effects of coming off alcohol

Managing the Effects of Coming Off Alcohol with Medical Detox

If only there was a way to magically bypass the detox and withdrawal phase of recovery. But until some brilliant inventor creates a magic pill that can allow a person to leapfrog over the suffering of detox, there is the medically supervised detox, an absolute necessity when alcohol is the substance involved.

It is widely understood that people with an alcohol dependency who want to enter recovery should undergo a medically supervised detox. There is good reason for this guidance, as the effects of coming off alcohol can produce highly unpredictable, even dangerous, symptoms. Trained detox specialists are prepared to intervene should such symptoms arise and result in a medical emergency.

About Alcoholism

Alcoholism continues to lead the rehab admissions in America. While the opioid crisis has captured the national headlines, in reality alcohol addiction represents 80% of the individuals suffering from a substance use disorder, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Alliance.

There is a strong genetic component to the disease, with over 50% of Americans having a family history of alcoholism. In addition to genetics, neuroscience research is beginning to identify the chemical effects of alcohol on the brain structures. Using MRI and PET imaging, scientists are able to literally see the impact of alcoholism on the human brain.  According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a method called event-related potentials (ERP) has allowed researchers to identify markers that appear in the brains of alcoholics and their children, becoming a useful tool for identifying individuals at risk for alcoholism.

Other potential risk factors for developing an alcohol use disorder include alcohol being introduced at an early age, psychological factors, such as a co-occurring mental health disorder, poorly formed coping skills or a lack of resilience, or stressful life events.

Importance of a Medical Detox

All too often, someone wrestling with an alcohol dependency may hit a low point and impulsively decide to stop drinking on his or her own. Attempting to undergo alcohol detox alone is a serious mistake, as sudden, unpredictable acute withdrawal symptoms can emerge, requiring immediate medical attention. Medical detox specialists possess the training to quickly intervene should severe withdrawal symptoms suddenly occur.

During a medical detox, a specially trained detox team will have the client’s intake data available that can prepare them for any potential problem. This information helps to alert the detox team if there is a health condition or a history of acute withdrawal syndrome. Throughout the detox process the team will monitor the client’s vital signs so they can identify any serious symptoms.

The delirium tremens (DTs) is a very serious development that constitutes a medical emergency. While the DTs only affect a small percentage of individuals going through alcohol detox, the mortality rate for those who do is about 5%-15%, the need for medical attention should it emerge is essential. Symptoms of the DTs include severe mental confusion, tremors, fever, high blood pressure, hallucinations, and seizures.

During medical detox, specialists will administer medications as needed to dramatically reduce many of the common alcohol withdrawal symptoms, as well as provide emotional support. The goal of a medical detox is to use medical interventions to guide the client safely through the withdrawals with the least amount of discomfort, while preparing the individual to transition into the treatment phase of recovery.

Factors that Influence Withdrawal Severity

Certain factors can determine the level of severity of the withdrawal symptoms, which can range from mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms to severe. These factors include:

  • Length of history of the alcohol use disorder
  • The level of alcohol consumed daily
  • Having a history of alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS)
  • Age of individual
  • A coexisting mental health disorder
  • General health status of individual

Withdrawal Symptoms and Detox Timeline

Alcohol detox needs to be viewed as a necessary step in achieving freedom from alcohol addiction. It is the gatekeeper to recovery, so it must be endured before one can proceed into addiction treatment. Detox is the most unpleasant part of recovery, where the body attempts to adjust to the sudden absence of alcohol, something that results in unpleasant physical withdrawal symptoms that begin within 6-12 hours. Again, alcohol detox should only be attempted under the care and supervision of a trained medical detox team.

In most cases, withdrawal symptoms will be unpleasant, but not life threatening. However, for someone with a long history of excessive alcohol consumption or other risk factors, serious complications can arise. Withdrawal symptoms generally fall into one of two categories based on the severity of the alcohol addiction or dependency.

Common Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Sweating
  • Tremors of the hands
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Body shakes
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe mental confusion
  • Seizures
  • Death

Alcohol detox occurs in three stages—the emergent stage, the peak stage, and the subsiding stage—and is typically completed within 7 days.

Managing the Effects of Coming Off Alcohol

While the unavoidable effects of coming off alcohol is an unpleasant one, here are some methods that can help to minimize the discomfort:

  • Hydrate. While the body is detoxing electrolyte levels can benefit from drinking fluids, which helps combat nausea and dehydration.
  • Distract. Depending on the severity of the withdrawal symptoms, it may help if you can take a walk, take a brisk shower, listen to music or a podcast, or watch TV.
  • Eat healthy. Increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables to help balance blood sugar levels.
  • Holistic. Try deep breathing techniques, aromatherapy using oils that reduce cravings and help with detoxification, a YouTube yoga class, or a meditation app.

Riding out the detox process is just that, so brace yourself for waves of cravings that will soon dissipate, remind yourself of the reasons you seek sobriety, and know that the detox process is a very short-lived inconvenience.

Medically Assisted Treatment for Alcoholism

The medication naltrexone, under the brand names Vivitrol or ReVia, can be very helpful to individuals with a more severe alcohol use disorder. Naltrexone works as an opiate antagonist in the brain, which has been found to help recovering alcoholics remain sober when prescribed along with therapy and other protective measures. After the individual has completed alcohol detox, they are prescribed a 3-12 month regimen of naltrexone to help the individual stabilize in early recovery. Over time alcohol cravings will diminish and relapse risk can be significantly mitigated. Naltrexone is not intended as a permanent medication, and should be closely monitored through continued engagement in recovery efforts.

Treatment for Alcoholism

After detox is completed, a structured addiction treatment program will guide individuals through the process of changing disordered addiction-related behaviors and habits. Recovering from alcoholism requires an extended period of treatment to replace those self-destructive patterns and acquire new behaviors and recovery skills that help support sobriety. Rehab is available in an outpatient format, which is appropriate for mild to moderate alcohol use disorder, or a residential format, which is appropriate for moderate to severe alcoholism.

While in treatment the individual will participate in a variety of treatment activities and therapies that approach all angles of recovery, including:

  • Psychotherapy. Individual therapy, using various evidence-based psychotherapies, helps the individual work through any underlying emotional issues or past traumas that may be a factor in the alcoholism.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT guides individuals toward adopting new thought and behavior patterns that replace the disordered patterns that have culminated in alcohol abuse through addict behaviors.
  • Group therapy. Group sessions offer peers in recovery opportunities to share about their personal experiences and challenges, fostering an essential source of mutual peer support.
  • Family-based therapy. Family-focused therapy helps family members process their frustrations, mend hurt feelings, and discuss the fears around the disease of alcoholism and how it has impacted the family.
  • MAT. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) using naltrexone can support recovery and help sustain sobriety by managing cravings.
  • Relapse prevention planning. Each individual will examine his or her unique triggers or stressors that could potentially disrupt recovery and lead to a relapse.
  • Meetings. 12-step meetings, or some form of alternative programming, can provide additional social support, as well as opportunities for establishing new sober friendships.
  • Holistic therapies. There are complementary therapies, such as yoga classes, massage therapy, acupuncture, mindfulness training, and art therapy that can help the individual in recovery regulate stress.
  • Nutritional counseling and exercise.  Establishing new lifestyle habits that are focused on wellness are incorporated into the program to help promote physical and psychological healing.

Life in Recovery

Taking that first step is momentous, putting you on the path to reclaiming your life and fulfilling the dreams that had been lost in the fog of addiction. Life will begin to improve in a multitude of ways, especially following that first year of recovery. But even in that first year of adjusting to a sober lifestyle, improvements in sleep quality, your physical appearance, energy, cognitive and memory functions, and overall mood will spur you to stick tight to the plan. Stay in outpatient therapy, participate in a recovery community, and try sober living if the home environment is not supportive to your recovery goals. Do whatever it takes because life is so worth the effort.

Ken Seeley Communities Alcohol Recovery Program in Palm Springs

Ken Seeley Communities is a leader in the field of addiction recovery. Founder Ken Seeley is a renowned professional interventionist who was a staple on the A&E series, Intervention. His recovery complex includes all facets of the recovery continuum, including intervention services, medical detox, outpatient rehab programming, residential rehab programming, and sober living housing. If you are ready to tackle the effects of coming off alcohol in a safe, supportive environment, please reach out to our team at (877) 744-0502.

 

alcohol and social anxiety

The Link Between Alcohol and Social Anxiety

When considering what may drive someone to use alcohol as a soothing panacea for managing mental health disorders it is helpful to gain a deeper understanding of the connection between social anxiety and alcohol abuse. It isn’t difficult to identify the causal nature of this link, considering the effects of social anxiety on a person. For individuals who suffer from social anxiety, the intense level of discomfort in social situations can lead to an array of physical symptoms. These include a racing heart, spiked cortisol and adrenaline production, palpitations, sweating, shaking, and nausea. Alcohol can behave as a very quick antidote to these symptoms, producing a calming, relaxing effect in moments.

But as with all substances that produce chemical changes in the brain, alcohol can create a whole host of additional problems on top of the social anxiety it is supposed to be helping. The partnership between alcohol and social anxiety becomes symbiotic, that is the effects of one enhance the effects of the other, as a vicious cycle. Alcohol abuse can enhance the anxiety symptoms, as well as contribute to depression and many negative consequences in one’s life.

Why Do Those With Social Anxiety Use Alcohol?

Someone with social anxiety disorder typically has an intense fear of social events and interactions. This can include fearing simple activities like eating a meal in public or something associated with an extreme fear of being judged, such as public speaking. It has been found that 20% of those who suffer from social anxiety disorder also present with a comorbid alcohol use disorder, according to the article by Book and Randall, “Social Anxiety Disorder and Alcohol Use.” Alcohol can help these individuals relax in social settings, reducing the anxiety symptoms associated with the social phobia.

For those who dread the prospect of being scrutinized or criticized publically, turning to alcohol can be the last thing they do before leaving the house. Self-medicating fears away is only going to provide a temporary Band-Aid as more and more of the substance will inevitably be needed to relax.

Signs of Alcohol Dependency

Alcohol dependency comes in stealthily, like a thief in the night attempting to rob one of everything they hold dear. While the alcohol started out as a crutch for managing social anxiety, over time increased tolerance resulted in higher levels of alcohol consumption. There are some specific signs that alcohol abuse has evolved into a disorder. These signs include:

  • Being unable to control the levels of alcohol consumption. No shut-off capability
  • Turn to alcohol first thing in the morning
  • Hiding alcohol in the house or at work, or lying about alcohol use
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Excessive absences from work or classes
  • Decline in work or academic performance
  • Obsess about getting alcohol, having enough on hand, anticipating drinking
  • Try to quit alcohol but cannot stop
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms when try to quit

Treatment for Social Anxiety

Treating social anxiety will involved a combination of targeted psychotherapy and the use of medication. The psychotherapy best suited for treating social anxiety disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In addition, exposure therapies are also helpful in assisting individuals in overcoming their fear of social situations.

Antidepressants such as Paxil or Zoloft may be effective in managing the symptoms of social anxiety disorder. In addition, other types of antidepressants, such as the SNRI venlafaxine (Effexor XR) has been shown to be effective for this anxiety disorder. Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax or Valium may also help reduce feelings of anxiety in a stressful situation, however these drugs have a high propensity for abuse and addiction.

Treatment for an Alcohol Use Disorder

When seeking help for an alcohol use disorder the first step in the process of recovery will be the detoxification process. Alcohol detox should always be conducted in the safe and supportive medical detox environment. Alcohol detox can suddenly introduce serious health risks, such as seizures or the delirium tremens, so detox should never be done without appropriate supervision.

Once the detox is completed, it is time to transition to treatment for the alcohol and social anxiety disorders. Both disorders should be treated simultaneously using psychotherapy, such as CBT and motivational enhancement therapy, medication, 12-step programming, and adjunctive activities that can enhance the conventional treatments. These might include recreational therapy, mindfulness, EMDR therapy, yoga, and hypnotherapy.

Ken Seeley Communities Treats Dual Diagnosis in Palm Springs

Ken Seeley Communities is an integrated alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment center serving Coachella Valley in California. At Ken Seeley Communities, great lengths are taken to match the needs of each individual client based on their particular substance of abuse or co-occurring mental health condition. For alcohol and social anxiety, a comprehensive approach to treating the co-occurring disorders would involve evidence-based therapies that are targeted toward social anxiety disorder. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and exposure-based therapies. The alcohol use disorder should be treated simultaneously for the best recovery outcome. For more information about our recovery services, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

alcohol symptoms next day

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms Next Day and Beyond

Alcohol poisoning is a potentially fatal event that occurs when an individual consumes a high level of alcohol over a short period of time. The result of binge drinking on college campuses has been well document, with many tragic deaths occurring as a result of the dangerous drinking behavior. Alcohol poisoning doesn’t have to be related to partying college kids, however. There is the potential for anyone to drink to excess, either intentionally or accidentally, through chronic over drinking, which could result in a devastating outcome.

It is important to recognize alcohol poisoning symptoms, next day effects, and long-term alcohol abuse consequences. Alcohol has the potential to upend one’s life, leading to substantial negative health effects and serious ramifications generally. Avoiding the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption requires knowledge of, and a healthy respect for, the risks of drinking.

About Alcohol Poisoning

The human body is only capable of metabolizing a certain amount of alcohol. The liver is able to process about one ounce of liquor per hour, meaning that drinking in excess of that amount will result in the non-metabolized alcohol accumulating in the blood. When the liver, bloodstream, and body tissues become overwhelmed by excessive alcohol consumption, the alcohol causes toxicity.

The guidelines established by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction state that women should drink no more than three drinks in a given day or seven drinks per week. Men should not exceed 4 drinks in a given day or 14 drinks per week. Blood alcohol concentration can reach the legal limit of .08 g/dl after a woman drinks 4 drinks in a two hour period, or a man drinks 5 drinks in that same time span.

When alcohol toxicity occurs the body’s ability to metabolize it has been overridden, leading to very serious potential health risks. The individual will experience the following signs:

  • Low body temperature
  • Irregular breathing
  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Incoherent
  • Coma

In the event of alcohol poisoning, it is considered a life- threatening emergency. While waiting for the first responders to arrive, keep the individual in an upright position and attempt to keep them awake. Do not leave the individual alone. Once at the hospital, the individual will be treated based on severity. The individual will likely need intravenous hydration and glucose. They may require a breathing tube until normal breathing is restored. In some instances, the stomach will need to be pumped to quickly eliminate the remaining alcohol contents in the system.

Untreated alcohol poisoning can result in asphyxiation due to the individual vomiting and not being able to expel it. Other serious after affects include possible brain damage, hypothermia, or hypoglycemia. Alcohol poisoning will have impacted the liver, pancreas, and stomach, causing inflammation. The alcohol poisoning symptoms next day may resemble a severe hangover as the body attempts to stabilize.

Prevention of Alcohol Use Disorders

Anyone who has experienced binge drinking, even without reaching a state of alcohol poisoning, can see how extreme the after affects are. The obvious short-term affects include nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, stomach distress, increased risk of accidents, DUI, or unsafe sex. In addition, alcohol abuse at a young age is a risk factor for eventually developing an alcohol use disorder later on.

Practicing safe drinking practices from early adulthood is key to avoiding the potential of addiction. Being cognizant of the temptations to party in college and setting self-boundaries for participating in social drinking is important in establishing self-moderation and control with regard to drinking and the affects of alcohol abuse.

If there is a mental health issue present, it is important to address it and get some therapy. Anxiety and depression are highly prevalent mental health conditions that can drive alcohol abuse. In an attempt to minimize psychological suffering, alcohol can be used as a crutch, which can develop into an alcohol use disorder over time.

The Importance of Getting Help for an Alcohol Use Disorder

Ignoring an alcohol use disorder is never advisable. Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive, relapsing brain disease that is relentless in its trajectory. Ignoring the burgeoning problem will only allow the alcohol issue to continue to worsen, so delaying treatment or counseling is not productive.

The reasons why someone becomes alcoholic is still not fully understood. Science has not yet determined why one heavy drinker becomes addicted or dependent on alcohol and another does not. Genetic predisposition, family history, personality traits, individual biology, and life events can all play a part in the development of an alcohol use disorder. When an individual has experienced enough alcohol poisoning symptoms, next day and beyond, they will hopefully elect to get help. For the best recovery outcomes it is best to seek professional help when an unhealthy pattern of alcohol consumption becomes evident.

Medically Supervised Detox

Before entering a rehab for alcoholism it is first necessary to complete a medically supervised detox. Alcohol detox can turn potentially dangerous, necessitating trained detox specialists who are able to quickly respond if withdrawal symptoms become erratic. In most cases, the alcohol detoxification segment of the recovery process will take about a week to complete.

During detox, the brain and central nervous system will respond to the absence of alcohol by becoming destabilized. As the body attempts to normalize the individual will go through withdrawals, the unpleasant symptoms that will vary in severity depending on how long a history the individual has with heavy drinking, the general health and age of the person, and whether there is a coexisting mental health disorder.

Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Sweating
  • Shakiness
  • Hand tremors
  • Chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

To help manage the symptoms, the detox team will provide benzodiazepines and other medications.

Comprehensive Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

To treat an alcohol use disorder there are two types of rehabs available, outpatient and inpatient, or residential. The outpatient option is less intensive, lower cost, and more flexible, but it is only appropriate for mild to moderate alcohol use disorders. The residential option provides an extended stay at a treatment center where a broad schedule of therapeutic activities will consume much of the day. This includes psychotherapy, group therapy, medication management where appropriate, addiction education, and 12-step programming.

Ken Seeley Communities Provides Early Intervention Services and Rehab for Alcoholism in Palm Springs, CA

Ken Seeley Communities wants to make a difference in the prevalence of binge drinking and alcohol abuse by providing services to help individuals get help earlier rather than later. If your loved one is engaging in dangerous binge drinking behaviors, consider contacting Ken Seeley Communities for our expert and renowned intervention services. Ken Seeley was featured on the hit A&E series, Intervention, as well as being interviewed by major networks about his effective intervention techniques.

Ken Seeley Communities provides all aspects of alcohol addiction treatment, covering the spectrum of services including interventions, outpatient rehab, residential rehab, dual diagnosis treatment, sober living housing, and continuing care services. Our focus is on early intervention and comprehensive treatment, all within the context of a compassionate and respectful treatment environment. For more details about our intervention services and recovery programs, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

Dual Diagnosis Alcohol and Depression

Dual Diagnosis Alcohol and Depression

A dual diagnosis occurs when an individual is struggling with both a substance use disorder and a coexisting mental health disorder. Dual diagnosis is a complex and prevalent condition that impacts about 25% of those with a drug or alcohol addiction, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Of those, the most common is the dual diagnosis alcohol and depression combination.

There are two ways the dual diagnosis alcohol and depression can develop. In some cases, the individual is experience a major depressive episode and may turn to alcohol as a means of self-medicating their emotional pain away. Over time, the tolerance to alcohol increases, resulting in more excessive drinking and potentially alcohol addiction. This is a situation where depression was a precursor to alcoholism. In others, the individual develops alcoholism first. As the consequences that result from the alcohol addiction mount, depression can set in, indicating that alcoholism can trigger a depressive disorder. In both scenarios, the dual diagnosis alcohol and depression is the outcome.

This particular dual diagnosis is a particularly dangerous one. Because alcohol is a depressant, and can cause major devastation in all aspects of one’s life, when co-occurring with depression there is a higher risk of suicide. In fact, suicide rates among alcoholics are exorbitantly high. According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, among alcoholics, the lifetime risk of suicide is 10%-15%, and that, in fact, depression and alcoholism were comorbid in 85% of 100 cases of completed suicide.

Treatment for individuals who present with this dual diagnosis of alcohol and depression will need to be provided through a specialized dual diagnosis provider where both disorders will be treated simultaneously for the best recovery outcome. These programs include psychiatric expertise on staff that are trained to respond to the issues that may emerge during detoxification and rehab.

Signs of the Dual Diagnosis Alcohol and Depression Co-Occurrence

The symptoms of both disorders, depressive disorder and alcohol dependency, will be evident in individuals who have developed this dual diagnosis. These symptoms include:

Depression

  • Sadness, despair, hopelessness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of desire to participate in usual activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Slowed motor and cognitive functioning
  • Inappropriate feelings of shame or guilt
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts

Alcoholism

  • Tolerance increases causing increased alcohol consumption
  • Experiences blackouts
  • Increasing time spent thinking about, obtaining alcohol, and recovering from drinking
  • Continue to drink despite negative consequences
  • Secretive behavior, hiding alcohol, lying about how much is being consumed
  • Efforts to quit or cut back are ineffective
  • Physical signs include bloating, glassy eyes, ruddy complexion
  • Withdrawal signs commence when alcohol is not available

Characteristics of Alcoholism and Coexisting Depression

The fallout for this dual diagnosis can be exceptional. Struggling with both depression and alcohol dependency can result in a slew of negative consequences. This can be due to the increased impulsivity of the alcoholic, an increase in risk-taking behaviors, and neglecting obligations, among other causes.

Consequences of the dual diagnosis of alcoholism and depression might include:

  • Loss of job
  • Divorce or interpersonal relationship issues
  • Loss of custody
  • Financial consequences due to job loss
  • Legal problems, such as getting a DUI
  • Health problems, such as pancreatitis, liver disease, heart disease, cancer
  • Accidents that result in injury to self or others, or damaged property

Individuals with a dual diagnosis of alcoholism and depression should not ignore the need for professional help. Loved ones who recognize these signs and symptoms are encouraged to seek out treatment for the individual.

Suicide Prevention

One of the more devastating consequences of alcoholism/depression co-occurring disorders is the dramatically increased risk of suicide. Primary care providers are being trained to assess for risk of suicide among patients who are alcohol dependent, hopefully increasing referrals to addiction treatment programs. These patients should be questioned about possible presence of depression symptoms as a way of identifying suicide risk in this group.

Suicide awareness includes recognizing symptoms such as:

  • Prolonged and persistent sadness, signs of hopelessness
  • The individual conveys the opinion that his or her loved ones are better off without them
  • Isolating behaviors
  • Loneliness
  • Successive setbacks that occur, such as relationship problems, loss of employment, financial difficulties
  • Appear to be giving away prized possessions
  • Making end of life arrangements
  • Saying goodbye to loved ones and friends
  • Acquiring the means to commit suicide, such as a firearm, rope, pills

If there is a present danger of suicide, immediately contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.

Comprehensive Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

Treatment for the dual diagnosis will involve a full spectrum of therapeutic interventions that work together in an integrated approach to recovery. These treatment elements include:

Medically supervised detox and withdrawal: Alcohol detox should always be medically supervised, as potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms can suddenly emerge. Detoxification is treated using benzodiazepines and other medications to ease symptoms.

Individual psychotherapy: Therapy is an essential core element for treating both disorders. The therapist will guide the individual to examine sources of emotional pain and help them resolve these. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy helps shift addiction responses toward positive, productive behavioral responses, as well as teaching coping skills.

Group counseling. Group therapy supports peer interaction and is a source for sharing and accountability.

Medication management. Medications for the mental health disorder and/or the alcoholism may include antidepressants and naltrexone.

Relapse Prevention: Individuals create a detailed relapse prevention strategy by identifying specific triggers or situations that could lead to relapse, and response strategies as well.

Continuing care services: Following completion of the program, sober living housing, 12-step group participation, and outpatient counseling are strongly encouraged.

Ken Seeley Communities Provides Expert Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Ken Seeley Communities is a Palm Springs-based addiction and dual diagnosis recovery program. The expert dual diagnosis clinical staff is trained to treat both disorders, alcoholism and depression, concurrently, providing detox, rehab, and sober living transitional housing. Ken Seeley Communities features a unique approach to guiding individuals into recovery, including intervention services and a subsequent continuum of care throughout the recovery process. For more detail about the program, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

 

Help With DTs From Drinking

Help With DTs From Drinking Alcohol

Alcoholism can completely upend a person’s life, as well as negatively impacting the people closest to them. The disease takes on a mind of its own after chemical dependency develops, wiping out any semblance of free will. No matter how desperately someone may desire sobriety, the deeply embedded addiction triggers and behaviors are usually impossible to overcome without professional help.

It is never too late to get needed help for an alcohol use disorder. Even later stage alcoholics can still reverse damage and change their lives, adding years of productivity and enjoyment to their life. However, one of the most strident deterrents to getting treatment for an advanced alcohol use disorder is the fear of going through detox and withdrawal.

True, alcohol detox can be especially daunting, with potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, such as the delirium tremens (DTs) suddenly appearing halfway through the detox process. But in a medical detox there is specialized help with DTs from drinking excessively over a long period of time. These trained detox professionals are fully equipped to manage such serious symptoms, and to guide the individual through safely.

Overcoming Fear of the DTs from Alcoholism

What exactly is the delirium tremens, or the DTs, anyway? Some mistakenly confuse the term “DTs” with the hand tremors or body shakes that can occur in alcohol withdrawal. The DTs is actually considered a very serious health emergency that can emerge during alcohol detox rather unexpectant. The DTs are most common among those who have been heavy drinkers for a long time, impacting about 5% of individuals going through detox. Of those who experience the DTs, 5-15% will die from the condition.

The DTs may come on at or around the third day of detox. However, in some cases, detox may be winding down when, on day seven the sudden symptoms of the DTs begin. Symptoms of the DTs include:

  • Uncontrollable tremors
  • Fever
  • Severe mental confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Extreme anxiety
  • A sense that insects are crawling under the skin
  • Seizures
  • Heart failure

Sometimes the DTs will emerge when an unexpected hospital stay is required of a chronic alcoholic. In the hospital there will be no access to alcohol, meaning the emergence of withdrawal symptoms and possibly the DTs.

Getting Help With DTs From Drinking

While the DTs are a frightening possibility to consider, keeping perspective is key. Not only does it affect only a small percentage of alcoholics going through detox, when an individual undergoes detox in a medically supervised setting, their vital signs will be closely watched for the duration of the detox, and medical interventions are provided to reduce the possibility of seizures. Additionally, the medical detox providers can quickly identify the onset of symptoms and get immediate emergency medical help for the individual.

Getting help with DTs from drinking excessively for an extended period may mean a hospital stay to stabilize the individual and improve the outcome. Treatment will involve benzodiazepines and/or barbiturates or phenobarbital, often using IV infusion for quick relief and stabilization until symptoms subside. Dosing is congruent with the specific withdrawal signs observed, such as delirium, and will incrementally be reduced over a period of several days once the severe symptoms have stabilized.

The Importance of a Medical Detox

It is understandable why someone seeking treatment for alcohol dependence may be anxious about the detox and withdrawal phase of recovery. In fact, fear of alcohol detox can be a significant barrier to getting needed help for overcoming an alcohol use disorder. However, by seeking detox services through a medically supervised program, the individual can rest assured that they will be closely monitored throughout the process.

A medical detox is absolutely necessary for someone with a deeply ingrained alcohol use disorder. This is due to the possibility, no matter how remote, that the person could develop the DTs, which is a serious medical event. The medical detox team is trained to identify the early warning signs of the DTs, allowing them to be proactive in providing necessary emergency interventions.

Because the detox process can include psychological symptoms in addition to the physical symptoms, the trained medical detox specialists can also provide emotional support. This is essential during detox, as many may be tempted to give up and return to drinking just to avoid the emotional discomforts of withdrawal. Having this psychological support helps ensure that the individual safely segues into treatment.

What to Expect in Alcohol Detox

Alcohol detox and withdrawal will involve a wide range of severity, from mild to severe. The intensity of the withdrawal symptoms will be determined by such factors as the length of alcohol abuse history, the usual level of daily alcohol consumption, the individual’s state of health and their age, and whether there is a co-occurring mental health disorder.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms will emerge within 6-12 hours of the last drink. In most cases, alcohol detox will be completed within one week. There are three phases to alcohol detox. These include:

Emerging symptoms: During the early phase of detox, the individual will experience nausea, abdominal pain, insomnia, sweating, and anxiety.

Peak symptoms: The symptoms will peak on days 2-3, and include tremors, high blood pressure, increased body temperature, irregular heart rate, agitation, and mental confusion.

The DTs may emerge on days 3-4 and would involved severe mental confusion, hallucinations, delusions, seizures, shallow breathing, shaking, rapid heart rate, and disorientation.

Subsiding symptoms: Days 5-7 feature declining intensity of symptoms, although some psychological symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance may linger.

Medical Interventions for Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal

Someone with a history of chronic heavy alcohol consumption will benefit from medications that are useful during the detox process, and in early recovery. During alcohol detox there is a risk of seizures, so benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan, or Librium) are routinely prescribed. In addition to helping control the risk for seizures, the benzodiazepine can also help reduce anxiety and insomnia.

In some individuals, gabapentin is useful as an anticonvulsant. This drug can help treat seizures, as well as improve symptoms such as tremors, anxiety, high blood pressure, and nausea. For individuals experiencing psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, an antipsychotic medication can help stabilize them.

Medication Assisted Treatment for Alcoholism Recovery

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be helpful for individuals who have a history of relapsing. For someone with a moderate to severe alcohol use disorder, MAT may help individuals sustain recovery. Once detox has been underway for at least five days the drug naltrexone can be introduced. Naltrexone (Vivitrol, ReVia) is an opioid antagonist, which attaches to the brain’s opioid receptors and can function as an anti-craving medication in early recovery. Over time, the drug may help individuals lost all desire to drink alcohol. Naltrexone is non-narcotic and comes in a time-release injectable or pill form. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, headache, and fatigue.

Transitioning From Detox to Treatment

It is essential to complete detox before beginning to participate in an addiction recovery program. Once stabilized, the individual will embark on an intensive treatment program at a residential rehab center where they will stay for the duration commensurate with the severity of their alcohol addiction. Programs may be one month to one year in length.

Alcoholism is treated using an array of interventions that work together to usher in a new sober lifestyle. To arrive at that goal, one must first overhaul the learned addiction behaviors and develop new health thought and behavior patterns. This is a process that takes time and patience for the new habits to take root. These are taught through such evidence-based approaches as cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, motivation enhancement therapy, and contingency management. Therapy is provided in both individual sessions and in group formats, and may include family members and spouses.

How to Stay Sober in Recovery

Remaining sober will be a lifelong endeavor, requiring sobriety to be one’s number one priority. Without sobriety everything else will fall apart. Achieving a sustained recovery is the result of adopting new coping skills to access in times of distress. These recovery skills may include anger management techniques, stress reduction exercises, conflict resolution skills, and relaxation techniques.

Another helpful source of support are recovery groups, such as A.A. or non-12 step groups like SMART Recovery. These recovery communities offer much needed social support where challenges can be discussed among others with the same types of challenges who also value sobriety. These groups are a good source for making new sober friends and promote accountability to someone other than oneself.

Sober living housing is an excellent way to transition from rehab toward one’s home community, allowing a period of time to reside in a substance-free environment. Sober living offers peer support, accountability to the other roommates and the house rules, and provides a deterrent to relapse by requiring regular drug and alcohol testing.

Embracing a new healthy lifestyle is another predictor of recovery success. Individuals who adopt healthy routines, such as getting regular exercise and eating a nutritious diet, find they begin to care more about their overall wellness, which deters relapse. As health is restored, individuals become more confident and content with their new lives in recovery.

Ken Seeley Communities Offers Comprehensive Treatment for Alcoholism in California

Ken Seeley Communities provides a full spectrum of addiction services, including intervention services, medical detox that includes help from DTs from drinking, addiction treatment and rehabilitation, outpatient therapy, and sober living housing. Specializing in creating fully individualized treatment plans for each and every client, Ken Seeley Communities blends a variety of interventions to align with the client’s unique recovery goals. For more information about our continuum of addiction services, please connect with Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

drugs to treat alcoholism

Drugs To Treat Alcoholism

Anyone who has attempted to quit drinking unsuccessfully understands the powerful grip of alcohol addiction. Alcoholism is a brain disease, a result of the altered brain chemistry and neural pathways that can make it a very daunting and frustrating condition to rise above. While therapy can and does help the alcoholic learn how to break down the deeply engrained addiction behaviors that hold a person captive, it is sometimes not enough to fend off the relentless cravings for alcohol.

In recent years, drugs to treat alcoholism have become available to add additional mettle to the daily battle the recovering alcoholic faces. While recovery from alcoholism requires a comprehensive treatment approach for best outcomes, the medication-assisted treatment for this relentless disease is a welcome treatment element. These drugs are intended as adjunctive measures to further reinforce recovery, and not to be thought of as standalone treatment measures.

Why Is Alcoholism So Hard to Overcome?

Not only can drinking alcohol become addictive, but once addiction or dependency take root, alcoholism can be very difficult—although not impossible!—to overcome. Recovering from alcoholism is very unique to the individual. Some of the same factors that contributed to the addiction in the first place, such as genetics, growing up in a home where alcohol use was prevalent, a history of emotional or physical trauma or abuse, and individual biology, will be issues in recovery.

This means that for some people, beating alcoholism is very challenging. They may have to battle against a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, or mental health issues that keep them dependent on using alcohol for coping with the unpleasant symptoms. For every recovering alcoholic there are the societal pressures to drink, the television commercials and magazine ads that promote alcohol use, and entrenched habits to overcome.

Drugs To Treat Alcoholism

So far, there are three FDA-approved drugs on the market for assisting in alcohol recovery. These include:

  • Disulfiram (Antabuse). Approved in 1951 as a measure to support sobriety in alcoholics, Antabuse acts as a deterrent to drinking. Once the individual is on Antabuse, if they drink they can experience highly unpleasant and even dangerous effects, such as extreme headache, nausea and vomiting, chest pain, heart palpitations, blurred vision, mental confusion, and respiratory difficulty. Knowing that these effects will occur if they drink, the idea is to deter any consideration to drink.
  • Naltrexone (ReVia or Vivitrol). Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist that can block the effects of alcohol in the brain. This results in alcohol not having the usual pleasant effects, instead the individual on naltrexone may feel absolutely nothing when they drink. This in turn reduces alcohol cravings and relapse.
  • Acamprosate (Campral). Campral also works to reduce alcohol cravings and relapse. Additionally, Campral can help minimize the lingering withdrawal symptoms that can persist for months, such as sleep disturbances, edginess, and depression.

These drugs may be prescribed singularly or in combination based on each individual’s unique recovery needs or issues.

Are Drugs to Treat Alcoholism Safe?

When taken under a physician’s supervision, these drugs are generally safe, however there are some side effects that should be noted. Antabuse can have serious health effects, even including heart attack, respiratory failure, coma, and death. For this reason, Antabuse is not recommended for individuals with a history of repeated relapses. Vivitrol, ReVia, and Campral can have side effects such as headache, nausea, headaches, diarrhea, and fatigue.

What Is Comprehensive Treatment for Alcoholism?

Because of the complexity of alcohol dependency, recovery from alcoholism necessitates a multi-modal approach to treatment. Going about beating alcoholism from several different angles offers the best chances at a successful recovery result. There are three primary phases  of alcoholism recovery, including:

 

  • Medical Detox. A medical detox is the first step in the recovery journey, and can be one of the biggest obstacles to initiating treatment for an alcohol use disorder. This is because of the harsh, even dangerous, withdrawal symptoms that arise during detox. For this reason, individuals are cautioned never to approach detox alone without medical supervision. During detox the detox specialists will provide the necessary medications to mitigate many of the withdrawal symptoms, and guide the individual safely through the process. In addition, the detox professionals offer important psychological support as well, as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and mental  confusion are common in detox and withdrawal.
  • Addiction Treatment. Treatment for an alcohol use disorder can be provided in either an outpatient or residential setting. Addiction recovery involves making fundamental changes to the learned behaviors that have kept the person dependent on alcohol. By replacing distorted thoughts and self-destructive addictive behaviors with new positive, constructive thought patterns will eventually become new healthy habits. Medication-assisted treatment is provided as one of the treatment elements for individuals in addiction recovery. Other interventions include psychotherapy, group therapy, holistic therapies, acquiring stress-management skills, active planning to prevent relapse, and 12-step meetings.
  • Continuing Care. An important treatment component includes the continuing care services that will support recovery after rehab is completed. Those in early recovery are very vulnerable to relapse, no matter how committed they are to sobriety. By continuing on with regular outpatient counseling and support services, as well as engaging in a recovery community that provides peer support, the individual will have a supportive backstop when issues that threaten recovery arise. Sober living housing is another excellent continuing care option during outpatient rehab and into the first few months of recovery.

Ken Seeley Communities Offers Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Palm Springs

Ken Seeley Communities and Rehab provides a full spectrum of addiction treatment services in the Palm Springs, California area. These services include professional intervention planning, detox, outpatient rehab, residential rehab, and sober living housing. One of the treatment elements offered at Ken Seeley Communities is medication-assisted treatment, including drugs to treat alcoholism such as naltrexone or Campral. For more information about the program and addiction treatment services, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

long term addiction treatment facilities

Long Term Addiction Treatment Facilities

6 Benefits of a Residential Addiction Treatment Program

We humans have been groomed to expect instant results in every facet of our lives. We seek expediency wherever we can find it, whether it’s the highest speed Internet service, the quickest Prime shipments on Amazon, or a swift weight loss program. We want it all, and we want it now. But there are certain things that cannot be rushed, that is, if you want to enjoy a lasting outcome, and addiction recovery is one of those things. For individuals with a deeply engrained drug or alcohol addiction, a short-term rehab simply will not produce the lasting recovery one is seeking or needing.

When chemical dependency on a substance of abuse develops, the brain has become accustomed to the daily delivery of the substance and has adjusted its own natural chemistry accordingly. These new neural pathways bypass the brain’s normal production of dopamine, for instance, relying instead on the drug of choice to provide the flood of dopamine as usual. This is one reason why a long-term history of alcohol or drug addiction makes a swift recovery impossible. It takes time to normalize brain chemistry and central nervous system functions after discontinuing drug or alcohol use.

Addictive behavior patterns are another reason why a long-term rehab is needed. While in active addiction, the trigger produces the thought that one will suffer unless they acquire and use the substance of choice, so the destructive behavioral response, to drink or use, is then activated. These reflexive patterns have become so entrenched that it takes an extended period of time to replace them with new, healthy, and productive thought/behavior patterns.

While outpatient rehab services are an excellent option for individuals with an emerging or recent substance use disorder, these programs do not offer the oversight needed for individuals with moderate to severe addiction status. Outpatient programs provide flexibility and freedom that, for someone deeply addicted, offers too many temptations that can trigger relapse.

Why Long Term Addiction Treatment Facilities Are the Best Option

Long term addiction treatment facilities offer a much better environment for individuals with established addiction histories. The length of the stay will be determined during the intake interview and assessment process, and may be anywhere from one month to a year in length depending on the addiction information obtained. Here are 6 reasons why long term addiction treatment facilities are the more appropriate setting for individuals with a lengthy history of addiction, a dual diagnosis, or a poly-drug substance disorder:

  1. Structure. A predictable daily schedule is beneficial for someone in early recovery. Residential rehabs offer a full daily schedule of therapies and activities, in addition to meal times, recreational time, and down time. This creates less stress for the clients, knowing their days are full and they will be busy, which helps them focus on recovery and dwell less on cravings or romanticized addiction activities.
  2. 24-hour supervision. Residential rehabs provide round-the-clock monitoring of clients, reducing the opportunities for the clients to engage in drug-seeking or sneaky behaviors that will sabotage recovery. There are clinicians, psychotherapists, addiction specialists, and medical personnel to keep clients supervised throughout the day.
  3. Comprehensive programming. An inpatient setting has the time available to offer a multitude of recovery programming. This includes individual therapy, group therapy, addiction education classes, life skills classes, family counseling, 12-step meetings, guest speakers, and holistic therapies.
  4. Peer support. Having people around you that understand your struggles because they have the same ones is comforting to clients in recovery. With a shared experience and with aligned recovery goals, the clients can provide social support for each other. In the inpatient setting, new friendships are often established as a result of this shared experience.
  5. Removed from environment. By leaving one’s home community and staying for an extended period in rehab clients are much more able to focus on the work of recovery. Daily stressors, triggers, and obligations do not invade the rehab environment, allowing clients to concentrate on getting healthy and restoring overall wellness.
  6. Fitness and nutrition. An essential part of the recovery process is restoring health. Active addiction tends to put nutrition and fitness on the back burner, often leaving clients with nutritional deficiencies, medical conditions, and unfit bodies. By spending a period of time in a residential program, the client has time to establish new healthy habits and routines that benefit overall wellbeing.

Continuing Care Following Long Term Residential Rehab

An often-neglected component of the recovery process is planning what happens after discharge from a long-term residential program. Clients may be anxious to return to their home community and shirk the recommendations of the therapists to continue on with aftercare services, to their peril. Early recovery is a very vulnerable phase that should be carefully prepared for.

Continuing care services allow the client to shore up sobriety and practice recovery tools while still under the care of addiction recovery professionals. It is a mistake to believe one can go it alone right after rehab. Many clients find themselves overwhelmed by the return to freedom and may expose themselves to triggers or people who are not supportive of their recovery. This can lead to relapse, and in the case of an opioid addiction, this can prove deadly.

Plans should be made to follow up the residential rehab program with the following continuing care services:

  • Sober living housing. Spending a few months in sober living increases the sustainability of recovery during the early months.
  • Ongoing outpatient counseling. By continuing to receive support from an outpatient therapist or group therapy session, clients can work through some of the challenges experienced in early recovery.
  • 12-step recovery group. Participating in a 12-step or non 12-step recovery community offers ongoing social support.

Ken Seeley Communities Offers Long Term Addiction Treatment Facilities

Ken Seeley Communities and Rehab is a leading provider of long-term residential rehab in Palm Springs, California. In addition to offering medical detox and residential programming, Ken Seeley also provides day treatment programs, outpatient treatment, and intervention services. For more information, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.