Benzodiazepine Addiction – How It Looks Today

Benzodiazepine Addiction Considered


Many people have a benzodiazepine addiction. Benzodiazepines are anxiolytics or sedatives. This type of prescription is for panic disorders, anxiety disorders and some other disorders. Some doctors will prescribe benzodiazepines for muscle relaxation and seizures, too. Unfortunately, some people develop an addiction to this medication.


How do you know if you have a benzodiazepine addiction? Keep reading to find out more about the signs of benzo dependence and other information regarding this type of addiction.


Most Common Signs of Benzo Dependence


Many doctors, therapists or other professionals will diagnose someone with benzodiazepine addiction. There is a benzo addiction diagnosis if there is a minimum of 2 out of 11 symptoms within 12 months.


The most commonly found signs of benzo dependence include the following:

  • Taking benzodiazepines in a higher dosage or for longer than the doctor prescribes them
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining, using and recovering from using the drug
  • Experiencing benzo withdrawal symptoms when you aren’t taking the drug
  • Needing more benzodiazepines to achieve the same effects you originally got from the drug
  • Experiencing performance issues at school, work or home because of the medication use

If you struggle with any of these signs of benzo dependence, be sure to ask someone for help. Some programs are available to help people recover from benzodiazepine addiction.


Due to the nature of this medication, along with addiction-based chemical properties, some people abuse them. Some people need to take benzodiazepines for a medical condition. However, when a doctor prescribes this medication, they should watch their patient closely. If signs of addiction occur, the doctor should help the patient get resources to overcome their addiction.


Psychological and Physical Benzodiazepine Abuse Symptoms


You read about the common symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction. There are also psychological and physical symptoms associated with this type of addiction. Some of these symptoms include the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Physical weakness
  • Confusion
  • Lack of motor coordination
  • Blurred vision
  • Making poor decisions
  • Poor judgment
  • Not being able to defend oneself
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Worse anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Anorexia
  • Headaches
  • Memory issues

If you experience any of these psychological or physical signs of benzodiazepine addiction, make the call to a treatment center today. Don’t keep using the medication. Continuing to abuse benzodiazepines could lead to a coma or even death from an overdose.


Behavioral Signs of Benzodiazepine Addiction


An addiction to benzodiazepines may come up over time. You may not realize you have an addiction to this drug until more symptoms occur. Substance abuse can be sneaky like that. When you feel the need to use this medication all the time, have cravings for it or experience symptoms related to addiction, it is time to get help.


In addition to the symptoms above, you may experience behavioral signs of benzo dependence or addiction. Some of these signs include the following:

  • Withdrawing from your family and friends
  • Not completing your obligations or attending to your responsibilities
  • Fearing that you won’t get the medication anymore
  • Always making sure you have a plan for when to pick up your prescription well ahead of time
  • Ensuring you always have some of the medication on you all the time
  • Stealing, borrowing money, draining your savings or using credit cards to pay for the medication
  • Buying this drug off the streets in addition to getting a prescription from your doctor
  • Continuing to find and use the drug after you no longer have a prescription for it
  • Spending a lot of energy and time obtaining the drug
  • Exhibiting a reduction in maintaining grooming or hygiene
  • Being secretive about what you are doing
  • No longer attending social events so people can’t see you are high
  • Experiencing personality and mood changes
  • Seeing multiple doctors so you can get a prescription for this drug
  • Taking similar OTC medications when you can’t obtain this one
  • Begging other people to give you some of their benzodiazepines
  • Manipulating loved ones into getting a prescription for this drug so you can have it

It is important to remember that not everyone experiences all these symptoms. You might have any number of these symptoms. There may be other things you have going on with this type of addiction, as well.


In addition to these symptoms, if you are cooking, injecting or crushing benzodiazepines to get a stronger high, this signifies addiction. You can reach out to an addiction treatment center for help today. In the treatment program, you can get many services to help you overcome benzo dependence and addiction.

Handling an Addiction to Benzodiazepines


Do any of the symptoms you read here today ring a bell? Have you been experiencing one or more of these symptoms? If so, you don’t have to struggle with benzodiazepine abuse any longer? You can talk to addiction recovery professionals to get the help you need.


Handling an addiction to this drug can be challenging. Not everyone experiences the same symptoms. In addition, everyone’s addiction history, family history and other life factors are different. Individual needs are why we recommend that everyone who needs to stop taking benzodiazepines have professional help. We can get you set up in a detox center. This way, doctors can wean you off benzodiazepines safely.


You may not know if you have a benzodiazepine addiction. It is perfectly normal to be unsure. You may have been taking your medication according to the prescription label. However, this does not mean you don’t have an addiction. If you can’t stop using benzodiazepines without withdrawal symptoms, it might be time to get addiction help. With professional help, you can finally stop letting this drug take over your life. You can finally start a recovering lifestyle that suits your needs and wants.


Contact us today to start receiving treatment for benzodiazepine addiction.

Substance Abuse And Anxiety Disorders

Shows the pain of comorbidly occurring anxiety disorder and addiction

The Relationship Between Anxiety And Addiction

Anxiety and addiction often occur comorbidly. This means that substance abuse and anxiety disorders happen at the same time. You can struggle with substance use disorder (SUD) while also struggling with anxiety. 

In this article, Midwood Addiction Treatment will examine the following: 

  • What is anxiety? 
  • How does anxiety relate to addiction? 
  • What treatments are available for anxiety? 
  • What non-addictive anxiety medications can help you? 
  • How can you get help for substance abuse and anxiety disorders? 

What Is Anxiety?

You know the feeling. It gnaws at your intestines like a parasite. Your diaphragm contracts like a fist. Your stomach clinches. Pain spreads over your neck, back, and shoulders. Your palms sweat. Your jaw stiffens. 

These are just a few examples of how we might experience anxiety in our bodies. Often, we experience discomfort before we truly realize how anxious we are. We may even see a doctor for our discomfort. We might hope to medicate the discomfort away. 

We all might experience anxiety at some point in life. Some research indicates that anxiety can benefit us. But what about when the anxiety becomes too great? 

Anxiety Disorders

Nearly everyone feels anxious at some point. A student might feel anxious when cramming for an exam. Your palms might become clammy when you get a negative email from your boss. But sometimes anxiety interferes with your life. For some people, anxiety might grow especially intense. Or, it might become chronic. That is, lasting much longer than it ought to. 

The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) says that, “the term ‘anxiety disorder’ refers to specific psychiatric disorders that involve extreme fear or worry.” The DSM-V uses a time frame of 6 months to diagnose an anxiety disorder.  Some examples of anxiety disorders include: 

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Agoraphobia

How Does Anxiety Relate To Addiction?  

Many people who suffer from substance use disorder (SUD) also suffer from anxiety. Earlier, we referred to this as comorbidity. Those with anxiety disorders have a 33% – 45% chance of developing SUD. 

Anxiety isn’t just a feeling. It involves processes in the brain. Likewise, addiction involves the brain. Your brain has a trait that scientists call neuroplasticity. Your brain doesn’t remain fixed. How you live changes your brain. Down to its cells. Your thoughts and feelings move your brain internally. 

Anxiety, Addiction, and The Brain

One study asserted that anxiety and addiction were the most common psychiatric ailments in the US. A reason for this might be that they impact similar parts of the brain. Recent research points to an area of the brain called the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST or BST). The BNST involves parts of the brain that regulate our moods. It also influences our sleepiness, alertness, hunger, and relationships. 

With anxiety disorders, the BNST remains active longer than necessary. It sustains fear in a person. The BNST includes parts of the brain that influence how we behave. So, if we live in a sustained state of fear, that fear will affect how we live. How we think. How well we sleep. Even how we eat. 

The BNST activates during addiction as well. This study linked it to cravings in both smokers and alcoholics. Although we need more research, scientists continue to discover new links between BNST and addiction. 

What Treatments Are Available For Anxiety?

We must accept anxiety as a normal part of life. Anxiety exists to protect us from danger. From time to time, we will feel it. But we needn’t succumb to it. We needn’t live our lives in service to it. There are ways to deal with anxiety. Strategies for coping do exist. Keep reading to find out more! 

Medication As Treatment For Anxiety

Benzodiazepines (benzos) may help keep anxiety at bay. This group includes drugs like alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan). Benzos act quickly, and you can take them as needed. However, please note a major caveat. Benzos can become very addictive

Non-addictive anxiety medications exist as well. Some people experience relief from drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The SSRIs take some time to build up in your system. A few weeks may pass before you notice any effects. For this reason, SSRIs are much less addictive than benzodiazepines.  

Therapies For Anxiety

Cognitive behavior therapy helps allay some symptoms of anxiety. It helps a sufferer practice metacognition. Simply put, metacognition is thinking about what one thinks about. We don’t have to blindly trust all of our thoughts. CBT helps us ask questions of our thoughts. Doing so allows us to critically evaluate what we believe. Exposure therapy may help as well. This method helps you break your fears into smaller, controlled doses. This can make them appear more manageable. Work with your treatment provider to discover what therapeutic approach best suits you. 

Self-Care For Anxiety

To recover from anxiety, one must care for oneself. Self-care can also soothe symptoms of addiction. Meditation can decrease symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Reducing alcohol use may likewise reduce anxiety. Anxiety tends to disturb one’s sleep. Make a point to keep regular sleep and wake times. 

Make a point to find a hobby. Do things you enjoy. Spend time with people who encourage your recovery. How we eat can also impact our anxiety. Create a sustainable diet and meal plan for yourself. Try out a physical activity, like a sport. Resistance training and aerobic exercises can alleviate many symptoms of anxiety. 

How Can You Get Help For Substance Abuse And Anxiety Disorders? 

Midwood Addiction Treatment understands what you need. Our experienced team will tailor a treatment plan to fit your specific needs. No two people are exactly the same. So, no two recovery paths will be the same. 

Remember that hope is real. Recovery is possible. You are not alone. If you have questions about substance abuse and anxiety disorders, contact Midwood Addiction Treatment now. Don’t wait any longer to demand the best for yourself. Help is available. Contact us now at 888-MAT-1110.

What Are Co-occurring Disorders?

distraught woman with her head down

A co-occurring disorder which is sometimes referred to as dual diagnosis is a condition in which an individual experiences a mental illness and substance abuse simultaneously.  Any combination of mental health disorders such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety, combined with co-dependency on legal or illegal drugs or alcohol, qualify as a co-occurring disorder.

When a substance use disorder and a mental illness co-occur, they may differ in severity.  The severity of each can change over time. Compared to individuals who have a single disorder, those with a combination of disorders may experience more severe medical and mental health challenges and may also require longer periods of treatment. (1)

People Most Commonly Affected

People with mental health disorders are more likely to have a substance use disorder.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, roughly half of individuals who have a mental illness or substance abuse disorder will have a co-occurring disorder at some point in their life. (2)

The symptoms of co-occurring disorders may include:

  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Social isolation
  • Using substances under dangerous conditions
  • Risky behavior
  • Loss of control over how much they use substances or drink alcohol
  • Needing more and more of the substance to achieve the desired effect which creates a tolerance
  • Displaying intense, painful withdrawal symptoms
  • Cravings for the substance, and the belief that they need the substance to function.

Treatment Options

Integrated treatment is a comprehensive rehabilitation program that offers all the medical, therapeutic, and holistic resources necessary to help clients heal physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Treating a co-occurring disorder requires more intense, one-on-one treatment.  To provide appropriate treatment for co-occurring disorders, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends treatment combining substance abuse and mental health interventions These include clinicians, physicians, and organizations to help guide and support patients rather than treating each disorder separately without consideration for the other.  The goal is to improve the patient’s physical and mental health, assist with housing issues, and guide them to gainful employment.

As a part of programs that treat co-occurring disorders, group therapy can help increase awareness of the symptoms of disorders and the relationship between mental disorders and substance abuse. Relapse-prevention education can also help them become aware of cues that make them more likely to abuse substances and help them develop alternative responses.

Living with both a mental health disorder and substance abuse or addiction can be especially challenging. The poor lifestyle choices associated with these two disorders can translate into early and/or sudden death for the individual if no treatment is received. People with co-occurring disorders are at high risk for many additional problems such as symptomatic relapses, hospitalizations, financial problems, social isolation, family problems, homelessness, sexual and physical victimization, incarceration, and serious medical illnesses.

Help is Available

If someone is displaying symptoms of a co-occurring disorder, it is crucial that they receive swift medical attention from a professional.  Proper treatment improves the odds of future rehabilitation.

At Midwood Addiction Treatment, your recovery is our purpose.  Contact us at (888) MAT-1110 OR (888) 628-1110

How Yoga Can Support Trauma Healing and Recovery

Yoga for Trauma Healing

Trauma is a key driver of substance abuse and addiction. In fact, people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are 14 times more likely to be diagnosed with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) than the general public. Often people who’ve experienced severe trauma try to self-medicate to mask their uncomfortable symptoms. Unfortunately, SUD and addiction present their own challenges and do not solve the root of the issue. Mindfulness and yoga are now being suggested as complementary therapies for trauma healing and recovery.


Trauma and the Autonomic Nervous System

Much of the research on treating people for trauma focuses on regulating the Autonomic Nervous System. When a traumatic event occurs, the nervous system kicks into “Fight or Flight” mode, the Sympathetic Nervous System response. The body effectively kicks into high gear, with all of the body’s systems and energy focused on escaping or dealing with the threat. Typically, once the threat has subsided, the body can down-regulate from this heightened state back into the Parasympathetic (“Rest and Digest”) mode that we operate in normally. 

However, in the case of PTSD, this down regulation either doesn’t occur or the “Fight or Flight” response is easily triggered. This can occur from memories of the event or even everyday occurrences that wouldn’t normally be considered traumatic. The patient often experiences a near-constant state of anxiety, stress, and heightened nervous system response, also known as hypervigilance. 


Yoga, Mindfulness and Trauma Healing

Mindfulness is an important practice for anyone but is crucial for PTSD. A 2016 study in the Journal of Alternative Medicine states that eliminating the conditioned fear response of PTSD is crucial to resolving the mental health issue. It means that in order to manage the powerful emotions and impulsive responses associated with PTSD, survivors of trauma must learn to stay oriented in the present moment. 

Yoga centers on moving through poses and focusing on linking the breath to each movement. Therefore, mindfulness has always been a key aspect of this ancient practice. Some practitioners suggest that the bodywork aspect of yoga acts as a bridge to achieving mindfulness. This is likely due to yoga’s emphasis on body awareness, breath work, and mental strength. In yoga, the concept of “mind over matter” is practiced when in difficult poses or uncomfortable positions. Similarly, yoga is a moving meditation, which can benefit mental health in a myriad of ways.

Anecdotal data suggests that both yoga and mindfulness are effective as complementary therapies for PTSD, combined with traditional psychiatric and psychological treatments. 


Yoga in Addiction Treatment

At Harmony Recovery Group, we incorporate yoga into our treatment plans. From helping support our patients in trauma healing to teaching mindfulness skills that can benefit their recovery, yoga is a helpful tool that can be used long after treatment has ended. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Contact us today, see how we can help you live the life you’ve dreamed of, free of drugs and alcohol. 



THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE Volume 22, Number 3, 2016, pp. 189–196 ª Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2014.0407

Why is BPD Often Tied to Addiction?

Why is BPD often tied to addiction

Borderline Personality Disorder is a mental health condition characterized by instability in relationships, self image, and emotions. Among the symptoms for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are: 

  • Intense fear of abandonment
  • Inappropriate or extreme emotional reactions
  • Impulsive or risky behavior
  • History of unstable relationships
  • Unstable or dysfunctional self image 
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Explosive anger
  • Intense and highly changeable moods 
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts


Addiction and Borderline Personality Disorder 

Addiction and BPD are strongly linked. While BPD affects only 2.7% of adults, 78% of those will also develop a substance-abuse related disorder at some time in their lives. Feelings of emptiness, distorted self image, and a high propensity for impulsive, risky, or self-destructive behaviors are thought to be key drivers in a BPD sufferer’s tendency toward substance abuse. 

A patient with BPD from Harmony Recovery Group, who asked to remain anonymous, described life with the disorder as having your self image distorted because you are different and you know it. Feeling like an outsider or “alien” as she called it makes a BPD sufferer more likely to mask their feelings of self-loathing and insecurity through drugs and alcohol. 


Treating Addiction and BPD Together 

It is important that BPD be addressed in the treatment plan because studies have shown that these persons are less likely to to complete treatment and have shorter abstinence phases. Thus this combination requires a comprehensive therapeutic approach. 


Treating both issues concurrently ensures the best chance for long-term success, as treating one without the other creates a vicious cycle in which the BPD fuels the desire to use and the substance abuse exacerbates the BPD symptoms. 


Borderline Personality Disorder has been historically difficult to treat. Studies have shown significant progress can be made using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). DBT is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that uses a philosophical concept called “Dialectics,” based on the idea that everything is composed of opposites. Then, change can occur when there is discussion between the two opposing forces. It teaches mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotional regulation to help patients function better in everyday life. 


Is Treatment Right For Me? 

At Midwood Addiction Treatment, we aim for dual diagnosis patients to have the best chance at long-term recovery. If you or a loved one are in need of support for BPD, please contact us today. 


Addiction and Eating Disorder Recovery

Eating Disorder Recovery | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Eating disorders are conditions in which people experience severe disturbances in eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. People who suffer from eating disorders are preoccupied with food and often their body weight. It is estimated that 30 million Americans suffer from eating disorders, and they are most often women aged 12-35. There are three main eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. There are a few other types of eating disorders, however.

Addiction to substances commonly occurs with those who also experience a mental health condition, such as an eating disorder. In fact, recent research revealed that approximately 50% of people who have an eating disorder have also abused drugs or alcohol. This rate is five times that of the general population. Furthermore, 35% of people who engage in substance abuse also experience an eating disorder—a rate 11 times that of the general population.

The most common drugs of abuse among those with eating disorders include alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, diuretics, laxatives, and heroin. It is no coincidence that many of these substances may be used by someone who is trying to lose or control weight, a common characteristic of an eating disorder.

Substance abuse and eating disorders also share many common risk factors, including genetics, family history, low self-esteem, and mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety. Other shared factors may include a tendency to engage in compulsive or addictive behavior, social isolation, and suicidal ideations.

Is an Eating Disorder an Addiction?

Research has found similarities between the behavioral experience of bulimia and drug addiction. For example, both food and drugs can invoke cravings that often become associated with certain people, places, or circumstances. People experience feelings of pleasure and reward when eating and using drugs, which encourages them to engage in these behaviors repeatedly. 

There are also biological similarities between drug and alcohol addiction and bulimia, however. Other research has revealed that people with bulimia have dopamine abnormalities similar to those who have an addiction to cocaine or alcohol. Also, cravings for both drugs and food are associated with activation in many of the same regions of the brain.

These findings imply that eating disorders may be a type of behavioral addiction, not unlike gambling or hoarding. At the very least, they represent the need to engage in certain activities to fulfill an urge, and will often do so despite the incurrence of adverse consequences.

Addiction and Eating Disorder Recovery Options

Eating Disorder Recovery | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Eating disorder treatment depends on a person’s particular disorder, individual factors, and symptoms. However, it typically includes several components, such as psychotherapy, nutrition education, medical monitoring, and sometimes medications. 

Eating disorders clearly demonstrate the intimate links between emotional and physical well-being. The first step in treating anorexia nervosa is usually to assist the patient in achieving a normal weight. For patients with bulimia nervosa, the first step is often to interrupt the binge-purge pattern of behavior. For patients with binge eating disorder, it is vital to help them refrain from binging. 

However, restoring a person to a healthy weight or temporarily halting the binge-purge cycle does not address the underlying emotional issues that have caused or been made worse by abnormal eating behavior. Psychotherapy, which is usually the center of any treatment program, aims to help people with eating disorders understand the thoughts, emotions, and actions that are at the heart of these disorders. Also, some medications have been proven to be effective in the treatment process.

Generally speaking, eating disorder treatment must involve addressing other mental and physical health problems that contributed to or are caused by an eating disorder, which can be severe or life-threatening if left untreated. For example, people with anorexia are often profoundly undernourished, and 1 in 5 deaths from this disorder is the result of suicide. Moreover, many other health-related factors must be considered when treating an eating disorder to promote the overall wellness of the individual.

Getting Treatment

A comprehensive, personalized approach to eating disorder treatment can help a person manage symptoms, maintain a healthy weight, and improve physical and mental health. If an eating disorder doesn’t improve with conventional treatment or lead to health problems, a person may need to be hospitalized or placed in long-term inpatient treatment.

Addiction to drugs or alcohol is treated in much the same way as eating disorders through a combination of psychotherapy, counseling, and medication. Midwood Addiction Treatment offers the following services, all of which can be beneficial for treating addiction and also addressing issues associated with an eating disorder:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Peer support groups
  • Substance abuse education
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Art and music therapy
  • Mindfulness meditation and yoga
  • Aftercare planning

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and/or an eating disorder, we urge you to seek help as soon as possible. Contact us today and discover how we help people reclaim their lives and sustain long-term happiness and wellness!

What Is Codependency?

What Is Codependency? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Codependency is characterized by a close relationship in which one individual has profound emotional needs, and a partner is forced to contribute an excessive amount of time responding to those needs. This frequently occurs to the detriment to one or both partners and even other significant relationships.

Codependency can lead to a downward spiral in which one partner actively tends to and even enables the emotional difficulties of the other. This cycle of behavior permits the loved one to continue acting in unhealthy ways.

What Is Codependency?

A codependent relationship consists of two members: the manipulator and the enabler. The enabler is usually a somewhat passive person who enables the manipulator’s toxic behavior. They may do so either consciously or unknowingly. The enabler often engages in submissive behavior in which he or she is forced to surrender a great deal of personal identity.

In the process, this person will neglect their own needs—or the needs of others—to satisfy the manipulator’s demands. These individuals often feel overly responsible for the feelings and well-being of others.

Codependency perpetuates a cycle of unhealthy behavior that doesn’t really help anyone, and can eventually ruin relationships and lives.

Signs of a codependent person include the following:

  • Poor self-esteem or self-worth
  • People-pleasing behavior
  • Excessive caretaking of others
  • Obsession with being in a relationship
  • An absence of boundaries (e.g., offering unsolicited advice)

Signs of an emotional manipulator include the following:

  • Deceptiveness, and being prone to skew other’s perceptions and reality
  • Engaging in behaviors that aren’t in line with their words
  • Frequently trying to make the other partner feel shame or guilt, especially when there is no reason for them to feel this way
  • Acting as if he or she is the victim and is never at fault
  • Frequently doing or saying things to instigate emotional reactions from the partner
  • Eagerly volunteering or agreeing to help in a certain activity, only to complain that it’s a huge burden on him or her and that the partner should feel indebted
  • Having a tendency to “one-up” other people by claiming that things are worse for them than others

An interesting but unfortunately feature of the manipulator is that they tend to dive into relationships almost haphazardly. When they identify a person they feel they can manipulate emotionally, they will jump in and try to secure their footing in the relationship as soon as possible. They often share too much too soon and expect the enabler to as well. Although they may exhibit vulnerability and sensitivity, this is really a ploy to make the other person feel special, empathetic, and ultimately bound to their feelings.

In general, manipulators are an emotional black hole—whatever they are feeling, they aim to suck others around them into those emotions for as long as possible. If he or she is in a bad mood, everyone around them will know it. And they are skillful at making others feel responsible for their moods and obligated to fix them.

What Is Codependency? | Midwood Addiction Treatment


Codependency and Drug Addiction

If just one member of a codependent relationship is abusing drugs or alcohol, it is usually the manipulator. This person frequently manipulates the partner into helping them get what they want. These wants may include money, shelter, alcohol, drugs, or any number of other resources. Manipulators know they have an advantage over the partner, and they use it to their benefit.

Codependency can occur without the presence of substance abuse, but the two are often correlated. In fact, codependent relationships were first identified among family members of alcoholics. Due in part to the toxic nature of addiction, codependent behavior is very common among those who have intimate relationships with another person who is struggling.

Codependency and addiction can manifest in a few different ways:

  • Among partners who both abuse substances
  • Among close adult family members and friends of a person abusing substances
  • Among the minor children of people who are abusing substances

Sometimes the codependent person in the relationship is not a spouse or significant other. Instead, they may be the child of a person who abuses drugs and alcohol. This situation is more likely to occur when an addiction has progressed to the point that the child is required to take care of the parent’s needs frequently.

Adverse Effects and Risks for the Codependent Enabler

If the manipulating partner is abusing drugs or alcohol, both partners may experience many negative effects and risks based on the circumstances. 

Some of these risks include the following:

  • Increased risk of also developing an addiction, either to substances or behaviors
  • Deep-felt loss of relationships and being social with others outside of the codependent relationship
  • Inability to tend to obligations outside of the codependent relationship
  • Neglect of personal needs, which can lead to poor health, depression, and worsening self-esteem

Adverse Effects and Risks for the Codependent or Manipulator

What Is Codependency? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

As for the individual struggling with substance abuse, the codependent relationship can also undermine his or her potential for recovery. In this case, the codependent relationship is an enabling force in the substance abuser’s life and may discourage them from making positive changes.

In fact, the enabling person may genuinely want to help his or her partner, but may also worry that the other person won’t need them any longer after the addiction is under control. This possibility may impede attempts to get help and allow the manipulator to continue suffering from addiction and face the related physical and mental health risks it produces.

This factor can lead to another significant risk if the person with an addiction does decide to get treatment. The enabling partner may feel at least somewhat dependent on their partner’s problems to maintain the relationship, so a return to this relationship after treatment could increase the risk of relapse for the addicted person.

Many contend that codependency may be regarded as a behavioral addiction itself. And because certain behaviors or compulsions are entangled with substance abuse, this can make it more challenging to address all the problems that an individual is facing.

Getting Treatment for Codependency and Addiction

Understanding and overcoming codependent behavior should be a vital part of an individual’s treatment when he or she enters a program. If issues in a codependent relationship go unresolved, the likelihood that an individual will be able to sustain long-term sobriety is diminished. This is true regardless of whether it’s the enabler, the manipulator, or both who are engaging in substance abuse.

Fortunately, there are several components of evidence-based treatment programs that can assist and support both partners in the codependent relationship and help them learn to interact in a healthier, more constructive manner. The enabling partner is usually encouraged to undergo long-term behavioral therapy to improve his or her self-confidence and ability to communicate personal needs and establish boundaries. 

For those seeking help for addiction, a comprehensive treatment program, such as those provided by Midwood Addiction Treatment, offer customized plans designed to address the challenges associated with codependency. Using evidence-based methods, from behavioral therapy and family counseling to adventure therapy, we help individuals learn to overcome barriers that result from codependency and improve the likelihood of sustaining long-lasting recovery.

You can reclaim your life and experience the happiness and well-being you deserve! Call us today and discover how we can help you begin your recovery journey!

Anger Management Therapy and Addiction

Anger Management Therapy and Addiction | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Anger is a powerful and sometimes dangerous emotion that may be characterized by agitation, annoyance, severe displeasure, or hostility. Anger is a normal human emotion that nearly everyone will experience at least occasionally and is often a legitimate reaction when expressed in a healthy manner. Poor anger management skills, however, can result in adverse consequences to an individual and others, especially when substance abuse or addiction is involved.

Excessive anger is caused by a wide variety of reasons, including fear, misplaced hatred of others, and untreated childhood trauma. Regardless of its origins, learning to deal with anger constructively is vital for the emotional health of those who suffer and their loved ones. This is also needed to reduce the addictive behaviors that have emerged or are exacerbated by inadequate anger management.

What Is Anger Management Therapy?

Anger management therapy (AMT) is an approach to helping individuals better control their anger by giving them a controlled platform for releasing their emotions. AMT is designed to achieve constructive, healthy responses, rather than those that are unhealthy and destructive. People in AMT are urged to examine the thoughts, feelings, and actions that trigger their anger. They are encouraged to become more mindful of their emotions at each level of intensity and learn how to use these findings to manage their angry responses better. 

In AMT, people learn to identify the emotional response caused by certain circumstances, as well as angry reactions that serve as defense mechanisms for other problems. These may include feelings of stress, anxiety, or other emotional issues. In doing this, AMT can significantly help people who have difficulties controlling their anger and those who love them.

Moreover, uncontrolled anger can result in extremely harmful psychological conditions and physical injury to oneself or others. Anger management therapy aims to help people reduce and manage their anger, thus leading to a reduction in stress and unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It can also decrease the risk of severe, chronic health problems, such as hypertension and heart disease.

Activities and techniques used in anger management therapy include the following:

  • Impulse control
  • Self-awareness and mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Frustration management (e.g., writing down thoughts and emotions in an “anger diary”)
  • Breathing and relaxation techniques

AMT can be very beneficial, as it can be challenging for some to find and use healthier means of anger expression. Without professional help, individuals can experience increasingly intense aggression and may be more likely to engage in substance abuse.

Anger and Addiction

Anger Management Therapy and Addiction | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Anger is often closely linked to substance use disorders. People who are raised in homes with aggression and violence are much more likely to become violent and engage in substance abuse as adults. In fact, children who regularly witness violence between their parents or others often suffer from depression and anxiety. They may have low self-esteem, and exhibit anger themselves that manifests as outbursts, rebelliousness, destruction of property, and fighting or bullying.

As these children are still developing mentally, emotionally, and socially, exposure to domestic abuse or violence or parental addiction can be traumatic. As a result, their personalities may be adversely altered for the rest of their lives. These can also lead to early experimentation with substances, which is then more likely to lead to more severe and chronic addictive behaviors.

The Vicious Cycle of Anger and Addiction

Although anger can be expressed in a constructive way, a person who is struggling with substance abuse may be less able to cope with it effectively and healthily. For instance, an alcoholic may react with excessive anger to certain triggers, especially if they are intoxicated. Alcohol and drugs can adversely alter a person’s emotional responses, and that person may lash out at others either verbally or physically. Substance abuse can easily exacerbate angry responses, but sometimes, it can be a direct cause of them.

For these reasons, it’s easy for some individuals to fall into a destructive cycle of anger and addiction, and continue using substances in a misguided attempt to cope with anger. Ironically, substance abuse often exacerbates the emotional problems that a person is trying to relieve through this form of self-medication, and these issues drive the person to use more and more substances.

Addiction to Anger

Anger Management Therapy and Addiction | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Addiction isn’t just about substance use. People can become addicted to processes, such as gambling, sex, and shopping. Individuals can also become addicted to being angry in a way. When this occurs, it’s not unlike how some become thrill-seekers for the adrenaline rush. 

Endorphins are “feel-good” chemicals produced naturally by the central nervous system to cope with pain, stress, and anxiety. But endorphins are also believed to be responsible for heightened states of anger, rage or anxiety. If the presence of excessive endorphins is at all misinterpreted by the brain, a person could encounter an onslaught of “fight-or-flight” hormones. This may be true even in response to events that are not, in fact, particularly dangerous or threatening.

As such, certain individuals can become addicted to the increase in endorphins they experience when they feel angry. These endorphins, in effect, cause a “high” of sorts, albeit an unpleasant one. As with all highs, this will eventually subside, leaving the person feeling depressed, anxious, and generally unhappy.

As a result, this effect can drive a person to turn to drugs to help them avoid the “comedown” from anger, and can rapidly lead to addiction. Stimulants such as meth or cocaine can increase feelings of euphoria in an effort to replace the anger and the high associated with it. Eventually, the absence of these substances at any point in time will likely result in even more persistent feelings of anger.

Getting Help for Anger Management and Addiction

Treatment for anger problems can help patients manage and express their anger in healthier ways. In doing so, it also works to restore one’s quality of life and mental health. To ensure that a person in recovery is given the best chance for success, it is vital to address anger and other emotional issues in conjunction with addiction. Failure to treat anger issues will likely result in a relapse, and ongoing substance abuse will compromise a person’s ability to control their anger.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers comprehensive substance abuse treatment programs that also focus on behavioral health and emotional wellness. Chronic anger is common among those with addiction, and those who cannot manage their anger are vulnerable to negative emotional states that lead to substance use.

Our programs are facilitated by a dual diagnosis treatment approach that is designed to address all aspects of a person’s mental and physical well-being. Other evidence-based services that we administer include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Group support
  • Mental health education and awareness
  • Art and music therapy
  • Health and wellness education
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Aftercare planning

Our caring and highly-skilled staff are dedicated to helping people overcome addiction and also develop healthier methods of coping with stress and triggers. Patients with anger issues will learn how to control and process their anger without engaging in extreme and harmful behavior. Moreover, we are equipped to help patients explore the factors that underpin their anger disorders and teach them more constructive ways to channel their emotions.

If you are struggling with anger management and addiction, this is not something you should be doing alone. Contact us today to discuss treatment options and let us help you get control of your life once and for all!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: EMDR Therapy for Addiction

What Is Alcohol-Induced Psychosis?

What Is Alcohol-Induced Psychosis? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Psychosis is a mental state that is hallmarked by delusions and hallucinations, and may also include aggression, anxiety, and paranoia. Psychosis is not a mental health disorder in and of itself. It is the symptom of a psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia, or it can be caused by other factors, such as substance use. 

As the name implies, alcohol-induced psychosis occurs as a result of excessive alcohol consumption. In most instances, the psychosis will end at the same time as alcohol intoxication. After prolonged use, however, psychosis can persist even after this time and become life-threatening. For this reason, anyone suffering from this condition receives professional medical treatment immediately.

Types of Alcohol-Induced Psychosis

Alcohol-induced psychosis includes delusions and hallucinations associated with heavy alcohol consumption that is not caused by some other mental health condition. Alcohol-induced psychosis occurs in the following three forms:

Acute Intoxication

Although relatively rare, acute intoxication is characterized by alcoholic psychosis that onsets after a person ingests an excessive amount of alcohol in a single episode. Alcohol psychosis symptoms usually subside once the body clears itself of alcohol. Because consuming alcohol in an amount large enough to cause psychosis may result in lethal alcohol poisoning, any person suffering from acute intoxication should seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

Chronic Alcoholic Hallucinosis

Alcoholic hallucinosis is another uncommon condition that may be triggered after years of severe alcohol abuse. Although other types of alcohol-induced psychosis often include tactile and visual hallucinations, alcoholic hallucinosis symptoms are mostly auditory. They typically occur during or shortly after episodes of excessive alcohol use. 

Alcoholic hallucinosis may also include delusions and mood disturbances. The periods of psychosis related to alcoholic hallucinosis may persist for hours, days, or weeks. They may even progress to a chronic form that resembles schizophrenia.

Alcohol Withdrawal Psychosis

Hallucinations are a potential side effect of acute alcohol withdrawal. These hallucinations can be the result of temporary psychosis, also known as alcohol withdrawal delirium (AWD) or delirium tremens. People who quit drinking after consuming a high amount of alcohol over a prolonged period are at heightened risk of experiencing AWD. Chronic alcoholism can alter the structure and function of the brain, thus triggering psychosis when alcohol has been eliminated from the body.

Symptoms of AWD may also include any of the following:

  • High sensitivity to light, sound or touch
  • Abrupt changes in mood
  • Accelerated heart and breathing rates
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Formication (the feeling that insects are crawling on or under the skin)
  • Tremors

Delirium tremens is likely the most dangerous side effect of alcohol withdrawal. Symptoms can be life-threatening and require immediate medical intervention. As noted, any person experiencing alcohol withdrawal should seek the care of a medical detox program.

What Causes Alcohol-Induced Psychosis?

What Is Alcohol-Induced Psychosis? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

The precise cause of alcohol-induced psychosis is not known. Some research has suggested that alcohol-induced psychosis is primarily the result of alcohol’s impact on certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine. Others have posited that the manner in which alcohol disrupts neural receptors is the main factor. 

Regardless of the cause, extended, excessive alcohol use can have profound, long-lasting effects on the brain and body. Alcohol-induced psychosis is believed to be a result of these effects.

Treatment Options for Alcohol-Induced Psychosis

Experiencing any alcohol-induced psychosis is frequently a sign of alcohol addiction. Therefore, it’s essential to stop alcohol use immediately if this occurs. After discontinuing alcohol consumption, psychotic symptoms tend to abate. 

Alcohol-induced psychosis is directly caused by excessive alcohol intake that can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that someone in this state undergo detox and medical supervision to prevent complications from occurring.

Research has shown that people with an alcohol use disorder are more likely to succeed at recovery when detox is followed by intensive therapeutic care. Over time, through psychotherapy and counseling, they can gradually develop the skills they need to sustain long-term recovery.

It’s important to note that while psychosis can onset as the result of heavy alcohol use, it can also be a symptom of a co-occurring mental health disorder, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. In these instances, patients need to be treated for both conditions simultaneously to prevent relapse and achieve the best outcome for long-term recovery.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers medically-supervised outpatient detox in addition to partial hospitalization and outpatient programs. Our treatment plans are designed to be unique to each patient to meet the needs and goals of that individual. We are committed to ensuring that each patient receives the tools they need to achieve sobriety and prevent relapse indefinitely.

If you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism, contact us today! Our treatment specialists are available to help those who need it most to achieve a full recovery and foster the long-lasting sobriety and wellness they deserve!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Alcohol Poisoning

What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Co-Occurring Disorders | Midwood Addiction Treatment

When a person has co-occurring disorders, they have been diagnosed with both a substance use disorder and another mental health condition. Co-occurring disorders, which are sometimes referred to as a dual diagnosis, are most appropriately treated using comprehensive, integrated treatment that focuses on both problems simultaneously.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2014, among the 20.2 million U.S. adults who experienced a substance use disorder 50.5% or 10.2 million adults also had a co-occurring mental health disorder.

The brain is unquestionably a complex and relatively fragile organ. Therefore, it’s not surprising that drugs and alcohol can induce symptoms of mental illness or make them worse. These substances alter the way in which the brain operates—not in a positive way. People who use substances to experience a “high” do so because drugs and alcohol affect chemicals in the brain and the way that brain cells interact with each other.

In response to such changes, the brain becomes accustomed to the presence of alcohol and drugs, thereby increasing the likelihood that the person will develop a substance use disorder (SUD). SUDs are types of mental health conditions that are more commonly referred to as chemical dependence or addiction.

It’s possible to experience more than one mental health disorder. Substance use disorders often co-occur in conjunction with other psychiatric conditions. As noted, it is estimated that more than half of people with substance use disorders also struggle with mental illness. 

In some cases, the mental illness precedes substance abuse, while in other cases, substance abuse occurs first. In either situation, each disorder compounds the symptoms of the other and perpetuates a vicious cycle of mental and emotional upheaval.

Other common co-occurring conditions include personality, behavior, and psychotic disorders. Fortunately, when the appropriate comprehensive treatment is rendered, people can recover from addiction and reduce the symptoms of most co-occurring mental health disorders. Failure to address co-occurring conditions during addiction treatment significantly increases the likelihood of relapse.

What Are Mental Health Disorders?

The term “mental health disorder” is used by the American Psychiatric Association to mean “a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological or developmental processes underlying mental functioning.”

A mental health disorder is also commonly referred to as “mental illness” or “mental health condition.” Terms such as “crazy,” “mad,” and “lunatic” have long since fallen out of favor among medical professionals, as they have derogatory connotations and further perpetuate the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Mental Disorders that Co-Occur with Substance Abuse

Any mental health condition can occur along with a substance use disorder. Some mental illnesses (e.g., anxiety and depression) are relatively common, and, fortunately, the most severe (e.g., schizophrenia) are correspondingly rare. However, each mental disorder can range in severity from mild to severe. 

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders include all types of depression and bipolar disorders. They are mainly associated with chronic feelings of profound sadness or hopelessness that are more intense and last longer than normal feelings of melancholy. A person with major depressive disorder may remain perpetually sad for weeks or months at a time.

Those with bipolar disorders will also experience episodes of mania in which they will feel profoundly confident and energetic. Episodes of extreme highs and lows will cycle, sometimes rapidly, and the person and those around him or her may quickly grow weary of the constant emotional upheaval.

Anxiety Disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Anxiety, stress, and fear are normal human emotions, but if these feelings are prolonged or get worse over time, they may be driven by an anxiety disorder. Many anxiety disorders intrude upon a person’s normal life and can make working and other important activities challenging. The feelings of terror experienced by people with an anxiety disorder are often well out of proportion to the perceived threat.

Examples of anxiety disorders include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Separation anxiety
  • Social anxiety disorder

Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders cause two severe symptoms: hallucinations and delusions. People who are experiencing psychosis are disconnected from reality and may have the potential to cause harm to themselves and others. Types of psychotic disorders include schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and postpartum psychosis.

Eating Disorders

Like substance use disorders, eating disorders are largely misunderstood. People who suffer from eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, do not actively choose unhealthy diets. They have a serious mental disorder that drives them to engage in harmful eating behaviors. These behaviors may include starvation, the abuse of laxatives, excessive exercise, and vomiting up food after binge eating.

Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are mental health conditions associated with harmful thoughts, feelings, and actions. They may be triggered by everyday stressors, and they can interrupt daily activities and strain relationships. Some personality disorders, such as psychopathy, are closely associated with chronic criminal activity.

Types of personality disorders include the following:

  • Antisocial
  • Avoidant
  • Borderline
  • Dependent
  • Histrionic
  • Narcissistic
  • Paranoid
  • Psychopathy
  • Schizoid
  • Schizotypal

Behavioral Disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Behavioral disorders most often occur in children. Many otherwise healthy youth will, at times, exhibit some behavioral problems, such as disobedience and hyperactivity. However, behavioral disorders are hallmarked by chronic behavioral problems that last at least six months. If left unaddressed, some young people who grow up with these disorders may develop a personality disorder as an adult.

Why Substance Use and Other Mental Health Conditions Occur Together

Mental illness increases a person’s likelihood of using drugs or drinking alcohol as a misguided attempt to self-medicate. Substance abuse, in turn, also increases the risk of developing a mental health disorder. However, it’s not always easy to determine which condition caused the onset of the other. 

Researchers are still studying the brain in an effort to ascertain how it is that mental disorders develop, although, currently, they do have several theories. In addition to self-medication, there are many reasons why people with mental illness may be more likely to develop substance use disorders.

Risk factors for co-occurring disorders include the following:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Environment—stress and trauma can produce mental health problems that make substance abuse more desirable
  • Brain systems involved with feelings of reward or stress may be affected by both drug use and mental health disorders
  • Being exposed to alcohol or drugs during childhood and adolescence affects brain development, making a person more vulnerable to addiction and other mental health conditions

Also, some otherwise healthy individuals develop mental health disorders after abusing substances. For instance, alcoholism is closely associated with depression, and chronic methamphetamine use can cause a great deal of anxiety and paranoia.

Drugs can also provoke an earlier onset of mental illness. For example, a person with a genetic predisposition for schizophrenia can develop symptoms of the disorder earlier in life if he or she uses marijuana.

Fortunately, abstaining from alcohol or drug use can relieve many mental health problems. However, some substances of abuse can produce long-lasting or irreversible damage, and treatment is necessary to help people deal with the ongoing symptoms of mental illness.

Get Help Now

Comprehensive addiction treatment includes therapy that addresses the underlying causes of substance abuse—detox alone is not enough. For a person to recover fully from addiction, every aspect of his or her mental and physical well-being must be addressed.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers integrated treatment programs that are customized to meet each patient’s specific health needs. If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, contact us today and find out how we can help!