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Substance Abuse

Confronting Substance Triggers in Media 

substance use in the mediaHave you ever flipped on a favorite show or read a scene in a book you’ve been anticipating, only to be confronted with a reference to substance use that hits you right in the chest? The reference or exposure may be casual, often the “spice” on a scene instead of the point, but you’re sweating and feeling a little bit too crowded in your skin. 

Being confronted with our triggers in the media we consume is often uncomfortable, but when you’re in recovery, it happens a lot more often. Maybe you’re okay with it most of the time, or you’ve learned to gloss over it, and this time it’s just too much. Or maybe, you’re still learning. Either way, support and validation in this situation are both essential, and you should know: there’s nothing wrong with feeling uneasy about seeing these things, even in the media. Let’s talk about some of the reasons this happens and ways you can navigate it to support your recovery—both physically and emotionally. 

Early influence 

From a young age, we see drinking and smoking in the media we consume. In some scenarios, it’s depicted as the villain or in a somewhat accurate light, but the majority of the time, it just exists as a normalized part of the world. Drinking is, at best, just something that people do, and, in other programming, it’s glamorized as something to aspire to. The cool kids drink, the alt kids smoke, and later on, it’s the central theme of glamorous or exciting events in the lives of characters we’ve come to love. 

This early exposure was ingrained well before substance abuse found its way into your life, and those connotations have stuck in your mind. You see it now from the other side of the lens and feel a conflict that never existed for you before: the nostalgic normalcy and the ache of your reality in recovery. 

While you can’t banish those early impressions, you can focus on rewriting them. Practice validating your own narrative when you feel that insidious nostalgia rising with reminders like: 

  • Drinking wasn’t fun for me, and I have fun doing ___. 

Fill the blank with an activity that makes you feel good about yourself. 

  • Drug use isn’t glamorous, and my own experiences matter more than fiction. 
  • It’s okay for others to have these experiences even when I didn’t. 

Ultimately, you take up the most space in your own life, and you don’t have to reframe your thoughts if it doesn’t feel comfortable. It’s always okay to turn the channel or put down the book if the behavior makes you feel unsafe. 

Festive frustration 

The holidays have a way of making us all feel a bit less level, after all, and as we take the slow slide into sweater and stress weather, things that normally feel okay can be a bit trickier to navigate. Maybe the celebrations ask you to spend more time with loved ones you don’t see often or relationships that were a part of your life during active substance use. These things may pull your awareness right up to the top of your emotional meter, making it that much more apparent when the wine bottle goes around at Thanksgiving dinner or when you hear the ninth commercial for beer on the radio during your holiday gift shopping. 

The exposure can feel like an endless assault on top of the emotions of the holidays themselves, and when stress runs so high, it’s more difficult to look away when you feel its influence more acutely. 

While you can’t turn off the celebrations or the season, you can prepare yourself for the exposure by bringing your own drinks or taking charge of the conversation to mention your sobriety so that it doesn’t feel like the elephant in the room. Being open about how you’re feeling with someone you trust will also help you to feel less overwhelmed by the prevalence of substances in holiday media. 

Exposure to parts of your history in a glamorized or socially celebrated spaces that you respect can feel chafing at best and triggering in other instances. There is no one size fits all solution in protecting your recovery and rewriting your relationship with a media culture that glamorizes something so personal to you. Still, there are many routes you can tailor to your situation to find one that fits. At any stage in the journey, we’re happy to help supplement your coping tools and navigate these constant confrontations so that you can feel confident in your own life, your recovery and that Netflix guilty pleasure you don’t want to stop watching. 

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Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse and Depression

Are you struggling with both substance abuse and depression? Neither are pleasant diagnoses on their own, but what happens when you’re dealing with both at the same time? Maybe your addiction is in the past, but you still feel that temptation to drink when new hurts arise. Or maybe you’ve been walking the path of recovery for some time, and a sudden loss or an unexpected life change is threatening to knock you off the wagon. 

When you’re caught between the struggles of two different diagnoses, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. While substance abuse and depression are different difficulties, the overlap between them can be significant. It may feel foreboding to take on multiple challenges at once when they feel so different but there is hope in those shared spaces. When you are experiencing overlapping struggle, knowledge is imperative in garnering that hope and utilizing it to move toward healing.

Want to learn more about the relationship between substance abuse and depression, and more importantly, what you can do to take back your life? 

Where Substance Abuse and Depression Connect

The relationship between substance abuse and depression goes both ways, meaning that having one increases the risk factors for developing the other- and it doesn’t much matter which comes first. Using substances can decrease the acuity of feelings of sadness or hopelessness, and those feelings can attribute to a desire to turn to substances. The cycle is vicious. 

Substance abuse and depression often share a root cause. Whether it’s in trauma, repression, or it’s something you’re predisposed to, both are tools used to numb the experience of vividly feeling what’s beneath. 

How They’re Different 

The most glaring difference between substance abuse and depression is that depression is a struggle with something you feel, while substance abuse is a struggle with something you consume. Depression begins inside of you: an internal force of strife often sparked by something beyond your control. Substance abuse is external: it symbolizes the active engagement with bringing something into your body to change your cognitive or emotional awareness. 

Depression is often linked to a reduction in feel-good chemicals, while substance abuse is considered a depressant and can actively contribute to a reduction in those chemicals. While the impact to you is similar, it paints a mirror once more- one is cause, the other is effect. 

Healing Together

Everyone moving through this life will experience pain. Each person will feel sad, and have times of struggle. Maybe those things will consume them, briefly. 

Most people will consume alcohol or other substances and experience intoxication. They will feel the dizzying highs and changes of a mind-altering substance and it may feel really really good. 

While these experiences may be common, they are not the same as substance abuse or depression. Recognizing the difference in having an experience and needing help because those experiences have become an inhibiting part of your life is the key in finding your way out of the depths of substance abuse and depression. 

That recognition is your golden ticket toward recovery- beginning with detoxing from your substance of choice and giving voice to the vices that have controlled you. Your healing is in your grasp when you take the first step toward accountability and awareness. If you’re here right now, you’re doing that and we are already so proud of you. 

Tools You Can Use to Support Your Recovery 

While there are a myriad of things you can ask for or work with alongside qualified experts in rehabilitation and healing, you do not have to wait for anyone to begin with small steps for big impact. 

Feel your feelings instead of avoiding them. Burying your emotions is a slippery slope on its own but if you struggle with co-existing substance abuse and depression, avoiding what you’re feeling is akin to hitting turbo charge on an avalanche. 

To feel your feelings, you don’t have to talk about them but you do need the space and language to give words to what you’re experiencing when you feel it. Whether you choose to do that through your own self awareness or with a trusted support network, it’s important. 

Journaling has been proven to provide relief from the pressure of bottling up your emotions and can be a constructive addition to acquiring the language to feel your feelings instead of suppressing them. There are a myriad of journaling styles to choose from- the most important thing is that you select something that feels good to you. 

Make change a priority in your day to day routine. It doesn’t need to be a big change, but ensure that it’s one you can stick to. Developing new habits and routines can be a great tool to build on bigger, more powerful changes that keep you from falling back into old ones. 

While substance abuse and depression are scary and difficult things to manage on your own, there is something we hope you always remember: 

You are never alone. 

We are here, to add to or help spark the start of a support network that will carry you from detox to the future of your dreams. Your recovery starts with recognition but the power is in you now. 

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Substance Abuse

Women and Alcohol: 10 Dangerous Health Risks

You may be familiar with the general dangers of drinking alcohol, but are you aware of the dangers specific to women? Alcohol can quickly turn into an unhealthy habit, develop into an addiction, and cause serious health problems.

If you find yourself drinking more often than you would like, or recognize that you can’t seem to make it throughout the day without downing a drink or six, consider exploring the benefits of joining a detox program for women and starting your journey toward a healthier, sober lifestyle with an alcohol treatment professional.

In this article, we’re exploring the many dangers associated with consuming alcohol, specifically women and alcohol.

Women and Alcohol

It’s just a simple glass of wine after the kids go to bed, right? When we’re dealing with stress from all aspects of life and going through a particularly difficult time, it makes sense that we may find ourselves drinking more. One glass every now and then easily turns into a couple of glasses a few nights a week. The more consumed, the more dangerous it becomes to our overall health.

It is common to think that drinking a few drinks here and there could be harmless. After all, alcohol is such a socially acceptable thing to do that it happens every day without people giving it a second thought. According to the CDC, heavy drinking is defined as 8 or more drinks per week for women – which is a number many women reach. The truth is, whether you consider yourself an alcoholic, alcohol-dependent, or neither – alcohol consumption can pose dangerous health risks — especially to women.

Here are 10 dangerous health risks associated with women and alcohol. 

1. An Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

Drinking more than 3 servings of alcohol each week increases the risk of breast cancer according to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. For those with a family history, the risk is even greater. What’s more is that alcohol has been known to increase the risk of mouth cancer, throat cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer, and more. It is safe to say that alcohol is a known carcinogen

2. Leads to Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut occurs when the gut lining is permeated and begins leaking bacteria and toxins into your bloodstream. This can impact the immune system, sometimes maybe even leading to autoimmune conditions. A few symptoms are bloating, fatigue, digestive issues, food sensitivities, and skin problems. 

Alcohol can be harsh on your system and can very easily cause holes within your stomach lining – resulting in leaky gut syndrome. 

3. Breeds an Imbalanced Gut Microbiome

In addition to the leaky gut syndrome, the ecosystem of your gut is impacted even more due to alcohol consumption and an imbalanced microbiome. This can actually lead to things like cravings, depression, and anxiety. 

Researchers are discovering that the cravings associated with gut issues can lead to increased alcohol consumption – and may even lead to addiction. Learn more about alcoholic gastritis.

4. An Increased Risk for Dementia

Studies show that heavy alcohol use can cause the brain to shrink for both men and women. However, in women, this shrinking occurs at a much faster rate. The parts of the brain that are most susceptible are

  • The cingulate gyrus – AS a component of the limbic system, this area of the brain is responsible for the formation and processing of emotions. 
  • The insula – The area of the brain that works to achieve balance, as well as emotions like compassion, perception, and empathy. The insula is also responsible for certain areas of cognition, motor control, and self-awareness.  

All is not lost, though. Reducing alcohol consumption can allow the brain to recover what it has lost. 

5. The Risk of Developing Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are fairly common in women. But, for those who consume a lot of alcohol, the risk of developing these fibroids is much greater. 

Alcohol consumption increases the level of estrogen – both estrone and estradiol – in the body which is what researchers believe is responsible for the higher incidence rate for fibroids in those who drink often. 

6. Damage to the Liver

The liver works hard to filter blood from your digestive tract, careful to remove any toxins to keep you healthy. It is well-known, however, that alcohol can cause a huge disruption in liver function. Chronic alcohol use can eventually lead to a condition known as cirrhosis of the liver, as well as liver failure. 

7. A Greater Risk of Infertility

Women who consume alcohol at an elevated rate are at an increased risk for menstrual irregularity and miscarriage. This also increases their ovulatory factor when it comes to reproduction. This factor refers to the ovaries’ lack of release of an unfertilized egg each month. 

According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, women who are considered moderate drinkers have a 30% increased risk of the ovulatory factor while heavy drinkers have a 60% increased risk.

8. Higher Risk of Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a painful medical condition in which the lining tissue meant to protect inside the uterus is actually found outside the uterus. It leads to painful monthly periods, painful sexual intercourse, general pain, and even difficulty getting pregnant. 

Many studies have been conducted and have determined that the risk of endometriosis is 18% higher in drinkers than in non-drinkers. Just as it occurs with brain health, endometriosis risk can be lowered. 

9. Risk of Stroke is Elevated

For those who consume alcohol regularly, the risk of stroke is increased. Several studies have tried to monitor this connection – and all have come to the same conclusion that alcohol increases the risk of stroke. 

10. A Reduction of Lifespan

Alcohol can be damaging to your health and, thus, affect your lifespan. And it is not just heavy consumption that leads to this reduction in years. Studies show that, after the age of 40, every extra drink you take could be taking minutes off of your lifespan. 

Chronic alcohol consumption can be dangerous – and deadly. 

This list doesn’t even touch on the impact alcohol consumption has on a woman’s mental or emotional health. Or, the increased incidence of sexual abuse or violence that may occur – and the damaging effects it has on the body. 

If you feel that you may have a problem with alcohol use or would like to talk to somebody, then it is time to take that first step. Find a program that will allow you to heal – mind and body (like we discussed in #3 above) – so that you can be free from your addiction. 

What may start as a social activity amongst friends could turn into a deadly addiction

Alcohol poses serious health risks for women. Between stroke, reproductive issues, increased risk for cancer, gut issues, and more – there is no safe reason to continue alcohol consumption. 

Categories
Substance Abuse

Marijuana: The Real Cause of Your Anxiety

As marijuana is rapidly legalizing across this nation and others, the quiet commonality of using it to unwind is growing ever louder. Alongside recreational use, medical use of marijuana is on the rise but the risk awareness education regarding potential side effects doesn’t seem to be. Despite its reputation as a harmless substance with low addiction risk and high chill-factor, marijuana has risks just like every other substance. Let’s walk through the lesser known repercussions of marijuana use together so you can make an informed decision about the way you manage your body. 

Marijuana is known by over 100 names, but most commonly called weed, pot or mary jane. It’s known as cannabis in medical fields and in recent years, the discovery of a physiological system called the endocannabinoid system has led to debate about the way our bodies use and process the elements in marijuana. The system seems to impact sleep, mood, memory, appetite and reproductive functions. While there are notable benefits to the medically supervised use of cannabis in supporting these functions as well as collective of other indicated uses, there are drawbacks as well. 

Not addicted but 

While marijuana is touted as not having addictive properties, and those who use it often defend their reliance upon it with this assumption, it doesn’t mean that all use is healthy. The removal of the terms addiction or dependency from health fields does not negate the very real impact of Marijuana Use Disorder. Depending on marijuana to relax or unwind still indicates use that is necessary to achieve desired states and, as such, disordered. 

Whether you are calling it disordered use or addiction, relying on marijuana to unwind or create a favorable mood is not ideal. 

It calms me down but 

While marijuana may create an out of body experience or feelings of relaxation, there are downsides to the potential mood alterations that it can induce. Ever feel anxious or agitated after smoking a little green? Yeah, that tracks. 

It’s a bit of a mixed bag on how marijuana may impact your mood so even though it calms you down, the potential is quite high for that calm to bring along some chaotic friends. Marijuana use may also lead to feelings of apathy and fatigue, particularly in withdrawal or between long abstinence from use. When the high wears off, those hours of lost motivation may contribute to the feelings of stress and strain you began with as now you’re behind too. 

I feel better but 

Does your body? With a broadening pool of research indicating the potential for heart and lung impairment when smoking marijuana, your perceived health may not be an accurate depiction of your actual health. It may not be everyone who is impacted by the wheezing tightness of breathing difficulties after engaging in some recreational marijuana use, but the chance it may be you is higher than you might have thought.  The risks don’t end with tight lungs though. The endocannabinoid response in the cardiovascular system can also lead to a higher heart rate, dilated blood vessels and a temporarily increased risk of heart attack shortly after use. 

Additional risks to your fertility, the delicate structures of the mind (including sleep and memory patterns) as well as a generally balanced immune response could exist for some folks using marijuana on a regular or frequent basis. 

A being at odds 

While the body and mind can’t seem to make a concise decision on the impact of marijuana to your whole self, it’s difficult to make an informed decision. Even the research seems to go back and forth. The positives of managed marijuana use are undeniable in managing things like chronic pain for patients with long term diagnoses like Fibromyalgia or endometriosis. In other diseases like Parkinson’s, it may support tremors and marijuana’s antiemetic properties reduce nausea in cancer patients. Verdict’s still out on research indicating a positive correlation in treating PTSD with medical marijuana, but there is one very clear determination to be found amid the muddle. When you are using marijuana, being risk aware is an accountability check to managing your choice making no matter the reputation of the substance. 

It’s clear that marijuana has its place and use, but the importance is in being smart with making your decisions. Ensure you are cultivating a positive relationship with anything you are engaging in to support a deficiency in your world. Whether it’s marijuana, peanut butter or yoga, being negligent in supporting an informed relationships with the tools you use for improvement can enable them to become a crutch of avoidance.  If you are using substances to avoid confronting life, we want to help you work through those dependencies. 

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Substance Abuse

10 Signs of Alcoholism in Women

If you find yourself drinking more alcohol than usual, you may be at risk of developing long-term negative health conditions.

Alcohol use disorder among women in the United States increased by 83.7% between 2002 and 2013, according to a 2017 study sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Consuming alcohol is associated with liver disease, cognitive decline, heart damage, and cancers. If you suspect you may be drinking more than usual, there are several signs of alcoholism to consider.

In this article, we’re exploring several common signs of alcoholism in women and the importance of seeking help.

Signs of Alcoholism in Women

Women are strong beings that often find the need to prove themselves. They work hard. They take on more than necessary. They play many different roles, including the career professional, mom, wife, sister, best friend, nurturer, social coordinator, house cleaner, chef, and so much more. Many of the hats for these roles are worn on the same day. 

All of the demands combined with the ability to strongly feel emotions can lead some women to use alcohol as a way of coping with the stress. Used too often, though, and this escape can soon become an addiction. Truth be told, stress is only one of the reasons why women may become alcoholics. For instance, family history of alcoholism, sexual abuse victims, and mental health issues also lead women to drink. 

Here are 10 common signs of alcoholism in women.

1. Too Many Drinks

There is a difference between sitting down with a girlfriend after one rough week and throwing back a few drinks – and going out frequently to do the same. Regularly going out and drinking a few drinks can be considered binge drinking. For women, binge drinking can be defined as having four or more drinks within two hours. 

Ideally, one should be consuming no more than one drink. If it cannot be done, alcoholism could be at play. 

2. Drinking No Matter What

For most people, seeing that their consumption of alcohol is harming their life – or their loved ones – will be enough for them to stop drinking. For someone dealing with alcoholism, drinking does not cease no matter what. 

The loss of a job, ruined relationships, and even legal troubles do not matter. Nothing matters except having that next drink. 

3. Broken Relationships – and Still Drinking

It is no surprise that drinking can break relationships. Drinking lowers inhibitions and can lead to actions and painful words that cannot be taken back when sober. For the person on the receiving end, things could seem broken and irreconcilable. For the drinker? She may not even remember it happening. 

Regardless of how damaged relationships are due to alcohol, an alcoholic will continue to drink. 

4. Ignoring Responsibilities

Most women naturally have a lot of responsibilities. Home, work, and family are just a few. Though those who find themselves in the middle of addiction are often moving through life seemingly without a care in the world. Missing work, neglecting household chores, forgetting family moments, and so forth just happen – because alcohol is the priority. Rather than facing responsibility, their time is spent either drinking or dealing with the repercussions of drinking too much. 

5. Engaging in Risky Behavior

Drinking alcohol can lower one’s ability to function. When faced with dangerous situations, being intoxicated could have complicated and deadly consequences. Getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is one such instance of risky behavior. Maybe she thinks fulfilling responsibilities like grocery shopping or taking the kids to soccer practice while under the influence is better than not doing anything at all. 

6. Overlooking Health Issues

Alcohol abuse over time can take a toll on a woman’s body. Declining health due to damage to the heart and brain, cancers, poor nutrition depression, falls and brittle bones, can all result from this abuse. Sometimes, coming face to face with a medical condition can make someone stop what they are doing. For alcoholics, though, overlooking health issues and continuing to drink is all too common. 

7. Consuming Alcohol Early in the Day

Alcohol is one of those things that is consumed in the evening or night, with the occasional drink during the day on the weekends or while on vacation. Waking up to a drink is a sign of alcoholism. This is because it is usually consumed to combat the onset of withdrawal symptoms. 

8. An Older Appearance

Heavily drinking alcohol is not kind to the skin over time. Alcoholic women tend to look older than they are and often look tired. The face may be puffy or bloated and the nose may be red and bumpy. 

9. Menstruation and Infertility Issues

Alcohol consumption impacts a woman’s hormones, leading to sporadic or non-existent menstrual cycles and difficulty getting pregnant. 

10. Exhibiting Signs of Withdrawal

When the alcohol starts moving out of the body – and it is not replaced with anymore – withdrawal symptoms will start to kick in. Shakiness, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, cold sweats, nausea/vomiting, and more are the signs of withdrawal from alcohol. 

Healing From Alcoholism At Villa Kali Ma

Now that you’re familiar with some of the common signs of alcoholism in women, you can take steps to improve your health and heal.

Discover the benefits of holistic treatment at Villa Kali Ma and begin your healing journey. Whether you suspect you may have a problem with alcohol or you’ve been struggling to overcome addiction for years, Villa Kali Ma can provide the care and guidance you need to heal your mind, body, and spirit.

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Substance Abuse Trauma

PTSD and Substance Abuse: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

It is not uncommon for those suffering from conditions such as PTSD to use substances like drugs and/or alcohol to self-medicate. While it may seem to be working initially, this can quickly lead to an addiction. 

For someone who has a co-occurring mental health disorder like PTSD with substance abuse, treatment needs to be planned in a way that will encompass all aspects of healing. 

Let’s take a look at PTSD and substance abuse. What does it look like? How is it treated? 

What is PTSD?

PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. This mental health disorder appears after one has been exposed or traumatized by an event or situation that caused a lot of stress. This may have been something that was life-threatening, violent, or causing severe injury. 

Those directly involved in a situation are the ones that typically experience PTSD. However, someone watching something traumatic take place is also prone to suffering from the condition. 

A few examples of situations that may lead to future PTSD are: 

  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Violent crimes
  • Accidents
  • Grief
  • Natural disasters
  • Military experiences

Related: What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

PTSD comes with various symptoms and signs that vary from mood changes and avoidance to reactive and intrusive. It is very important to keep in mind that while individuals have to meet certain criteria to be diagnosed with this mental health disorder, symptoms and the way they are handled will vary from person to person. 

Below is a list of the most common signs and symptoms of PTSD

  • Avoiding specific people, locations, or events. 
  • Avoiding talking about certain topics or feelings. 
  • Lack of interest in things once enjoyed. 
  • Constant negative attitude or emotions toward others and oneself. 
  • Unable to remember the traumatic event. 
  • Disruptive sleep patterns. 
  • Psychological distress concerning the traumatic event. 
  • Nightmares or flashbacks.
  • Inability to concentrate. 
  • Self-destructive behaviors. 
  • Anger and aggression. 

PTSD and Substance Abuse

Many PTSD sufferers turn to something as a way of coping with the signs and symptoms we talked about above. They use alcohol or drugs of any kind to help make the painful and uncomfortable symptoms fade – even if only for a little while. They are often used: 

  • To be able to halt the ever-present thoughts about the traumatic event. 
  • To get some sleep without disturbances or nightmares.
  • To not feel the harsh emotions. 
  • To feel normal for a bit.  

Traumatic events are hard to talk about and even more difficult to try to face and work through. So, numbing becomes the go-to method for dealing with PTSD. Unfortunately, the more the feelings of PTSD are masked by substance use, the longer they will go unresolved. And the greater the chance that substance use can become an addiction. 

When Self-Medicating Turns to Addiction

Using drugs or alcohol as a way of self-medicating PTSD symptoms can quickly turn into an addiction without even realizing it. You begin feeling as though you cannot get through life without that substance since it is what helps you feel more normal. As a result, changes begin happening in the body make you crave the substance, unable to get through a day without it. 

If you have ever wondered when substance abuse turns into an addiction, here are a few signs and symptoms to look for: 

  • Inability to reduce usage or quit altogether. 
  • Using in place of activities once enjoyed. 
  • Strong cravings for the substance. 
  • Using the substance for a long period – longer than intended – and at a higher rate. 
  • Allowing the substance use to interfere with responsibilities to family or work. 
  • Putting substance use above physical health, relationships, and safety. 
  • Needing additional amounts of the substance to gain the desired effect. 

Treatment for PTSD and Co-Occurring Addiction

Seeking treatment is important for overcoming PTSD and addiction. A healthy life full of joy and contentment is a reachable goal, but both disorders need to be addressed in treatment for a successful outcome. 

An integrative, dual-diagnosis approach can allow individuals to use therapeutic tools like: 

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – A type of psychotherapy that helps modify thought patterns in an attempt to change thought patterns. 
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) – A type of CBT that helps in processing the thoughts, emotions, and feelings that surround the traumatic event. 
  • Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) – A type of therapy that helps trauma survivors understand that the emotions and feelings they hold about a certain event are not actually harmful – and they don’t have to avoid them.

While gaining this therapy and the tools that will come from it in relation to PTSD, the individual is also going through a program to help with addiction. This means attending meetings and additional therapeutic sessions to learn how to overcome addictive behaviors. Often, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is used in addiction treatment, as well. 

Treatment can take place in several ways, depending on recommendations, preferences, financial ability, etc. For instance, there are often different levels of treatment available such as: 

Inpatient treatment is a type of treatment that takes place while living at the facility. These programs have everything needed on site. This is the best, most thorough option to find healing. 

Outpatient treatment means living at home while attending a program. There are lots of tools available to treat addiction and PTSD without interfering with daily responsibilities. 

Group treatment/counseling allows one to learn and grow from the experiences of others while improving social skills and interpersonal skills. 

Individual therapy is crucial in finding healing. This is where you find CBT, PE, and CPT methods being used with PTSD.

Always discuss your situation with professionals to determine the best individual treatment program for you. 

A well-designed program for co-occurring disorders, such as PTSD and addiction, will have a whole-body approach to wellness. This inpatient, intensive program works the mind, body, and spirit. Working with therapists and professionals who have an understanding that someone is struggling with both conditions can help cater the treatment approach accordingly. 

PTSD and addiction each require a lot of attention and focus to get through, but with the right treatment approach, it can be done successfully. 

If you’re interested in joining a treatment program, contact Villa Kali Ma to learn more about our unique approach and discover the treatment options we offer.

Categories
Substance Abuse

Understanding Substance-Induced Mood Disorders

Dealing with a mood disorder (or any mental health condition) can be very trying, difficult, and even lead to feelings of hopelessness at times. Living with an addiction to any substance can bring unwelcome havoc that can rip lives apart. 

What happens when you put them both together? 

Many may not understand the intricate connection between mood disorders and substance use. It is not uncommon for someone who has a mental health disorder to turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of soothing the condition. But then we have those substances that induce mood disorders when used regularly by an individual with no history of them. 

Today we are going to work on understanding substance-induced mood disorders. 

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders are conditions in which your mood makes it difficult to function normally. Simply put, a mood disorder is your emotional state of mind. And let’s be real our emotions very easily impact how we act and behave. When we are sad, disappointed, worried or anxious, and so forth – the way we behave is impacted by this mood. 

Yes, we all have emotions. We have all certain moods that we get in that affect our behavior. So, when do these moods become mood disorders?

Mood disorders last longer than a few minutes. If you are sad and your friends visit with movies and ice cream, laugh with you, and leave you feeling much better – it’s not a mood disorder. You are just feeling emotions that are appropriate for the situation. 

Moods and emotions that come with a mood disorder last much longer than they should. You cannot shake the mood with an afternoon of laughter – and these moods begin to impact your life in all areas. Their grip is so tight that you lose your ability to function regularly. 

A few of the most common mood disorders are: 

  • Major Depressive Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorders
  • Depression Induced by a Substance Use or Medication

Substance-Induced Mood Disorders

The type of mood disorder that gets induced when a substance is used does not go away quickly. They have been known to last for weeks or months. Maybe even longer! 

You may question why anyone will want to continue to use a drug if it leads to these terrible feelings. That is because it does not happen initially. Those who use drugs and alcohol feel good after that initial use. After all, that is what gets them coming back for more, right? They continue to use, and, with time, the good feelings wear off and a mood disorder starts moving in. Without even realizing what is happening, you can be faced with a struggle that you do not know how to get out of.

How is it determined that the mood disorder is substance-induced? 

If you had symptoms of or had been diagnosed with a mood disorder before drug or alcohol use, then you would not meet the diagnosis criteria for substance-induced mood disorders. Though if you have no history of a mood disorder, but it appeared when you began using substances, then it would likely be considered a substance-induced mood disorder.

How Long Does it Take?

As previously mentioned, symptoms of substance-induced mood disorders do not appear after the initial use. In other words, you do not go out drinking and partying one night and wake up the next day with a mood disorder you cannot shake. Though, that doesn’t mean that seed hasn’t been planted in your body. 

Some professionals in the field claim that a depressive episode can kick in during the initial intoxication. For others, it can happen during the withdrawal. Keep in mind that depression itself is a symptom of withdrawal – and it should disappear once the withdraw is over. 

If it doesn’t? You could be facing substance-induced depression. 

Substances that Impact Mood Disorders

Different drugs can lead to various mood disorders – but the number one substance that leads to mood disorders (primarily depression) is alcohol. 

Other substances that may lead to substance-induced depressive disorder include the following: 

  • Opioids
  • Sedatives
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Hallucinogens
  • Tobacco
  • Nicotine
  • Caffeine
  • Inhalants

Symptoms

Everyone who battles a substance-induced mood disorder will have their own symptoms. However, the following symptoms are most common: 

  • Lack of energy
  • Sadness or lack of interest
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep too much
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Foggy mind/Inability to concentrate
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Physical pains

Complications of Mood Disorders

If you have a mood disorder that is substance-induced, then you are subject to some risks that may require attention from professionals. These include: 

  • Thoughts/acts of harming one’s self
  • Thoughts/acts of harming others
  • Interpersonal issues
  • Difficulty at work – and time away
  • Lengthy hospital stays 

Additional Common Substance-Induced Disorders

It Is important to note that substances can induce mood disorders as well as other types of disorders. Here are a few disorders to pay attention to: 

And many more. These disorders appear to have a direct correlation to substance use. 

When to Seek Help

Mood disorders can greatly impact your quality of life and interfere with those people and things important to you. Seek help from a professional if you experience any of the following: 

  • Believe you may have an addiction to drugs or alcohol. 
  • Feel as though you have strong emotions that you cannot handle – emotions that are impacting your interpersonal relationships, work, social aspects of life, and your overall quality of life. 
  • Have thoughts of harming yourself or others. (In this case, seek help immediately)

Taking that first step is what will lead you on a journey to the rest of your life. 

Substance-induced mood disorders may appear unexpectedly and during different times of substance use. Yet, they may last for a long time. Don’t feel like you are doomed to suffer with them or feel as though you can’t break the cycle of your substance use.

Explore the benefits of joining a holistic healing program and begin your journey to addiction recovery and healing.

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Substance Abuse

Detox for Women: The First Step to Addiction Recovery

Detoxification is the first step to addiction recovery. This step flushes your system of harmful substances and prepares you to continue forward toward a healthier lifestyle. A detox program for women will be specifically designed to cater to your needs as a woman as you seek to heal your mind, body, and spirit.

If you live with an addiction, your ability to think clearly is altered. And since addiction recovery involves being able to heal and transform your life by getting to compassionately know the real you, then you need to clear your mind. 

In this article, we will take a closer look at the process and benefits relating to detox for women.

Detox for Women

The detoxification process, or drug detox, is the first step to addiction recovery. It is the process of removing the drug and its toxins from within the body. 

Depending on the addiction and the length of use, the amount of time needed to detox will vary. During this period, the body will begin the process of physiologically healing itself. And, quite honestly, since there are many unpleasant experiences that one will go through when detoxing, the process also involves managing these symptoms. 

Here’s what you need to know about the process and benefits of a detox for women program

The Detox Process

Getting through the detox process means being ready to fight some tough, intense battles. Women are warriors, but even they need support during this course. It may take several hours after the last dose of a substance before the withdrawal symptoms may commence. Though it is important to note that these symptoms will vary depending on the type of drug used. 

The factors that play a part in determining the degree of the detox include:

  • The combination, if any, of drugs and alcohol use. Having more than one in your system can impact the withdrawal. 
  • How long you have been addicted. The longer the use, the more severe and lengthy the 
  • Whether or not there are any co-occurring mental health issues or physical disorders that may become magnified under the weight of the withdrawal. 
  • Amount of most recent usage. For instance, those who use knowing they are heading into detox may use at a higher level. 

Throughout the entire detox process, you should make sure you are monitored by medical and psychiatric staff. 

As far as the actual process for your detox, there are a couple of different methods. For instance, quitting the drug cold turkey means letting it go without any medication to calm the withdrawal. Should things get too bad, a medical team can step in but it is not usually part of the process. 

Short-term and long-term medicated detox is a method of detoxing that uses various medications overseen by a medical professional to ease the pain and discomfort associated with the process. The type of assistance and the length it is received will be dependent on the type of addiction. 

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms will vary from person to person – primarily depending on the type of drug you are detoxing from. Generally, many people will experience intense cravings for the drug, flu-like symptoms, mood swings and agitation, and insomnia. Let’s take a brief look at a few of the most common detox symptoms based on the substance used. 

  • Alcohol: sweating, chills, insomnia, nausea/vomiting, anxiety. More severe symptoms include seizures, hallucinations, agitation, and confusion. 
  • Benzodiazepine: anxiety, irritability and aggression, hallucinations, tremors, and seizures. 
  • Heroin: sweating, anxiety, agitation/aggression, runny nose, insomnia, uncontrollable yawning, and body aches. 
  • Opioid: bone, joint, and muscle aches and pains, as well as gastrointestinal issues. 
  • Bath salts: depression, insomnia, shakes and tremors, and paranoia.
  • Stimulants: depression, thoughts of self-harm, and suicide

Depending on how bad the addiction is (and other factors as discussed), the withdrawal symptoms can be severe and perhaps even life-threatening. Choosing to detox in a facility that has the support necessary to handle these withdrawal symptoms should they become dangerous is something you may want to consider. 

Remember, amid detox, it is not always easy to see what may be best for you so relying on healthcare professionals may make a huge difference in the outcome. 

Detox Types

There are three basic different types of drug detox programs – outpatient, inpatient, and at home. While you will need to determine the one that fits best with your needs, there are a few things you should consider. 

An inpatient detox program is the most highly recommended choice thanks to the close monitoring and support of professionals throughout the entire withdrawal process. 

An outpatient detox program is not as ideal since you would not receive the same round-the-clock care and inpatient. However, for those with a strong support system at home and who will be willing to commit to checking in with the facility, this could be successful. 

At-home detox is an option, but not recommended at all. It misses the professional care and attention, as well as the comforts that the other options can bring. This also means, of course, that they are not as effective. 

Treating Addiction

Treating addiction comes after detox. You cannot treat the addiction if your mind is not clear and focused on loosening the grip it has on you. 

Once detox is over, treating addiction means getting to the bottom of any pain, trauma, or mental health issue that may have led to substance abuse in the first place. Many treatment programs will put together a personalized treatment plan that will encompass any needs you may have. In fact, many of these plans include services, such as: 

  • Individual, family, or group counseling
  • Medical attention
  • Educational relapse prevention classes

Teaching you how to reintegrate into society safely means re-learning life skills. But it also means healing your mind, body, and spirit. This is the only true way to heal and transform your life as the strong woman that you are. 

A healthy addiction treatment program will help you discover who you truly are by ways of artistic expression, mindfulness training, learning how to love yourself and treat your body right through proper nutrition, and more. You can’t expect to detox and go back to living the life you lived before the drug abuse. You must compassionately heal yourself from the inside. 

When you are ready to detox and grow into the woman you were made to be, take that first step. 

If you’re interested in starting your journey toward recovery and healthier living, contact Villa Kali Ma to learn more about our unique Detox Program.

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Substance Abuse

How Drug Addiction Affects Relationships

Drug addiction negatively affects every aspect of life, including your physical health, your mental health, and your relationships. Addiction often involves lying, which makes it difficult to maintain trust, respect, and open communication.

In this article, we’re taking a closer look at how drug addiction affects relationships.

How Drug Addiction Affects Relationships

Our relationships with other people are centered around the bond of trust. The degree to which we entrust another person with our vulnerabilities, our thoughts, and our emotions form the basis of how close we can allow ourselves to get. There is no relationship more important to have established trust in than our intimate one. When our loved one develops a drug addiction, that trust can begin to deteriorate from the inside-out.

Here’s how drug addiction affects relationships.

Dealing with Lies

A person with a drug addiction doesn’t typically set out to become a liar. The lies merely become a symptom of how much the addiction has taken over the life of our loved ones. In the beginning, this person may rationalize that the lies are protecting you from uncomfortable information. As the addiction progresses, the lies will be justified as necessary to continue to engage in behaviors that you do not approve of. Eventually, a person deep into addiction may become so accustomed to lying that it becomes second nature to do so.

The experience of increasingly deteriorating trust levels between you and a loved one is incredibly stressful. You are likely to spend large amounts of time trying to find ways to believe what you have been told. You may devote large amounts of precious time and energy to sleuthing out the facts of your loved one’s behavior and claims. You may find yourself thinking that you are the one going crazy.

Impairment of Intimacy

It is little surprise that damaged trust leads to damaged intimacy. Intimacy, by nature, involves feeling safe enough to be vulnerable with a person. When this person whom you have thus far shared your life with begins to turn into a stranger, the entire foundation of intimacy is torn apart. You can’t confide your daily stresses to someone who is distracted and disconnected. You can’t open your heart to someone who is in the habit of lying to you.

This barrier to intimacy extends to the bedroom, as well. Depending on our personal perspectives when it comes to sex, we may no longer feel comfortable engaging in that sort of bonding activity while our partner is in active addiction. The attitude and approach of the addicted person toward sex are likely to be changing, as well. Some types of addiction contribute to a voracious sex drive, while other types will completely dissolve sexual interest. Either way, it goes, your sex life will be infringed upon by the specter of addiction.

Abuse

While it can be argued that lies and denial of intimacy are their own form of abuse, it can get much more drastic. A person in addiction is most often only selfishly concerned, and this concern has to do with scoring the next high. To someone with an addiction problem, you can become nothing more than a barrier between the addict and the drug.

The degree of abuse that is inflicted by a person in addiction can vary according to several factors. The personality bend of your loved one prior to the addiction, the severity of the addiction, and the type of substance that is being used can all play a role in what type of abuse is experienced. In cases of physical abuse, there is usually a discernible cycle. In cases of emotional and psychological abuse, the signs can be much harder to recognize.

Parenting Difficulties

In all of your personal struggles with an addicted person, even more, heartbreaking is going through this experience with children involved. Attempting to co-parent with someone who is addicted is even worse than going it alone.

The sober parent can struggle with internal battles about how much to expose the children to the addicted parent, and how to explain what is going on in a way that a child is capable of processing. If all parties are still living in the same home, chances are good that the children are frequently exposed to the same type of treatment that you are. This can be too much for their developing minds to properly handle and can lead to mental health problems down the road.

The mental and emotional struggles with deciding whether to stay or to leave, deciding on how to explain the situation to the children, and deciding on the best way to protect them from the behaviors of an addict can sap every last drop of mental energy.

Financial Struggles

The difficulties of being in a relationship with an addict cross over into practical matters, as well.

The money for the drugs or alcohol has to come from somewhere, and, unless your addicted loved one is a so-called functioning addict, you will often find yourself to be the one footing that tab. A person who is deep into addiction will not only dip into savings for the high but can also end up with no qualms about using the milk and diaper money for it. An addicted person can not only end up losing a job but can make your attempts to maintain a 9-5 similarly difficult.

Codependency and Enabling

While reading about all of these very obvious factors which contribute to a dysfunctional relationship with an addict makes it sound simple, the reality is much more complex. Most of us don’t start out our loving relationship with these signs of addiction so evident. They are more likely to creep in, bit by bit, and slowly change our whole world. Like the analogy of the frog in a pot of boiling water, we can end up in over our heads before we know it.

Deciding what to do after already in the middle of a situation is extremely difficult. It is important to be aware of signs that we are enabling our addicted loved ones to continue the destructive behavior. Codependency is the term that is used to describe a situation where we think we are helping, but we are actually providing the addicted person with the means to sustain the behavior. If you notice that the signs of codependency are present in your relationship, seek some of your own therapy.

If you are stuck in the destructive cycle of drug addiction and worry it may be affecting your relationships, consider exploring the benefits of sustainable recovery here at Villa Kali Ma.

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Substance Abuse

Women and Substance Abuse (Causes, Signs, and Recovery)

Substance abuse among women has increased significantly in recent years. Research from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) reveals rates of nonmedical prescription drug use are higher among women. Women who turn to substances in order to self-medicate are at risk of becoming addicted.

In this article, we’re exploring the connection between women and substance abuse, including the common causes, signs, and paths to recovery.

Women and Substance Abuse

There are several clear stages of addiction, including the initial introduction, escalation, and maintenance. Research shows women respond differently than men. For example, women will have a more pleasurable experience during the introduction of a substance and are more likely to self-medicate. In terms of escalation, women are more likely to increase the frequency of using substances. Once the addictive behavior is established, women will stabilize at higher doses of substances and experience greater side effects of the drug.

Let’s take a closer look at the connection between women and substance abuse, including the common causes, signs, and holistic healing options.

Origins of Substance Abuse for Women

Most of us know that it isn’t good practice to blame any one thing, directly, for our problems. That isn’t to say that there are not certain factors that play a prominent role in a woman’s journey into the dark realm of substance abuse.

Whether it be due to biological or cultural factors – or a combination of both – women are more likely to place emphasis on the quality of relationships. As such, many of the precursors to a woman developing a substance abuse problem are related to the dynamics experienced in relationships.

Traumatic Childhoods

While it is not an exclusively female problem to carry the weight of negative childhood experiences long into adulthood, biological women do tend to internalize the trauma more than those with an XY chromosome combination. In our roles as nurturers – as empirically evidenced by the state of pregnancy – we take our interpersonal experiences to heart.

This empathetic disposition can mean that we tend to seek to blame ourselves before blaming others, up to and including blaming ourselves for not being able to make our experience as children into something better.

The scars that are carried from traumatic childhood events – such as being physically, sexually, or emotionally abused – can be taken forward with us into the future, and can result in becoming trapped in a self-defeating cycle of anxiety, depression, and self-loathing. Substance abuse often stems from a desire to escape these negative feelings.

Toxic Relationships

Closely related to the topic of traumatic childhoods is that of toxic adult relationships.

It is a well-observed phenomenon that dysfunctional families of origin set the stage for our seeking out and engaging in dysfunctional relationships as adults. Having a difficult childhood isn’t always a prerequisite to getting ourselves into bad relationships, however. Sometimes, we just have to learn through experience.

A toxic relationship is one that does more harm than good. Elements of a toxic relationship can include all forms of abuse, lies, and cheating. Less obvious signs of a toxic relationship include being asked to give more than you get, feeling invalidated when it comes to your feelings and perspectives, and having a partner who is emotionally unavailable.

Due to the complexities of relationship factors, some women will take a long time to realize that they would be better off on their own. Meanwhile, they may attempt to reduce the misery by developing a dependency on drugs or alcohol.

Work-Home Stress

While this category of substance abuse temptation may not initially appear to have the common factor of being relationship-oriented, a closer look will reveal the link.

Prior to WWII, women had the primary function of being a homemaker. As women increasingly gained the ability to make their own money, a new sense of female empowerment was obtained. That glow of that accomplishment was somewhat dimmed once we realized that we now had to be responsible for managing both worlds, simultaneously.

Any woman who has engaged in the task of fulfilling the role of being an attentive wife, a loving parent, a good homemaker, and a successful employee – and at the same time – knows that the pressure of it all can become too much.

The stress of trying to be a superwoman can lead us to want just the least bit of reprieve. What starts out as a nightly glass of wine or sleeping pill to unwind can turn into a craving for more relief. This need for more relief can result in a substance abuse problem.

Signs of Substance Abuse in Women

When it comes to signs of substance abuse for women, there are many similarities with those found in men. One of the notable differences tends to lie in a woman’s historical tendency to avoid aggressive responses and shun risk-taking behavior. If you – or a woman you love – are increasingly showing signs of anger, violence, or lack of concern for safety, there may be a substance abuse issue at the core.

Universal signs of a substance abuse problem include neglecting responsibilities, withdrawing from social engagements, not being able to account for missing money, and disruptions in sleep patterns.

Outside of the obvious factor of being visibly intoxicated, many of the symptoms of a substance abuse problem can also be associated with certain mental health disorders. It is important to not jump to conclusions when observing these signs in a loved one.

Recovery from Substance Abuse

As our community knowledge and skill level in treating substance abuse issues improve, so does the prognosis for recovery. Substance abuse problems are now often considered within the context of other, underlying, mental health concerns. Co-occurring disorder treatment seeks to heal the inner wounds that may lead to substance abuse while simultaneously providing education and motivation to move away from a dependence on drugs or alcohol.

A woman who learns to love herself, initiate healthy boundaries with others, and obtain a healthy work-home balance is in a better position to resist the temptation to escape the pressures of life through substance abuse.

If you are stuck in the destructive cycle of substance abuse, consider exploring the benefits of sustainable recovery here at Villa Kali Ma. We work to heal women from the effects of addictions and the underlying emotional intolerance that fuels the avoidance cycle.

We invite you to share yourself in your own time when you are ready. Know that you are welcome to unfold your imperfections and vulnerabilities in a safe space free of judgment, condemnation, rejection, and ridicule. At Villa Kali Ma, you will be welcomed and cared for with the respect, love, and dignity you deserve.