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What Does Cocaine Do To Your Body?

Cocaine in the Body:

Cocaine, a central nervous system stimulant derived from the leaves of the coca plant, remains one of the most widely abused and powerfully addictive illicit substances on the American market. Much research and attention have been directed towards the devastating mental health risks associated with cocaine abuse, but perhaps due to its greater reputation as a “psychological addiction” the public is not particularly widely informed about the harm this substance can do to one’s physical health.

Today, we’re going to explore and illustrate cocaine’s relationship to and effects on the body itself.

The Short Term Effects: Cocaine in the Brain

Depending on the dose, method, and the individual’s mass, metabolism, and tolerance, the high associated with cocaine abuse begins almost instantaneously after taking the drug. After this, the short-term effects of cocaine last until, somewhere before a few minutes to an hour and a half later, the drug is metabolized and wears off.

The elimination half-life of cocaine is short, but during this period it has a potent effect on the way the body functions. Cocaine rushes to the nervous system via the bloodstream where, past the blood-brain barrier, it begins to act on the body’s system for producing and recycling dopamine.

Dopamine is a key chemical messenger in the brain that plays a central role in how we process and record pleasurable feelings. Typically, dopamine is released when the brain experiences positive stimuli, sights, sounds, and feeling that it wants to record, reward and repeat. In the nervous system, dopamine is released by transmitting neurons, registered when it connects to components called dopamine receptors, and then released and returned to the system by dopamine transporters.

Cocaine attaches to the central nervous system’s dopamine transporters. In the short term, this causes the synapse and its adjacent dopamine receptors to become flooded with dopamine, which continues to be released into the system but effectively has no way to exit.

The short-term result of this is easy to predict. Users of cocaine report a euphoric high, or rush of positive emotions. Even small doses of cocaine lead users to experience a short-term wave characterized by feelings of energy, talkativeness, confidence, alertness, and sensitivity to external stimuli.

However, the short-term effects of cocaine are not all mood-related. As a stimulant, cocaine also has pronounced effects on many autonomous bodily functions mediated by the sympathetic nervous system. Once it is in the body, a number of pathways lead cocaine to rapidly increase:

Due to this, it is easy for a high dose of cocaine to result in heart and lung complications and sudden overdose. At the same time, even when this drug doesn’t produce an overdose at the moment, the short-term physiological stress introduced by this strong stimulant to various internal organs can rapidly result in dangerous permanent damage to their tissues and functioning.

The Long Term Effects

Cocaine’s harm to the body is far-reaching – causing soft tissue infections and damage to many of our vital organs. The mode of use affects what is relevant here, with, for example, injected cocaine putting users at particular risk of infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis, while inhaled cocaine does specific damage to the upper respiratory tract. Here, we’ll break it down by the most profoundly affected physiological systems.

The Respiratory System

Cocaine, particularly when it is smoked as crack cocaine, is destructive to the tissues of the lungs leading to acute complications such as pulmonary edema and hemorrhaging. At the same time, its effects on blood flow reduce the effectiveness of capillaries as they carry oxygen throughout the body. In the long term, this can increase the chance that users develop health conditions such as pneumonia and asthma.

Snorting cocaine dries out the mucus membranes of the nose and throat, which can lead to chronic inflammation, nosebleeds, and respiratory distress.

The Cardiovascular System

Repeated cocaine use raises heart rate and high blood pressure to dangerous levels which inflame the heart. Ultimately this can result in heart disease and muscle necrosis and permanent damage to the heart’s ability to healthily contract and pump blood.

Chronic cocaine abuse also increases the likelihood that users will develop blood clots in already constricted blood vessels, subsequently causing associated heart attacks or stroke events, pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis.

Meanwhile, injecting cocaine puts users at a unique risk of collapsed veins, as well as blood-borne disease.

Digestive System, Liver, and Kidneys

At face value, cocaine may seem unrelated to these systems, but in reality binging reduces blood flow and oxygen transmission throughout the body, including to the GI tract. This affects the digestive system’s ability to heal itself and can increase the chances of inflammation, tears, ulcers, and severe bowel decay.

The same process occurs in the liver and kidneys, which can be put at risk of muscle death and serious complications.

Nervous System Dependence

Cocaine is abused for its short-term psychological effects, but evidence suggests that tinkering with this key dopamine pathway in the brain can have catastrophic effects when it continues long term.

Binging, taking higher and higher doses, and using a lot of cocaine over a prolonged period can cause the brain to alter its functioning to accommodate the constant influx of dopamine in its central synapses. As a rule, the nervous system alters its processes in an attempt to keep itself in balance, and when regularly flooded with dopamine, it responds by drastically or completely halting the production and transmission of dopamine to its synapses.

This is felt by the individual as an intensely dysphoric, depressed, joyless, and dysregulated mood when the last dose of cocaine finally wears off. While the nervous system seems to eventually return to normal functioning, this can take months without proper treatment. This is the crux of the reason why quitting cocaine cold turkey and trying to enter sobriety without support so often results in relapse – we are functioning without our key motivating neurotransmitter in the period of early recovery.

Cocaine Overdose

Acutely toxic levels of cocaine in the body occur when the user takes too high of a dose for the body to eliminate safely.

Because this stimulant speeds up bodily functions, it can rapidly increase key functions such as blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate to dangerous levels. In short, this can lead to internal bleeding in internal organs and the brain, organ failure, seizures, and neurological damage. These are not uncommon events – currently, tens of thousands of people in the US die annually of cocaine overdose, and those that survive this serious complication may live with enduring side effects.

Symptoms and warning signs can be divided into two categories – physiological signs and psychological symptoms.

Physical Symptoms include:

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular or rapid breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of motor function
  • Severe headache
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Tremors
  • Seizure

Psychological Symptoms

  • Panic
  • Profound anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations and/or delusions

Drug Abuse Treatment for Cocaine

If you are concerned that you or someone you know has developed a physical or psychological dependence on cocaine, it is important to understand that both the long and short-term effects of stimulant abuse can be grave. The potential to do permanent damage to the body occurs from the first use and lingers until the last.

The cycle is hard to break alone, but substance abuse treatment centers across the country are unified in the understanding that one needs to live with cocaine addiction. Addiction treatment is the safest and most effective way to break a cocaine habit and reassert control and agency over your physical and mental health.

Contact Us Today

At Empower Recovery, we offer flexible, personalized, evidence-based treatment streamlined to suit your needs. Individual therapy options include cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapies, as well as coping skills development and personalized relapse prevention therapy – all of which can be done on an outpatient or partial hospitalization basis.

Making the first step and committing to recovery is one of the most important ones we ever make. Reach out to us at 1-855-949-5672 to book a private appointment and start getting help today.

Ketamine Overdose Symptoms

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic drug used by doctors for pain relief, sedation, and anesthesia for animals and humans alike. Initially, ketamine was used in veterinary medicine; however, in the 1970s, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it as an anesthetic for humans, with it predominantly being used to treat injured soldiers during the Vietnam War at the time.

Since then, ketamine has become incredibly popular as a recreational drug, providing powerful dissociative, hallucinogenic, and psychedelic effects. These sensations may seem enjoyable or appealing to some, but taking too much ketamine can also cause memory loss, panic attacks, anxiety, and even psychosis.

Ketamine Use

Ketamine has been named an essential medication by the World Health Organization (WHO) due to its benefits as a pain reliever and anesthetic. It’s particularly useful as an anesthetic because, unlike other anesthetics, ketamine doesn’t slow down breathing, cause respiratory depression, reduce heart rate, or decrease blood pressure.

Ketamine is also a Schedule III controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which means it is not as tightly regulated as most opioids. Medicinal doses of ketamine are generally around one to two milligrams per kilogram of body weight. The FDA reports that a person only needs 10% to 25% of this amount to feel a ketamine high.

Ketamine is also a prescription drug dispensed under the brand name Ketalar. Available in 10, 50, and 100 milligrams per milliliter injectable formats, medical professionals use it as a single dose during surgical procedures.

Drug Abuse

Ketamine abuse refers to any non-medical use of the drug, leading to harmful social, physical, or psychological consequences. People who abuse ketamine have the potential to develop a tolerance to the drug, which can lead to an addiction. However, ketamine addiction rates are lower than drugs such as opioids or benzodiazepines.

Often called ket, special K, vitamin K, or K, ketamine is frequently used as a party drug or club drug. As ketamine comes in many forms, it can be abused in numerous ways. For example, the powder is most commonly snorted, and it’s also sometimes added to drinks and ingested. It may also be inserted into the rectum or injected into a muscle, or even directly into a vein.

Ketamine starts working quickly, with effects felt from one to 30 minutes after consumption. The length of time it takes to feel the effects of ketamine depends on how it is consumed. When taken orally, users can expect to feel the effects anywhere between five to 30 minutes later. Snorting ketamine can produce effects in five to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, injecting ketamine produces effects within as little as 30 seconds.

Though most of the side effects associated with ketamine alleviate within one to two hours, factors such as metabolism and size influence the time it takes to enter the blood and ultimately ascertain how long the effects are felt.

Side Effects of Ketamine Use

Low doses of ketamine are likely to cause distortions of time and space, hallucinations, and mild dissociation. Yet, when a high dose is taken, users can experience severe dissociation, known by recreational users as a ‘K-hole.’

When a ‘K-hole’ is experienced, users feel entirely removed from reality and their bodies, resulting in out-of-body or near-death experiences. Additionally, many people often describe being in another reality and communicating with aliens or higher powers when severe dissociation occurs.

Unfortunately, ketamine is also used as a date rape drug. Powder ketamine can easily dissolve in liquid without altering the taste, which quickly produces physically paralyzing effects under a heavy dose.

Knowing the effects of ketamine consumption and ketamine overdose symptoms may help in seeking prompt intervention if you suspect a person may have been spiked.

Adverse Effects of Using Ketamine

Ketamine abuse can result in a range of dangerous consequences, including mental and physical health problems and the development of a substance use disorder.

The effects of ketamine are not the same for everyone, though. Body mass, age, underlying medical or mental health conditions, and other biological factors affect the side effects a person may experience and to what intensity.

Ketamine users quickly build a tolerance to the drug, requiring high doses to feel the same effects. In turn, taking ketamine can cause physical effects such as:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Bladder pain
  • Eyesight problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Poor coordination
  • High blood pressure
  • Stomach pain
  • Ulcers
  • Ketamine-induced ulcerative cystitis
  • Chest tightness
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Less sensitivity (potentially resulting in serious injury)
  • Organ damage with repeated use
  • Convulsions or seizures

Ketamine can also cause long-term psychological problems such as:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Mania
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Memory loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Significant personality changes

Ketamine Overdose

As with other drugs, it’s possible to overdose on ketamine. Although ketamine is not as likely to inhibit breathing as other anesthetics and central nervous system depressants, difficulty breathing is a common sign of ketamine overdose.

Other symptoms of ketamine overdose include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Paralysis
  • Abnormal behavior related to hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Chest pain
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Heightened blood pressure
  • Excessive sedation or even loss of consciousness or coma

Although death from ketamine overdose alone is rare, recognizing the early signs of ketamine overdose increases the chance of prompt medical intervention and could help save a person’s life.

What To Do if You Think a Person Has Overdosed on Ketamine

Should you find yourself worrying that a friend or loved one has overdosed on ketamine, it’s normal to feel unsure of what to do. Unfortunately, a person is more likely to sustain a severe injury due to one of the symptoms of ketamine overdose, so the first thing you should do is call 911 and request emergency medical care. It would be best to stay with them until medical assistance arrives.

It may also be beneficial to find out how much ketamine they have consumed so that you inform medical professionals. It’s also wise to let professionals know if they have taken any other substances.

While waiting for medical help to arrive, place the person on their side to stop them from choking on vomit if it is safe to do so.

Ketamine Overdose Treatment

Following a ketamine overdose, treatment is necessary. The best kind of treatment depends on several factors, including how and why the person overdosed. For example, they may have been spiked and not intended to take the drug, they may not have known the potency of the drug they were taking, or they may have taken too much ketamine as a result of increased tolerance.

The treatment required will also depend on whether ketamine was mixed with another substance. It’s common for ketamine to be mixed with alcohol or other drugs, which can increase the strength of the effects of all substances taken and significantly increase the risk of a dangerous overdose. 71.5% of ketamine-related emergency department visits also involved alcohol.

Whatever the case, there are many suitable treatment options available. A ketamine overdose can generally be controlled and safely managed with immediate medical care. Medical professionals will monitor cardiovascular and circulatory systems along with other vital signs. They may also offer medication to calm the person.

At present, there are no medications approved by the FDA to treat a ketamine overdose; however, medications such as benzodiazepines can relieve agitation and manage psychosis.

Long-Term Treatment

Regular and continuous use of ketamine may result in physical dependence. In this case, a person will experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop taking the drug. As a result, anyone with ketamine dependence or addiction will need to go through a detoxification process. Here, all traces of ketamine leave the body.

During detox, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, insomnia, and fatigue may be experienced. When detox is complete, many people complete additional treatment, such as inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. Inpatient options offer comprehensive care that includes therapy and support groups to help people create daily practices such as mindfulness and exercise that contribute to long-term recovery. Meanwhile, outpatient options offer flexible treatment that doesn’t interrupt daily life.

Following overdose treatment, additional medical care may be needed. As ketamine abuse can cause chronic urinary tract infections and even lower urinary tract destruction, if a person experiences pain urinating or mid-back pain after a ketamine overdose, they may be referred for further evaluation from a urologist.

If a person has suffered a ketamine overdose as a result of being drugged or spiked in an attempt at sexual assault, they may wish to begin a talking therapy such as trauma therapy or counseling.

Contact Us Today

If you or someone you know uses ketamine and requires treatment, contact us today to ask about our substance abuse treatment options.

Seeking addiction treatment can be overwhelming, but we have a range of holistic treatment options available to suit each person’s needs and support them on the journey to sobriety.

Relationship With an Alcoholic

Being in a relationship with someone who has an alcohol use disorder (AUD) can feel confusing and isolating. You may have noticed differences in their behavior, they may have become secretive, and the way they act around you may have changed. Over time, these differences will affect your trust in one another.

Like many other people who are in a relationship with someone who abuses alcohol, you may want to do everything you can to support your partner. However, you may feel anxious about addressing the subject, and you may be unsure of how to assist them in beginning the recovery process.

In addition, if your partner, spouse, or family member has an addiction, it might be catalyzing violent and aggressive behavior, which could be taking a toll on your mental health.

The important thing to remember is that support and help are available to assist you through this time. You do not need to go through this alone, and although you will want to support your loved one, you should take care of your own needs to protect your mental health.

How Is an Alcohol Use Disorder Defined?

Alcohol use disorder is the term medical professionals use to describe alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, and addiction. A milder form of alcohol use disorder generally involves someone putting themself at harm through unsafe drinking habits. Although still dangerous, those who have a mild alcohol use disorder usually have the ability to stop drinking if they wish to.

On the other hand, severe alcohol use disorders are defined as a lack of control regarding consuming alcohol and a total inability to quit due to physical and psychological dependence.

People develop alcohol use disorders for a complex variety of different reasons. Contrary to belief, there is no singular cause for an alcohol use disorder. Instead, several environmental, genetic, and social factors are all at play. In addition, underlying mental health problems cause some to abuse alcohol to cope better.

Does My Partner Have an Alcohol Addiction?

Although it is apparent when some people are living with an alcohol addiction, alcohol abuse can be hard to spot in others. Many people suffering from an alcohol use disorder will often hide their addiction because of the stigma and shame that is unfortunately attached.

Sadly, the more addiction remains stigmatized in our society, the less likely people are to ask for help. For this reason, it is essential to remember that addiction is a medical diagnosis.

In the United States, alcohol use is a common part of the culture. This makes it even harder to spot if someone has an alcohol use disorder. However, there are some signs that your loved one may have developed unhealthy drinking habits. These include:

  • Frequent drinking
  • Heavy drinking
  • Binge drinking
  • Needing more alcohol to feel the desired effect
  • Seeming irritable
  • Experiencing mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Paranoia
  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Acting defensive
  • Overreacting
  • Seeming secretive
  • Seeming distracted
  • Neglecting their appearance
  • Neglecting personal hygiene
  • Making excuses

What Are Some of the Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?

Another way to identify whether your partner has an alcohol use disorder is to look out for withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking for a few hours or days.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms arise when alcohol is removed from the body due to overactivity in the nervous system. Withdrawal symptoms present differently for each person as they are dependent on various factors.

However, some common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Fast heart rate

Though the symptoms noted above alleviate within a week or two, your loved one must seek medical support if they experience them.

Likewise, you must seek immediate help if your loved one encounters any of the following symptoms:

  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

In severe withdrawal cases, delirium tremens (DTs) may also emerge. This is a particularly dangerous symptom that can be life-threatening. Symptoms of DTs generally begin two to three days after the last drink, with symptoms including a high temperature, hallucinations, delirium, paranoia, and seizures.

Alcohol addiction is one of the most dangerous drug addictions to physically overcome, so it is vital that your loved one only attempts to detox with the support and guidance of a healthcare professional.

While overcoming alcohol abuse may seem challenging, it is possible with the correct treatment plan and support.

How Does Alcohol Abuse Affect a Spouse or Partner?

Over time, alcohol use disorders and alcohol abuse inevitably impact relationships. For example, alcohol and drug addiction can hinder respect, trust, and openness between people, all of which are often hard to rebuild.

If your partner tends to abuse alcohol frequently, it may result in financial troubles, which can severely damage your relationship due to the stress associated. If your partner prioritizes alcohol, they may lose track of their budgeting or miss shifts at work, which can put a significant strain on your relationship.

Physical and emotional intimacy is essential for a romantic relationship to be healthy. However, drug abuse can destroy this intimacy. You may feel resentful of your partner’s secrecy and feel disrespected, making it hard to feel emotionally vulnerable with them. Likewise, they may feel guarded and defensive due to shame or guilt, and they may also be struggling with a mental health disorder, making intimacy difficult.

Unfortunately, domestic violence can also occur if a partner struggles with alcohol abuse. Domestic violence can be verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual, and it is never acceptable. Seek help immediately if you feel unsafe. There are many confidential numbers you can call.

Although an alcohol abuse disorder can impair relationships, there are different treatment options such as couple’s therapy and family therapy that can help you work through things in a safe, non-judgmental environment once your partner has admitted that they need help.

How Can Alcohol Abuse Affect Other Family Members?

Your loved one’s drinking can affect other family members too. This is because alcohol addiction can make other family members feel worried, unsafe, or anxious about your partner’s alcohol abuse.

If you have children, alcohol addiction can also take a significant toll on their mental health. Children often blame themselves for their parent’s alcohol addiction, and they may find it confusing and difficult to trust others, make friends, or form new relationships.

How To Take Care of Yourself if Your Partner Suffers From Alcohol Abuse

Even though it may feel difficult and unnatural, you must prioritize your mental health if your partner has an alcohol abuse problem. While you may feel so concerned about your partner that your mental health is disregarded, your well-being is just as important. Burnout, for example, will make it more difficult for you to be there for your partner, so taking care of yourself is a must.

Spending time in a relationship with someone struggling with alcohol abuse can slowly wear you down. Even if you feel okay now, it is best to seek help before it gets worse. It is never too early or too late to seek therapy and emotional support.

If you feel unsure about initiating a conversation with your partner regarding their alcohol abuse, speak to a counselor or professional for advice. Seeing a family therapist can help with the healing process, enabling you to talk in a non-judgmental environment.

When the time comes to speak to your partner, remember to only approach them if you feel safe and sure that they are experiencing problems with alcohol abuse. It is also best to plan what to say in a compassionate and caring way. If you are at risk of domestic violence or your partner reacts negatively, seek support immediately.


Alcohol addiction can take its toll on your relationship. It can cause a divide in your romantic relationship, and a partner’s problem drinking can impair your self-confidence.

Be sure to take care of yourself so that you can support your partner in their recovery journey and help them stay on track. Remember, their addiction is not your fault, and you should not go through this alone. Your mental health is a priority, and it is never too early to reach out for support.

If you are worried about your loved one, contact us today for help and support. We can offer you a wealth of information surrounding alcohol addiction treatment and help you understand the recovery process.

Is My Husband Alcoholic?

If your husband’s behavior has changed for no reason or he is unable to go for sustained periods without alcohol and frequently engages in heavy drinking, he might be suffering from an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

It’s not always easy to identify when someone is a problem drinker, as many people are high functioning. This means that they can continue their lives as usual. Your husband may also disguise his drinking habits and go to great lengths to deny and hide his substance abuse issues.

There are various warning signs to look out for when it comes to your spouse’s drinking habits and behavior. If your partner goes without alcohol, he may also exhibit withdrawal symptoms. Among many other things, withdrawal symptoms can indicate an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and an addiction.

Substance abuse treatment will help your husband improve his mental health, well-being, and life. Therapy and counseling will also help you talk things through in a safe and non-judgmental space.

Remember that self-care is essential. You shouldn’t neglect your mental health or needs, as having a spouse who has an AUD can take a toll on your health as well. You do not need to go through this time alone.

What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?

AUD is a term that describes mild to severe conditions related to unsafe alcohol use. Those with a mild AUD typically drink alcohol in an unsafe manner. For example, they may binge drink or use alcohol as a form of self-medication to cope with mental health disorders. People with mild alcohol use disorder may abuse alcohol but can quit drinking when they want to.

In contrast, a severe AUD involves an uncontrollable urge to continue drinking alcohol despite any consequences. Alcohol is an addictive substance, and those who have a severe AUD find themselves unable to function properly without it. Alcohol dependence becomes clear when someone tries to quit alcohol and experiences alcohol withdrawal.

The more alcohol your husband drinks, the more his body builds up a tolerance. This means that his body needs more of the substance to get the same effect. However, drinking heavily and binge drinking can put your husband in danger and increase his risk of developing an AUD.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of shame and stigma around alcohol addiction. Addiction is a disease and has a complex mixture of causes, such as genetics and environmental factors. It’s not your husband’s fault if he has an alcohol addiction. It’s important to work towards eradicating the misjudgments surrounding addiction, as shame often acts as a barrier to people reaching out for support.

What Are Some Signs That My Partner Has a Drinking Problem?

Spotting if your husband has a drinking problem isn’t always easy. Due to the shame and stigma surrounding addictions, many people go to great lengths to disguise their addiction. For example, your husband may hide alcohol bottles, make excuses, and engage in secretive behavior.

The first signs that determine if someone has a drinking problem often include drinking frequently and heavily. In some instances, your husband may drink when he feels stressed or low. You may also notice that your husband’s tolerance for alcohol increases.

Some other warning signs of alcohol abuse to look out for in your partner’s drinking habits include:

  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Instability and mood swings
  • Neglecting personal hygiene and appearance
  • Overreacting and seeming overly defensive
  • Paranoia
  • Tiredness
  • Secretive behavior and lies
  • Seeming distracted
  • Making lots of little mistakes
  • Reduced self-control

How Can Substance Abuse Affect Intimate Relationships?

If your husband is struggling with substance abuse, it may sadly take a toll on your intimate relationship. Healthy relationships rely on trust, openness, and respect. Alcohol abuse often damages the fundamentals of a secure, functioning relationship and puts considerable pressure on the couple and their marital satisfaction.

Some of the ways substance abuse can affect your relationship include:

  • Breaking trust. The secrecy and deceit that are often involved in hiding an AUD can fracture the trust between two people. When trust is missing in a relationship, you may feel hurt, confused, and resentful toward your partner.
  • Financial issues. Substance abuse can lead to financial difficulties. Your husband may not be going to work, or he may be spending family income on their drinking problem. This can cause a lot of stress and worry.
  • Lack of intimacy. Intimacy, both sexual and emotional, are important for romantic relationships to thrive. Affection, physical intimacy, and care can all be affected by a spouse’s drinking problem.
  • Domestic violence. Intimate partner violence can be fuelled by a partner’s drinking problem, creating an environment of fear and control and having an enormous impact on the victim’s mental health.

If your partner has become dependent on alcohol, he will likely experience withdrawal symptoms when he doesn’t drink for a while. Being aware of these withdrawal symptoms will help you better understand whether your husband has substance abuse problems.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe. As it can be incredibly dangerous to quit cold turkey, professional treatment should be sought to help your husband recover.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms to look out for include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Digestive problems
  • Excessive sweating, especially at night
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Shaking
  • Insomnia

What Treatment Options Are Available for Alcohol Abuse?

Fortunately, treatment centers, such as our own, provide a safe medical detox for anyone hoping to quit alcohol. Treatment options include both inpatient and outpatient detox. Irrespective of the treatment option chosen, it’s vital to detox with a doctor’s support.

Addiction treatment involves tapering off alcohol slowly, as it can be life-threatening to stop drinking suddenly if the body and brain have become alcohol dependent. Treatment facilities allow your husband to break his physical addiction in a safe and comfortable environment, minimizing the risk of harm and relapse.

After detox, the following stage of recovery includes breaking the psychological dependence and understanding the causes of addiction. During this stage, your husband will attend therapy and support groups and create a sober support network to stay on track for a successful long-term recovery.

How Can Family Therapy Sessions Help?

Family therapy can be a great way to talk honestly and openly with your loved ones and begin to rebuild broken bonds. Alongside individual therapy, family therapy can help unpick the reasons behind an AUD and create a space to begin to fix the problems related to heavy drinking.

Though you may just want to attend family therapy with your husband, you can also involve other family members, such as children, so that everyone has a chance to explain how they feel.


To conclude, your husband will need medical and emotional support to stop drinking if he is dependent on alcohol. Although it can be confusing and difficult to tell if he has an alcohol use disorder, there are various signs to be aware of.

It’s never too early or late for your husband to start treatment. The many different treatment options available will ensure that he transitions into sobriety safely and effectively.

Seeking support for your own mental health and attending family therapy or couples therapy can help build up self-confidence you may have lost during this time and rebuild your relationship that may have become damaged due to your husband’s drinking addiction.

If you’d like to find out more about addiction treatment, please contact us today. We can offer you support and help you determine if your husband requires treatment for an alcohol use disorder.

Dangers and Side Effects of Ketamine Abuse

Ketamine is a dissociative drug that works as an anesthetic medication; it has medical use in surgery for humans and animals. It is a Schedule III drug, meaning it is FDA approved for certain medicinal uses and is safe when its dosage is controlled. However, it also has the potential for abuse and addiction.

Although not yet FDA approved, Ketamine is also being researched and used as a recovery drug for treatment-resistant depression. Ketamine (more specifically an isomer of ketamine called esketamine) affects the synapses in the brain, promoting new synaptic growth, which is often damaged in those with depression.

Though it does have medical uses, ketamine is also frequently used recreationally, giving a user the experience of a dream-like, floaty state. It can lead to out-of-body experiences. Ketamine is often taken in party settings and is known as a club drug. Unfortunately, there are many dangers of ketamine abuse and a number of side effects that can occur both during a ketamine trip as well as afterward in the form of long-term effects. Ketamine abuse can be very dangerous and lead to significant health consequences.

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic medication that provides pain relief during surgery, but it also has hallucinogenic effects when taken in high doses. The use of ketamine is also sometimes implemented as an off label treatment for depression and chronic and acute pain,

Ketamine is short-acting, meaning that its effects do not last long. This makes it attractive for use as a party drug as the effects wear off a lot faster than other drugs such as LSD. Ketamine can cause distortions in perceptions of sound and light and leave a user feeling detached, dream-like, and dissociated from the body.

Ketamine comes in the form of a grainy light brown or white powder, a clear liquid without an odor, or occasionally as a tablet. Ketamine that is abused for recreational use has many street names including:

  • K
  • Special K
  • Ket
  • Cat Valium
  • Kit-Kat
  • Super Acid

Ketamine Side Effects

Taking ketamine recreationally holds a number of risks and side effects, that can range from mild to severe. There are various adverse mental and physical effects that accompany ketamine abuse.

Mental Side Effects

Ketamine is a dissociative drug and can leave a user feeling out-of-body, dream-like, and hallucinating. In higher doses ketamine can be very dangerous as you can go into a ‘k-hole‘ in which you can feel as if you are having a near-death experience, are detached from reality, are unable to move or speak properly, and experience intense hallucinations. This can be a very frightening experience, and some people report ongoing psychosis or flashbacks afterward.

Ketamine abuse can also lead to confusion, feelings of disorientation, anxiety, and irritability. Ketamine use can also affect your short-term memory and long-term memory, leading to forgetfulness and amnesia.

Chronic ketamine use can make existing mental health problems worse, weaken concentration span, and lead to major depression.

Physical Side Effects

Chronic ketamine abuse can damage the bladder (ulcerative cystitis) and cause irreversible damage. Mixing ketamine with alcohol leads to an increased risk of this damage. The urinary tract can also be harmed by ketamine abuse, which can lead to incontinence.

Combining alcohol with ketamine is very dangerous because some of their shared effects become synergized, leading to potentially fatal effects. Some effects include an increased chance of coma, memory loss, slowed breathing, and death.

Mixing ketamine with multiple drugs, especially CNS (central nervous system) depressants is particularly dangerous. Abuse of ketamine with drugs such as opioids or benzodiazepines dangerously slows the central nervous system, putting someone at risk of slowed breathing, memory issues, weakened heart function, coma, and even death. Mixing ketamine with other drugs is unpredictable and can have fatal consequences.

Taking ketamine can also lead to high blood pressure and increased heart rate. Ketamine use can be fatal. This is especially true if it is used in conjunction with other substances.

Due to ketamine having numbing effects, it is possible to hurt yourself or be hurt by others without realizing it whilst on the drug. Ketamine is sometimes used as a date rape drug because of the amnesia that results from its use, meaning that spiked victims often don’t remember their assault.

Injecting ketamine recreationally can spread infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C, which result from sharing needles.

Some other physical effects of ketamine use include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slowed breathing
  • Lowered heart rate or irregular heartbeat, or increased heart rate (at lower doses)
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Double vision
  • Drowsiness and sedation
  • Trouble talking
  • Lightheadedness
  • Decreased coordination
  • Seizures
  • Chest pain
  • Shaking
  • Abdominal pain
  • Liver damage

How is Ketamine Abused?

There are different methods of abusing ketamine. These include:

  • Oral ingestion
  • Smoking ketamine
  • Snorting ketamine
  • Injecting ketamine

Dangers of Smoking Ketamine Powder

Some people smoke ketamine by combining it with marijuana or tobacco in cigarettes. This can damage the respiratory system. Smoking ketamine with other drugs should be avoided as the effects can be enhanced. Smoking ketamine means that it takes effect in the body quicker, which presents a higher risk of creating a dependence on the drug.

Dangers of Snorting Ketamine Powder

Many people take ketamine by snorting it as a white powder. Snorting ketamine results in a more potent ‘rush’, and the drug acts more quickly when snorted than when ingested. Snorting presents a higher addiction risk and can damage the nasal passage.

Common Questions Related to Ketamine

How Quickly Does Ketamine Work?

Ketamine begins to take effect in 20-30 minutes on average and typically lasts between 30-60 minutes. This is one reason why the drug is so popular: other party drugs such as LSD last much longer, and take effect after a longer period of time.

Why is Ketamine Used Medically?

Lots of people know that ketamine is used medically as an anesthetic during surgery. However, many people are unaware of the recent research into the medical uses of ketamine. These exciting developments are not yet FDA-approved but are often used off-label as a treatment for chronic pain and treatment-resistant depression. Ketamine is sometimes sold as a nasal spray and, in medically controlled doses, can promote synaptic growth in those who struggle with depression, resulting in relief from symptoms.

Is Ketamine Addictive?

Abuse of ketamine over a long period of time can lead to psychological dependence. Chronic abuse should be treated as an addiction. Some warning signs that you or someone you know may be suffering from ketamine addiction include:

  • A lot of time spent thinking about and trying to get hold of ketamine
  • Relationship issues
  • Drug cravings
  • Desire to cut down but feeling unable
  • Neglecting responsibilities and obligations

Frequent users of ketamine may also suffer from ulcerative cystitis, kidney problems, psychosis, and schizophrenic-like behavior. Psychological withdrawal symptoms can occur when someone is addicted to ketamine and tries to quit. This could result in severe depression, which can pose a risk of suicidal intention.

Fortunately, there are addiction treatment options available that can help you to overcome drug abuse. Treatment facilities can help you detox from ketamine and manage withdrawal symptoms safely, as well as provide therapy and counseling to get to the root cause of your drug abuse.


When used professionally in a controlled medical setting, ketamine has the potential to offer multiple benefits: as pain relief, as an anesthetic during surgeries, and as an exciting new medication for treatment-resistant depression.

However, when abused recreationally in large doses Ketamine can be extremely dangerous. In some cases, it may even result in death. Ketamine abuse can present many physical side effects such as damage to the bladder and urinary tract and dangerously slowed breathing, but it also presents frightening mental health consequences such as depression, psychosis, and memory damage.

If you are worried about your own or someone else’s ketamine use, there is substance abuse treatment available. A life free from this drug is entirely possible and with the right medical support and advice, you can recover and begin to live in a healthy, sober state.

How Long Does Ketamine Stay In Your System?

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic drug that is used by doctors and veterinarians for pain relief, pre-surgery sedation, and anesthesia. Ketamine was initially adopted in veterinary medicine; however, in the 1970s, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ketamine for human use, most commonly to treat injured soldiers during the Vietnam War.

Since the 1970’s, ketamine has become incredibly popular as a dissociative recreational drug, providing powerful hallucinogenic and psychedelic effects when taken in larger doses. These effects are sought after by many, but taking too much ketamine can also cause memory loss, panic attacks, anxiety, and even psychosis. Chronic ketamine abuse can cause urinary tract dysfunction and even bladder damage.

Understanding how long ketamine will stay in your system after use helps prevent intoxication, potentially dangerous drug interactions, and the failing of drug tests.

Ketamine Medical Use

The World Health Organization (WHO) have named ketamine an essential medication due to its benefits as a pain reliever and anesthetic. Its anesthetic use is particularly valuable because, unlike other anesthetics, ketamine doesn’t cause respiratory depression, reduce the heart rate, or decrease blood pressure.

Ketamine is a Schedule III controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Medicinal doses of ketamine are generally calculated at around one to two milligrams per kilogram of the individual’s body weight, but the FDA reports that only 10% to 25% of this amount is required to experience a ketamine high.

Ketamine has also shown promise in mental health recovery as an option for people with treatment resistant depression.

Ketamine Abuse

Often referred to as ket, special K, vitamin K, or K, illicitly acquired ketamine is mostly used as a party drug or club drug. It produces distortions of time and space, hallucinations, and mild dissociation with effects similar to substances like MDMA, PCP, and LSD. Ketamine can be obtained in various forms, although it is most commonly used in powder form. This powder is often snorted or added to drinks and ingested.

Unfortunately, ketamine is also used as a date rape drug, meaning it is used to sedate the victim of sexual assault or rape. Powder ketamine dissolves quickly in liquid without altering the taste, and large doses can produce physically paralyzing effects.

Duration of the Effects of Ketamine

The amount of time a person feels the effects of ketamine depends on a number of factors, including the dose and route of administration. Intramuscular injections, where liquid ketamine is injected directly into a person’s muscle, typically produce effects within four minutes and the duration of effects is anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Intravenous injection, where ketamine is injected into a person’s blood, typically produces effects within thirty seconds and lasts for five to 15 minutes.

The time duration of ketamine’s effects depends on several factors. When ketamine is administered by a medical professional, these will influence the dosage. They include:

  • Age: older people take much longer to metabolize ketamine than young people, so will feel the effects for longer;
  • Route of administration: The way that ketamine is taken affects how long the drug remains in your body. When injected, ketamine leaves the body much faster than when taken orally;
  • Other drugs or alcohol: Other substances, including alcohol, can prolong the effects of ketamine and intensify the sensations a person experiences. It is essential that you inform your doctor if you are taking any medication or have consumed alcohol before receiving ketamine;
  • Metabolism: People with a faster metabolism will clear the drug quicker than those with a slow metabolism.

How Long Does it Take for Ketamine to Leave Your Body?

The amount of time any drug takes to leave a person’s system can be measured by its half life. A drug’s half life refers to the amount of time it takes for half of the dose taken to be processed by the body into metabolic by-products. Compared to other drugs, such as benzodiazepines, ketamine has a relatively short half life. Ketamine has a half-life of two to three hours in adults and one to two hours in children. In the average person ketamine will be almost completely metabolized within 12 to 13 hours. While this is a relatively short time frame, ketamine and the metabolites that process the drug can nevertheless be found in the body for much longer.

How Long Can a Drug Test Detect Ketamine?

The window for detecting ketamine depends on the method of testing. Some drug tests detect ketamine itself, while others also detect the metabolic byproducts that remain in the system far longer than ketamine itself. Drug tests that detect these byproducts may deliver positive results for several days after the last dose.

Urine Tests

A urine test is one of the most common and least-invasive methods for drug detection. It is also low cost. While most of the ingested ketamine will have left the body after one to two days, metabolites can be found in urine for two weeks, which is a relatively large detection window.

Blood Tests

A blood test is an uncommon method for detecting ketamine use as blood tests have a low window of detection, a high cost, and are more invasive than urine screening.

Saliva Tests

Saliva tests are uncommon methods for testing drugs because they cost more than urine tests and have a small window of detection. A saliva test can generally detect ketamine for 24 hours after the last dose was taken.

Hair Tests

A hair follicle test involves analyzing hair follicles for traces of drugs, and has the longest window of detection for most substances. Ketamine use can be detected in a hair test for up to three months following use. Hair tests are more often used to detect whether a person has been abusing ketamine for an extended period of time.

Side Effects of Ketamine Abuse

Ketamine abuse can result in a range of dangerous consequences, including mental and physical health problems and the development of a substance use disorder.

High doses can also lead to seizures, high blood pressure, and breathing problems

The effects of ketamine are not the same for everyone. Body mass, age, underlying medical or mental health conditions, biological factors as well as how much ketamine has been taken affect the side effects a person may experience and to what intensity.

Lower doses of ketamine generally produce mild dissociative effects. However, tolerance quickly builds and the quantity needed to feel ketamine’s effects increases. When taken in higher doses for an extended period of time, ketamine causes harmful effects. People who abuse ketamine are at risk of developing a physical dependence as well as causing themselves physical and psychological harm.

Physical Effects of Ketamine Substance Abuse

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Eyesight problems
  • Kidney and bladder problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Ulcers
  • Ketamine-induced ulcerative cystitis
  • Chest tightness
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Less pain sensitivity (potentially resulting in serious injury)
  • Convulsions or seizures

Psychological Effects of Ketamine Abuse

  • Severe anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Personality changes

Ketamine Addiction Treatment

For those who have become dependent on ketamine or who are suffering from drug addiction, the first step of addiction treatment is to detox. This involves allowing all traces of the drug to leave one’s body. During this time, it is common to experience withdrawal symptoms such as drug cravings, nausea, insomnia and fatigue. Those who have been abusing ketamine for a long time are more likely to experience intense cravings and may opt for a detox supervised by health professionals.

If a person has completed ketamine urine tests as a result of being drugged or spiked in an attempt at sexual assault, they may wish to begin talking therapy such as trauma therapy or counselling with a mental health professional.

Contact us

Ketamine abuse can develop into a psychological dependence that makes it difficult to quit independently. Empowered recovery is here to help you achieve long term recovery with a treatment placement tailored to your needs.

For immediate treatment help, you can contact us today for professional treatment advice and find out more about the treatment process.

Danger & Effects of Snorting, Injecting, or Smoking Xanax

Xanax is the brand name of the drug alprazolam, one of many benzodiazepine prescription drugs used to treat mood disorders, panic disorders, and anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Benzodiazepine drugs are prescribed frequently by physicians. However, if they are taken against the specific guidelines of a healthcare professional, benzos like Xanax can be potentially dangerous. Although Xanax is a prescription drug, it has a high potential for abuse.

In this blog, we look at the dangers of snorting, smoking, and injecting Xanax.

What Is Xanax?

Like all benzodiazepine drugs, Xanax increases the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) – a neurotransmitter that lowers nerve impulses throughout the body – in the brain. As a central nervous system depressant, Xanax slows down the nervous system, offering users a calm, relaxed feeling while providing effects such as sedation and relaxation.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists Xanax as one of the most popular types of prescription medications taken from the legal drug market and sold illicitly. Those who abuse the drug do so in many different ways, such as crushing a pill before injecting, smoking, or snorting Xanax to produce a high.

Can You Smoke Xanax?

There have been anecdotal reports of people smoking Xanax in recent years. However, smoking Xanax is never recommended.

Some people smoke Xanax by crushing Xanax pills before mixing the powder with tobacco or marijuana. This is extremely dangerous as Xanax should not be taken with any other substances.

Others have reported putting the powder on top of foil, similar to how individuals smoke heroin or fentanyl.

How Dangerous Is Smoking Xanax?

Smoking Xanax is not safe as doing so can lead to dangerous and even life-threatening side effects. In particular, Xanax shouldn’t be smoked with other substances, especially other central nervous system depressants like cannabis, due to the increased risk of side effects such as slowed breathing. Meanwhile, heating Xanax could potentially change how it works and its effects.

The Risk and Effects of Smoking Xanax

The health risks of smoking Xanax can include:

  • Mouth burns
  • Respiratory issues
  • Cancer of the lungs
  • Lung damage

Smoking Xanax also contributes to the risk of overdose, especially if the quantity used exceeds the dose prescribed by a medical professional.

Can You Snort Xanax?

Among those who abuse Xanax, snorting the drug is a common ingestion method. When people snort Xanax, the pill is crushed to create a powder.

Although the effects of Xanax generally begin within 20 to 30 minutes, snorting the drug brings on a host of immediate side effects. This is because snorting Xanax causes it to become rapidly absorbed through the mucous membranes in the nasal passages and into the bloodstream and brain.

As it avoids the digestive system, the effects of the substance occur much faster in the central nervous system. However, a study on the effect of diazepam (another benzodiazepine) on animals showed nasal administration, or snorting the drug, did not help the benzodiazepine reach the brain any faster. The results still remain unclear surrounding how snorting Xanax changes the time it takes to experience effects.

How Dangerous Is Snorting Xanax?

Some studies have shown that snorting Xanax is linked with higher addiction and drug abuse rates. This particular method of ingestion is also associated with higher overdose rates as it is easier to misjudge how much of the drug has been taken.

Medical professionals have also expressed their concerns as snorting Xanax generates a suddenly increased depression of the central nervous system. This is particularly dangerous as it depresses heart rate and breathing. Often, a Xanax overdose can slow the breathing rate to a point at which a lack of oxygen is received by the brain, which risks permanent brain damage and even death.

Can You Inject Xanax?

In addition to smoking and snorting Xanax, individuals who abuse it may inject Xanax by crushing up pills and dissolving them into a solution before injecting it with a needle. This is also referred to as ‘shooting up’ or intravenous (IV) Xanax use.

Those who inject Xanax often do so to experience a faster, more intense, euphoric high. However, injecting Xanax increases the abuse potential compared to taking the drug orally.

Risk Effects of Injecting Xanax

IV drug use of any kind comes with the added risk of contracting bloodborne illnesses and diseases like HIV, AIDS, and Hepatitis C. Repeated use of needles at the same injection site can also cause infection and collapsed veins.

Xanax Overdose Signs

The best way to avoid overdosing on Xanax is to ingest it precisely as prescribed by a doctor. This is because a prescription is offered based on factors such as:

  • Weight
  • Height
  • History of drug use

By reviewing the above factors, medical professionals can determine a suitable dose of Xanax for each client.

Without medical advice, drug abuse can quickly arise. In fact, drug abuse is classified as when a person decides to take a drug without the instructions of a medical professional. People who abuse Xanax generally determine what dose is best for them based on the feeling they wish to experience instead of what the doctor prescribes.

Regardless of whether Xanax is prescribed or taken illicitly, the effects of the drug can decrease in as little as two weeks of regular use. A significant risk associated with the development of increased tolerance to Xanax is that individuals may feel compelled to increase their dose without consulting a doctor.

It is important to note that tolerance is not the same as physical dependence, but increased tolerance can lead to dependence and addiction if not addressed by a medical professional.

A Xanax overdose can include the following symptoms:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Weak pulse
  • Impaired coordination
  • Inability to breathe
  • Mood swings
  • Violent outbursts
  • Mental confusion and cloudiness
  • Slowed reaction time and reflexes
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma

A Xanax overdose is a medical emergency and must be dealt with as soon as overdose symptoms occur.

How To Quit Xanax Addiction

Any form of Xanax abuse can lead to physical dependence and addiction, including oral alprazolam consumption. When an individual has become dependent on Xanax, stopping taking the drug abruptly or going cold turkey could cause severe side effects.

With this in mind, anyone who has become dependent on Xanax should seek help from a medical professional before beginning the withdrawal process. Under medical supervision, clients gradually taper off Xanax safely.

Those in recovery may be temporarily prescribed other medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, such as longer-acting benzodiazepines. This process of tapering off the drug can take up to six weeks.

After detox is complete, the treatment process can begin. At our rehab center, we specialize in treating dual diagnosis disorders. All of our treatments are carried out by skilled members of staff who have experience in mental health symptoms and medication management. We match each client with a counselor who best suits their needs and employ peer recovery support specialists, substance use counselors, and mental health professionals with expertise in trauma and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

Contact Us Today

At Empowered Recovery, we offer holistic addiction treatment programs to support clients in quitting Xanax and addressing underlying reasons that may have caused them to abuse the drug.

If you struggle with Xanax addiction, call us today to speak to one of our compassionate experts. In doing so, you can take the first steps in your recovery journey.

My Husband’s Drinking Is Ruining Our Marriage: What To Do?

Alcohol abuse can be destructive to relationships. In fact, about half of all marriages where one partner has a drinking problem end in divorce.

However, if you’re concerned about your husband’s drinking and your relationship, don’t lose all hope. Professional support, couples therapy, and fellowship groups can help support your husband in his recovery and heal your relationship.

How Does Alcohol Destroy Marriages?

Unhealthy drinking habits can take a toll on any relationship, especially marriages. Research has found that drug and alcohol abuse may lead to relationship dissatisfaction, instability, and verbal and physical aggression between you and your partner.

Every marriage is unique and can be affected by alcohol abuse in different ways. Some of these may include:

  • Neglect of responsibilities. Alcohol impairs cognitive and physical capabilities, preventing people from effectively fulfilling responsibilities. Drinking may also preoccupy your husband’s day-to-day life, putting other obligations and duties second best.
  • Recovery from hangovers. Heavy drinkers usually experience frequent hangovers. While a hangover may be temporary, it can prevent your husband from fulfilling the tasks required of him within family life. It can also encourage harmful behaviors like unhealthy eating and lack of exercise.
  • Legal problems. Excessive alcohol consumption, including binge drinking, can increase the likelihood that your husband will be involved in violent fights, accidents, or other offenses like drunk driving. Your husband’s drinking problem is also likely to have a monetary cost and may put a strain on the family’s finances.
  • Potential for addiction. While not everyone with a drinking problem is addicted to alcohol, heavy drinking and alcohol dependency increase the likelihood of developing an addiction. Addiction is a destructive condition that can take over someone’s life and requires professional help to recover from.
  • Creating a bad climate. Unhealthy drinking habits in the home often create a harmful environment for raising children. If both parents are heavy drinkers, they may encourage a particularly bad climate. Studies show that children who have a parent with an addiction are at an increased risk of developing an addiction and other mental health conditions themselves.

When Should I Worry About My Husband’s Drinking?

Many people drink alcohol from time to time. Drinking in moderation may not be anything to worry about, but if your husband starts drinking more than the recommended levels, there may be cause for concern.

According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA), low-risk drinking for a man involves:

  • Drinking no more than four drinks on a single day
  • Drinking no more than 14 drinks per week

If your husband is drinking more than this, you may want to have an open conversation about his drinking and talk about professional help if necessary.

How Can I Talk to My Husband About His Drinking?

Opening a conversation with your partner about his drinking may seem scary. Speaking with your husband will require strength and empathy, so it’s a good idea to prepare a bit beforehand.

If you are uncertain about the conversation, you may first want to contact a professional addiction specialist for advice and guidance. If not, here are some tips to think about before you open the conversation:

  • Learn about alcohol use disorder
  • Find a calm time to have the conversation when your husband is sober
  • Plan what you’re going to say
  • Think about what is driving your partner’s drinking habits
  • Be open and empathetic when you communicate – try not to be judgmental or act like you have all the answers
  • Set a good example with your own drinking habits

I Hate My Husband When He Drinks – How Can Couples Therapy Help?

Alcohol addiction and abuse affect more than the individual. If your husband has a drinking problem, it’s normal to feel frustrated, concerned, and exhausted.

If you’re suffering as a result of your husband’s drinking problem and find it hard to manage, you may like to try couples therapy – especially if your own drinking habits are healthy. Couples therapy can provide a safe space to resolve conflicts between married couples while helping to build a supportive relationship that encourages addiction recovery.

In general, couples therapy has three main aims:

  • To end alcohol abuse
  • To help a partner support the recovery process
  • To develop patterns of behavior that support long-term sobriety

Sometimes, alcohol abuse and relationship problems can form a ‘destructive cycle’ where unhealthy drinking leads to relationship problems, creating stress and emotional turmoil, which encourages further alcohol abuse. Couples therapy aims to intervene and turn the destructive cycle into a constructive one, where supportive relationships lead to increased abstinence and so on.

Seeking Support for Yourself

Living with a partner with unhealthy drinking habits can affect your own mental health. With this in mind, it’s essential to take care of yourself too.

Setting healthy boundaries and practicing good self-care can help you maintain overall well-being. You can also attend Al-Anon meetings, which are fellowship groups specifically for family members of individuals struggling with addiction. Al-Anon meetings are a chance to share negative experiences related to alcoholism, give and receive advice, and find comfort and inspiration from others’ stories.

Sometimes, drinking problems can lead to harmful and abusive behavior, and you may wish to leave the relationship. Remember, there is never any reason to tolerate physical, emotional, or verbal abuse. The Domestic Violence Hotline provides support to survivors of domestic violence so they can live lives free from abuse.

Can a Relationship Work if One Person Drinks?

Recent research suggests that married couples may enjoy better relationship satisfaction when they have the same drinking habits. That is, married couples may be satisfied if they are both abstinent.

While the findings suggest that relationships where the husband is the only person who drinks may tend towards less satisfaction, there is nothing to say that these relationships cannot work. Every relationship is different, and there are plenty of ways to have a satisfying and fulfilling relationship where only one partner drinks.

However, if your partner’s drinking habits become unhealthy, the relationship may become more complex. You may want to try couples therapy or encourage your partner to access professional support to help maintain a healthy relationship.

How Can Addiction Treatment Help?

If your husband is struggling with alcohol addiction, recovery may seem a long way away. The good news is that decades of scientific research have uncovered effective evidence-based treatment methods for recovery from alcohol addiction and substance abuse. According to the NIAAA, “no matter how severe the problem may seem, most people with an alcohol use disorder can benefit from some form of treatment.”

Addiction recovery programs usually combine a range of treatment options tailored to each person’s needs. If your husband attends a rehabilitation program, he may participate in:

  • Talk therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Group programming
  • Support groups
  • Complementary therapy, such as yoga and meditation
  • Life skills development
  • Family therapy

Addiction recovery programs usually include comprehensive aftercare to support clients after the end of the rehabilitation program. This may include connecting them with local support groups or offering continued recovery coaching.

Contact Us Today

If you are worried about your husband’s drinking, contact us at Empowered Recovery. We can offer confidential advice about supporting your husband and the treatment options available. Call us today to speak to one of our compassionate and expert team and take the first steps to a family life free from drug and alcohol abuse.

Cocaine and Alcohol

Cocaine and alcohol abuse is common, especially in nightlife or party settings. However, combining these two substances is incredibly dangerous as the toxic effects of the substances amplify when abused concurrently. The likelihood of developing an addiction to both cocaine and alcohol also increases when both drugs are used in tandem.

Remember that many people struggle with drug abuse, but many also overcome it. You are not alone, and your addiction does not define you. With appropriate support, help, and guidance, your addiction can be beaten.

What Is Drug or Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse is the medical term given to the repeated use of drugs despite the negative consequences to your health and well-being. In contrast, substance use disorder is the name for the condition that encompasses drug abuse in its milder form and drug addiction in its more severe form.

Some signs of drug dependence to look out for include:

  • Continued drug use despite the physical, psychological, and social problems drugs cause.
  • Requiring an increased amount of cocaine and alcohol to feel the desired effects.
  • Dedicating a lot of time to either acquiring, using, recovering from, or thinking about drugs.
  • Withdrawing from people and activities you enjoy.
  • The presence of withdrawal symptoms when stopping using drugs.

What Are the Effects of Cocaine?

Cocaine is a stimulant drug derived from the coca plant grown in South America. It affects the central nervous system and leaves users feeling alert and energized. Like other drugs, cocaine can be administered by snorting, smoking, or injecting the various forms it is widely available in, which include:

  • Powdered cocaine
  • Crack cocaine
  • Freebase cocaine – the purest form of cocaine

Often, those who sell cocaine mix the powder form with additives such as talcum powder or other drugs, making it even more hazardous.

As with many other drugs, cocaine use can lead to physical and psychological side effects, such as:

  • High levels of energy and alertness
  • Anxiety
  • A feeling of euphoria
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature
  • Paranoia, irritability, aggression
  • Increased risk-taking behaviors
  • Dilated pupils
  • Insomnia
  • Cravings

What Is An Alcohol Use Disorder?

An alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition that encompasses unsafe patterns of alcohol use. Medical professionals categorize AUD into three different classifications: mild, moderate, and severe.

An unhealthy relationship with alcohol characterizes mild AUDs. For example, those with a mild AUD may often binge drink but can stop drinking when desired. In contrast, a severe AUD refers to an alcohol addiction, which arises when a user has become dependent on alcohol consumption and experiences withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit.

Quitting alcohol when a severe AUD is present can have several side effects. For this reason, quitting should never be attempted without medical supervision.

What Are the Effects of Alcohol?

Alcohol is a depressant drug, meaning that it slows functions in the central nervous system – this is the opposite effect of cocaine. Alcohol interacts with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain, causing many people to feel relaxed and calm.

Drinking alcohol can have the following short-term effects:

  • Feelings of relaxation and happiness
  • Slower reaction times
  • Memory loss
  • Motor coordination loss
  • Sleepiness
  • Blurred vision and slurred speech
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Impaired judgment
  • Reduced heart rate and blood pressure
  • Slow breathing rate
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dehydration

What Are the Effects of Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol?

Taking cocaine and alcohol together is a common form of polydrug abuse. There is a myth that many people believe that states taking cocaine and alcohol together enhances the high and mitigates withdrawal, balancing each other out. However, this is an incredibly toxic mixture to consume and comes with many serious side effects.

New elements are created when combining cocaine and alcohol, with the most potent being a metabolite called cocaethylene. Cocaethylene toxicity targets major organs, including the liver and heart, increasing the risk of liver damage and a heart attack. Due to being more potent than alcohol or cocaine separately, cocaethylene’s toxic effects are longer lasting as it stays in the body for a more extended period and is stronger.

Cocaine and cocaethylene boost serotonin and dopamine levels, which are neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of pleasure and happiness. This can increase the risk of substance use disorder as it makes both substances more addictive and blocks their reuptake. Due to the effects of the stimulant, this can result in anxiety, panic attacks, depression, violent thoughts, and aggressive behavior.

In addition to the above, taking cocaine and alcohol simultaneously often increases alcohol consumption. Likewise, cocaine and alcohol use can lead to a dependence on both drugs and a craving for the other when one is taken alone.

Mixing cocaine and alcohol can also put many users at risk of a stroke because the combination of substances increases heart rate, blood pressure, and the risk of blood clots. The combination also shrinks blood vessels and can cause sudden brain bleeding. As cocaethylene remains in the body for weeks after mixing cocaine and alcohol, the risk of stroke is even greater.

What Are the Effects on Blood Pressure?

When mixing cocaine and alcohol, the body’s blood pressure elevates. When used alone, alcohol and cocaine cause blood pressure to spike. As a result, when they are combined, blood pressure increases even more.

High blood pressure is dangerous for your health because, if left untreated, it can lead to a number of serious health conditions, some of which include:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Vascular dementia

What Are the Treatment Options for Cocaine and Alcohol Addiction?

Right now, you might feel worried, overwhelmed, or as if your addiction has taken control of your life. Fortunately, help is available. Regardless of how severe your addiction may seem, your alcohol and cocaine use can be treated and overcome.

If you are dependent on cocaine and alcohol, you will need to complete a medical detox under the strict guidance of medical professionals who will ensure that you overcome your physical addiction safely and effectively.

You will then need to enroll in a rehab program, which will enable you to work on defeating your psychological dependence and understand the root causes of your drug addiction. During rehabilitation, you will learn healthy coping mechanisms and ways to deal with anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders once the effects of cocaine and alcohol reduce. Enrolling in a therapy program, such as individual, group, or art therapy, can help you focus on your long-term recovery and obtain support and professional advice.

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Cocaine Anonymous (CA) can also help you connect with people in a similar position. This will help you feel less isolated in your journey, which will enable you to stay on the path toward a sober, healthy future. Having a strong sober support network, be it through friends or other groups, will be vital at this time. Likewise, lifestyle changes such as exercise, healthy eating, sober activities, yoga, and meditation can all also aid you in recovery.


When you mix cocaine and alcohol, it produces toxic substances that can lead to short and long-term health problems such as cardiovascular issues, stroke, cancer, and death. Abusing the two substances together can also increase the risk of addiction and produce toxic levels of cocaethylene in your body.

The good news is that treatment for cocaine and alcohol use is available. Talking to a loved one about your problem will help you kickstart your recovery journey and feel less alone. Professional detox and rehab will help you to break free from your addiction and go on to live a healthy, fulfilled life.

Can an alcoholic ever drink again?

If you are recovering from an alcohol use disorder (AUD), congratulations! Alcohol addictions can be challenging to overcome, so well done for achieving everything you have so far in your journey.

If you are considering quitting alcohol and opting for alcohol treatment, you may be questioning whether you can ever drink again. You may also wonder if having one drink will be possible now and again or whether problem drinking will inevitably follow from social drinking.

Historically, abstinence has been the only option to follow for many addiction treatment programs and support groups. For many people, this is the safest option. However, due to more information and options, some people with mild AUDs are able to partake in controlled drinking.

Programs such as Moderation Management help people learn how to drink in moderation. However, it is important to speak to a therapist or doctor to determine the safest and best option for you. What works for one person may not always be suitable for another, so it is always advised that you seek expert guidance.

What Is Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Addiction?

In the United States, alcohol is a legal drug, and its use is incredibly widespread. This can often make it difficult to discern whether someone is involved in social drinking or has an alcohol addiction. Although this is true, it is estimated that 15.7 million people over the age of 12 in the United States align with the criteria for alcohol use disorder.

Alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction come under the umbrella term alcohol use disorder. AUD is an illness split into mild, moderate, and severe divisions. At one end of the scale is a mild AUD. Mild AUDs generally arise when someone has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol but can stop drinking when they desire.

The difference between a mild and severe AUD is that those with a severe AUD cannot stop drinking due to physical and psychological dependence. Heavy drinkers will experience withdrawal symptoms without the presence of alcohol in their system, which can pose significant health risks.

It is incredibly dangerous for someone who is addicted to alcohol to quit on their own as alcohol is one of the riskiest substances to suddenly stop using. For this reason, if you are looking to recover from alcohol addiction, you should always undergo detox with the guidance of a medical professional who can design a personalized treatment plan to ensure you have the support you need for a successful recovery.

Can a recovering alcoholic ever drink again? Abstinence vs. Harm Reduction

Abstinence from alcohol means stopping drinking entirely. It is the traditional recovery approach advocated by 12-step recovery groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Many treatment facilities and programs also promote an abstinence-based philosophy.

Abstinence used to be seen as the only way to recover from alcohol abuse, and for many people, it is a successful approach. However, each individual is unique, so it makes sense that total abstinence in early recovery will not work for everyone. This is where harm reduction comes in.

Harm reduction treatment aims to reduce the harm caused to the individual and other people but does not require total abstinence. Harm reduction focuses on education and recognizes people’s situations are complex and that it is very difficult for some people to abstain from alcohol entirely.

Harm reduction widens access to care because some people are discouraged from seeking treatment due to the abstinence approach. In contrast, many people are prepared to adhere to a harm reduction approach for treatment. This ultimately enables more people to seek treatment and provides support structures for a wider community.

Can Someone With an AUD Ever Drink Again? Why can’t alcoholics have one drink?

For some, it is recommended to never drink again. Brain chemistry alters when alcohol is abused, meaning the part of the brain responsible for controlled drinking can be affected. This damage means that controlled drinking is physically not possible for some. Furthermore, the intensity of someone’s addiction can correlate to whether or not they will be able to drink in moderation if abstinence is recommended.

However, for some people with a mild AUD, drinking in moderation is a possibility. Before you decide whether you should quit drinking entirely or take a controlled or moderate drinking approach, you must talk to a registered medical professional if you are recovering from AUD, as the risk of relapse is always present.

Moderate drinking is defined as one drink a day for healthy women and one or two drinks a day for healthy men. For some people, Moderation Management can help them uncover how to engage with alcohol consumption safely.

During a Moderation Management program, a participant is not allowed to drink for 30 days. During this time, they learn tips to identify triggers and find healthy behaviors to replace them, and come to understand past drinking patterns, so they know how to avoid these moving forward. The program also asks those in attendance to consider the reasons behind their drinking problem and why they want to start drinking in moderation.

For people who either have an alcohol addiction or are in recovery, drinking in moderation is not recommended, as even one drink can lead to relapse.

What Are Some Positives of Stopping Drinking?

Giving up drinking alcohol, seeking substance abuse treatment, and recovering from an alcohol use disorder have many health benefits. Reminding yourself of the positives of quitting alcohol can help you maintain your sobriety.

Some of the benefits can include:

  • Better sleep
  • Improved immune system
  • Enhanced mental health
  • Healthier weight
  • Better skin
  • Improved nutritional intake
  • Lower risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease
  • Better memory
  • Healthier personal relationships

In addition to the above, internal organs, such as the liver and heart, start recovering or regenerating when you quit drinking and maintain sobriety. This essentially improves your physical health and enables your body to recover from the physical side effects of alcohol use disorder.

What Are Some Ways for Me To Control My Urges?

In addition to seeking addiction treatment, there are a number of ways that you can control your urges. We have shared a few below.

  • Try to keep a list of the reasons for stopping drinking in the first place. If you have been sober for a while, it is easy to look back at drinking with rose-tinted glasses and forget all of the negative consequences that come with alcohol abuse.
  • Seek support from AA, a therapist, or a close friend. By talking to someone who can help you sustain your sobriety if you feel at risk of relapse, you can work through any issues and secure the support you need.
  • Fill your time with healthy alternatives. If you feel as though you want to drink again, try to take part in healthy alternatives. For example, starting a new hobby or completing an activity that you enjoy can help you feel part of a new community. Participating in activities will also offer you a sense of fulfillment. Doing yoga or getting out into nature can help focus your mind and feel calmer and in control.

Similarly, if you are concerned that you may be at risk of developing an AUD, there are measures you can implement. It can be helpful to track your alcohol intake to see how much alcohol you are drinking. You can also discuss treatment options with your doctor or contact a rehab center, such as our own.


To conclude, it is generally best for those recovering from an AUD to avoid ever drinking alcohol again. If you start to feel bored or experience cravings for alcohol, try to bear in mind the exhaustive list of adverse side effects and ensure that your reasons for wanting to drink outweigh the risks. Peer pressure might also tip you into drinking, so make sure you know how to refuse a drink and take care of yourself and your needs.

Although for a small number of people, Moderation Management programs are an option, abstinence presents the safest and best choice for most people. This may be disappointing news, but just remember that relapse is a real risk, and undoing all of your hard work is not worth it.

Always ask for support or help at any stage of your recovery journey if you are feeling conflicted and confused. A life of sobriety is entirely possible, and there are plenty of activities and hobbies you can do to feel fulfilled instead of drinking.

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