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 one 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 the 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

You may have an upcoming drug test and are wondering, “How long does cocaine stay in the urine?”

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 the 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.

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

  • Duration of 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, is 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

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 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 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 though 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 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 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.

Journey Hillside Tarzana Provides Comprehensive Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Journey Hillside Tarzana 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.

long term use of ativan

There are risks involved with long-term use of Ativan. Learn about the risks of using this drug.

If you struggle with anxiety or insomnia, chances are you have been prescribed Ativan as a short-term remedy. Ativan is a fast-acting sedative that can swiftly bring about relief from the symptoms. It works by ramping up GABA levels in the brain, which helps you feel relaxed and calm.

Ativan, like all benzos, is a highly addictive drug. Tolerance can build quickly, leading someone to take higher doses to get the same level of symptom relief as before. The longer this drug is taken, the more chance of having problems with long-term use of Ativan.

When you begin to have withdrawal symptoms after a dose of Ativan wears off, that is the sign of dependence. To quit the drug requires a skilled detox expert that will provide a tapering program to ease off Ativan. Trying to quit Ativan cold turkey is highly risky and should not be attempted.

What is Ativan?

Ativan (lorazepam) is a tranquilizer. The drug is often prescribed for the treatment of anxiety disorder, insomnia, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal. It works as a central nervous system depressant and calms electrical activity in the brain.

As a short-term solution for managing a stressful chapter of life or insomnia, Ativan is quite effective. However, as with all benzos, Ativan is highly habit-forming, potentially leading to addiction. This can happen when the person believes they cannot manage daily stressors or get to sleep without the drug.

About Anxiety Disorders

According to NIMH, over 40 million Americans will have an anxiety disorder in any given year, affecting far more women. Thankfully, these disorders are highly treatable and respond well to treatment. Using drugs, therapy, and holistic methods, anxiety can be managed for an improved quality of life.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are 6 major types of anxiety disorders within the anxiety spectrum. The main feature of anxiety is a sense of fear, worry, or dread that can impair functioning.

Because each of the types varies, treatment is tailored to address the unique features of each. The major types of anxiety disorders are:

  • GAD
  • Phobias
  • Panic disorder.
  • Social anxiety.
  • OCD
  • PTSD

Treatment for anxiety includes using meds to treat anxiety, which includes Ativan, Xanax, and Valium. Therapies to treat anxiety include CBT, prolonged exposure therapy, and EMDR. Holistic methods can greatly help to reduce symptoms of anxiety by helping you to relax.

Ativan Dependence and Addiction

There are some signs and symptoms that indicate that Ativan use or misuse is becoming an addiction. These include:

  • Memory impairment.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Tremors
  • Headache
  • Mental confusion.
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision.
  • Sleeping too much.
  • Using higher doses.
  • Withdrawing from social activities.
  • Loss of interest in usual hobbies.
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Poor coordination.
  • Drowsiness
  • Breathing problems
  • Mood swings.
  • Doctor shopping to obtain more Ativan or buying it from illicit sources.
  • Have withdrawal symptoms when the drug wears off.

Long Term Effects of Ativan

When used on a long-term basis, Ativan has a long list of adverse effects, including:

  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Memory loss.
  • Extreme fatigue.
  • Mouth sores.
  • Anorexia
  • Abdominal bleeding.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Rebound affects, such as increased anxiety and insomnia.
  • Chronic headaches.
  • Addiction

How to Reduce Anxiety without Ativan

Finding alternative ways to manage symptoms of anxiety or insomnia is the key to avoiding relapse. Consider these holistic solutions for treating anxiety:

  • Yoga. This ancient practice is well known for helping your mind and body reach a relaxed state. The movements, positions, and breathwork all work to help you get to a calm state of mind. Yoga classes are offered in many forms and are easily found online if you can’t make it to a class.
  • Mindfulness. Using mindfulness, you coach yourself to rein in all thought distractions, and to focus on the present moment. Direct the mind with purpose toward the senses. Accept the present feelings without judgment and remind yourself that feelings of anxiety will soon pass.
  • Deep breathing. One of the fastest methods to achieve relaxation is through a deep breathing exercise. The 7-4-7 is a deep breathing method that involves intentional breathing. Slowly inhaling to the count of 7, hold the breath for a count of 4, and then slowly release the breath for a count of 7.
  • Aromatherapy. Using oils to promote a sense of calm is highly effective. Use the oils in a diffuser, in the bath, or applied to feet or wrists. Oils that are helpful for anxiety relief include rose, lavender, bergamot, sweet basil, valerian, and ylang ylang.
  • Smartphone apps. There is an array of phone apps that are designed to provide stress relief. You can plug in while resting at home or traveling on a plane and listen to a guided meditation or soothing spa music.
  • Supplements. When the symptoms of distress begin to emerge, go on the offensive and fix a cup of chamomile tea to help relax. Also, vitamin B12, magnesium, and SAM-E can reduce symptoms of anxiety.
  • Exercise. A great way to stay ahead of anxiety and insomnia is through daily exercise. Even just taking a brisk twenty-minute walk on a daily basis can help reduce stress, improve your mood, and enhance sleep.
  • Massage. A Swedish massage is highly effective at releasing muscle tension and ridding toxins from the body. The masseuse can focus on certain regions, like the neck, shoulders, and back, to help you relax.

Long term use of Ativan can produce certain health risks. To stop taking this drug you will need to first complete detox and withdrawal under supervision. After the detox is finished, a comprehensive rehab program will help you break the addiction habits. Get help today for an Ativan use disorder.

Journey Hillside Tarzana Upscale Ativan Addiction Recovery Center

Journey Hillside Tarzana provides Ativan detox and treatment in a luxury residential setting. If long-term use of Ativan is harming your health, our team of caring professionals will help you break free. Call us today at (888) 771-6276.

Coping with alcohol cravings

Tips On How to Deal with Urges and Cravings to Drink

If you are having trouble coping with alcohol cravings, there are some useful methods to learn about.

“It’s like being lost in the desert for days and you are dying of thirst. You spot a body of water and ravenously lap up every single drop of the water. It’s like you think will never get another drop of water ever again. This is what having alcohol cravings feels like.”  

~A 25-year-old alcoholic describes alcohol cravings

Alcohol cravings are among the most difficult withdrawal symptoms to manage in early recovery. As your body adjusts to the absence of alcohol and eventually becomes stable, the cravings persist for weeks. The cravings explain the high relapse rates in the first few months of recovery.

When you decide to get sober, it marks a key moment in your life. By knowing what to expect in alcohol withdrawal and beyond, you can be better prepared. Read on to learn all about alcohol use disorder (AUD), detox, coping with alcohol cravings, and how to succeed in recovery.

What are the Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder?

When someone has formed an AUD they will begin to display the warning signs of addiction. Even having just two of these symptoms is a sign of a mild AUD. Four to five symptoms are moderate AUD and 6+ is severe AUD:

  • You drink more or longer than intended.
  • You have tried to cut back or stop drinking, but couldn’t.
  • You spend a lot of time drinking or recovering from drinking.
  • Do you experience alcohol cravings?
  • Your drinking has caused you to neglect family obligations or caused problems at work or in school.
  • You kept drinking regardless of these problems.
  • You have lost interest in activities or hobbies you once enjoyed.
  • You have engaged in high-risk behaviors due to drinking.
  • Your drinking causes blackouts, mental health issues, or health problems.
  • You have increased your consumption due to increased tolerance.
  • You have withdrawal symptoms when the effects of the alcohol wear off.

What Causes Alcohol Cravings?

The reasons for the craving response to certain triggers, or “cues,” are varied. Ample research has tried to gain a better understanding of the intense urge and longing to drink alcohol. According to the NIAAA, there are three basic models of alcohol craving:

  • Reinforcement model. This model is based on how drinking alcohol can boost your mood or relieve unpleasant feelings. A process like behavioral modification will reinforce the drinking action that leads to the desired outcome.
  • Social learning model. This model involves cue-related cravings that occur during or after treatment. These will trigger conscious coping actions to maintain abstinence. Success depends on the person feeling confident that they can resist the urge to drink.
  • Cognitive processing model. This model is based on the belief that alcohol use becomes a habit that requires little effort, like any habit. It involves using certain problem-solving skills to block the automatic behavior in order to avoid a cue-related relapse.

Alcohol cravings involve both conscious and unconscious brain processes. In fact, the symptoms of craving are similar to the thought patterns and behaviors are seen in OCD. Also, the drinking itself may have caused certain nervous system changes in the brain.

How to Cope with Alcohol Cravings

There are some steps you can take to reduce the impact of cravings in early recovery:

  • Naltrexone. The drug, which goes by brand names ReVia and Depade, reduces the desire for alcohol after treatment. The drug can help prolong abstinence by blocking parts of the brain that register pleasure in response to drinking alcohol.
  • Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses essential oils to help relieve anxiety, depression, and reduce cravings. Because these issues can result in relapse, aromatherapy is a protective factor.
  • Acupuncture. Placing tiny needles in the ear region has been found to help reduce cravings and anxiety. Rehabs offer acupuncture for their patients during the detox process, as it has been shown to provide some withdrawal relief.
  • Diversion. Riding out the cravings by distracting yourself is a good option as well. There are many ways you can divert your attention away from cravings. These might include going for a walk, run, hike, or bike ride, going to see a friend or a movie.
  • 12-Step meetings. One of the best actions to take when cravings emerge is to attend a 12-step meeting. Just being around peers in recovery can help dampen the urge to drink. A sponsor or any member of your support network can help guide you through the cravings event.

Beating Alcoholism

While completing detox is a reward in itself, detox alone isn’t enough to sustain abstinence. The only way to stay sober is to unlearn the maladaptive thought and behavior patterns.

Using CBT and other therapies, you learn how to replace those dysfunctional patterns with healthy ones. Each of the multi-modal treatment actions works in tandem to help you make these needed changes.

Treatment includes:

Individual therapy. Therapy helps you identify underlying factors that may be involved in the maladaptive responses to stress-inducing events or triggers.

Peer group sessions. Group therapy offers peers in recovery a chance to share their personal stories and challenges.

Family therapy. Family group helps the family members heal and move forward together as their loved one begins life in recovery.

Classes. You will learn how the AUD developed, and then techniques to avoid a relapse.

Nutrition. Alcoholism can leave the body depleted, so learning how to adopt healthy eating habits is part of the rehab process.

Coping with alcohol cravings is not easy, but they can be controlled with certain actions. Don’t give up on sobriety when cravings hit. Learn how to control them with your own personal battle plan so you can progress in recovery.

Journey Hillside Tarzana Provides Evidence-Based Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Journey Hillside Tarzana offers on-site detox services and an evidence-based alcohol recovery program in an upscale setting. To learn more about the program, please give us a call today at (877) 414-1024.

i quit drinking and now i am depressed

Depression After Quitting Drinking

Newfound sobriety is often met with feelings of depression. If you are thinking, “I quit drinking and now I am depressed,” this article can shed some light.

You were so looking forward to sobriety; a new life in recovery awaited you. Now that you’ve finished treatment for alcoholism, you wonder why you are feeling so sad. What gives?

The good news is that you are not alone. In fact, even the co-founder of A.A., Bill W., struggled with depression in recovery. As you will learn here, there are many reasons why someone in early recovery might grapple with a bout of depression.

What Causes Depression in Recovery?

Even an optimist might find themselves feeling depressed once they have attained sobriety. There are several reasons why depression hits people in recovery. These might include:

  • Not used to feeling real emotions. After numbing unpleasant feelings with alcohol as they bubbled up, it isn’t easy to stare these emotions in the face. Self-medicating with alcohol only acts as a Band-Aid, and once sober, that Band-Aid gets ripped off. It just takes time to learn how to better cope with and manage negative emotions.
  • Relationship challenges. In recovery, you are doing a lot of rebuilding, and that includes your primary relationships. For instance, there may be some leftover anger and resentment that needs healing. Mostly, you are a different person in recovery and it takes time to fit that version into existing relationships.
  • Facing the fallout. Alcoholism exacts a heavy toll on all areas of someone’s life. While drinking, it is easy to ignore things, like paying bills on time and showing up to important appointments. In sobriety, the fallout from alcoholism comes into sharp focus, which can be pretty depressing.
  • Boredom and loneliness. When just starting out in recovery you may struggle with feelings of loneliness and boredom. Drinking took up such a huge chunk of real estate in your life, so without it life looks quite different. You now have fewer friends, as you had to walk away from toxic people. Also, without drinking to numb reality, you may find yourself bored and restless.
  • Brain chemistry rebooted. Alcohol dependence causes the brain pathways to become altered. The brain became dependent on the dopamine released by the daily drinking. Once sober, brain chemistry will adjust, but it takes time. In the meantime, symptoms of depression can be very common.

Know the Signs and Symptoms of Depression

The symptoms of depression can range from mild to severe, with most falling somewhere in between. Depression can impair daily functioning and even disrupt all aspects of life. Become familiar with these signs and symptoms of depression:

  • Sadness, despair, hopelessness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of desire to participate in usual activities.
  • Weight loss or gain.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Slowed motor and cognitive function.
  • Inappropriate feelings of shame or guilt.
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions.
  • Suicidal thoughts.

When a cluster of five or more symptoms is present for more than two weeks that would indicate depression.

Was the Depression There All Along?

Another way to explain why you quit drinking and now are depressed is that the depression was there first. In fact, the mental health disorder may have led to increased alcohol intake as a means of self-medicating. This means that the drinking problem arose because of the depression.

When two mental health disorders exist at the same time it is called a dual diagnosis. When in treatment for alcohol use disorder, it is crucial that the depression also be addressed and treated. If not, once sober, the depression will continue to plague you, which can threaten sobriety.

Depression, Relapse, and the Risk of Suicide

People who have co-occurring depression and alcoholism have an increased risk of suicide. In fact, SAMHSA reports that nearly one third of all suicides involved people who had blood alcohol above legal limits.

Also, half of those who completed suicide had a history of depression when they died. Alcoholism puts an individual at a ten-fold higher risk for suicide as compared to the general public. A study states that among alcoholics the lifetime risk of suicide is 10%-15%. In 85% of 100 cases of completed suicide were in people with co-occurring alcoholism and depression.

With that in mind, alcoholics who relapse could be at special risk for suicide. This is due to a sense of failure and despair that follows a relapse, plus the compound losses that resulted.

How to Manage Depression in Recovery

If you are in recovery and notice the signs of depression creeping in, do not ignore these. Continue to receive ongoing therapy to manage the depression in recovery. Depression treatment involves:

  • Medication. In most cases, antidepressants will be useful for helping to manage depression symptoms.
  • Psychotherapy. Therapy is a core treatment element for people in recovery for co-occurring disorders like depression.
  • Group support. Peer support is an essential aspect of dual diagnosis treatment. Support groups, group therapy, family therapy, or couples therapy are all helpful for managing depression.
  • Life skills. An alcohol use disorder can cause immense damage in one’s life. Life skills classes can help restore confidence by teaching resume writing and job-seeking skills.
  • Holistic therapies. If you struggle with depression in recovery, you might benefit from holistic methods. These can reduce stress and anxiety, and help you be in a calmer more relaxed state of mind. These might include art therapy, yoga, mindfulness, deep-breathing techniques, and meditation.

If you find yourself saying, “I quit drinking and now I am depressed,” you are surely not alone. This is a common experience in early recovery. With patience and time, you will begin to feel better.

Journey Hillside Offers Comprehensive Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Journey Hillside provides premier addiction treatment services for those who are ready to give up alcohol. For those who quit drinking and now are depressed, ongoing outpatient therapy and medication can help. For more info, please call us today at (877) 885-3342.

seizures and alcohol intoxication

What Does An Alcoholic Seizure Look Like?

The dangers of seizures and alcohol intoxication are very real. Learn about alcohol poisoning and the risk of seizures.

When it comes to the health risks posed by substances of abuse, the dangers of alcohol abuse are very high. Binge drinking can be life-threatening, and at the very least can cause seizures to occur.

Someone with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) who wishes to stop drinking faces the risk of seizures during detox. Seizures during detox can foretell the DTs, which can be fatal. This explains why alcohol detox must be so closely monitored.

Read on to learn about the risks of heavy drinking and the link between seizures and alcohol intoxication and detox.

What Are Seizures?

A seizure is a neural event during which the electrical system in the brain is disrupted. The seizure can last a few seconds up to several minutes, depending on the type of the seizure. The type of seizures most common among people who have abused alcohol is the grand mal or tonic-clonic nonfocal seizures.

These types of seizures occur in two phases:

Tonic phase. This is when the person loses consciousness and falls down. It only lasts about 15 seconds.

Clonic phase. Convulsions occur, during which the muscles begin contracting rhythmically. This phase lasts two minutes or less.

Symptoms of a grand mal seizure might include:

  • Scream upon the onset of the seizure.
  • Severe headache.
  • Confusion
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Being unresponsive after the convulsions.

The exact cause of seizures is still not known. Science has taught us that the brain’s nerve cells sync up in an unusual manner during a seizure. This causes the electrical system to become altered and for the nerve cells to all fire at once.

Can You Have Seizures While Drinking Alcohol?

It is not common to have a seizure when drinking a moderate amount of alcohol. Unless the person has epilepsy, low or moderate alcohol intake is not going to trigger a seizure. Alcohol-related seizures do occur when someone drinks excessively, as in binge drinking. Also, a person with a history of heavy drinking who attempts to stop cold turkey can also have seizures.

Binge Drinking and Seizures

Binge drinking is defined as consuming 5 or more alcoholic drinks within a short time frame. When someone drinks this much, their system becomes overwhelmed. This occurs because the liver can only process so much alcohol in an hour. What results is alcohol poisoning, when the toxins build up in the bloodstream.

One of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning is having a seizure. The seizure can cause the person to collapse and go unconscious for a short time. This can happen suddenly and may lead to a serious injury, such as hitting the head against a hard surface.

Alcohol Withdrawal and Seizures

Seizures are mostly linked with the alcohol detox and withdrawal process. During detox, the body expels the remnants of the alcohol from the bloodstream and tissues over a period of about a week. Seizures can occur during the peak phase or on day 3 of the detox process.

Having a seizure during detox is a warning sign for the possible onset of the DTs. The DTs are seen as a serious health emergency that requires medical intervention. During the DTs, the most common symptoms include:

  • Severe confusion
  • Seizures
  • Profuse shaking
  • Fever
  • Psychosis
  • High blood pressure

The DTs are most common among those who have been heavy drinkers for a long time. While it only occurs in about 5% of individuals going through detox, 5 – 15 % will die from it.

Safe Alcohol Detox

Because what happens during detox is hard to predict, it is always wise to stop drinking only with medical support. Medical detox offers a team of trained detox experts that will closely observe the withdrawal symptoms. If signs are pointing to severe symptom response, there will be 24-hour support.

While it is not possible to predict seizures during detox, the detox team will be aware of risk factors ahead of time. Risk factors include such things as the number of detoxes in the past, health history, and severity of the alcoholism.

During the alcohol detox, the team will provide the person with meds and mental health support throughout. These interventions can greatly reduce the risk of severe symptoms, and also help the person finish the entire detox process.

Treatment for AUD

To overcome an AUD, it is critical to follow up detox with a full-spectrum rehab program. An effective program will employ a wide array of treatment techniques. These are designed to work together to help the person change disordered behaviors and transition to a new sober lifestyle. Treatment includes:

Evidence-based therapies: These are therapies that have been studied and shown to be effective in treating AUD. These therapies assist the person to change their response to triggers by guiding them to a shift in thought patterns. CBT and DBT are examples of these techniques.

Group therapy. Peer group sessions offer added support and are a core element in rehab. These sessions provide a supportive space where they can share their stories, their fears, and their hopes.

Coping Skills. Learning about how addiction happens can help the person avoid relapse, so a relapse prevention plan is made. New coping skills are taught, which equip the person with the needed tools to help them carry out their plan.

Holistic activities. Learning some techniques to better manage stress in recovery include mindfulness, yoga, deep breathing, exercise, and art therapy.

The danger of seizures with severe alcohol intoxication is real. If you have a problem with alcohol, reach out to the addiction experts for help.

Journey Hillside Provides Safe Detox and Treatment for Alcoholism

Journey Hillside is an upscale treatment center that helps people safely detox the body from alcohol. Using evidence-based treatments and holistic methods, Journey Hillside can guide you toward a fresh new start in life. For questions about our program, please give us a call at (877) 414-1024.

Crippling alcoholism

What Is Crippling Alcoholism?

If you or a loved one suffer from a severe alcohol use disorder, it is crucial to get help for the crippling alcoholism as soon as possible.

For half a century, alcoholism has been defined as a disease. As a disease that impacts the brain, alcoholism sets in motion a cycle of dependence that keeps a person trapped. The compulsive drinking leads to a slew of health problems and mental health issues.

When you or someone you love suffers from severe alcoholism, life can be turned upside down. The adverse effects caused by the disease can lead to job loss, divorce, money problems, and the list goes on. If it is someone you care about who is battling alcoholism, you are probably beside yourself with worry. If it is you who suffers from the disease, then your loved ones are just as worried about your wellbeing.

It is never too late to get help for an alcohol problem, but the sooner you reach out for support, the better the recovery outcome. Read on to learn what to do when you or someone you love is struggling with crippling alcoholism.

reddit crippling alcoholism

About the Disease of Alcoholism

When someone has an alcohol use disorder (AUD) they will begin to display certain behavior patterns. The telltale signs of an AUD include:

  • Unable to limit or quit drinking.
  • Drinking over a longer period than they intend.
  • Needing to consume ever-higher amounts to have the effects they desire.
  • Spending a great deal of time drinking or getting over the effects of drinking.
  • Neglect family or work obligations.
  • Use alcohol to help manage a mental health issue.
  • Bloating, glassy eyes, red face.
  • Hand tremors.
  • Lying about how much alcohol is being consumed.
  • Hiding alcohol.
  • Having withdrawal symptoms when the alcohol wears off.

The more of these signs that are present, the more severe the AUD is.

When Should You Get Help?

So often people say, “They have to reach their bottom before they will accept help.” This is dangerous, as the bottom can be death itself. Bottoms come and bottoms go. It is a mistake to stand by and watch someone’s life implode while waiting for them—or yourself—to hit bottom.

The alcoholic suffers daily. Each day brings its own set of problems related to AUD. Losing a job, a spouse, your home, your health, your mental health—all of these are part of “the bottom.” Alcoholism can seduce a person into a life of misery. Slowly but surely, the adverse effects of the AUD will pile up. Do not wait for that bottom before seeking help for alcoholism, because it may be too late.

Signs of Severe Alcoholism

End stage alcoholism, or severe alcohol use disorder, is diagnosed when both psychological and physical dependence has taken root.

Symptoms that the alcoholism has progressed to a severe phase include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Hand tremors.
  • Bloating of the face and neck.
  • Broken capillaries on the face.
  • Distended abdomen.
  • Cognitive impairment.
  • Emotional instability.
  • Heart problems.
  • Depression and/or anxiety.
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, caused by thiamine deficiency.

This stage features adverse health effects caused by the disease, possibly including:

  • Liver disease. Alcohol is very toxic to the liver. Liver disease may not show signs until the later stages. This happens with cirrhosis. It often begins as fatty liver disease. Without a liver transplant, it is a fatal condition;
  • Cardiac symptoms. Long-term heavy drinking takes a toll on heart health. Signs of a cardiac problem include heart arrhythmia or alcoholic cardiomyopathy. These can result in organ damage or heart failure.
  • Cognitive problems. Excess drinking can lead to brain damage, which first shows up as cognitive problems. Memory issues are another sign. Also, thiamine (B1) deficiency can lead to brain damage.
  • Gastrointestinal problems. Heavy drinking causes excess stomach acid. Acid reflux can lead to gastritis. It also causes ulcers or bleeding in the stomach lining. The loss of blood can lead to anemia, causing extreme fatigue.
  • Cancer symptoms. Excess drinking causes an increased risk of many types of deadly cancer. Types of cancer linked with heavy drinking include oral, throat, esophageal, colon, rectal, pancreatic, liver, and breast cancer.

Getting Help for Severe Alcoholism

Getting yourself or a loved one into detox and treatment will truly be lifesaving. There are several ways you can prepare for treatment:

  1. Do some research. Before seeking help, it is best to do some study on alcoholism and treatment options. This will help you be well prepared when you or a loved one is ready to receive treatment.
  2. Ask for support. Rehab programs often include a family piece, such as family therapy sessions and family days. Family sessions allow members to have open and honest discourse that can help heal deep wounds. Ask family members to participate in the healing process.
  3. Contact insurance. Having the resources for treatment is key. First contact the insurance company to see what is covered under the plan. They will provide the details for out of pocket expenses and network providers. Also, ask the rehab if they offer sliding scale programs or scholarships. They may also offer in-house financing plans to help stretch the cost out over time.
  4. Plan the logistics.  Someone facing treatment will worry about being away from home and working for a long period. These logistics should be addressed early on to ease anxiety about how it will all work. Check with H.R. about how to file for a leave of absence. Has childcare planned out if there are children involved who will need care in the absence of a parent? Prepare your finances ahead of time so bills will be paid while in rehab.

Seeking out expert treatment and support for severe alcoholism can truly turn someone’s life around. Reach out for help today to begin the journey toward renewed wellness.

Journey Hillside Provides Treatment and Help for Crippling Alcoholism

Journey Hillside is a private treatment center that offers on-site detox and full rehab services. This high-end, evidence-based program provides the healing space for someone in recovery from alcoholism. For more detail about the program, please contact us today at (877) 414-1024.