Is Mental Health a Social Issue?

Mental health disorders affect a large percentage of the United States population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime. As a result, most people have either experienced these disorders themselves or know someone who has, making mental health a pressing social issue.

What Constitutes a Social Issue?

According to the Oxford Dictionary of Sociology, a social issue (also referred to as a social problem) is:

“[A] generic term applied to a range of conditions and aberrant behaviors which are manifestations of social disorganization. It is a condition most people in a society consider undesirable and want to correct by changing through some means of social engineering or social planning” (2015).

Simply put, social problems occur within society, affect a wide range of people, and require help from policymakers and citizens alike to address the concerns. These issues have negative consequences for the majority of the population. Examples of social issues include:

  • Crime rates and prison systems
  • Domestic violence
  • Ethnic or racial tension
  • Sexual assault
  • Poverty
  • Unemployment

All of these are widespread challenges that need to be addressed as a collective whole. In other words, changes are not easily made on an individual level and need large-scale intervention.

Why Mental Health Is a Social Issue

Mental health issues affect more than those who have a diagnosed disorder. Loved ones, friends, and those who interact with people who have a mental illness all see the impacts of these diseases. Often, there are two leading causes of a mental illness: genetics and environment. Environmental components make mental health concerns a social issue as these disorders often occur in response to:

  • Abuse or neglect
  • Witnessing or being a victim of violence
  • Lack of consistency or support in childhood
  • Poverty, lack of resources
  • Housing insecurity

These factors all require societal reform in order to adequately address them, making mental health a public concern. Additionally, the U.S. mental health system needs to be better managed. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), only 34% of those with mental illness received services to manage their diagnosis. There is an ongoing stigma associated with mental health issues, and this needs to be addressed by society as a whole.

Improving Social Support for Mental Health Disorders

Someone who has a diagnosis of a mental illness sees its effects in relationships, work, school, access to resources, and public perception. To improve how these people interact with society, we need to put better support in place. This includes:

  1. Creating early intervention and education programs
  2. Making mental health services available to more people through public funding
  3. Identifying risk factors to inform services
  4. Increasing public education on mental health to reduce stigma
  5. Advocating for policies to support individual recovery efforts (time off from work/school, comprehensive healthcare coverage)

Better serving people who have mental health conditions not only benefits this population — it helps communities as a whole function more cohesively. The U.S. Department of Health has a plan to improve mental health services as part of their Healthy People 2030 initiative. They are tracking each objective with the ultimate goal of improving health and quality of life for people with mental illnesses.

Comprehensive Mental Health Treatment at PACE

At PACE Recovery Center, we are consistently working to reduce the number of young men who have untreated mental health conditions. Our California treatment center offers multiple treatment options for teens and young adults who are managing a mental illness. We help men with mood disorders, anxiety, trauma, and other diagnosed conditions learn to manage symptoms while unpacking the root sources of their disorder through psychoeducation and therapy.

Our residential program provides intensive treatment while allowing our recovering gentlemen to continue their schooling through our PACE Academy program. If you or a young man you know would benefit from mental health care that promotes future independence, contact us today.


Scott, J. (2015). A dictionary of sociology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Effects of Growing Up in a Dysfunctional Family

No family is perfect, but those who have a severely dysfunctional family are at a greater risk of developing mental health and substance use disorders. Children who have relationships that lack consistency often go without the emotional support they need for development. The effects of growing up in this type of environment can leave a lasting impact on children throughout their teen and adult years, especially if they don’t receive the help that they need.

What Is a Dysfunctional Family?

Dysfunction can come as a result of abuse, neglect, emotional unavailability, or mental health issues amongst members of the family. Children who do not have their emotional or physical needs met often struggle to feel any sense of security. Those who experience these issues may not feel like they have anyone to talk to or feel protective of relatives. As a result, children often suffer in silence, internalizing the challenges they face. Toxic family structures can involve members within or outside of the home. Distant parents, grandparents, and extended relatives can all have an impact on the child’s emotions.

Growing Up in a Toxic Family Dynamic

It’s nearly impossible to grow up in this environment without it affecting a person’s emotions and behaviors. Some of the most common effects of a dysfunctional family include:

  • Feelings of isolation
  • Approval-seeking
  • Anxiety and intimidation (especially related to authority)
  • Feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or helplessness
  • Challenges with intimacy
  • Substance misuse, addiction
  • Inability to process emotions properly

Every person reacts differently to challenging situations, so your teen may display behavior outside of these listed. As a whole, teens and young adults who have been part of unhealthy relationships will likely exhibit challenges with expressing emotions, regulating behavior, and utilizing healthy coping skills. 

Because they’ve learned how to respond to difficult circumstances on the basis of survival, their behavior is consistent with the dysfunctional environment. For example, men who experienced manipulation in their early years are more likely to be excessively agreeable at the cost of their own needs. Adolescents who were victims of physical abuse may lash out in a similar way when they are frustrated. Though not healthy, these responses are natural given their past experiences. 

Mental Health Issues and Family Dysfunction

Teens and young adults who were exposed to an unhealthy environment at an early age exhibit learned behaviors that can develop into complex mental health issues. Those who experienced trauma connected with a family member may fear this person, resulting in anxiety and stress responses. Any type of trauma can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder which often brings flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, and avoidance of situations. Depression is common for men who experienced trauma, especially if they grew up believing they couldn’t talk about their emotions. Even after their situation changes, these effects can continue. 

Intensive Mental Health Treatment for Young Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we have seen how family dysfunction specifically affects young men. These teens and young adults often struggle with expressing and managing emotions, but our mental health treatment program supports them every step of the way. Our residential program offers intensive treatment with trauma-focused care, so they can process difficult family dynamics from their past. Many also turn to substance use to cope with their negative feelings. Because of this, we offer addiction and dual-diagnosis treatment to help each young man manage both diagnoses concurrently. If you or a young man you love would benefit from treatment for a mental health or substance use disorder, contact our admissions team today to learn about our programs.


Minullina, A.. (2018). Psychological Trauma Of Children Of Dysfunctional Families. 65-74. 10.15405/epsbs.2018.09.8.

Anorexia in Men

Though you might assume eating disorders primarily affect young women, the unfortunate reality is that people of all gender identities can develop disordered eating patterns and related issues such as body dysmorphia. Anorexia is a potentially deadly mental illness that affects an estimated 10 million men, according to statistics from the National Eating Disorders Association.

Men who have anorexia sometimes go overlooked because the symptoms present differently in men and women. Many men with eating disorders can benefit from gender-specific treatment to understand and overcome their anorexia concerns.

Understanding Anorexia in Men

During the teen years, young men become more aware of their appearance, sexuality and societal expectations. Adolescent boys who unfavorably compare themselves to the toned, muscular bodies they see in the media can become determined to conform to those unrealistic standards through diet and exercise, thus perpetuating harmful and obsessive patterns.

While anorexia in young women manifests primarily in losing weight by counting calories and restricting food choices, anorexic behaviors in young men might include:

  • A preoccupation with gaining muscle mass
  • Working out several times per day
  • Exercising even when sick or injured
  • Abusing steroids or other substances to build muscle faster
  • Low self-esteem and distorted body image
  • Holding themselves to unattainable requirements

Risk Factors for Anorexia

While anyone can develop an eating disorder, some men are more vulnerable to anorexia than others. For instance, men who have been victims of bullying about their weight from a young age, or who have experienced traumatic events such as sexual abuse or harassment, can become anorexic because it gives them a sense of control they’ve lacked.

Due to gender biases, men may be less likely to seek treatment for disordered eating. It might also be harder to get an accurate diagnosis because the traditional assessment tools health professionals use better reflect women’s symptoms.

Toxic masculinity plays a role, too – boys and men grappling with these issues could be afraid to admit they are struggling with a condition largely perceived as feminine. When they finally get help, they are often further along in their illness and could face severe health consequences, including malnutrition and even organ failure.

Start Your Recovery Journey Today

Men with disordered eating also tend to have high rates of co-occurring mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, substance use and suicidal ideation. That’s why it’s crucial to find a treatment center that emphasizes the therapeutic process and evidence-based methods.

At PACE Recovery Center, we provide gender-specific treatment that helps men break the stigma of asking for help and getting support for issues like trauma and addiction. We have created a safe, judgment-free environment where men aged 18 to 30 can begin to rebuild their lives. When you contact us, we will tailor a treatment plan that helps you address unresolved mental health issues and move forward with confidence.

Men’s Health Issues

Many men ignore their mental and physical health, which may cause them to develop preventable illnesses that take years off their lives. Having a preventive mindset is one way to be a better steward of your overall well-being. This Men’s Health Month, here are some proactive steps you should take to avoid illness and stay healthy at every stage of your life.

1. Get Screened for Heart Disease

Even if you have no apparent symptoms, you may still be at risk for high blood pressure and other forms of cardiovascular disease. You can take an active role in your heart health by taking your blood pressure, getting routine checkups and being aware of your unique risk factors. Eat a balanced diet, quit smoking, stay active, reduce stress and take other measures as instructed by your health provider.

2. Work to Prevent Cancer

Common cancers diagnosed in men include skin, prostate, colorectal and lung cancers. A combination of a healthy lifestyle and regular screenings can help you stay cancer-free. To reduce your risk of various cancers, wear sunscreen, cut back on meat, quit smoking and talk to your doctor about other preventive measures.

3. Exercise Regularly

The physical and mental health benefits that come with getting in shape are well-documented, but you might still have trouble finding the motivation to work out. If you don’t already have an exercise regimen, use Men’s Health Month as your opportunity to start one.

  • Work out with a friend or partner – that way, you can keep each other accountable.
  • Choose an activity you enjoy. For example, if you’ve tried jogging and couldn’t stick with it, try swimming, biking, rock climbing or hiking instead.
  • Join a recreational sports league. Games like kickball and softball are an excellent way to get active. You’ll elevate your heart rate and burn calories without it feeling like a chore. You could even make some new friends along the way.
  • If it’s hard to carve out time in your schedule, try “exercise snacking.” With this approach, you squeeze in brief periods of activity whenever you have a few free minutes, instead of spending an hour in the gym each day.

4. Know the Signs of Depression

Some men are depressed without realizing it because the symptoms don’t always align with what they expect. Men may experience depression as anger or irritability instead of sadness and hopelessness. You might also prefer to try ignoring your feelings instead of exploring them. If you are having any mood irregularities, take the first step by speaking with a therapist or counselor.

5. Find Healthy Coping Mechanisms

If you regularly use alcohol and drugs to help you relax and feel good about yourself, you are compromising your health in more ways than one. These substances can change your brain to a point where you no longer feel like yourself unless you’re drinking or using. Long-term use will also put you on a path to addiction, cause significant organ damage and compromise your relationships with friends and family members.

Be Proactive About Your Health

You only get one body, so it’s crucial to prioritize your well-being by taking an active role in your health. Form a partnership with a therapist or general provider who can guide you toward recommended tests, answer any questions you may have and put you on a path to improved wellness.

At PACE Recovery Center, we address all facets of addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. We’ve designed our Orange County gender-specific treatment specifically to empower men to experience the freedom of a substance-free lifestyle. Speak with our admissions team to learn more about how we can help you live life on your terms.

Emotional Impact of Foster Care

Sadly, some children do not have loving homes to grow up in. When their parents and extended family can’t provide for their needs, these children will enter the foster care system. While foster care can have a positive impact, children in the foster system often face tremendous hardships from a very young age. As we observe National Foster Care Month, how can these traumatic experiences adversely affect children’s mental and behavioral health?

The Relationship Between Foster Care and Trauma

When abuse and neglect from their biological families make home life too dangerous, social workers or other authorities can place children into the foster care system. Often, foster children bounce from one placement to the next, unable to find a stable, caring environment. When placed into another home, many children may wonder if they did something wrong or question whether their families still love them. They can also feel confusion, anger, fear and mistrust.

Additionally, while foster programs aim to provide children with a safe place to live until they can reunite with their biological family or find permanent placement through adoption, many foster children age out of the system and end up lacking the support they need to live independently.

These traumatic events can have severe mental health effects that extend into adulthood.

Mental Health Disorders Associated With Foster Care

Adverse childhood experiences like trauma and abuse are among the strongest predictors of adult mental and behavioral health problems. Since foster care children are so vulnerable, it shouldn’t be surprising that they are at an increased risk of negative long-term outcomes like these.

  • PTSD
  • Substance use disorders
  • Reactive attachment disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Social phobia
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Conduct disorder
  • ADHD
  • Self-harm
  • Separation anxiety
  • Eating disorders

Children and adolescents who have learned from an early age that the world is an uncertain, hostile or dangerous place might start abusing drugs and alcohol because they have grown up without positive role models and examples of healthy coping behavior. As a result, they can develop an addiction that makes their mental health worse, creating a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle.

Treating Adoption-Related Issues

Many children who are fortunate enough to get adopted out of the foster care system still grow up with significant emotional difficulties, such as trust issues and a lack of self-worth. These insecurities and attachment problems can make it harder for them to establish healthy, secure relationships.

At PACE Recovery, we have worked with many adoptees, and we’ve seen firsthand how many issues they struggle with. Our desire to help adoptees heal is at the heart of our specialized adoption programming, which we’ve developed in partnership with nationally recognized adoption expert Brett Furst. This program focuses on addressing the underlying causes of mental health issues and addiction while fostering healthy, secure attachment styles in a safe, supportive environment.

If you’d like to learn more about our treatment approach, how we address co-occurring disorders and the in-depth mental health services we offer for young men, please reach out to speak to one of our knowledgeable admissions counselors.

Agitated Depression

When you hear the word “depression”, you likely think about a significantly low mood, lack of motivation, or suicidal ideation. However, there are other symptoms of a depressive disorder that may be overlooked. Agitated depression is not its own diagnosis in the DSM-5-TR. Instead, it is a specifier often attached to major depressive disorder and bipolar disorders. Understanding the unique signs of an agitated depressive episode can help you better recognize the potential of an underlying mental illness. 

What is Agitated Depression?

Someone who has agitated depression will exhibit common indicators of depression, like a decrease in energy levels, hopelessness, and a general lack of interest in activities or relationships. The differentiating factor between a standard depressive disorder and agitated depression comes in the presence of persistent irritability. Those who have a form of agitated depression will likely exhibit signs such as:

  • Irritability
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Psychomotor activation
  • Insomnia
  • Racing thoughts

These features may be present in someone with another depressive disorder, but are more pronounced in someone with this specifier. 

How is Agitated Depression Diagnosed?

Any diagnosis of a mental illness requires an evaluation by a mental health professional. This can come from a medical provider, a licensed therapist, or a psychiatrist. To receive an official diagnosis, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with one of these clinicians. They will review your presenting concerns and past medical records, when applicable. They may ask questions about the duration, frequency, and severity of your symptoms to determine what patterns are present. These signs could be physical or emotional, and your provider may want to first rule out an underlying health condition. Generally, a mental health professional will identify the main diagnosis of either depression or bipolar disorder before adding the agitation specifier. 

Depression Treatment

After you receive a diagnosis of agitated depression, the next step is to seek out treatment. Depression can result in suicidal ideation and extremely negative emotions, so this is not something you should attempt to deal with alone. Trained mental health providers can work with you to develop appropriate coping skills to manage your emotions and physical symptoms. You will also work alongside your therapist to process any of the life experiences that contribute to your agitated depression. Some of the most commonly used evidence-based practices for depression include:

You’ll work closely with your therapist and treatment team to determine the best combination of therapies and medication for you. 

Help for Young Men With Agitated Depression

If you are a young adult man experiencing signs of depression and need support, PACE Recovery Center can help. We offer residential and outpatient mental health treatment for men primarily between the ages of 18 and 30 in Orange County, California. Our evidence-based treatment model allows you to participate in multiple types of therapy that support your holistic recovery. We understand that each person has different goals and life experiences, so we work with you to develop a treatment plan that accurately reflects your needs. We support your academic and career aspirations, so you can focus on healing without sacrificing your current or future career. If you’re in need of more support for a diagnosis of agitated depression, contact our Orange County treatment team today.

Signs of Drug Use

Contrary to popular belief, addiction does not signify a flawed moral compass. It’s a brain disease that can affect anyone, whether they use drugs recreationally or with a doctor’s prescription. Knowing these warning signs can help you identify whether your loved one may be abusing drugs and risking harmful consequences.

1. Tolerance

A growing tolerance is one of the earliest warning signs of drug use. This condition occurs when someone becomes accustomed to having drugs in their system, and their brain’s reward circuits have rewired themselves to expect a baseline level of intoxication. At that point, the user will need to take more drugs to achieve their desired results. That’s why even prescription drugs can be addictive, especially when people start taking higher-than-intended doses or using them in off-label ways, like injecting or snorting them.

2. Withdrawal

When someone abuses drugs, they’ll gradually become physically and psychologically dependent on their substance of use. Then, they’ll eventually experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit, which are some of the most telltale signs of drug use. Your loved one’s withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and might include mood swings, body aches, nausea, insomnia and seizures.

3. Financial Issues

Maintaining a drug habit can be expensive. As his addiction worsens, your loved one might spend more than he can afford on drugs, going into debt or neglecting to pay bills, taxes or child support. He might also have problems keeping his job if he chronically shows up late or has multiple unexplained absences from work, further contributing to his financial difficulties.

4. Relationship Problems

The secrecy, deception and isolation required to maintain a worsening substance use disorder can all drive a wedge between a drug user and the people who care about him. Ultimately, someone with the disease of addiction will lose all interest in other hobbies, instead preferring to prioritize their substance of use. His friend group may dwindle until the only close relationships he has left are with his drug buddies, or he might prefer to use drugs alone and in private because he’s trying to hide how severe his habit has become.

5. Worsening Mental Health

People with addiction are more likely to develop mental health problems, and vice versa. If your loved one struggles with illnesses such as anxiety, depression, OCD or PTSD, using drugs could seem like a temporary escape from his symptoms. Sadly, this misguided coping mechanism will eventually make his mental health worse.

Help Is Here for You

If your loved one is showing any of these signs of drug use and you are seeking a solution, PACE Recovery Center can help. We designed our Orange County residential rehab program specifically to help men overcome a dual diagnosis of addiction and mental illness and live healthy, drug-free lives.

We offer a complete continuum of care for substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders, treating the whole client and setting your loved one up for a lifetime of success. Our accredited team is waiting to help someone you care about experience the freedom that comes with lifelong, purpose-focused sobriety. Take the next step by contacting us today.

Borderline Personality Disorder Causes

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that affects how a person interacts with others, as well as their ability to regulate emotions. BPD can be difficult to diagnose since its symptoms may be attributed to other mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or psychosis. In today’s blog, we’ll explore the symptoms of borderline personality disorder in men. We’ll also discuss the treatment options available for men struggling with this disorder.

Recognizing BPD

There is no definitive test to diagnose borderline personality disorder. Because of this, medical and mental health professionals rely on comprehensive interviews and observations to confirm the presence of BPD. After interviewing the client, the clinician will reach out to his previous providers, family, or friends for stories that provide more insight. They will also review medical records to observe patterns in behavior and symptoms. 

As this medical professional gathers information related to the client’s thoughts and behaviors, they look for key indicators¹ of borderline personality disorder, including:

  • Fear of abandonment by friends and family
  • Drastic changes in perception regarding relationships
  • Distorted self-concept that affects mood, goals, relationships, values, and opinions
  • Lack of impulse control
  • Suicidal ideation or past attempts
  • Intense emotions lasting for a few hours to a few days
  • Uncontrollable anger
  • Feelings of dissociation (disconnection from reality)
  • Paranoia

Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder

Like most mental health diagnoses, it’s difficult to attribute BPD to a singular cause. Instead, there are a few contributing factors that lead to this condition. These catalysts fall into three main categories: genetic, environmental, and cerebral.

Genetic Components

Men who have a family history of mental illness, specifically borderline personality disorder, have a higher likelihood of developing BPD themselves. Studies² have shown that there is an increased risk a child will develop a personality disorder if a close relative also has this diagnosis. 


A common question about mental illness is whether this is something you are born with or a product of your environment. The truth is, it’s often a combination of both factors. Trauma, instability in the home, and abuse all contribute to a person developing mental health issues like BPD. It’s nearly impossible to point to one event that caused a personality disorder. Instead, mental health professionals look at the broader scope of a person’s life when issuing a diagnosis. 

Brain Function and Structure

Research³ has shown that people with BPD may exhibit physical changes in their brains. These structural and functional differences are especially prominent in the areas that regulate emotion and help control impulses. This research suggests there is a neurological component to borderline personality disorder. However, researchers are unsure if the disorder causes brain changes or vice versa. 

BPD Treatment for Men at PACE Recovery Center

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder or a similar mental health condition, there is help available to you at PACE Recovery Center. Our mental health treatment facility offers outpatient and residential care in Orange County, California. We specialize in the treatment of men, helping them achieve academic and vocational goals while in our programs.

If you’re interested in learning more about our mental health treatment options, contact our admissions staff today.


  2. Czajkowski N, Aggen, et al. A Twin Study of Normative Personality and DSM-IV Personality Disorder Criterion Counts: Evidence for Separate Genetic Influences. Am J Psychiatry. 2018 Jul 1;175(7):649-656.
  3. Katherine S. Pier, MD, Lea K. Marin, MD, MPH, Jaime Wilsnack, MA, Marianne Goodman, MD. The Neurobiology of Borderline Personality Disorder. Psychiatric Times, Vol 33 No 3, Volume 33, Issue 3

Do I Need Transitional Living?

Though everyone in addiction recovery progresses differently, there’s a direct correlation between time spent in treatment and sustained sobriety. If you discover you need extra support after you complete a treatment program, an aftercare plan that includes transitional living can help you succeed with all your goals.

Benefits of Transitional Living Homes

Spending 90 days or more in extended residential care is an accomplishment to be proud of, but you will need to carefully consider what your next steps should be. For many people, immediately trying to rush back into the “real world” can be overwhelming after the support and routine found in inpatient treatment.

In a transitional living home, you will find a comfortable environment surrounded by other men who are also in recovery and working on their sobriety one day at a time. Transitional living homes provide many valuable advantages during a vulnerable phase of your life.

1. A Substance-Free Environment

Relapse prevention is vital for people in addiction recovery. However, if you are newly out of rehab, any surroundings you can’t control may be too triggering – including the presence of alcohol or drugs. Transitional living removes this danger by requiring all residents to remain sober and substance-free.

2. Structure and Stability

Substance use disorders eventually bring adverse financial, personal and emotional consequences. You may not have a secure home to return to after finishing your residential care program, or perhaps the environment where you used to live isn’t conducive to long-term recovery. Transitional living can offer safety, consistency and the opportunity to continue participating in addiction and mental health treatment alongside life skills and vocational training.

3. A Chance to Make New Friends

The isolation, secrecy and denial necessary to maintain an active addiction can destroy the foundations of relationships. In transitional living, you can practice improving your social skills with a built-in peer group of people who are facing similar challenges. Because PACE Recovery Center’s programming is gender-specific, you can forge lasting relationships with men who will become like brothers.

4. Less Stress

Stress is a fact of life, but it’s something you should take every possible precaution to avoid in early recovery, since it can increase your risk of a relapse. Transitional living homes can provide a secure, less hectic environment with fewer potential triggers.

5. Reinforcing Healthy Habits

Addiction changes the brain in ways that can take some time to reverse. During addiction treatment, you can begin learning how to think and act differently. Still, forming new habits takes time, and your stay in transitional living can afford you the space and patience you need to make healthy routines feel more like second nature.

Transitional Living for Long-Term Rehab

Do you need extra time to acclimatize to a sober lifestyle and avoid relapse triggers before transitioning into fully independent living? PACE Recovery Center’s men’s-only transitional living can provide the solution you’re looking for. Don’t wait to get the help you need for your substance dependency. Contact us today to verify your insurance coverage and learn more about what our California treatment center can do for you.

Signs of an Alcoholic

Alcohol is legal, easily accessible and socially acceptable. As a result, some people believe drinking is a safe way to relax, make friends and enhance activities like concerts and sports events. However, alcohol has done more cumulative damage to people’s health, relationships and overall quality of life than any other drug. In addition, its harmful societal effects are wide-ranging and can result in illegal activities, irresponsible decisions, violence and legal and financial problems.

Alcohol Abuse Tendencies

Sometimes, it can be challenging to tell when drinking has crossed the line into problematic behavior because for most men, the progression from tolerance to dependence to full-fledged alcohol addiction happens gradually. Occasionally having a beer or a glass of wine doesn’t mean your loved one has a substance use disorder, but when he starts feeling the urge to drink daily, that’s an early warning sign. Another red flag of a growing addiction is craving alcohol or talking about wanting to drink when sober.

Here are some other issues problem drinkers might experience as alcohol begins to take over their lives.

  • Wanting to stop drinking, but finding the habit is too hard to break
  • Prioritizing drinking over other aspects of life
  • Lying about the amount they drink or trying to hide the evidence to prevent other people from suspecting they are addicted
  • Drinking alone because they are ashamed about how much they drink
  • Frequent blackouts, during which they do things they have no memory of the next day
  • Doing irresponsible things under the influence, like driving drunk
  • Becoming distressed or anxious when they run out of alcohol
  • Trying to change the subject if someone mentions that they might need help

The Dangers of Alcohol Withdrawal

Addiction is a chronic disease that affects brain chemistry by hijacking the built-in reward system. Eventually, it will become increasingly difficult to take pleasure from any other activities, and problem drinkers may only feel like their genuine selves when they’re drinking.

The human brain is a plastic organ, which means it can reconfigure and adjust itself in response to changing circumstances. When your loved one’s brain adapts to alcohol’s effects, it will struggle to achieve the same equilibrium when he tries to cut back or quit entirely. At that point, alcohol withdrawal begins.

Withdrawal symptoms include a range of physical and emotional issues that vary in severity. These include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia and chronic fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Sensitivity to light, noise and touch
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances to try quitting cold turkey because some heavy drinkers are at risk of delirium tremens, a serious condition characterized by hallucinations, uncontrollable sweating and shaking, seizures and heart palpitations. Delirium tremens is sometimes fatal, so it’s a medical emergency that requires immediate attention from experienced health professionals.

Addiction Treatment for Men

One long-lasting stigma about addiction is that it only happens to people who have some inherent weakness or moral flaw. At PACE Recovery, we know that couldn’t be further from the truth because we have worked with clients from all belief systems and ways of life.

If your loved one struggles with an alcohol use disorder and has tried to quit, a men’s-only rehab program tailored to his needs will equip him with the tools he needs to manage his illness for the rest of his life. The first step is medically managed detoxification, during which health care providers will monitor withdrawal symptoms and work to make your loved one as comfortable as possible. Then, he can move into the next phases of treatment. Call us today to learn more about thriving in recovery.

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