Understanding Addiction: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Understanding Addiction

Addiction is a complex condition that affects millions of people around the world, but is sometimes difficult to understand. It is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite the harmful consequences. Addiction can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status.

What Causes Addiction?

The causes of addiction are multifaceted and complex. They can vary from person to person and can include genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Some of the most common causes of addiction include:

  1. Genetics: Addiction can be passed down from one generation to another. Research shows that genetic factors can account for up to 50% of the risk for addiction.
  2. Environment: The environment can also play a role in the development of addiction. Factors such as peer pressure, trauma, stress, and access to drugs can increase the risk of addiction.
  3. Mental health: People who suffer from mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD are more likely to develop an addiction.
  4. Early exposure: Early exposure to drugs or alcohol can increase the risk of addiction later in life.

What are the Symptoms of Addiction?

The symptoms of addiction can vary depending on the drug or substance being used. However, some common signs and symptoms of addiction include the following:

  1. Compulsive drug seeking and use.
  2. Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed.
  3. Continued drug use despite negative consequences.
  4. Withdrawal symptoms when drug use is stopped.
  5. Increased tolerance to drugs, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effects.
  6. Financial problems due to drug use.
  7. Neglecting responsibilities at work, school, or home.
  8. Changes in behavior, mood, and attitude.

What are the Treatment Options for Addiction?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating addiction. The most effective treatment programs are tailored to the individual and address their specific needs. Some common treatment options for addiction include:

  1. Detoxification: This is the process of removing drugs or alcohol from the body. It is usually the first step in the treatment process and can be done on an outpatient or inpatient basis.
  2. Inpatient Rehabilitation: Inpatient rehabilitation programs provide a safe, structured environment for people to recover from addiction. These programs typically last for 30 to 90 days and include a combination of individual and group therapy.
  3. Outpatient Rehabilitation: Outpatient rehabilitation programs allow people to receive treatment while maintaining their daily responsibilities. These programs can be less intensive than inpatient programs and can include individual and group therapy.
  4. Medication-Assisted Treatment: Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a form of treatment that uses medication to help manage the symptoms of withdrawal and reduce the risk of relapse.
  5. Support Groups: Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can provide a supportive environment for people in recovery.

Addiction is a complex disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It can be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors and can have devastating consequences if left untreated. The good news is that addiction is treatable, and recovery is possible. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to seek help. You can overcome addiction and live a healthy, fulfilling life with the proper treatment and support.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, we encourage you to seek help as soon as possible. Silicon Valley Recovery offers a variety of addiction treatment programs tailored to meet individual needs. Contact us today at 408-478-9365 to learn more about our services and take the first step toward recovery.

Comedian John Mulaney Talks About Rehab

There are often situations where celebrities are in the spotlight for reasons they don’t prefer, including struggles with drugs, alcohol, and mental health. Relatively recently, comedian John Mulaney talked about his struggles with addiction and his subsequent stay in an addiction treatment facility. When John Mulaney talks about rehab and his experiences, it helps reduce stigma and highlights the importance of an intervention for people dealing with active addiction.

Who Is John Mulaney?

John Mulaney is an actor, writer, and producer, as well as a standup comedian. He’s perhaps best known for his work as a Saturday Night Live writer and stand-up comedian with specials like The Comeback Kid and the Kid Gorgeous. Mulaney won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special for Kid Gorgeous. He also did a Netflix comedy special for children called John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch.

A History of Addiction Struggles

Throughout his career, Mulaney has been candid about his struggles with addiction and staying sober.

In 2012, Mulaney talked about his initial decision to get sober in his comedy special, New in Town. At the time, Mulaney said he decided to stop drinking because he was told by others he would black out and ruin their parties. He told the audience that when you drink enough and black out enough, you’ve done so many crazy things that you don’t even know if the stories other people tell you about your behavior are true.

In 2014, the comedian and writer said he’d been sober since September 2005.

Then, in September 2020, Mulaney went to rehab after a long run of recovery. He said he left rehab in October of that year and then moved out of the home he shared with his wife. He hosted Saturday Night Live on Halloween and ultimately relapsed on drugs.

Once again, in December of 2020, Mulaney returned to rehab for 60 days in Pennsylvania.

He said he went for problems with both alcohol and cocaine. When he left the inpatient treatment center, reports were that he was doing well and would continue working on an outpatient basis.

Early Substance Use 

Mulaney says that his substance abuse issues started at around 13. He said he started drinking alcohol to fit in with his peers. That then led to prescription drug abuse and cocaine use. Mulaney has said in past interviews that he kept using drugs even though his parents tried to get him help.

He said his rock bottom came when he was 23, and he was so desperate to get drunk or high that he attempted to drink perfume.

During his first set on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, he once said he would go out with money at night, then blackout and wake up with none. He said it would be even more unsettling when he’d go out with some money, blackout, and wake up with more, indicating he’d traded goods or services, which he found scary.

Mulaney said it was during one of these episodes in his 20s that he realized he didn’t want to continue with drugs and alcohol. He quit cold turkey, staying sober for 15 years.

The Pandemic’s Effect

As mentioned, it wasn’t until 2020 that Mulaney relapsed after such a long period of sobriety, and he wasn’t alone. He was significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as were so many people. He wasn’t working to occupy his time, and he wasn’t experiencing the creative outlet that came with performing. That led to the use of drugs and alcohol for comfort and stimulation.

Before he checked into rehab, Mulaney had temporarily joined the writing staff of Late Night with Seth Meyers.

He said he took the job with the show because it was helping him with his mental health and sense of well-being. Mulaney knew Meyers from his time at Saturday Night Live.

He told Jimmy Kimmel later that he felt he needed a job and that it was beneficial to have assignments and a boss. He said he doesn’t feel like it’s the best thing for him to be in charge of something.

Once he returned to working on Late Night with Seth Meyers, he experienced a full relapse on cocaine and alcohol.

John Mulaney Talks About Rehab

An Important Intervention 

A successful intervention from close friends, including Meyers and Fred Armisen, helped him realize it was time to make a change. He said he was initially mad, but when he looked at the group of friends doing the intervention, realized it was a group of people who cared about him. 

According to Mulaney, as soon as he opened the door, he knew it was an intervention. He thought he was going to have dinner with a college friend, and once he opened the door and saw Meyers, he wanted to beat them all to the punch by letting them know he had a drug problem. He said it came from a desire to always be the smartest person in the room.

Before arriving at the intervention, the comedian had done cocaine and stopped by the studios of Saturday Night Live, acting erratically. 

He accepted the help of the intervention group, going to Pennsylvania and completing 60 days of inpatient rehab.  

Since then, he said he realized he needed to keep working on his recovery after completing inpatient addiction treatment. Mulaney continued with outpatient treatment and moved into a sober living house.

He took a break from his work to put all of his focus on his family and recovery. Mulaney has since said that his life has improved, and he feels there’s a bright future ahead of him, with the support of friends, family, and addiction counselors.

Mulaney also started a new relationship with actress Olivia Munn. The two welcomed a baby together in November 2021.

In February 2022, Mulaney hosted SNL for the fifth time. During his opening monologue, he talked about his experience with drug use, his time in rehab, and the intervention that saved his life.

He went on to talk about his son being born and the meaning that event has in his life. 

Treatment that Feels Like Home

If you’re ready to explore what addiction treatment in the Bay Area could look like for you, please contact our team today. Silicon Valley Recovery can help you improve your quality of life with inpatient rehab programs for drug addiction and alcohol addiction or explain more about another level of care at our rehab facilities, contact us at 408-547-4089.

Do I Need An Aftercare Program?

Addiction treatment is a process. For many people, staying in recovery means they have to continue to work it, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In addiction treatment programs, a continuum of care is frequently ideal, including an aftercare program.

Not everyone will participate in an aftercare program, but it’s an incredibly important step in recovery for some people.

Below, we talk about what we mean by a continuum of care, what an aftercare program is, and how it could fit into your treatment plan.

What is a Continuum of Care?

In substance abuse treatment, there is a term, continuum of care, which is important. In substance abuse treatment, a continuum of care references offers a wide variety of treatments to meet the particular needs of people in recovery.

The idea of levels of care isn’t exclusive to addiction treatment. It can refer to any situation where patients are guided and tracked through a period of time as they receive comprehensive services in varying intensities.

For example, someone with a chronic health condition like diabetes might receive a continuum of care.

  • The services that are most generally included in a continuum of care for all health conditions and not just addiction treatment include extended, hospital, ambulatory, and home care, outreach, wellness, and housing.
  • You can also break down a continuum of care into four larger categories—planning and management, coordination of care, care-based financing, and integrated information systems.
  • Another way to look at the continuum of care is as a philosophy where you’re getting a patient from a state of illness to well-being. The patient might be gradually transitioning to a healthier state of being over time. 

It’s incredibly important when we’re specifically looking at the continuum of care in treating addiction. Addiction is chronic and progressive; the longer it goes untreated, the more severe it becomes.

  • With addiction treatment, you could begin at the detox phase of treatment, then begin more intensive therapy where you learn about potential triggers and how to overcome them through group and individual counseling. 
  • Treatment might, at that point, begin to include aftercare plans and connections with a recovery support network
  • Addiction is not only a chronic illness but also one with high relapse rates. The longer-term a treatment program, and the more it follows an in-depth continuum of care, the more likelihood of positive outcomes.

ASAM Criteria

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has criteria to define a continuum of care. The goal of this criteria is to provide outcome-driven results in treating addiction.

Under the ASAM criteria, there are five primary levels of treatment making up a continuum of care, and decimal numbers are used to show the intensity for each sub-level of service.

These include:

  • Level 0.5 Early Intervention: At this point in the continuum, individuals might receive interventions based on their risk of developing substance abuse problems. They might not meet the criteria for a substance use disorder diagnosis but could have risk factors predisposing them to this potential. The early intervention relies on helping patients understand their risk factors, so they can adjust their behaviors accordingly.
  • Level 1 Outpatient Treatment: At this level, according to ASAM criteria, patients attend meetings that are regularly scheduled. Patients can keep up with their daily routines but still receive professional addiction treatment services. Level 1 can be a bridge for someone who’s not ready to accept a higher level of care, or it can be a transition following the first level of treatment. Level 1 treatment most often focuses on counseling sessions. 
  • Level 2 Intensive Outpatient/Partial Hospitalization: This category has two intensity levels. Level 2.1, the intensive outpatient program (IOP), and Level 2.5, a partial hospitalization program (PHP). At this level, someone might receive psychiatric and medical care, medication management, and crisis services. They might also receive links to other support services like transportation or vocational training.
  • Level 3 Inpatient Rehab/Residential Treatment: Residential treatment is where people will most likely benefit from a stable living environment for recovery. There are several levels of intensity. For example, Level 3.1 refers to a low-intensity but clinically managed residential rehab.
  • Level 4 Medically-Managed Intensive Inpatient Treatment: This is the most intense type of treatment. Someone at this level will receive medical care 24 hours a day, including daily meetings with a doctor. Someone receiving this level of care may also receive treatment for co-occurring disorders.

What is an Aftercare Program?

Regarding intensity, an aftercare program is usually considered Level 1 on the ASAM criteria scale, but it can also be more intensive.  

  • Once someone can achieve sobriety after a period of detox and withdrawal, they must continually work to maintain recovery. Recovery in addiction is similar to remission in chronic disease.
  • Aftercare is an ongoing approach to treatment that you participate in after achieving sobriety.
  • Depending on your needs and treatment plan, an aftercare program can take many forms.

Two of the most common aftercare programs are 12-step groups and outpatient treatment.

  • A 12-step program involves a group setting where you spend time with others in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. 
  • You voluntarily share what you’re comfortable talking about and encourage others in a format similar to a support group during 12-step meetings. 
  • The environment is safe and confidential, and participating in 12-step programs is a good way to build relationships with other sober people and deal with stress healthily.
  • There is a spiritual component to 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, so some prefer alternatives such as SMART Recovery.

Another type of aftercare can be an outpatient treatment program. 

  • Outpatient treatment might be something that you begin after you receive treatment in a residential setting. 
  • Someone with a less severe addiction could move directly from detox to outpatient rehab.
  • You might participate in individual therapy and group counseling. You could also receive care for co-occurring conditions in ongoing therapy. 
  • Aftercare programs might also be a way to provide resources to people who are dealing with the fallout from their addiction as they return to their daily lives. For example, you may have difficulty finding a job or a safe and secure home when you’re in recovery. It’s tough to navigate life after addiction for some people, which can lead to a higher relapse rate.

Aftercare programs may provide access to long-term support through major life transitions, career counseling, and legal support. 

  • These programs might include coaching, community building, case management, and substance monitoring. 
  • An aftercare program can help provide information resources and connections to affordable housing for a person in recovery, upping their likelihood of long-term abstinence from addictive behavior. 
  • For people with the most severe addictions, aftercare might include time spent in sober living homes, also known as halfway houses. 
  • Sober living homes provide a supportive environment once someone leaves a rehab facility. On the road to recovery, a person may not immediately be ready for re-entry into everyday life after leaving treatment facilities. 
  • Treatment centers might include an alumni program as an effective aftercare program. Alumni programs help you stay connected. 

There’s no one answer as to whether or not you need an aftercare program, but most treatment plans will include aftercare in some way.

Aftercare Program Options in the Bay Area, CA

Aftercare programs are an important way to navigate what your sober life will look like and build a life you can be proud of and thrive in. If you’d like to learn more about addiction treatment, please contact Silicon Valley Recovery at 408-547-4089 when you feel comfortable doing so. Treatment for substance abuse needs to put your needs at the forefront of everything, which is what we focus on.

Alcohol Abuse and ADHD

There are complex relationships that can occur between alcohol and ADHD; sometimes, a person might be more prone to abuse alcohol because of these coexisting conditions. In other cases, an individual might develop a polydrug substance abuse disorder because of a combination of medication and alcohol. We talk in more detail below about these relationships between ADHD and alcohol abuse.

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood, often first diagnosed when someone is a child. Then, the symptoms tend to continue into adulthood. A child with an attention disorder can experience problems controlling impulsive behaviors and paying attention, or they may be overly active.

It’s normal for kids to have difficulty focusing or behaving appropriately occasionally, but with ADHD, the child doesn’t grow out of the behavior. The symptoms are ongoing, can be severe, and cause problems in functionality at home, school, and in relationships. Core symptoms in a child might include:

  • Daydreaming frequently
  • Forgetfulness
  • Misplacing items often
  • Fidgeting or squirming
  • Excessive talking
  • Making careless mistakes
  • Having a hard time resisting temptation
  • Inhibitory control 
  • Impulse control issues 
  • The trouble with taking turns
  • Problems getting along with others

There are three types of attention deficit disorders; they are based on the particular attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms someone experiences. 

  • Predominantly inattentive presentation: In this situation, it’s hard for someone to finish tasks, pay attention to details, or follow instructions. Someone with a diagnosis of this type of ADHD might be easily distracted or forgetful of the details of daily routines.
  • Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation: In this type of ADHD, someone could talk or fidget a lot, have a hard time sitting still, and be restless or behave impulsively.
  • Combined presentation: Symptoms of this type will usually include symptoms of the above types equally.

Researchers are studying the risk factors and potential causes of this disorder, which may help reduce the risk of someone developing it in the future. The causes aren’t known, but research, as it stands currently, shows genetics are a big part of it.

Scientists are also looking at risk factors such as premature delivery and low birth weight, brain injury, alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, and exposure to environmental toxins or risks during pregnancy.

ADHD Medications

People with this mental health condition usually receive a combination of treatments—most often, psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and medication. Effective treatment plans can look different for everyone. 

Broadly, medications can fall into two categories—stimulants and non-stimulants.

Stimulants are the first-line treatment, and this category includes amphetamines and methylphenidate.

Non-stimulant medication is reserved for patients who don’t benefit from stimulant medications or don’t tolerate them well. Non-stimulants include atomoxetine, clonidine, and guanfacine.

Finding the right medication and dose, as well as other treatment options, can take time and is often reliant on trial and error working closely with a treatment provider. 

The most frequently prescribed ADHD medications include Adderall XR, Concerta, Dexedrine, Evekeo, and Focalin XR. Other options include Ritalin, Straterra, and Vyvanse.

Medications tend to work best when combined with behavioral treatments like cognitive therapy. 

Alcohol and ADHD

Is there a link between ADHD and alcoholism?

Researchers do believe there are associations between ADHD and alcohol abuse. This doesn’t mean everyone with attention disorders will abuse alcohol, but having this mental health condition can increase the risk. 

ADHD is considered a risk factor for alcohol abuse but not a cause, because it can increase the risk of abusing or developing an addiction to other substances, such as stimulants or depressants. This is true of other mental disorders and alcohol’s effects. 

The links between alcohol and ADHD include:

  • In a twin study in 2018, more severe cases during childhood was associated with earlier use of alcohol and more frequent or heavier use.
  • Based on a 2015 study, people with ADHD are more likely to engage in binge drinking in early adulthood.
  • In a study conducted in 2009, participants were more likely to show increased sensitivity to alcoholic beverages and greater impairment.
  • Alcohol impairment is thought to make some symptoms of ADHD more severe. For example, people who drink and have the condition could have more problems focusing and higher levels of impulsiveness. Long-term alcohol use can cause problems with decision-making, cognition, memory, and speech, and the effects could make the symptoms worse.
  • Childhood ADHD, according to a systematic review in 2011, increases the risk of alcohol use later in life. 

When someone has ADHD, they may be at a higher risk of abusing alcohol because they’re attempting to self-medicate. Self-medication is one reason people with all types of mental health disorders will have higher rates of substance abuse.

If you have ADHD symptoms and attempt to deal with them on your own with drug abuse or alcohol, it will end up worsening the problem. This includes abusing illicit drugs or prescription drugs. 

There are also theories that when you have a mental health disorder, including ADHD, it affects the same areas of your brain as addiction, and there may be similar susceptibilities.

Alcohol, Depression, and ADHD

There are complex relationships between the use of alcohol, ADHD, and psychiatric disorders like depression. None of the three cause each other, but they are often related.

  • People with ADHD are more likely to both experience depression and use alcohol, alcohol use is associated with depression.
  • People with ADHD, according to a study in 2019, may be at a higher risk for simultaneous heavy drinking and depression.
  • Alcohol affects brain chemistry, and worsening symptoms lead to a higher risk of depression.
  • Getting involved in a cycle of alcohol abuse can be difficult to break out of. For example, after you drink heavily, you could wake up feeling depressed, guilty or anxious. You could be restless or have a harder time than normal focusing. Then, you might drink to cope with whatever you’re experiencing.

The Risk for Substance Use and ADHD

Alcohol isn’t the only substance people with ADHD abuse. In a 2017 review, researchers found ADHD is a risk factor for other types of substance abuse and dependence.

The link is likely related to common symptoms like impulsivity, hyperactivity, and problems with emotional function. These three symptoms also play a role in substance use, so someone with ADHD is at a higher risk of addiction.

Someone who is diagnosed with ADHD and a substance use disorder needs specialized treatment.

What Happens When You Take ADHD Medicine and Alcohol?

Combining your ADHD medication with alcohol can heighten the effects of both and put you at risk of serious consequences and complications. The interactions between medication and alcohol depend on the particular type of medicine.

When someone uses stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin, most commonly prescribed, they increase the activity of the central nervous system. Alcohol, by contrast, decreases CNS activity. Rather than one canceling out the effects of the other, alcohol changes how your body processes your ADHD medication.

This can lead to symptoms like high blood pressure, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, a racing heart rate, and problems sleeping.

Using ADHD medication and alcohol together can also cause a greater risk of overdose and alcohol poisoning. Over time, taking both substances regularly and at the same time puts you at more of a risk of a stroke or heart attack.

Alcohol Abuse Treatment in the San Francisco Bay Area

While there are links between the abuse of alcohol and ADHD, there are steps you can take to avoid this situation. There are also treatment programs available that can consider your unique needs and co-occurring disorders. Reach out to learn more, whether you’re struggling with alcohol-related problems, illegal drugs, or co-occurring mental health issues. 

To learn more about treatment programs available to you, contact the Silicon Valley Recovery team by calling 408-547-4089.

What is a Treatment Plan for Substance Use Disorder?

One of the cornerstones of addiction therapy is a treatment plan for substance use disorder. Most treatment programs will not allow you to spend a single day without one. Nobody can find a therapy method that works for them all simultaneously. One of the ways drug rehab is adjusted to meet your requirements is via treatment programs. Your therapy will be tailored to meet your specific requirements as you go through the procedure. Stay tuned to this article to learn more about drug abuse treatment methods.

What is a Treatment Plan?

A drug addiction treatment plan is a thorough declaration of the objectives you want to achieve throughout treatment and what it will take to achieve those goals. You will work with your therapist to create a treatment plan, and your involvement is essential. Addiction is a complex condition, and treatment must be personalized to the individual. Therapy plans are the most personalized components of the therapy process, and yours will be no different.

You may be able to construct a treatment plan on your first day in an addiction or alcoholism treatment program after completing an intake and assessment process. As time passes, your plan will alter. In the early stages of rehab, for example, it may be sufficient to get you through medical examination, stabilization, and detoxification, among other things. After then, your approach may transition to a more in-depth focus on the underlying causes of addiction, such as mental health, social obstacles, and other concerns.

When drafting a treatment plan, the question on the minds of many could be ‘what is the most important goal in dealing with a substance abuse emergency?’ Your treatment plan will have three major components: goals, objectives, and interventions, among others. Following the development of your treatment plan, you will meet with your therapist to discuss it and make any required changes. This reevaluation should occur at least once every week.

Components of an Ideal Treatment Plan

Now that we know what a treatment plan for substance use disorder is, it’s important to examine what an ideal treatment plan for substance use disorder should have. Your emotional, physical, social, and financial well-being should all be considered while developing a treatment plan. This is a living document that should be updated as your circumstances change. This is an outline of a treatment plan below:

Summary of Diagnosis

Your drug use habits, medical history, and mental health concerns will all be discussed with your physician. They will explain the primary issues that led you to treatment, as well as provide suggestions such as medication and behavioral therapy based on these evaluations.

List of Issues

This list explains particular concerns that you wish to address during therapy and a synopsis of the problem’s indications and symptoms. An example of a list of issues for a treatment plan could be:

Problem: Inability to reduce or stop alcohol intake

As evidenced by: Two DWI arrests in the past year

As evidenced by: Heavy drinking (more than 5 drinks) multiple times per week


Goals are the broad, overarching goals of your treatment plan’s endeavor. They’re typically straightforward and straightforward to describe, but they might be tough to understand and imprecise in terms of how you’ll do them. With an example, it’s simpler to comprehend what a goal is. Abstinence from drug and alcohol use is the most prevalent objective in addiction therapy.

One of the essential goals of addiction therapy is to attain this, but how will you do it, and what actions will you take to get there? If your treatment plan is a trip, the destination is the huge mountain in the distance. You can see it, but not all of the routes will get you there. However, defining a goal is critical for guiding you on the correct path and impacting the remainder of your treatment strategy.


An aim is more precise, and there are frequently many goals that work together to assist you in achieving a single goal. Because an objection is clear and precise, it’s straightforward to figure out what it’ll take to overcome it. For example, a goal may be to conduct a biopsychosocial examination with your therapist. For example, in your next group therapy session, you may react to others three times. The routes that lead to the mountain are called objectives. Each week, you will evaluate your objectives with your therapist as you try or fulfill them. Each fulfilled aim should, in theory, be a step toward your ultimate goal.


Finally, the intervention is the third component of a therapy plan. A therapist, counselor, or medical professional uses an intervention to assist clients in processing or working through their goals. Interventions may be crucial in assisting clients in progressing through their treatment plan. During therapy, they give responsibility, challenges, and guidance.

Addiction treatment programs are designed to assist you in creating objectives that are meaningful and relevant to you. You’ll be urged to weigh your own goals against the expectations of people around you and devise a strategy for achieving a better lifestyle.

Monitoring and Evaluating Progress

Your doctor must take detailed notes to track your progress and determine whether or not a therapy is effective. This section usually includes information about your response to therapy, changes in your health, and any changes to your treatment plan. They may also ask you to write down your feelings, emotions, and actions.

Making Plans for Long-Term Care

During your treatment, your clinician may bring up long-term maintenance care and relapse prevention. Following the completion of the initial treatment program, your ongoing care plan may include the following elements:

  • Regular attendance at 12-step meetings or support groups
  • Sessions with a licensed professional counselor will be continued.
  • It is not advised to use prescription drugs, particularly medication-assisted therapy for opioid and alcohol use disorders.
Treatment Plan for Substance Use Disorder

Addiction Treatment in The San Francisco Bay Area

Substance Abuse Disorder, in most instances, has a lot of personal aspects to it. It harms your physical and mental health and your ability to interact socially. It can also hurt your professional life, financial security, and personal relationships. Addiction recovery goals are typically influenced by factors like these when you begin your program.

You may want to get back to work, mend broken relationships, or just keep a more upbeat attitude, which can help you lead a more sober life free of drugs and alcohol. To learn more about addiction treatment options available in the San Francisco area call Silicon Valley Recovery at 408-547-4089.

The Guide to Breaking Up with an Addict

If you’re in a position where you’re considering breaking up with an addict, it can be challenging. Being in a relationship with someone with an active addiction can be difficult or even impossible. 

While you may want the best for the person, that can’t come at the cost of your own mental or even physical well-being.

People with substance use disorders can and do recover, but if the person you’re in a relationship with isn’t ready or willing for that, you may have no other choice aside from leaving the situation.

The Dynamic of Being in a Relationship with An Addict

There are plenty of reasons you might stay in a relationship with someone who’s struggling with addiction. You may be in love with them. You could also worry that ending the relationship will worsen the person’s problems.

You might have a fear that if you leave, the addicted person will go deeper into addiction or do something drastic.

It’s also common for people to stay in these relationships because they feel like they take care of the person, or somehow, they can “fix them.”

You could even stay because you are afraid of being alone.

Nearly every reason you could have for staying with someone in active drug or alcohol addiction comes from fear.

If someone is willing to get help for their addiction and actively taking steps to do that, the relationship could be salvageable. If that’s not the case, you need to ask yourself some questions, including, “am I in an abusive relationship.”

Reasons to Consider Breaking Up with An Addict

Maybe you’re on the fence about breaking up with an addict, and you’re not sure whether or not it’s the right thing to do.

If abuse is going on, you should leave. 

  • When someone uses mind-altering substances, it changes their behavior. 
  • A person who maybe was calm and rational when you met could become volatile and irritable because of substance use. 
  • When they’re on drugs or drinking, they could become abusive. 
  • There are many types of domestic abuse, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, and sexual abuse. 
  • You can’t stay in a relationship with abuse. If you remain in an abusive relationship, it can put you at a greater risk of developing a drug or alcohol problem yourself. 

When someone abuses drugs or alcohol, their brain chemicals compel them to seek out that substance, no matter the consequences. The results can be violent, controlling, or irrational behavior, including in relationships.

  • Domestic violence and addiction have several shared features, including a loss of control and continuing the behavior despite adverse consequences. 
  • Both addiction and abuse tend to worsen over time, and both conditions involve elements of shame and denial.
  • Abusive behavior can occur as the addict tries to get what they want. 
  • People with substance use disorders will often become aggressive and defensive if you try to show concern or talk to them about their addiction.
  • When addiction is involved, codependency can also occur. Codependency leads to enabling and controlling behavior. This creates toxic relationships that are very one-sided.

Even outside of them being an overtly  abusive partner, reasons to consider breaking up with an addict include:

  • People with substance use disorders often display dangerous, reckless, and selfish behaviors. They might spend nights away from home, partying. They could blackout or experience hangovers, so they can’t take care of their responsibilities. Driving while under the influence can be an issue as well.
  • Addiction is a disease with connections to other co-occurring mental health disorders. For example, someone with an addiction might also have untreated depression or anxiety. To be in a positive relationship, they first need mental health treatment. 
  • Deception underlies addiction. Initially, someone with a substance use disorder will try to hide it. Then, eventually, you may notice they spend a lot of money, lie, and are deceptive about a lot of what they’re doing. A relationship without trust is never going to flourish.
  • Addicts can become distant, and you may not even recognize the person you’re in a relationship with anymore. Addiction is the priority over everything, meaning a healthy relationship isn’t possible. 

What Should Keep in Mind Before Breaking Up with An Addict?

Someone having an addiction isn’t always in and of itself a reason to leave a relationship, especially one that’s long-term or a marriage.

Every situation is different, and there are things you have to ask yourself, including:

  • Am I in an abusive relationship? We touched on this above, but your safety is the top priority above everything else. If there is physical violence or an abusive situation, you have to create a safety plan and get out of the relationship. 
  • Is my partner willing to change? If your partner is signaling a desire or willingness to change and progress toward recovery, you may be able to work on repairing the relationship eventually. If the person seems completely unwilling to talk about addiction treatment or recovery, leaving may be your only option.
  • Could I be enabling my partner? Enabling is harmful to you and also the addict in an intimate relationship. When you enable someone with an addiction, they’re never held accountable for their behaviors and actions. If you see enabling patterns in yourself, you may have to leave your relationship.
  • What do I see happening if I stay with the person? You have to think long-term about what life might look like if you stay with someone who has a drug or alcohol addiction. The condition will inevitably get worse without treatment. Do you think things could change for the better?
  • Are my children being affected? If you have children, you may need to take them out of the environment with the addict so they’re safe and away from substance abuse.
Breaking Up with an Addict

How to Actually Break Up with an Addict

Figuring out how to leave an abusive relationship is tough to navigate, especially when addiction is involved. You likely worry about your children and yourself. You might also be worried about the person you’re in a relationship with.

Things to remember include:

  • Have a plan for your safety. You should have a place to go before you break up with someone. Break up with them in a public place like a restaurant or coffee shop so that others are around you. You may also want to bring a friend or family member with you. If the person threatens you, take it seriously.
  • If you can set aside an emergency fund and other resources before you end the relationship, do so. 
  • Try to find an opportunity where the person is sober. If they’re under the influence of drugs, they’re more likely to lash out, creating a more dangerous situation. 
  • Be firm in your decision, and don’t let your partner try to bargain with you or talk you out of your decision.
  • Keep your own emotions in check.
  • Consider getting therapy for what you’ve experienced in the relationship, and always practice self-care.

If you love someone who has a problem with alcohol or drugs and is willing to get help, this is a good sign. We can help you navigate treatment in the San Francisco area, so please reach out to the Silicon Valley Recovery team by calling 408-547-4089 to learn more.

Achieving Long-Term Sobriety with Mindfulness

The goal of treatment for substance use disorders is to help you achieve long-term sobriety. Of course, we know that recovery isn’t always linear. There are many situations where you can complete treatment successfully and still relapse in your sober life. 

That’s okay, and that can be part of your recovery process. 

However, we always want to equip you with the tools you need to achieve long-term sobriety optimally.

One such tool that can take many different forms to help maintain long-term sobriety is mindfulness. We’ll get more into that, but first, we’ll talk a little more about sobriety in general and what it can look like to learn how to incorporate it into your life on a longer-term basis.

What is Recovery?

When you finish rehab or a treatment program and you’re no longer in active addiction, you have to re-enter the world. In many ways, you might feel like you’re experiencing it for the first time. Without the cloud of substances, you may have to re-learn what it’s like to be part of the world around you.

Undoubtedly, there will be challenges that come with navigating the real world, particularly in the initial stage of recovery. The risk of relapse is highest in these early days. 

These challenges and difficult times will require reaching into the toolbox you created during treatment to face them.

In technical terms, your recovery or sobriety is when you aren’t under the influence of a substance. Your recovery can look individual to you, but overall, the goal is to learn how to be a fulfilled, healthy person mentally, physically, and spiritually.

If you have experienced setbacks previously on the road to long-lasting recovery, you can use these as learning experiences. These are opportunities to explore your triggers and weaknesses so that you can deal with them in different ways.

What is Mindfulness?

A concept you can apply to all areas of your life in recovery is mindfulness. Mindfulness is our ability as humans to be present and aware of what we’re doing in a broad sense. When we practice mindfulness throughout the stages of recovery, we’re less likely to become overly reactive or stressed out by things around us.

We all have the inherent ability to be mindful, but we must train our brains to engage in it. Mindfulness is very active, even though it might not seem like it at first.

Long-Term Sobriety

How to Maintain Long Term Sobriety

To maintain long-term sobriety, while everyone’s recovery plan can be different, general things to keep in mind include:

  • Identify your personal triggers. You can work on this in a treatment program, but it may also be something you explore outside of treatment as you’re navigating life. For some people, triggers include emotional distress, being around people who still drink or use drugs, relationships, or financial problems.
  • Recognize the warning signs of relapse that are personal to you. A relapse isn’t a sudden event. Relapse tends to happen in phases. You are likely to begin the stages of a relapse well before you drink or use drugs. The three main phases of relapse are emotional, mental, and physical. Learn the earliest warning signs so you can start to do the work to avoid a full-blown relapse.
  • Actively avoid your old habits and routines. If you don’t make changes to your lifestyle and routines, it’s going to likely derail your ability to maintain long-term sobriety.
  • Work toward building healthy relationships. While you were actively using, your past relationships may have been toxic or harmful. You may have damaged the healthy relationships you would have had otherwise. Begin to build a social support network of people who positively influence your life or take steps to rebuild existing relationships.
  • Make sure you have support. It’s almost impossible to sustain long-term recovery if you don’t have support. Support comes in many forms. For example, you might work with a therapist or counselor. You could attend a 12-step meeting like Alcoholics Anonymous, or you might make sure that you’re regularly planning activities with family and loved ones. If you don’t prefer 12-step programs, other local recovery programs like SMART Recovery help you navigate your daily life in sobriety.
  • Have a set schedule. Routine is one of the ways you’re going to help yourself stay on track in all areas of your life.
  • Emphasize healthy living. Prioritize making time for self-care, exercise, nutrition, and hobbies and activities. You should also make sure you’re getting enough sleep, and you’re taking care of yourself in all ways. Your mental health should always be part of your healthy lifestyle when you’re in recovery from addiction. Having an untreated or uncontrolled mental health issue will make your recovery process a lot more challenging.
  • Celebrate your milestones and successes. They can be small, and you should still celebrate them. Whenever you make progress, it’s important to recognize how far you’ve come as part of your long-term recovery and personal growth. 

How Mindfulness Helps with Maintaining Long-Term Sobriety

Practicing mindfulness can help us get into the moment where we are at any given time and focus on what we’re thinking and feeling.

Learning how to access mindfulness can help people in recovery stay on track with a life of sobriety. 

There’s nothing special you need to buy or change about yourself to become mindful. Anyone can practice it, and it’s a way of life that brings a sense of awareness and improvement into all areas of our lives.

It’s not as new-age as it might sound either. A growing body of evidence shows mindfulness has tangible, positive, physical benefits.

So how does practicing mindfulness help in maintaining sobriety?

  • Quiet your mind. When you’re more mindful, and that becomes part of your life, it can quiet the talk in your head that might create self-doubt or negativity. Rather than letting your mind ruminate on things that aren’t positive, which can lead to relapse, you can regain a sense of calm and focus. Being calm and focused is going to help you make good decisions.
  • When you stop using drugs or alcohol, you may have difficulty relaxing without substances for a while. Mindfulness allows you to recognize what you’re feeling, and then from there, you can label your thoughts and move away from them.
  • The more you can calm down the noise in your mind, the more you can cope with stress effectively and positively throughout your daily routine and your everyday life.
  • When you pull yourself into the present, you can think before you do anything that you might end up regretting. You can pull yourself out of thoughts like glamorizing a time when you were using substances and get back to where you are at the moment.
  • A lot of what you learn as you practice mindfulness is nonjudgmental. This isn’t just a reference to other people. You can learn to be nonjudgmental of yourself. Too often, addiction and relapse are rooted in a sense of shame. You can begin to evaluate yourself through that nonjudgmental lens to shift those feelings of shame you might otherwise experience.

Interestingly, mindfulness may even help you with things you go through physically in the early days of recovery, such as pain or physical tension.

Rather than turning to drugs or alcohol, mindfulness and everything that goes with it can become your coping mechanism, regardless of the situation you may find yourself in.

If you would like to learn more about addiction treatment and begin your journey of recovery, please reach out to Silicon Valley Recovery by calling 408-547-4089.

What Does it Mean to Have an Addictive Personality?

In an article in Scientific American written by author Maia Szalavtz, she defines our question as to the myth that it is. She says, “Even when we joke about having an addictive personality it’s usually to justify an indulgence or to signal our guilt about pleasure, even if only ironically.” An addictive personality, some may think, is a person who is more susceptible to developing a drug addiction based on a few character traits that border on obsessing, codependency, impulsivity, and risk-taking. However, many professionals consider there to be no one type of addictive personality. As George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, says, “What we are finding is that the addictive personality…is multifaceted. It doesn’t really exist as an entity of its own.”

What is an Addictive Personality?

The notion of having an addictive personality exists in popular culture as an image that describes a person who is obsessive or guilty of indulging. It is believed to be an indicator in the person who possesses certain characteristics that make him/her destined to become an addict to something. Although the development of addiction is complex and has various contributing factors, having an “addictive personality” is a mix of truth and skepticism.

There is no single personality type that is more prone to develop an addiction than others. There are signs of having an addiction that goes beyond personality traits, as the signs of an addiction are starkly along these lines:

Signs of Addiction:

  • Always wanting and needing more
  • Continuation of the behavior no matter the consequences
  • Not being able to stop
  • Interferes with functioning in daily life
  • Obsession and secrecy

There are, however, a variety of personality traits that exist confluently and can be predictors of drug abuse and alcoholism. There is just not in actuality anything that proves there is a single type of personality that is addiction-prone. There are other high-risk traits that can exist in any individual that are a cause for questioning whether addiction is more likely to develop. There may even be a stark difference between addictive personality and character traits that predispose drug addiction.

These traits may be:

  • Family relations who have addictions
  • Mental health disorders
  • Risk-taking and impulsivity
  • Inability to self regulate
  • Demonstrates a lack of self-control
  • Obsessive-compulsive
  • Disconnected and antisocial

Do I Have an Addictive Personality?

Do you have a difficult time self-regulating? Is your need for reward strong? Do you know your limits and have had accurate insight as to what those are? Are you able to track the quantity of your use and of any repetitive, dependent behavior?

If you are wondering, “Do I have an addictive personality?” look to see if you have insight about yourself for the warning signs of real addiction. Remember that it does not necessarily mean you will be an addict, as there is no character trait that is a single predictor. Be aware of some of these high-risk indicators and whether they exist for you prominently:

  1. Do you know a family member that has been modeling an addiction to you since childhood?
  2. Do you have a history or are currently experiencing a mental health disorder, namely Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Schizophrenia, or Antisocial Personality Disorder?
  3. Do you tend to lean towards a quick fix and engage in any type of self-medicating when you experience difficulty facing an underlying problem? 
  4. Have you engaged in the substance use of nicotine or alcohol socially, alone, or when feeling stressed?
  5. What are your main coping methods when you experience distress?
Addictive Personality

Personality Traits Linked to Addiction

There are other personality types that can lean toward proneness to addiction. An adventurous and risk-taking personality trait may demonstrate that person as having limited impulse control and seeking out risky and dangerous experiences. They can be more likely to try drugs. A disconnected, rigid, or antisocial personality type can seem to be the opposite of the former type mentioned but can be just as susceptible to engaging in substance use. Difficult times in social relationships are a hallmark of this type, as well as the likelihood of depression, anxiety, and isolative tendencies because the person is more likely to want to mask these feelings by self-medicating.

Obsessive-compulsive traits have to do with how someone controls their impulses, even those people who are rigid and overcontrolled or over-controlling. In the presence of ensuing anxiety, stress, and agitation, they may be looking for a way to manage it all. They may swing on the extreme side of a personality and are prone to develop a compulsion as opposed to safer experimentation or single-use.

Another factor in addiction that may exist in the personality is the need for reward and its strength. The feeling that they are never receiving enough of a reward and build up a tolerance to things they once enjoyed or gave them pleasure, needing more and more. While no addictive personality exists, there are addictive traits that a person can experience.

Some of these are:

  • Impulsivity, with little thought of outcome and consequences
  • Sensation seeking, with lots of need and spontaneous actions.
  • Negative affect, reacting to stressors with unpleasant emotions
  • Neuroticism, who often respond to situations with anger, sadness, and anxiety
  • Aggression, high hostility, and violent proneness.

Can You Be Addicted to a Person?

Along with the problems of drug use, it’s important to distinguish if that type of addiction can exist in relation to another person. There are indicators that yes, a person can be addicted to another person. There are healthy delineations within relationships as well as those that lie alongside unhealthy codependency and a host of negative emotions. The most unhealthy extreme can manifest into love and sex addiction and codependency.

Signs you may be unhealthily addicted to a person include:

  • Obsession and dreaming about them constantly
  • Feelings of incompleteness, emptiness, despair
  • Sadness and longing
  • Anxiety and a continual sense of drama
  • Afraid to be alone or without that person
  • More obsessive attention is given to the partner than to oneself

Involvement in bad relationships while being addicted to that person can lead to alcohol and drug abuse and even physical illness and suicide.

Getting Treatment for Addiction in the San Francisco Bay Area

So, if you ask yourself, “Do I have an addictive personality?” or wonder “Can you be addicted to a person?” it’s important to distinguish the extremes of what indicates addiction and whether you tend to lean on extremes in your behavior. If you tend to obsess over things in life or about another person, insight and self-awareness are always going to be helpful. Know that an addictive personality can never be reducible to one stereotype. We can learn, however, that addiction is complex and dependent on multiple factors. 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, call 408-547-4089 and a care coordinator from the Silicon Valley Recovery team will be happy to answer questions and talk about options for treatment. 

Is an Emotional Support Animal the Same as a Service Animal?

Animals, like the human race, have evolved; they are now more commonly used for purposes other than being pets. As a result, American Addiction Centers grouped pets into emotional support animals (ESA) and service animals (SA), and they have also implemented a pet-friendly rehab policy to treat various behavioral disorders. 

This article will discuss the differences between emotional support animals and service animals.

Emotional Support Animals (ESA) vs. Service Animals (SA)

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an Emotional Support Animal is any animal that provides emotional support to its owners to alleviate one or more symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. They are the preferred pets for those suffering from depression, loneliness, panic attacks, and specific phobias. Furthermore, they offer their owners a sense of security.

On the other hand, service animals have been carefully trained to do certain activities or chores to assist persons with disabilities, including physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory. Until recently, service animals were only dogs. For example, some are trained as hearing dogs, guide dogs, PTSD support dogs, or seizure detection dogs. However, miniature horses are now being trained as guides for the blind.

Emotional support animals do not have specialized training to provide certain services to people with disabilities. All they get are toilets and obedience training. This ensures the animal is not hostile and determines if it is safe to travel on a plane. Their owners must also have obtained a medical letter from their health care practitioner or mental health specialist. This letter must confirm the need for such animals to treat mental or emotional disorders. However, the plane is virtually the only place an emotional support animal is permitted to enter. They cannot accompany their owners into other public areas like shopping malls, movie theaters, or restaurants. This is in stark contrast to service dogs, who are permitted to enter any location at any time. 

However, dogs aren’t the only emotional support animals. Cats, peacocks, fish, and hamsters are some other common examples.

The Addiction Epidemy

Addiction is a long-standing issue. In the past, people primarily used addiction to describe those who couldn’t control their urge to drink alcohol or abuse prescription medicines. However, the meaning of addiction has evolved to include disorderly behaviors such as compulsive urges for gambling, food, sex, work, coffee, workouts, and substance abuse.  Addiction is caused mainly by genetics and environmental factors such as social pressure, early exposure to drugs/alcohol at home or school, family problems, work/educational issues, and many more. Trauma from different types of abuse– sexual, physical, verbal, emotional, and mental– has also been a factor in addiction cases.

Addiction causes a plethora of problems. It can cause physical damage like sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), psychological damage like depression, social damage like incarceration or broken relationships, and economic damage like bankruptcy and debt. 

Finding a quality rehab center, particularly a pet-friendly one, to tackle this issue before it deteriorates is a must. It is essential! It is critical! It is non-negotiable! The sooner this is accomplished, the better the chances of recovery and the lower the danger of relapse.

Emotional Support Animal

The Need For Pet-friendly Rehab Centers

Rehabilitation centers with a pet-friendly policy aid in treating those suffering from various types of addiction and disabilities. This therapeutic approach is referred to as Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT).

As the name suggests, its purpose is to aid in recovering from addiction. However, it is not a cure for addiction! Instead, it is combined with evidence-based therapy to address many mental or emotional illnesses. 

Being responsible for your pet’s needs mirrors the effects of drugs and alcohol on your brain. Drugs momentarily flood the brain’s pleasure centers with the “feel-good hormone,” dopamine. The brain becomes acclimated to these drugs over time, and the patient becomes depressed without them. AAT is utilized to reconfigure the brain to produce more sustained pleasure naturally. This is possible when a patient concentrates on keeping his pet happy, which indirectly brings him joy and speeds up his rehabilitation. Furthermore, the more time you spend with your pet – whether playing with it or caring for it – the less time you have to think about your addictions.

People who own emotional support dogs routinely take their pets for walks, which keeps them physically active and increases their social relationships. It’s a universal truth that most people are drawn to pet dogs.  They always long to touch the dog, stroke it on the back, and comment on how adorable it is. Through this, you get to meet new people and make new friends. This makes loneliness disappear and keeps depression in check. 

Animal Assisted Therapy Is Not For Everyone 

No two men are entirely alike. Support animals are not recommended for people who do not like animals, are known to hurt animals, or are afraid of interacting with certain support animals. People who have allergies to fur, hair, or dander of certain animals are also advised against getting support animals.

Seeking Pet-Friendly Rehabs

Going through loneliness, depression, anxiety, restlessness, mood swings, and other undesirable events associated with rehabilitation for a month or longer is no mean feat. Thankfully, emotional support animals’ emergence has reduced these concerns considerably. Hence, why all addiction rehab centers in the United States of America are now pet-friendly; they now allow support dogs to accompany their owners through treatment on a case-by-case basis. 

Now that you can differentiate between emotional support animals vs. service animals and also understand the importance of pet-friendly rehab centers, like Silicon Valley Recovery (408-547-4089), go ahead and choose what’s best for you!

A Closer Look at the Medical Alcohol Detox Timeline

Alcohol addiction is a serious concern. And as with any other addiction, when you stop drinking alcohol, you will have to go through a detox process.

Learning more about the medical alcohol detox timeline will give you a better idea of what to expect. Once you realize how quickly the withdrawal symptoms will likely pass, that may be the motivation you need to go through the medical detox process.

3 Stages of Alcohol Withdrawal

There are three main stages in the medical alcohol detox timeline. Not everyone experiences all of them, but it is best to be prepared.

Stage 1 – Mild

This stage of the withdrawal process can include the following symptoms:

·  Insomnia

·  Headaches

·  Anxiety

·  Gastrointestinal disturbances

·  Heart palpitations

·  Tremors

Stage 2 – Moderate

In addition to the previous symptoms, this stage can also include:

·  Increased heart rate

·  Increased blood pressure

·  Mild hyperthermia

·  Confusion

·  Rapid abnormal breathing

Stage 3 – Severe

If you experience stage 3 symptoms, you may experience any of the above as well as:

·  Seizures

·  Impaired attention

·  Auditory or visual hallucinations

·  Disorientation

How the Stages Fit Into the Timeline

Once familiar with each stage, you’ll ask, “How do they fit into the medical alcohol detox timeline?”

Stage one typically starts within just eight hours. Stage two will begin within one to three days. Stage three starts within a week.

The Importance of Treatment

Importantly, this timeline is for a medical detox process with treatment and the supervision of a health care professional.

If you do not get treatment, the symptoms of stage three can last for weeks. Additionally, it may take less time than outlined above to move from stage two to stage three without proper treatment.

More Detailed Timeline By the Hour

While the above stages can give you a good general idea of the medical alcohol detox timeline, each stage covers a time range and various symptoms. The following is an example of a “typical” timeline.

Keep in mind that the hours refer to the time since the last drink at each point.

6 to 12 Hours

At just six to 12 hours after the last drink, patients may start to notice the mild symptoms associated with early withdrawal.

These include headaches, agitation, nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, small tremors, insomnia, and mild anxiety.

12 to 24 Hours

At this point, the symptoms may expand to include disorientation and hand tremors, as well as possible seizures.

At 24 Hours

At about 24 hours from the last drink, some people experience hallucinations. These can be tactile, auditory, or visual.

Within 24 to 72 Hours

The symptoms will have peaked for most patients and started to resolve themselves within 24 to 72 hours after the last drink. For the best chance of this quick recovery, it’s important to undergo a medical detox process with supervision.

That being said, the period of 24 to 48 hours after the last drink requires extra medical monitoring. This is when the risk of seizures is the highest.

Right after that phase, from 48 to 72 hours, there is a risk of withdrawal delirium (DTs) appearing. Delirium tremens is rare but severe. It can include delirium, extreme agitation, changes to the mental status, and occasional hallucinations. It only affects about 2% of those with alcohol use disorder.

About 48 hours after the last drink, other possible symptoms include insomnia, excessive sweating, and high fever. Most people will start to notice their withdrawal symptoms improve within five days.

Medical Alcohol Detox Timeline
A Closer Look at the Medical Alcohol Detox Timeline hour glass

Some People Experience Persistent Symptoms

Everyone is different, but some people will continue to notice withdrawal symptoms after the above medical alcohol detox timeline. This is post-acute withdrawal syndrome, which we will discuss in more detail. Most people will fully recover with the proper medical attention and withdrawal assistance.

But some people may notice some symptoms for months after their last drink. These potential longer-term symptoms may include sleep disturbances, mood changes, and fatigue.

Acute Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Another important part of the medical detox process is the possibility of acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Not everyone experiences this, but it can occur in the days and weeks following quitting alcohol. This syndrome includes the potential for seizures, delirium tremens, and loss of consciousness.

The important thing to remember here is that there is a risk of life-threatening health complications when you quit alcohol. Because of that, it is best to have some type of medical supervision when you stop drinking. This will let medical professionals monitor your condition carefully.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) refers to the potential prolonged symptoms that some people notice after they stop drinking. Not everyone experiences these, but they can last for just a few weeks or up to a year.

Some potential symptoms of PAWS include:

·  Anxiety

·  Low energy

·  Emotional outburst

·  Irritability

·  Trouble sleeping

·  Dizziness

·  Memory problems

·  Delayed reflexes

·  Chronic nausea

·  Intense cravings

·  Increased accident proneness

These symptoms typically come and go. You may feel fine one day and have several symptoms the next. The good news is that most episodes of PAWS are only several days at most.

It is crucial to be aware of PAWS as it is among the most common causes of relapse. Anyone experiencing PAWS should remember that the episodes are brief, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

What Affects Your Detox Experience

It’s important to note that all of the information here about a medical alcohol detox timeline varies from person to person.

As mentioned, whether you receive treatment during the process will be a significant factor. Whether you have any mental or physical health issues will also play a role. The extent of your drinking will also play a role, including how much you typically drank and how long that had been your habit.

There is also a higher risk of severe symptoms during the medical alcohol detox timeline for those who used drugs in addition to alcohol.


Most people detoxing from alcohol will experience mild symptoms such as headaches, shaking, or anxiety in the hours after they stop drinking. 24 hours after they stop drinking, symptoms can include disorientation and seizures. Symptoms can worsen within the first 72 hours after the last drink, but they tend to get better after, especially with medical supervision.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with alcohol abuse, call the caring team of Silicon Valley Recovery at 408-547-4089.