Tag Archives: Mental Health

Skill-Building Activities for Mental Health and Addiction

“Recovery is non-linear, characterized by continual growth and improved functioning that may involve setbacks.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Steps to Recovery

Recovery takes time, a community, and will involve many different steps for each person. In recovery, a setback may be inevitable. However, a setback is not a reason for recovery to be abandoned. Everyone struggles with something in their own way and will face obstacles and setbacks. One of the best courses of action you can take is to accumulate various tools and means of support. Addiction is complex and thus your recovery will also be complex. This does not mean it is impossible, but simply that it is a process that will take serious effort.

The thought of addressing mental health issues, particularly when in recovery, may not be the most appealing. In fact, it may feel like an exhausting task. However, it is possible to engage without using all of your energy. With recovery, there are different forms of therapy that will be needed. Among them, Adventure Therapy is a way to participate in therapy while staying active. Understandably, it is not always going to be possible to engage in more strenuous physical exercise. Sometimes you just need something that is calming and simple. The good thing is there are a lot of options for low-impact activities. They will do a lot to improve your mental health and help you in your sobriety.

Low-Impact Activities to Improve Mental Health

A sense of purpose is incredibly important for any person and especially so when you are in recovery. When you have a routine and engage in physical exercise or social activities, that is a part of establishing your identity. There are low-impact activities like gardening and volunteering that allow you to be active without extending too much energy. They may even help you find a sense of self-worth.

With gardening and volunteering, you can take care of where you live and the community around you. When you give back to others, you should do so without expecting anything in return. Nonetheless, it will in turn enrich your life and you may find great improvements to your mental health. While gardening and volunteering can differ, both will develop the communities that are immensely important in recovery.

With gardening, you can work with a wide variety of plants that are visually pleasing as well as plants that can provide food. As you nourish the plants, it is rewarding to see the results of your labor. It is also fulfilling to know you are helping to create and maintain life. When you volunteer, you may be able to gain leadership and team-building skills. These skills will be essential in work and day-to-day life.

Practicing Mindfulness

Activities like yoga, meditation, cooking, and walking are all easy-going ways to relax, ease stress, and reduce symptoms of mental illness. They won’t be an instant fix, but they can be a component of the working parts that comprise your recovery. Yoga, in particular, has been shown to be helpful for stress and pain management. A Harvard Mental Health Letter cites a study by the University of Utah, which showed that people who practiced yoga had better stress regulation and in turn better pain management.*

There are many different ways to practice meditation, with no one way being correct. Often, people who practice meditation want to focus on their breath and focus on the present moment. The idea is to create a state of calm and peace, which will allow for internal reflection. From an article published by the US National Library of Medicine, author Michael McGee MD, wrote, “Several studies have also suggested that meditation can be helpful for the treatment of anxiety, addiction, aggression, suicidality, and depression.”*

Often, we can be our worst enemy when we constantly over-think our problems. This feeds a negative mindset from which it is hard to recover. Meditation and yoga are great ways to calm a racing mind. Adventure Therapy can be totally calm like yoga and meditation or high-impact like team sports and white-water rafting. Whatever you choose, it should help you to stop dwelling on the negative aspects of life that keep you down.

Cooking and Walking as Therapy

Cooking and walking are two activities that can do a lot to help your physical and mental health. With walking, you can get much needed exercise without too much of a strain. When you are walking outdoors, you may find that you are able to find time for reflection and it may help relieve some stress. Cooking is an activity that requires you to learn and focus on the tasks at hand. You may end up learning a lot about nutrition which obviously affects your physical health, but also affects your mental health in ways you may not even realize.

In an article for Psychology Today, Linda Wasmer Andrews writes that culinary therapy is growing at clinics and therapists offices, and is being used to treat a number of conditions including, “…depression, anxiety, eating disorders, ADHD, and addiction.”* What you eat can greatly affect your mental health, but the act of cooking itself can be immensely helpful.  As you cook, you gain new knowledge and also you can practice mindfulness as you focus on each step. Mindfulness may appear to be simple, but it something that when you practice it, it yields extraordinary benefits. Among the benefits, it will help reduce the time you spend worrying which feeds into mental illness.

Mental Health and Recovery

While the activities listed above are calm and low intensity, they can still be adventurous and you can learn. Sometimes just learning new facts and skills can be an exciting experience. Any type of Adventure Therapy should help you develop life-skills, interpersonal relationships, and even enable you to learn more about yourself. As the types of Adventure Therapy vary, the benefits will also vary from activity to activity. You can try a wide variety and figure out what is best for you. Whatever you choose, hopefully you are able to challenge yourself and find experiences that will be so fulfilling you will only want to move forward on this new path.

Addiction and mental health issues are not always going to feed in to one another. However, they can end up forming a vicious cycle when left untreated. Even if you are fortunate to never face serious mental illness problems, it will still be beneficial to you to work on your mental health. When you are in a better place mentally, you are better equipped to fight addiction. Mental health and addiction are both complex issues and not something you can solve by yourself. Engaging in these light activities with the support of your community will be important steps in your recovery.

*Resources:
Harvard- Yoga for anxiety and depression
US National Library of Medicine – Meditation and Psychiatry
Newsweek – 1 in 5 suffer from a mental illness
Psychology Today – Kitchen Therapy

How the Outdoors Benefit your Mental Health

It is important for every person to take care of their mental health, no matter who they are. Most people understand that being outdoors is good for them. When adding an active lifestyle to that, you are taking important steps to improve your physical and mental health. While research is still in the early stages, it is clear that outdoor therapy is beneficial. When you are in recovery, it helps to have a variety of activities for support.

According to a study published by the US National Library of Medicine, “Research to date has shown that nature exposure can provide a wide range of mental health benefits, related to…stress and anxiety, sleep, emotional stability, and self-perceived welfare or quality of life.”* Depression, stress, and anxiety can lead to substance abuse or can be newly developed as a result of drug use. Nature is not an instant fix, but it is a wonderful and calming way to help many of those symptoms.

Types of Outdoor Recreation

Nature is a place where we can feel free from a society that is often over-saturated with technology. In addition to spending time outside, it can be even better for your mental health when you engage in physical activities. The number of outdoor activities are vast and are frequently free or often very cheap. This variety and affordability allows for you to find different activities that work best for you.

Some of the many types of outdoor recreation include hiking, rock climbing, trail running, mountain biking, and camping. You can also walk along flat trails for an easier physical activity, while still enjoying the nature around you. With every type of outdoor activity, you can work your way up to more challenging levels. While your brain benefits from simply being outdoors, you will also feel a mental boost from what you are able to accomplish.

Skiing or snowboarding are outdoor activities that can provide an experience that is thrilling and can be challenging. One of the most famous national parks in the world, is the Grand Canyon here in Arizona. While you can hike for a challenge, even just going to visit it and walking along the rim can be an unbelievable experience. The ability to view the Grand Canyon will fill you with awe, provide a sense of peace, and may help you to feel connected with the earth.

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity.”

-John Muir

Another type of outdoor recreation is restoration and conservation volunteering. This is a way to help recover and preserve nature, which is especially important when it comes to the community you live in. Participating in this type of activity will help you learn, build social relationships, and feel a deep connection to the land around you. As our world becomes more urbanized, it is important that we engage in a serious effort to protect it.

Volunteering will help strengthen your community for support in your journey. It will also provide a sense of accomplishment that you are working on something much bigger than yourself. According to a study done in part by Rodlescia Sneed at Carnegie Mellon University, “Many people find volunteer work to be helpful with respect to stress reduction, and we know that stress is very strongly linked to health outcomes.”* When you are taking steps to reduce stress, you help ease any pressure on your overall health.

The Outdoors and Your Recovery

As previously stated, the great thing about outdoor recreation is the variety that you can choose from. This will help when it comes to cost, time, and level of difficulty. A California Parks Department study found, “Regular physical activity during recreation can reduce the severity of mental health disorders, enabling individuals to better cope with their daily lives.”* Physical exercise done outdoors is a great, and often free, resource to utilize.

 It is important to remember: none of this will be an instant fix. Still, it can help to alleviate symptoms and can help you cope with day-to-day life. It will never hurt to engage in behavior that strengthens your mental health. Of course, these activities also improve your physical health. This creates a positive cycle of getting your mental and physical health in a better place.

Addiction is a complex issue and maintaining sobriety is also complex. However, it is not impossible to maintain sobriety. It will take time, effort, and a community around you for support. Your journey may even involve failure or setbacks, but that is okay. Life is like that for everyone. When you engage in outdoor recreation, you are developing another tool as part of your continual journey in sobriety.

Sources:
* California Parks & Rec – Health & Social
* NIH – Bringing Outdoor Therapies Into Mainstream Mental Health
* Harvard Health Publishing – Volunteering

Common Causes of Depression in Young Men


Our culture is slow to discuss the impact of depression, but this mood disorder affects thousands of Americans each year. According to the American Psychological Association, 9 percent of men in this country experience symptom of depression, but just 1 out of 4 of those men seek out professional treatment.

Considering that depression is linked to even more dangerous health problems, including suicide and overdose, it’s important for our culture to start a more honest and understanding conversation about depression. This conversation must also recognize the cultural factors that prevent individuals, particularly young men, from coming forward and being honest about their symptoms.

This overview of depressive disorder and the unique experience of young men dealing with this condition is a helpful resource for families. Using this information will make it easier to decide on how to move forward when the family faces a depression diagnosis.

The Truth About the Disease Called Depression 

Much of the misinformation surrounding depression is related to its classification as a disease. Some individuals are unaware that depression can be caused by measurable neurological changes in the brain. Others believe that the disease is the result of individuals “not trying hard enough” to be in a better mood.

The truth is that a long list of complex, interrelated chemical and psychological factors contribute to depression. Potential factors include:

  • Faulty mood regulation by the brain
  • Genetic vulnerability
  • Stressful life events
  • Medications
  • Other medical problems

The very first step toward battling depression in young men is to recognize and validate that their struggle is a real medical problem. There are several cultural barriers that discourage discussion about chronic depression in men. Family members should not create more roadblocks to success with their own bias and skepticism.

Men’s Depression Must Not Be Ignored 

Common Causes of Depression in Young MenAs noted above, just a fraction of the thousands of young men who struggle with depression feels confident enough to get help from a professional. Why the apprehension about consulting the help of an expert to address a critical health condition?

Much of this resistance comes from society’s expectation that young men should be confident and strong. This expectation conflicts with the misinformed perceptions that many people have about those who receive men’s depression treatment and/or help with a substance abuse problem.

The reality of the situation is that no one would consider an athlete as “weak” if they get help from a nutritionist or muscle specialist. Receiving help and recommendations for health problems that start in the brain means tracking down the appropriate specialist, and in this case, that means a mental health professional.

Failure to treat an individual who is struggling with depression can result in an even worse situation, both for the person battling the disorder and for his or her family.

Depression Can Be Deadly 

It is not uncommon for individuals who are deeply depressed to become self-destructive. The issue grows when family members are unresponsive and the young man, in turn, becomes even more withdrawn. In fact, there are multiple ways depression can put a young man’s life in danger if these symptoms continue to go untreated.

Here are just a few of the worst-case scenarios:

Drug Overdose 

The overlap between those dealing with depression and those struggling with drug abuse is significant. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America noted that nearly 20 percent of Americans suffering from a mood disorder like depression also abuse alcohol or drugs. Therefore, families must not be negligent in seeking dual diagnosis substance abuse treatment for men.

Suicidal Thoughts 

 More than half of the individuals who commit suicide were also battling major depression, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This is just another reason why loved ones must be proactive when a young man opens up about his depression.

Reckless Behavior 

People who are depressed and individuals struggling with drug abuse tend to make rash, impulsive decisions, especially when they are under the influence. Whether it’s getting behind the wheel of a car or cleaning a firearm, there are just some activities that shouldn’t be attempted until after treatment has begun.

Common Causes of Depression in Young Men 

Scientists are still debating exactly why young men become depressed. Part of the reason the debate ensues is that so many different, yet interrelated, factors can add up to the mental disorder known as major depressive disorder.

Researchers have, however, nailed down many of the traits most associated with those who are depressed or who suffered from depression later in life. Common traits of what causes depression in young men include:

Negative Thought Life 

The negative thought patterns and hopelessness that characterize common forms of depression are ones that can be learned. Children can be taught hopelessness by discouraging life situations or by the negative influence of adults in their lives. Eventually, this lifestyle of negative thought can evolve into a full-blown depression problem.

Traumatic Childhood Event 

Traumatic events, ranging from the violent to the sexual, leave a lasting impression on a child. In order to reconcile these events, a young mind may be forced to begin operating in an unhealthy manner. This turn of events could lead that child to depression in young adulthood. This is another example of how early recognition and men’s depression treatment can prevent bigger problems from developing.

Hereditary Risk 

Experts still aren’t sure about the exact mechanism, but there seems to be a hereditary element behind depression. That means if a parent has battled depression, then there is a high likelihood that one of their children will also face similar issues. Lack of awareness about this hereditary risk is yet another reason depression goes ignored and untreated.

Body Chemistry Breakdown 

All sorts of scenarios, including major hormonal imbalances that occur as a result of prescription medication use, can interfere with the brain’s central nervous system. Unfortunately, many of these breakdowns result in depression and other serious mood disorders. It’s just another reason why the symptoms of depression must be recognized and treated as soon as they arise.

Depression Starts Early 

Depression isn’t something that a young man can will away from his body. There is no weakness in seeking professional help to treat depression, only an opportunity to heal and move forward. Loved ones can help stave off these issues by learning about the causes and symptoms of depression early on, and then speaking up when they recognize a problem.

The first step toward is getting the most current information about treatment. Individuals can learn more about how to search for men’s depression and addiction treatment by getting in contact with us. You can also discover more by visiting the many other resources we offer on this website.

Explore Different Depressive Disorders and the General Symptoms of Depression 

See Our Depression Fact Sheet

Anger Management and Behavioral Health for Young Adult Son with Substance Abuse Issues


Awareness is growing nationwide that young men are struggling with anger issues at an alarming rate. And while anger in young men is frequently written off as part of the growing-up process, for many, anger management issues serve as a warning sign that more serious problems are at play.

If your son is unable to control his anger and also has issues with drug or alcohol abuse, it is important for you, as a parent, to understand that these two problems feed off each other. Trying to address one without also addressing the other simply won’t work.

In this article, we’ll examine the close relationship between anger issues, mental health and substance abuse, as well as how dual diagnosis addiction treatment serves as the most effective path toward achieving recovery for young men.

Types of Anger in Young Men 

Young men express their anger in a number of different ways. While experts differ in how they categorize the various ways anger manifests itself from person to person, some of the widely recognized forms of anger include:

Passive anger – Young men with passive anger issues do not usually express their feelings directly or aggressively. Passive anger very often takes the form of passive-aggressive comments, a brooding demeanor and social withdrawal. 

Judgmental anger – Individuals experiencing judgmental anger become upset when they feel that others are not living up to their expectations. Young men with judgmental anger appear resentful, and overly critical of the people around them.

Overwhelmed anger – This type of anger arises when an individual feels like they are losing control over their lives and can no longer manage all of their responsibilities.

Self-inflicted anger – People with self-inflicted anger typically feel weak or irresponsible. These feeling usually result from a perceived failure to live up to their own expectations.   

Volatile anger This type of anger is typically directed toward others, and is characterized by aggressive and even violent outbursts that are out of proportion to the situation.

The True Causes of Anger Issues 

Anger problems in men are very often caused by depression, anxiety, ADHD or other underlying mental illnesses. Anger issues are more serious than the fleeting feelings of anger that everyone experiences from time to time.

Prolonged and excessive anger is a warning sign of mental illness, as most healthy individuals don’t tend to carry their anger inside of them over long periods of time. Healthy individuals are also able to maintain control over their anger and limit the way anger influences their thoughts and actions.

For young men with mental health issues, feelings of anger constantly sit just below the surface and can manifest into action at the slightest trigger. 

There are a number of reasons why young men with mental health issues may develop anger disorders. For instance, individuals suffering from ADHD may feel a sense of frustration over their inability to focus on and complete tasks. Over time, this constant frustration develops into anger, both toward themselves and others.

Mental Illness and Substance Abuse 

Too many young men suffering from anger and mental health issues develop co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse. These men, unable to manage the symptoms of their mental illness, often turn to drugs and alcohol in an attempt at self-medicating. Unfortunately, doing so will only mask the underlying issues of anger and mental illness, and over the long term will cause these problems to become worse and worse.

Mental illnesses are rooted in a wide range of factors including genetics, environment and traumatic life experiences. For those at an elevated risk for mental illness, abusing drugs or alcohol, especially at an early age, can trigger the development of serious psychological problems.   

Drug and alcohol abuse will also exacerbate the symptoms of an already existing mental health problem. Drugs and alcohol can do serious damage to the delicate structures of the brain, and when one’s brain is already suffering from the effects of mental illness, the combination can have disastrous consequences.

Addressing the Problem Early 

Many parents wait too long before seeking addiction and anger treatment for their sons. The importance of early intervention cannot be overstated. While it may be comforting to believe that your son is just going through a phase and that they will outgrow their problems with anger and addiction, failing to act during their formative years can have serious lifelong consequences.  

By choosing a course of treatment for your son that includes both addiction treatment and anger management programs for young men, you’ll be helping him enter adulthood with the tools he needs to achieve his full potential.  

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Men 

The most successful addiction and behavior programs for young men include many different treatment protocols, such as:

Group therapy Mutual support among a group of peers is an indispensable element of dual diagnosis treatment. It is important for young men to recognize that they are not alone in their struggles with anger and substance abuse; sharing these experiences in a supportive group setting can make that happen.

Individual therapy Some issues are best addressed in a one-on-one setting with a psychiatrist, psychologist or licensed addiction counselor. Such expert guidance can help a young man gain a better understanding of who he truly is, as well as how his problems with substance abuse and anger management are, in reality, two sides of the same coin.

Family therapy Because substance abuse and anger issues are often rooted in one’s home life, it is important to involve the patient’s family in the treatment process. A family therapist can help everyone involved identify troublesome behaviors, such as issues of abuse or codependency.

Aftercare counseling – After graduating from a dual diagnosis treatment program, it is important for a young man to learn how to put his newly learned skills into practice. Aftercare counseling helps young men discover ways to navigate life’s many challenges without relapsing into both substance abuse and anger-motivated behaviors.

Finding Help for Your Son 

Remember, a key factor in successfully managing co-occurring substance abuse and mental illness is early intervention. So don’t wait! Reach out to the expert staff at Reflections Recovery Center today to learn how our men’s addiction treatment programs in Arizona can help get your son started on the journey toward holistic, lifelong recovery.

Learn More About Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment

Is Your Husband Hiding Addiction?


Wives with husbands who are struggling with addiction often find it difficult to understand why their spouses are attempting to hide their addictions from them. In many cases, a wife believes her husband is intentionally trying to hide his addiction from her with mischievous intentions or to prevent her from helping him.

The reality is that it is rare for a person to hide a disease such as addiction for malicious reasons. The fact is, addiction is a serious illness with a wide range of symptoms that tend to intensify the feelings of denial, guilt and shame, all of which impair a person’s ability to seek help.

In most circumstances, the most effective support team for an addicted husband is his family, which is why it is important for family members to be aware of the fundamental components of substance abuse and how they can best support their addicted loved one. The following information about the effects of addiction on the body and mind can help you understand this disease and how to handle a husband’s addiction in the most effective way possible.

Husband Hiding Addiction: Concerning Withdrawal Symptoms

Addiction has a plethora of symptoms that are identical to those of serious diseases. Consisting of both mental and physical problems, the list of addiction withdrawal symptoms includes these mental conditions and physical problems:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Headaches
  • Isolation
  • Sweating
  • Lack of concentration
  • High heart rate and blood pressure
  • Muscle pain
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Chest pain
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea

As you can see, addiction has severe withdrawal symptoms, which demonstrates that this disorder can be as truly debilitating as many other diseases. In fact, withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and depression can make recovering from addiction even more difficult for individuals pursuing sobriety.

Denial

It can be particularly hard for someone to address the negative feelings connected with his addiction or even think of himself as a person who is dependent on substances. In some circumstances, individuals can find themselves dependent on drugs or alcohol before they even realize it. Regardless of the individual’s awareness of the problem, it is human nature to want to avoid unpleasant realities.

When someone has a disease or symptoms that negatively affect their health, they tend to deal with the problem by refusing to believe it completely or by using rationalization, justification and excuses. Since the primary symptom of denial is the refusal to believe in its own presence, denial is extremely difficult to conquer alone. Even though denial is frustrating, it is likely your husband believes he is doing the right thing by hiding his pain.

Guilt and Shame

Even if your husband understands his addiction for what it is, he might be hiding the severity of it due to profound feelings of guilt and shame. Living with an addiction compels people to act in ways they would not normally act, just to make it through the day. In most cases, people struggling with substance abuse are not truly in control, due to addiction’s ability to control the mind and the body.

When someone is addicted, he or she feels forced to find the means to get the substance of choice every day. It becomes an obsession and compulsion, which can cause someone to do things that make them feel ashamed.

As substance use continues, someone struggling with addiction may gravitate toward their substance of choice to shut out their guilt. Like denial, the guilt and shame can make a husband feel he needs to shield his wife from the pain he would cause her if she understood how much he was struggling. Often, husbands believe they can handle the problem themselves. 

How to Help an Addict Husband

Addiction can be one of the most difficult problems a couple faces during their marriage, which is why seeking addiction help for your husband is critical to restoring the foundation of trust in your relationship. While your husband may believe that shielding you from his addiction is viable means of ensuring your protection, keeping you in the dark is doing a disservice to everyone involved.

Family Intervention

The best way to overcome this hurdle is with a comprehensive family addiction intervention. This can break down the walls of denial through the facilitation of honesty, empathy and understanding.

The goal of an intervention is to enable the healing to commence. After your husband has acknowledged his addiction, the family can move toward recovery, which will include family addiction support, focused on rebuilding trust between you and your husband.

Addiction Help for Husbands

While professional guidance can go a long way, nothing can hold a candle to having the support of a loved one during recovery. For this reason, Reflections Recovery Center in Arizona stresses the importance of including patients’ families throughout treatment.

Believing that effective communication builds trust, the mental health experts at Reflections can provide you and your family with a family communication specialist who will serve as a liaison throughout the course of recovery.

See Our Family Counseling Services

Benzodiazepine Prescription Drugs that Require Detox


Benzodiazepine Prescription Medications Can Lead to Addiction

Doctors prescribe benzodiazepine medications to treat medical conditions such as panic disorders, muscle spasms, seizures, anxiety disorders and the symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal. While benzodiazepine medications are not as chemically addictive as opioids, cocaine or methamphetamine, they still carry a significant potential for abuse.

Some people abuse benzodiazepine medications for a euphoric high or intense muscle relaxation, and several take these medications longer than advisable. Unfortunately, proper cessation of benzodiazepine medication can be tricky, and attempting to try quitting “cold turkey” can have deadly consequences.

Benzodiazepine Prescription Uses and Risks

People who take benzodiazepine medications for anxiety or other mental health disorders may build a tolerance to the drugs over time. They also develop a physical dependence at the same time, often compelling a cycle of abuse that leads to addiction.

Prolonged use of benzodiazepines will lead to ineffective treatment for the person’s prior symptoms and make it difficult to function at home, school or work. Some people will take these medications in hazardous situations, such as before driving or operating dangerous equipment.

When an individual reaches the point that a benzodiazepine prescription drug is interfering with daily life or has grown into an addiction, it’s crucial to know how to address this issue safely.

Stopping Benzodiazepine Prescriptions Safely

Most doctors will recommend a patient to take a benzodiazepine medication for a certain amount of time and then gradually decrease the dose to wean off the medication. People who improperly stop taking their benzodiazepine medications risk an intense resurgence of previous symptoms the prescription aimed to treat.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms typically include nausea, disorientation, anxiety, hallucinations, hypersensitivity, tremors, and heightened autonomic activities like heart rate and breathing. The most serious possible withdrawal symptom is a potentially fatal grand mal seizure.

When a person enters detox for benzos, medical professionals will administer medications to manage these symptoms and flush the remaining benzos from the patient’s system. This is a long process that involves slowly tapering off the dosage of benzodiazepines that can last weeks or even months, depending on the level of addiction.

Most detox personnel recommend tapering the patient’s previously abused benzodiazepine medication and then switching him or her to a longer-acting benzodiazepine. Then, the patient will slowly taper off of that medication until the physical benzo dependency has passed. During this time, treatment and counseling between doses can help the patient understand the root cause of his or her addiction.

Types of Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepine medications are available in a variety of brands, each of which has different properties. Some are fast acting but only last for a short time, while others are slower acting but last much longer.

Different benzodiazepine medications require different detox methods, so it’s vital to understand the risks of each type of benzodiazepine medication.

Xanax Addiction

Alprazolam, commonly known as Xanax, is an effective treatment for a variety of panic and anxiety disorders. This fast-acting medication reduces excitability and increases inhibitory brain activity.

Xanax addiction can easily lead to:

  • Difficulty functioning in work, school or social settings
  • Profound symptoms of anxiety and panic
  • Disorientation
  • Many other negative symptoms

Chlordiazepoxide: Librium Addiction

Chlordiazepoxide, also known as Librium, is a sedative used to treat anxiety disorders and the withdrawal symptoms of addiction to some other substances, such as alcohol. Librium produces extreme adverse effects when combined with some other substances such as alcohol and opioid-based prescription painkillers.

When abused, Librium can cause “paradoxical disinhibition,” a condition entailing symptoms that one wouldn’t typically expect to see from a person under the influence of a sedative, such as:

  • Increased aggression
  • Irritability
  • Impulsivity

Clonazepam: Klonopin Addiction

Clonazepam, known as Klonopin, is the third-most prescribed benzodiazepine medication in the United States. This drug treats various anxiety disorders such as:

  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Extreme phobias

Klonopin abuse can lead to difficulty focusing, memory problems, cravings for more Klonopin, lethargy and delirium. It is possible to overdose on Klonopin, which can lead to respiratory depression, coma or death.

Clorazepate: Tranxene Addiction

Clorazepate, or Tranxene, is a fast-acting benzodiazepine medication that treats several anxiety disorders. Abuse of this drug can lead to dependence, and like other benzodiazepine medications, it requires a careful discontinuation plan for safe cessation.

Diazepam: Valium Addiction

Diazepam, commonly called Valium, is a central nervous system depressant used to treat anxiety and aid relaxation. Valium can ease muscle spasms, prevent seizures and manage the symptoms of various anxiety disorders. Abuse of Valium can lead to tolerance and addiction.

Over time, Valium withdrawal can affect a person’s mental health and cause symptoms such as:

  • Heightened aggression
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Feelings of intense anxiety

A Valium overdose can lead to coma or death.

Estazolam: Prosom Addiction

Estazolam, or Prosom, is a short-term prescription to aid sleep. Unfortunately, this drug can lead to dependency when abused, mixed with other substances or taken longer than prescribed.

Flurazepam: Dalmane Addiction

Flurazepam, known as Dalmane, is very similar to Valium and often prescribed as a sleep aid. Similar to Valium, abuse of this drug can easily lead to dependency and significant withdrawal symptoms.

Lorazepam: Ativan Addiction

Doctors generally only prescribe lorazepam, also known as Ativan, for short-term treatment for anxiety disorders. Even if a patient takes this drug as prescribed, it can still lead to tolerance and dependency, which can entail:

  • Profound memory loss
  • Impaired muscle coordination
  • Sensory problems

Midazolam: Versed Addiction

Doctors prescribe midazolam most often as an anesthetic sedative, but it can also help relieve the symptoms of anxiety disorders. Like any other benzodiazepine medication, users should gradually taper off this medication to avoid withdrawal.

Oxazepam: Serax Addiction

Oxazepam, also known as Serax, is a slow-acting benzodiazepine medication that helps users fall asleep and stay asleep. However, slow-release medication can lead to a tolerance, which can then lead to dependency without a cessation plan.

Temazepam: Restoril Addiction

Restoril, or the generic version temazepam, is a sleep aid intended for short-term use. Temazepam can cause short-term memory loss and other withdrawal symptoms with extended or inappropriate use.

Triazolam: Halcion Addiction

Similar to Restoril, Halcion is a sleep aid intended for short-term use. This drug carries a high potential for abuse, and abusing Halcion can lead to significant withdrawal symptoms.

Quazepam: Doral Addiction

Another benzodiazepine sleep aid is quazepam, also known as Doral. This medication depresses the central nervous system and is easily habit forming. Doctors generally only recommend Doral for occasional use.

Undergoing Safe Detox for Benzos

The thought of entering benzodiazepine detox can be frightening, but it’s important to understand how crucial medical assistance is during recovery. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can lead to profound physical and psychological symptoms, so attempting to quit a benzodiazepine medication cold turkey can be extremely dangerous, even fatal.

See Our Detox Services

Addiction and Suicide Rates Soaring in Arizona Cities


Drug addiction and mental health problems go hand in hand like the circle of love and marriage. We use drugs to numb pain, physical or emotional, real or imagined, and because we have mental health problems. And we sometimes have mental health problems because we use too many drugs.

Arizona has had a growing problem of both drug addiction and mental health crises. Phoenix and her suburbs have been particularly hard hit, especially Gilbert, AZ, which has been the center of opioid and heroin addiction in the state for more than 10 years.

Arizona’s Growing Mental Health Crisis 

Depression is a serious mental health problem. It can be fatal.

In 2015, suicide took more than 44,000 lives in America, making self-murder a significant health issue that affects people of all ages, races and ethnicities. In Arizona, suicide is such a severe issue it is ranked as the eighth-leading cause of death, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.

According to statistics taken from CDC and Arizona Department of Health Services reports, the numbers around this deadly condition in Arizona are shocking:

  • Arizona had 10 child suicides (ages 14 and under) in 2015.
  • Arizona had 60 teen suicides (ages 15 to 19) in 2015.
  • The state had 1,276 suicides overall in 2015.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for those aged 10 to 14.
  • Taking one’s own life is the second-leading cause of death for Arizonans aged 15 to 34.
  • There are 2.5 times more deaths from suicide annually than homicide.
  • For each successful suicide attempt, there are 25 failed attempts — with many leading to hospitalization.
  • More women than men have suicidal thoughts and attempts.
  • More men than women are likely to die by suicide.

Arizona Suicide Rates Have Tripled

From 2001 to 2011, the suicide rates in Arizona have soared.

Of note is the suburb of Gilbert, near Phoenix. According to the Health Status Report for Cities and Towns in Maricopa County, the suicide rate increased threefold during the decade. In 2011, there were 31 suicides; in 2000, there were only 7, according to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. The ratios per capita have increased as well.

The Gilbert Police Department has said it receives an average of four suicide threats or attempts each week, and one suicide completion per week. Mercy Gilbert Medical Center reports the number of mental health consultations rising over the past several years, some of which are related to suicide attempts.

Youth Suicides in Arizona

Last summer, a cluster of teen suicides rocked the community of Gilbert. Six teenagers hanged themselves, and a seventh fell victim to suicide by shooting oneself. Tragically, these young people, unknown to each other, lived less than 12 miles apart from each other. All committed suicide within a six-week period.

Subsequently, Gilbert Public Schools underwent Suicide Alertness Training to help educators recognize students who need help and to connect them with the appropriate resources.

Teen suicide prevention includes:

  • Improved communication between parents and teens.
  • Keeping a close watch on teens’ cellphones.
  • When depression is present, asking outright whether the student plans to kill himself/herself.
  • Monitoring social media.
  • Removing guns, belts and other potential means of self-destruction from the home.
  • Watching for drug or alcohol use.
  • Watching for teens talking about dying or death.
  • Being wary of teens becoming impulsive or taking unnecessary risks.

However, it’s not just the youth in Gilbert that are dying from suicide; it affects people of all ages. Friends and family may think their loved one is just depressed, but depression can become such a severe mental health crisis that suicide seems like a rational solution at the time.


Suicide Risk Factors

People at risk for suicidal behavior fall into all age groups. Some common risk factors are:

  • Having a mental health disorder
  • Having a substance use disorder
  • Stressful life events
  • Prolonged stress factors
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Family history of suicide

According to America’s Health Ranking for Arizona in 2016, families concerned about a loved one should restrict access to firearms, lethal doses of medications and alcohol in the home.




Lack of Access to Mental Health Treatment in Arizona

It doesn’t help matters that Arizona is the second-worst state at addressing mental health issues. According to studies, adults and youth with a diagnosed condition, serious thoughts of suicide, and substance abuse problems have serious unmet needs in Arizona.

Lack of access to effective mental health treatment means:

  • Arizonans have unmet mental health needs.
  • Some Arizona residents don’t receive mental health treatment at all.
  • Residents are often unable to see doctors because of the cost.
  • Not enough primary care physicians are screening for mental illness.
  • Insufficient mental health professionals to meet the need in Arizona.
  • There are long wait times to get treatment.
  • A significant need for community services.
  • Insurance has holes in coverage concerning mental health services.


Heroin and Prescription Drug Addiction Arizona on the Rise 

Last year, President Trump declared that America was in the throes of a national public health emergency because of what opioids are doing to our citizens. Arizona is no exception. An American crisis, an Arizonan crisis, opioids and heroin have taken over our streets.

Derived from the age-old poppy plant, opioids are synthetic and organic drugs made from opium. One of the strongest and most addictive of these drugs is heroin, commonly snorted or liquefied and then injected. People caught up in the Gilbert, AZ heroin epidemic just call it dope.

Prescription drug addiction in Arizona is often a result of opioid use. Examples of commonly prescribed opioids are:

  • Percocet
  • Oxycodone/OxyContin
  • Methadone
  • Hydrocodone/Norco
  • Vicodin
  • Fentanyl

In the current opioid epidemic, these medications are easily ill gotten. Whether it be from a relative’s medicine cabinet or through illicit means, prescription drug addiction is rampant across the country and in Arizona.

Opioid Deaths Skyrocketing

New reports are showing a surge in opioid overdose deaths in Arizona. In fact, 2016 marked the highest number of deaths in 10 years. Heroin and prescription opioid painkillers are to blame.

People are starting out by taking painkillers for a legitimate reason, then getting hooked and moving on to something stronger. Accidentally taking too much opioid medication causes cessation of breathing and death.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services in 2016, the following statistics alarmed state officials:

  • Heroin deaths have tripled since 2012.
  • Every day, two Arizonans die from an opioid overdose.
  • The heroin death rate is rising faster than that of prescription opioids.
  • Hospitals saw more than 51,000 opioid-related encounters.

Because prescription opioid deaths are soaring and the government is cracking down on doctors who prescribe too much Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin, it’s no surprise people are turning to heroin for relief.

Drug Rehab near Gilbert, AZ

Because of the growing problem of heroin arrests, drug addiction and mental health crises in the Phoenix area, many are seeking out drug rehabs all over Arizona.

The city of Gilbert has seen heroin, a cheaper and more accessible alternative to prescription painkillers, cause an increase in narcotic-related arrests by 300 percent in the past 10 years. Regardless of the changing prescribing guidelines set forth by the government, when people are addicted, they find a way to get the drug they crave.

Treatment centers in Arizona are helping people who are addicted to heroin. The first seven to 10 days going without heroin is excruciating without medical help. Thus, professional drug rehab facilities wean people off opioids and keeps them as comfortable as possible.

If you or your son needs help with a mental health or substance abuse problem in Arizona, call Reflections Recovery Center while there is still time. Many of our clients have dealt with both a mental health issue like depression and a substance use disorder like heroin addiction. We have caring professionals waiting to help.

The Arizona families who have had to deal with these problems are in the thoughts of the team at Reflections Recovery Center in Prescott, AZ. For those facing thoughts of suicide, the situation can feel hopeless. However, depression is a treatable illness. There is help available.

See the Reflections Recovery Experience