Understanding Alcoholism: 5 Different Subtypes of Alcoholics

Understanding Alcoholism: 5 Different Subtypes of Alcoholics

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

“Alcoholic” is the kind of term that a lot of people jokily use to describe their friend who has a few too many drinks one night, or something they say dismissively to make light of their own drinking binges. But does the average person truly understand what it means to be an alcoholic? Alcohol addiction might not seem as serious to some people, but alcoholism is truly devastating and far more complicated than you may think. Partly because people often assume that all alcoholics are the same.

So first, let us look at how alcoholism is commonly defined. Then, let us look at 4 different problem drinkers to see how alcoholics can be quite different.

Understanding Alcoholism

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) has been more commonly known for decades as alcoholism. Alcoholism is frequently used as a more broad term for any drinking of alcohol that results in physical and/or mental health problems. At one point, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) divided alcoholism into two types of disorders:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Alcohol dependence

The most recent version is DMS-5, which integrates these two disorders into one definition of alcohol use disorder. That DSM-5 also identifies levels of mild, moderate and severe sub-classifications. According to the DSM-5, anyone meeting two of the 11 criteria for AUD in the same 12-month period would receive a diagnosis of AUD.

These 11 criteria include:

  1. Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended
  2. More than once unable to stop drinking when you wanted to or tried to stop
  3. Spent a lot of time drinking, being sick from drinking, or recovering from the aftereffects of drinking
  4. Wanting a drink so badly you cannot think of anything else
  5. Drinking or being sick from drinking often interferes with taking care of your home, family, job, school responsibilities
  6. Continuing to drink even though it causes trouble with family and friends
  7. Giving up or cutting back on interests and activities in order to drink
  8. Getting into situations that increase your chances of getting hurt while or after drinking
  9. Continuing to drink despite feeling depressed or anxious, adding to another health problem, or having memory blackouts
  10. Needing to drink much more for the same effect
  11. Experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms when the effects of alcohol wear off

Then the severity of the AUD is defined as:

  • Mild

Mild alcoholism is the presence of 2 to 3 of these symptoms.

  • Moderate

Presence of 4 to 5 of these symptoms suggests moderate alcoholism.

  • Severe

The presence of 6 or more of these symptoms is an indication of severe alcohol use disorder.

5 Subtypes of Alcoholism

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This organization has actually identified what it believes are 5 subtypes of alcoholism to help expand on our understanding of this complex disease. By looking at how alcoholism can manifest in different forms, a person can learn how to identify warning signs, and how to look for a personalized treatment program that fits their needs.

  1. Young Adult

According to the NIAAA, the largest percentage of alcoholics actually falls into this category, with 31.5% of alcoholics in America. Nearly 1/3 of all alcoholics fit into this subtype.

This group is typically late teens and early 20s. Often these young adults are likely college students. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports:

  • Underage drinkers between the ages of 12 and 20 regularly consume more alcohol at a time than older drinkers
  • 90 percent of the alcohol consumed by this group is through binge drinking

Binge drinking is often perpetuated by underage and young adult drinkers. People who fall into the young adult alcoholic subtype rarely have alcoholism in their family history, and they may also be less likely to seek help for their excessive drinking as it is often considered “normal” as a “phase of life” that family members and adults may not take seriously.

  1. Young Antisocial

This type of alcoholic is typically someone in their mid-20s who started drinking alcohol at an early age. With anyone, alcohol impacts brain chemistry, and regular exposure can actually change the way the brain’s circuitry works.

Young brains do not have a fully developed prefrontal cortex, meaning young people can have more difficulties controlling emotions and impulses. They are also more likely to take bigger risks. So excessive drinking may interfere with normal brain development, and increase the odds of substance abuse and addiction.

Unlike the young adult subtype, more than half of the young antisocial alcoholics have a family history of alcoholism.

Many people in this category suffer from a mental health disorder. Around half of the young antisocial subtype also struggle with an antisocial personality disorder. If someone is struggling with a co-occurring mental health disorder, the risk of developing alcoholism or a substance use disorder (SUD) is elevated. Other co-occurring disorders frequently found in this category include:

Around 3/4 of this subtype will also use tobacco and/or marijuana. They may also struggle with opioids or cocaine addictions.

  1. Functional

Around 19.5% of the alcoholic population in the country will fall into the category of the functional alcoholic. These are typically middle-aged, well-educated, and seemingly well put together individuals. They may have a seemingly stable home life with a loving family. Functional alcoholics probably have a steady job and appear to have their lives together. They do not fit into the common stereotype of alcoholism.

Around 1/4 of this subtype of alcoholics have at least one major depressive episode in their lives. However, functional alcoholics are also often good at hiding emotional distress and issues with drinking.

Usually, a functional alcoholic will consistently fulfill most of their regular obligations. In fact, their family may even enable their drinking by making excuses for them when issues related to alcohol abuse do come up. The fact that they are able to appear successful will make it much harder to convince them that they have a drinking problem. Thus, many functional alcoholics will not seek help.

  1. Intermediate familial

This subtype is also typically made up of middle-aged alcoholics. Around half of these individuals come from families with multigenerational alcoholism. Close to 1 out of every 5 intermediate familial alcoholics also struggles with marijuana and cocaine abuse. Many of these individuals also have co-occurring mental health disorders.

  • Nearly half of all intermediate familial alcoholics have struggled with clinical depression
  • 20% have battled bipolar disorder
  • Many others struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder

A lot of intermediate familial alcoholics may use alcohol as a way to self-medicate the difficult emotional symptoms of their mental health disorders.

  1. Chronic severe

When people use the term alcoholic, this is the subtype they most commonly associate with it. Surprisingly though, chronic severe alcoholics only make up 9% of the entire alcoholic population of America.

So really, that stereotype of alcoholism actually represents the minority of alcoholic drinkers.

Chronic severe alcoholics are comprised mostly of middle-aged individuals who had early onset of problem drinking. This subtype experiences high rates of Antisocial Personality Disorder and criminality. Furthermore, nearly 80% of the chronic severe alcoholics come from families with multigenerational alcoholism. This group has the highest rates of other psychiatric disorders, including:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders

Chronic severe types also experience high rates of dependence with:

  • Tobacco
  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opioids

This is alcoholism to an extreme. Thankfully, this is the subtype with the highest rates of admission to alcohol addiction treatment.

Why Alcohol Addiction Treatment Matters

According to the NIAAA, in 2015 over 6% of American Adults met the criteria for AUD. Sadly, less than 10% of those people struggling with alcoholism received professional treatment. Those numbers alone show how much having alcohol addiction treatment matters. Each subtype will have unique experiences, which means they can greatly benefit from a recovery plan that is custom made for their unique needs. A functional alcoholic may want a treatment plan that incorporates their family. A chronic severe alcoholic may be suffering from a serious health condition that requires more of a focus on medical care.

The truth is, for how devastating alcoholism can be, it is troubling that so few people actually get the help they desperately need. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are not just uncomfortable, but they can be dangerous and even life-threatening depending on the severity. That is why safe medical detox for alcohol is such a key component of a treatment program.

With all of those subtypes who experience co-occurring mental health disorders, it is critical that they have access to dual diagnosis treatment opportunities. For these individuals, it is important that treatment is not exclusively focused on alcoholism, but also addresses their mental health. Dual diagnosis treatment is designed to simultaneously treat co-occurring conditions while also providing comprehensive care and support for recovering from alcohol addiction. For those with co-occurring disorders, only treating one while ignoring the other can be counterproductive. An untreated mental health disorder can ultimately lead an individual to self-medicate. Dual diagnosis treatment isn’t just a better level of care- it is a crucial aspect of relapse prevention.

Regardless of what subtype someone may fit into, it is important that anyone who fits the criteria for alcohol use disorder seek professional addiction treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Alcohol Awareness Month: Changing Attitudes in April 2018

Alcohol Awareness Month: Changing Attitudes in April 2018

Did you know that April is Alcohol Awareness Month?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths each year between 2006 and 2010. Among working-age adults between 20 and 64 years old, excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in every 10 deaths. Alcohol abuse is a greater risk than many people realize. Sadly, underage drinking in America has also become a very serious problem.

Back in April of 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) began sponsoring the national observance of Alcohol Awareness Month in order to increase public awareness and understanding of the risks associated with alcoholism. America’s relationship with heavy drinking is already pretty intense, so taking the time for this month to reflect is probably a good idea.

A big goal of this observance is to reduce the stigma attached to alcohol abuse and addiction. Advocates are also encouraging local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues. Alcohol Awareness Month isn’t just for looking at the impacts on society, but also at the risks to the individual, and promoting education.

NCADD states that the theme for Alcohol Awareness Month is- “Changing Attitudes: It is not a rite of passage.”

Changing Attitudes

The risk alcohol poses to young people is not something to take lightly, but sadly many people do. Too many parents are willing to overlook their children drinking underage because they have adopted the idea that drinking in your teens and early twenties is a ‘rite of passage’. This mindset actually minimizes the reality, which is that alcohol use is especially harmful to young people. But many parents just assume their kids will “get through it”. Parents frequently chalk the whole thing up to a “phase” that all young people experience. But is it safe to take it so lightly?

However, drinking is directly associated with many severe problems for young people. This shows that parents face some unique challenges when talking to children and young people about drinking and drug use. However, according to the NCADD, research has shown that kids who have conversations with their parents and learn about the hazards of alcohol and drug use are 50% less likely to use these substances than those who don’t. Parents have a critical position in alcohol abuse prevention. They have the power to help change the attitudes that lead to minimizing destructive behaviors like underage drinking.

Addressing the role parents can play in teaching their kids about the risks of alcohol is what this year’s Alcohol Awareness Month is all about.

Believe it or not, parents can help kids understand that using alcohol isn’t a healthy or effective way to feel or be independent. It might seem “cool” but it isn’t a safe or sustainable strategy for fitting in socially. People may think of drinking like a minor rebellion that provides a short-term solution, but that kind of logic can easily lead to a more serious long-term problem.

Underage Drinking

To put into perspective just how serious underage drinking is, we can take a look at more statistics from the CDC.

  • Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year.
  • 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States is by people between 12 and 20 years old, even though it is illegal.
  • More than 90% of the alcohol consumed by people between 12-20 years old is done by binge-drinking.

There are a lot of terrible consequences that result from underage drinking, including:

  • Memory problems
  • Abuse of other drugs
  • Changing in brain development (which could have a long-term impact)
  • Traffic fatalities
  • Violence
  • Suicide
  • Higher risk of homicide
  • Educational failure
  • Alcohol overdose
  • Unwanted, unplanned and unprotected sex
  • Physical or sexual assault
  • Legal problems
  • Hangovers or Illnesses
  • Death from alcohol poisoning

According to the CDC, young people who start drinking before age 15 are actually six times more likely to develop alcohol dependence and abuse later in life than people who begin drinking at or after age 21. So how can you get involved in making a difference? There are a lot of ways to acknowledge Alcohol Awareness Month.

Acknowledging Alcohol Awareness Month

April has a lot of local, state, and national events. These are opportunities to help educate people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism, particularly among our youth. They are also meant to highlight the important role parents can play in helping kids better understand the impacts of alcohol.

Local NCADD Affiliates, as well as schools, colleges, churches, and countless other community organizations, will sponsor and host a number of activities, and you can even find a way to organize your own Alcohol Awareness Month events via the NCADD website. The NCADD even encourages everyone to participate in alcohol-free days.

An easy way to join the conversation is to follow #AlcoholAwarenessMonth

These events are also meant to encourage individuals and families to find help concerning alcohol-related issues. Sometimes this kind of awareness comes down to acknowledging the problem in your own life. Whether it is your own drinking, or that of a loved one, seeking help and support can change everything. Alcohol Awareness Month provides opportunities for prevention and promotes treatment for those who need it.

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism should not be taken lightly. In fact, alcohol withdrawal can be extremely dangerous. For those addicted to alcohol, it is not recommended to try and get off of alcohol without medical supervision. Safe medical detox is the most effective and supportive environment for those with an alcohol dependence. There are a lot of resources available to those who need the help. Alcohol Awareness Month is the perfect time to have that conversation with someone you care about.

Alcohol Awareness Month not only helps us understand the dangers of alcohol, but it reminds us that we are not alone. It helps us to see not only is alcohol dangerous but also that there is hope for those who have already suffered because of alcohol. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

America’s Heavy Drinking: Where Do All 50 States Rank?

America’s Heavy Drinking: Where Do All 50 States Rank?

Even though the country is very aware of the opioid crisis that continues to claim lives every day, one of the most dangerous drugs in America is still alcohol. Heavy drinking in the US is also a deadly epidemic. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) an estimated 90,000 people die from excessive drinking every year.

Another new report also indicated that those who do die from alcohol abuse actually die an average of 30 years prematurely.

With more deaths related to heavy drinking than any other drug, which states have the highest rates? A new piece released on 24/7 Wall St. from last week went to work ranking all 50 states.

Defining Different Drinking

In order to better understand how troubling the data truly is, we first have to understand what qualifies as “excessive drinking”.

The CDC categorizes an alcoholic drink as something containing 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol. Therefore, the CDC considers excessive drinking to include terms like:

For women, excessive drinking is four or more drinks on a single occasion. For men, it requires five or more drinks in one sitting.

When it comes to “heavy drinking”, by CDC standards:

  • Women consume at least eight alcoholic drinks per week
  • Men consume at least 15 alcoholic drinks per week

24/7 Wall St. analyzed CDC data on heavy drinking, along with census bureaus and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) to create their report. What it shows is that 18% of Americans drink excessively, but that the difference between states it dramatic.

America’s Heavy Drinking States

  1. Tennessee

  • Adults drinking excessively: 11.2%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 28.0% (11th lowest)
  1. West Virginia

  • Adults drinking excessively: 11.4%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 32.0% (25th lowest)
  1. Utah

  • Adults drinking excessively: 12.4%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 19.7% (the lowest)
  1. Alabama

  • Adults drinking excessively: 13.0%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 29.4% (17th lowest)
  1. Mississippi

  • Adults drinking excessively: 13.3%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 23.3% (3rd lowest)
  1. New Mexico

  • Adults drinking excessively: 13.8%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 32.1% (25th highest)
  1. Oklahoma

  • Adults drinking excessively: 13.9%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 29.9% (19th lowest)
  1. North Carolina

  • Adults drinking excessively: 14.9%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 32.3% (24th highest)
  1. Arkansas

  • Adults drinking excessively: 15.3%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 28.4% (13th lowest)
  1. Idaho

  • Adults drinking excessively: 15.4%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 28.4% (23rd highest)
  1. Maryland

  • Adults drinking excessively: 15.5%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 32.8% (20th highest)
  1. Nevada

  • Adults drinking excessively: 15.8%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 32.8% (21st highest)
  1. Arizona

  • Adults drinking excessively: 16.0%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 27.6% (9th lowest)
  1. Kentucky

  • Adults drinking excessively: 16.3%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 28.5% (14th lowest)
  1. South Carolina

  • Adults drinking excessively: 16.4%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 37.8% (7th highest)
  1. Delaware

  • Adults drinking excessively: 16.6%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 37.9% (6th highest)
  1. Indiana

  • Adults drinking excessively: 16.8%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 23.6% (5th lowest)
  1. Georgia

  • Adults drinking excessively: 16.8%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 23.4% (4th lowest)
  1. Kansas

  • Adults drinking excessively: 16.9%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 27.3% (8th lowest)
  1. Texas

  • Adults drinking excessively: 17.3%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 29.9% (8th lowest)
  1. Virginia

  • Adults drinking excessively: 17.4%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 30.5% (20th lowest)
  1. Florida

  • Adults drinking excessively: 17.4%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 28.2% (12th lowest)
  1. Wyoming

  • Adults drinking excessively: 15.5%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 35.3% (10th highest)
  1. New Jersey

  • Adults drinking excessively: 17.6%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 24.3% (20th lowest)
  1. Missouri

  • Adults drinking excessively: 17.7%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 31.7% (23rd lowest)
  1. South Dakota

  • Adults drinking excessively: 17.7%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 35.2% (11th highest)
  1. Washington

  • Adults drinking excessively: 17.8%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 35.0% (12th highest)
  1. Rhode Island

  • Adults drinking excessively: 17.9%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 40.4% (3rd highest)
  1. California

  • Adults drinking excessively: 18.0%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 29.0% (15th lowest)
  1. Pennsylvania

  • Adults drinking excessively: 18.1%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 32.0% (24th lowest)
  1. New York

  • Adults drinking excessively: 18.2%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 23.0% (2nd lowest)
  1. New Hampshire

  • Adults drinking excessively: 18.4%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 31.2% (22nd lowest)
  1. Connecticut

  • Adults drinking excessively: 18.6%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 33.4% (18th highest)
  1. Louisiana

  • Adults drinking excessively: 18.8%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 32.6% (22th highest)
  1. Oregon

  • Adults drinking excessively: 18.8%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 32.8% (19th highest)
  1. Colorado

  • Adults drinking excessively: 19.1%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 34.7% (13th highest)
  1. Ohio

  • Adults drinking excessively: 19.2%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 34.3% (14th highest)
  1. Massachusetts

  • Adults drinking excessively: 19.5%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 27.8% (10th lowest)
  1. Vermont

  • Adults drinking excessively: 19.6%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 33.4% (17th highest)
  1. Maine

  • Adults drinking excessively: 19.6%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 39.8% (4th highest)
  1. Michigan

  • Adults drinking excessively: 20.0%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 29.4% (16th lowest)
  1. Nebraska

  • Adults drinking excessively: 20.4%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 35.6% (9th highest)
  1. Hawaii

  • Adults drinking excessively: 20.5%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 38.0% (5th highest)
  1. Iowa

  • Adults drinking excessively: 21.0%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 25.4% (7th highest)
  1. Minnesota

  • Adults drinking excessively: 21.1%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 30.9% (21st lowest)
  1. Illinois

  • Adults drinking excessively: 21.2%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 34.2% (15th highest)
  1. Montana

  • Adults drinking excessively: 21.8%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 46.3% (2nd highest)
  1. Alaska

  • Adults drinking excessively: 22.1%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 33.8% (16th highest)
  1. Wisconsin

  • Adults drinking excessively: 24.5%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 36.9% (8th highest)
  1. North Dakota

  • Adults drinking excessively: 24.7%
  • Alcohol-related driving deaths: 46.7% (the highest)

What State Stats Tell Us

Looking at some of the data, you might be surprised at where some of these states ended up in the rankings. One thing that comes to no surprise is that the state with the highest rate of excessive drinking- North Dakota- also has the highest rates of alcohol-related driving deaths.

But there are things that you might not be able to tell from these numbers at face value. For one, the director of the NIAAA George Koob claims,

“There is a clear correlation between a state’s excessive drinking rate and income.”

For example, the top 25 states with higher drinking rates also have similarly high median household income. Out of those 25, 14 of them have incomes that exceed the national average of $57,617. Compare that to the 10 states with the lowest drinking rates, with 9 of them having household incomes well below that same average.

However, Koob cautions us not to see this correlation too cut and dry, stating:

“If you look at individuals, the [drinking-to-household income] pattern is somewhat different.”

Someone may look at the report and suggest that affluent individuals frequently drink to excess, however, they don’t appear to drink as heavily. In fact, it seems low-income individuals drink to excess less frequently, but when they drink, they drink heavily more consistently.

Overall, we should take notice of just how prevalent excessive drinking is in different areas all over the country.  In 2016 the population of North Dakota (#1 on the list) was around 757,952. Based on this number, 24.7% excessive drinking comes out to around 187,214 adults. Even with Tennessee, the state with the lowest rate, the numbers are pretty serious. With a 2016 population of 6.651 million, 11.2% comes out to 744,912 adults drinking excessively. So almost the entire population of North Dakota.

We have to be able to acknowledge risk behavior like excessive and heavy drinking in order to help those who may be struggling with alcohol use disorder. With alcohol doing real damage to so many lives in every corner of America, providing treatment programs for those struggling with alcohol use disorder is incredibly important. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. You are not alone.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Usual Suspect Gabriel Byrne Talks 21 Years of Recovery from Alcohol

Usual Suspect Gabriel Byrne Talks About 21 Years of Recovery from Alcohol

Most people who own a television have probably seen Gabriel Byrne at work, but just in case you haven’t, go watch The Usual Suspects. In fact, if you haven’t seen that movie in a few months, go watch it again. Totally worth it. Or you may recognize him from one of many other roles, including:

  • Stigmata (movie)
  • End of Days (movie)
  • Vikings (series)
  • Marco Polo (series)

Gabriel Byrne is Irish born actor who has also a grown into a successful film director, film producer, writer, cultural ambassador and audiobook narrator. Since the beginning of his acting career in 1979, he has struck the silver screen and small screen a multitude of times with powerful and intense performances.

He won a Golden Globe Award back in the HBO drama In Treatment, which aired from 2008 to 2011. That role also earned him nominations for various other awards.

But just last week the 67-year-old actor accepted another awesome honor- a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA). The following night, he took the time to reflect on what he considers one of his biggest victories– his 21 years of recovery from alcohol.

Gabriel Byrne on Drinking and Recovery

During an interview on Ireland’s The Late Late Show,

“I think like a lot of people, I drank to escape from myself and to escape from the pressure that I felt around me. But I knew that I could never handle it, I was absolutely allergic to it. It was not a good thing for me to do.”

He continued,

“With this lifetime achievement thing, it’s not about the work, it’s of a life and one of the biggest victories to me in my life was that personal one of stopping that and saying I’m not going to be that person anymore.”

But Gabriel Byrne didn’t stop with discussing his own issues with alcohol. He also spoke about his feeling toward the culture in Ireland which endorses drinking.

“That kind of thing became to me kind of frightening because my drinking was spiraling into a place where I couldn’t remember what I did.”

“One day I woke up and said, ‘If I don’t stop this, I am going to die.’”

Byrne admits that it took him a long time to be brave enough to admit he had a problem and needed help. His agent of 30 years, Teri Hayden, was instrumental in getting him the help he needed. She was the first person he went to for help. Describing walking into a room full of strangers looking for help with his drinking Gabriel Byrne says,

“It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.”

After over two decades in sobriety, it seems Gabriel Byrne seems committed to his work as both an actor, an activist and an advocate for recovery. He also acknowledges that a lot has changed since he left Ireland for the United States, adding that he is actually encouraged by how the culture is shifting. He is happy to see now that it is no longer strange in Ireland for people to recognize their drinking problems and ask for help.

We love sharing celebrity recovery stories because they remind us that anyone can be impacted by addiction. Actors, artists and musicians often experience the same devastation that can be caused when drugs take hold of their lives, and their stories of overcoming fear and stigma to get help can be inspiring. Everyone might not have access to the same resources as celebrities, but there are still effective treatment options. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

  CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

What is Mitadone and Does it Work for Opioid Detox?

What is Mitadone and Does it Work for Opioid Detox?

Recently I heard about a new product making a little noise online for being advertised as an all-natural supplement used for drug detox. I had never heard of Mitadone before, but I had heard about people trying to promote what they call more natural home remedies for treating withdrawal symptoms. Some claim to use natural juice cleansing regiments, or synthetic herbal compounds, or various other forms of healthy dietary routines to assist in their recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. However, it seems some people are looking to Mitadone as some kind of ‘miracle supplement.’

So what is Mitadone? Does it Work?

Mitadone Detox

When visiting the official website for Mitadone, one of the first things you will see is that the company claims to offer a variety of detox programs, including:

Some of these options have a number of supplement plans, with different combinations of supplements which seem to imply they assist with different functions at different stages.

For Example- the Opiate Aid Program has a 3 step program with:

  • Opiate Withdrawal Aid- 120 Tablets
  • 5 Day Detox- 60 Capsules
  • Anxiety, Stress Relief, and Mood Support- 90 Capsules

Each with a different purpose and including different ingredients. So what kind of all-natural ingredients are there?

Anit-Opiate Aid Plus Extra Strength

This product is advertised on the site as helping with withdrawal symptoms and cravings from opioid medications and illicit opioids like heroin. The ingredients are listed as:

  • Vitamin A (as Beta Carotene)
  • Biotin
  • Vitamin C (as Ascorbic Acid)
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D3 (as Cholecalciferol)
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Vitamin E (as D-Alpha Tocopheryl Succinate)
  • Glutathione
  • Vitamin K1
  • Kudzu Root
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin B12
  • Magnesium
  • L-Theanine
  • Guarana
  • CoQ10
  • 5-HTP
  • SAM-e
  • Melatonin
  • John’s Wort
  • L-Arginine
  • Rutin Bioperine
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Peppermint
  • Dicalcium Phosphate
  • Microcrystalline Cellulose
  • Croscarmellose Sodium
  • Stearic Acid
  • Vegetable Stearate
  • Silicon Dioxide
  • Pharmaceutical Glaze

Quite a mouth-full, right?

Oh and guess what- its Gluten Free!

The site states the product is “manufactured by a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) approved facility that employs FDA certified manufacturing and quality control procedures.” Essentially, the Mitadone program is a large supply of multi-vitamins and other supplements. There are no prescription chemicals or habit-forming substances, according to their description.

Does it Work?

So are these multi-vitamin routines enough to combat such powerful addictions as opioids or alcohol? Well, Mitadone claims with their products you can detox from home, but is that really safe?

With alcohol detox, some withdrawal symptoms can be particularly harmful to your body. Others can even be lethal. With opioids, withdrawals can be extremely uncomfortable or even painful. So while these supplements may be able to help supply nutrients to the body, they aren’t exactly going to be able to support every aspect of the detox process.

If you look closer at the descriptions of these products, it seems Mitadone also knows how limited its impact can be. The fine-print acknowledges that everyone’s body chemistry is different, so the supplements will not always affect everyone the same. Some of the better reviews on Amazon.com still say that while the supplements made them feel a little better in some aspects, they were still extremely sick. Others claim the supplements did nothing to ease the more severe symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

When looking into the product and reading reviews, it is often but in the same category as Kava, which is a beverage or extract that is often advertised as a more natural substance. Some use Kava for recreational purposes. Others also use Kava to try and fight their withdrawals. If we look closer at Kava, it has much of its own controversy. There is a lot of contention as to whether Kava is responsible for liver damage and other health risks. While Mitadone is a totally different product, people associate them both with the concept of self-detoxing through ‘natural remedies’. Yet, many still question how safe or effective they are.

Even on the Mitadone website, in the Opiate Aid and Alcohol Aid programs you can see statements like:

“Increases the chances of substance abuse patients to stay in any maintenance therapy program.”

Addiction doesn’t necessarily conclude after the patient exits a rehab program.”

So even in their product descriptions, they seem to admit that these supplements are not a solution on their own, but a product that might give someone a better chance while pursuing other specific treatment options.

In short, these kinds of nutritional products can be an asset to your recovery plan, but they are ineffective as a primary recovery strategy.

Nutraceutical Therapy and Addiction Treatment

Incorporating a healthier diet and perhaps even vitamins and other supplements can be very beneficial for some, but they should be utilized as part of a more holistic approach to addiction recovery.

Palm Healthcare Company offers Nutraceutical Therapy as part of a holistic addiction treatment program. We understand the importance of nourishing the body while also healing the mind. The value of vitamin and supplement therapy should not be underestimated. There is a benefit to supplements such as:

  • Multivitamins
  • Probiotics
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Phytonutrients
  • Essential fatty acids

Combine these with a healthy, balanced diet and physical therapy can provide an exceptional advantage to someone on the path to recovery.

But we emphasize that recovering from addiction to drugs or alcohol is not just about balancing out the body to help it break its dependence on substances. Recovery is also about comprehensive addiction education, developing new coping skills and addressing personal traumas. There is so much more to a future in recovery.

Mitadone may have a decent product, but people should always remember that with drug addiction it is not always effective, or even safe, to detox on your own. Medical detox is a resource that exists to help people get off drugs as safely and effectively as possible, while providing various lines of support, including nutrition.

Nutritional therapy in addiction treatment recognizes the importance of what we put into our bodies, but it is most effective as part of a complete treatment plan. For those trying to find ways to overcome withdrawal symptoms, a medical detox with experienced professionals can make the process safer and easier. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

What is a Relapse Prevention Plan in Addiction Recovery?

What is a Relapse Prevention Plan in Addiction Recovery?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Safe and effective treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is paramount to creating lasting transformation in the lives of those who are struggling. Providing powerful therapeutic resources with education and innovation makes a significant impact on those who have the opportunity for quality care. An essential part of this process is an active relapse prevention program.

Relapse prevention is a system that influences many aspects of individual recovery from addiction. So what is a relapse? And what makes a relapse prevention program so indispensable?

Relapse Prevention: What is Relapse?

First, let us look at the most basic definition or relapse. If we break it down a little we can better understand what it means and how it happens.

  • In general– a relapse is to suffer deterioration after a period of improvement.
  • With medicine– relapse is also referred to as recidivism or a return to a past condition.
  • In the context of drug use (including alcohol) – relapse is a reinstatement of drug use and drug-seeking behavior. It is the recurrence of pathological drug use after a period of

So the common thread here is that a relapse is when someone:

  1. Experiences a period of improvement from a problem…
  2. Is healing from a previous condition…
  3. Has a period of abstinence, then they experience a recurrence of the initial problem/condition

With addiction, relapse means someone ends a period of improvement and falls back into drug-seeking behavior or even drug use. When you are recovering from a serious addiction, drinking or consuming a drug can sometimes be referred to as a “slip” but it is essentially a relapse. Many recovery advocates and experts are of the opinion that “recovery” means making improvements to behavior, not just abstinence. Therefore, they might say the “real relapse” actually starts when the behavior regresses to the old destructive or compulsive patterns. Some will warn you that you are in the process of a relapse without having used drugs.

Whether you believe the relapse is the behavior or the actual physical manifestation of using narcotic drugs or drinking, you can still see the real value in offering relapse prevention strategies to help avoid either circumstance.

Relapse Prevention: Knowing the Signs

The following are a few signs or behaviors that might indicate that someone may be in the process of a relapse.

  1. Depression

When someone is experiencing low moods and lack of energy they might be in a state of depression. Other mental health disorders may begin to intensify and thoughts of suicide may also occur.

  1. Exaggeration

Everyday difficulties that occur regularly become overwhelming. The most basic problems can’t seem to be solved.

  1. Avoidance

The individual may begin to avoid social or personal activities they once enjoyed, isolating and ignoring their responsibilities.

  1. Defensive

Someone in the stages of relapse may become irritable or even confrontational without reason.

  1. Denial

The person may rationalize or minimize any attempt at acknowledging and addressing their behaviors.

  1. Post-Acute Withdrawal

When Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) sets in someone can be at a higher risk of relapse. They can have trouble with memory, emotional overreactions, and sleeping problems, become accident prone or overwhelmed by stress.

  1. Lack of Control

Food, sex, caffeine, nicotine, work, gambling, or other activities become out of control. Their compulsive behaviors become consistent without thinking about the consequences.

  1. Feeling of Immobilization

Immobilization is that feeling of desperation. People feel trapped and start to think that there is no way to solve their problems other than using or drinking.

  1. Justification

When experiencing cravings someone may convince themselves the only way to feel better is to use or drink, and they try to justify it.

  1. Abandoning Support System

If someone is in the stages of relapse they may begin to ignore their support systems. They might stop attending support groups, therapy or communicating with their sponsor or loved ones.

  1. Chemical Loss of Control

In a relapse, someone recovering from addiction will eventually begin using drugs or alcohol again to solve problems, even if these problems are only being made worse by their use.

Any combination of these symptoms could mean that someone is headed towards a relapse. In some cases, they may have even relapsed already.

Relapse Prevention

Taking action before someone even comes close to a relapse can make all the difference between lasting recovery and dangerous regression. An effective drug and alcohol treatment plan will include a relapse prevention program in order to help people create a solid foundation from which they can build a sustainable recovery.

Education

Understanding the signs of relapse and the serious risks of going back to drug abuse can help someone who may be struggling in their recovery to stay grounded. It is more difficult for someone to know how to take action, and what kind of action to take if they don’t have an understanding of addiction. Palm Healthcare Company places tremendous value on the importance of education in relapse prevention.

PAWS Awareness

In respect to education about relapse, people should also be made aware of the difficulties they may experience with post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). When people can anticipate or at least understand the difficulty they may experience with PAWS, they can prepare themselves with healthy and preventative strategies.

Coping Skills

Relapse prevention programs should also teach each individual new coping skills to utilize in challenging times. When someone is struggling with their recovery, they should have resources available to them to keep themselves accountable. It is vital that people be taught new and productive methods for recognizing things that are bothering them and addressing them.

Self-Care

Another huge aspect of protecting yourself from relapse is to establish strong habits that keep you to be as mentally and physically healthy as possible. It can be regular exercise, better eating, social and personal relationships, or pursuing your passion or continuing your career. Find a way to care for yourself so that when your recovery is threatened you care enough about your life to protect it.

Continued Support

Having people that support you can make it easier to overcome adversity when it presents itself. When someone has to deal with their troubles alone they may not always see the whole picture; they may not see all the ways to address the issue. Having a support group or a therapist are just a few ways someone trying to recover from drugs or alcohol can make sure they have a safety net in place.

Palm Healthcare Company believes in helping each individual to create a personal plan for recovery that includes relapse prevention and continued support. Our facilities all emphasize the value of comprehensive education, awareness, coping skills, self-care, and aftercare. The solution to drug and alcohol addiction doesn’t end with eliminating the substance, that is only the beginning.

In the event of a relapse, getting the individual to go into an addiction treatment program can be the best way to help them before things get too bad. Getting them back on the road to recovery is crucial, and be sure to look for a program that has a comprehensive relapse prevention program.

Relapse is NOT necessary for recovery, but relapse prevention is. Even if you or someone you love has relapsed, there is still hope to take action that can help you create lasting recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

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