Crohn’s Disease And Addiction Crohn's Disease And Addiction

Crohn’s disease causes your digestive tract to become severely inflamed. Its often incapacitating symptoms lead some individuals to self-medicate by substance abuse. Some even become addicted to their prescribed painkillers because of this. Whether it be alcohol or other drugs, these substance can lead to addiction and aggravate the disease.

Crohn’s disease currently has no cure. For an individual with Crohn’s, this prognosis can seem quite dim, especially when paired with the life-altering symptoms the disease produces. But with the proper lifestyle, therapies, and treatment, Crohn’s can be successfully managed, and so can an addiction.

What Is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This inflammation causes distress to a person’s digestive tract, specifically the small intestine and colon. Sometimes the symptoms temporarily subside, this is called remission.

While symptoms can be mild, in its most extreme manifestations, “Crohn’s disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications,” according to Mayo Clinic. Crohn's Disease And Addiction Painful and Debilitating

This reality may lead some individuals to self-medicate their pain or emotional symptoms with drugs or alcohol. Doing so will only complicate matters further, and in many cases it will intensify the symptoms even more.

Is It Dangerous To Have Both?

Crohn’s can mask certain symptoms of substance abuse and vice versa. This can make it difficult to identify the root of the problem in some individuals and forestall treatment.

Depending on the drug of abuse, both diseases can create similar symptoms, such as abdominal cramping, diarrhea, weight loss, a suppressed appetite, malnourishment, and dehydration, among others. Individuals with Crohn’s may try to blame the side effects of their drug abuse on it in an attempt to hide their addiction.

These effects (especially malnourishment and dehydration) can become dangerous when compounded by chronic drug use and Crohn’s. Both diseases have also been linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide.

The Emotional Strain Of Crohn’s Can Lead To Substance Abuse

It can be difficult to cope with a serious disease like Crohn’s and the many ways it alters your life. Over time, a person’s mental and emotional health can become seriously compromised, in a way which fosters substance abuse. Crohn's Disease And Addiction Depression And AnxietyMental Illness

Crohn’s can cause or worsen certain mental illnesses, especially depression and anxiety. One study found that instances of these disorders are highest within the first year of diagnosis.

These findings were in line with other research which “found depression and/or anxiety to be more common in patients with IBD than in the general population or in patient groups with other chronic diseases.”

Isolation And Loneliness

During an active state of Crohn’s, the unpredictability of the disease can make it difficult to socialize. A person with Crohn’s may feel so unwell, or grow to fear the onset of their symptoms and the difficulty of managing them, that they simply stay home.

To self-treat these states, a person may begin using drugs or alcohol, which can actually make these states more severe. As they worsen, a person may continue to drink or use drugs, to the point they become dependent and addicted to the substance.

How Are Crohn’s Disease And Substance Abuse Related?

Alcohol abuse is especially harmful to people with Crohn’s. It irritates an already inflamed digestive tract and increases the odds of further damage to these sensitive tissues.

Some research does show that marijuana may be helpful in treating certain symptoms of Crohn’s, but if a person self-treats their condition they do run the risk of becoming addicted.

Opioid painkillers may be used to treat the pain associated with Crohn’s or after surgery for the disease. But certain individuals may begin to use their medication improperly, which could lead to severe addiction.

What Factors Of An Addicted Lifestyle Can Aggravate Crohn’s?

The following lifestyle factors can aggravate Crohn’s Disease:

  • Diet: Addicted individuals are more apt to make poor dietary choices, which are speculated to aggravate Crohn’s.
  • Immune System: Substance abuse can decrease your immune system, which can trigger an episode, and make it harder for your body to fight Crohn’s.
  • Smoking: Smoking makes Crohn’s disease worse. Certain forms of substance abuse, for instance alcohol, make certain people more apt to smoke.
  • Stress: An addiction can destroy important aspects of your life such a your health, family, career, and educational pursuits. These happenings can increase stress which inflames Crohn’s.

Individualized Care Is Crucial When Treating Crohn’s Disease And Addiction

If you have Crohn’s disease and addiction, you need to ensure you’ll be in a treatment environment which is sensitive to the needs of both diseases (addiction is, itself, a disease). Crohn's Disease And Addiction Treatment Environment

Full-spectrum, individualized care is critical for patients who have both a chronic disease and addiction. Behavioral therapies, counseling, and other modalities should be adapted to help you heal on a physical, mental, emotional, and social level from both diseases.

Advanced Medical Care

When the disease is an active state, you may require additional medical care, nutritive support, and even counseling. Certain B vitamins may be administered as they are used to treat both diseases.

Dual Diagnosis Care

Dual diagnosis care is an important element of treatment for those with a co-occurring mental health disorder. Non-addictive medications may be used to treat anxiety, depression, or any other mental illness which you suffer from.

Pain Management

For those in need of pain management, certain non-addictive medications or alternative therapies may be used.

Family Therapy And Support

Chronic disease and addiction can take an immense toll on your family members too. A comprehensive program should offer family therapy and support to help you grow and heal together within the face of such adversity.

Mindfulness And Stress Management Practices

Because stress can cause a flare-up of Crohn’s, it’s important to learn how to manage it in a healthy way. Mayo suggests the following techniques:

  • Biofeedback
  • Breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Yoga.

Many facilities offer these holistic therapies.

Fitness And Nutrition

A program may offer exercise facilities or classes which can help you to channel your stress in a healthful manner, all the while strengthening your body.

Even though experts are still learning about the role diet has on Crohn’s, it’s still important to be mindful of how you eat. A good facility will prepare meals which take into account any dietary restrictions you may have.

Relapse Prevention Training

Since Crohn’s is a lifelong disease, you must be prepared to deal with flare-ups, both mentally and physically. Without relapse prevention training, an active state could become a trigger for addiction. Enhanced coping skills will be taught to help you cope with these challenges.

Battling Crohn’s disease and addiction isn’t an easy task by any means, but it is possible to develop positive and healthy behaviors which can support a drug-free life and better overall physical health.

Even though there isn’t a cure for Crohn’s, the right combination of therapies can decrease the severity of symptoms and/or lead to long-term remission. Recovery from addiction is also something you need to commit to for life, but the right treatment program can make all the difference by preparing you for this journey.

Get Help For Chrohn’s Disease And Addiction Today

If you or a loved one has Crohn’s, you can still seek treatment. Protecting your body from the effects of drugs or alcohol is especially important with this concern, and wants to help you reach this goal.  Contact us today to learn more about your treatment options.

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Signs Of A Valium (Diazepam) Overdose Signs Of A Valium (Diazepam) Overdose_

Valium is the most popular brand-name version of diazepam, which is a benzodiazepine belonging to the central nervous system (CNS) group of depressants. CNS depressants slow the central nervous system. Diazepam, whether in a generic benzodiazepine form, or as any number of other brand-name alternatives, is available in the United States only via prescription. This drug is used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, vertigo, multiple sclerosis, alcohol withdrawal, muscle spasms, sleep problems, compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, panic attacks, and seizures.

Valium is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant within the benzodiazepine class of drugs and is most commonly used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures, and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. It is often used in combination with other drugs, and is rarely used as a sole treatment modality for mental illness diagnoses, according to Once touted as a wonder drug, Valium can be highly addictive and cause overdose. It is one of the most abused prescription drugs in many countries, according to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

What Is The Prevalence Of This Drug?

The NEJM article describes the “enormous popularity of Miltown (meprobamate) in the 1950s, of Librium (chlordiazepoxide) and Valium (diazepam) in the 1960s and early 1970s, and of selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac (fluoxetine) today.” During Valium’s peak prescription period of the 1960s and 1970s, “more than 100 million prescriptions for (psychotropic drugs) were filled annually, and about 15 percent of the population reported having used one of them during the preceding year.”

A 2015 JAMA Psychiatry article reported that more than 5 percent of Americans aged 18 to 80 had used Valium or other benzodiazepines. Valium use was twice as likely to occur in females, with persistent and long-term use of Valium also more common among older adults; abuse and addiction was more acute among younger users.

What Are The Signs Of Abuse

Misuse of Valium was brought into the mainstream during the 1960s, popularized by the Rolling Stones’ 1966 song “Mother’s Little Helper,” in which Valium was referred to by the same name. Signs of misuse and abuse of Valium include the persistent presence of symptoms common among Valium users, including:

  • Signs Of A Valium (Diazepam) Overdose_Rolling StonesPersistent drowsiness
  • Dizziness, vertigo, and headaches
  • Anxiety and fatigue
  • Depression and irritability
  • Insomnia, nightmares, and other sleeping problems
  • Impaired judgment and memory problems
  • Stomach problems
  • Confusion and forgetfulness
  • Blood in stool or urine
  • Seizures and hallucinations
  • Dry mouth or excessive saliva
  • Muscle control problems
  • Constipation
  • Speech and vision problems

Other serious problems that can develop with persistent Valium use, and especially with misuse, are thoughts of suicide, liver problems (including jaundice), bladder problems (incontinence or increased frequency), and changes in sex drive.

Addictive behaviors may also develop and could be seen in a person becoming obsessed with obtaining Valium; stealing prescription drugs from friends and family members; losing interest in friends, family and hobbies; and visiting more than one doctor and receiving multiple prescriptions (or even forging prescriptions).

Are There Additional Symptoms In Teens?

Aside from physical manifestations, teenagers may exhibit additional symptoms, usually social in nature, like a change in friends, trouble at school, increased use of other substances (including alcohol and tobacco), and self-harming behaviors like cutting.

Most teens admit that the primary source of their drug supply is the home—typically in the form of prescription drugs such as Valium. In 2013, for instance, more than 21 percent of high school seniors admitted to non-medical use of a prescription drug in their lifetimes, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens. Many teens dangerously believe prescription drugs are safer than street drugs.

Purchasing diazepam and Valium—as well as other drugs such as Xanax—online is also notoriously easy. A simple search yields hundreds of sites worldwide where drugs that typically require a prescription are available to buyers of all ages.

What Are The Symptoms of Overdose?

Signs of Valium or diazepam overdose (OD) may mimic misuse/abuse signs, and generally involve the persistent or constant presence of typical Valium-use symptoms according to MedlinePlus, or the increased severity of symptoms, such as:

  • Lips and nails turning blue or swelling
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Stupor, decreased alertness, and drowsiness
  • Low blood pressure or irregular heartbeat
  • Slow, labored, or cessation of breathing
  • Increased or severe confusion, depression, and dizziness
  • Extreme excitability and agitation
  • Constant hiccups and trouble swallowing
  • Rapid eye movement, especially side to side
  • Upset stomach
  • Fatigue or excessive and persistent tiredness
  • Muscle control problems, spasms, tremors, or uncoordinated movements
  • Rashes

If you witness a Valium overdose (or any type of drug overdose), you should call 911 and be ready to provide the dispatcher with patient information, such as the person’s age, weight, and medical condition; the approximate time the OD occurred; the amount and type of all drugs consumed, including alcohol; and whether any drugs involved were prescribed to the person who overdosed.

Does Valium Interact With Other Drugs?

Taking Valium with other drugs or with alcohol greatly heightens the risk of an overdose. Mixing Valium and alcohol can increase side effects (such as confusion, stupor, motor skills, and disorientation) and severely impacts chances for addiction and overdose, including loss of consciousness, brain damage, coma, and even death. Similar dangers exist when mixing Valium with heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, tranquilizers, and opioids like Vicodin, Norco, Percocet, OxyContin, and Dilaudid. Signs Of A Valium (Diazepam) Overdose_ER Visits

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a 2014 report, stated that Valium and other benzodiazepines were responsible for more than 400,000 emergency room visits in 2010. Patients who overdosed on Valium were found to have mixed alcohol with the drug, exaggerating the medication’s sedative effects. In fact, the “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” asserts that more than 27 percent of emergency room visits involving benzodiazepines also involved alcohol and that more than 26 percent of individuals who died as a result of benzodiazepine use had also consumed alcohol. Signs Of A Valium (Diazepam) Overdose_Alcohol

As with Valium, opioids depress the central nervous system, but have a much more powerful effect on heart and respiration rates. Taken alone, it is less common for Valium to cause serious respiratory problems and/or an exceedingly low heart rate. When taken in conjunction with opioids, however, the CNS depression due to Valium are increased. The heart rate slows to the point that the brain is denied blood and oxygen and respiration becomes so shallow that the lungs don’t provide oxygen to the body, making death a real risk. Also, the CDC reports that Valium and other benzodiazepines, often in conjunction with other drugs, accounted for 31 percent of suicides involving prescription drugs and alcohol.

Additionally, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration cautions that people with substance abuse problems, like alcohol addiction or opiate abuse, are more likely to misuse Valium; a large proportion of people enrolled in substance abuse treatment programs were found to abuse benzodiazepines in combination with alcohol and other drugs.

Withdrawal And Treatment

Valium withdrawal symptoms may be physical, mental, or both. Signs may include tremors, stomach cramps, muscles aches and cramps, excessive sweating, and convulsions. Addiction and misuse symptoms also may persist, like agitation, depression, fatigue, and confusion.

In both cases of medical and illicit use, increased doses may be required to achieve the effect or even the same “high.” This response is known as tolerance, and it can eventually lead to dependency. Within properly prescribed medical use, tolerance, one of the hallmarks of Valium abuse and addiction, typically occurs within six months of the commencement of Valium use, according to the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland. Tolerance may occur faster within situations of abuse. Once the central nervous system adjusts to Valium dosage levels, dependency and/or addiction can ensue.

Let Us Help You Protect Your Life

If you think you recognize signs of Valium abuse or addiction in yourself, a friend, or loved one, get ahead of the curve. Don’t wait for tragedy to strike. Get help now. Contact us at

If you or a loved one is battling a Valium or other prescription drug addiction, contact us now!


For More Information Related to “Signs Of A Valium (Diazepam) Overdose” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From


Sources — Valium
MedlinePlus — Diazepam overdose
National Institutes of Health — Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction in Opioid Treatment Programs
Psychiatric Medication Awareness Group — History of Benzodiazepines: What the Textbooks May Not Tell You
Center for Substance Abuse Research — Benzodiazepines

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


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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

Cocaine Use And Depression Cocaine And Depression_

Extended cocaine use affects neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. The longer the usage, the more these essential neurotransmitters are repressed and impacted. Cocaine alters the brain’s natural reward system, leading to feelings of paranoia, depression, or anxiety. Whether depression came before or after cocaine use, treatment is highly needed to deal with any form of mental illness. Many who face depression turn to drug abuse, and many who suffer from drug abuse form signs of depression afterward. Cocaine And Depression_1 in 10 TeensDrug abuse has the potential to create numerous health effects, both physical and mental, within the lives of those who abuse. When a mental health disorder occurs with drug abuse, the two often worsen each other. Cocaine abuse, especially prolonged use, changes a person’s brain, affecting various chemical components, including certain important neurotransmitters which are critical within regulating a person’s mood. This effect may worsen existing depression or create new symptoms. Together, these disorders require effective substance abuse treatment.

Depression In America

Depression is a disease which is rampant across our country, and receiving the right information can help to greatly improve these conditions. This disorder can become debilitating, changing the way you think, feel, and carry out daily tasks.

In 2014:

  • 1 in 10 teens suffered a period of major depression.
  • 1 in 5 American adults experienced a mental health problem.
  • 1 in 25 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or major depression.

In addition, over 41,000 Americans are lost every year because of suicide.

Two or more illnesses can co-occur with each other in the same individual, such as a cocaine use disorder and depression. These are called co-occurring disorders or a dual diagnosis. Whether it’s happening at the same time or one after the other, this comorbidity (presence of two or more illnesses) can impact each illness and make them both go down hill faster. A person’s normal desires and needs can be greatly impacted by addiction. Compulsive behaviors from drug abuse are comparable to those of mental conditions.

Cocaine’s Effects On The Brain Cocaine And Depression_1 in 25 AmericansWhen using cocaine, there are several things which transpire concerning different aspects of the brain. Various neurotransmitters are affected, including the release of dopamine. When it comes to a sense of well-being, dopamine is the chemical which is considered to bring forth all kinds of pleasure and happy feelings. Dopamine releases when related to pleasure or a feeling of reward when it comes to specific activities in life. If dopamine levels become too high in the brain, they are linked to hallucinations, aggressiveness, delusions, anger, as well as other psychotic symptoms.

Cocaine also increases norepinephrine and serotonin, which are other important neurotransmitters within the body. When it comes to norepinephrine, the body’s “fight-or-flight” mode gets activated, including an increase of heart rate and blood pressure and a person feeling alert. Keeping a balanced mood, sleep, appetite, as well as other behaviors, are all linked to serotonin.

Cocaine kicks these brain chemicals into an instant rush, and over a period of time, these essential neurotransmitters become low and depleted. This can lead to a host of different problems, including depression.

Cocaine And Depression Cocaine And Depression_WithdrawalAfter extreme abuse over a period of time, stopping the use of cocaine can lead to cravings and depression for months. In some cases, suicidal thoughts may also occur. As someone faces withdrawal, the cravings grow more intense, even though the pleasurable effects of cocaine dip way down, instead becoming replaced by paranoia. When someone is facing withdrawal, here are some of the symptoms that may occur:

  • Increased appetite
  • Agitation and restless behavior
  • Slowed activity
  • Fatigue
  • General feeling of discomfort
  • Depressed mood
  • Vivid and unpleasant dreams

When cocaine is used chronically, it blocks normal neural functions. It starts to disrupt the brain’s chemical reward areas. The longer cocaine is used, the more neural depression starts to impact emotions, memories, and cognitive functions.

What Happens When You Use Cocaine For A Long Time?

Through tests, it has been found that cocaine, when abused over an extended period of time, creates a decline in neural activity within the motivational and pleasure areas of the brain. Quoted within a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) publication on the subject, Dr. Porrino says, “Within the structure called the striatum, the blunting of activity spreads from the nucleus accumbens, a reward area, to the caudate-putamen, which controls behavior based on repetitive action.” Cocaine And Depression_MemoriesMemories and information-processes are highly restricted when someone uses cocaine over the long term. “The reduced activity of the temporal lobe indicates that this structure is somehow compromised,” says Dr. Nancy Pilotte of NIDA’s Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research. “Some of these regions mediate the ability to connect emotionally, and cocaine’s blunting of them may induce a flattened affect similar to depression symptoms that are common among chronic cocaine abusers.”

Does Cocaine Cause Depression?

When it comes to mental illnesses and drug abuse, the two are highly linked. Many people who abuse drugs are also diagnosed with a variety of mental disorders, such as depression or anxiety. When people who are facing troubles turn to cocaine, this drug abuse can also bring out the symptoms of a separate mental illness like depression. A mental disorder can create a need for an individual to self-medicate from the emotional or mental symptoms that they are coming up against. In this case, it could have been depression that caused the drug addiction, or in others, it could be that the drug addiction was the first to show up. It can be tricky to decipher which one occurred first. Regardless of whatever symptoms popped up first, it is important to bring about treatment to mental illnesses.

Reach Out For Treatment Today

If you or a loved one suffer from cocaine abuse and mental health issues, contact us now!

Whether the signs of depression have happened before or after cocaine use, reach out for the help you need today. If you are experiencing depression, suicidal thoughts, or other symptoms of mental illness, there is support for you. Getting the help you need will start your journey upward out of depression and cocaine abuse. Please contact us at


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



National Institute on Drug Abuse — Long-Term Cocaine Self-Administration Depresses Brain Activity
National Institute on Drug Abuse — Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Disorders

Seasonal Affective Disorder And Addiction

Seasonal Affective Disorder And Addiction

Many within the United States experience seasonal changes. The once welcoming warmth of summer shifts into cloudy, shorter days. When the daylight is significantly limited, temperatures plummet, and the drab color of winter comes, it can leave you feeling grouchy, melancholy, or even exhausted.

One thing to pay attention to is if these feelings recur every year, to the extent they make it difficult to function when the winter months hit. If you notice that when spring or the early summer months roll around, you spring back, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Seasonal depression can greatly impact your health, relationships, your day-to-day tasks, and put you at greater risk of developing a substance use disorder.

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression occurring at the exact same time every year, normally in the winter months. It is also known as seasonal depression, and can drastically affect your moods, appetite, sleep patterns, and energy levels. This disorder will take its toll on many parts of your life, including your relationships, social life, work life, school, and your sense of self-worth. A personality flip seems to happen, and you end up feeling like a different person compared to the summer months.

Seasonal affective disorder directly impacts about four to six percent of the population, with the percentage being higher in more northern climates. For instance, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) tells us that one percent of Florida’s population experiences it, whereas nine percent of individuals living in either Alaska or New England do. SAD may affect certain individuals more, including women, younger people, those with a family history, those with depression or bipolar disorder, and those who live farther away from the equator.

It begins when the days start getting shorter and there is less naturally occurring sunlight—such as in the late fall or early winter months. Usually people who live at least 30 degrees north or south from the equator experience SAD to a greater extent. There is a milder form of SAD which affects up to 10-20% of people. This also can be responsible for causing depression during the summer months, however, it is far less common.

What Is The Cause Of SAD?

No one knows for sure the exact cause of seasonal affective disorder, but there are many theories, and research has offered us some insight. It is most widely thought that it is related to the decline in daylight hours and sunlight throughout the winter months. This decrease affects the body by disrupting circadian rhythms and changing levels of critical neurotransmitters within your brain.

Your circadian rhythm is your body’s natural internal clock which dictates sleeping and waking up. It is associated with light and darkness, and responsible for balancing your sleep, mood, and appetite. When the nights are long and the days are shorter, your internal clock may become discordant, creating feelings of disorientation, grogginess, and feeling tired at the wrong times.

Seasonal Affective Disorder And Addiction Circadian Rhythms

When the sun goes away, your brain produces a natural hormone called melatonin to help you feel sleepy, and when it rises, this production ceases, so that you begin to feel awake and alert. With the short days and long nights during the winter months, your body pumps out increased levels of melatonin, creating these feelings of fatigue and low energy.

On the other hand, an important neurotransmitter that is critical for proper mood functioning decreases. Serotonin declines from lack of sunlight, so that feelings of depression settle in. This may also be tied to Vitamin D levels, due to the fact that Vitamin D is produced from exposure to the sun, and during winter months people have very little of this crucial sunlight. The National Institute of Mental Health notes that “Vitamin D insufficiency may be associated with clinically significant depression symptoms.”

Seasonal Affective Disorder And Addiction SADDespite where you live, or how cold, dark, and brutal it gets outside, there is treatment for SAD. The more you understand, the more well-equipped you’ll be to face it.

Signs Of SAD

If you’ve noticed a pattern you fall into every year around certain seasons, you may be suffering from SAD. Symptoms of this disorder may be worse in the morning. In order to qualify as having this disorder, you must meet the symptoms of major depression corresponding to a certain season, for two years or more. Here are some of the signs, as explained by Mayo Clinic:

  • Experiencing depression for the majority of the day on most days
  • Losing hope and your sense of self-worth
  • Feeling fatigue, making it difficult to do any daily tasks
  • Becoming indifferent to activities that you once loved
  • Struggling to get a good night’s rest or other sleep concerns
  • Fluctuating weight or an altered appetite
  • Becoming lethargic or distressed
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Recurrent suicidal ideation

In addition to these, NIMH tells us that there are certain symptoms that are specific to the winter pattern of SAD, including:

  • Struggling to find energy
  • Extreme sleepiness during the day and trouble waking up (hypersomnia)
  • Eating more food than is necessary for a meal
  • Putting on weight
  • Craving sugary or starchy foods (carbohydrates)
  • Avoiding your friends and loved ones (wanting to “hibernate”)

A person may be overcome by tension, stress, feelings of sadness, guilt, low self-esteem, or become overly critical of themselves. They may have unexplainable aches and pains and find that they are not interested in sex or other physical contact. As a person becomes increasingly overwhelmed by this host of debilitating symptoms, they may turn to drugs or alcohol for comfort, or to self-medicate.

Despite the fact that most symptoms are those of major depression, one thing that is different about SAD, is when the spring and summer months come back around, there is a change, and the depression lifts. Similar to major depression, the intensity of SAD symptoms can be different from person to person. Despite the fact that these things disappear, what might not, is the substance abuse or addiction that rose during this period of time.

How Seasonal Affective Disorder Can Lead To Addiction

There are many signs that substance abuse and addiction are linked to SAD. Many of these links occur for the same reasons that a person suffering from major depression throughout the year is more disposed to developing these concerns. Foremost, many individuals that are overcome with the oppression of these symptoms may seek to console themselves, or self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, these substances may actually exacerbate the symptoms, and as they continue, a person consumes more of these substances in an attempt to further control them. As this use becomes more compulsive, an addiction could develop.

One example of this cycle is alcohol abuse. Alcohol is actually a depressant, thus a person becomes more depressed as they continue to drink. A Comprehensive Psychiatry article discusses the prevalence of alcohol addiction and SAD, stating “Seasonal changes in mood and behavior (seasonality) may be closely related to alcoholism. Some patients with alcoholism have a seasonal pattern to their alcohol misuse. They may be self-medicating an underlying seasonal affective disorder (SAD) with alcohol or manifesting a seasonal pattern to alcohol-induced depression.” Alcohol is not the only drug linked to SAD. Any drug of abuse has the potential to seem like a quick “fix” when someone is struggling with this disorder.

Another possible link is the disruption of the circadian rhythm that results in the winter months. A normal circadian rhythm is needed for consistent and healthy physiological and behavioral functions. The disruption of the circadian system can have numerous health risks, including addiction. In many clinical studies, patients with substance abuse were shown to have disruptions in sleep patterns and circadian rhythms, two things that occur in conjunction with SAD. This highly suggests that the disturbance of the circadian system may be, in part, related to why these patients developed drug dependence.

One study, “Circadian rhythms and addiction: Mechanistic insights and future directions,” spoke of this correlation, asserting that “disruptions to the normal sleep/wake cycle increase the vulnerability for addiction. Conversely, self-medication through drug or alcohol abuse is considered to be an attempt to ameliorate sleep and mood-related problems found with general circadian rhythm disruption.”

The study continues to speak of the impact that this disruption may have on dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for reward and pleasure that is heavily implicated within drug use and abuse. It states that “disruptions to the circadian system change the reward value and motivation for addictive substances through direct effects on reward circuits.”

Lastly, a second study speaks of the impact of SAD and cocaine addiction, outlining that “Since disturbances in circadian rhythms and pineal melatonin functions may in part underlie the pathophysiology of SAD and the psychomimetic effects of cocaine are mediated in part through the pineal gland, we propose that dysfunction of circadian rhythms and pineal melatonin functions may partly mediate the association of SAD with cocaine abuse.” Essentially this means that in normal circumstances, a person experiences cocaine’s effects partly due to this gland, and when this gland’s functioning is adversely altered by SAD, the disposition to abuse cocaine may become more pronounced.

Treating These Dual Concerns

Like any co-occurring disorder, it is extremely important that treatment entails approaches that focus on both SAD and addiction. This is because, if left untreated, SAD could again aggravate a person in a way that causes them to relapse.

Seasonal Affective Disorder And Addiction Stability

Even if you feel hopeless during the fall and winter months, there are some things you can implement to keep yourself more stable during these periods. Try to:

  • Bundle up and try to get outside, in natural sunlight as often as you can, preferably within two hours of waking.
  • Open your blinds or drapes at home to let more light in
  • Get up and move—don’t sit still for more than an hour, exercise can be very helpful
  • Allow yourself to reach out for support from family, friends, or a support group
  • Research about mood-boosting omega-3 fats
  • Find out more about relaxation techniques and do the ones you enjoy

In terms of treating SAD, experts recommend the following four treatments, as outlined by NIMH:

MedlinePlus reports that some people may respond positively to light therapy alone, noting, however, that half may need antidepressants, talk therapy, or a combination of both. Mayo Clinic suggests that an extended-release version of the antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin XL, Aplenzin) may work well in those who have experienced SAD before. They also note that it may be advantageous to be preemptive, and start an individual on medication before the onset of symptoms. This may be especially beneficial in terms of reducing substance abuse risk, as it may help to avoid the intense symptoms that a person may attempt to self-medicate with by drugs or alcohol.

Various forms of psychotherapy are also used to treat addiction, typically in the context of a treatment center. Beyond this, and depending on the severity of use, a person should seek outpatient or inpatient drug rehab that offers an individualized treatment plan. The good news is, many rehabs are actually offered in sunny locations, with nice weather even throughout the winter. Within treatment, a person may experience a medical detox, counseling, art therapy and other recreational therapies, relapse prevention, and any necessary medication-supported treatment they might need. Treatment will also teach a person critical coping skills to help them combat the stress and negative feelings from SAD and other aspects of their life that may trigger thoughts of drug use.

Don’t Be Overcome By SAD Or An Addiction

Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.If you or a loved one is suffering from SAD and an addiction, contact us today for help. Getting the information and treatment you need will bring greater stability to your life, and help you to live healthier each day. Let get you started on this path.

National Institute of Mental Health — Seasonal Affective Disorder
Mayo Clinic — Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
MedlinePlus — Seasonal Affective Disorder
American Family Physician — Seasonal Affective Disorder
U.S. National Library of Medicine — Circadian rhythms and addiction: Mechanistic insights and future directions

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

How To Detox From Alcohol

How To Detox From Alcohol

When a person is recovering from alcohol addiction, one of the first steps, and possibly one of the most difficult, is detox. suddenly stops drinking, their body goes into withdrawal. Contrary to what some people may think, or what various misleading web forums suggest, detoxing at home without medical guidance can be highly risky. We strongly recommend that a person be medically supervised during this time.

Unsupervised Withdrawal Can Be Very Dangerous

Many people who have fallen victim to alcohol addiction have tried to detox from alcohol at home without any guidance or medical support, and invariably, countless fail. Detoxing from alcohol is not as easy as some may assume. Withdrawal is an uncomfortable, dangerous, and even life-threatening process with numerous health risks. If you suffer from an alcohol addiction, detoxing from alcohol is necessary to get your life back on track.

The first few days of detoxing from alcohol can be both mentally and physically taxing. At this time, symptoms of withdrawal will be at their worst, and it may seem easier to begin drinking again as a means to avoid going down this uncomfortable path. Please, do not do this—this is yet another reason to seek help—a medical support team can assist you in working through this period, so that you do not turn back to alcohol.

What Happens When You Seek Help During This Time?

Prior to detox, the medical support staff, whether it be at a hospital or rehab facility, are going to do a health assessment and exam. It is very important that you answer all of their questions as honestly as possible, and strive to tell them detailed information about your health, medical, and addiction history. They will attempt to determine the severity of your alcohol withdrawal. According to American Family Physician, the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol (CIWA-Ar) is a commonly utilized tool to discover this.

At this point, they will do a toxicology screen, and other blood or urine tests. They will monitor your vital signs, including your blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature, because in serious cases, a person may experience cardiac or respiratory arrest. They will also do tests to check and see if you have any chemical imbalances that may be indicative of a greater concern, or any diseases that may have resulted from your alcohol addiction.

Understanding The Detoxification Process

How To Detox From Alcohol Detox Process

What you will experience during withdrawal cannot fully be predicted down to the last symptom. How your body reacts to this process will depend on how long you have been addicted to alcohol and how much alcohol you consumed during this time. A greater intensity of alcohol consumption will likely lead to more severe reactions during the withdrawal process. When you begin the detox process you can expect symptoms of withdrawal to start within eight hours of your last drink, though for some, it may take a couple of days.

It is important to understand that each person’s body handles withdrawal differently, however, there are certain symptoms that are consistent with alcohol withdrawal. Understanding these are an important part of the detoxification process, and will also help you to better comprehend why you should seek help during this time. Here we explain some of the greatest concerns.


It is very likely that you will experience intense cravings for alcohol even a few hours after you have had your last sip. Cravings may be the first symptom you experience, and may also last the longest after you have decided to detox. This is one of the top reasons to make sure you get professional help with detox, as well as throughout the rest of your recovery process.

Having support to help you fight your cravings can be key to a successful recovery. Although some people are very strong-willed and determined, it goes beyond this—detox is a trying time when your body and mind are turning against you, and trying to trick you into having another drink.

When you experience a craving, your brain will likely fixate on thoughts of alcohol, for this reason it is important to find ways to distract yourself. A health professional can assist you in finding other things to do with your time while you are experiencing alcohol cravings. Whether it be a puzzle, a counseling session, group therapy or a new hobby, professionals who specialize in alcohol detox are trained to handle intense cravings, and to help you successfully get through them.

Physical And Mental Issues

When you take alcohol away from your body, it may react in a way that is uncomfortable because it is trying flush the toxins out of its system, while attempting to relearn how to function without the alcohol that it is so accustomed to.

You may feel nauseous or flu-like within the first day or so of detoxing. You may experience headaches, dehydration, excessive sweating or clammy skin, a loss of appetite, pale skin, or vomiting. You also might suffer from high blood pressure, tachycardia (increased heart rate), insomnia or nightmares, and become irritable, confused, fatigued, or jumpy.

Alcohol dehydrates you and can severely imbalance your body’s chemistry. For this reason you may receive an IV to help balance your fluids, electrolytes, and other important nutrients, including glucose, thiamine, or folic acid.

Increased Depression And Anxiety

Depression and anxiety can skyrocket when you are detoxing from alcohol. Your support team may administer medications to help you combat some of these feelings. In addition, they can offer guidance and support through therapy that will make your recovery process go smoother, and help you to foster a more positive outlook.

Body Tremors

As your body continues to detox, you may experience tremors or shaking. These symptoms are quite common among victims of alcohol addiction. The intensity will depend on your body, and again, the severity of the addiction.

Seizures And Delirium Tremens

If your brain and body have become dependent on alcohol, detoxing from it can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms such as seizures. According to a publication from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, seizures present in up to 25% of withdrawal cases. The threat of seizure during detox is usually highest within the first 48 hours of withdrawal, but they may continue after that.

How To Detox From Alcohol Seizures

Delirium tremens (DTs) is a severe form of withdrawal that not everyone will experience. It is more common in individuals that have a history of withdrawal and/or that have drank heavily for ten years or more. It can lead to seizures, deep and long lasting periods of sleep, impaired cognitive functioning, hallucinations, delirium, and even cardiac arrest, among others. This condition warrants immediate medical attention, as it can be life-threatening.

The severity of seizures and of delirium tremens is one of the most crucial reasons why you should not try to detox from alcohol on your own.

Medications For Detox

How To Detox From Alcohol MedicationRemember, your addiction has changed both your body and mind, due to this you might need additional support. Your specific case will be assessed by a professional, which will help determine what path of detox will work best for you.

Your addiction support team may use medications to help reduce your cravings. Some people may struggle with this notion of replacing one drug with another, but it is important to remember the end goal—getting sober. Naltrexone can help you to work through your cravings in way that allows you to move to the next steps of your treatment process, and closer to a successful and long-term recovery.

Your team may also administer sedatives, specifically benzodiazepines, to help control some of the symptoms we outlined above. According to Medscape, beta-blockers, clonidine, phenothiazines, and anticonvulsants have all shown a measure of success in treating symptoms of withdrawal. If a person’s blood pressure spikes to a dangerous range, medications for blood pressure may also be used.

Freedom From Addiction Starts With Detox

Whatever your specific case is, a professional will help you to get on the right track to keep you as safe and healthy as possible during detox. Once you have successfully completed detox, you will be able to take the next steps in your rehabilitation process to get your life back on the track towards wellness.

Deciding to go through detox to overcome your alcohol addiction is a big step. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it. If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.addiction, do not hesitate to contact us. At we strive to put people on a successful path to recovery, and can connect you to a facility that employs a compassionate staff and evidence-based treatments. You are not alone in your struggle, we are standing by to help you begin your journey today.

MedLine Plus — Alcohol withdrawal
MedLine Plus — Delirium Tremens
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal
American Family Physician — Outpatient Management of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

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

Dual Diagnosis: PTSD And Substance Abuse

PTSD And Substance Abuse

When you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you experience a wide range of mental and physical health problems. Unfortunately, these problems often push a person to begin using drugs or alcohol in excessive amounts which can lead to an addiction. The common occurrence is a result of the complexity of the situation, as PTSD is a very individualized problem and one that affects people in different ways. Drug addiction is also complex, and when it’s paired with the negativity of PTSD, it creates a thick web that can be hard to escape. If you or someone you love suffers from dual diagnosis, you need to understand as much about it as possible in order to beat it.

In this in-depth look at dual diagnosis, PTSD, and substance abuse, we are going to delve deeply into the causes of these problems and how they interact with each other. We will take a look at research study data and teach you how to pin-point the moment when your PTSD started and how it led to addiction. When you finish reading, you will also understand how to best take care of your dual diagnosis and the effectiveness of its treatment methods.

What Is PTSD?

Before going deeper into this subject, let’s take a moment to fully understand PTSD. This is important because you may be uncertain if you have this problem or may be suffering from an undiagnosed case. While this information is not designed to be a medical diagnosis, it can help you get a better idea of whether you have it. Use this information with your personal doctor to come with a proper diagnosis.

The mental health advocacy group, Mental Health America, defined post-traumatic stress disorder in the following way: “Posttraumatic [sic] Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a traumatic event. A traumatic event is a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood.”

When a person experiences these situations, they develop symptoms that make their life more difficult, such as:

  • Thinking constantly about the traumatic moment, including having nightmares about it
  • Being on high alert or trying to feel overly protected from danger, even when it does not exist
  • Being easily startled and often irritable about nothing in particular
  • Staying away from friends, family members, or even locations related to the trauma
  • Sudden increase in panic or anxiety, causing additional side effects like nausea, dizziness, and even blackouts
  • Severe headaches, cramps, stomach pain, muscle cramps, and even lower back pains
  • Difficulty trusting others and having personal and professional problems
  • Suicidal thoughts that are fueled by the trauma and difficult to face
  • Depression related to the trauma and an increased sense of hopelessness
  • The development of other mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia

With this increased understanding of PTSD, you can better understand how it may be influencing your drug addiction.

Where Dual Diagnoses Might Originate

There are a variety of different influences on dual diagnosis and it is valuable to gain an understanding of how they may begin. A few of the most common are:

  • Biology – People who suffer from mental health disorders are often genetically predisposed to these conditions. This may include “super sensitivity,” a problem that may lead to a higher occurrence of PTSD. It also includes increased sensitivity to dopamine and other chemicals.
  • Occurrence caused by triggers – This is a situation caused by a substance triggering a latent disorder. For example, someone who has a predisposition towards bipolar disorder may trigger it by using substances. The same is true of disorders that may lead to PTSD.
  • Inability to cope with life – Stress and anxiety often strip away a person’s patience and coping abilities. If they suffered from PTSD, coping abilities might be even more affected. In this situation, people often turn to substance abuse to alleviate their symptoms and feel more stable.
  • Environmental triggers – Even a person with no mental health problems can develop one based on environment. This can result from a traumatic situation, such as losing both parents at a young age or perhaps losing a job and being threatened with bankruptcy.
  • Poor diagnosis – Mental health disorders often have overlapping symptoms that can cause improper diagnosis. For this reason, a person who has a serious problem, like schizophrenia, may not get the medical attention that they need which may lead to self-medication with substance abuse.

As you can see, any of these situations might also be a contributor to PTSD. That problem occurs when a person experiences a traumatic situation that leaves them feeling drained, depressed, and defeated. Suddenly developing a mental health disorder could cause PTSD, especially if it shows itself in a dramatic manner. Struggling to cope with life and environmental triggers may also cause PTSD, creating an even higher chance of developing an addiction.

Mental Health Problems That Cause PTSD And Dual Diagnosis

Mental health disorders come in a wide range and they each cause a great degree of personal struggle and difficulty. Many of these problems have the potential to cause PTSD and lead to dual diagnosis. While having one of the following mental health problems doesn’t necessarily mean someone will develop a dual diagnosis, it does increase the risk:

  • Mood Disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Panic Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Personality Disorders
  • Schizophrenia

The increased risk of addiction that comes with each disorder varies. For example, people who suffer from antisocial personality disorder have a 15.5 percent increased risk of developing an addiction, those with mania have a 14.5 percent increase, and those with schizophrenia have a 10.1 percent increased risk. This elevated risk is caused by disease symptoms and their possibility of creating PTSD.

For example, a person with schizophrenia may develop their symptoms suddenly and experience a traumatic break from reality. This can cause PTSD symptoms to occur alongside their schizophrenia, further increasing the risk of addiction. However, PTSD and depression are heavily linked, just like depression is with many other disorders, and understanding where depression begins and how it influences PTSD is crucial to further assessing your dual diagnosis situation.

Breakdown Of The Various Theories Of Depression

Depression, like PTSD and other mental health disorders, develops in a variety of ways. Fully grasping these points of development can be important in treating your dual diagnosis and eliminating the negative influence of PTSD and addiction from your life. One of the most common causes of depression is chemical, a problem that Richard H. Hall of Missouri S&T University delves into in his short paper “Theories of Depression.”

Hall states that people with chemical depression often have an underactive production of monoamines, which are chemicals that help promote happiness and stability. He found that people who had low levels of this chemical suffered from severe depression.

PTSD And Substance Abuse Sleep

Another theory he posits includes the effect of poor circadian rhythm in your sleep cycle. The idea is that an unhealthy sleep cycle may lead to increased risks of depression. This is particularly true of people who suffer from low instances of REM or dream-state sleep. His studies found that those who were sleep deprived in a laboratory setting often developed depression symptoms which were not there before.

Beyond these concepts is the behaviorist theory which is the idea that our environment and its influence on us is what leads to depression. Depression is, in this belief, nothing but the result of negative behavior patterns that resulted from learned behaviors in specific situations. For example, if a person who is overweight was teased for it as a young child, they may associate being heavy with negativity. This may cause them to fall into depression if they struggle with their weight.

This theory is also related to the idea of “learned helplessness” or the idea that people with depression learn how to be “helpless” and depressed at a young age. This might have occurred when a child learned to cry to get what they wanted or to claim an inability to perform a simple act, such as tying their shoes. Later in life, they may struggle to break this helplessness and feel that escaping from negative situations on their own is beyond them, further fueling their depression.

What is interesting about the latter idea is how it relates to PTSD. People who suffer from PTSD may experience a state of helplessness in the moment of their traumatic experience. As a result, they may fall into a state of learned helplessness which is new to them and which is hard for them to manage.

The Connections Between PTSD, Depression, And Co-Occurring Disorders

The connections that link these disorders are very complex, but not impossible to understand. As mentioned before, PTSD is heavily linked to depression and other mental health disorders. People who suffer from these problems may not even realize they are and may try to continue going on with their life as normal. This might include drinking alcohol or occasionally engaging in drug use.

PTSD And Substance Abuse Mental Health Problems

Unfortunately for the nearly eight million Americans who have PTSD, this may lead to an increased risk of turning to drugs as a way of self-medicating the negative effects of depression, PTSD, and other mental health disorders. As PTSD often exacerbates these mental health disorders, it can create an even tighter and more difficult to escape dual diagnosis. This idea was tested in a study entitled “Cognitive Distortions In The Dual Diagnosis Of PTSD And Substance Use Disorder,” particularly the way that cognitive ideas caused by PTSD led to dual diagnosis.

The study sampled 102 women with PTSD and a substance use disorder and 27 women who just had PTSD. They found that PTSD led to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and drug addiction. Thankfully, they also found that many of the treatment methods applicable for both cases were effective in eliminating many of the problems associated with the dual diagnosis of PTSD and addiction.

Why do PTSD and substance use disorders mesh together so well in such a negative way? There are a variety of influences. For example, a person with PTSD may have troubles sleeping and may turn to alcohol or other calming drugs to fall asleep. Or they may have the opposite problem and feel numb and without energy. Stimulants, such as cocaine or meth, may give them the energy they need to face the concerns of day-to-day life.

Even worse is the way that PTSD can fuel thoughts of depression and avoidance. Drinking alcohol and taking drugs may distract the mind from its depression and further fuel the avoidance of the negative memories associated with trauma. Sadly, these effects won’t last for long, which will cause a person to turn to increasing doses of substances in order to stay stable, happy, and comfortable.

The Connection Has Been Studied

The study of the influence of these two disorders was focused on in “Posttraumatic (sic) Stress Disorder And Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders: Advances In Assessment And Treatment,” a paper published by the National Center For Biotechnology Information. In it, the researchers came to a sad, but important to understand conclusion:

PTSD And Substance Abuse Influences“The comorbid presentation of PTSD and SUDs is remarkably common, and in comparison to patients presenting with either PTSD or SUD alone, PTSD/SUD patients often report greater functional impairment and experience poorer treatment outcomes –including treatment failure and dropout. Several mechanisms have been posited to explain the co-occurrence of PTSD and SUDs, including the self-medication hypothesis, the high-risk hypothesis, the susceptibility hypothesis. The majority of research to date supports the self-medication hypothesis.”

What this indicates is clear: people with PTSD most often use substances to self-medicate the negative influence of their disorder. This causes an increase in usage and even addiction, which is only fueled by the continued occurrence of these disorders. That’s why it’s so important to understand how to treat them, as this can help you break a negative feedback cycle and learn how to live a healthy life.

Eliminating PTSD

PTSD has become such a major problem that a variety of treatment methods have been created to help treat its negative symptoms. The most common of these are various methods of psychotherapy, including talk therapy, individual assessment, group therapy, and family counseling. Often people who suffer from PTSD interact well with others who have experienced a similar trauma, as they can relate and better understand each other.

Psychotherapy can also include methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps you identify the negative thought and behavior patterns in your life. By identifying these negative patterns with a skilled therapist you can replace them with positive ones. For example, if your PTSD has you on edge and nervous about another occurrence of trauma, cognitive behavioral therapy can help you learn to substitute those reactions with positive and relaxing ones.

Exposure therapy is also often used to treat PTSD and it is exactly what it sounds like: you are exposed to the situation which caused your trauma. Obviously this is done in a safe environment and it is designed to help you face your fear and beat it. New virtual reality treatments are often available for this therapy, completely eliminating any danger from the real situation.

PTSD And Substance Abuse Eliminate PTSD

Another interesting treatment is eye movement desensitization. This method works with exposure therapy to track your eye movements in order to understand how you are processing your traumatic memories. By teaching you new guided eye movements, you will learn how to better handle your traumatic memories and avoid letting them pull you back into addiction.

Beyond these psychotherapy methods are a variety of medications that treat the depression and anxiety symptoms that come with PTSD. These include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, prazosin (a drug that helps suppress nightmares associated with PTSD), and more. The idea here is to carefully guide you through these negative emotions, balance your emotional health, and give you the strength you need to fight the negative influences of PTSD.

Why Treating Both At The Same Time Is Most Effective

While it is possible to treat PTSD separately from your addiction, it’s fair to say that it’s best to treat both at the same time. Why? The two are so intricately mixed that it can be hard to treat them individually. For example, if you just try to treat addiction without handling PTSD, the anxiety and depression caused by the latter problem may influence a relapse. Conversely, trying to beat PTSD while still nursing an addiction will only fuel the intensity of the problems it causes.

We come to this conclusion after understanding multiple studies that tested dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder therapies and which concluded that treating both simultaneously was the best option. For example, a study entitled “Treatments For Patients With Dual Diagnosis: A Review” concluded that “… existing efficacious treatments for reducing psychiatric symptoms also tend to work in dual-diagnosis patients (and) existing efficacious treatments for reducing substance use also decrease substance use in dually diagnosed patients…”

Essentially, this means that treatments for addiction also work well for people who have mental health problems. This indicates that treating both is not only possible, but preferable, as it is possible to eliminate both problems by utilizing the same treatment methods. Perhaps that’s why BMC Psychiatry, in a study on dual diagnosis client treatment satisfaction, found that “… integrated DD treatment yielded greater client satisfaction than standard treatment without explicit DD focus. In standard treatment without DD focus, DD clients tended to be less satisfied than single diagnosis clients.”

While these studies weren’t necessarily examining PTSD as a dual diagnosis specifically, the promising results they suggested show that dual diagnosis treatments for both mental health disorders and addiction can serve as an appropriate and effective way to eliminate both problems. So please consider making the investment, both in time and money, and helping yourself beat addiction for good.

Finding Appropriate Treatment For Your Needs

If you suffer from PTSD and a drug addiction, there is good news, as multiple drug rehab centers across the nation now focus heavily on dual diagnosis treatment. The rigors and difficulties of modern life have made trauma more of a problem than ever, and rising addiction rates may reflect this reality. It doesn’t matter where your addiction or your PTSD originated: dual diagnosis treatments can help you.

But how do you find a center near you that is willing to help? You could search online and read through a variety of addiction center listings. This may be effective if you are looking to get into a rehab center quickly, but you might be leaving out a drug center in another state that might be more appropriate for your needs. For example, if you are a mother suffering from PTSD caused by childbirth, there may be a center thousands of miles away that focuses on this specific concern.

That’s why reaching out to us at can help you begin your journey. Our addiction therapy specialists know all too well how addiction and Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.PTSD can impact your life. They understand the myriad of influences PTSD and depression has on your life and will work hard to find you a center that works specifically for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today to experience the healing power of recovery. Contact us today, we are here to help!


University Of Utah – Mental Illness: The Challenge Of Dual Diagnosis
Mental Health America – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
NHS Choices – Dual Diagnosis
Missouri S&T University – Theories Of Depression
Simply Psychology – Psychological Theories Of Depression
Anxiety And Depression Association Of America – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Springer Link – Cognitive Distortions In The Dual Diagnosis Of PTSD And Substance Use Disorder
National Institute On Drug Abuse – Comorbidity: Addiction And Other Mental Illnesses
U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs – PTSD And Substance Abuse In Veterans
Mayo Clinic – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Treatments And Drugs
National Institute On Drug Abuse – Treatments For Patients With Dual Diagnosis: A Review
BMC Psychiatry – Dual Diagnosis Clients’ Treatment Satisfaction – A Systematic Review

Trauma And Substance Abuse

Holding Hands Trauma And Substance Abuse

There are few things in life more traumatic than falling victim to addiction, and it takes a real effort for people to dig their way out. This is especially true if addiction is coupled with past traumatic incidents. Trauma has a nasty way of working hand-in-hand with drug addiction to create a trap that squeezes in on people and keeps them stuck in a groove of abuse.

Thankfully, it’s possible to break out of the trap and regain your sobriety. It takes understanding the impact trauma has had on your body and mind, how it influenced your addiction, and what you can do to recover. You can do this and we can help. So let’s get started.

How Trauma Impacts The Body And Mind

Trauma seriously impacts the body and mind in devastating ways. In chapter three of the book Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services, the Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration discusses the various ways that trauma impacts a person. These will vary enormously between various individuals, and SAMHSA states:

“Some individuals may clearly display criteria associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but many more individuals will exhibit resilient responses or brief subclinical symptoms or consequences that fall outside of diagnostic criteria. The impact of trauma can be subtle, insidious, or outright destructive. How an event affects an individual depends on many factors, including characteristics of the individual, the type and characteristics of the event(s), developmental processes, the meaning of the trauma, and sociocultural factors.”

This means that trauma is an unpredictable problem that doesn’t cause predictable behavior patterns. For example, some people may recover well from the death of a parent, but their sibling may be completely devastated and unable to cope.

Mental effects of trauma include: loss of hope; limited expectation of life; increase in personal fear; confusion; anxiety; agitation; isolation; fatigue; nightmares, depression; avoidance behaviors, and more. Many of these symptoms will also contribute to physical problems, such as the way that depression can cause a person to sleep more, gain weight, and suffer from physical pain.

Physical reactions include: cardiovascular concerns; gastrointestinal issues; rashes and other skin problems; troubles breathing; physical pain; hypervigilance (the state of being constantly ready for another traumatic event); constricted muscles; loss of bone mass, and more. These physical problems make it very difficult for many people to recover from trauma and often force people to self-medicate.

Trauma Does Influence Addiction

The effects of trauma on addiction have been studied and confirmed multiple times, but it’s worth looking into one study to get a feel for just how much it hurts. In the study “Substance Use, Childhood Traumatic Experience, And Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder In An Urban Civilian Population,” the addiction rates of various groups of people were studied.

The connections between the groups were the fact that they suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and the fact that they lived in an urban or city-based setting. We’ll ignore the latter similarity, as it isn’t relevant for our purposes.

Found in the study was that substance abuse (in this case, cocaine) was very high in people who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. The type of trauma didn’t matter much: whether it was physical, sexual, or emotional, addiction was high. The people studied experienced trauma at a variety of ages, but the highest increase was in those who experienced trauma at a very young age.

The connection here is obvious. People who suffer from trauma often turn to drugs to self-medicate the symptoms caused by it. It’s hard to blame anybody who falls victim to this problem, as trauma is such a difficult issue to escape. Addiction, however, must be escaped as quickly as possible.

Traumatic Events That May Contribute To Addiction

Now that you know how trauma can contribute to addiction, you need to understand the type of incidents that may trigger it. We almost all experience traumatic events in our lives; the ways in which we react to them define how we recover. Unfortunately for many people, they try to recover with drugs and alcohol. This is always a mistake, but it is one that can be corrected. Examples of trauma that contribute to addiction include:

  • Death of a loved one – The feeling of loss generated by losing a loved one often creates extreme levels of physical and mental suffering. This trauma can feel inescapable, as you can’t bring back the loved one you’ve lost. As a result, many people turn to drugs or alcohol to alleviate their suffering.
  • Losing a job – When you’re fired or laid off from a job you’ve relied on for years, it’s easy to feel like a failure. Even if the job loss was beyond your control, staring at the mounting bills and financial instability rising in its wake can be traumatic. Drugs and alcohol seemingly kill this pain by blurring you to its reality.
  • Being left or cheated on by a significant other – People place so much of their self-worth in their lover, and when their lover hurts them, they are often traumatized. Being left or cheated on makes a person feel betrayed, ashamed, and worthless. These feelings go away with time, but many people can’t wait and turn to drugs or alcohol to feel better.
  • Birth of a child – Having children is a joyous situation for many people, but it can often cause a surprising amount of trauma. For an unprepared mother, it’s easy to feel trapped and overwhelmed. For some fathers, it is difficult to imagine having to care for a new human being. Unfortunately, these feelings hide the love and happiness new parents should feel and can often traumatize them enough to cause them to turn to drugs and alcohol.

These are just a few examples of trauma that can force a person to turn to addiction. Other examples include serving in a war, a near-death experience, putting a beloved pet to sleep, losing a home in a fire, or declaring bankruptcy. If you have experienced any of these situations recently and find yourself turning to drugs or alcohol, please get help as soon as possible.

Treating Trauma And Addiction

The grip of trauma and addiction are most easily broken by receiving dual diagnosis care. This treatment method approaches both problems simultaneously to help free you from the mental burden of your trauma and addiction. It requires multiple treatment types in order to foster a holistic recovery that gives you the best chance of achieving lifelong sobriety.

Your trauma will be treated through various psychological techniques, including psychotherapy, family counseling, hypnotherapy, and other proven methods. Essentially, you are seeking the source of your trauma and pinpointing how it influences your life. Working through the negative emotions of trauma helps decrease its impact and gives you a fresh new start on life.

While this is going on, you will also be receiving addiction treatment, such as withdrawal therapy, behavioral adjustments, nutritional treatments, educational materials, and aftercare procedures. All of these methods are designed to move you through the physical demands of addiction, help you learn new ways of coping with cravings, learn more about how addiction hurts you, and how to transition back into the world outside of the rehab walls.

By following this treatment technique, you are giving yourself the chance to gain a new perspective on life, one that moves past your trauma and helps you see the joy and love in the world. You will experience your relationships on a more positive level and appreciate moments in your life on a higher level.

When New Trauma Generates A Relapse

The toughest part of your recovery is the impact that new trauma can have on your relapse risk. Though you can recover from trauma and treat its symptoms in a constructive manner, the negative emotional reaction it causes often sticks with people for a long time. New trauma (such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a job) may trigger these negative memories and cause a relapse.

Don’t feel like a failure if you relapse after addiction treatment, especially if trauma is involved. Relapse occurs in many addiction treatment cases and can be a useful reminder as to why you wanted to quit in the first place. However, you need to minimize the impact that a relapse has on your life to help avoid completely falling off the wagon and increasing your risk of further trauma.

The best ways to do this is to immediately check into a rehab center after relapsing, visit members of your support network, go to an outpatient addiction clinic, or schedule an appointment with a psychologist. This can help you take control of the situation, wean you back off of drugs, and treat any new trauma caused by your relapse. This is often a major part of aftercare for many people.

Please remember that just about everyone going through the recovery process experiences setbacks, including one or more relapses. Think of high-profile addiction cases, such as Robert Downey, Jr.’s multiple problems with addiction, to get a feel for how often relapse occurs. Don’t beat yourself up or fall back into a traumatic cycle, but get immediate help to get your life back on track.

Don’t Let Trauma And Addiction Destroy Your Life

Reach out for help overcoming addiction.It’s not going to be easy to get over this problem, but with help and dedication, you can recover a new drug-free life. Please contact us at today to learn more about how you can safely and happily recover from addiction and trauma. We will work with you to help get your life back on track in no time.

Symptoms Of Substance-Induced Psychotic Episode

Symptoms of a Substance-Induced Psychotic Episode

Substance use and abuse carries with it a wide range of risks, many of which can be deliberating, disorientating, and dangerous. In some instances, a person who engages in these at-risk drug or alcohol behaviors may encounter what is called a substance abuse psychotic episode.

What Is A Psychotic Episode And How Does It Manifest Itself?

PubMed Health defines psychosis as “a severe mental disorder in which a person loses the ability to recognize reality or relate to others.” They continue to list the defining symptoms as: “being paranoid, having false ideas about what is taking place or who one is, and seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there.”

A drug-induced psychosis is similar in nature, excluding the fact that it can manifest solely due to the substance and not from a present “independent” mental disorder. The severity of this is such that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-V), includes substance-induced psychotic disorder. Medscape notes the DSM-V criteria for this as including “evidence from the history, physical examination, or laboratory findings indicates both (1) the hallucinations or delusions developed during or soon after (eg, within a month of) substance intoxication or withdrawal or (2) substance used is etiologically related to the disturbance.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) elaborates on this, stating that “substance-induced disorders are distinct from independent co-occurring mental disorders in that all or most of the psychiatric symptoms are the direct result of substance use.” However, in certain cases this psychosis may occur in someone who has a mental health concern. SAMHSA continues, “this is not to state that substance-induced disorders preclude co-occurring mental disorders, only that the specific symptom cluster at a specific point in time is more likely the result of substance use, abuse, intoxication, or withdrawal than of underlying mental illness.”

This Event May Be Aggravated Or Accompanied By A Co-Occurring Disorder

Some people may have a mental health disorder that can manifest itself in this way. At times, these people may use a drug either recreationally or as a means to self-medicate, which may then cause a drug induced psychosis. These conditions include: bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and delusional disorder, among others, and may be comorbid to substance abuse.

Due to this possibility, it is important that a thorough mental health evaluation be conducted to ascertain if the symptoms are due solely, in part, or not at all from the substance use or abuse. The mental health provider must strive to determine if the initial onset of symptoms occurred prior to substance use, if they continued during sustained periods of abstinence, if they continued after the substance use and withdrawal have ceased, or if the severity of symptoms is greater than what would be expected from a certain substance used in the capacity reported.

They must also do a thorough inquiry of your substance abuse history to determine the amount, frequency, and length of use. These determinations will help your medical team establish the best modes of treatment for your situation.

It can be extremely harmful and even dangerous if a person is not treated fully for the exact root of the problem. Mental health disorders may many times precede drug use as people with these conditions may seek to self-medicate them through drug use, instead of getting the proper care they need. If a person is striving to overcome a substance abuse disorder, they must also seek to treat any co-occurring mental health concerns in order to help alleviate these stressors and triggers.

What Happens During A Substance-Induced Psychotic Episode?

The Merck Manual states that a “substance/medication–induced psychotic disorder is characterized by hallucinations and/or delusions due to the direct effects of a substance or withdrawal from a substance in the absence of delirium.” During a drug-induced psychotic episode, either one or both of these two prevalent experiences may occur. The National Alliance on Mental Illness defines them, and their defining characteristics here:

Hallucinations are seeing, hearing, or physically feeling things that aren’t actually there. For example:

  • Voices telling you to commit acts of violence or self-harm
  • Feeling like something is crawling under your skin
  • Seeing someone take the shape of something he is not, such as a demon

Delusions are strong beliefs that are unlikely to be true and may seem irrational to others. For example:

  • Believing external forces are controlling your thoughts, feelings, and behavior
  • Believing that trivial remarks, events, or objects have personal meaning or significance
  • Thinking you have special powers, are on a special mission, or even that you are God

What Type Of Substances Can Cause This?

Every person has physiological concerns that are unique to them. For this reason, a substance may affect one person in a way that is different from the next. Just because someone else took a substance in a certain proportion does not mean that you will react the same way they did or that you will be free from danger.

Also, just because you’ve taken a substance in the past does not mean that you’re in the clear. A substance may be laced, cut, or mixed with another substance or substances; or due to physiological variances in your body, you may react to it differently, in a way that could be very dangerous. The risks and dangers of substance use and abuse can vary based on a person’s gender, genetic disposition, physical and mental health, and other factors.

It is important to note, as SAMHSA mentions that “virtually any substance taken in very large quantities over a long enough period can lead to a psychotic state.” outlines the class of substances that are known to cause psychotic episodes or disorders and the circumstances under which they do so.


  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamine and related substances
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Hallucinogens
  • Inhalants
  • Opioids (meperidine)
  • Phencyclidine and related substances
  • Sedatives, hypnotics, and anxiolytics
  • Other or unknown substances


  • Alcohol
  • Sedatives
  • Hypnotics and anxiolytics
  • Other or unknown substances

It is also reported that certain over-the-counter or prescription drugs may cause psychotic symptoms including, but not limited to the following: pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, muscle relaxants, anticonvulsants, antihistamines, chemotherapeutic agents, and certain antidepressant medications.

Other non-drug toxins may also initiate these symptoms. Some examples as reported by include “anticholinesterase, organophosphate insecticides, nerve gases, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and volatile substances such as fuel or paint.”

Keep in mind, any time you use more than one drug concurrently, your risk increases.

How Is This Treated?

If you find that you or someone close to you is experiencing this, it is crucially important that the medical support team is made aware of any and all drug use, even if they are drugs that you do not believe to be responsible for the event.

The Oxford Journals Schizophrenia Bulletin write that “most substance-induced psychotic symptoms are considered to be short lived and to resolve with sustained abstinence along with other symptoms of substance intoxication and withdrawal.” Certain drugs may result in more prolonged psychotic episodes, the Merck Manual states that “psychosis triggered by amphetamines, cocaine, or PCP may persist for many weeks.”

Even though you might think that a person may be able to regain their senses within the quiet of their own home, you must, for their welfare and safety, keep in mind the nature of the symptoms of these psychotic episodes. Some manifestations of certain hallucinations may encourage a person to harm themselves or those around them. It is for these reasons that a person should be supervised by a staff that is highly-trained and educated in such manners.

When a person is encountering the overwhelming symptoms of one of these episodes, the best thing is to get them to a calm, medically supervised environment where they can be observed.
Benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, or anxiolytics may be administered. Treatment varies on the substance, in example the Merck Manual suggests that “for psychosis due to dopamine-stimulating drugs such as amphetamine, an antipsychotic drug is most effective…for substances with actions that do not involve dopamine, observation may be all that is needed, or an anxiolytic may help.”

If the psychotic episode is a result of withdrawal, it is especially important that a person seek medical help immediately. Unaccompanied withdrawal from certain substances may be very dangerous and even deadly. Also, in this instance, in addition to the psychotic manifestations, there are other symptoms of withdrawal that may require medical support and attention.

In the majority of cases, treatment should extend beyond that which treats the substance-induced psychotic disorder. Even if a person is no longer experiencing an episode, the presence of it suggests what could be a serious and underlying substance abuse disorder. A person should be evaluated for such and the necessary treatment options should be discussed. Treatment options include therapy, either individual or group, or a rehabilitation program.

Let Us Help You Find Clarity Within The Confusion

Reach out for help regaining mental, emotional, and physical balance.Substance abuse can complicate your life by creating intense confusion and in the worst and most severe of cases, it can completely uproot reality. This can leave you stranded, without your bearings, amidst a situation that can damage your mental and emotional health and that of those around you. If you’re fearful that yourself or someone you love may be engaging in drug or alcohol use that could result in a psychotic episode, or if one has already occurred, please reach out to us so that we can help you resolve the situation and regain the mental, emotional, and physical balance and wellness that you deserve. Contact us today at

Schizoaffective Disorder And Addiction Treatment

Schizoaffective Disorder And Addiction Treatment
Mental health disorders can severely and negatively impact drug addiction and make it more difficult to obtain a new sober lifestyle. One of the most devastating of these problems is schizoaffective disorder. It creates an unstable lifestyle that often pushes people who suffer from it to drug and alcohol abuse and even addiction.

Understanding this disorder and the way it affects your addiction is crucial for your recovery. First of all, you need to understand the nature of the disorder, its relation to schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, how it affects your addiction, and what you can do to treat it.

What Is Schizoaffective Disorder?

The National Alliance On Mental Illness defines schizoaffective disorder in the following manner:

“Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental health condition characterized primarily by symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations or delusions, and symptoms of a mood disorder, such as mania and depression.”


Though relatively rare (only about 0.3 percent of the population is affected), schizoaffective disorder is devastating. Sadly, it is so rare that it is often misdiagnosed, as it so closely mimics symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, this means you may only receive partial or incorrect treatment, further distracting from your recovery.

The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder are problematic and cause a variety of erratic and unpredictable behaviors. Symptoms of this disease include the following:

  • Fixed beliefs that contradict reality (delusions)
  • Quick racing thoughts that are hard to control and which cause disorganized thinking
  • Fluctuations between depression (feelings of sadness, emptiness, and worthlessness) and mania (euphoria, quick thinking, and impulsive behaviors)
  • Hallucinations of visual or aural input
Schizoaffective Disorder_Racing Thoughts
Schizoaffective Disorder_delusions
Schizoaffective Disorder_emotional


The causes of this disease are mysterious, especially as it is a relatively new and unstudied disorder. It does seem to run in families and is influenced by specific brain chemistry, though the precise nature of this relation is still unknown. However, people can actually develop schizoaffective disorder due to stressful situations or through the use of psychoactive drugs, such as cocaine, LSD, codeine, and mescaline.

Unfortunately, this quick onset can cause a variety of problematic behaviors that make a person’s tendencies toward such behaviors hard to control and which may lead to heavy drug use and abuse.

Is Schizoaffective Disorder The Same As Schizophrenia?

Although schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder share many of the same symptoms, (such as hallucinations and delusions) they are not the same. Dr. Frederick J. Frese III—a mental health expert and writer for PBS—breaks down the difference by focusing heavily on the mood element of the disorder. Schizophrenia lacks the bipolar-like mood swings of schizoaffective disorder.

Elaborating on this point, Frese states that schizoaffective disorder is diagnosed when a person experiences schizophrenic symptoms while also suffering from bipolar symptoms. They must also show schizophrenic symptoms without bipolar symptoms and they must be present for at least a month.

Schizophrenia also requires a longer diagnosis period of at least six months of symptoms. These differences are crucial to understand and many experts believe that schizoaffective disorder is actually more closely related to bipolar disorder, rather than schizophrenia. Hence, the focus on the mood aspects of the disorder.

What Kinds Of Treatments Are Available For Schizoaffective Disorder?

The complex nature schizoaffective disorder treatment mirrors the nature of the disease. It affects such a wide range of your physical and mental health that it takes a concentrated and holistic effort to recover. However, with the right medical, psychological, and behavioral treatments, you can beat it.

Typically, schizoaffective disorder is treated medically by the antipsychotic drug paliperidone, otherwise known as Invega. This is currently the only medicine that is FDA approved to treat this disorder. However, doctors often utilize other antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers to treat some of the major symptoms of schizoaffective disorder.

Psychological treatment focuses on helping a person understand their disorder and the ways in which it affects their lives. Strategies such as peer support, group therapy, individual psychotherapy, and family counseling are implemented to help stabilize a person’s mind and give them the psychological distance they need to become more capable of handling their problems.

Behavior-adjustment therapies are designed to help change negative thinking and behavior patterns caused by schizoaffective disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common of these methods. It creates coping tools you can use to manage the racing thoughts and behaviors of schizoaffective disorder.

For example, a behavior specialist may teach you to relax your mania with yoga or writing your thoughts down as they come. They may also teach you how to fight off relapse urges by focusing on healthier outlets, such as jogging or painting.

A new trend of ECT treatments has also been popping up lately. ECT is used to manage depression by sending electric impulses to the brain that help calm symptom severity. In cases where medication, psychology, and behavioral treatments don’t work, ECT is sometimes used as a last resort.

How Does Schizoafffective Disorder Influence Addiction?

The National Institute On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism reports that 9.7 percent of all people with schizoaffective disorder experience alcohol or drug abuse in their lifetime, while a further 24 percent experience true addiction. While these numbers are low compared to other mood disorders, they are severe enough to warrant further discussion.

Why do people with schizoaffective disorder suffer from such a high rate of addiction? The answer is complex. People with this disorder often use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. After all, many drugs cause dulled senses and mental calm that are desirable for people with schizoaffective disorder.

Furthermore, the mania that occurs throughout the lifetime of this disease generates impulsiveness that causes a person to try a dangerous substance. Extended periods of mania then lead to continuing use of the substance, to the point where an addiction eventually develops and spirals out of control.

The schizophrenic symptoms of schizoaffective disorder may also compel a person to use drugs. The hallucinations and delusions that come with this disorder may make drugs an appealing choice, as a person may feel that drugs are either harmless or a powerful way of changing their consciousness.

Unfortunately, drug abuse and addiction only exacerbates the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder. They can create an even wider disparity in the mania and depressive episodes and cause increased hallucination and delusions. This is known as co-occurring disorders, as addiction is present with mental health disorders and it can create a tight grip that is hard to escape.

Does Dual Diagnosis Help With Schizoaffective Disorder And Drug Addiction?

Thankfully, escape from the clutches of schizoaffective disorder and drug addiction is possible with dual diagnosis. If you have never heard of it, dual diagnosis is the process of treating addiction and mental health disorders at the same time.

The knot of schizoaffective disorder and addiction is particularly tight, as both disorders feed each other so well. However, dual diagnosis has been found to be an effective way to decrease the severity of these symptoms in a safe and healthy manner. A typical dual diagnosis treatment includes:

  • Physical detox to manage withdrawal symptoms
  • Management of health problems caused by addiction
  • Dietary adjustments to avoid undernourishment
  • Psychologically probing the source of your addiction
  • Working through your psychological problems in an individual or a group setting
  • Attending behavioral adjustment classes that teach you coping mechanisms
  • Continually working through the process to bring new hope to a person’s life
  • Aftercare techniques that are designed to help get you back on your feet after leaving rehab
  • Outpatient classes in relapse avoidance or regular meetings to help assess psychological and behavioral progress

This treatment method may seem exhaustive, but it is designed to holistically treat your addiction on all levels. Spiritual aspects, such as attendance in 12-Step programs, are also available, should you or your treatment specialists deem them necessary.

Can Schizoaffective Disorder Be Managed For Life?

Living with schizoaffective disorder is not easy, especially if it has pushed you into drug use. However, it is possible to manage your symptoms before and after addiction treatment and emerge as a newly clean, healthy, happy, and stable person. It requires lifelong diligence and a dedication to treating and understanding schizoaffective disorder and your addiction.

For example, you’re going to need to regularly take the medications that manage schizoaffective disorder severity and continue following the new behaviors you’ve learned during your recovery process. Staying on your medications gives you the balance to fight off cravings, while new coping behaviors fight the severity of both problems.

Let’s say that you feel yourself about to enter a manic episode and are worried that you’ll be compelled to use drugs. Immediately reach out to a support group when you feel your mania building. They can help you find an outlet for your overactive mind and excessive energy. You should also make sure to sleep, even if this requires sleep medication.

The major challenge here is learning how to track your triggers for both drug relapse and your schizoaffective episodes. With the help of behavioral therapists and psychologists, you can identify these situations and learn how to avoid them or decrease the severity of their impact on your life.

You Can Earn The Life You Desire

Contact Us About ServicesThe two-pronged assault of schizoaffective disorder and drug addiction is a heavy burden, but it is one that you can beat. Thousands of people across the country have taken the plunge into recovery and emerged as healthy and drug-free people. So can you, as long as you’re willing to accept help.

That’s where we come in. At, we have a core of expert addiction specialists who can move you through the difficulties of recovery. Contact us today to learn more about how we will get your sober and back on your feet.

Treating Drug And Alcohol Addiction As A Learning Disorder

Treating Drug And Alcohol Addiction As A Learning Disorder

It is often difficult to understand the behavioral changes that accompany addiction. Even those of high moral integrity seem to succumb to uncharacteristic behavior, impairing relationships and hindering potential support. Despite being categorized as a disease, addiction is still widely stigmatized socially.

Maia Szalavitz is a journalist who has spent 30 years researching substance abuse disorders. In her new book, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary Way of Understanding Addiction, Szalavitz challenges our current understanding of addiction and the way it is treated.

Szalavitz On Addiction Stigma

Maia Szalavitz

In a recent interview with Business Insider, Szalavitz said, “Scientists think it’s nuts to frame the idea of addiction as a learning disorder as new, but most of the public has no idea and it’s been framed to the public as a disease – so when you think disease, you think cancer and Alzheimer’s – but then they see how people with addictions behave and they think, ‘Well, that doesn’t fit.’”

Szalavitz continued, “…So on the one hand, we’re calling it a disease, but then we’re treating it as a sin. And that doesn’t make sense.” Szalavitz’s suggests that drug and alcohol addiction should be considered a learning disorder to broaden the potential for effective treatment and reduce the stigma to move forward.

The Impact Of Social Stigma On Recovery

The concept of addiction as a disease has only been accepted socially for about 45 years. Before that, people struggling with drug or alcohol abuse were berated and dismissed as people of low morals.

The conflicted understanding of addiction and treatment still creates a stigma, making recovery more complicated. The negative impact of social stigma with addiction and recovery includes:

  • Greater isolation of those struggling with addiction
  • Higher likelihood of familial rejection
  • Trouble with career and community involvement
  • A greater chance of relapse

When negative behavioral changes impact the relationships of those struggling with addiction, it is common to assume that moral character is destroyed. Decisions made under the influence may continue to tarnish a person’s reputation long after rehabilitation is complete. It’s important to improve the social stigma of addiction to better treat those whom are struggling.

Psychological Addiction Treatment Methodology

The American Medical Association (AMA) first declared alcoholism an illness in 1956. The AMA further endorsed the dual classification in 1991 under both psychiatric and medical sections of the International Classification of Diseases.

Modern addiction treatments are more focused on psychological reform than ever before. With these ideas in practice, it seems that the medical community has been shifting toward this theory with great results. Many behavior and learning-based methods are in place, including cognitive-behavioral therapy. This process works to reverse the behavior and thought patterns in people with addiction through submersion. This is common practice in cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder and ADHD.

The Disease Or Choice Debate

Treating Drug And Alcohol Addiction As A Learning Disorder_quoteSzalavitz suggests that defining addiction as a disease is “misguided learning,” as it is not brain damage or pathology. Instead, she refers to the condition of addiction as “compulsive behavior despite negative consequences.”

This is the basis of her literature, much of which is agreed upon by many healthcare officials. Treating addiction as a learning disorder may be the key to finding new and innovating methods that will stick.

How Are Learning Disorders Treated?

If a specialist is working to improve a learning disorder, such as dyslexia or ADD/ADHD, coping skills are usually the primary focus. A multidimensional plan is developed to help the individual deal with the disorder while continuing to function in everyday life.

It is possible that a similar tactic could be helpful in addiction recovery. By creating predictable scenarios and “training” the brain, it may be possible to see a higher success in treatment. While cognitive behavioral therapies and plan of actions are a step in the right direction, there is still much work to be done by way of treatment.

Treatment With Purpose

It is possible that addiction treatment could be benefited by reclassification. Identifying addiction as a learning disorder may open the door for new and effective methods that may not have been considered before.

As understanding of this condition expand, the stigma is bound to be lifted. By identifying what addiction is and isn’t, we’re better equipped as a society to assist those in recovery in their journeys and live more fulfilling lives.

We Can Help

Contact us today for help with recovery.If you or a loved one is struggling with the stigma of addiction or recovery, the caring staff at is here for you. We can offer support and understanding, as well as resources to aid in your recovery journey. Contact us today. We’re here to help.

What Kind of Drugs are Considered Depressants?

What Kind of Drugs are Considered Depressants

A depressant is a drug that lessens arousal or stimulation by slowing neurotransmission levels in the brain. Depressants are used and prescribed for a variety of reasons, including sedation, anti-seizure treatment, and pain relief. When abused, these drugs can have severely adverse effects on the body. Also referred to as “downers,” the most common depressants include alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, marijuana, and opioids.


What Kind of Drugs are Considered Depressants_alcoholAlcohol is a common depressant, as it is legal to purchase and consume for people of age. Most commonly used as a recreational enhancement, alcohol contains ethanol, an anesthetic that causes intoxication. While it is legal, many cases of alcohol abuse and alcoholism are reported. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH), the adverse effects of alcohol abuse include:

  • Stretching and drooping of the heart muscle over time
  • Irregular heartbeat, stroke, and high blood pressure
  • Alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis of the liver
  • Increased risk of cancer in the mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, and breast
  • Weakened immune system
  • Disorientation
  • Vision difficulty
  • Injury from intoxication
  • Agitation and depression

Nearly ninety percent of people ages 18 or older reported drinking alcohol at some point in their lives, while 24.7 percent reported that they have engaged in binge drinking, which increases the chances that negative effects and alcoholism can surface. Alcohol is among the most commonly accompanied substances in drug-related ER visits, as well.


What Kind of Drugs are Considered Depressants_rxOpioids or opiates have become increasingly popular in the US, due in part to the increase in prescriptions for pain relief. This highly addictive substance is categorized as a depressant, although certain areas of the brain are stimulated when it is used. The analgesic and narcotic qualities do offer depressant factors, particularly when used in higher doses. Some health complications from opioid use include:

  • Shallow breathing and heart palpitations
  • Sweating, chills, and nausea
  • Hypersensitivity to stimuli from increased dosage
  • Confusion

Withdrawal from opioid addiction can be very dangerous without medical assistance. Certain opioid medications, such as Suboxone and Methadone, offer relief from some withdrawal symptoms in early recovery.


When used as directed, barbiturates are effective in treating a variety of ailments. The anesthetic/depressant qualities offer aid with full sedation for anesthesia, seizure control, and pain relief. Barbiturates can cause many adverse effects in the body when misused, including:

  • Risks to pregnancy
  • Psychological and physical addiction
  • Accidental overdose, sedation, and death
  • Heart palpitations

Barbiturates can become addictive in a short amount of time and are responsible for 1,493 ER visits last year. Nine percent of surveyed high school students reported using barbiturates recreationally, and may be a factor in up to 33 percent of drug deaths last year.


Benzodiazepines are thought to be less toxic than barbiturates and are categorized by short-, intermediate-, or long-acting doses. Most commonly used for psychological and sleep regulation, benzodiazepines can become addictive when misused. Depressant qualities create significant health concerns, similar to that of barbiturates.


What Kind of Drugs are Considered Depressants_marijuanaThe presence of cannabidiol places marijuana in the depressant category. Marijuana causes muscle relaxation, sedation, and decreased alertness when used. Widely used for recreational purposes, marijuana can inhibit cognitive receptors and is thought to create a psychological dependence over time.

Additional Depressants

Additional drugs categorized as “depressants” are more commonly used for daily ailments. The effects may be less toxic on their own or are considered to be less likely to become misused. Some additional depressant drugs include:

  • Antihistamines, typically used to resist histamines that are responsible for inflammation
  • Muscle Relaxers, used to ease strain on the muscles due to injury, surgery, or debilitating conditions
  • Anti-Psychotics, such as those used to treat bipolar mania, intended to stabilize a heightened mood during a manic episode
  • Alpha and beta blockers, commonly used for Raynaud’s disease, hypertension, and anxiety disorders

Many medications offer depressant qualities. If you’ve ever taken an over-the-counter medication and experienced sleepiness, your body is reacting to the depressant effects of the drug. While these medications can be beneficial, following the directions is important to avoid adverse effects.

Understanding Depressants

Depressants offer many benefits for common ailments when used as directed. When these drugs are abused, the effects could lead to many complications. Understanding the risks and benefits of depressants and taking prescribed/OTC medications as intended is imperative to preventing significant problems. If you’ve become dependent on depressants, medically monitored treatment may be necessary for guided withdrawal and full recovery.

We Can Help

Contact Us To Get On The Path To Recovery Today!The effects of depressants can cause many adverse reactions in your body and in your life. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, the caring staff at is here to help. We can answer your questions and offer resources to help you find relief. Contact us today.

Dealing With The Loss Of A Loved One From Drugs Or Alcohol

Dealing with the Loss of a Loved one from Drugs or Alcohol
Every year, drug and alcohol addiction claims the lives of too many people. According to the Center for Disease Control, 30-40 thousand people in America die each year due to drug addiction. If someone you loved is one of those whose life was cut too short by addiction, you are likely feeling heartache, confusion, anger, and grief. Those feelings are understandable and important to feel. After all, nobody deserves to die due to addiction and the unique emotions caused by this type of death are difficult to process. However, it is possible to not only deal with the loss of a loved one from drugs or alcohol, but actually help others in the same situation. In this way, you can make sure that your loved one’s death has a meaning to it.

Understand The Five Stages Of Grief And How To Get Through Them

When your loved one passes away, you may go through five distinct phases of grief. The fact that drug addiction caused the death is going to make many of these stages more troublesome to pass through, but with help, you can cope with and manage the difficulty of each step.

Here are the stages you can expect, as well as ways in which you can recover:

  • Denial and isolation – Here, you are going to isolate yourself from grief by denying the reality of the situation. This stage is potent in drug deaths because they are often so sudden. You might ask somebody if they are “kidding” or even joke about the death in an off-hand way. This phase will likely pass quickly into the next.
  • Anger – In a drug death, you are often going to blame everybody you can. Their dealer, their friends, yourself, people who used with them, people who didn’t, society, the drug: everyone will be to blame but your loved one. Get through this phase by accepting that your loved one’s behavior can be blamed on no one but themselves. A harsh truth, but one that must be understood.
  • Bargaining – After you’ve gotten control of your anger, you may want to control the situation by “bargaining” with it. For example, you might say something like “if only we had talked to them about their addiction sooner” or “if we had only sent them to rehab.” Understand that the situation is out of your control and that there is nothing you can do to change what has happened.
  • Depression – Losing control of the situation will plunge you into depression. This phase is often the lengthiest and is caused by the sense of loss and, in drug deaths, it is also caused by a feeling of senselessness and pointlessness. It is wise to talk to a psychologist or friends offering support during this phase.
  • Acceptance – This is the hardest stage to reach for anyone who has lost a loved one and it is especially difficult in drug deaths. How do you accept the loss of a loved one when you think it could have been prevented? How can you not be angry at someone who used with them? There’s no set path for you to take in order to reach acceptance, but understanding that your loved one is in a better place and there was nothing you could have done to change the situation will help.

Acceptance isn’t giving up on your loved one or somehow ignoring them. It is simply moving past the death and letting the reality of it no longer actively affect you. Yes, you will remember your loved one forever, but you can move on and live your life again. You might have a hard time with this, due to the nature of their passing, but it is possible in all circumstances.

Reach Out To Others Who Are Affected

When someone you love passes away, it is easy to feel like you are alone in your grief and that their death has only affected you. This is especially true with drug addiction deaths as they can seem so fruitless and pointless. However, there are others who are just as affected as you and who need just as much comfort.

If you’re able, reach out to the following people in your loved one’s life to make a personal connection and to ensure that their death has a meaning:

  • Other family members of the loved one
  • Friends who did not use drugs
  • Friends who did use drugs and perhaps feel guilty
  • A spouse or partner
  • Children of the loved one

Dealing with the Loss of a Loved one from Drugs or Alcohol_helpingIt’s easy to feel anger at people who have used drugs with your loved one. You may blame them or think they somehow contributed. And people who feel no guilt or remorse are probably worth avoiding. However, those who feel guilt and want to change should be embraced. You may be able to help them beat their addiction and keep another person from drug-related death.

Helping another person like this can help you better understand the nature of addiction (it IS a sickness) and give you a rush of positive emotions, however, you should also avoid investing too much of your emotion in someone who is struggling with addiction.

Often, helping another person suffering from a drug addiction may fill a void that was created by your deceased loved one. But, if this person struggles to get sober while you are involved or even passes away due to addiction, you are going to feel even more devastated. So the best advice is to approach them caringly, but maintain an emotional distance until they are clean.

Create A Support Group

After you’ve reached out to other people who you know have been affected by the death of your loved one, bring them all together in a support group. Here, you can talk about your grief and find ways to move on from it together. Sharing stories, remembering positive moments, and engaging each other in constructive ways can help all of you move beyond your grief.

Dealing with the Loss of a Loved one from Drugs or Alcohol_supportUtilize social media resources, such as Facebook and Twitter, to create a group where you can share memories and strength. Everyone will need someone they can trust and who has gone through the same experience. Banding together creates a circle of positive emotion that can bring happiness back into your life in a gradual, yet constructive manner.

You can even expand the nature of your group by volunteering for anti-drug groups that focus on education and prevention. Share your story with youths and others who could be affected by drugs early in life;help them understand how dangerous it is and why they need to abstain from use and avoid others who use.

This kind of activity can make you feel like an active and vital member of society, one who is fighting against the epidemic of drugs in this country. Though it may be hard to believe, your story and your actions may help inspire others to either avoid drugs or quit before addiction becomes a problem. Anyone can make a difference, even if it starts small and subtly.

Books That May Help

Dealing with the Loss of a Loved one_bookIf you enjoy reading and have recovered from grief in the past through literature, there are many fine books available that can help you get comfort during this difficult time. Each of these books focuses on healing through the death of a loved one due to addiction, many of them written by people who lost a child or a loved one due to this illness:

  • Losing Jonathan, Robert and Linda Waxler
  • One-Way Ticket: Our Son’s Addiction To Heroin, Rita Lowenthal
  • When a Child Dies From Drugs; Practical Help for Parents in Bereavement, by Pat and Russ Wittberger
  • Sunny’s Story, Ginger Katz
  • Living When a Loved One Has Died, Earl A. Grossman
  • I Am Your Disease: The Many Faces of Addiction, Sheryl Letzgus McGinnis

While these books feature many heart wrenching stories and difficult sequences, each ends with the writer recovering their hope and moving on from grief. They are poignant and gorgeously written books filled with many inspirational quotes that may help your heart experience the relief that it needs after losing your loved one.

Don’t Let Grief Take Over Your Life

Contact us for more information on how to recover from addiction.Drug and alcohol addiction takes the lives of too many of our beautiful children and it can be difficult to move on. Grief can take a debilitating toll on the heart, one that demands your attention without mercy. But you can survive this loss and move on to regain your life.

If you need someone to talk to or have a loved one you want to save from addiction, please contact us right away at to learn more.