We all feel anxious from time to time – like when we have an upcoming speech, or when going to a job interview, and so on. Anxiety is a normal part of life. It is your body's way of dealing with stressful situations and can keep you alert or help you perform better. To that end, anxiety is a good thing. However, there are times when the anxiety gets out of hand and starts being a problem. Like when it interferes with daily activities. Problem anxiety tends to be chronic and irrational and may result in or reflect an anxiety disorder. Anxiety and alcohol are a dangerous combination, resulting in a vicious cycle that never ends.
There are about 40 million people with an anxiety disorder in America at any given time. Of this number, 1 in 5 reports using alcohol to cope with stress.
Panic disorder: this anxiety disorder is characterized by the fear of having future attacks and losing control in public. Patients with panic attacks turn to alcohol to calm down or numb their fear of an impending attack. Research shows that alcoholism occurs on 10-40% of those with panic disorders and that 10-20% of panic disorder patients are struggling with addiction.
Post-traumatic stress disorder: Any psychological or physical trauma (like an accident or sexual abuse) that leaves one feeling out of control or powerless can cause PTSD. Many people with PTSD turn to alcohol to numb their pain or gain some control in their lives.
Social anxiety disorder: according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 20% of people who struggle with social anxiety also struggle with alcohol use disorder. This is partly because they drink to try to relieve the stress that comes with social situations.
Specific phobia: those with specific phobias experience intense fear of a situation or thing that poses no immediate threat. Some common examples of phobias are small spaces, heights, and animals.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): is a common anxiety disorder affecting 3.1% or 6.8 million adults in the United States. It's characterized by excessive and persistent worry about several different things - whether its work, family, health, money, etc. – even when there's little or nothing to provoke it.
GAD makes an individual always nervous, tense, and worried about everything. Of course, this is no way to live, so some individuals turn to alcohol to cope with the condition. This article will delve deeper into GAD and how it affects those with alcoholism.
Anxiety disorder affects the central nervous system. It can increase blood flow, accelerate the heart rate, and push the brain into overdrive. Doctors often prescribe CNS depressants like benzodiazepines to treat extreme cases of anxiety. Benzodiazepines reduce GAD's intensity of physiological symptoms, like panic attacks, headaches, muscle tension, restlessness, and insomnia – but so does alcohol (to some extent).
Alcohol is a sedative and depressant. In this way, it has some effects that mirror anti-anxiety medications like benzodiazepines. That's why patients who cannot access a prescription for their anxiety problem often turn to alcohol to relieve their symptoms. Alcohol use is also common among those who can't afford therapy or are too embarrassed to seek it. They drink up to increase their levels of relaxation and also mitigate stress in their lives.
But the use of alcohol to lower anxiety almost always fails. Anxiety is a mental disorder that can arise from long-term drinking. Substance-induced anxiety can happen in people with other anxiety disorders like GAD. Unfortunately, adding another anxiety only makes the GAD worsen.
Besides, those who depend on alcohol to mask their anxiety problems may start to rely on it to relax and may build a tolerance to the de-stressing effects of alcohol. This makes stress and anxiety even more difficult to cope with.
People struggling with anxiety may turn to alcohol to relieve stress. But long-term heavy drinking is also a risk factor for anxiety disorder. This is because alcohol upsets hormones, sleep, and brain function. When the mind and body don't get enough rest, one may feel irritable and on edge. The changes in the brain may also increase the risk for anxiety issues. This is because the brain chemicals – neurotransmitters and serotonin – are responsible for positive mental health.
And as it turns out, alcohol doesn't just cause anxiety – it can worsen it. A 2017 study indicated higher anxiety levels among individuals with alcohol use disorder than those without when faced with stress. In one review of 63 studies, reducing alcohol intake led to improvements in both anxiety and depression. According to the authors, cutting back on alcohol could enhance one's self-confidence, social functioning, and mental and physical quality of life.
Still on anxiety, there's also the aspect of concern and uneasiness that comes after drinking alcohol. Many heavy drinkers end up panicking as they try to review the things they might have said or done, and what others who were present are thinking of them.
Studies show a different trend of alcohol use among individuals with a generalized anxiety disorder. Most people with this mental health disorder start drinking excessively around the same time as the onset of anxiety symptoms. And while it still isn't clear why this happens, researchers think that the initial signs are related to alcohol withdrawal. It is also possible that alcohol use presents a mechanism for anxiety and panic disorders to develop.
Not only does drinking lead to anxiety and anxiety lead to drinking, the two trigger each other into an unending cycle. Anxiety makes an individual start drinking. This only makes the anxiety worse. So they drink more to feel better but end up with even worse anxiety and so on.
The more alcohol one takes, the more tolerant they become. Over time, they may need to drink more alcohol to achieve the same effects. In the long run, this may negatively affect their mental health, leading to higher levels of depression and anxiety after drinking.
Patients are highly discouraged from trying to treat anxiety or detox from alcohol without help from a healthcare professional. The process needs professional oversight to help manage their conditions. There are many effective treatments for alcohol and anxiety disorders, including talk therapy, individual/group therapy, prescribed medications, or a blend of these methods. Patients should also join support groups for continued support throughout their recovery.
Biophysics is a field of science that applies methods and theories of physics to understand how biological systems work. It seeks to explain how life molecules are created, how different parts of a cell function, and how body systems – like circulation, brain, immune, etc. – work. Rehabs are now using the biophysical addiction treatment approach to create a powerful remedy that not only offers long-term effectiveness but one that addresses the physical emotional and psychological aspects of substance abuse.
Addiction does significant damage to an individual’s mental health, physical health, and overall well-being. Traditional rehab systems do a great join of arming these individuals with the right tools and resources to overcome addiction. But still, cases of relapse after 12-step and other conventional treatments are widespread. But the good thing is that more and more treatment centers are now incorporating biophysical addiction treatment programs that cater to individual needs, as opposed to taking a one-size-fits-all approach.
Biophysical rehabilitation programs use physical principles and methods to solve biological problems – like drug or alcohol abuse. Substance use overloads the body with toxins that disrupt its delicate balance, leading to damage to different processes and systems. Biophysical treatments are designed to reverse this damage that often occurs on the cellular level. It allows patients to regain balance and restore the body’s optimal functioning.
Biophysical treatment bases its model on the concept that life-long sobriety only happens when treatment is done at a physical, mental, and cellular level. It not only seeks to achieve sobriety but also to arm the patient with the necessary skills and mindset to have an optimal state of health for years to come. When the body is devoid of toxins on the cellular level, the treatment model suggests that both the physical and mental cravings will cease.
Relapsing is part of the recovery journey. But unlike the traditional programs which suggest that addiction is an incurable disease, and that relapse should be treated with more drugs or medication, biophysical treatment rehabs have proven that addiction is curable. The latter has shown that patients can experience permanent recovery using alternative treatment modalities.
Biophysical treatment centers report the highest success rates. This is partly because the non-traditional, non-12-step approach treats patients holistically. They do much more than offer one-size-fits-care or weekly follow-up meetings or limited patient success tracking. The other reason is that the programs run for around 90 days (or more), giving patients enough time to heal physically and mentally.
Rather than treating a single facet of an individual, the biophysical treatment acknowledges that each person is different, and their addiction problem revolves around the total of their experience. That’s why the model focuses on both the physical and physiological aspects of addiction. The first part of the program involves healing the physical aspects through detox. And the second part addresses mental health concerns.
An exciting yet incredible aspect of biophysical therapy is that they are often 100% natural programs. Unlike the conventional rehabs that use drug replacement therapies or medications to wean an individual off drugs, this program takes a drug-free approach to improve the health and well-being of the patient. These rehab facilities provide long-term and residential treatment programs that deliver all the essential elements for complete substance abuse rehab.
The module uses unique sauna programs to address the biochemical and biophysical imbalances. It also uses social education along with other methods that include light exercise, nutritional supplements, and counseling to help patients achieve long-term sobriety.
Medical sauna procedure is not only a great way to de-stress and relieve stress, but also release chemicals from the body. The sweating process gently and safely releases toxic chemicals. Medical studies show that most toxins can be expelled through the skin, relieving the burden on the liver and kidney. Biophysical treatments use sauna programs to detox their clients.
Since substance abuse and mental health problems often co-occur, detox alone won’t cut it. That’s why rehabs use different types of therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy and family therapy, to treat the physiological aspect of addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, behavioral therapies provide incentives for patients to modify their attitudes, increase their life skills to handle triggers, and remain abstinent.
Many people with substance use disorder don’t eat well-balanced meals. So, in most cases, they will lack essential nutrients that are critical to overall health and recovery. Biophysical treatment centers offer a nutritional supplement to help ease withdrawal symptoms like irritability, depression, and fatigue that are common in patients with nutritional deficiencies. In his book dubbed Biochemical Individuality, Roger J. Williams, PhD., explained that rats that lacked specific vitamins consumed more alcohol than their healthier counterparts. But once the deficiencies were addressed, the consumption was lowered.
Exercise provides vast benefits. In addition to helping patients structure their days and provide a general positive feeling, exercise helps heal the body and brain. Research shows that exercise helps heal the body, even among healthy individuals. But it’s even more beneficial to recovering patients as it increases the number of new nerve connections in the brain. This allows the brain to recover from the harm that the substance had caused. Biophysical rehabs offer different kinds of exercise, including yoga, meditation, walks, and so on.
Once the treatment is over and the patient is discharged from the facility, most biophysical rehabs offer two or even more years of program follow-up to ensure long-term success. The same cannot be said for traditional programs that provide short-term follow-up and rarely track progress.
Most substance abuse programs treat addiction symptoms with more medications (for mental illnesses and withdrawal symptoms). Biophysical rehab centers address addiction using a holistic, biophysical approach. These centers recognize that drug therapy sometimes leads to relapse and that many patients resist the treatment for apparent contradictions. So, they provide a different approach that offers:
The natural approach is safer and effective in addressing addiction. Once all drug residues are eliminated from the body, the patient can then focus on clearing their mind and working to ensure they stay sober.
The main focus of biophysical rehab treatment is to give individuals more abilities in life. This is achieved by integrating skills and cognitive therapy that lets the patient raise their awareness and make pro-survival decisions. Through treatment, the patient gets to understands why they started abusing substances and are armed with skills not to fall back to the trap. They are also empowered to take control of their lives and communicate better, just so they can associate better with people.
Stimulants like Adderall increase body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. When used for a prolonged period, especially in high doses, they can damage the heart and cardiovascular system.
The most common medical issues arising from Adderall use are high blood pressure and tachycardia, as published in the National Institute of Health. But a 2017 study reveals that those who abuse stimulant drugs, like Adderall, show signs of premature aging in their cardiovascular system.
It is natural for physiological processes to fail after years of working hard. However, stimulant abuse tends to compound and expedite this process. Experts believe that stimulant and drugs like Adderall disrupt the normal stem cell-functioning and cell division which can lead to serious heart problems.
When tachycardia – a heart rate over 100 beats per minute – develops, one may encounter a range of complications. They may have blood clots, heart failure and even sudden death. There are numerous types of tachycardia, but the most common one is atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a rapid heart rate that arises from irregular, chaotic electrical impulses in the atria. These signals cause quick, uncoordinated, weak contractions of the upper chambers of the heart.
When the heart beats too fast, it may not supply enough blood to other parts of the body. This may starve tissues and organs of nutrients and oxygen and lead to the following symptoms:
Adderall is a prescription drug that treats narcolepsy and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It's a blend of two drugs: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and is the number one treatment option for ADHD. Adderall enhances focus and attention and reduces impulsive behaviors. Studies show that 75% to 80% of children with ADHD will notice a positive change in symptoms using stimulants like Adderall. In fact, Adderall is considered part of a complete treatment program.
In addition to ADHD and narcolepsy, Adderall can be used for Attention Deficit Disorder and bipolar disorder. Although the drug isn't approved by the FDA to treat bipolar disorder, it may be prescribed off-label during depressive episodes to increase energy and lift the mood.
Most ADHD stimulant medications, like Ritalin, Adderall, and Adderall XR, fall into the Schedule II category. They are legal but considered dangerous due to their high risk of dependence and abuse. Like with other stimulants, one can abuse and develop a dependence on Adderall. Research indicates that a growing number of people without ADHD are using Adderall illegally.
Experts believe that ADHD happens because of signal problems in the brain. So, the Adderall stimulates parts of the brains (mainly the prefrontal cortex) to receive more signals. The prefrontal cortex controls thoughts and behavior. When an average person (a person without ADHD) takes this medication, they get more activity in the prefrontal cortex. This increases their metabolism and concentration and makes them more alert.
People – especially those in college – abuse Adderall to perform better at work or school, or to feel more focused and alert. Students use it as a smart drug to combat the pressures of higher education. Others use it because it creates a feeling of euphoria. When Adderall is injected or snorted, it can cause a "high" that resembles cocaine. This may, in turn, result in physical and psychological dependence on these drugs.
When taken as directed by a doctor, there's little risk of addiction. But when used recreationally for the "high," the risk of Adderall abuse increases. Like other drugs of abuse, stopping Adderall may cause withdrawal symptoms. Those who quit after using high doses for a while may experience depression, fatigue, and tiredness.
So, in the case of addiction and dependence issues, one should find help through an addiction treatment facility. Addiction centers have experts and processes in place to help patients gain control and live a clean, healthy life.
Adderall has a profound effect on the cardiovascular system since it serves as a central nervous system stimulant. It increases heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure and lessens appetite. Although it's effective at making one feel alert, energetic, cheerful, and confident, and less tired or bored, the drug is linked to a range of negative side effects.
Adderall use can cause changes relating to sexual performance and sex drive. Its use is often linked to feelings of irritability, restlessness, and anxiety.
Long term side effects of heavy Adderall use include dizziness, dry mouth, and weight loss, and abdominal pain. Users may also experience blood clots, breathing issues, heart muscle weakness, suicidal thoughts, heart palpitations, atrial fibrillation, and heart diseases. An allergic reaction to the drug may cause swelling of the face, throat, or tongue.
High doses of Adderall over a few days can trigger paranoia, hallucinations, and panic. But this subsides as soon as the drug is cleared from the system. According to Molecular Psychiatry, panic attacks and anxiety tend to occur after long-term use or withdrawal. The intense "upper" effect is especially dangerous to those who have blood pressure or heart problems.
Stimulant drugs wreak absolute havoc on the body, particularly the heart. According to the study, these drugs speed up a user's cardiovascular system's aging process compared to the rest of the population. A team of researchers at the University of Western Australia published their findings on February 9, 2017, in the online Journal of Asia.
The study sampled 713 participants in their 30s and 40s attending a clinic for drug abuse from 2006-2011. It measured the stiffness of the arteries of all participants using radial artery pulse tonometry. Arteries –blood vessels that supply oxygen to the heart – tend to harden with age.
Each participant was asked about their drug use and categorized into one of four groups. There were 483 nonsmokers, 107 tobacco smokers, 68 methadone users, and 55 amphetamine users in the four groups. Many amphetamine users had used it within the past week and more than 50% just the previous day.
Of all the four groups, the heart system of amphetamine users was aging faster than that of methadone users and smokers. This was both about their real chronological age and over time. The results stayed the same, even after considering other cardiovascular risk factors like cholesterol levels and weight.
Patients with a history of severe anxiety, agitation, glaucoma, or a personal or family history of Tourette syndrome or tics should not use Adderall. Those with severe heart problems or congenital heart defects should also not use stimulants because it might cause sudden death. Such patients should notify their doctors about any history of heart rhythm disorder, heart disease, heart attacks, coronary artery disease, mental health disorder, high blood pressure, and seizure disorders.
Like many people, you may notice that your social life – or even your business networking –involves plenty of drinking. In many places, when a friend or colleague says, "Let's meet for coffee," they mean a drink or two.
But despite how much people try to normalize drinking alcohol or using drugs, it is not suitable for you in any amount. Alcohol and drugs affect the brain in negative ways. According to the Department of Health, drug use can cause serious changes in the brain that influence the way you think and act. Some substances can cause cancer, heart disease, lung issues and mental disorders like depression.
So, although we are going to highlight some cool things to do while high, we recommend staying away from abusing substances as much as possible.
You probably are using drugs and alcohol to fill a void in your life or to feel better. It could be that you're feeling inadequate towards yourself or the world. However, abusing substances is never the solution. Once the high is over, you'll have to face reality again. Emotional, physical, and psychological issues don't resolve with drug use. If anything, it'll only make the situation worse. The best way to take care of these issues is to get professional help. So, take advantage of this time to decide to get off drugs forever. Drugs aren't the solution – they only add to the problem.
Hydration is critical when you're high. It keeps your mouth moist and helps you to feel better the following day. Ice water is the best way to hydrate when you are high because it cools your body and keeps you alert.
A great movie never disappoints – and the experience is even better when you're high. Grab some popcorn, turn off the light, and play a movie that you like. Thanks to platforms like Netflix, you have limitless options for the films. Here are some recommendations to get you started.
One of the greatest downsides of abusing substances is strained relationships. If you are like many people who abuse drugs, you might have pushed some of your friends and loved ones away. In that case, this might be a great time to come up with a plan to win them back. Make a list of the people you've hurt with your drinking and note down how you're going to fix the relations.
Music has some of the most incredible therapeutic benefits. Certain tunes trigger the production of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. These neurotransmitters enhance the feelings of well-being and happiness. Listening to music is definitely one of the things you should do while high. Not just because of your mental well-being and physical health alone. Research shows that enjoyment goes way beyond the present moment because it influences the outcome of your hormones and cognitive functioning. Listening to music sober is a lot of fun, but it's even better when you're high. The parts of the brain that draw relations between ideas are stimulated when you're high.
Here are some cool songs to listen to when you are high:
Video games promote a healthy lifestyle, increases social activity, and make you a better decision-maker. Studies show that gaming can help people suffering from cravings or addiction to reduce the intensity of their desires. But that's not all. A nice game can help you form stronger relationships with your friends and family members because of their matching love of games. If you are homebound, you can pair couch lock and couch co-op for a fantastic time. You can also play board games if that's what is available or what you prefer.
Reading a book sober is always better – but it doesn't mean you can't do it when you're high. Since your attention span tends to diminish when high, it might be good to go for short reads. You may also want to find an exciting fiction book. Here are some books to read while high:
If you are in a club and are feeling extra energetic or adventurers, you can hop on to the dance floor and whip out a couple of dance moves. Dancing is a fun and refreshing activity and is also a great exercise. Going to a local dance club allows you to get some social interaction, do some incredible exercise, and create new experiences. If you are at home, you can learn or practice dance steps to stimulate your mind.
It is always a good idea to keep clean. The easiest way to do so is to take a quick shower and put on some clean clothes. A long bubble bath can also work the magic. In this case, you want to turn out the lights and light some candles. You can also play your best music or listen to an educative podcast, to learn a few things.
Activities like Pilates, yoga, meditation are great for flexibility and core strength. They are also good for your brain. Many people get high before a long and relaxing meditation session – you can do this too. Find some chill place, roll your yoga mat, light some candles, and find your inner Zen. You can even meditate about a sober and fulfilling life.
Have you ever told a story about someone doing something distasteful or illegal, yet that someone was you? Or have you felt the need to pose a question as another person to stir some reaction or get specific feedback? If yes, then you are no stranger to SWIM.
SWIM is an acronym for "someone who isn't me". Many people use SWIM when telling some story about them doing something unpleasant, to avoid reprimand. They say something like, "So and so got drunk and hit a stray dog." Or "SWIM ate an entire bag of oranges when stoned and now they have been on the toilet with running stomach for the last hour." Usually, they believe it would provide some identity concealment or legal protection when talking about something they should not be admitting to.
Those who use SWIM assume that they can say pretty much whatever they feel like in an online forum without any social or legal consequences. Or that they could get away with it because they are only reporting what someone else did.
This article delves deeper into the SWIM culture and why it's widespread among young adults, especially those using illegal drugs. We'll also talk about how young people perceive the risk of their participation in a public forum and how they manage to conceal their identity.
SWIM is often used to avoid self-incrimination in contexts discussing drugs and alcohol use. It's also used in places where criminal acts occur to "avoid" legal action. The "M" in SWIM is sometimes replaced with a "Y" for you, so, SWIY instead of SWIM. Someone who isn't you is mostly used when one is questioning the other. For example, "SWIM loves using drugs. How much does SWIY pay to support his habit?"
SWIM and SWIY are all the rage these days. People use them in forums, social platforms, and even when talking to other people. They do it to try to save face and avoid judgment. In some cases, they use these acronyms to protect the board. Some boards don't allow anything illegal or linking to unlawful material. Other boards prohibit "confessions." Members cannot start a thread admitting they are abusing drugs and so on. So, they use SWIM or SWIY acronyms to avoid being shut down.
One Reddit user was curious about why people who want to talk about drugs on online forums use SWIM. He asked why people wrote things like. "SWIM wants to know how blah blah blah."
A majority of responses dismissed SWIM as lame. "I don't get it … do they realize saying SWIM doesn't change anything and that feds aren't looking to bust forum users," read one post. "It stands for the stupid way to incriminate myself," read another. "It is policy to use it on some forums. It's stupid, but some places require it," added another.
But this doesn't stop people from using SWIM. The reality is many people would rather hide face when talking or writing about something they deem shameful or unpleasant.
People use the internet to find drug-related information, prescription drugs, and novel substances marketed as "legal highs." After all, the internet offers a convenient way to access this information and products. It also ensures anonymity – especially among those who want to maintain their privacy for fear of judgment or incrimination.
Anonymity serves as immunity for those concerned about potential legal and social ramifications of revealing stigmatized or illicit identities or behaviors. It also facilitates the creation of social support groups based on stigmatized identities.
Those struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues use online forums for a range of reasons. These include information exchange, social support, friendships, convenience, and even recreation.
The forums are managed by peer leaders who moderate content and may remove members who do not comply to set rules. Rules are meant to ensure members do not deviate from the forum's focus, and that people coexist in harmony.
Online forums allow users to present themselves anonymously. They can also read comments while remaining anonymous, or take part in the conversation using a pseudonym. People prefer remaining unidentified when using online forums, especially when discussing illegal or stigmatized behaviors.
The enforcement law is always on the watch out for drug dealers and suppliers. That's why people are warier of discussing such compared to other issues like drug-abusing or drug addiction. They have code words and vague language and use the third person to describe their experiences. SWIM is one such language.
In one analysis, participants reported that they discussed their substance use in public online forums strictly. Their discussions involved only drug use and not dealing/supply and past but not future or present. The discussions are also vague enough for the rest of the population to understand. Of the participants in the analysis, none mentioned discussing drug supply or deals in public forums. One of them admitted to doing so – but only through private messaging.
SWIM is not usually a crime because it is not defamation. The United States law defines defamation as any statement made by someone that hurts another's reputation. Defamation is proven by showing that:
Most people who use SWIM often have some mental or substance abuse disorders. So they try to get help or communicate with others using SWIM to conceal their identity or feelings. According to the National Institute of Health, the internet has the potential to assist young adults by lowering the stigma associated with mental health and drug dependence. It also gives them access to professionals and services that they would otherwise not access.
But still, it is essential for young people with addiction problems to seek substance abuse treatment. Holistic addiction treatment will often address the mental, social, and physical aspects of addiction. A 2016 report calls for a public health-based approach to address drug use. Public health is a science of preventing injury and disease and protecting and promoting communities and populations' health.
It’s normal for minors to feel anxious or worried from time to time. It happens when they move to a new area or school or before a game and so on. But for some minors, anxiety affects their thoughts and behavior every day, interfering with their home, social, and school life. In this case, a professional may prescribe anxiety medication to help the minor overcome the problem.
Anti-anxiety medications influence the body and brain to lower the symptoms of anxiety, like fear, worry, and panic attacks. These drugs don’t cure anxiety disorders. They only help to manage the symptoms.
Different anti-anxiety medications exist. The doctor prescribes one depending on the type of anxiety disorder present – whether it’s PTSD, separation anxiety, phobias, panic disorder, or generalized anxiety. They may also consider other medications that the minor is taking and whether the minor has co-existing medical conditions.
Anti-anxiety drugs do a great job of relieving the symptoms. But there are concerns as people report feeling emotional inertness. Some say they feel a loss of motivation or less empathy for others. Others say they are less able to cry or laugh even when appropriate or being unable to respond with the same level of enjoyment as they normally would. But surprisingly, not everyone is concerned about this. In a study of 819 individuals, 38% termed the blunting as a positive outcome of treatment. 37% regarded it as a negative.
People who viewed the emotional blunting negatively are those with more severe symptoms. And as it turns out, the severity of anxiety before medication is directly proportional to the severity of the emotional blunting during treatment. But the good thing is that the blunting usually goes away when one stops using the anti-anxiety drugs.
Anxiety affects many aspects of a minor’s life. Irrespective of how hard they try, their minds wander into different places. One may experience more physical symptoms like digestive problems, upset stomach, constant uneasiness, sweaty palms, bouncing legs, or heart palpitations. Depending on the type of disorder, they may also experience shaking, a sense of unreality, avoidance of social situations, dizziness, specific fears, etc.
One of the most glaring effects of anxiety drugs is prescription drug abuse. Tolerance leads to more users, which leads to addiction. Studies show a close link between anxiety and substance abuse. Many young people who struggle with mental conditions like social anxiety disorder also end up with substance use disorder. Like any other alcohol or drug problem, the minor will need to go through a medical detox and comprehensive addiction treatment to regain control of their lives.
Sometimes, the anxiety drugs go beyond enhancing mood and make the minor feel too little emotion. Some report feeling as though they have lost the richness of day-to-day life. The drugs are designed to boost the brain’s hormones that are responsible for scaling down uncomfortable moods. But this reduction can be experienced as a “dulling” or “blunting” of emotions. So, one doesn’t smile at a happy ending in a movie or laugh with the same enthusiasm. They may feel apathetic and not have the same excitement when doing the things they enjoy, like swimming or singing.
Emotional blunting is where the emotions and feelings are dulled, so the person neither feels up nor down. They simply feel “blah.” And while this doesn’t happen to everyone, studies reveal that between 46% and 71% of people using anti-anxiety drugs have experienced emotional blunting at some point.
Unfortunately, when complacency happens in children, they may have a hard time:
Prescription medications do a great job at relieving symptoms of anxiety. However, they are not a miracle cure or a permanent fix. According to the American Academy of Family Physician, there’s little evidence that benzodiazepines retain their therapeutic effect after four to six months of regular use. So it might be a good idea to discontinue them once the desired effect is achieved.
When the symptoms of anxiety improve after starting an anti-anxiety drug, doctors may still prescribe it to prevent symptoms from returning. In some cases, they may increase the dosage to maintain the cycle of tolerance and dependence.
Physical tolerance happens as the brain adapts to the way the anti-anxiety drug alters its chemical composition and how the neurotransmitters send and receive messages. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that tolerance occurs when regular doses of a drug seize to have the same effect as they once did. So the person will need to elevate their dosage to get a similar outcome.
When a minor begins to take anxiety medications, he or she’s likely to feel at ease from anxiety, panic, and stress. Their muscle tension will relax as the blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature goes down. But when they develop tolerance, they become prone to drug abuse, which in turn increases drug dependence and the chances of addiction. They may also experience a sort of “blah” general outlook on life.
Tolerance, dependence, and addiction can be resolved with a holistic drug treatment program. Some experts cite benzodiazepines as one of the hardest drugs to quit. Others in the list of hard-to-quit drugs include alcohol, cocaine, meth, heroin & opioid drugs, and nicotine. This explains why comprehensive treatment is critical in cases of abused prescriptions.
Have you ever wondered why some addiction patients act with no thought of consequences? Like they run into a friend in town and accept a sudden invitation to get high when they have a job interview? Or they take part in pathological gambling despite the well-known risks of doing so? What really makes an addict so impulsive?
As it turns out, most people who are struggling with substance abuse act on impulse. So, this means many have trouble controlling their behaviors or emotions. Impulse disorder could be a sign of an underlying problem, like a mental health issue or other personality disorders.
In this article, we will look at the things that make addicts impulsive and the treatments that can help them. But first, let’s understand what an impulse disorder is.
An addict with impulsive behavior finds it hard to resist the sudden desire to do something that’s contrary to the societal norms. They may do so quickly, repeatedly, and with no consideration of the consequences.
Acting on impulse is not a bad thing. It can be a motivating force behind the artistic genius. For instance, some incredible music, books, and art come out of impulsive action. But most addiction patients are impulsive often, sometimes multiple times in a day.
While the cause of impulsiveness is not always evident, studies show that it may have something to do with the prefrontal lobe. According to this study, the prefrontal cortex is responsible for higher-order functions. These functions include conscious thought, spatial learning, decision-making, and judgment.
Addiction negatively affects this part of the brain and alters its functioning. So, someone who’s dependent on drugs or alcohol might be unable to make rational decisions or override impulsive urges. So, they end up acting on impulse without thinking, which is not usually in their best interest.
The ability to resist impulse urges allows us to function well in society. It keeps us from danger by enabling us to consider the outcomes of our actions. But when that part of the brain is no longer functioning well, we become susceptible to impulse actions.
Addiction causes changes that promoted impulsive behaviors. So, the addict desires to only live in the present moment with no regard for the future.
Impulse behavior is an immediate factor between ADHD and addictive disorders. According to one study, both impulsive acts and impulsive choices are observed in ADHD and addiction disorder. Experts believe that there’s a strong link between ADHD and addiction and that many individuals with ADHD often turn to alcohol and drugs.
Different studies have shown that people with ADHD have higher levels of impulsive and hyperactive behaviors. That’s why:
Again, those with ADHD usually turn to substances. While there isn’t a clear reason why that’s the case, experts believe that these patients have problems regulating neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine. But it could also be that they turn to alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with ADHD symptoms.
It is especially challenging for adults with undiagnosed or untreated ADHD. One expert matched the situation to playing with an invisible fire and wondering why the hands are burning.
Impulse behavior is a hallmark of BPD, a debilitating personality disorder that distorts a person’s self-perception. BPD patients are seen as highly dependent, manipulative, and dramatic. However, mental health experts say that these behaviors arise as a dysfunctional way to deal with emotional pain and overwhelming fear.
Patients with borderline personality disorder often suffer from insecurity, anxiety, and low self-esteem. They also have substance abuse issues. Alcohol, in particular, makes them comfortable when they are in the company of others.
Alcohol dependent individuals with BPD express a wide-range of impulsive behaviors. These include:
IED is an impulse-control disorder that’s characterized by the inability to resist impulses. This may lead to property destruction, serious assaults and frequent verbal aggression in the form of temper tantrums.
The condition results from a combination of environmental, biological, and genetic factors. Many IED patients grew up in families where verbal and physical abuse and explosive behaviors were common.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, IED starts in adolescence and affects someone throughout their lives. It’s one of the many impulse control disorders where a person is unable to control aggressive behaviors that violate other people’s rights.
An episode of intermittent explosive disorder could manifest as:
In addition to substance use treatment, a patient needs treatment for the specific impulsive behavior condition. One general approach is behavioral therapy, where one learns to work through and better handle situations that trigger impulsivity.
Healthcare providers may use several medications to treat impulse-related severe conditions. They recommend a dopamine agonist, opioid antagonists, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants for treatment. Antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can also help treat IED and other impulse-control disorders. Methylphenidate or amphetamine and dextroamphetamine treat ADHD.
Family therapy is also an effective treatment for impulse behavior. This is especially true since the roots of severe impulsive behaviors may stem from the family environment. And in some cases, the impulsive behavior also hurts other members of the family. Family therapy can help address both of these issues.
Music is an effective form of therapy. It enhances the body's immune system function, reduces the stress levels, and increases the production of dopamine, a feel-good hormone. Music interventions like listening to a song, playing an, or discussing the lyrics can offer healing during addiction recovery.
Music therapy itself is a therapeutic tool that can facilitate social, cognitive, and emotional change and growth. Music also provides some psychological benefits that are important among those trying to break the habit of addiction. Research around the effects of songs on human health, behavior, and wellness shows that music offers the following benefits:
There is something about the Amazing Grace song that makes it so uplifting, relaxing, and comforting. The song has a nice and smooth flow and carries a message that forgiveness and redemption are possible irrespective of the sin. That a soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of a Higher Power. If you are looking for something inspirational, you should listen to Aretha Franklin's version of Amazing Grace.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I am found, was blind, but now I see
Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come,
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.
Happy is a feel-good song –and there's a lot to feel happy for. It is one of the best songs of all times that you can listen to elevate your moods, spirits, and so on. You can even dance to the beats when you feel all lazy and unmotivated to do anything else. Happy by Pharrell Williams may not talk about addiction but will sure get you feeling happy.
My level's too high (happy), to bring me down
Can't nothin' (happy), bring me down
I said (let me tell you now) uh
Bring me down, can't nothin'
Bring me down
If you are more into rock n' roll, then you'll love Kelly Clarkson's Broken & Beautiful. You've struggled with substance abuse, gone through addiction treatment, and emerged successfully. You're a superpower, and you've got this because you've had it all along.
Can someone just hold me?
Don't fix me, don't try to change a thing
Can someone just know me?
'Cause underneath, I'm broken, and it's beautiful
Roar, like many other Katy Perry’s Songs, is uplifting and empowering. It also has a catchy tune that makes you feel good about yourself.
You held me down, but I got up (hey!)
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, your hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake the ground
Let's Spend the Night Together by Rolling Stones is as romantic as rock n' roll music goes. It is a perfect song to listen to when you're thinking about love. Who knows, you can even pick up a few lines from the song and dedicate it to your significant other. The lead singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards wrote this song.
Let's spend the night together
Don't hang me up and don't let me down (don't let me down)
We could have fun just groovin' around, around and around
It is pretty inspiring to know that someone out there has been on the same journey as you. Their stories serve as motivation. They keep you going and make you feel less alone. The song Drug Addiction by Colicchie is an incredible story. You'll probably resonate with every single word.
Look, you don't got a clue what I've been through
When I was at my worst you couldn't walk a mile in my shoes
I survived a lot, so it's only right that I smile
And I'm aware of my surroundings, I'm no longer in denial
Our list of songs about addiction recovery wouldn't be complete without The Fighter. After all, you really are a fighter. You've won so many wars, and you'll continue to do so for the rest of your life. The Fighter by Gym Class Heroes is one to keep you going through the tough times. It promotes strength and motivation and will uplift you whenever you're feeling down.
And if I can last thirty rounds
There's no reason you should ever have your head down
Six foot five, two hundred and twenty pounds
Hailing from rock bottom, Loserville, nothing town
In his album "James Arthur," James Arthur talks about his journey with recovery and redemption. His song, Recovery, shows that he's been through dark times, but there's always light at the end of the tunnel.
In my recovery
I'm a soldier at war
I have broken down walls
As a recovering patient, you understand that the little life stresses can push you to use. This song, Breaking the Habit by Linkin Park, talks about the things that people turn to when they hurt. It is something you'll relate to and can help you identify such feelings when they arise.
I don't know how I got this way
I'll never be alright
So I'm breaking the habit
I'm breaking the habit
I'm breaking the habit tonight
Remember your struggles with substance abuse and your "journey" to sober living? How it felt. It wasn't easy, but you never stop believing. You hold on to the feeling. Don't Stop Believin' is a great song to keep you going strong.
Living just to find emotion
Hiding somewhere in the night
Don't stop believing
Hold on to that feeling
We hope you enjoyed our playlist! Are there any songs you think we missed? Let us know in the comments!
Confidence is an integral part of recovery. It not only influences your choices and decisions but also leaves you empowered. There are ways to boost your confidence while in recovery and they are crucial to your success.
But if you're like most people, you likely had self-confidence issues before you developed an addiction. Unhealthy decisions, guilt, shame, anxiety, and fear can wreak havoc on your self-esteem.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to boost your confidence levels. For instance, you can get a nice haircut, get new clothes, take a new hobby, exercise, and so on. You can also try to honor your emotions, know your strengths, eat healthily, and be open to helping others.
Let's look at how addiction and low self-confidence relate and ways to boost your confidence after getting clean.
When you lack confidence, it becomes easy to get influenced by the world around you. For example, you may have a hard time overcoming negative thoughts. So you turn to outside activities or experiences to change those negative thoughts into positive ones.
Some people turn to drugs or alcohol to try to get rid of the negative state of mind or situation. According to one study, low confidence levels can lead to a lack of development and a tendency toward the consumption of alcohol and drugs.
In many cases, there isn’t necessarily a direct connection between addiction and low self-confidence. Other factors like behavioral or mental disorders and family history also play a role in drug abuse.
But addiction affects confidence because it is an unusually dehumanizing condition by itself. A person with low-confidence levels acts and think in ways linked to not feeling as though they’re a good and worthy individual.
You may not know this, but something as simple as getting a new hairstyle can boost your confidence levels. An excellent style will put you in a fantastic mood.
How you may ask.
Haircuts make you look and feel better about yourself. You get compliments and enjoy catching your reflection in the mirror. Loving what you see in the mirror is critical in recovery.
Besides, going to the salon means getting pampered. A massage or wash go along way - but having your hair stroked along is enough to release the feel-good hormones.
Self-care is usually the last thing on the minds of those with substance abuse disorders. Their top priority is to get drugs and alcohol.
Now that you are clean, you may take advantage of this time to get some nice looking clothes. Tag a friend or loved one along, and let them help you find something that looks good on you.
When you look and feel good about yourself, you'll be more willing to go out of your comfort zone. You'll also be open to meet new people and try new things.
Several studies have shown that dressing well boosts your performance and improves others' impression of you. It can also change the way you interact with others.
Negative self-talk can lower your confidence levels. So, you may want to replace any negative thoughts with positive ones.
Positive thoughts attract good things to you. And when good things come your way, you'll feel more confident. Your recovery is a huge step. Let nothing or no one tell you otherwise.
When you shift your perspective to a more positive one, your outlook on life will change. You'll love more, hate less, demand less, and so on. Over time, your new way of thinking will help you prevent relapse and build meaningful relationships.
Positive self-talk is one of the easiest things you can do to feel more confident. After all, it’s all about telling yourself good things - like "I'm beautiful," "I'm enough," "I'm worthy." Keep doing that every time, and you'll see the difference.
You may know this, but we'll repeat it. Exercise and healthy eating are great for your body. Most treatment programs teach different types of workouts that you can still do. But it's a good idea to explore your options to see if you'll love others more.
You can try out yoga, swimming, running, walking, tai chi, team sports, and group classes.
Exercise offers the following benefits:
Your physical and mental health are connected. The more you care for yourself, the better you'll feel about yourself. You’ll also gain more confidence.
You don't have to make significant life changes to rebuild your confidence. You've been through enough change anyway.
You can keep a gratitude journal, for instance. After all, there’s plenty to be happy for: a sober life, a bright future, supporting family, new hobbies and so on.
Cleaning your room and tidying up space can also work great. Although they may seem like a bummer, these activities can boost your mood. A clean space will make you feel much better than a dirty one. Psychologists say that the state of your surroundings can affect your mental state.
Other self-care practices that are worth trying out include:
Once you're clean, you may find it hard to feel good or happy all the time. This is because alcohol and drugs often fill a social void. Finding new hobbies can be a great way to fill your time, interests, and energy.
Addiction treatment is not enough to maintain mental health over the long term. You need hobbies -- especially social hobbies -- to get a healthy amount of serotonin and dopamine. This way, you won't have to think about the pleasures of substances.
Hobbies are healthier alternatives to drugs and will help you feel included in society. Examples of good hobbies include public speaking, playing music, team sports, fitness, cooking, and gardening. These activities:
Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are great groups to be part of because they allow you to meet with others who’ve been in the same position as you. They also provide a platform where you can express yourself without fear of judgment. Being in the company of peers can help elevate your confidence and keep you motivated towards achieving your goals.
Family therapy can also be a great way to repair any strains or damage brought about by addiction. Although treatment facilities often provide such therapies, you may still want to explore options if there’s an underlying problem.
When a loved one goes through the tough recovery journey and comes out on the other side sober and clean, there’s a lot to feel good about. However, the joy almost always comes with the fear of relapsing. After winning the difficult battle against substance abuse, it can be heart-wrenching to imaging that the victory may not last forever. But the reality is that the recovery from addiction seldom goes as planned. Many patients slide back to their old habits of using, so much so that relapse (although dangerous) is considered a normal part of the recovery journey. If you or a loved one has relapsed recently, please understand, it is not a failure.
No matter how diligently one pursues their recovery or how committed they are to lifelong sobriety, there’s a chance that they will relapse at some point. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the relapse rates for addiction mimic those of other chronic diseases like asthma, hypertension, and diabetes.
According to the study, relapse rates for people treated for substance use disorders are 40-60%, which can be compared with those for people treated with asthma, 50-70%, and hypertension, 50-70%. Understanding how relapse happens is critical to preventing relapse because the patient learns to identify the signs (or triggers) and course-correct before they begin using again.
Relapse is a normal part of recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. It occurs when symptoms of a condition reappear after a time with no symptoms. According to the Marlatt and Gordon model, relapse starts with a high-risk situation that’s accompanied by a poor coping response. When this happens, the patient experiences decreased self-efficacy and becomes more prone to a lapse, or one-time use of the substance. For some patients, a lapse comes with a sense of failure or guilt about using again. They feel that they’ve broken some personal expectation or moral law, and assume that alcohol or drugs will lift the negative feelings.
Unfortunately, when relapse happens, many people – especially those around the patient – assume that treatment did not work, or that the patient lacks the willpower to stay sober. But a successful treatment for substance use disorder needs continual assessment and modification. Relapses along the way don’t indicate failure; they only signify that addiction treatment needs to be adjusted, changed, or reinstated.
When a person with substance use disorder slips back to their old habits, it doesn’t mean they failed. It means they have to try again and continue to practice healthy habits. In case the relapse was an isolated incident, and the patient is committed to adjusting or examining their recovery care plan, they may not need to go to an inpatient drug rehab. They may only need a supervised medical detox to overcome withdrawal. But if the patient has relapsed full swing, they’ll benefit more by going back into strict treatment programs.
Relapse comes with an increased risk of overdose. When patients abuse substances for a prolonged period, they develop tolerance, meaning they no longer respond to the substance in the way they did in the beginning. So, it takes a higher dose of the substance to get the same effect as when they first used it. Tolerance reduces with treatment.
If the recovering patient relapses and uses the same dose as they did before treatment, they are at a very high risk overdosing, which can be fatal.
Finding a safe living environment that removes access to substance and negative influences is the best way to address relapse. Long-term inpatient treatment facilities provide residential treatment options for relapsing patients who need intensive levels of substance use treatment. This extended care options are often provided outside of hospital settings and run anywhere from six months to 12 months or more. And while some treatment centers have structured length of stay, others only allow the patient to graduate when they are ready to do so.
A high-intensity rehab program may be the best option for patients experiencing severe addiction, chronic relapses, among other situations that can benefit from prolonged treatment. Most long-term inpatient rehabilitation programs focus on creating a safe and steady environment that encourages sober living. It helps patients to heal from social damage resulting from addiction. Some addiction treatment programs are better than others. Do some research on ethical drug rehab facilities before you make the final decision.
Structure is one of the biggest benefits of residential care. Relapse can consume a patient’s life, create instability in their family, job, or school, and deplete their self-worth. The robust structure of long-term treatment facilities can help a patient regain a sense of responsibility, confidence, and ability to plan and carry out vital goals that support sobriety.
Throughout the course of treatment, the patient’s day will include activities and care that are designed to help them achieve their goals. Patients have 24-hours access to support from fellow peers and trained addiction specialists. They have time to interact, meditate, and even join peer support meetings. Patients can also be part of self-help groups, which play a significant role in building accountability, confidence, inspiration, and a sense of acceptance.
Long-term centers approach treatment from the idea that no patient is similar to another, and will, therefore, have different paces of recovery and coping. Often, these facilities will adjust the length of treatment according to how well a patient is recovering. Those who have a hard time may have to spend more time in the facility – but the result is often worth it.
Most inpatient treatment centers provide incredible support for physical health, particularly when it intertwines with mental health. Patients can expect exercise, nutritional therapy, and information on these two influences the mood and overall health. Since the aim of in-house therapy is to arm patients with tools to manage their happiness and quality of life without alcohol or drugs, this information is critical in long-term recovery.
There’s also the aspect of easy access to transformative treatments and therapies while in long-term addiction facilities. These programs give patients enough time to learn and be able to cope with exposure to drugs, stress, and other triggers without a likely relapse.
As you may have realized from this article, addiction treatment is not all about ending addiction. It involves helping the patient resolve the complex underlying issues (stress, mental health issues, peer pressure, unstable home) that caused the addiction in the first place. It’s about helping the patient uncover the true meaning and purpose in their life, and regain a sense of fun and joy devoid of drugs or alcohol.
Long-term residential drug treatment centers or therapeutic facilities, as they are commonly referred to, are ideal for relapsing patients. Unlike short-term rehab, long-term rehab continues treatment until the patient is ready to carry on – when they’re stable and able to fit back into society. These facilities help relapsing patients change negative patterns of behavior and thinking and develop strategies, skills, and techniques they require to combat cravings, reduce stress and cope with other powerful forces to enhance the chances of successful recovery. These centers also address disorders (depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, anxiety or conduct disorder, etc.), that often co-occur with addiction to treat the patient holistically.