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Monthly Archives: November 2019

RECOVERY: Tips on Managing Anger

One misconception or myth about anger is that the way people express anger is inherited and cannot be changed. Evidence from research studies, however, indicates that people are not born with set and specific ways of expressing anger. Rather, these studies show that the positive manner of expression of anger is learned behavior. Anger management is a skill that can be learned.

There are many things that can be done to deal with anger in a safe and constructive way. Below are a few suggestions that not all of them may work for everyone, but there might be at least one or more that anyone, especially those in recovery can use to manage their existing anger issues.

Keep an open mind and give a chance to each one of them. You might be surprised and find a combination that proves helpful in different situations.

  • Take a break or a walk and get away from the situation or individual for a few minutes while you cool down.
  • Take a moment to count to ten silently (or aloud!) before responding to a difficult situation.
  • Mindfulness meditation can help you to be more aware of your feelings and can help you to control yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically.
  • If you don’t feel that meditation is right for you, simply take some time to take deep breaths and focus on the in and out motion of your breathing to help you de-escalate a situation.
  • Sometimes all you need is a distraction; if you find something on your mind that is making you angry, change your mental state. Read a book, watch a movie, or play with a pet.
  • Often just a little comedy or humor is all you need to get past a difficult moment. If you can find something to laugh about, the problem may soon seem less of a big deal.
  • Go for a run or participate in some other type of workout will help to raise your endorphin levels and you will quickly begin to feel better naturally.
  • Spend some time in nature and experience it’s beauty
  • We often get wrapped up in negative self-talk, but flip the script and spend some time to mentally list all the great things about you and express gratitude for what you have
  • Sit down with a notebook or laptop and write about your feelings
  • Attend anger management classes. It can be a great help in your quest to learn ways to express yourself in an effective manner.
  • Seek help through counseling. It will be a great help in your recovery if you work on your issues, one-on-one, with a professional who specializes in managing emotions.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use disorder and related mental health conditions, Florida Center for Recovery offers effective addiction treatment programs with all-inclusive inpatient detox.

For more information about Florida Center for Recovery’s please call us at (800) 851-3291 or click on the link below to send us an email.

Florida Center for Recovery
Clinical Excellence & Compassionate Care in a Healing Environment

Substance Use Disorder and Anger

Individuals struggling with substance use disorder are often dealing with anger issues. Either directed at self, at a specific person or at society as a whole. Without learning to process anger in a constructive manner, a person with an addiction cannot move forward toward recovery. Although anger is a normal human response, it can be warped and misdirected, causing problems for the individual and those around him. Understanding the root causes of anger and addressing them constructively is the first step to support a healthy and successful recovery.

Many view anger as a merely mental-emotional force, but in reality, anger can produce an orchestrated physiological change that negatively affects the body. When we get angry our bodies release hormones called catecholamines which give us a burst of energy. Also, our adrenocortical system becomes aroused which can make us feel on edge for even several days following an angry outburst. Our blood pressure, heart rate, and adrenaline levels rise with anger causing physiological changes pressuring on our health increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

For individuals in recovery, unprocessed anger can also lead to relapse, because anger not only affects one’s health but it also puts a strain on relationships at home and at work. This intensification of stress can easily increase the likelihood that the individual will use drugs or alcohol to cope with their unchecked emotions and feelings.

Learning to manage anger effectively as part of addiction recovery includes learning to recognize the people and situations that trigger the anger response. Identifying why those things trigger anger is important and that is the reason that some therapists have clients writing down a list of things that trigger anger including family situations, work situations, situations with friends, things that happen during support group meetings, and things that happen in the company of strangers.

Effective substance use disorder treatment does not ignore or dismiss anger issues but helps individuals understand them and learn how to cope with them in positive and effective ways. The best addiction recovery programs take into account the whole person, including their anger issues. Everyone’s anger issues are as personal and individual, as the person himself, and to identify those issues at Florida Center for Recovery we ensure that everyone receives a thorough assessment for an accurate diagnosis of underlying conditions and their personal issues.

Managing anger is a learned skill and by working with a therapist every individual is able to learn techniques that help interrupt and manage angry feelings before they cause problematic behaviors. One can break the anger habit by becoming aware of the events and circumstances that trigger anger and the negative consequences that follow. In addition, by working with a therapist recovering individuals dealing with anger issues can learn techniques and strategies that let them effectively manage their anger.

Florida Center for Recovery is a medical detox and rehabilitation facility providing comprehensive therapeutic programs to treat addiction and its underlying related mental health conditions. We offer innovative therapies to address the multidimensional aspects of the disease of addiction while teaching personal accountability in a safe, nurturing, and real-life environment.

Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction? Please call FCR at (800) 851-3291 or click on the link below to send us an email. 

Florida Center for Recovery
Clinical Excellence & Compassionate Care in a Healing Environment

Supporting Someone in Addiction Recovery and Caring for Yourselves

Supporting Someone in Addiction Recovery and Caring for Yourself

Are you someone who is helping an individual through addiction recovery? If so, we all know that this responsibility is on you, only because of the love you have for the individual. Like many other caregivers, you are the one who plays a major role in helping your loved one getting the treatment he or she needs. There are many times that you experience heartache and distress, while relentlessly looking for different rehab programs and trying to find a way to pay for the treatment. It is not uncommon with all that is going on and all that consumes your day, you often forget about your own well being. Although unconditional love, sleepless nights and treatment funding expresses your hope, love, and concern for the individual struggling with addiction, forgetting to protect your health, your own space and foster the relationship with others in the family can add to the stress and cause burn out. So, it is important for you the “caregiver” to find support and create an action plan to take care of your health and sanity and the sanity of the rest of your family. Support for families of individuals who are suffering from addiction comes in many forms. Implementing and executing the tips below can be helpful in creating the needed support mechanism for family members during this difficult time.

Getting Educated on the Complexities of the Disease of Addiction

Getting educated on the complexities of the disease of addiction should be the first step on the list. It will not only help shed a light on how addiction actually impacts your loved one’s reality, but it will also prepare you for the potential pitfalls ahead, such as relapse.    

Getting Connected with Others

Families of individuals who are struggling with addiction must remember that they are not alone. Don’t be ashamed and isolate yourself, you are not alone. Nearly 21 million Americans struggle with substance addictions. Make a point to get connected with other families of individuals who are struggling with addiction, through resources such as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon Family Groups. Meetings can really help. By going to a meeting and listening to other family members your feelings of isolation and wonder may fade, and you may get the skills needed to manage the personal problems you are facing.

Caring for your Wellbeing

Anyone who has not experienced the disease of addiction firsthand cannot understand the many trials that a family dealing with this disease has to go through. For those who are helping a loved one in the midst of his or her battle with addiction, understand the fact that by taking care of yourself you will be better equipped to help your loved one by focusing on the work of recovery ahead.

Finding ways to practice self-care is critical for your loved one’s recovery process. Managing expectations is easier if everyone is able to take care of himself or herself on the journey to recovery. This means finding ways to process the experience. This might be through meditation, yoga, art and music—whatever serves you and your cause the best at the moment. The key is to not to let the addiction disrupt the lives of the rest of the family members.

Attending Family Therapy

Most addiction treatment programs offer some type of family therapy. Although it may be difficult to maintain a close relationship with a loved one with addiction problems, if your loved one is seeking treatment and is willing to have family therapy, this is the time to give the relationship a chance and start anew. Family Therapy offers hope and healing in a neutral space. It is a healthy way to support your loved one and at the same time find closeness again as a family.

You and other members of your family can do a lot to find support and help someone in recovery. It is not just about helping the individual in recovery, but about finding a way to “travel” together into the future with your recovering loved one.

ADDICTION TREATMENT

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please call Florida Center for Recovery (FCR), in the business of healing since 2002, for a free consultation. Our specialized inpatient rehab programs may well be just that right fit you are looking for. We offer an array of specialized therapies including Trauma Treatment through Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT), a specialized treatment that often shows positive healing in just one session, and Chronic Relapse Program. For a complete list of programs, please click on the link below to view our online brochure.

To explore addiction treatment options, call us toll-free at (800) 851-3291. With almost two decades of experience providing addiction treatment and mental health services through our inpatient rehab programs, we are confident that we will meet your individual treatment needs. It’s not just about recovering from the addiction. It’s about discovering a new sense of self and health.  

Florida Center for Recovery
Clinical Excellence & Compassionate Care in a Healing Environment

Beware of Unethical Practices of Some Treatment Centers

The practice of using unclear and misleading marketing advertisement by some treatment centers have left many reputable and established treatment centers struggling to prove their real identity in the online world. Although in 2018 steps were taken by the National Association of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATP) to investigate and examine the deceptive and unethical practices such as patient brokering and drug and alcohol rehab directory listing, still to this day one must beware of online rehab advertisement. For instance, while researching for this article we did a Yahoo search on Florida Center for Recovery. As you can see in the screenshot image below there are at least three paid ads running an advertisement with our treatment center’s name. Needless to say, these companies are all just taking a ride on our reputation.

Rehabs Posing as Florida Center For Recovery

This is sad news for the many individuals who are struggling with substance addiction disorder and for the many reputable treatment centers that on a daily basis need to manage their online presence and reputation. Another good example is shown in the image below. You can find Florida Center for Recovery Listed at this directory but when you call the number advertised on top of the page, you will not be calling us, and whoever answers your call will not send you to our facility for treatment, or even answer your questions regarding our facility. They do list our local number in light gray at the bottom, but more often than not the individuals coming to this listing will see and call the more prominently displayed 800 number listed, which is not ours. They do have a disclaimer though which on the day we wrote this article was displaying even more concerning statements. (image below).

 
Above is an unauthorized usage example of Florida Center for Recovery’s  image and information on this directory website

Attention: We cannot guarantee the costs to be completely accurate. They are displayed for educational purposes. We have compiled prices provided by users and online research. In order to obtain actual costs please contact “their listed name”  or call “their listed phone number” for a free consultation with a rehab specialist.

Besides the inaccurate information which they provide about our facility, their disclaimer shows a company name and a number to call that is not Florida Center for Recovery’s tel. number.  That’s a little unnerving when it’s listed under our information. In addition, if you are to ask questions about our facility and the treatment programs we provide when calling numbers from these sites, they try to sell you the facility of their choice and never refer you to the facility you searched and you thought you found. If you have legitimate concerns or questions and you need answers, in almost all these cases, you may as well forget getting any meaningful help or information as they are not in the business of treating individuals struggling with additions.

Just remember, if you or your loved one contact a listing you find by search, chances are that you will be calling some unknown call center that will try to qualify you for “sell” to facilities they have under contract. And as far as what happens to the confidential information you provide them, your guess is as good as ours. Websites like the ones above, do not need permission from us or any treatment center before posting advertisements under our name. We hope that this will change and change soon because we like many other reputable rehab centers are in the business of helping people recover and not monitoring the bad characters in business with one goal which is to cash in on the vulnerable population in their time of need.

Many times in the past we received bad reviews that were not even meant for us. The reason is that when a person is researching and the name “Florida Center for Recovery” comes up under those misleading and false advertisements, that is all he or she can remember. Many of these reviews are complaints about the way supposedly our staff handled their call or question when they did not even call us.

With all these bad actors out there and their unethical business practices, we like many reputable treatment centers have faced an uphill battle of stigma for being part of an industry that has not found a way to rid itself of the bad behavior of many of its members. At this time, with the limited options available to online searchers, our best advice to you is to go directly to the website of the rehab facility of your choice and contact them with their posted number. More often than not directories are bad news.

We hope the best for all who are suffering from the disease of addiction and trying to find a way out of their daily struggle. Regardless of all the obstacles in front of you, you can succeed. You can find recovery and you can achieve the lasting sobriety that gives you back the life you deserve. Do not quit. Keep fighting.

Florida Center for Recovery – Joint Commission Accredited
Providing Addiction & Mental Health Treatment Since 2002

Thinking About Going Cold Turkey?

The term “cold turkey” refers to the abrupt cessation of tobacco, alcohol, or drug use. The word “cold turkey” comes from the goosebumps (like the cold turkey in the fridge) that individuals often get in the days after they quit.

Individuals who are dependent on any of the above substances and choose to stop taking them abruptly rather than gradual tapering of their use, quitting “cold turkey”, may bring about short term health issues that could be serious and always certainly uncomfortable.

Some people go “cold turkey” because they think it will be easier to stop taking the substance right away and they believe it reduces the temptations that might be present when they stop gradually. The effectiveness of going “cold turkey” depends on the type of substance the individual is trying to quit. Although it may work for some, depending on the substance being abused, quitting too quickly can indeed lead to more than uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and create powerful urges that may bring about the use of the substance again.

One danger of quitting “cold turkey” is the fact that the body quickly loses tolerance to alcohol or drugs after the cessation of the use. When individuals who have successfully stopped using relapses, and takes the usual amount of drugs as when they were using before, they are at a higher risk of overdose. Additionally, by quitting “cold turkey” individuals are exposed to a variety of serious and potentially life-threatening medical conditions, including seizures and heart problems.

Quitting “cold turkey” is also dangerous because of the way the nervous system adapts to certain high dependency drugs. In the case of opioid withdrawal, going “cold turkey” is extremely unpleasant but less dangerous than quitting alcohol, a benzodiazepine or an opiate. When quitting drugs or alcohol, medical supervision is always the safest and the recommended way to go, especially when the individual has been abusing the substance in large amounts and/or for a long time.

Under the management of a physician, besides receiving medical assistance designed to lessen the effects of withdrawal, individuals attending inpatient medical detox are provided with the appropriate nutrition, hydration, and medications when suffering from significant nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea during the withdrawal period. Drug and alcohol rehab facilities with doctors affiliated with the American Board of Addiction Medicine with special training in addiction medicine are particularly suited for managing withdrawals safely.

It should be mentioned that there are those who are able to quit “cold turkey” and detox safely at home under the supervision of a doctor or health professional who may prescribe medications depending on the drug the individual is withdrawing from. But for the majority of people struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, sobriety comes with treatment under professional care.

Typical physical symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • pain
  • fatigue
  • sweating
  • difficulty sleeping
  • muscle aches
  • fast or slow heartbeat
  • runny nose
  • goosebumps
  • shaking

Typical mental and emotional symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • depression
  • cravings for the substance
  • confusion
  • hallucinations
  • paranoia

These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

If you or someone you know is trying to quit cold turkey, but the urge to use remains strong, reach out to a healthcare provider. Medical attention under a supervised addiction recovery program may be required.

Call 911 if you have these serious symptoms:

  • a high fever
  • seizures
  • vomiting that won’t stop
  • chest pain
  • trouble breathing
  • hallucinations
  • severe confusion
  • irregular heartbeat
  • pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back
  • weakness, light-headedness or fainting
  • pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder
  • nausea

Going “cold turkey” is one method to quit, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Individuals considering this method of detox should consult with a healthcare provider to make sure they have the support and the care needed to succeed. Detox alone does not address the psychological, social, and behavioral problems associated with addiction and therefore does not typically produce lasting behavioral changes necessary for recovery.

Valium Withdrawal: Do I Need Detox?

Valium is a benzodiazepine that goes by the name Diazepam. It is listed as a Schedule IV controlled substance and is generally used to relieve anxiety and other issues like insomnia. Valium is also used along with other medications to control muscle spasms and spasticity caused by certain neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy (a condition that causes difficulty with movement and balance), paraplegia (inability to move parts of the body), athetosis (abnormal muscle contractions), and stiff-man syndrome (a rare disorder with muscle rigidity and stiffness). Diazepam is also used along with other medications to control seizures. Although Valium has its beneficial medical applications it is important to understand its abuse and addiction potential as many people are finding themselves addicted to it and in need of detox to manage withdrawal symptoms.

Individuals who are prescribed this medication should not stop taking it without talking to their doctor as dose adjustments will be necessary to safely get weaned off the drug and with the least discomfort as possible. When an individual suddenly stops taking diazepam, he or she may experience high levels of anxiety, sleeplessness, and irritability.

When Do I need Detox for Valium?

Valium like other benzos can cause physical dependence, but even though physical dependence is considered a symptom of a substance use disorder, dependence is neither necessary nor enough for a substance use disorder diagnose. For instance, a person who uses Valium for seizure control with the help of a physician may develop dependence over time but will not be diagnosed with a drug use disorder. People who demonstrate withdrawal from Valium may or may not qualify for addiction diagnosis. So, it is important to consult with a physician to get a comprehensive medical assessment to proceed with an appropriate treatment plan.

Valium often becomes a problem when individuals start abusing them by taking the medication in a different manner than was originally prescribed. The abuse of Valium can contribute to polydrug use and addiction because many people mix them with alcohol and other drugs. Mixing Valium with other drugs can have serious consequences with adverse reactions, increasing the potential for overdose and death.

A person with physical dependence on Valium who stops using it can experience the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Acute: 1-4 days in length from last use, the person will experience high levels of anxiety (especially if they had anxiety before)
  • General: 3-4 days after acute detox begins, there will be more withdrawal that happens for up to 14 days that include cravings for the drug, feeling lightheaded, nausea, chills, depression, and continuing anxiety
  • Physical symptoms: can include combinations of these things including vomiting, tremors, and cramps
  • Cardiovascular symptoms including higher blood pressure, increased heart rate, and other heart issues
  • Neurological symptoms including confusion, seizures that need immediate attention
  • Mood swings, depression, panic attacks and rebound anxiety are all part of the experience of withdrawal

 

Help for Valium Addiction

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with valium addiction or would like to have an assessment for an accurate diagnosis? Please call Florida Center for Recovery (FCR) at (800) 851-3291. FCR provides a comprehensive all-inclusive inpatient addiction treatment program for individuals struggling with substance use disorder and mental health conditions.

Florida Center for Recovery
Clinical Excellence & Compassionate Care in a Healing Environment

anxiety medication addiction

Signs That You’re Misusing Anti-Anxiety Medication

What is Anxiety?

Individuals with anxiety are typically controlled by their fear responses. The symptoms of anxiety disorders greatly vary depending on the specific type of anxiety disorder the individual is struggling with. When individuals are faced with overwhelming anxiety, it’s extremely tempting to turn to drugs. Some people find relief through prescribed drugs by physicians; other individuals turn to illicit substances to help them manage their anxiety. Either way, using substances to help manage one’s anxiety, especially when those substances are abused, can lead to anxiety medication addiction. 

Anti-anxiety medication is part of the benzodiazepines class of psychoactive drugs. Benzodiazepines, also known as “benzos,” work in the central nervous system and are used to treat a range of conditions, including anxiety, panic disorders, and insomnia. Generally viewed as safe and effective for short-term use, all benzodiazepines can cause some level of physical dependence, even when they are taken according to the physician’s instructions.

Benzodiazepines are effective medications intended for short-term use. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, anti-anxiety medications lose their therapeutic effects after 4 to 6 months of constant use. 

In a few cases, benzodiazepines are the most effective solution. Thus, if you have already struggled with substance abuse or you are more at risk of becoming addicted, treating anxiety with other medications isn’t best. 

Benzodiazepines are similar to tranquilizers. They are intended to treat severe anxiety rather quickly bringing relief to an individual in 30 minutes. Anti-anxiety medication slows down an individual’s nervous system which fights anxiety. 

If you take a high dose of anti-anxiety medication, it can make you feel sleepy and tired. Many individuals find that when they take Ativan or Xanax they begin to feel uncoordinated or cloudy. This feeling has the ability to linger into the following day affecting school or work. 

What are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are labeled Schedule IV drugs under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning they are highly regulated by the US government.” The majority of benzodiazepines come in tablet or pill form for oral consumption. Brands such as Valium can be administered as an odorless, clear liquid intravenously. 

Benzodiazepines are legal only when they are prescribed. This is because they can be addictive and dangerous, even despite their federal regulation and medical validity. 

There is even a black market that exists for benzos. Benzodiazepines are known as the following on the streets:

  • French Fries
  • Ladders
  • Downers
  • Tranks
  • Sticks
  • Benzos
  • Bars

Benzodiazepines Effects and Abuse

Benzodiazepines are known to bind with special neurons in the brain called GABA receptors. This process relieves severe mental stress and slows overactive brain function. 

When individuals abuse benzodiazepines, they typically experience an alcohol-like buzz or euphoric “high” depending on the brand used. Normally this is followed by prolonged sedation. 

Any use of benzodiazepines constitutes abuse when utilized outside of a doctor’s recommendation. There are some benzodiazepine users that crush and snort the pills or tablets to magnify the strength. When this occurs, the likelihood of an overdose is increased along with the likelihood of experiencing a coma or seizures. Benzodiazepine overdose can slow one’s breathing and heart rate until they stop completely, resulting in death.

Addiction to Benzodiazepines

Due to their great potency, benzodiazepines have the ability to alter the brain’s neurochemistry. As time goes on, the drugs are able to build up in the user’s body. During this time, benzo users are able to develop physical and mental dependencies on the drugs. 

The prevalence of benzodiazepines as oft-prescribed and popular anti-anxiety medications means that individuals from every lifestyle and demographic can be exposed to them. This also means that anyone of any lifestyle can develop an anxiety medication addiction.

Addiction is possible to be formed even under prescribed doses and a physician’s care. Due to benzodiazepines being easily accessible via prescription, users along with their loved ones are often unaware of the high potential they have for abuse and addiction. 

Signs and Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction 

The signs of a substance addiction that might very well be overlooked include the following:

  • Dismissing important activities and people to focus on obtaining and abusing the drugs
  • Developing a tolerance to the drugs’ sedative effects 
  • “Doctor shopping” to obtain multiple prescriptions
  • Inability to stop using despite making attempts
  • Mixing benzos with other drugs
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Asking others for their pills 
  • Impaired coordination 

Other Signs and Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction Include:

  • Withdrawal symptoms 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Poor judgment
  • Mood changes
  • Passing out
  • Blacking out
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness

Benzodiazepine and Other Drugs

In order to increase their high, some users will mix the benzos with over CNS Depressants. Alcohol is normally the chosen CNS Depressants that people combine with benzodiazepines. Users though might take benzodiazepines in conjunction with opiate drugs to escalate both highs. When benzodiazepines are mixed with other illicit and prescription drugs the odds of a fatal overdose are greatly increased. 

“One study reported that nearly 95% of hospital admissions for benzodiazepine overdose included the abuse of at least one other substance.” According to the CDC, 38,329 drug overdose deaths occurred in the US in 2010. Almost 60% were caused by prescription drugs.

Doctors write out more than 50 million prescriptions annually for benzodiazepines according to the AAFP. According to the American Psychiatric Associates, about 11 to 15% of Americans have benzodiazepines in their medicine cabinet. 

Benzodiazepines Might Worsen Depression

Another concern with benzodiazepines is that they have the ability to make depression worse. Due to the fact that benzodiazepines can cause individuals to be emotionally numb, depressed individuals might not be able to deal with their emotions or feelings in a healthy way. As a result, depression can worsen and eventually lead to suicidal feelings and thoughts. On their own accord, benzodiazepines don’t cause depression. 

They can however exacerbate an individual’s pre-existing condition and overall complicate the entire anti-anxiety medication addiction-related situation. 

Signs of a Benzodiazepine Dependency

When anti-anxiety medication addiction is related and is taken on a regular basis, physical tolerance can quickly form within a few weeks or months. In order for an individual undergoing an anti-anxiety medication addiction-related situation, he or she will aim to attain the same results they once reached before. Therefore they will begin consuming more of the drug. 

For those who are not familiar with benzodiazepines and their prescribed treatment application, the list below may help you identify them:

Anxiety Disorders 

Seizure Disorders 

Insomnia 

  • Estazolam (ProSom)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)
  • Temazepam (Restoril)
  • Flurazepam (Dalmane)
  • Quazepam (Doral)

Anesthesia

Like most medications, the sedative effects of benzodiazepines are temporary and relatively short-lived, meaning that the person taking these medications will need more and more of it with time to accomplish desired effects. While people often start taking these psychoactive drugs to manage anxiety, it is not uncommon for them to begin turning to their medication for even the smallest concerns. Sometimes as a preventative measure, before a problem occurs. That is often when the vicious cycle of addiction starts. 

Although addiction and dependence are not the same things, both conditions can be difficult to recognize and stop before serious issues develop. For this reason, it’s vital for individuals who have been prescribed these medications to be informed about their side effects, dependence, and addiction risk factors before they start taking them

The two key indicators of dependence are withdrawal and tolerance.

Withdrawal

All benzodiazepines can cause some level of physical dependence, even when they are taken according to physician instructions. Withdrawal occurs when the body has acclimated to a certain amount of a substance, adjusting neurotransmitter production accordingly. In other words, withdrawal is when the human body reacts in a negative way due to a person with a substance addiction minimizing food intake and not eating.

The first signs of benzo withdrawal are:

  • Tremors
  • Heart palpitations
  • An inability to concentrate
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased anxiety
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Visual hallucinations 

Benzo Symptoms 

  • Seizures
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Potentially death, depending on the severity of the dependency.

Tolerance 

The trademark of developing a chemical dependency (and the beginning of addiction) to any drug is the establishment of tolerance. In these instances, the individual will require more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect over time. This happens because the body has become used to the benzodiazepines, and, through a process of neuroadaptations, has altered its chemistry to compensate.

Other strong signs that an individual is abusing anti-anxiety medications include:

  • taking anti-anxiety medications against a physician’s instructions
  • taking anti-anxiety medications without a physician’s prescription
  • exhibition of drug-seeking behaviors such as doctor-shopping (visiting multiple clinicians to obtain more medication)

Loved ones may notice behavioral symptoms such as:

  • Irritability
  • Tension
  • Drowsiness
  • Sluggish movement
  • Memory problems
  • Personality changes may be indicative of withdrawal symptoms.

Help for Benzodiazepine Addiction

If you or a loved one is concerned about the use of benzodiazepines, call Florida Center for Recovery (FCR). With almost two decades of experience providing addiction treatment and mental health services through our inpatient rehab programs, FCR is one of the best addiction treatment providers in Florida. 

Here at Florida Center for Recovery, we understand how paralyzing anxiety disorders can be. That’s why we provide inpatient and co-occurring addiction treatment for prescription drugs, along with a variety of therapy programs.

 

The Pink Cloud of Recovery

Anyone who has attended a 12 step meeting knows about Pink Cloud Syndrome. A term coined by Alcoholics Anonymous to characterize people in early recovery when they are feeling on top of the world. This term is utilized to actually alert the recovering individual. The pink cloud is a state of mind that makes many in early recovery feel that they are forever released from substance dependence. Though it feels fabulous, it won’t last long. However, knowing that such a thing even exists and is a common phenomenon will help folks plan a solid strategy when reality threatens to uproot all the hard work they put in.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating recovery and the happiness and freedom that comes with it. Being happy about being clean and sober is a good thing, but one must remember that recovery is a lifelong commitment. The pink cloud will be lifted sooner or later just like the “honeymoon” phase of a marriage. After that phase, for some, It will take a while to sort out and understand what the “real life” feels like, and that it comes with good and bad days.

Below are a few tips for managing the Pink Cloud Syndrome and preparing for “real life after detox”, and possibly avoid problems.

Appreciate balance. Emotionally and chemically dependent people dwell on the edges of life. Learn how to move toward the middle, not needing extreme emotions and circumstances to feel “okay.”

Avoid tempting locations. Don’t go to or even drive by locations where you abused alcohol or drugs. Find new “sober places” for meals and entertainment.

Change old routines. Alter your daily routine and schedule so you don’t replicate how you behaved while using. This helps reduce the desire to go back to using and consequently relapse.

Cultivate a healthy lifestyle. Exercise and eat healthy food. Honor your physical body the way it deserves to be honored.

Escape the “just a little bit” rationale. When you’re in the pink cloud, you might think you can handle anything, even just “a bit” of alcohol or one pill. Even a tiny amount can send you into relapse, even though you feel you’re in control.

Learn from post-cloud folks. Talk to others who sat on the pink cloud. What was their experience? What is their advice? Did they visit the pink cloud more than once? What happened? What should you learn to avoid?

Minimize your triggers. Conflict, eating poorly, physical and emotional pain, sleeplessness, worry, and other negative events and emotions can sabotage sobriety. Develop ways to head off or diminish your triggers to use. Work your 12-Step program.

Reconsider your friends. You can not hang out with friends who are still using. They will tempt you. Stretch yourself and make new friends with sober people or increase your time with sober family members and existing sober friends.

Stick with your recovery group. Spending time with people going through what you’re going through will boost your sense of acceptance, belonging, and encouragement. These colleagues will help you keep on staying on your path to sobriety.

Recovering individuals must be always vigilant and remember that they can spend years in recovery and have a relapse that can cost them their lives. One of the most notable cases is about the famous late actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, who after two decades of sobriety relapsed and fatally overdosed.

Florida Center for Recovery
Clinical Excellence & Compassionate Care in a Healing Environment

If you or someone you love is struggling with drugs and alcohol, Florida Center for Recovery offers specialized professional treatment. 

For more information regarding treatment for individuals struggling with addiction and related mental health conditions, contact us at (800) 851-3291. You may also visit our addiction treatment programs’ page for a better insight into our diverse comprehensive therapies.

WE ACCEPT MOST MAJOR INSURANCES AND
NEGOTIATE PRIVATE PAY OPTIONS