Category Archives: recovery and sobriety

Do I Need Transitional Living?

Though everyone in addiction recovery progresses differently, there’s a direct correlation between time spent in treatment and sustained sobriety. If you discover you need extra support after you complete a treatment program, an aftercare plan that includes transitional living can help you succeed with all your goals.

Benefits of Transitional Living Homes

Spending 90 days or more in extended residential care is an accomplishment to be proud of, but you will need to carefully consider what your next steps should be. For many people, immediately trying to rush back into the “real world” can be overwhelming after the support and routine found in inpatient treatment.

In a transitional living home, you will find a comfortable environment surrounded by other men who are also in recovery and working on their sobriety one day at a time. Transitional living homes provide many valuable advantages during a vulnerable phase of your life.

1. A Substance-Free Environment

Relapse prevention is vital for people in addiction recovery. However, if you are newly out of rehab, any surroundings you can’t control may be too triggering – including the presence of alcohol or drugs. Transitional living removes this danger by requiring all residents to remain sober and substance-free.

2. Structure and Stability

Substance use disorders eventually bring adverse financial, personal and emotional consequences. You may not have a secure home to return to after finishing your residential care program, or perhaps the environment where you used to live isn’t conducive to long-term recovery. Transitional living can offer safety, consistency and the opportunity to continue participating in addiction and mental health treatment alongside life skills and vocational training.

3. A Chance to Make New Friends

The isolation, secrecy and denial necessary to maintain an active addiction can destroy the foundations of relationships. In transitional living, you can practice improving your social skills with a built-in peer group of people who are facing similar challenges. Because PACE Recovery Center’s programming is gender-specific, you can forge lasting relationships with men who will become like brothers.

4. Less Stress

Stress is a fact of life, but it’s something you should take every possible precaution to avoid in early recovery, since it can increase your risk of a relapse. Transitional living homes can provide a secure, less hectic environment with fewer potential triggers.

5. Reinforcing Healthy Habits

Addiction changes the brain in ways that can take some time to reverse. During addiction treatment, you can begin learning how to think and act differently. Still, forming new habits takes time, and your stay in transitional living can afford you the space and patience you need to make healthy routines feel more like second nature.

Transitional Living for Long-Term Rehab

Do you need extra time to acclimatize to a sober lifestyle and avoid relapse triggers before transitioning into fully independent living? PACE Recovery Center’s men’s-only transitional living can provide the solution you’re looking for. Don’t wait to get the help you need for your substance dependency. Contact us today to verify your insurance coverage and learn more about what our California treatment center can do for you.

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.

Causes of Insomnia in Males

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

Understanding the Sleep Cycle

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

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

What Causes Insomnia?

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

Irregular Sleep Schedule

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

Medical Conditions

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

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

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

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

Mental Health and Addiction Treatment at PACE Recovery

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

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

The Psychology of Hope

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

Hope and Recovery

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

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

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

Values-Based

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

Proactive

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

Goal-Oriented

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

Adaptable

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

Persistent

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

Resilient

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

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

Growth-Minded

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

Embrace a Positive Attitude for Lasting Recovery

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

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

Emotional Sobriety Checklist

The Need for Emotional Sobriety

Addiction recovery goes beyond physical detox and abstaining from addictive substances. If your abstention relies on willpower and “following the rules,” or if you leave other issues unaddressed, stress from unacknowledged emotions will build up and eventually make you prone to relapse. The healthy alternative is emotional sobriety: learning to acknowledge and deal with your feelings, no matter how painful, illogical, or shameful they seem. And no matter how many times you’ve been told, “Real men don’t get emotional.”

Emotions: A Universal Phenomenon

Don’t believe the biased stereotype that says acknowledging emotions is unmanly or weak. Every human being has a natural capacity and need for human feelings. The first step toward emotional sobriety is to observe and name your feelings. The second step is to look for their real purpose, which may be:

  • Warning you to avoid a dangerous situation (the danger needn’t be physical: it may come in the form of being asked to take on more than you can handle mentally)
  • Spurring you to action
  • Helping you determine the best course of action
  • Helping you connect with others and build stronger relationships.

The opposite of emotional sobriety is denying or ignoring the emotions behind a problem (“I’m not afraid to ask for shorter work hours, I’m just too busy right now to schedule a meeting with the boss”). When emotions build up unacknowledged for too long, it becomes increasingly tempting to “cope” with the internal pressure via quick-escape methods—such as drug use or relapse.

Whether you’re just beginning addiction treatment, starting a long-term sobriety journey, or physically sober and struggling with everyday stress and/or relapse temptations, the following points are a useful “checklist” for reviewing your current emotional-sobriety status and your best next steps.

Are You Getting Regular Help from a Therapist and a Support Group?

The journey from emotional suppression to emotional sobriety is rarely short or easy. And especially where deep feelings are related to trauma, drawing everything out at once can prove too painful to handle. The best approach is getting therapy from a counselor who is experienced at helping clients ease into confronting their emotions. Also, join a peer support group where you can feel less alone and explore your feelings in an understanding environment.

Are You Willing to Acknowledge Your Limits?

Especially if you’ve always been a fix-everything man, it may be tempting to treat emotional sobriety as a goal to be achieved quickly in clearly marked steps. Don’t. As already noted, you may not be ready (especially in the vulnerable early stages of physical sobriety) to deal with the full impact of your strongest emotions. Even if you were, uncovering long-suppressed feelings is never a quick-and-easy task, and pushing for instant results only generates extra stress. And stress only encourages relapse.

Are You Accepting Reality and Focusing on What You Can Control?

Emotional sobriety includes the Serenity Prayer goals: “serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Contrary to what many people think, “acceptance” needn’t mean passivity or dishonest optimism, and it needn’t interfere with acknowledging emotions or taking action. What it means is not wasting time trying to change the unchangeable, not letting legitimate anger and grief turn into paralyzing self-pity, but focusing your energy on doing the best you can with what you actually have. (Including help from other people.)

Are You Regularly Practicing Mindfulness?

Mindfulness—the art of reducing stress by allowing yourself to fully experience present reality—is a vital part of emotional sobriety. Mindfulness includes objectively acknowledging your feelings (including any you think you shouldn’t have) as a first step to understanding what legitimate needs lie behind those feelings. Such self-awareness is important for planning effective ways to meet those needs.

Are You Approaching Emotional Sobriety with the Right Overall Attitude?

Besides facing up to existing emotions, healthy emotional sobriety means a long-term, way-of-life commitment to:

  • Self-understanding and self-acceptance
  • Taking care of yourself
  • Effective decision-making and problem-solving
  • Believing that change is possible, and being willing to do your share of the work
  • Building stronger relationships by opening up to (and listening to) others
  • Becoming the best, most honest version of your unique self.

Emotional sobriety reinforces physical sobriety by making life worth living for itself, without any chemical crutch. There’s no better defense against relapse!

Embrace Emotional Sobriety

If you’ve been told all your life that strong men don’t show emotion, you may find the journey toward emotional sobriety as challenging as the initial detox. The best way to make the journey easier is to share it.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a mark of courage and a first step toward overcoming challenges. PACE Recovery will connect you with a brotherhood of peers where you can safely explore your feelings from a position of strength. If you’re troubled by out-of-control drug use, wild mood swings, or similar problems, you don’t have to continue suffering alone. Contact us today to get started on the path to physical and emotional sobriety.

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.

 

What is Fellowship?

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

National Recovery Month

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

Knowing That You Are Not Alone

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

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

Fellowship Means People Who Care

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

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

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

Learning From Fellowship

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

Developing Fellowship

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

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

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

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

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

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

Physical Signs of Alcoholism

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

Alcohol Use Disorder

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

Damage to Physical Health

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

Skin Issues

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

Hair Loss

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

Red Face and Bloodshot Eyes

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

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

Bloating

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

Signs of Liver Failure

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

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

Gender-Specific Alcohol Addiction Treatment

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

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.

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.