How Long is Alcohol Rehab?

coed group therapy in alcohol rehab

When a person addicted to alcohol finally decides they are ready for help, one of the first questions they ask is ‘how long will I be in treatment?’. The short answer is: It depends. Any person who is drinking regularly and/or to excess should begin with a medical detox under controlled conditions. This is almost always done in an inpatient setting and usually takes between 5 to 7 days. The length of alcohol detox is determined by a number of factors. These include:

  • How much the person was drinking and how often.
  • How long the person has been drinking.
  • How old the person is and their relative physical health.
  • Whether or not the person was using any other drugs in combination with alcohol.

A careful medical detox is usually an essential component of treatment for alcohol use disorders. Alcohol is one of only a few substances with potentially fatal withdrawal side effects. Seizures can occur when a person abruptly stops drinking and the propensity for seizures depends not only on the amount of alcohol consumed but each person’s unique physiology. In a clinical setting, medications can be used to make the patient comfortable and to avoid dangerous side effects.

Following the detox phase, there are several options for continuing treatment. For many years, the standard model has been about a month in rehab. This may or may not include the detox phase. Part of the reason a month became the standard is that initial research has shown that this is about the minimum amount of time it takes for most people to establish new behaviors and habits. (1)

Most residential alcohol rehabs still last about this length of time. However, more recent studies have found substantial benefits for patients who remain connected to some form of treatment for much longer than the usual 30 days or so.

Insurance benefits and financial means often play a role in the length of inpatient or residential treatment a patient can get. Innovation in the field of addiction care has led to smart solutions, however, which can maximize the care patients get. The current trend is towards extended sober living, intensive outpatient (IOP), and outpatient (OP) engagements. These arrangements may last for as long as 90 days or up to 1 year. The idea is to provide the person recovering from an alcohol use disorder as much time as possible in a structured environment. Many patients will have to return to work or school after treatment. This is another reason why these lengthier, but lower-intensity treatment plans can work well. Most people in sober living continue work or school in addition to participating in treatment. Many people are able to return home after treatment and continue in IOP or OP treatment.

The bottom line is that recovery is a process and a lifestyle change. While formal treatment may have a beginning and an end, the recovery process continues for the rest of our lives. The best approach is to get as much help as is available for a drinking problem and to be willing to integrate continuing care into your life following alcohol rehabilitation.

Sources

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505409/


What is Considered Alcohol Abuse?

two people holding beers together

Social norms with regard to alcohol have evolved over the last 30 years. Drinking to excess has always had consequences, but it was considered more socially acceptable in the past. As we’ve become more health-conscious the expectations for accountability are higher when it comes to alcohol abuse. How do we know when drinking crossed the line into alcohol abuse? There may or may not be consequences to drinking to excess early on. A person caught in a pattern of problem drinking is often unaware of the damage being done or may live in denial. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines heavy drinking as 4 drinks on any day for men or 3 drinks for women. Binge drinking is defined as 4 or more drinks within 2 hours. (1) This is a helpful baseline to evaluate someone’s drinking to start with.

Alcohol Abuse Vs. Alcoholism

It is important to understand that there is a fine line of sorts between alcohol abuse and alcoholism. It is possible to abuse alcohol for a time without becoming physically dependent upon it, but this does not mean other consequences do not occur. Medical science is still exploring the genetic components which may make some people more prone to developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD). It’s estimated that at least 15 million Americans suffer from an AUD and the cause isn’t always clear. (2) What we do know is that any person who drinks heavily and daily or almost daily will develop a physical dependence on alcohol. That is, if they stop drinking abruptly, they will experience withdrawal symptoms ranging from anxiety and cold sweats to seizures in extreme circumstances. Physical withdrawal is a matter of biology. The threshold for dependence may vary from person to person, but no human being is immune to it.

Identifying the Consequences of Alcohol Use Disorder

Some people are not clear if an alcohol abuse disorder is present when physical dependence doesn’t appear to be. The reality is someone can drink heavily and/or binge drink only once or twice a week and have an alcohol abuse disorder. If you are trying to determine if you or someone you know may be abusing alcohol, it is a mistake to use physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms as the sole determining factor of whether or not there is a problem. A wiser approach is to first rely upon the NIAAA’s guidelines for heavy or binge drinking cited above. From there, it’s often helpful to examine consequences.

  • Are relationships with others under strain as a result of drinking?
  • Is the person frequently late or absent to work or school?
  • Is the person behaving irresponsibly and out of character?
  • Has the person had legal problems due to drinking, e.g. DUI?

An alcohol abuse disorder is progressive by nature. In nearly every case, the quantity and frequency of drinking increases over time. Without an intervention or change of some sort, it gets worse before it gets better. The point is that it’s never too soon to act when you suspect you or someone you care about has a problem with alcohol. The tragic situations and health consequences associated with problem drinking are well known. There is nothing to be gained by waiting until something awful happens before you even broach the subject. This may mean an uncomfortable conversation or a confrontation. It may mean admitting some difficult truths to yourself. You are far less likely to regret a little discomfort for doing what you know is right than allowing a potential tragedy to unfold. If you believe you or someone you know may have a problem with alcohol, give us a call at (844) 746-8836 to discuss your treatment options.

(1) https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking
(2) https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders













The Long-Term Effects of Alcoholism

three liquors being poured into shot glass

We have known for centuries that excess alcohol consumption has dire consequences for human health. Prior to the early 20th century, the phenomenon of alcoholism had undergone only a little study and was largely a mystery. What we did know was that people who drank a lot often suffered serious health problems, especially later in life. More recently, science has been studying not only the long-term effects of alcoholism on the body but also the brain.

Alcohol is classified as a drug in the sedative-hypnotic class. This means it acts as a central nervous system depressant at higher doses. When alcohol enters the bloodstream, it affects every organ in the body. How serious these effects depend on how high the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is and for how long.

Negative Effects of Long-Term Alcoholism

Liver Damage

The liver is one of the organs most directly impacted by alcohol. There are over 500 vital functions associated with the liver. It regulates most chemical levels in the body, processing blood and cleaning it of toxins, just to name a few. (1) Liver disease is commonly seen in late-stage alcoholism. Alcohol abuse causes the liver to become inflamed. Alcoholic hepatitis, fatty liver and cirrhosis are just some of the consequences chronic alcohol abuse can have on the liver.

Heart and Circulatory System

The heart and circulatory system are impacted by alcohol. Chronic alcohol abuse is associated with high blood pressure, excess clotting, stroke and heart attack. The digestive system is often damaged in long-term alcoholics. Alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to produce, process and absorb critical nutrients and it damages the lining of the stomach and increases stomach acid production. (2)

Brain and Central Nervous System

The central nervous system and brain are negatively affected by alcohol. Long-term alcoholism can cause permanent coordination and memory problems. The memory lapses and blackouts associated with heavy drinking give a hint that the brain is negatively affected by alcohol. Remember that the damage done by alcohol is closely related to BAC over time and the brain by itself uses 20% of the blood in the body.

Excess consumption of alcohol over years is associated with various types of brain damage. The liver is eventually overwhelmed and unable to properly process alcohol. This can lead to hepatic encephalopathy that directly impacts the brain causing anxiety, depression and more severe effects like coordination problems and shortened attention span. Liver dysfunction along with other factors causes up to 80% of alcoholics to have a deficiency in thiamine, a vitamin that is critical to brain health. The lack of enough thiamine can lead to serious brain disorders like Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS). WKS is a debilitating disease also sometimes called ‘wet brain’ that involved swelling of the brain, mental confusion, muscle coordination problems and paralysis of the nerves that control eye movement. WKS can and often does lead to permanent brain damage. (3)

Research into the effect alcohol has on the brain is ongoing, but the findings of decades of research and observation are already conclusive. Long-term chronic alcohol abuse has devastating effects on the body and brain. It increases the chances of contracting stomach, colorectal and other cancers. It can lead to permanent, irreversible brain damage, coma and eventually death. In the U.S. alone, at least 88,000 people die every year due to alcohol abuse. That makes alcohol abuse the third leading preventable cause of death. Alcohol abuse treatment is more effective than every before and benefits from ongoing research and evidence-based programs. If you or someone who care about is in a battle with alcoholism, it is never too late to get help. Call us at (844) 746-8836 and we can walk you through the options for care and help you figure out what to do next.


(1) https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/liver-anatomy-and-functions
(2) https://www.alcohol.org/effects/
(3) https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa63/aa63.htm
(4) https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics

Women’s Healthcare Month: How Addiction Affects Women Differently

Women's Healthcare and Addiction

In the past, men reported higher rates of addiction and substance use disorder than women, but the past few decades women have swiftly closed the gender gap. Today, men and women experience roughly equal rates of these issues. However, women’s rates of progression, experiences, reasons for use, and stigmas can vary greatly from their male counterparts. 

 

Addiction Progression in Women 

Scientific studies have found that women progress in addiction faster than men due to their physiology. This is particularly true with alcohol, which female bodies process differently. Because women have less of a particular stomach enzyme which helps break down alcohol, it remains in their system longer and leads to higher blood alcohol levels. One drink for a woman can have twice the physical impact of one drink for a man. When a woman is drinking often, this higher saturation of alcohol leads to dependence more quickly. It also leads to brain and organ damage more quickly than for men. 

 

Co-occurring Disorders in Women

Studies show that women are two times as likely to suffer from depression and anxiety as men. Self-medicating is a common theme with co-occurring disorders to manage uncomfortable feelings and often leads to abuse, dependence and addiction. Women are also more likely to experience suicidal thoughts and attempts than men. 

Furthermore, domestic and sexual trauma in women can lead to co-occurring disorders. Roughly one in three women will experience a sexual assault in their lifetime, a stat which is higher for women than it is for men. Women are more vulnerable to physical attacks and are more likely to experience child sexual abuse, incest, neglect in childhood, and domestic violence. A history of violent trauma is more common among women with drug addiction, often as a result of PTSD. In fact, one study found that as many as 6 in 10 women with addiction also have PTSD. 

 

Women’s Pain and Addiction

Women’s pain is less likely to be taken seriously by medical professionals than men’s pain, called Pain Bias. According to Harvard Health, women’s pain is more likely to be considered psychological rather than physical. One study found that women in emergency rooms in acute pain were less likely to receive painkillers than males in similar condition. 

Conversely, women are found to suffer more frequently and more intensely from pain and often require more medication to mitigate the effects. One study found that women needed twice the amount of morphine as males to receive comparable pain relief. Women are also more likely to have chronic and painful inflammatory and/or auto-immune conditions than men. Further, women’s reproductive health conditions can lead to significant pain such as Endometriosis which affects 1 in 10 women worldwide.

The lack of adequate pain management can lead women to seek pain relief elsewhere in the form of illicit substances or illegally-sold prescription medications on the street. 

 

Social Stigmas and Pressures for Addiction in Women

Women with children in particular experience social stigmas around addiction. They have been found to be less likely to admit they have a problem, to analyze their own alcohol or substance use habits. They are also less likely to speak to a friend or professional about their problem for fear of judgement.

Further, women with addiction who are pregnant are less likely to seek support. One study found that 25% of opioid addicted pregnant women went untreated. Researchers believe that shame and stigma play a role in their barrier to receiving help. 

 

Getting Help 

Women need and deserve proper support in treatment of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and Addiction. Seeking help in a supportive, nurturing environment that also specializes in treating Co-occurring Disorders can help to make the changes needed to overcome addiction. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with drugs or alcohol, contact us today. We are here to listen and we are here to help.

 

Sources

https://www.jneurosci.org/content/37/12/3202

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5845507/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9398925/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3688835/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/addiction-in-women

https://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/genderwomen/en/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression/art-20047725

Substance Abuse Rates Are Higher in the LGBTQ Community

LGBTQ Substance Abuse Rates

June is LGBTQ Pride Month, where we celebrate our LGBTQ community and increase visibility and discussions around equality. We’d like to take this moment to discuss how Substance Abuse affects the LGBTQ community at disproportionately higher rates and what we can do to support them. 

People who identify as LGBTQ are at a higher risk for Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and addiction. For example, according to the Center for American Progress, 20-30% of people who identify as LGBTQ use drugs and alcohol compared with about 9% of the general population. Furthermore, a 2015 study found that people who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual are twice as likely to have used an illicit drug in the past year. LGBT identifying individuals are also found to binge drink in a higher percentage than heterosexual individuals.

 

Discrimination Can Lead to Substance Abuse

Although great strides have been made towards equality, dignity, acceptance, and fairness for the LGBTQ community, we still have a very long way to go. LGBTQ people face high levels of stress every day, often called Minority Stress, simply by being themselves. 

Many LGBTQ individuals have experienced social prejudice in the form of discriminatory laws and practices around areas such as housing, employment, relationship recognition, and healthcare.  Furthermore, social stigma from friends and even family members adds to the challenges.

Issues like these can range from difficult and upsetting to dangerous and severely traumatic. LGBTQ individuals suffer higher incidences of stressful childhood experiences, school victimization, neighborhood hate crimes, and family conflict than heterosexual and cisgender individuals.

For instance, traumatic experiences for LGBTQ can include: 

  • Disownment from their family based on their sexual orientation
  • Violence based on sexual orientation or gender identification (hate crimes)
  • Rejection from their religious community
  • Physical abuse by family members
  • Bullying or peer ridicule for LGBTQ youth
  • Public discrimination in the form of job loss or child custody loss

Furthermore, LGBTQ community members who are also of a minority race, religion or gender face further societal pressures and prejudices.

Moreover, these societal pressures can lead to feelings of self-loathing, shame, or negative self-view which correlates to higher substance abuse, self-harm, and suicide rates among LGBTQ. 

As a result, each of these factors and stressors lead to significant stress and anxiety around everyday choices and lifestyle. Feelings of isolation, anger, fear, and depression lead to a higher likelihood of substance abuse to escape these problems. 

 

Social Component

Party subcultures in LGBTQ communities can also promote substance abuse. A UK study found that the most widely used drugs among LGBTQ people were party drugs such as poppers, cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine and amphetamines. LGBTQ individuals were 10 times more likely to have used cocaine in the previous month than the general population. 

 

Higher Rates of Co-occurring Disorders

Trauma and stress can exacerbate mental illness, driving people to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. As a result, this is one of the reasons LGBTQ individuals are more likely to have Co-occurring Disorders. According to the SAMHSA, people who identify as LGBTQ are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, PTSD and mental other health disorders. Additionally, they are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts and attempts. 

Transgender individuals are twice as likely to have a mental disorder as cisgender individuals. In adolescence, transgender youth have higher rates of self-harm, depression, suicide, and eating disorders than cisgender youth. 

This is why it is vital that LGBTQ individuals in substance abuse treatment also be screened and treated for co-occurring psychiatric disorders. 

 

How Can Non-LGBTQ Help? 

Firstly, change starts at the individual level. For example, try educating yourself on LGBTQ issues. Be conscious not to reinforce stereotypes and stigmas that lead to the feelings of isolation which lead LGBTQ to use. Support laws and policies that lead to equality for all LGBTQ members of society. Likewise, be an advocate and speak up for injustice. In short, if society is causing the problem, we need to change our way of behaving. 

Secondly, support your LGBTQ friends and family. If you feel they have a problem, talk to them. Be a listening ear, tell them your concerns, and if it feels right, discuss treatment options. Addiction thrives in the dark so bringing it to light can help, just remember to do so gently. 

 

Getting Help 

However you identify, if you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, help is available. Call us today to find out how we can support you through this difficult time. We’re here to listen. 

 

Sources

Connolly MD, Zervos MJ, Barone CJ, Johnson CC, Joseph CLM. The Mental Health of Transgender Youth: Advances in Understanding. J Adolesc Health Off Publ Soc Adolesc Med. 2016;59(5):489-495. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.06.012.

Duncan, D. T., Hatzenbuehler, M. L., & Johnson, R. M. (2014). Neighborhood-level LGBT hate crimes and current illicit drug use among sexual minority youth. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 135, 65–70.

Huebner, D. M., Thoma, B. C., & Neilands, T. B. (2015). School victimization and substance abuse among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adolescents. Prevention Science, 16, 734–743.

Patricia E. Penn , Denali Brooke , Chad M. Mosher , Sandra Gallagher , Audrey J. Brooks & Rebecca Richey (2013) LGBTQ Persons with Co-occurring Conditions: Perspectives on Treatment, Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 31:4, 466-483, DOI: 10.1080/07347324.2013.831637. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07347324.2013.831637

Schneeberger, A. R., Dietl, M. F., Muenzenmaier, K. H., Huber, C. G., & Lang, U. E. (2014). Stressful childhood experiences and health outcomes in sexual minority populations: A systematic review. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 49, 1427–1445.

What Is a Dry Alcoholic?

Dry Alcoholic | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

A dry alcoholic is a person who has stopped drinking but is still plagued by the emotional issues that contributed to the addiction in the first place. Moreover, these problems continue to hijack their psyche even though they are sober. In a nutshell, dry alcoholics are individuals who have overcome physical dependence on alcohol but haven’t committed to living a healthy, fulfilling life in recovery.

These impairments undermine a person’s ability to completely leave their addiction in the past, despite being abstinent. This failure to overcome these issues causes those who are suffering to remain entrenched in a subpar day-to-day life less satisfying or happy than it should be. Dry alcoholics have not addressed past trauma, resentments, or guilt, and as a result, many will eventually relapse back into substance abuse.

What Is a Dry Alcoholic or Dry Drunk?

A dry alcoholic or “dry drunk” describes someone who, despite their sober lifestyle, continues to behave as if they’re still in active. addiction. It’s not uncommon for dry alcoholics to appear to be eternally unhappy, and uncomfortable with sobriety. Often this is because they are sober for others or legal purposes, not because the lifestyle for themselves and their wellbeing.

Who Becomes a Dry Alcoholic?

There are numerous reasons why an individual in recovery would continue to experience many of the same psycho-emotional symptoms they did when they were actively using. Factors that contribute to becoming a dry alcoholic may include the following:

The person in recovery…

…has a comorbid mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety that has not been adequately addressed or managed.
…assumed that the simple act of becoming would be enough to resolve most problems, and did not develop improved coping skills beyond their previous dysfunctional solutions.
…failed to exert enough effort into their emotional well-being and thus, has become trapped in a less-than-ideal way of life.
…did not take full advantage of behavioral therapy, counseling, or external support systems such as friends, family, peer group meetings, etc.
…is spiritually lacking. This has less to do with actual religion but instead reflects a core belief that achieving inner peace is not necessary or possible.
…are resentful that they cannot drink “normally” like other people, and regard sobriety as, more or less, a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Dry Alcoholism vs. Healthy Recovery

Comparing a dry drunk to a person who is having a successful recovery isn’t hard. It’s all in the attitude they present to the world around them.

For example, dry alcoholics…

…exhibit resentfulness and anger, and have a low tolerance for stress.
…have enacted few changes in behavior and lifestyle other than sobriety. At times they continue to isolate themselves despite feelings of loneliness.
…are often criticized by loved ones. They may regard the person to be every bit as unpleasant to be around as when they were actively drinking.
…believe their lives are not much better than before they stopped drinking, or are, in fact, worse.
…cling to the erroneous belief that their dysfunctional coping skills in some way improved their lives.
…engage in self-pity and behave as if they were forced into abstinence.
…continue to romanticize drinking.
…continue to ignore life’s challenging in the same way they did when they were active alcoholics.

Dry Alcoholic | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Conversely, individuals who experience a healthy recovery…

…exhibit forgiveness, resilience, and self-respect.
…engage in healthy behaviors and lifestyle changes such as enacting effective coping mechanisms and reengage in a positive, active social life.
…are noticeably different in their attitude and behavior to others close to them.
…experience more enjoyment in life than when they were drinking, and accept that their prior coping mechanisms were unhealthy.
…understand that in recovery, life shouldn’t revert back to what it was like before. Instead, it needs to be considered in the context of a new paradigm of living.
…confront life’s challenges head-on and constructively, exhibit self-confidence, and bounce back in spite of setbacks.

Dry Alcoholic Prevention

Those in early recovery are still at risk of the emotional pitfalls that are characteristics of a dry alcoholic.

A person can avoid these by…

…becoming an expert at identifying the signs of dry alcoholism vs. a healthy recovery.
…preparing to revisit early recovery, figure out where things went wrong, and seek resolutions for them.
…dedicating themselves fully to recovery and monitoring progress on a life-long basis, if necessary.
…refusing to “romance the drink” or consider that previous unhealthy coping mechanisms were working in some way.
…continuing to seek meaningful connections oneself and others.

Treatment for Alcoholism

Alcohol addiction is a chronic disease. It negatively impacts the lives of those who suffer as well as loved ones close to them. Fortunately, alcoholism is very treatable, and using effective therapies and a comprehensive approach, people with this condition can recover and go on and live happy, healthy lives without alcohol.

Recovery in Tune offers comprehensive, evidence-based programs that include services essential for the recovery process, such as counseling, psychotherapy, group support, and more.

If you or someone you love is dependent on alcohol, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible. Discover how we help people reclaim their lives and free themselves from the chains of addiction!

Hiding Alcohol and Other Warning Signs of Alcoholism

Hiding Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

It is not always easy to identify an alcohol problem in a loved one. People with addiction issues can become masters at concealing and denying the severity of their addictive behavior.

One of the main signs of a severe problem is hiding alcohol. Not only will the alcoholic drink covertly, but they will also frequently have secret hiding spots for alcohol. In some cases, these may be nearly impossible to find, but there are some common places that many alcoholics regularly go to for concealment.

Hiding Alcohol

Popular hiding places are bathroom cabinets and shelves, basements, closets, clothes, bags, and suitcases. They may also hide alcohol in kitchen cabinets or drawers behind or in other items such as cans, boxes, or jars. You may find empty or full bottles under furniture or stuffed between the cushions. Outdoors is also an option; under porches or in a garage or shed.

The important thing is to find the alcohol before the loved one realizes you are looking for it. If the person knows that you are on to him or her, he or she may switch to hiding spots that are even more difficult to locate.

Warning Signs of Alcohol Addiction

The following are 12 more signs that indicate a secret alcohol addict:

Secret Drinking 

Drinking alone, especially when keeping this a secret from family and friends shows that the person realizes that their behavior is not normal and that others may criticize them for it. It’s a subtle admission of right versus wrong, and the person may not even realize they are doing it.

Look for telltale signs of being “buzzed” or under the influence, even though you did not actually see this person drink. Or, they may appear to drink very little in comparison to how intoxicated they appear. In other words, they have been drinking more than they have been revealing.

Missing or Being Late for Important Events or Occasions

The person will be absent from, or late to school, work, family functions, etc. They may more or less disappear for several days or insist that they were doing something or were somewhere they were not. 

Making Excuses

Alcoholics frequently make excuses for their drinking. Reasons may involve serious issues such as mental illness, or merely day-to-day stress or chronic pain. They may blame those around them for having to deal with relationship strain—especially that which directly results from their drinking.

Drinking at Inappropriate Times

Drinking in the morning or upon first waking and needing “the hair of the dog” may speak to their level of dependency and desire to avoid a hangover or withdrawal symptoms. But, drinking may occur for seemingly no reason at random times throughout the day.

Alcoholics often drink in situations that they should not. These situations might include drinking while at work, school, or family functions, while operating a motor vehicle, or at any time or place that it isn’t socially accepted.

Isolation and Loss of Interest

As alcohol becomes an increasing obsession for the alcoholic, they often begin to ignore other parts of their life. They may avoid people to conceal their drinking, or neglect to attend events or gatherings with family and friends. The alcoholic may also become disinterested in activities they once enjoyed or considered important, such as sports or hobbies.

Hiding Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Mood Swings 

Alcohol abuse and withdrawal symptoms affect a person’s mood, thoughts, and behaviors. Alcoholics are notoriously unstable emotionally. Extreme mood swings are common, and a person may suddenly go from happy to unreasonably angry or sad. Hardcore alcoholics often experience personality changes when they are drinking, and crying jags or episodes of verbal or physical abuse toward others may occur.

Physical Symptoms 

Signs of alcohol intoxication are an obvious giveaway, but these are not always apparent. Severe alcoholics may have a higher tolerance and may only appear somewhat intoxicated at levels that would make others look absolutely inebriated. They may be mostly functional and exhibit only mild signs such as unusual talkativeness, slightly slurred speech, flushing of the skin, and bloodshot eyes.

Withdrawal symptoms can occur hours to days after a person has stopped drinking. As such, he or she may appear shaky, sweaty, and agitated or depressed.

Severe alcoholics may also present as unkempt, unclean, or disheveled. This is a sign that they are so focused on being intoxicated that they are neglecting routine personal care, such as bathing, eating properly, etc.

Memory Loss and Blackouts or “Brownouts”

Alcohol impairs a person’s short-term memory. Someone having a blackout or brownout (partial loss of memory) will not remember the things they did or events that happened while they were intoxicated.

Obsession With Alcohol

An alcoholic will obsess over obtaining and consuming alcohol. The person may try to seem patient, but often, it’s clear that they are agitated because they can’t drink at any given time. Most alcoholics are silently plotting the next time they will be able to have more alcohol. 

An obsession with alcohol causes a constant mental preoccupation that can very easily damage intimate personal relationships. Furthermore, an alcoholic may rush through activities haphazardly to make time for drinking, rather than enjoying their time being sober and engaging with loved ones.

Drinking Rapidly or Chugging 

Alcoholics will often quickly drink or “chug” their first few drinks. They will do this because they are seeking to get intoxicated rapidly, or perhaps because their tolerance is so high they feel like they need a head start. It may also be used as a way to evade withdrawal symptoms. Some will chug a few drinks then go on with their day as if it were completely normal.

Hiding Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Drinking Rituals

The person is always drinking at certain times of the day, such as after getting home from work or at bedtime, or in certain places. The hallmark of an alcoholic is that they feel that they need to engage in their drinking ritual, and will likely become upset or stressed out when they are unable to do so. 

Missing Money or Valuables and Spending Excessively

Addiction is usually expensive. The addict may purchase cheap alcohol, but ultimately, it adds up. He or she will spend way too much money on drinking, to the extent that they may become financially stressed. They may then steal items, borrow money, or generally begin to hassle others to help them obtain alcohol.

While no one behavior indicates someone is an alcoholic for sure, the presence of several of them is collectively a powerful sign that this person has a very severe problem. Some of these signs may be subtle; others are more obvious. In any case, if you witness this behavior, your loved one likely has a dependence or addiction to alcohol. 

Getting Help for Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a chronic, lifelong disease that does not go away, but fortunately, it can be treated effectively. If you suspect that you or someone you love has a problem with alcohol abuse, contact us today. Recovery in Tune offers a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to alcoholism that includes services essential for the process of recovery. 

These include, but are not limited to, the following:


  • Behavioral therapy
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Substance abuse education



Our skilled and compassionate staff are dedicated to providing our clients with the tools they need to break free from the chains of alcohol addiction once and for all! You don’t have to suffer any longer—professional help is available now!

Deciding to Check into an Alcohol Treatment Program

For those suffering from alcohol addiction, a lot of potential options for addressing the addiction may have been previously attempted yet failed. These might include participation in an AA group, living in a sober living home or counseling. In instances where the intake of alcohol is high for an extended period of time, tapering down may not be an option. Checking into an alcohol treatment program is often the best available remedy in such a situation. By learning more about alcohol treatment programs and how they address addiction to alcohol, starting the road to sobriety should be achievable.

Diagnose the Addiction

Inpatient treatment is expensive and is an expense which is possible to avoid if the problem is addressable with other solutions. Some strategies might include group therapy in outpatient treatment, checking into a sober living house or attending several AA meetings on a daily basis. Should the use be particularly high, make an effort to taper down and attend as many meetings sober as possible.

Isolate Use

There are two schools of thought when it comes to alcoholism. One relates usage to compulsion while the other relates it to choice. Regardless of your opinion, isolating yourself from the potential to consume alcohol is an effective way to address the problem. Consider taking an extended vacation to a remote area with a loved one in order to limit access to alcohol.

Consider an Alcohol Treatment Program

If none of the above approaches help reduce or eliminate the use of alcohol, it might be time to check into an alcohol treatment program. This could be an outpatient or inpatient program, either of which is typically preferred based on the overall seriousness of the addiction.

Preparing for Entrance into A Program

There are a few steps which should be taken before deciding to enter into a treatment program to help create an optimal environment upon leaving the program.

1. Employment: Work with your employer to negotiate continued employment upon exiting the program. Failing to negotiate such an agreement could leave yourself without a viable source of income upon leaving the treatment program, which can quickly veer you back towards using alcohol. This step is usually only necessary for inpatient treatment. Sustaining employment throughout outpatient treatment is generally achievable.

2. Bills and Potential Emergencies: Arrange for all of your bills to be paid while participating in an inpatient program. If you have insurance work with the provider to find out how much money is available for the treatment. Although you will still be able to sustain contact with the outside world while in a treatment program, it typically isn’t possible to physically address any emergencies. Have a friend, neighbor or relative be responsible for your residence and other possessions such as a vehicle during this time period.

Medical Care

Most alcohol treatment programs that take place at a clinic have the capability to recognize and address symptoms related to alcohol withdrawal. These include delirium tremens and hallucinations on the higher end of the spectrum. Withdrawal symptoms can be treated as they occur at such a facility.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is an essential aspect of recovery, thus, it is prevalent within any alcohol treatment program. Expect to participate in several group sessions on a daily basis upon checking into an alcohol treatment program. According to verywellmind.com, “These sessions are designed to begin to teach you the skills that you will need to live life without drugs and alcohol. You will learn how to recognize situations in which you are most likely to drink or use drugs and how to avoid these circumstances if possible. You will learn new coping skills. The group sessions are designed to teach you the value of seeking support from others who are going through the same experiences and challenges that you are. In some facilities, these group sessions may be actual 12 step meetings. In other facilities, they may be facilitated by staff members.”

Be sure to contact us at Recovery In Tune if you have any questions about making the decision to check into an alcohol treatment program.

Alcohol and Breastfeeding

Alcohol and Breastfeeding | Is it Safe? | Recovery in Tune

Alcohol and Breastfeeding: Is it Safe? – Drinking alcohol while breastfeeding is never advised. There is no “safe” level of alcohol in breast milk for a baby to consume. Studies have shown that infants who consume alcoholic milk may feed and sleep less often and exhibit poor motor coordination.

Alcohol and Breastfeeding Facts

When a woman drinks alcohol, it is transferred to her breast milk at concentrations comparable to those in her bloodstream. Although a breastfed baby is only exposed to a relatively small amount of the alcohol that the mother consumes, newborns clear alcohol from their bodies at a much slower rate than adults.

As long as there is alcohol in a lactating mother’s blood, the milk will also contain alcohol. Alcohol levels in both a mother’s blood and breast milk peak within 30-60 minutes of consuming the last drink. After this time, factors such as weight, food intake, and hydration can affect how long it takes for alcohol to clear her body.

To avoid harmful effects for the baby, a mother who breastfeeds should never consume alcohol—ever. If she does, she should not engage in breastfeeding for at least two hours after consumption. This waiting period could help to minimize alcohol levels in her milk as well as the risk for adverse effects.

What Is Pumping and Dumping?

“Pumping and dumping” is the practice of a woman pumping her breast milk and discarding it in some way. A woman may do this believing it removes the alcohol from her milk faster, but it does not.

It does, however, allow the woman to remove the milk from her breasts in a manner that will not affect the baby. This option may be a better one, but it is also an unfortunate and unnecessary waste of essential nutrients that could benefit the child. Moreover, there are good reasons why many women choose to breastfeed and prefer not to rely on formula.

How Can Alcohol Harm a Baby?

Studies have found changes in the sleep patterns of infants who breastfed from mothers who had consumed alcohol. Two studies revealed that, while the total amount of sleep was unchanged for infants after consuming alcohol-laden milk, sleep was divided into more frequent but shorter intervals, and they experienced less REM sleep. Another study found that the infants’ sleep was 25% shorter on average after drinking alcoholic milk.

Also, in 1989, researchers investigated the association of the mother’s use of alcohol during breastfeeding to an infant’s development at one year of age. It was found that motor development was significantly poorer in infants who were regularly exposed to alcohol in breast milk.

Alcohol and Breastfeeding | Is it Safe? | Recovery in Tune

Myths and Alcohol’s Effects on the Milk Supply

Research has also found that breastfed babies may consume 20% less milk following a mother’s alcohol consumption. This decrease in feeding is not related to shorter feeding times or a change in the milk’s flavor. Instead, it has been attributed to the diminished amount of milk that a woman’s body produces after alcohol consumption.

The National Institute of Health reports that “nursing after 1 or 2 drinks…can decrease the infant’s milk intake by 20 to 23% and cause infant agitation and poor sleep patterns.” Although babies tend to drink less milk after the mother has consumed alcohol, these women often cannot recognize that there is a difference.

Women are taught in some cultures that drinking alcohol can increase a woman’s milk supply. Unfortunately, research has found that this is not the case. A report by the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) issues the following warning:

“…the lore of many cultures encourages lactating women to drink alcohol to optimize breast milk production and infant nutrition. In contrast to this folklore, however, studies demonstrate that maternal alcohol consumption may slightly reduce milk production.” They refer to drinking alcohol shortly before breastfeeding as “counterproductive.”

Alcohol and Hormones

Alcohol may influence a mother’s milk supply in two specific ways.

There are two pituitary hormones that are responsible for regulating the breastfeeding process: prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin is released while the infant is suckling and stimulates the further production of milk. Oxytocin functions to contract the muscles around the mammary tissue of the breast to release the milk.

When babies consume less milk, less prolactin is released. Because a baby’s amount of suckling influences the amount of prolactin that is released, if the baby begins feeding less, the mother will produce less prolactin. This signal tells the body that the woman needs less milk for the baby, thus her milk supply will be reduced.

Studies have also found that alcohol consumption may interfere with oxytocin. This effect could further decrease the mother’s milk level and impair the infant’s ability to feed.

Studies conducted on lactating rats demonstrated that acute alcohol administration “significantly inhibited suckling-induced prolactin and oxytocin release as well as milk production and, consequently, the pups milk intake.”

The Bottom Line

Alcohol and Breastfeeding | Is it Safe? | Recovery in Tune

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that the best way to ensure a baby is not harmed by alcoholic breast milk is to avoid drinking while breastfeeding. But, for those who insist on imbibing, the important thing is to be aware of your alcohol intake and to avoid feeding alcoholic milk to your child.

Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirm that “not drinking alcohol is the safest option for breastfeeding mothers” and that “exposure to alcohol above moderate levels through breast milk could be damaging to an infant’s development, growth, and sleep patterns.” The CDC also stresses that drinking alcohol in excess may “impair a mother’s judgment and ability to safely care for her child.”

Experts recommend planning ahead and to not breastfeed a baby while consuming alcohol or soon after drinking. It can take several hours for a woman’s body to clear all the alcohol from her blood and milk supply. Conversely, a woman can pump and store her milk and feed it to the baby while she is drinking or after she has consumed a drink. The use of formula during this time is yet another option.

Of note, if you feel you have to go to great lengths in planning your drinking habits around breastfeeding, this could be a sign that you have an alcohol use disorder. The stress of having a child can compel some mothers to drink, or continue drinking, but this may not always be the responsible action to take.

Moreover, if you are often worried about what effects your alcohol use might have on your child, the stress alone is probably not worth it. It’s best to quit drinking entirely, at least while you are breastfeeding, and seek help if you feel you need to do so.

Getting Help for Alcoholism

If you find that you are struggling to stop drinking, you should consider seeking treatment for alcoholism. If you are a lactating mother in this situation, Recovery in Tune may be the perfect place to get help.

Our center offers outpatient treatment for those who need flexibility in their schedule to take care of their families. Our comprehensive programs include a wide range of evidence-based services, such as the following:




If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, we urge you to contact us today and speak to one of our caring addiction specialists. We can provide you with the support, resources, and tools you need to overcome substance abuse. You deserve to be healthy, so allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy long-lasting sobriety and well-being.

We are dedicated to helping those who need it most to renew their hope and foster happy and fulfilling lives!

Risks of Using Steroids and Alcohol

Steroids and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Risks of Using Steroids and Alcohol – Steroids and alcohol can be a dangerous combination that can affect vital systems in the body, including the liver, kidneys, heart, immune system, gastrointestinal system, and can even result in mental health problems.

Alcohol Use Statistics

The use of alcohol is widespread among adults. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH, 2015) reported that among persons aged 18 and older, 86.4% had reported consuming alcohol at some point in their life.

Alcohol abuse can quickly lead to addiction and pose a danger to the individual and other people. An estimated 88,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes each year. According to the 2015 NSDUH, 15.1 million adults and 623,000 children aged 12-17 suffer from an alcohol use disorder.

Steroid Use Statistics

Anabolic steroids are drugs that simulate the hormone testosterone and are sometimes prescribed to help patients with certain kinds of anemia or men who don’t produce enough testosterone on their own. Recreationally, they are used to increase muscle mass and bolster athletic performance. Approximately 3,000,000 people use anabolic steroids in America each year.

Those who abuse anabolic steroids recreationally may use quantities up to 100 times higher than normal dosage amounts. Most professional sports organizations prohibit the use of anabolic steroids. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that the largest single group of anabolic steroids users is male weightlifters.

Why Do People Combine Alcohol and Steroids?

Some people use alcohol and steroids without knowing the potential health risks. They may take a prescribed steroid medication for a health problem, and perhaps drink occasionally without considering the possibility of side effects. However, whether deliberate or accidental, regularly drinking alcohol while taking steroid medications for any reason can increase the risk of adverse health consequences.

Some people who use anabolic steroids may suffer from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) or have a distorted perception of their body and size. In general, however, people who abuse steroids are seeking physical results, such as increased muscle mass, improved athletic performance, and reduced body fat. Many people on steroids may shun alcohol due to its high-calorie content and ability to slow metabolism, but others with BDD or other mental health issues may turn to alcohol as a means to self-medicate.

If a person begins combining steroids and alcohol as a way to numb the adverse emotional effects of the steroids, they are doing more harm than good. Some of the potential side effects of using steroids by themselves can include aggressive mood swings, emotional instability and volatility, hallucinations, and paranoia. These symptoms can all be exacerbated when alcohol is thrown into the mix.

Potential Side Effects

Steroids and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction TreatmentThe prolonged use of steroids and alcohol can compound the risk for certain side effects and health complications. On their own, both alcohol and anabolic steroid abuse can have an adverse impact on a person’s health and well-being.

Steroid Side Effects

Common anabolic steroid side effects include the following:


  • Acne
  • Fluid retention
  • Pain during urination
  • Hair loss or growth
  • Infertility
  • Changes in libido


  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Tendon rupture
  • Osteoporosis
  • Stunted growth in children
  • Testicle shrinkage
  • Low sperm count or sterility


  • Male breast growth
  • Deeper voice for women
  • Breast shrinkage
  • Menstrual cycle changes
  • Mood disorders
  • Psychological dependence


Possible Combined Side Effects

In addition to the aforementioned steroid side effects, combining steroids and alcohol increases a person’s risk of:


  • Liver damage
  • Cardiovascular problems


  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Psychological disorders


Serious Health Dangers

The most significant risk a person faces when they use steroids and alcohol is a high level of liver toxicity. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA long-term steroid abuse can result in damage to the liver and kidneys—two vital organs that are commonly known to suffer damage when an individual drinks alcohol excessively. Thus, mixing steroids and alcohol can overwhelm the liver ever quicker, leading to cirrhosis or liver failure.

Other physical dangers of mixing these two substances include:


  • Dehydration
  • Chest pain


  • Hypertension
  • Allergic reactions


Finally, there are also a number of psychological side effects that have been associated with the combined use of steroids and alcohol. Prolonged steroid use can cause mental instability, mania, and even psychosis. Even short-term steroid use can make a person’s mood unpredictable, and can precipitate the infamous “roid rage.” When this volatile mindset combines with the lowered inhibitions of an intoxicated person, the potential for dangerous or violent behavior is much more likely.

Treatment for Abuse of Steroids and Alcohol

Discontinuing the use of anabolic steroids is the first step to preventing many of the unwanted and hazardous side effects of these substances. If alcohol is used in combination with steroids, however, it is recommended that individuals seek treatment at a specialized facility such as Recovery in Tune.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction and steroid abuse, we can help. Comprehensive treatment, including psychotherapy and counseling, is available for these disorders.

Contact us today to speak with one of our representatives to learn more about our treatment options!