Gabapentin Addiction

Is Gabapentin Addictive?

Gabapentin is a prescription medication with a checkered history. It’s helped many people overcome unbearable symptoms associated with health disorders. On the other hand, it’s hurt people at times. It’s led medical professionals and individuals suffering from health disorders to ask questions. Is Gabapentin addictive? Is Gabapentin a controlled substance? If so, should I avoid taking it? 

The answer varies. Gabapentin and tramadol can be dangerous. Gabapentin and alcohol can be deadly. Yet, it can save lives in certain scenarios. We explore the pros and cons below. 

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a prescription medication. It’s a painkiller that it’s in its own class of drugs called gabapentinoids. The unique chemical structure reduces pain and the symptoms of other health issues

This kind of medication helps:

  • Nerve pain associated with shingles
  • People suffering from epilepsy (it’s an anticonvulsant) 
  • Symptoms of hot flashes 
  • Symptoms of restless leg syndrome 
  • Alcohol and drug withdrawal symptoms 
  • Diabetes symptoms 
  • Fibromyalgia (reduces pain and tenderness) 
  • Soothe chronic nerve pain in general

Gabapentin can help those suffering from a substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder. During detox, medical professionals at an addiction recovery center may offer medication-assisted treatment. Doctors are careful when they prescribe medication. Prescription drugs are legal but can cause unpleasant side effects and complications. 

Yet, withdrawal symptoms can be more dangerous than the possible risk. In cases like this, they may prescribe Gabapentin to make detox bearable. Most painkillers are classified as opioids. Although Gabapentin is a different kind of drug, it helps people ween off opioid use. Doctors may prescribe it as medication to prevent the discomfort that comes with stopping “cold turkey.” Then, they will taper the dose over time.

Additionally, severe addictions can result in seizures and unbearable pain. Using Gabapentin under medical supervision can reduce the risk of both. Of course, it still raises the question: Is Gabapentin addictive? Do the benefits outweigh the costs?

Is Gabapentin Addictive? 

Yes, Gabapentin is addictive. Painkillers can be addictive, even if they’re not opioids. However, doctors may choose to prescribe it to people with a substance use disorder because it’s less addictive than opioids. That said, non-medical Gabapentin use happens and can cause just as much damage as other drugs. 

Is Gabapentin a Controlled Substance or Not?

So, is Gabapentin a controlled substance? The state of Kentucky decided it would be in 2017. A controlled substance is when a drug is tightly managed by the government because it could lead to non-medical use and substance use disorders.  Though, it’s classified as a Schedule V controlled substance, meaning it isn’t as addictive as other controlled substances. 

According to GoodRx, this state saw that Gabapentin products could be addictive. In 2015, they found that 57 million prescriptions were approved. Pharmacists understandably became worried as prescription levels rose. 

A journal within PubMed found that 9 in 10, or about 90%, of surveyed pharmacists felt that Gabapentin was a problem in their community. They specifically said that non-medical use was a problem. This included the fear behind how people were able to get a hold of it without a prescription. Over 1,600 community pharmacists responded.

What Is the Science Behind Gabapentin?  

Gabapentin mimics the neurotransmitter, GABA, also known as gamma-aminobutyric acid. Medications that mimic the structure of GABA are known as GABA analogs. GABA acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. In short, it inhibits chemical messages. In turn, it slows down the nervous systems. When GABA binds to its receptor, it makes a person feel calm. 

Though, Gabapentin doesn’t bind to receptors as GABA would. The science behind how Gabapentin works is unclear. Research shows that it increases the amount of GABA for the brain to use. Although it doesn’t bind to receptors, the chemicals in Gabapentin produce the same effect overall. It reduces pain and can increase relaxation overall. 

Why Is Gabapentin Addictive?

Gabapentin is addictive because people can develop a chemical dependency on it. In most people, the body naturally produces the amino acid, GABA. It plays a role in stress and relaxation. Also, it helps make a person feel happy. Gabapentin makes individuals feel relaxed and euphoric because it acts similarly to GABA. 

When a person uses Gabapentin consistently their brain becomes used to the chemicals it increases or inhibits. After a while, the brain becomes used to that level. This can also result in tolerance, meaning someone would need to do more of it to feel the same effect. Tolerance or not, the brain becomes used to the levels of chemicals brought about by regular use. Stopping upsets brain chemistry, which turns into both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. 

How Is Gabapentin Addictive For Some People?

This medication can be more addictive for certain groups of people more than others. For instance, individuals suffering from a substance use disorder are more likely to become addicted to Gabapentin. A 2013 study found that 15% of participants consumed Gabapentin without a prescription alongside other drugs. 

Other factors may increase the likelihood of a chemical dependency on this prescription medication: 

  • Taking more than prescribed over time
  • Using it to self-medicate health issues 
  • Self-medicating because of a lack of health insurance 
  • Stopping prescription use without medical instruction 

People who are prescribed Gabapentin can still end up with a substance use disorder. They may ignore a doctor’s instructions or misinterpret them. It’s less likely a person will end up battling an addiction if they are prescribed it. Regardless, being aware of the possibility is still important. 

What Are Other Names For Gabapentin? 

Gabapentin is the generic version of its brand-name counterparts. Gralise and Neurontin are the most popular brand-name forms of it. Gralise typically comes in tablet form. On the other hand, Neurotin comes in capsules, tablets, and a solution. Both are used to treat nerve pain from shingles and reduce seizures in people that suffer from epilepsy. 

Other brand-name forms of Gabapentin include: 

  • SmartRx Gaba-V Kit 
  • Neuraptine 
  • Horizant 
  • Gabarone 
  • FusePaq Fanatrex 

On the streets, Gabapentin has different names. Street names for this prescription drug include “johnnies” and “gabbies.” Sometimes prescription drugs, like this one, are diverted for illegal use. Using Gabapentin without a prescription can be dangerous for multiple reasons. A person doesn’t understand what dose to take nor do they realize how it may affect them in the long term. 

What Are the Side Effects of Gabapentin? 

Like any medication, Gabapentin has side effects. They can happen through legal, medical use and non-medical use. Although, it’s less likely to happen when it’s prescribed. Medicine that affects brain chemistry may have serious side effects, especially if they’re stopped abruptly. 

The risk of side effects is increased if a person takes other forms of medication. It might come as a surprise that certain herbal supplements and minerals may increase the risk as well. GoodRx notes that Calcifediol and Orlistat, in particular, should be consumed with caution if a person takes them with Gabapentin. Using both at the same time could lead to worse short-term and long-term side effects overall. 

Short-Term Effects 

  • Feeling drowsy 
  • Fainting spells 
  • Loss of motor coordination 
  • Memory loss 
  • Trouble talking 
  • Double vision 
  • Increased chance of illness 
  • Tremors 
  • Strange eye movements 
  • Headaches 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive Sweating

Long-Term Effects

  • Jaundice 
  • Metabolic disorders 
  • Increased risk of a muscle tissue breakdown (rhabdomyolysis) 
  • Increased hostility and agitation 
  • Depression 
  • Breast enlargement 
  • Skin tissue disorders 
  • Decreased libido 
  • Issues with ejaculation 
  • Anxiety 

The Dangers of Abusing Gabapentin and Alcohol 

Alcohol is a depressant. Drugs like these slow down brain and body functionality. Gabapentin functions in a similar way. Because both have the same effect on the body and brain, they have the same side effects. So, it’s more likely for someone to experience intense side effects if they consume both. 

This is dangerous for multiple reasons. Both drugs slow down breathing. Consuming too much of either can result in severe breathing problems, which could land a person in the hospital. Also, nausea is a common side effect of both. Too much vomiting can lead to deadly cases of dehydration. Finally, it’s possible to overdose on Gabapentin. Combining drugs and alcohol only increases the risk of overdoing. 

Why Would Someone Use Gabapentin and Alcohol?

Using Gabapentin and alcohol is a terrible idea. Some people disregard this fact to have a good time, at times. Alcohol is a depressant, but large amounts can cause a stimulant effect. The idea behind consuming both substances is to feel energized, relaxed, and euphoric at the same time. Sometimes individuals with a Gabapentin prescription are unaware that alcohol poses a serious health risk. Either situation can result in an untimely death. 

Gabapentin and Tramadol 

Tramadol is a powerful opioid typically used for short-term pain relief. Taking Gabapentin and tramadol at the same time depresses central nervous system function. Combining Gabapentin with any kind of depressant can make it hard to breathe. Plus, it makes the side effects of either both. 

Most doctors wouldn’t prescribe both at the same time. Non-medical use of both makes overdose much more likely. Almost 70% of overdose deaths are due to opioid use. It’s important to consult a medical professional when consuming both for health reasons.

Discovery Insitute Can Provide the Tools to Fight Against Gabapentin and Alcohol Addictions

Ultimately, is Gabapentin addictive? Discovery Institute feels any risky drug use can result in addiction. Although it’s less common than most, Gabapentin use disorders can make a person feel alone and like life isn’t worth living. We provide personalized plans to help our members overcome the temptation of Gabapentin and alcohol. Contact us now to learn more.  

two men discussing benzo belly

What is “Benzo Belly”? Treating the Gut in Benzo Withdrawal

Taking certain anxiety medications, then stopping can cause withdrawal symptoms. A little-known withdrawal symptom of benzodiazepines is “benzo belly.” But, attending a medical detox program can help with benzo withdrawal pain relief. 

How do Benzodiazepines Affect Your Body?

Benzodiazepines or benzos are central nervous system (CNS) depressants. They treat anxiety and pain by slowing down brain activity. They work by increasing the activity of GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain. 

Benzos also enhance dopamine levels in the brain. This chemical messenger is involved in pleasure and reward. For this reason, people can become dependent and misuse their medication. After a few weeks of regular use, the brain can stop producing these chemicals naturally. 

Examples of benzos include:

  • Xanax
  • Klonopin
  • Librium
  • Valium
  • Ativan

The Dangers of Prescription Benzodiazepines

Benzos offer great benefits for anxiety and pain. But, they are for short-term use. For example, prolonged use of benzos for anxiety can make your anxiety worse. 

When your body starts expecting the drug to stimulate neurotransmitters, it needs more to get the desired effect. This is called tolerance. But, once you begin to feel withdrawal symptoms without the drug, it has become a dependence. 

Signs of dependence include:

  • Fatigue
  • Paranoia
  • Shakiness
  • Cold sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Increased anxiety
  • Lack of focus and concentration
  • Increased heart rate

What is “Benzo Belly”?

The term “benzo belly” describes the stomach discomfort from benzo withdrawal. The symptoms of “benzo belly” include diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and appetite changes. 

Benzos treat anxiety and seizure disorders. But, they have a high potential for misuse and addiction. If you develop an addiction to benzos, it means you can’t stop without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. 

However, withdrawal symptoms are very uncomfortable. As a result, most people start using again. This is why attending a medical detox program can help with benzo withdrawal pain relief and maintain recovery.

What Causes “Benzo Belly”?

Benzos affect almost every cell in the body, including the gastrointestinal tract (GI). When you stop using benzos, your body goes crazy, trying to function without the drug. For this reason, you may experience “benzo belly.” 

“Benzo belly” typically begins in the protracted phase of withdrawal. It may last for several weeks after your last dose. Although symptoms get better over time, some people may have symptoms for years. 

How Long Do Benzo Withdrawals Last?

For most drugs, withdrawal symptoms typically last 1 to 2 weeks after the last dose. But, benzos are different. They can have long post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). 

Symptoms of “benzo belly” may include alternating constipation and diarrhea. Eating certain foods can make the symptoms worse. But, your diet can help ease some symptoms of “benzo belly.”

So, how long do benzo withdrawals last? “Benzo belly” typically lasts for several weeks after the last dose. However, sometimes “benzo belly” can last up to a year or more. 

What are the Symptoms of “Benzo Belly”?

Symptoms of “benzo belly” include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Appetite changes
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Lower abdominal pain

If you are prescribed benzos, it’s vital to speak to your doctor before stopping. If you are taking benzos without a prescription, you should talk to an addiction center like Discovery Institute for treatment options. 

Is There a Cure for “Benzo Belly”?

In short, no – you just have to be patient and wait for the symptoms to go away. But, a change in your diet can offer relief. Furthermore, some foods can make your symptoms worse. “Benzo belly’ can make you feel like you have a food allergy, but it’s withdrawal symptoms.

Benzo Withdrawal Pain Relief: How Can You Overcome this Pain?

The pain and discomfort from benzo withdrawal cause many people to continue using benzos. The best shot at achieving and maintaining recovery is in an addiction treatment center. Medical detox programs can give you benzo withdrawal pain relief.

The use of medications such as Diazepam and Valium allows the body to adjust to the decrease of benzos. Because these drugs have slow elimination rates, it minimizes your withdrawal symptoms. 

Medication-assisted treatment is used in combination with other therapies such as psychotherapy and behavioral therapies. Some treatment centers offer gender-specific therapies. Some addictions stem from traumatic or life-changing situations. And, gender-specific therapies can help people mentally fight their benzo addiction. 

Holistic Treatment for Benzo Withdrawal Pain Relief

Holistic or alternative therapies can help with benzo withdrawal pain relief. Therapies such as yoga, acupuncture, and mindfulness can build mental strength to power through the discomfort and pain. These therapies will also help you along your recovery journey to maintain recovery.

Another holistic therapy is nutrition therapy. A healthy-eating-lifestyle can do wonders for “benzo belly.” A healthy diet can minimize and even prevent “benzo belly.” 

Tips for benzo withdrawal pain relief through diet include:

  • Keep meals small – The symptoms of “benzo belly” aren’t caused by overeating. But, it’s smart not to overwork the GI tract.
  • Keep meals light – Try to avoid eating heavy foods. You should consume smoothies, juices, and liquid foods when possible. 
  • Avoid harsh foods – Some foods and beverages are harsh on your stomach. `So, you should avoid highly acidic food and drinks. 
  • Take probiotics – Probiotics can replenish gut bacteria. They can be taken as a supplement or found in fermented foods and drinks. 

Although these tips won’t treat the source of “benzo belly,” they may alleviate the symptoms.

Other Lifestyle Changes to Relieve “Benzo Belly”

There are other things you can do to ease the symptoms of “benzo belly.” These include daily exercise, spending time in the sun, and getting plenty of sleep. 

Rebound insomnia is a big problem in benzo withdrawal. It may be hard to handle in the beginning. But, getting some early morning sun and exercise can combat the issue. Not only will it help with insomnia, but Vitamin D helps your immune system. While exercise helps rebalance brain chemicals and regulate your GI tract. 

Finding a treatment center with plenty of amenities increases your activity level and outdoor exposure. Important amenities to look for may include:

  • Outdoor sports
  • Swimming pool
  • Fitness centers
  • Gardens
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Meditation

Other Symptoms of Benzo Withdrawal

It can be a dangerous and difficult process to withdrawal from benzos. You may feel anxious for many weeks. Everything around you can also be irritating. Besides insomnia being common, you may have headaches and tremors the first week. 

The severity of your symptoms can vary depending on:

  • Your current dose
  • How long you have been using
  • Poly benzo use
  • If you take any sedatives
  • Other substance use disorders

The onset of withdrawal symptoms depends on the type of benzo you take. But, possible symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Drug cravings
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Hand tremors
  • Muscle spasms
  • Headache
  • Aches and pains
  • Sweating
  • Racing heart
  • Hyperventilating
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Problems concentrating
  • Delirium
  • Grand mal seizures

Phases of Benzo Withdrawal: How Long Do Benzo Withdrawals Last?

Benzos are commonly misused with other drugs and alcohol. This action is known as poly-drug misuse and influences the timeline and severity of withdrawal symptoms. Unlike most other drugs, benzo withdrawal has phases of withdrawal.

The main phases of benzo withdrawal include early withdrawal, acute withdrawal, and protracted withdrawal. In the early withdrawal phase, symptoms typically start within a few hours to a few days of the last dose. In this phase, your anxiety may return along with insomnia. 

The return of pre-medication issues is called the rebound effect. The brain is trying to rebound without medication. However, this can be minimized by tapering the drug during medical detox. 

Acute withdrawal may begin a few days after the last dose. This phase involves the majority of the withdrawal process. During this phase, medication-assisted treatment can be beneficial in benzo withdrawal pain relief.

Suicidal thoughts and behaviors can happen in the acute phase. So psychotherapy and support groups are vital in understanding your emotions. On average, the acute withdrawal phase can last between 2 weeks and a few months. 

Lastly, the protracted phase can last for several months or even years after your last dose. You may experience tingling in your arms and legs, prolonged anxiety and insomnia, cognitive defects, and depression. These symptoms can come and go – sometimes you will go months without a sign, and then they come back. 

Medical Detox Eases Benzo Withdrawal Pain Relief

Benzo withdrawal pain relief, including “benzo belly,” is one focus of medical detox. Medical detox is generally an inpatient program – meaning you live in the treatment center. Medical staff and doctors anticipate and treat benzo withdrawal pain relief and offer a safe recovery.

Benzo detox typically involves tapering or gradually reducing your daily dose. This reduction continues until all symptoms are gone. Including “benzo belly.” Stopping benzos, cold-turkey is never recommended due to severe risks, including seizures. 

Co-Occurring Anxiety and Benzo Addiction

Did your benzo use leave you struggling with addiction and your initial struggles of anxiety? If so, dual diagnosis treatment programs can address both struggles. Once you complete detox, therapy helps you understand your addiction and manage your anxiety.

Therapies in treatment may include:

  • Psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Holistic therapies including yoga and meditation
  • Behavioral modification therapy
  • Relapse prevention

Treatment at Discovery Institute

At Discovery Institute, our comprehensive programs address all addiction and mental health struggles. Our medical detox program can help if you are struggling with an addiction to benzos or need benzo withdrawal pain relief. Contact us today to find out how.

Addiction Help

What are the Signs of a Functional Addict?

When you think of a drug addict, you may see a very negative picture in your mind. Perhaps someone that is physically and mentally, a mess. You may think of a criminal or a homeless person using drugs. However, this is not always the case when it comes to addicts. Those who abuse drugs daily can be classified as a functional addict. Addiction is a disease that looks very different from case to case. 

Over the years, this cookie-cutter idea of an addict has created a negative stigma. While drug addiction may be a dangerous and sensitive topic for some, this stigma has made it harder to get help. A functional drug addict may be suffering in silence or be afraid to get help due to this idea. Over time, drug addiction may cause severe problems like financial problems or injury but this is not always the case. 

It is important to be able to spot the signs of possible addiction in loved ones or friends. Someone you know may be employed and living successfully but also struggling from drug addiction. If this is the case, Discovery Institute may be able to help. Once you’ve helped a loved one take the first step towards recovery, we’ll be their guide to a sober life. Don’t wait, get help today.

What Does a Functional Drug Addict Look Like?

A functional addict does not fit the image that comes to mind when you think of a ‘drug addict’. A functioning drug addict may seem completely normal; they’ll pay their bills, go to the gym, make it to their kid’s practices, and generally be in control of their life. By looking at a functional addict, you may not suspect that anything is wrong. Only close family members and themselves can truly determine the early signs of an addiction. 

Help for addiction

While there are many different physical effects of abusing drugs, there are a lot of social and behavioral effects as well. While they may be functional addicts right now, over time things can start to worsen. If a person does not take a hold of their addiction they can end up becoming homeless or riddled with health problems and financial problems. This is why it’s extra important to look out for the signs. 

The Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

There are a lot of red flags that can indicate a bigger issue at hand. Looking out for these takes patience and assurance. No matter how much a person may try to hide their addiction, there are certain effects and behaviors that indicate a problem. Even with a functional drug addict, there are still telling signs of an addiction. Some of the possible signs of drug addiction include the following:

  • Secrecy Being secretive about addiction can be a big indicator. They may be guarded or uncomfortable when someone inquires how they’re spending their time. 
  • Excuses or Justifications for drug use – A functional drug addict may use their job or school as a mask to use drugs. Particularly as a way to manage/relieve their stress.
  • Isolation/Confinement – A functional addict may be accustomed to a set pattern or routine (which is a red flag). This is to stay close to their go-to drug source. As time goes on, they may begin to separate from their family and friends more and more to get their drug dosage.
  • Decreased Physical health – While the person may insist that everything is okay and they have it under control, their addiction will eventually begin to show. It doesn’t take long for a drug to affect a person’s system; this will result in an absence of work, hobbies, and other responsibilities. Not to mention worsened health and even memory loss.
  • A double Life – A functional drug addict may be living or preoccupied with a double life. They may be absent from family gatherings or events to use drugs. They may disappear for long periods of time before returning fatigued or overly energetic. 
  • Bigger Problems at Home – The relationship with those around a drug addict can deteriorate over time. It can cause stress and pain as you see a loved one begin to fall into addiction. What starts as neglecting responsibilities can evolve into aggressive/dangerous behavior. 

Some of these telling signs can appear over time and can be hard to spot at times. It is not an easy feat but it is crucial to getting proper help for a loved one. In many cases, a functional drug addict will be convinced that everything is under control and nothing is wrong. 

addiction support

This may be connected to the idea that people who abuse drugs are apparent and obvious. Addiction can affect anyone, doesn’t matter if they are a doctor, businessman, teacher, parent, or politician. Make sure to look out for these signs so you can help a loved one get proper help today. 

Commonly Abused Drugs by Functional Addicts

Not all cases of drug addiction are the same, this is especially true for cases of functioning drug addicts. There are a few factors that determine the severity and problematic nature of a person’s addiction. This can be how much they are taking of a drug, how frequent, and its effects. It can be hard to list a definite list that fits all cases. Here are a few of the most commonly abused drugs today:

Each of these drugs can be very addictive and can be problematic down the road. While a person may be able to function on the surface, their body will eventually take a toll. It is essentially impossible to truly be a ‘functioning’ addict. The negative effects of these drugs are inevitable and cannot be stopped if a person continues using them. 

You Cannot be ‘Functional’ as a Drug Addict

While a functional addict might think they have everything under control and that there isn’t a problem, eventually things change. As someone becomes addicted to a drug they will continuously use it until they eventually become dependent on the drug. They may also become tolerant to its effects, which requires more dosage to get its effects. As time goes on, the person will eventually feel the negative effects. This comes in the form of physical, mental, and social effects. 

Drugs have an impact on us no matter how much we think we might be in control. What can start as casual use can become a full-blown addiction. It doesn’t take long for a person’s life to feel the effects of drugs. Relationships can be ruined, lives can be destroyed and lost if the person does not get the help they need. Doing nothing is not an option, if you or a loved one may be a ‘functional’ addict, it’s time to get help. 

How to Approach a Loved One About Help

The problem with functional addicts is that they may be abused for so long they don’t see a problem. In that particular moment, they may not see the issues at hand until it’s too late. Eventually, their life will take a turn for the worse (it becomes a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’). With this in mind, it’s important, to be honest, and open with a loved one. Informing them about the possible dangers and effects of their addiction is a good starting point. 

addicts

Opening up honestly and looking at treatment options can be beneficial for you and them. While it may be hard, it is crucial to be open and transparent about their addiction and how it is affecting you. After, both of you can look for treatment options that will work best for them. If you notice the behavioral signs of possible addiction, don’t wait until it’s too late. 

Getting Addiction Treatment

While it can be overwhelming at times, it’s best to look for a treatment center that will meet all your needs. At Discovery Institute we make sure to cater to all your needs. In a general sense, there are a number of widely used treatment options for drug addiction. This is on a case by cases basis and is personalized specifically for the person. Some of the common treatment options include:

Even if the person thinks they have their addiction under control, this is not the full picture. Being a functional drug addict is a slippery slope, one you’ll eventually fall from. It’s also crucial to remember that no matter how bad things get, it is never too late to get help. 

Discovery Institute is Here to Help

Discovery is ready to welcome those who are willing to make a change in their life. We understand how devastating addiction can be, especially for a functional drug addict. With a variety of personalized and effective treatment options, we’re ready to help you towards a better life. Contact us today to learn about our facility and our treatment options.  

Stress from work

How to Handle Stress at Work in Recovery

The alarm didn’t go off so you missed the bus that takes you to work. When you get to work your boss threatens to fire you—again. All you want to do is sit down and get to work, but your brain buzzes about the potential of unemployment. 

You clock out at the end of the day, deeply stressed about struggling at work. The bottle of alcohol sitting at home seems like a good way to escape. This is how stress and addiction happens. It’s even tougher for individuals to handle stress and recovery when suffering from a substance use disorder. 

A small amount of stress can be a good thing at times. However, too much of it can hurt a person’s physical and mental health. Discovery Institute understands how casual substance use can turn into a substance use disorder because of too much stress. That’s why we show members how to preserve their mental health and handle relapse triggers. 

How Are Stress and Addiction Related? 

Some people may not know that stress is considered a health condition. Research from 2018 shows that around 26% of people feel stressed out at least once a week. People are more prone to feel on edge when they’re struggling at work. They may resort to drug dependency to feel some sense of normalcy. 

stress and addiction

Many people can identify with having a drink after a long day at work. What many fail to realize is that the overwhelming majority of those suffering from addiction are actively employed. Studies show that 70% of non-medical drug use is by employees, most likely to help blow off steam. 

This is what happens to the body when it’s stressed: 

  • It causes physical and emotional strain 
  • Stress releases neurochemicals and hormones 
  • Blood pressure and blood sugar levels rise 
  • Heart rate increases 
  • Muscles tense up 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that stress and drugs both release similar brain chemicals. Therefore, long-term stress can make some more prone to a substance use disorder. Certain brain mechanisms affect a person when they use substances and when they’re stressed. For one, it affects long-term potentiation (LTP), which has to do with retaining information.  

How To Handle Stress and Addiction While Struggling At Work 

The way to handle stress and addiction while struggling at work is to keep an inventory of how you’re feeling. This is also applicable to other stressors, like school or being in a relationship. Be honest about how you’re feeling, and more importantly, don’t ignore it. 

Stress and relapse can happen by ignoring negative emotions. People resort to drugs and alcohol when they bottle up their feelings. Don’t ruminate on it, but make a mental note. If this happens during work, take a moment to decompress. Walk away from the desk. Go on a bathroom break and take deep breaths. 

Stress and Addiction

However, battling stress and addiction is more than taking bathroom breaks. Besides, you can’t always go to the bathroom in the middle of a stressful situation unless you want rumors starting about irritable bowel syndrome. The best way to handle stressors when you’re struggling at work is to mindfully practice ways to decrease them. 

9 Ways To Handle Stress and Addiction 

1. Start Journaling 

Journaling is a great way to express negative thoughts and emotions positively. The way it does this is by helping those who write one process their feelings. They may not truly understand how they feel until they put it into (written) words. 

Also, it allows people to track how long they’ve felt a certain way. So, if they notice that they’ve been feeling stressed out for a long time they know it’s time to take serious action. It can also help understand what triggers the urge to drink and do drugs. 

2. Spend More Time In Nature 

There is a Japanese practice of mindfulness called forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku. The concept behind it is going to the forest to fully engage in relaxation. Participants are encouraged to be in nature with no intention other than observing the world around them to the fullest. Use all the sense to take in the lush surroundings. 

Those interested in forest bathing don’t necessarily need to go to a forest. Instead, go anywhere that there are trees. For employees, take a step outside and be around trees. Fully concentrate on the sensation of being in nature to reduce the chance of stress and relapse. 

3. Create Art 

Art is another way to express negative emotions positively. Creating anything is an experience that uses both the mental and physical parts of a person’s body. For one, it takes their mind off of doing anything destructive, like giving into the idea of relapse. 

Secondly, it allows them to get their feelings out in the open. Turning stress into something positive is a beautiful experience worth trying out. At work, try to doodle a little. Keep in mind not to resort to this too much at work or you might get in trouble. 

4. Try Out Meditation 

Meditation isn’t just for monks. It’s for everyone, especially those struggling with a substance use disorder. Studies indicate that people who frequently practice mediation can stay calmer throughout the day. One study found that the same parts of the brain that lit up during meditation stayed that way after it when a person consistently practiced it. 

It’s not about clearing the mind. Instead, try to think of yourself as a spectator of your thoughts. Try imagery to guide the meditation. Start thinking about how each part of your body feels. Start at the head and go all the way down to the toes. 

5. Move On To Something New 

Trying to do anything super stressed out is a surefire way to screw it up. Once a person makes a mistake on a task under stress, it makes them even more upset. It’s alright to step away from stressful tasks and come back to them with a renewed state of mind. 

Try working on another task when the pressure becomes too much. It will help make fewer mistakes and make for better work. Move on to a new task in the meantime and return to the other one in a better state of mind. 

6. Set Boundaries 

Setting boundaries are important to prevent stress and relapse. This applies to friends and family members, but also co-workers (even your boss). While it’s scary to assert yourself when you feel like it might jeopardize your job. The opposite is true, though. Setting boundaries at work ensures that your co-workers and boss get the best version of you. 

For instance, your boss decides to call you on the weekends late at night to talk about work ideas. If this is something that stresses you out, then kindly assert your boundaries. Tell them why it would be better for both of you if they contacted you during work hours instead of randomly in the middle of the night. They’ll understand and you’ll be less stressed out. 

7. Listen To Music 

Just like drugs and alcohol, music can release “feel-good” chemicals in the brain. Endorphins make a person feel pleasure and happiness. Music may not release as many as substances, but it does a good job of minimizing stress. If you’re stressed at work, take the time to listen to some of your favorite jams. 

Don’t just mindlessly play it as background music. Mindfully listen. Take a short break and appreciate the melody and lyrics of your favorite music to come back to whatever your doing feeling refreshed. 

8. Look Into Therapy 

At the end of the day, listening to music and journaling can’t fix a serious mental illness. People that deal with stress and addiction may also have a psychological disorder. Only a medical professional can actively help a person suffering from either get out of their mental rut. 

A large majority of employee insurance plans cover mental health services. Some of them cover it in full. A therapist can validate a person’s feelings and help them take action to avoid the risk of relapse. Many decide to go with a therapist that practices cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)  or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Evidence-based methods can get better results. 

9. Exercise 

Just like music, drugs, and alcohol, exercise releases “feel-good” chemicals. The mind rewards the body for being active. You don’t have to run a triathlon to benefit from exercise. During your lunch break, do a little yoga or go from a power walk. Either of these activities promotes the production of positive hormones and a healthy way to handle stress. 

How To Know Your Stress and Addiction Are Out of Control 

Stress

Constant stress can easily push a person to relapse. If the amount of stress you feel on a daily basis makes you upset for the majority of the day each day, it’s time to seriously think about getting help. Not only can stress wreak havoc on health, but it can also make drugs and alcohol seem more enticing as a way to escape. 

Discovery Institute Can Help You Ease The Pain of Stress and Addiction

We understand the deep bond between stress and addiction. At Discovery Institute, we make members aware of the nature of the two and how to avoid them both. We use traditional medical practices as well as holistic therapy to calm the mind. If you’re struggling at work and find yourself using drugs and alcohol to numb the frustration, contact us now. We can help. 

boundaries in recovery

Setting Boundaries with Friends in Recovery

According to research from 2018, 26% of people globally experience stress at least once a week. Just like a substance use disorder, stress is a health condition. Boundaries help everyone set a pace for self-care. 

Setting boundaries in recovery is one of the most essential actions a person with a substance use disorder can take. Facilities that specialize in substance use recovery put this as one of the first things to do on the agenda because of its importance. 

What Are Boundaries In Recovery? 

In short, boundaries are a set of personal rules that one establishes with other people. When those rules are broken, boundaries allow one to take action with good reason. So, boundaries in recovery mean how a person with a substance use disorder needs to be treated during this period of time. 

This could mean not pressuring them to drink. For another, it could be not inviting them to places where there will be drugs and alcohol. These personal rules can change depending on a person. They might even change as a person recovers fully (and that’s okay). Boundaries in recovery promote a healthy relationship with others and with oneself. 

Importance of Setting Boundaries With Friends and Family In Recovery

To begin, every person has friends and family that care about them. Of course, even when someone has a substance use disorder, they care about their loved ones. Yet, sometimes the desire to keep loved ones happy interferes with recovery. Setting boundaries with friends and family during recovery is important for multiple reasons: 

  • It preserves everyone’s sanity on both ends 
  • Boundaries in recovery allow for important self-care time 
  • Friends and family can’t know what hurts a person in recovery if left unsaid 
  • It weeds out toxic people from those who truly care about them 
  • Boundaries in recovery let a member of a treatment facility put their physical and mental health before everything 
  • It’s a good practice of self-discipline 
  • Boundaries in recovery strengthen relationships 
  • It lets a person be content in what they already have 

Further, let’s go into detail about these points. It’s hard to say no to plans. Fear of missing out (also known as FOMO) plays on people’s sense of self-security. They feel that what they are doing in life at that present moment isn’t good enough. However, setting boundaries during recovery puts mental health first in terms of someone suffering from a substance use disorder and the people that care about them.

Setting Boundaries with Friends in Recovery

For instance, it’s frustrating and self-destructive to agree to plans that will ultimately hurt in the end. This deprecates a person’s mental health. In turn, they are likely to lash out at the person who invited them out or is contacting them. It’s a vicious cycle that hurts the psyche of both parties involved. Especially because they don’t understand the sentiment behind the reaction. 

Yes, it’s difficult to put that into words. Generally, the more a person practices this form of self-discipline, the easier it becomes. It benefits everyone in the end. 

Why Setting Boundaries With Friends Who Still Use Is Essential to Recovery

To continue, it’s already hard to set boundaries in the first place. What happens when the ultimate temptation is thrown into the mix? Setting boundaries with friends during recovery is different when it comes to those who still actively use drugs and alcohol. At the end of the day, it positively serves a person recovering from a substance use disorder and their friend who uses. 

In other words, cutting ties with a person who uses will sever the temptation of relapse. With this, studies show that the majority of people with a substance use disorder will relapse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The thought won’t cross their mind as much because they won’t be reminded of the times where they used substances. On the other hand, the friend who still uses will be encouraged to get help for their substance use disorder.

Here are a few helpful examples of what to say to a friend who still uses:

  • “I care about you, and that’s why I can’t see you while I recover.”
  • “At the end of the day, recovery is my priority. Yours should be too.”
  • “I think you should check out this treatment center before we try to hang out again.”
  • “I would love to hang out with you once you get help.”
  • “Substance use disorder is a medical illness, so it requires me to put recovery first.”

Continuing, clearly, it’s not a fun conversation to have. But, friends who still use are the people who need personal boundaries the most. A person who suffers from a substance use disorder might throw away all their hard work hanging out once. When someone sets boundaries, they put themself first and their friends too. Even if their friend doesn’t realize it.

How To Start Setting Boundaries In Recovery 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NAMI), boundaries are a form of self-care. When someone practices self-care they take the necessary steps to preserve their health. This is particularly applicable to those who wish to recover from a substance use disorder. Though, there is an opposing side. That side is the monkey brain that tells a person with a substance use disorder that they can hang out with whoever they want and do whatever they want. If not, they will miss out on relationships and important events.

In reality, this is an irrational thought. They won’t be able to enjoy hanging out with loved ones or at social gatherings where relapse is a temptation. This is because they will either be worried about finding themselves back at square one.

Another scenario is they won’t worry about it at all and will end up back in the tendrils of drugs and alcohol. In part, this is because drugs and alcohol are socially acceptable. In 2012, NIDA found that 9.2% of the American population used an illicit drug. It’s so prevalent that individuals with a substance use disorder need to follow these steps to start setting boundaries in recovery.

5 Basic Steps To Start Setting Boundaries in Recovery

  1. Figure out stressors. People can’t set boundaries if they don’t understand what stresses them out in the first place. Individuals recovering from a substance use disorder should tally situations where it might stress them out. Additionally, they should write down situations where they feel vulnerable to relapse.
  2. Establish what boundaries should be set up. So, they have figured out what scenarios where they need to put their foot down. Now what? It’s essential to have a game plan on what to do when a boundary needs to be set. What will they say? How will they react when a personal rule is broken? Figuring these out beforehand will save a headache and possibly much worse.
  3. Practice saying no. In addition, practice saying no with no further explanation. Setting boundaries in recovery is healthy and perfectly normal. When an individual with a substance use disorder needs to enforce a boundary there needn’t be an extra explanation. Everyone is entitled to what makes them uncomfortable.
  4. Set boundaries on how loved ones speak to you. Everyone with a mouth has an opinion. When a boundary is set sometimes people may act in a way that adds stress to the situation. For example, they may offer advice on something they have never experienced. It might be along the lines of how to avoid a relapse in a social setting, to coax someone in recovery into going to a bar. Those with a substance use disorder need to kindly remind them that they know themself better than their friend.
  5. Schedule self-care into the day. Set time aside to preserve mental and physical health. When a friend or family member tries to convince them otherwise, a person in recovery needs to explain that this is more important.

Resources On Setting Boundaries in Recovery

There is a wealth of information on how to set boundaries. While they may not say they are for setting boundaries in recovery, they can still provide insight. However, there are plenty of resources online and for free specifically about personal rules for recovery. 

These are some places to find them: 

  • The library 
  • YouTube 
  • Book stores 
  • Resources online (NAMI and NIDA)

The only thing to keep in mind is to make sure the source is credible. A random person on the Internet can put up a page about setting boundaries in recovery. So can a doctor who specializes in recovery. Just make sure you’re looking at resources from governmental agencies and specialists. 

Other Healthy Habits To Practice Along With Setting Boundaries in Recovery 

Setting boundaries during recovery is only one portion of permanently kicking a substance use disorder. NAMI recommends improving physical wellbeing in order to enforce boundaries. The mind is a part of the body. If the body isn’t in the right shape to recover, then the brain won’t be able to either.

Make sure to combine healthy boundaries with these healthy habits to ensure success.

Exercise Frequently

Physical activity has multiple benefits. For one, it can boost someone’s confidence because they will look and feel better. Scientifically, they will feel better because exercise cuts hormones that involve stress. Also, it boosts ones that have to do with happiness and serenity. Come up with an exercise routine and say no to plans that interfere with it.

Eat a Nutritious Diet

Good nutrition is packed with vitamins and minerals that naturally help with withdrawal symptoms. In addition, like exercise, a good diet can make a person look and feel better. This could be another boundary to set. If a friend asks to eat out at a restaurant, politely decline. Health in recovery is necessary.

Get Enough Sleep Every Night

Sleep is crucial to cognitive function and to sustain an elevated mood. Recovery is extremely difficult, especially during the early stages. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.

Engage in Mind-Body Activities

Yoga and tai chi are mind-body exercises, otherwise known as moving meditation. Strengthen your mind and body at the same time with one of these. Set time aside every day to practice, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Don’t let FOMO take away from healing activities like these.

A part of setting boundaries in recovery is understanding what is important. Healthy habits should be one of them. Then, one can be in the right shape to recover. Take the time to figure out what healthy habits are feasible every day. After, set boundaries to ensure that they happen. Without a plan of action, it just won’t happen.

Discovery Institute Teaches How To Start Setting Boundaries in Recovery 

Ultimately, a substance treatment center is the best way to figure out what boundaries to put down. A person recovering from a substance use disorder might need a little extra help setting boundaries in recovery. Having an unbiased, clinical view can help establish them and stick with them, too.

At Discovery Institute, we provide programs to help members establish healthy habits, like setting boundaries in recovery. We know setting boundaries with friends and family can be difficult. Contact us now to learn how to adapt healthy behaviors to erase a drug dependency. 

Legalized drugs are addictive. Just like any other drug, there are pros and cons.

How Will Recently Legalized Drugs Affect Addiction Rates?

Drugs aren’t just what seedy men with long trenchcoats sell in alleyways. They are a common breakfast beverage and guilty snack. A drug is a substance that changes someone physically or mentally. Caffeine is a drug. Tobacco is one, too. 

Some legalized drugs are controversial. A few states made legal weed news during the last election. One even passed legal mushrooms. There are two sides to whether this was the right move or not. 

What Has Happened To States With Legalized Drugs? 

To put it another way, some drugs are legal. Yet, some states have taken a liberal approach to controversial substances. Marijuana is one of them. Legal mushrooms are another. Since November 4, 2020, more states have loosened their legal stance on it. Although this may be true, the federal government still has a war on drugs. 

As of now, 35 states have legalized/decriminalized marijuana for either recreational or medicinal purposes. Oregon decriminalized small amounts of hard drugs. Also, Oregon approved legal mushrooms with psilocybin in them.  As of the last election, these are the 15 states with recreational marijuana: 

  1. Alaska 
  2. California 
  3. Colorado 
  4. Illinois 
  5. Maine 
  6. Massachusetts 
  7. Michigan 
  8. Nevada  
  9. Oregon 
  10. Vermont 
  11. Washington 
  12. Arizona 
  13. Montana 
  14. New Jersey 
  15. South Dakota 

Recreational marijuana is old legal weed news to some states. Using weed as medicine is even older. To illustrate, PubMed Central (PMC) states California has used cannabis for medical purposes since 1996. States that have legalized drugs like marijuana first can indicate long-term effects. 

Colorado 

To begin with, Colorado is one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. Furthermore, a bill passed in 2012 to make it official. This state served as a test drive in some sense. 

To continue, this state decriminalized marijuana for medical purposes before recreational. However, recreational was taboo not even a decade ago. At present, its capital, Denver, totes $320.8 million in revenue from marijuana sales taxes. Unsurprisingly, it’s been rated the state with the best economy. 

On the other hand, Denver Public Health reports that hospitalizations possibly due to marijuana have gone up. As a result, there were around 550 pot-related hospitalizations per 100,000 in 2020 in Denver. In 2011, this number was under 400. 

Washington 

Also, Washington state made legal weed news in 2012. It was passed in 2011 before a governor partially vetoed it. This bill was labeled I-502. The Drug Policy alliance paints a pretty picture for statistics tied to marijuana legalization. 

In summary, one year into pot legalization, this state saw $83 million generated from taxes. In addition, it saved millions on resources for law enforcement. Traffic violations and youth use didn’t increase. But, violent crime decreased since it was passed. 

Oregon 

In 2014 Oregon passed retail marijuana into law. In more recent times, they decriminalized small amounts of hard drugs. More notably, in 2020’s election they passed legal mushrooms with psychoactive effects into law. This makes it the first state to do so.  

Oregon uses revenue from marijuana taxes to fund drug addiction treatment. Their position around drugs is that it is a medical disorder instead of a criminal offense. In this way, those with a substance use disorder are offered an alternative to jail time: lasting recovery. 

Massachusetts 

Moreover, Massachusetts legalized weed in 2016. Massachusetts Public Health projected that pot would boost state revenue by $215.8 million within the first two years. It comes as no surprise that it has the seventh-best economy. This state was one of the first to have recreational dispensaries.

In contrast, what are the health implications? Since its legalization, rates for fatal car accidents where the post-mortem results showed THC increased. With this, 34% of citizens in Massachusetts that consume pot drive while high. Young adults make up the bulk of those who use marijuana. 

Legalized Drugs and Addiction Rates 

At the present time, research indicates that cannabis use disorders have increased from 2008-2016. An independent study by JAMA Psychiatry surveyed 505,796 participants. They did this before recreational pot was legal and afterward. This is what their research found:

  • Ages 12-17: cannabis use disorder went from 2.18% to 2.72% 
  • Ages 26 and older: cannabis user disorder went from 0.9% to 1.23% 
  • Frequent use by ages 26 and older went up by about 23% 
  • Social benefits increased along with public health concerns

Hence, a more lax approach to marijuana has increased drug dependency. The study went on to say that it was unclear whether or not it had to do with medical marijuana or retail. However, adolescent cannabis dependency went up by almost 25%. This number is higher for adults 26 and over. Calculations show that addiction rates went up by about 37%. 

JAMA Psychiatry notes that these spikes might be due to newfound availability, a price decrease for pot, and unperceived risks. Cannabis use disorder in youth, in particular, leads to health complications. It also leads to economic and social obstacles. 

This presents a tricky question. Should drugs be legalized even when they are known to increase addiction rates? How can our country avoid higher addiction rates in lieu of criminalization? Addiction treatment programs may be the answer. 

Legalized Drugs and Incarceration

In short, recently legalized drugs may hurt public health but help social justice. In the distant past, people with alcohol dependencies were thrown into mental asylums or in jail. But, psychiatric research ultimately showed it was a medical condition, not a moral impairment. While alcohol is socially acceptable across the USA, recently legalized drugs aren’t. 

In contrast, those who use them recreationally or who have a substance use disorder are treated as criminals. This applies to states who have a rigid approach to drugs. Alcohol and other substances can impair those who are dependent upon them. Yet, alcohol is legal federally while others aren’t. 

Besides, both Oregon and Washington found that legalizing marijuana improved incarceration rates. According to the Oregon Health Authority, Marijuana arrest rates in Oregon went from 31 per 100,000 adults arrested in 2011 to 3. Combined studies show how incarceration for drug dependency hurts citizens: 

  • Hurts chances of employment 
  • It disproportionately affects minorities 
  • They never learn how to cure their substance use disorder 
  • More funds need to be allocated towards prisons and law enforcement 
  • Children are taken away from their parents 
  • Young adults are removed from school

Non-violent arrests that have to do with substance use are common. Americans have had their entire lives derailed because of drug possession. Recent legislation surrounding legalized drugs has taken this into account. 

Pros of Recently Legalized Drugs

Proponents of recently legalized drugs like legal mushrooms and marijuana argue the pros outweigh the cons. States who have legalized it have had a boost by the millions in terms of revenue. They can take this money to fund addiction treatment centers. In this way, people who have a substance use disorder can recover healthily. 

Treating drug dependency as a medical disorder instead of a criminal offense has multiple benefits. It has to do with the fact that people within treatment centers are certified professionals. Community support specialists, doctors, therapists, wellness coaches, and psychiatrists make up teams. They are equipped to handle substance use disorders within a healthy environment. 

Drug legalization has benefits: 

  • Statewide economic boosts 
  • Fewer funds and less time needed for the war on drugs 
  • Adolescents can have a realistic education over abstinence 
  • Those with addictions to hard drugs can have a softer alternative
  • People with medical conditions can opt for a natural alternative 
  • Use or dependency won’t derail their lives from a legal POV 
  • People with a drug dependency can get help without fear of incarceration
  • Employers can’t discriminate against employees who use legalized drugs without cause 
  • Treats substance use disorders as a medical condition instead of a criminal offense

Hence, those who argue in favor of recently legalized drugs see these benefits. That isn’t to say they don’t believe in any repercussions for risky use. Many would like to see criminal charges towards those who are a threat to society. For example, driving under the influence should end in a criminal offense. 

Cons of Recently Legalized Drugs

On the contrary, others argue there are more cons than pros. Studies show that addiction rates have risen as a whole for drugs that were recently legalized. Car accidents that are related to THC have risen with it. Advocates of this side see the danger in a lax approach to drugs. 

Drug legalization has cons: 

  • Adolescents have easier access 
  • Public opinion on its dangers lessens 
  • Chronic use in adults will increase 
  • Increased availability can lead to frequent use 
  • Health issues related to smoking will increase 
  • Hidden health issues may surface that would have otherwise not 
  • Addiction rates for legalized drugs will increase 
  • Hospitalizations for legalized drugs will increase 

Although the Center for Disease Control has said otherwise, many see legalized soft drugs as a gateway. In some cases, this is the truth. A person who smokes pot might end up smoking crack by accident. This could lead to a lifetime of addiction. 

Legalized Drugs Can Result In Addiction 

Legal or not, people can develop a dependency on anything classified as a drug. Just because a legalized drug is socially acceptable, it doesn’t mean there is no danger. Habitual use creeps on without notice. 

At Discovery Institute we know that drug dependency is a medical disorder. We would never judge anyone for a substance use disorder, even if it’s illegal. If you or a loved one can’t live without drugs and alcohol, contact us now for a permanent solution. 

Holistic Approach

Holistic Approach to Anxiety and Depression Treatment

It is common for anxiety and depression to co-occur or happen at the same time. In fact, almost 45 percent of people with one mental health disorder also struggle with another mental health disorder. Studies have shown half of those struggling with anxiety or depression also struggle with both. But, a holistic approach to anxiety and depression treatment can help manage the symptoms. 

Traditional treatment of anxiety and depression typically includes the use of pharmacotherapy. Drugs such as Xanax and Klonopin are often used in treatment. However, these drugs have risks and side effects some people don’t like. As a result, people are turning to a holistic approach to anxiety and depression treatment. This approach includes vitamins for depression and anxiety treatment.

What are the Symptoms of Each Disorder?

There are some overlapping symptoms of anxiety and depression. These symptoms include irritability and problems sleeping and concentrating. But, some differences define the two disorders. 

Anxiety Symptoms

Many people experience anxiety from time to time. Anxiety is stress and worry. It’s common to have anxiety before a big decision or event. 

However, chronic anxiety is debilitating. It leads to irrational fears and thoughts which affect daily life. For instance, anxiety affects people physically and emotionally. 

Physical symptoms and behavioral changes of anxiety include:

  • Easily fatigued
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Muscle tension
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Teeth grinding
  • Sleep issues – restlessness

Emotional symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Trouble controlling worry or fear
  • Dread
  • Panic

Depression Symptoms

It is common to feel sad or down. But, when the feelings last for weeks, then it might be depression. It is vital not to ignore these feelings as they can get worse. 

Physical symptoms of depression include:

  • Lack of energy and chronic fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions
  • Pain, aches, and stomach issues
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Trouble sleeping or oversleeping

Emotional symptoms of depression include:

  • Lack of interest in hobbies and fun activities
  • Constant sadness, anxiety, and emptiness
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Irritability, anger
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, and helpless
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Suicide attempts

If you or someone you love are having thoughts of hurting themself or others, it’s vital to call 911.

Supplements and Vitamins for Depression and Anxiety

There are vitamins for depression and anxiety. Specific vitamins address biological factors that add to anxiety and depression. By taking vitamins for depression and anxiety, it helps with low Vitamin B6 and iron. Vitamins can also help with serotonin deficiency. 

However, just taking a few vitamins and supplements isn’t going to make your anxiety or depression go away. But, as part of a holistic approach to anxiety and depression treatment, they help your body find balance. So, what supplements and vitamins for anxiety are available?

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for many reasons. Besides regulating your mood, Vitamin D is good for brain and nerve health. Research shows a link between Vitamin D and depression. Therefore, taking Vitamin D supplements can help with your depression. 

Additionally, research shows a link between Vitamin D and anxiety. For instance:

  • A report from 2015 reports people with anxiety or depression to have lower levels of calcidiol, which is a byproduct of Vitamin D breakdown.
  • In a 2017 study, women with type 2 diabetes see improvements in anxiety and depression when taking Vitamin D. 

However, there are things you can do besides taking vitamins for depression and anxiety. For instance, you can spend time outside in the sun. You can also eat foods high in Vitamin D. Foods such as fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are also high in Vitamin D. 

Vitamin B Complex

B vitamins are eight different vitamins that manage different body processes—for example, stress levels.  

  • A study in 2017 reports people with low levels of Vitamin B-12 often struggle with depression and anxiety. 
  • A 2018 study reports when you eat foods high in Vitamin B such as Marmite and Vegemite, struggle less with anxiety and depression. However, when adding Vitamin B-12, you have even better results.

However, if you eat a diet of nutritious and animal-based foods, you should consume enough Vitamin B. But, if you are vegan or vegetarian, you will need supplements.

Magnesium

Magnesium is important for almost every system in your body to work right. In fact, if you are low on magnesium, you risk anxiety and depression. However, eating the following foods can raise magnesium levels. 

  • Black beans
  • Dark chocolate
  • Almonds and cashews
  • Spinach
  • Quinoa
  • Whole wheat

But, high doses of magnesium can cause diarrhea. So, you should start with low doses such as 100 mg. Above all, you should never take more than 350 mg a day unless a doctor says otherwise. 

L-theanine

Green and black tea contain an amino acid called L-theanine. L-theanine is also a mild sedative and anti-anxiety agent. However, you should not consume more than 400 mg a day without a doctor’s approval. 

Multivitamin and Mineral Supplements

If you struggle with anxiety and depression, you may benefit from multiple supplements. A study in 2019 found the following nutrients help with anxiety.

  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc

So, if you are looking for a holistic approach to anxiety, adding a multi-vitamin is beneficial. However, each brand of vitamins is different. For this reason, it’s best to ask your doctor about vitamins for depression and anxiety.

GABA

Gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) is crucial for serotonin production. It is an amino acid and transmitter in your brain. Specifically, it’s known as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter.  Because serotonin is the nervous system’s most powerful neurotransmitter, GABA helps with mood regulation and relaxation. Although many vitamins help with anxiety, GABA taken directly reduces anxiety symptoms.

Passionflower

Passionflower is a herb commonly used to calm anxiety. It aids in promoting positive moods, ease nervousness, and improve sleep. Passionflower is typically added to teas. However, it’s available in tablet form. 

Valerian Root

Valerian root has been around since ancient Greek times. It has many different medicinal purposes. Although it mainly aids in sleep, it also helps reduce anxiety. Valerian root works by turning acids in the herb into “feel-good” neurotransmitters. As a result, it relaxes the mind and body and also regulates stress. You can consume Valarian root extract in capsule, liquid, or tea form. 

Chamomile

People have used chamomile for thousands of years. This daisy-like flower has calming effects. Additionally, you can find chamomile in essential oils, supplements, and tea. 

Lavender

Lavender is well known for its relaxing effects. In fact, some people believe just smelling the plant eases anxiety. NCBI reports lavender cream on the skin eases stress and anxiety in pregnant women. At the same time, those who use lavender aromatherapy before surgery have less anxiety.

A Holistic Approach to Anxiety and Depression Treatment

A holistic approach to anxiety treatment refers to the whole person. For instance, treatment heals the mind, body, and soul. As more people learn about treating anxiety and depression naturally, the more holistic care is gaining popularity.

A holistic approach to treatment includes substance use disorder. It is common for many people to use drugs or alcohol when struggling with anxiety and depression. A holistic approach to anxiety and depression treatment may include yoga, acupuncture, and other natural therapies. 

Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and meditation are beneficial for your mind, body, and soul. Hatha yoga, which is very popular, focuses on breathing techniques and how your body feels. However, “hot yoga” is done in a sauna. But, yoga, in general, relaxes the body and eases anxiety and depression. 

Meditation, however, has a different effect. The brain produces a “natural high” when you meditate. This effect is similar to the “high” from drugs and alcohol. The best part is meditation doesn’t produce withdrawal symptoms. 

Reiki

Reiki is a very spiritual transfer of energy. This transfer is done through the hands flowing over the body. Practitioners say certain injuries can block energy flow. However, Reiki helps release the flow of energy. This release helps with pain, reduces stress, and enables relaxation. 

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is similar to Reiki. For instance, it focuses on the body’s energy. But, it’s done with tiny needles instead of hands. Acupuncture is also the most widely used holistic therapy in the world. 

Acupuncture benefits the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Migraines
  • Chronic pain

Did you notice all the symptoms acupuncture benefits are also symptoms of substance use disorder? For this reason, acupuncture is a natural way to ease withdrawal symptoms. It can also help with triggers and craving and aid in recovery. 

Connect with Nature

Another holistic approach to anxiety and depression is just going outside. Take a walk through a park or hike through nature. Step away from the stressors in life and get lost in nature. Being in nature is also proven to ease anxiety and depression.

Why Does A Holistic Approach to Anxiety Treatment Work?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) developed the Guiding Principles of Recovery. This guide states, recovery “encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.” 

Holistic recovery treatment implements practical and comprehensive therapies to help people maintain recovery after treatment. Treatment should also help people develop a meaningful life. A holistic approach to anxiety and depression treatment should help you be the best you possible.

Holistic Treatment at Discovery Institute of New Jersey

Are you struggling with anxiety and depression? Or perhaps you are struggling with substance use disorder. Whatever your struggles, our comprehensive and holistic approach to treatment offers your best chance at recovery. Contact us today and find out how. 

 

Is Marijuana a Stimulant or Depressant?

Marijuana tends to affect users differently, which leads people to wonder what exactly is the drug classification for marijuana? 

What Are the Effects of Marijuana?

Many people report pleasant euphoria and a sense of relaxation when they smoke marijuana. Other common effects include:

  • an increased sensory perception—brighter colors, for example
  • laughter,
  • altered sense of the passage of time, 
  • increased appetite.

Unpleasant Effects

Not everybody has pleasant experiences when using marijuana. Instead of relaxation and euphoria, some people feel:

  • anxiety, 
  • fear, 
  • distrust, 
  • panic. 

These effects are more likely when a person takes too much, the marijuana has a higher potency than expected, or the person is not experienced with it. People who have taken large doses of marijuana may experience sudden psychosis, which includes hallucinations, delusions, and a loss of the sense of personal identity.

These are temporary, unpleasant reactions and are different from longer-lasting psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. However, there may be a link between marijuana use and psychiatric disorders in vulnerable people.

Drug Classifications

Drugs are classified according to their effects and properties. Generally, each one falls into one of these four categories:

  • Depressants: Depressants are drugs that slow down your brain function. Some examples are alcohol, Xanax, and barbiturates.
  • Stimulants: These elevate your mood and increase your energy and alertness. They tend to be highly addictive. Examples are cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs for ADHD.
  • Hallucinogens: Hallucinogens alter your perception of reality by changing the way the nerve cells in your brain communicate. LSD and MDMA are examples.
  • Opiates: These are painkillers that rapidly produce feelings of euphoria. They are also very addictive and can have long-term effects on your brain. Examples are heroin, morphine, and prescription painkillers.

Where Does Weed Fit In?

The answer to where marijuana fits in these categories is not as clear as you would think. The effects can vary greatly from person to person. And in addition to that, different strains and types of marijuana can produce different effects. 

As a result of this, and according to the University of Maryland, weed can be classified as:

Marijuana as a Depressant

Marijuana affects your nervous system and slows brain function, calming nerves and relaxing muscles. Over time, you can develop a tolerance, which means you keep needing to use more to get the initial effects. You can also become dependent.

Marijuana as a Stimulant

Stimulants have the opposite effect of depressants. They increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Weed is sometimes considered a stimulant because it can cause elevated moods and make you feel alert and energetic, especially right after using them. You can also become dependent on marijuana for the mood-elevating effects.

Marijuana as a Hallucinogen

Hallucinations are false perceptions of objects, events, or senses. Weed is often stereotyped for hallucinogenic effects. But while hallucinations are possible, they rarely occur and don’t happen in all users. However, the symptom of time distortion with marijuana is also part of a hallucination. 

So clearly, marijuana can have various psychological and physical effects that vary from person to person. It makes some people relaxed and sleepy, but it can also give other people an energy boost and increase alertness. It has also been used to treat mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. For other people, it can cause anxiety over time.

What are THC and CBD?

THC

THC is tetrahydrocannabinol, and it is the chemical responsible for most of the psychological effects of marijuana. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it acts a lot like the cannabinoid chemicals naturally made by the body. The receptors for cannabinoid are located in certain areas of the brain. 

THC attaches to these receptors and activates them, which affects these areas of your brain:

  • Memory
  • Pleasure
  • Thinking
  • Concentration
  • Coordination
  • Sensory and time perception

CBD

CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it’s the second most active ingredient in marijuana. Although it is an essential part of medical marijuana, it is obtained directly from the hemp plant, a marijuana plant cousin. 

While CBD is one of the hundreds of marijuana parts, it does not cause a “high.” According to the World Health Organization, “…there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” CBD is easy to get in most parts of the U.S. but its exact legal status is constantly changing.

How Does Marijuana Produce Its Effects?

When marijuana is smoked, THC, and other chemicals from the plant pass from the lungs into the bloodstream. They are then rapidly carried throughout the body to the brain. THC stimulates the cells in the brain to release dopamine which creates a euphoric feeling. These effects are felt more quickly when it is smoked. It also interferes with how information is processed in the hippocampus—the part of the brain responsible for forming new memories. 

When cannabis is ingested in foods or beverages, the effects are delayed to some extent. Because the drug must pass through the digestive system, the effects usually appear after 30 minutes to an hour. Eating or drinking marijuana carries considerably less THC into the bloodstream than smoking an equal amount of the plant. Because of this delay, people may accidentally consume more THC than they intended.

Risks of Marijuana Use

The pleasant effects of marijuana make it a popular drug. Actually, it is considered one of the most commonly used illicit drugs in the world. However, the effects also worry mental health advocates. Some of the risks are:

  • Schizophrenia relapse–NIDA has reported that THC can cause a relapse in schizophrenic symptoms.
  • Defective motor skills–Using marijuana can impair driving or similar tasks for about three hours after consumption. In fact, it is the second-most common psychoactive substance found in drivers, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The most common is alcohol. People using medical marijuana are told not to drive until it has been shown that they can use it and conduct motor tasks successfully.
  • Hallucinations—THC can cause hallucinations, change your thinking, and cause delusions. The effects begin about 10 to 30 minutes after consumption and last about 2 hours. 
  • Anxiety—excessive uneasiness
  • Memory– recall issues

Risks for Younger Users

Using marijuana can cause long-term problems for younger people. Some of the side effects for younger people include:

  • Decrease in IQ
  • Memory loss
  • A decrease in cognition (ability to understand)

The University of Montreal published a study on almost 300 students who found that marijuana’s early use of marijuana can affect teens. People who start smoking marijuana at around age 14 do worse on some cognitive tests than non-smokers. They also have a higher school dropout rate. The ones that waited until around age 17 to start using the drug didn’t seem to have the same impairment.

Medicinal Uses for Marijuana

Marijuana has been used for medicinal purposes for more than 3,000 years. In early 2017, more than half of the United States had legalized the use of medical marijuana. Several states have legalized the drug for recreational use as well. 

THC can be removed from marijuana or synthesized, as in the case of the FDA-approved drug dronabinol. Dronabinol is used to treat or prevent nausea and vomiting typical with cancer medicines. Likewise, it is used to increase the appetites of people with AIDS, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

All Natural

Some people are claiming marijuana as a better drug than prescription pills because it is “all-natural.” However, that may not be completely true. Just because something is considered “natural” doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Poison ivy grows in the ground and is natural, but that 

Marijuana Edibles and Overdose

Foods containing THC, known as edibles, have become a problem in states that have legalized marijuana because of overdosing. Edibles can sometimes cause overdose because people often ingest a full serving of a cookie (or other edible) instead of a smaller amount. It is easier to swallow a whole cookie, and it’s more attractive to younger people or people who don’t want to inhale it in the form of smoke.

Edibles have extremely high potency. Because of this, when ingested in the gastrointestinal system, the drug can last longer and with more intensity. The effect from inhaling THC will last 45 minutes to a few hours, but edibles can last for 6 to 8 hours. Therefore, edibles are more likely to lead to a trip to the ER with an overdose.

How Does Cannabis Interact With Other Drugs?

For all practical purposes, all chemical compounds interact with other chemical compounds. Whether it’s over-the-counter drugs, prescription medication, or illicit substances, they interact, and it can be from mild to severe. For cannabis, most potential interactions that are known have been identified as relatively mild. The fact is, some drugs work together with cannabis favorably. Some of the interactions that have been studied are:

Marijuana with Blood Pressure Reducing Drugs

THC activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain at the same time. This causes a stress response in the cardiovascular system that can reduce blood flow in the arteries of the heart. This can multiply the effects of the medication.

Marijuana with Blood Thinners

THC and CBD may increase the effect of drugs used for blood thinning (warfarin or heparin), or drugs known to cause blood thinning (ibuprofen or naproxen, etc.). This happens possibly by slowing down the metabolism of these drugs.

Marijuana with Opioids

A study conducted by Dr. Donald Abrams of UC, San Francisco, concluded that cannabis could safely boost the pain-relieving effects of opioids. His team also found that treating patients with opioids and cannabis may allow for using lower doses of opioids. This will reduce the risk of dependence and cause fewer side effects.

Marijuana with Alcohol

Mixing any drug with alcohol is generally not a good idea. But there is no doubt that alcohol and cannabis are a popular combination. However, current studies can be interpreted negatively or positively.

In some research, there is evidence that alcohol increases blood THC levels (but there is no evidence that the reverse is true). And on the other hand, some studies suggest that people drink less alcohol when they use cannabis. These findings make sense when you consider that THC increases its effects through the use of alcohol, which means that you would need less alcohol.

However, you still need to be careful when using alcohol and cannabis for two reasons:

  1. The combination creates greater dangers when driving than either one alone.
  2. If a person has had too much to drink, to the point where they need to vomit to get rid of the toxins. Cannabis inhibits nausea and vomiting which puts the person at a greater risk of alcohol poisoning.

Marijuana with Sedatives

Cannabis with sedatives doesn’t seem to raise blood levels or increase the sedative action. Therefore, it’s not as risky as combining alcohol with sedatives, which can be fatal, but it is still risky. Better to avoid the combination.

Can You Get Addicted to Marijuana?

Yes, marijuana can lead to a stage of problem use known as marijuana use disorder. In severe cases, this takes the form of addiction. Recent studies imply that 30% of people who use marijuana may have some level of marijuana use disorder. Users who start before the age of 18 are 4 to 7 times more likely to develop a use disorder than adults. 

Marijuana use disorders are frequently connected to dependence—when a person feels withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug. Symptoms of withdrawal are at their worst in the first week after quitting and last up to 2 weeks. Symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Decreased appetite
  • Cravings
  • Restlessness
  • Physical discomfort

Marijuana Addiction

Addiction occurs when the person can’t stop using the drug even though it interferes with many parts of the person’s life. Studies suggest that 9% of people who use marijuana will become addicted. This figure rises to about 17% for those who start using it during their teen years.

Is Treatment for Marijuana Addiction Available?

Although marijuana use disorders seem to be similar to other substance use disorders, the long-term outcomes may be less severe. Generally, adults seeking treatment for marijuana use have used marijuana nearly every day for more than ten years and have tried to quit more than six times. 

Additionally, adolescents with marijuana use disorders also often have other psychiatric disorders (dual diagnosis). They may also be addicted to other substances such as cocaine or alcohol. Treatments that have been successful include;

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Contingency management therapy
  • Motivational enhancement therapy

Medications for Treatment

The FDA has not approved any medications for the treatment of marijuana use disorder. Since sleep problems are common in marijuana withdrawal, some studies are looking at medications that help with sleep. Other chemicals that are being studied include nutritional supplements and chemicals called FAAH inhibitors that reduce withdrawal symptoms by slowing the body’s own cannabinoids’ breakdown.

A Place to Recover

If your relaxation method, pain relief, or recreation has turned into an addiction, you have no time to wait. Your life could be so much more than that. At Discovery Institute, we are well acquainted with these issues and have over 50 years of success at helping someone like you or someone close to you.

Make the first step and contact us now. Our evidence-based treatment has helped many people reclaim their lives and their futures. We have licensed professionals who are experienced in the treatment of substance use disorders and co-occurring conditions. Do it for yourself or someone you love.

trazodone vs ambien

Trazodone vs. Ambien: How are They Similar and How are They Different?

Trazodone and Ambien (zolpidem) are both prescription drugs that can be used to treat sleep disorders like insomnia. Trazodone is typically prescribed as an antidepressant and Ambien is a non-barbiturate hypnotic. This means that they both work to improve sleep but in different ways.

Let’s look at a comparison:

Trazodone:

  • Trazodone is the generic name for Desyrel and Oleptro.
  • It was primarily developed as an antidepressant. It works by helping to increase the availability of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is considered a natural mood stabilizer. It is also the chemical that helps with sleeping, eating, reducing depression, and regulating anxiety. 
  • Trazodone is approved by the FDA to treat depression, but it is frequently used “off label” at lower doses to treat insomnia. 
  • Not as effective as other medications for depression.
  • Causes more side effects when used for depression at higher doses including upset stomach and irregular heartbeat.
  • Doses of trazodone can vary with the individual. To treat insomnia, 50 to 100mg before bedtime is a common dosage. Trazodone reaches its maximum levels in the body within one hour after consumption. However, it may take from 1 to 6 weeks to reach trazodone’s maximum effects.

Side Effects

  • Drowsiness, Fatigue, Headache—Also called the trazodone “hangover”
  • Diarrhea
  • Blurred vision
  • Higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people age 24 and younger

Serotonin Syndrome

Serotonin is a chemical your body makes that is needed for your nerve cells and brain to function. Serotonin syndrome is a possible and serious side-effect of any serotonin medication. As the drug increases the concentrations of serotonin in the brain, the neurotransmitters cause widespread changes in the body. Some of these changes can be fatal. Using high doses of trazodone can cause symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome such as:

  • High body temperature
  • Agitation
  • Excessive sweating
  • Increased reflexes
  • Fast heart rate
  • Breakdown of muscle tissue
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Coma
  • Death

Drug Interactions

  • Central Nervous System depressants like alcohol and barbiturates
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Warfarin
  • Digoxin
  • Medications that cause drowsiness

Ambien

  • Ambien is a brand name for zolpidem. 
  • It is prescribed specifically to treat insomnia. Ambien is a non-barbiturate hypnotic which affects the receptors in the brain responsible for slowing down brain activity. 
  • Can be habit-forming.
  • It is usually taken as a 5mg or 10mg tablet at bedtime with at least 7 to 8 hours allowed for a full night’s sleep. 
  • Effective to help people fall asleep quickly and sleep longer.
  • Long-term treatment (more than 10 days) with Ambien is not recommended.
  • May not be safe if you have liver, kidney, and lung problems or a history of depression.

Common Side Effects

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Grogginess
  • More likely to cause sleepwalking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating

Drug Interactions

  • Central Nervous System depressants like alcohol or barbiturates
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Medications that treat muscle weakness and narcolepsy
  • Medications that may cause drowsiness

What are the Symptoms of Trazodone Misuse?

Signs of trazodone misuse can lead to behavioral changes such as:

In Adolescents

  • Skipping school
  • Loss of interest in sports or other activities
  • Lack of personal grooming
  • A decline in school performance
  • Problems with relationships with family and friends

In Adults

  • Frequently miss work
  • Lose interest in hobbies they used to enjoy
  • Asking to borrow money from relatives and friends
  • Being secretive

Long-term Use of Trazodone

Long-term use of sedatives like trazodone can cause:

  • Memory loss
  • Sudden emotional shifts
  • Involuntary eye movements
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Difficulty understanding others when they speak
  • May also cause the user to speak slowly

Is Trazodone Addictive?

There has been an increase in the harmful use of all prescription drugs in this country including antidepressants. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), reported in 2018 that about 243,000 people, ages 12 and older were current misusers of prescription sedatives like trazodone. Subsequently, misuse of trazodone and other sedatives has increased especially among adolescents and young adults.

Although there is a relatively small number of people reported as being addicted to trazodone, there are still some people who use it recreationally. It’s not used for a euphoric “high.” Instead, it is used for its sedative effects and, for some people, for the level of cognitive impairment it causes. 

The National Institute of Drug Abuse has stated that people who use it for non-medical reasons (to seek a high) are more likely to become addicted. Some people take large doses of trazodone for the mild high it produces but taking larger doses can cause hallucinations. This puts these users at higher risk for addiction and overdose.

The speed with which trazodone helps anxiety attacks is one of the reasons it is prescribed. However, over time the individual’s tolerance level increases, requiring higher doses to be effective. Therefore, this can lead to addiction, even with a doctor’s prescription. 

Signs of Trazodone Addiction

Signs of trazodone addiction include:

  1. Attempting to get trazodone without a prescription
  2. Using up a prescription before the refill date
  3. Combining trazodone with other drugs and alcohol
  4. Doctor shopping for more trazodone prescriptions
  5. Illegally buying trazodone
  6. Use of trazodone begins to interfere with other parts of life such as work, school, and personal responsibilities
  7. Taking trazodone to get high instead of treating depression or insomnia
  8. Needing high doses to feel the effects

Trazodone Overdose

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 2017, more than 5,000 U.S. deaths involved an antidepressant. Some were the result of antidepressants combined with opioids and some were combined with synthetic narcotics.

People who use trazodone for long periods frequently develop a tolerance to the drug. As tolerance develops, it takes more of the drug or more frequent doses to produce the same effects that occurred initially. Increasing the amount taken each day increases the risk of overdose. And the repeated high dosage by people who misuse the drug recreationally puts them at high risk for overdose.

Symptoms of Trazodone Overdose include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Seizures
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Painful erection that doesn’t go away
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Coma

Who is Most at Risk?

  1. Recreational users using high doses for the hallucinogenic effects
  2. Long-term users who have built up a tolerance for the drug and require larger doses to achieve the desired effects
  3. People who mix trazodone with other drugs or alcohol

What are Withdrawal Symptoms from Trazodone?

When an individual is addicted to trazodone, they will have painful side-effects known as withdrawal symptoms when the drug leaves their body. The body has adapted to regular high doses of trazodone by changing the receptors it interacts with. 

When there is no more of the drug in the body, these changes cause a sick feeling. The body has been compensating for the trazodone effects so without the drug, we lose the ability to regulate those affected neurotransmitters on our own. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Severe depression
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Agitation
  • Suicidal thoughts

Is Trazodone Safer than Ambien?

There have been several studies that show that trazodone may improve sleep during the first two weeks of treatment. However, the drug hasn’t been thoroughly studied for longer than six weeks for people whose main problem is insomnia. As a result of that, not enough is known about how it works or how safe it is after that point. Also, an effective dose rate hasn’t been established for the drug when it’s used for chronic insomnia, although lower doses are usually prescribed.

Treatment guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine don’t recommend trazodone for insomnia. There isn’t enough evidence to support using any antidepressant to treat insomnia. But still, data suggests that some doctors are convinced that trazodone is an appropriate sleep medication.

Ambien Safety

According to Eric J. Olson, M.D., it’s unlikely for a person to become dependent on zolpidem (Ambien). Ambien and similar medications can be effective for sleep problems. And it is much less likely to become habit-forming than some other medications that are prescribed, such as benzodiazepine drugs. Medications for sleep are useful in the short term but long-term use isn’t the best solution for insomnia. Sleep medications can hide an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.

Four Steps in the Treatment of Trazodone Addiction

Step 1. Assessment

The first step in treating trazodone addiction is to check out the treatment facility you’re thinking of using. Learn about the programs and services available. After becoming oriented to the facility, you will need a professional assessment to determine your needs and to develop a specific treatment plan for you.

Step 2. Detoxification

The next step is a medically supervised detox to gradually eliminate trazodone from your body. This reduces the risks of severe withdrawal symptoms, some of which are life-threatening.

Step 3. Treatment

This step uncovers and treats the underlying causes of the addiction and gives you the tools to overcome the addiction and resist triggers. You will have the chance to take part in therapy in group sessions and one-on-one with your counselor. Therapy sessions and social support are necessary for changing the harmful thoughts and behaviors that caused your addiction. Social support is also a key part of maintaining your recovery. 

While you attend therapy sessions, you will either live at the facility as part of a residential program. Or you may attend therapy sessions during the day and go home every evening as part of an outpatient program. These issues will be discussed with input from your doctors, therapist, and yourself as to what is best for you.

Step 4. Aftercare

The purpose of the last phase is to assist you in transitioning into programs that will help continue the lifelong process of recovery. You may choose to continue counseling, join support groups such as narcotics anonymous, or look into sober housing. Studies show that people who take part in some type of aftercare have a better chance of preventing relapse.

Find a Treatment Center

Sudden withdrawal from trazodone can have serious consequences. You need a treatment center that is experienced in the detox process. Discovery Institute has licensed medical professionals who can help you ease your way through withdrawal.

In addition, we have certified substance use counselors to help you discover your reasons for misusing trazodone and help you learn new thoughts and behaviors to stay clean. So don’t wait. Check out our facility. Contact us now. We are always available to you and all information is confidential.

alcohol and kidneys

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Kidneys?

We all know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for our health. But, this is especially true for alcohol and your kidneys. Having a few drinks now and then won’t typically affect your health. However, misusing alcohol and alcohol use disorder (AUD) can affect the kidneys and lead to kidney disease. If you are struggling with AUD, treatment at Discovery Institute can help you. 

Alcohols Effect on Your Kidneys

Your kidneys handle many vital functions for your body. For instance, your kidneys filter out toxins and other harmful substances from your blood and body. They also help your body maintain a healthy level of water. However, if your kidneys are damaged in any way, your whole body suffers.

If you drink alcohol regularly or you misuse alcohol, it affects your kidneys in many ways. Alcohol’s effect on your kidneys can limit their ability to filter toxins, including alcohol. Alcohol also causes changes to the kidneys. However, these changes reduce the kidney’s filtering ability. This change causes them to work harder. As a result, toxins start to build in your blood. 

Additionally, dehydration is another one of alcohol’s effects on your kidneys. This effect makes it hard to keep normal water levels in the body. As a result, other organs and cells in your body are poorly affected. 

Chronic Drinking of Alcohol and Your Kidneys

The chronic misuse of alcohol also increases blood pressure. If you drink more than 2 drinks a day, you are at risk of high blood pressure. And, high blood pressure commonly leads to kidney disease. 

Furthermore, if you misuse alcohol, it can lead to liver disease. And, liver disease puts stress on the kidneys. Liver disease reduces healthy blood flow in the kidneys. For this reason, the kidneys can’t filter the blood properly. Unfortunately, many Americans suffering from both liver and kidney disease also suffer from alcohol use disorder (AUD). 

Alcohol and Kidney Pain: What Are the Effects of Alcohol on Kidneys?

Your kidneys are vital to keeping your body healthy and free of toxins. Your kidneys filter waste out of your body through the urine. They also help maintain a balance of fluid and electrolytes. 

When you drink alcohol, the kidneys have to work extra hard. Therefore, one effect of alcohol on the kidneys is pain. Additionally, urinating often is another effect of alcohol on kidneys. You will typically urinate more because of the flushing of alcohol from the body. This flushing can lead to dehydration and kidney pain. 

Symptoms of Alcohol Damage to Kidneys

After drinking, you may feel soreness around your kidneys. You will feel this soreness on both sides of your spine under the ribcage. It may be sudden, sharp, or stabbing pain. But, it could be a dull pain.  Some people may feel it on one side, while others feel it on both. 

Kidney pain can sometimes be hard to pinpoint. You may feel it in the upper or lower back. However, some feel kidney pain between the buttocks and the lower ribs. Alcohol may cause instant kidney pain. But, it may not cause pain until after you stop drinking. 

Symptoms of the alcohol effects on the kidneys:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Painful urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Appetite loss 
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fever
  • Chills

The Link Between Alcohol and Kidney Disease

Although many factors can lead to kidney disease, chronic AUD is a common one. Even though your family history and lifestyle affect your risk of kidney disease, alcohol greatly increases your chance of developing kidney disease. 

If you misuse alcohol, you will start to experience issues with your kidneys. But, chronic misuse increases these issues. As a result, you can develop kidney damage and kidney disease.

Moreover, if you develop kidney disease from alcohol or any other reason, you will also have other health issues. 

Alcohol and kidney disease also leads too:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Bone weakness
  • Fluid retention
  • Swelling in the arms, legs, and feet
  • Damage to the central nervous system
  • Trouble breathing
  • Damage to the immune system
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Seizures

Binge Drinking Alcohol and Kidney Disease

If you are a binge drinker, then you put yourself in the increasing danger of kidney disease. Binge drinking is consuming 4 to 5 plus drinks an hour. However, binge drinking floods your body with alcohol and increases BAC drastically. As a result, your kidneys can’t keep up and lose their function. This damage from alcohol on your kidneys causes lasting damage.

An Effect of Alcohol on Kidneys is Acute Kidney Injury

Acute kidney injury can happen if you binge drink. Acute kidney injury occurs when toxins build-up in the blood faster than the kidneys can filter. This injury to kidneys from alcohol can lead to pain and symptoms such as:

  • Decrease in urinating
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen face, arms, and legs
  • Trouble breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain or pressure

Additionally, if you have acute kidney injury and don’t seek treatment, it can lead to seizures or a coma. 

Urinary Tract Infection is an Effect of Alcohol on Kidneys

Although indirectly, alcohol can cause a urinary tract infection (UTI). And UTIs typically spread to the bladder. As a result, it causes kidney pain. 

Because alcohol increases acidity, it irritates the lining of the bladder. Also, when you drink alcohol, the kidneys become dehydrated. This effect also increases the risk of a UTI. 

Besides kidney pain, symptoms of a UTI include:

  • Pain when urinating
  • An urge to urinate with very little coming out
  • Dark or smelly urine
  • Blood in urine
  • Stomach and back pain
  • A fever

Chronic Kidney Disease: Alcohols Effect on Kidneys

If you continue to drink regularly or have a chronic alcohol use disorder, you’re at risk of chronic kidney disease. The stress put on your kidneys over time forces them to work harder. This stress also damages the liver.

Chronic kidney disease is a severe condition. But, above all, it is life-threatening. If you have chronic kidney disease from alcohol, it’s essential to seek treatment for both conditions. 

The Effects of Alcohol on One Kidney

Even though most people have two kidneys, it only takes one kidney to function. But, if you have only one kidney, you must live a healthy lifestyle. So, if you have one kidney and drink alcohol, you can cause life-threatening issues. 

A healthy lifestyle includes a nutritious diet, exercise, and regular check-ups. This means no alcohol. This risk of kidney disease from alcohol is drastically increased with only one kidney. 

Although you can remain healthy with one kidney, drinking alcohol causes damage beyond your one kidney. Remember, kidney damage and disease can lead to other health issues. 

Effects of Having One Kidney: Short and Long-Term Problems

Your kidneys have a primary role in balancing fluid in your body. It also keeps the protein in the blood and controls blood pressure. However, alcohol stresses your kidneys. So, if you have one kidney, the damage could cause that kidney to fail. 

Can You Drink Alcohol With One Kidney?

Can you drink alcohol? Technically yes. But, does it increase your risk of life-threatening issues? Also yes. So, even though you can drink alcohol, it is not a good idea.

Alcohol affects all of your body’s organs. However, the effects of alcohol on one kidney lead to multiple issues. Although drinking one to two drinks a day typically won’t be an issue, if you have one kidney, it will.

When you drink, you will generally urinate more. But, your kidney is not filtering any blood. So, alcohol is still in your blood. This effect of alcohol on kidneys leads to an imbalance in fluids and electrolytes. As a result, you may become dehydrated. 

When your body doesn’t have enough fluids, you can’t function right. The cells in your organs, including your kidneys, can’t function properly. This causes damage to the kidneys. For this reason, if you have one kidney and drink alcohol, it can be life-threatening. 

Alcohol and Kidney Disease: Prevention

To help prevent kidney disease from alcohol, you can reduce how much you drink. This includes avoiding binge drinking. If you do drink alcohol, it’s crucial also to drink water. 

However, if you have chronic kidney disease, you shouldn’t drink at all. So, if you struggle with misusing alcohol, it’s vital to seek treatment. If you only treat the kidney disease and continue to drink, you will not get better. 

Treatment for Alcohol Misuse and Kidney Disease

Treatment for AUD varies depending on your needs. If you struggle with chronic alcohol misuse, treatment begins with a medical detox program. Afterward, treatment may involve a variety of therapies in either inpatient or outpatient settings.

Treatment for AUD may include:

  • Detox and withdrawal – Medical detox provides a safe place for you to withdrawal from alcohol. Detox typically lasts up to 7 days, but that also depends on the person.
  • Psychotherapy – Therapies in individual and group settings are a vital part of treatment. Therapy sessions can help you better understand yourself and your issue with alcohol. Because family is crucial in treatment, family therapy is often part of treatment. 
  • Medication management – For some people with AUD, the use of medications in treatment is vital. The changes that alcohol causes to the brain can be lethal when a person stops drinking. 
  • Treatment for other mental health issues – Many people who misuse alcohol also have a mental disorder. As a result, dual diagnosis treatment offers whole-person treatment. It also lowers a person’s relapse rate. 
  • Holistic or alternative therapies – Many treatment centers offer holistic therapies. These therapies may include yoga, meditation, mindfulness. 

Treating Alcohol Use Disorder at Discovery Institute

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, we can help. All it takes is one phone call. Our caring staff is waiting to show you how to take your life back. Contact us today for more treatment information. 

world mental health day

Reflecting on Mental Health in 2020

World Mental Health Day, October 10th

We all have the opportunity to help the world come together on World Mental Health Day. On this day we try to make a difference regarding the neglect of mental health in the past. World Mental Health Day offers the opportunity to make life-affirming changes and take action to improve mental health around the world. 

By recognizing these illnesses and the effects they can have on people, we can slowly begin to make a difference together. Offering a helping hand to close relatives or friends can go a long way. The first International Health Mental Day took place 30 years ago. Since then, the push for awareness and mental health help has continued to rise.  

A Closer Look at Mental Health

Information on mental health can be found on the internet, magazines, and newspaper articles. Around the world, people are continuing to make improvements to mental health systems. Learning and being informed about mental health issues can go a long way. 

Fortunately, you can be a participant in this year’s International Mental Health Day on October 10th. If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental illness, help is just around the corner. At Discovery, we believe that everyone deserves to live a healthier and better life, regardless of where you are. This is one of the main pillars of World Mental Health Day.

World Mental Health Day and the Pandemic

COVID-19 has completely changed our world in dramatic ways. We are living in difficult times as many people are indoors trying to quarantine. This quarantine and lack of contact can make getting help that much harder. But it’s important to know that help is still available and achievable, even during quarantine. 

Many people turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with stresses like COVID-19. There’s a new level of paranoia that has caused fear, stress, and anxiety within many people and families. Social isolation has also contributed to the spike in mental or substance use issues in homes around the country. This is especially true if you lost anyone to the virus during these lonely times. 

Does International Mental Health Day Help with Mental Health Stigmas?

There are certain negative stigmas around mental health. People may judge a person for their personal characteristics or traits. With this in mind, it’s important to know that no one should be judged by how they think or feel. Stigmas can have negative effects on how people perceive getting help and necessary treatment. 

World Mental Health day is meant to break this negative stigma and show that those struggling with mental illness are not alone. International Mental Health Day is helping to change negative beliefs and attitudes.Whether it is intentional or not, negative comments about your mental health hurt. However, this should not stop anyone from getting the treatment they need. 

Are you being judged as dangerous, violent, or unstable just because you have substance use or mental issues? 

Are you judging yourself? 

Answering yes to any of these questions means this day is even more important for your mental stability. 

Harmful Effects of Stigma

If you are being treated unfairly due to stigma, you may be experiencing one or more of the following.

  • Reluctance to ask for treatment or help
  • Feeling of having fewer opportunities for social activities, employment, or housing
  • Worried your treatment is not covered by your health insurance
  • Your friends, family, and co-workers do not understand what you are going through
  • Belief that you are unable to improve your situation or succeed
  • Suffering from harassment, violence, or bullying

Mental Health Statistics in the United States

Mental health statistics in the United States speaks volumes about the current state of mental health. Approximately 46.6 adults in the U.S. (over the age of 18) suffered from a mental illness in 2017. 18.9 percent of every adult in the U.S. (Roughly 22.3 percent of women and 15.1 percent of men) are currently suffering from mental illness.

Adults between the ages of 18 and 25 are affected the most at 25.8 percent. The percentage for adults (between 26 and 49 years of age) is 22.2 percent with people over 50 at 13.8 percent. Those who are mixed race were in the 28.6 percentage, white  was 20.4, and Asian at 14.5.

Is Addiction Considered a Mental Illness?

What many don’t realize is that substance use is considered a mental illness. This is because a person’s normal priorities and desires change. A person may not be able to go to school, work, or sustain a good relationship with family and friends. These issues are a good indication of the importance of mental health awareness.

Celebrating Mental Health Day

There are many different ways of celebrating Mental Health Day. Helping to raise awareness regarding substance use and mental health awareness, and helping loved ones understand their mental illnesses are both great ways to help. Also thinking about one’s own well being is part of today’s event. 

There are different things a person can do to push for a healthier mind. Exercise is a great way to improve both a person’s physical and mental health. Spending time with your friends and family, painting, or writing in your journal are all ways to stay mentally healthy. If you or a friend is struggling with a mental illness, don’t be afraid to speak with a counselor. 

Going to a counselor offers support, guidance, and help, regardless of whether or not a person has mental illness symptoms. Stressful events can push people over the edge mentally. This is why it can be beneficial to speak to a professional.

Thinking of the bigger picture, there are many ways to raise awareness. While a person’s mental health is important every day of the year, today we reiterate its importance. This is the reason why staying educated and informed can help others to seek help if needed. Today, don’t be afraid to ask for help or reach out to a friend in need.  

Symptoms Linked to Mental Illness or Addiction?

With drug addiction and mental illnesses, there are a number of specific symptoms depending on the drug. However, there is a common handful of behavior changes that can indicate a deeper problem. Some of these general signs include:

  • Changing behavior
  • Neglecting your hygiene and health
  • Refusing to ask for treatment
  • Impulsive or erratic behavior
  • Avoiding social activities or events you used to enjoy
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Disillusioned thinking
  • Difficulty with your daily responsibilities and tasks
  • Suicidal thoughts or exhibiting suicidal behavior
  • Difficulty managing your finances

Types of Treatments Available for Mental Illness and Addiction

There are a number of effective treatment options for both a mental illness and addiction. Psychologists, physicians, counselors, mental health aides, and nurses are all available to help. Some treatment options may work better than others, so it’s important to be informed of each of them. Let’s take a look at some of the more common forms of addiction and mental health treatment. 

Dual Diagnosis

A dual diagnosis occurs when someone is struggling with a substance use disorder and a mental illness. This type of condition typically requires intensive treatment (usually residential). Over time these two illnesses can begin to feed off each other, which only worsens the situation. A vicious cycle can occur where a person needs a substance to cope with their mental illness. 

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment is a common type of intensive treatment. A person will receive care 24/7. Residential treatment includes a mix of  individual, group, family therapy, and support. Treatment can take anywhere from 28 days to six months or more. Living in a treatment center allows for full support and effective treatment for long term sobriety. 

Many times a person will receive help from licensed mental health workers to help them become and remain sober. A treatment center is available regardless of your age, type of substance use, mental health issues, personal trauma, and concerns. If you have previously received care, you might require residential treatment to help you succeed in long-term sobriety.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment allows a person to live out their life while still getting treatment. This typically consists of weekly meetings (that last around 2-3 hours each). Outpatient treatment is great for moderate cases of addiction and mental illness. It is convenient and gives people struggling with addiction help while managing their life at home. For more severe cases of addiction or mental illness, inpatient treatment is prefered. Inpatient (residential treatment) provides full 24/7 help. 

We’re ready to help you towards a better future. Let Discovery be your guide to a brighter, and healthier mind and body. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options and addiction resources.

lithium for alcohol withdrawal

Can Lithium Be Used for Alcohol Withdrawal?

Several medications may be used for people recovering from alcohol addiction. Lithium is a drug that has gotten attention. A study was conducted with 18 men with alcohol use disorder who were in withdrawal. 

It was found that in mild alcohol withdrawal, lithium reduces the visible symptoms of withdrawal and normalizes performance on a motor skills task. Individuals who start taking lithium while still drinking show improvement because it takes longer than 3 days for lithium concentrations in the blood to level off. 

Lithium for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

In 1974, Kline and associates conducted the first study of lithium therapy for alcohol use disorder was done. The researchers found that those treated with lithium for a year showed fewer episodes of disabling drinking. They were also surprised to find that lithium therapy did not reduce symptoms of (nonpsychotic) depression any better than the placebo.

Later studies have also supported the theory that lithium therapy reduces the alcohol intake of people with co-occurring AUD and affective disorders, such as bipolar disorder, depression, and other mood disorders. Further studies found that lithium therapy reduced the individual’s sense of intoxication, his desire to continue drinking, and cognitive dysfunction related to intoxication. There was no difference between people with a mood disorder and those who didn’t.

The conclusion after an 18-month follow-up was: 

  • Lithium therapy promotes abstinence for people with AUD whether they have a co-occurring condition or not. 
  •  Those who were treated with lithium therapy were much less likely to be readmitted for AUD treatment.
  • Lithium therapy didn’t reduce the frequency of drinking for relapse drinkers.

What is Lithium?

Lithium is a naturally occurring element and is actually the lightest known metal. It’s used in building aircraft and in some batteries. It was discovered in the 1790s but wasn’t isolated from other elements until 1855. 

Lithium is found in the earth locked up in minerals and salts. Those salts have the ability to affect the brain. Its mood-stabilizing effects weren’t known until late in the 1800s. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, lithium salts were the first drugs the Food and Drug Administration approved to treat mania and depression and that happened in 1970.

How Does Lithium it Work?

These days, lithium carbonate is the compound usually sold as a pharmaceutical. Exactly how lithium works to stabilize mood is not known. But studies show several effects on the nervous system. 

In 2008 researchers reported in the journal, Cell, that lithium interrupts the activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain. Dopamine plays a part in how we feel pleasure. It is also thought to help strengthen nerve cell connections in brain regions that are involved in regulating mood, thinking, and behavior. This helps decrease abnormal activity in the brain.

What is Lithium Typically Used For?

Lithium is one of the most widely used and studied medications for treating bipolar disorder, sometimes known as manic-depressive illness. It might also help relieve or prevent bipolar depression. 

Lithium also helps prevent future episodes of manic and depressive behavior. Because of this, it can be prescribed for long periods of time as maintenance therapy. Studies show that lithium can considerably reduce suicide risk. 

It is also sometimes used to treat depression, schizophrenia, impulse control disorders, and certain mental illnesses in children. Lithium can be used to decrease anger and sudden impulse decisions in people who don’t have bipolar disorder.

What’s a Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric disorder that features extreme shifts in mood, from excessively euphoric (mania) to desperately sad or hopeless (depression). It helps reduce the severity and frequency of mania

People who suffer from bipolar disorder frequently feel out of control or out of touch with their life. Being unsure of what to do or how to feel when a bipolar episode occurs makes using alcohol an appealing solution in relieving the symptoms.

The Link Between Alcohol and Bipolar Disorder

Alcohol and Bipolar disorder have a close relationship. Few mental health disorders are as closely related to alcohol use disorder (AUD) as bipolar disorder. They are commonly present together. 

Some studies have found that most individuals with bipolar disorder will develop an AUD of some kind during their lives. It has been estimated that up to 43% of individuals with bipolar disorder have some type of AUD at any given time. The Journal of Affective Disorders concluded that alcohol use disorder was the most prevalent substance use disorder (SUD) in people with Bipolar I and Bipolar II disorder.

Alcohol helps to calm nerves, particularly in social settings. It may relieve the negative symptoms of bipolar disorder temporarily. But it can increase the chances of making the disorder worse later on.

Complications of Alcohol Use Disorder and Bipolar Disorder

AUD can impair your judgment, make you more impulsive, and also increase your risk of suicide, injury, and sexually transmitted infections like HIV. Research from the Medical University of South Carolina found that suicide is nearly twice as high in people with bipolar disorder and AUD as it is in people with Bipolar alone.

In addition, the effect alcohol has on a person’s moods and judgment can make sticking to drug therapy more difficult, wrecking the very goals of treatment.

Does Lithium Have Any Side Effects?

Lithium has several side effects including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Metallic taste
  • Slight shakiness
  • Mild weakness
  • Diarrhea

As your body adjusts to the medication, these effects will subside.

Over the long term, it can cause thyroid issues and affect kidney and cardiovascular functions. Using it for withdrawal symptoms for AUD is a short-term usage and shouldn’t cause side effects that would interfere with the detoxification process. These problems typically disappear if lithium is reduced or stopped.

Is Lithium Addictive?

Lithium is not addictive. There is no craving if you stop. But when you stop taking it, it should be gradually reduced to minimize the chance of the illness coming back. People who misuse lithium will find that it doesn’t produce a “high” and might lead to some harmful side effects.

Treatment for AUD and Withdrawal

Detoxification

If you have an alcohol use disorder, you will probably need to undergo a detoxification process. Medically assisted detox is the safest way to rid your body of toxins. Withdrawal from alcohol can be extremely uncomfortable, painful, and even life-threatening, depending on the severity of your addiction. In a detox center, you will be monitored 24 hours a day by medical professionals.

Alcohol Withdrawal

Up to 71% of people who need alcohol detoxification display significant symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal is a medical syndrome that affects individuals who are used to regular intake of alcohol who have either decreased their alcohol intake or have stopped drinking completely.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms may appear within hours of stopping or decreasing alcohol intake. The most common symptoms include:

  • tremor, 
  • craving for alcohol, 
  • insomnia, 
  • vivid dreams, 
  • anxiety, 
  • agitation, 
  • irritability, 
  • loss of appetite, 
  • nausea, 
  • vomiting, 
  • headache, 
  • sweating.

Of greater concern are hallucinations, delirium tremens (DTs), and seizures. Grand mal seizures can occur in up to 25% of alcoholics undergoing withdrawal.

Common Alcohol Withdrawal Medications

You will be prescribed medications that will help ease these symptoms. Some medications that help manage severe alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Benzodiazepines—Sedatives that are preferred for alcohol detoxification.
  • Anticonvulsants—May be necessary to prevent seizures.
  • Antipsychotics—May be given to treat hallucinations, delusions, and agitation.
  • Clonidine—Can help manage symptoms of high blood pressure and high body temperature.

Medically Assisted Treatment

After completing the detox process, certain medications can be used for the treatment of alcohol dependence. Common medications include:

  • Naltrexone—This medication dulls the rewarding effects of continued drinking.
  • Acamprosate—This helps with anxiety and restlessness and helps with cravings.
  • Disulfiram—Disulfiram causes unpleasant effects like nausea and heart palpitations if you drink alcohol.

After detoxification, you will get to the hard work of getting well. Controlling your drinking is only part of the solution. With the help of psychologists, social workers, and counselors you will learn new strategies to use in your everyday life. You will learn how to:

  • Change the behaviors that make you want to drink
  • Cope with stress and other triggers
  • Build a strong support system

Levels of Care

Depending on the severity of your disorder, the length of time you have been using alcohol, and your personal situation, you may receive treatment at different levels.

  • Residential–Some people will need care in a residential facility, where they are sheltered from situations and environments that may cause a relapse.
  • Intensive Outpatient—You may be able to live at home and attend therapy sessions during the day.
  • Outpatient— you live at home and attend therapy during the day but the sessions are not as long or frequent as Intensive Outpatient.

Discovery Institute Can Help You With Proven Treatment

Recovery can take a long time so you have no time to waste. At Discovery Institute, we use evidence-based treatments that can help you get your life back on track. Nobody ever regrets that they tried their best to live a full, rewarding life.

Our staff of professionals has one job—to help you improve your life. You should contact us now. We are available to you 24-hours a day.