Anchored Tides Recovery Is In-Net with Cigna

Anchored Tides Recovery Is In-Net with Cigna

PAYING FOR REHAB

Cigna Insurance

Cigna is a global health organization that offers an extensive network of in-network doctors in all 50 states. Last year, more than 86 million customers explored the ways in which the company’s proprietary technology, robust provider network, and multi-channel approach can help them benefit from affordable healthcare for basic needs. Cigna also provides comprehensive treatment and rehabilitative services, including addiction counseling, to those suffering from substance abuse issues.

Does Cigna Cover Addiction Treatment?

Cigna’s Addiction Rehabilitation Program (ARP) is designed to provide patients with access to comprehensive, timely and effective addiction rehabilitation services. ARP offers patients the flexibility of receiving medically necessary treatment during the same visit to the hospital where care is first sought. ARP also provides coverage for medically necessary care associated with polysubstance use disorders.

Cigna Addiction Treatment

If you have Cigna health insurance, you may qualify for the following Aetna alcohol treatment and drug addiction programs:

  • Detox Services
  • Inpatient and Residential Care
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
  • Outpatient Treatment

Get help at Anchored Tides Recovery

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, we can help. Our advisors help those struggling with alcohol misuse, drug abuse, or those with an eating disorder to find the best treatment options for their needs. We’ll work with you to find programs that will give you the help you need without breaking the bank. Call today and begin your journey toward a healthier life.

Anchored Tides Recovery Is In-Net with Cigna

Am I An Alcoholic: Can You Be An Alcoholic and Not Drink Every Day?

can you be an alcoholic and not drink everyday

can you be an alcoholic and not drink everyday

 

If you find yourself asking the question, “am I an alcoholic,” it could be that you have a problem with heavy drinking. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have a medically diagnosable addiction, which we’ll go into more below. However, not being a diagnosable alcoholic doesn’t mean that you aren’t a problem drinker. There’s also another concept to be aware of—being a functioning alcoholic. Below, we’ll go into more of the symptoms of alcoholism. We’ll also answer the question of can you be an alcoholic and not drink everyday?

 

Understanding Alcoholism

Alcoholism is now more commonly known as alcohol use disorder. When you have an AUD, you have a psychological and physical need to consume alcohol, despite adverse effects on your life. There are millions of deaths around the world each year because of harmful alcohol use.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says an AUD is problematic drinking that becomes increasingly severe. If you have an AUD, you can’t stop drinking even if you want to. Your use of alcohol becomes out of your control. Much of your time is spent thinking about can you be an alcoholic and not drink every day.

 

Symptoms of an AUD include:

  • Drinking secretly or when you’re alone
  • The inability to limit how much alcohol you have
  • Having routines that center around alcohol
  • Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Cravings or intense urges to drink
  • Feeling irritable when your normal drinking time comes if you can’t have any alcohol
  • Hiding alcohol
  • Developing a tolerance and needing more alcohol the feel the effects
  • Signs of physical dependence such as sweating, shaking, or nausea when you aren’t drinking

If you have an alcohol use disorder, drinking is your top priority. You may have signs of psychological addiction to alcohol without physical dependence. If you have a physical dependence, which can take years to develop, you have signs of withdrawal if you don’t drink or cut back. For a diagnosis of alcoholism, at least three of the following occur within the past 12 months:

  • Tolerance: You need more significant amounts of alcohol to feel intoxicated.
  • Withdrawal: As we talked about, if you have a physical dependence on alcohol and try to stop drinking, you may have withdrawal symptoms like nausea or anxiety.
  • Drinking more than intended: You might find that you drink more drinks at any given time than you intend, or you drink for a more extended period.
  • Unsuccessful attempts to quit: Have you tried to cut down or quit alcohol and found yourself unsuccessful in doing so? A potential symptom of alcoholism is the ongoing desire to cut down but the inability to do so.
  • Avoiding things you once enjoyed: You might find that your performance at school or work is diminishing, or you’re spending less time with loved ones because of your drinking.
  • Continual use despite consequences: Whether alcohol is affecting your job, your health, or your relationships, if you keep using it even when knowing it’s harmful, it could be a sign of addiction.

 

What is a Functional Alcoholic?

While the above tends to reflect a severe AUD, there are different types of alcoholics. For example, there is a category sometimes known as the young adult alcoholic. In this situation, you might not drink every day, but instead, you tend to binge drink. You’re not a severe alcoholic in this case, and you probably don’t have a physical dependence, but you might be on the road to developing a more significant problem.

Another type is a functional alcoholic. A functional alcoholic isn’t an official medical diagnosis. Instead, it’s a term used to describe someone with heavy or excessive drinking habits who’s still functional in their daily life. If you’re a functioning alcoholic, you might be able to keep up with your work and family obligations. You seem healthy and fine to most of the people around you. Even so, you might still have several of the symptoms of an AUD, such as uncontrollable cravings.

Risk factors for functional alcoholism or a developing alcohol problem can include:

  • Binge drinking, which is more than five drinks a day
  • Having a stressful life
  • Feeling peer pressure to drink
  • Having a close relative with a history of alcoholism. 
  • A co-occurring mental health disorder such as depression
  • Having more than seven drinks a week as a female, or more than 14 a week for males. Any more than one drink a day for women and two for men could put you into the category of heavy drinkers and is no longer considered moderate alcohol consumption. 

Signs of a functional alcoholic include:

  • You pour a drink as soon as you get home, or you often go somewhere like a bar after work
  • Irritation if you can’t have a drink
  • There are often times when you drink more than you intended
  • You make jokes about alcoholism
  • You talk about drinking a lot
  • Engaging in any high-risk behaviors under the influence, such as driving after you’ve been drinking
  • Experiencing blackouts related to alcohol
  • The use of alcohol causes problems in relationships
  • Hiding your alcohol use

 

 

Can You Be An Alcoholic and Not Drink Every Day?

Yes, you can be an alcoholic or have a mild substance use disorder and not drink daily. There are different patterns of alcohol abuse. For example, if you are a functional alcoholic, while you might not drink every day, it could be to excess when you do drink.

If you drink often or you experience adverse outcomes because of drinking, this puts you at a greater risk of eventually developing alcoholism. Alcohol dependence is a progressive, chronic illness that worsens over time with more exposure to heavy alcohol. 

 

What Happens If You Drink Alcohol Every Day?

Along with the potential to develop a serious problem with alcohol, can you be an alcoholic and not drink every day? The effects on your mental and physical health can be far-reaching and can include:

  • When you drink excessively, it prevents your body from effectively completing other processes. For example, your liver has to detoxify alcohol to remove it from your blood, which becomes the priority. It’s more difficult for your body to process anything else when you have alcohol in your system.
  • Drinking alcohol can cause harmful bacteria to grow in your gut. That bacteria can move through your intestinal wall and to your liver, causing damage and possibly liver disease or liver failure. 
  • Your heart can weaken over time if you drink too much or have an alcohol addiction, and it can put you at risk of high blood pressure. You’re more at risk for cardiovascular disease than moderate drinkers. 
  • Pancreatitis develops from alcohol abuse, which is inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Daily drinking or having multiple drinks per day puts you at risk of different types of cancers, including the mouth, throat, liver, and breast cancer. 

 

Final Thoughts 

Finally, your immune system can weaken if you engage in chronic drinking. You may notice that you get sick more often than people who don’t drink.

If you’re questioning your use of alcohol, you might consider whether or not you have a problem or if you see warning signs in yourself that you’re becoming alcohol dependent. If so, help is available; call 866-600-7709 and let Anchored Tides Recovery help you overcome destructive patterns because they potentially develop into something more serious, which almost always happens with untreated alcohol abuse.

Female Musicians Who Beat Addiction

musician recording a song

musician recording a song

 

The entertainment industry and especially music are associated with drugs, alcohol, and partying. While this might be the common association most of us have, several musicians beat addiction successfully in the industry. 

Focusing on their challenges and ultimate success in beating addiction to drugs or alcohol can help others who might be currently struggling.

Sometimes, it’s hard to see that there could ever be an out when you’re in an active addiction. Success stories serve as a motivation and reminder that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, although it might be challenging to get there. 

Once you find that motivation, you might begin a treatment program, participate in 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or get mental health treatment from a counselor. 

Below, we talk about musicians who beat addiction with the hope it can provide you with some motivation, perhaps when you need it most.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is one of the most influential musicians, pop stars, and overall icons of our time. She has also spoken openly about her struggles with drugs. 

For example, in one interview, she talked about the pain of a hip injury that left her in a wheelchair. 

Saying she was self-medicating the physical pain and anxiety, Lady Gaga was emotionally numbing herself entirely.

In an interview, the singer said she was very depressed and in a lot of pain all the time, but she wasn’t sure why.

The singer says that she felt her addictions to different drugs have grown worse over time, as she dealt with the pressures of fame.

At the same time, Lady Gaga says she was working on getting herself into a space where she doesn’t have to use drugs to be creative. 

She wants to know that she can be talented and successful without being under the influence of anything.

Lana Del Rey

The talented singer Lana Del Rey has struggled since her teens with substance use. 

In 2011, Del Rey became widely known for the hit Video Games. Then she debuted her first full-length album in 2012.

The same year, Del Rey spoke out in an interview with British GQ, saying she hadn’t had alcohol in nine years. Del Rey said even though she was very young, she found that she was drinking daily and typically while alone. 

Most of the songs on her first album she says she wrote while she was alone with alcohol. She describes it as the first love of her life.

Del Rey says her parents sent her to a strict boarding school when she was 15 to try and help her end her drinking habit.

Now the celebrity singer is sober and embraces her life in recovery.

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato allowed viewers to see inside their experience with addiction, overdose, and recovery in a documentary for YouTube. 

Entitled Dancing with the Devil, Lovato’s friends, family members, and the doctors who helped them after their overdose spoke about every raw, ugly detail of what happened and their ongoing substance abuse issues. 

Since 2010, Lovato struggled with substance abuse, frequently going in and out of rehab programs and relapsing along the way.

The pop star celebrated six years of sobriety in March 2018. Tragically in July 2018, she suffered an overdose that made headlines around the world.

Lovato spoke about their relapse in the documentary series, saying they picked up a red wine bottle and then called someone who had drugs just half an hour later. 

At that point, Lovato used new drugs that they hadn’t tried before, including methamphetamine. Lovato explains in the documentary they also used marijuana, Molly, Cocaine, and OxyContin.

During the period of relapse, Lovato did crack cocaine and heroin, becoming physically dependent on heroin.

The night of the overdose, Lovato told friends they were going to bed but went to call their dealer. Lovato used what they thought to be heroin, which now they know was likely fentanyl.

The overdose led to three strokes and a heart attack, resulting in brain and vision damage.

Since the overdose, Lovato says they’re working on their mental and physical recovery. In the documentary series, Lovato talks about the time spent during quarantine, working through past traumas as part of their recovery.

Fergie

Fergie is a massive pop star, having headed up the Black-Eyed Peas. She now has a successful solo career, but it hasn’t been an easy road for her. Fergie dealt with severe addiction issues, including meth.

Fergie says there was a period in her life where she was hallucinating daily. She says it took a year after stopping meth for the chemicals in her brain to stabilize, so she was no longer hallucinating. Fergie spoke to Time magazine, saying meth was the hardest boyfriend she ever had to break up with.

Some of her addiction problems Fergie believed resulted from difficulties she faced growing up as a child actor.

Now a Grammy-winning recording artist, Fergie has a son and has been in recovery from crystal meth for many years.

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks is known as one of the most enchanting singers and performers of our time, but drugs almost destroyed her. The lead singer of Fleetwood Mac, Nicks has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice.

She began using recreational drugs at the height of her career, but it quickly spiraled into something a lot more troubling. Her addiction went from casual cocaine use to an extreme addiction and dependence.

Nicks said that she became so dependent on cocaine because she dealt with significant stage fright, and the drug would give her the boost she felt she needed to perform. Nicks was also facing a rigorous touring schedule and felt lonely on the road.

Ultimately, Nicks says she completely lost all control of her behavior for a while. Snorting cocaine burned a hole in the side of her nose.

The band took a break in 1982, but Nicks continued her drug use and hard living. Nicks toured on her own and also saw the breakdown of meaningful relationships during that time.

Fleetwood Mac went to the studio to create their album Tango in the Night, and Nicks continually blacked out. A doctor told her she was nearing a brain hemorrhage.

In 1986, Nicks checked herself into a Betty Ford Clinic, but unfortunately, she developed a Valium addiction.

Ultimately Nicks was able to get sober altogether, but she still speaks out about what her addiction did to her life and how it still affects her to this day.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Of course, not every story about celebrity drug addiction or alcohol addiction ends positively. These stories can also end in tragedy, as was the case of Amy Winehouse and many others. 

If you are dealing with drug abuse or a problem with any addictive substance, getting help sooner rather than later is the best thing you can do for yourself and the people who love you. 

If you’d like to learn how to overcome addiction in your own life or help someone you love in beating addiction, please contact Anchored Tides Recovery at 866-600-7709 today. We work with women from all walks of life who have one shared goal—recovery.

 

 

 

Can You Get a DUI From Marijuana in California?

man pulled over in car by police

man pulled over in car by police

 

Some proponents of legalized marijuana praise states, like California, for making the drug available to people over a certain age for recreational use. While there may be benefits to the legalization of marijuana, much like alcohol, we can’t assume it’s completely harmless.

Alcohol might be legal for people over the age of 21 in the U.S., but it’s addictive. There are health risks of alcohol use, and it can lead to legal trouble. Marijuana has similar risks. 

One issue that many states are dealing with is what happens when people drive under the influence of marijuana.

More specifically, can you get a DUI from marijuana in California even though it’s not an illegal drug? The short answer is that it’s similar to drunk driving, but it’s more complex than that.

People don’t realize that not only marijuana but also prescription medications can lead to a DUI. A DUI for marijuana impairment is a criminal offense with potential legal consequences, including a restricted license and several months in jail. 

Below, we’ll detail what to know about the effects of marijuana in general and how it can affect you if you’re behind the wheel. We’ll also look at driving while high consequences you should be aware of, like a marijuana-related DUI. 

Marijuana’s Legality in California

Marijuana is legal for recreational use in California. There was the legalization of medical marijuana in 1996. In 2016, voters approved Proposition 6, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Legality doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all.

There are regulations even though marijuana isn’t an illicit drug in California. For example, you have to be 21 or older to buy or possess recreational marijuana. This law includes all types of cannabis products, such as edibles. It’s against the law to give or sell marijuana to minors, and it’s also illegal to drive under the influence.

Marijuana laws are similar to prescription drugs. Just because you have a prescription for a medication, you can still get a DUI if it alters your driving ability. 

You can’t smoke, eat or vape cannabis products in public, and you can’t consume it anywhere smoking is illegal, such as in bars.

The Effects of Marijuana

Using marijuana creates immediate and longer-term effects. There’s an ingredient in marijuana, THC, that causes the feeling of being high from cannabis. THC is a psychoactive ingredient. When you use cannabis that contains THC, effects can include:

  • A release of dopamine, leading to feelings of euphoria and a heightened sensory experience
  • THC affects the hippocampus in the brain, leading to memory problems or an inability to form new memories
  • Impairment of judgment. Your information processing is different because of THC, affecting your judgment compared to a sober person
  • Slow reaction time, including problems with balance, motor skills, and coordination
  • These effects are why it’s dangerous to drive after using marijuana
  • Respiratory side effects can occur from smoking marijuana
  • The influence of marijuana may lead to a weaker immune system that leaves you vulnerable to infection

 

Drugged Driving

Driving under the influence of any mind-altering drug is one of the main reasons for car accidents. According to the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse, when you use marijuana, it significantly affects motor coordination and reaction time, as we mentioned above. 

There is a direct relationship between the concentration of THC in your blood and impaired driving ability.

Marijuana is the drug most frequently found in the system of drivers in motor vehicle accidents. 

In two studies out of Europe, drivers with THC in their system were around two times as likely to be at fault for a fatal crash than drivers not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Analysis of other studies shows that the risk of being in a motor vehicle crash after you use marijuana can double or more than double.

Under California Vehicle Code, you can be arrested and charged for driving under the influence if you use marijuana. Marijuana impacts your mental abilities to the point that you wouldn’t drive with the same level of caution as someone who didn’t use marijuana.

How Much Marijuana Shows Impairment in California?

Here’s the tricky part about whether or not you can get a DUI from marijuana in California—THC can stay in your system for up to 30 days. You don’t feel the effects after a few hours, but if you were pulled over and drug tested, it could show THC metabolites, even from weeks before. Metabolites are left behind well after the influence of cannabis wears off mentally, leading to a false positive. 

As it stands currently, there isn’t a per se violation for a marijuana DUI in California. That means no level of THC is illegal or a standard presumption for your level of impairment. By contrast, with blood-alcohol levels, typically, anything over a BAC of 0.08% is an impairment. 

If a police officer were to pull you over and they suspect you’ve been using marijuana, they would have to gather further evidence to prove stoned driving. 

Evidence might include an odor of marijuana, how you’re behaving, and how you perform on a field sobriety test. Your driving conduct, statements you make, and the presence of marijuana in your vehicle might also be evidence.

Driving behaviors that show impairment to a law enforcement officer include:

  • Not stopping at a red light or stop sign
  • Swerving
  • Weaving in lanes
  • Driving slowly
  • Being asleep in your car

Drug Recognition Experts or DREs are specially trained law enforcement officers who identify physical symptoms and signs of intoxication. If an officer pulls you over and they have probable cause to think you’re driving while impaired, then they’ll require you to submit blood testing or a breath test.

Of course, for marijuana, a breath test isn’t effective. Primarily used for marijuana are blood tests or urine tests.

If you take a drug test, it can’t show when you last used marijuana. These tests for marijuana aren’t good indicators of how much marijuana you used or blood THC concentrations. We don’t have a consensus on how much marijuana in your system shows you’re impaired like we do if there’s the presence of alcohol in your system. 

That’s when the evidence would become relevant. The process is different from if you were drinking and driving when your blood alcohol content or blood alcohol concentration would be the most relevant factor. 

What Are the Penalties for a Marijuana DUI Conviction?

Suppose you go to court and receive a conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana. In that case, the penalties in California are the same as what would happen if you were guilty of drinking and driving.

In California, penalties for a first-time DUI conviction involving marijuana or another substance can include 96 hours in jail up to six months and a $390-$1,000 fine. You may have a six-month driver’s license suspension, and you could be required to participate in a drug education class.

In most cases, a DUI involving marijuana is a misdemeanor, but certain circumstances can elevate it to a felony. For example, if you’re using marijuana and you cause an accident with serious bodily damage or death or have multiple DUIs, your DUI could become a felony.

A felony DUI conviction can include up to 180 days in jail and a four-year license suspension. You may face probation for up to five years and have to participate in a drug or alcohol education class.

Final Thoughts

To sum it up, can you get a DUI from marijuana in California? 

The answer is yes, you can, and people do. Driving under the influence of any substance, including marijuana, is illegal and has negative consequences. The consequences of driving high are similar to the penalties of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Not only are there legal penalties, but if you use marijuana and drive, there is an accident risk. Fatal accidents often involve the use of substances, including marijuana. 

For chronic marijuana users, it can be a tricky situation. You could have marijuana in your system from weeks prior. If you get pulled over and take a drug test, this will still show up. You likely have to work with a defense attorney to prove your driving abilities weren’t affected if that happens. 

You can recover and still have a very fulfilling life after getting a DUI; the more support you have-the higher your chances for success. If you’re struggling with marijuana or substance use, please know that help is available. Call the helpline at Anchored Tides Recovery today – 866-600-7709.

What is a Spiritual Awakening in Recovery?

what is a spiritual awakening in recovery

what is a spiritual awakening in recovery

 

What is a spiritual awakening in recovery? Spirituality is one of the more misunderstood elements of addiction treatment and recovery, but often one of the most important. We encourage everyone to explore spirituality in a way that works for them, both during treatment and throughout their life. 

Your spiritual journey and spiritual practice are likely to become something you rely on throughout your life, well after you go to addiction treatment. Active addiction affects your spirit in so many ways, and you might not even see those effects right away. You’re never truly present or in the moment because you always feel the influence of drugs or alcohol. You might feel like you have no worth because of your addiction and like your only purpose is using drugs or alcohol.

You get lost in your addiction without the chance to experience your emotions. The process of recovery often goes hand-in-hand with the spiritual awakening process. Learning how to start your spiritual awakening can be so challenging because it looks different for everyone.

We’ll explore below what we mean when we talk about a spiritual awakening in recovery and how that can happen for different people regardless of differences in their belief systems. 

 

What is a Spiritual Awakening?

A spiritual awakening isn’t something you experience exclusive to addiction recovery. Awakening can happen at any time in your life, regardless of your circumstances.

You often experience something profound or on a deeper level that leads to a breakdown of your ego. You may feel a tug or call toward deeper mental awareness. The result tends to be a personal transformation along with a shift in how you see yourself and the world around you. For many of us, a spiritual awakening comes after a catalyst in our life.

If you’re going to addiction treatment or struggling with a substance use disorder, the realization that you’ve hit rock bottom or are not in control of your drug use can be that triggering event. It’s usually that initial realization about the true depths of your substance abuse that many people say is the hardest part of recovery. You have to see for yourself the impacts of your addiction on every area of your life before you reach any kind of deeper spiritual awareness. Awakening doesn’t always stem from addiction.

For some people, it’s a traumatic experience such as surviving an assault or abuse, or maybe the loss of a loved one. When you go through something traumatic, it affects you physically, mentally, and emotionally. You may go through an extended period of healing but emerge on the other side of that in a more vital place spiritually. If you have depression or a mental health disorder, it can lead you to what we call an existential crisis. You start to look more at the purpose of your life, and you may want a shift due to that assessment.

You can engage in practices through your daily life that might also activate an awareness or awakening. For example, mindfulness and meditation can be a way to transform yourself on a spiritual level, even without a major life event happening. According to Deepak Chopra, when you experience an awakening, you’re not in a dream world anymore. 

Instead, based on Chopra’s framework, you are aware of yourself but only in a way that puts you within the context and connection of everything else. This period is also sometimes called enlightenment or nirvana.

 

 

How to Start Your Spiritual Awakening

The process of how to start your spiritual awakening is deeply personal, so below are only suggestions, but you may find a path that’s entirely your own.

  • Start to observe and notice. Many of us go through our lives on autopilot. We don’t think about what we truly want, who we are at our core, or why we’re at a particular point in our lives. When you become aware and observant, you’re better able to make changes then. For example, this might be when you question your drinking or drug use and start to delve more into why you’re doing it.
  • Develop a sense of connection. Specifically, as it relates to addiction and recovery, that sense of connection can come from participation in a support group, like a 12-step program.
  • Let go of attachments. We all have extensions that aren’t relevant to our true selves. You can begin to eliminate whatever those are through your awakening.
  • Find inner peace. When you cultivate inner peace, things still go wrong in your life, but it doesn’t lead you down dark paths. Instead, you learn how to cope with things as they go wrong effectively. When you’re experiencing things that aren’t pleasant, you recognize them as a fleeting moment in time.
  • Feel more compassion and empathy. When you’re participating in an addiction treatment program, you’ll start to learn more about how your substance abuse affected the people around you. This is an excellent starting point as you begin to become more empathetic and compassionate in all areas of your life.
  • More authenticity. You’ll start to grow into someone who feels your self-worth on a deep level. That will allow you to be more authentic in who you are.

The final step in an awakening of your spirit is that you’ll be happier and healthier. You’ll be able to thrive in your life rather than just surviving in your recovery process. 

 

Spirituality in Recovery 

In many ways, having a successful long-term recovery from addiction relies on spiritual growth taking place. You have to change your perspective to be in recovery. As part of treatment for substance abuse, you can begin to identify and reconnect with the aspects of your life that are most important to you.

Spiritual power can become your most incredible tool for healing, personal growth, and having a thriving life. You can develop a sense of purpose, and at the same time, learn that you’re not alone.

 

Spirituality Is Not Religion

We often hear from people who worry spirituality is about God or religion. However, it’s important to note that you do not need religion or a belief in God to have a spiritual experience, although you certainly can get your spiritual power from God. A true awakening in the spiritual sense is about having your own beliefs and developing your sense of self that connects you to everything else in the world in your everyday life. You can give credit to whatever force or power you choose.

Are you ready to begin learning how to start your spiritual journey? We encourage you to reach out and learn more about our addiction treatment programs. We prioritize spirituality in whatever terms work for you. Your spiritual life is very personal, which is how Anchored Tides Recovery develops our addiction treatment programs as well, call 866-600-7709 to learn more. 

Support starts here. 

Is Drug Addiction Genetic?

genetic predisposition

genetic predisposition

 

Is drug addiction genetic? Is there such a thing as an addictive personality? These are common questions you may have, and while there is a genetic component, which we talk about below, we also urge caution here. Genetic predisposition factors are just one risk factor for substance abuse, as other chronic common disorders are actual. Genetic studies are increasingly shedding light on the science of addictive disorders. 

Just because a close relative struggle with addiction doesn’t mean you automatically will as well. Having a genetic factor doesn’t make addictive disorders any less treatable either. Understanding the role of heredity and vulnerability to addiction is essential from a scientific and research standpoint and uncover the root causes of addiction. However, genetic risk factors don’t have to be a deterrent to you getting effective help if you are active in addiction.

 

What is Addiction?

A substance use disorder or SUD means you uncontrollably use a substance despite harmful consequences. Illicit drugs, alcohol, or tobacco are substances that lead to addiction. Some of the most common types of addiction include cannabis use disorder, alcohol addiction, cocaine addiction, and opioid addiction. 

Over time, as the addiction continues without treatment, it affects your daily functionality. The SUD creates problems in your relationships and most other areas of your life. You may experience changes in your behavior and thinking. The brain’s structure changes, and you may have intense cravings for the substance you have an addiction to. Your personality might change. Imaging indicates addiction can lead to changes in the parts of the brain that relate to decision-making, learning, behavioral control, memory, and judgment.

Symptoms of addiction or SUD can fall into one of four categories. These are:

  • Impaired control: Hallmarks of this set of symptoms include intense cravings to keep using drugs or alcohol. You may try to stop using or cut down on your drug intake but find that you’re unsuccessful.
  • Social issues: When you abuse substances, you may experience problems in your daily life. For example, you could find that you’re increasingly giving up things you once enjoyed to use drugs or alcohol. Substance use can affect school or work performance, and it tends to impact relationships.
  • Risk-taking: Drugs of abuse can lead you to do dangerous things. These risk-taking behaviors might happen to get more drugs or because of their effects on you. You’ll continue to use substances even though you realize they cause problems.
  • Drug effects: Physical effects stem from addiction. For example, you may notice you develop a tolerance. When you have a tolerance, you need more significant amounts of drugs or alcohol to get the same effects on your genetic predisposition you did initially. Another physical component of drug or alcohol abuse is withdrawal. If you stop using a substance suddenly and depend on it physically, you might have side effects.

 

 

Risk Factors for Addiction

The saying goes that addiction doesn’t discriminate. No matter your background, you can experience a substance use disorder, but some people are more likely than others to develop an addiction.

 

Environmental Risk Factors

Environmental factors can and do raise a person’s risk of developing a SUD. For example, if you grow up without parental involvement, you are more likely to experiment or take risks. If you experience neglect in your childhood, you might turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.

The risk of addiction could go up if you experienced trauma in your childhood, such as sexual abuse or physical abuse. Other ways your environment can raise your risk of developing a substance use disorder include:

  • If you face peer pressure from friends or your social circle, it can lead to experimentation with psychoactive substances.
  • When you’re in a group of people with access to substances, you might be more likely to try them.
  • The environmental aspects of addiction are essential to understand if you’re in recovery. You may find that you need to find new friends and avoid specific environments to reduce your risk of relapse.

 

Other Co-Occurring Disorders

A dual diagnosis means you have an addiction and another mental health condition. If you struggle with psychiatric disorders, like depression, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorder, it can be a factor for addiction or raise your addiction risk. 

Addiction can also increase the severity of symptoms you experience from a co-occurring disorder. It becomes a progressive and challenging cycle when you have a mental health disorder and an addiction since both are complex diseases. 

 

Early Use

The earlier you use drugs or alcohol, the more likely you will develop alcohol use disorders or dependence on addictive drugs. When you’re young and expose your brain to drugs or alcohol, it affects its development. You may also be more prone to developing mental health disorders because of how substances affect your reward centers, levels of serotonin, and other parts of your brain chemistry. 

If you’re young and you begin experimenting with drugs or alcohol later in life, you could struggle to experience feelings of pleasure without substances. The early history of substance abuse shows a strong association with drug addiction later in life. 

 

Type of Drug and Method of Use

Certain drugs tend to put you at higher risk of the development of addiction. For example, addictive substances like heroin and methamphetamines have a higher risk of physical addiction than marijuana or alcohol. How you use drugs is relevant. If you smoke or inject drugs, addiction is more likely to occur than taking a drug orally.

 

Is There a Genetic Predisposition To Drug Addiction or Alcohol Addiction?

Now, we come back to the question of is drug addiction genetic? What is it in our genetic predisposition that could create an addiction vulnerability? Why do some people develop addictions and others don’t?

Family studies and identical twins show that as much as half of your risk of developing a substance addiction depends on your genetics. As we learn more about the role of heredity in addiction, it helps us understand the best ways to target treatment. It’s also helpful to overcome the stigma of addiction. For example, addiction in humans is a complex intersection between genetics and other risk factors, but it’s not due to a lack of morals or willpower. 

However, there’s not necessarily a single gene that we can pinpoint right now that determines addictive behavior. If you’re the child of an addict, you are eight times more likely to develop an addiction.

At the same time, we have to remember that if genetics make up 50% of your risk for drug abuse or addiction, the other 50% comes from things other than your genetic predisposition makeup, like your choices and how well you develop coping skills.

This complexity highlights the fact that genetics isn’t your destiny. You’re more than your genetics. You can increase your protective factors against addiction, like a healthy stress response and beneficial coping strategies. As there are growing advances in genetic testing, we may learn even more about heredity and addiction in future studies. We may also learn more about brain chemistry and how this leads to the chronic disease of addiction, impulsive behaviors, and drug-seeking behavior. 

For example, researchers recently uncovered that D2, a type of dopamine receptor, may eventually be used as a way to predict if you’ll become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Current studies show if you have fewer D2 receptors, you’re more likely to develop an addiction. The more we understand biology, the more personalized addiction treatments can become. This understanding of the predisposition to addiction is a big goal of addiction research overall right now. 

Never let yourself get caught up in the thought process because you come from a family with a history of addiction that you have to repeat or remain in those same patterns. 

We also want you to know that while your genetic predisposition could have increased your likelihood of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol, there are steps you can take in your life to achieve recovery. No matter your genetic vulnerabilities or background, addiction treatment can be effective. We encourage you to contact Anchored Tides Recovery at 866-600-7709 to learn more.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Diagnosis, Epidemiology, Prevention, and Treatment

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

 

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is also known as a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASDs). FASDs include conditions occurring when you drink alcohol during your pregnancy leading to prenatal alcohol exposure. Effects of drinking alcohol during pregnancy can include physical problems and issues with learning and behavior. While it’s devastating for your child to receive a diagnosis of FAS, it is preventable.

With that in mind, below, we’ll talk about fetal alcohol syndrome, diagnosis, epidemiology, prevention, and treatment. 

 

An Overview of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

When you drink alcohol during pregnancy, it can pass to your baby through the umbilical cord, potentially leading to alcohol-related birth defects and fetal alcohol brain damage. There’s not a known, safe amount of alcohol you can consume during pregnancy. If you’re trying to get pregnant, you should also stop drinking.

If you’re pregnant and drink, the fetus can’t process alcohol through the liver or other organs. The alcohol exposure is the same as the amount in your bloodstream, but exposure lasts longer for the baby. Prenatal alcohol exposure in human populations affects fetal development, especially in the brain and central nervous system.

Some of the ways prenatal alcohol exposure can lead to alcohol-related birth defects include:

  • If you drink alcohol, including hard liquor, beer, and wine, it can kill cells in the fetus that lead to problems with physical development and secondary effects. 
  • Prenatal alcohol exposure impacts the development of nerve cells, including how they travel to different parts of the brain.
  • Alcohol consumption during pregnancy constricts blood vessels, slowing blood flow to the placenta. The result of restricted placental blood flow can be a shortage of oxygen and nutrients to the baby.
  • While your body processes alcohol, it produces toxic byproducts. These toxins can accumulate and cause structural brain abnormalities and other types of brain damage. 

Even before you know you’re pregnant, your alcohol intake could affect your developing baby or lead to secondary disabilities like alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder. 

 

How Prevalent are FASD and Prenatal Alcohol Exposure?

Getting an overview of fetal alcohol syndrome diagnosis, epidemiology, prevention, and treatment relies on understanding the prevalence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we don’t know how many people have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. We use varying approaches to estimate how many people in our population might be living with the condition.

  • Using medical records primarily, studies from the CDC show a rate of 0.2 to 1.5 infants with FAS for every 1,000 births in the United States. 
  • Recently, an epidemiological study by the CDC found FAS in 0.3 out of 1,000 children between 7 and 9.
  • According to studies from the National Institutes of Health using physical exams, the actual range of FASDs in the United States and some countries in Western Europe could be as high as 1 to 5 per 100 children—around 1% to 5% of the population.
  • A study from 2020 published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found patterns of maternal alcohol exposure and binge drinking in pregnant women between 18 and 44 in the U.S. went up from 2011 to 2018.
  • Having at least one alcoholic beverage among pregnant women in the past 30 days went up from 9.2% in 2011 to 11.3% in 2018.
  • Binge drinking (four or more drinks in a sitting) increased from 2.5% to 4% in that same period.

 

Symptoms of FASDs

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are a collection of diagnoses. These represent a range of things that can occur when a mother drinks during her pregnancy. The symptoms affect everyone differently. FASDs symptoms can also range from mild to severe.

Symptoms of fetal alcohol effects can include:

  • Poor coordination and motor skills 
  • Hyperactivity
  • Short attention span
  • Poor memory
  • Low birth weight
  • Problems in school or with social skills 
  • Increased likelihood of defiant disorder or other mental health problems 
  • Learning disabilities
  • Poor impulse control 
  • Low IQ
  • Intellectual disability
  • Sucking and sleep problem as a baby
  • Hearing or vision problems
  • Problems with the kidneys, bones, or heart
  • Being shorter than average in height
  • Small head
  • Facial abnormalities including a smooth ridge between the upper lip and nose, known as the philtrum

 

Diagnosing FAS

It can be difficult to accurately diagnose fetal alcohol exposure because there aren’t specific medical tests available or set guidelines for diagnosis. There’s also the issue of a differential diagnosis since many symptoms of FASDs overlap with other conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

To  make a diagnosis, a doctor might consider:

  • Prenatal alcohol exposure
  • Lower-than-average height, weight, or perhaps both
  • Abnormalities in facial features
  • Central nervous system problems like poor coordination and hyperactivity

 

 

Can FAS Be Treated?

The effects of fetal alcohol syndrome are lifelong, but early intervention can help a child’s development. Treatments include medications and medical care for symptoms, behavioral and educational therapy, and parental training. Researchers also identified protective factors. These reduce the adverse effects of FAS on children and include a diagnosis before the age of six, a loving environment during school years, and an absence of violence in a child’s life. Using special education and social services is also a protective factor.

If you believe your child has symptoms of FAS, but you aren’t sure, talk to your health care provider, who can then refer you to a specialist for intervention services. Specialists include developmental pediatricians and mental health professionals like child psychologists. There are clinics throughout the country with staff specially trained in FASDs and can create individualized treatment plans. 

 

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Treatment for Adults

Unfortunately, as we talk about above, there is no treatment for adults or children. FAS is lifelong. Many times, adults with FAS will have mental disorders and legal problems. Adults with FAS are more likely to be in jail or a mental health facility, facing unemployment. Depending on the severity, it can be difficult for an adult with FAS to live independently.

The earliest intervention possible in childhood is the best treatment for FAS that we have available now, although it’s not a cure.

 

Preventing FAS

Since there isn’t a cure for FAS, prevention of maternal drinking is the only available option. When you use alcohol during pregnancy, it’s the top cause of preventable congenital disabilities, learning disabilities, and developmental disabilities. The only way to prevent your child from being born with FAS is to avoid drinking alcohol during your pregnancy altogether.

If you’re sexually active and not using birth control, you should also avoid alcohol. If you’re pregnant, it can take four to six weeks for you to know that, and during that time, if you’re drinking, you could be exposing your baby to alcohol.

It’s not too late to stop drinking if you’ve already had alcohol during your pregnancy. Your baby’s brain growth and development continue throughout your pregnancy, so stopping as soon as possible is crucial. You should avoid alcohol during breastfeeding also because it can cause development, sleep, and learning problems, although there’s no direct link to FAS.  

If you’re a woman thinking of becoming pregnant, or you could already be, and you have an alcohol addiction, help is available. Again, we want to emphasize it’s never too late to stop drinking; Anchored Tides Recovery can help. Please reach out today at 866-600-7709.

Signs of Love Addiction

signs of love addiction

signs of love addiction

 

The signs of love addiction can be hard to spot at first. If you’re someone with love addiction, you may initially just see yourself as someone who loves love. While that’s not always a problem pathological love can lead to negative consequences and destructive relationships for some people.

There are similarities between love addiction and other types of addiction, including substances like drugs and alcohol.

 

Disorders That Occur Along with Love Addiction

Love obsession tends to be a co-occurring condition. When you have a co-occurring disorder, you have symptoms of two or more mental health conditions. For example, you might feel that you show signs of being addicted to love in addition to depression or anxiety. Substance abuse is also a relatively common co-occurring disorder with pathological love.

We should point out that this condition is controversial. Some experts feel that everyone has an element of “addiction” when they love someone. Romantic relationships can and often do have periods where you might feel emotional distress. However, a true compulsion to love goes well beyond what we see as usual in a relationship.

For example, if you’re in a relationship where you’ll give up everything else for that person, it could be a problem. The most significant complication of experiencing this type of compulsive romantic behavior is that you may find yourself in an abusive or toxic relationship.

 

What is Pathological Love?

Love addiction or pathological love isn’t as medically well-defined as some other types of addiction. When someone is experiencing disruptive or harmful symptoms or consequences because of their romantic relationships, their mental health care provider has to distinguish these from other conditions. For example, in borderline and dependent personality disorders, the symptoms can overlap with pathological love.

Suppose you’re someone with an addiction to love. In that case, you can become fixated on the person you’re interested in at any given time and develop emotional dependencies or a lack of control. You might behave compulsively toward or about that person. You can then act on unhealthy behaviors because of your fixation.

 

What Type of Disorder Is Pathological Love?

There’s not a current agreement on what type of disorder love addiction really is. For example, pathological love can be considered an impulse-control disorder. With an impulse-control disorder, you are always seeking new experiences and behaving impulsively to get them.

Some researchers believe pathological love is more in line with a mood disorder. For example, you have feelings similar to mania when you’re in the early stages of love or beginning a new relationship. Then, as the relationship progresses, you might experience symptoms of depression.

A third possibility is that being addicted to love could be part of the obsessive-compulsive spectrum. You may experience intrusive, repetitive thoughts just as someone with OCD would, but they’re about your romantic partner or finding love. Of course, as the name implies, having a compulsion to find love can be most like a behavioral addiction too, such as gambling; you don’t have to take a substance, but the characteristics are similar.

Early on in a relationship, you might have intense pleasure and euphoria. Then, over time, those experiences might become dull. You might need more of these love experiences to feel anything similar to a dependence on drugs and alcohol.

 

 

What is Sex Addiction?

Sometimes, we talk about sex addiction along with love addiction, it’s not currently in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Despite not being included in that, it’s still diagnosable.

This offshoot occurs when someone seeks out multiple sexual partners to the extent that it interferes with their daily life, activities, and functionality. If you have a sex compulsion, you might not be able to control your behavior, despite severe consequences. Your sexual relationships are your primary focus, and your sexual behavior can become more extreme over time. Sexual addiction can occur along with love addiction, but it doesn’t have to.

 

Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction

  • Always looking for your soulmate 
  • Constantly searching for an intimate relationship 
  • Thinking the intensity of sex or the newness of a relationship is the same as love or real intimacy
  • A chronic pattern of seduction, sex, or manipulation to get the interest of potential romantic partners
  • Having an intense fear of abandonment
  • Breaking promises to yourself about not returning to harmful relationships
  • Choosing partners that require a lot of attention or you to fill a caretaker role
  • Always needing to be in love
  • Being happiest during the so-called honeymoon phase of a relationship
  • Obsessing over the idea of romance or romantic interests
  • Putting romantic partners on a pedestal
  • The inability to be alone
  • Requiring emotional comfort from a partner and extreme dependency
  • Having cravings to be with your partner
  • Experiencing euphoria or emotional highs when you’re with a partner

When you begin a new romantic relationship, it’s normal to feel excited about being with the person, and you may miss them when they’re away. You may obsess over your partner to the point that it causes harm to your relationship or your well-being. You develop dysfunctional patterns. For example, you may seek out the affection of someone who isn’t responsive to you emotionally. You could also find yourself more likely to be in abusive relationships.

 

Why Do People Have Love Obsessions?

As is the case with other mental health disorders, including substance use disorder, the underlying factors of love addiction are probably complex. Again, we all need and desire to feel love, but what is it about some people that makes this problematic for them? Trauma, genetics, family history, and environment all probably factor in.

Someone with an obsession to finding love or keeping it may also stem from low self-esteem. For example, if you have low self-esteem, you may seek out your sense of self-worth from romantic partners. You could also deal with the signs of love addiction because you have abandonment fears from your childhood.

If you feel like you have an emotional void, you could use romantic partnerships to fill that. You may think that being in love brings value and excitement to your life. Unfortunately, that puts a lot of pressure on your partner. You may not have boundaries, and you’re more likely to find yourself in a codependent relationship.

 

Love and Substance Abuse

As we talked about above, love addiction can and often does occur with other mental health disorders. You may be searching for love in unhealthy places. You might also seek the highs that love can bring, making you more likely to find similar experiences through substance use.

Additionally, if you have a relationship that falls apart or consistently in unhealthy relationships, you could cope with the negative feelings with drugs or alcohol. Over time, you may experience a void and a sense of shame. There are many elements of being addicted to love that you can’t fix on your own, but treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy can be beneficial.

If you or a loved one struggles with love or sex addiction along with a substance use disorder, we encourage you to reach out to the Anchored Tides Recovery team at 866-600-7709 to learn about our treatment options. We approach treatment holistically to help put you on the best path to recovery, a fulfilling life, and healthy relationships.

Quitting Nicotine: The Next Step to a Healthy Life

how long does nicotine withdrawal last

how long does nicotine withdrawal last

 

Many people will tell you that quitting nicotine is the hardest thing they ever do. Despite the immense challenges, it is possible to stop smoking and using nicotine products in general. We’ll discuss more addiction and nicotine withdrawal symptoms. We’ll also mention some of the things you can do to deal with physical symptoms and psychological symptoms of an addiction to nicotine. Options include nicotine patches and other nicotine replacement therapy, support groups, and working with a professional counselor. 

There’s a lot to look forward to in a nicotine-free life; when you decide to quit using tobacco for good, the health benefits include: 

  • Reduced risk of heart disease 
  • Lower risk of a heart attack
  • Less exposure to secondhand smoke for the people around you
  • Improved your overall lung health 

 

How Does Nicotine Work?

Understanding why quitting nicotine is so challenging relies on understanding just how this potent drug works. If you use something with nicotine, your brain and body are being exposed to a stimulant. A stimulant speeds up processes in your body and central nervous system. A chemical containing nitrogen, nicotine is made by plants like the tobacco plant. There’s also synthetic production.

On its own, nicotine doesn’t increase the risk of lung cancer or have significant adverse health effects. The issue comes from the fact that since it is so addictive, you can become dependent on tobacco products that are cancer-causing and dangerous. Snorting or chewing tobacco will release more nicotine into your body than smoking, but smoking is America’s most common preventable cause of death.

Interestingly, nicotine is both a stimulant and also a sedative. When you first expose your body to nicotine, you’ll experience a kick. This kick occurs because nicotine stimulates your adrenal glands; adrenal stimulation causes an adrenaline release. Adrenaline stimulates the rest of your body, causing a glucose release. 

Other short-term effects include an increase in blood pressure, breathing and heart rate. Your pancreas produces less insulin in response so that you might have an increase in your blood sugar.

 

Nicotine Addiction and Dependence

Nicotine addiction is physical and behavioral. Physical dependence means that you crave the chemical. Behavioral addiction refers to situations where you might be used to using tobacco in particular situations, and you want to keep doing that. For example, you might always find yourself smoking when you feel stress, which can be a sign of behavioral addiction.

As we talked about above, when you use nicotine, it creates pleasant feelings and sensations in your mind and body. Your brain releases neurotransmitters, including dopamine, creating feelings of pleasure and happiness. These pleasant effects are one way you can develop an addiction to nicotine. Signs of addiction include:

  • You’re not able to stop using tobacco
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use nicotine
  • You have a desire to continue using tobacco even though it’s causing adverse outcomes, such as health risks
  • Someone with an addiction to nicotine will keep using tobacco despite harmful effects on their life

Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and common side effects can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Changes in mood
  • Irritability
  • Problems concentrating
  • Nicotine cravings
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Upset stomach
  • Aches and pains
  • Eating more
  • Weight gain
  • Restlessness

According to the American Heart Association, it’s one of the hardest things to quit when you use tobacco. Quitting nicotine can be as hard as stopping heroin, mainly heavy smokers in stopping or long-term tobacco users. In many cases, the more cigarettes you have per day, the more difficult it might be to go through the withdrawal symptoms from nicotine. 

So, how long does withdrawal last?

For most current smokers, quitting nicotine and nicotine withdrawal symptoms will start anywhere from one to three hours after your last tobacco use. Symptoms in a nicotine addict can last a few days up to a few weeks. Some people experience tobacco cravings for months or even years. 

 

Can Your Lungs Heal After Smoking?

As we mentioned above, it’s not necessarily nicotine itself that’s harmful to your health. Instead, the products containing nicotine are dangerous and can cause conditions like lung cancer and lung damage. Your lungs can clean and repair themselves over time, luckily, but maybe only to an extent.

After you stop smoking and end your toxic chemical exposure, your lungs can begin to not only heal but also regenerate. How quickly your lungs can heal depends on how long you used tobacco and the extent of the damage. Two types of permanent and potentially irreversible damage can occur, which are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Even so, quitting nicotine and tobacco products can help you avoid worse damage, and you may see improvements in your lung health and your quality of life. 

 

Tips for Quitting Nicotine

If you’re interested in quitting nicotine, some methods may be helpful for you. First, as is the case with other types of addiction, you’ll need to prepare yourself to change your routines and behaviors. Specific treatment options to reduce tobacco cravings include:

 

Cessation Medications and Nicotine Replacement Products

Medications can help you stop using tobacco and reduce cravings. One of the more popular options is nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine replacement therapy includes:

  • Nicotine inhalers
  • Nasal sprays
  • Lozenges
  • Nicotine gum
  • Nicotine patches. 

Some people might use electronic cigarettes to help them with intense cravings, but you have to be mindful that these can also put you at risk for lung disease and other harmful chemicals. When you take a nicotine replacement medication, it provides you with nicotine, but not the other chemicals in tobacco. Another option that a professional might prescribe to you is an antidepressant. Antidepressants can improve your mood by increasing your dopamine production. More dopamine production may help you stop using tobacco.

 

Therapy and Support Groups

You can work with a professional therapist or counselor as you go through the common withdrawal symptoms. You might also choose an in-person or virtual support group. Support groups help tackle all types of addiction, and you can learn better coping skills and be with people who are going through something similar to your situation.

 

Lifestyle Changes

When you’re quitting nicotine, you’ll want to make sure that you’re identifying new ways to cope with stress and cravings.

There are a lot of lifestyle changes that might work for you.

  • You might focus on getting regular physical activity. 
  • Keep your hands and mouth busy with healthy snacks or gum.
  • Remove temptations from your home, and try to avoid situations that could trigger you, such as hanging around with smokers.
  • When you’re quitting nicotine, you should also set manageable and achievable goals and treat yourself when you meet those goals.
  • Some people find that alternative remedies help with their addiction, like acupuncture, the use of certain herbs, essential oils, and hypnosis.

It’s never easy to beat any addiction, and many people say overcoming nicotine dependence is one of the hardest things they ever do. 

If you’d like to learn more about professional support and create healthy coping skills for addictions to nicotine or any other substance, we encourage you to contact Anchored Tides Recovery at 866-600-7709. With professional help, you can improve your chances to kick the addiction. 

PTSD Symptoms in Women

PTSD symptoms in women

PTSD symptoms in women

 

PTSD symptoms in women can look different than how they manifest in men. These differences aren’t just actual post-traumatic stress disorder. Across the board, women may experience the symptoms of mental disorders differently than men. Understanding these sex differences is essential in diagnosis and treatment.

We delve into how you experience PTSD symptoms as a woman can differ and its role in addiction and substance abuse.

 

What is PTSD?

Posttraumatic stress disorder, more commonly known as PTSD, develops following exposure to a scary, dangerous or shocking event. If you’re in a traumatic situation, it’s not abnormal to feel fear, anxiety, and even a sense of terror. Your body will launch a fight-or-flight response. The response is your body’s natural way of protecting you from harm and danger. Sometimes this initial response is called acute stress disorder. 

Most people will then recover from those initial fight-or-flight symptoms after the immediate threat of danger passes following exposure to trauma. When those symptoms don’t go away or maybe even worsen, you could have PTSD. If you believe you have symptoms, you should speak to a mental health professional. 

Possible risk factors include:

  • Living through something dangerous or traumatic such as sexual or physical abuse
  • Being physically hurt
  • Seeing someone else getting hurt
  • Seeing a dead body
  • Trauma during childhood
  • Feeling extreme fear or helplessness
  • Having little social support after the traumatic event
  • Dealing with additional stress after the event like losing your home or job
  • Having a history of drug or alcohol abuse 
  • A history of mental disorders 

According to mental health care providers, general symptoms of PTSD that we see in both men and women fall into one of four categories. 

 

Re-Experiencing Symptoms

These symptoms might include flashbacks, where you constantly relieve the traumatic event. Re-experiencing symptoms can also be physical. For example, you might have a racing heart. Bad dreams and ongoing scary thoughts fall into this category. We often talk about flashbacks in the context of combat veterans, but they can occur in anyone who’s gone through trauma. 

Your re-experiencing symptoms can create problems in your daily life. You may also feel like certain situations, words, objects, or even people remind you of the trauma, leading to re-experiencing symptoms.

 

Avoidance Symptoms

After you go through a traumatic event, if you have PTSD, you may develop avoidance symptoms. You might avoid the events, objects, and places that remind you of the event. You may prevent feelings or thoughts that relate to the trauma. Out of a desire to avoid reminders or triggers, you could completely change your daily routine.

 

Arousal and Reactivity

These physical symptoms can lead you to feel edgy or tense and have angry outbursts consistently. You might have physical health symptoms like problems sleeping, and you could startle easily. These symptoms are different from the other types because they’re constant and not usually triggered by anything.

 

Cognition and Mood Symptoms

These symptoms can lead you to feel alienated or withdrawn from your loved ones. You might have trouble remembering key facts of the traumatic event. These symptoms could lead you to negatively view yourself or the world, and you could have guilt or blame yourself. 

Cognition and mood symptoms also include a loss of interest in things you once found enjoyable. While it’s relatively normal to experience some or all of these symptoms as part of your reactions to trauma, if they last for more than a month, it might indicate you have PTSD.

 

Are PTSD Symptoms in Women Different?

PTSD symptoms in women may be different from what men experience. For example, PTSD symptoms in women are more likely to include being easily startled and feeling numb. You may have a hard time experiencing emotions. Avoidance is more common in women than men, and women with a history of PTSD are more likely to experience depression and anxiety than men.

The symptoms may last longer in women than men. For example, women have symptoms on average for four years, while men, on average, experience symptoms for a year. If you’re a woman with PTSD, you are less likely to have a drug abuse problem after the trauma compared to a man.

 

Is PTSD More Common in Males or Females?

There are gender differences in the prevalence of PTSD. Healthcare providers estimate that one in 10 women will develop symptoms of PTSD during their lifetime. As a woman, you are around twice as likely as a man to develop PTSD. The most common type of trauma women experience is sexual assault, and the rates are higher than in men. Women are also more likely to experience childhood abuse or domestic violence in their life, which can lead to PTSD.

 

Effective Treatments 

If you believe you have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, reach out and get help. There are excellent treatment options available, and they tend to be highly effective.

For example, the primary treatments are talk therapy and medication.

  • Medications include antidepressants to help with symptoms like worry, numbness, and sadness.
  • Talk therapy for PTSD usually lasts anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks. You can work one-on-one with a therapist or participate in group therapy.
  • The goals of talk therapy include learning about symptoms, beginning to identify triggers, and developing skills that help you manage your symptoms.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a specific type of talk therapy that we often use for PTSD. When you participate in CBT, you may go through exposure therapy. 
  • Exposure therapy will introduce you to the trauma in a prolonged, safe, and managed way. Then, from there, you can start to cope with your feelings more effectively.
  • Goals of any type of talk therapy include learning about the effects of trauma, developing relaxation skills, and dealing with feelings like guilt or shame.

 

What Happens when PTSD Is Not Treated?

We want to emphasize the risks of untreated PTSD. When you have untreated post-traumatic stress disorder, it’s doubtful symptoms will just go away. Instead, what happens without treatment is that more complications and comorbidities can develop.

For example, not getting proper treatment and mental health care can make you susceptible to drug and alcohol abuse, sleep problems, and depression. There are also links between not getting treatment and then developing chronic pain. Other long-term effects of PTSD that goes without treatment include:

  • Anger management issues—you may start to have angry outbursts. These anger problems can lead to violence in your life or the breakdown of relationships.
  • Loneliness—you may end up withdrawing from the people who care about you, leading to isolation.
  • Comorbid depression—this is a considerable risk of untreated posttraumatic stress disorder. Major depression can cause suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
  • Substance abuse—the potential for substance misuse to occur is mentioned above, and we can’t overstate the risk of this. When you have any mental health condition for which you’re not getting treatment, it increases your risk of developing a drug or alcohol problem. The increased risk could be due to multiple factors. For example, if you’re not getting professional treatment, you might attempt to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Also, the areas of the brain playing a role in mental disorders contribute to addiction.

The most powerful message we want you to take away from this is that you don’t have to suffer alone; if you’re a woman with posttraumatic stress disorder, Anchored Tides Recovery can help. Whether it’s stemming from sexual violence, military combat, substance abuse, or another traumatic event, we are here for you. Treatments are available to help improve your quality of life and relationships and lower your risk of developing complications like an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Contact us at 866-600-7709 to learn more.