Staying sober can be difficult when we're destabilized. We can face loss, mental health disorders, or difficult situations which bring adversity. However, traveling and vacation can also bring some chaos. Although often a pleasant experience, going on vacation without drugs and alcohol can bring some stress. We're accustomed to using while traveling, we go on vacations centered on drinking, and we're pulled out of our normal routine. Staying sober while traveling takes a little bit of extra attention, but we can do it!
Xanax® is the trade name of alprazolam, a benzodiazepine medication. When mixed with alcohol, it can produce dramatic effects including blackouts and overdose. Xanax and alcohol side effects can be incredibly dangerous and even lethal, and should absolutely not be mixed together. Even if taking alprazolam as prescribed, you should steer clear of consuming alcoholic beverages.
Group therapy is an incredibly effective tool in recovering from both addictions and other mental health disorders. Social psychology has shown us that group dynamics may play a role in how individuals behave, and we can use recent research in the fields of social psychology, addiction medicine, and mental health studies to offer group therapy in a way that greatly encourages a healthy recovery.
Crownview Co-Occuring Institute offers top-tier drug and alcohol detox in San Diego for our clients who need help cleansing their system from substances. The detox phase of recovery is important, and proper detox can lay the foundation for a healthy and lasting recovery. Whether you're using opioids, alcohol, benzodiazepines, or any other substance, proper attention during the withdrawal process can make all the difference as you journey toward sobriety.
Over the years that I have worked in treatment I have been exposed to many people who are attempting to recover from addiction. Helping people recover is something that I am passionate about and I take care to educate clients and their families about addiction. I write extensively on my own therapy blog, One Mind Therapy, about addiction, recovery, and mental health.
One topic that often comes up in my work is the different stages of addiction. There are many different models that provide stage theories of addiction. However, the most widespread model is SAMSHA’s four stages of addiction.
Functional alcoholism is a term used to describe those that suffer from an addiction to or dependence on alcoholism but are able to function effectively in daily living activities. Often, functional alcoholics are able to retain a job, have some sort of personal relationships, and may even seem healthy on the outside. However, a functional alcoholic often suffers from co-occurring mental health disorders, stress, and a deep dependence on substances.
Xanax® is the brand name of the drug alprazolam. Like many other prescription drugs, people can become physically dependent upon this medication and develop an addiction. The time it takes to get addicted to Xanax varies from individual to individual, and depends largely on the nature of use. Benzodiazepines like alprazolam are involved in a surprisingly high number of overdose deaths, with benzodiazepine overdose rates climbing in recent years. Although it is most often when another drug is present in the body, Xanax overdose is a very serious issue and often results in fatalities.
Stimulants are one of the most commonly abused class of drugs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found in their 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health that over 1.5 million people used cocaine, and over half a million used methamphetamine in the past month. These stats do not include the non-medical use of stimulant medications. Stimulant withdrawal can be incredibly uncomfortable without proper care, as the drug can wreak havoc on the mind and body. From amphetamine to cocaine, there are many stimulants out there which can be dangerous.
Most often, addiction does not happen all at once. Instead, it is a progression that takes place sometimes over years. This progression to addiction is a growing problem in American society, where illicit drug and marijuana use have been steadily rising in recent years (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/nationwide-trends). Of course not everyone who uses drugs will become addicted. But, according to USA Today nearly 1 in 7 Ameircans will struggle with substance addiction at some point in thier life. So, if addiction is such a problem, how exactly does it happen?
Some might not be familiar with inhalant abuse. It’s technically not considered a drug, but it’s a substance that people abuse and become addicted over time. Inhalants slow down the body’s functioning, causing numb feelings and euphoric highs. These feelings, however, last a brief amount of time. Therefore, users inhale substances repetitively to extend their high.
When people think of addiction, they will usually think of hard drugs, alcohol, and those living on the outer margins of society. The truth is, people can be addicted to more than just drugs and alcohol. Addiction can develop in anyone, at anytime, anywhere.
The struggle with amphetamines is the reality that some types are actually legal. People are aware of the dangers regarding illegal synthetic drugs, however, legal medications are also risky. There are many medications that are either amphetamines or contain amphetamine. Some of the drugs available in the US are banned in other countries due to high risks. These medications are prescribed by doctors and should be taken under careful supervision by a trained medical professional. These drugs can easily be abused, both intentionally and unintentionally. Being aware of these drugs and what they do can help us avoid misuse of amphetamines.
Xanax® is the trade name for alprazolam, a drug most often used to help treat anxiety and panic disorders. A member of a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, Xanax is a depressant of the central nervous system. Although it may be used clinically to help treat a variety of symptoms and disorders, alprazolam is highly addictive and can lead to dangerous symptoms of withdrawal. Many people take alprazolam to help with anxiety, and eventually build physical and psychological dependence.
When an individual takes alprazolam, the drug reaches the GABA receptors. GABA is the body's main inhibitor of the central nervous system. When you are experiencing anxiety or activation, it's your GABA receptors that act to bring you back down. Alcohol also affects these receptors in the brain, and can produce similar effects and withdrawal symptoms.
With a half-life of about 11.5 hours, Xanax effects generally last 4-6 hours. It is generally detectable in the bloodstream for 4-7 days after the last use, depending on the dose taken. When taking Xanax, tolerance builds quickly. Drug tolerance is the phenomenon by which a user needs to take more of a drug to achieve the same desired effects. As the brain and body become accustomed to Xanax, the individual takes more and more to achieve the effect which they are seeking.
Alprazolam is often abused, and you can indeed overdose. The rate of overdoses from benzodiazepine abuse is on the rise over the last decade, and Xanax is one of the most commonly abused drugs in its class. When taken by itself, it's fairly unlikely that an individual will overdose. Although a user may experience a number of unpleasant symptoms from taking too much alprazolam, the risk of death is low when it is taken alone.
Although not completely impossible, it's highly unlikely that an individual will overdose from Xanax alone. It would take an extremely high amount of the drug to cause symptoms of overdose by itself. However, Xanax overdose becomes a serious risk when it is mixed with other substances. Mixing any benzodiazepine with another depressant is very dangerous, and can result in an unintentional overdose.
Xanax overdose occurs most commonly when it is mixed with alcohol or opioids. When you hear about a Xanax overdose death, it's likely that the individual was taking other central nervous system depressants. Because alcohol and opioids cause the nervous system to relax in different ways, the combination with benzodiazepines can be fatal. The risk of death comes from collapsed lungs, decrease in heart rate, and lack of oxygen and blood to the body.
Xanax overdose symptoms vary from individual to individual, and are dependent upon a variety of factors. These include how much an individual took, how long they have been using Xanax, how much tolerance they have built, if any other drugs were taken, and the individual's weight and general state of health.
Symptoms of Xanax overdose may include:
You may experience some depression after getting clean due to the brain's process of adapting to less activity at the GABA receptors.
Because tolerance and addiction build so quickly, many individuals experience withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use. Even if taken exactly as prescribed, coming off of alprazolam can be quite uncomfortable and even dangerous without proper medical attention.
Symptoms of Xanax withdrawal may include:
Without proper medical attention, the symptoms of withdrawal can be quite dangerous. At a professional detoxification facility, trained doctors and clinicians will help you to go through the withdrawal process with minimal discomfort and your safety in mind. Whether you have been abusing Xanax or taking it as prescribed, it's crucial to consult with a doctor before coming off of the substance.
If somebody has overdosed on alprazolam, it's likely they could benefit from some addiction treatment. It's important to find the right kind of treatment for each individual. If there is a co-occurring disorder present, the person will need a dual-diagnosis treatment center. At a treatment center, the individual will learn skills, coping mechanisms, and tools for living a live without benzodiazepines.
Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused substances in the world, and the most commonly used illicit substance in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 11 million young adults age 18-25 use marijuana in a given month. In recent years, marijuana has become legalized for recreational use, permitted for medical use, and has seen a rise in potency. In 2015, over 4 million Americans met diagnostic criteria for a marijuana use disorder, pointing toward the risk of addiction to this drug.
Marijuana is the name of the buds of the plants cannabis sativa and cannabis indica. The female plants contain tetrahydracannabinol, commonly known as THC. This is the strongest psychoactive compound, but marijuana contains over 65 known cannabinoids in addition to THC. It's most often smoked, and many people vape or eat it. Marijuana has many names, and is most commonly referred to as pot, weed, grass, 420, cannabis, ganja, herb, and bud. There are also specific names for methods of consumption such as joints, bongs, blunts, and vapes.
Often perceived as safe and non-addictive, people can develop cannabis use disorder, which is characterized by the continued use of marijuana despite negative consequences like stress, mental impairment, or social problems. This often manifests in people using marijuana even when problems are arising in their personal lives or social lives as a result of regular use. Research also suggests that marijuana may worsen mental health disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, and paranoid schizophrenia.
There are many signs of marijuana abuse that you may see in yourself or in someone near you. It's good to know the signs of a marijuana high, and the symptoms of regular or longer term use. Some common effects of marijuana use in the short-term are:
The symptoms that one may experience depend on various factors. Different strains of marijuana may cause different effects. Indica strains tend to be more relaxing, while sativa strains tend to be more uplifting and energizing. Effects of marijuana use may also vary depending on the length of use, how much pot is smoked, and your individual body chemistry. When used for longer periods, users may develop a variety of side effects. These include:
Again, every individual is unique, and the signs of regular marijuana use differ from person to person. Some people immediately struggle with school or work, while others are able to function at a relatively high level. There is not one single set of side effects to watch for, as marijuana use may cause different symptoms in different people.
Marijuana is often considered by the general population to be safe and non-addictive. The truth is that many people develop cannabis use disorder, or addiction. Like many other substances and behaviors marijuana can impact our dopamine reward pathways and create addiction. When somebody becomes addicted to marijuana, they will experience symptoms of withdrawal upon cessation. Furthermore, people who become addicted are likely to change behaviors. Things that were previously enjoyable or rewarding are no longer as interesting. This may result in less interest in school, work, social life, and other things which once brought us pleasure.
It's important to know that marijuana is indeed addictive. Many people use marijauna without developing addiction, but the potential is there. Many people who become addicted to marijuana start using in their teen years, and longer-term use increases the risk of developing an addiction. If you or someone you know smokes pot regularly, it may be worth seeking professional help to investigate the potential for addiction to arise.
When you think of detox and withdrawal, you may think of drugs like heroin or benzos. Stopping use of marijuana can also result in a psychological and physical reaction. Marijuana withdrawal may consist of a number of unpleasant symptoms, and depends on the user, length of use, individual body chemistry, the presence of any mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety. Common symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include:
To help with these symptoms, Crownview Co-Occurring Institute offers detox services for those coming off marijuana. Although the withdrawal process doesn't usually dictate the need for medical care and medications, it is best to have professional care to help you get the drugs out of your system. With trained professionals caring for you, you are offered the best opportunity at recovering and leading a life without marijuana. Relapse rates are significantly lower among addicts who seek help from licensed addiction facilities.
Addiction treatment for marijuana use helps individuals to build a life of recovery without drugs. Through various therapeutic offerings, we will work with you to prevent relapse, strengthen coping mechanisms, and learn to face life in a new way. Unfortuantely, many people experience depression after quitting weed, as marijuana can cause dopamine deficiency in the brain. Getting sober from marijuana involves building a new way of living, and a marijuana addiction treatment center like Crownview will help you to create the life you want.
As you may know, many people believe marijuana to be a perfectly harmless substance. Although some people may smoke marijuana without consequence, there are many people who struggle with an addiction to the drug. A 2007 study found that marijuana use caused increased sensitivity to anxiety in young adults, while other studies have found adverse effects from regular marijuana use such as developing addiction, impaired brain development in adolescent years, an increased risk of developing mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia, and chronic lung disease.
This isn't to say that every person who has tried marijuana once is likely to experience these symptoms. However, if you smoke marijuana regularly, there are some side effects you may experience. Contrary to how we thought about it a decade ago, you can indeed become addicted to marijuana. One study found that about nine percent of marijuana users will become addicted at some point in their lives. When we become addicted, it can be difficult to quit as we're faced with withdrawal symptoms upon cessation.
Depression after quitting weed is more common than many people realize. We think of marijuana as being relatively safe or not physically addictive, but the truth is that we may experience real withdrawal symptoms upon quitting. We may think of marijuana as being only psychologically addictive, but let's take a look at what is actually going on.
First, any "physical addiction" effects the brain. The reason that opioids or benzodiazepines are physically addictive is because the brain responds to the drug and it effects the way we physically feel. Marijuana use effects the brain, and the way we physically feel. Specifically, smoking marijuana effects the brain's uptake of serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin effects mood and creates feelings of happiness. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for our feelings of pleasure.
When you are smoking weed, your brain is flooded with serotonin and dopamine. When you stop smoking, the levels come crashing down and your brain is accustomed to having elevated levels. This creates the depression you may feel after quitting marijuana.
The separation between physical and psychological addiction is often that a physical addiction has an addictive substance and causes physical withdrawal symptoms. Marijuana is not seen as "addictive" in the same way nicotine or heroin is. However, when you stop smoking pot, you're likely to experience physical symptoms of withdrawal. The differentiation between physical and mental addiction is really overstated, and you can indeed experience physical withdrawal symptoms from marijuana use.
Some people experience depression for months after quitting weed, while others experience it for a day or two. You may experience it as a feeling of discontentment, sadness, or lack of motivation to do anything. The reason this happens is that the brain is accustomed to having heightened serotonin and dopamine levels. When you quit smoking, the levels plummet and your brain has a harder time producing them by itself.
This can result in the experience of not being able to enjoy things that were once pleasurable. Whether it's exercise, social engagement, sexual activity, or other dopamine-producing activities, we may have a hard time getting the joy we want. The brain is recuperating from a dopamine and serotonin depletion, so it won't produce the same "highs" that we are looking for.
Anxiety is another common side effect of quitting smoking marijuana. Much like the issue with depression, this is because of the way marijuana interacts with the human brain. As marijuana has some anxiolytic effects, the removal of the drug causes the brain to go back to normal. This results in some heightened sensitivity to anxiety.
This may last for a period of a few days or a few months. Essentially, we have to allow the brain time to return to normal production of the neurotransmitters. Like any substance that gets you "high," marijuana use effects the brain. When you stop using, the brain takes some time to adjust.
Although we may think of rehabs as being for those struggling with addictions to meth or heroin, people do go to rehab for marijuana addiction. Quitting on your own can be quite difficult, especially when faced with depression, anxiety, and other unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal. During this period of withdrawal, many people return to smoking weed in order to ease the discomfort.
Addiction treatment for marijuana starts with some aid in the withdrawal process. With professional help, we can get the drug out of our systems with minimal discomfort. After the drug has cleared our system, we may begin investigating our relationship to the drug and how we can live without it. Through various therapeutic models, relapse prevention, social support, and psychoeducation, individuals who seek treatment for marijuana use have much higher rates of success in their recovery.
People tend to stereotype drug and alcohol abusers as the opposite of high level professionals - usually unable to function effectively in society and having poor priorities. Addiction doesn’t discriminate, it reaches out to everyone. Regardless of your profession, economic or social status, location, age, etc., addiction is a choice and reality for many people. Even professionals.
Substance abuse and addiction can be challenging to understand for many people. Why people do drugs, why they choose particular drugs, and why some users seem more addicted than others? These are questions people often wonder. And truthfully, everyone has a story. While everyone’s is different, there can be similarities and patterns as well. A group of researchers were curious themselves. They wanted to know if there were any connections between addiction and gender. They performed a study that looked into the prevalence and drug choice between men and women. Results also showed patterns related to age as well.
HOW IS COCAINE USED?
Cocaine is a known common drug that still continues to be abused. When we think of cocaine, most people immediately visualize a skinny white line of powder on a flat surface, along with a straw and a sharp edged object for straightening the line. Then we’ll think of a user closing one nostril with their finger while using the straw to snort the entire line up the other nostril. Then maybe they’ll rub the rest of the powder on their gums. This is the most common way cocaine is used.
WHAT IS POLYDRUG USE?
What’s worse than abusing drugs to get high? The answer to that question is called Polydrug Use. What is polydrug use to begin with and how is it worse? Drugs are damaging to our health and livelihood as it is, but abusing a combination of substances to get high is worse than using the drug itself. Polydrug use is exactly that: using a combination of more than one substance, including alcohol, medication, and/or illegal drugs. When mixing different substances, a user’s risk is increased. Not only because they’re doing twice as much, but some substances have dangerous interactions with one another. People want their high to be taken to another level. While this is more dangerous and putting a use at higher risk of overdose, many people doing this don’t care if they wake up another day.
Heroin is one of the world’s most addictive drugs, but what do we really know about it? Here are some facts not many people know about the familiar drug.
WHAT IS HEROIN ANYWAY?
There are many ways trauma can enter our lives, affecting some of us for the rest of our lives. It’s a subjective and personal experience that individuals go through and must heal from. However, support from others can help immensely in healing and giving validation. Having someone there to make one feel safe, comforted, and reassured can help deal with the pain. While the protection and support offers healing energy, it’s important to be aware that we shouldn’t rely on others to heal us. This is especially important in our close relationships. Yes, supporting one another is important, and as humans, we need it; however, we have to be realistic on what our partners can give. They can’t be responsible for healing our internal chaos.
There’s a definite link between trauma and addiction, but that doesn’t mean individuals suffering from trauma always develop addiction. Someone could struggle with trauma for many years without ever having a sip of alcohol or touching a drug. Yet, studies have shown that trauma is a major underlying influence for those with addictive behaviors.
As children grow, they witness and learn about life around. As they gather information of the world they live in, they develop coping abilities. While this is all based on their direct experience of their environment and those within it, they’re creating an internal map of how the world works. If trauma is thrown into the mix for a child, that’s going to influence that internal map which interprets the bigger picture. This is how childhood trauma can still affect us as adults.
WHAT IS PTSD?
Many people who experience co-occurring disorders struggle with a combination of addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, PTSD is fairly common. In the United States alone, it’s estimated about 7.7 million American adults are affected by PTSD. Without proper treatment and healing, a person’s risk for addiction is increasingly higher than other adults. This is why it’s vital to identify and treat PTSD properly before people start self medicating. Let’s answer the question, what is PTSD?
Not a lot of people are familiar with dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. So when someone finds out their loved one is struggling it, it can be rather challenging to wrap their head around it. Not only are they learning about one thing, but their learning about two simultaneously! And how they interact or influence the other! So what does someone do when they get this kind of news? What’s the best way to approach and handle it, to be the best support for a loved one?
Helping someone recover from addiction is tough. It’s especially challenging when they’re struggling with a co-occurring disorder in addition. While the focus is mainly on helping an individual regain control of their life and get healthy, we can’t forget their loved ones. Dual diagnosis doesn’t only affect the individual, it greatly affects their friends and family as well. It can be hard for struggling individuals to see their lives and actions clearly, but surrounding sober loved ones see and feel it all. On top of that, they know, a lot of the time, the person isn’t their true self.
For many, one of the most difficult aspects of recovery is adjusting to new social aspects. The bar, the club, or the hangout spots often provide, in addition to the addictive substance, a social connect. Friendships and relationships can develop when using socially. It may be immensely difficult to stop using, when using was a venue for social acceptance and belonging. Often in the process of rehabilitation and recovery, it is recommended that individuals sever all “using” relationships, avoiding completely any relationship that involved using substances, and staying clear from locations that triggered use. Severing these relationships can be particularly painful for individuals who struggled generally to fit in or make friends.
Honestly is an important step in the journey towards recovery. In many 12 step programs, honesty is often the first step in the course. Although being honest with others is also important, the first person you need to be honest with is yourself.
A common acronym amongst addiction counselors is B.L.A.S.T. This stands for Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stressed, and Tired. When someone experiences any number of these feelings, they are particularly vulnerable to succumb to their addiction. Regardless if the addiction is alcohol, drugs, sex, food, or anything else-- B.L.A.S.T. is applicable across the board and can magnify any urge.
Let’s be honest, the majority of us do not live in a waterfront villa off the coast of Bora Bora, ski in the Swiss Alps with supermodels, while saving endangered animals in the Amazon on the weekends -- despite what we see on social media platforms. Real life for many is routine. Monday comes around, there is a knot in our stomach, and we think, “It’s back to the grind.” This “grind:” this constant hustle for another dollar, to put food on the table, and clothes on our back is the reality for many. If you’re lucky, the weekend comes around and one can enjoy a little; but, Monday always lurks around the corner of Sunday. How can I find daily happiness? Can every day feel like Friday?
People abuse substances for different reasons. It could be self medicating, habit, even boredom. When recovering from addiction, cravings and triggers are the toughest challenges. When the urge is so strong, it may feel like the only option is to give in. Being stronger than the urges could seem almost impossible, especially if we’re feeling down and we know the substance can pick us up. The truth is, it is possible, we just need to pick ourselves up.
Sleep is vital to living a healthy lifestyle and supporting proper bodily functioning. We need the restful energy during our waking days and our bodies need the nightly downtime to heal and repair itself. Sleep isn’t only important for feeling energized and alert, but our organs need that energy as well. Sleep is proven to decrease inflammation and boost our immune system. This is how the body protects us from illness and diseases.
Imagine being in a good mood all the time, getting a more restful sleep, holding your attention longer, and retaining your focus. Isn’t that the dream? We would feel great, get more done, and live happier productive lives. You can make your dreams come true and turn this into reality. Believe it or not, all you have to do is change your diet. Our diet has an affect on our mental health and wellbeing. It can either pick us up or bring us down. Here’s some simple changes and suggestions to live a healthier life at an optimum level.
While sugar makes everything tastes amazing, it’s the culprit for many issues. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. We’re aware of the health risks that too much sugar can increase, like obesity and type 2 diabetes, but we don’t always acknowledge the effects it has on mental health. Yet we all feel its effects casting a spell on us, that’s for sure. Maybe we don’t notice those feelings or relate them to sugar.
Pumpkin spice lattes, warm toned leaves, and a crisper air are finally here! We love the fall and all it’s feelings. However, not everyone shares our excitement for the change seasons. Some people experience dips in their mood during the fall/winter seasons, so they don’t look forward to it’s arrival. We know this as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Aside from it’s unpleasant symptoms, it can also come hand in hand with addiction as well. Depression and addiction never make a good relationship.
The U.S. is struggling with its fight against the rise of opiate addiction and overdose. Abuse of heroin continues to be an issue, but the silent damage is being done by the misuse of prescription opioids: painkillers. Between 1999-2015, over 180,000 people have died from opioid overdoses. And over 1,000 people are admitted to emergency rooms daily for opioid related accidents or side effects. This is an unfortunate challenge that our country is faced because not only are we dealing with illicit drugs, but medically legal drugs as well.
Not many people are familiar with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but 1% of the population suffers from it. This is another common co-occurring disorder seen paired with addiction to drugs or alcohol. Just like all other dual diagnoses, we can’t just treat addiction and abstain from substances. We need to take care of the mental health related component as well. In this case, Borderline Personality Disorder.
COMBINING BIPOLAR AND ADDICTION
Individuals living with bipolar disorder have an increased risk of abusing drugs and alcohol, especially those who experience extreme shifts in mood. However, bipolar disorder isn’t just about mood swings - it dramatically affects a person’s emotional state, cognitive functioning, judgement, and behavior. A person experiencing extreme fluctuations in mood and energy levels is more willing to take anything to get rid of their discomfort. According to The National Alliance on Mental Health, 56 percent of people with bipolar disorder have a history of illicit drug abuse, while 44 percent have abused or are dependent on alcohol. The combination of severe bipolar disorder and addiction increases the risk of negative and unhealthy outcomes.
Addiction is not an easy battle to fight. For some, it seems nearly impossible to recover. Unfortunately, they might be right; there could be a deeper reason for that struggle. There’s a chance someone could be dealing with co-occurring disorders and not even know it. Not many people are familiar with it to begin with. So what are co-occurring disorders?
Shame, we all know this feeling. It is a feeling that keeps us in the shadows and isolated from others. Often shame prevents us from doing what is best and holds us back from getting the help that we need. You may even be reading this blog post debating whether or not to go to therapy or treatment. Our mind chatters away thinking thoughts of worry, “what will others think of me or what will happen if so-and-so finds out?” Shame can be crippling, painful, and lonely; however, it can be escaped. Dr. Brene Brown, famous author and professor at the University of Houston, is the shame guru. She has been on talk shows such as Oprah, authored multiple #1 New York Times best seller books, and published many scholarly articles regarding shame and how to be resilient.
With so many psychotic disorders and personality disorders it can be hard to keep them all straight. There is schizotypal personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, and more. You might be wondering what exactly the difference is between them.
The first thing that is important to mention is that schizotypal and schizoid personality disorder are indeed personality disorders. In contrast, schizophrenia is what is known as a psychotic disorder. There are many differences between schizophrenia and the other two disorders mentioned above. However, here I focus specifically on the differences between schizotypal and schizoid personality disorder.
Schizotypal personality disorder is one of many personality disorders described in the DSM-5. Because it is a personality disorder the symptoms tend to be pervasive, entrenched, and long-standing . Schizotypal personality disorder specifically is characterized by a pattern of social and interpersonal difficulties. Someone with the disorder might feel uncomfortable with close relationships and therefore have very few of them.
The symptoms of this disorder center around social problems and delusional beliefs. For a very succinct explanation of the symptoms you can look here. According to the DSM-5 these are the symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder:
It is very important to note that these symptoms do not happen during the course of another mental disorder such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, or anything else. In order for someone to be diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder the symptoms must happen when there is no other disorder present.
One study found that the lifetime prevalence of Schizotypal personality disorder was 3.9% in the general population. There is some evidence to suggest that people with addiction or substance use disorders have a higher prevalence of the disorder. Schizotypal personality disorder is slightly more common in males than in females. So, males might be at higher risk for developing the disorder.
Other risk factors include genetic or social considerations. It seems that the disorder is slightly more common in people who have a mother, father, or sibling with the disorder. Although it is not conclusive, there is also some evidence to suggest that people who have relatives with psychotic disorders (like schizophrenia) might be at higher risk for schizotypal.
Much like schizotypal, schizoid personality disorder is listed with the personality disorders in the DSM-5. This means that the symptoms will also be pervasive and long-standing. Schizoid personality disorder specifically is marked by a detachment from social relationships and a difficulty expressing emotions. People who have this disorder might seem disinterested or apathetic in close relationships. They also don’t appear to get the same of pleasure from social relationships that others do.
The symptoms of schizoid personality disorder center around detachment from close relationships. Here is the symptoms for the disorder as they are described in the DSM:
Someone cannot be diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder if the symptoms of it only show up during the course of another psychological disorder. It also cannot be due to the psychological effects of medication or another medical condition.
There is evidence to suggest that the lifetime prevalence of the disorder is 4.9%. It is diagnosed slightly more often in males. It is also possible that the disorder causes more impairment in males than it does in females. Regarding risk factors for the disorder, there is some evidence to suggest that people who have family members with schizophrenia or schizotypal personality disorder are at increased risk.
After reading all of this you might be thinking, these sound pretty similar. Due to the similarities it can be difficult for people to get the correct diagnosis. It is important to look at the differences between them so that someone can be diagnosed with the right one. When clinicians do this it is called a differential diagnosis.
The main difference between schizotypal and schizoid personality disorder is that schizoid does not have any paranoid ideation or suspiciousness. This means that people with a schizoid diagnosis will not be overly worried about other people’s motivations or worried that people are out to get them. However, people with schizotypal personality disorder will have these kinds of beliefs.
The next difference has to do with the reasons people with these disorders isolate themselves. For people with schizotypal personality disorder the isolation and lack of close friendships is due to social anxiety or eccentricity. For schizoid personality disorder this type of isolation is due to a lack of interest in other people. Additionally, people with schizotypal personality disorder might still want to have social relationships. However, they might be unable to have them due to the social anxiety or strange behavior. People with schizoid personality disorder generally do not want close relationships.
The final difference between them has to do with behavior. People with schizotypal personality disorder tend to have odd or eccentric behavior. This behavior is usually do to paranoia or suspiciousness of others. People with schizoid personality disorder tend not to show this same kind of “strange” behavior.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that can be diagnosed by a mental health professional. When someone has schizophrenia they might show symptoms of:
Let’s start by defining what all of these different symptoms are.
Delusions are strongly held false beliefs. People with schizophrenia often cannot be dissuaded of these delusions no matter how much evidence is presented to them. These false beliefs often center around different themes. The most common themes for delusions are persecution, grandiosity, jealousy, erotomania, and somatic. Delusions of persecution happen when the person thinks that other people are conspiring against them. An example of a grandiose delusion would be someone who thinks they are god. Delusions of jealousy often show up as people thinking their partner is cheating on them. Erotomanic delusions can be when someone thinks a celebrity is in love with them. Finally, an example of a somatic delusion could be someone thinking that there is a tapeworm living inside their body.
Hallucinations happen when someone perceives something that is not actually there. Just like with delusions, there are different types of hallucinations. These might include auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations, or somatic hallucinations. That is hearing things, seeing things, or feeling things that are not actually there. Although all types of hallucinations have been documented in schizophrenia by far the most common are auditory hallucinations.
Disorganized speech and behavior are when someone acts and talks in a very strange way. This might show up as someone speaking in a way that seems to go off on tangents without ever making a point. Disorganized behavior can show up in a few different ways. It might be that a person with the disorder is unable to properly shower or feed themself. It could also be that their emotional responses seem inappropriate for the situation.
Negative symptoms are the absence of something you would expect in someone who does not have the disorder. This might be a little confusing, but negative symptoms are something that seems to be missing. There are many examples of this, such as showing no emotions, not moving or speaking, and no or little interest in other people.
It is important to note that in order for someone to be diagnosed with schizophrenia they must have symptoms that last for at least 6 months. Also, the symptoms must significantly impact someone’s functioning.
In past versions of The Diagnostic Statistics Manual (DSM) there were different subtypes of schizophrenia. These subtypes mostly had to do with which symptoms were predominant. For example there was a subtype called paranoid schizophrenia for people who were mostly experiencing paranoid delusions.
The newest version of the DSM, the DSM-5, no longer has these subtypes. Instead it leaves the option for clinicians to give other specifiers. These include specifying if this is the first episode, if symptoms are in remission, if the person is currently having an episode (meaning they are showing symptoms), if the person has catatonic symptoms, and how severe the symptoms are.
According to the DSM-5, roughly 0.3% - 0.7% of people are diagnosed with schizophrenia at some point during their lifetime. There is some evidence to suggest that schizophrenia associated with poorer outcomes is more common in males. However, when you look at presentations that have better outcomes the disorder seems to be equally likely to occur in both sexes.
Delusions and hallucinations often emerge between the late teen years or mid 30s. It is very rare for people to start to show these symptoms before adolescents. The most common age of onset is in the mid 20s for males and late 20s for females.
There is some evidence to suggest that there is a higher risk of schizophrenia for children who grew up in urban environments. Belonging to some minority groups has also been linked to higher rates of schizophrenia. These are considered environmental risk factors.
There are also some genetic factors that have been linked to schizophrenia. As of right now there is not one gene that indicates a higher risk for the disorder. Rather, researchers have identified clusters of genes that might be associated with a higher risk for developing schizophrenia.
There also seems to be some increased risk of developing the disorder for people who had parents with a number of different issues. For example, older paternal age might be a risk factor. Also maternal stress, infection, malnutrition, or diabetes have been indicated as risk factors. It is important to note that the vast majority of people with these risk factors do not develop the disorder.
Risk of Suicide
Roughly 5% - 6% of people with schizophrenia die as a result of suicide. Additionally, about 20% of people with the disorder attempt suicide one or more times in their lifetime. The risk of suicide is especially high or young males who also have a co-occurring substance use disorder.
There are a number of schizophrenia therapy options. This might include psychotherapy, drug therapy, or case management. Although most treatment for this disorder often centers around medication, psychotherapy and case management can be integral parts of the recovery process. Within psychotherapy there are a number of different therapy techniques that might be helpful.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) often centers around helping people rework cognitions and change behavior. This can be a particular challenge because people with schizophrenia often have delusions. Delusions are false cognitions. Generally, we do not want to reality test or challenge someone’s delusions. However, CBT asks people to rethink false cognitions. So how does this work?
Instead of outright challenging someone's thinking they might test the boundaries of the delusion. A therapist might start to test if there is any flexibility around the delusion and if there is they will start there. If there is some wiggle room they can see if someone can start to question the delusion they have. If there is little or no wiggle room they might instead work on cognitions that can be changed and on behavioral strategies.
CBT therapists might address other cognitions that might be more flexible, like negative perceptions about the disorder. They might work with someone to reframe their diagnosis. This means helping someone see how schizophrenia might make them unique or interesting rather than broken or damaged.
Humanistic Therapy can also be helpful for people who have a schizophrenia diagnosis. This type of therapy centers around positive regard and validation. In other words, making the client feel like they are heard and their feelings are valid. Sometimes people with schizophrenia feel like they are brushed aside or not taken seriously because of their disorder. Having a therapist who meets you with empathy and compassion can be exactly what is needed.
There is some debate among humanistic therapists about whether or not to validate delusions. In the past, this type of therapy has emphasized that someone’s feelings are valid and real without going along with the delusions they might be having. However, there are more clinicians recently who have decided to meet the client where they are. This might mean stepping into their world and going along with delusions. Either way, the point is to make someone feel like their feelings matter.
Psychoeducation is a technique that helps educate people about brain chemistry, symptoms, and the usual course of the disorder. This technique can be helpful both for the person with the disorder and family members. Often, learning more about a diagnosis can help people accept and understand it. Psychoeducation can benefit everyone involved by helping them see this is a disorder and not something the person can control or change on their own.
There are many medications that have been approved by the FDA to treat schizophrenia. Generally the types of drugs that are prescribed are antipsychotic medications. These seem to help curb delusions and hallucinations. There are two main types of antipsychotic medications, first-generation and second-generation.
First-generation antipsychotic medications are generally high-potency. They are very effective at reducing symptoms but people taking them may experience many unpleasant side effects. Here is a list of first-generation antipsychotic medications with the brand name and the generic name:
Second-generation antipsychotic medications were developed to help alleviate the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. These drugs were also formulated to have less side effects than their first-generation counterparts. Second-generation medications help with positive symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations but they are not always effective as first-generations medications. Here is a list of second-generation antipsychotic medications with the brand name and the generic name:
It is important to consult with a doctor when you are considering taking medication for any mental health disorder. Additionally, it is imperative to talk to a doctor before stopping or changing any medication.
Treatment centers for schizophrenia will usually use an integrated approach of psychotherapy, drug treatment, and case management. Offering all of these approaches in conjunction with one another can offer the most support possible to the affected person. Many treatment centers will also offer family programming that includes psychoeducation.
Schizophrenia is considered a long-term disorder that requires long-term care. This care might start with inpatient treatment in order to help stabilize the individual. Once they are stabilized they might be moved to a step down program like a community living facility or intensive outpatient program. Providing this type of continued care offers people the best opportunity for recovery.
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that affects nearly 6 million Americans every year. Defined as a mood disorder that is characterized by extreme changes in mood, thought, behavior, and energy level, it’s also commonly referred to as “manic depression.” This disorder usually starts in late adolescence and early adulthood beginning as subtle periods of depression and mania that gradually intensifies into the disorder. The illness is found in all ages, races, ethnicities and genders, as well as having been found to have a genetic link among families. Bipolar can affect the relationship between family members, coworkers, friends, significant others, and even neighbors, depending on the severity of the illness. Bipolar treatment centers offer individuals who are suffering from bipolar disorder a chance to stabilize through medication management, therapy, exercise, as well as various holistic and wellness approaches. The illness is described as having periods or “poles” of mania and periods of depression, lasting anywhere from days to weeks or months. The severity of the mood and the intensity of these periods are significantly different than clinical depression, as the disruption that they cause on the sufferer’s life can be sometimes devastating.
The symptoms of mania experienced by those with bipolar include:
Racing speech, racing thoughts, and/or rapid ideas
Impulsivity, poor judgment, distractedness
A decreased need for sleep or food with little or no effect on energy levels
Irritability and aggressive behavior
Heightened mood or exaggerated optimism
Hallucinations and delusions
While mania can sometimes last for as long as several months if left untreated, it is usually followed by a period of depression, commonly referred to as a “crash.” Much like drugs and alcohol, the euphoria of mania can be followed with great consequences depending on the severity of the symptoms as well as the behavior exhibited while in a manic episode.
The symptoms of Depression in Bipolar Disorder are:
Irritability, worry, anxiety, agitation, and anger
Changes in sleep patterns and appetite
Loss of energy
Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
Difficulty concentrating or making a decision
Loss of pleasure in former interests
Isolation and withdrawal from friends and families
Giving up on projects or hobbies
Thoughts of death or suicidal ideation
There are two major types of bipolar disorder, the first being classified as having depressive periods as well as mania. The second, or bipolar II, is classified as having periods of “hypomania,” which is a period of elevated mood that doesn’t reach full mania. In many cases, those who are affected by bipolar will usually admit themselves to an inpatient bipolar treatment center, or an outpatient center. There are several types of rehab for bipolar, and finding the right center can be difficult.
Rehab centers for Bipolar usually offer medication management, therapy sessions both individually and in a group setting with a licensed therapist, psychiatry appointments, caseworker or social worker meetings on a weekly basis, as well as holistic and wellness options depending on the center that’s chosen. Medication management is an important component of treatment, as the right medication can make a world of a difference in the severity and frequency of changes in mood. Many bipolar treatment centers are anywhere from a month to several, depending on the progress made in treatment. Family members are encouraged to participate in group therapy sessions as well as in other areas, as permitted by their loved one.
Although with the Internet today self-diagnoses are becoming increasingly common, only a physician or psychiatrist should make a diagnosis as to whether or not you’re suffering from this disorder. If you’ve noticed any of the symptoms above or a loved one has noticed the symptoms above, it’s important to talk to your doctor to see if you need qualified mental health treatment. Usually in periods of depression, people suffering from bipolar turn to their therapists or psychiatrists for help.
If you’ve newly been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, or you’ve been struggling to find the right combination or medication that works for you, then treatment is a step in a positive direction. Inpatient bipolar rehabs aren’t hospitalized settings. They’re community living situations, with amenities and tools to ensure comfort as well as success. The idea of treatment is to allow you to live in a setting as close to how you normally would, so that when you’ve completed the program, you’ll be able to adjust back into your regular routine. The misconception about treatment for mental illnesses is that they’re hospital settings made famous in movies and television. Although those places do exist, they’re usually only reserved for extreme cases or for those without the resources to attend an inpatient program.
Bipolar disorder is a treatable mental illness, and can easily be managed with medications, therapy, diet, exercise, proper sleep schedules, as well as through meditation and mindfulness. Although being diagnosed may seem scary at first, people with bipolar are often among the most creative types of people. Nearly six million Americans are diagnosed with having bipolar disorder every year. You’re not alone, and there’s no need to suffer if you or a loved one has been diagnosed. Talking to your therapist or doctor about different treatment options is the first step in receiving proper treatment. Talking to your family and loved ones about different options is especially important, as support in your journey can go a long way. Making the decision to get help is just the first step, as this mood disorder is a lifelong illness.
The difference between suffering from a mental illness and living with one is deciding to get treatment. Medication is an extremely important piece to recovery, as well as therapy and emotional support and connection. Bipolar does not discriminate between race, culture, gender, or age.
If you or someone you know has been having thoughts of suicide, or harming themselves or someone else, please dial 9-1-1 immediately, and call your psychiatrist or doctor. Help is available, and is only one step away.
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that depression directly effected almost 7% of people in the United States in the last year. That is, over sixteen million people experienced a major depressive episode, many of whom have faced depression before in their lives. Unfortunately, depression is more common than most people realize. The good news is that because of the prevalence of major depressive episodes, the medical and psychological communities are working hard to develop new treatments to help those that are suffering.
Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a mental disorder that causes a variety of symptoms. The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) lists many symptoms of depression, including depressed mood, a lack of pleasure-taking in normally pleasurable activities, weight loss, insomnia or hypersomnia regularly, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, inability to concentrate, and more. Major depressive disorder often gets in the way of daily life, preventing the person from participating fully in activities such as work, school, social engagements, and self-care.
It’s not clear if there is one single cause for depression. When we experience major depressive episodes we may feel like it’s our fault, but there are many factors at play. There is evidence to suggest that genetics play a strong role in major depressive disorder, hormones may effect the release of chemicals in the brain, and neurotransmitters function differently in those with depression. Depression may be triggered by a life event such as pregnancy, grief, job loss, stress, illness, or any number of experiences.
Symptoms of Depression:
Many people don’t realize just how serious depression can be. If you or a loved one is experiencing major depression, you know that it can be debilitating and difficult. Although many people recover with the help of therapy, medication, and/or support groups, depression can be tough to treat. Because of this, inpatient rehab for depression exists. At a reputable treatment center, you will receive care and attention that meets your specific needs.
The benefit of going to a treatment center that specializes in treating major depressive disorder is that you will be met with understanding and knowledge. Many treatment centers are not able to fully address major depressive disorder, as they may focus on drug abuse, process addiction, or other disorders. Although depression may absolutely occur in conjunction with substance abuse or other disorders, it's important to seek treatment that truly treats the depression. Without proper help, depression can be overwhelming and difficult to overcome. With high-quality care, those suffering from depression can recover, grow, and continue with the lives they are capable of living!
Crownview Co-Occurring Institute is a leader in treating those suffering from major depressive disorder. With decades of experience, knowledgeable and compassionate staff, and a beautiful location in Southern California, we have made it our mission to help those that come through our doors with the best level of care available. We will work with you to meet your individual needs, find a path to recovery that works, and overcome the depression with support and care. Crownview is not just another addiction treatment center that says they can help with depression; we are here specifically to work with those suffering from depression and mental health disorders. The Crownview Co-Ocurring Institute is a big family of compassionate individuals all seeking to grow.
Getting clean and being sober is a big deal and amazing accomplishment. It takes a lot of work to take those initial steps towards sobriety. Recovery, however, is not a destination, but rather a journey. Staying sober is a lifelong commitment that will take persistent effort. Here are a few things to expect in the first year of sobriety.
Recovering from addiction is a challenge, not only for addicts, but sometimes even for those helping with treatment. Everyone is different which means each person doesn’t respond the exact same way to the same treatment. One person may not even respond successfully to treatment that had once worked before. This is why it’s important to find a treatment plan, center, or medical professional who can explore different options and varieties of treatments. It’s best to find what for the individual.
Expressing one’s own feelings and emotions might not be as easy for some people; especially, if they’ve experienced significant trauma. Some people are embarrassed to share those thoughts and moments, or worry about being judged. Others might not want to revisit those memories or feelings, therefore avoiding it and keeping it to themselves. Bottling things up isn’t the healthy route we might think it is. Avoiding isn’t the same as coping. No one wants to feel pain, that’s understandable; however, we need to allow ourselves to heal.
Yoga is known to be good for the mind and body, keeping us centered and feeling rejuvenated. However, did you know this ancient practice could also help with recovering from addiction? This makes sense when you think about addiction as a way to self medicate the mind and its harmful effects on the body. By committing to a practice that supports the mind and body, addiction can slowly start taking a backseat. A satisfied, healthy mind and body won’t depend so strongly on addiction. This is always easier said than done, but with dedication to one’s health and wellness, it will make the road to recovery so much smoother and help to prevent relapse.