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.

Follow our blog at A Calming Tide for more valuable information about substance abuse and strategies to overcome it.

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Meth Use And The Risk Of Schizophrenia

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Evidence is growing that heavy methamphetamine use may lead to an increased risk of schizophrenia. Research indicates that patients hospitalized for meth use could face a 1.5 to 3.0-fold increased risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia compared to users hospitalized for cocaine, alcohol or opiate dependencies. These are patients who had not previously had psychotic symptoms. Although the link has been previously discounted in many circles, new findings raise interesting questions.

Nature of the Research

Methamphetamine and other amphetamine stimulants represent the second most frequently used type of illicit substance in the world. Recent research noting the possibility of a link between heavy meth use and schizophrenia focused on comparisons to non-drug users and heavy users of other drugs. The research featured an exploration of California hospital admission records spanning ten years.

Records were examined for patients with a diagnosis of dependency on various substances. The substance dependencies included cannabis, alcohol, cocaine, opioid drugs and meth. Researchers excluded patient records if they included an existing diagnosis of schizophrenia or psychosis for the initial hospital stay. The research included a control group of patients only diagnosed with appendicitis. The research further examined records of patients in the drug groups who were readmitted with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

How it Works

Why heavy methamphetamine use might increase the risk of schizophrenia remains unclear. One possibility is that the repeated use of the substance can trigger latent schizophrenia in individuals who are susceptible. This would happen by sensitizing the patient’s brain to dopamine, a chemical that may be associated with psychosis. Similar findings are found with heavy use of cannabis. The circumstances would only apply to heavy usage of methamphetamines and cannabis, it is noted, rather than with lighter use of a medical nature.

Repeat Studies

Since evidence is still relatively sparse, more study of the possibility is necessary. Additional research would help to confirm the results seen thus far. Long-term study of methamphetamine users is indicated, particularly follow-up studies. Further research might reveal the nature of the relationship between drug addiction and schizophrenia, perhaps leading to more effective therapies for both of these conditions.

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How Opiates Affect Behavior

Opiates are a collection of drugs that come from the opium derivative family. Examples of some common opiates are heroin, morphine, methadone, hydrocodone and oxycodone. Opiates are drugs that cause two prevalent feelings to occur: drowsiness and pain relief. Such drugs affect the opioid receptors of the brain, and those receptors control the presence of pain. Many people experience euphoria when they take opiates, which makes them highly vulnerable to developing drug addictions. The following describes how opiates affect behavior.

Scratching

Scratching is one common behavior that many people perform when they use opiates. Some people exhibit extremely intense scratching on the arms or legs that causes them to develop open sores. The scratching comes from extreme itching or a feeling that one’s skin is crawling. Scratching is one of the most common symptoms of opiate use that occurs.

Nodding

Nodding is another common opiate induced behavior. Nodding is a term that describes when a person falls asleep while he or she is sitting or standing. Opiates are heavily sedative drugs, and many people give away their addictions by nodding. People should not operate vehicles or dangerous machinery while they are taking prescription opiates.

Pleasantness

Extreme pleasantness is one of the not-so-bad behaviors that occur when a person is under the influence of an opiate substance. The person will feel as if nothing could go wrong and everything is perfect. The euphoria may seem nice, but thee person will mostly likely lose the feeling when the drug wears off.

Addictive Behaviors

People exhibit certain behaviors when they are addicted to opiates and not just taking them. Addictive behaviors include lying to friends and family members, hiding, missing work, neglecting romantic relationships and fighting and conducting criminal activities such as stealing.

The long-term use of opiates can affect a person’s mental health and clarity, as well. The individual could suffer from depression, anxiety, frequent mood swings and memory loss. The drug changes the levels of serotonin in the brain, and permanent depletion of that chemical can occur from misuse. Persons should only use prescribed opiate medications for short terms. Alternative, non-addictive pain medications are available for long-term use.

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Understanding Opioid Drug Abuse

Understanding Opioid Drug Abuse

When one takes opioids as prescribed by a doctor, they are relatively safe; however, opioid drug abuse is still a potential risk when taking these drugs. When taken orally in high doses or injected, opioids give an intoxicating high, which is why they are one of the most commonly abused drugs by young adults and teens, after marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco.

One of the most common reasons people visit the doctor’s office is for pain relief. Opioids, also called narcotics or opiates, are painkillers made from opium. Codeine and morphine are two products of opium, a narcotic drug obtained from the poppy plant. Imitations and synthetic modifications of morphine produce other opioids, including:

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  • Fentanyl
  • Vicodin
  • Lorcet
  • Methadone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Demerol
  • Percodan
  • Percocet

Drug abuse, including opiate abuse, is the intentional use of drugs beyond a doctor’s prescription. Dependence arises when the body builds tolerance to the drug, which means that one would need higher doses for the same effect. Additionally, a person who has drug dependence goes through withdrawal symptoms when he/she stops using.

People tend to use terms like drug addiction, drug dependence, drug abuse, and opioid abuse interchangeably; however, they all have different meanings. Drug addiction happens when one has drug dependence, and shows certain psychological effects, such as intense craving, compulsive behavior, legal problems, and continued use despite negative consequences.

Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Drug Abuse

  • Euphoria
  • Analgesia
  • Poor judgment or confusion
  • Sedation
  • Respiratory depression
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Constipation
  • Small pupils
  • Flushed skin or itching
  • Slurred speech

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms Include:

  • Irritability
  • Tremors
  • Intense craving
  • Sweating
  • Rapid breathing
  • Muscle aches
  • Salivation
  • Yawning
  • Confusion
  • Runny nose
  • Goosebumps
  • Vomiting
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Abdominal cramps

These withdrawal symptoms are not medically dangerous; however, they can be intolerable and agonizing, which can contribute to continued abuse. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms depends on how long one has been abusing opiates, as well as how much of the drug one has been taking.

Opioid drug abuse is a complex health condition that can affect anyone. It could be a spouse, a parent, a brother, a sister, a friend, or a co–worker. Fortunately, it is possible to get on the path to recovery through counseling, different treatment programs, and medication–assisted treatment.

For Opiate Addiction Treatment Services in the Northern California Area, Contact Summit Estate:

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Addiction To Benzodiazepine Sleeping Pills

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Benzodiazepines, also known as tranquilizers, include Ativan, Xanax and Valium, and are depressant drugs that slow down the central nervous system’s activity and the messages travelling between the brain and the body.  Doctors sometimes prescribe sleeping pills for the relief of anxiety and excessive stress to help people sleep.  However, the long term use of benzodiazepines is causing increasing concern in the medical profession as to the health risks they could cause.  Benzodiazepine abuse occurs when people use the drug illegally to help induce “come down” effects from stimulants such a amphetamines, or to become intoxicated.

There are three types of benzodiazepines:  short, intermediate and long-acting.  Short-acting tranquilizers have stronger withdrawal symptoms and are more addictive than intermediate or long-acting benzodiazepines. For example, Valium is long-acting and Xanax is short-acting.

Benzodiazepines are also known as benzos, sleepers, pills, tranx, downers, serras, moggies, normies and xannies.  They are usually swallowed in tablet form bur an also be injected.  Some more common brand names include Ativan, Xanax and Valium.

Effects of Benzodiazepine Abuse
Each person will be affected differently by benzodiazepines and can include:

  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Memory loss
  • Impaired thinking
  • Feelings of euphoria of isolation
  • Slurred speech and stuttering
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Constipation or diahrrea
  • Fatigue, drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Tremors
  • Impaired coordination
  • Tremors

The consumption of larger amounts will result in the following effects:

  • Sleep from over-sedation
  • Excitability and jitteriness
  • Agression
  • Mood swings
  • Shallow, slow breathing
  • Coma or unconsciousness
  • Death (particularly when taken with other drugs and alcohol)

Injecting may cause vein damage, scarring, infection (including HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and C), blood clots and deep vein thrombosis leading to the possible loss of limbs, organ damage stroke and death.  Repeated injections and sharing injection equipment will increase the above mentioned risks.

Treatment for Addiction To Benzodiazepine Sleeping Pills

Giving up the use of benzodiazepines after a long period of using the drug can be challenging and it is strongly recommended to consult a health professional.  Withdrawal symptoms can be severe but differ from person to person and the type of benzodiazepine used.  Symptoms can last anything from a few weeks to almost a year and it is advisable to seek professional help and even to enter a drug abuse facility to help overcome the most severe symptoms.

Addiction To Oxycodone HCL

156292188She didn’t think it could happen to her, matter of fact, no one thinks that it can happen to them. Drug addictions is something that most of us believe happens to someone else. We think that it belongs to the characters living on the streets or the imagery the media shows us of poor meth addicts. This imagery is so far replaced from us that we only associate drug addiction with people at the bottom of society. We do not see it as an issue that the average middle class nobody or upper class Whole Foods set has. We are so wrong to think this and we need better education on the fact that anyone can become addicted to almost any drug.

When it comes to drugs such as ocycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone or meperdine, these drugs are so commonly prescribed that the average drug addict in our country isn’t someone using heroin, crack, cocaine or meth; the average drug user is someone addicted to a prescription drug. This is a far cry from what we think a drug addict looks like or from what part of society they stem from. Look around your neighborhood and you will see the face of drug addiction.

The Solution

The solution is get professional treatment from someone who knows what they are doing. Realize that you need treatment, realize that it is the best and in many cases the only way to get better and do not waste time fighting the fact that you are in need of help. The sooner you face the reality of the situation, you will be on the path to getting better in life.

Prescription Drug and Painkiller Addiction and Substance Abuse Treatment in an Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program:

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Are Barbiturates A Dangerous Drug?

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Barbiturates are a form of medication known as sedative-hypnotics, but they are also associated with drug abuse. Although modern drugs such as Amytal, Seconal, Phernobarbital and Nembutal are much safer than the forms which were available thirty years ago, you should still be aware of the risks which exist.

What Are Barbiturates Used For?

Barbiturates can be used for sleep disorders and anxiety. Less commonly, they may also be prescribed for preventing seizures or administered as an anesthetic. However, the drugs can cause dependency which leads some people to carry on taking them after the prescribed period. Barbiturates are also sometimes sold illegally on the streets, because some people enjoy the mellow feeling the medication produces. Some addicts who abuse drugs such as cocaine will also take barbiturates to counteract the burst of energy and hyperactivity.

What Are The Risks?

Even when taken for medical purposes, barbiturates are considered a high risk drug. Patients must be very careful to follow the instructions exactly as a few extra pills is enough to cause a lethal overdose. This fine line between the recommended dose and an overdose also makes them highly dangerous when the drug is used to get high, as without the supervision of a doctor many people overestimate what a safe level is.

Taking an excessive level of barbiturates will cause the breathing to slow down, and in the worst case scenario the respiratory system will fail. The medication makes the user feel fatigued, but it can lead to unconsciousness and coma in large doses. Some people may also be prone to seizures.

When a persons ceases the drug, they should do so under the guidance of a doctor. This is because the withdrawal symptoms can make a person feel extremely unwell. Speak to a medical professional to learn more.

Seeking Treatment for Alcohol and Prescription Drug Abuse

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By themselves, addictions to prescription drugs or to alcohol are dangerous habits in their own rights; when the two addictions are running concurrently, you have all of the dangers of the individual addictions doubled.

Take a look at a prescription bottle — it can really be any prescription. The warning label specifically says do not mix with alcohol… this is true for almost all prescription drugs, as not only can the affects of the drugs be increased by the consumption of alcohol, but there is a wide range of other risks associated with the mixing of drugs and alcohol.

Of the biggest risks of mixing prescription drugs with alcohol, is the risk of heart failure, suppressed breathing, seizures, and death. There are many cases of people that are abusing both prescription drugs and alcohol going to sleep and never waking up again — is often attributed to asphyxia, suppressed breathing, and heart failure. One of the most famous cases of this is in the case of Jimi Hendrix’ death, which was directly attributed to mixing alcohol with prescription drugs. Hendrix mixed Rx drugs and wine, passed out, and never woke up again.

There are many other famous deaths attributed to alcoholism, and prescription pills — in Hollywood and in the rest of the United States the problem is reaching epidemic proportions. Prescription drug abuse is not so prevalent in the United States that the government has recently called for increased awareness and measures to be taken against the abuse of prescription drugs. While these policies may take years or even decades to reach the majority of Americans, there are still the estimated tens of thousands of Americans that are suffering from Rx drug abuse right now.

If you are abusing prescription drugs, alcohol, or both concurrently, it is a very dangerous situation. Don’t let an overdose from drugs and alcohol be in your future, seek treatment for alcohol and drug abuse today, while there is still time.

Seeking Treatment for Alcohol and Prescription Drug Abuse?

The Dunes East Hampton Treats Addictions to Prescription Drugs, Alcohol, and the Abuse of Drugs and Alcohol:

The Dunes East Hampton
201 Fort Pond Blvd., Suite 1
East Hampton, NY 11937

Substance Abuse: Dangers of Speed

151664070One of the most popular forms of drug abuse is addiction to speed. It creates a euphoric high that many addicts believe makes them perform better. While it may have some slight benefits at first, productivity and reason are quickly diminished by prolonged use.

When someone ingests amphetamines, their heart and respiration rates increase. This puts an unnecessary strain on the entire body. Additionally, it often decreases the appetite. Some people get hooked on speed as a weight loss program. Unfortunately, the addict loses the nutritional substances necessary for good health.

Speed will also increase paranoia. Those who are addicted become uncomfortable being in public or think that they are being followed. When they go through withdrawal, hallucinations are likely. This can further the paranoid delusions.

After a while of being hooked on amphetamines, the addict may begin to experience involuntary muscle twitches and grind their teeth in an effort to release some of the tension. Many addicts will begin to get blemishes that they pick at uncontrollably.

The long term consequences of use can be a diminished level of brain activity and difficulty processing new information. The addict may find that it is difficult to feel and express emotions. It is not uncommon for the addict to break laws in order to continue their addiction cycle.

If you are addicted to speed, it is very important that you get help as soon as possible. Look into what rehabilitation programs are available to you. Though it may seem to be overwhelming, and even frightening, it is the best choice you can make for yourself.

In a rehab center, you will be able to safely go through the withdrawal process. They will also provide you with tools to reclaim your life and to begin living fully again.