Telehealth for Addiction

Benefits of Telehealth for Addiction

Telehealth is one form of treatment that has resulted in promising results in addiction recovery management. There are many benefits that can be reaped from the different forms of telehealth for addiction. In this article, learn more about telehealth and how it can benefit the addiction treatment industry from a Florida recovery center.

What is Telehealth for Addiction?

Telehealth is the practice of using telecommunication, such as phone calls and video conferencing software, to provide care services. By using the internet, patients can access a variety of services without having to travel anywhere. This can include possible treatment options for their addiction or mental health disorder.

Benefits of Telehealth for Addiction

The use of technology has allowed doctors to treat patients that are not available to make it to the office for a face-to-face appointment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth became extremely useful because it allowed patients to remain isolated in their homes while still getting the care they needed. These are a few of the many benefits that telehealth has to offer patients dealing with addiction.

1. Quick Screening and Intervention

One of the more prominent benefits of telehealth is that it can be used to screen and help patients quickly. Patients can have an online assessment done, and the results are given quickly. This quick screening can then be followed up with a full treatment plan. Interventions can be done at any time or location that is best for the family.

2. Reduces Stigma

Studies have shown that the stigma associated with addiction has had some effect on whether people seek out treatment for it or not. Telehealth allows individuals to seek treatment in a less stigmatized environment, which can reduce the likelihood of them not seeking treatment.

3. Increased Accessibility

Telehealth has allowed for decreased costs for patients seeking treatment. With the expansion of telehealth treatment options, people can have a more accessible addiction recovery plan. This is especially beneficial to impoverished patients who may not have the financial means to afford an in-person care option or for those that cannot take time away from work or family commitments for a full-time, residential program.

4. Treatment from Anywhere

One of the most significant advantages of telehealth is that there is no need to be at a certain location in order to obtain treatment. Patients can become instantly connected with services that are thousands of miles away from them, allowing them to get help when they need it most. This is especially beneficial for those who have moved away or otherwise become geographically isolated.

5. Help Outside Office Hours

An age-old problem with addiction treatment is the inability to receive help at times when it is most needed. With telehealth, patients can have access to a doctor or therapist after hours in order to work through issues that are often present during those late evening hours. This is an especially beneficial option for those who have unsupportive families or live in unsafe environments.

6. No Travel Costs

One of the largest costs of receiving treatment is the amount of time and money patients must dedicate to travel for appointments or treatment centers. Telehealth has allowed patients to remain in the comfort of their homes, and with the assistance of telehealth providers, treatment can be accessed wherever they are. While many people travel out of state for residential care, telehealth is a great option for those that are not able to afford traveling.

7. It’s Less Expensive Overall

A general misconception is that all forms of treatment are expensive, which is not always the case. Telehealth can be used to provide patients with the care they need at a significantly lower cost than other treatment methods. This is great for those who may have a hard time affording even one in-person appointment, but can still benefit from the care available through telehealth.

8. Part of a Holistic Approach to Complement In-Person Treatment

Telehealth can be a part of an addiction recovery program. It does not have to be all in-person or all telehealth. This combination of treatment options allows for a more holistic approach to addiction recovery that can be tailored to the needs of the patient.

9. Beneficial to Aftercare Programs

Telehealth can be used to better facilitate aftercare programs. Patients can have an ongoing care plan with follow-up sessions that are monitored through a video conferencing program to provide ongoing care after treatment. Aftercare programs can make it easier for patients to maintain sobriety in the early stages of recovery.
As technology continues to develop, telehealth is expected to become more prevalent in the addiction recovery industry. As more people begin using telehealth and become aware of its usefulness, more clinics and treatment centers are likely to adopt these services in order to provide a greater range of options for their patients. As more people seek out treatment, there will be a greater need for these services.
Because of the nature of telehealth and the benefits it provides, it has created a new environment for addiction recovery. By using technology to connect patients with care options that are local and global, there is more access to treatment that much more convenient for individuals who need it most.
Telehealth for addiction can also help more people to access recovery from a Florida addiction and recovery center even if they live far away. If you have more questions about telehealth or about addiction recovery, contact Harmony Stuart to speak with one of our representatives today. We can help you to start the treatment process and to avoid the traps of early sobriety.

What is the Difference Between Alcohol Misuse and Abuse?

man in a hooded sweatshirt drinking alcohol outside

Although many people use terms like ‘addiction,’ ‘abuse,’ ‘problem drinker’ as though they were interchangeable, they can mean different things. This can lead to a variety of difficulties– especially when considering an intervention– so it is imperative that everyone understand these nuances of meaning. Toward that end, this post will discuss alcohol misuse vs. abuse.

The Drinking Spectrum

While there are certainly large areas of overlap, any discussion of alcohol misuse vs. abuse should begin with specific definitions of the two terms. However, before we can do that, it will be helpful to summarize the symptoms of alcohol use disorder. Here are the criteria the DSM-5 has established for diagnosing someone with an alcohol use disorder:

  • Consuming more alcohol for a longer period than intended
  • Making failed attempts to stop drinking
  • Excessive time and energy to facilitate drinking
  • Alcohol cravings or preoccupation
  • Repeated neglect of important responsibilities due to alcohol use
  • Person continues to drink excessively despite negative social, legal, or interpersonal consequences
  • The drinker becomes so preoccupied with alcohol consumption that formerly important recreational, social, and work-related activities are neglected
  • Continued use of alcohol in dangerous environments or situations
  • A person who has a physical or mental health condition that was brought on or worsened by alcohol continues to drink excessively
  • A significant increase in alcohol tolerance
  • The drinker begins to experience withdrawal symptoms when they go too long without drinking, typically symptoms that can only be alleviated by more alcohol

As you can see, these are not the reactions of a social or moderate drinker. Social or moderate drinkers typically do not experience more than an occasional negative consequence because of their alcohol consumption. If one or more of these are present in you or a loved one’s behavior, the only real question is whether you are dealing with alcohol misuse or abuse.

Alcohol Misuse Vs. Abuse: How to Tell the Difference

It might seem a bit overly clinical, but the best way to discern between problem drinking and alcohol abuse is to use the symptoms listed above as a barometer. These tendencies just don’t show up in the temperate drinker. So how do you use these symptoms to differentiate between the two higher levels of drinking?

Here is the short version. Alcohol abuse applies to anyone who has experienced two or more of the above symptoms over the course of a year. If these symptoms manifest with less frequency, you are probably dealing with a case of alcohol misuse.

Obviously, the discussion of alcohol misuse vs. abuse involves fluid categories that can make it difficult to make an accurate diagnosis. Fortunately, you can look at other factors as well. The amount of alcohol someone consumes is a great indicator of where they stand on the drinking spectrum:

  • For men, drinking more than an average of two drinks a day is considered alcohol misuse. Treatment may be necessary at this point.
  • If a man consumes an average of 4 or more drinks a day, he is engaging in alcohol abuse and needs immediate treatment.
  • For women, drinking more than one drink a day is considered alcohol misuse. Depending on how their drinking affects their lives, these women may or may not be in need of treatment.
  • A woman who consumes more than 3 drinks a day is abusing alcohol and should seek help immediately.

This is an incomplete guide to the alcohol misuse vs. abuse debate, but it is certainly a great place to start if you’re concerned about someone’s drinking. Please consider treatment options if you or a loved one falls into the misuse or abuse category.

What Does Alcohol Abuse do to the Body?

alcohol being poured into a glass

Excessive drinking– whether it’s the occasional binge or an everyday occurrence– has a profoundly negative effect on a variety of major life areas. One of these areas that are often ignored is the alcohol abuse effects on the body. Needless to say, this lack of attention can lead to life-altering or even fatal consequences.

This post is intended to draw the problem drinker’s attention to the health problems associated with chronic alcoholism. Read on for a detailed look at alcohol abuse effects on the body.

Moderate vs Excessive Drinking

How much is too much when it comes to alcohol consumption and its effects it has on your body? Obviously, the answer to this question depends on a variety of highly individualized factors. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website contains a very revealing discussion of the differences between moderate and heavy drinking.

Here’s a quick summary of these differences:

  • Anyone who drinks less than one or two drinks a day (the number is usually lower for women than men) is considered a moderate drinker.
  • It’s important to remember, however, that moderate drinkers sometimes increase their consumption and begin to drink excessively in a relatively short amount of time.
  • Both binge drinking and chronically heavy drinking are considered excessive and can lead to profoundly negative health outcomes
  • Binge drinking is defined by consuming more than 4-5 drinks during a single day or session
  • A man who regularly consumes more than 15 drinks a week is considered a heavy drinker, while a woman who consumes over 8 drinks a week qualifies.
  • While this type of heavy drinking does not make someone an alcoholic, it can still lead to a number of health problems.

Alcohol Abuse Effects on the Body

Contrary to a once-popular belief, alcohol-related health problems don’t stop in the liver. Yes, excessive drinking can do permanent damage to the liver, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore the rest of your body. Here are some of the ways that heavy or alcoholic drinking can negatively affect the body:

Brain functioning

Excessive drinking can lead to speech problems, depression, erratic behavior, and cognitive dysfunction.

Heart problems

Not surprisingly, heavy drinkers often experience heart conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, and arrhythmia.

Cancer

Study after study has shown researchers that there is a strong correlation between high levels of drinking and several different forms of cancer. Cancers of the neck, head, and liver are commonly associated with problem drinking. Heavy drinkers are also more likely than the average person to develop breast and esophageal cancers.

An Important Reminder

The purpose of this post was twofold. First, we wanted to provide a detailed account of the physical dangers of excessive drinking and help drinkers remain self-aware. Obviously, this is potentially life-saving knowledge for the true alcoholic.

However, it’s important that excessive drinkers and their families understand that you don’t have to qualify as an alcoholic to experience alcohol abuse effects on the body. Keep this uncomfortable fact in mind when you find yourself drinking more than you’d like and you’ll have a much better chance of avoiding alcohol-related health problems.

5 Of The Most Common Signs of Late-Stage Alcoholism

man suffering from end-stage alcoholism with his head down on a table

Alcoholism is the layperson’s name for alcohol use disorder. It is a disease marked by excessive alcohol consumption and, eventually, dependence. Alcoholism affects every bodily system, including the brain and a person’s decision-making abilities. Alcohol use disorder is not necessarily considered a disease by most people, but no one would deny that it has disastrous effects.

Late-Stage Alcoholism

This is especially true of late-stage alcoholism. Late-stage alcoholism (or end-stage alcoholism) is the final stage of alcohol use disorder. Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive condition that tends to get worse and worse over time. It typically starts with social drinking and then worsens as the person starts to need alcohol in order to feel normal. If this continues long enough, it becomes alcohol dependence. This means that the drinker begins to experience withdrawal symptoms when alcohol isn’t available.

Finally, the addiction to alcohol progresses to late-stage alcoholism. This is when the drinker starts to experience shattered relationships, financial hardship, and a variety of grave physical ailments. The immune system becomes compromised, for instance, a situation that leaves the victim open to a number of serious illnesses. Brain, heart, and liver damage can also occur during this final stage of alcohol use disorder. Eventually, if left untreated, it can also lead to premature death.

Five Common Signs of Late-Stage Alcoholism

Because of the inherent dangers of late-stage alcoholism, the ability to identify it is critical to any possible recovery. Contrary to many opinions, it is never too late to treat alcoholism and begin to reverse its negative effects. Here are five signs that can help you identify when you or a loved one has entered late-stage alcoholism.

  • Risky behavior. Because alcoholism affects decision-making abilities, an addict might take dangerous risks. Drinking and driving, or binge-drinking are examples of this behavior.
  • Damaging relationships. Alcohol abuse can cause a person to neglect important relationships and responsibilities. They might miss work, or lie to loved ones. This also isolates the addict.
  • Severe withdrawal. By the final stage of alcoholism, the brain is dependent on alcohol. Trying to stop drinking might cause reactions such as tremors, anxiety, and even seizures.
  • Physical changes. Late-stage alcoholism can cause physical symptoms. Extreme weight changes, puffy face, low energy, red eyes, shaky hands, and lax hygiene are all serious warning signs.
  • The development of alcohol-related illnesses. Over time, alcohol scars the liver, causing cirrhosis. Brain damage is also possible, leading to blurred vision, or trouble walking. Late-stage addiction can also cause heart attacks, strokes, and various types of cancer.

Recognition is Key

Alcoholism progresses through different stages, eventually leading to dependency and addiction. Late-stage alcoholism is the final stage of alcohol use disorder. People at this stage often suffer great mental and physical hardships as a result of their addiction. If not treated, late-stage alcoholism may even result in death.

Late-stage alcoholics are dangerously dependent on alcohol, making alcohol withdrawal very uncomfortable and painful. Because of this, it is hard to stop drinking without help. Luckily, alcohol addiction is always a treatable condition. This is why it is important to recognize the signs that late-stage alcohol brings with it. The five red flags we’ve discussed can detect when ‘simple dependence’ has become an emergency.

Is Alcoholism a Disease or a Choice?

man pouring beer from a tap

Humanity’s relationship with alcohol is almost as old as civilization itself. Almost as soon as people discovered fermentation, it became apparent that some people could become dependent on alcohol. In 1784, physician and father of the American temperance movement, Benjamin Rush, identified an “uncontrollable and irresistible desire to consume alcohol” among certain people.(1) For most of human history, however, alcoholism was seen as a moral shortcoming or a lack of discipline.

People suffering from alcoholism were said to be “unable to hold their liquor”. This misconception has stubbornly persisted into the present day, unfortunately. Why laypeople might view alcoholism this way is somewhat understandable. Most of us are still conditioned to think of disease only as an acquired infection like influenza or an illness like cancer. Others see the disease model as a “cop-out” or an attempt by the addict or alcoholic to shirk responsibility. Mental illness in general, is still widely misunderstood and unfortunately can carry a certain stigma.

Alcoholism is Classified as a Disease

Some may be surprised to know that the debate over whether to categorize alcoholism and addiction as a disease was largely settled in the medical and scientific community more than 60 years ago. In fact, the American Medical Association formally recognized alcoholism and addiction as a disease as early as 1956. (2) The AMA’s position was even cited in the U.S. Supreme Court case (Budd v. California, 385 U.S. 909 (1966) (3). Dr. William Silkworth of New York City’s Towns Hospital is widely recognized as the first clinician to study and endorse the disease model of alcoholism. His pioneering work in treating alcoholics and advising the founders of Alcoholic Anonymous was directly responsible for transforming the way the medical community viewed alcoholism.

As Alcoholics Anonymous grew as a new resource for people struggling with alcohol, clinicians and scientists began to study the phenomenon of alcoholism and addiction from a different point of view. In the past, most chronic relapse patients were seen as “lost causes”, destined to be institutionalized for what was left of their lives. Following the work of Dr. Silkworth and others, they recognized that medical treatment combined with social intervention and therapy was yielding more promising results than anyone had seen with traditional methods alone. Today alcohol dependence is understood as a disease and listed as such in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Treatment for Alcoholism is Still Evolving

Thanks to the revolution in gene research, we are beginning to unravel the genetic component which makes some people so much more susceptible to chronic alcohol abuse. Two genes related to alcohol metabolism, ADH1B and ALDH2 have shown the strongest correlation with the risk of alcoholism. (4) The greater scientific understanding of the roots of alcoholism paired with a more data-driven approach to treatment has brought a new era in addiction treatment to fruition. Perhaps more than ever, the medical and recovery communities are working as partners and the long-term efficacy of treatment for alcoholism is the focus. It’s widely accepted that recognizing alcoholism as a disease was the essential sea change that needed to occur for more effective treatment to begin to be developed.

(1) https://academic.oup.com/alcalc/article/35/1/10/142396
(2) https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/318639
(3) https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/court-listened-ama-defining-alcoholism-disease-not-crime
(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4056340/

Rebuilding Foster Care Families in the Aftermath of Addiction

Foster Care and Addiction

It’s no secret that addiction tears families apart, this is especially true in the case of foster care. Studies have shown one in three children in the program were admitted due to parental substance abuse. But what happens when parents are in recovery and their children are able to come home. How do you heal the trauma that tore the family apart? 

 

Communicate 

Talk about what has happened, apologize, listen to their feelings. Depending on their age, this may be the time to have an open discussion with them and communicate honestly. Make sure they know that their feelings are valid, that you hear them, and of course, that you love them. 

 

Create a “New Normal” 

Children and families thrive on consistency. Try to create routines in your everyday life, maybe every night you have dinner at 6pm together. Or every morning you listen to the radio. Small things can make a difference in creating a feeling of consistency. Consider creating new traditions. Maybe every Saturday morning you take a walk together as a family or every Sunday you make pancakes. Making traditions make ordinary days feel special and make memories that last. 

 

Be Patient and Don’t Play the Guilt Game

Just because you’re in a different place now doesn’t mean you can expect things to change overnight. You may feel closed out or be frustrated by how your relationship building is going, but remember to be patient. This process takes time, particularly with older children. Don’t guilt them for holding a grudge or not responding the way you want them to. With time and consistency you can rebuild, but don’t put your expectations onto them. 

 

Keep Showing Up

It might be hard to face the circumstances, and new requirements such as supervised visitation however no matter what, continue to be there for them. It might take weeks, months, or even years for them to recover, feel safe, and accept the “new normal.” Regardless of how distant they may be, even when they act out or misbehave, stay with them. They need you and are likely testing your limits to see if you are here to stay. Be truly there for them. Show up, every day, in whatever way you can. 

 

Every scenario looks different. The ultimate goal is to heal, and let go of resentments and the shame. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and their children have been placed in foster care our case managers might be able to help. Contact us below or click here.

What Is an Alcohol Urine Test?

What Is an Alcohol Urine Test?

The EtG test is commonly used to identify the presence of ethyl glucuronide in the urine of a person who may have consumed alcohol. Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) is a metabolite of ethanol, the intoxicating component in alcohol. It can also be screened for in blood, hair, and nails, but the alcohol urine test is the most commonly used because it is cheaper than other tests and, when compared to blood screens, much less invasive.

Who Takes EtG Tests?

EtG tests are used to detect alcohol abstinence or non-compliance under circumstances in which drinking is not allowed, including the following:

  • Alcohol treatment programs
  • As legally required for a DUI/DWI probation
  • Liver transplant patients
  • Schools
  • Military
  • Professional monitoring programs (e.e, airline pilots, healthcare professionals, etc.)
  • Court cases (e.g., child custody)

EtG test is not typically used in workplace testing programs as it does not measure a person’s current level of impairment from alcohol. Furthermore, because alcohol is legal in most areas of the U.S., it’s not a commonly administered test because alcohol could have been consumed days before a person is required to work. And if they show signs of impairment, it is not really a helpful tool on the spot.

What Is an Alcohol Urine Test?

Detection Window

Urine tests are quite sensitive and can detect very low levels of alcohol, and can do so up to five days after consumption. In studies of subjects who did not have alcohol use disorders, EtG was identified in urine samples for as long as 80 hours (or 3.3 days) after heavy alcohol consumption.

Limitations

One drawback of the EtG testing method is that it can sometimes produce a positive result from exposure to alcohol that’s present in many common household goods, including mouthwash. Other examples of environmental or home products that contain alcohol include the following:


  • Foods prepared with alcohol
  • Cleaning products
  • Breath sprays
  • Hand sanitizers


  • Hygiene products
  • Aftershave lotion
  • Cosmetics
  • Hair color dye


In reality, there are hundreds of household goods that contain ethanol, and exposure to them could potentially lead to a false positive on an EtG screen.

Interpreting Alcohol Consumption Results

high positive EtG test (>1,000ng/mL) may indicate the following:

  • Excessive drinking on the testing day or the day before
  • Light-moderate drinking on the testing day

low positive EtG test (500 to 1,000ng/mL) may indicate the following:

  • Excessive drinking within the previous three days
  • Light alcohol consumption within the past day
  • Recent heavy exposure to environmental products containing alcohol with the last day

very low positive EtG test (100 to 500 ng/mL) may indicate the following:

  • Excessive drinking within the past three days
  • Light alcohol consumption within the past 12-36 hours
  • Recent incidental exposure to environmental products that contain alcohol

EtG is a test that can help determine if a person has been recently exposed to alcohol in some way. Therefore, it offers law enforcement and others the ability to determine if a person is compliant with alcohol abstinence or not, and can do so accurately at least 70-85% of the time.

All in all, the EtG test is considered a highly useful test for detecting recent alcohol consumption. But due to the possibility of exposure to alcohol-laden environment products, in some cases, a separate verification may be warranted. This may include a blood or breathalyzer test, depending on the situation.

Other Testing Methods for Alcohol Consumption

Two other commonly drug screening tests that can be used to detect alcohol include the following:

BAC Blood Test

For a blood test, consent to have blood drawn and tested is usually required. Moreover, refusal to take a blood test in some cases can have legal consequences, including a suspension of one’s driver’s license. In fact, people who refuse to undergo blood alcohol tests tend to incur higher fines and longer jail sentences than those who are compliant.

Blood sample screening is believed to be more accurate than breath and urine tests, but testing errors can occur and lead to inaccurate results.

BAC Breathalyzer Test

Law enforcement most commonly uses breathalyzer tests is to estimate a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) because breathalyzer devices are lightweight, easy to use, and produce immediate results. Breathalyzer results are usually considered to be admissible in a DUI/DWI prosecution case.

Getting Help for Alcoholism

If you have an alcohol abuse or addiction problem, you may be afraid that you are going to fail a urine test or other alcohol screening test. Regardless of whether or not this is true, if you are an alcoholic and ready to reclaim your life, we urge you to seek treatment as soon as possible.

Harmony Treatment and Wellness features personalized, comprehensive alcohol addiction treatment programs and services intended to treat all aspects of a person’s health and wellness. Our programs are based around behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support, which can help patients uncover the underlying causes of their addiction and identify healthier, more effective ways of coping with life’s stresses and temptations.

Contact us today if you or someone you love is ready to break the destructive cycle of alcoholism and reclaim the fulfilling life you deserve!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: How to Help an Alcoholic

Valtrex and Alcohol: Safe to Mix?

Valtrex and Alcohol | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Valtrex and Alcohol | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

When taking certain medications, whether they’re prescription or over-the-counter, it’s essential to know the risks, side effects, and potential interactions with other drugs or alcohol. Many medications do have interactions with alcohol or are generally unsafe to combine with drinking.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s best to avoid mixing alcohol with antiviral drugs. While they are no specific warnings included in the labels of these products, alcohol can compromise the effectiveness of some medications. It can also increase the risk of side effects, including dizziness, with older adults being the most susceptible.

What Is Valtrex?

Valtrex (valacyclovir) is an oral antiviral prescription drug that is used to treat shingles and the herpes virus, genital herpes, and cold sores. Valtrex is not a cure for herpes, though it does effectively reduce symptoms by impeding its spread and growth. 

NOTE: The herpes virus is much more common than many people realize. According to the World Health Organization, two-thirds (67%) of the world’s population is infected with the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1).

Valtrex also helps a person’s immune system in its fight against the infection and reduces the frequency of outbreaks. When someone uses Valtrex, it can promote the healing of cold sores and genital warts and prevent new ones from developing. It can also relieve pain and itching often associated with skin lesions.

People using Valtrex should be warned that it will not prevent herpes from spreading to another individual. It can be transmitted even when a person is asymptomatic.

Valtrex Side Effects

Side effects of Valtrex can include the following:


  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea


  • Stomach pain
  • Dizziness
  • Headache


Less common side effects include the following:


  • Mood swings
  • Agitation
  • Confusion


  • Shakiness
  • Changes in urination
  • Trouble speaking


Rarely, Valtrex can cause a condition that affects the blood cells and kidneys, which can be lethal. This disorder is more likely to occur in people who have a weakened immune system, perhaps as a result of a kidney transplant or HIV.

Valtrex and Alcohol | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Valtrex and Alcohol: Other Factors to Consider

It may be relatively safe to combine Valtrex and alcohol when a person is drinking in moderation. However, you should always consult your health provider before combining Valtrex with alcohol or any other medications or drugs.

There are also other significant factors to consider before combining Valtrex and alcohol. For one, Valtrex can cause side effects such as nausea and vomiting, which are relatively common. If you use Valtrex with alcohol, it can make side effects worse. For example, a person may be more likely to experience nausea than he or she would if Valtrex was being used on its own.

As noted, there is a chance for side effects such as dizziness with the use of Valtrex. Alcohol use can also cause dizziness, so consuming it while using Valtrex can cause this side effect to be more intense. For this reason, people who use these two substances should probably avoid certain activities while doing so.

A Word on Shingles

If a person is using Valtrex for the treatment of shingles, it is best to avoid alcohol altogether. Shingles is an infection that is caused by the same virus as chickenpox. Although shingles can occur anywhere on your body, it most often appears as a band of blisters or lesions that wraps around a person’s torso.

Unfortunately, the pain caused by shingles can be excruciating. Regular alcohol can compromise a person’s immune system and also reduce the effectiveness of medication. As with any viral infection, the immune system should ideally be operating at peak efficiency, and when alcohol is being consumed, this may not be possible.

Getting Treatment for Alcohol Abuse

There are no specific warnings against the use of alcohol with Valtrex, but it is probably best to avoid drinking while using this medication. If you have been prescribed Valtrex and have been unable to refrain from alcohol consumption, it may be time to seek professional treatment for alcohol use disorder or alcoholism.

Harmony Treatment and Wellness is a family-oriented team of highly-skilled professionals who provide individuals with the treatment and support they need to recover from substance abuse. Our caring staff specializes in customized, evidence-based treatment that is intended to offer our clients the best chances for success in the sustainment of long-term sobriety and wellness.

We offer comprehensive programs in both partial hospitalization and outpatient formats. Therapeutic services that we provide include, but are not limited to, the following:


  • Behavioral therapy
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Peer support groups
  • Music and art therapy


  • Adventure therapy
  • Health and wellness programs
  • Substance abuse education
  • Aftercare planning


We understand there is still a stigma that surrounds substance abuse. Modern addiction treatment is based on the disease model, and no longer focuses on an individual’s so-called moral failings or lack of willpower. This fact is important to stress because many people are reluctant to enter treatment, in fear that they will be judged, stigmatized, or shamed in some way.

We sincerely want to help those who need it most by giving them the tools and support they need to recover and reclaim the happy and healthy lives they deserve. If you or a loved one is struggling to quit using substances, contact us today to discuss treatment and learn how we can help!

Alcohol Relapse Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Alcohol Relapse | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

It doesn’t matter how committed you are to being sober or how long you have been sober because there is always the potential for an alcohol relapse at some point. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), relapse rates range between 40-60%—about half of all people in recovery.

Alcohol Relapse

Following a relapse, many people have feelings of guilt or regret. They may feel like giving up and succumbing to addiction rather than starting over and working hard to prevent a relapse from happening again. These feelings are normal, but they add more challenges to maintaining an alcohol-free lifestyle.

The best approach is to use this relapse as an event from which you can learn. You can alter your relapse prevention plan as needed and re-identify triggers. By delving deeper into the factors that contributed to the relapse, you can build a new foundation for recovery that will enable you to bounce back stronger than before.

Causes of Relapse

Relapsing after a period of abstinence is, unfortunately, a very common event. As noted, around half of all recovering addicts will have a moment of weakness that leads to alcohol use again. Fortunately, knowing some of the signs can help you prevent this from happening.

Signs that may foretell an imminent relapse include, but are not limited to, the following:

Failing to Make Sobriety a Priority

Without a steadfast commitment to long-term recovery, you are more likely to relapse. In order to be successful, you must be ready to embrace the hard work required to remain sober. Activities should include attending 12-step meetings, having a sponsor, and receiving therapy or counseling for co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression.

Not Having a Support Network in Place

A newly sober person requires a solid support system, and this can make the difference between sustained recovery and relapsing back into alcoholism. Ask friends and family to hold you accountable and engage in sober group activities.

Not Quitting for Yourself

In some instances, a person will enter treatment primarily to please their family or friends or because they must meet the terms of probation or other legal problems. Instead of being committed to being sober for their own sake, they feel pressure to do something they would not otherwise do. Moreover, if a person does not truly want to quit for themselves, the chance of relapse is much higher.

Being Unprepared for Life After Treatment

It’s crucial to devise a relapse prevention plan for transitioning back to the real world after treatment. Certain things can undermine sobriety, such as family dysfunction, toxic friendships, isolation, and unhealthy daily habits. By recognizing triggers early on, you can help defend your newfound sobriety.

Alcohol Relapse | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

What to Do After a Relapse

First, you need to decide whether or not you need to go back into treatment. If it was an isolated episode, and you’re dedicated to examining and adjusting your recovery plan, you may not need to go into an intensive treatment program. There are outpatient treatment programs that can help when you don’t require an inpatient stay or around-the-clock supervision.

If you’ve retreated back into an extended pattern of alcohol abuse, however, you will want to consider returning to a more strict treatment program. Moreover, if you have been talking about using substances or hanging out with people who enable or encourage your drinking, these are signs of a bigger problem. Likewise, if you recommence using alcohol as a coping mechanism, you need to seek treatment as soon as possible.

The return to treatment should have a strong emphasis on psychotherapy, which has been remarkably successful in instructing recovering addicts how to engage in new behavioral responses to unhealthy thoughts and feelings.

Other therapies include art and music therapy, meditation techniques, and physical fitness. Following treatment, you can continue to apply these strategies and tools to maintain a low-stress life, as well as cope with depression, anxiety, and anger.

From the minute you begin treatment after an alcohol relapse, your focus should be on the transition back to normal life. Your best option may be to reside in a sober living home, in which accountability can help during those first few vulnerable months after treatment. Also, it would be beneficial to be equipped with an outpatient plan for ongoing therapy or counseling after you are discharged from treatment.

Getting Help for Alcohol Addiction

If you have already undergone treatment and are struggling with an alcohol relapse, there is help available. Harmony Treatment and Wellness offers integrated, research-based treatment for people who suffer from alcohol or drug addictions. Our programs feature vital recovery services such as psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and more.

If you have relapsed or fear you will relapse, contact us today! We can help you get back on the road to long-term recovery and reclaim the happy and healthy life you deserve!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Dangers of Alcohol

The Dangers of Mixing Kratom and Alcohol

Kratom and Alcohol | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Kratom is a tropical plant that is native to Southeast Asia, where its leaves have been used medicinally for thousands of years to increase energy or relieve pain. It is a relatively new substance in the U.S. and is one of the many substances that may have unpredictable, adverse effects when combined with alcohol.

Kratom leaves can be eaten raw or crushed, brewed as a tea or placed into tablets or capsules. Kratom is illegal for use in several states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

One of the unusual properties of kratom is that the effects it induces depend on the amount that’s ingested. For example, in low doses, it acts as a stimulant, but in higher doses, it has sedating properties. Although this drug is believed to act like an opioid, it doesn’t typically lead to the same potentially deadly side effects of opioids like morphine.

Kratom use is becoming increasingly common in the U.S. It has been with abuse and addiction, especially excessive doses or chronic use. In a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), kratom was identified in the bodies of 152 individuals who died of a drug overdose. Of these, 19 people also had alcohol present in their systems, although it was not known whether kratom was an agent that contributed to their death.

Side Effects of Kratom and Alcohol

More research is necessary to understand the effects of kratom fully. What is known about kratom are the short- and long-term effects which can vary depending on the dose. These include the following:

Low Dose


  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased energy


  • Alertness
  • Increased sociability


Moderate to High Dose


  • Drowsiness
  • Cough suppression


  • Pain reduction
  • Reduced opioid withdrawal


High Dose


  • Psychosis
  • Anorexia


  • Weight loss
  • Hyperpigmentation


Kratom use can also result in several adverse side effects similar to those of actual opiates, including the following:


  • Tremors
  • Poor motor coordination
  • Dizziness


  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting


Dangers of Combining Kratom and Alcohol

Kratom and Alcohol | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Currently, there isn’t enough evidence concerning the potential hazards of mixing kratom and alcohol to be able to identify all the potential dangers. However, by considering the individual properties of these substances, we can suggest possible risks of using this combination.

Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it depresses the function of the central nervous system (CNS). It also prevents messages from nerve receptors from reaching the brain. As a result, a user’s perceptions, movements, and senses are all affected. In comparison, kratom can act as either a stimulant or a depressant.

Mixing a depressant with a stimulant or with another sedative can be hazardous. For this reason, as with most drug combinations, combining kratom and alcohol is probably not advisable. Although this combination hasn’t been well researched yet, experts generally recommend not using alcohol and kratom concurrently.

Because alcohol is a CNS depressant, combining it with kratom could be very hazardous. It could lead to motor impairment, falls, and poor judgment and decision-making. It could also cause profound sedation, which has the potential to lead to coma or death.

As noted, combining stimulants with alcohol is not a good idea either. Because alcohol has the depressant effect, it could negate the stimulant properties of kratom, which could compel the person to use more kratom than they otherwise would. Also, mixing stimulants with alcohol can increase the risk of seizures, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Some of the various side effects that are possible when combining kratom with alcohol include the following:


  • Sleepiness
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • High blood pressure


  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Poor motor control


  • Tremors
  • Altered perception
  • Increased risk of addiction


Alcohol abuse and addiction are also associated with many long-term health problems, including severe liver damage, increased risk of several cancers, and death related to alcohol poisoning. Using other substances in combination with alcohol only adds more complications to alcohol use disorder, and can make it much more challenging to treat.

Treatment for Kratom and Alcohol

Those who are suffering from alcohol and/or kratom abuse or addiction can benefit from professional treatment. Harmony Treatment and Wellness features modern, evidence-based medical care combined with wellness programs and holistic therapies. We use this comprehensive approach to treat a wide range of substance use disorders, including alcohol and kratom addiction.

Our center is staffed with compassionate professionals who all share the same mission to help patients get the most effective treatment possible for their disorders. We design treatment plans unique to the individual to ensure their needs are met and that they are given the best chance for success.

If you or a loved one is motivated to recover and take back your life, contact us today, We are dedicated to ensuring that those who need it most receive all the tools they require to sustain long-lasting happiness and wellness!