Recognizing and defining addiction isn’t always an easy task. Although there are many ways to define addiction, the American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines it as the “habitual psychological and physiological dependence on a substance or practice beyond one’s voluntary control.”
In the worst cases, addictions have a few devastating similarities that can be agreed upon by all:
- Addiction separates an individual from reality.
- It can inflict significant damage to the addict immediately or over time.
- Addiction often damages others that are close to the addict.
Cocaine, heroin, or other drug addictions are not only illegal but are socially unacceptable as well. Other addictions like smoking and alcohol use or gambling can be equally as damaging but are much more socially acceptable or even encouraged in some circles.
Addictions such as shopping and eating are routine activities that evolve to distorted levels. Still others such as addiction to coffee, tea, or chocolate in most cases do not even resemble the more severe addictions and are generally considered non-problematic or benign.
Nobody intentionally sets out with the goal of becoming addicted to harmful substances or behaviors. However, many people find themselves hopelessly addicted. The quicker a person can identify that there is an addiction problem, the more of a chance they have of effectively doing something about it. Here is a short list of some of the more prominent warning signs that may indicate an addiction problem is present:
- Abandonment of social or occupational activities to engage in addictive behavior, i.e., drug use, shopping, overeating, gambling.
- Inability to abstain from using substances or engaging in damaging behavior despite the knowledge of its dangers.
- Extended amounts of time expended obtaining, using, or recovering from substance abuse or damaging behavior.
- Repeated unsuccessful attempts to stop substance use or refrain from addictive behavior.
Addiction can be very subtle and often the addict does not realize that he or she has become dependent. Recognizing and defining addiction is the first step in resolving this growing problem.
Seek Inpatient Treatment for Substance or Behavioral Addictions
If you are struggling with any addiction, or if you have a loved one who may be, seek inpatient addiction treatment. Once you are capable of recognizing and defining addiction, you will have taken the first step to realize that you or a loved one can benefit from addiction treatment.
Here, at Awakenings Rehabilitation, we offer many different treatment programs that will benefit you or your loved one. We not only take care of your physical needs, but we also rehabilitate you emotionally. A treatment program will be designed to fit your individual needs and preferences. You will leave Awakenings with renewed health and ready to live a sober, productive and happy life once again.
Contact one of our representatives to learn more about our facility at Awakenings Rehab and the different treatment programs that we offer. Don’t continue on that dead-end road of addiction. Make that call now.
drugabuse.gov – The Science of Drug Use and Addiction: The Basics
Life lessons are not always the easiest parts of our lives as we mature and grow older. But somehow we learn to respect them and be grateful for them. Some things come to us quickly while others are hard lessons to learn. Sometimes we start on a road that we do not perceive as wrong. However, when we do finally grasp the experience in it all, we can correct the error. Life lessons about alcoholism are some of the hardest to learn.
The impressions we make on others can linger on in their minds for a long time, especially if we meet them in a drinking and partying environment. Let’s face it; some individuals can drink alcohol socially and be no worse for it. Others become entirely different people when drinking alcohol.
Life Lessons About Alcoholism
Some of these life lessons about alcoholism are heartbreaking and embarrassing.
Here is a list of a few life lessons about alcoholism:
- Bad reputations can be hard to outlive.
Once you get a reputation for being obnoxious while drinking, people will turn in the other direction when they see you coming. As mentioned before, some people can drink socially and be complete ladies and gentlemen. Then others, drink and become someone completely different from their sober self. They become angry, loud, and disruptive in any environment.
You may gain a reputation for getting drunk frequently. Once you start drinking daily or drinking to the point of intoxication every time you drink, you will undoubtedly offend others and say hurtful things to them. You may even do worse things to them than only speaking hurtful words.
- Dangerous risk-taking has consequences.
Anyone who is an alcohol abuser or struggles with alcoholism takes unnecessary risks. For instance, driving while under the influence of alcohol not only endangers your life, it also endangers the lives of your friends and even strangers. If you are lucky, this is one life lesson you will learn before something tragic happens to you, someone you love, or an innocent victim or victims on the road. Never drink alcohol while driving a vehicle.
Other risk-taking actions while intoxicated include having unprotected sex. When drinking large amounts of alcohol, you do not think about the consequences that can come from having unprotected sex with a friend or with a stranger. You can end up with an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease. You may wake up in the morning after a night out and not even know you had sex with someone.
- Drinking alcohol does not make your problems go away!
Another of the life lessons about alcoholism which people learn the hard way is that drinking alcohol does not erase your problems. Many individuals drink alcohol to avoid thinking about problems they may have in their lives. They drink to forget past traumatic experiences they have had. We soon learn that no amount of alcohol can make these problems or experiences go away. We have to learn how to handle our emotions and issues without alcohol. Alcohol only adds more problems and issues to our lives including losing family and friends.
- Broken relationships that can never heal.
Once you have become a regular drinker and are, in fact, an alcoholic, you will lose many valued relationships with family and friends. Some of these can be repaired while others may be lost forever. People can only put up with a “drunk” for so long and then they walk away — some for good. After a while, apologies get old and don’t mean anything. Friends and family know that it means nothing to you except an attempt at another chance to hurt or otherwise offend them. After a while, your apology means nothing to them because they know you are not sincere even though you may think that you are.
- You are the only person responsible for your actions.
One of the most important lessons learned about alcoholism is that you are responsible for your actions, drunk or sober. You can only blame being drunk for your actions for a short period. After that, the excuse is lame. People think, “If you are going to act like that, then you shouldn’t drink.” In fact, they are right. If you can’t drink alcohol and maintain your respectful ways, you shouldn’t drink.
Professional Help is Available for Alcoholism
If you are experiencing some of the many life lessons about alcoholism, there is still time for you to stop the struggle. Only you can make the decision that you need professional help to stop drinking There are many inpatient addiction treatment facilities who can design a program for you complete with detoxification and an aftercare program to help you through your early recovery period and adjusting to sober living away from the facility.
Don’t wait any longer. Contact one of our representatives at Awakenings Rehabilitation today to learn more about the programs we offer at our facility. There is one that will fit your individual needs and preferences. Start your road to recovery now.
cdc.gov – Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Ritalin is a central nervous stimulant for treating ADD/ADHD and narcolepsy. However, when the individual takes more than prescribed to get a euphoric feeling, Ritalin and addiction become a problem.
Ritalin (Methylphenidate) is responsible for regulating chemically charged nerves. These nerves are responsible for impulse and hyperactivity synapses in the brain. Ritalin is an FDA approved drug that was initially used in the 1960s and 1970s to treat narcolepsy. Later, in the 1990s, treating ADD/ADHD with Ritalin began.
Is Ritalin Addictive?
Surprisingly, Ritalin is in the same family of amphetamines as the highly addictive crystal meth. Abuse of Ritalin is mostly common with teenagers and college kids because of heavy school workloads. The drug is readily available in most markets and can be easier to obtain than marijuana. For instance, it is available at home, school, with friends and it can now be purchased illegally online.
Ritalin abusers like the high produced by the drug. After prolonged abuse, tolerance builds in the body, and the user needs more of the drug to obtain the same effects. Some individuals even resort to crushing, injecting and snorting the drug to achieve the desired results faster. This abuse can cause a host of health problems including rapid heart rate, seizures, and even death.
Side Effects that Come with Ritalin and Addiction
Ritalin abuse produces many side effects. Some of these symptoms are serious and should not be ignored.
The common side effects of Ritalin abuse include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Mood swings
Some users have reported having changes in skin color and blurred vision. While these are not significant side effects, you should stop taking the drug and address the issues with your doctor. Also, if you experience hives and a swollen throat or tongue you should seek medical emergency immediately. These allergic reactions can be life-threatening and should be treated accordingly.
Withdrawal from any drug that an individual is abusing is going to be a tough challenge. Ritalin changes chemicals in your brain and causes a temporary rewiring to occur. Suddenly stopping Ritalin use causes significant changes in the way an individual behaves or acts. Some of these changes are debilitating like panic, fatigue, aggression and suicidal tendencies. The withdrawal process is very complex, and the individual will need as much support from family and friends as possible.
Ritalin and addiction can be very serious. It is not recommended to try to quit abusing Ritalin on your own because detoxing can cause various psychological behaviors. Our professionals at Awakenings Rehabilitation are here and ready to help you tackle any obstacles you may face. Contact us immediately if you are facing Ritalin and addiction and we will help you get your life back on track.
additudemag.com – Ritalin
Are you abusing drugs or alcohol? Do you think you have it all under control? Are you in denial about how serious your problem really is? Have you faced harsh consequences because of your abuse of any substance? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should not ignore going to drug rehab.
Admitting that you have an addiction or are struggling with drugs or alcohol in any way can be hard. Individuals never want to face the fact that they have a problem they can’t control. However, it happens in the best of families and to individuals you would never think possible.
Don’t ever be ashamed to ask for help because of what others may think. In fact, addiction does not carry the same stigma as it did years ago. More and more people are opening up to their struggles with alcohol or drug addiction.
Reasons You Should Not Ignore Going to Drug Rehab
Here, we will discuss some of the reasons you should not ignore going to drug rehab. Read them carefully, and then you make the decision. Don’t let addiction destroy the rest of your life!
- Your addiction will get worse
- You have tried to quit on your own to no avail
- Family and friends are concerned about your substance abuse
- You go through withdrawal symptoms when not using your substance of choice
- Your health has been compromised because of drugs or alcohol
- You have driven while under the influence of alcohol or drugs endangering yourself and others
- Loved ones or friends have alienated themselves from you because of your substance abuse
- You have had legal problems because of your substance abuse
- You lie to others about your alcohol or drug use
- You have problems with co-workers or other associated problems at work
- Substance use has increased to the point of drinking or using drugs alone
- You are experiencing financial problems because of drug or alcohol use
- What started out as fun is now a necessity to simply feel okay
- You cannot control the amount that you drink or your drug use
- You have tried to harm yourself or others while using drugs or alcohol
- In rehab, you can address any underlying causes of your abuse or addiction
- You deserve a much better life than the one you are presently living
Are Things Really Bad Enough for Rehab?
Regardless of what many people say, you don’t have to hit rock bottom before going to rehab. If any substance of abuse is affecting your life negatively, you should definitely enter a rehab facility. Don’t wait for rock bottom; you might not make it that long. Addiction is a progressive disorder. You won’t get better by ignoring your problems; they will only worsen.
Have loved ones tried talking to you about your drug abuse? Or, have they simply alienated themselves from your life altogether. If so, that is a sure sign that you shouldn’t ignore going to drug rehab. If you won’t admit to your loved ones that you have a problem, they may just decide to give up on you and avoid you completely.
You may have tried to quit using drugs on your own, only to have the withdrawal symptoms make you so uncomfortable that you start back drinking or using your drug of choice. You may have even gotten to the point that you have to have the alcohol or drugs just to help you feel normal throughout the day.
Look at This List and Make Your Decision
The last reason on this list is one of the most important. You deserve a much better life than one of drug abuse or addiction. Don’t ignore going to drug rehab any longer. Get the professional treatment that you need and deserve. You can regain your life of sobriety and health. You can mend relationships with loved ones and have a happy and productive life once again.
Inpatient Addiction Treatment Programs at Awakenings Rehabilitation
Awakenings Rehabilitation is an excellent inpatient addiction treatment facility. We have a caring and compassionate staff that shows the utmost respect for each and every client. We can design a treatment program that will be tailor-made for your needs and preferences.
Contact one of our representatives to learn more about the treatment programs that we offer at Awakenings. Drug abuse or addiction doesn’t have to be your way of life. You can live a full life in recovery from addiction. Contact us now and start your new path in life.
Samhsa.gov – Alcohol and Drug Addiction Happens in the Best of Families
Although gender equality has come a long way in today’s society, some fundamental and undeniable biological differences underline the fact that we are not all created equal. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the link between gender and addiction to understand why addictive substances affect men and women differently.
How Social Roles Influence Substance Abuse
Throughout American history, men were more likely to drink alcohol or use illicit drugs. Women were more likely to be prescribed drugs as medicine. Today, however, more women have joined the ranks with men when it comes to alcohol and drug abuse.
Gender-related sex differences in the brain can influence a person’s response to drugs or alcohol. Other factors such as environment, family history, physical or mental health problems, influence a person to abuse addictive substances.
In many cases of drug abuse, social settings influence when and how a drug is used, and this becomes the norm. For instance, people at “drug parties” are expected to participate in consuming a variety of substances. Also, at almost any type of social gathering, alcohol is considered an acceptable means of celebrating and socializing. Teens who attend “raves” are expected to join in with the crowd of ecstasy or other club drug users.
Many of our role-modeling cues come from our associations with people who matter to us. If those individuals are abusing addictive substances, it begins to seem normal to an impressionable mind.
How the Link Between Gender and Addiction Affects Women
According to researchers, men are more likely than women to use any illicit substance. However, the studies show that women are more susceptible to cravings and relapse. Changing hormone levels during the menstrual cycle have an effect on dopamine levels, which can influence a female’s response to drugs or alcohol.
Male subjects are most commonly tested in clinical trials. However, researchers include women subjects in the trials to ensure that the gender differences are analyzed and considered. For instance, women who were taking the standard dosages of Ambien were involved in more vehicle accidents while taking the drug. Therefore, in 2015, the FDA recommended cutting the dosage in half when prescribing to women.
Changing the Guidelines: Including Women in Clinical Trials
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 5.0% of adult women were prescribed sleep aids compared to 3.1% of adult men. Furthermore, the survey shows that women are 50 to 75 percent more likely to experience side effects from drugs or alcohol than men. It’s no wonder that one could see the relationship between gender and addiction.
More examples of the relationship between gender and addiction:
- Women experience greater pain relief from opioids than men due to fluctuating estrogen levels.
- Men are more likely to overdose on painkillers. But, women have a harder time quitting and are more likely to relapse, particularly during the menstrual cycle.
- Women respond more favorably to SSRI antidepressants than men.
- SSRIs may be absorbed in a woman’s stomach because their stomachs are less acidic than men’s, thus increasing the chance for toxicity.
- Sleep aids are troublesome for women because the female liver doesn’t break down the substance as quickly as the male liver does.
- Because women have more body fat than men, drugs such as Benzodiazepines can linger in their system longer causing more side effects even at lower doses.
It’s interesting to note that women are at greater risks than men when using certain drugs that are no longer marketed.
Many clinical trials exclude women subjects because their hormones can cause confounding variables in the test results. This approach to testing has had a profound impact on many women as they struggle with the effects of these potent substances.
Fortunately, as a result of the above studies, the FDA has issued a recommendation to lower the dosage of sleep aids for women. They also urge health care professionals to caution all patients about the risks of next-morning impairment after using these substances. Additionally, the FDA announced that it would increase their effort to account for sex differences in clinical trials.
Should Addiction Treatment Provide Considerations for Gender?
The differences between male and female responses to addictive substances highlight an important point. There are differences in how gender affects a person’s response to drugs or alcohol. Plus, these individuals may also respond differently to treatment. For that reason, a treatment program should address the relationship between gender and addiction by providing gender-sensitive counseling and activities.
If you would like more information about gender differences in treatment programs, contact us today.
drugabuse.gov – Sex and Gender Differences in Substance Use
cdc.gov – Excessive Alcohol Use and Men’s Health
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Gender and Alcohol Consumption
genacis.org – The International Genacis Project
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Menstrual Cycle Phase and Responses to Drugs of Abuse
fda.gov – Questions and Answers: Risk of Next-Morning Impairment After Use of Insomnia Drugs
Addiction among the elderly is something that doesn’t get that much attention in the United States today. It is either not considered when the topic of substance abuse is discussed or individuals just don’t think of an elderly person abusing any substance. If these are your thoughts on the subject, you are wrong. Addiction can happen to anyone at any age, and it does!
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA:
“Over 1 million adults 65 and older struggled with a substance abuse disorder in 2014.”
As the elderly population continues to increase in the years to come, the problem will only increase as well.
Symptoms of Addiction Among the Elderly
As people age and become the elderly generation, it seems everything deteriorates. Their mental health, physical health, and relationships all seem to go downhill. Other than physical impairments, they lose beloved family members and friends. They can start to feel very isolated and alone. These feelings can be the cause of some of the abuse of drugs or alcohol.
Some symptoms you may want to look for in your elderly loved one might be:
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Irritability and depression
- Changes in eating habits
- Wanting to be alone often
- Memory problems
- Failing to bathe or clean house
- Lack of interest in usual activities
- Unexplained bruises
- Complaints of chronic pain
Some of these symptoms may seem like signs of the normal aging process, but you may need to take a closer look into the issues. They could be signs that your loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol.
Why the Elderly Become Addicts
The majority of elderly individuals do not use drugs or alcohol for the euphoric effects or to get high. Rather, they use substances to self-medicate either physical pain or emotional pain. They think that if they drink alcohol or take some type of opioid or benzodiazepine, it will help the emotional feelings that come along with aging – Feelings such as loss of youth, not being able to physically do the things they could when they were younger. No person wants to feel as if they are losing their independence and will have to rely on someone else for their needs.
Elderly addicts fall into two categories. One group has abused a substance or substances their entire adult lives and carried that abuse or addiction forward into their elderly years. The second group includes individuals who become addicted to a substance after the age of 65. The first group is thought to include about two-thirds of the older population who are alcoholics. The second group usually is made up of people who are struggling with the emotional effects of aging such as losing a partner or other loved one, changes in living situations, or financial problems. They may have had to relocate because of health reasons and feel isolated from friends and family.
Addiction Among the Elderly to Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines are drugs that are prescribed for insomnia, anxiety, and dementia symptoms in the elderly. Prescribing benzodiazepines to the elderly can be very dangerous and they seem to be prescribed to this generation regularly today. While they should only be prescribed for short-term use, reports show that they a prescribed to seniors for long periods regularly.
Some of the effects of these drugs include:
- Memory problems
- Balance problems
- Daytime sleepiness
- Depressed mood
One of the major concerns of older individuals is fearing a fall which could result in a broken hip or any other bone. Elderly patients have weaker and more brittle bones which can easily be broken with even the slightest mishap. Mental confusion is another concern of older adults. Benzodiazepines contribute to both of these risks, especially when taken long-term. However, physicians keep prescribing them without considering the risks for their elderly patients.
Treatment for Addiction Among the Elderly
There is hope for addiction among the elderly. Many addiction treatment centers today offer programs tailored to the needs of older patients. Just as teenagers have different reasons for abusing substances, so do the elderly. Our individual programs cater to their needs and preferences.
We take the individual’s age and physical condition into consideration when the detoxification process is taking place. Our staff supervises the patient 24/7 so if any medical issues arise, we can take care of them immediately. After detox is complete, they will receive excellent care as they go through their treatment program and prepare to live their life of sobriety upon returning home.
If you have an elderly loved one who needs treatment for addiction, contact us to learn more about the individualized treatment programs that we offer for treating addiction among the elderly. One of our representatives can answer any questions you may have.
samhsa.gov – A Day in the Life of Older Adults: Substance Use Facts
usnews.com – Are Older Adults Taking Benzodiazepines Safely?
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an intricate technique aimed at helping people remove unwanted or negative thoughts. A person who is struggling with negative emotions or feelings are more prone to abuse drugs or alcohol. This technique focuses on the way people’s thoughts influence their emotional well being.
The way a person thinks and feels emotionally has a huge impact on their well being, especially during recovery. When you ground these factors into positive habits, it increases an addicts well-being and sobriety. Adversely, if an addict has negative thoughts and habits it will decrease their overall well-being an emotional state.
What are the Benefits of CBT?
Everyone struggling with the weight of addiction has different circumstances that led to the drug abuse. Identifying and treating these stressful issues will aid in the process that helps to reduce triggers and destructive behaviors.
Cognitive behavioral therapy will:
- Help in the healing process from trauma
- Build the coping skills needed to handle everyday life
- Improve the emotional aspect of everyday life
- Help to build stronger relationships
- Help to strengthen communication skills
- Strength to build an emotional wall to cope with grief or loss
- Help to decrease sickness and ailments
- Help as a treatment for mental illness
What are the Steps of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
CBT has two main components in its treatment of alcohol and drug addicts: functional analysis and training skills.
Functional Analysis: The therapist and the individual work together to identify the feelings, thoughts and circumstances that led to the alcohol or drug abuse. This helps to determine the risks that may lead to recurrence.
Functional analysis can also show why you first drink or use drugs. This helps to identify situations where a person has problems with coping.
Training skills: If someone needs professional treatment for their addiction, they are likely to use alcohol or drugs as their main tool to cope with problems. The purpose of CBT is to ensure that the person learns or learns better skills.
The therapist tries to help the addict eradicate old habits to develop healthier habits. The main objective is to teach them how to change their thinking about their drug abuse. They can then learn new ways to deal with the situations and conditions that led to the addiction.
How Does CBT Help A Patient Heal?
Is cognitive behavioral therapy effective? More than 24 randomized controlled trials were conducted among users of tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, opiates and other substances, according to the National Institute for Drug Abuse. Cognitive behavioral treatments are not only the most frequently evaluated approach, it is also the best approach to treating addiction and alcoholism.
The studies proved that CBT is the best option compared to other treatments. Studies have produced mixed results compared to other treatment approaches. Some demonstrate that CBT is more effective, while others demonstrate that it is of equal but not greater efficiency than other treatments.
As with other treatments for alcoholism and drug abuse, including pharmaceutical treatments, cognitive behavior therapy works best when combined with other recovery efforts. Cognitive behavioral therapy works for some but not all. This applies to all approaches to alcoholism and drug treatment, as each person handles and heals from from addiction in a different way.
Treatment of cognitive behavioral coping skills is a short- term, focused therapeutic approach to help you become abstinent. It does so through the same learning processes that you used first of all to develop alcohol and drug dependence.
One of the dangers of cocaine addiction is that many people are addicted and don’t even realize it. When a person uses cocaine, their whole body goes into overdrive. Their heart rate increases and they talk faster, move faster, and think more quickly. Cocaine is popular as a party drug. People use cocaine because it helps lessen the effects of alcohol. Users can drink longer and stay up all night, which makes many cocaine addicts believe that they like to party.
Eventually, the effects of cocaine begin to wear off like any other drug. A person coming down from cocaine will feel sad or even depressed. This is why many people start abusing the drug because the high makes them feel better. It’s common for people with clinical depression or anxiety to turn to cocaine to feel well, but eventually, it stops having the same effect, as they have become dependent and addicted.
Cocaine Can Cause Withdrawal
Much like any other drug, cocaine can cause symptoms of withdrawal. This happens because the body is used to the person snorting or injecting cocaine on a regular basis. It goes into a state of shock when the person stops. The brain and neurotransmitters begin to misfire, which can cause the person to feel nervous, restless, depressed and paranoid. Another one of the dangers of cocaine abuse is that It’s also common for people to become very angry or violent when they’re going through withdrawal.
Aside from the mental and emotional issues with cocaine, the drug drastically affects the heart. Cocaine causes the heart rate to speed up, so it’s overworked. The heart is only meant to take so much stress, so it’s weakened as a person continues to use cocaine. When they’re going through withdrawal, the heart rate speeds up again, which can be potentially dangerous.
Recovering from the Dangers of Cocaine
Cocaine helps a person deal with life because they never learned how to do so in a healthy way. Cocaine addicts need to go to a qualified addiction treatment center to overcome their addiction and learn how to deal with life more effectively. It may take days or weeks for their body to completely detox, but they’ll be medically supervised at the rehab center.
Once their mind is clear, they can begin the rehabilitation process where they’ll attend one-on-one therapy sessions. The therapist will offer a non-judgmental point of view and learn about why the person started and continued using cocaine. Many addicts have deeper emotional problems and have turned to cocaine to deal with them. The therapist will offer guidance and suggestions along with different treatment methods to teach the person how to live a happier life without the use of cocaine.
Group therapy also helps cocaine addicts because they’ll see that they aren’t alone, and it’s possible for the recovering addicts to have fun and socialize without the use of mind-altering substances. This is highly beneficial for those who had social anxiety and were using cocaine as a social lubricant. Some of the relationships they make in the treatment center will carry on after discharge so they have a support group that can help them when they’re enduring hard times.
Get Help for Cocaine Addiction at Awakenings Rehabilitation
If you would like to free your life from the dangers of cocaine abuse and addiction, please contact us today at Awakenings Rehabilitation. We will provide a confidential assessment and help you chose the program that is best for your needs.
Despite the widespread education and awareness programs nationwide, many people still believe addiction is an issue of “mind over matter.” They don’t know and don’t want to know what addiction feels like. Naturally, some non-addicts hold themselves up as superior because they’ve managed to avoid drug or alcohol abuse. But, they need to know that given the right substance under the right conditions and anyone can become addicted. Some of today’s drugs have the power to inflict addiction after only one use. With the proper education about the issue, non-addicts could understand what addiction looks like from the affected person’s viewpoint.
Unfortunately, people who have an addict in their lives will still hold to the opinion that the addict is of weak character and has little willpower. What will it take to make non-addicts change their viewpoint on the subject? Watching a person go through heroin withdrawals might be one way to begin. But, that’s not a feasible approach. Another approach could be to compare what addiction looks like to a non-addict with what it looks like from an addict’s point of view. Let’s explore that premise.
What Addiction Looks Like to a Non-Addict
Americans have many misconceptions about addiction. The stigma is rooted in unfounded myths and prejudices. Here are some examples of how addiction looks to many non-addicts.
Notice the contradictions in their thought processes:
- Young people think of their favorite celebrities who are well-known for their substance abuse and see the behavior as glamorous.
- Adults are also guilty of idolizing the rich and famous who are blatantly honest about their recreational drug use and think, “That’s just what famous people do.”
- The family member, friend, or neighbor who has a medicine cabinet full of prescription pills is justified because they are only doing what the doctor tells them. “They need all that medicine because the doctor said so.”
- “Addicts are homeless, dirty, uneducated bums who hide under bridges and in back alleys. They’re lazy and don’t want to work or accept responsibility.”
- “An addict could quit if they had enough willpower. They choose to continue the drug use.”
The contradicting opinions on drug abuse indicate that society often accepts the behavior if it’s someone they look up to or someone who is influential and financially sound. But, if a poor person has a drug problem, they are scorned and ridiculed.
From an Addict’s Viewpoint
Once upon a time, an addict was a non-addict who probably held the same opinions shown above. But, he or she made a bad choice and decided to experiment with an addictive substance. Like many people, they thought they would try it once and be done with it. For many of these individuals, from that point, their lives changed in ways they would never have imagined. Now they know what addiction looks like.
They didn’t consciously choose to experience these things:
- Making up lies and stealing to support their habit.
- Feeling guilt or shame about their sneaky, lying behavior.
- Losing the ability to feel guilt or shame about their behavior.
- Frustration over not being able to quit the substance.
- A sense of hopelessness after losing a job or home because of their drug use.
- Feeling isolated from or shunned by friends and family.
- Overwhelming anxiety and fear.
- Declining physical and mental health.
- Constant panic over not being able to obtain their drug of choice.
- Misery from withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not available.
- The monotony of doing the same thing every day and having no power to stop it.
- Unable to face the fact that these things would not have happened if drugs weren’t involved.
Going from non-addict to addict is a journey no one deliberately chooses. Lack of education about the dangers could be one reason for trying drugs. Peer pressure, low self-esteem, family history of addictions, depression, or health problems are also contributing factors. Regardless of the reasons a person became an addict, they need professional treatment.
What Addiction Looks Like to Treatment Providers
At Awakenings Rehabilitation, we know that addiction is a symptom of underlying problems that the drug is being used to cover up. For that reason, successfully treating an addiction involves a multidisciplinary approach that addresses the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects involved. We provide a comprehensive addiction treatment program includes a variety of methodologies to address all aspects of the disorder.
The best way to prevent more addictions is through intensive education and awareness campaigns. We can help those already addicted by reversing the stigma and become a part of the solution.
If you need more information about what addiction looks like, contact us today. We know first-hand what an addict goes through. We also have the expertise to help them recover so they’ll never have to feel that way again.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard that the United States is suffering from an opioid crisis. What is the opioid crisis? This crisis involves more than two million Americans, who have become addicted to pills either through prescriptions or illegal sales.
What are Opioids and What is the Opioid Crisis?
The word “opioid” derives from “opium.” They are drugs that have been specially designed to reproduce the pain relieving capabilities of opium-derived substances. An opioid can be entirely illegal, such as heroin, or it can be a legal drug that is produced illegally, such as fentanyl. It can also be legally prescribed pain-killing pills, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone or morphine. These are not ordinary pain pills, but pain pills intended only for those who are suffering from long-term and acute pain.
The Cold Hard Facts About Opioids
In America, in 2016 alone, more than 42,000 deaths were caused by opioid overdoses. This number represents nearly two-thirds of all drug overdose deaths in the country, and it amounts to about 115 opioid deaths every single day.
A big part of what is driving the opioid crisis in America is the increase in the amount of legally obtained opioids. Back in the early 1990s, American doctors made around 110 million prescriptions for opioids. But by 2012 this number had increased to close to 300 million prescriptions. While this number has declined somewhat in recent years, the number of opioid prescriptions are still more than twice what they were in the 1990s.
The journal “Medical Care” estimated that in 2013, the cost of opioid abuse addiction and overdoses exceeded $78 billion every year.
How Opioids Work
Opioids work by disrupting pain signals in the brain and the spinal cord. They also create a high in users by releasing a hormone called dopamine.
Some opioids are derived directly from opium such as morphine, codeine, and heroin. Others are semi-synthetically produced in laboratories, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. The latter, also known by its brand name Vicodin, is the most prescribed opioid in America. In 2016, more than 6 billion hydrocodone pills were sold. Oxycodone, which is also known by its brand name Percocet, is the second most prescribed opioid in America. In 2016, more than 5 billion oxycodone pills were sold.
A few opioids are entirely synthetic, such as methadone and fentanyl. The latter is around 100 times stronger than morphine and can kill someone with a minimal dose. Fentanyl was created as an anesthetic and has been a leading factor in opioid overdoses in the last years. It is chiefly driving the opioid crisis.
Facts about Opioid Addiction
People who abuse opioids and are addicted to them are said to have an opioid use disorder. Those who have this disorder often have withdrawal symptoms when they stop using them. They also often develop tolerance to the drugs. This means that they need larger and larger doses to receive the same effect.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2016 more than 11 million Americans over the age of 12 abused opioids in some form. The National Institute on Drug Abuse believes that about half of young people who abuse opioid pills eventually turn to heroin, which is cheaper than prescription pills. Deaths caused by heroin overdoses increased by more than 500% in America between 2012 and 2016, from 2,000 deaths to more than 13,000 deaths.
Opioid overdoses are often treated with naloxone, which can reverse or block the effect of opioids and is commonly used by those who respond to overdoses. What is the opioid crisis? It is a drug addiction and overdose situation that is spreading across our country in record numbers. The number of lives lost to opioid addiction and overdose is astounding. Contact us today to learn about treatment options for opioid addiction.