Tag Archives: Alcohol

Stages of Addiction

Stages of Addiction - Fight Addiction Now

Stages of Addiction

In 2017, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that 1 in 12 American adults suffer from a Substance Use Disorder (SUD). So what are SUDs and how does someone go from experimental use to a full blown addiction? While everyone may have a different story, the causes and stages of addiction can be generally categorized into a few recognizable steps. Being able to identify the steps can be crucial in preventing SUDs.

What is a Substance Use Disorder (SUD)?

Drug addiction or medically known as SUD, is a disease where an individual is unable to control their desire to use legal or illegal drugs. Drugs are anything that has a physiological effect when introduced to the body (such as snorting, drinking, smoking, etc). Some common drugs include alcohol, nicotine and marijuana.

Stage 1: Experimentation

Most addictions start with experimentation. It is not unusual to see experimentation occur early on in someone’s life. While it may not directly lead to an addiction, it does open the door for future use. According to a 2013 survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 3.841 million people tried alcohol for the first time between the ages of 12-20 years old. Experimentation may occur for a variety of reasons such as:

  • Peer pressure
  • Pure curiosity
  • Availability of drugs (opportunity)
  • Mental health issues

Most people who experiment with drugs are looking for the social benefits they have heard about, whether it is because a friend recommended it or media and culture presents it as a positive experience. For example, alcohol is prevalent in media and most cultures around the world. People usually view it as a fun substance that takes the edge off in social situations. Many teens and young adults likely see no harm in trying a few drinks. A lot of media depicts alcohol use while rarely showing consequences. You could even binge drink and still technically not move past the experimentation phase as college students and party goers will typically binge drink at parties and social atmospheres. 

Fight Addiction Now - Stages of Addiction

At this stage, there are no cravings and the desire to continue use may not even appear with some drugs. However, the possibility remains that further experimentation with other drugs occur. With certain substances, like alcohol impairing judgment, people are more open to risk. This is likely why a great number of people are open to trying other various substances. That is not to say alcohol use alone absolutely leads to experimentation or addiction to other substances. Simply it is a potential factor.

Stages of Addiction - Fight Addiction Now

Stage 2: Regular Use

At this stage, individuals will incorporate a drug into their daily routine whether they are aware of it or not. Everyday use may not occur but there is a pattern to your use. Even if it becomes a weekend-use drug or it is purely circumstantial (ex. you use it when you’re stressed or bored), it is still considered regular use. 

You may not be fully addicted at this point but it is possible for regular use to lead to addiction. 

Stage 3: Problem/Risky Use

With risky use, the drug has now become a negative influence in your life. It is possible this is because you are missing school or work or engaging in dangerous behavior such as driving under the influence. Your relationships begin to deteriorate and your behavior begins to change for the worse.

Stages of Addiction - Fight Addiction Now

Stage 4: Substance Use Disorder/Addiction

SUD is a chronic disease which means it is slow to develop and may be hard to notice at first. You begin to have desires and crave the drug and feel as if you cannot function without it. Depending on the drug, you will develop a tolerance which means you will not be able to use the same amount every time as the ‘high’ you experience decrease. This will cause you to use higher doses in order to achieve the desired feeling. Unfortunately, the risk of overdosing increases once you develop a tolerance because you will be chasing that first high experience. 

Psychological dependence will fully develop at this stage because you feel as if you cannot function or be happy unless you take the drug. Physical dependence will also develop at this stage in the form of withdrawals.

Criteria for SUDs

The American Psychological Association (APA) recently updated its manual on SUD diagnosis (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders- DSM-5) to help better understand what is medically considered as an addiction. It is divided into 3 categories with a list of traits which determine which category an individual would be considered under. 

Those who meet:

  • 2-3 criteria are considered to have a mild disorder
  • 4-5 criteria are considered to have a moderate disorder
  • 6+ criteria are considered to have a severe disorder

Some of the criteria includes:

  1. The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful effort to cut down or control use of the substance.
  3. Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use the substance, occurs.
  4. Continual use of substance results in issues with significant obligations in work, school or home
  5. Use of the substance continues despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of its use.

More information is available in the APA DSM-5 guide. Knowing the criteria and the stages of addiction are helpful in recognizing one’s own problems or their loved one’s potential issues.

What causes addiction?

Addiction is often confusing at first glance because it is hard to wrap your mind around why you have desires to do things that you know are not good for you. It comes down to the chemistry of your brain. Our brain contains a chemical known as dopamine. Dopamine is known as the ‘feel good’ chemical. It releases in our body when we do things that are pleasurable such as eating, drinking or having sex. In our primitive days, it is what would motivate us to hunt, gather and produce offspring.

Drugs such as alcohol promote the release of dopamine in the body. Dopamine is responsible for a feeling of euphoria commonly associated with drug use. Our desire to feel a sense of euphoria or feel good in general will cause us to replicate or continue those actions which produce it- such as drinking alcohol. As our bodies develop a tolerance to a drug, our desire to chase that dopamine high will encourage the use of higher doses.

Treatment

The stages of addiction are not universal, nor are they complete for every individual’s experience. Nonetheless, knowing the stages of addiction is helpful for many people to be wary of substance use and abuse. Treatment for SUDs can be challenging but it is most certainly possible. The very nature of addiction means that relapse is not only possible, but likely. It is important for treatment to include a plan to prevent and manage relapse.

Completely curing an addiction takes time and dedication as well as a very fundamental change in the behavior of the individual. Addiction to multiple substances does make treatment more challenging. That is why it is more important than anything to find a competent treatment center equipped to handle all of your needs. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today.

 

Resources:

The National Council – SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health

SAMHSA – 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health

National Institute on Drug Abuse – The Science of Drug Use and Addiction

LSD and Alcohol

LSD and Alcohol

LSD and Alcohol

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD or Acid) is a hallucinogenic drug which is derived from the Ergot fungus. Acid is listed as a schedule 1 controlled substance by the DEA which means it has no medically accepted uses and has a high potential for abuse. Acid is available on the street in various forms. It comes in a liquid state, which makes it easy to dissolve into other substances such as sugar cubes or papers where the user would just have to place the lsd-soaked item in their mouth and wait for it to kick in. 

Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Despite this categorization, it does have stimulating effects. Alcohol’s stimulating effects are why most people drink. For some, drinking helps them ‘loosen up’ or calm down which can be a highly desirable effect. In high quantities, alcohol exhibits stronger depressive effects such as slowed breathing, slowed brain function and impaired decision making. 

While a lot of research is still needed on what happens when you mix lsd and alcohol, we can better understand the risks by looking at how the drugs work independently.

What is LSD and what does it do to you?

LSD is an extremely potent hallucinogenic drug. The effects of LSD, commonly referred to as a ‘trip’, vary from person to person but generally, users can expect to experience some of the following:

  • Visual effects: vivid colors, distorted shapes, hallucinations
  • Psychological effects: mood swings, anxiety, confusion, dreaminess, euphoria, bliss

LSD and Alcohol

LSD distorts your perception of reality which is the main reason people use LSD. Some believe that it helps them see the real world around them or see things in a different way. However, some users have experienced a ‘bad trip’ where they would experience very negative and sometimes frightening episodes. LSD is a very individualized experience but it’s possible for anyone to experience a bad trip – even regular users. Bad trips can also lead to Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) where a user never really comes out of a trip. This is not the same thing as having acid flashbacks, rather it is a more persistent disturbance. HPPD causes the user to only experience the visual hallucinations of a previous trip and not the other effects.

LSD and Alcohol

How long does LSD last?

Typically, you will experience the effects 20 to 90 minutes after ingesting the drug and the trip will likely last no more than 12 hours- however some users have reported trips lasting nearly a day. This also varies depending on your physical composition and dosage taken. LSD molecules bind to serotonin receptors in the brain harder than the serotonin itself. This is what causes the lengthened experience.

How long does LSD stay in your system?

LSD has a relatively short half-life, which is the amount of time it takes for the drug to reduce to half its ingested concentration in the body. While body composition and usage habits play a role in the duration of effects, you can generally expect LSD to be detectable in

  • Urine for up to 8 hours after ingestion
  • Blood for up to 6-12 hours after ingestion
  • Hair for up to 3 months

The chemicals in LSD may not last very long in the body, but the psychological effects can be long term and can even last years.

Is LSD addictive?

There is a lack of definitive research. Some sources cites it as addictive and others do not. However, some users of LSD may develop a psychological dependence. Also, the effect of the drug lasts longer than most others which reduces the need to purchase as frequently and your LSD tolerance develops after the first use which can diminish the effects of the drug during repeated use. t’s possible someone will increase dosage because of this, which increases the potential for risky behavior. That includes increased consumption of other substances that might be addictive.

Can you overdose on LSD?

There have been no reports of overdosing on the chemical LSD. However, with higher doses comes stronger trips. At a certain point, LSD can cause you to lose touch with reality and essentially feel as if nothing is real. This can lead to extremely dangerous behavior such as self-harm or suicide. While some deaths occur due to behavioral effects from LSD, the substance itself is not known to cause overdose. Further, with impaired judgment the potential for consumption of other dangerous substances is possible. These substances can cause overdose or might be cut with a more dangerous substance like fentanyl.

What happens when you mix LSD and alcohol?

As we mentioned, LSD is a highly individualized experience which makes it even more difficult to predict what would happen when throwing alcohol into the mix. Some studies suggest that alcohol will enhance the effects of LSD but there is no definitive evidence to suggest that. Given that LSD can cause you to lose touch with reality which can lead to dangerous behavior, mixing alcohol (another substance which is known for impairing judgement) should be avoided. With increased dosages, the risk of each substance increases substantially.

Alcohol is a CNS depressant and with enough consumption this results in suppressed breathing that is also known as respiratory depression. Someone consuming LSD might likely fail to recognize when they have consumed too much alcohol. They likely will also fail to recognize serious symptoms like respiratory depression. This often leads to the appearance that someone is sleeping. Often it’s then missed that they are possibly falling into a coma, overdosing or potentially dying. 

Mixing substances heightens the negative affects. With LSD, it’s possible to eventually experience confusion, a fast or irregular heartbeat, or vomiting among other negative side effects. Alcohol often causes similar effects. Mixing LSD and alcohol might heighten these effects leading to a number of negative health effects or irrational or unsafe behavior.

Treatment

LSD does have the potential to be psychologically addictive but recovery is possible with the right help. Alcohol is highly addictive and one of the few substances where withdrawal can be fatal. Even without addiction, abuse of LSD and alcohol is potentially incredibly dangerous. If you or a loved one is struggling with abuse or addiction to LSD or alcohol, please contact us today.

Resources:

DEA – Drug Scheduling

NIH – Hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder

Psycho-pharmacology – Gross behavioural changes in monkeys following administration of LSD-25, and development of tolerance to LSD-25

NIH – My Friend Said it was Good LSD

 

Tramadol and Alcohol

Tramadol-and-Alcohol

 

What is tramadol?

Tramadol is an opioid pain killer which is used to treat mild to moderate pain in individuals. It is considerably weaker than most common opioids such as heroin or morphine and therefore is often used with patients who suffer from a strong dependency as a means to taper their addiction. Pharmaceutical companies sell it under several brand names such as Ultram, Ultram ER and Ultracet. 

What is alcohol?

While most people probably understand what alcohol is, it is still important to understand the effects it has on your body. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant which slows brain function. However in low doses, alcohol is considered a stimulant. A few drinks typically allow people to ‘loosen up’ by elevating mood and can make people feel good. However, in higher doses, it demonstrates depressive traits such as slowed breathing, heart rate and cognitive function. An individual’s reaction to alcohol really depends on their drinking history and body composition. Generally, those who have a higher body mass will be less affected by alcohol and vice versa.

Mixing tramadol and alcohol:

Tramadol and alcohol are both central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Depressants slow brain and nerve activity which causes a feeling of relaxation. The major issue with combining two CNS depressants is that they collectively enhance the effects of the other drug. In essence, the alcohol will make the tramadol more potent and vice versa. This combined synergistic effect can slow brain and muscle function drastically, ultimately causing breathing to slow down or completely stop. Slowed breathing is bad for obvious reasons, but it can also cause permanent organ damage to areas such as the brain as it won’t receive the oxygen it needs, putting it into a hypoxic state

Further, the extended release form of tramadol (Ultram ER) contains a higher dose of tramadol. This design works to release into the body over a longer period of time. It’s primarily prescribed to individuals who are dealing with chronic, moderate to severe pain and those who need long term consistent relief. However, mixing it with alcohol may cause the extended-release mechanism of the drug to fail, therefore releasing the full dosage of the drug at a faster than intended pace. Furthermore, the higher dosage entering the body can cause an overdose and potentially death.

Ultracet is a combination of tramadol and acetaminophen. As previously explained, taking tramadol with alcohol is a bad idea in the first place but adding acetaminophen can further increase the risk of bodily harm. The liver processes acetaminophen and alcohol and it’s possible for the combination to cause severe liver damage. While the actual dosage of acetaminophen present in Ultracet is significantly lower than the max recommended daily dosage, it’s still an additional factor which can further the damaging effects and uncertainty of mixing tramadol and alcohol and therefore should be avoided. 

How long does tramadol stay in your system?

Tramadol has a half life of around 6 hours. In other words, it will typically take around 6 hours for the drug to reduce to half of its consumed dosage. Keep in mind, this is heavily dependent on body composition and can also vary if you took an extended release form. While you can expect the full effects of normal tramadol to wear off after 12 hours, the drug will likely still be detectable via urine, hair, blood or saliva tests. It’s possible, of course, for this to vary by person based on factors unique to them.

It’s possible to detect Tramadol in:

  • Urine for up to 2-40 hours
  • Blood for up to 12-24 hours
  • Saliva for up to 48 hours
  • Hair follicles for up to 90 days                                                                                                                Tramadol

How long does alcohol stay in your system?

 

A fully functioning, healthy liver can typically process one drink per hour. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one drink is defined as:Tramadol-and-Alcohol

  • 12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content)
  • 8-ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content)
  • 5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content)
  • 1.5-ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor 

However, this is heavily dependent on body composition. Furthermore, with alcohol it’s possible to detect via urine, hair, or blood tests for much longer. Each individual is unique and this will vary.


Alcohol can be detected in:

  • Blood for up to 24 hours
  • Urine for up to 80 hours 
  • Hair follicles for up to 3 months

Treatment

Tramadol and alcohol are highly addictive substances. There is significant danger in mixing them. For anyone with a prescription, it is important to discuss how tramadol interacts with any substance. Abuse of any drug can cause serious health problems. If you or a loved one needs help, please reach out today. 

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.

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.

What Does Alcohol Withdrawal Feel Like? Real Alcohol Withdrawal Stories

What Does Alcohol Withdrawal Feel Like? Real Alcohol Withdrawal Stories

Fear of alcohol withdrawals is what keeps many from stopping drinking, and this fear often keeps alcoholics and those with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) from recovering from alcohol dependence. Why does this fear keep people from quitting alcohol, even when they realize that alcohol brings them nothing but heartache and want to quit?

To answer this, you need to understand what alcohol withdrawals feel like.

What Alcohol Withdrawal Nausea Feels Like

If you have ever had a bad hangover that causes you to throw up and feel nauseous, you know that it is similar to the feeling you get with a bad case of the flu or mild food poisoning, and yet is very different. The nauseous feeling you get with alcohol withdrawal seems to come from your spine, rather than your stomach, and is accompanied by an acidic feeling that spreads down the spine and seems to tickle the nerves in your extremities.

While most cases of nausea in alcohol withdrawals are usually fairly mild, some alcoholics – especially those that have underlying medical conditions or have damaged their gastrointestinal tract – suffer from severe and constant nausea during withdrawal.

What Alcohol Withdrawal Hallucinations Feels Like

Alcohol withdrawal hallucinations are a sign that you are suffering from more than acute withdrawal, and could be entering the delirium tremens (DTs) phase of withdrawal. If you are suffering from DTs, it is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. At this point, medical detox needs to intervene and treat the conditions medically to decrease the hallucinations and risk for seizures.

Those that do suffer from alcohol withdrawal hallucinations will find that it is not the type of hallucinations caused by hallucinogenic drugs, rather it is more tactile and auditory (feeling and hearing). You have heard the stories of people with alcohol withdrawal feeling bugs crawling on their skin – actually, this is just the mind trying to come up with an explanation for why it is feeling itching, pain and numbness, and pins and needles across the skin. While there are not bugs crawling on your skin, the brain makes you believe this because it is the easiest answer to process at a time when confusion is causing the brain and body to go haywire.

This is what hallucinations feel like from alcohol withdrawal. Confusion. Auditory hallucinations are more common than sensory or auditory hallucinations, and these hallucinations are more of your mind trying to make sense of your racing thoughts. The brain – in its state of confusion – can disembody the voice in your head, and make it feel like this “voice” is being heard, rather than thought of. Again, this is just confusion. There really aren’t voices, your brain is just incorrectly processing your interior monologue and actual sounds you hear.

What Alcohol Withdrawal Headaches Feels Like

A very bad and persistent headache, almost bordering on a migraine, is the best way to describe alcohol withdrawal headaches. These headaches usually aren’t severe, in the sense that the pain is unbearable, but it is the fact that they continue for long periods of time that make them so unbearable. The fact that these headaches are happening at the worst possible time – when you are already feeling anxiety and other symptoms of alcohol withdrawal – makes you perceive the headaches as being even worse.

These headaches can be centered anywhere, behind the eyes, at the base of the neck, near the sinuses, or the frontal lobe. They can feel like stress or tension headaches, and are almost indiscernible from regular everyday headaches. Again, the persistence of these headaches is what really make this symptom bad, with headaches lasting days or weeks in some people.

Others find that the headaches come in waves, building in intensity for a few days before subsiding for weeks. It is not uncommon for headaches to accompany post-acute withdrawal syndrome, and can resurface 6 months or a year after quitting. Eventually, these headaches will go away completely.

Acute Alcohol Withdrawal: Paroxysmal Sweats

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat? Maybe it happened after drinking way too much earlier that night? Imagine getting a sudden attack of cold sweats, where you feel a chill throughout your body, but sweat begins pouring profusely across your skin. Called, “paroxysmal sweats,” sudden attacks of alternating cold and hot sweats are common in acute alcohol withdrawal.

You’ll know them when they hit, and they usually wash over you in waves – much like what happens when you have the flu. It is common to feel paroxysmal sweats in conjunction with waves of tremors – also an indicative sign of acute alcohol withdrawal.

Real Alcohol Withdrawal Stories

Communication between peers is a powerful way that people can help each other with even the most challenging of life’s responsibilities. Peer support groups have long been used in alcohol recovery, because it is one thing to go through the struggle of fighting addiction by yourself, but hearing another person’s stories of how they went through a similar situation can brighten your outlook on your own situation.

With alcohol addiction and withdrawal, hearing another recovering alcoholic’s stories of recovery can help you to make sense of your own struggle. We asked several people recovering from alcohol use disorders about their experiences with alcohol various withdrawal symptoms:

Alcohol Withdrawal Shakes

Alcohol Poisoning Deaths Per Age Group Infographic“My hands had been shaky for years, and it got worse the longer I drank. I thought that is what people meant when the talked about ‘alcohol shakes.’ It wasn’t until I tried quitting alcohol completely on my own that I found out what they [alcohol shakes] really were. My neck felt like it couldn’t support my neck, and kept dropping. My muscles would shake and twitch just trying to hold the weight of my own head. If I tried to stand up, the rest of the muscles in my body would twitch the same way. So, I just laid there on the couch for hours.”

“I don’t know why I thought soup would help me with the horrendous hangover I had. I microwaved myself some soup and tried to sip the broth, but my hand wouldn’t work. I couldn’t even hold a spoon. I always drank way too much in a single night, sometimes 12-16 beers in just a few hours. I guess I was a binge drinker, but never really considered myself an alcoholic or even that I had a drinking problem, because I could easily go a week or more without drinking. Seeing my hand shake and spill orange beef broth down my chin was the first time I considered that I might have done some real neurological damage to myself.”

Alcohol Withdrawal Anxiety

“The anxiety you get with alcohol withdrawals isn’t like any other type of anxiety I have ever felt. What I used to call a high anxiety day, can’t even compare to the level of anxiety I felt during alcohol withdrawal. It was like my body reached a point of anxiety way above what I thought was possible. I am 2 years sober now. I don’t want to ever feel anxiety that bad again.”

“I had been drinking at least one beer a day for over 10 years, but more like 8-10. I was actually able to taper down myself, without alcohol detox. It took me over a month to get down to 1 beer per day, and I was feeling so good, I figured I was ready to just stop drinking and go to zero drinks. I was ok for about a week and a half; what I would say was 6 on a 1-10 scale of anxiety. I knew that alcohol withdrawals usually are over with after 3 days, so I figured I was through the worst of it. Then, bam I felt my heart quiver and I got dizzy and felt like I was going to black out. My wife called the ambulance, because I told her I thought I was having a heart attack. It wasn’t a heart attack, it was a panic attack and heart palpitations from alcohol withdrawal.”

Alcohol Withdrawal Nightmares

“I actually didn’t go through a lot of withdrawal symptoms. Sure, I had some anxiety and didn’t feel great for about 2 weeks, but I got through alcohol detox easily, thanks to the medications they gave me. About a week after I finished detox, I wasn’t sleeping too well. It would take me forever to fall asleep, and when I finally did fall asleep, it would only last a few hours before I would snap back awake, full of energy. One of the times, I was having a dream about having to do something very difficult over and over again. I can’t remember the exact details of the dream, I just remember that the thought of doing something over and over again terrified me. I snapped back away after this dream, and it felt like something in me had popped, and I felt my body relax. After that, my sleep problems weren’t as bad and I started being able to fall asleep easier.”

Share Your Alcohol Withdrawal Stories

Human beings have the amazing power to make others feel better simply by talking and sharing stories, communicating, and understanding. When it comes to alcohol withdrawal, we know it is not going to be fun, but if you truly want to be free from alcohol controlling your life, you have to dig in and get through the first and most difficult part, detoxing from alcohol.

Those that have already gone through alcohol detox, and have followed through with their recover, can help others that are just beginning their journey into sobriety, offering your own insights into alcohol withdrawal. Share your story with others, and let them know that quitting is the right choice, alcohol detox can help to make the withdrawal symptoms easier to get through, and that a better life is waiting for them, after they get through the first and roughest patch.

Add Your Story on the Fight Addiction Now Forum:

Alcohol Withdrawal Stories

Adderall and Alcohol Abuse: The Smart Drug Combination of Choice?

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Adderall and Alcohol Abuse: The Smart Drug Combination of Choice?

There is prevalence in the use of prescription drugs among high school and college students observed in the last 10 years across the United States. Adderall is one of the legal drugs that is continuously gaining notoriety in college campuses and even in the workplace. Referred to as “study drug” or “smart drug”, young people are using it for non-medical purposes to help them focus and stay awake when studying or doing work, largely increasing their productivity, if not creativity.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is a stimulant that targets the central nervous system, and primarily designed for the treatment of attention deficit disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, which is a severe type of sleep disorder. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies Adderall as a Schedule II drug which basically means that this is highly controlled drug but can be prescribed by a physician for medical purposes. Though the drug has useful medical functions, misusing or abusing it can lead to dependence.

What Is Alcohol?

Alcohol is a depressant that also targets the central nervous system. Where Adderall, a stimulant, increases the function of the excitatory neurotransmitters in the brain whereas alcohol inhibits the N-methyl-D-aspartate excitatory neurotransmitter, and increases the inhibitory neurotransmitters. According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Alcohol is the most abused substance across the United States.

Mixing Adderall and Alcohol

Basic instructions when taking prescription medication include not taking alcohol when using prescription medication, or vice-versa. In short, mixing Adderall and alcohol is not advised.

A significant dose of Adderall will weaken the effects of alcohol. In combination with Adderall, people will be able to delay the groggy, sleepy, and depressing effect of alcohol. This means that a person under the influence of an Adderall-alcohol combo will have more time to do activities and a long time before passing out due to alcohol effect. The combination of Adderall and alcohol leads to:

  • Decreasing the effects of alcohol
  • Feeling of euphoria and excitement
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Increased level of alertness
  • Loss of appetite
  • insomnia

College students tend to abuse Adderall if they wish to study with improved concentration for a longer period of time. To counter the effects of Adderall such as hyperactivity and restlessness, alcohol is taken. The combo is also a party drug as taking Adderall with alcohol will counteract the effects of alcohol, allowing them to party longer, and drink huge amounts of alcoholic beverages without getting drunk.

Adderall and Alcohol Abuse: The Smart Drug Combination of Choice?

Dangers Of Adderall and Alcohol Combo

Adderall as stimulant blocks the depressant effects of alcohol. It is highly probable that people will overdose on alcohol, leading to alcohol poisoning due to the stimulant canceling the inebriating effect of alcohol. The negative effects of both substances are enhanced – issues with nausea and vomiting could lead to dehydration. Palpitations, headaches, insomnia and weight loss are other adverse physical effects.

A person under the influence of both substances is more likely to have issues with rational thinking and impaired judgment. He becomes more aggressive, has less motor coordination and visual perception, and have fewer inhibitions that could prompt him to take life-threatening risks. Short and long-term psychological effects include anxiety, paranoia, psychotic episodes and depression.

One of the effects of Adderall and alcohol abuse is stress on the cardiovascular system. Long-term effects of Adderall abuse include increased potential for developing stroke and cardiovascular disease as well as a neurological disorder, cognitive problems and damage to the central nervous system. The “study drug” may actually lead a person abusing it to have problems with learning, memory retention, and concentration. He might lose the skill to solve complicated problems, deal with apathy and exhibit depression that could lead to psychosis.

Recent studies indicate that individuals who abuse Adderall or Adderall combined with alcohol tend to have lower grades, as well as insignificant academic and professional achievements. In reality, Adderall does not enhance the cognitive abilities of users.

Who Uses Adderall

Today’s millennials seem to be the first batch of Americans prescribed stimulants during childhood and adolescence to medically address ADD (attention deficit disorder) or ADHD. Studies indicate that men, ages 15 to 30 are the most gullible in abusing these drugs.

For some of them, the urge to continue using this drug as is, or in combination with alcohol continues even after graduation from secondary level. Most millennials are now in the workplace, bringing their prescription stimulants as job-performance enhancers.

A recently published article presented that workers in the fields of business, technology, finance, arts and other lines of work are using stimulants such as Adderall, Concerta, and Ritalin to keep up with work and gain some advantage in their fields. It is no surprise that a good number of the working force use stimulants as a 2015 survey indicated that one in six tertiary level students misuse or abuse prescription stimulants for enhancing school performance. For them, the use of Adderall is a “successful” work habit and therefore merits continuous use after college.

There is still no dependable data that quantifies the use of stimulants in the workplace. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is looking into this new drug trend. A study concerning 11 million Americans in the workplace indicated that an alarming number tested positive for illegal substances, with amphetamines from Adderall and Ritalin coming in close second to marijuana as the most common drug detected. In relation, about 5 million adults (26 to 34 years old) have legitimate prescriptions for ADHD, and this definitely affects the number of adults in the workplace using drugs.

The use of prescription stimulants is seen in professions where the bulk of employees are in their 20s. Taking Adderall becomes a necessity for them to perform well in their tasks and get ahead of the game so to speak. If a potential workplace competitor is using Adderall to his advantage, others might be forced to take the stimulant too in order to even out the playing field.

Adderall Dependency

Adderall is addictive. Users rationalize that they only use the drug on a per case basis as a performance-enhancing drug. But when one uses Adderall because of “need” and not by “choice”, then there is a problem.

Addiction to amphetamines is a process. One does not get addicted to the drug by using it on occasions. But when misuse becomes dependence, denial on the part of the user is so compelling as he himself believes that he has it under control.

Adderall addiction symptoms include:

  • Inability to complete tasks without taking Adderall
  • A higher dose is needed for peak effect
  • Inability to stay alert and focused without taking Adderall
  • Use of Adderall in spite of knowing that doing so is harmful

In effect, Adderall is not only addictive, but drug detoxification is possible.  Misuse of this stimulant also complicates alcohol detoxification as it intensifies withdrawal symptoms of alcohol dependence. Substance abuse and dependency are treatable but you should always choose medically supervised alcohol detoxification more so if other drugs such as Adderall is involved.

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The Links Between Alcohol, Anxiety, Depression, And Antidepressants

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Alcohol, Depression and Antidepressants

Many people who struggle with substance abuse disorders also experience mental health issues. Some people may have a natural imbalance while others develop these issues over time. In either situation, alcohol or other illicit drugs will not help. Some people fall into the trap of self-medicating with a drug of choice to allay the symptoms of anxiety, depression, or another mental health issue, but the reality is that treating these problems with alcohol or other substances only makes the problem worse.

Dangers Of Self-Medication

Self-medication is an unfortunately widespread practice. One of the most common examples of self-medication is high-functioning alcoholism. This term describes an individual who manages to keep a relatively normal life while nourishing an alcohol problem. For example, a person in a high-stress job may unwind with a drink every day after work. Over time, one drink can become two drinks or more until the person has a full-blown alcohol addiction. Alcohol was once a coping mechanism and is now a very serious threat to the individual’s health and well-being. If the person used alcohol to cope with stress, an advanced alcohol problem will only make work more challenging.

The Alcohol-Anxiety Cycle

Alcohol and anxiety have a very complex relationship. Although the immediate effects of alcohol can include relaxation, a release of inhibitions, and greater social inclination, these effects aren’t a viable treatment for an anxiety disorder. Alcohol worsens anxiety in many ways. For example, the stress of waking up hungover coupled with anxiety can make the next day after a binge drinking episode even more unbearable than usual. The person may feel more anxious than usual about the day ahead due to feeling awful from drinking too much the previous night.

Over time, an anxiety disorder will entail more significant symptoms in the presence of an advanced substance abuse problem. A person addicted to heroin may feel extraordinary anxiety when his or her stash runs dry, or before procuring another dose. This type of symbiotic condition or an alcohol-anxiety cycle is very difficult to break without a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the substance abuse and the mental health disorder at the same time.

The Alcohol-Depression Cycle

Many wonders, “Does alcohol cause depression?” People who suffer from alcoholism report the highest rates of depression among people with substance abuse disorders. Researchers estimate anywhere from 30% to 50% of alcoholics experience depression symptoms and about one-third of people with depression abuse alcohol. While alcohol abuse cannot directly cause depression, it certainly exacerbates the symptoms of depression and makes an alcoholic more likely to slip into depressive episodes. When people refer to the depression caused by alcohol use, they are typically referring to the development of depressive symptoms over time from prolonged alcohol abuse.

Alcohol and depression have a dangerous relationship. While alcohol can create many pleasurable feelings, it is ultimately a depressant on the central nervous system. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause problems for a person with naturally occurring depression. Alcohol lowers serotonin levels in the brain and cuts off the effects of certain stress hormones, causing a person who feels depressed to slip into an even deeper depression. Alcohol will also interfere with metabolic processes and sleeping patterns, further worsening the person’s condition.

Resurgence And Withdrawal

Anxiety and depression also pose serious risks during the detox and withdrawal phases. Essentially, these conditions make the early stages of substance abuse recovery much more uncomfortable and difficult. It’s common for people who struggle with anxiety to experience serious anxiety-related symptoms after quitting alcohol, and panic attacks are common in these situations. A panic attack during the initial stages of alcohol withdrawal can be very dangerous, when heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure are already serious concerns.

“Resurgence” is the word that describes a sudden reappearance of symptoms. When a person self-medicates with alcohol for a specific mental health issue, the person will likely experience an intense resurgence of the symptoms of that issue after alcohol withdrawal manifests. These mental health problems can also pose additional difficulties in life when combined with alcohol. Depression or anxiety the day after a drinking binge is very common, and this discomfort may encourage an individual to simply drink more to push those negative feelings away.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

People who suffer from a mental health issue that runs in tandem with a substance abuse disorder are dual diagnosis cases, and this is incredibly common in the substance abuse treatment world. These individuals often wind up in substance abuse treatment after seeking therapy for their mental health concerns rather than the other way around. Social stigmas make it easier for many people to admit to a mental health issue before admitting to a substance abuse problem.

Dual diagnosis treatment requires a very robust treatment plan that addresses the substance abuse and the mental health issue simultaneously. It is virtually impossible to break out of an addictive cycle when both factors are involved without addressing both at the same time. During dual diagnosis treatment, caregivers will carefully assess a patient’s mental health records and his or her substance abuse disorder to develop a treatment plan that covers both issues.

Are Antidepressants Viable?

Antidepressants in substance abuse recovery are a touchy subject. Some believe that antidepressants can lead to replacing one addiction for another, while others believe that antidepressants play an important role in dual diagnosis treatment. The determining factor is whether the patient’s mental health issue is a naturally occurring one or the result of substance abuse.

When a person struggles with a mental health issue, the right antidepressant in the correct dosage can be enormously helpful. These medications help to correct chemical imbalances in the brain. While this is helpful for people with preexisting mental health disorders, people who develop mental health issues because of their substance abuse patterns benefit more from behavioral therapy and developing healthier life habits.

Developing New Habits

A comprehensive dual diagnosis care regimen should include mental health counseling, substance abuse therapy, and medical intervention when necessary. These fundamental elements of treatment will help a person struggling with a dual diagnosis issue form a healthy foundation for recovery. If the individual has a preexisting mental health disorder, antidepressant medication may play a role in his or her recovery plan. Others will benefit greatly from learning new ways to control urges and prevent relapses. Ultimately, alcoholism and substance abuse have strong links to mental health disorders including anxiety and depression, and it is crucial for people to avoid falling into the self-medication trap.

If you’re thinking about asking a doctor about an antidepressant prescription, try abstaining from drugs or alcohol for a few months first. Quitting or limiting your alcohol intake could be all it takes to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression you experience. If quitting is too difficult, or other symptoms appear when you attempt to abstain, this is likely an indication that your mental health issues are the direct results of a substance abuse problem. Antidepressants only work for the people who have preexisting chemical imbalances, as these drugs correct those imbalances. For another person struggling with anxiety or depression due to alcoholism or another form of substance abuse, antidepressants may cause more harm than good.

Read More About Co-Occurring Disorders

The Moment You Realize You Are an Addict

Moment You Realize You Are An Addict

You really miss him. If someone were to ask you if you did, you’d probably say, “Of course I miss him, a lot.” And then there are those times that you’re not thinking about him; you’re doing something else: laughing with new friends, watching the latest on Netflix, answering an email or driving to work and “boom,” there it is, wishing you were back there with him again, the way it used to be.

The “him” is your former drug of choice: meth, weed, alcohol, heroin or that stash of Oxy or Adderall that some doctors convinced you was needed to function properly. Boy, were they wrong.

Random Acts of Awesome

When you think back on your time during active addiction, the relationship you had with drugs or alcohol had some crazy similarities to a psycho romance. (It’s OK to laugh a little about it now, because you’re so…over it.) But back then you weren’t just hooked, you were obsessed. And no matter how you tried to shake off this twisted love affair, the drug was in control.

Just when you think you were trapped in this toxic relationship (and what else could addiction be), something happened. Somehow and somewhere, you had a moment of clarity. Maybe it was an intervention from a parent or friend. Maybe it was an unsuspecting “aha!” moment or a mandatory court order that threw your ass into treatment or a 12-step program.

How you found yourself on the path to clean or sober living is not something to keep to yourself. Your story is one of many invaluable addiction recovery stories that not only serve to remind you of how awesome you are, but how your inner strength can help others who remain in their relationship with him, still hoping for a way out.

Speak to Their Pain and Help End It

There are true stories of alcoholics. There are true stories of drug addicts. But until someone stops using, the stories told can be skewed as fake or fiction. Because until the mind heals, mental and emotional perception is unclear and imbalanced.

So addiction stories don’t get real until recovery begins. It starts the moment you own your addiction.

Addicts may not share the same neighborhood, social status, age, race, religion, sexual preference or gender identity as one another, but there is one commonality: Drug and alcohol addiction is an equal opportunity abuser.

Three ways to stop addiction:

  • You end it.
  • It ends you.
  • Share the moment you quit with someone else.

Faster Isn’t Better

Jennifer was on top of her game. Just a couple years out of college and she was killing it at work. Not just hitting sales goals, but exceeding them. Because the pressure was on. It was always on.

With so many distractions from friends, family and even coworkers, it was hard to stay focused. Until she heard about Adderall. In fact, everyone in the office had their own prescription. It was practically corporate culture! Until she misjudged a traffic light when she was texting her boss. That was the moment Jennifer realized she was an addict.

A Shot in the Dark

Brian had a lot to live for, but he didn’t think so. His drinking began when he was 12 years old. It escalated through high school. And while it was cool back then, he learned to hide it well throughout his career as an X-ray technician at the hospital. Adding vodka to his morning orange juice seemed to put the jumpstart in his day.

Everything changed one afternoon after Brian downed his sixth shot of Gentleman Jack while watching an NFL playoff game in January. His older brother just called, sounding out of his mind. He was sitting on the edge of his bathtub, screaming at the top of his lungs about their alcoholic parents, contemplating suicide while pointing the barrel of a Colt .45 to his lips. That’s when Brian went from addiction mode into recovery mode.

Positive change can happen when you least expect it. Stay open. Be ready.

Addiction Stories Differ, but Outcomes Can Be the Same

Help us inspire others to find hope and the strength to say, “Enough is enough.” Through you, we can shift the consciousness of addiction and move many more toward their individual path of recovery.

Your stories have a greater purpose. Fight Addiction Now urges you to share that one special moment that changed your life, for good. Every goal worth achieving includes a fight worth winning. Here’s your chance to pass it on.

Share Your Recovery Story

What Do People Worry Most About in Life? Are Drugs and Alcohol the Answer to Any of These?

Are Drugs and Alcohol the Answer to Our Worries - Fight Addiction Now

Drugs and Alcohol and Anxiety

Anytime we as humans are under stress, we look for relief. Some people choose different outlets – exercise, for example. Some of us choose to turn to drugs and alcohol during periods of anxiety.

Shutting Off Your Emotions and Natural Reactions

Using drugs and alcohol doesn’t really help worries; it just helps you shut off your emotions. Most of us already know the reason we drink or do drugs is to escape our feelings and our realities. But deep down, we also know that it only makes things worse in the long run.

What People Worry About

According to psych experts and the studies, here are some of the top things people worry about in life:

  1. Money, Money, Money

Financial worries are a major source of stress for most people. Money is one of the top three things couples fight about. And being broke, wondering how you’ll pay your bills each month, doesn’t leave much dough for fun and entertainment.

“Crap, how am I going to afford that trip to Ireland with my friends on this budget? But I soooo wanna go!”

  1. Sex and Relationships

Arguing about it, getting enough sex, satisfying our partner, fantasizing about what we really want and more – all of these things can cause anxiety. When we’re unfulfilled or rejected, we want to turn to our drug of choice.

“Can I find a boyfriend/girlfriend? Am I with the right person? Will I ever get married? Why do we argue so much? Is my significant other happy?”

  1. Health and Your Body

Body image is a big deal for most people, no matter what age. Women are a little more obsessed, but guys feel it too.

Beyond looks, if you have a health problem, it automatically comes with a great deal of stress. Additionally, there is anxiety in worrying about potential health problems, waiting for medical tests or having a condition that can lead to something worse.

NUTRITION AND WELLNESS PLAN FOR 30 DAYS

  1. Finding the Right Career or Being Stressed on the Job

It’s a common worry that we will never find the right career for us. Most high school graduates aren’t sure what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

We spend most of our week at our job(s), and if it’s not something we enjoy, then most of our life is not as happy as we’d like.

What about the people we work with? Do you have a Frankenboss?

  1. Missing Out on Something

It’s a phenomenon: fear of missing out (FOMO) on something…Valentine’s Day, not going out on a Saturday night, not being invited to a party not getting whatever “everybody else” is getting.

There is a principle called sunk cost fallacy that we all fall victim to. As humans, we have a natural aversion to loss that is much stronger than our desire to acquire gains. This loss aversion makes it harder to abandon something — fixing up a house, playing a progressive video game, staying in a long-term relationship — the more you’ve invested in it emotionally or financially.

So, for fear of missing out on something in our long-term investment — losing rewards in a game, for example — we make decisions that may not be in our best interests. We worry about what we’ll lose if…

The Takeaway on Worries

How can drugs and alcohol really help with any of these things? Sure, there is a momentary reprieve from our feelings, but as soon as the high is over, the same problems are staring back at us – with the added burden of the consequences of a substance abuse problem.

Other Solutions Instead of Turning to Drugs and Alcohol

Here are a few tips for when your worries have you in a rough spot and you’re tempted to reach for drugs and alcohol as relief:

  • Realize you’re not alone! If these are the top things people worry about, it’s happening to a lot of people.
  • Talk it out, write it out, pray it out.
  • See a psychologist.
  • Exercise for anxiety.
  • Make time for yourself. Do something fun that you can afford, like a hobby or hanging out with friends.

You Are Invited!

You are invited to join the discussion! Tell us what you worry about most in the comments below. Also, feel free to share your views on drugs and alcohol and how they relate to anxiety and worries. Get commenting now!