How Long Does Methamphetamine Stay In Your System? How Long Does Methamphetamine Stay in Your System_

Methamphetamine abuse can lead to binges which last several days. Abuse of meth, especially prolonged abuse, can be damaging to a person’s health. Binges can result in irritability, paranoia, and even psychosis. Knowing how long methamphetamine stays in your system can be useful when meth abuse is suspected. Methamphetamine abuse and addiction are best treated under careful monitoring in an inpatient environment.

Methamphetamine, commonly called meth, produces an instant, though short-lived, rush feeling for those who take it. It’s the reason many seek the drug. But because the rush wears off quickly, many people seek meth again and again. How Long Does Methamphetamine Stay in Your System_ Commonly Called Meth

Drugs which produce an initial rush followed by a high (feeling of intense euphoria and increased activity) tend to be highly addictive. Meth is no exception. Yet the stages of meth abuse can be dangerous, especially for those who continually abuse the drug.

It may be helpful to know how long methamphetamine stays in your system if you believe someone you know is abusing the drug. Meth abuse leads to a number of risks, including dissociation of the mind and high risk of self-harm or harm to others (at worst). Treatment is the safest way to ensure those abusing meth find help to quit use of it.

Duration Of Meth In Your System

Research conducted on how long meth stays in the body often involves the blood-to-plasma ratio. This measures the amount of meth in the whole blood. Other measurements may examine only how much meth is in plasma, which can be misleading if concentrations of the drug differ between red blood cells and plasma.

Measures of meth in your system works like this, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • Peak blood methamphetamine concentrations:
    • A few minutes after smoking or injecting
    • Around 3 hours after taking orally
  • Peak amphetamine concentrations (after broken down from methamphetamine):
    • 12 hours
  • Elimination half-life (time to meth concentration cut in half):
    • Mean measure is 10.1 hours
    • Range of 6.4 to 15 hours

For each dose of meth, it takes anywhere from two to 10 days to leave the body. This number can change though, depending on usage; the more meth abused, the longer it takes to leave the body. How Long Does Methamphetamine Stay in Your System_ 24 Hours

The short-term side effects experienced can last up to 24 hours, but with binges, this can change. Detection of meth in drug tests is confirmed usually within one to four days after use, but can be confirmed up to a week after heavy use, according to the NHTSA.

The Stages Of The Meth High

  • Initial rush:
    • When a person abuses meth, he or she first experiences the rush, or the initial surge of euphoria. This feeling lasts from a few minutes up to 30 minutes.
    • During that time, the person’s heart rate increases and other systems in the body escalate, including blood pressure, pulse, and metabolism.
  • High:
    • After the rush comes the high. According to, “during the high the abuser often feels aggressively smarter and becomes argumentative, often interrupting other people and finishing their sentences.” This stage is often characterized by delusions.
    • Delusions lead the person to focus solely on one small thing; the person may place high importance on small tasks, like repetitive motions (stroking something or wiping a surface). The high can last from four to 16 hours.
  • Binge:
    • People affected by meth abuse may take several doses in a row to ensure a string of continuous highs. This process, known as a binge, results in hyperactivity. When a person abusing meth goes on a binge, he or she can go for days without sleep or food.
    • Binges can last three to up to 15 days, according to the Center for Abuse Substance Research (CESAR). The purpose of the binge is to continue the high and re-experience the rush. But each time a person injects or smokes meth, the rush is less potent, the high less effective, until neither is experienced at all.
  • Tweaking:
    • It is during the binge that a person abusing meth experiences the most dangerous stage of meth abuse: tweaking. After lack of sleep and food for days, and with a constant stream of meth in the system, a person becomes paranoid and irritable.
    • Though this stage is plagued by intense craving for the rush and high, the person likely can’t get the desired effects because he or she has developed tolerance.
    • Tweaking presents danger because it may result in violence which can lead to domestic disputes or criminal acts, or even car accidents.
    • Tweaking is characterized by: eyes moving extremely fast, quivering voice, jerky movements.

Factors For Duration

Because many people who abuse meth engage in a binge, it is important to know how long meth stays in your system. A few things affect the duration of meth in the body, and include:

  • Method of administration: smoked, injected, or swallowed. Smoking or injecting results in quick onset; taking orally results in slower onset.
  • How many doses have been taken
  • How long it has been since last dose
  • How well it is metabolized: the state of your liver and kidneys

How Is Meth Metabolized?

The body immediately begins to metabolize meth, first breaking it down partly to amphetamine. Within a few hours, the body continues to break down the methamphetamine and amphetamine left in the bloodstream. How Long Does Methamphetamine Stay in Your System_ Liver and Kidney

The liver and kidneys do their work filtering out the chemicals of meth, as does urination. In fact, as much as 30 to 54 percent of meth can leave the body through urine as “unchanged methamphetamine” and 10 to 23 percent as “unchanged amphetamine,” according to the NHTSA. The majority of meth leaves the body without metabolizing at all.

How Does Meth Affect Your Health?

In addition to being highly addictive, meth can cause damaging effects to your health. Psychological dependence can result because the rush effects are desirable: excitement, high energy, talkativeness. People who abuse meth may associate this time with increased abilities to perform or achieve tasks (part of the delusions they experience).

But taking high doses or prolonged abuse can lead to less desirable effects to your health. For example, chronic use can lead to: irritability, nervousness, paranoia, violent behavior and extreme depression. All of these symptoms can contribute to increased likelihood of self-harm or harm of others. Left untreated, prolonged meth abuse can trigger psychosis similar to schizophrenia.

Adverse health effects associated with long-term abuse may include:

  • Meth mouth: tooth decay, cracked teeth, and gum disease
  • Brain damage
  • Breakdown of immune system
  • Skin lesions (sores)
  • High blood pressure
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Stroke
  • Heart problems
  • Lung disease
  • Kidney or liver damage
  • Overdose and death

How Do You Treat Methamphetamine Abuse?

Treatment for meth first involves detoxification (detox). This first necessary step allows chemicals acquired during abuse to leave the body. This process can be dangerous when performed alone. Inpatient rehab centers can provide the medical and professional support necessary to get through it.

After being assessed, you’ll get treatment for meth abuse and any co-occurring substance abuse disorders or mental health disorders. Meth abuse may be coupled with alcohol abuse or abuse of other depressants, and can be characterized by anxiety, depression, or psychosis. It is important to recognize and treat all co-occurring disorders to ensure the best chance at recovery.

Inpatient rehab centers can provide the mental and emotional support you’ll lack in outpatient treatment. Evidence-based treatment options and licensed medical staff make treatment in a rehab center the quality experience it should be—a chance to rebuild a life without meth.

Get Information About Treatment

When people we know are in the grips of addiction, it can be frightening. Methamphetamine binges can last for days, and if someone you know is experiencing this, you may not know what to do next. We can help get your loved one into treatment, and find a recovery plan that works. Contact us today at to learn more about treating meth addiction and the rehab center difference.

If you or a loved one is battling methamphetamine abuse or addiction, contact us now!

For More Information Related to “How Long Does Methamphetamine Stay In Your System?” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From



Center For Abuse Substance Research—Methamphetamine
Drug Free World—The Stages Of The Meth Experience
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—Methamphetamine (And Amphetamine)
National Institute On Drug Abuse—DrugFacts: Methamphetamine
National Institute On Drug Abuse—What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Methamphetamine Abuse?

What Does Alcohol Do To The Brain? What Does Alcohol Do to the Brain_

Alcohol abuse and addiction affect the brain and body, but may have lasting effects on the brain. The impact of alcohol on the brain can range from moderate to severe. One of the most dire effects is memory loss and changes. can direct you to treatment resources who can help you overcome alcohol abuse or addiction.

Over seven percent of adults (ages 18 and above) in the United States had an alcohol use disorder in 2012, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). In addition, more than 850,000 youth ages 12-17 also suffered with the disorder. Abuse of alcohol is far-reaching, and it can have damaging effects to the brain and body. What Does Alcohol Do to the Brain_ Seven Percent

From short-term effects like slurred speech and blurred vision to long-term effects, such as memory loss and brain damage, it is clear alcohol has a negative impact on the brain.

About Alcohol Abuse And Addiction

People seek use of alcohol for many different reasons. Some may be looking for ways to cope with stress, others may need relief from symptoms of mental health issues like anxiety or depression. Still others may feel that alcohol provides a sense of calm and relaxation unmatched by other substances or in life.

While plenty of people can have a drink or two without developing addiction, many don’t have this luxury. That’s because when abuse turns to addiction, a person is no longer the only one in control of their thoughts and actions; they are ruled by their addiction to alcohol. Addiction is a force to be reckoned with, and it doesn’t give up easily.

How Does Alcohol Work In The Brain?

The NIAAA explains that, “exactly how alcohol affects the brain and the likelihood of reversing the impact of heavy drinking on the brain remain hot topics in alcohol research today.” Here’s what is certain about how alcohol works in the brain:

  • Heavy drinking can have drastic effects, both short- and long-term, on the brain
  • The effects can range from small gaps in memory to damaging conditions which can permanently debilitate a person
  • Even moderate drinking results in impaired thoughts and actions

What Factors Influence The Effects of Alcohol?

How and to what extent alcohol affects the brain depends on a number of factors, including: What Does Alcohol Do to the Brain_ Factors Influence


  • How many drinks per day, or at one time?
  • How much alcohol is consumed over an extended period of time?


  • How often does a person drink?


  • When did the person first start drinking?
  • The person’s current age


  • How long has the person been drinking heavily?
  • How long has the person had an addiction to alcohol?

Social factors:

  • Level of education

Family history:

Personal factors:

  • Gender
  • Overall health

What Are The Short-Term Effects Of Alcohol?

Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication system, changing the way it works. This change affects mood and behavior, as thinking becomes difficult and movement becomes slowed. Some short-term effects may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Memory gaps (blackouts)
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble walking

Blackouts, or lapses in memory, are one of the ways alcohol affects the brain which cannot be explained. Blackouts can occur after only a few drinks, though memory gaps may continue to happen the more a person drinks. In fact, the NIAAA states that, “blackouts are much more common among social drinkers than previously assumed… regardless of age or whether the drinker is clinically dependent on alcohol.”

With such a drastic effect after moderate abuse, treatment for alcohol abuse and addiction can provide a welcome relief. can connect you with treatment resources.

What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Alcohol?

Prolonged abuse of alcohol can result in serious and permanent damage to the brain. The damage can be caused by the alcohol itself or from the breakdown in the body after years of abuse.

For example, many people abusing alcohol also have poor health in general or extensive damage to the liver. Inadequate sleep, improper nutrition, lack of exercise, and perhaps co-occurring disorders (a second substance addiction or mental disorder) can all affect the degree of damage to the brain caused by alcohol.

One important way the extent of brain damage is affected by these things is lack of nutrients. When a person does not get the proper intake of nutrients, resulting in a deficiency, that person’s brain cannot function as it is meant to do. What Does Alcohol Do to the Brain_ Serious And Permanent

Certain brain disorders may occur as a result of long-term alcohol abuse. One such disorder is called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. This syndrome occurs due to a lack of the nutrient thiamine in the body. As many as 80 percent of those with an alcohol addiction lack this nutrient, the NIAAA explains.

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome can go one of two ways: it can be “short-lived and severe” or it can be debilitating. The short-lived, severe version involves confusion, troubles with muscle coordination, and paralysis of the nerves that move the eyes. With this version of the syndrome, a person may not be able to walk or direct his or her way around without help.

When this syndrome persists, and the deficiency is not remedied, addicted individuals can develop psychosis. This ultimately results in learning and memory issues. People with this version of the syndrome can have troubles both remembering whole parts of their lives as well as recalling conversations which happened only hours before.

Use of alcohol can quickly become abuse, and abuse turns quickly to addiction. Before addiction overtakes your health, seek the help you need and deserve. Inpatient treatment centers offer quality, professional support and care.

Who Is Affected By Alcohol Abuse And Addiction?

As with so many substances of abuse, no one is immune to the risks of alcohol abuse. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that half the people in the United States ages 12 and older are “current drinkers of alcohol.” Women may be more affected by the effects of alcohol abuse, including damage to the brain, however men are more likely to report alcohol abuse overall. Though non-Hispanic white people account for the largest percent of people abusing alcohol, no demographic is unaffected by alcohol abuse. What Does Alcohol Do to the Brain_ Current Drinkers

Available Treatments And Where To Find Them

Abuse of alcohol has been around for centuries, and effective treatment has not always been available. In the past few decades, though, treatments have improved, largely thanks to inpatient rehab centers.

Some of the most effective methods are:

Many of these treatments and more are offered at our inpatient rehab centers. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction, don’t wait until you experience lasting effects to your brain. Contact us today at to learn how to get into treatment.

If you or a loved one is battling alcohol abuse or addiction, contact us now!

For More Information Related to “What Does Alcohol Do To The Brain?” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From



Centers For Disease Control—Alcohol And Public Health
Drug Free World—Short- And Long-Term Effects Of Alcohol
National Institute On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism—Alcohol’s Damaging Effects On The Brain
National Institute On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism—Alcohol’s Effects On The Body
Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration—Alcohol

Heroin Addiction And Depression Heroin Addiction And Depression

Mental disorders and addiction are often linked hand in hand. Sometimes it’s hard to know which occurred first. People who suffer from depression may use heroin to self medicate, but once the euphoria wears off it can leave individuals worse off, and in certain circumstances, with a greater illness to battle. Symptoms of depression can intensify when using heroin over a period of time. Within America, 15 percent of the population has suffered from depression.

Within the United States, 15 percent of the population is impacted by depression—making it the most common mental illness. Having little to no emotional sense of pleasure to form normal relationships, hobbies, and/or school or work connections—imagine if this was you. For the many individuals who contend with depression, these struggles are part of their everyday battle—one which may be worsened by heroin abuse and addiction. Heroin Addiction And Depression 15 Percent

Many times a mental disorder and addiction link arms, which presents a challenge when both diagnoses are severe in a person. These two separate brain disorders intermingle, greatly impacting the other, and they both need treatment. Does drug abuse create a mental illness? The specific drug may trigger a mental disorder in people who are more genetically susceptible; however, in others, it’s not the drugs that cause it, instead the substances aggravate existing symptoms.

Mental Illness And Self Medication

People who suffer from mental illness can be prone to abusing drugs as a form of self-medication. When using these drugs, the individual may feel some temporary relief from mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, stress, etc. For example, a youth may have the beginning stages of a mental disorder and so he begins abusing drugs. Suddenly, the symptoms of the disorder heighten much quicker than they originally would have, thereby increasing the drug abuse.

How Are Depression And Addiction Related?

The areas of the brain which are impacted by depression are extremely similar to the areas affected by addiction. Both addiction and depression are centered in the same behavioral areas, including those responsible for pleasure, motivation, reward, and neurovegetative functions. Research continues to examine the relationship involving the two. There is still not a clear understanding of the root cause of the mood differences which involve depression. Heroin Addiction And Depression Examine The Relationship

Many brain regions associated with addiction share a variety of symptoms with depression, and studies of patients with depression were reported as having abnormalities in these same brain areas. Though there has been contradictory reports as well, further research is still needed. There is also a high rate of suicide with heroin addicts.

Does Heroin Make Depression Worse?

The reward pathways in the brain, when they have little activation, can cause depression. For some who suffer from it, especially those who already abuse heroin, turning to drugs to create a leveled out feeling in brain may seem like an easy fix. When a drug, such as heroin, is used to treat symptoms like depression, it often leads an individual down a path worse than where they even started from. Those who are prone to one mental illness, can easy obtain two such as a co-occurring drug addiction. Many of the same pathways, chemicals in the brain, and molecules from addiction are also present in mental illness—thus linking them strongly together.

It can be far too easy to judge those who are addicted to heroin or another type of drug as doing so from weaknesses of their morals or character, however, this is not the case. An addiction is a disease of the brain, one that has the potential to worsen other disorders, such as depression, or even cause it. Some people who start off using prescription painkillers end up down the path of addiction, even progressing to heroin, even though they started off with legitimate concerns of pain.

What Is The Impact Of Addiction?

When dealing with a heroin addiction, an individual often goes through many different types of battles, such as neglecting relationships and responsibilities, random mood swings, health troubles, lying, or often buying drugs instead of paying bills, etc. These negative changes may foster addiction. Heroin Addiction And Depression Negative Changes

The cycle of addiction is a constant up and down—extreme pleasure and comfort, followed by the lows—which may at first make an individual just feel “normal.” However, when a person first takes heroin, the euphoria is typically unlike anything they’ve ever felt, but after awhile, the once pleasurable feelings start to level out, and again, they feel normal. Overtime, the euphoria diminishes, and eventually, the situation progresses to the point where life, and their moods, starts to feel terrible unless they have heroin. The problem which starts to develop with prolonged abuse is that an individual needs more of the drug to not just feel the euphoria, but also the normal feelings. As this occurs, a person needs more and more heroin to feel even that—this is called a tolerance.

Soon depression settles in, even after abusing the drug—and it may not matter how much is abused—a person is often unable to shake the depressed feelings. This soon turns into a cycle of a person self-medicating their own depression. To top it off, there are additional side effects associated with withdrawal as well, including depression. Quitting can be difficult for those individuals who face depression, physical withdrawal symptoms, and cravings.

Help Is Always Here

If you or a loved one is battling heroin addiction and depression, contact us now!

When dealing with depression or a heroin addiction, there is help available for you. Whether the heroin addiction came first and ended in depression or vise versa, we are here to support you. Facing the duality of both of these mental illnesses can be difficult to overcome, but with our assistance you can overcome these battles. Contact us today at


For More Information Related to “Heroin Addiction And Depression” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From



U.S. National Library of Medicine — Depression, Hopelessness, And Suicidal Intent Among Heroin Addicts
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — Tips For Teens: The Truth About Heroin
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai — Molecular Basis Of Addiction And Depression

Substance Abuse and Panic Attacks Panic Attacks_

Substance abuse can lead to anxiety disorders, which are characterized by frequent and unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden bouts of fear and increased heart rate, or a fear of impending doom. With anxiety disorders–that fear never goes away. Some substances, legal or illegal, can make a person more likely to experience the adverse symptoms of an anxiety disorder. There is treatment available for substance abuse disorders–you don’t have to be afraid anymore. Panic Attacks_20 minutesEvery little kid walks through a dark alley and gets the heebie jeebies, it’s just part of growing up. As they get older and recognize that there is no boogie man there to get them, they relinquish the fear and grow out of it. Some people go through life with that constant fear that something bad will happen. They very well could be suffering from a panic attack, which is defined by the National Institute of Mental Health as a sudden attack of anxiety and overwhelming fear. Frequently, though many panic attacks are direct results of an anxiety disorder or panic disorder, in which that fear is constant. Certain drugs can trigger a panic attack in an individual.

Anxiety Disorder And Panic Attacks

As previously clarified, anxiety is a sudden feeling of fear. Anxiety can be a normal reaction to heart wrenching situations–driving a car for the first time, the first day of school, or the moment before a big game. A person suffering from an anxiety disorder can experience this feeling constantly, these bouts of fear are known as a panic attacks. Panic attacks can last for up to 20 minutes. A person with an anxiety disorder also is likely to experience some of these symptoms: (U.S. Library of Medicine):

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Fear of dying
  • Fear of losing control or impending doom
  • Feeling of choking
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Feelings of unreality
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or face
  • Palpitations, fast heart rate, or pounding heart
  • Sensation of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Sweating, chills, or hot flashes
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Substance Induced Anxiety Disorder Panic Attacks_39%Not every substance will cause a panic attack, however, there are certain drugs that can. Some people suffering from a substance abuse disorder (or better understand by their lack of ability to stop using a drug even when they want to) migh have a delusion that impending doom awaits them if they don’t “get their fix.” A person suffering from a heroin addiction might constantly think about the drug, but if there is none left? Well that’s when the fear of withdrawal, or fear that they won’t get high again might set in. In a study conducted by the U.S. Library of Medicine, “Of 97 individuals with panic, 39% had abused at least one substance.”

Substances That Can Cause Anxiety And Paranoia

The substances associated with panic attacks can vary, but generally, if a drug increases heart rate–it can also increase the risk of a panic attack. Some (but not all) of the different drugs that can lead to a panic attack are: Caffeine; Alcohol; Heroin and other Opioids; Cocaine; Marijuana; Sedatives; Nicotine; and Hallucinogens.

Caffeine Abuse And Panic Attacks Panic Attacks_CaffeineCaffeine is not always associated with substance abuse; however, it’s still a drug. When caffeine is consumed in heavy quantities, or more than a healthy amount, that’s abuse. Caffeine is a stimulant, and after it’s ingested (whether it’s in a pill form or in a beverage) it raises the heart rate. According to the National Center for Biotechnology information, caffeine is associated with an increased number of panic attacks for people who are predisposed to them.

Alcohol Abuse And Panic Attacks Panic Attacks_AlcoholAlcohol is a drug which is sometimes referred to as “liquid courage”, because it can cause a person to do things that they might not normally do. Alcohol can lead to mood swings and temper tantrums–a person who abuses alcohol may exhibit bouts of rage, anxiety, and increased danger to his or herself and others. Withdrawal from alcohol can also lead to symptoms such as anxiety and panic attacks, but it can also lead to insomnia, delirium tremens, sweating profusely, depression, delusions, nightmares, and seizures. According to NCBI, “Alcohol-induced deliriums after high-dose drinking are characterized by fluctuating mental status, confusion, and disorientation.”

Marijuana Abuse And Panic Attacks Panic Attacks_MarijuanaMarijuana can be smoked, consumed, or “dabbed”–the highest dose of tetrahydrocannabinol THC which can be abused. THC is the primary compound found in marijuana, and it can have serious affects on the mind of a person using it. Abuse of marijuana can lead to lack of motivation, mood swings, anxiety, and panic attacks. The U.S. Library of Medicine found that a lifetime of marijuana is significantly related to a lifetime of panic disorder and panic attacks. Not only that, they found that people who abused marijuana in the past year, and currently use marijuana, are more likely to be diagnosed with lifetime panic disorder as well as current panic attacks.

Cocaine Abuse And Panic Attacks

Cocaine is a drug which can be snorted, injected, laced with other drugs, and more. It give a person a false feeling of power, and can lead to behaviors like violence and promiscuity, it can also cause paranoia. Cocaine is a stimulant, and can be extremely dangerous for the heart, it can also lead to severe anxiety and panic attacks. Cocaine abuse often leads to manic behavior and delirious speech. Overdose from cocaine killed approximately 7,000 people in 2015, and withdrawals (often referred to as “a crash”) can lead to depression and craving more of the substance. Panic Attacks_7,000

Heroin, Opioid Abuse And Panic Attacks Panic Attacks_HeroinOpioids such as heroin are characterized by spurts of intense euphoria and well-being. Abusing drugs like heroin can lead to anxiety, severe depression, and insomnia. Even after a person stops using opioids, the withdrawals can start after a couple hours and last for several weeks–withdrawal symptoms can be incredibly dangerous and sometimes include paranoia, anxiety, panic, and seizures. With the prolonged withdrawals associated with opioids, relapse is more likely to occur to avoid further withdrawals.

Hallucinogen Abuse And Panic Attacks Panic Attacks_HallucinogenHallucinogens can give the user visual and mental delusions–or hallucinations. A person who is abusing hallucinogens (such as LSD, Peyote, PCP, and Psilocybin Mushrooms (or Shrooms)) can become dangerously antisocial. They might experience bouts of laughter, which can be followed by unexplainable crying. A person using these kind of drugs can very quickly slip into a drug induced panic attack, or lapse into paranoia. Withdrawal from some hallucinogens can be feeling of emptiness, prolonged trip (or “permi-trip”), inability to eat, anxiety, and fatigue.

How To Tell If Someone Is Abusing Drugs

Someone who’s abusing drugs might not be easy to pick out in a crowd, drug abusers may have a lot of practice hiding their addiction. A person who is abusing drugs or hiding an addiction may:

  • Spend a lot of time alone
  • Lose interest in their favorite things
  • Get messy—for instance, not bathe, change clothes, or brush their teeth
  • Be really tired and sad
  • Be very energetic, talk fast, or say things that don’t make sense
  • Be nervous or cranky (in a bad mood)
  • Quickly change between feeling bad and feeling good
  • Sleep at strange hours
  • Miss important appointments
  • Have problems at work
  • Eat a lot more or a lot less than usual

(According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse)

What To Do For Treatment Of A Substance Abuse Disorder

Experts suggest the following tips for avoiding panic attacks: Abstaining from alcohol, a healthy diet, exercising often, getting enough sleep, or reducing (or avoiding) caffeine, certain cold medicines, and stimulants.

If you or a loved one suffer from substance abuse or anxiety, contact us now!

Though sometimes putting an end to substance abuse is more difficult–especially when trying to do it alone. The withdrawals from heavy use of drugs like alcohol can lead to death if not treated by a professional. You might be concerned about your substance abuse problem and panic attacks, if so, you can reach out to us at, or you can call to speak to a professional at 1-833-473-4227. All calls are confidential, and our main goal is to help you in your steps to recovery. You don’t have to be afraid anymore.


For More Information Related to “Substance Abuse and Panic Attacks” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From


National Institute on Drug Abuse – Signs of Drug Use and Addiction
National Institute on Drug Abuse – Overdose Death Rates
National Center for Biotechnology Information – 9 Substance-Induced Disorders
National Institute of Mental Health – Anxiety Disorders
U.S. Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health – Relationship Between Substance Abuse And Panic Attacks
U.S. National Library of Medicine – Panic Disorder
U.S. Library of Medicine – Marijuana Use and Panic Psychopathology Among a Representative Sample of Adults

Getting Help After Getting A DUI/DWI Getting Help After Getting A DUI DWI

While many people understand the dangers associated with operating an automobile after consuming alcohol or drugs, far too many individuals still engage in this risky behavior. For many, receiving a DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated) due to this choice is the beginning of a lengthy process.

These charges may result in a variety of court sentencing restrictions and requirements, including mandated 12-step group attendance, alcohol or drug education classes, and/or substance abuse treatment. While the alcohol or drug abuse that resulted in these charges may have been recreational or a one-time event, for many, it can serve as an opportunity to get them the effective treatment they don’t yet know they need, offering them a chance at sobriety and a better life. The court may require you attend certain facilities, in other instances you may have to choose on your own; in this case it is very important to consider your specific life circumstances and concerns to ensure the best type and level of care.

Getting Help After Getting A DUI/DWI Getting Help After Getting A DUI DWI-03Despite its legal standing, prevalence, and acceptance within numerous social spheres, alcohol is not a benign drug. One of the most common and destructive ways in which this occurs is within circumstances regarding an individual driving after they have been drinking. In decades past, this behavior was more commonplace and even somewhat socially acceptable. Fortunately now, with the advent of more strident rules and social perspectives, this behavior has declined, as evidenced, in part, by statistics presented by the National Institutes of Health who reports that since “Since the early 1980s, alcohol-related traffic deaths per population have been cut in half with the greatest proportional declines among persons 16-20 years old.”

Despite this apparent decline, many individuals throughout our nation make the ill-fated decision to get behind the wheel of a car after consuming some measure of alcohol or drugs; for many, this results in an arrest and charges of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). In either instance, you may encounter legal troubles, resulting in mandatory obligations regarding drug and alcohol education or treatment. After this occurs, it is important that person fully understand their options and the ways by which they can obtain help.

What Are A DUI/DWI And What Happens When You Get One?

Laws regarding these charges vary state to state. Those under 21 may face a zero tolerance law. Some states have a zero tolerance for individuals over this age, meaning that any amount of substances over the legal limit (0.08 BAC) constitutes a singular offense, whereas some offer a distinction, with a lesser charge of driving under the influence (DUI), and a more severe charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Either of these charges may potentially stem from drug or alcohol use or a combination of both. Regardless of the distinction, to get there, a person had to have been using, and possibly abusing, either drugs and/or alcohol.

Prior to the official judgement, or included within the sentencing, a DUI/DWI offender may be required to have a substance abuse assessment and go to a treatment facility. This may occur in varying forms and length, depending on the results of the assessment and the sentence, which may be based on your blood alcohol content, any prior offenses, if anyone was injured or killed in the event, and past participation in a program. This may be part of a suspended sentencing arrangement or a condition of probation. Additionally, in some instances, a person may be required to attend 12-step meetings, group counseling sessions, or alcohol or drug education classes.

How Do I Begin To Get Help?

After receiving a DUI/DWI a person may be very affected emotionally and mentally, as the situation in its entirety can be very overwhelming and strenuous. Faced with court and legal costs, the stigma attached to the arrest and sentencing, and the impact on your family or career, you may be overcome and not know where to turn. In the case of certain legal directives, such as counseling or a alcohol or drug education class, the court will likely require that you enroll within a certain facility for these sessions, taking the guesswork out of it. If you’re required to attend 12-step meetings, they will likely supply you with a list of current and local groups. If you’re required to attend treatment, things may not be as cut and dry. Getting Help After Getting A DUI DWI-04

With less severe offenses, you may only be required to attend outpatient treatment, a form of treatment which allows you to remain at home, while traveling to the facility for a limited number of sessions within a set period of time. In more severe cases, such as in those with multiple offenses, a person may be required to attend inpatient drug rehab, most typically for 30 days. An inpatient program is residential based, meaning that you live on site for the duration of the treatment. The theory behind this is that multiple offenses speak to an ongoing problem or chronic abuse of drugs or alcohol, as could be characteristic of an addiction, a circumstance which often requires intensive care. Typically, in situations regarding rehab, a person is responsible for finding and paying for their own treatment.

What Are The Benefits Of Getting Help?

Firstly, in some cases, seeking and obtaining help or treatment on your own may signal to the judge your readiness to change and your recognition of the detriment of your ways. Secondly, in instances where treatment, counseling, and/or education classes are mandated as part of sentencing, the penalties for your DUI or DWI, such as court fees, a suspended license, or any jail time, may be reduced or eliminated should you attend. Should your license be revoked, successful completion of either of these things may allow for your driving privileges to be restored. On the other hand, should you negate these rulings, or fail to fulfill all the requirements, your license may not be reinstated and/or you may be required to appear in court again and suffer further legal repercussions.

Alcohol or drug education classes will not only educate you on the risks and dangers of substance abuse, but help you to learn better decision making skills, while putting the use and abuse of these substances within the context of your life. Perhaps you made a series of bad decisions within a single night, culminating in your getting behind the wheel. In this instance, any education or counseling you receive, should be viewed as a protective or preventative measure, staving off further, and more serious, instances of risky behaviors (such as operating a vehicle while using), abuse, or addiction.

On the other hand, many individuals who face charges do suffer from instances of abuse or addiction. This may force you to get help you might not yet realize you need. The good news is that a person doesn’t have to readily choose treatment for it to be effective. The National Institute on Drug Abuse comments on this, asserting that “Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective. Sanctions or enticements from…the criminal justice system can significantly increase treatment entry, retention rates, and the ultimate success of drug treatment interventions.” Though you may not have choose this path, enrolling in a treatment program may help to protect your life; your health, both physical and mental; and benefit you in countless other ways.

Are There Programs Specifically For DUI/DWI Offenders? Getting Help After Getting A DUI DWI-05Yes. While you will likely be able to choose most any program, there are certain programs that are especially designed for DUI/DWI offenders. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) “The N-SSATS Report,” outpatient DUI/DWI treatment programs may be shorter than their traditional counterparts. Despite this shorter length, the report notes that these programs may be successful and that “Research has demonstrated that DUI/DWI programs that combine educational programs with evidence-based therapeutic approaches—such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and relapse prevention—are effective in facilitating and maintaining behavioral change.”

The report outlines the availability of these programs, based on 2012 findings on the then available 10,144 outpatient-only facilities. It found that:

  • One percent treated only these clients
  • 36 percent offered care to these and other clients
  • The remaining 63 percent did not offer specialty services for these concerns.

While this is a starting point, there are yet other factors to consider when seeking treatment.

What Other Elements Should I Consider?

It is especially pertinent that those individuals with true concerns of substance abuse and addiction fully consider their options against their unique needs, so that they not only fulfill their sentencing requirements, but take advantage of the opportunity by receiving individualized and effective care. Other factors to consider are:

  • Finances
  • Employment status/obligations
  • Family situation and obligations
  • Current and past health and medical conditions
  • Severity of abuse/addiction
  • Presence of any co-occurring disorders
  • What your support system is like

Oftentimes, in cases of drug and alcohol abuse or addiction, a person may have a co-occurring mental health disorder. The SAMHSA report speaks of this, “Studies of this population show that DUI/DWI offenders are at high risk for having comorbid psychiatric disorders, multiple substance abuse problems, and among repeat DUI/DWI offenders, neurocognitive impairments.” Taken into consideration, this makes clear the imperative for effective dual diagnosis care that can treat a person’s co-occurring disorders. Fortunately, the aforementioned treatment modalities have all been proven to be effectual in this capacity. Whatever the specifics of your life, strive to view this circumstance as an opportunity for positive change.

Find The Road To Treatment

If you or a loved one suffer from alcohol abuse or addiction, contact us now!

Whether you’re looking for a program only to satisfy court requirements, or if you’re doing this alongside of a genuine need for addiction treatment, our staff at can help direct you towards the resources and options you need to make the best decision. Contact us today.

For More Information On Alcohol Abuse And Addiction, Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From



Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — The NSSATS Report: Types of Services Provided by Programs for Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Impaired Clients

Co-Occuring Disorders: Alcoholism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder Co-Occuring Disorders- Alcoholism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A Co-Occurring Disorder is diagnosed when a person has a substance abuse disorder along with a mental health disorder. Narcissistic Personality Disorder NPS is a pattern of grandiose beliefs and arrogant behavior. A person suffering from Alcoholism can often exhibit coinciding behaviors. Alcoholism disease, defined by a person’s inability to stop drinking alcohol as soon as they start–or the phenomenon of craving. Sometimes a person suffering from alcoholism will have every excuse in the world to drink, even though their life’s consequences say otherwise.

We all have that friend who’s always right, and even if they’re wrong, they will still argue, or they will point your attention to somebody or something else. Arguing with a person who is always right can be a daunting endeavor. Our friend may suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder NPS, which the U.S. Library of Medicine defines as, “An enduring pattern of grandiose beliefs and arrogant behavior together with an overwhelming need for admiration and a lack of empathy for (and even exploitation of) others.” A person who suffers from alcoholism can sometimes display the exact behaviors as seen in Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

What Exactly Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Co-Occuring Disorders- Alcoholism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder Overwhelming NeedNarcissism is rarely a desired attribute, though it is often directly related to a personality disorder. Personality disorders fall into the mental health category, and can negatively affect certain areas of a person’s life. More accurately, Narcissistic Personality Disorder can affect a person’s relationships, school, work, and money. So essentially, NPS can affect nearly every part of a person’s life. A person who is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder may not display a whole lot of empathy for other people. In other words, they seldom care about anyone but themselves. NPS is often similar to Substance Abuse Disorder–or more conclusive, in this case, Alcoholism.

How Is Alcoholism Related To Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Alcoholism is more than just occasionally drinking too much and causing a scene. Alcoholism is an obsession with alcohol. It is the decision to drink when life’s circumstances tell you to do the opposite, no matter who gets hurt. It’s a disease where the person suffering lacks the ability to stop once they have started. Alcoholism is best described as a progressive illness–so it gets worse over time. Sometimes a person suffering from alcoholism claim a perfectly good reason to drink, even if they have lost their job due to drinking, or if their spouse threatens to leave them if they don’t put down the drink.

To everyone else in his or her life, they are foolish for drinking. “Why doesn’t he stop?” They’ll ask. “The doctor told him that he would die of liver cancer, if he keeps drinking, yet he drinks anyways!” …and so on. A person fighting alcoholism doesn’t always see things that way. In fact, they sometimes don’t see things any way but their own–this is where Narcissistic Personality Disorder can come into play. For even when important parts of their life are going to shambles, in the co-occurrence of alcoholism and narcissistic personality disorder, the sufferer believes that everyone else is wrong.

A Bit More About Alcoholism Co-Occuring Disorders- Alcoholism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder 18 Million AmericansAccording to the U.S. Library of Medicine, approximately 18 million Americans suffer from an alcohol use disorder, which includes alcoholism. This means that their drinking causes severe repercussions in their life, whether that it’s health related – mental or physical, or financial instability. Sometimes a person suffering from alcoholism can seem self-centered, arrogant, narcissistic, and self-righteous–but there is much more to understanding the mind of a person afflicted by alcoholism. Alcoholism can lead to a lot more than neverending arguments, and urinated sheets. It can lead to death.

Common Signs Of Alcoholism

A person who is struggling with alcoholism can sometimes be easy to spot, but things aren’t always as they seem. A person with an alcohol abuse disorder such as alcoholism, might be what you call a “functioning alcoholic,” and though their life seems to be in order, they might be battling withdrawals right to their next drink. If you’re concerned about someone’s drinking habits, here are a couple distinguishable traits you might look for, in yourself, or in another person in your life. (From the U.S. Library of Medicine):

Craving – a strong need to drink.

  • Sometimes a person suffering from alcoholism will want to drink at the strangest occasions–in the morning, before an interview, during class, or on the road.

Loss of Control – not being able to stop drinking once you’ve started.

  • Oftentimes a person will continue drinking when everyone else has gone to bed, and stay up all night drinking. They may even drink alcohol until they black out or pass out.

Physical Dependencewithdrawal symptoms.

  • Withdrawals may include: Delirium Tremens, Cold Sweats, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Night Terrors, or Loss of Appetite.

Tolerance – the need to drink more alcohol to feel the same effect.

  • Some people suffering from alcoholism can seem like they can consume a lot more alcohol than everyone else. “How the heck aren’t you drunk yet?”

What If A Person Is Proud Of Their Drinking? Co-Occuring Disorders- Alcoholism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder Alcoholism Is NotA person who is suffering from alcoholism and narcissistic personality disorder, might answer the question (How the heck aren’t you drunk yet?), with a false sense of pride or by stating anything other than “because I can’t stop drinking”, or by stating, “I have built up a tolerance.” There are many accomplishments that deserve a person the right to be proud of themselves, but unfortunately, alcoholism is not one of them, and it’s dangerous to believe that it is. Intervention and treatment are very likely the only way to get a person on the right track towards recovery. Try to remember that Alcoholism is a disease and the person with it is very sick.

Is Relapse More Likely With Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

“Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic, right?” This statement can sometimes be heard when slurred through the lips of a person who is drunk, when they are confronted about their drinking. If confronted further, they may get highly defensive. Even when a person with narcissistic personality and alcoholism stops drinking, this defensiveness can continue growing. A person may seek treatment for one disorder, but not the other–according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; they go on…

“…People receive treatment for one disorder while the other disorder remains untreated. This may occur because both mental and substance use disorders can have biological, psychological, and social components. Other reasons may be inadequate provider training or screening, an overlap of symptoms, or that other health issues need to be addressed first.” Though alcoholic relapse not a certain result of another personality disorder, a person suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder might find more reasons to hide a relapse from their loved ones.

What If A Person Suffering From Narcissistic Personality Disorder Relapses?

If a person is suffering from Alcoholism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, they very likely have a fragile self esteem, and will not let on that there is a problem. If they relapse, they feel like a failure and can be quick to blame others, but really need not focus on the incident as a failed attempt, but rather an opportunity to learn. Everyone has a reason for the way they act, and whether or not those reasons are justifiable, a person with narcissistic personality disorder and alcoholism might tell you a perfectly good reason for why they should drink.

Treatment For Alcoholism And Narcissistic Personality Disorder

If you or a loved one suffer from a co-occuring disorder, contact us now!

Treatment for co-occurring disorders is tailored to the individual, because some of those affected by multiple disorders might exhibit more signs for one or the other. If you feel like you might be showing signs of alcoholism, there is hope, and there is no reason to be ashamed. Alcoholism is a very serious condition, and without treatment, it can lead to homelessness, failed relationships, and even an early death.

For more information about co-occurring disorders such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Alcoholism, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Call to speak to one of our understanding staff members 1-833-473-4227 or Email Us We are always here to help you.


NCBI – Treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – Co-Occurring Disorders
U.S. Library of Medicine – Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse
U.S. Library of Medicine – Narcissistic Personality Disorder
U.S. Library of Medicine- Personality Disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders: Autism And Addiction Co-Occurring Disorders- Autism And Addiction

Autism is a disorder which affects three million Americans, and tens of millions worldwide, according to Autism Speaks. With one in 68 children in the U.S. identified as having an autism disorder every year, much research has been focused on finding ways for those with autism to cope. Some of this research has shown that those with autism are more likely to become addicted to substances. As found in one study reported by Psychology Today, people with autism symptoms are no more likely than those without autism to abuse drugs or alcohol. But if they are already abusing drugs or alcohol, autistic people may be more likely to form addiction.

What Is Autism?

Autism is a disease which may be characterized by troubles with social interaction, difficulty with verbal and/or nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors. Autism was previously identified by many offshoots of the disorder, each with its own name, but now all autism disorders are known as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Each disorder is somewhere on the autism spectrum. Due to the characteristics of ASDs, autism may also be associated with intellectual disabilities, troubles with motor coordination or attention, and physical health issues. Some health issues include issues with sleep and disruption of the gastrointestinal (digestive) system. However, those with ASDs may also see exceptional performance or success in other areas, such as art, math, music, and visual skills.

Who Does Autism Affect? Co-Occurring Disorders- Autism And Addiction One of 68 ChildrenAutism is much more common today than it was in past decades. The current number of children affected by autism is a ten-fold increase from forty years ago, according to Psychology Today. Research suggests autism gets its start in early brain development; one of the suggested ways to prevent autism for pregnant mothers is a diet high in folic acid. However, autism may be diagnosed in children two to three years of age—when symptoms tend to become obvious. Autism is also more common in boys than in girls.

How Is Autism Linked To Addiction? Co-Occurring Disorders- Autism And Addiction When Two DisordersAutism is not typically associated with alcohol or drug abuse. Psychology Today explains that people with autism are traditionally not drawn to alcohol abuse because they tend to have a “preference for low risk and avoidance of social situations.” But the newest findings point to a heightened risk of addiction for those with autism. When two disorders occur together, they are called co-occurring disorders. People affected by an ASD may fall victim to addiction simply because of the symptoms of their disorder. If a person with autism begins drinking or abusing drugs, he or she will have a high likelihood of repeating that behavior, fostering addiction. Also, autistic tendencies may be a risk factor for developing substance abuse disorders, such as avoidance of social interaction and communication difficulty.

How Is Autism Treated?

Treating autism helps lessen the severity of some of the symptoms, which could lessen the likelihood of developing an addiction. Early prevention efforts work to dispel some of the more severe behavioral characteristics. Treatment of autism involves family support, professional interaction, and therapy. As children grow, different levels of treatment may aid for their differing developmental needs. With early prevention, adolescents and adults who have autism may have established a set of treatment methods which work to target their specific symptoms.

Treating Autism And Addiction Co-Occurring Disorders- Autism And Addiction Inpatient ResidentialThe goal for those with autism is often to move them into a manageable state of the disorder, and some reach this level. For those who don’t, and who develop addiction to drugs or alcohol, treatment is the best help available. Inpatient residential treatment at a rehab center may be the most beneficial for those with autism and addiction. Treatment centers which recognize a person’s co-occurring disorders may provide the best chance for recovery.

Treating co-occurring disorders such as autism and addiction requires a comprehensive treatment plan. Treatment approaches must address the symptoms of both disorders, while still attending to the patient’s overall needs. Some methods for treating autism are similar to those for addiction, such as counseling, therapy for the individual, family, or group, and behavioral therapy.

Treatment approaches for co-occurring disorders in the past have often fallen short; usually one disorder is properly diagnosed and treated while the other is left untreated. As Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains, “the consequences of undiagnosed, untreated, or undertreated co-occurring disorders can lead to a higher likelihood of experiencing homelessness, incarceration, medical illnesses, suicide, or even early death.” With adequate treatment for both sides of a co-occurring disorder, a person can begin to heal.

How To Find Treatment For Co-Occurring Disorders

If you or a loved one suffer from drug or alcohol abuse, contact us now!

One out of 42 boys and one in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism every year in the United States. Autistic tendencies may make a person more susceptible to addiction. Treatment is the most effective way to help a person recover from co-occurring disorders, and we at have the resources you need to get help for your loved one. To learn more about treatment options and to have your concerns heard, call us today.


Autism Speaks—How Is Autism Treated?
Autism Speaks—What Is Autism?
Psychology Today—Autistic Symptoms Make Higher Risk For Substance Abuse
Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration—Co-Occuring Disorders
Washington University In St. Louis—People With Autistic Tendencies Vulnerable To Alcohol Problems

What Is Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) What Is Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)_

Known under a variety of other names as well, including chronic withdrawal, persistent post use symptoms, protracted abstinence, and, as referred to by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), protracted withdrawal, post acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) encompasses a variety of potentially debilitating symptoms that persist after the period of acute withdrawal ceases. Understanding these symptoms is key towards seeking treatment and preventing relapse.

The Difference Between Acute Withdrawal And Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Why does withdrawal happen? Drugs, whether they be alcohol, an abused prescription medication, or an illicit drug, exert a profound effect on a person’s state of being, including complex changes to important chemical systems within the brain. A person’s brain essentially begins to depend on the presence of these substances in order to function on a somewhat normal level. When these substances are suddenly absent, should a person abruptly stop use, the brain experiences a disruption as it struggles to function without the presence of the drug. This disruption is what causes acute withdrawal symptoms to manifest. What Is Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)_ Alcohol 5-7 Days

In some cases, after acute withdrawal (AW)—more commonly known simply as withdrawal—wanes, a person should begin to regain somewhat normal function within their brain and body systems. However, some individuals continue to experience these and other symptoms well after this period ends, a period of time known as post acute withdrawal syndrome. This syndrome most commonly affects those users of alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and other psychoactive drugs, though it may impact those who were addicted to other drugs of abuse as well. To better understand when PAWS may begin, SAMHSA offers the following time frames for acute withdrawal:

  • Alcohol: five to seven days
  • Benzodiazepines: one to four weeks; three to five weeks with tapering (i.e., reducing dosage gradually)
  • Cannabis: five days
  • Nicotine: two to four weeks
  • Opioids: four to ten days (methadone withdrawal may last 14–21 days)
  • Stimulants, including amphetamines, methamphetamine and cocaine: one to two weeks

In greater depth, SAMHSA defines PAWS as “the presence of substance-specific signs and symptoms common to acute withdrawal but persisting beyond the generally expected acute withdrawal timeframes… A broader definition of protracted withdrawal…includes the experiencing of the above symptoms and of non-substance-specific signs and symptoms that persist, evolve, or appear well past the expected timeframe for acute withdrawal.”

The Importance Of Understanding PAWS

The unfortunate truth is that many individuals who suffer from addiction don’t realize that this syndrome exists. Too often, their care providers may fail to mention the existence of it, whether it be because they don’t want to overwhelm the patient or because they dismiss the possibility. This may be in part due to the fact that, as SAMHSA writes, despite numerous clinical and personal reports of this syndrome, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not recognize this syndrome within its publications, due to a lack of substantial research. Despite this, experience and evidence show that this is a very real and in some cases, disabling, condition.

Without knowledge of PAWS, should a person begin experiencing this syndrome, they may think that something else is wrong and begin imaging the possibility of more severe circumstances, creating an anxious state which could incite a desire to relapse. In addition, should a person not understand the possibility of PAWS, they will not know how or where to properly seek treatment. What Is Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)_ Exists In 75% Of AlcoholLike acute withdrawal, this collection of symptoms may push a person towards thoughts of returning to drug or alcohol use, in an attempt to squash the symptoms. Because of this, it is extremely important that a person, and their family members, be aware of PAWS and its symptoms, should it arise, as it is far more prevalent than you may think. The reality is, according to a publication from the University of Florida’s Department of Psychology, post acute withdrawal syndrome exists in 75 percent of alcohol, sedative and stimulant recovery cases, while 90 percent of those in recovery from opioids experience it.

How Might A Person Experience PAWS?

Like acute withdrawal, the symptoms vary according to the drug of abuse, and may also differ person to person due to their specific circumstances and physiology. As a guideline, however, SAMHSA offers general symptoms that may occur within this syndrome; they may include:

  • Alcohol or drug cravings
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Presence of a dysphoria state or depression
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Decreased ability to feel pleasure (anhedonia)
  • Decreased libido (interest in sex)
  • A reduction in short-term memory
  • Chronic and lasting fatigue
  • Struggling to concentrate
  • Difficulty focusing on tasks
  • Impaired decision-making skills
  • Reduced control of executive functions
  • Physical problems, especially pain, that may not be attributed to a specific cause

One symptom that often appears creates specific worries in terms of relapse. A Huffington Post article elaborates, noting “addicts experience increased impulsivity. Studies have shown that first, addicts continue to make more mistakes than non-addicts when trying to learn how to do things differently, and second, they tend to continue to put less value in future, or distant, rewards.” Beyond this, each drug may create specific concerns. We’ve outlined some of the most reported symptoms below, for three of the drugs that most commonly exhibit PAWS:

Alcohol — An article, “Complications of Alcohol Withdrawal,” notes that protracted withdrawal syndrome (PWS) may cause “symptoms associated with AW that persist beyond their typical time course. These symptoms include tremor; sleep disruption; anxiety; depressive symptoms; and increased breathing rate, body temperature, blood pressure, and pulse. Other symptoms of PWS appear to oppose symptoms of AW. These symptoms of PWS include decreased energy, lassitude, and decreased overall metabolism.”

Benzodiazepines — Research published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment asserts that symptoms may “include anxiety, which may partly result from a learning deficit imposed by the drugs, and a variety of sensory and motor neurological symptoms.” In addition, the American Family Physician notes that a person may have depression and “physical symptoms related to gastrointestinal, neurologic and musculoskeletal effects may occur.” They continue to say that these effects may continue despite a person being tapered from the drug, due possibly to “chronic neuroadaptation” (from the drug of abuse.) What Is Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)_ Benzodiazepines

OpioidsScienceDaily reports that while no physical symptoms of withdrawal were present after four weeks, a lack of sociability and “despair behavior” or depressive-like symptoms arose at this time; also included were decreased levels of energy, disturbed sleep, and anhedonia. These adverse effects are theorized to be due to serotonin dysfunction resulting from drug use.

How Long Might A Person Experience PAWS?

Symptoms of PAWS may last weeks, months, or even years, but as SAMHSA reports, due to the lack of research on the subject, they are not able to offer definitive time frames for this syndrome. Despite this, they do offer some findings on the apparent length of PAWS for certain drugs of abuse, noting the following observed durations:

  • Alcohol: Two years or more; sleep disturbances have been observed one to three years after cessation of use.
  • Benzodiazepines: A person may initially have no symptoms, however, “Fluctuating protracted withdrawal symptoms may last for months but gradually subside with prolonged abstinence.”
  • Cocaine: Certain symptoms were alleviated after four weeks, however, problems regarding impulse control were still present at this time.
  • Marijuana: Some symptoms presided for 45 days
  • Methamphetamine: No specific time was listed, only that symptoms “persist well into recovery.”
  • Opioids: Weeks or months

Regardless of the duration, in order for a person combat PAWS, they must both treat and learn to accept the symptoms.

How To Cope With Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

If you or a loved one are overcome with post acute withdrawal syndrome, you may feel very confused and overwhelmed. After such a long journey through drug abuse, addiction, and treatment, it can be very intimidating to face yet another trial, however, there are certain things that you can do to make this period easier. What Is Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)_ In Some CircumstancesWhen confronted with symptoms of PAWS, your physician or other treatment provider will take several steps to ascertain the situation, to ensure an accurate diagnosis and full treatment. Post acute withdrawal syndrome shares a variety of symptoms with other conditions, including various co-occurring disorders. For this reason, your care provider should assess, and reassess as necessary, for any accompanying disorders such as depression. In some circumstances, a person may have both PAWS and a co-occurring disorder. Addressing treatment needs of the dual diagnosis condition will help a person to more effectively recover and help to prevent relapse. At this time, they will also likely address any sleep problems, while ruling out other medical conditions.

The following are ways to help alleviate symptoms of PAWS:

Focus on your accomplishments — In a depressed state it can be easy to focus on the negatives. Try to dwell on your positive accomplishments and the fact that you’ve beat your addiction.

Stay active and involved — Maintaining relationships and taking part in activities that bring you pleasure or fulfillment can help maintain optimism during this time, while also providing avenues of support.

Keep balanced — After a life overrun by the negativity of addiction, it can be easy to overdo it by trying to make up for lost time. Take care not to overwhelm yourself—yoga and meditation can help provide balance.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle — Good nutrition, hydration, exercise, and self-care are just as critical within recovery as they were during treatment, and will help your body more readily combat PAWS.

Get regular and good sleep — Good sleep is the backbone of a healthy lifestyle. Strive to get solid sleep, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, while also limiting caffeine intake.

Medication — Certain medications may help you in this time. The Huffington Post suggests that naltrexone may work for alcohol, SSRIs for concerns of depression, and offers that research has shown flumazenil to help in instances related to benzodiazepines. Also, SAMHSA suggests acamprosate for concerns relating to alcohol and methadone or buprenorphine replacement treatment for opioid-related PAWS. Lastly, ScienceDaily details finds on a study done on mice previously dependent on morphine; researchers found that the antidepressant fluoxetine helped to alleviate some PAWS symptoms.

Join a support group — Support groups can be crucial during recovery, especially during PAWS. They will provide you with access to the insight of active listeners who may even share some of your experiences, plus you may learn valuable coping skills.

Therapy or counseling — These elements don’t have to end when treatment ends. An addiction changes you in many ways, and recovery can be difficult. Having a trained ear and a person who can direct you in nurturing and developing new coping skills and positive behaviors is a critical asset during this time; cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be helpful.

Maintain medical support — It can be easy to break contact with your care providers after you gain sobriety. Stay in touch with your doctor—it’s important for them to monitor your symptoms so that they can adjust treatments and rule out any other conditions.

Recovering from post acute withdrawal syndrome may not be easy, however, it is possible. Adopting these helpful techniques and lifestyle choices can help to make this time more bearable, while also lowering your risk of withdrawal. Remember: stay focused on your ultimate goal—sobriety—don’t let your hard work fall to the wayside.

Let Us Help You Every Step Of The Way

Contact us today for more information about withdrawal

If you’re experiencing worries related to drug or alcohol abuse, addiction, or recovery, we can help you. can offer you, or your loved one, insight and direction at every stage—from your initial concerns, to an intervention, finding treatment, recovery struggles, and aftercare support. Don’t burden yourself contending with this, or any other concern on your own.

Contact us now. Our caring and expert staff can offer you the information and support to make your journey easier and more successful.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — Protracted Withdrawal
National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Complications of Alcohol Withdrawal
University of Florida — Post Acute Withdrawal
Huffington Post — The Condition Many Recovering Addicts And Alcoholics Don’t Know About

Co-Occurring Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa And Substance Abuse

Co-Occurring Disorders Anorexia Nervosa and Substance Abuse

Within the world of substance abuse and the subsequent treatment, co-occurring disorders are one of the greatest concerns. A co-occurring disorder is any disorder that exists concurrent, or at the same time as a substance use disorder. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) reports research finding that up to 50% of individuals experiencing an eating disorder also have a substance use disorder.

Understanding Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa (AN) most commonly arises in adolescence or the teen years, and can carry onwards to a person’s adult life. More common in women, it can also affect men. Recently, the criteria as set forth by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has changed, with the publication of their 5th edition. The criteria for anorexia nervosa, as extracted from American Family Physician, is:

  1. Restriction of energy intake relative to requirements, leading to a significantly low body weight in the context of age, sex, developmental trajectory, and physical health. Significantly low weight is defined as a weight that is less than minimally normal or, for children and adolescents, less than that minimally expected.
  2. Intense fear of gaining weight or of becoming fat, or persistent behavior that interferes with weight gain, even though at a significantly low weight.
  3. Disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or persistent lack of recognition of the seriousness of the current low body weight.

According to NEDA, there are two subtypes of anorexia:

Binge-Eating/Purging Type — If within the last three months, the person exhibited behaviors of binging (eating excessive amounts of food, more than is considered a meal, in a short period of time) and/or purging (a person makes themselves pass food they consumed, either by self-induced vomiting, or by using laxative, dietetics, or other harmful methods.)

Restricting Type — A person’s actions do not involve the above patterns of behaviors.

Co-Occurring Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa and Substance Abuse Anorexia Nervosa (AN)One of the biggest changes between the DSM-IV and DSM-V criteria, is the criterion that dealt with body weight. Now geared more towards recognizing this eating disorder as a physiological one, rather than only a weight disorder, these new guidelines broaden the scope of access for those who need help.

Signs Someone Has Anorexia And/Or Substance Abuse

When a person suffers from anorexia, they often develop idiosyncratic behaviors surrounding mealtimes and their eating habits. For instance they may exhibit any of the following:

  • Substantial weight loss
  • Loss of period
  • Eating mainly fruits, vegetables, and diet food products
  • Developing food rituals (dabbing excess oils or liquids off food, cutting food into tiny bites, or rearranging food on their plate)
  • Becoming adamant about not eating certain types or groups of food
  • Overly concerned with weight, caloric intake, fat content, and dieting
  • Expressing worry about being “fat,” or about gaining weight
  • Ignoring that they’re hungry
  • Always having a reason to be absent during meals
  • Exercising in an extreme manner in an attempt to offset caloric intake
  • The preoccupation and mindset concerning eating, dieting, food intake, and weight lost shift to a person’s primary focus.

If a person is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, you may witness them:

  • Exhibiting secretive behavior, including hiding drugs or alcohol
  • Lying about their drug or alcohol use
  • Becoming unable to stop drinking or using, even if they want to
  • Requiring more and more of the substance to feel the same way they used to feel
  • Letting their responsibilities slip, whether they be work, school, or family related
  • Not taking care of their appearance or grooming
  • Taking risks or doing things they normally wouldn’t
  • Having relationship troubles
  • Continuing to use even when faced with the damaging consequences
  • Exhibiting withdrawal if they stop using drugs or alcohol

Some characteristics or behaviors may be suggestive of either anorexia or substance abuse, such as withdrawing from their family and friends, losing interest in activities that they previously enjoyed, or having mood swings.

The Connection Between Anorexia And Substance Abuse

Eating disorders are widely linked to substance abuse, and anorexia nervosa is no different. Many instances of abuse and addiction arise out of an individual’s desire to self-medicate a variety of symptoms, including mental health needs. As various mental health disorders are common in individuals with AN, they may quickly resort to substances as a means to treat these or for emotional regulation.

Co-Occurring Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa and Substance Abuse Appetite Suppressants

Caffeine and nicotine are commonly abused substances by individuals who have anorexia, because they are appetite suppressants. People may use amphetamines or methamphetamine to expedite their weight loss, only to find that their abuse becomes an addiction. Individuals who exhibit purging characteristics may abuse laxatives or diuretics to further this behavior. It has been found that alcohol abuse and addiction are more common in AN which exhibits binging and/or purging behaviors. People may use marijuana to cope with the stress they feel from both their lives and this hidden disorder.

One startling practice that is becoming especially widespread in college students, is termed “drunkorexia.” Though not always associated with anorexia, this dangerous habits is sometimes used by those with this disorder. In essence, drunkorexia is essentially the behaviors of anorexia or bulimia combined with alcohol abuse, especially binge drinking. A person may not eat, or exercise excessively, with the knowledge that they intend on drinking heavily in the near future.

Dangers Of These Combined Disorders

Standing alone, these disorders are dangerous in and of themselves, together, the danger skyrockets, leading a person down a path of physical decline. These are some results:

Slowed cardiovascular system — Anorexia causes a person’s heart functions and muscle structure to become altered, leading to decreased heart rate and blood pressure. Various types of substance abuse and overdose can also cause this, further increasing the risk of heart failure that may be present for those with AN.

Malnourishment — Clearly, as a person fails to consume adequate amounts of food, their body struggles to maintain critical body systems and processes as it fails to find the nutrients, vitamins, and chemicals it needs; anemia may occur. Malnourishment is common in most all instances of substance abuse. Alcohol, inhalants, and opioids are examples of drugs that can cause anemia.

Depleted bone density — Because of the malnourishment, a person may get osteoporosis, leading to brittle and dry bones. Heavy drinking may cause this, and research suggests that opiate addictions can as well.

Extreme dehydration — Anorexia can severely dehydrate a person, the extent that they get kidney failure. Many drugs of abuse lead to dehydration, most notably perhaps is an alcohol addiction, which can also cause kidney failure. MDMA (ecstasy) can also lead to these concerns.

Muscle depletion and weakness — Without proper nutrients, a person’s body cannot build and maintain muscle mass. Muscle atrophy can result from an alcohol addiction. Cocaine may also lead a person’s muscle tissue to break down and amphetamines may cause muscle weakness.

Weakness marked by fatigue or fainting — Without caloric intake and the essential nutritional and chemical compounds that are found in food, an individual with AN has little means to make energy. These symptoms are also widely prevalent in many drugs of abuse.

Dry hair and skin — Again, due to a lack of nutrients, a person’s body cannot upkeep itself. A person may even begin to lose hair. Various drugs of abuse may also deplete a person’s body in the way that their hair and skin begin to show wear, especially alcohol abuse.

Body hair growth — As a person loses their critical fat stores, they may grow a downy type of hair called lanugo as their body attempts to warm itself.

Anorexia can be deadly, giving credence to the phrase “starving yourself to death,” a risk that is further compounded by substance abuse or addiction. Reports cite that out of every mental illness, anorexia has the highest mortality rate, finding that 4% of those with this disorder will die due to complications of the disease, whereas others say 20% when including suicide. Due to a reported 56 times greater likelihood of committing suicide, one in five of these deaths is attributed to suicide. Coupled with the toll of drug or alcohol, this risk may be even higher.

How Are Eating Disorders And Substance Abuse Similar?

Why does a person develop an eating disorder? The scientific community recognizes it may be due to several things, including environmental, biological, and psychosocial influences. What is interesting, is that within both eating and substance use disorders, persons may encounter some of the same feelings that lead them to these behaviors/disorders, such as:

  • Depression
  • Social or generalized anxiety
  • Urge to self-medicate
  • Addictive personality
  • Family dysfunction

Some researchers even suggest that eating disorders are in and of themselves addictions, as explained by an article presented in Psychiatric Times, as these “individuals typically require more of the behavior to produce the same reinforcing effect,” and have been found to have cravings, continue their harmful behaviors despite the apparent danger of their ways, and exhibit significant instances of relapse.

Co-Occurring Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa and Substance Abuse Exogenous Opiates

These parallels continue on a biological level too—the article notes that “starvation activate the dopaminergic (DA) reward pathway of the brain. The resulting biological events underlie the auto-addiction opioid theory, which proposes that a chronic eating disorder is an addiction to the body’s production of endogenous opioids and therefore is identical to the physiology and psychology of substance abuse in general. In other words, starving, bingeing and exercise all serve as drug delivery devices since they increase circulating levels of -endorphins that are chemically identical to exogenous opiates, and these endorphins are as potentially addictive because of their ability to stimulate DA in the brain’s mesolimbic reward centers.”

Though this might seem overwhelming, these parallels may make treatment for these co-occurring disorders in some ways more efficient as certain modules may work simultaneously and succinctly for certain aspects of both disorders.

Treating These Co-Occurring Disorders

The best rehab facility for these concerns is one that is adept at treating each need. Due to the severity of these co-occurring disorders, generally, an inpatient drug rehab program would be recommend, due the residential format and the longer around of time that it allows a person to receive treatment. In extreme cases, hospitalization or a feeding tube may be required.

During treatment, a person may first receive a medical detox, to rid their body of the drug. Medical supervision is especially important during this time because of the increased fragile nature of their body and mind due to AN. They may then receive nutritional and vitamin supplementation to help them recover from both the eating disorder and the substance abuse or addiction. Treatment may entail individual, group, or family sessions, and various forms of psychotherapies. If a person has any physical health concerns resulting from these co-morbid conditions, these will need to be treated at this time as well.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an excellent, evidenced-based treatment for both AN and substance use disorders. When considering therapy, your support team will also look to any other co-occurring disorders like depression and anxiety which may aggravate these disorders, that may need to be treated as well.

Medication-supported treatment can have a crucial role within treatment for both disorders. The Oxford published article, “Recognizing alcohol and drug abuse in patients with eating disorders,” asserts that naltrexone may work for eating disorders and concerns of alcohol addiction, and that some research leads scientists to think that serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may also work for both.

We Can Help You On The Path To Better Self-Care And Sobriety

Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.We realize that individually, these disorders may be daunting and when combined, they may be hugely overwhelming, however, we also firmly believe that with the proper team behind you and perseverance, you can be treated. If you’re struggling with one or both of these, is standing by to help you find the caliber of care that is best suited to your unique health needs. Contact us for compassionate help today.

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders — Eating Disorder Statistics
American Family Physician — Initial Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa
Mirror Mirror — Eating Disorders Statistics
National Eating Disorder Association — Anorexia Nervosa
Social Work Today — Insatiable Hungers: Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse

Co-Occurring Disorders: Anxiety And Addiction

Co-Occuring Disorders Anxiety and Addiction

Anxiety And Addiction: What You Need To Know

Though anxiety and addiction are not necessarily linked, having both can cause symptoms of each to worsen, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. In particular, co-occurrence of substance abuse is common for those people affected by social anxiety. Mental illness may be caused by or may result from substance abuse, however, as new studies are finding. People who have mental illness may seek drugs as a way to cope with the illness, and conversely, people who are victims to substance abuse may develop mental illnesses. The following points highlight one of the most common dual diagnoses, social anxiety and alcohol abuse, how to diagnose these two disorders, and how to treat them.

Social Anxiety: A Catalyst For Alcohol Abuse

People with social anxiety tend to feel that the effects of alcohol help lessen their social anxiety. Unfortunately, in reality it tends to make their social anxiety worse, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. In fact, alcohol abuse tends to follow the onset of social anxiety.

Co-Occuring Disorders Anxiety and Addiction Social Anxiety

In America, approximately 15 million adults (accounting for 7 percent of the population) have social anxiety disorders each year. In trying to cope with this disorder and its symptoms, it is not unusual for people with this disorder to turn to alcohol; in numbers, about 20 percent of people who have anxiety disorder also are victims of alcohol abuse. Many seek alcohol because it provides temporary relief of social anxiety symptoms, but researchers have found alcohol tends to have the opposite effect, even if this effect takes place later. Some negative side effects which users with social anxiety may experience include:

Signs that someone may be abusing alcohol include the following, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America:

  • Drinking alcoholic beverages four or more times per week
  • Having five or more alcoholic drinks a day
  • Not being able to stop drinking after starting
  • Needing a drink to face the day
  • Feeling guilty, or remorseful, after drinking
  • Hearing someone close to you say he or she is concerned about you, or your drinking

Dual Diagnosis: Dealing With Two Disorders At Once

Comorbidity, or when two or more illnesses (including addiction) affect one person at the same time, is common for people who have mental disorders or people with substance abuse—one tends to contribute to development of the other. This is in part because drug addiction is a mental illness; addiction changes the way a person’s brain works, making it characteristic of many mental illnesses. In terms of numbers, in contrast to those who do not have a substance abuse disorder, people with addiction are twice as likely to also develop a mood or anxiety disorder. The first step in diagnosing is the careful identification of both addiction and anxiety disorders.

Co-Occuring Disorders Anxiety and Addiction Mental Illness

Seeking Treatment For Co-Occurring Disorders

Because there is such a high rate for co-occurring disorders, when treating two illnesses at once, it is imperative that treatment involves careful diagnosis and appropriate treatment for both disorders—not just one of them.

Co-Occuring Disorders Anxiety and Addiction Substance Abuse

Although medications exist for treating single addictions to alcohol, opioids, and nicotine, no single drug has been developed specifically to treat addiction to two or more substances. However, there are some medications that may aid in the treatment of two disorders, such as bupropion, which can treat depression and nicotine addiction, and may also reduce cravings for methamphetamine, according to National Institute of Drug Abuse. Further research must be conducted in order to understand how medications can be used to treat people with comorbidities, but behavioral therapies are also available, and can be effective at treating people with comorbidities.

The Next Step: Finding Help For Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders can be disastrous when left untreated. In particular, having co-occurring disorders can mean that the victim never fully recovers from Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.either addiction. A person with social anxiety, in other words, may struggle with addiction his whole life. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, and also battling addiction, (or even if they are battling a different set of comorbidities) do not ignore the signs. Contact us today at to help get the proper diagnosis and treatment, and to get your life back on track.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America- Social Anxiety Disorder and Alcohol Abuse
Anxiety and Depression Association of America- Substance Use Disorders
Genetic Science Learning Center- Mental Illness: The Challenge of Dual Diagnosis
National Institute of Drug Abuse- Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Disorders

Postpartum Depression And Substance Abuse

Postpartum Depression And Substance Abuse

In the first year after childbirth, many women experience some form of the “baby blues.” Most of these symptoms are not severe and do not last very long, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Some of these symptoms may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Postpartum Depression And Substance Abuse SymptomsFeelings of sadness
  • Feeling anxious or overwhelmed
  • Crying spells
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble sleeping

For most women, these symptoms abate within days or weeks and do not require treatment. For others, though, these symptoms can continue, and may even be accompanied later by worse symptoms, such as:

  • Feeling hopeless and worthless
  • Losing interest in the baby
  • Having thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby

These severe symptoms comprise a condition known as postpartum depression. Unfortunately, the cause of postpartum depression is unknown, and women with a history of depression are at higher risk of developing postpartum depression. Further, postpartum depression left untreated can cause a number of unhealthy side effects for the mother, as listed by the Office on Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

  • Eating poorly
  • Not gaining enough weight
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Missing prenatal visits
  • Not following medical instruction
  • Using harmful substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs

How Substance Abuse Affects Postpartum Depression

Two recent studies have documented the co-occurrence between substance abuse and postpartum depression. La Leche League International saw that the first study followed a total of 391 pregnant women for whom substance abuse coupled with life stressors which predicted depression in pregnancy and postpartum depression. The second, more narrow study compared 12 mothers who abused substances and 12 mothers who did not abuse substances, at both three and six months postpartum. As suspected, the mothers who were abusing substances were significantly more depressed than those who did not abuse substances. Also, as a result of the substance abuse and life stressors, the interactions between mothers and babies were less positive for the mothers who were abusing substances.

Postpartum Depression And Substance Abuse Mothers Use

Substance abuse is, sadly, one of several disorders which can co-occur alongside postpartum depression, and the treatment of substance abuse should not be taken lightly for postpartum depressed mothers. The key to treatment for postpartum depressed mothers is, like so many comorbid disorders, to have proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment for both disorders.

Treating Postpartum Depression And Substance Abuse Together

Since treating postpartum depression and substance abuse together means finding the best treatment for each disorder, it is important that each person struggling with addiction have information for the types of treatment available in order to make the best choice for treatment in regards to her needs.

Postpartum Depression And Substance Abuse AntidepressantsSome types of treatment for postpartum depression include antidepressants and psychotherapy, the Mayo Clinic states. Antidepressants can aid in the recovery from postpartum depression, though breastfeeding mothers must be wary of any medication they take entering their breastmilk. Psychotherapy helps mothers talk to a psychiatrist about their depression—a method proven to help.

As for treating substance abuse, there are many methods available, and those individuals seeking treatment should be careful in selecting their treatment method to ensure it is in line with their needs for treating postpartum depression. In any case, successful treatment of substance abuse includes several steps, comprised of the following:

  • Detoxification, or ridding your body of the drugs
  • Behavioral counseling
  • Medication for alcohol, tobacco, and opioid addiction
  • Evaluation and treatment of co-occurring mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety (or in this case, postpartum depression)
  • Long-term follow up, which prevents relapsing

Finding The Unique Help You Need

Treating one disorder is a momentous task; treating two disorders at the same time can be extremely daunting, especially if you do not have the right care. If you are a mother, or if you know someone who is a mother, you know that the first year after giving birth can be difficult. Add to that difficult time depression and Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.substance abuse, and the year can be overwhelming. If you are struggling with postpartum depression, and it has driven you to substance abuse, or if you already struggle with substance abuse and are soon to be postpartum, do not let these disorders get in the way of your life or your baby’s life. Contact us today at to seek the help you need and deserve.

La Leche League International– New Studies In Postpartum Depression
Mayo Clinic– Postpartum Depression: Treatment And Drugs
National Institute on Drug Abuse– DrugFacts: Treatment Approaches For Drug Addiction
Office On Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services– Depression During And After Pregnancy Fact Sheet
U.S. National Library Of Medicine– Postpartum Depression

Antidepressant Abuse

Antidepressant Abuse

When many people think of drug abuse, they might be quick to think about illicit drugs. However, sometimes, the very drug that is designed to help may become the one that is abused.

Within the United States, prescription drug abuse has reached frightening numbers. Though not the class of medications that are most abused of all, antidepressant misuse and abuse is a problem within many people’s lives.

Why Does This Happen?

Abuse of antidepressant might happen one of three ways: first, a person may seek out an antidepressant in the hopes of experiencing a pleasurable feeling, secondly, a person may use them to self-medicate, and lastly, a person may misuse a prescription in a manner that becomes abuse.

Experts theorize that this non-medical use and abuse stems from several reasons, including the surge in prescriptions and resultant availability, the option to purchase drugs without prescriptions over the internet, and the false perception that illicit prescription drug use is not as dangerous as using illicit drugs.

Types Of Antidepressants

When a person is depressed, it is due in large part to chemical imbalances in their brain. Certain neurotransmitters, including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine may be imbalanced, and because of this, certain antidepressants may be useful in helping your brain to regain and maintain this equilibrium.

Antidepressant Abuse Types As each person and their circumstances, level of depression, and physiology are different, there are various medications within the antidepressant class. They include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs)
  • Atypical antidepressants
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

Not every drug is right for every person. Some drugs have more severe side effects and complications than others. This why antidepressant abuse can be so worrisome—without the knowledge and direction of a physician or psychiatrist, you may be using something that interacts with other prescribed drugs (not to mention illicit drugs), or it simply may not be the right medication for your needs. It is worth noting that a National Institutes of Health publication says that MAOIs are the most frequently purported antidepressant to be misused.

How Are These Drugs Abused?

Depending on the drug, antidepressants may be taken whole, in a greater quantity or frequency than intended, snorted, injected, and/or taken in conjunction with another drug, to enhance the effects of either or both drugs.

One example is bupropion, marketed under the name Wellbutrin (also as Zyban as a smoking cessation drug). Abuse of this drug has risen, with individuals seeking a high or euphoria compared to amphetamines or crack cocaine. When abused, this drug is snorted or injected—both of which are dangerous since the drug was created to be digested and contains substances that are only supposed to be processed this way—not put directly into the bloodstream.

What To Look For

Antidepressant Abuse What To Look For Though it is of yet controversial whether or not a person can be addicted to antidepressants, and in turn experience a tolerance or compulsive desire to use, a person may develop aberrant behaviors surrounding their drug use. If you see any of the following, it may point to this problem:

  • Asking people for more of their prescribed drug or for another type of antidepressant
  • Stealing pills or buying them off the street
  • Going to a different doctor in hopes of receiving more of their prescribed drug or a different one (doctor shopping)
  • Taking the drug in conjunction with other medications, illicit drugs, or alcohol.
  • Using the drug in a way other than intended (crushing it, snorting it, or injecting it).
  • Claiming that they’ve lost the rest of their pills
  • Taking the drug more frequently and/or in larger quantities

A person may also exhibit physical, mental, or emotional changes due to their drug abuse. These include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle twitches
  • Changes to vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Agitation and nervousness
  • Gastrointestinal difficulties
  • Cognitive impairment, including confusion or an inability to concentrate
  • Headache
  • Cardiac or respiratory changes
  • Mood changes
  • Delirium or hallucinations
  • Seizure
  • Psychotic behavior
  • Worsening depression, may be accompanied by suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Serotonin syndrome, due to increased levels of serotonin

If you witness any of these behaviors or changes in a capacity that is troubling, reach out for help today.

The Risks of Antidepressant Abuse

Abusing these drugs alone can be harmful for your health. If you choose to use these drugs with other substances, the risk can increase by causing drug interactions, complications, and toxicity.

One combination that is prevalent is antidepressants paired with alcohol. This combo can have negative side effects. Alcohol is a depressant and can actually increase a person’s struggles with depression.

Antidepressant Abuse Do Not MixThough research is mixed, some findings suggest that SSRIs may actually be linked to increased alcohol consumption. If this is true, it leads us to consider that if a person is taking these types of medications without medical supervision, or if they are taking amounts greater than they should be, this risk could be increased.

According to Mayo Clinic, children, teenagers, and those under 25 may experience a greater risk of suicide when using antidepressants, even as prescribed. This risk may increase with illicit use, especially if a person is using other illicit drugs at the time that further imbalance their chemistry and mood.

When a person uses an antidepressant more often and in larger amounts, they can cause toxicity to their body. Medscape tells us that severe over use of tricyclic antidepressants can “progress to life-threatening cardiovascular and neurologic toxicity within an hour. Toxicity typically presents as symptoms affecting the autonomic nervous system, central nervous system, and the heart.”

The Journal of the American Medical Association published findings on pharmaceutical overdose deaths, citing that in 2010, 57.7 percent of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. were due to pharmaceuticals, and of this number, antidepressants ranked number three behind opioids and benzodiazepines at 17.6 percent of the deaths.

Overdoses aren’t the only way people can die under this abuse. Going back to Wellbutrin abuse via injection, this method of delivery has “a necrotizing, or tissue-destroying effect,” and causes infections, according to CTV news. This report noted that a man missed his jugular and “His brain stem slowly necrotized and the man was eventually taken off life support and died.” Though this might be the most severe of cases, it is worth considering as any time you abuse a drug, you are endangering your health, and in some cases, your life.

The Impact Of A Co-Occurring Condition

Many times, a person is seeking to contend with other concerns and uses a drug in the hopes of alleviating or treating these conditions. These co-occurring conditions can be mental health disorders that plague a person alongside their struggles with substance abuse—depression is one such concern.

Antidepressant Abuse Co-Occurring Condition

It could be that a person is afraid to seek professional help, or if they have, perhaps the prescribed drug is not working in the way that it should, or maybe it’s not the best fit for the person. Instead of seeking medical direction, they try to deal with these things on their own, which can lead to abuse and improper care and management of the underlying depression. This allows it to get even further out of control, which may then cause a person to further abuse antidepressants.

Treating These Conditions

The difficulty is that a person may be abusing an antidepressant that they need. In these instances, professional guidance can be key. It is important to remember when treating depression, that the use of antidepressants is only one facet of a thorough approach.

A good rehabilitation program can direct you towards combating your depression through alternative means. This may involve the aid of a new medication, therapy, or a combination of both. Depending on the level of your depression, a good behavioral approach may be enough to help you overcome this state.

Some research illustrates that cognitive behavioral psychotherapy alone may be sufficient for mild depression, and for some people, moderate depression. In the majority of cases, major depression warrants the use of medication alongside of therapy. Remember, proper diagnosis and treatment protocol should only be made by a trained medical professional.

In addition to these things, a good treatment program may offer alternative methods like yoga and massage, while always helping to guide you towards developing healthy thought patterns and behaviors in relation to both your depression and substance abuse. This is especially helpful for those that need to learn how to overcome their abuse so that they continue taking medication.

Regain Your Balance

Drug abuse can make for a difficult road to navigate. It can be especially intimidating to face when you’re struggling with a co-occurring condition. Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.Regardless of the form it takes, it is not something you should face alone. Our staff at understands the ways that these things can change your life and the questions that can surround these struggles. Contact us so that we can share our knowledge with you and get you started towards wellness.

Mayo Clinic — Depression (major depressive disorder)
Institutes of Health — Abuse and misuse of antidepressants
JAMA Network — Pharmaceutical Overdose Deaths, United States, 2010
CTV News —Doctors warn of potentially fatal abuse of Wellbutrin antidepressant
Medscape — Antidepressant Toxicity

Treating HIV/AIDS While In Recovery From Addiction

Treating HIV AIDS While In Recovery From Addiction

When a person suffers from HIV or AIDS and an addiction at the same time, they are caught in the grip of two very serious and dangerous health problems. Although both are life-threatening on their own, when paired together they are even more dangerous. Thankfully, it is possible to treat these problems and become a healthier and happier person in the process.

HIV And Drug Use Is Often Intertwined

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse: “Drug abuse and addiction have been inextricably linked with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. The link has to do with heightened risk—both of contracting and transmitting HIV and of worsening its consequences.” They claim that one-third of the 1.2 million Americans who currently have HIV use drugs or binge on alcohol, for a total that nearly tops 400,000.

HIV AIDS Americans

They also reported that 16 percent of all HIV transmission cases were due to intravenous drug use. Another telling statistic stated that nearly a quarter of all people with HIV or AIDS (24 percent) need some form of substance abuse treatment.

These surprising and troubling statistics make it clear why these two co-occurring disorders have been declared intertwined epidemics. But why does drug use seem to so heavily influence the spread of HIV and what problems can this cause when attending addiction treatment?

Why Drug Use Increases HIV Risk

Before moving on to treatment, it is important to understand how HIV and drug use are connected and how drug use can increase the risk of HIV. These risks, as outlined by the, include:

  • Sharing needles when using heroin or other injection drugs increases the risk of transmission
  • Alcohol and drugs affect your immune system and make the spread of HIV more likely and the development of AIDS quicker
  • Dangerous and problematic behaviors caused by addiction may lead to inappropriate sexual behaviors, which leads to an increased risk of spreading
  • HIV
  • Needing a blood transfusion after an addiction-related incident: though the risk is very low, as blood is screened, there’s still a small chance that HIV may be transmitted through transfusion
  • Reusing drug paraphernalia (such as bottle caps, spoons, water, and syringes) that may be infected with HIV

These risks make HIV and AIDS testing for those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol highly recommended, especially if they engage in risky sexual behaviors. However, there are several subsets of the population in which HIV and drug use is a more common occurance.

Those At A Higher Risk For This Co-Occurring Disorder

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not only noted certain people who were at risk for HIV and AIDS, but noted how drug use influenced the spread of this disease. They also noticed that certain portions of the population were more at risk for falling victim to these co-occurring disorders. These vulnerable areas of the population include:

  • Those who suffer from poverty or other financial problems
  • Homosexual men who engage in excessive alcohol and drug use and promiscuous sex
  • Those who had a history of abuse, including sexual, physical, or emotional, especially abuse inflicted by a loved one
  • Segments of the population who suffer from mental health illnesses, such as depression, poor impulse control, and “risk taking” personality traits
  • Users who prefer injection drugs, such as heroin, methamphetamine, and even some forms of pain killers

While these populations are not the only ones who suffer from the co-occurrence of drug addiction and HIV, they seem to be at the highest risk. Thankfully, both are now considered widely treatable even when paired together, though not without challenges.

The Difficulties Of Treating HIV And Drug Addiction

HIV AIDS TreatmentTreating HIV or AIDS and drug addiction at the same time is often complicated by a variety of concerns. Beyond the health problems that both cause (such as low energy, malnutrition, and susceptibility to outside diseases), lies the fact that many HIV/AIDS medications may actually cause multiple side effects that makes drug addiction more difficult to physically handle.

For example, many antiretroviral therapies (ARTs) that are used in the treatment of HIV and AIDS can cause a variety of side effects, including troubles with metabolism, bone loss, strange fat distribution, and allergic reactions which may put the life of the treated person at risk. Thankfully, there are multiple medications on the market to treat both HIV and AIDS, so it should be possible to find one that works for a person’s specific needs and health concerns.

Other problems with HIV/AIDS medications include the impact they can have on various parts of your body. Some of them are prone to hepatotoxicity, or causing damage to the liver. Those who are addicted to alcohol will have likely already suffered from severe liver damage, and the influence of these medicines may only make those symptoms worse. Thankfully, these liver problems sometimes go away once the medicine is stopped.

HIV/AIDS medicines with a risk of hepatotoxicity include most nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) and some non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), specifically nevirapine, otherwise known as Viramune. Talking to a doctor about these medications before treatment begins, is a crucial way of ensuring that serious and potentially irreversible liver damage does not occur.

Some HIV treatment medications can cause a wide range of side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, tiredness, increased thirst, headache, rashes, fevers, high blood sugar, increased risk of diabetes, shortness of breath, increased lactate in the body, nerve problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, problems with kidneys, and a host of others.

It is also important to note that these medicines have side effects that may vary between genders. Experts theorize that this is due to the differences in hormonal makeup, body size, and body fat content. For example, women often experience greater amounts of nausea and vomiting, but lower instances of diarrhea than men who are taking the same medicine. Some studies exhibit that women are also more prone to suffer from rashes and complications of the liver and pancreas.

All of these side effects may seem disheartening, especially when a person has to go through the rigors of detoxification and drug addiction treatment. However, treating addiction and HIV/AIDS simultaneously is possible and very beneficial, both for your ongoing heath and sobriety.

Treatment Of Drug Addiction And HIV

Treating HIV/AIDS and drug addiction at the same time requires a concentrated and many-branched approach that takes into account the difficulties of both problems and works to manage both. First of all, a treatment for HIV/AIDS will be outlined and implemented to help get a person acheive better health. This is important, as drug addiction treatment requires as a strong body and mind to succeed.

One of the first steps is to assess the person’s health and to take steps to improve it. For example, someone suffering from serious malnutrition may struggle with a severely impacted immune system. Those with severe physical pain caused by HIV/AIDS and addiction may receive soothing massages and other forms of physical therapy. Additionally, those with scars or bruising caused by HIV/AIDS may receive appropriate treatment to manage those problems.

After these treatments have been administred, HIV/AIDS treatment medicines will be carefully chosen to ensure that they don’t interfere with the person’s health or the withdrawal process. Once the person is deemed to be best prepared for it, withdrawal treatment will begin. This includes a regime of replacement medicines that help stave off the more severe withdrawal symptoms. Experts will carefully monitor the health of their client to make sure that they aren’t going to suffer from a severe and negative interaction between these medicines.

Once withdrawal treatment is over, mental health treatment can begin. This is often more complex than traditional treatment methods, due to the influence of HIV and AIDS. A person may feel a sense of foreboding and fear about their disease that may influence and worsen the symptoms of depression and anxiety. As a result, their medical health professionals need to take special care to manage these concerns, as well as any other underlying problems that may also influence the addiction.

While these treatments are going on, educational programs will also be implemented. These help teach a person how to reduce the risk of spreading HIV and the importance of a drug-free life in halting the transmission of infection. Safe sex techniques may be discussed and heavily emphasized to help prepare them HIV AIDS Educationfor facing current or future relationships and to decrease their chance of transmitting HIV.

Oftentimes, behavioral adjustment techniques will be undertaken alongside these treatment methods. These methods help to correct the negative behaviors that influence drug addiction (such as relapse triggers, negative thought patterns, and repetitive behaviors that may feed addiction), and also help correct ways of thinking or acting that may influence the spread of HIV. In every step of this process, it is important to emphasize and educate on both sobriety and on how to avoid the tranmision of HIV.

Regaining The Health You Deserve

Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.As you can see, it is possible to beat addiction and successfully treat HIV by a concentrated and serious treatment in drug addiction therapy. If you or someone you love is suffering from this problem, you need to do what you can to ensure that help is available. Please contact us at today to learn more about how to beat addiction and treat HIV/AIDS.

National Institute On Drug Abuse – DrugFacts: HIV/AIDS And Drug Abuse: Intertwined Epidemics
National Institute On Drug Abuse – Drug and Alcohol Use – A Significant Risk Factor for HIV – Substance Abuse/Use
National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute – What Are The Risks Of A Blood Transfusion?
Centers For Disease Control And Prevention – HIV And Substance Abuse In The United States
National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases – HIV/AIDS Drugs Complications and Side Effects
National Institute Of Health – Side Effects of HIV Medicines: HIV and Hepatotoxicity
Office On Women’s Health – HIV/AIDS Drugs And Side Effects
Substance Abuse Treatment For Persons With HIV/AIDS – Chapter 7 — Counseling Clients With HIV And Substance Abuse Disorders

ADHD Increases Risk Of Substance Abuse


ADHD Increases Risk of Substance Abuse

A growing amount of research suggests there may be a strong link between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and increased risk of substance abuse. For example, a 2013 study by medical researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that among children at age 15, those with ADHD are almost twice as likely as those without the disorder to report using a substance such as alcohol or marijuana. Even more troubling, the study found that 10 percent of children with ADHD qualify as actual, full-blown substance abusers; in kids without ADHD, that statistic is only three percent.

Other studies have revealed similar trends among adults. For instance, according to one survey, 15 percent of adults with ADHD report struggling with substance abuse in the past year, compared to only around five percent of adults without ADHD. Moreover, researchers have estimated that no fewer than 35 percent of adult alcoholics have ADHD, with some studies putting that number as high as 71 percent.

All signs point to a correlation between drug abuse and ADHD. What are the underlying causes?

Underlying Causes

The verdict is still out on this question, but researchers have offered much in the way of speculation. One popular theory is that the symptoms of ADHD—such as impulsivity and sensation seeking—happen to be some of the main psychological features of someone who is likely to abuse drugs. Trouble at school or work caused by an inability to focus is another likely factor that could drive individuals with ADHD to the temporary relief offered by excessive drinking or substance use.

Genetic Predisposition

Another theory is that there’s a possible genetic or biological basis for the connection between ADHD and drug abuse. For example, recent research has found that close biological relatives of individuals suffering from ADHD are more likely to struggle with substance abuse and dependence than in families where ADHD is absent.

A Problem Of Missed Diagnoses

Finally, one last theory has to do with the fact that, while ADHD is fairly easy to detect during its onset in childhood, it becomes much harder to diagnose once the individual reaches adulthood. For this reason, there are probably countless adults who currently have ADHD but who have never been formally diagnosed. Without a proper prescription for Ritalin or some other ADHD medication, many of these individuals are likely to turn to other, harder drugs to relieve the symptoms of their undiagnosed disorder.

Help Is Here

Not everyone who has ADHD is automatically on the slippery slope toward substance abuse. Yet for many, early-onset ADHD could be the telltale sign of abuse and addiction to come.

If you or a loved one has ADHD and is struggling with an abused substance, don’t worry. Contact us today at so we can help find the right treatment option for you.

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Drug Addiction And Eating Disorders: A Deadly Combination

Drug Addiction and Eating Disorders

While experiencing life from the perspective of mental illness or general disorder, one may find himself—with shadowed comprehension —at odds with the rest of the world. So too can it be noted that one experiencing the weighty pull of addiction will often lack self-understanding enough to part the sea of disease and disorder and find clarity in sobriety. Marrying the two together—addiction and mental illness—life, the acceptance and understanding of one’s problems, and having the will to seek solutions through treatment, become significantly more difficult.

Throughout the country, as well as the world, addiction and mental illness tauntingly play off of one another, prodding and maiming until the weight of one ailment pronounces itself and the focus of any single-diagnosis treatment lies on that seemingly-heavier issue. Cyclically, these dueling factors tip the scale back and forth, making diagnoses difficult and priority of treatment in constant flux.

Two of the most serious of ailments to collide with one another are addiction and eating disorders. One afflicted with both of these conditions at once will require a great amount of recovery time, dedicated treatment, and support in order to overcome such detriments and repair life.

Further exploration of these dual diagnoses, risks and negative effects incurred by those suffering both ailments, and the appreciation of specified treatment, may lead you or your loved one toward a healthier life of safety and sobriety.


Drug addiction is a serious and ever-growing problem in this country. With celebrity overdoses, television shows based on addiction, and new rehabs popping up everywhere, this disease has evolved into a well-known epidemic that produces nearly more than can be treated.

Making many socially-swayed issues worse, new drugs–serious and powerfully addictive–appear all of the time. While treatment is present and facilities are providing better and more specialized care, combating the emergence and use of quickly fatal drugs is often an issue that needs to be approached in a deeper way.

As those who abuse drugs, like opioids, breach the border into the world on addiction, something happens that changes the regular course of their life. The brain is altered as addiction—very much so a disease—begins to seep its way into many vital areas; decision-making becomes more difficult; a sense of reality is interrupted; thought, emotion, responsibility, and morality are all damaged, put on hold, or stunted in some way within the mind of the addicted one.

With a mind now drowning in a substance it seems to rely on, life, its importance, and its value, is made second in line to that substance. Soon, the unfortunate soul who feels he cannot live without his drug of choice, is hit with something of greater concern.

The risk of experiencing what many, if not most, addicts experience is that of coexisting drug addiction and mental illness. This dual diagnosis can create a world in which addiction is ruled by negative emotion, negative emotion results in addiction, and addiction further fuels mental illness that keeps this cycle active and dangerous. The deeper way in which to head off life-threatening dual diagnosis is to address and treat both problems before they feed off of each other and perpetuate the rapid downward spiral.

Eating Disorders

While many mental illnesses are the root cause for receiving a dual diagnosis, a less common, though very dangerous issue that often couples itself with addiction is the eating disorder.

Eating disorders are never the same from one individual to the next. Someone may starve themselves as a result of self-esteem issues, while others may convince themselves that in binge eating and purging food, they are actually assisting themselves in maintaining a good weight

Again, not every disorder that is related to food consumption is the same. For this reason there are people—mainly women—who may begin one of a number of negative habits that cause anorexia for a reason that makes very little sense. Women (and men) have even been known to behave in an obsessive manner about the food they require or the foods they will not consume, making their diets beyond difficult to maintain.

Wholly unnatural and dangerous, eating disorders cause health problems that range from ulcers and esophageal tears to organ failure and throat cancer. Routinely cutting off ones nutritional needs, forcing reverse consumption by purging, refusing regular meal consumption, and a slew of other eating disorder norms are among the most serious of diseases which result in magnitudinous mental fissures. It is for this reason that eating disorders fall under the category of dual diagnosis mental illness, as they have been recognized as a source of fuel in the world of addiction.

Addiction & Eating Disorders: A Heavy Risk

Experiencing the debilitation that comes with addiction often pronounces the negatives associated with mental illness for those who have a dual diagnosis. The coupling of addiction with an eating disorder increases health risks, suicide probability, and long-term emotional and physical health problems.

Perhaps the most serious repercussion that can be associated with dual diagnoses is the apparent promotion by one disease of the other. As addiction saturates one’s inherent ability to cope with negative emotion, mental illness—equally smothering proper coping techniques and positive outcomes—pushes harder against that which leads the addicted individual toward further drug abuse.

This infinite course can rightfully be represented by Newton’s Law of (E)Motion. With Addiction acting as the initial action, mental illness—in this case an eating disorder—maintains an equal, opposite reaction. Drug use meant to thwart the negatives of mental illness in an act of self-medication (seen by the user as a solution and therefore positive) instead causes an equally negative effect. And, with the recognition of a dual diagnosis cycle, this analogy can work both ways, with the initial action coming from the mental illness and causing the reaction of addiction.

Between the dangers of every eating disorder, its risk in affecting mental health, and the emergence of coinciding addiction, fatality and serious health issues must be addressed. Working together, an eating disorder and a drug addiction can have the power to cause increased risk of cancers in the mouth, throat, stomach, and other vital organs. Immediate death by drug abuse may occur, while an eating disorder can cause major impact on the heart as it works quickly to accommodate changes in the body. Drug abuse, heart problems, vital organ disturbances… many issues begin adding up. And marrying every negative together, as they have a higher chance of occurring together, should show a dual diagnosis patient what they’re really up against.


As we recognize the existence of a dual diagnosis, we are strained with the knowledge that we may never know which action came first, nor which reaction followed. Having both an addiction and an eating disorder (or other mental illness) needs to be treated as more of an undetermined, yet crucial, diagnosis. The undetermined idea is attributed to the lack of certain origination.

Is my addiction hereditary? Was I always prone to addiction and having body issues and subsequent bulimia triggered my use? Or was it the genetic tendency and addictive traits that sparked the beginning of my eating disorder before I ever used?

These questions will surface, but will likely not be greeted with answers. There is simply one way to move beyond the questions and begin solving both issues, and that is by seeking dual diagnosis treatment.

Know that treatment must be had in order to find the best solution for the coexisting problems. Going it alone or solving one problem and letting the other become second fiddle usually results in the “fixed” problem resurfacing at a later date, often worse than before. For this reason, finding the most appropriate rehabilitation treatment that addresses each individual problem as its own underlying contributor, is a necessity.

All over the country programs exist that treat any number or mental illnesses that perpetuate in conjunction with a drug addiction. Traditional rehab facilities may offer this style of dual diagnosis treatment, as well as many other non-conventional treatment options. Holistic approaches, for instance, often seek to treat underlying mental issues while providing care for addiction.

Divide And Conquer

Knowing that you or someone you love is experiencing coexisting mental illness and drug addiction can sound like a lot to swallow. The best way to find life again and move toward a better path is to seek out the best fit in treatment programs. Finding something that meets your needs and is in your desired location can often be difficult, but if you contact, we can assist you in getting where you need to go. Contact us today and take a step toward a healthy life.

Contact us today to learn about the options best suited to meet your individual needs.

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