Should I Be Afraid of Rehab?

Addiction affects almost every part of your life. Admitting that you have an addiction problem is the first step toward recovery. Denial is a large part of addiction, and breaking through self-deception is very difficult. So, if you’ve reached a point where you accept that drugs and alcohol are a serious problem in your life, then you’ve probably dealt with the hardest part. Rehabilitation is only a small part of it, yet many can be afraid of rehab. It's a huge life-changer and it can be difficult, but that shouldn't discourage you.

Addiction is a chronic disease that changes the way the brain functions. You may no longer have control of how you feel or act. But you should know that this isn’t about willpower or morals – it’s about acknowledging that you need help and accepting it.

It’s normal to have fears about rehab. Millions of others also fear joining rehabs for various reasons. So much so that only 10% of 20.4 million people with substance use disorders sought out addiction treatment in 2019. But fears only get in the way of sober living. Joining an addiction treatment center is going to be your best shot at addiction recovery.

But still, no one wants to join drug addiction treatment programs – at least not at first. Rehab is a scary thought for many families and people who struggle with addiction. The word itself comes with a huge stigma, and the idea of joining a facility for residential treatment can be equally overwhelming.

Also, joining rehab means letting go of substances, leaving the comforts of your home, and starting a new life. It means giving up control and embracing change. But as they say, change is as good as rest.

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Common fears about rehab

Fear of detox and withdrawal

The thought of detox or withdrawal symptoms can be intimidating, especially if you’ve experienced them before or have heard stories. While withdrawal isn’t going to be your cup of tea, there are many ways to make it comfortable and tolerable. Treatment programs offer full-time help and access to medications and therapies to ensure you are pain-free. You’ll also be monitored by trained medical staff throughout your entire detox process.

Fear of leaving behind your life

Walking away from your comfort zone – your family, home, job, friends, or even substances can be scary. After all, you are leaving behind your life as you’ve known it and heading towards the unknown. But while this thought can be overwhelming, treatment is way less damaging than staying and continuing with your using habits. If the people you’re scared to leave behind care about you, they will be happy to see you get help.

Just ensure that everything is in order so that your only concern is to sober up. Arrange care for your elderly parents, children, or pets. Apply for the 12 weeks of family and medical leave to protect your work and sign up for automatic bill payments. The goal is to leave bills, jobs, and drama outside so you can focus more on getting better.

Fear of missing out (FOMO)

FOMO is one of the most common fears many people who struggle with addiction deal with before going to rehab. The illusion that drugs and alcohol go hand in hand with fun can make you skeptical about getting help. You may feel as though you’ll miss out on weekends, or after work, and so on. There’s also the aspect of friends; how they’ll hang out without you and how boring your life will get without them.

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All these can be overwhelming, making you afraid of rehab and what happens afterwards. But substance abuse only leads to addiction, legal issues, financial troubles, broken relationships, etc. Unless you break free, you really won’t have a clear perspective of what fun means. Once you go through rehab, you’ll make new friends, learn new things, take up a hobby, travel, and even spend more time with loved ones. You’ll also identify fun activities that aren’t harmful to your health and relations.

Fear of not knowing how to cope with anxiety and stress

If you fall into the 50% category of those who experience substance use disorder due to mental health issues, you may fear that you won’t know how to cope once you stop using. But the good news is that treatment facilities often offer 12-step programs to help you resolve most of the underlying issues. They also offer holistic treatments to address mind, body, and soul. On top of that, they point you to support groups to serve as your sounding board, so there's no need to be afraid of rehab.  

Fear of dealing with past trauma, neglect, or abuse

Many aspects – including childhood neglect, abuse, and trauma – might have contributed to your substance use disorder. Perhaps you’ve been suppressing the difficult past, but now you’re dealing with the prospect of facing it as part of the healing process.

It is scary to face the ghost of the past, but you won’t do it alone. Treatment centers have counselors who will hold your hand throughout the process. You’ll also have access to group therapy and other treatment options to help you process thoughts, emotions, and beliefs linked to the past trauma. In the end, the past won’t have a grasp on you.

Fear of starting a new life

Without drugs or alcohol, you may have no idea what you are, and that’s a scary place to be. But this is only temporary. During treatment and early recovery, you’ll be able to step out of your comfort zone and try new stuff. You’ll also hang out with sober friends and family and create new experiences. This might be a great time to try out new hobbies and interests.

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Fear of failure

One of the main reasons most people are afraid of rehab is the fear of failure. The thought of going through a treatment plan but ending up with a relapse is devastating. But failing to try because you fear failing is denying yourself an opportunity to lead a clean life. In fact, you may be shocked by how well you respond to treatment.

And even if you relapse, it is still a step in the right direction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that 40-60% of people with addiction relapse after treatment. Should you relapse, it’s vital to point out the triggers and find a way to avoid placing yourself in similar situations again.

Fear of success

Perhaps you’ve done things in the past that you aren’t proud of and feel like you have to punish yourself or be unhappy forever. Or maybe you suffered in the hands of someone who said you didn’t deserve happiness or that you wouldn’t amount to anything, and you believed them. So you’re always self-sabotaging to avoid success.

But everyone deserves a shot at happiness. Embrace your fears and not run away from them. Treatment centers have experts who will reinforce positive mental health and help you overcome any trauma that may have affected you. There is no need to be afraid of rehab. Depending on the rehab, the treatment plan may also include a faith-based approach to help you connect with your higher power to overcome addiction.

Alcoholism is Getting Bad Thanks to the Pandemic

Alcohol slows down the central nervous system, creating feelings of relaxation. It also lowers inhibitions, memory, and judgment. Because of these qualities, many people turn to alcohol to distance themselves from the challenges or stressors they’re facing due to COVID-19. The pandemic is associated with negative economic and health impacts, loss, grief, isolation, prolonged uncertainty and stress.

Recent studies show that people are binge drinking to cope with the negative impacts COVID-19 pandemic. One study found that American adults have sharply increased their alcohol consumption, drinking on more days per week.

The study released by RAND Corporation compared the drinking habits of adults between spring 2019 and spring 2020. Reviewing over 1500 adults across America, participants were asked about their change in alcohol use between 2019 and 2020 during the first peak of the virus.

The study found a 14% increase in alcohol use among adults, compared to the same time last year. This was a 19% increase among all adults ages 30-59. Women, in particular, showed a 41% increase in alcohol use.

Experts warn that the pandemic’s stress could be could be prodding some people to drink alcohol. In the previous years, surges in alcohol use were noted following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 2003 SARS, and September 11th terrorist attacks. Such traumatic events and their resulting stressors tend to lead to increased post-disaster alcohol use and abuse.

Why are people drinking during the pandemic?

People are consuming alcohol as a way to manage emotional stress. The pandemic has created collective grief and loss of security and safety with incredible uncertainty. Before the pandemic, alcohol use was already a significant public health concern. The pandemic seems to be fueling this even further with its vast effects, like:

Before the outbreak of the coronavirus, people would go out and blow off some steam. They’d go to the gym for a workout or the movies to calm down. But with the lockdown and less social contact rules, that’s not an option anymore. People can’t hang out with their friends and loved ones as they used to. They can no longer engage in activities that help them reduce stress and enhance well-being. But they can access alcohol because liquor stores were deemed essential businesses and stayed open.

When you combine anxiety and stress with the ability to order alcohol through an app and have it delivered to your doorstep within an hour, you get a perfect pathway towards excessive drinking and abuse.

The effects of alcohol on the body

These studies show that many people could be turning to alcohol to cope with pressures created by COVID-19. Drinking alcohol to cope with life situations like boredom or stress can become a habit that leads to substance abuse disorder. When a person self-medicates with alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues, they can develop co-occurring substance use disorder.

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Alcohol is a depressant and sedative that affects the central nervous system. At first, drinking alcohol can reduce fears and take the mind of troubles. It can help an individual feel less anxious, boost mood and make them generally relaxed.

In fact, the effects of alcohol can be the same as those of anti-anxiety medications. That’s because alcohol slows activity in the amygdala, a brain part that prepares the body’s “fight or flight” response to stress.

Repeated use decreases the amygdala’s dampening effect. It also causes tolerance and dependence. So a person has to drink more alcohol to achieve a similar level of high. At this point, they can’t stop drinking because of withdrawal symptoms, like tremors, nausea, anxiety, headache, confusion, and insomnia.

Mild alcohol withdrawal can be treated at home. But severe cases need supervised care in a hospital setting to avoid potentially dangerous complications like seizures.

Who is more vulnerable to increased alcohol use during the COVID-19 outbreak?

The measures to curb the spread of coronavirus have been hard on everyone. So, everyone is susceptible and may end up with problems with alcohol. However, studies show that some groups are more vulnerable than others.

Younger people

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol use has led to at least four deaths on college campuses since spring 2021. Young adults face unprecedented stressors: loss of income, the uncertainty of the future, and social isolation, resulting in conditions like loneliness, depression, and anxiety which can increase the risk of heavy drinking.

Women

The psychological stress associated with the pandemic was also linked to greater drinking for women. A study by RAND Corporation and supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Use and Alcoholism shows that heavy drinking among women has soared. In the survey, 1 in 5 women had heavily consumed alcohol at least one additional day per month compared with the previous year.

Physicians

A survey of 12,000 physicians found that over 40% of physicians experienced burnout, which was amplified mainly by COVID-19. Of these physicians, more than a quarter were drinking to cope with the burnout and resulting stress.

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More studies point to the increase in alcohol use thanks to the pandemic

BlueCross BlueShield survey dubbed “Behavioral health by the numbers: a closer look at the impact of COVID-19” reveals a 23% increase in alcohol consumption since the outbreak began.

Another survey on 1,000 American adults 18 years and older by The Recovery Village found that 55% of the participant had an increase in past-month alcohol consumption, with 18% reporting a significant increase.

How to cope with the negative impacts of COVID-19 without alcohol

Healthy coping involves taking part in activities that directly reduce stress or improve wellbeing. This includes exercising, getting enough sleep, following creative pursuits, eating nutritious food, and staying hydrated. It is also a good idea for people to reach out for help and get support to make healthier life choices.

Those recovering from alcohol can take part in online Alcoholic Anonymous meetings. Such support groups can serve as a pillar to help avoid relapse.

How Alcoholism Can Make Your Blood Pressure Worse

Scientists are still learning how alcoholism affects heart health and blood pressure. According to a few John Hopkins University studies, moderate alcohol drinking may lead to a lower risk of dying from heart disease. Also, modest amounts of alcohol might help to slightly raise the levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol as per some studies. Does that mean, however, that alcohol consumption is a great habit and has no repercussions on your health? Not at all. Let us look at the ways alcoholism can make your blood pressure worse.

The association between moderate alcohol drinking and heart health is still debatable, with both supporters and naysayers offering evidence; the focus keyword, however, remains “moderate”. Excessive alcohol drinking, on the other hand, has no positive side to it.

Too Much of a Good Thing

While short-term repetitive drinking can lead to temporary spikes in blood pressure and heart rate, long-term alcohol abuse and alcoholism may lead to chronic hypertension/high blood pressure and even cause heart disease. Addiction to alcohol is a very serious problem.

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How Alcohol Affects My Blood Pressure?

Although the impact of alcohol consumption on the body depends a lot on age and risk factors, excessive drinking is never recommended for anyone. This is because alcohol abuse can lead to a myriad of direct and indirect impacts on the body and mind, which are detrimental not just to the individual but also to those who surround them.

Direct effects

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can have pronounced direct effects in the short- and long-term, chief among them being a temporary increase in blood pressure, which may turn into long-term excess due to repetitiveness.

Indirect effects

There are several ways in which alcohol is known to affect blood pressure indirectly. Alcohol is known to affect the nervous system, which controls blood pressure. Also, it causes changes in pressure receptors that sense blood pressure levels, making blood pressure higher. Alcohol consumption increases cortisol levels – the stress hormone that increases blood pressure – and the level of calcium that lines arteries, making them more constricted, elevating blood pressure.

Scientists have also found that alcoholism affects the number of other vasoconstrictor hormones (artery-constricting hormones), impacts the retention of fluids filtered in the kidneys and leads to weight gain in the long-term, all of which contribute to increases blood pressure numbers.

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How Much Is Too Much with Alcohol?

The American Heart Association has outlined the definitions of excessive drinking, which one can revise to keep their consumption in check:

According to AHA, one drink is equivalent to 12 oz of beer, 4 oz of wine, 1.5 oz of 80-proof alcohol and 1 oz of 100-proof alcohol. At the end of the day, however, it does not matter what is the beverage you pick – what matters is the amount.

Why is High Blood Pressure Bad for You?

There are two kinds of blood pressure numbers we are familiar with. The higher number denotes high blood pressure, which occurs when the heart is contracting and forcing blood into the arteries. The lower number stands for low blood pressure which occurs when the heart is in the relaxed phase.

Consistent and abnormally high blood pressure or hypertension is detrimental to our body because it damages the lining of arteries, causing them to harden (arteriosclerosis), ultimately leading to arterial blocking. The blockage of arteries subsequently leads to a blocked flow of blood to the heart (causing heart attack), brain (causing stroke) as well as other essential organs, leading to multiple-organ failure.

On the other hand, low blood pressure is not a long-term condition, though it also leads to poor health outcomes such as dizziness and pale skin. However, low blood pressure is easier to reverse and quicker to recover from.

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Alcoholism and Serious Diseases

Heavy drinking is directly associated with several poor bodily outcomes, including heart conditions such as cardiomyopathy which affects the heart’s muscles. Excessive alcoholism may even lead to heart failure and stroke, apart from the most common complication - heart attack. The long list of problems associated with alcohol abuse also includes liver diseases, obesity and poor mental health.

Compared with people who did not binge drink, people who drank alcohol at twice the gender-specific binge drinking thresholds were 70 times more likely to have an alcohol-related emergency department (ED) visit, and those who consumed alcohol at 3 times the gender-specific binge thresholds were 93 times more likely to have an alcohol-related ED visit, says the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Alcohol intake can also specifically affect those who are on blood pressure medications. These medications usually come with side effects associated with low pressure – dizziness, loss of balance control and so on. Excessive alcoholism also impairs our sense of balance, which is why this combination can prove detrimental. Alpha- and Beta-blockers as well as Nitrates can interact dangerously with alcohol and should be avoided.

Reversing the Ill-Effects of Alcohol on Heart Health and Blood Pressure

The good news is that the ill-effects of alcohol abuse can be reversed if you take action at the right time. Studies show heavy drinkers who reduce their consumption to moderate can lower the upper blood pressure readings or systolic blood pressure by about 5.5 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) and their lower readings or diastolic blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg.

That being said, one rule does not fit everyone when it comes to getting rid of alcoholism. Recovering from alcohol is as much a personal process as it is a medical one. It can lead to withdrawal symptoms, impact your mental health and cause visible changes to your body. However, with the combination of the right approach and evidence-based treatments from specialists, one can stop drinking and de-addict themselves effectively and holistically.

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How Does More Than Rehab Help?

At More Than Rehab, we aim to provide quality care to those in need of all-inclusive and therapeutic modalities, helping individuals identify what is best for their recovery. Our team of a skilled and compassionate team of counsellors, psychiatric specialists and physicians who coordinate a comprehensive and individualistic plan for the recovery of individuals in need. Coupling our approach with cognitive behavioural therapy, More Than Rehab caters to the full spectrum of a person’s addiction.

Alcoholism is one of the leading mental and physical issues affecting the United States today. However, it can be gotten rid of, and its impacts treated or reversed. It is upon you to make the best out of the opportunity to, for you might get only a chance at it. You can start your life afresh – we are just a click away.

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How Much Does Alcohol Rehab Cost?

It is never a good feeling when you, or a loved one, are considering whether or not professional treatment is necessary for an alcohol use disorder or an alcohol addiction.

However, the simple fact that there is even a question is a strong indicator that there is possibly a problem and that professional help may be necessary. This is especially true if there have been negative consequences associated with the alcohol use, such as getting a DUI, getting fired from work, relationship difficulties, getting in trouble with the law, or other negative consequences of drug or alcohol abuse.

According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, around 17.6 million people struggle with an alcohol abuse or dependence issue every year in the United States. So, just know that if you or a loved one are suffering, you are certainly not alone. In the year since the pandemic began, alcohol use has seen a sharp increase in the United States.

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One of the biggest steps that people can take when they are suffering from an alcohol use disorder or addiction is to admit that they have a problem, and then get the help necessary to recover.

Once you have decided that help may be necessary for whoever is struggling, you may begin to wonder if your family can afford it.

Exactly how much does alcohol rehab cost?

Well, the answer to this question can depend on many factors. No two people are alike, and the same can be said about their addictions. The cost will typically depend on the level of treatment required for that individual to begin the road to a successful recovery.

The level of treatment someone needs depends on a variety of issues such as how long they’ve been using alcohol or drugs, whether they abuse alcohol in combination with other drugs or substances, and how often they abuse their drug of choice. Depending on the severity of the symptoms and the addiction, a more intensive treatment may be necessary.

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What is an alcohol rehab program like?

Typically, when a person is looking to get treatment for alcohol abuse, they do an intake assessment to determine what level of care is appropriate. When it comes to alcohol rehab, there are several different levels of treatment, each with their own general cost. Here are some of the most common.

*These prices are based off out-of-pocket expenses without insurance coverage. However, many insurance companies will pay for all or a portion of alcohol rehab treatment costs.

Aside from the different levels of treatment that may affect the overall cost of alcohol rehab, there are several other factors to consider when it comes to the price. One of those factors is the length of the program. Along with the intake assessment, many treatment centers will also specify an amount of time they believe necessary for effective treatment. Depending on the individual's specific needs, this time frame typically ranges between 30 to 90 days.

The location and amenities of the treatment center can also play a significant role in the overall cost. If you decide to go to an alcohol rehab center located on the beach, it’s likely to cost more than the one nestled in the heart of a small inland city.

The amenities the rehab center offers will also add some major dollar signs to the total cost. Some luxury rehabs offer acupuncture, private tennis courts, and swimming pools. Keep in mind that you don't have to stay at the Ritz in order to get quality treatment but choosing a treatment center with just the right number of amenities may go a long way in making the stay much more enjoyable and beneficial in the long run.

At our beautiful Texas rehab centers, known collectively as More Than Rehab, we combine the right balance of affordability, while still providing luxuries that encourage you to get involved with your recovery process. If you feel as though the cost of alcohol rehab may be too much, keep in mind that most insurance plans will cover all, or a portion of the cost for your alcohol addiction or substance abuse treatment.

At More Than Rehab we offer a wide range of care levels and work with most major insurance companies. We pride ourselves on remaining affordable while providing the highest quality of care--all while staying at a beautiful and serene location surrounded by the most wonderful natural surroundings that Texas has to offer.

There is absolutely no shame in getting help when you need it. So please reach out to us today at More Than Rehab and let our highly trained staff help you or your loved one. As always, we are available 24/7. Give us a call today!

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5 Ways to Conquer Drug Cravings

When you have a substance use disorder or an addiction, one of the hardest things to do in life is quit using drugs and alcohol. One of the main reasons for this is that you will begin craving the drugs or alcohol, almost immediately after you decide to quit. So, what are some good ways to conquer drug cravings, while you’re in recovery from your addiction? To start, understanding your addiction and the reasons why people begin using drugs and alcohol is a great start.

Unfortunately, millions of Americans struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol. It is estimated that more than 21 million people in our country suffer from an addiction or substance abuse problem every year. To make matters even worse, out of those 21 million people, only about 10 percent of them will ever receive any help or treatment for their disorder. Furthermore, nearly 1 in 8 adults in the United States is considered an alcoholic.

Additionally, drug and alcohol addiction may be of even more concern today than it has been in the past  because of the Coronavirus. The Coronavirus has not only caused issues like the forced shutdown of many major businesses, closures of public school, and mask mandates, but also an increase in things like alcohol sales, recreational drug use and even relapse rates. This was particularly an issue when the pandemic first hit because those in addiction recovery were left without a lot of their support system when AA meetings and NA meetings stopped, and counseling services shut down, along with being laid off or sent home from work.

Hopefully though, now that we are all a bit more used to what daily life looks like while living during a pandemic, we are able to better adjust. Today, there are things like online virtual counseling sessions and social distancing that allow us to still get access to the fundamental building blocks of a support system. All of these things are extremely crucial to a successful recovery from addiction. Even without the Coronavirus, relapse among those with a drug or alcohol problem is very common, with around a 40-60% relapse rate. This is in part due to the drug cravings, relapse triggers and withdrawal symptoms that are often experienced while recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction.

To help with this, we have put together this list of 5 ways to help conquer your drug cravings, so that you are at a lower risk of relapse.

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1. Understand What Cravings Are

First, it is important to understand that your cravings are an entirely normal experience. Just about everyone in drug and alcohol recovery will get them at least one time or another throughout their sobriety. Cravings are classified as an intense urge to use drugs or alcohol. While they are a completely normal experience, (especially in the early stages of recovery), it does not mean they will last forever. Not only will they eventually go away with enough time in sobriety, but the typical craving will likely only last around 10-15 minutes. In the event that you have delayed the craving for some time and you’re still feeling it, then it is likely you are still around the stimulus that triggered the craving. Relapse triggers are identified as the stimulus (person, place, thing, feeling, etc) that triggered the craving in the first place. Cravings and triggers are a result of altered brain functioning and chemistry that occurred because of the drug or alcohol addiction. Over time, your brain will learn to stop associating these triggers with drugs or alcohol making your recovery and sobriety much easier.

2. Identify What Your Triggers Are

As mentioned earlier, a trigger is a stimulus that causes a craving for drugs or alcohol. So, being able to identify exactly what it is in the first place that made you crave drugs or alcohol will be extremely helpful. While a trigger can be anything for anyone, they usually fall into a few different categories. Pattern triggers are places or things that you associate with past drug or alcohol abuse, such as your favorite bar or even something seemingly innocent, like seeing a spoon. Social triggers are people or even groups of people that bring back memories of past substance abuse issues. There are also emotional triggers, such as a cause for celebration or the pain of losing a loved one. Withdrawal can even be considered a type of trigger, as this process usually results in the body feeling like it needs these substances in order to survive.

3. Avoid Relapse Triggers, or Find Ways to Deal With Them

Once you have identified your triggers, it is best to come up with a plan to try and avoid them. If you feel triggered every time you drive by the street your old hangout used to be, then simply try taking a different route instead. Stop hanging out with friends that you used to do drugs or drink with, especially if they aren’t supportive of your recovery. Of course, not all triggers can be avoided, like spoons. When it comes to triggers that you have no way of avoiding, come up with an action plan that you can easily use to help fight off the craving, remember they only last around 10-15 minutes once you have gotten away from the stimulus.

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4. Take a Walk or Exercise

If you do feel that you are about to get a craving, try going out for a breath of fresh air and taking a light walk. Almost any form of exercise will help you fight the craving, but many agree that walking takes the cake when it comes to beating drug cravings. Getting out in the fresh air and taking in the world without a real sense of where you are going can be a huge relief for people experiencing drug cravings. Just remember to try and avoid any places that might trigger you even further. If you are unable to exercise or walk, just getting out in the sun and breathing some fresh air can definitely help.

5. Reach Out To Others

Part of a successful recovery is having a strong support system. Trying attending an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) support group and reach out to some peers who know a lot about how you are feeling. Chances are they know exactly what you are going through and will offer advice that can help. If you have a sponsor or a counselor from a treatment group, then reach out to them. There is almost nothing worse than trying to go through life on your own, especially when you are learning to do it without the use of drugs or alcohol.

If you or a loved one are struggling with relapse, drug cravings, or need help getting sober, please reach out to our family of highly trained addiction specialists at More Than Rehab. You are certainly not alone, and we are here to help 24/7.

(888) 249-2191

What Happens to Your Brain When You Get Blackout Drunk?

If there is one thing that we can all agree on, it is that 2020 has been a stressful year. Along with the nation battling the surge of cases in the COVID-19 pandemic, is the increased rates of alcohol consumption sweeping across the country. No one could argue against ending a long stressful day with a relaxing alcoholic beverage, but there is such a thing as drinking too much. Even in the face of adversity, if you are getting “blackout drunk,” there might be a problem.

Most experts agree that drinking moderation is perfectly fine, and while that may look different depending on the individual, in general, consuming more than four alcoholic drinks per day for men and three alcoholic drinks for women is considered to be too much.

Another important thing to consider if you are beginning to wonder if you or a loved one are consuming too much alcohol is whether or not memory lapses have been experienced after a night of drinking. Drinking too much alcohol in a short amount of time, especially on an empty stomach, can lead to what is known as an alcohol-related blackout. If you have ever experienced a time when you got blackout drunk, you might have had that “uh-oh” feeling the next day as you begin texting your friends, trying to piece together what happened the night before. Unfortunately, though commonly experienced, blackouts are a tell-tale sign that way too much alcohol has been consumed.

What is it like to get blackout drunk?

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For those who have ever experienced a blackout, it can often be a scary experience. Not only are you left wondering what happened the night before, you may also begin to wonder what exactly happens to your brain when you get blackout drunk? Why does it make it impossible to remember what happened, say, after the fourth shot of tequila? Well, even though we can’t exactly tell you whether or not you really danced on the pool table in front of your boss, we can try to help explain why drinking too much may cause memory lapses or blackouts.

What happens to your brain when you get blackout drunk?

When you hear the term blacking out, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is unconscious. In fact, it may even be hard to tell that a person is experiencing a blackout when they have had too much to drink within a short amount of time. Blackouts typically occur when a person's BAC (blood alcohol content) reaches twice the legal limit, that is around .15%. Also commonly referred to as alcohol-induced amnesia, blackouts happen when enough alcohol has been consumed that it inhibits the brain's ability to process and store short-term memories into long term memories. Interestingly, it's also not so much about how much you drink but how quickly you drink. Someone who slams three drinks in a row is much more likely to experience a blackout when compared to someone who elevates their blood alcohol content over twice the legal limit, slowly over a longer span of time.

When you rapidly consume a large amount of alcohol, a roadblock essentially goes up between the immediate and short term memory, affecting the brain's ability to store memories and recall them later. The main ingredient behind alcohol’s potent effects is a substance known as ethanol. When consumed, ethanol has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. This can then allow the ethanol, or alcohol, to target receptors located in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for controlling functions like emotions, memory, and recollection. During a blackout, you may be able to recall things in between the 30, 60, and 90 second time-span but anything beyond that is all but forgotten.

Additionally, depending on how much alcohol is consumed, and how many of these receptors are targeted, a blackout can either be partial or complete. A partial blackout is commonly referred to scientifically as “fragmentary”, and they are sometimes referred to as “brown-outs”. Partial blackouts are where bits or pieces of information may be easily recalled, but there are still gaps in time where nothing can be remembered. Visual or verbal cues may be helpful in putting together what may have happened the night before. Or, these cues could help someone recall more bits of information if a partial blackout is the kind experienced.

Drinking too much alcohol can cause temporary amnesia.

Complete blackouts, however, are when the person experiences complete and total amnesia up until a certain point in time where they ultimately consumed too much alcohol. Complete blackouts are sometimes referred to scientifically as “en bloc” or as “that never happened”. It is also highly possible that even though you may have experienced a complete black out, you weren’t a total mess. Sometimes the blackout is triggered before enough alcohol has been consumed to affect your cognitive abilities and motor functions. This sometimes happens when someone was consuming too much alcohol on an empty stomach. This can make it difficult to detect, as there may not be any signs beyond normal slurring of speech and the appearance of minimal impairment.

If you have a friend or loved one who has a tendency to go a little overboard while at the bar, it might be helpful to ask them if they remember what happened 15 minutes ago. If they do not, it is highly likely they have had too much to drink and are experiencing a blackout. If you’re a good friend, then you should maybe at least try to keep them from making poor decisions they might regret later. Although one isolated incident of drinking to the point where you experience a blackout may not initially be a sign that an alcohol abuse problem is present, if it is something that continues to happen on a regular basis that is a huge sign that there is an alcohol problem. It may be a great enough problem that it might require some professional help from a reputable addiction treatment program.

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If you believe you, a friend, or another loved one may be experiencing an alcohol addiction or substance abuse problem of any kind, then we are here to help. At More Than Rehab, we are a team of trained professionals who are also a family, not just with the staff but with our clients as well. We understand what it takes to live a life of sobriety and we would love the opportunity to share the tools we have learned with you. Reach out to us today and join the family at More Than Rehab. We’re here for you 24/7:

888-249-2191

Alcoholism is on the Rise During COVID-19

I’m sure the year of 2020 hasn’t turned out quite the way any of us had envisioned it would have in the beginning of the year. Since the arrival of COVID-19 in our country, we have all faced many challenging obstacles. Temporary closures of businesses deemed non-essential, self-isolation, quarantine, and other dramatic changes of how we live on a daily basis have all led to some seriously negative consequences that experts suggest we will be dealing with for years. While many of the effects of this global pandemic have remained relatively unmeasured, there are still several issues that have substance abuse treatment specialists rightfully worried throughout the United States.

Alcoholism is on the rise during COVID-19 across the US.

Along with increased rates of overdose and relapse, alcoholism has also been on a steep rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent data shows that the purchase of alcohol and the rates of alcohol abuse have rapidly been growing since the beginning of the year.

For example, alcohol sales increased by 54% for the week ending March 21 of this year, right around the same time that the quarantine and major government shut-down began; online sales have also reportedly increased by over 260% since 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also released several statements regarding this issue. Not only are they concerned with riskier behavior that is associated with the consumption of alcohol, but alcohol also increases the likelihood of contracting the virus and can make the symptoms of the coronavirus much more severe.

Social isolation in quarantine can contribute to increased drug and alcohol consumption.

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Many are having to adapt to conditions such as working from home with distractions that they aren't ordinarily used to putting up with, managing personal relationships with their partner or spouse while living and working in the same proximity, or having to juggle helping their kids stay at home and learn in the virtual classroom. All of this makes it very easy to understand the desire to pour a glass of wine or grab yourself a beer after a long stressful day to help take the edge off, especially when one considers the amount of changes we are all going through on a daily basis.

According to a recent self-reporting survey, more than 55% of adults reported an increase in their drinking since the beginning of the pandemic, with nearly 20% reporting a significant increase. An issue that may be more of a concern for certain members of the population, as another self-reporting study showed that excessive drinking has increased by over 41% for women. Though a large number of the population admittedly seem to be enjoying a drink more often because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still such a thing as “too much” - and one may begin to wonder, what exactly is that limit?

How much alcohol consumption is “too much”?

Though the amount of alcohol recommended for daily consumption varies slightly depending on the source, all major health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) agree that drinking in moderation is the safest way to consume alcohol in order to most effectively avoid any negative health effects associated with drinking. Moderate drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as up to 4 alcoholic drinks per day for men and 3 alcohol drinks per day for women. Though, this can differ depending on many things such as weight, height, and family history.

One concern of drinking above moderation is that it can lead to changes in tolerance and dependence. Not only that, but researchers are concerned that less people will seek medical attention due to the pandemic for fear of overburdening the system or catching the virus. This can lead to those in help not seeking the medical treatment that they need.

So, if you are concerned that you or a loved one may be struggling with an alcohol addiction or other substance abuse disorder, then More Than Rehab is still here to help! Do not worry, we are also taking extra precautions during this time to ensure that our clients are safe while on their road to recovery.

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Signs that you, or a loved one may be struggling with alcoholism:

If you are still unsure if you or loved one have gone from recreational drinking to what may be an alcohol abuse disorder, then here are some common signs or symptoms that there might be a bigger problem:

There are other many alcohol related symptoms that one may want to look out for if you are concerned that there may be a problem. Alcohol is an easy substance to become addicted to and is the leading reason people seek substance abuse treatment in the United States.

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The first step to getting help for alcoholism is admitting that you have a problem.

We know that daily life has become especially difficult for people living in our world today. If you are a loved one have developed a problem, or have been struggling with an addiction for a long time and need help recovering again, we can help to get your life back on track. At More Than Rehab, we also help teach you healthy coping skills, so that you no longer need to rely on alcohol to help relieve the stress of today’s world. Many of us here at More Than Rehab have been where you are before, so we know what it takes to lead a healthy life without drugs or alcohol. Please let our family help yours today!

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Call anytime, we are available 24/7.

PTSD & Drug Use: Military, Police, Fire & Healthcare Workers

Many have heard the term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but what does that really mean? Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric condition in which the person suffering has either experienced or witnessed a terrifying or traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident such as a car crash, combat in war, rape, or some other type of violent personal assault. The symptoms of PTSD are often grouped into four categories; intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking or mood, and changes in physical or emotional reactions.

What are the four categories of symptoms with PTSD?

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include recurrent and unwanted memories of the event that cause or trigger distress, flashbacks or reliving the traumatic event(s) as if it were currently happening. Terrifying dreams or nightmares related to the incident may occur, along with severe emotional distress or physical reactions to things that remind you of the traumatic event.

Symptoms of avoidance usually include trying to avoid thinking or talking about the event and avoiding people, places, or things that may remind you of the event.

Negative changes in thinking or mood may include symptoms such as; negative thoughts about yourself, people, or the world in general, hopelessness about the future, memory issues, and difficulty maintaining healthy relationships.

Lastly, symptoms of changes in physical or emotional reactions are being easily startled or frightened, always being on guard for danger, trouble sleeping or trouble concentrating, and overwhelming guilt or shame.

If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, and have also experienced a traumatic event, you may have what is known as PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. There is no shame in asking for help and you may want to consider reaching out to a mental health professional so that they can help you better manage the symptoms.

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Call us today for help with your drug or alcohol addiction. We offer the best evidence-based treatment program in the Houston, Texas area.

PTSD and drug use is very common among people in the United States

It is estimated that one in eleven people will be diagnosed with PTSD at one point in their lives. Though, this may be true, there are certain jobs within the community that put people at a higher risk to experience a traumatic event. People in the military, both men and women, people on the police force, first responders such as fire fighters, border patrol agents and people in the healthcare industry all have jobs that are more likely to expose them to traumatic experiences that can affect mental health.

There has long been a link between drug use and PTSD, as sufferers likely turn to drugs or alcohol in order to cope with the devastating symptoms they experience because of the traumatic events they have gone through. For instance, people who suffer from PTSD are 14 times more likely to develop substance use problems of some kind. Research also has found that people with PTSD are much more likely to abuse alcohol over other illicit drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine. That is not to say, though, that some sufferers of PTSD do not abuse other drugs as well, because they commonly do.

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It is no secret that our military members engage in, or witness, acts of war or combat. In recent times, between the years of 1995 and 2012, there has been a 52% increase in the amount of veterans receiving treatment for a substance abuse disorder, this is most likely because of the recent “war on terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is estimated that 27% of veterans who suffer from PTSD also develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

National Institutes of Health

The reintegration of our veterans is often difficult, as they are forced to adjust quickly and without much guidance or supervision. This often leads them to trying to self-medicate their symptoms. Unfortunately, many are afraid to ask for help, due to the negative stigma surrounding addiction.

For the men and women in our police forces, they are often the first line of defense, causing them to witness and experience some traumatic events. It is estimated that around 7-19% of police officers suffer from PTSD at any given time; compared to the 3.5% of the average population, or one in eleven people. A recent study showed that roughly 25% of people who serve on the police force also suffer from a substance abuse disorder, with the majority of them turning to alcohol-- though some say that number is inflated, and that the actual percentage is closer to 16. Either way, the studies concluded that many turn to alcohol in order to help them sleep and ward off any nightmares they may be experiencing.

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Post-traumatic stress disorder in police and fire departments

Those who serve in the fire department also are often the first responders on the scene of many traumatic events, ultimately leading to PTSD. Studies have shown that the number of firefighters who suffer from this condition ranges anywhere from 7-37% at any given time, a rate that is similar to those who serve in the armed forces. According to a report done by the US Firefighters Association, nearly 10% of people in the fire service also struggle with a substance use disorder, with them being twice as likely to abuse alcohol than other substances, a number that is also double that of the general population. Many do not discuss their mental health issues in the firehouse, which likely leads them to self-medication.

Healthcare workers are not immune from PTSD and drug use

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Those in the healthcare field also encounter many situations that are considered to be traumatic, even more so today with the current pandemic that is sweeping across the globe. Consequences of the coronavirus only heighten the concern that healthcare workers may begin to experience post-traumatic stress. A study conducted several years before the coronavirus outbreak suggested that 22% of healthcare workers exhibit symptoms and that 18% met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD.

PTSD aside, doctors and nurses have one of the highest rates for addiction and substance abuse disorder, the reasons for that are ample: easier access to drugs, abusing substances to cope with long hours, or self-medicating to alleviate symptoms of an underlying mental health condition, such as PTSD.

It is good to recognize that people in these positions put their lives on the line every day, and they should not have to suffer in silence. Post-traumatic stress disorder is something that can be managed, but more people need to speak out about this condition so that more people feel comfortable discussing. If you, or a loved one, are suffering from an addiction to alcohol or drugs, or need help coping with symptoms of PTSD, please reach out to us for help, we are available 24/7!

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The Military and Drug Use

America is known for having a strong military, whose members are strongly supported by other American citizens, because we recognize that their duty and sacrifice are what allows each of us to enjoy the freedom we all share. Unfortunately, the United States has participated in many conflicts across the globe, most recently in Iraq, in 2003 as a response the 2001 terrorist attacks that took place on American soil on 9/11. American troops are still currently active there, to this day. While many know the long history of the United States, and our involvement in a number of wars, a newer topic in the American discourse is the tumultuous repercussions of these conflicts to our soldier’s mental health. The military and drug use are not mutually-exclusive. Many active duty military personnel and our returning veterans can easily face the very real challenge of developing a substance use disorder.

Military combat veterans and drug use.

Some things that Veterans in our country are forced to deal with, usually upon returning home from war, range from issues like homelessness, unemployment, and mental health disorders such as PTSD (or post-traumatic stress disorder). These issues are certainly not unexpected and they are relatively common. Another issue with members of the military, and their immediate families, are substance abuse disorders, like an addiction or chemical dependence to drugs or alcohol.

Oftentimes, this can go both ways, as the loved one who is a member of the military may develop an addiction overseas or once returning home, or, vice versa, the family members who are not in the military may develop an addiction while their loved one is away at war.

In 2015 alone, more than 30% of active duty military personnel engaged in hazardous drinking behavior or met criteria for an alcohol abuse disorder.

- The Rand Corporation

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What types of drugs are commonly used by military personnel?

Besides alcohol, substances like marijuana and cocaine are also common among active duty service members currently in the military, however, due to the fact that testing positive to a random drug test could lead to a dishonorable discharge, many military members develop problems associated with alcohol or prescription painkillers, commonly prescribed due to injuries from combat or carrying and operating heavy equipment. For instance, during the years of 2001 to 2009, the number of painkillers prescribed to the military more than quadrupled, causing a subsequent rise in opioid use disorders as well. In 2017, one in four active-duty members of the United States military received a prescription for opioids.

According to data collected by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than one out of every 10 veterans has a substance abuse disorder of some kind, which is slightly higher than the general population, even more so when just comparing data for male veterans aged 18-25. This number could be attributed to the fact that many veterans will also develop a mental health disorder as well. A recent report found that nearly 30 percent of active duty personnel have a mental health condition requiring treatment, and just under 50 percent of veterans have a mental health condition that also requires treatment.

The negative stigma concerning mental health prevents military and their families from asking for help.

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Another issue for military members is the stigma surrounding mental health and/or addiction. Many times, they are afraid to seek help in fear of what loved ones or other people may think. If you, or a loved one, are struggling with a mental health issue or a substance abuse disorder, please do not hesitate to ask for help! Years of experience has shown that many family members are accepting and more than willing to try to get you the help that you need. You made sacrifices to help defend American freedom, our heritage and values. You deserve to be treated with respect and care, especially when it comes to your mental health.

As always, please feel free to reach out to one of our addiction specialists today!

More Than Rehab is located just outside of Houston, Texas.

We’re always here to offer help when needed!

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Substance abuse among America’s Military Families.

Another important aspect of the military and drug use, is what happens to the family that gets left behind while their loved one is away fighting for the freedom and protection of our country? This is important to consider when talking about the military and drug use, but all too often it seems to get overlooked. A recent survey found that roughly 44% of people in the military are married with children, and approximately 56% are married alone. Numbers estimate that there are more members of military families then there are active duty personnel, where roughly around 1.9 million people in the United States are an immediate part of a military family.

According to the NSDUH (the National Survey on Drug Use and Health), over 30% of military wives aged 18-49 participated in hazardous binge drinking behavior within the last 30 days and over 12 percent reported abusing illicit drugs within the past year. Furthermore, they were much more likely to engage in binge drinking behavior compared to other members of the civilian population. Additionally, 30 percent of military wives aged 18-49 also had a mental health disorder requiring treatment within the last year.

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These rates of substance abuse could be due to a number of reasons: having to juggle all the household responsibilities and take care of the kids all alone while their husbands are away at war. Wondering if their loved one is going to be safe, while deployed to active duty. These things are emotionally traumatic for both parties. Unfortunately, the children of active duty service members are not unaffected by one, or both of their parents being in the military. The same survey showed that nearly 20% of children who had a parent in the military also struggled with a substance abuse disorder of some kind.

While research in this field is still relatively new, it is safe to say that not only are veterans and active members of the military affected, but their family members may be as well. There is honor in serving your country, and there is honor in loving someone who does, but it can come with its own set of consequences.

Here at More Than Rehab, we truly understand substance abuse disorders and specialize in areas like how the military may impact the entire family with things like PTSD and substance abuse disorders. It is important to remember that even though you may be suffering, you are not alone. Let us help you get back on track and show you the way to get your life back. To the members of the military and their families, we appreciate your service to this country and would not hesitate in returning the favor!

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Can I Get COVID-19 From Drug Use?

The coronavirus, also commonly known as COVID-19, has rapidly swept across the globe, ultimately causing worldwide economic shut downs in the hopes of flattening the curve to potentially save millions of lives that are at risk of death from this dangerous virus. The problem with COVID-19 is that the virus can last on surfaces for days and can survive in the air for a matter of hours, leading to high rates of infection. Not only does the coronavirus spread rapidly, but it can lie dormant in the host for up to two weeks without showing any signs or symptoms of infection. Long story short, the coronavirus is very dangerous and has the potential to kill a lot of our loved ones, regardless of where they are from.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic start?

The coronavirus is believed to have started in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei Province in the later part of 2019. It is thought to have jumped from another species (most likely bats) to another, infecting the first humans in the local surrounding area. Spreading like wildfire in China (as around 80,000 humans were infected), it slowly made its way around the globe, eventually reaching America and hitting places like New York and California very hard. All of this led to drastic measures being taken like closures of non-essential businesses and self-isolation or quarantine.

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The full medical name for COVID-19 is SARS-CoV-2, meaning Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, and it is closely related to the virus responsible for the SARS outbreak in 2003. While a lot of research still needs to be conducted in order to fully understand how this deadly virus operates, researchers have discovered a wide array of important information, even in the short time period that it has been around. Primarily, coronavirus attacks the lungs. While the exact fatality rate is still unclear, it has a higher chance of death than the flu, and even a higher fatality rate in those with a co-occurring disorder such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), asthma and people with compromised immune systems, as they are unable to properly fight the virus off.

So, what does the coronavirus pandemic mean for people who use drugs and alcohol?

Well, for starters, unfortunately, people who use drugs or alcohol are usually in a higher risk category for a variety of physical and mental health issues. Additionally, they have a higher chance of contracting the virus for several different reasons, including things like high rates of homelessness and incarceration.

Not to mention, as we previously stated, Covid-19 attacks the lungs, this is said to worsen with certain patients who have some form of substance use disorder. For people with alcohol use disorder, or people who smoke any substance, including cigarettes, vapes, crystal meth, heroin or other opioids, are all at higher risk of mortality if they happen to contract this deadly virus. Especially, for those who smoke or vape, because these activities weaken the respiratory system at an alarming rate.

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Interestingly enough, alcohol sales have reported to spike, increasing over 55% following orders of quarantine, social-distancing and isolation. What people do not know is that this poses a serious risk, as alcohol consumption can greatly compromise the human immunoresponse system.

People who frequently abuse alcohol are also at a higher risk of infection and mortality because of their compromised immune systems, making people more vulnerable to respiratory diseases like the coronavirus. It is even more important to refrain from drinking this time if you are a person in the high-risk categories, generally meaning people over the age of 65, or those with other serious health conditions.

The dangers of smoking and vaping during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Although it may seem like people who use cigarettes or vape are not serious drug users, these substances still pose a serious danger to one’s health, especially during this time. Cigarettes have been known to cause things like cancer, diabetes and many other major health issues. Smoking causes serious impairment to lung function making it difficult to fight off deadly viruses like COVID-19. A recent study released by WHO (World Health Organization) found that smokers are more likely to develop serious complications when infected with the coronavirus. The same can be said for someone who uses vapes, or electronic cigarettes; they are inhaling dangerous chemicals that strongly affect the functionality of their lungs.

Heroin itself is a very dangerous and deadly drug. It is normally seen as black, sticky substance and commonly referred to as “black tar”. Heroin has been known to be highly addictive, and has recently risen in popularity. One of the main problems with heroin is the illegal manufacturing process, as it has been known to be “cut” with other substances, helping to increase the risk of overdose. People who use heroin are in a high-risk category for COVID-19 because of the pulmonary effects the drug has on the body. Heroin acts on the brain stem, slowing bodily systems down and decreasing oxygen supply to the blood supply as it slows a person's breathing. This can cause major complications, even more so when a person contracts the deadly coronavirus.

People who use methamphetamine are also at higher risk when it comes to Covid-19. Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, is another very dangerous and addictive drug. Like heroin, it can be used in a number of different ways, such as being smoked, snorted, or injected. Aside from high rates of overdose and health issues, people with a history of methamphetamine use are at a higher risk of pulmonary damage and pulmonary disease. This is because meth restricts the blood flow causing hypertension.

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Alcohol and drug abuse greatly increases your chances of contracting COVID-19.

It is never too safe to be sorry, and all research suggests that excessive drug and alcohol use put you at a higher risk of contracting the virus. The added health complications of people who struggle with substance abuse, along with a lack of basic personal hygiene can increase the likelihood of fatality and develop the serious symptoms of Covid-19. If you, or a loved one, are suffering from an addiction then do not hesitate to ask for help. We are still offering a wide selection of treatment options to best suit your needs. Take control of your health and begin leading a better life today, you do not have to go through this alone!

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