synthetic drugs

If you are using opioids, you might be asking, “How long do opiates stay in urine?” Below, we’ll help you learn about the detection window, factors influencing detection times, and the significance of opioid testing in urine for medical and monitoring purposes. Understanding how opioids are detected in urine can provide valuable insights into responsible usage and healthcare decisions.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a type of medication that impacts opioid receptors in the brain and body, which alter the perception of pain. They are commonly prescribed for severe pain management, but misuse can lead to addiction and adverse effects.

List of Opioids

  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Tramadol
  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Hydromorphone
  • Meperidine
  • Tapentadol
  • Butorphanol
  • Naloxone (used to reverse opioid overdose)
  • Naltrexone (used to treat opioid dependence)
  • Heroin (an illegal opioid)

Factors That Influence How Long Opioids Remain in Your Urine

So, exactly how long do opiates stay in urine? Several key factors can influence the duration that opioids stay detectable in urine. Understanding these factors is crucial for interpreting drug test results accurately and making informed decisions about opioid use. Here are the main factors that impact how long opioids remain in your urine:

  • Type of Opioid: Different opioids have varying half-lives, which determine how quickly they are eliminated from the body. Short-acting opioids may clear faster from urine compared to longer-acting ones.
  • Dosage and Frequency: Higher doses and more frequent use of opioids can extend the detection window in urine. Larger amounts of the drug take longer to be processed and excreted.
  • Metabolism: Individual metabolic rates significantly affect how quickly opioids are broken down and eliminated. A faster metabolism can lead to shorter detection times. So, if you’re wondering how long do opiates stay in blood, you should know that your metabolic rate is a contender for the duration of the drug in your system.
  • Liver and Kidney Function: Healthy liver and kidney function are essential for efficiently processing and excreting substances from the body. Impaired liver or kidney function can prolong detection times.
  • Hydration: Adequate hydration can impact the concentration of opioids in urine. Drinking ample amounts of water can help dilute the urine and potentially reduce detection times.
  • Drug Interactions: Other medications or substances you’re taking can influence the metabolism and elimination of opioids, affecting their detection in urine.
  • Age and Body Composition: Factors like age and body fat percentage can play a role. Opioids tend to be stored in fatty tissues, which can prolong their presence in the body.
  • Frequency of Use: Chronic opioid use can lead to accumulation in the body, extending the detection window in urine.
  • Individual Variation: When considering how long do opioids stay in your system, you should factor each person’s body responds differently to opioids. Genetic factors and overall health can contribute to variations in detection times.
  • Specific Test Sensitivity: The sensitivity of the drug test being used can affect detection times. Some testing practices can be more sensitive and may detect opioids at lower concentrations, extending the detection window.

Considering these factors on how long does it take for opiates to get out of your system, you can see how the answer can be challenging to pinpoint. These factors can help you anticipate the duration that opioids might stay in your system in order to minimize potential risks. For full assurance and personalized assistance, you should consult a healthcare professional to assess your unique circumstances.

How Long Do Opiates Stay In Your Urine?

The presence of opiates in urine is a key consideration for medical professionals and individuals alike. But exactly how long do opiates stay in urine?

While the general range is around 2 to 4 days, as we mentioned, this window may be influenced by the unique characteristics of each opiate and the circumstances of its use.

Testing Methods for Urine Drug Tests

Urine drug tests, often used in clinical settings and employment screenings, can identify the presence of opioids. These tests detect metabolites, which are byproducts produced as the body processes opioids. It’s important to note that while urine tests can indicate recent opioid use, they might not provide insights into impairment or the exact timing of use.

Is It Possible For Opiates To Leave Your Urine Within 24 to 48 Hours?

The possibility of opiates, including fentanyl, leaving your urine within 24 to 48 hours depends on several variables. Generally, the detection window for most opioids in urine is approximately 2 to 4 days. However, fentanyl, being a potent and fast-acting opioid, can have a relatively shorter detection time compared to some other opioids.

In some cases, especially with limited use, it’s possible for fentanyl to be below detectable levels in urine within 24 to 48 hours after use. However, when deciphering how to get opiates out of your system in 48 hours, it’s crucial to consider that individual responses can differ due to factors like dosage, metabolism, and frequency of use. Additionally, chronic or heavy use of fentanyl can extend the detection window beyond this timeframe.

How To Get Help With Opiate Addiction

Are you or a loved one struggling with opiate addiction? At Journey Hillside Tarzana, we’re here to support your journey to recovery. Our comprehensive drug and alcohol detox and rehab programs are tailored to provide the care, guidance, and resources necessary to overcome addiction and build a healthier future.

Call us at (877) 414-1024 to get the information and help you need. Your journey to recovery starts with a single action. Let us be your partner in this transformative process.


Additional FAQs About Opioids in Urine

Yes, the type of opioid you’re taking influences detection times. Short-acting opioids might have a shorter detection window compared to longer-acting ones.

Urine drug tests are commonly used to identify opioids. These tests detect opioid metabolites.

Urine tests are generally reliable for detecting recent opioid use. However, other factors, like the sensitivity of the test and individual responses, can influence their accuracy.

Detection times can vary, but opioids are typically detectable in urine within a few hours after use.

Yes, urine tests can be used in pain management settings to ensure patients are taking only prescribed opioids, and not using other substances that could interact negatively.

While it’s unlikely that secondhand exposure could lead to positive drug test results, direct contact with opioids should still be avoided to prevent any potential risks.

can alcohol withdrawal cause death

Once you realize the need to quit drinking, you will probably find yourself facing some challenges. One of the hardest barriers to overcome is the anxiety you feel going through the withdrawal process. You may even wonder, “Can alcohol withdrawal cause death?”

The short answer to that is, yes. In a small number of cases, there are some serious adverse effects that can occur during alcohol detox. This is why detox should always be undertaken under the oversight of a medical detox team. To learn more about alcohol detox and its risks, read on.

What Happens During Alcohol Withdrawal?

It is always a good idea to become prepared for detox ahead of time. Knowing what to expect reduces fear and anxiety as you move into that first step of recovery. Also, having a team of detox experts at your side helps you face the process with more confidence.

During the intake process, the clinical staff will be able to estimate the severity of your pending detox. This helps them prepare for any adverse symptoms that may crop up. There are a few things they will be looking at. These include the history of your alcoholism, how many former attempts at detox you’ve had, your age, and your health.

During the detox, as the body adjusts to the absence of alcohol, withdrawal symptoms begin to emerge. This usually occurs about 6-12 hours after the last drink. You will go through three distinct phases of withdrawal: emerging symptoms, peak symptoms, and subsiding symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms might include:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Hand tremors.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Insomnia
  • Disorientation
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Profound fatigue.
  • Mood swings.
  • Shaking
  • Mild seizures.
  • Severe confusion.
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

What is a Medical Detox?

A medical detox team is trained to assist you with alcohol withdrawal. Their goal is to reduce discomfort, provide medical and mental health support, and observe symptoms throughout.

During the detox process, your vital signs will be closely watched. A benzo like Valium is provided to help reduce anxiety and the risk of seizures. Meds are also offered to relieve nausea, diarrhea, fever, and headache.

Emotional support is provided during medical detox as well. Mental health support helps you proceed through the detox process and not give up. The detox support team keeps the person moving forward to safely enter treatment.

There is a small risk of dangerous withdrawal symptoms occurring on days 3-4 of the detox period. These are referred to as delirium tremens or DTs. The DTs can be life threatening, further showing the need for a medical detox.

Can Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome Cause Death?

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome, or AWS, simply refers to the spectrum of symptoms experienced when quitting alcohol. These range from mild to severe. When you stop drinking, it results in brain excitability. This is what prompts the tremors, agitation, irritability, and feelings of anxiety.

For someone with a long history of excess drinking, the possibility for severe AWS increases. These are symptoms such as hallucinations, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, fever, and seizures. In a small subset, the DTs will occur, which are alcohol withdrawal symptoms that can cause death.

What Are the Delirium Tremens (DTs)?

When you decide to stop drinking, it can trigger a condition called the DTs. This occurs most often in people with a long history of chronic alcohol abuse. It is also more common in those who have attempted detox in the past.

The DTs is a health emergency that can emerge rather suddenly and without notice in about 5% of those in detox. Up to 15% of patients with the DTs will not survive. The DTs may emerge on days 3 or 4 of the alcohol detox. In some cases, the DTs may show up toward the end of the detox period, such as the 7th day.

These are the symptoms of the DTs:

  • Fever
  • Extreme tremors and shaking.
  • Severe mental confusion.
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • High blood pressure.
  • Hallucinations or delusions.
  • Feeling like insects are crawling under the skin.
  • Nightmares
  • Extreme anxiety.
  • Profuse sweating.
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Heart failure.

Treatment for the DTs often involves a hospital stay. In the hospital setting, care providers can provide life saving interventions to stabilize the person. These treatments might include IV sedative infusions and hydration. Without these interventions, alcohol withdrawal can cause death.

Treatment After Detox and Withdrawal

Detox is only the beginning of your recovery journey. After you complete the detox, you will need to enter a treatment program. This is a needed step because it is in treatment where you will learn how to change your addict behaviors.

Treatment includes a variety of activities:

  • Therapy. Alcohol abuse may begin first as a way to self-medicate mood disorders like depression or bipolar disorder. It is critical that the mental health piece be addressed along with the alcohol addiction. CBT can help the client identify the distorted thought patterns that led to the maladaptive behavioral response.
  • Group therapy. The social aspect of recovery is a common feature in treatment programs. Sharing your personal story and experiences with others in recovery helps build social support and confidence.
  • Relapse prevention. Relapse prevention planning is an important part of recovery. This process involves you listing your known triggers and then a plan of action when they are encountered. This planning can help you avoid a relapse in early recovery.
  • 12-step. Most rehab programs today include the basic A.A. 12-Step program to some degree. The steps offer a framework for achieving sustained sobriety.
  • Holistic methods. To round out the alcohol treatment plan, holistic activities play a pivotal role. Stress is a common trigger for relapse, so teaching you ways to relax becomes an essential coping skill. These might include yoga, meditation, art therapy, journaling, or massage.

After learning that alcohol withdrawal can cause death, the need for expert support during detox is clear. If you are struggling with alcoholism, reach out for help today.

Journey Hillside Provides Comprehensive Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Journey Hillside is a leading treatment provider for people with an alcohol use disorder. To learn more about our program, please reach out to us today at (877) 414-1024.

how does alcohol affect the liver

Alcohol is a toxic substance that when abused can cause multiple health conditions. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is linked with increased heart disease, cancer, and brain damage, but how does alcohol affect the liver?

The liver is an essential organ that acts as the body’s filtering system. Alcohol is metabolized through the liver, so when alcohol is abused over the long term it has damaging effects. Read on to learn how the liver is impacted by alcohol use disorder.

What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

AUD is a pervasive health concern, affecting 14.5 million adults in the U.S., according to statistics provided by the NIAAA. Each year about 88,000 Americans lose their lives to alcohol-related deaths. In fact, a third of fatal car accidents involve alcohol.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that produces a relaxed, calm effect as the body’s systems slow down. People use alcohol as a way to relax in social settings or to unwind after a busy day at work. Alcohol can boost someone’s confidence, which is also why it is used as a social tool. And of course, some abuse alcohol in a recreational manner, behavior that is most common among teens and young adults.

The pleasurable effects of alcohol imprint on the brain’s reward system as a positive experience. This lays the foundation for repetitive drinking behavior, which can result in altered neural pathways and dependency.

The spectrum of AUD includes a range of dysfunctional drinking behaviors. This includes alcohol abuse, such as binge drinking, to alcohol dependency to alcohol addiction. When someone is diagnosed with AUD, they are staged as mild, moderate, or severe based on the number of symptoms present.

how alcohol affects the liver

What Causes AUD?

Science has not yet discovered why some people become alcoholic while others with the same consumption levels do not. Some of the factors that are linked to AUD include:

  • Genes. Those with a family history of AUD are more likely to become alcoholic, too.
  • Environment. People from households where alcohol consumption is prevalent have a greater chance of also adopting this behavior.
  • Drinking at a young age. Drinking before age 15 can increase the chances fivefold of having a drinking problem later.
  • Mental health issues. Individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder often use alcohol as a means of self-medicating.
  • Life events. Those who have experienced trauma, a history of abuse, or suffered many losses may be more likely to develop AUD.

Signs of Alcoholism

When AUD sets in, certain physical, behavioral, and psychological effects become noticeable. These are some of the common signs of AUD:

Physical Signs of AUD:

  • Nausea and vomiting in the morning.
  • Blood is present in urine.
  • Bloating
  • Sweating
  • Shaking or tremors.
  • Headaches
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Memory blackouts.
  • Increased cravings.
  • Neglecting personal hygiene.
  • The onset of withdrawal symptoms when the effects of alcohol wear off.

Behavior Signs of AUD:

  • Cannot control drinking.
  • Neglecting obligations.
  • The decline in work or school performance.
  • Legal troubles.
  • Irritability
  • Money problems.
  • Dishonest behaviors.
  • Drinking alone.
  • Attempts to stop or limit drinking fail.

Psychological Signs of AUD:

How Does Alcohol Affect the Liver

Fatty Liver. Fatty liver is a condition in which a build up of fat in the liver cells causes an enlarged liver. It often causes no symptoms, but when they do emerge they include weight loss, weakness, and fatigue.

Alcoholic Hepatitis. This is an inflammatory condition of the liver caused by the toxins associated with excessive and chronic drinking. It affects about one-third of those with AUD. Symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis include:

  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Abdominal swelling and pain.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Weakness
  • Mental confusion.
  • Jaundice
  • Bruising or bleeding more easily.
  • Fatigue
  • Mood changes.
  • Fluid retention in the upper body.

Cirrhosis. About 10%-20% of chronic heavy drinkers develop cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis occurs when healthy liver tissue is replaced by scarred tissue, preventing the liver from removing toxins from the body. Symptoms of cirrhosis include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Swelling in legs, ankles, or feet.
  • Mental confusion.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Bleeding or bruising easily.
  • Ascites, or fluid in the abdomen.
  • Disruption in women’s menstrual cycle.
  • Loss of sex drive in men.
  • Red palms of the hand.
  • Yellowed whites of the eyes.
  • Yellow skin tone.
  • Broken blood vessels in the skin.
  • Whitening of the fingernails.
  • Brownish urine.
  • Bone disease.
  • Enlarged spleen.

The only way to treat alcohol-related liver disease is to stop drinking. Over time, and with a healthy diet and other interventions, some of the damage can be reversed. Sometimes, though, a liver transplant is the only option.

Getting Help for Alcoholism

The best chance of breaking free from AUD is by enrolling in a treatment program. The rehab setting shows you how to make lasting changes in behaviors by combining therapy with various other activities:

  • Medical detox. A team of medically trained experts closely monitors the detox process. As symptoms progress, they provide meds to reduce discomfort, as well as mental health support.
  • Therapy. CBT and DBT are evidence-based therapies that help the person make positive changes in thought and behavior patterns.
  • Education. Rehabs offer classes to teach recovery skills and relapse prevention planning.
  • Group therapy. Peers in recovery meet in small group sessions where they share their experiences and feelings.
  • Holistic methods. Rehabs also include relaxation methods, such as yoga, meditation, and art therapy.
  • 12-step program. 12-step recovery meetings are a central source of social support.
  • Fitness and nutrition. A focus on restoring health and wellness includes dietary coaching and exercise.

Knowing how alcohol affects the liver can be a powerful motivator to get help for AUD before health issues become serious. Reach out for help today.

Journey Hillside is a Leading Treatment Provider for Alcohol Use Disorder

Journey Hillside is a residential treatment program for people who struggle with AUD and dual diagnosis. To learn more about the program, call us today at (877) 414-1024.

gray area drinking

“Gray area drinking” is a fairly recent addition to our cultural lexicon. Like anything else described as being in the gray area, gray area drinking occupies that middle ground. Are you wondering what gray area drinking is? Keep reading to learn more.

What is Gray Area Drinking?

Those who refer to themselves as gray area drinkers understand they are neither an occasional drinker nor an alcoholic. This type of drinking behavior is sometimes referred to as drinking in moderation.

Gray area drinkers are those who have a daily habit of drinking in social settings or when at home alone. Even so, they may not show the usual signs of alcohol abuse, appearing to have a grip on their drinking.

Gray area drinkers are not yet dependent on or addicted to alcohol in a clinical sense. Taking stock of being in this gray area can provide the person with an opportunity to rethink their drinking habits. They may not have reached the point of a serious alcohol use disorder yet, but they are far from being just an occasional drinker.

5 Signs of Gray Area Drinking

From the outside, you may appear to be fine with no overt signs of having a drinking problem. While this may be the case at the moment, it changes as the drinking escalates. Get to know the signs of gray area drinking:

  1. You secretly worry. Even though you don’t acknowledge that you might have a drinking problem, on some level you are concerned about it. You may begin to worry about how others perceive your drinking behavior, or that you could be slipping into alcoholism.
  2. On and off drinking. Every so often you say you’ve had enough and swear off alcohol. You truly intend to stop drinking and even make plans for a healthy new diet and fitness routine. But you find you don’t stay sober for long.  As soon as a new challenge arises, such as a relationship problem or money troubles, you pick up your drinking again.
  3. You use alcohol as a tool. You may rely on the effects of alcohol to help you relax in social situations. Maybe you reward yourself with alcohol after a long day at work. Perhaps you use alcohol to numb the feelings of depression. You are using alcohol as a tool to fix something in your life.
  4. You break your own rules. On some level, you realize you need to impose some restrictions on your drinking habits. You may restrict your drinking to weekends, or you may set a limit of having only one drink, for instance. While this is a noble attempt to control drinking, you usually find yourself breaking these rules.
  5. You experience adverse effects. You worry about the effects of your drinking, things that others may not be aware of. These might include binge drinking sessions, hangovers, sleepless nights, or waking up with regrets about the night before.

As with any ongoing substance use, the gray area drinker will see their tolerance increase at some point. Chronic exposure to alcohol always has this effect on the brain. Someone engaged in gray area drinking has an opportunity to make needed changes before the disease of addiction develops.

Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder

For someone who ignores the warning signs and continues gray area drinking, an alcohol use disorder may result. What may have started as a simple glass of wine to help you fall asleep at night morphed into two glasses, and then three. As consumption increases, the brain makes adjustments, and dependency often develops.

Gray area drinkers will recognize the warning signs of an alcohol use disorder, which include:

  • Ended up drinking more or for longer than you intended.
  • Wanted to stop or cut back on drinking, but couldn’t.
  • Spent a lot of time drinking or recovering from drinking.
  • Obsessing over alcohol and looking forward to drinking.
  • Found your drinking interfered with family or work obligations.
  • Kept drinking even though it was causing adverse effects in your life.
  • Traded of your prior hobbies and interests to drink instead.
  • Your drinking led to high-risk behaviors.
  • Found yourself needing to drink ever more alcohol to achieve desired effects.
  • Had withdrawal symptoms when the effects of alcohol wore off.

The more of these signs you identify with, the more severe your alcohol problem is.

How to Avoid Alcohol Use Disorder

If you are becoming aware of the dangers ahead, you can take certain actions to rein in the drinking. Realize that gray area drinking is risky, and the earlier you take steps to curb it, the better. Here are some actions to take:

  • Take out “sober curious” for a trial run. The sober curious movement is a recent trend where someone who might be at risk of an alcohol use disorder gives up drinking. This allows them to try out life without alcohol and then compare it with their drinking life.
  • Get to the bottom of the “why.” Be intentional in your drinking and ask yourself what it is that the drinking is doing for you. Ask if you can find other ways to induce sleep or boost mood or relax after work. Simply adding exercise and learning relaxation techniques may achieve the same result as drinking.
  • List the pros and cons. Sometimes it is easier to quit drinking when you list the pros and cons. Write down the cons, such as hangovers and weight gain, and the pros, such as feeling better and thinking clearly. Listing these can make it easier to choose sobriety.

If you find yourself unable to control your drinking, you will benefit from a structured addiction treatment program. Do not hesitate to seek professional support if needed.

Journey Hillside Alcohol Addiction and Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Journey Hillside provides comprehensive treatment for alcohol use disorder and dual diagnosis. Do you fall into the camp of gray area drinking and see the signs of a worsening problem with alcohol? If so, reach out today at (877) 414-1024.

what happens if you fail a drug test

Drug testing is a routine practice these days. Employers, schools, and courts often require a drug test as a requisite for an employment, participating in school athletics, and continued probation. So, what happens if you fail a drug test?

Failing a drug test can have serious repercussions. Some may attempt to outsmart the drug testing protocol, but with random testing more common now, that strategy doesn’t work. Keep reading to learn about drug testing and what happens if you fail a drug test.

failing a drug test

Types of Drug Testing

There are various methods an employer or other entity might test a person for drug use.

Urine 5-panel tests are the most common, although each type of test has its own value and is used accordingly. For example, a urine test will reveal drug use in the last couple of days. Hair screening, though, can reveal a history of drug use going back years.

Here are the most common types of drug tests:

  • Urine testing. Urine tests are by far the most common form of drug screening tests. A urine test can detect drugs in the system from a few days to weeks. How long prior to the urine test depends on the frequency of drug use and the type of drug.
  • Saliva testing. A saliva, or mouth swab, test is used to detect very recent drug use. These tests are only able to pick up the substance within a few hours of drug use.
  • Blood testing. Blood tests for drug testing involve a more invasive process, as it requires drawing blood. The blood test is called the enzyme-multiplied immunoassay test and is able to pick up a range of substances.
  • Hair testing. Where urinalysis detects drug use for only the previous few days or weeks, hair screening can detect a wide range of drugs used over a 3-month period. Hair screenings are more sensitive than other methods, so they can reveal a person’s historical drug use.

4 Reasons for Drug Testing

There are many reasons why employers or government or academic entities might use drug testing. These tests are used to detect illicit drugs in the person’s system, which is a screening tool for employment and various other reasons.

Here are some of the reasons an entity might have a drug testing policy in place:

  1. Employment. People applying for jobs are very often required to submit to a drug test. Employers seek to eliminate drug users from their payrolls for several reasons. Mostly drug screening is done to protect other employees from being exposed to a person who might be on illicit drugs.
  2. Athletics. Professional athletes of all ages, as well as high school athletes, are often required to accept random drug testing.  Being drug-free is not an option but a requirement to playing sports.
  3. Legal. The person may be on probation with random drug testing required as a condition to remain free of custody. When someone on probation tests positive they are returned to jail or to a treatment program.
  4. Sober living. The purpose of sober living housing it to maintain a substance-free environment. Therefore, sober living homes require regular drug testing of the residents.

What Happens if You Fail a Drug Test?

Substances can remain in your system for hours to weeks, depending on the substance and level of consumption.

Alcohol clears the fastest, usually within 6-24 hours. Other drugs, like heroin, cocaine, and opiates can stay present for up to seven days, and marijuana for up to thirty. Marijuana might be legal in some states, but if the employer has a no-marijuana policy it can still trigger termination.

So, what happens if you fail a drug test? There are many adverse repercussions for someone who fails a drug-screening test. These include:

  • Be denied a job position. It can cost you a job opportunity. Employers today are highly aware of the overall cost to their business if they offer a job to someone on drugs.
  • Be terminated from your job. If you are employed and test positive during a random drug-testing program, you are likely to lose your job. Employers have that right based on the agreement signed by the employee, but most will give them another chance.
  • Be kicked off a sports team. When athletes are found with drugs or steroids in their system they are usually suspended for a certain time period. Some may be referred to a treatment program. High school athletes may be kicked off a team due to drug-related offense or failed drug test.
  • Be kicked out of sober living. When people choose sober living they expect the home to be free of substances. This is why the condition of living there is supported by random drug tests. Those who test positive will be asked to move out.
  • Be sent back to jail. Drug testing in probation is a common court-ordered procedure. County and federal drug courts across the country make positive drug tests a condition for continued probation.
  • Loss of benefits. Some states have firm policies in place to deny benefits to those who fail their drug test. This can include unemployment, disability, or worker’s comp benefits. These policies vary by state.
  • Be suspended from school. Public high schools may have a random drug testing program. If a student fails a test he or she receives a suspension. Sometimes the student will be required to perform community service or receive drug counseling.

If You Fail the Drug Test, What Treatment Options Are There?

Those who have failed drug tests, especially multiple tests, will benefit from treatment for drug abuse or addiction. There are rehab programs that provide a wide range of services to help get you back on track. These include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • 12-Step program
  • Education
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Holistic methods

You may have been ordered to do drug screening and now wonder what happens if you fail a drug test. If you are wondering that, you may need to consider getting help for a substance problem.

Journey Hillside Provides Comprehensive Addiction Treatment

Journey Hillside is a residential treatment center that can help you overcome a drug or alcohol problem. Give us a call today at (877) 414-1024.

Is Alcohol A Stimulant

Is Alcohol a Stimulant of a Depressant?

When we think about how alcohol makes us feel, we might first think about its relaxation effects. However, alcohol is not only desired for its depressant effects on the central nervous system. In fact, alcohol can be both a stimulant and a depressant.

Is Alcohol Ever Used as a Stimulant?

Contrary to the belief that alcohol is solely a depressant, alcohol also can produce stimulant effects. These include:

  • Increased breathing rate.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Increased energy.
  • Increased confidence.
  • Increased aggression.

Each person is affected by alcohol in a unique way because body chemistry differs so much. Some people may feel the stimulant properties more so than others. In most people, the stimulant effects are short-lived, which give way to the sedating effects with continued drinking.

One study reveals that there is a higher risk for alcoholism if the person has a reduced sedative response when they drink. This suggests that the risk is higher for those who have a more pronounced stimulatory response to alcohol. The authors posit that this is due to the fact that stimulant effects are more rewarding than relaxing effects.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

Whichever effects are driving the alcohol abuse, the end result can be devastating. With continued heavy drinking, the body builds up tolerance and requires even more of the substance. As this cycle carries on, an alcohol use disorder (AUD) often results.

So, what is an AUD and how do you know if you have one? Consider these criteria for AUD:

  • Unable to limit drinking.
  • Place drinking above all else. The world revolves around alcohol.
  • Have memory blackouts.
  • Have alcohol cravings.
  • Hides alcohol or lies about how much they drink.
  • Shirk family and work obligations; missing work due to hangovers.
  • Keeps drinking despite the mounting consequences.
  • Loss of impulse control; engage in high-risk behaviors, such as driving under the influence, unsafe sex, getting into fights.
  • Sustains injuries due to drinking.
  • Stops taking care of appearance or hygiene.
  • Withdraws from social settings or events; give up hobbies.
  • Increased tolerance to effects of alcohol leading to higher consumption.
  • Attempts to reduce or stop drinking but cannot.
  • Withdrawal symptoms emerge when the effects of alcohol wear off.

When the brain imprints the positive effects of drinking as something to be repeated, it begins to etch new pathways. The cravings for alcohol grow stronger and drinking becomes a compulsive action that can no longer be controlled. This is called alcohol addiction.

Consequences of Alcohol Abuse

What may start off as innocent partying or a daily beer after work can grow into an AUD in certain people. It is still not fully known why some people are able to abuse alcohol and never acquire an AUD, where others will.

Alcohol abuse can have a highly damaging effect on someone’s life. Some of the consequences of alcohol abuse, especially as it evolves into an AUD, include:

  • Damage to relationships. Alcohol abuse can cause serious problems in someone’s primary relationships. The collateral damage of a drinking problem reaches into these relationships causing pain, disappointment, frustration, and fear. Divorce is often caused by someone’s alcohol abuse.
  • Damage to career. When drinking takes the top spot in someone’s life, their career will begin to suffer. Not only does he or she become less productive, but they may miss work often due to having hangovers. They miss meetings, don’t complete projects on time, and let their colleagues down.
  • Legal problems. Alcohol abuse is widely known to lead to legal issues. These may involve a DUI arrest(s). Legal issues may also involve domestic abuse or assault charges from a bar fight.
  • Health problems. Alcohol is highly damaging to health, and can cause many health problems if drinking continues. People with AUD are at higher risk for many types of cancer, heart disease, liver disease, and brain damage.
  • Parenting issues. When a spouse can no longer fulfill their parenting roles they may find themselves in a court battle. This occurs when the alcoholic spouse neglects his or her duties as a parent or could cause the child harm.
  • Money problems. Job loss, mounting legal fees, and the cost of alcohol all add up. This can lead to serious money problems. When money problems become a heavy burden, drinking escalates, so it becomes a vicious cycle.
  • Mental health problems. Anxiety and depression, including increased suicide risk, are common in people with severe AUD. The growing negative effects of the AUD can overwhelm the person and cause mental health problems. In many cases, though, the mental health issue was present before the AUD. Drinking helped to numb the symptoms caused by the mental health disorder, and then led to addiction.

Treatment Options for Alcohol Use Disorder

  • Detox. The detox process is the first step in recovery. During detox, a trained detox team will care for you. The team will manage the withdrawal symptoms and minimize pain and discomfort. Detox takes about 5-7 days to complete.
  • Talk therapy. CBT and DBT are two approaches that are widely used in addiction treatment.
  • Group therapy. A licensed clinician leads group sessions and provides recovery-related topics for the peers to discuss.
  • Family therapy. Family-centered group sessions provide a safe space for family members to discuss family issues. Family members also learn how they can support their loved ones in recovery.
  • 12-step program. The 12-step program can provide structure and guidance in early recovery and beyond.
  • Education. The psycho-social aspect of treatment equips the person with new coping tools and recovery skills. Classes also teach about the science of addiction and how to prevent a relapse.
  • Holistic. These include art therapy, yoga, mindfulness, massage, nutritional counseling, and outdoor exercise.

So, is alcohol a stimulant? Is it a depressant? What we have learned is that alcohol effects include both features. Either way, if an AUD has developed, it is time to seek help.

Journey Hillside Provides Evidence-Based Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Journey Hillside Tarzana offers the most up to date, evidence-based treatment approaches for helping clients overcome alcohol use disorder. If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol abuse or an AUD, Journey Hillside is here to help. Please reach out to us today at (877) 414-1024.

wet brain

When an alcoholic develops wet brain syndrome it is a sign of late stage disease. Learn more about wet brain and how to get help for alcohol dependence.

Alcohol can have a serious long-term impact on the brain and even damage cognitive functions. One of the more devastating effects of chronic alcohol abuse is something referred to as wet brain. It is actually two diseases under the term “wet brain syndrome,” with each disease caused by alcohol-related thiamine deficiency.

If allowed to progress, a wet brain can prove fatal. The only way to arrest its progression is to stop drinking and receive treatment for thiamine deficiency. Read on to learn more about this severe health condition, and how to get help for alcoholism.

What is Wet Brain?

Wet brain is the term used for Wernicke-Korsakoff’s Syndrome (WKS). This refers to Wernicke’s encephalopathy and the subsequent Korsakoff’s psychosis that follows if the disease is allowed to worsen.

Vitamin B1, or thiamine, deficiency is the cause of this serious disease. When someone consumes alcohol it blocks the absorption of thiamine by causing inflammation in the gut. Also, in late stage alcoholism, the person may prefer to drink instead of eating a healthy diet. This means the person ingests less thiamine in their diet.

The condition begins with the Wernicke’s. This includes the severe symptoms of mental confusion, loss of coordination, paralysis of the nerves around the eyes, and vision changes. These symptoms are reversible to a large extent if the disease is caught in the early stages.

If wet brain is not treated, it will progress from Wernicke on to Korsakoff’s, and can be fatal in 20% of those afflicted. Korsakoff’s is a chronic condition that features memory impairment, learning problems, and even hallucinations.

Wet Brain Symptoms

In the early phase of the disease, WKS may mimic the signs of being drunk. This may cause a doctor to ignore the signs instead of following up with blood tests to check thiamine levels.

The symptoms of wet brain may include:

  • Mental confusion.
  • Balance problems.
  • Abnormal eye movements.
  • Double vision.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Leg tremors.
  • Irritability
  • Eyelid drooping.
  • Memory problems.
  • Drowsiness
  • Easily frustrated.
  • Telling lies.
  • Changes in behavior.
  • Coma
  • Death

The severity of the symptoms helps determine whether the disease can be reversed or not.

Wet Brain Syndrome Treatment

Sadly, the longer it takes to diagnose and treat wet brain, the harder it is to reverse or limit the damage to the brain. If caught early on, the disease can be halted and reversed to a large extent.

When WKS is diagnosed, the person will be placed on IV thiamine infusion therapy. Serious cases may remain in the hospital for a lengthy time while they receive the infusions. Less serious cases will begin taking thiamine supplements in pill form.

None of the treatment will help the person, though, if they do not quit drinking. This is why rehab must be a part of the treatment plan when someone has been diagnosed with wet brain.

Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal

To begin the journey back to health, alcohol recovery will start with the detox and withdrawal stage. During detox the body expels the remaining toxins. When someone who was in the late stages of alcoholism, such as someone with wet brain, the detox process can become risky.

To minimize health risks, detox should only be attempted under close medical supervision. The detox team will provide the needed treatments to help reduce withdrawal symptoms as they emerge.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Headache
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Rise in blood pressure.
  • Hand tremors.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Mental disorientation.
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

Treatment for Alcoholism

As serious as end stage alcoholism is, it can still be treated and managed if the person is committed to recovery. Just as important to recovery success is the presence of a strong support system.

Someone with severe alcohol use disorder will require a residential program for at least six months. Residential programs, like inpatient rehabs, provide housing and meals during the treatment period. A daily schedule of treatment and related activities keeps the person fully immersed in their recovery efforts.

Treatment for alcoholism includes these elements:

  • Therapy. Talk therapy helps the person to examine emotional issues or past traumas that may be a factor in the alcoholism.
  • CBT. Therapy that guides the person toward adopting healthy thought and behavior patterns when faced with cravings or triggers.
  • Peer sessions. Group therapy offers fellow peers in rehab to share with and support each other.
  • Family therapy. Family-focused therapy helps family members process their pain and fears and to begin healing. They also learn how to support their loved one.
  • Coping skills. Relapse prevention planning involves listing triggers that might disrupt recovery and lead to relapse, and actions that would follow.
  • 12-step program. A.A. themes provide structure to recovery plus group support.
  • Holistic. Activities like yoga classes, massage, equine therapy, mindfulness training, and art therapy can enhance the effects of traditional therapy.
  • Health and wellness. The importance of meal planning and fitness are taught. This can help the person restore health after having wet brain, and promote the brain’s healing process.

How Sobriety Helps Restore Brain Health

Chronic alcohol abuse damages brain cells and takes a heavy toll on brain health. Alcoholism can not only cause wet brain, but can cause brain shrinkage, impair memory, concentration, and other brain functions. However, after achieving sobriety there is a good chance that brain functioning can be restored, at least mostly.

In only a few short weeks, as recovery progresses, the brain structures that were impacted by alcoholism begin to recover. Brain tissue volume is restored, cognitive function improves, and memories return. Most damage to the brain can be reversed by the five-year mark of recovery.

Wet brain is a serious health event caused by late stage alcoholism. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol use disorder, reach out for help now.

Journey Hillside Tarzana Provides Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Journey Hillside Tarzana is dedicated to providing the most effective evidence-based treatment for alcoholism. Breaking the grip of alcohol addiction is the only way to avoid or heal wet brain syndrome. For help, reach out to the Journey Hillside team today at (877) 414-1024.

How long does cocaine stay in the urine

Fear of Failing a Drug Test for Work Due to Cocaine

You may have an upcoming drug test and are wondering, “How long does cocaine stay in the urine?” Or you failed a drug test due to cocaine or other drugs and are not sure what to do next. Ultimately, continuing to use cocaine or any other drugs or alcohol is going to eventually ruin your life with social, legal, and work or school related consequences. We can go on and on about how long cocaine or other substances stay in your system, which we do notate down below. But if you are reading this and are here because of this specific issues of the consequences of a failed drug test, you probably should reach out to our team of Treatment Specialists to learn about treatment options. Dependency to any substance will eventually destroy your opportunities and your life. Call our team now to reach out for a confidential assessment at (877) 414-1024. Once you are recovered from the drug dependency or cocaine addiction, you will be able to take pre-employment or work related drug tests and not have to worry about not being hired or have the fear of losing a job or promotions.

Drug testing is a common occurrence in recent years. Schools, employers, the military, and law enforcement use drug testing on a regular basis. One substance that is included in the list of substances being tested for is cocaine.

Cocaine stays in the system for 3-14 days depending on various factors. It can be detected using different types of drug screens, which include urine, blood, or hair tests. Keep reading to learn more about how long cocaine stays in the urine.

Facts About Cocaine

Cocaine is a white powdery substance derived from coca plants in South America. The stimulant effects of cocaine speed up the central nervous system, resulting in a short-lived but powerful euphoric high.

Cocaine is listed as a Schedule II controlled substance with a high potential for abuse and addiction. The highly addictive drug is ingested in white powder form, either by snorting it through the nose or rubbing it on the gums. Some will dilute the powder in water and then inject it into a vein. Others may smoke a rock crystal form of cocaine, called crack, and inhale the drug into the lungs.

The effects of cocaine include intense euphoria, increased energy, sharper mental focus, and a sense of feeling invincible.

Cocaine’s desirable effects do not last long. Therefore, there is a strong desire to use the drug again and again as soon as the effects wear off. With repeated use, cocaine addiction takes root.

If you are worried that you are going to test positive for an upcoming drug test, please call our Team at Journey Hillside so we can help guide you to the steps to take to protect yourself from serious consequences whether from legal, job, or personal reasons. We specialize in helping people overcome these types of concerns. Call Our Confidential Helpline at 877-414-1024 or fill out our contact form and we will call you back immediately.

How long does cocaine stay in the urine

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Urine?

To answer, “How long does cocaine stay in urine,” it helps to understand how cocaine is metabolized in the body. The drug itself is only detected in the urine for a short time, maybe up to three days.

However, the liver breaks down the cocaine and releases metabolites. The main one is called benzoylecgonine. Drug tests are designed to detect this metabolite, which can remain in the body for much longer. A level of 300 micrograms per liter of this metabolite will trigger a positive test result.

When screening for cocaine in urine the results can vary widely. How long the drug or its metabolites are present depends on these factors:

  • Duration of a cocaine habit. Long-term use takes longer to clear.
  • Mode of ingesting the drug: did the person snort, inject, or smoke the cocaine?
  • Is there also alcohol in the system?
  • The person’s BMI, as metabolites can be stored in fat cells.

In general: One time user, 3-5 days; heavy cocaine dose, up to seven days; chronic user, 5-14 days.

If you are concerned about how long cocaine remains in the urine, it may be a sign of addiction. Being aware of the risks linked to cocaine abuse can help you nip a substance problem in the bud.

Dangers of Cocaine Use

If you are using cocaine recreationally or even on a daily basis, the consequences can start taking a serious toll on your personal life, physically, socially, and mentally. Physically and medically, there are some serious adverse effects caused by long-term cocaine use. Cocaine can damage the heart muscle as well as cause inflammation of the inner heart tissues. These effects can result in heart attacks or cardiac arrhythmia.

Damage to the cartilage inside the nose can become very severe. Cocaine can cause inflammation in the lining of the nose. Eventually, the blood supply to nasal tissues is blocked, leading to the loss of bone. Total reconstruction may be required to restore the structure of the nose.

Something referred to as “coke mouth” is also an effect of long-term cocaine use. This is a type of dry mouth that is caused by reduced saliva production. With less saliva, the gums and teeth are not protected. This leads to tooth decay and gum disease.

Other long-term adverse effects caused by cocaine abuse include:

  • Kidney damage.
  • Enlarged heart.
  • Vascular damage.
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Financial ruin.

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

As with all substances, tolerance will increase with repeated cocaine use. Once the cycle of addiction takes hold, it is very hard to break. People find themselves enslaved to the cocaine, which leads to serious consequences affecting mental health, physical health, finances, and relationships.

Symptoms of cocaine addiction include:

  • Manic mood.
  • Weight loss.
  • Sores around the mouth.
  • Long periods without sleep.
  • Nosebleeds
  • Hyperactivity
  • Muscle tics.
  • Agitation
  • High-risk behaviors.
  • Drug cravings.
  • Become obsessed about obtaining the cocaine and getting high.
  • Major money problems.
  • Having withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not available.

Help for Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction is very hard to overcome without expert treatment. Getting the support and guidance needed to beat a coke addiction is crucial. You can expect treatment to include the following:

Detox and withdrawal. During detox, you will be given the support you need to endure the process. Withdrawal symptoms can be difficult, and include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Chills
  • Headaches.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Slowed thinking.
  • Feeling agitated.
  • Sleep problems
  • Intense nightmares.
  • Feeling restless.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations.
  • Paranoid thoughts.
  • Suicidal thoughts.

Therapy. Individual and group therapy are the core treatment elements of addiction treatment. For cocaine addiction, these forms of therapy work best:

Contingency Management. CM works through the use of a reward system. You earn rewards, like points, gifts, privileges, or vouchers, in exchange for abstinence from cocaine. This helps shape your behavior choices while you are learning to live without the drug.

CBT. CBT teaches you better ways to respond to cocaine cravings or other triggers. Through the help of a CBT therapist, you address the disordered thought patterns that led to drug use.

Holistic methods. Learn how to improve the overall health of mind, body, and spirit. You’ll be counseled in eating a healthy diet, getting exercise, and learning how to manage stress.

12-step program. The themes of N.A. or A.A. are helpful for progressing in recovery.

Classes. Learn how to prevent relapse when you acquire new coping skills that help protect the recovery.

It is one thing to learn the answer to “how long does cocaine stay in the urine” It is quite another to be able to recognize that you may have a cocaine problem. If you need help breaking free of cocaine, reach out for help now.

Receive Help at a Private Rehab. We Provide Comprehensive Treatment for Cocaine Addiction.

Journey Hillside is a private addiction recovery center that uses the most effective treatment available for substance use disorder. If you have been using cocaine and wonder how long cocaine stays in urine, you may be headed toward addiction. Reach out to us for help today at (877) 414-1024.

Dry Drunk Syndrome

You may have heard the term “dry drunk,” so what is dry drunk syndrome?

Not everyone begins their recovery journey feeling spry and chipper about sobriety. For a large number of people, a cluster of symptoms referred to as “dry drunk syndrome” can make you downright surly. That’s right, you are sober, yet you exude the signs and symptoms of your former drinking persona.

What is Dry Drunk Syndrome?

At first, it might be mystifying, this concept of a dry drunk. If you have gone to all the trouble and effort to stop drinking, why would you be so grumpy? What is that about?

It’s true that adjusting to life without liquor is not a one size fits all process. Some people might have ambiguous feelings about sobriety. They might pine for their drinking days and take it out on everyone in their sphere that they can no longer indulge.

There is no real defined reason why some people struggle with moodiness or feel unsatisfied in early recovery. Some theories suggest this mood state is more common among those who left rehab early. Some say it’s common in those who were never truly on board with getting sober in the first place. Some suggest that the person never dealt with underlying mental health or emotional issues. Others posit that the condition is just a prolonged withdrawal effect known as PAWS.

Whatever the cause, dry drunk syndrome is like being sober but not being actually in recovery. Keep reading to learn more.

Symptoms of Dry Drunk Syndrome

Someone with dry drunk syndrome will display signs and symptoms such as:

  • A negative attitude.
  • Mood swings.
  • Living in the past and longing to drink.
  • Alcohol cravings.
  • Being impatient.
  • Blaming others for your problems or flaws; playing the victim.
  • Dishonesty
  • Irritability
  • Trouble making decisions.
  • Harshly judging self and others.
  • Being defensive.
  • Acting self-important.
  • Replacing drinking with another compulsive behavior.
  • Feeling bored.
  • Feeling jealous of others in recovery.
  • Missing meetings or dropping out of A.A.

Is it Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)?

Some may suggest that dry drunk syndrome is an offshoot of protracted withdrawal. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) refers to the most psychological symptoms that linger for months after rehab. It is thought that PAWS stems from the effects on the brain caused by prolonged use of alcohol.

PAWS symptoms include:

  • Not able to think clearly.
  • Memory problems.
  • Being highly emotional or emotional numbness.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Sensitive to stress.
  • Fatigue
  • Cravings
  • Poor coordination.
  • Mood swings.
  • Symptoms of depression.
  • Symptoms of anxiety.

How to Work Through Dry Drunk Syndrome

If you find you are showing signs of dry drunk syndrome, and may even fear it could lead to a relapse, try these tips:

  • Stay Connected. If you are experiencing these symptoms, reach out to your sponsor or trusted recovery support network. Sharing your concerns with someone who is supportive of your recovery allows you to gain helpful insights. They most likely also went through a spell of dry drunk syndrome and can offer encouragement and guidance.
  • Stay Active. One of the best things you can do when feeling the effects of the dry drunk syndrome is to get daily exercise. This can involve a simple daily walk, a workout at the gym, a hike, a bike ride, or a run. Just the process of moving your body causes the brain to release endorphins, which then improve your mood.
  • Work the Program. You might have noticed that you’ve been finding excuses for missing meetings lately. In fact, dropping out of A.A. can be a sign of impending relapse. Make an effort to attend extra meetings, or to take on more study. Becoming more engaged in the program is going to be protective against relapse.
  • Practice Self-Care. One way to better cope with the dry drunk syndrome is to indulge in some self-care. These are holistic techniques that improve your state of mind, reduce stress, and help you to relax. Try some yoga classes, learn deep breathing skills, keep a journal, engage in art projects, or learn to meditate.
  • Get Counseling. Meeting with a therapist who can provide objective guidance is always helpful. Discuss your honest feelings about your recovery journey so far. Tell the therapist if you feel torn or disheartened about sobriety. They will provide helpful insights and will ask you to do some thoughtful exercises that will help you gain clarity.
  • Find Purpose. In early recovery, it is common to feel depressed and somewhat lacking in direction. Define a couple of goals you want to accomplish in the near term. These can be personal goals, career goals, or even a commitment to volunteer your time for a good cause. Having a purpose in life can lift your spirits and help you through this bump in the road.

Warning Signs of Relapse

Because dry drunk syndrome can be a precursor to relapse, it is always good to watch out for the red flags. Take the offensive if you do believe relapse is imminent. Call your sponsor, see your therapist, or go back to rehab.

Signs of rehab may include:

  • Isolating behaviors. Staying away from loved ones is the beginning of avoiding accountability.
  • Dropping your healthy habits. When you have established healthy habits in early recovery, and then begin to abandon them, it’s a sign of relapse.
  • Avoiding your sober support network. If you stop going to meetings, avoid your sponsor, or stop chatting with sober friends, it can mean impending relapse.
  • Romanticizing the old drinking days. You may be daydreaming about your former drinking days and forgetting all the pain it caused.
  • Negative mood. If you begin to display a negative mood state on a consistent basis, it is a warning sign for relapse.
  • Neglecting responsibilities. You may begin shirking your work and family obligations, which is a sign of relapse.
  • Hanging out with former drinking buddies. If you have started seeing old drinking friends again, you are on the road to relapse.

Dry drunk syndrome can undermine your efforts to launch a new fruitful life in recovery. If you struggle with dry drunk syndrome, getting some counseling or joining a support group can help you move forward.

Journey Hillside Tarzana for Comprehensive Alcohol Recovery and Aftercare

Journey Hillside Tarzana can help you move through the emotional challenges of early recovery. For more about our program, please call us today at (877) 414-1024.

trauma and alcoholism

Trauma and alcoholism often co-occur. Learn about the link between these two disorders.

When you find yourself dealing with alcoholism, you might wonder how it even happened. What was the trigger for developing a drinking problem in the first place?

For many people, the habit of heavy drinking was launched as a result of trauma. In fact, those with PTSD are especially prone to substance abuse, as alcohol becomes a salve to numb the symptoms.

Unresolved trauma combined with disordered drinking can lead to a dual diagnosis. This is the condition where both a substance use disorder coexists with a mental health disorder. Treating a dual diagnosis relies on special clinical expertise, where addiction treatment is combined with mental health treatment. Read on to learn more about the link between trauma and alcoholism.

Understanding the Impact of Trauma

Trauma is in essence a heightened stress response after someone has witnessed or experienced a startling or disturbing event. The effects of trauma to the body and the mind follow an intense fight or flight response. This is the feeling that your life is threatened, or that you have no control over a dangerous situation.

Examples of traumatic events include:

  • Sexual assault.
  • Physical assault.
  • Natural disasters.
  • A serious car crash.
  • Sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one.
  • Witnessing a violent event.
  • Childhood abuse.
  • Combat-related trauma.

When the shock of the trauma does not resolve within a month, it is then called PTSD. PTSD impacts about 7% of the U.S. population.

In most cases, people who have been traumatized can process the effects of the event and move past it. Those with PTSD, though, continue to relive the trauma for months and even years after the event.

PTSD has certain features that make it unique from other anxiety disorders. One such feature is a high level of substance abuse, of which alcohol abuse is the most common.

Alcohol abuse becomes a numbing agent to help the person dull the senses, their feelings, and the memories.

Other PTSD symptoms include:

  • Re-experiencing. Someone with PTSD will relive the traumatic event repeatedly through flashbacks, nightmares, or trauma-related triggers. The emotional reactions to these memories are also re-experienced.
  • Hyper-arousal. They tend to be on edge much of the time. They may appear jittery, agitated, angry, and easily excitable or startled.
  • Avoidance. They will avoid the places, situations, or people that trigger disturbing memories of the event.
  • Mood. They exhibit detachment, mistrust, signs of depression, guilt, loss of interest in daily life, and social isolation.

Stages of Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorders (AUD) occur on a continuum. This means that as the disease deepens, the symptoms change, reflecting a more severe form of the AUD. Some may never progress past the early stage, where others may quickly escalate through the stages:

  • Early stage. Early stage AUD is not always easy to detect. People in this stage may still be high functioning and show few overt signs. As tolerance builds, the drinking increases. Symptoms may include alcohol cravings, increased consumption, and being unable to moderate intake.
  • Middle stage. Middle stage AUD will expose the social, physical, and psychological effects. Attempts are made to hide alcohol or to lie about the level of drinking. Symptoms may include shakiness or hand tremors, severe headaches, depression, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, nausea, mood swings, and sweating.
  • Late stage. Late stage, or end stage, alcoholism features a complete loss of control over the substance. Negative life consequences pile up, such as job loss, relationship turmoil, child custody issues, financial and legal problems. Health problems worsen, like hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, and even brain damage. Highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms emerge.

Is There A Link Between Trauma and Addiction?

Whether the person experienced a trauma in childhood or in adulthood, there is an increased likelihood that a problem with alcohol will occur. The impact of a trauma on a child is especially severe. As NIDA reports, about two-thirds of people in treatment for AUD have a history of childhood abuse.

Alcohol use is a common response to the symptoms of anxiety or depression that emerge as a result of emotional pain. Too often, sadly, the disordered drinking will develop into an AUD, only adding another layer of suffering.

How to Overcome Both Trauma and Alcoholism

Until the underlying trauma is unwound, processed, and healed through therapy, the alcohol problem will persist. This is why both of these conditions must be addressed at the same time in treatment.

After an alcohol detox is completed, a dual diagnosis treatment program is the correct level of care. The treatment plan will be tailored to help the person with both disorders using a combination of therapies:

  • CBT
  • Trauma-focused CBT.
  • Exposure therapy.
  • EMDR
  • DBT
  • Process group.
  • Family therapy.
  • Holistic methods.
  • 12-Step program.

The Importance of Continuing Care

While detox and rehab are a great start to a life in recovery, what happens after treatment is just as important. Early recovery puts people at high risk of relapse. Without the substance to numb feelings, any trauma triggers could spark a relapse. To reduce the risk you must engage in continuing care efforts to help maintain sobriety.

Continuing care includes:

  • Outpatient services, such as therapy, support groups, and life skills classes.
  • Sober living housing, which can be protective against relapse.
  • Finding a local A.A. group and getting a sponsor.
  • Forming healthy daily habits, like regular workouts, eating a healthy diet, and getting good sleep.
  • Making new sober friends, through sober meet up groups, joining a sober gym, or through A.A. meetings.

If you are struggling with the dual diagnosis of trauma and alcoholism, there is help out there. Isn’t it time you lived your best life, one that is healthy and peaceful? Reach out today.

Journey Hillside Tarzana Comprehensive Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Journey Hillside offers a highly effective treatment program for those who are battling alcoholism and co-occurring trauma. If you are ready to change your life, call us today at (877) 414-1024.