Mixing alcohol with Ativan can cause difficulty breathing, liver damage, and an increased risk of overdose. An individualized treatment may be the best way to help a person overcome alcohol and Ativan.
Why Mix Ativan With Alcohol?
Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, or sedative, which means that as a person drinks, their brain and other related circuitry slows down causing them to relax. When a person mixes alcohol with Ativan, they increase the side-effects of each substance.
Ativan is a sedative anxiolytic, or anxiety medication, with similar effects to other drugs in its class, including Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. Ativan is a brand of lorazepam, which belongs to the drug class known as benzodiazepines.
Ativan is also a type of sedative, so when a person mixes it with alcohol, the effects of each drug are intensified. Ativan can be prescribed to help treat alcohol withdrawal, anxiety, insomnia, and epilepsy. The danger of mixing Ativan with alcohol is that it increases the risk of alcoholic blackout, risky behavior, polysubstance dependence, and alcohol poisoning.
Signs And Symptoms Of Alcohol And Ativan Abuse
Someone who mixes Ativan with alcohol may exhibit a level of intoxication that is disproportionate to the amount of alcohol they’ve consumed. An individual struggling with alcohol and benzodiazepine abuse may have a decreased ability to judge dangerous situations, and often becomes a threat to themselves or others around them.
Mixing alcohol and Ativan may reduce a person’s functioning, inhibitions, and the combination has been used to facilitate sexual assault (also known as date rape). On its own, Ativan may cause clouded thoughts, and may cause a person to seem drunk.
The signs and symptoms of mixing alcohol and Ativan may include:
- short-term memory loss
- impaired motor control
- unsteady gait
- unusual behavior
- severe drowsiness
- coordination problems
- decreased inhibitions
- changes in sex drive or ability
- blurred vision
- slurred speech
Despite the fact that benzodiazepines generally have a lower level of abuse than drugs like alcohol, cocaine, or heroin, when misused they can quickly result in drug dependence. Ativan is among the top five most commonly abused benzodiazepines in the United States.
It isn’t always easy to determine why a loved one would use alcohol with prescription medications. Some people abuse alcohol as a way to cope with life, and when that’s no longer enough they may turn to prescription drugs as well. Knowing the signs and symptoms of alcohol and Ativan can provide the tools to get a person the help they need, and deserve.
Effects Of Mixing Ativan And Alcohol
Ativan intensifies the effects of alcohol, often to a fatal level. With an estimated 2.5 million years of potential life lost, alcohol alone is responsible for up to 88,000 deaths each year in the United States. Alcohol kills more people than any other drug, and mixing it with Ativan merely increases the risk of fatalities.
Alcohol and benzodiazepines act on some of the same areas of the brain, including the main inhibitory neurotransmitter known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Ativan and alcohol cause the brain’s neurons to release neurotransmitters, causing sedation, reduced anxiety, and intoxication.
Concurrent Ativan and alcohol abuse does more than just increase the euphoric effect of each drug. Ativan and alcohol may also cause irreversible damage a person’s liver, heart, kidneys, pancreas, and brain.
Long-term abuse of alcohol and Ativan changes the structure and function of the brain, often causing an increased tolerance, and polysubstance dependence. Polysubstance dependence refers to the physical addiction to more than one drug. Yet alcohol and Ativan may affect each person differently based on their age, level of tolerance, genetics, mental state, and overall physical health.
A person who’s dependent on benzodiazepines and alcohol may need to use both drugs to feel normal, and rarely uses one without the other. A person suffering from a polysubstance dependence to sedatives may experience intensified withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop using them.
Alcohol And Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms
When a person who’s dependent on a drug stops using it, they may experience intense physical and mental symptoms known as withdrawals. Withdrawals are a chain of symptoms associated with the abrupt discontinuation, or decrease in medications and recreational drugs. Abusing Ativan with alcohol can quickly lead to an increased tolerance, cravings, and withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to stop. If left untreated, alcohol withdrawals can increase the chance of relapse, and may even be life-threatening.
The withdrawal symptoms of alcohol and Ativan may include:
- rapid heart rate
- delirium tremens
Ativan (lorazepam) may be used in a medication-assisted treatment for alcohol dependence. Yet using alcohol during this medication-assisted treatment increases the risk of life-threatening side effects of Ativan.
Attempting to detox from alcohol withdrawal without proper supervision can be dangerous, and is not recommended. A medically-supervised detoxification (medical detox) is the safest, and most effective way to treat alcohol dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
It’s important to note that a medical detox is not considered a full treatment for polysubstance dependence, or sedative abuse, and should be paired with behavioral treatment, and further support in order to sustain long-term recovery.
Ativan And Alcohol Treatment Programs
Alcohol and Ativan are highly addictive drugs, and without help quitting the two can be close to impossible. Alcohol affects each person differently, and while some are able to simply give it up, others are not. An individualized treatment approach treats alcoholism, alcohol abuse, co-occurring disorders, and polysubstance dependence as it applies to each person’s needs.
Addiction can have environmental, psychological, physical, and spiritual factors, so a successful treatment focuses on each of these areas. A behavioral treatment at an alcohol rehabilitation center aims to help a person overcome alcohol and other drugs, and learn to live a self-directed life in recovery.
Contact AlcoholTreatment.net to find an individualized treatment program that’s right for you.
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When people drink alcohol, it first passes through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract before being absorbed into the bloodstream. As alcohol passes through the GI tract, it may interfere with the function and structure of parts of the gastrointestinal tract, causing damage or increased risk for other issues.
A few possible gastrointestinal issues from alcohol use include:
- impairment to function of muscles separating the esophagus and stomach
- damage to mucosal lining of esophagus, increasing risk of esophageal cancer
- impeding secretion of gastric acids in the stomach
- impeding activity of muscles around the stomach
- development of chronic diarrhea, caused by impairment to muscle movement in small and large intestines
- stopping flow of nutrients in small intestine/increase of toxins in intestinal lining—leading to alcohol-related damage
What Is The Gastrointestinal Tract?
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) explains, “the GI tract can be viewed as one continuous tube extending from the mouth to the anus…which is subdivided into different segments with specific functions.”
The gastrointestinal tract consists of a number of organs, including the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. The gastrointestinal tract is not the digestive system but part of it. The digestive system consists of the GI tract as well as other organs involved in digestion, such as the tongue, salivary glands, and gallbladder.
The ways in which alcohol affects the gastrointestinal tract can be broken down into the different segments of the GI tract through which alcohol passes: oral cavity and esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.
How Alcohol Affects The Gastrointestinal Tract
Alcohol, like many substances consumed by mouth, travels the normal route of the gastrointestinal tract before being absorbed into the bloodstream. In short, substances travel from the oral cavity (i.e., mouth) to the esophagus, on to the stomach, then to the small intestine where nutrients are gleaned, and finally to the large intestine where much of leftover waste is compacted.
Alcohol’s Effects On The Oral Cavity And Esophagus
The oral cavity and esophagus are two of the first parts of the body exposed to alcohol when a person drinks. That means alcohol has not been diluted in any way when it reaches these body parts, and the effects of alcohol are more direct.
People who drink heavily may experience mucosal injuries, such as lesions. Chronic alcohol abuse can also damage salivary glands, causing decreased production of saliva. Other effects of alcohol on the oral cavity and esophagus may include:
- inflammation of the tongue and mouth
- increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and teeth loss
- weakening of functioning of esophagus, leading to increased acid reflux and/or heartburn and decreased ability to clear the acid
- abnormal acid production
- increased incidence of mucosal defects, such as inflammation and tearing
Alcohol’s Effects On The Stomach
The NIAAA reports that, even in small doses, alcohol “can alter gastric acid secretion, induce acute gastric mucosal injury, and interfere with gastric and intestinal motility.” The stomach is the first part of the body alcohol enters after passing through the oral cavity, so it is here where alcohol is broken down with gastric acid and enzymes.
Yet alcohol can affect adequate production of gastric acid. When people drink in moderation, it is less likely for them to experience decreased gastric acid. In fact, light to moderate drinking may stimulate gastric acid production. Heavy drinking and chronic drinking are the conditions which cause a decrease in gastric acid production.
The body needs gastric acid, not only to help break down food and substances, but also to fight bacteria. Lessening the body’s ability to produce gastric acid effectively increases the chance of bacteria entering the small intestine.
How alcohol damages the gastric mucosa is unknown, but heavy alcohol use, even in a single incident, can cause inflammation and lesions in mucosa. Heavy alcohol abuse can also affect how long it takes for alcohol to pass through the stomach to the intestines (gastric motility). This can lead to abdominal discomfort and bloating.
Alcohol’s Effects On The Small Intestine
The small intestine is where most nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream. Alcohol can affect the absorption of certain nutrients. Alcohol can also disrupt activity of some enzymes, which are responsible for functions throughout the small intestine.
Alcohol can also cause mucosal injury to the intestine, as with the stomach. Perhaps one of the largest risks of alcohol’s effects on the small intestine is that chronic or heavy alcohol use can make the intestine more permeable (easier to penetrate).
As the intestine becomes more permeable, the person struggling with heavy drinking experiences increased risk of bacteria and harmful toxins, such as endotoxins, entering the bloodstream and liver. This can lead to liver damage, which may be caused by an overgrowth of harmful bacteria due to increased permeability of the intestine as well as the rapid production of bacteria resulting from this process.
Alcohol’s Effects On The Large Intestine
While previous studies on the effects of alcohol did not focus largely on effects to the large intestine, the topic is beginning to receive more attention.
Many people who struggle with chronic alcohol abuse or alcoholism (both forms of alcohol use disorder), suffer from chronic diarrhea. Alcohol abuse can affect the time it takes for contents in the intestines to travel, thus affecting the time it takes for the large intestine to compact—and get rid of—waste. These and other effects from alcohol may contribute to chronic diarrhea.
Other Health Risks Of Alcohol
The gastrointestinal tract is not the only system in the body affected by alcohol abuse. In truth, alcohol abuse, especially heavy alcohol use or alcoholism, can affect all aspects of a person’s health.
Some other health risks of long-term alcohol abuse include:
- Liver disease: Heavy, regular drinking can affect the liver’s metabolic rate, increases risk of alcoholic fatty liver disease, and can lead to long-term inflammation of the liver, or alcoholic hepatitis.
- Pancreatitis: Pancreas inflammation which may require hospitalization.
- Cancer: Heavy alcohol use increases risk of development of several types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, throat, colon, rectum, liver, stomach, larynx, and esophagus.
- Immune system: Chronic alcohol use may lead to a weakened immune system and lessened ability to fight off infection and infectious diseases.
- Vitamin deficiencies: Alcohol affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and its rate of movement of substances within intestines, so vital nutrients may not be broken down the way the body needs them to be.
- Brain damage: Alcohol interferes with the brain communication pathways, affecting mood, emotion, and bodily reactions.
Treatment For Alcohol Abuse
When alcohol abuse goes untreated, it can progress into addiction, a mental reliance, or dependence, a physical reliance. If a person becomes dependent on alcohol and tries to stop use of it, they will likely experience withdrawal symptoms, some of which can be life-threatening.
A medically-assisted detoxification program can help individuals with an alcohol use disorder overcome their dependence on alcohol so they can prepare for treatment. Many inpatient alcohol treatment centers include detox programs as part of their treatments.
For the best results and to help avoid relapse, detoxification should always be followed by formal treatment, which may include counseling, behavioral therapy, and a number of other treatments as determined by individual need.
To learn more about treatment for an alcohol use disorder, contact AlcoholTreatment.net.
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Medical News Today—Ten Health Risks Of Chronic Heavy Drinking
Alcohol abuse can negatively impact a person’s life, and even cause them to break the law. Alcohol is more commonly connected to violent crimes, such as rape, murder, and child and spousal abuse, than any other substance.
Alcohol And Crime
Too much alcohol disrupts normal brain function, which increases the chance that a person will commit a crime, such as drinking and driving or public intoxication. Alcohol increases the rate of aggressive behavior and plays a major role in violent crime. Whether the crime is drinking and driving, public intoxication, or violence against others, alcohol and crime are often closely connected.
“Alcohol consumption may promote aggression because people expect it to. For example, research using real and mock alcoholic beverages shows that people who believe they have consumed alcohol begin to act more aggressively, regardless of which beverage they actually consumed,” (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
The following are common alcohol-related crimes:
Disorderly Conduct And Public Intoxication
Alcohol intoxication causes many people to become loud, unruly, aggressive, and belligerent, sometimes putting themselves or others in harm’s way. Many jurisdictions have made disorderly conduct and public intoxication (drunk and disorderly) a crime. In many cities, alcohol is only permitted in places with a license to serve alcohol or in the home. In most parts of the United States, drunk and disorderly conduct is punishable with a night in jail, fines, and probation.
Driving Under The Influence (DUI)
Alcohol slows a person’s reaction time, judgment, coordination, and vision. It’s extremely dangerous to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a crime, and it kills three people every two hours in the United States. Driving under the influence has one of the highest arrest rates among major crimes, and it can lead to fines, probation, and jail/prison time. The charge of vehicular manslaughter carries a sentence of up to life in prison.
Minor In Possession (MIP)
It’s against the law in the United States to drink alcohol under the age of 21. Children and teenagers do not have fully developed brains, and alcohol can alter development by changing the way the brain works. Underage drinking commonly leads to legal trouble and is more likely to cause lifelong problems with alcoholism. Minor in possession of alcohol (MIP) is a misdemeanor charge in most parts of the country.
Open Container Law
Most states have laws that prohibit the presence of open bottles, cans, or other unsealed containers of alcohol. Public intoxication isn’t always easy to prove from a legal standpoint, but having an open container of alcohol is provable. Open container laws mainly apply to public places where alcohol is not permitted, and while riding in or operating a vehicle. The penalty for having an open container of alcohol can be anything from fines to a night in jail.
Alcohol-Related Violent Crimes
Violent crimes related to alcohol may include any type of assault, domestic abuse, child abuse, or homicide. Research shows that 42 percent of violent crimes reported to the police involved alcohol, although up to 51 percent of the victims believed that their perpetrator had been drinking.
Assault can be a violent physical or verbal attack or threat towards another person. Excessive alcohol causes many people to become irritable, hostile, and violent. The mixture of poor decision-making skills, impulsiveness, and aggressiveness that come with alcohol abuse is dangerous. Researchers estimate that 37 percent of assault offenders were under the influence of alcohol. Assault can have a range of legal repercussions, and may leave victims traumatized for life.
Sexual assault is a crime that involves any unwanted, forced, or non-consensual sexual contact with another person, which may include fondling, kissing, or intercourse. Sixty percent of sexual assault offenders were drinking alcohol at the time of the offense. The exact number of alcohol and sexual assault cases may vary due to unreported instances. Victims of sexual assault are often left traumatized, afraid, and ashamed.
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)
Intimate partner violence, also known as domestic abuse, is any action that causes physical, psychological, emotional, or sexual harm to the other person in the relationship. Intimate partner violence is a type of assault. Up to 57 percent of men and 27 percent of women admitted to drinking alcohol before committing IPV. Many perpetrators of intimate partner violence use alcohol as an excuse for their behavior and make promises that it won’t happen again.
Child Abuse And Neglect
Abusing alcohol can impact a person’s children in many ways. Children need nurturing and caring environments for maturity and mental growth, but having a parent that abuses alcohol can put them at risk of abuse (verbal, physical, sexual) and neglect. Alcohol abuse can indirectly affect children as well. If a parent abuses alcohol to the point that they’re unable to meet their career demands, and lose their job as a result, they may not be able to provide for their family—which is neglect.
An intoxicated individual may be more likely to destroy public property, commit petty crime, and steal from others. Whether it’s to get money, alcohol, or something else that they want, a person under the influence of alcohol is more likely to make poor decisions. A person with antisocial personality disorder is believed to be more likely to commit robbery, and while under the influence of alcohol, that likelihood may increase. Robbery often carries a hefty punishment, which may include time in prison.
Not only is alcohol the most commonly abused drug in the country, there’s no drug that’s more frequently involved in homicide than alcohol. More than 17,000 people died from homicide in 2015, and up to 86 percent of homicide offenders were under the influence of alcohol while committing the crime. Alcohol can decrease a person’s attention level, which can also result in negligent homicide. Homicide carries one of the highest penalties out of any alcohol-related crime, including life in prison and execution.
Alcohol-Related Crimes, Trauma, And Alcoholism
Alcohol has been known to break families apart, often traumatizing children in the process. Many people who are the victim of violent crimes are left with a great deal of trauma. Sometimes childhood trauma is generational, and one-third of individuals who were abused or neglected in childhood will abuse their own children. It’s also common for people to try to cope with trauma by using alcohol, which increases their risk of developing alcoholism.
Some of the other most common alcohol-related crimes that increase the chance of alcoholism are:
- Child Abuse and Neglect
- Intimate Partner Violence
- Sexual Assault
Fight Alcohol-Related Crime With Addiction Treatment
Committing violent acts against others or taking part in risky criminal activity may be a result of underlying trauma or mental or environmental factors. A person suffering from an alcohol use disorder (AUD) may have an underlying mental disorder, which is referred to as a co-occurring disorder. A mental disorder can actually worsen AUD, and vice versa.
Alcohol treatment centers are experienced in dealing with post-trauma from alcohol-related crimes. Behavioral treatment can help both victim and perpetrator restore a healthy balance amidst the wreckage caused by alcohol. Alcohol-related crimes do not have to dictate the rest of a person’s life, and just as alcohol addiction is treatable, so is the pain caused by it.
Reach out to AlcoholTreatment.net to find freedom from alcohol.
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Spirituality and addiction recovery often go hand in hand. Spirituality may help an individual suffering from addiction find a new sense of purpose, balance, and wholeness.
Is Addiction A Mental, Physical, And Spiritual Condition?
Alcohol addiction (alcoholism) has been described as a mental, physical, and spiritual condition. Many experts believe that in order to fully recover from alcoholism, one must treat all three areas of the problem.
Addiction is considered a mental condition, because alcohol changes the most fundamental brain circuits, which over time causes a person to use the drug in order to feel normal. Alcohol can stop the brain from producing dopamine, and other neurotransmitters, which are responsible for feelings, motor skills, and emotions. Furthermore, alcohol abuse often contributes to mental conditions like anxiety, depression, and mania.
Alcohol addiction is also considered a physical condition, because as a person’s drinking increases, so does their tolerance to alcohol. With an increased tolerance, the body needs more alcohol to get the same effect, and may lead to a physical dependence on alcohol. Alcohol dependence leads to withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or sweating when a person ceases to use the drug.
Addiction is also considered a spiritual condition, because a person suffering from it often loses sight of their moral beliefs, personal relationships, balance, and purpose. When spirituality is used as a part of an addiction treatment, it can teach a person to consider the feelings of others, while learning to love themselves in the process.
“Studies are confirming that people with lower levels of spirituality, meaning and purpose in their lives are at increased risk for substance use disorders,” (William White, M.A. and Alexandre Laudet, Ph.D.).
Benefits Of Spirituality In Addiction Recovery
A substance use disorder (SUD) is a universal term used to describe a condition that occurs when alcohol or other drugs cause significant problems with a person’s health, home, or work. SUDs include alcohol addiction, and alcohol abuse.
A person in addiction recovery can benefit from spiritual practices in many ways, including increased sense of self-worth, self-esteem, and an ability to find inner-peace in times of crisis. Spirituality may help a person learn to live life on life’s terms without having to pick up a drink, or drug. Some of the other benefits of spirituality in recovery are:
- reduced stress
- better sleep
- relapse prevention
- improved relationships
- helping others with addiction
- improved quality of life
- ability to manage emotions
- improved sense of self
- improved understanding of philosophy, and theology
Spirituality has several meanings, but one simple idea, which is the path to find purpose. In many ways, spirituality is the concept of working for something much larger than self. There are also many different spirituality practices used in addiction treatment, all of which are meant to help an individual find purpose, mental wellness, and meaning to life.
The most common spiritual addiction treatment practices include:
Mindfulness Meditation helps individuals focus on the present moment, in a non-judgemental way. Mindfulness is made up of remembering, awareness, and attention. Mindfulness practices are meant to help patients become less-judgemental, cope with stress, and become connected with self as well as others. Mindfulness practices include running, breathing, and yoga.
Metta Meditation helps individuals replace resentment or anger towards others with love, and acceptance. Metta meditation also helps people love, and forgive themselves, to calm their minds. Metta meditation helps to remove negativity, forgive others, and prevent relapse as a result of a fuller, more loving life.
Gratitude helps individuals learn to happy with the life they have. Many people suffering from an alcohol addiction are full of self-pity, guilt, remorse, and depression. Learning to be grateful for the life, relationships, and purpose given can help an individual have a positive outlook on their own recovery.
Creativity helps individuals regulate emotions, cope with loss, increase joy experienced, and focus on something other than alcohol/drugs. Creativity supports addiction treatment by helping patients use art, music, or creative writing to describe their pain, or emotions. Art and music are known to help reduce stress, and give purpose.
Prayer helps to heal a heart that has been overrun with negativity, or disbelief that a person can overcome addiction. Prayer may help an individual overcome anxiety, stress, and replace feelings of doubt with feelings of hope. Prayer has been used in the spiritual battle against addiction for many years, and has played a major role in the direction and focus of 12-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
Difference Between Spirituality And Religion
Spirituality can be incorporated into religion, or belief in a metaphysical being. Yet in a more grounded sense, spirituality focuses on the things done on earth to make a person’s purpose greater, life fuller, and personal relationships stronger. Spirituality has also been used to describe a life lived within the guidelines of a higher power, or God, but it doesn’t always have to.
Religion is focused on the same kind of principles as spirituality, however, there is often a focus on what happens after life on earth, especially when certain “spiritual guidelines” are followed.
In a focus-group study by the National Library of Medicine, one participant stated that: “If you want to stay clean, eventually you will get a relationship with a higher power. It may not be God, so to speak, but you have to find something greater than yourself.” Spirituality addiction treatment aims to help individuals understand that even if they’re unable to overcome addiction alone, they don’t have to, and there’s help both within, and outside the self.
Spirituality And 12-Step Recovery
Spirituality plays a major role in the 12-step addiction treatment approach, which was made popular by Alcoholics Anonymous. Three key ideas that predominate for 12-step recovery are acceptance, surrender, and active involvement in the group. Each of the key factors of 12-step recovery help a person to see the bigger picture, and also gives them a sense of belonging.
The 12-step recovery approach teaches individuals about acceptance, and that they’re unable to safely drink alcohol. It also helps people surrender to a higher power, and understand the role of the fellowship, while realizing that they’re part of something much bigger. Active involvement in 12-step recovery not only allows people help themselves, it helps others overcome their addiction as well.
Reach out to AlcoholTreatment.net to learn more about spirituality and addiction treatment.
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National Institute on Drug Abuse—12-Step Facilitation Therapy
You have decided to go to rehab and get treated for alcohol addiction. Now, on top of everything else you have to think about, you keep asking the same question: will I be able to smoke cigarettes while I’m there?
Smoking Is Often Permitted At Alcohol Rehab Centers
There are no established hard and fast rules about smoking while in an addiction treatment facility in the U.S. While it has been estimated that only one out of 10 drug treatment facilities in the U.S. ban smoking cigarettes completely, most restrict it to certain outside spaces and very few allow smoking indoors. The rules varying greatly between facilities so it will depend on the type of treatment facility you pick whether smoking will be permitted or not.
The Correlation Between Alcohol And Tobacco Dependence
It is currently estimated that 46 million adults in the United States used both alcohol and cigarettes in the past year. And 6.2 million of the 46 million reported having and Alcohol Use Disorder and dependence on nicotine. So, whether or not they can be smoked at a treatment center is a very common question for people entering alcohol treatment. This is especially so because dependence on alcohol has been correlated with dependence on tobacco.
According to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction, people who are dependent on alcohol are three times more likely than others to smoke cigarettes. And those who are dependent on tobacco are four times more likely than others to be dependent on alcohol.
Because people suffering from alcohol addiction are more likely to smoke, they are often found to be at higher risk for developing tobacco-related complications including multiple cancers, lung disease, and heart disease. In fact, statistics suggest that more people addicted to alcohol die of tobacco-related illness than die of alcohol-related problems.
This link can bring up important issues during treatment for addiction to these substances. Some facilities choose to focus on the alcohol dependence first and then treat the tobacco dependence. Others choose to address both at once.
Ultimately, the individual seeking treatments makes the choice whether they smoke or not because these addictions depend a great deal on individual factors involved.
Will Smoking Cigarettes Have Negative Effects On Alcohol Addiction Treatment?
The effectiveness of treatment is dependent on a better understanding of how these two substances, and the addictions they can cause, interact with each other. Some studies have shown that consuming both alcohol and cigarettes together can trigger the same pleasure centers in the brain.
One study found that drinking alcohol can enhance the pleasure reported from smoking cigarettes. This is also supported by past animal studies. This should be a consideration when thinking about bringing cigarettes with you to treatment, as smoking cigarettes may cause cravings for alcohol. Overall, this can make alcohol addiction treatment more difficult to deal with.
Why Is Co-Use So Common?
There are a lot of environmental factors that contribute to the co-use of alcohol and tobacco. Because both drugs are legally available it can be easy to abuse them if you’re not careful. It has also been suggested that there are some common biological factors between co-abusers that could be to blame for the addictions.
There is a common part of the brain affected when alcohol and tobacco are used together. The brain cells release dopamine (the happy hormone) into the brain’s system and binds to the chemicals from the nicotine. This can be dangerous because it can result in a type of cross-tolerance to develop. Meaning that the more alcohol you consume the more nicotine you crave and vice versa.
Tobacco Addiction Is Not Always Address In Alcohol Treatment
It has not standard to address tobacco addiction when being treating for alcohol addiction. Some health professionals will admit that this may be because it would be too difficult to quit both addictions at once. Studies have produced mixed results as far as treating these addictions at the same time.
New Jersey is the one state that currently requires addiction treatment facilities to address tobacco dependence as well as primary substance dependence. They maintain smoke-free grounds and address and treat nicotine dependence alongside the primary dependence, in this case alcohol.
Despite concerns that this would negatively affect treatment the preliminary results seem pretty promising. It was noted later on that while this policy was put in place by the public authority of the state, it was not actively enforced and this leads some professionals to believe that the study’s outcomes may have been skewed.
Due to the negative side effects that result from one or both of these addictions it is important to address both. Whether it is one at a time or both at once, it is the best choice for overall wellbeing to improve. Alcohol addiction is hard enough to overcome on its own, dealing with a tobacco addiction that may trigger the alcohol addiction can make it that much harder.
When deciding on a treatment facility these are the things worth considering. To ensure that you get the most out of your treatment in the long-run.
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Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States
Oxford Academic – Smoking Policies in U.S. Outpatient Drug Treatment Facilities
An alcohol-induced blackout may increase the risk of alcohol poisoning. Blackouts and alcohol poisoning both happen from drinking too much alcohol, too quickly.
How Are Blackouts And Alcohol Poisoning Related?
Many people stop drinking once they’ve reached a certain level of intoxication, but that isn’t always the case for someone who binge drinks. Binge drinking is defined as alcohol consumption that brings a person’s BAC to .08 or higher.
A man who consumes five standard drinks in a short period of time (about two hours) is considered a binge drinker. A woman who drinks four standard drinks in a short period of time is also considered a binge drinker. A standard alcoholic drink may look different from person to person, depending on the type of alcohol being consumed.
Each of the following equals one standard drink:
- 12 fl oz beer (4.5% ABV)
- 8-9 fl oz malt liquor (7% ABV)
- 5 fl oz wine (12% ABV)
- 1.5 fl oz 80-proof liquor (40% ABV)
ABV = Alcohol By Volume
Some people may blackout after two drinks, while others may never blackout. The exact number of drinks that will make a person blackout, or overdose, isn’t always clear. Alcohol affects people differently based on their age, weight, height, and gender.
Binge drinking may result in the following consequences:
- alcohol-induced blackouts
- alcohol poisoning (overdose)
- unintentional injuries
- sexually transmitted infections
- high blood pressure
- heart attack
- poor control of diabetes
The severity of blackouts and alcohol poisoning may vary based on whether an individual consumes alcohol on an empty stomach and how much water they drink.
Understanding Alcohol-Induced Blackouts
An alcohol-induced blackout is a lapse in memory without loss of consciousness. Blackouts can last for part of or an entire drinking episode. A person may lose control over their judgement and behavior during an alcohol-induced blackout.
The two types of alcohol-induced blackout include fragmentary blackout and en bloc blackout.
During a fragmentary (partial) blackout, an individual may experience problems with short-term memory, and forget topics of discussion or the name of a friend. While experiencing a partial blackout, an individual may forget what they were talking about just minutes after the conversation took place.
During an en bloc (complete) blackout, an individual may forget entire blocks of time, entire days, or entire drinking episodes. A complete blackout can be more dangerous than a partial blackout. After a complete blackout, many people are left wondering whether they drove home, or what else might have happened while they were drinking alcohol.
When an individual “blacks out,” the alcohol prevents neurotransmitters in their brain from imprinting memories from short-term to long-term memory. Drinking a large amount of alcohol may shut down parts of the hippocampus in brain. The hippocampus is primarily involved with long-term memory.
Signs Of Alcohol Poisoning
When a person drinks more alcohol than their body can metabolize, they may experience alcohol poisoning (alcohol overdose). Alcohol poisoning usually occurs when an individual drinks too much alcohol too quickly, much like the alcohol-induced blackout.
Alcohol poisoning claims about six lives every day in the United States. Knowing the signs of alcohol poisoning is important for seeking timely and adequate treatment. If alcohol poisoning is left untreated, a person suffering with it can die.
The critical signs of alcohol poisoning are:
- mental confusion
- bluish skin color
- slow breathing (fewer than 8 breaths per minute)
- irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
- hypothermia (low body temperature)
The best thing to do for someone with alcohol poisoning is to call 911.
How To Prevent Alcohol Poisoning
Alcohol poisoning is preventable. When a person drinks enough water, makes sure to eat, and refrains from binge drinking, there is less chance for alcohol poisoning. Slowing down, or moderating the amount of alcohol a person drinks, helps the person put an end to blackouts.
A person who’s unable to moderate or slow their drinking may be suffering from an alcohol use disorder (AUD). A person with an AUD may find that the only way to avoid alcohol poisoning is to stop drinking altogether.
Quitting drinking isn’t always easy for someone with an alcohol addiction. An alcohol treatment center may be able to help an individual stop using alcohol for good.
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Chart
During a binge drinking session, a person may chug beer or wine or shoot liquor. Quickly drinking alcohol increases the risk of blacking out and alcohol poisoning. Drinking a large of amount of alcohol raises a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC), or the amount of alcohol in their blood.
The more alcohol a person drinks, the higher their BAC. As a person’s BAC increases, the more intoxicated they become. How each person breaks down alcohol may depend on their age, weight, height, and gender.
The following chart shows the approximate blood alcohol content from alcohol consumed in an hour:
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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism—What Happened? Alcohol, Memory Blackouts, and the Brain
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism—Alcohol Overdose
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy may result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or permanent brain damage to the baby. Seeking treatment may prevent a mother from losing her child to alcohol abuse.
Pregnant And Addicted To Alcohol
Everything a woman eats or drinks during pregnancy goes to the baby, and this includes addictive substances like alcohol. When a pregnant mother drinks alcohol, the alcohol passes into the placenta then into the baby’s bloodstream.
Prenatal exposure to alcohol is one of the leading causes of birth defects, abnormalities, and developmental disabilities in the United States. Many experts strongly urge women not to drink alcohol while they’re pregnant. Yet an estimated 8.5 percent of women drink alcohol during pregnancy.
An unborn baby’s liver is too little to process alcohol the way an adult liver does, and he or she may develop serious physical, mood, or developmental problems from prenatal exposure to alcohol.
Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder
An alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic disease characterized by a person’s compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and negative emotional state when not using alcohol. A woman with an AUD may have a hard time quitting use of alcohol, even if she becomes pregnant.
Over five million women suffer from an alcohol use disorder in the United States. Research shows that in 2016, only 6.7 percent of women with an AUD received treatment for it.
Heavy drinking is linked to most cases of fetal alcohol syndrome. Yet heavy drinking may also cause health problems that are unrelated to pregnancy. Alcohol can damage a person’s brain, heart, liver, pancreas, and immune system.
Many women who suffer from alcoholism may not know where to turn to for help. An alcohol treatment program may help a pregnant woman overcome alcohol and save the life of her child in process.
Risks Of Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy
Alcohol may cause developmental, behavioral, and psychological defects in babies. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases the chance that a baby will be born with cerebral palsy or prematurely.
According to the National Library of Medicine, women are at a higher risk of developing a substance use disorder during their reproductive years (18-44). In the reproductive age range, binge drinking is believed to be one of the leading causes of birth defects.
Binge drinking for a woman equals four drinks in two hours, or an approximate blood alcohol concentration of .08. Binge drinking can lead to an incredibly high BAC for a baby who’s still in the womb, and can dramatically change the life of that baby.
The developmental risks of drinking during pregnancy include:
- fetal alcohol syndrome
- poor coordination
- hyperactive behavior
- difficulty with attention
- vision difficulties
- hearing problems
- poor memory
- learning disabilities
- speech and language delays
- learning disability
- poor reasoning and judgment skills
- sleep and sucking problems as a baby
“Women who are pregnant or might be pregnant should be aware that there is no known safe level of alcohol that can be consumed at any time during pregnancy. All types of alcohol should be avoided, including red or white wine, beer, and liquor,” (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).
What Is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?
Fetal alcohol syndrome, or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a condition in which alcohol causes brain damage, developmental issues, behavioral problems, and growth problems in unborn babies. FASD may occur when a woman drinks an excessive amount of alcohol during pregnancy.
Babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome may have distinctive facial features, such as smaller than normal eyes, upper lip, and nose. Each pregnancy is different, and the severity of fetal alcohol syndrome may vary as well.
No amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. The more a woman drinks during pregnancy, the greater the risk becomes of the baby suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome. The behavioral signs of fetal alcohol syndrome aren’t always as obvious as some of the physical signs.
The physical signs of fetal alcohol syndrome may include:
- slow physical growth before and after birth
- smaller than normal facial features, such as eyes, nose, and lips
- small head circumference and brain size
- misshapen joints, limbs, and fingers
- problems with kidneys and bones
- heart defects
Seeking help can be crucial for women who are considering having a baby but believe they’re addicted to alcohol. For women who are pregnant and looking to quit using alcohol, there is hope at an alcohol treatment center.
How To Safely Detox While Pregnant
An alcohol addiction (alcoholism) can make people feel as though alcohol is as important for survival as air, food, or water. Many people with an alcohol addiction experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms when they quit using alcohol. Withdrawals can be uncomfortable, painful, and very dangerous to manage alone.
A medical detox provides a place to manage withdrawal symptoms, while on a regimen of vitamins, proper nutrition, and rest. Detoxification may not be easy, but it can be essential for pregnant women in recovery.
When a woman is in detoxification from alcohol, she might be ridding her body of years of alcohol abuse and unwanted toxins. The multidisciplinary team at a medical detox center is trained to help pregnant women safely wean off alcohol while focusing on what’s best for themselves and their babies.
Alcohol Treatment Programs For Pregnant Women
After a medical detox, many people are still left with the behavioral, environmental, psychological, and genetic issues that may have led to alcohol abuse in the first place. Each area of addiction needs to be addressed with the same amount of importance.
The professionals at an alcohol treatment center offer comprehensive care and the kindness and support needed to recover from alcohol addiction. With the right treatment program, a woman can learn to live a better life for herself and her baby.
Alcohol doesn’t need to affect your baby’s life. Contact AlcoholTreatment.net for help.
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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism—Alcohol Use Disorders
Some mouthwash products contain more than 20 percent alcohol, which is the equivalent of 40-proof liquor in the United States. Many mouthwash solutions also contain hydrogen peroxide and methyl alcohol, which are toxic to ingest.
Mouthwash is designed to be spit out rather than swallowed, and ingesting even a small amount can be seriously dangerous. Alcohol (ethanol) isn’t the only potentially dangerous ingredient in mouthwash.
The chemicals in mouthwash may include chlorhexidine gluconate, hydrogen peroxide, or methyl salicylate, which are all toxic to ingest. Ingesting these ingredients by drinking mouthwash can cause mouthwash overdose, liver failure, and gastrointestinal damage. Drinking methyl alcohol can cause blindness, organ failure, or death.
“Swallowing large amounts of methyl salicylate and hydrogen peroxide may also cause serious stomach and intestine symptoms. It can also lead to changes in the body’s acid-base balance” (National Library of Medicine).
Someone with an addiction to alcohol may try to conceal mouthwash that contains alcohol while they’re in the hospital. Some people who have been hospitalized are given blood thinners, which can have an adverse reaction with alcohol.
Can Mouthwash Get You Drunk?
Alcohol may be used in mouthwash to help with oral plaque, bad breath, and all-around good oral hygiene. A person can also get drunk from mouthwash. One of the most commonly abused brands of mouthwash is Listerine.
Listerine is 26.9 percent alcohol (54-proof), which is a higher alcohol content than found in most beer, wine, and even some liquors.
Most of the of the ethyl alcohol used in mouthwash has been specially denatured, meaning that the alcohol used has been altered by other chemicals to make the product undrinkable. Yet many mouthwash products can have the same intoxicating effect as beer, wine, or liquor.
An estimated 10 to 15 percent of people in detox treatment centers for alcoholism have used non-beverage alcohol (NBA) substances like mouthwash to get drunk. Half of these patients are estimated to be regular consumers.
There are many reasons that people abuse mouthwash instead of a standard alcoholic beverage, including:
- high alcohol content
- less expensive than standard alcoholic beverages
- suffering from an alcohol addiction
- normal alcohol may not be available
- less noticeable because of minty breath
- turned away at the bar or store because of intoxication
- there’s a cut-off time for liquor sales in most places, but mouthwash is always available
- may not be age restrictions for buying mouthwash—teens may buy mouthwash in an attempt to get drunk
United States law prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages to a person who is under the legal age for consumption. Furnishing alcohol to minors, or selling it to someone who’s visibly intoxicated, is also illegal.
A person who’s intoxicated may not be able to buy alcohol, but they’re most likely still allowed to buy mouthwash with alcohol in it.
Signs Of Alcohol Intoxication
Understanding if someone needs help with an alcohol problem without first knowing what to look for may be difficult. Someone who’s been drinking mouthwash in secret may act strangely, seem off balance, and potentially spend a lot of time in the bathroom. The person may be convinced that their drinking is a secret.
Some of the common signs of alcohol abuse are:
- droopy eyelids
- flushed face
- slurred speech
- loud, noisy speech
- talking faster than normal
- irrational thoughts and comments
- argumentative, belligerent, or aggressive behavior
- inability to sit up straight
- swaying, staggering, and stumbling
- overly animated behavior
- difficulty standing up
- sweating profusely
- dry mouth
- smelling like alcohol
- excessive trips to the restroom
Alcohol may affect each person differently, so not everyone always shows all the signs of alcohol intoxication.
Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are each considered an alcohol use disorder.
Alcoholism is characterized by a person’s inability to quit or moderate their drinking no matter the consequences it has on their life. Stopping drinking without professional help may be risky for someone with alcoholism.
With alcohol abuse, a person is not addicted to alcohol, but their use of alcohol may cause other problems in their work, health, and relationships.
A person struggling with an AUD may have an increased tolerance to the effects of alcohol, and may require more alcohol to get drunk than a person whose drinking is light or moderate. There are an estimated 16 million people in the United States with an AUD, and many of them are unable to stop drinking on their own.
Is It Possible To Recover From Alcoholism?
To recover means to return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength. Recovery from alcoholism starts by admitting there’s a problem. For many people, the next step is asking for help.
For some, addiction recovery may necessitate an alcohol treatment, action steps, and a change in behavior. With the right help, a person suffering from alcoholism can overcome their obsession and compulsion to drink alcohol.
Years of alcohol abuse can cause a lot of damage to a person’s organs and mind. A medical detox can help an individual rid their body of unwanted chemicals like alcohol, while allowing them to safely manage withdrawal symptoms, and overcome the physical addiction to alcohol.
At an alcohol rehab center, people may benefit from a medication-assisted treatment, along with behavioral therapy, to help them recognize and correct their problem behaviors. Behavioral treatment can help patients evaluate their alcohol abuse as a problem behavior, while learning new behaviors that will help them live a self-directed and healthy lifestyle.
The success of alcohol rehab is often determined by the length of time a person spends there, and how much effort they put into it. Recovering from alcohol addiction is possible with the right guidance, support, and treatment.
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People suffering from alcoholism may feel trapped in their addiction. Although a cure may not always be possible, alcoholism can be treated as a chronic illness, which allows a person to carry on with a full and sober life.
Finding The Cure For Alcoholism
There is a cure for alcoholism—if the cure is learning to live a self-directed life while abstaining from alcohol.
In 1939, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson wrote: “Physicians who are familiar with alcoholism agree there is no such thing as making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic. Science may one day accomplish this, but it hasn’t done so yet.” In order for a person to quit drinking, they must stop drinking altogether.
In many cases, a person suffering from alcoholism is diagnosed with a nutrient deficiency—especially vitamins B1 and B3—which they seek to relieve by drinking alcohol. A megavitamin therapy is believed to remove a person’s urge to drink, and cure alcoholism.
Another scholar named David Sinclair, Ph.D. came up with an alcohol treatment process that uses a method called pharmacological extinction. In this practice, the opioid blocker naltrexone turns habit-forming behaviors into habit-forming erasers. Sinclair and his colleagues claimed to have found the cure for alcoholism with the Sinclair Method.
Others argue that illnesses like the flu and common cold have biological factors which can be treated, and thus cured. According to this method, since there are no biological signs of alcoholism, the disease has no cure, but it may be treatable using methods like Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov’s conditioning therapy.
People who suffer from other chronic illnesses like diabetes or asthma are able to live a normal, healthy life by managing their disease. With the right treatment, people can overcome alcoholism as well.
Alcoholism (alcohol use disorder or alcohol addiction) is defined as a chronic illness characterized by a person’s inability to cease or moderate drinking, despite harmful consequences. Alcohol addiction is marked by the obsession and compulsion to drink alcohol.
Alcoholism is a major issue in the United States, and alcohol claims the lives of an estimated 88,000 people each year. In 2015, there were 15.1 million people suffering from an alcohol use disorder like alcohol abuse or alcoholism.
Drinking that exceeds light to moderate drinking is considered alcohol abuse—more than one drink per day or seven per week for women, two drinks per day and 14 per week for men. Individuals who have trouble stopping drinking despite harmful consequences, drink for more or longer than intended on a regular basis, or who continue drinking even if they realize drinking is a problem may have an alcohol use disorder.
Despite how many people are affected by alcohol abuse or alcoholism each year, proper treatment can help people overcome alcohol abuse or addiction. Recovering individuals find that by investing in their mental, physical, and spiritual well-being, they were able to stop drinking, and stay sober.
Detoxification And Medication-Assisted Treatment For Alcoholism
Someone who drinks heavily may build up a tolerance to alcohol. Now the person drinks more alcohol than they used to, and as a result they’ll also be at greater risk of becoming physically dependent on alcohol. When the person tries to quit drinking, he or she may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, which in turn pushes them to keep drinking
In order to properly treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms, a person must undergo detoxification from alcohol—but detox can be risky, or even life-threatening, to attempt alone. A medical detox helps patients cleanse their body of alcohol and other unwanted toxins, and overcome their physical dependence to alcohol. Detox is often required as the first step of alcohol addiction recovery.
A medication-assisted therapy (MAT) is an alcohol treatment that uses medications and behavioral treatments to help treat a substance use disorder. Certain medications help individuals manage withdrawal symptoms, and others may be used to help avoid relapse.
There are three medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat alcoholism. None of these medications are considered a cure for alcoholism, but they can be effective in MAT nonetheless:
- Disulfiram—helps treat chronic alcoholism by eliciting a negative reaction when mixed with alcohol. This medication is intended to be used for people who have already completed alcohol detoxification.
- Naltrexone—blocks the euphoric feelings produced by alcohol, and helps patients reduce drinking and motivates them to stay in treatment.
- Acamprosate—helps people who have already quit drinking abstain from alcohol.
Behavioral Treatments For Alcoholism
Behavioral treatments are a type of counseling that involve working with a mental health professional to identify and change behaviors that resulted in heavy drinking.
A person with alcoholism may find it difficult to speak to their loved ones about drinking without getting defensive. Yet many people come out of their shell once they’re in treatment, and have learned to implement the skills learned in behavioral therapy.
Behavioral treatments help patients develop the skills needed to stop drinking, as well as build a strong social support system, work hard to set reachable goals, and cope with or avoid the triggers that might cause a relapse
Behavioral treatment programs for alcoholism include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavioral Therapy
- Motivational Enhancement Therapy
- Marital and Family Counseling
- 12-Step programs
With adequate support and care, people learn to be open and honest about their drinking. For many, speaking to a therapist who keeps information confidential, and has no reserved expectations of their patients, is helpful.
What Does It Mean To Recover From Alcoholism?
There is not a single and simple explanation for why some people develop alcoholism, and others do not. Everyone is different, and therefore each person’s recovery will be different as well.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s working definition of recovery is “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”
With the comprehensive care at an alcohol treatment center, people learn to live life that isn’t run by alcohol, and many reach their full potential in the process. Alcoholism has biological, environmental, and psychological factors. In order to truly recover from the disease, each aspect of health must be treated and overcome.
Reach out to us today if you or a loved one struggles with alcoholism.
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About 95 percent of Americans own cell phones, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. It is a common question among individuals considering rehab if they will be able to bring their cell phone with them.
Role of Cell Phones In Alcohol Treatment
The “need for freedom and autonomy” is a common psychological factor in people who abuse substances, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports. To go from living life as you please to being restricted by rules established by treatment centers can be a difficult transition.
The rules established by alcohol treatment facilities are there to ensure that the focus is placed on the recovery of the individual suffering from addiction, and not the outside world. Many treatment facilities believe that allowing cell phones is not a good idea because it will detract from the recovery process. Other drug rehab centers recognize that communication with loved ones may lend to strength in support—an important part in the recovery process.
The rules on bringing personal electronics often vary by facility and individual treatment plans.
Are Cell Phones Allowed In Alcohol Treatment Centers?
For the most part, cell phones are not permitted while in the early stages of treatment, or the use of a cell phone is highly discouraged. Initially, this rule was put in place so individuals would be restricted from contacting anyone who could connect them with alcohol or further enable the existing addiction.
Additionally, cell phone usage creates privacy concerns for other patients in the treatment center. If someone is allowed use of a phone, that person could take pictures or share inappropriate information over social media that would violate another person’s privacy. Overall, having a cell phone is considered too much of a distraction from the recovery process.
However, some facilities do permit the restricted/supervised use of devices. A simple text message can get you in touch with a far-off loved one, providing connection, communication, and support. Some facilities have realized the value of this interaction between loved ones for individuals undergoing treatment, and believe it to be a motivational source for them to succeed in recovery.
Most inpatient drug rehab centers will provide communication time once a week so that people can stay in touch with their loved ones. People who need their cell phone or other device to keep up with work may be allowed to use their personal devices to do so. The terms of individual use of personal electronics, like a cell phone, will often be arranged prior to admitting an individual into an inpatient treatment facility.
What About Other Electronics?
Tablets, iPods, iPads, laptops, DVD players, smart watches, and other electronic devices all typically fall under the same restrictions as cell phones. These devices allow the user to temporarily “check out” mentally and this can be detrimental to the treatment process.
Inpatient treatment typically lasts 30, 60, or 90 days. Being “disconnected” from the outside world during this time is often viewed as an important part of healthy recovery by many health professionals. While it is important to have a network of support, it is most important to have complete dedication to and focus on recovery. For inpatient drug rehab centers which do not allow use of cell phones, they may instead provide family days or visiting times, usually on a weekly basis.
It can be difficult, at first, to only have restricted time to communicate with the rest of the world. Many people who go through inpatient drug rehab say that even though they struggled to let go of cell phone use at first, they later realized it helped them focus more on healing. By refraining from cell phone use or use of other devices, they could function in a normalized fashion much sooner than if they had let use of cell phones distract them from treatment.
Other Activities During Inpatient Treatment
Treatment centers run by keeping a set schedule. A structured program allows for large portions of time to be dedicated to different treatment modalities, and use of the internet and other electronics is highly discouraged during these times.
Activities at treatment centers are meant to keep each individual’s focus on mending the emotional damage, mental issues, and physical effects that can occur as a result of alcohol abuse and addiction. Inpatient drug rehab centers often encourage stress relief with tactile activities such as pottery or painting, and mindfulness techniques, such as yoga.
These outlets are considered to be more healing than the use of electronic devices because it allows the patient to express what they are feeling into something tangible, instead of distracting themselves with devices, such as cell phones.
Treatment may involve any number of methods, all of which engage the individual completely. Behavioral therapy allows a person to focus on harmful behaviors which may have led to or contributed to addiction, and discover new behaviors to lead to a sober life. Alternative therapy, like wilderness or adventure therapy may allow a person to build skills, and gain the confidence and self-awareness necessary for a substance-free life. In any of these instances, use of a cell phone would not only be distracting, but difficult.
It is important to know that cell phone use may or may not be permitted, depending on individual circumstances and the policies of the treatment facility. However, it is also important to remember the original reason for going through treatment: healing from addiction. No matter the circumstances, healing from addiction and building a fulfilling, substance-free life, should be the main goal of recovery.
If you or someone you know struggles with alcohol addiction, contact us to learn more about treatment today.
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