Tag Archives: Addiction

Xanax and Alcohol

Xanax-and-Alcohol

With Xanax (a brand name for Alprazolam) one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S., it’s understandable that it’s mixed with other substances.  Some people do so without knowing how substances interact, while others are hoping to intensify effects or offset certain side effects. For example, Alcohol depresses the Central Nervous System (CNS), and while it can provide an initial buzz it also eventually causes drowsiness. Subsequently, people will mix it with stimulants, like cocaine to offset feeling sleepy. Polysubstance abuse is the abuse of 3 or more substances, often involving alcohol. It’s common for people to mix Xanax, alcohol and a third substance if not more. Neither substance is necessarily a bad thing, but they are both frequently misused and together can cause negative effects.

Alcohol is a popular drink around the world. The general acceptance of alcohol use, and heavy alcohol consumption, makes it difficult for a lot of people to recognize when use has turned to abuse, dependence, and addiction. As not everyone fully understands the negative effects of alcohol, they might not realize how dangerous it can be to mix Xanax and alcohol.

What is Alcohol?

The type of alcohol that humans drink is ethyl alcohol.The history of human’s interactions with alcohol is long and complicated. While the way it’s made and how it affects people has changed, it’s something that’s been around for thousands of years. Over time, as people learned more about the dangers of alcohol, there have been periods where it was banned, like Prohibition in the U.S. Some countries ban the use of it entirely or specific groups within countries ban the use. In a lot of countries today alcohol use is widespread and socially acceptable. Many recognize the dangers, but few realize how little it takes to experience dangerous effects or for it to turn to abuse. 

A lot of people know that it’s possible to have an addiction to alcohol. Still, they tend to have the image of the stereotypical drunk in mind: someone unable to do simple tasks, falling over in public, and generally incoherent. Furthermore, a lot of young people tend to engage in binge drinking with the assumption that they’re just young and doing what young people do. The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), defines men’s binge drinking as five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. For women, it’s considered four or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. Taking those numbers into consideration, the study also found, “In 2017, about 1 in 4 people aged 12 or older were current binge alcohol users.”

Effects of Alcohol Use

Many people know that alcohol is a depressant, which they understand to mean it causes depression. That is a possible side effect, but it is also a central nervous system depressant. 

This can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired cognitive function and coordination 
  • Lowered inhibition
  • Respiratory Depression
  • Coma 
  • Death

Xanax-and-Alcohol

Given the pervasiveness of alcohol consumption, and risky drinking in particular, it’s unfortunate that a lot of people don’t fully understand how it can negatively affect them. The National Cancer Institute cites strong scientific consensus showing clear evidence between alcohol consumption and various types of cancer. Furthermore, it’s possible for drinking excessively to lead to a weakened immune system leaving someone vulnerable to diseases. In addition to impairing cognitive function, the ability to think clearly and use coordination, it also causes issues with the heart, liver, and pancreas. 

In moderation, alcohol is not going to cause these symptoms and some believe there are benefits to occasional consumption. However, a lot of people, particularly starting in their youth, consume more than they should. Alcohol impairs decision making, which likely contributes to people’s decisions to mix substances. Others possibly consciously choose to mix substances in an attempt to enhance the experience of each substance.

Xanax Recreational Use

Xanax is a legal prescription drug for short-term use under medical supervision. It often treats anxiety and insomnia. Many providers consider it to have a high risk of misuse, due largely in part to dependence and addiction setting in quickly for a number of people. Xanax works by calming down an over-excited CNS and increasing dopamine in the brain. This provides a “Xanax High”, or a euphoric feeling that people desire when misusing Xanax. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) found that Xanax is one of the top three prescription drugs diverted to the illegal/illicit market. Most people using Xanax recreationally likely do not realize the serious long term effects of Xanax use. 

With Xanax, the brain adjusts and finds it difficult to adjust without it. Someone misusing Xanax is more likely to end up taking increased doses. They do so to continue to feel the same effects and to feel the euphoria or Xanax High they are chasing. Suddenly stopping often results in severe withdrawal symptoms, making it difficult to quit without professional help. It’s possible for withdrawal symptoms to last for months after ceasing use, making relapse more likely. Xanax depresses the CNS, often causing drowsiness, impairing motor and cognitive function, and slowed breathing. This is incredibly dangerous if mixed with other depressants.

Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

Mixing Xanax and alcohol isn’t going to result in overdose or death every time. Still, it’s a risk that isn’t worth it. Both can cause serious side effects apart from overdose or death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), analyzed data from 2010 showing alcohol was involved in 27.2% of emergency department visits related to benzodiazepine (benzo) abuse. Further, of 1,512 benzo-related deaths that year, 324 also involved alcohol. Any death is clearly one too many.

Xanax-and-Alcohol-FAN

Both Xanax and alcohol are CNS depressants, which makes them dangerous when mixed. Some use Xanax and alcohol for sleep separately, but also try using them together. They both cause respiratory depression, or slowed breathing, which significantly increases the risk of overdose and death. Many people use alcohol as a means to help calm anxiety. It also can provide a euphoric high, or even simply an overall feeling of peace and happiness. A number of people will likely want to enhance the effects of Xanax and alcohol. They’re looking to feel something of a “Xanax and alcohol high”. Increasing consumption of both substances increases the risk of permanent damage, or of overdose or death. Adding any other substances further increases this risk. It’s unfortunately common for people to take opioids with benzos. This is a dangerous mix on its own and made even more dangerous with alcohol.

Treatment

For anyone using Xanax and alcohol, they likely need professional help. Xanax withdrawal is potentially severe and too difficult to do without proper help. Depending on severity of abuse and addiction, alcohol withdrawal is one of the few types of substances where withdrawal can result in severe complications or death. Anyone with a dependence or addiction to either substance, or especially both, should seek professional help. Reach out today for resources, support, and any help you might need.

Adderall and Xanax

adderall-and-xanax-fight-addiction-now

Mixing Substances – Adderall and Xanax

With substance abuse and addiction, it is common for people to use multiple substances. It’s possible for this to include someone using their own legally prescribed drugs, as well as many people illicitly using legal and illegal drugs. Abusing three or more is polysubstance abuse. Often, mixing substances heightens the negative effects of the other. In particular, if two substances are sedatives where side effects are commonly slowed or suppressed breathing this is especially dangerous. It’s important for people to always communicate with their medical providers any substances they are taking to be as safe as possible.

Unfortunately, many people abusing multiple substances do not communicate with medical professionals nor do they fully understand the risks of combining substances. A number of people use substances as a way to cope with problems or to chase a certain “high” they get, and possibly both. Adderall and Xanax are some of the most commonly prescribed prescription drugs. They are also frequently abused, with many people dealing with unintended consequences.

Xanax: Xanax Recreational Use and the Xanax High

Xanax is one of the brand names for the drug alprazolam, which is a benzodiazepine. It’s primary use is to treat anxiety and panic disorders. This is accomplished through suppression of the Central Nervous System (CNS). Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical in the body and it is part of reward and motivation; Xanax works to increase levels of dopamine in the body. Subsequently, people are able to feel calm and peaceful. Many people feel a heightened sense of euphoria, or the “Xanax High”. This feeling is something that a lot of people want to recreate to the point where they begin to misuse Xanax. 

Xanax is a fast-acting drug: it’s processed quickly and leaves the body quickly. The Xanax High that users feel will not last long, which will leave them needing more, increasing the dosage, to continue feeling the same euphoria. It’s possible for addiction to set in quickly with Xanax, even under proper medical supervision. Dr. Philip R. Muskin states that addiction is possible within even the first week of use. According to one study, in 2013 there were 48 million prescriptions of alprazolam dispensed, despite most prescribers considering the misuse liability to be high. Furthermore, the study reveals that withdrawal is severe, even following guidelines, and is more severe than other benzodiazepines. Because of the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms, many people are unable to stop use without professional help.

Adderall

Adderall is a stimulant made from amphetamine, which is the parent drug of methamphetamine. It primarily treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It helps people concentrate, and is often abused by people seeking to use it to enhance concentration and performance. Like Xanax, people misuse it for the ability to experience a euphoric feeling. As with a number of prescription drugs, people make the assumption that misuse isn’t that bad if the drug is legal. According to Dr. Ramin Mojtabai, use “…can also cause sleep disruption and serious cardiovascular side effects, such as high blood pressure and stroke.” Adderall should only be used when prescribed and under medical supervision. 

  Side effects can include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feveradderall-and-xanax-withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Body aches

 

 

Mixing Adderall and Xanax

For some, their Adderall and Xanax use might start out with a prescription and then turn to Adderall or Xanax recreational use. For others, they only ever use it illicitly and may do so desiring to feel the Adderall or Xanax high. 

Often, people snort substances to feel the effects faster and stronger. With recreational use, snorting Xanax is something some turn to in order to feel it faster and attain a stronger high. However, snorting Xanax, or any substance, is harmful to the human body. According to Time, “Snorting powder of any kind can lead to inflammation of the nasal lining, infection in the lungs and blockages of respiratory tracts and nasal airways.” Just as with Xanax, snorting Adderall is something that users will do to drastically increase one’s performance and concentration. Snorting Adderall may also increase the euphoric feeling (“Adderall High”) that some users seek.

stimulants-and-depressants

Stimulants and Depressants

Adderall and Xanax on their own, used under medical supervision, are meant to help. Still, even used properly they do have a high risk of misuse. It’s important for patients and their providers to take this into consideration. Misuse of substances is more likely to lead to tolerance, where someone then needs more of the substance to feel the same effect. With increased use, this is where someone is at risk for dependence, addiction, and overdose. Mixing substances heightens the negative effects of each substance. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), mixing stimulants and depressants can increase “…risk of death from stroke, heart attack, aneurysm, or respiratory failure.” Furthermore, with illicit use there is a high possibility substances are mixed with unknown substances. In recent years, there has been an increase of synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, which further increases the risk of overdose and death.

Treatment

Both Adderall and Xanax have a high risk for misuse and addiction. While severity will vary, it’s important to seek professional, medical help. Withdrawal can be severe, which makes it difficult to do so without proper help. After continued misuse, someone will likely be increasing the dosages to maintain the same effects which leads to more dangerous consequences. A lot of people use Adderall and Xanax, legally or illegally, intending often to feel the benefits like less anxiety or increased concentration. Not everyone understands the inherent risk of using each drug, even with proper use. Because of this, they may find themselves dealing with abuse and addiction without realizing it.

If you or a loved one needs help, reach out today.

FAQs

How long does Xanax stay in your system?

Xanax is a short-acting drug, which means it will enter the body quickly and leave quickly. The effects of Xanax are immediate and can last up to 11 hours. This can vary depending on the prescription and amount taken. It’s possible to detect Xanax through testing for up to a week after use, though this can of course vary depending on length of use, dosage, and other factors unique to each person. The type of testing will also determine whether it’s possible to detect it.

Can you overdose on Xanax?

Generally, overdose on Xanax alone is not common. However, increased dosage or mixing substances does increase the risk, which varies depending on what the effects of other substances are. Alcohol and Xanax, for example, are both depressants that can suppress breathing which is incredibly dangerous. It’s important to discuss with your care provider about how substances interact with Xanax.

What does Xanax feel like? What is the Xanax High?

Xanax works to depress an over-excited central nervous system, which is why it’s so effective in short-term treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. It also increases dopamine, which provides what many call the “Xanax High”.

How to taper off Xanax –

If you or a loved one is using Xanax legally, it’s incredibly important to follow a medical professional’s instructions for tapering off. Even if someone is using it in a recreational manner, it’s still best to seek professional help. Suddenly stopping use can cause severe side effects and withdrawal symptoms that make it difficult to quit on one’s own.

How long does Adderall stay in your system?

Generally, the effects of Adderall last for up to 6 hours, though extended-release can last for up to 12 hours. It’s possible to detect anywhere from a few days up to a week, depending on the type of test used. This can also vary for a variety of factors including dosage, length of use, and other aspects unique to each person.

Meth vs Adderall: Are they the same? Are they related?

Adderall is an amphetamine, the parent drug of methamphetamine (meth). They are both stimulants and have been used to treat similar health issues like ADHD. However, meth carries a much higher risk for addiction. Because of this, medical use is strictly monitored and infrequently prescribed.

Can you overdose on Adderall?

With proper use, an Adderall overdose is not likely. However, misuse and increased dosage raises the risk. Furthermore, mixing substances is potentially dangerous as they tend to heighten negative effects of the other. Anyone with a prescription should be sure to communicate with their provider if they use any other substances, legal or illegal.

What is the Adderall comedown like?

It’s important that anyone with a prescription does not suddenly stop without a medical professional’s care and instructions. Anyone using illicitly may also likely need professional help. Sudden cessation can cause withdrawal symptoms that include: anxiety, cravings, depression, and fatigue.

 

 

Polysubstance Abuse

Polysubstance Abuse and Dependence

Someone with polysubstance dependence is using three or more substances, with at least one of the substances commonly being alcohol. As alcohol is one of the oldest and most widely used psychoactive drugs, a lot of people fail to realize the dangers of mixing it with other substances. Furthermore, it’s common for people to drink heavily or binge drink without even realizing it. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) defines binge drinking as, “5 or more alcoholic drinks for males or 4 or more alcoholic drinks for females on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past month.” 

Although drinking has gone down in the United States in many groups, the drinking culture is still prevalent. This is particularly the case for young people in certain settings like schools, universities, or various social events. Many people who consume alcohol are also using other substances, illegal and legal. They do so without realizing the negative effects of mixing the substances they are using. When someone engages in binge drinking the risks increase significantly. Alcohol is a depressant, which many people understand to relate to mood and depression. That is a possible effect, but it also means that it will depress the central nervous system (CNS), which causes actions like suppressed or slowed breathing and impaired motor and cognitive function.

Alcohol and Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines (benzos) are primarily used to treat anxiety, panic disorders, seizures and they are even sometimes used with alcohol withdrawal. They are meant for short-term use, however not only are prescriptions increasing, long-term prescriptions have increased as well. It’s possible for someone to develop dependence early with use, with the possibility of psychological dependence and physical dependence. The longer use continues, the increased likelihood of dependence and addiction. 


Possible side effects of use includes:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Slowed breathing

Experiencing these side effects will vary from person to person. What is more, the severity of the side effects will also vary. It is dangerous to combine the use of these drugs with alcohol, for example: Xanax and alcohol and Valium and alcohol. It’s possible for this to contribute to what is known as combined drug intoxication. Death usually occurs as a result of some combination of the substances suppressing breathing. The combined substances typically increase the toxicity or negative effects of the other and alcohol can significantly increase the severity of symptoms.

Alcohol and Opioids

Opioids are one of the most commonly prescribed prescription drugs. Prescriptions seemingly flooded communities before most people realized how addictive they are. Most people in America are now aware of the opioid crisis. While a lot of public attention and resources are now dedicated to fighting it, there is still a lot of work to be done. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.” Just like alcohol and benzos, a possible side effect of opioids is also suppressed breathing. This makes the combination of alcohol and opioids incredibly dangerous. Further, alcohol, benzos, and opioids increase the risk of overdose even more. 

The CDC warns against prescribing both benzos and opioids if can be helped. Despite this, they are frequently prescribed together and NIDA found, “More than 30 percent of overdoses involving opioids also involve benzodiazepines…” Alcohol, benzos, and opioids are all sedatives and a possible effect is suppressed breathing. Even just alcohol and opioids is a dangerous mix, with the CDC also stating that there is no safe level of using both substances. Unfortunately, many people do not know or understand the full dangers of alcohol use. It doesn’t take as much as people would think for alcohol to begin to negatively affect someone. When you add in other substances, including substances beyond just opioids and benzos, you are drastically increasing the risks of all substances involved.

Causes Behind Polysubstance Abuse

For a number of people, they use alcohol to cope with issues like anxiety. When someone is also using benzos for the same purpose, it seems normal to combine the use of two drugs. If both help with anxiety, then what’s the harm? As previously stated, opioids and benzos alone are a potentially dangerous combination, yet they are frequently prescribed together. Opioids are known most commonly as being used for pain relief. It’s possible many people dealing with significant pain are also dealing with anxiety, where they are then prescribed benzos as well. With benzos and opioids carrying a serious risk for addiction, someone might reach a point where they are not worried about being careful of mixing alcohol. There are an incredible number of substances beyond just the three mentioned above which also potentially cause serious health risks when combined.

For most people, they start out using these substances with good intentions. They want to treat and manage health problems, which is normal and understandable. NIDA explains that in the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies assured the medical community that patients wouldn’t become addicted to opioids. Because of this, doctors prescribed opioids at higher rates. Furthermore, NPR found that many primary care doctors are prescribing benzos do so without proper guidelines.

Treatment

Each person is unique and while there are common effects and interactions from substance use, the reaction each person has will not necessarily be the same. Alcohol and drugs cause different reactions in people depending on a number of factors. Because of this, someone might be okay (meaning at least they aren’t at risk of overdose or any initial complications) using a substance, or mixed substance. However, then the next person has a serious reaction or is at risk for overdose. It’s also possible for the purity of substances to impact how someone reacts. Very likely, especially with polysubstance abuse, people see others mixing various substances and assume they will likewise be alright. 

Addiction is complex and the reasons behind it are just as complex. A lot of studies are just now beginning to help us understand the many different factors. There are many other substances aside from the substance substance mentioned above, including many that are illegal, that also play a part in polysubstance abuse. Someone using multiple substances likely needs professional help. If you or a loved one needs help, reach out today.

How to Tell the Difference Between Depression and Short-Term Sadness

Differences Depression vs short-term sadness

Many people mistakenly assume that “depression” simply means a period of intense sadness. However, there is a distinct difference between clinical depression, a diagnosable medical condition, and short-term sadness. The symptoms of depression vary from person to person, but the reality is that feelings of sadness are only a small part of the effects of this condition.

Understanding True Depression

A person with clinical depression or a depressive disorder generally has trouble managing very basic tasks due to feelings of worthlessness, anxiety about the possibility of failure, and general lethargy. So what is clinical depression exactly? It is a long-term mental health disorder, typically a chronic one that has drastic effects on a person’s physical, mental, social, and emotional health. It can interfere with daily tasks, make work feel impossible, and may limit a person’s opportunities for social interaction. Many people mistakenly attribute periods of sadness as signs of depression.

Symptoms Of Clinical Depression

Differences Depression vs short-term sadness - fightaddictionnowSymptoms of clinical depression can persist for years and increase in severity over time without proper treatment. Some of the most common symptoms reported include:

  • Persistent feelings of intense sadness
  • Poor self-image and low self-esteem
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Agitation
  • Difficulty with sleeping
  • Eating problems — over-eating or having very little appetite most days
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Deep feelings of guilt without a tangible reason for those feelings to exist
  • Persistent feelings of worthlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or wishing for death.
  • Persistent feeling of being a burden to others, or that others would be better off if the depressed person wasn’t around
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies or activities
  • Social disengagement, cancelling plans, or avoiding social interaction
  • Suicide attempts

Many people experience sadness of everyday life events or traumatic experiences and may suffer with some of these symptoms for a while, but this is not indicative of clinical depression.

Seasonal Depression

Some people suffer from a seasonal depression disorder that causes adverse symptoms at certain times of the year. For example, many people with seasonal depression report that the winter months cause them the most trouble. They may feel daunted at the upcoming stress of holiday parties, family gatherings, gift-giving, or holiday travel. Shorter days also mean less sun exposure, and vitamin D deficiency can easily contribute to seasonal depression symptoms.

Occasional Bouts Of Sadness

Sadness can arise from countless possible situations. The loss of a job, the death of a loved one, an injury, an argument with a spouse, and countless other possibilities may create occasional fits of sadness. This does not mean the person experiencing these feelings has clinical depression. Overcoming typical sadness simply takes time and self-care; the process is different for everyone. A person with actual depression cannot simply distract him or herself away from symptoms and hope they go away over time. Clinical depression occurs from a natural chemical imbalance in the brain that requires medication or intense therapy to manage.

Sadness vs. Depression

The average person has coping mechanisms for dealing with sadness. A person may try to distract him or herself with hobbies, social activity, sex, good food, or a number of other possibilities. For a person with clinical depression, most of these ideas aren’t even an option. It’s common for people with clinical depression to struggle to find the motivation to even complete basic tasks. Making a cup of coffee in the morning can feel like an insurmountable challenge. A person struggling with temporary sadness will still be able to find motivation to carry on with daily life.

This is part of the reason why substance abuse is such a major risk for people with clinical depression. Without appropriate treatment, a person with depression will invariably turn toward self-medication with alcohol or illicit drugs to overcome their negative feelings or simply to be able to function day to day.

Are You Depressed Or Just Sad For Now?

Clinical depression treatments generally involve psychotherapy and medication. Many antidepressant medications carry a significant risk of abuse, however. Additionally, some people may not want to use medication as they believe it simply creates “artificial happiness” and does nothing to address their root issues. However, proper application of antidepressants may help a person overcome the symptoms keeping them from honest self-reflection and may provide enough motivation to make serious changes in his or her outlook on life.

Finding Support And Avoiding Substance Abuse

People suffering from depression often feel as though they cannot voice their concerns to others because it simply makes them feel worse than they already feel. Coming out to friends and family about depression can trigger even greater feelings of failure and worthlessness, but this is a necessary step on the road to recovery. Additionally, talking about the symptoms of clinical depression can help people avoid substance abuse. One of the major driving factors behind addiction is isolation; a person who feels as though he or she has no one to turn to for support will cope however he or she can, most often involving drug use.

Join The Conversation And Find The Support You Need

Fight Addiction Now is a community of people who have experienced substance abuse firsthand. Many of our members have dealt with mental illnesses like depression and know how these conditions influence addiction treatment. Our community includes substance abuse treatment professionals and researchers, survivors, and the friends and family members who have seen addiction firsthand.

Reaching out for help is an incredibly difficult but crucial step in finding relief. Take our online quiz to see if you have any of the symptoms of clinical depression and think of ways you could contribute to the discussions in the Fight Addiction Now community.

Why Getting Off Your Ass Can Help Prevent Addiction Relapse

Why Getting Off Your Ass Can Help Prevent Addiction Relapse

Physical activity is an essential part of any healthy living plan, but exercise holds distinct benefits for people recovering from substance abuse. In some cases, physical activity is necessary to rehabilitate the body after severe drug abuse, but the benefits are clear and measurable for any patient. Getting off your ass is one of the best things you can do for yourself in recovery.

Exercise For A Healthier Future

Substance abuse takes a tremendous toll in the body and mind, and repairing that damage is a long and complex process. Physical activity improves the health of the body, which in turn improves the health of the mind. Learning new ways to exercise and stay fit can also provide the foundation for building better habits in recovery. Exposure to past triggers, stressors, and bad influences are the leading causes of relapse. Physical activity can not only provide a constructive outlet for handling cravings, but also limit the risk of exposure to potentially dangerous elements of one’s environment.

Exercise And Physical Therapy In Rehab

Prevent Addiction Relapse Many drug-addiction recovery centers offer a range of physical therapies and holistic treatments that offer relief from the physical effects of addiction, such as yoga, massage, and acupuncture. Exercise therapy is another way to combat the symptoms of withdrawal and empower a person throughout the recovery experience. Some addiction treatment programs include regular workouts to help their patients recover more fully, and these experiences can also influence life after rehab.

Exercise influences behavior in that it causes dopamine release*. Dopamine is the brain’s naturally occurring “reward” neurotransmitter that causes pleasurable feelings after meeting a need or performing a satisfying action. People inherently seek out behaviors that trigger dopamine releases.

Dopamine release is a major factor in addiction because using illicit drugs or alcohol can trigger a dopamine release, but the person will require more and more of the drug to achieve the desired effects over time. This dependency creates a pattern of addictive behavior that ultimately leads to full-blown addiction. If a person in recovery starts experiencing a craving to relapse, he or she may be able to offset this by exercising and triggering a natural dopamine release that satisfies the craving.

Exercise is a healthier alternative because it not only fosters a more natural and healthy dopamine cycle in the brain, but also requires the person to work for it. Achieving goals and building a structured life is a major facet of sober living after rehab. Exercise and physical activity should play a role in any person’s life after completing rehab, and there are countless possible ways to work physical activity into a regular routine.

Physical Activity After Rehab

The average person will likely experience several types of physical therapies and exercise-based treatments during rehab. Some people may find value in running or walking, while others discover they enjoy lifting weights or playing team-based sports. Carrying these experiences into life after rehab can be beneficial in more ways than just improved physical health.

A few ways a person fresh out of rehab can incorporate physical activity into everyday life in recovery include:

  • Exploring activities learned in rehab to a deeper level. For example, if you enjoyed yoga sessions in rehab, consider joining a weekly yoga class.
  • Learning a new skill. If you have ever considered learning a new skill such as a martial art, archery, or rock climbing, making time to enjoy these activities on a weekly basis provides structure, goals, and a sense of achievement, along with physical benefits.
  • Daily exercise. Some people may not be physically able to go to the gym every day or run for miles on end, but there are many ways to incorporate exercise into a daily routine. Walking or jogging for as little as 20 or 30 minutes a day can help a person feel balanced for work and other obligations throughout the day.
  • Team sports. Joining a local team or sports club can offer structure and group support in recovery. You’ll get regular physical exercise, while also achieving goals and participating in healthy competition.

Building Better Habits While Living Sober

Nutrition and diet play major roles in the rehab process, but they are also important considerations for life after rehab. Fast foods, processed foods, and sugary foods can all cause physiological changes that can trigger an addiction relapse. For example, many addiction recovery programs recommend avoiding caffeine and all refined sugars because these substances can have habit-forming qualities and cause a “crash” that triggers withdrawal symptoms in a person recovering from substance abuse.

Healthy foods are more accessible than many people think. Shopping, buying, and preparing fresh foods may seem like more work, but this is ultimately a good thing for a person who just finished rehab. Prior to recovery, he or she may have simply eaten fast food or only eaten when absolutely necessary while in the grips of a severe drug addiction. Creating a new routine of procuring healthy foods and eating better in general offers much-needed structure in recovery. Building a physical activity routine around a better diet offers even more opportunities to make healthier choices and stay on track with sobriety.

Preventing Relapses

It is not realistic to expect to return to your life exactly how it was before rehab and avoid a relapse. Stress can easily trigger an alcohol relapse. Visiting familiar friends and places may tempt a drug relapse. There are countless possible variables in your old environment that could trigger a relapse, and it’s essential to remove dangerous influences from your life and develop a new routine that encourages sobriety.

Learning Healthy New Coping Strategies

A major part of relapse prevention is stress management, and everyone has different coping strategies to manage periods of acute stress. In recovery, these stressors are even more dangerous than usual. Rehab can teach a person new coping methods, but it is ultimately up to him or her to put them into practice. This is much easier with a healthy body. Fatigue, blood pressure changes, sleep problems, and many other factors can cause cravings to relapse. These issues are far less frequent when you make exercise and physical activity a part of your regular routine.

If you are concerned about the expense of joining a gym or fitness club, there are many low-cost options for physical activity. Look for a safe running route near your home or develop a callisthenic routine you can do each morning. Eventually, you will find new opportunities to enjoy regular physical activity.

Join The Conversation With Fight Addiction Now

Fight Addiction Now is a wide network of other people struggling with addiction, people living sober for months or years, substance abuse treatment professionals, advocates, and loved ones of people who have struggled with addiction. We invite our readers to take part in conversations about relapse prevention and share their stories and advice with others.

Preventing Relapses With Community Support

The Fight Addiction Now community can offer advice for adding workouts to your daily or weekly routine and provide support and encouragement after rehab. Returning to “the real world” after rehab is incredibly stressful without support, and some people may not have anyone nearby to depend on when cravings strike or relapse triggers appear. Some people may relocate after rehab to avoid bad environments and bad influences.

The Fight Addiction Now community offers support to anyone who needs it regardless of where they live. Visit us online to learn more about relapse prevention after rehab and think of ways you can join the conversation.

Does Gaming Addiction Increase the Risk of Drug Relapse?

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Does Gaming Addiction Increase the Risk of Drug Relapse - Fight Addiction Now

Video games have become one of the most popular entertainment mediums on the planet over the past few decades*. In 2017 alone, Americans spent more than $36 billion on video game products and more than 60 percent of U.S. households have at least one video game system. Games used to only appeal to a niche crowd, but significant leaps in technology allow modern developers to create realistic worlds on an unbelievable scale, which interest a broader range of players.

It can be very easy to feel “sucked in” to some of the environments and worlds created by modern game developers, and video games are capable of causing physical and psychological problems when players become fixated and neglect real-world responsibilities. Anyone in rehab or returning to everyday life after rehab may find video games a great way to relax, but it’s important to acknowledge their potentially addictive properties.

Understanding Video Game Addiction

Video game addiction isn’t physically addictive like most habit-forming substances, but developing a psychological attachment to games can be damaging. Video game addiction typically entails neglecting responsibilities to play games, spending inordinate amounts of money on gaming, and even neglecting physical health to play more. Some people only sleep a few hours each night to get more game time into their schedules, and some players have lost their life savings due to video game addiction.

Links To Substance Abuse

Gaming drug relapse dangers - Fight Addiction NowVideo games have many good aspects that can turn detrimental in some circumstances. Ultimately, if a person leaves rehab and starts using video games as a distraction, he or she may eventually develop a stress-inducing fixation.

It’s vital to avoid replacing one addiction for another in recovery. Video gaming can’t become an addiction per se, but it can easily lead to compulsive behavioral patterns similar to sex addiction or exercise addiction**. Some of the behaviors that resonate with addiction that video games can create include:

  • Preoccupation. Just like a person with a substance abuse problem may be preoccupied with thoughts about using again, video games can lead to fixation that persists throughout daily life and may even interfere with everyday responsibilities, such as work.
  • Tolerance. Someone with a compulsive gaming disorder or who replaces substance abuse with video games may start seeking out more complex, challenging, or expensive games.
  • Withdrawal. A person with a compulsive gaming habit may feel restless or agitated when he or she cannot play games.
  • Inability to reduce. Someone who plays video games too much may start to feel as though he or she should reduce the amount of time spent playing, but be unable to do so.
  • Deception. A person may recognize his or her gaming fixation and lie to others about the time or money spent on video games.
  • Continuation despite negative impact. A person who continues playing video games after suffering negative consequences from gaming addiction likely has a compulsive gaming disorder.

These are just a few ways that demonstrate how video games may become an unintentional replacement for substance abuse. A person in recovery may turn to games as a distraction from cravings and then start to replace the rush of using drugs with the rush from playing games. Playing games triggers dopamine release*** similar to drug use, so creating the same type of cycle of dependency can be very dangerous. On the flip side, games can also be a constructive outlet that allows people in recovery to handle stress in a healthy way. The key is balance.

Different Types Of Games Have Different Effects

Gaming drug relapse dangers - Fight Addiction Now

Video game addiction may eventually cause withdrawal symptoms that push a person in recovery back into substance abuse. There is a vast amount of research indicating very positive effects of playing video games, such as increased neuroplasticity and activating parts of the brain that govern spatial memory, visual acuity, and attention. Video games could potentially become a valuable part of treatment and offer a healthy outlet that helps a person overcome urges to use drugs or alcohol again. It’s important for each individual to find games that are suitable and interesting, but to play them in moderation.

Different types of games require different skills, and there is a wide selection of titles, genres, and formats for playing games. Different types of games also carry different positive and negative possibilities, including:

  • Adventure games such as World of Warcraft and The Witcher. These games allow players to explore expansive fantasy worlds and do things they cannot do in real life. These games can offer stress-free relaxation to some, but other players may become fixated on uncovering hidden areas of a game world, finding in-game collectibles, or character progression. These games can also be incredibly time consuming, so a person may start to neglect real-world responsibilities to make progress in a fantasy world.
  • Puzzle games such as Candy Crush and Words With Friends can help keep the mind sharp and are available on smartphone devices, which can make it easy for a person to neglect real-world responsibilities when he or she is glued to the smartphone. These games typically also push micro-transactions which could lead to unhealthy spending habits.
  • Shooter games, such as Counter Strike and Halo require great hand-eye coordination and twitch reflexes. They offer the thrill of outplaying another player, but they can cause stress when players focus too much on winning rather than having fun.
  • Team-based games such as League of Legends and Overwatch offer a great environment to play with others toward common goals, but the communities of these games are notoriously toxic and random players often go out of their way to ruin games for others. This can lead to frustration and stress for players who just want to enjoy the game.

These are just a few examples of the potential benefits and drawbacks of different types of games for people in recovery. Cultivating new hobbies, making new friends, and building a larger support network are all important steps to living sober after rehab, and video games can potentially help or harm these efforts.

Cultivating New Hobbies and Support Networks

Video games certainly carry a potential to cause compulsive behaviors, especially in people who have struggled with substance abuse in the past and may be prone to replacing one addiction for another. It’s crucial for people living in recovery after rehab to make mindful choices about their lifestyles. If video games play a role in a person’s life, there is nothing inherently wrong or unhealthy about this unless the person starts neglecting self-care or real-world responsibilities for games.

Take Part in the Conversation on Fight Addiction Now

The Fight Addiction Now community includes professionals, researchers, and other ordinary people who have experienced substance abuse firsthand, either personally or through a loved one with an addiction. If you have had positive or negative experiences with video games post-rehab, we invite you to share your experiences with others in the Fight Addiction Now community.