Understanding Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

458892257Small lapses of judgment can snowball into life-altering problems. Alcoholism and drug addiction are perfect examples of this stealth dynamic in action, and the subtle nature of the decline they precipitate makes it hard for people with substance abuse disorders to accurately perceive what is happening.

Choosing to drink or take drugs will not automatically lead to addiction. But addiction almost always leads to denial and rationalization, and that is as much a part of this disease as the physical dependency that defines it.

Your willingness to consider the possibility you might have a substance abuse disorder is a positive sign. But unless you understand how addiction distorts your perception you may never be able to face the truth about your plight.

The natural tendency of drug addicts and alcoholics who reflect on their substance abuse is to avoid a full and honest self-appraisal, leading them to underestimate how far down the rabbit hole of dependency they’ve actually fallen.

The best way to ensure your process of self-analysis stays on track is to educate yourself about the symptoms of alcoholism and drug addiction. Not just the physical symptoms but the emotional and psychological mind tricks substance abuse problems play, which can make it difficult to detect addiction from a first-person perspective.

Here are some common warning signs that might indicate your drug or alcohol habit has gotten out of control:

  • You need to drink more or take larger quantities of drugs to get the same effects.
  • You drink or take drugs every day, or always return to alcohol or drugs again after brief periods of sobriety.
  • You’ve started telling “little white lies” to the people you love, most of which revolve around your drinking or drugging.
  • Guilt and shame have become your constant companions, even though you’re not always sure what you’re feeling guilty or ashamed about.
  • In conversations about your behavior you frequently find yourself on the defensive (even in instances where your substance abuse isn’t brought up during the discussion).
  • You’ve gotten into the habit of using drugs or alcohol for mood alteration or enhancement (you can’t relax, have fun or feel comfortable in social situations without it, to give some examples).
  • You’re experiencing more of the troubling mood swings that helped push you toward drugs or alcohol in the first place.
  • Your physical health has started to decline.
  • Your family and friends are worried and they’ve been telling you about it.
  • The real-life consequences of your drinking and drug use have become impossible to ignore (financial troubles, relationship problems, declining performance on the job, etc.).
  • Your internal dialogues are loaded with rationalizations, as you’ve begun making just as many excuses to yourself as you’ve been making to others.

Generally speaking, the more of these symptoms you manifest the worse your substance abuse problem is likely to be.

With Eyes Wide Open, There is Hope

Alcoholism and drug abuse affect the mind, body and spirit. They sneak up on you and catch you by surprise, changing your entire life day-by-day until their ravages are undeniable. You have to notice what drugs or alcohol are doing to your life before you can do anything about them, and that means learning to recognize the warning signs of addiction while there is still time to make a change.

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Teens’ Access To Drugs And Alcohol Increasing

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According a recent study, teenagers can now access prescription drugs, alcohol and marijuana much faster and easily than they did last year. Fortunately, easy access does not directly translate to increased drug abuse cases. For instance, marijuana use has been declining over the last few years. This paradox has raised serious questions about what drives teenagers to abuse controlled substances.

The findings of the study were recently released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance abuse, commonly referred to as CASA. The report raised nationwide concern as it was released at a time when more teenagers in the country are abusing prescription drugs than most controlled substances, except inhalants and marijuana.

A Calming Tide: Drug, Alcohol and Behavioral Resource is meant to shed some light on some of these substance abuse trends. We understand that substance abuse is a bigger problem now than ever before since kids do not need to find a drug dealer to get their daily dose. All they have to do is open their parent’s medicine cabinet and take as many pills as possible.

According to the study, 23% of teens aged between 12 and 17 years said they could get their hands on marijuana in less than one hour. 42% of them claimed they could get marijuana within 24 hours. These figures are considerably larger than figures obtained from studies in 2007.

While these figures may be scary, there is some good news – marijuana use by teens is falling steadily. Some studies we have looked at indicate teens are using 25% less marijuana than they did less than a decade ago. Unfortunately, usage of prescription drugs has not changed much. Since 2005, the number of teens using prescription drugs has remained at 1 in 5, still a troubling figure. Our experience with teenage drug abuse is that most parents are passive pushers. This is because many homes do not have locks on the medicine cabinet.

One of the main factors affecting drug use by teens is attitudes and perceptions. Before 2001, ecstasy was viewed by teens as a safe drug to get high on, which made it incredibly popular with teens. However, usage declined drastically once ecstasy was linked to several deaths.

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Recognizing Mental Health Issues In Your Child

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As parents, we are always looking out for our kids. If we notice odd behavior in our kids, we first look for signs of physical injury or discomfort. However, once physical injury has been ruled out, odd behavior in children could signal some form of mental illness.

Signs of Mental Illness in Children

If you suspect that your child may have a mental illness, these are some of the warning signs that you should look for. Your child processes information slowly,is easily distracted, cannot concentrate and has difficulty remembering things. Some children also believe that there are hidden messages in TV, radio and other forms of public broadcasting. If your child exhibits 2 or more of the above mentioned signs, you should then seek professional help. You are free to take your child to a pediatrician or GP and you may also take your child to see a psychologist and psychiatrist to determine if there really is a mental problem and to what degree it can affect your child.

One type of mental illness that seems to affect more children each day is bipolar disorder. A child who has bipolar disorder will experience severe and extreme mood swings. The child can go from extremely happy and jubilant to extremely sad and angry, without any justifiable reason. A child suffering from bipolar disorder may be mostly irritable, hyper active and is easily aggravated.

Depression is another severe mental illness that affects many adolescents. They experience feelings of hopeless and worthlessness and have a general lack of luster for life. They either have trouble sleeping or sleep too much. Fatigue and loss of appetite is another warning sign that all is not well with your child. Both bipolar disorder and depression should be treated immediately or as soon a you know for sure that your child is struggling with it. This is crucial since most sufferers exhibit constant suicidal behavior.

Parents should try their best to educate themselves about Mental Health Issues In Children and spend plenty of time with their children encouraging, motivating and bonding with them.

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Ritalin Abuse And College Students

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Let’s face it, going to college is tough, but when it comes to end-of-semester examinations, term papers and other projects, there just don’t seem to be enough hours in a day or week. That’s why and increasing number of college students and even high schoolers preparing for ACT or SAT tests to get into universities are turning to prescription stimulants to help them stay awake through all-night study and work sessions that can last several consecutive days.

According to drug abuse experts at the University of Florida, undergraduates are taking increasing amounts of prescription stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall, once solely the province of those with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) to boost concentration during peak study times. At commonly prescribed doses, those medications heighten concentration and alertness.

Additionally a 2005 study conducted by the University of Michigan revealed that at the time 10% of college students illegally used stimulants for this purpose, obtaining the drugs by either conning prescriptions from physicians or by getting them from friends who had legal prescriptions. Experts believe the situation is becoming worse because the pills are inexpensive and widely available.

Dr. Scott Teitelbaum, medical director of the Florida Recovery Center at UF, indicates that most students use stimulants to improve their performance, but taking them won’t make up for slacking during a semester. Teitelbaum noted that most students who take illicit stimulants actually perform worse, most likely because the need for the drug reflects the reality of being behind in their studies.

Ritalin boosts the central nervous system to create feelings of alertness. The drug is structurally close to cocaine, but does not produced the same level of alertness. Unlike cocaine, Ritalin is cheap because the price is generally only a prescription copay.

Prescription abuse is rising among teens and young adults surpassing such drugs as crack and cocaine, heroin and meth abuse, according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

Although many students consider this a “safe” method of staying awake, doctors indicate that this assumption is necessarily true as some take higher doses than recommended. When this occurs, the risk of neurological and heart-related complications can increase. Higher doses may result in irregular heartbeat or hyperthermia.

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What Is The Difference Between Sativa And Indica Marijuana?

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Many people are unaware that different marijuana types have different effects on the body. As with any other plant, cannabis strains are categorized according to a variety of characteristics. The categories used to classify marijuana include geographical origin, flowering time, yield, structure, flavor and effects.

Sativa and indica are useful in treating people with a variety of heath issues but they manage different symptoms. Terpenes and cannabinoids are the two compounds in cannabis responsible for influencing the plant’s effect on the body. CBD and THC are cannabinoids with unique molecular structures and medical benefits. Terpenes have their own effects and at the same time, regulate the effects of cannabinoids.

Sativas thrive outdoors. They are believed to have originated near the equator between 0 and 30 degrees latitude in locations with variable weather. The plant is tall and thin and the flowering time is longer than that of indica strains. The effect on the brain is generally uplifting and energizing. People tend to use it to spark creative thought and to help with symptoms associated with attention deficit disorder, mood disorders, depression and fatigue. Many people prefer to use it early in the day.
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Indica plants are short and bushy with a shorter flowering time. This strain is believed to have come originally from an area near Afghanistan called the Hindu Kush region. Because of the harsh climate in this part of the world, indica strains developed a thick resin coating for protection. Indica tends to have a relaxing effect on the entire body rather than affecting just the brain. People use this strain as a mild sedative. It is helpful for people with insomnia, muscle spasms, anxiety, and pain. Some medical patients find indicas can help soothe nausea and increase appetite. This type of marijuana makes users content to just kick back and relax.

Modern growers have discovered effective ways to mix genetics from the two strains to create hybrid plants. The effects tend to mimic those of both strains.

Medical marijuana users find these classifications to be helpful when trying to find something that can eliminate certain symptoms. The classification system has been around since the 18th century but is likely to change as the scientific world conducts more research on marijuana use.

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