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! 

 

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

 

self-care in addiction recovery

Self-Care in Addiction Recovery

Self-care in addiction recovery is crucial to long-term sobriety. In addition to sobriety, self-care helps individuals experience joy, connection, and peace of mind. The practice of self-care means taking the time to take care of your overall well-being. 

As you move along the recovery process, it’s essential to be aware of your mental, emotional, and physical means. Our goal is to help you overcome addiction and build self-care habits that last long after treatment ends. 

What is Self-Care?

Self-care includes anything we do to refuel and recharge our mind, body, and spirit. It can involve anything from taking care of our hygiene and physical health, to activities that promote our mental and spiritual well-being.

Some individuals may be under the impression that it’s selfish to take part in self-care. We’re here to debunk this misconception! 

When we practice self-care and love ourselves, we start to become a better version of ourselves. This then positions us to be fully present in our lives and for the people who love and need us.

Why is Self-Care Important to the Addiction Recovery Process?

Addiction recovery is about far more than just sobriety. It’s about stepping into a new, healthier way of living. 

Changes in your lifestyle are directly tied to changes in your mental and physical well-being. Practicing self-care during addiction recovery allows you to form a plan that ensures you’re at your best.

Self-care in addiction recovery is an action, not merely a concept. Our treatment plan will help you incorporate self-care habits that will become a part of your daily routine.

Substance misuse is toxic to the mind, body, and spirit. Restoring and maintaining health in all areas of our lives is a focal point of addiction recovery. 

At Granite Mountain Behavioral Health, we believe in maximizing the addiction recovery experience is to practice self-care.

What are the Different Types of Self-Care in Addiction Recovery?

There are many different types of self-care when it comes to your overall well-being. These types of self-care can range from habits tied to physical health, to actions we take to promote our emotional being. 

It’s important to form habits ranging in different types of self-care during the addiction recovery process. When you take the time to improve yourself, you’ll notice the world around you start to adjust too. 

Emotional Self-Care

Emotional self-care can be defined as the actions we take to connect with our emotions and healthily process them. Our ability to regulate our emotions and form healthy coping mechanisms is vital to our happiness.

A few examples of emotional self-care activities for addiction recovery include:

  1. Journaling
  2. Therapy
  3. Using affirmations or mantras
  4. Meditation
  5. Practicing gratitude

Another critical component of emotional self-care is paying attention to your self-talk. Negative self-talk can lead to destructive behavior. Replacing negative self-talk with words that are loving and kind can make a massive difference in the quality of your life.

Physical Self-Care

Physical self-care is all about taking care of your body. Body and mind are connected, so when you take the time to nourish one, the other will benefit as well. Exercise especially has enormous benefits to the way that you feel. 

Activities that promote physical self-care during addiction recovery include:

  1. Being active (going for a walk, a bike ride, going to the gym, etc.)
  2. Taking a relaxing bath
  3. Dancing to music you enjoy
  4. Getting a massage
  5. Napping (never gets old!)

Mental Self-Care

Mental self-care works on stimulating your mind and cultivating a healthy psyche. It’s crucial to make sure you’re growing and learning as the days go by. If you’re not taking the time to expand your mind, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. 

Activities that fall into mental self-care include:

 Listening to a podcast

  1. Trying a new hobby
  2. Visiting the museum
  3. Reading a book
  4. Learning something new

Social Self-Care

Connecting with others is a natural part of being a human being. We all crave connection. Satisfying this need ensures your social well-being is also taken care of. 

Self-care in the addiction recovery process means considering all parts of self-care, even when it involves other people.

Social self-care activities include:

  1. Scheduling regular calls with your family members
  2. Taking the time to hang out with friends
  3. Going on a date with your significant other
  4. Cuddling with a pet
  5. Writing a card and mailing it to someone you love and appreciate

Another crucial part of self-care is taking into consideration what relationships serve you and which do not. If there’s anyone you find draining to be around, it may be time to part ways. Your relationships should uplift and fulfill you, not the other way around.

Spiritual Self-Care

A spiritual self-care practice is any ritual that helps to connect you with your true self. The real you is the raw expression of who you are, before any conditioning or limiting beliefs took place. 

It’s energizing, inspiring, and, most importantly, it feels right. Spirituality means something different to everyone. 

For one, it may be the practice of Buddhism. For others, it means taking the time to be your own and check-in with how you genuinely feel. In any case, make sure to do what feels right to you. 

Spiritual self-care activities can come in the form of:

  1. Spending time in nature
  2. Religious/Spiritual practice
  3. Doing yoga
  4. Volunteering 
  5. Mindfulness/Meditation

Practical Tips for Self-Care During Addiction Recovery

An acronym that’s commonly used during addiction treatment is H.A.L.T. This stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. 

Feeling these negative states can trigger substance use in specific individuals. Self-care during the addiction recovery process helps to satisfy H.A.L.T states to ensure you’re feeling your best. 

Some practical tips for self-care include:

Fuel your brain and body with healthy food

A nutritious diet benefits your concentration and energy levels. This also leads to a more stable mood! Eating healthy food makes you feel good, and when you feel good, you’re less likely to be tempted by drugs or alcohol.

Take the time to enjoy yourself

Determining what activities help you relax is essential to addiction recovery. Finding ways to have fun helps show you that you don’t need drugs or alcohol to feel good. We encourage you to look into different types of hobbies, such as learning about new subjects and exercise.

Have a reliable sleep schedule

A lack of sleep negatively impacts every aspect of your health. Negative moods and emotions lead to a lack of energy and motivation. The better your body and mind feel, the better you will feel. 

Exercise

Exercise has an enormous amount of benefits regarding addiction recovery. Consistently exercising helps to regulate stress levels. It also works as a mood booster due to the dopamine release that occurs when you’re exercising. 

Reducing stress

Stress can trigger relapse in many individuals. Practicing self-care during addiction recovery helps keep stress levels down. Adequate sleep, exercise, and mindfulness practice are all great techniques in reducing stress. 

Gratitude practice

Noticing the small joys can benefit your self-care routine in surprising ways. With a perspective of gratitude, life becomes more beautiful. Even on our difficult days, we have the gift of recovery and all the blessings that it brings. 

We encourage you to maintain a daily gratitude journal. Just listing five things that you’re grateful for daily can make a significant impact on how you feel. 

Why Should I Enroll in a Treatment Program at Granite Behavioral Health?

Our philosophy is what drives our members and us forward. We have determined that addiction recovery is achieved through an intentional combination of vital support and neuro-regeneration. 

We combine these evidence-based treatment methods with clinical care provided by genuinely caring, trained & certified professionals. With the help of a structured program, we’ll cover all the essential areas of self-care.

Our goal is to target all parts of the addiction. Here at Granite Mountain Health, we want to help you become the best version of yourself that you can be.

Another great advantage of a treatment center such as ours is the full range of amenities and services. A handful of what we provide includes:

  • All transportation to & from the clinical addiction treatment center, doctors’ appointments, 12 step meetings, house activities, the grocery store, and any other housing-sanctioned outings or activities
  • 24/7 clinical assistance
  • Accountability circles and house meetings
  • Weekend activities, including trips to Sedona, the Grand Canyon, bowling, movies, hiking, and swimming
  • Exercise and health: Yoga, cross-fit, and other sporting activities are available to members
  • Communication: Each member will have the opportunity to get a job and learn to communicate with an onsite house manager. The onsite house manager will help the individual organize and structure their day.

Jumpstart your Addiction Recovery Journey with Granite Behavioral Health Today!

Self-care is a crucial part of the addiction recovery process. No matter where you’re at, forming healthy habits and rituals is vital. 

Our overall well being must be maintained and paid attention to. It’s easy to neglect areas of your life that you know need attention. 

Addiction recovery can help shed light on all the areas of your life that could use some self-care.

You can kindly contact us here for more information about our addiction treatment programs. We’re here to answer all of your questions, comments, and concerns!

 

COVID-19 Preventative Measures

COVID-19 Preventative Measures

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare is taking steps to be proactive in ensuring that we are taking every precaution and following infection control procedures to help keep our patients & staff members safe and healthy. We understand the extreme importance of staying educated, using preventative measures, and using scientific and medical data to help make our decisions.

COVID-19 Preventative Measures

We are closely watching developments from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization, and the Joint Commission to ensure Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare is following current best practices.

Our mission is to combat the global pandemic of addiction and alcoholism which remains a threat during these uncertain times. Our commitment to this mission remains our primary focus. At this time, we are accepting patients and have reinforced each step of our admissions process to ensure we are identifying all potential risk factors with prospective patients to help protect our community.

Please call us for more information at (877) 389-0412.

– Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare

essential oils

10 Essential Oils to Aid in Alcohol Detox

Alcohol is a part of everyday life. It has become a social norm, consumed for pure enjoyment, in addition to, tradition and celebrations around the world for thousands of years. Various research studies have proven that two million people drink alcohol, crowning it the most popular beverage consumed worldwide. 

Because of its accessibility, alcohol is, unfortunately, also the most abused substance within the United States. 85 percent of people said they have tried alcohol at least once. 

While having a couple of drinks is acceptable and won’t cause any harm, excessive alcohol consumption has serious effects on the brain and body, resulting in various consequences on an individual’s health and mental wellbeing. 

Alcohol detox is a comprehensive process done at an alcohol treatment facility, which is an essential part of recovery. This method is beneficial as it assists people with substance abuse on the path to recovery, and also most importantly, makes the removal of toxins and alcohol easier and faster. 

It is a process that assists patients on the path to recovery during alcohol withdrawal. It helps make the toxins removal process easier and faster.

Treating your addiction to alcohol is a very crucial step and investment in your future and well-being. The best chance of managing this condition, recovery and long-term sobriety is entering an inpatient or outpatient treatment program, which entails participation in local support groups and continued counseling. 

However, conventional treatment may not work for everyone as treatments for alcohol addiction does not have a one-size-fits-all approach. Other methods including essential oils and aromatherapy can help aid with detoxing from alcohol. 

How Alcohol Affects The Body

The liver becomes the most damaged organ due to drinking alcohol. As the alcohol enzymes absorb into the liver’s cells, toxic and harmful byproducts of fatty acids called acetaldehyde to build up within the body, which begins to attack the liver leading to a liver disease called cirrhosis. This impairs your liver’s ability to properly metabolize fats. 

Alcoholism does not only affect the liver but it also majorly impacts permanent damage to the brain, increase risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, pancreatitis, alcohol poisoning, hypertension (high blood pressure), overdose, and death. 

With all of the potential side effects of excessive alcohol consumption, the first step in treating this disease is seeking help. Keep in mind, overcoming dependency on addiction to alcohol is a long process. Addiction affects not only the person going through it but those around them. Help is available, and recovery can make a significant difference in one’s lifestyle. 

Alcohol Detoxification Process

During detoxification, toxic substances, in this case, alcohol, and other toxins are removed from the body for 7-10 days through the use of anti-craving FDA approved medications. 

Due to the increase in alcohol-related deaths, the demand for treatment is at an all-time high. Contrary to popular belief, addiction is not curable, but it can be managed, just like any other chronic disease, such as diabetes, asthma, and hypertension (high blood pressure). 

However, recovering from the powerful disease of addiction, from alcoholism to mental illness, can be extremely challenging, both physically and psychologically. Before an individual can officially begin recovery, they go through a process called detoxification. 

Due to the body being tolerant and dependant on the substance, the body has an adverse reaction by producing unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms called withdrawal. These symptoms ranging from mild to severe, and even life-threatening include but are not limited to: 

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Chills/tremors and shaking
  • Diarrhea 
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle pain and weakness

Everyone is different, and these physical and psychological symptoms depend on the following factors: 

  • The amount of alcohol consumed
  • History of alcohol abuse
  • Whether an individual has any underlying medical conditions 
  • Age
  • If there is any co-existing mental illness

Withdrawal symptoms from detox occur about six hours after the last alcoholic beverage. These unpleasant reactions are usually at their worst on days two and three, and afterward, begin to subside. Detox can also be done in a less severe way using essential oils and aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy For Alcohol Detox 

Aromatherapy is a form of holistic therapy and alternative medicine, which involves the use of various types of essential oils to promote the power of healing, both mentally and physically. This ancient practice of medicine is said to have healing properties for a wide range of medical purposes, including addiction to alcohol.   

It involves the topical application or inhalation of essential oils extracted from aromatic plants to restore, rebalance, and enhance one’s health and wellbeing. The term aromatherapy came about in the late 1920s as a plant-based therapy, using scented plants for incense, medicine, and perfumes.  

The multidisciplinary team of medical professionals and addiction specialists at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare in Prescott Valley, AZ, believe in providing people with resources and comprehensive treatment methods to help reduce and manage the symptoms of withdrawal during alcohol detox through the use of essential oils and aromatherapy. 

Our goal is to strengthen the self-healing processes such as detox, by using alternative preventative methods and indirect stimulation of the immune system. 

History of Essential Oils

It was believed that the Egyptians first created the ability to distill essential oils, which were infused with herbs used for rituals, medicine, cosmetics, etc. Years later, the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates studied the effects that essential oils had on health and promoted the use of them for medicinal benefits that we know today. 

Fast-forward a hundred years later, one of the most famous applications of essential oils was thanks to French chemist René-Maurice Gatttefossé. He gave birth to the term essential oils after an accident in his laboratory sparked his curiosity about the healing power of essential oils. 

After burning his arm, Gatttefossé placed it in a container of lavender oil, which ended up healing his burn without causing any scarring. Following in his footsteps was French surgeon Jean Valnet who used essential oils in World War II to help heal soldiers’ wounds, proving that aromatherapy is extremely beneficial in a medical sense. 

Use of Essential Oils For Alcohol Detox

During aromatherapy, essential oils derived from plants, flowers, trees, bushes, and roots are distilled and turned into forms of oils for therapeutic purposes. These essential oils are applied right on different parts of the body, including the feet, wrist, brow, scalp, pressure points, abdomen, chest, depending on the location of a person’s ailment or pain. 

Research has shown, that types of essential oils are highly concentrated, nutrients and natural properties are absorbed by the body through the skin, nasal passages, and digestive tract. As a result, the body begins to return to a more balanced state (homeostasis), delivering the desired effect, ranging from relief, calming, healing, stimulating, cleansing, and soothing. 

When most people hear of essential oils, they think of putting drops of wonderful smelling oils into a diffuser. The variety of these oils and their properties are all dedicated to helping naturally heal and calm through their scents and applying them to areas of the body. Thus, giving off a natural calming and relaxing sensation, helping to relieve stress and anxiety. 

Essential oils and aromatherapy are commonly used in spa treatments, but it is also now commonly used in the field of addiction treatment to aid in the process of detoxification. 

10 Types Of Essential Oils For Alcohol Detox

Essential oils are potent natural plant extracts that contain a multitude of benefits for all sorts of maladies. They are aromatic oils with amazing medical purposes. They are known to be an anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, anti-depressant, among others. 

Essential oils are fragrant, strong, and natural plant extracts that contain a host of medical benefits, as they are known to be not only detoxifying but also anti-inflammatory, stress-relieving, amongst other things. 

Fortunately, there are several other ways to help reduce withdrawal symptoms. Essential oils assist in ridding alcohol and other toxins from the body in a more calming and holistic way. Here are the top 10, which are known to be most beneficial for helping people recover from alcoholism quicker.

Ginger Oil: 

Ginger oil has a high concentration of a plant-based chemical called gingerol, which helps heal the liver after it has been severely damaged from excessive drinking. Thus, this essential oil can help repair your damaged liver quicker due to alcoholism.

Lemon Oil: 

Made from the rind part of a lemon, lemon is a powerful essential oil that promotes healing. During alcohol detox, the chemical limonene helps the body release toxins from the body, especially the liver and kidneys. Lemon oil can also help to alleviate symptoms of depression and strengthen the immune system. 

Lavender Oil: 

Lavender oil is the essential oil that is most popularly used for relaxation and reducing anxiety. Since drinking alcohol causes insomnia, lavender il also assists with improving sleep patterns. 

Black Pepper Oil: 

Black pepper oil helps with alcohol cravings. It boosts the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, improving one’s mood. 

Roman Chamomile Oil:

Going through detox is very stressful, as the body is producing unpleasant reactions. Roman chamomile essential oils induce a calming feeling, relieving symptoms of anxiety, and is a mood enhancer. 

Fennel Oil  

Fennel is similar to the taste and smell of licorice. This essential oil helps the body flush out toxins, and cleanses the body’s tissues and organs during the detox process. 

Grapefruit Oil

During alcohol detox grapefruit oil is very helpful with killing toxins within the body. In the case of alcohol, this extract is a natural diuretic, which helps to flush out the alcohol molecules that have built up in the liver and flushes out other waste. 

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil helps relieve stress, and when going through detox withdrawal symptoms, it helps with pain and sore muscles. Also, this essential oil is a natural diuretic that helps removes toxins from the body a lot quicker than normal. 

Mandarin Oil 

Mandarin oil is made from the peels of oranges and calms the body down before the alcohol detoxification process begins. The liver is undoubtedly the most important organ in the body when it comes to drinking alcohol. Drinking excessively leads to liver damage and disease. Mandarin oil helps with circulating healthy blood and detoxifying the liver. 

Peppermint Oil 

Peppermint oil helps with stomach pain relating to alcohol consumption. Made from the peppermint plant, this essential oil helps with people’s focus and helps speed up the recovery process. 

Alcoholism: A Deadly Disease 

Alcohol abuse leads to alcohol dependence and addiction, which negatively impacts a person’s health in a myriad of ways, contributing to over 200 diseases and health conditions. 

Every day, about 30 people lose their lives in car accidents, and about six people die from alcohol poisoning. Also, binge drinking doubles the risk of mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and dementia. 

For people struggling with alcohol use disorders, our main goal at Granite Mountain is to assist them on their recovery journey and after treatment, so that they will successfully live a sober, stable, and healthy lifestyle. 

Granite Mountain Can Help

Through aromatherapy and the use of essential oils, alcohol detox and withdrawal symptoms can be better managed. At Granite Mountain, know that help is available and we are here for you every step of the way. Contact us today to see how detox can help you recover from alcohol addiction. 

References

https://www.themiracleofessentialoils.com/top-7-essential-oils-for-alcohol-detox/

https://www.biosourcenaturals.com/pure-essential-oils/pure-essential-oils-descriptions-and-uses/frankincense-essential-oil/

https://www.edenbotanicals.com/aromatherapy-a-brief-history

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/822014

https://theessentiallife.com.au/theessentialblog/2016/essential-oils-to-help-with-alcohol-detox

 

 

secondary traumatic stress

The Link Between Secondary Traumatic Stress and Substance Abuse

Secondary traumatic stress is the emotional distress that occurs when an individual hears about the first-hand trauma experiences of another. Secondary traumatic stress can also occur if an individual witnesses a traumatic event that is occurring to somebody else. The symptoms of secondary traumatic disorder are highly similar to those of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Those struggling with secondary stress may find themselves re-experiencing personal trauma or notice the avoidance of triggers related to indirect trauma exposure. Individuals suffering from secondary stress may also experience alterations in memory and perception. Secondary traumatic stress is often experienced by mental health professionals and substance abuse counselors.

Substance abuse, addiction, and secondary traumatic stress can have a complicated relationship when they intertwine. High levels of stress increase the likelihood that an individual will turn to drugs or alcohol as a means of escape. Drugs can temporarily increase pleasure, decrease anxiety, and provide a distraction from painful emotions. However, the consequences are dangerous and fatal.

Stress triggers levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid produced by the brain) to lower, causing adrenaline to increase. GABA can also be stimulated by drugs that suppress the central nervous system, such as opioids and alcohol. Individuals suffering from high levels of stress may turn to drugs for a “quick fix.” Especially when an individual is severely stressed, they may become desperate for anything to alleviate their pain.

Who is Most Often Affected by Secondary Traumatic Stress?

Secondary traumatic stress can be described as an occupational hazard for professionals working with those dealing with mental health disorders and/or addiction. It can be difficult for mental health professionals and substance abuse counselors to separate their patient’s pain from their own. 

Research has shown that 6% to 26% of therapists working with traumatized populations, and up to 50% of child welfare workers, are at high risk of secondary traumatic stress, as well as PTSD.

However, doctors, nurses, first responders, and the loved ones of an individual suffering from trauma are all at risk for developing secondary traumatic stress. We mustn’t overlook these individuals. Those who give the most support are often in need of it just as much. 

Mental Health Care/Social Workers

Mental health care and social workers dedicate their time to helping individuals overcome trauma or work through their internal battles. They’re exposed to the pain of their patients, which isn’t always easy to process. It is no easy task to separate yourself from your patients and the troubles that you hear every day. This can consequently lead to secondary traumatic stress.

Furthermore, these mental health professionals don’t always allow themselves to process the stories they hear. Professionals who are not trained to identify or manage STS-related symptoms can become overwhelmed and less effective at their jobs.

Medical Staff: Doctors and Nurses

Pain, loss, disability, chronic illness, and failure to achieve relief from symptoms are all aspects of medical care that doctors and nurses experience every day. In a study done on PTSD in intensive care units, nurses described the situations triggering secondary traumatic stress. 

These included seeing patients die, patient aggression, involvement with end-of-life care, verbal abuse from family members, open surgical wounds, massive bleeding, not being able to save a specific patient, and much more. 

Doctors and nurses may develop secondary traumatic stress after exposure to such difficult situations. Oftentimes, they may feel like they don’t have the opportunity to heal themselves because of their focus on other individuals. 

First Responders

First responders are repeatedly exposed to severe trauma. Repeated exposures, in conjunction with their intense role in emergency services, can lead to secondary traumatic stress. First responders become more likely to experience distress, worry, disturbed sleep or concentration, alterations in work function, difficulties with interpersonal relationships, depression, and increases in substance use.

The first responders of our nation are first at the scene in many traumatic events. They must take action in these circumstances, thus not having time to process the event itself. 

Family Members of Someone Suffering from Trauma 

Secondary traumatic stress has serious effects on families, couples, and the loved ones surrounding someone suffering from trauma. When supporting a loved one, we can sometimes forget to attend to our own needs. Secondary traumatic stress can occur when we overly identify with the individual’s pain and stress.

Empathy is a huge part of being a human and understanding somebody else’s struggles. However, it can also come at the cost of your mental health when you become engulfed in the other person’s situation. 

Signs and Symptoms of Secondary Traumatic Stress

Recognizing symptoms of secondary traumatic stress can help you to seek help sooner rather than later. Fortunately, being aware of these signs is half the battle. Once you become self-aware, taking action is the next step. 

Many people suffer from a lack of understanding that there’s an issue at hand. Even more so, many allow their symptoms to get worse and procrastinate in acknowledging what’s bringing them pain.

The effects of secondary traumatic stress range from mild to severe. Although each patient is unique, you can lookout for the following symptoms of secondary traumatic stress:

  • Emotional — overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, or even the opposite, feeling distant and detached from reality.
  • Physical — feeling exhausted, unmotivated and overall tired.
  • Behavioral —  bad habits start forming that may be self-destructive in nature, such as substance abuse.
  • Professional — sense of overall job fulfillment is low, responsibilities and tasks are not being satisfied as they normally would be-if at all. 
  • Cognitive — overall confusion, difficulty concentrating, and inability to make decisions, experiencing traumatic images, which is repeatedly seeing/reliving events. 
  • Spiritual — losing faith in humanity and higher power or life satisfaction. 
  • Interpersonal — losing interest and actively avoiding or becoming emotionally unavailable to the people you work with or your loved-ones.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out to our addiction and trauma specialists today. 

Secondary Traumatic Stress and Addiction 

“More than 60% of helping professionals have a trauma history of their own—we enter the field to make a difference, to give back, and share from our own life experiences,” as stated by a counselor in a secondary traumatic stress study. 

Many mental health professionals are inspired to help others after experiencing their pain and trauma. It becomes tricky when these mental health professionals are repeatedly exposed to trauma from their patients. This can also apply to the loved ones of someone battling with substance abuse or trauma, doctors, nurses, first responders, as well as other fields. 

Consequently, this can lead to substance abuse and addiction amongst the professionals striving to help others. Chronic stress can negatively impact a person’s impulse control, learning, and memory functions. As a result, drugs can become a coping mechanism or a method of self-medication for the symptoms of secondary traumatic stress.

It is important to note that secondary traumatic stress and substance abuse is classified as a dual diagnosis. This is because STS is still a form of trauma. When accompanied by addiction, two disorders must be recognized and treated.

Treatment Options for Secondary Traumatic Stress

The great upside is that there is treatment available to those suffering from this condition. No matter how lost you feel, there’s potential to feel much better. With the right resources and care, you’ll be able to overcome the obstacles setting you back. 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis treatment targets secondary traumatic stress and drug or alcohol addiction simultaneously. You’ll be working with mental health professionals and addiction experts who understand your unique situation. 

Dual diagnosis makes sure to treat both sides of the equation. Failing to acknowledge both parts of the issue will result in inadequate treatment. 

Addiction Treatment 

The severity and type of addiction you’re experiencing will play a part in the exact type of treatment that you’ll be receiving. Most treatment programs for addiction begin with some form of detox to clear alcohol and other drugs from the body.

More severe addictions call for an inpatient or residential treatment. Partial hospitalization provides a moderate level of care, and outpatient treatment provides the lowest level of care. After a thorough evaluation of your condition, we’ll decide together what type of care will suit your recovery best. 

Mental Health Treatment 

Addiction is a disease that affects the person from the inside out. It is crucial to treat the underlying roots of addiction, in conjunction with the cravings and temptations. The ability to simultaneously work through any mental health hurdles returns the power in your hands

With our team of trained therapists, you’ll learn coping strategies and address any toxic behavioral patterns. 

Therapy Options

There are several types of psychotherapy used to treat secondary traumatic stress disorder. These therapies include:

  • Cognitive therapy. This type of talk therapy helps you recognize the ways of thinking (cognitive patterns) that are holding you back,
  • Exposure therapy. This behavioral therapy helps you safely face both situations and memories that you find traumatizing so that you can learn to cope with them effectively. 
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR combines exposure therapy with a series of guided eye movements that help you process traumatic memories and change how you react to them.

Long Term Recovery Options for Secondary Traumatic Stress and Addiction 

Recovery from secondary traumatic stress and substance abuse doesn’t stop when a treatment period ends. Aftercare is a crucial part of the recovery journey. Aftercare is continued treatment after the “core” program is completed. There are many different kinds of aftercare treatment options to prevent relapse and expand upon the coping strategies. 

Options for aftercare include: 

  • Outpatient treatment: The individual resides at home while attending treatment a few times a week at a convenient schedule. 
    • Support groups/Group counseling: The patient will listen to and share experiences associated with addiction and secondary traumatic stress. Individuals will work to build social and coping skills in an encouraging group setting.
    • Individual therapy: The patient will meet one-on-one with a therapist to continue progress established during the primary treatment program. 
  • 12-step programs: Fellowship programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), provide support and motivation for the individual as they recover.

Get Help Today!

We encourage you to seek help today if you’re suffering from secondary traumatic stress. From an on-site medical staff to comfortable amenities, we have everything you need for a smooth recovery.

We aim to create a better future for our patients. We pride ourselves on having a truly caring staff that promotes a community of encouragement and hope. Each patient will be a part of our family here at Granite Mountain.

Whether it’s you or a loved one struggling, one of our treatment programs can help today. From individual therapy to medical care, treatment will be tailored to your unique needs. Reach out to us by contacting us here.

References:

http://neatoday.org/2019/10/18/secondary-traumatic-stress/

https://www.acf.hhs.gov/trauma-toolkit/secondary-traumatic-stress

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4549333/

http://www.apnc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Vicarious-Trauma-and-the-Substance-Use-Disorder-Counselor.pdf

https://www.reflectionsonnursingleadership.org/features/more-features/i-left-nursing-because-of-secondary-traumatic-stress

https://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/resources/secondary_trauma_child_welfare_staff_guidance_for_supervisors.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5808160/

https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/dtac/dialogue-vol14-is1_final_051718.pdf

https://nursing.ceconnection.com/ovidfiles/00043860-201703000-00009.pdf

https://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/resources/fact-sheet/secondary_traumatic_stress_child_serving_professionals.pdf

https://traumaawareschools.org/secondaryStress

 

positive psychology

The Power of Positive Psychology: Recovering From Addiction

Psychology is a science that studies people’s human behaviors. Human behavior is learned behavior, which is especially true with addiction. Various studies and psychological research has helped people to try and understand the motivations behind substance abuse, and the choice to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as drinking and taking drugs. 

Drug and alcohol addiction are learned behaviors, and recovery from addiction requires individuals to be motivated enough to get help and make significant changes in their behavior and lives. The power of positive psychology has been proven to help people with substance use disorders (SUD) believe they can truly change their lives for the better. But, how? 

The addiction specialists at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare would like to teach you about the power of positive psychology in addiction recovery. 

What is Positive Psychology?

Positive psychology (PP) is defined as the field of study called the “good life” phenomenon. The name refers to just what this notion means. It focuses on people and their beliefs and behaviors, and the makeup of their characters, and how that influences them to act the way that they do. 

Studies conducted at the Positive Psychology Center at The University of Pennsylvania describe the notion of positive psychology similarly to the socio-psychological phenomenon called a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

This theory refers to someone’s belief, prediction, or expectation that something will come to fruition because they believe it will. As a result, a self-fulfilling prophecy indicates that people’s beliefs influence their actions, which is true, just like Professor Jim Orford’s addiction theory stated. This is the foundation for the scientific study behind positive psychology. 

The theory behind positive psychology allows individuals to find a way to build a meaningful life full not just of survival, but one of purpose. It is all based on the principles of having a positive mindset and shifting one’s perspective. 

For those with addiction, the use of positive psychology in treatment and recovery helps patients be able to focus on how they can not just survive, but also most importantly, become happier and more fulfilled in their lives, to have an optimal chance of a successful recovery and maintain long-term sobriety. 

Rather than focusing on the pain of one’s addiction and mental illness, the science behind positive psychology has helped addiction specialists, medical professionals, and caregivers understand what it is that helps to make a person truly happy and healthy. The emphasis of PP is to focus on someone’s mental wellness and not solely just their illness. 

Power of Positive Psychology for Addiction Recovery 

Benefits of Staying Positive During Recovery 

Having a positive outlook whether it’s for a situation or making a decision, is undoubtedly a huge predictor of an outcome. It is extremely true when they say if you have a negative attitude the outcome will not be positive. Positivity is extremely powerful.

Vice versa, if you have a more positive outlook on things, the outcome will be a positive one. Things do not always go as planned, but research has proven that our beliefs are greatly influenced by our thoughts. 

In terms of addiction and treatment, positive psychology is an extremely helpful tool. Despite the good intentions, many treatment strategies aim to help a person recover, but, aside from therapy, sometimes those who are going through recovery for drug and alcohol addictions are not taught proper life or coping skills to be able to properly manage and take control over their conditions. 

Therefore, while it is not intentional, some strategies weaken one’s belief in their power and abilities to take back control over their lives and stay sober. The possibility of relapse is always around the corner. 

During effective addiction treatment, positive psychological approaches do play a significant role in achieving long-term addiction recovery goals. Traditionally, people who have chosen to enter a rehab facility for treatment, are diagnosed with a condition, told they will have to manage it, to expect the possibility of relapse, and that there is also a chance of death. While all of this is true, this negative prognosis can feel extremely demoralizing and can set someone back. 

At Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, our addiction specialists practice positive psychology. Based on our patients and their different needs, we try and suggest that their addiction is a behavioral disorder that was a consequence and result of poor choices. 

We not only diagnose our patients accurately but teach them that with the right help and techniques in therapy and throughout treatment, that these bad habits and behaviors can be changed. 

While we are not denying the negative side of addiction, and the statistics surrounding addiction recovery, we like to reframe a negative situation into a positive one, so people who suffer from substance abuse feel like recovery is possible. 

As a result of positive psychology and encouragement, we have seen a real difference, and most importantly, that with a different perspective and mindset, that people feel more empowered and motivated to tackle their recovery head-on. 

Understanding Addiction From A Psychological Perspective 

The Excessive Appetites Theory of Addiction 

Evidence-based research has demonstrated that much of our behavior as humans is generated from our thoughts and beliefs. This includes addictive behaviors, for example, binge drinking and taking drugs such as opioids.

According to verywellmind.com, in 1985, Jim Orford, an Emeritus Professor of Clinical & Community Psychology at Oxford in the United Kingdom, developed a theory to help people better understand addiction. This “disease” model of addiction was outlined in his ground-breaking book titled, Excessive Appetites: A Psychological View of Addictions.

In Professor Orford’s Excessive Appetites theory, he makes one of the clearest and strongest arguments surrounding behavioral addictions. He states the five core addictions are, gambling addiction, food addiction, drug addiction, and exercise addiction. 

In his research, Orford describes that addiction occurs in two main stages.  

Stage 1: Addiction is a major psychological process rather than a physical disease. 

Stage 2: Addiction occurs as a response or reaction to a wide range of different behaviors. 

In the book, addictions are described as types of excessive “appetites” rather than a dependency on drugs and alcohol for example. 

The theory depicts in-depth the idea that addictions are appetites, which are extremely common, excessive, and troubling when strong attachments to the core addictions are developed. He states that addiction to drugs and alcohol are more recognized as examples of addiction. 

Orford’s model describes his main point, that addiction develops as a gradual process, and because of compulsive behaviors, the main stage being appetitive behavior.

The whole point of his theory, in conclusion, is that there are negative consequences that occur as a result of our behaviors. As a result, it can cause serious harm to people and those around them. 

This is very indicative of addiction. An individual may or may not like a certain activity that they partake in, it is a choice, and not the act of liking or disliking that is the problem. 

The real reason behind why people psychologically become addicted, Orford states is because addiction is a result of the indulgence to do something, in other words, an appetitive behavior. 

Something we tend to want to do over and over again despite what can happen as a result. It is not because addiction is a disease, it is the degree to which one’s compulsive behavior ends up hurting someone. Despite the person wanting to stop, the behavior persists, which is what the real problem is more than anything.  

To sum it up, Orford stated in the book, “The uptake of new behavior does not occur in a psychological vacuum, but as part of a constellation of changing beliefs, preferences, and habits.” 

So, in other words, this theory perfectly explains addiction as not just being a complex psychological process, but one in which involves a large number of contributing factors.

Contributing Factors Behind Addiction

Based on Professor Orford’s proven addiction theory, addiction is defined as chronic compulsive behaviors that occur despite the negative consequences that could occur as a result. 

Did you know, that people who abuse substances, such as opioids or cocaine, are four to ten times more likely than those who are not dependant or addicted, to develop other addictive behaviors, particularly to gambling? From discovering this, we can discern that addictions go hand-in-hand, substitute for one another, and reinforce one another. 

Addiction impacts the lives of people in various ways. Everyone is unique, and so is their battle. Due to this negative consequence to behaviors that they chose to partake in, addiction does not only cause health complications but socioeconomic ones as well. 

Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It costs people their freedom, finances, relationships, problems at school and work, etc. 

However, the most important repercussion from addiction is definitely the human cost. Not only does this choice cause mental, physical, and emotional stress, what it does to the support system (friends and family) of a person suffering is unparalleled. 

Professor Orford states, that this cycle of addiction commonly begins in a person’s teenage years, as it is when an individual at this age starts to become more exposed to certain activities which tend to have addictive tendencies. 

Teenagers usually like to rebel or become experimental. They begin to gain more responsibility and a chance at choosing what they spend their time doing, and how much they spend doing it. 

As teenagers grow into adults, they tend to mature out of addictive behaviors, but some do not. The reason why someone engages in a certain behavior or not is dependant on a few factors including: 

  • Personality
  • Environment
  • People
  • Culture 

Engaging in various addictive behaviors, often allows people to cope and feel better about whatever it is that they are going through. This is especially true in the early stages of the addiction cycle. 

In other words, acting a certain way in situations all depends on various factors, including personality, environment, culture, socioeconomic status, etc. People tend to drink and take drugs to reduce tension, reduce inhibitions and self-awareness, and escape from bad situations and negative emotions. Addictive behavior is also a result of the following contributing risk factors:

Mood

When people engage in addictive behaviors they discover that it enhances their mood. Due to levels of neurotransmitters called dopamine and serotonin being released in the brain, individuals can start to see their mood changing. 

Often, when someone has an addictive personality and engages in certain behaviors, such as taking drugs and alcohol. The mood aspects of addictive behavior can also help with self-esteem or social image, and it can help people to cope with past trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse.

Unfortunately, it does not necessarily make them feel better, it just masks it. This is because these addictive behaviors are mood enhancers. When someone takes a substance or engages in these risky behaviors, the feelings of sadness or depression become suppressed, while the body releases endorphins, producing emotions of happiness, pleasure, and euphoria. 

Social Factors 

The act of drinking alcohol especially is a very social activity. Also, alcohol is very accessible and enjoyed around the world by various cultures. The process of engaging in addictive behaviors is known to be a direct result of social and cultural situations. Research has shown that drinking or doing drugs is highly dependent on conforming to social norms and family history. 

The more that people are around family and friends who like to engage in risky and addictive behaviors such as drinking and doing drugs, strongly predicts whether they will go on to develop not just a dependency on the substance of choice, but an actual addiction. The people who usually become addicted, don’t, unfortunately, see becoming addicted as a personal choice. 

Learned Associations

They say from a young age that people, especially babies learn by association. People are natural observers and like to mimic or attempt to mirror other people’s similar behaviors. This is no different for those suffering from addiction and substance abuse. 

Once people have started to engage in certain behaviors, in this case, addictive ones, something called associations begins to develop. This means, that when a person feels a certain way, how they act is very much a reflection of that. 

The behavior and state of mind are closely linked. Therefore, these associations between mood and behavior develop within the brain, along the neurological pathways, and become involuntary. 

Certain things can trigger a person’s memory, and remind them of a certain behavior, which can influence someone to seek out these behaviors. As a result, over time our brain has taught us to associate a feeling with addictive behavior. 

For example, because a person realized that they felt less anxious after drinking, the brain and body crave that behavior and tell us that it makes them feel better when in reality, it isn’t, and symptoms are just being suppressed. 

Individuals with addictive personalities or tendencies, attribute positive feelings with behavior and construct a whole belief system and explanation of why their behavior makes them feel better. They come to believe that drinking or taking drugs is the key to making them feel better regardless of the negative consequences that often follow, including health complications, coma, overdose, and death. 

Attachment and Commitment 

People who become more attached to their addictive behaviors are more inclined to engage in them and carry them out. This level of attachment gets higher and higher as time goes on. 

Committing and attaching yourself to these risky behaviors repetitively can lead to new ways of breaking down the walls and barriers surrounding these behaviors, automatically increasing one’s chances of increasing the effects of the drugs or alcohol, and becoming not just dependent anymore but addicted. 

Developmental Maturity

Psychologically, the capacity of aligning our actions or behaviors with our beliefs and values depends on someone’s maturity level. Maturity is what ultimately distinguishes one person from another. 

People with addiction or addictive tendencies tend to routinely act without thinking. And, with no regard to the consequences, these types of people are very focused and intent on pushing the limits. 

Ways to Practice Positive Psychology During and After Addiction Recovery 

So, we have talked about how we use the power of positive psychology to help our patients with substance use disorders recover. Have you wondered how you or a loved one can practice positive psychology on your road to recovery? These are some ways in which we have seen a difference:

  1. Meditation
  2. Connect with others 
  3. Keep a gratitude list
  4. Engage in activities that you enjoy 
  5. Talk to someone- know there is always help out there

There have been great strides made in quantifying which behaviors and attitudes foster feelings like, serenity, love, joy fulfillment, and peace. Helping yourself practice this idea of positive thinking will then emanate to others going through addiction feel like they are not alone on their journey to recovery. 

Within itself, the idea of positive psychology is another component or resource of support that everyone, not just people with addiction should utilize more. 

Granite Mountain Can Help You Recover!

A life of health and long-term sobriety is attainable with our help. We work with our clients to help them re-envision their lives, putting them on a path of self-discovery, so, they can ultimately regain control over their lives and rekindle the relationships that are most important to them, to achieve optimal recovery. 

The study of positive psychology and its relation to addiction treatment has been proven to be revolutionary. Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare believes in the power of positive thinking and has seen it keep our patients on track and motivated to reach sobriety and empower others to do the same. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and substance abuse, the addiction specialists at Granite Mountain can help. Contact us today to take back control of your life! 

References

https://www.verywellmind.com/psychological-process-of-addiction-22261

https://www.verywellmind.com/excessive-appetites-22259

 

fentanyl addiction

Fentanyl Addiction: The Latest Deadly Opiate Addiction in Arizona

Fentanyl drug overdose rates are at an all-time high across the country but more so in Arizona. Arizona is fighting a war on “Mexican Blue Oxy” Oxycodone laced with fentanyl. While the government is looking for ways to stop the flow of the drug into their state, families are seeking ways to help their loved ones before the horrible drug destroys them. 

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic schedule 2 narcotic analgesic that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. Fentanyl works by blocking pain receptors in the brain and increases the production of dopamine, which increases the feelings of happiness, relaxation and decreases the perception of suffering. Fentanyl is prescribed for severe pain, after surgery and for chronic pain patients who are no longer finding relief with other opioids. In 2017, In 2017, Arizona providers wrote 61.2 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people.

  • Fentanyl is an extremely strong synthetic opioid that is very effective at relieving moderate-to-severe chronic pain.
  • Oral versions of fentanyl contain an amount of the drug that can be fatal to a child.
  • The difference between a therapeutic dose and a deadly dose of fentanyl is minimal.
  • There are many illegal analogs and derivatives of fentanyl that are much stronger than the legal prescription version.
  • Recreational users often use fentanyl as a substitute for heroin.

Fentanyl Addiction: Why is Fentanyl so Addictive?

Many people become addicted to fentanyl very quickly due to its euphoric “high” similar to heroin. Fentanyl enters the bloodstream and immediately crosses the blood-brain barrier, where it quickly binds with opioid receptors. The quicker the binding process, the stronger the feeling of euphoria, which makes fentanyl the most dangerous opioid. Compared to other opioids, it takes a very small amount of fentanyl to produce the same effects, 

Fentanyl affects everyone differently. The effects are dependent on an individual’s size, weight, the overall state of health, the amount that is taken, whether fentanyl is taken in combination with other drugs, and whether the person is used to taking opioids.

  • Fentanyl’s effects include
  • extreme happiness
  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • sedation
  • problems breathing
  • unconsciousness

Fentanyl analogs produced in illegal laboratories can be hundreds of times stronger than street heroin and tend to produce significantly more respiratory depression, making them even more dangerous to users than heroin.

Individuals using heroin or cocaine, or in recovery for a drug use disorder may not know that the potency of street-sold heroin and cocaine can be greatly enhanced by adding fentanyl. Because the potency of such drugs is not known, and they are not told about the addition of fentanyl, any illicit drug use – even a reduced dose – can result in an accidental overdose or death. In many cases, drug dealers are mixing fentanyl with other drugs, like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and MDMA. This is because it takes a very small amount to produce a high with fentanyl, making it a less expensive option. 

Fentanyl may be taken orally, smoked, snorted, or injected, and no one method of use is safer than another. 

Fentanyl Addiction: The Signs of an Addict

The abuse of and addiction to fentanyl or a synthetic form of fentanyl may be shown by the following signs and symptoms:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Secrecy and deceit
  • Withdrawal from loved ones and friends
  • Little to no participation in significant activities

Physical symptoms:

  • Fatigue and extreme drowsiness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Low heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Gastrointestinal distress

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Inability to concentrate and focus
  • Impaired decision making

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Euphoria
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Severe mood swings

 

People addicted to fentanyl who stop using it can have extreme withdrawal symptoms that begin as early as a few hours after the drug was last taken. These symptoms include:

  • muscle and bone pain
  • sleep problems
  • diarrhea and vomiting
  • cold flashes 
  • uncontrollable leg movements
  • severe cravings

Fentanyl Addiction: The Numbers In Arizona Are Alarming

Since 2013, opioid-involved deaths rose 76 percent in Arizona, with 928 deaths reported in 2017. That is 13.5 deaths per 100,000 persons, compared to the average national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons. The greatest increase occurred among deaths involving synthetic opioids, mainly fentanyl which increased from 36 deaths in 2012 to 267 deaths in 2017.

Data from one report showed that in 2018, fentanyl was reported in 18 percent of all fatal and non-fatal reported overdoses in Arizona. Since Governor Doug Ducey’s opioid emergency declaration in 2017, fentanyl is the most commonly reported drug involved in fatal overdoses with 301 deaths since June 2017.

The most recent data about overdoses in Arizona shows that:

  • In January 2019, there were 47 reported overdoses involving fentanyl in Arizona. Five of these were fatal.
  • In February 2019, there were 36 reported overdoses involving fentanyl in Arizona. Two of these were fatal.
  • In March 2019, there were 21 reported overdoses involving fentanyl in Arizona, with three fatalities reported.
  • Fentanyl is more commonly reported in overdoses among younger Arizonans. Among teens 15-17, fentanyl was the most commonly reported drug involved in suspected overdoses.

Thirteen out of the total 15 counties in Arizona have recorded fentanyl deaths between mid- 2017 and early 2019. The hardest-hit county, La Paz has recorded 597 deaths in 100,000 people in the same period, while the least affected has 106 deaths in 100,000 people within the same period.

Fentanyl deaths have surpassed those of heroin and have affected all Arizona demographics. Residents say it is the worst kind of drug invasion seen in the last 30 years. For example, according to the DEA in Arizona, in 2017, its agents seized 172 pounds of powdered fentanyl. In 2018, they confiscated a total of 445 pounds, pointing to a 159 percent increase.

In 2017, DEA agents had also confiscated over 95,000 pills of fentanyl-laced pills. This amount increased in 2018 to 379,000, which translates to an almost 300 percent increase. So far, in 2019, 1,138,288 illegally manufactured fentanyl pills have been seized. Such a significant increase in illegally created fentanyl shows that war on fentanyl deaths is far from over

Fentanyl Addiction: What is Arizona doing to combat the Issue

In June 2017, Governor Doug Ducey declared a statewide emergency after data was released on the increased number of opioid overdoses primarily from fentanyl.

On January 25, 2018, Governor Doug Ducey signed the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act. The Act includes measures to cut down on doctor shopping by making it mandatory for doctors and pharmacies to keep databases up to date. The state has also started placing safe disposal bins for all opioids and other prescriptions. There is a limit on the first fills of 5 days. Research shows that any more than 5 days of continuous use leads to a higher risk of addiction.

Since June 2017, the Arizona Department of Health has trained over 1200 first responders to carry and administer Naloxone and has provided over 5100 new Nexalone kits to law enforcement agencies.

Other measures call for $10 million to be spent treating opioid abusers who are underinsured and ineligible for Medicaid. The Good Samaritan Law protects anyone who is overdosing and anyone who witnesses an overdose from prosecution for seeking help. The governor has also implemented the Angel Initiative. It will help individuals struggling with fentanyl addiction, and other opioid addictions seek treatment without prosecution. Meaning that an addict can walk into any police station, turn in their drugs, and ask for help without the fear of going to jail. It also helps parents who seek treatment place their children into care without the children going into foster care. 

Ducey called the package a comprehensive model for other states looking to address what has become a nationwide crisis.

Fentanyl Addiction: Destroying Families in Arizona

As the war on fentanyl and fentanyl addiction continue, the destruction of Arizona families is on the rise. There has been an increase in the number of babies being born with a fentanyl addiction, in 2008 there was 1.8 in 1000 hospital births up in 2019 to over 10 cases in every 1000 hospital births. And babies born with a fentanyl addiction suffer lifelong issues. Opioid use during pregnancy has also been associated with developmental delays and intellectual impairment. But most studies were conducted before the use of synthetic fentanyl, and scientists don’t yet know the long-term implications of these substances on babies but are certain that we will see complications that will have devastating effects during their life. 

As fentanyl addiction continues to rise, the number of children in homes with family members addicted to fentanyl continues to rise. Witnessing the trauma of a parent suffering fentanyl addiction at a young age has long-term effects on the child. Children growing up seeing a parent addicted to fentanyl are more likely to develop a fentanyl addiction in their teens and adulthood. They are also three times more likely to be neglected, physically, and sexually abused. Since children are still developing their personalities and learn from what they see, they run the risk of repeating such behaviors. Children may be exposed to aggression or violent behavior due to a parent’s fentanyl addiction. 

Fentanyl addiction takes over the life of the victim it has claimed. They give up important life activities, such as work, family time, hobbies they once loved. Fentanyl takes over their life; they spend most of their day using fentanyl, looking for fentanyl or finding ways to get money from people to support their fentanyl addiction. Fentanyl becomes such an important part of the addict’s life; they will say and do anything to get the money to support their habit. 

If someone you love has a fentanyl addiction, you are likely to experience changes in your thoughts and behaviors. You may find yourself:

  • Worrying about your loved one’s drug use
  • Losing sleep
  • Experiencing constant anxiety
  • Lying or making excuses for the addict’s behavior
  • Walking on eggshells around the addict
  • Withdrawing from your loved one to avoid mood swings and confrontations
  • The constant feeling that calling the police when your loved one is high is better than finding them dead
  • Putting yourself in dangerous situations to look for or rescue your loved one
  • The fear of losing your family member if you talk to them about their drug use

Fentanyl Addiction: How To Get Help

If you have a family member who has a fentanyl addiction, it is a battle of keeping the peace or starting a war of uncertainty. Keeping the peace means not talking to your loved one about their problem, but that comes at the cost of watching them destroy their life. Starting a war of uncertainty means putting it all on the line and giving them no choice.

There is no perfect way to approach someone with a fentanyl addiction to getting help. By the time you get up the courage to fight the battle and talk with your loved one, you already feel defeated by the day to day battle. You are not alone in this war on fentanyl. Families all across Arizona are in this war. Like you, they feel defeated. 

Let the caring and compassionate family of Granite Mountain Behavioral HealthCare help you or your loved ones. You contact us here. 

 

alcohol addiction

How to Maintain Recovery from Alcohol Addiction

Whether you’re just beginning or ending your road to recovery, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Recovering from alcohol addiction requires special aftercare. It is crucial to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Taking care of yourself entails taking action to change your life for the better

There are a variety of measures you can take to ensure you stay sober. We understand that recovering from alcohol addiction is an emotional rollercoaster at times. There will be ups and downs.

However, just keep in mind that with every down, there is an up on the other side. From pain comes growth and we believe that you can always prevail. Keep reading to learn more about the different ways you can recover from alcohol addiction. 

Journaling

Journaling is a fantastic way of coping with stressful thoughts and emotions. Recovering from alcohol addiction means having to work through a wide scope of feelings. Some days you may feel proud of yourself and joyful. 

Other days you may feel disconnected from who you are and a little anxious. Please understand that this is all okay. The key to a sober and happy life is to understand that the downs don’t have to keep you down. You can work through the painful moments and prevail. 

Keeping a journal can be helpful in many different ways. For example, keeping track of your emotions every day is a great start. Write down how you feel and why. If you find yourself getting anxious, write those thoughts down.

Oftentimes getting our uneasy thoughts and emotions onto paper makes us feel a lot better than we’d expect. Holding emotions in isn’t healthy. It’s important to let yourself feel the negative feelings and healthily release them. 

Another helpful way of journaling is finding different prompts online. There are different questions you can ask yourself and then base your writing on that. 

Some examples are:

  • Think about at least three positive things that happened to you today and write them down. Use as much detail as possible.
  • Write a letter to yourself. Make it a love letter and recall what makes you proud to be you.
  • If you’re prone to anxiety attacks, write down all the strategies you’ve used in the past that have helped you overcome an attack. 
  • Write down your favorite quotes or song lyrics that inspire you.

Keeping Active

It’s no secret that exercising is good for you. It allows your body to release endorphins. Endorphins boost your mood. Even a simple walk can help you release endorphins.

Exercising also helps to clear your mind. Recovering from alcohol addiction can take a lot out of your body. It’s important to take care of yourself mentally and physically. If one is off, the other is affected too. Not everyone is a fan of going to the gym and that’s completely okay. 

There are many different ways to exercise and release those awesome endorphins. For example, you can take a hike on a beautiful trail. Nature is something that can make a huge difference in how you feel as well. Being around luscious green trees and fresh air does wonders for clearing negative emotions and thoughts.

Other options include taking fitness classes such as kickboxing or Crossfit. There are countless ways for you to incorporate exercise as you work through recovering from alcohol addiction.

Yoga is another method that’s helped, countless people. Yoga postures, known as asanas, help to alleviate physical pain. These yoga postures work to stretch, lengthen, and balance the muscles. 

Yoga is also centered around the belief that your body and mind are connected. Many yoga classes begin with choosing an “intention”. For example, let’s say that a particular day you’re struggling with letting something go. You can set your intention as finding peace and then the entire class is centered around achieving that intention and working towards it.

Socializing with Sober Friends

As you’re working through recovering from alcohol addiction, the circle you keep close to you is crucial. If your friends are constantly going out and drinking, how is that going to benefit you? It’s important to surround yourself with healthy relationships centered around sober fun. 

There are so many different ways to have fun when you’re sober. You can try out food from different cultures at restaurants with your friends. You can go to an arcade, bowling, rollerblading, etc.

If none of that sounds appealing, you can take a trip to a museum. Still no good? Take a trip somewhere near you that you’ve never been to before and do some exploring. Alcohol recovery is a lot easier with a great group of friends around you. 

Be honest with your friends about needing to have sober fun. Supportive friends will not only understand, but they will encourage you to be the best, sober version of yourself. Although going out for drinks may seem tempting, the consequences are nowhere near worth it.

Get a Job

Are you already working or is there a career path you’ve always wanted to try out? This is your time to focus on what you want. Keeping busy is a great way to stay focused on what matters. You want to make sure you take steps each day to help your future self.

Recovering from alcohol addiction allows an addict to start fresh. Everyone goes through their obstacles. Don’t let yours affect your life for the worst. You can completely change your life if you stay sober.

Indeed is a great search engine to use when searching for jobs. You can choose whether you’d like to work part or full time. You can search through different levels of jobs, as well as the proximity to your home. 

Setting goals also goes hand in hand with getting a job. Your goal can be to move up within the company or to save a certain amount of money each month. Be clear about your intentions. There are so many positive things that can come from having a job. Make sure to search for a career that you’ll enjoy. 

Too many people settle for jobs that don’t make them happy without realizing they can change their circumstances. Perhaps they do realize it but are too scared to change it. Regain control and work towards a goal that’ll fulfill you in the long run. 

Keep an Agenda/Clear Schedule 

Structure and consistency are key when recovering from alcohol addiction. Alcohol addiction can cause chaos in your life. Days may become centered around grabbing a drink. Now is your chance to turn that all around!

You want to make sure to be clear about where your time is going. Invest in an agenda and write out what you have planned for each day. Regardless of whether you’re a recovering addict or not, this is immensely beneficial.

When we’re not clear about where our time is going, we tend to waste it. It’s easy to do a bunch of things that don’t help you or are just plain lazy. Take the time to write down your priority action items for the day and then how you’ll reward yourself for achieving them.

Don’t want to buy an agenda? No worries – just get yourself a Trello board. It’s great online tools that allow you to organize your life by different lists and sections. You can create separate jobs for your personal life and work. 

Take Up a New Hobby

Is there something you’ve always wanted to try? Does something, in particular, bring you a lot of joy? This can be anything from drawing to working out to taking a dance class. There are so many ways for you to keep busy as you recover from alcohol addiction.

It’s important to incorporate things that make you happy in your life. This may seem obvious, but sometimes we can get caught up in the day-to-day stuff. We forget that life has countless opportunities and resources out there made for us. No matter who you are, you can find something out there for you.

Learning a new skill is not only rewarding, but it’s also a fulfilling process. Watching yourself go from beginner to expert is a pretty awesome feeling. As cliche as it may sound, you need to believe in yourself. With addiction out of your life, there’s a lot more time for you to put to use.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Recovering from alcohol addiction can catapult you into a new, much more beautiful life. You have complete control over what direction you want your life to go in. There are countless ways to not only maintain sobriety but to improve your life overall.

At Granite Mountain Behavioral Health, we’re here to guide you through the entire process. We understand it’s not always easy, but we can promise you that it’ll be worth it. From staying active to journaling, maintaining sobriety is possible.

If you’re ready to start your road to recovery or are interested in an aftercare program, you can contact us here. You can also call us at (877) 389-0412 and talk to one of our alcohol addiction experts. Remember, we’re here for any questions, comments or concerns you may have. We’re waiting for your call!

 

alcoholism and binge drinking

Alcoholism vs Binge Drinking

When it comes to understanding alcoholism, people often confuse it for binge drinking. Even though both deal with the abuse of alcohol, the two are entirely separate concepts.

Just because somebody is binge drinking doesn’t mean they’re an alcoholic. It is imperative that people know that there is a difference. 

Understanding both of these can help people better understand what treatment program is necessary for their recovery journey, as well as the different negative impacts alcohol, has as far as substance abuse is concerned. 

Alcoholism

Alcoholism is best described as an insurmountable desire to partake in consuming alcohol. It is one of the most dangerous forms of substance abuse. Those who suffer from alcoholism usually spend a lot of time thinking about alcohol; most often, it’s all they can think about. Because of this, the temptation to use or abuse escalates, and eventually, the user is seduced by the hold that alcohol has on their psychological well-being.

When somebody uses alcohol, the pleasure center in the brain is triggered. Because of this, the user’s desires are manipulated, and eventually, that desire becomes insatiable. When this happens, users place the consumption of alcohol as their top priority.

People who suffer from alcoholism make drinking their top priority, and this has a monstrous effect on family and loved ones. It could cause addicts to neglect them or even treat them poorly. Not only that, but monetary problems could come as a direct result of alcoholism. Financial stressors are difficult for families, and dependency on alcohol is expensive. That being said, alcohol addiction has the power to tear loved ones who were once inseparable apart.

Factors of Alcoholism

Some contributing factors for alcoholism include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Peer pressure
  • Marital problems
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse

Alcoholism is much more complicated than a person choosing to drink once because they felt like it and then being hooked. There is a vast array of circumstances that can lead to somebody finding solace in alcohol abuse.

Symptoms of Alcoholism

If you or your loved one are suffering from alcoholism, you may be experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Lack of interest in any activity
  • Consistently inebriated 
  • Consistently lying
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lack of self-control with alcohol

One of the hardest parts of identifying alcoholism is the fear of calling it what it is. Those who suffer are likely aware that they have a problem, but have trouble confronting it, and could become angry if the truth is pointed out. This is why you must seek help when confronting a loved one who suffers from alcoholism. Approaching them in a loving, non-judgemental way is also important when confronting someone suffering from alcoholism. 

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is defined as the prolonged use of alcohol in one sitting causing a person’s blood-alcohol concentration to be considerably high (0.8g%). Those who are binge drinking drink a vast amount of alcohol within a short amount of time. This is different from alcoholism in that the person is not addicted, they are merely misusing the substance in a manner that lacks upright judgment.

Over 50% of alcohol that is served to people is done so for someone who is binge drinking. This alarming statistic highlights just how common alcohol abuse is in those who use it. When consuming alcohol this way, the pleasure centers of the brain are impacted greatly. Binge drinking is known to lead to damage in the pleasure center of the brain. 

Not everybody who struggles with binge drinking is suffering from alcoholism. For example, an alcoholic may have a dependency on the substance, but they’re not always drinking enough to cause the short term effects of nausea, vomiting, and memory loss. Those who binge drink are likely going to experience these symptoms and more.

Some immediate effects binge drinking may have on a person includes the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blackout
  • Hangovers
  • Alcohol poisoning

Binge drinking also could have long term effects on a person, which includes the following:

  • Heart problems
  • Depression
  • Brain damage
  • Liver damage
  • Memory damage
  • Cancer

Sometimes binge drinking can even lead to tragedies such as car accidents, domestic violence, or even death. Being aware of the impact that binge drinking can have on an individual is imperative to prevent the risks of it and also providing somebody with the help they need to stop.

There is often a misconception that binge drinking only happens at parties. Sadly, this is not the case. Binge drinking could take place in a variety of different circumstances. For example, somebody could be binge drinking alone so that they can hide their troubles from a loved one, or they might drink at a sporting event. Binge drinking could also take place when friends get together, become bored, and start playing a drinking game. 

Binge drinking can often lead to unfortunate circumstances or have long-term effects that someone hadn’t seen coming. They must recognize the symptoms, as it may lead to getting the help that they never knew they needed.

 

Key Differences Between Binge Drinking and Alcoholism

The differences between alcoholism and binge drinking include:

  • Binge drinkers are not dependent on alcohol
  • Binge drinking is defined by a specific blood-alcohol percentage
  • Alcoholism is a chronic condition
  • Those suffering from alcoholism can’t control their consumption
  • Those suffering from alcoholism have an increased tolerance

Alcoholism and binge drinking can often become grouped within the same category, but it does not mean they’re the same thing. There are vast differences between the two; understanding these differences is key in identifying which of the two somebody is struggling with, and also in combating substance abuse in any form it takes.

Consequences of Alcoholism and Binge Drinking

The consequences of binge drinking are as follows:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blackouts
  • Hangovers
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Accidents and injuries
  • Unplanned pregnancy 
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

The consequences of alcoholism include:

  • Cancer
  • Psychological problems
  • Liver disease
  • Heart issues
  • Depression

Understanding the consequences of both binge drinking and alcoholism are imperative to a person’s recovery. These two forms of substance abuse may lead to unfortunate circumstances that nobody saw coming. If you believe that yourself or a loved one is suffering from either of these two forms of addiction, it is important to seek help immediately.

How Granite Can Help

When it comes to understanding alcoholism, it is just as important to familiarize oneself with what kind of treatment is available. So that somebody understands their need for help, a person must first communicate their love and understanding for the one affected. These people require real love and compassion. This begins first with understanding. 

Once you’ve approached someone struggling from substance abuse in a caring manner and they’re ready to receive treatment, then it’s time to explore your options. Thankfully, at Granite, we offer a wide variety of treatment options to meet your loved one’s needs. 

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient care is used to treat serious cases of addiction. This treatment includes 24/7 access to medical personnel if the need arises, allows the patient to live in the care of one of our treatment facilities and lasts anywhere from 28 days to six months. If your loved one suffers from a serious addiction, Granite’s inpatient treatment program may be for them.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient care is a recovery method that gives patients access to professional psychiatrists and therapists anywhere from 10-12 hours weekly. Designed to treat mild cases of addiction, patients can recover with minimal disruption to their daily lives as this method allows them to be treated while living in their own homes. This treatment option is extremely convenient for those who have a mild case of addiction and need to stick around their home to support themselves or their families.

Detox

Detox from drugs and alcohol could include the following symptoms:

  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Seizures 
  • Nausea or vomiting

Cutting somebody off completely from drugs or alcohol who have been addicted for quite some time can lead to serious withdrawal. Drug cravings are extremely difficult to overcome and can have a frightening impact on someone who struggles with addiction. Medically assisted treatment (MAT) uses medicine wean a patient off of drugs or alcohol in a more comfortable way than cold-turkey.

Therapy

Therapy in addiction treatment helps patients evaluate their past with substance abuse, and also shapes their attitudes towards it in a more positive direction. The goal is to improve the way they cope with their drug cravings by providing them with skills that encourage self-control.

Moving Forward

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, then it may be time to seek out professional help. Throughout the recovery process, Granite’s philosophy is to guide those who wrestle with addiction to a place of sobriety and stability. We do this with the help of specially trained professionals who are experts in all of the treatment methods mentioned above. If you are interested in what Granite can offer you as far as a patient’s recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is concerned, contact us here, or call us at (877) 338-6287.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4008086/

https://www.psycom.net/binge-drinking

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/mental-health/alcoholism/

https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm#bingeDrinking