The Dangers Of Using Ecstasy With Alcohol

Ecstasy, also called MDMA, is commonly used along with alcohol at parties and clubs. Both a stimulant and a hallucinogen, ecstasy has an effect that somewhat counteracts the depressant nature of alcohol.

Ecstasy produces a euphoric feeling paired with intensified sensory perception, while alcohol provides a feeling of relaxation. The stimulant and depressant characteristics of these drugs are thought to balance each other, producing an overall sense of well-being.

After using ecstasy, people often experience feelings of emotional closeness, making them relate to others with greater empathy and extroversion. Ecstasy lowers a person’s inhibitions, making social interactions easier.

Ecstasy can also produce unpleasant physical effects, such as:

  • jaw clenching or teeth grinding
  • detachment (depersonalization)
  • scattered thoughts
  • restless legs
  • hot flashes or chills
  • sweating
  • headache
  • nausea

Alcohol has a comparable effect in reducing social anxiety and causes similar symptoms. Both substances may lead to memory loss (blackout or amnesia) if used in excess.

Ecstasy With Alcohol dehydration

As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol slows the functioning of the brain and body, causing a slow reaction time. This impairs a person’s ability to perform tasks that require close attention.

Other effects that result from alcohol consumption are:

  • loss of coordination and balance
  • lowered inhibitions
  • slurred speech
  • blurred vision

When a person uses ecstasy and alcohol together, they are more likely to experience these negative effects, and several other unique consequences may arise.

Unsafe Behavior

When a person combines ecstasy and alcohol, their inhibitions are lowered but they do not feel as drunk. This is dangerous because it gives them the impression that they are not as impaired as they actually are. It can lead them to do irresponsible things, like driving under the influence.

Lowered inhibitions and increased feelings of emotional connection may also lead to unsafe sexual behavior, like unprotected sex with a stranger. This sort of behavior raises a person’s risk of contracting diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C.

Alcohol Poisoning

If someone doesn’t realize how drunk they are because ecstasy distorts their perception, they may continue to consume alcohol, not realizing when they’ve had enough. This not only increases the risk of unsafe behavior and blackout but also may result in alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol poisoning is a serious condition with symptoms like vomiting, seizures, severely slowed breathing, dangerously low body temperature, and loss of consciousness. Without medical attention, it may result in coma or death.

Overheating And Overdose

Ecstasy makes it difficult for the body to regulate temperature. When taken in high doses or in warm environments, such as a club or house filled with people, this may lead to hyperthermia (overheating). This condition can cause muscular breakdown or sodium imbalance that may result in kidney failure or brain swelling. Either result can be life-threatening.

Some people take overlapping doses to make the high last longer. This can cause the drug to build up in someone’s system. Consuming alcohol in addition to this increases the risk of hyperthermia and overdose.

Dehydration

Ecstasy and alcohol are both linked to dehydration. This is, in part, because of physical reactions to the substances. The surge in energy from ecstasy means more movement (and more sweat). Alcohol increases urination, ridding the body of water more quickly.

Dehydration can contribute to an unpleasant hangover. It may also cause someone to drink excessive amounts of fluids. Ecstasy causes the body to retain fluids, so too much hydration may lead to electrolyte imbalance and brain swelling. This can cause brain damage, coma, or death.

Unknown Substances

Ecstasy is often found to be laced with other substances, such as cough medicine, synthetic cathinones (“bath salts”), and cocaine. These drugs cause additional complications when combined with alcohol.

Cocaine mixed with alcohol, for example, produces a toxic substance called cocaethylene, which is extremely dangerous to the human body. Laced ecstasy poses a higher risk of overdose, as the substance may be stronger than a person expects.

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Long-Term Effects Of Using Ecstasy With Alcohol

Ecstasy causes the brain to produce greater amounts of serotonin, the chemical responsible for managing mood, sleep, pain, and appetite. The drug also prevents the brain from reabsorbing this chemical, allowing a surplus that causes a surge in pleasurable feelings.

After someone takes ecstasy, their brain no longer has reserves of serotonin to keep them calm and happy. When the ecstasy wears off, they are left with extremely low serotonin levels, making them feel depressed. This may last for days after taking the drug.

Alcohol also stimulates serotonin release and increases the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which maintains calm in the brain. Long-term, heavy alcohol use decreases GABA receptors, making it difficult for the brain to self-regulate. While some people drink alcohol to reduce anxiety, it can actually harm the brain’s ability to deal with stress.

With prolonged use of both ecstasy and alcohol, a person may experience long-term cognitive impairments. This may include difficulty learning new things, creating new memories, or recalling the past. Brain damage may be reversed if a person stops using ecstasy and alcohol, but may also be permanent.

Both ecstasy and alcohol can take a toll on the heart as well and may cause high blood pressure, irregular heart rate, inflammation, and heart attack. Using these substances at the same time puts even more stress on the heart.

Ecstasy With Alcohol cognitive problems

Treatment For Ecstasy And Alcohol Abuse

Abusing ecstasy can lead to serious health issues, especially when it is combined with alcohol. This can have potentially fatal consequences, and long-term use may cause irreversible damage. Addiction treatment programs work to address issues surrounding substance abuse and help an individual make healthier choices.

Many treatment programs deal with polysubstance abuse. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be used for alcohol addiction in combination with a variety of treatment methods, such as counseling, support groups, and behavioral therapy. The best treatment programs are customized to individual needs to ensure a complete and lasting recovery.

Be sure to check out these additional resources from AlcoholTreatment.net:

The Dangers Of Mixing Ativan With Alcohol

The Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol With Serax (Oxazepam)

Alcohol and Prescription Opioids

The Dangers of Mixing Trazadone with Alcohol


Sources

Mayo Clinic — Alcohol Poisoning
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Alcoholism and the Brain: An Overview
National Institute on Drug Abuse — MDMA (Ecstasy) Abuse

There are many dangers which can result from mixing alcohol and Serax. These substances may interact to cause very harmful effects, including feelings of depression and confusion. Individuals under the influence of alcohol and Serax may become a potential threat to themselves and others, as they will have a decreased ability to judge dangerous situations.

Mixing these substances may cause extreme suppression of the cardiovascular system, resulting in a dangerous decrease in heart and breathing rates. In fact, breathing rates may plummet so low that someone could potentially stop breathing entirely. Using alcohol and Serax at the same time can also cause irreversible damage to a person’s liver, heart, kidneys, pancreas, and brain.

Signs And Symptoms Of Mixing Alcohol And Serax (Oxazepam)

Individuals who mix alcohol with Serax may appear more intoxicated than they should for the amount of alcohol they have consumed. The combination of these substances may cause a significant decrease in an individual’s inhibitions and hand-eye coordination. When taken on its own, Serax may cause someone to seem drunk by producing side effects such as drowsiness and a shuffling walk.

Possible signs and symptoms of mixing alcohol and Serax include:

Effects Of Mixing Serax And Alcohol

It is best to avoid drinking alcohol while taking a benzodiazepine medication such as Serax, as both substances are central nervous system (CNS) depressants. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord, and when a person takes alcohol and Serax together, the drugs work to suppress specific brain activity and cause a sense of calm and relaxation.

Alcohol and Serax increase the production of a chemical in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is a brain chemical that regulates communications between brain cells and, in excess amounts, can inhibit or reduce the activity of nerve cells and their ability to communicate. When neural activity is slowed, it causes a sense of reduced anxiety, sedation, and intoxication.

Alcohol With Serax Alcohol Deaths Per Year

Serax and alcohol are usually abused together to increase the potency of their side effects, often to fatal levels. Alcohol causes roughly 88,000 deaths in the U.S. per year and is the third-leading cause of death in the country, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. When mixed with benzodiazepines, these risks only increase.

Long-term abuse of alcohol and Serax can cause changes to specific brain structures and functions. These changes can lead to physical dependence and increased tolerance to both alcohol and Serax. It is important to note: individuals may experience different sensations when they mix alcohol and Serax depending on their age, tolerance to each substance, genetics, mental health, and overall physical condition.

Someone who is dependent on benzodiazepines and alcohol may need to use both drugs to feel normal, and typically cannot use one without the other. It is possible for individuals suffering from polysubstance dependence to sedatives to experience more severe withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop using. This is especially true when someone struggles with benzodiazepines and alcohol, as dependence on benzodiazepines can result in an increased cross-tolerance to alcohol.

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How Serax Differs From Other Benzodiazepines

Serax, or oxazepam, is an active metabolite of diazepam. Chemically designed to be less potent than other benzodiazepines, a 15 mg dose of Serax is equivalent to a 0.5 mg dose of Xanax. Serax is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine with an onset of action time between two to three hours.

Alcohol With Serax Alcohol Is 3rd leading Cause of DeathOften, Serax is prescribed to help alleviate anxiety, including the anxiety caused by alcohol withdrawal. This medication may also be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome. Similar to other benzodiazepines, Serax is typically only prescribed for a short time of nine weeks or less, as continued use may cause decreased effectiveness.

Alcohol And Serax Withdrawal

When dependent individuals stop using a drug, they may experience intense physical and mental symptoms, also referred to as withdrawal. The withdrawal process is a chain of symptoms that mark the discontinuation and removal of a substance from the body.

Abusing alcohol with Serax may increase tolerance, cravings, and withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to stop. If left unattended, both alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal can result in an increased risk of relapse and potentially life-threatening symptoms.

Possible alcohol and Serax withdrawal symptoms include:

  • sweating
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • rapid heart rate
  • nausea and vomiting
  • tremors
  • hallucinations
  • seizures
  • delirium tremens

Detoxing from alcohol and benzodiazepines without proper supervision can be dangerous and is not recommended. A medically-supervised detoxification program is a safe and effective way to treat alcoholism, polysubstance dependence, and withdrawal symptoms.

Medical detox, however, is not considered to be a complete treatment for substance abuse and should be paired with behavioral therapy and further support to sustain long-term recovery.

Alcohol And Serax (Oxazepam) Addiction Treatment

On their own, alcohol and Serax are highly addictive drugs, and without assistance during the withdrawal process, they can be nearly impossible to quit. Relapse is also highly possible when a person is dependent on alcohol or Serax. For these reasons, inpatient treatment is often the best choice for individuals who want to overcome these severe addiction issues.

The individualized approach to treatment that most inpatient rehab centers use can help focus on specific steps to address alcoholism, alcohol abuse, co-occurring disorders, and polysubstance dependence according to an individual’s needs.

Reach out to a specialist at AlcoholTreatment.net to find a treatment solution today.

For more information be sure to check out these additional resources from AlcoholTreatment.net
The Dangers Of Abusing Alcohol With Xanax
The Dangers Of Mixing Ativan With Alcohol
The Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol With Restoril (Temazepam)


Sources

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Alcohol Facts and Statistics
U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Oxazepam

Both alcohol and Restoril (temazepam) are CNS depressants. These substances slow down activity in the brain to produce feelings of calm and euphoria. While alcohol is a widely-abused legal substance, Restoril is a prescription medication used to treat sleeping problems. Combining these substances is not only dangerous but also suggests abuse, which can be treated with different therapies and medication.

Understanding The Risks Of Mixing Alcohol With Restoril

Restoril, the brand name for temazepam, belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are central nervous system (CNS) depressants typically prescribed to treat anxiety, panic attacks, seizures, and insomnia. Restoril is used to treat insomnia because it works by slowing things down in the nervous system and brain to allow sleep.

Alcohol is also a CNS depressant. Drinking alcohol is commonplace, but heavy drinking can have serious consequences. Alcohol causes intoxicating effects and can lead to abuse, addiction, and other physical and mental health issues.

Combining alcohol with another CNS depressant like Restoril (benzodiazepine) is not recommended because of the associated health risks. Drinking alcohol with Restoril can result in:

  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • impaired motor control
  • memory problems
  • slow or difficult breathing
  • unusual behavior

Data and research have shown that mixing alcohol with Restoril can result in serious emergency room visits, increase the risk of overdose and death, cause memory problems, and lead to increased intoxication, all of which can be dangerous and life-threatening.

Alcohol and restoril are both CNS depressants

Serious Emergency Room Visits

Restoril, when combined with other drugs that depress CNS activity, like alcohol, can cause serious health complications. There is an increased risk of hospitalization when alcohol and Restoril are used together. During a seven-year period of study (2005-2011) the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) estimated over 27,000 emergency room visits resulted from using alcohol with benzodiazepines.

The DAWN report also found that when visits involved benzodiazepines and alcohol, the outcome was more serious in 38% of the cases, which means the patient was transferred to a hospital, another medical facility, or died from an overdose or other complications.

Increased Risk Of Overdose

The risk of overdose is increased when a person mixes alcohol with Restoril. Taking both together can result in overdosing on one or both. The amount of alcohol it normally takes to experience an overdose, which varies from person to person, is significantly reduced when they mix it with Restoril. This is also true for a dose of Restoril, as lower amounts can lead to overdose when it’s combined with alcohol.

Symptoms of an alcohol and Restoril overdose can include:

  • confusion
  • fainting
  • loss of consciousness
  • slow or difficult breathing
  • stupor
  • vomiting

If someone is suspected of overdosing, 9-1-1 should be contacted immediately. In severe cases, and if left untreated, a person can die from mixing alcohol and Restoril. Although every person reacts differently to the interaction of alcohol and benzodiazepines, mixing these substances can result in dangerously slow breathing, which can be fatal.

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Memory Problems

Because Restoril is prescribed to treat sleeping problems, mixing it with alcohol can result in extreme amnesia or blackout. Without knowing it, people might drive, prepare food, make phone calls, or have sex. The following day, they have no recollection of the event. This can lead to risky behaviors like unprotected sex, driving while under the influence, and engaging in unsafe criminal activities.

Increased Intoxication

Taking Restoril with alcohol enhances the intoxicating effects of one, or both substances. This means the effect of each substance can be more powerful than when each one is taken alone. The result is increased intoxication, which can be dangerous for various reasons.

Drinking alcohol while taking Restoril can intensify the effects of sleepiness, drowsiness, and lightheadedness. Concentrating and performing mechanical skills can be more difficult than usual. If taking Restoril, just a small amount of alcohol can lead to falls, other injuries, and greater risk when performing daily tasks like driving.

The intoxicating effects of mixing both substances can also result in an increase of side effects. These can include nausea, vomiting, unusually outgoing behavior, worsening depression, and feeling groggy or hungover the next the day.

Effects of combining alcohol with restoril

Withdrawal And Detox

Both alcohol and Restoril can lead to dependence, which means a person will experience uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal when they stop use. Benzodiazepines and alcohol produce similar withdrawal symptoms that may include:

  • anxiety
  • elevated blood pressure and body temperature
  • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
  • headaches
  • irritability
  • seizure
  • sweating
  • uncontrollable shaking of hands and body

When symptoms are severe, a medically supervised detox program can ensure safety and comfort during the worst of withdrawal. Typically offered in medical settings or rehab centers, a detox program allows staff to administer medications to alleviate symptoms, offer support and monitor progress, and a prepare a person for further treatment. If possible, additional treatment should immediately follow a detox program for the best chances of recovery.

Treatment For Alcohol And Benzodiazepine Abuse

Drinking alcohol and taking Restoril is not only dangerous but may also suggest the person suffers from a substance use disorder (SUD). Substance use disorders are usually treated with a combination of medications and behavioral therapy.

Medications used to treat alcohol dependence include acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone. These medications are used to alleviate unpleasant symptoms, reduce cravings, and help people engage in and complete treatment. Medications are always used alongside different behavioral therapies.

Behavioral therapy, the most common form of addiction treatment, is used for addressing the issues that led to alcohol and Restoril abuse. There are many different types of behavioral therapies, but all work to change a person’s thinking and attitude towards drugs and alcohol.

Relapse is common during the recovery process and should be treated as a setback, not a failure. Treating substance abuse problems is an ongoing process that requires support, care, and a variety of professional treatments and therapies.

For more information be sure to check out these additional resources from AlcoholTreatment.net:

The Dangers of Abusing Alcohol with Klonopin (Clonazepam)
The Dangers Of Mixing Ativan With Alcohol
The Dangers Of Abusing Alcohol With Xanax


Sources

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism—Mixing Alcohol with Medicines
U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus—Temazepam

Using methamphetamine (meth) and alcohol together may cause dangerous side effects which can lead to hospitalization. In the final year of the Drug Abuse Warning Network, alcohol was one of the top two drugs associated with methamphetamine-related emergency department visits. One-sixth of these visits were reported to involve alcohol.

The Physical Dangers Of Polydrug Methamphetamine And Alcohol Abuse

Methamphetamine is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. When taken alone it gives a person bursts of energy, a sense of extreme excitement, and intense euphoria. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a CNS depressant. Despite the fact that alcohol produces a sense of well-being and euphoria, it actually slows down the systems in the body that meth speeds up.

Depressants and stimulants produce opposite effects. Because of this, they often appear to “cancel out” the effects of the other when taken together. For instance, if a person is drinking and taking meth they may not feel buzzed or intoxicated as quickly as they would consuming only alcohol. This may cause them to party and binge drink for a longer period of time. It is misleading, however, to believe these substances cancel each other out.

Even if a person doesn’t feel the side effects as intensely as when the drug is used alone, the body and brain are still being adversely affected by it. In these instances, a person could binge drink at dangerous levels causing alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning is an overdose which can cause coma and death. This phenomenon can go the other way, too. Alcohol could cancel out some of the stimulating properties of meth, leading a person to take more and overdose.

AlcoholTreatment.net The Dangers Of Using Methamphetamine With Alcohol A Person May Not Feel Intoxicated

When using these two substances together a person may incorrectly gauge their level of alcohol intoxication and engage in risky behaviors. For example, if a person drives while intoxicated they could cause accident, injury, or death to themselves or those around them.

When a person takes these two drugs their central nervous system is being instructed to function in opposite directions simultaneously. This can cause an immense strain on a person’s cardiovascular system, possibly increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Other physical health effects include respiratory problems, complications of the organs, and meth mouth.

Certain people find that meth increases their libido. The impaired judgment caused by concurrent meth and alcohol abuse can lead to an increased number of sexual partners and greater instances of unprotected sex. These behaviors raise the risk of a person having an unwanted pregnancy or contraction a transmissible disease like HIV or hepatitis.

Using Meth And Alcohol Together Causes Mental Problems

Both of these drugs exert a very powerful effect on a person’s psychological state. Combining these substances can cause unpredictable behaviors, extremely variable moods, and even intensified symptoms of mental illnesses like depression or anxiety. Certain people may experience suicidal impulses or behaviors.

Additional dangers of combining meth and alcohol include:

  • acts of violence
  • aggression
  • delusions
  • paranoia
  • psychosis
  • seizures
  • violent outbursts

Individuals experiencing mental health problems and a substance use disorder have an increased chance of obtaining sobriety and improving their mental health through a dual diagnosis treatment program.

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Why Do People Abuse Methamphetamine And Alcohol Together?

In situations of stimulant and depressant polydrug abuse, there are several reasons why a person mixes these drugs:

  • to increase the high or euphoric state of one or both substances
  • to create new sensations which neither drug alone produces
  • to enable themselves to take more of one drug for longer
  • to reduce the depressant effects of one drug while still maintaining its euphoric effects
  • to reduce the stimulant effects of a drug if the high is too extreme
  • to temper coming off of one drug

As a depressant, alcohol produces effects (like drowsiness and feelings of sedation) which certain drug abusers find undesirable. To counter this, an individual may take meth. On the other hand, if an individual feels uncomfortable by meth’s extreme, stimulating effects they may drink to reduce the high or speeded up feeling.

Due to the potency of meth, drug abusers can feel extremely edgy and out of sorts while they’re coming off a binge. Some individuals may feel anxious or experience insomnia. To calm their nerves or to help them sleep a person may begin drinking.

While these drugs can be very dangerous from their first use together, the longer a person uses them, the greater the risk. Prolonged use ups the likelihood of dependence, tolerance, addiction, and overdose.

AlcoholTreatment.net The Dangers Of Using Methamphetamine With Alcohol Depressant Effects Produced By Alcohol

Signs Of Methamphetamine And Alcohol Abuse

Spotting the signs of methamphetamine and alcohol abuse provides an opportunity to protect a person’s life and health. With this knowledge friends and family can intercede so that their loved one receives medical and drug treatments.

When a person abuses these drugs they may exhibit side effects of both drugs, some of which may intensify. These may include:

  • acting in uncharacteristic ways
  • anxiety
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in breathing (experiencing slowed and/or quickened breathing)
  • changes in speech
  • depression
  • disturbed sleep
  • problems with their coordination
  • risky behaviors
  • sexual disinhibition
  • vomiting
  • unconsciousness (from alcohol intoxication)

Meth is frequently smoked, snorted, or injected. To use the drug this way a person must have paraphernalia. This could include a tin foil or a glass pipe with a long stem and bulb at the end, syringes or needles, or cut-off straws.

While many meth abusers use illicit meth, such as crystal meth, others may abuse the medication version of methamphetamine, Desoxyn. Desoxyn is a stimulant medication for ADHD. Because of this, if a person can’t find meth either in the illicit or prescribed form, they may turn to another stimulant ADHD medication like Adderall or Ritalin. Abusing these medications with alcohol may produce many of the dangerous results we’ve discussed above.

The more a person uses a drug or drugs, the greater the effect on their behaviors and life. Many drug abusers push their close friends and family away and begin spending time with drug-using peers. During this time a person may also act more secretive, begin lying, or become very upset when questioned about their drug abuse.

Drug abuse can quickly cause a person’s priorities to shift. Instead of devoting time to essential responsibilities of work or family life, a person spends increasing amounts of time high or recovering from binges. This can lead to job loss, marital issues, and other difficulties at home.

Finding Better Health After Meth And Alcohol Abuse

Both meth and alcohol can forge strong addictions. Once addicted it is very difficult for a person to break these destructive patterns on their own. Without professional help a person may continue using these substances, increasing the probability of great physical and mental harm and overdose.

Individuals addicted to alcohol may need to undergo a medically-supervised detoxification prior to progressing to rehab. At this time medications may be used to reduce cravings and symptoms of withdrawal.

Addiction can change the way a person thinks and interacts with the world around them. Through therapy and counseling, a person will learn to reduce dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors so that they have a better opportunity for obtaining a sober, balanced life.

Contact AlcoholTreatment.net for more information on meth and alcohol abuse and treatment.

For more information be sure to check out these additional resources from AlcoholTreatment.net:

What Is Alcohol Withdrawal?

One of the acutest dangers of chronic drinking arises not while under the influence of alcohol, but in its absence. Alcohol withdrawal results when an alcohol-dependent person suddenly stops drinking. The greater the consumption of alcohol on a regular basis, the greater the likelihood of withdrawal.

As a person progresses from intermittent alcohol abuse to alcoholism, their alcohol intake climbs. This is often to overcome a tolerance and/or to self-medicate distressing circumstances within their life. As the levels of consumption rise, and as addiction takes hold, a person’s body acclimates to these constant, high levels of alcohol.

When addicted, a person’s drinking becomes chronic and uncontrollable in a way which places their body and brain under immense strain. But sadly, once a physical dependency is forged, a person’s physical and mental states do not know how to function without alcohol.

AlcoholTreatment.net 5 Signs Of Alcohol Withdrawal Physical And Mental Statistics

Once dependent, should a person abruptly stop drinking (quitting “cold turkey”), their body and brain struggle to function without the alcohol. When this occurs symptoms of withdrawal may appear.

Heavy drinkers can experience withdrawal even after significantly decreasing the amount of alcohol they typically consume. Though some individuals can quit drinking in this manner without encountering symptoms of withdrawal, a large percentage will experience side effects.

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What Are Five Signs Of Alcohol Withdrawal?

As noted by Medline Plus, these aren’t just states which can affect adults; though less common, teenagers and children can experience alcohol withdrawal as well. Symptoms of withdrawal most typically occur eight hours after a person stops drinking, though for some it may take several days before they appear. Once present, they hit their most extreme at one to three days, however, some individuals may experience symptoms for weeks.

Alcohol withdrawal isn’t just a nuisance, as some individuals dangerously believe. In addition to being uncomfortable, emotionally and mentally exhausting, and for many, incapacitating, it can also be deadly.

For all of these reasons, should you suspect that you or a loved one may soon be or are currently progressing into withdrawal, seek medical help immediately. Here are some signs which can help you to identify withdrawal, so that you can seek prompt, medical treatment, should the need arise. Keep in mind, every individual is different and may not experience every symptom.

Physical Signs Of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal will cause both internal and visible physical symptoms of withdrawal.

Some of the more physically apparent signs of withdrawal include:

  • Clammy skin
  • Enlarged (dilated pupils)
  • Excess sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Paleness
  • Shaking
  • Tremors (especially of the hands)

Though not always as obvious, a person may also experience appetite suppression, headaches, insomnia, and fatigue.

As a person progresses into withdrawal, their central nervous system becomes overly active. This can cause a rapid heart rate and high blood pressure (hypotension). If left untreated, blood pressure could rise to stroke-inducing levels.

Mental Signs Of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal is emotionally and mentally taxing as well. Dealing with just the physical aspects of withdrawal can cause emotional strain, but on top of this, the following mental states may occur:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Nervousness
  • Vivid nightmares

Withdrawal can cause a person to feel on edge, which may result in them appearing jumpy or tense.

Hallucinations Caused By Alcohol Withdrawal

Some individuals experience altered states of reality while withdrawing. When this occurs, they may experience visual, auditory, or tactile hallucinations, which means, respectively, that they see, hear, or feel things which are not really there. For example, according to “Introduction to Alcohol Withdrawal,” these manifestations may include:

  • Visual hallucinations: Light may become too bright and colors may appear off, in a way which hurts a person’s eyes. Certain individuals see disturbing things or those which do not exist.
  • Auditory hallucinations: A person may become more sensitive to sounds, to the extent they become scared or upset by them. A person may hear things which are not truly there.
  • Tactile hallucinations: Withdrawal may create sensations of burning, pins and needles, itching, and/or numbness. Some people may feel bugs crawling on or just beneath their skin.

It can take one to two days before these signs present.

Seizures From Alcohol Withdrawal

AlcoholTreatment.net 5 Signs Of Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures Typically Happen Within One To Two DaysSeizures most typically happen one to two days after a person stops or reduces their alcohol consumption. When a generalized seizure occurs a person may lose consciousness and develop spasms of the limbs. The aforementioned article notes that seizures may develop even when other symptoms of withdrawal are not present.

While most individuals have one or two seizures, the article asserts that “Although multiple seizures are not common, AW is one of the most common causes in the United States of status epilepticus—a medical emergency characterized by continuous, unrelenting seizures.”

During a seizure, a person could fall and strike their head, causing a head injury or brain damage. They may also breathe or aspirate their vomit into their lungs, causing them to choke or develop pneumonia.

Delirium Tremens From Alcohol Withdrawal

Delirium tremens is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal which can be deadly. It affects approximately three to five percent of people who go into withdrawal; of this number, five to 25 percent suffer fatal complications.

Delirium tremens occurs most frequently in heavy drinkers and those who have previously withdrawn from alcohol. It is also more apt to happen if a person hasn’t eaten enough during the period in which they stop drinking.

Signs of delirium tremens include:

  • Agitation
  • Body tremors
  • Cardia arrhythmias
  • Delirium (severe confusion)
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Hyperthermia
  • Excitability
  • Fearfulness
  • Seizures
  • Stupor

Delirium tremens is considered a medical emergency. The sooner you contact emergency medical support for yourself or a loved one, the sooner you can get access to life-saving treatments. In order to expedite this, if you or a loved one are dependent on alcohol, it’s critical that you understand the symptoms of delirium tremens and seek the proper treatment.

Cravings are a major symptom of withdrawal. Many individuals relapse in order to feed this sense of overwhelming need and to reduce the severity of the above symptoms. Returning to alcohol only serves to place your body and brain in continuous danger.

Treatment For Alcohol Withdrawal

For some, the symptoms of withdrawal may be mild and merely bothersome, for others they can become intolerable and debilitating, disrupting a person’s ability to function within work, the home, school, or socially. But even more frightening is that up to one in 20 people may experience them in a way which could become deadly.

The thing is before withdrawal starts, you don’t know how serious your symptoms will be. For this reason, should you or a loved one desire to quit drinking, be smart and seek help.

A medically-supervised detox is the best approach to treating withdrawal. Here, various medications, nutritional supplements, and IV fluid hydration will be utilized to keep your body and mind as comfortable, and safe, as possible. After, we suggest that you pursue inpatient drug rehab so that the behavioral and psychological components of addiction can be treated.

Protect Your Life. Get Treatment Today

If you’re considering a life free from alcohol, let us help you. With our assistance, you can create the best-individualized treatment plan for your life.

For more information be sure to check out these additional resources from AlcoholTreatment.net:


Sources

MedLine Plus — Alcohol Withdrawal, Delirium Tremens
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Complications of Alcohol Withdrawal
The New England Journal of Medicine — Recognition, and Management of Withdrawal Delirium (Delirium Tremens)

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.

AlcoholTreatment.net The Dangers Of Mixing Ativan With Alcohol Prescribed To Help TreatAtivan 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
  • dizziness
  • blurred vision
  • stupor
  • slurred speech
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • coma

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.

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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.

AlcoholTreatment.net The Dangers Of Mixing Ativan With Alcohol 88,000 Deaths Each Year

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:

  • sweating
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • rapid heart rate
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • tremors
  • hallucinations
  • seizures
  • delirium tremens

AlcoholTreatment.net The Dangers Of Mixing Ativan With Alcohol Safest And Most Effective WayAtivan (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.

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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.

Gastrointestinal Issues From Alcohol_Stomach

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.

Gastrointestinal Issues From Alcohol_Small Intestine

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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Sources

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.

AlcoholTreatment.net Alcohol-Related Crimes Alcohol Consumption May Promote Aggression

“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.

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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.

AlcoholTreatment.net Alcohol-Related Crimes 37 Percent Of Assault

Assault

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

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.

Robbery

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.

AlcoholTreatment.net Alcohol-Related Crimes 86 Percent Of Homocide

Homicide

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
  • Assault
  • Homicide

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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Is There A Cure For Alcoholism?

Teenage Alcohol Abuse Statistics

Five Signs Your Loved One Is Drinking Too Much

Borderline Personality Disorder and Alcohol Blackouts

How Much Alcohol Is Too Much?

 


Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—National Violent Death Reporting System
United States Bureau of Transportation—Drunk Driving by the Numbers

 

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.

AlcoholTreatment.net Spirituality And Addiction Recovery Increased Risk For Substance Use

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.).

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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 Practices

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

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

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

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

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

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.

AlcoholTreatment.net Spirituality And Addiction Recovery Make A Person's Purpose Greater

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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Faith Based Alcohol Treatment Recovery Centers

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Mindfulness Therapy To Treat Alcohol Addiction

Holistic Alcohol Treatment Recovery Centers

The Difference Between Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Dependence

 


Sources

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.

Can You Smoke At An Alcohol Rehab Center__one out of 10

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.

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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.

Can You Smoke At An Alcohol Rehab Center__alcohol and cigarettes

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.

Can You Smoke At An Alcohol Rehab Center__three times

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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Sources

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

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