Do Normal Blood Tests Show STDs?

Sexually transmitted diseases can be caused by plenty of bodily fluids. They may be a result of coming into contact with urine, saliva, blood, mucus, or semen.

The problem is that STDs are contagious, and they don’t always show symptoms right away. So, testing them must be done cautiously and at the right time.

Some STDs can have a window period of as long as 150 days where they’re not detectable in the blood.

This brings us to the question: do normal blood tests show STDs? Not unless you ask for that.

Here’s everything you need to know about the matter:

Do Normal Blood Tests Show STDs?

No, normal blood tests don’t usually show STDs unless you request to be tested for them. However, that doesn’t mean that STDs aren’t detectable through blood tests. Some of these diseases, like hepatitis, syphilis, and HIV, can show on a blood test, but you’d have to request STD screening.

STDs are usually diagnosed through a series of tests, including blood, fluid, urine, and saliva-based swabs.

Unfortunately, the tests that detect antibodies produced because of an STD infection aren’t part of a normal CBC. Besides, there are plenty of STDs that can’t be detected through blood, so it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider about what test to take.

What STDs Show on a Blood Test?

Luckily, not all STDs need swab samples to get diagnosed. Some diseases can be ruled out based on a blood test. Here’s an overview of each one and how it’s tested:

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

HIV easily shows in blood tests because of the antigens found on the surface of the virus. The test detects both the antigens and the antibodies that the patient’s body produces to combat the disease. That’s why it’s rare to get a false result on these tests.

Other ways to detect HIV include taking a urine test or a saliva-based swab. However, saliva swabs are usually followed by a blood test because they’re not always accurate.

The thing with HIV is, patients usually need to wait for a while before getting tested because there’s a window period where the virus may not be detected even if it’s there.

Antibody tests usually have a window of 23–90 days, while the window for antigen tests is 18–45 days.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is commonly detected through a series of blood tests. The tests show two types of antibodies associated with the disease: hepatitis B surface antibody and hepatitis B core antibody.

Some tests also detect the antigens on the surface of the virus, commonly called HBsAg, but they’re used for different purposes.

Antigen tests are used to tell if the patient currently has the disease, while antibody tests are used to tell if the patient recovered from the infection or is immune to the disease.

Tests that detect hepatitis B core antibodies are often used to determine whether the infection is chronic or acute.

The problem with hepatitis B is that it has a window period of 60–150 days, and it can only be diagnosed through a blood test. Imaging studies are often used, but they may not be enough on their own.

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)

The herpes simplex virus is the primary cause of genital herpes, which affects around 12% of the population in the US. It can be detected through a blood test, but like HIV, patients need to wait for a window of 4–12 days after exposure to get accurate results.

Genital herpes can also be detected through a swab test, where the technician will take a sample from the fluid in the sores caused by the virus. In fact, this method is more common and more accurate than a blood test.

A blood test will only determine if you contacted the virus in the past because it looks for HSV antibodies. So, it may give a positive result when the infection has already cleared up.


Syphilis can be diagnosed using both a blood test and a swab test. However, patients need to wait for two to six weeks before getting a blood test because the antibodies will need some time to be detectable.

That’s why a swab is often the first choice when symptoms of the disease appear.

When it comes to blood tests, syphilis patients usually have to get tested twice. First, they go through treponemal tests that detect the antibodies in the body. If the results are positive, they go through another test that detects nontreponemal antibodies, confirming the disease and assessing the infection’s extent.

In the late stages of syphilis or patients who have a history of the disease, a spinal fluid test may be needed to confirm the infection.

What STDs Don’t Show on a Blood Test?

Unfortunately, some STDs don’t show on a blood test. In that case, they can only be diagnosed using swab tests, which involve taking a sample from sores or genital tissues.

Some of these STDs include gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and HPV, which is the most common STI in the US.

Some blood tests are available for HPV, but they only detect antibodies of particular virus types, so they’re not accurate and aren’t usually requested by the doctor.

To detect these conditions, the swabs taken are used to grow the bacteria in controlled labs to detect its presence. In other cases, the swab is tested genetically to detect if there’s an infection. Some swabs may be taken during a pap smear rather than on their own.

Final Thoughts

Typical blood tests don’t include STD screening, so if you want to get tested for one of these diseases, you’d have to ask specifically for it. It’s always better to consult your healthcare provider first because some STDs have long window periods, so they won’t get detected in a test even if you’re infected.

Besides, some STDs don’t show in bloodwork. In that case, you’d have to get a swab test to confirm the disease or infection.

Where to Get a Substance Abuse Evaluation?

A substance abuse evaluation is the first step in recovery, and it may be key to finding the best treatment plan for you.

Here’s how it’s done: the addiction counselor asks you a bunch of questions to figure out the extent of your addiction, your family history, and any significant factors that may contribute to treatment.

Then, you can start discussing treatment options and different therapy types that may help you.

But where to get a substance abuse evaluation?

It’s usually offered at treatment centers for free. Here at Long Island Treatment Center, you can get your evaluation through a phone call. All you have to do is submit a form, and our team will contact you.

Here’s everything you need to know about substance abuse evaluations:

What Is a Substance Abuse Evaluation?

A substance abuse evaluation is a test used to assess the extent of someone’s addiction to alcohol or drugs. The evaluation is usually done by an addiction counselor, and it includes a bunch of questions meant to help the person suffering from addiction figure out the next step.

Any treatment center will typically offer an assessment before the treatment starts, so the treatment plan can be adjusted according to the patient’s needs.

What Is the Purpose of a Substance Abuse Evaluation?

A substance abuse evaluation is essential to determine how far the addiction is. It can be the cornerstone of the treatment plan because it helps the doctors figure out the best course of action.

Here’s how a substance abuse evaluation helps people suffering from addiction:

Assess the Severity of the Addiction

The end goal of each abuse evaluation may differ. Some people do it because it’s ordered by the court, and others do it because their families want assurance. However, the main purpose of the evaluation is the same across all cases: to assess the severity of the addiction.

Determining how severe your addiction is can be the key to creating your treatment plan. It helps your doctors figure out how dependent you are on the drug and how severe the withdrawal will be.

On top of that, learning how severe the addiction is helps the doctors decide whether you’ll need a residential treatment plan, or you’ll be okay getting treated at home.

Determine the Best Course of Action

Treatment plans of addiction patients are individually tailored according to many factors. Your family history, substance abuse history, and surrounding environment all contribute to how your treatment will go.

Besides, there are plenty of different therapies for drug addiction, including behavioral therapy, contingency management, rational emotive behavior therapy, etc. Each patient may need a different type of therapy depending on their case.

During the substance abuse evaluation, the addiction counselor will learn about your life, how your family is, whether you went through treatment before, etc. Gaining this knowledge will help determine the best course of action and the most appropriate therapy type.

Identify Mental Health Disorders

If the substance abuse is accompanied by a mental health disorder, it’ll need a specific treatment plan that acknowledges both conditions.

That’s why an evaluation is essential—because it gives the addiction counselors a comprehensive view of the patient’s condition, including any mental health disorder they’re suffering from.

The evaluation should also determine whether the abuse is limited to one substance or includes multiple substances. In either case, the treatment plan would have to accommodate that.

Is a Substance Abuse Evaluation Necessary?

A substance abuse evaluation is necessary to start your addiction recovery. Without it, the people responsible for your treatment won’t have enough knowledge about your case or the severity of your addiction.

Besides, a substance abuse evaluation is mandatory in some cases. For example, if a person suffering from addiction gets a DUI, commits any crime while intoxicated, or is involved in a custody dispute, they’ll likely get a court order to get a substance abuse evaluation.

On top of that, some employers may demand a substance abuse evaluation if they observe odd behavior from an employee. This behavior can range from showing erratic behavior to being intoxicated on the job.

In other cases, the evaluation isn’t mandatory, but it provides peace of mind to concerned family members and helps them understand the case.

If a parent suspects drug use in their child, an evaluation will give them all the knowledge they need to start treatment.

How Is a Substance Abuse Evaluation Done?

The substance abuse evaluation involves the addiction counselor asking you a series of questions. These questions will likely discuss your family background, medical history, mental health history, legal history, and patterns of substance use.

Based on the answers and your responses to the questions, the counselor will evaluate your data and prepare a report for your case. The report should include the available treatment options and an accurate diagnosis of the addiction’s severity.

You’ll then get a recommendation either not to seek further treatment, to stay under monitoring for further assessment, or to start immediate therapy. Some people will be directed to detoxification first, while some people will be enrolled in intensive outpatient programs—it differs from one case to the other.

You’ll find that each treatment facility has its own process for the evaluation, but the main concept stays the same across most centers.

Where to Get a Substance Abuse Evaluation?

You can get a substance abuse evaluation at the treatment center you’re choosing. In most cases, it’s free because it’s pre-treatment, and you can do it either online or through a phone call. Some centers will also offer a face-to-face evaluation.

Here at Long Island Treatment Center, you can submit a form on our contact page, and our team will contact you for the evaluation. They’ll gain a better understanding of your case and discuss your options.

Final Thoughts

A substance abuse evaluation is the first step in your road to recovery. It’s essential to determine how severe your addiction is and find the best course of treatment available.

A lot of treatment centers offer it for free, and it usually only includes a series of questions that you have to answer honestly.

What You Need to Know about Mouth Swab Testing

There are a number of ways to test an individual for drugs, but mouth swab testing may be one of the most popular methods due to its non-invasiveness. Unlike urine, blood or hair tests, mouth swab testing tends to be fast and convenient. Frequently used by police officers, healthcare workers and potential employers, mouth swab testing is often preferred by the people who are being tested.

Detection Windows for Drugs

It is important to realize that drugs will react with the body in different ways. When people reference a “detection window” for marijuana, for instance, they are referring to the amount of time marijuana — or its metabolites — can be found in saliva. In the case of marijuana, interestingly, the drug is only detectable in saliva for a few hours after consumption. Many are surprised to learn that methamphetamines, however, may be picked up by a mouth swab test three days after someone does meth.

Detection times – How far back will a mouth swab drug test go?

It’s important to note that these detection times can vary significantly depending on several factors, such as the individual’s metabolism, the amount and frequency of use, the purity of the substance, and the sensitivity of the test used.

SubstanceDetection Time in Saliva
Heroin1-2 days
Cocaine1-2 days
Cannabis24 hours to 3 days
Alcohol6-24 hours
MethadoneUp to 2 days
MorphineUp to 3 days
Amphetamines1-3 days
Opiates1-3 days


  • Heroin and morphine fall under the opiates category. Heroin metabolizes into morphine, which can extend the detection window slightly.
  • Cannabis detection times can vary the most among these substances. Regular users may have detectable amounts in their saliva for longer periods than occasional users.
  • Alcohol has the shortest detection window, and the exact time can vary depending on the amount consumed and individual metabolism rates.
  • Amphetamines include substances like methamphetamine and MDMA (ecstasy), which can be detectable within similar time frames.
  • Cocaine detection times can be influenced by the method of use and the dose.
  • Methadone, used in the treatment of opioid addiction, has a relatively long half-life, which contributes to its detection window.

These timelines are approximate and should be used as a general guide. The actual detection window can vary significantly from person to person.

drug test

An Overview of Mouth Swab Testing

In this article, we aim to explore what a mouth swab test actually is — and which drugs can be detected when your saliva is tested. With an eye on detection windows, we will investigate how mouth swabs — also called oral fluid drug testing — work on various substances. We will also look at some of the factors that may influence the length of time a drug may be identified in someone’s body.

How Does a Mouth Swab Drug Test Even Work?

Usually, when a healthcare professional administers a mouth swab, they will either place it under the tongue or put it between the gums and cheek. These are both good spots from which a good sample of saliva can be collected. If the sample is able to be analyzed on-site, then that analysis will usually be performed quickly. If, however, the lab is off-site, then the sample will be sent for analysis there. Lab workers will use either chromatography-mass spectrometry or enzyme immunoassay to determine the results. Mouth swabs can detect: heroin, cocaine, cannabis, alcohol, methadone, morphine, amphetamines, and opiates. Many in law enforcement do like the convenience of using a mouth swab. For example, a police officer can administer a mouth swab to someone they suspect of driving under the influence. Because a breathalyzer test can only pick up on alcohol, a mouth swab provides a much more thorough method of determining whether someone is intoxicated. It’s much easier than a blood draw and — unlike hair samples — is specifically targeted to determining whether or not someone has very recently used drugs.

The Science of Having Your Saliva Tested

When you take drugs, they will be present in your blood vessels, including even your smaller blood vessels; these are called capillaries. From the capillaries, the drugs — or their metabolites — will travel to the salivary glands, upon which point they make their way into your saliva. It’s important to note that pH levels can play a surprisingly big role in the way the drugs are processed. This depends upon whether your saliva pH is more acidic or alkaline. Saliva pH can be influenced by factors such as your diet and even how much water you’ve imbibed on a particular day. The blood-saliva barrier is another big factor. Between those aforementioned capillaries and saliva glands, seemingly tiny concerns such as molecular size can make a large impact. Even your personal blood flow to the saliva glands can influence the results of a mouth swab.

The Effectiveness of Hair, Blood, Urine and Mouth Swab Drug Tests

When one is investigating recent drug use, mouth swabs can be highly effective. Hair tests, however, often cannot determine more recent usage. Many times, they only detect drugs after someone used over a week prior. The advantage of hair tests, though, is that they may be able to detect substances years after drug use. If a company is trying to find out whether a job applicant has used any illicit drugs in their past, a hair test is highly effective. Urine testing is often used, meanwhile, to see if a person has used drugs within the past week or so. Blood testing is also useful for this purpose, but it is invasive.

Comparing How Substances Perform on Mouth Swabs

Alcohol: Alcohol can be detected within minutes of use and can sometimes even show up on a mouth swab a day later. Within the range of 12 to 24 hours, if you have consumed a fair amount of alcohol, you can expect for it to show up on a mouth swab.

Cannabis: Cannabis can also be detected within a few minutes of use. However, with cannabis, results are more likely to reflect use within the past day or two. Anything up to 48 hours is likely to be picked up by the test. For those who are frequent marijuana users, the test may pick up use from prior to 48 hours due to the omnipresent THC.

Cocaine: The sweet spot for finding cocaine on a mouth swab is also around 24 to 48 hours after usage, although it can also be detected within an hour of use.

Opiates: Perhaps it won’t come as a surprise that cocaine’s cousins — morphine and heroin — can also be easily detected around the mark of one day to two days.

Methamphetamines: Meth can also be easily detected within 24 to 48 hours, and some tests will pick up on the substance within minutes after usage.

Factors Influencing Detection Windows

There are a number of factors that can influence detection of drugs through mouth swabs. Even a person’s genetics can have an impact, so results may vary. As with any other medical test, it’s imperative to realize that there is always a possibility of a false positive.

Are You Worried About Mouth Swab Test Results?

Of course, the only way to ensure that you won’t keep having positive tests is to stop using drugs. This is so much easier often said than done. However, there is a peace of mind that comes with not having to stress about a drug test turning up positive. The team at Long Island Treatment Center works with those who are looking to turn their lives around. When negative drug tests are a necessity, this group truly excels at getting to the heart of whatever it is that is fueling your addiction — and works to help you correct it without shame or judgment.



How Much Is a Gram of Shrooms?

Shrooms, also known as magic mushrooms and psilocybin mushrooms, are used for various reasons, including their euphoric, creative and hallucinogenic effects. In addition, many have reported that they experienced improvements to their depression or anxiety after consuming shrooms.

But how much do they cost? Of course, this is an important consideration for most. Unsurprisingly, a number of factors affect that, including the legal status where they are being purchased.

You should also consider any legal risks that you may be undertaking by purchasing and possessing shrooms and ensure that you understand the importance of how large or small your dose is, the state of mind that you should be in prior to taking them and the experience that you should expect to have.

Understanding Psilocybin Mushrooms

Psilocybin is a significant psychedelic compound that is found in magic mushrooms. As a result of it, those consuming them often experience an altered perception and a newly introspective look at things as well as hallucinations.

Psilocybin Mushrooms

The main reason for these types of experiences is due to parts of the brain communicating with each other much more so during this time than they normally do combined with other parts that then stop communicating as much as they usually do. As a result, mental boundaries that existed previously are often broken down, causing the user to experience new ways of looking at things.

In some cases, those who were suffering from depression or anxiety experience benefits that last for months or years.

However, there are also side effects to consider. Of course, experiencing a bad trip is perhaps the most known one and can occur when someone goes into the experience in a poor state of mind, which is then amplified as the shroom’s effects take hold. Also note that those with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder should not consume them.

An especially significant indirect danger exists for those who want to pay essentially nothing for shrooms and go foraging in the wild for some. Sometimes, they make a mistake in identifying what they took home and get poisoned. This can result in death. So, if you forage, have an expert analyze what you found.

Magic Mushroom Doses

If you are going to take magic mushrooms, be careful with how much you consume and keep in mind both the benefits and the not-so-pleasant experiences that can accompany different doses.

A microdose is generally defined as half a gram or less. This is intended for those who are looking to experience some mood and cognitive benefits with minimal psychedelic elements.

Magic Mushroom Doses

If you consume more than that but less than a gram, you will most likely start to experience some sense of altered perception and a state of mild euphoria.

A light dose usually contains more than a gram but less than two. With this, you will begin to go through more pronounced changes to your thought patterns.

The standard dose is normally defined as being between 2 and 3.5 grams. This is when you would usually get the full psychedelic effects as well as the types of experiences that you would with smaller doses.

Anything above 3.5 grams would often result in an especially transformative experience, particularly if it is more than 5 grams. However, this is not necessarily a positive.

Keep in mind that consuming shrooms is not any sort of competition and that, if you decide to do so, you may experience more healing and have a better trip with a smaller dose.

Also of note is that the specific effects are dependent on numerous factors, including the species of shroom, the person’s biological makeup and the physical and emotional environment in which it is consumed. In addition, even two shrooms within the same species can result in different experiences for the same user.

psychedelic magic mushrooms grow psilocybe

Cost of Shrooms

Shrooms are generally sold in one of five measurements.

An eighth, meaning an eighth of an ounce or 3.5 grams, should set you back around $30. If you are charged more than $40, you are likely either being overcharged, there is significant demand with low supply or the supplier is taking on tremendous risk in selling it to you.

A quarter (7 grams) would normally be around twice the price of an eighth, about $60.

If you get a half (14 grams), the per-gram cost should decrease some, from around $9 in the above examples to about $7 here. As a result, a ballpark figure for a half is $100.

A full ounce (28 grams) will, in most cases, cost roughly $200.

If you were to get a pound (454 grams), you should expect an even greater price break per gram, dropping it to around $5. A general estimate of this total cost would be $2,400. However, being able to purchase that much at once is not common.

MeasurementWeight (grams)Cost EstimateCost per gramNotes
An eighth3.5$30$8.57Over $40 might indicate high demand, low supply, or high risk.
A quarter7$60$8.57Twice the price of an eighth.
A half14$100$7.14Per-gram cost decreases compared to smaller amounts.
An ounce28$200$7.14Standard pricing for larger quantity.
A pound454$2,400$5.29Significant price break, uncommon to purchase in such bulk.

Factors Influencing the Cost of Shrooms

Numerous factors can influence the cost of shrooms and take it higher or lower than the above estimates.

Legal Status

Is buying shrooms legal or at least decriminalized where you are? If no, the price will likely be higher since the one selling them to you is taking on much greater risk.

Legal Status

Seller’s Reputation

Sellers with more revered reputations can generally charge more since those buying from them place value on trusting that the quality of the product will be high and are willing to pay extra for that.

Alternate Varieties

If you do not want to solely consume psilocybin mushrooms and would prefer to be tasting something else while doing so, you can take advantage of alternate varieties. For example, shrooms can come in chocolate, gummy and tea form. If you do get one of those, expect to pay more due to the increased production costs.

Supply and Demand

Of course, the economic principle of supply and demand also impacts how much you would pay for shrooms as lower supply generally causes higher demand and increased prices and vice versa. For example, if there is a festival or similar gathering taking place this weekend, low supply and high demand and prices could result.

Growing Difficulty

If a specific species is difficult to grow, that can increase the price that you would pay as a result of the greater time and effort that was devoted to get it to you. Also, cultivation methods can be relatively simple or very sophisticated. The latter, particularly if specialized equipment is being used, will generally result in a higher cost for you as well.

mushroom pills

In some cases, location also plays a role. For example, psilocybe azurescens is not only difficult to grow, but it is generally found in the coastal areas of the Northwest. If you are not there, both of those factors combined with its higher potency generally cause higher prices for it compared to other species.

Keep in mind that there are some places where no type of fungi can be easily grown due to the climate and other reasons, which will usually increase prices, partially to account for transportation costs. Conversely, if you are somewhere the opposite is true, the price that you are charged should be lower.

Legal Status

Within the United States, the legal status of magic mushrooms varies significantly.

Wherever you are, it is important to note that federal law classifies them as Schedule I controlled substances. That means that they are viewed as drugs with no accepted medical use and a significant potential for abuse. Now, that does not necessarily mean that this statement is true, but that is how the U.S. government defines shrooms. Keep the related legal ramifications in mind.

On the other hand, Colorado state law, as of July 1, 2023, states that shrooms are legal to grow and consume as well as, in many cases, give to others – i.e. not sell them.

Also, several communities have decriminalized the possession of shrooms. Some of the more notable places on this list include the state of Oregon, the county of Washtenaw, Mich., which includes Ann Arbor, and the cities of Arcata, Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco and Santa Cruz, Calif.; Cambridge, Mass.; Detroit; Minneapolis; Portland, Maine; Seattle and Washington.

police car's flashing lights

Laws in other countries vary.

Note that shrooms are actually not legal in the Netherlands despite many believing that they are. That change occurred in 2008. However, magic truffles, which are quite similar and also contain psilocybin, remain legal there.


If you are looking to purchase magic mushrooms, keep a price point of around $7-$9 a gram in mind while also taking into account factors that can influence that. And consider what the experience of consuming them will be like for you. Ensure that you are a well-researched purchaser and user, and be careful.

To learn more about shrooms as well as the services that we offer at Long Island Treatment Center, reach out to us.

Sober vs. Clean: What’s the Difference?

Sober and clean are two of the most commonly used words by those battling an alcohol or drug addiction, by their loved ones and by people employed in this field to help them recover. What differentiates these words? As is sometimes the case when comparing a couple of words, the answer is not clear-cut, but we will discuss the main differentiations between them as well as in what ways these words are similar to each other.

A Commonly Used Distinction

One of the most common distinctions between someone saying that they are sober versus saying that they are clean is that sober is a word often used in relation to alcohol use or lack thereof while clean is often spoken or written by those not using a different type of drug.

That said, some do also use the word sober when speaking about drug use, such as someone saying that they are not under the influence of any substances whatsoever, not only alcohol. However, it is relatively rare for an individual to say that they are clean when they are referring to alcohol. Usually, in that latter example, they would instead say that they are sober.

Of course, simply looking up the dictionary definitions of these two words will further help differentiate and clarify what they mean in peoples’ minds.

According to Merriam-Webster, the word sober describes someone who is “not intoxicated” as well as an individual who is “abstaining from drinking alcohol or taking intoxicating drugs” and is “refraining from the use of addictive substances.”

So, it is true that this word can apply to all types of intoxicating drugs, not just alcohol. However, it is not as commonly used in that way. It should also be noted that the Oxford English Dictionary defines someone who is sober as being “free from the influence of intoxicating liquor.”

Meanwhile, Merriam-Webster states that one of the definitions of clean is to be “free from drug addiction,” indicating that this word is used much more often to refer to recovery from non-alcohol drug-related addictions.

Clean Does Not Necessarily Mean Clear-Headed

Another distinction that many make is that being sober is more so having a clear state of mind as opposed to being clean.

For example, someone who has been addicted to alcohol may have stopped consuming that substance, meaning that they are clean of it, but that does not necessarily mean that they are mentally recovered or acting in an even state of mind.

That could be for a few reasons. One is that they are still going through the detox process, which can be extensive and often results in the individual really struggling mentally. Also, those undergoing detox or in the time that follows often need to then get a handle on the roots of their alcoholism in order to push themselves through this part of the path towards creating a long-term solution.

In this sense, to be sober means that you are more so comfortable with your state of mind than not. Consider that one of the common non-addiction definitions of sober is to be in a serious, calm state of mind. This can also be applied to someone overcoming an addiction as those who are sober in the recovery-from-addiction sense tend to more so experience emotions such as seriousness and calmness.

More to the point, some view being sober as having, for the most part, recovered from an addiction, not still being immersed in the recovery process.

Being Clean as It Relates to Recovery

For the most part, someone who is defined as being clean is not currently consuming any drugs, no longer has that substance in their body and has completed any necessary detox process but has not necessarily done anything else to combat that addiction and help create long-term success.

In other words, they are not utilizing a treatment center, taking advantage of a support group, learning more about what caused their addiction to take hold and how they can get past it, engaging in meditation in relation to it or otherwise being proactive in their recovery process.

The main concern over simply ceasing use without getting to the roots of the problem is that the risk of a relapse goes up significantly. This is especially true in the early going but generally remains so for some time afterwards. That latter point is also why many recommend that those who are sober, even for years, continue to participate in these types of activities to help that remain the case.

Being Sober as It Relates to Recovery

Conversely, being sober as it relates to recovery is defined by many as more so having a sober mindset in addition to no longer having the substance in your body.

Another way to look at this is to consider a saying that Alcoholics Anonymous has long used: “Alcohol is but a symptom.” That means that for someone who is addicted to alcohol or, for that matter, to any substance, much more needs to be done than to simply attack the drug use itself. In other words, there is much more depth to the issue than ceasing use.

Also keep in mind that there are three primary branches of sobriety, and all should be addressed in order to progress towards overall sobriety.

Physical sobriety is, in essence, the same as being clean as far as these types of definitions for those words are concerned. That means that the substance is no longer in your body, generally allowing your thought process to be clearer and more focused than it was before.

Emotional sobriety is related to the mental element of the recovery process. For example, what is being done to rectify mistakes that were made while addicted as best as possible? Also, is work being done to regain lost connections, if desired and possible, as well as create positive new ones?

Social sobriety is similar in some ways to emotional sobriety, but it more so relates to re-entering society as a whole in a healthy way as opposed to improving specific, individual relationships with others. Part of this process can include, in a sense, making amends with society.

Challenges in Defining Recovery

Relating to the challenges of defining exactly what being clean and what being sober mean is another common struggle: defining recovery as that word relates to an addiction to alcohol or other type of drugs.

That is partially because recovery is a very individual journey, most notably because we all are different, meaning that our body reacts to and interacts with drugs and alcohol differently and also recovers from an addiction to one of those substances in its own unique way.

In addition, recovery, like all aspects of life, is more grey in nature as opposed to a simple case of being black or white – i.e. recovered or not. For instance, someone who has just started on their journey towards being clean and sober has taken important progress towards that while, in some ways, someone who most would define as being clean and sober for years may still experience urges from time to time and not feel that that they are 100% there and perhaps never will.

Also of note is that the recovery process is not a linear one. Setbacks will tend to happen from time to time although the intent is for those instances to decrease in number as recovery progresses.

living happy

Importance of Understanding Terminology

It is important to understand recovery-based terminology as best as you can as it relates to your situation as well as, if you are in a recovery facility, others undergoing their own recovery journeys. Clean and sober are just two of those words.

For instance, someone engaging in inpatient treatment essentially lives in a recovery facility for a period of time while those instead taking advantage of outpatient treatment still go about their day-to-day lives while being treated, such as sleeping at home and regularly going to work.

If there are any words that you are hearing in a recovery setting that you do not understand, make sure to ask someone what they mean or do your own research. The reasons for this suggestion are two-fold. You want to understand what people are saying to you and to others, and you need to ensure that you are being understood as accurately as possible when you are communicating.


If you are looking to get clean and sober or perhaps have achieved one but not the other, consider reaching out to Long Island Treatment Center for assistance in helping you experience significant progress on your recovery journey. We understand how difficult this time in your life has been and how challenging recovery can be, and we are here to help you recover in the way that is best for you.

Are You a Friend of Bill W? Understanding Alcoholics Anonymous Lingo

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) began in the state of Ohio before reaching all corners of the globe. Today, AA operates in over 180 countries worldwide as a special social group with distinctive socialization practices.

As with many peer-led social groups, AA utilizes a unique set of coded language and lingo. This language helps destigmatize addiction and provides those seeking recovery from their addiction with a sense of support, unity, and belonging.

Interested in learning more about this secret language? Scroll down for more.

The Origins of “Friend of Bill W”

AA was established in 1935 by Bill Wilson, aka Bill W, a NY stockbroker, and Dr. Bob Smith, a surgeon in Akron, Ohio.

Before founding AA, Bill and Bob had been alcoholics who had tried to get sober but with little luck. Then, with help from his physician, Dr. William D. Silkworth, Bill learned that alcoholism was a curable disease.

Bill combined his experience as an alcoholic with Dr. Silkworth’s medical prowess. Together, they came up with a formula that helped Bill work his way to full recovery.

Shortly after, the recovering alcoholic was introduced to Dr. Bob and immediately recognized the doctor’s suffering at the hands of this disorder. They banded together and launched what would later become Alcoholics Anonymous.

In 1939, they published the program’s first textbook, Alcoholics Anonymous, highlighting the importance of the 12 Steps of Recovery. After that, word quickly spread about this new program that could help alcoholics beat the disorder and regain full sobriety.

Since then, AA has become a global mission to give people the best chance at recovery. Its mission has transcended language, race, and religious beliefs, uniting billions of people in a shared mission.

Decoding Common AA Phrases

In any community, shared terminology recognizes that a certain group is unique. At the same time, it values these differences because they make us who we are and highlight the things we respect, value, and hold to be truths.

Having a common language also protects the identities of all the members participating in the program, which is the chief principle of the AA program and its 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. It also ensures that anything anyone says in an AA meeting is kept in the strictest of confidence among those attending.

Furthermore, sharing catchphrases and lingo enhances collaboration and fosters empathy. It creates a sense of accomplishment, purpose, and cohesion among group members.

So, if someone asks, “Are you a friend of Bill’s?” what they mean is, ‘ Are you looking to attend an AA meeting?’

But it’s phrased in a way that protects your identity and makes you feel safe, knowing that you won’t be judged or second-guessed.

Below are some of the most common terminology used among AA members.

90 Meetings in 90 Days

Referred to as ‘90 in 90,’ this catchphrase is the practice of attending an AA meeting each day for 90 days in a row. It’s a common recommendation for newcomers to get used to being part of the AA community.

Making AA meetings a daily habit during the first three months of sobriety is critical for newcomers. It provides them with the support, encouragement, and resilience they need to continue with their recovery.

Taking it One Day at a Time

This mantra is often used in the world of recovery, especially with members currently following the 12-Step principles of AA.

It encourages people to focus on the present rather than be overwhelmed by the idea of maintaining lifelong sobriety. It’s also a reminder they need to put more energy into things they can control like how they respond to certain triggers.

Higher Power

‘Higher power’ is a subjective term used to describe a supreme deity or greater power than oneself, but needn’t be connected to a certain religion or spiritual belief.

For some, ‘higher power’ may mean God. For others, it can represent higher forces in nature that don’t necessarily have religious connotations.

Working the Steps

‘Working the steps’ refers to how all AA members need to engage in the 12 Steps, or phrases, for an effective recovery process. Each phase is essential for the success of AA’s long-term recovery program, bringing members closer to their end goal. For recovering alcoholics, this goal is a long-term spiritual journey rather than an actual destination.


Sponsors are experienced AA members still following the 12-Step program and offer to volunteer their time and guidance to newer members. They help provide them with the support and encouragement they need to promote long-term recovery.


As you can probably tell, ‘sharing’ refers to the practice of sharing one’s painful story or negative emotions in an AA meeting. These feelings are usually brought on or worsened by behavior that goes against one’s set of personal values and beliefs.

Yet, by sharing them, members can let go of the negative effect these feelings have on them. It also helps them build a network of supportive and encouraging community members ready to offer a sense of camaraderie and validation.

Dry Drunk

‘Dry drunk’ refers to someone who abstains from drinking alcohol, but still manifests the known behaviors and attitudes that characterize those struggling with alcohol use disorder.

It can also refer to someone who shows regress in their personal growth individually or as part of the recovery program.

In both cases, a ‘dry drunk’ refuses to address the underlying emotional and psychological issues that had caused their disorder or helped exacerbate it.

The Global Reach of AA and Variations in Lingo

Today, it’s estimated that there are over two million AA members in 180 countries around the world. Alcoholics Anonymous pamphlets and other AA-related literature have been translated into over 100 languages.

Despite operating across different cultures and languages, the goal and mission of AA remains the same: to achieve sobriety and continue with long-term recovery. This means that members need to stick to the 12 Steps no matter where they are.

To handle this diversity and always stay current, continuous updates and revisions are frequently applied to all AA-related literature to ensure the program remains inclusive and contemporary.


Understanding AA lingo gives us some insight into the enduring relevance and power of the program’s unique language. When AA members are provided the support, encouragement, and compassion, they can continue safely on their path to recovery.


Trazodone and Ambien: A Comprehensive Guide

Did you know that up to 30% of adults worldwide suffer from acute or chronic insomnia? Many people are constantly searching for solutions to their sleep struggles. These solutions include sleep aid drugs such as Trazodone and Ambien.

Trazodone is a generic FDA-approved anti-depressant that’s commonly used as a sleep aid. On the other hand, Ambien is a brand name for the sedative-hypnotic drug, zolpidem. Both options are controlled substances that should only be used under a doctor’s supervision.

Read on to learn more about the way each of these drugs works. You’ll also find a detailed account of both drugs’ side effects and potential for addiction.

What Is Trazodone?

Trazodone is an FDA-approved medication designed to treat depression. It helps improve patients’ appetite, temperament, and energy levels.

This drug is also commonly used as a sleep aid. It’s known to treat insomnia and anxiety caused by depression.

The term Trazodone refers to the generic drug itself. It’s available under different brand names, such as Oleptro.

How Does Trazodone Work?

Trazodone has its effect as a result of its action of restoring the balance of serotonin in a person’s brain.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that acts as a messenger between your brain cells. It has a wide range of effects on your physical and mental well-being. Your appetite, mood, thought patterns, and ability to sleep all depend on your serotonin levels.

When taken in lower doses, Trazodone makes patients feel drowsy and relaxed. It inhibits the potency of the chemicals in your brain that can dampen the effect of serotonin. It also helps regulate other neurotransmitters, such as H1 histamine receptors.


What Is Ambien?

Ambien is a brand that produces zolpidem, a sleep aid used by millions of people. This drug is usually considered a temporary solution for those with severe insomnia.

Prolonged use of this sedative-hypnotic substance can lead to physical dependence and addiction, which we will discuss in depth later in this guide.

When used correctly, Ambien can lead patients to fall asleep easier and improve their overall sleep quality.

How Does Ambien Work?

Ambien produces a calming effect by working on your brain.

It does so by increasing the activity of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). This chemical is a neurotransmitter that operates in the brain and the spinal cord. In turn, it reduces the activity of the central nervous system and makes it easier for you to sleep.

Additionally, Ambien is a fast-release drug. This means it doesn’t take much time for it to get into your bloodstream and start having the desired effect. The advantage behind this is that the dosage required for Ambien to sedate a person is low.

You should also note that there are versions of Ambien designed to operate slower, and in turn, stay in your body longer. Doctors will prescribe this version to those who have no issues falling asleep but tend to wake up mid-sleep and have trouble going to sleep again.

Risks and Side Effects

If you’re going to use Trazodone or Ambien, it’s essential to be fully aware of the risks and side effects involved.

These are drugs after all, and using them incorrectly can have disastrous detrimental effects on your well-being.

Here’s a list of the side effects of Trazodone and Ambien, respectively:


  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness
  • Reduced appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Feeling weak and tired
  • Muscle pain
  • Rash
  • Stuffy nose
  • Redness and irritation of the eyes
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Dry mouth
  • Lower libido and dysfunction of sexual organs
  • Nightmares

Trazodone can also have severe side effects that require immediate emergency medical treatment. They include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nosebleeds
  • Severe headaches
  • Prolonged erection (more than 6 hours)
  • Red or purple skin discolorations
  • Loss of coordination
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising

That being said, don’t under any circumstances use Trazodone without first consulting your doctor. Make sure to disclose all other medications you’re currently taking to ensure that it’s safe to take Trazodone with them.



  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Lack of balance
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Reduced appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Numbness or tingling of extremities
  • Dry mouth or throat
  • Redness and irritation of the eyes
  • Muscle pain or cramps
  • Ringing or irritation of the ears
  • Abnormal menstrual bleeding

As with Trazodone, Ambien can have serious side effects that need to be addressed promptly, such as:

  • Swelling of eyes, lips, face, or tongue
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Yellowness of the eyes or skin
  • Severe nausea
  • Abnormally pale stools
  • Blurred vision
  • Chest pain
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Severe itchiness and rash

There’s a good reason why Ambien is a controlled substance. So, you should only use this sedative-hypnotic under the close supervision of a licensed physician.

Additionally, you should never take Ambien with substances such as opioids, alcohol, and benzodiazepines.

Are Trazodone and Ambien Addictive?

As with any drug, the extent to which you’ll become physically dependent on it is a key factor to consider when deciding whether to take it.


This is why we cannot stress enough how important it is to consult your doctor before consuming Trazodone or Ambien. These drugs should be used in the exact doses recommended by your physician.


While there’s no concrete evidence that Trazodone is addictive, those who consume it develop a physical dependence on it. This is evidenced by the withdrawal symptoms people experience when they abruptly abstain from taking Trazodone.

These side effects can include but are not limited to: trouble falling and staying asleep, being irritable and short-tempered, and sweating profusely.

However, these unpleasant symptoms can be easily avoided by ceasing to use Trazodone gradually. Discuss this with your doctor, and they’ll devise a plan for you to get off Trazodone in a symptom-free way.


Unlike Trazodone, Ambien is highly addictive.

Even though this drug has helped many people live with insomnia, the proportion of users that become physically dependent on it is not insignificant.

This is especially true for Ambien users who are already predisposed to substance abuse and have suffered from it in the past.

Additionally, those who use Ambien for an extended period are likely to build up a tolerance for it. In turn, they need to take higher doses to achieve the desired effect. Needless to say, this is a very slippery slope.

That being said, you must consume this medication in the exact dosage specified by your doctor.

In a similar fashion to Trazodone, those who suddenly stop using Ambien will almost surely experience withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms of Ambien are more severe than those of Trazodone. They include stomach cramps, vomiting, and nausea.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Trazodone

Here are the positives and downsides of using Trazodone as a sleep aid:


The first pro of using Trazodone as a sleep aid is that this drug has been around for a long time. There’s plenty of research regarding its use both in this capacity and as an antidepressant. In turn, there’s a great deal of available data surrounding the drug’s safety and how it works.

sleep aid

Additionally, Trazodone is a safer option for battling insomnia than other medications such as benzodiazepines. This is especially true for people over the age of 65.

Another advantage of Trazodone is that it’s designed to be absorbed by your system quickly. This means that it starts having an effect rapidly and can have you sound asleep half an hour after you take it.

Studies have also shown that Trazodone helps with sleep apnea symptoms by stabilizing breathing.

Furthermore, Trazodone is available as a generic medication. In turn, it’s covered by most insurance plans and is less costly than other sleep medications, including Ambien.


The issue with Trazodone is that it’s a drug that was originally designed as an antidepressant. So, it poses the risks that are associated with this class of medications.

These risks include a higher susceptibility to suicidal thoughts and behavior, especially among those under the age of 24.

Of course, this is not to mention the side effects of Trazodone mentioned above.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ambien

Using Ambien as a sleep aid has several positives. However, it also poses some health risks. Let’s explore this in more detail:


The main positive aspect of Ambien as a sleep aid is that this drug is highly effective in inducing deeper sleep. Additionally, it makes it easier for you to actually fall asleep.

Further, there are several versions of Ambien, each tailored to different needs. The fast-release version of the drug is more suited to those who have difficulty initiating sleep.

For those who find it easy to fall asleep but tend to frequently wake up in the middle of the night, the better choice is the extended-release version. This version stays in your system longer and induces more consistent, uninterrupted sleep.


We’ve already explored the side effects of Ambien in depth. However, these symptoms aren’t the only issues with using Ambien to battle your insomnia.

The primary issue with Ambien is the aforementioned fact that it can be highly addictive. So, this drug is only a viable option if it’s going to be used as a short-term treatment. Otherwise, Ambien users build up a tolerance and need to up the dosage for it to be effective.

Additionally, many Ambien users have reported repeated incidences of unconscious behavior, such as sleepwalking, sleep-eating, and sleep driving. Such behavior can put you at risk of serious injury.

Another downside of Ambien is that it may not be safe for people with pre-existing conditions. Those with kidney, lung, and liver conditions shouldn’t use Ambien. The same is true for people with a history of depression.

Finally, Ambien is a branded drug. In turn, it’s more expensive than other sleep medications. In addition to this, it’s less likely to be covered by your insurance provider.

Trazodone vs. Ambien

Now that all the facts about the two drugs are laid out, all that remains is the question of which is the better option.

Here’s the verdict:

Which Is a More Effective Sleep Aid?

Studies show that Ambien is the more potent option out of the two drugs in countering insomnia. This is to be expected since Trazodone is actually an anti-depressant, not a sleep medication.

During clinical trials, both drugs were equally effective in inducing sleep during the first week of testing. The higher efficacy of Ambien became apparent in the second week. This shows that Ambien is more potent as a sleep aid than Trazodone.

doctor consultation

Which Is Safer?

Both Trazodone and Ambien can have severe negative effects on your well-being when used incorrectly. Both of these drugs are controlled substances that should only be used under the strict supervision of a physician.

However, when both drugs are used the right way, Trazodone is the safer option. This is because it has milder side effects than Ambien.

Also, Ambien poses a greater risk of physical dependence and addiction. This is evidenced by the severe withdrawal symptoms that people experience when they’re trying to get off the drug.


Insomnia is an ailment that affects millions of people around the world. As a result of this, many individuals are in search of ways to alleviate its symptoms. Trazodone and Ambien are among the most commonly used drugs in this regard.

Both drugs are highly effective in inducing sleep and allowing users to consistently get a good night’s rest. However, they also have numerous side effects and pose the risk of physical dependence.

If you’re thinking of using either Trazodone or Ambien, make sure to consult a licensed physician first to ensure that you’re fully aware of the implications. Additionally, you should use these drugs in the exact doses prescribed by your physician.

Weaning/tapering off Antidepressants

Between 2015 and 2018, 13.2% of adults in the United States used an antidepressant within the past month. This percentage includes more women than men. As a matter of fact, 17.7% of this population is female, and men only comprise 8.4% of the population. To top it all off, 7.2% of adults stated in 2018 that they had experienced a major depressive episode in the past year.

Does Your Brain Go Back to Normal after Antidepressants?

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs have shown that they work very well to reduce the symptoms of depression. Examples are Prozac, Lexapro and Celexa. When you take these medications, they help your brain increase its production of serotonin. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that regulates your mood. It also regulates your sleep cycles and several other bodily functions. When you took one of the SSRIs listed above, you may have noticed that your depressive symptoms began to disappear. The symptoms that these drugs improve include the following:

  • Weight loss or weight gain that you were not striving to achieve
  • Low levels of energy
  • Extreme sadness
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Lack of pleasure or anhedonia
  • Irritability

What Happens to the Brain after You Stop Taking Antidepressants?

If you are taking SSRIs, the medication has been affecting your brain’s serotonin receptors. If you stop taking the SSRI, you may experience something called “SSRI discontinuation syndrome.”

When you are experiencing SSRI discontinuation syndrome, it reduces your brain’s levels of serotonin and causes you to experience flu-like symptoms. These include body aches, chills, light-headedness, headache and fatigue. Sensory disturbances also appear, such as shock-like sensations, tingling or burning. You may also experience vertigo or dizziness. You may have high levels of agitation, irritability or anxiety. Lastly, gastrointestinal symptoms may appear, such as diarrhea, cramps, vomiting or nausea.

These effects only last a short period of time. In general, these symptoms may last for six to eight weeks, but after that, the symptoms will dissipate, and you will feel like your normal self again.

The Difference between Withdrawal and Addiction

The symptoms of SSRI discontinuation syndrome appear to be the withdrawal symptoms that you would experience after you stop ingesting your SSRI. Because of this, some people are concerned that they are addicted to antidepressants because they believe that withdrawal is a symptom of addiction. However, the withdrawal symptoms listed above do not indicate an addiction to your SSRI drug.

As was mentioned earlier, your brain readjusts itself after you stop ingesting your antidepressant. While your brain is readjusting itself, it sends out the withdrawal symptoms, so these symptoms are not related to addiction. Paxil, Zoloft and Lexapro are highly likely to cause withdrawal symptoms after you stop taking them.

The Difference between Discontinuation Syndrome and Relapse

As you may notice from the list above, discontinuation syndrome causes the same symptoms that antidepressants were created to relieve. After you stop taking your medication, you may notice that your depressive and anxiety symptoms are returning and that they are particularly strong. This does not mean that your depressive symptoms are relapsing; it is only the process that your brain has to go through for a short period of time until the symptoms begin to fade.

If your depressive symptoms return after you stopped taking your medication, they will do so in a slow, deliberate manner. As time goes by, these symptoms will get worse. In contrast, if your symptoms return right after you stop taking your antidepressant and slowly go away, you are likely experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms may come back within days if this is the case.

How Do You Wean Yourself Off of Antidepressants?

You do not want to stop taking an SSRI altogether. Instead, you must slowly reduce your dosage until you can go without taking the antidepressant without withdrawal symptoms. According to the American Psychiatric Association, you must follow a tapering schedule that lasts for several weeks to accomplish this.

The amount of time that you need to devote to this process will depend on the type of antidepressant you were taking and the amount of time that you were taking it. The dosage must also be considered when figuring out how long the tapering process will last. The amount of time that you have been taking the medication is very important because medications build up inside your body as you take them over a longer period of time. In most cases, withdrawal symptoms begin after the body metabolizes approximately 90% of the medication.

The medical community does not recommend that you taper off of your medication on your own. When you place yourself in the care of professionals, they will determine a tapering schedule for you based on the medication you were taking, the dose at which you were taking it, the length of time you were taking it and your personal characteristics.

What If I Have Withdrawal Symptoms While I Am Tapering Off?

The schedule for tapering off of antidepressants will be different for everyone. In some cases, a person can easily taper off of an antidepressant in a couple of weeks without experiencing any difficulties. If you experience several symptoms, it will be better for you to have a tapering schedule that lasts for a period of months.

For instance, you may have some withdrawal symptoms right after reducing your medication, or you may have them right after you taper off of the drug completely. If that is the case, you will need to return to taking your original dose of the medication and then begin the tapering process again. This time, the tapering schedule will need to be longer. In the event that this doesn’t allow you to stop taking the medication without experiencing withdrawal symptoms, your physician may prescribe a SSRI that has a longer half-life. Prozac is one example of this.

Tips for Experiencing a Successful Taper

Allow Your Antidepressant Time to Work.

Before you decide that you want to stop taking an antidepressant, allow it to work for at least six to nine months. Then, you can determine whether or not you like what the medication has done for you. It will be good for you to begin tapering off of the medication after you begin to feel better. This will mean that the medication worked for you and that it is now time to move on to other types of therapy.

Be Aware of the Things that Affect the Tapering Process.

The length of the tapering process depends upon the following:

  • Whether or not previous tapering schedules caused withdrawal symptoms. If so, you may need a longer tapering schedule for your SSRI.
  • Whether you are taking a high dose or a low dose of your medication. Higher dosages will require that you endure a longer tapering schedule.
  • The type of antidepressant you are taking. Some SSRIs require a longer period of time to be metabolized from your body.

Accept the Fact that Your Tapering Schedule Requires Your Patience.

Don’t be concerned if it seems like your tapering schedule is a lot longer than your peers. Remember that the tapering process may be short for some people but that it can take longer for others.

Take Advantage of a Mood Calendar.

A mood calendar allows you to document your moods over time. When you know exactly how your current dose of medication makes you feel every day, you can have the most meaningful conversations with your physician. You will have a place to list your withdrawal symptoms, and your physician can determine whether or not your depressive symptoms are returning.

Start Keeping Healthy Habits.

Healthy habits include eating a nutritious diet, maintaining a regular exercise schedule and finding ways to reduce stress. These three steps help reduce the possibility of withdrawal symptoms. They also help prevent you from experiencing depressive symptoms into the future.

Ask Friends and Family to Be Your Support System.

You need your friends and family members around you when you are tapering off of medications. The tapering process can cause changes in your moods that may be unsettling for you, so it is a good idea to have supportive people around you.

Make a Commitment to Complete the Tapering Process.

If you are going to start the tapering process, it is important that you finish it. You must visit your physician on a regular basis so that you can report your symptoms. Your physician may need to make adjustments during the process, and you will need to be assessed for the return of your depressive symptoms.

Obtaining Treatment for Depression

Even after you are finished with the tapering off process, you need to obtain further therapy so that you can prevent your depression from relapsing. At Long Island Treatment Center, you can enter our medication-assisted treatment program so that you do not have to worry about experiencing any withdrawal symptoms or cravings for your medication during the tapering off process, but this is only the first part.

After you are free from antidepressants, you may require further treatment. For example, you have been diagnosed with depression, but we may diagnose you with a substance use disorder. If this is the case, you have co-occurring disorders, but Long Island Treatment Center has a dual diagnosis program that can treat your depression and your substance use disorder. If you are prepared to get help for your depression and the troubles you are having with your antidepressant, contact us at Long Island Treatment Center today.

Flagyl and Alcohol

Flagyl is an extremely common and effective drug. However, mixing Flagyl with alcohol and other substances can be highly harmful. You don’t want to experience an adverse drug interaction, so you should look closely at this quick guide on the dangers of mixing Flagyl with alcohol.

What Is Flagyl?

Flagyl is the brand name of metronidazole, a powerful antibiotic. Doctors usually prescribe the drug to treat bacterial STIs, respiratory infections, vaginal infections, and other bacterial infections. Flagyl may cause side effects such as diarrhea, insomnia, headache, weakness, dizziness, and swollen gums. If you experience burning sensations, tingling, numbness, vision problems, sensitivity to light, poor coordination, or confusion while taking Flagyl, you need to call emergency services immediately.

What Are the Symptoms of Mixing Flagyl and Alcohol?

The initial symptoms of an adverse drug interaction between Flagyl and alcohol include nausea, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, abdominal pain, and heavy perspiration. Without quick treatment, someone who has mixed Flagyl and alcohol might experience seizures, loss of consciousness, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and heart failure. Even if a person survives an adverse drug interaction, they will likely suffer permanent liver damage, brain damage, heart issues, and other severe medical problems.

What Should You Do if You Suspect a Drug Interaction?

It’s essential to act as quickly as possible if you think that someone has mixed Flagyl and alcohol. First, you should get them to stop drinking. The risk of a harmful drug interaction increases as a person drinks more alcohol, so you must get a general idea of how much alcohol they’ve consumed. If they’ve only had a drink or two, you can call their doctor, explain the situation, and follow their advice. Contact emergency services immediately if someone has taken Flagyl with a lot of alcohol or is showing any symptoms of a harmful drug interaction.

How Can You Take Flagyl Safely?

You should follow the doctor’s instructions in the letter whenever you take any prescription drug. You must ask your doctor before your first dose if you have any questions about the drug. Furthermore, you must tell your doctor about your current prescriptions to avoid adverse drug interactions. You might feel tempted to stop taking Flagyl after the symptoms of your infection have subsided, but it’s essential to finish your course of antibiotics following your doctor’s instructions. Otherwise, the infection may reemerge. Do not consume alcohol for at least 72 hours after your final dose.

What Are the Biggest Dangers of Alcohol Addiction?

Drunk Driving

Over 11,600 people died in the U.S. in 2021 due to drunk driving. Even a single drink before getting behind the wheel can be very dangerous. Individuals who struggle with alcohol addiction are much more likely than the average person to drive while intoxicated.

Alcohol Poisoning

Many people who struggle with alcohol addiction have a very difficult time regulating their intake. Because of this, they may consume copious amounts of alcohol in a single session. Drinking too much alcohol at once will result in alcohol poisoning. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include vomiting, slow breathing, irregular breathing, delirium, low heart rate, hypothermia, seizures, and loss of consciousness. Without quick treatment, patients with alcohol poisoning may fall into a coma or die.

Liver Damage

Prolonged consumption of alcohol may lead to fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. You need a liver to survive, but it’s almost impossible for individuals with a history of alcohol addiction to receive approval for a liver transplant. By quitting alcohol now, you can enjoy a healthier life and prevent further damage to your liver.

Drug Interactions

Flagyl isn’t the only drug that’s dangerous to mix with alcohol. Common over-the-counter drugs, pain medications, other antibiotics, party drugs, psychiatric drugs, and almost every other drug can have severe side effects when mixed with alcohol. Most individuals who struggle with alcoholism take prescription or over-the-counter drugs to treat various medical conditions and symptoms, so they are at a much greater risk of adverse drug interaction if they do not seek treatment for their addiction.

Poor Judgment

Alcohol can significantly impair a person’s ability to make good decisions. Because of this, many individuals who struggle with alcohol addiction act recklessly and engage in dangerous behaviors when they drink. You’re more likely to have unsafe sex every time you drink, use drugs, act aggressively, and break the law. You don’t want to hurt yourself or commit any crimes while under the influence of alcohol, so you must seek treatment as soon as possible to regain control over your life.

What Are the Most Common Signs of Alcohol Dependence?

Slurred Speech and Poor Coordination

When someone is under the influence of alcohol, they may have difficulty walking in a straight line or speaking correctly. If you notice someone stumbling, slurring their words, or having trouble with simple tasks, you must stop them from getting into a vehicle. For their safety, you should stay with them until they sober up. If you don’t have the time or resources to supervise an intoxicated loved one, you must call a close friend or family member to keep an eye on them.

Withdrawal Symptoms and Unstable Mood

Individuals who suffer from alcohol addiction often exhibit greater aggression, mood swings, and signs of depression. Within just a few hours of an alcoholic’s most recent drink, they may become irritable as they begin to experience early withdrawal symptoms. Initial signs of withdrawal include shaking, headache, sweating, physical weakness, and anxiety.

Memory Loss

Drinking can seriously hamper the brain’s ability to form new memories. A loved one who struggles with alcohol addiction may forget the basic details of their conversations with you. Sometimes, they might not remember interacting with you at all. The more a person drinks, the worse their memory retention will be. Prolonged drinking will significantly increase a patient’s risk of developing Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, an incurable form of dementia. You should urge your loved one to seek treatment immediately if they often show memory loss.

What Happens Right After a Person Quits Drinking?

When someone quits drinking, they will almost immediately start to go through the detox process. While withdrawal symptoms are usually mild at first, they quickly escalate and peak around four days after a person’s last drink. Many people who go through withdrawal experience seizures after a few days. In some cases, patients may develop delirium tremens, which causes rapid onset confusion.

How Can a Person Safely Overcome Their Alcohol Addiction?

Although quitting alcohol is the best thing for an alcoholic’s long-term health and well-being, it can be extremely risky without medical supervision. This is why it’s essential for individuals who struggle with addiction to receive treatment at a reputable addiction recovery center. High-quality treatment centers have the best medical staff and addiction specialists to keep patients safe as they go through the withdrawal process.

What Does the Addiction Treatment Process Entail?

Once a patient goes through detox, they will begin a residential treatment program. During this time, the patient stays at the treatment center, meets with psychologists, attends group sessions with their peers, and engages in healthy activities to build the necessary skills to achieve long-term sobriety. Therapists will work with the patient to develop a plan for a sober life after their treatment and connect them with the right resources to facilitate their success.

After a patient has concluded their residential stay, they will continue their treatment in an outpatient program. During an outpatient program, the patient will commute to the recovery center several times per week to receive treatment, but they’ll sleep at home and slowly resume a normal life. Over time, the patient will require fewer and fewer sessions. Eventually, they’ll stop attending sessions at the treatment center altogether. After this point, the patient will regularly meet with a local addiction support group.

A Sober Life Is a Happy Life

Alcoholism can ruin your life in so many ways. Not only will heavy drinking lead to various severe medical problems, but it may also make you do things that you later regret. Life is short, so you shouldn’t waste it at the end of a bottle. Quitting alcohol may be difficult, but it’s the right choice for your health and happiness, so call Long Island Treatment Center today to take your first step towards a better life.


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Long Island Drug Statistics

Long Island has been considered ground zero for the opiate and heroin epidemics for some time. According to a National Safety Council report, Long Island residents were more than one-fifth of overdoses in the state in 2017.

Of course, untangling the root of the problem is easier said than done. For example, drug trends point to the island’s population and low average age as significant drivers for illicit drug businesses. Furthermore, dealers have started selling more potent substances, propelling addiction even in recreational users.

Commonly Abused Drugs in Long Island

Long Island residents living with substance use may struggle with various content; people can misuse alcohol, heroin, opioids, and other drugs, including legally-prescribed ones.

Alcohol is typically the most accessible drug since it’s widely accepted in most cultures. However, it’s detrimental when misused; on average, about 30 Americans die every day from driving while intoxicated, and six more die from alcohol poisoning.

Long Island communities have taken notice of drug use in their backyard; alcohol and drug use was a top health concern, according to a 2018 survey. This same study also reports that 17.4% of Long Island residents admitted to binge drinking in the past month; this percentage was the lowest reported in six years.

Drugs of the Epidemic

The drug epidemic casts a long shadow throughout the country, especially in Long Island. Locally, the most abused drugs include:

  • Oxycodone
  • Prescription opioids
  • Fentanyl
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Valium

What’s Driving Overdose Deaths?

So why are Long Island residents experiencing so many drug overdose deaths? The following are a few primary factors:

  • Rise of fentanyl: Experts say fentanyl is responsible for many fatal drug overdoses; it’s an opioid 100 times more powerful than morphine. This dangerous potency strongly influences fentanyl addiction, making it easier to overdose on this drug. Not everyone may realize they’re taking fentanyl; street dealers often mix it into other substances without informing their associates.
  • Loss of services: The pandemic shuttered several services meant to help those living with opioid addiction, making it challenging for people to seek care when needed. Overcrowded hospitals struggled to pick up the slack during a national health crisis.
  • Increasing mental health problems: There is a clear connection between mental health, addiction, and the opioid epidemic. After all, many people who use drugs started to self-medicate and relieve symptoms from mental disorders. The World Health Organization reported a 25% global increase in these concerns since the pandemic.
  • Isolation: Finally, the pandemic also isolated many at-risk individuals. Those with addictions often struggled alone, having nobody to call when overdose symptoms manifested.

Long Island Drug Statistics

  • In 2015, synthetic opioid deaths increased 73% from the previous year.
  • Every day, more than 1,000 people seek treatment in emergency rooms after misusing opioids.
  • Private health care costs Suffolk Country $117 million
  • Private health care cost Nassau County $55 million

History of Drug Rehab in New York State

Drug rehab programs in New York State help people get clean, but the state has struggled with a drug-related crime for decades.

For over a century, federal officials have legislated against drug use, but the ’70s were especially active in the prohibition. President Nixon coined the term “The War on Drugs” a year after Congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. Since then, local and state governments have mandated stiff penalties for possessing drugs, resulting in millions of arrests but no impact on addiction.

In the 1960s, public rehab programs were established in New York to tackle the increasing addiction problem. Legislators tried creating several expensive but largely ineffective programs, including the Methadone Maintenance program and the Narcotic Addiction and Control Commission. By the early 1970s, New Yorkers demanded stronger laws responding to violent drug crime.

Finally, New York created laws mandating 15-year minimum sentences in the so-called “Rockefeller Laws.” Again, the policy led to far more arrests but no decrease in crime. Other states followed suit despite these results. Since then, these harsh penalties have become the norm,

In 2004, the state drastically changed the Rockefeller Laws, reducing the 15-year minimum to eight and allowing nonviolent offenders to plea for fewer. Judges now have more discretion to sentence people to rehab instead of prison, dramatically dropping arrests and drug crimes. Unfortunately, other states have been slow to adopt these reforms.

Addiction Treatment Statistics

Rehab centers have helped thousands of Long Islanders recover from alcohol and drug use disorders. It’s challenging trying to fight addiction on your own; it can also be risky without medical support supervising.

Statistics on drug rehab success are high despite the ongoing opioid crisis throughout the country. Rehab centers use evidence-based treatments that can be adjusted on a client-by-client basis to help them recover from addiction safely.

  • An estimated 76 percent of alcohol rehab clients remained sober after three months, 69 percent after six months, and 70 percent after nine months
  • About 90 percent of people who complete drug rehab report continued abstinence nine months later

Local Resources for Help in Long Island

Long Island residents who struggle with addiction may have difficulty understanding the resources available to them.

An effective drug rehab features critical characteristics:

  • Customized treatment plan: Long Island Treatment Center tailors its plans for the individual, taking into account his or her specific addiction and personal needs
  • Evidence-based treatment: Long Island Treatment Center only uses tested treatment methods that are proven effective in battling drug and alcohol addiction
  • Alumni support: Long Island Treatment Center includes an aftercare plan to help its clients continue their journeys once they’ve been discharged from the program
  • 24-hour care: Long Island Treatment Center has round-the-clock medical and mental health support to manage any need

Rehab Centers in Long Island, New York

No two addictions or people are identical; the same is valid for drug and alcohol rehab centers. Still, many accredited facilities have similar treatment services based on evidence proven to help recovering people. The following programs are the kind you can expect at a place known for its adequate support, Long Island Treatment Center.

Alcohol and Drug Detox Programs

Detox is the first and most crucial step of any treatment plan; addiction is based on chemical dependency, and breaking physical reliance takes away substantial power.

Long Island Treatment Center offers 24-hour medical support to assist clients dealing with withdrawal and passing through the stages of detoxification. It’s rare for a recovering person not to need detox and supervision before entering a residential facility to start a program.

Inpatient Rehab Programs

Inpatient or residential treatment involves onsite housing, ensuring the individual has 24-hour access to staff for medical and behavioral support.

Typically, an inpatient regimen involves several treatment programs, including outdoor activities, counseling, fitness programs, therapy, and more. All treatment methods help people heal their minds and bodies for sustainable recovery.

Long Island Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient programs vary in intensity, depending on the recovering person’s needs and where they are in their journey. In all cases, outpatient treatment allows more individual freedom, including the liberty to go to work and return home nightly.

Sober Living Facilities in Long Island

Transitional living facilities allow recovering individuals to live together for some time after treatment. These sober living homes are meant for those with no other supportive accommodations and would otherwise be at greater risk for relapse.

Sober living homes allow inpatient and outpatient graduates to transition into normal daily life.

Aftercare Options

Recovering from drug and alcohol addiction can be a long road; after all, it doesn’t end after inpatient or outpatient treatment. Continuing care, or aftercare, is how recovering people sustain their sobriety after leaving Long Island Treatment Center.

Examples of aftercare may include:

Finding Help in Long Island

Long Island and the state of New York are taking steps to address its drug crisis and increasing overdose rates. For example, there is a campaign to warn the public about fentanyl’s destructive properties, making testing supplies available throughout the region.

These measures are one step toward reducing deaths, but addiction treatment can do more. An evidence-based program designed for the individual can help those struggling with substance use develop new strategies to stop using drugs. Contact Long Island Treatment Center to learn more.

Best Defense for a Positive Drug Test

Drug tests are frequently used for employment screening, workplace safety, sports, and other reasons to determine whether someone has been using prohibited or illegal drugs. Testing positive for a banned or illegal substance can keep you from getting your desired job or result in suspension or loss of employment.

In other words, a positive drug test can dramatically impact your life. With both the present and your future on the line, you need to be fully prepared for your next drug test, both before and after, depending on the results. Read further to be prepared and avoid a failed drug test in your workplace.

How to Prepare

Some drug tests are random. In these cases, there is nothing you can do to adequately prepare. Most of the time, however, drug tests are announced ahead of time. In situations like this, you can take steps to avoid a positive test result.

The first step is learning about the testing procedure. Drug tests are taken through sweat, blood, hair, or urine sample. Knowing which drugs you will be tested for may also be helpful. Most drug tests screen for illicit substances like cannabis (marijuana), cocaine, opioids, amphetamines, and Phencyclidine (PCP). However, some tests are more advanced and can identify alcohol, hydrocodone, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, MDMA, and several other substances.

To be safe, it is best to try to avoid these substances. If you use any of them, it is important to immediately stop whenever you seek employment or may otherwise have a drug test planned. Some substances can be detected days, weeks, or even a month after the last use. While drinking more water may help you flush out whatever substance in your system, this often has little to no effect.

Medications That Cause a False Positive Drug Test

Certain medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, can trigger a false positive drug test. For example, taking any over-the-counter cough medications with dextromethorphan, such as Robitussin and Delsym, could falsely result in a positive urine test for PCP.

Meanwhile, diphenhydramine, widely used in over-the-counter allergy medications, can trigger false positive results for PCP and opiates. Aside from illicit drugs, there are common over-the-counter medications known to produce false positive drug test results include:

  • SudafedPseudoephedrine sinus medications, like Sudafed, may produce false positive results for amphetamine or methamphetamine.
  • NSAIDs – Motrin, Advil, Aleve, and other NSAIDs may produce false positive results for THC and other barbiturates.
  • Phentermine – The weight loss drug may produce false positive results for amphetamine.

In addition, many prescription medications can produce false positive drug test results. Some of these include:

  • trazodone – The sleeping pill trazodone may produce false positive results for amphetamine or methamphetamine.
  • Wellbutrin, Effexor XR, and other antidepressants – Antidepressants, such as Wellbutrin, Effexor XR, Sertraline, and Pristiq, may produce false positive results for a variety of illegal substances.
  • Seroquel – The antipsychotic Seroquel may produce false positive results for methadone.
  • PPI – Proton pump inhibitors (PPI), used in treating acid reflux and heartburn, may produce false positive results for THC.

Various other medications, even certain antibiotics, can potentially produce false positive results for several different illegal substances. Therefore, before submitting the required drug screening samples, you must disclose all of the medications you have recently taken. Don’t forget some substances can stay in your body for weeks.

Remember that drug tests don’t only come in hair tests or through urinalysis. There are accurate and comprehensive drug tests including gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography tests. Your test administrator will determine the drug test for you according to the demands of the employer or organization and the provided medications list. Some private employers have a more strict drug testing requirement to enforce a drug-free workplace.

Best Defense for Positive Drug Test

Failing a drug test can have long-lasting consequences, so it is understandable to be concerned if you are worried about an upcoming drug test or being surprised with an unannounced test. After all, testing positive for any illegal or banned substance may impact your job or job prospects and other important areas of your life.

Knowing this, the best defense for a positive drug test is to not ingest any illegal or banned substances in the first place. However, testing positive on a drug test isn’t always so cut and dry. Several factors can influence drug test results.

What Causes a False Positive Result?

There are different factors that lead to a false positive result. Here’s what you should know:

  • Secondhand smoke exposure: For example, second-hand exposure to marijuana smoke can lead to a false positive result. If you don’t engage in marijuana use but inhaled it at a party, it may produce to a false positive result.
  • Over-the-counter medications: As discussed, certain over-the-counter and prescription medications used to treat everything from colds to allergies, and depression can also cause false positive results.
  • Even eating poppy seeds, using certain lotions and shampoos, and ingestion of natural supplements can result in a false positive drug test result.
  • While uncommon, there’s also always the possibility of lab mix-ups and mistakes. If you are concerned, you may have tested positive for an illegal or banned substance, or if you feel a mistake was made, it is crucial to ask for a retest. If the drug test results were legitimate and you fail a retest if approved, it may be a sign of drug addiction or dependency.

However, to avoid positive or false positive results and being put in the situation of defending a positive drug test, it is important to disclose every medication or supplement you have recently taken before submitting your drug screening samples. Remember, some substances can remain detectable in your system for several weeks after last being used.

Remember That Not All Drug Tests Are the Same

Remember that not all drug tests are the same. Similar to the drugs they are meant to detect, there are various drug tests, and some are more sensitive than others. For example, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography tests are extremely sensitive and can detect trace amounts of forbidden substances.

The test administrator will determine the right type of drug test according to the medications you have been taking. While some workplaces and organizations have written policies to terminate the relationship when a positive drug test occurs, others may be more lenient.

Some may allow you to return to the workplace or let you back on the team by agreeing to regular and random drug testing and completing a recognized drug rehabilitation program. Being honest with yourself and others may be challenging, but it will yield the most significant results and pay off for you personally and professionally in the long run.

How to Dispute Positive Drug Test

If you have received positive drug test results but feel an error occurred, or the results are otherwise false, there are a few things you can do.

  1. Firstly, you should ask for a retest from the original test’s laboratory. If the retest results are positive, you can request to view the laboratory’s quality control records.
  2. You can also opt for an independent drug test at another drug testing facility. If these results also come back positive, then there is not much more you can do. However, if the independent test results come back negative, they can be used to dispute the positive result.
  3. If you believe your false positive result could be caused by something you may have ingested or used, you should disclose this information fully and as soon as possible.
  4. False positive test results can be resolved by providing additional information regarding your recent exposures or medical history. If your positive test results from a legitimate reason, it is vital to be as forthright as possible about the reason.

On the other hand, a positive drug test based on legitimate results and the use of banned or illegal substances is nearly impossible to disprove. In such a case, ineffective excuses and additional tests will not help. The best thing you can do is accept the positive drug test result and the consequences of it.

Nonetheless, showing initiative in overcoming your addiction is always helpful. Some workplaces may be more lenient if you demonstrate a desire to get clean. Just know, however, that getting clean doesn’t begin with ineffective excuses.

It begins by acknowledging your substance abuse or addiction and asking for help. While being open and honest is an important first step, undergoing drug addiction counseling and treatment is essential in avoiding positive drug tests in the future and living a sober and healthy life.

Explore Your Treatment Options

At Long Island Treatment Center, we understand the devastating effects a positive drug test could have on your life. Abusing drugs or suffering from addiction can negatively impact your relationships, employment, and other vital areas of your life.

Our passionate, experienced addiction treatment professionals provide effective treatment for addiction to alcohol, opiates, cocaine, amphetamines, and several other legal and illegal substances. We’re here to support you throughout your journey to sobriety and provide you with the tools you need to live life on your terms. Contact Long Island Treatment Center for a private consultation and to discuss your addiction treatment options.


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