Alcohol a Gateway Drug?

Alcohol abuse has long been a problem in our society that often gets overlooked when the news is full of headlines warning about the dangers of drugs. However, it is essential to note the severe role that alcohol plays in the development of addictions. In most people’s lives, alcohol is one of the first mind-altering substances that they’ll try. Yet, people often fail to think about the serious long-term consequences that can come with taking that very first sip. When you find yourself wondering is alcohol considered a gateway drug, it is time to explore exactly how that couple of drinks could lead someone down a dangerous road.

alcohol

What Is a Gateway Drug?

The best way to understand what a gateway drug is would be to consider it a stepping stone to more severe habits. One of the reasons why people tend to ask is alcohol considered a gateway drug is that they don’t always realize that drinking can lead to people experiencing side effects such as impaired judgment that lead to them trying other types of substances. You should also know that tobacco is considered a gateway drug. When someone engages in the use of these substances, they set up a pattern of experimentation that can cause them to seek out new types of substance-induced stimulation.

Why Does Alcohol Seem So Innocent?

If you think about it, alcohol is just about everywhere that you look. People drink at weddings and other social events. You also see people enjoy an alcoholic beverage after work or even as a sacrament at church. Younger adults often see drinking alcohol depicted on television and movies as being a rite of passage that helps people become the life of the party. When something is portrayed as being so good, it can often be hard to realize that it could be harmful.

How Many People Use Alcohol as a Gateway Drug?

The startling truth behind the question of is alcohol considered a gateway drug is that the majority of people who go on to develop addictions claim that they started with a drink. This behavior pattern also starts younger than many people might think. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that minors between the ages of 12 and 20 drink more than 11 percent of the alcohol that is consumed in America. It is also important to mention that the majority of the alcohol consumed by this age group is done in the form of binge drinking. This tends to heighten the effects of alcohol, and it makes it more likely that a teen or college student may be tempted to try other forms of illicit substances.

Is Alcohol Bad On Its Own?

You will occasionally hear that alcohol has health benefits. While science is continuously going back and forth on this issue, you should be aware that the potential for developing an addiction is sometimes not worth any benefits that drinking could provide. When you understand that the answer to your question of is alcohol considered a gateway drug is yes, you may find that you can’t help but worry about people who begin to drink at a young age.

What Are the Dangers Associated With Drinking?

Many dangers are associated with drinking, and you are likely already familiar with the way that drinking and driving can lead to severe injuries and even death. Those who consume alcohol in large quantities over a long period also set themselves up for the potential of developing severe effects on their health, such as liver disease. Alcohol also generates something called cross-sensitization. This means that it can cause someone’s body to heighten the brain reactions that are felt when a person drinks alcohol. This cross-sensitivity can cause that person to seek then out new experiences that generate the same response. For instance, someone might choose to try cocaine to feel a sense of excitement that they initially feel when they drink.

What are the Signs of Addiction?

With alcohol, addiction tends to build up slowly until a person begins to worry about whether or not they have crossed the line. Some people never realize that it is their drinking that led them to use a stronger type of drug. In either case at https://xn--testosteroni-lisravinne-b8b.fi/, the signs of addiction tend to be similar. Someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol will experience cravings that cause them to want to use the substance even when they know that it is harming their life.

A person that has found out the hard way that the truth is alcohol considered a gateway drug is yes may also find that they need more of the substance to experience the same effects that they did before. This is called tolerance, and it develops as the brain begins to react differently to the chemicals that a person puts into their body. The use of multiple kinds of drugs combined with alcohol can lead to a stronger tolerance level while also increasing the dangers that the misuse poses to a person’s mind and body.

When alcohol is used as a gateway drug, you might notice that they give it up as they begin to rely upon potent substances such as heroin or meth more. In some cases, they may continue to drink and mix the substances. This places them at risk for a severe overdose since alcohol does not mix safely with certain drugs. For instance, alcohol and prescription pain killers both depress the nervous system, which can lead to a coma or death.

How Can Someone Get Help for Alcohol or Drug Misuse?

It is always sad when drinking alcohol turns into an addiction, but it is good to know that help is available. With professional counseling, people can overcome their addictions to drugs and alcohol and look forward to a healthy life in sobriety. The process of working through addictive behavior patterns looks different for everyone, and you or your loved one can benefit from reaching out for help.

Gateway drugs often seem so innocent at first that teens and young adults don’t think anything of trying it. Even older adults can be misled by the enjoyable effects of having that glass of beer or wine when they get home from work. Talking to teens and young adults about why is alcohol considered a gateway drug is the best way to help them avoid falling into the trap of using stronger substances, and everyone should watch out for the signs of addiction in the people that they know. Whether you find yourself dealing with addiction or notice the signs in someone you love, seeking help as soon as possible helps to break the chains that are put in place by imbibing in alcohol.

Helping vs. Enabling

There is a lot to be said for people that are trying to help drug addicts. It is commendable in one sense because a lot of family members or friends do not want to get involved in trying to help these addicts. A lot of people worry about crossing the line. They don’t want to cross the lines where helping turns to enable. There are differences in these things, and the people are willing to help the drug addicts need to be aware of the difference.

Crisis Intervention

Knowing The Difference

The line between helping and enabling is often thin. It is not always so easy to realize if the actions that are being taken are helping or enabling. This is why it is a good idea to look at the concept from a biblical perspective.

The Bible often states that the man that does not work does not eat. There are a lot of different things from Proverbs that shows how important it is for individuals to work. In Hebrews, it also talks about the importance of discipline and how it is painful during the process.

A lot of people believe that intervention with the family is going to be enough to stop a drug addict. Putting a person in the mist their family may guilt-trip a drug addict into stopping for that day, but there is an excellent chance that the drug addict is going to turn the tables on older family members. The drug addict may plead for sympathy and even deny the fact that they are doing drugs. People that want to help drug addicts will confront them. They are going to look at real rehab solutions that can help these drug addicts get clean.

Conversations are not going to be enough to stop addicts because they have an addiction. They are not logical. A discussion about the need to stop is not going to be enough. Anyone that believes that they can help a drug addict with mere family condemnation is fooling themselves. This may not even work for a day. If a person is trying to teach the drug addict how to take care of themselves, information about getting treatment in a drug rehab center is going to be the applicable route. If there is any intervention, it needs to be a conversation that serves as a reinforcement for the drug addict to look at rehab options.

Enabling 101

When it comes to enabling by helping, there are a lot of lines that are crossed. A lot of people have good intentions in the beginning, but these people can find themselves in an enabling state if they are not careful. One of the most significant parts of enabling someone is ignoring that they have a problem.

It is impossible to continue giving people money, and living life like the problem does not exist when it is evident that these people are you using the money for drugs. This is when helping vs. enabling lines to get crossed. All of those people that want to help may find themselves unsure of how they can help, so they make the problem go away by giving these drug addicts money. It becomes one of those out-of-sight, out-of-mind concepts until the drug addict reappears with a need for money again.

Straddling the Fence

Another aspect of the enabling process comes when the person that is utilizing drugs is confronted, and the person that is facing them takes their side. The drug addict may say that what they are doing is not harming anyone. They may even say that they are going to quit utilizing the drugs that they have become so dependent on. People that sympathize with these drug addicts and get on their side are ignoring the problem. They are failing to see how they are contributing to the issues that are present. People that are looking for ways to help drug addicts are going to have to be stern when it comes to the people that they’re dealing with. Drug addicts are conniving. No one should ever sugarcoat anything, and they should never straddle the fence. When they start doing these things, it becomes harder to convince the drug addict that they are on the wrong path.

Recreational Drug Use

Some recreational drug users would even partake in activities with drug addicts. This is also something that plays a part in enabling those that have these drug problems. People that are addicted need to move away from drugs altogether. There is no gray area that allows them to indulge with the people that are accusing them of being addicted. For addicts, there are no social or recreational engagements that will make the drug use justifiable. If they have an addiction, they should not be in a place where they are enabled by people that will take them to get drugs and even do the drugs with them.

Helping 101

People that want to stay clear of the helping vs. enabling debate will look for the things that can help them stay the course when it comes to helping friends or family members with their addiction. It starts with being upfront with a person that is utilizing the drugs by recommending the solution.

Course Of Action

People that sincerely want to help drug addicts are going to help them by leading them towards a course of action. In most cases, this is going to be rehab. Anyone that is affected by drug use is going to need a surefire method that helps the addict kick the addiction. Drug addicts are not going to be fans of those family members and friends that are continually pushing the drug rehab agenda. It does not matter, though. People that are sincerely looking for a way to help their family members are going to be adamant about a solution to the problem.

Resisting The Urge To Give Money

In the beginning, drug addiction may not be evident. It is easy for a person to unwittingly become the enabler of someone that they do not know is battling drug addiction. Once it is discovered, however, no more money should be given. There may even be a legitimate need for money, but it is never wise to trust a drug addict. There is always a possibility that they will neglect the things they need to buy to utilize the money for drugs. People that provide money for drug addicts are enabling them to continue this lifestyle.

How Does Rehab Work? A Typical Day in a Drug Rehab Center

While 25 million people in the US are victims of drug abuse, only about 11% seek outside help.

Deciding to go to rehab is not an easy decision to make, for either party involved. But overall, it’s one of the most prominent steps you can take to get well. 

If you’re wondering how does rehab work, read on to find out what a day is like in rehab.

What Is Rehab?

Rehab is short for rehabilitation, a treatment center where those who struggle with addiction. Here, the patient receives the hands-on help they need through a variety of elements. Group therapies, doctors, and different activities like art, music, or meditation could be included here. 

There are two types of rehabs: outpatient and inpatient. Outpatient therapy is where you visit for a specific time and then go home the same day. Comparatively, inpatient rehab is when you stay for an extended period and receive treatment there.

How Does Rehab Work?

Many different factors are included in rehab, and each person will receive individualized treatment to help them progress. Part of that process is learning new and healthy habits to replace negative ones that led to addiction. Generally speaking, rehabs adhere to schedules and routines, so patients stay focused on their treatments. 

What’s a Typical Day like in Rehab?

While each facility’s schedule may differ in some respect, there’s typically a basic outline you’ll be expected to follow. 

Mornings

In inpatient rehab, mornings consist of rising early for a healthy breakfast and eating together as a community to foster relationships. Occasionally, yoga or meditation might be included to encourage relaxation at the beginning of the day. After breakfast, there could be some form of therapy that lasts about an hour or more, where you focus on the 12-step program.

Afternoon

Before lunch, you may engage in some free time. Then, the afternoon is usually dedicated to therapy after lunch. For some, this could be group therapy or one-on-one therapy sessions, but it’s often much more intense than morning therapy sessions. 

These sessions will differ for everyone. Individual sessions are likely to include cognitive behavioral therapy or (CBT).

CBT is a form of therapy that’s designed to change your thinking and develop more positive behaviors. During these times, you’ll meet with a counselor where you will (hopefully) feel comfortable sharing deep-seated fears or problems. CBT provides your therapist with information, methods, and practices, to overcome these issues and cultivate a healthy mindset. 

Some people may be involved in family therapy. This type of treatment is where members of your family come and join you in a session so you can begin to work through some issues and build trust. 

Evening

Later afternoon is reserved for free times and other types of therapy. Activities like a variety of sports, art, music, being outdoors, and even horseback riding are available at some facilities.

Evening time is reserved for dinner and one-on-one time with a therapist or counselor to discuss your progress. After this, there may be a meeting or a speaker. Free time and lights out are usually around 9 pm but will often be flexible, as it allows the patient to decide when they should turn in. 

How Long is A Rehab Stay?

The duration of a patient’s stay in rehab depends on several different factors. For one, the severity of their struggles and how well they apply themselves to progressing towards sobriety. It also depends on if it’s outpatient or inpatient and if you’ve been there before.

Ideally, they would stay however long they want, but that’s rarely the case. Other circumstances could include their insurance coverage, work obligations, finances, and the type of treatment you need. 

Despite all these facets, an average rehab stay is about three months or 90 days. During this time frame is where the patient’s progress is likely to improve the most. 

Are There Rules in Rehab?

Most likely, yes. Rehab primary objective is to teach the patient healthy habits while working on CBT. Each facility will have its own rules and regulations, but here’s a list of what may be expected from you in rehab:

1. Zero Drugs or Alcohol

Any illegal substance is likely to be banned from the premises as patient work on becoming sober. 

2. Come to Therapies

Even if you don’t participate in any group or individual therapies, it’s expected of you to show up.

3. Stick to The Schedule

Schedules might not be your thing, but in rehab, these are enforced to maintain accountability. 

4. No Media

Not all rehabs are the same, so this rule may fluctuate slightly. However, reducing or restricting the presence of media is to avoid triggers so that the individual can focus on their recovery without concern. 

5. No to Romance

At first, the thought of not pursuing a romantic relationship seems silly, but realistically, romantic relationships can sometimes consume us. When this happens, a co-dependency develops which is unhealthy during a precarious time in a person’s life. Excluding relationships at this time is best for the patient.

Rehab is not a free pass for three months. It’s intentional and focused on the patient’s good and freedom from addiction. These rules may seem restrictive, but they’re in place to produce positive effects.

Rehab Recap

Going to rehab is never an easy decision for anyone, and it will be a significant shift in the environment for the patient. Everything that happens in rehab is to develop and grow people so they can overcome their addiction. Hopefully, this article has given you more insight into how does rehab work.

Are you looking for more information on addiction and the benefits of rehab? Contact us today to get all your questions answered

Inspirational quotes for addicts

We all need a bit of inspiration now and then

Being in recovery from drugs and alcohol is difficult. You have to take it day by day, even minute by minute, during the days, weeks, and months to come. It’s normal to need some inspiration now and again when you are struggling to stay sober. Read on for 40 inspirational quotes for addicts to help you get through the tough times.

Inspirational quotes for addicts
  1. Always stay strong no matter what happens today. Every day is a new beginning with worlds of possibilities in front of you.
  2. Be strong when you are faced with your past demons. You’ve conquered them before, and you can face them again.
  3. You’re worth much more than you could ever imagine, even with a past you are not proud of. Stay strong and keep moving forward.
  4. Carry yourself with your head held high and strength in your heart. You deserve the promise of a new day.
  5. Recovery takes time. But now that you are in recovery, you have plenty of time to make it work.
  6. Don’t keep your mind in the past- you do not live there any longer. Stay focused on the future and who you are becoming.
  7. It takes a strong person to stay in recovery. Face your fears head-on, and you’ll begin to see change.
  8. You can’t change the things that happened to you in the past, but you have full control over what will happen in the future.
  9. We are harder on ourselves than anyone else. Treat yourself the same way you would treat someone you love- you are worth it.
  10. Always believe in yourself, even if it seems as if you are the only one. You have the power it takes to make a change.
  11. Motivation and commitment can be tough. But beating an addiction to drugs and alcohol is tough, too. Keep on moving forward and don’t look back.
  12. No one said that moving forward in recovery would be easy. But you can rejoice in the fact that you are doing something extremely difficult and succeeding.
  13. There is no better victory than being able to say you are sober. Remember that when you are tempted to go back to your old self.
  14. Recovery is not an easy task. It takes courage, heart, and determination. You have that in you and so much more.
  15. As you move forward in recovery, don’t forget the person you once were when you were using. Sometimes that is all we need to stay sober.
  16. You are the only person who can change your future. Whoever you decide to be is all up to you.
  17. The human spirit is tougher than any material known to man. Keep your spirits high as you face the future clean and sober. You can do anything you want to.
  18. There is no time limit to recovery. Every day is another day that you are can proclaim a success.
  19. There is no better feeling than counting the days you are in recovery. Keep those numbers in mind when you don’t think you can do it anymore.
  20. Rock bottom is the first step to a clean and sober you. Not only is there nowhere to go but up, but you now have room to learn and grow.
  21. Enjoy all the world has to offer as you navigate it in recovery. You’ve opened up more than you could imagine.
  22. You either give up and let the day ruin you, or you fight and come out victorious in the end. The choice is yours.
  23. It’s easy to give up when you have failed in the past. But wouldn’t it be amazing to look back and relish in your great triumph?
  24. Don’t allow past failures to define you as a person. We all fail sometimes, but it is how we try again and again that makes us victorious.
  25. Every day in recovery is a gift. The best way to get through the harder days is to continue to fight as hard as you need to.
  26. We all have incredible strength and power. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to realize just how strong we are.
  27. You may feel as though every day is a struggle. But think of how you will feel when you finally make it to the top.
  28. No matter how bad it was in the past, your better days are waiting for you. Enjoy them in your new, sober light.
  29. Changing your destructive behavior will cause a significant change in your character. Find a new you while you take recovery day by day. You’ll be shocked at what you’ll experience.
  30. You’ve gotten through the first stages of recovery already. While some days will be harder than others, don’t let those days go to waste by falling into old habits. You have the power to change.
  31. We all have the power to make a change in our behaviors. Don’t allow what happened in the past to define you for the rest of your life.
  32. Everyone deserves to be happy and content. Find your peace in the future, and forget what you did when you were using.
  33. Imagine the respect you will receive as you move forward in recovery. There is no greater feeling than the feeling of complete success.
  34. Recovery doesn’t just end one day. It is a commitment that you must accept daily. However, every day gets a little bit easier on the road to recovery.
  35. Not all battles are won the very first time they are fought. Stay strong and prepare for the days that are harder while embracing the easier days.
  36. Don’t let an obstacle set you back. There are ways around or through anything that happens to you that don’t include the use of alcohol or drugs.
  37. Always be proud of the steps you have taken to get where you are, no matter how small. It takes courage and strength to beat addiction.
  38. Even though you may not be in the place you have wished for, you are still on the way. Don’t give up on your dreams when you have come this far.
  39. The goal is to love yourself so much that you don’t need alcohol or drugs to alter your mind. You are worthy of a lifetime of love.
  40. You can’t go back and change the past, but you can make a whole new future for yourself.

We hope these inspirational quotes for addicts will help you feel better about your situation. Remember, you are strong, and you are worth it!

Why Are Alcoholics So Mean To The Ones They Love?

Having someone close to you, whether it is a friend, a romantic partner, a family member, or even a parent who struggles with addiction, is challenging.

The family and friends of the alcoholic are often on the receiving end of the lies, deceit, and manipulation from the very person who claims to love them. This behavior is very confusing for the people who love the alcoholic the most as they hurt in often cruel ways.

alcoholism
alcoholism

As targets of abusive behavior that often manifests as rage attacks and violence in general, the objective is often left asking why?

What did they do to cause the addicted person to hate them so much? What did they do to create the addicted person to feel they deserved such punishment and cruelty?

Here is the hard truth, the family, the friend, the significant other, the child, the one experiencing the outbursts hasn’t done anything wrong.

So, why are alcoholics so mean to the ones they love?

ALCOHOLIC ABUSE

When someone is addicted to alcohol, it alters their behavior in predictable patterns.

An alcoholic, when intoxicated, will often feel a sense of grandiosity and entitlement, as if they are better than everybody else. They feel as if they can do no wrong, and it is everybody else who is at fault. 

This idea that it’s “everybody else” is also why alcoholics deny that they have an addiction. They cannot look at themselves as the problem, because often they are still trying to run from whatever is causing them pain. If called out, they will insist that they don’t have a problem, because acknowledging this root issue is too scary, shameful, painful, or overwhelming.

The easier route is to make other people responsible for their moods and overall emotional well-being. 

They will often blame innocent bystanders for provoking them to anger and meltdown into fits of rage over the smallest things because they demand that everything be their way. Alcoholics do this because they are trying to self-regulate by controlling their external world to make up for their internal turmoil.

Understanding alcoholic abuse is a vital part of answering the question, “why are alcoholics so mean to the ones they love.”

ADDICTION AND THE BODY

When someone becomes addicted to a substance, in this case, alcohol, it becomes something they physically need.

The body adapts to having certain alcohol levels, and after a while, if the level of alcohol is not maintained, it is physically painful. In the case of alcohol addiction, withdrawal can be deadly if not medically assisted.

In the view of an alcoholic, nothing matters more than where they are getting their next drink. The following fix will remain the most essential thing in their life until they enter recovery because their body quite literally needs the substance for them to function.

Also, for many, the idea of going into withdrawals, especially if someone isn’t ready to face the reality of their addiction or the truth of their root issues, creates lousy behavior because they are desperately trying to stay numb.

The physical dependence on the alcohol and the scramble to remain numb often leads alcoholics to blame, manipulate, or bully family members and loved ones until their, now physical need is satisfied.

LOVED ONES AS SAFE TARGETS

Alcoholics, most often, are using alcohol to suppress having to feel the fullness of negative emotions. Rather than face the feelings, they are using the substance to “regulate” themselves.

The distress may be a myriad of things. Their current job is overwhelming for them; maybe they grew up rough and are suffering from the wounds of childhood. Maybe something traumatic has happened in the recent past, or they are lonely.

With all these bottled up emotions when an alcoholic does drink since alcohol naturally lowers inhibitions, loved ones often find themselves caught in the torrent as the emotions re-surface most often as anger.

These outbursts are akin to a volcano blowing out sideways rather than straight-up, as the emotions will always find a way out.

Because you are a trusted loved one, the addict knows that you will not hurt them in their pain fueled rage. The alcoholic knows that, most likely, there will be minimal to possibly no consequences for them becoming violent ( which happens far too often) and feel free to unleash all of their pent up angst on a loved one in that moment of drunkenness.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

You can’t. All addicts, alcoholics included, must help themselves. They must be the ones to choose to recover. 

Until they do so, you cannot help someone who does not want to help. You cannot.

If you try, you will only be putting yourself in harm’s way and possibly end up fueling their addiction by being coerced into enabling it. You mustn’t allow yourself to get sucked into the abuse cycle with the alcoholic.

The longer you stick around to “help” the longer the person will have opportunities to use you, because their world is only about them and ensuring that they get their fix and nothing more, when they are dependent on a substance.

STEPS TO TAKE AS A TARGET – HANDLING THE MEANNESS

DISTANCE YOURSELF

Walking away is difficult for many targets, but if the addict is hurting you, you must distance yourself. Often these episodes will only escalate as the problems in the alcoholic’s life will only grow worse as they try harder and harder to avoid the root cause.

DO NOT ACCEPT POOR BEHAVIOR

If they are violent towards you or their behavior is otherwise inadequate, you must contact the proper authorities. Do not get sucked into their pleading with you or guilt-tripping you about “getting them in trouble.” You do not accept a stranger throwing things at your head, and that goes double for someone who claims to care about you.

You must be consistent with refusing to accept poor behavior; this includes emotional and verbal abuse.

BE AVAILABLE IF THEY CHOOSE TO RECOVER

Once you have distanced yourself and been consistent in showing them that you will not put up with their bad behavior, you can support them from afar by telling them you will help them in their recovery.

If the addict chooses to seek recovery, knowing that they still have people who care about them and want to see them recover is crucial for their journey into sobriety.

The Connection Between Creativity, Depression, and Addiction

Robin Williams’ Death Underscores Connection Between Creativity, Depression, and Addiction 

In 2014, comedian Robin Williams lost his life after a lifelong battle against addiction and depression. Beloved for his depictions of iconic characters such as Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin’s Genie, the wise professor in Dead Poets Society, and more, Williams’ death was a genuinely devasting loss felt worldwide.

Robin Williams Death Underscores Connection Between Creativity, Depression, and Addiction
Robin Williams’ Death Underscores Connection Between Creativity, Depression, and Addiction 

Outwardly, Williams was nothing but delightful. Even in his more serious roles, Williams was known for bringing warmth and lightness that endeared him to viewers. As one of the most beloved American actors of his time, Williams’ death begged the question of whether a career like his was sustainable without slowly sacrificing somewhere – in Williams’ case, his mental health and happiness.

Williams’ Battle With Depression

It is hard to believe for some, but the most talented and vibrant comedians often suffer from debilitating depression and anxiety behind closed doors. The stage offers performers the perfect chance to escape from themselves and wholly play the part of a character, allowing themselves to abandon their suffering.

Off-stage, actors and comedians are people with lives and psyches just as complicated as anyone else’s. Mental illness does not discern between the famous and not, comedians or otherwise.

Rise to Stardom

Williams experienced a dizzying rise to fame as the star of sitcom Mork & Mindy. Remaining in the California stand-up comedy scene, Williams faced an astonishing and sudden change in stardom seemingly overnight. Coupled with the pressures of sudden fame, acting on a hit primetime TV show in a lead role, and regularly performing on stage on comedy clubs where people were now apt to recognize him, it is no surprise Williams underwent a large amount of stress.

It is also no surprise that this era ushered in Williams’ first instances of substance abuse. Beginning to use cocaine while staring in Mork & Mindy, Williams would fight against substance abuse for the rest of his life.

Depression and Substance Abuse

Depression and addiction go hand in hand. Studies show that 1 in 4 adults with a mental illness also battles substance abuse. 

This was no different for Williams, described by family and friends as frequently using cocaine before getting onstage to perform comedy even toward the beginning of his career.

The manic energy provided by drugs such as cocaine may prove to be alluring to those looking to lose themselves entirely on stage, as Williams was apt to do.

However, as Williams experienced a much higher natural rush of energy on stage and regularly depicted extremely manic characters, he described cocaine as allowing him to slow down.

For Williams, his depression was inherently linked to his sense of self-worth as a comedian. Operating with a one-track mind, Williams dedicated his life to comedy and acting, at times, to his detriment.

If something underperformed or was not met with critical acclaim, Williams’ depression was triggered. Living wholly for his art, it was no shock he would forgo his best interests and live as a vessel through which to perform comedy and nothing more.

His failures amplified by his mental illness and successes celebrated in excess of substance abuse. Williams was trapped in a cycle of depression and dependence he saw no end to.

Williams also dealt with alcohol addiction, describing himself as unable to resist the call of either. When he would try to get clean, he found the small voice in the back of his head that many addicts have urging him to take one bump, one hit, one sip of the substances he so craved.

As addicts do, Williams would not just have one drink. He found himself slipping back into excess regularly until checking himself into rehab around 2008.

Creativity and Depression

Studies have shown a link between repressed creativity and depressive behaviors, in turn leading to alcoholism. It is possible that extremely creative individuals feel creative energy so intensely that it creates a mental build-up of mental block when it is not being released.

Just as Williams described cocaine as slowing him down, many creatives may find some release and temporary, false relief in substance abuse when they are not able to live up to their potential creative output.

While creatives may feel more drawn to substance abuse as an outlet for their depressive moods, substance abuse is not an answer and will not provide any semblance of a comfortable lifestyle for those suffering.

Instead, as Williams admitted later in life, the answer is to seek real help for the problems that underscore depression and addiction. Therapy, rehabilitation, and professional advice are often necessary to separate the life-destroying effects of mental illness from that of substance abuse.

Just as no one would recommend self-treatment of severe injuries, no credible source would recommend attempting to deal with depression on one’s own.

As creatives must feel deeply for their art, so too do these feelings begin to seep into their daily lives. Living one’s life feeling everything so deeply that it begins to affect your mood and causes one to turn to substance abuse to cope, however, does not have to be a part of being an artist.

Addiction is Not Hopeless

Williams’ battle against depression and substance abuse continued until the day of his death. Depression and addiction never disappear, in spite of how successful one’s treatment proves to be; one is, instead, a patient for life.

Taken too early, Robin Williams is just one of many casualties to depression and addiction. Understand that life does not have to be this way, and there is help out there for those looking to reclaim a comfortable life.

The Noticeable Signs of Self-Harm from Addiction: A Treatment Guide

In the United States, self-harm and addiction are two big issues with devastating effects. Unfortunately, the problem usually starts early.

Each year, 1 in 5 females and 1 in 7 males engage in self-injury, with an estimated 90% of them beginning in adolescent years.

People who are struggling with addiction are far more likely to engage in this self-destructive behavior, and it needs to be addressed.

If you believe a loved one is engaging in self-harm, it is important to find out for sure and address the problem. Let’s find out how.

Self-Harm and Addiction

Unfortunately, it seems as if self-harm and addiction go hand-in-hand too often. Depression is likely to lead to addiction as well as the other way around.

Why do people self-harm? Well, it is never intended as an antidote, but simply an outlet for temporary relief.

Sadly, self-harm can be as addictive as the substance they are abusing. This is because temporary relief is never enough to solve a chronic problem, and the person suffering may feel the need to do it more.

While self-harm is widely associated with cutting, that is far from the only method that people in pain will use.

While cutting and burning are the most common methods, many people choose unique outlets (that we won’t discuss) to relieve their emotional pain.

Some people are more likely to harm themselves than others, but that is not always relevant. While an estimated 4% of adults are believed to self-harm, high school and college students are believed to self-harm at a rate between 15% and 35%.

While self-harm is not intended to be lethal, mixing the process with drugs or alcohol, in this case, is certainly a dangerous combination that needs to be addressed. So how do we find out?

The Noticeable Signs of Self-Harm

When somebody is struggling with addiction, they will likely try to hide it or deny it. The problem here is that when somebody is already in the mindset of hiding the truth, they are likely to do what they can to keep their self-harming habits to themselves.

Luckily, there are a few indicators that we can use to determine if somebody is harming themselves, or if they are at risk for such a dangerous habit.

Behavioral Signs

Behavioral clues can be very helpful in determining self-harm. These behaviors should be monitored if you believe your loved one is hurting themselves. Here are just a few examples.

If your loved one is constantly wearing long-sleeve shirts or sweatshirts even in warm weather, this should be looked into. If you are in a warm environment, try asking them if they want to take off their sweatshirt or change into something more weather-appropriate to gauge their response.

If your loved one is buying or using their bandage supply frequently or keeping antibiotic ointment with them, asking why they carry it can give you the answers you need.

Isolation and portraying fear of being around people at certain times is a possible indicator. Try encouraging them to join you in a social activity to see their response and hopefully get them out of the problematic environment.

Having razor blades or any burning materials stored in their personal spaces are key indicators, but we can’t advise you to look into their belongings as this may affect their trust and even make the situation worse. Noticing these materials naturally is a big indicator.

Physical Signs

Self-harm is not always as obvious as visible scars on somebody’s wrist. Many people will try to hide any marks in any way necessary, and there are many ways to hide it.

Some people will try to harm themselves on body parts that can be covered by a bathing suit. For both men and women, scars are more likely to appear on their upper thighs or hips.

Other methods could be using techniques that don’t leave scars, but we won’t get into details on those methods.

So, unless you are able to look for scars when they are not visible with shorts and a t-shirt, it can be tricky to notice physical signs.

If somebody fits the behavioral criteria, look for any physical signs that you can, such as walking strangely while under the influence as if they have just been injured.

What To Do

If a loved one is harming themselves, it is time to step in—in a loving manner, of course. These are very delicate situations that need to be handled appropriately.

An intervention is appropriate for the gravity of such a situation, but they need to be proper interventions. Remember that addiction and self-harm are two of the most dangerous problems for somebody’s personal safety, so intervening needs to be done correctly.

Offer the person as much support as possible, but be sure to give direct solutions to their issues in the form of treatment.

Self-harm is not a side effect of addiction; it is a behavior associated with depression and a lack of self-worth. Because of this, dual diagnosis treatment may be the best help that your loved one can receive.

Dual diagnosis treatment is specially designed for people who are struggling with addiction as well as a mental health disorder. No matter the addiction, self-medication often follows with PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

This may be the best way to get your loved one the help they need.

Next Steps

It is very clear that self-harm and addiction are both serious issues that need to be addressed, and it is extremely overwhelming when the two collide.

However, even if it is scarier, it becomes more important to solve the issue as quickly as possible before any serious damage has been done.

If you believe it is time to seek treatment for somebody you care about, look into our treatment options and get started today. To speak with someone immediately, please contact us.

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning: A Guide for Those Wanting to Help

Drinking alcohol can be fun, but if not done in moderation it can quickly turn deadly. Alcohol poisoning is no joke and there is definitely a point in time when being too drunk becomes dangerous.

Many people don’t realize how easy it is to get alcohol poisoning since it’s not always easy to recognize the signs. This may seem shocking but on average six people die per day from this cause, with the majority of them being between the ages of 35-64.

Many adults believe they know the proper way to handle alcohol poisoning if it happens to someone around them but many incorrect methods can actually make the situation worse.

If you or someone you know has crossed the line on safe drinking there are things you can do to help. Keep reading to learn the in’s and out’s about alcohol poisoning and what steps you can take.

What Is Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning or alcohol overdose is a serious condition that is the result of consuming too much alcohol in a short period of time. The signs of this condition can vary from person to person. And depending on how much alcohol was consumed it can also vary in severity with symptoms ranging from disorientation to death.

Alcohol poisoning is often caused by binge drinking or drinking more than four drinks in two hours. If you drink too much too quickly, your liver won’t be able to process your drinks at the rate you are putting them in your body. Which can make you think you are less drunk than you actually are since all the alcohol hasn’t yet entered your bloodstream.

This can lead to drinking to the point that the alcohol reaches toxic levels in your body thus poisoning you. The amount of alcohol needed to cause this toxic reaction will vary from person to person depending on factors like age and weight. But on average it takes the liver a whole hour to metabolize a single ounce of alcohol.

Once you consume more alcohol than this your blood alcohol concentration rises and can reach the point where your body can no longer metabolize it. After this occurs the liver shuts down along with many other systems in the body.

Recognizing Alcohol Poisoning

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if someone is experiencing an overdose of alcohol. We don’t always know exactly how much the people around us are consuming or how quickly they are doing it.

These symptoms of alcohol poisoning include things you’ve probably experienced yourself while drinking. Just because you may have experienced some of these things doesn’t mean that these symptoms aren’t serious and can’t be fatal.  

The basic signs of being drunk such as stumbling and slurred speech indicate that a person is already at risk and should stop drinking. However many people ignore these cues and will continue to drink or even encourage friends to keep drinking when they are visibly intoxicated.

This is extremely dangerous to an individual’s health and even his or her life. Pay attention to these signs as they are something to take seriously.

1. Confusion Or Disorientation

Alcohol poisoning slows down your brains’ ability to function. This is what causes symptoms like slurred speech, slow reaction times, and lack of coordination.

If someone has consumed enough alcohol that they are having difficulty speaking or walking they are at risk of an overdose.

2. Trouble Staying Conscious

This is one of the most easily recognizable signs of alcohol poisoning. If you see someone who is having a hard time staying awake or is completely unconscious and won’t wake up they probably need to be treated by a medical practitioner.

Do not leave someone unattended in this state as it is a clear indication they have alcohol poisoning

3. Changes In Breathing

Alcohol poisoning can make it difficult for a person to breathe. If you notice that someone’s breathing is becoming shallow or slow, you need to call 911.

Slow breathing is marked as eight or fewer breaths per minute. This is especially something to pay attention to if the person experiencing symptoms is unconscious.

4. Vomiting

Vomiting is your body’s self-defense reaction to being poisoned by alcohol. This can be extremely dangerous if the person is passed out because it can lead to them choking on their own vomit.

5. Change In Body Temperature

Another common sign of alcohol poisoning is clammy or pale skin. If you see that someone’s skin is blotchy and it feels cold this can also indicate that they have consumed too much.

Low body temperature can lead to issues with your heart and other organs that if left untreated can lead to death.

How You Can Help

If you notice that someone is experiencing these symptoms it’s important to immediately call 911. Even if the person is conscious, there is a likely chance that there is more alcohol in their stomach waiting to be processed, which will only increase the alcohol poisoning.

Stay with this person to make sure that they don’t accidentally harm themselves. After you call 911 you can continue to help by keeping the person awake and sitting.

If they are able and corporative, try to get them to slowly drink water. Grabbing a blanket for them can also help if they are experiencing feeling cold.

Common things that people mistake as being helpful are putting the individual in a cold shower or trying to just let them “sleep it off”. Cold showers may increase the risk for hypothermia if their body temperature is already dropping. And simply telling them to sleep it off doesn’t take into account they may have more alcohol still left in their stomach.

Prevention Is the Best Cure

We’ve all heard the old adage that ‘prevention is the best cure’ and in this case, it couldn’t be truer. Alcohol poisoning is not fun to experience or to watch some go through. And the only real way to avoid this is by drinking responsibly.

Pace yourself and don’t give in to peer pressure if others are encouraging you to drink. If you think that you or someone you love may have a binge drinking problem, contact us today to get some help.  

Drug And Alcohol Rehabilitation Programs

“I understood, through rehab, things about creating characters. I understood that creating whole people means knowing where we come from, how we can make a mistake and how we overcome things to make ourselves stronger.” – Samuel L. Jackson

 

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