woman in therapy for anxiety

5 Tips for Coping With Anxiety in Early Recovery

When you’re leaving treatment, you may feel excited to get back to normal life and implement everything you’ve learned. But many people also have anxiety in early sobriety about returning to their previous lives and obligations. They may worry about temptations, or about if they can maintain their sobriety in the face of old stresses and obligations.

These feelings are completely normal and natural. Anxiety and addiction recovery can sometimes go hand in hand. Sobriety is a precious thing and it’s only natural to fear a relapse. But there are many measures you can take to alleviate the anxiety that comes with early recovery. It’s just a matter of preparation and self-knowledge.

Identify Your Triggers Before Leaving Treatment

If you’ve decided to enter recovery, you definitely know the risks of using your addictive substance. But that doesn’t mean the temptation won’t re-emerge again. It’s important to have self-awareness of your triggers so you won’t feel helpless when you’re facing them out in the real world.

Triggers for substance use may include:

  • Pressure to perform at your job
  • A certain time of day, i.e. late at night
  • Boredom
  • Loneliness
  • Dealing with a difficult person
  • Disruption to your routine
  • Failure or making a mistake
  • A toxic relationship
  • Mental exhaustion

Take your anxiety in recovery and channel it toward prevention. Spend time in individual therapy (or in a group therapy session) to discuss your triggers for using addictive substances. You may have to work to break unhealthy habits to maintain sobriety, but it will certainly be worth it.

Practice Mindfulness and Grounding

Mindfulness is the act of working to be present in the current moment, not thinking in hypotheticals or reflecting on the past. The act of being present can help remind us of our goals and keep our eyes on the ultimate goal of maintaining sobriety.

Grounding exercises are activities that aid in achieving mindfulness in the moment. They are often composed of breathing exercises and noticing details of the current state, such as taste and smell. Some people choose to perform exercises or stretches to help keep them in the present moment. It’s helpful to know which grounding exercises work for you before leaving treatment, so you’re ready to react when you have anxiety in early sobriety.

Build in Time For Healthy Habits

Maintaining a routine is a key aspect of learning and maintaining sobriety. This is often enforced in treatment centers, as well as sober living homes. However, this becomes much more challenging when you’re back in the real world and have new responsibilities.

Depending on your schedule, there are many different health habits you can choose to take on. A few examples include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Brushing teeth twice per day
  • Walking a neighbor’s dog every day
  • Watering a plant every day
  • Drinking water with every meal
  • Cleaning your home in some part every day
  • Practice a musical instrument
  • Calling a relative, close friend, or sponsor

It’s important to be consistent with healthy habits to help maintain sobriety. Not only will you benefit from the habits themselves, but you’ll also build confidence and pride in yourself by staying consistent. Just keep in mind that consistency is more important than perfection.

Keep A Mood Journal

If you’re new to journaling, there are many benefits to journaling in recovery. When becoming sober, you’re learning how to manage emotions in new contexts without using substances as a coping mechanism. Keeping track of how you feel in different contexts (and after certain triggers come up) will help you learn what brings you to a state where you want to use substances. Anxiety in early sobriety frequently leads to the temptation to use substances again. You can avoid relapse by staying aware and learning how to manage your emotions in this context.

Ask For Help

man suffering from anxiety

A common trait of people who suffer from addiction is feeling like they’re alone in their struggle. Not everyone is addicted to substances, but most people understand struggling with a chronic problem. The people in your life may be happy to hear you talking about your struggles instead of keeping it all inside.

If you feel like you’re struggling with temptation for addiction, here are a few phrases to use when asking a person who doesn’t suffer from addiction for help:

  • “I’m feeling a lot of stress, can I talk it out with you?”
  • “What do you usually do to cope with stress?”
  • “Can we take a walk? I want to decompress.”
  • “Look, I feel like I want to drink. Can we do something fun?”
  • “I’m learning how to cope with stress while sober. Have you ever felt stress like that?”

It’s important to exercise self-care in recovery from addiction, especially if you feel anxiety in recovery. But asking for help is a valuable tool in working toward a sustainable recovery that’s supported by the people in your life.

Develop Anti-Stress Strategies (Before Leaving Treatment)

Before leaving to begin rebuilding your life after addiction, it’s important to remember that stress will always be a part of your life. It’s important to think about how you can cope with stress before the temptation to use substances. Think about activities you can do to alleviate stress, such as breathing exercises or looking up funny videos on your phone. There will be no perfect day, and it’s important to think about how you’ll avoid using addictive substances to cope with stress in the future.

Celebrate Recovery at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare

There is always hope for recovery from addiction. Support and a commitment to healing can bring incredible results, and it is never too late to begin a journey toward recovery. Don’t let the fear of relapse stop you from pursuing the healthy option for you and your loved ones. Contact us and start the journey today.

sober summer

Sober Vacations

Sober Vacations: How to Travel and Stay on the Path to Recovery

Summer is here which, for many, means it’s the traveling season. Summer vacations, whether with family, with your spouse, or by yourself can be a great way to relax and recharge. It can also be a great way to get out and experience fun, new things.

However, for those who are sober, trying to plan a vacation while also maintaining your sobriety may seem like a daunting and stressful task. It is important to remember though that sober vacations can be just as fun as non-sober vacations. It’s all about knowing where to go, where not to go, and coming up with fun, sober things to do.

If you are thinking about taking a sober vacation this summer, keep reading to learn some tips and tricks.

Can You Take a Truly Sober Vacation?

The short answer is yes, not only can you take a truly sober vacation but you can have fun doing it as well. While taking a truly sober vacation may take a little bit more planning, especially if you are going with others who may not be sober, it can be done.

It’s important to remember though when planning a sober vacation, if you are going with others, make sure everyone else in the group is not only supportive but is also willing to respect your wishes when it comes to staying sober and participating only in sober activities as a group.

What Are Vacation Triggers?

A vacation trigger happens is a catalyst that can cause a person to start thinking about or even using drugs or alcohol again. Some common examples of vacation triggers include:

  • Anywhere where alcohol is present and plentiful such as bars and nightclubs
  • Crowded areas
  • Locations that are famously known for their drug and alcohol use
  • Places that may remind you of your time using
  • Participating in activities that you used to do while drinking or doing drugs

What Can I Do to Avoid Triggers?

While eliminating triggers isn’t always possible or realistic, there are certain things you can do while you are on vacation to try and avoid any sort of triggers or temptations as much as possible.

Before even leaving for vacation it is important to have a plan in place, not just for sober things you are going to do, but also a plan for what you will do should you find yourself in an environment where you are experiencing triggers.

It is also important to be open and honest with everyone you will be traveling with as it pertains to your sobriety. Let them know that while they don’t necessarily have to stay sober the entire time that you won’t be participating and that you don’t want them to put you in any uncomfortable or possibly tempting positions.

Additionally, before leaving for vacation you may want to do some research and find the times and locations for support group meetings in the area where you will be vacationing should you feel like you need to attend a meeting while you are traveling.

It’s important to note as well, that while nobody that is sober plans on relapsing, should a relapse occur while you are on vacation, having a relapse plan in place in advance is crucial.

sober vacations

Where To Go on a Vacation Sober

For the most part, you can turn any location into a sober destination. That being said, there are certain places where maintaining a sober vacation may be easier than others.

Some great sober vacation destinations include:

Vacationing in nature may be the easiest way to ensure that you take a truly sober vacation because you are in complete control of what is brought out into the wilderness. Places like national parks, mountain ranges, and hiking trails can be great vacation destinations because not only do they promote sobriety but they also allow you to become one with nature

Resorts that focus specifically on wellness are great places to take sober vacations because they often don’t even allow alcohol or substances on the property. These resorts are also great for focusing on your overall well-being offering things such as yoga, meditation, and spa treatments.

Go to a city or town that is rich in culture and simply get lost in it all for a few days. You can visit museums and art galleries, and go on historical tours as a way to learn more about the place you are visiting.

Where Can I Learn More About Vacationing Sober?

If you’re looking for more information and resources on vacationing sober, there are several organizations and websites dedicated to supporting individuals in recovery including:

  • Sober Vacations International – Specializes in planning and organizing sober travel experiences, providing options for individuals and groups seeking substance-free vacations.
  • Soberocity – An online platform that offers information, resources, and a directory of sober-friendly travel destinations and activities.
  • Travel Sober – A community-driven website where individuals in recovery share their travel experiences, tips, and recommendations for sober vacations.

And as we have mentioned, a sober vacation can be anywhere you go where you make a point to maintain your sobriety.

Sober Vacations: A Fresh Start to a New Life at Granite Mountain

While taking a sober vacation can be a fun new experience, it can’t be done without first achieving sobriety. At Granite Mountain, we understand that the first step to leading a clean and sober life is getting sober.

For those struggling with substance abuse and addiction, we offer a variety of treatment programs including inpatient and outpatient treatment for substances including:

If you or a loved one requires addiction treatment in Arizona, or simply looking for ideas for enjoying a sober vacation, contact us today.

illegal drugs that cause hair loss

Illegal Drugs That Cause Hair Loss

Drug abuse can lead to hair loss; it can cause a condition called diffuse alopecia, which is characterized by thinning hair all over the scalp. Diffuse alopecia is typically caused by damage to the hair follicles, which can be caused by a variety of factors, including certain medications, severe stress, and malnutrition.

While hair loss can be a side effect of drug abuse, it’s important to remember that not everyone who abuses drugs will experience hair loss. In fact, many people who abuse drugs don’t experience any major side effects at all. However, if you are abusing drugs and notice that your hair is thinning or falling out, it’s important to seek help.

Drug abuse can lead to a number of serious health problems, including hair loss. If you’re concerned about losing your hair due to drug abuse, be sure to talk to your doctor about treatment options. There are a plethora of options available to help, including medically assisted treatment (MAT). Regardless, it’s imperative to seek help if you need it.

What Does Hair Loss Have to do With Mental Health?

Hair loss can be a difficult and emotionally distressing experience, particularly when it is unexpected or unexplained. While hair loss can be due to a number of physical factors such as genetics, nutrient deficiencies, medications, or an underlying medical condition, it can also be a sign of poor mental health.

For many people, their hair is a major source of self-esteem and self-confidence. Losing hair can be a traumatic experience that can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-worth. In some cases, hair loss can even trigger or worsen mental health disorders such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) or trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder).

How Do I Deal With Hair Loss in a Mentally Healthy Way?

If you are experiencing hair loss, it is important to consult with a doctor or mental health professional to rule out any underlying physical causes. If no physical cause can be found, then addressing the psychological factors may be the key to managing your hair loss. Here are some tips for dealing with hair loss in a healthy way:

  • Acknowledge your feelings – It is normal to feel sad, angry, or embarrassed about hair loss. Don’t try to bottle up your emotions. Talk to a trusted friend or family member about how you’re feeling.
  • Find a support group – There are many online and in-person groups that offer support for people dealing with hair loss. Talking to others who are going through the same thing can be helpful.
  • Seek professional help – If you’re struggling to cope with hair loss, consider meeting with a mental health professional. They can help you develop coping strategies and deal with any underlying emotional issues.
  • Take care of yourself – Eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and getting enough sleep can help reduce stress and improve your overall mental health.

What Specific Drugs Cause Hair Loss?

There are a number of illegal drugs that can cause hair loss. These include methamphetamine, cocaine, and MDMA (ecstasy). Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that can lead to psychotic symptoms and increased aggression. It can also cause an increase in body temperature, which can lead to hair loss.

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that can also cause psychotic symptoms, increased heart rate, and high blood pressure. MDMA (ecstasy) is a psychoactive drug that can cause anxiety, depression, and paranoia. It can also lead to hair loss by damaging the hair follicles.

Meth Addiction and Hair Loss

Methamphetamine, or meth, is a highly addictive stimulant drug that can have severe consequences. One of these consequences is hair loss. Meth users often experience dramatic hair loss, which can be extremely distressing and lead to serious mental health issues.

People who suffer from meth-induced hair loss often feel ashamed and embarrassed. This can lead to social isolation and further mental health problems. Methamphetamine use can also lead to other forms of self-harm, such as skin picking and compulsive scratching, which can further damage the hair follicles and cause permanent hair loss.

Marijuana Addiction and Hair Loss

While marijuana use may not be a direct cause of hair loss, it can contribute to the problem. Marijuana abuse has been linked to mental health problems like anxiety and depression, which can lead to self-destructive behaviors like drug abuse. Drug abuse can lead to nutrient deficiencies that can in turn cause hair loss.

Cocaine Addiction and Hair Loss

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that can have devastating effects on the body, including hair loss. Cocaine use can cause mental health problems and lead to drug abuse. Hair loss is a common side effect of cocaine use, and it can be permanent.

Adderall Addiction and Hair Loss

Adderall is a drug that is commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is also sometimes used as a party drug or for weight loss. However, Adderall can have serious side effects, one of which is hair loss.

Hair loss from Adderall is not common, but it can happen. The exact mechanism by which Adderall causes hair loss is not known, but it is thought to be related to the way the drug affects the body’s metabolism. Adderall can increase the production of hormones like cortisol, which can in turn lead to hair loss.

Treatment of Hair Loss as a Result of Drug Addiction

Are There Remedies for Hair Loss as a Result of Drug Addiction?

Hair loss can be a devastating experience for both men and women. It can cause feelings of insecurity, low self-esteem, and depression. If you are struggling with hair loss, it is important to know that there are treatment options available.

Hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, certain medical conditions, medications, stress, trauma, and more. There are a number of different treatment options available depending on the underlying cause of hair loss.

Medical treatments for hair loss include the following:

  • Minoxidil (Rogaine) – This is a topical medication that is applied to the scalp twice daily. It helps to stimulate hair growth in people with genetic hair loss.
  • Finasteride (Propecia) – This is a pill that is taken daily. It is used to treat male pattern baldness.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) – This is a treatment that uses your own blood to stimulate hair growth.
  • Hair transplant – This is a surgical procedure where hair follicles are transplanted from another area of the scalp to the area of hair loss.

There are also a number of home remedies and lifestyle changes that can help to prevent or treat hair loss. These include the following:

  • Avoiding hairstyles that pull on the hair too tightly.
  • Wearing a hat or scarf to protect the hair from harsh weather conditions.
  • Use gentle shampoos and conditioners.
  • Avoid hot showers and use lukewarm water instead.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals and treatments, such as hair straightening and coloring.

Experiencing Hair Loss or Not, Contact Us Today

Drug abuse is not easy, and it’s even more difficult when dealing with other effects; these include hair loss. At Granite Mountain, we want to help. If you or a loved one would like to find out more, you can contact us here.

long-term effects of Xanax

What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Taking Xanax?

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

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

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

Xanax Is A Prescription Medication

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

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

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

Why Is Xanax Still Available?

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

Other illnesses that doctors treat with Xanax include:

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

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

Xanax Abuse And Addiction

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

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

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

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

Teens And Xanax Brain Damage

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

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

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

The Short-Term Effects Of Xanax Abuse

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

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

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

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

Long-Term Effects Of Xanax Abuse

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

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

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

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

How Xanax Affects The Brain

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

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

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

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

The Symptoms And Dangers Of Xanax Withdrawal 

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

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

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

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

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

Dual Diagnosis And Xanax Addiction

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

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

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

Treatment Options For The Long-Term Effects Of Xanax Addiction

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

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

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

Facing The Long-Term Effects Of Xanax Through Rehab

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

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




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. 


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. 


 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. 


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.


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! 



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.





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 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. 









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.





http://www.apnc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Vicarious-Trauma-and-the-Substance-Use-Disorder-Counselor.pdf (Link no longer available)