Men’s Only Rehab

Mens Only Rehab

Alcohol And Drug Rehab Basics

For persons struggling with alcohol or substance abuse and dependency, a rehab facility can be essential in their journey to sobriety and recovery. Rehabilitation facilities can be thought of as safe spaces with trained medical and psychological staff that offer services to persons trying to overcome addiction. At Pathfinders Recovery in Arizona, we offer a men’s only rehab that allows men to focus on their recovery in an environment specifically designed for success.

These services are all focused on navigating the process of withdrawal from the substance in as safe a way and environment as possible and treating the psychological conditions that may have led to the addiction in the first place.

Substance Use and Abuse Statistics Among Men

Substance abuse affects all genders, but there are genuine distinctions regarding the divide. According to the NIDA, Men and boys over the age of 12 are 11.5% more likely to fall prey to substance abuse than women and girls over the age of 12, who experience this issue at a rate of 6.4%.

When it comes to Alcohol Use Disorder, it is estimated that up to 20% of men struggle with it, versus around 7-12% of women. What does this tell us? There is a not insignificant divide between how “at-risk” men are to substance abuse compared to women. This is not said to diminish the suffering of women or to remove attention from that issue but rather to highlight those men are empirically more at-risk in certain regards, and the problem must be tackled at the root cause.

What are the Risk Factors for Addiction for Men?

Many factors can result in substance use and abuse. There is a misconception that falling prey to substance abuse is a moral failing or a character flaw. It is not. Some of the more common factors that put one at risk of falling into a substance abuse habit are:

Genetics

The literal DNA that makes up your body. Suppose you have a history of substance abuse in your family. In that case, there is a statistically higher probability that you may fall into a habit of substance abuse to some degree or another.

Environment

The surroundings you live within, what you are exposed to, the trauma inflicted upon you in adolescence or at any time really, the coercive influence that may or may not exist upon you. These things make up your environmental experience and can put you at risk for addiction.

Dual Diagnoses

Certain psychological conditions lead to substance abuse as the patient tries to “self-medicate.” Conditions like depression and anxiety are good examples of this particular phenomenon. Dual Diagnosis can also apply to neurodivergent persons. Persons with innate dopamine deficiencies and deficits caused by ADHD are at risk for substance abuse.

Why Choose an All-Male Rehab Center?

Why Choose an All-Male Rehab Center

All-male rehab centers are simply what they sound like – drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities that cater exclusively to helping men. You might be asking yourself, “Why choose a men’s-only rehab?” We are going to examine some of the benefits of single-gender rehab settings.

  • There is an inherent expectation for men to be “tough” or “resilient” in everyday life. This is rooted in toxic masculinity and is one of the core reasons men are more at risk for certain types of addiction than women. Difficulty in being vulnerable and expressing emotions are two of the core things that make addiction rampant among men. Men-only rehab facilities foster an environment that allows men to be vulnerable and, thus, work through their trauma.
  • Staff at these facilities are specifically trained to manage how men experience addiction and, therefore, rehabilitation. Because men tend to be more goal-oriented and motivated, treatment plans and communication may be tuned more in line to take advantage of this inherent quality to help ensure the success of the treatment.
  • Because the way men specifically experience the world and society is a huge factor involved in their psychological trauma, the methods and practices utilized when delivering therapy would be specifically aware of how difficult emotional vulnerability is for men. Therapists may conduct sessions while walking, for instance, to both burn calories and allow the client to avoid eye contact while expressing emotions and dealing with painful trauma, a thing that, for many men, the world has not prepared them to be able to do.
  • Without the presence of women, you erase the potential of romantic distraction (for heterosexual males seeking treatment in the facility). Aside from this, the company of women may prevent men from being genuinely vulnerable, a critical component for treatment. Reframing emotional vulnerability and therapy as an act of strength and not a sign of weakness can be more difficult if women are around. This might make it more inherently tricky for some men to put down their guard.
  • All-male rehab centers tend to focus on a results-oriented approach. These facilities can help a man open up about himself and become comfortable with others of their gender. It allows them to head in a unique and necessary way that other approaches cannot manage.

These are just a tiny sample of the techniques and considerations that are a part of men-only rehab facilities that specifically cater to treating men going through addiction. The male experience of the world is inherently unique and requires targeted treatment that keeps that unique experience in mind.

What are the Types of Programs Offered at Men’s Rehabs?

At Pathfinders in Scottsdale, our men’s rehab facilities offers a range of services; Addiction is not a one-size-fits-all ailment, so the treatment would not be either. We will detail the various options, but here are some factors to consider. Firstly, there are evidence-based/medical-focused treatments AND what could be holistic treatments. Secondly, treatments or sessions may be individual OR group-based.

Thirdly, as we said earlier, each person and their needs are unique. Finally, treatment can be inpatient for persons who need the round-the-clock observation and support, especially in the early stages of withdrawal, and outpatient, where people don’t stay at the facility but come in regularly for the sessions. Because of this, treatment almost always involves some combination of all of these things.

Evidence-Based Treatments

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

How clients develop and allow negative thinking and poor self-image to dictate their actions inevitably, cognitive-behavioral therapy moves away from harmful thinking toward positive thinking. By doing this, clients typically feel empowered to make more healthy decisions moving forward in their life.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

This is very similar to CBT. These techniques examine how a client’s actions can be changed for the better through talk therapy.

Experimental Therapy

Talk therapy is sometimes not enough to address the needs of some clients. Experiential therapy can be helpful in these cases; clients may engage actively outdoors with others, building their team skills, interpersonal dynamics, and problem-solving.

Motivational Interviewing

Clients struggling to overcome indecision and uncertainty can sometimes be helped by these methods. It can significantly aid in being motivated to take action by establishing and accomplishing positive goals.

Trauma Therapy

Psychological trauma is one of the significant contributors to men using and abusing substances to escape mental and emotional pain. A key component of proper recovery is learning healthy ways to process and identify the trauma’s effects on their lives. By working with compassionate counselors and therapists, clients can learn to identify triggers and deploy healthy coping mechanisms.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is the basis of nearly all talk therapy. With this method, clients work one-on-one with a counselor or therapist to discover the underlying issues that have impacted the client and led to their fall into abuse and addiction, to begin with. Substance use disorder is often a symptom of deeper psychological issues that have yet to be addressed. These issues are consciously or unconsciously being ignored or self-medicated in an attempt to deal with them and cope. In a comfortable and safe setting, clients can develop a personal relationship with their therapist and work through the issues to overcome substance abuse and improve their overall mental health.

Holistic Treatments

Yoga Therapy

As a practice, yoga offers many unique therapeutic advantages. The techniques help clients engage in the yoga therapy that teaches them how to control their bodies and be capable of expelling stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions when they are confronted by them.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Meditation focuses the client’s attention on being as present as possible at the moment. By enhancing one’s awareness of themselves as an intimate part of the world around them, clients can better understand their motivations and actions and those of others. As a practice, meditation teaches clients to limit dwelling negatively on the past or becoming too obsessed with the future.

Art and Music Therapy

Art and music therapy allows clients to explore their creativity and experience the healing aspects of these practices. Metaphor is a highly effective tool for working through issues. Journaling is a well-noted practice with many benefits. Learning new hobbies and skills is inherently fulfilling for humans. Simply consuming and appreciating works of art can allow clients to develop positive psychological perspectives of themselves and their issues.

Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy

Touch therapy can be beneficial in managing overall health and wellness. As the body’s soft tissue is manipulated, many clients find that there is a release of tensions in their body and that this goes quite a long way towards aiding in reducing stress and anxiety. Thus, they are in a better position to explore and progress through the work of treatment.

Privacy And Confidentiality at Men’s Treatment Programs

For anyone struggling with substance abuse, one of the worst aspects is the shame, stigma, and judgment attached to both being an addict and, paradoxically, seeking treatment. Patients may be concerned about whether or not the fact that they are being treated would be in danger of being publicly disclosed.

Fortunately, HIPAA laws exist and are enforced to protect citizens’ information. Rehab centers must comply strictly with this standard. All staff at men-only rehabs must follow the same rules and regulations as any family doctor. No one on the team is allowed to share information about your case unless your express consent is given or unless the situation necessitates the release of information, such as in a medical emergency where providers need certain information to treat you.

Does Insurance Cover Men’s-Only Rehab Treatment?

Rehabilitation can be an expensive process. If the client needs complete inpatient care, the out-of-pocket costs can skyrocket even higher. However, many clinics accept insurance to completely or significantly cover treatment costs. Medicaid and Medicare are two national options that many facilities do accept. Keep in mind, though, that this is a thing that differs from center to center, and it is essential to check with the individual facility to ensure that the insurance you (or a loved one) are interested in using is accepted.

Searching for ‘Men-Only Addiction Treatment Near Me’

The internet has changed how people discover resources. One of the top Google searches around the particular topic of getting help for substance addiction is “finding men-only treatment near me in Arizona.” This tells us that many people are trying to find help AND that the internet is an incredible tool for delivering that information. A quick search will give you many options to explore for treatment. It is a matter of finding facilities with high success rates where their reputation precedes them, such as the programs for men at our facility in Arizona.

Find Lasting Addiction Recovery for Men at Pathfinder’s Arizona

At Pathfinders Recovery Center in Scottsdale, AZ, we have over two decades of experience treating and rehabilitating persons struggling with substance abuse and addiction. Our expert medical team works with you to help you navigate the entire process of detoxing through to healing from the psychological trauma that led to the addiction in the first place.

A truly sober, happy, and fulfilling life is the ultimate goal for every client that comes to us for help, and our results speak for themselves. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse issues, please know that there is hope. Contact us today for more information or a consultation.

Chronic Relapse Treatment Center

What is Chronic Relapse

The Cycle of Addiction and Relapse

For many individuals who suffer from substance abuse disorder, the rehabs they enter can end up becoming revolving doors. The constant cycle of recovery and relapse cycles over and over in a seemingly never-ending battle for sobriety.

What makes the situation more frustrating is the inability to pin down why the relapse keeps happening. The motivation to recover is present, and the effort is put in each time – it’s difficult to remain in recovery after a few weeks or months after graduation.

This would just be attributed to a lack of discipline or motivation in the past. However, many experts believe it points to an underlying mental health condition or a specific set of symptoms that manifest this behavior.

It’s known as chronic relapse, and it’s actually a very common occurrence in many present-day rehab participants.

What Is Chronic Relapse?

In order to understand chronic relapse, first, consider temporary relapse. Temporary relapse occurs when addicts experience a setback related to their recovery process — losing housing, getting fired from a job, or having an argument with loved ones.

After experiencing a period of stress or difficulty, most people bounce back into their normal routines of substance abuse. They temporarily lose their motivation to stay clean or quit drinking.

However, if the crisis persists, then it becomes a chronic relapse. A person suffering from chronic relapse experiences regular periods of craving, increased tolerance, negative mood swings, compulsive behavior, poor performance at school or work, and/or legal troubles.

Short Term Addiction Treatment and Relapse

Those who successfully complete detoxification and enter residential rehab programs tend to remain sober longer than others. On average, recovering heroin users spend less than six months living in halfway houses before returning home.

Yet many individuals who suffer from chronic relapse will fall off the wagon just a short time after returning home. This could be because the initial time in inpatient treatment wasn’t enough for them.

Once patients leave rehabilitation, they must rely solely upon themselves to deal with triggers and temptations. If adequate education and treatment wasn’t received during their stay in rehab, they’re left unprepared for entering the real world again. If left untreated, chronic relapse can lead to further deterioration.

What is the difference between a chronic relapse treatment center and a traditional rehab facility?

What Is a Chronic Relapse Treatment Center?

 

For individuals who frequently suffer from challenges associated with relapse, regular rehabilitation facilities that offer the typical 30-day program clearly aren’t enough. The resources available at a normal treatment center and a facility that specializes in this issue can be more accommodating.

By definition, a chronic relapse treatment center is a facility that provides care 24 hours a day in a non-hospital environment. The planned length of stay in these facilities is typically anywhere from six to 12 months.

Chronic relapse treatment centers normally include the following elements as part of their treatment plans:

  • Helping clients stay active and healthy through participation in exercise or sports
  • Preparing balanced, healthy diets high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and minimally processed foods
  • Various stress management techniques like yoga or mediation
  • They offer substance abuse and mental health resources to break the constant cycle of relapse

Personalized Treatment to Combat Chronic Relapse

What Is a Chronic Relapse Treatment Center

There is also a distinct outline for treatment offered to clients in chronic relapse treatment centers. Personalized treatment plans contain elements of each of the following:

  • Evidence-based treatment that’s proven to work long-term in an inpatient setting
  • Various options for customized care plans that include dual-diagnosis treatment
  • Continued support and sober living home options for structured rehab during aftercare
  • Continued resources for group recovery meetings during post-care treatment

Facilities that specialize in chronic relapse often include a softer, more accommodating touch that provides more of a home-like environment. Many people consider these facilities as “upscale” or “extravagant.” However, there is just more attention put into the need for the client’s appropriate environment.

Different people require different elements and environments to promote long-term sobriety. Research has shown that individuals who suffer from chronic relapse often require a more intimate, personal environment.

In order to identify the presence of chronic relapse, you must understand the signs and symptoms of this condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Relapse

There are specific signs and symptoms that identify the presence of chronic relapse. These symptoms include the following:

  • They are glamorizing the use of their drug of choice. This may include the individual sharing fond memories of past substance abuse.
  • The individual believes they can use again without any negative consequences
  • They may become increasingly isolated
  • They may stop participating in their 12-step recovery meetings
  • They stop pursuing interests that were a part of their recovery plan
  • They may begin to doubt how effective their initial treatment plan is/was

Identifying these signs could make it possible to prevent relapse before it happens. Do you know the differences between emotional, mental, and physical relapses?

Emotional, Mental, and Physical Relapse

Emotional, Mental, and Physical Relapse

To understand chronic relapse, you must understand how normal relapse takes place. It doesn’t happen overnight – in fact; it happens in three distinct phases.

Emotional Stage

The emotional stage includes the individual experiencing anger, stress, sadness, depression, or any wide range of intense feelings. Initially, the user may not think about using. However, when these feelings aren’t dealt with and processed in a healthy manner, individuals will progress to the next stage.

Mental/Craving Stage

This is the mental warning sign of an impending relapse. Users may find it difficult to stop thinking about using at this point and continuously play the process of using it repeatedly in their minds.

Physical/Engagement Stage

At this point, the user physically engages and enters relapse. The user put themselves at high risk of addiction once again by continuing to relapse. The urge to use again will be quite intense with each subsequent relapse, and it’s easy to fall back into habitual use.

Now, what about the stages of chronic relapse?

What Are the Stages of Chronic Relapse?

The stages of chronic relapse aren’t dissimilar to normal relapse. However, they take place over an extended period and include several more mental steps and contemplation. Below is an example of the stages of chronic relapse.

Precontemplation

During this stage, individuals aren’t necessarily contemplating using drugs or drinking alcohol. However, thoughts of past use may circle around in their heads. They may dream about using drugs or give too much thought to reliving their past or remembering what drug use felt like.

Contemplation

During this stage, individuals are actively contemplating using drugs. They may go back and forth in their head, arguing with themselves or trying to rationalize why it would be okay to use drugs at this point.

Rationalization

After making the decision to move forward with using, individuals will attempt to rationalize their decision to themselves. They’ll use excuses like, “well, I’ve been sober for a while, so I won’t become addicted again.” Another famous excuse is, “I’m only going to use this one time, and I won’t get high after this.”

Relapse

During this stage, the user actively engages in relapse. They will obtain their drug of choice and proceed to get high. The results after this stage vary but often include the same sentiment among all users.

Remorse

The remorse stage includes the individual expressing guilt about using. This will include a period of depression and withdrawal from society, family, and friends. It’s often these feelings of guilt and negative emotions that trigger subsequent use. Individuals are unable to properly handle or process these emotions, so they turn to further drug use to avoid dealing with them.

After this stage, uses go one of two ways. They either choose to seek help immediately or fall back into regular use.

Regardless, once the user comes back to terms with the fact that they need more help, they enter the acceptance phase and must go through the detox, withdrawal, and treatment process all over again.

Individuals who suffer from chronic relapse end up wasting large chunks of their lives on this condition. Each time they cycle through relapse, treatment, recovery, and back into relapse, you’re looking at anywhere from six to nine months of hard work and progress erased each time.

Why Do People Relapse Frequently?

Most people think relapse involves going right back to exactly the same way of thinking, and doing that got them hooked in the first place. But research tells us otherwise.

Even though a person may engage in harmful activities, he or she won’t develop true addiction unless certain personality traits come into play. Addiction researchers used to refer to these characteristics as vulnerability factors but now call them risk markers.

Risk markers occur early in development and indicate susceptibility to developing addictive tendencies later in life. People whose genetic makeup includes specific variations in dopamine genes, for instance, are believed to be predisposed to alcoholism and substance abuse issues. Researchers have identified dozens of similar risk markers.

Risk markers vary from individual to individual, but the following are typical warning signs that someone could develop issues with chronic relapse:

  • Lack of strong bonds with parents
  • Unstable childhood
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poorly developed conscience
  • History of trauma or neglect
  • Psychological instability
  • Impulsivity
  • Hanging out with the wrong groups of people
  • Lack of education regarding triggers and relapse, or substance abuse in general.

Some experts suggest that anyone exhibiting four or more of these qualities identify the chance for chronic relapse.

Who Benefits from Chronic Relapse Treatment Plans?

Although chronic relapse can happen to anyone, certain segments of society exist that may have a higher risk of developing this condition. Individuals with any of the following situations benefit the most from relapse treatment plans:

  • Anyone with stressful events going on in their lives (health problems, unemployment, rocky relationships, etc.)
  • Underlying mental health conditions
  • Any victims of childhood sexual, mental, or physical abuse
  • Genetic history of substance abuse or alcoholism
  • A lower amount of dopamine receptors compared to the average number
  • Anyone who displays the traits of having an impulsive or addictive personality
  • You have fewer dopamine receptors compared to the general population

When individuals aren’t educated on any of the issues listed above, their chances of chronic relapse increase significantly. It’s important to seek treatment and craft a chronic relapse prevention plan.

Crafting a Chronic Relapse Prevention Plan

When people relapse chronically, it’s harder to pull themselves out of the cycle of unhealthy choices. Finding effective ways to cope with stressful circumstances helps reduce the likelihood of falling back into old habits. To break a pattern of relapse, clients must implement the following strategies into their relapse prevention plan:

Identify Triggers

Identifying triggers can help pinpoint moments when urges arise. Triggers can range from environmental stimuli to emotional states. Common triggers include boredom, anxiety, depression, loneliness, anger, frustration, and impatience. Learning to manage these triggers effectively can significantly decrease the chances of relapse.

Learn Skills That Promote Mindfulness

Mindfulness refers to the ability to focus attention internally instead of dwelling on external distractions. Practicing meditation and breathing exercises can increase awareness and lower stress levels.

Set Goals

Setting realistic goals that coincide with your values can boost self-confidence and motivate you to stick to your plans. Create actionable steps toward achieving your objectives and write your own success story!

Hold Yourself Accountable

Admit when you made a mistake and act immediately to correct it. Don’t blame others, and don’t dwell on regret. Take accountability for your actions.

Long Term Treatment and Long-Term Recovery

Long-term treatment leads to long-term recovery. Individuals who suffer from chronic relapse commonly need much longer stays at the inpatient facility of their choice.

The more education and counseling a client receives, especially in the right environment, the chances of avoiding relapse during the long-term increase significantly.

Lasting Recovery with a Chronic Relapse Treatment Center

At Pathfinders Recovery Centers, we’ve helped many clients achieve recovery from chronic relapse challenges. Our state-of-the-art facilities are comfortable and conducive to long-term comfort, which clients need for long-term residence for chronic relapse.

To find out about our specialized treatment plans for chronic relapse, contact a member of our admissions team today!

Symptoms of Cocaine Overdose

What is the Symptoms of Cocaine Overdose

Glossing over the Dangers of Cocaine

Even in Hollywood, where the crudest, depraved, and unacceptable activities are glamorized, most hard drugs are presented in a negative light. We’ve seen this time and time again when it comes to heroin in movies like “Requiem for a Dream” and meth using movies like “Spun.”

However, no matter where you look, cocaine always seems to be a glamorized drug. Individuals who have battled cocaine abuse disorder and won would end up telling you different.

This is what makes cocaine such a dangerous drug. Especially in today’s society, where news of opioid and meth overdose deaths are dominating the headlines, cocaine is quietly being overlooked.

If we’re not careful, this lack of awareness can lead a whole generation of young people into the hands of substance abuse disorder. The bottom line is, that there just isn’t enough awareness regarding the dangers of cocaine abuse, specifically when it comes to a cocaine overdose.

Can You Overdose on Cocaine?

Many people are under the impression that you can’t overdose on cocaine. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

As all the attention has been on opioids and, more recently, crystal meth – cocaine is still as deadly as ever. In all reality, cocaine and meth are about neck and neck when it comes to overdose deaths, with both hovering somewhere between the 12,000 and 15,000 deaths-per-year mark since about 2016.

This is far from a glamorous or safe drug, but you won’t hear much about these overdose deaths on the news. When it comes to gross missteps like this in terms of public awareness, it becomes the job of the family member, the friend, or any other type of mentor to instill the facts regarding these dangers to young people.

Would you know what to do if someone was displaying signs of a cocaine overdose? Do you know the signs to watch out for?

What Does a Cocaine Overdose Look Like?

Individuals going through a cocaine overdose are in an extremely dangerous situation, especially considering the potential for heart damage. One of the greatest risks associated with an overdose is the potential to experience a heart attack or other heart-related issues.

During a cocaine overdose, the heart rate and blood pressure spike. If help isn’t sought, these levels are high enough to lead to additional complications. It’s important to be aware of the other signs so you can get help before it’s too late. Cocaine overdose victims will display the following signs:

  • Enlarged pupils
  • Intense sweating
  • Labored breathing
  • High body temperature initially, followed by clammy skin
  • Loss of color
  • Convulsions
  • Twitches or tremors
  • Complaints of chest pain/numbing in one arm
  • Unconsciousness
  • Dry mouth

Getting help in the right amount of time is vital during a potential cocaine overdose. While it’s not known how long it takes for cardiac arrest to begin, in certain situations, the risk may be elevated, depending on prior health conditions and the among ingested.

The Stages of Cocaine Overdose Symptoms

What does a user feel like when they’re going through a cocaine overdose? Not always will the user understand they’re going through an overdose. Many times, they’ll be physically unable to convey how they feel.

The answer to this question also depends on how far long the overdose has progressed. Normally, the process entails the following:

  1. Initial feelings may include an extreme feeling of euphoria or a rush of energy. This happens after an extremely large dose of cocaine.
  2. Users may find it difficult to breathe and experience intense sweating. The pulse rate steadily increases, as well as the blood pressure.
  3. At this point, anxiety may begin to take hold, and the user may feel panicked. Normally this is the stage where chest pains or numbing in the arm may be experienced.
  4. The user may experience nausea and begin vomiting/foaming at the mouth. oIt’s vital that emergency medical services are contacted to transport the individual to the ER. The stage after this one normally includes convulsions, which may segue into cardiac arrest.

How does it feel for the individual who is experiencing the overdose?

How Do Cocaine Overdose Symptoms Feel?

How Do Cocaine Overdose Symptoms Feel

 

During a cocaine overdose, individuals experience a wide range of physical (and mental) feelings in a short time. Some of the most commonly felt symptoms include:

  • Tightness in chest
  • Moderate to severe chest pain
  • Extreme anxiety and distress
  • Difficulty breathing
  • May become disassociated and find it difficult to remain focused or keep a train of thought
  • Ultimately, the user will most likely lose consciousness

Is Cocaine Overdose Common?

Cocaine overdose is probably more common than you think. Using data from last year regarding drug use, it’s estimated that almost 20% of individuals suffering from cocaine abuse disorder end up in the emergency room for a possible overdose.

This ends up totaling somewhere around 110,000 users per year. Out of these 110,000 users, an average of about 15,000 will end up losing their lives to a cocaine overdose.

Except for the number of current users, the statistics surrounding cocaine hospitalization and overdose deaths are nearly identical to methamphetamine numbers in the same category.

Because cocaine overdose is a significant threat, it’s important to understand what to do in the event someone you know is experiencing an overdose.

What to Do for Someone During a Cocaine Overdose

If someone you know is suffering from a cocaine overdose, it’s important to remain calm and exercise proper judgment. The first thing you want to do is contact 911 to ensure an ambulance is already on the way.

Second, you need to assess the situation. What stage of the overdose is the person in? Are they still coherent?

If the individual is still alert and conscious, ask them how they’re feeling. Sit and talk with them to help keep them focused on your voice and not the fact they’ve ingested too much cocaine. The goal is to keep their anxiety at bay.

If they are unconscious or nearing that point, don’t throw water on them or slap them. You might have seen this in movies, but it’s not the right thing to do in real life. Turn the person on their side and put a pillow under their head.

This will stop them from choking if they end up vomiting. Monitor them closely while you wait for EMS to arrive. You need to make sure they’re still breathing and have a pulse.

Actions to Take During a Cocaine Overdose

While you’re waiting for EMS, you need to begin administering CPR if they suddenly stop breathing. You need chest compressions to keep their blood pumping and make sure you’re breathing for them properly.

Remember, it only takes about three minutes without oxygen to suffer brain damage. Typically, this is what causes death in the case of an opioid overdose. It’s not the direct toxicity of the drug itself – it’s the lack of oxygen for too long of a period.

However, in the case of a cocaine overdose, most deaths occur as a result of a heart attack. Not every cocaine overdose leads to a heart attack, though.

It depends on how strong the dose of the drug is and the health of the user’s heart. The chances are high that if the individual has a strong cardiovascular system, they won’t suffer from a heart attack.

This gives them extremely strong odds of making a full recovery. However, another risk currently exists, putting cocaine users in harm’s way of the deadly effects of another drug – fentanyl.

The Risks of Fentanyl as a Cocaine Adulterant

The Risks of Fentanyl as a Cocaine Adulterant

There is currently an extremely high number of substances discovered on the black market that contain high doses of fentanyl. This is particularly alarming, especially considering that most of the users have no idea the drug is adulterated with this deadly opioid.

Batches of other substances have been tested and exhibit the same results – from cocaine to meth, marijuana, and ecstasy, they’re all testing positive for fentanyl. This is causing another surge in overdose deaths of all age groups.

What makes it scarier is the fact that these individuals have no idea these drugs are laced with the powerful opioid. In many cases, people in their company have no idea how to remedy the situation because of the unexpected results.

While it’s currently unclear why doses of fentanyl are being placed in other drug supplies, many people have their theories. One theory to consider is the attempt to force users into a physical dependency on fentanyl.

Once this happens, individuals must consume the drug to even function normally. This would certainly be a way to ensure clients return to buy the same batch, over and over again.

Regardless of the reasoning, it proves the ruthlessness and lack of remorse the organizations that manufacture and distribute these drugs have.

This adds another danger to cocaine use – an already dangerous enough long-term situation.

Long Term Effects of Cocaine Usage

Individuals who engage in long-term cocaine usage face a potentially deadly list of side effects. These effects include:

  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Skin conditions affecting the face
  • Loss of nasal cartilage structure
  • Heart attack and stroke risk
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety/depression
  • Paranoia/psychosis

Seeking treatment following a cocaine overdose is the best course of action. With the right help, users have a real shot at long-term recovery.

Is Lasting Recovery from Cocaine Addiction Possible?

At Pathfinders Recovery Centers in Colorado and Arizona, we understand that lasting recovery takes a strong team with experience and compassion. This is exactly what we bring to the table.

Recovery isn’t easy – but nothing worth having ever is. We’re right there with you every step of the way, ensuring your comfort and safety while providing you with the education and tools you need for lasting recovery.

Your recovery is calling. Contact Pathfinders today to find out how we can help you start your journey to full, successful recovery from the shackles of regular cocaine use.

Ice Cream Drug and Meth Slang Terms

Ice Cream Drug and Meth Slang Terms

The mindset of “my child would never use drugs” or “those types of drugs aren’t a problem in my town” are outdated assumptions that currently don’t even have a sliver of truth to them. There was a period in American culture when certain substances hadn’t permeated the fabric of tight-knit communities.

Currently, the opioid and methamphetamine epidemics have spread out to affect nearly every American family in some way. If any of your loved ones – specifically your kids – were struggling with substance abuse or even just dabbling, would you be able to identify the presence of drugs in their lives?

You’re vigilant enough to notice any physical indicators that could signal any drug use if you’re lucky. Unfortunately, physical signs may not manifest until later stages of abuse.

There may even be people you suspect your loved ones are using drugs with. Some family members will attempt to pick up on signals from conversations they have in person and on the phone.

However, it’s possible they could be speaking about drug use right in front of you, and you may not even know it.

Ice Cream and the Many Slang Terms for Meth

One way to tell if your loved ones could possibly be suffering from substance abuse issues is by listening to certain words in their dialogue. Meth has multiple slang terms individuals use to hide the fact that they’re actually talking about drugs.

One of the most commonly used phrases for meth is “crystal,” which is short for crystal meth. This name is used because of the distinct crystalline form the drug commonly comes in. Later, the drug community would adopt the nickname “crank” because of its effects on the user.

If you suspect meth use from someone you care about, the following terms should raise a red flag:

  • Tina
  • Christina
  • Christie
  • Go-Fast
  • Go-Go Juice
  • Chicken Feed
  • Poop
  • Trash
  • Glass
  • Ice

If you hear any of those terms used frequently, especially around characters you may already be suspicious of, it should be a huge red flag. Identifying the signs of meth use is vital for avoiding long-term abuse and the side effects that come with it. The rising purity of the ice cream drug in the US is causing the rapid deterioration of mental health in large populations across the country.

The Rising Purity of the Ice Cream Drug In the US

Before sometime around 2006 or 2007, most of the meth available on the market was produced using ephedrine, a common ingredient found in cough medications. However, after a crackdown on clandestine labs throughout the United States in the early 2000s, obtaining ephedrine in large quantities became all but impossible – even in Mexico.

Manufacturers of the drug began using a recipe known as the “P2P method.” This particular recipe uses phenyl-2-propanone, aluminum, methylamine, and mercuric chloride instead of the ephedrine.

Mostly used during the 1970s and early 80s by outlaw biker gangs, this method took a backseat to ephedrine-based production because of the latter’s use of fewer harmful chemicals. However, after the ephedrine crackdown, manufacturers realized the precursors needed to cook P2P meth were much easier to obtain – and in massive quantities.

The Spread of Super Meth in America

This method is what has led to the explosion in meth abuse we’re currently witnessing alongside The Spread of Super Meth in Americathe opioid epidemic.

This method is what has led to the explosion in meth abuse we’re currently witnessing alongside the opioid epidemic. Mexican “super labs” are producing extremely large quantities of the drug – often tons at a time, in older, abandoned warehouses in cities near the United States border.

The surfacing of a high number of operations of this scale led to the price of meth bottoming out. Pounds are currently available for $1,000 in some states– a stark contrast to prices of the early 2000s when a pound of meth could fetch up to $10,000.

With super labs producing meth at record quantities and prices at rock bottom, competing cartels had only one choice to gain the upper hand – increase the purity. A great deal of the meth currently available on the United States black market is over 98% pure.

This is causing two huge issues. The first is the fact that meth produced using the P2P method causes more intense psychological side effects much faster than other variations. Drug-induced psychosis can set in in a matter of weeks instead of months or years and linger longer even after treatment.

The second challenge is relatively new territory for law enforcement and medical professionals. Overdose cases because of meth are also at an all-time high, presenting a fresh set of challenges for emergency workers.

Can You Overdose from the Ice Cream Drug?

It was rare to hear about overdoses related to meth in the past. Unfortunately, the tragic spike in deaths related to meth overdose has been overshadowed by the numbers associated with fentanyl.

In 2020, over 93,000 people died as a result of a fentanyl overdose. However, from 2015 to 2019, deaths associated with meth overdose quietly tripled in the background.

The numbers rose from 5,526 to a staggering 15,489 – a 180% increase. It’s worth noting that an uptick in overdose deaths would normally correlate with an increase in the number of users around the same percentage.

Surprisingly, the number of active meth users only rose 43% during the same amount of time. A situation resulting in a 180% increase in toxicity deaths and only a 43% increase in active users points only to one factor – a deadly spike in the purity of the drug or a change in the recipe that’s causing the wave of deaths.

While evidence points to the former being the culprit and not the latter, it still piques one’s curiosity. How is the ice cream drug made now compared to a decade ago?

How Is the Ice Cream Drug Made?

Overall, three primary methods exist for manufacturing methamphetamine. These three methods are known as the following:

  • Red Phosphorous Method. This was the primary method used throughout the 1990s and early 2000s before the current method took over.
  • Birch Method. The birch method, otherwise known as the Nazi method or Shake and Bake, is a cruder form commonly found in smaller, clandestine backyard labs across the United States.
  • The P2P Method. The P2P, or Amalgam Method, is the process most heavily used in Mexican super labs. Most of the batches that end up in the hands of users today are made using this method.

Let’s examine each method in greater detail.

Red Phosphorous Method

The red phosphorous method is known for using ephedrine as the primary ingredient. Meth created using this method is known for a high that produces euphoric, energetic effects as opposed to the paranoia-inducing P2P method. Ingredients used for this method include the following:

  • Hydriodic acid
  • Hydrochloric (muriatic) acid
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Sodium hydroxide (lye)
  • Sodium chloride (salt)
  • Red phosphorous
  • Iodine
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Ethyl alcohol (ethanol)
  • Methyl alcohol (methanol)
  • Ephedrine
  • Pseudoephedrine

The Birch Method

The birch method, better known among meth users as shake and bake, is a process that involves hardly any lab equipment. Normally, this method is produced using one container or pot instead of a series of glass tubes and beakers. Because of the simplicity of its production, this is the method most commonly found in clandestine labs for private use across the United States. Common ingredients for this process include:

  • Anhydrous ammonia
  • Lithium metal
  • Sodium metal
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Ethyl alcohol (ethanol)
  • Methyl alcohol (methanol)
  • Hydrogen chloride gas
  • Hydrochloric (muriatic) acid
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Sodium chloride (salt)
  • Toluene
  • Naptha (Coleman Fuel)
  • Methyl ethyl ketone
  • Ephedrine

P2P Method

The P2P method is currently the method being used in the Mexican super labs south of the border. The problem with this method is the fact that it contains d-methamphetamine and l-methamphetamine isomers. D-methamphetamine causes the intoxicating effects that users crave from abusing meth. However, l-methamphetamine causes the negative mental side effects so often seen in current meth users.

  • Phenyl-2-propanone (P2P)
  • Methylamine
  • Mercuric chloride
  • Aluminum, hydrochloric acid
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Methanol, ethanol
  • Acetone
  • Benzene
  • Chloroform

Because of the quickly deteriorating mental capacity of current meth users, it may be easier to identify the warning signs of abuse.

What Are the Warning Signs of Ice Cream Use?

What Are the Warning Signs of Ice Cream Use

In the past, it seemed that the warning signs of meth abuse were often physical as opposed to mental. While physical warning signs are still present, red flags may exist more in the form of mental symptoms. Some of the most common indicators present in users are listed below:

  • Paranoia, or a belief that someone is chasing them
  • Withdrawn from society, family, and friends
  • Violent changes in mood swings
  • Aggressive or violent tendencies or periods of rage
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Staying up for extended periods
  • Long periods of sleep
  • Engaging in ideas or beliefs that don’t make sense
  • Difficulty staying focused on one task
  • Becoming ultra-disorganized

Individuals who abuse meth engage in a behavior known as tweaking. They will remain hyper-focused on one activity, possibly participating in this activity for hours. However, when they get distracted, they’ll leave these projects, often unfinished, to move on to the next. This false belief that they’re accomplishing more leaves behind multiple unfinished tasks and projects.

Physical Side Effects of the Ice Cream Drug

Even though mental indicators may be more prevalent initially, this doesn’t exclude the possibility of physical side effects. Eventually, most everyone who suffers from meth abuse disorder will begin to manifest the physical signs of use. These signs include:

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Cracked, dry lips
  • Dehydration
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Spikes in blood pressure

Most of these symptoms are associated with the effects of short-term use. However, most of these physical side effects of the ice cream drug will increase in severity with long-term use.

There isn’t one guaranteed set of effects that users that long-term users are guaranteed to experience. The intensity of most of these effects heavily depends on the amount used, frequency of use, and any pre-existing conditions or accompanying addictions the user has.

What Are the Long Term Side Effects of Ice Cream Abuse?

Many long-term effects exist for individuals who suffer from meth abuse disorder. Again, many of the worst side effects will be mental because of the current manufacturing process. However, extended use will eventually lead to potential life-threatening physical challenges.

Mental

  • Meth-induced psychosis
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of cognitive abilities
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships

Many of the long-term mental effects are repairable after extended periods of recovery. What are some of the long-term physical side effects?

Physical

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Loss of teeth
  • Long-term blood pressure and heart issues
  • High risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Heart disease

Again, it’s possible to overcome the physical side effects after long-term recovery.

Methods of Treatment for Meth or “Ice Cream” Dependence

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for individuals who suffer from meth abuse disorder. However, through assessments and one-on-one interviews with mental health professionals, clients can form a personalized treatment plan that includes the most effective forms of therapy.

Some of the most commonly used forms of treatment for meth abuse disorder include:

  • Talk therapy and one-on-one counseling with therapists
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy. This form of treatment helps clients replace negative behaviors associated with meth abuse with more positive behavior habits.
  • Dual-diagnosis treatment aims to remedy underlying mental conditions that exist as a trigger for meth abuse disorder.
  • Group recovery meetings similar to 12-step programs are effective after inpatient or outpatient treatment.
  • Group therapy with family members and loved ones also significantly affects a positive recovery.

One of the most critical steps in the recovery process is actually finding help for a loved one using methamphetamines. With the right support system and the will to recover, individuals who suffer from meth abuse disorder have a good chance at lasting recovery.

Is Lasting Recovery from the ‘Ice Cream drug’ Possible?

At Pathfinders Recovery Centers in both Colorado and Arizona, we pride ourselves on having a staff who believes in long-term recovery and is experienced in helping clients achieve it. We start with a quality, accredited medically supervised detox process that segues into a top-notch inpatient treatment stay.

Clients have regular access to therapy sessions with top-rated mental health and substance abuse specialists. We even have five-star chefs preparing meals for clients – nutrition is a huge part of recovery as well!

If you’re ready for a robust treatment program that attacks abuse disorders from every angle, contact a member of our admissions team today!

How Long Does a Heroin High Last?

How Long Does a Heroin High Last

Heroin is one of the most dangerous opiates on the market today. Usually found as a powder, many individuals use it as a recreational drug. In the past, opiates like heroin used to be used as painkillers. However, doctors realized that these substances have undesirable side effects like addiction with time. Heroin is a fantastic painkiller. It inhibits signals from reaching the brain, dulling the feeling of pain that may occur within the body.

Alongside this beneficial painkilling aspect, heroin also produces a sense of euphoria as it causes the body to dump a lot of dopamine into the brain. Dopamine is the chemical that makes a person feel good about accomplishing something. Unfortunately, this dopamine rush causes the brain to change itself to cope with it, leading to dependence and addiction.

The Stages of a Heroin High

Heroin highs happen in two different stages. In the first stage, there is a feeling of warmth, happiness, and euphoria that is associated with the spreading of the drug into the brain’s regions. This may only last a few minutes, and it’s the feeling that many heroin users yearn for. The second stage lasts a bit longer and is characterized by extended mild euphoria, sleepiness, relaxation, and pain relief.

This second stage of high lasts for between two to five hours. Eventually, the feeling dissipates, and the user starts feeling the need to use it again to chase that feeling. Why exactly does heroin do this to a person, and how does it work on a person’s brain and body?

What Does Heroin Do to You?

The brain is a mass of chemical interactions. The transmission lines for these interactions are known as receptors. The brain typically sends information between receptors by chemicals known as neurotransmitters. One set of these receptors is designed to accept chemicals like heroin, known as opiates or opioids.

Once a person takes an opiate-like heroin into their body, these receptors start collecting the molecules inside the bloodstream. The opioids are pain-blockers, making it harder to get a pain signal through to the brain. Unfortunately, the side effect of these opioids is a massive flood of dopamine, as mentioned before.

How does Heroin Work in the Brain?

How Long Does a Heroin High Last

This dopamine flood is far in excess of anything the brain usually has to cope with. As a result, it needs to adjust itself and reorient to deal with the new situation. It starts rewiring itself to function normally with such a large volume of dopamine in the body. This rewiring results in the body needing more dopamine to get the same effect, an adaptation known as tolerance.

A person who is tolerant to heroin needs more of the drug to get the same high they rode previously. The rewiring of the brain creates physical dependence on the drug, meaning that the brain can no longer operate normally without it in the bloodstream. Dependence is the first step towards addiction. The term addiction refers to a brain disease where a person’s dependence on a substance affects their ability to make cognitive decisions.

What Opioids Are Similar to Heroin in Effect?

Drugs produced from opium or the poppy plant itself are called opiates. Synthetic drugs that try to mimic the chemical properties of opium and its derivatives are known as opioids. Both of these types of drugs interact with the same systems in the brain. Their impact is similar to a great extent. Among the opioids that produce a similar effect as heroin when taken are:

  • Fentanyl: Fentanyl is 80-100 times more potent than morphine, the precursor to heroin. It typically appears as pills, and gel capsules, resembling legitimate pharmaceuticals. Fentanyl is sometimes combined with other drugs, but it can kill on its own. It’s among the most dangerous synthetic opioids currently available.
  • Prescription Drugs: Drugs such as codeine and oxycodone are synthetic opioids that have a similar action to heroin. These drugs were initially thought to be safe to use, leading to doctors prescribing them for chronic pain control. Thanks to this recklessness, there is a rising opioid crisis in the US as many of those prescribed developed an addiction.
  • Morphine: Before heroin was discovered, the painkiller of choice was morphine. It was used to significant effect as a painkiller and featured as a staple in the second world war as a painkiller on the front lines. Unfortunately, its addictiveness made it unsafe for use, and it was quickly phased out, forcing individuals addicted to it to find another drug to use.

How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System?

Heroin doesn’t have a very long life within the body. Some experts agree that heroin’s half-life (the amount of time it takes for half the substance to be used) is about thirty minutes in an adult. While the drug is quickly in and out of the body, the effects that it produces can linger for hours. The initial hit, as explained above, brings that feeling of euphoria, with the secondary high and painkiller functionality coming later.

Concerns in Drug Testing for Heroin

How Long Does a Heroin High Last

Tests for heroin typically avoid looking for the drug in the bloodstream since it’s metabolized so quickly. However, it does linger in the body in the urine. If a person uses heroin, it may be present in trace amounts in their urine for up to two days afterward, although sometimes it may be excreted within six hours.

Urine is the most convenient test to find heroin over a period, but hair follicles can be just as helpful. If a person takes heroin, it can be detected in a hair follicle for up to three months after their last use. Newer tests have built upon these successes and can see heroin use in a person longer than three months, possibly up to six. This makes it extremely difficult to get away with taking the substance recreationally.

Factors That Affect a How Long A Heroin High Lasts

No two people who take heroin get the same feelings. Each person’s brain is built differently, but the brain structure isn’t the only thing that affects how long a heroin high lasts. Several factors can affect the length of a high, including:

  • Method of taking the drug: Injecting the drug into the bloodstream is the fastest way to get high, but it also results in the quickest removal of the drug from the bloodstream. Snorting or smoking the drug has a more extended high but takes longer to get there and back.
  • How potent the drug is: Most manufacturers of heroin these days are illegal labs with no quality control. The drug batches they produce will vary in concentration, which affects the intensity of a person’s feelings.
  • Amount of drug taken: The more drugs a person takes, the more intense the high is and the longer it lasts. Taking higher doses leads to more extreme highs but also runs the risk of overdosing on the drug.
  • Tolerance: As mentioned before, tolerance impacts the feeling of euphoria. The more tolerant to the drug a person is, the more difficult it is for them to get high from it.
  • Combination with other substances: Using heroin alongside other drugs can increase the feelings of euphoria, but it could also increase the risk of the body failing. Polydrug use carries a severe risk of life-threatening malfunctions and potentially death.

What Does It Feel Like When Heroin Wears Off?

How Long Does a Heroin High Last

Heroin is an addictive substance, and addiction stems from dependence. When someone uses the drug and comes off it, they immediately want to use it again. Part of that reason is because of the withdrawal symptoms that are typical of heroin and opiate use. Withdrawal symptoms are the body’s way of convincing a person to keep using the drug because the brain needs it to remain functional. Withdrawal occurs when a person cannot get the drug. The longer they go without it, the more intense the withdrawal symptoms get. However, the only way to break the physical dependence on the drug is to go through withdrawal.

Controlled Withdrawal through Heroin Detox

It is best to enter a facility that deals specifically with detoxification if you intend to quit using the substance. Heroin detox is a controlled form of withdrawal, usually monitored by medical health professionals. In some rare cases, heroin withdrawal can severely impact the body and lead to life-threatening situations. While these incidents are rare, it’s always better to have a trained team present to deal with complications if they arise.

Those who aren’t dependent on the substance will likely feel a bit tired when the drug finally wears off. Heroin promotes sleepiness and relaxation in a person, so it takes some time for their brain to recover and return to normal functioning. A non-dependent person won’t have withdrawal symptoms if they stop using the drug, and they can quit any time they feel like it. However, just because they’re not dependent on the substance doesn’t mean they won’t want to use it again. Addiction is not just dependence, which is a physical condition. Addiction also has a psychological component that pushes a person to use it.

Long Term Effects of Chasing A Heroin High

Chasing a heroin high can profoundly impact a person’s personal and professional life. Among the most impactful effects that chasing heroin can have on a person are:

  • Legal costs: Heroin is a controlled substance in many countries worldwide. If held with the substance, a person will face legal charges and require a lawyer to represent them. Additionally, public legal records will indicate their drug use, which may impact their chances of landing a job in the future.
  • Destruction of relationships: Heroin dependence can lead to someone neglecting their family. A person addicted to heroin will seek out the drug above all other responsibilities, including those of a family. This inevitably leads to relationship disintegration and loss of trust within the family unit.
  • Physical and medical issues: Heroin can lead to several physical and mental problems. Using the drug often can have side effects, including collapsed blood vessels, insomnia, liver and kidney disease, and heart infections, to name just a few.
  • Potential overdose: As mentioned above, a person who is tolerant to the drug will need to take more of it to get the same high. Unfortunately, this usually means that there’s a real danger of overdosing on the drug.

Heroin is a dangerous substance, not just because it can lead to death but also because of the other related damages it can cause to a person’s life. In many cases, a person recovering from heroin addiction has to rebuild their life all over again.

Helping Someone Seek Treatment for Heroin Use

Sometimes, a person may not even be aware that they’re addicted to the substance. Typically, these people mention that they can stop anytime they want, even though it’s evident that this isn’t the case. In such a case, the person’s loved ones may need to step in and help them understand they have a problem.

Heroin use can be easy to hide, but a person dependent on the substance starts showing obvious signs of addiction over time. Behaviors such as avoiding social events, becoming reclusive, and no longer enjoying hobbies that they used to are good signs that they may be hooked on drugs.

Interventions are a dangerous way to approach helping someone with heroin addiction. In some cases, however, it may be the only way. The more viable method of helping someone is to guide them towards understanding they have a problem. They need to decide that they want to quit, or else rehab and recovery won’t be able to help them.

Treatment For Heroin Abuse and Addiction at Pathfinders

Pathfinders Recovery has helped hundreds of people recover their lives from heroin and opioid addictions. Our well-trained staff is knowledgeable in treatment options and can help you find a course that’s right for your problem.

Communal areas for detox and inpatient/outpatient treatment allow us to cater to a wide range of clients. Our flexible payment options ensure that no one is left out. If you or your loved one needs the support and care of a rehab facility, contact us today. We’d be more than happy to lend a hand.

I Drink Every Night. Am I An Alcoholic?

I Drink Every Night am I An Alcohol Abuser?

Is a Nightly Drink Alcoholism?

Alcohol use disorder comes in many shapes and sizes. When most people picture alcohol use disorders, the stereotypical profile probably manifests in their mind’s eye: An unkempt, 40 or 50-something that slurs their words, in a state of constant over-emotion. If it’s a male, he probably has a perpetual five o’clock shadow and wreaks of cheap liquor.

While this person certainly exists, and some of us may have met them, the assumption that every alcoholic comes packaged this way is far from the truth. Alcohol use disorder looks like your neighbors, friends, family, and doctor – the possibilities are endless.

The problem with stereotypes like the one mentioned above is that alcohol has no target demographic, and these types of assumptions can make it hard to identify individuals who really need help. In many cases, individuals dealing with alcohol use disorder have no idea that they fit the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) criteria for potentially being an alcoholic.

In fact, individuals suffering from alcohol use disorder don’t even have to frequently reach the point of intoxication or being drunk to earn this diagnosis. What does it take to meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder?

Does Daily Drinking Equal Alcoholism?

I drink every night am I an alcoholic

“I drink every night. Am I an alcoholic?” If you or someone you know has asked this question in regard to drinking habits, it might be time to assess where you stand.

How exactly does one reach the answer to this question? Is there a technical answer or a more specific classification for these types of drinkers?

One of the easiest ways to gauge where you stand when it comes to alcohol use disorder is by using the stages of alcoholism. Comparing your situation to the stages of alcoholism can give you a clear picture of where you stand and what your next course of action should be.

I Drink a Lot Every Weekend. Am I an Alcoholic?

Plenty of working-class Americans arrives home after the workweek to a waiting alcoholic beverage of their choice. It’s not uncommon for many of them to have a single drink and abstain from a second or third. However, the repeated usage of large amounts of alcohol each weekend may be a sign of an alcohol use disorder.

During the workweek though, does a daily pattern of just one drink per day equate to alcohol use disorder? Let’s take a look at the numbers according to the NIAAA.

Drinking In Moderation

Drinking in moderation is considered the consumption of two drinks or less in one single day for men or one drink or less for women. However, there is no clear specification regarding consecutive days under this classification. Let’s see what else the NIAAA has to say.

Binge Drinking

I drink every night am I can alcoholic: binge drinking

Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking that regularly brings the BAC to 0.08 – the legal limit in most state’s for DUI. In the average male, this is about five drinks in a period of two hours. Notice that this states a pattern of regularity but still doesn’t specify a certain number of days.

Heavy Alcohol Use

Heavy alcohol use in men is the consumption of four drinks in one day or the regular consumption of 14 drinks in one week. For women, the consumption of seven drinks in one week is considered heavy alcohol use. SAMHSA considers heavy alcohol use as binge drinking on five or more days during the month.

The NIAAA literature goes on to say that patterns associated with alcohol use disorder include regular patterns of binge drinking and heavy alcohol use. After reading the characteristics outlined by the NIAAA, it’s much easier to answer individuals who ask, “I drink every night. Am I an alcoholic?”

Based on the characteristics outlined above, if an adult male limits his intake to one single drink per day, he isn’t considered an alcoholic. However, two drinks per day, which would equal 14 per week, would land him in alcohol use disorder territory.

However, because alcohol use disorder is often progressive, it would be unwise to assume that someone regularly consuming one drink per day wasn’t dangerously bordering alcoholism.

One of the most commonly repeated themes among individuals who consume alcohol is the affirmation that their drinking is under control or moderated. Because individuals can technically drink every day and not be considered alcoholics, are there any specific steps to further assist in an act already considered “moderate drinking?”

Can You Moderate Regular Drinking?

It’s strongly recommended that anyone engaging in moderate drinking doesn’t participate in binge drinking or heavy drinking. When this happens, the line between moderate drinking and alcohol abuse disorder starts to blur.

If you know someone that is considered a moderate drinker, it may be critical to remain vigilant of the signs of alcohol use disorder. The following section outlines things to look out for.

What Are the Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder?

Many pouring a shot, asks himself about his alcoholism

Although everyone handles alcohol use disorder individually and displays different symptoms, certain behaviors may be more noticeable. The following list contains some of the more common characteristics displayed by individuals with alcohol use disorder.

  • Increasingly negative consequences resulting from drinking. Some of these may be family-related, while some may be more severe and include legal issues.
  • Drinking to the point of not remembering the events of the night or days before
  • Attempting to cover up or lie about the amount of alcohol they consume
  • Feeling the constant need for a drink before going out or engaging in a social activity
  • Hiding their drinking altogether
  • Drinking more than intended or more than other people present for an event or special occasion
  • Using drinking as a stress-reliever or response to negative events
  • Putting drinking before important family events
  • Verbalizing a want to stop drinking but never going through with these commitments

 

While these can all be significant red flags alerting you to the presence of alcohol use disorder, a formal examination can provide a more accurate diagnosis. There are currently five measures that officially determine alcohol dependency.

Methods to Determine Alcohol Dependency

The following five measures are all accepted methods for determining the presence of alcohol dependency.

Alcohol Timeline Followback

This method requires a detailed picture of an individual’s daily drinking habits over a specific time period. Individuals may be required to provide details regarding the prior year.

Form 90

Form 90 is a more specific type of measurement to determine specific changes before and after a 90-day abstinence period. This is typically used as a post-treatment form of measurement.

Drinking Self-Monitoring Log

This measurement requires more detailed information regarding the frequency of an individual’s drinking habits.

Lifetime Drinking Measures

This requires an individual to provide a rough estimate of their habits over the course of their life or any period longer than a year.

Quantity-Frequency Measures

This requires information regarding the individual’s amount of alcohol used and the frequency or regularity of this consumption.

The importance of determining the presence of alcohol dependency is critical to mitigate the risks associated with drinking daily. Keep in mind that these risks are both physical and mental in nature.

Effects and Risks of Daily Drinking

Daily drinking is a habit that can take place on a moderate or severe level. Obviously, someone who drinks daily in high amounts has greater odds of negative consequences than someone who drinks in moderation.

In the past, health professionals believed that moderate levels of drinking posed little to no health risks. In fact, many sources stated that smaller amounts of daily drinking could actually have a positive impact on your health.

However, more recent studies show that, in reality, there is no safe level of drinking. Even moderate amounts can have a negative impact on the way the brain functions.

There are short-term and long-term risks for individuals who actively engage in daily drinking. Even in small amounts, the short-term risks can produce potentially life-changing consequences.

I Drink Every Night. Am I An Alcoholic?

Short-term Risks

Short-term risks of daily drinking are less associated with acute health issues and more closely related to the negative consequences of challenging behavior. Immediate physical health risks normally don’t become a factor until users frequently engage in binge drinking.

Moderate daily drinking may put users at risk for the following:

  • Accidents related to intoxication, especially since users consume small amounts and don’t believe they are impaired in any way
  • Injuries that take place as a result of slower reaction times
  • Engaging in dangerous or impulsive behavior because of impaired judgment
  • The potential for legal issues associated with poor decision-making

When someone consumes alcohol in small amounts, they may feel like they’re not impaired, which promotes a false sense of security. This momentarily lapse of critical thinking is what leads to the increased risk of the situations mentioned above.

After significant amounts of time spent consistently engaging in daily alcohol consumption, more serious effects may begin to surface.

Long-term Risks

The long-term risks and effects of alcohol can take a toll on the mind and body of individuals with alcohol use disorder.

Mental effects include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Negative impact on relationships

 

The physical effects can be even more challenging and can even be deadly in the worst cases. Potential risks include:

  • Conditions associated with inflammation of the pancreas
  • Long-term liver damage
  • Decreased pancreatic functions lead to higher sugar levels that may cause diabetes
  • Numbness in hands and feet
  • Damage to the digestive system
  • High blood pressure and irregular heartbeat

 

The risk of developing any of the symptoms side effects mentioned above should be enough to trigger the motivation to stop drinking every day. However, individuals with substance abuse disorder may find it difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

How Can I Stop Drinking Every Day?

How to Stop Drinking | Pathfinders Recovery CentersIt’s possible to create a plan for recovery and successfully refrain from drinking every day. However, once the situation reaches the level of developing mental and physical symptoms that are directly caused by alcohol use disorder, the goal should be to stop drinking completely.

Consider the following steps as a pathway to recovery:

  • Look into the benefits of residential rehab. If you feel like you need professional help to overcome alcohol use disorder, you’re probably a good candidate for inpatient treatment.
  • Don’t stop when treatment is over. Continue to remain proactive in battling substance use disorder by attending 12-step recovery groups and maintaining a strong support system.
  • Alternatively, if you’ve been ordered to attend any type of court-ordered treatment, use this as a stepping stone to recovery. Sometimes your greatest challenges are actually blessings in disguise.

 

Alcohol use disorder doesn’t just disappear after treatment or a certain period of recovery. However, if you actively seek out ways to strengthen your support systems and maintain high levels of willpower, the daily struggle against alcohol use disorder gets easier with time.

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we’ve helped clients navigate their recovery from alcohol use disorders of all kinds and severities. From detox services to inpatient treatment with multiple approaches to therapy, you’ll have access to different treatment levels that we believe can be very successful in promoting long-term recovery.

Contact an Admissions team member to find out more about how we can help provide you with the tools you need to take your life back.

Vitamins For Recovering Drug Addicts

Vitamins-to-Recovering-from-Drug-Addicts

Does Addiction Cause Vitamin Deficiencies?

It’s no secret that addiction can and will ravage your body and mind. I was on the brink of death when I showed up at Pathfinders. It couldn’t get any worse for me. I was very weak both physically and mentally. I didn’t think it would work. I didn’t have a lot of faith in myself.

The damage done to my mind and body made things more difficult. I was not in my right mind or in the right physical shape to be able to do much. Prolonged drug abuse does a lot of damage that we don’t see until it becomes obvious on the outside. These are things addicts don’t usually think about until they are in really bad shape. When using drugs and alcohol on a regular basis, your body does not absorb the nutrients we require to function properly.

Does Alcoholism Affect Vitamin Absorption?

I barely had to ask that question when I got to recovery. My alcoholism had done a lot of damage to my body. My vitamin deficiency was through the roof. The signs of malnutrition were all there. I was tired all the time. My skin looked pasty and white. My teeth and gums were severely damaged. My hair was thinning. I was a textbook example of malnutrition.

How do you address vitamin deficiency during addiction? There are so many other hurdles to overcome. Your vitamin intake is probably not going to be the top thing on your mind. Luckily for me, the folks at Pathfinders Recovery Centers put a big emphasis on nutrition therapy while I was going through recovery. They knew exactly how to address vitamin deficiency during addiction.

I always remembered being annoyed when my mother would tell me to take my vitamins as a kid. I would often forget, and I never thought it mattered whether I took them or not. Truth is, if I had the right diet I wouldn’t have needed to take vitamins. If you have a healthy diet you should be getting all the vitamins your body requires. Most people in this country don’t eat in a healthy way.

This is just one reason why there are so many types of vitamins out there. We are all looking for something to make us feel better. The vitamin industry has become noticeably larger over the years, and there are even stores solely focused on selling vitamins.

There are many types of vitamin deficiencies from drugs. If you are addicted to stimulants like cocaine or Adderall, you have a decreased appetite. Most addicts aren’t concerned about their physical appearance or their health. They will eat junk food because it is quicker and cheaper, and don’t care about nutrition therapy.

The only thing that matters in addiction is the next fix. Obviously, if you have a decreased appetite and all you eat is sugar and processed food, you are going to be vitamin deficient. It doesn’t take a doctor to realize that.

Give Your Recovery A Boost with Nutrition!

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Boosting recovery through nutrition will get you in the right mindset that you need to be in. We aren’t good for much if we don’t have our heads on straight. People underestimate how much nutrition affects our brains and our thought patterns.

If you are eating healthy and getting the right vitamins, you will make better decisions and process things easier. You will achieve long-term health and success with the right vitamins. When it comes to recovery, there are specific vitamins and their effects are different.

Vitamin C and Vitamin D are a couple of the important ones you will want to get a lot of. A good dose of Vitamin D has been proven to be a big mood booster. We get vitamin D naturally from the sun. It’s a good idea if you live in a colder, darker part of the country to supplement your vitamin D during the winter.

Nutrient deficiency in addicts is one of the first things that a recovery center will notice and try to address. If you’re going to be set up for success in your recovery, it’s going to take every angle. The nutrition angle is probably more important than any.

Recommendations for Diet in Recovery

There are a lot of different recommendations for nutrition in recovery. As mentioned before, a healthy diet will help a lot. Physical activity is another natural way to help your mood and give your body a boost. There are many different supplements for recovery. Vitamin B and Thiamin are two of the big ones you’ll hear a lot about.

Foods like fish, pork, and grains are high in Vitamin B. Zinc and Magnesium are other vitamins that will typically be lacking in the body of an addict. Magnesium helps with muscle and nerve function while Zinc helps with your immune system. Typically most addicts have a ravaged immune system. Nothing like a little Zinc to get you back on track!

Issues with Diet for Recovering Addicts

There can be side effects of diet on recovery. Typically a dual diagnosis approach works best, which entails tackling all of your underlying issues at once. Your physical, mental and emotional issues all play a big part in why you are addicted.

We all know it’s hard to change your diet, so changing your diet in the middle of drug rehab can be very difficult.

This can unfortunately lead you to setbacks. When we change our diet and try to eat healthier, it can make us a little irritable at first. This irritability can play a part in the recovery process being halted altogether. It’s important to keep in mind that no part of this process is going to be easy. The entire recovery process is a fight you will have to put all your effort towards.

There is a direct relation to diet and mental health. If you eat better, you will eventually feel better. If your mind is firing on all cylinders, you will be better equipped to make good decisions.

This is what recovery is all about. You need to retrain your brain to make these better decisions when the time arises. The initial recovery process is basically a training process for how to deal with life’s later challenges without going back to substance abuse.

Join Others in Making Health a Priority

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Every time I tell my story, it reminds me of how far I’ve come. I never tell my story without mentioning the people who have helped me along the way. My peers, my sponsors, the friends I’ve made, all of these people are just as important to my success as I am.

This gives me an opportunity to be thankful for what I’ve been blessed with. I also hope to instill in others the ability to think about the people who helped them. Addiction is not a solitary process all the way through. You get through it by hearing the stories of other people. These people and these stories will be what shapes your future in recovery.

It gives me more faith in people to know that there are so many kind souls out there who want to help others. It makes me want to help, and it makes me want to flip the switch on others that will make them want to do the same. We all have the power to heal ourselves and each other. It is my goal to be a bright spot in someone else’s darkness.

No matter how dark it gets, there is always light somewhere that can be shared. We all need a helping hand during such a sensitive process. We are all weak and realize that we need help. Some of us are in denial. Some of us go into rehab multiple times. Some of us recognize that it could be our last shot. There is so much to process during recovery, and it can all be very overwhelming.

Sharing is Caring When it Comes to Addiction

I talk about my addiction as if it’s a normal thing everyone else talks about. Like the way, people talk about the weather or their job. I just let it flow and try not to make a big deal out of it. I find that that approach puts people at ease. When you’re speaking to people with similar experiences, it’s easier to get them to open up.

The more people that we get to open up, the less uncomfortable the process becomes. And the more that we talk about it, the more we break the stigma of addiction.

Everyone’s process is different and is to be respected. You aren’t going to force your help on someone else. I make it a point to tell my story without telling anyone else’s. That’s a very important aspect that I feel is overlooked. You are only responsible for your recovery. I know I’m not going to help everyone. If I can help one person, then this entire process was well worth it.

Having the right people around to set you up for success is key. With the staff at Pathfinders Recovery Centers as your foundation for recovery, you will have a team of dedicated, experienced professionals on your side. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today, to start the foundation of a new life in recovery, healthy and happy in ways that you could never even dream of before.

Signs Of Prescription Drug Addiction In Adults

Prescription Drug Addiction In Adults

What is Prescription Drug Addiction?

An article by the NIH states that one reason people start to use drugs is to feel good. One of the scariest things about opioids is that your doctor might prescribe them for a legitimate reason. Maybe you have chronic pain. Maybe you had an accident.

Whatever it is, there are legitimate reasons to have an opioid prescription. In this case, you are in enough pain where opioids can be helpful to make you feel ok. It’s an excuse that you find yourself using even when you know you are just using them to get high.

The issue is when the prescription doesn’t fit the injury or cause. Sometimes people are given prescriptions when they don’t need them. They are given prescriptions that are way too much either in milligrams or amount. For example, maybe you are given a 30-day prescription when you only need a 3-day prescription.

Risk Factors for Prescription Drug Abuse

There are many risk factors for addiction. Sometimes past trauma can lead you to developing an addiction. Often if you have a family history of addiction, it can be a contributing factor. Sometimes people can end up being addicted without any of this. It simply starts from being prescribed something and it turns into a larger problem later on down the road.

The warning signs of prescription usage will be very clear if you have any knowledge of addiction. A person may experience mood swings. Shifts in their sleeping habits and changes in appetite are very common. They may become defensive to questioning. Their appearance begins to change.

Common Signs of Drug Misuse

Slurred speech and lack of hand-eye coordination are also prominent features of substance abuse. Long term users also run the risk of developing changes in breathing patterns. High blood pressure is another common symptom. The phases of prescription misuse often look the same for everyone.

You start out using the pills for a legitimate reason. They are prescribed to you for pain or some other ailment. You start to notice the euphoric feeling you get from the drug, and you begin to seek it out. You start using more of the drug. You begin to build a tolerance. You make excuses as to why you need it.

Deceit and Denial in Drug Abuse

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Eventually, you begin to believe your own lies and the excuses that you give to people. Once you lie about it enough, it’s easy to believe the lie. If you have an addict in your life, you know all about the lying. The lies become nonstop, and you can’t believe anything that is told to you. You don’t know what is real.

Eventually, you need the drug just to feel normal. You need to use more and more of the drug to get that euphoric feeling. You are always chasing the high. The high becomes the only thing that matters. Before you know it, you’re an addict. By the time you finally realize and admit you have an issue, you are at a point where you can’t get through it alone. Therapy and potential rehab become necessary. It can all seem to happen so quickly even if it develops slowly over time. You don’t see yourself when you’re in it. You adapt to the lifestyle.

Addiction Can Sneak Up on You

I remember in high school when I had my wisdom teeth out, I was prescribed Percocet for 30 days. I don’t think I took any of the pills and ended up selling them to people at school. Sadly, a lot of people might have these stories. When you begin abusing drugs at a young age, it has a tremendous effect on your brain and your overall development. It seems like fun and games at this stage.

Consequences normally do not come into your mind. I had a friend whose life story read very much like a cautionary tale. He began using whatever prescription drugs he could get his hands on from the age of thirteen.

His sister got him addicted. Once he was hooked on pills, she began to say that he couldn’t tell on her because now he was hooked on them. He is now in his 30s and after a track record of getting in trouble finally found a way to function, but not without Suboxone. He has been in and out of the prison system. He is a lifelong felon. When you get to this point in your adult life, it’s very hard to get out of. The system does not make it very easy for people looking to change their ways to succeed. This is an unfortunate truth when it comes to addiction.

Legitimate Reasons for Pill Prescription Gone Wrong

People with chronic pain or that undergo painful surgeries are especially susceptible to opioids. They can be just as helpful as harmful in some cases. My uncle had to amputate his leg due to blood clotting. He was a lifelong smoker. After the surgery, they prescribed him opioids. Once those ran out, he started to use alcohol after a lifetime of being sober to deal with his pain.

We often don’t have the tools or the education to know what we’re getting ourselves into. We learn about the dangers of drugs in school, but they often don’t show you the full picture. They tell you drugs are bad without saying a whole lot else.

I remember being in health class in school and learning about drugs. I don’t remember ever hearing any specifics. It was all just “Drugs are bad and you shouldn’t do them.” They didn’t teach you about the full scope of addiction. What drugs do what. How the drugs slowly take over. How nothing else matters but the drug. I think there is more of an emphasis these days on the specifics, but it seems like to get the full picture of drug abuse, you have to go through recovery to get it.

Withdrawal and Prescription Drug Abuse

You don’t truly learn about withdrawal until you go through it. It’s hard to teach anyone that kind of discomfort unless you feel it for yourself. Some withdrawal symptoms for prescriptions can be fatal. If you try to get off of opiates cold turkey, you will feel an incredible amount of physical discomfort and mental anguish.

This is why it is important to go through a medically supervised detox prior to entering a recovery center. Some of the side effects of prescription abuse can last a lifetime. Many addicts experience lifelong neurological symptoms.

The Dangers of Opioid Addiction

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Recovery from prescription misuse is possible. There are so many different treatment options for prescription abuse, and they all vary depending on the person. The one thing that works for everyone is therapy. You have to get to the bottom of what leads you to this point. If you get the right therapy, you will be better equipped to face your addiction head-on and succeed. There are also many holistic and alternative methods that have been helpful to those seeking non-traditional methods.

There is a real danger to addicts if they are not given the proper support. If you know someone struggling with addiction, it’s vital that you educate yourself on the subject and show them compassion. No one ever got sober because they got yelled at about it.

Recovery is a very personal process that requires a lot of help. It’s important to have a network of other people in recovery. I can say for myself that going to meetings has always been a big positive for me.

A Prescription for an Epidemic

One of the reasons the opiate epidemic became an epidemic is people will turn to them if they don’t have access to other drugs like heroin. Opiate addiction has also done the opposite and led people to use cheaper drugs like heroin. When there was more of a crackdown on opioids there was a rise in street heroin. It’s a very tricky cycle to get stuck into and it’s pretty frightening to think that it can all begin from a trip to the doctor.

The point in sharing these stories is that people don’t grow up saying that they want to be an opioid addict. It’s not a dream. It’s not planned. It sneaks up on you.

Violations of Trust and the Hippocratic Oath

It is confusing that a doctor would prescribe opioids that could ultimately harm you and ruin your life. It is confusing that the same thing you take for unbearable pain can cause you unbearable pain. It is confusing that someone you trust might suggest that you do something you know to be harmful.

You cannot prevent yourself sometimes from the things that happen. You can find ways to avoid them. If you do find yourself in a situation where you are going down a bad road, there are plenty of ways to get help. Speaking with a professional would be a good start. Expressing concern to loved ones. It’s even more important to take the time to ask your physician what the effects of whatever medication is being prescribed to you.

Feel empowered to ask if the benefits outweigh the risks and ask what those both mean in your unique case. Be open and honest with your medical providers, and please reach out to Pathfinders Recovery Center if you need more information, resources, or want to attend a top addiction treatment facility to deal the prescription use. We are here and waiting to help you or your loved one get past any and all issues with substances and into a lasting, meaningful recovery.

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

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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?

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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?

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

Chest Pain Drinking Alcohol
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

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

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.

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!