Recognizing the Signs of a High Functioning Alcoholic

A young man in a business suit drinks alone at his desk, to indicate Recognizing the Signs of a High Functioning Alcoholic

Despite the common rhetoric of rock bottom, not all alcoholics crash. Many of them are experts at hiding how their drinking affects their lives, and because of this we’ve come up with ‘Recognizing the Signs of a High Functioning Alcoholic,’ to help you identify what often remains hidden.  

Because of this, they’re experts at denying help. They don’t need to go to rehab–after all, they can hold down a job, support their families, maintain relationships, and have every outward appearance of success.

However, this actually puts high functioning alcoholics at great risk of harm. They may have major warning signs for years without anyone noticing. All the while, their alcoholism is subtly affecting their physical, emotional, and psychological health.

If you or a loved one is a high functioning alcoholic, you’re still harming yourself and those around you, and you deserve help. Here’s what you need to know about high functioning alcoholism and signs that it’s time to look into treatment options.

The Five Types of Alcoholic

Alcoholism takes many forms, but most alcoholics fall into one of five types:

  1. Young adult
  2. Young antisocial
  3. Intermediate familial
  4. Functional
  5. Chronic severe

These descriptors fit both the patient’s stage of life and the relative progression of their alcoholism. The typical young adult alcoholic, for example, is around age 25 and started drinking at 19 or 20.

What is a High Functioning Alcoholic?

When you think of an addict or an alcoholic, you probably think of someone who can’t hold down a job, can’t stay on top of their responsibilities, and prioritizes their addiction over everything else despite clear signs of strain in other areas of their life.

A high functioning alcoholic doesn’t look like that. In fact, they’re almost the opposite of every addiction stereotype.

High functioning alcoholics tend to be highly educated, high earners with stable home life. They can do more than just hold down a job and pay rent–in many respects, their life appears to be untouched by their addiction.

Risks of High Functioning Alcoholism

Like all addictions, high functioning alcoholism is deceitful. It insists that there isn’t a problem and that the behavior is perfectly normal. Because of this, the conditions required to break through that mantra of normalcy are pretty extreme.

With high functioning alcoholics, the conditions required to break through denial are even more extreme. Unlike non-functional alcoholics, high functioning alcoholics are good at maintaining the outward appearance of a successful life, even to themselves.

The problem is that people can develop severe alcoholism and put themselves at extreme risk of harm while seeming like perfectly functional, healthy people with normal lives.

Because of this, the alcoholic has even more ammunition to avoid seeking treatment. Worse, those around them may not even realize that they have a drinking problem.

The trick, of course, is that more people are high functioning alcoholics than stereotypes would have you believe. In fact, only 10% of alcoholics are homeless or otherwise deeply low-functioning, which leaves 90% of alcoholics existing well outside the stereotypical penalties for extreme alcohol addiction.

Signs of High Functioning Alcoholism

Because of this, it’s vital that you know how to recognize the warning signs of high functioning alcoholism when they present themselves. The signs may not be obvious–if, indeed, most people recognize any signs of alcoholism in the first place.

In fact, many high functioning alcoholics are witty, clever, and responsible. To all but those who are closest to them (provided that those people are paying attention), high functioning alcoholics seem to be perfectly healthy. They may not show any apparent signs of addiction, even if the signs are right in front of you.

If you’re worried that you or a loved one is suffering from high functioning alcoholism, here are a few red flags to watch for.

Drinking is a Big Part of Your Life

The first sounds abundantly obvious: drinking is a big part of your life. However, if drinking has featured significantly in your life for some time, others may not even notice it.

Let’s say you were a drinker in college. You were the first to the party and the last one to leave, and you could drink everyone under the table in the meantime. Your friends at the time didn’t blink–after all, they were doing it too.

Most people, including your college friends, graduate, grow up, stop partying, and scale back their drinking. But you’re still drinking like a freshman in college. The difference is that you’re good at hiding it in other areas of your life, and you may not drink to party anymore.

You Drink to Cope…

One of the big red flags of alcoholism, high functioning or otherwise, is drinking to cope.

There’s a reason why so many of us go out for a drink to unwind after a stressful day at work, or get home and break out a drink after a bad day. Alcohol is a depressant, slowing chemical activity in the brain. This is why you feel loose and relaxed after drinking–your brain chemically cannot function as fast.

Chemically speaking, it’s easy to understand why more than half of adults drink alcohol to cope with stress.

This is the area where most people get into trouble, which is why drinking to cope is one of the universal warning signs of alcoholism. If you reach for a drink every time you have school stress, a bad day at work, or even an unpleasant phone call with a relative, that’s a bad sign.

…And You Drink for Every Situation

Of course, alcoholics don’t drink just because they’re sad or depressed or anxious. Alcoholics also drink when they’re overjoyed, bored, excited, tired, or anything in between.

Remember, alcoholism isn’t just a coping mechanism. It might start that way, but it’s a chemical addiction in the brain. Eventually, you reach for alcohol in any situation, not because of the situation but because your brain has learned to chemically rely on alcohol to process any situation thrown at it.

You drink to calm down. You drink to get excited. You drink to wake up. You drink to go to sleep. You drink with friends. You drink alone. You drink for an occasion or you drink on an ordinary day.

Either way, the story is the same: if there’s a situation, any situation, your first instinct is to reach for a drink.

You Drink Too Much, Too Often

High functioning alcoholics don’t show the strain of drinking on their lives, at least not at first. They can maintain their work projects, execute their responsibilities, show up for their families, and don’t show any obvious negative behaviors like depression or anger issues.

That said, you can still maintain your responsibilities (for a while, anyway) while drinking too much.

A red flag for alcoholism is drinking too much, too often. “Too much” varies between people, but for women, it’s generally three drinks in a day or seven drinks in a week. For men, it’s generally four drinks in a day or fourteen drinks in a week.

However, it’s important to remember that alcoholism isn’t limited to drinking too much in one sitting. In fact, many alcoholics have a problem not because they drink too much at once (though they do that too). Their problem is drinking a “moderate” number of drinks on a daily basis.

You Don’t Get a Hangover After Several Drinks

Humans are remarkably adaptable, and that extends to our alcohol consumption.

Like most other drugs, our bodies learn to adapt to alcohol. Over time and repeated excessive drinking, we need more alcohol to get the same effect. This is known as alcohol tolerance, and for functional alcoholics, their tolerance is unusually high compared to other people.

However, this shows through in unexpected ways. For example, a high functioning alcoholic can drink the same amount as a friend and not experience a hangover, even after several drinks too many.

This might seem like a benefit, but it’s actually a screaming red flag. It means that your body is dependent on alcohol, and you’ll need to drink more to get the same effect. And while you may not think it’s hurting you, you’re harming your brain and your body the whole time.

Denial is Your Superpower

Regardless of severity or progression, all alcoholics have one thing in common: denial.

Addiction is fundamentally dishonest. You’re not just lying to others about your habits–you’re lying to yourself. You know, in your heart of hearts, that something is wrong, but you find ways to justify the behavior because you need your fix.

You can hide it for a while to avoid the pain and embarrassment of showing others (and yourself) how bad it is, but the negative consequences will catch up to you eventually. Even if you haven’t seen obvious negative consequences like a car accident or an arrest, you may still have a problem.

High Functioning Alcoholism Can Hurt You

A high functioning alcoholic can hurt those around them just as readily as any other addict. And while you may not think that your drinking is harming you, the truth is that you can live a fuller, happier life free of alcohol. 

If you or a loved one need to look into treatment options, click here to check out our recovery program, or get in touch to talk about how our team can help you get on the right path.

Inpatient vs Outpatient Rehab: What’s the Difference?

Getting help to beat your drug addiction can be one of the most significant decisions you make in your life. If you have a loved one who has finally agreed to go to rehab, it can feel like the glimmer of hope you have been longing for. But you still have to decide which one will benefit them most between inpatient vs outpatient rehab. 

And choosing the right rehab facility for them can be a daunting task, a fact we know well.   

Drug addiction is a complex condition. It gets tough for most people who develop a substance use disorder to stop without professional help. In essence, the needs and addiction severity determine the right rehab program for an addict.

Once you decide to go to rehab, you must understand the difference between inpatient and outpatient rehab to make an informed decision.

Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Rehab

Inpatient programs require patients to live in the facility. Outpatient programs entail daily treatments that allow patients to go back to their homes once treatment is over. Inpatient programs tend to be quite expensive compared to inpatient programs.

However, on the upside, they offer round-the-clock care. This may offer a more immersive treatment experience for patients. Any distractions and triggers that patients may experience at home are totally eliminated. Patients are given an opportunity to focus solely on recovery. It’s usually wise to consult an addiction counselor about the best option since it will highly depend on the addition level.

An In-depth Look at Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is suitable for most people looking to escape addiction since they can be far away from temptations and get right into sobriety. Several benefits come with inpatient or residential treatment, which we’ll cover in this in-depth post.

Features of an Inpatient Treatment Program

Inpatient programs may vary from facility to facility, but some of the features you’ll find include:

  • Both individual and group therapy
  • Supervised detoxification
  • Medication administration whenever necessary

Beyond these, some facilities may offer other beneficial activities. These may include meditation, yoga, life skills training, and family therapy.

Advantages of Inpatient Treatment

Given that a patient has to live in the facility full time for a certain amount of time, they are likely to benefit more. Most patients will view staying in the facility and away from loved ones as a drawback. However, it can be highly beneficial in terms of recovery. Here are more inpatient treatment benefits.

  • It allows patients to be away from their usual environment that’s possibly rife with temptations.
  • Places the patients in a safe and healthy environment where they are taken care of by professionals and other people who are focused on their recovery
  • Allows patients to get into skills training as well as education
  • Possible chance of a higher success rate
  • Full-time supervision
  • Allows patients to interact with others in a community

Drawbacks of Inpatient Treatment

  • Patients are not free to leave whenever they please
  • They live in a structured environment and have to follow rules about when to wake up, when to eat, and when to undergo counseling sessions
  • Patients with children need to arrange for childcare while they undergo treatment
  • Patients need to leave their jobs or businesses
  • Most insurance companies only cover outpatient treatments

Most treatment programs run between 30 and 90 days. However, patients can undergo treatments for a longer duration in therapeutic communities, which lasts at least six months.

Such programs are suitable for patients who need long term care or comprehensive treatments. They make it easier to transition back into life with renewed hope and better life stills.

What Does Inpatient Treatment Entail?


The first phase of inpatient treatment encompasses detoxification. Patients start taking less and less drugs than their usual dosage, causing withdrawal symptoms. Depending on addition severity, the drugs may be reduced gradually or stopped entirely.

This process can also occur in outpatient facilities. However, inpatient facilities can provide comfort and safety. One of the best things about an inpatient facility during this detoxification phase is that the patient is monitored to ensure the withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening.

Medication Administration

Certain medications can be used to manage acute substance withdrawals. There are several types of FDA approved medications, known as medication-assisted treatment, that treat certain types of substance addiction.

In some cases, it works exceptionally. However, it becomes quite challenging to severe addicts who are addicted to more than one type of drug. Henceforth, it is advisable for patients who need this kind of treatment to use an inpatient setting for success.


One of the most significant benefits of inpatient treatments is the fact that patients can undergo individual or group therapies, which can be more helpful. Living in the facility means the patient will attend therapy without having to worry about other commitments.

The Best Candidates for Inpatient Programs

Inpatient programs are suitable for people who have a hard time staying sober alone. If you are not sure whether you or your loved one can be sober without supervision, then an inpatient rehab center will serve you best.

Patients trying to recover from drugs such as cocaine, opioids, among other hard drugs, are encouraged to use inpatient facilities for safety purposes during the detox phase.

An In-depth Look at Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatments involve a variety of different programs. Patients visit the facilities on a scheduled basis, depending on the treatment they need. Counseling may also be in a group or individual setting, depending on the most beneficial option for the patient.

Features of an Outpatient Treatment Program

Essentially, programs also vary for outpatient therapy, depending on the patient’s needs.

However, more focus is placed on therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, contingency management, matrix model, motivational interviewing, and multidimensional family therapy. Patients may also undergo skills training, educational programs, mental health care, among others.

The most significant drawback of outpatient treatment is that patients do not entirely remove themselves from temptations and triggers that may cause a relapse. For this reason alone, outpatient treatment is not suitable for patients with severe addiction.

Advantages of Outpatient Treatment

  • Patients get to live at home close to their loved ones
  • They can continue with school or work and other daily activities
  • They can still take care of their children
  • Get constant support and attention from family
  • They can start applying what they learn in their lives and begin making changes immediately
  • Affordable and generally covered by insurance
  • Privacy and anonymity

Drawbacks of Outpatient Treatment

  • Patients risk being exposed to drugs and substances and risk triggering the addiction
  • Daily distractions may keep them from recovering
  • Limited professional care
  • Risk of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms
  • The missed opportunity of growing into a support community that inpatients have

The Best Candidates for Outpatient Treatments

People addicted to alcohol and not hard drugs tend to have an easier time in outpatient treatment programs. Alcohol withdrawals tend to be milder compared to other substances.

Hence the risk of a medical emergency during detox is significantly reduced. Still, it may be frightening for some people, and the condition of the patient needs to be assessed before making a decision.

If a home environment is completely sober, and neither friends nor family members have alcohol or drugs at home, then an outpatient program may work. It also helps if the patient does not know anyone close by who may procure the substances for them. Otherwise, they risk a relapse.

How Do You Determine the Best Option?

With all this information, it’s clear what both programs offer and what the patient is likely to get from each one. However, choosing the right one that will yield the best results may not be an easy task. It’s essential that you consider several factors that may affect the patient.

Understanding how they’ll affect them and the possible outcomes will be a big help. Here are several questions that will help you come up to the right choice.

  • How severe is the patient’s addiction?
  • Is the patient exposed to drugs at home?
  • How stable and supportive is their family?
  • Is it possible to leave their job, school, or children?
  • Are they suffering from any mental health issues?
  • Do they require specialized treatment, like a handicap-assisted facility?

What Should You Look for In A Facility?

The rehab facility should have the resources to treat both the physical and psychological effects of the addiction. Patients are likely to overcome their addiction if both their dependence and psychological needs contributing to that dependance are addressed. A facility should be able to offer you a complete package until the patient is fully recovered.

Beyond that, the professional in the facility should be educated, trained, licensed, and certified to practice. Such qualifications increase the chance of a successful recovery because the patient will receive optimum care. Do thorough research to ensure the facility is licensed as well, and their reputation is solid.

How Long is Treatment Likely To Last?

The time it takes for a patient to recover depends on many factors, including whether you choose an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. In general, treatment outcomes are much better with prolonged treatments that last 90 days or more.

You also need to understand that rehab is the beginning of a lifelong process. Given the fact that addiction can be a chronic illness, some patients may continue with aftercare programs after treatment.


So, inpatient vs outpatient rehab, which is better? With all these factors to consider, choosing between inpatient and outpatient rehab will be easier for you.

You or your loved deserve a brand new start and picking the right facility will give you just that. If you’d like to know more, kindly check out our website or contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Drug Abuse in Adolescence: Help Your Teenager

Over the years, it has become very easy for teenagers to get their hands on drugs. According to one study conducted a few years ago, more than 80% of teens revealed that they could get access to drugs if they wanted to. With these numbers, its good to know more about ‘Drug Abuse in Adolescence,’ and gather as much knowledge as possible.  

The good news is that not all of them are taking the opportunity to use drugs. That same study showed that only about 40% of teens say that they’ve tried drugs, with most admitting to experimenting with marijuana.

But the bad news is that drug abuse in adolescence is affecting some of the teens who have given drugs a try. According to a survey done by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, about 3% of those between the ages of 12 and 17 believe they could benefit from receiving treatment for drug abuse.

Do you suspect your teenage child might fit into this category? Here is how you can help them battle addiction.

Look for Signs That Suggest Your Teenager Might Be Using Drugs

The longer a person uses drugs, the harder it can be for them to quit. Drugs can change the wiring in a person’s brain and make it almost impossible for them to quit on their own if they’re not careful.

With this in mind, the parents of teenagers should always be on the lookout for any early warning signs of teen drug use. These warning signs will let you know if you should be concerned about your child using drugs.

In some cases, it’s pretty easy for parents to tell that their teenagers are using drugs. They

stumble upon drugs stashed in their bookbag or smell the scent of drugs on them when they return home after hanging out with friends.

But drug abuse in adolescence isn’t always this obvious. There are less subtle signs that can also let you know that your teen might have a drug problem.

Your child might be using drugs if you notice that they are:

  • Hanging out with a new group of friends that you’ve never met before
  • Showing little to no interest in school, work, and extracurricular activities
  • Exhibiting frequent mood changes and almost always acting out of character

Almost all teenagers go through some changes as they grow up and work their way through middle and high school. But if you notice sudden changes that come out of nowhere, it could be a cause for concern.

Talk to Your Teenager About Their Suspected Drug Use

Experts say that parents should start talking to their kids about drugs from a young age.

They don’t need to explain drug abuse in-depth to them when they’re 6 or 7 years old. But they can lay the groundwork for future conversations by discussing the dangers of smoking cigarettes, drinking, and using drugs when the opportunity presents itself (i.e. when someone is shown smoking in a movie).

This makes it easier for parents to speak with kids about drug abuse in adolescence later on. It’s not as difficult for parents to talk to teenagers about drugs when they’ve already established an open dialogue about them.

Whether you’ve spoken with your teenager about drugs in the past or not, you should bring drugs up the moment you suspect they might be using them. You shouldn’t ignore the problem or chalk your child’s drug use up to “experimentation.”

You should sit them down and talk to them about your concerns and let them know that you’re worried about some of the things you’ve noticed in recent weeks.

Avoid Being Judgmental While Discussing Drugs With Your Teenager

If you know for a fact that your child is using drugs, you might be tempted to explode on them as soon as you start discussing their drug use with them. Many parents lose their cool at the start of the drug conversation with their teens and pay the price for it.

If you go on the offensive right away and begin passing judgment on your teenager and their drug use, they’re not going to respond well to it. They might even get up and leave before you have a chance to say anything else.

You’re much better off easing your way into the conversation that you’re going to have with them and expressing your desire to support them. They’re more likely to be open to talking with you when you take this approach.

They’re also more likely to talk about the specifics of their drug use once they see that you’re not going to judge them or yell at them. This is important because it’ll allow you to gauge how often they’re using drugs and how bad their problem might be.

Ask Your Teenager If They Have a Desire to Stop Using Drugs

At some point during your conversation with your teenager, ask them if they’ve ever thought about quitting drugs. You might be surprised by what they have to say.

There are some teenagers who will respond by saying that they don’t have any intention of quitting. But there are also some who will say that they wish they could stop but don’t know how.

As we alluded to earlier, drugs can take over a person’s brain and make it very hard for them to stop using them. It can be especially difficult for teenagers—and those of all ages, for that matter—to kick prescription pill habits and heroin addiction.

Your teen could very well tell you that they’ve thought about trying to quit drugs in the past but struggled to do it. This will put you in a much better position to help them.

See If Your Teenager Would Be Willing to Get Professional Help for Drug Abuse

You might not realize this, but if your child is under the age of 18, certain states will allow you to force them to go to drug rehab. Some parents take advantage of this and tell their teens to pack their bags as soon as they discover they’ve been using drugs.

But the problem with taking this approach to getting your teenager help with addiction is that they obviously aren’t going to feel like they have a say in the matter. It could make their rehab stint unsuccessful, and it could also affect your relationship with them moving forward.

Instead, why not ask your teenager if they would be willing to get professional help for drug abuse?

By making them feel like they’re a part of the process, you may get a much better response from them. You may also help to put them on the right path once they enter rehab and start taking the necessary steps to fight back against addiction.

Find the Right Drug Treatment Facility for Your Teenager

It’s not going to be too tough for you to find a drug treatment facility if your teenager agrees to go and get the help that they need to battle addiction. There are more than 14,000 addiction treatment centers in the country today, and that number seems to rise every year.

You should do your homework, though, and try to track down the right drug treatment facility for your teenager. Look around at different places that are within an hour or two of your home and see which ones will cater to your teen’s specific needs.

Continue to Communicate With Your Teenager About Drugs

In a perfect world, your teenager will check into a rehab facility, get the help that they need, and get clean within a few months. But even if that’s the way that things work out, that’s not going to be the end of their drug problem.

Beating an addiction to drugs is unlike beating any other health issue. Your teenager is going to have to continue to fight the urge to turn back to drugs for the rest of their life. And it’s not uncommon at all for those who have quit using drugs to relapse at some point.

It’s why you and your teenager are going to have to continue to communicate about drugs.

You’re going to need to talk to them about how they’re doing and encourage them to get more professional help in the future if they need it.

The key is addressing the elephant in the room rather than ignoring it. As long as you and your teenager are able to do that, they’ll have a much better chance of living a drug-free life.

Help Your Teenager Deal With Drug Abuse in Adolescence

Has drug abuse in adolescence taken a toll on your teenager?

You might be depressed, angry, and even heartbroken over it. It’s not easy for parents to accept that their children are having a hard time with drugs.

But you shouldn’t turn your back on your child over it. You should make every effort to get them the help they need so that they can get back on the right track.

We can help you by providing your teenager with a drug recovery program. Our program is designed to help people detox from drugs and start putting the pieces of their life back together.
Contact us today to find out what our rehab facility can do for you, your teenager, and your family as a whole.

Parents: Keep Prescription Medicine Safe at Home

Did you know that 9.7 percent of 12th graders reported taking Vicodin recreationally in the past year? Or, that 4.7 percent of these same students abused OxyContin, too? With these statistics in mind, we’ve written our ‘Parents: Keep Prescription Medicine Safe at Home,’ a guide to preventing teen drug abuse.

Amphetamine consumption among teens has also been on the rise with 4.5 percent of eighth graders admitting they’ve used it. These stats increase to 4.5 percent among 10th graders and 6.8 percent among 12th graders.

Sobering figures like these point to a dangerous trend in prescription drug use among teens. They also beg the question: how can we keep medicine safe and away from our kids?

Especially if we have prescriptions lying around the house?

Taking action to prevent or stop medicine abuse remains key to protecting our loved ones. Let’s explore steps we can take to start doing this today.

Teen-Proof Your Home

When your children were toddlers, you took prescription medicine storage very seriously. And this certainly extended to other over-the-counter drugs as well as just about anything that could be construed as a choking hazard.

As our kids grow, though, we become more lax about home-based safety hazards. The gates come down, and the child-safety gadgets come off the cabinet doors. But truth be told, your guard needs to stay up when it comes to medicines.

Keeping your kids drug-free starts with responsibly storing and disposing of your medications, both prescription and over-the-counter. Here are some tips that will help you secure your home and protect your kids.

Take Medicine Storage Seriously

As the saying goes “An ounce of prevention is worth half a pound of cure.” This proves true not only when it comes to illness but also when it comes to preventing medicine and drug abuse among our kids.

Here’s a stat that should get your attention. Of the teens who’ve abused prescription medicines, two-thirds say they ascertained the substances that they used from family, friends, or acquaintances.

In other words, the best way to stop the abuse of home drugs is by locking medicine storage containers. Experts suggest securing your medicine the way you would your jewelry, other valuables, cash, and handguns.

Take them out of your medicine cabinet and stow them in a place where only you know to look for them. The same goes for over-the-counter meds, too. But don’t stop there.

Locked Medicine Organizer Ideas

A locked cabinet or safe represents your first line of defense against prescription drug abuse. There are also a variety of affordable devices that you can purchase specifically for safe drug storage.

These medicine safe-lock boxes will protect your prescriptions and over-the-counter meds from getting into the wrong hands. Look for one with a steel-reinforced composite body and a secure locking mechanism.

While many can be stored in your medicine cabinet due to their size, we still suggest placing them out of sight and out of mind.

Along with keeping tabs on your medicine cabinet, you need to have a serious talk with your friends and family members. Especially if your teen (or their friends) could gain access to medicine cabinets at their homes.

Make sure your children’s grandparents and older relatives are well-aware of the dangers of prescription drug abuse. For elderly relatives, we also suggest helping them ensure their medicines are secure and protected.


Keep Track of Your Pills

Besides locking away your prescription and over-the-counter meds, it’s also important to pay attention to your pill counts. This can be as simple as keeping notes on a post-it where you store your medicines.

Take note of how many pills are in each prescription bottle. Remember to track your refills, too.

Which drugs should you remain most vigilant about? As you’ve probably heard, we’re in the midst of a pervasive, chronic opioid crisis. It’s taken the lives of countless celebrities, athletes, and everyday Americans.

Opioids are prescription pain relievers, and they can prove very dangerous for adults, let alone teens. Also pay close attention to stimulants such as ADHD medications and benzodiazepines, which are anti-anxiety medicines and sedatives.

Other drugs that pose a threat to your teens include sleep aids and even dietary supplements.

Properly Dispose of All Medications

How you throw away medications could also lead to opportunities for drug abuse not only for your teens but also for opportunistic kids in your neighborhood. How should you safely throw away unused medications?

Participate in a safe drug disposal program. Local pharmacies often hold these events, and they’re usually advertised as drug take-back days. You should also research ongoing community-wide initiatives near you.

These represent a long term, convenient solution when it comes to throwing away old meds. Find a program that can provide you with a drug deactivation bag or opt for a drug mail-back program.

Not sure where to start researching such an organization? Learn more about the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) “Take Back Day.” Or, visit the American Medicine Chest Challenge to get started.

What’s more, properly disposing of medicines safeguards our environment for future generations.

Recent studies suggest that many of our waterways are already contaminated by chemicals from medicines flushed down the sink or toilet. By responsibly getting rid of your old prescriptions and over-the-counter pills, you do everyone a favor.

Start a Conversation

It’s also important to keep the lines of communication open when it comes to our children. Make sure your kids know about the dangers of drug use by speaking to them early and often.

Many of us remember to talk to our kids about the dangers associated with alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use. But we fail to discuss prescription medicines.

Yet, these form a crucial core of substances that threaten our kids’ well-being and safety.

Consider this. Of the 4.6 million Americans who visited the ER in 2009 due to drugs, the majority — 27 percent of cases — were attributed to non-medical pharmaceutical use. These cases included over-the-counter medicines, too.

We understand that having these conversations can feel uncomfortable. They often verge on territory that we have no experience with. After all, many of us grew up in households where drugs were rarely, if ever, discussed.

Remember that in the long run, your kids will thank you for going the extra mile to keep dangerous, addictive substances out of their hands. They’ll also appreciate the dialogue you start with them. Even if you don’t know what to say at first.

Know the Signs of Addiction

Taking the precautions above will provide you with peace of mind when it comes to the safety of

your teens. Of course, it can be more difficult to keep track of your kids’ exposure to drugs at school or through friends and acquaintances.

Do you have a bad feeling that you can’t shake when it comes to how your teen has been behaving lately? Sometimes this represents the first red flag that something’s wrong.

After all, whether or not they’re willing to admit it, nobody knows your teen better than you do.

Signs of addiction include:

  • Failure to meet normal responsibilities (missing school, incomplete homework)
  • Impaired control
  • Erratic behavior
  • Unexplained mood swings
  • Health issues
  • Risky behaviors that put your teens or others in danger
  • Impairment
  • Secrecy

Understanding and recognizing the signs of addiction can help you know when it’s time to intervene. What’s more, if your teen is already descending into substance abuse, the likelihood of them asking for help will prove slim.

Get Help If Necessary

If you think your child is struggling with a more serious drug problem, ignoring it will only exacerbate the issue. What’s more, it could threaten their life. Drug use can quickly lead to full-blown addiction.

Time is of the essence. Don’t let feelings of inadequacy or guilt as a parent get in the way of providing your teen with the help they need. When confronted, addicts often lash out in cruel, manipulative ways to continue their substance abuse habit.

Don’t second guess yourself. Instead, act decisively to guarantee your teen has the help they need.

And after that? Your job isn’t finished. Check out these tips to help you effectively support them through rehab and longterm recovery.

Keeping Your Medicine Safe

As the opioid crisis has demonstrated over recent years, prescriptions drugs can prove just as dangerous as illegal ones. Even for the individuals that they’re prescribed to.

Unfortunately, we all tend to think of prescription drugs as less harmful than street drugs like crack and meth. This stems from the fact they’re doctor-prescribed and legal. We often inadvertently pass this faulty perception on to our kids.

After all, we’re often the first individuals to administer over-the-counter and prescription drugs to them. We do this to “make them feel better.” These messages get ingrained into our children from a young age and can prove confusing.

What’s more, if your kids have watched you pop pills now and again to “calm your nerves” or take away some “aches and pains,” they may have an ill-formed notion of the real dangers lurking behind those orange bottles.
Start by keeping your medicine safe and having a conversation with your kids. Not sure how that dialogue should go? Continue reading for five ways to prevent drug abuse.

The Link Between Energy Drink Addictions and Drug Use

If you think energy drinks and the caffeine they contain are harmless, then you might want to think again. To highlight the risks, we’ve written a quick look at ‘The Link Between Energy Drink Addictions and Drug Use.’

Recent studies released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens showed that students who regularly consume energy drinks also had higher rates of alcohol problems, cocaine use, and prescription stimulant misuse.

While there are many factors that contribute to this kind of correlation, there’s no denying that it’s important to take a look at the link between energy drink addictions and drug use.

It’s especially important if you’re looking to understand how energy drink addictions might be indicative of a potential drug use problem for your teen or loved one now or in the future.

What to Know About the Dangers of Energy Drinks

The US government has put restrictions on energy drinks before. While caffeine itself is usually a harmless substance, energy drinks contain high amounts of caffeine along with other ingredients that can cause damage.

In fact, in 2010, the US Food and Drug Administration put a ban on caffeinated alcoholic beverages because the combination was found to be harmful. Hospital emergency visits doubled due to those beverages.

But, alcohol aside, what’s inside of energy drinks that makes them so dangerous?

The Harmful Ingredients in Energy Drinks

Aside from containing lots of sugar and caffeine, energy drinks also contain:

  • Taurine
  • Guarana
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Artificial coloring
  • Additives

Artificial sweeteners in these kinds of drinks can include Sucralose, Aspartame, Ace-K, Stevia, and Saccharin. While these are great for controlling weight gain, they also lead to sugar addictions.

The most harmful ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine. While it’s safe to consume caffeine in normal doses, people who drink energy drinks are receiving high, concentrated amounts of the ingredient.

According to the European Food Safety Authority, an adult shouldn’t consume more than 400mg of caffeine. For teens, this number is much lower.

One Monster Energy drink contains four times the amount of caffeine as a shot of espresso. This means that many people are at risk of consuming much more caffeine than they should in one day.

But, the question still remains. Are energy drinks addictive? Well, artificial sugar can cause sugar addictions. And caffeine acts as a psychoactive substance like other actual drugs. This means that it changes your brain by blocking adenosine receptors.

While it’s not as strong or addictive as a stimulant like cocaine, it’s on the same playing field.

The Harmful Side Effects of Energy Drink Ingredients

So, now you know a little bit about what energy drinks contain, but what are the side effects of those ingredients?

And energy drink addicts can risk feeling the following side effects when consuming high-caffeine sugary drinks on a regular basis:

  • Sugar addiction
  • Headache
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety

While these side effects might not seem like much, they’re symptoms that can lead to more serious issues.

There’s a link between anxiety and depression, for example, and at least one-third of people with depression also have a problem with alcohol.


How Caffeine Primes the Brain for Addiction

When it comes to the side effects of energy drinks on the brain, the most important thing to understand is how the caffeine in the drinks essentially “primes” the brain for addiction.

In regards to teenagers specifically, this is especially concerning. Studies suggest that when teens consume high amounts of caffeine, they become accustomed to the stimulation and energy they receive.

Not only this, but they also risk developing a tolerance to caffeine. This means that by the time they’re adults, they’ll need more and more of it to feel energized.

Sometimes, this can lead to certain people looking elsewhere to receive the same peppy effect.

This is particularly true when younger people with less developed brains begin to drink highly caffeinated drinks. Because their brains aren’t fully developed yet, some scientists believe that caffeine can cause greater brain changes.

The study regarding students who regularly consume energy drinks also found that teens are at a higher risk of developing drug problems in the future.

This means that having a problem with energy drinks at a young age could be a sign of similar addiction problems in the future.

These high amounts of caffeine on a young brain, or even a developed one for that matter, can have the following effects:

  • Constant stimuli can cause changes to the brain’s actual chemistry
  • The individual can develop a tolerance to the substance and need to consume more just to feel okay
  • When the individual builds up a tolerance, they’re more likely to develop a similar addiction to other substances

This is how harmless beverages prime the brain for addiction. Once someone has developed a minor addiction to one thing, it’s much easier for them to replace that addiction with something else.

Sometimes, this means replacing caffeine with cigarettes or other stimulants.

How Energy Drink Addictions Cause Other Addictions

By now, it’s clear that energy drinks contain harmful ingredients that can lead to various types of addictions. These addictions can be to things like sugar or caffeine.

They also lead to other types of mental illnesses and conditions that can cause someone to be more prone to developing a drug or alcohol addiction.

What’s most concerning about all of this is the fact that the younger someone is, the more prone they are to developing an addiction.

This is alarming seeing as the target consumer group for energy drinks are teens and young adults, especially when mixed with alcohol at bars and clubs.

But, you’re not going to become addicted to drugs simply because you drink a few energy drinks, right? The answer really depends on your genetic makeup and your lifestyle.

Before someone forms an addiction to energy drinks, their brain begins to adapt to their habits.

Because certain things release dopamine, the brain has to work to reestablish a balance between these surges and normal levels.

To make up for the imbalance, the brain starts to produce less dopamine. The results? The individual has to start consuming drugs or other substances in order to get themselves back to healthy, normal levels.

This is why people who develop a caffeine addiction have to constantly consume caffeine or they feel extra sluggish and have other side effects.

Their brains might also become more sensitive to other things such as stress, anxiety, or depression.

Now, their caffeine addiction is causing them to not only depend on caffeine, but it’s making them feel tired, anxious, and depressed. This might lead them to rely on other substances to take the place of their caffeine fix, like pills or stimulant drugs.

How Energy Drinks Act as a Gateway Drug

Now that this person has developed a dependency on energy drinks, their brain isn’t producing as much dopamine as it should.

So, they’re addicted to the peppy and stimulating feeling they get when they drink energy drinks, but they have to continue to drink more and more of them to replenish their brain with what it needs.

Over time, they’ll have to find other ways to make get dopamine into their body or risk feeling the side effects of lowered dopamine levels.

This includes depression and anxiety, both of which lead people to turn towards drugs and alcohol to soothe their pain. If this happens, then their brains will slowly begin to change over time.

This is evident in studies done on people with addiction. Brain-imaging scans show a loss of neurons and impaired brain activity in people with alcohol and cocaine addictions.

Not only are their brains different due to their addiction, but they’re less able to make quality decisions and regulate their impulses.

This is usually what makes it so hard for addicts to pull themselves out of a spiral once they’re addicted to a substance.

Simply put, energy drinks can act as a gateway drug. They’re just as addictive as other substances and can prime the brain to be more susceptible to cocaine addictions.

Receiving Help for Addictions of Any Kind

While energy drink addictions might not require something as serious as rehab or even a hospital visit, you shouldn’t take the issue lightly.

These kinds of addictions, especially at an early age, can cause serious problems in the future.

Because energy drinks and caffeine change your brain chemistry, they can prime you to become addicted to other similar substances in the future.

This is especially true if you or a loved one already has an addictive personality, to begin with. If an addiction to energy drinks has caused an addiction to drugs and alcohol, then it might be time to seek treatment.
Get in touch with us today and learn more about our drug and alcohol treatment program. If you have any questions, feel free to send us an email and we’ll gladly provide you with more information.

Why Strong Relationships in Recovery are Important

“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety; the opposite of addiction is connection.” This quote from British journalist Johann Hari has become a popular saying in recovery communities over the past few years, and connections forms ‘Why Strong Relationships in Recovery are Important.’

There’s a good reason for that. This quote reinforces what addicts in recovery have known for decades. Connecting with other people, especially other addicts, is essential to maintaining sobriety.

Why is it so important for addicts who want to stay sober to develop strong relationships in recovery? Here are a few good reasons.


Steering clear of that first drink or drug is the hardest thing to do once an addict leaves rehab. In rehab, they were protected from alcohol and drugs. They were also protected from the realities of their lives and the real world.

Once the addict returns to their regular life, the temptation to drink or use is everywhere. This is especially true if the addict is going back into the environment where they drank or used before rehab.

How can the addict who wants to stay sober avoid this temptation? The best way is to have another person who’s holding them accountable for staying sober. Without anyone holding them accountable the addict may think that they can get away with drinking or using and avoid the consequences. This mindset makes avoiding temptation difficult, maybe even impossible.

But if someone is present in the addict’s life to hold them accountable for their choice to drink or use, this person can provide a mental deterrent. The addict knows that someone is holding them responsible for their actions. And more importantly, they know that someone will care if they choose to relapse.

In 12-step programs such as AA and NA, people get sponsors. These sponsors help guide the newly sober addict through the rough early days of sobriety. They also hold them accountable for staying sober.

But getting a sponsor isn’t the only way to create accountability. Anyone can be an accountability partner for a new addict.

Any addict leaving rehab who wants to stay sober should find someone they trust to hold them accountable for their recovery. If that other person is another addict all the better.

Knowing that You’re Not Alone

Another popular saying in recovery communities is that addiction is the disease of loneliness.

And anyone who has dealt with addiction knows loneliness on a level that few others can comprehend.

Addicts are notorious for hurting the people they love the most. And even the most loyal family

and friends will eventually leave after being hurt over and over. So, the addict experiences the loneliness of being cut off by those they love.

Addicts also experience a kind of existential loneliness. This is created by the mentality that no one is going through what they’re going through and that no one understands what they’re going through. Most active addicts believe that they are the only ones facing the struggles they are facing. They also believe that they’re the only one who has ever felt as bad as they feel.

But this is far from the truth.

Addicts who go to rehab quickly find that everyone else there has been through very similar struggles and has felt very similar things. Addicts who choose to attend 12-step meetings as part of their recovery regularly hear stories from people who went through exactly what they went through. And they hear stories about people who felt the same feelings and thought the same thoughts.

In recovery communities, this is called identifying with others. For addicts who have felt alone and isolated, finding out that others have experienced the same struggles is a glorious reprieve from loneliness.

Identifying with other addicts provides the opportunity to build relationships based on shared experience. These relationships ensure that the addict will never have to go through anything alone. And these relationships provide the newly sober addict with people who can help them stay sober by sharing how they have stayed sober.

Addicts who feel like they are alone and that no one cares about them or their recovery are more likely to relapse. So, creating strong relationships in recovery based on shared experience is another way to help newly sober addicts stay sober.

Experience, Strength, and Hope

Rehab gives addicts a lot of good information about staying sober. Addicts who go to rehab learn new coping mechanisms that help them to avoid drinking and using. They also learn how they can change their lifestyle to avoid drinking and using.

But once the addict leaves rehab, putting the things they’ve learned into practice can be difficult. Without someone supporting them regularly and providing them with advice about how to stay sober, the addict is likely to succumb to temptation and use.

That’s why addicts need to create relationships with people who have stayed sober for a long time. These people with long term sobriety have a lot of experience with what it takes to stay sober. They’ve stayed sober through whatever life has thrown at them.

This “experience, strength, and hope” as it’s called in the rooms of 12-step programs, is essential wisdom for any addict looking to stay sober. When they run into a situation they don’t know how to handle, the addict can reach out to people with long term sobriety to get advice.

When you’re newly sober, it can feel like you have to relearn how to do life daily. People with long term sobriety can help newly sober addicts with this relearning process. This helps prevent relapse when the newly sober addict has to deal with something difficult. It also helps newly sober addicts deal with the sometimes overwhelming tasks of everyday life.

Creating strong relationships in recovery with people who have long term sobriety is one of the best things a newly sober addict can do for their recovery.


Sounding Board for Stinking Thinking

In recovery communities, the phrase “stinking thinking” refers to the constant, negative inner monologue that most addicts have. This inner monologue is like a broken record telling the addict that they aren’t good enough, that they’ll never succeed, that no one likes them, so they might as well drink and use. Many addicts drank and used to avoid this negative inner monologue.

When addicts get sober, they are no longer getting the relief from this inner monologue that drinking or using provided. For many, the negative broken record in their brain becomes overwhelming without a drink or a drug to silence it. Many addicts who want recovery relapse when they cannot overcome their “stinking thinking.”

Addicts are also masters of lying and denial. Most addicts have spent so long lying to themselves and others and perfecting their denial that they can barely distinguish what’s true and what’s false.

Creating strong relationships with other addicts can provide relief from the addict’s negative

inner monologue and a “fact check” on what’s true and what’s not.

When the addict is having a tough time with their thoughts, they can reach out to another addict and tell them how they’re feeling. The other addict can identify with them and assure them that they are valuable and worthy. When the addict is trying to justify bad behavior through lying or denial, another addict can help them distinguish the truth, so they can take a sober action instead of one that leads toward relapse.

When addicts are left alone with their thoughts and their own decision-making processes they are bound to drink or use again. Creating relationships with other sober addicts gives the newly sober addict someone to talk to and someone to help them sort of their thinking and decisions.

Learning to Have Fun in Sobriety

Most addicts believe that they’ll never have any fun again once they get sober. This makes sense because everything they’ve seen as fun for years has involved drugs or alcohol. They can’t imagine going to a restaurant or a concert or a work party or any event without drinking or using.

Since all their fun has been associated with drinking and using, the addict needs to discover ways to have fun sober. This is where sober friends come to the rescue.

People who have been sober for a while have learned how to have fun in sobriety. They’ve often learned how to do the same things they used to do while drinking and using without a drink or a drug.

Making sober friends who can show the newly sober addict how to have fun sober is essential to preventing relapse.

Creating Relationships in Recovery

For many newly sober addicts, creating relationships in recovery is extremely overwhelming. Most addicts aren’t used to interacting with others without the buffer of drugs and alcohol.

Talking to new people when you’re newly sober is very uncomfortable, but that discomfort is necessary for learning to live sober.
For more information about how addicts leaving rehab can build relationships that support their recovery, check out our blog.

7 Ways to Avoid Drinking and Driving

Every day 29 people die in car crashes involving a drunk driver. There are over 111 million people that self report that they drove under the influence. To help avoid as least some of these needless deaths, we’ve listed our top ‘7 Ways to Avoid Drinking and Driving’ in the form of a handy resource.    

Alcohol is very prevalent in our culture and media images. This makes drinking and driving is a big problem in the United States that causes significant damage to property, reputations, people and in the worst cases death.

Read on to learn ways to avoid drinking and driving.

Consequences of Drinking and Driving?

If you drive drunk or impaired, there can be legal, financial, professional, and personal, ramifications.

Legal Ramifications

Assuming that no one was injured, you will probably have to forfeit your license for a period of time, but in some cases, you may face mandatory jail time. At a minimum, you should expect community service.

If there are significant damages or loss of life, then you probably face jail time.

Individuals with commercial drivers licenses (CDL’s), may lose their license permanently.


Some employers have requirements where if you are convicted of an offense, like drinking and driving, that you may lose your job. This is especially true for jobs where you drive as part of your employment.

Employers who hire CDL drivers may also be liable for the actions of their driver.

You should expect your insurance to increase after a drunk driving conviction and some insurance companies refuse to pay for injuries associated with a drunk driving accident.

You should also expect fines and costs of mandatory drunk driving awareness training.

There will also be significant legal costs for representing you through the process.

Personal Implications

Individuals struggling with addiction often feel out of control in other aspects of their life. Even if they don’t get “caught” drinking, addiction can impact job performance and personal relationships.

Think long and hard, and determine if the risk of a wild night out is worth all of the potential pain.


How Do Drunk Drivers Behave?

It is a good idea to make sure you know what behaviors are common in drunk or impaired drivers. This will help to prevent you from getting in a car with a drunk driver, yourself. If you see an impaired driver, give them plenty of space and contact law enforcement.

Drunk drivers typically make wider than necessary turns and may swerve, weave or drift across the road. In some cases, there are near misses of parked cars, or other objects, drunk drivers then slow down and drive at a very slow speed.

The best way to prevent drinking and driving is to not drink. But if you choose to drink follows these recommendations to keep yourself and others safe.

7 Ways to Avoid Drinking and Driving

Below is a shortlist of ways to avoid the ramifications of drinking and driving.

1. Give Your Keys to Someone Else

If you don’t have keys you can’t drive. Find a trusted friend and give them your keys if you feel tempted to drive after a few cocktails.

Signs that you have had one too many is a change in speech or balance. Individuals with high blood alcohol levels may have a hard time keeping their balance and may run into people or walls.

2. Pace Yourself

There are some online calculators that will give you an idea of how much alcohol you can safely drink. These are not perfect calculations but will give you a starting point. You should also be conscious of how you feel when you drink, as other factors can affect how much you can safely consume.

Most people can metabolize one drink an hour. A drink is considered 12oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1 shot of liquor. It is a good habit to follow each alcoholic drink with water. There are also gender differences in how you metabolize alcohol.

Avoid drinking games if you plan on driving and don’t drink on an empty stomach.

Having food in your stomach slows your body’s ability to absorb the alcohol, being dehydrated does the opposite and speeds up alcohol absorption rate. Mixing your liquor with diet drinks does the same and speeds up alcohol absorption rates.

3. Stop Drinking 90 minutes to 2 Hours BEFORE You Plan to Leave

If you feel pretty confident in your numbers above, consider picking a time in the night to stop drinking and switch to water. Use the power of your phone to set an alarm so you don’t lose track of the time.

Plan ahead and count backward from when you want to leave. Be sure to make sure you are counting the number of drinks you are having while you are out.

If you drink mixed drinks, for example, keep a lemon or lime on your glass for every drink you have consumed.

Note: you will still have alcohol in your system, so you may want to consider a portable breath analyzer to check to make sure you are really ok before you leave.

4. Spend the Night

If you are having a house party, consider spending the night. Some hosts think ahead and set up guest bedrooms or air mattresses. This allows you to have a good time and eliminates the need to drive home.

It also creates a great morning opportunity to recap about the evening’s adventure. This also works if you have a designated driver. Consider having a sleepover at their house after the party has ended.

If you or a friend is blackout drunk, stay away to ensure that you don’t get sick and choke on your own vomit. You can get alcohol poisoning if you are considered about the amount someone has consumed say something or call 911. Always better to be safe than sorry.

5. Pick a Designated Driver

If you are out with friends pick someone to be the Designated Driver (DD). You can spend the night having a great time and know that you will make it home safely.

If you spend time with the same group of people while you enjoy the nightlife, make sure to take turns on who is willing to play DD on any specific night. Some groups even pay for the DD’s appetizers or dinners as a thank you for getting them home safe.

If you DD decides to drink, for whatever reason, find an alternative way home.

6. Take the Night Off

Volunteer to be the DD and stick to it. Think of all the stories you will have on your friends from their drunken antics.

If you begin to feel pressure to drink by the end of the night, order a tonic with a lime in a short glass. It looks like a gin and tonic and typically deflects the “don’t you want to have just one mentality”.

If you are struggling with staying sober when you want to, there are also options.

Why Stopping Drinking Can Be Difficult

Often times drinking is associated with other health issues. If you feel like your drinking is out of control, this may be part of the reason.

This is called a dual – diagnosis. Your alcohol consumptions may be part of a way to mask underlying issues.

It is quite common for individuals with addictions to also have a mental illness, significant life traumas, other health issues. These contribute to your desire to drink-making stopping much harder

Don’t be put off by the thought that there might be 2 issues versus one. This can often relieve the pressure. You want to make sure you seek treatment programs that can help you address all of the issues you face.

7. Find Another Way Home

Depending on where you live, there are options to get home after a night out beside driving.

The cheapest is to call a friend. Have conversations with your friends to see who is willing to pick you up, if you get overserved. Sometimes, local teenagers who can drive, but don’t drink are willing to be your chauffeur for some extra cash.

The bus is the second cheapest option compared to taking the bus or mass transit is to walk, if you are close enough to home.

Uber and Lyft are other great options if you end up drinking more than you planned. Make sure to download the app and set up your payment option before you go out for the night. A cab is another good option, your local bartender can give you a number.

Are You Ready to Make a Change?

If you need help to stop drinking and driving, contact us. We would be happy to help you get the help you need.

If you do decide to drink, don’t drive. there are a lot of other options available to you.

When to Go to Rehab

“Should I go to rehab?” When you are concerned about this need, it makes sense to review our short article on the matter, ‘When to Go to Rehab.’ 

If you suspect you might be addicted to drugs or alcohol, you’re probably asking yourself this very question right now.

In theory, it seems like it should be simple enough for someone to see that they need to think about checking themselves into a rehab facility to get help with addiction. But when addiction has its claws in you, it’s not always easy to admit that you need a helping hand.

There are, however, some signs that you can look out for if you’ve been wondering whether or not rehab might be beneficial for you. If you spot any of these signs, there’s a good chance that you should strongly consider checking yourself into rehab right away.

Take a look at ten signs that’ll show you need to go to rehab below.

1. You’re Relying on Drugs or Alcohol to Get You Through Every Day

When you first start experimenting with drugs or alcohol, you might only use them once in a while. But as people become addicted to them, they tend to begin using them more and more often.

Before they know it, they’re using drugs or drinking alcohol every single day and have a hard time imagining their lives without them. They’re consumed by the thought of using drugs or alcohol and can’t function normally without them.

If you struggle to abstain from drugs or alcohol for more than 24 hours, it’s a sign of a serious issue. You should entertain the idea of trying to go to rehab to get a handle on your drug or alcohol problem.


2. You Experience Physical Withdrawal Symptoms When You Don’t Use Drugs or Alcohol

How does your body feel when you’re not able to use drugs or drink alcohol for a day? Those who have become addicted to them often go through physical withdrawal symptoms that can send them crawling back to their drug of choice.

Drug users will usually experience some or all of these symptoms when they’re going through withdrawal from drugs:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Chest tightness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Muscle tightness
  • Sweating

Alcohol users, meanwhile, may have to combat withdrawal symptoms like:

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Agitation

There are also some more serious alcohol withdrawal symptoms like tremors, seizures, and alcohol hallucinosis that can kick in.

If you try to deal with drug or alcohol withdrawal symptoms on your own, you could put your health at risk. It’s better to do it with help from a professional at a rehab facility.

3. You’re Dealing With Drug or Alcohol-Related Health Issues

Speaking of health issues, there are all kinds of health problems that you might encounter if you continue to use drugs or alcohol over an extended period of time.

Initially, using illicit drugs on a regular basis can cause problems like:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

But those health problems will be nothing compared to the problems you might be forced to face down the line. Long-term drug users are often susceptible to:

  • Heart attacks and strokes
  • Mental health issues
  • Different types of cancer

Those who abuse alcohol, on the other hand, increases their chances of suffering from:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Different types of cancer

If your doctor has told you that you might be suffering from a drug or alcohol-related illness, it’s time to go to rehab. Otherwise, you could jeopardize your health even further by continuing to use drugs or alcohol.

4. You’re Lying to People About Your Drug or Alcohol Use

It’s hard to lie to your doctor about drug or alcohol abuse. Many times, they’ll be able to connect health issues that you’re having with addiction.

But it’s not always that difficult to lie to the important people in your life about your drug or alcohol problem. There are many full-blown addicts who are able to disguise their drug or alcohol problem so that those around them don’t notice.

Do you fall into this category? If you’re going out of your way to hide your addiction from other people, that likely means that it’s more serious than even you might believe.

Take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself why you’re lying about your drug or alcohol use. It could very well be because you’re ashamed to admit that you have a problem.

5. Your Relationships Have Suffered Due to Your Drug or Alcohol Use

Is the relationship that you have with your parents strained at the moment because they know you’re using drugs all the time? Or have your old friends stopped hanging out with you because they don’t enjoy being around you when you’re drinking?

These are both clear-cut signs that it’s time for you to go to rehab. They show that drugs or alcohol have taken a toll on some of your closest relationships.

It’s very hard to use drugs and alcohol all the time and maintain the relationships in your life.

You become so consumed with acquiring drugs or alcohol and using them that you can’t invest much time into nurturing your relationships.

If you value these relationships, think about seeking professional help for addiction.

6. You’ve Lost Interest in Things You Used to Enjoy

As we just mentioned, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to devote time to anything other than drugs or alcohol when you’re battling addiction. Drugs or alcohol will be just about all that you think about on a daily basis.

It’s not uncommon for those with a drug or alcohol problem to completely lose interest in things that used to bring them joy. They’ll stop playing sports, put their video game controllers down, and skip the gym in favor of using drugs or alcohol.

If the only thing you’re doing these days to keep yourself entertained is using drugs or drinking alcohol, there is no question that you need to see about enrolling in a treatment program at a rehab center.

7. You’re Struggling to Keep Up Your Grades in School or Hold Down a Job

There are certain people who are able to do well in school or hold down a job—even an important job in some cases—without allowing their addiction to get in the way. These people are referred to as “high-functioning addicts.”

But the vast majority of people cannot keep up their grades in school or do their best at work when drugs or alcohol are always on their mind. Their school or work performance will start slipping eventually.

If you’ve stopped turning in work at school or made a habit out of calling in sick from work due to your addiction, it’s yet another sign that you should go to rehab right away.

8. You’ve Run Into Legal Trouble Because of Drugs or Alcohol

Most people who abuse drugs or alcohol will encounter legal trouble at some point in their lives. There are many different drug-related crimes that people are arrested for every year.

When someone is addicted to drugs, they’ll often steal—both from strangers and from those they know—to fund their addiction. They’ll also engage in things like prostitution to get their hands on the money they need to buy drugs.

Alcohol abusers have also been known to break the law as a direct result of their addiction.

Public intoxication and driving under the influence are two of the most common crimes among those who abuse alcohol.

If you’ve been arrested even once because of either drugs or alcohol, it could be an indication that you have a problem and need help. The last thing you want to do is create a long rap sheet for yourself that could make your life harder than it has to be later on.

9. You’ve Attempted to Quit Drugs or Alcohol on Your Own and Failed

Oftentimes, people who abuse drugs or alcohol will say things like, “I can quit anytime I want,” when they’re confronted by others about their addiction. But quitting is easier said than done.

If you’ve tried to quit drugs or alcohol cold turkey in the past and come up empty, it should show you that it’s going to take more than sheer willpower to break your bad habits. Go to rehab to give yourself a better chance of quitting drugs or alcohol for good.

10. You’re Surrounded by People Who Are Telling You to Go to Rehab

Has your parent, your sibling, and your best friend all told you that you have a drug or alcohol problem? Listen to them.

You might not think that you have an issue. But clearly, they’ve seen a change in you that they don’t like.

At the very least, consider what they’ve said to you and evaluate your relationship with drugs or alcohol. You might need to go to rehab more than you realize.

So, Should You Go to Rehab?

It’s not easy to make the decision to go to rehab. Many people who could benefit from it put it off for years and sometimes even decades before getting the help they need.

If you’ve seen any of the troubling signs discussed here, you should give some serious thought to going to rehab. It could help you get your life back under control and prevent health problems in the future.

Contact us today to find out if our rehab center might be a good fit for you.

Steps to Overcome Addiction

If you or someone you love has had an addiction problem, you know that the most challenging part is trying to overcome it. Whenever you start using drugs, you may believe that you may stop at any time. You may also think that addiction problems are myths and that you will be an exception to the rule. This is unlikely to be the case, and in case you do find yourself battling substances, we’ve written these ‘Steps to Overcome Addiction,’ to help.

Overcoming addiction is a journey, and you have to have the right mindset to be able to go through the journey. You need to be determined to use all the resources available to you to overcome your addiction.

Steps to Overcome Addiction

So now that you want to go through this journey, where do you start? Here are some steps you can follow to overcome addiction.

Acknowledge You Have an Addiction

The first step you need to take is being honest with yourself. Acknowledge and accept that you have an addiction. Since you’re well aware of your addiction, you need to:

  • Find out what you are addicted to
  • Know what causes or triggers your addiction
  • Determine how the addiction is affecting your life
  • Identify what actions or decisions led you to it

Having a personal evaluation will help you determine what the source of your addiction is and what causes it. Once you identify this, you will be able to overcome it.

Accept Responsibility for Your Addiction

The next step in the journey to overcoming addiction is taking responsibility for your actions. You should start by taking away the blame you often place on other people or circumstances for your addiction. You should also stop justifying actions you take to engage in your addiction.

The most important of all is to stop always making excuses for your behavior. Accepting responsibility for the actions you took and the decisions you made to get you to your addiction is vital to overcome it.

Since you are only human and as humans, we are prone to make mistakes, forgive yourself for being an addict and strive to change.

Make a Conscious Decision to Change

Accepting to take responsibility not only makes you have the right mindset for recovery, but it also helps you make conscious decisions to change. You are now able to set a precise goal for what you want. Your target could either be quitting all addictions, removing some addictive behaviors or substance, or lessen the amount of money and time taken engaging in this habit.

Once you set a precise goal in your mind, it is always advisable to share this with someone close to you. This person becomes your accountability partner. You should ensure that she or he will not judge you, but will be there to support you and remind you of your goal.

Being able to quit an addiction entirely is the best option for your wellness. Nevertheless, if you can reduce the most harmful substance use or behavior, you are setting yourself on the right path. Recovery from addiction is a process, and as so, you should strive to get to your goal gradually.

Prepping Your Path to Overcoming Addiction

Since you have set a clear goal in your mind, there are actions you need to take to ensure that you get to your goal. It means taking away any triggers for addiction from your life or home. Meaning that you:

  • Take away all the things that remind you of your addiction
  • Have just enough money for your bills
  • Cut off ties with people who serviced or engaged you in your addiction
  • Stay away from stressful situations
  • Leave an abusive relationship

Getting rid or reducing contact with triggers of your addiction will help you to overcome it gradually.

Take It a Step at a Time

Gradually taking positive steps is the healthiest way to overcoming addiction. You will be working towards changing your behavior in small ways until it becomes a habit. Doing this is not easy. There will be moments where you will relapse and go back to your old habits.

In those moments, acknowledge and accept that you made a mistake and try to avoid repeating it.

Beating yourself up over a mistake can easily cause you to fall back to old patterns. Therefore, being compassionate and forgiving yourself in such moments is crucial for this journey.

Remembering that this is a process that will take time and effort will keep you from being too hard on yourself. It will also ensure that you keep pushing even in the face of difficulties and self-doubt.

To keep you motivated to get to your final goal, always remember to reward yourself when you succeed in making any small step forward.

Finally Quitting

After all the preparation, changing your mindset, setting your environment for the new you, and taking gradual steps to the goal, you get to quit the substance use. It could be the most liberating or empowering time or the most painful and frustrating time.

Getting rid of an addiction, especially one of substance use can be difficult. You may experience withdrawal symptoms which could be unbearable. In times like these, you need to seek treatment from your doctor.

How Do You Cope With Withdrawal Symptoms?

The most challenging aspect in the process of overcoming addiction is the withdrawal symptoms. Some symptoms may pass within a week or two when you quit substance use, yet others could take months or even years.

Just as people experience different symptoms, there are various ways to cope with withdrawal.

No coping mechanism will work for everyone. Some of these coping methods include:

  • Engaging in physical activities
  • Having close people such as friends and family around to talk to
  • Getting prescription to medication that helps with withdrawal

At this stage, you may also experience an intense craving for the drug you decided to quit as your brain needs time to recover from changes you are making. You can keep away these cravings by:

  • Staying away from the crowd you used to abuse substances with
  • Avoiding the places you used to frequent like clubs
  • Exercise caution when taking prescription drugs
  • Involving in distracting activities such as watching movies, exercising, etc.

Relapse Occurrence

Although you have put in the effort and are doing well after quitting substance use, you may find yourself relapsing. No one ever wants to fail, but these moments are very common on this journey to overcome addiction. You may need to try several times before you finally get it right.

The most common reasons for relapses are cravings, which are common during withdrawal.

Sometimes they may manifest after a few weeks, months, or even years after you quit. Knowing that you can manage these cravings when they arise is vital during this process.

You may also believe that you have control over substance use and that having a drink or a smoke won’t make you relapse. This is another common reason that people relapse and could lead to overdose or even death.

Coping With Relapse

When you relapse, it doesn’t mean that you have failed or that you don’t need to continue on your journey to overcoming addiction. It is a common setback that most people face. The best thing to do when this setback occurs is to understand what triggered you to relapse. Also, get to know what you would have done differently.

Once you realize and recognize this, you can put measures in place to ensure that you don’t relapse again. You can learn from your mistake and be successful on your next try.

Don’t Replace Your Addiction

It may be tempting to replace your substance addiction with another. For instance, chronic drinkers and smokers, after quitting, usually start overeating and gaining weight. It is quite common for people trying to overcome addiction to replace these bad habits.

Enjoying the calmness of life without that high you get off addiction, may sometimes be more rewarding. Meditation and maintaining a gratitude journal can be ways to help you avoid replacing your addictive behavior.

Overcoming Addiction Using Treatment

Since you are committed to overcoming your addiction, you may explore what treatment options are available to you. Addiction treatments may vary with the drug you used. These treatments include:

  • Medication
  • Detoxification
  • Counseling
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Behavior therapy

When you make up your mind to overcome addiction, you need to understand that addiction is more than a character flaw. Also, it’s not a sign of weakness and, therefore, requires willpower and commitment to overcome it.


Support is Essential during This Process

However you decide to take on your journey to overcome addiction, you need assistance. Your chances of recovery are better when you have people around you to share your experiences with.

You could lean on close family and friends, have a social network with other people going through recovery, or attend the 12-step program support groups.

All in all, you should ensure to be committed to your goal and remember to forgive yourself when you have a setback.

If you or your loved one wants to take on the journey to overcoming addiction, contact us today or fill out this intake form to get specialized assistance.

7 Signs to Identify Addiction

Walking down the road of addiction is a life-changing event. It’s no easy path to tread, yet such an easy path to stumble onto. With this knowledge in mind, we’ve identified ‘7 Signs to Identify Addiction,’ and assist in recovery.  

Addictions come in many shapes and sizes and go by many names. Regardless of what the addiction is centered on, however, it has the horrific potential of ruining your life. Addictions can be the root cause of destroyed relationships, lost jobs, financial problems, health issues, and more.

Do you understand how to know if you have an addiction?

It’s almost guaranteed that everyone on the planet is addicted to something, even if it’s minor and somewhat inconsequential – food, sex, pornography, videogames, TV, etc.

However, 1 in 7 Americans will deal with substance addiction. Substance addiction, unfortunately, has a far greater ability to become destructive in and around someone’s life.

Shockingly, even people suffering drug and alcohol addiction can remain oblivious to their own condition. Sometimes it’s because of fear or denial. Sometimes, people simply don’t know or recognize the signs.

We’re here to provide answers and guidance. Keep reading to understand and recognize the vital signs that point to addiction.

How to Know if You Have an Addiction

To be honest, if you’re wondering how to know if you have an addiction, there’s a strong likelihood you’re already there.

Don’t worry, however, the fact that you’re asking means you’ve already covered one of the first steps – recognizing there’s a problem. After you read the rest of this article, you can take the next step. If necessary, you can admit you have an addiction.

Before we get there, though, it’s important to read through these 7 important signs. Take each of them seriously and be honest with yourself. While reading this, set excuses and doubt aside.

In the end, have an honest conversation with yourself. If you recognize that you have an addiction, reach out to your family and friends, people you trust.

Then, with or without their help, start looking at recovery programs. Find a place with professionals who know how to treat addictions and put people back on their feet.

Now, let’s take a look at how to know if you may have an addiction.


1. You Have Mind Consuming Thoughts and Cravings

Everyone has wants, desires, and even cravings. However an addicts cravings are overwhelming. They’re consuming.

A traditional sign that an addiction is forming or has formed already presents itself in your mind.

When you’re addicted, once the idea of using pops into your head, you won’t be able to think of anything else. Until you satisfy that craving, whether it takes a day or a week, the thought will be there.

These thoughts start “innocently.” In your mind, you’re just “thinking” about it. It may even start out with you thinking about how it needs to stop.

However, the more you think about it, the more it starts to sound appealing. Before long, the appeal turns into a craving. Finally, the craving turns into a necessity.

Addicts go down this very train of thought all the time, sometimes every day. That’s why it’s so important to seek help. As an addict, you can’t trust your own mind.

It hurts to hear, but it’s a sincere truth.

2. You Make Broken “Last Time” Promises

The sincere truth mentioned above is validated if you’ve made and broken endless promises to never use again. Sadly, it’s an incredibly common behavior among addicts of all types.

As you begin to recognize that your substance usage may not be entirely in your control, you start making “last time” promises. In fact, you’ll often use these promises to justify one more relapse. In your mind, you honestly believe you’ll use one last time, and then your road to recovery will start.

Unfortunately, however, this is a form of denial. The fact is, there will always be an opportunity for “one more use” and addicts, by definition, can’t say “no”.

If you’re wondering how to know if you have an addiction, taking note of broken promises of last time substance use is a clear place to start. If you do find yourself making these promises, start making them to someone who can help keep you accountable. Additionally, this is a good time to seek counseling and other forms of professional help.

3. You Take Risks, Keep Secrets, and Lie to Cover Up Your Substance Use

As painful as it may be to hear, being an addict changes your behavior. Don’t misunderstand, being an addict doesn’t change who you are or make you a bad person. However, it does influence you to make bad decisions.

Although not everyone understands or accepts it, addiction is a disease. Similar to depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, it is a disease of the mind. While the path to becoming an addict is often within our control, substance abuse after the fact is not.

Once you’re addicted, you begin taking risks to satisfy your cravings. These risks include buying from drug dealers, stealing, using while at work, driving while intoxicated, and causing serious damage to your health. During your craving, these bad decisions all seem worth it.

Additionally, as an addict, you will find yourself lying to those around you. Addicts will lie to explain a missed an appointment, to get out of something to go home and use, to explain missing money, or to explain a change in behavior. Unfortunately, once you begin down a path of lies, it’s hard to stop.

Finally, along with lying comes keeping secrets. If you’re wondering how to know if you have an addiction, ask yourself if you’re keeping secrets. A common behavior of addicts is keeping their substance use and everything around it hidden from the people in their lives.

4. Your Friends, Family, or Co-Workers are Starting to Notice

One way to know if you have an addiction is if other people start pointing it out.

People who are close to you will know if something’s off. They may not come out and directly ask you if you have an addiction, but they will notice changes in your appearance, mood, and behavior.

Your instinct will be to lie and hide your substance abuse. Additionally, bringing it up and asking for help is incredibly difficult. If someone who loves you has noticed and is offering you their help, take this opportunity to come out of hiding.

Having just one person on your side who knows about your problem can make all the difference in the world. Don’t let pride or shame stop you from getting the help you need and beginning the process of recovery.

5. Your Addiction Interferes with Your Life

By now, you’re beginning to understand how to know if you have an addiction. Perhaps you are recognizing changes in your behavior or lies you are telling to yourself and others.

However, to drive the point home, let’s take a look at how your addiction is likely interfering with your life.

Addictive substance abuse, as discussed, often leads to poor decisions. This could be calling into work or just skipping a shift entirely. It could also mean falling behind on bills, distancing yourself from friends, or allowing yourself to adopt an unhealthy lifestyle.

Even temporarily, these behaviors can be detrimental to your well-being. However, if continued for long periods of time, these behaviors could lead to unemployment, lost relationships, homelessness, and even serious health problems. The final and most permanent repercussion could be a fatal one.

6. You Experience Withdrawal Symptoms

Learning how to know if you have an addiction may present itself when you try to stop using.

Addictions plague both the body and the mind. Not only can you become mentally and emotionally addicted to substances, but your body can become physically addicted as well.

Withdrawal symptoms take place when your body goes without the substance and it becomes distressed. These symptoms will be stronger based on the depth of your addiction. The sooner you realize you have a problem, the easier it will be to recover from it.

Withdrawal symptoms are also determined by what substance you’re addicted to. They range from irritation and anxiety to muscle soreness, seizures, and hallucinations.

There are multiple and unique symptoms for each type of addiction, however, the typical responses are as follows:

Alcohol withdrawal – a few days to a few weeks of tremors and/or seizures

Heroin and pain killers – 5 days of flu-like symptoms

Cocain – Up to 10 days of depression and restlessness

Benzodiazepines – Several weeks or months of seizures and anxiety

7. You Can’t Stop, Regardless of Negative Consequences

Finally, if you know a substance is causing negative consequences in your life but can’t stop using it, it’s a clear sign that you are addicted to it.

People are smart. Being an addict doesn’t change that. Therefore, whether you can stop yourself from using or not, you know it’s a problem and you’re aware of how dangerous it is.

However, intelligence and the ability to make good decisions can sometimes be stunted by pride and shame. Not wanting to admit they’ve lost control mixed with the shame of being labeled an addict prevents many people from seeking the help they need.

Change Your Circumstances Today

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, if you’re wondering how to know if you have an addiction, you probably do.

Please, before your problem gets worse, seek help. Our treatment staff is well-trained and willing to help. Start turning things around now.

Contact us today and learn how we can help you take your life back.