Understanding Codependency and its Role in Addiction

Codependency and addiction

Codependency is a type of dysfunctional, one-sided relationship. In a codependent relationship, one person relies on another to have their mental, physical, and emotional needs met. It is very common among addicts, who need the relationship to continue to function while continuing their addiction behaviors. 

Whether you find yourself expending all of your energy in meeting another’s needs– a partner, a parent, a child– or you are the one demanding things of others, it is important to know more about this destructive pattern. Read on to learn more and see how you can take steps to minimize its effect on your life and relationships.

Codependency Early in Life

Codependency is a term that has been around for decades. It was originally a label for spouses of people who struggle with alcohol and drug addiction. However, the definition often applies to relationships which do not operate in this partnership dynamic.

Studies suggest that if you were raised in a dysfunctional family or had an ill or addicted parent, you likely have codependent tendencies in relationships. Here are some symptoms to help you decide if you are at risk:

Symptoms of Codependency

A person does not need to have all of these symptoms in order to display codependent tendencies. However, any of these symptoms is an indicator that you need to more closely examine your relationships. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Low self esteem– you frequently base your feelings about yourself based on what you can do for others
  • A need to please others– saying no to others causes you to feel guilty and anxious
  • An inability to set boundaries– you frequently have an issue defining which problems are yours and which belong to others
  • A tendency to become reactive or argumentative– feeling angry and resentful about what you “have to do” for others, so you overreact to words and situations
  • A need to take care of others– feeling a need to shield others from pain and adverse circumstances, often taking them on yourself
  • A need to control situations and people in your life
  • Difficulty with communication– you have an inability to express your true thoughts and feelings
  • A tendency to obsess over people, problems, or circumstances
  • Denial– you may be not even aware that there is a problem with the way you relate to others around you
  • Problems with intimacy– you experience a push pull when it comes to spending enough time being authentic with others

 

When Codependency Takes Over

Once conditions in your life have become unbearable, or if you realize that these patterns present in any relationship are holding you back from being your most authentic self, it’s time for some pattern-breaking interventions. Depending on the length of time that you’ve spent living in these relationships, you may require the help of a therapist to provide an outside perspective on your situation. Often, an outside perspective is what it takes to begin the process of looking at your relationship patterns objectively and beginning to implement new, healthier ways of living, being and relating.

 

Codependency and its Relationship to Addiction

Codependency is the perfect breeding ground for addiction to flourish. Enabling behaviors such as covering up for another person, making excuses for their behavior, or giving money to them will keep both people locked in a cycle of addiction. In some cases, a relationship addiction can develop in which both the abuser and the observer are so accustomed to their current status quo that they refuse to look outside for help.

 

Breaking the Cycle

Realizing that codependent and enabling behaviors exist is the first step to changing those patterns. Once you’re aware of the problem, you can being working towards solutions. Mainly, stopping the enabling behaviors and getting to the root of the codependent dynamic. 

The enabler needs to realize that the problems in the relationship are not solely theirs to fix. While the addicted individual needs to take responsibility for their actions. Typically addicts will require professional treatment in order to break the cycle of addiction. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with codependency and addiction issues, there is hope. The first step is seeking treatment for the addicted individual. This process will also mean re-establishing healthier ways of relating to each other and creating boundaries for both parties. At Harmony Recovery Group we treat addiction in both the individual and family through family and relationship therapy. Find out how we can help, call us today

Addiction Recovery Advice From Metallica’s James Hetfield

James Hetfield Metallica Alcohol Addiction

James Hetfield’s Alcohol Addiction 

Rock n’ Roll in the 1980s was synonymous with drugs, alcohol and partying. One of the most successful bands of all time, Metallica, was not immune to this lifestyle. For Metallica’s lead vocalist and guitarist, James Hetfield, the rock n’ roll lifestyle led to alcohol addiction. 

In 2004, Hetfield checked into rehab. Hetfield said he’d gotten into bad habits on the road and was bringing them back home. His wife kicked him out of their house and he feared losing his family over his addiction. Having come from a broken home, he did not want his children to suffer the same fate and he vowed to get clean. After a 7 week program in which he says he was “broken down and rebuilt as a better person,” Hetfield continued to do the work in aftercare programs. 

Relapse

After 15 years of sobriety, Hetfield checked himself into rehab again in October 2019 , cancelling an upcoming Metallica tour in Australia and New Zealand in order to prioritize his well being. His bandmates Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammet, and Robert Trujillo released a statement at the time saying, “as most of you probably know, our brother James has been struggling with addiction on and off for many years. He has now, unfortunately, had to re-enter a treatment program to work on his recovery again.”

As a result, Hetfield received an outpouring of support from others in the music industry over his decision to make his relapse and recovery public, and to choose health over money in cancelling the tour. Many musicians have credited Hetfield as the reason they became sober. 

Since completing a treatment program, Hetfield has been back in the public eye. His first public appearance was in January 2020, when the Los Angeles Automobile Museum unveiled a new exhibit featuring Hetfield’s vintage cars. The band had plans for a Summer 2020 tour which was cancelled due to Covid-19. 

 

Addiction Recovery Lessons We Learned from James Hetfield

Which Dog Will You Feed? 

When asked if he missed alcohol, Hetfield had some wise words to share. “If I want to [miss it], I will. I could feed the dog that says ‘this was so great, remember this?’ or I can feed the dog that says ‘dude, look how great your life is now. Look at the crap you used to be in.’ It depends on how you look at it. I know that I could go back and fuck things up pretty quickly and I don’t need to do that.” Being honest about where you’ve been and how far you’ve come is a positive tool in recovery and reminds us why we choose to be sober. This is often why gratitude journaling is such a supportive recovery practice. If we focus on what we lack, we will always be missing something. If we focus on what we have, we will always have enough. In short, try to focus on what your recovery has given you. 

 

On Taking Care of Yourself

According to Hetfield, it’s important to take care of yourself in sobriety. “Being in the public eye and the criticism, how it affects me depends on my mood. If I’m in a good mood I can take just about anything, any time. But if I’m feeling insecure or tired or hungry or even afraid, it’s a different story. It’s why we keep the tour legs shorter now, because you get run down and your ego takes over. You start thinking ‘I’m so great. I can do anything.’” The acronym HALT describes common triggers and stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. Each of these triggers can make people feel low and therefore more vulnerable to cravings. Hence why it’s so important to prioritize your well being each and every day. 

 

Dealing with Criticism or Harsh Words

It’s also important to keep things in perspective. As Hetfield says, “People are people, man. We’re no greater than each other, we’ve all got the same size soul and we’re trying to feel happy and we’re trying to feel loved. It’s as simple as that. And some people think that if they can put someone else down, their ego comforts them a little bit. And so when someone is critical, I attribute it to that. It’s got nothing to do with me. Being able to let it bounce off you can be difficult but that’s the tool I like to use.”

 

Finding a Hobby

Since completing treatment, Hetfield has been finding new ways to express himself. We all know hobbies are beneficial in sobriety and it seems Hetfield has found his: woodworking. During the shelter-in-place period from March to May 2020, he made a series of handmade end tables in his garage. They were raffled off for Metallica’s charity All Within My Hands

 

Getting Help 

It’s important to remember that addiction is a lifelong disease. It can affect anyone from any walk of life Even after 15 years in sobriety, James Hetfield relapsed and sought treatment again. A relapse is never a reason to give up on your sobriety, you can pick yourself up and start again, just as Hetfield chose to do. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, we can help. Call us today. We’re here to listen. 

Making Amends With Your Mother For Step 9 of the 12 Step Program 

Making Amends to Mom 12 Step Program

Each May we are reminded of our relationship with our Mother when Mother’s Day comes around. For many, it’s a wonderful day to celebrate. Then others, it is a challenging time– those whose mothers are no longer around, mothers who have lost children, and those with strained mother-child relationships. Step 9 of the 12 Step Program calls for making amends. If your mother is on your list of amends, here’s how to start. 

 

Take Time to Evaluate What Went Wrong 

Reflect on the past and the circumstances that led you here. How did you wrong her? What role did you play in what went wrong? Look at things from her point of view and try to empathize with how she might feel. 

 

Apologize 

Take responsibility for your actions and apologize for hurting her. Address the mistakes you made and tell her that you understand why she is upset. It is a good idea to plan this ahead of time. 

 

Listen Actively 

One of the most magical parts of practicing a 12 step program that may come in handy with making amends is learning to listen. Practice active listening without thinking about what you’re going to say next. Just listen to what she has to say and answer thoughtfully. 

 

Avoid Being Reactive

Conversations about wrongdoing can be triggering for a lot of us. It is hard to keep from getting emotional and upset. Try your best to remain calm and take time to consider your words before you say them, 

 

Communicate Openly

If it feels right, have a real heart-to-heart. Access your feelings and respond honestly to your mother’s words. Share a memory of her from when you were young. Thank her for bringing you into this world. Tell her that you love her. 

 

Talk About How To Move Forward 

Suggest ways in which you can repair and rebuild the relationship. This isn’t always an overnight process and may require hard work and patience. Maybe you can arrange a regular time to meet or talk on the phone. What are the ways in which you can continue to show up for her? 

 

Can You Die From Alcohol Withdrawal?

Can You Die From Alcohol Withdrawal? | Harmony Recovery Center

Although relatively rare, death as a result of alcohol withdrawal is possible. Severe alcoholics or people who drink alcohol excessively (e.g., binge drinking) and stop abruptly may face life-threatening complications. 

Death from alcohol withdrawal is usually related to a condition called delirium tremens (DTs). About 5% of people experiencing alcohol withdrawal will develop delirium tremens. DTs is a condition hallmarked by profound confusion, disorientation, hallucinations, and seizures. The risk of DTs manifesting is higher if the person has been drinking a lot each day for a long time. 

About 1 in 20 people who develop DTs will die, but the risk of death is significantly reduced for those who receive medical care during detox from alcohol. This fact may be the most compelling reason why people who are addicted to alcohol should receive professional medical supervision during detox.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

When someone has reached a state of alcohol dependence, they will experience withdrawal symptoms shortly following discontinuation of use. Withdrawal is a very uncomfortable experience, both physically and psychologically. Therefore, many heavy drinkers will return to drinking despite adverse consequences to avoid withdrawal symptoms. 

Withdrawal occurs because persistent, excessive alcohol consumption will eventually alter the brain’s functioning and disrupt neurotransmitters that carry messages through the central nervous system (CNS). The primary neurotransmitter linked to the production of feelings such as relaxation and sedation is gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA also helps generate endorphins in the brain, which serve to produce feelings of well-being. 

Excessive alcohol use results in an imbalance of GABA, and commonly leads to several adverse physical and mental symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, including the following:

  • Headaches
  • Heart palpitations
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Mood swings
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shakiness and tremors
  • Sweating

Delirium tremens symptoms may include:

  • Altered mental functions
  • Deep sleep
  • Fear and paranoia
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Abrupt mood changes
  • Overexcitement
  • Hallucinations

Can You Die From Alcohol Withdrawal? | Harmony Recovery Center

Other severe symptoms of acute withdrawal may include:

  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Kidney and liver dysfunction
  • Seizure-related head injury
  • High blood pressure
  • Hyperventilation
  • Dehydration

In addition to alcohol’s dehydrating effects, detox can be dangerously dehydrating to the body. Moreover, the body uses any means necessary, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating, to eliminate alcohol and its toxic byproducts. Combining an alcohol user’s pre-existing dehydrated condition with withdrawal-related dehydration can induce life-threatening seizures.

The intensity of withdrawal symptoms depends on many factors that vary between individuals. Factors may include the following:

  • Length of time alcohol has been abused
  • Amount of alcohol consumed
  • The frequency of alcohol consumption
  • History of addiction or polysubstance use
  • A family history of addiction
  • Gender, weight, and age

If you are detoxing alone (not advised), it is vital to contact a medical provider if you begin to experience severe withdrawal symptoms after you quit using alcohol. As noted, withdrawal symptoms can become life-threatening if left unaddressed.

Alcohol Withdrawal Facts

Alcohol releases dopamine, a “feel-good” chemical neurotransmitter linked to the body’s reward system, a center that also regulates energy levels and feelings of enjoyment and motivation. This surplus of dopamine can trigger some of the pleasant feelings that addicts covet. 

As the body begins to develop a higher tolerance for alcohol, the brain grows more dependent on the substance for the release of dopamine. When a chronic, excessive drinker abruptly stops drinking, dopamine production halts, resulting in physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms as the body attempts to restabilize.

Alcohol detox usually lasts for several days, but withdrawal is different for each person. As the liver metabolizes alcohol and moves the drug through the system, withdrawal symptoms onset. It can take 30-120 minutes for the body to assimilate one serving of alcohol into the bloodstream. 

Most alcohol detox programs last from a few days to up to one week, and withdrawal usually subsides within that timeframe. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms come in three different stages: mild, moderate, and severe. Mild withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, mild tremors, and nausea, typically onset 6-12 hours after a person’s last drink. 

Moderate side effects of withdrawal, including vomiting, sweating, confusion, and fever, typically onset within 12-24 hours. Those who suffer severe withdrawal symptoms, such as delirium tremens, may begin to experience them between 48-72 hours after alcohol use has ceased.

What Causes Delirium Tremens?

Researchers are still attempting to determine the exact cause(s) of delirium tremens. Recent studies have shown, however, that during alcohol withdrawal, the brain releases glutamate, an excitatory neuron. This finding may explain the hyperactivity and other symptoms of delirium tremens that manifest.

Potential lethal complications associated with delirium tremens include respiratory arrest, cardiac arrhythmia, and aspiration pneumonitis. An individual may be at an increased risk for delirium tremens if they are middle-aged or older, or have experienced or is experiencing any of the following:

  • Seizures or DTs during previous withdrawal
  • Co-occurring mental health condition
  • Impaired liver function
  • Abuse of alcohol for a prolonged period

Delirium tremens can be challenging to identify, as some symptoms are similar to those of acute alcohol withdrawal, such as trembling and confusion. However, acute alcohol withdrawal is rarely fatal, while DTs, as noted, can be lethal. Also, the risk of death associated with DTs is higher when the condition is not properly addressed using effective medical treatment.

Can You Die From Alcohol Withdrawal? | Harmony Recovery Center

Alcohol Detox Process

There are two ways a person can detox from alcohol: “cold turkey” (abruptly discontinuing use) or by gradually reducing consumption, which is a method known as “tapering.”

Many people who detox on their own without medical assistance opt for the cold turkey method. This approach, however, can be dangerous, as it can result in the onset of withdrawal effects being more intense. In the face of harrowing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, the person going through detox may relapse hard and put themselves in danger of alcohol poisoning and other complications.

If a person undergoes detox at an accredited facility, such as Harmony Recovery Center, he or she has a higher chance of experiencing a safe withdrawal. Delirium tremens often requires high-level pharmacotherapy, and, in extreme instances, the individual with DTs may even need to stay in an intensive care unit. Alcohol withdrawal can be fatal in certain situations, so it’s vitally important for those detoxing to do so in a specialized medical facility. 

NOTE: The tapering method is rarely used in medical settings because it’s not required. Instead, it is effectively replaced using medication and other treatments that relieve symptoms and make the entire process easier and safer for the patient.

Simply put, a professional medical detox is the safest and most comfortable option for those who wish to stop drinking. Harmony Ridge Recovery monitors patients around-the-clock during detox to manage pain, ensure vital signs are at normal levels, and forestall any life-threatening complications from occurring.

Treatment for Alcoholism

Following detox, patients are ready to begin treatment for alcohol addiction. Harmony Recovery Center offers many different treatment options, including both inpatient and outpatient rehab. 

We offer a comprehensive approach to the treatment of alcoholism and address both the physical and psychological aspects of the disease. During rehab, patients are provided with multiple services that are clinically-proven to be vital to the recovery process. These include behavioral therapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and more.

If you are suffering from an addiction to alcohol, contact us today! Discover how we can help you free yourself from the grips of substance abuse and begin to experience the fulfilling and happy life you deserve!

Is it Dangerous to Quit Drinking Cold Turkey?

Quit Drinking Cold Turkey | Is it Dangerous? | Harmony Recovery Center

Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. Despite its legality and high availability, alcohol, when abused, can result in a wealth of physical and emotional problems. Also, over time, the brain becomes accustomed to its presence, and when a person tries to quit, they will experience adverse and sometimes even life-threatening effects.

When alcohol enters the brain, it produces increased levels of dopamine and GABA. Both are neurotransmitters that the brain uses to tell the rest of the body how to feel and respond. Dopamine affects feelings of pleasure and reward, motivation, and many other essential functions. Meanwhile, GABA controls and moderates stress reactions. As GABA levels increase, the central nervous system (CNS) becomes depressed, and breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure are all reduced. 

Alcohol abuse adversely alters the natural levels of these vital chemicals. The more the brain grows accustomed to this abnormal intrusion, the more it will become reliant on alcohol to keep levels in balance. Once a person becomes addicted to alcohol, dopamine and GABA activity are persistently altered, leading to unpleasant and even dangerous complications when they attempt to quit drinking abruptly. 

Moreover, a person should never quit drinking cold turkey without medical care and supervision. According to Dictionary.com, the phrase “cold turkey” describes “the abrupt and complete cessation of taking a drug to which one is addicted.”

Dangers of Alcohol Withdrawal

Most people who are dependent on alcohol will experience some withdrawal symptoms when they quit drinking cold turkey. Research findings have varied, but it has been suggested that at least 3% of people who do this will suffer from a severe condition known as delirium tremens (DTs). This disorder is characterized by seizures, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, or all of the above. 

In addition to these, people may also experience perilously high fevers. Seizures, hyperthermia, arrhythmias, and other complications related to co-occurring disorders can prove fatal during DTs without immediate medical attention.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually begin within around eight hours following the last drink and are at their worst in about 2-3 days. In the case of DTs, hallmark symptoms may not manifest for up to three days after a person decides to quit drinking cold turkey. This fact makes the condition even more dangerous since the person may falsely believe the problem has resolved and they do not need medical attention.

In general, the severity of the effects of alcohol withdrawal is closely associated with the intensity of the person’s dependence. This fact implies that someone who drinks excessively on a regular basis for a prolonged period will suffer the most. 

Combining other drugs, particularly other CNS depressants, can advance a person’s level of dependence and further compound withdrawal symptoms. Also, the presence of co-occurring mental health or medical problems can exacerbate the risks and intensity of withdrawal.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from relatively mild to life-threatening. The following are potential withdrawal symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle weakness
  • Aggressiveness
  • Clammy skin
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Appetite loss
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Mood swings
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Short-term memory loss

Quit Drinking Cold Turkey | Is it Dangerous? | Harmony Recovery Center

Other Hazardous Side Effects of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol addiction and episodes of regular drinking can result in malnourishment, as people may eat fewer balanced meals. Also, alcohol withdrawal can cause stomach upset and appetite loss. Alcohol abuse can deplete the body of much-needed vitamins and nutrients as well.

For example, alcohol can cause a deficiency of vitamin B1 (thiamine), and, in fact, as many as 80% of people struggling with alcoholism suffer from it. A thiamine deficiency can induce a condition known as Wernicke’s encephalopathy (WE). WE is a disorder that can result in profound mental confusion, as well as a lack of control over eye movement and motor coordination. 

Most of the time, Wernicke’s encephalopathy progresses into Korsakoff syndrome. This condition is characterized by difficulty forming new memories, learning problems, confusion, and confabulation

Impairment in learning and memory deficiencies in addition to problems with motor skills make Korsakoff syndrome a severe disorder that requires specialized treatment. In fact, it is estimated that only about 25% of people will recover fully from the disease.

Dehydration is yet another possible complication of alcohol withdrawal, and this can result in a profound electrolyte imbalance. Alcohol itself is dehydrating, and the vomiting and diarrhea that often occur during alcohol withdrawal serve to make this problem even worse. 

Severe dehydration can result in mental confusion and a disturbance in the autonomic functions of the CNS. This further increases the potential for a dangerous withdrawal period. High levels of anxiety, panic, and depression can also be challenging during alcohol withdrawal and may result in suicidal thoughts or self-harm.

Minimizing the Risks of Alcohol Withdrawal

Quit Drinking Cold Turkey | Is it Dangerous? | Harmony Recovery Center

Alcohol withdrawal can be severe and very uncomfortable. The adverse effects and intense cravings for alcohol often make it hard for people to avoid relapse unless they have a safe, alcohol-free environment and medical help.

Indeed, the risks associated with alcohol withdrawal can be minimized through medical detox. This method is always recommended in instances of alcohol withdrawal.

During a medical detox program, the person will be supervised in a special facility where they can safely stop drinking while toxins related to alcohol are processed out of their system. Oftentimes, medications such as benzodiazepines or barbiturates can be used to replace the effects of alcohol. 

Other pharmaceuticals may be beneficial in helping to manage certain symptoms of withdrawal. Sleep aids, mood stabilizers, pain relievers, and medications to ease upset stomach and vomiting may also be administered.

During detox, intravenous fluids can also be given to prevent or reverse dehydration. Nutritional balance can be reestablished through carefully planned meals. Medical professionals will monitor vital signs and emotional health regularly to ensure each patient is safe and as comfortable as possible during medical detox. 

On average, a person will remain in a medical detox program for between 5-7 days. This period may be shorter or longer, depending on the individual needs of the patient. 

Support during detox can also address the potential dangers related to alcohol withdrawal and help the person to become physically and mentally stable. One of the primary goals is to ensure the patient is prepared to enter a comprehensive alcohol addiction treatment program immediately following withdrawal. 

Getting Help for Alcoholism

Detox is a vital first step, but it should be immediately followed by a complete addiction treatment program that includes the following:

  • Behavioral therapies
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Support group participation
  • Substance abuse education

Harmony Recovery Center offers an integrated, research-based approach to addiction treatment. We design our programs to be unique to the individual to ensure their needs and goals are met. We are dedicated to providing each client with the tools they need to have the best chance for long-term success.

If you are motivated to break free from alcoholism, contact us today! We can help you reclaim your life and experience the joy and fulfillment you deserve!

Stages of Drunkenness

Stages of Drunkenness | Harmony Recovery Center

When a person drinks alcohol, the full effects can take some time to become evident. The onset and intensity of effects depend on several factors, including the following:

  • Amount of alcohol consumed
  • Rate of consumption
  • Sex (male or female)
  • Bodyweight
  • Metabolic rate
  • Ethnicity
  • Amount of food in stomach
  • Fat content of food
  • Tolerance

Despite the variability between individuals, there are some predictable stages of drunkenness through which a person may progress, depending on their blood alcohol content (BAC), as their drinking episode continues.

The Stages of Drunkenness

Stage 1: Sobriety

At a BAC of 0.05 or less, the individual is unlikely to appear intoxicated. Depending on the person, judgment and reaction time may be mildly impaired. One drink will typically result in a BAC beneath this threshold for both men and women.

Stage 2: Euphoria

The second stage of drunkenness, euphoria, occurs between 0.03-0.12 BAC (or around 1-4 drinks for a female or 2-5 for a male). In this stage, the person may feel more confident, talkative, social, and mildly euphoric. Inhibitions also begin to be reduced.

While many of the effects of alcohol at this time may be desirable for the drinker, the adverse effects of alcohol, such as impaired judgment, memory, and coordination, will also begin to appear. At this stage, a person’s motor skill responses may also be substantially more delayed than when sober.

Likewise, alertness is impaired, the person may begin having difficulty processing information, and they will not identify danger as rapidly. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that a drunk driver is up to four times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than a person with a BAC of zero. Operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or above is illegal and can result in arrest.

Stage 3: Excitement

Having a BAC of 0.09-0.25 places a person into the third stage of drunkenness, also known as excitement. They may begin to exhibit emotional instability, a loss in judgment, and a notable delay in reaction time. They may also experience the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired perception
  • Memory loss
  • Vision problems
  • Impaired coordination
  • Clumsiness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

At this stage, those around the individual will likely notice that they are visibly intoxicated.

Stages of Drunkenness | Harmony Recovery Center

Stage 4: Confusion

Someone with a BAC of 0.18-0.30 is in the confusion stage of drunkenness, which is hallmarked by emotional instability and disorientation. Coordination is noticeably impaired, to the extent that the person may stagger when walking, may not be able to stand upright, and may experience dizziness.

Those in this stage of intoxication are likely to have a complete memory lapse, otherwise known as “blacking out.” When this occurs, the person is essentially a walking, talking zombie operating on autopilot, but they are not quite to the point of passing out. Also, a person in this stage may have a significantly increased pain threshold, meaning they could cause harm to themselves and not feel the effects until much later.

Stage 5: Stupor

Stupor can occur at a BAC of 0.25-0.40. Someone in this stage of drunkenness is profoundly intoxicated and in dangerous territory, as they are at a high risk of alcohol poisoning and death. They will have lost most or all of their motor control, and they cannot respond appropriately to stimuli. Also, they may be:

  • Unable to stand or walk
  • Vomiting
  • Unresponsive or completely passed out
  • Unable to voluntarily control certain bodily functions

Someone in this stage usually needs immediate medical help to survive. People who are left to “sleep it off” may end up experiencing hazardously slowed breathing or complete respiratory arrest, or they may aspirate on their own vomit. Other risks include hypothermia, heart arrhythmia, and seizures.

Stage 6: Coma

A person who has a 0.35-0.45 BAC is at high risk of slipping into a coma. Respiration and circulation are perilously depressed, motor response and reflexes are barely present or absent, and the person’s body temperature is low. A person who has reached this stage will most likely die without medical treatment.

Stage 7: Death

At 0.45 BAC or above, many people are unable to sustain essential life functions, and the risk of respiratory arrest and death occurring is almost certain.

Understand the Risks and Get Help

It’s important to understand that because the amount of alcohol needed to reach various states of drunkenness can vary depending on the person, what might be a lethal amount for one individual may not be for another. Heavy alcohol use comes with a vast array of risks. If you find yourself drinking excessively and frequently reaching the later stages of intoxication associated with severe risks, you may need professional help.

Harmony Recovery Center offers research-based treatment that provides the necessary skills and tools that people need to manage alcoholism and maintain long-term sobriety.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, contact us today!

8 Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol

Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol

Updated On Aug 16, 2019

1. Feeling Better

Alcohol isn’t a healthy substance—it’s a toxin. When a person drinks excessively, the body is forced to work harder to process the substance. The liver can be pushed to its limits trying to metabolize it. The brain fights to re-establish equilibrium, and the heart pumps at an irregular rate.

Conversely, people who don’t drink tend to be much healthier. They aren’t vulnerable to alcohol’s impact on the body. And because the system is free from toxic chemicals, it can focus its energy elsewhere. As a result, the mind and body can begin to function optimally.

Drinking isn’t good for mental health, either. In excess, it often causes people to make choices they later regret. Therefore, alcohol abuse is often associated with feelings of shame, guilt, and remorse. Over time, this can harm a person’s emotional health. One of the most significant benefits of not drinking alcohol is the cessation of guilt.

2. Looking Younger

Alcohol use tends to make people appear older than they are. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it dehydrates the body, resulting in drier skin that becomes less elastic.

It also causes body tissue inflammation, and this is why some people get flushed in the face when they drink. That flushed redness is their skin becoming inflamed. Initially, the redness usually goes away once alcohol leaves their system, but over time, constant inflammation will damage their skin and may become more permanent.

In most people, alcohol reduces collagen, which is a protein that connects the skin cells and strengthens the tissue. When it breaks down, the skin starts to become more loose and saggy.

3. Saving Money

The advantages of quitting drinking aren’t just physical—it has financial benefits, as well. As anyone who drinks regularly knows, the cost of alcoholism can add up. When purchased once in a while, the price of a couple of beers or a bottle of wine is only a few dollars. But, when someone drinks every day, the costs add up over time.

Also, poor decisions often accompany drinking. If any legal issues, such as being charged with drinking and driving occur, the cost can be tremendous. Former alcoholics are usually happy to discover that their wallets are much fuller once they quit.

4. Losing Weight

Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol | Harmony Recovery Center

Alcohol is very high in calories, and these calories are empty. The body processes and retains alcohol as sugar, which eventually turns to fat. People who drink excessively often weigh more than those who abstain. In fact, research shows that excessive alcohol use is associated with obesity. The more alcohol a person drinks, the more likely it is that they’ll carry extra weight.

Of course, some people have faster metabolisms than others and may be more or less active. Thus, there is not necessarily a direct correlation between someone’s weight and the amount of alcohol they drink. But, if a person is looking to shed some weight, they should start abstaining from alcohol.

5. New Activities and Hobbies

Alcohol dependence itself takes up considerable time, and when you add the time it takes to recover from drinking, you might find you have a lot more time on your hands when you quit.

Therefore, finding a new hobby or activity is essential for maintaining sobriety. Some former alcoholics turn to exercise, for example, and some prefer to read, paint, or garden. It’s not terribly important what the hobby is, as long as it gives the addict something to do to occupy their mind and the time they used to spend drinking.

6. Healthy Liver Function

Drinking alcohol is notoriously bad for the liver. When a person consumes an excessive amount, the liver must exhaust itself to process it. In severe cases, alcoholics can develop liver disorders such as fatty liver, hepatitis, or cirrhosis. These conditions can result in both internal and external damage to the body, and liver cirrhosis is irreversible.

Fortunately, the liver is a continually regenerating organ, and can often repair itself when it’s given an appropriate amount of time to do so. It creates new cells with the intention to fix any problems that may arise. Alcohol impairs the regenerative system, however, and when used excessively, the liver has a difficult time regenerating.

Over time, the liver may deteriorate and become fatty, inflamed, and even scarred. To prevent damage from worsening, heavy drinkers should stop drinking and give their liver some time to recover.

When a person quits drinking, their liver begins to flush out the leftover byproducts that were produced over time. This process usually takes several weeks, but in extreme cases, may take a few years. After the byproducts have been cleared, the liver can return to normal functioning.

Unfortunately, some liver damage, such as cirrhosis, is irreparable. In most cases, though, people who decide to abstain will experience the benefits of not drinking alcohol within a few months.

7. Making Amends and Righting Wrongs

Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol | Harmony Recovery Center

Most people have done things that they regret. But heavy drinkers tend to do more regrettable things—one of the greatest benefits of quitting is having the opportunity to apologize and to make amends for those things. Sobriety gives people the chance to right their wrongs and start over.

Alcoholics often behave in ways that cause their family or friends to distance themselves. But when the person quits drinking, they offer concrete proof that they are taking steps toward becoming a better person. As long as they remain sober, at least some of the people around them will impart forgiveness.

8. Improved Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, despite the fact that alcohol is a depressant and can induce sleep, it can ultimately interfere with quality sleep in several ways.

Drinking alcohol before bedtime is associated with more slow-wave sleep patterns called delta activity that allows for memory formation and learning. Consecutively, however, another type of brain pattern known as alpha activity is also initiated. Alpha activity doesn’t usually occur during sleep, but instead while a person is relaxing quietly.

Together, the alpha and delta activity in the brain that ensues after drinking may inhibit restorative sleep and can interrupt circadian rhythms. Experts believe it does this by interfering with the normal production of chemicals in the body that cause drowsiness after being awake for some time, and wane when sleep is sufficient.

After drinking alcohol, production of adenosine, a chemical that induces sleep, is increased. This action allows for a fast onset of sleep but also subsides almost as quickly as it came, making one more likely to wake up before being truly rested.

According to sleep experts, alcohol also inhibits REM sleep, can aggravate breathing problems and can lead to an increased need to urinate and frequent trips to the bathroom. The benefits of not drinking alcohol, therefore, include a much better night’s sleep and feelings of restfulness the following day.

For many people, quitting alcohol may feel like an impossible task. It’s especially challenging for those who are addicted—often, alcoholics feel as if, for them, there can be no life without it. Despite all of the adverse effects it has on their well-being, they continue to drink.

Fortunately, however, achieving abstinence is possible, and the benefits of not drinking alcohol are astounding. Through long-term abstinence, people have been able to improve their lives—sometimes immediately—in unlimited ways.

Ready to stop drinking?

Many people have difficulty quitting drinking on their own. Most addiction professionals recommend that individuals dependent upon alcohol undergo a medical detox following by a long-term inpatient or outpatient program. The most effective approaches to treatment are comprehensive and focus on evidence-based services, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, counseling, and group support.

Our center employs knowledgeable staff who specialize in addiction and deliver these services to each client with care and expertise. We provide clients with the tools and support they need to achieve sobriety and enjoy long-lasting wellness and harmony.

Please contact us today to find out how we can help you get started on your journey to recovery!

Dangers of Grain Alcohol

Grain Alcohol Dangers | Harmony Recovery Center

Grain alcohol is a refined form of ethanol produced by distilling fermented grain. The ethanol itself is created through the fermentation of sugars by yeast in grain before repeated distillation.

Due to its high alcohol content, grain alcohol is considered to be extremely dangerous. Consuming more than a small amount can rapidly result in intoxication, impaired thinking and motor skills, and lowered inhibitions. Any person who uses grain alcohol to excess is at a high risk of alcohol poisoning, other severe health consequences, and injury to oneself or others.

Other specific dangers include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Tolerance
  • Dependence
  • Addiction
  • Exacerbation of mental illness
  • Car accidents
  • Risky sexual behaviors
  • Brain damage
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Increased risk of cancers
  • Stroke or heart disease
  • Fetal alcohol disorders
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of falls
  • Memory/learning problems
  • Suicide

Grain Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse and the chronic patterns of drinking associated with it can also lead to severe problems in a person’s life, such as those associated with family, school, career, and finances. It can rapidly lead to legal issues as well, such as drunk driving or open intox convictions.

Alcohol abuse has also been associated with several mood disorders. Harmful drinking patterns can impact a person’s mental health. Indeed, it can cause or aggravate certain mental health problems, such as anxiety, ADHD, and depression.

More on Grain Alcohol

The term “grain alcohol” can be used to refer to any ethanol derived from grain, or it may be reserved for alcohol that is at least 90% pure. Examples of brand name grain alcohols include Everclear (most popular in the U.S.), Gem Clear, Century, and Graves. Grain alcohol is a colorless, odorless liquid that has no added flavor. Most people say that purified alcohol has a medicinal taste and a mild chemical odor.

Grain’s alcohol’s high proof and relatively low price make it attractive to some drinkers, particularly teens and young adults students. Regardless of a person’s age, drinking Everclear can be very dangerous, even in small amounts.

In college or party environments, a person may consume grain alcohol without their knowledge. It’s often mixed into high alcohol content drinks, such as “Jungle Juice.” Conversely, a person who is addicted to alcohol and has a high tolerance may intentionally drink grain alcohol to increase the pleasurable effects.

Grain Alcohol Dangers | Harmony Recovery Center

About Everclear

As noted, Everclear is one of the most popular brands of grain alcohol in the U.S. It comes in three concentrations: 60%, 75.5%, and 95%, representing proofs of 120, 151, and 190 respectively. Comparatively, many other popular liquors, such as rum and vodka, are about 40% alcohol or 80 proof on average. Everclear is, on average, at least twice as potent.

Because of Everclear’s high ABV and the tremendous risks that surround it, the 190 proof version is illegal in many U.S. states. However, some will go to great lengths to obtain it, such as having a friend or family member bring them a bottle from out of state.

It may be nearly effortless to drink a dangerous amount of Everclear in a short amount of time. Despite Everclear’s strength and warnings against consuming it, Everclear abuse does happen. When this happens, it puts a person’s life in immediate jeopardy.

According to makers of Everclear, it is intended to be diluted or used to make an alcoholic beverage of a lower proof. Despite this warning, many people continue to drink it in a way other than intended, which can rapidly place them at risk of serious harm.

While consuming Everclear, a person may overdose on alcohol after a small number of drinks. Acute alcohol poisoning can prove to be fatal, especially if emergency medical attention is not sought it time to render treatment.

Alcohol Poisoning

The consumption of alcohol is considered to be socially acceptable by many. However, a fine line exists between fun levels of intoxication and alcohol poisoning. Many people don’t realize that alcohol poisoning is an acute overdose of alcohol.

An alcohol overdose occurs when a person’s body, particularly the liver, can no longer keep up with the amount of alcohol overwhelming its system. The liver can only process about 1-2 standard alcohol drinks per hour. Grain alcohol is far and above a “standard” drink, which is 40% for liquor. Just a couple of shots of grain alcohol in one hour can lead to intoxication.

This excess amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream causes impairment to the nervous and respiratory system, and these effects can be life-threatening. As this occurs, the number of toxins produced from the metabolism of alcohol accumulates. When severe, these effects can result in basic life support functions in a person’s body shutting down.

Like drug overdoses, without immediate medical help, severe alcohol poisoning can be deadly. Around 2,200 people die each year from alcohol poisoning. While this number is relatively low compared to some other substances, such as opioids, it does reveal that fatalities from an alcohol overdose occur on a regular basis.

What to Do in Case of Overdose

If a person is exhibiting stupor, barely able to stay awake, or is unconscious, emergency medical attention may be necessary. Being able to recognize the signs of an alcohol overdose can help to save someone’s life.

If you witness the following signs of alcohol poisoning, call 911 or visit the nearest ER immediately:

  • Bluish or pale skin
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Profound confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Low body temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach/intestinal bleeding
  • Stupor
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma

Fortunately, many people recover from an alcohol overdose, but, tragically, others do not. In the most extreme scenarios, a person could choke and aspirate on their vomit or fall into a coma and die.

Grain Alcohol Dangers | Harmony Recovery Center

Alcohol Poisoning Tips

Other tips for helping someone who is overdosing on alcohol:

1) Get as much information as you can about the person who is overdosing and what they consumed. Provide this information to a 911 operator.
2) Try to keep the person in an upright position. If the person must be lying down, turn them on their side to prevent them from choking on their own vomit.
3) Do not leave the person alone and do not assume they will merely “sleep it off.”
4) Do not attempt to give them a cold shower. This action could lead to hypothermia.
5) Do not attempt to give them food (they may choke) or coffee, which could dehydrate the person further.

Getting Treatment For Alcohol Abuse And Addiction

Harmony Recovery Center offers comprehensive alcohol addiction treatment programs that provide people the opportunity to foster sobriety and heal from the destructive effects of chronic alcohol abuse.

Alcohol withdrawal, especially for those who have drunk excessively on a regular basis for a prolonged period, can be life-threatening. While many symptoms of withdrawal will be minor and can be treated through outpatient care only, others have the potential to be lethal. Without prompt medical attention, this condition can lead to death.

After a person has undergone detox and their bodies have returned to normal functioning, next it is vital to work on treating the psychoemotional aspects of addiction. Alcohol rehab programs, such as those offered at Harmony Recovery Center, focus on teaching a person to balance their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a more positive way through the aid of behavioral therapies.

Contact us today if you or someone you love is ready to break free from the cycle of alcohol abuse for life!

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?

How long does alcohol stay in the blood? | Harmony Recovery Center

Factors such as age, weight, gender, and amount of food eaten can affect how long alcohol can stay in your system.

  • Blood: Up to 24 hours
  • Breath: 12-24 Hours
  • Urine: 12-80 Hours
  • Saliva: 12-24 Hours
  • Hair: 90 Days

Alcohol Intoxication

Shortly after having a drink, about 20% of the alcohol travels into blood vessels on the way to the stomach and then to the brain. The rest travels into the small intestine, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The point at which blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is highest before it begins to be metabolized is called the peak BAC.

The rate of intoxication for each person may depend upon individual factors. Alcohol is broken down at about the same rate for everyone, assuming they have a healthy liver. Other factors that may affect the rate of intoxication include the following:

  • Age and sex
  • Ethnicity
  • Body fat percentage
  • Rate of alcohol use
  • Amount and fat content of food in GI tract
  • Presence of other substances in the body
NOTE: One standard drink of alcohol is considered to be 12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of wine, or 1 oz. of liquor/spirits.

More specifically, factors that influence BAC:

Weight – the heavier you are, the more water is in your body, and the more the alcohol gets diluted.

Sex – alcohol consumption doesn’t impact men and women in the same way. Men have a higher amount of a stomach enzyme that helps metabolize alcohol, so they process it more rapidly. Women usually have less water and more fat. Female hormonal changes can affect BAC.

The number of drinks, their strength, and how fast they were consumed.

How much food was eaten and of what content. High-protein food hinders the processing of alcohol.

Testing for Alcohol

Alcohol tests may be performed for many reasons, including field sobriety testing, pre-employment screening, workplace testing, or probation or parole. Blood testing for alcohol is the most dependable and accurate method currently available. Unlike urine tests, a blood test can determine a person’s precise BAC at the time the test is conducted.

The most commonly employed test for the presence of alcohol, however, is a breath test, also known as a breathalyzer. This method is not as accurate or reliable as a blood test, but it is useful for ascertaining whether a person has been drinking and can estimate BAC. The breathalyzer is the standard sobriety test used by law enforcement in the United States because it is easily administered, much less invasive than a blood test, and the results are instantaneous.

Effects of Alcohol

The effects of alcohol typically begin as pleasant and rewarding, which is the primary reason why people enjoy drinking it. Nevertheless, there are many short- and long-term side effects and very few, if any, positive long-term effects of alcohol use. Alcohol’s short-term impact on the body is determined by a person’s BAC.

Short-term effects include the following:

At 0.03–0.12% BAC:

  • Improved mood
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Reduced attention span
  • Flushed face or skin
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Reduced ability to execute good judgment

At 0.09–0.25% BAC:

  • Sedation
  • Memory loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensory impairments
  • Impaired balance and equilibrium
  • Reduced comprehension and reaction speed

At 0.25–0.40% BAC:

  • Amnesia
  • Staggered movements
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Incontinence
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Transient consciousness or unconsciousness

At 0.35–0.8% BAC:

  • Loss of pupillary light reflex
  • Profound respiratory depression
  • Very weak or slow heart rate
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Coma
  • Death

Other Alcohol Effects

Once a person’s BAC reaches 0.40% or above, life-threatening occur in many cases. Depending on a person’s tolerance, when this level is reached, coma or death may be forthcoming. If someone you know is suffering from severe alcohol poisoning, please call 911 immediately. Do not let them “sleep it off” and do not leave them alone until medical help arrives.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include the following:

  • Confusion
  • Severely impaired coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures (fairly uncommon)
  • Stupor or unresponsiveness
  • Reduced body temperature
  • Paleness or bluing of the skin
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severely depressed breathing

Long-term effects of excessive alcohol use include the following:

  • Gastrointestinal ulcers
  • Hypertension
  • Anemia
  • Interrupted brain development
  • Reduced attention span
  • Reduced sperm count
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Cirrhosis

Moreover, chronic alcohol abuse increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as cancers of the mouth, larynx, pharynx, breast, and esophageal and gastrointestinal system.

Tolerance, Dependence, and Withdrawal

The more and more often a person drinks alcohol, the higher their tolerance will become. Tolerance is an altered state that is produced in response to excessive alcohol use. It occurs because the body compensates for its presence by dedicating more enzymes to break it down more efficiently. This reaction leads to a diminished response to alcohol as a result of repeated exposure.

Tolerance is a defense mechanism employed by the body because alcohol is essentially a poison. In fact, it can effectively reduce a person’s risk of alcohol poisoning. While tolerance does not always coincide with dependence, the development of a high tolerance is a hallmark sign of severe alcoholism.

Alcohol dependence is hallmarked by the brain’s need for alcohol to function normally, as well as the onset of withdrawal symptoms when the person tries to quit. These symptoms can vary in intensity from mild to severe, and, in extreme circumstances, result in life-threatening complications and death.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include the following:

  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Lack of appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Shakiness and tremors
  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Fever
  • Racing heart or palpitations
  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired mental function
  • Hallucinations
  • Extreme disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens

Alcohol addiction includes both tolerance and dependence, and also one more element: compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite the occurrence of negative consequences. That is, those who are addicted to alcohol will regularly obsess over the procurement of alcohol and its consumption. They will also do so even though it destructive to their lives, including their health, relationships, and financial and legal troubles that come about.

Treatment for Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a serious and often devastating disease that can result in a myriad of health problems, financial and legal trouble, and put enormous strain on interpersonal relationships. The longer that active alcoholism remains untreated, the higher the chance that these difficulties, as well as others, will occur.

Alcoholism is a lifelong disease, and, unfortunately, there is no one simple cure that works for everyone. Almost no one who is an alcoholic will ever be able to return to ‘normal’ drinking or fully recover their lives when engaging in any form of alcohol use.

Fortunately, alcoholism is very treatable. Modern treatment approaches employ services clinically proven to be effective. These services may include psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and medication-assisted treatment.

Harmony Recovery Center offers these services in both partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats. We provide clients with the tools, resources, and support they need to experience a full recovery and enjoy long-lasting healthy lives.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. We are dedicated to helping people escape the clutches of addiction so they can look forward to a fulfilling future free from drugs and alcohol!

DUI vs. DWI

DUI vs. DWI | What's the Difference? | Harmony Recovery Center

DUI vs. DWI: What’s the Difference? DWI stands for Driving While Impaired, and DUI means Driving Under the Influence. Although you might have heard both terms used, the state of North Carolina does not make a distinction between them. … Being charged with a DWI usually denotes a higher crime on the scale than if you were charged with a DUI.

DUI vs. DWI

It may be a little confusing when a state uses both terms. Often, one will refer to the use of alcohol and the other to impairment by drugs, but this can also vary from state to state, depending on the state’s laws. Also, in some states, DWI refers to driving while under the influence of alcohol with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) over the legal limit. Meanwhile, the term DUI may be used to charge a driver with being under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.

OUI vs. OWI

In some states, an intoxicated driver can also be charged with an OWI (operating while intoxicated) or an OUI (operating a vehicle under the influence). Regardless, being charged with any of these offenses can have severe consequences.

At the time of this writing, these acronyms are only used in Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The “operating” distinction comprises more than just driving a vehicle. Even if the vehicle is stopped and the motor is not running, a person can be arrested and charged with operating under the influence.

When Charges Can Occur

A police officer should only pull a person over when he/she has probable cause to suspect that the driver may be under the influence of a substance. Examples include violating a traffic rule, swerving, or driving dangerously. Once a person has been pulled over, the officer will try to determine if he or she is intoxicated and to what extent.

The driver will likely be asked to perform a field sobriety test. These are often relatively simple tasks, like standing on one leg while counting, or walking in a straight line and then turning around. An officer might also ask a driver to follow a light with their eyes.

Whether or not a person passes the field sobriety test, he or she will probably be asked to use a breathalyzer. A breathalyzer is a tool that is used to determine a person’s approximate BAC. Refusing to take this test can result in additional penalties, including fines and license suspension.

Importantly, a person can still be charged and convicted of driving while impaired without taking a breathalyzer test. If he or she fails the field sobriety test or has an accident, these are examples of situations that could still land a person in jail. Moreover, refusing to use a breathalyzer might not be a good idea, since, in many cases, it would only result in more problems.

If the field tests or breathalyzer indicate that a driver is intoxicated (the legal limit is usually a BAC of 0.08%), the vehicle will likely be searched for open alcohol or drugs. The person will then be arrested and charged, and the vehicle will be towed to an impound location.

DUI vs. DWI | What's the Difference? | Harmony Recovery Center

After Arrest

After law enforcement arrest a driver at the scene, he or she will probably be booked at a local station. This process typically involves being photographed and fingerprinted, followed by short-term incarceration in a jail cell.

A person might also be asked to undergo a blood or urine test. Like breathalyzers, in some states, there are penalties for refusing to take these other tests. The police will also ask questions, but, as with any arrest, you have the right not to answer and to speak to a lawyer.

After being booked, many people can be released on bail if they can post it. At this point, it’s best to retain an attorney if one has not been already. Next is the process of arraignment, where the person pleads either guilty or not guilty. Sometimes it can take weeks or months to get to this part, depending on whether a plea deal has been agreed upon and some other factors.

In any case, a guilty plea is swiftly followed by sentencing from a judge. If this is a plea deal, most of the time, a defendant will have a good idea of what the outcome will be. If the plea is not guilty, the case will go to trial in front of a judge or jury to determine the verdict.

Sentences vary widely depending on the severity of the circumstances and a person’s criminal record. For example, a second DUI would warrant a stiffer sentence than the first. Conditions of sentencing may include jail time, probation, and community service. The person may also be required to undergo therapy or counseling, random or routine breathalyzer tests, and substance abuse education.

Treatment for Alcoholism

If you have been charged with a drunk driving offense, you may be required by law to seek treatment for substance abuse. Even if you are not required, there is a reasonable chance that drinking has become problematic and you could benefit from professional help.

Harmony Recovery Center offers comprehensive programs for the treatment of addictive substances in both partial hospitalization and outpatient formats. Using evidence-based services, such as psychotherapy, we provide clients with the tools and support they need to succeed at recovery.

Give us a call today, 100% Confidential

704-970-4106
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