Understanding Addiction with Reflections Recovery Center

Tag Archives: Healthy Living

Yoga for Back Pain and Chronic Pain Management

Yoga is well-known for its meditative qualities and is highly encouraged for those who wish to improve their flexibility and balance. However, the less obvious benefits associated with yoga are plentiful; for example, it may be used to treat bad posture as well as reduce symptoms of anxiety or stress. Certain poses in particular may be more effective in treating pain than others.

For example, individuals who are especially prone to back pain – or seek chronic pain management techniques – may be interested in adopting a regular yoga routine that incorporates poses that will better target their problem areas.

Daily practice of yoga will help a user build up strength, flexibility and balance – all of which can create noticeably positive impact on the individual’s self-confidence and mental health, while also providing physical therapeutic value.

The Need for Alternate Forms of Pain Management in those with Opioid Use Disorders 

Holistic recovery programs oftentimes encourage yoga practice to those suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD) as a viable form of pain management. The individual learns how to become more in tune with their body, allowing them to become more receptive to each pose’s spiritual and physical benefits. Because individuals recovering from OUD may be experiencing uncomfortable symptoms associated with withdrawals, learning how to combat them using the stress-relieving properties of yoga can make the recovery journey a smoother process overall.

Yoga is being adopted more and more frequently by substance abuse recovery centers due to its effectiveness in dealing with triggers or cravings. On a similar note, it can be an integral factor in the success of one’s relapse prevention program. Teaching individuals recovering from OUD that yoga can be used as an outlet for their stress is beneficial as yoga requires little equipment or expensive costs.

Lastly, individuals looking to treat their OUD may be interested in developing a recovery program that does not involve the use of painkillers or any further medication. Yoga is a workable solution to this, as it can provide the benefits of pain management and therapy without involving the use of drugs.

Remember to consult a doctor before undertaking any strenuous yoga routine. Many poses may be risky if you have previous or current injuries, or are pregnant. Researching modifications for any pose can help individuals who may need practice with flexibility and balance.

Child’s Pose

To perform Child’s Pose, the user must be on their hands and knees. Their knees should be spread apart, buttocks resting on the user’s heels, with their arms extended forwards and palms facing the ground. Spine and back should be relaxed, and forehead should be touching the floor. Another slight variation of the pose involves the arms extending backwards and resting against the user’s thighs, keeping their elbows relaxed.

Child’s Pose is an extremely relaxing, low-intensity pose oftentimes used as a transition between harder or more complex poses. It is considered a beginner pose and encourages balance within the user. The therapeutic benefits of Child’s Pose include stress-relieving properties in addition to helping the user stretch their back torso muscles. Neck pain can also be alleviated. Individuals who are pregnant or frequently experience knee pain are advised to use modified versions of Child’s Pose to maximize comfort and relaxation.

Sphinx Pose

Sphinx Pose is performed with the user facing belly down. They gently raise their torso, back bending inwards, and keep their forearms on the mat for stability. The back is stretched while thighs and feet remain rested on the ground. It is classified as a beginner’s post.

Those who practice Sphinx Pose can experience improved posture and alleviated back pain. It is believed to be great at treating symptoms of depression and anxiety. Its namesake stems from its similarities to how the Egyptian creature of mythology, the Sphinx, is posed.

As with most yoga poses, those who experience back or shoulder injury should refrain from practicing this pose.

Seated Forward Pose

The Seated Forward Pose can be performed by sitting upright with one’s legs stretched out in front. The user then reaches their arms and tries to hold onto their feet. Those with limited flexibility may have to hold their shins or calves instead, as long as they feel the stretch in their hamstrings. Back is rounded and torso is gently resting on the user’s thighs.

The Seated Forward Pose is great for stretching one’s hamstrings and back. Benefits include alleviated symptoms of anxiety and insomnia, as well as encouraging better sleep and stress relief. Beginners with limited flexibility can do modified versions of Seated Forward Pose. Individuals who have asthma are not recommended for this pose.

Reclined Pigeon Pose

Reclined Pigeon Pose is characterized by the user resting their back on the mat. One leg is crossed over the other leg’s knee, and arms extend to the hamstrings to hug it towards one’s chest. The hips, hamstrings and knees are stretched when this pose is practiced.

It may take some time before the pose is perfected if the user has not developed enough flexibility. The benefits of performing Reclined Pigeon Pose include improved blood flow and alleviating symptoms associated with sciatica. Tension in the lower body can also be combated by performing this pose.

The Bow Pose

To perform Bow Pose, the user lies on the mat with their belly facing down. Then, they left their legs and torso, extending their arms backwards while grabbing onto their feet or ankles. The pose resembles a bow, hence the name. It is not typically considered a beginner’s pose, but rather categorized to be at an intermediate level.

Bow Pose stretches the chest heavily, while improving flexibility in one’s back. It can help one with asthma and other related respiratory problems, as well as encourage better digestion. For women, Bow Pose may help alleviate symptoms associated with menstrual syndrome. Individuals who are prone to bad posture or back pain are recommended to try this pose. Women who are heavily pregnant should not attempt this pose.

Upward Facing Dog Pose

Users doing Upward Facing Dog Pose will be lying on the mat with their belly on the floor, then push up with their palms while bending their back gently. Their torso and legs are slightly lifted off the floor, supported by feet and palms. It is a pose that builds strength by exercising the arms and torso.

The most obvious benefit of this Upward Facing Dog Pose is the stretching of the back, spine, and chest. This therapeutic pose can improve symptoms of asthma and speed up the digestion process. It also exercises the user’s thighs and glutes. Lastly, it is a pose that increases energy flow and can help treat mild depression or fatigue. Individuals who are pregnant or currently injured are advised not to attempt this pose.

Downward Facing Dog Pose

An extremely popular pose, the Downward Facing Dog Pose is considered a standing pose. It involves the user stretching their entire body, keeping their legs straight (without locking knees) while their palms are on the ground to form an “A” shape. The spine is lengthened as the user pushes their chest gently towards the direction of the thighs. Heels do not need to touch the ground.

Downward Facing Dog Pose takes its namesake from the way dogs stretch, and is commonly seen as a transition pose. However, it can also be considered a balance or strength-building pose. Its benefits include deeply stretching many body parts, including one’s spine, shoulders, arms, legs, hamstrings, and calves. Classified as an inversion pose (heart is above head), employing regular practice of Downward Facing Dog Pose also reaps the benefits of improving digestion, managing stress, encourages blood flow, alleviates headaches, and is therapeutic for improving symptoms from insomnia, mild depression, and even osteoporosis. Individuals who experience hand cramping or are heavily pregnant should consider modified poses.

Reclined Supine Twist Pose

To do a Reclined Supine Twist Pose, the user must be lying on their back. One leg is drawn to the chest and hips are shifted to the opposite side, while the other leg is extended straight. Head and opposing arm are facing the direction opposing the hips, with the spine twisted in a soothing stretch.

The Reclined Supine Twist Post is great for stretching one’s back muscles, as well as realigning the spine. Improved digestion and stress relief are also benefits associated with this pose. The user should be employing deep and long breaths when performing this pose.

Cat/Cow Pose

The Cat/Cow pose is one that alternates between the two and is considered a beginner’s pose. It involves the user on all fours, gentle alternating between arching their back towards the sky (similar to a cat stretching), then reversing the arch while dropping the belly towards the mat. This pose can be performed by most individuals and should require little modification.

The Cat/Cow is great for warming up, and stimulates better blood flow and improved posture. Its therapeutic benefits include stress relief and managing back pain.

Standing Forward Bend Pose

The Standing Forward Bend Pose is characterized by the user keeping their legs straight while bending their torso and attempting to hug their knees. This pose stretches one’s hamstrings and back. Modifications can be used if the user’s flexibility level does not allow for a full embrace of the knees.

Performing a Standing Forward Bend Pose helps tension in the shoulders and neck. The act of keeping one’s head below the heart is thought to alleviate symptoms associated with mild depression, insomnia and stress.

Slow Rocking Knees to Chest Pose

Users performing the Slow Rocking Knees to Chest Post will have their backs against the mat. Knees are bent and hugged towards one’s torso. Arms embrace the knees and head rests on the ground. Then, the user gently rocks themselves side-to-side, massaging their spine. This pose is recommended for beginners and should require little modifications unless needed.

The benefits of Slow Rocking Knees to Chest Post include improved digestion, increasing circulation, and reducing tension in the back.

Seated Spinal Twist Pose

Performing the Seated Spinal Twist Pose involves the user sitting upright on the mat, with their legs stretched forward. One leg is bent and placed on top of the other leg, and the user hugs the upright knee towards their torso. Then, the user faces the opposing direction and twists the torso so that the spine is stretched.

The Seated Spinal Twist Pose encourages improved alignment of the spine, which in turns increases flexibility. One’s blood flow and digestion are also improved. This pose is not recommended for individuals who have knee injuries.

Low Lunge with Backbend Pose

Low Lunge with Backbend Pose can be performed by doing a runner’s lunge, while arching the back with one arm extended backwards towards the direction of one’s feet. Practicing one’s balance may be necessary to master this pose.

The Low Lunge with Backbend Pose encourages blood flow as well as flexibility. One’s legs and back are stretched and strengthened while the user attempts to remain balanced. When performed correctly, this full body pose is considered a strength-builder.

Standing Forward Fold with Clasped Hands Pose

Users can perform a Standing Forward Fold with Clasped Hands Pose by standing upright and keeping legs straight, without locking the knees. The user must then bend forward, attempting to touch their nose to their leg, thigh or knee. Lastly, arms are stretched backwards towards the sky, with hands clasped together.

The Standing Forward Fold with Clasped Hands Pose may require some practice with flexibility and balance. It is thought to help symptoms of headache, mild depression, stress, fatigue and anxiety. Other benefits include stretching out one’s hamstrings and hips, and may even treat the discomfort associated with menstrual syndrome.

Lower Back Clasp Pose

The Lower Back Clasp Pose involves the user lying on the mat, belly down. Then, the user raises their arms backwards and clasps their hands together behind them. This post will stretch and strengthen one’s lower back.

The Lower Back Clasp Pose is a beginner’s pose, but can be modified to suit one’s level of flexibility. Those who experience lower back pain or suffer from bad posture are recommended to practice this pose regularly.

One Knee Crescent Lunge Pose

Triangle Pose

To perform Triangle Pose, the user must first stand with their feet wide apart. Hips are slightly turned to one side, with one arm extended towards the sky and the other facing palm-down on the mat. Your arms should be perpendicular to the floor mat and heels planted firmly on the ground.

Triangle Pose may be difficult for users with limited balance, so moderations can be implemented to ensure ease. Practicing against a wall may be beneficial for beginners. The Triangle Pose encourages a powerful stretch in one’s hips, hamstrings and shoulders. Most notably, it alleviates lower back pain and bad posture. Other therapeutic qualities of performing Triangle Pose include better stability and digestion.

Locust Pose

Locust Pose is performed by the user lying on their belly, keeping their legs straight. Then, the user lifts their torso slightly, raising their shoulders above their hips and gazing directly forward. It is a beginner’s pose that allows the user to stretch their back, torso and leg muscles.

Because the pose targets the lower back, Locust Post is great to practice for individuals experiencing back pain or poor posture. It encourages blood flow as well as provides stress relieving properties. Those who are experiencing neck injury are not recommended for this pose.

Learning How to Manage Your Chronic Pain without Painkiller Drugs

Yoga has been used by individuals to effectively combat stress and anxiety for years. Not only can yoga be used in addiction treatment and recovery to minimize the pain and discomfort of detox and withdrawal from opioids, prescription painkillers or heroin, but can be used to mitigate pain from chronic pain issues – without having to resort to taking drugs to manage back pain.

At Reflections Recovery Center, we utilize yoga therapy for a number of reasons, including to help with pain management during detox and withdrawal from alcohol, prescription drugs, heroin, and other substances. Not only does yoga help to provide relief from chronic pain issues, but yoga can help to manage the symptoms of anxiety and greatly aids the recovery process by centering the mind and body.

Learn More About Our Holistic Therapies for Addiction

*All Images made with MadeWithOver.com

Nutritional Deficiencies and Substance Abuse: Nutrition in Addiction Recovery

Nutrition is closely tied to substance abuse and addiction. While using drugs and alcohol, poor nutrition makes changes to the way the body and brain function. These changes and the deficiency of vitamins and nutrients in the body are one of the root causes of the negative symptoms that many who have been abusing drugs and alcohol feel.

Symptoms of nutritional deficiency, coupled with the symptoms of withdrawal, can make the first days and weeks of sobriety draining – mentally and physically. Coupling nutritional therapy with detox and rehabilitation therapies eases many of the symptoms of drug and alcohol withdrawal and can make for an easier early recovery.

Am I Malnourished from Drugs and Alcohol?

It is fairly easy to recognize the symptoms of malnutrition, though many who abuse alcohol, opiates or other drugs don’t readily make the connection between how they are feeling and their substance use. Drugs and alcohol not only leech vitamins and nutrients from the body, but slow the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from the food you eat.

Think about how you still felt healthy before or even during the first months and years of your substance abuse. As the use continued, it became harder to feel your best; your highs seem lower and your lows sink lower. Even drugs and alcohol can’t cover the symptoms of your body signaling that it is malnourished.

Signs and Symptoms of Nutritional Deficiency from Drugs and Alcohol

Just as nutritional deficiencies happen slowly, and get worse over time, the signs and symptoms of poor nutrition from alcohol and drug use disorders will build slowly over time, and get much worse the longer you continue to abuse substances. Below is a detailed list of symptoms, many of which will be very familiar to anyone who has abused alcohol or illicit or prescription drugs.

Drug and Alcohol Fatigue

Fatigue is common with extended drug and alcohol use, and worsens as the deficiency of protein, iron, magnesium, potassium, Vitamins C, B1, B12 and other B vitamins grows. The lack of these nutrients also contributes to:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cardiac failure
  • Anemia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Anxiety
  • Major depression

Itchy, Dry Skin and Easily Bruising 

Skin symptoms caused by excessive use of alcohol and drugs like heroin and opioids are quite common, and often tied directly back to lack of specific nutrients. Dry skin is a sign of missing essential fatty acids. A lack of vitamin C also causes a long list of skin problems, including red,flushed skin, excessive bruising and excessive itching.

Muscle Pains and Cramps 

Alcohol is especially hard on muscles and muscle tissue, and alcoholics will have noticeably deteriorated muscle mass. Vitamin deficiencies hamper the ability for muscles to repair themselves and will cause worsening muscle pains and cramps. Magnesium, Vitamin D, B1, sodium and potassium deficiencies are characterized by increased cramping, spasms and muscle soreness.

Opioid addiction is synonymous with muscle pains and cramping, especially during opioid withdrawal. These pains are amplified by vitamin deficiency, which is why vitamin therapy for opioid addicts is recommended in early recovery and opiate/opioid detox.

Diarrhea and Constipation with Alcohol and Opioid Use Disorders 

Gastrointestinal health is severely impaired with alcohol and opioid addiction, and nutritional deficiency worsens those problems. Diarrhea is a common problem with alcohol abuse, while constipation is prevalent in opioid use. Serious constipation arises in individuals abusing prescription opioids, and the filler drugs in pills like Oxycontin, Vicodi, and other opioids worsens the problem.

A lack of vitamin B3 can be blamed for persistent diarrhea and can contribute to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and malabsorption can occur with the continued abuse of alcohol and drugs. Constipation is a sign of a deficiency of:

  • Fiber
  • Folate
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • The most important element for a healthy body: water

Dehydration is not only a deficiency in itself, but can cause the deficiency of all other nutrients and vitamins.

Neurobiological Symptoms of Vitamin Deficiency 

Some of the most severe symptoms of poor diet and nutrition from drugs and alcohol start in the brain, causing the following:

  • Restless legs
  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of balance
  • Feeling vibrations and numb spots
  • Lack of ability to feel vibrations
  • Weakness and shakiness of extremities
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Numbness and tingling of the hands and feet

A lack of vitamins B1, B12, B3, B6 and E contributes to the above symptoms and is a sign that the poor nutrition is beginning to affect the brain and nervous system. Folate, essential fatty and amino acids, and Riboflavin are important for cognitive and nervous system function, and opiate use in particular will trigger these symptoms.

Depression, Irritability, Anxiety and Lack of Concentration 

Anyone who has experienced problematic drinking will know that irritability, anxiety and depression seem to work together in a cycle that makes quitting drinking feel almost impossible. The good news is that many of these symptoms have more to do with poor nutrition from alcohol use than the alcohol itself.

Starting a nutritional rehabilitation regimen during early recovery from alcohol addiction can greatly reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

With opioid use, too, one can minimize depression and anxiety by replacing essential vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamin C, B, B3, B6, B12, folate, fatty acids, iron and magnesium.

Nutritional Rehabilitation Through the Phases of Addiction Rehabilitation

Vitamin, dietary and nutritional therapy are essential in three stages of stopping and recovering from alcohol abuse and alcoholism. First, it is necessary to boost the body with essential nutrients before or while tapering down the amount of alcohol being taken in.

With serious alcohol addiction and dependence, it may be difficult or impossible to go through a nutritional “primer” to prepare the body for quitting alcohol. However, if it is possible to start vitamin therapy for alcohol abuse before the detox phase, doing so can help ease the symptoms of withdrawal during alcohol detox.

Second, a complete and medical alcohol detox program will begin the process of detoxing from alcohol dependence. Detox specialists will administer multivitamins specifically made to address the needs of alcohol cessation, especially for the acute withdrawal symptoms.

Third, the rehabilitation plan should include a nutritional program for alcohol recovery. This nutrition plan should include a mix of fresh vegetables, fruits, meats and grains so the body can get used to absorbing the nutrients it needs naturally, and away from the need for supplements. A successful dietary rehabilitation program should teach the individual in recovery how to make the right nutritional choices in sobriety.

Vitamins for Alcohol Detox and Recovery

(Note: Always check with your doctor or a nutritional therapist before starting any vitamin therapy.) There are a number of vitamins and nutrients that alcohol depletes from the body, but some of the most common deficiencies in those with a history of abusing alcohol include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin)
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B9 (folate)
  • Vitamin B12
  • Magnesium
  • L-Glutamine (amino acid)
  • L-Tyrosine (amino acid)
  • L-Theanine (amino acid)
  • 5-HTP (Serotonin Precursor)
  • Omega 3 (fish oil)
  • DL-Phenylalanine (DLPA)
  • Multivitamins (for iron, zinc and other minerals)

Vitamins for Heroin/Opioid Detox and Recovery 

(Note: Always check with your doctor or a nutritional therapist before starting any vitamin therapy.) There are a number of vitamins and nutrients that heroin, prescription painkillers and other opioids deplete from the body, but some of the most common deficiencies in those with a history of opioid addiction and opioid use disorder include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin)
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B9 (folate)
  • Vitamin B12
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • L-Glutamine (amino acid)
  • L-Tyrosine (amino acid)
  • DL-Phenylalanine (amino acid)
  • L-Tyrosine (amino acid)
  • 5-HTP (serotonin precursor)

Addressing Nutritional Deficiencies and Substance Abuse in Rehab

Recovering from deficiencies and a poor diet is just as important as your recovery from alcohol or drugs. After an extended period of time of alcohol and drug abuse, the body and mind will need to be retrained to make healthy nutritional choices. Without nutritional therapy and training, the body will attempt to get “quick fixes” from junk food sources.

Avoiding Sugar in Recovery 

Many in early recovery develop sugar cravings and, even, sugar addiction. This is the body craving a quick and easy source of energy. Reintroducing the body to natural sources of vitamins and staying away from too much sugar will be key in your recovery.

When you start your recovery from substance abuse and addiction – whether it involves opioids, cocaine, meth or alcohol – addressing nutritional deficiency will be one of the first and most important steps. It is important to know that even though the first stages of detox and rehabilitation are tough, proper nutritional therapy can reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Explore Inpatient Addiction Treatment

Explore the Arizona Summer: Enjoying Addiction Treatment and Therapy in Arizona’s Outdoors

At Reflections Recovery, we are gearing up for what will be a memorable summer for the guests that will be staying with us in the coming months. As part of our ongoing experiential and adventure therapy program, we are planning trips throughout Arizona for the summer. Our men’s rehab guests will be hiking, mountain climbing, swimming and exploring the many landscapes Arizona has to offer.

Grand Canyon Arizona Summer Rehab Adventure - Reflections Recovery Center

Our Summer of Rehab Adventure Schedule

Every summer, we work to create a schedule of adventures that we can enjoy with our guests. This summer, we have put together a list of outdoor activities that give our guests the adventure of a lifetime. One of the biggest expeditions we have planned is our hiking trip to the Grand Canyon. This hike will be both challenging and enjoyable, as we set out for an all-day excursion among one of the great natural wonders of the world.

Other adventures will see our group travel to the nearby area of Sedona, Arizona. This magical and mystical area famously boasts gorgeous red rocks and a spiritual vortex – which some believe has healing properties and can allow you to see into your soul and find the meaning of life on this planet.

Many of our guests who arrive from out of state are surprised to find that Arizona offers more than just desert and cacti. Arizona is a diverse landscape with evergreen forests, rivers and lakes, and even snow. We are planning day-trips to Flagstaff and other Northern Arizona destinations to get some relief from the summer temperatures and to give us a chance to connect with nature and each other.

Benefits Of Outdoor Therapy in Addiction Treatment - Reflections Recovery Arizona

The Benefits of Outdoor Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Our adventures into the wild outdoors of Arizona are more than just an excuse to get outdoors and take in the state’s beauty. We have seen the benefits that nature can provide for individuals who are trying to figure out what a sober future holds for them. Many of those attending our men’s addiction treatment program find a sense of renewal and hope through our unique treatment – especially our outdoor and adventure rehab therapy.

Northern Arizona is the state’s beautiful “backyard” where our groups of clients and therapists can continue the work they started inside our Prescott addiction treatment facility. It’s difficult to explain to anyone who hasn’t seen the majesty of Arizona at sunset, but as you are re-building yourself and working to make plans for a sober future, nature seems to reaffirm your decisions.

Our guests relate a feeling of “standing on top of the world,” realizing how much beauty and good is in the world that they seemed to have missed completely when they were using drugs and alcohol.

Join Us on Our Adventures

Reflections Recovery Center’s addiction treatment program is a gender-specific format that allows men young and old to find a recovery plan that works for them and their lifestyle. Utilizing outdoor and adventure therapy is just one of the ways we bring our holistic rehab therapies to our clients. Our setting, our treatment modalities and our record of success in turning lives around are the reasons why so many families send their sons and loved ones to Arizona to start their recovery.

Therefore, we invite families from across the U.S. and the world to consider our program in your search for the solution to your son or husband’s problems with substance abuse. We already have a great many adventures planned, and your loved is invited to join us as soon as possible.

Ready for Recovery? Inquire Here

Hypoglycemia and Alcohol: How Alcohol Is Connected to Low Blood Sugar

The Connection Between Hypoglycemia and Alcoholism

Hypoglycemia is an indicator of abnormally low blood sugar. Blood sugar, or glucose, is the body’s main source of energy. When glucose levels dip too low, the following symptoms can emerge:

  • Fatigue
  • Shakiness
  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hunger

Hypoglycemia is very common in alcoholics. Statistics show that a startling 95 percent of alcoholics and almost 90 percent of those with alcohol use disorder are hypoglycemic. Understanding alcohol-induced hypoglycemia is the first step in overcoming both conditions.

About Hypoglycemia

Percentage of Alcoholics Who Are Hypoglycemic - Reflections Recovery CenterHypoglycemia is not a disease; rather, it’s an indicator that something is wrong within the body. Specifically, it means that the brain and body do not have enough glucose to function properly.

The loss of too much glucose can cause irritability, drowsiness, anxiety, and many other symptoms.

As hypoglycemia worsens, more serious symptoms can manifest, including

  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Seizures
  • Fainting

Immediate treatment of hypoglycemia to restore blood sugar levels involves eating certain foods or taking medication. Long-term treatment and reversal, however, require addressing the underlying cause of the condition. For many, that cause is alcohol abuse.

Low blood sugar and alcohol inhibit the body in tandem. According to one study, out of 100 alcoholics, 96 were hypoglycemic (with glucose levels below 70 milligrams per deciliter). By comparison, only 14 of 100 non-alcoholics in a control group had hypoglycemia.

The connection between hypoglycemia and alcohol lies in how alcohol affects the liver. The liver regularly releases a form of glucose into the bloodstream, maintaining steady blood sugar levels.

Alcohol consumption takes a toll on liver function because the liver has to process the alcohol instead of releasing glucose on time. Lack of regular infusions of glucose can cause hypoglycemia. If left untreated, blood sugar imbalances can become a major health concern.

The Cycle of Low Blood Sugar and Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol consumption not only induces hypoglycemia and accompanying symptoms; the reverse is also true. Hypoglycemia can cause strong cravings for alcohol, since alcohol contains large amounts of sugar. An alcoholic may experience the symptoms of low blood sugar and reach for another drink in an effort to ease them. Consuming large amounts of sugar, caffeine and alcohol are common signs of someone with undiagnosed hypoglycemia.

Ingesting more alcohol, however, is the exact opposite of what the body actually needs. Low blood sugar may cause alcohol cravings, but drinking more alcohol forces the liver and pancreas to produce more insulin. Insulin removes sugar from the blood, worsening hypoglycemia.

It’s a vicious cycle that can lead to major health problems if left untreated. If these symptoms seem familiar to you as someone who has had problems with alcohol (for example, if you’ve experienced mild to moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms and hangovers), there is a way out.

How to Reverse Hypoglycemia Due to Alcoholism

There is hope for people with hypoglycemic symptoms due to alcohol use and abuse. It is not enough to simply treat the symptoms of hypoglycemia with sugary foods or medications. To truly regain your health and normal liver function, you must address the underlying issue: alcoholism. The alcohol abuse recovery process is vital to regaining your health.

Detoxification and rehabilitation are the best ways to reverse hypoglycemia related to alcohol abuse. The body needs to detox from too much sugar, alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants that can exacerbate hypoglycemia. The liver and pancreas need to return to their normal levels of function without the interference of alcohol. Most importantly, the system needs proper nutrition to combat and reverse the symptoms of hypoglycemia.

To break the cycle of hypoglycemia symptoms and alcohol consumption, the individual needs Alcohol Nutrition Therapy. Nutritional therapy and lifestyle changes are integral parts of a full recovery.

It is important for those struggling with alcoholism and related health problems to seek a rehabilitation center that includes dietary and nutritional therapy, such as Reflections Recovery Center in Arizona. Proper focus on health and nutrition is the only way to make a full recovery and reverse hypoglycemia for good.

Never Detox on Your Own

Hypoglycemia is not something you should treat lightly, as it can cause serious problems like seizures, loss of consciousness and brain damage. On the road to recovery from alcoholism, the symptoms of hypoglycemia can make it difficult to successfully outlast withdrawal and detoxification. Correct alcohol withdrawal nutrition can ease the symptoms of hypoglycemia, help combat depression and facilitate full-body healing.

At Reflections Recovery Center, we guide men through the entire recovery process. This includes explaining the deep connection between alcohol and nutrition and offering therapies to get men back to healthy physical lifestyles. With help from our nutritionists, you can address blood sugar balance issues, which will reduce alcohol cravings and the risk of relapse.

Remember, alcoholism has trained your body and brain to rely on the substance when your blood sugar balance is off. Retraining your system through proper nutrition in the first months of recovery is key.

You Can Leave Alcohol-Related Health Problems Behind

Drugs and alcohol wreak havoc on the body and brain. Your system cannot function properly under the influence of substances. Drugs such as opioids and alcohol work by disrupting your body’s normal processes, creating feelings that make you want to do it again and abuse the substance.

Understand, however, that the body can only withstand so much disruption. Hypoglycemia is just one of the common health problems connected to alcohol dependency, as the body’s systems struggle (and often fail) to keep up with the intake of substances.

Nutritional therapy during rehabilitation is the answer you’re looking for if you or a loved one has hypoglycemia related to alcohol consumption. Poor nutrition is a mainstay for people struggling with substance abuse.

Don’t let alcohol or related hypoglycemia permanently damage your health. Partner with Reflections Recovery Center to address all aspects of your dependency.

Read More on Alcohol Detox and Recovery

Borderline Personality Disorder in Men: A Common Co-Occurring Disorder

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Characterized by pervasive mood instability, difficulty with interpersonal relationships, negative self-image and harmful behavior, borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness.

BPD is associated with high rates of self-harm and, in severe cases, suicidal behavior. The high risks for suicide and greater impairment are highest in the young adult years.

Symptoms of BPD

Borderline personality disorder is characterized by:

  • Intense bouts of anger, depression or anxiety that last hours to days long
  • Episodes of impulsive aggression, self-injury or drug or alcohol abuse
  • Distorted thoughts and negative sense of self
  • Frequent and impulsive changes in life-altering decisions
  • Highly unstable patterns of social relationships
  • High sensitivity to rejection
  • Impulsive behaviors like excessive spending, risky sex and binge eating

It is common to see borderline personality disorder occur with other psychiatric problems, particularly bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and other personality disorders.

What Does It Look Like If a Man You Know Might Have BPD?

A series of intense but stormy relationships is often the first thing people notice about a man with BPD. He will fall in love quickly and can fall out of love just as fast.

Similarly, in a friendship or family relationship, when he has been offended, he immediately stops all contact with that person and cuts them out of his life in anger. He is notorious for holding grudges.

A man with BPD may harm people and bring excessive emotion and drama to relationships, but deep down he usually doesn’t want to hurt people; he just wants to be loved and is desperate for it. Men with BPD appear needy and manipulative, but they are desperately seeking to feel love they’ve never felt before.

When symptomatic, a man with BPD is walking around in a living hell and perceived as universally hostile. He walks around with incredible inner pain, depression and free-floating anxiety.

Dependent, dramatic and highly manipulative, BPD sufferers have learned to cope in these dysfunctional ways due to the overwhelming fear and emotional pain they endure. The emotional instability coupled with impulsivity places these individuals at risk of drug or alcohol abuse.

The Myth of BPD as a Female Disorder

Women are diagnosed with BPD at a ratio of 3-to-1 to men. However, in general, population studies, the occurrence rates are evenly distributed. While it is true that statistically more women than men are diagnosed with BPD, there are reasons for the statistics.

For one thing, men, in general, are more averse to seeking professional help for medical or mental problems. And when they do talk to a counselor or doctor, BDP is often misdiagnosed in men.

In fact, the vast majority of men with borderline personality disorder go undiagnosed.

Men are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because BPD manifests differently in men than women and is interpreted differently.

Borderline Personality Disorder in Men

Borderline personality disorder in men is often overlooked and brushed off with a recommendation for an anger management class. Men tend to externalize behaviors like aggression, violent patterns and antisocial traits, including heavier substance use than women.

Sometimes these externalized behaviors are misdiagnosed as antisocial personality disorder, anger management problems or something else. Ironically, people with BPD complain of feeling misunderstood and in reality, they are being misunderstood and misdiagnosed.

Here are some ways BPD manifests in men:

  • Sensitive to criticism while responding with aggression
  • Controlling through criticism
  • Holding grudges
  • Fear of rejection played out in jealousy and using sex to alleviate his feelings of rejection
  • Rejecting relationships – when he’s been offended by someone, he hates them; he sees people in good or bad absolutes
  • Jealous or possessive insecurities, but emotionally detached from relationships
  • Using alcohol or drugs to relieve his constant free-floating anxiety

Why Men’s Only Rehab May Be the Solution

Gender-specific rehab gets better results. Without the distraction of the opposite sex, guys are free be more open in group settings.

Men and women have different reasons for using substances, heal differently, and have different reactions to treatments. By focusing on only men, rehab can be uplifting in shared experiences and bonding with peers — a proven necessary component of recovery — in a way that can’t happen in a co-ed setting.

A Common Co-Occurring Disorder

If you notice your male companion or loved one exhibits irrational behaviors at times, substance abuse and the underlying mental health problem of borderline personality disorder may be to blame.

Only medical professionals are qualified to accurately diagnose mental health conditions, such as personality disorders. However, very often it is the partner or family member who brings to light the issues that the victim of the disorder cannot see himself.

Traits that Overlap with Drug Abuse

Cycle of Addiction and Substance Use Disorder Flowchart Graphic - ReflectionsThe relationship between BPD and addiction is as stormy as the individual’s romantic relationships.

The alcoholism or substance use brings out the antisocial behaviors like rage, anger and depression.

Yet, the man suffering from borderline personality feels a strong need to use drugs or alcohol to numb his numerous fears and to stop his mind from racing with constant free-floating anxiety.

Several symptoms of BDP are similar to symptoms of addiction, so it can be complicated to determine whether someone has a dual diagnosis. Both conditions display traits of:

  • Impulsivity and instability in job, relationships, finances and responsibilities
  • Apparent lack of concern for one’s own well-being
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Manipulative, deceitful actions to get what the person wants

Drug Abuse Treatment

Because the signs and symptoms of BPD and addiction have some overlap, these diseases can be difficult to distinguish and treat while at a traditional rehab center. Unless you find a co-occurring disorder rehab center, the facility will not have the resources to properly treat your loved one.

Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment

BPD is a serious psychiatric illness, and the treatment thereof is notoriously challenging, but there are various modalities available.

Exercising and consuming foods or supplements high in choline and tryptophan can benefit neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine and serotonin, which help with emotion and mood regulation. Natural bright light helps, and meditation has been proven to increase dopamine in the brain.

Behavioral modifications along with group, peer and family support, as well as psychotherapy, are key therapies as well.

Hope for BPD and Addiction

People with BPD often need extensive mental health services, including hospitalization. Yet, with help, many BPD sufferers improve over time and lead productive lives.

The addiction counseling services and behavior therapies for drug abuse offered at Reflections Recovery Center have a long history of helping men recover from addictions. Additionally, our team has the know-how and experience to uncover underlying mental health illnesses while treating the drug abuse or alcohol problem.

Recovery can be intense, especially when facing a dual diagnosis, but we have seen many men heal from the enormous emotional burdens the disease of addiction placed on them and their loved ones.

If you suspect your loved one struggles with addiction and a possible mental health issue, do not hesitate to get him into a program that addresses the addiction, has a working knowledge of dual diagnosis and treats co-occurring disorders.

Download Our Free eBook to Learn More About the Benefits of Men-Only Rehab

Get Your Free eBook Copy

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: Football and Opioid Addiction

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and Addiction

The injuries sustained by football players – and athletes in other contact sports – put players at a higher-than-average risk for opioid addiction due to the need for painkillers. But as scientists are learning more about how contact sports can damage athletes’ brains as well as their bodies, we’re realizing that the link between hard-knock sports and addiction is even stronger than was previously known.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), formerly known by other names such as dementia pugilistica and punch drunk syndrome, has not yet been tied to addiction directly, but it certainly affects the brain in ways that leave players more susceptible to addiction.

This is especially concerning when taking into consideration the fact young men often begin playing contact sports like football in their early teens, or even younger. 

What Is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a type of brain injury that results from repeated blows to the head, or a single severe concussion. It is found most often in athletes who participate in contact sports – such as football, hockey and boxing – as well as in combat veterans.

CTE was the central topic in the 2015 film “Concussion,” starring Will Smith, which was based on a true story.

CTE can lead to neurological and behavioral changes such as:

  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Impulsive behavior, impaired judgment and lack of self-control
  • Agitation and aggression
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty speaking and walking
  • Problems with memory, attention and language

The only way to definitively diagnose CTE is by doing an autopsy of the brain after death, so scientists are still learning about this condition. Because there are other types of conditions that can cause similar symptoms, it can be difficult for doctors to accurately diagnosis CTE in living patients.

In addition, CTE symptoms often don’t manifest until eight to 20 years after players retire.

The Connection Between TAU Proteins, CTE and Opioids

Male Athletes Sports-Related Injury and Opioid Addiction Statistic - Reflections Recovery CenterDoctors are able to diagnose CTE postmortem when they find abnormally high levels of TAU protein and widespread neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in the brain.

TAU proteins in the brain are always linked with some form of degenerative brain disease. They are found in the brains of athletes with CTE, as well as in those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

One study found that opioid abusers also had greater amounts of TAU proteins in their brains compared to the control group.

Because athletes often use opioid medications for physical injuries, it can be difficult to determine if the buildup of TAU proteins in football players are caused by opioid use, by CTE, or both.

However, there’s clearly a link between brain injury, physical injury, opioid abuse and an unhealthy buildup of TAU proteins that can lead to brain dysfunction and dementia.

Because CTE affects judgment and self-control, athletes with CTE may more easily succumb to the temptations of drugs and alcohol. Additionally, emotional instability caused by CTE can lead to drug use in some cases.

Opioid Addiction from Sports Injuries

Physical injuries suffered by athletes, and the resulting surgeries, can lead to the use of opioid painkiller medications, which can lead to a physical dependence in as little as a week.

Studies have found that opioid abuse is 3 to 4 times higher among NFL football players than in the general population. Former NFL tight end Nate Jackson once said, “Pain pills were as common as shoulder pads and cleats” in the locker room.

According to an ESPN survey of 644 former NFL players:

  • 52% of players used painkillers in their playing days.
  • 71% of the players who used opioids also misused them.
  • 15% of those players continued to abuse opioids after retirement.

Interestingly, that same survey found that 98 percent of the NFL players who reported misusing opioid painkillers in the last 30 days also reported having undiagnosed concussions.

High School Football and Opioid Addiction

It’s not only athletes in professional sports who are at risk. Young men in high school sports are routinely exposed to repeated injuries and brain trauma during their developmental years that put them at risk for painkiller abuse and brain damage that could have lifelong consequences.

Because of the time delay between when injuries occur and when the health problems appear, it’s conceivable that the devastating behavioral changes and substance abuse problems that we see with young men in their 20s are actually due to events that transpired during their teenage years.

The problem with young athletes and substance abuse is so concerning that West Virginia is leading a multi-state initiative aimed at helping high school athletes avoid falling victim to the opioid epidemic.

“Many people think injuries are the biggest threat student-athletes will face, but reality shows the medicine they’re prescribed after an injury could present another danger,” says West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

Protecting the Health of Our Young Men

Since contact sports – and the injuries that come from them – are a part of life for athletes, it’s important that parents and coaches keep a watchful eye on athletes who are recovering from injuries, especially during the critical developmental years of high school when substance abuse often begins.

If your son has shown signs of painkiller abuse following a sports injury, Reflections Recovery Center is here to help before the problem spirals out of control. Talk to us about your concerns with your son’s painkiller use.

An Active Lifestyle Is an Important Part of Addiction Recovery

See How We Roll

The Benefits of Yoga for Men in Addiction Recovery

Long gone are the days when the only people doing yoga were women adorned in tie-dye dresses and flowing wavy hairstyles. Now, with strong iconic men like Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James and other professional athletes practicing yoga, the old stereotypes are fading away.

Many professional sports teams encourage their players to engage in regular yoga for flexibility and injury prevention. Bodybuilders incorporate yoga into their routines to improve range of motion and muscle stability.

The Many Health Benefits of Doing YogaHow Men Can Benefit From Doing Yoga in Addiction Recovery

The health benefits of yoga have been documented in numerous scientific studies. Researchers have found so many health benefits, in fact, it is almost easier to say what yoga does not improve than what it does.

For example, did you know doing yoga improves your sex life? Yes, yoga increases libido and sexual performance.

Here are just a few of the many health benefits of yoga:

Mind

  • Helps depression
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Helps anxiety
  • Encourages feelings of well-being

Body

  • Improves flexibility
  • Strengthens bones
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Decreases pain

Spirit

  • Inspires a healthy lifestyle
  • Focuses you on the present
  • Gives you peace of mind
  • Builds awareness through meditation
  • Encourages self-care

Yoga as an Addiction Recovery Tool

Yoga is an important part of a holistic addiction recovery program aimed at healing the whole person – mind, body and spirit. It promotes a sense of inner peace and calm, lessens pain, and helps men deal with anxiety, depression and other psychological complications.

Often men who become addicted to drugs or alcohol are escaping pain, physically or emotionally. And sometimes hidden pain, once masked by the use of a substance, appears during recovery. Having alternatives to ease the discomfort, like yoga, can make the difference in a successful rehabilitation.

Doing yoga helps to keep the body’s stress hormones down and the mood-boosting chemicals up. An improved mood and emotional outlook gives people strength toward recovery and avoiding relapse.

Yoga as an Aid to Healing

Yogis often report feeling strong and empowered after a yoga session. Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs, you can incorporate them into yoga philosophy. The philosophy is simply about stilling the mind and balancing the nervous system. You can transcend your present experience. It can get better.

Try out a couple of yoga poses for yourself. And if you cannot go into the postures completely, accept yourself, breathe deeply and think affirming thoughts. Work within your own abilities.

Chair Pose — Utkatasana

The Chair Pose is great for men in particular.

Mind:  Also called Thunderbolt Pose, this posture is about attaining power and fierceness.

Body:  This exercise strengthens ankles, shoulders, glutes, spine and quads. It also stimulates the abs and diaphragm.

Spirit:  Holding this pose and staying in the moment shows you are serious about growth in your life and forging your own way to success.

Below are step-by-step instructions, as well as a demo video.

  • Stand with your feet apart at hip width.
  • Inhale deeply while bringing your hands straight above your head, palms open.
  • Exhale slowly while bending your knees as if you are sitting on an invisible chair.
  • Shift your weight onto your heels while breathing smoothly and evenly.
  • Hold the Chair Pose for one minute, then exhale while bringing your arms to your sides and standing.

Child’s Pose — Balasana

This pose is especially good for addiction recovery.

Mind:  Holding this pose relieves anxiety and mental fatigue. It inspires feelings of safety and security.

Body:  This exercise stretches your back and arms, relieves shoulder tension and relaxes your entire body.

Spirit:  During this pose, focus on the affirmation: “I rest in trust and patience.”

Here are the steps for the pose and a demo video:

  • Kneel down on a mat or carpet.
  • Inhale deeply while sitting back on your heels.
  • Exhale slowly while laying your head forward onto the floor.
  • Lay your arms down by your sides, palms up.
  • Hold the Child’s Pose for five minutes.

Yoga at Reflections Recovery Center

Yoga is one of the many cutting-edge therapies we employ at Reflections Recovery Center as part of our holistic treatment program.  We have tailored our yoga program specifically for addiction recovery.

Men in our program benefit from yoga because it reconnects them with their body, reintroduces them to healthy and natural physical sensation, reduces stress, and induces feelings of peace and contentment.

Learn More About Our Holistic Approach to Addiction Treatment:

Reflections’ Holistic Program

The Value of Recreational Activities in Substance Abuse and Addiction Treatment

When a person struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, the substance often becomes the person’s only means of feeling pleasure or contentment. Both physically and behaviorally, addictive substances can replace activities that once brought the user joy, such as eating, physical activity and favorite hobbies.

Drugs can alter the brain’s reward center, disrupting opioid receptor function and flooding the brain with dopamine, the chemical responsible for producing feelings of pleasure and happiness. Eventually, a user may no longer experience joy in everyday life without consuming drugs or alcohol.

The goal of addiction treatment is to help the user once again receive pleasure and enjoyment from everyday activities, without the need for substances. At Reflections Recovery Center, we combine talk therapy and other traditional addiction treatment methods with recreational activities in order to maximize the physical, mental and emotional wellness of our men.

Benefits of Recreational Activities in Addiction Treatment

While talk therapy can be very beneficial and is an important part of treatment, it is also good to get outdoors and take part in physical activities that engage the whole person and allow for different types of expression and learning.  

Recreational activities used in treatment can involve highly physical activities such as:

  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Running
  • Yoga

It can also include more leisurely activities such as:

  • Walking
  • Playing instruments
  • Singing and dancing
  • Creating or performing art
  • Hanging out in a safe and comfortable social environment

According to an article in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs on “A Holistic Approach to Substance Abuse Treatment,” patients show improved self-esteem, self-confidence and self-identity when recreational activities were used in treatment.

Physical Health

For physical types of recreational activities, such as hiking and yoga, there are the usual physical benefits that come with any type of exercise. Some types of exercise also stimulate the release of endorphins that lead to a natural high, which in turn can help the body re-balance neurotransmitters – such as dopamine – back to normal, healthy levels.  

Yoga, along with meditation and other holistic activities, has also been shown to help reduce symptoms during withdrawal.

Mental & Emotional Health

Recreational activities can be a great way to relieve stress, anxiety, frustration and anger. They also allow people to reconnect with hobbies they enjoyed as a child, or discover new “healthy obsessions” that provide ongoing enjoyment and satisfaction.

Activities that emphasize mind-body-spirit integration – such as yoga, meditation and tai chi – help create a healthy relationship with oneself that is based on self-love and self-respect. This ultimately strengthens the resolve to create a new life of sobriety that includes fun and healthy activities.

When recreational activities are a group experience, they give recovering addicts a chance to bond with one another and forge healthy relationships that can last a lifetime. These social ties become very important both during and after inpatient treatment.

Relapse Prevention

One of the biggest challenges that men face after leaving inpatient treatment is finding new ways to fill the time – time they used to spend using drugs or drinking. By continuing the recreational activities they began in treatment, men have a safe and healthy way to combat boredom.

Men can also discover new social groups and forge healthy friendships when they join clubs and organizations centered around a favorite hobby or activity. This reduces the temptation to go back to hanging out with people who were part of their substance-laden past.

In short, recreational activities can be an important part of building a new life based on healthy, natural fun that meets the physical, mental, emotional and entertainment needs of men recovering from addiction.

Recreational Activities at Reflections Recovery Center

Mountains Rediscover The Joys In Nature - Reflections Recovery CenterOur treatment center strongly encourages clients to dive into healthy outdoor activities, sports and hobbies that reintroduce them to the pleasures in life outside of chemically induced highs. Over time, these become enjoyable habits that ultimately take the place of drugs or alcohol.

Types of recreational activities that our male clients participate in include:

  • Wilderness hikes
  • Mountain climbing
  • Swimming (in pools and lakes)
  • Softball
  • Biking
  • Skateboarding
  • BMXing
  • Bonfires and BBQs
  • Many other fun and exhilarating outdoor activities

Northern Arizona Outings

We often go on outings into the beautiful terrain of Prescott, the Valley, and Northern Arizona. The environment and surroundings of this area offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. We are located amid the gorgeous Bradshaw Mountains and framed by the 1.25 million-acre Prescott National Forest. The temperate climate in Prescott is ideal for year-round outdoor excursions.

We also offer lower-intensity activities such as exploring the local town of Prescott, which is rich in history and culture. We may arrange visits to museums, go on rides at amusement parks and engage similar fun activities.

The town of Prescott has parks for skateboarding, multiple basketball courts, public swimming pools and other outdoor resources.

At Reflections Recovery Center, it’s our mission to help men struggling with addiction rediscover the everyday joys in life and have a good time without relying on a substance.

See More of the Reflections Experience by Browsing Our Photo & Video Gallery:

Visit Our Media Gallery

Why Nutritional and Vitamin Therapy is Essential In Alcohol Detox and Alcoholism Recovery

Nutrition allows the human body to generate energy and maintain its systems. Proper nutrition is essential to everyone, but individuals attempting to recover from alcohol abuse will have a much smoother detox experience with a diet supplemented by vitamin therapy. Prolonged consumption of large quantities of alcohol has several adverse effects on the body, and poor nutrition makes the detox and recovery process more stressful and uncomfortable.

Alcohol’s Effects on the Body

To recognize how important nutrition and vitamin supplements are to alcohol abuse recovery, it’s vital to understand the effects alcohol abuse has on the human body. Symptoms will vary case by case due to individual health factors, how long alcohol abuse has continued, and how far the addiction has progressed.

Some alcoholics are so severely addicted that the bulk of the nutrients in their diet come from the alcoholic beverages they consume. When the body cannot obtain the nutrients it needs from consumed food and drink, it will start breaking down other tissues in the body. This also impacts the body’s glucose levels. Glucose, or blood sugar, is a necessary component for healthy brain functions as well as other metabolic processes.

Excessive alcohol intake can deregulate the body’s ability to control blood glucose levels. This can cause hypoglycemia (decreased blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (increased blood sugar). These conditions can be harmful, especially for individuals with medical conditions such as diabetes.

Alcohol and Digestion 

After food is consumed, the digestive system breaks it down into its smaller molecular components. The body absorbs these compounds to maintain vital systems and create energy. Alcohol prevents the efficient breakdown of food by inhibiting the production of digestive enzymes. Food may be consumed, but the body is far less capable of breaking it down into a useful form while there is alcohol in the body.

Even when food is successfully broken down, alcohol inhibits the processes the body uses to absorb the nutrients and use them. Over time, this means an alcoholic will progressively receive less and less energy from the food and alcohol they consume, depriving the body of essential nutrients at an increasingly faster pace.

Health Risks of Advanced Alcoholism 

Long-term alcohol abuse is one of the most physically damaging forms of substance abuse. Untreated alcoholism cannot only cause complications in virtually every bodily system, but it can be fatal. Some of the long-term or permanent effects of alcohol abuse include heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver from vitamin A and E deficiencies, nerve damage, and pancreatitis. Additionally, alcoholics often experience seizures due to impaired brain function, and many advanced alcoholics suffer from dehydration and malnutrition.

Wet Brain Syndrome 

An especially dangerous condition, common in advanced alcoholics, is Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, often called “wet brain.” This condition manifests when the body is deprived of vitamin B1 (thiamine) for an extended period, and hinders nervous system and brain functions.

Addiction and Nutrition 

Malnutrition is more dangerous than many realize, and it often goes unaddressed for long periods of time of time with alcoholics. When the body does not obtain the nutrients it needs to continue essential functions, the entire body begins to degrade. Essentially, the human body will begin breaking itself down to survive. Additionally, alcohol is a diuretic, and dehydration is not only dangerous, but over a long period of time, it can be seriously damaging to the body.

Alcohol itself is damaging to the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, but addictive patterns contribute to the damage as well. Most substance abusers will start neglecting self-care and other everyday activities as their addictions worsen. Eventually, the only thoughts are about where to find more alcohol. Not only does alcohol hurt the body when ingested, but the search for more alcohol also prevents the alcoholic from obtaining essential nutrition.

Vitamin Therapy 

When alcoholics seek treatment, it’s vital to address the damage that the alcohol has done to the body’s vital systems. Vitamin therapy describes treatment involving high doses of essential vitamins. This process helps the body regain essential functions. Vitamin therapy not only helps address malnutrition and dehydration and the severe issues they cause, but also helps the alcoholic by allowing them to approach the recovery process with a more solid foundation.

Addiction is deeply rooted in behavior, and while alcohol has a significant impact on physical health, the psychological battle with addiction is far more stressful and difficult. When the body and mind are deficient in essential vitamins, it becomes even harder.

The Detox Process 

Once the effects of an alcoholic’s last drink start to wane, he or she will begin experiencing withdrawal. Once the body has grown accustomed to a particular substance, it reacts negatively when that substance is no longer available – and this is withdrawal. For alcoholics, withdrawal typically entails delirium tremens, also called “DTs” or “the shakes,” and causes violent tremors. Additionally, severe anxiety, seizures, sweating, irregular heartbeat, fever, high blood pressure, hallucinations, nausea, and irritability commonly manifest during the withdrawal period.

Rebuilding the Body 

This is typically an excruciatingly painful process, and an alcoholic in withdrawal will experience intense cravings for more alcohol. With medical supervision and vitamin therapy, alcoholics can have a much easier time handling the onset of withdrawal and working through it.

The high doses of essential vitamins during treatment help jump-start the body’s essential functions. Vitamin therapy can be a valuable part of any alcoholic’s recovery and not only help the physical pains of detoxing, but also pave the way to a smoother psychological recovery with a healthier mind and body.

Though Alcohol Detox and Withdrawals Can Be Dangerous
Proper Detox Under Medical Supervision Is Safe, Painless, and a Necessary First Step in Addiction Recovery:

Removing Drug and Alcohol Toxins

How Illicit Drug Use Contributes to Heart Disease

Many illegal drugs have negative cardiovascular effects, ranging from simple abnormal heart rates to full-on heart attacks. Using such substances leads to other related problems as well, particularly when injecting. Collapsed veins and infections in blood vessels and the heart are unfortunately common. In fact, they may put users on a fast track to heart disease.

A heart disease diagnosis is actually rather broad and covers blood vessel problems as well. Numerous issues develop as a result of atherosclerosis – a condition caused by plaque on the artery walls. The more plaque, the narrower the arteries and more effort required to push blood through. Blood clots form frequently in heart disease patients and can cause other conditions, such as stroke.

Cocaine: The Perfect ‘Heart Attack Drug’

Different drugs present different levels of risk, but cocaine is infamous for its effects on the heart. The substance is available in powdered and “crack” forms. The appearance and texture of this substance changes depending on how it’s created.

Users favor the different types of cocaine for specific consumption methods: Powdered cocaine is generally snorted or dissolved in water and injected, while crack can be smoked.

How Cocaine Affects the Body

Cocaine has earned its reputation as a heart attack drug because it targets the arteries and heart. The substance acts as a stimulant, meaning that it floods the user with adrenaline. The reaction is similar to that of a frightening situation, but without the natural stimuli. Instead, the adrenaline forces an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

A common and direct effect of the adrenaline is chest pain. It’s a sign that the organ is overexerting itself and pumping blood too hard. The stress raises the pressure in the heart and arteries to dangerous levels. It also causes hardening and of the blood vessels and thicker heart muscle – both of which can directly cause a heart attack, in addition to further complications.

Studies have shown that cocaine causes significant physical changes to the heart instead of just mild alterations. Researchers studied various users and found that a 30 to 35 percent increase in aortic stiffness was simply average. They also found that cocaine users had blood pressure that was 8 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) higher than non-users and that the left ventricle wall of the heart was usually 18 percent thicker.

The Prevalence of Cocaine

Despite its danger, cocaine is one of the most popular drugs in America. It reaches people of all ages and backgrounds and has been the cause of countless medical emergencies. In fact, around 40 percent of all illicit drug-related ER visits trace back to cocaine. This equates to more than 500,000 cases of emergency cocaine treatment each year – more than double the number of cases associated with heroin.

The Other Risks of Illicit Drug Use

Using illegal drugs provides a host of threats to the body and mind in addition to heart problems. The issues compound in many cases and result in terrible reactions, hospitalization and even death. This is because most drugs directly affect the central nervous system and modify the user’s consciousness.

Drug use subjugates the entire body to negative side effects, such as:

  • Body temperature changes
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Impaired judgement
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Poisoning from drug additives
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Overdose

In addition to the short-term side effects, drug users suffer from various long-term changes. The exact effects depend on the drug, but brain damage and various cancers are most commonly experienced.

The delivery method of a drug also impacts the body’s reaction. Injecting oneself with dirty needles, for example, can leave the individual with HIV.

Other Drugs Dangerous to the Heart

Despite the fact that cocaine is the most common, it’s not the only illicit drug that causes heart issues. Amphetamines and MDMA (ecstasy) both boost a user’s heart rate and blood pressure, as well. The long- and short-term effects vary, but both have proven highly dangerous.

Seeking Help Against the Temptation

Drug addiction is dangerous. It’s a frightening condition that can erode users’ physical health while also affecting every relationship in their lives. Quitting is difficult, bordering on impossible for many people.

Those who search for professional assistance, instead of at-home remedies, have the best chance at kicking the habit, thanks to proven resources and specialized support groups. Seek professional treatment today if you find yourself in this situation.

Reflections Recovery’s Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center

What real clients have to say about Reflections Recovery Center in Arizona
Reflections provided me with the tools that got me where i am today with 14 months sober.
— Ricky A, Long Beach CA
Reflections gave me a life and an opportunity to become part of society. They challenged me and shaped me into the man I want to be.
— Dyer K, Gilbert AZ
I learned how to stay sober, found my best friends and created a new life at Reflections
— David S, Phoenix AZ

Pin It on Pinterest