Why Do I Isolate Myself? | Self Isolation in Recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a new sense of isolation for most people across the country. Lockdown and restrictions regarding where we could go as well as when and how we could do certain activities forced us to stay home and distance ourselves from others for long periods of time. Even before the pandemic, there was a group of individuals who would isolate themselves for other reasons. Self isolation in recovery has many root causes and is probably based in the underlying reason for the addiction itself.

A Growing Epidemic

Prior to the pandemic, there was already a growing epidemic in the US. A rising addiction rate and a growth in deaths caused by drug overdose, alcohol abuse, and suicide have been and continue to be a serious concern. Over one million people in the US have died in the past decade from drugs, alcohol, and suicide. As a result, life expectancy decreased in 2017 for the time in 20 years. The combined death rate for drugs, alcohol, and suicide increased six percent from 2016 to 2017, rising to 46.6 deaths per 100,000 people. Many of these individuals died in isolation.

A Disease of Isolation

Addiction is often referred to as a disease of isolation. One theory for this is that people who are addicted want to be alone. Their desire may stem from an inability to connect with other people, either because of an attachment disorder or some other mental health concern. They tend to feel a sense of disconnect, even in a room crowded with other people.

Their sense of isolation could be one of the reasons they became addicted, as they turned to drugs or alcohol to help them manage their stress and deal with things that happen in their lives rather than turning to another human being. In the same manner, addiction can destroy an individual’s ability to develop a healthy relationship and many people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol end up destroying friendships and marriages because of their substance use and reckless behavior.

When a person is addicted, they may believe that their only friend or ally is the drug or alcohol itself. They tend to develop an emotional attachment to the addictive substance rather than to other people. Distancing from other humans is something of a defensive measure, to ensure that the addiction can continue without being threatened by another individual.

Worsened Physical and Mental Health

Recent studies have shown that a feeling of loneliness is related to worse mental and physical health. The results of the research also show that loneliness has a direct relationship with low self-esteem, low self-confidence, high risk behaviors, anxiety, tension, depression, and alcohol and drug abuse. Substance abuse may be linked to isolation and loneliness as being a way out of the negative feelings. The individual acquires a new feeling of security while using drugs or alcohol, satisfying their psychological and emotional needs. The study also indicated a greater sense of familial loneliness in those addicted to drugs.

Stigma and a Sense of Shame

While addiction may stem from a sense of isolation, a conscious desire to be separated from other people, self isolation may come out of a sense of shame and the stigma around drug and alcohol addiction, even in recovery. As the individual loses the support of their family and friends, they may fall deeper into isolation.

Addiction to drugs or alcohol is starting to be recognized as a chronic disease but it is still viewed by some as being the individual’s fault or a result of a lack of will power. Overcoming that misconception can be extremely helpful to the individual in recovery who needs to move forward with their lives in a positive way.

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

At PACE Recovery, we support you through your addiction treatment and 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.

Borderline Personality Disorder in Men

Some mental health conditions are thought to be more prevalent in women. However, men can be just as challenged with the struggles of mental illness. Given the stigma associated with mental health conditions, men are less likely to acknowledge their issues and to seek treatment. Borderline personality disorder in men is a condition that needs more attention, particularly for those men needing help with its impact on their lives.

Difficulty Regulating Emotion

When an individual has difficulties regulating their emotions, they may be diagnosed with a condition known as borderline personality disorder. Those who experience this condition will feel their emotions intensely for long periods of time. It is usually more difficult for them to return to a stable baseline after they’ve gone through an emotionally triggering event.

The inability to regulate emotion can lead to poor self-image, difficult relationships, impulsiveness, and an intensely emotional response to stressors. When a person struggles with self-regulation, they can also engage in dangerous behaviors, including self-harm.

Misdiagnosed in Men

About 1.4% of adults in the US experience borderline personality disorder. Almost three-fourths of those diagnosed are women. However, research suggests that men may be equally affected by the condition but are often misdiagnosed with other mental health conditions such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), conduct disorder, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) suggests that, rather than looking at each symptom separately in a man, the key may be to look at the collection of symptoms as a whole as well as the intensity of the emotions he experiences.

Signs of Borderline Personality Disorder in Men

Borderline personality disorder in men may manifest itself in the following symptoms, which are considered red flags to look for by NAMI.

Numerous and frequent relationships, often close together. A man with borderline personality disorder will experience a fear of abandonment and, as a result, refuse to commit to a romantic relationship. He may have multiple relationships, close together, that end after an argument or when he scares his partner away with a quick temper and possible physical aggression. He will have issues with controlling his emotions which often results in a quick ending to the relationship. He will then move on to a new relationship relatively quickly.

Behaviors and attitudes filled with drama. Women are usually thought of as being dramatic, but men can be so as well. Their drama will look a little different, though. A man with borderline personality disorder will have fluctuating emotions that can range from respect and idealizing someone to becoming emotionally detached and resentful. This drama can also affect a man’s frequent and turbulent romantic relationships.

Thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that are constantly up and down. A man with borderline personality disorder can change quickly from being warm and loving to being cold and distant, even angry and hostile. He can exhibit a stable and consistent pattern of behavior for a while and then suddenly change into what may seem like a completely different person.

Behaviors that seem designed to draw attention. Men with borderline personality disorder seem to want attention. They will engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as cutting, and then draw attention to the fact that they have done so. They may exhibit a loud attitude, make accusations of being unloved and abandoned, or be aggressive in an effort to gain attention. Other risky behaviors can be unprotected sex, fathering children with different women, and making threats to keep everyone afraid of him.

Dependency and co-dependency. An individual’s fear of abandonment can make it difficult for him to maintain a healthy, safe, and satisfying relationship. In contrast, he may engage in a dependent or co-dependent relationship with someone who relies on him, emotionally and psychologically. The relationship is dependent on his partner, who may be just as psychologically and emotionally unstable as the man with borderline personality disorder.

Manipulating loved ones with suicide threats or attempts. In an effort to manipulate a loved one or to convince them that he is lovable, a man with borderline personality disorder may threaten suicide. For example, a man who becomes jealous of his wife talking to another man may threaten suicide if she does not stop talking to him.

Suicidal thoughts that alleviate the pain. Some men will seriously consider suicide when the symptoms of their mental health condition cause difficulties in their life. Their pain and their fear of abandonment is so intensified that their suicidal thoughts may temporarily comfort them.  

Mental Health Treatment for Men at PACE

When you are experiencing the symptoms of a mental health condition such as borderline personality disorder, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. Asking for help is a sign of strength. 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.

Addiction Quotes | Inspirational Quotes for Men

Sometimes an inspiring word is what you need to keep you focused and to keep you going. When you are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, a powerful, empathetic word can lift you up and give you the focus you need to continue on your journey toward recovery. Inspirational addiction quotes for men going through addiction and wanting to heal can help you or your loved get and stay sober.

Words of Guidance and Encouragement

It only takes a few words, sometimes, to reignite your drive toward recovery. Take courage and follow your path to a fuller life.

“The best way out is always through.” – Robert Frost

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis

“All the suffering, stress, and addiction comes from not realizing you already are what you are looking for.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Quotes from People Who Have Been There

No one knows your challenges like someone who has been addicted and who has been through treatment.

“Getting sober was one of the three pivotal events in my life, along with becoming an actor and having a child. Of the three, finding my sobriety was the hardest.” – Robert Downey Jr., actor

“I’ve been sober for 18 years now. It wasn’t like you flick a switch, and you’re sober. It takes a while. You have to learn how to do everything all over again. There is life after addiction, and it’s really good. If I had known, I’d have stopped earlier.” – Joe Walsh, musician

“Sometimes we motivate ourselves by thinking of what we want to become. Sometimes we motivate ourselves by thinking about who we don’t ever want to be again.” – Shane Niemeyer, motivational speaker and author, formerly an overweight, homeless drug addict.

Words of Hope and Resilience

Resilience is the ability to cope with a crisis or stressful situation mentally and emotionally. Being resilient gives you hope for your future.

“Hope is a good thing, maybe even the best of things, and good things never die.” – Stephen King, author

“Every experience in your life is being orchestrated to teach you something you need to know to move forward.” – Brian Tracy, self-development author

“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” – Steve Maraboli, behavioral science academic, best-selling author, and speaker.

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Quotes from Those Who’ve Succeeded Over Struggles

Sometimes, inspirational quotes come not from the world of addiction, but from people who’ve experienced other types of struggles and, more importantly, have overcome their challenges.

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford, inventor

“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.” – Napoléon Bonaparte, French political and military leader

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela,  political leader, anti-apartheid revolutionary, and philanthropist.

Inspirational Quotes to Help You Believe in Yourself

You can overcome your addiction. Believe that you can do it, with a little help. The time to start is now.

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles, and less than perfect conditions. So what? Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident, and more and more successful.” – Mark Victor Hansen, founder and co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series.

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.

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.

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