until I realized the internal damage that it was doing.

The negative physical effects of substance abuse can really creep up on you. My uncle was a happy drunk too. Everything seemed fine with him until he died of a heart attack. The heart attack was brought on by his unhealthy lifestyle. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t get the chance to realize what he was doing to himself.

The alcohol was waging a silent war against him. Seeing that taught me a lot. The best lesson it taught me is that nobody ever died from achieving sobriety. That is a great thought that I continue to hold on to.

How to Tell When a Drug Addict Is Lying

How to Tell When a Drug Addict Is Lying

Have you ever googled “how to tell when a drug addict is lying”? If your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it may seem like you don’t know them anymore. Your once loving spouse or honest child may now be acting like a stranger.

It can be very hard to cope when someone you love is now lying to you all the time or trying to manipulate you. It’s shocking and you may feel betrayed every time you find out that they weren’t being honest. 

However, this is normal behavior for people who are addicted to substances. The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes addiction as a chronic disease that’s centered around compulsive drug seeking and use. Despite harmful consequences, the addict finds it difficult to control their actions.

Even though your loved one may have previously been a straightforward person, they will now do anything to get their hands on the substance to which they’re addicted. This includes lying.

This may be hard to understand. In this article, we’ll provide some insight into common things addicts say and how to tell when a drug addict is lying.

How Addictive Substances Change the Brain

How Addictive Substances Change the Brain

Drugs and alcohol increase the levels of dopamine in the brain. This makes the user experience heightened pleasure, euphoria, and a sense of wellbeing. The individual wants to feel these sensations again so they drink or use drugs again.

If they repeat this behavior time and time again, the brain gets accustomed to the presence of the addictive substance. 

Eventually, the brain no longer produces sufficient levels of dopamine on its own and the person doesn’t feel good unless they use drugs or alcohol.

As time goes on, the individual will do whatever it takes to acquire and consume the substance. This includes lying and stealing.

Heavy or long-term use of addictive substances can damage the part of the brain that controls judgment, making it difficult for the individual to make rational choices. It becomes hard for the person to think objectively.

They may say or do anything it takes to get more drugs or alcohol, avoid going into withdrawal, or avoid the consequences of their actions.

Why Do Addicts Lie and Manipulate

Addicts lie to themselves and others and it’s hard for them to stop. Some of the reasons why they lie to their spouses, relatives, and friends include:

  • Shame. This may surprise you since they keep doing the same things over and over again but addicts are often ashamed of their actions. They lie so no one has to find out what they’re doing.
  • Avoidance of confrontation. If your loved one was honest with you about everything they did or everything they plan to do, it would probably lead to an argument. Therefore, they lie to keep the peace.
  • Protection of loved ones. People who are addicted to drugs and alcohol know that their habits could hurt their loved ones. Often, lying is easier than changing their behavior.
  • Changes to the brain. Addiction rewires the brain such that getting drunk or high is the individual’s main focus. Since lying or cheating allows them to get more of the substance, they think it’s okay.
  • Denial. Sometimes the reason your loved one can’t be honest with you is that they can’t admit to themselves that they have a problem.

Common Lies Addicts Tell

Common Lies Addicts Tell

People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol can lie about small details or invent entire stories. If you’re aware of some of the things your loved one may lie about, you’ll have a better idea of when you should be skeptical. Addicts often lie about:

  • Where they went
  • Who they saw
  • Why they drank or used drugs
  • How much alcohol they drank or how much drugs they used
  • How they acquired the substance
  • How they’re spending their money
  • How their substance use is affecting their job or relationship

If you’ve noticed negative changes in your loved one and you get the sense that they’re not being honest, it’s possible that a substance abuse problem could be involved.

Lies People Who Are Addicted to Substances Tell Themselves

Even though each person struggling with addiction will have a unique experience, the lies they tell themselves tend to be quite similar. These lies keep them from admitting they’re unwell and seeking professional help. Here are things your loved one may be saying to themselves:

  • I can stop drinking/smoking/injecting drugs whenever I want. Many addicts want to believe they are still in control of their lives. They don’t want to admit that alcohol or drugs are controlling them, especially if they’re using substances to deal with trauma or another mental health problem.
  • I’m not like other people who drink or use drugs. Addicts tend to compare themselves to other people they know. If they’ve never passed out on the street, been arrested, or been fired because of their drug use, they think they’re doing okay. However, addiction can range from mild to severe and it’s a progressive illness. This means that it gets worse if it goes untreated.
  • I need drugs or alcohol to deal with my problems. People who become addicted to drugs or alcohol often start using these substances as a way to self-medicate. Unfortunately, while they may feel better in the short term, substance use can make mental and emotional problems worse in the long run. Drugs and alcohol are not a substitute for psychiatric or psychological help but addicts tell themselves otherwise.
  • Life won’t be fun if I’m sober. Addicts often get accustomed to a lifestyle that revolves around drinking or using drugs. Therefore, they tell themselves that life would be boring otherwise. However, the reality is the addiction is far from fun, and life is centered around getting and using drugs. Still, this belief keeps people from seeking treatment. Sobriety is actually a healthier and more enjoyable choice since it involves new activities, new friends, and a new way of thinking.
  • My addiction doesn’t affect anyone else. People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol often isolate themselves. If they socialize, it’s usually with people who are using the same substances. Therefore, they may think that their actions aren’t affecting their families. When people try to intervene, they may think they’re judging them or trying to control them. In their world, no one else is being affected by what they’re doing.
  • I don’t have anything to live for so I might as well continue drinking or using drugs. Individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are often depressed. Grief, sadness, or guilt often drive them to use substances. Before long they get trapped in a harmful cycle. They self-medicate because they’re depressed and then the drugs and alcohol make them even more depressed after the high wears off. A person in the depths of depression doesn’t feel like life is worth living.

How to Tell When A Drug Addict is Lying: Possible Indicators

People who are addicted to drugs and alcohol lie often and they may be very convincing. It can, therefore, be difficult for the people close to them to tell when they’re telling the truth. There’s no foolproof way of detecting a lie in the absence of evidence.

However, if you know what to look for, it may be a little easier.

Signs that your loved one is lying include:

  • Lack of eye contact
  • Suddenly speaking more loudly
  • Fidgeting or rocking back and forth
  • Giving vague answers or trying to change the subject
  • Speaking in broken sentences or using lots of filler words
  • Speaking in a higher tone

Not everyone will show the same signs when they lie, and some people are better at being dishonest than others.

However, you should trust your instincts. If you believe something is going on, it probably is.

What to Do If You Suspect Someone is Addicted to Drugs

What to Do If You Suspect Someone is Addicted to Drugs

Loving a person who is struggling to control their drug use can be scary and stressful. However, that person will need your support in order to recover. Try to create a calm environment in which you can discuss their lies and impress upon them the need to get help.

It’s a good idea to contact an addiction specialist for advice on how to approach what is likely to be a difficult conversation.

While you may be feeling hurt and manipulated, you need to focus on the other person’s wellbeing rather than your emotions. It’s important for the addict to know that you love them and you’ll help them if they seek treatment but you won’t tolerate further lies.

It may be tempting to avoid confrontation but this won’t help any of the parties involved.

Contact Pathfinders Recovery Center for Advice

If you’re unsure about how to deal with someone’s lies or you want information about addiction treatment, contact the professionals at Pathfinders Recovery Center. We’ll answer your questions and advise you about how you can support your loved one.

Contact us today to talk to an addictions counselor.

What Happens When You Mix Adderall and Weed

What Happens When You Mix Adderall and Weed

You may know Adderall as a medication that’s used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). While it is used by adults, Adderall is most frequently used to treat ADHD in children. Children usually present the first symptoms of ADHD around the age of seven. What Happens When You Mix Adderall and Weed?

Sometimes the disorder goes away but up to 60 percent of children continue to experience symptoms in adulthood. Therefore, some adults have prescriptions for this drug.

Adderall is also used to help people with narcolepsy to stay awake. However, like many other prescription drugs, it’s also used recreationally by people who don’t have prescriptions.

Often, it’s combined with weed in an attempt to negate some of the negative side effects. Even people who have prescriptions may mix Adderall and weed.

In this article, we’ll look at the effects of mixing these two drugs. If you or someone you love is engaging in this practice, you need to talk to a medical professional.

The Effects of Adderall and Cannabis

The Effects of Adderall and Cannabis

Before we get into what happens when these two substances are combined, we first need to understand the side effects of each drug when taken separately. This sets the stage for understanding how they may interact.

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that’s made up of four amphetamine salts:

  • Dextroamphetamine saccharate
  • Amphetamine aspartate
  • Dextroamphetamine sulfate
  • Amphetamine sulfate

Adderall increases the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. It helps to improve attention, focus, listening skills, and organizational skills while also controlling behavioral challenges.

While this drug is intended to make people with ADHD more focused, some people who don’t have this condition use it for pleasure or to improve their performance. Many of these individuals are college or high school students who want to stay awake for long periods while they cram for exams or work on large projects.

However, professionals who want to improve their job performance and athletes who want to do better on the field may also use it.

Like other stimulants, Adderall can cause cardiovascular and psychological distress. Some of the side effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Depression when coming down
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea

Cannabis

Weed or cannabis is a psychoactive drug that is often smoked or consumed in an edible form. Many people see it as a harmless and even highly therapeutic drug.

However, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content today is a lot higher than it was in the 1970s and this makes it more dangerous than some people realize. THC is the main psychoactive component in cannabis and it creates the high for which cannabis is typically known.

Some individuals who have ADHD use marijuana as a way of self-medicating. There are people who advocate for the use of weed as an ADHD treatment.

They say that it helps individuals to manage severe symptoms like irritability, agitation, and lack of restraint while causing fewer side effects than the usual prescription medicines.

While many people find cannabis beneficial, it can have serious side effects for some individuals. These side effects vary depending on how strong the weed is and how high the individual’s tolerance is.

 

Effects can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations 
  • Brain fog
  • Increased appetite
  • Blood pressure spikes
  • Increased heart rate
  • Laziness and inactivity

Chronic use of marijuana can also lead to long-term issues such as:

  • Problems breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • A decline in IQ if started as a teenager
  • A decline in verbal ability and general knowledge
  • Decreased life satisfaction
  • Problems with fetal development in pregnant women

People often believe that weed can’t be addictive. However, between 9 and 30 percent of people who use marijuana will go on to develop a substance use disorder. Individuals who start using when they’re under the age of 18 are more likely to become addicted

Marijuana can also be harmful for people with mental health conditions. For example, individuals who have schizophrenia are more likely to develop psychosis. Smoking marijuana can also make respiratory conditions worse.

What People Who Combine Adderall and Weed Experience

While Adderall and cannabis have benefits when used separately, mixing them is a cause for concern. It can be difficult to answer the question “what does mixing Adderall with weed feel like?” since marijuana can have such varying effects.

We know that Adderall is a stimulant but marijuana can be a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogen depending on the strain used. Therefore, weed can either enhance the effects of Adderall or balance them out.

Some people who have ADHD say weed reduces the agitation and distress that Adderall often causes.

Meanwhile, some people who use marijuana say Adderall helps to relieve side effects such as fatigue and reduced cognitive function. This may seem like the ideal combination for people who use either drug for therapeutic purposes. However, not everyone will have the same experience.

Dangers of Adderall Abuse

Dangers of Adderall Abuse

The long-term abuse of Adderall can lead to irregular heart rhythms, increased blood pressure, and even addiction. People are most likely to become addicted to Adderall when they take more than the prescribed dose, take doses more frequently than prescribed or use the drug for longer than prescribed

Adderall can become more addictive when taken with other substances and people who struggle with substance abuse disorders are among those at the highest risk.

Students, people with stressful jobs, athletes, and individuals who struggle with bulimia or anorexia are also more likely to become addicted to Adderall. Even after individuals quit using Adderall, they may continue to face irreversible health issues.

Dangers of Combining Both Drugs

Depression is one of the possible outcomes when people use both Adderall and weed. Long-term Adderall use can make it difficult for the brain to release dopamine and serotonin on its own. The brain comes to rely on Adderall to produce these chemicals.

As a result, the user may experience depression and anhedonia, which is an inability to feel pleasure without using drugs. Heavy marijuana use can also cause the brain to release less dopamine so combining Adderall and weed over a long period can lead to depression.

Another danger of combining Adderall and weed is that the risk of abuse increases. Some people experience an even more desirable high when they take both drugs. This euphoria can drive them to use these substances again. This can lead to addiction.

People who abuse Adderall and weed regularly may need to undergo a medical detox process to get the drugs out of their bodies. Taking combinations of drugs that haven’t been prescribed is often dangerous. If you’re mixing substances and you’re finding it hard to stop, seek professional help.

How Long Do Weed and Adderall Stay in the Body?

Adderall has a half-life of about ten hours. This means it takes about ten hours  for half the dosage to leave the body. Generally, it’ll take around two days for the drug to leave your system.

Meanwhile, the effects of marijuana peak around ten minutes after use and last for one to three hours in most cases.

However, the effects can last for up to eight or ten hours. A lot depends on:

  • The individual’s tolerance
  • The individual’s body weight and metabolism
  • How much weed they took
  • How much THC the weed contained
  • Whether they ate beforehand 

Can You Overdose on Adderall?

The simple answer is yes. While people often associate overdoses with opioids and other depressants, stimulant overdoses can and do occur. They are different in that they result from an overstimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system.

Therefore, symptoms of an Adderall overdose include:

  • Heart attack
  • Aggression
  • Panic
  • Hallucinations
  • Tremors
  • Fever 

It takes a lot of Adderall to cause a fatal overdose. A lethal dose is somewhere between 20 and 25 milligrams per kilogram of body weight and it’s not likely that a person would take that much.

However, using weed can mitigate some of the side effects of Adderall. This may lead the person to use even more Adderall, thereby increasing the risk of a dangerous overdose. If you think you or someone else is experiencing an

Adderall overdose, call the emergency services and let them assess the situation. 

How to Tell If You’re Addicted to Adderall or Weed

Addiction is complicated and people who struggle with their drug use often aren’t sure about if they’re addicted or not. Given that it’s relatively easy to legally source both weed and Adderall, the lines may be even more blurred.

However, it’s important to note that any substance can be abused and even if you have a prescription for Adderall, you may be misusing the drug. If you’re worried about your drug use or your loved ones have raised concerns, you should talk to an addictions professional. 

Signs of drug addiction include:

  • Difficulty stopping or reducing your drug use
  • Needing more and more of a drug to get the effects you once did
  • Experiencing strong cravings for the substance
  • Thinking about ways to acquire more of the drug
  • Prioritizing the substance over hobbies and other things you enjoyed
  • Developing increased tolerance
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug
  • Repeatedly using the substance in dangerous situations
  • Continuing to use the substance even though it is negatively affecting your health
  • Continuing to use the substance even though it is negatively affecting people you love
  • Neglecting your responsibilities in favor of drug use

How Treatment Can Help

How Treatment Can Help

Misusing Adderall and weed is considered polydrug abuse. If you’re abusing two or more substances, treatment will need to address all of them along with any co-occurring disorders like anxiety or depression.

Any kind of substance abuse can have life-altering effects and your health can suffer in both the long and the short term. While mixing Adderall and weed may not be as dangerous and combining Adderall and alcohol, it is still unsafe.

The sooner you seek help, the better it will be for you. You may be able to reverse some of the damage caused by your drug use and prevent additional problems from occurring in the future.

By enrolling in a recovery program, you can detox from the substances in your body and learn how you can achieve long-term sobriety. It is highly recommended that you undergo medical detox.

You’ll have 24/7 medical supervision and you’ll be provided with medications to help you manage nausea, vomiting, and depression that may accompany withdrawal.

Making it through the detoxification process is the start of recovery. Getting the drugs out of your body is essential but you also need to take care of your mental and emotional needs.

It’s important that you identify what caused you to abuse drugs in the first place and then learn how to handle those triggers.

Treatments vary from one facility to another but people struggling with substance abuse problems typically benefit from one or more of the following interventions:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Stress management
  • Relapse prevention planning

Get Addiction Treatment from Pathfinders Recovery Center

Now that you’re aware of the dangers of mixing Adderall and weed, you may think that you have a drug problem. Given the long and short-term dangers of substance abuse, you need to make it a priority to find a reputable rehab facility. At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we provide individuals with the tools they need to live a life free of addiction. We don’t only focus on detox. We offer a variety of customized evidence-based treatments that cater to the mind, body, and spirit. If you’re ready to start your recovery journey, call us to discuss the available treatment options. We offer fast insurance verification.

 

Binge Drinking by College Students: The Risks

A young man drinking a large mug of beer, looking sad, to illustrate the dangers of binge drinking by college students

Unfortunately, binge drinking by college students is relatively common, and comes with a host of worrying side effects for mental health.

According to the National Institutes of Health, a 2018 study found that 37% of college students had engaged in binge drinking within the previous month.

The National Institutes of Health also reports that binge drinking among college students is linked to suicide attempts.

A study in the Journal of American College Health found that students who engaged in heavy drinking were more likely to experience poor mental health.

Given the high prevalence of binge drinking among college students, some students may require rehab in order to stop drinking and avoid the poor mental health and suicide risk that can come with heavy alcohol use.

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Consequences of Binge Drinking Among College Students

Beyond the risk of suicide and mental health problems, heavy, frequent drinking among college students can have a variety of negative consequences, including increased chances of missing classes or earning low scores on tests or assignments.

Heavy binge drinking among college students is also associated with assault, sexual violence, and deaths from accidents and injuries.

Unfortunately, the research shows that every year, about 1,500 college students are involved in fatal accidents involving alcohol, including motor vehicle crashes.

Other consequences of binge drinking among college students include health problems, risky sexual behavior, and involvement with police.

Heavy alcohol use may be common and socially promoted on college campuses, but the reality is that it can have devastating effects.

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Binge Drinking Among College Students Can Lead to Addiction

As previously stated, over one-third of college students engage in binge drinking within a given month, placing them at risk of developing an alcohol abuse disorder.

As the National Institutes of Health explains, binge drinking occurs when a college male consumes five or more drinks within a two-hour period, or when a female consumes four or more drinks within the same time period.
Unfortunately, college students may not realize they are drinking in this way, because large portions of beer or mixed drinks consumed during college parties could actually exceed what is considered a single drink. This makes it easy for college students to lose track of the number of drinks consumed, resulting in high rates of binge drinking among college students.

What is even riskier is the fact that some college students drink twice the amount that is considered binge drinking, a pattern that experts call “high intensity drinking.” Over time, this can lead to an alcohol addiction or an alcohol use disorder. According to the latest research, nearly 10% of college students meet the diagnostic criteria for an alcohol use disorder within a given year.

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Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder

Signs of an alcohol use disorder include being unable to cut back on drinking, giving up other activities in favor of alcohol use, or drinking larger quantities than intended. Other signs of an alcohol use disorder can include drinking in situations in which it is dangerous, continuing to drink despite relationship problems, and drinking to the extent that it is difficult to fulfill duties at work or school.

A college student who is struggling with an alcohol addiction may ruin friendships because of alcohol abuse, involve themselves in dangerous situations, such as drunk driving, and begin to fail classes because drinking interferes with studying and completing schoolwork.

Treatment for Binge Drinking Among College Students

If you are a college student who has become involved in drinking to excess on a regular basis, you may benefit from alcohol rehab. Excessive bouts of focused drinking among college students can lead to an alcohol use disorder, which is a brain disorder that negatively affects numerous areas of life.

Fortunately, treatment can help you to identify your triggers for alcohol abuse and develop strategies for living a life that is free from the grips of alcohol addiction. Experts recommend behavioral interventions and cognitive-behavioral treatments to address binge drinking among college students.
When you seek rehab for alcohol abuse, an addiction professional may provide a specific type of counseling called cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help you to think differently about alcohol and cope with situations that may trigger you to abuse alcohol in the future.

 

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Treatment for Mental Illness and Binge Drinking Among College Students

Excessive drinking among college students is linked to poor mental health, and it can even increase the risk of suicide. One study, published in Issues in Mental Health Nursing, found that college students who were heavy drinkers scored significantly higher on a depression scale when compared to those who did not have drinking problems.
Alcohol abuse can worsen mental health among college students, leading to depression and even suicidal thoughts. Many college students who seek treatment for alcohol abuse may also be in need of mental health care to address mental health conditions like depression.
To ensure the best treatment outcomes, college students with both an alcohol addiction and depression should seek treatment at a dual diagnosis center, which can address both conditions. For example, if you get treatment for alcohol abuse but ignore the underlying depression, you may return to drinking in order to help you cope with mental health symptoms.

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Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Colorado and Arizona

If you are struggling with binge drinking and are in need of rehab, Pathfinders Recovery Center has facilities in both Colorado and Arizona, and we are happy to provide services to those in surrounding states.
We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so we can help with both alcohol addiction and mental health concerns. Our leadership team has over 25 years of experience in the addiction field, and we are proud to offer premier dual diagnosis rehab services.
We also have a range of treatment levels, including inpatient, partial hospitalization, detox, and outpatient services.

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Paying for Dual Diagnosis Treatment

As a college student, you may worry about covering the costs of treatment for alcohol abuse and mental health concerns.

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we take some of the stress out of the process for you by offering a free insurance verification program.

Simply visit our website and provide us with your insurance information, and a member of our team will tell you what you can expect to pay for treatment.

If you are without insurance coverage, we will work with you to create a cash payment plan.

Call us today to discuss your options and begin your treatment journey, so you can move forward from the consequences of binge drinking among college students.

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.

What is a Functioning Alcoholic?

What is a Functioning Alcoholic

Functioning Alcoholics

Across the country, nearly 18 million adults have an alcohol use disorder. With such a high number, it would be impossible for each of these disorders to look the same. Before we talk about the different types of alcoholism and signs of functioning alcoholism, let’s go over what it means to be a functioning alcoholic. 

Unlike the defeated scenes we see on TV, many alcoholics in real life aren’t living at rock bottom. They are getting up and going to work each day, often in high-paying careers. They have meaningful relationships and are generally well-educated. 

Functioning alcoholics can appear, on the surface, to have their lives in order. Many maintain a relatively normal life, including a full social circle, home life, and career. You may not ever know that functioning alcoholics were averaging five drinks or more just about every other day

While people in this category may function better than others, that does not mean that this is a sustainable way to live. Alcoholism is a severe, chronic disease. The disease and its side effects only get worse over time. 

Other Types of Alcoholism

Other Types of Alcoholism

We talk a lot about functioning alcoholics, but did you know that this is only one type of five? The other four are young adult, young antisocial, intermediate familial, and chronic severe alcoholics. You may notice that two out of five of these categories mention a specific age group. 

That is because young adults account for over half of the total number of alcoholics in the country. In the past, alcoholics were generally imagined to be middle-aged, divorced, and otherwise down on their luck. 

But this is not always the case. In fact, it is not even the case half of the time. In the same way that every person is unique, every addiction is, too. It is time for us all to learn more about alcoholism so that we can be better prepared to overcome it, no matter how it looks for you. 

Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic

As we mentioned above, functioning alcoholics average five drinks in a day about every other day. They are generally working, older adults with stable social and familial relationships, more education, and higher incomes. 

Additionally, they will carry out daily tasks of living with minimal disruptions. Work, hygiene, childcare, bill paying, and social activities can be completed without exhibiting the impairments that are normally associated with an alcohol use disorder. 

But the compulsive drinking of a functioning alcoholic can make it harder to tell when you’ve crossed a line. If your drinking tolerance has increased, you have started to hide your drinking from others, or you become defensive when your drinking is questioned, these are all signs of a functioning alcoholic. 

Additional Functioning Alcoholic Symptoms

An increased tolerance to alcohol, the compulsion to hide your drinking, and becoming emotional when asked about your drinking habits are three signs of trouble. Other behaviors that you or someone you love has high-functioning alcoholism include: 

  • Regularly experiencing blackouts after drinking. 
  • Going to work in the morning still drunk or hungover. 
  • Sneaking drinks before or after a social event or at an event that doesn’t involve alcohol.
  • Getting drunk alone at home or hiding alcohol from your loved ones in the house.
  • Drinking even after you have developed mental or physical health problems. 
  • Denying that you have a problem because you still go to work and or perform other important tasks. 
  • Drinking at work or in settings that could be dangerous, including while or before you are driving. 
  • Drinking excessively to cope with stress
  • Getting overwhelming alcohol cravings when you are not drinking. 
  • Lying about the extent of your drinking to yourself or those who care about you. 
  • Comparing yourself to others who have experienced more severe alcohol-related problems. 

Are You a High Functioning Alcoholic?

As you can see, there are many signs that you may be a functioning alcoholic. You may experience a few of these events or circumstances or many of them. No two functioning alcoholics will have exactly the same experience. 

But chances are good that if you see yourself in this list, it is time to seek help. Our expert medical staff can help evaluate your concerns and look objectively at your drinking habits. They will help you determine which of your behaviors are problematic and how to fix them from there. 

You do not have to face high functioning alcoholism alone. And the ability to carry out daily responsibilities does not mean that you will be safe from more serious side effects down the line. Over time, alcoholism impairs your mental and physical health. 

Living with alcoholism long-term will not do. The sooner you decide to change your life, the sooner your life can begin to change. 

How to Help a Functioning Alcoholic in Denial

If your spouse, parent, child, or sibling is exhibiting concerning drinking behaviors, you would not be the first person to wonder how to live with a high functioning alcoholic. Many people who battle alcoholism will hide their drinking and become defensive or angry when questioned. 

These are two signs of an alcoholic in denial. It is not always easy to approach someone who is battling addiction. But early interference and treatment can save someone from years of struggles. 

It can help prevent further mental or physical health complications and ensure that your loved one can live a happy, healthy, sober life. For a mild alcohol use disorder, treatment is minimally disruptive. 

They can attend outpatient treatments, including behavioral therapy sessions, stress management training, and support groups. This type of program is ideal for those who have work and family obligations to attend to at home. 

Before considering a professional intervention, consider having an open, honest conversation with them about their drinking habits. Calmly and supportively encourage them to speak to a professional about these habits. 

It can be a counselor at our facility or their regular doctor. Getting them talking is a great first step. Talk to them about what you have learned here. And know that denial is normal at first. 

Seeking Help for Yourself

If you are seeking help for yourself instead of a loved one, the suggestions listed above also apply. Outpatient care is ideal for those with milder addictions, full-time jobs, or family obligations that make it difficult to commit to a full-time program. 

Because you have already demonstrated that you can maintain a relatively normal life and schedule as a high functioning alcoholic, full-time care isn’t typically necessary. But it is available if you need it. 

Functioning Alcoholic Treatments

Functioning Alcoholic Treatments

Behavioral therapy and medication are two of the most common treatment methods for functioning alcoholics. The medication will help ease withdrawal symptoms, including alcohol cravings, to help set you up for success. 

And behavioral therapy will help you understand and overcome the stressors, situations, and feelings that lead you to drink in the first place. 

Choosing Pathfinders Recovery Center

If you or someone you love is battling high functioning alcoholism, help is available. Through various personalized addiction programs and treatments, we provide everything you need to build a better life. 

Call our addiction counselors today at 866-576-4892 to get started. Today is a good day for a fresh start.

What is the Importance of Mental Health?

How to Improve Mental Health

If you want to know how to improve mental health, the key may be halting your substance use.

In any given month, over 165 million Americans use an addictive substance.

That is more than half of the teen and adult population.

And whether or not you realize it, your drug or alcohol use may be damaging your mental health.

In fact, substance problems are a major source of mental health issues.

And without a sound mental state, it is impossible to maximize your sense of well-being.

No one should be left to deal with these kinds of issues on their own.

If you feel that your substance use is impacting your mental health, seek help as soon as possible.

This is by far the best way to avoid further problems and return to a healthier, happier way of living.

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How to Improve Mental Health: Addiction as a Mental Illness

When thinking about how to improve mental health, it is important to keep something in mind.

Today, experts classify substance addiction itself as a form of mental illness. The term for this illness is a substance use disorder, or SUD.

You also qualify for a diagnosis of the same illness if you suffer from major, non-addicted substance abuse. Tens of millions of Americans have a substance use disorder.

The SUD category is an umbrella for multiple types of mental illness. Each of these illnesses is named for a class of addictive substances.

Examples of these names include:

  • Alcohol use disorder, or AUD
  • Stimulant use disorder
  • Opioid use disorder, or OUD
  • Cannabis use disorder
  • Sedative, hypnotic or anxiolytic use disorder

Why are these conditions considered to be forms of mental illness? Because they significantly alter your state of mind and reduce your ability to function. They also change the way your brain works, and may physically damage your brain. In addition, SUDs alter your behavior and cause you to do harmful things you would not normally do.

A doctor can check if you have the symptoms of a substance use disorder. There are 11 different possible problems in affected people, including:

  • Losing control of how much or how often you use drugs or drink
  • Making substance use and related behaviors the focus of your daily routine
  • Growing less and less sensitive to the effects of drugs or alcohol
  • Having a habit of using addictive substances in risky or dangerous situations
  • Not being able to quit drug use or drinking, even with repeated efforts
  • Failing to meet your responsibilities because of your level of substance use
  • Substituting drinking or drug use for other activities you once loved to do
  • Experiencing social or relationship issues as a direct result of your substance use
  • Feeling powerful urges to drink or take drugs throughout your day
  • Developing symptoms of substance withdrawal if you quit or cut your consumption

Some of these problems are strictly related to addiction. Others reflect the presence of non-addicted abuse. From a mental health standpoint, addiction and major, non-addicted substance abuse are equally serious. What is more, they often occur simultaneously.

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How to Improve Mental Health: Dual Diagnosis

Unfortunately, some people with SUDs also have other mental health issues to deal with. This is not a rare problem. In fact, for every two people with a SUD, roughly one will be affected by an additional mental illness. The same statistic holds true in reverse. In other words, roughly one out of every two people with a mental illness also has a SUD.

What kinds of mental illnesses are most likely in people with drug- or alcohol-related SUD? The list of these conditions includes anxiety-based disorders such as:

  • Panic disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD

Other commonly found illnesses include:

  • Depressive illnesses like major depression
  • Bipolar illnesses like bipolar I disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia and related conditions
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD

The current standard term for co-occurring SUDs and additional mental illness is dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis is a serious concern because it often has a double negative impact on your well-being. This is why it is so vital to understand the importance of mental health.

When it is present, it can make both your SUD and additional mental illness symptoms worse than normal. This double whammy on your mental health poses significant treatment challenges. For this reason, the question of how to improve mental health in people with dual diagnoses is vital.

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How to Improve Mental Health: Treatment for SUDs

If you have a SUD, professional treatment should be a top priority. There is a range of treatment environments available, including:

  • Medically supervised detox, or detoxification
  • Inpatient programs
  • Partial hospitalization programs
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Standard outpatient programs

Your doctor can help you find the right option for your particular SUD symptoms. Once you are enrolled in the right kind of program, you will receive help tailored to your needs and understand the importance of mental health. This help may include:

  • General supportive care
  • Medication
  • Behavioral therapy or counseling

While in treatment, you will benefit from the experience of addiction specialists. You will also learn how to improve mental health through your own efforts. As a rule, you should pursue some kind of follow-up treatment once your primary rehab program is over. You can also further your recovery by joining a mutual self-help group.

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How to Improve Mental Health: Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

It takes a special effort to improve mental health if you have a dual diagnosis. Why? Not only must you get help for your SUD symptoms. You must also get help for your particular form of additional mental illness. This two-part treatment is essential. Without it, your mental health will likely continue to suffer.

Mental health and addiction facilities may use medication for two aspects of your dual diagnosis treatment. First, you may receive a medication targeted at your SUD symptoms. In addition, you may receive something targeted at your other mental illness symptoms.

Other forms of treatment are also used in dual diagnosis programs. For example, you will almost certainly be treated with behavioral therapy or counseling. There are specialized therapy options available for people with dual diagnoses. One such option is called Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT. You may also receive a more widespread use SUD therapy such as:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy
  • 12-Step Facilitation Therapy
  • Family Behavior Therapy
  • Contingency Management Intervention

What Exactly is the Importance of Mental Health? - Pathfinders - A group in a dual diagnosis facility is discussing what a dual diagnosis is, and the importance of mental health and how it can drastically impact your recovery process if not treated appropriately.

Get More Information on How to Improve Your Mental Health

More than 20 million Americans suffer from mental illnesses called substance use disorders. And many of those affected must also cope with additional, serious mental health issues. If you feel you may have a SUD or dual diagnosis, professional treatment is a must. Otherwise, you may find yourself caught in a worsening spiral of mental and physical despair.

Most people with SUDs do not seek help. It is crucial that you do what you can to escape the ranks of the untreated. Every day, mental health and addiction facilities support recovery from SUDs and dual diagnoses. Some of the very best facilities provide all of the services you need in a single location.

Need more information on how to improve your mental health and protect your well-being? After all, the importance of mental health is crucial during and after recovery. If your concerns are substance-related, just called the specialists at Pathfinders. Our deep expertise gives us the ability to answer any question you may have. Pathfinders is also a top destination for the treatment of SUDs and dual diagnosis. We offer programs suited to anyone affected by these pressing mental health issues and the importance of mental health overall.

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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.