How to Help a Depressed Son

When your child is struggling with a mental health issue, it can be heartbreaking and frustrating. You want to help but are not sure what to do or how to do it. Learning more about how to help a depressed son can benefit him and you, so that you each can find the health and well-being you need.

Know That You Are Not Alone

If you have a young son who has shown symptoms of depression, you might feel like you are all alone in your concerns for his mental health. In fact, though, about 17% of young people between the ages of 6 and 17 experience a mental health disorder. Half of all mental illness typically starts by age 14 and 75% starts by the age of 24.

Learn About Mental Illness

One of the best things you can do to help a depressed son is to learn as much as you can about the condition as well as about mental illness in general. Understand that mental illness is a health condition. Although you may not be able to prevent it, the illness can be treated.

There are many causes of mental illness, including genetics, changes in the brain, hormones, and brain chemistry. While you may feel as though you did not do enough to prevent your son from developing depression, it may well have resulted from nature rather than nurture. What’s most important is that you now acknowledge your son’s mental illness for what it is, so that you can help him address it appropriately.

College Depression

If your son is away at college, it may be more difficult to recognize the symptoms of depression. Likewise, your child might be more hesitant to ask for help out of an embarrassment or a fear of not fitting in with his college crowd. Your son’s depression can get in the way of his academic success and can increase the likelihood of high risk behaviors, including substance abuse and binge drinking.

Steps to Help a Depressed Son

As a parent, you want nothing more than for your child to have a normal, happy life. If your son is experiencing depression, it’s critical that you are able to accept that the way his brain works is a part of who he is, at any age. That’s a difficult step for you and your son, but it’s important you work with him and with a professional mental health provider to find a new normal for him, one that can leverage his strengths, capabilities, and interests.

Knowing that you are not alone, reach out to support groups so that you will have someone to talk to about the challenges you and your son are experiencing. Others in these groups are going through the same issues and the same victories as you. Each person in the group can learn from the other parents, as you share openly and honestly.

Listen to your son when he does open up to you about what he is feeling, without being judgmental. As a parent, it’s tempting to tell him what he should and should not be doing, even about what he is experiencing mentally. When asking questions to learn more about his mental illness, ask “how” or “what” questions, rather than “why” questions.

Help Your Son Get the Help He Needs

Reach out to a mental health specialist, such as the professionals who specialize in treating young men at PACE Recovery. Your son needs appropriate therapy to treat his illness, just as he would need the right treatment if he were suffering from a physical illness. Evidence-based treatment tailored to a young man’s specific needs has been proven to be more effective in helping individuals like your son better manage their symptoms of depression.

Help for Your Son is Here at PACE

When you want to help your son with his mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize each person’s recovery success with integrated treatment that addresses their specific mental health and substance use issues.

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 your son can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Is Molly Addictive?

Any drug that is misused or abused has the potential to cause issues for both your physical and mental health. You could develop a substance use disorder such as a dependence or addiction. The drug known as Molly has generally been used recreationally. Its use has been known to result in many negative symptoms, sometimes serious health problems, but is Molly addictive?

What is Molly?

Molly is the common name for 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), a synthetic drug that alters mood and perception. Chemically, it is similar to stimulants and hallucinogens. MDMA was first used in the 1970s as an aid in psychotherapy, but it did not have the support of clinical trials or approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In 1985, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) labeled MDMA as an illegal drug. Today, MDMA is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. That means it has a high potential for abuse. Most recently, the FDA gave MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) a “Breakthrough Therapy” designation.

Several years ago, MDMA was popular in the nightclub scene and at dance parties known as raves. The drug now affects a broad range of people who refer to it as Molly.

Molly’s Effects

MDMA works by affecting the brain cells that use the chemical serotonin to communicate with each other. Serotonin plays an active part in regulating sleep, pain sensitivity, sexual activity, mood, and aggression. Molly may increase the risk of long-term, possibly even permanent, problems with learning and memory. It causes changes in perception, including euphoria and increased sensitivity to touch, as well as energy and a need for stimulation.

When taken in high doses, Molly can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. This can lead to a sharp increase in body temperature, known as hyperthermia, that can result in kidney, liver, and cardiovascular system failure. It can also be fatal.

Is Molly Addictive?

Research has yet to determine definitively if Molly is addictive and, if so, to what extent. The drug abuse potential seems to be less than that of drugs such as cocaine, but individuals can still become dependent on the MDMA, given its effects on the mind and body.

Molly causes changes in the brain, which can make it addictive. People who use the drug report signs of addiction, including experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they are not using it. It has been shown to cause dependence in many people, who also go through withdrawal when they are not taking the drug.

Symptoms of Molly Use

The drug MDMA takes about 30 to 45 minutes to take effect and can last about 6 hours. It can take two days for the drug to clear the body’s system completely. Some of the immediate symptoms an individual can experience when taking Molly include:

  • Feeling more energetic
  • Being more talkative
  • An increase in emotions
  • Being more empathetic and trusting
  • Having a sensitivity to light, touch, and sound
  • Experiencing a sense of euphoria or giddiness.

In addition to hyperthermia, there are many serious, sometimes life threatening symptoms as well, including:

  • A lack of awareness that can impair decision-making, which can lead to risky behaviors such as dangerous driving
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety, depression, and confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache, nausea, chills, and sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Memory issues.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Just like other drugs that can cause dependence or addiction, there are withdrawal symptoms for the individual after the effects of Molly wear off, including:

  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Cognitive issues
  • Lack of focus
  • Drug cravings.

In an effort to overcome these withdrawal symptoms, many people will continue to use the drug. Dangers of repeated use can include:

  • An increase in heart rate and rhythm changes
  • Panic attacks
  • Seizures
  • Anxiety, depression, and confusion
  • Dehydration and kidney problems.

These withdrawal symptoms can worse when the dose or frequency of use is increased. These symptoms can indicate an addiction to Molly.

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

We want you to be safe and healthy. When you are addicted to a dangerous drug such as Molly or MDMA, we can help. At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol and your 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.

 

Substance Abuse Factors in the LGBTQ Community

Individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) face many challenges in their lives. As a result of the issues that they deal with, including misunderstandings and discrimination, they may develop mental health issues at a greater rate. There are also substantial substance abuse factors in the LGBTQ community, which should be addressed properly for the individual’s mental and physical health.

National Coming Out Day

Given the challenges, many people are hesitant to live openly and authentically as a member of the LGBTQ community. To offer encouragement and support, October 11 has been designated as National Coming Out Day. The 33rd anniversary of the landmark day is being celebrated in 2021 with the theme, “Born to Shine!”

The first National Coming Out Day was celebrated as part of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. It continues to be recognized as a reminder that “one of our most basic tools is the power of coming out.”

Substance Abuse Factors

Social stigma and discrimination are a few of the challenges facing individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Other challenges include a greater risk of violence and harassment. These issues contribute to the substance abuse factors in the LGBTQ community, as these individuals are more stressed and are at increased risk for behavioral health issues.

The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) revealed that substance use patterns reported by adults identifying as members of the sexual minority were higher compared to those reported by heterosexual adults:

  • More than a third (37.6 percent) reported past year marijuana use, compared to 16.2% reported by the overall adult population.
  • Past year opioid use (including misuse of prescription opioids or heroin use) was also higher with 9% of sexual minority adults aged 18 or older reporting use compared to 3.8% among the overall adult population.
  • 9% of sexual minority adults aged 26 or older reported past year misuse of prescription opioids—an increase from the 6.4% who reported misuse in 2017.

There was a significant decline in past year prescription opioid misuse among sexual minority adults aged 18-25 with 8.3% reporting use in 2018.

Substance Abuse Among Men

Additional studies have also confirmed that gay and bisexual men, as well as lesbian and transgender people, are more likely to:

  • Use alcohol and drugs
  • Have higher rates of substance abuse
  • Not withhold from alcohol and drug use
  • Continue heavy drinking into later life.

Among the substance abuse factors for gay and bisexual men are their reactions to the homophobia, discrimination, or violence they may experience as a result of their sexual orientation. These substance abuse issues can also contribute to other physical and mental health concerns, resulting in problems with relationships, work, and finances.

Effective Substance Abuse Treatment for Men

Individuals in the LGBTQ community often experience severe substance use disorders. However, treatment is effective for the underlying mental health issues as well as the addiction. Programs that offer specialized groups for gay and bisexual men have shown better outcomes for those individuals in comparison to men who have participated in non-specialized programs. To be effective, treatment will address the substance abuse factors that may include family issues, social isolation, and homophobia or transphobia.

Mental health issues should also be addressed, along with the substance use disorder. When the two conditions co-occur, they are part of a dual diagnosis. Treatment for both conditions is most effective when conducted together.

Individuals in the LGBTQ community are more likely to have mental health disorders. Gay and bisexual men, along with lesbian and bisexual women, report more frequent incidents of mental distress and depression than heterosexual men and women. Treatment to address these issues often includes evidence-based therapy options such as motivational interviewing and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), designed to encourage men to open up honestly and frankly, without fear of pressure or judgment.  

Gender-Specific Addiction and Mental Health Treatment

When you are struggling with a substance abuse issue, 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 an addiction 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.

What Causes Depression in Men?

The month of October is designated as a time to take a closer look at depression and how it may affect your mental health. In particular, October 7 is National Depression Screening Day. Men often don’t recognize depression in themselves, which is one of the reasons it’s so important to learn the symptoms as well as to understand when and how to get treatment. It’s also critical to know what causes depression in men.

National Depression Screening Day

Mental Illness Awareness Week runs from October 3-9. During this time, healthcare providers emphasize that we are “Together for Mental Health.” Screening for depression can be done anonymously and confidentially. Mental Health America (MHA) offers a free screening tool that can help you understand more about your symptoms. The screening is not a diagnosis but can be useful as you recognize the need to reach out for treatment.

Holding in Emotions

While a man may believe that he needs to hide his emotions, particularly if he is experiencing the symptoms of depression, that can actually be unhealthy both mentally and physically. Even today, there continues to be a stigma around depression, especially in men. However, it is critically important to understand both the causes and the effects and to seek out treatment.

Recognizing Depression in Men

Recognizing the symptoms is the first step toward getting help. National Screening Day emphasizes the need to understand more about how depression may be affecting you as a man. For some men, it may be a challenge to discuss their experience and they may simply turn to their work to try to stay busy and ignore the signs.

Men are also more likely than women to turn to drugs or alcohol to try to cope with their symptoms. This can lead to even more devastating consequences.

Depression Symptoms

The most serious symptom is the thought of or attempt at suicide, in both men and women. About 9% of men experience the feelings of depression or anxiety every day and over 31% experience a period of depression at some point during their lifetime. Although depression is more common in women, the number of men who die by suicide is four times that of women. While more women attempt suicide, men are more likely to use more lethal methods.

The symptoms of depression can appear very differently in men. In fact, many men do not recognize the symptoms in themselves, and it can be up to family and close friends to recognize some of the signs. Men tend to suppress their feelings and so their sadness can actually manifest outwardly as anger or aggression.

Additional symptoms of depression in men can include:

  • Loss of interest in work, family, or activities that were once pleasurable
  • Feeling anxious, restless, or “on the edge”
  • Feeling sad, “empty,” flat, or hopeless
  • Problems with sexual desire and performance
  • Not being able to concentrate or remember details
  • Feeling very tired, not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
  • Overeating or not wanting to eat at all
  • Inability to meet the responsibilities of work, caring for family, or other important activities
  • Physical aches or pains, including headaches and stomach issues
  • Withdrawing from family and friends or becoming isolated
  • Engaging in high-risk activities.

What Causes Depression in Men?

There are a number of factors in a man’s life that can potentially be the source of his depression. If he has a family history of the condition, he will be more likely to experience depression. That doesn’t necessarily mean he will if a family member also has it, but the chances are increased.

Environmental stress can also be a factor. When a man experiences financial problems or problems at work, it can be very stressful. Any kind of major life change, such as losing a loved one or going through a difficult relationship can also be the cause of depression in a man.

A physical condition can also be the source of the mental health condition. A man who has a serious medical issue, such as cancer or heart disease, may become depressed. While the physical illness can make the mental illness worse, the opposite is also true. Men with depression can experience worsened physical symptoms.

The use and misuse of alcohol or drugs can also cause depression in men. These substances can make feelings of isolation and loneliness worse. Alcohol, especially, is a depressant and can increase the sense of fatigue and sadness in a man.

Help for Men is Here at PACE

Screening is critical to understanding the causes of depression as well as the symptoms, so you can get the help you need. Asking for help is a sign of strength. When you need help with your mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that addresses your mental health and substance use issues.

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.

Social Isolation Among Men

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, social isolation and loneliness were impacting men in significant numbers. While everyone needs to be alone every once in a while, the effects of social isolation among men has led many to experience the symptoms of loneliness.

Isolation and Loneliness Pre-Pandemic

A survey conducted in 2019 found that loneliness was more common among men. The report details the fact that, pre-pandemic, 63% of men said they were lonely, compared with 58% of women. Several factors were identified in the report, including workplace culture and conditions at the time. Other factors included the use of social media, with 73% of the heaviest social media users considered to be lonely, compared with 52% of light users.

There were a few generational differences, although the feelings of isolation were found to be prevalent across all generations. Younger people, between the ages of 18 and 22, had the highest average loneliness score and Baby Boomers had the lowest. In terms of working conditions, people with good co-worker relationships were less lonely as were those who reported a good work-life balance.

During the Pandemic

A separate study conducted in October 2020 found that 61% of those young people, between the ages of 18 and 25 in this survey, reported high levels of feeling lonely. Just over a third of all respondents, 36%, reported feeling lonely “frequently” or “almost all the time or all the time” in the previous four weeks.

This new study also points to the symptoms of loneliness that can lead to a downward spiral for some people. The young people who reported serious loneliness also said they were feeling as though no one “genuinely cared” about them. Survey participants who said they were lonely often felt they were reaching out or listening to other people more than those other people were reaching out or listening to them.

During the pandemic, the guidance and restrictions requiring “social distancing” have led to an increase in social isolation. This sense of isolation has increased the feelings of loneliness, having an adverse impact on individuals’ mental and physical health. Throughout the pandemic, women who live alone may be more likely to feel lonely, but men are less likely to reach out for help for their loneliness, out of a self-perceived need to appear strong.

Some Men Are Truly Lonely

Social isolation among men may have more of an impact than is being reported. The burden of being alone is particularly difficult for men to bear, often with devastating consequences. Alexander Tsai, MD, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has reported that men who don’t have strong social ties commit suicide at over the twice of the rate of those men who are able to surround themselves with supportive friends and family members.

Although many men like to be independent and enjoy some time alone, some men are truly lonely. Loneliness is the perception that an individual lacks or has lost meaningful social relationships. Loneliness can occur in social isolation, which is the actual measurable loss of social contact. It is also possible for a man to feel lonely even when he is not socially isolated. A man’s desire for connection with others may not match the reality of his situation, as he may have few friends or social contacts that satisfy his needs.

Symptoms of Loneliness

There are many mental and physical health ramifications of feeling lonely. It can impair an individual’s ability to sleep, and it can drive unhealthy behaviors, such as using drugs or alcohol. Social isolation among men may keep them from seeking medical care for their symptoms and may increase their stress level.

Loneliness has also been associated with an increased risk of depression and anxiety, as well as an increased incidence of cancer. Although neither loneliness nor social isolation have been connected with prostate cancer in men, being single without a support network has been associated with poorer survival outcomes for cancer patients. In addition, loneliness among middle-aged men is associated with an increased likelihood of cancer, including lung cancer.

A Symptom of Depression

Loneliness can make an individual feel empty or unwanted. An individual who is experiencing the symptoms of loneliness may find it more difficult to form connections with other people. Loneliness can also be a symptom of depression or other psychological disorders. Depression, in particular, causes an individual to withdraw socially and that can lead to social isolation among men. In turn, loneliness can be a factor contributing to the symptoms of depression.

Mental Health Treatment for Men at PACE

If you are experiencing loneliness, depression, or the effects of social isolation, reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and any substance use issues you may also have developed as a result of your loneliness. 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.

 

Do You Have Health Anxiety?

When you see a new spot on your skin or start to feel a tickle in your throat, you may wonder if these are signs of a health issue. Maybe you’ve been bitten by an insect or you’re getting a cold. When you worry and stress excessively over developing a serious illness, you may have a condition known as health anxiety. During COVID-19, your anxiety about your health may have grown even more concerning.

What is Health Anxiety?

When you are preoccupied with the belief that you may have or are in danger of developing a serious illness, you might be diagnosed with health anxiety. You may be unable to function or enjoy life as others do, because you constantly fear becoming ill.

An individual with health anxiety will become obsessed with monitoring their heart and breathing rates. They will notice and stress over minor physical abnormalities such as skin blemishes and worry over the slightest headache or stomachache. Health anxiety results from misinterpreting normal bodily sensations as being dangerous and threatening.

Very Real Symptoms

Someone with health anxiety can experience real physical symptoms. They can have a stomachache, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, jitteriness, chest pressure, and other symptoms that may arise from their anxiety rather than from an issue with their physical health. However, when they experience these symptoms, they are even more convinced that something is seriously wrong with them, physically.

Looking for Symptoms

If you have health anxiety, you may convince yourself that you have valid reasons for your concerns. For example, you may have heard a news story about an illness that is spreading in another country and think that it will certainly come to the US, just as the COVID-19 virus did. You may also have a family member who had cancer or another serious disease and become convinced that you are also destined to get it.

When you start thinking about your family history or even news from halfway around the world, you start paying even more attention to your own body for symptoms. When you look for these symptoms, you will notice even the subtlest of sensations that you would otherwise just ignore.

Seeking Reassurance

People with health anxiety will find that they are in a vicious cycle when it comes to seeking reassurance from a medical professional. They will insist on multiple medical tests and may even visit the emergency room or urgent care center frequently because they believe they have contracted a serious illness. However, when the healthcare provider is unable to find a physical cause for the symptoms, this creates even more anxiety.

Health Anxiety During COVID-19

The pandemic has had a psychological effect on many individuals, especially those with a pre-existing health anxiety. The impact of the virus on physical and mental health across the globe may not be known for a while, but if you have health anxiety you know the impact COVID-19 is having on you now. During this uncertain time, you probably have even more anxiety about becoming infected. You may also worry excessively about the possibility of spreading the virus to other people.

Part of the increase in anxiety during the pandemic is the proliferation of news about the virus, its changing variants, the symptoms, and the transmission rate. These news items can make your anxiety much worse.

Steps to Help Ease Anxiety

It’s a good idea to limit your exposure to these news reports, particularly if they are not from trusted sources. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC are probably the most reliable, scientific sources of health information during the pandemic and during “normal” times.

You can also take steps to ease your anxiety by following healthy daily routines. Go outside, get some fresh air, and get some exercise. You can safely walk on open pathways as well as stretch or practice yoga to keep your body in good physical health. Mindfulness and meditation are also beneficial for your mental health.

Mental Health Treatment for Men at PACE

If you are experiencing health anxiety, you can reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery for help. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and any substance use issues you may also have developed as a result of your anxiety. 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.

What is Fellowship?

When you are in addiction treatment, you may feel as though you are the only one going through the challenges of recovery. Fellowship with others can help you feel as though you are supported and that you are no longer alone. What is fellowship and how can it guide you through a successful recovery from your addiction?

National Recovery Month

The month of September is designated as National Recovery Month. In 2021, the theme is “Recovery is for everyone: every person, every family, every community.” National Recovery Month is in its 32nd year, celebrating the gains made by people in recovery and promoting new evidence-based treatment. A strong and proud recovery community is emerging and that includes individuals like you, who are moving forward toward a healthier life.

Knowing That You Are Not Alone

Fellowship in recovery is critical to understanding that you are not alone as you go through your addiction treatment program. There are many people who care about you and your success, who have been through addiction themselves, and who are now in recovery as well.

Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) recognize the value of fellowship as being in a group of people who have a similar goal, that goal being overcoming your addiction. Fellowship helps ensure that you don’t have to walk the path toward sobriety alone. You can learn from those who have shared your experiences, including what to avoid and what to embrace as you work toward success in recovery.

Fellowship Means People Who Care

Fellowship is not just the process of going to a support group meeting. Fellowship is all about the people you interact with throughout your life. Fellowship is about sharing experiences and supporting one another in addiction treatment and recovery.

Developing a fellowship with others can benefit your mental and physical health, particularly as you go through treatment for an addiction. Being with people who care can help prevent loneliness and provide the support you need. In turn, you can offer fellowship to others to help them through their struggles.

A fellowship with other individuals can increase your sense of purpose and your sense of belonging. It can improve your sense of self-worth as well as your self-confidence. Knowing you have others you can lean on can help you stay strong as you avoid unhealthy habits, including the use of drugs or alcohol. Overall, quality fellowship can increase your happiness and reduce your stress levels.

Learning From Fellowship

Beyond the encouragement and support you’ll gain from fellowship with others, you will probably learn from their experiences as well. Those individuals who have been through what you are going through now can offer their expertise and advice on many areas of the recovery process. Others in your support group can share what they have learned from certain situations in their life that are probably very similar to yours. Likewise, you can share some of the lessons you have learned to help support them in their recovery.

Developing Fellowship

All of this may sound great to you, but you are wondering how you will find people who can be part of your fellowship circles, in a positive way. It is no longer healthy for you to be around your former “friends” who used drugs or alcohol with you, or possibly even supplied the substances to you. Finding a new circle of supportive individuals is critical for moving forward towards a healthier life.

Volunteering for a community organization can not only help you meet new, positive individuals but also gives you a great feeling of giving back. You will stay busy, develop supportive relationships, and gain a sense of purpose for your life in your recovery.

Consider joining a support group in your recovery. Fellowships such as AA are focused on encouraging each other and on forming healthy relationships with people who are experiencing the same challenges as you, as each of you focuses on regaining a productive and meaningful life without drugs or alcohol.

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 and your 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.

Physical Signs of Alcoholism

Alcohol affects many areas of your health. It can impact the way you think and even the way you look. Alcohol use disorder is a progressive disease, so the more you drink and the more often you drink, the more you and others will notice changes in your mental and physical health. Physical signs of alcoholism can result from the conditions and diseases caused by excess alcohol in your body.

Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcoholism is more than simply having an occasional glass of wine with dinner. When you have an alcohol use disorder, you have become dependent on alcohol despite the problems it may be causing you at work or at home. Alcoholism can cause lasting changes in the brain, which makes stopping the harmful drinking dangerous without professional help. Just over 14 million adults in the US had an alcohol use disorder in 2019.

Damage to Physical Health

Beyond the changes to your mental health, there are also many physical signs of alcoholism. It’s hard to cover up the smell of alcohol on your breath, of course, but excessive drinking can also lead to poor overall hygiene. Many people do not eat properly as a result of their alcohol use disorder, so weight loss and malnutrition are frequent signs as well.

Skin Issues

Alcohol can cause you to be dehydrated, as it slows down the process of an anti-diuretic hormone in your body. Your kidneys will have to work twice as hard to counteract the excess fluid and that results in your organs becoming dehydrated. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and will show physical signs, including cracks and wrinkles. Excessive drinking can make you appear much older than you actually are.

Hair Loss

Zinc deficiency is one of the effects of alcoholism and that can cause hair loss. You will probably also have lower levels of vitamins B and C as well as higher levels of estrogen as a result of your drinking, which can also cause hair loss.

Red Face and Bloodshot Eyes

Alcohol will cause the small blood vessels in your skin to widen, which allows more blood to flow closer to the surface. Sometimes the blood vessels on your face will actually burst and the capillaries will break. Your face will become red. When you have an alcohol use disorder and drink large quantities or frequently, this skin change in your face can be permanent.

The blood vessels in your eyes will also become irritated, causing a condition known as bloodshot eyes. More seriously, binge drinking can lead to optic neuropathy or toxic amblyopia, which can leave you blind.

Bloating

People may joke about having a “beer belly.” Unfortunately, alcohol use can lead to the body becoming deprived of the fluids and electrolytes it needs, so it will store the water you do consume through food or beverage. You are probably having to go to the bathroom more when you drink and you may be sweating more, causing even more water loss. Your body reacts by retaining what water it still has in its system. That makes your stomach look puffy, as well as possibly your feet, face, and hands.

Signs of Liver Failure

One of the more serious effects of alcoholism is the damage it causes your liver. Cirrhosis of the liver happens when your liver is scarred and permanently damaged by the alcohol you consume. The scar tissue replaces the healthy liver tissue, preventing your liver from working as it should. As the cirrhosis progresses, your liver begins to fail.

Alcoholic liver disease is life threatening and will show as physical signs of alcoholism. You may have dark circles under your eyes and your eyes may turn yellow from a condition known as jaundice. You will notice skin rashes on your body as well. These are signs of a dangerous condition that could be fatal if not treated properly.

Gender-Specific Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Alcoholism damages your physical health and your mental health. 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.

Anorexia in Men | Help for Men with Anorexia

Eating disorders, including bulimia and anorexia, are typically associated with women. However, the number of men dealing with this serious health issue is significant and is increasing. Anorexia in men is a major concern, but there is help for men with anorexia.

A Serious Health Condition

Anorexia is a potentially life threatening eating disorder. An individual with anorexia will severely restrict his food intake to the point where he suffers from nutritional deficiencies that can create major complications for his physical health. This may be done as an attempt to help manage emotional challenges the individual is experiencing, which can also be an issue for his mental health.

In fact, anorexia nervosa is considered to be a serious mental health condition and is often accompanied by other issues such as depression and anxiety. The condition generally involves an unrealistic body image for the individual as well as an exaggerated fear of gaining weight.

Affects Any Sex or Gender

Although typically thought of an issue that affects women, anorexia can affect anyone of any gender or sex. In fact, men represent about a fourth of the people who have been diagnosed with anorexia. The effects of the condition are more likely to be life threatening for men than for women, primarily because men will typically seek treatment much later, if at all.

Eating disorders will affect about 10 million males in the US at some point in their lives. However, men are much less likely to seek help in large part because of cultural bias. Men are largely undiagnosed as they face the double stigma of seeking psychological treatment and of having an eating disorder. Assessments tests for the condition are often geared toward women as well, which also leads to misconceptions about the nature of eating disorders among men.

A Growing Concern

Studies that have compared data over a 10-year period found that the rate of extreme dieting, or anorexia, and purging, or bulimia, have increased at a faster rate in men than in women. Men generally are also dealing with other conditions such as depression, anxiety, compulsive exercise, and substance abuse, along with their eating disorder.

Anorexia often begins to appear in a young man’s teenage years or early adulthood. The health risks and life threatening aspect of this illness can be much more severe in men, as they continue to resist diagnosis and treatment through their early years and into adulthood. The hesitation and stigma associated with the eating disorder can create a snowball effect in men.

If a man with anorexia does not seek care, his symptoms can become increasingly worse. Since men are generally under-represented in the medical literature regarding eating disorders, there can also be a lack of awareness or knowledge about the potentially devastating effects. Anorexia has one of the highest mortality and suicide rates of any psychiatric disorder, as about 10.5% of those individuals who are diagnosed with the condition may die because of their illness.

Recognition and Treatment are Critical

Recognizing the symptoms of anorexia in men is critical to the health and well-being of the individual suffering from the condition. He may be working out excessively, in an attempt to improve his body image, while also eating very little, even adhering to certain restrictive fad diets. He may be constantly weight himself or checking his appearance in a mirror. He may also withdraw from or avoid completely any social gatherings involving food.

Anorexia involves a range of emotional and psychological challenges that can be difficult for an individual to overcome on his own. For the individual’s mental and physical health, it is critical that he seek out professional treatment. Particularly since the risk of mortality for men with eating disorders is higher for men than it is for women, it is imperative to overcome the stigma and get help.

Help for Men with Anorexia

A gender-sensitive approach to address anorexia in men recognizes the different needs and dynamics involved for males. An all-male environment is particularly helpful for those individuals who may feel uncomfortable discussing their situation in a program that includes women. Understanding the need to overcome the stereotypes and stigma is best addressed in a gender-sensitive setting.

Support for Men at PACE Recovery

Eating disorders can negatively impact your physical and mental health and may lead to an addiction to drugs or alcohol. At PACE Recovery, we offer gender-specific treatment options to optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol 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.

Is Alcohol a Drug?

Alcohol affects how you feel and how you function. You may feel energized and excited at first but then become sleepy and even disoriented. Drinking excessive amounts or for extended periods of time can be seriously detrimental to your health. With so many different effects on your mind and body, is alcohol a drug?

A Long History

The effects of alcohol have been known for a very long time. Attempts to regulate the consumption of the drink also have a long history. For the past 300 years, the word alcohol has been synonymous with “spirituous liquids.’ Before that, codes limiting the consumption of the beverage date back to 1700 BC.

Among the four types of alcohol, ethyl or ethanol is the type used to produce alcoholic beverages. Ethanol is the intoxicating agent found in wine, beer, and liquor. It is produced by fermenting yeasts, starches, and sugars. Consuming any of the other three, methyl, propyl, and butyl, can result in blindness and death, even if taken in small doses.

Today, just over half an ounce of pure alcohol is the equivalent to one drink. This amount can be found in a 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or a 1.5 ounce shot of 80-proof liquor.

How the Body Processes Alcohol

Alcohol is a drug known primarily as a central nervous system depressant. It lowers an individual’s cognitive and physical capacities, even in small amounts. The substance elevates the neurotransmitter known as GABA and reduces nerve signals along the pathway.

As it passes through the body, 90% is metabolized in the liver. The liver can only metabolize a small amount of the substance at one time, so the excess alcohol is left to circulate throughout the body.

An enzyme converts the alcohol to a toxin known as acetaldehyde which is then metabolized to eventually become carbon dioxide and water. Along the way, alcohol affects every organ in the body. It is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine as it makes its way into the bloodstream.

The amount an individual consumes directly impacts the intensity of the alcohol’s effects. Using alcohol with other central nervous system depressants such as benzodiazepines or opioids can have dangerous effects on the mind and the body.

Stimulant and Depressant

Although alcohol is a depressant drug, it can have an initial stimulant effect. When consumed in lower doses, it increases an individual’s heart rate as well as the sense of impulsiveness and aggression as it causes a surge in dopamine levels.

Once the stimulant effects wear off, the alcohol will slow down the central nervous system, decreasing heart rate, blood pressure, and mental clarity in the individual who continues to drink. Someone who consumes large amounts of alcohol will have slower reaction times and begin to feel sedated and disoriented. Higher doses can then suppress the production of dopamine, making a person feel listless and sad.

Dangers of the Drug

Like most other drugs, consuming too much alcohol can be harmful. An individual does not have to be dependent or addicted for the alcohol to have negative effects on their health. If they binge drink, defined as having five or more drinks within two to three hours for men, the results can be serious. Heavy drinking, defined as 15 or more drinks a week for men, can also have harmful, even devastating, consequences.

Excessive alcohol consumption leads to over 95,000 deaths each year in the US. It can also increase the risk for injuries, violence, family problems, and accidents, especially from operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Long-term health issues are also a consequence of excessive consumption of the drug, including cancer, heart disease, liver disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Alcohol consumption can also impact mental health, increasing anxiety and depression. The central nervous system depressant can alter an individual’s thoughts and judgment, impacting their decision-making capabilities. Sleep quality is also worsened with alcohol consumption, which can make it more difficult to deal with stress.

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.

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