Tag Archives: anxiety

Buspar and Alcohol: Facts and Side Effects

Buspar is a type of anti-anxiety medication. The manufacturer of the branded version of Buspar discontinued its production in 2010, but the generic version of the drug can still be prescribed. Though in short supply, doctors have found buspirone (Buspar’s generic name) to be an effective medication for the treatment of anxiety symptoms. Like the mixture of many substances, taking buspar and alcohol together can yield unpleasant and sometimes even harmful side effects.

Buspirone – Just An Anxiety Medication?

Though it is commonly compared to Xanax, buspirone does not trult belong in the same substance classification. Rather than qualifying as a benzodiazepine, buspirone belongs to the family of substances known as azapirones. This class of substances, like benzodiazepines, can treat the symptoms of anxiety. However, doctors often choose to prescribe buspirone over benzodiazepines (benzos) because it is less likely to be abused. While individuals may experience tolerance and eventual dependence to a benzodiazepine, buspirone has not been shown to be addictive.

While buspirone may be a solid alternative to some anti-anxiety medications, there are a few things that are unknown about the substance. Particularly, the method with which this drug takes effect is unclear. Researchers have speculated that the substance affects the part of the brain that is responsible for governing fear response, but clear evidence has not been observed yet. While the reason for the effect may be unknown, the side effects have been studied and are mostly well-understood.

While individuals may experience tolerance and eventual dependence to a benzodiazepine, buspirone has not been shown to be addictive.

Buspirone’s Side Effects

Buspirone’s most common side effect is dizziness. There are also several varied effects that patients may experience. Though it’s uncommon, anything from blurry vision to nausea can occur. The complete list of typical side effects includes:

  • Odd Dreams
  • Poor Coordination
  • Confusion
  • Tiredness
  • Excitability
  • Headaches
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Tingling Skin
  • Blurred Vision
  • Ringing Ears
  • Chest pain
  • Congestion
  • Sore Throat
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Tremors

Though the list of potential side effects is long, these effects are rare, and only manifest in a small number of patients. Additionally, side effects tend to subside as treatment progresses.

How Long Does Buspirone Stay in Your System?

Buspirone is eliminated quickly from the body; individuals who took one dose typically were free of the substance after 24 hours had passed. The half life of buspirone is similarly short: only around 2 to 3 hours. Effectively, this means that the body removes half of the current amount of the substance within 3 hours. If an individual were to take a dose of 30 mg, then in 3 hours, that individual would have only 15 mg of buspirone in their system. This process would keep repeating every 3 hours or so until the entirety of the drug is eliminated. Due to this short timespan of effect, individuals who have a prescription to buspirone may need to take a dose daily, or more often.

Since Buspirone can treat the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder with very little risk of dependence developing, researchers have investigated its effectiveness at treating withdrawal symptoms of other substances. Oftentimes anxiety and cravings appear in patients who are suffering from withdrawal symptoms. This means a substance that mitigates those symptoms and also has little risk of being abused itself may be the perfect substance to help recovering individuals. In a pair of studies, patients recovering from alcohol abuse and patients recovering from opioid abuse showed improvement while taking buspirone. While this kind of treatment has not been proven to be effective by the Federal Drug Administration, the results of these studies are promising, and may provide an additional help for patients suffering from or recovering from substance abuse.

Buspirone is eliminated quickly from the body; individuals who took one dose typically were free of the substance after 24 hours had passed.

Buspar Interactions With Alcohol

Fortunately, buspirone has a low chance of being abused. However, the side effects of the substance can worsen to dangerous levels if combined with other drugs. One of the most commonly abused drugs, alcohol, has one such interaction. Buspirone/Buspar and alcohol should never be consumed at the same time. 

The effects of alcohol use are somewhat similar to a few of buspirone’s side effects. Notably, dizziness, impaired coordination, and confusion all can result from both buspirone use as well as alcohol use. If an individual takes buspirone and then consumes alcohol, they may experience more potent versions of these side effects. Extreme dizziness and intense confusion can be dangerous, especially when driving. While the interaction may cause some intense feelings of disorientation, the combination is unlikely to be anything worse than that. Some substances can interact fatally with alcohol, so it is important to always be careful when on a prescription and consuming alcohol.

If an individual takes buspirone and then consumes alcohol, they may experience more potent versions of common side effects.

Understanding the Risks of Mixing Buspar and Alcohol

Though buspirone has effectively no risk for abuse, alcohol’s risk for abuse is nearly the opposite. Substance abuse of any kind can be extremely damaging over time, alcohol especially. If you think a loved one is suffering from a substance abuse disorder, contact us today. Alcohol may be the most common, but that does not mean it is the least threatening. An individual suffering from an addiction may not realize there is a problem, so reaching out to them may be life-changing. If you would like to read more about potential drug interactions or substance abuse disorders, read our blog.

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. Or consider a partner facility for drug rehab in Prescott, Arizona.

Existential Loneliness

Loneliness is defined as the feeling of being socially and emotionally isolated. You may not have to physically be separated from friends and family in order to feel lonely. However, the impact of feeling empty, alone or unwanted can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety. 

What is an existential crisis?

Existential loneliness and having an existential crisis are very similar. Any matter which evolves into an existential one usually involves questions of your existence. In other words, you are often finding yourself wondering what the purpose behind your life is. Your loneliness and feelings of separation can cause you to question your purpose in life. Many times this issue becomes a self-created problem. Most people are familiar with feelings of sadness and loneliness, which seem to worsen other problems. It can begin to snowball from “I feel lonely” to “I don’t have a job because x, y and z” and develop into “everything is bad.”

These feelings sometimes result in nihilistic thinking where you eventually believe that nothing means anything and life is meaningless. In essence, this captures what an existential crisis is. So why would this be important to someone who deals with substance abuse? Well, these feelings of existentialism, loneliness and questioning life can lead to depression. Further, there is proof to show that depression and substance abuse have a bi-directional relationship. Meaning individuals dealing with depression are more likely to suffer from substance abuse and vice-versa.

Existential questions

Pondering existential questions is potentially a healthy activity when the mindset and purpose is to find growth and meaning. However, for some, questions such as “what is the meaning of life” are oftentimes met with no real answers. Having no answer does not mean that there is not one. However, it can seem that way and cause people to believe that if they cannot think of an answer, then surely life is meaningless. Individuals who cannot seem to find meaning to life, may lack tangible long-term goals and settle for short-term satisfaction. This is not to say that people who struggle with these questions will start doing drugs. Nevertheless, it is possible it is harder for someone already struggling with addiction to find help or stop. 

existential loneliness

Existential Crises and Substance Abuse

Individuals who suffer from depression are at a higher risk of experiencing addiction and vice versa. When combined, it is referred to as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. Someone struggling with questions about life might feel an increase in existential loneliness. People suffering from various mental health condition may turn to substances to manage their emotions or symptoms. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2018), 9.2 million American adults experienced both a mental health disorder and substance use disorders at the same time.

existential loneliness

How to treat a co-occuring disorder

Treating a co-occuring disorder requires attention to both issues and their respective causes. You cannot treat just the depression and expect the addiction to stop. Even if the depression may have caused the addiction in the first place. However, drug treatment has proven to significantly reduce drug use and criminal activity. It can make a major impact in someone’s life. Treating a co-occuring disorder usually involves four to six steps depending on the program. Every program will also be tailored and specific to the needs and symptoms of the patient. Though, there are some general steps all patients will need to take.

Detox

For many patients, detox is an important process to help heal the body. This process sometimes involves small doses of medication to safely manage withdrawal symptoms. This process can take about a week or longer depending on how well the patient responds to treatment.

Rehabilitation

 Inpatient rehab will help provide 24/7 support and care for individuals suffering from mental illness and substance abuse. Providing supervision in a dedicated space can help prevent the continued use of illicit drugs.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is a major component to treating co-occurring disorders. It focuses on the mental aspect of what may have caused the disorder. One form of therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps determine the underlying causes behind the mental illness, rather than just trying to manage its symptoms. It helps patients avoid negative thinking traps such as feelings of existential loneliness.

Support Groups

Support groups allow patients to feel as if they are a part of a larger, collective effort. They do so by engaging in conversation and activities with fellow patients. It helps them realize that they are not alone and that success is possible. 

It is important to realize that addiction is considered to be a chronic illness. Further, it falls under the same category as other chronic illnesses in terms of relapse rates. Diabetes, hypertension and asthma all share similar relapse rates as addiction. While relapse is common, it is also not a guarantee. However, recovery is a life-long process.

existential loneliness

Treatment

Dealing with addiction is never easy, especially in combination with mental health issues. Again, not every person dealing with existential loneliness turns to substances to cope. However, it is a possibility that many will deal with those questions and deal with substance use and abuse. It can be a complicated matter which may require professional help in order to successfully diagnose and treat. We always recommend getting professional help in order to increase your chances of life-long recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today to start the journey to recovery.