Causes of Insomnia in Males

The inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, even when you feel tired, can be frustrating. Lying awake night after night will eventually leave you chronically sleep-deprived, which can lead you to develop an array of health issues. However, insomnia can also be a warning sign of various illnesses. Learn more about why you might have trouble sleeping and what you can do about it.

Understanding the Sleep Cycle

Doctors recommend active young adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. While sleep quantity is one part of the equation, quality is equally critical. If you spend each night tossing and turning instead of progressing smoothly through the stages of the sleep cycle, you’ll wake up feeling worn-out and irritable instead of energized and refreshed.

In a typical night, a healthy person goes through four to six sleep cycles lasting approximately 90 minutes each. Your ability to transition seamlessly through these cycles multiple times per night is a vital part of getting restorative sleep. People who keep waking up and interrupting the pattern will eventually struggle with excessive daytime fatigue, trouble concentrating and memory issues. Over time, they may also become more vulnerable to developing health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, a weakened immune system and a loss of balance and coordination.

What Causes Insomnia?

Some sleep disruptions are short-lived and resolve on their own after a few nights. For instance, worries about an upcoming job interview might rob you of a few hours of sleep, but there’s probably no cause for alarm if this issue goes away by itself. Here are some factors that can contribute to long-term insomnia.

Irregular Sleep Schedule

Failure to stick to a regular sleeping schedule may lead to insomnia by confusing your built-in body clock. For instance, some frequent travelers end up developing sleep disorders because they jump between time zones so often. Shift workers might also be more likely to have insomnia. Others naturally have a circadian rhythm that’s out of sync with the norm, so it’s difficult for them to sleep at night.

Medical Conditions

Trouble sleeping is sometimes a symptom of an underlying physical health issue like acid reflux, IBS or restless legs syndrome. People who struggle with breathing problems such as sleep apnea and COPD might wake up dozens of times per night without being consciously aware of it, then wonder why they are so groggy and irritable the next day.

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

Many mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, bipolar, PTSD and panic attacks, can consistently interfere with your ability to get a full, restorative night of sleep.

Drinking alcohol interferes with the REM phase of the sleep cycle, which can cause you to wake up abruptly and have trouble falling back asleep. In general, the more alcohol you consume before bed, the more severely it will interfere with your ability to get a full, restful night of sleep. If you regularly rely on alcohol to manage your insomnia, your tolerance will keep building, which can increase your likelihood of having a substance use disorder.

Mental Health and Addiction Treatment at PACE Recovery

Living with a dual diagnosis can significantly interfere with your quality of life. Worsening mental and physical health will eventually impact your relationships and ability to fulfill daily responsibilities.

At our single-gender Orange County treatment facility, we simultaneously address both parts of a co-occurring substance use and mental health disorder by creating a customized plan for each client. Contact us today when you’re ready to learn more about tailored recovery for young men.

What Causes Anxiety?

We’ve all experienced it before: the nervous feeling that comes with different life situations. Whether you’re about to go on stage for a presentation or take on your first day at a new job, you may notice some symptoms of anxiety. But what if these feelings have become consistent? What if you feel scared all the time? There are a few different types of anxiety with various sources, so let’s look at each to help you understand where those feelings are coming from.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

What differentiates uneasy feelings from a mental health disorder is often the duration of symptoms. An anxiety disorder creates consistent feelings of nervousness either regardless of the circumstance or in response to specific situations. Diagnosable anxiety disorders listed in the DSM-5 include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Specific Phobias
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Separation Anxiety

Each of these are linked to similar symptoms, like feeling restless, fidgeting, increased heart rate, and an impaired level of functioning. However, the causes of each condition can differ. 

What Causes Anxiety?

While there is not a current consensus on the causes of such conditions within the psychological research community, there are some sources or situations that we know can contribute to a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. 

Life circumstances are often an indicator of anxiety. For example, a child who grows up in an unstable home might react to the lack of consistency by developing separation anxiety. In their need for security, they attempt to cling to sources of comfort and can exhibit symptoms when they are not around their chosen comfort source. Generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder can also develop as a result of life circumstances. Constant changes in a home can make someone more sensitive to differences in routine, resulting in feelings of distress.

Another influential factor for anxiety is a triggering life event. Phobias and social anxiety disorder can develop due to a negative experience a person has in a specific situation. For example, someone who was bitten by a spider and ended up in the hospital could develop arachnophobia: an overwhelming fear of spiders. Social anxiety disorder can develop if a person had an embarrassing moment in front of a group of people, which in turn brings on feelings of distress in social situations. 

Finally, researchers believe genetics can make a person more susceptible to developing an anxiety disorder. It’s not uncommon to see such conditions develop in multiple members of a family, and research has shown there is a genetic component to anxiety. That, in combination with environmental factors, can increase the likelihood that someone will develop an anxiety disorder. 

Mental Health Treatment in Orange County, CA

If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, regardless of the cause, PACE Recovery Center can help. Our treatment model, designed specifically for men, utilizes evidence-based practices to help determine the source of your anxiety and develop healthy coping skills to alleviate symptoms. We offer outpatient treatment to fit with your schedule or residential treatment for a higher level of support. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

5 Signs You Might Have High-Functioning Depression

Popular media and culture typically portray people with depression as exhibiting the more debilitating symptoms of depression such as a lack of motivation to do daily tasks, severe hopelessness, and persistent sadness. While these are common symptoms associated with depression, there are a number of other emotions and behaviors that can go unnoticed by society in a person who has depression. This is especially true if a person has what is considered “high-functioning depression”.

What Is High-Functioning Depression?

The DSM-5 categorizes the different types of depression based on their severity, symptoms present, and the duration of symptoms. The most common form of depression is major depressive disorder, and this is what is typically associated with the cultural understanding of depression. Those with major depressive disorder exhibit severe symptoms that can greatly interfere with their ability to function in society. Other types of depression include seasonal affective disorder and postpartum depression. But one of the lesser-noticed types of depression is dysthymia, and this is often what is considered “high-functioning depression”. 

High-functioning depression is likely to go unnoticed by society due to its persistent nature. Those who exhibit signs of dysthymia have had depressive symptoms for years (2 or more) which can contribute to their ability to manage the symptoms and function more successfully in society than a person with newly-diagnosed depression. So how do you know if you have dysthymia? Let’s look at 5 signs you might have high-functioning depression.

5 Signs of Dysthymia

You’ve Experienced Symptoms of Depression for 2 or More Years

One of the key indicators of dysthymia is persistent depressive symptoms for two or more years. These symptoms often come and go over time, but they can range in severity. Some of the key symptoms of depression include: 

      • Persistent sadness
      • Feelings of hopelessness
      • Loss of interest in hobbies
      • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

You’ve Learned How to “Mask” Your Symptoms

Often, those who have experienced symptoms of depression for longer periods of time have learned to cope in order to function successfully. Coping skills could look like compartmentalizing feelings to deal with later or putting on a smile despite feeling sad. If you’ve experienced symptoms for a long time, it’s likely that you’re aware of how this affects your daily life. It’s not uncommon to try to hide those feelings to appear more lively in the presence of others.

Your Home Feels Chaotic

When you’re feeling stressed, one of the first things that’s often affected is your ability to keep up with the smaller tasks in life. This becomes most evident in your home and the cleanliness of your space. The high levels of stress your body is feeling make it more difficult to prioritize chores and other small responsibilities. If you have dysthymia, you’ve likely learned to manage the depressive symptoms by allowing other areas of your life to fall behind, such as your home. 

You Feel Constantly Tired

Emotions can be exhausting, and living with depression for a long period of time can have negative effects on your physical health. If your body is living in a state of heightened emotion, whether positive or negative, this can decrease your energy levels and make you feel tired more often than usual. If you find that you’re feeling tired more days than not, and there isn’t a physical health reason, this could be a sign of depression.

Goals Still Motivate You

Despite one of the main symptoms of depression being a lack of interest in hobbies or activities you once enjoyed, a contrasting symptom for those with high-functioning depression is that your goals continue to motivate you to keep going. Those with dysthymia are often able to continue working towards their goals despite feelings of depression. When symptoms of depression and a motivation to achieve are working concurrently, this could be a sign of high-functioning depression.

Help for Symptoms of Depression

No matter what form of depression you have, you deserve help from a professional. Dysthymia is considered high-functioning depression because those who experience symptoms for long periods of time have learned how to function well in society despite their symptoms. Talking to a professional, though, can help you deal with the root causes of your depression to alleviate the burden of trying to function despite your symptoms. If you or a man you know is living with high-functioning depression, PACE Recovery Center can help. Contact us today to learn more about our outpatient mental health services. 

Is Vyvanse Addictive?

Severe ADHD is frequently treated with prescription amphetamines, one such being Vyvanse (chemical name lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, also prescribed for narcolepsy and binge-eating disorder). The medication comes in pill form, formulated to improve concentration.

Prescription Drug Abuse

A problem common to most prescription drugs is that a number of patients become dissatisfied with the original prescription for not delivering everything they’d hoped for: not working “fast enough” or “thoroughly enough,” or losing some of its original effect over time. When that happens, people may decide (without their doctor’s permission or knowledge) to begin crushing pills and “snorting” the powder, or by dissolving the pills and injecting the solution.

These alternate channels do produce faster and more intense results. They also produce highly undesirable side effects:

  • “Snorting” can damage the nasal membranes and respiratory system.
  • Injecting scars the skin, bruises the veins, and (if the needle is not properly sterilized) spreads disease.
  • Either approach encourages stronger and more frequent doses, which is often a fast route to physical tolerance, dependence, and ultimately addiction.

How Does Vyvanse Work?

One advantage of Vyvanse is that it eliminates the option of snorting or injecting for stronger effect. Vyvanse is a “prodrug,” meaning that its active ingredients are released only in reaction with gastrointestinal enzymes, i.e., when the medication is taken orally and enters the digestive system.

Introduced into the body by any other channel, Vyvanse remains an inert substance with little or no perceptible effect. Hence it was the first medication to receive FDA approval for being labeled “abuse resistant.”

Vyvanse Misuse: Still a Concern

Unfortunately, while the prodrug design may prevent snorting or injection, it can’t block the channel most misusers start with: taking more pills than prescribed. A larger oral dose may not produce much of a “rush,” but it will have a stronger effect, which is good enough for someone whose main goal is to get extra amphetamine for working longer or losing weight. While individual doctors can deny prescriptions or refills in an effort to limit someone’s Vyvanse supply, many people just go to additional doctors, forge prescriptions, or even request prescriptions for nonexistent ADHD. Or they switch to other amphetamines that are amenable to snorting and injecting.

It’s also worth noting that some people do attempt to snort Vyvanse—if only to confirm that getting a “high” that way is impossible—and this in itself can hurt the nose and respiratory organs. Sometimes, especially if someone experiences a “placebo-effect” high and develops the habit of regular Vyvanse snorting, introducing a foreign substance into the body can trigger vertigo, motor tics, facial swelling, vision problems, or even heart trouble.

What to Do?

The common-sense way to avoid these dangers is to take Vyvanse (if you take it at all) strictly according to prescription—and, if dissatisfied with the results, to get advice from your doctor before doing anything else. However, don’t berate yourself if you’ve already slipped into misuse. These things happen, and getting down on yourself will only make it harder to find your footing again.

In addition to coming clean with your prescribing doctor about any Vyvanse misuse, see an addiction medicine specialist if:

  • You’ve even considered trying to snort or inject the drug, or obtain any Vyvanse through covert means
  • You’re tempted to try other amphetamines because Vyvanse isn’t “doing the job” anymore
  • You’ve tried to cut back on your Vyvanse use, but always seem to give in to temptation
  • You’ve ever had symptoms of amphetamine overdose or withdrawal.

Whether it starts with a Vyvanse prescription or something else, amphetamine addiction needn’t be a life sentence—but it’s rarely something anyone can beat alone, especially while simultaneously battling ADHD or another co-occurring disorder. Get professional help, and hold on to hope for the future. Recovery is always an option!

Find Help at PACE Recovery

If you’re a young man who’s used prescription medications outside of medical instructions, and is now struggling with compulsive dependence on those medications, PACE Recovery can help. We understand your unique needs, and we’ll show you how to take your life back.

Our motto is “Positive Attitude Changes Everything.” Contact us for more information or to request an appointment.

Does Adderall Cause Depression?

Adderall and ADHD Treatment

Adderall is a prescription stimulant commonly used for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. Adderall entered the prescription drug market in 1996 and quickly became commonplace in ADHD treatment discussions. This stimulant is designed to address the symptoms of ADHD, including inattentiveness, hyperactive behavior, restlessness, among others. In order to receive a prescription for Adderall, a formal diagnosis must first be made, which usually requires both testing and recording of behaviors from teachers, parents, and professionals who have interacted with the patient. Only after the necessary diagnosis and documentation is complete will a medical professional prescribe this medication. 

Side Effects of Stimulant Use

As is the case with any prescription medication, there are side effects that potentially come along with the daily use of a stimulant. Some of the listed side effects of stimulants, such as Adderall, include:

  • Nervousness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Dizziness
  • Mental health effects: depression, paranoia, anxiety

While these side effects are not all common, they can greatly impact a person’s daily life and ability to continue taking the medication. If you or someone you know are experiencing these side effects, you should discuss this with your healthcare provider. 

Long-Term Adderall Use

For people who are on prescription stimulants, like Adderall, there is a higher likelihood of adverse effects if you are on the medication for a long period of time. Prescription stimulants are also classified as Schedule II drugs due to their addictive qualities. 

Stimulants are highly abused drugs, with over 5.1 million people misusing them in 2018. The use of prescription medications can have severe consequences such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, rapid breathing, decreased blood flow, and adverse mental health effects. 

Does Adderall Cause Depression?

For anyone taking a stimulant, such as Adderall, its addictive qualities mean it is more difficult to come off the medication, especially if it is stopped abruptly. Whether you are prescribed the medication or are misusing the substance, if you stop taking the drug without consulting with a professional, you are likely to experience symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms of stimulant dependence include: 

  • Agitation and irritability
  • Depression
  • Increased sleeping and appetite
  • Muscle aches

Stimulants create a release of dopamine, and as the medication wears off, you can exhibit symptoms of depression. While Adderall does not directly cause depressive symptoms, there may be times when a person has these symptoms due to the medication wearing off throughout the day. 

Addicted to Prescription Stimulants?

ADHD treatment requires a team of specialists who understand the complexities of managing medications and symptoms to ensure you have the care you need. Medical professionals take into consideration the possible side effects when prescribing medication and will monitor you closely throughout your treatment. Because of this, it is incredibly dangerous to take a medication that is not prescribed to you. 

If you or a loved one have been misusing medications or need help managing symptoms of depression, our team at PACE Recovery Center can help. Our programs are designed specifically to help young men on their path to recovery and wellness. Contact us today to learn more.

Fentanyl Interactions

A generation or two ago, heroin was the most dangerous of commonly abused opiates and opioids. Today, that dubious honor belongs to fentanyl—a synthetic opioid with 50 times the potency of heroin, developed in 1959 but first becoming a major concern in the 2010s. As a medicine, fentanyl is used in carefully measured doses for anesthesia and pain management. As a clandestinely distributed product, it is responsible for tens of thousands of overdose deaths every year. It’s not always fentanyl alone that causes such tragedies. Many dangerous effects are due to consuming this substance with other drugs. Learn the facts about fentanyl interactions.

Alcohol and Fentanyl: Interactions

Most medical prescriptions include warnings about not combining with certain other drugs, lest the medication’s effect be diminished or dangerously magnified. Many drugs are dangerous to take at all for the duration of certain prescription periods.

Fentanyl is no exception to the rule. If you receive it as a medical prescription, your doctor and pharmacist will likely warn against certain other drugs that could trigger potentially harmful interactions.

  • Consuming fentanyl with stimulants can trigger blurry vision, extreme drowsiness, mental confusion, paranoia, and/or dangerously intense euphoria.
  • Taking fentanyl with alcohol or other depressants can magnify the opioid’s relaxant effect, causing irregular body functions, dangerously slowed breathing, or coma.
  • Methadone, an opioid used in some medication-assisted treatments for heroin and fentanyl addiction, also interferes with the effects of medical fentanyl. Plus, mixing fentanyl with other opioids may risk triggering serotonin syndrome, a dangerous and sometimes lethal condition characterized by overstimulated body functions and by shivering, sweating, diarrhea, extreme restlessness, and/or mental confusion.
  • Serotonin syndrome is also associated with certain antidepressants as well as over-the-counter supplements. (Since most supplements are not required to include detailed warning labels covering every risk, it pays to do independent research and consult your doctor before taking a supplement, especially if you are on any form of medication.)

The Perils of Unknown Substances

Worse than potential fentanyl interactions in known drug combinations, is illegally purchased street “fentanyl” that may include any number of cheaper substances added to stretch a supply. Even if inert in themselves, these substances increase the risk of overdose for users, who are never sure how much fentanyl they’re actually taking.

A more common danger, however, is purchasing “heroin” or “cocaine” without knowing that the mixture actually contains substantial amounts of fentanyl. To illegal drug vendors, adding this filler is an easy way to increase supplies at less expense for more profit. For buyers, it’s a dangerous game with life-or-death stakes:

  • Fentanyl being 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin, it’s easy for users accustomed to heroin to get a lethal overdose from their “regular” amount.
  • Unknowingly taking fentanyl (a depressant) with cocaine (a stimulant) can wreak havoc on the body’s natural functions, perhaps triggering heart or respiratory failure. In addition, treatment for opioid overdose may be delayed if the presence of fentanyl is unsuspected.
  • Mixing fentanyl with methamphetamine—a stimulant that shares the characteristic of delivering considerable potency in small doses—combines two drugs with extremely high overdose potential, exponentially multiplying the risk.

How to Avoid Dangerous Fentanyl Interactions

For most people, avoiding illegal drugs, and taking any prescription drugs according to instructions, is adequate protection from the danger of fentanyl interactions. If someone is actually addicted to this substance or another drug, however, “just stopping” can be impossible or dangerous.

If you have any suspicion that the use of a drug—prescription or otherwise—is getting out of control, seek medical treatment sooner rather than later. The best time to stop addiction is as soon as possible, before it can do irreparable harm through its interactions with body, brain, and quality of life. 

Fentanyl Addiction Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery, we provide individualized care and therapy to help our clients recover from addiction to fentanyl and other opiates. (We treat other substance use disorders and mental illnesses as well.) Our program is geared to the specific needs and pressures of the male perspective, making PACE an ideal recovery environment for men who struggle with opening up and facing their weaknesses.

Our motto is “Positive Attitudes Change Everything.” Contact us today to get started on changing your life for the better.

What is the Difference Between Hydrocodone and Oxycodone?

Prescription drugs can provide much-needed support for those recovering from surgery, but in the long term, these substances are incredibly dangerous. Hydrocodone and oxycodone are often prescribed for the treatment of pain, but to the one taking the medication, it can be difficult to know the difference between these drugs.

Knowing the difference between these medications can aid in conversations with doctors, treatment teams, and family members for those who are struggling with addiction. Let’s take a look at the potential effects taking these medications can have.


Hydrocodone is the second most frequently encountered opioid in drug evidence, and this has been the case since 2009. Used as both a cough suppressant and to treat moderate to severe pain, this drug is the most frequently prescribed opioid in the United States. As this prescription became more accessible, its addictive qualities and side effects have become more evident.

Hydrocodone has been reported to have a euphoric effect. This can create an increased risk of dependence and addiction. Hydrocodone is often misused in combination with alcohol to elevate the effects of the drug, and illicit use affects all age groups, including school-age children. Restrictions on this drug have helped to lessen the number of individuals who take hydrocodone, but it is reported that 4.7 million people over the age of 12 misused the drug in 2020.

Hydrocodone is most commonly found in tablets in the illicit drug market, but it also appears in capsules and liquid form. Drugs that contain hydrocodone are tracked by the federal government to help prevent illicit use, and researchers credit the decrease in illicit hydrocodone use partially to this monitoring system. Hydrocodone is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has been identified as having a high potential for abuse. 


Oxycodone is often known for its highly addictive qualities and the rapid escalation of abuse of this drug after it entered the market. OxyContin is the most common brand name of oxycodone that has appeared in street forms. Much like hydrocodone, oxycodone is prescribed to relieve moderate to moderately severe pain. Oxycodone is a controlled-release drug, meaning that it is designed to aid in pain management throughout the day and effects should be seen for longer periods of time.

Side effects of oxycodone, such as euphoria, sedation, and respiratory depression, make it a drug that is often misused. This abuse can lead to dependence on the drug and an increased tolerance. Since the 1960’s, the misuse of Oxycodone has been a continuing problem in the United States. It has often been used by heroin users as a way to address symptoms of withdrawal. While there has been a decrease in misuse in the last few years, illicit use of oxycodone is still a vast problem amongst those aged 12 or older, with 3.2 million people misusing the drug in 2020.

This drug is often obtained through forged prescriptions, professional diversion, “doctor shopping,” and robberies of nursing homes and pharmacies. Oxycodone is also a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has highly addictive qualities.

Differences Between Hydrocodone and Oxycodone

Hydrocodone and oxycodone have many similar qualities, but the side effects of each of these drugs is where the main differences lie. Hydrocodone more commonly elicits a side effect of tiredness, and oxycodone often produces constipation and some drowsiness. Depending on what type of release the tablet is (instant release or time release), the effects of the drug on a person will vary. It is more common for opioid users to use oxycodone to achieve a high because it has more easily abused forms of the medication, and it is one of the most common street drugs.

There Is Hope For Addiction

Whether you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to opioids, there is hope and healing available to you at PACE Recovery. Contact us today to discuss our treatment model designed specifically for men.

The Relationship Between College and Substance Use Disorder

Going to college is a major life transition, full of stresses and challenges. Unfortunately, not everyone rises successfully to the challenge—and the problems that arise can be worse than low grades or even dropping out.

  • Seventy-three percent of college students will experience some level of mental health crisis during their higher-education years—about two-thirds of them to the point of psychiatric disorder.
  • Forty-five percent of college students admit to struggling with feelings of hopelessness.
  • Almost one-third struggle with depression that hampers everyday functioning.
  • At least 20 percent use illicit drugs; over 33 percent engage in binge drinking; and nearly half have symptoms of substance use disorder.

And that’s just the students who get into college at all. While the high-school dropout rate in Orange County is low, it’s worth noting that youth who never achieve a diploma or GED are nearly twice as likely as others to develop drug-abuse problems.

Moving Forward

While education is well known for its advantages in building a successful future, college or university also comes with risks of messing up that future—most of these risks stemming from one of two primary causes:

  1. College brings new stresses and pressures to perform. Between large-scale health concerns and the search for balance between in-person and virtual learning, higher education in the early 2020s is proving uniquely stressful. But college has never been an easy transition, being performance- and expectation-based in a way that high school never was. A stressed, frustrated, and discouraged student is extra vulnerable to having a mood disorder surface—and more open to trying drugs as mood improvers or “study aids.”
  1. Many students are separated from familiar support networks, often for the first time ever. For new students at universities far from home, it’ll be months before most see their nuclear families or longtime mentors again in person—and the high school peer crowd has scattered far and wide. Not only is it natural to seek new connections wherever they can be found: the feeling that comes with being newly “on one’s own,” combined with the assumption that no one back home will really know what goes on, is a major trigger for reckless behavior. Small wonder that many university “traditions” involve considerable acting out (for instance, the fraternity-and-sorority population is at high risk for using alcohol and marijuana carelessly, and for developing long-term substance use disorders).

Orange County Higher-Education Options

Being separated from an at-home support network is also a common trigger for relapse in those who have pre-existing mental or behavioral health disorders. For that reason, any prospective college student recovering from struggles in those areas (or having family members with a history of related illnesses) is well advised to consider local colleges and universities for at least the first year or two.

Also recommended:

  • Advance therapy and coaching in preparation for the pressures of higher education
  • A solid action plan for avoiding relapse traps, managing academic pressures, and finding better recreation activities than “party culture”
  • A 12-Step group or other organized peer-support program including fellow students
  • An ongoing relationship with a therapist during college/university years.

If the Orange County/Newport Beach area is your home territory, one good option is Orange Coast College, a Costa Mesa campus in the community-college tradition of providing low-cost education with a focus on the practical aspects of life skills and career development. After completing an associate degree or certification at community-college level, students can continue their education by transferring to a university (now better equipped to manage their studies and resist toxic temptations) or otherwise pursue further education/experience.

Lists of other Orange County colleges and universities are on the PACE Academy/For College Students page, Orange County’s government website, and the Community College Review website. Research carefully, choose wisely, schedule advance tours before final selection—and go forward with a positive attitude and confidence in the future!

Starting Over in Orange County

If you’ve struggled with a drug problem or mental illness, you may fear that your chances of being accepted to any college are already ruined for good. Be assured this doesn’t have to be the case. With proper treatment and a solid plan for the future, anyone can make a fresh start.

PACE Recovery Center not only provides treatment and residential rehab for young men fighting substance abuse and mental disorders, we offer structured planning support for high-school and college-age students whose educational progress has been impaired by behavioral illness. Our higher-education preparation and support program has connections with multiple Orange County colleges and universities. Contact us today to get started on taking your life back. Positive Attitudes Change Everything!

The Psychology of Hope

“Hope” is a word often used in less-than-hopeful contexts: “I hope this or that happens” frequently carries the implication, “but it probably won’t.” A proper understanding of hope, however, focuses on an optimistic attitude that not only wishes for good things but expects them, and takes an active role in bringing them about. Properly hopeful people are consistently healthier and more successful than their more pessimistic counterparts.

Hope and Recovery

Our motto at PACE is Positive Attitude Changes Everything—not least for those struggling with chemical dependency, mental illness, or both. Even if your mind, will, and sense of order have become uncontrollable, you can still make the decision to seek help in reclaiming a healthy life.

One important early step on the road to recovery is realizing that hope isn’t something you either have or don’t have: it’s a skill that can be learned and practiced. Even if your temperament isn’t naturally geared toward high optimism, you can build new habits to improve your everyday hope quotient.

The key elements of positive hope are that it’s:


Living only to make money, advance your status, or indulge yourself reaps feelings of emptiness. True fulfillment includes a commitment to something bigger than yourself, whether that’s a religious/spiritual outlook, a social cause, or shared happiness with friends and family. Decide where your greater purpose lies, and commit to living everyday life according to values that serve that purpose.


Stephen Covey labeled proactive living as the first secret of being “highly effective.” Reactive people wait for good luck to happen to them, blame everything and everyone else when it doesn’t, consider themselves powerless victims of circumstances—and go through life “just following orders” and usually bitter and depressed. Proactive people make things happen. They keep their hope active by taking responsibility for their lives and by focusing on what they can do without fretting about the rest.


Proactive goals, worked for and achieved, are the building blocks of hope. You may have heard of the SMART principle: worthwhile goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely (aka set with deadlines). They also should be personally meaningful: working for peer approval or someone else’s dream will only leave you frustrated.


Even the best-planned goals aren’t guaranteed to come off flawlessly. (Ask any experienced achiever whose original 2020 calendar was filled with travel plans and public-speaking engagements.) Healthy hope accepts that course corrections will be necessary and disappointments inevitable. Rather than take difficulties as evidence that planning doesn’t work, a hopeful person knows how to shift to Plan B and keep moving in the right overall direction.


Where hope includes belief in long-term goals and dreams, it also includes stick-to-itiveness to keep going, even in the face of setbacks and delays.


Resilience is the driving force behind adaptability and persistence—and more. Resilience:

  • Remains confident of recovery even from major disasters
  • Enables people to get back on track in the aftermath of relapsing into mental illness or drug use
  • Knows that wherever life continues, failure is never total.


Just as there’s no such thing as complete failure, there’s no such thing as complete success: growth was always intended to be a lifelong journey. Understanding this is important if you want to avoid the “I’ve blown it, so I might as well give up trying” trap. “Progress, not perfection” is hope’s mantra. Internalize it, and you’ll not only build up resistance to quitting: you’ll enjoy life far more as you approach each day expecting new opportunities, adventures, and achievements yet to come.

Embrace a Positive Attitude for Lasting Recovery

Positive Attitude Changes Everything—even the worst life situations. But if you have a behavioral and/or mental illness, the change to a healthy, hope-centered life isn’t a journey to undertake alone. PACE Recovery Center provides detox, care, and therapy for men seeking freedom from addiction and hopelessness.

Don’t let anyone tell you that “being a man” requires bottling up your feelings and toughing everything out alone. We understand your needs, and we provide a safe, empathetic environment for rediscovering your true identity. Contact us today to learn more!

Drugs That Cause Hallucinations

Ingesting certain drugs can cause hallucinations. Hallucinations change your brain’s awareness of its surroundings. In turn, your mind forms images, smells, and sounds that might seem real to you, but they are not. 

Doing them regularly could result in psychotic episodes and other long-term problems. This guide outlines drugs that cause hallucinations, how they affect the brain, symptoms of use, and treatments.

Which Drugs Lead to Hallucinations?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse classifies two types of drugs causing hallucinations: classic and dissociative drugs. Here is a look at some of the drugs that lead to altered mental states:

  • LSD: LSD, also known as D-lysergic acid diethylamide, comes in white or clear material. When someone takes LSD, they go on an acid trip, invoking images of vivid color, inanimate objects moving, and tasting sounds. 
  • Peyote: It is a cactus containing mescaline. People can also synthesize it. After taking it, you can feel like you’re in a dream. Your mind can form hallucinations even with your eyes closed. 
  • DMT: You can find DMT (N,-N-dimethyltryptamine) derived from Ayahuasca, a chemical found in Amazonian plants. People use the chemical to make tea or synthesize it into white powder to smoke. DMT has a reputation for giving its users an intense hallucination. 
  • Psilocybin: It comes from mushrooms found in the United States, Mexico, and South America. After eating them, hallucinations can form within 30 minutes. These include altered realities, feelings of paranoia and confusion, and distortions in sound. 

Meanwhile, there are dissociative drugs, such as PCP, Ketamine, Salvia, and DXM, which can also cause hallucinations.

Are There Side Effects to Taking Drugs Causing Hallucinations?

Yes, users can experience the following symptoms during or after hallucinating:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Paranoia (being afraid of others or surroundings)
  • Sweating
  • Panic
  • Fitful sleep
  • Changes in perception of time
  • Intense sensory experiences (tasting sounds, seeing vivid colors, etc.)

Meanwhile, taking hallucinating drugs could result in psychosis. When a person undergoes a psychotic episode, they might exhibit:

  • Paranoid thoughts
  • Rapid changes in mood or behavior
  • Disconnected thinking and speech

Users might also experience Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder. It is where you can relive drug experiences from your past–even if you do not use them anymore. Your mind can produce flashbacks of hallucinations you encountered. It can occur from a few days to a year or more after using the drug

How are Dissociative Drugs Different?

These drugs present different symptoms, such as numbness, raised blood pressure, memory loss, seizures, amnesia, the inability to move, problems breathing, and mood swings. Moreover, dissociative drugs tend to result in higher overdoses. A person overusing PCP could experience coma, seizures, and ultimately, death. 

Providing a Way Out

Hallucinogenic drugs carry severe side effects that can stay with a person for more than a year after use. If you or someone you know exhibits some of the symptoms outlined in this guide, know that help is here when you’re ready.

We tailor our treatment options to cater exclusively to men’s needs. It includes uncovering the source of why you use it. And helping you develop the coping skills necessary to live a drug-free future. Learn about all the treatment options available to you by contacting the Pace Recovery Center today. 

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