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Articles Archives | Cenikor Foundation
21
Jul

How Much Is Too Much? When to Seek Addiction Help

Sometimes the line between enjoyment and addiction can be very fuzzy, especially in our culture that promotes alcohol to remedy everything from joy to stress and sadness. You may think to yourself, “Everyone drinks this much,” or “If I can stop when I want, it’s not an addiction.” But how do you know if you’ve crossed over that line and it’s time to get help?

Experts have defined eleven official criteria that determine if you have an addiction or not. Read on to learn more and get addiction help if you need to.

Lack of Control 

One of the first signs that you’ve become addicted to a substance is losing control when you use it. Whether your addiction is drinking, drugs, gambling, or Pringles, you find that once you start, you can’t stop. You have a hard time saying no when the temptation arises, and you never indulge just a little.

Do you frequently start an evening only intending to drink a little and wind up blackout drunk before you go to bed? Do you feel like you could be around other people gambling and not gamble yourself? Have you found yourself using drugs without even stopping to think, not sure anymore why you’re doing it?

Inability to Quit

Of course, one of the defining characteristics of addiction is that you can’t easily quit your drug of choice. Many of us enjoy having a drink or two at the end of a long week at work. But what happens if you tell yourself you’re going to stop drinking for a specific period of time?

Many addicts think they can quit any time they want until they’re actually faced with that necessity. If you think you may be addicted to something, try avoiding it for two weeks. If you can’t make it through the month without indulging, it may be time to reevaluate your relationship with the substance you use.

Time Investment

When it comes right down to it, your priorities in life are determined by how much time you spend on different things. While this truth often applies to work, family, or friends, it also applies to addiction. The more time you spend on your habit, the more likely it is that it’s an addiction.

It’s important to note that spending time on your addiction doesn’t just include the time you spend actually using. It can also include all the time you spend thinking about how to indulge your addiction. You may think all day about what you’re going to drink that night, plan how you’ll hide your substance use from your loved ones, or daydream about using during work hours.

Cravings 

Cravings often go hand in hand with the time you spend thinking about your addiction. It’s normal to think about wanting a drink or having a good time now and then. But cravings go beyond a simple thought and into a powerful force that distracts you during your day and that you can’t seem to shake.

You may notice that you’re on edge and irritated until you give in and satisfy your craving. You might feel some physical effects, such as shaking, fatigue, or sweatiness. A craving is a physical need that can leave you almost unhinged the longer you go without indulging your addiction.

Lack of Responsibility

In the face of such powerful cravings and loss of control, you might start to notice your responsibilities falling by the wayside. Before your addiction began, you never would have considered skipping out on work, school, or important family events. You paid your bills every month, showed up for your family, and stayed on the right side of the law.

Once your addiction begins to take over, those responsibilities may not seem so important anymore. You may find yourself skipping work more often, especially to indulge your addiction. You may start playing fast and loose with money and even considering committing crimes to get your hands on your substance.

Problems with Relationships

It should come as no surprise that all of the criteria we’ve discussed so far can cause problems in your personal relationships. Your family will notice that you’re changing, and they may even feel the impact of your reckless behavior. Your boss and coworkers will see that work isn’t a top priority for you anymore and may resent having to pick up the slack.

If you have a romantic partner, you might notice that you’re fighting more often or that your relationship seems more distant. Your friends may start to withdraw from you or may ask you to stop using. You may find yourself in trouble at work more frequently, and you might even lose your job.

Loss of Interest

As your addiction gains more of a grip over your life, you may notice your interest in other things fading away. Before you started using, you might have enjoyed spending time with your family, going to sporting events, volunteering in your community, or making art. Maybe you went for runs, watched every movie Kevin Costner was ever in or sang in your local church choir.

But as you begin to use more and more, those things may fade away. All you can think about is your addiction, feeding it, and hiding it from the people in your life. You may not feel the same level of passion for your hobbies as before, and you might have trouble getting interested in trying new hobbies.

Dangerous Use

When it comes to drinking and gambling, there’s always some low level of risk involved. And before your addiction began, you may have managed those risks well. You might have set aside money to gamble with or made sure you had a designated driver available for nights when you would be drinking.

But the more your addiction grows, the more likely you are to make dangerous choices when you’re using. You may drive when you’re drunk or overdose on the drug you’re using. You might start to gamble money that was set aside for your mortgage or even resort to dangerous lifestyle choices to indulge your addiction.

Physical Problems

It may come as no surprise that drinking or using drugs too much can take a serious toll on your body. If you overdose or get alcohol poisoning, you may land in the hospital with some acute problems. And withdrawal symptoms can wreak all sorts of havoc on your body’s major systems.

But in addition to the more immediate physical problems, substance abuse can have serious long-term consequences. Drinking or using drugs can cause everything from heart and liver problems to seizures and psychological disorders. Even gambling can cause depression, sleep deprivation, and anxiety.

Tolerance 

As you use your substance more and more, you might notice that it takes more for you to feel a “high.” If you’re using drugs, this high may be literal; if you’re gambling, you may have to spend more money to get the same rush. If you’re drinking, you may have to drink more or harder liquor to feel drunk.

Over time, your body will build up a tolerance for whatever substance you’re using. While some degree of this is natural, especially with drinking alcohol, an excess can be an indicator that you’re using too much too often. If you have to drink six beers to feel a buzz, you probably have an addiction.

Withdrawal 

The final criteria used to determine if someone is an addict is if they go through withdrawal. Withdrawal is related to the physiological dependence your body has on the substance you use. When you go too long without it, your major systems can be thrown into disarray as your body fights to adjust to the change.

Withdrawal can be hazardous and can start within a matter of hours after you stop using. You may experience convulsions, fevers, vomiting, chills, and body aches. If you plan to quit using, make sure you seek medical help to see you safely through withdrawal.

Get Addiction Help

No one wants to admit they have an addiction, but if the criteria we’ve listed here sound familiar, it may be time to admit you have a problem. These are the signs doctors and medical professionals look for to define when someone is an addict. Once you admit that you have an addiction, you can start getting the help you need.

If you’d like to get addiction help today, check out the rest of our site at Cenikor. We are a place for change working to create better health and better lives. Contact us today and start getting the help you need, knowing you are not alone fighting your addiction.

8
Jul

How to Tell Your Family About Your Alcohol or Drug Use

For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic increased alcohol and drug use. A June 2020 report found that 13 percent of Americans started or increased substance use.

Are you struggling with drug use? Do you want to get help but feel reluctant to admit you have a problem? Many people fear rejection by friends and family if they share their “secret”.

Making the decision to tell your loved ones about your addiction is hard. Keep reading to find strategies that have helped others take this step.

Medical Definition of Drug and Substance Abuse

Understanding what’s happening to your body can help you understand why you can’t just stop. The chemicals in the drugs change the way your mind and body works.

Depending on the substance and length of use, these changes may be permanent. But this does not mean that you’re beyond help. Today, the medical community has many treatments to help you work on sobriety.

What Are “Drugs”?

Drugs include over the counter and prescription medications, tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs. Examples of illegal substances include:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Club drugs: Ecstasy, Molly, Special K, K, Roofies, LSD
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Inhalants: gases, aerosols, volatile solvents, nitrates
  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamines: Ice, Speed, Meth

One of the most abused prescription medications is opioids. So, what does it mean to abuse prescription meds? Abusive behavior includes:

  • Taking someone else’s prescription
  • Taking more of the medicine than the doctor prescribed
  • Taking the drug to get high instead of for the reason it was prescribed

Another abusive behavior involves using the drug in a way that you’re not supposed to. For example, crushing a pill and then snorting or injecting it.

What Happens to the Brain with Addiction?

When you use these substances, chemical compounds enter your brain and bloodstream. This causes you to lose impulse control. The intense stimulation acts as a reward system for the brain, and it craves more.

This causes people to keep using the substance to maintain these euphoric feelings. They also crave the changes in their behavioral traits while under the influence.

The addictive brain response depends on several factors. This includes the type of drug use, frequency of use, and stage of addiction. As substance use continues, the addiction grows and can become life-threatening.

With addictive brain changes, you feel physical symptoms and develop less control. You can experience paranoia, hallucinations, fast heartbeat, nausea, and other disturbing feelings.

The addiction can cause you to become consumed with feeding your habit. Individuals lose concern for loved ones or the importance of meeting obligations. They may become unrecognizable.

Recognizing That You Have a Drug Use or Alcohol Use Problem

The first step to fighting an addiction is recognizing that you have a problem. The act of reading this article is a big step. The following list describes experiences and feelings of addiction.

  • Decreasing contact or interaction with friends and family
  • Not meeting life’s obligations such as school or work
  • Frequent stomach aches
  • Not knowing when it’s time to stop using the substance
  • Needing more of the substance to get the same feeling
  • Changes in your mood
  • Not feeling like “yourself” if you aren’t using the substance
  • Ongoing cravings for the substance
  • Using the substance excessively when you’re alone

Are you experiencing these behaviors or feelings? If so, it’s time to seriously think about telling your loved ones and asking for help.

Telling Your Family About Your Use

When you know that you have a problem, the next challenge is telling loved ones. How do I tell them? What will they think of me?

You may want to write down what you’re going to say. This helps organize your thoughts and can reduce nervousness. It also helps you remember everything you want to say.

The following guide can help you with this seemingly overwhelming task.

“Spit It Out”

This may seem odd, but often the best way to start is by not beating around the bush. Just say, “I’ve got a problem with drug use.” There’s no easy way to say this and, in fact, your family may already know.

Next, tell them that you want them to know what you’re going through. Let your loved ones know if and how you’ve tried to stop.

Be Open and Honest

In some cases, you may blame others for causing your addiction, and this may be true. But, at this moment, blame will not help you. Remember, you have decided to get help and overcome the problem.

It’s time to focus on you and take responsibility. Leading a life of addiction involves lying and taking desperate actions to get the drugs. It’s difficult to break the habit of deceit as well.

Take Pride in Your Sharing

Tell yourself that openly facing your problem makes you stronger. Be proud of your decision to share this news with your family. Remind yourself of this strength and stay committed to your goal.

Take Responsibility

Apologize for your actions that have hurt others. This shows your family that you recognize what you’ve done and that you want to change. As you go through treatment, you will spend time working on mending relationships.

Ask for Your Family’s Support

Having a supportive community is invaluable to achieving and maintaining sobriety. Directly ask your loved ones to help you. Tell them that you want their advice and guidance to make the right choices.

Discuss Treatment Plans

If you have already found a recovery treatment plan, discuss this with your family. And/or ask them to help you explore different options. Make a list of questions to ask when you contact programs.

Ask loved ones to come with you to visit facilities. This not only supports you but also demonstrates your commitment to getting better.

What If Your Family Isn’t Supportive?

All families are unique with their own interactive styles. While some families will be happy that you want help, others may not. Are you worried that sharing about your substance use will cause more strife?

Consider the following strategies to ease the situation. Start by talking to a family member that you feel closest to. This can help build your confidence, and they can suggest the best approach.

Having an ally at your side to voice support may also soften other family member’s responses. Be prepared for some loved ones to be unsupportive.

This means they won’t be part of your team, but that’s okay. They may in fact be fighting their own battles.

Don’t hold on to their rejection. Focus on your allies.

Addiction Help Programs

Depending on your unique situation and needs, there are different addiction recovery programs. The following describes some examples of treatment options available.

Short-Term Inpatient

Short-term inpatient programs offer non-emergency treatment and care. They’re designed for people with substance use or related behavioral health problems. You’ll receive an individualized, comprehensive treatment plan.

This includes an initial assessment and screening. You’ll participate in individual and group counseling and life skills training. Your family will also participate in education programs.

Outpatient Detox Programs

If you’re experiencing limited withdrawal symptoms, this program can help you. You’ll have medical care and support to ensure your comfort and safety during withdrawal.

You receive supervised outpatient detox services while you’re at home or work. A licensed medical director conducts a physical exam and oversees all treatment. They’ll prescribe medications to help with the withdrawal symptoms.

You’ll attend counseling sessions with a licensed substance use therapist. The staff will help you find and arrange to attend AA/NA support groups. They also provide discharge planning and referrals as needed.

Inpatient Detox

For individuals experiencing symptoms of active withdrawal, they’re admitted for 24-hour care. An individual treatment plan provides medical support and counseling during this critical time. This acute care manages the symptoms experienced during withdrawal.

Recovery Support Services (RSS)

RSS offers a long-term program for those who suffer from repeated relapses. These services focus on teaching individuals to overcome barriers to living in recovery.

This comprehensive program addresses physical and mental health and reuniting families. You’ll also receive help with housing, employment, education, and legal issues.

Sober Living

Sober living programs offer a safe, supportive place when you re-enter the community. For example, a men’s sober living environment acts as a bridge. You alternate between a controlled treatment setting and the “real world”.

The goal of this program is to provide structure, resources, support, and security. This is key to achieving successful first steps toward independence.

Clients must meet the rules of 30 days of sobriety. They’re also required to attend or complete outpatient treatment. Also, they must participate in local support groups and keep steady employment. The program focuses on developing personal skills to become responsible, employable citizens.

It’s Time to Take the Next Step

You have already taken one step toward fighting alcohol and drug use by reading this article. You’ve learned how to approach your family. Cenikor is ready to give you a place for change.

We strive to provide quality substance use and behavioral health services. Our comprehensive programs are available for adolescents and adults. You’ll find a compassionate staff that understands that it’s hard to ask for help.

Contact us today to learn about our programs and get help moving to a new life.

16
Jun

A Guide to Recognizing and Talking with Someone Who Is Suffering from Addiction

Do you know someone who’s dealing with addiction? Studies show that 31.9 million Americans aged 12 years and older have used illegal drugs in the past 30 days. They also found that 14.8 million people in this same age group have an alcohol use disorder.

You may feel intimidated or even scared to discuss addiction with the individual. Yet you want to help or need to protect yourself or others. Keep reading this article to find ways to navigate this difficult conversation.

Biological Changes to the Brain in Those Suffering from Addiction

First, it’s key to understand that drug and alcohol abuse changes how the brain responds. This gives the individual less control and makes it very difficult to win the battle.

National Institute of Health-funded scientists have studied the biology of addiction. They’ve shown that addiction is a complex, long-term brain disease. Even if the individual quits, they’re always at risk for a relapse.

Understanding the biological changes of addiction explains why it’s not just about willpower. While the individual does need a personal level of commitment, that is only one factor. Research shows that addiction controls and destroys key brain areas tasked with survival.

Healthy brains experience rewards from bonding with others, eating, or exercising, for example. Circuits in the brain turn on and make you feel good and motivated to repeat the behaviors.

When you’re in danger, the brain generates fear or alarm. It then helps you fight or get to safety. The brain’s frontal lobe helps you control temptations and understand the consequences.

Brains exposed to drugs or alcohol develop different pleasure and reward responses. The person’s brain tells them they want more and more of the addictive substance.

Addiction can also cause the emotional danger-sensing areas to go into overdrive. This leads to anxiety and stress when the person doesn’t use the substance. Now the person feels compelled to use drugs or alcohol to avoid feeling bad instead of for pleasure.

Ongoing use of drugs damages the decision-making areas in the frontal lobe of the brain. Brain imaging has shown reduced activity in this part of the brain of addicted persons. Thus, they can’t recognize the harm of abusing drugs or alcohol.

Factors That Contribute to the Risk of Addiction

Scientists found that genetic factors can increase an individual’s risk of addiction. However, not all members of the same family will experience addiction. At this time, experts don’t have an answer for this phenomenon.

Environmental exposure, abuse, and extreme stress can also be causative factors. The age when someone starts using drugs or alcohol impacts their risk as well. The younger you start, the greater the risk for addiction later in life.

Since the teenage brain isn’t fully developed, they’re more susceptible. Their under-developed frontal region means less impulse control and ability to evaluate risk.

The adolescent pleasure circuits operate in overdrive. This means they experience enhanced reward responses to drugs and alcohol.

Signs of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Are you concerned about a friend or loved one’s use of drugs or alcohol? Do you wonder if they’re addicted? The following provides an overview of the signs to look for.

  • They’re unable to get through the day without using the substance.
  • They need more of the substance to feel the same effect.
  • They take unnecessary risks when under the influence.
  • They make life-threatening and dangerous choices.
  • They have violent behavior or outbursts.
  • They neglect their responsibilities.
  • They have sore muscles and joints due to swelling from the toxins.
  • They have stomach bloating, pain, gas, or diarrhea.
  • They develop eczema, acne, itching, or other skin problems.
  • They have sleep problems.
  • They feel anxious or depressed.
  • They have memory problems and mood swings.
  • They lose interest in normal daily activities.
  • Their energy level may be very high or low.

For those with an addiction to prescription medications, they may change doctors frequently. They’ll also use different pharmacies and even forge prescriptions.

How to Encourage Someone Who’s Dealing with Addiction to Seek Help

So, how do you talk with the individual about their addiction and encourage them to go to rehab? It’s important to know that loved ones have a great impact on the person with an addiction.

You may wish to gather a group with the joint goal of helping your loved one. Begin by expressing your feelings for them and your concerns.

It’s important to show love and support as well as set boundaries for addictive behavior. Voice your concerns in a clear, calm, and concise manner. This can help influence the person’s decision to get treatment.

Keep offering to provide information about rehab programs and other strategies. Constant social support may be the key to getting the person to accept that they need help.

Don’t forget that addiction is a brain disease and not a choice or moral failing. The goal of treatment is to help the person manage their condition. You can’t fight this battle for them.

When you set boundaries, stick to them while continuing to encourage them to get help. Addiction counseling is an important tool for the individual and their loved ones.

Ensure that you practice healthy living and abstain from drug or alcohol use. Provide support but don’t cover up the consequences of addiction. The individual needs to deal with the problems related to their disease.

Remain optimistic while working within the boundaries and encouraging treatment. If they relapse, understand that this is part of the disease process. Keep providing support.

Is It Time to Address Addiction in Your Life?

Dealing with addiction is challenging for everyone involved. Cenikor provides a place to work toward better health and living. We’re committed to helping people with drug and alcohol addiction.

Our team also treats behavioral health issues using a full continuum of care. Our nonprofit organization serves over 1,000 clients each week. Contact us today and let us help you find a new chapter in your life.

4
Jun

The Effects of Addiction on Family and Friends

Many people believe battling a substance use disorder is a personal experience. Because of the effects of addiction, it can be highly damaging to the individual. Many people don’t think about the other people directly involved, such as the person’s family and friends.

Partners, children, parents, and friends of someone battling with addiction also experience emotional damage. They may also have to deal with financial, legal, medical, and other consequences.

How Addiction Hurts Your Family and Friends

The effects of alcohol and drug addiction can be both short and long-term. Happy, peaceful, and loving families can be wrecked by the strain resulting from drug and alcohol addiction. Conflict and violence may become commonplace when family members have a son or daughter misusing drugs and alcohol.

 

Loss of Trust

With time, trust may break down between family and friends. Relatives may become depressed if their loved one abusing legal drugs begins to act with aggression or attempts to hide their condition in secrecy.

Broken Relationships/Divorce

Marriages can break due to changes resulting from addiction. Communication becomes more challenging, leading to frustration.

Inability to Recognize Loved Ones

Many family members and friends may see their loved ones deal with harsh side effects of drugs or become angry or violent when under the influence. Others may notice their loved ones lose weight rapidly and become almost unrecognizable.

Estrangement

Some people may not hear from a loved one for a significant period only to find out they’re living on the streets or have overdosed from drugs. Such shock and trauma can cause people to create unhealthy coping mechanisms. For example, codependent behaviors, like making excuses for their loved one’s choices and habits.

 

How Addiction Impacts Young Children

Many children grow up in homes where a parent abuses drugs or alcohol. Watching the trauma and devastation of a parent suffering addiction as a child has long-term effects on them. Kids growing up watching a parent addicted to drugs or alcohol are more likely to have substance use disorders of their own in adulthood.

Generational Trauma

Seeing a parent on drugs often leads to distressing feelings and emotions. This can lead to delays in learning and development and mental and emotional problems. As children are still extremely vulnerable to external influences and are getting comfortable with their personalities, they may end up repeating the behaviors of their parents.

Emotional Distress

Kids may experience seeing aggressive or violent behavior due to a parent’s drug and alcohol use. Arguments between parents may become common, leading to emotional distress watching family members fight.

Early exposure to a household divided by substance abuse can lead a child to feel emotionally and physically unsafe and neglected. This can make them more mentally and emotionally unstable.

Poor Self Image

Kids dealing with addiction may develop guilt and self-blame for their parent’s addiction problems. They may develop emotions of unworthiness or create unhealthy and dysfunctional attachments in their adulthood.

Loss of Custody

In severe cases, children may be removed from their home and their parents and placed into care.

 

Teenage Addiction Affects the Family

Underaged drinkers consume more drinks per drinking occasion than adults. This is known as binge drinking. Many young people drink alcohol regularly.

Marijuana use is also common in teens and is more popular than cigarette smoking and other drug use.

Teenagers receive peer pressure in school and are consistently exposed to temptation for trying new or dangerous substances. Many teenagers are still developing their personality and growing their identity, so they are still impressionable. Likewise, teenagers who’ve experienced parental substance abuse are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol when they’re older.

Teenage substance addiction can result from external sources like peer pressure from school and internal factors such as genetics and self-medication. Drugs like cocaine can overstimulate young people, leading them to sleep less and work poorly in school. Or it may encourage them to hang out with peers who abuse drugs.

Prescription opioids and synthetic opioids may create euphoric feelings and effects, but they require continued use with adverse side effects.

Teenage substance addiction has a direct impact on family members and friends, including:

  • Financial problems
  • Poor school performance
  • Exposure to other substances
  • Reckless behavior within the home
  • Stealing money from parents to pay for their habit
  • Running away from home
  • Causing parental grief

Young people may become overwhelmed with addictive substances and problem relationships at home and may decide to run away from home. Strained relationships with parents and other relatives can seem to push troubled teenagers toward drugs and alcohol to ‘escape.’ Once a teenager runs away from home, they’re more vulnerable to sexual, emotional, and financial exploitation.

 

Dealing with the Effects of Addiction

When a loved one is suffering from the effects of addiction, one of the most helpful things you can do is to educate yourself about addiction and dependence problems. Then you’ll discover the most and least valuable courses of action.

You’re also likely to discover that once you understand what your friend or family member is experiencing, it can be easier to manage the pain caused by their actions.

Watching a loved one get trapped by addiction to the point where they feel there’s no way out can be devastating. Help your family member or friend find treatment to help them on the road to recovery by browsing our wide range of programs here at Cenikor or calling us at 888-236-4567 to discuss a specific and individual course of action.

See our treatment programs here and help your loved one beat their addiction. You can help your loved one find a safe, effective rehab or treatment service that focuses on rebuilding connection and love, helping them start a happy, new, sober life.

Staying Sober
12
May

How to Stay Sober After Rehab

Did you know that 40%–60% of people suffering from addiction relapse after treatment? But know that relapsing doesn’t mean your treatment failed. Instead, it could be a sign that you didn’t make a plan for how to stay sober after rehab.

Don’t let that mistake lead to relapse again. To set yourself up for success after treatment, follow these top tips for staying sober.

Create a Plan for How to Stay Sober

Addiction recovery has two components. The first is about making the decision to stay sober. The second is making a plan for the external events that could trigger a relapse.

You may be able to control the first component. And, when you’re in a sober living facility, the program administrators can help with the second component.

But you can’t control everything that happens around you once you’re back home. That’s why it’s so important to foster a sober living environment after rehab. Here are some aspects of a well-rounded sobriety strategy:

Set Goals

Before getting out of rehab, write down the reasons you want to stay sober. If you’re having trouble, scroll down for the top benefits of sobriety.

Having goals for the future can help you stay focused. You’ll have a much easier time overcoming temptations when you know what you’re working toward.

But your goals don’t just have to be about your sobriety. Push yourself to learn a new sport or get the degree you’ve always wanted.

Create New Habits

Picking up new habits after rehab will help reduce boredom. And studies show that boredom and addiction flare-ups are related.

Creating new habits to replace using can also serve as a distraction. If you aren’t thinking about drugs or alcohol, then you’re less likely to relapse.

Join a Support Group

A support system is essential to your recovery. Support systems can be made up of other sober people, recovering people, supportive friends, and family members, or all of the above.

It’s important that your support group shares your sobriety goals and has your best interest at heart. You should also feel comfortable calling upon your support group when you feel tempted.

For example, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) enable fellowship with other recovering people like you. These 12-Step programs can help you feel less alone on your journey and offer your resources for coping with triggers.

If your support group and/or 12-Step program aren’t enough, consider outpatient services.

Attend All Follow-up Appointments

Rehab centers often require follow-up appointments after your treatment. If you schedule follow-ups, don’t skip them. Having someone else to keep you accountable will make you think twice before relapsing.

Plus, research shows that people struggling with addiction have an easier time with post-rehab recovery when they receive support from a medical professional.

Focus On the Benefits of Sobriety

When you feel yourself losing track, remember why you went on this journey in the first place. The benefits of sobriety far outweigh the plus-sides to getting drunk or high:

Save Money

When you aren’t spending all your hard-earned cash on drugs or alcohol, you’ll have extra money every month. You can invest those funds for your future or donate them to support other people struggling with addiction.

Feel Better

Not using drugs and alcohol means you’ll have more mental clarity. You’ll feel more energized to live your life to the fullest.

Not only that, but sobriety also does wonders for your appearance. Being drug and alcohol-free can help you achieve a more stable weight, get shinier hair, and retain moisture in your skin.

Help Others 

Did you know that helping others is good for your mental and physical health? Studies show that giving your time and energy to others can:

  • Lower stress levels
  • Reduce depression
  • Boost your self-image

This is why so many recovering people choose to mentor other people. Sharing your story with someone like you and offering support to their journey can help you decrease the risk of relapse and feel happier overall.

Know the Phases of Relapse

Understanding the signs that you’re about to have a setback is critical for knowing how to avoiding relapse. Health professionals have identified three phases that are warning symptoms of someone about to use again:

The Emotional Phase

During the first phase of relapse, the recovering person experiences strong negative emotions. These emotions are often caused by a negative external event or a mental health condition like depression.

How do you stop relapse at phase one? Practice healthy lifestyle habits to help you better regulate your emotions. For example, eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, get plenty of sunshine, and cut back on stress.

The Mental Phase

Failing to cope with negative emotions healthily can spur the second phase of relapse. In this phase, the recovering person starts thinking about using again.

To prevent relapse at this stage, replace your thoughts about the drug with journaling, meditating, or volunteering. Try out new hobbies like gardening or reading. You could even volunteer for a charitable organization or focus on your spirituality.

The Physical Phase

When a recovering person doesn’t deal with their thoughts about using, they progress to the final stage of relapse: the physical phase.

It’s at this point that the person struggling with addiction begins to seek out friends with whom they used to use or revisit familiar locations where they used to use. This phase ends with resumed drinking or drug use.

Preventing a recovering person from progressing to this phase is the only way to stop a setback. Again, this is why it’s so critical to create a sober living environment after rehab.

Have family members or friends search your home before you get out of rehab. Ask them to remove paraphernalia and other items that remind you of your addiction.

It’s also vital to avoid high-risk situations. This includes people and places that remind you of your addiction.

Setting yourself up for success from the start can help you stay on track and reduce the risk of entering the phases of relapse.

Outpatient Services: When These Sobriety Tips Aren’t Enough

Making a plan for how to stay sober after an inpatient program can prevent relapse. We hope these tips will help you customize the best sober living strategy for you and your unique circumstances.

But what happens when these tips aren’t enough? Contact us to speak with one of our compassionate advisors and learn more about how our outpatient program can help you stay on track post-rehab.

rehab
2
May

What Is Rehab Like? Here’s What to Expect

Around twenty- one million Americans are living with a substance use disorder, yet only around ten percent of these Americans receive treatment.

If you or someone you love is living with a substance use disorder, it is important to ensure that you, or they, get the needed treatment to get better. While the idea of going to rehab might seem daunting, know that it is a safe place.

This article is here to put your fears to rest by answering the question “what is rehab like?” and outlining exactly what to expect on a typical day at an inpatient facility.

 

Let’s get straight to it!

Admission and Check-In

Once you’ve made arrangements to join a reputed inpatient facility, you will be received by professional and knowledgeable staff to begin the admissions and check-in process. This involves an evaluation with a qualified medical and mental health professional. This evaluation will allow the staff to create a customized treatment plan to help you on your journey to sobriety.

The aim is to get an accurate assessment of your unique physical and emotional needs in order to create the best possible treatment options and environment for your recovery.

The Withdrawal Management Process

After your assessment and evaluation are complete, you move to the next step of withdrawal management. This involves cleansing your body of intoxicants and substances. This could be alcohol, opiates, or other drugs depending on your unique circumstances.

The time frame for the withdrawal management process can vary from one person to another. Additionally, the body and mind’s reactions to the withdrawal management process will also vary from person to person. Do remember to be patient with yourself and recognize that though the process might be difficult, you have help available to you anytime you need it.

Withdrawal Symptoms and Assistance

When you stop using a substance that you have developed a dependency on, you are likely to feel uncomfortable. You may also experience different withdrawal symptoms. This could include a change in your appetite, anxiety, low mood, fatigue, lethargy, nausea, restlessness, aggression, irritability, tremors, runny nose, congestion, and more.

At your rehabilitation facility, you will be provided with medication to ease these symptoms and make the process of withdrawal management a more pleasant one. Additionally, you will have all kinds of support available to you to ensure that you make it through this period with minimal discomfort.

Individualized Therapy

To help you overcome your substance use disorder, you will get the full benefit of individualized therapy that is catered to your needs. Here you will participate in one-on-one sessions with a qualified mental health professional who will work with you to identify triggers and help you develop healthier coping strategies.

Your therapist will also work to identify the best behavioral therapy for your needs. Generally, cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing are considered some of the most effective options for those living with a substance use disorder. However, your treatment plan might vary depending on your specific requirements.

Family Counseling

Including families and loved ones in the process has been shown to improve outcomes for recovering patients. That is why many rehabilitation centers offer family counseling as a part of their programs.

Living with a substance use disorder is a difficult experience for the person experiencing it as well as their loved ones. Family counseling sessions serve as a safe space for everyone to share their grievances and concerns and have them addressed in an open and healthy manner.

While this can be a difficult process, do know that it will only help to clear the air, acknowledge each other’s feelings and take a step in the right direction.

Group Therapy

In addition to individual and family therapy, you will also be asked to participate in group therapy sessions.

This can be a great way to meet other individuals who might have similar problems to you. The share experience of a similar struggle can be a good way to bond with others, and also feel less alone in your journey.

There is a lot to learn during group therapy, a lot of new friends to make, and a lot of support to find during your journey to recovery.

What Is Rehab Like on a Given Day?

Wondering what a typical day at rehab looks like? Here’s what you can expect.

Your day will start with a morning breakfast and in some cases some simple meditation exercises. This is usually followed by a group session which is led by a qualified mental health professional.

Next, you will have your lunch in the afternoons, followed by your specialized therapy sessions. After that, you will likely have time for alternative therapy which could include art therapy, music therapy, or something else, depending on your preference.

You will, of course, have a few hours of free time available every day which will allow you the opportunity to engage in leisure activities of your choice. Later on, after dinner, you might have an additional group session led by a mental health professional.

Getting the Help You Deserve

Now that you’re familiar with what it’s like at rehab, we hope you feel motivated and empowered to take the next step. Do know that you are not alone in your journey and help is always available to you whenever you need it.

If you want to know more about the question “what is rehab like?” or have any other concerns regarding your treatment options, do reach out to us. Our team will be happy to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have!

8
Apr

What Happens When You Quit Drinking Alcohol?

There may be nothing tougher to fight than the silent enemy of addiction. As you try to find a path to recovery so you can quit drinking alcohol, you may feel like you are going down dead-end roads. The cycles of alcohol withdrawal and detox is a serious biological event.

It has nothing to do with how much you want to be free of your addiction. Nor does it matter how often you drink, how much you drink, or where you drink. Another article about learning more about how or why you drink may not help you understand what happens to you when you quit drinking alcohol.

Please keep reading if you want to learn more about what happens during alcohol withdrawal and detoxification. That way, you’ll know what to expect and when the symptoms of withdrawal may happen to you. It’s a wise decision to learn what to expect as you go through alcohol withdrawal and detoxification.

When You Quit Drinking Alcohol

The best way to provide information about what happens when you quit drinking alcohol is to divide it up into stages. The first biological event your body goes through in alcohol withdrawal and detoxification is the level of the neurotransmitter GABA goes up. Alcohol blocks GABA function, so it’s free to provide you with an inebriated state.

When you stop drinking, your brain no longer has to block GABA functions. So, your brain begins to return to its normal state. The second biological event is the level of neurotransmitter glutamate goes down. It may be a slight amount, but it does go down.

Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that stimulates brain cells, causing them to be more “excited.” Several other neurotransmitter levels can go up, including dopamine.

Alcohol Withdrawal

While several neurotransmitter levels can go up like what happens with dopamine sometimes, they can also go down slightly. This means some neurotransmitters like acetylcholine, norepinephrine, serotonin go down, but no one can agree on what that means. Some addiction experts state that excitatory neurotransmitters go up or down to meet and balance out the GABA activity.

The neurotransmitters go up or down because GABA activity is up or down, and they want to balance things out in your brain. There is a plateau stage of alcohol you reach in the withdrawal process. It’s one of the hardest phases to get through mentally and physically.

You will feel awful during the plateau phase of alcohol withdrawal. The stages start about 2-3 days after you had your last drink.

Withdrawal and Detox

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms start about 10-12 hours after you quit drinking alcohol. However, some people don’t start experiencing alcohol withdrawal and detox symptoms for 48 hours. The symptoms continue to get worse the longer you go without a drink.

A primary symptom of alcohol withdrawal is confused thinking, moodiness, poor memory, disorientation, disorganized thinking, and more. Alcohol is a powerful foe. Alcohol actively prevents your brain from making new neurons to replace the old ones that were lost during your alcohol use. Also, you will start to experience physical symptoms.

Some of the physical symptoms include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Headaches
  • Decreased appetite
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Trembling

Your mental state will fluctuate between depression and sadness. You might also feel nervous or anxious.  Alcohol depresses your brain’s pleasure pathways too.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

You will notice that alcohol withdrawal creates behavioral symptoms like anger or irritability. Since alcohol lowers your inhibitions, and in most cases, makes you feel better about yourself. You start losing that layer of positive behavioral self-thinking as you go through alcohol withdrawal.

By the time you reach the crash stage of alcohol withdrawal, you’ll feel so bad you want to crawl into a corner. You may want to give up physically, psychologically, and behaviorally. This symptom is due to your brain being starved for alcohol, and it’s letting you know it wants it back.

Alcohol Withdrawal and Brain Chemistry 

You’ll also have headaches and feel so depressed you may want to die. The good news is your GABA brain levels are returning to normal, and such your symptoms lessen in intensity. You may still suffer from nausea, but that’s not directly linked to withdrawal.

Rather it’s because your brain’s chemistry is trying to figure out what’s going on. The recovery stage of alcohol withdrawal is where your brain is returning to normal GABA and glutamate levels. Without the alcohol to suppress them, your brain feels better, and you feel better.

Alcohol Withdrawal and Spiritual Experience 

There are people who report they have an epiphany or spiritual experience when going through alcohol withdrawal. More than likely, this was due to the brain secreting more dopamine when you’re sick. Your brain secretes more dopamine when you are sick so you can start to feel better.

It’s the sickness that stimulates your brain to make more dopamine. That’s also when your brain wants alcohol so that it can make dopamine. Your experiences during this time can be turbulent or euphoric because of high levels of dopamine.

Your Next Step in Alcohol Withdrawal and Detoxification

There is a place you can that understands how difficult it can be for you to reach out for help when you want to quit drinking alcohol. Cenikor has compassionate advisors that help you from the first step to the last one. Cenikor is there for you if you have questions and will answer your treatment concerns.

More than anything, Cenikor helps you turn the page on your old life. They can help you find the path towards a healthy future. Cenikor treats your whole person when you go through withdrawal and detoxification.

You want and need a program that helps you find the recovery tools you can use to fight alcohol addiction for the rest of your life. Cenikor optimizes your resilience while providing the compassionate treatment you deserve. Contact us today so your future has unlimited opportunities.

2
Apr

Strategies to Prevent Underage Drinking

Did you know that the average teen boy tries alcohol at age 11 and the average teen girl tries it at age 13? So if you have a teenager in the house, it’s very likely that they’ve already had their first sip of alcohol, and then some.

While this might cause some concern, you can’t control what your children do. After all, the more you forbid them from doing something, the more they’ll want to do it.

So if you want to prevent underage drinking, you might be stumped as to how you can do it effectively.

But rest assured that there are actual ways to keep your children from drinking without alienating them in the process. Read on for some good strategies you should use.

Be Open With Communication

If you think back to your own teenage years, you probably were confused and had a lot of questions about various things.

How did your own parents treat your inquisitive mind? If they constantly brushed you off, or worse yet, shut you down, then that might’ve driven a wedge between you and your parents. You probably felt like you couldn’t trust them with your feelings, so you never went to them for anything.

Most likely, you don’t want that to happen with you and your kids. The more they can trust you, the better the chance you have of catching underage drinking early on.

So the best thing you can do is be open with communication. Below are a few things to keep in mind.

 

Facilitate Conversations

It can be hard to communicate with a teen. So, you’ll want to try and ask open-ended questions instead of just “yes” or “no” ones.

For example, you can start off by asking your children if they’re interested in drinking. Whether they answer “yes” or “no,” don’t let the conversation end there.

Keep it going by asking them “why?” They might be surprised that you care to hear what they think. And you just might be surprised at what’s going on in their minds too!

Be Compassionate and Empathetic

All too often, parents brush off their children’s feelings as “just a phase” or “not that serious.” This can make teenagers feel belittled and as if they aren’t being heard and understood.

So no matter how trivial something might seem, always remember to be compassionate and empathetic. If your kids realize that you’re able to put yourself in their shoes, then they’ll trust you more and will be more willing to open up to you.

Be Honest

When it comes to preventing underage drinking, you might be tempted to use scare tactics. You might also want to only highlight the negatives of alcohol and avoid talking about the positives.

But teens are very good at picking up on things. If you’re all doom and gloom about alcohol, they’ll know something’s up. Adults love to drink, and most do so in moderation, after all, so something doesn’t add up here.

Be honest—yes, it’s fun, exciting, and sometimes relaxing to drink alcohol. But if you drink too much, you might end up making bad decisions and doing damage to your body, both mentally and physically. Not to mention, there’s the very real issue of addiction.

It might help to do some research and find out some underage drinking statistics so you can present them to your kids. That way, they know you’re not making things up.

It can also be useful to go over the consequences of underage drinking, especially the legal ones.

And if you have a family history of addiction, don’t hide this either. This makes your teens more susceptible to addiction, and they deserve to know about it. Together, you can discuss and figure out what this means for them.

Don’t Get Angry

You were a teenager once and you know just how many slipups you made in those years. So why should you expect your children to be perfect?

You should be clear about your expectations that they shouldn’t drink and that they shouldn’t hang around people who drink either. And you should also agree on the consequences if they don’t follow your expectations.

But if they do make a mistake, don’t get angry and yell at them. You can feel free to express that you’re disappointed but make that the extent of it and then carry out the agreed-upon consequences calmly.

Get Help if Needed

Maybe at the time of reading, you already suspect that your teen is drinking alcohol. This might have you worried, but don’t lose hope.

You’ll want to sit down with your child and ask them things such as how often do they drink, why they drink, and if they have trouble stopping. If they seem to have an alcohol dependence, you might want to send them to adolescent inpatient treatment.

These programs will help teens pave the road to healthy lifestyles. So the earlier you get intervention, the better.

 

Prevent Underage Drinking With Our Tips

You’ll probably recall that being a teenager wasn’t the easiest thing. Those years were tough, with changes in your body, new schools, and judgment from your peers. If you keep that in mind, then it can be easier to see why underage drinking is so appealing to your kids.

When you can show them that you understand and can put yourself in their shoes, your teens will be more receptive to what you have to say. By approaching them with the correct attitude and strategies, you’ll be able to keep them safe and increase the chances of them growing up happy and healthy.

If you feel that your teen can benefit from adolescent inpatient treatment, then get in touch with us today. We’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

15
Mar

What Happens During Detox?

About 23.5 billion Americans are addicted to alcohol and drugs. That’s one in every 10 Americans above the age of 12! Meanwhile, only 11% of addicts receive treatment.

Are you considering making a positive change in your life by detoxing? It’s important to prepare yourself first. Otherwise, you might fail to detox in a safe environment.

What happens during detox? Keep reading to find out. In this guide, we’ll review everything you need to know before starting the detox process.

With this guide, you can prepare yourself for the road to recovery. Get started by learning what to expect during detox today.

 

What is Detox?

First, let’s answer the question that’s likely on your mind: what does detox mean?

The detox process allows you to remove all traces of alcohol and drugs from your body. After a detox, you should feel physically stable. Detoxing can prepare your mind and body for therapy.

Over time, your body can become accustomed to having drugs or alcohol in your system. You could become dependent on drugs. Meanwhile, your body can build a tolerance, requiring you to use more to experience results.

When you reduce and remove these substances from your system, your brain will need to adjust. Many people experience withdrawal symptoms during the detox process.

A professional detox from drugs and alcohol can help minimize your withdrawal symptoms. A professional team will ensure you’re as comfortable as possible. With their help, you can detox safely.

Detoxing alone, however, is unadvised. You might not receive the care you need in time. If you fail the process alone, your motivation to complete a successful detox could drop.

Look for a detox facility that offers access to medically trained specialists. You’ll remain under the care of healthcare professionals, including nurses and doctors, during the detox process.

 

How to Tell You Need to Detox

The number of alcohol liver disease deaths has already reached 24,110 a year. By determining if you need to detox, you can avoid long-term consequences, including death. Here are a few signs that could indicate you need to start the detox process.

One of the main signs you need to detox from alcohol or drugs is an increased dependence. Do you feel like you can’t get through the day without drugs? It’s likely you need to start the detox process.

Do you need to use more of a substance to feel its effects? You’ve likely developed a tolerance. You could overdose as a result.

 

Here are a few other ways to tell you should start the process of detox.

 

  1. Addiction Symptoms

Have you started demonstrating symptoms of addiction? For example, maybe you’re taking reckless risks while under the influence. Perhaps you’ve developed a habit of driving while drunk.

If you’ve started making dangerous, life-threatening choices, you might want to consider getting treatment. Start detoxing before you put your life in jeopardy.

Talk to your doctor, too. Have they noticed your health has deteriorated over time? Drug and alcohol use can damage essential organs.

You could put your heart, brain, and liver at risk.

Drug and alcohol use can also increase your risk of hepatitis C, heart failure, HIV, and other conditions.

Have your friends and family members started commenting on your substance abuse? They’ll likely notice signs of your addiction before you do. If they’re concerned, don’t shrug it off.

Instead, take their warnings seriously. It’s likely they only want to help.

Your addiction could get you in legal trouble, too. For example, you might get arrested for buying or selling drugs. You could get caught stealing or driving drunk.

Violent behavior is a common issue, too.

Are you neglecting your responsibilities? Have you missed work or school as a result of your addiction? Consider getting help.

If you don’t know how to stop using, look into local detox centers. Professional medical help will ensure you detox in a safe environment. Otherwise, detoxing alone could prove detrimental to your health.

 

  1. Exhaustion and Stress

Alcohol and drug abuse can impact both the mind and body. If you’re feeling stressed, it could lead to other health issues, including weight gain and sleep deprivation. Stress can also trigger depression and other health issues.

You might rely on drugs and alcohol even more to minimize your stress.

Learning more about what happens during detox could help. During a detox, you can focus on improving your mental and physical health. You can minimize the stress in your life and find healthy coping mechanisms.

 

  1. Skin Issues

Substance abuse can impact your skin health, too. Toxins will start to build up under the skin. Meanwhile, toxins can also overload your liver.

You could experience acne, itchy skin, eczema, and other issues.

Detoxing can help remove the toxins from your body to minimize skin problems.

 

  1. Sore Joints and Muscles

Are you experiencing more aches and pains throughout the day? It’s possible your body is inflamed. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to illness, disease, and toxins.

Too much inflammation over time can cause sore joints and muscles.

In addition to detoxing, you can add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. Consider using ginger, turmeric, and garlic to ease inflammation.

 

  1. Digestion Issues

Are you experiencing stomach pains and digestion issues? You might experience bloating, diarrhea, or gas. Listen to your gut!

It’s telling you something is wrong.

If you’re experiencing digestion issues, take it as a sign you need to detox from alcohol or drugs. Otherwise, substance abuse can cause your entire body to deteriorate over time.

 

The Detox Process

With treatment, about 70% of alcoholics can decrease the number of days they consume alcohol. They can also improve their overall health within six months.

Are you thinking about undergoing the detox process? Here’s what happens during detox. By learning more about the process, you can prepare yourself before treatment.

 

Medical Assessment

What happens during detox? First, you’ll need to undergo a medical assessment.

A medical professional will gather information about your medical history. They’ll also ask for information about your addiction, including your substance of choice. This assessment will help them determine your unique needs.

Your team might need to take blood work to assess your health. They’ll also use testing to check your mental and physical wellbeing.

An assessment will help your medical team create your personalized detox plan.

 

Withdrawal

The detox process ensures you safely manage your withdrawal symptoms under medical supervision. When you quit using dangerous substances, your body will need time to adjust. Without drugs or alcohol in your system, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms.

 

These symptoms can include:

  • Fever and flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Moodiness
  • Aggression
  • Headaches
  • Skin-related changes (acne, itching, rashes, etc.)
  • Body aches and pains
  • Physical and emotional symptoms
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Shainess
  • Unstable blood pressure and heart rate changes
  • Sweating
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations

You could also experience delirium tremens (DTs). The DTs are a life-threatening concern. You could become restless, confused, or get upset.

You might experience seizures, hallucinations, and develop a fever, too.

Every detox process is different. The type of substance you used and the severity of your addiction can impact your detox. If you’ve used drugs or alcohol over years, your body’s reaction to detoxing could become more intense.

During the detox process, you might need to take medication to ease your symptoms. These symptoms could last for a week or more. The worst of it will occur within 24 to 72 hours of starting the detox.

 

A Safe Environment

Detoxing with professional help will ensure you remain in a safe environment. You’ll likely start your detox in a hospital-like setting. You’ll have privacy as you begin your detox.

Detoxing in a safe environment will ensure you don’t have access to drugs or alcohol.

Your detox team will monitor your overall health. They’ll determine which medications and treatments you need for successful treatment.

Once you complete the detox process, you can move into an inpatient care facility.

There are two types of detox programs: inpatient and outpatient. With inpatient treatment, you’ll remain in a detox clinic, rehab center, or hospital. You’ll receive around-the-clock care.

With outpatient treatment, you’ll live at home. You could visit a health care professional regularly during the course of your treatment.

Inpatient care ensures you require help 24/7.

 

Support

During your detox process, you’ll have a team of dedicated professionals supporting you. They’ll help you manage your physical and psychological symptoms. You’ll also have a licensed counselor on your team.

They’ll help you adjust to any emotional components of your disease.

Make sure to look for a program that gives you access to certified and licensed providers.

 

What Happens During Detox: Your Guide to Getting Clean

You don’t have to go through the detox process alone. Now that you know what happens during detox, you can get the help you need. Consider finding a detox facility to begin your treatment today.

With professional help, you can detox safely and successfully.

Eager to start your detox process? We’re here to help.

Contact us at 1-888-236-4567 today to get started.

3
Mar

Binge Drinking and Alcohol Abuse Facts

Did you know that an estimated 3 million deaths (over 5% of all deaths) occur as a result of alcohol worldwide every year? Do you worry that you or a loved one is dealing with binge drinking or alcohol abuse, and may become part of that statistic?

While not always related, binge drinking & alcohol abuse are closely tied. Many people don’t recognize that they have a problem until it’s too late, and then they have to go through a painful detox and recovery period.

We want to keep you informed with binge drinking & alcohol abuse facts so you know what to look out for, what risks are associated, and how you or your loved one can recover. Keep reading to learn more.

 

What Is Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is a common practice and most people who binge drink don’t suffer from an alcohol use disorder. That said, it isn’t safe and someone who binge drinks on occasion should stay aware of their alcohol intake and keep tabs on their health

When someone binge drinks, it means that they’re drinking enough to raise their blood alcohol content (BAC) to over .08%. The amount of alcohol that causes your BAC to rise that high varies based on multiple factors including altitude, body weight, speed, food intake, and sex (men can often drink more than women).

On average, 5 drinks for men and 4 drinks for women (within two hours) is considered binge drinking.

Binge drinking is common amongst college-aged adults and often normalized to the point that no one considers it a health concern. Binge drinking may result in alcohol poisoning or risky behaviors.

 

Is Binge Drinking Always Alcohol Abuse?

As we mentioned, binge drinking isn’t always an indication of an alcohol use disorder. While these people are technically abusing alcohol by drinking too much, it doesn’t mean that they have an alcohol problem per se. You need to look at it on a case-by-case basis.

For example, someone who drinks too much at the occasional party or event, or someone who misjudges their tolerance based on new factors (like medication, weight loss, or food intake for the night) likely doesn’t have an alcohol use disorder as long as they later recognize their mistake.

When someone binge drinks often, though (like every week or even every day), it’s a problem. This is one of the primary issues with the normalization of binge drinking for college students.

When partying too hard is the norm, these students are at risk of developing alcoholism and future health problems. They aren’t yet aware of important alcohol abuse facts, so they’re putting themselves at risk.

 

How Do You Know If You Have an Alcohol Problem?

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re worried that you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol. Whether you’ve had one bad night out or you’ve noticed unhealthy patterns, it’s great that you’re doing your research.

There are several key signs that someone may be abusing alcohol to the extent that it’s become a problem. They include:

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Neglecting responsibilities (like school or work) in exchange for alcohol
  • Frequent stomach pain
  • An inability to know when it’s time to stop
  • An increased alcohol tolerance
  • Mood disruption
  • An inability to feel “normal” when not under the influence of alcohol
  • Frequent alcohol cravings
  • Drinking in excess when alone

From time to time, most of these things can be normal. In combination, though, they’re problematic. These factors are a sign that it may be time to seek out counseling or a recovery center. It’s also a good idea to talk to friends and family to see if they’ve noticed any strange behavior.

 

What Are Alcohol Abuse Risk Factors?

Did you know that there are some things that make people more susceptible to abusing alcohol?

Because many people use alcohol to self-medicate, both mental illness and chronic pain are large risk factors for alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, because alcohol is a depressant, these people are actually doing more damage.

While they may get relief from pain or mental struggles for the moment (because alcohol inhibits the central nervous system), in the long run, they’re harming their minds and their bodies and preventing themselves from healing.

The more alcohol you drink, the less that it affects you (which is why people drink greater amounts over time).

A family history of alcoholism or addiction is another risk factor for alcohol abuse, as well as a family or friend group that’s normalized binge drinking even without alcoholism being a factor.

Being in college or in an industry where drinking is the norm (such as bartending) is another risk factor.

 

What Are the Dangers Associated With Alcohol Abuse?

People seek recovery because alcohol abuse is dangerous. Are you familiar with the harm that it causes?

There are plenty of short-term and long-term dangers that you should be aware of so that you can keep an eye on your own condition.

 

Short-Term Dangers and Side-Effects

There are some dangers that aren’t only associated with alcoholism, but also with short-term alcohol overuse (including binge drinking). Many people who have experienced the aftermath of too many drinks are familiar with these side-effects.

They include:

  • Headaches
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mood disruptions
  • Fatigue

There are dangers associated with this kind of drinking as well. While the previous “hangover” symptoms go away, some dangers are deadly, even when they’re the result of a single night of drinking.

They include:

  • Recklessness and risky behaviors
  • Risky sexual encounters (that could end in STDs)
  • Fetal alcohol poisoning (if pregnant)
  • Car accidents
  • Alcohol poisoning

People are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors after they’ve been drinking too much because of how alcohol inhibits the nervous system. You’re unable to make clear decisions.

This is the primary factor behind drunk driving. No one sets out to drive dangerously; they don’t realize that they’re too drunk to drive.

This is also what leads to plenty of injuries from other risk-taking behaviors like swimming while drunk, trying to perform physical feats, and getting into fights.

While a single night of alcohol overuse doesn’t usually have serious results, these also aren’t uncommon.

 

Long-Term Dangers and Side-Effects

When you abuse alcohol for a long time, you have a greater chance of experiencing negative side-effects and dangers. This is why it’s so important to catch alcohol abuse before it turns into alcoholism.

Side-effects include:

  • Frequent fatigue
  • Irritability when sober
  • Personality changes
  • Isolation
  • Poor school or work performance

While these side-effects may seem mild, they’re signs that you need to stop or you’ll start facing serious consequences. Those consequences may include:

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Alcohol addiction
  • Liver damage or disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Memory problems
  • A weakened immune system
  • Various types of cancers
  • exacerbated mental health problems
  • Withdrawal

Many of these dangers can end in severe illness, or worse, death. While it’s not considered as “serious” as addictions to hard drugs, alcohol abuse and addiction can still be disastrous.

 

How Can Someone Recover From Alcohol Abuse?

If you’re worried that you’ve been abusing alcohol, the first thing that you should do is see if you’re able to cut back on your own. Abusing alcohol doesn’t automatically mean that you have an addiction.

Reduce or omit alcohol from your life for a few weeks and if you feel the need to reintroduce it during social events or gatherings, don’t have more than a single drink.

If this is too difficult and you find yourself craving alcohol or feeling withdrawal symptoms, it’s time to seek out professional help. Withdrawal is dangerous, so having professionals on your side is the best way to go.

There are plenty of recovery options for people who choose to seek treatment. They usually start with detox to rid your body of residual alcohol so you can begin to recover.

After this, you can choose between inpatient and outpatient treatments. Inpatient (or residential) treatment is for serious recovery. People in residential treatment are removed from the stressors of everyday life and put into intensive counseling programs to get them ready to return to a healthy life.

People who can’t afford to stay in a residential treatment center (whether for financial reasons or because of responsibilities) may benefit from outpatient treatment. You still get high-quality counseling and support, but you’re able to continue living at home.

The most important part of recovery is developing an effective support system.

 

Binge Drinking & Alcohol Abuse Are Serious

Binge drinking & alcohol abuse don’t always end in alcohol addiction, but they still present health risks and addiction is always a possibility.

If you’re worried that you’ve been consuming too much alcohol and you don’t feel capable of handling it on your own, it may be time to seek professional help.

Do you want guidance for your alcohol abuse problem? We’re here to support you. With detox programs, inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and recovery support, we at Cenikor want to help you heal.

Contact us at 1-888-236-4567 to talk to one of our compassionate advisors about your treatment options.

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Mon – Fri: 8AM to 7PM
Sat – Sun: 8AM to 5PM
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