Signs of Depression in Men | Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. For men, especially, it is critically important to understand how mental health can impact your life. Recognizing the signs of depression in men, which can be very different from those in women, can mean the difference to your health and well-being.

Not a Sign of Weakness

One of the most important aspects of mental health to understand is that having depression and seeking treatment for the condition is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it takes courage to reach out and get help when you are experiencing the signs of depression. Stigma can keep you from making the effort to see your symptoms for what they truly are and in light of how they are impacting your life.

A Leading Cause of Death

Depression and suicide are ranked among the leading causes of death in men. Six million men in the US are affected by the mental health condition every year. Men die by suicide at a rate four times higher than women. Men often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms of depression. Consequently, they are more likely to die from alcohol-related causes than women and are two to three times more likely to misuse drugs than women.

Signs and Symptoms in Men

Depression affects a large number of men, but they are typically less likely to recognize or seek treatment for their depression. They usually do not want to talk about it at all. Their symptoms may manifest in very different ways from symptoms that women may experience. While women may appear sad, men often seem angry, aggressive, or irritable. In fact, the signs of depression in men are often mistaken for other issues, another reason the mental health condition usually goes untreated.

Other common signs of depression in men, which might “mask” the condition itself, include:

  • Feeling “on edge,” anxious, or restless
  • Problems with sexual desire and performance or engaging in risky sexual behavior
  • Loss of interest in work or in activities that were once enjoyable
  • An inability to concentrate or remember details
  • Changes in eating habits such as overeating or not eating
  • Physical pains, including headaches and digestive issues
  • Withdrawing from friends or family members
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • An increased use and misuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts.

While women who are experiencing depression are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to complete the act and die by suicide as they tend to use more lethal methods in their attempts.

Risk Factors

One of the most common mental disorders in the US, depression is caused by a combination of risk factors that can include:

  • Environmental stress such as financial issues, major life changes, problems at work, loss of a loved one, or a difficult relationship. In fact, any significantly stressful situation they encounter in their daily lives may trigger the mental health condition in men.
  • Genetic factors for those men who have a family history of depression.
  • Serious illness such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease. While the illness itself may cause depression, medications taken for the condition may also involve side effects that cause or worsen depression in men.

Real Men Do Ask for Help

Ignoring depression won’t make the symptoms go away. The mental health condition could lead to other serious issues, such as drug or alcohol abuse. Trying to battle it on your own is never a good plan. You need someone who understands what you are going through and who can offer the treatment options you need to be healthier, mentally and physically. In fact, you will be making a smart decision by reaching out for help when you recognize the signs of depression.

Help for Men at PACE

Asking for help is a sign of strength. When you need help with your mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

My Husband Hides His Drinking

When you are newly married, you discover new things about your spouse every day it seems. Many of these new revelations can be exciting and add to the quality of your relationship. You may, though, find that you will have disagreements about how to load the dishwasher or who should do the laundry. When you learn things you wish you didn’t know about your spouse, it can become a serious issue. For example, if your husband hides his drinking you need to know the signs and understand how to handle the situation effectively.

Honesty and Alcohol Use Disorder

Honesty can be the first casualty of alcohol use. The fact that your husband is hiding his drinking is part of the denial behavior that is common among individuals who are addicted. He may also place blame for his alcohol use or the consequences of his drinking on you or on other people or situations. He may also become defensive, saying that drinking is his choice.

Other behavioral issues that can arise when your husband hides his drinking include dismissing the fact that his alcohol use is a problem, comparing himself to others whom he considers to have a bigger problem, and rationalizing his drinking.

Impact on Your Marriage

You have probably noticed the signs that indicate your husband is drinking and hiding it from you. His behavior may be causing damage to your marriage already. These signs can indicate a drinking problem in your relationship:

  • You have noticed his drinking habits and argue with him about his behavior frequently.
  • His drinking and lying behavior has created other issues, such as money problems, shirking his responsibilities, and staying out late often.
  • You’ve had to cover for him more than once after he has been drinking. You may have had to call in “sick” for him at work.
  • He is more affectionate after he has been drinking, even though he denies it.
  • He defends his drinking, saying he needs to reduce his stress after work or when he is worried about the family finances, for example.
  • The two of you have become more isolated from friends and family that you used to see on a regular basis.
  • He may become abusive after bouts of drinking, then apologize after sobering up as he promises not to ever do it again.

A Chronic Disease

When you consider how to handle the situation with your husband, keep in mind that alcohol use disorder is a chronic disease. As difficult as it may be, especially when you are newly married, try not to become angry when discovering that your husband has been drinking and has been lying to you about it. For your sake and for his, try to maintain a sense of patience and peace. You can be mad at the disease rather than at your spouse.

It can help to have an honest, straightforward discussion. Talk to your husband about how his drinking and lying is affecting you and your marriage. Avoid statements that start with “you,” such as “you always …” and instead use “I” statements. Say something like “I’m having trouble sleeping because you seem to be keeping some late nights lately.” Be firm but gentle as you begin the discussion.

Above all else, don’t enable your husband. Enabling involves making excuses and trying to prevent your spouse from suffering the consequences of his drinking. You may do this because you want to help, but in reality it can only make the situation worse. The best thing to do is to help your husband realize the effects of his disease, his alcohol abuse, and to help him get the help he needs.

Gender-Specific Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Your husband can get the help he needs at PACE Recovery Center. We will work with him and you to help identify the underlying causes of his addiction, including stress factors associated with your drinking. Detox and supervised withdrawal will help him safely process the mental and physical symptoms so he can move forward with a healthy recovery.

If your loved one is struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our programs and services. We offer gender-specific treatment for men who have a desire to turn their life around. Recovery is possible, and we can help.

Facts About Xanax

The prescription medication alprazolam is in a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which are available only by prescription. One brand name for alprazolam is Xanax. There are many facts about Xanax that are important for the individual taking this medication, particularly how its use and misuse could lead to an addiction.

What Does Xanax Do?

Xanax is primarily prescribed for anxiety disorder and panic disorder. It can also be prescribed for the treatment of sleep difficulties or help with alcohol withdrawal. A common condition for which Xanax is used, generalized anxiety disorder involves excessive anxiety or worry that could include symptoms such as fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, irritability, and muscle tension.

Panic disorder, which Xanax can also be prescribed to treat, occurs when an individual experiences unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear. Physical symptoms of panic disorder can include shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, heart palpitations, and nausea. The person experiencing panic disorder may also fear future episodes.

Xanax works by attaching to a receptor in the brain known as the GABA-A receptor. By binding to this receptor, the drug has a calming effect in the brain, reducing the effects of these disorders. It can usually help relieve the anxiety symptoms relatively quickly.

How Long Does Xanax Last?

Even though it may act quickly on the symptoms of panic or anxiety, the effects of Xanax can be brief. Most people who take the drug will feel its strongest effects for about two to four hours. The individual may feel lingering effects for several more hours. How long Xanax lasts can depend on several factors, including the person’s age, weight, metabolism, and if they are taking any other medications.

It is important to avoid drinking alcohol and to not take any illegal drugs while taking Xanax. These substances may decrease the benefits and increase the adverse effects of the medication. Most importantly, the use of alcohol can increase the risk of an accidental overdose when taking Xanax.

While it is in the system, Xanax can cause drowsiness. Combining it with other medications that can also cause drowsiness can also be dangerous. Medications that should be avoided when taking Xanax include antihistamines such as Benadryl; codeine cough syrup; narcotic pain medication such as morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone; sleeping medication such as Ambien; and other anti-anxiety, antipsychotic, anticonvulsant, and antidepressant medications.

How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Xanax?

Xanax can be habit-forming. A person can build up a tolerance to Xanax fairly quickly. They may notice that it takes longer than usual to feel the effects with each dose and that the calming effects of the drug wear off sooner than usual. Although alprazolam is safe and effective when used appropriately, a physical dependence on the drug can develop after two or more weeks of daily use. An emotional or physical dependence can build up even when the medication is used as directed by a healthcare professional.

Someone who has a prescription for Xanax should not take a larger dose, take it more often, or take it longer than was originally prescribed. When an addiction forms and the individual tries to stop its use suddenly without professional help, they can experience withdrawal symptoms. These can include shaking, headache, blurred vision, seizures, sleep difficulties, nervousness, depression, aggressive behavior, weight loss, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.

How Long Does It Take for Xanax to Wear Off?

When taken properly, Xanax will remain in the average adult’s body for about 11 hours. Everyone metabolizes medications differently, though, so that number could be different depending on other factors such as age and body weight. Xanax has been known to remain in the body from between 6.3 to 26.9 hours.

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol, including an addiction to Xanax and other medications, and mental health issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Why Young Men Should Seek Counseling

April is Counseling Awareness Month. While men can be hesitant to seek out counseling, perhaps because of a perceived stigma around asking for help, therapy sessions can be very helpful in addressing issues with addiction or mental health. Young men should seek counseling to discover the many ways it can benefit them so they can get the help they need.

Why Men Avoid Counseling

Many people may be hesitant to seek help for mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, but researchers have found that young men are the least likely of all demographics to seek professional help. In fact, these individuals typically have a greater need for psychological intervention, as the onset of mental illness usually occurs in early adulthood. Suicide rates are also high among young men between the age of 15 and 24.

Young men may experience a sense of embarrassment, discomfort, shame, or even fear around asking for help with mental health issues. The stigma of mental illness, as well as challenges in managing and communicating their distress, can catch young men in a cycle of avoidance. They often wait until they are severely distressed before they reach out for help.

In addition, men can feel that they will lose control if they disclose personal information in a counseling session, as they tend to have a greater need for confidentiality. When these men do not get the help they need, however, they may turn to alternative coping mechanisms, including alcohol and drugs, in an attempt to relieve their emotional and physical pain.

Mental Health Issues

The five most common mental health issues that can be indications that young men should seek counseling are anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis and schizophrenia, and eating disorders.

  • Anxiety: Over 3 million adult men are diagnosed with panic disorders or phobias every year.
  • Depression: Over 6 million men suffer from depression every year.
  • Bipolar disorder: Approximately 2.3 million Americans are diagnosed with bipolar disorder each year, and about half of those are men. This disorder affects young men, especially, with onset occurring between the ages of 16 and 25.
  • Psychosis and schizophrenia: Out of the 3.5 million adults in the US who are diagnosed with schizophrenia, 90% of those who are diagnosed before age 30 are men.
  • Eating disorders: Men account for 10% of those individuals with anorexia or bulimia and 35% of those with binge-eating disorders.

Men and Mental Health Symptoms

Men tend to experience depression and other mental health issues differently than women. Men who suffer from depression may exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Taking physical risks, being more aggressive in activities such as driving, and having unsafe sex
  • Losing interest in their job
  • Experiencing problems with sleeping
  • Being more irritable than usual
  • Experiencing physical pain with headaches or digestive issues
  • Becoming more controlling, abusive, or violent
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope with their symptoms of depression.

How Counseling Can Help

Young men should seek counseling because ignoring mental health issues such as depression or anxiety won’t make them go away. Men may tend to think that talking cannot help their situation. By participating in counseling, though, they will find that issues that are weighing heavily on them mentally will become less stressful as they talk about them more openly. Talk therapy, in particular, has been found to be an effective treatment for depression and can also help in developing new coping skills.

Therapy on an individual basis can help reassure men of the confidentiality of their discussions, even though all counseling sessions are confidential by nature. Individual therapy can give young men the safe space they need to explore their thoughts, concerns, and feelings. Young men who seek counseling will find that they become more self-aware and are able to improve the quality of their mental and physical health and improve the quality of their life.

Help for Young Men at PACE

Asking for help is a sign of strength. When you need help with your mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Stress-Related Drinking in College Students

April is Stress Awareness Month and Alcohol Awareness Month, an opportune time to examine the connection between stress and alcohol. For college students, this is also a time of excitement and anxiety. They have been through many challenges and are looking toward finishing up their year at school. They also need to be aware of the consequences of stress-related drinking in college students, especially how it may impact their health and their success in school and in life.

The Stress of College

Young people who head off to college are going to a completely new environment and a new situation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges of going to college can be even greater. During “normal” times, college can be stressful enough. Researchers have found that between 75% and 80% of all college students report being “moderately stressed and between 10% and 12% report being “severely stressed.”

College students are transitioning from adolescence to young adulthood and are trying to establish their own identities. Add to this the challenge of living independently for the first time and balancing academic demands with new relationships and existing family demands. Each of these factors can be stressful in themselves and the stress is certainly compounded for most college students.

Drinking in College

The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that 54.9% of full-time college students between the ages of 18 and 22 drank alcohol in the past month, with 36.9% engaging in binge drinking and 9.6% engaging in heavy alcohol use (defined as binge drinking on five or more days during the month). These rates of binge drinking and heavy alcohol use are higher for college students than for those not attending college.

Stress-Related Drinking

A study conducted by Penn State researchers found that the more students drank to cope with their stress, rather than for fun or celebration, the higher their risk for experiencing problems with alcohol. The goal of the study was to determine how stress affected the students’ alcohol consumption.

Students participating in the study completed daily diary entries about their stress and drinking levels for two weeks each semester. They responded to questions about whether they had experienced stressors during the day, the cause of the stress, and whether they drank that day, including how many drinks they had.

The researchers found that the odds of a student drinking went up by 8% with each additional stressor. The amount they drank increased by 4%. On the days that the students reported no stressors but still drank, they had an average of 4.8 drinks. On days that they reported six stressors, they had an average of 5.9 drinks. An average of 15.7% of the daily entries were noted as drinking days, and those days also met the criteria for heavy drinking. The results indicated that stress-related drinking was prevalent among these participants.

The study also served as an indicator that stress-related drinking predicted future problems with alcohol for these students. They found that students whose odds of drinking increased the most with high-stressor days also had the most problems with alcohol by their fourth year of college. A total of 54 students, or 8.9%, of the participants showed a high risk for alcohol problems in their fourth year.

Consequences of Drinking in College

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) statistics indicate that drinking by college students contributes to 1,519 student deaths each year. In addition, there are an estimated 696,000 assaults by students who had been drinking and 97,000 cases of sexual assault or date rape each year associated with college drinking.

Other consequences include academic difficulties, such as getting behind in schoolwork or missing classes. While most students stress over being successful in their studies and may experience stress-related drinking as a result, drinking can actually cause them to perform more poorly on a project or test.

Health problems, injuries, suicide attempts, and driving under the influence of alcohol, as well as vandalism, damage, and involvement with the police have also been noted as consequences of drinking in college. In addition, about 9% of full-time students between the ages of 18 and 22 met the criteria for alcohol use disorder, according to a 2019 survey.

Gender-Specific Alcohol Addiction Treatment

When you have developed an alcohol addiction and want to stop drinking, we are here for you. We will work with you to help you identify the underlying causes of your addiction, including stress factors associated with your drinking. Detox and supervised withdrawal will help you safely process the mental and physical symptoms so you can move forward with a healthy recovery.

If you are struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our programs and services. We offer gender-specific treatment for men who have a desire to turn their life around. Recovery is possible, and we can help.

The Dangers of At-Home Liver Detox

Fad diets, cleanses, and health solutions can promise amazing results. Sometimes these trendy ideas can cause more damage than positive results, though. While you may be tempted to try a liver cleanse, there are many dangers of an at-home liver detox.

Alcohol and Liver Functions

You may be feeling the effects of excessive drinking on your liver. The liver processes every alcoholic beverage you consume, including liquor, beer, and wine. The more you drink, the hard the liver works. If you have an addiction to alcohol, you may have already damaged your liver.

Excessive drinking takes a toll on the liver, destroying cells. A condition known as alcohol-related liver disease includes several conditions. You could be suffering from alcoholic cirrhosis, acute alcoholic hepatitis, or alcoholic fatty liver disease as a result of heavy or long-term drinking. When you know more about alcohol’s impact on your liver function, you may be tempted to try an at-home liver detox.

What is a Liver Detox?

Your liver helps remove wastes and toxins from your body. It also helps you digest medicine and various nutrients. The good news about your liver is that has a huge potential for self-recovery. However, there are many people who promote the false notion that a liver detox can prove beneficial to your health, claiming that you can remove or cleanse the toxins from your body in the process.

These liver detox programs may tout the benefits of fasting, drinking certain juices, going on a restricted diet, or taking herbs and supplements to flush out your liver. They may even promote the use of diuretics or laxatives. In reality, a liver detox can be dangerous and can actually cause liver damage in an otherwise healthy organ.

Dangers of an At-Home Liver Detox

A liver detox can cause serious side effects, including inflammation, a weakened immune system, and kidney damage. Due to the nature of most at-home detox programs, you could also suffer from irritability, weakness or fainting, and the onset of migraine headaches. These dangers could become even more serious if you have diabetes, hepatitis B, kidney disease, or pre-existing liver damage.

Other dangers of an at-home liver detox can result from the restricted diet or unproven herbal supplements typically included as part of the process. Many cleansing diets do not provide balanced nutrition, as they do not contain the nutrients that an individual needs for continued good health. Deficiencies or malnutrition are real concerns, especially for people with diabetes or other medical conditions.

An at-home liver detox may involve the use of an enema, which can cause life-threatening damage to the intestines when not used appropriately. In addition, many liver detox products promote their use in weight loss, and include dietary supplements, but these can actually harm the liver and result in drug-induced injury. Most importantly, there is no clinical data to support the effectiveness of a liver detox for weight loss or any other health benefit.

One of the more serious dangers for the individual who is addicted to alcohol and who has decided to try a liver detox is that other medical issues may go untreated, including the addiction itself.

Supervised Detox

For a healthier liver, and a healthier body and mind overall, a professionally supervised detoxification can help remove alcohol from the individual’s system and start the process toward a healthy recovery. Medical complications can arise from extended use of alcohol, including liver damage, and the sooner supervised detox begins, the greater the opportunity to avoid these health issues.

Medically supervised detox is effective in cleansing the physical body and preparing the individual mentally for addiction treatment. The process of detox and alcohol withdrawal can last a few days or a week or more, depending on the individual’s situation and history, and, most importantly, will be monitored in a safe environment.

Gender-Specific Alcohol Addiction Treatment

When you have developed an alcohol addiction and want to stop drinking, we are here for you. Detox and supervised withdrawal will help you safely process the mental and physical symptoms so you can move forward with a healthy recovery. If you are struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our programs and services. We offer gender-specific treatment for men who have a desire to turn their life around. Recovery is possible, and we can help.

Volatile Nitrites, Nitrous Oxide & Solvents: Raising Awareness About Inhalants

National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week is March 22-28. Unlike equally dangerous illegal drugs, inhalants are substances that are typically found in most households. Understanding the facts about inhalants is important for the person addicted to them as well as for their friends and family. Raising awareness about inhalants, including volatile nitrites, nitrous oxide, and solvents, can help save a life.

What are Inhalants?

Inhalants are found in many common household products. They contain volatile substances that produce chemical vapors that, when inhaled, can induce a mind-altering effect. The term inhalant is used to describe substances that are rarely taken by any other route, such as in liquid or pill form. There are four basic categories of inhalants, including volatile solvents, aerosols, nitrites, and gases, which describe the forms in which they are most often found in household, medical, and industrial products.

When a Household Product Becomes an Inhalant

An individual who abuses inhalants may take advantage of any available product. However, some users will go out of their way to get hold of their favorite inhalant. Household products that contain commonly abused inhalants in the four general categories include:

Volatile solvents – liquids that become gas at room temperature. These are typically found in nail polish remover, paint thinner, gasoline, contact cement, and some art or office supplies such as correction fluid, glue, and felt-tip marker fluid.

Aerosols – substances under pressure that are released as a fine spray. These include hair spray, deodorant spray, vegetable oil sprays, and spray paint.

Gases – found in household, commercial, and medical products. These inhalants include refrigerant gases, butane lighters, propane tanks, and anesthesia such as nitrous oxide, ether, and chloroform.

Nitrites – sold in small brown bottles, these inhalants include organic nitrites such as amyl, butyl, and cyclohexyl nitrites; amyl nitrite, sometimes used to diagnose heart problems; and nitrites that are now banned but are still found in small bottles labeled “video head cleaner” or “liquid aroma.”

How Do Inhalants Work?

When these chemicals are inhaled, they are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream through the lungs and then distributed to the brain and other organs throughout the body. Within just a few seconds, the person who has inhaled the substance will experience intoxication and other effects similar to those produced by alcohol. They might experience an inability to coordinate their movements, slurred speech, a sense of euphoria, and dizziness, as well as lightheadedness, delusions, and hallucinations.

The intoxication from inhalants only lasts a few minutes, so the individual will typically seek to prolong the high by inhaling repeatedly over just a few hours’ time, a practice that is very dangerous. With each successive inhalation, the individual’s chances increase of suffering a loss of consciousness and even death.

Inhaling can be done through a variety of methods, including inhaling the vapors directly from open containers or from rags that have been soaked in the chemical substance. A method known as bagging involves inhaling substances sprayed or deposited inside a paper or plastic bag. The individual may also inhale from balloons filled with nitrous oxide or from devices known as snappers and poppers in which inhalants are sold.

Side Effects and Risks

The risks of inhaling nitrites, nitrous oxide, solvents, and other chemical substances can be devastating. A recent study that included over 35,000 inhalant abuse cases found that most abusers were in their teens, although the ages ranged from 6 to over 50. Boys accounted for almost three-fourths of the cases. Most of the patients in the study were being treated in an emergency room. Out of the study participants, 208 died and more than 1,000 experienced life-threatening or permanent disabling illnesses.

Side effects associated with inhalants include strong hallucinations and delusions, dizziness, impaired judgment, belligerence, and apathy. Those who abuse inhalants over the long term experience muscle weakness, lack of coordination, irritability, weight loss, inattentiveness, and depression. In addition, chronic use of inhalants can cause serious and often irreversible damage to the liver, lungs, heart, kidneys, and brain.

Early Identification and Intervention

Severe risks, including death, can occur with just one incident of inhaling these chemical substances. It is critical to identify the behavior and get help for the addiction as soon as possible, before it causes serious health issues. An awareness about inhalants includes knowing the following signs that could mean a friend or loved one is abusing a chemical substance:

  • Hidden empty spray paint or solvent containers, and chemical-soaked rags or clothing
  • Chemical odors on breath or clothing
  • Paint or other stains on face, hands, or clothes
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Slurred speech
  • Drunk or disoriented appearance
  • Inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability, and depression.

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol, including an addiction to inhaling chemical substances, and mental health issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Alcohol Withdrawal Hallucinations

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week is coming up. The week of March 22-28 is a time set aside to be sure you understand the facts about drug and alcohol use. One of those very important facts is about what happens when you suddenly stop drinking when your body has become used to long-term or heavy drinking. Without proper supervision, you could experience some serious health issues, including alcohol withdrawal hallucinations.

Alcohol Abuse and Withdrawal

If you have been abusing alcohol, you may experience severe impairment in your social functions as well as medical problems. Alcohol abuse is more common that it should be, with as much as 20% of the population having exhibited alcohol abuse during their lifetimes.

Of those with a history of alcohol abuse, more than 50% can exhibit alcohol withdrawal symptoms when suddenly discontinuing their alcohol use. Around 3-5% of those individuals exhibit symptoms such as profound confusion, hyperactivity, and cardiovascular collapse. These symptoms are known as alcohol withdrawal delirium, also known as delirium tremens (DTs).

A Serious Issue

The condition known as DTs was first recognized in 1813 as a disorder associated with excessive alcohol abuse. The symptoms of DTs can occur as soon as 48 hours after abruptly stopping the use of alcohol and can last as long as five days. For people who experience DTs and who do not get appropriate treatment, the mortality rate can be up to 37%. It is critical to seek professional help when withdrawing from alcohol use. Identifying the early signs of withdrawal and getting treatment can prevent serious health issues, including a fatality.

The signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can include:

  • Anxiety, nausea, and insomnia, whole body tremor, vomiting, sweating, and hypertension
  • Visual hallucinations and auditory hallucinations
  • Withdrawal seizures
  • Delirium tremens, which include hallucinations, confusion, agitation, disorientation, fever, hypertension, excessive sweating, hyperactivity, and an extremely high heart rate.

DTs and Hallucinations

When you withdraw from excessive and long-term alcohol use, visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations are a likely side effect. You may see, hear, and feel things that are not really there, from 12 hours to 7 days after you stop drinking. In one study of 532 male patient who had been admitted to a Veterans Affairs Hospital for alcohol withdrawal, 10 percent experienced hallucinations.

The patients who hallucinated tended to be younger when they first developed problems with alcohol use, consumed more alcohol at each drinking occasion, and developed more problems in their life that were directly related to their alcohol use. They also had higher rates of other drug use. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms appear to be more pronounced and more frequent in men than in women.

Alcohol’s Effect on the Brain

When you drink alcohol, it affects the way your nerve cells communicate. Alcohol’s sedating effect is related to the altered function of receptors in your brain. These receptors are specialized proteins located on the surface of nerve cells. They receive chemical signals from other cells that are generally conveyed by chemical messengers released by nearby nerve cells, known as neurotransmitters.

When you drink heavily over the long term, these receptors that are affected by the alcohol undergo adaptive changes to try to maintain their normal function. When you stop drinking, the changes are no longer adaptive and that contributes to the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal. The issues that result from alcohol withdrawal can cause significant illness and even death.

Relapse Danger

Once your acute withdrawal has subsided, you may then begin to experience a longer, more drawn out withdrawal process. The persistent changes in your physical functioning, behavior, and mood that accompany this drawn out withdrawal may tempt you to relapse to heavy drinking in an attempt to relieve the symptoms. Returning to your heavy drinking, however, can only make your physical and mental health worse. Supervised detox and withdrawal are critically important to be able to get safely sober.

Men and Alcohol Abuse

The CDC reports that men are more likely than women to drink excessively. In fact, 59% of men reported drinking in the past thirty days, compared with 47% of women. Men are almost twice as likely to binge drink, with approximately 22% of men reporting binge drinking, consuming 8 drinks per binge and doing so 5 times a month. In 2019, 7% of men indicated they had an alcohol use disorder.

Gender-Specific Alcohol Addiction Treatment

When you have developed an alcohol addiction and want to stop drinking, we are here for you. Detox and supervised withdrawal will help you safely process the mental and physical symptoms so you can move forward with a healthy recovery. If you are struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our programs and services. We offer gender-specific treatment for men who have a desire to turn their life around. Recovery is possible, and we can help.

The Truth About Self-Harm Among Young Men

Although self-harm behaviors are typically associated with girls and young women, boys and young men also experience self-injury in significant numbers. In fact, the effects can be even more devastating in males. The truth about self-harm among young men is important to uncover, particularly during Self-Harm Awareness Month.

Emotional Distress in Young Adult Men

Self-harm is not a mental illness itself, but self-harm behaviors indicate a need for better coping skills. These behaviors can include cutting, burning, or hair pulling. When someone hurts themselves on purpose, it is a sign of emotional distress. Self-harm may be associated with a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The incidence of self-harm is more prevalent in teenagers and young adults, although anyone of any age can engage in self-injury. People at the highest risk are those who have experienced neglect, abuse, or trauma.

Self-Harm Among Young Men

The image of cutting or other self-harm behaviors tends to be associated with young white females. However, between 35 and 50 percent of self-injurers are male. The number has been difficult to pinpoint because male self-injuries are probably underreported or misrepresented. While females are more likely to engage in cutting, males are more prone to bruise themselves, have others hurt them, or hurt themselves while using drugs or alcohol.

The reasons behind the behaviors differ somewhat between females and males also. Research has found that self-injury is associated with depression and anxiety in similar ways for both males and females. Differences lie in areas such as spirituality concerns, borderline personality disorder symptoms, drug use, and sexual assault, which are primarily associated with females, and substance use disorder, associated more with males.

Research has also found an association between self-harm behaviors and physical aggression among males. Females who engage in self-harm behaviors may exhibit anger, hostility, and verbal aggression, but not necessarily physical aggression.

Self-Harm and Suicide

The act of self-harm is not always a suicide attempt, but the actions and mental status of young men who engage in these behaviors may be a strong predictor of later suicide attempts. One study of 1,466 students at colleges in the US over a three-year period found that those individuals who self-injured at the beginning of the study and who did not report suicidal thoughts or plans at the time, but then engaged in 20 or more self-injuring behaviors, were 3.4 times more likely to have attempted suicide by the end of the study.

Men commit suicide at higher rates than women. In 2018, the suicide rate among men was 3.7 times higher than among women. The total suicide rate in the US has increased 35% from 1999 to 2018.

Men and Treatment for Self-Harm

One of the reasons that self-harm may be more typically identified with women than with men is that men are less willing to report their behavior or to seek treatment for it. The truth about self-harm among young men is that treatment is critical to address their mental health and physical health, to help them develop healthier coping skills, and to reduce the likelihood of suicide.

Research studies regarding self-harm and gender have been limited, as few have examined clinical populations. Females significantly outnumber males in clinical populations, as males feel more of a stigma around seeking mental health treatment in general and treatment for self-harm in particular.

In clinical studies, it has been found that females report an earlier age of onset than males, but males report higher self-injury frequency each day with greater pain intensity. Men have also reported a lower intensity of emotions before and after they self-harm.

Help for Young Men at PACE

Contrary to what many people may believe, asking for help is actually a sign of strength. If you have been engaging in self-harm behaviors, particularly if you are also dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Receiving a Mental Health Diagnosis in Adulthood

You or your loved ones may have recognized the symptoms of a mental health concern, so you made the right choice by seeking a diagnosis for your struggles. Now you need to consider the impact of receiving a mental health diagnosis in adulthood, including the range of emotions you might be experiencing now. Understanding how mental health affects men, as well as understanding how to overcome the stigma of seeking treatment, is critical for you. The important thing to keep in mind is that you are not alone and help is available.

Diagnosis in Adulthood

The onset of most mental health disorders usually happens during the first three decades of life. Mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders, along with psychotic disorders, often emerge during adolescence and early adulthood; however, effective treatment is usually not sought until many years later. Intervention and treatment during the early stages of the mental health disorder may help reduce the severity and/or the persistence of the primary disorder and help prevent secondary disorders that may result.

Mental Health Stigmas for Men

Although diagnosis and treatment is critical for mental health in adulthood, many men do not seek help. There is a stigma attached to a mental health diagnosis and men tend to feel that stigma even more than women. A number of studies have been done on the effects of receiving a mental health diagnosis for men. Although men experience a higher rate of suicide, they are much less likely to seek out treatment for mental health or substance use disorders.

The World Health Organization, in a 2018 report, emphasized that cultural stigma around mental health issues is one of the chief obstacles for people admitting they are struggling and for them to seek help. In a separate study of 360 respondents with direct experience with depression or suicidal thoughts, published in the Community Mental Health Journal, more males than females said they would be embarrassed to seek formal treatment for their depression.

Major Mental Health Disorders Affecting Men

Seeking treatment after receiving a mental health diagnosis in adulthood is critical, for both mental health and physical health in men. The Mental Health Association (MHA) has identified five major mental health problems affecting men, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Psychosis and Schizophrenia
  • Eating Disorders

In addition, researchers found that the suicide rate among men in the US is about four times higher than that for women. Although women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to succeed in their attempts. Almost 31% of men have suffered from a period of depression at some point in their life. At least 9% of men in the US have feelings of depression or anxiety daily. One in three men have taken medication because of their feelings. Only one in four have spoken to a mental health professional.

Mental Health’s Effects on Adults

The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) states that 1 in 5 adults experienced a mental illness in 2019, with 1 in 20 experiencing a serious mental illness. Mental health issues in adults can create other issues, such as with physical health, career and family, and substance use.

Individuals diagnosed with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. The rate of unemployment is higher among adults in the US who have mental illness, as compared to those who do not. Of those adults who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, 18.4% also experience a substance use disorder.

Other findings include the fact that alcohol dependence is twice as high in men than in women. Also, men are more than three times as likely to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorders than women. When a man develops a substance use disorder and has received a mental health diagnosis, the diagnosis is referred to as co-occurring disorders. Overcoming the stigma of mental health and substance use treatment is critically important for those with this dual diagnosis.

Dual Diagnosis Support for Men

At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

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