Is Binge Drinking Bad?

Group of people binge drinking

You may have heard of the term “binge drinking” before. It sounds like a dangerous concept at first: consuming a lot of alcohol in a short period of time can surely lead to some side effects, right? 

On other hand, some people say that it’s alright if you only do it from time to time. Maybe it’s alright to let go every once in a while? 

But most of all, is it bad? 

Here’s what you need to know: 

What is binge drinking? 

To “binge” is to indulge in something in an excessive way. Thus, “binge drinking” means consuming an extreme amount of alcohol in a short period of time. 

For many people, the end goal of binge drinking is to get drunk and release tension. It’s an activity that’s seen as a fun way to “let loose,” especially when celebrating or trying to forget something stressful like work or life problems. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define binge drinking consuming 5 or more drinks for men and 4 or more drinks for women on one occasion. 

Generally, however, a binge drink occurs whenever you intentionally drink an excessive amount of alcohol in a single day, to the point that you become intoxicated. This can be as many as 8 drinks for some, or as little as 3 drinks for others. 

There are many ways that people binge drink: 

  • Games such as “beer pong” where two players make each other drink alcohol by successfully landing a small ball into their cups 
  • Dares that start with “Take a shot every time…” where lost bets result in the losing party taking a shot of alcohol with high alcohol content 
  • Receiving peer pressure from friends who also binge drink 

Binge drinking vs. heavy drinking 

Binge drinking may be confused for the term “heavy drinking.” The CDC defines heavy drinking as consuming at least 15 drinks per week for men and at least 8 drinks per week for women. 

In other words, the difference is frequency. If you consume 7 drinks in one night, for example, it’s considered binge drinking. If you consume 16 drinks in a week, that would be heavy drinking. 

However, it’s possible for both binge drinking and heavy drinking to occur. For instance, consuming a lot of alcohol every other day to the point of intoxication may be considered as both heavy drinking and binge drinking. 

Is binge drinking bad? 

It may be argued that binge drinking is alright if you only do it every once in a while. For example, going on a binge drink for a day and never touching alcohol for the rest of the month is fine. 

However, no matter how you approach binge drinking, it carries both short-term and long-term risks. 

Short-term risks include: 

  • Heavy sleepiness – Alcohol consumption induces sleepiness. Binge drinking can lead to heavy sleep and affect any commitments the day after the binge drink 
  • Impaired motor control – Proper lack of control over your body may lead to injuries and incidents that range from minor to fatal. These include tripping, stumbling, or attempting to drive a vehicle while under influence 
  • Regrettable or shameful acts due to lack of inhibition – While drinking alcohol can make you feel relaxed, it also removes behavioral inhibitions. This results in responding or committing acts that you would otherwise avoid doing outside the influence of alcohol 

Some people may point out that binge drinking has short-term side effects. In reality, however, binge drinking has long-term consequences on your well-being. 

Binge drinking can be a gateway to building alcohol dependence. This can happen in two ways: 

  1. You’re currently facing a time of distress when you engage in binge drinking. 
  2. Put simply, you found binge drinking to be very pleasurable.  

In both cases, you’ll develop a mental association between alcohol consumption and relief, thus leading to dependence. The presence of stress can build this association more quickly, as the sensation of relief from drinking alcohol becomes stronger. 

Alcohol dependence has drastic effects on your overall well-being and can affect various aspects of your life. 

Some side effects include: 

  • Social isolation 
  • Depression and anxiety 
  • Impaired work performance 
  • Inability to maintain a healthy routine 
  • Losing track of long-term goals 

How to avoid binge drinking 

For the most part, binge drinking poses a danger when it comes to you through social pressure. It’s become quite a common practice in parties with hard alcohol involved. Thus, you’re more likely to avoid the risk of the pressure if you attend social gatherings with little to no alcohol. 

Nevertheless, binge drinking can occur in any event. Holidays like Halloween, especially, can vary wildly in how much binge drinking tendencies are present. In any case, it’s best to stay vigilant. 

Here are some practices you can implement to avoid going on a binge drink: 

  • Strictly limit yourself to a few glasses of light alcohol (i.e. 12% or less alcohol content) 
  • Avoid hard alcohol (i.e. alcohol with more than 20% alcohol content) or cocktails that contain hard alcohol 
  • Have a friend accompany you and help you avoid binge drinking 
  • Be stern in refusing invitations to consume more alcohol than you can handle 

The safest tip is to avoid alcohol altogether, especially when you’re facing stressful times in life. Even a single bottle of beer can send you down a spiral of binge drinking. After all, alcohol dependence always starts with one drink. 

Instead, you can find other outlets to help you release stress in a positive, transformative way. Some examples include: 

  • Finding new hobbies and interests 
  • Watching your favorite TV show or movie 
  • Venting out to a loved one 
  • Staying in new cafes for studying or working 

If you still decide to attend parties that contain copious amounts of alcohol, remember to steer clear of social pressure. When you’re hardened enough against alcohol consumption, you can befriend people at the party without falling into alcohol yourself. After all, the life of the party is not alcohol — it’s the people. 

Keep yourself in moderation with California Recovery Center 

The key practice with drinking alcohol is to always exercise moderation. Never consume enough alcohol to the point of drunkenness to avoid injuries. Limit your drinking to once every two weeks or a month as much as possible. 

Alcohol, like any other substance, has severe risks that can adversely affect your life all for simply “enjoying the moment.” In that regard, there are many, many other ways you can make the most of not just the moment but your entire life. 

Still, the choice of drinking alcohol is up to you. But whatever choice you make, it’s best to know what recovery center to go to in case you develop a dependence. At California Recovery Center, our doors are always open to those who want to recover from unhealthy drinking habits into a healthy, wholesome lifestyle. Learn more by reaching out to us at (866) 864-1986.

Supporting Our Veterans: Substance Abuse and Mental Health 

Veterans substance abuse affecting him

The pressure of military life often leads to veterans undergoing substance abuse. As we celebrate Veteran’s Day later this week, we must remember not only their accomplishments and courage but also their struggles both during and after service. 

Co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders continue to haunt our veterans, and we must always be there to support them. Here’s how we can celebrate Veteran’s Day in a meaningful way. 

Why do veterans turn to drug and alcohol? 

Military life is stressful for many veterans. Some of the things they experienced include: 

  • Constant risks of injury or death on the field 
  • Losing colleagues while on duty 
  • Worrying about their loved ones back home 

To cope with the stress, some of them abuse substances. The most abused substance is alcohol, with 1 in 3 service military personnel found to be “binge drinkers.” 

This abuse continues well after service, as they face difficulties rejoining civilian life like: 

  • Catching up with the rest of the world 
  • Mending relationships formed before the war 
  • Finding stable employment 

Many studies have dug into the incidence of veterans and substance abuse. A 2019 study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse revealed the following statistics: 

  • 11% of veterans are diagnosed with having a substance use disorder (SUD). 
  • Veterans diagnosed with having an SUD are 3-4 more likely to be found with co-occurring PTSD or depression. 
  • Between 37 to 50% of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars were diagnosed with co-occurring SUD and mental disorders. 

Solving this issue has turned out to be challenging as well. In the 2015 Health Related Behaviors Survey (HRBS) that studied drug use among veterans, only 8.6% of respondents self-reported their substance abuse. 

Besides wanting to avoid the punishment of discharge, this is because they want to steer clear of: 

  • Being mocked by their peers for being “weak” and seeking support for their addiction 
  • The stigma towards substance use victims 
  • Facing the risk of losing job prospects and relationships 

In other words, veterans turn to substance use because of their experiences both during and after service. Even with treatment services like Veterans Affairs (VA) drug rehab, many veterans prefer to hide their issues than risk facing judgment by society. 

How to support veterans against substance abuse 

The first thing you need to do to help veterans is to determine if they’re undergoing substance abuse. To do that, you need to look out for the signs. 

In particular, there are 3 types of signs that you have to look out for: 

  1. Appearance – Disheveled image, wearing the same clothes for extended periods of time, lack of hygiene 

  1. Behavior – Occasionally spacing out while being with someone, forgetfulness, staring into the distance on their own 

  1. Sociability – Isolating themselves during social events, constantly stuttering while talking, unenthusiastic responses when being talked to 

The key to supporting veterans against substance abuse is to help them reintegrate with daily life. They have been away from home for a long time — the last thing they need is to be alienated for their substance abuse problems. 

Of course, reducing their substance usage is one of your main objectives, but you have to do it in a very supportive and welcoming way. This means that you have to avoid being upfront about it as much as possible. 

Here are very effective ways you can help them combat their substance use: 

  • Always engage in casual, friendly conversations with them. Most of their social interactions in the field were often serious, stressful, and required quick responses. Talking to them in a relaxed, easygoing way helps them socially reintegrate with normal daily life. 
  • Help them through their personal problems. Be it financial or social, supporting them through their current problems keeps them away from the substances. 
  • Suggest recreational activities that don’t involve alcohol. Sports, board games, hobbies—these activities, in general, help them redirect their energy to something that utilizes their physical prowess in a fun way. 

Remember to always exercise patience and empathy, as this process will take time. 

Helping veterans with their mental health 

All veterans deserve support and care for what they experienced during their service. Even if a veteran currently doesn’t consume any substances, at some point, they eventually might. 

They may have been mentally and emotionally drained from the stress of military service. Returning home should mean more than just being away from the battlefield — it has to be a genuine, fruitful reintegration into normal daily life. Otherwise, they might be unable to cope with their negative experiences and eventually resort to substances. 

  • Invite them to social gatherings. They lost time away from home and may have greatly missed their family and friends. Inviting them is a good way for them to catch up with loved ones while reintegrating themselves to peacetime. 
  • As much as possible, try to avoid asking about their experiences in the field. You may unknowingly cause them to feel discomfort as they remember harrowing moments while in service. 

  • If they are vocal about their experiences, talk about them in a positive light. Compliment their bravery, resourcefulness, or physical prowess as an acknowledgment of their accomplishments. Avoid asking about touchy subjects and be polite if you do decide to ask. 
  • Always ask them how they’re doing. Give them a phone call or shoot them a message every once in a while. Doing this lets them acknowledge that they are, indeed, back home and that their presence is appreciated outside of military life. 

Alcohol and drug rehab for veterans 

Remembering Veteran’s Day should not be confined to just 1 day. It’s a continuous process of establishing a strong, holistic support system for veterans undergoing substance abuse. If we continue to aid veterans struggling with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders, we can open up a culture where other veterans can feel welcome in showing their vulnerabilities — we can show that life after the military is filled with hope and support. 

At California Recovery Center, we solemnly salute our troops for braving struggles even after the line of duty. Our line of treatments includes specialized veteran substance abuse programs for our heroes returning from the battlefield. If you or your loved one is a veteran struggling with alcohol or drugs after service, we eagerly welcome you with open arms and a sure plan for your recovery. 

5 Signs a Family Member Is Living With Addiction and Mental Health Issues 

Husband comforting wife undergoing family addiction

Family addiction is a serious issue that affects 46% of families in the U.S. alone. Left untreated, it can cause a devastating rift between family members. This also comes in conjunction with mental health issues, which comes either as the result or the cause of substance abuse. The worst part is that loved ones tend to hide these problems out of fear that they’ll be stigmatized or kicked out by their family. 

The best way to deal with family addiction is rehabilitation, not punishment. Of course, you should take action only when you’ve identified that substance abuse or mental health is truly the issue. However, your loved ones may be afraid to express their problems to you outright. In this case, you have to look out for signs of their trouble. 

Here are 5 signs that a loved one is dealing with addiction in the family: 

1. Self-isolation from family

One of the most common signs of addiction or mental health is self-isolation. With a lot of social stigmas associated with substance abuse, victims tend to keep to themselves while living with addiction. 

You can clearly see this when your loved one becomes: 

  • Less communicative. They no longer start conversations on their own and give brief disinterested responses when talked to. 
  • More irritable than usual.  They’ve built a bubble around themselves and become frustrated when someone tries to intrude into their comfort zone. 
  • Secretive and defensive. If they’re pushed about their issues, they either deny them or avoid the topic altogether. 

If you’ve observed these in your loved one, be more lenient and accommodating. Foster a welcoming space that lets them feel free to express themselves without prejudice. For instance, you can stay beside them as you go about your usual day-to-day activities and strike a smile at them every once in a while as a positive acknowledgment of their presence. 

They may not immediately open up right away when you do this, but it’s an effective first step to helping them. 

2. Changes in appearance and demeanor

Substance abuse and mental health issues can also take a toll on how your loved one appears and behaves. Generally, they become less interested in keeping themselves well-presented to other people or, sometimes, maintaining their hygiene. 

Observe your loved one and watch out for these signs: 

  • Frequently disheveled appearance
  • Wearing the same clothes for extended periods of time
  • Occasionally spacing out
  • Unresponsiveness when talked to
  • Forgetfulness

Some of these signs may be inconvenient to you or your family. If your loved one is in charge of chores, for example, they may either forget to do them or leave them unfinished, which may become a habit over time. Family members may also use their lack of hygiene as a reason to stay away from them out of shame. 

In any case, you have to exercise patience and understanding. Instead of scolding them, for instance, gently remind them or assist them with their chores. Avoid being confrontational about their behavior or appearance. Instead, be more encouraging of healthy habits with the express intent of helping them out. 

3. Psychosomatic symptoms

The idea that “It’s all in the mind” couldn’t be farther from the truth when there are psychosomatic conditions that occur due to struggling with mental health. Lethargy or lack of energy is one of the most common psychosomatic symptoms that affect those suffering from substance use or mental health issues. 

Other symptoms include: 

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Sudden changes in weight
  • Unhealthy diet or irregular appetite
  • Inconsistent or excessive sleep

Lacking energy for everyday activities can lead to long-term deterioration physically and mentally. While you can help alleviate their physical symptoms, this is only a band aid solution at best. You have to solve the issue from its roots by focusing on the substance abuse and mental health issues at the core of the problem. As said before, this comes by promoting a positive environment for the struggling loved one. 

4. Showing lack of interest in hobbies

One of the tragic results of suffering from addiction and mental health issues is the loss of interest in hobbies that your loved one was once passionate about. Dopamine is responsible for providing pleasure in the midst of a reward. Substance abuse can affect how dopamine is produced and released by stimulating only when the victim consumes the substance. However, this also leads to a decrease of dopamine when the loved one is doing their actual hobbies. 

When this happens, you can’t just force them to return to their hobbies as a way of averting substance use. At worst, this further discourages them from taking up the hobby again. Instead, use a positive, gentle approach in encouraging them about their hobbies. 

Try some of these out, for instance: 

  • Recall happy memories about their hobbies 
  • Compliment their skills in a specific hobby 
  • Take up the hobby yourself, even if briefly, and ask your loved one to join you 

These can rekindle the spark within your loved one and encourage them to return to the hobby. It can also be effective in curbing the effects of substance abuse to some degree. Even if it isn’t, helping them return to their hobbies assures them that there’s something to look forward to outside of using substances. 

5. Struggling with school or work 

Another common sign of addiction and mental health is the impact on their performance either at work or in school. There are two ways that substance use affects their performance: 

  1. Impact on their mental state. Lack of focus, forgetfulness, and decrease in creativity and innovation are some of the symptoms of substance use that can affect how your loved ones perform. 
  2. Social stigma from colleagues. The fear of being discovered and stigmatized for substance abuse is highly prevalent in a school or workplace environment. Chances are, a vast majority of your loved one’s colleagues (even the management in a company or school) will become prejudicial towards them. 

The worst part about impaired performance is that this can also be a contributing factor to substance use, further proliferating it. 

Coping with substance use requires a significant amount of time and dedication. Spending time away from professional or academic responsibilities will be vital for this. It may sound detrimental and counterproductive, but it’s actually very beneficial for your loved ones. If they’re given time to focus on their personal lives and cope with their addiction and mental health, the other aspects of their lives will also improve – that includes their other responsibilities. 

Parents of addicted loved ones should discuss with the school’s guidance counselor to come up with a solution that can help the student cope with substance use while improving their academic performance. On the other hand, professionals undergoing substance abuse should consider taking an FMLA leave. 

Solve family addiction with professional treatment

Discovering that your loved one is undergoing substance use and mental health issues can be heartbreaking for the family. You may feel like you were unable to become a meaningful, positive presence to them, enough to lead them towards consuming substances. However, this is not the case – perhaps your loved ones are going through tough times in their lives that they didn’t feel that they should express. Whatever the root cause behind their substance use may be, the most effective solution is professional treatment. 

At California Recovery Center, our mission is to give extensive family help for addiction in a systematic, extensive manner. We provide outpatient and inpatient treatment options for your loved ones so that they can have flexibility in coping with their addiction and mental health issues. Feel free to reach out to us so we can discuss the best way to help your loved ones through their struggles. 

Tips for Enjoying Halloween During Recovery from Substance Abuse

Person getting alcohol from a punch bowl while celebrating Halloween during recovery

A 1993 research article on 1,250 college students is one of many studies that confirmed Halloween is a holiday where alcohol and drug consumption are rampant. This still rings true today and makes it challenging to celebrate and enjoy Halloween during recovery from substance abuse. 

Of course, the true spirit of Halloween is found in the witty costumes and the spooky decorations. You don’t need to consume alcohol or drugs to make Halloween an enjoyable event. Nevertheless, there are real risks around substance consumption that you may fall victim to inadvertently. 

Thus, vigilance is the key to celebrating the holiday. Here are some tips to help you through Halloween during recovery: 

Steer clear of peer pressure 

Peer pressure often runs high during holidays like Halloween. Your friends or loved ones may entice you by saying: 

  • “One drink can’t hurt you.” 
  • “Come on, it’s Halloween! You can let go every once in a while, right?” 
  • “It’s just one day. You can get back to recovery right away!” 

These comments may mean well, since they want you to enjoy Halloween, too. However, notice that these statements can apply to practically any other area in your life. 

Giving in because of what they said can result in you using the same reasons yourself. This makes celebrating Halloween on recovery significantly more difficult to continue. 

Take the first step and avoid peer pressure altogether. Here’s how you can do it: 

  • Remind yourself to say, “No, thanks.” There’s no need to explain why you’re refusing the offer. A simple no will suffice. 
  • Stay with loved ones or friends who are supportive of your recovery. They know that you have to avoid substances to recover successfully and will never think to pressure you. 
  • Consider avoiding parties. Everyone is expected to drink in a party. It doesn’t have to involve a person actively pressuring you to drink. Just being surrounded by people drinking can have an influence on you. Thus, you may have to rethink joining that party you were invited to. 

These suggestions may sound like they take a lot of fun out of Halloween, especially since it’s a social event. However, remember that Halloween is about dressing up as your favorite character through a witty costume. 

Drinking and consuming other substances is optional at best. But to truly celebrate the essence of Halloween, socialize and mingle with people whose costumes you like. 

Check the candy you receive 

On September 2022, 8 students at the Litchfield Community Learning Center in Akron, Ohio, were hospitalized after consuming cannabis gummies. Gummy candies are an example of “edibles,” which are foods that contain cannabis. 

Edibles can come in various forms, including: 

  • Pastries 
  • Brownies 
  • Other baked foods 

Usually, your peers will let you know that they’re giving you edibles. Sometimes, however, you’ll receive food that may actually be edible without your knowledge. It’s also possible that you’ll take a bite off of a brownie or some food on a baking tray during a party that secretly contains cannabis. 

Thus, it’s important that you exercise caution whenever you receive candy. To do that, here are some things you should remember: 

  • Wrapped candies, chocolates, and other sweets by reputable companies should be fine. On the other hand, you should take homemade foods with a grain of salt. 
  • If it’s homemade, ask the person who gave it to you if it contains cannabis. Explain that you’re recovering from substance abuse and that you can’t risk consuming a drug by accident. 
  • When in a rowdy party, try to avoid the food stand. You may end up hungry during the party, but you’ll also guarantee a sober Halloween. 

Be cautious of drinks given to you 

In the same light, you should also be careful of drinks that may be given to you. This is especially in parties where the punch bowl may contain some trace of alcohol. Some people can mix the drinks so well that you’ll barely taste the whiskey or gin that was mixed in. 

To protect yourself, here are some key things you need to remember: 

  • Drink only from pre-packaged juices or bottles. Avoid drinks that have signs of being previously opened, as it may have been spiked. 
  • Avoid homemade beverages from a party. You can never be too sure if the punch bowl has alcohol in it. 
  • Bring your own drinks. The best guarantee of protection is to drink only the beverages you brought yourself. 

Some people, however, may have nefarious reasons and spike your drink without your knowing. Hence, always keep a watchful eye on your beverage. 

Open up about your recovery  

If you do decide to accept the candies or beverages given to you, it’s alright. Discerning which foods or drinks are safe to consume for you is vital if you choose to celebrate Halloween with some decreased restraint. 

In any case, it’s always highly advisable to open about your recovery when you receive such gifts while celebrating Halloween. This lets your peers know about your situation and act accordingly around you. For instance, they may cross out offering you edibles or cocktails and, instead, give you juice or sweets that don’t contain cannabis. 

However, it’s also possible that they simply don’t care, or may think that you just want to miss out on the fun. This may be discouraging to you, but it can eliminate some risks of being offered substances. 

Stay with loved ones 

Who else better to celebrate the spookiness of Halloween than with your family and friends? 

Indeed, there are a lot of people out there from all walks of life who come in interesting costumes, have compelling personalities, and be overall fun to be with. Unfortunately, not all of them will be supportive of your path to recovery and may even tempt you to consume substances during the celebration. 

On the other hand, your loved ones are significantly more likely to support you in your recovery – and in, fun ways, too! You can bake delectable brownies, cook up some delicious food, and whip up drinks, all without substances. 

Staying with your loved ones during Halloween makes you realize not only that you can have fun without substances. It also shows you the value of your loved ones in helping you through your recovery. 

Keep professional help on speed dial during Halloween

When celebrating Halloween recovering, substance abuse is one of the biggest risks you can face. If you’ve consumed a substance by accident while celebrating, it’s best to act fast to make sure you stay on your path to recovery. At California Recovery Center, we attend to each client based on their needs. If you happen to consume alcohol or a drug while celebrating Halloween during recovery, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our outpatient and inpatient treatment options will help you get back to recovering right away. 

The Link Between Depression and Alcohol  

Addictive substances can be broken into two different groups known as stimulants (or “uppers”) and depressants (or “downers”), depending on how they interact with the body and mind. From these descriptors, it’s pretty easy to decipher what the effects of these substances do. Despite the fact it is so often consumed in social settings and is marketed as a product to enjoy at parties and other lively events, alcohol is considered a “downer.” From this, the consumer can experience a state of sedation, dulled senses, and suspended inhibitions. This can create a temporary feeling of relaxation, but too much can present an entirely different outcome, which is why some links depression and alcohol.  

Depression’s Link to Alcohol Addiction 

About one-third of individuals experiencing depression will develop an addiction or abuse alcohol. Teens who experience major depressive episodes are twice as likely to develop an alcohol addiction compared to their peers. “Women are more than twice as likely to start drinking heavily if they have a history of depression.” They are also more likely to “overdo it” than their male counterparts when going through a depressive period.  

Can You Develop Depression from Drinking?  

Because of its suppressant qualities, it is very common for people to turn to alcohol to help them unwind after a stressful day at work or difficult other difficult experiences. This is perfectly acceptable, as long as a glass doesn’t turn into a bottle. When an individual begins to use alcohol to help them cope with every issue that arises, this can reflect the start of an alcohol addiction. 

Also, if drinking becomes excessive, it can damage the brain and lead to depression. It can also cause you to develop depression inadvertently, through careless actions carried out during a state of intoxication (poor decisions, DUIs, etc.).  

Seeking Help for Addiction and Depression  

A preexisting condition of depression combined with a substance addiction is what is considered a dual diagnosis. When seeking recovery for a dual diagnosis, it is important to seek qualified, experienced help. At California Recovery Center, our team of certified care technicians are not only here to assist you in your recovery, but help you build a foundation and healthy coping mechanisms so you can live your best life.  

Mental Health and Addiction

Mental Health and Addiction

The damage done to an individual’s physical health after years of substance abuse is no mystery. It can be seen not only in scientific reports but plastered in magazine articles, billboards, movies, and television. In addition to physical health, it is important to recognize the effects addiction can have on an individual’s mental health as well — not just from the effects of the substance itself, but the residual issues addiction presents.  

Mental Illness and Addictive Tendencies 

It’s not hard to imagine the negative effects substance abuse can have on an individual’s mental health, but sometimes the reverse is true as well. Those with preexisting mental health disorders tend to have a high correlation to alcohol and drug abuse. Studies have shown significant relationships between substance abuse and anxiety, such as panic attacks, PTSD, and general anxiety disorder. Around one in four patients with a preexisting existing diagnosis of a serious mental illness, also suffer from drug abuse.  

Isolation and Addiction 

When an individual becomes heavily dependent on drugs, it tends to raise concerns among friends and family. Sometimes, to avoid judgement or pressure to go to rehab, those with addiction become avoidant of those once in their close circle. This form of isolation brings on feelings of helplessness and loneliness, which can cripple an individual’s mental health. This combination of emotions can create negative thoughts, making recovery feel impossible.  

Reach Out 

Struggling with addiction can feel like a mountainous battle in itself, but when paired with a severe mental illness, it can seem insurmountable. Those already battling depression can have difficulty summoning the energy to take on this battle. When dealing with a preexisting mental illness and addiction, an individual will best benefit from a counselor who is experienced in dual diagnosis. At California Recovery Center, we are equipped to offer dual diagnosis counseling. When you’re ready to start your recovery, reach out today at (866) 864-1986.

Alcohol Awareness Month 

The month of April has been dubbed in the recent past as Alcohol Awareness month. During this month, individuals are encouraged to reflect on their alcohol intake and educate the community on treatment with the goal of preventing and treating alcoholism.  

Through reflection and education, Alcohol Awareness Month is meant to give individuals the chance to actively take note of their alcohol consumption; a habit that can so easily be overlooked in daily life and especially in a society that encourages the consumption of alcohol as a way to relax and socialize within their lives. 
 

Alcoholism in the U.S. 

Alcoholism is ranked as the top public health issue in the nation. For such a treatable disease, there is a disparage of misinformation and a lack of education around the topic. This is one of the main reasons April is dedicated to alcohol awareness; to raise awareness of this entirely treatable condition. Since the pandemic, there has been an increase in alcohol abuse in the United States.  

How to Observe Alcohol Awareness Month 

A challenge that people can engage in during this month is choosing a weekend within the month to go Alcohol-free. The purpose of this exercise is to take note of how you feel during the days you’re drinking in contrast to how you feel during the alcohol-free days. This gives you a chance to take stock of how alcohol is actually affecting you; whether it is minimal, neutral, or negative, you have the opportunity to become conscious of the impact it has on your life.  

If your body has become conditioned to regular alcohol intake, you could experience flu-like symptoms within this short period of time. This is known as withdrawal and could be a sign of deeper dependence on the substance.  
 

What to Do if You’re Struggling with Alcohol 

If you feel you may be struggling with alcohol addiction, call California Recovery Center. We are happy to help you start your journey to a healthier balanced life! 

Take our alcohol use quiz to determine whether you are consuming a dangerous amount of alcohol. You can access the quiz here.

Benefits of Detoxing

Detoxing

We won’t dress it up; detoxing can be an arduous process. While going through detox, your body is working hard to remove the toxins accumulated in your system. This can create a harsh set of withdrawal symptoms, but once these clear up, you will notice a sense of renewal. Though beginning the first steps to detoxing can seem steep, the outcomes are well worth taking on the challenge. Here are some of the benefits to look forward to once you’re on the other side of detoxing. 

Improved Physical Health 

By going through detox, you’re freeing your body from its dependency on drugs or alcohol. Doing this can reset your body’s system and allow it to begin strengthening its natural functions. Organs, such as the liver that processes toxins, can begin to regenerate as it is not in a constant cycle of abuse.

Switching from restless nights brought on by addiction and back to a normal sleep cycle will further assist in the removal of toxins through the glymphatic system.  

Improved Behavior  

When you detox, you create stability; not only within your body but in your life. No longer subject to rapid mood swings. As previously mentioned, you are regaining clarity of mind and the ability to make better choices, thus improving your potential for better connections in your social life. You have the ability to take control of your life on your own terms and build new, healthy habits. Part of overcoming addiction is breaking the cycle of negative habits. By going through the rehabilitation process and fully detoxing, you can begin to set short and long-term goals that you are more likely to follow through on and thus begin to rebuild positive long-lasting habits

Because detoxing can vary so greatly from person to person, it is important to do it with a team. Though at times it may seem like you’re going through this process alone, we guarantee you’re not. At CRC, we’re here to walk with you through each step of your journey. Find out more about our unique, boutique-style facility today and see how our specialized programs can help you!  

Recovery as a Resolution

As we greet the new year, many of us try to map out what it will look like by creating resolutions for ourselves. The most common resolutions usually correlate to improving health and overall wellbeing. We often see exercise, weight loss, and healthy eating topping the chart. Other lifestyle improvements, such as quitting smoking and reducing drinking also appear frequently. Some people also wants to get sober and set recovery as a resolution.

An Opportunity for a Clean Slate

Those suffering from addiction look to New Year’s resolutions as an opportunity for a clean slate. A fresh year and a fresh start. Like other resolutions, it is a well-intentioned goal and can be a great starting point for those looking to being their recovery journey.  

However, attributing recovery to the same means as losing weight can create difficulty in meeting these goals; as resolutions tend to take on the same effectiveness as fad diets. A major issue being people create these resolutions out of guilt, instead of self-care. Sure, you may not be happy with your current situation, but to make real change you have to believe you are worthy of a better life and look at these goals as improvements, not punishments.  

Self-love and a Positive Mindset

Another problem comes from the time expectations built into a resolution, to make a huge life change suddenly and in a relatively small amount of time. Creating such big expectations for ourselves leaves no room for setbacks, which are part of the growth process. Often, growth is not linear and these “mistakes” help us learn what we need to work on. However, perceiving each misstep as an absolute failure, creates negative thought patterns and internal language. Again, this needs to be about self-love and a positive mindset is key.  

Instantaneous gratification is not equal to a sustainable lifestyle. At California Recovery Center (CRC), we believe in creating healthy and balanced lifestyles, which make recovery more attainable. Looking at the end goal, rather than the journey to get there. This is one reason a lot of people throw in the towel within the first few months. 

It’s important to remember that resolutions and recovery are not synonymous. You do not need the start of the year or instrumental marker to begin your journey out of addiction. You need only to be ready.  

If you or a loved one struggles with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, seeking help at an addiction treatment center like CRC is the first step on your journey to lasting recovery. To learn more about how our programs can help you get sober, contact our admissions team today. 

Alcohol Addiction During the Holidays

Many of us look forward to the holidays as an opportunity to give thanks and spend time with loved ones we normally do not get to see. It’s a time for celebration, good food, and community. However, it can also present a number of triggers and stress from overstimulation. If you’re having difficulty getting control over your drinking or feel it is keeping you from engaging socially, it may be time to seek treatment.  For those battling addiction, it can be a particularly trying time.    

How to Manage Alcohol Addiction During the Holidays

If you are currently working through or with your addiction, being around large groups of friends and family who are celebrating the holidays by drinking copiously can put a strain on your battle. Before you surrender or isolate yourself from events (which can also have a negative affect) consider these options:  

  • Do not skip dinner: Avoid eating on an empty stomach, as alcohol will absorb into your bloodstream at a faster rate than if you have eaten.  
  • Set a limit: Decide on a limit before you go. If you know you’re going to be drinking, decide how many drinks you’ll have and pace yourself throughout the evening.  
  • Measure, do not pour: Always measure the amount of alcohol going into a mixed drink, this will allow you to have an accurate idea of how much you’ve had.  
  • Make it a team effort: Enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to help you stick to your limit and make sure you stay safe.  
  • Alternate: Remember to alternate alcoholic drinks with water. This will keep you hydrated, full, and help pace you through the evening.  
  • Lose the keys: Have a safe ride home. It’s always a good idea, even if you plan on not drinking, to have a safety net; should something not go according to plan. This ensures that no matter what, everyone will be safe. Even if you “feel fine,” remember a DUI costs more than an Uber!

Sobriety During the Holidays

If you have decided you do not want to drink this holiday season, here are some tips on maintaining your sobriety: 

  • Enjoy a non-alcoholic beverage: There are now a variety of options if you want to join in on the holiday festivities, without alcohol. Bring your own beverages to ensure you will have plenty for the evening and not risk venturing into alcoholic beverages, should you run out.  
  • No means no: We all know how early peer pressure can detract from our best laid plans, so be firm with people about not drinking or maintaining a limit. Your main focus is to look out for your well-being, not appeasing others with overdrinking. You can tell people ahead of time or at the event and give little to no detail why you’ve chosen not to partake or adhere to a specific amount. It is completely your decision.  
  • Know before you go: Be aware of the type of event you will be attending, whether it’s a family gathering, a close friend get-together, or a large party of people you don’t know well, it helps to consider the type of environment you will be in. If it seems like a situation that could potentially cause more issues by going than politely declining, consider staying at home or fining an alternative event.  
  • Lose the keys: Again, it’s always better to have a backup plan and not need it, than to be without one! Look into Uber, Lyft, or carpool with another sober party goer! 

We understand that it can feel like you’re not part of the fun if you’re not partaking in alcohol, but remember, drinking is not the main event. Focus on enjoying time with your friends and family without comprising your health or safety! There is still plenty of fun to be had this holiday season!  

If you or a loved one struggles with an alcohol use disorder, contact us at Cal Recovery Center today to learn more about our programs and how we can help you overcome your struggles with alcohol.