Stigma and Addiction: The Undesired Truth

There are many myths and misconceptions about alcoholism and who alcoholics are.  Those who are not in the recovery community contribute to the perpetuation of these myths via stereotypes and being generally unaware of what addiction actually consists of.   These myths may also contribute to the stigmatization of alcoholism.

The truth is that society has shaped itself to shame anyone who finds themselves suffering from mental health issues, especially when it comes to addiction.  When you consider the fact that many believe addiction is a “chosen path”, the shame and guilt felt by these individuals can grow exponentially.

With this stigma so common in society, those with substance use issues are put in a difficult position.  Those who want to get sober must go through recovery, followed up by a reentry into the world outside treatment.  Although stigma surrounds the individual pre-treatment, there’s also a stigma during and after treatment as well.

This stigma may have to do with the fact that many decades ago, it was forbidden to discuss mental health issues within the United States.  The reasons for this are rather vague. Some will defend that people suffering from mental health issues are simply leaning towards an excuse, while others find that people “overreact” to very common emotions.

It can be said that in today’s society, we are witnessing more public understanding in terms of mental health issues.  We are in the progression of becoming more open about the topic and people are discovering much more sympathy for those affected by mental health.

But even still, the problem of addiction seems to reign stigma hard.  More often than not, it’s for the simple reason that the disease comes off as though it were a choice.  Because of this, society disregards the idea that addiction is a mental health problem at all.

This is the undesired truth: the idea that people just don’t understand addiction.  With it comes a stream of emotions – guilt, fear, and shame – that cause individuals to avoid treatment.  Even though it’s been statistically proven that, at least, one member of every family experiences some sort of mental illness, the stigma continues to create boundaries.

Understanding the Creation of the Emotion

Being that treatment is seen as a sort of meditative period, medical carers are responsible for more than just physically getting somebody sober.  They also find themselves accountable for getting their patients to a fulfilling emotional state so they can live their happiest life.  With society’s stigma towards addiction, this isn’t an easy task for both patients and medical carers.

This only furthers the proof that there’s a taboo placed on substance abuse rather than disorders such as depression or anxiety.  Surveys have confirmed that there is a distinct difference in those will accept addiction and those who won’t.  Generally, people who are affected or are close with someone suffering from mental health issues are more likely to comprehend those suffering from addiction.

With this survey, 709 people were asked a few simple questions about how they felt about individuals suffering from mental health issues and/or substance use issues:

  • A little more than half claimed they’d work with an individual suffering from mental health issues while less than a quarter were willing to work with a substance abuser.
  • A little less than three-quarters pronounced employers have every right to disregard employment from addicted individuals.
  • A quarter believed employers had a right to deny employment from anyone with any type of mental disorder.
  • A little less than half said health insurance companies had their right for disapproving indivduals suffering from substance use seeking treatment.
  • About a fifth opposed health insurance companies from offering their benefits to those with any type of mental disorder.

These statistics clearly outline the stigma with addiction.  Thinking about these statistics with regards to those seriously looking for treatment should give an idea of the intense emotions they experience.  Shame, guilt, and a fear that others around them won’t comprehend why they want to change their lives.

Reasoning for Addictions Stigmatization

To put it simply, people are afraid of what they don’t know.  When something is an absolute mystery to us, we tend to avoid thinking about it.  When the time comes to think about it, we get the notion to retaliate.  Why?  Because we are unaware of how to properly react.  There is no sense of understanding within it.

This is exactly the case with addiction.  People don’t look into such a topic when they have no necessity to witness and/or experience it.  However, this doesn’t give us an explanation as to why other mental health issues are slowly finding an acceptance while ones like addiction still receive backlash.  Unfortunately, the explanation is often ignored even though it’s in clear sight.

There are individuals who are in a position where taking drugs doesn’t feel so much like a “choice”, rather, they are affected by something called Substance Use Disorder.  The effects of this disease cause the brain to have strong urges of intaking some sort of chemical.  Even if it’s unknown to the body, there’s the intention of making it known. This inevitably leads to addiction.

It should be noted that individuals affected by substance abuse disorder often experience this compulsivity even after treatment.  This makes sobriety all the more difficult to accept.  Even if a person doesn’t suffer from this disease, there’s still the chance for this sort of behavior.  Reason being, the thrill of a high is so permanently locked into the brain.

In order to properly understand all this, we need to know that what affects a person’s substance abuse is more than just the thrill of the high.  It’s vital to consider their genetics, environment, and the way in which they were raised.  With these in mind, it becomes more clear as to why people can’t just “shake off” an addiction, even after going through treatment.

With this might come a relapse.  This is another part of addiction that many others look down upon.  In order for the public to truly understand, we must push the notion that addiction is very much a disease, not a simple choice.  People with this disease struggle with finding their own groundings in life and often fall back into the cycle due to a lack of discovery.

This is why people going through treatment are often taught to look for other areas in which to take their lives.  With the proper distraction, recovering from addiction becomes all the more easier.  Mainly because it opens individuals up to other ways in which to spend their time.  With this, there’s the hope that a person will blossom into a happy, fulfilled, and productive member of society.

How Does Stigma Impact Individuals?

There is certainty that due to these negative attributes associated with the word “addiction”, individuals are avoiding treatment altogether.  This may only fuel drug addiction further. If a person entering treatment feels that he/she will be labeled with the term “addict” for the rest of their lives, they cease to seek out the necessary care.

The term overdose is, likewise, a deadly term which people avoid.  If any individual has gone through such fate, they understand nobody wants to be labeled with an overdose. This has to do for two distinct reasons:

  • Overdoses only happen in concerns with hard substances.
  • It’s generally considered a “low life” scenario when someone has had the experience of an overdose.

For this reason, those who have experienced an overdose often prefer to avoid telling their doctors.  For one, there’s this unspoken notion that a doctor isn’t going to trust a patient if the term is attached to them.  Secondly, there’s the risk of it reaching someone of importance (i.e. a family member).  Therefore, medication such as naloxone – what is used to reverse the effects of an overdose, saving many lives – often doesn’t reach the people it’s intended for.

The stigma of addiction is real.  Those suffering from alcohol and/or drug use can use denial in order to avoid the challenges of accepting they have a problem.  By bringing awareness to alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and substance use, we as a society can reduce the stigma often associated with addiction and ultimately get those individuals the help they need.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from substance abuse or if you would like more information on the above subject; please, give us a call at 602-535-6468 or email us at info@stonewallinstitute.com.  You are not alone.  We are here to help.

Why is the Drinking Age 21?

It’s safe to say that much of the youth discover ways to avoid the mandatory drinking age. Whether it be asking their older friends – or even, on occasions, their parents – or by stealing a bottle from the grocery store, young people have been attracted to inebriation for centuries now. And though their ignorance towards the drinking age holds many consequences, it cannot be forgotten that for throughout most of human history, there were no limits on an age for alcohol consumption.

Even today, many countries – such as Canada and England – only restrict drinking until the age of 18. So, why is it 21 in America? People will defend that if a person is able to fight for their country, then they should be justified to sitting at a bar and having a glass of beer. A statement as such has held much debate as to whether 21 is the proper age or not. However, the lawmaker’s intentions in the drinking age have plenty of reasonable considerations that are often disregarded.

It was on July 17th, 1984 when Ronald Reagan signed into law the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. The overall idea was the government was going to withhold highway funding from any state who didn’t raise their drinking age to 21. Being that no state wanted such a restriction, they all complied. Since then, for better or worse, the laws have remained the same.

However, recent scientific research is proclaiming that this law is having its positive and negative effects on the youth.

An Effort for the Sake of Better Health

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act did have its reasonings. The biggest being that most of the drunk driving incidents at-the-time were caused by teenagers between the ages of 16 and 20. With the ban being placed on them to legally purchase, there was a significant drop in the number of incidents happening across the country.

In 1982, out of all drunk driving incidents, 62% ended up in fatal casualty. By the year of 1995, that number dropped to 31%. Therefore, the law most certainly had some effect on the amount of people dying due to drinking and driving.

However, there was also a flip side to the coin. Being that the youth often finds enjoyment in taking risks, there seemed to be a new sort of risk in drinking before the age of 21. With the law provoking consequence and parents abidingly teaching their children not to drink, there became much more intrigue in the concept of drinking.

Just as with illegal drug use, there’s a sense of rebellion much of the youth is attracted to. The only difference being that drinking would eventually become legal for them. Therefore, they’ll eventually not have to feel as though anything is at risk.

Only a few years after the law was passed, a survey taken showed that a remarkable amount of college students were now drinking in comparison to legal drinkers. The reasoning behind this has to do with the common belief in the youth attempting to be rebellious.

So, outside of drunk driving, where does the concern truly lie in an eighteen-year-old drinking alcohol? There are some arguments brought up by doctors who’ve studied the topic. However, their claims can be rather inconclusive.

The Maturing Individual

In concerns with rehabilitation, it’s always important we don’t lead people into an addiction at such a young age. There are some thoughts that an immature mind is more likely to fall into a dependence as they’re unaware of the dangers in acts such as binge drinking. This is completely true, yet, varies from individual to individual.

Depending on their life experiences, their environment, and their genetics, addiction isn’t always a guarantee. A recent study shows that 7 out of 10 college students take part in consuming alcohol on, at least, a monthly basis. With this knowledge, it’s safe to say that not every single one of them is developing an addiction.

However, it could be questioned whether or not this is affecting their maturing brains. When talking about binge drinking, there are very damaging influences over a young person’s brain. A destruction has been known to leave people with permanent memory loss and other cognitive deficits.

To understand this, we must understand how the brain develops during the teenage years. There are a few changes going on throughout – generally speaking – the ages of twelve and twenty.

  1. The brain is learning to transmit information at quicker rates for the sake of handling more intricate thoughts.
  2. This is caused by neurons gaining size and power.
  3. The brain also gets rid of synapses.

Similar to that of an infant just discovering the world, a teenage brain is learning to process the realities of a more adult world. One of which is going to require responsibilities and an effort towards strategic goal planning.

Mixing this with alcohol is a dangerous concoction that could have a devastating impact. Therefore, it gives us a more proper reasoning as to why the legal drinking age is 21. If everyone were to follow this rule, it would give everyone enough time for their brains to develop into maturity.

To further this point, the part of the brain responsible for socializing and emotions – the limbic system – develops within these teen years. Being that alcohol is, generally, a social substance that can make you feel a certain way, those drinking at a young age are greatly affecting this developing element. To top it off, the areas of the brain responsible for judgment aren’t completely shaped until a person’s late 20’s. Leaving the legal age limit unreliable for the effects alcohol can have in this regard.

Conclusion

It’s important to look out for those around you. Whether you’re a parent or a member of the youth, problem drinking is proven to greatly affect that of the developing mind. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure any person that may be falling into these behaviors is aware of the potential consequence.

If addiction has already begun, there are solutions. Especially with the youth who still have their chance to change the inevitability of their future.

If you or anyone you love is struggling with a drinking habit and/or is looking for more information as to why the age limit for alcohol consumption is 21, please, give us a call at 602 535 6468 or email us at info@stonewallinstitute.com.

Alcohol’s Effects on Your Sleep Pattern

Many people hold the notion that alcohol can act as a sedative. Therefore, leading them to the belief that drinking before bed will lead to a better night’s sleep. However, modern science has proven for this to be anything but true.

For one, alcohol is actually a stimulant – to some regards – even though it’s classified as a depressant. If it didn’t wake us up and feel good, millions wouldn’t be going out every Friday night and having their drinks as a means of socializing. Alcohol makes us feel good and it does so in the essence of filling the brain with endorphins. These are the chemicals responsible for us becoming talkative, confident, and less socially ashamed.

These chemicals do eventually wear off and leave us feeling rather sluggish. Ending our drunkenness with a drowsiness. Sometimes, instances appear where an individual has drunk too much to the point of sending themselves into a loss of consciousness. But it should be noted that this is simply the body’s reaction the lack of consumption in terms of blood alcohol levels.

Interestingly, scientific research has led to the conclusion that alcohol, in fact, reduces the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. Yet, it increases the amount of time the brain spends within deep sleep.

To top this off, the second half of the sleep cycle is very much disturbed. Causing abusers to not get as good of a night’s sleep and more susceptible to waking up from minor annoyances. With this data, it’s highly suggested that people with insomnia do not use alcohol as a sedative. Though it may help an insomniac fall asleep quicker, there is a very likely chance one will be awakened before they’ve received a full night’s rest.

Some may be asking the question as to whether alcohol is always bad for sleep. There are instances where – in an example – a glass of wine has sedative qualities that will help an individual fall asleep and stay in sleep for a longer period of time. However, it’s highly noted that the body builds a tolerance to alcohol very quickly. And soon enough, the individual would have to increase the amount of alcohol consumption in order to recreate the same effects. With this, they will not only be doing harm to their body but also great damage to their sleep schedule.

Understanding the Sleep Structure with Alcohol

There’s usually a time in everyone’s school career where they learn about the sleep cycle. To those unaware, the average adult begins their night in a stage called NREM (defined non-rapid eye movement). To put it simply, this is when the brain slowly goes from consciousness to unconsciousness.

Following NREM is REM (defined rapid eye movement). During this period is when a sleeper will experience dreams as they are very deep into unconsciousness. Throughout the night, we experience the sleep cycle around four to five times.

When an individual brings the toxification of alcohol into this they are disturbing much of what the brain is used to. In essence, throwing it off the steady course of the cycle and almost creating an entirely new one.

As mentioned, alcohol will make you fall asleep faster as well as cause you to stay within deeper sleep for a longer period of time. With this knowledge, we can understand that the third and fourth stages of the sleep cycle are heightened to some degree. This also causes the SWS (defined slow wave sleep) to increase during the first half of a night’s sleep. For those unaware, SWS is responsible for refurbishing the body and immune system for the following day.

At this point, it does seem as though alcohol may help an individual find sleep. However, it’s during the second half of one’s sleep cycle that a person will experience the disturbance caused by inebriation. REM is greatly reduced during this time, therefore, leaving the user in a very fragile state of mind before a full refreshment of the body is complete.

How Alcohol Affects Everyone’s Sleep Differently

People are likely to have a versatile amount of experiences while attempting to sleep with alcohol in their system. For alcoholics, these experiences may happen more frequently than to that of a non-alcoholic having their fun with a night of drinking. And vice versa.

Being that alcohol also affects us all differently, the number of possibilities in which an individual sleeps – or wakes up – to remain inconsistent.

  1. Waking Up Too EarlyAs mentioned, the second half of the sleep cycle is very much disturbed by alcohol flowing through the blood. Being this, people will often find themselves waking up in the early morning – before their intended wake up time – and unable to fall back asleep. This is commonly known as the rebound effect.
  2. Combining Pills with AlcoholPreferably, we’re going to quickly discuss sleeping pills as many believe it’s a way to counteract any disturbance brought on by alcohol. Though some may find themselves getting full night’s rest – or even more – there is much danger in sleeping pills combined with alcohol. For one, the body is not receiving proper refurbishing as it would in a healthy body. But also, there are chances of accidents that could lead to fatal situations.
  3. Night SweatsAlcohol has the ability to open up blood vessels which, in essence, heat up the body to temperatures all too warm. With this, individuals will have the tendency to sweat throughout the night.
  4. Increased SnoringPeople who are affected by snoring are likely to worsen their symptoms. Being that alcohol relaxes the muscles in the throat and airway. If you’re not affected by snoring, there’s still the chance of gaining these symptoms through alcohol.
  5. Increased UrinationThis one may be obvious, but the more alcohol an individual is going to consume, the more they’re going have to use the bathroom. With this, it can be assumed that a night’s sleep will often be disturbed by the constant necessity of urination.
  6. Increased Chance of SleepwalkingBeing that alcohol increases our SWS, there are likely chances of people suffering from somnambulism increasing their suffering through drinking. The occurrence of sleepwalking happens more frequently in the SWS. Therefore, with alcohol only heightening the condition, people may find themselves in the position of sleepwalking more frequently.

 

If you or anyone you love is looking for alcohol abuse treatment or desire more information on how alcohol affects a person’s sleep patterns, please, give us a call at 602-535-6468 or email us at info@stonewallinstitute.com.

Why Do We Get Hangovers?

The fun always has to come to an end. And when it comes to drinking, this fun generally results in a hangover. The feeling of a dry mouth, unbearable headache, and nausea. It’s terrible and people generally get the sense of regret upon waking up with such unpleasant sensation. Yet, it doesn’t stop many from making the same mistake again. And again.

Hangovers tend to make people feel achy in the muscles. Their eyes become much more sensitive, specifically to light. And there’s this overwhelming desire to continually drink water as thirst never seems to end. People with severe hangovers will find themselves dizzy, sweaty, and maybe a little agitated.

There’s reasoning behind all these terrible symptoms. Hours after your last drink is consumed, your blood alcohol level dramatically drops. With this, there’s a climax with these symptoms once your blood alcohol level has hit zero.

According to Robert Swift, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, hangovers are just like withdrawals. When a non-addict is drinking – even if it’s their first time – their body becomes ever so slightly addicted to alcohol. Enough to the point where a hangover will pursue as a way to release the chemicals.

This gives us input as to why proper detoxing for alcohol addicts is so important. If just a taste of being drunk causes an individual to experience withdrawal symptoms, you can only imagine what it must be like for someone who’s a heavy drinker.

Different Hangovers for Different Alcohols

Have you ever noticed that certain drinks will leave you feeling more hungover the following day than others? The reason behind this is a chemical known as congeners.

Congeners are a byproduct found in alcohol after it has been fermented. A result of a mix of other chemicals such as methanol, acetone, esters, and more. Their main responsibility is to the taste and smell that an alcoholic drink will create. However, they will also constitute some of the taste for non-distilled drinks.

These chemicals are more common in darker liquors such as:

  • Red Wine
  • Dark Beer
  • Whiskey
  • Bourbon
  • Brandy

Knowing this will give an explanation as to why that Jack Daniels made you feel worse in the morning than the Smirnoff you had the week prior. For social drinkers, it’s something to keep in mind. Though hangovers are hard to avoid when you’ve decided to have your fun with alcohol, there are ways to make that morning nuance less overbearing.

However, for problem drinkers, the nuance stems much longer than the morning. As mentioned, alcoholics will experience withdrawals more frequently the more often they drink. Therefore, though the congeners are a confliction, the constant hangovers have more to do with the frequent intake of alcohol itself.

Symptoms Caused By Congeners

As we know, congeners are responsible for the feeling of a hangover. But what we have yet to discuss are the symptoms responsible for drinkings after effects.

The main one being dehydration. Alcohol is prominently known for getting rid of fluids within the body. With this in mind, you can assume that the more severely you drink, the more dehydrated your body will be. This will, inevitably, lead to an even more severe hangover.

Alcohol also fuels you with something called metabolites, which leaves irritation within your body’s fluids. This also catapults dehydration and can be blamed for any feelings of nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. It can also vex other areas of the body like your stomach lining and the muscles of your lower esophagus. Metabolites are the greatest responsibility for puking.

Yet, it’s the brain that truly is taking in much of the torment. Alcohol has an extremely depressing effect on brain cells that cause a person who’s drunk to lack coordination and hold sensations of dizziness. The more someone drinks, the more they are killing the cells in their brain accountable for proper analysis of how to handle oneself.

If you ever find yourself feeling weak due to drinking, it’s because of the combination of effects on the brain and in lowering your blood sugar. People who experience diseases that cause low blood sugar – such as hypoglycemia – will feel this vulnerability even more.

With all this information, it’s important for individuals to remind themselves that alcohol is – in some regards – poisoning the body. And if said individuals have any sort of medical concerns, they should be aware of what they could be doing to their bodies with the intake of alcohol.

Yet, even healthy individuals should keep an open eye as to how much they drink. Too much of the substance could lead to diseases later on, one of the most important being an addiction. For once addiction becomes an issue, there’s much deterioration that’s going to take place within the body.

Avoiding Hangovers

Is there truly a cure out there that will ensure people avoid hangovers while drinking? The simple answer is no. The only sure fire way to prevent these terrible feelings is to either not drink or drink less of a particular substance. With the knowledge of congeners in mind, you can consider which drinks are less likely to produce stronger hangovers, but you cannot avoid them.

What about the cases of some people not getting hangovers? It’s hard to pinpoint everyone’s reaction to alcohol because we all hold different responses to any sort of substance. Body weight, the amount of food in the digestive tract, and the speed at which alcohol is consumed all play a factor in the hangover that will follow the morning after. Most of the time, the people who don’t get hangovers are drinking more responsibly.

It should be noted that keeping your body hydrated while consuming alcohol will help with the symptoms. Yet, it’s not the answer to curing hangovers. They’re incurable once they’ve taken their effect. And the reason being is your body’s withdrawing from the substance and needs to time to rid itself of the chemicals.

For heavy drinkers, you are only fueling your withdrawal symptoms further with the more you drink. And you’re destroying your body and brain cells while this is going on.

If you or anyone you know going through an alcohol addiction and looking for a treatment plan, Stonewall Institute Treatment Center is happy to help. Please, give us a call at 602-535-6468 or email us at info@stonewallinstitute.com.

How to Talk to Your Kids About Addiction

Proposing a conversation upon your children about another’s substance addiction is never easy. Whether the addict is a parent, sibling, or other close relatives, a child’s comprehension on the subject remains vague. Therefore, the adult intending to initiate such a conversation is going to have to explain the situation properly and efficiently enough for a child’s understanding.

Statistics show that more than 28 million children have at least one alcoholic parent. These children have been shown to grow up with emotional, behavioral, and academic problems. This is due to the fact that these children grow up facing issues the average child doesn’t have to handle. With addiction’s arbitrary inclinations, substance-abusing parents are more likely to threaten their children to abuse, neglect, and the witness of domestic violence.

Over time, these effects play their role, and children of addicted parents end up four times as likely to become drug addicts themselves. Depending on their environment, there’s the strong chance they won’t understand a life outside of their drug infested home. However, there are steps that can be taken to avoid this. One of the most important being the proper conversation.

To whoever decides to take this task upon themselves, you should be aware of a child’s developmental stages in coordination to living within an addict’s home. For example, if the addicted parent(s) never gave their children proper discipline, there’s the impregnable possibility that they will grow up with a shortfall in self-discipline and an understanding of their responsibility.

Emotions within a child as such can be confusingly sporadic. Often, the case of resentment becomes an issue. Especially as a child enters their adolescent years. With these emotions in mind, the conversation about addiction can get tricky. What you are about to undertake is the explanation of addiction’s destruction to a young, fragile mind that has already witnessed much of the horror. We should attempt to put that horror into perspective and a clear understanding for the child’s sake.

Listed below are different factors to keep in mind when preparing for the conversation. Obviously, everyone’s situation is different and no two conversations will be alike. But these factors have remained consistent in terms of how to handle a child born into an addicted family.

  • Cue Yourself Properly

    There’s a time and a place for this conversation. Preferably, within a private setting and following a pinnacle moment of the addict’s abuse. The talk should be one without distractions and remain in a relaxed manner.

    If there’s a plan set forth to help the addict, use the opportunity as a way to speak with the child. Bringing up that a solution is set in place is a reassuring factor to the overall discussion. If any major changes are to be expected within the child’s life, to shy away from bringing them up. Be sure to always let the child speak if they desire to and let him/her learn to open up to such a dilemma.

  • Remember the Child’s Age

    The maturity of the child has much to do with the way you’ll speak of the matter to them. They may be too young for big language or too old for skimpy details. Be upfront and speak the truth, but keep in mind two important aspects.

    1. The amount of information a child can retain truly depends on their age and understanding.
    2. The details of the situation may (or may not) be inappropriate for certain periods of time. For example, if the child’s parents have recently overdosed on a substance and the child has yet to enter preteen years, you’ll want to go about the situation in an illustrative, yet, forgiving manner.

    Remember to always end the conversation with a sense of hope. No matter how old a person is, hope can be a leading factor in how someone handles with the emotions of an addicted parent.

  • Educate Yourself

    If you are fairly unaware of how addiction works outside of the obvious traumas, it’s vital you teach yourself about the situation. The internet offers research on any regard to the subject. A look through Stonewall Institute’s blog will even give you much information on a variety of topics.

    More often than not, a child will have many questions upon addiction. It shouldn’t be underestimated that they’ll probably believe whatever the adult has to say. Without proper answers, you’ll find yourself misleading. If you truly don’t have an answer, there’s no reason not to look one up together.

  • Remain Honest

    Never let yourself mock-up an explanation or work around certain matters that may be sensitive towards the child. Lying is another way of underestimating a child’s intelligence. Though they may believe a lie or two, it’s unfair to place them in such a position. Though it has been said many times, honesty can go a long way.

  • Liberate Humiliation and Create Perspective

    There are many instances where children will blame themselves for their parent’s downfalls. It’s important a child realizes it isn’t their fault. With this, an addict’s behavior and intentions have more of a possibility of coming into perspective.

    Through this perspective, a child holds the potential of realizing that they are facing troubles on their own. And that these struggles are not their faults. It’s key to make sure they realize they are not alone in this struggle. More often than not, the person attempting to give this conversation has, likewise, been through much due to another person’s selfish decision.

    This can be an enlightening moment to bring up what’s called “The Seven C’s”. The National Association for Children of Alcoholics” have created this list as a way for children to better understand their situation.

    1. I didn’t CAUSE it.
    2. I can’t CURE it.
    3. I can’t CONTROL it.
    4. I can take CARE of myself.
    5. By COMMUNICATING my feelings,
    6. Making healthy CHOICES, and
    7. By CELEBRATING myself.

  • Remain Open to the Child’s Words

    Children who are put in such a position may feel disconnected from many around them. If so, you should attempt to understand this disconnection and give them time to open up to you. The emotions they must combat are strong and patience is a vital factor in helping their comprehension.

  • Look for Other Support

    Sometimes we can’t give a child everything they need. No matter how hard we try, there are areas of understanding beyond our own comprehension. And professional help becomes a possibility. Whether it be a counselor, teacher, therapist, or religious leader, a child may find their comfort in places outside of you.

    If you or anyone you know is looking for a treatment plan or you would like more information on how to properly talk to children about addiction, please, give us a call at 602-535-6468 or email us at info@stonewallinstitute.com.

How to Recognize a Heroin Addiction

A recent epidemic has been escalating in the United States involving many young teenagers and adults. For some time, heroin seemed to only be a problem revolving around lower class neighborhoods. However, in recent years, we’ve seen it shift to middle and upper-class areas.

Every day, we are seeing heroin creep into the lives of our families and friends. The problem isn’t just with teenagers and young adults. Men and women with children are just as susceptible to becoming addicted.

And with this escalation in opiate use, it’s important we make ourselves aware of what addiction looks like before it overcomes our loved ones. With the right knowledge, you might be able to stop an addiction before it’s too late.

The Birth of the Epidemic

Though opiate addiction isn’t a new epidemic, there are some ideas to how all this addiction grew in recent years. The United States is known to prescribe millions of medications annually to help with a variety of pains. But there’s one little pill that has caused more trouble than help.

OxyContin hit the market in the early 2000s and was labeled as the perfect pain medication. Before long, people were realizing how highly addictive the substance is. Besides OxyContin, a number of other opiate-based pain medication was being released to the public.

  • Lortab
  • Percocet
  • Vicodin
  • Hydrocodone

With the recent heroin epidemic, we are noticing that many of the individual’s addicted started using these sorts of substances.

Usually, an individual addicted to the above-mentioned drugs will search for something more powerful in order to get the feelings of opiate euphoria again. Either that or they can no longer obtain a prescription medication and turn to the streets for their fix.

The Signs of Heroin Addiction

In places like Arizona, there’s been not only a noticeable rise in those becoming addicted but also a threatening escalation in those overdosing. However, this epidemic is popping up all over the country. Specifically, the Northeast United States is getting it the worst.

Another apparent sign of the epidemic is that every year, less and less are being treated in rehabilitation facilities for alcohol and prescription medication. Rather, we are noticing an increase in those needing treatment for heroin addiction.

These statistics gives us a peek into what is happening with the drug epidemic in the United States. More and more seem to be jumping straight to heroin, especially in the younger generations. The concern lies in these young people’s education on not only the fatality of such a substance, but it’s highly addictive nature.

The clues to whether a loved one is using or not are fairly straightforward. If you’re curious as to whether your loved one is using heroin, answer the following questions.

  • Did he/she undergo a sudden and drastic change in behavior that’s led him/her to seem withdrawn from society and/or family and friends?
  • Has he/she spent more time alone recently rather than going out?
  • Does he/she avoid seeking out new crowds to hang out with?
  • Has there been a sudden loss of weight and/or appetite in him/her?

There’s also the question of whether marks are appearing on their skin (preferably, in places where veins are easily accessible). However, it cannot be forgotten that heroin can be snorted and smoked.

If you have concern over a loved one and would like more information on heroin addiction, Stonewall Institute Treatment Center is always here to answer your questions. If you are led to believe that a loved one is using and are seeking out help, please give us a call at 602-535-6468 or email us at info@stonewallinstitute.com.

The Timeline of an Alcohol Detox

If you have any concern over what an individual experience while going through an alcohol detox, this blog should reassure that it’s nothing out the impossible. There’s no denying the difficulty behind an alcohol detox. Yet, we at Stonewall Institute Treatment Center guarantee it will be one of the most rewarding transitions of you or your loved one’s life.

This timeline evaluates a five to seven day period in which the detox will take place. After this period, the chemicals of alcohol will have been erased from your system. However, it should be reminded that a transition to sobriety takes longer than just a week. Taking on a sober life is more than just detoxing, it’s readjusting the mind into a new state of happiness.

Likewise, individuals should keep in mind that the only proper way to detox is through proper medical attention. Without this, there are the potential consequences towards your health. A medical profession will assure that you not only remain healthy but that you are in understanding of the important steps to follow detox.

The Medical Evaluation

Upon signing yourself up within a facility that detoxes, the first step is looking into where your health currently stands. You can expect medical professionals to go through a quick assessment overlooking what your needs will be for the detox to follow. Depending on your physical and mental health, you may need a little more time and attention than others will in detoxing.

Eight Hours Following Your Last Drink

This section is in concerns mainly to those experiencing alcoholism. It is expected that those who are very dependent will begin feeling withdrawal symptoms eight hours following their final drink. These symptoms are noted as being rather mild.

There’s always the possibility that you may have already experienced this at some point or another through your alcoholism. This sort of withdrawal tends to appear in an alcoholic’s life when they go a day or two without drinking. Sometimes, even after just an eight hour night’s sleep.

24 to 72 Hours

After twenty-four hours of no alcohol in the system, an addicted individual will find themselves facing much more severe withdrawal symptoms. This is due to the fact that the body is expecting an alcoholic substance to be swallowed as that’s what it’s grown used to.

The chemical structure of alcohol has changed the chemical structure of your body. And without alcohol in your system, your body is confused over what to do.

This is why it’s important you are under the care of medical attention. Though withdrawal symptoms vary from individual to individual, this is generally considered the most difficult timeframe of alcohol detox.

What you can expect is a rapid heartbeat, increased body temperature, or mental confusion. Medical professionals will look into assuring that these conditions are controlled as your body undergoes the transition into sobriety.

After 72 Hours

This is widely considered as the peak of alcohol detox. 72 hours after your last drink, your body is experiencing the final, yet, most extreme changes. Some have gone to lengths of feeling symptoms such as seizures, serious agitation, and fevers.

Likewise, with the previous timeframe, the 72-hour mark is when an individual greatly needs to make sure they’re under medical attention.

The Final Days

After around five to seven days, alcohol will have been completely detoxed from the body. As mentioned, this isn’t the end of the road in your addiction treatment. Rather, it’s the end of the road in ridding the chemicals of your body.

What follows from here is a number of options towards your treatment:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Holistic Therapy
  • Dual Diagnosis Treatment

If you or anyone you know is looking for an alcohol detox or addiction treatment or simply just have more questions about the process, Stonewall Institute Treatment Center is here to help. Please give us a call at 602 535 6468 or email us at info@stonewallinstitute.com.

Teen Heroin Use and the Effects on Mental Health

With the recent heroin epidemic creeping its way into the teenagers of America, there have been studies on the effects of opioid usage in developing brains. It might be obvious that heroin will in no way help those on their way to becoming adults. However, it’s important we educate ourselves on how a teenager’s brain isn’t developing properly while under the influence.

Within a study published in Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, a team of researchers has discovered the mental health damages found in heroin addicted adolescents and compared it to adolescents addicted to other substances that aren’t classified under opioids.

It’s notable that heroin addicted teens are more likely to suffer from symptoms of depression, anxiety, and an overall poor concept of their self-image. This fact alone shows that heroin use is very dangerous even outside its potentially fatal consequences. With the developing brain on such an intense substance, an addicted adolescent is preventing themselves from growing many of their psychology’s capabilities.

Teen Usage Statistics

The National Institute of Drug Abuse holds an annual survey tracking the statistics of heroin usage in teenagers between the grades of eighth and twelfth. For those interested in doing research on their own, the survey’s proper title is Monitoring the Future.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse has been running this survey since 1975 and notes that heroin use has gone up within the last decade. One of the biggest reasons for this is because purer heroin became available sometime in the 1990’s. Through that, people began smoking and snorting it rather than just injecting.

The survey will tell you that about 0.6% of twelfth and tenth graders consume heroin at least once over the course of a year. While 0.5% of eighth graders intake the substance. If we can compare these numbers to that of the 1970’s, there remains an increase. However, the Institute notes that they were only surveying needle injections up until 1995. Therefore, the team wasn’t accounting for the use of heroin with these other methods before they became popular.

One notable fact is even though heroin isn’t quite as favored amongst high school teens as it is in young adults, other opioid substances (mostly prescription medication) have seen an increase in popularity. In a previous blog, we mentioned how one of the most sufficient causes for heroin use is an opium addiction starting with other substances. We can link the increase of heroin use in young adults with the increase in opioid prescriptions amongst teenagers.

Effects on a Teen’s Mental Health

As mentioned earlier, the Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse conducted a survey in which they took heroin-addicted teenagers and compared them to teenagers addicted to other substances. Fifty-two of the teens were experiencing heroin addiction while sixty-eight were noted as having a non-opioid addiction.

The researchers found that those addicted to heroin were more likely to hold the traits of the following mental behaviors:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Disruptive conduct
  • Poor concept of oneself

Though these traits can be common even in non-drug users, the study concluded that there was a significant difference in attitude between heroin addicted teens and those addicted to other substances.

We can conclude that heroin has some major effects on the developing brain that teenagers should want to avoid. And though other addictions don’t seem to hold such a major threat, they still threaten heroin usage in later years. Most notably, if they are addictions of prescribed opioid substances.

If you have any questions in concern to teen heroin usage or you are looking for a treatment plan to help an addicted teenager, please give Stonewall Institute Treatment Center a call at 602-535-6468 or email us at info@stonewallinstitute.com.

What Causes Drug Abuse?

Everyone grows up in this world differently. Therefore, not everyone’s drug abuse is triggered by the same causes. In fact, the causes for drug abuse can be so versatile, it’d be impossible to pinpoint every single source. Yet, there are common cases we have noticed amongst a good sum of addicted individuals. Likewise, these individuals also hold common aspects that sustain and fuel their addiction.

 

Genetic Susceptibility

It’s been scientifically stated that a person’s genetic makeup is accountable for half of their exposure to addiction. If your mother or father has suffered from addiction, there’s the tendency for the children to, likewise, experience similar sufferings.

This explains the commonality of families facing addiction together. Though it’s usually not the only probable cause for drug abuse, it remains a key factor in an individual’s decisions and behavior.

 

Personality Traits

Going off genetic susceptibility, there are certain personality traits people are born with that makes them more vulnerable to drug addiction. For example, if an individual feels experimental in terms of socializing, they may end up experimenting with drugs in a social regard.

It should be noted that though these personality traits come from one’s DNA, it’s not to say that the DNA held the trait of addiction. Rather, the DNA held traits that can lead to addiction if not disciplined properly.

 

Mental Health

In recent years, one of the biggest contributors to drug addiction has been mental health disorders. There are two reasons for this:

1. People suffering from mental health issues usually end up receiving prescription they become dependent on.

2. People suffering from mental health may seek out substances as a way of relief.

Another probability we’ve been noticing is there are occasions where non-mental health individuals develop mental health problems after addiction.

 

The Age When You Begin

Due to the fact that a teenager’s brain is still developing, if they take drugs at a young age, they are more likely to be dependent on them.

When an adult intakes drugs for the first time, after their brain has developed, they are less likely to be addicted. Reason being they didn’t allow their brains to grow while under the influence.

 

Environment

If you find yourself surrounded by other addicts on a daily basis, it’s going to be hard to avoid addiction within yourself. As the saying goes, we are a product of our environments. These surroundings are that of the following:

● Poor relations with family

● Lack of parent supervision

● Easily accessible drugs within community

● Being close with other addictions

 

Conclusion

Stonewall Institute Treatment Center is here to answer any questions you have on drug abuse. If you or a loved one is abusing drugs and are seeking out treatment, give us a call for more information on our facility at 602 535 6468 or email us at info@stonewallinstitute.com.

Defining Alcohol Poisoning

If we can understand what alcohol poisoning (or alcohol overdosing) is, there’s a chance we can stop the 2,200 deaths per year it invokes.

Those most susceptible to alcohol poisoning are men between the ages of 35 and 65. This is due to the fact that a person’s body of that age frame isn’t as receptive as that of someone in their twenties. However, that’s not to say people in their twenties aren’t still at risk.

Alcohol poisoning is when an individual drinks too much alcohol and the body struggles to process it through. Inevitably, this leads to certain areas of the brain shutting down that are in control of your body temperature, breathing, and heart rate. These are vital not only to your health but also your life and if shut down, there can be fatal results.

There are a number of signs for you to look out for if someone is experiencing alcohol poisoning:

● Pale skin and/or bluish skin coloring (usually round lips and fingertips)

● Irregular breathing/extremely slow breathing

● Low body temperature

● Torpor/the inability to wake up or be woken up by others

● Seizure

● Vomiting

The cause of alcohol poisoning is an intake of alcohol to the level that it becomes toxic. For those who drink a glass of wine or two, there’s nothing to fear. For the person downing shot after shot at a club, there’s more of a risk. If an individual’s blood alcohol concentration exceeds 0.30%, then alcohol poisoning has entered the body.

Keep in mind, that all our bodies are built differently. Therefore, not all of us will experience a rise in blood alcohol concentration the same. Depending on your height, weight, gender, you might be able to handle more alcohol or less. There’s also the consideration of whether you’re eating and drinking water with the consumption of alcohol, how quickly you’re drinking, and what kind of beverage you are having. Tequila has a much higher risk than a glass of beer.

As mentioned before, the majority of those over the age of 35 are at more risk of dying from alcohol poisoning than that of a young adult. However, since a young adult hasn’t had much experience with alcohol, they can be facing the same risks as well.

When young adults drink in excess, many of them are at a stage in their lives where they are unaware of how much alcohol their bodies can handle. They may even underestimate the effects of alcoholic beverages that don’t taste so pungent; such as mix drinks.

The last factor to consider is those who quit alcohol for a period of time and go back to it drinking at high levels are also at great risk.

If you are a recovering addict feeling unable to control the urges to go back to alcohol, you should seek medical attention. The risks of alcohol poisoning in recovering addicts are much higher than that of a person just getting started with the substance.

If you’re looking for more information on alcohol or alcohol recovery, please give us a call at 602-535-6468 or email us at info@stonewallinstitute.com.