co-occuring disorder

What to do if your loved one has a co-occuring disorder

co-occuring disorder

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?

The first important step is to educate yourself about the conditions and better understand the symptoms. Sometimes your loved one’s condition can affect their thoughts or views. With appropriate treatment, these thoughts and attitudes can be overcome. Even though you care so much and have good intentions, try not to lecture your loved one. It’s okay to talk to them about something that’s happened due to their disorder or substance abuse, but don’t come off preachy. When having these conversations, enter it calmly when all parties are sober. Never use guilt to motivate someone, it’s an unhealthy and manipulative approach we shouldn’t take.

It’s crucial you do not enable your loved one. Even if you feel bad for them and don’t want them to struggle, you must stay strong. The more we enable them, the easier we make it for them to continue self-destructive behaviors. If your loved one is really struggling with addiction, they will most likely ask for money. Don’t give in to their requests. Loaning a substance abuser money enables them to keep supplying their cravings.

At any point, don’t ever blame yourself. Remember that your loved one has two conditions that are treatable. You didn’t cause either of them, which means you can’t cure them either. All you can do is give your best support and have patience. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not your responsibility to make your loved one well. You can encourage them to get the professional help they need. Be sure to allow your loved one to spend all the time they need with support groups and treatment. When individuals recover, they could go through withdrawal symptoms or struggle rebalancing their moods. If you experience this with your loved one, just remember it’s a part of the process and don’t take it personally, be patient and understanding.

Last but not least, don’t forget about yourself. Don’t forget to give yourself a break once in awhile. You can’t help someone else, if you’re forgetting about your own wellness. With all the patience and sacrifice you’re giving, it’s easy to neglect your own needs. It’s okay to allow yourself some distance from the stress here and there. Some people find support in support groups with others who can relate and understand your situation.

If you and/or your loved one would like professional medical help in recovering, please do not hesitate to contact us at Crownview Co-Occurring Institute. We have a team of medical professionals who will look into each patient’s unique individual needs and circumstance. We provide a variety of treatment plans and options. We also offer support for friends and family as well. No one should has to struggle alone.

Addicted and traumatized

Addicted and traumatized

Addicted and traumatized

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.

It’s estimated that 25-75 percent of those who experienced abuse or violence in their lives develop issues related to alcohol. Individuals who have a history of sexual abuse, particularly women, have an increased risk of alcohol and drug use. Addiction is also seen in returned veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often times, people don’t think about surviving accidents, illness, and natural disasters as traumatizing; but, in fact, they very much are and also increase the risk of addiction.

So why do these traumas turn people to substance abuse? It’s actually not the trauma that make people addicted to something or more prone to at risk behaviors. It’s usually a choice initially backed by good intentions. People want to feel safe, escape memories, feel in control, and soothe all their pains. Alcohol and other drugs seem to satisfying all these desires. It could be an appealing thought to just take a sip, inhale, or inject something to feel like everything is right again. Sometimes when life is a struggle and too painful, our vision is blurred and we might make choices out of desperation.

However, this is counterproductive because while individuals may feel a temporary sense of relief, the traumas still remain. Alcohol and drugs can only mask the traumas, but it doesn’t heal them. Addictions are also dangerous high risk behaviors. It’s damaging to our mind, body, and spirit. Overdose is also a serious reality.

So what individuals need to do is heal the fears, pains, and anxieties from within. Trauma is very delicate. There are many therapeutic options and people respond differently to different kinds of treatments. If you or a loved one are interested in healing, the best approach is to find a professional that you connect with. Someone specializing in traumas can provide guidance and insight. They will also be able to recommend a treatment plan that’s individualized for your particular needs. Even letting those thoughts and feelings out with someone is extremely healing in itself. While it may be challenging sometimes, it’s much healthier than putting something in our bodies.

At Crownview Co-Occurring Institute, we believe in healing the entire person. Not only do we have professionally trained therapists, but we have a dynamic team who works together to provide complete mind, body, and soul healing.

Schizotypal vs Schizoid Personality

Schizotypal vs Schizoid Personality Disorders

Schizotypal vs Schizoid Personality
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.

What is Schizotypal 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.

Symptoms of Schizotypal Personality Disorder

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:

  • Social and interpersonal deficits
  • Thinking that coincidences or events have personal meaning
  • Magical thinking or “odd beliefs”
  • Bodily illusions or strange perceptual experiences
  • Being suspicious or paranoid
  • Not expressing emotions
  • Behavior that is eccentric
  • Lack of close friends
  • Social anxiety

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.

Prevalence and Risk Factors

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.

What is Schizoid Personality Disorder?

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.

Symptoms of Schizoid Personality Disorder

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:

  • Pervasive pattern of detachment from close relationships
  • Difficulty expressing emotions in the presence of others
  • Does not enjoy or desire relationships
  • Choses to be alone most the the time
  • Little, if any, interest in sexual activity with another person
  • Takes pleasure in very few activities
  • Does not have close friends
  • Seems indifferent to praise or blame from others
  • 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.

Prevalence and Risk Factors

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.

The Differences Between Schizotypal and Schizoid

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.


How Long Does it Take to Get Addicted to Xanax (Alprazolam)

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.

Alprazolam and Benzodiazepines

Xanax is a benzodiazepine often used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. The first benzodiazepine, chlordiazepoxide (often known by its brand name Librium®), was created in the mid 1950's as a safer and less addictive alternative to the tranquilizer medications of the day. Benzodiazepines help treat anxiety and panic by affecting the central nervous system through the GABA receptors, which are the main inhibitors of the CNS in the human body.

Alprazolam is one of many benzodiazepines, and stands out from others because of its relatively quick mechanism of action and shorter half-life than its fellow benzodiazepine medications. Because of these characteristics, Xanax is the most-abused drug out of all the benzodiazepines. Unfortunately, benzodiazepine abuse can be dangerous, and the mispercetion of the drug as safe leads to many people becoming addicted.

Xanax Addiction Timeline - How Dependence Builds

Dependence and addiction take time to build with any drug. When substance dependence develops, individuals experience withdrawal upon cessation of use. This happens when the brain and body become dependent upon the drug in the system in order to function, and varies greatly from substance to substance. With Xanax, individuals can develop dependence relatively quickly.

In order to develop dependence and addiction, individuals must be consuming the substance regularly. With alprazolam dependence, individuals who take it daily are likely to develop dependence on the drug. As the GABA receptors continue to be impacted from the benzodiazepines, the nervous system grows accustomed to functioning with the inhibitory compounds. When the drug begins to leave the system (around 6-8 hours after the last dose), the individual is left with unpleasant feelings and experiences.

Factors for Developing an Addiction

Not everyone becomes addicted to or dependent on Xanax who uses it. There are risk factors in individuals, and patterns of use which many increase the likelihood of developing an addiction. Risk factors for developing an addiction to alprazolam include:

  • A family history of drug or alcohol abuse or addiction
  • A family history of mental health disorders
  • A personal history of mental health disorders
  • Trauma and stress in life, especially early stages
  • Lack of peer support
  • The presence of stress
  • Individual body chemistry and metabolism

Of course, there are many other factors which may make somebody more susceptible to developing an addiction, but these are a few big ones. For example, people who spend time with other individuals who are abusing drugs are more likely to consume drugs themselves. There are also patterns of use that may cause dependence. Whether taking Xanax as a doctor prescribed or abusing it, here are a few factors which may impact the development of dependence:

  • Age of first use
  • Length of use
  • Frequency of use
  • General dosage
  • The abuse of other drugs, or polydrug use

It's relatively simple to understand that those who use more drugs for a longer period of time are more likely to become addicted than those who try the drug once. Regular use of Xanax, even if taken as prescribed, can result in physical and psychological dependence over time.

How Long Does it Take to Become Addicted?

One of the scary parts about benzodiazepine use is that individuals can become dependent in just three or four weeks of use. Research suggests that tolerance can develop in just a few days, while full physical dependence can arise in a few weeks. This is not true for everyone, and benzodiazepines still hold great clinical value. However, it's important to know that some people may become addicted to Xanax even when taking it exactly as their doctor prescribed.

If an individual is abusing Xanax by taking it without a prescription or taking more than prescribed, it's possible that addiction can develop even more quickly. With recreational alprazolam use, it can take just a couple of weeks to become dependent on the drug. Over the coming weeks and months of use, the addiction strengthens, and individuals are likely to begin making drug acquisition a priority.

Xanax Withdrawal and Detox

Along with the relatively quick process of addiction that can develop, benzodiazepines are dangerous because of the withdrawal symptoms. Like alcohol, benzodiazepines like Xanax impact the GABA receptors. This means that the removal of alprazolam from the system causes a severe change in the central nervous system. The withdrawal symptoms can be incredibly painful, uncomfortable, and even fatal.

If you or somebody you know is struggling with a Xanax addiction, it is crucial that you reach out for help. Withdrawing on your own or trying to detox at home can be lethal, and should not even be an option. Without proper medical care, the withdrawal process from benzodiazepines can cause lasting damage, result in relapse, or kill the individual!


Anxiety and Depression after Quitting Marijuana


Anxiety and Depression after Quitting Weed

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.

Marijuana Withdrawal - Can Quitting Marijuana Cause Depression or Anxiety?

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.

How Long Does it Take for Depression to Go Away After Quitting Marijuana?

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.

How Long Does Anxiety Last After Quitting Smoking?

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.

Help for Marijuana Addiction and Withdrawal

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.