Undeniable Signs That You Need Residential Rehab

You may realize that things in your life have gotten unmanageable but wonder if they are really bad enough that you need to seek inpatient treatment for addiction. It’s a decision that many people who have substance abuse problems struggle with. How bad is bad enough to need treatment? The reality is, in the U.S. there are nearly 23 million people who need treatment for alcohol and drug dependency and addiction, yet only about one percent actually receive it.

When you are considering inpatient treatment for your substance abuse issues, it’s likely that simply wondering about it means that you would benefit from treatment. If you think that you may have a problem, you likely do. Keep in mind that drug abuse and addiction affect each individual differently, you don’t have to be a 24/7 user to be an addict. If your drug or alcohol use is causing negative consequences in your life and the lives of your family and friends, it’s time to take a hard look at it.

To help you with your decision, here are some undeniable signs that you shouldn’t wait any longer for treatment.

You Drink or Use and Drive

It never seems like a big deal at the time, but driving while intoxicated is a real danger to yourself, your passengers, and everyone on the road near you. When you begin taking chances with your life and the lives of others because you cannot manage your behavior when using, it’s time to seek help.

Your Loved Ones Have Expressed Concern

It’s often difficult to see the negative changes that drug or alcohol use causes in ourselves – we’re too close to fully notice. However, those that are close to you don’t have such a hard time recognizing those changes. If your friends or family have expressed concern about your drinking or using, or asked you to stop, you should heed their concern.

You Have Drug or Alcohol Related Health Issues

Drug and alcohol abuse is harmful to the body when used for any extended amount of time. Alcoholism can cause extensive, and sometimes irreversible, damage to the heart, liver and brain. Opiate use can slow your respiratory system so much that you can suffer from permanent brain damage. Some stimulants can cause serious cardiovascular problems when used repeatedly. If you use drugs intravenously, you run the risk of contracting hepatitis C or HIV.

If your body (or your doctor) is telling you that you are suffering health problems related to your use, you need help before it’s too late.

You Lie About or Minimize Your Use

People who drink responsibly don’t feel the need to lie about it. If you find that you are lying or minimizing your drug or alcohol use to your friends and family, there is cause for concern. You may think that it is simply none of their business, but the truth is, people lie because they have something to hide.

You Have Withdrawal Symptoms When You Stop Using

When you use drugs or alcohol regularly, your body gets used to having them in your system – in fact, it becomes dependent on them. When you stop using, even for a short period of time, you may suffer headaches, nausea, trembling, cramps, insomnia, irritability and other withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms of withdrawal are uncomfortable and sometimes painful and they are one of the leading causes of continued use. If you suffer withdrawal symptoms when you stop using for a short period of time, you need to seek medically-supervised detox and an inpatient treatment program.

You’ve Tried to Stop on Your Own and Can’t

Maybe you are able to stop using for a day or two, or even a week. But you always begin using or drinking again. If you have tried to stop on your own, but haven’t been able to do it for an extended amount of time, you probably need professional help to do so. Inpatient rehab offers support, therapy, coping skills, relapse prevention and addiction education. You need those things to successfully stop using or drinking.

You Have Injured Yourself or Others While Using

Some drugs can cause anxiety, depression and even mental illness. If you have had suicidal thoughts or thoughts about hurting yourself or others,  you need to seek inpatient treatment sooner rather than later. Sometimes, underlying psychological or psychiatric issues are exacerbated when drugs or alcohol are added into the equation. This can cause anger and rage and cause you to lash out physically at others. If you have done that, or are concerned that you might, treatment is right for you.

Your Freedom Has Been Threatened

If you have made choices while using that have resulted in the possibility of jail time, or you are on probation or parole, drug or alcohol use can endanger your freedom. Will spending time behind bars be better than a 30-day stay in rehab? Not likely.

You Have Lost Jobs or Schooling Due to Your Use

You probably started out by missing work or school occasionally due to your drug or alcohol use – not such a big deal. But if it has escalated to being disciplined at work or school, or if you have already lost a job or been kicked out of school, you need to take a close look at your drug or alcohol use.

You Want to Stop Using, But Don’t Know How

If you are worn out by your drug or alcohol use and want to stop but you don’t know how, it’s time to enlist the help of professionals. Addiction is a disease which means that it’s very hard for people to stop using on their own. Needing professional help is not a sign of weakness or failure. Get Help Now!

If you relate to any of the above signs, you should get help now. Addiction is a treatable medical disorder and the sooner you get help, the sooner you will stop suffering negative consequences and start living the life you want. At Serenity at Summit, we can help you make the best decision about how to get started with your recovery, and which treatment program is the most appropriate for your circumstances. Call us today at 844-432-0416 for more information.

How Drugs and Alcohol Affect the Immune System

Addiction is a disease that affects millions of people every year – either directly or indirectly. There is a lot of information to be found about different types of addiction, the negative legal and relational consequences associated with addiction, and the effects it has on the brain of the users. However, one area that is often neglected when addiction is talked about is the effect that it has on an individual’s immune system.

Different substances affect the immune system in different ways, but most weaken it – especially when drugs or alcohol are used over a long period of time. This means that individuals who are using or abusing substances are putting themselves at a higher risk of contracting diseases, infection and weakening organs, which is the body’s filtering system to fight the effects of drugs or alcohol.

How Does the Immune System Work?

The immune system is the body’s protection system. It is made up of cells, organs, and proteins which assist in preventing disease and infection. The immune system’s job is to filter everything that enters the body. Aside from the central nervous system, the immune system is the most complex body system. It functions by:

  • Neutralizing germs (pathogens), like viruses and bacteria, and ridding the body of them
  • Identifying and neutralizing damaging substances in the body
  • Fighting its own cells that have changed negatively, like cancer cells

Effects of Drugs and Alcohol on the Immune System

The immune system, when not disrupted with damaging or harmful pathogens, keeps the body functioning smoothly. However, when pathogens are introduced to the body, it can drastically weaken the immune system. When this happens, the individual can become ill with infections or disease.

The risk to the immune system is not directly related to the drugs or alcohol themselves, but rather to the toll that those substances take on the body. Many drugs, especially alcohol, cause dehydration, physical and mental fatigue, lack of sleep, and unhealthy eating or lack of food, which can cause a weakened immune system. Whenever the immune system is in a weakened state, the body is at a higher risk for the invasion of infection and disease.

Alcohol and the Immune System

Drinking alcohol excessively can quickly lead to an immune deficiency, which can result in an individual being susceptible to certain diseases. Over time, alcohol abuse can result in trouble with the digestive system, damaging the cells that are responsible for secreting enzymes that the body needs for proper digestion. Long-term alcohol abuse or addiction can also lead to liver damage or failure. The liver is where the body stores vitamins, so its role is essential. Alcohol abuse may also affect a person’s ability to store sufficient amounts of protein.

Overall, alcoholism can result in autoimmunity, which is when the body begins to attack its own tissues. Maybe the most dangerous effect of alcohol abuse is associated with white blood cells in the body. White blood cells are responsible for getting rid of killer white blo0d cells. When they are not working in that manner, the individual is at a much higher risk of developing life-threatening diseases, like cancer.

Other Substances and the Immune System

Heroin abuse, as with other opioid drugs, can lead to addiction. Once a person is addicted to heroin, their thoughts and actions are consumed with getting and using the drug. This typically leads to neglect with personal health, like eating and sleeping regularly, which weakens the immune system. Just like with alcohol, heroin addiction can result in the digestive system not functioning properly, which in turn, results in the body not getting the proper nutrition and the individual having a weakened system overall.

Cocaine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine users are much more likely than nonusers to contract hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and other infections due to the effect that the drugs have on the immune system. These stimulants disrupt the proper function of a key protein system component. When this protein is not functioning, the body cannot fight off diseases and infection as it normally would.

Prescription opioids work by suppressing the immune system through a brain-to-body pathway. They begin a chain reaction which eventually leads to the suppression of three kinds of white blood cells. This suppression of blood cells weakens the user’s immune system, putting them at a heightened risk of infection and illness. That, along with the risk of addiction, makes prescribing and taking opioid painkillers dangerous.

Drug and Alcohol Treatment

Finding and taking part in drug or alcohol addiction treatment, like that offered at Serenity at Summit, is the best way to help those struggling with addiction. If you or a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you may consider inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation to help you. If you choose inpatient treatment, you will receive medical care that takes into account the toll that your substance abuse has taken on your body. You will likely receive vitamins and supplements along with a balanced diet, to help you in your physical recovery. If you attend outpatient treatment, you may have to seek help from your primary care physician to discuss your need for vitamins and supplements.

When you stop abusing substances, get the treatment you need for your addiction, and start taking better care of your physical health, your immune system will become stronger again, and often, body organs that have suffered damage are able to heal and become healthy again.

The Risks of Substance Abuse During Pregnancy

Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It can affect anyone from anywhere with any type of background, family life, race, gender, or ethnicity – including pregnant women. When a woman who is addicted to drugs or alcohol becomes pregnant, it is usually not a time of joy and excitement as it is for other mothers-to-be. The dangers of addiction increase dramatically because the unborn baby is now affected as well. Serious complications and birth defects, up to and including death for baby and mother, can occur when pregnancy and addiction happen at the same time.

Dangers of Substance Abuse During Pregnancy

The risks of drug or alcohol use on the mother and baby during pregnancy can vary depending on the substance used. However, there are some common birth defects and complications including:

Miscarriage and Stillbirth – The death of an unborn baby before the 24th week of pregnancy is considered a miscarriage, and after the 24th week is considered a stillbirth. Both types of fatalities can be caused by drug or alcohol use during pregnancy.

Placental Abruption – This occurs when the placenta separates from the uterine wall before the mother goes into labor. It is commonly caused by smoking, drinking alcohol, or abusing drugs during pregnancy. Placental abruption is not usually fatal, but it can cause developmental problems in the child.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – This causes physical and mental abnormalities in the unborn child when the mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy. The effects of fetal alcohol syndrome can include cognitive impairment, developmental delays, learning disabilities, poor motor skills and coordination, and facial abnormalities. These effects can last a lifetime.

Low Birth Weight – A baby that weighs less than five and a half pounds at birth is considered to have a low birth weight. Some low birth weight babies have serious complications such as respiratory issues, heart problems, digestive tract issues, vision problems, and brain bleeds. Additionally, low birth weight can lead to future problems for the child including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and obesity.

Brain Damage – Babies with mothers who abused substances during pregnancy may be born with brain damage that is irreparable.

Developmental Problems – Drug or alcohol use during pregnancy can affect an unborn baby’s central nervous system, which can lead to developmental delays and poor academic performance later in life.

Premature Birth – If a baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy, it is considered a premature birth. Drug or alcohol addiction can cause premature birth and lead to respiratory issues, trouble maintaining a stable body temperature, and trouble eating and drinking. Sometimes the baby’s internal organs are underdeveloped and he or she will require ongoing medical care for an extended period of time.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome – Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) refers to several complications that affect babies born to mothers who used opioids while pregnant. The drugs are passed to the unborn baby through the placenta and the baby becomes dependent on them. When the baby no longer receives the drugs after birth, it will suffer withdrawal symptoms that include:

  • Blotchy skin
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Seizure

Babies that are born with NAS are often premature, with a low birth weight and smaller than normal body size. They must be detoxed from the opioids gradually and using medication.

Microcephaly – This refers to a small head circumference, and it usually means that the baby’s brain is not developing correctly.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – SIDS is the unexpected and sudden death of a child that is less than a year old. While autopsies do not show an explainable cause of death, babies who are born to mothers who abused drugs or alcohol during pregnancy have a higher rate of death due to SIDS than those born to women who did not use drugs or alcohol during pregnancy.

Treatment for Women Who Are Addicted and Pregnant

Because of the multitude of serious risks for baby and mother, it is very important that women who are expecting and also suffering from addiction tell their doctors as soon as possible so they can receive treatment. However, many pregnant women are hesitant to talk about their drug or alcohol use with doctors because they fear judgment or punishment including having their baby taken from them when it is born. But the sooner she speaks up about her problem with addiction and gets treatment, the better her chances are of minimizing the negative effects of drug abuse and having a healthy baby.

It would seem that being pregnant and responsible for another human being’s health and well-being would be enough of an incentive to stop using drugs or drinking alcohol. But unfortunately, the strength of addiction often outweighs the most negative of consequences. Most people who suffer from addiction, pregnant women included, need professional help to get clean and sober. Seeking professional medical treatment, like inpatient treatment at Serenity at Summit, sooner rather than later is essential for pregnant women. This is especially true for expecting mothers who are addicted to opioids, as abruptly stopping them can cause preterm labor, fetal distress, or a fetal fatality.

If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction and is pregnant, now is the time to get help. Doing so is the only chance that you have to give birth to a healthy child who doesn’t have long-term negative effects of drug or alcohol addiction. Getting help could not only save your life, but also the life of your unborn baby.

Pharmacogenetics: Individualized Drug Therapy for Addiction

Substance addiction is a very complex disorder with many factors at play, making it difficult for doctors to always know what the best method of treatment is for each of their patients. One area that is particularly challenging is medication-assisted treatment for addiction. Each individual has the potential to respond differently to medications that are prescribed to help aid recovery from drugs or alcohol, making it hard for prescribing physicians to know what will work and what might not.

Pharmacogenetic testing may make that easier for doctors working in addiction treatment. It will allow them to understand how an individual metabolizes specific prescription medications, making it much easier to find successful treatments.

What is Pharmacogenetic Testing?

Pharmacogenetics is the study of how an individual’s genes affects his or her response to medications. It is a fairly new field of study that combines pharmacology and genetics in order to develop the safest and most effective medications and to determine optimal doses for the person’s genetic makeup.

Most of the medications currently on the market are essentially one-size-fits-all, but they don’t cause the same results for everyone. Right now, it is hard for medical professionals to predict which patients will benefit from a specific drug, which patients will not respond, and which patients will have adverse drug reactions. These negative side effects cause a significant amount of hospitalizations and deaths each year. With the knowledge that medical professionals are able to gain from learning about how medications will interact with an individual’s genetic composition, they will be able to predict how the individual will react to the medication and help prevent adverse drug reactions.

While the field of pharmacogenetic testing is still in its infancy, it is hoped that it will greatly advance the effectiveness of drugs, when tailored to the individual, in the treatment of a range of health issues including cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS, psychiatric conditions, and addiction.

How Can Pharmacogenetic Testing Benefit Addiction Treatment?

Two people who seem to be very similar – same age, gender, socioeconomic background, and marital status – may also both be addicted to alcohol. However, the underlying genetic reasons that caused each of them to become alcoholics may be quite different. One may have a condition that reduces the release of dopamine, so that individual consumes alcohol for its dopamine-releasing powers. The other person may have a condition that inhibits their dopamine receptors and causes spikes in dopamine, so they drink to raise dopamine tone a different way.

Each of those two patients needs individualized treatment to address the unique genetic issues that caused his alcoholism. Knowing what exactly the underlying issues are, and which medications will be effective will help doctors to treat each patient individually based on their genetic needs, thus improving the outcomes of addiction treatment.

Benefits of Pharmacogenetic Testing

There are many benefits of pharmacogenetic testing. Not only will they allow doctors to treat each individual with a tailored treatment, they will also:

  • Provide more accurate diagnoses for patients
  • Allow for precise treatment of various co-occurring disorders, conditions, and diseases
  • Predict increased risks of developing disease later in life
  • Identify genetic changes that may be passed on to children
  • Screen children for conditions that require treatment as early as possible

Genetic testing is becoming more important in healthcare of all arenas as there is a shift toward higher-quality, evidence-based treatment. Research has shown that pharmacogenetic testing provides patients with up to 70% better effectiveness of treatment. Patients are more responsive to their customized treatments and appreciate the personalized genetic data. Being more informed and responsive to treatment often translates to a higher confidence level in the medical care they receive, which in turn, makes them more likely to experience success in the healing process.

From the Lab to Clinical Practice   

Now the question becomes when will using pharmacogenetic research to aid addiction treatment to be translated into clinical applications? And will the average patient be able to afford it?

Unfortunately, the type of tailored medical treatments that researchers are working on for addiction is still in progress. Experts in the field believe that some pharmacogenetictreatments for addiction (including nicotine and alcohol) may result in the next five to ten years. The approach is likely to be embraced, perhaps slowly, by medical professionals and patients alike.

The cost of genetic testing will continue to decrease as it becomes more ubiquitous. Patients were required to pay for genotype tests that identify one or few relevant mutations will no longer apply. It’s predicted that in the not too distant future, patients will see their doctor, have their entire genome sequenced, and have the information readily available for future medical issues.

How that information is interpreted and used to create specialized addiction treatments may be another story. We may be looking at that piece being 10 to 15 years away, but it’s clear that’s the direction addiction treatment is headed.

Traditional Addiction Treatment in the Meantime

Using pharmacogeneticsto develop treatment plans for addicts will not replace traditional treatment options, like those used at Serenity at Summit’s addiction treatment facilities. It’s believed that greater success will be achieved when both pharmacogenetics and traditional addiction treatments are used together. The knowledge that is learned through traditional treatment – rehabilitation, 12-step programs, relapse prevention, addiction education, and therapy will continue to be vital pieces in addiction recovery. Psychiatric care though will likely be greatly enhanced by pharmacogenetic testing which will increase the success of treatment overall.

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse in Teens

During a time when teens are meant to be attending school dances, enjoying summer vacation, and graduating from high school, they are often instead participating in underage drinking. Teenage drinking can have some serious short-term effects including making the young person sick, making poor choices, accidents and injuries, and engaging in risky sexual behaviors. However, what many young people don’t consider are the long-term effects of underage drinking that often have lasting consequences.

The Dangers of Underage Drinking

The consequences of teenage drinking are shocking in their magnitude and they affect not only teens, but the people around them and society as a whole. The teenage years are the time of life considered to be the most physically healthy with the lowest occurrence of disease. However, due to the rise in alcohol consumption by minors, the mortality rates now increase 200 percent between the beginning and the end of the teenage years.

Alcohol playing a part in teenagers’ lives causes severe and adverse outcomes and tragedies by increasing risk-taking behavior. According to the Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, Facing Addiction in America, the following are just some of the more prominent consequences of underage alcohol use:

Annually, about 5,000 people under age 21 die from alcohol-related injuries involving underage drinking. Approximately:

  • 1,900 of the 5,000 deaths involve vehicle accidents,
  • 1,600 result from homicides, and
  • 300 result from suicides

Additionally, underage drinking:

Plays a significant role in risky sexual behavior, including unwanted, unintended, and unprotected sexual activity, and sex with multiple partners. Such behavior increases the risk for unplanned pregnancy and for contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

  • Increases the risk of physical and sexual assault.
  • Is associated with academic failure.
  • Is associated with illicit drug use.
  • Is associated with tobacco use.
  • Can cause a range of physical consequences, from hangovers to death from alcohol poisoning.
  • Can cause alterations in the structure and function of the developing brain, which continues to mature into the mid- to late twenties, and may have consequences reaching far beyond adolescence.
  • Creates secondhand effects that can put others at risk. Loud and unruly behavior, property destruction, unintentional injuries, violence, and even death because of underage alcohol use can afflict innocent parties. For example, about 45 percent of people who die in crashes involving a drinking driver under the age of 21 are people other than the driver.Such secondhand effects often strike at random, making underage alcohol use truly everybody’s problem.

In conjunction with pregnancy, underage drinking may result in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, including fetal alcohol syndrome, which remains a leading cause of mental retardation.

Long-Term Effects of Underage Drinking

Understanding the long-term effects of teenage drinking is important whether you are a teen or the parent of a teen. In addition to the above listed consequences, there are some effects that have consequences that can last a lifetime.

Legal Problems

Teens usually feel like nothing bad can happen when they drink, but many bad choices are made when they do. Their poor decisions while drinking can result in getting arrested for disorderly conduct, assault, driving drunk, and other offenses. These negative legal consequences can cause problems for a long time to come. They may follow teens as they apply for college, scholarships and jobs.

Chronic Medical Conditions

Teens who begin drinking at a young age and continue into their adulthood run the risk of suffering from the accumulated effects of alcohol use on their health. Chronic illnesses such as cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, hepatitis, hypertension, anemia, and nutritional deficiencies can result. Alcohol use at a young age can also interfere with the development of bone density, causing osteoporosis.  

Developmental Issues

Because the brain continues to develop into a person’s mid-twenties, teens who consume alcohol run the risk of cognitive problems that can continue far into adulthood. It can cause memory problems and actually cause brain damage. The hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory, is seen to be much smaller in those people who frequently used or abused alcohol during their teen years. Other areas that are affected include the attention span, the ability to think spatially and to plan.

Injuries or Death

As seen in the statistics above drinking can result in various types of accidents and injuries from falling to drowning to vehicle accidents. While some of these accidents have serious short-term consequences, they can also impact a teen for a lifetime. When an accident takes a teen’s life, it is gone forever. But for the underage drinker who caused someone else’s life to be cut short, the guilt and other psychological effects can be a lifelong burden. Serious, permanent injury can also cause a teen to suffer for a lifetime.

Relationship Problems

Teenage drinking can seriously impact a young person’s relationships with family and friends. The negative consequences of teen drinking (legal issues, health problems, accidents, etc.) all affect the family dynamic. Some of these consequences can cause crisis in the family that causes suffering for everyone for a long time.

Addiction

Becoming addicted to alcohol is one of the worst risks of underage drinking. Anyone who drinks, including teenagers, runs the risk of becoming an alcoholic. But for teens who drink, even if it is not to excess, there is the added risk of developing addiction later in life. Research has shown that people who began drinking alcohol at a young age have a higher propensity of addiction in adulthood. Addiction is a disease that often requires professional addiction treatment and a lifetime of work to overcome.

There are so many negative consequences and risks involved with underage drinking, yet it is still a huge problem in this and other countries. Everyone who has ever had too much to drink knows just how easy it is for bad things to happen while drinking. What most people, of all ages, fail to consider is the long-term effects that their actions while drinking can have. Brain damage, lifelong guilt, chronic health problems, and the hell that is addiction, are all possible outcomes of teenage drinking.

At Serenity at Summit we offer treatment programs that are designed especially for teenagers and young adults. Please contact us, so we can help your family heal.

How to Support an Addict in Recovery

Paul Lavella of Summit Behavioral Health discusses key considerations for families trying to learn how to help an addict without enabling.

Throughout my experience as a professional counselor, whether it be in a treatment facility or a private practice setting, I’ve always found that when working with addiction, it’s best to have the family involved. As much family as possible. When it comes down to it, the support that a family provides to a patient recovering from addiction is essential to that patient’s success.

It’s unfortunate, however, that family members may be reluctant to be involved in the recovery process. They’re the one with the problem! Why do I have to go? Parents, spouses, and even children have usually been through the ringer a time or two before the identified patient agrees that treatment is needed. Families can be emotionally exhausted and resentful toward their loved one, or possibly just preferring to not have to deal with the aftermath because of all of the pain that had been caused in the past. No matter the journey that led the family to this point, it’s important for the successful recovery of the addict or alcoholic that the family stay involved.

In an article on Psych Central, Steven Gifford, a long time addictions counselor, and literary contributor offer, “It is important to understand that the family dynamic in drug and alcohol addiction is incredibly powerful… This type of positive family involvement can also help lead the rest of your family toward a journey of recovery and self-discovery.”

As the recovery process is clearly beneficial to the family as a whole, it’s worth investing some efforts to making it work. Although there are many suggestions for families of addicts, let’s just consider a few to begin with, shall we?

Don’t Drink or Use With a Person with Addiction

Don’t Drink or Use With a Person with Addiction

This tip may have you scratching your head. Doesn’t this go without saying? Well, no. You may be surprised (on the other hand, maybe not) how often this comes up during the initial phase of recovery.  

Abstaining from substance use requires some tough decisions usually including some significant lifestyle changes of the person with the addiction. But the buck doesn’t stop here. Family members may find themselves needing to consider changes as well. Think of some common life situations that may need to be re-thought.

Family Bonding Time

Football season is upon us. What a better way to get back to normal than to crack open a cold one with your family and watch the game? This is a great big NOOO! The folks over at NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) can tell you, with loads of research to back them up, that if a person has an addiction to drugs or alcohol any use of substances can create significant barriers to the recovery process. It’s going to be beneficial to think of how socializing and family bonding may need to change to support the recovery process.

Sober Holidays & Getaways

Many families have traditions surrounding the holidays and vacations and in our current culture, most of them involve or revolve around alcohol use. This can pose problems for a person in early recovery (even if they say it’s fine). It’s best practice to have discussions as together on how you’re going to navigate these family gatherings. Coping with the holidays in recovery can be a daunting task, however with careful planning and support from families can lead to successes and strengthening relationships. Have alcohol free meals, plan for more time for sober supports such as self-help meetings (you’ll want to research some local to where you’re traveling ahead of time), agree on an escape route as a Plan B if it’s needed.

The main goal here is to create a safe environment for your loved one to be able to rest and be relieved of any triggers he or she may experience. Clear alcohol or any substances from the home. All family members should agree that the home needs to be a sober environment and by no means should it be acceptable to drink or use in front of the person in recovery. It’s a small sacrifice for the greater good of your family.

Go To Family Support Meetings

Go To Family Support Meetings

If you’re already taking part of your loved one’s treatment, you have likely already received this suggestion. Support groups are an excellent addition to a family’s recovery. They deliver a practical opportunity to learn from other families of addicts how to deal and what to expect with the changes during early recovery.

Benefits of Attending Support Groups for Families of Drug Addicts

  • Educate yourself on addiction and relapse prevention
  • Support yourself and your loved one through the recovery process
  • Practice self-care by addressing your needs
  • Learn how to set healthy boundaries with your family
  • Recognize negative behavior patterns that may contribute to the problem
  • Gain fellowship from others who understand what you are going through

There are many options for Addiction Family Support Meetings. In a Project Know article, Dr. Leigh Walker spells out the different types of addiction family support meetings including support groups for spouses, siblings, parents, and children. Some of these meetings have a national presence and some are more regional in nature, but always know, support is available, is usually free, and is highly recommended.

Summit Behavioral Health offers its own addiction family support groups. You can learn more about them here.

Open Up Communication Lines

Open Up Communication Lines

Family communication in early recovery can be complicated at best. As previously mentioned, there can be much anger, resentment, or fear as a result of the active addiction. Personal issues aside, many simply don’t know how to bring the topic to the table for discussion.

Gifford’s insight would suggest that family members struggle to bring up grievances or concerns and end up distancing themselves out of fear of confrontation or triggering the person with the addiction. Truth be told, the more nothing changes, the more nothing changes. If you’re going to have your needs and your family’s needs met, you need to talk about them.

Make time for weekly check-ins. No matter how hurt you may feel, focus the communication on being positive and constructive. Remember, you are supporting your loved one’s recovery and you are supporting yourself by allowing yourself to say what you feel. It may be helpful for you to remember the adage: Say what you mean and mean what you say, just don’t say it mean.

If you’ve already given this a few tries and find that the conversation falls off the rails, you may want to consider working with a professional. Couples counseling or family therapy can be a significant aid in learning how to communicate with a recovering addict in a way that is healthy for the couple or family as a whole.

Eric Patterson, addictions counseling professional, shares thoughts with DrugAbuse.com about when it might be time for family therapy:

  • If your family member struggles with relapse
  • If your mental and physical health has been impacted by the family member’s addiction
  • If you want to learn methods to improve your ability to communicate appropriately
  • If your family member has not found success from other treatment approaches
  • If you’ve experienced family issues that you believe are contributed to the addiction

There’s no shame in asking for help. In fact, continuing to ask for help is strongly advised for anyone in recovery and families seeking to do whatever they can to help their loved one with addiction. You’ve gotten this far along the journey toward health and wellness. Keep motivated and keep up the good work.

I share these suggestions with every family that I work with and am amazed that some hesitate to consider the family role in supporting recovery. You are important, not just to your loved ones, but as a person. If you’ve been affected by someone’s addiction, allow the space for your own healing. Supporting a person in recovery requires you to also heal for yourself.

About the Author: Paul Lavella Jr. MA, LPC, LCADC, ACS

“Wellness Based Counseling is a concept very dear to my heart. At the root of it, the counseling relationship is not solely focused on “the problem,” rather how you go about life’s journey in a way that leads you toward feeling and being well. Counseling is not about pathologizing; it’s about learning what’s not working and figuring out what will.

I am dually Licensed in the State of New Jersey as a Professional Counselor and a Clinical Alcohol & Drug Counselor with thirteen years of professional experience working with adolescents, adults, and families. As an Approved Clinical Supervisor, I also provide supervision for those seeking licensure for counseling or addiction counseling.”

Embarking on a journey towards wellness and recovery is perhaps the bravest and most inspiring thing a person can do. At Serenity at Summit, we are here for you every step of the way.

Sources:

https://psychcentral.com/lib/family-involvement-is-important-in-substance-abuse-treatment/

http://www.projectknow.com/research/support-groups-for-families-of-addicts-and-alcoholics/

http://drugabuse.com/library/family-therapy-a-vital-part-of-addiction-treatment/

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/addictions/drug-abuse-and-addiction.htm

Drugs That Control Alcohol Addiction

Drug medication is so important when it comes to helping alcoholics wean off their dependency on alcohol.

What Are Some Facts About Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol addiction is a problem that continues to plague people in the U.S., and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25 percent of all adults 18 years of age or older said that they engaged in at least one day of binge drinking – defined as consuming five or more alcoholic beverages within a two-hour period. (1)

Furthermore, 30,000 people die each year due to some action related to alcohol, and nearly 20,000 people die of the alcohol-related liver disease each year.

Clearly, alcoholism is a serious issue in the U.S., and the only solution that can help people in the throes of this disease is to seek quality alcohol abuse treatment.

One of the methods used in treatment programs is drug medication, which may seem counterintuitive or even illogical, but can be very effective for several reasons.

What Medication Helps During Alcohol Detox / Detoxification

Alcoholics who decide to seek alcohol abuse treatment must first undergo detoxification, which can be a harrowing and challenging process.

In many movies and TV shows, this is known as going “cold turkey,” and the body’s reaction to the sudden lack of alcohol can take a brutal physical toll.

This can include symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, irritability, an increase in blood pressure, and tremors that last for hours. And if alcohol detoxification is not handled properly, patients can suffer heart attacks, seizures, and even a stroke.

That’s why drug medication is so important when it comes to helping alcoholics wean off their dependency on alcohol.

Does Benzodiazepines Have Proven Effective for Detox

There are several drugs that have been successful in helping to treat alcohol addiction, but one of the most effective is benzodiazepines.

These are sedatives that help to soothe anxiety and fear and reduce the stress levels of alcoholics who are going through withdrawal.

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that slow down the central nervous system…and provide a variety of useful tranquilizing effects. Aside from relieving symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, benzodiazepines are also commonly prescribed to treat insomnia, muscle spasms, involuntary movement disorders, anxiety disorders, and convulsive disorders. (2)

Benzodiazepines are usually prescribed for alcohol detoxification that lasts three days, but because there is a risk of dependency with this class of drugs, rehab experts only recommend their use for short-treatment of alcohol withdrawal.

Naltrexone Changes How Brain Perceives of Alcohol

Another medication used to treat alcohol addiction is naltrexone, which has a dampening effect on the pleasure centers of the brain. Alcohol has been found to trigger the release of dopamine, a chemical produced by the brain when it senses something pleasurable.

To maintain this feeling of pleasure, alcoholics will continue to drink so that their brains produce more dopamine.

Naltrexone blocks the receptors to the brain that create the pleasure of drinking alcohol. Alcoholics can take this medication as a pill or by injection. There are some mild side effects, including drowsiness and nausea, but naltrexone can help alcoholics withdraw from alcohol because it takes away the pleasure they derive from drinking.

One North Carolina woman who had attended many Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings and attended multiple alcohol abuse facilities without much success, said that naltrexone worked so well for her that it permanently curbed her desire to drink. (3)

But she admitted that the drug would not have worked without the personal counseling she also received from a psychiatrist.

In fact, these drugs should not be viewed in a vacuum, as they are most effective during the withdrawal phase of alcohol abuse. But for alcoholics to regain control of their lives, they must attend in-patient and outpatient counseling.

Acamprosate Affects Brain Chemistry In Alcoholics

Acamprosate is the new medication on the block, and it helps alcoholics by reducing the effects of withdrawal, such as anxiety and irritability.

Withdrawal symptoms can be huge obstacles to alcoholics gaining sobriety, because they make alcoholics feel as if the physical symptoms of not drinking are too big to overcome. This medication is made in pill form, and requires patients to take several dosages a day.

Does Seeking Medically Supervised Detox and Long-Term Alcohol Abuse Treatment Help?

Many alcoholics are unaware of the number of different drugs that are available to help them curb their desire to drink. That’s in large part because the idea of taking one drug to help you stop taking another drug seems illogical at best, and dangerous at worst.

But the truth is that these medications have proven to be effective at helping control the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal that are such a challenge when alcoholics begin long-term treatment.

How Serenity at Summit offers Helps

If you live in New Jersey,  MA or PA and are struggling with alcohol abuse please check us out. Visit our locations page.

Our depth of understanding and willingness to do whatever it takes to facilitate the path in which a person becomes free from the alcohol addiction is unmatched. The Professional and Medically supervised approach attached to a holistic atmosphere equips the struggling to gain victory over their addiction. Don’t wait call today. Our behavioral health professionals are standing by at 844-432-0416.

SOURCES

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/alcohol.htm
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/all-about-addiction/201205/treating-alcohol-withdrawal-benzodiazepines-safe-if-mindful
  3. http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/09/26/495491533/medications-can-help-people-stop-abusing-alcohol-but-many-dont-know

70% of All Water Recreation Deaths Involve Alcohol

Alcohol and swimming are a deadly combination

If you’ve ever spent a hot summer day on a boat or lounging around a pool, you know that the sun intensifies the effects of alcohol. High temps and the hot sun beating down leads to dehydration, and this can make anyone more susceptible to intoxication.

Sadly, alcohol plays a prominent role in water recreation deaths. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), drinking is a factor in 70 percent of all water recreation fatalities.  

How Alcohol Affects Swimmers

The NIAAA states that alcohol and swimming are a deadly combination. Alcohol impairs your judgment and causes many people to take risks they ordinarily would not. “Even experienced swimmers may venture out farther than they should and not be able to make it back to shore.” When people consume alcohol at the pool or on the beach, they are more likely to drown.

Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. Each day, about 10 people drown in the U.S. About one in five drowning victims are children under 14 years old. A study conducted in Australia found that 66 percent of drowning victims would have failed a sobriety test at the time of their death.

How Alcohol Affects Boaters

Alcohol is a factor in 60 percent of boating accidents. People are very familiar with the laws regarding drinking and driving a car, but they’re less acquainted with laws that govern drinking and boating. In many cases, people don’t realize that boating and drinking is a crime and that police can and do arrest people for BUI (boating under the influence).

According to the NIAAA, a boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration over .01 percent is 16 times more likely to be involved in a fatal boating accident than a sober boat operator.

Tips for Staying Sober in the Sun

If you’re around people who consume alcohol around the pool, at the beach, or on a boat, it can be challenging to say no to a drink.

Connect with sober friends – Be choosy about the people you spend your time with. If you know certain friends are heavy drinkers, make an effort to spend more time with friends who don’t use alcohol to enhance their fun.

Stay hydrated – The hot sun can cause you to quickly become dehydrated, which can make it tempting to reach for a cold beer or quick cocktail. Buy yourself a fun water bottle and keep cool by staying hydrated. You’ll be less likely to drink alcohol to cool off.

Speak up – If you feel comfortable, let your friends know you’re newly sober. Most people are very understanding and will avoid offering you drinks or consuming alcohol around you. This support can be invaluable as you get through the summer season sober.

Summit is the support you can trust

Alcoholism for some has become the enemy. You will not meet a human being who does not enjoy a good time but some may only achieve a good time through the consumption of alcohol. It then becomes an addiction that cannot be ignored.

If your daily life is filtered through the lenses of the next needed drink..then you need help.

Call our behavioral health professionals today at 844-432-0416 to speak to a substance abuse expert about your treatment options.

Michael Karl MH, LCADC

Michael Karl

Michael holds a Master’s Degree in Human Services and is a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor in the State of NJ.

Call Mike Karl today to find the facility nearest you for Detox, Outpatient, and Residential Services!

https://www.summitbehavioralhealth.com/locations/

Sources:

  1. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/news-events/news-noteworthy/niaaa-fact-sheet-risky-drinking-can-put-chill-your-summer-fun
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html
  3. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-07/500-alcohol-related-drownings-among-men-over-decade-study/8423568

Alcoholism Treatment Experts Explain How to Overcome Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Serenity at Summit’s alcoholism treatment experts describe alcohol withdrawal symptoms and offer advice on how to live through them.

For many people with an alcohol abuse problem, the struggle to quit is all too familiar. In fact, many people attempt to stop drinking multiple times, only to relapse and start drinking again, report the alcoholism treatment experts at Serenity at Summit.

A significant factor in this cycle is alcohol withdrawal syndrome. As WebMD states, “Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition that can occur in people who have been drinking heavily for weeks, months, or years and then either stop or significantly reduce their alcohol consumption.”

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a serious health concern that can lead to death if not properly managed. If you believe you have a problem with alcohol, it’s important to know the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and to seek professional help before you attempt to quit drinking on your own.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can escalate rapidly, so it’s crucial to understand the signs.

  • Anxiety
  • Shakiness
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens (DT), which includes confusion, rapid heart rate, and fever
  • Hallucinations

Individuals experiencing withdrawal from alcohol may also feel paranoid or unusually stressed. They may also suffer from insomnia and other physical ailments, such as headaches and nausea.

If you have ever stopped drinking your morning cup of coffee cold turkey, you know how even something as simple as missing a daily dose of caffeine can alter your mood and your body. With alcohol withdrawal, these changes are ratcheted up to an intolerable degree.

The most important thing to understand about how the body reacts to alcohol withdrawal is that it’s a physiological syndrome — not just a psychological one. This means that the chemicals in the brain have been altered by heavy or prolonged alcohol use, causing disruptions in the body’s systems. In individuals with severe alcohol withdrawal syndrome, stopping drinking suddenly can even lead to death.

Additionally, the death rate from DT ranges between five and 25 percent, so anyone experiencing the more severe signs of alcohol withdrawal syndrome should seek emergency medical help immediately. Alcohol withdrawal may have played a role in the death of celebrated singer, Amy Winehouse, who passed away in 2011 after years battling alcohol addiction.

Medically Supervised Detox at Serenity at Summit

Serenity at Summit offers comprehensive inpatient and outpatient programs, as well as medically supervised alcohol detox, to help people overcome prescription and illegal drug addiction, alcohol addiction, and co-occurring disorders. You can speak to one of our professional alcoholism treatment experts about a treatment plan specifically tailored to you or your loved one’s goals and needs at 844-432-0416.

Should You Come Out of the Closet About Your Alcohol Addiction Treatment?

Many suffering from alcoholism wonder if it is better to keep their alcohol addiction treatment and recovery a secret or if it is better to talk about it.

When you think about alcohol addiction treatment and recovery, one of the first things that likely comes to mind is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It has been a fundamental ideology of addiction recovery since the late 1930s. One of the tenets of AA (and now numerous other “anonymous” 12-step programs) is anonymity. It is discussed in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and AA’s Twelve Traditions and is a guiding principle in the program.

The Purpose of Anonymity in Recovery

In the AA program, the purpose of anonymity is intended to do the following:

  • To protect AA members’ privacy. This is why there are no records or last names used in 12-step meetings. The idea is that by remaining anonymous, members will feel more comfortable in sharing their stories in meetings and opening up about their difficult and very personal struggles. Also, so that members can feel protected that their workplace won’t find out about their attendance at 12-step meetings if they feel so inclined
  • To protect the integrity of 12-step programs. Members of 12-step programs should never become spokespeople, at the level of press, radio, TV, films and the Internet for their different fellowship programs and they should not connect their success in sobriety to the 12-step program. Successes and failures belong to the individual members and it should remain that way so that the growth and survival of the 12-step program can be ensured.
  • To keep the playing field equal. All members are equal regardless of gender, status, wealth, occupation, or length of sobriety. This fosters a nonjudgmental environment.

Is the Concept of Anonymity Outdated?

Very few people in recovery would dispute the importance of the above principles, but many are finding that meticulously maintaining them has limitations. Some people feel they have to be intentionally vague when talking with others about recovery. Still others believe that anonymity is outdated and that it does a disservice to people in recovery.

There is clearly a misinterpretation of the tenets of anonymity in recovery, especially with the evolution of the World Wide Web. While no one advocates revealing information about others, many are seeing the benefits of revealing and talking about their own recovery and how they got sober – even when it involves participation in 12-step groups. This is all very acceptable as long as they refrain from identifying and connecting themselves with a specific 12-step group in the various media. The fact that there is a lot of evidence of this online when you read recovery blogs and social media posts does not make it okay. Recovery is everywhere, and that doesn’t seem like a bad thing as long as the specific 12-step fellowship program is promoted and not the individual member

The shift in thinking about keeping one’s recovery a secret, making polite excuses about why he or she cannot have a glass of wine at a dinner party, is being welcomed by many. Celebrities, politicians, and other public figures are becoming increasingly open about their struggles with drugs or alcohol. People are writing recovery memoirs and there are more plotlines on television and in the movies involving addiction and recovery.

Many believe that these inroads that are being made are the only way to effectively reduce the stigma of addiction and make recovery more mainstream and socially acceptable.

Beating the Stigma with Awareness

Despite the increasing openness of recovering addicts and alcoholics, there is still stigma associated with drug use and addiction. Even though it is widely accepted in the medical community that addiction is a brain disease that is treatable, many still view it as a moral failing or character flaw. That is one reason that many people who are new to recovery choose to keep their recovery under wraps.

Proponents of breaking the stigma of addiction believe that one way to do it is by increasing awareness and sharing their stories – that the reality of addiction must be seen. Their thinking is that by showing that addiction isn’t limited to the stereotypical skid row bum, but instead that it can affect anyone, the stigma will be reduced and more people will seek and receive treatment.

Of course, discussing the very personal nature of addiction and recovery can be difficult for some people. Those who choose to do so often believe that because they have lived through addiction and all of its negative consequences and destructive behaviors, that telling their stories of recovery pales in comparison to their stories of active addiction.

Be Proud of Your Recovery

Seeking treatment for addiction and living sober and in recovery is something to be proud of. It’s an accomplishment that not every person in active addiction is able to reach. The more addicts in recovery talk about their experiences, what has helped them, and what’s working for them, the better others who are walking in their shoes will be able to approach their own difficulties.

That doesn’t mean that being open about recovery is right for everyone, but for those who choose to share their experience, strength, and hope outside of the rooms of AA, it is something that should be worn as a badge of courage.

Those who are open in recovery often site helping other problem drinkers or drug abusers as one of the biggest reasons for telling their stories. One of the principles of AA is that it is a program of one alcoholic helping another. Those who choose to go public about their recovery are doing that – but on a larger scale, but it remains a very slippery slope.

Coming Out as a Recovering Alcoholic or Drug Addict

The decision about whether to talk about your recovery or keep it hidden is a choice that only you can make – it is a deeply personal decision. The rewards for doing so can be well worth any discomfort you may feel in doing so in the beginning. But there is still a high level of stigma attached to drug and alcohol addiction, so you can be sure that you will encounter people who are stuck in old perceptions and generalizations about addiction. They may say or behave in ways that make you wish you had kept quiet.

Whatever you decide, the recovery community will support you either way. The goal is not to shout about recovery from every rooftop. Instead, it is simply about doing what is best for your own sobriety, and walking the walk on the road to long-lasting recovery.

When “Partying” Becomes an Alcohol Problem

Learn from alcohol addiction treatment experts the signs you’re your partying has gone beyond social drinking and is becoming a drinking problem.

Everyone likes to relax and unwind with friends every now and then. Enjoying an evening out with people you care about is generally a positive thing. However, many people mix social gatherings with alcohol. For some, “partying” goes too far, point out the alcohol addiction treatment experts at Serenity at Summit.

Binge drinking is the most common pattern of excessive alcohol use in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although many people associate binge drinking with teens or college students, it happens across all age groups.

  • One in six adults binge drinks four times a month.
  • Binge drinkers 65 and older report bingeing on alcohol five to six times a month on average.
  • 92 percent of adults who binge drink have done it within the past 30 days.
  • 70 percent of binge drinkers are 26 years old or above.
  • More than half of all the alcohol consumed in the U.S. is in the form of binge drinking.

So how do you know when your social drinking has gotten out of hand? How do you know when your nights out are really binge drinking? Here are six signs to watch for.

You Become Unusually Uninhibited

When your behavior gets out of control, and you engage in high-risk situations, this could be a sign that your drinking is excessive. Not only can bingeing on alcohol adversely affect your health over time, it can result in bad judgment that endangers your safety and even your life.

You Ignore Responsibilities

When people begin drinking excessively, they often find they need to make excuses for poor performance at work, failings in their personal relationships, and missed appointments or other commitments. If you find that you’re suddenly getting bad performance reviews at work, or that you’re forgetting to attend children’s events at school or sports practices, you might be addicted to alcohol.

Friends and Family Members Are Worried

The people who love and care about you are often in a better place than you to assess your behavior. This is because it’s human nature to deny when we have a serious problem. If your spouse, siblings, co-workers, or close friends tell you they’ve seen a change in you — and not for the better — it’s time to take a hard look at your alcohol drinking patterns.

Contact Serenity at Summit Today

Binge drinking is a serious problem that increases a person’s risk of long-term health problems. If you suspect that you or a loved one has an alcohol abuse disorder and that their drinking has crossed the line, Serenity at Summit can help. Our behavioral health and addiction experts provide both inpatient and outpatient programs, as well as medical detox, specifically designed to help you or your loved one overcome a drinking/alcohol addiction problem. Our alcohol and substance abuse counselors are available at 844-432-0416 to speak about a treatment plan designed to help you achieve lasting sobriety.

What Happens to Your Body If You Stop Drinking

Once you make the decision to stop drinking the changes to your body and mind are incredible say the alcohol addiction experts at Summit Behavioral Health.

Quitting drinking alcohol can be a huge step in your life, especially if you have an addiction to it. Most people suffering from alcoholism need professional help to stop, and it’s a tough thing to do. But once you have made the decision to abstain from drinking, you’ll see some pretty amazing things happen – not only in your mind, spirit, and relationships, but also in your body.

Alcoholism takes a toll on a person’s body, but the sooner you quit drinking, the better your chances of regaining good health, says the alcohol addiction experts at Summit Behavioral Health. Below are some of the benefits you will experience when you quit drinking and the timeline they typically follow.

Benefits of Abstaining from Drinking Alcohol

Long-term or heavy drinking can cause serious changes to your body and your brain. Some of the risks of alcohol abuse include:

  • Digestive problems
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Heart and cardiovascular issues
  • Increase risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety
  • Increased risk of liver problems including cirrhosis
  • Dementia and other degenerative disorders (also known as “wet brain”)

However, by quitting drinking, you can reverse many of those symptoms and reestablish good health. The following are just some of the positive outcomes you may see by abstaining from alcohol:

  • The body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals increases
  • Metabolism is restored, leading to fat loss
  • Energy increases
  • Reduced risk of cancer and decreased stress levels
  • Lower blood pressure and reduced risk of stroke and heart attack
  • Quicker immune response
  • Reversal of alcohol-related liver damage

Alcohol Recovery Timeline

How long and how much alcohol you drank will have an effect on the timeline that you experience when you stop drinking. First, let’s take a look at the phases of alcohol withdrawal.

Acute Withdrawal

The first challenge you will face when you stop drinking is acute withdrawal. The symptoms will start as soon as six hours after your last drink.

  • Sweating and rise in body temperature
  • Raised blood pressure and heart rate
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety

Withdrawing from alcohol isn’t something to be taken lightly. Depending on a person’s history of drinking, this stage can cause delirium tremens, seizures, and even death. If your alcoholism is severe, it’s essential that you find help in a medically-supervised detox facility.

Post-Acute Withdrawal

Completely detoxing from alcohol can take up to two weeks. Once that is done, you have made it through the most physically challenging part of withdrawal. During post-acute withdrawal phase, you will likely begin to experience the psychological effects of not drinking. Some of the symptoms of this phase include:

  • Decrease in energy
  • Emotions such as anger and aggression
  • Increased anxiety and depression
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Decreased libido

This may also be the time where cravings for alcohol set in. Each person’s experience with post-acute alcohol withdrawal is different – for some it may only last a few weeks, for some it may be up to a year. Seeking help from an alcohol addiction rehab will help ease your transition into recovery and treat any underlying conditions you may have.

What is Going on In Your Body? A Timeline

The following is a timeline of how your body is reacting to the absence of alcohol. Again, not everyone experiences the same thing, this is a general timeline.

12-24 Hours After Quitting

During the first day of not drinking, your blood sugar normalizes. You will be feeling the effects of withdrawal at this point, so drink plenty of water and stay away from refined sugars. Try to eat healthy foods like fruit and vegetables.

48 Hours After Quitting

Your biggest alcohol detox hurdle is over; however, you are still likely feeling withdrawal symptoms. You probably still feel tired, nauseated, and have a headache lingering. Depending on the severity of your alcohol abuse, you make be shaky and dizzy. Your blood pressure is becoming more stable and your body temperature should have returned to normal.

72 Hours After Quitting

You may be feeling better physically at this point. But, if you were a heavy drinker or maintenance drinker (someone who drinks around the clock, never allowing the body to be free of alcohol), then you may feel worse and still have shaking and dizziness.

One Week After Quitting

You should start sleeping better – more deeply – which will increase your energy during the day. Your skin will be looking better as hydration restores. Conditions you may have had like dandruff, eczema, and rosacea will improve as your skin does.

One Month After Quitting

Your liver function should be improving. Liver fat is reduced by about 15% at this point and that increases its ability to filter toxins out of the body. You may notice a reduced amount of belly fat, and the most improvement in your skin happens around this time. Your energy level will continue to rise and you likely feel renewed physically.

If you haven’t already, you should be looking for emotional support from a 12-step group, addiction therapist, or other addiction professional. Most relapses occur within the first six months of sobriety. You don’t want that to happen to you.

One Year After Quitting

After a year of not drinking alcohol, you lose a significant amount of belly fat. The average is about 13 pounds. More importantly, your risk of mouth, liver, and breast cancers is drastically reduced, and your liver is likely to be functioning normally again.

Life Without Alcohol

Making the change to sobriety isn’t easy, even though the physical improvements are well worth it and you may need the help of alcohol addiction experts. The path to long-lasting recovery is full of twists and turns, making it a good idea to seek help and support to establish healthy coping skills and treat underlying issues. You don’t want to lose the sobriety that you fought so hard for.

What Does “Drinking in Moderation” Mean?

Serenity at Summit, a NJ alcoholism treatment center, outlines the facts on what moderation means and why it’s important.

You may have heard the saying, “everything in moderation.” Generally, it means that most things are safe as long as you don’t overdo them. This can go for a lot of things, from eating sweets and drinking coffee to putting in time at work and exercising. Even activities that are considered healthy, such as jogging, can be bad for you if you take them to an extreme.

But how does moderation work with alcohol consumption? How much is too much, and is it different for everyone? Serenity at Summit, an alcoholism treatment center offers their thoughts on the subject.

CDC Facts about Moderate Drinking

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “moderate drinking” is defined as:

  • No more than one drink per day for women.
  • No more than two drinks per day for men.
  • Individuals who should never drink include pregnant women, individuals with health problems where alcohol is contraindicated, people engaged in activities that require full mental competence and concentration, and people who are recovering alcoholics or otherwise unable to control how much they drink.

The CDC bases its data on the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Furthermore, the CDC defines “one drink” as:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • Eight ounces of malt liquor
  • Five ounces of wine
  • 5 ounces of distilled spirits or liquor (80-proof)

The CDC also reports that two in three adults admits to drinking above moderate levels at least once a month.

For some people, even moderate drinking is too much. There are several factors that can make people more or less susceptible to the effects of alcohol. These factors include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Family history
  • Fitness level
  • Weight
  • Food consumed prior to drinking
  • How quickly alcohol is consumed
  • Drug use or use of prescription medication

For individuals who are sensitive to alcohol, even moderate drinking can be dangerous or at the very least inadvisable. And for those recovering from an alcohol abuse disorder, it’s important to avoid alcohol completely.

A CDC study, Prevalence of Alcohol Dependence Among US Adult Drinkers, revealed that the majority of people who consume alcohol have drinking habits that fall somewhere between the definition of “moderate drinking” and excessive drinking, with 90 percent of “excessive drinkers” not being dependent on alcohol. The authors of the study state that women should restrict themselves to fewer than eight alcoholic drinks per week. For men, the limit is no more than 14 drinks per week.

Contact Serenity at Summit Today

If you or a loved one has a drinking problem, expert help is available and you can speak to a substance abuse professional about a treatment plan designed specifically to fit your needs at 844-432-0416 Serenity at Summit provides both inpatient and outpatient programs, as well as medical detox, to help people who are struggling with an alcohol abuse disorder.

The Risk of Binge Drinking for College Kids

Serenity at Summit, an NJ alcohol rehab center, explains and breaks down the risks of binge drinking for college students.

Parties, alcohol, and freedom have long gone hand in hand with college – for as long as teenagers have been leaving mom and dad to begin their educations. It isn’t any wonder that college students make up one of the highest ranking demographic groups for alcohol abuse. Estimates reflect that just over 60 percent of college students have used alcohol in the last 30 days, and that as many as two-thirds of those students have taken part in binge drinking in the same period. That is a change from college students’ drinking habits from the past. While the use of alcohol has remained constant for the last few decades, instances of binge drinking have increased dramatically over that time frame, and that can carry some serious risks, reports NJ alcohol rehab center Serenity at Summit.

What is Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is defined as imbibing 5 or more consecutive drinks for men, and 4 or more consecutive drinks for women. It’s an excessive amount of alcohol consumed in a short period of time. In other words, it’s when someone is drinking with the intention of getting drunk. Binge drinking typically causes blood alcohol levels that significantly exceed the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08%.

College students often believe that they are just trying to have a good time with their friends, but patterns of binge drinking are subject to dangerous and sometimes devastating consequences.

What are the Risks of Binge Drinking?

The risks of binge drinking vary from the minor discomfort of a hangover to accidents and injuries to extremely serious consequences, including death. The National Institute of Health1 (NIH) reports that more than 1,800 college students die each year from alcohol-related injuries and accidents. That’s a frightening number, and it doesn’t include the instances where the consequences are not fatal.

Other significant risks include:

  • Drunk driving – Nearly three and a half million college age students get behind the wheel after drinking.
  • Risky Sexual Behavior – 13% of college students have reported that they have engaged in unprotected sex after a night of excessive drinking. That number is self-reported, so the actual number is likely much higher.
  • Assault – Nearly 700,000 college students are assaulted by another student who has been drinking each year.
  • Sexual abuse – Every year, 97,000 students suffer date rape or another form of sexual abuse that is alcohol-related.
  • Injuries – Almost 600,000 college students go to the emergency room with alcohol-related injuries each year.
The Risks of Alcohol-Related Hazing

Hazing and initiations have been around on college campuses for a long time. They are especially popular among the Greek communities (fraternities and sororities) and sports teams. But the nature of hazing is no longer like that of our grandfathers. It now often includes dangerous behaviors that are abusive and sometimes illegal. Alcohol is frequently involved in those behaviors. Over the last few decades the number of deaths due to hazing has continued to increase each year, and it is estimated that as many as 82% fatalities are alcohol-related.

The Risks of Alcohol and Energy Drinks

Energy drinks have gained popularity over the last five years; they can be seen in abundance on college campuses. The purpose of the drinks is to boost the drinker’s energy with caffeine, vitamins, herbal extracts, and sugar. Most people who drink energy drinks consume one to give them the energy they need to be productive throughout the day. It isn’t the same when college students are out at a party or bar drinking though. On a typical night out, those who drink energy drinks combined with alcohol commonly have at least three of the mixed drinks.

The combination of caffeine, which raises the heart rate, and alcohol, which lowers the heart rate, sends the body mixed signals that can be dangerous. The over-consumption of energy drinks with alcohol can cause heart problems, motor skill problems, confusion and dizziness, and exhaustion. Additionally, because the caffeine in energy drinks is a stimulant that can mask the effects of alcohol, people drinking the mixture are more likely to drive drunk than those who are only drinking alcohol. They are also at least three times more apt to binge drink.

Alcoholism and Other Risks

One of the biggest and most serious risks of binge drinking is alcoholism. Often times, college students believe that binge drinking isn’t that serious because they are not drinking every day. The truth is, there’s a natural progression from abstinence to alcoholism in people who have an alcohol use disorder. How long it takes a person to become alcohol dependent varies depending on several different factors, including both environmental and genetic components. In those individuals who become alcoholics, there is a line that is crossed and recreational use becomes physical or psychological dependence. Once that happens, it’s very difficult for the person to walk away from alcohol without professional help.

That’s not the only risk though. There are many other problems that arise for college students due to drinking excessively. Some of them include:

Health issues – College students are young and usually feel like they are immune to suffering medical problems, including the health risks of binge drinking. However, those who suffer from alcohol poisoning can have long-term health issues no matter what their age. The longer and more consistently a person drinks to excess increases health risks exponentially.

Legal problems – The legal drinking age is 21, which most college students have not yet reached. That means that anytime they engage in any type of drinking, they are breaking the law and run the risk of getting into trouble with law enforcement. When they choose to drink and drive, their chances of arrest increase significantly, and the punishment can be extreme depending on where they go to school.

Academic discipline – Each college has its own set of standards for student behavior, but those standards typically extend to life outside of the classroom. It is common for incidents that involve binge drinking to result in negative consequences for college students. In fact, in 2013 there were 165,000 academic disciplinary actions taken against students for alcohol-related incidents.

Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse

There is help available for college students who have a problem with alcohol. Treatment options include detox, inpatient, outpatient, 12-step programs, and alcohol and drug addiction therapy. The good news is that college students can get and stay sober before they suffer many of the negative consequences that lifetime drinkers do. The first step is to recognize the problem and call our NJ alcohol rehab center and ask for help.

 

Footnotes:

1     National Institute of Health http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/CollegeFactSheet/CollegeFactSheet.pdf

Can You Still Have Fun Without Alcohol?

Tips on how to have a good time without drinking alcohol are offered by NJ alcohol rehab center Serenity at Summit.

Many people enjoy alcohol in moderation. An occasional drink can make people feel less inhibited and a bit more relaxed, which is why alcohol is so often served at parties, dinners, and get-togethers, states Serenity at Summit a New Jersey alcohol rehab center. However, there is a big difference between social drinking and problem drinking1. Too much alcohol can cause significant changes in the chemicals in the brain, leading to dangerous impairment. Prolonged alcohol abuse can also damage internal organs and cause life-threatening damage to the liver.

Alcohol Abuse Disorder

For people with alcohol abuse disorder, even a single drink cause lead to a relapse. For this reason, part of lasting recovery for most people is total abstinence from drinking. This may lead some people to question whether it’s possible to truly let themselves go and enjoy a good party or gathering with friends or co-workers.

The good news is that sobriety doesn’t have to mean saying goodbye to your social life. On the contrary, many people who have overcome alcohol addiction say that giving up alcohol has allowed them to truly enjoy being social for the first time in years. Others find new hobbies. Here are three ways that maintaining your sobriety can improve your life.

  1. Making Room for New Interests

If drinking was a major part of your life, finding something new to explore can help fill the void of giving up social or recreational drinking. For example, you may discover you love working out. For other people, giving up alcohol means finding the freedom and the time to devote themselves more fully to a hobby or interest. Whether you take up painting, biking, or tending a garden, channel your energy into something positive and productive.

  1. Meeting New People

When you’re mired in addiction, it can feel like you’re the only person in the world struggling with dependency. Getting sober often means discovering that there are many other people who have overcome similar struggles. Finding this common ground can open you up to a whole new set of friends with a variety of interests.

  1. Enjoying Every Moment

Much has been said about the so-called smartphone epidemic in the U.S. In fact, “smartphone addiction2” is a real problem that has been identified by addiction specialists as a major health hazard. Part of the problem is that looking at the world through a screen often means missing out on many aspects of an experience. For example, if you spend most of a rock concert taking video of the performance, you probably miss out on the emotions expressed by the singer and the nuances of the songs.

Drinking has a lot more in common with smartphone use than you might think. Like seeing the world through a screen, drinking forces you to view everything through a less of impairment. Your senses are blunted, and your memories usually end up foggy.

When you’re sober, you can truly enjoy every moment of an experience, whether it’s a birthday party, a concert with friends, or dinner with people you care about.

Alcoholism Treatment: The Risks Are Greater When Women and Alcohol Mix

According to experts in alcoholism treatment women face greater health risks than men even if they drink less. Finding the right treatment center is essential.

Alcohol affects women differently than it affects men, even when they drink smaller amounts. There are more health risks including liver disease, breast cancer, and brain damage. While women are just as likely as men to be successful with sobriety, they may have more challenges finding accessible alcoholism treatment.

Alcohol Risks in Women

Women around the world drink alcohol for many reasons including special occasions, to feel sociable, to unwind, or to have fun with friends or family. Many are able to drink in moderation and have no problems with alcohol, but there are some unique risks to all women. Men are more likely to drink alcohol and have problems than women, but women are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of alcohol.

Women develop health issues sooner and after drinking smaller amounts than men. Additionally, women are more likely to drink alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate mental health issues like depression, anxiety, stress, and negative self-esteem and self-worth.

Women who drink more than moderately (exceeding 7 drinks a week) are more likely to suffer car accidents, trauma, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, and suicide. They are also much more likely to go on to develop a dependency on or addiction to alcohol.

Health Risks for Women Who Abuse Alcohol

Women are more vulnerable than men to the following health risks:

  • Brain damage – Women are more susceptible to brain damage due to alcohol than men, including loss of brain functioning and reduced brain size.
  • Liver disease – Women are more likely to develop alcohol-related liver problems like hepatitis and are more likely to die from liver cirrhosis than men.
  • Breast cancer – Alcohol abuse also increases a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer.

When compared to women who don’t drink, or who drink moderately, women who are heavy drinkers are more likely to suffer:

  • Falls and fractures
  • Osteoporosis
  • Early menopause
  • Infertility issues including miscarriage
  • Hypertension
  • Heart Disease

How Alcohol Affects Women

Alcohol is metabolized more slowly in a woman’s body than in a man’s. The result is that one drink for a woman has about twice the affect it does for a man. Women also tend to advance from their first drink to alcohol-related problems to dependence and the need for addiction treatment more quickly than men.

There are several biological factors that play a part in making women more affected by alcohol.

  • Enzymes – Women have smaller amounts of the enzymes alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase than men. These enzymes break down alcohol in the stomach and liver. Because levels of these enzymes are lower in women, they absorb more alcohol into their bloodstream than men.
  • Body fat – Women’s bodies typically have more body fat and less water than men’s. Body fat retains alcohol and water dilutes it, causing alcohol to remain in women’s bodies at higher levels. This causes the brain and other organs to be exposed to alcohol for longer periods of time.
  • Hormones – Hormonal changes that women experience during menstrual cycles may change the way alcohol is metabolized.

The above biological factors explain why women are more affected by alcohol, becoming more intoxicated even when drinking smaller amounts than men.

History of Sexual and Physical Abuse Increases Risk

Research has shown that people who experience sexual or physical abuse in childhood have a higher risk of alcohol abuse and addiction. Because women are more likely to have suffered abuse during childhood than men, they are disproportionally affected by alcohol abuse. Additionally, the following are true:

  • Women who suffered abuse (physical or sexual) during childhood are much more likely to drink, have negative consequences as a result, and become physically or psychologically dependent on alcohol.
  • Physical abuse in adulthood, which affects women more than men, raises the risk of alcohol abuse.
  • Alcohol is involved in as many as three-quarters of all rapes and domestic violence against women.
  • Women with a family history of alcoholism are more likely than men with the same history to have a problem with alcohol.

Alcohol Abuse Treatment for Women

Women also face different barriers to seeking treatment than men. Men are more likely to seek help for their drinking problems from alcohol treatment facilities, while women are more likely to go to their primary care doctor or mental health professionals.

Women who abuse alcohol:

  • Are reluctant to be labeled alcoholics
  • Frequently attribute their issues to mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and stress
  • May be reluctant to go to a treatment facility due to the stigma attached to women drinking

These things result in women not getting the care and treatment that they need in order to have long-lasting sobriety, even though research shows that they are just as likely as men to recover from alcoholism.

Women experience other barriers to entering treatment programs as well. Some of those include:

  • Financial challenges – Women typically have lower paying jobs than men, and may have trouble affording the cost of treatment even if they have insurance.
  • Mental health issues – Women may be more likely to seek treatment for mental health disorders than addiction. However, if the conditions are not treated as co-occurring disorders, rates of relapse are very high.
  • Childcare – Women with young children often face challenges in finding adequate care for them while receiving treatment. They may also fear that they will lose custody if they admit to having a problem with addiction.
  • Need for gender-specific treatment facilities – Many women feel most comfortable attending women-only facilities, but those may be hard to find.

While there are challenges for everyone, but perhaps more for women, in seeking help for alcohol abuse or addiction, there is hope. More and more facilities are making it easier to treat co-occurring disorders, and more are offering gender-specific programs.

Women are every bit as likely to get and stay sober as their male counterparts, so it’s important that they take the right steps and find an alcoholism treatment facility that can help them get on the road to recovery.

Solo Drinking Linked to Higher Risk of Alcoholism & Drug Abuse For Teens

Teens generally don’t have the social maturity to filter out potentially negative influences, including those that encourage them to experiment, leading to alcoholism and drug abuse.

Parents today have a lot more to worry about than parents from just a generation ago. Social media has opened gateways to unprecedented connectivity that allows young people to have almost unlimited information literally at their fingertips. The problem is that teens generally don’t have the social maturity to filter out potentially negative influences, including those that encourage them to experiment with drugs and alcohol, leading to alcoholism and drug abuse.

Peer pressure has always been a teenage problem, and most teens encounter pressure to consume drugs or alcohol at some point. However, today’s teenagers are burdened by 24/7 social expectations. The pervasiveness of social media has caused teens to begin experimenting with substance abuse at an increasingly earlier age. In the U.S., the average age for a child’s first drink of alcohol is now 13 for girls and 11 for boys.

In the case of alcohol, consumption doesn’t always stop at the experimentation stage. For certain teens, drinking at a young age leads to future substance abuse.

Drinking Alone Puts Teens at a Higher Risk for Substance Abuse

Although it might make more sense that teens who drink with friends would have a higher risk of developing alcohol dependency down the road, the opposite is true.

In fact, studies show that teens who drink alone are the ones more likely to struggle with alcoholism as they enter adulthood. In a joint study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, over 700 young adults were asked about their drinking habits. Researchers found that teens and 20-somethings who drank alone had a 50 percent higher chance of developing alcoholism by age 25 than their counterparts who drank with others.

According to researchers, young people who drink alone may be turning to alcohol in an attempt to cope with emotional disturbances, depression, and negative external factors.

The Alcohol Problem in the United States

Although the abuse of prescription painkillers has received a great deal of attention over the past few years, alcoholism remains the leading substance abuse problem in this country. Alcohol kills 88,000 Americans every year, making it the fourth-leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.

Moreover, a significant portion of individuals with an alcohol use disorder are young people. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that about 679,000 children and teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 had some form of alcohol dependency in 2014.

Is Your Child Struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder?

Alcoholism is not just an “adult” problem. If your child or teen is consuming alcohol, it’s important to get help as early as possible. At Summit Behavioral Health, we offer a variety of programs for teens. Speak to an addiction specialist today to get answers and explore options.

Host An Alcohol Free Christmas Party- Keep Your Friends Out Of Alcohol Detox

Alcohol free Christmas party

Serenity at Summit, a New Jersey alcohol detox treatment center offers 4 tips for hosting an alcohol free Christmas party.

Christmas is quickly approaching, which means plenty of parties, get-togethers, and mandatory work celebrations. Although you can’t always control whether alcohol will make an appearance at events hosted by others, you can host an alcohol-free celebration that is plenty of fun. Here are several ways to ensure your event is a success and you keep your friends out of alcohol detox.

Be Selective about Your Guest List

When you make your guest list, do so with supportive people in mind. The last thing you need to worry about is dealing with someone who complains about the lack of alcohol or, even worse, shows up with their own.

Consider Putting “No Alcohol” on your Invites

Whether you invite people over via email, or you create your own formal invitations, it’s not a bad idea to include the words “no alcohol” or “alcohol-free” on your invitation. This lets guests know in advance that no alcohol will be served, which can deter them from raising the issue at the party or bringing a guest along who will comment on the lack of alcohol at the gathering. You want the focus of your party to be on enjoying a good time with friends and loved ones—not the absence of alcohol.

Read more about an alcohol free life.

Offer Fun Alternatives to Alcoholic Drinks

You can serve mocktails, although some people in recovery prefer to avoid any beverages reminiscent of alcohol. If you would rather stay away from such drinks, you can offer a fun alternative, such as a hot cocoa buffet or a sundae bar. Other options include a make-your-own nachos stand, candy buffet, or a competition to see who can bring the most creative dessert.

Ask Guests to Bring a Gift for Charity

One way to spread seasonal cheer is to theme your party as a charity event. For example, you could ask your guests to each bring an item of clothing to donate to a local shelter. You could also do a diaper drive for community organizations that help babies and children. Call around to local civic organizations to see what they need. Many shelters and community outreach organizations need coats and blankets during the winter months.

Indulge Yourself For The Holidays – Not Your Alcohol Addiction

Serenity at Summit, a New Jersey detox and alcohol addiction treatment center offers 4 tips on how to enjoy a sober holiday season.

Alcohol Addiction During the Holidays

The holiday season is a time during which people gather to spend quality time with friends and loved ones. It’s also a season of parties, which often means alcohol. For someone recovering from alcohol addiction, it can feel like someone is offering you a drink everywhere you turn. Suddenly, what is supposed to be a joyful, relaxing time is more of a nightmare of stress and anxiety.

Fortunately, there are ways to manage the holiday season without slipping into negative behaviors. Here are four tips for navigating gatherings and meetings while maintaining your sobriety.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Decline an Invitation

It’s okay to say no to a party or event if you know alcohol will feature prominently. In many cases, being surrounded by alcohol is a major trigger that causes people to take a drink, which can lead to two or more—eventually opening the door to a relapse. You have years to build up self-control. Don’t feel like you have to push yourself to attend cocktail parties, wine tastings, or New Year’s Eve celebrations when you are still fresh to recovery. Know your limits and don’t think twice about declining to attend an event that will push you past them.

  1. Be Open About Your Past

This doesn’t work for everyone, as many people understandably prefer to keep their struggles with addiction private. However, if you are comfortable sharing your past challenges with others, simply telling them about your difficulties with alcohol can make things easier. You may be surprised how willing people are to support you as you continue on a positive path. In some cases, they may have even encountered similar difficulties and will understand exactly what you’re going through.

  1. Have a Support Person Nearby

If you have a sponsor or support person in your life, ask them to attend a party or event with you. If this isn’t possible, you can plan in advance for them to be available over text or by phone. Sometimes, just knowing you have an understanding and supportive person to rely on can ease the burden of saying no to alcohol. A quick pep talk over email or text can help you stay focused on sobriety when you’re confronted with an opportunity to have a drink.

  1. Find Other Ways to Celebrate

You don’t necessarily need to attend a party to have a good holiday season. There are many holiday-related activities that don’t involve alcohol. For example, you could volunteer your time at a charity event, or plan a weekend getaway with someone you care about. Being sober means getting opportunities to truly enjoy doing things you love and may have missed out on while you struggled with alcohol addiction.

Top Side Effects From Alcohol Withdrawal

Do you or a loved one struggle with a dependence to alcohol? If so, you probably have concerns and questions about what happens if and when you stop drinking. The fact is there are a variety of common side effects from alcohol withdrawal that most individuals experience when they begin recovery.

Understanding Alcohol Addiction Withdrawal

Before delving into the symptoms that can begin when you stop using alcohol, it’s important to understand the definition of withdrawal. When alcohol is consumed every day, the body, and particularly the nervous system, becomes accustomed to it. Over time, the nervous system adjusts to the ongoing presence of alcohol and tries to establish a balance or homeostasis. Thus, a daily drinker’s nervous system speeds up to compensate for the depressant effects of alcohol. When alcohol use ceases, the brain is left in a sped up, hyperactive state that results in withdrawal symptoms.

What To Expect

Alcohol withdrawal side effects can begin quickly. In fact, depending on the individual’s alcohol use history and severity of addiction, they often start within eight hours after the last drink. Symptoms often peak within 24-72 hours after the last drink. However, they can also persist for days and sometimes even weeks and months if left untreated.

Top Side Effects

Some of the most common side effects of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Shakiness
  • Anxiety
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Emotional mood swings
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Disrupted thought processes

During those first hours and days, there can also be uncomfortable physical effects such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite

Alcohol Side Effects Can Range From Mild To Very Severe

Many individuals who stop drinking experience mild withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, some who have long-term, serious drinking problems, withdrawal can be potentially dangerous.

This is why a safer and more comfortable medically supervised, professional detox program is so important.

Some people also experience seizures that can get worse with each attempted recovery. Another dangerous complication is delirium tremens, which is a condition that results in hallucinations, disorientation, fever, extreme agitation and significant mental confusion. Those who experience delirium tremens are at additional risk of acquiring a chronic memory disorder called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome.

The Benefits Of Professional Addiction Detox And Treatment

Alcohol addiction treatment is unpredictable. No two individuals experience exactly the same symptoms. To minimize the chance of complications and relapse, it’s wise to choose an individualized detox and treatment program that offers professional, medically supervised support, along with clinical and holistic addiction recovery methodologies.


Learn more about what to expect when you stop drinking and the benefits of living a life free from the grip of addiction. Call now and speak to a caring and professional addiction specialist.

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