Tag Archives: 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


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.


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.


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.


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


  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!

Reversing the Trends of Substance Abuse, Drinking, Drug Use and Smoking

Reversing Trends of Substance Abuse Drinking Drug Use Smoking - Fight Addiction Now

The Tide of Addiction May Be Turning

Here’s some good news about addiction to encourage you to keep up the fight.

For decades, we’ve seen an increase in substance abuse involving illicit drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. Young people especially usually contribute to higher percentages of experimentation with new drugs and abuse of so-called gateway drugs.

However, over the last several years, it seems this may be changing.

Decline Stretching Back a Decade

If there was a short-term drop in substance abuse, it might be dismissed as merely a blip on the radar. However, this positive trend stretches back all the way to the early 2000s, with a pronounced drop stretching all the way back to 2003.

A recently concluded survey of more than 200,000 teens showed a steady decline in substance abuse, with numbers among 12- to 17-year-olds declining by 49 percent in a 12-year period. The survey concluded that around 2 million fewer adolescents were abusing nicotine, drugs and alcohol over the period.

Cigarettes Are a Gateway Drug

An important fact amid these numbers is the significant decline in cigarette use among 12- to 17-year-olds. Even in the heyday of cigarette use, there was a certain stigma attached to young people smoking. The stigma of cigarette smoking has only grown over the last 20 years.

We know cigarettes are addictive and set the stage for moving on to other substances that are equally harmful. When a young person crosses the psychological boundary of cigarette smoking, pushing further into abusing other substances may be less of a leap.

Why This Matters to People Struggling with Substance Abuse

If you are fighting addiction yourself or fighting to stay clean after having kicked a habit, you may be asking why this matters to you. There are many ways your battle has inspired this decrease and benefited from it.

There’s no doubt that greater awareness and education have played a role in helping bring about the decline in substance abuse over the last decade. But while education programs and television ads are helpful, the impact of seeing someone you know struggling with addiction paints an even more vivid picture.

Where such issues were once kept hidden from view, this open sharing of struggles with addictive substances is now played out in the open. Beyond looking for an elusive silver lining, this is an actual example of good coming from even the darkest circumstances.

Those struggling with addiction currently benefit from this trend. As demand dries up, supply tends to follow. When the substance of your choice is readily available, staying clean is undeniably harder. As society starts to turn away from abusing harmful substances, availability becomes scarce.

Sure, you can always find a way to get that next cigarette, that next drink, that next fix, but if you must go looking for it, there’s an opportunity to find your way out instead. This trend can only benefit you as well.

What Is Causing This Decline?

Researchers are still speculating on what is causing this decline. With only a decade of results to explore, the reasons are not yet clear. We do know some movements have contributed to the decline, however:

Campaign Against Cigarettes

As mentioned earlier, cigarettes are a gateway into the world of substance abuse. During the last 20 years, much progress has been made in the campaign against cigarette addiction.

First, expensive taxes were put in place, and the monies from those taxes were used to fund public education programs that helped combat cigarette addiction, in addition to other benefits. As the cost of cigarettes increased, access for young people was restricted.

In addition, laws were enacted that made it tougher for young people to gain access to cigarettes in the first place. Overall, this led to a dramatic reduction in those addicted to nicotine products and likely paved the way for a decline in substance abuse across the board.

Greater Education

Those cigarette taxes helped fund education programs and commercials aimed at young people to warn them of the dangers of substance abuse. Celebrities and athletes increasingly joined in helping change the perception of addictive substances from cool to harmful, and young people listened.

These programs were influential in changing the culture of America’s youth and shaping a new generation with the idea that substance abuse was not only not cool, but not even worth trying.

Growing Risk Aversion

For reasons still unclear to researchers, young people in this time have a greater aversion to engaging in risky behavior than ever. Not only are young people not using addictive substances, but there is a sharp decline in teenage pregnancies and unprotected sex. Young people even use their seat belts when riding in a car more often than older generations.

This shying away from risky behavior has played a part in the decline of substance abuse, but it is still not clear what brought about that risk aversion.

Still More Work to Do

While this decline is a good start, there remains a great deal more to be done, possibly in the following areas:

  • More than 37 percent of high school seniors say they have been drunk at least once.
  • Marijuana legalization may be contributing to the slowing rate of cigarette smoking, as more forms of cannabis are readily accessible.
  • E-cigarette use remains at around 12 percent and is still seen as cool among young people.
  • Prescription drug abuse also remains a significant source of concern.

A dichotomy exists within the abuse of every kind of substance, though. Cigarette smoking, for example, is down across almost every demographic. In certain geographic areas, however, cigarette use has not declined and has even gained popularity.

While illicit drugs such as heroin are seeing a marked decrease in use over time, those who do use such drugs appear to be doing so more frequently, and are overdosing at frightening rates. In short, while substance abuse is down overall, where it does occur, the abuse appears to be worse than ever.

Cellphones: The New Drug?

Some researchers are pointing at the correlation between the advent of smartphones and the decline in substance abuse as being more than a coincidence. Indeed, there are reasons to believe that, in many ways, mobile phone usage and the constant access to social networks has in many ways filled the craving for excitement and novelty that drives people to use addictive substances in the first place.

If so, people in general, and young people in particular, may be trading one addiction for another. As anyone who has battled addiction knows, this can be a recipe for disaster and create an endless cycle of dependence.

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Statistics on Alcohol Use, Alcoholism and Alcohol-Related Health Issues

Statistics Alcohol Use Alcoholism and Alcohol Related Health Issues - Fight Addiction Now

Alcohol is one of the most widely consumed and dangerous substances in the United States. One of the most important facets of fighting alcoholism and alcohol-related health issues is identifying those most at risk and encouraging them to seek treatment sooner rather than later.

Alcohol-fueled deaths in America are one unfortunate result of a culture built around drinking, one which extends through all demographics. Additionally, alcohol-related health issues are the third-leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.

Understanding the Culture Behind Excessive Drinking

Unlike most other dangerous and addictive substances that are causing problems in the U.S., alcohol is legal to purchase, own and consume for adults of age 21 or older. Every state has unique laws when it comes to the purchase, transportation and distribution of alcohol.  All states have unique issues when it comes to alcohol, based on the demographics, industries and cultural scenes in each respective state.

For example, states with many colleges and universities often contend with “college town” problems like underage drinking, loud college parties and drunk driving. States with large manufacturing and industrial markets may see a prevalence of alcohol-related illnesses in workers who get in the habit of “unwinding” by drinking after a hard day’s work.

How Prevalent Is Alcohol Use?

Statistics of Men Vs Women Alcohol Poisoning Deaths - Fight Addiction Now

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 86 percent of respondents over the age of 18 reported drinking at some point in their lifetime.

More than 70 percent reported drinking within the past year, and 56 reported some amount of drinking within the past month.

This indicates that more than half of all American adults consume alcohol at least once per month, but the reality is that most consume alcohol far more than that.

The survey also reported that nearly 27 percent of all respondents over the age of 18 engaged in binge drinking within the past month, which generally refers to consuming five or more drinks in a single drinking session. Only 7 percent reported heavy alcohol use within the past month, but the term “heavy alcohol use” likely means different things to different people.

How Does the U.S. Compare at the Global Level?

Compared to alcohol-influenced deaths in other countries, the United States has one of the highest alcohol-related death rates in the world: The U.S. ranks 39th out of 172 countries for alcohol deaths per 100,000 residents.

Many factors influence this ranking, including society’s perceptions of alcohol, the glorification of alcohol in media and advertising, and social norms that dictate alcohol as a “social lubricant,” allowing people to more easily relax and socialize during their leisure time. The U.S. also has many thriving high-stress industries such as finance, technology, marketing, sales, education and others that often lead employees in these fields to seek stress relief in unhealthy ways.

Drug and alcohol abuse is very common in the tech industry, where professionals work long hours and face stiff competition while facing an enormous demand to innovate and stay ahead of competitors.

Alcohol Statistics by State

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regularly release reports covering alcohol statistics by state. While mostly rural states report some of the highest alcohol-related death rates, it’s important to bear in mind that these states have lower populations than others.

Therefore, fewer deaths in a low population state can equate to a higher death rate compared to many deaths in a high population state. People living in rural areas may also face additional difficulty with alcohol-related illnesses and addiction due to a lack of access to reliable treatment programs.

Deaths Per State

The states with the highest alcohol-related death rates from cirrhosis and liver disease in 2015 include:

  • New Mexico: 566 deaths (24.8 deaths per 100,000 residents)
  • Wyoming: 118 deaths (18.9 per 100,000 residents)
  • South Dakota: 139 deaths (16.1 rate)
  • Montana: 179 deaths (15.7 rate)
  • Alaska: 114 deaths (15.4 rate)

California (5,425), Texas (3,844) and Florida (3,084) reported the highest numbers of alcohol-related deaths in 2015, but these states are also some of the most densely populated in the country, so they only showed up in the middle of the rankings.

Which Behaviors Lead to Alcohol-Related Deaths?

“Alcohol-related deaths” is a blanket term that covers any type of death influenced by or expedited by alcohol. This can include:

  • Fatal alcohol poisoning from excessive drinking
  • Motor vehicle deaths from drunk driving
  • Fatal long-term health complications such as liver disease

The rates of these kinds of deaths coincide with alcohol consumption rates.

For example, states with high drinking rates often report high drunk driving accident and death rates as well as a higher number of deaths caused by alcohol-related illnesses such as cirrhosis and liver disease.

North Dakota appears toward the middle of the rankings for cirrhosis and liver disease-related deaths, but it has the highest drunk driving death rate at about 11.3 per 100,000, according to 2012 data from the CDC. Montana ranks fourth in the country for cirrhosis and liver disease-related deaths, while it comes in second for drunk driving-related deaths at 9.4 per 100,000.

Join the Fight Against Alcohol-Related Deaths

These alcohol statistics paint a picture of a country that may not fully recognize the dangers of alcohol. One of the most effective weapons in the fight against alcoholism and alcohol-related deaths is advocacy, and you may wonder what you can do at the personal level to curb these unfortunate alcohol statistics.

Fight Addiction Now is a grassroots community of individuals who understands the importance of education and advocacy in American communities. We invite anyone to share their insight, stories and advice to the other members of the Fight Addiction Now community to spread the word to Americans who have witnessed the tragic effects of alcoholism and alcohol-related health issues.

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