Author: Lara

Physical signs of alcoholism

Physical Signs of Alcoholism

Untreated alcoholism can have a profound negative impact on how a person looks, feels, behaves, and interacts with others. When you are aware of the social, psychological, and physical signs of alcoholism, you will be better prepared to identify the problem and seek appropriate treatment. 

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive disease that is characterized by an overwhelming compulsion to drink. The clinical term for alcoholism is alcohol use disorder. It is also often referred to as alcohol addiction. 

Alcoholism and other chronic conditions cannot be cured. However, with appropriate professional treatment, a person can learn to manage the urges, compulsions, and other symptoms of the disorder. When they get the type and level of care they need, they can end their use of this dangerous drug and achieve successful, long-term recovery from alcohol addiction.

Alcoholism is one of the most common forms of addiction. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), more than 14.5 million Americans ages 12 and over met the criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol addiction. This includes 9 million boys and men (or 6.8% of people in that demographic group) and 5.5 girls and women (or 3.9% of the female population above age 11.)

It is important to understand that alcoholism is a legitimate mental health disorder. It is not simply evidence of low character or the result of poor self-discipline. A person who becomes addicted to alcohol loses the ability to control their thoughts and behaviors. This can include being unable to limit how much and how often they drink. 


As established in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the criteria for an accurate diagnosis of alcohol use disorder include symptoms such as the following:

  • Experiencing powerful cravings to use alcohol
  • Devoting a considerable amount of time to drinking alcohol and recovering from its effects
  • Being unable to stop drinking once you begin
  • Failing to meet your responsibilities in school, at work, or in other important areas of your life because of your drinking
  • Continuing to drink even after being harmed physically, psychologically, or socially as a result of previous alcohol use
  • No longer participating in hobbies or other previously important activities because of your drinking
  • Abusing alcohol in ways that are clearly hazardous, such as combining alcohol with other drugs or drinking immediately before driving 
  • Wanting to quit drinking, but being unable to do so

Physical Signs of Alcoholism

Untreated alcoholism can have a devastating impact on a person’s mind and body. Though different people can be affected in different ways, certain physical signs of alcoholism are common.

Two classic physical signs of alcoholism are tolerance and withdrawal:

  • Tolerance means that, over time, a person will not be affected as strongly by alcohol as they previously were. Thus, they will have to consume larger amounts of this drug to achieve the intoxicating effects that they used to experience after just a few drinks.
  • Withdrawal refers to the painful ways a person’s body may react when they abruptly try to stop drinking. In addition to being extremely uncomfortable, severe cases of alcohol withdrawal can even be life-threatening.

Here are a few other physical signs of alcoholism:

  • Significant unintentional weight gain or loss
  • Reddened skin near the nose and cheeks
  • Bloated appearance in the face
  • Yellow or grey skin
  • Yellowing of the sclera (the white part of the eye outside the pupil and iris)
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Impaired coordination
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Tics, tremors, or other signs of shakiness
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Frequent headaches
  • Numbness in the feet and hands

Additional Signs of Alcoholism

In addition to the physical signs of alcoholism that we listed in the previous section, this disease can also cause a person to exhibit a range of psychological and behavioral signs, such as these:

  • Needing alcohol to wake up in the morning or get to sleep at night
  • Being unable to feel joy or cope with disappointment without using alcohol
  • Lying or being otherwise deceptive about their whereabouts and activities
  • Neglecting their personal appearance
  • Acting with uncharacteristic anger, violence, or recklessness
  • Demonstrating dramatic changes in mood and energy level
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Struggling to perform to expectation at work or in school
  • Arguing with loved ones about the amount and frequency of their alcohol use

A person who exhibits any psychological, behavioral, or physical signs of alcoholism should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare provider. The path to improved health begins with a thorough assessment, an accurate diagnosis, and a recommendation for appropriate treatment.

Begin Treating Alcoholism at Sanctuary Treatment Center

If the compulsion to abuse alcohol has undermined your ability to live a healthy and satisfying lifestyle, please know this: You are not alone, help is available, and treatment works. 

Sanctuary Treatment Center offers comprehensive, personalized care to help adults end their alcohol use and build a foundation for a healthier, alcohol-free future. Alcohol treatment options at our center in Los Angeles, California, include detoxification, inpatient treatment, and outpatient rehab. At each level of care, compassionate professionals provide customized services in a respectful and supportive manner. 

To learn more about our services or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Admissions page or contact us directly at your earliest convenience. 

Woman experiencing symptoms of meth induced psychosis

What is Meth-Induced Psychosis?

It is hardly a secret that methamphetamine abuse can cause considerable physical and psychological damage. What isn’t as widely known, though, is that abusing this drug can put a person at risk for a potentially debilitating mental health concern known as meth-induced psychosis.

What is Meth-Induced Psychosis?

Meth-induced psychosis refers to a variety of symptoms that can distort how a person perceives their environment. People who experience meth-induced psychosis may also have difficulty managing their emotions and interacting with others in a healthy manner.

As its name indicates, meth-induced psychosis is brought on by methamphetamine abuse. However, it is important to understand that meth-induced psychosis is not the same as meth intoxication. 

Meth abuse can cause changes in a person’s mood, attitude, and energy levels. However, these effects will typically dissipate within 12 to 15 hours. The symptoms of meth psychosis can be much more severe, and they may persist for 30 days or longer.

Symptoms of Meth Psychosis

A person who is in the midst of a meth-induced psychotic episode may exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Having auditory, visual, or tactile hallucinations (which means they may hear, see, or feel things that aren’t really there)
  • Developing rigid beliefs that have no basis in reality, such as claiming they have magical powers or are being sent secret messages through the TV or radio
  • Being overly suspicious of others, which may include fearing that a friend or family member is plotting to kill them
  • Acting with uncharacteristic and unpredictable aggression, anger, or violence

Dangers of Meth-Induced Psychosis

The following are examples of the many potential dangers of untreated meth psychosis:

  • Physical injuries due to fighting or other aggressive behaviors
  • Health problems due to poor self-care or inability to follow medical advice
  • Being arrested and jailed as a result of violent or aggressive behaviors
  • Being bullied, swindled, or otherwise victimized
  • Worsening of other mental health concerns
  • Continued abuse of meth and other addictive substances
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Homelessness

How Long Does Meth-Induced Psychosis Last? 

How long does meth-induced psychosis last? As is so often the case when discussing substance- or mental health-related timelines, the answer can vary.

To meet the clinical criteria for substance-induced psychosis as established in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a person must experience psychotic symptoms for no more than one month. According to the DSM-5, symptoms that persist for longer than a month would indicate that the person has schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or another primary psychotic disorder.

However, a September 2016 article in the peer-reviewed medical journal CNS Drugs reported that some people have experienced symptoms of meth-induced psychosis up to three months after ceasing their meth use. 

Obviously, both the intensity and the duration of psychotic symptoms can have a significant impact on a person’s meth psychosis recovery. This is one of the many reasons why getting professional treatment is so important. Professionals who are familiar with the meth psychosis recovery process will be prepared to address longer-than-expected symptoms and any other contingencies that may arise. 

Can Meth Cause Permanent Psychosis?

Many people who experience meth-induced psychosis develop long-term psychotic symptoms. 

This potential outcome was shown in the CNS Drugs article that we referred to in the previous section. That article shares a study that involved 1,000 subjects who had experienced at least one meth-induced psychotic disorder. Within six years of their initial psychotic episode, 40% of the study’s subjects were diagnosed with schizophrenia due to their ongoing struggle with psychosis.

How to Help Someone With Meth-Induced Psychosis

If someone in your life develops meth-induced psychosis, it is both common and understandable to be worried, fearful, or even angry. You can’t cure you’re loved one’s meth addiction, nor can you stop the psychotic symptoms they are experiencing. But you can play an important role in connecting them with the professional services they need.

Your first priority will likely be keeping your loved one safe. Depending on what types of symptoms they are experiencing, this can be a significant challenge. Ideally, you should not try to take this on all by yourself. If at all possible, get help from a small group of trusted family members and close friends. 

Once you are sure that your loved one is not in any danger, you should begin to research meth addiction treatment options. Your loved one may need to complete detox, then transfer into an inpatient program. Detox can help them get through meth withdrawal, while inpatient care can help them regain control of their thoughts and behaviors.

There is no single “perfect” way to treat someone who has developed meth-induced psychosis. When you are evaluating treatment programs, focus on finding the place that seems best prepared to meet your loved one’s specific needs. Any reputable facility that you contact should be happy to answer any questions you have about their staff, programs and services, treatment philosophy, typical length of stay, and related topics. 

Begin Treatment for Meth Addiction at Sanctuary Treatment Center

Sanctuary Treatment Center provides multiple levels of personalized care for adults who have been struggling with meth addiction. At our meth addiction treatment center, you can expect to receive a customized array of evidence-based therapies from a team of skilled and compassionate professionals. Untreated meth addiction can be devastating – but we can put you on the path to improved health and long-term recovery. Contact us today to learn more.

Is alcohol a stimulant

Is Alcohol a Stimulant?

Sometimes, alcohol use leads to diminished inhibitions, elevated mood, and talkativeness. Other times, it causes people to become sullen, morose, and withdrawn. So, is alcohol a stimulant? Is it a depressant? Or is it something else entirely?

Stimulants vs. Depressants

Many common legal and illegal drugs – including several prescription medications – fall into the categories of stimulants and depressants. 

Substances are classified as stimulants or depressants based on how they affect the central nervous system (CNS). 

Stimulants excite neurons in the CNS, prompting them to produce certain hormones that accelerate the transmission of messages throughout the body. Depressants have the opposite effect. They slow the process down, which delays the ability of the CNS to transmit messages back and forth between the brain and the body.

Examples of Stimulants

The following commonly used (and frequently abused) substances are all stimulants:

  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamine 
  • Methamphetamine

Many prescription medications, such as ones that are often used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, contain amphetamines. This means that these medications are categorized as stimulants.

Is Alcohol a Stimulant? 

You may have noticed that alcohol is in the List of Depressants in the previous section. So, that clearly answers the question, Is alcohol a stimulant?, right?

Well, not completely.

Here’s the deal: Alcohol is not a stimulant. However, when some people drink alcohol, they may initially experience stimulant-like effects. For example, they may become more outgoing and energetic – which is similar to what you would expect to occur when someone takes a stimulant.

However, these effects typically don’t last very long. And as they fade away, they are replaced by symptoms that we commonly associate with depressants, such as sleepiness, slurred speech, impaired coordination, slower breathing and heart rate, and a sense of confusion or disorientation.

Why Does Drinking Alcohol Give Some People Energy?

Now that we have established that the answer to the question, Is alcohol a stimulant? is no, that leads us to another question: If alcohol isn’t a stimulant, why does drinking it cause some people to temporarily become more energetic?

When a person first drinks alcohol, the presence of this drug can trigger the central nervous system to release a flood of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine has been referred to as a “feel-good” chemical. This is because it’s associated with feelings such as pleasure, reward, motivation, attention, and arousal. 

Drinking alcohol is not the only way to increase dopamine levels. Dopamine releases can be prompted by an array of other experiences and activities. This includes exercising, listening to music, having sex, eating junk food, and meditating. 

The initial dopamine rush that occurs when a person starts drinking can give them a boost of energy. It can also increase their motivation and activity levels. This is why people can become much more gregarious than usual when they have had their first few drinks.

What Does it Mean? 

Feeling a rush of energy or a lifting of your mood when you drink doesn’t mean anything in terms of your character or personality. As we described in the previous section, alcohol can trigger the release of dopamine, which can cause you to temporarily become happier and more outgoing. Your initial pleasurable reaction to alcohol is a factor of chemical processes within your central nervous system that you have no control over.

However, if using alcohol is the only way you can experience pleasure or deal with sadness, this means you may have a serious problem. There’s nothing wrong with using alcohol if you are of legal age and if you drink responsibly. But when the desire to have a drink is replaced by the urge to consume alcohol, then it may be time to get help.

What to Do if Alcohol Causes Problems?

Continuing to use a substance after you’ve experienced many negative outcomes is a symptom of addiction. In other words, if your alcohol use has caused problems, but you have continued to drink, this is another sign that you may need professional help.

The clinical term for alcohol addiction is alcohol use disorder. This condition is also commonly referred to as alcoholism. No matter which words you use, alcohol addiction is a chronic, progressive disease that has the potential to damage your physical, psychological, and social well-being. Thankfully, it is also a treatable disorder.

If you are concerned about how much or how frequently you drink, a good first step is to be assessed by your family doctor or a reputable alcohol rehab center. Being evaluated by a qualified professional can help you understand the scope of your needs. The results of your assessment can also help you determine what types and levels of care may be best for you.

Begin Rehab for Alcohol in Southern California

When you are ready to stop drinking and start working toward successful recovery from alcohol addiction, the Sanctuary Treatment Team is here for you. Our alcohol rehab center in Southern California is a safe and welcoming place where you can receive customized care from a team of dedicated professionals. With our help, you can find your path toward a healthier and more hopeful future. Contact us today to learn more.

Is delta 8 addictive

Is Delta 8 Addictive?

First, marijuana began to be legalized in several states. Then you started to see ads for CBD. Lately, something called delta 8 has been receiving increased publicity. But you don’t know much about this substance, other than that it is somehow related to marijuana, but it’s not really marijuana. Understandably you have questions. What, exactly, is delta 8? Is it legal? Are there dangers? Is delta 8 addictive?

What is Delta 8?

Before we explore the question, “Is delta 8 addictive?” let’s spend a bit of time to understand what this substance actually is. 

Delta 8 is a shortened version of delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol. It is also sometimes called delta-8 THC. Regardless which term you use, delta 8 is a psychoactive compound that is naturally produced by the cannabis sativa plant. This is the same plant that used to produce marijuana, hemp, hashish, and several other substances. 

Here are a few quick facts about delta 8 and other elements of the cannabis sativa plant: 

  • In marijuana, the primary psychoactive element is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, which is typically referred to simply as THC. 
  • Delta 8 and THC are categorized as cannabinoids. There are more than 100 cannabinoids that occur naturally within the cannabis sativa plant. 
  • In addition to delta 8 and THC, the other most widely recognized cannabinoid is probably cannabidiol, or CBD. 
  • Unlike delta 8 and THC, CBD does not have psychoactive properties, which means that people who ingest CBD will not experience the high that is usually associated with cannabis use.

Is There THC in Delta 8?

Yes, there is some THC in delta 8.

While some states have legalized or decriminalized marijuana (with delta 9 THC), its sale, possession, and use is still illegal in other states, and in the eyes of the federal government. However, hemp (which is also produced from the cannabis sativa plant) was declared legal by the U.S. federal government in 2018. 

By law, hemp contains less than 0.3% THC. It is used in the manufacture of many products, including rope, paper, clothing, and insulation. 

Delta 8 is typically synthesized from CBD that has been extracted from hemp. Thus, delta 8 is a derivative of a legal product. However, unlike hemp, delta 8 can be added to edibles or ingested via vaping. And while the amount of THC in delta 8 is far less than in delta 9, it is enough to produce certain psychoactive effects.

Capitalizing on the fact that delta 8 is derived from legal hemp, several retailers began to sell delta 8 in states where marijuana (THC) was illegal.

In May 2022, a federal appeals court ruled that delta 8 is legal because it fits into the definition of hemp as established in the 2018 Farm Bill (which legalized hemp throughout the United States). The court’s decision was based in part on the fact that delta 8 is derived from hemp and delta 8’s THC content does not exceed 0.3%.

Is Delta 8 Addictive?

Marijuana is typically viewed as having a low risk of addiction. Since delta 8 has much less THC than marijuana does, it is common to wonder, is delta 8 addictive?

The answer, as ads often say, may surprise you.

Yes, delta 8 is addictive. Delta 8 addiction is not common, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible to become dependent on this marijuana derivative. People can, and do, become addicted to delta 8. Some will also need proper treatment to overcome this addiction.

Does Delta 8 Have Withdrawal Symptoms?

Withdrawal refers to the distressing physical and/or psychological symptoms that a person experiences when the suddenly stop using the drug they have become addicted to.

If you develop delta 8 addiction, and then you either can’t acquire the substance or you try to quit using it, you may develop withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Depressed mood
  • Abdominal pain
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Headaches
  • Fever or chills
  • Heavy sweating

Dangers of Delta 8 Addiction

Addiction is, in part, by a loss of control. When you become addicted to delta 8, you will not be able to control how often you use the drug, or how much you use.

The compulsion to use delta 8 can expose you to considerable dangers, including:

  • Physical harm due to impaired behaviors and/or poor judgment
  • Strained or ruined relationships with friends and family
  • Using delta 8 in increasingly dangerous ways, such as in combination with other substances
  • Being arrested or injured in a car accident because you were driving while under the influence of delta 8
  • Health problems due to using illicitly manufactured delta 8 that has been cut with other substance
  • Diminished performance in school or at work
  • Job loss and unemployment
  • Development of a co-occurring mental health disorder

What to Do if You Become Addicted to Delta 8?

If you have become addicted to delta 8, consult with your doctor or another healthcare provider. Delta 8 addiction is a treatable condition. The professional that you consult with can assess your needs and recommend appropriate treatment options.

During treatment, you can address the issues that led to your delta 8 addiction. You can also learn how to manage stress and handle other difficult situations without falling into delta 8 abuse. 

If your delta 8 addiction is accompanied by anxiety, depression, or another mental health concern, you can also get help for these issues while you’re in treatment. When you get the care you need, you can learn to manage your behavioral compulsions and co-occurring concerns, so that you can live a healthier life.

Begin Treatment for Delta 8 Addiction in Los Angeles, California

Sanctuary Treatment Center provides effective care for adults who have become addicted to delta 8, marijuana, and other substances. Our treatment center in Los Angeles, California, offers personalized services at several levels, including detoxification, inpatient rehab, and outpatient programming. If you have been struggling with delta 8 addiction, the Sanctuary Treatment Center team can help. Contact us today to learn more.

Man wondering if addiction is a disability

Is Drug Addiction Considered a Disability?

Dependence on alcohol or another drug can undermine a person’s ability to work, attend school, maintain healthy relationships, and otherwise enjoy a full and productive lifestyle. There’s no question that this condition can be devastating. But is addiction a disability?

Is Drug Addiction a Disability? 

Disability is a relatively common term, but its definition can change considerably depending on the context in which it is being discussed.

For the purposes of this post, we are going to consider the question “Is addiction a disability?” from a legal perspective. In the United States, one legal definition of disability can be found in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law in 1990.

The ADA protects people from being discriminated against on the basis of disability. According to the ADA website, a person is considered to have a disability if they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • They have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
  • They have a history or record of such an impairment (such as cancer that is in remission).
  • They are perceived by others as having such an impairment (such as a person who has scars from a severe burn).

Substance use disorders (which is the clinical term for addiction) are mental impairments that can substantially limit a person’s ability to function in one or more important areas of life. This means that, as established by the ADA, the answer to the question, “Is addiction a disability?” is yes. 

It is important to understand that the ADA only applies to certain situations. Here’s how the scope and limitations of the law are summarized on the ADA website:

The ADA guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to enjoy employment opportunities, purchase goods and services, and participate in state and local government programs.

Of course, there are many aspects of modern life that fall outside the parameters of employment, consumer activities, and participation in government programs. Some of these other aspects are addressed in the ADA, while others are left to state and local governments. So, is addiction a disability in California (or any other state)? Under the ADA, the answer is still yes. But the level of protection a person can expect can vary from state to state.

Drug Addiction Employee Rights

Under the ADA, people who have substance use disorders have certain rights as employees and as candidates for jobs. But neither the ADA nor any other U.S. law guarantees continued employment for people who are actively abusing alcohol or other drugs. 

Is it Against the Law to Fire a Drug Addict?

According to the ADA, you cannot be fired from your job because you have an addiction. However, you can be fired if you have been caught using alcohol or other drugs in the workplace, or if a drug screening reveals that you have been using a prohibited substance.

Here are a few examples to illustrate how the law treats the distinction between having a substance use disorder and engaging in substance abuse:

  • If an employer or interviewer discovers that you have been treated for addiction, they cannot legally fire you or eject you as an applicant.
  • However, if you use alcohol or other drugs in the workplace, if you show up to an interview under the influence of a mind-altering substance, or if you fail a drug test, you can legally be fired or dismissed as a job candidate.

Can You Get Paid Disability for Having an Addiction?

If you live in California, you may be able to receive short-term disability payments through the California State Disability Insurance (CASDI) program while you are receiving treatment for addiction.

According to the State of California Employment Development Department, eligible employees may qualify for the following benefits:

  • Up to 30 days of disability insurance (DI) benefits while residing in an approved residential alcohol treatment facility that was recommended by a licensed mental health professional.
  • Up to 45 days of DI benefits while residing in a residential rehab facility that was approved by a licensed health professional.
  • In certain circumstances, you may also qualify for 60 more days in alcohol treatment and 45 more days in drug rehab.

To qualify for this benefit, you must have a job that is based in California, and you must be paying into the CASDI program. 

The federal government does not offer a similar program. However, if you qualify under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you may receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave (and the continuance of your group insurance benefits while you are not working) to receive addiction treatment. 

How is Substance Abuse Treated Differently than Other Disabilities?

From a legal perspective, one of the main differences between substance use disorders and other disabilities is the distinction between the disorder (addiction) and the behavior (substance abuse). 

As we described earlier on this page, the ADA does not protect you from negative repercussions (including job loss) due to active substance abuse. Employers have the right to mandate a drug-free workplace. They are also allowed to require employees to complete drug screenings.

Thus, if you test positive on a drug screen, or if you are otherwise determined to be under the influence of a mind-altering substance while at work, you cannot use the ADA to prevent your employer from firing you. This is true even if you decide to enter a treatment program after you have violated your company’s substance use policy.

Contact Our Addiction Treatment Center in California Today

If you or someone that you care about has been struggling with an addiction to alcohol or another drug, Sanctuary Treatment Center can help. Our center provides multiple levels of personalized care, including detoxification, inpatient treatment, and outpatient programming. At every level, our clients receive compassionate services from a team of dedicated professionals. Contact us today to learn more. 

Why is detox important

Why is Detox Important?

For many people, recovery from addiction starts with detoxification. This program isn’t a requirement for everyone – but in certain circumstances, it can be essential. Why is detox important? What happens in a detox program? And how can you know if you need detox? To discover the answers to these and a few other important questions about detox, keep reading!

What is Drug Detoxification?

Drug detoxification is the process of removing addictive substances from the body. 

When a person uses alcohol or any other drugs, their body naturally eliminates these substances. Various organs break the substances down, and then the remnants are removed through sweat, urine, and even breath. If the person uses the substance again, this process begins anew. 

When a person is becomes addicted to a drug, their body adapts to the presence of the substance. It will continue to process and eliminate the substance, but it will expect more to be ingested. If the person doesn’t use the drug again within a certain time frame, their body may react with a variety of painful symptoms. This is known as drug withdrawal.

Why is Detox Important?

It is no exaggeration to state that drug withdrawal can be an extremely unpleasant experience. In some severe cases, withdrawal can even be life-threatening. 

Why is detox important? Because when a person enters a detox program, they can receive professional services to protect their health and keep them as comfortable as possible.

If a person tries to get through withdrawal on their own, they might quickly become overwhelmed. Depending on which drug they have become addicted to, they might develop uncomfortable symptoms.

Physical Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Intense cravings for the drug
  • Headaches
  • Extreme abdominal pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Racing heart rate
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Fever and chills
  • Tics and tremors

Psychological Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Delusion

People who experience symptoms like these may be in grave danger. The cravings and other physical symptoms can force them back into active substance abuse. The altered perception and other forms of psychological distress can cause them to either intentionally or inadvertently harm themselves.

In a detox program, a person will not have access to the substance they have been abusing. This eliminates one threat. They will also be under round-the-clock supervision. This can prevent them from taking any potentially harmful actions.

People who participate in detox may receive medication to ease some withdrawal symptoms. They can also participate in therapy to learn how to manage any distress they feel. This is a significant step, as it can mark the moment when a person begins to regain control of their thoughts and emotions. As they continue in treatment, the individual can build on this success.

Continuing in treatment is another reason why detox is important. As a person’s withdrawal symptoms begin to subside, they will start to regain strength and stability. But if they don’t receive follow-on care, they are highly unlikely to remain drug-free.

Benefits of Attending a Medical Detox

Detox programs help people with the physical effects of addiction. But detox alone cannot prepare a person to overcome the psychological and social challenges they will encounter. When a person transitions from detox to an inpatient rehab or an outpatient program, they can start to build the skills that will support their continued recovery.

The post-detox phases of drug addiction treatment can offer the following benefits:

  • Gaining valuable insights into the disease of addiction
  • Learning to identify and avoid triggers
  • Receiving care for co-occurring mental health concerns
  • Providing additional time for the person’s body and mind to continue healing
  • Introducing structure and a sense of purpose into the individual’s day
  • Offering opportunities to share support with others who are working on their recovery
  • Practicing relapse-prevention strategies and stress-management skills
  • Setting realistic short- and long-term goals
  • Connecting with community-based services 

Why is detox important? Because it demonstrates to people that they are capable of more than they may once have thought, and it puts them on the path toward improved health and long-term recovery.

What to Look for in a Detox Facility

When you are looking for any type of addiction treatment, it is important to understand both your needs and your options. When you know what types of care are best for you, and you are aware of the scope of services that are available to you, you can choose the most appropriate provider. This approach applies to finding the best detox program, too.

When you are evaluating detox centers, here are some good questions to ask:

  • Who provides care in your detox program? What qualifications and experience do they have?
  • Is medication-assisted treatment (MAT) an option at your center?
  • Will I be able to participate in therapy while I’m in detox?
  • If so, what types of therapy do you offer in your detox program?
  • What happens if I have a health problem while I’m in detox?
  • Does your center offer other levels of care in addition to detox?
  • Once I’ve completed detox, how will you determine what follow-on services are right for me?

All reputable detox facilities will be happy to answer these and any other questions you have. If a center gives vague or misleading answers, or refuses to answer your questions at all, you should consider that to be a huge red flag.  

Begin Drug Detox at Sanctuary Treatment Center

Sanctuary Treatment Provider offers quality drug detox services in a safe and supportive environment. Our experts can help you complete the detox process safely and with minimal discomfort. Once you’ve finished this program, you can transfer directly into inpatient or outpatient treatment. When you’re ready to get started, the Sanctuary team is here for you. Contact us today to learn more.

Woman learning how to quit cocaine safely

How to Quit Cocaine Safely

Cocaine addiction is characterized by compulsive behaviors, dangerous decisions, and an overall loss of control. The pain and isolation of this disorder can make it difficult to envision a more hopeful future, and they can cloud your ability to understand how to quit cocaine. Thankfully, when you get the professional help you need, you can end your abuse of this destructive substance and establish a foundation for successful lifelong recovery.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that is derived from the South American cocoa plant. The drug usually appears as a fine powder or small crystals (which are often referred to as rock or crack). 

As a powder, cocaine is typically abused by inhaling it through the nose. The powder may also be dissolved into a solution and injected. People who abuse rock or crack cocaine do so by heating it and inhaling the vapors or by mixing it with tobacco or marijuana and smoking it. 

No matter how a person abuses cocaine, doing so exposes them to considerable dangers, including addiction, overdose, and death. 

As a stimulant, cocaine triggers the release of dopamine, a naturally occurring brain chemical that is associated with pleasure, motivation, and reward. Someone who has just ingested cocaine may exhibit signs such as the following:

  • Enlarged (dilated) pupils
  • High body temperature
  • Racing heart rate
  • Elevated energy levels
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Diminished appetite
  • Enhanced sensitivity to light, sound, and touch

The effects of cocaine are intense but brief. In most cases, a person may begin to come down from a cocaine high within about 30 minutes of abusing the drug. The brevity of cocaine’s effects often prompt people to abuse the drug multiple times within a short period. This, of course, increases the risk of negative outcomes.

The following signs may indicate that a person’s cocaine abuse has turned into an addiction:

  • Prioritizing cocaine use over personal and professional responsibilities
  • Spending inordinate amounts of time seeking, acquiring, using, and recovering from cocaine
  • Lying to family and friends about their activities and whereabouts
  • Unintentional weight loss due to lack of appetite
  • Acting with uncharacteristic recklessness or violence
  • Finding it impossible to experience joy or pleasure
  • Exhibiting symptoms of psychosis or paranoia

Once a person has become addicted, they may need professional help to learn how to quit cocaine. 

How Hard is it to Quit Cocaine?

In addition to exhibiting the signs listed in the previous section, people who have become addicted to cocaine will also be affected by tolerance and withdrawal:

  • Tolerance means that the person will need to use larger amounts of cocaine to experience the effects they previously achieved with smaller doses. 
  • Withdrawal refers to the distress that the person will feel if they try to stop using cocaine, or if they are unable to acquire and use it. 

The combination of tolerance (needing more of the drug) and withdrawal (suffering if they can’t get the drug) can push a person into a downward spiral of worsening substance abuse. It can also make it extremely difficult for a person to stop using cocaine, especially if they try to do so on their own.

To understand how to quit cocaine, you need to be aware of how your body and mind may react when they are deprived of this drug. Common symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Powerful cravings for cocaine
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Depression
  • Disrupted sleep habits
  • Disturbing nightmares
  • Paranoia
  • Thoughts of suicide

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can begin to occur within a few hours after a person’s last dose. Symptoms typically achieve peak severity during the first week, though some symptoms can last for a month or longer. 

How to Quit Cocaine Safely?

Cocaine withdrawal doesn’t usually involve the intense physical pain that is characteristic of opioid withdrawal. But this doesn’t mean that it is easy to stop using the drug. If you want to know how to quit cocaine in the most effective manner, the answer is detoxification.

Detoxification (or detox) is a short-term treatment program that helps people rid their bodies of cocaine and other addictive substances safely and with minimized distress. For someone who has become addicted to cocaine, enrolling in a detox program offers benefits such as the following:

  • Knowing that you can ease your distress by using cocaine again can quickly undermine your efforts to finally stop abusing this drug. While you’re in detox, you will have no access to cocaine. This eliminates what could have been a significant threat to your success.
  • While you are in detox, you will be cared for by a team of addiction experts. These professionals are familiar with the onset, severity, and progression of cocaine withdrawal symptoms. They know how your body and mind will react, and they can provide both medical and therapeutic support as needed. 
  • Once you have completed detox, you can transfer directly into the next phase of your treatment. This allows you to build on the progress you made in detox without the risk of immediate relapse. 
  • During the post-detox parts of your treatment, you will learn how to handle stress, pressure, and other difficult situations without resorting to cocaine abuse. Therapy can also help you identify and address the concerns that may have contributed to your cocaine use in the first place. The skills you develop in treatment can serve you well in all parts of your life.

Join Our Cocaine Addiction Treatment Center in Southern California

If cocaine addiction has robbed you of the ability to live the life you deserve, the Sanctuary Treatment Center team is here to help. Our facility in Southern California offers a full continuum of customized services for adults who have become addicted to cocaine and other substances. Our treatment options include detoxification, inpatient rehab, and outpatient programming. We also provide detailed aftercare planning to prepare you for long-term success. Contact us today to learn more.

Man learning how to quit heroin in Los Angeles California

How to Quit Heroin Safely

There is no such thing as completely safe heroin use. But when you get effective treatment from a reputable provider, you can learn how to quit heroin safely. 

The more you know about heroin addiction, withdrawal, and treatment options, the better prepared you will be to find the type of care that’s best for you.

What is Heroin?

If you want to learn how to quit heroin safely, it can first be valuable to understand exactly what this drug is.

Heroin is an opioid. It is derived from the opium poppy plant.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has classified heroin as a Schedule I drug. This classification is reserved for substances that the U.S. government has determined have no legitimate medical use and a high danger of abuse. 

Heroin interacts with parts of the central nervous system that are associated with heart rate, respiration, and other automatic functions. People who abuse this drug typically do so by snorting, smoking, or injecting it. The potential negative effects of chronic heroin abuse include damage to the liver and kidneys, breathing difficulties, heart problems, sexual dysfunction, and an elevated risk of contracting hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, and other bloodborne diseases.

Abusing heroin even once can lead to addiction, overdose, and death. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heroin abuse was a factor in nearly 143,000 overdose deaths in the United States between 1999 and 2020. 

How Hard is it to Quit Heroin?

It can be extremely difficult to quit heroin. This is especially true if you try to end your heroin use on your own, without any professional assistance.

When you become addicted to heroin or any other opioid, your body will begin to adapt to the presence of this substance in your system. This change can be problematic for many reasons, including: 

  • While you are still using heroin, this adaptation means that you will need to use larger or more potent doses to feel the effects that you are seeking. This is known as tolerance.
  • If you try to quit using heroin, your body will react with a variety of distressing physical and psychological symptoms. This is known as withdrawal.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms can begin to occur within a few hours of your last dose of heroin. Most people who try to quit heroin on their own will develop the following physical symptoms:

  • Excessive perspiration
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Pain in muscles and bones
  • Tics, twitches, and spasms
  • Severe cramping
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Disrupted sleep

Heroin withdrawal can also include psychological symptoms such as:

  • Intense cravings for heroin
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Nightmares

The most intense physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal last about a week. Some of the psychological symptoms can endure for considerably longer.

Through the entire withdrawal process, you will know that you can make the symptoms disappear by using heroin again. When you try to quit heroin on your own, your access to the drug plus a lack of professional support can quickly push you back into the downward spiral of active addiction.

Thankfully, there is a better way to quit heroin.

How to Quit Heroin Safely

If you have been trying to determine how to quit heroin in the safest possible manner, the answer is detoxification. Commonly referred to as detox, detoxification is a short-term process that involves the guidance and supervision of a team of professionals. 

When you enter the detox program at Sanctuary Treatment Center, your care will begin with a thorough assessment. We want to be sure we understand the full scope of your needs, so that we can provide the focused services that will be most beneficial for you.

Depending on your specific needs and treatment goals, our detox professionals may provide both medical and therapeutic support:

  • Certain prescription medications can ease drug cravings and other common symptoms of heroin withdrawal. Some people receive this service only during detox, while others continue to take medication as they work to establish a solid foothold in early recovery. The medications that we prescribe at Sanctuary Treatment Center have been closely studied, and they have a documented history of safety and effectiveness.
  • The therapeutic component of treatment in our detox can help you manage any discomfort that is not alleviated via medication. Therapy can also help you begin to address the circumstances that led to your heroin abuse, with the goal of empowering you to make the behavior changes that will support your continued recovery. While medication can help with certain biological aspects of heroin addiction, therapy focuses on the psychological, emotional, and social facets of this disorder.

Once you have completed heroin detox at our center in Southern California, you can transfer directly into either inpatient rehab or outpatient programming. Our team will work with you and, if appropriate, your family, to determine which option is best for you.

Begin Heroin Rehab in Southern California

Sanctuary Treatment Center offers a full continuum of personalized services for adults whose lives have been disrupted by heroin addiction. Our programming includes detox, inpatient rehab, and outpatient treatment. At every level, you can expect to receive superior care provided by a team of dedicated professionals. When you are ready to free yourself from the chains of heroin addiction, the Sanctuary team is here for you. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Am I A Drug Addict

Am I a Drug Addict?

The question is short, direct, and deceptively simple. The answer can change your entire life. Am I a drug addict?

If you’re not sure how to accurately answer this question – or if you don’t know what to do next if your answer is “yes” – then this page is for you.  

What Does Drug Addiction Look Like?

Close your eyes for a moment and form a mental picture of what you think a drug addict looks like.

No matter what image popped into your mind, you are both right and wrong. 

The truth is that, when based solely on a person’s appearance, drug addiction can look like, well, anybody. The disheveled old man drinking from a well-worn flask. The college student “pregaming” before a big night out. The suburban mom who has been using prescription painkillers a bit longer than she should have. The successful executive who often needs a drink or two to unwind at the end of the day.

Any of these people – along with countless others who look and act differently than these four examples do – might be addicted to alcohol or another drug. Some of them may realize they have a problem. Others might find it preposterous to even suggest they have a substance use disorder (which is the clinical term for addiction). 

Outward appearances might hint at a person’s struggles with addiction. But to truly understand if someone is a drug addict, you need to know how substances have affected their body, their mind, and their behaviors. 

How Can I Tell if I Am a Drug Addict?

It can be surprisingly difficult to answer the question, “Am I a drug addict?” Addiction is a complex behavioral health condition that can be characterized by a variety of symptoms. Also, as noted in the previous section, this disorder can look very different from one person to the next.

Instead of wondering, “Am I an addict”, it can be helpful to focus on specific circumstances or behavior patterns that may be signs of a problem. 

Here are 15 questions that can help you decide if you should seek help for drug addiction:

  1. Do you need to use drugs to wake up in the morning and/or to get to sleep at night?
  2. Do you find it difficult or impossible to have fun without using drugs?
  3. Do you need to use drugs to cope with stress, setbacks, or other difficult experiences?
  4. Have you ever lied to or otherwise deceived friends or family members about your drug use?
  5. Do you often use drugs when you are alone?
  6. Do you spend significant amounts of time thinking about, acquiring, and using drugs?
  7. Have you ever prioritized drug use over important personal or professional responsibilities?
  8. Has your drug use caused you to miss school or work?
  9. Once you start using a drug, do you find it difficult or impossible to stop?
  10. Have you used drugs in situations where it is clearly dangerous to do so, such as before driving a car or in combination with other substances?
  11. Have you continued to use drugs even after experiencing personal, professional, or legal problems due to prior substance abuse?
  12. Do you need to use drugs more frequently or in larger amounts to achieve the desired effect?
  13. When you can’t acquire or use drugs, do you feel agitated or angry?
  14. Has someone in your life ever expressed concern about the amount or frequency of your drug use?
  15. Have you ever tried to stop using drugs, but found that you were unable to do?

The only way to be sure if you have a substance use disorder is to be assessed by a qualified professional. But if you answered “yes” to any of the questions listed above, you might have a problem, and you should consult with your family doctor or another healthcare provider. 

What Are My Options if I am an Addict?

There is no universal, one-size-fits-all approach to treating drug addiction. Depending on your specific circumstances, one or more of the following drug treatment options may be valuable:

  • Detoxification: Also referred to as detox, this is a short-term program that can help you get through withdrawal. In addition to protecting your health, detox professionals may offer both medical and therapeutic support to help you manage discomfort.
  • Inpatient rehab: While you are in an inpatient program, you will live at the facility where you’re receiving care. Inpatient rehab typically features several types of therapy as well as educational sessions and other services to help you gain a solid foothold in early recovery.
  • Outpatient treatment: Outpatient programming for addiction usually includes therapy, education, and related services without a residential requirement. Some people transition into outpatient care after completing detox and/or inpatient rehab. If you don’t need detox or round-the-clock care, you may enter treatment directly at the outpatient level. 

At the inpatient and outpatient levels, you might take part in individual, group, and family therapy. These sessions may incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and other modalities as needed. 

When you’re seeking drug addiction treatment, what’s most important is finding a provider that can assess the full scope of your needs, then provide the types and levels of care that are right for you.

Begin Treatment for Drug Addiction in Southern California

Sanctuary Treatment Center is a premier provider of customized services for people who have become addicted to alcohol and other drugs. We also offer individualized programming for clients who have both a substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental health concern. At our drug addiction treatment center in Southern California, you will receive compassionate care from a team of dedicated professionals. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Am I addicted to alcohol

Am I Addicted to Alcohol?

The question is deceptively brief. Just five simple words. But the answer can be life changing: Am I addicted to alcohol?

For millions of people in the United States, the answer to this question is yes. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), more than 14 million adults in the U.S. met the criteria for alcohol addiction in 2019.

The good news is that alcohol addiction is a treatable condition. The bad news is that many people who have become addicted to alcohol don’t get the care they need.

Being able to answer the question, “Am I addicted to alcohol?” can be a vital step on the path to a much healthier future.

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction, which is commonly referred to as alcoholism, is a chronic, progressive disorder that is characterized by an inability to control how much alcohol you consume or how often you use this dangerous drug.

  • The term “chronic” means that alcohol addiction is a lifelong condition. It is not a curable disorder, but when you get effective treatment, you can learn to manage your symptoms and regain control of your thoughts and actions.
  • The word “progressive” means that if you don’t get help, the symptoms of alcohol addiction will become more severe over time. This isn’t a problem that will simply disappear if you ignore it.

Here are a few things that alcoholism is not: It is not a moral failure, a sign of low character, or evidence of insufficient willpower. 

Decades of awareness initiatives have improved public understanding of this condition, but certain unfortunate stereotypes – such as the ones alluded to in the previous paragraph – persist. Stigma is one of the many reasons why many people who develop alcohol addiction don’t seek the help they need.

When you summon the strength to say, “Yes, I am addicted to alcohol,” this is not an admission that you are an inherently flawed person. It is a simple acknowledgement that you have a treatable behavioral health disorder, and that you have the courage to get the help that can significantly improve your life.

How Can I Tell if I Am Addicted to Alcohol?

To be accurately diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (which is the clinical term for alcoholism), you need to be assessed by a qualified professional. The following 10 questions can help you determine if you should schedule an assessment:

  1. Do you need alcohol to help you wake up in the morning or to get to sleep at night?
  2. Once you start drinking, do you find it difficult to stop?
  3. Has your alcohol use caused you to neglect personal or professional responsibilities?
  4. Do you feel like you need alcohol to experience happiness or to cope with stress?
  5. Do you become agitated, anxious, or depressed when you’re in a situation where you can’t drink?
  6. Have you used alcohol in situations where it was clearly dangerous to do so, such as prior to driving or when taking medication?
  7. Have you ever lied to your friends or family members about the amount and frequency of your drinking?
  8. Has your drinking been a source of conflict with your partner, friends, or family members?
  9. Have you tried to quit or reduce the amount of your drinking, but been unable to do so?
  10. Have you ever asked yourself, “Am I addicted to alcohol?”

No single symptom or experience is definitive proof that a person has alcohol use disorder. But if you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may be addicted to alcohol – or you may be at risk for developing alcohol addiction. 

What Are My Options for Overcoming Alcohol Addiction?

I have completed an assessment, and I know I am addicted to alcohol. What do I do now?

Depending on the nature and severity of your dependence on alcohol, your ideal course of treatment may involve one or more of the following:

  • Detoxification: Commonly referred to as detox, detoxification is short-term program that can help you get through alcohol withdrawal safely and with minimal distress. When you enter a detox program, you will be under the care of experienced professionals who can provide both medical and therapeutic support. 
  • Inpatient rehab: Inpatient rehab is a highly structured form of treatment that typically includes multiple forms of therapy, education about addiction and recovery, and round-the-clock supervision. When you are in an inpatient rehab program, you will live at the center where you are receiving care. One of the benefits of this level of care is that it allows you to temporarily step away from the stresses and distractions of daily life. 
  • Outpatient treatment: Outpatient programs usually include several types of therapy, but they don’t have a residential requirement. When treatment is not in session, you can return home or to an alternative supported residence. Depending on your needs and goals, you may step down to the outpatient level to get additional support after completing inpatient rehab, or you may enter treatment directly at the outpatient level.
  • Support groups: Maintaining recovery from alcohol addiction is a lifelong effort. During treatment, you can discover the value of shared support within the recovery community. You can also learn how to develop an effective personal support network. This may include participating in 12-Step meetings, attending SMART Recovery events, or engaging with other efforts that can help you protect your sobriety.

Begin Treatment for Alcohol Addiction in Southern California

Sanctuary Treatment Center provides multiple levels of personalized care for adults who have become addicted to alcohol. We also provide customized treatment for clients whose struggles with alcohol are accompanied by certain co-occurring mental health concerns. If alcohol addiction has disrupted your life or the life of someone you care about, Sanctuary Treatment Center is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

We Take Insurance!

Sanctuary Treatment Center accepts most private PPO insurance plans, as well as some private HMO plans. Through private insurance plans, individuals and families can access high quality addiction treatment services. If you have questions regarding insurances, please give us a call.

Sanctuary Treatment Center in Los Angeles is a Joint Commission accredited rehab center

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