Author Archives: Reflections Recovery Center

Clonidine and Alcohol

Clonidine, sold under the brand names Catapres and Kapvay, is a prescription sedative and antihypertensive.  Generally found in either pill or patch form, it is often prescribed for high blood pressure or ADHD. Clonidine’s side effects are rarely severe, but it can interfere negatively with other drugs . Because of the way clonidine affects the body, combining it with other drugs or medications can be potentially harmful. Alcohol is one of the most common drugs people consume simultaneously with clonidine. This combination is not only dangerous, it is also potentially addictive.

What Is Clonidine?

Clonidine is primarily an antihypertensive, which means it can treat high blood pressure. However, clonidine is used to treat a wide variety of other symptoms and disorders as well. It is also a sedative drug, which means it can be used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and similar disorders. The prescription relaxes the blood vessels and lowers heart rate, and allows blood to flow more freely in the body. It helps with ADHD because it calms the body, making it a potential candidate to treat the overactivity common in ADHD patients.

Clonidine and Alcohol

People also sometimes take clonidine for sleep and anxiety. While it isn’t approved to treat insomnia (lack of the ability to sleep), clonidine’s relaxation effect can still help some people get to sleep quicker. Its calming effect can also soothe anxiety attacks. Sometimes, doctors even prescribe clonidine to treat the symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

What Are Common Side Effects of Clonidine?

When people take clonidine as directed by a doctor, its effects are rarely dangerous or life-threatening. However, it can cause negative side effects. These include:  

  • Drowsiness 
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Irritability
  • Nightmares
Clonidine and Alcohol

There are also sometimes more serious side effects:

  • Irregular heartbeat or blood pressure
  • Fainting/passing out
  • Headaches
  • Poor balance
  • Difficulty breathing

The risk of these is much higher when people combine clonidine with other drugs such as alcohol. Though a clonidine overdose is rarely deadly on its own, the presence of another substance can increase the chances of serious health problems and death. If you think you or someone around you may be experiencing an overdose, call emergency services immediately. 

Clonidine and Alcohol 

Clonidine by itself is generally safe when taken as directed, and the side effects are rarely serious. However, it can become dangerous when mixed with other drugs, especially alcohol. Medical experts advise against drinking alcohol while taking clonidine in order to avoid accidental overdose. Clonidine is a sedative, which slows down brain processes and other body functions. Alcohol, a depressant, has a similar effect on the body.

Clonidine and Alcohol

For some individuals, this is the desired effect. People may take clonidine and alcohol together to enhance their sedative properties. This is a form of polysubstance abuse (combining two or more drugs for recreational reasons). Clonidine and alcohol can become addictive, as well as the combination of clonidine with other drugs. Some other drugs that don’t mix well with clonidine include opioids, tricyclic antidepressants, and heart medications.

Combining alcohol and clonidine does not just enhance the effects; it will also amplify the negative aspects of both substances. Clonidine and alcohol can  cause light-headedness, drowsiness, and haziness. Other complications might include irregular heartbeat, rapid drops in blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, and even death. Additionally, a toxic overdose is not the only risk. Sedation and dizziness can be more dangerous than they seem, causing someone to faint and injure themselves or be suddenly unfit to drive. 

Is Clonidine Addictive By Itself?

While addiction to Clonidine on its own is uncommon, dependence can occur. It usually manifests when a person takes the drug long-term or abuses their prescription. No specific studies have yet tested clonidine’s addictive potential, but the drugs that Clonidine is closely related to — sedatives — ranked above LSD and ecstasy in addictiveness. Since it can be obtained relatively easily over-the-counter, and the side effects can also be desirable, it is easy to imagine how someone could develop a dependence on the drug.

Clonidine Dependence

Long-term misuse can have drastic effects on users, and it can even be harmful to suddenly stop taking it. When used unchecked, clonidine can cause problems such as low blood pressure, low heart rate, and withdrawal symptoms. Quickly quitting clonidine can lead to similar complications: spikes in blood pressure, agitation, tremors, and headaches. The best way to avoid dependence on clonidine is to follow the recommended dose exactly, check in regularly with a doctor, and avoid taking clonidine in combination with other drugs, especially alcohol.

Getting Help for Clonidine and Alcohol Dependence  

While clonidine itself is not highly addictive, combining it with other drugs or medications can lead to dependence. Alcohol, opioids, some antidepressants, and heart medications can all have unsafe interactions with clonidine, and many of these combinations are addictive. Gaining sobriety is a difficult journey, but getting professional assistance can be the first step. Talking to a medical professional can help identify root problems and give you direction as you work to overcome addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction or substance abuse of any kind, contact us so we can help you on your journey to recovery.

Tired of Life


For many of us, stress and anxiety are part of life.  However, you should never ignore or brush them off. If left alone, these “everyday” feelings can develop into depression or a sense of dread and general exhaustion. Over time, mental health disorders can make you more susceptible to drug use, or even worsen addiction symptoms. Feeling tired of life is something to take seriously. However, this condition is far from hopeless. There are many effective, proven routes toward regaining your mental health, sobriety, and overall happiness. 

What is Depression?

Depression is a very misunderstood condition. Oftentimes, people associate depression with general feelings of sadness. They may also assume a depressed person should just be able to “snap out of it.” While everyone experiences sadness in life, clinical depression is a very different issue. 

Clinical depression (or major depression) is a disorder characterized by persistent depressive moods and behavior. Someone dealing with depression may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and distance from friends and family. The disorder can also contribute to substance abuse problems. Depression can seriously affect sleep, appetite, energy levels, and day-to-day activities. Some people with high functioning depression can hide their sadness and loss of interest in life from those around them. However, this doesn’t mean their condition is any less serious or worthy of attention.

What Does it Mean to be Tired of Life?

Depression and existential dread often go hand in hand. In other words, life can begin to feel unenjoyable or even meaningless. When people say that they are tired of life, they generally mean they are tired of the routine they have fallen into and their lives lack excitement. However, feelings like this can turn into major depression. They can also factor into relapse for people with a substance abuse history.

Tired of Life

Addiction and Mental Health

Addiction and mental health are two very closely related issues. They can feed off each other, and one can cause or contribute to the other. In the medical world, examining both issues from a causation standpoint is known as Dual Diagnosis. Research showed that 60 percent of adolescents with a substance use disorder (SUD) also have some form of mental illness. 

So why are the two so connected? The U.S Library of Medicine found three possible answers to this question:

  1. There may be common risk factors between SUD and mental illness such as genetics or trauma. 
  2. Mental disorders can lead to SUD. For example, someone dealing with feelings of sadness or depression may choose to use drugs to artificially elevate their mood.
  3. SUD can lead to mental disorders. Drugs will change the chemistry in your brain to make it more susceptible to depression and other mental illnesses. Further, individuals who are abusing drugs may recognize their problem, but feel helpless in stopping it. This can seriously affect their emotional well-being. 

How do You Treat a Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis treatment is a holistic approach. Healthcare providers consider which condition started first and how it has impacted the other. For example, if a mental illness was already present when drug use started, it can be identified as the primary catalyst for the issue. Both issues must be addressed fully. Simply managing symptoms will not create a lasting solution. 

Integrated treatment is often the best option for someone with a dual diagnosis. It generally combines rehabilitation that can treat both drug abuse and mental health disorders. These steps will be different for each person. Professionals directly address someone’s individual problems and seek to treat the root cause or causes. 

Tired of Life

Treatment Types

Detoxification

The major first step in an integrated intervention is detoxing the body of any present substances. In a medically-supervised detox, this can involve giving the patient small doses of the drug over a certain period of days in order to taper them off and soften withdrawal symptoms. Going “cold turkey,” or quitting suddenly, often leads to incredibly painful withdrawals which can make sobriety seem impossible.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy revolves around cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This treatment type helps individuals identify negative thinking patterns in an effort to change those behaviors. 

Medications

The use of medications during an integrated intervention is carefully monitored so as to not create an additional dependency as a means of solving a previous one. However, medications can be genuinely helpful when treating mental health disorders.

Supportive Housing

Supportive housing, or a sober home, is a place where people with similar sobriety goals live together and hold each other accountable. They provide mutual support through their respective recovery journeys. Often, they attend meetings or other support groups together. 

Support Groups

Joining a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous is another step in the integrated intervention program. It allows patients to tell their stories and share their lives in a judgement-free zone. This is often an extremely beneficial outlet for people with mental health issues.

Tired of Life

Getting Help if You Feel Tired of Life

For someone struggling with mental health, substance abuse, or both, seeking professional treatment is the best route towards real, meaningful healing. If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction or depression symptoms, get help now. Contact us today so we can help you begin your journey to lifelong recovery.

Trazodone Withdrawal


One of the most difficult points in the journey to sobriety is going through withdrawal. Withdrawal is a side effect when quitting any addictive substance, and Trazodone, an prescription medication, can cause withdrawal symptoms. A trazodone withdrawal generally occurs when someone has been regularly abusing the drug, and the symptoms can be severe. Understanding the effects of a withdrawal can help you better manage symptoms and seek help. 

What is Trazodone?

Trazodone has relatively little perceived value for recreational purposes, but can still be addictive. It is a prescription medication given to patients suffering with depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Classified as a Serotonin Antagonist and Reuptake Inhibitor (SARI), it prevents serotonin from being reabsorbed into the neurons, thus creating an abundance in the brain. Colloquially known as the “happy chemical,” serotonin is speculated to improve your mood when it is released naturally. 

Trazodone Withdrawal

However, trazodone cannot effectively make someone feel happy on its own. Antidepressants work to manage symptoms rather than treat the underlying mental health issues. One of the ways trazodone achieves this is by providing a sedative effect to the patient. Therefore, it is not surprising to find that some people use it to treat insomnia. The mixture of sedation and relief can make the drug somewhat addictive. It does not cause a euphoric high; rather, the effect is more akin to Xanax or other benzodiazepines.

What is Withdrawal?

Withdrawal is the adjustment period following the immediate cessation of drug use. The body can experience negative symptoms when adjusting to not having a certain chemical or drug in its system. In the case of trazodone, the body will need to adjust to the sudden decrease in the brain’s serotonin levels. Withdrawal can have an emotional and physical impact, and its severity depends on a person’s history of abuse with the drug as well as the type of drug itself.

Different drugs come with different withdrawal timelines. For example, heroin withdrawal can last anywhere from 8 hours to 10 days. It is not known exactly how long trazodone withdrawals last. However, symptoms can begin hours after stopping and can continue for days or even weeks. Some symptoms of a trazodone withdrawal include:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Seizures 

Given that trazodone is mainly used to treat depression and insomnia, patients will likely experience those symptoms first.

Trazodone Withdrawal Management 

There are ways to lessen the negative experience of withdrawals. Some users may choose to go “cold turkey,” where they suddenly stop taking the drug. While this may seem like an effective method, it can actually make your withdrawal symptoms worse. Keep in mind that the body is very adaptive in nature. Part of having an addiction is the process of your brain and body developing a tolerance for a certain stimuli – where it essentially gets used to having that substance. Quitting can cause a shock to the body – like the feeling of going outside on a cold day after being indoors. 

Trazodone Withdrawal

One way to mitigate this shock is by gradually tapering your exposure to the stimulus. The same is true in reverse. Tapering your drug use will make the withdrawals less severe. For example, if you are used to taking 10mg of trazodone every day, it can help to take only 9mg the next day and so on. This is not necessarily a linear progression, and every body responds differently. 

This is why it can be so important to seek medical help. A professionally trained individual can help you create a plan which minimizes the effects of a withdrawal.

How Long Does Trazodone Stay in Your System?

Trazodone has a half life of 5-13 hours. A substance’s half life is an indication of how long it will take for the ingested dosage to effectively reduce to half of its original amount. For example, if you take 10mg of trazodone, it will take approximately 5-13 hours for that to effectively become 5mg. While this does provide some insight as to how fast the drug will leave your body, it does not represent how long it can be detected via drug testing. Trazodone drug tests are quite rare. However, trazodone can be flagged as a false positive for MDMA with EMIT urine tests.

Trazodone Withdrawal

Getting Help During a Trazodone Withdrawal 

Withdrawals can be a very painful process which can make reaching sobriety quite difficult. However, it is important to keep the long-term picture in mind. Initial withdrawal symptoms are usually confined to a few weeks at most (though you may eventually deal with longer-term withdrawal symptoms such as cravings). As we mentioned, it is best to get professional supervision when attempting to stop substance abuse of any kind. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today so that we can help you begin your journey to sobriety, together.

Hydrocodone and Alcohol


Combining any drug with alcohol can lead to an overdose and should be avoided. Some combinations, such as hydrocodone and alcohol, are especially dangerous. Generally speaking, drinking alcohol should always be avoided after taking any kind of medication. However, in order to understand why, it is important to know the risks of mixing drugs. 

What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is an opioid agonist which is used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. It is a moderately potent opioid containing acetaminophen. It works by binding to and activating the mu-opioid receptors in the central nervous system, which in return causes analgesia (inability to feel pain), euphoria, cough suppression, respiratory depression and physical dependence. Hydrocodone’s other side effects include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Back pain
  • Muscle tightness
  • Painful urination
  • Ringing ears
  • Insomnia
  • Swelling of extremities

Its ability to cause a sense of euphoria is common amongst all opioids. This euphoria is one of the primary reasons hydrocodone and opioids in general are considered to be highly addictive substances. However, hydrocodone is not commonly considered a powerful opioid, and some people mistakenly see it as a “safe” drug. 

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) categorizes drugs based on their potential for abuse and medical utility. For example, a Schedule I drug has no medical uses and has a very high potential for abuse. These include heroin, LSD, ecstacy and peyote. Hydrocodone is classified as a Schedule II drug, as it has some identified medical purposes but a high potential for abuse, addiction, and other health risks.

Hydrocodone is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Depressants actively slow down critical nerve functions, such as breathing and cognitive ability. Alcohol is also a CNS depressant and has similar effects. Mixing the two increases the risk of experiencing an overdose.

Hydrocodone and Alcohol

What Happens During an Overdose?

An overdose is simply the body’s negative response to more of a drug or chemical than it can handle. It can occur when taking too much of a drug or when combining two or more drugs which have similar effects. CNS depressants cause critical nerve function to slow down – specifically, the risk lies mostly with the respiratory system (since opioids slow down breathing). If you consume too much of a depressant, an overdose can occur. Not all overdoses are fatal; however, they can cause long-term organ damage. Without a consistent oxygen supply, the brain can experience permanent damage. If breathing is severely or completely impaired for any length of time, a fatal overdose is very likely. 

Other signs of an overdose include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Chest pain
  • Gurgling sounds
  • Blue lips and fingers
  • High body temperature
  • Unresponsiveness 
  • Convulsions
  • Tremors
  • Unconsciousness
  • Vomiting

If you think someone has overdosed, call emergency services immediately. The ability to recognize an overdose in its early stages could be the difference between a fatal and non-fatal overdose.

Hydrocodone and Alcohol

What Happens When You Mix Hydrocodone and Alcohol?

Given that both drugs are CNS depressants, combining them makes overdose is more likely. The the body will suffer the combined effects of the opioid and alcohol, which may be too much for it to handle. Generally speaking, when combining two or more drugs, the drugs work to enhance each other’s negative side effects (without increasing any positive ones). This applies to hydrocodone and alcohol. However, even without the overdose risk, the combined influence of the two drugs can cause you to engage in dangerous behavior (such as driving) while under the influence, and increase the risk of accidents. 

Hydrocodone and Alcohol

How long does Hydrocodone stay in your system?

Hydrocodone has a half-life of 3-5 hours. This means it will take 3-5 hours for the ingested dose to effectively reduce to half of its original dose. If you take 10mg of hydrocodone, it will take 3-5 hours for that to reduce down to 5mg in your body. Even after the effects have worn off, drug tests can reveal the presence of hydrocodone in the body for days or weeks. Hydrocodone leaves the body faster than other opioids, but can still be detected in saliva 12-36 hours after last ingestion, in urine 2-4 days, and in hair for up to 90 days.

How quickly the body metabolizes hydrocodone differs from person to person. Various factors such as body fat percentage, age, history with the drug, and organ function all play a role in how effectively your body is able to process drugs and chemicals.

Hydrocodone and Alcohol: Getting help

Addiction is considered a chronic illness ,which means it has the same relapse rates as other chronic diseases. This can make lifelong sobriety very difficult. However, it does not make it impossible. The journey is different for everyone, and most people need professional assistance. A professional can help diagnose and treat the underlying causes behind the addiction, rather than just attempting to manage the symptoms. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today so that we can help begin your journey to sobriety.

Living Sober


Sober living is  – you guessed it – a lifelong journey. It’s also a richly rewarding one, though it’s no easy task. Becoming independent of addiction can take months or even years, which is why it’s so important to maintain that hard-earned sobriety on a daily basis. Here are some tips and tools others in recovery have successfully used to stay clean and sober for life.

Sober Living Strategies

Have a Sober Companion

A sober companion (or sponsor) is someone who spends time with you and acts as a constant support system throughout your day. They provide emotional and physical encouragement as you maintain your sobriety.  Sober companions are also typically in recovery but have a long history of sobriety. Their experience means they remember how hard the beginning can be and know what helped them stay sober. The level of attachment is up to you. However, in the beginning, it’s important to spend most of your time with one or more sober companions. They will help you avoid triggering situations and people who could be a negative influence on the progress you’re making. 

Individuals new to recovery may also find it hard to self-motivate when working, cooking, and taking care of themselves. While a sober companion is not a maid or social worker, they can provide you with tips which have helped them steer their life onto the right path. Think of them as a close older sibling or mentor. 

Living Sober

Consider Sober Living Homes

Sober living homes are group homes for people who have just finished an inpatient recovery program. Also sometimes called halfway houses, they provide a safe, and temptation-free environment as you transition into your new lifestyle. Alcohol and other drugs are not allowed on the premises, and visitors are usually vetted before residents spend time with them. Life in this environment is essentially like renting a house with roommates, but with intentional rules and guidelines. Residents pay rent, pitch in on cleaning and maintenance duties, and keep each other accountable. While living at a sober living home, you are encouraged to find work while still attending meetings. There is usually a house manager who supervises the house and enforces the rules. For the most part, though, you are in charge of your life and recovery work. 

The benefit to sober living homes is that they create a supportive environment with like minded people who encourage you to make the right choices. They will expect the same from you. A study conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that a “lack of a stable, alcohol and drug-free living environment can be a serious obstacle to sustained abstinence.” Sober living homes can greatly increase your chances of long-term sobriety and help you build new, healthy relationships. 

Living Sober

Explore AA, NA, and Other Support Groups

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the world’s best-known sobriety support group. It has chapters worldwide and most known for its “12-step program.” Joining an AA or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meeting puts you in community with larger groups of like-minded individuals. You will share stories, celebrate successes, and encourage each other to stay the path. Many people’s recovery journey begins at an AA-style meeting, and it is a great place to meet a sponsor or sober living companion. An AA program is more flexible and you can attend meetings that fit into your schedule. Joining a group like this is one of the best and most popular long-term sobriety tools. Even years after you move out of a sober living home and transition to a more normal lifestyle, going to meetings can help you stay grounded and intentional about your sobriety.

Sober Living and Avoiding Relapse

Addiction is a chronic disease. It even shares similar relapse rates with other chronic illnesses, such as type II diabetes. It’s no surprise that recovery is difficult- but that does not mean it is impossible. Statistically, relapse is most likely to occur during the first year of recovery. This is why long-term treatment programs and sober living houses can be so beneficial. Trying to assess how you will stay sober for a year is a daunting, even overwhelming task. Therefore, it is best to take bite-sized steps towards long-term recovery. Do not think of it as staying sober for a year. Rather focus on staying sober for a day, and watch that one day turn into days, weeks, and months. Take it one step at a time and find time to understand what your triggers are.

Triggers can be anything that causes you to repeat destructive behavior. It can be anything from being around intoxicated people to being stressed. Understanding and recognizing your triggers can help you avoid temptations to relapse. If you know that doing x will cause you to experience temptations, then avoid it as best as possible. It is easier to do so when you are surrounded by other people who are doing the same as with a sober living home. 

Living Sober

A common misconception is that “recovery” is complete when treatment ends. Recovery programs are intended to help set you on the right path, but actually staying on that path is your responsibility for life. You will probably always deal with certain substance abuse triggers and temptations. Recovery is about learning to avoid and manage them.  

Dealing With Relapse

If you have relapsed after attempting to get sober, it is not the end of the road. Many people experience a relapse at some point in their journey. Acknowledging that it is just a setback is the first step in dealing with it. Some people enter into a self-destructive mindset and convince themselves that since they have relapsed, lifetime recovery is impossible. This could not be farther from the truth. Remember that addiction is a chronic disease which means that statistically, relapse is more likely than not. What is important is the determination to keep trying. Reaching out to a recovery center is a helpful step in the right direction as it will realign you with your goals.

Getting help

Recovery is a difficult journey, but is one which will change your life for the better. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please contact us today. Together, we can help you begin your journey to lifetime recovery.

Benadryl and Alcohol


While most people associate drug overdoses with intentional drug abuse, common over-the-counter drugs can still pose a risk when mixed with other substances. This includes combinations such as Benadryl and alcohol. 

What is Benadryl?

Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine medication used to treat mild allergies caused by insect bites, poisonous plants (such as poison oak and ivy), pollen, and some allergic reactions to animals. It is an over-the-counter medicine (OTC). This means that it does not require a prescription and people don’t generally think of it as a dangerous drug. There have been some cases of teens abusing Benadryl in order to experience its sedative effects. However, there is no evidence suggesting it is an addictive drug. The danger with Benadryl and other common OTC drugs is that sometimes people forget that they have taken them and proceed to consume other substances. 

Benadryl and Alcohol

Benadryl is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, much like alcohol. CNS depressants slow down critical brain and nerve function. This depressive effect can be heightened when mixed with other depressants. Most of the time, people do not set out to mix Benadryl and alcohol. Rather, they don’t know the combination can be dangerous or simply forget they took it before drinking. Diphenhydramine’s half-life is 3.4 to 9.2 hours. In other words, if you take 10mg of Benadryl, it will take at least 3.4 hours for that amount to reduce to 5mg in your body. 

Alcohol and Benadryl: What Are the Risks?

Unintentionally mixing of two or more drugs can cause overdoses, especially if one of them is alcohol. When people take them together intentionally, it is called polysubstance abuse. The danger with Benadryl and other similar OTC drugs is that their half-lives are quite long. It can be easy to take an appropriate dose of Benadryl and forget about it later in the day when consuming alcoholic beverages. If the Benadryl and alcohol overpower the nervous system, experiencing an overdose is possible. 

Benadryl and Alcohol

Diphenhydramine Side Effects

Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine have side effects that can become stronger when combined with alcohol. In general, mixing two or more drugs will enhance their negative effects. Some of Benadryl’s side effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Stomach aches 
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth

Alcohol consumption poses an additional risk to people taking Benadryl. Some medications contain alcohol and should not be taken with antihistamines. These include laxatives and cough syrups. While mixing the two medications will not necessarily lead to overdose, it will likely cause intense discomfort and make the user feel as if they were drunk. Further, operating machinery or vehicles while mixing Benadryl with alcohol or another drug containing alcohol can lead to heavy impairment and could result in serious injury or death.

Benadryl for Sleep

Some people intentionally take Benadryl to help them fall asleep. This is due to the drowsiness the drug can cause, though doctors do not generally recommend it. While it is sometimes prescribed as a sleep aid, you should never take it for sleep without consulting a doctor or medical professional first. If you have trouble sleeping, it is best to consult a doctor who can then advise or prescribe the proper medication for the situation. 

Benadryl and Alcohol FAQ’s

Can you die when taking Benadryl and alcohol?

While mixing Benadryl and alcohol can lead to heavy sedation and an impared mental state, it is unlikely you will experience a fatal overdose from the mixture alone. The real risk lies in activities you might perform while impaired. Driving after taking Benadryl is never a good idea. When it is mixed with any amount of alcohol, it can pose serious driving risks. 

How long does Benadryl stay in your system?

Benadryl’s half life is 3 to 9 hours. This means the drug will typically leave the system within 24-48 hours. However, improper liver or kidney function can increase this window. There are no Benadryl drug tests, and employers will not look for it when testing for other substances. However, this does not mean it won’t be harmful to your health when not taken as directed.

Can a Benadryl and alcohol overdose cause shaking hands?

Alcohol consumption can cause an uncontrollable shaking, though this is not a common side effect. However, different people experience different reactions with Benadryl and alcohol, and all medications should be supervised when possible. Uncontrollable shaking can also mean an overdose, in which case you should seek medical attention immediately. An overdose commonly occurs when drug stimuli overwhelm the CNS, leading to critical organ failure. Since Benadryl and alcohol are both CNS depressants, it is possible to mix the two and experience an overdose at high enough levels. Some signs of an overdose include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Breath cessation 
  • Blue fingers or lips
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures

Benadryl and Alcohol

Getting Help

Addiction can take many forms and may not be easy to recognize at first. If you are consistently taking Benadryl or alcohol in large quantities to self-medicate for any reason, it may be time to seek help. Getting professional help can ensure that you are addressing the root causes and not just managing symptoms. If you or a loved one is struggling with any form of addiction, please contact us today so that we can help you on your journey to recovery.

Cocaine Overdose


Cocaine is a stimulant that people often abuse as a recreational “party” drug. While most people incorrectly think it is safer than its close relative, crack cocaine, pure cocaine is just as dangerous and addictive and can cause a fatal overdose.

What is cocaine?

Cocaine is derived from the coca plant, which has been used as a stimulant by South American natives for thousands of years. Processed “pure” cocaine, cocaine hydrochloride, is much more powerful and addictive. Sold illicitly under the names Coke, C, Snow, Powder, or Blow, pure cocaine is usually a white powder. 

Cocaine Overdose

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) categorizes various drugs on a scale based on how addictive and dangerous they are. Cocaine is a Schedule II drug, meaning that while it has highly addictive qualities and a high potential for abuse, it does have potential medicinal uses. Doctors can administer it a local anesthetic in some situations. Other Schedule II drugs include Adderall, Fentanyl and OxyContin. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), cocaine was most popular during the 1990’s. However, it is still quite common today and many users see it as a risk-free, fun party drug. In 2014, there were an estimated 1.5 million active cocaine users over the age of 12 in the United States.

Cocaine Overdose

What are Cocaine’s Effects?

Cocaine’s stimulant properties cause a heightened sense of energy and awareness, among other symptoms. While some may find the experience to be pleasurable, it is highly addictive and the side effects can be painful. Other cocaine effects include:

  • Increased energy
  • Euphoric feelings (euphoric high)
  • Elevated mood
  • Elevated self-esteem 

Some of Cocaine’s negative side effects include:

  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
  • Panic
  • Paranoia 
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability 
  • Tremors 
  • Vertigo
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature 
  • Dilated pupils
  • Fatal overdose

What Does a Cocaine Overdose Look Like?

In order to understand how cocaine can kill, it’s helpful to understand what an overdose is. Overdose occurs when someone consumes a  substance in a dose high enough to keep vital organs from functioning.  In some cases, depending on the severity, it leads to death or long-term internal damage.  An overdose is possible with almost any drug but is most prevalent with opioids, such as fentanyl. Given that cocaine is a stimulant, it does not cause an overdose the same way an opioid would. While opioids slow down organ function, cocaine can cause cardiac arrest, stroke, respiratory arrest, and sudden death if the drug’s toxicity is too high. In 2015, more than 5,500 people died from cocaine overdose.

Many people wrongly think that powder cocaine is safe because it is not crack cocaine and therefore “purer”. However, this isn’t necessarily true. It is hard to determine purity levels outside of a lab, and pure cocaine still kills in high doses. Further, many dealers lace cocaine products with other drugs. Some dealers mix fentanyl or other dangerous substances into cocaine. This increases the chances of addiction, which is good for a drug dealer’s business. Fentanyl is deadly in small doses, and users often don’t know when it is in the cocaine they buy. In Flint, Michigan, 2 individuals were found dead in 2020 by overdose from fentanyl laced cocaine with another in critical condition. Sadly, this kind of scenario is not uncommon.

Cocaine Overdose

How long does cocaine stay in your system?

It’s difficult to hard to predict how exactly how long cocaine’s effects will last. This changes from person to person, and usually depends on how someone ingests the drug. If snorted, cocaine can take longer to kick in, but its effects will persist for longer. Smoking cocaine creates a nearly instantaneous high that may last only a few minutes. Regardless of how long the effects last, cocaine can still be detected in the system for several days to weeks after ingestion.

Side Effects

Cocaine’s half-life is about an hour. This is the time it takes for the ingested cocaine to enter the bloodstream. In other words, an hour after someone ingests 10mg of cocaine, the amount left over is about 5mg. Even so, cocaine can be detected via saliva from 12-48 hours after last use and in hair for years after ingestion. Further, urine tests can detect cocaine 2-4 days after last use. 

Cocaine Overdose and Addiction: Getting Help

It’s difficult – but very possible –  to recover from cocaine dependence. The drug is highly addictive and its withdrawal symptoms are often painful. This can encourage people to keep abusing the drug – just to avoid the pain. Getting professional help is the best bet for lifetime sobriety. Without it, going “cold-turkey” – stopping suddenly – is dangerous, since the relapse risk is much higher.  Co-occurring mental health concerns can make quitting even harder. When you seek professional help, you increase your likelihood of staying clean. Trained physicians and counselors are  equipped to help you deal with addiction’s the root causes instead of just managing its symptoms.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today to start the journey to health and sobriety together.

Speedballing


Speedballing is combining heroin and cocaine. For many users, it brings about a longer-lasting, more intense high. However, it comes with a serious risk of experiencing a fatal overdose. 

What is Speedballing?

Speedballing involves mixing heroin, which is an opioid, and cocaine, a stimulant. With strong pain-killing potential, heroin is derived from morphine. Even though some opioids, such as fentanyl and methamphetamine, can have medical uses,  heroin is considered to be too addictive and has too high of a potential for abuse to have any medical use. Most drugs which lack medical use and are considered generally dangerous to an individual’s health are listed as  Schedule I drugs by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). 

Speedballing

A common misconception is that the stimulating effects of cocaine and the depressive effects of heroin cancel each other out, causing a risk-free high. However, mixing the two drugs can cause long term health effects and increase the likelihood of experiencing a fatal overdose. 

How does Heroin affect the body?

In order to better understand how mixing the two drugs can increase the overall risk, it can be helpful to better understand how the drugs work independently. Heroin is an opioid. Opioids are powerful painkillers which bind to the opiate receptors in the brain and spinal cord. To put it simply, these opiate receptors help receive nerve impulses that indicate the body is in pain. By binding to these receptors, the body can better suppress physical pain. In addition to its ability to rid feelings of pain, opioids can create a euphoric high in individuals. This is the main driver behind its illicit use.

This euphoric high promotes the body to release dopamine, the “feel good chemical,” in large amounts. Dopamine is the chemical our body releases when it receives a pleasurable input. This dopamine release is what motivated early humans to hunt and reproduce. In modern days, humans get dopamine from various inputs, such as eating, drinking, playing video games, and even being on our phones. This pursuit of pleasure is commonly what drives addiction, especially when coupled with mental health disorders (commonly referred to as  co-occuring disorders or dual diagnoses).

Further, opioids slow down brain and nerve function. This is partly the cause of the euphoric high people experience while taking these drugs. The drug can slow critical organ function such as breathing and heart rate to dangerously low levels. At a certain point, the drug can cause the complete cessation of these functions, causing an overdose. 

Speedballing

How does Cocaine affect the body?

Cocaine is a very powerful stimulant, and like opioids, it causes the release of dopamine into the body – making it a highly addictive drug. Cocaine highs usually come with very intense feelings of energy and alertness. This drug essentially functions as the opposite of opioids. Cocaine overdoses are more rare than opioid overdoses; however, it is still very possible to do so if the levels become too toxic for the body to handle. As with opioids, the body will develop a tolerance to cocaine, making it harder and harder to achieve the same euphoric high feeling after consecutive uses. This leads users to take more of the drug each time, in hopes that it will recreate the same high they first felt. These increasing doses can eventually overwhelm the body and cause an overdose. 

Speedballing Side Effects

The mixture of cocaine and heroin can be ingested either by mixing the two drugs together and injecting or snorting it, or “piggybacked,” where the user injects one drug immediately after the other. Speedballing can cause serious long term effects on the brain, liver, and heart. It can also cause a fatal overdose. Other side effects of speedballing include:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Aneurysm
  • Respiratory failure
  • Confusion 
  • Blurry vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Uncontrollable movements
  • Paranoia 
  • Insomnia 

Also, given the depressive and stimulant effects of the drugs, the body will experience a push and pull effect. This means that the effects of one drug will overcome the other momentarily. The heart rate may rapidly increase and decrease, leading to arrhythmias and heart failure. 

In general, mixing two or more drugs (polysubstance abuse) will cause the drugs to enhance each other. This may sound like a more enjoyable experience, but it also enhances the side effects drastically. 

In 2015 alone, there were 4,271 cocaine related deaths which involved any opioid; 3,481 of those directly involved heroin. This consisted of 65.4% of all cocaine-related deaths that year. Therefore, mixing heroin and cocaine can be directly related to an increase in the chance of death.

Getting help for Speedballing

Cocaine and heroin are two very addictive drugs which are extremely hard to quit. Given the complexities of these drugs, always seek professional help when attempting to recover. This is especially important since powerful withdrawal symptoms can occur when quitting either substance. Find a professional who understands your circumstances and can help you cure your addiction rather than just manage symptoms. Recovery is absolutely possible, but you do not need to do it alone. If you have any questions, or you or a loved one needs help beginning the road to recovery, please contact us today.

Most Dangerous Drugs


When looking at a list of the most dangerous drugs in the US, it is important to specify what “dangerous” means. A danger ranking that is is simply taken from death and hospitalization statistics will look very different from one based on lethal dosage or even the likelihood of an overdose.

What are the Most Dangerous Drugs?

It’s a good idea to understand as many different danger factors as possible when it comes to drugs. This list considers substances which have a high potency as well as a high likelihood of causing (or contributing to) death. 

#1 Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is around 50 to 100 times more potent than Morphine. It is a prescription drug for patients dealing with severe pain, such as cancer or post-surgery pain.  Given its high potency, it does not take much fentanyl to trigger an overdose. Illicitly-produced fentanyl poses a serious public health risk, as it’s common to find fentanyl laced with other drugs. Drug dealers and producers will combine fentanyl with substances like cocaine in an effort to boost profit – as it takes less product to create an intense high.

Another form of fentanyl making an appearance in North America is carfentanil.  Typically used as an Elephant tranquilizer, carfentanil is likely one of the most dangerous opioids known to man. 10,000 times as potent as morphine and 100 times stronger than regular fentanyl, it has no approved medical uses or human applications. It is oftentimes too powerful to risk lacing in other drugs and therefore is less common than fentanyl. The lethal dose of carfentanil is unknown; however, fentanyl can be lethal at the 2 milligram range.

Most Dangerous Drugs

Opioids in general have passed automobile accidents in the U.S. as the single largest cause of death. 

#2 Alcohol

When looking at death count alone, alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs in the world. However, it is not alcohol’s potency which presents the biggest risk factor. Most people can enjoy alcoholic beverages in moderation without experiencing any serious negative side effects. Rather, it is the increase in likelihood to engage in dangerous activities, and the difficulty in understanding the body’s physical limit that makes it so dangerous. In the United States alone, drunk driving claims around 10,000 lives every year and that figure has fallen by a third in the past few decades. As a whole, an estimated 88,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes every year – making it one of the most dangerous drugs in the United States, and potentially the world.

Most Dangerous Drugs

#3 Heroin

Heroin is also a form of opioid similar to fentanyl, but much more prevalent in the United States and Canada. It is one of the driving forces behind the opioid crisis in the U.S. Heroin is an incredibly addictive substance which can be injected, inhaled or even mixed with crack cocaine to form a speedball. It is also one of the hardest drugs to quit, as it can cause painful withdrawals. Heroin is the only substance on this list which is listed as a schedule 1 substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). A schedule 1 drug is one which has a very high potential for abuse and has no known medical uses. 

#4 Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine, or meth, is an amphetamine type originally used as a nasal decongestant. Some doctors still prescribe it to their patients, though at a dose much too low to create a euphoric high. However, it is more potent than other amphetamines and therefore poses a higher risk to anyone who uses it. It is listed as a Schedule II drug by the DEA because it is given to patients who suffer from severe ADHD, but still has a high potential for abuse. 

#5 Cigarette Smoking

Smoking causes long term health effects which can lead to a whole host of other health problems. Cigarettes rank lower than other drugs since nicotine and other cigarette ingredients do not cause reckless behavior and aren’t inherently dangerous on their own. However, from a deaths-per-year perspective, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that cigarettes cause more than 480,000 deaths in the U.S every year. Smoking can cause long-term health effects such as cancer and other diseases, and it does harm to essentially every organ in the body. It also causes premature death in most regular smokers.

Most Dangerous Drugs

Smoking can cause:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Lung diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Tuberculosis
  • Erectile dysfunction

Most Dangerous Drugs: What to Do During an Overdose

Being able to understand the signs of an overdose can help save lives. Any drug can be dangerous, and overdoses are always a possibility. Some individuals may accidentally take more than their prescribed dose of a medication, which in turn can cause an overdose.

Some signs of an overdose include:

  • Slowed breathing 
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Cessation of breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Dilated pupils
  • Airway obstruction (gurgling sounds)
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

What to Do During an Overdose

If you have opioids in your household, or suspect someone to be experiencing an opioid overdose, using Naloxone (brand name Narcan) can help stop the overdose dead in its tracks. However, keep in mind that this will only stop overdoses caused by opioids. The first step should always be to contact emergency services, even if you are not entirely sure someone is experiencing an overdose. Seconds count when someone is unconscious or struggling to breathe. 

Getting Help for the Most Dangerous Drugs

Addiction can be a very difficult thing to beat. Every substance listed above has a high potential for abuse and addiction. However, sobriety is very much possible and there is always hope. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction or abuse, please contact us today so that we we can help begin the journey to a sober life, together. 

Relapse Prevention Plan


If you or a loved one has gone through the recovery process, then relapse is an all too familiar term.  Unfortunately, relapse is a common occurrence for those struggling with substance abuse.  Too often, people will enter sobriety, work on themselves and their substance issues, only to relapse after days, weeks, months, or even years of sobriety.  This is where a relapse prevention plan comes in handy; by creating and utilizing a relapse prevention plan, individuals can highly increase their chances of not only staying sober, but getting back to healthy habits and sobriety if/when relapse does occur.

What is a Relapse Prevention Plan?

Typically, a relapse prevention plan is a guide to understanding your patterns, and then setting actionable goals around what to do if relapse does occur.  The plan is two-fold: if you can identify triggers, cravings, and potential pitfalls ahead of time, you are more likely to avoid relapse in the first place.  Secondly, you’ll want to have a predetermined plan around exactly what to do, who to call, and where to “restart” if relapse does occur.

Let’s look at the first portion of a relapse prevention plan first, i.e. self-awareness.  A standard relapse prevention plan will want to identify common triggers and cravings.

Relapse Prevention Plan

Triggers

So what exactly are triggers?  They can be essentially anything that causes cravings for a person struggling with substance abuse.  People, places, and things can catalyze powerful sensory recall. Oftentimes, addicts/alcoholics are unaware that these triggers exist until they are already dangerously close to a relapse.  However, because of the way our brains operate, each trigger is going to be highly personal.  Let’s look at some examples of how this might differ from person to person:

People

The most common “people” triggers are those that the individual used drugs/alcohol with.  Certain friend groups, or even family members, can trigger cravings almost immediately if there are memories of drug use associated with the person.  One individual might be triggered by their parents (especially if they are habitual drug/alcohol users). Someone else might find their parents to be the best people that help foster and support a sober lifestyle. 

Places

As far as triggering places go, it is frequent that individuals will experience strong cravings when returning to environments that they previously used drugs/alcohol in.  Households, old neighborhoods, concert venues, hiking trails, vehicles: they can all trigger sensory recall of a time when using substances was still fun, before the addiction took over. 

Cravings

Things

Are you seeing a common thread yet?  That’s right, any ’thing’ that a person has associated with their past drug use can be extremely triggering.  Paraphernalia can be especially triggering. However, even “positive” objects can bring someone back to old times very quickly, and often with negative effects.  Though counterintuitive, sometimes even an old photo of happier times with supportive people can cause a craving immediately.

Identifying people, places, and things that are associated with past substance use can be paramount to a person’s continued, long-term sobriety.  Often, for at least the first year of sobriety, persons will want to actively avoid these triggers to the best of their ability.  

As the old saying from Alcoholics Anonymous goes: “If you hang out in the barbershop long enough, you’re bound to get a haircut”.

Relapse Prevention and Cravings

What exactly are cravings?  By common definition, cravings are physical and mental urges to use drugs and/or alcohol.  Cravings can be extremely powerful, especially in the first year of sobriety.  Many cravings are brought on by triggers, as discussed above.  However, sometimes cravings can happen for no obvious reason, regardless of sensory recall or otherwise.  

There are some general timelines to be aware of, typically described as Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS).  Generally, the sobriety milestones of 30, 60, 90, and 180 days are prone to increased PAWS, and thus cravings.  This is because of the dopamine and serotonin disruption that substances cause to the brain, and those receptors will recover over time.  Thankfully, the physical symptoms of cravings only last approximately 10-20 minutes.  Thus, if you can utilize the coping skills you identify in your relapse prevention plan, there is opportunity for success every single time you experience physical cravings.

Relapse Prevention Plan

Mental cravings, however, are different than the physical.  While physical cravings are brief, the mental side can be carried on for hours.  Again, it is paramount that individuals suffering from substance abuse use their coping skills to relieve the mind of the need to use.  In early sobriety, limiting distractions of any sort can be of the utmost importance to getting through cravings.

Coping Skills

Coping skills tie into the second portion of relapse prevention plans. It is essential for someone in recovery to develop a set of actions they can engage in prior to or after a potential relapse.  Prior to relapse, coping skills can be utilized to disengage from triggering situations and intense cravings.  Some examples of these types of coping skills might include:

  • Going for a run
  • Calling a close friend or family member
  • Playing an instrument
  • Cooking a good meal
  • Swimming, biking, playing sports – any type of physical activity can help

If relapse does occur, then alternate coping skills should be put in place as quickly as possible in order to minimize the risk of prolonged drug/alcohol use.  Many people in sobriety use coping skills and plans of action such as:

  • Attending a community support group meeting (such as Alcoholics Anonymous)
  • Calling a sponsor, or other trusted confidant
  • Having an individual therapy session with a therapist

Sobriety and Your Relapse Prevention Plan

Relapse prevention plans will need to be created on an individual basis, as each individual’s struggles and needs are unique.  Developing an understanding of these three core concepts (triggers, cravings, and coping skills) will greatly increase a person’s chances of long-term recovery and sobriety.  Substance abuse is an extremely potent disease, from both physiological and mental perspectives. It is important to take every precaution necessary.

Relapse Prevention PlanIf you need help developing a relapse prevention plan, or need help addressing a loved one’s substance abuse issue, please contact us today.  Our highly-trained addiction specialists will be happy to aid you in the journey of recovery.