alcohol abuse and thyroid disease

The Connection Between Alcohol Abuse and Thyroid Disease

Millions of people in the United States suffer from thyroid issues. For most of these individuals, having an occasional alcoholic beverage isn’t a big deal.

Alcohol abuse, on the other hand, can have potentially dangerous health effects, especially among those who already have thyroid problems.

The Link Between Alcohol Abuse and Thyroid Disease

Alcohol abuse can depress the thyroid gland and cause physical imbalance and strain.

Acetaldehyde, a compound that causes hangovers, can interfere with thyroid hormone receptors. Then, when these receptors try to compensate for the lack of feedback, the thyroid gland becomes overworked.

Too much acetaldehyde can also cause symptoms of hypothyroidism, even when thyroid function is normal in the absence of alcohol.

Although alcohol has pretty strong effects on the thyroid gland itself, it has a much stronger influence on the liver and adrenal glands. In fact, these organs endure the brunt of alcohol’s adverse effects.

And, since the functionality of the liver and thyroid are so closely related, alcohol abuse leaves a notable impact on both.

What Does the Thyroid Do?

Thyroid Gland Illustration Trachea Larynx - ATSThe thyroid is located along the windpipe in the front of the neck and contains many blood vessels.

It plays a role in the sound of a person’s voice, as the vocal cords stem from the cartilage at the front of the thyroid.

The primary role of the thyroid gland, however, is the secretion of two essential hormones: T3 and T4.

These hormones influence:

  • energy levels
  • metabolic rate
  • body temperature

Overall, the T3 and T4 hormones are crucial for normal bodily functions and general well-being. However, T4 must be converted to T3 before the body can make use of it. To change T4 to T3, the liver, kidneys, and muscles process the hormones, although this primarily happens in the liver.

The T3 hormone influences every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. And since the hormone T4 can only be utilized after it’s been processed, the conversion process can get complicated when the liver is preoccupied with metabolizing alcohol. In other words, the longer it takes to convert the hormones in the liver, the more sluggish the body will feel.

Thyroid Disease Stats and Facts

The causes of thyroid disease are mostly unknown, and many people who have thyroid complications are unaware that they have them.

The American Thyroid Association (ATA) has compiled several statistics regarding thyroid conditions in the U.S. According to ATA:

  1. Thyroid disease, to some degree, affects an estimated 20 million Americans.
  2. More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will have a thyroid condition during their lifetime.
  3. Women are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to develop thyroid issues, and one in 8 women will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime.
  4. Thyroid diseases are lifelong conditions, but most can be managed with medical treatment.

The primary reason that women are more susceptible to thyroid issues than men is the hormone estrogen. Estrogen can speed up the inflammatory process of the immune system. And, since women naturally have higher levels of estrogen than men, they have a higher risk of developing thyroid issues.

The Role of the Liver and Thyroid in Alcohol Consumption

The liver is in charge of several vital functions, including:

  • enzyme activation
  • fluid and hormone excretion
  • storing vitamins and minerals
  • metabolizing nutrients from food to produce energy
  • producing and excreting bile, which is necessary for the digestive process

The most essential function of the liver, however, is detoxification. The liver acts as a filter, pulling out any harmful compounds and preparing them for expulsion.

Assuming everything about the body is healthy, a person weighing in at 150 pounds (lbs) will need an average of two hours for the liver to process a single alcoholic drink. The more alcohol the person consumes, the more preoccupied the liver will be.

Issues in the liver often compound with frequent alcohol consumption. Alcohol abuse would severely impact the liver’s ability to filter and expel toxins from the body. Moreover, it would exacerbate the breakdown of both T4 and alcohol in the liver.

In other words, if a person is already suffering from thyroid issues, alcohol abuse can cause T3 levels to plummet. Then, when the body isn’t producing enough of this hormone, it could result in hypothyroidism and a slew of uncomfortable symptoms.

People suffering from hypothyroidism exhibit:

  • fatigue
  • dry skin
  • joint pain
  • depression
  • hoarseness
  • weight gain
  • constipation
  • facial swelling
  • sensitivity to cold
  • slowed heart rate
  • impaired memory
  • weakness in muscles
  • muscle aches and stiffness
  • increased blood cholesterol

It’s important to note that many medications for thyroid problems require a healthy liver. Methimazole, for example, is a medication that requires regular liver filtration to treat the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. So, any time the liver is strained, the medication becomes less effective.

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Additional Problems Associated with Alcohol Use and Thyroid Disease

For anyone who already has issues with thyroid hormone production, alcohol abuse is only going to make the issue worse.

Of course, the effects of alcohol reach far beyond the liver and thyroid gland. Drinking affects nearly every part of the body. For example, the presence of alcohol in the stomach interferes with the natural production of acid. When acid levels drop, so does the rate of digestion.

An even more significant threat to digestive health is the physical damage that alcohol abuse can cause, such as:

  • liver disease
  • malnutrition
  • brain damage
  • various gastrointestinal cancers
  • “leaky gut,” which can trigger a severe autoimmune response
  • erosion of the lining of the esophagus, stomach, intestines, etc.

Treatment for Alcohol Abuse and Thyroid Disease

The best choice for those with thyroid complications is to stop drinking altogether. Seeking professional treatment for alcoholism may be necessary.

For more information about treatment options for alcoholism, please contact us here or call us at (855) 247-4046.

Addiction Causing Death Rate to Rise Among Specific Population

mortalityratestudyIn general, the mortality rate in the United States has been steadily declining. This means that more people are living longer than ever before, which is often attributed to the wonders of modern medicine. However, middle-aged Caucasian males are not among the groups who are increasing their lifespan. This is likely due to the increased drug and alcohol use among this group as well as more reported suicides. A new study by a Nobel prize-winning researcher was published by the National Academy of Sciences.

According to a recent article, “Death rates for other races have continued to fall, as they have for whites 65 and older. But death rates for whites 35 to 44 have been level recently, they’re beginning to turn up for whites 55 to 64, and – most strikingly – death rates for whites ages 45 to 54 have risen by half a percent per year since 1998.” The research team was headed by Angus Deaton and Anne Case from Princeton University.

This information is important because it seems to correlate with the time that painkillers started becoming more widely prescribed and abused. The late nineties was when doctors starting prescribing pills like OxyContin and Vicodin to patients with varying levels of pain.

There has also been a higher incidence rate in self reported problems among the same age group such as various types of pain, other liver and other physical health problems as well as many mental health issues.

It is slightly ironic that modern medicine, specifically the pharmaceutical component, can be credited with helping to sustain life for some people and end it for others.

Link Between Marijuana and Prediabetes

diabeticjournalResearchers have found that there is a link between marijuana use and prediabetes. Prediabetes occurs when a person’s blood sugar is chronically high but has not reached levels where type 2 diabetes is caused. People with prediabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if this condition goes unchecked.

One of the biggest problems with the legalization of marijuana is that there is not enough information about how long-term drug use affects users. This is one study that indicates that marijuana’s medical properties may not be as beneficial as previously assumed.

In the past, physicians theorized that an increase of diabetes cases among marijuana users could be due to the tendency to eat more after consuming marijuana, with the extra calories leading to elevated blood sugar levels. However, researchers are beginning to think that there is a component within the actual drug that may be putting users at risk for prediabetes. In order to determine what the causes are, researchers agree that more studies need to be performed.

Coming to the conclusion that prolonged marijuana use can cause prediabetes required a significant amount of work. Researchers gathered information from an ongoing study called CARDIA, or Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults. This study gathers medical information from participants in four cities throughout the country over a period of 25 years. The initial data was taken when most of the participants were around the age of 30. After answering a questionnaire, the researchers were able to determine that 625 of the participants had never smoked marijuana, while 1014 participants were considered heavy marijuana smokers, using the drug at least 100 times in their life. Generally, those who abused marijuana in this age bracket were healthy and even more fit than those that were not abusing the drug.

Next, researchers looked at the smoking and physical habits of the participants 18 years later. Interestingly, even though previous examinations showed that the heavy marijuana users were healthy, by the time they reached the age of 50 they were 40% more likely to have prediabetes.

More research needs to be done as to why this occurs, however, it is clear that medical complications from long-term use of marijuana are serious problems that more people are likely to encounter.

Substance Abuse Passed Down One Generation to Next - Addiction Treatment Services

When Substance Abuse Is Passed Down from One Generation to the Next

Substance Abuse Passed Down One Generation to Next - Addiction Treatment Services

Did you know that family history and genetics can put children of addicts at higher risk of drug use and addiction? It’s important to understand how addiction can be passed down in families, and how to break the cycle of addiction.

What Causes Addiction to Be Passed Down in Families?

Anyone can become addicted to drugs or alcohol, but those who have an addicted parent have an 8 times higher chance of becoming addicted themselves.

There is no single cause of addiction and the factors that lead to this higher vulnerability to addiction in families come from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Genetic Factors

There’s not a single gene that leads to addiction. However, there are genes that can:

  • Cause a person to experience more pleasure from certain substances
  • Make it harder for a person to quit substance use once they try stopping
  • Make the person experience more severe withdrawal symptoms, which also make it harder to quit for good

Even if you have the sort of genes that make addiction more dangerous, it’s important to understand that being more susceptible to addiction doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to happen to you.

“Just because you are prone to addiction doesn’t mean you’re going to become addicted. It just means you’ve got to be careful,” says Dr. Glen Hanson of the University of Utah. “It’s not inevitability; it’s vulnerability.”

Science is still exploring this area. Researchers believe that there may be more than 50 genes that contribute, each in their own small way, to addiction vulnerability.

Environmental Factors

Certain circumstances in a person’s life can also lead to a higher susceptibility to addiction. The types of familial situations that can contribute to addiction include:

Seeing Substance Abuse Modeled as Normal Behavior

Whatever a child sees within the family growing up is what he or she considers normal, at least for the first several years of life.

Many children of alcoholics have said something along the lines of, “I thought everyone’s dad drank after work and passed out on the couch.”

It’s not until they’re exposed to a different family environment that they learn this isn’t normal…and then, most likely, begin to have insecurities about their own familial situation.

Poverty

Many adults drink and abuse drugs as a way of coping with the many forms of stress that accompany limited financial resources. Unhappiness with pay, unfulfilling jobs and working long hours to barely get by leads to high stress and short tempers. Crime and drug trafficking are also more common in low-income communities, adding to stress levels and making drugs more readily accessible, and perhaps desirable.

Physical and/or Emotional Abuse

Trauma is one of the leading causes of substance abuse, and domestic abuse and child abuse are the most common causes of traumatic experiences in America. Many people who abuse substances do so to escape from unpleasant memories, feelings of helplessness and low self-esteem.

How Children Can Break the Cycle of Addiction

Children Of Addicts Become Addicted Statistic - ATSWhile the children of alcoholics and drug addicts are more susceptible to substance use, they may also be more aware of the dangers, having witnessed the consequences of addiction firsthand. Therefore, they may actually have stronger motivation to avoid the mistakes of their parents.

In some cases, however, it’s not always clear to children which factors led their parents into addiction, which makes it harder to avoid those same pitfalls. Gaining a better understanding of the causes of addiction can be immensely helpful in this regard.

Because domestic abuse so often leads to substance abuse in the victim, seeking out professional counseling and therapy services is one of the easiest ways that people can proactively work to prevent substance abuse and addiction in their own lives.

If you have a parent in your life who has struggled with addiction, make a commitment to avoiding all potentially addictive substances, and seek out healthy, alternative ways of dealing with stress, coping with trauma and finding pleasure in life.

How Parents Can Help Break the Cycle of Addiction

Respectable addiction treatment programs will teach recovering addicts relapse-prevention strategies, including:

  • Healthy ways of dealing with stress
  • How to avoid triggers
  • How to build and maintain healthy relationships

By passing on this knowledge to their children, parents can give family members valuable skills that can prevent substance abuse and addiction from beginning in the first place.

Helping your children avoid addiction involves more than just saying, “Don’t do drugs. Drugs are bad.” Children learn more powerfully from what parents do than what they say, especially if words and actions don’t match up. If you’ve struggled with addiction, talk to your children about what led you down that path and show your commitment to recovery through your actions.

Learn How to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Is My Loved One Addicted to Alcohol or Drugs?

Teenagers with Sleep Problems at Greater for Risk for Alcohol Abuse

alcclinresResearchers have identified yet another reason why children need to get adequate sleep, and learn good, healthy sleep habits from an early age. A recent study showed that children who did not get sufficient sleep, could not stay asleep, or stayed up too long before going to bed, were at a greater risk to develop an alcohol problem and/or engage in risky sexual behavior. While most parents understand that their child needs enough rest, this study shows just how vital it is to have a good bedtime routine and solve any sleep problems early on in a child’s life.

Researchers believe that the main reason why a child is at greater risk for poor alcohol and sexual behavior when they do not get sufficient sleep is because the brain has had less time to develop. The brain does most of its growing during sleep. This means that the areas of the brain that are responsible for self-control and behavior can become underdeveloped when a child is not getting enough sleep, or does not display healthy sleeping habits.

“Overtiredness in childhood has also directly predicted the presence of binge drinking, blackouts, driving after drinking alcohol, and a number of lifetime alcohol problems in young adulthood. The purpose of this study was to examine whether sleep difficulties and hours of sleep prospectively predicted several serious substance-related problems that included binge drinking, driving under the influence of alcohol, and risky sexual behavior,” explained Maria M. Wong, a professor and director of experimental training in the department of psychology at Idaho State University.

This is not the first study to indicate that sleep and the potential for addiction may be connected, however in the past the studies were conducted on children that were considered high-risk and only focused on hours slept. This new research, which appeared in Alcoholism Clinical & Experimental Research included more variables like; difficulty of falling asleep and staying up too long before falling asleep.

Researchers point out that it is important to establish a healthy bedtime routine in order to minimize the potential for alcohol and sexual deviance. Examples of a healthy bedtime routine may include doing away with electronics before bedtime and substituting them with a book.

A Medication to Treat Methamphetamine Addiction?

ibudilasttrialResearchers at UCLA are currently working on what they believe may be a cure for methamphetamine addiction. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is monitoring human tests of the medicine that many believe is a way out for those addicted to methamphetamine. If successful, the medicine may also be the first non-opiate solution for those suffering from heroin and opiate addictions as well.

The drug is called Ibudilast. It works by inhibiting glial cells in the central nervous system. Glial cells have been found to be linked to drug addiction. “When you’re on meth, your whole brain is saying, ‘I need meth.’ If you could block meth from interfering with glial, it would allow the messages that you would like to be sending and receiving to actually get to your brain,” explained Dr. Aimee Swanson.

Researchers were encouraged that Ibudilast was effective when it was administered to 11 meth addicts who were not seeking out treatment for their addiction. Researchers found that the drug appeared to reduce the cravings for methamphetamine and there did not appear to be any safety risks in taking Ibudilast. There are other trials and experiments that need to be done on the drug to ensure its safety and effectiveness, but researchers believe they are on to something.

People suffering from a methamphetamine addiction seek out the help of a drug rehabilitation center to handle their addiction. Counseling, paired with abstinence and medical attention have been the tools used to treat a methamphetamine addiction. With the addition of Ibudilast, some fear that methamphetamine addicts will not seek out treatment to handle their addiction.

Treatment for drug addiction is vital in ensuring that the addict handles the problems in life that caused them to use drugs in the first place. While a drug like Ibudilast may be effective in reducing the cravings, it does not handle the difficulties or situations that led to the addiction or that were caused by the addiction. For maximum effectiveness an addict should enroll in a drug treatment program in addition to taking the medication.

Get Caught Up on Emerging Trends in Addiction Treatment - ATS

Get Caught Up on Emerging Trends in Addiction Treatment

Get Caught Up on Emerging Trends in Addiction Treatment - ATS

Navigating the field of recovery centers can be extremely confusing for many people. There are many different options in terms of types of therapies, specialized programs and length of stay.

The substance abuse and mental health communities are continually striving to identify and use effective methods. As a result, treatment seekers and their families today have many choices. While this can be confusing at first, it also means you can surely find a program that is a good fit for your particular needs.

Below is an overview of the emerging trends that have become best practices in nearly all treatment centers, as well as some of the more cutting-edge techniques that are showing promise.

New Addiction Treatment Trends that Are Here to Stay

Although you could call them trends, these are really best practices that are so effective they’ve become the standard of care in high-quality treatment centers.

Comprehensive, Individualized Treatment

New Addiction Treatment Trends That Are Here to Stay - ATSOne of the most important emerging trends in the addiction treatment field is for facilities to offer a variety of services rather than only one path that all clients must follow.

Upon intake, trained staff use assessment tools to help pinpoint the areas in an individual’s life that need more attention, as well as which therapies are likely to be of greatest benefit to that individual.

As bestselling author Anne M. Fletcher has pointed out in her books “Inside Rehab” and “Sober for Good,” there are many ways in which people can recover from addiction. Even the definition of traditional treatment has changed, as an increasing number of 12-step-based facilities also offer additional types of counseling and therapy.

For maximum effectiveness, addiction treatment must be highly personalized to each individual’s needs. This customization is important because:

  • There are many different types of addiction, with different effects on the body and mind.
  • Each person has a different history and root cause of addiction.
  • Each individual has different motivation, values and goals.

Integration of Clinical, Holistic and Homeopathic Methods

Whereas treatment centers used to describe themselves as traditional, holistic, clinical, 12-step, etc., the present reality is that most facilities provide a combination of all these services. A particular rehab may focus its program around a certain type of approach, like the 12-step program, or holistic treatment, and then add on other types of services to supplement its core approach.

Focus on Addressing the Root Cause of Addiction

Experts in addiction treatment know that simply “getting clean” is not enough for long-term recovery. It’s critical to understand what led a person to drugs or alcohol in the first place, and help them resolve the cause of the problem so that the person doesn’t return to substances after leaving rehab.

Emphasis on Whole-Life Improvement

In addition to addressing the root cause of addiction, it’s important to help those in recovery create new habits and interests that improve their quality of life and help them avoid or manage the stress and cravings that can lead to relapse.

Clients are given training and experience in:

  • Healthy eating
  • Enjoyable exercise
  • Fulfilling and exciting leisure activities
  • Building healthy friendships and relationships
  • Drug-free pain management
  • How to manage stress and substance cravings

New Types of Addiction Treatment Therapies

Next, let’s explore some emerging trends in the psychological, medical and holistic fields that are being used to make addiction treatment more effective.

Targeted Clinical Therapy Techniques

Clinical therapies that have been developed over the past decades by psychologists that are now in widespread use include:

  • CBT – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • DBT – Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy

A newer emerging trend is virtual reality therapy, which is being used as a form of exposure therapy.

Effective Holistic Therapy Techniques

Another big trend is the integration of Western and Eastern medicine. Although techniques like yoga, acupuncture and meditation may be relatively new to Westerners, they have been in use as healing techniques in other parts of the world for hundreds, even thousands, of years.

Western therapists have taken inspiration from various fields to create effective addiction therapies for the modern age, including:

  • Meditation/mindfulness practices
  • Yoga
  • Adventure therapy and exercise
  • Acupuncture
  • Animal therapy
  • Gardening (horticulture) therapy
  • Art and music therapy

New Medically Based Therapies

Medical technology has also been evolving to find ways to alleviate pain from withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and remove biological dependency on substances. The ultimate goal of addiction recovery is to restore the human body to its natural processes and balance so the individual can center his or her life on healthy pursuits.

Some recent medical innovations in the addiction recovery field (technology- and medication-wise) include:

  • The Bridge device
  • Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide
  • Neurofeedback
  • Ibogaine
  • Biochemical restoration and nutrition
  • Hallucinogenic substances

New Drugs for Fighting Opioid Addiction

As the opioid epidemic continues to ravage the country, researchers have new drugs to help heroin and opiate addicts recover from the physical effects of addiction. Learn more about these alternatives to methadone and buprenorphine here, which include:

  • Zubsolv
  • Probuphine
  • Lofexidine hydrochloride
  • Naltrexone

Tips for Evaluating Addiction Treatment Centers

While treatment centers may promise to use all the latest cutting-edge techniques, it’s important for families and individuals to do their homework when researching a facility. Find out:

  • Which qualifications and certifications the staff has
  • What licensing the facility has
  • What the recommended length of stay is
  • What type of aftercare and support systems they have after completing inpatient treatment

Look for reviews online, question affiliations and ask for alternatives to compare.

We live in a country where we are fortunate enough to have a wide array of health care services, and substance abuse treatment is no exception. Even if your top choice isn’t available to you, it is possible to find several other programs and a course of treatment that can help you or your loved one achieve lasting sobriety.

Next, Learn About the Different Levels of Addiction Treatment

Explore Levels of Care

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in June 2013, but was updated in September 2017 to reflect more recent information and advances in the addiction treatment field.

What You Should Know About Addiction - ATS

What You Should Know About Addiction

There’s a lot of information to sift through when evaluating addiction treatment. Individuals wonder if they should try to do it alone. Do they really have an addiction? How will they pay for treatment? What about the conditions that led to addiction in the first place?

Addiction Treatment Services works with treatment prospects and their families to identify their particular needs and seek a lasting solution.

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is a serious health issue that requires professional help to treat both the addiction and underlying health conditions. It’s a chronic disease.

People facing addiction seek out the substance they abuse over and over, despite negative consequences. They often try to quit but feel unable to resist the temptation to use drugs or alcohol again and again. Relapse is the return to substance use after trying to stop. Relapse is common and indicates a need for treatment.

Addiction Alters the Brain

Addiction changes the way the brain works. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that communicates feelings of pleasure in response to stimulus. Success, good food and positive personal interactions cause the brain to release dopamine and reinforce the behavior that led to the stimulus.

Drugs and alcohol flood the brain with dopamine. Users associate substance use with rewards, so they repeat the behavior. Over time, the brain reduces the amount of dopamine produced, so the individual uses more of the substance in an attempt to recreate the original feelings of pleasure.

Long-term drug use changes other processes in the brain, such as those related to:

  • Learning
  • Judgment
  • Decision-making
  • Stress
  • Memory
  • Behavior

Risk Factors for Addiction

Many factors affect who becomes addicted and who doesn’t. Some people are born with genes that make them more likely to experience addiction. Biology might cause other mental health disorders that increase the likelihood of substance abuse.

External factors also influence addiction. A person’s family and environment may contribute to whether they use drugs and alcohol. Peer pressure, sexual abuse and early drug exposure can make some individuals predisposed to addiction.

Individuals might be more vulnerable to addiction at certain developmental stages. Adolescent brains are still developing, so teens are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors.

Addiction is a disease and can be treated. Professionals develop successful treatment plans to meet each patient’s needs.

Insurance Covers Some Forms of Addiction Treatment

Families and individuals may know they need help, but are concerned about the cost of treatment. Health insurance may help pay for rehabilitation.

Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), approximately 45.2 million Americans younger than 65 had no health insurance, and 20.9 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 64 were uninsured. Some people relied on private insurance and others were enrolled in a public health plan.

Since the ACA, any American can go to government health care websites to find an insurance plan or apply for Medicaid benefits. If substance abuse renders an individual unable to apply for insurance, in some situations loved ones can apply for services on their behalf.

One ACA component involves substance abuse treatment. It views treatment as an essential service. It requires health plans to treat all phases of substance abuse, even the early ones.

Medicaid and Medicare cover evaluation, screening, medication, alcohol and drug testing, family counseling and other services. Private insurance companies often develop coverage based on the federal system, so many of them provide coverage for substance abuse treatment.

Private health plan benefits vary by state and insurance provider. Group health plans, such as those provided by most employers, often cover mental and behavioral health services, and substance abuse treatment usually falls under that category.

A national review of admissions to treatment centers showed 60 percent of rehab patients didn’t have any health insurance. They deemed the cost of not getting treatment to be higher than the price they paid for receiving help in escaping addiction.

Addiction Is Often Connected to Underlying Physical and Mental Health Issues

Drug Use Alters Some Processes In The Brain - Addiction Treatment ServicesPeople with substance abuse addiction often have mental health conditions. This is called dual diagnosis, co-occurring disorders or comorbid disorders.

Patients might struggle with alcohol and experience depression. Or they might be addicted to opioids and dealing with an anxiety disorder.

In many situations, the mental disorder came first. Someone with a mental illness may use drugs or alcohol to lessen the symptoms of mental illness. For a time, the substance helps them cope, but before long, it makes their situation worse.

Consequences of addiction increase the symptoms of their mental illness, and the individual often responds by using more of the substance.

In the past, health care providers viewed mental illness and substance abuse as two separate issues and treated each in isolation. People with dual diagnosis disorders need to have both treated simultaneously to successfully remain in recovery.

Quitting Some Types of Substances Can Be Deadly Without Medical Supervision

When individuals decide to quit drugs or alcohol, they often experience withdrawal. General withdrawal symptoms depend on the substance from which the person is detoxing.

With some substances, withdrawal can cause death. There’s an increased risk of withdrawal when one has been abusing alcohol, opiates or benzodiazepines. Detox from multiple addictions is even more dangerous.

Alcohol withdrawal can cause:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens

All of the above symptoms can result in death if they progress to a severe state.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal increases the risk of grand mal seizures and other symptoms that can kill. Meanwhile, some patients trying to go through rapid opioid detox die during the process.

Patients should enroll in a medically assisted detox program to manage withdrawal. Medical professionals will monitor a patient’s condition and offer treatment to help with withdrawal symptoms.

Planning Addiction Treatment with the Help of a Professional Yields Successful Results

There’s a lot involved in finding safe, successful treatment for addiction. Navigating the waters of the drug rehab industry can be overwhelming for families and individuals. Finding and paying for the best treatment also isn’t easy.

The professionals at Addiction Treatment Services can direct your family to a number of programs that are trustworthy and offer the best chance of successful recovery. We’ll also help you figure out which treatment programs are compatible with your insurance. Reach out to us today when you’re ready for assistance in your treatment search.