alcohol detox

Is Your Liver Detoxing? 8 Signs of Alcohol Detox

Signs of liver detox working

Stopping excessive alcohol consumption can be difficult. Whether it’s admitting that you have a problem with alcohol(perhaps for the first time) or finding sober friends, there’s a lot to take in when you decide to change your life for the better. Not to mention the work that you have to do to detox your liver. Luckily, you’ll have support to help you through this process. But how do you know that this process is working as it should? This piece of content will discuss some of the ways that you can understand that your liver detox is working.

Effects That Can Come From Abusing Alcohol

When a person drinks heavily, it can lead to a lot of downsides. These downsides can include increased risks for certain diseases, such as liver, throat, mouth, and esophageal cancers, pancreatitis, strokes, as well as psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, or suicidal ideation.

8 Signs of Alcohol Detox

alcohol detox

1. Cravings For Unhealthy Behaviors

When you stop drinking alcohol, it’s also important to consider your poor lifestyle habits such as lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking, or excessive consumption of caffeine. When you do away with negative lifestyle habits, your body and life will get used to a new way of living. As a result, you won’t want to do such things as having five cups of coffee every morning or eating a large pizza for dinner three times a week.

2. Eczema

Usually, eczema acts as a sign that something is off in your bodily system. But in the case of liver detox, this is a good thing. When toxins leave your body, you often see evidence of this process on your skin.

3. Headaches

Headaches act as one of the best signs that you’re undergoing a successful liver detox. This symptom usually occurs in the detox process because you’re also giving up other unhealthy lifestyle habits in addition to getting sober. Dehydration is common, causing headaches, so keep hydrated.

4. Fatigue

When your nutrient and food intake gets depleted, fatigue often occurs. As your body starts the toxin excretion process, your entire bodily system will need to work harder than usual. This process might result in insomnia and other problems with your sleep. To combat fatigue, take naps if you feel the need. Go to bed early. Get 7 – 9 hours of sleep every single night. It is during sleep that the body can accomplish much of the detoxification process.

Another way that you can effectively deal with fatigue is to get moderate levels of exercise every day. However, you don’t want to overdo things. Your body is in the process of detoxification, so overtaxing it won’t do you any favors.

5. Nausea

When you make significant changes to your alcohol consumption levels, nausea could occur as a result. Avoid this unpleasant symptom through smart diet choices, staying hydrated, and getting rest when you require it. If you do these things, nausea will eventually go away.

6. Irritability

Some people who undergo liver detox can become irritable. This can come about during the recovery process of your metabolism. This symptom should also go away in a few days.

7. Under Eye Issues

Your liver and kidneys are the ways that your body purifies itself. When you undergo a liver detox, your kidneys will also receive benefits from this process. When you have liver issues, the effects of this damage can sometimes be spotted under your eyes. If you can get a hold of such herbs as Eyebright during this time, using it under your eyes can act as a great way to treat this area.

8. Digestive Issues

Some of the ways that your body removes toxins from its system include loose stools and urination. As a person stops alcohol consumption while also cutting back on unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking and poor diet choices, this part of the process can cause a shock to your system. When this happens, your body has to work overtime to get your body back to its equilibrium. It is for this reason that you should also eat a whole foods diet and commit yourself to more hydration when you undergo a complete liver detox. If at all possible, include a multivitamin in this new health regimen. Doing all of these things ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need during this time.

What Exactly Is a Liver Detox?

A detox removes toxic substances from a part of your body. In the case of liver detoxes, toxins will get removed from your liver. When you start the detox process, any toxins that come from your diet or daily alcohol consumption will stop getting introduced into your system.

One of the signs of liver detox working is that you will go through symptoms of withdrawal. As a person drinks alcohol to excess on a daily or weekly basis, your liver will have trouble removing the ethanol from your system. As you abstain from alcohol, the ethanol gets a chance to leave your body.

As you decide to get sober, you will be given one of two options for the detox process. The first involves quitting all alcohol immediately. The second involves gradual tapering off of alcohol consumption. The type of withdrawal that you undergo can determine what symptoms you experience.

About eight hours after you last consumed alcohol, some of the symptoms you could experience include nausea, insomnia, pain in your abdominal area, and anxiety. One to three days after you last consumed alcohol. You could experience brain fog and fatigue, an increase in body temperature, or either an increased or decreased body temperature. After this period, some of the symptoms you might find yourself dealing with include hallucinations, agitation, and seizures.

coronavirus drug rehab

Protecting patients in Addiction Treatment

How are Addiction Treatment Centers maintaining services yet protecting patients amid the coronavirus pandemic?

Many nations around the world have been crippled by drug and substance abuse. Amid the new coronavirus pandemic (also known as COVID-19), medical experts have discovered that the most vulnerable people are children, the elderly, the sick, and people with weak immune systems such as drug users. This said people with addiction problems must be provided with professional attention, especially from addiction treatment centers in the face of this novel pandemic. But first, we should understand what coronavirus is and how it affects the human body.

COVID-19 belongs to a broader family of coronavirus diseases, which include the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). Researchers have reported a variety of coronavirus symptoms, which include fever, running nose, coughs, difficulty in breathing, common cold, and severe respiratory infections, among others. The first case to be reported was in December last year; however, Chinese authorities reported recently that a few people were infected in November. The virus was traced back to an animal market, and scientists say it originated from a bat and somehow hopped to a pangolin. Since then, the rapid virus has spread to several countries in the world.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIH) has reported that communities with substance use disorders (SUH) are vulnerable to coronavirus. This is mainly because the virus infects the lungs. This could cause severe threats for people who vape or smoke tobacco, smoke marijuana, and consume other drugs. The institution reported that it could also hit the opioid and methamphetamine using the population hard, mainly because of the effects of the drugs on both pulmonary and respiratory health. Another reason is that most drug users are likely to evade self-quarantine than those in the general population. This situation exposes them to the virus, causing COVID-19. The NIH has asked the general public to be vigilant in active surveillance as medical experts work to eliminate the emerging threat. Substance users must seek addiction treatment services in drug rehabs.

People around the world have been asked to take standard precautions as everyone has an equal responsibility for reducing the spread of coronavirus as much as possible. Tests that were done recently at the NIH, Princeton University, and UCLA by United States scientists have confirmed that the coronavirus can stay in the air for up to three hours and on some surfaces like plastic and stainless steel for up to three days. The Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) has asked the public to be concerned about both their physical wellness as well as mental health. Everyone should ensure they stay calm and, most importantly, in a comfortable and safe place. The following are tips for avoiding panic and maintaining good mental health:

  • Choose a trusted source of information, preferably a national or international source like the CDC
  • Reduce the amount of time spent every day reading coronavirus updates
  • Learn to feel comfortable with the unknown or limiting yourself to little information
  • Avoid social media updates on the current state. Most are misleading
  • Pay attention to your basic needs
  • Seek professional support especially for the ill and opioid users

The CDC has asked everyone to take the following precautions to reduce the spread of the virus:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly
  • Distance yourself from people especially those who look sick ( at least two yards)
  • Practice personal hygiene
  • Avoid touching your face especially the nose, eyes, and mouth

With most of the country worried about the coronavirus pandemic, most addiction patients may be thinking of postponing or canceling their rehab appointment until things get better. However, the truth is that many addiction treatment centers have put measures in place to protect their patients and, at the same time, maintaining their services. Several drug rehab and other addiction treatment services have taken the initiative to offer addiction services to help patients in the prevention of coronavirus. Many institutions have implemented extra precautions such as disinfecting surfaces, the use of larger rooms to facilitate social distancing, testing patients & staff during admission, and implementing the CDC regulations. There have also been reports of drug rehabs hiring specialists just in case quarantine is needed for patients who show any viral symptoms.

On the other hand, the CDC and other medical institutions are doing a great job in managing the spread of the disease and looking for solutions. The risks of drug and alcohol abuse to human health are very critical, especially at a time like this. The risk of contracting coronavirus is lesser under managed institutions. A CDC report says that the opioid crisis in the United States has grown significantly, with about 100 deaths recorded every day. Substance abuse remains one of the most critical problems in the country.

coronavirus infographic

The connection between coronavirus and drug abuse

Medical professionals have discovered that the most vulnerable people to coronavirus are people with weak immune systems or those whose immunities have been compromised. Drug users, especially those with nicotine addiction, are likely to be affected since COVID-19 is a respiratory disease. Chinese doctors have examined the affected populations and discovered that more than 50 percent of the cases were men. The reason for using gender in conducting the study is because Chinese men are more likely to smoke cigarettes than women. This lowers their immune system and causes secondary illnesses such as respiratory difficulties, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases. Vaping also has the same effects since it releases aerosols that harm lung cells. Since the novel virus affects the respiratory system, smoking and vaping is more likely to cause more complications when treating COVID-19.

Doctors have also reported that marijuana smoke can also weaken the respiratory organs, which in turn increases the risk of contracting coronavirus. As discussed earlier, social media misleads many people since the information from the platform is not factual or backed by research. Recently several posts made rounds claiming that Cannabidiol (CBD), which is found in cannabis, has medical elements that can cure COVID-19. Though scientists have proven the use of cannabidiol in treating anxiety and pain, no research has surfaced, showing the use of CBD in treating the virus. The fact remains that every hot smoke that is inhaled affects proper lung functions. It would be best if users avoided sharing pipes, bongs, joints, or any other paraphernalia since they contain saliva and are likely to spread the disease-causing virus.

The NIH has reported that people with opioid use disorders have separate challenges to those that consume high doses medically. Slow breathing, which is caused by the drugs in the bloodstream, puts users at risk of fatal overdose and hypoxemia, which is an abnormally low level of oxygen in the blood. Low oxygen levels pose a massive threat to brain health as well as respiratory health. Many deaths have been recorded by overdosed users caused by chronic respiratory illnesses. Likewise, COVID-19 endangers the lives of opioid users.

Methamphetamine, on the other hand, also puts its users at risk. The drug narrows capillaries, veins, and arteries, which in turn has been known to cause pulmonary hypertension to most of its users. Since its users are rapidly increasing in the country, the drug could have an adverse effect on treating the victims of COVID-19. Other drugs like cocaine and meth could put its users at risk of being a victim to the virus. All these drugs alter the normal state of the immune system. Other social habits connected with drug abuse, including unprotected sex and sharing of needles, exposes drug users to pathogens.

Coronavirus has negatively affected the economies of every country. Currently, there are drug shortages in the US as a result of factories being shut down. Close to 90 percent of drug ingredients in the country come from Asia. The FDA is still monitoring the situation between the two countries, especially since more than 20 drugs, including blood pressure medications and antibiotics, are primarily imported from China.

Several addiction patients rely solely on prescription medication for their recovery, during detoxification, and when managing withdrawal symptoms. It is recommended for people who need medication for recovery to purchase vast amounts of medical supplies. However, several patients may not have the willpower to recover, hence relapsing. In some cases, patients may fear going outside. This can affect patients who are going through withdrawal symptoms and other complications such as heart disease. It can also affect the mental health of patients who need immediate attention.

If you are currently struggling with addiction, you need immediate attention. Overcoming addiction is a big step towards living a healthy and long life. It is one of the factors that determine life and death. There is no evidence that drug rehabs are more vulnerable to coronavirus than any other place. The truth is recovery institutions are safer than our neighborhoods. You need to contact an addiction treatment service or a drug rehab center to start your journey to recovery.

Opiate vs Opioid

The difference between Opiate and Opioid

The two terms opiate and opioid are quite similar sounding word. However, they do not have the same definition. News stories and popular articles often warn of the dangers of opioids and opiates. But, many people often do not know the difference between opiate vs. opioid.

What are Opiates?

What is opiate vs. opioid? Opiates and opioids are in reference to the derivative that is known as opium. Opium comes from the poppy plant. These flowers are harvested primarily for their seed pods. This is because the seed pods have long been known to contain many medicinal properties. This includes pain relief. However, these seed pods can also cause psychoactive effects. Both types of results are caused by the opium alkaloids that are found in the seed pods. These alkaloids can sometimes be referred to as opiates. In other words, opiates are naturally occurring chemical compounds in the poppy plant. There are three main types of alkaloids. These types can be used in how they are derived from the plant or synthesized to create other compounds.

Morphine

Of the poppy plant, the most found alkaloid is morphine. Morphine, for many years, has been used medicinally. Morphine is used in a variety of different ways in the medical community, serving many purposes. However, morphine is most commonly utilized as a means of pain management. One recreational drug that is derived from morphine is heroin. While they are not completely the same substance, they are chemically similar.

Codeine

Codeine can also be found in the poppy plant, but in smaller amounts than morphine. Codeine is also highly regarded in the medical community. It can be utilized as a pharmaceutical compound or used to create semisynthetic compounds. Codeine is primarily used for pain relief.

Thebaine

While thebaine is a toxic compound, it is essential for many medications in the medical community. This includes the creation of oxycodone. Thebaine is also utilized to create other semisynthetic compounds.

What are Opioids?

Opioids sound similar to opiates. However, they are vastly different. The term opioids refer to any chemical compound that interacts with opioid receptors. These receptors can be found in several different areas of your body, including the digestive tract and the brain. The body does produce its own natural opioids. However, opioids can also be injected or inhaled. There is overlap in the two terms due to opioids encompassing opium alkaloids, as they interact with the receptors. Rule of thumb is that anything that interacts with the opioid receptors can be considered an opioid.

Drugs that are Opioids

The drugs that were listed under the “Drugs that are Opiates” section can also fall under this section. That is because they both interact with the opioid receptors. These drugs include Fentanyl, Methadone, and Meperidine.

What Are Narcotics?

Traditionally, narcotics meant a substance that was illegal or legal that relieved pain, but also caused psychoactive effects. This could be a loss of consciousness or dulling of the senses. Drugs that were abused were referred to as narcotics. However, narcotics are now primarily used to refer to opioids.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a disease that affects many individuals across the nation. Those who are suffering from addiction can experience a wide variety of different symptoms. It is important to remember that the recovery process cannot be started unless the individual who is experiencing addiction gets professional help. Left untreated, addiction could lead to severe symptoms and may even lead to death.

Opiate vs Opioid

Addiction is considered a brain disease by the medical community. This is due to how the brain reacts to the substance. When we experience something positive or pleasant, our brain releases dopamine. This feel-good hormone tells our brain that this is something we want to repeat in the future. Substances, when they enter the body, interact abnormally with the brain’s receptors. This can cause an increase in dopamine production that cannot be replicated naturally. This can cause a shift in the brain’s chemistry and cause a person to continuously seek out more of the substance, resulting in an addiction.

What if I Suspect My Loved One is Suffering From Addiction?

If you suspect your loved one is suffering from an addiction, you may be left confused. You may not know how to handle the situation. The most important thing is that your loved one seeks out the help that they need. When speaking with your loved one, inform them that they can be open and honest with you about anything. Create a safe space for your loved one, so they feel more inclined to confide in you, allowing you to guide them towards recovery.

Leave judgment out of the equation when speaking with your loved one. Chances are, your loved one is already feeling guilty and ashamed for their actions. Remind them that you care about them and only present them with the facts. Presenting the facts makes an argument difficult to spark. Please keep the conversation open and touch-back on it often.

The Time to Seek Help is Now

Addiction is a powerful and chronic illness that can cause severe symptoms and may even lead to death. It is crucial that those suffering seek out professional help. Addiction is not something you will be able to overcome without the help of healthcare professionals. Reaching out to a professional will help you or your loved one garner an individualized plan for recovery, helping you or your loved one turn over a new leaf.

Hydrocodone vs. Oxycodone

Hydrocodone vs. Oxycodone

When dealing with opioid analgesics, it is not uncommon to wonder about the differences between the multiple types of prescriptions available today. When asking which hydrocodone vs. oxycodone, which is more dangerous, it is essential to understand that any prescribed narcotic can carry significant risks to the body and mind. There are many critical factors in determining who will develop dependence and addiction issues when they are given drugs for pain, even if a medical doctor prescribes those medications.

Why Are Hydrocodone and Oxycodone Prescribed in the First Place?

Hydrocodone and oxycodone are in a class of drugs known as narcotic analgesics. It is not uncommon for doctors to prescribe these medications on a short term basis, particularly following surgical procedures in which over the counter pain relievers are not strong enough by themselves to handle post-surgical pain. However, doctors, for the most part, take care not to give any patient more medicine than is needed and for the shortest period possible. It’s been recommended that a patient not receive more than a three day supply of narcotic analgesics. This is generally long enough for the worst of the pain following a procedure to resolve significantly, allowing for non-prescription medications to keep pain levels under control. There are always exceptions, of course, yet prescribing the smallest amount possible is an enormous step in reducing a patient’s risk of developing an addiction to these potentially dangerous drugs.

Hydrocodone vs. Oxycodone

Hydrocodone vs. Oxycodone Facts

Hydrocodone and oxycodone are in the same pharmacological class of drugs, and they are both strong prescriptions that must be used with care, precisely in the manner and dosing that a doctor prescribes them for. They each carry the same risks of developing physical dependence and addiction when used in higher doses and for a longer window of time than which they were given. They are both listed as Schedule II narcotic drugs by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) due to their high risk of abuse, and both contain natural derivatives of opiates. There is no significant difference between the two drugs in regards to the effectiveness of treating pain; however, there appears to be a higher incidence of dependence and addiction to oxycodone, perhaps because it is more available around the world than hydrocodone, to which 99% of its use is limited to the United States.

What are the Side Effects of These Drugs?

Hydrocodone and oxycodone share similar side effects. With proper usage, side effects may include one or more of the following: drowsiness, dizziness, headache, stomach pain, dry mouth, fast heartbeat, itching, constipation, and loss of appetite. When someone takes too much of these medications, some of the signs of a possible overdose include sweating, cold and clammy skin, significantly decreased heart rate, shallow breaths or trouble breathing, even seizure. It may be difficult or impossible to wake someone who has fallen asleep after taking too much of a narcotic analgesic. In this situation, emergency medical attention is necessary to prevent death by overdose. Treatment with Naloxone, an opioid receptor antagonist, may be required to reverse an overdose and save a life.

How Likely is Drug Abuse and Dependence with These Drugs?

The likelihood of developing addiction and dependence has several factors. The primary factor in determining who develops problems when taking these medications is whether or not a person is following prescribed dosing instructions. People who take more than prescribed, and take them more often than prescribed, are the people who usually find themselves battling with withdrawal symptoms when their supply is no longer available. Signs of withdrawal may include feelings of fatigue that is more intense than normal sleepiness, aggression, irritability, sweating, runny nose, excessive yawning, stomach cramps, eye dilation, and diarrhea. These are some of the signs of potential withdrawal when someone stops taking opioids all of a sudden after taking them for prolonged periods and at high doses. There is less of a risk of addiction when someone only uses these drugs as they’ve been prescribed, however, if taken for more than a couple of days, even as prescribed, there remains a possibility the patient may still feel some signs of mild withdrawal, which is normal and not indicative of drug abuse in any way.

The bottom line is that both hydrocodone and oxycodone carry a risk of physical dependence, and each has a high likelihood of being abused when overprescribed. Neither is safer than the other as a whole, and each must be used responsibly.

overdose

How do people overdose on drugs?

Overdose – What is it? And How does it Happen?

Drug overdoses claim lives every day. Both prescription drugs and illegal drugs are responsible. Alcohol is also a culprit in many cases, and mixing drugs and alcohol present unique problems for a person’s body.

It’s essential to understand what an overdose is and how the body is affected by different drugs. Knowing the signs and understanding the damage done to the body is imperative when seeking help for drug or alcohol use.

What Is an Overdose?

An overdose occurs when the body has a toxic level of drugs or alcohol in it that cannot be processed. Though an overdose can occur because of one-time overconsumption of a drug, it can also happen because of drug use that has lowered a body’s defenses over time. That’s why it’s possible to overdose without meaning to after taking what is considered a reasonable dose of a drug.

It is possible to overdose on both illegal drugs and prescription medication. Alcohol is also often a culprit when people overdose.

An overdose can also be an intentional effort to end a life. These attempts usually consist of a massive quantity of a drug taken at one time. However, many overdoses happen by accident and are caused by mixing drugs or taking them for too long over a long time.

Signs of an Overdose

overdose

Depending on the drugs taken, it can be challenging to recognize the signs of an overdose. Some signs include:

  • slow pulse
  • excessive drowsiness
  • temperature changes
  • vomiting
  • loss of consciousness
  • delirium

Depressant Overdose

Overdosing on a depressant can feel a lot like going to sleep. Depressants, such as opioids and alcohol, naturally offer a feeling of calm that encourages people to continue consuming them. They help lower blood pressure and eliminate feelings of anxiety. Unfortunately, this can make it challenging to know when someone has overdosed.

Depressant overdose often causes problems with the respiratory system that can lead to a coma. Since depressants can have the same effect when an overdose occurs as they do outside of an overdose situation, many people don’t realize they are overdosing until the body is already showing extreme signs.

Opioid Overdose

Opioid has been in the spotlight lately because of issues with addiction and overdose. Opioids are often prescribed for pain, but someone taking them needs to be monitored for signs of addiction. It is both easy to become addicted and to overdose on this type of drug.

Heroin is considered an opioid, but so is fentanyl. Fentanyl is a prescription drug. When a person consumes too much of opioid, major body systems cannot function properly and will start to shut down. The brain and nervous system are affected, and a person who takes too much will eventually be unable to breathe.

The United States is now suffering from an opioid crisis that is leaving people not only addicted to overdosing at an extreme rate. Help is required when trying to break the addiction to opioids.

Alcohol Overdose

Alcohol overdose, also known as alcohol poisoning, occurs when the body can’t process alcohol as quickly as a person is consuming it. When the alcohol can’t be processed and builds up in the body, a person will start showing signs of alcohol poisoning. Those include:

  • seizures
  • vomiting
  • shortened breath

It’s possible to drink for years without experiencing alcohol poisoning and then to suddenly overdose. There are a variety of factors that play a role in why a person’s body responds to alcohol a certain way at a particular time. It’s wise to know that consuming more alcohol than the body can process at any time makes alcohol overdose possible.

Stimulant Overdose

While opioids cause the body to slow down due to a sedative, calming effect, stimulants do the opposite. The body won’t shut down but will go into overwork mode. This is just as dangerous and can lead to death because the body is not meant to be pushed to the limits that stimulants cause. Common stimulant drugs include cocaine and meth, two very addictive choices that wreak havoc on the mind and body.

A person experiencing a stimulant overdose may have seizures or lose control of limbs and look like they are moving uncontrollably. Pulse will increase, and chest pain can occur due to the increased rate of the heart. Cardiac arrest is possible.

It’s sometimes hard to tell when someone is overdosing on stimulants because the effects on the body look the same as regular stimulant use. That’s one reason stimulant overdose is so hard to treat.

Another reason is that no known drug can reverse the effects of a stimulant overdose. Doctors have to try to control the symptoms, such as stopping the seizures or dealing with the impact on the heart.

What to Do When Someone Overdoses

Getting help when someone overdoses is essential; calling 911 and make sure the person gets to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. In the case of an opioid overdose, a drug called Narcan can reverse the effects of the overdose. However, it needs to be given soon after the drugs are consumed.

Though stimulant overdoses don’t offer a one-drug fix, they can be dealt with successfully. Doctors have to calm down the parts of the body being overstimulated by the drugs. This can sometimes lead to a reversal of the overdose.

It’s also essential for a person to be monitored after overdosing since there are secondary factors that can prove fatal. The body may try to expel the drug by causing a person to vomit. If someone is not conscious enough to sit up or rollover, he can choke on vomit. Dehydration is possible, and this can lead to seizures that prove fatal if left untreated.

It is possible to overcome the addictive quality of drugs that lead to overdoses. Help is available and can be life-saving for those who seek it.

inhalents

Huffing: The Dangerous Effects of Inhalants

Inhaling chemical substances with the intention of creating a psychoactive or physical effect is  a dangerous habit that often leads to a form of drug addiction. Although there are many substances that are meant to be inhaled, when substances that are not meant to be inhaled or consumed in any way the body, these are considered drug-related inhalants. This method of inhaling can cause serious physical and emotional damage, as well as permanent brain damage or in severe cases even death. Anyone struggling with an inhaling habit or addiction should seek professional addiction treatment immediately. 

What Are Inhalants?

Inhalants, which are substances that can usually be found in everyday items, are chemicals that when inhaled, create a psychoactive effect or high. Inhalants are categorized separately from other drugs for the distinction that these chemicals are only ever inhaled and unable to be taken any other way. While other drugs can be inhaled, they can also be abused through other methods such as smoking, shooting, and in pill form.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse refers to these substances as volatile substances and has separated them into four general categories of chemicals: solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrates. 

Solvents:

Volatile Solvents are defined as liquids that vaporize at room temperature. When inhaled, they create an almost instantaneous intoxication. Once inhaled, volatile solvents affect the kidneys, liver, lungs, brain, and nervous system. Side effects of solvents include: euphoria, cognitive difficulties, slowed breathing, agitation, blurred vision, tremors, difficulty speaking, and more. Volatile Solvents can be found in the following household items:

  • Paint Thinners
  • Disinfectants
  • Leather Cleaner
  • Gasoline
  • Glue
  • Markers

Aerosols:

Aerosols are another sub-group of inhalants that are classified by sprays that have solvents or propellant gases. When inhaled, these gases create a quick head high that can last seconds to minutes depending on the type of chemicals. Abused Aerosols typically come from household products not intended to be inhaled. These types of inhalants will damage brain cells, key organs, and the lungs. Some common aerosols include:

  • Hairspray
  • Spray Deodorant
  • Spray Paint
  • Canned Cooking Oil
  • Fabric Cleaner

Gases:

Gases are the most commonly abused classification of inhalants, especially with teens and young adults. The subcategory of gases can be classified by-products that contain one or more gases or medical anesthetics. When inhaled, gases cause a quick head high and result in disorientation, hallucinations, lack of coordination, and loss of blood flow. Gases are the category known as whip-its, which is a common teen practice where one quickly inhales the gas from a canister of whipped cream. The most common gas inhalants include:

  • Lighters
  • Propane tanks
  • Canned food (whipped cream, cheese, etc)
  • Medical ether
  • Medical chloroform

Nitrates

Nitrates differ from the other subcategories of inhalants for their muscle relaxing effect. In most cases, they are not used for a high effect, instead but a calming and sensation enhancing effect. Nitrites include cyclohexyl nitrite, isoamyl nitrite, and isobutyl nitrite and are commonly known as “poppers” or “snappers. They are most commonly used as sexual enhancers. Some examples of nitrate inhalants include:

  • Room deodorizers
  • Video head cleaner
  • Liquid aroma

Dangers of Abusing Inhalants

It’s not uncommon for young teens to attempt whip it’s or poppers once or twice, although not recommended. When used long term and often, however, they can become addictive- both mentally and physically. The effects of ingesting any one of these subcategories of inhalants result in a severe brain cell, organ, and tissue damage. There is also a chance of permanent damage, overdose, and in rare cases- immediate death. 

These chemicals, once ingested, cause the blood vessels to shrink and tighten which blocks the flow of oxygen throughout the body and to the brain. When the brain isn’t receiving enough oxygen or the oxygen it receives is polluted with toxins, the individual can no longer perform at an optimal level. Coordination, thoughts, critical thinking, eyesight, movement, speech, and internal functions are all impaired. While this damage is occurring, there is a simultaneous rush of feel good emotions as a result of the chemicals blocking pain signals. The more accustomed to these chemicals the body gets, the more it begins to crave- thus forming a dangerous addiction. 

Inhalants Bringing You Down

Another negative side effect of inhalant abuse is its direct influence on mental health. The chemicals found in these categories of drugs have been shown to increase the presence of anxiety and depression, which can both lead to the formation of secondary addictions like alcoholism or narcotic addiction.

People who are addicted to inhalants may find that they are irritable and restless without them, and unable to feel happy or at peace when they don’t have access to their next high. Likewise, many feel this way even on the drugs, but find it is more tolerable when they have the effects of inhalants to numb their minds.

The anxiety and depression form due to the instability of emotions and moods caused by inhalant use. Since most people who abuse inhalants aren’t using them 24/7, and the high is short, many turn to more long-lasting drugs to fuel their addictions. When a secondary addiction is formed, these individuals will need to seek treatment for a dual diagnosis.

Treatment For Inhalant Addiction

There is help available for anyone struggling with inhalant addiction. Proper detox to rid the body of chemicals is the first step, and from there, trained clinical professionals will design a treatment plan to address all aspects of the addiction.

Treatment will likely consist of medical detox, variations of talk therapy, holistic healing (acupuncture, massage therapy, art therapy) support groups, and physical care. It can feel like it is impossible to overcome the addiction to the chemicals found in the different types of inhalants, but sobriety is attainable. A healthy sober life begins with the decision to commit to bettering yourself and your life, and we are here to help. Contact our addiction specialists today to start your recovery or call us at (877) 455-0055 to learn more information about our services.

parenting in recovery

Tips for Parenting in Recovery

In recovery, there is hope. Parenting in recovery gives you the opportunity to build a healthy, happy home environment and raise resilient, joyful children.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 25 percent of kids in the United States under the age of 18 experience alcohol abuse or dependence in their families. And many more grow up in homes where parents abuse drugs. The impact can be devastating.

But how exactly do you create a healthy home and what are the tricks to parenting in recovery successfully, you ask?

No one said it would be easy. Parenting is tough for everyone. But love and willingness go a long way and make it possible to guide and positively impact your children’s lives.

Here are some of our favorite tips for parenting in recovery. Keep reading to see which ones resonate and empower you and then dive in.

Put on Your Oxygen Mask First

You can’t give what you don’t have. And if you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be able to take care of your kids.

It’s like when you’re on the tarmac ready to take off in an airplane, and you’re reminded to put on your oxygen mask first. It’s logical. And it’s a great metaphor to keep in your back pocket as you parent.

Your first reaction might be to overcompensate for addictive behavior before you got sober. You might feel guilty or feel shame. It’s okay. It’s normal to have these feelings, but you don’t need to act on them.

Your kids need you to be parenting from a solid, healthy place. Because from that place, you can make sound choices.

So keep your recovery going and take care of your basic needs, and you’ll find that you have more energy. Time for your kids will just fall into place.

Focus on the Diamonds

By diamonds, we mean positive things. The spotlight probably has been on you and your addiction and recovery. You don’t have to think about it at home with your kids anymore. You can do that in your recovery program that you’re so valiantly using like an oxygen mask.

At home, focus on the now. Focus on what you’re doing right and what your kids are doing right. Don’t just focus on the chores and homework and the “perfect” right. Instead, focus on the things that you’re all working hard at and also enjoying.

Think little things. Think about playing hard at a sport or about learning something new and interesting at school. Think about playing a board game together, going to the movies together, or watching a weekly show.

Think about reading together at bedtime or enjoying a meal together, either home cooked or from a fun, favorite take-out spot.

Encouraging your kids in areas where they shine and are happy builds self-esteem. Do this for yourself too. And praise your whole family when you play and work hard together.

Let Your Kids Have Feelings

This is a two-part tip. First, acknowledge feelings and accept them without spinning out. This is easy with positive emotions, but it’s important with the negative ones too, especially if emotions are directed at you. If kids are angry, they’re angry. Don ‘t try to fix it or tell them that they’re not angry. The same holds true for sad feelings.

Just sit with them and give them a hug so they know you’re solid and there to support them as they move through the emotion. This teaches them that it will pass and they have a solid support system.

If you have older kids and they’re hunkering down behind a closed door, just let them know that you’re there. Then when they’ve cooled down, you can talk about it.

If a big emotion triggers you, stay solid around your kids and then go let loose with a sponsor or someone in your recovery or parenting circles.

Let Them Know They’re Not Responsible for Your Feelings

Part two is to let your kids know that they aren’t responsible for you and can’t fix you or your feelings. In families with alcoholism and addiction, often the kids feel responsible for their parents or think the problem is their fault. It just all feels so out of control that taking responsibility is a solution in a kid’s eyes. But it’s not healthy.

Simply let them know you’re in charge of yourself. Acknowledge your own feelings and tell them it will pass. “I’m feeling sad right now, and it will pass. It’s nothing to do with you. I’ve got this.”

Talk Openly

Your kids probably know more than you think about what you have been through. It’s a good idea to acknowledge what has happened. Let them know that you were “sick” or “not feeling well.” Apologize and assure them that you are recovering. Let them know you are taking care of yourself so that you get better/stay healthy and that you have people helping you.

With younger kids, you can throw the “I’m sorry I couldn’t pick you up from school” in during your everyday activities. With older kids, make it more formal. Let them know you have something important to talk about. Keep it direct.

Explain what alcoholism/addiction is. Explain what recovery is. Explain what that will look like for you and the family. For example, you can describe how many meetings a week you will go to. You can tell them whom you will call if you need help and how you will be of service/help to others. This will show your kids that hope and community are there for the whole family.

Lean In

Lean into the sobriety community or other community that supports you. Let your kids know how they can be a part of the community too. Explore Alanon family groups for help or Alateen for teens of alcoholics and addicts.

Do Fun Stuff Together

Your kids need to play and laugh. And so do you. Laughter, play, love, and joy keep us all coming back for more. Without it, what’s the point?

Having fun motivates us to stay healthy and sober. In fact, fun and hobbies can help our recovery. And seeing our kids having fun too is the icing on the cake. Playing together builds strong family bonds, heals relationships, and creates a solid foundation for your kids. It will help build confidence for everyone.

Get something fun on the schedule every day. Even if it’s small, like reading together or next to each other every night for ten minutes. Play a quick daily game or eat ice cream or watch your favorite show.

The key here is to get play on the schedule and make it part of your routine. It gives everyone something to look forward to. And when your kids see you showing up for them and yourself repeatedly, it rebuilds trust.

Parenting in Recovery Is so Rewarding

Parenting in recovery may seem like the biggest mountain you ever will have to climb. But it’s doable and amazingly rewarding.

Even if your kids take a while to warm back up and trust you, stick with it. And when in doubt, simply love and hug or wait out a bad spell in the next room. Just showing up and staying will go a long way. And remember: You got this!

Also, remember that you are not alone, and when it gets tough, there is hope. Contact us today for any questions about parenting in recovery or recovery, detox, and treatment itself. We have ongoing support and guidance through sobriety. We have your back.

dating during recovery

Is Dating During Recovery a Good Idea?

Recovery is a process, a long one in many cases. It’s a relinquishing of an addiction to drugs and alcohol and a rebuilding of a new life. In recovery, addicts can find good health, self-awareness, and peace. 

It can be tempting to jump into a new relationship during this time of discovery, but is dating during recovery a good idea? We’ll explore the issue in this article and look at why it might be a good idea to delay dating for a while.

What Is Recovery?

Recovery can mean different things, but generally, it involves more than just abstaining from drugs and alcohol. Yes, part of the recovery process will involve detoxing from those substances, but long-term change requires more than simply not using.

In fact, the term “dry drunk” refers to an addict who is not drinking but is still plagued with emotional and psychological issues. He quit drinking but hasn’t yet tackled the underlying problems that may have contributed to his addiction.

Addiction is a disease that often fuels a dangerous and destructive lifestyle. Lasting change occurs when the addict faces his deepest issues, issues that either drove his need to seek comfort in substances or that developed as a result of his addiction.

In recovery, the addict learns to rebuild her emotional stability. She may enter rehab and recovery overwhelmed with feelings of regret, low self-esteem, sadness, and guilt. Recovery is a chance to start over, to dig out all those painful emotions and face them. It’s an opportunity to build a new foundation with the tools learned during the recovery process.

A big part of a successful recovery is learning to regain control over your life and your choices. You’re not that dry drunk, hanging on by your fingernails and fighting the urge to use again. That kind of addictive, compulsive behavior prevents you from making good choices that come from deep within you. When an area of your life is out of control, it’s next to impossible to live a sober, happy life.

That’s why many addiction specialists encourage people in recovery to wait a year before they begin dating.

Dating During Recovery

When an addict begins the recovery process, she’s finding out who she is and what she believes in.  It sounds simple, but those concepts have often been buried beneath years of drug abuse, trauma, and emotional damage. 

Recovery often means working a 12 step program through organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. The 12 step process addresses every aspect of addiction- physical, spiritual, mental and emotional.

Most recovering addicts have a history of dysfunctional and destructive relationships.  They were either using throughout the relationship, or their use of drugs and alcohol caused them to engage with people they wouldn’t have chosen in sobriety.

Addicts in recovery learn about healthy relationships, often for the first time in their lives. They discover ways to overcome their feelings of anger, isolation, and fear. They gradually begin to trust themselves to share their hopes, fears, and dreams with others.

It is an extremely vulnerable and often uncomfortable place for a newly-sober addict. She has to break the habit of hiding from uncomfortable feelings by using drugs and alcohol. In some cases, the sober alcoholic might try to soothe herself instead with a new relationship.

Addiction Transfer

Addiction specialists often refer to this as a transfer of addictions. If the alcoholic can’t escape in a bottle, she may try to do so in a relationship. 12 step programs refer to spiritual guidance as a “higher power”. The danger of dating during recovery is that the new love interest can become the addict’s higher power.

In fact, the same brain chemical that makes an addict feel good when she uses drugs gives her the same high in response to sexual stimulation.

Addicts in recovery eventually learn they can’t use the same thinking in sobriety than they used in their drug abuse. But early in the process, an addict might still be using distorted or defensive thinking patterns, poor planning skills, reduced memory, and impaired cognitive functions. Her choice of a dating partner won’t likely be a good one.

Another problem that can occur is the danger of relapse if the relationship doesn’t work out. The addict is still developing healthy coping skills but may not be secure enough in them to deal with a broken relationship in healthy ways. 

What to Do Instead

The focus of recovery is, and should be, on helping the addict learn new ways of thinking, new ways of relating to people and new ways of coping with life’s stresses. The addict learns to like herself again, by facing her past and making amends for her old behaviors.

Exercise, good nutrition, and mindfulness all play a role in developing a healthy, happy lifestyle. Recovery is a wonderful time for newly-sober addicts to discover hobbies and activities to replace the time they used to spend in bars and hanging out with other addicts. 

12 step programs also play an important role. In recovery, the addict can focus on working the steps and attending meetings, rather than on finding a new boyfriend or girlfriend. She begins to rebuild her self-esteem through the development of new life skills, new friendships, and meaningful work.

Her sobriety and recovery are the priority and must come first. We all tend to choose dating relationships with people who are at roughly the same maturity level as we are. It stands to reason then, as the addict progresses through recovery, she will begin to seek out different people than she might have chosen in her early days of sobriety.

Final Thoughts

Dating during recovery can also pose a problem if two addicts begin dating, in or out of rehab. Everyone progresses through recovery at a different speed, and it can be problematic if one person isn’t taking his recovery as seriously as his new relationship is.

Most addiction specialists recommend people in recovery wait a year before they start dating again, so they can focus on their health and their future.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, we can help. Please reach out to us at any time.