So Depressed Cant Function

Anyone who has ever suffered through a bout of prolonged depression can attest to how depleted it makes you feel. In what seems like an instant, you feel so down that you can’t function. Even the most mundane tasks are so hard to complete.

The effects of the depression touch all aspects of life. Coworkers will complain that you are not pulling your weight. Loved ones will feel they are being neglected. Even your health will begin to suffer. Depression is a serious mental illness that should not be ignored.

Crawling out of the dark hole of depression takes effort. When in the thick of it you might not feel you can muster up the strength to beat it. But with expert psychiatric help, and lots of patience, daily functioning and quality of life will be restored.

What Causes Depression?

Why do some people manage to cycle through setbacks while others get stuck in depression? Life events, such as loss of a loved one, divorce, job loss, or financial problems can be so hard. Why are some people better able to cope with these?

Science is still unclear about the exact cause of major depression. Studies are ongoing, seeking answers through the study of the brain, gut health, and genetic markers. Still, depression is complex and hard to get a handle on.

There are some factors that can lead to depression. These include:

  • Genetics. Family members who also have struggled with depression.
  • Abuse. Past history of physical or sexual abuse.
  • Trauma. Seeing or experiencing a highly traumatic event.
  • Loss. Sudden loss of a loved one.
  • Health problems. Some health issues can cause symptoms of depression.
  • Medications. Certain drugs can cause depression.
  • Substance abuse. Depression can co-occur with substance abuse.

The Symptoms of Depression

When you are not being able to function at even the routine daily tasks, you may indeed have depression. According to the DSM-5, depression exists when the symptoms (a cluster of five or more) persist for more than two weeks. The symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling sadness or despair most of the time.
  • Extreme fatigue.
  • Slowed thought functions and movements.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Sudden weight change.
  • Loss of interest in things once enjoyed.
  • Feelings of guilt or shame.
  • Having trouble making decisions or staying focused.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.

How is Depression Treated?

The treatment plan for major depression includes both antidepressants and therapy. In recent years, holistic therapies have been also found to enhance the overall treatment outcomes.

Antidepressant Drug Therapy

Currently, there are about thirty antidepressant drugs on the market. These drugs are classified into four groups, including:

  •  SSRI
  •  SNRI
  •  MAOI
  • Tricyclics

These drugs remain the core treatment method for depression. The effects of the medication may take 4-6 weeks to be felt. Sometimes doses need to be tweaked or other drugs trialed to find the best fit.

Antidepressants come with an array of side effects that make these drugs hard to prescribe. A doctor will weigh the benefits against the side effects when he or she decides to prescribe them. Common side effects include weight gain, sexual issues, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, dry mouth, and insomnia.


Psychotherapy is part of the core treatment for depression. The type of therapy chosen is based on the type of issues that factor into the depression. Psychotherapy can be offered in one-on-one sessions as well as group sessions.

Some of the types of therapy include:

  • CBT. CBT is a short-term therapy that assists patients in changing thoughts that hurt their mental health. They are taught to reshape them towards more positive thoughts while also changing behaviors.
  • DBT. DBT helps patients manage emotions and better cope with stress. DBT also helps teach healthy interpersonal skills.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy. Focuses on feelings and pain caused by past events, trauma, or childhood issues.
  • Interpersonal Therapy. Focuses on relationships, social skills, and helps with problem areas that might be factors in depression.
  • MBCT. Combines cognitive therapy with mindfulness to manage thoughts.

Holistic Therapies for Depression

There are some actions that can help a patient better manage their emotions and stress levels. When stress is controlled it can help to improve mood. Knowing how mind and body connect, mental health workers now include these in treatment. Some of these actions include:

  • Keep a journal. Patients find relief when they unload their thoughts and feelings on to the written page. This helps reduce the power of the problem while also helping them to process their feelings.
  • Mindfulness. This can help patients focus on the present moment instead of being distracted by negative thoughts.
  • Acupuncture: This ancient practice has shown promise as a natural treatment for helping to reduce low mood. Tiny needles are placed at certain parts of the body to help balance energy flow.
  • Aromatherapy. Certain essential oils can help boost mood. The essence of the oil is diffused into the air to be inhaled, or is rubbed onto certain points on the body.
  • Yoga. The yoga postures combined with deep breathing can increase GABA and help patients find some relief from depression symptoms.
  • Exercise. Regular cardio exercise is also a mood booster. This is because it can produce hormones that impact our state of mind. It can also help improve sleep quality and regulate stress, both of which will contribute to wellbeing.
  • Diet. A diet rich in lean proteins, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and fresh veggies and fruits also helps our mood.

When you feel like you can’t function it is time to seek help. There are many ways to improve mood and thus improve your life. Seek the mental health help you need today.

Elevation Behavioral Health Provides Comprehensive Depression Treatment

Elevation Behavioral Health is a residential mental health program in L.A. If you are feeling so depressed that you can’t function, contact the team at Elevation. We are here to help you overcome depression and get your life back. Contact us today at (888) 561-0868.

i don't want to get out of bed

Learn About the Symptoms of Depression

Our mental health may be more fragile than we realize. We all have a certain amount of resilience, but when events begin to spiral our mental health can really suffer. This is when depression can set in.

Depression is a very common mental health issue. More than 17 million adults struggle with this mental health problem every year. Depression takes a toll on many aspects of daily life. It hurts our relationships, our careers, and our health.

When depression becomes so severe that you can’t get out of bed anymore it is time to get some help. There are treatment methods that can help manage the symptoms and improve overall quality of life.

The Signs of Severe Depression

It is hard to describe severe depression to someone who has never felt its affects. Loved ones may wonder why you can’t just snap out of it. It helps for these folks to have a better sense of what depression looks like. Symptoms include:

  • Feeling sad. Feeling hopeless and sad is a main symptom of depression. The person sees him or herself in a bad light. He or she might even blame themselves for what they see as their faults and flaws.
  • Changes in Eating Habits. There may be a sudden change in weight. Some may have an increased appetite and eat more as a way to cope. This results in weight gain. Others may become so depressed that they have no desire to feed themselves. This can lead to weight loss.
  • Loss of Interest.  One of the most common signs of severe depression is the sudden loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed. When so depressed, they have no desire to attend social events or to even see friends.
  • Sleep Disturbances. Feeling depressed can cause changes in sleep habits. In some cases the person will wants to sleep much more than normal. It can also cause problems falling asleep or staying asleep.

Additional Symptoms include:

  • Anger or Feeling Irritable. Anger symptoms are more common in depressed men, although depressed women can also exhibit mood swings. The source of the anger may be due to frustration or a sense of feeling out of control. Depression can make someone feel annoyed and even prone to angry outbursts.
  • Fatigue.  A pronounced loss of energy is one of the common signs of severe depression. The person feels so tired they can barely function. Even daily hygiene habits or fixing meals requires too much effort.
  • Increased Substance Use.  Some who feels very depressed may begin to self-medicate through the use of a substance. Substance abuse is a reaction to feelings of despair. The person may drink or use drugs to numb the emotional pain.
  • Suicidal Ideation. People who are depressed often obsess about dying or even taking their own life. In fact, 90% of the individuals who commit suicide had an underlying mental health disorder like depression.

Suicide Warning Signs

Recent statistics show that more people in the United States now die by suicide than in car accidents. About 44,000 adults choose to end their lives each year. In many cases, there may have been red flags that were missed. These warning signs and symptoms might include:

  • Symptoms of depression
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Feeling guilt or shame
  • Anger
  • Substance abuse
  • Avoid family and friends
  • Aggression
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Over sleeping
  • Saying they are a burden to others
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Saying they have no reason to live
  • Sharing that they are in pain
  • Gives away prized things
  • Talks of killing self

In the event a loved one is showing signs of a mental health crisis or suicide warning signs, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.

Treatment for Depression

When someone is in the grip of depression they may not be aware of how serious the problem has become. Often it is a loved one who becomes alarmed at the rising signs of depression in their family member. They will then reach out to a mental health worker to get the person help.

Depression treatment consists of a blend of antidepressants and therapy. Other actions, such as yoga and mindfulness training can increase the effects of the treatment. Changes in diet and getting daily exercise can also improve mood.


Medication is the first-line treatment for people with depression. Antidepressants are drugs, such as SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, or tricyclics that help adjust brain chemistry. Over time these drugs can reduce the symptoms of depression.

Therapy sessions

One-on-one talk therapy sessions can help to guide the person toward new thinking patterns. Changing thought patterns also changes the attitude. Also, any past trauma, childhood abuse, grief and loss, divorce, or other painful life events can be worked through.

Support groups

Small groups discuss topics introduced by the therapist. This helps the group members to engage in sharing their feelings and life stories. This provides a sense of peer support with others who are also struggling with depression.

Holistic therapies

There is a growing trend in mental health treatment to include holistic therapies as part of the treatment of depression. These can help reduce stress and help create feelings of inner peace and calm. These include massage, yoga, art therapy, and mindfulness.

If there is a mental health crisis, like a suicide attempt, a higher level of care is proper. A treatment program that offers acute stabilization and extended care for severe depression would be needed. The residential rehab setting can provide a more focused treatment plan for a loved one with depression.

Elevation Behavioral Health Provides Depression Treatment

Elevation Behavioral Health is a full-spectrum mental health center that provides mental health treatment in a private home setting. We also offer transitional housing and outpatient services. Elevation Behavioral Health believes in a combined approach to treating depression. This involves evidence-based therapies and holistic activities for a well-rounded program. For more details about our program, please reach out to us today at (888) 561-0868.

i feel like i'm losing my mind

Anxiety Can Make Daily Life Quite a Challenge

Anxiety can be so hard to live with. Constant worry and stress keeps you in a state of constant fight-or-flight mode at the slightest little trigger. You may try to reason with yourself, that the stress triggers are no big deal. Your brain, though, is locked and loaded to take you through the spectrum of anxiety symptoms. You just can’t seem to break the stress cycle.

Many who approach a doctor with their complaints about their symptoms have truly suffered. They are seeking ways to manage the stress so they can live a normal, happy life. This goal is very possible to reach with the right treatment plan. Anxiety treatment can help reduce the daily struggle and greatly improve your life.

i'm losing my mindHelp! Anxiety Makes Me Feel Like I am Losing my Mind

Anxiety disorder is a broad grouping of mental health disorders, each with excess worry or fear driving it. Anxiety disorders are very common, with 40 million people struggling with one each year. This disorder is different from the common fear you might feel before having to make a public speech.

We all have felt afraid from time to time, like when we are pushed out of our comfort zone. Anxiety disorders, though, are very intrusive. Constant stress can be so difficult to manage that it impacts one’s lifestyle, career, health, and friendships.

On one hand, when someone suffers from this problem, something will trigger a cascade of symptoms. There are many types of anxiety and each has its own unique features. The basic anxiety symptoms include:

  • Feelings of dread and fear.
  • Always being on alert for danger.
  • Racing heart.
  • Shaking.
  • Sweating.
  • Fast breathing.
  • Shortness of breath, holding one’s breath.
  • Stomach upset, diarrhea.
  • Feeling jumpy or restless.
  • Insomnia.
  • Headaches.

Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are varied ways that anxiety is expressed. For this reason, there are six types of the mental health disorder. The anxiety spectrum includes:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder: GAD features constant worry for much of the day. This can result in headaches, muscle tension, nausea, and trouble thinking.
  • Panic disorder: Sudden and unexplained feelings of intense terror. This can cause racing heart, shortness of breath, nausea, chest pain, and feeling dizzy. May lead to social isolation to avoid having an attack.
  • Social anxiety: Intense fear of being judged or critiqued. Fear of being embarrassed in public. Causes social isolation.
  • Specific phobias: Irrational fear of a certain thing, place, or situation. To manage this fear, the person will go to great measures to avoid triggers.
  • Trauma disorder: PTSD is about never getting over a trauma, even months later, It can lead to avoidance of people, places, or situations that trigger thoughts of the event. Flashbacks, nightmares, or repeated thoughts of the trauma stoke the symptoms.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder: OCD involves worries about such things like germs, causing harm, or a need for order. This drives compulsive behaviors tin an attempt to manage the symptoms of anxiety caused by the fear.

How to Manage Anxiety

Do the symptoms of anxiety make you feel like you’re losing your mind? If so, it is time to meet with a mental health worker. At the first meeting, a therapist will assess what type of anxiety you are dealing with.

He or she will then design a treatment plan that will help you manage the symptoms. Treatment uses a combined approach with psychotherapy, drugs, and healthy actions that help to reduce stress.

Therapy for anxiety is based on the type you have. CBT is very helpful for people that struggle with excess worry and fear. It also helps you to notice how your thoughts are driving the panic type response to a trigger. CBT then guides you toward changing those fear-based thoughts into more positive ones. Once the thoughts are reframed, the actions that follow will also be positive.

Anti-anxiety drugs from the benzo group can be helpful for some people. These drugs work swiftly to help calm nerves and relax you. In some cases, antidepressants are used to treat anxiety as well.

i'm losing my mind

Holistic Therapies That Help Manage Stress

Holistic therapies actions are now often found in the treatment plan for anxiety. This is because these activities can help improve the treatment outcome. They do this by teaching patients ways to achieve a relaxed state of being. For instance, some of these include:

  • Yoga.
  • Mindfulness.
  • Deep breathing
  • Acupuncture.
  • Massage therapy.
  • Equine therapy.
  • Art therapy

Elevation Behavioral Health Provides Expert Treatment for Anxiety 

Elevation Behavioral Health is an upscale residential mental health treatment center in Los Angeles. If you feel like anxiety makes you feel like you’re losing your mind, our caring team of experts can help. It is time to seek the treatment you deserve to regain your quality of life.

When your outpatient treatment is not giving the results you desire, consider a residential program. Treatment is much more focused, and the home-like setting gives you a chance to heal. Take a break from the stressors or triggers in your daily life. Enjoy our upscale private home and gorgeous setting. Our team will help guide you back to health and wellbeing. For questions about our program, reach out to us today at (888) 561-0868.

extreme anxiety

Living with extreme anxiety is exhausting. So much energy is gobbled up just trying to function like a normal person. Imagine something as mundane as going grocery shopping being a gargantuan task if you suffer from intense anxiety. The effort it takes, for someone with extreme anxiety, to muster up the courage to enter the store and complete the shopping excursion is mind-boggling.

When you struggle with this level of anxiety you would give anything to feel good again. However, if you are hoping for an overnight cure to your anxiety disorder it is best to let that dream go as learning how to manage anxiety, even with the guidance of an excellent therapist, is a process not an endpoint. Thought distortions that keep you trapped in a state of fear must be overcome. Old dysfunctional thought patterns must change. New relaxation methods need to be learned. In all, recovering from extreme anxiety symptoms will take some time.

That said, an anxiety disorder is highly treatable, even severe anxiety. While it is possible to obtain valuable support and guidance from a private practice psychiatrist, the residential treatment program offers a much higher level of care for someone with significant impairment. Your mental health provider is the best person to determine the appropriate level of care for treating your particular anxiety disorder.

What is Anxiety?

With approximately 40 million Americans experiencing some form of anxiety disorder each year, more people struggle with anxiety that any other mental health condition. Most of us experience events that stir up intense feelings of fear or worry. The difference between an occasional bout of anxiety and an anxiety disorder is the persistence of the anxiety and the level of impairment the symptoms can cause. Within the anxiety disorder spectrum, there is a wide variance of severity of symptoms and different ways anxiety is manifested. Extreme anxiety is usually associated with panic disorder, agoraphobia, or PTSD.

Anxiety has a physiological root cause, and that is the inborn fight or flight fear response built into every human being. When encountering a situation, person, place, or object that triggers the fear response, the brain immediately begins producing the stress chemicals called adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol. These chemicals cause us to experience a heightened awareness and burst of energy, like being on high alert in anticipation of a threat. When we have an anxiety disorder, this fear response is triggered constantly, leading to maladaptive responses such as substance abuse, compulsive behaviors, or isolation in hopes of avoiding the triggering situations.

Anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Genetics
  • Brain chemistry
  • Personality traits
  • History of trauma or abuse
  • Undeveloped coping skills
  • Chronic stress
  • Certain medications

The Different Kinds of Anxiety:

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): When someone experiences excessive and irrational fear and worry that is disproportionate to the situation it can result in shortness of breath, irritability, heart palpitations, fatigue, sweating, dizziness, and headaches and stomach problems, and sleep disruptions.

Social anxiety disorder: Intense fear of being judged or rejected by others, causing public humiliation or embarrassment, can cause sweating, blushing easily, muscle tension, nausea, rapid heartbeat, and lightheadedness. Because people with social anxiety try to avoid situations where they could be judged, it often leads to isolation and loneliness.

Specific phobia: When someone has an extreme and irrational fear related to a specific object, place, person, or situation, they may go to great lengths to avoid it. Agoraphobia is an example of this, as these individuals have an intense fear of being trapped in a crowded or tight space with no way to escape, so they just stay home in order to avoid these situations.

Panic disorder: Panic disorder features unpredictable panic attacks that cause chest pain, trembling, shortness of breath, nausea, a sense of doom, and dizziness. These symptoms are very similar to a heart attack, so many who have a panic attack rush to the emergency room fearing they are having a heart attack.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): When someone has a prolonged response to having experienced or witnessed a traumatic event that does not resolve after a month, then it is referred to as PTSD. Symptoms include irritability, flashbacks, insomnia, nightmares, detachment, hyper-arousal response, substance abuse, and avoidance behaviors.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): Someone with OCD experiences a pattern of alternating obsessive fears and the compulsive behavioral responses to that fear. Common OCD patterns include fear of germs, so the individual might wash their hands dozens or even hundreds of times a day, or fear of burning the house down, resulting in obsessive checking rituals to make sure appliances are turned off before leaving the house.

How Does Living with an Anxiety Disorder Affect Your Life?

Because the core feature of all anxiety disorders is fear, living with extreme anxiety can be very difficult. Fear can hold us back from going after our goals and dreams, or even from building relationships. When we wrestle with an anxiety disorder, it holds us hostage by tricking us into thinking we aren’t good enough, smart enough, or attractive enough to be worthy of those goals and dreams. As a response to the irrational fear, we might avoid anything that we perceive as stress inducing, which can lead to isolation. The isolation often leads to loneliness and depression, which can result in maladaptive behaviors, such as substance abuse.

Anxiety also has a negative impact on our physical health. Chronic worry causes the stress hormones to remain at elevated levels. This can lead to increased health risks, such as weight gain, heart disease, digestive issues, and sleep disturbance. In addition, consistently elevated cortisol can damage the immune system and leave us vulnerable to illnesses.

How is Anxiety Disorder Treated?

When someone seeks professional guidance for treatment of an anxiety disorder they will learn that anxiety is a complex disorder with various causes and often co-occurring disorders involved. Because of this complexity, treatment for the anxiety can be varied. The features of the person’s particular anxiety condition, and any coexisting conditions such as depression, will factor in to the treatment plan. Here are the mainstays for treating anxiety disorder:

Medication. In recent years it has been found that antidepressants prescribed for depression also helped manage the symptoms of a co-occurring anxiety disorder. For this reason, more and more doctors are now treating anxiety patients with antidepressants, in particular the SSRI and SNRI category of these medications. Other medications used to treat anxiety include the benzodiazepine class of drugs. The sedatives help to quickly reduce many of the anxiety symptoms, however they do have a drawback, as benzodiazepines are highly addictive. Other drugs used for anxiety treatment include beta-blockers and off-label options such as buspirone.

Psychotherapy. Therapy helps individuals learn new ways of responding to anxiety triggers, things that can include thought distortions, phobia triggers, and other stressors such as public speaking. Evidence-based psychotherapies that are effective for helping individuals with anxiety include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT helps individuals change their thinking and behavior patterns. For example, irrational thoughts can lead to overreacting to stimuli, which can result in isolating behaviors. CBT can help the person shift their thoughts to be more logical and rational.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy. DBT is related to CBT but focuses on psychosocial aspects and utilizes actions like practicing mindfulness and emotion regulation techniques.
  • Exposure therapy. For individuals with panic disorder or trauma-based anxiety, exposure therapy can help to reduce the emotional impact of the traumatic memory or situation by introducing increasing exposure to it over time.
  • Peer support. Group therapy helps foster peer support between participants who are encouraged to discuss their own personal experiences with anxiety disorder, while a therapist introduces coping skills.

Alternative. Some individuals might benefit from transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a brain stimulation therapy that can alter neurotransmitters. Others might find hypnotherapy to be a useful technique for addressing stress triggers.

What is Holistic Anxiety Treatment?

Holistic solutions to managing anxiety are increasingly included in the treatment plan and aftercare activities. These are natural therapies that help to reduce stress while increasing relaxation. Some holistic anxiety treatments include:

  • Yoga. Yoga has been shown to decrease blood pressure and induce relaxation by combining certain physical poses with focused breathing and aspects of mindfulness.
  • Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a type of meditation that helps the individual train their mind to pay attention to the present moment instead of getting caught up in distressing thoughts.
  • Deep breathing. Deep breathing techniques can quickly reduce heart rate, blood pressure and invoke a sense of calm.
  • Massage. Therapeutic massage provides deep relaxation effects by reducing muscle tension and toxins.
  • Herbal supplements. Once discussing the option of using herbal remedies for anxiety treatment, consider kava, St. John’s Wort, and chamomile.
  • Diet and exercise. A strong relationship exists between getting regular exercise and emotion regulation and mood. Nutrition is also important, as it has been shown that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can aid in mental health.

Recovering from extreme anxiety will involve utilizing a multi-pronged approach. By adhering to the treatment recommendations and aftercare activities, anxiety is indeed highly treatable.

Elevation Behavioral Health Residential Anxiety Treatment

Elevation Behavioral Health is located in a peaceful and tranquil setting, just the type of environment to help someone suffering from extreme anxiety. Our compassionate team of mental health experts is devoted to providing the utmost in mental health treatment while you enjoy every creature comfort of the luxury accommodations. If you seek to overcome debilitating anxiety, do not hesitate to contact the team at Elevation Behavioral Health for assistance. We are here for you and we want to help. Call us today at (888) 561-0868.


suboxone withdrawal timeline

Suboxone Withdrawal

Suboxone withdrawal can be painful, difficult, and long-lasting. Although the medication has proven useful for many people, the effects of coming off it can create a challenge.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone® is the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, and is used as a method of opioid replacement therapy. Initially introduced in the 1980’s, the mix of buprenorphine and naloxone helps to relieve symptoms of withdrawal from opioids. Whether an individual is withdrawing from Percocet, heroin, or morphine, Suboxone can be an effective aid in treating symptoms of withdrawal.

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. It is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from thebaine, a compound found in the opium poppy. As a partial opioid agonist, buprenorphine reaches the opioid receptors in the brain and can ease symptoms of withdrawal without producing the strong high that may be experienced with full agonists like heroin or oxycodone.

Naloxone, the other compound in Suboxone, effectively blocks the effects of opioids. When taking naloxone, somebody may use opioids but will not experience the euphoria or high normally produced. In addition to being a part of Suboxone, naloxone is sold as Narcan. Narcan is an injection given to those suffering from opioid overdose, and can reverse the effects of an overdose. When taken with buprenorphine, naloxone prevents a user from getting high from taking opioids.

Generally speaking, Suboxone is prescribed while an individual is coming off an opioid drug. Some individuals take it for a few days, while others may stay on it for months or years. Although the addiction treatment community seems to have varying opinions on it, current research on Suboxone suggests it to be an effective form of treatment.

What Causes Withdrawals?

Withdrawals begin when somebody stops taking Suboxone or lowers their dose. Because an individual has been taking the drug regularly, the brain has grown accustomed to functioning with it present. Lowering your dose can bring withdrawal symptoms, and you may go through Suboxone withdrawal cold turkey if you stop taking it completely. Withdrawal occurs because your brain is adapting to working without the substance present. This can cause a variety of symptoms in the brain and the physical body.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal may vary greatly. Each person has an individual case, and symptoms are dependent on the length of use, the individual’s health and body weight, and what dose they were taking. People who taper off Suboxone are likely to experience less severe symptoms than those that quit cold turkey. Symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal include:

  • Muscle stiffness and aches
  • Insomnia and daytime sleepiness
  • Indigestion and stomach aches
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Irritability and anger
  • Fever, sweating, and chills
  • Headache and neck stiffness
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Nausea and vomiting

Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline

Suboxone withdrawal process may vary from individual to individual, and there are a variety of factors that may affect the timeline. These factors include how long the individual has been using, what their dose is, their individual weight and health, and the presence of any co-occurring disorders.

The general timeline of withdrawal from Suboxone looks like this:

  • 12-72 Hours

    During the first few days, symptoms generally get worse. They are likely to peak at around 72 hours after your last dose. During these first few days physical symptoms are generally at their worst, and the individual may experience nausea, vomiting, and sweating.

  • 3-7 Days

    During the following few days, an individual will likely experience muscle pain and aches. They also may experience difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Mood swings and depression may begin to arise during this first week.

  • 1-2 Weeks

    This period will generally see the symptoms begin to subside. Physical pain will improve, nausea and vomiting will subside, and the body will regain some energy. However, the person may begin to experience severe cravings and mood swings.

  • 2-4 Weeks

    Post-acute withdrawal symptoms may continue for a few weeks. During these weeks, an individual may find themselves experiencing intense cravings, bouts with depression, and irregular sleeping patterns. Because of dopamine depletion, the person may have difficulty experiencing joy or pleasure from normally pleasurable activities for weeks or months.

Suboxone Detox and Treatment

Suboxone is an opioid, and coming off it by yourself can be quite uncomfortable. Many people who try to detox from Suboxone at home end up relapsing due the the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms,, and it’s imperative you receive professional help in coming off the substance. At a medically-managed detox facility, trained clinicians and doctors will help you to come off Suboxone in the most comfortable and safe manner possible.

If you’re wondering how to deal with Suboxone withdrawal, we strongly recommending reaching out for help. At an addiction treatment center, you will be offered medical care, clinical attention, and a set of tools to get off Suboxone and live a healthy life in recovery. Call us today at (888) 561-0868.

psychiatric hospital

When a serious mental health condition results in significant impairment it is appropriate to explore therapeutic solutions that offer a higher level of care than outpatient care. A residential mental health program provides an alternative to the psychiatric hospital treatment environment. While a psychiatric hospital offers the highest level of care, with 24-hour monitoring provided for individuals whose personal safety is at risk, these settings are for short-term acute stabilization, after which the individual will transfer to a residential treatment program.

What is not well known is that some residential mental health centers also provide the same acute stabilization services as a psychiatric hospital, which can eliminate the need to transfer the individual from setting to setting. Once stabilized and evaluated, the patient care shifts to rehabilitation within the residential setting. This smooth transition is less stressful for the individual, and allows them to stabilize in a comfortable home setting versus a sterile hospital environment.

Residential mental health care is highly individualized, so the individual will receive targeted treatment protocols that align with their specific psychiatric needs. All aspects of treatment will conform the unique features of their diagnosis for optimum efficacy. Residential programs often feature multi-modal integrative approaches that combine evidence-based and holistic elements for a more comprehensive treatment intervention. If your loved one is in need of a higher level of mental health care, consider the residential mental healthcare setting to accommodate all their needs.

Levels of Care Defined

Mental health disorders impact nearly 44 million Americans every year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Many people live with serious mental illness, not knowing how to go about finding help or simply avoiding treatment due to the perceived stigma attached to psychiatric disorders. Knowing how to guide a loved one toward appropriate treatment is essential.

Inpatient psychiatric care is available in two general levels of care:

Hospital facility

Generally, a hospital setting is reserved for the more severe psychiatric cases, with the primary goal of stabilizing the patient. A hospital setting is sterile and regimented, and freedoms are restricted to protect the safety of the patient, the staff, and other patients. The mental hospital environment offers 24-hour oversight of the patient and usually involves secluding the patient from others. The hospital setting is indicated for individuals who are on suicide watch or experiencing a psychotic break.

Residential facility

The residential treatment setting has a more home-like feel, providing a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere and more personal freedom. Residential programs are considered a step-down from an inpatient hospital program, and are a good option for treating individuals with escalating mental health disorders that have not yet responded adequately to treatment. Residential programs may offer holistic therapies and recreational activities to complement core treatment methods.

If unsure about which level of care is most appropriate for your loved one, possibly the private practice psychiatrist can guide this important decision.

When is Residential Mental Health Treatment Indicated?

When someone is struggling with a persistent mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, that isn’t improving with current interventions, the next level of treatment may involve enrolling in a residential program. The residential setting can offer intensive, focused treatment included within a more comprehensive treatment plan than an outpatient program can provide.

Possibly the individual has been treated for an extended period of time through outpatient providers, but their condition is deteriorating. Even so, it is hard to know at what point to take the step to obtain a higher level of care.  Some of the signs that a higher standard of care is needed include:

  • Impairment in functioning. Impairment occurs when the mental health issue becomes debilitating, such as when major depression is so severe that the individual is has become suicidal or when anxiety causes such fear that the person is afraid to leave their house.
  • Non-compliant with medication. If the individual has become unable to continue taking necessary medications per the prescribed schedule, thus endangering psychiatric stability.
  • Dual diagnosis. Escalation in severity of a dual diagnosis, which is the coexistence of two mental health disorders simultaneously, such two co-occurring mental health disorders or a mental health disorder and co-occurring substance use disorder.
  • Sleep disturbances increase. When insomnia or other sleep disturbances prevent the individual from achieving quality sleep, which causes the mental health condition to worsen.
  • Severe mood swings. Mood swings that have become more intense in nature, to the point that the person is a risk to their own safety.
  • Dissociative behaviors. When the individual exhibits signs of detachment and lack of emotion.
  • Risk to self. Becoming a danger to self or others, such as by displaying violent behavior, talk of suicide, or suicide attempts.

When the symptoms of a mental health disorder become chronic and steadily worsen, it is time to seek more specialized treatment such as residential treatment.

Types of Mental Health Disorders Treated in Residential Settings

Living with a mental health disorder can present unpredictable developments from day to day. One day the individual is feeling stable and optimistic, where the following day they might be contemplating suicide. Mental illness is complex and does not progress in a straight line. Even the most closely monitored disorders can suddenly take an extreme turn for the worse.

Residential treatment centers are staffed with psychiatrists and therapists that are trained in treating a wide array of mental health disorders. These conditions might include:

Anxiety disorders. The anxiety disorder spectrum features a variety of ways that anxiety can manifest in dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns. The common thread in all anxiety disorders is the expression of irrational fear and worry, which drive the associated symptoms in each different type of anxiety disorder, including phobia, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety.

Depression. Depressive disorders feature a persistent low mood, fatigue, sleep disruption, slowed motor and cognitive functioning, sudden weight change, loss of interest in usual activities, and thoughts of suicide. There are different types of depressive disorder, such as major depressive disorder, postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Trauma disorder. Features prolonged emotional suffering following witnessing or experiencing a highly traumatizing event. When the symptoms persist for more than a few months it is diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Mood disorders. Mood disorders are complex mental health disorders and feature abrupt shifts between moods to varying degrees. These include bipolar disorder I, II, and cyclothymic disorder.

Personality disorders. Personality disorders involve established patterns of behavior that are considered to be out of alignment with societal expectations, such as borderline, narcissistic, antisocial, histrionic, or paranoid personality disorders.

Psychotic disorders. Psychotic disorders, or psychosis, refer to mental illness that features a break from reality. Symptoms might include hallucinations, delusional thoughts, and paranoia.

Eating disorders. Disordered eating patterns can result in serious health conditions and even death if not stabilized. These include anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

Each residential mental health program will have a specialty area that the program focuses on, so not all residential programs treat all of the above mental health disorders.

What to Expect in a Residential Mental Health Center

Treatment at a residential mental health facility includes interfacing with the psychiatrist, psychotherapists, social worker, and other mental healthcare providers as needed.  Various forms of therapy are available to augment the psychotherapy, including occupational therapy, art and music therapy, and recreational activities.  Some residential facilities also include complementary holistic therapies, such as massage, meditation, and yoga to promote overall mental and physical wellness.

Residential treatment interventions include:

  • Medication. A broad list of medications are available that help manage the symptoms of a particular mental health disorder. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, antianxiety medications, and mood stabilizers are prescribed together with psychotherapy other treatment measures.
  • Psychotherapy. There are different types of psychotherapies for treating various mental health disorders. The most commonly used are cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, solutions-focused therapy, exposure therapy, and attachment therapy.
  • Adjunctive therapies. Therapeutic activities that compliment the psychotherapy and enhance treatment results. These can be such therapies as eye movement desensitization (EMDR) or neurofeedback.
  • Recreation and fitness. Exercise offers both psychological and physical benefits and is integrated into the treatment milieu. These activities might include swimming, participation in sports such as tennis or golf, gym workouts, hiking, or walking.
  • Experiential or holistic therapies. To further augment the effects of the traditional therapies, experiential activities such as mindfulness meditation, yoga classes, art and music therapy, and deep-breathing techniques, are often included in the treatment plan.

When a loved one’s mental health condition has escalated to the point where a higher level of care is necessitated, residential mental health facilities can provide a comprehensive approach to treatment and healing.

Elevation Behavioral Health is a Leading Residential Treatment Center in Los Angeles

Elevation Behavioral Health is a luxury residential mental health treatment center in Los Angeles, California. Nestled in a tranquil canyon above Malibu, Elevation Behavioral Health provides an intimate setting for individuals in need of healing, versus the cold, institutional psychiatric hospital setting. The spacious and beautiful private home features unmatched luxury in both the interior appointments and exterior grounds.

This mental health and wellness program is built upon a foundation of proven therapeutic modalities, such as CBT and DBT. Added to those are holistic therapies, such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness training to offer a fully integrated approach to mental health treatment. When a mental health condition becomes debilitating, finding healing in a serene, relaxing environment with compassionate therapists and upscale accommodations can be a godsend. For more information about our residential program, please contact the team at Elevation Behavioral Health today at (888) 561-0868.


Chronic Fatigue and Anxiety

Anxiety can leave us feeling perpetually wound and on edge. In fact, it is common to picture someone with anxiety as super high strung and irritable, ready to pounce. In reality, living with an anxiety disorder can be absolutely draining. Chronic fatigue and anxiety, therefore, often go hand-in-hand.

If you find yourself on fumes much of the time, it is important to consult first with a physician. The symptoms of chronic fatigue can be caused by a medical condition all on its own, such as chronic fatigue syndrome. However, fatigue may also be a symptom of a medical condition, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, or a side effect from a medication. These possible explanations for the chronic fatigue and anxiety should be ruled out first through a physical examination. If no health condition is present, however, the fatigue and stress being experienced may be due to an undiagnosed anxiety disorder.

About Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, is the most common of the anxiety disorders. Nearly 7 million adults, or 3.1% of the adult population, struggle each year with GAD, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. The symptoms of GAD include:

  • Excessive worry
  • Feelings of fear or dread
  • Irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Racing heart
  • Chest pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sweating
  • Short-term memory problems

GAD is just one type of anxiety disorder. Within the spectrum of anxiety fall several more types, including:

  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Specific phobia
  • Agoraphobia
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Selective mutism

Other mental health disorders that share traits with anxiety disorder include obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Why Does Anxiety Cause Chronic Fatigue?

Living with anxiety, regardless of the specific type within the spectrum of anxiety disorders, can be utterly exhausting. Anxiety churns so much energy on worry and fear, constantly elevating the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. This leads to physical and mental fatigue.

When the body is in the fight or flight mode it activates the stress response. This is how human beings are hardwired, fulfilling an innate survival instinct in response to a perceived threat. Someone struggling with an anxiety disorder can experience this stress response over and over in a given day, depleting the body’s energy reserves and resulting in the state of fatigue.

What are the Signs of Chronic Fatigue and Anxiety?

These piggyback disorders tend to manifest in a variety of ways that can lead to impairment in daily functioning. This is due to the unrelenting fear response that never allows the individual to replenish their emotional reserves. The term that applies to this condition is “stress-response hyperstimulation.” Anyone who has ever experienced a panic attack understands this. While in the grip of a panic attack event the body is experiencing a collection of involuntary responses, such as hyperventilating, racing heartbeat, nausea, sweating, chest pain, and headache which all require expended energy. After the panic attack has passed, the person feels emotionally and physically spent.

Some of the signs of the connection between anxiety and chronic fatigue include:

  • Sleep disturbances. Someone with an anxiety disorder may find themselves struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, or feeling exhausted even after getting plenty of sleep. Tossing and turning while worrying about work, finances, children, or relationships can keep your body in an emotionally hyper-aroused state, leading to symptoms of chronic fatigue.
  • Loss of Appetite. The body needs a certain number of calories and consistent good nutrition to function optimally. When in constant stress mode you may experience a diminished appetite, which then in turn causes you to feel fatigued. Lack of appetite as a result of anxiety can lead to chronic fatigue symptoms.
  • Brain fog. When we are emotionally taxed beyond our ability to manage the situation or demands of daily life we may find ourselves shutting down. Brain fog is a classic symptom of an anxiety disorder, due to the over-exposure to stress and issues that feel overwhelming.
  • Burnout. Mental burnout is very common in this fast-paced society. When the individual feels overwhelmed and overworked, they may find themselves nodding off at work or needing to take naps. Chronically elevated anxiety may be a contributing factor to the burnout and fatigue.
  • Mood swings. Mood swings are a common symptom of anxiety disorders. Moodiness can zap energy as well as lead to other interpersonal drama, all of it causing emotional strife and stress. This can contribute to the symptoms of chronic fatigue.
  • Even caffeine doesn’t help. One sign that anxiety may be stealing your energy and leaving you chronically fatigued is when you do not get a boost from an energy drink or a cup of coffee as you had in the past.

Using Holistic Therapies to Help Manage Chronic Fatigue and Anxiety

Stress can have a powerful impact on our physical and mental wellness, potentially contributing to health complications and mental health disorders. Relying on some stress-reducing holistic therapies can help calm the mind and reduce both anxiety and fatigue. Some effective stress-reducing techniques include:

  • Mindfulness. Mindfulness involves practicing a type of meditation where the individual trains the mind to focus on the here and now, to remain in the moment.  By reining in distracting or disturbing thoughts, it is possible to redirect attention to the body’s sensations, such as breathing, as well as what you hear, touch, or see. This can help diminish anxiety, thus reducing fatigue.
  • Yoga. Yoga classes are offered in a variety of disciplines, so experiment with the different types of yoga at a local gym or via YouTube videos or apps. Yoga can benefit the individual in achieving deep mental and physical relaxation while also controlling anxiety levels, which can help reduce feelings of chronic fatigue.
  • Massage. Therapeutic massage can be beneficial for releasing symptoms of anxiety in the body by releasing the toxins that stress causes. Massage also relieves muscle tension caused by stress and worry by decreasing levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. At the same time, a relaxation massage can produce the feel-good hormones, neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
  • Guided imagery meditation. Another excellent form of meditation that helps combat anxiety is guided imagery. These recordings, apps, or YouTube videos offer a guided journey using visual descriptions or prompts that help lead the individual toward achieving relaxation and inner calm.

Evidence-Based Therapy for Anxiety Disorder

Individuals struggling with anxiety disorder may find that outpatient psychiatric services provide adequate tools to help manage the disorder effectively. However, for those who notice their anxiety disorder worsening over time, including further impairment in daily functioning, a residential anxiety treatment program may be the most appropriate treatment option.

A residential anxiety treatment program is beneficial for many reasons. By residing at the treatment center for a specified period of time, the individual is able to separate from the usual triggers that elicit the stress response and focus their energy on learning how to better manage these responses. A much more focused treatment approach allows for a deeper look into the issues that may be impacting the anxiety. Upon intake, a thorough evaluation of the anxiety disorder will provide important information, such as a detailed medical and psychiatric history and a review of medications, which allows the psychiatrist to diagnose the specific features of the anxiety disorder. Using this as a template, a customized treatment plan is designed.

A comprehensive treatment approach includes a variety of therapeutic elements throughout the day, including:

  • Evidence-based psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help individuals who struggle with anxiety by helping them identify irrational thoughts that may fuel the stress response. Exposure therapy and other trauma-focused psychotherapies can help individuals confront past traumatic experiences that could be contributing to the anxiety disorder.
  • Medication. Some individuals may benefit from medications that help minimize anxiety, such as benzodiazepines and mood stabilizers.
  • Group support. Small support groups made up of others struggling with anxiety and led by a licensed therapist can help participants process the past traumas or recent situations that provoke anxiety.
  • Family therapy. Family-focused group allows family members to learn more about their loved one’s struggle with anxiety and how to be supportive of their efforts to manage it going forward.
  • Holistic therapies.Therapeutic activities that promote relaxation include mindfulness training, deep breathing exercises, yoga, aromatherapy, and art therapy.

The Role of Diet and Exercise in Managing Chronic Fatigue and Anxiety

Restoring overall health through diet and regular exercise is an essential aspect of managing anxiety. In addition to sticking with a healthy Mediterranean diet, there are actually certain foods that can help quell feelings of anxiety fatigue, including:

  • Yogurt
  • Whole grains
  • Salmon and other fatty fish
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Eggs
  • Tumeric
  • Dark chocolate
  • Chamomile tea
  • Green tea

Getting regular physical activity is another positive lifestyle tweak in combating anxiety and fatigue. Cardio-focused activities, such as walking, running, swimming, cycling, and dance can help reduce cortisol levels while releasing endorphins and stimulating dopamine. Together these biochemical responses help regulate emotions while improving sleep quality and elevating mood.

Elevation Behavioral Health Los Angeles Residential Anxiety Treatment

Elevation Behavioral Health provides upscale residential mental health treatment, addressing the full spectrum of anxiety disorders. The intimate size of our holistic and evidence-based program provides a more attentive clinical staff that will partner with you, guiding you toward healing and recovery from this challenging condition. Our personalized treatment plans allow our clinical team to target the specific features of an individual’s anxiety disorder. For more information on how to overcome anxiety, please contact our team at (888) 561-0868.

what is dual diagnosis

For a long time, people experiencing the symptoms of mental health disorders where treated separately from those needing help with drug or alcohol abuse. Mental illnesses were sometimes ignored or those with overlapping conditions were frequently denied treatment for their psychiatric disorders until the substance abuse was under control.

This began to change in the 1990s with the advent of dual diagnosis treatment. This relatively new concept in addiction recovery involves recognizing that someone can experience mental illness and substance abuse simultaneously.

Determining the Dual Diagnosis

Although dual diagnosis is a broad category, there are two key factors involved in determining whether the diagnosis is warranted.

An individual must meet the criteria for mental illness as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM is an official guideline for mental health professionals and is used for diagnosing and treating patients. A dual diagnosis also requires symptoms of drug or alcohol addiction or abuse.

In other words, someone experiencing a mental health condition could be using drugs to self-medicate, in an effort to improve their troubling mental health symptoms. On the other hand, if someone is abusing drugs, they could trigger or intensify an underlying mental health condition.

The diagnosis does not require identifying which of these issues developed first; it only requires that both be present.

Co-Occurring Symptoms and Dual Diagnosis

When both a mental health illness and a substance use disorder coexist, they are referred to as co-occurring disorders. People with mental health disorders are more likely to experience an alcohol or substance use disorder than are those without mental health disorders.

According to information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Alliance of Mental Illness, the frequency of co-occurring disorders is significant:

  • Approximately 7.9 million adults had co-occurring disorders in 2014.
  • About one third of people experiencing mental illnesses also experience substance abuse.
  • About fifty percent of those living with severe mental illnesses also experience substance abuse.
  • Men are more likely to develop co-occurring disorders than women.
  • Military veterans, individuals with lower socioeconomic status and people with general medical illnesses have particularly high risk for co-occurring disorders.

Dual diagnosis is a relatively new approach for identifying and treating people with these co-occurring disorders. Unlike times in the past, where one set of symptoms may have been ignored or left untreated, individuals with co-occurring disorders can now receive integrated treatment.

With a dual diagnosis, practitioners can address mental and substance use disorders at the same time, creating better outcomes for their patients.

Benefits of Dual Diagnosis

Although there are numerous variables for treating someone with a dual diagnosis, it commonly involves an integrated intervention. In this treatment, the patient receives care for both the substance abuse and any identified mental illness.

Addiction often has to do with trauma, anxiety, depression and chemical imbalances in the brain. Those struggling with addiction frequently try to relieve their own pain through drugs or alcohol.

But if they have struggled with an undiagnosed mental illness, getting a dual diagnosis can bring great relief. Identifying a specific mental condition that may be contributing to the substance abuse can give a tremendous sense of hope and open new doors for effective treatment.

Mental disorders and addiction have multiple underlying causes, but dual diagnosis treatment deals with these simultaneously, enabling a full and lasting recovery.

alcohol drinking and coronavirus

In the early days of the coronavirus stay-at-home orders, it kind of took on a sense of one big vacation party. People were suddenly thrust into isolation with little time to prepare psychologically—or practically—for the adventure that could become a much more enduring situation than anyone had anticipated. At the outset, back in mid-March, there was a frenzied sense of gathering the basics before the stores ran out. But it wasn’t until it became clear that the lockdowns were going to last months, not days, that a spike in more alcohol drinking and coronavirus case counts became simpatico.

It isn’t hard to grasp why people in quarantine might gravitate toward the bottle. Tensions were high, as we sat glued to our sets watching the global map light up in deep shades of red and burgundy. The feeling of having no sense of control over something so scary and so huge naturally resulted in more alcohol drinking, and coronavirus fear escalated in kind.

Whether the boost in alcohol consumption started due to fear of the unknown, or just a good excuse to party, the end result of excessive drinking may be devastating. To one degree or another most of the nation has been stuck at home with little to keep themselves occupied outside of binge watching and beer. Newly established patterns of increased alcohol consumption during coronavirus may result in newly diagnosed alcohol use disorders at the other side of this.

Awareness is your friend, when looking for ways to set boundaries and avoid acquiring a drinking problem during the pandemic. Being cognizant of drinking behaviors, aware of what triggers them, and admitting if you are displaying the signs of an alcohol use disorder can make the difference between experiencing a short-lived uptick in alcohol use, or ending the quarantine with an alcohol addiction.

Problems Caused by Excessive Drinking During the Coronavirus

Whether it’s Zoom “quarantini” hours or sitting in the dark sipping whiskey, people who are stuck at home are engaging in higher levels of alcohol drinking, and coronavirus offers them a good excuse. With few other options on a Friday night, it’s easy to see why the living room becomes the new speak easy.

However, there is one reality that cannot be escaped, no matter how much of a buzz a person gets on, and that is that alcohol is extremely bad for us. The substance itself actually acts like a poison in our bloodstream, injuring our livers and causing myriad health issues. Mostly, though, the fact is that alcohol is extremely addictive, and alcohol addiction is a deadly progressive disease.

Some of the very real problems stemming from excessive drinking during the pandemic include:

  • Aggression, domestic violence
  • Accidents and injuries
  • Mood swings
  • Impulsive or high risk behaviors
  • Neglecting to complete work-at-home assignments
  • Decreases the body’s immune system and the ability to fight Covid-19

Why do People Turn to Alcohol?

Because of alcohols relaxing effects, it makes perfect sense that it would be an attractive panacea during times of stress. Alcohol use disorder often co-occurs with mental health disorders, especially depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. The quieting effects of alcohol can become a source of self-medicating the discomforts of a mental health issue.

But there are other reasons, some still not clearly understood, as to why some individuals gravitate toward alcohol abuse. Some of these factors include:

  • Genetics. Some individuals have a family history of addiction, indicating a genetic predisposition towards developing the problem.
  • Began using alcohol, drugs or nicotine at an early age
  • History of physical or sexual abuse, trauma exposure, or growing up in a home where family members engaged in substance abuse
  • Brain chemistry
  • Personality traits, such as gravitating toward high-risk behaviors, impulsivity, or having a mental health disorder

There are also new scientific discoveries that are beginning to shed more light on the role of specific genes in determining who will develop an alcohol problem. A study out of Sweden sheds light on how a certain group of rats gravitated toward alcohol instead of following the majority of rats towards the artificial sweetener, Saccharine. The study found that the rats that opted for the alcohol had a reduced expression of a particular gene, called GAT-3, which controls the neurotransmitter GABA and influenced the attraction to alcohol.

In humans, postmortem tissue of individuals who were alcoholic, it was discovered that they had less GAT-3 in the amygdala area that the brains of people who were not addicted to alcohol.

“This is one of the relatively rare cases where we find an interesting change in our animal models and the same change in the brains of people with alcohol addiction,” stated Dayne Mayfield, one of the researchers out of University of Texas that worked with the Swedish team.

What is an Alcohol Use Disorder?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) covers the diverse spectrum of alcohol abuse—from binge drinking in early years to excessive drinking that causes negative consequences in daily life to full-blown alcohol dependency. Compulsive drinking that results in alcoholism has significant negative consequences for the individual and their families.

For a diagnosis of AUD an individual must have any two of the eleven criteria present within a 12-month period. The number of the criteria met will determine the severity of the AUD. The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria include:

In the past year have you:

  1. Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
  2. More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
  3. Spent a lot of time drinking, being sick, or getting over a hangover?
  4. Experienced cravings to drink?
  5. Found that drinking—or being sick from drinking—often interfered with taking care of your home or family?
  6. Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
  7. Given up or cut back on activities that were important to you in order to drink?
  8. More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your risk of injury?
  9. Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Have you had a memory blackout?
  10. Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect your want, or found that your usual number of drinks had less effect than before?
  11. Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating?

Answering yes to 2-3 of these items is considered a mild AUD, 4-5 is considered a moderate AUD, and 6 or more yes answers indicates a severe AUD.

Quarantine Increases Risk of Co-Occurring Alcoholism and Depression

Co-occurring substance use disorders with mood disorders are very common in normal times, but becoming more prevalent during the coronavirus crisis. Alcohol addiction when coupled with depression can be particularly challenging to treat.  According to data reported in the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it is estimated that about 9.2 million of the 20 million adults who had a substance use disorder also had a major depressive episode.  Of that group, the most prevalent substance used was alcohol. Of that segment, only 7.7% of those with a dual diagnosis of major depression and alcohol use disorder received specialized dual diagnosis treatment.

It is crucial that someone battling both alcoholism and depression get the appropriate dual diagnosis treatment. Increased alcohol drinking and the coronavirus stressors have significantly ramped up the need for dual diagnosis interventions. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that in 30% of suicides, blood alcohol levels were above the legal limit and that 50% of those suicide deaths also involved major depression. Alcohol is, after all, a depressant, and will only compound the effects of a major depressive episode.

Getting Help for an Alcohol Use Disorder During the Pandemic

Residential treatment provides the most intensive approach to alcohol recovery treatment. During the pandemic, addiction treatment facilities were designated as essential services, allowing residential programs to continue to operate. Guidelines published by the American Society of Addiction Medicine provide safety precautions that are tailored to residential rehab facilities.

To maintain safe treatment facilities, rehabs have adopted these precautions:

  • Screening (or testing) for COVID-19
  • Do thorough cleaning and sterilization procedures multiple times per day
  • Isolate clients who may later show symptoms of COVID-19
  • Limit or prohibit visitors and have them use PPE
  • Provide PPE for staff

With these measures in place, residential rehabs are able to continue providing essential services to individuals in need of timely treatment for an alcohol use disorder.

Fortunately, online A.A. meetings, free for those who utilize them, are available now using Zoom Internet technology. Now, those in recovery who desire to connect with a recovery community can do that without even getting into a car. While online A.A. meetings are not new, during the pandemic the Zoom platform is making them available far and wide, along with other recovery groups like SMART Recovery.

Elevation Behavioral Health Leading Provider of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Elevation Behavioral Health provides comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment for individuals struggling with alcohol use disorder and a co-occurring substance use disorder. Our luxury accommodations and stunning setting help to provide comfort and healing while engaging in the comprehensive treatment program. Our campus has been completely configured for safe distancing and cleanliness through the pandemic. Client safety is our top priority. For more information about the program, please contact Elevation Behavioral Health today at (888) 561-0868.