Author Archives: Sky Smith

Risk Factors for Alcoholism

Alcohol use disorder (AUD)—commonly referred to as “alcoholism”—is a type of substance use disorder (SUD) that involves the uncontrollable consumption of alcohol. 

Individuals who suffer from alcoholism may not be able to stop themselves from drinking too much, and often have physical or mental dependence on alcohol. This makes it so that if they stop drinking alcohol or drink less than usual, they experience withdrawal symptoms. 

Alcoholism, unfortunately, is a relatively common substance use disorder. Because of this, researchers have been able to identify many of the factors that put individuals at particular risk of developing an addiction to alcohol. 

A person’s family history, mental health, age, and gender can all be factors. While alcohol dependency is most often found in people with predisposed risk factors, the reality is that anyone can be affected.

Family History

Studies have shown that one of the most prevalent risk factors for an AUD is a person’s family history—specifically their genetics. There seem to be some types of genes that are present in certain families that are absent in others that put individuals at particular risk of developing alcoholism. 

The specific types of genetics that cause this risk are yet unknown, but scientists estimate that they can increase someone’s risk of developing alcoholism by four times or more. This in no way indicates that a person is guaranteed to develop an alcohol use disorder just because members of their family also suffer from it. 

Those without a family history of alcoholism still have the potential to develop a problem with alcohol, but those with a history may need to exercise more caution when consuming alcohol regularly.

Studies have shown that one of the most prevalent factors that is a risk factor for alcoholism is a person's family history--specifically their genetics.

Psychiatric Disorders

A person’s mental health and specific psychiatric disorders can also put them at greater risk for alcoholism. However, alcoholism can also lead to the development of mental health issues, which further complicates the disorder. 

In many scenarios, individuals who suffer from alcoholism may be at risk for developing psychiatric disorders, or could already be dealing with them. While it is difficult to pinpoint exact causes, researchers have identified a handful of mental disorders that appear to put individuals at higher risk of alcoholism. 

Many types of mental health issues can contribute to alcoholism, but some may be more impactful than others. Again, it’s important to remember that none of these disorders are guarantees of developing alcoholism, only that they might increase one’s risk.

Mood disorders, like major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders, like generalized anxiety disorder or PTSD, can be among the more prevalent when it comes to alcoholism risk. Symptoms like anxiety, depression, or panic might lead individuals to consume excessive amounts of alcohol, making them more likely to develop a dependence on the substance.

Mood disorders and anxiety disorders can put an individual at higher risk for alcoholism.

Age and Sex

An individual’s age and their assigned sex at birth may also impact alcoholism. Age, however, is the more notable of the two factors. 

Researchers have found that people are more likely to develop life long alcoholism at earlier ages. Those who first consume alcohol at ages 14 or younger are significantly more likely to develop an alcohol problem than those who don’t drink until 20 or older. 

Because young people have still-developing bodies, drinking alcohol can cause serious problems later on. While not all young people who drink alcohol at early ages will develop an alcohol use disorder, the less responsibly it is consumed, the higher the chances become.

Biological sex can also influence how alcohol affects a person. While this characteristic doesn’t necessarily put someone at higher risk of developing an AUD, studies have shown how alcoholism affects men differently compared to women. 

Most notably, men tend to misuse alcohol at a younger age than women. This puts them at a higher risk for developing alcoholic behaviors and dependencies, since the body gets used to having the substance during development. 

Additionally, among those who did seek treatment for alcoholism, women tended to progress with treatment more quickly than men. The exact cause for this is unknown, but it may be due to societal impacts of alcoholism on women, or small differences between the effect of alcohol on women compared to men.

Overall, a person’s sex has significantly less impact than their age, mental health, and familial history when it comes to alcohol abuse.

Men who misuse alcohol tend to start at earlier ages than women who do so.

Signs of Alcoholism

Recognizing the signs and potential risks of an AUD in friends, loved ones, and oneself can result in life-changing steps to prevent addiction. Alcoholism is a serious disorder, and it can have a massive impact on a person’s well-being, career, and family. 

It is important to remember, however, that these risks do not make addiction inevitable. Anyone could be at risk of developing alcoholism. Whether someone is “high-” or “low-risk” for an alcohol use disorder, there is hope for recovery. If you think you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism or another substance use disorder, contact us today.

Ativan Withdrawal

Ativan–the brand name for the drug lorazepam–is a type of benzodiazepine commonly prescribed to address anxiety, insomnia, or seizures. 

Sometimes misspelled as “Adivan” or “Adavan”, Ativan is not a rare prescription–in fact, it was the sixth (6th) most prescribed drug in 2018. 

While Ativan has many valid medical applications that help patients overcome troubling conditions, this drug has a high likelihood of chemical dependence–which can cause troublesome withdrawals. Additionally, the side effects of lorazepam often encourage abuse of the drug.  

People who abuse Ativan will find themselves facing an uphill battle to break the addiction to it due to uncomfortable lorazepam withdrawal symptoms.

What Is Ativan Prescribed For? 

Individuals who suffer from anxiety, insomnia, trouble sleeping from anxiety or stress, or seizures may be prescribed Ativan to treat their condition. 

Lorazepam, the generic name for Ativan, is a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines, or “benzos”, are a group of sedative drugs that catalyze receptors in the brain known as gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) receptors. 

The activation of these neurotransmitters produces a calming effect in the brain. People often describe feeling “downer” effects from the drug, like sleepiness and calmed thoughts.

The “calming effect” from the substance means it can be a helpful drug for individuals who suffer from anxious disorders. Ativan can also help insomnia or trouble sleeping because of its tranquilizer-like effects. 

Ativan may be prescribed to individuals who suffer from anxiety, stress, insomnia, or seizures.

Ativan can also make a significant difference in the lives of those that suffer with seizures. However, if Ativan is taken for too long, or for non-medically-prescribed reasons, the side effects can be damaging. 

Ativan Side Effects 

Common side effects of Ativan generally include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Trouble coordinating
  • Poor concentration

In rarer circumstances, patients may also experience these side effects:

  • Short breath
  • Increased heart rate
  • Trouble speaking
  • Unconsciousness

How Long Does Ativan Last? 

Lorazepam’s half-life is about 12-18 hours. 

The half-life of a substance measures how long it takes for the body to eliminate half of the substance. 

So, approximately every 16 hours, there is half the amount of lorazepam in a patient’s system as there was when it was taken. If a patient were to take a relatively average dose of 4 mg, then, in around 18 hours, there would be 2 mg of Ativan in that patient’s body. This cycle would repeat every 16-18 hours until all of the substance was completely gone.

The relatively short half-life of Ativan, combined with its high potency makes it a prime candidate for a substance use disorder (SUD). 

When misuse of the drug leads to dependence, the likelihood of a person experiencing Ativan withdrawal greatly increases. This usually results in an addiction and can even lead to Ativan overdose.

Ativan Abuse And Risks

It is not uncommon for individuals who suffer from an addiction to Ativan to have started off taking the drug with a prescription. They may develop a chemical dependence, where their brain begins to “expect” the substance. 

Common side effects of Ativan: Dizziness Drowsiness Fatigue Lightheadedness Trouble coordinating Poor concentration

Once this dependence forms, they may experience unpleasant symptoms whenever they stop use. These are the initial signs of Ativan withdrawal. 

Many doctors hesitate to prescribe Ativan due to this dynamic, and typically avoid long-term treatment with lorazepam. Ativan withdrawal symptoms can appear quickly, sometimes as little as 24 hours after the last dose. 

In many cases, withdrawals come with some nasty side effects. These effects often include:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Hand tremors
  • Irritability
  • Sweating

As this short list shows, many of the side effects of Ativan withdrawal are the exact conditions that Ativan works to treat.

Ativan Withdrawal, Tolerance, and Overdose

Insomnia and anxiety are some troubling effects to deal with when trying to stop taking Ativan, but continued abuse of the substance can only worsen or complicate symptoms.

The fact that lorazepam effects peak and wear off quickly means users will progressively need higher doses of the drug to achieve the same initial efficacy.  

One study found that the risk of developing a tolerance to a drug is particularly high in lorazepam, when compared to other benzos. This can make an addiction to lorazepam become more threatening the longer it goes on. 

When an individual suffering from an addiction to lorazepam begins needing more and more of the substance to achieve the same effect, they may end up taking too much, and experience a lorazepam overdose.

When an individual has developed a dependence on Ativan, removing the substance manifests unpleasant symptoms.

An overdose is never pleasant, and can even lead to death. The telling side effects of a lorazepam overdose generally appear as confusion, poor coordination, slow reflexes or coma. 

If you think you or a loved one is experiencing an overdose, call emergency services right away. Overdoses can be fatal, but the side effects can be treated with medical professionals’ help.

Help to Deal With Ativan Withdrawal 

While stopping Ativan use without withdrawal symptoms is unlikely, this process should always be done under professional supervision. 

Whether you or a loved one is in the throes of an addiction, or simply finding it difficult to taper off Ativan with medical guidance, you may need additional help to ease the symptoms of Ativan withdrawal. 

Contact us today to learn more about the myriad of options available to help you get your life back without Ativan addiction or withdrawal. 

When You Feel Like Giving Up

There are many reasons why a person may begin feeling hopeless or that they’ve lost their passion for life. Often these feelings are the result of several factors together. 

However they develop, feelings of hopelessness do not have to be a permanent state. With the right support and information, you can work through periods of feeling like giving up. 

Whether mental health struggles, substance abuse, or a combination of these factors have led you to feel hopeless, helping yourself or a loved one starts with acknowledging that these thoughts are real. Then you can begin to understand what to expect when these feelings occur and develop a plan to overcome them. 

Mental Health

Several different psychological conditions can cause individuals to feel hopeless. While depression might be the most prominent, there are other conditions as well that might bring on a mental slump.

Depression usually manifests as a “steady” or on-going sense of hopelessness with very little fluctuation. Bipolar disorders on the other hand, cause a repeating cycle of mania and depression. 

Hopeless Feelings in Depression

Feeling hopeless is one of the distinguishing features of major depressive disorder and a hallmark condition for nearly all variants of depression

Among other symptoms, the empty feelings associated with depression can lead individuals to want to give up. 

The relationship between hopeless feelings and depression can seem like a “chicken-or-the-egg” dynamic. While many take for granted that depression causes hopelessness, there are theories that initial feelings of hopelessness can lead to depression. 

No matter how it may develop, depression can be extremely debilitating. Luckily, however, research has shown that there are effective options to help those who suffer from it. Therapy, prescription antidepressants, or a combination of the two often offer a viable solution for those who deal with depression. 

Therapy, prescription antidepressants, or a combination of the two offer a solution for those who deal with depression.

If you or a loved one are suffering from major depressive disorder, seeking support can be a life-saving step.

Bipolar Disorder Feelings of Hopelessness

Albeit less common than depression, bipolar disorder often involves intense periods of feeling hopeless, down, and ready to give up. 

Individuals who suffer from this disorder experience episodes of both mania and depression. As a result, they may feel exceptional for a week or longer, only to sink into a depressive state in a short amount of time.  

The complex nature of this disorder makes living with it incredibly difficult for both the sufferer and their loved ones. When you feel like giving up, it is crucial to seek or stay in a supportive environment while pursuing treatment options.

Substance Use Disorder (SUD)

Prescriptions can be an incredible resource for individuals who are suffering from a debilitating mental disorder. Abuse of prescriptions (or any other drug), however, can turn into a substance use disorder (SUD), which may even lead to a person feeling that they are tired of life

How Addiction Leads to Feeling Hopeless

The presence of a SUD makes connection with the struggling person difficult–they may even seem unreachable. No matter the substance, addiction has the potential to bring about financial devastation, physical health risks, and the deterioration of interpersonal relationships. Any number of these circumstances can lead to feelings of hopelessness. 

It may seem impossible to overcome an addiction or help a loved one, but recovery centers exist for this very reason. However grim the reality seems, there’s no better time to reach for help than right now.

With a variety of recovery strategies and a safe space to live in during the process, recovery centers are excellent resources to turn a life around.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Helping a loved one deal with a substance use disorder or a mental health issue can be a difficult and long process. Unfortunately, these two types of disorders often go hand-in-hand.

Some addictions result in the development of a psychological disorder, while other disorders put individuals at increased risk of developing an addiction. 

An addiction can threaten financial devastation, physical health risks, and the deterioration of interpersonal relationships.

When a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder occur together, they are known as a co-occurring disorder. The compounded effects from these disorders might seem incurable, but a co-occurring disorder is certainly not a reason to give up on yourself or a loved one. 

While this obstacle may be the most trying one to overcome, “impossible” does not apply. Extensive research exploring treatment options for co-occurring disorders have provided recovery centers with valuable recovery and treatment methods. 

With support, resources, and a healthy dose of hope, co-occurring disorders become a challenging phase in life, but not a life-halting one.

Don’t Give Up–Get Help

Mental disorders can quickly become overwhelming, and may put the individual at greater risk of substance abuse. Addiction to a substance brings its own complications, which can lead a person to want to give up on trying to overcome it.

Whether psychological or substance abuse-related, a disorder of any kind can bring many negative feelings. When dealing with a disorder, giving up may seem like the most reasonable option. 

However, there is hope, and reaching out to loved ones and caring professionals can be the start to getting a sense of joy back. Whether you or someone you know is struggling, or know someone who needs a helping hand, don’t be afraid to contact us today. 

Ambien Withdrawal

No matter what substance a person is breaking an addiction to, going through withdrawals is an uncomfortable experience. Ambien withdrawal 

What Is Ambien?

Ambien–a brand-name for the drug zolpidem–is a sleep-inducing medication most often prescribed to people suffering from insomnia.  

Ambien is classified as a sedative-hypnotic that activates gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) neuroreceptors in the brain, slowing down nerve function. It is also considered a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. 

Ambien was initially developed as a non-addictive alternative to popular benzodiazepines such as Xanax. It later became apparent, however, that Ambien does, in fact, have addictive properties–it simply takes longer than benzos for an addiction to form.

Is Ambien Addictive?

Ambien has been proven to be quite addictive if taken for longer than intended. An Ambien prescription comes in two forms: an extended-release and a quick-release version. 

Both are intended to encourage and maintain sleep for one single use. In other words, taking Ambien today will likely have no impact on how well you sleep next week.

After approximately two weeks of continuous use, a user will start to become addicted to Ambien.

Ambien addiction can develop out of the perfectly reasonable desire to deal with insomnia and get some deep sleep. The issue arises when someone becomes dependent on Ambien to fall asleep every night. After approximately two weeks of continuous use, a person is at risk of their body becoming addicted to the drug.

The DEA categorizes Ambien as a Schedule IV drug which means it has a “low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence” but is still considered dangerous.

Ambien can quickly become a recreational addiction when anyone takes the drug outside of medical supervision. Usually they are doing this to try to experience an Ambien high.

Stages of Addiction

The stages of addiction can vary depending on the substance and individual. However, there is a lot of value in having a general understanding of how an addiction develops, as it can provide useful indicators. 

First Use: This is when the user “tries out” substance in order to see if they like the effects or not. This does not always lead to addiction. Some people, for example, try a drug and end up disliking its effects, leading them to avoid it. Interestingly, users who only partake in the drug every so often are also considered “first-users,” as they have not yet established a pattern of usage.

The danger of this stage is that it can be accomplished through legal means too. For example, an individual who receives prescribed opioids after a traumatic injury is experiencing the “first use” phase of addiction, even though it is in a medically-advised context.

Regular Use: A user will begin to exhibit patterns of usage. They may start to consistently consume a drug on the weekend, at parties, after work, or after specific stressful triggers such as being around an abusive individual. This is where the substance begins to become a habitual part of the individual’s life. 

The Risky Use Stage of addiction may result in driving while intoxicated or under the influence.

Risky Use: This stage will involve the user engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence, or as a means of obtaining the drug. This could include driving while intoxicated or under the influence. It might also involve theft as a way of paying for the addiction.

Substance Use Disorder: A substance use disorder (SUD) is a full-blow addiction. At this point, the individual cannot function without using the substance on a daily basis. They often show signs of floundering in their responsibilities such as holding a job or attending school. Some even become homeless. 

How Ambien Addiction Forms

For people who take Ambien, the case of legal use developing into an addiction is the scenario that presents the most likely danger. First use to deal with insomnia can very quickly turn into regular use as it becomes a nightly routine. 

Then, when their prescription runs out, they may feel the need to turn to illicit sources to attain sleep aids or other similar–even more potent–substances to prevent withdrawals. 

What Are Withdrawals?

Withdrawals can be described as the physical and mental effects caused by stopping the intake of a certain drug. 

During continued use of a drug, the body attempts to normalize the presence of the toxic substance in the body. Thus, immediately taking that substance away from the body will cause it to struggle to readjust to the absence of the drug. 

For example, skipping out on your morning cup of coffee can cause withdrawal symptoms like headaches and muscle pain due to the sudden lack of caffeine in the body.

The duration and effects of a withdrawal phase will depend on a person’s history of use with the drug as well as other factors, such as genetics and body composition. 

Ambien withdrawals typically occur 24-48 hours after the final dose. Symptoms of Ambien withdrawals include:

  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Cravings
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks
  • Hot flashes
  • Rapid heartbeat 

Can Ambien Withdrawals Be Fatal?

Ambien withdrawals are not fatal, but they can be painfully unpleasant. Someone going through Ambien withdrawals will typically find that these symptoms decrease or resolve within 1-2 weeks. 

The first 3-5 days usually see the most intense effects, though psychological withdrawal symptoms have been known to continue for up to two weeks. 

Although most withdrawals are not fatal, they are a painful process of recovery.

In some rare cases,  insomnia, cravings, panic attacks, and other side effects can linger in an individual for months after ceasing use of Ambien. The more intense or longer-lasting effects can be greatly reduced by tapering usage under professional medical detox supervision. 

Getting Help

Attempting to detox from a SUD on your own is both dangerous and has a low likelihood of success, as withdrawals can be painful and be enough to convince some to avoid getting sober in the first place.

Though an unpleasant part of the recovery process, seeking help from experienced professionals can set you up for successful addiction recovery. If you or a loved one need help dealing with withdrawals, please contact us today.

12 Ways to Best Provide Alcohol Abuse Solutions

Addiction treatment professionals approach alcoholism in mostly the same way they would try to treat any other form of chemical dependency. However, there are a few techniques and approaches that are unique to the alcohol abuse treatment process.

Concentrated up-front treatment as well as long-term support to prevent relapse are two essential factors to an effective treatment program for alcohol abuse. Intervention services may also be necessary to help the individual see the need for, and commit to, entering rehab

What Should an Effective Alcohol Abuse Treatment Plan Include?

For alcoholism, we’ve identified 12 features a professional treatment plan should include. The presence of these features provides for the highest chances of successful recovery from alcohol abuse. Best practices for alcohol abuse treatment include:

1. Individual Commitment to Treatment

Although someone who is physically dependent on alcohol cannot simply choose to stop drinking, he or she can choose to seek out help. In fact, this commitment is critical: No one can force a person to change if the individual has yet to decide whether he or she is ready to commit to the change.

No one can force a person to change. It is always best with the person chooses to seek out help.

2. Professional Evaluation and an Personalized Plan

Each person turns to alcohol for their own reasons. Creating a treatment plan that is customized to the needs of the individual provides the best opportunity for long-term recovery.

At the start of a treatment program, a professional evaluation usually begins with a mental health assessment, medical history review and possibly a physical health examination. The staff should then work with the new client to create an alcohol treatment plan tailored to his or her needs.

This should include a plan for treating underlying issues such as depression, trauma or PTSD. The treatment plan should also accommodate for underlying physical issues, such as alcohol-induced heart and cardiovascular problems or severe damage to the liver.

3. Medically-Supervised Detox

The Detox Treatment at Reflections Recovery Center involves ridding the body of the harmful substance(s). This is the first step in getting the body back to normal functioning

Detox should be done under medical supervision. This is because, in many cases, the detoxification process can be dangerous if not done correctly–especially when alcohol is the substance being treated.

Additionally, medically-supervised alcohol detox treatment has two distinct advantages: 1) it prevents the probability of you experiencing dangerous symptoms of alcohol withdrawal (such as seizures or heart attack), and 2) it can lessen the severity of the post-acute withdrawal symptoms you may have in the first six months after detox.

Detox should be done under medical supervision

4. Holistic Approach

Since mental, emotional and physical well-being all influence one another, a comprehensive treatment program will seek to heal the whole person–not just cure the physical ailments. Relapse is less likely to occur if the source of alcohol abuse is addressed and the person is taught new skills to build a stable life without the need for substances.

5. Emotional Healing

Individual and group therapy sessions led by professional counselors help recovering alcohol abusers address the emotional and psychological factors that led them to drink in the first place. These sessions can also help them heal from events that resulted from the addiction. This trauma-informed approach to substance abuse therapy can help an individual through the process of understanding what catalyzed their addiction and provide coping mechanisms to prevent relapse.

Individual and group therapy session can help with healing from events that resulted from an addiction.

6. Healthy Physical Habits

In addition to emotional healing, establishing life-long, healthy habits helps a recovering alcohol user build strength and confidence. Balanced nutrition and health-promoting physical activity such as walking, hiking, sports, yoga, etc. are some of the best ways for a recoveree to both engage their body and connect with others. Alcohol is a poison that throws off the physical and nutritional balance in the body, and restoring this balance through nutritional therapy – coupled with creating a healthy exercise routine – will decrease the symptoms felt in early alcohol recovery.

7. Peer Support

Evidence suggests that a peer-supported community program can have a significant positive impact on recovery. The most effective rehabilitation programs will involve some level of interaction between those going through recovery together – usually in the form of discussion groups, social activities, group therapy, 12-step meetings, etc.

8. Groundedness and/or Spirituality

Addiction often stems from–and leads to–feelings of helplessness, insecurity and loss of control. Getting in touch with something that feels solid, reliable and imparts a sense of purpose is an essential piece of the foundation for a healthy life free from addiction.

Some people find this base through religious or spiritual practices, while others learn to mentally tap into an inner core of strength that they can rely on in any circumstance.

Getting in touch with something that feels solid, reliable, and imparts a sense of purpose is essential for a healthy life free from addiction

9. Education and Training

Clients often come into rehab with gaps in their knowledge about how to address the issues that led to addiction. Small-group educational sessions that offer time for questions and discussion give clients knowledge and skills they need to build the kind of life they want for themselves post-treatment. 

10. Family Support and Healing

Addiction is especially taxing on relationships with loved ones. A worthwhile rehab program will support clients in mending relationships, and may even have education, support and therapy sessions for family members.

11. Legal and Professional Assistance

The kind of problems that come with alcoholism often lead to legal ramifications. To help clients stay focused on their treatment, the top rehab centers should help facilitate communication with legal representatives while clients are in residential treatment.

Top rehab centers should help facilitate communication with legal representatives while clients are in residential treatment.

12. Long-Term Support

Because relapse into alcohol use is common, a robust aftercare support program is an important part of any long-term recovery program. Aftercare should include services such as ongoing counseling, support group and specialist referrals, access to alumni activities, and possibly even assistance with finding employment.

Alcohol treatment aftercare services should not only be proactive in helping the individual return to a life of sobriety, but should offer a clear addiction relapse prevention plan.

Where to Turn for Alcohol Abuse Solutions

With sound treatment and long-term support, there is hope for overcoming alcohol addiction. For anyone whose life has been impacted by alcoholism, the key to hope is reaching out to get professional help. No one should have to struggle with addiction alone. Contact us to find out about some of the tried-and-true practices Reflections uses to help you make recovery a real possibility.

Prednisone and Alcohol

Taken separately from one another and in their proper context and amounts, prednisone and alcohol have only mild potential side effects.

There are inherent dangers that arise when a person combines alcohol with prescription drugs. Some of the side effects can even be fatal.

Prednisone

Before investigating the mixture of Prednisone and alcohol, it may be helpful to first understand how the drug interacts with the brain and body.

Medical Application

Prednisone is a type of prescription steroid. Doctors prescribe it to treat conditions like asthma, arthritis, inflammation, or even allergies.

When consumed, prednisone lowers the activity of the body’s immune system. While this may seem alarming, doctors only prescribe this drug to patients who benefit from it, such as in cases of inflammation or severe allergies.

Reducing the activity of the immune system reduces the severity of the effects of their condition.

Side Effects

Prednisone interactions in the body may produce a variety of side effects. As a substance in the steroid family, some of the side effects might be irregular or uncommon compared to other substances, such as increased hair growth, red or purple lines under the skin, or increased sweating.

Prednisone’s common side effects are generally milder, and may include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Heartburn
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Mood Changes
  • Acne

Abuse Potential

Fortunately, prednisone is not an addictive substance. The effects of the substance are not habit-forming, so the likelihood of an individual forming a dependence is very low.

However, because the drug does affect the body’s typical functions, a person may still experience withdrawal symptoms after stopping doses.

Quick Rundown on Alcohol

Consuming excessive alcohol has a number of negative impacts on the body. While the liver, heart, and brain can be permanently damaged by alcohol consumption, the immune system is also weakened.

Regularly drinking alcohol in large amounts can have both short- and long-term impacts on the body’s effectiveness in fighting disease and regulating health.

Prednisone Interactions

Prednisone is a type of prescription steroid. Doctors prescribe it to treat conditions like asthma, arthritis, inflammation, or even allergies.

Though prednisone is not considered an addictive substance, an individual with a prescription might consume alcohol and not understand the risks of prednisone’s interactions with it. Or, someone might forget that they’ve recently consumed prednisone, and then drink alcohol.

If possible, it is important to avoid ingesting prednisone and alcohol while one or the other is active in the system. Anyone with a prednisone prescription should consult a doctor regarding the amount of time to wait to drink after dosage.

Impact of Interaction

Both of these substances reduce the effectiveness of the immune system. Drinking alcohol while on prednisone can severely limit the capabilities of the body’s defense mechanism.

This means that individuals who consume both of these substances might be particularly at risk for contagious diseases.

the likelihood of an individual forming a dependence is very low.

Additionally, a number of side effects have been observed in individuals who combine the alcohol and prednisone. These effects are significantly worse than those of either substance individually, including:

  • Coughing Up Blood
  • Pancreatic Inflammation
  • Eye Pain
  • Dangerously High Blood Pressure

These symptoms can be particularly intense when the amount taken of either substance is high. However the interaction may occur, the side effects are far from pleasant, and should be avoided.

Other Interactions

Though some interactions may seem harmless or even helpful, it is better to avoid combinations entirely, especially while on a steroid. Consistent drinking while on a prednisone treatment plan may make the body more susceptible to infection as both steroids and alcohol diminish the immune system.

While the side effects often vary, as a general rule, alcohol interacts poorly with prescription medications.

Alcohol, as a depressant, slows down body processes. Since both substances slow down body processes, mixing alcohol and depressants can result in coma or even death. Xanax, Ambien, and Luminal are all examples of depressant prescription medications.

Individuals who drink alcohol while on prednisone might be particularly at risk for contagious diseases.

When combined with a prescription stimulant, alcohol may counteract the effects of the drug, to the point where its medical application is no longer effective.

Additionally, an individual who combines the two may end up taking too much of a stimulant, in order to overcome the sedative feelings from the alcohol. Examples of common stimulant prescription medications include Adderall, Concerta, and Amphetamines.

Preventing Long-Term Damage from Prednisone and Alcohol

The ease of access and common use of alcohol means that prescription medications are often mixed with the drink–sometimes unintentionally.

These interactions can vary from slightly unpleasant to life-threatening. It is better to err on the side of caution, and avoid alcohol while taking medication.

Abusing either substance can also be dangerous. Combining medications such as prednisone and alcohol can have devastating effects on the body, and cause long-term damage. If you think you or a loved one is suffering from over-use of drugs or alcohol, contact us today.

“Sobriety Is Boring” And Other Lies About Living Sober

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.
Nhat Hanh

For someone who has been struggling with an addiction for a long time, sobriety comes with a lot of unknowns. As a result, fear can cause people to believe things they otherwise wouldn’t – no matter how irrational or implausible.

According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 97.5 percent of the 38.4 million people surveyed in 2020 with a substance use disorder (SUD) in the past year “did not feel they needed treatment”.

For someone struggling with a SUD, believing that they “do not need treatment” sometimes stems from an inaccurate assessment of the severity of their addiction. They may think they can “handle” it when it actually runs their life.

One of the most commonly reported motivations for not seeking treatment, however, is that SUD sufferers are simply “not ready to stop using.” This may be because they don’t perceive that the impact of the addiction is great enough to warrant change or because the idea of getting and staying clean is unappealing or intimidating.

Read on to expose some of the most common fear-inducing lies about sobriety.

“I Can’t Cope With Life Without (Insert Abused Substance Here)”

In an addiction, the idea of facing daily life without the care-free “escape” drugs and/or alcohol seem to provide can be daunting–even fearful.

However, a full-scope recovery program does more than just get people to a state of sobriety. Recovery also addresses the underlying behaviors and mental processes that lead to addiction. This holistic approach helps you not just cope, but succeed in life clean and sober.

An addicted individual may be afraid that living sober would put them in a worse mental and emotional condition than their current state; but this is simply not true.

Many addictions begin out of a desire to curb side effects of mental health struggles. The truth is, however, that drug and alcohol abuse is known to actually exacerbate these symptoms.

Full-scope recovery helps you not only cope, but succeed in life clean and sober.

Staying clean means the time and mental effort formerly devoted to the addiction can be applied toward having deep, authentic relationships, improved performance at work, and finding financial stability to enjoy life.

“By Living Sober, I Won’t Have Any Friends”

Read any blog or forum, or watch any addiction recovery testimony and one of the major impacts that person will name is community. Often, people fear going through the sobriety process or coming out the other side alone–but this need not keep you from seeking help.

Many well-rounded rehab programs prioritize fostering a supportive community as part of the process. Consequently, those in recovery are pleasantly surprised to discover new, deeper, and more meaningful relationships.

In order to maintain your newfound freedom, sobriety may mean lessening or letting go of some relationships that enable or encourage addiction. This kind of lifestyle change can seem daunting, but consider: substance use alters who you are.

Thus, relationships built upon mutual misuse of substances are less capable of being authentic. Sobriety opens up the possibility of allowing others to know and love you for you who truly are.

those in recovery are pleasantly surprised to discover new, deeper, and more meaningful relationships.

“Staying Clean is Going to Be Difficult & Painful Forever & I Can’t Have Fun”

What is the mental picture that comes to mind when you imagine sobriety? Is it endless therapy sessions? A white-washed room alone with your withdrawal? Boredom?

What if it were crisp mountain air? Skydiving? Teaching your niece or nephew to skateboard? A candlelit dinner where you remember every word? Or being so present in the moment at the beach that you feel every bubble in the waves lapping at your toes?

While in the middle of an addiction, people frequently see sobriety as either hopeless or unpleasant (or both). This is neither accurate nor inevitable.

Without the mind-altering effects of substance abuse, you can learn to experience genuine life through your own thoughts, feelings, and five senses again.

Relapse is a real possibility; but, as others continuing to live clean and sober will tell you, it doesn’t have to “have the last word.” Adjusting to any new lifestyle takes time.

Remember that staying clean is part of the recovery process, and it may be life-long but is also life-giving.

Without the mind-altering effects of substance abuse, you can learn to experience genuine life through your own thoughts, feelings, and five senses again.

While under the influence of substance abuse, people are often too preoccupied with fulfilling the next “fix” to make goals or plans for the things they really want. Rather than seeing sobriety as a vacuum of time with no fun in it, think of it as a blank canvas to paint a whole new life on.

Discover the Freedom of Sobriety

Living sober can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be faced alone. We have dedicated, empathetic professionals waiting to help.

You don’t fear change. You fear the unknown. If you knew the future would be great, you’d welcome the change to get there. Well, the future IS great. Proceed.
– Joe Vitale

Reach out to us to start the journey to your great clean and sober future today.

Drug Induced Psychosis

Drug induced psychosis–also known as substance induced psychotic disorder–refers to an episode of hallucinations and/or delusions experienced as a result of a substance.

This condition can result from the use, misuse, or stop-use of a certain drug. People most often experience drug induced psychosis due to:

  • having too much of a substance
  • an adverse reaction to combined substances
  • during withdrawal from a drug, or 
  • when underlying mental health issues collide with substance use or abuse

Whether it is brought on by prescription medication, illegal drugs, or mental illness, psychosis is a state where the person has “lost touch” with reality.

When the use, misuse, or stop-use of a substance causes psychosis in an individual, the state can generally be described as 'drug induced psychosis"

Drug Induced Psychosis from Meth and Cocaine

Methamphetamine and cocaine are two of the most dangerous illicit stimulants to be discovered. People may seek them out to experience the euphoric “high” effect they give, but use of either can result in an instance of drug-induced psychosis. 

What Is Methamphetamine Induced Psychosis?

In a study examining the potential psychotic effects of methamphetamine use, scientists found that around 40% of people who used meth experience some kind of psychosis. 

Many individuals experienced drug-induced psychosis symptoms consisting of agitation, violence, or delusions. Of the patients who experienced these acute symptoms, some had permanent psychological impacts to the degree that they required continuous psychiatric treatment.  

Other patients experienced even more severe psychotic symptoms including hallucinations, paranoia, and schizophrenic behavior. In short, this study revealed that repeated meth-induced psychosis is capable of causing long-term psychological damage.

What Is Cocaine Induced Psychosis Like? 

In another study, a greater number of cocaine users were recorded as experiencing psychotic symptoms as compared to the earlier meth study. Cocaine saw drug-induced psychosis symptoms in as many as 84% of the individuals who used it. 

Cocaine’s effects have been studied extensively. Research suggests that an overabundance of dopamine in the brain is to blame for cocaine-related symptoms of psychosis. Under normal circumstances, the brain carefully regulates the amount of dopamine that is produced. However, the presence of cocaine causes an overabundance of this neurotransmitter, which results in the “high” that cocaine users seek, closely followed by psychosis. 

In every way that meth psychosis is extremely dangerous, cocaine induced psychosis appears to be even more-so. Cocaine drug induced effects are similar to those of methamphetamines, but also include more violent versions of each manifestation, including:

  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Suicidal and Homicidal Thinking

What Are Long-Term Drug Induced Psychosis Effects?

When someone develops a substance use disorder (SUD) with long-term use, the drug begins to fundamentally alter the brain. This can have a devastating impact on a person’s ability to function normally.

Drug users may feel that meth or cocaine helps them cope with or diminish symptoms of a pre-existing mental illness. However, abuse or even “regular” use of illicit stimulants have been proven to worsen psychological conditions. 

Psychiatric Symptoms of Cocaine Use: Agitation Paranoia Hallucinations Delusions Suicidal and Homicidal Thinking

Is There Such Thing As Alcohol Induced Psychosis?

As a depressant, alcohol may not appear as an obvious threat for causing psychosis, but intoxication or alcohol abuse can lead to psychotic symptoms. 

Often, other symptoms associated with too much alcohol consumption manifest before psychosis has a chance to emerge. Reckless decision-making, slurred speech, lack of coordination, and poor vision are some of the more easily observed warning signs of drunkenness. A person may be too occupied with addressing these other signs to even be aware of whether or not they are experiencing alcohol induced psychosis. 

One study estimated that individuals who have an alcohol dependence only have a four percent chance of experiencing alcohol induced psychosis. Additionally, external factors that can increase the odds of psychotic symptoms occurring include living alone, being unemployed, or having an early-life dependence on alcohol. 

The symptoms of alcohol induced psychosis are similar to those of cocaine and meth, but usually at a lesser level. While not as immediately life-threatening as drunk driving or blood poisoning, an alcohol induced psychosis episode can have lasting impact on a person’s mental health

A psychotic episode can lead to subtle but long-term impacts on the individuals and close loved ones.

The exact reason for why this type of psychosis occurs is unknown. Some have hypothesized that an interference with dopamine or serotonin is to blame. Others guess that the hallucinations are the result of poor circulation in the brain. However it happens, alcohol induced psychosis is not something to be taken lightly.

Recovery from Long Term Drug Induced Psychosis

No matter the affecting substance, drug or alcohol induced psychosis is a serious condition that can lead to life-altering effects. 

If you or someone you know has experienced psychosis after using drugs or alcohol, reach out to us today. Our holistic approach to dual diagnosis therapy can help you get your life back drug-addiction and drug induced psychosis-free. 

Adderall Overdose

Adderall is a prescription drug doctors often use to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and severe sleep disorders (such as narcolepsy).

In its prescriptive form, Adderall can help those suffering from ADHD to minimize the severity of their symptoms. However, Adderall has a potential for addiction, and misuse either of a prescription or by buying Adderall from illicit (“street”) sources can lead to dependence, withdrawal, overdose, and even death.

How Adderall Works

Adderall is a brand-name for the chemical combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Their shared interaction in the brain creates a stimulant effect.

Adderall is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, meaning it increases the activity of this processing center in the body. Research reveals that individuals who suffer from ADHD show a deficiency in dopamine, impairing their ability to focus. Adderall remedies this by prompting and prolonging the release of dopamine and norepinephrine.

When Adderall interacts with dopamine in the brain, it causes more dopamine to be released in the brain and also causes it to act for longer periods of time.

Adderall for Sleep Disorders

The other primary condition doctors prescribe Adderall for is narcolepsy. This condition can manifest in several ways, but the most common (and most debilitating) symptom is extreme daytime sleepiness that makes even everyday tasks difficult. Chemical stimulation from Adderall can effectively counteract this intense tiredness.

Adderall Misuse, Dependence, and Withdrawal

Adderall dependence most often forms when an individual abuses the substance, but it can also form if it is taken for a long period of time, even at the prescribed dosage. For this reason, doctors tend to avoid prescribing Adderall beyond a few prescription cycles.

When an individual develops a dependence upon Adderall, their brain begins to ‘expect’ its presence during normal daily function. If Adderall is suddenly removed, then the processes of the brain that have adapted to function with the drug prompt the body to crave it, resulting in withdrawals.

Often, the withdrawal symptoms for a given prescription drug are the inverse of the original effects of the substance. Since Adderall is a stimulant, the effects of its presence in the body increase CNS activity.

When someone experiences Adderall withdrawal symptoms, they usually manifest as depressive-like effects including:

  • Agitation
  • Wild or unpleasant dreams
  • Drowsiness
  • Lower energy
  • Increased appetite
  • Loss of interest
  • Lethargic motions

Mixing Adderall and Alcohol

Adderall’s increase in dopamine production makes it a life-changing treatment option for patients with ADHD. The effects of this dopamine surge, however, make Adderall a common target for misuse and abuse. Whether they have had a prescription or not, people may buy Adderall to take purely for its stimulating effects.

One common misconception is that mixing Adderall and alcohol–with one being stimulant and the other a depressant–will result in a net effect of them simply “canceling each other out.” This is not true, however, and taking alcohol and Adderall can have some dangerous consequences.

While the two substances do not “cancel each other out,” they do each influence the experienced efficacy of the other. So, if someone who has been drinking takes Adderall expecting the usual dopamine release, the alcohol may severely reduce the drug’s felt effects–prompting the user to take more Adderall.

Adderall withdrawal symptoms: Agitation Wild or unpleasant dreams Drowsiness Lower energy Increased appetite Loss of interest Lethargic motions

The same is true in reverse: someone drinking who has Adderall in their system may not “feel” the effects of the alcohol as early as they would perceive them because Adderall dulls the symptoms of feeling drunk. Thus, they end up drinking more than they should.

Additionally, continuous alcohol intake depletes dopamine. Thus, while it can seem to lessen ADHD symptoms in the short-term, anyone taking Adderall for ADHD should avoid consuming alcohol as it may worsen ADHD symptoms over time.

Adderall Tolerance and Addiction

One worrisome effect that prolonged Adderall use can lead to is tolerance. If someone develops a tolerance to a substance, over time, they require a larger and larger dose in order to achieve the same effects that a smaller amount used to produce. The increasing need to fill this craving and the desperate measures people take to get it form the basis for an Adderall addiction.

The longer a person continues to use Adderall after developing a tolerance to it, the greater their risk of experiencing an overdose.

Adderall Overdose

Usually, Adderall overdose symptoms indirectly cause other life-threatening conditions, such as extreme dehydration

Adderall overdose is life-threatening. If you think someone is experiencing an overdose, call emergency services immediately. The symptoms for Adderall overdose usually include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Overheating
  • Fast or Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Pupil dilation
  • Seizures or shaking
  • Changed mental state

In addition to the immediate effects, Adderall overdose can lead to other life-threatening conditions, such as extreme dehydration.

Seek Help to Avoid Adderall Overdose Today

It is extremely risky to take Adderall from a non-medical source or buy Adderall from someone selling it illicitly. If you find you need a prescription for Adderall, follow a dosage regimen prescribed by a doctor to have the best chance of avoiding Adderall overdose or withdrawal.

If you or someone you know has developed a dependence upon Adderall, it is crucial to take action immediately. Reach out to us today to discover how our holistic approach to substance abuse counseling can help you thrive addiction-free.

Substance Abuse Counseling

Recovery from drug and alcohol abuse involves far more than just breaking the body’s chemical dependence upon a substance. The psychological, emotional, and relational factors that lead to addiction must also be addressed. This is what makes substance abuse counseling so important on the road to recovery.

What Is Substance Abuse Counseling?

Substance abuse counseling is a form of therapy used in drug rehab and alcoholism treatment programs that helps clients overcome a substance abuse disorder (SUD).

The purpose of substance abuse counseling is to address a SUD at the mental, emotional, and behavioral levels. This form of treatment often takes place within rehab centers as part of a holistic recovery program.

What does a drug and alcohol counselor do?

If an individual is currently struggling with substance abuse, they will usually be recommended to a drug and alcohol counselor after first completing a chemical detox program.

Also known as an “addiction counselor,” this professional guides the client through various forms of therapies that address mental health, behavior patterns, and environmental factors that contribute to addiction.

While prescribing medication is not part of this type of counselor’s scope, they can advise patients about healthy coping mechanisms for sobriety. Rehab centers employ addiction counselors to help clients make goals for the long-term such as:

  • Recovery: independent living, stable employment plans and career goals, etc.
  • Relationships: family dynamics, social needs, friendships, etc.
  • Relapse prevention plan: addressing underlying behavioral disorders, avoiding triggering people or situations, etc.

Most drug and alcohol counselor positions at rehab centers require a bachelor of science in some form of psychology. Increasingly, those entering in the substance abuse counseling field are acquiring advanced degrees, such as a master’s or above.

An addiction counselor is a professional who guides the client through various forms of therapies that address mental health, behaviour patterns, and environmental factors that contribute to addiction.

Some states require ongoing education for licensing such as continuing education courses and/or annual state exams. An individual who wishes to be a licensed counselor must have 2,000-4,000 supervised clinical experience hours.

Who Should Consider Drug Rehab or an Alcoholism Treatment Program?

While individuals or families will usually wait to seek out a drug rehab or alcoholism treatment program after a SUD has developed, it’s important to seek help at the earliest suspected stage of addiction.

These signs can be difficult to recognize. This is why so many addiction counselors are more than willing to also see patients who are at risk for–or afraid of–becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol.

A person may seek substance abuse counseling of their own accord for any number of reasons. Perhaps they recognize the fact that:

  • Substance use disorders (SUDs) run in their family
  • They may live in an environment that encourages addiction
  • The presence of an addictive personality in themselves

Regardless of whether an addiction has already formed, rehab centers and related treatment programs can be invaluable resources to help address the psychological and emotional issues that lead to substance abuse.

How Can Rehab Centers Help?

It is incredibly rare for a person to successfully recover from an addiction without external intervention. The further an addiction has progressed, the more professional support becomes paramount to successful detox and recovery.

In addition to substance abuse counseling, rehab centers provide clients with two important things: 1) a safe, empathic environment to detox in and 2) a variety of unique and effective recovery resources.

A person may seek substance abuse counseling because...Substance use disorders (SUDs) run in their family They may live in an environment that encourages addiction The presence of an addictive personality in themselves

Alcohol and drug rehab centers can offer clients access to services and therapies that would otherwise be out of reach. Examples include:

  • Family counseling
  • Adventure therapy
  • Employment assistance
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy

While not a guarantee to success, receiving substance abuse counseling through a reputable treatment center greatly increases the chances of SUD recovery. This is because studies show that recovering individuals tend to be more successful when they have access to a supportive community and accountability.

Perhaps most importantly, a rehab center can help you establish a relapse prevention plan.

Why Is a Relapse Prevention Plan Necessary?

A relapse prevention plan is an integral part of a long-term approach to recovery. Having a plan in place may greatly reduce the chances of relapse–which are, unfortunately, similar to other chronic diseases such as asthma, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.

Be encouraged, though, by the stories of thousands of people who have found long-term recovery even after some short-term setbacks by relapse.

Establishing a relapse prevention plan as part of alcohol or drug rehab treatment can help a recovered individual navigate the life situations that would otherwise encourage renewed substance abuse.

A counseling professional will tailor each plan specifically to the individual. It will provide helpful tools, practices, and coping strategies to aid in long-term recovery.

How Can I Speak to a Drug and Alcohol Counselor?

rehab centers provide clients with two important things: 1) a safe, empathic environment to detox in and 2) a variety of unique and effective recovery resources.

The journey to recovery is difficult, but no one needs to go it alone. If you or a loved one suffers from habitual substance abuse, there is hope.

Contact us today to find out more about the empathetic community at Reflections Recovery Center. We provide substance abuse counseling and a relapse prevention plan to support your life-long recovery journey.