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Author Archive: aenriquez

Can Drug Addiction Cause Depression?

Written by Nigel Ford

If you have a friend or a loved one who struggles with addiction, you may have noticed that they are prone to depressive episodes. People who struggle with drug addiction often have a hard time managing their emotions, and often have a hard time dealing with conditions like depression.

On the other hand, many people actually begin using drugs to overcome or manage their depression. If someone doesn’t have access to the proper psychological or pharmaceutical assistance to help them with their mental health, many times they will turn to drugs in an effort to self-medicate.

So what’s going on here? Can drug addiction lead to depression, or are drug users with depression merely struggling with the same issues that led them to use drugs in the first place?

Long-term use of these drugs can cause massive changes in the brain
How Drug Addiction Affects the Brain

There’s little doubt that drugs affect the brain – this is how they produce tangible effects in the human experience. However, when one considers the fact that many people are using drugs to avoid depressive feelings, it might come as a bit of a shock to learn that drugs can actually contribute to depression.

In fact, drug addiction can lead someone to become far more depressed than they were before using the drugs in the first place.

Think of the way that the human body absorbs vitamins. If you take enough vitamins to correct a certain imbalance, then you will experience an improvement in your health, and you’ll feel better. However, if you continue to force-feed yourself vitamins in hopes that you’ll feel better and better, eventually your body will be overloaded and you’ll start to get sick.

Drugs work the same way. What might initially seem like a simple solution to mask depressive symptoms can quickly overload the brain and body, leading to serious long-term mental health problems.

Most illicit drugs are highly potent, and it only requires a tiny amount for the brain to become overworked. Long-term use of these drugs can cause massive changes in the brain, exacerbating depression in those who already struggle with it and creating serious depression in those who don’t.

One of the ways that drugs can do this is through a process known as downregulation.

Take amphetamines, for example. Methamphetamine produces its desirable, euphoric effects by overloading the brain with dopamine – a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) responsible for feelings of motivation and happiness.

However, the brain has a regulatory mechanism that prevents it from being flooded with dopamine. When it detects incredibly high levels of dopamine in the brain, it downregulates the receptors that respond to dopamine. This means that you’ll have less of them available to register the dopamine that your brain typically produces.

This means that when you stop using the drug, your brain won’t be able to register your happy chemical – dopamine. Without this chemical triggering a response in your brain, you’ll experience serious problems with apathy, depression, lethargy, and lack of motivation. These problems can take years and years to disappear.

In Conclusion

 

There’s no doubt that drugs can contribute to depression, and can even cause serious depression in people who have never struggled with it. In some cases, the depression caused by drugs can be long-term and hard to reverse. If you or a loved one struggles with drug addiction seek treatment as soon as possible.

Can Alcohol Cause Depression?

Written by Nigel Ford

Alcohol is most commonly used in our society to help promote sociability, but many people also use it to numb undesirable feelings. Lots of people use anxiety to help them manage anxiety, depression, and stress.

What’s ironic about this is that alcohol abuse is actually known to cause depression. In the long-term, it certainly won’t help these problems – instead, it would make them worse. In this article, I’ll explain why.

How alcohol affects the body

The first thing that clues many people into alcohol’s ability to influence depressant is its drug classification: alcohol is considered a depressant drug.

Alcohol is a highly addictive substance, and it is known to cause both physical and mental addictions

For many people, however, the term depressant can be a bit of a misnomer. Depressants don’t just cause people to become depressed – if they did, nobody would use them. Rather, depressants are known to help slow (or depress) the effects of the central nervous system (CNS).

Because of alcohol’s ability to slow down the CNS, it has a remarkable ability to reduce anxiety – which is primarily caused by an over-excited nervous system. However, just because it can help people avoid their anxiety or depression in the short-term doesn’t mean that it can do so in the long-term.

How can alcohol cause depression?

There are several ways that alcohol can cause depression in both short- and long-term.

One of the most dangerous and life-threatening ways that alcohol can contribute to depression is by leading someone down the path of addiction. Alcohol is a highly addictive substance, and it is known to cause both physical and mental addictions.

● Physical addiction occurs when someone’s body becomes dependant on a substance – such as alcohol. If they aren’t able to get the drug in their system, they will experience withdrawal symptoms, like shaking, sweating, diarrhea, and anxiety.

● A mental addiction occurs when someone believes that they are unable to function without a drug or a substance.

Being addicted on its own can cause someone to be depressed. Recognizing that your life is controlled by a substance causes many people to feel powerless and unhappy. This, in turn, leads them to become more depressed.

This isn’t to mention the biological effects that alcohol can have on the brain. Alcohol affects the brain’s GABA system – a neurological system involved in helping to regulate feelings of anxiety, and to allow us to feel comfortable and at ease.

Constantly bombarding this system with alcohol eventually diminishes it, leading to imbalances in the system that may or may not be permanent. This can lead someone to develop serious problems with anxiety, stress, and yes – depression.

Furthermore, alcohol is known to cause people to blackout and behave in a manner that doesn’t suit them. This can lead to the loss of friends, jobs, or can cause irreparable damage in relationships that can cause someone to become depressed.

In Conclusion

As you can see, several reasons can lead someone to become depressed after consuming alcohol. If you are worried about developing depression or exacerbating an existing depressive condition, your best bet is to avoid it altogether. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, seek treatment as soon as possible.

Give Rehab Another Chance

People who suffer from substance use disorder or a process addiction have to suffer a great deal before they are identified with the problem and given proper treatment. However, rehabilitation does not work for everyone. There are a number of patients who fail it. But all is not lost. And while it may appear otherwise given their relapse, these individuals want to get better and reintegrate.

Rehab is their second chance at life – teaching them how to live again, how to cope in a healthy way, and how to exist without drugs and alcohol as part of their identity. And when it appears to fail, it may like the end of the world. But all hope is not lost. Rehab deserves another chance. You deserve another chance at living life fully.

Addiction can take us to the depths of despair and indeed becomes a matter of life and death.
Some people go to rehab and stay sober forever, other people need to go to rehab several times. Those who fail, need help in trying to identify why that was the case and figure out what might work better for them. They will likely need some motivation to be able to get back into rehab.They should be reminded that it is never too late to get sober and live a healthy life. For some people, it can feel otherwise, based on their age, or how many times they may have relapsed, but the reality is every moment you’re alive is another chance. Professional help is always available. All one needs to do is reach out.

This is something that can’t be overemphasized. Users tend to feel a void of self-worth when they’re in active addiction. They feel an overwhelming amount of guilt and shame about their addiction and all that it entails. But they need to be told that they’re worth it. And it is worth giving rehab another chance.

They need to believe that this is the time it works – this is the time they succeed at it. Clearly, it must be exhausting going in and out of rehab, trying to get sober, but failing. It is imaginable how one might want to give up after that. But one more try and it could be the successful one.
There is no alternative anyway. One can’t give up hope and live with an addiction for the rest of the days. Addiction can take us to the depths of despair and indeed becomes a matter of life and death.

One thing that really helps in this process is knowing about other people’s struggles and their paths to recovery. Addiction is lonely, and it might feel like nobody understands you. Drug rehab (which includes group therapy) provides that support and perspective needed to recover. As hard as it might be, the first step is to admit defeat and muster the strength to give it another chance, and if done the right way, success is within reach.

Alcoholism in Females

Historically, alcoholism has been a health issue that is more prevalent in men as compared to women. Men have always consumed more alcohol in previous generations. But this appears to be changing of late. Biologically speaking, women are more prone to alcoholism compared to men based on their body compositions – female drinkers tend to experience adverse effects and develop alcohol-related addictions more quickly than their male counterparts.

The changing social norms are playing a role in this development. It is becoming more acceptable for women of all ages to drink. This has reached alarming proportions, to the point that the health epidemic of women and alcoholism that is impacting millions of American families.

At least one statistic here is good news – it has been found that women are also more likely to seek treatment for alcoholism than men. There are several factors for that. It is more socially acceptable for women to be open and honest with their feelings than it is for men, which facilitates the process of getting help and being treated. Women also tend to be more responsible about alcoholism given its obvious impact on pregnancy. They are very careful about protecting their family and cite that as their primary reason for seeking treatment.

Ethnic background plays a role in how likely it is for someone to develop alcoholism

Binge drinking for women is defined as 4 or more drinks in less than a 2-hour period. This activity is becoming increasingly common. It was reported in a recent study that around 40 percent of White women, over 10 percent of Hispanic women, and less than 10 percent of black women were found to binge drink. Women who binge drink are at an increased risk of alcohol abuse and alcoholism, liver damage, dehydration, more likely to be subjected to sexual assault, more prone to reckless and risky behavior, and most critically, have a higher likelihood of suffering from alcohol poisoning, leading to death. Not all binge drinking females are alcoholics, but those who binge drink are more likely to become so, especially if it continues for an extended period of time. Ethnic background plays a role in how likely it is for someone to develop alcoholism. A study has shown that 71 percent of white women become heavy drinkers at some point in their lives, along with 47 percent of black women, 47 percent of Hispanic women, and 37 percent of Asian women.

Women are also more likely to suffer from a number of unique alcohol-related health risks that do not impact their male counterparts. The most critical among them is breast cancer. It has been found that women who consume large amounts of alcohol are at an increased risk of breast cancer (two drinks per day increase the risk by 1%, 6 or more drinks increases the risk by 4%). Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a well-known major alcohol-induced complication of pregnancy (occurring at the rate of 1 in 10 pregnant women drink alcohol and 1 in 50 pregnant women binge drink). Other health risks, while not exclusive to women, include alcoholic hepatitis, heart disease, brain damage, mental health issues, fatty liver, and various cancers.

Alcoholism & Social Media

An overwhelming number of people use social media on a daily basis all over the world. It has tremendous reach and impact and what circulates there finds its imprints in the lives of almost everyone. Alcohol-related content has among the highest circulation/readership on the internet. Given its vast implications, you find such content to be almost ubiquitous online. This ranges from proper advertisements of liquor to individuals posting selfies while consuming alcohol to influencers/bloggers advertently or inadvertently promoting lifestyles where alcohol is prevalent.

From the outset, all such content appears to be harmless, and continuous exposure also plays a role in our desensitization towards it. However, research has shown that posting alcohol-related content on social media is associated with high rates of alcohol consumption, cravings, and alcohol addiction. More studies are suggesting that these messages may be powerful enough to influence a person’s drinking habits. A recent study found that people who were shown Facebook ads promoting beer were more likely to indulge in an alcoholic beverage than those who viewed bottled water ads. Another study showed that alcohol-related messaging on social media primed people to think about alcohol which can influence them to drink. Another major concern is that of underage drinking. It is entirely possible that social media messages may promote underage drinking.

Research has shown that posting alcohol-related content on social media is associated with high rates of alcohol consumption

Direct alcohol advertising on social media is on the rise. Many major liquor companies have increased their digital marketing budget by more than 50 percent every year over the past several years. These ads are getting more creative and as a result, more effective. They are using contests, giveaways, and games to gain new followers and sell more alcohol. Researchers are finding out that such kind of content posted by alcohol companies on social media tends to normalize daily alcohol use and binge drinking. Furthermore, these social media ads are also increasingly targeting women, which is inducing a noticeable cultural shift that includes heavier and more frequent drinking among women. Studies show that heavy drinking among women is up 40 percent in the past 20 years. There is a significantly higher number of women are presenting to ER due to alcohol poisoning.

But it’s not just the ads. Social media users do a lot of alcohol promotion themselves as well. People on social media organize happy hours and parties online, and they share multimedia posts on various social media platforms. These online activities have a significant peer pressure effect on others. As we know that teens and young adults are the heaviest users of social media, and are especially susceptible to this pressure. In a recent study, it was found that brand allegiance increased the odds of being an underage drinker significantly and it was also associated with more frequent and heavier alcohol consumption.

All of this calls for more regulation on social media advertisement. It also calls for a more responsible online behavior on everybody’s part – as an individual and as a social community. Whether it is as someone posting content or consuming it as a user, there is a role we can all play to mitigate this problem.

What Happens When An Addict Fails Treatment Recovery?

Ideally, all addiction patients who go through the recovery process will recover from their disease and never relapse. Unfortunately, the world is not perfect, and many times, patients relapse. After a relapse, many addiction patients may find it very difficult to return to the recovery process. However, it is important to remember than many people experience relapse, and it is never too late, nor is a patient ever too far gone to begin the recovery process again.

One of the most challenging things for a patient to do is face their family and mend broken relationships. Restoring broken relationships with the family is an important step in ensuring the addict has a strong support system to help with rehabilitation. Often, it is helpful for the addict and family to have an unbiased person facilitating the initial conversations. Many families do not fully understand addiction, and in some cases, may actually be enabling the addict in their disease.

Another step to successful recovery includes creating healthy boundaries within the family. This can be everything from financial boundaries, boundaries in what is discussed about treatment and the addict’s disease, and understanding sensitive topics. Every family is different, so these boundaries may differ. However, all addicts need boundaries to help them in their recovery. If things go back to exactly the way they were, they may run the risk of relapse again. This is also why it is also important for addicts to seek out support groups aside from their families who may better understand their situation such as Alcoholics Anonymous or similar groups.

It is important for addicts who have failed treatment to remember that as long as they are willing to try again, it is a misstep, not a failure. Many people in the world have relapsed multiple times. The beauty of addiction treatment programs is they always offer a place for addicts to start when they are ready to deal with their disease.

Typically, people who follow the rehabilitation program steps will have success in remaining sober. However, relapse usually occurs when one or more of the steps is not followed. If treatment recovery fails, the addict, the family, and the rehabilitation center need to figure out where the breakdown was, so relapse does not occur again. In some cases, it may be that the addict was skipping appoints, or reverted to an old friend group, and in other cases, it may be that the addict’s family was enabling them.

There is a multitude of reasons why treatment recover fails. But, the important thing to remember is there is always time to start again. When an addict and their family are committed to fighting addiction, there is hope. Many rehabilitation centers encompass treatment for the patient, along with education for the family. Addiction is a terrifying disease and can do a lot of harm to a person’s life. It may take several tries before successful treatment occurs. The most important thing is to remember never to give up hope. There is always help right around the corner.

Keys to Successful Drug Addiction Recovery

Drug addiction recovery will look different for each person because all people are unique. Some people may need a stronger emphasis on certain parts of the recovery, and some people may struggle more with other parts. While drug addiction recovery is unique for each person, there are a few key factors that can benefit all people undergoing drug addiction recovery.

First off, typically the longer a treatment program is, the more successful it will be. This especially applies to those addicts who are deep in their addiction. Addiction occurs because neuro pathways in the brain have changed to make the addict need a drug. Every time the addict uses his or her substance of choice, those pathways are reinforced and become even harder to change. Therefore, a person who has been suffering from addiction for many years may benefit from a more extended treatment program than someone who is a new user. Some research has found that programs over 90 days offer the best chance for success.

It is also important for the person undergoing recovery treatment to have a strong network of people who understand their struggle. While healthy family and friend relationships are key to help an addict’s recovery last, it is equally as important for an addict to feel they have a network of people who understand what they have been through. Treatment programs that encompass a full lifestyle change versus solely focusing on no longer using typically have the best results.

While outside influences and support groups are important, at the end of the day, the addict is the most important part of drug addiction recovery. Patients need to be willing to put themselves first, to show up to all meetings, get a sponsor, go to family and individual therapy, re-learn how to manage money and be a productive member of society, and ultimately forgive themselves. Many patients end up relapsing because the guilt and shame they feel are just too much to bear. A key part of drug addiction recovery success is rooted in forgiveness. Forgiveness allows the addict to put themselves first and take the necessary steps to maintain their recovery and avoiding relapse.

There is no shortcut to a successful drug recovery. Patients and families must be willing to put in the work, both in the short term and the long term, to ensure the person suffering from addiction can stay sober. The most important thing is for an addict to undergo recovery for themselves. They need to remember it is ok to prioritize their recovery process, whether that means meetings every day, or therapy, or getting a whole new group of friends. Following the recovery process without taking any shortcuts is key to remaining sober.

Drug addiction recovery is not a one size fits all. Some people may stay in a treatment program for a few months, while others may remain for a year. Each person’s circumstance and needs are different. It is key to find a recovery program that focuses on creating a customized treatment plan. For this reason, it is also important for addicts not to compare themselves to others and to never lose hope. While recovery will not be the same for everyone, having a strong support system, sticking to the program, and forgiving oneself are all necessary keys for an addict to have a successful recovery.

What is a Functioning Addict?

Most people hear the term “addict” and immediately picture someone who is down and out. They imagine someone so addicted to their substance of choice that they may have lost their home and be living on the streets. Or someone involved in a life of crime, and maybe they have even been in and out of prison. While this is the reality for many addicts, there is another kind of addict called a “functioning addict.”

The term “functioning addict” is a bit of a misnomer. While yes, functioning addicts are typically able to maintain their jobs or losing all their money, they are not fully functioning people. The typical day of a functioning addict may start with a drink in the morning, and barely making it through the workday until they have a few more drinks when they get home. Functioning addicts are typically absent from their role in the family. They are removed from social groups and tend to keep to themselves.

While this may not cause physical harm, it can adversely affect the family unit and friendships.
Friends and family of an addict need to understand that addiction is a disease, even when it is in the form of a functioning addict. Often, people may look at a functioning addict and assume they simply do not want to get help or do not care to remain involved in their family and friend groups. However, functioning addicts are suffering from a disease that they may not be able to heal from on their own.

There are actual physical brain changes that occur in the brain of a functioning addict. Typically drugs and alcohol cause a dopamine release in the brain. After this pattern is repeated multiple times, as is the case with an addict, the brain stores the memory that using a specific substance will make the whole body feel better, even though the substance is harmful. The dopamine release is so powerful, it makes it very difficult for the addict to find happiness or joy from anything other than the substance to which they are addicted. The more a person uses a substance to feel better, the stronger the neuro connections in the brain become that drive the person to desire the substance.

One of the important parts of addiction treatment is building new neuropathways the re-teach the brain how to find pleasure in something other than the addict’s substance of choice. It is also important that addicts learn to avoid triggers, and when they do encounter triggers, learn healthier ways of dealing with them. Functioning addicts may be able to participate in most day to day activities. However, their lives are still negatively affected by substances. Many functioning addicts can find outpatient treatment, which can help them regain control of their lives. Addiction is a challenging disease to heal from without help. Fortunately, there are many resources available to those living with this disease.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Many people who suffer from a variety of substance abuse issues also suffer from some kind of mental illness. This is called dual diagnosis because the person suffers from multiple illnesses. The Journal of the American Medical Association states that the number of people suffering from mental illness who also suffer from some kind of substance abuse is as high as 50 %. Oftentimes mental illness can lead to substance abuse, which in turn, makes the mental illness even more difficult to deal with. People who suffer from dual diagnosis should seek treatment for both illnesses, not just one.

When a person suffers from a dual diagnosis, it is important to treat both illnesses at the same time. This typically creates better outcomes for the patient. Focusing on only one illness at a time can end up leading to relapse. Ideally, patients should be treated for both illnesses from the same center because it allows for a more comprehensive and harmonious plan. Facilities such as Pacific Bay Recovery offer such treatment plans.

When people notice these symptoms and feelings are becoming a part of everyday life, it may be time to seek help
Patients who are treated at Pacific Bay Recovery go through a process to identify the root issues in their dual diagnosis. Individualized programs are created for each patient because no two diagnoses manifest exactly the same in different people. Those suffering from dual diagnosis typically benefit greatly from individual and family therapy, behavioral therapy, and relapse prevention.

While dual diagnosis can include any combination of substance abuse and mental health issues, the most common mental health issues seen are anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. While mental health issues do not directly cause addiction, and addiction does not directly cause mental health issues, the two together make one another worse. Oftentimes, people will use substances to self medicate. Which, in turn, makes their mental health issues worsen.

Many people are ashamed of substance abuse or mental health illnesses. This can lead to denial which makes treatment and diagnosis even harder. For this reason, it is important to look out for signs that a person may be suffering from dual diagnosis, and remind them that it is ok to ask for help. Some of these signs include an inability to lower substance use, feeling guilty about substance use, substances causing issues in life, feeling hopeless, concentration problems, poor sleep, racing thoughts, irritability, and always feeling on edge. Many people experience these symptoms every so often. However, when people notice these symptoms and feelings are becoming a part of everyday life, it may be time to seek help.

Dual diagnosis is not easy to treat. It typically requires a very personalized approach where both problems are treated at the same time. Therapy is one of the most important components for treating dual diagnosis. Methods for treating dual diagnosis include coping skills, educating the patient on their dual diagnosis, learning better decision-making strategies, identifying and avoiding triggers, and social skills training. It is very important that those people suffering from dual diagnosis have a strong support system at home to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle after treatment has concluded.

Prescription Drug Treatment

Overcoming prescription drug addiction is one of the most difficult things a person can do. For this reason, it is important to have a team of professionals helping along the way. Prescription drug addiction can negatively affect all aspects of a person’s life, from the ability to hold a job to the ability to maintain healthy relationships. People become addicted to prescription drugs for a wide variety of reasons, such as obtaining the drugs from their own doctor or taking the drugs without a prescription. Regardless of what started the addiction, those who find themselves addicted to prescription drugs should trust professionals to help.

While there are a wide variety of prescription drugs that people abuse, the most common include opiates, stimulants, and sedatives. Oftentimes, there are signs that a person is on the path to addiction, such as, “losing” prescriptions or asking for refills early, visiting multiple doctors, mood swings, and irritability when drugs are not available to name a few. Addiction to different prescription drugs causes different symptoms in the patient. For example, stimulant abuse can manifest as high blood pressure, hostility, and irregular heartbeat. Sedative abuse can manifest as confusion or memory problems. Opiate abuse manifests as low blood pressure, depression, or gastrointestinal problems.

Addiction to different prescription drugs causes different symptoms in the patient
Left untreated, prescription abuse can lead to mental and emotional health problems, issues with keeping a job or with the law, and in the worst cases, prescription addiction can lead to death. While some people take prescription drugs that are not prescribed to them, the majority of prescription drug addicts began taking the medication in the direction of their doctor. Addiction has been shown to have a genetic component. Therefore, some people are more predisposed to addiction than others. It is difficult to know for sure who these people are prior to prescribing them medications. Many of these medications are prescribed after surgery, or to treat pain. Experiencing the “good feelings” that come with the drugs in addition to the bodybuilding up tolerance to the drug, can lead people to take higher and higher doses over time. Thus, leading to drug addiction. In short, most people do not set out to become addicted to prescription drugs. It is a by-product of them following their doctors’ instructions.

Prescription drug abuse is not just a problem in adults, it is a problem in teens as well. People who start abusing prescription drugs as teens are more likely to use other substances as well. Prescription drug abuse is very difficult for a person to overcome on his or her own. Pacific Bay Recovery utilizes a variety of approaches, including a support team, to help people overcome their addiction. Those who choose to seek help at Pacific Bay Recovery will benefit from the support team, along with various medications to help with withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.

Those who are interested in getting help for their prescription drug addiction should contact Pacific Bay Recovery at (858) 263-9700. Complimentary and confidential evaluations are always offered so patients can understand the methods Pacific Bay Recovery utilizes to help those addicted to prescription drugs.