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.

Why Interventions Work to Mend Relationships

Understanding why interventions work can be important if you have a loved one struggling with substance abuse and addiction. A drug or alcohol intervention is a way to encourage someone with a substance use disorder to acknowledge a problem and get treatment or at least attend something like an Alcoholics Anonymous program. 

Of course, as with anything, a formal intervention process may not be right for everyone. How well intervention for an addict will work and its effects depend on the person and the situation. 

Below, we discuss why interventions work for some people, how they happen, and how they might impact your relationship with the person dealing with substance abuse. 

What Happens During An Intervention?

Interventions at their core are a form of peer pressure. The loved ones of an addict come together to encourage the person to admit they have a problem with substance abuse and seek treatment. When an intervention occurs, close family and perhaps friends gather. This gathering may or may not surprise the person with the addiction.

Typically, each member of an intervention team will go over the harm the substance abuse causes them and its effects on their lives. The group members will ask the person directly to seek treatment and outline the negative consequences they’re willing to enact if they don’t decide.

For example, if an intervention is for a wife and mother, her husband could point out the specific ways the addiction affects the family. He could then say that he’ll leave the marital home without his spouse getting treatment.

An actual intervention sparks heightened emotions, and it’s important to go into specific details about the consequences of substance abuse issues and the impact.

A mental health professional, social worker, or interventionist is an experienced professional who can help a group prepare for intervention and guide it along.

If the person with a drug or alcohol addiction agrees that they will get treatment, they typically go right after the intervention. Someone who says no to the treatment plan during an intervention should experience follow-through of the consequences outlined.

Addiction treatment centers have counselors and intervention specialists who can help prepare for an intervention.

Types of Intervention

While we most commonly think of the surprise intervention like what’s portrayed on television and in movies, there are actually different types. Some types of intervention are surprises, others aren’t. 

The right option depends on various individual factors like what your goals are, the family dynamics, and everyone’s experience with addiction.

Theory-based interventions for substance abuse include:

  • The Johnson Model – This is the most commonly used version for alcohol and drug addiction. In the Johnson Model of intervention, the family and intervention professionals confront the person with the drug abuse or alcohol problem without knowing it will happen ahead of time.
  • Invitation Model – AKA Systemic Family Intervention, This family-focused model includes attending a workshop that an interventionist leads. The group discusses how a drug use disorder or alcohol use disorder affects the entire family unit during the workshop.
  • The Field Model – A confrontational approach that happens without the person’s previous knowledge and is good for potentially complex interventions. The difference in the Field Model is that the interventionist is specifically trained in crisis management during and after the process. A family could choose this option if they believe their loved one could be a danger to themselves or someone else. This model might also be a good option if the person has unmanaged co-occurring mental health issues like bipolar disorder along with substance abuse or alcohol addiction. 

Preparing for an Intervention

Not every intervention will have the desired outcome, but the more prepared your group is ahead of time, the better the outcomes are likely to be. One of the primary reasons some interventions don’t have positive outcomes is that the group didn’t plan properly for unintended consequences. 

Other reasons they fail include hosting an intervention where the person doesn’t feel safe or staging the intervention when the individual is experiencing withdrawal symptoms from substance abuse or is high or drunk.

Another reason for failure comes from blame, shame, or anger. If you approach an intervention with aggression or defensiveness, the addicted person will likely match your emotions. Individuals with substance use disorders are quick to become defensive or even hostile. 

An intervention will be best when you come from a place of patience, understanding, and compassion. Work to be non-judgmental in your approach.

Specific steps to take as you prepare intervention strategies include:

  • Research treatment programs and options. The goal of effective interventions is always to get the person to agree to go to a treatment center, so you need to have options available. You should try to have a specific treatment option prepared so that that action can occur right away. Beforehand, you can start working on the logistics, like whether or not insurance will cover the treatment program and the types of services it offers.
  • If there are medication-assisted treatment options for the particular addiction, you can learn more about those. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, these can significantly help someone with opioid addiction or alcohol addiction and may be an important part of the early days of recovery.
  • Create a team including a professional interventionist. Some people shouldn’t be part of your formal intervention groups, such as people who don’t get along with your loved one, or someone who has their own substance use disorder or unmanaged mental health condition.
  • Create real consequences that you’re willing to follow through with for improved outcomes.
  • Know there are risks. According to the Mental Health Services Administration and empirical evidence, a successful intervention can happen, but it can also backfire and make the person feel attacked. Again, working with an intervention or addiction professional can help you mitigate the risks. 
Why Interventions Work
Why Interventions Work to Mend Relationships red and black questions marks 1

Why Interventions Work

In the addiction treatment community and among health care professionals, interventions are seen as a useful strategy to encourage someone to seek help for substance abuse. 

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, based on a commitment to seek treatment, has more than 90% success rates. The caveat is that the success rate relies on the appropriate performance of the intervention according to behavioral health statistics and well-supported scientific evidence 

Again, careful planning and research are key here. Having a good rehab center ready and waiting can help improve the chances of success for an intervention.

Rehearsing how the group will communicate and anticipating possible objections is also critical.

You have to prepare to stay on track during the intervention, even if your loved one reacts with hostility or defensiveness.

Can Interventions Help an Addict Improve Relationships?

You may be nervous about staging an intervention for your loved one dealing with substance abuse. You could worry that it will make them angry and resentful toward you. It’s not easy to share how substance abuse affects you. It’s also not easy to outline the consequences of refusing to get help.

Your loved one may express negative feelings toward you in the short term.

In the long-term, however, that’s unlikely to be the case. If your loved one does agree to go to treatment for their addictive behaviors, the intervention could have been your starting point for open, honest, and transparent communication. Then, you can continue to build on that throughout the treatment process and addiction recovery process

If you’re preparing for intervention or you’d like to learn more about drug and alcohol treatment programs, please contact us. By calling 408-547-4089, the Silicon Valley Recovery team can confidentially discuss options and help you explore available programs and treatment providers. We can connect you with intervention resources and information about the general process of treatment for substance use. 

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. 

The Dangers of Mixing Prozac and Alcohol

Prozac and alcohol interactions can be dangerous. There are also adverse mental health effects that can stem from alcohol. These effects can worsen the symptoms of the condition you’re using Prozac to treat.

It’s important if you take any antidepressant medications to speak with your health care providers about any interactions or adverse effects it may have, including with alcohol consumption. 

What is Prozac?

Prozac is a brand-name antidepressant medicine. The generic name is fluoxetine. Prozac is for the treatment of the major depressive disorder. The medication also has the approval to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and off-label treats other mental health conditions such as anxiety.

Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI. Around 1 in 4 women in their 40s and 50s in the United States take an SSRI medication. Approximately 1 in 10 Americans overall take one.

Prozac was approved in the late 1980s and became one of the most frequently prescribed antidepressants. Now, more commonly prescribed are newer SSRIs such as citalopram and sertraline.

While it’s a safe medicine when prescribed, there are rare possible side effects.

First, the FDA requires Prozac to have a black box warning about the risk of suicide in people younger than 25. Taking an SSRI can lead to suicidal thoughts in children and young people. 

Other common potential side effects can include:

  • Sexual dysfunction 
  • Decreased libido and other sexual side effects 
  • Increases in nervousness or anxiety
  • Strange dreams
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Insomnia
  • Drowsiness
  • Sinusitis
  • Painful digestion (dyspepsia)
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Widening of the blood vessels (vasodilation)

People should not take certain medicines with Prozac. These include MAOIs, drugs metabolized by CYP2D6, and tricyclic antidepressants.

While you can technically use them together, people taking this antidepressant should be careful about combining it with drugs affecting the central nervous system. Benzodiazepines like Xanax are an example.

You shouldn’t take this SSRI with antipsychotics, other SSRIs, lithium, or herbal remedies like St. John’s Worth. Someone susceptible to mania or bipolar disorder may also be adversely affected by Prozac and similar antidepressant drugs. 

If someone takes an SSRI for some time and suddenly stops without tapering their dose, they may experience withdrawal.

Withdrawal symptoms of this prescription drug and others like it can include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Loss of appetite 

When someone takes this medication, it works by blocking the absorption of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. The regulation of serotonin helps brain cells communicate with one another. This communication among brain cells promotes a better mood.

Prozac and Alcohol

Alcohol and Depression

If you’re taking Prozac, you likely have depression or another mental health disorder. Alcohol can negatively affect mental disorders like depression.

  • When you drink, it can make depression worse. Sometimes, people who drink heavily may experience symptoms of depression even when they aren’t diagnosed with the condition.
  • Symptoms of depression include sadness, feelings of worthlessness, and loss of interest.
  • There is a relationship between alcohol and substance abuse and depression that can go in both directions.
  • Many times people with an alcohol use disorder also have feelings of depression. Each disorder increases the risk of the other, and each can worsen the other.
  • Some people susceptible to alcohol abuse problems are also vulnerable to depression.
  • Dealing with depression can lead other people to try and self-medicate with alcohol. Over time, this cycle of self-medication can turn into an addiction. 
  • Even without a diagnosable alcohol use disorder, self-medication is associated with increased psychiatric problems, higher levels of stress, and lower quality of life.

A depressed patient who is a heavy drinker is likely to have worse outcomes from their treatment. Even small amounts of alcohol, according to researchers, seems to worsen depression.

Co-Occurring Alcohol Use Disorder and Depressive Symptoms

If someone is drinking while they’re on Prozac, they’re not following the instructions for the medication’s use. This can be a sign of an addiction or alcohol use disorder. Major symptoms of addiction include continual use of the substance even though you know there are harmful consequences.

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re using alcohol in risky ways and have depression, you may need treatment for a co-occurring disorder. A co-occurring disorder means that you have two disorders that are happening simultaneously.

You may need specialized treatment to deal with both conditions and their relationship to one another.

Co-occurring disorder treatment usually begins with detox. During detox, you can go through withdrawal symptoms in a safe, medically-managed environment. You can be more comfortable. Your treatment team might also adjust your medication levels to help even out your mood during this time.

From there, you may begin a rehab program.

Most rehab programs for a co-occurring diagnosis focus on behavioral therapies and medication management. These approaches can help you get your depression under control so that it’s well-managed, which will be helpful as you also work toward ending your alcohol use.

Can You Take Prozac and Drink Alcohol?

If you take Prozac and have alcoholic beverages, there can be adverse interactions between the two. Some of the negative effects may be temporary. For example, a Prozac and alcohol hangover can be more uncomfortable. Sometimes, the results of a Prozac and alcohol interaction can be more serious.

  • When you drink, it slows your body’s functions, including the ones controlled by your central nervous system.
  • Alcohol can lead to impaired judgment, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. You may also experience problems seeing or hearing and reductions in motor skills.
  • With that in mind, Prozac can cause drowsiness. Prozac can also have the same effects as alcohol, such as reducing alertness and coordination. If you combine the two, you’re more likely to experience profound sedation or extreme drowsiness.
  • You’re more likely to have heightened side effects of both substances when you combine them.
  • You may have dizziness, sudden weakness, and feelings of hopelessness. You may also be more at risk for suicidal thoughts.
  • Another reason to avoid the combination of Prozac and alcohol is that drinking when you’re on the medicine can prevent it from working as well as it should. Alcohol is a depressant, so you could be counteracting the medicine’s benefits.

Getting Help for Co-Occurring Disorders

Because Prozac and alcohol are commonly used substances, people may think they’re safe to combine. The reality is there is an increased risk of side effects when you use Prozac and alcohol together. There are also more mental health risks when you combine the two, and you might be worsening your symptoms or preventing your medication from working.

Contact Silicon Valley Recovery by calling 408-547-4089 to learn more about available substance use disorder treatment programs, including a co-occurring diagnosis. Alcohol addiction is treatable, but it’s likely to continue getting worse without 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!

Is Alcohol a Depressant or a Stimulant?

Whether alcohol is a depressant or a stimulant is a common question people have. Drinking affects your central nervous system. In doing so, drinking affects how your brain communicates with nerves in your body.

A drug like alcohol will affect neurotransmitters; in particular. it affects a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA; this leads to a slowdown in brain activity.

Below, we discuss how alcohol can affect you and how depressants differ from stimulants.

The Effects of Alcohol on the Body

The effects of alcohol on you begin as soon as taking a sip. At first, when you drink, you might experience a buzzy feeling. You could feel more social, happier, more relaxed, or even euphoric. Those effects are short-lived, however.

Is alcohol a central nervous system depressant? Yes, but you might not feel the depressant or sedative effects right away. These effects tend to be felt more at greater blood alcohol concentrations. 

Other short-term effects include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Impulsiveness
  • Slow or slurred speech
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Problems with decision-making and brain function 
  • Blacking out, which means you have gaps in your memory or lose consciousness

Alcohol’s Effects on the Central Nervous System

Understanding how alcohol affects your central nervous system helps you better understand many of the more specific impacts it can have.

Drinking reduces communication between your brain and body. That reduction in communication leads to negative effects like slurred speech and changes in coordination, balance, and reaction time. Those central nervous system effects are why you shouldn’t ever drink and drive.

  • Your central nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord.
  • Even moderate consumption affects your central nervous system in both the short- and long term.
  • Drinking can lead to adverse effects such as interruptions in sleep, depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts or behaviors because it depresses the central nervous system.
  • Long-term abuse can lead to a higher risk of dementia, neuropathy, and other serious conditions.
  • Even in the short term, consuming large amounts of alcohol can lead to respiratory failure, coma, or death.
  • Someone with alcohol poisoning can lose consciousness, have a low body temperature, or it can slow their heart rate to a dangerous level.
  • Irregular breathing and low body temperature are also signs of an overdose.
  •  Alcohol poisoning is most common in situations involving binge drinking. 

Other Effects of Alcohol

Along with what’s above, some of the other many potential effects of alcohol can include:

  • Excessive drinking can cause inflammation of the pancreas. This inflammation can cause a medical condition called pancreatitis, affecting digestive and endocrine glands.
  • Your liver helps remove toxins, including alcohol, from your body. Long-term use interferes with your liver’s ability to remove toxins and increases the potential for liver diseases. Often people with alcohol use disorders will develop severe liver issues. 
  • If alcohol causes pancreas damage, it can also affect how your body produces insulin, affecting blood sugar levels.
  • Drinking can damage the tissues in your digestive tract, preventing your intestines from absorbing nutrients and vitamins, leading to malnutrition and other similar long-term effects. 
  • Circulatory system complications from heavy drinking include high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. Drinking can also damage your heart and lungs.
  • Too much alcohol can prevent sex hormone production and lower your libido. It can also increase the risk of infertility.
  • Heavy or excessive alcohol use reduces your immune system.
  • You may be at higher risk of developing many types of cancer if you drink a lot.

Alcohol and Mental Health

Alcohol use can cause certain mental health symptoms or worsen existing conditions. For example, we answered the question “is alcohol a depressant” above. The answer is yes, and since that’s the case, alcohol can cause or worsen depressive disorders. Alcohol can also cause or make anxiety worse, and it can lead to sleep disturbances.

Is Alcohol a Depressant
Is Alcohol a Depressant or a Stimulant? brain on hand 1

Stimulants vs. Depressants

While we’ve covered the fact that alcohol is a depressant, despite the initially intoxicating effects, what is a stimulant?

Stimulants affect the body in the opposite way as depressants. Stimulants increase the activity of the central nervous system. You’ll sometimes hear a stimulant called an upper and a depressant, a downer.

A stimulant might increase brain activity. Other effects of stimulants can include higher blood pressure, breathing rate, and heart rate.

While alcohol primarily affects GABA, stimulants mainly affect dopamine and norepinephrine. Stimulants increase the activity of these neurotransmitters. Dopamine and norepinephrine play a role in rewarding behaviors and regulating certain functions.

When you use a stimulant, you feel a rush of euphoria, known as a high. Other short-term stimulant effects include:

  • Increased libido and sexual desire
  • More attention, alertness, and focus
  • Increases in energy and self-esteem
  • Feelings of happiness and well-being
  • Easier breathing and more open airways
  • Suppressed appetite

While the initial short-term effects of stimulants may seem positive, there are serious and sometimes deadly long-term consequences. For example, stimulants can quickly lead to addiction and dependence.

Regular stimulant use can cause anger, paranoia, and psychosis. These substances can trigger irregular heartbeat, raised body temperature, seizures, and heart failure at high doses.

Other Depressants Aside From Alcohol

Alcohol isn’t the only depressant that slows the central nervous system and has a potential for addiction and dependence.

Benzodiazepines like Xanax and sedative-hypnotic drugs are also depressants.

As prescriptions, depressants may be used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, and sleep disorders. While some are less risky than others, they all have the same general effects on the CNS.

When someone regularly uses depressants, they may become dependent on them. When you’re dependent on a depressant and stop using it, you may go through withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms from a depressant drug include:

  • Shakiness
  • Overactive responses and reflexes
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sleep problems or insomnia
  • Increased temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate
  • Excessive sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

When someone goes through withdrawal from a depressant, it can be potentially severe or life-threatening. Medical detox is recommended because of the possible severity.

Final Thoughts—Is Alcohol a Depressant?

To sum up, is alcohol a depressant? Yes. Since it’s a depressant, alcohol slows the function of your brain and the messaging that occurs between it and your body. Excessive drinking can also trigger or worsen mental health issues like depression.

If you feel like you have an alcohol dependence, it can have serious mental and physical health implications. We encourage you to call 408-547-4089 and contact the team at Silicon Valley Recovery confidentially to learn more about treatment options, including medical detox.