Adderall and Caffeine

How Do Adderall And Caffeine Interact With Each Other

Adderall is a prescription medication used to stimulate the nervous system. Caffeine, the ingredient found in your morning coffee or tea, is also a stimulant. When used simultaneously, the effects of both are enhanced. In small doses, the combination of Adderall and caffeine is not dangerous, but it is possible to overtax the nervous system. Understanding how each medication works individually and their possible interactions can help you avoid overdoing the two together. 

What Is Adderall And How Does It Work?

Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine, which is sold under the name Adderall, is a prescription drug that targets the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. These two neurotransmitters help increase focus, alertness, and concentration. They also increase dopamine which can make you feel happier. Adderall is mainly prescribed for people who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Narcolepsy. Both of these conditions have symptoms including an inability to focus and depressive nervous systems. 

While the outcomes of Adderall for people who need a stimulant can be very beneficial, it can also pose some less than desirable side effects. Adderall affects epinephrine, a neurotransmitter involved in the “flight or fight” response. The fight or flight response is the body is meant to put you on high alert in the event of danger and give you high levels of adrenaline so you can hypothetically run, or fight your way out of bad situations.

This system is great when you actually need it but can put unnecessary stress on the body when it’s triggered at inappropriate times. This can result in high blood pressure, sweating, jitters, anxiety, and nausea. Adderall and chest pain are common as well since a common cause of chest pain is anxiety and high heart rate. Some other side effects to be aware of include: 

  • Weight loss
  • Inability to sleep
  • Irritability 
  • Addiction
  • Lack of appetite
  • Mania 

Under the right circumstances, Adderall can be a helpful tool in dealing with certain brain conditions. A lot of people experience life-enhancing results from the prescription. When abused, or used without proper reason, it can make you very uncomfortable and ill. If you experience any of the above systems or chest pain with Adderall, talk to your medical professional. 

What Is Caffeine And How Does It Work? 

Caffeine, the name used for the chemical trimethylxanthine, acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system. Usually, caffeine is ingested through beverages, but can be found in the form of a pill, gum, and more recently, snack bars. Caffeine is naturally found in plants like the coffee bean, yerba mate, and tea. It can be extracted and concentrated into other substances.  It stimulates the central nervous system by increasing the heart rate, respiratory system, and has psychotropic effects (mood-altering). 

Caffeine ingestion causes an initial increase in alertness, focus, and energy. Its effects will be steady for around 2-3 hours, and then dwindle around hours 4-5 causing what is known as a “crash”. This crash will be defined by lack of energy, tiredness, and brain fog. The crash is caffeine withdrawal and sends most people off to their next cup of coffee or tea. 

Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world, and it’s very addictive. In small doses, caffeine can have health benefits. It increases productivity, can reduce the chances of developing type II diabetes, and improves focus. Too much, or any for sensitive people, can cause adverse reactions. Signs of too much caffeine include:

  • Sweating
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Crashing (extreme fatigue a few hours after caffeine)
  • Upset stomach 

Most people don’t need to talk to a doctor about their caffeine intake. As a general rule, one or two cups a day should be enough for optimal use. If you experience any of the above symptoms, it’s best to cut your intake down. 

What Happens When You Mix Adderall With Caffeine? 

Although Adderall and caffeine are both stimulants to the nervous system, they are very different compounds and result in different effects. Combining the two can cause too much stimulation to the nervous system and result in an excess of negative side effects, including chest pain. 

Adderall has less of an effect on caffeine and usually won’t deter the natural effects of the stimulant. Caffeine, however, can have a major effect on Adderall’s efficiency. Plenty of studies have shown that taking caffeine at the same time as Adderall, or within a few hours of taking Adderall, can decrease the effectiveness of Adderall and increase the negative side effects. This essentially means that Adderall will lose its ability to help improve aspects like focus, concentration, and alertness. At the same time, it will likely increase the less desirable feelings of anxiety, jitters, and nausea. 

Medical professionals tend to advise people who take Adderall for treating conditions like ADHD and narcolepsy to steer clear of caffeine when they’re taking the prescription to avoid losing potency. In many cases, people stop using the combination on their own because the side effects can be so unpleasant. 

What Are The Health Risks Of Adderall And Caffeine For The Brain And Body?

There are some health risks associated with combining Adderall and caffeine to be aware of. The most common risk factor of using the two simultaneously is the risk of over-taxing the brain and cardiovascular system. This can lead to chest pain and anxiety. When blood pressure and heart rate are increased in high amounts, the body is forced to work extra hard to keep all the major organs and systems functioning. 

This triggers the brain to send more signals to the organs and nervous system, and less to the brain itself. The result of this is trouble thinking, anxiety, feeling tired, and an inability to concentrate. This is the opposite effect that people want when taking these drugs. 

There is also an increased chance of developing an addiction when Adderall and caffeine are combined. Both of these stimulants are addictive. If you don’t experience the negative side effects and have increased positive stimulation, it’s possible to constantly want to return to that state of concentration and energy. Caffeine addiction is not always taken seriously, but it can be one of the most difficult things to give up. Giving up caffeine alone is challenging, so adding the combination of Adderall leads to an incredibly difficult habit to kick. 

How To Safely Use Adderall And Caffeine?

Adderall and caffeine are not inherently dangerous drugs. As long as you’re careful, and understand how they work, you should be able to use both in moderation. Most doctors suggest that if you have a daily prescription of Adderall, keep your caffeine intake to under 100g (1 cup of coffee) a day. If you have a prescription for Adderall, but only take it on occasion, try to use caffeine on days you aren’t taking Adderall. In general, if you develop any negative side effects or chest pain with Adderall, don’t introduce caffeine and speak to your doctor. 

What Other Drugs Should Not Be Combined With Adderall?

There are a few interactions you should really avoid if you are prescribed Adderall. The most commonly known interaction is with an MAO inhibitor. You should avoid taking Adderall if you have had an MAO Inhibitor (Monoamine Oxidase) within the last 14 days. MAO’s are a class of antidepressant drugs that elevate dopamine levels. 

Some MAO’s include amitriptyline, Parnate, and Ensam. While they are still prescribed, most of them have been replaced with drugs that have fewer side effects. Taking Adderall after taking an MAO inhibitor can cause hypertensive episodes and should always be avoided. This is labeled a “major interaction”, meaning it has the potential to be dangerous. 

The second known interaction is alcohol. Adderall should also not be taken with alcohol or within a few hours of having alcohol. Combining alcohol with long-release Adderall can cause a rapid release of the stimulant which may result in severe anxiety, insomnia, and hypertension. If you regularly drink alcohol, talk to your doctor before starting Adderall. 

Adderall also should not be taken while pregnant, breastfeeding, or with foods that have high levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, can lower the potency of Adderall’s effects. 

As a general rule of thumb, always consult your doctor before taking Adderall. f you do get a prescription, make sure your health care professional is aware of every medication you are taking, or may potentially take in the near future. This is the best way to avoid any uncomfortable interactions. 

Addiction Treatment At Granite Mountain Behavioral Health 

At Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, we offer an addiction treatment program to accommodate the needs of each individual client. We offer a full medical detox, addiction treatment, therapy, and other supplemental treatments. 

Our programs range from 30, 60, and 90-day programs. We use specific protocols for drug and alcohol addiction, co-occurring disorders, and more. All tracks engage the client in a transformative process based on the principles of a successful recovery and are grounded in evidence-based practices of substance use disorder. For more information, contact us anytime to start your journey to recovery. 

References:

https://www.wellrx.com/adderall/lifestyle-interactions/ 

the long-term effects of Xanax

What Are The Long Term Effects Of Taking Xanax?

Xanax is a highly addictive prescription medication that acts as a sedative. Although effective in treating the symptoms of several mental illnesses, the long-term effects of Xanax lead to serious problems. Developing a tolerance and dependency on the drug is a common occurrence that can fuel substance abuse and subsequently, addiction. Yet the harm can escalate from there, inducing cognitive impairment and even permanent brain damage. 

Despite the risk of Xanax brain damage, the drug is still regularly administered. Yet short-term use is often recommended. Especially as more studies prove the potential for abuse and subsequent harm to the brain. 

Medical professionals favor the smallest possible dose for no longer than several weeks, despite the risk of dependency and withdrawal. Regardless of effectiveness, it’s equally dangerous without moderation and supervision. Coming with the possibility of dangerous repercussions, addiction and abuse are at the top of the list. 

Xanax Is A Prescription Medication

Xanax is intended to be a prescription-only medication used in the treatment of anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses. Xanax is a designer name for alprazolam, designed to promote relief from the physical and emotional symptoms of certain conditions. In fact, because of its high-quality sedating properties, it continues to be recommended and refilled at significantly increased rates. 

Recent studies suggest that more than 48 million scripts are written for the drug each year. The popularity alone keeps Xanax relevant and easily attainable. However, because of the intended short-term nature of the medicine, the long-term effects of Xanax are easily overlooked. 

What makes the risk of Xanax brain damage ever more disturbing, is the difficulty faced when weaning off the drug. Any medication that can change the way the brain operates, in this case, inducing sedation establishes the potential for uncomfortable withdrawal. Any deviation, in dosage, duration, or frequency, otherwise recommended by a physician, isn’t only harmful, but is considered drug abuse. 

Why Is Xanax Still Available?

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that many individuals addicted to Xanax aren’t even aware until they’re without it. This is especially true for those liberally prescribed high doses, throwing caution to the wind. While Xanax can be beneficial for those suffering,  Xanax brain damage will always be a risk. The long-term effects of Xanax to cope with extremely traumatic events, as in PTSD, isn’t without consequence. Essentially, when treating any illness using Xanax, the benefits must outweigh the risks. Unfortunately, with such a high risk, this doesn’t happen often.

Other illnesses that doctors treat with Xanax include:

The good news is that there are many other effective and much safer alternatives to treat many of these illnesses. Opting for an alternative not only rules out the possibility of Xanax brain damage. 

It also alleviates the long-term effects of Xanax, including tolerance and addiction. Regardless, when opting for Xanax as a means to treat any illness, it is important to follow proper dosing instructions. Likewise, stopping the medication should be done under the strict supervision of a physician, as withdrawal can be severe.

Xanax Abuse And Addiction

With Xanax, the potential for dependency and abuse is on the table, even with a prescription. However, even more, alarming is the illegal sale and use of the drug. Despite being easily obtained with a prescription, it can be puzzling to understand acquiring it illegally. But it happens often, and here’s why. Xanax abuse typically occurs for one of two reasons. 

  1. The need to self-medicate
  2. The desire for intoxication

The need to self-medicate is complicated. On one hand, an individual may be attempting to soothe mental illness without the help of a professional. Alternatively, they may have been given Xanax at a certain dose short-term, but then forced to stop abruptly. Usually, this is the case when the doctor is trying to avoid the long-term effects of Xanax but induces withdrawal instead. This is why it’s important to take the proper precautions when halting this drug, as is performed in drug rehab. 

Abusing Xanax as a means to party and feel good poses more than just the danger of becoming addicted. When combined with other substances, such as alcohol or other drugs, the interactions intensify. Any combination of substances can leave an individual more vulnerable to their surroundings, causing abrupt unconsciousness or temporary memory loss.

Teens And Xanax Brain Damage

Young adults in their teens and early ’20s are the highest impacted by the long-term effects of Xanax. Xanax abuse is more than twice as high among highschool aged teenagers. While the reasons for this are unlimited, there is one common misconception that stands out. 

Many teens with Xanax addiction are under the impression that medications are safer than illegal drugs or alcohol. This is not at all true and combined with the overwhelming availability, is a complete disaster for youth community members. 

Even fully-formed brains, typically occurring after the age of 25, are subject to the long-term effects of Xanax. While the concern is specifically placed on chronic abusers, the short-term effects of Xanax come with their warning.

The Short-Term Effects Of Xanax Abuse

The short-term effects of Xanax most often apply to chronic addicts and recreational abusers alike. Because the effects can be felt in as little as a few minutes after ingestion, short-term is usually most obvious. Even more hazardous is the abuse of Xanax when injected or snorted, increasing the potency and speed of onset. 

Some of the short-term effects of Xanax abuse include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion, disorientation, or euphoria
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Becoming quickly agitated
  • Changes in eating or appetite
  • Feeling dizzy, fatigued, or unexpectedly needing to sleep

Individuals that have not yet built up a tolerance to Xanax will often feel these effects much stronger. Although it may take time for Xanax brain damage to occur, drugs abused in large quantities, have debilitating effects. Even long-term Xanax abusers can experience these symptoms with higher than normal doses, making severe withdrawal even more likely. 

How Xanax Affects The Brain

Xanax is in the benzodiazepine class of controlled substances. It affects the central nervous system and forces a response. The response is sedation, relaxation, or feelings of calm, despite stressful scenarios. This occurs in response to the enhancement of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which is naturally found in the brain. 

GABA is specifically responsible for inhibiting messages that could overwhelm the brain thereby inducing calm. When augmented, sedation and relaxation are increased, resulting in the reduction of anxiety or disruptive thoughts. Additionally, by interpreting the lack of anxiety as a good thing, Xanax may inspire the pleasure centers of the brain. 

Once the brain perceives using Xanax as a means of reward or feels good, dependency and addiction are soon to follow. However, more and more will be needed over time due to the compensation of brain chemicals to maintain balance. The alteration of brain chemicals sets the long-term effects of Xanax in motion, and some are irreversible. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help to break these associations over time, but only after drug use has stopped and detox completed. Replacing addictive behaviors with sober actions and beneficial thoughts helps to mentally cope and set recovery goals. This type of treatment can begin within the early stages of treatment, as to implement the lessons throughout rehab. 

The Symptoms And Dangers Of Xanax Withdrawal 

As long as the function of the brain relies on the presence of Xanax, it will react accordingly. It will decrease the amount of GABA it makes naturally because Xanax has encouraged overproduction over time. Withdrawal sets in quickly, as soon as hours to days after the last dose, and more quickly with severe dependency. 

Now, without Xanax, there will be much less GABA than needed, inducing feelings of panic and anxiousness as a result. Medical detox at rehab makes the experience as safe as possible, and can usually offer remedies for several symptoms. Professional care is especially important for those experiencing seizures induced by withdrawal, as it is common after abusing Xanax.

Some other symptoms of the long-term effects of Xanax include:

  • Changes to cognition or mental status
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Paranoia or delusional thoughts
  • Greater risk of seizures
  • Mood Swings
  • Dizziness and disorientation
  • Seizures, muscle spasms, and uncontrollable movement

Fortunately, many of these long-term effects are not permanent and can resolve after around 5 months post-detox. Getting help from a rehab increases the rates of recovery, and decreases the chances of perpetual dysfunction. However, conditions related to Xanax brain damage are much longer-lasting, if not permanent, and some can be debilitating.

Long-Term Effects Of Xanax Addiction

Understanding why tolerance and dependency happen, certainly explains the long-term effects of Xanax. Although suggesting that the long-term effects of Xanax take time to develop, the timeline is relatively short. In as little as 6-8 weeks, GABA production can be completely different. While adjusting and recovering from addiction, participation in individual therapy will be helpful. Learning to accept and cope without the use of drugs and dependency is important to maintain sobriety in recovery. 

The results of Xanax brain damage may include but are not limited to:

  • Memory loss or impairment and lowered IQ averages
  • Vision deterioration or difficulty determining spatial orientation
  • Difficulty with problem solving and concentration or attention to detail
  • Loss of verbal skills or trouble learning new ones
  • Slower response time to physical and mental stimuli

Tolerance build-up and the need for higher doses more frequently often lead to the list of long-term effects of Xanax. Like any substance with the potential for dependency, after some time, the body will adjust. Now, needing more of the drug to feel anything comes second to only avoiding the downfall that occurs in withdrawal.

Dual Diagnosis And Xanax Addiction

Many Xanax addicts find themselves with the need for help to detox. This is because, in cases of dual-diagnosis, they are facing more than one illness at the same time. When abusing Xanax to treat mental illness, legally or illegally, many individuals are unable to stop using it because of tolerance. Now, they need higher and higher doses to find relief from their mental illness. On top of that, without it, they become ill, the cravings start, and the symptoms of psychological illness will resurface.

College-aged students are at a particularly high risk of dual diagnosis and Xanax abuse. More than 30% of students on campus who admit to using Xanax, with or without prescription, suffer from psychological illness. Compared to the only 15% who participated in Xanax abuse recreationally. With the stakes of scholastic success prioritized, there is simply no time to experience withdrawal, creating a cycle. 

This makes getting professional rehab care for dual-diagnosis critical to recovery. The safety of detoxing within the facility allows for proper care to be administered and offers safety and privacy. Then, promptly after detox, treatment for addiction and mental illness can be focused on separately, but at the same time. 

Treatment Options For Xanax Addiction

The best option for treating individuals that suffer from Xanax abuse and addiction is an intensive rehab program. Especially when facing the long-term effects of Xanax use, there is a significant road ahead after detox. Choosing a rehab program that offers partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment options enables better coping skills moving forward. This way there will be an option for learning and supporting every step of the way. 

Another option favored by many working to recover from addiction is peer-orientated treatment programs. Because of the feelings of vulnerability often associated with addiction, substance abuse therapy, and recovery, a relatable community focuses on healing. 

Gender-specific programs allow for individuals to better associate their addictive behaviors with increased relevance and more effective community coping. With accountability and encouragement incorporated into the structure of the treatment, working through the long-term effects of Xanax is encouraged. 

Facing The Long-Term Effects Of Xanax Through Rehab

Xanax abuse typically occurs for one of two reasons; As an attempt to self-medicate, or to feel the euphoria. Abusing Xanax as a means to party and feel good poses more than just the danger of becoming addicted. Individuals prescribed medications without proper outlets to detox are also at risk. There are long-term effects of Xanax abuse that can be lifelong or even debilitating. 

The cycle of suffering from addiction and experiencing withdrawal does not have to last forever. Getting help lowers the risks of brain damage associated with Xanax abuse, and can put you back in control. Reach out for more information on how rehab can help. You can live a sober life after Xanax addiction, and you can get help to get there. Connect with us today to get started and choose recovery for you; You are worth it.

References:

https://www.psycom.net/xanax

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15762814/

drug abuse in sports

Drug Abuse In Sports

Drug abuse in sports is a growing, ongoing problem in our society. While the stereotypical drug abuser may not seem like a high-profile athlete, drug use among athletes is common. Many famous athletes in nearly every sport have fought public battles with different types of substance abuse disorder. Addiction in sports affects both men and women and all ages, skill levels, and nationalities. 

Athletes are not immune to the struggles of the rest of society and can deal with addiction to hundreds of different substances, for many different reasons. The common assumption may be that athletes who struggle with drugs is “doping” or trying to gain some performance advantage. 

While this is a common reason for athletes to use drugs, it is far from the only reason. Nearly every drug-from alcohol, to marijuana to performance-enhancing steroids-has found a place in modern sports. Athletes need to know that they are not immune from the ravages of addiction and in some cases may even be more susceptible to drug abuse. 

Knowing the common pitfalls, triggers, and stressors for athletes can help avoid the struggles of drug addiction. 

Drug Abuse In Sports: What Other Drugs Do Athletes Abuse?

Athletes are prone to abusing several different kinds of drugs. Most athletes who fall victim to drug abuse use substances in three distinct categories: Performance enhancing drugs (PED’s), stimulants, and prescription painkillers. 

Performance Enhancing Drugs

Performance-enhancing drugs (also known as PED’s) are drugs that are taken to gain an advantage in competition. Nearly every major sport, from cycling to baseball to even bowling, has had a “doping” (PED) scandal. These scandals often involve high-profile athletes, millions of dollars, and serious repercussions for getting caught. While PED’s may enhance performance in the short term, they can also lead to serious long-term health issues, such as various cancers.  Some of the most commonly abused PED’s are as follows:

Anabolic Steroids

While the body naturally produces an anabolic steroid in Testosterone, athletes can use increased levels of naturally occurring hormones to gain a competitive advantage. Taking synthetic testosterone, or another anabolic, can lead to muscle gains and the ability to work out longer while recovering faster. Anabolic steroids are illegal in all major sports leagues and international competitions. 

Androstenedione

Andro” is a prescription drug that can help athletes train harder and recover faster. However, studies show that it does not aid in muscle formation or increase testosterone levels. While Andro has been legal before, it is generally now banned in sport universally. 

Human Growth Hormone

Human growth hormone (HGH) is a prescription drug that can be used in cancer treatments or similar situations. It is often bought and sold illegally and it can drastically improve muscle mass as well as performance. 

Diuretics

 Athletes will often use diuretics as a “secondary” drug to cover up other PED usage. Diuretics work by altering the body’s fluid and chemical levels, often to mask mainstream PED use. 

Erythropoietin

This drug aids in the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells (called erythrocytes). These cells increase oxygen delivery to muscles which then helps increase endurance and aerobic power. 

While PED use may seem like a good idea in the short term, it can have serious, lasting effects. In addition to the health concerns, most major sports have strict punishments for anyone being caught using any PED’s. This can include season or lifetime bans, loss of endorsements or contracts, and much more. 

Painkillers And Prescription Drugs

Athletes from all different sports deal with short and long-term injuries that vary from bumps and bruises to serious or even deadly accidents. NFL football players, for example, play a physical game that is marked by the constant depreciation of an athlete’s body. 

No matter the sport, or the reason for the injury, painkillers are prescribed to athletes for legitimate pain management reasons every day. Prescription opioids (such as Oxycontin and Vicodin) are some of the most widely abused drugs in the world, and athletes have been prescribed them often. 

It is important for athletes to only use these drugs under the supervision of a licensed practitioner and to only take them as directed.

Stimulants

Athletes may use stimulants such as amphetamines, meth, or Adderall to enhance alertness, increase energy or lose weight. These drugs are commonly abused and often readily available. They can have severe respiratory and neurological effects and are highly addictive. These types of stimulants are banned for performance-enhancing use in all major sports. 

Other Commonly Abused Substances 

In addition to the drug categories listed above, athletes may struggle with alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine abuse at a higher rate than the general population. Each of these substances presents a significant risk for addiction and each can have serious side effects as well. 

These substances do not provide any “benefit” inherently, other than potentially allowing an athlete to “unwind” or relax. In the case of marijuana, it can occasionally be prescribed by a doctor for pain management, vision impairment, or other various ailments. 

Despite it now being legal in many states for recreational use, most sports still test for marijuana use, and a positive test can result in stringent punishment. For example, U.S. Olympic sprinter Sha’carri Richardson recently tested positive for marijuana and was rendered ineligible to represent the United States at the Olympics. 

Why Do Athletes Use Drugs?

Athletes get into drug use for many different reasons. While some are trying to gain a competitive advantage, most athletes who struggle with addiction do not enter into drug use lightly. While performance-enhancing drugs were discussed above, some of the other most common reasons athletes use drugs are listed below:

  • Many athletes use drugs to cope with stress and mental illness. They may use marijuana to relax or use Adderall to address perceived learning disabilities or attention deficits. Some athletes may use drugs such as marijuana to unwind or reduce stress.  
  • Athletes may begin using prescription painkillers to reduce pain from competition-related injuries. 
  • Athletes may begin using drugs or alcohol to cope with the loneliness or anxiety of retirement. The change of pace that comes with post-competitive life can be jarring and lead to drug or alcohol use. 
  • Many athletes, especially those who are younger and/or in college, begin using drugs or alcohol simply to fit in. Peer pressure is one of the most common reasons people begin using drugs and alcohol

 Drug Abuse And Alcohol Use Statistics

While statistics for athlete-only drug use are difficult to come by, we do have some information about specific drug use with specific populations. 

  • Anabolic steroid use among bodybuilders is the top drug abused by any segment of athletes. As many as 67% of competitive bodybuilders reported using these types of PED’s. Many of them even begin using as young as 15.
  • Alcohol is one of the most commonly used addictive substances for college athletes. As many as 90% of college athletes reported drinking alcohol in the last year. The legal drinking age in most states is 21, so the majority of drinking in college athletics is done illegally. 
  • Approximately 30% of college athletes reported smoking marijuana in the last year. Regardless of the legality state-by-state, marijuana is a banned substance by the NCAA.
  • Between 50% and 70% of NFL football players admit to using opioids at some point in their career. Most of this usage started with a legal and perhaps even necessary prescription. However, as we know, the opioid epidemic has largely been perpetuated by well-meaning individuals with a real need for pain management. 

Addiction Treatment For Athletes

Athletes in the professional arena may have the benefit of a team-sponsored recovery option. Depending on various contract specifications and league rules, a professional athlete may be able to seek treatment with the blessing of his or her employer. However, for many athletes, including college athletes, addiction may be a battle that has to be kept secret from teammates and family. Thankfully, there are skilled, professional treatment centers that can help on this journey. 

Inpatient treatment programs may be a necessary step for an athlete if the addiction has been difficult to kick or has gone on for a long time. Inpatient treatment provides an intense, focused on-campus option that includes group and individual therapy and whatever necessary detoxification steps. Inpatient treatment generally requires a 2-4 week stay on a residential treatment campus. 

Outpatient treatment offers many of the rigors of inpatient treatment, with the convenience of coming and going on your own terms. These programs often meet 2 to 4 days per week. A similar program, called partial hospitalization (PHP), may meet for 5 days a week and require more time per day. Both options allow the athlete to return home to a supportive and helpful environment. 

Athletes who enter into treatment at Granite Mountain will receive the best, most supportive care possible. Our team specializes in the most effective recovery methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), group therapy, 12-step programs, and the like. Give us a call today and allow us to help you get back to your best! 

 

unhealthy habits

Ideas To Help You Break Unhealthy Habits

Struggling with an unhealthy habit can discourage us to the verge of giving up. It may feel overwhelming to come face to face with that mountain. However, rest assured that the mountain can be moved. 

By observing the steps below, you can be readily equipped on how to break any addiction or unhealthy habit.  

What Is A Bad Or Unhealthy Habit?

As defined by ‘Medical Dictionary,’ an unhealthy habit is ‘A patterned behavior regarded as detrimental to physical or mental health.’ If these behavioral patterns are left unchecked, they can progress into a much more serious issue. This is why it is vital to combat these problems at the root before they blossom into something more. 

How Are Habits And Addictions Related?

Bad habits are a milder precedent to addiction yet are no less severe as they ultimately lead to addiction. Taking your unhealthy habits seriously is what will spare you from relapse.

Preventing habitually unhealthy routines will ensure that the next step of addiction will not take hold of your life. Viewing your unhealthy habits from this perspective will help you grasp the necessity of altering your behavioral pattern.

Also, identifying the correlation between a habit and an addiction helps us follow through with the necessary steps to overcoming bad habits in recovery.

How To Break Any Addiction Or Habit

Much like addiction, it can be difficult to accept a change that needs to be made. Once a behavioral pattern is established, it becomes impulsive and, in many cases, escapes personal recognition. Again, these unhealthy patterns in our lives develop those habits that lead to relapse. 

Accept a Change Must be Made

By identifying the unhealthy patterns affecting you mentally or physically, you can then determine what needs to be altered or removed from your life. Without first accepting that a change in behavior needs to be made, one cannot make the necessary adjustments. Only then can one proceed with the following keys that can be life-altering if taken to heart. By equipping you with the tools below, you will have the power to break any habits that before seemed improbable.

No “Just in case” Exceptions

What this means is don’t make a “just in case” plan to revert to old habits. If you’re breaking a smoking habit, don’t leave a pack in your drawer ”‘just in case” you want one. You will always want one, and temptation is a daily battle. Don’t open yourself up to the opportunity to revert. 

This will always lead to relapse. Ultimately, the breaking or developing of any habit comes down to a personal choice. You need to choose that there’s no turning back.

Have A Stronger Accountability Partner

This isn’t to say the individual is stronger than you as a person. This simply means your struggles require the support of an individual stronger in the areas that you are not. For example, one with a smoking habit would be unwise to choose an accountability partner with a smoking problem. Oft times, two friends with the same addiction will make a pact with rightful intentions. The outcome, however, is likely to have adverse effects on both parties.

Have a dependable accountability partner who is strong in the areas of which you are weakest. More importantly, allow them to assert that role in your life without backlash. If you truly wish to break any habit or addiction, you must be willing to accept the council of your peers. Once beginning the process of breaking any addiction or habit, an accountability partner is there to encourage you every step of the way.

Take Baby Steps

Many people fail to break the bonds of their addiction simply by trying to do too much, too soon. The most important thing to consider when breaking any unhealthy habitual pattern is to not take on more than you can chew. If you attempt to tackle the big picture immediately, you are likely to get discouraged and give up. 

Think of breaking your unhealthy habits the same way one would consider building muscle in the weight room. You don’t enter the gym for the first time and immediately attempt to lift a 50 lb dumbbell in each hand(and if you did, I would hurt with you). You begin with a 2-5lb dumbbell and gradually work your way up.

In the context of breaking habits of an unhealthy nature, hone in on one single pattern you need to change in your life. Take tiny progressive victories in disrupting those patterns. Identify one aspect or behavior you wish to change and focus on that for a while. 

Train Your Thoughts

Before any habit is performed, it is first developed in the mind. Instead of thinking of the habit as pleasurable, remember all the negatives it poses in your life. Use the negatives of that unhealthy habitual pattern to fuel your disdain of the act itself.

Furthermore, when the desire to indulge an old habit comes to mind, hold that thought hostage. Consider how and why that thought came about. Was it a friend that fueled the desire? Was it a place? Were you lonely? Whatever source caused the desire to enter your mind, avoid that source at all costs. 

The Causes Of Bad Habits In Recovery

Accomplishing anything in life takes work, and continued effort in your recovery is no different. Many relapses occur because of a progressive lax in standards. Several factors contribute to loosening the standards you worked so hard to implement. Here are just a couple of key factors that can cause us to be susceptible to falling into old patterns.

Make A Plan For Hard Times

Remember, while you may not have control over what goes on around you, you have control over the choices you make. Ultimately, only you choose whether or not you wish to continue in good habits. When the circumstances you can’t control overcome you, overcome them with the choices you can control.

Everybody goes through difficult times in variable forms. A break-up, financial struggle, or other negative factors can discourage us from succumbing to old habits.

Wrong Influences

Influences that encourage unhealthy habits will persuade you to feel comfortable in your strongholds. As difficult as it may be, rid yourself of these negative influences and replace them with positive ones.

A wise counselor once said, “You show me your friends; I’ll show you your future.” Until you come to the point of repetitively falling into old habits, you’ll never understand the gravity of this statement. Remember, ultimately, you make the decision.

Becoming Stagnant

After conquering your habit, it’s easy to get too comfortable. This is when we can become stagnant, and our standards can ease into former impulses. Keeping yourself busy will help you eliminate such opportunities to regress into former routines. 

Bad Habits And The Addictive Personality

An addictive personality is a natural tendency deep inside you that desires to perform those unhealthy former habits. Controlling your habits of an unhealthy nature is important because they directly relate to the addictive personality. 

Generally, individuals with this personality type can grow attached or obsessive about anything. While it may seem harmless to get attached to a video game or a person, these actions can easily be transferred to your unhealthy habits like substance use disorder. 

Learning how to recognize addictive traits and actions is a must. Individuals suffering from an addictive personality should seek ongoing therapy as it’s much more difficult for them to stop. Therapists can help addictive personality types identify triggers and work with them to rewire behaviors. 

The Dangers Of Bad Habits In Recovery

Before relapse, it is always an unhealthy habit that first leads to relapse. Allow me to illustrate; An alcoholic’s impulsive habit would be to go to the liquor store and buy a drink. Ultimately, the trip to the store, rather than the act of drinking itself, led to the relapse. 

Keeping old habits at bay will, in turn, prevent the addictive personality from taking over.

How To Overcome Bad Habits In Recovery

Just because some old habits may have arisen to the surface doesn’t mean you’ve relapsed into those routines. It is not too late to stop them as long as you take action now. The guidance below will aid you in how to break any habit or addiction.

Don’t Allow Setbacks to “Set You Back”

Most people make the dire mistake of thinking they have to be perfect. Don’t allow a single setback to discourage you from relapsing. Remember the progress you’ve made. Instead of utilizing your slip as grounds to revert, allow the lesson to motivate you forward. It isn’t the mistake that matters, but how you respond to the mistake.

Don’t Just Stop, Replace

Don’t just simply attempt to abstain from your unhealthy habit, or you’ll spend more time dwelling on it. Instead, replace this habit with something you enjoy doing. Whatever it may be, what you fill this void with can be your greatest asset to breaking any addiction. 

Continue to Seek Help From Counseling

Continued counseling equals continued recovery. Therapy doesn’t(or shouldn’t) stop once you have defeated your unhealthy habits or addictions. Too many individuals make the mistake of canceling their therapy sessions once in recovery. This is the most important time to keep up those sessions. How long it takes you to break a habit or addiction could very easily be determined by the choice of continuing.

Are You Facing An Unhealthy Habit? 

Merely observing these suggestions speaks volumes that you are faced with an imminent crossroads. Letting another moment pass without action is another moment you slip deeper into habits that are detrimental to your progress. By taking the admirable step of seeking out this article, now you’re ready for a true call to action.

Our team of addiction treatment specialists at Granite Mountain Behavioral Health can help you overcome unhealthy habits today! Our intensive outpatient program is geared towards helping individuals identify triggers and working with therapists, all while they continue attending school or work. Learn how to break any addiction. 

Clothing To Bring To Rehab

A Guide Of Things To Bring To Rehab

Deciding to go commit to a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program is a life-changing commitment. Addiction treatment facilities such as Granite Mountain pride themselves in taking on difficult situations head-on and helping turn people’s lives around. Going to rehab can help get your life back on track, but it can also be an intimidating undertaking. Luckily, there are resources and help available to people who need access to it the most. 

Stepping into a situation away from the comfort of your home, your friends, and your family can be daunting for anyone. It is important to know what you can and cannot take with you into your rehabilitation experience so that you can be provided with the safest and best care and the most comfortable situation. 

This checklist is designed to remove the stress from the start of your rehabilitation experience. While it may vary slightly from facility to facility, this article is a good place to start to know what things you should bring to rehab and what you shouldn’t. 

All treatment centers will allow you to bring your necessities, but the specifics will vary by location. Make sure you double-check with your chosen facility before packing something questionable. Each facility will have a “packing list” that is full of suggested and prohibited items unique to them. Here is your guide on things to rehab. 

What Most Facilities Recommend You Bring

Here is your guide of things to rehabWhile there will be differences in specifics, most rehab facilities will share some commonly suggested items. Some of the most commonly suggested things to bring are found below. 

  • A list of names, contacts, addresses, and important phone numbers: You may not have your phone so a paper list of important contacts is necessary. This could include medication information, family and friends contact info, and phone numbers for sponsors, doctors’ offices, etc.
  • Jewelry: You will be discouraged from bringing gaudy jewelry or valuables, but it is perfectly fine to bring your wedding ring or other sentimental jewelry you may be used to wearing every day. 
  • An alarm clock: Again, you may not have your phone so if you are used to using that to help you wake up, it may be important to bring a dedicated alarm clock. 
  • Prescription medications: The prescription medication you bring with you to rehab must be in the original bottles with labeling intact. Depending on the substance you are seeking treatment for, you may or may not be allowed to bring these in. Liquid medication must be unopened. All medications will be subject to scrutiny before being allowed in, as it is important to maintain a drug-free setting.
  • Money (Cash, credit card, checks): While you will probably not be making any large purchases while in treatment, it is important to bring a small amount of cash for vending machines, coffee, or other small items that may be available without leaving the facility. 
  • Insurance card and information: In addition to cash, it is important to bring your insurance information and a debit or credit card to pay for medication or other things that pop up.
  • Identification: It’s important to always have proof of identification such as a driver’s license, passport, or social security card. 
  • Calling card: Can bring a calling card for long-distance calls.
  • Notebook or journal: Research shows that writing is often therapeutic, especially in addiction treatment. Bring a notebook or journal to help record thoughts and take notes. Stamps, envelopes, and stationery can also be useful if you are interested in writing letters. 
  • Pictures of your family, friends, home, etc: Pictures or other small sentimental items can be nice if you are living at the rehab facility to decorate your personal space, as allowed. This will help you feel comforted and not alone. 
  • Reading material: To help occupy your time in a productive way, whether spiritual or self-help-related, an engaging novel can help the days go faster. It is recommended to bring paperback books rather than hardcovers.

What Clothing To Bring To Rehab

guide of things to rehabWhat clothing you bring to treatment is based on a variety of factors. Packing clothing largely depends on the physical location you are going, time of year, and expected temperature. However, most treatment facilities will have a somewhat strict dress code and it is important to double-check on what to bring before packing. While it will vary based on the things mentioned above, most of the time the following items are a good bet to be acceptable.

    • Comfortable shoes for everyday wear: It is important to have at least one pair of closed-toe shoes and probably have one pair of sandals for the shower or casual wear. 
    • Shirts or blouses: Most will be acceptable, but make sure to check with your centers’ specific list before packing tank tops, crop tops, or the like. 
    • Comfortable pants and shorts: You may be spending time both indoors and outdoors, so plan accordingly. Depending on the season, you may need more protection from the elements than simple “gym” type shorts. 
    • One or two dressier outfits: In case of special occasions like birthday celebrations, family nights, etc.
  • Undergarments and socks, as needed. 
  • Bathing suit/ cover-up: Depending on the location and season, a bathing suit might be appropriate. Some facilities have indoor pools. One-piece suits for women and simple trunks for men are usually acceptable. 
  • Clothes to sleep or lounge in Pajamas or other comfortable sleepwear. 
  • Outerwear: A coat or jacket may be necessary, depending on location/season.

While some of these may vary by situation, this is a good general starting point for what clothing to bring to your treatment center. Make sure to check the suggested list for your treatment center of choice as well as the local weather before finalizing your packing list.

Personal Hygiene And Beauty Products To Pack

Substance abuse treatment is not a fashion show and your appearance will not be under scrutiny, but you need to be comfortable and feel at home in your new surroundings. Again, make sure to check with your chosen treatment center before finalizing your packing list-but this is a good place to start for finding what should be allowed. 

It is important to note that most treatment centers will require you to bring alcohol-free products, for obvious reasons. The amount of what is needed will vary by length of stay, but it is a general rule to pack enough of something for a 30-day stay. 

  • Deodorant and perfume/cologne
  • Soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner
  • Hairstyling products as needed
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Lotion, facewash, or similar products
  • Makeup as needed

What Not To Bring To Rehab

things to bring to rehabThe list of what may or may not be acceptable may vary by the treatment center or by type of substance being treated, but in general, there are several things you should definitely not bring to treatment. 

  1. Drugs or alcohol of ANY type. Prescription medication is allowed but will be monitored by the treatment center staff.
  2. Weapons of any kind (guns, knives, needles, etc).
  3. Pornography or adult content
  4. Food or beverages (both are provided at your treatment center)
  5. Toiletries that contain alcohol
  6. E-cigarettes or vapes that can accept any substance
  7. Candles or incense
  8. Clothing that can be triggering (profanity, political slogans, violence, etc)
  9. Electronics such as DVD players, video games, or the like

Some of the items on this list may be surprising, but there is a purpose behind each one. It is important to enter into treatment with the fewest distractions possible to give yourself the best chance to succeed. 

Some Items That May Or May Not be Allowed

The things you can or cannot bring to rehab will vary by treatment center so it is always important to check before finalizing your list. Some items that we use all the time, like our cell phones, can be useful in treatment but also may cause unwanted distractions. See the list below for things you may want to ask your specific treatment center about. 

  1. Cell phones and laptop computers: Some treatment centers do allow these, but more than likely you will only have access to them at predetermined times.
  2. Cigarettes may be allowed, in limited amounts: Some treatment centers will have them available for purchase. 
  3. Vitamins and over-the-counter medications: What is allowed must be new and unopened.
  4. Gum-if allowed it must be unopened and sealed
  5. Razors, sharps, needles, belts, shoelaces, etc: While seemingly harmless, some of these items can be used for self-harm and will be confiscated or monitored. 
  6. Comfort items, such as bedding, pillows, etc, may be allowed: Check with your facility of choice before packing. 

Granite Mountain Is Your Resource For Help 

If you or a loved one made the life-changing decision to get help, that’s the first step. Leaving home to go to treatment can be nerve-wracking and scary. At Granite Mountain, you’re not alone. To learn more about what to bring to rehab and what to expect, contact us today!

References

https://memorialhermann.org/services/specialties/parc/admissions/rehab-items

https://dualdiagnosis.org/addiction-treatment/what-to-bring/

the best foods for alcohol detox

The Best Foods For Alcohol Detox: What To Eat While In Early Recovery

The best foods for alcohol detox are those that will help the body heal. In early recovery, it is important to eat a healthy diet so as to allow your liver and other organs time to rest and recover from any damage they may have incurred during chronic drinking.

We need vitamins and minerals to make natural feel-good chemicals, GABA, in our bodies. They are also needed when the body makes energy, repairs organs, and strengthens immunity.

Certain foods are good for everyone when they are recovering from alcohol detox. The food should help you get back to a healthy balance, and it should start at the beginning of recovery.

Which Foods Provide The Best Nutrition In Addiction Recovery?

In general, anyone looking to maintain proper nutrition should focus on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and low-fat meats. This is especially important for someone looking to rebuild their immune system and overall health.  

A person struggling with a substance abuse problem needs to eat well for their body and mind. Proper nutrition gives the individual much-needed energy, making them feel better mentally, physically, and emotionally. A positive mood is also affected by proper nutrition because it can positively affect an individual’s outlook on life–lessening the risk of relapse in some cases.

While it is important to pay attention to what types of foods you can and cannot eat, some foods contain a lot of good things that help your body heal. As always, if you are unsure about whether or not you will have an allergy issue with a certain food, consult with your doctor. 

Fruits And Vegetables For Alcohol Detox

The best foods for alcohol detox are fruits and vegetables. The best time to eat these is in the morning because they will help clean your system out while you sleep at night. Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of fiber that helps with digestion which can make it easier on your stomach when going through withdrawal symptoms such as nausea or vomiting.

The best fruits and vegetables for alcohol detox are:

  • Raspberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Apples
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce (only in moderation)
  • Tomatoes
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Bananas

One of the best ways to curb that craving for sweets is by eating fruit. If you’re trying to detox from alcohol, fruits are a great way for you to get that sweet fix without getting too hungry in between meals! 

Whole Grains For Alcohol Detox

Whole grains are also rich in fiber, but also provide a slow release of sugar into a person’s system to help prevent mood swings. They also help you feel fuller for longer and provide ongoing energy. You should strive to have at least one serving of whole grains a day.

The best whole grains for alcohol detox are:

  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Whole wheat bread and pasta.
  • Oatmeal
  • Barley

Some best grains to avoid during alcohol detox are white rice, processed cereal, and anything made with flour, or cornmeal. These options have no filter content which can lead you to feel sluggish after meals. 

best foods for alcohol detox Foods That Are High In Vitamins And Minerals For Alcohol Detox

Prolonged alcohol consumption can lead your body to be vitamin deficient. This is especially true when it comes to vitamin B. This vitamin is especially important when it comes to a healthy functioning brain and nervous system.

But, alcoholism is also responsible for a lack of other essential vitamins such as vitamins A, D, and E. Lack of vitamin A can cause liver damage. Lack of vitamin D can cause the body to have difficulty absorbing calcium. This causes a loss of bone mass and density.

Vitamin deficiency, in turn, makes alcoholics more vulnerable to illnesses and diseases like pneumonia or tuberculosis since their immune systems are weak without the necessary vitamins for protection against these illnesses. 

Foods that are high in vitamins and minerals include:

  • Milk
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Lean Fish
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Orange Juice
  • Raisins and other dried fruit.

Multivitamin supplements can also help you get the required amount of vitamins and minerals you need. Look for a multivitamin (or several) that contains omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, zinc, and of course vitamins A, B, C, D, and E.

Nutrient-Packed Liquids For Alcohol Detox

Nutrient-rich liquids like soups, stews, and smoothies make up a crucial part of the recovery process. These types of foods are an important aspect in transitioning into healthy eating habits that will last long after rehab has ended because they provide comfort while restoring the gut function which was damaged by substance abuse.

The consumption of nutrient-dense fluids such as soup, stew, or juice is necessary for recovering from addiction to drugs and alcohol since these substances can put a major strain on your digestive system – this needs to be functioning properly before any solid food can enter your body. Soups (and other liquid dishes) offer some relief during detoxification when you’re still trying to get back onto the firm dietary ground again; it’s also less taxing on our systems

Not only are these types of foods rich in nutrients and easy for the body to digest, but they can also be hydrating. This is important because hydration helps get drug metabolites out of the body during early recovery and can ease detox symptoms like feeling sick or lightheaded.

Healthy Snack Items For Alcohol Detox

Nuts are a great filling and healthy snack. If you have any cravings, nuts can help satisfy those wants without all the added sugar that might come from other snacks like cookies or candy bars because they’re high in protein rather than calories.

There is also some evidence to suggest that certain types of nuts may even be able to boost energy levels- so if your mood swings as it relates to hunger or blood sugar drops, keep plenty on hand!

Nuts make great fillers that can help with recovery by providing nutrients such as protein, fiber, iron, and zinc; the latter three have been shown scientifically to protect against various types of cancer when consumed regularly through food sources.

Healthy snacks include:

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans.

Many people find that they can’t resist the craving for something sweet. However, there are plenty of healthy snack options that will best serve your needs while in early recovery.

Cayenne Pepper For Alcohol Detox

Cayenne pepper is a natural spice that may help with alcohol detox because it contains capsaicin, which has been shown to have pain-relieving and appetite-stimulating effects. This can be helpful in early recovery when cravings are likely high.

Capsaicin stimulates the release of endorphins – compounds that provide feelings of happiness. It also helps with the withdrawal symptoms that come with quitting drinking such as nausea. Adding a dash of cayenne pepper will give you an extra boost on your journey out from under addiction.

Recipes that contain cayenne pepper

  • Vegetable soup
  • Indian Curry
  • Spicy marinades for meats
  • Chili con carne
  • Chili sauce

Electrolytes And Water For Alcohol Detox

If you are in recovery from alcohol, one of the best foods for alcohol detox includes anything with electrolytes. And of course, water is vital to any recovery plan.

Electrolytes control the balance of fluids in your body. They also regulate the acid-base balance, heart rate, and blood pressure. If you’re sweating a lot or feeling dehydrated from alcohol withdrawal symptoms, then these best foods for alcohol detox may be just what you need to recover quickly and safely!

Foods that contain lots of electrolytes and/or water:

  • Yogurt
  • Avocados
  • Watermelon
  • Beans
  • Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Peaches
  • Green tea

In early recovery, our bodies are trying to reconnect and reconfigure their operating systems. More times than not we’re functioning at a very low frequency of energy while our organs, cells, and transmitters find a way to start healing. Start your morning with a glass of water, and it will help you stay hydrated during the day.

Foods To Avoid While Going Through Alcohol Detox

Unfortunately, the most important foods to avoid when overcoming withdrawal symptoms are greasy, fatty food and too much sugar.

First and foremost, regular alcohol use over time destroys some of the body’s vitamin stores leading to deficiencies in vitamins B6, thiamine Folic acid as well as more. As a result, you need to eat extremely healthy with plenty of fruit vegetables, and other nutrient-rich foods in order to build up your stores again.

You want your body strong enough to fight off any potential side effects from alcohol withdrawal, such as depression, anxiety, irritability, etc…

Foods you should avoid during alcohol detox:

  • Candy bars
  • Cookies
  • Caffeine
  • Fast food
  • Fried food
  • Ice cream
  • Soda pop

Eating junk food can lead to a host of health problems, such as weight gain, high cholesterol, and blood pressure. Junk foods’ tendency to make you feel depressed or sluggish can also affect your mental state in addition to bodily organs like the heart and liver. You need foods to help aid in recovery, not make it more difficult.

Alcohol Withdrawal And Food Cravings That Commonly Occur

It’s normal for recovering alcoholics to desperately crave sugar to the point that they struggle to eat anything else. This is usually due to neurotransmitter imbalances, fluctuations in blood sugar content or just having an addictive personality.

Realistically, it’s probably a combination of all of the above, as the brain and body struggle to get over their addiction and begin to look for other sources of serotonin and other “feel good” chemicals.

Of course, these same chemicals can cause you to crave drinking again which can be a serious problem for former alcoholics for obvious reasons. These imbalances will continue to keep your system craving alcohol. 

Learn More About The Best Foods In Our Alcohol Detox Program

At Granite Mountain Behavioral Health Center, we know that what you put in your body is just as crucial to your overall recovery. That’s why our chefs and nutritionists are trained to provide a well-balanced diet for recovering drug or alcohol addicts such as yourself who need the right nutrients every day.

We’ll also give you tools so that once discharged from treatment, it can be easy for you to continue eating healthy at home again with nothing more than a phone call away––just like when I was transitioning back into my life after discharge!

For more information about how much of an impact food has on addiction rehabilitation therapy here at GMBHC and get started on this journey today by contacting us now.

Alcohol-Related Dementia

What You Need to Know About Alcohol-Related Dementia: Wet Brain Disease

If you or your loved one consume large amounts of alcohol regularly you may notice signs of memory loss. The support you or your loved one needs to overcome this addiction to alcohol is available at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare. Our team of dedicated, caring and trained professionals are prepared to support you in every phase of recovery.

The area of the brain that is damaged from alcohol-related dementia is the hippocampus. This part of your brain helps form new memories and store old memories. Both short and long-term memory loss can occur with alcohol-related dementia.

Alcohol-related dementia is a serious disease. If steps are taken to treat the addiction to alcohol it is possible to reverse the damage. This process that leads to sobriety requires determination and patience.

What Is Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome?

The two terms for Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome come from

  • Wernicke’s encephalopathy – a degenerative brain disorder of alcoholics that is due to a lack of vitamin B-1. The disorder affects the thalamus and hypothalamus sections of the brain.
  • Korsakoff syndrome – a memory disorder that stems from a lack of vitamin B-1 and the effects of alcoholism. This syndrome affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and the section of the brain that controls memory.

The common terms for Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome are wet brain disease or alcohol-related dementia. This syndrome occurs in alcoholics. It is caused by two conditions in the brain that create a deficiency in vitamin B-1.

The deficiency in vitamin B-1 can occur in someone who is addicted to alcohol because of bad dietary habits. A good supply of vitamin B-1 is necessary because it is what turns food into energy. The alcohol in your system also prevents the storage and absorption of vitamin B-1.

How Does Drinking Affect the Brain?How Does Drinking Affect the Brain?

The brain is affected by alcohol in many different ways. Drinking a glass of wine with dinner or having drinks with friends on the weekends does not have a lasting impact on your brain. The problems arise from those who are not able to control their intake of alcohol and creates a pattern of alcohol abuse.

Alcoholics suffer from many health-related issues. Your brain is severely affected in many ways. Both the processing of information as well as the way information travels within your brain cells is altered.  Oxford University Press estimated that between 10 and 24 percent of brain damage and dementia cases may be related to alcohol abuse.

The stages that your body goes through when influenced by alcohol include:

  • Subliminal intoxication – Reaction time, behavior, and judgment are affected after one drink.
  • Euphoria – Dopamine – the chemical that creates pleasure – is released by your brain. You may feel relaxed during this stage, and reasoning and memory are somewhat lessened.
  • Excitement – Stage at which you are legally intoxicated. The brain’s occipital lobe, temporal lobe, and frontal lobe are affected. Blurred vision, slurred speech, and an overall lack of control are evident. Fine motor skills and reaction times slow down a great deal.
  • Confusion –  Walking and standing are compromised due to the effect on your cerebellum. This is the stage where blackouts may take place and that creates short-term memory issues. The hippocampus is the area of the brain that is being affected. 
  • Stupor – This stage sees a blood alcohol count of 0.25 and signs of alcohol poisoning are occurring. All functions of your body are impaired at this point and the possibility of someone passing out, getting injured, or even suffocating is high.
  • Coma – Your blood alcohol count is 0.35 and the risk of going into a coma is very real. Breathing, circulation, motor control, and responses are poor. Death is very possible at this stage
  • Death – A blood alcohol count of 0.45 can cause death. Your brain may not be able to control its vital functions at this stage.

Warning Signs of Alcohol-Related Dementia

The signs of alcohol-related dementia can vary from person to person. Brain structure and the length of time that excessive amounts of alcohol have been consumed can determine the severity of alcohol-related dementia. Warning signs of alcohol-related dementia include:

  • Short-term memory problems
  • Bad decision choices
  • Difficulty in solving complex problems
  • Personality changes that cannot be explained
  • Trouble with following directions
  • Finding the motivation to complete simple chores or tasks
  • Struggling to hold a conversation without struggling to “find the words”
  • Having a hard time staying focused

Does Alcohol Abuse Cause A Decline In Cognitive Activity?wet brain alcoholism

Cognitive activity is defined as “mental activity.” The cognitive activity of someone who is addicted to alcohol can be altered in many ways. The length of time that someone has been addicted to alcohol and the quantity of alcohol consumed will determine the amount of damage to a person’s cognitive activity.

A severe consequence of alcoholism is known as “alcoholic Korsakoff’s syndrome.” The signs of this syndrome indicate that a person is only able to remember new information for a few seconds, not able to solve problems, and not able to process their thoughts.

Other indications that alcohol is affecting your cognitive activity are:

  • A decrease in the amount of time it takes to process information
  • The ability to learn new things becomes difficult
  • An inability to deal with objects in a two-dimensional or three-dimensional space

The damage to the brain that occurs because of alcohol abuse can be caused by 

  • Head injuries that may occur while you are intoxicated and unable to control your body’s motor function
  • Overall toxicity of alcohol on your brain cells 
  • The biological stress of repeated intoxication and withdrawal
  • Diseases from alcohol-related damage to the brain and the brain’s blood supply

Can Drinking Be Linked to Short-Term or Long-Term Memory Loss?

In 2018 a study found that heavy drinking increased the risk of dementia by about three times. The effects of drinking alcohol can create both long and short-term memory problems. Long-term memory is “retrospective” memory, and short-term memory is “prospective” memory. 

Short-term memory loss is more prominent in alcoholics. Heavy use of alcohol causes the brain to have trouble transferring short-term memory items into long-term memories. Blackouts can occur when large amounts of alcohol are consumed. These blackouts have an effect on your short-term memory.

Long-term memory problems also occur to those who are addicted to alcohol. You may see changes to the body such as

  • Damage to nerves
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Reduced grey matter in the brain
  • Stroke

It has been discovered that the overall intelligence of someone who is addicted to alcohol is not affected by prolonged alcohol abuse. The memories that were stored in your brain before heavy alcohol use remain intact. Because of this, you are able to maintain your intelligence level even though you may be drinking excessively.

“Wet Brain” Disease Defined and Symptoms

what is wet brain disease“Wet brain” disease is a type of brain damage and is another way to describe Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Wet brain can occur due to alcohol abuse. It is brought on due to a lack of an important vitamin needed in the body – thiamine, also known as vitamin B-1.

Eating a balanced diet can supply the average person with enough vitamin B-1. Foods such as beef, pork, whole grains, and many vegetables provide the necessary, healthy amount. If you or a loved one is abusing alcohol they may have no concern with nourishing their body, much less making healthy food choices. This lack of nourishment is what can create a deficit in vitamin B-1.

When your body lacks vitamin B-1 neither the heart nor the brain is able to function well. One organ that is affected is the liver. Your liver stores any extra supply of vitamin B-1. Alcohol abuse will drain any of that extra supply of vitamin B-1.

There are enzymes and neurotransmitters in your brain that need vitamin B-1. When there is a lack of this vitamin, brain damage develops. This brain damage is referred to as wet brain. You are at risk of developing wet brain dementia when your intake of alcohol and the length of time heavy alcohol consumption occurs increase.

What Is the Treatment for Wet Brain?

Medical assistance is necessary for treating wet brain disease. Treatment requires medical assistance in order to increase the amount of vitamin B-1 in your body. If intervention happens quickly, there is a chance that some of the symptoms of wet brain disease can be reversed. If you do not seek treatment then the damage that occurs due to the lack of vitamin B-1 can be permanent.

Treatment options can include:

  • Injecting vitamin B-1 into the body
  • Detoxification and therapy to regain your health
  • Taking vitamin B-1 supplements
  • Making changes in diet

Alcoholism is a very dangerous and potentially deadly disease. Fortunately, it is a disease that can be treated and reversed with the help of our medical staff at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare. Help is available and we are ready to take your call.

If you or your loved one is struggling with an addiction to alcohol please make that phone call today. We are ready to provide you with the care and support necessary to regain a normal, healthy life.

Resources

https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/alcohol-and-the-brain

journaling in addiction recovery

The Power and Benefits Of Journaling In Addiction Recovery

Journaling is a powerful tool that allows you to express your innermost feelings and thoughts through writing. Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare is here to help with this process. We focus on empowering you or your loved one to believe that success is possible in your addiction recovery. Our staff will strive to help you or your loved one reach and maintain your goal of sobriety.

Writing down your thoughts and emotions can create a sense of freedom and release. Recovery journaling is an important process that can promote healing. This process allows you the freedom to express your joys, sorrows, and frustrations. There is no pressure and no judgment of what you write about.

Journaling – either on paper or digitally – can help you deal with the stress and anxiety that you may feel during addiction recovery. It is a therapeutic way to deal with emotions or events. The events may have happened in your past, or it may be current events or future events that you are concerned about.

The History of Journaling

People have kept diaries and journals for as long as there has been handwriting. Journaling for therapeutic reasons became well known in the 1960s because Dr. Ira Progoff started offering workshops and classes on the “Intensive Journal Method”. As the years went on his journaling methods became very popular.

The popularity of journaling as a form of anxiety and stress relief caused medical groups to take a closer look. Using journaling for therapeutic reasons made a lot of sense. It was found to be useful in group therapy as well as one-on-one therapy.

Today’s journaling is done in many formats. Handwritten journals are still popular, but many digital journals are used as well. Popular digital forms of journaling include blogs, Facebook, and Twitter.

How Can Journaling Benefit Me?

Writing down your thoughts, whether they are happy or sad, is beneficial and can greatly help in your addiction recovery process. Journaling has healing powers. It allows you the ability to read back through your entries to see how you have progressed in your journey. This form of self-realization and expression allows you to self-analyze your progress.

There are many benefits to writing in a journal. Some of the benefits of journaling in recovery include:

  • Stress relief
  • Lessen feelings of anxiety
  • Brings about a feeling of accomplishment
  • Provides a way to focus on goals
  • Promotes inner peace
  • Encourages emotional awareness
  • Allows you to see things from a different perspective

The Different Types of Recovery Journals

Recovery journaling may look different for you than for others. You may choose to have one single journal or have multiple journals where each has a different intention. The nice thing about journaling is that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do it. You choose what works for you.

The various forms of journals that you may choose from are:

Diary Journal

This form of journaling is used to document daily events. You may decide to include your daily struggles and/or celebrations. You may find that writing down your thoughts about events that happen each day provides comfort and gives you focus.

Reflection Journal 

Your journal entries in a reflection journal may be brief and written at the end of each day. This is the time that you take to write down the decisions you made, and the outcome of those decisions, and how you felt. It is the hope that this form of journaling relaxes you to allow for a peaceful night’s sleep.

Gratitude Journal 

Journaling about the things that you are grateful for each day can bring about good feelings and create a positive outlook. Many gratitude journals prompt you to write down three to five things you are grateful for. This positivity will provide a hopeful feeling, and can cause you to see that a future free of drugs and alcohol is possible.

Spiritual Journal 

This form of journaling allows you to focus on your future and what you would like to become. It provides a way for you to document your spiritual journey through the recovery process. This type of journaling can happen throughout the day.

Health Journal 

This journal allows you to write down how you are physically and mentally feeling throughout the day. It provides an opportunity to look back at past entries and follow how the state of your health progresses.

Goal Journal 

Journal entries focus on short-term as well as long-term goals. This type of journaling provides a place for you to track your progress. You can look back at your entries and see what did and did not work. It is through these journal entries that you can find ways to achieve your goals.

What Are Some Prompts To Motivate You To Journal While In Recovery?

Deciding what to write about may not come easy for you. This may change as you become accustomed to writing down your feelings and emotions. Each day brings different challenges and you may need some help in starting a journal entry.

It is important to know that everyone has their unique style of journaling. Some prefer to write with ink, and some prefer a pencil. Others prefer to type their feelings out on a keyboard, or even on their phone. There is no right or wrong way to journal. The important thing is to find what works for you and do it.

When the words to start a journal entry just won’t come to mind there are many prompts to encourage you. Here are some examples:

  • Dear past me …
  • Dear present me …
  • Dear future me …
  • What makes you smile? Write down 10 things that make you smile.
  • What I wish others knew about me is …
  • My short-term goals are …
  • My long-term goals are …
  • Write a goodbye letter to someone who you want to remove from your life during your recovery process.
  • What are three things you do better than most people?
  • Write down one of your favorite memories.

Can Journaling Prevent Relapse?

Relapse is a very real and scary part of the recovery process. It is important to find outlets that can remove triggers and temptations that could cause you to relapse. Journaling can become one of those outlets.

The addiction recovery process requires you to look at yourself in a different light. Writing in a recovery journal can help you or your loved one with that process. Expressing yourself on paper or digitally inspires you to take a deeper look into what triggers may cause you to relapse.

Finding ways to prevent relapse in addiction recovery is key. Journaling allows your mind to relax and focus on events or emotions that may be bottled up. It is a form of self-care that is recommended because you are in control of what you decide to put down on paper.

Journaling can help in relieving the pressures of everyday life. These pressures create the potential for relapse. Writing down your feelings allows you to evaluate situations and handle things at your own pace.

How To Use Journaling To Maintain A Sober Life

Something as simple as finding exactly the right journal can be enough inspiration to make you want to write. It may be the cover or the color or the material that the journal is made of – whatever it takes to motivate you is fine.

It is important to remember these suggestions when journaling:

  • Entries always need to be honest. This is necessary to grow and learn. You will find that honest entries will help you be honest as a person. Your journal is a place where you can face the events and emotions in your life without the worry of being judged or reprimanded.
  • Always celebrate every victory – whether small or large – through your writing. Your accomplishments will provide the self-esteem needed to move forward on your journey to addiction recovery.
  • Find a quiet place to write down your thoughts. A calm, serene environment will allow you to dedicate your focus and energy to your entries.
  • Keep your recovery journal close at hand. You never know when the urge may strike to write something down. If your journal is available you may find that it becomes a way to process the thought, emotion, or situation that overcomes you.
  • Remember to take the time to look back at past entries. You may find a lot of therapeutic benefits in reading past thoughts. You may also be surprised at the amount of progress you have made as to the days and weeks pass. This progress will be motivation for you to maintain your life of sobriety.

Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare has an addiction treatment program that can transform your or your loved one’s life. We are ready to speak with you about the available options. Our staff is available to answer any questions about the services we offer. We look forward to helping you accomplish your goal of living a life free from drugs and alcohol.

 

 

SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Vitamin D and Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions, but seasonal depression often goes overlooked. Many people think the symptoms of season depression are simply the “winter blues.” But, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is much more than that. This mental condition can cause serious emotional and psychological distress if left untreated. 

SAD is treatable, but recognizing and acknowledging the problem is the first step toward recovery. You should understand what seasonal depression is, what causes it, and what treatments are available.

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is characterized as a mood disorder that causes depressive symptoms during the colder and darker months of the year. People with this disorder may show the typical signs of depression in winter. Then, their symptoms fade away in the summertime.

Because the symptoms of SAD come and go throughout the year, individuals struggling with the disorder may not seek treatment. They may think that their low mood or fatigue are normal or unavoidable effects of the cold weather. Friends and family also might not notice that something is wrong because the depressive symptoms ease up as the weather improves.

However, when it goes untreated, seasonal depression can lead to several serious problems. Not only does it cause emotional pain for a significant part of the year, but it can affect your self-care, your job performance, and your relationships with loved ones.

The Link Between Vitamin D and Depression

SAD and Substance Abuse

There are several possible causes of SAD, but one of the most common factors is vitamin D. You can get vitamin D from some foods, but the seasonal main source of the vitamin is sunlight. When UV rays reach your skin, they trigger your body to synthesize vitamin D, which plays an important role in a variety of body and brain functions.

Researchers are still exploring the connection between vitamin D and depression. However, studies do show that vitamin D deficiency is correlated with mood disorders. In the winter, the shorter days and colder weather make it difficult to spend sufficient time outdoors. If you live in an area that experiences harsh winters, you may hardly get any sun exposure at all for several months of the year.

Other Causes and Risk Factors

Vitamin D isn’t the only factor involved in seasonal depression. Another possible cause is a decrease in serotonin, one of the neurotransmitters responsible for elevating your mood. Research shows that many people with SAD have higher levels of a protein that removes serotonin from the brain. Your serotonin levels may drop in the winter due to the lack of sunlight, and they may increase as the days get longer.

Melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle, could play a role as well. Your body produces more melatonin in the dark, so your melatonin levels could increase in the winter. The hormone can also affect your mood, so people with SAD may feel lethargic, hopeless, or unmotivated in the winter because their melatonin levels have increased.

In addition to problems with hormones or brain chemistry, winter is simply a difficult time for many people. If you have a lot of outdoor hobbies, you may feel bored or isolated during the cold and snowy weather. The short daylight hours can make it feel like the days pass too quickly, and the lack of greenery can affect your mood.

There could be a genetic component to SAD as well. If you have a blood relative who struggles with seasonal depression or another mood disorder, you might be more likely to experience the condition.

Signs and Symptoms of SAD

Knowing the signs of seasonal depression will help you notice the disorder in yourself or a loved one. The following are the most common indicators of SAD:

  • A depressed mood that lasts for most of the day
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Stigma: feelings of guilt, shame, or hopelessness
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Thoughts of suicide

The signs of seasonal depression are very similar to the signs of major depression and other depressive disorders, so the condition can be difficult to diagnose. However, identifying that there’s a problem is the first step toward getting help.

SAD and Substance Abuse

seasonal affective disorderDepression and substance use disorders often go hand-in-hand. Mood disorders can be incredibly difficult to cope with, so many people turn to drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication. Some people with SAD use stimulants to try to boost their mood or increase their energy levels. Others use alcohol or opiates to try to block the pain of the depressive symptoms.

At first, these substances may provide short-term relief from feelings of sadness, guilt, or hopelessness. Over time, though, self-medicating can lead to addiction. Drugs and alcohol can worsen the symptoms of depression in the long run, too. This leads to a vicious cycle of self-medicating that only makes the depression and the addiction worse.

Co-occurring disorders are very common among people who struggle with substance abuse. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, around 20 percent of Americans with an anxiety or mood disorder struggle with substance use. Additionally, about 20 percent of people with a substance use disorder are also diagnosed with an anxiety or mood disorder.

SAD can put you at risk of relapsing if you’re currently in recovery from a substance use disorder, too. If you aren’t receiving treatment for seasonal depression or don’t realize that you’re struggling with a mental health disorder, you may feel particularly vulnerable as the cold weather sets in. Without the proper coping skills for depression, you might be tempted to relapse with your substance use in search of relief from the mental health symptoms.

Treatment for Seasonal Depression

Overcoming SAD isn’t easy. However, you can manage it with a combination of professional treatment and natural remedies for seasonal depression. Although you may not be able to change the circumstances that have caused your seasonal depression, you can learn to cope with the symptoms and take control over the negative thoughts.

Counseling is one of the most popular and effective forms of treatment for SAD. Different therapists take different approaches to mental health counseling. Most focus on addressing the negative thoughts that may be impacting your mood, motivation, and overall well-being. You and your therapist can also explore the possible causes of your depression in winter and discuss coping skills that may help you get through difficult days.

Phototherapy is another treatment option for seasonal depression. This involves sitting in front of a specialized bright light for about 30 minutes per day. The light is designed to suppress your brain’s melatonin production and provide similar benefits to natural sunlight.

Certain lifestyle changes may be helpful natural remedies for seasonal depression, too. Keep in mind, though, that low energy is one of the most common symptoms of SAD. Try not to feel upset with yourself if you can’t find the motivation to dramatically change your lifestyle to combat your depression. However, activities like meditation, exercise, and art can all be great ways to lift your mood and increase your energy levels.

Medication can be an effective way to manage seasonal depression as well. Everyone responds differently to antidepressants, so you’ll have to work closely with a therapist and psychiatrist if you decide that medication is the right option for you. Your doctor’s recommendation may also vary if you’re currently in recovery from a substance use disorder. This is why it’s so important that you treat both disorders simultaneously.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The Link Between Vitamin D and Depression

If you have a substance use disorder and SAD, dual diagnosis treatment is the key to recovery. Both disorders may have the same underlying cause, or one may have caused the other. Dual diagnosis treatment helps you overcome both disorders and strengthen your overall mental health, reducing the risk of relapse.

When you attend a dual diagnosis treatment program, your team will take a comprehensive approach to your care. Instead of focusing solely on the substance use disorder, they’ll simultaneously address the other mental health problems that may play a role in your addiction.

An effective program will begin with a mental health evaluation. This allows your team to create an individualized treatment plan based on your unique needs. Your plan might include medical services during drug or alcohol detox, individual therapy, group therapy, and medication. You may also receive ongoing outpatient services after you leave the full-time program.

Seasonal affective disorder can take a serious toll on your quality of life. It’s especially difficult if you struggle with addiction or are working on recovering from a substance use disorder. You don’t have to manage seasonal depression on your own, though. With support from mental health professionals, you can overcome your dual diagnosis and improve your quality of life.

Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare offers individualized addiction treatment programs that address co-occurring disorders and promote long-term wellness. We believe in empowering our patients by helping them develop the skills they need to succeed. To learn more about our programs, contact us today.

Resources:

https://www.mhanational.org/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/what-to-look-for/mood-disorders/sad

 

Alcohol has an effect on your muscles

Alcohol’s Effect On Muscles

For decades, we’ve been trying to find ways to consume alcohol without gaining the adverse alcohol effects has on your muscles. But does working out and gaining muscle mean that alcohol consumption must be eliminated? 

Many adults enjoy catching a happy hour or going out to get a drink, particularly on weekends, but alcohol and muscle recovery usually don’t mix. The workweek’s middle or end is traditionally commemorated with a happy hour that generally lasts more than only one hour. But the truth is, working adults and athletes both struggle to eliminate even casual drinking on weekends only. 

Some look for ways to balance consuming alcohol and athletics; others give into the fun that comes with partying, causing them to seek an alcohol recovery program.

How Does Alcohol Have An Effect On Your Muscles? 

Research has shown that alcohol has a major effect on your muscles. This is due to the impairment of muscle protein synthesis (MPS) by absorbing the body’s optimal nutrition. The experiment included athletes binge drinking large amounts of alcohol. Because athletes are most prone to requiring muscle but are often drinking, the studies had shown an even greater decline in MPS with a more significant amount of alcohol consumption. alcohol effects on muscles

The research provided enough data to propose educational awareness to coaches and athletes about alcohol and muscle recovery. 

Alcohol and Effects on Fat Burning

Alcohol consumption has been proven to decrease metabolism and reduce our fat-burning capability. This is partly because of how the human body reacts differently to alcohol than consuming real food. The body treats alcohol like a toxin, not a nutrient, so it’s impossible to store alcohol calories the way the body holds food calories.

Alternatively, our metabolism changes to removing toxic waste from burning stored food calories. The primary poisonous chemicals created from alcohol consumption are called acetate and acetaldehyde. 

You’ll almost immediately notice the urge to use the bathroom after consuming just two drinks. Your body is tentatively converting the unwanted byproducts as fuel to release the toxins. This slows down the natural metabolic process of fat stored being burned or adipose tissue. Research has determined that alcohol substitutes fat for fuel and supplies many daily requirement calories.

So, you’re out enjoying a few drinks, the metabolism has paused its fat-burning capabilities, and it starts to break down the booze first. This causes the food consumption calories to be stored as fat. From there, the alcohol decreases our ability to burn fat, especially around the belly area, creating the ever so popular “beer belly.” 

Long-term experiments have also reported that older women who consume alcohol moderately gained less weight than women who had eliminated alcohol. It was stated these women had consumed alcohol occasionally; and on those days, they were physically active and took in fewer calories. 

So, does this mean you can’t work out and enjoy a relaxing glass of wine before dinner? Luckily, research has shown that moderate drinking can be advantageous to our health.

Alcohol and Its Effects on Fitness

Analysis of alcohol and muscle recovery revealed that alcohol consumption can cause significant setbacks in gaining muscle and accomplishing fitness goals. Studies have shown that alcohol consumption reduces muscle protein synthesis (MPS), which reduces the possibility of gaining muscle. Alcohol and its Effects on Fitness

It has also been revealed that alcohol negatively modifies hormone levels and decreases the body’s metabolism, meaning the capability to decrease body fat becomes delayed. There’s also the problem for some who just can’t drink alcohol in moderation. 

How Much Should I Drink?

Health experts advise that women only have only one alcoholic drink per day and for men, no more than two. Simply enjoying a drink has become a reward and cheat option for completing a goal or solid workout and may turn into consuming more than two.

But not all is bad with alcohol consumption; analysis has also revealed some positive health advantages associated with consuming alcohol moderately, like increasing the good cholesterol levels (HDL), reducing stress, and insulin resistance. But overall it has been proven, the negatives of alcohol consumption exceed the positives.

It boils down to making the best-informed choice about alcohol consumption and your fitness goals regarding alcohol’s effects on muscles. 

Alcohol’s Effect on Healthy Eating 

Alcohol consumption can cause lowered inhibitions, leading to mindless eating, overeating, and consuming too many calories. Research has shown that when under the influence of alcohol, drinkers cannot stay focused on healthy eating. 

Alcohol consumption and eating bad go hand in hand, and the result is usually a lack of energy and an enlarged waistline. Studies on calorie intake and alcohol consumption showed people who enjoyed a glass of wine at lunch were consuming an additional 200 calories daily. Those extra calories over time had caused immense weight gain for most participating members. 

How many calories are in each type of drink?

  • 1.5oz liquor – 100 calories
  • 5oz wine- 100 calories
  • 12oz beer – 150 calories

Alcohol’s Effect on Hormones

There seems to be inconclusive data on alcohol’s effects on testosterone levels. Research has indicated someone would have to consume quite a lot of alcohol consistently to alter testosterone.

According to some studies, roughly nine drinks consumed for a man weighing 180lb can lower post-exercise testosterone hormone levels. Reduced testosterone in men can decrease libido, diminish muscle growth, and enhance the risk of osteoporosis.

Another study has shown that elevated alcohol consumption converts testosterone into estrogen, causing massive problems. Plants utilized to produce alcohol contain phytoestrogens, which affects the sex hormone in males. It also seems heavy drinking enhances the aromatase enzyme activity. This enzyme helps convert testosterone, the male sex hormone, into estrogen, the female sex hormone. Too much estrogen in men can cause loss of erection, sore nipples, testicular atrophy, and feminization symptoms. 

So, does this suggest that men shouldn’t consume alcohol if they want to preserve their manhood? Research states that heavy or excessive binge drinking can cause health problems, whereas drinking in moderation doesn’t negatively affect lean mass gains or male reproduction. 

Alcohol’s Effect On Muscles

An examination was conducted on the effects of alcohol consumption with MPS. Participants in the analysis were eight physically active males performing interval training and weight lifting as a portion of the testing method. They drank alcohol and whey protein instantly after their exercise and once again four hours afterward. 

The men also consumed a meal full of carbs two hours after training, with the muscle biopsies taken at rest, two & eight hours after the workout.

The results determined that alcohol levels had elevated above baseline post-exercise with both carbs and protein consumption. Muscle biopsies showed decreased measures of MPS following physical exercise. Alcohol consumed with a protein had reduced MPS by 24% and then 37% when coupled with carbs. The result revealed a partial release of MPS when alcohol was consumed with protein but still negatively diminished.

Alcohol’s Effect on Nutrition

alcohol and muscle recovery,Consuming alcohol indicates you’re drinking empty calories that have zero of the body’s nutritional value. Healthy carbohydrates will have seven calories per gram as opposed to four calories per gram. Many alcoholic beverages are blended with mixers full of dyes and sugar, producing more unhealthy calories for the body. 

Consuming alcohol has been proven to reduce nutrient absorption by reducing digestive enzymes. It can also cause damage to cells in the digestive tract that affect nutrient absorption. Without a healthy digestive system, even healthy food can become unbeneficial to the body. 

Researches have shown that excessive and binge drinking can block the body from absorbing a sufficient amount of protein and additional nutrients. Humans require adequate nutrients to perform optimal fitness exercises while building and maintaining muscle mass. 

Alcohol’s Effect On Sleep

Alcohol may give the feeling of being relaxed, but it has been proven to negatively affect and disrupt our sleep. Sleep is vital for tissue repair and recovering muscles. Without a sufficient amount of sleep, we become unable to function at maximum levels. Alcohol is a depressant substance and may help you fall asleep, but remaining asleep usually becomes an issue.

Research has revealed that alcohol consumption can disrupt our restorative or rapid eye movement (REM) rest. When going without REM rest, you could experience daytime drowsiness, exhaustion, and weak concentration.

Evidence has shown that alcohol negatively affects sleep patterns, which results in increased physical stress and fatigue. Without healthy REM sleep, strength and athletic abilities become tremendously affected. 

Implications state that modest alcohol consumption, meaning one-two drinks, will not disrupt or diminish our sleep patterns. Disrupted sleep can happen with excessive or binge drinking. It’s also highly recommended not to consume alcohol as a sleep aid to circumvent the danger of alcoholism.

Is Alcohol Worth Sacrificing Your Fitness Goals?

Implementing the standard suggested guidelines of consuming no more than one alcoholic beverage for women and two for men should not affect fitness levels and muscle growth. Boozing too much, though, is extremely unhealthy and dangerous. 

Becoming in shape and growing muscle does not imply eliminating alcohol; it only means you should continuously make healthy choices. As alcohol affects your muscles, this makes burning fat and building lean mass more challenging, and superior nutrient intake is crucial. And now that we know alcohol has zero nutrient value, consuming a drink or two occasionally and moderately seems to be possible.

You might not overwhelm yourself with optimal fitness gains, but restricting your alcohol consumption intake is crucial to avoiding alcoholism and living a healthy, happy life. 

Get Help Today

If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism, we can help. Here at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, we understand that treating someone with an alcohol addiction takes time and hands-on care. We now understand alcohol’s effects on muscles and other vital organs, but the real damage is when a disorder takes over a life. 

Do not hesitate any longer; contact us today and allow our team of specialists to help get you back on track to a healthy, happy lifestyle!