Is It Safe to Mix Energy Drinks and Alcohol?

Mixing energy drinks and alcohol can have severe, dangerous side effects. Caffeine is a substance that produces minimal effects except for hyperactivity. However, when combined with other drugs, it can overstimulate the heart, brain, and body.

Alcohol has been the most popular substance to combine with energy drinks since 2012, but research shows that combining a depressant drug (alcohol) and a stimulant (energy drink) can be fatal. So while this may be the popular party mixer for young adults, the decision to mix energy drinks and alcohol could spoil the party with a heart attack.

Energy Drinks and Alcohol? Is That Really a Thing?

“My parents never had energy drinks. They don’t get it,” said Nicholas Marsilio, 21, to The Washington Post. “Their energy drinks were coffee at two in the morning. … That’s definitely a generation switch.”

Energy drinks began to hit the market in the 1990s, with pioneer companies like Red Bull using a Thai recipe to give consumers an extra energy boost. Though the beginning sales were modest, come 15 years later to today, there are now hundreds of brands of energy drinks sold in grocery markets, vending machines, and even bars.

Ever heard of a Jägerbomb? This classic cocktail once used to be a shot of Jägermeister dropped into a pint of beer. But if you asked college students today, they’d tell you the recipe updated from beer to Red Bull.

And the notion of mixing energy drinks like Monster or 5-Hour Energy with alcohol is not a new phenomenon. Because alcohol is a depressant, some folks tend to get sleepy if they drink too much. So, how’s one supposed to spike the party without everyone dozing off before midnight? Energy drinks, of course.

Those who like the high-low combo aim to lower their inhibitions to enjoy socializing with others (a side effect from alcohol) while also having the energy to dance the night away and stay up ’til sunrise.

And if you’re still awake at a party, then you’re good enough to keep drinking until you’re not, right?

It’s no surprise that binge drinking rates among adults ages 18 to 25 went through the roof in the past five years as a result of energy drinks and alcohol drinking. The craze even set off specific brands of alcoholic energy drinks—namely Four Loko, Joose, and Tilt—that targeted college-age consumers, like modern-day versions of tobacco advertisements targeting kids none the wiser.

Rates of emergency room visits due to incidents related to alcoholic energy drinks more than doubled over just a five-year period, prompting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban alcoholic energy drinks.

Mixing Alcohol with Caffeine Can Be Fatal, Studies Show

Those who know the tale of Elvis Presley’s demise know that combining depressant and stimulant substances is a toxic, lethal combination, ready to send a person’s heart into cardiac arrest. And though an energy drink may seem like a harmless caffeinated drink, it’s much more potent than advertised.

An average adult can handle 200 to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. Anything within 500 to 600 milligrams can lead to “caffeine intoxication” for adults, which is normally not fatal but can lead to uncomfortable effects, like increased heart rate, stomachaches, and anxiety.

But for children and adolescents (even so much as to the ages of 20 and 21), more than 200 milligrams of caffeine can be dangerous and even lead to death, which is why most medical professionals advise against giving energy drinks to young adults, even in high school.

Energy drinks can contain anywhere from 2.5 to 35.7 milligrams of caffeine per ounce, and some energy shots can have as much as 170 milligrams of caffeine per ounce. And while the FDA regulates the amount of caffeine allowed in soft drinks (71 milligrams per 12-ounce can), energy drinks are considered dietary supplements or food products and do not have to follow those guidelines.

Now, combine that with alcohol, and college students are basically speedballing in clubs.

If a college student goes on a binge drinking mission and uses energy drinks to stay awake, then the student is setting themselves up for double intoxication. Their heart rate will fight between getting faster or slower; they may go through a panic attack, induce severe vomiting, and potentially overwhelm their body physically to the point of cardiac arrest and death.

Too Much Energy, Not Enough Sense

Studies show that people who drink highly caffeinated energy drinks are significantly more likely to be involved in an accident and are much more likely to make a decision they will regret.

People who are drunk with too much energy aren’t going to want to slow things down; they’re going to want to drink more. Combining energy drinks and alcohol, to put it simply, is a fast track to alcohol poisoning, blackouts, and experimenting with other lethal substances that might lead to overdose.

People intoxicated from energy drinks and alcohol are more likely to engage in reckless behavior, such as driving while intoxicated. With too much energy brings too much confidence, allowing the drinker to become a danger to themselves.

If not intervened, this behavioral pattern of drinking in excess with energy drinks will only lead to the person getting hurt, harming others, or potentially death. If you notice someone may be taking the party too far by drinking energy drinks and alcohol on an alarming basis, it may be time to seek treatment.

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Alcoholic energy drinks are clearly a major danger to those who abuse alcohol, but many other substances are just as dangerous for different reasons.

If you or someone you love is looking for an effective treatment program to end dependence on energy drinks or any other substance, call Ocean Breeze Recovery today. Our representatives are available anytime, day or night, to help you or your loved one begin the journey to sobriety. You can also reach us online.

 

How Cocaine Affects the Brain

The following will be a concise discussion of cocaine use, explaining what the substance is, its effects on the brain, and why cocaine addiction is difficult for many people to overcome.

What Is Cocaine?

Mind-altering substances are divided or categorized into different classes according to their effects. While heroin and painkillers are opioids and alcohol is a depressant, cocaine is what’s referred to as a stimulant. Acting prominently on the body’s central nervous system, cocaine has the effect of amplifying or speeding up many functions and processes throughout the body.

The drug notably raises one’s heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, which can be extremely dangerous when the drug is taken in large amounts. However, cocaine use is typically characterized by bingeing with individuals using cocaine typically take large quantities intermittently over a very short time.

In terms of its composition, cocaine is a purified extract from the coca plant and is most often found in the form of white or yellow-tinted powder that can range from exceptionally fine to granulated and chunky to somewhat flaky and similar to the scales of a fish. Cocaine is most often administered by insufflating, or nasally snorting, since the drug is known to pass rapidly through the mucous membrane in the sinus cavity and into the bloodstream.

Alternately, cocaine can be injected in a similar way as heroin or prepared for smoking in its freebase form—known as crack-cocaine due to the sound the drug makes when heat is applied—using processes that often involve baking soda or other adulterants.

The Effects of Cocaine Use on the Brain

Like most other drugs, cocaine has a major effect of levels of neurochemicals in the brain. However, the way that cocaine affects neurochemicals and neurotransmitters in the brain is somewhat different than other drugs. Rather than triggering an increase in the production of chemicals—particularly dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine—cocaine inhibits the reuptake of such chemicals in the brain, preventing them from being reabsorbed and, therefore, causing a spike in levels of such substances.

The functions of the brain’s various neurochemicals number in the hundreds or thousands, but includes such things as communicating with the heart and lungs to ensure their functioning. However, the more widely known function of these substances pertains to areas of the brain referred to as the reward and pleasure pathways.

Over the course of evolution, living organisms evolved to produce certain neurochemicals that would activate particular regions of the brain, bringing them pleasure when they behaved in certain ways and ensuring their survival. According to evolutionary purposes, the behaviors that would trigger the reward and pleasure sentence would include eating, sleeping, and procreating by having sexual intercourse.

Similarly, cocaine causes a spike in neurochemical levels that continue to activate the reward and pleasure centers, reinforcing the behavior and making the use of cocaine particularly addictive. In other words, the spike in levels of neurochemicals in the brain that’s caused by cocaine use serve to reinforce cocaine use.

Although the reward and pleasure pathways are greatly affected by cocaine use and the spike in neurochemicals that it causes, the specific neural systems that make up the reward and pleasure pathways include the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in the midbrain, the nucleus accumbens, and the caudate nucleus. This means there are a wide variety of bodily functions that are either intensified or desensitized by one’s cocaine use.

The ventral tegmental area is implicated in many emotional processes and motivation with cocaine causing a major increase in one’s awareness, a general increase in energy, and the intensification of one’s emotions. The nucleus accumbens is responsible for learning, pleasure, and motivation with cocaine causing an intense euphoria while also depriving individuals of sleep.

Additionally, the caudate nucleus is involved with both voluntary and involuntary—or reflexive—movement, learning, sleep, social behavior, and memory with cocaine causing such effects as twitching, jitters, an overall uneasiness, inability to pay attention, increased heart rate, and possibly even stroke.

Need Addiction Treatment? Call Us Now

If you or someone you know is battling a cocaine addiction and would like to learn what treatment entails and explore treatment options, call Ocean Breeze Recovery today at 844-554-9279 or reach out to us online. It’s our belief that nobody should have to continue to struggle with a chemical dependency or addiction to addictive and harmful substance. We help each of our clients achieve long-lasting sobriety and a long, healthy, fulfilling life. Don’t wait. Call us today.

 

Depression in Recovery: Fighting for Sobriety With Internal Affliction

Overcoming addiction is a fight in itself. When mental illness and feelings of hopelessness arise in early recovery, people in active addiction might stray from their goals to obtain long-term sobriety. Depression in recovery is one the most common obstacles recovering substance users face during their journey. Depression takes a significant toll on an individual and greatly affects the person’s motivation to stay away from addictive substances. It can arise related to factors before and after drug use.

The symptoms of depression derive from the psychological, genetic, environmental, and biochemical factors of an individual. Depression in recovery is prominent and often uncontrollable in individuals who fall victim to the disease.

Depression’s Agenda

Depression is a mental illness that interferes with everyday life. When people think of the word, they often associate it with sadness or feeling “blue.” However, clinical depression is much more severe than being down in the dumps. When people have this mental health disorder, they feel numb and empty. They also may feel an overwhelming lack of accomplishment, motivation, and willingness. This causes individuals to feel heavy, in a sense that they are carrying around these feelings in their day-to-day lives.

For a person recovering from substance abuse, this can be dangerous. People who are recovering from addiction need to be strong from within. If they are struggling with depression in recovery and let it get the best of them, it could lead to many losses, including their sobriety.

Individuals who abuse drugs are often self-medicating an underlying issue that they may know they have. Depression is not the only mental health disorder that coincides with drug abuse, but it is most commonly found in people struggling with substance abuse and addiction. Although the individual may be self-medicating if depression is pre-exposed, the person may also develop a mental illness after getting sober.

Fighting For Sobriety

Many people who enter sobriety have co-occurring disorders. Overcoming addiction and mental illness at once can be challenging. It is not uncommon for a person in recovery to initially feel lost or saddened by their recent life-changing decisions. It is also not unusual that mistreatment or lack of treatment for their depression in recovery leads to relapse.

When a person enters sobriety, they engage in a way of life they may have never experienced before. This can lead to situational depression as well as clinical depression. When an individual experiences moments of sadness based on a traumatic event, such as getting sober, they briefly experience the feelings of depression but can easily let them go.

Although depression can be situational, the real concern comes from clinical depression. When clinical depression is present, there is no source. The feelings arise out of nowhere. When nothing is causing depression in recovery, treating it can be difficult if the signs are unclear. Fighting for sobriety with a mental illness can often make the fight seem impossible to conquer. Addiction is cunning, baffling, and powerful despite being sober. When mental illness comes into the picture, it increases the severity of addiction recovery.

If a person in recovery is not feeling a sense of accomplishment, they may start to question why they are even sober in the first place.

Depression After Drugs

When people get sober, they expect a life filled with joy and happiness. When things do not go as planned, they might begin to think recovery is not worth it. To them, treating their addiction meant all their problems would vanish. However, this is nowhere near the truth. In fact, many more problems can arise because they are now dealing with their sober self. There is nothing to mask or suppress the true feelings of their internal being. With no suppression of thoughts or feelings, one may realize they are struggling with depression in recovery. To their luck, depression is treatable if action is taken quickly.

The symptoms of depression are easily distinguishable when the person in active addiction accumulates a significant amount of clean time.  People suffering from depression usually have symptoms such as these:

  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Overwhelming feelings of sadness, anxiety, or “emptiness”
  • Hopelessness
  • Guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Disinterest in activities or hobbies
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Changes in appetite
  • Harmful thoughts (suicide, homicide, death)

Having these symptoms masked by drug use for long periods can intensify these symptoms once a person enters sobriety, so it is important to quickly recognize and act on these feelings and thoughts. The person may or may not know how to deal with these thoughts and feelings alone. Seeking treatment can help someone combat the symptoms of depression in recovery so they can become healthy and feel confident in their sobriety.

Where Does Depression Come From?

Although depression comes from various sources, the effects they have on an individual remain the same. When referring to depression in recovery, it is most likely pre-existing, but it can be caused by recent events in someone’s life. Feelings will arise in early recovery that may seem unsettling to a person. It is important to understand where depression comes from and why it goes hand in hand with substance abuse.

  • Environmental factors of depression arise from the current situations of the individual. Different examples include trauma, stress, and early exposure to drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Genetics allow the mental health disorder to be passed down through generations. This is likely for people who have family members, especially parents, who are diagnosed with depression.
  • Biochemical refers to the lack of chemical production in the brain. Dopamine and serotonin are depleted in individuals who have depression, especially after extended drug use. The brain is less likely to respond accordingly to pleasure when this occurs.

All of the causes, by nature or by nurture, can be treated effectively with a holistic approach or medication.

Is Depression Treatable?

Treating depression in recovery depends on the diagnosis. A diagnosis should be sought by a medical professional to make sure the individual is correctly treating the disorder. There are several approaches to treating this disease.

Some may feel strongly about medication while others seek a more holistic approach. Despite the different causes and effects of depression, treatment is vital. When a person in recovery chooses to ignore the clear signs of depression, there is a chance it will worsen over time. This causes a series of dilemmas because the person’s whole life is potentially at risk.

When it comes to recurring feelings in sobriety, an individual is urged to connect with a support group of some sort and utilize the coping skills he or she has learned in treatment and developed during their journey. However, depression can become crippling for the individual, causing them to stray away from their support and leaving them to their own devices.

Often, when a person with addiction is left to make decisions on their own, in a healthy state of mind, the outcome is never beneficial to sobriety. There are numerous techniques used to treat depression in recovery. Cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, and natural remedies can reduce the symptoms of depression. Addiction and mental illness are two diseases that go hand in hand and often are treated with the same approach.

Natural vs. Medicinal

There is no right or wrong way when it comes to treatment for mental health and substance abuse. Treating disorders are individually based. Some people can benefit greatly from medication, taking the natural route, or both.

People who can combat less severe depression on their own may engage in activities such as:

  • Exercise
  • Eating well
  • Talking to support groups
  • Journaling
  • Natural remedies to increase/ stabilize mood
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Prayer

However beneficial, there may come a point when these techniques do not work.

Depression, if left untreated, can worsen over time.

This is where taking prescribed medications come into play. Many people in recovery might feel judged for taking a prescribed medication. But in cases like these, taking medication will lead them to a more successful life. Ultimately, the decision is left to the individual and should not be based on outside factors. The decision to treat depression with medication should come only from the individual and their intentions in sobriety.

Are You Struggling With Sobriety?

Recovering from mental illness and addiction can make life seem like a never-ending downward spiral. However, you are not alone, and recovery is possible. If you or someone you know has a co-occurring disorder, call Ocean Breeze Recovery today at (844) 554-9279. Our telephone representatives are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have and help you find the right treatment program for you.

How Does Outpatient Treatment Work?

Addiction recovery can be designed to fit the lifestyle of the person who needs substance abuse treatment. Programs do not have to look the same to offer clients a true path to sobriety, and that is a good thing.

Outpatient treatment programs are viable options that offer flexibility to people who are making the transition to sobriety. These programs focus on healing the psychological and social effects and behaviors of addiction, and they give people in recovery more control over their schedules as they work toward their sobriety goals.

This flexibility means outpatient programs are less structured than partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs), but they are no less effective than inpatient programs and vary in intensity and duration.

One key difference between outpatient and inpatient treatment programs is that outpatient does not require clients to live on-site in a 24-hour supervised rehab facility for a month or more, unlike inpatient clients do. The freedom to come and go as needed allows them to continue to go to work, attend school, and take care of family and other responsibilities at home.

These programs also have lower costs compared with inpatient programs, because there are no room and board fees to pay, which make them appealing options for people who may not be able to cover some or all of the rehab costs. People who want to keep treatment a private matter also may be interested in this kind of program.

However, before a decision is made about which rehab is best, individual needs must be examined and taken into consideration to find the right fit.

Who Benefits from Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient treatment typically appeals to people who are:

  • In the early stages of addiction or have a mild substance use disorder
  • Want to continue their aftercare upon leaving residential or inpatient treatment
  • Benefiting from having access to a supportive network of family and friends
  • Unable to cover the costs of inpatient treatment
  • Highly motivated and committed to their recovery goals and keeping a schedule

According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, adolescent drug abuse treatment is offered in outpatient settings, which can be highly effective when delivered by well-trained clinicians.

What Services Do Outpatient Clients Receive?

Outpatient programs vary in duration and intensity, and clients still must do the work to overcome their addiction. Time requirements in these programs can last a minimum of six to nine hours to more than 20 hours of treatment a week.

Those who participate in low-to-moderate intensity programs may attend treatment sessions once or twice a week. Intensive outpatient services typically require attendance at sessions more than twice a week for at least three hours or more a day, according to NIDA.

Outpatient rehab gives clients in early-stage addiction the tools and strategies they need to overcome addiction and substance use disorders. It offers a multidisciplinary approach to treatment and can include any of the following:

  • Substance abuse education
  • Cravings and triggers management
  • Mental health treatment
  • Therapy (individual and group)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • 12-step programs
  • Transitional living facility referrals (including sober living homes)
  • Relapse prevention training

What Outpatient Treatment Does Not Offer

Clients who enter an outpatient program do have more flexibility and independence, but there are limitations as well. Outpatient care is not around-the-clock, so people who live outside a rehab center are solely responsible for keeping their environment safe, stable, and drug- and alcohol-free at all time. They must remain aware of the people and places that serve as temptations and triggers that can lead to relapse, and they must make a concentrated effort to practice habits that support their sobriety.

What About Intensive Outpatient Programs?

These structured programs, which require more of a time commitment, are ideal for people who have recently finished an addiction treatment program or are still facing some addiction struggles. Intensive outpatient participants include some of the same treatments as what inpatient clients receive either during the day or in the evening, including therapy.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) also are ideal for people who recently relapsed and need time to recover and clients who were in partial hospitalization programs who need support as they transition to living in sobriety full time. Clients with co-occurring disorders linked to substance use may also benefit from IOP services. How long IOP treatment lasts depends much on the client.

Interested in Outpatient Treatment? Call Us Now

Ocean Breeze Recovery meets you at whatever stage of recovery you’re in to help you get the best experience possible. Call us at 844-554-9279 or connect with us online now so we can help you find the right treatment program for you or someone you know. Our facility offers a wide range of services that cater to our clients’ needs. We are ready to walk you through the process of addiction treatment. Since we understand that recovery needs vary according to the person’s needs, we can help you find the right treatment for you and your schedule.