Author Archives: Hank

The Pink Cloud of Recovery

The Pink Cloud of Recovery

 

The path to recovery from a substance addiction can be a difficult one. One of the most challenging steps could be the immediate time following drug addiction treatment. It is during this period and perhaps at other durations that a recovering addict might be plagued by a medical condition known as pink cloud syndrome. 

 

Pink Cloud Syndrome Defined

 

Individuals completing a drug addiction treatment or alcohol addiction treatment program are experiencing sober living for the first time in quite a while. In some cases, people who have survived drug detox have been addicted to a particular substance for many years. 

 

This ailment, also sometimes referred to as the pink cloud effect, is the euphoric feeling those who are in the process of regaining their sobriety witness. Those who have recovered from alcohol detox and other drug detox programs often feel an intense liberation of not being reliant on chemicals to help them cope with everyday life or deal with common stressors. In essence, such individuals are high on life instead of drugs. 

 

When Is Pink Cloud Syndrome Most Commonly Experienced During Recovery?

 

Though the effect can be felt any time after an addict has completed treatment, the condition most commonly occurs in the early stages of recovery. In many cases, pink cloud happens shortly after they have successfully completed recovery and are back out on their own.

 

Associated Symptoms

 

The ailment might be difficult to describe for someone who has not experienced it. However, there are certain manifestations recovering addicts or their loved ones can look out for that might indicate its presence including:

 

*Extreme Confidence

*Unusual happiness and joy

*Exceedingly hopeful

*Boundless energy

*Unwavering positive belief in the future

 

Addiction specialists also categorize the pink cloud effect as the “honeymoon stage” of recovery. The new experience known as sober living inspires those in recovery to new heights. In fact, the intense feelings of joy are described as if the individuals in question are floating on a cloud, thus the descriptive term for the malady. 

 

The Syndrome’s Duration

 

Typically, the pink cloud effect is relatively short-lived. That said, placing a specific timeframe on the ailment’s duration of difficult. For some addicts, the effect could last several days. In others, it could linger for weeks or months. However, each recovering addict’s experience will often be different and the time spent in the pink cloud will vary depending upon several different factors. Common factors include:

 

*The specific substance abused

*The severity of the addictions

*The recovering addict’s age 

*The recovering addict’s overall health

*The recovering addict’s mental state

 

Again, it is important to reiterate that every instance is different and other factors might be pertinent to specific cases. 

 

Potential Complications

 

Though feeling well and possessing a positive outlook on life following alcohol addiction treatment or drug detox could prove beneficial in many ways, a long-standing experience of euphoria and joy could potentially precipitate certain detrimental impacts including:

 

The Dismissal Of Real-Life Difficulties

 

When individuals complete drug or alcohol detox programs, They attempt to resume normal lives in the real world. Oftentimes, they experience common challenges and problems that everyone face from time to time. That said, those living in the pink cloud might ignore these problems until they morph into serious issues that are more difficult to address. 

 

Unrealistic Expectations

 

Many treatment programs provide a comfortable, sheltered and structured environment in which recovering addicts overcome their demons. Achieving sobriety is a major accomplishment. Unfortunately, however, those existing in the pink cloud may gain a false sense that all remaining phases of the recovery process and their lives will be full of similar incredible feats. 

 

Overconfidence

 

Sometimes addicts experiencing the pink cloud effect gain a superior sense of confidence. In most instances, confidence is a positive attribute. However, in recovering addicts, overconfidence might precipitate potentially detrimental notions such as no longer needing support from friends and loved ones and the failure to attend recovery meetings. If left unchecked, these habits could contribute to relapse. 

 

Crashing

 

All extreme feelings, whether extremely euphoric or depressing, do not last forever. For those residing in the pink cloud, the euphoria eventually wears off. Unfortunately, the person in question could reach the other extreme and experience anxiety, depression and sadness. Negative or downtrodden emotions could also precipitate the onset of relapse. 

 

Prevention

 

Preventing pink cloud syndrome can be difficult. That said, noticing its onset is crucial for both recovering addicts and their loved ones. Understanding the preceding manifestations can afford physicians, recovery experts and mental health professionals a greater opportunity to prevent complications like relapse. 

 

Coping/Treatment Options 

 

Though hard to prevent, pink cloud syndrome can be controlled. Recovering addicts can maintain their sobriety and not float into the pink cloud by participating in healthy activities recommended by their treatment programs, avoiding people or situations that might have precipitated their addictions or reckless behavior, a safe and comfortable environment comprised of supportive people like friends and family. Should pink cloud syndrome set in, consultation with mental health professionals might be warranted. 

Video Gaming Addiction, Limit Screen Time

Video games have come a long way since the days of Pong. With the advent of cell phones and online gaming, anyone can play at any time. Additionally, people, particularly young people, are spending significantly more time on the internet than in prior years. They not only play games; they use social media, stream videos, listen to music, and do research and homework assignments.

There are many studies showing that gaming stimulates the brain in good ways, including creative problem-solving, critical thinking, visual acuity, attention, and spatial memory. And while many parents make statements like, “I feel like my child is addicted to video games,” or, “Little Susie is addicted to the internet,” the majority of children and adolescents who spend a lot of time online, either gaming or engaging in other activities, are able to keep up with their responsibilities, like homework, chores, and extracurricular activities. No one can deny that the internet is a wonderful tool for homework research, socializing, and a variety of other things, including entertainment.

But gaming and overuse of the internet can also have adverse effects on the brain. Like anything that is fun or enjoyable, video gaming stimulates the pleasure center of the brain, much like an ice cream cone, or more dangerous things, like drugs or alcohol. Because of this, digital gaming and online entertainment (particularly social media) can become an obsession, interfering with your child’s daily life, preventing them from socializing, studying, and spending time with the family. Internet use, too, can have this effect, specifically in the form of constant social media presence and other, less wholesome things, such as streaming video that many people would find objectionable. If these obsessions are allowed to progress, gaming and internet use can evolve into a video screen, tech, or video gaming addiction.

The World Health Organization (WHO) now officially recognizes video gaming addiction and screen addiction as legitimate mental health disorders, having placed both in their International Classification of Diseases(ICD-10)Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders. And while there is a lot of misinformation about tech addiction in general, these addictions are very real and, if left unaddressed, can be just as serious as other addictions.

Being able to recognize the warning signs of tech addiction is the key to making sure that your child’s digital health isn’t being adversely affected. If you are concerned that your child may be suffering from one of these disorders, there are warning signs and symptoms, both emotional and physical, that you should look for.

Warning Signs of Video Gaming and Screen Addiction

If you believe your child might be at risk for one of these addictions, these are some of the things that you should look for.

Emotional Warning Signs

These are a few of the emotional warning signs and symptoms of a tech disorder:

  • A decline in school performance, such as a drop in grades or missing homework assignments.
  • Withdrawal from social events or a lack of interest in social activities like sports, parties, or hanging out with friends and family.
  • Being preoccupied with previous online or gaming activity and a heightened sense of anticipation of the next session.
  • Irritiability when unable to get online or unable to play.
  • Lying about the amount of time spent gaming or online.

If your child displays these signs, it is likely that there is a problem with their digital health.

Physical Warning Signs

In addition to emotional signs, there are physical aspects of these disorders. They include:

  • A decline in personal hygiene.
  • Headaches or migraines caused by eye strain and overly intense concentration.
  • General fatigue and malaise.

If your child displays a significant combination of these signs, it is likely that they are suffering from tech, video gaming, or screen addiction. Addressing this is important in making sure your child does not damage their digital health.

Limiting Screen Time

While the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders DSM5) does not currently recognize digital addictions as true mental health disorders, the fact that the WHO has included them in the ICD-10 has opened up many treatment options. An effective option that you can implement immediately is limiting your child’s screen time. Here are some tips on how to lessen the amount of time your child spends in front of a screen.

  • Utilize Parental Controls:
    You have at your fingertips the ability to protect your child from explicit television and online content, as well as violent and otherwise objectionable games. Implement parental controls on your TV and internet to block this content and monitor your child’s online activity.
  • Be a Healthy Role Model:
    It is important that you display healthy technology habits to your children. Binging on television shows on your computer, keeping the television on all the time, or constantly scrolling through your phone, sets the tone for your child’s technology use and teaches them bad habits,
  • Become Tech Savvy:
    You can’t display healthy tech habits if you aren’t aware of the most current apps and online sites. Keep in mind that today’s young people usually know more about technology than adults. If you want to teach your child about the dangers of too much technology use, you need to be fully informed about those dangers.
  • Create Time to “Unplug”:
    Institute “tech-free time” for the entire family. Making dinner time, early mornings, and the hour or two before bedtime tech-free is a wonderful way for your entire family to enjoy quality time without the presence of digital distractions.
  • Keep the Internet out of Your Child’s Bedroom:
    You cannot monitor your child’s screen time if they have a computer, video gaming system, or television in their bedroom. Make your child’s bedroom a tech-free zone. This includes hand-held devices that many children use. Using them at night will disrupt your child’s sleep.
  • Obtain Your Child’s Passwords:
    If it fits in with your values (and depending on your child’s age), obtain your child’s passwords to social media and other online accounts. Many children, especially younger ones, cannot handle the problems they may encounter on social media, particularly cyberbullying. It is imperative that you take responsibility for keeping your child safe from these hazards. If you aren’t comfortable with obtaining their passwords, make rules surrounding which media sites are okay and which are off limits, and make it a rule that you are added as a contact or “friend” on these sites.

There are other ways to limit your child’s screen time. Create a dialogue about the hazards of too much time spent online, gaming, and watching television. A child that understands these dangers is less likely to break your rules surrounding screen time than a child who thinks their screen time is limited because their parents are “mean.” Talk to them, in an age-appropriate way, about the dangers of violent television shows, video games, and movies. Be sure to include in this dialogue the very real danger of online predators and how they put your child at risk. Don’t try to scare them; simply lay out the information in terms that they will understand.

Also encourage your child to engage in other activities, such as reading a book or playing with friends outside. The more screen-free entertainment your child engages in, the better.

The WHO (World Health Organization) Officially Makes Video Gaming Disorder a Mental Health Classification.

The World Health Organization’s announcement to include gaming disorder a medical diagnosis.

Through the years, video games have gotten a bad rap. They are seen as a major distraction, with tech addiction affecting people of all ages and all genders. They have remained controversial through the years with their graphic topics covering violence and sexuality. And now, video games have taken the limelight globally for being recognized as an alarming disorder.

Last may 25, the World Health Organization, also known as WHO, voted to include gaming disorder as a form of behavioral addiction in its International Classification of Diseases. What many parents scream to their kids about how their video gaming addiction is terribly annoying and how tech addiction is ruining their lives have just now become officially and dangerously real. There are several parameters to receive this gaming disorder diagnosis:
A person needs to show 12 months of continuous symptoms
Gaming and screen addiction takes up many hours of the technological addict’s time
Prioritizing gaming over health, hygiene, work, and social relationships

Gaming Figures

This declaration by the WHO on gaming disorders comes at a time wherein the impact and clout of the gaming industry is at its peak. Last year alone, this video and online gaming industry made up to $44 billion in sales; making them even more popular than streaming services and movie theaters. In the United States alone, research indicated that 167 million citizens played some form of electronic game, with majority of those figures playing online.

Gaming has overtaken the place of older social media apps, leaving less time for those with a video gaming addiction to spend on FB, IG, or Snapchat. This diagnosis has, of course, alarmed parents across the globe because data indicates that 97 percent of teen boys and 83 percent of teen girls play games on some kind of device. Some form of digital detox or detoxification from excessive gadgetry is necessary.

Conflicting Community

The WHO’s voice is without a doubt one that is filled with authority and power. However, it must be noted that they are not the only word, nor the last word in the field of science. In fact, there are those up in arms over this diagnosis. Of course, the video game companies are not happy over this declaration. But even in the community of scientists, there is quite a split between supporting tech addition as the real deal or whether this is a gross exaggeration.

It is important to note that technology addiction doesn’t even appear on the bible of the psychiatric profession in the United States. The closest it comes to being mentioned in the latest edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual is something called Internet Gaming Disorder. However, it not listed as an alarming condition that’s a cause for concern. The term was just mentioned briefly with notes that stating this disorder needs further study.

This lack of a medical sounding diagnosis is a vital one. This omission is important because it shapes therapists’ and doctors’ understanding of their patients and the tools they need in order to extend help. And more significant, it is harder to bill insurance providers without this official code in the official manual.

Still Alarming

There is no official term in the United States yet, but clinicians and researchers find screen addiction still ever so alarming. Patterns of behavior associated with excessive video games consumption continues to be a cause for concern, especially because the bulk of the people involved in doing it are children.

A doctor by the name of Douglas Gentile from Iowa State University admits to facing this video game addiction and excessive internet use concept with a lot of skepticism. But he that all the data and hard evidence are already staring everyone in the face but people struggle in accepting, facing, and handling the truth. The serious dysfunction this addiction affects includes multiple aspects of a person’s life and it is not imaginary but very real.

Points to Consider in Problematic Use

The advent of technology in this very advanced and fast paced world has exposed every single person to a device. Gadget use has been very prevalent that even young kids have to grapple with its consequences due to early and too much exposure. There are many adverse issues raised against excessive use of technology. Aside from just physically damaging the eyes due to the radiation emitted by the devices, the exposure to so much screen time can cause the brain to change. As mentioned above, there are printouts of brain images that show the actual effect of gadgets on the brain of real live subjects. As a result, these alarming changes in the brain are the ones that are feared to create the real physical dependency.

On top of that, overuse of gadgets, games, and media is seen as a bigger symptom of something deeper such as issues on depression, ADHD, or anxiety. In a study called A Parent Report Measure of Screen Media Addiction indicated that parents are alarmed by their children’s behavior. Taking away the gadgets only seem to make their children more rebellious. It also does not guarantee they will not have access to it in school or in other social settings. But what they do know is that excessive gadget consumption has the capacity to affect their kids’ health (staying up late nights make them prone to illnesses), impact the grades, affect time spent with family, and interfere with social relationships.

Proposed Treatment

Rather than just taking the gadgets away, which will cause more harm and drama than good, there must be harm reduction through digital detox. Taking the gadget away does not really eliminate the problem because these will always be present in the modern world. Confiscating the gadget is akin to throwing it under the rug and pretending it doesn’t exist. Instead discipline and healthy use of gadgets must be taught through mindful usage and controlled consumption.

Going cold turkey on video games may not be plausible because for the users it does provide them some measure of positivity such as entertainment, making them feel good, or helping them socialize with their online friends. However, there can be steps done to ensure that the temptation to keep on playing or using the device s kept at bay. For instance, keeping devices out of bedrooms is one way to ensure that these gamers get quality sleep. It is also important to make sure that young people attend school, make time for friends, and spend time outdoors.

Addiction is real, and although the numbers may not be that high in video games use, it doesn’t mean that it is not happening. That being said, branding someone as an addict is especially dangerous, especially for teens who are still in the difficult stage of conceptualizing their identities. What is more important is realizing that negative habits need correction and proper guidance must be given to correct these unpalatable types of behavior. The word addiction and disorder both drum up attention. They are controversial. Nowadays, where people can’t even leave the house without their mobile phones, controlled consumption has become harder and harder to do. But one thing is clear, no one needs an official doctor’s diagnosis to get people to put down their devices more often.

Learn More

Energy Drinks and Addiction

While energy drinks are known to boost as person’s stamina and energy, they can also be highly addictive. These drinks contain high amounts of caffeine, which is just one of the reasons as to why a person can become addicted to drinking them. Drinking too many energy drinks in a short period of time can be very damaging to a person’s health. However, the effects can be far worse since addiction to energy drinks can heighten the risk of using other drugs and eventually suffering from drug abuse. The best way to avoid becoming addicted to energy drinks is by being educated about the dangers of these drinks and the links that they have to addiction.

 

Troublesome Links Between Energy Drinks and Addiction

 

Energy drinks act as a stimulant that affect the reward centers of your brain. People experience more intense feelings of happiness as well as a substantial boost in energy. As is the case with prescription stimulant medications, it’s possible to become addicted to energy drinks. Consuming these beverages on an occasional basis shouldn’t cause any problems. However, regular consumption can start making the body dependent on the drink in order to receive the energy that’s necessary for normal bodily functions. When the body and brain become dependent on energy drinks or a similar drug, it’s possible for side effects and withdrawal symptoms to develop whenever the substance hasn’t been consumed for a long time, which will in turn heighten cravings of the substance.

 

While addiction to energy drinks is harmful, the addicted individual may be prone to taking more serious drugs if their body starts to become tolerant to the effects of the energy drink. For instance, they may need to drink more of the beverage in order to receive the same energy boost that they once did. If so, this individual may start to experiment with other drugs that can provide them with the same boost or “high” that they were once able to achieve. A study that was performed by the National Institute of Drug Abuse found that individuals who regularly consume energy drinks have a much higher chance of taking prescription stimulants and cocaine. This study has found that the risk of alcohol abuse is also greater.

 

While energy drinks have yet to be classified as gateway drugs, there are some dangerous links between these beverage and drug abuse and addiction. Keep in mind that this stimulant affects adolescent brains more severely than it does with adults. Teenagers who consume high amounts of energy drinks during their adolescent years will oftentimes turn to the use and eventual abuse of more serious drugs as they grow older. It’s also much easier for teenagers to build a strong tolerance to the effects of energy drinks than it is with adults.

 

Signs of Energy Drink Addiction

 

If you suspect that someone close to you may be suffering from an energy drink addiction, there are a wide variety of signs and symptoms that you should look for to help determine if treatment is necessary. When a person has started to become addicted to energy drinks, they will need to consume this caffeine so that their energy can reach normal levels. If these people don’t consume energy drinks for a certain amount of time, they will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, which primarily include regular headaches and fatigue.

 

Mood changes and issues with concentration are also likely. Individuals who consume too many energy drinks will likely experience increased blood pressure, palpitations, and irregular heart rates. While it can sometimes be difficult to identify these symptoms, it’s important to look for any changes in a person’s behavior that come with drinking a large amount of energy drinks. These behavioral changes could be the first signs that the person is becoming addicted.

 

Additional Health Risks to Consider

 

Along with addiction, there are also some additional health risks that everyone should be aware of when regularly consuming energy drinks. Because of the high amount of caffeine found in energy drinks, it’s possible to become intoxicated from the caffeine, which means that withdrawal symptoms are possible. There’s even a chance that the addicted individual could overdose on caffeine, which could be life-threatening if not treated immediately. Some of the other health risks to keep in mind include:

 

  • Cardiovascular issues

 

  • Obesity

 

  • Dental Problems

 

  • Sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea

 

  • Calcium deficiency

What Addiction Recovery Involves

 

Drug addiction is considered to be a chronic disease, which means that it’s essentially impossible to become fully cured from the disease once it has developed. In some ways, the body will always crave whatever drug or drink the addicted individual has become dependent on. However, addiction recovery is possible and can be very effective at lessening dependence on the drug in question. Any individual who has become addicted to another drug like cocaine because of their energy drink usage should seek addiction treatment immediately.

 

This treatment can either be administered in an inpatient or outpatient capacity. Outpatient treatment for addiction takes place several days each week for a couple of hours each day. The treatment will be provided at some sort of outpatient facility, which could be a medical office or a hospital. The addiction treatment provided in outpatient care is very similar to inpatient care but with the added benefit of being able to go home at anytime. Inpatient rehabilitation for a drug addiction or an addiction to energy drinks takes place in a residential facility where the patient will be required to stay 24/7 for a certain period of time, which could be anywhere from a month to more than a year.

 

When enrolling into an inpatient care program, treatment will begin with a detoxification process, which is designed to make sure that the drugs or energy drinks safely leave the body without causing severe withdrawal symptoms. Once the substances are out of the body, further treatment can begin. This treatment typically includes group therapy, individual counseling, and even family therapy if necessary. Group therapy aims to provide attendees with a welcoming and friendly atmosphere among people who are going through the exact same issues, while one-on-one counseling is designed to help the addicted individual identify what has caused their addiction, which should help them manage the addiction in the future.

 

While addiction to the caffeine found in energy drinks is problematic, the high that’s caused by strong doses of caffeine can invariably make an individual yearn for something stronger. Addiction to caffeine can be difficult to overcome. However, this type of addiction is not nearly as severe as becoming addicted to prescription stimulants or cocaine, both of which provide a similar yet more potent boost of energy as energy drinks.

 

Addiction treatment is so important because of how damaging a long-term addiction to stimulants can be to a person’s health. When abusing these drugs for a lengthy period of time, both psychological and physical effects will invariably occur. The psychological effects of long-term abuse include delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, and depression. The physical effects can be even more severe and include:

 

  • Stroke

 

  • Seizures

 

  • Muscle deterioration

 

  • Cardiovascular damage

 

  • Headaches

 

  • Breathing issues

 

  • Extreme weight loss

 

  • Gastrointestinal problems

 

Dependence on stimulants and energy drinks can be reversed with treatment, which means that the long-term effects of this dependence can be mitigated if treated early enough.

 

If you believe that someone close to you has recently become addicted to energy drinks or has started taking more potent drugs because of this dependence, make sure that you seek addiction recovery as soon as possible.

 

End Of Article

Executives are Performing Better with “Digital Detox” Programs

If you’re feeling a Pavlovian effect when you get texts, emails, alerts, etc. and/or find yourself picking up your phone constantly anyway? – it’s time for digital detox.

You don’t have to sleep under your desk like Marissa Meyer and Elon Musk in order to need digital detox. Look for signs like being distracted by technology to the point that you can’t focus, your creativity is stifled, and you have trouble making decisions.

Carrying on the old 90’s tradition of always being online, is pase. This sends the message to the rest of the company that if their not online then they’re slacking. The old online all the time mentality is counterproductive. Afterall, the point of technology is to improve our lives not make our lives worse.

Cellphones, tech gadgets, and computers are awesome and most everyone loves them because they offer so many benefits. However, if not handled properly with a digital health mindset, we can get paint ourselves into a corner. We’re constantly force fed information all day everyday. We get worn down to the point where we no longer have the stamina, snap and intellectual horsepower to keep up the tempo.

As an Executive with your cellphone in hand, when speaking to employees do you think they feel you’re paying attention, are appreciated and are being understood? What about strategizing in the boardroom with your team, partners, customers, and/or investors. What would be going through their minds after that meeting, was it productive, goals accomplished, decisions made properly?

Regularly scheduled digital detox programs will benefit your health, your company, and all of those around you.

 

Initially letting go of your smartphone is unnerving for most people. Usually before long we become more creative and productive. Detox clients sometimes step back and strategize on what phone activities have a positive return and which activities have a negative return. Then create a plan and decide how to execute.

Therapy and Activities that Help:

Nature immersion and adventure therapy are just a couple of ways that will help defuse the digital addiction. Some activities may include, snorkeling, hiking, horseback riding, indoor rock climbing, meditation, Yoga, paddle boarding, zip-lining, etc.

We have programs at Maui Recovery and Omega Recovery in Austin, TX.