Young woman vaping.

Can Vaping Lead to a Drug or Alcohol Addiction?

E-cigarettes, or vaping devices, come in a variety of shapes and sizes. From traditional cigarette shapes and cigars to everyday  objects like pens and USB memory sticks, the e-cig has evolved significantly over the past decade. 

Over that same time frame, existing evidence showing the safety of these cigarette alternatives also evolved — and not for the better. 

  • One recent study found that the two primary ingredients in e-cigarettes — propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin — are toxic to your cells, and that the more ingredients in an e-liquid, the greater the toxicity. 

That’s why it’s imperative to  understand what you’re  ingesting when you  decide to vape and how it can potentially impact your  addiction and overall health. 

That fact remains that the growing evidence of potential health risks and lung injuries related to e-cigarette use has led researchers to question whether e-cigarettes are really a safer smoking alternative and how, exactly, vaping can impact an individual’s existing substance use disorder.1

Vaping E-Cigarettes (E-Cigs): What You Need to Know

While smoking cigarettes has decreased over the past decade, e-cigarette use has increased at a rapid pace. Understanding the actual dangers of vaping and how it can directly impact physical health is essential information. Some concerning evidence regarding e-cigarettes include: 

  • In relation to current events, a recent study found people who smoke e-cigarettes are five times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than those who don’t use tobacco products.2
  • As of February 18, 2020, a total of 2,807 people were hospitalized in the U.S. with lung injuries associated with their vaping usage, with 68 cases resulting in deaths.3
  • A 2016 report found that 44% of young adults who regularly vape were never smokers before trying e-cigarettes.
  • Nicotine in e-cigarettes can disrupt important brain development in teens and young adults.4

How Similar Is  Vaping to Smoking Cigarettes?

E-cigarettes, like actual cigarettes, deliver highly addictive nicotine, which has been shown to harm the developing brains of teens and fetuses in women who vape while pregnant. While people may think vaping is a safer alternative, some types of e-cigarettes actually expose users to even more nicotine than traditional cigarettes. However, the biggest threat that vaping poses to public health is that vaping is re-normalizing smoking, which has declined for years. 

While smoking is still the leading preventable cause of death, the increased nicotine levels in e-cigarettes — and relative ignorance regarding their actual dangers — is making them a growing threat to people of all ages. 

Vaping and Substance Use & Abuse: Is There a Connection? 

While the viable health concerns associated with vaping have been identified throughout this article, regularly smoking e-cigarettes has been associated with a higher rate of substance abuse as well. Recent studies have shown a definite connection between the use of e-cigarettes and the use of other addictive substances. like alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and even prescription medications.5 

Other research has shown that vaping works to prime your brain for drug addiction by activating the same reward signals. Additionally, while marijuana is often smoked through vape pens, many other drugs can be consumed through vaporizing as well. Substances like crack cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin can easily be mixed with water and heated up before being smoked. 

For many people struggling with addiction, this knowledgement makes vaporizers an easy distribution method for their continued addiction. That’s why teens and adults across the U.S. are actually using vaporizers to inhale drugs, often with none of the visible drug paraphernalia or smell that would traditionally alert their friends or family to their drug use.6

What You Can Do If You’re Vaping and Also Contending  with a Drug Addiction 

It’s true that you  may have begun using e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking or manage your  addictive impulses. However, given the known dangers associated with nicotine in general, combined with the additional health risks of vaping, quitting this unhealthy habit before it inflicts serious damage or impacts your substance use disorder is important. 

Although smoking e-cigarettes isn’t  a direct indicator of relapse, these following signs may be indicative of a deeper concern during your  recovery journey:

  • Isolating yourself from sober supports
  • Becoming irritable and reactive
  • Becoming increasingly  dishonesty and deception 
  • Shifting back into unhelpful social connections
  • Feeling increasingly apathetic 
  • Falling out of healthy habits 
  • Having increased  suicidal thoughts 

If you find yourself worrying about your sobriety, it can help to reach out to a clinical professional to discuss your concerns as well as the options available to help you get your  recovery back on track. 

Life-Changing, Holistic Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery 

Do you  vape? Do you worry you may be using or abusing other substances, too?

We understand how crucial it is for you to get clean and stay healthy. If you’re e ready to get help, or you’re seeking insights from addiction recovery experts, Ranch Creek Recovery can help.

We go beyond the normal 12-step program and focus on tailor-fitting each treatment program to address each client’s  unique needs. It’s about individualization and holistic treatment at Ranch Creek, and you  can discover a new beginning here.

Learn more about our addiction treatment programs. 

Have questions? We’re here to help. Contact us today.

 

CALL NOW: (877) 997-8931

 

Resources:

1NIH News in Health. The Risks of Vaping. Accessed July 11, 2021. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2020/05/risks-vaping.

2Consumer Safety. JUUL Addiction Has Serious Health Risks. Accessed July 11, 2021. https://www.consumersafety.org/product-lawsuits/e-cigarette/addiction/.

3American Lung Association. E-cigarette or Vaping Use-Associated Lung Injury (EVALI). Accessed July 11, 2021. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/evali.

4PubMed. Nicotine control: E-cigarettes, smoking and addiction. Accessed July 11, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22365155/

5Wiley Online Library. E-cigarette use of young adults motivations and associations with combustible cigarette alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drugs. Accessed July 11, 2021. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ajad.12530.

6Science Direct. E-cigarettes — An unintended illicit drug delivery system. Accessed July 11, 2021. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376871618305325

Xanax pills and packaging.

The Dangers of Xanax Dependence and Addiction

Most people who find themselves with a prescription from their doctor rarely think twice about the medication they’re ingesting. They don’t pause to think if the drug is highly addictive or dangerous to their health. After all,  it came from a physician, so how could it pose a risk? 

Take Xanax, for example. This is  one of the most commonly prescribed psychotropic medications in the United States, but there’s such a high risk for Xanax dependency and addiction.  

  • Xanax, or alprazolam, is a highly addictive and commonly prescribed drug, belonging to a class of narcotics called benzodiazepines. It’s a central nervous system depressant that’s typically prescribed to treat all forms of anxiety, including generalized social anxiety and panic disorder. 

However, using the drug long-term and taking high doses can hasten the onset of psychological and physical Xanax dependency, increasing the risk of experiencing serious and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Xanax: Drug Abuse Facts and Stats

Some of the more concerning facts surrounding the use of Xanax include:

  • 125,000 people typically visit emergency rooms every year because of complications related to their Xanax dependency and addiction.
  • 55% of nonmedical users acquired prescription painkillers (including Xanax) for free from a friend or relative.
  • Xanax saw the second largest pharmaceutical increase in production in the US from 2004-2009, increasing 148%. Only oxycodone saw higher levels of production.
  • 49% of teens will take Xanax with at least one other drug, such as alcohol.
  • The number of Xanax prescriptions has risen from 29.9 million to 37.5 in the last five years alone.
  • The average person with a Xanax addiction will take between 20-30 pills every day.1

What is a Xanax Dependency?

Xanax dependency refers to a state in which your body becomes physically dependent on the substance. When this occurs, you find yourself  needing more and more Xanax to achieve the same high. 

In addition, you’ll l experience mental and physical effects, known as withdrawal symptoms, if you  stop taking Xanax. 

Over time, this adjustment to how the brain manages neurotransmitters will become normal and the brain will need the drug to manage its chemistry and allow you  to actually feel “normal” — although you’ll be far from a healthy state of being. 

This physical dependence will keep you hooked on the drug, forcing you to use more until you get the help you need or experience a serious physical complication.2

When Can a Xanax Dependency Turn into a Xanax Addiction?

Addiction is defined as a behavioral condition involving compulsive consumption of drugs or compulsive behaviors that release dopamine, serotonin and other neurotransmitters. 

This includes: 

  • Continuing to abuse Xanax despite the physical risks
  • Feeling intense cravings for the substance
  • Having trouble finishing personal tasks 
  • Needing more of the drug to achieve the original intoxication3

Effects of Xanax from Long-Term Use

Long-term misuse of Xanax can lead to a number of serious health concerns, including seizures, tremors or heart issues. In addition, users regularly contend with:

  • Mental Health Issues

Xanax releases higher levels of dopamine into the brain, making you  feel pleasure. Over time, though, this excitement diminishes in the brain, causing you  to experience hopelessness and even thoughts of suicide.

  • Memory Problems 

Ingesting Xanax over an extended time period can lead to memory problems. Some reports suggest it can even increase the chances of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The longer your brain is on Xanax, the more it will adapt and continue to slow functioning throughout the mind and body.

  • Overdose and Death 

Xanax overdose happens when the brain and body can’t handle the toxicity produced by the amount of Xanax ingested. Factors that can contribute to an overdose include age, weight, other medical conditions, and whether Xanax is mixed with other substances, such as  alcohol. Unintentional overdose can even lead to death, with nearly 10,000 people dying from a Xanax overdose in 2019 alone.4

Some of the short-term concerns of Xanax use can include:

  • Drowsiness and dizziness
  • Slurred speech and poor coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Memory problems and confusion
  • Loss of libido
  • Heart palpitations and low blood pressure
  • Slowed reaction time and fainting

How to Treat Anxiety and a Xanax Addiction

When you’re finally ready to get the help you need to address your  Xanax addiction, we’ll be here to help. 

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we understand that each individual is unique and requires individualized care to address their specific symptoms.

A program specializing in dual diagnoses is an excellent form of treatment for Xanax addiction, because many people are taking the drug as a way of coping with their anxiety.

This clinical approach can help you e address any co-occurring issues you’re  experiencing, while developing lifelong techniques to improve your  quality of living and avoiding unforeseen relapse incidents.

Holistic Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

The self-perpetuating cycle you’re  caught up in doesn’t have to rule your  life forever. 

You can face your co-occurring hurdles head-on with professional help and individualized support at Ranch Creek Recovery. 

Learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment program, or contact us today to get your questions answered and learn more about our all-encompassing approach to co-occurring disorder treatment

 

CALL NOW: (877) 997-8931

 

Resources:

1WebMD. Evidence Shows Abuse of Xanax, Valium on the Rise. Accessed July 9, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/news/20181227/evidence-shows-abuse-of-xanax-valium-on-the-rise.

2Medical News Today. Alprazolam side effects. Accessed July 9, 2021. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/alprazolam-oral-tablet#side-effects

3American Psychiatric Association. What Is a Substance Use Disorder? Accessed July 9, 2021. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction.

4National Center for Biotechnology Information. Risk of Dementia in Long-Term Benzodiazepine Users: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Accessed July 9, 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6325366/

A person sits in a tent to look at the sun rise over the ocean.

How Being in Nature Can Help Your Addiction Recovery

Humans have tapped into the healing qualities of nature since the dawn of time. But with the advent of smartphones and instant internet everywhere, society has drifted further from its natural roots and forgotten about the health benefits of nature and the healing properties of Mother Nature.   

Feeling the bright morning sun fall across your shoulders can be therapeutic, and if you’re struggling to manage your addiction, there can be amazing benefits when you begin reconnecting with nature as a part of your recovery. 

Enjoying nature can be an important component of addiction rehab for many reasons. By connecting with the natural world around you, you can begin to heal the damage you’ve inflicted on your physical body, while tapping into the holistic properties to reestablish a healthy and happy state of mind.

Health Benefits of Nature

  • Nature can heal your stress and anxiety Recent studies have found that the brains of people who spent an hour walking in nature were calmer than those who spent an hour walking in an urban setting. The prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with negative thoughts, quiets when in a natural setting. (1)
  • Nature can improve your heart health Some studies found that being in nature, even for a few hours, has a calming effect on your mind and body – lowering blood pressure and reducing levels of stress hormones, such as  cortisol, in your bloodstream. With the reduction in cortisol, your body automatically returns to a baseline level of homeostasis, which is where healing and restoration can properly take place. (2)
  • Nature works to strengthen your immunity When we breathe in the chemicals that some plants and trees emit, it helps lower blood pressure, reduces cortisol and improves immunity. Recent studies found a marked increase in the number and activity of natural killer cells and even anti-cancer proteins for subjects exposed to forest environments for more than a few hours. The study also found that the results lasted for over seven days after the exposure. (3)
  • Nature can help heal traumatic experiences The feeling  of awe you get when looking at an ancient redwood tree or a beautiful waterfall has a profoundly healing effect on your body and mind. That’s why being in a natural setting can inspire a sense of awe that can  have a healing effect on people suffering from various types of traumatic experiences. Because when you feel “awe,” your normal brain activity reduces, allowing for the expression of other positive emotions. (4)

How Time in Nature and a Successful Addiction Recovery Are  Connected 

Walking or running outdoors can make your body feel invigorated. There’s no need to break speed records; just moving at a steady pace for a half hour or so can lift your mood and make you feel a genuine sense of relaxation. 

If you have an exercise routine you do every morning, try altering it  by performing the same routine outside. 

When you make the effort to immerse yourself in nature, you’re able to tap into the areas of your brain that your addiction usually impacts. It can ease your stress while providing a sense of calm and wellness without having to drink alcohol or consume drugs. 

The combination of nature with addiction treatment has become an essential component of high-quality treatment facilities. When  you allow yourself to become one with the world around you, it’s easier to see the destructive nature of your addictive behaviors, while also building healthier methods of managing difficult emotions. (5)

Why Seek Holistic Treatment When You Want to Fully Recover from Addiction

The reality is that spending more time in nature can facilitate your desire for a deeper spiritual connection with the world around you. It can be a source of strength throughout your recovery journey. 

The combination of physical, spiritual and emotional connectivity that comes from Mother Earth can be achieved outdoors, making spending time outdoors  an excellent addition to a comprehensive addiction program. 

This approach can contribute to the overall success of your recovery, and provide you with invaluable clinical interventions to help you process the struggles you may encounter even after completing treatment.

Holistic Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery 

We understand how important it is for you to get the life-changing help you need to achieve sobriety.

At Ranch Creek, you’ll enter a healing environment free of distractions and supported by an expert team.

As a luxury, non-12-step rehab in California, we deliver an alternative, holistic approach to addiction rehab. We focus on tailoring  each recovery program to address each client’s  unique needs.

With a more intimate recovery experience, a higher level of care, a serene environment, individual recovery plans, and a holistic approach, you can be sure you’ll receive everything needed to achieve sobriety and prepare for a thriving, sober life.

Come to our beautiful campuses in Murrieta and Temecula to get holistic treatment in a calming, scenic  area. Contact us today to learn more and get your questions answered.

 

Resources:

1) PNAS. Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation. Accessed June 28, 2021. https://www.pnas.org/content/112/28/8567.

2) Journal of Cardiology. Therapeutic effect of forest bathing on human hypertension in the elderly. Accessed June 28, 2021. https://www.journal-of-cardiology.com/article/S0914-5087(12)00185-2/fulltext#sec0070.

3) Springer Nature. Neuropharmacological activities of phytoncide released from Cryptomeria japonica. Accessed June 28, 2021. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10086-008-0984-2.

4) Bay Nature. UC Berkeley Study: Experiencing ‘Awe’ in Nature Can Bring Healing. Accessed June 28, 2021. https://baynature.org/2018/10/09/uc-berkeley-study-experiencing-awe-in-nature-can-bring-healing/.

5) Psychology Today. Nature, Nurture, and Addiction. Accessed June 28, 2021. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/love-and-sex-in-the-digital-age/202011/nature-nurture-and-addiction

A man with alcohol addiction scrolling through social media while drinking liquor.

Social Media and Alcohol Addiction

For most people, spending time on social media is a daily habit. Whether catching up with friends on Facebook, tweeting silly jokes, scrolling through endless pictures on Instagram, or watching viral videos on TikTok, social media is how most individuals get their news and even relieve stress. 

On the surface, this kind of behavior may seem like harmless entertainment and a needed diversion from the stressors of real life. However, upon further investigation, there may actually be a link between social media use and substance addiction. 

One reason in particular is that, while social media platforms can encourage sobriety at times, they often glamorize drug and alcohol use within a variety of social settings. That’s why it’s so critical to understand social media’s influence on your life to see what impact it may be having on your substance use disorder.

Is Social Media a Trigger?

Recent studies have shown a connection between excessive social media use and addictive behavior. 

Individuals who engaged in the research took a survey that measured their psychological dependence on specific social media platforms, and were then led through an exercise called the Iowa Gambling Task. 

Participants who identified that they struggle with addiction performed measurably worse than the control subjects. This shows that social media can not only trigger substance use, but it can also exacerbate an existing substance addiction. (1)

How Social Media Can Fuel an Alcohol Addiction

The main way that social media impacts and influences alcohol use is the way consuming alcohol has become supremely normalized, and even glamorized, all over existing social media platforms. 

For vulnerable social media users, this constant barrage of images and videos depicting alcohol use – and framing it as a way of interacting and connecting with others – has had a profound impact on initiating alcohol addiction and perpetuating existing alcohol use disorders

This has been shown to lead to instances of binge drinking, addictive alcohol consumption, and full-blown alcohol use disorders within a wide variety of struggling addicts. 

Add to this constant bombardment of alcohol use with the reality of people feeling like they’re missing out on celebratory moments, and the recipe is there to begin an unhealthy habit of drinking way too much, way too often. 

This is believed to strongly affect people of all ages, but significantly impact younger adults who have grown up and become embedded in the age of constant social media use. (2)

How to Use Social Media Wisely to Prevent Alcohol Addiction Relapse

Using social media wisely, if you’re struggling with an alcohol use disorder, takes a bit of foresight and proper judgment. Because it enables you to connect with distant loved ones and share messages of encouragement with friends, social media is a convenient and fulfilling way to engage with special people in your life. 

With this outlook, social media can be a healthy tool for people young and old, so focus on the following concepts to ensure your social media use provides a positive impact on your life:

  • Manage the time you spend on social media. Studies have shown that keeping your social media usage to 30 minutes per day helps keep your emotions in check. It also enables you to avoid those constant temptations to consume alcohol to keep up with the posts you’re seeing online.
  • Don’t focus solely on the photos. Being overly influenced by social media posts and videos is tempting. However, social media is often posed and purposeful, making every scenario seem perfect when, in reality, perfection is rare. Understand that you’re seeing only a snapshot of a person’s life … know that they also deal with stressful moments and even unhealthy decision-making when they’re not posting online.
  • Take the time to create your own memories. While interacting in a healthy manner online can have its benefits, logging off and limiting your time on social media is essential to create real-life experiences on your own. Stop feeling like you’re missing out because of photos from other people; build your own moments and memories instead. Additionally, routinely logging off removes the constant alcohol visualizations, and allows you to root yourself in reality and the sober lifestyle you’re building. (3)

Tips on Must-Have Social Media Settings to Mute Common Triggers 

Use these tips to monitor your usage and avoid unhealthy social media patterns:

  • Customize your newsfeed to suit your lifestyle. 

Many social media platforms have filters that enable you to exclude content you don’t want to see. Consider using the feature that lets you “mute” certain posts or phrases to avoid triggering visuals. It can go a long way in keeping relapse thoughts out of your feed and let you continue browsing content you want to see.

  • Only follow people who encourage your sobriety.

Most social media content may represent lifestyles and attitudes that don’t exist. That’s why you should consider limiting the number of people you follow on all social media platforms. This could mean following only  those who are close to you, make you feel good, and will be there when you need them.

  • Every once in a while, turn it off completely and focus on your health. 

When social media gets to be a drag, it may be time to detox. You may want to turn off your access during meals or when you’re spending time with friends and family in real life. That can be a nice way to get a break from electronics and connect with those in your life who mean the most to you. (4)

Build a Healthy Social Support Network Off Social Media 

Unplugging from social media means purposefully spending time away from technology. This provides you the opportunity to focus on your own mental health while building your sober support network in real life. 

After all, in your efforts to avoid alcohol and achieve sustained sobriety, you want to spend ample time around those family members and friends who support you by providing positive accountability and encouragement.

Holistic Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery 

Developing an alcohol use disorder, whether from triggers on social media or not, progressively deteriorates your physical body, disrupting the natural way in which it functions and destroying your ability to maintain a normal and happy existence. Opening your eyes to this reality before it’s too late can help initiate the healing process and potentially save your life. At Ranch Creek Recovery, you can quit your alcohol addiction, reclaim control over your health and body, and prepare to forge a sober, thriving life. 

As a non-12-step rehab and holistic treatment center, a large component of our treatment program is rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy and holistic, experiential addiction treatment. Our team of treatment experts will work one-on-one with you to create a custom treatment plan that will meet you right where you are today  and help you achieve your desired goals.

Learn more about our alcohol treatment program or contact us today to get your questions answered about our all-encompassing approach to alcohol addiction treatment. Learn how we treat alcohol addiction.

Contact us today to get your questions answered.

 

Resources:

1) AK Journals. Excessive social media users demonstrate impaired decision making in the Iowa Gambling Task. Accessed June 27, 2021. https://akjournals.com/view/journals/2006/8/1/article-p169.xml

2) Stanford. The Welfare Effects of Social Media. Accessed June 27, 2021. https://web.stanford.edu/~gentzkow/research/facebook.pdf

3) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Accessed June 27, 2021. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf

4) MIT News. Nine tips for healthy social media use. Accessed June 27, 2021. https://news.mit.edu/2020/mindhandheart-nine-tips-healthy-social-media-use-0123.

A man who suffers from substance abuse sits on steps outside.

What to Do if an Addicted Loved One Leaves Home

At some point, every parent must learn to step back and let go. Allowing those you care for the most to learn from their mistakes can feel shameful at times, but it’s a necessary step in the recovery process. You can’t force someone to want a better life, even when that someone is your child.

They have to want it for themselves for their recovery to mean something. That’s why learning how to engage with your child, or loved one, who is struggling with an addiction and refusing to commit to the recovery process is essential to helping them grow.

It provides you with essential knowledge that’s required to communicate with them effectively and helps you create a situation in which their sobriety is something they choose to begin — which is more likely to result in them attaining sustained sobriety.

My Addicted Child or Loved One Ran Away from Home. Now What?

First, it’s important to remain calm and consider all your options.

Is your loved one over age 18? Is your loved one an adult? What substances are they using consistently? Have they been to treatment before? While you may not be able to answer all these questions immediately, approaching the situation with a calm demeaner and levelheadedness is essential to constructing a communication plan with your loved one as soon as you can.

If they’ve run away from home, call them to simply check on their well-being. Ask if they’ve eaten or had access to basic hygiene amenities in the last 24 hours. If they haven’t, offer a way to provide those comforts for them and take advantage of the opportunity to just talk with them to show you genuinely care about their personal well-being.

3 Simple Tips: What to Do When an Addicted Child or Loved One Runs Away from Home

  1. First and foremost, educate yourself.

While it can be instinctual to want to immediately start looking for your loved one, you need to take a deep breath and slow down. Take the time to research some viable addiction treatment facilities and the best treatment approach to take regarding your loved one’s specific addiction. That way, when they return, you’ll be fully prepared to offer treatment options that can address their specific needs and clinical issues.

Although your child or loved one may be exhibiting unhealthy behaviors, it’s OK to believe they’re not a bad person at heart. They’re struggling with the disease of addiction and should be encouraged to face their illness. Doing the research beforehand allows you to increase your knowledge and create a plan to help them begin their recovery journey.

  1. Be prepared to establish healthy boundaries with your loved one.

This step can sometimes be the most difficult because it requires you avoid enabling your loved one. This term is used to describe when you’re supporting them in a way that removes the consequences of their behaviors.

Enabling can be very dangerous because the behavior discourages them from addressing their addiction through professional help. It can lead to situations that cause physical, mental and psychological harm because they have to accept responsibility for the damage their addiction inflicts. Only when your loved one is forced to face the consequences of their actions will it finally begin to sink in how devastating their substance use has become.

  1. Encourage open communication but hold your loved one accountable.

In building off the second step, it’s essential to establish an open line of communication with your loved one to show your concern. However, this doesn’t mean you allow them to walk all over you. Establishing accountability and setting appropriate boundaries creates a situation where your loved one knows they can talk to you, but you won’t sugar coat your responses.

Boundaries are important in any relationship, but especially when you’re dealing with someone struggling with addiction. Boundaries can help you feel a bit more in control of a difficult and unpredictable scenario, which is the exact situation when your loved one runs away and refuses treatment.

How an Addiction Treatment Center Can Help You Navigate This Difficult Situation

Watching anyone struggle with a substance use disorder can be difficult, but it’s worse when the person is your child or loved one. Trying to help them when they run away and refuse your assistance can feel devastating, but approaching the situation with patience and love can maintain your relationship and provide guidance for the future.

That’s why finding a treatment facility that meets all your loved one’s needs is so important during this process. It creates a situation where you can offer a viable treatment option when they’re ready and ensures you aren’t managing the situation on your own. Being proactive is the best way to ensure a smooth transition into rehab for your loved one when the time comes and creates a support system to help you along the way.

Ranch Creek Recovery’s Holistic Addiction Treatment Programs Will Be Here to Help

Wherever your loved one is on their addiction or recovery journey — if they’re contending with a severe addiction, working to become sober, trying to overcome a relapse, or currently sober — we’re here for them and your entire family. With customized treatment plans that fit your loved one’s unique recovery needs and offering a holistic alternative to the traditional 12 step program, Ranch Creek Recovery’s holistic treatment services will help your loved one stop abusing and forge a fulfilling, clean future. From the moment they start therapy, we will help them and your family every step of the way.

Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery, including what we offer and what we treat. Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.

Alcohol and liver damage

How Does Alcohol Abuse Damage the Liver?

Today’s society constantly talks about consuming alcohol. From sporting events to family get-togethers, birthday parties to holiday gatherings, drinking has become synonymous with celebration — and that’s not a good thing.

While occasional drinking doesn’t necessarily have negative consequences, consistently consuming too much alcohol can seriously negatively impact your physical body.

Understanding the consequences of consistent alcohol consumption can increase your awareness of the dangers associated with alcohol addiction and the importance of getting help to address the disease.

How Much Alcohol Does It Take to Damage the Liver?

Moderate drinking, or drinking safely, has been identified as one drink for women and up to two drinks for men per day.

This refers to:

  • 12 ounces of beer with a 5% alcohol content
  • Five ounces of wine with a 12% alcohol content
  • One and a half ounces of liquor with 40% alcohol content

If you find yourself consuming more than two glasses of alcohol a day (or one for women), you’re at increased risk of developing liver damage early on.

That’s because anything exceeding the previously mentioned limits will make it difficult for your liver to process the alcohol before releasing it into the bloodstream, dramatically increasing potential damage to your liver.

Alcohol and Liver Damage: What You Need to Know

Your liver is the first line of defense against intoxication when you’re consuming alcohol. It works to filter out the potentially harmful toxins from your bloodstream and prevent them from making their way to your brain and other vital organs.

Your body is keenly aware that alcohol is essentially poisonous, so it kicks in natural defenses to avoid the substance from negatively impacting your overall health. If every drop you drank were allowed to flow into your bloodstream and make its way to your brain and organs, it would do a significant amount of damage.

Additionally, if your liver isn’t functioning properly, you’re more susceptible to infection and illness. That’s why heavy, long-term use of alcohol can result in extensive liver damage and cause you to experience a wide array of serious physical ailments that negatively impact your overall health and well-being.

How Alcohol Damages the Liver

The most common, and most destructive, physical issues caused by alcohol abuse that directly impact your liver include the following:

1. Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver refers to the abnormal accumulation of fat in your liver, which can cause your liver to become enlarged.

It’s typically asymptomatic and completely reversible once you stop drinking. Alcoholic fatty liver disease is very common in heavy drinkers and has been estimated that 90% of people who drink heavily have some form of this condition.

Most individuals with alcoholic fatty liver disease have no symptoms. However, when symptoms are present, they can include fatigue and discomfort in the area of the liver.

2. Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcohol addiction has been shown to cause significant swelling of the liver in this stage of disease and the outcome generally depends on the severity of damage.

In some instances, treatment can reverse the damage, while more severe cases of alcoholic hepatitis can lead to liver failure.

If you continue to consume alcohol excessively at this stage, inflammation levels can begin to increase in your liver. This can lead to pain in the area of the liver, loss of appetite, fever, vomiting and jaundice.

3. Cirrhosis of the Liver

In the case of cirrhosis, a lot of your normal liver tissue is permanently replaced by scar tissue, which is called fibrosis.

At this stage, blood flow through your liver becomes extremely difficult and fluid accumulates in your abdominal cavity. This can lead to liver failure, liver cancer and brain damage, due to increased toxins in the bloodstream. It’s important to know that alcoholic cirrhosis can’t be reversed.

Treatment focuses on minimizing additional liver damage and addressing any complications that arise. In advanced cases, a liver transplant is usually necessary.

Ready to Turn Your Health Around? It’s More than Possible

The damage that can be inflicted by an alcohol use disorder is significant, but the opportunity to turn your situation around and begin healing your body can start today.

Finding the right treatment facility to address your alcohol addiction in a safe and holistic manner enables you to overcome your substance use disorder and develop life-changing techniques to aid in avoiding relapse instances in the future.

Living with an addiction can feel overwhelming, but facing your addiction with the assistance of a clinically qualified treatment center is exactly the help you need to overcome your addiction and begin your path back to health and happiness.

Holistic Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Alcohol has no power over you. Your new life starts the moment you declare you have complete control over your actions, health and future.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we provide holistic detox and alcohol recovery treatment that offers personalized and long-lasting care.

Learn more about our alcohol treatment program or contact us today to start your journey toward detox and recovery.

A man dealing with fentanyl effects on the brain holds his head with his hand.

How Fentanyl Affects the Brain

Over the past decade, opioids — like fentanyl — have ravaged communities around the country. From the regular street drug trade to an overwhelming number of prescriptions written by doctors, these substances have skyrocketed in popularity among people struggling with addiction and led to record numbers of diagnosed opioid use disorders, overdoses and deaths.

While these facts can seem intense, if you’re living with an addiction to fentanyl, it’s imperative you understand the dangers associated with the substance and the necessity to address your addiction in a safe and clinically supportive environment. Your life literally depends on it.

What Fentanyl Does to the Brain

Fentanyl acts as a depressant on your central nervous system and attaches to opioid receptors in the brain when first ingested. This is why you experience a feeling of euphoria when the high initially sets in. Your brain contains naturally producing opioid receptors, which create opioid chemicals in response to any pain you may experience. However, these naturally occurring opiates typically don’t last very long and aren’t potent enough to help with chronic pain issues. That’s why many prescription painkillers contain synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, to alleviate excessive pain.

Unfortunately, the more your brain encounters a substance like fentanyl, the less likely it is to produce natural opioids — making it increasingly difficult for you to live life without the drug and creating a dangerous necessity for you to continually ingest it.

Fentanyl’s Effects on the Brain

As the effects of your fentanyl use become increasingly more consistent, you may begin ingesting larger quantities to achieve the same high and avoid symptoms of withdrawal. Common symptoms of withdrawal can include muscle aches, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramping.

However, the various ways fentanyl use impacts your brain are much more concerning and increasingly more devastating the longer you struggle with the addiction. Fentanyl’s effects on the brain (and your life) can include:

  • Serious Cognitive Issues: Long-term fentanyl addiction can lead to serious cognitive decline. People who consistently abuse the substance spend a significant amount of time in a lethargic and forgetful state after using. This can result in a loss of basic personal care, like forgetting to eat, neglecting to bathe consistently and — in some cases — ignoring important financial matters. People who consistently abuse fentanyl may also use alcohol or other drugs when simultaneously ingesting the opioid. This act can dramatically increase the risk of dangerous side effects and a potentially fatal overdose.
  • Severe Structural Damage: Fentanyl addiction can actually change the physical structure of your brain, throwing your neurological and hormonal systems completely out of balance. From depression to chronic fatigue and even loss of muscle mass, the way in which fentanyl use impacts your overall cognitive functioning is shocking. These neurological imbalances can cause genetic disorders, strokes, infections, seizures, dementia and Parkinson’s disease. It’s important to know that some hormonal and neurological imbalances can be repaired through sobriety.
  • Deterioration of Brain Matter: Studies have found that chronic fentanyl use can lead to extensive erosion of the white matter in your brain. This deterioration of white matter can affect decision-making abilities, the capability to regulate behavior appropriately, and natural responses to stressful situations. There’s also evidence that fentanyl addiction leads to reduced gray matter in some sections of your brain, such as the frontal lobe. Gray matter in the frontal lobe is associated with things like problem solving, memory and motor function.
  • Potential Death: A common cause of immediate brain damage from fentanyl use happens when your breathing slows to a dangerously low rate after use. Fentanyl addiction can stop your brain from taking in enough oxygen, causing brain cells to die and, if enough die, you’ll do the same. The fact is most individuals who lose their life to fentanyl overdoses die because they simply stop breathing. While some people are able to fully recover because they didn’t go without oxygen long enough for their brain cells to die, that lack of oxygen may severely change how their brain works. This could result in a need for life support or daily assistance from caregivers for the rest of your life.

Fentanyl Addiction Can Stop. You Can Get Clean.

We understand that we outlined some incredibly terrible consequences of fentanyl addiction, but here’s the reality of your situation: You can achieve sobriety and attain long-term health and happiness once again.

The road to recovery starts with professional assistance to properly diagnose your substance use disorder and provide you a clinically safe environment to fully detox. Addiction can be a terrifying disorder to face, but you don’t have to conquer your disease alone.

If you’ve found the courage to admit you have a problem with fentanyl use, take the next step and contact a treatment facility to help you begin your recovery journey today.

Holistic Opioid Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Wherever you may be in your addiction process, the time to begin your road to recovery is now. Don’t allow yourself to become just another statistic when your life is worth so much more. Take the brave step to face your disease and begin the process of defeating your addiction once and for all.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we understand exactly where you are and what you’re going through. You’re arguably living the hardest, most distressing days of your life. But there’s hope and life-changing support.

Through our holistic opioid addiction treatment program, we go beyond the normal 12 steps and focus on tailoring treatment to address each patient’s unique needs. It’s about individualized treatment at Ranch Creek, and you can discover a new beginning here and help your entire family start anew.

Learn more about our all-encompassing, holistic opioid detox and addiction treatment program, or contact us today to get your questions answered.

CALL NOW: 1-877-293-8607

A photo of three Red Bull cans and one bottle of Vodka.

The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Caffeine

Mixing alcohol and caffeine has become so popular that beverage makers have started premixing the two substances – making consumption easier and seemingly encouraged. While most people wouldn’t think twice about consuming a vodka and Red Bull or a rum and Coke, the dangers of mixing these two substances can actually have a very damaging effect on your physical body.

Mixing caffeine with alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning, severe dehydration and other dangerous consequences. Discover how mixing alcohol and caffeine can affect your body and mind.

Mixing Alcohol and Caffeine: It’s a Slippery Slope

To understand why individuals mix these two substances, it’s important to know how they function once they’ve been consumed.

  • Caffeine is a known stimulant that can make a person feel energetic and alert.
  • Alcohol, on the other hand, is a known depressant that can make a person feel sleepy or less alert than usual.

Mixing these two substances puts individuals at risk of a number of unwanted side effects – one of which is binge drinking. When combined, caffeine masks the depressant nature of alcohol, making you feel more alert and sober. This may, in turn, lead you to believe consuming more alcohol is a good idea.

This is where the slippery slope kicks in because, before you know it, you’ve drank entirely too much alcohol and have put yourself at risk of alcohol poisoning and a variety of other physical complications related to excessive alcohol consumption.

According to the CDC, some other concerns associated with mixing alcohol and caffeine include:

  • Drinkers who mix alcohol with caffeine are more likely to report unwanted or unprotected sex
  • Drinkers who mix alcohol with caffeine are more likely to drive drunk or ride with a driver who is intoxicated
  • Drinkers who mix alcohol with caffeine are more likely to sustain alcohol-related injuries (1)

What Happens When You Mix Alcohol and Caffeine

There are real dangers associated with mixing alcohol and caffeine. While the general perspective may be that drinking both of them is no big deal, the impact that too much caffeine and too much alcohol can have on your entire body requires serious consideration.

Some of the more concerning issues can include:

  • Alcohol Poisoning
    Alcohol poisoning is a serious condition that occurs when you consume a large amount of alcohol over a short period of time. Alcohol poisoning is known to range in severity, and signs may include unresponsiveness, disorientation, coma and – in some instances – death.

Caffeine has been known to negate the feelings associated with alcohol intoxication. This can make a person believe they can consume more alcohol for longer periods of time. Doing so can result in dangerous levels of alcohol in the blood, which can ultimately cause alcohol poisoning.

  • Blackouts
    After drinking heavily or consuming a large amount of alcohol quickly, a person can feel as if they’ve lost chunks of time and even wake up and not be able to remember events from the previous night.

An alcohol-induced blackout can wipe out your memory, either in full or in part. When someone experiences a blackout, they typically cannot remember events that happened while they were drinking – a condition which is similar to amnesia. This experience is why blackouts are commonly referred to as alcohol-induced amnesia.

  • Dangerous Levels of Dehydration
    Alcohol and caffeine consumption can make your body severely dehydrated. Dehydration can cause an AFib event, which is a common heart rhythm disorder that causes your heart to beat in a chaotic fashion.

A dramatic shift in your body’s fluid levels — from consuming too little water and too much alcohol — can affect your body’s normal functions. The impact that combining alcohol and caffeine has on your body can easily result in a case of severe dehydration due to an excessive amount of alcohol consumption.

In these cases, it is imperative to remember that dehydration is a genuine medical emergency that could potentially require immediate medical attention.

How to Break the Cycle of Alcohol and Caffeine Use

Realizing you have an alcohol use disorder can be a rude awakening. Perhaps you even came to this realization after a long night of drinking that highlighted the fact that you need to find clinical support to address your disease. Coming to this conclusion is the most important first step in your recovery

It’s important to remember that it’s never too late to start the journey. No matter how far you have fallen, picking yourself up and starting the process of regaining your health and happiness is usually just a phone call away.

So, the only thing you really need to ask yourself is, what is stopping you from taking back your life?

Discover Life-Changing Polydrug Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Without question, trying to overcome an addiction is an extremely difficult task to face, but there is proven, life-changing help for you. You can achieve mental stability, overcome your addiction and learn vital, effective skills to avoid a relapse.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we take a holistic, non-12-step approach to addiction and dual diagnosis disorder treatment. The addiction that may have entered your life has deeply affected your mind, body and spirit. Because of this, these vital pieces of your being must be given the support and nurturing they need to fully recover.

We can work with every aspect of you to ensure complete care and healing. Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery, including what we offer and what we treat.

Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.

 

Resources:

1) Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Caffeine. Accessed February 24, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/caffeine-and-alcohol.htm.

A woman sitting by a Christmas tree, struggling with holiday stress.

Healthy Ways to Cope with the Stress and Anxiety of the Holidays

Stress around the holidays is as typical as Santa and his sleigh. From the expectations of buying the perfect gifts to all the social gatherings and holiday parties, finding time to breath and decompress can seem like an impossible task. Add the stress of managing a substance use disorder and the holidays can become the perfect recipe for an unexpected relapse incident.

While experiencing stress and anxiety around this time of year is a common occurrence, finding a way to avoid a setback along your recovery journey is achievable with the proper planning and preparation. Having a plan in place to address the temptation to relapse before it occurs is the perfect way to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.

Ways to Deal with Holiday Stress

The reason so many people living with addiction find themselves facing the temptation to relapse around this time of year is because, as human beings, we tend to fall back into comfortable habits when we are faced with personal stressors.

For someone who lives with a substance addiction, the holidays can provide an easy excuse to pour an extra drink or get high to ‘calm the nerves’ and help them ‘make it through the season.’ The key is to find healthy ways to keep cravings at bay and stand strong in your sobriety.

Holiday Stress Tips

  • Take a Break from Mandatory Family Time
    Making the most of holiday time spent with your extended family and friends is usually everyone’s goal during this time of year. However, finding moments to calm your mind alone is essential. Perhaps you can grab a tea or step outside to breath in the fresh air. That quick break from the group can be just what you need to reset your mental and emotional self and provide perspective.

While the holidays are typically a very social time of year, don’t feel the pressure to put too much on yourself all the time. Your social skills and mental health need a rest sometimes, so take one.

  • Actively Practice Being Grateful
    Try not to take anything for granted because there is always something or someone to be grateful for in your life. Even if you are missing someone this season, being grateful for the people who are still with you is a great way to reframe somber moments.

A great way to change a down mindset is to have something to look forward to at the start or end of each day. That could be a specially prepared latte, a soothing shower, listening to your favorite band, taking a mindful walk outside or even working on a hobby.

It is simply important to find enjoyment while you’re doing it. This is because when you engage in something you enjoy, you dramatically reduce the stress you may be feeling.

  • Take Time to Invest in Your Wellbeing
    It’s common to experience an increase in obligations and events during the holiday season. Planning, shopping and preparations routinely take up a significant amount of time and can cause a fair amount of stress. In addition, it’s normal to increase your focus on others and it becomes easy to neglect yourself in the process.

If you want to be able to genuinely enjoy your time with friends and family, it’s essential that you take care of yourself. Investing in your well-being will allow you to be more present, engaged, energized, helpful and healthy. This can mean scheduling time to work out or finding moments to practice mindfulness. Whatever it is, the key is to purposefully focus on your physical and mental health, so you can manage your stress and appreciate time with those around you.

How to Manage Holiday Stress When Addiction is Already in the Picture

If you are already finding yourself feeling stressed out and overwhelmed, it is important to acknowledge those emotions and reach out for help. It is common for co-occurring disorders to flare up when stressful times set in. This can drive someone with addictive impulses back toward the very drugs or alcohol that exacerbates the problems being experienced.

This is because mental health issues – like anxiety and depression – routinely drive people to self-medicate, thinking they are helping themselves when, in reality, they are significantly compounding the problem. Fortunately, there are holistic treatment options that can help. These options are rooted in proven clinical techniques and trainings, which can address your mental health issues and addiction in a safe and secure environment.

The key is to not wait until the problem grows out of control, but to face your disease early on with the help of a clinically trained treatment staff. This will enable you to gain the support and guidance you need to get your life back on track for all the celebrations and holidays to come.

Holistic Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

From all of us at Ranch Creek Recovery, we wish you a safe and truly wonderful holiday season. If you’ve struggled with addiction in the past, always remind yourself of how strong you are and how far you’ve come.

Should you find yourself in a situation where your substance of choice has crept back into your life, you need to get back on track as soon as possible – and we’re here for you. At Ranch Creek Recovery, we address addiction recovery and relapse prevention head on through our non-12-step, individualized, holistic addiction treatment programs.

Our team of treatment experts will work one-on-one with you to create a custom treatment and recovery plan that will help you feel confident and ready to re-enter your sober life. Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.

A woman sitting with her head in her hand with alcohol on the table in front of her.

The Unique Challenges of Addiction for Women

It is no secret that women who struggle with addiction face noticeable different roadblocks and difficulties along their recovery journey than their male counterparts. The origins of their substance use disorders can range from biological traits to experienced traumas, and the therapeutic interventions they seek can require a specialized approach in order to help them achieve sustained sobriety.

That is why the unique challenges facing women living with addiction are best addressed by clinical treatment providers who are specifically trained to address those challenges and provide guidance that is tailored to their individual needs.

Finding a treatment facility capable of this therapeutic approach requires both research and understanding into the specific roadblocks impacting women who are living with a substance use disorder. This ensures that the potential for success is both viable and longstanding.

Why Women Use Drugs

There are a variety of reasons why women use drugs. Some may be dealing with severe traumatic experiences, while others may be attempting to manage mental health issues through self-medication.

Some of the more notable issues impacting addiction among women include:

• Feelings of loneliness
• Body image issues
• Loss of self-esteem
• Personal stress
• Relationship issues

While these are not the only reasons influencing addiction among women, they do provide some insight into what may spark a substance use disorder or perpetuate a bad habit that already existed.

Why Women Struggle with Addiction

The specific factors influencing addiction among women are more common than you may think.

Studies show that over the past decade, the use of alcohol among women in the U.S rose nearly 20 percent. Over that span of time, the percentage of women who consumed four or more drinks on a given day each week skyrocketed by nearly 60 percent.

Additionally, opioid addiction among women has continued to rise exponentially with hospitalizations increasing 75 percent over that same time period. Some influencing factors include:

• Needs of their kids
• Pressures associated with their careers
• Aging bodies
• Various traumatic experiences
• Financial pressure

While these were just a small sample of the unique stressors experienced by women struggling with addiction, they do highlight a variety of stressors that women endure on a consistent basis.

How Addiction Affects Women

Finding a way to both confront your addiction and receive the help necessary to overcome its grip on your life is no simple accomplishment. It requires not only understanding how your disease has impacted your life, but also why it has been so difficult to defeat.

Being aware of how addictive patterns develop is key to identifying their existence and beginning your journey back to a sober state of being.

Some ways in which addiction affects women include the following:

  • Women face unique social pressures and influences
    Consider the marketing of alcohol to women and the “mommy needs wine” mentality blasted on social media. Popular Facebook groups like “Moms Who Need Wine” have tens of thousands of fans and one company even calls wine “Mommy Juice.” Drinking is celebrated with memes and photos of cocktails as a way to cope with the stress of motherhood. All of this targeted media directly influences personal drinking habits and the increasing drinking trends among women.
  • Experiencing pain is a common driver of addiction among women
    Several studies have shown that women suffer more frequently and more intensely from pain and they may require more medication to achieve relief. In one study, women required at least double the morphine needed by males to achieve comparable pain relief. They also are more likely to have chronic and inflammatory pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.
  • Women are more often exposed to certain types of trauma that can fuel drug abuse
    Interpersonal violence can play a significant role in how and why women fall into addiction. A history of violent trauma is more common among women with drug addiction, placing them at high risk for post-traumatic stress disorder. They’ve also had more exposure to incest, sexual abuse, and family violence, and are often more vulnerable than men to physical attacks.

How Addiction Treatment Can Help

The benefits of substance abuse treatment, regardless of your specific gender or identification, is important to consider. Getting the best care possible when seeking therapy and treatments requires you to find potential treatment centers that offer clinically qualified services by licensed and trained staff.

Some benefits of treatment focused on women’s substance abuse issues are that it allows women a safe place to open up without fear or embarrassment while focusing on their specific needs. Additionally, treatment of this nature is developed with women’s problems in mind and helps women form friendships with other women who are in a similar situation, fostering a sense of safety throughout the entire treatment experience.

At a treatment center like Ranch Creek Recovery, the belief that women can receive the treatment they need in a safe and compassionate environment is at the forefront of every interaction. Through dual diagnosis treatment, we specialize in addressing emotional or psychiatric issues that may be contributing to their addiction problem.

This comprehensive approach ensures that your time in treatment highlights all your specific concerns and ensures your therapeutic experience is second to none.

Addiction Recovery Programs that Cater to Women’s Needs at Ranch Creek Recovery

You can quit your addiction and lead a thriving life. Our individualized treatment programs are gender-specific, allowing us to address your unique challenges and needs as a woman. Learn more about our addiction treatment programs or contact us today to start your journey toward recovery.