Addiction Treatment

Drinking too much

Did drinking too much & using drugs in the past cause your mental health problems now?

There are so many Facebook groups now for music and fashion “scenes” of the past. These are very popular with people looking for some nostalgia from when they were younger and were perhaps a hippy, punk, or raver.

There’s a common question on these groups – and it’s also one that’s often wondered and asked to many therapists: did all the drinking and/or recreational drugs I took when younger cause my mental health problems today?

Looking for an answer to this question is not just limited to people who were part of a youth “tribe”. Others realize that, for instance, in their teens and 20s they drank too much and too often or that they smoked far too much marijuana.

Many people are convinced that all their frequent drinking and especially the use of drugs, including marijuana, LSD, amphetamine, ecstasy, and cocaine, is behind their emotional and mental struggles now. Others are left pondering about their younger excesses: “Did I get away with it?”

Physical and mental harm

Physical and mental harm due to alcohol or drug use

Medical research has proven beyond doubt that excessive use of alcohol and other drugs physically harms us. For instance, excessive alcohol use can cause heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, digestive problems, liver disease, as well as cancer of the voice box, colon, breast, mouth, and throat.

Then, using amphetamine can cause gastrointestinal issues and increase the risk of stroke as well as lead to heart muscle deterioration and bleeding in the brain. In emotional and mental health terms, excessive use of drinks and drugs is linked to all manner of mental health conditions.

These include depression, anxiety, self-harm, psychosis, and suicide attempts. Even in the short term, using marijuana alone can bring on an elevated heart rate, mood swings, impaired cognition, paranoia, and hallucinations.

But an important question that many people want to know the answer to is: would I have got my mental health problems if I had not drunk and/or used drugs so much in the past? Many are convinced that it is their abuse of alcohol and drugs that has left them struggling now.

Causes and effects of alcohol and drug use

Cause and effect

For anyone who’s struggling today with mental health problems, it cannot be said for certain whether any past abuse of alcohol or drugs was the only cause. But it most likely is not.

Abusing drugs and alcohol certainly will not have helped in any way – but the majority of mental health conditions usually start in childhood. It is frequently due to trauma, toxic shame, or some form of a “failure of love”

From then on, into teens and adulthood, people try to find ways to cope with what has happened to them or that they may have witnessed too. What we often think of as character traits are frequently in fact coping mechanisms. They’re not the true self.

Our modern-day society plays its part as well. As physician, addiction expert and author Dr. Gabor Maté says: “Illness in this society, physical or mental, they are not abnormalities. They are normal responses to an abnormal culture. This culture is abnormal when it comes to real human needs.

“It’s not a conscious choice; it’s more an automatic decision the young self makes to stay afloat in stressful emotional waters. Through no conscious will of your own, and for perfectly understandable reasons that had to do with your own emotional survival and thus were valid at the time, you have developed a personality style that has turned out to be bad for your health in the long run.”

So with all this in mind, it is perhaps to be thought that it is not the drink or drug abuse that has caused – or at least solely caused – the mental health issues someone has today. What they can do is make it more obvious that there is a problem or make problems worse.

This is the reason that psychiatrist and author of one of the world’s bestselling recovery books, The Road Less Traveled, said that alcoholism was the “sacred disease” – because it brings people to their knees sooner than most other mental health illnesses. Consequently, with no denial that there’s any problem, those people are more likely to seek the help they desperately need much more swiftly. 

A chemical taste 

Consider that esteemed psychiatrist Carl Jung said of excessive alcohol use that it was: “The equivalent, on a low level, of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: the union with God.”

In the hippy and rave scenes in particular there was clearly a spiritual element and attraction about them that many people were seeking through such as marijuana, LSD, and ecstasy. But there was also the great togetherness of people, as with all of the cultural movements.

For many people involved it gave them the loving family they’d perhaps never had. Excessive use of drink and drugs is often a way of trying to push down trauma, toxic shame, and overwhelmingly painful negative feelings about a failure of love.

When it started in the late 1980s, the rave scene was driven by house music, but also the drug ecstasy. The word “ecstasy” itself derives from Greek words meaning “standing outside oneself”.

For many who did not like what was going on in their insides, it was the greatest antidote for a while. It can be the same with drink, other drugs, and behavioral addictions such as work, relationships, sugar, gaming, and gambling.

Before people danced all night on it, ecstasy had been nicknamed “empathy” and had even been used in relationship counseling. It is a drug that gave people taking it at raves and in clubs from the 1980s onwards the chemically enhanced taste of togetherness, a family, which they craved – that perhaps was missing for many of them from their family of origin.

This can be said to be the same for any of the “tribes”. Also, there is an element of it for sports fans.

Mental health issues develop due to many complex reasons and in a multitude of ways. So it remains extremely difficult to know why some people suffer while others don’t seem to at all. In fact, they may be struggling, but some people are better at hiding it than others. Our friendly experienced team has helped people with all emotional disturbances and mental health problems. Get in touch with us today for a confidential chat about what we can do for you or someone you love.

Tattoo addiction

Understanding plastic surgery and tattoo addiction

Since time began our ancestors have been modifying their bodies and faces. These piercings, tattoos, and scarring were for identification, rites of passage, and sometimes to act as scary deterrents to any potential foes.

Modern-day Western cultural styles of body modification as we know it today started with the punk rock movement of the late 1970s. This in turn, as with so much of modern culture, was heavily influenced by singer David Bowie from the beginning of the 1970s.

Bowie of course was famous for wearing make-up and having dangly earrings when men in regular society just didn’t wear earrings. At the time, as with the punks a few years later, there was utter outrage about this with headline stories in newspapers.

Before then, pirates were renowned for wearing large gold hoop earrings. It’s believed this was to ensure if their body washed ashore whoever found the body could use the gold hoop as payment for a funeral.

In the Gypsy or Romani communities earrings have also been traditionally worn by both men and women. One reason is that an earring was worn by children after the death of a male relative.

Some Native Americans had traditional tattoos. In fact, many indigenous people around the world – such as the Maoris of New Zealand and Koita people of Papua New Guinea – had tattoos that had been part of their culture for centuries.

America’s first tattooist and plastic surgeon

Tattoo and addiction

America’s first professional tattoo artist is considered to be a man called Martin Hildebrandt. He opened a New York City tattoo shop in 1846 that swiftly became popular with American Civil War soldiers.

What is commonly known today as plastic surgery also has a surprisingly long history. There are records of reconstructive surgery techniques being performed in India in 800 BC. 

America’s first plastic surgeon was John Peter Mettauer based in Virginia. He performed the first cleft palate operation in the 1820s.

But the innovator of modern-day plastic surgery is considered to be Sir Harold Gillies in London. During the First World War, he developed many modern facial surgery techniques to treat soldiers with disfiguring facial injuries.

Most common cosmetic-surgery procedures

It’s really in the past few decades though that cosmetic surgery as a voluntarily chosen surgery has boomed. It is performed on various parts of the body in an attempt to improve a person’s appearance.

In fact, the amount of cosmetic procedures performed in America has nearly doubled in the past 20 years. The latest figures show that 16 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the US in just one year.

The most common procedures are eyelid surgery, liposuction, abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck”), and breast reduction or augmentation. But increasingly as well all sorts of body modifications are growing in popularity – piercings, getting branded, being scarified, having the tongue split, and subdermal implants.

Many people start with fully understandable reasons for tattoos, plastic surgery, and other body modifications. These are such as seeking to enhance attractiveness and sex appeal, to be an individual, and to tell their story, because they love the creativity involved and to deliver a resistant message to normal society.

Other reasons are that people like the challenge of the pain they will have to endure in getting their body modification done. No form of anesthesia is allowed as they are not performed by physicians.

Some say the physical pain gives them mental clarity and boosts spirituality. This creates a feeling of increased connection to a greater power.

Body modification addiction

Plastic surgery

But all of these body modifications can become an addiction. The reasons behind it are much like any addiction whether that’s to alcohol, drugs, or a behavioral addiction such as shopping, work, sex, or gambling.

That includes getting some sort of high from it. This is due to the release of adrenaline and endorphins.

Another is that it acts as a distraction. That’s not just the procedure itself – but the entire preparation, recovery, and then the modification itself with all the attention it will usually bring.

In this way, it can be an attractive short-term method to mask or numb painful memories and feelings. People who get addicted to something are nearly always intensely hurting inside.

It’s an inside job

Most frequently this is from childhood trauma. But some people do suffer from traumas later in life that harshly affects them too – including experiencing war or a terrible accident, being the victim of a crime, or losing loved ones, especially suddenly and unexpectedly.

Tragically any addiction usually gets progressively worse. That is unless what is underneath it is looked at and treated.

For many people who get into what is now frequently known as “body mods”, it becomes an addiction. They have a new tattoo, piercing, or a cosmetic procedure – but are very soon craving another.

Perhaps this can be because they are seeking a new high, and most likely unbeknown to them another distraction as painful feelings start to push up again. As with addiction to a drug, alcohol, or behavior, there is the attempt to use something external to deal with what is internal.

Certain mental health disorders can be behind it. For instance, some people who look to change their appearance have body dysmorphic disorder.

This is a psychological disorder in which a person becomes obsessed with imaginary or perceived defects in their appearance. Sometimes it can lead to a plastic surgery addiction.

If you or someone you know might be addicted to a form of body modification, then professional help is most likely needed from someone with expertise in these matters.

We will carefully listen to everyone who seeks help with us. We have successful proven treatments that we fully personalize for each of our guests.

We are right next to a beautiful tranquil lake set in stunning nature that immensely helps recovery. Our luxury mansion has been lovingly created and furnished for everyone’s total relaxation.

Our friendly staff members have treated people with all mental health issues for decades now. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you or someone you know.

Addiction from prescription drugs

Addicted to prescription drugs?

Most people who take prescription drugs do so responsibly. But it is possible to become dangerously addicted to them. 

In fact, millions of Americans already are addicted. Many of those abusing them don’t realize that these medications can have the same serious health consequences as illegal street drugs.

Just because some drugs are prescribed by a medical expert does not make them less of a risk to health or any less potentially addictive. Prescription drug addiction can cause exactly the same problems and tragedy as addiction to alcohol or illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, around two million Americans misused prescription pain relievers for the first time within the previous 12 months. In addition, 1.5 million people misused tranquilizers; more than a million misused prescription stimulants, and 271,000 misused sedatives for the first time.

Prescription drug abuse is highest among adults aged 18 to 25, with nearly 15 percent using a medication in a non-medical manner. Several studies have found clear connections between prescription drug abuse and heavy alcohol use, higher rates of cigarette smoking, as well as the use of marijuana, cocaine, and other illegal drugs.

Addiction issues are just the same whether the drugs are prescribed or illegal. Beating the addiction can be just as difficult.

What are the most commonly abused prescription drugs?

Some prescription drug abusers begin after being given legitimate prescriptions for a medical issue. But they then get addicted to the medication, and take more than prescribed and more frequently than has been recommended.

But others will get them in another way: such as with forged prescription notes or from a dealer. Prescribed drugs that are most regularly abused are:

Opioids

Most often prescribed for pain, opioids produce a euphoric sedative effect. This includes such as tramadol that an increasing number of people are getting addicted to each year. Meperidine is another form of opioid sold under the brand name Demerol that’s used to treat moderate to severe pain.

Fentanyl

A synthetic opioid, it’s prescribed for acute pain. It creates feelings of euphoria and is up to 50 times stronger than heroin. But it is increasingly being used as a “recreational” drug frequently mixed with methamphetamine, cocaine or heroin.

Codeine

Used to treat mild to moderate pain as well as cold and flu symptoms in such as cough syrup. It can cause altered consciousness and has a sedative effect. Increasingly it is being used in a recreational drug cocktail known as “lean”, “purple drank” or “sizzurp”.

Alprazolam

Commonly sold under the brand name Xanax, alprazolam is a benzodiazepine (tranquilizer) used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. But it’s also misused for its swift sedating effects. It’s one of the most highly addictive prescription drugs.

Clonazepam & diazepam

These are benzodiazepines that are also used to treat panic disorders and anxiety. Clonazepam is most often sold under the brand name Klonopin; diazepam is mostly sold as Valium. But they are also often misused for their sedative effects and people can get highly addicted very quickly.

Amphetamine

Adderall is a prescription drug that creates similar effects to methamphetamine and so it is used as a stimulant for alertness and to increase productivity.  According to a report in The Washington Times, an estimated five million Americans are illegally using prescription stimulants.

Methylphenidate

Mostly sold under the brand name Ritalin, methylphenidate boosts the brain’s dopamine levels. It’s used to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). But people abusing it can become highly addicted.

Prescription drugs addiction treatment

Major signs of prescription drug addiction

Prescription drug addiction can be harder to spot or admit than with illegal drugs or alcohol. This is because someone, for instance, addicted to a strong prescribed painkiller for a bad back may justify their abuse due to their physical condition.

Yet if they were to get honest with themselves they would admit they were addicted to the high the medication gave them. Prescription drug abusers can be very ingenious when it comes to hiding and denying their addiction.

However, there are some common signs that can show someone has a prescription drug addiction. These include:

  • Becoming defensive or angry when challenged about their use of prescription drugs.

  • Shopping online for prescription drugs.

  • Frequently visiting their physician.

  • Work, studies and/or home life suffers.

  • Less pride about personal appearance.

  • Constantly bringing attention to and complaining about health conditions that give them reason for taking prescription drugs.
  • Side effects can include mood swings, increased anxiety, sleep problems, drowsiness, being unsteady, memory issues and poor decision-making.


A hidden danger with prescription drug addiction is the mistaken belief that because doctors prescribe them they must be safe. But these drugs are prescription-only because they can be addictive and have serious health consequences.

If you think you might have a problem with prescription drugs or think someone you know has, it’s vitally important to seek immediate professional help.

Our expert team has treated people with all mental health conditions and addictions. Contact us now to hear how we can help you or someone you know.

Benefits of beating an addiction

Top six benefits of beating an addiction

When most people think of addiction they usually connect it with someone who’s addicted to drugs. This is certainly part of it – but there are many different addictions that can all adversely affect someone and those around them too.

This can range from an addiction to alcohol and drugs such as marijuana and heroin (and it can also include prescribed drugs like tramadol and Adderall) to behavioral addictions. This is a type of addiction that involves a compulsion to engage in a rewarding non-substance-related behavior.

It is similar to drink or drug addiction in that the person has scant regard for the mental, physical, financial  or social consequences of their behavior. It includes being addicted to gambling, sex, work, shopping, social media and gaming.

Any addiction can be described as indulging in something that is detrimental to the person and/or those around them – but that they cannot stop and stay stopped from doing.

Reasons behind addiction

Why do people become addicts?

There are many reasons why people become addicted to something. One reason is that they get some sort of high or reward from it.

Another is that it acts as a distraction. That’s not just the taking, using or doing – but the whole preparation, the frequent deceit that’s connected to it all, and then the coming out the other side and dealing with such as hangovers, comedowns and any mess or situations that were created.

Most addictions are all-consuming – and like that for a reason. It’s because another key reason someone becomes addicted to something is that they are attempting to mask or numb feelings that are so painful they are overwhelming.

Most addicts are people who are hurting inside very badly. Most often this is from a childhood trauma, although people do suffer from traumas later in life that adversely affect them too. Toxic shame and what is described as a “failure of love” often play a huge part too.

One of the most tragic things about addiction is that it gets progressively worse unless someone gets treatment. All addictions can be summed up by the slogan: the person took a drink; the drink took a person.

Living a healthy life after quitting an addiction

What are the benefits of quitting an addiction?

Thankfully, there are proven successful ways to beat any addiction. Regular one-on-one therapy and the Twelve Steps recovery program have both proved extremely effective over the years.

Many people who are abusing drink or drugs will need to detox first. This always needs to be managed by a team with expertise in detoxing as trying to detox at home can be dangerous.

But whatever the addiction, there are immense benefits from quitting, some more obvious than others. 

Here are six major benefits of beating an addiction:

1. Boosted energy & enthusiasm

One of the first benefits many people notice when they quit an addiction is that they have much more energy and a clearer head.

They will realize just how much of their thinking and energy was spent on an addiction. All that planning and preparation, the using, the getting through the hangovers and comedowns… It’s an utterly exhausting way to live.

Clarity of thought has a positive impact. Decision-making vastly improves and consequently there is less stress in life.

From working and parenting to playing sports or studying, there’ll be much more energy – and that’s all hugely beneficial.

2. Quality sleep

If drink or drugs were the problem, people will realize once they quit that what they thought was sleep was often more like “passing out” and waking up was “coming to”. It was not a decent sleep at all.

Poor sleep is often connected to stress, anxiety and depression. So it was a vicious cycle.

When tired we all tend to be more easily irritated and less tolerant. So a sound sleep is good for us and people around us, such as our family, friends and colleagues.

In recovery, people will look at anything that’s been taking their peace of mind. So as these things are dealt with, sleep will improve – and that has great benefits for each day as they wake up feeling refreshed and fully charged.

3. Improved health

When we sleep our body restores us. So having decent sleep improves our overall physical and mental health.  

Our immune system strengthens and that means we’re less likely to catch an illness. But if we do, we will recover much more quickly.

Having a good sleep and clearing our heads from all the problems of an addiction also makes it much less likely that we’ll have accidents or make mistakes. Life will be much less chaotic.

It means that instead of skipping meals or snatching something unhealthy while on the go, as many people with addictions do, there will be regular and relaxed meal times. Naturally health benefits will come too from not drinking excessively or using drugs that physically and mentally harm.

If a behavioral addiction was the problem then there will be much less stress in life. As is well known, stress is not beneficial to our health.

4. More spending power

It’s so commonly asked in utter bewilderment by many people when they get into recovery: how did I ever afford my addiction?

Obviously money that’s not spent on things such as drink, drugs, gambling and so on is available to spend on other much better things.

Also as people function better and have clearer heads for decision-making they will perform better at work – which can significantly boost earning power.

5. Increased hours

It’s often overlooked and not realized until it comes back after quitting an addiction: there’s much more time every day.

No more time is wasted on planning and preparation for the addiction; the taking, using, drinking or doing; and then the hangover or comedown. As well, picking up the pieces of the mess that’s all too often created.

Not to mention the energy that used to be spent on the deceit that frequently comes with an addiction. There will also be much less sick days and those hours of just getting through a day due to the negative impact of the day and/or night before.

So in recovery there are many more hours for the best things in life: spending time with family and friends, doing hobbies and pastimes, or just simply relaxing.

Life in addiction gets increasingly narrow as the addiction takes over. It is the opposite in recovery – and life opens up to some amazing new places, people and experiences.

6. You discover your true meaning

Just as addictions get progressively worse, so too recovery – if worked at on a daily basis – will get progressively better. This doesn’t mean spending hours every day, but usually means just doing a few things first thing and perhaps in the day too.

One of the greatest discoveries that people who quit addictions find is that they gain the chance to find out who they really are. All that drink, all those drugs and all those unhealthy behavioral addictions were keeping the real person down.

Recovery involves looking at reasons why someone became addicted to something. When these reasons are dealt with it allows the real person to shine through.

Consequently emotional health gets increasingly stronger. So aspects of living well such as having healthy boundaries will improve.

Being free from an addiction means people can feel their feelings. They will start to realize that our feelings are there to help us process, deal with and grow from things that happen in life.

Also, there is often spiritual growth that gives a great many lives a whole new meaning. As people discover their meaning it gives happiness and a priceless peace of mind.

It takes courage to reach out for help. But the results can be amazing for someone who does – and it will be of immense benefit to all those around them too.

Our luxury mansion home is in an inspirational stunning natural setting beside a beautiful calm and tranquil lake. It’s ideal for anyone’s recovery.

Every treatment we offer is totally individualized, so that it works in the swiftest and most effective manner for each of our guests. This is also to ensure recovery is strong and enduring – so it continues when you leave us.

Get in touch with us right now to speak in complete confidence. Find out how we can help you or someone you love.

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