Category Archives: addiction treatment

Signs of Drug Use

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

1. Tolerance

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

2. Withdrawal

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

3. Financial Issues

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

4. Relationship Problems

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

5. Worsening Mental Health

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

Help Is Here for You

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

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

Signs of an Alcoholic

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

Alcohol Abuse Tendencies

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

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

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

The Dangers of Alcohol Withdrawal

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

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

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

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

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

Addiction Treatment for Men

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

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

Signs of Infection From Shooting Up

People who use drugs like heroin and meth may inject them to experience more rapid effects as their tolerance builds and they seek a new way of getting high. Aside from a worsening addiction, infections are one of the most significant risks associated with intravenous drug use.

Why Do IV Drugs Cause Infections?

When you get injections in a medical setting, your health care provider will take steps to ensure the process is sterile, including swabbing your skin with a disinfecting wipe and using a clean needle. In contrast, IV drug use usually doesn’t take place in a sanitary environment, which creates an opportunity for germs to enter your body. The drugs themselves may also be contaminated.

Though your body has built-in systems to protect you from illness, injecting any substance into your skin bypasses these barriers. Infections from dirty needles, other drug paraphernalia or even surfaces can travel through your bloodstream into your organs and bones. Some people who inject IV drugs can also develop painful skin abscesses.

Symptoms of Infections From IV Drugs

Since long-term substance abuse weakens the immune system, people who inject IV drugs are more vulnerable to viruses like HIV and hepatitis. Skin infections like cellulitis and necrotizing fasciitis are other potential severe infections that can result from sharing or reusing needles or neglecting to clean your skin before shooting up.

Some warning signs of an infection can mimic those associated with drug withdrawal, including a fever, dizziness, disorientation, body aches or lightheadedness. Your skin may also be red, hot and sensitive to touch.

Sepsis is an extreme, potentially fatal response to infection that can begin anywhere in your body. If you have a recurring illness or your symptoms are getting worse, seek medical attention immediately. Even people who survive sepsis are at risk of developing life-threatening disabilities such as organ damage and chronic fatigue syndrome.

How to Stop Abusing Drugs

Once you start relying on drugs to cope with life’s challenges, you’ll probably go through withdrawal when you try to quit using. These physical and psychological symptoms can range from uncomfortable to dangerous and may cause a relapse, no matter how determined you are to get clean. Professional treatment is the best way to ensure long-term sobriety and break the patterns of substance abuse.

At PACE Recovery, our experienced team of physicians, doctorate-level clinicians and master’s-level therapists have developed a comprehensive continuum of care informed by the knowledge that diverse treatment options are essential for people who are working to recover from substance use disorders and behavioral health issues.

To verify your insurance coverage or learn more about our men’s-only residential rehab programming in beautiful, sunny California, please reach out to us today.

What is Delta-8 THC?

Its popularity is increasing, but so are the potential safety issues involved in a substance known as Delta-8 THC. The product can be dangerous on many levels so it’s important to understand what Delta-8 THC is and how it can affect a person who consumes it.

Delta-8 THC

A psychoactive substance found in the Cannabis sativa plant, Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol is more popularly known as Delta-8 THC. It is one of over 100 cannabinoids that are produced naturally by the cannabis plant but are not found in the plant in significant amounts. Concentrated amounts of Delta-8 THC are usually manufactured from hemp-derived cannabidiol or CBD.

Not Evaluated by the FDA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not evaluated or approved Delta-8 THC products for safety. In fact, the products may be marketed for consumption in ways that actually put individuals’ health at risk.

There are growing concerns around the Delta-8 THC products that are currently being sold, both online and in stores. Some of these concerns include the variability in the way the product is formulated and labeled. These products may contain other cannabinoid and plant oils with variable Delta-8 THC concentrations. Labels may simply say “hemp products,” and that can mislead individuals who typically associate hemp products with non-psychoactive products.

The FDA is further concerned about products containing the substance that are marketed for medical or therapeutic uses. Consumers can be at risk when consuming these products. The organizations that sell the products using these marketing techniques, claiming unsubstantiated therapeutic benefits, are violating federal law. Individuals who use the unproven substance Delta-8 THC to treat serious or even fatal diseases can be at significant risk.

Adverse Event Reports

The danger of consuming Delta-8 THC products has been shown in the number of adverse event reports received by the FDA. Over a twenty month period, from December 2020 through July 2021, the FDA received a number of reports of individuals who experienced hallucinations, vomiting, difficulties standing, and a loss of consciousness. Most of these individuals consumed the substance in edibles such as brownies and gummies.

In addition, national poison control centers received 660 exposure cases of Delta-8 THC products between January 1, 2021, and July 31, 2021. Of the cases received:

  • 41% involved unintentional exposure to Delta-8 THC
  • 77% of these unintentional exposures affected pediatric patients under the age of 18
  • 39% of the total cases involved pediatric patients under the age of 18
  • 18% required hospitalizations, including children who were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) following exposure to these products. 

Some of the side effects involved in the use of Delta-8 THC include rapid heart rate, red eyes, trouble with coordination, dry mouth, slowed reaction times, memory loss, and anxiety. Since it is synthetically produced, one of the major dangers of using the substance is not knowing exactly what the product contains.

Production Involves Potentially Harmful Chemicals

Since the natural amount of Delta-8 THC in hemp is low, additional chemicals are necessary to convert the other cannabinoids in hemp, including CBD, into the final product. There are many concerns with this process, including the fact that some manufacturers use potentially unsafe household chemicals to make the substance.

The synthetic process may also involve other chemicals used to change the color of the final product, which can have potentially harmful effects, especially when combined with other chemicals. The biggest danger is that there is significant uncertainty as to exactly which potential contaminants may be present in a product.

The chemicals used to make the Delta-8 THC can be very harmful to an individual. This is especially true when the manufacturing process takes place in an uncontrolled or unsanitary setting. Additional harmful substances and unsafe contaminants can find their way into the final product in these situations, causing even greater danger to the person consuming the substance.

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

We want you to be safe and healthy. When you are addicted to a dangerous and unregulated drug such as Delta-8 THC, 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.

The Myth of Adopted Child Syndrome

Adoption can be a happy and positive event. The child who is adopted finds a new home and a supportive family. However, the very need for a child to be adopted means that they have experienced a loss of some sort and that can cause some issues, often well into adulthood. There is a myth of Adopted Child Syndrome that is controversial and does not tell the true story of issues faced by adopted individuals.

Adoption Awareness Month

November is National Adoption Awareness Month, a time to focus on the continuing need for the adoption of children in the US, especially teenagers. The theme for 2021 is “Conversations Matter,” as it’s important to talk about adoption, particularly with the young people who are in the foster system or who have been adopted. This month and throughout the year, having that conversation will create an environment where the adopted individual knows they can be honest and ask questions that are important to them.

A Controversial Term

The term Adopted Child Syndrome was first used in 1978 by Dr. David Kirschner. The term has become controversial, is not included in the latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), and is not considered a valid diagnosis. It has been used to describe the behavioral and emotional challenges that adopted children may experience, including problematic behaviors such as violence or defiance. However, Dr. Kirschner said that he used it to describe a very small clinical subgroup of individuals at the time of his study.

Adoption Challenges

There are legitimate issues facing adopted children and, in fact, some individuals have challenges throughout their adult lives because of the trauma they faced through their loss earlier in life. While adoption can give the child the loving, permanent home they need, the fact they need a new home can have negative effects on their mental and emotional health.

A young person who is adopted can struggle with low self-esteem, identity issues, difficulty forming emotional attachments, and a sense of loss or grief over the loss of their birth family. These negative effects can be short-lived and resolved once the adoptee feels an increased sense of security, but they can also arise in the individual during times of emotional stress throughout their lives.

Mental Health Issues

Several research studies indicate that there is an increased risk of mental health issues for adults who are adoptees. Studies found higher levels of anxiety, including panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, as well as depression among participants who had been adopted. The studies also found higher levels of behavioral disorders, certain personality disorders, and neuroticism.

Substance Abuse

In addition to the trauma of loss experienced by individuals who are adopted, there may have been issues with drug or alcohol addiction in the adoptee’s birth family that were at least partially responsible for that loss. The issues faced by the adopted child, coupled with certain genetic factors, could also lead to an increased rate of substance abuse that lasts into adulthood without appropriate treatment.

Research has found that the prevalence of a lifetime substance use disorder was 43% higher in individuals who had been adopted, compared with non-adoptees. The lifetime prevalence rates of alcohol use disorders was 41% and the rate of nicotine addiction was 25.4% for adoptees. The rates of illegal drug abuse in individuals who were adopted ranged from 2.9% for opioids to 13.2% for cannabis.

Adoption Competence in Treatment Options

One survey that was identified by the research studies revealed that about half of the participants were seeking therapy for a variety of reasons, including self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and family issues. Almost a fourth of the survey respondents noted that adoption competence was the highest factor in their choice of a therapist for their mental health issues. Having a mental health professional who specialized in their particular situation made a difference in terms of having someone who truly understands their stresses and challenges as adoptees.

Specialists in Adoption-Related Treatment

The professionals at PACE Recovery Center understand the struggles you may encounter as an adoptee, particularly in regard to adoption trauma and abandonment and attachment issues. Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you have been adopted or are an adoptive parent and struggle with alcohol, drugs, and mental illness. Our gender-specific, evidence-based addiction recovery center for men will help you begin the healing process and begin a remarkable journey. During these challenging times, our highly skilled team is adhering to COVID-19 guidelines to ensure you remain safe and healthy. You can reach us today at 800-526-1851.


My Son is Going to Prison

An addiction to drugs can take control of a young man’s life and that can lead to devastating consequences. The statistics for imprisonment reveal that drug offenses, particularly for males, are significantly higher than for any other crime. When your son is going to prison, you are undoubtedly drained emotionally and possibly even financially. You are not alone in your concerns.

Drug Crimes by the Numbers

Across the country, drug crime statistics continue to climb. As of October 2021, the Federal Bureau of Prisons reported that there are 67,115 people in prison for drug offenses, almost half of the total prison population. Offenses for weapons, explosives, and arson had the second highest number, with 30,144 or just over 20%. Overall, for all offenses listed, there are 144,915 men in prison, or 93% of the prison population.

Drug Abuse Arrests

The Office of Juvenile Justice reports that there was a total of 1,558,860 arrests for drug abuse violations in 2019. Of those, 1,162,790 were males. Teenage males ages 17 and under accounted for 60,060 arrests for drug abuse violations. Among adult males, 127,420 were between the ages of 18 and 20, 161,240 were between the ages of 21 and 24, and 814,060 were ages 25 and older.

Particularly disturbing among the drug crime statistics is that the arrests for drug abuse violations of males between the ages of 18 and 20 occurred at a rate of 1,939.4 per 100,000, and between the ages of 21 and 24 drug abuse arrests occurred at a rate of 1,815.4 per 100,000.

California Drug Crime Statistics

In the state of California in 2019, drug offenses are the biggest category of arrests for misdemeanor offenses. Just over a fourth of the 758,000 arrests in 2019 were for drug offenses. Alcohol-related offenses accounted for an additional 8% of those misdemeanor arrests.

A separate report found that California had the highest percentage across all states in the US of teenagers who were offered, given, or sold an illegal drug on school property.

Drug-Related Offenses

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that the prison population in the US is substantial and the high numbers are strongly connected to drug-related offenses. Research has shown that an estimated 65% of the prison population has a substance use disorder. Another 20% was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they committed their crime, even though they may not have had a diagnosed substance use disorder.

A Known Contributor to Violent Crimes

Beyond the arrests for use of illegal drugs, many individuals face prison sentences for crimes they committed while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In 2020, the rate of violent crimes, including aggravated assault and murder, increased dramatically. According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), drug trafficking is known as a significant contributor to those violent crimes.

Even more devastating is the data showing that over 81,000 individuals in the US died of a drug overdose between May 2019 and May 2020. Overdose deaths have also increased significantly over the past year, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Support for Your Son

When your son is going to prison as one of the individuals who used drugs and was arrested for a drug-related offense, it can be heartbreaking for you and your entire family. Supporting your son during this stressful time means encouraging him to get the help he needs to overcome his substance use disorder.

Many parents find themselves in an unending cycle of bailing out their son each time he is arrested, even though he promises never to use drugs again. It is important to stay strong and to set boundaries for yourself and your son, even during this most difficult time.

Addiction is almost impossible to overcome alone. If your son is going to prison, there may be options for him to learn how to get and stay clean during his time there.

The best time to get treatment, though, is before the drugs are able to influence your son toward a life of self-destruction and crime. When you and your son seek the help that he needs to overcome his addiction, he will learn how to live a healthier, more fulfilling life without being dependent on the harmful substances.

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

If your son is experiencing substance use or mental health issues, we can help get him back on track with his life. At PACE Recovery, we optimize each person’s recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both their addiction to drugs or alcohol and their mental health issues. We address the whole person, including 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 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 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.


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.