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.


Author: Samantha Colicchio


Depression After Quitting Drinking

You were so looking forward to sobriety; a new life in recovery seemed like it was finally here. But after getting sober, the feelings that had been pushed down for so long started to come to the surface. Now that you’ve finished treatment for alcoholism, you wonder why you’re feeling so sad. If you’re thinking, “I quit drinking and now I am depressed,” this article can shed some light.

What Causes Depression in Recovery?

Newfound sobriety is often met with feelings of depression. The good news? You’re not alone. In fact, even the co-founder of A.A., Bill W., struggled with depression in recovery. There are many reasons why someone in early recovery might grapple with a bout of depression. Here are a few:

  • You’re 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.
  • Your relationships are changing. 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.
  • You’re 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.
  • You’re feeling 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.
  • Your brain chemistry is rebooting. Alcohol dependence causes the brain pathways to become altered. The brain became dependent on the dopamine released by daily drinking. Once sober, brain chemistry will adjust, but it takes time. In the meantime, symptoms of depression can be very common.
If you or a loved one recently quit drinking or completed a rehab treatment program and are now depressed, it is important to discuss dual diagnosis treatment options before you relapse and start drinking again. Dual diagnosis is when you suffer from addiction and mental health co-occurring. It is key to treat both conditions at the same time to create a solid relapse prevention plan. Journey Hillside is an experienced Dual Diagnosis treatment center that can help, call 877-414-1024 or fill out our contact form.

Journey Hillside facilities

The Link Between Nutrition and Depression in Recovery

A healthy diet can help immensely in the struggle against depression. Alcohol use disorder often leads to nutritional deficiencies, and it’s crucial to fill in the gaps once you get sober. Additionally, after the body has rid itself of alcohol, it undergoes various physical and chemical changes. Consequently, there’s a connection between the foods you eat, brain function, and mood. Adhering to a balanced diet with the right nutrients can influence the brain’s chemical balance positively and mitigate depression after quitting drinking.

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.

Anxiety, PTSD, and Trauma

Depression might not be the only thing that comes up with newfound sobriety. Sometimes, people also experience anxiety, and even symptoms of PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Think of it like this: drinking is like driving a car incredibly fast, with all your “baggage” in the backseat. Once you step on the brakes (stop drinking), all that baggage flies up to the front. By getting sober, you’re creating an environment where your psyche feels safe enough to bring up past traumas, in order to help you resolve them. That may mean a period of increased symptoms. With the right support, you can heal these past traumas, get sober, and start living a life that’s happy, joyous, and free.

Many substance abuse facilities don’t acknowledge the impact mental health can have on substance abuse. At Journey Hillside, we accept clients with primary substance abuse and secondary mental health, so you can address any co-occurring disorders in treatment.

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 and find things you love to do, whether it’s exercise, time with family, podcasts, or reading professional development books you can find passion and positive messaging all around you if you look. If things get serious, our 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.

Recommendations for a Balanced Diet in Recovery

That old adage, “You are what you eat,” might seem oversimplified, but it’s true. The better you eat, the better you feel. If you’re experiencing depression after quitting alcohol, these specialized dietary elements may provide you with some relief:

  • Proteins: Incorporate lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, and tofu. These and other proteins rich in amino acids are essential for neurotransmitter production.
  • Complex Carbohydrates: Foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can help stabilize blood sugar levels, impacting mood regulation.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These special fatty acids are found in fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds and can potentially decrease symptoms of depression after stopping alcohol consumption.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Ensure your diet has a mix of essential vitamins, especially B vitamins. B vitamins play a pivotal role in mood regulation and can be a major player in lifting depression after quitting drinking.
  • Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can negatively affect mood and cognition. Drinking sufficient water is crucial in feeling your best.

Building New Hobbies and Interests

With the void that quitting alcohol might create, it’s essential to find new passions. Engaging in new hobbies can not only act as a distraction but also provide a sense of purpose and achievement. If you have an artistic bent, consider painting, sketching, pottery, learning a new instrument, singing, keeping a journal, or writing stories can provide an outlet for emotions. If you find being in nature therapeutic, consider gardening or hiking. Athletic activities like biking, running, or joining a local sports league are also excellent for mood and stress regulation.

Journey Hillside’s Approach to Co-Occurring Disorders

At Journey Hillside, we recognize the intricate relationship between alcohol dependence and depression. That is why we make every effort to prepare our clients with the best defense strategies in order to avoid depression after sobriety.  Our tailored dual diagnosis treatment programs are designed to address both these challenges concurrently, ensuring a comprehensive recovery path. Our staff of caring and experienced professionals is trained to provide the necessary therapeutic and medical support for individuals grappling with depression after quitting drinking.

We believe in a holistic approach, combining therapy, medical intervention, nutrition, physical activity, and community support, ensuring that our clients are not just sober, but mentally and emotionally resilient. Trust Journey Hillside to guide you or your loved one through this dual journey to a balanced and fulfilling life. Reach out today to learn more.

Journey Hillside Offers Comprehensive Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder & Depression

tarzana rehab center

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, looking at treatment options to maintain long term sobriety is key. For more info, please call us today at (877) 414-1024.

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 alcoholismAbout 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.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol dependency and showing signs of alcohol withdrawal, please call our team for guidance and help at 877-414-1024. Due to the dangers of an alcohol withdrawal seizure, it is important to get help as soon as possible.

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.

Am I An Addict

You might be noticing the signs of increased tolerance to a substance and are wondering, “Am I an addict?”

You are lucky if you are picking up on the signs of addiction at an early stage. The earlier you admit there is a problem and seek treatment, the better the outcome will be. Most people become very immersed in substance use before they realize they have crossed the line into addiction. Learn the signs so you can react quickly and get the help you need when asking yourself “Am I an addict?”.

What is Addiction?

Our brains are prewired to record pleasure, prompting us to return to the source of that pleasure. When we expose ourselves to drugs or alcohol the reward system responds to the dopamine rush. With continued use of the substance, the brain becomes used to the influx of its effects and becomes altered.

Over time, a compulsion to use the substance leads to increased tolerance, more frequent dosing, and dependence. At this stage, when the effects of the substance begin to wear off the person will feel sick. These withdrawal symptoms show that the person has become enslaved by the substance.

Addiction is the state arrived at when the person keeps using the substance, despite the mounting negative effects. Addiction involves the presence of both chemical dependence and psychological dependence.

Addiction is the most severe form of a substance use disorder. As with other types of disease, addiction is a chronic, relapsing, and progressive disease. Many factors play a possible role in addiction. These include genetic, social, psychological, biological, and environmental sources that can increase the risk of addiction.

About 25%-50% of people with a substance use disorder have a severe, chronic disorder. There is a progression of the disease and relapses when making attempts to abstain. Someone with the disease of addiction will need to engage in ongoing, continuing treatment in order to manage it. Treatment involves detox, rehab, medical support, and ongoing continuing care efforts.

How Do You Know If You Are an Addict?

The disease of addiction is not static and does evolve over time. As tolerance goes up, more of the substance will be required to obtain the desired effects. These effects might include pain relief, euphoria, or relaxing effects. As the person seeks to achieve these prior results, they become addicted to the substance.

The telltale signs of addiction when asking Am I an addict include:

  • Loss of interest in hobbies and past-times.
  • Avoids social events
  • Lies about the use of the substance.
  • Hides drugs or alcohol around the house.
  • Engage in high-risk behaviors, such as driving under the influence.
  • Legal problems.
  • Doctor shopping.
  • Unable to limit substance use, or to stop, even when wanting to.
  • Obsessed about having enough of the substance on hand.
  • Neglecting obligations in favor of substance use.
  • Increased drug or alcohol cravings.
  • Keep using the substance despite mounting problems.
  • Having chronic sleep problems.
  • Sudden weight loss or gain.
  • Neglects personal hygiene.
  • Changes in appearance, bloated.
  • Health problems caused by substance abuse.
  • Withdrawal symptoms when a substance is not available.

The Dangers of Addiction

When someone develops a pattern of substance abuse it has a profound impact on all aspects of their life. Chronic substance use will eventually contribute to a long list of adverse events. These might include:

  • Job loss.
  • Financial hardship.
  • Harms relationships.
  • Impairs psychological health.
  • Impairs cognitive function.
  • Causes health issues, such as heart disease, cancer, liver disease, kidney disease.
  • Leads to aggressive or violent behavior.
  • DUI arrest and other legal problems.
  • Loss of custody of children.
  • Homelessness
  • Loss of life.

In addition to the adverse impact that addiction has on someone’s life, it also affects family, friends, community, and society.

Risk of Overdose From Addiction

The most serious danger posed by substance abuse is the risk of a fatal overdose. In recent years, the risk of experiencing an overdose has risen sharply due to the presence of the deadly drug, fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a highly potent opioid that is flooding across the border from foreign labs. It is at least 50 times more potent than heroin. People are not aware that they are buying drugs that contain fentanyl, take their usual dose, and then, sadly, die.

But an overdose can occur no matter which substance is involved. Some may take multiple drugs or mix drugs with alcohol, or just lose track of dosing. In fact, the CDC reports a record number of drug overdoses in 2020, with 93,000 lives lost.

Getting Help for an Addiction

Treatment of addiction requires a multi-pronged approach, which will be designed for the person during the intake process. During intake, the clinical staff conducts a thorough assessment. Using this data, a tailored treatment plan is devised.

Treatment will include:

  • Detox. Detox is the first step of the journey, where the body expels the toxins from the system.
  • Psychotherapy. Therapies include CBT, DBT, contingency management, and MET are employed.
  • Peer or family group sessions. Small group therapy sessions focus on sharing and discussing topics related to recovery.
  • Education. Life skills, coping tools, and relapse prevention equip you for recovery.
  • Nutrition and Fitness. You will learn how a healthy diet and getting enough exercise will enhance rehab results.
  • Holistic methods. You will engage in techniques that promote stress reduction. These might include yoga, mindfulness, deep breathing, and massage therapy.
  • 12-Step work. A.A. themes are often included in the rehab program.
  • Aftercare. Post-rehab actions that support sustained sobriety include sober living housing, social support, and outpatient therapy.

While true that addiction is a disease, it is also true that, like many diseases, it can be managed. Recovery success depends on making a lifelong commitment to sobriety and wellness. If you are wondering, “Am I an addict,” chances are you could use some help.

Journey Hillside Provides Evidence-Based Addiction Treatment

If you are aware you’ve become addicted to a substance, Journey Hillside is here to guide you back to wellness. Using a wide range of evidence-based techniques, our caring team will help you overcome the disease of addiction. Call us today at (877) 414-1024.

need to stop drinking alcohol

Excessive drinking can wreak havoc on your life. Learn 5 reasons why you need to stop drinking alcohol now.

How many times have you kicked yourself after indulging in a night of heavy drinking?  You may feel so awful you question whether you are hungover or have alcohol poisoning. Chances are if it’s morning and you are still alert you will be fine. What you are feeling are just the nasty effects of a hard night of binge drinking.

When this happens only now and then it may not point to a larger problem. But when you find yourself having hangovers regularly, then that is a sign that you need to stop drinking alcohol. In other words, it means you have a drinking problem.

The reasons to give up alcohol are many. Alcohol has a toxic effect on your health, your mind, your relationships, your job, and your finances. Keep reading to learn the signs that it’s time to stop drinking alcohol.

What is Heavy Drinking?

When chronic alcohol abuse begins to cause negative consequences or impairment it is considered an alcohol use disorder (AUD). According to the NIAAA, about 15 million U.S. adults battle an alcohol problem in a given year.

So, how is “heavy drinking” defined? The CDC offers a handy set of guidelines that can help people know when they are drinking within safe limits, or not. The CDC defines a “drink” as a12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of spirits or liquor, or 8 ounces of malt liquor.

The CDC guidelines include:

  • Moderate drinking is defined as 2 drinks per day for men; 1 drink per day for women.
  • Heavy drinking is defined as 15 drinks or more per week for men; 8 drinks per week for women.
  • Binge drinking is defined as 5 or more drinks in a single session for men; 4 or more drinks in a single session for women.

The NCADD has created an online questionnaire based on the question, “Do I have an alcohol problem?” It provides this list of questions based on the common signs of AUD.

Signs of AUD Include:

  1. Do you avoid friends and family while drinking, preferring to drink alone?
  2. Do you consume higher quantities of alcohol as time goes on?
  3. Do you drink in response to stress, sadness, anger, or disappointment?
  4. Do you have hand tremors in the morning?
  5. Do you not remember things you said or did the night before?
  6. Do you experience financial, legal, career, or family problems due to your drinking?
  7. Has your doctor advised you to cut down on alcohol?
  8. Do you lie about how much alcohol you drink?
  9. Are you preoccupied during the day with drinking or do you crave alcohol?
  10. Do you get drunk several days in a row?

Depending on how many of the questions you answered “yes”, the AUD is classified as mild, moderate, or severe.

Signs You Have a Drinking Problem

When alcoholism takes root, there are notable effects that include physical signs, behavioral signs, and psychological signs.

Behavioral Signs of Alcoholism:

  • Neglects obligations.
  • The decline in work performance.
  • A DUI arrest.
  • Irritability
  • Avoids friends and family.
  • Money problems.
  • Lying about drinking.
  • Drinking alone.

Psychological Signs of Alcoholism:

  • Mood swings.
  • Obsessed with drinking.
  • Trouble in relationships.
  • Symptoms of depression.
  • Symptoms of anxiety.

Physical Signs of Alcoholism:

  • Nausea and vomiting in the morning.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Having blackouts.
  • Bloating
  • Shaking, tremors.
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Increased cravings.
  • Neglects hygiene.
  • Withdrawal symptoms emerge when the alcohol wears off.

5 Reasons to Stop Drinking Alcohol Today

As the drinking problem escalates, so do the effects on your life. Here are 5 good reasons to quit drinking:

  1. Alcohol is toxic to your health. Alcohol can have serious effects on your health. It can cause nutritional deficiencies, like thiamine, that lead to health problems. Alcohol also causes long-term illness, including liver disease, heart disease, cancer, and brain damage.
  2. Alcohol harms mental health. Alcohol can lead to a co-occurring mental health disorder. Depression is very common in alcoholics, as is anxiety.
  3. Alcohol hurts your career. Missing work often due to hangovers can lead to reduced productivity on the job. Poor performance at work can result in loss of your job and major money problems.
  4. Alcohol is bad for relationships. A drinking problem can lead to strife in relationships. This happens because drinking takes priority over relationships.
  5. Alcohol can cause harm to others. Alcohol tends to cause tempers to flare and angry outbursts. This can result in violence and physical harm to others.

Benefits of Getting Sober

Within weeks of quitting alcohol, a whole host of positive changes will emerge. These effects are even more enhanced when your new sober lifestyle includes a healthy diet and regular exercise. Some of the benefits of getting sober include:

  • You will lose weight
  • You will think more clearly
  • You will have more energy
  • You will sleep better
  • You will be in a better mood
  • You will save money
  • You will be healthier

How to Safely Stop Drinking Alcohol

When it comes to giving up alcohol, it is critical that you do so in a safe way. Quitting cold turkey can be quite risky for some people and should be avoided. Instead, a team of medically trained providers will oversee your alcohol detox to help you if any problems should occur.

During the alcohol detox, your withdrawal symptoms will be carefully observed and managed. Medications are offered to help reduce the discomforts caused by the symptoms. The detox experts will guide you safely through the process and into the treatment phase of recovery.

The consequences of an AUD can pile up quickly. When you know without a doubt that you need to stop drinking alcohol, it is time to take that first step. Get the help you need and deserve today.

Journey Hillside Provides Effective Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Journey Hillside uses the most current evidence-based treatment methods for guiding clients toward a new life in recovery. Medical detox is the first step toward freedom from an AUD. Contact our team today at (877) 414-1024 to learn more about the program.

Self Medicating With Alcohol

Is Self Medicating a Form of Addiction?

When you suffer from depression or anxiety and end up self-medicating with alcohol, it only makes things worse.

For someone struggling with a mental health issue, alcohol can feel like a godsend. The numbing effects of drinking offer a cheap, accessible means of masking the symptoms of a mental health disorder. This is referred to as self-medicating, and it is very common.

It isn’t hard to see why someone might resort to a substance like alcohol to help them numb their pain. But this coping technique can backfire—badly. Too many people don’t think about the longer-term fallout from drinking and can end up with a serious problem.

If alcoholism takes root, the person not only suffers from the mood disorder but also a co-occurring alcohol use disorder (AUD), too. This is called a dual diagnosis. This only complicates the picture, as now both disorders will have their own set of challenges to overcome.

When someone develops a dual diagnosis they will need specialized treatment that will address and treat both disorders. A dual diagnosis rehab can provide this level of care. These programs help the person learn how to manage the symptoms of both mental health and substance use disorders.

Why Self-Medicating with Alcohol is Risky

When we find ourselves in emotional pain, it is logical we’d want to find some way to soften the anguish. We look for a way out, an escape hatch—anything but to feel the misery we are in. Enter alcohol.

Alcohol has sedating effects. When we drink alcohol we become more relaxed and less inhibited. We might feel a little more self-confident and jolly. It is easy to see why someone in pain might access the help of alcohol to get through a low patch.

The world has had plenty of low patches to get through these past 18 months. The fallout from the pandemic affected many aspects of life, so alcohol use has increased in response. Anxiety and depression rates are on the rise in direct proportion to alcohol sales.

But, the brain’s reward system is powerful. Once the brain records a certain action as pleasant, it sets us up to repeat the event. Ongoing use of alcohol to self-medicate can lead to an alcohol problem, which can result in alcoholism.

One study examined survey results of 34,0000 U.S. adults who were questioned about their use of substances for self-medication. The results confirmed the fact that using substances to mask negative emotions can increase the risk of addiction. The study showed that more than 12% of respondents with anxiety that self-medicated with alcohol develop an AUD.

Using Alcohol for Self-Medicating Depression

People who struggle with depression are quite prone to alcohol abuse. The symptoms of depression include feeling sad and hopeless, fatigue, sleep problems, loss of interest, and suicidal thoughts. Alcoholism and depression are very common dual diagnosis.

Someone hoping to hide from their emotional pain via alcohol may find some temporary relief. The danger is when using alcohol in an ongoing manner, which can increase the risk of alcoholism. When someone has these co-occurring disorders, the risk of suicide is greatly increased.

self medicating anxiety with alcohol

Using Alcohol for Anxiety

This busy, fast-paced life we lead can leave us feeling anxious or stressed out. Symptoms of anxiety can include a sense of fear or dread, a racing heart, chest tightness, shallow breathing, trembling, and sweating. Being in this mood state can be exhausting and draining.

Turning to alcohol to manage the effects of anxiety is all too common. Sadly, though, drinking only makes the feelings of anxiety worse. This is due to a boomerang effect. That means that when the calming effects of the alcohol wear off, the anxiety seems to be more enhanced.

Using Alcohol for Depression

A mental health challenge can be crippling. It requires expert support, just like any other health problem would. Instead of using alcohol to subdue negative mood states, there is a better way to get relief. When you seek out the help of a mental health provider, they can offer therapy and medications to manage symptoms.

Therapy will be tailored to the exact nature of your mental health issue. For instance, if your anxiety is due to trauma, they will use prolonged exposure therapy, CBT, or EMDR. If you suffer from depression, CBT, DBT, and interpersonal therapy may be applied. Drugs can also help with symptom relief. SSRIs, for one, can help both depression and anxiety.

Healthy Ways to Manage Negative Mood States

There are also many things you can do to enhance the effects of mental health treatment. Most of these involve making changes in lifestyle habits, and can really help improve your mood state without alcohol.

Try building these healthy new habits:

  1. Practice Mindfulness. Being mindful of our state of mind, without letting it control us, allows us to focus on the present moment. Mindfulness helps us pay heed to the senses; the things we see, smell, taste, hear and feel. This keeps us from having our thoughts distract us from a calm state of being.
  2. Improve Your Sleep. Nothing makes us feel grumpy like a bad night’s sleep! Improve your mood, focus, and energy by getting better sleep. Try sticking to the same bedtime each day to help set your body clock. Have some chamomile tea and a warm bath and enjoy your slumber.
  3. Get Outdoors. One of the best things you can do for your mood is just go outside. Fresh air and sunshine will quickly bring a smile to your face. Vitamin D is produced through sun exposure, which can ward off depression.
  4. Set Fitness Goals. A great way to decrease anxiety and depression is through regular exercise. By setting some fitness goals you divert your thoughts toward something that is good for you. Whether you prefer rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, or running, just set a goal and work on achieving it.

You do not have to resort to self-medicating with alcohol when you are feeling low or stressed out. Learn how to take care of your mental wellness in healthy ways.

Journey Hillside is a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center

If you or a loved one has been self-medicating with alcohol, Journey Hillside is here to help. Our team of experts can help you overcome an AUD and learn how to create a healthy lifestyle. Contact Journey Hillside today at (877) 414-1024

Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures

Can Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Seizures?

When someone takes that first brave step toward sobriety, it’s a cause for celebration. After all, each year more than 88,000 deaths are attributed to alcohol use disorder (AUD). There is a great risk, however, if you attempt to stop drinking cold turkey on your own.

Alcohol seizures are serious, so detox should never be attempted without medical support. How a person’s alcohol detox will progress is often hard to predict. Some people start the detox process and are doing just fine. But then, on day 3 or 4, sudden severe withdrawal symptoms might emerge.

Seizures are a rare but serious complication that occurs during alcohol detox. They can happen as early as day 2 during detox, while delirium tremens (DTs) can appear on days 3-4.  The DTs occur in about 5% of those who begin an alcohol detox. During the DTs, the person has a high risk of having alcohol withdrawal seizures.

There are some factors that can cause symptoms to be more severe in some people:

  • How long the heavy drinking has lasted.
  • How much is consumed daily.
  • The person’s age.
  • The person’s health status.
  • If there is a co-occurring mental health issue.
  • If the person has a history of alcohol detox attempts.
If you or someone you care about is suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms and you are worried about a potential seizure, call our Team at Journey Hillside now for immediate help. We offer a confidential helpline at 877-414-1024 to guide you to the safest steps to take when in this situation. Or fill out our contact form.
Journey Hillside facilities

These factors can help a detox team predict the timeline and severity of the detox process. Still, the DTs can come on without notice, and it’s hard to predict who will experience them. This is why it is always advised that the detox process be supervised.

What Happens When You Stop Drinking?

addiction rehab tarzana

After a long history of heavy alcohol intake, the brain pathways have become altered. When this has taken place, and then you suspend drinking to enter recovery, the body will react. Withdrawal symptoms begin to show up within hours of cessation.

As the brain begins to react to the sudden lack of alcohol in the system, the symptoms become more intense. This is a sign that the body is trying to adjust to the absence of alcohol. The longer the person’s history of problem drinking, the more severe the withdrawal symptoms will be.

When you begin detox you will be under the care of a trained support team. These detox experts will keep a close eye on your vital signs and observe the symptoms as they emerge. They will provide medical support throughout the detox process, and be on the lookout for alcohol withdrawal seizures and other withdrawal warning signs.

What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures?

When someone has severe AUD, their drinking has caused the central nervous system to slow down as the brain produces more GABA. When he or she stops drinking, the nervous system becomes destabilized.

When someone enters alcohol detox they are often given benzos to reduce the chances of seizures. These drugs act to slow down the central nervous system and are very helpful during detox.

About 10% of people in alcohol detox will have seizures. Seizures, while scary on their own, can also be a warning sign of the DTs. Someone who does have a seizure during detox will likely be transferred to a hospital setting, as seizures tend to repeat. That way, if it does progress to the DTs they will receive proper medical treatment.

Risk Factors for Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures

Having an alcohol withdrawal seizure is a possible outcome for anyone undergoing alcohol detox without the proper medical supervision. Certain risk factors heighten this possibility, including:

Prolonged and Heavy Drinking: The longer and more heavily someone has consumed alcohol, the greater the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms, including seizures.

Previous Withdrawal Episodes: Individuals who have experienced withdrawal symptoms in past detox attempts are at an increased risk.

Concurrent Medical Conditions: Existing health issues, especially related to the liver or neurological conditions, can intensify withdrawal symptoms.

Use of Other Drugs: Concurrent use of other substances can exacerbate withdrawal and increase seizure risks.

Age: Older adults may have a heightened vulnerability to alcohol withdrawal seizures due to age-related physiological changes.

Because of the potential symptoms, tailored detox plans and vigilant monitoring are essential to avoid life-threatening seizures from alcohol withdrawal.

Understanding Delirium Tremens aka DTs

The DTs are a very serious health emergency that can emerge during alcohol detox rather suddenly. The DTs are most common among those who have been heavy drinkers for a long time. Of those who have the DTs, up to 15% will not survive.

The DTs may present at or around the third day of detox. However, in some cases, detox may be winding down when on day seven the sudden symptoms of the DTs commence!

Symptoms of the DTs include:

  • Uncontrollable tremors and shaking.
  • Fever
  • Severe mental confusion.
  • Paranoia
  • High blood pressure.
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Extreme anxiety.
  • A sense that insects are crawling under the skin.
  • Seizures
  • Heart failure.

Treatment for the DTs may mean a hospital stay in order to stabilize the person and improve the outcome. Treatment will involve IV sedative infusions and hydration. This can provide quick relief and stabilization until symptoms subside.

The Kindling Effect: A Growing Concern in Alcohol Detox

The Kindling Effect refers to the phenomenon where each successive withdrawal from alcohol becomes more severe than the previous one, even if the alcohol consumption levels remain consistent. This is because the brain becomes more sensitive to the effects of alcohol withdrawal over time. For individuals with a history of multiple detox attempts, this can result in increasingly intense and dangerous withdrawal symptoms, including a higher risk of having an alcohol withdrawal seizure. At Journey Hillside, we’re acutely aware of the Kindling Effect and tailor our detox protocols to ensure the safety and well-being of those in our care.

Stages of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol detox proceeds through three stages:

Stage One: Symptoms emerge. Early symptoms during the first 24 hours of detox include:

  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Increased heart rate.

Stage Two: Symptoms peak. During days 2-4, the symptoms will peak, including:

  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Increased nausea
  • Cold sweats
  • High blood pressure
  • Hallucinations or psychosis
  • Fuzzy thinking,
  • Alcohol withdrawal seizures.

This is the phase of withdrawal when the DTs can occur.

Stage Three: Symptoms subside. On days 4-7, the symptoms begin to subside. In those with more severe AUD, there may be psychological effects that linger, such as anxiety or depression, fatigue, and insomnia for a few more weeks.

Risks of Unsupervised Detoxification

Detoxifying from alcohol without professional supervision poses a significant threat to the individual’s safety. While the idea of “going cold turkey” at home might seem courageous or cost-effective, the dangers are immense. Here are some potential consequences of going about detox on your own.

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms: Without medical professionals, one might underestimate the severity of their withdrawal symptoms. These can range from nausea and sweating in the initial stages to more serious complications like seizures and delirium tremens in later stages.

Lack of Medication Management: Detox facilities often use specific medications to ease the withdrawal process, reduce cravings, and manage potential complications. At home, one might not have access to these life-saving drugs or might misuse them without proper guidance.

Mental Health Risks: Alcohol withdrawal can take a toll on one’s mental health, leading to anxiety, severe mood swings, and even suicidal thoughts. Without immediate professional intervention, these symptoms can become life-threatening.

Physical Dangers: In addition to seizures, unsupervised detox can lead to dehydration, heart irregularities, and other severe health complications. In a detox facility, staff can swiftly act at the first sign of these symptoms and take preventative action in the event an individual may be on the verge of having an alcohol withdrawal seizure.

Risk of Relapse: The initial stages of withdrawal can be so uncomfortable that many might be tempted to drink again just to alleviate the symptoms. This risk of relapse is higher without the supportive environment of a detox center.

Lack of Support System: Emotional and psychological support is crucial during detox. Professionals in a detox facility not only provide medical support but also offer counseling and psychological help. At home, one might feel isolated and overwhelmed, leading to a higher risk of complications.

The Importance of Professional Help

Medical supervision and therapeutic support serve as vital lifelines during the detoxification process. Expertise ensures that withdrawal symptoms are managed appropriately, decreasing potential health risks. Additionally, therapists and counselors provide essential emotional and psychological support, helping individuals navigate the complex emotions and mental hurdles associated with breaking free from addiction. Their guidance is instrumental in crafting coping strategies, building resilience, and preparing for life post-detox.

Furthermore, being in a professional setting offers a structured environment free from triggers and temptations, ensuring a safer and more effective detox journey. Simply put, seeking professional help not only enhances the chances of successful recovery, but also prioritizes the individual’s overall long-term well-being.

What Happens After Alcohol Detox?

Detox is only the first step in the recovery journey. Detox is required in order to allow the person to fully engage in treatment in a sober state. Detox does not prevent someone from going back to drinking. To stop drinking they must engage in a treatment program.

Treatment programs for AUD involve a multi-track approach that includes:

Therapy. In order to make lasting changes and avoid drinking again, you must change your thought patterns. While in rehab you will be learning new ways to process your thoughts and how you respond to triggers.

12-Step Program. A.A.’s 12-step program themes provide a structured approach to recovery.

Education. Learning new coping techniques and life skills helps people in recovery improve their chances for a sustained result.

Holistic. Learning how to manage stress through techniques like mindfulness and yoga can be useful during and after treatment.

To launch your new sober life you must complete the detox step. Just know that you will be well cared for during the process, and symptoms will be managed. Soon, a new life in recovery will be yours to enjoy.

Embracing a Comprehensive Treatment Approach at Journey Hillside

Alcohol withdrawal and seizures are not to be taken lightly – ever. This potentially fatal symptom from withdrawal should be all the proof you need to attend supervised detox.

At Journey Hillside, we firmly believe that the path to lasting sobriety extends beyond mere detoxification. It’s about embracing a holistic treatment plan that focuses not just on the physical but also on the emotional, psychological, and social facets of addiction.

With this in mind, our multidisciplinary team crafts personalized treatment plans that include therapy sessions, educational modules, and holistic interventions such as mindfulness practices and yoga. This ensures that individuals not only overcome their dependence on alcohol but also acquire the tools and insights to rebuild their lives with resilience and purpose.

By nurturing the mind, body, and spirit in tandem, Journey Hillside ensures that every individual in our care is equipped to navigate the challenges of recovery. Reach out to us today and learn how much can change with a simple phone call.

Journey Hillside Provides On-Site Alcohol Detox Support

Residential Treatment

Journey Hillside is an upscale treatment center that helps people with AUD to enjoy a fresh start in life. For questions about our alcohol detox program, please give us a call on our confidential helpline at (877) 414-1024.

how to check someone into rehab

How to Get Someone Into Rehab When They’ve Asked for Help

When your loved one agrees to get treatment, you can help them get checked in.

It’s a day to celebrate, that day when your loved one declares they are ready to get some help. Anyone who’s watched a loved one struggle with a drug or alcohol problem knows how great a day this is. Many friends and family members have been hoping and praying for this day to come.

When this momentous day arrives, the next question might be, “now what?” Trying to bob and weave through the huge number of rehabs out there is no easy feat. How do you know which rehabs are high quality? Once you find one, how do you check someone into rehab? What is the procedure?

To learn all this and more about how to check someone into rehab and get treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD), keep reading!

how to get a loved one into rehab

The Long Road to Accepting Help

Getting to this juncture didn’t just happen by chance. Most people who have a loved one battling a SUD have prodded and pleaded with them for years to get help. Many have witnessed one “bottom” after another, praying that their loved one will survive long enough to get that treatment.

There are many roadblocks to someone getting the treatment they need. Many of these are self-imposed, while others are societal. Some of these barriers to treatment include:

  • Your loved one is in denial. No one wants to admit they have a substance problem. There is a lot of pride wrapped up in this tendency. People do not wish to appear weak or out of control, so they flatly deny that they need rehab.
  • They worry about stigma. Stigma still exists around substance use issues, and people worry about their reputation. They may worry about people at work finding out about rehab, or that their job could be at risk.
  • The cost of rehab. It is no secret that treatment is pricey. Most insurance plans, though, do cover a portion of the expense. Each plan is unique, so you need to call and ask the rep for details.
  • They don’t have time for rehab. While it’s true that inpatient treatment requires a time commitment, it is best to see this within the bigger picture. In the scope of life health and survival, finding a way to take a leave just makes sense.
  • They just are not ready. Making a commitment to sobriety is a lot harder than people know. It means a complete change of friends and lifestyle. It also means dealing with stress and life without the agent that numbs the pain.

Do Interventions Work?

When your loved one still resists getting the treatment you might want to think about holding an intervention. These events can be very effective in helping the person see why they need to get help.

An intervention is a meeting that is set up by an addiction expert who helps plan and execute the event. These experts are well trained to address the loved one’s objections, fears, questions, and concerns.

During the meeting, family members take turns reading their own thoughts and feelings aloud to their addicted loved one. The idea is to inform the loved one how their disease is causing strife in the whole family. This can help persuade the person to accept treatment.

How to Help Your Loved One Prepare for Rehab

Once a loved one has agreed to go to rehab there are some things the family can do to assist with the process. These actions also send a strong message to the loved one, that you are there for them. When they see your support and love they will be even more convinced they are doing the right thing.

Here are some things you can do to help your loved one prior to going into treatment:

  • Learn about the disease. The more that you know about what they are battling, the more you will be of help to a loved one. Do some research prior to them going into rehab so you will know what to expect and be better equipped to support them.
  • Keep lines of communication open. Be sure to provide open communication with the loved one. Let them know you are there for them if they want to talk about any feelings they may have about sobriety and recovery.
  • Help them plan logistics. When the loved one goes into treatment they may need help with childcare or getting kids to school and back. Help them work out a plan for childcare and for making sure bills are paid in their absence.
  • Agree to be a support source. Someone going into rehab needs to know that their family is behind them and will be there for them. Rehabs have family sessions, so ensure the loved one that you will be there to participate.

How to Check into a Rehab

Just finding a bed in a quality rehab can be a challenge, many people are seeking help for SUD, which means making lots of phone calls. There are details to work out about insurance coverage and out-of-pocket expense. It is always best when you can meet with the rehab for a tour of the treatment center prior to intake.

Once your loved one has found a bed in a rehab of his or her choice, the day has arrived to check in. The rehab will give you a list of items you can pack for your stay, and which items to leave at home.

Your loved one has likely abstained from the substance on the day they enter treatment. This means they will not be feeling well and maybe quite anxious. Maintain a calm, measured presence while with them on this day. Avoid any stressful situations.

When you arrive at the treatment center your loved one will be processed through the intake and admissions department. They will meet with a clinician to help assess the exact nature of their SUD. The interview will also explore whether there is a co-occurring mental health issue. Once the data is collected, a diagnosis is made and a tailored treatment plan is devised. From that point, your loved one is in the hands of the experts.

Journey Hillside Offers Comprehensive SUD Treatment

Journey Hillside is a premier rehab that provides the most effective treatment measures available. Journey Hillside offers on-site detox and a full spectrum of evidence-based treatments. Call us with any questions about our program at (877) 414-1024.