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Addiction

Addiction to Methamphetamine

How Does it All Begin? Methamphetamine Addiction

Methamphetamine is made in illegal labs with ingredients such as lantern fuel, drain cleaner, and battery acid, among many others. You might wonder, “How in the world would a person use such a drug, let alone become addicted to it?” One of the answers is that methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant.  Addiction to Methamphetamine can begin for some individuals from using other stimulants such as Adderall or amphetamines and abusing them.

Adderall, for instance, is a drug which is commonly used to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and narcolepsy. It helps users to stay focused on an activity, improves their ability to listen to instructions, and pay better attention to details. But while it can be helpful for users, it also has side effects such as weight loss. Some people abuse this drug for this reason or to have increased energy. Therefore, when they can no longer obtain Adderall or some other form of amphetamine, they seek methamphetamine for the same effects along with the feelings of euphoria.

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is usually a white bitter-tasting powder or pill. Crystal meth is the same substance, but it looks like broken glass or bluish-white rocks.

Common street names for methamphetamine include:

  • Meth
  • Crystal
  • Crank
  • Ice
  • Speed
  • Chalk

Individuals ingest methamphetamine by inhaling (smoking), swallowing as a pill, snorting, or diluting it with alcohol or water for injection.

The short-term effects of methamphetamine consist of:

  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Increased wakefulness and energy
  • High blood pressure
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased body temperature
  • Faster breathing

Meth use can cause altered judgment and decision-making. It can also lead to risky behavior such as unprotected sex or driving while under the influence of the drug.  Addiction to Methamphetamine can lead to many unwanted and dangerous side effects. People who inject meth are more prone to contracting HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, and other infectious diseases.

Long-term effects of Methamphetamine use include:

  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Severe dental problems (also known as “Meth Mouth”)
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Paranoia
  • Violent behavior
  • Skin sores from scratching due to intense itching
  • Hallucinations

There are other severe and dangerous long-term effects linked to methamphetamine abuse or addiction.

Addiction to Methamphetamine

Elevated levels of dopamine are what causes the intense “high” and euphoric feeling of methamphetamine. Wanting to recreate these feelings of euphoria is what makes meth so addictive. Individuals often binge on methamphetamine and take small amounts of it for days. This behavior keeps them awake and energy levels high. Using meth in this manner quickly leads to methamphetamine addiction.

When a person has been taking meth for days, and it finally wears off, they have a severe “crash” which leaves them feeling fatigued, hungry, depressed, and even anxious. For this reason, once someone starts using meth, they continue. Ultimately the person builds up a tolerance for the drug, and it takes more of it to achieve the same feelings of euphoria that they want. Hence, they develop a methamphetamine addiction.

Seek Treatment for Methamphetamine Addiction

If you are struggling with methamphetamine addiction, seek professional treatment before it devastates your life any further. Whether it started with the abuse of Adderall, amphetamines, or cocaine, methamphetamine addiction can be deadly on so many levels. Don’t continue on this path of destruction.

At Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, we can design a treatment program tailor-made for your needs and preferences. We have a compassionate and caring staff that is non-judgmental and respects every client in our inpatient rehab facility.

Contact one of our informed representatives today to learn more about the different treatment programs that we offer. They can answer any questions you may have about our facility and addiction to Methamphetamine.

Resources:

drugabuse.govMethamphetamine

Is Addiction a Choice?

Drug Addiction: A Choice?

Drug and alcohol abuse has been the center of many studies and countless debates over the past years. Some believe that drug addicts are the scum of the earth and utterly helpless, while some think otherwise. Many people believe that addiction is a predisposition and there really is no choice for the addict.  However, others agree that childhood and surroundings play a more critical role in addictive behaviors.  So, is addiction a choice?  Let’s look at some of the facts.

Is Addiction a Choice?  Understanding the Science of Choice

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the quality of choice depends on the mental state of the individual. If a person is compromised mentally their brain chemistry is altered, their choices also become compromised.

Other factors can influence a person’s choices such as:

  • Environment: Many argue that a proper and safe environment is a crucial component for a child.  Children who grow up with addicted or abusive parents have a hard time making wise choices. Our environment truly does shape us in essential ways.  A negative environment is just another example of why some people make compromised choices.
  • Genes: Genetics is crucial DNA that makes up the entire structure of all living things. As stated above genes and predisposition play a considerable role in our actions throughout life and give us a sense of who we are.  Every person has an intricate DNA structure that makes them unique and different. If you come from a family with a history of addiction or mental illness, your chances of developing the same problems are much higher than someone that didn’t.
  • Chronic or severe pain: When you are experiencing consistent and agonizing pain, all you want is instant relief. Many opiate abusers became addicted to painkillers because of an event that left them in constant pain. When you begin using opiates, your body develops a dependency over time, and this results in abuse of the drug to get the proper relief. This cycle of drug addiction is completely different than the other factors mentioned, even though chronic pain can cause a person to make unwise choices. These individuals aren’t asking is addiction a choice; they are merely doing what is needed to help them cope.

What’s the Answer?  Talk to the Experts at BRS

It is undoubtedly clear that there is no real answer to the question of choice when it comes to addiction. Drug addicts do not necessarily want to struggle with addiction. The need to feel normal and healthy also influences an addict’s choices and can lead to self-hate and other detrimental personality traits. This can result in an even harder nose-dive into addiction and self-medicating habits. It becomes the only real answer to dealing with stress and everyday life.

Is addiction a choice?  It is important to understand that if you are struggling with addiction or behavioral issues, there is help for you. Yes, it will take will power, courage, and strength to get through it, but it is entirely possible. If you or a loved one is interested in learning more about the positive steps to take in ridding yourself of the misery and discomfort from drug or alcohol addiction, then contact us now. At Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, we can give you a solid understanding of ways to permanently change your outlook on life without the need to compromise or alter your perception of it.  Call now to learn more about our program and how it can help you.

Resources:

drugabuse.govAddiction and Free Choice

psychiatrictimes.comAddiction is a Choice

ncbi.nlm.nih.govAddiction and Choice

Pain Management and Addiction

Pain Management and Addiction

Chronic pain is devastating for an individual and completely debilitating for family and friends. You always want your loved one to be as happy and healthy as possible. This is where pain management plays a vital role in the painful recovery process. At first, the medicine is helping tremendously, then you notice that you are starting to need more medicine than before to alleviate the pain. Thus, the pain management and addiction cycle begin.

There is a big concern right now surrounding pain management and addiction. Most doctors are apprehensive about the administration of pain medications due to the possibility of dependence occurring. Physicians who specialize in pain management are the best source for those who are suffering from acute pain. The most harmful approach to pain monitoring is to self-medicate, which can potentially lead to a life of addiction.

Does Pain Management Lead to Addiction?

The unfortunate truth is that dependence is a known side effect from taking too much pain medication. The good thing is that dependence and addiction are two separate entities. Even when a patient takes the proper amount of the medication prescribed, they will still develop a physical dependence. This will require proper intervention to control the pain. But sometimes a patient actually becomes dependent on the feelings of euphoria that opiates produce, leading to addiction. This is when it becomes tricky for the physician and extremely bad for the patient.

It is extremely important for families and friends to understand the difference between addiction and dependency. Any kind of misinterpretation can lead to a misdiagnosis or a possible discontinuance of the pain medicine altogether. If the patient is truly in pain, then abruptly stopping the medicine will be almost as detrimental as the initial onset of pain that caused the dependence.

So What is the Answer for Pain Management and Addiction?

It is important for physicians to carefully administer opiate pain medicine, especially with patients that have a known history of substance abuse issues. While it is not healthy to deal with pain without any kind of therapy or relief, it is also not healthy to abuse the medicine meant to help alleviate the pain. The best possible solution is to find a way to manage pain without the use of opiates and other mind-numbing pain medications. Sadly, this is not effective.

Let your physician know of any personal or family history of substance abuse or addiction. This information is important to prescribe the medicines that will work best for you. Even if you are unsure or afraid, it should not stop you from using the best possible solution to effectively relieve your pain.

It is more than common for people to develop a dependence on their pain medication and to need higher and higher doses to maintain the same level of relief. You may think that you are becoming addicted to the medicine and try to discontinue or stop the medicine abruptly; don’t do this. This is and has always been completely normal and is not a sign of addiction. If you believe that dependence or pain management and addiction is becoming a problem, then don’t be afraid to speak up before it is too late.

Resource:

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Successful Pain Management for the Recovering Addicted Patient

Addiction to Sleep Aids

Are Sleep Aids Really Addictive?

Most people have taken the occasional over-the-counter sleep aid, especially when illness or pain is involved. This is why it may be hard to believe that sleep aids are among the most commonly abused medicines around the world. People need sleep, and when it is compromised, everything falls apart. The desperate need for good sleep causes people to use over-the-counter sleep aids occasionally. The first night you take it, the sleep is unbelievable, so you want to maintain that same level of comfort every night. This is where dependence becomes an issue as well as addiction to sleep aids.

Diphenhydramine

The non-prescription drug diphenhydramine is found in most if not all sleeping pills on the market today. Since it does not call for a prescription, it is a great initial short-term option for the treatment of acute insomnia or the occasional restlessness. This is also the main ingredient in Benadryl and off-brand allergy medicines.

Diphenhydramine is found in the following sleep aids:

  • Advil PM
  • Tylenol PM
  • ZzzQuil
  • Aleve PM
  • Benadryl

Diphenhydramine is in a known class of medication called antihistamines. The way these medications work affects the chemical responses in the brain and brain waves. It allows histamine to form in empty spaces present between different nerve cells. This in return, causes the drowsiness and sleepiness that users get from the drug. This effect also has the ability to suppress nausea, cough, and shortness of breath and allergies.

It definitely will help you fall asleep and possibly remain asleep for a good period of time but should definitely not be used as a long-term treatment option for insomnia. Using these drugs long-term leads to addiction to sleep aids. Continuous use or abuse of the drug can lead to mild to severe side-effects during the day. These include day-time drowsiness, irritability, and mood swings.

What’s the Answer for Addiction to Sleep Aids?

Over a period of time tolerance for diphenhydramine will occur and the person will have to start taking more of the drug to get the desired effect. This cycle leads to dependence and addiction to sleep aids for many reasons. As with all drugs, the cycle will continue until the person needs something much stronger to help them sleep, making insomnia and the addiction worse.

There are many other ways to help combat and even defeat insomnia for good. Developing constant and calming habits around bedtime has proven to be beneficial and can help signal the brain that it is time to relax and go to sleep. Setting a specific time to go to sleep every night, including weekends, has many health benefits and promotes relaxation at a certain time.

Completely avoiding any kinds of sugar or caffeine before bedtime will also reduce the amount of adrenaline coursing through your veins at night. Getting the appropriate amount of exercise during the day not only helps the sleep-wake cycle but also your health in general.

If you are struggling with insomnia or acute sleep problems, try to alleviate the symptoms naturally before turning to OTC sleep aids. The natural remedies discussed above can change your life for the better and have you sleeping like a baby again.

Scariest Things About Addiction

The 10 Scariest Things About Addiction

Let’s face it, the word “Addiction” is a scary word. No person ever wants to hear this word in association with a loved one or their self. No matter what the circumstances of how an addiction starts, the devastation plus heartache that comes along with it is more than any family deserves. However, if everything is scary about it, what are the scariest things about addiction? We will take a look at the 10 scariest things about addiction here.

Some of the Scariest Things About Addiction

1.)  Drug Overdose Fatality Rates in the United States

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 63,632 people in the United States died from drug overdoses in 2016.  Nearly two-thirds of these deaths were attributed to prescription or illicit opioids. Drug abusers and addicts always think, “This won’t happen to me.” But it does, every day!

There were 70,237 drug overdose deaths that occurred in the United States in 2017 according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This is over 192 fatal overdoses every day. This is definitely one of the scariest things about addiction.

2.)  Drug Abuse Adversely Affects Every System in Your Body

Drug abuse and addiction have adverse effects on every major system in your body. Some of these physical effects can take place after only one use. This is the scary thing about abuse.

Some of these physical effects can include but are not limited to:

  • Changes in appetite (increased or decreased)
  • Mood changes
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Increased blood pressure leading to a stroke
  • Psychosis
  • Increased heart rate leading to a heart attack
  • Death

Long-term physical effects of drug addiction may include:

  • Cardiovascular problems (heart disease)
  • Lung and respiratory problems
  • Cancer
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Neurological problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems

Drug addiction takes a toll on individuals’ health. Have you ever noticed how much older drug addicts look than their actual age? The reason for this is the effects of drug abuse and addiction. When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they neglect all of their personal health needs and disregard their physical well-being completely. Their only concern is obtaining and using their drug of choice.

3.)  Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Other health consequences of addiction include sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). These can be life-changing consequences. Many individuals who are struggling with addiction participate in sexual acts in order to acquire money for their drugs of abuse. Others participate in risky sexual behavior while under the influence of drugs or alcohol by having unprotected sex or having sex with multiple partners. Either way, STDs are very dangerous and can even shorten a person’s life.

4.)  Blood-Borne Illnesses

HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C are all blood-borne infections that can be transmitted through drug injection. Persons who inject drugs (PWID) can also transmit bacteria which causes heart infections known as endocarditis. These infections are caused by using contaminated drug injection equipment such as needles, syringes, and other drug injection preparation equipment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIV can survive in a used needle for up to 42 days, depending on the temperature and a few other factors. Sharing needles or other injection equipment can cause viral hepatitis. If you participate in these activities, you should seriously consider being vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B and have a blood test for Hepatitis B and C.

5.)  Having Trouble with Law Enforcement and the Judicial System

Legal problems associated with addiction can be extremely serious and costly. Many forms of illicit drug participation are against the law and carry large fines as well as jail or prison time. Depending on the charges, you could serve many years in prison. Other than that, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can carry large fines as well as time in jail. You can lose your driver’s license and have no way to get to work or school (providing you still have a job or are still in school) which might be unlikely at this point.

You might be charged with theft or burglary if you have no way to pay for your addiction. When drug abusers use up all of their funds, they start stealing from family and friends. They may even resort to breaking in homes or businesses to support their habit.

Almost all places of employment now do background checks on job applicants. Many of these businesses will not hire someone who has a criminal record. If this is you, there may be no jobs available to you even if you are in recovery from your addiction.

6.)  Broken Relationships with Family and Other Loved Ones

During the course of addiction, some relationships cannot survive the stress and hurt the addicted loved one puts on others. Addiction causes you to lie and steal from your loved ones. You will manipulate them every way you can to obtain your drugs. Your entire life consists of obtaining and using drugs. You are either high or trying to figure out how you are going to get your next high.

Loss of family and friends is one of the scariest things about addiction. And sometimes these relationships are irreparable. Sometimes families or friends cannot overcome the hurt and forget the betrayal of an addicted loved one, even though they try. Sometimes, it’s just not possible.

7.)  Financial Loss

The cost of addiction can be exorbitant, not only for the addict. How many drug abusers have the extra money to pay for their drugs? When you are abusing a substance, there comes a time when you start avoiding paying for necessities and use that money for drugs. If you are financially responsible for a home and family needs, you are not just depriving yourself of necessities, you are also depriving your family of their needs.

Losing your job because of addiction can also mean losing your home. Not having money to feed your family may not seem scary while you are under the influence of drugs, but this is another of the scariest things about addiction. Many addicts end up losing everything, their family, their home – everything that once meant something to them before addiction came along.

8.)  When the Addict Becomes Violent

Addiction can turn a sensible person into someone who is irrational and violent, even to their own loved ones. For instance, if an addicted loved one is high and wants to drive a car, you might try to stop them. You try to reason with them but the conversation turns ugly and your addicted loved one becomes violent. What do you do? Do you let them drive and possibly injure their self or even worse, some innocent victim? They may turn violent towards you, especially if they are going to meet their dealer.

Drugs affect the brain in so many ways. Your addicted loved one might have taken some hallucinogenic drug and not even know who you are or what they are doing. Yes, addiction is a scary thing, especially when effects like this example happen. And they do happen. Addicts may also turn to violence when they are trying to steal or something else illegal in order to obtain drugs.

9.)  Turning to Prostitution to Obtain Drugs

This is a sad and scary thought, but oftentimes addicts turn to prostitution to support their drug habits. If addiction has taken everything from you, your finances, your family and home, you may feel that prostitution is the only answer to support your habit. Many individuals are living on the streets and turn to prostitution because of drugs or alcohol.

Prostitution can be an extremely dangerous business for anyone. You take a chance on acquiring an STD or worse. You don’t know the individuals you are dealing with and never know what kind of violence can take place towards you. You can easily lose your life. Yes, this is one of the scariest things about addiction also.

10.)  You Lose Your Heart and Your Soul:  You Lose Yourself

When addiction takes over your life, the person you were prior to addiction no longer exists. You may have been a compassionate and caring person who was always kind to others and helped others in need. Now, that person no longer exists.

You look in the mirror and see only darkness. Your eyes are empty and blank. You can see no resemblance of the person you used to be. You feel like an empty shell of a person. Yes, addiction has taken over and this is perhaps the very scariest thing about addiction. But, addiction has not won! You can still fight to regain your former self.

Seek Inpatient Treatment for Addiction

If you are living the scariest things about addiction or have a loved one who is, don’t wait for things to become worse. Seek inpatient addiction treatment and find your former self. Take back control of your life and your sobriety.

Contact one of our informed representatives at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services to learn more about the treatment programs we offer. We can design a program to fit your individual needs and preferences. Don’t wait! Contact us now.

Substance Abuse in the LGBT Community

Why is Substance Abuse so High in the LGBT Community?

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals face many issues and complications that the heterosexual population does not have to face. Could this be why addiction rates are so high in the LGBT community? Many LGBT individuals face social stigma and discrimination every time they leave their homes. Substance abuse in the LGBT community is much higher than in other communities. They have stressors such as the chance of harassment and violence daily in their lives.

Rejection and Substance Abuse in the LGBT Community

Many LGBT individuals are rejected professionally and personally. Once coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, these individuals have no idea how their families will accept them. Another issue is how will they be accepted in their workplace? For instance, what about a teacher who is lesbian or gay? How will the parents of the students in that class react? How will customers react to a transgender person helping them with their needs in a retail store? What if their family cannot accept them now that they know the truth about them?

All of these scenarios take place every day in the LGBT community. Could you deal with this in your life without turning to alcohol or drugs to help lessen the hurt feelings and rejection from other members of society? What if you couldn’t go out to dinner in a restaurant without dealing with stares and harassment? These actions are the cause of much of the substance abuse in the LGBT community today. These individuals do what they can to deal with their issues and lessen the pain of being “different” in the eyes of so many individuals.

Substance Abuse in the LGBT Community Higher than Heterosexuals

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) individuals identifying as “sexual minority” were more than twice as likely to have used illicit drugs as others. Two of the drugs which are misused in this community are marijuana and prescription painkillers. Binge drinking is also much higher in the LGBT community than among the heterosexual population. Adolescents who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual are more prone to use substances than their peers in school.

The biggest portion of the substance abuse in the LGBT community is due to self-medicating underlying issues. Co-occurring disorders is what the medical profession calls cases of individuals who have mental issues such as depression, PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, or social anxiety, just to name a few, along with substance abuse problems. These cases can be hard to diagnose because one problem can mask the symptoms of the other disorder. If an individual does indeed have co-occurring disorders both problems must be treated concurrently.

Inpatient Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Recovery is possible for everyone, even the LGBT community. Many individuals in this community have found comfort in frequenting bars and the club scenes. These establishments seem to be more accepting of them than some others. However, these environments have also contributed to the substance abuse in the LGBT community. Through a treatment program which has been designed for a patient’s individual needs and preferences, self-esteem and confidence can be learned which will help the individual maintain a sober and healthy lifestyle.

The first step to finding help is to find an inpatient addiction treatment center which offers treatment for co-occurring mental health issues and substance abuse. In an inpatient facility, you will receive supervised attention 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The substance use and the underlying mental health issues will be treated at the same time. One-on-one counseling is an asset to treating co-occurring disorders because you will have a therapist who will counsel you in the strictest of confidence. You can be fully open and honest about any issues you may be facing.

Contact Us for More Information

You will be treated the same as every patient in the inpatient addiction rehab facility. To learn more about treatment for co-occurring disorders at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, contact one of our informed representatives today. They can answer any questions you may have.

An Addict in Denial

What Do You Say to an Addict in Denial?

An addict in denial can be very difficult to help or encourage to get professional help. You can’t help but wonder if the addict is denying the issue only to you or if they actually feel as if they don’t have a problem abusing substances. Watching a person struggling with addiction is difficult when you see them throwing their life away. It is also painful when they are hurting family, friends, relationships with significant others, and going through the finances of those who love them.

Understanding an Addict in Denial and Their Behavior

It is hard to understand the behavior of an addict in denial. How can you see the problems and the addict can’t? What you may not know is that an addict denying that they have a problem is typical behavior for many of those struggling with substance abuse. Behavior such as this can cause a lot of tension between you and your loved one when you try to talk to them and they constantly deny any problem.

An addict in denial is defensive and does not want to be criticized or belittled in any way. One of the worst things you can do is tell them that they will never be any different from the way that they are now. Don’t tell them that they will never change and will only get worse or continue their bad habits. Addicts need to hear that you love them and only want what is best for them. They need encouragement daily that they can change and live a sober life without drugs.

You Can’t Force an Addict in Denial into Addiction Treatment

While everyone knows that you can’t force a loved one to attend an addiction treatment facility, you can encourage them to get help. If they don’t want to seek help from an addiction rehab right now, assure them that you will be there for them if they decide they do want to seek treatment. It is important that they know that they have someone to turn to if they need it. Let them know that you will support them through treatment and afterward.

By denying their addiction, your loved one is attempting to manipulate you. You may even wonder if the problem is as big as you think. An addict in denial is always looking for ways to ignore the problem and continue with life as they want to by using drugs or alcohol as their way of coping. You will see less and less of your loved one as they try to avoid you and your questions or comments by spending more time with other substance abusers who do not nag them about their drug usage.

Is There Anything that will Help Your Loved One?

If your loved one won’t even admit that they have a problem with drugs or alcohol, is there anything at all that you can do to convince them to get help? You can always organize an intervention with close friends or other family members who the addict is comfortable with and try to convince them through the intervention that they indeed do have a problem and need help. Although this doesn’t always work, in many cases it does.

Last but not least, if an addict in denial won’t listen to you and accept the help and support that you are offering them, sometimes there is nothing more that you can do. You just have to let it go and hope that they will figure it out on their own before it is too late. Becoming an enabler for your addicted loved one will not benefit them and it will definitely hurt you and your well-being. It is a painfully hard decision to make, but sometimes you just have to distance yourself from the situation and let them face the consequences of their actions.

Inpatient Addiction Treatment Programs

Hopefully, they will see that they can benefit from an addiction treatment program in an inpatient facility. Once they realize this, you can help them research different programs and choose one that will fit their individual needs and preferences. You can continue to support them through their inpatient stay and be there for them when they come home to their new life without drugs or alcohol. Don’t give up on your loved one, but sometimes you just have to step away from the situation for them to see that they do need professional help for addiction.

Common Addictions

Common Addictions That are Problems Worldwide

There are three types of addictions that are common all over the world and ones that are pretty stubborn to reverse. However, all types of addiction are reversible especially when treated in a competent inpatient addiction rehab facility. With proper treatment, individuals can go on to lead healthy and happy lives in sobriety. Here, we will discuss these three types of common addictions.

Number One of the Common Addictions is Alcoholism

One of the common addictions in every country seems to be alcoholism. Alcoholism is the chronic use of alcohol to an extent that it interferes with one’s physical and mental health or with the standard social or professional behaviors. Alcoholism causes both psychological and physical addiction.

Alcohol is a powerful central nervous system depressant which suppresses anxiety and guilt. It also lowers alertness as well as impairing judgment, perception, and motor coordination. When taken in high doses, alcohol can result in a loss of consciousness and can even be fatal.

Alcoholism damages the liver, heart, brain and other vital organs. It is highly advisable to seek medical help as early as possible since alcoholism is a dangerous disease. Severe health issues can occur virtually in all body organs when the disease reaches the last stages.

Common Addictions Include Cocaine

Cocaine addiction or otherwise cocaine abuse is another type of addiction that is faced by many individuals around the world. Cocaine addicts normally:

  • Middle and upper-class individuals
  • Have an addiction history in their families
  • Young adults
  • Are implicated in criminal activities

Cocaine addicts usually use cocaine with other potentially addictive drugs like marijuana and alcohol. The addicts often manage side effects and withdrawal symptoms with medication such as Ativan, Valium or heroin. One should seek medical advice in case he or she admits to being a victim or on behalf of a loved one.

These addicts are at risk of many health and life-threatening problems like:

  • Being arrested or imprisoned due to the illicit buying, using or selling cocaine
  • Neuropsychiatric complications such as catatonia and depression
  • Accidents or suicides when intoxicated
  • Headaches and facial pain
  • Convulsions and seizures
  • Stroke
  • Insomnia
  • HIV, hepatitis B, and C
  • Nasal and sinus illnesses
  • Recurrent stuffiness and nosebleeds
  • Chronic bronchitis and coughing up black phlegm
  • Breath Shortness and chest pain

Marijuana Addiction is the Third of the Most Common Addictions

While cannabis addiction is normally not diagnosed by medical doctors, it is a recognized challenge that is affecting thousands, if not millions, of people around the world.

The major characteristics of marijuana addiction include:

  • Obsessive cannabis-seeking behavior
  • A self-destructive behavioral pattern due resulting from the addiction
  • Negligence of crucial life obligations at home, work or school due to excessive smoking
  • Continuation of marijuana smoking in spite of serial negative repercussions such as legal consequences
  • Continued cannabis use in spite of frequent social or interpersonal tribulations caused or made worse by perpetual use of the drug
  • Smoking even in dangerous or risky situations

Because marijuana addiction can result in serious legal, family, work, social, school and interpersonal tribulations, it should be taken with the seriousness it deserves through contacting a rehab facility. Marijuana addicts have diminished mental abilities, memory lapses, frequent chest and lung infections and high chances of developing cancer among other health issues.

Cannabis addiction also maximizes the likelihood of the smoker engaging in reckless behaviors like driving while highly intoxicated which can lead to fatal road accidents putting lives of other innocent people in danger.

Seek Treatment for Common Addictions or Others

If you are struggling with one of these common addictions or addiction to any other substance, please seek professional treatment through an inpatient addiction treatment facility. In an addiction treatment rehab facility, you will receive compassionate care from a staff of specialists who are nonjudgmental.

Call today for more information about a treatment program for your needs and preferences.

Recognizing Stimulant Abuse

Recognizing Stimulant Abuse or Addiction in a Loved One

Do you have a loved one, friend, or maybe a co-worker that you think may be abusing stimulants? Stimulant abuse is surging across the nation today. For a while, the medical community only worried about opioids and the abuse and addiction to these drugs. Now stimulants are making a comeback in popularity from many years ago. There are ways of recognizing stimulant abuse and addiction. Here, we will discuss some of the signs to look for if you feel that a loved one or friend may be abusing stimulants.

Recognizing Stimulant Abuse

Individuals don’t always abuse stimulants to get “high” or for the euphoric feelings. Many times, someone will begin taking stimulants to have more focus and productivity in the workplace or school. They may just want to feel more awake and alert during the day. Many busy housewives and mothers take stimulants for this reason as well as to help them complete their many daily tasks.

Recognizing stimulant abuse is not very hard if you know the person really well that you suspect of abusing them. One of the signs that a person is abusing stimulants is talkativeness. They not only talk a lot, but they also talk very fast. Drugs such as amphetamines stimulate the brain which makes the user feel more alert and active as well as talkative. Staying awake for long hours is another sign of stimulant abuse. A person who is abusing stimulants can remain awake for hours without needing sleep. They also may appear very fidgety and not be able to sit still. They need to be doing something rather than sitting at rest.

Other Signs of Stimulant Abuse

When recognizing stimulant abuse, you will also notice that the person doesn’t have the appetite that is normal for them. If this is a person who normally eats regular meals and now they skip meals or don’t seem to have an interest in food or eating, you might be recognizing stimulant abuse in the individual. Some people take stimulants for the only purpose of losing weight.

Some other signs of stimulant abuse can include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased body temperature
  • Fast heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid breathing
  • Digestive problems
  • Moodiness or aggressive behavior
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

Prolonged abuse of stimulants can lead to more serious side-effects such as:

  • Paranoia
  • Nausea
  • Convulsions
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Stroke
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Insomnia
  • Depression and suicidal ideation
  • Hallucinations
  • Muscle spasms and tics

Recognizing Stimulant Abuse Among Individuals Abusing Illegal Stimulants

Illegal stimulants such as cocaine or methamphetamine are even more dangerous than prescription stimulants. There is a high risk of overdose with these two drugs. Both of these drugs produce intense feelings of euphoria and exhilaration. Long-term abuse of cocaine can lead to seizures, paranoia, and suicidal ideation. Chronic abuse also leads to cardiovascular and respiratory problems along with central nervous system damage.

Recognizing stimulant abuse signs such as a runny nose, hoarseness, or nosebleeds could mean that your loved one or friend is snorting cocaine. It is common for individuals to start off abusing prescription stimulants and then graduate on to abusing illegal stimulants after achieving a tolerance to the former. Recognizing stimulant abuse signs from methamphetamine are more alarming than signs of cocaine use.

Methamphetamine causes sores on the skin from “picking” because the user feels as if they have bugs crawling on them. They scratch or “pick” at the skin causing these sores. Meth users also have sores or scars on the face from burns from cooking or smoking the meth. They also have severe dental problems known as “meth mouth” caused by poor dental hygiene, grinding teeth, and chronic dry mouth. If you are recognizing stimulant abuse signs such as violent behavior, paranoia, delusions, and visual and auditory hallucinations, chances are that your loved one or friend is abusing methamphetamine.

Professional Treatment for Stimulant Abuse

If you have been recognizing stimulant abuse signs in your loved one, friend, or co-worker (especially signs of cocaine or methamphetamine abuse) it may be time to intervene and speak with them about seeking professional treatment for their problem. Reassure them by telling them that you are only addressing the issue because you care deeply about their well-being. Don’t be judgmental or condescending in any way. Let them know that they will have your full support and that you will continue to be there for them during and after addiction treatment.

If you have any questions about what to do if you are recognizing stimulant abuse signs in someone you care about, call one of our representatives. They can answer any questions you may have and explain the different addiction treatment programs that we offer at our facility. Your loved one or friend can receive professional treatment and return to a life free of stimulant abuse or addiction.
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Loved One Abusing Drugs

Recognizing That You Have a Loved One Abusing Drugs

Most people don’t know how hard it can be to have a loved one abusing drugs. Until you have experienced the lies, deception, theft, and fear of your loved one overdosing on drugs, there is no way to know. Drug addicts are self-centered individuals who care for no one and nothing other than their drugs of abuse. This behavior can take a tremendous toll on family members over time. The symptoms of drug use appear gradually and may go unnoticed for a long period. However, you will start seeing signs of your loved one abusing drugs as minor as they appear at first.

Some Signs of Your Loved One Abusing Drugs

Many individuals have prescription drugs, or medication which has been prescribed by physicians, for legitimate reasons such as pain control, attention deficit disorder, anxiety or panic attacks, just to name a few. When this happens, the patient may start relying on their medication too much and develop a tolerance to the drug. Many medications for pain, for instance, are opioids and are extremely addictive. By taking more of the medication than prescribed, an individual can quickly become dependent on the drug. If your loved one is taking drugs, legal or illegal, to fill a void in their life, they can very soon cross that line into drug abuse.

Another sign of your loved one abusing drugs is if you notice that they have changed their group of friends. Normally, a person hangs out with others who have common interests. If your loved one has a different set of friends who you don’t know and are never around, this may be a red flag going up that drug abuse is involved. They could be experimenting with drugs or using drugs for recreational purposes. Chances are your loved one knows that this is something of which you would not approve and therefore, keeps the new friends at a distance.

As habits and routines change with your loved one and they start neglecting home responsibilities, you start to realize more and more that your suspicions were warranted. You were right to be concerned about your loved one abusing drugs. They will eventually start isolating their self more and more and neglecting more responsibilities. Everything will go downhill from there.

Physical Warning Signs You can Look for in Your Loved One

Other than displaying signs such as mood swings, financial problems, and frequently getting into trouble, there will be physical warning signs of your loved one abusing drugs. They may have bloodshot eyes with pupils being larger or smaller than usual and have slurred speech with a lack of coordination. Your loved one may “nod off” or appear to be falling asleep while talking or doing something else. You may notice a change in this person’s sleep habits which could be sleeping more than usual or hardly sleeping at all.

Weight loss or gain could be another sign of your loved one abusing drugs. They may appear very talkative or show signs of hyperactivity if they are taking stimulants. In many cases, a person will be seen clenching their jaw if they are on drugs. These individuals will also usually display a decline in personal appearance and grooming habits. These are all tell-tale signs of drug abuse.

Help for Your Loved One Abusing Drugs

If you recognize any of these signs of your loved one abusing drugs, talk to them and let them know that you are only concerned for their well-being. Suggest professional treatment and detox in an inpatient addiction rehab facility and let them know that you will be there to support them throughout their treatment program and afterward. Try to make them see that they do not want to continue on the path of destruction.

Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery

Steps to Take for the Start of a Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery

Drug and alcohol addiction recovery, whether you abused alcohol or drugs, is a long process that will be difficult. The challenge is your state of mind and your willingness to change. The recovery process is comprised of individual stages.  You have a different obligation to yourself in each one of these stages.  In this way, you’ll be better prepared to succeed.

Commit to Change

Before you can get better, you must first admit that there’s a problem and that you do want to change. This is a time when you recognize the effects that your drinking or drug use is having on your life and your relationships. At this stage, you should already begin to make changes that will help with your recovery.

  • Develop new techniques for reducing or managing stress
  • Change your associations and begin spending time with sober individuals
  • Engage in new activities that will take your mind off of your addiction
  • Work on developing a new, more positive outlook

Choose a Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery Program

When people think of addiction recovery, they most often think of an in-patient plan. In truth, there are many different types of addiction recovery plans, and it will be up to you to determine which one you think will benefit you the best. If your addiction is severe, an inpatient plan may be the best way to go, because it involves living in a facility and submitting to strict guidelines. Your daily activities are planned and supervised to prevent you from using drugs and to ensure you receive help in the event of a medical emergency brought on by withdrawal symptoms.

Outpatient plans involve attending regular therapy sessions, which may incorporate both one on one sessions with a counselor and group therapy meetings. Some hospitalization may also be required here, but won’t be long term. Typically, you will be admitted into a facility to receive medication to help you get clean and to manage withdrawal.

Dual diagnosis treatment plans are designed to help addicts who also have a mental illness. As substance abuse and mental illness are often interrelated, treating both conditions simultaneously will reduce the chances of relapse. It can also help ensure the underlying mental illness is resolved with the right medications and therapy.

Seek the Support of Your Loved Ones

While you may realize that many of your relationships have been strained by your addiction, you’ll find that many of your loved ones are still willing to help you. It may be an awkward conversation to have, but, if you swallow your pride and ask for their support, you will likely find that they want to help.  Much of your recovery must be done by yourself, but a support system will significantly improve your chances of success.

Commit to Making Your Sobriety Permanent

Completing a treatment plan doesn’t mean you’re cured. In fact, every addict knows that they will always be vulnerable to relapse and they will never be 100% free of their addiction. Being aware of this fact and developing a strategy for dealing with it will help ensure you don’t have a relapse.

  • Avoid contact with others who use alcohol or drugs
  • Stay away from restaurants, clubs, bars, or other establishments that serve alcohol, or where people use drugs
  • Talk honestly with caregivers about your addiction
  • Educate yourself about medications your doctor may prescribe

Attend Regular Meetings

Even after you have completed your treatment plan, you should still participate in an ongoing aftercare program. You may choose individual counseling, support groups, or a 12 step program, or you may opt to combine a few of these methods. It may also be beneficial to move into a sober living community, especially if you’re leaving an inpatient program and will need new accommodations. This can help surround you with a support system and give you an opportunity to rebuild your life.  You can achieve drug and alcohol addiction recovery with the right treatment program.  But, there are also some things you need to do after the treatment as mentioned above.

Rebuilding Your Life

Getting a new job and a place to live are important factors to consider.  But, that’s not all you have to do after treatment. This is a time for you to develop a life that doesn’t include the use of drugs or alcohol.  It will require pursuing new hobbies and activities. You may turn to fitness and alter your eating habits to create a more healthy way of living. Eliminating substance use in your life will give you more time to pursue dreams and goals.

By the time you complete treatment and begin to build a different way of life for yourself, you’ll find that you have much more reason for hope. You’ll start to recognize new opportunities, develop new relationships, and you’ll soon be accustomed to sober living. There will still be days on which you’ll struggle, but relying on your support system and remembering your achievements will help you avoid a relapse.  Contact us today if you would like to know more about drug and alcohol addiction recovery.

Switching to Heroin

Why Are so Many People Switching to Heroin?

Heroin use is spreading rapidly and affecting large numbers of upper-income people in addition to more women and non-Hispanic whites. Many experts attribute the growth in heroin use to widespread opiate painkiller abuse. To understand why people are switching to heroin, we have to look at prescription painkiller abuse.

Part of the problem began when the government cracked down on non-medical use of prescription medications. The pharmaceutical companies had to alter the medications to make them harder to crush, and as a result, the drugs became more expensive. Someone who is already addicted to the pills has to find cheaper alternatives. Heroin is the first choice because it produces the same euphoric effects as painkillers, but it is much less expensive.

The image of heroin use is changing. A drug that was once associated mostly with poor inner cities has found its way into the upper-income suburbs and exclusive neighborhoods. In some areas, drug dealers make personal deliveries to their high-class clients and even run specials to attract more customers.

Dangers of Switching to Heroin

More and more people are choosing heroin as a drug of choice due to the stricter rules and prescription drug crackdowns. The new prescription drugs like OxyContin are priced from $30 to $80 a pill. Heroin can be found for about $10 a bag on the streets. But, this money-saving benefit comes with some deadly repercussions.

When people switch to heroin, they don’t know anything about the purity of the drug and aren’t familiar with the dosages. Each batch of heroin is different from the last. This lack of knowledge has caused thousands of overdose deaths. In fact, heroin was involved in more than 213,119 ER visits in one year alone. Deaths from heroin overdose reached frightening proportions with more than 115 Americans dying each day after switching to heroin and overdosing on the drug.

What is Being Done to Combat Heroin Use?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is taking an aggressive approach to combating the heroin and opioid crisis in America. At the National RX Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in April 2018, they launched the HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative. This initiative will seek innovative, effective solutions to the opioid problem. NIH has also increased funding for research on opioid abuse and addiction from $600 million to $1.1 billion for the fiscal year 2018.

The goals of HEAL include the following:

  • Discover more effective, non-addictive methods for managing chronic pain;
  • Improve treatment methods for opioid addiction;
  • Bring evidence-based changes to our healthcare system;
  • Advance understanding of the genetic and social factors that contribute to drug abuse.

Of course, HEAL is only one of many initiatives that are dedicated to preventing opioid and heroin addictions and deaths. Each state is playing a role in efforts to combat addiction in our nation.

Some of the things they are doing include:

  • Addressing the heroin risk factors for addiction such as prescription opioids;
  • Providing more access to opioid addiction treatment services such as MAT;
  • Expanding training for administering naloxone to reduce overdose deaths;
  • Improving access to prevention services such as sterile injection equipment.

The heroin epidemic in America is the result of a decades-long increase in painkiller abuse and addiction.  Heroin was once considered an urban drug, but it has found its way into small towns, suburbs, and high society. With the increased heroin abuse comes an increase in drug-related crime. Even if you aren’t a drug user, you may find yourself affected by it in some abstract way. Addicts will do just about anything to get their next fix, and they don’t care who they steal from or harm in their drug-seeking.

If you would like more information about people switching to heroin, contact us at our toll-free number today. If you or someone you love needs help for opioid addiction, we can help. Call today.

Abusing Drugs or Alcohol

The Destruction that Results from Abusing Drugs or Alcohol

Substance abusers don’t seem to realize the destruction they are doing to their bodies when they are abusing drugs or alcohol. And it is not only the physical destruction caused by substance abuse, if you are abusing drugs or alcohol, you are also causing destruction in every facet of your life.  Many times substance abuse continues until it has caused irreparable damage to individuals’ lives.

Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “1 in 12 American adults is an alcohol abuser or alcoholic.” Young adults between the ages of 18 to 29 are most likely to have alcohol-related problems. Alcohol abuse is defined as a drinking pattern that results in significant and reoccurring consequences. Alcohol abusers likely have major problems at school, work, or home.

When you drink alcohol, it first goes to your stomach and then the small intestines. There, it is absorbed into the bloodstream and circulated through the entire body. It reaches many organs and most importantly, the brain. Once there, alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways. This affects how the brain works and can change mood and behavior. It also makes it more difficult to think clearly and move with coordination. In addition to affecting the brain, over-consumption of alcohol causes heart, liver, pancreas and immune system problems.

Researchers at the University of Missouri recently published a report showing that alcohol turns off the “alarm” in your brain that normally goes off when you make a mistake. Bruce Bartholow, the lead psychology professor who ran the study, commented that “our study shows that alcohol doesn’t reduce your awareness of mistakes — it reduces how much you care about making those mistakes.”

The study involved measuring the brain activity of almost 70 volunteers that completed challenging computer tasks designed to elicit some errors. The brain’s “alarm signal” in response to the computer errors was significantly reduced for those who drank alcohol compared with the others. Professor Bartholow concluded that “having a strong brain response to mistakes promotes better self-control and helps people avoid making further mistakes in the future.” Therefore, alcohol decreases the ability to react to mistakes. This is the foundation of poor decisions and reacting poorly when mistakes are made.

Drug Abuse and Addiction

Below are some chilling facts that should scare any drug user straight:

  • All research points to drug use having direct negative effects on memory, cognition, and learning.
  • Brain scans of cocaine addicts show almost no brain function. Normal brain functioning only returns after months of abstinence.
  • Drug use floods the brain with dopamine, which causes an increase in pleasure. However, brain cells that are constantly exposed to excessive dopamine will become damaged or die.
  • According to the National Institute of Health, “drugs can alter important brain areas that are necessary for life-sustaining functions and can drive the compulsive drug abuse that marks addiction.” That is, drugs directly negatively affect the brain stem (controls basic life functions), the cerebral cortex (thinking and senses) and the limbic system (emotions).

Help is Available if You are Abusing Drugs or Alcohol

Don’t continue ruining your health and well-being by abusing drugs or alcohol. You can get help from many different alcohol and drug addiction treatment facilities. They are located all over the United States today. Inpatient treatment is one of the safest and most effective ways to beat drug or alcohol addiction.

The benefits include:

  • Structure
  • Tools and resources
  • Different therapy options
  • 24/7 professional support
  • Clinical medical supervision
  • Zero access to drugs or alcohol
  • Reduced social negative influences

Conclusion

Abusing drugs or alcohol can be harmful to you in many different ways. It will disrupt your work and school. It will diminish your quality of health and life. It will weaken and destroy your relationships. Changing your life is only a phone call away. Don’t wait any longer. Get professional rehab help today!

Addicted and Codependent

Addicted and Codependent: Can Your Marriage Be Saved?

Codependency is defined as being a relationship in which someone begins to rely on the needs of his or her partner. Mostly, this happens in a relationship that involves an addict or someone with a pathological issue. This person can exert control or manipulate the other until he or she begins to rely on the manipulation or control. The cycle is then perpetuated when the person being manipulated enables the addict by providing for him or her. This can be difficult to separate from the love, care, and commitment needed to foster a healthy relationship. When we get married, we do promise to love our partner ‘in sickness and in health’, right? Where do we draw the line between love and enabling?  So, how does this relate to being addicted and codependent?

A common, lighthearted example of codependence is the classic argument over where to eat. Most couples can recall a time in which a dispute was had over where the date was supposed to take place. Maybe you have said something like, “I don’t care, sweetie, you choose”. While seemingly kind, the whole idea was to get the discussion out of the way and to avoid having to think about it, right? Or maybe you are on the other side. Maybe you have complained until that control was finally relinquished to you. If this is becoming a pattern, it may be classified as being codependency. While choosing where to eat may not be a big deal, or signify unhealthy in a relationship, addicted and codependent can be detrimental to a marriage.

Overcoming Codependency

A lot of times, a codependent person will seek someone that needs help or who ‘can be fixed’. Therefore, addiction is common among partners of codependent people. It is important to check in with yourself about your motives. If you love someone because you pity that person, feel responsible for others’ moods, seek approval from others, or often wish that others could make choices for you, you may be codependent. Be sure to do things for the sake of your own enjoyment. Time away from your partner is not always bad. Also, keep in mind that just because someone you love may not be happy, does not mean that you should also be unhappy. Let joy (and sorrow) be your very own.

You have probably heard someone say, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”. This is true in overcoming codependency, too. Having two people unhappy certainly does not solve anything. Instead, try to think of positivity as a healthy opposition to your partner’s negativity. Be the force of change. This is true help. Honesty can be a keystone. If you are addicted and codependent, be honest about your feelings or desires. It may seem better to give in or enable all the time, but resentment will build and so will the addiction in your partner. Be truthful about how you feel and stand up for yourself. If this seems difficult or overwhelming, sometimes a ‘mediator’ is a good idea. There is a lot of success had by those who seek counseling together. Counseling can facilitate communication and progress while providing someone to help keep conversation calm and on track.

Where to Start When You are Addicted and Codependent

The best thing you can do, if you tend to be codependent, or are in a codependent relationship, is to remember that being selfish is not always a bad thing. In fact, being selfish can, sometimes, be the best way to foster your altruism. Don’t be afraid to take time to do the things that you feel need to be done. Also, let your partner’s joy or happiness be his or her own journey. You have chosen and promised to conquer the journey of life together, but this does not mean that you are obligated to experience all of the same emotions along the way. Lastly, don’t be afraid to break the cycle. Maybe seek counseling or decide that it is time to talk about the way you feel with your partner. There are many more aspects of addiction and codependency. For additional helpful information on addiction and codependent behaviors and how to break codependent them, contact us today

Addiction Isolation

Are Support Groups the Key to Fighting Addiction Isolation?

It’s very common for people facing an addiction disorder to isolate themselves from friends and family and spend a significant amount of time alone; in fact, isolating behavior is one of the top red flags to keep an eye out for if you suspect a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol. Because their brains liken obtaining and consuming drugs or alcohol to survival, addicts and alcoholics are content to spend their time wasting away in a prison of their own creation, as long as they can get their next fix. However, when it comes to substance abuse, the danger lies in the willingness of an addict to live in isolation, and the key to fighting an addiction disorder is breaking free from that isolation and relying on a strong support system to get clean. For more information about fighting addiction isolation and achieving lasting recovery, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to speak to a qualified addiction recovery counselor.

Why Do Addicts Isolate Themselves?

Addiction is a lonely disorder; no one wants to be around someone who is using, and someone who is using doesn’t want other people around either. There is a stigma associated with addiction, and most addicts find isolation and secretive use is imperative to protecting and prolonging their addiction. The isolation indicative of addiction can present itself in another way too, though. A high-functioning alcoholic, for example, still engages in secretive use, but at the same time has everyone around him convinced that he’s got it all together. This type of addict appears to be happy, healthy and successful, even while he is abusing alcohol, sometimes to a devastating degree. Such is functional alcoholism.

Unfortunately, the isolation that naturally comes with addiction and functional alcoholism is also what allows it to continue, and the only way to achieve lasting recovery and break free from the destructive cycle of addiction is to reach out and ask for help, either from friends and loved ones who want nothing more than to see you succeed, or from a support group with like-minded individuals who have been through similar trials and can offer first-hand advice on how to get through it. Even functional alcoholics eventually suffer the physical and psychological consequences of their alcohol abuse and may begin to isolate, too ashamed and afraid to let their friends and family members see who they really are. As their substance of choice takes on a more significant role in their lives, it’s only a matter of time before the cracks in the façade begin to show.

The Dangers of Addiction Isolation

For most people, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be alone sometimes, but for addicts, the time they spend alone is the time they find themselves most overcome by euphoric recall, cravings to use and other urges common in addiction recovery, and the more time alone they have to obsess over drug and alcohol use, the more likely they are to give into their desires and relapse. The key here is the brain. Research has shown that prolonged alcohol or drug abuse can change the way the brain functions, and once the brain becomes accustomed to the presence of drugs or alcohol in the body over a period of time, it begins to crave the substance just to function normally, which is the beginning of addiction. Even after an addict makes the decision to quit drinking or using drugs and get sober, the changes the substance use imposes on the brain can make relapse all the more likely.

How to Fight Addiction Isolation

Addiction and alcoholism cannot be overcome alone, and as an addict, the best way to fight isolating behavior is to attend a support group, where addicts are encouraged to communicate with one another to work towards the common goal of recovery. Support groups come in all shapes and sizes, and whether you choose to attend a religious-based support group or 12-Step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, the fact that you are communicating with other people and sharing your experiences with fellow addicts who also want to get sober is healing in and of itself. The very nature of a support group is to bring people in similar situations together to share common experiences and help one another while also helping themselves, and you’ll find that when you’re in the company of other people, even people who are struggling just like you, you are no longer alone with your thoughts.

Even if you don’t have access to an organized support group or recovery program, or you don’t feel comfortable sharing your experiences with a group of strangers, you can fight addiction isolation by simply picking up the phone and having a conversation with someone who cares about your well-being. The simple act of talking to another person can be therapeutic, even if that person isn’t in recovery and even if you choose not to divulge exactly how you are feeling at that moment. The conversation will refocus your attention on something other than drinking or using drugs, and learning how to harness this ability to refocus your mind is the first step on the path to long-term sobriety.

If you recognize signs of addiction isolation in a loved one, there are some things you should and shouldn’t do to help, including the following:

  • Be compassionate – Tell the person that you love them and are there for them, no matter what.
  • Be proactive – If the person’s isolation is becoming severe, get help immediately.
  • Share your experience – If you want to help the person find an addiction recovery program, share how your own program helped you.
  • Remind the person of better times – If they were able to stop using in the past, remind them of what it was like to be sober.
  • Don’t shame them – Don’t resort to threats or shame to try to convince the person to get help. It will only make the situation worse.
  • Don’t be passive-aggressive – Being passive-aggressive will only make the person feel abandoned and alone.
  • Don’t nag – The more times you say the same thing, the less the person will listen.
  • Don’t be overly enthusiastic – Being overly enthusiastic and acting like everything is perfectly fine will be seen as a sham. You have to be real when dealing with addiction.

Call BRS Rehab Today for Help

Whether the addiction or the isolation comes first, many people with substance use disorders keep to themselves, and this can spur a vicious cycle of isolation and abuse. The key to lasting recovery is to build a social network of people who are clean and sober and who are motivated to help you stay clean and sober as well. If you surround yourself with people who abuse drugs or alcohol, or if you insist on isolating yourself from others, it’s only a matter of time before you will start using again too. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction isolation, or if you are looking for an effective recovery program to treat your addiction, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to discuss your treatment options with an experienced substance abuse counselor. BRS offers individualized programs for a variety of addiction disorders, and will work with you to find the treatment path that works best for you.

Trauma and Substance Abuse

Childhood Trauma: How Often Does it Lead to Addiction

Childhood trauma, including neglect and physical and sexual abuse, is a serious problem in the United States, and it is known that early exposure to trauma significantly increases the risk of psychiatric disorders in adulthood, as well as the risk of substance use disorders and addiction. A child’s physical and emotional experiences play a large role in shaping who he or she becomes later in life, particularly experiences as devastating as abuse or neglect, and understanding the role trauma and substance abuse plays in an individual’s addiction disorder can help improve his or her chances of a successful recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol possibly caused by exposure to childhood trauma, contact our substance abuse counselors at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today.

What is Trauma?

Traumatic events in early life can have any number of long-lasting, adverse consequences, sometimes leading to debilitating mental health disorders or substance use disorders. There are a number of experiences that can constitute trauma in childhood, including physical abuse, sexual assault, serious accidents, the death of a loved one, physical or emotional neglect, separation from a parent or caregiver, domestic violence, a dysfunctional household, or any other event that overwhelms the individual’s ability to cope or changes how he or she perceives his or her place in the world. The reason why understanding and acknowledging that trauma occurred is important, is because numerous studies have reported that trauma in childhood can activate survival-oriented behaviors that lead to substance abuse and addiction.

The most common reasons for trauma and substance abuse to even begin, or for a person to start abusing drugs or alcohol after suffering trauma include the following:

  • To escape memories
  • To soothe pain
  • To stay safe
  • To redefine who they are
  • To treat themselves the way they feel they deserve
  • To create a world they can tolerate

Abusing drugs or alcohol essentially becomes a coping mechanism for those who suffer childhood trauma, allowing them to lie to themselves and others in an effort to avoid facing the painful truth. And while experiencing childhood trauma doesn’t automatically guarantee that someone will develop a substance use disorder, trauma is a major underlying source of addiction-related behavior, including drug addiction, alcoholism and eating disorders.

Why Are Some People Prone to Addiction?

There is extensive research highlighting the myriad lasting effects of childhood trauma and substance abuse, and as one study states, “exposure to traumatic experiences, especially those occurring in childhood, has been linked to substance use disorders (SUDs), including abuse and dependence.” In one report involving more than 500 participants from Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, researchers found high rates of lifetime dependence on various substances among the highly-traumatized population. The researchers also found a strong connection between the level of substance abuse, particularly cocaine, and levels of childhood physical, sexual and emotional abuse, as well as current post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

It’s not only young children who are prone to addiction later in life because of trauma. In a national survey of adolescents from 2003, teens who had suffered physical or sexual abuse were three times more likely to report past or current substance abuse than those without a history of trauma, and in surveys of adolescents receiving treatment for substance use disorders, more than 70% had a history of trauma. Additionally, evidence has shown that the link between trauma and substance abuse is particularly strong among adolescents with PTSD, indicating that up to 59% of young people with PTSD develop substance abuse problems.

The Grady Memorial Hospital study also found evidence suggesting that gender may play a role in the connection between trauma and substance abuse. In women, there was a significant connection between sexual abuse and lifetime cocaine and marijuana exposure, and physical abuse in men was strongly linked to current cocaine and lifetime/current heroin use, while in women, it was linked to lifetime marijuana and cocaine use. Emotional abuse in men, on the other hand, was associated with current heroin exposure, while in women, it was tied to heavier lifetime cocaine use.

Profile of an Addict

There are many reasons why there is such a strong correlation between childhood trauma and substance abuse, and the best way to understand this correlation is to understand how heavily certain experiences, positive and negative, influence the development of the brain. For example, there is ample evidence suggesting that childhood trauma compromises neural function and structure, which increases the risk of cognitive defects and mental health disorders later in life, including major depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse. Studies have also shown that maltreatment in childhood can cause extremely high levels of stress that impede the normal development of the brain, and suggested that prolonged exposure to such stress may initiate certain physiological responses that can cause disruptions in the brain that make childhood trauma victims particularly prone to addiction.

In addition to changes in the structure and function of the brain, there are other ways childhood trauma can lead to addiction in adulthood. One possibility is that children and adolescents become addicted to drugs or alcohol because of attempts to self-medicate or to relieve anxiety and any residual effects of being victimized at a young age. Children also have a more limited ability to process traumatic experiences than adults, which makes the effect of trauma more likely to linger, eventually turning into a substance use disorder later in life. Additionally, if the adult to whom a child looks for advice and guidance is the source of the abuse or neglect, the lack of family support may cause the child to turn to drugs or alcohol, as may the substance abuse of another family member the child looks up to or considers a role model.

How Treatment for Trauma and Substance Abuse Can Help

In light of the strong connection between childhood trauma and substance abuse, knowing when an individual has suffered physical, emotional or psychological abuse is imperative, so treatment can be tailored to the unique needs of the individual, especially in instances where there are no other indicators of addiction. Substance abuse and other post-trauma related behaviors are often driven by fear, and effective addiction treatment is centered around resolving that sense of fear, which means treating not just the addiction itself, but the underlying causes of the addiction. Substance abuse treatment is essentially geared towards helping recovering addicts replace their unhealthy coping mechanisms (alcoholism, drug abuse) with healthy coping mechanisms (meditation, exercise, talking it out) to improve their chances of lasting recovery.

Contact BRS Today for Help

According to national statistics, approximately two-thirds of all addicts have previously suffered some type of physical or sexual trauma in childhood. Sadly, substance abuse isn’t a cure for the effects of childhood trauma, and anyone who finds themselves dependent on drugs or alcohol because of something that happened in their past should seek treatment immediately from a professional rehabilitation facility. If you or a loved one is facing an addiction disorder, contact our addiction recovery experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today. With the help of a professional rehab facility, you can overcome your addiction, identify and address the consequences of your childhood trauma and substance abuse, and start fresh as a happy and healthy member of society.

Drug Addiction Relapse

Common Relapse Rates: Are Some Drugs Harder to Quit?

Recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol is never easy, and one of the most significant challenges in fighting drug addiction is the risk of drug addiction relapse, or a return to drug abuse following an attempt to quit. A relapse can occur with any type of addiction, and is typically spurred by one or more emotional, mental or physical “triggers,” or stimuli that result in drug-seeking behavior, which can be difficult to manage without the proper skills and support. Drug addiction relapse is a common occurrence, and as devastating as it may seem, it’s important to remember that a relapse is a setback, not a failure. Learning how to avoid relapses, and how to respond if you do relapse, are vital components of your substance abuse treatment program. For more information about drug addiction treatment and common reasons for relapse, call today to speak to a qualified substance abuse recovery counselor at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services.

Common Reasons for Drug Addiction Relapse

Recovery from drug addiction is an ongoing process, and the unfortunate truth is that a large percentage of recovering addicts relapse after treatment, particularly during the first 30 days of recovery, when an addict is still learning how to deal with cravings and triggers. In fact, relapse is considered a normal part of the recovery process, though it can become a serious issue if the right steps aren’t taken to get the addict back on track.

The reasons why addicts relapse vary based on the person, the substance they are abusing, and the circumstances surrounding their addiction, but there are common relapse triggers that affect a large percentage of recovering addicts, including the following:

  • Negative emotions
  • Social pressure
  • Being in the presence of drugs or alcohol
  • Pain
  • Boredom
  • Stress
  • Family history of addiction
  • Mental health issues
  • Failure to seek aftercare
  • Self-pity

Opioid Painkiller Relapse Rates

There are a number of factors that may play into a recovering addict’s risk of drug addiction relapse, including emotional, physical and environmental triggers, and there is also evidence that suggests certain drugs may be more difficult to quit, thereby increasing the risk of relapse for individuals recovering from an addiction to these substances. According to studies, hallucinogens like ketamine and LSD have a relapse rate of 46%, as do inhalants like aerosol sprays and gases, which is rather low, compared to opioid painkillers like morphine and hydrocodone, which have a relapse rate of 97%. Opiates are typically prescribed to treat chronic pain, but they only mask the problem, they don’t cure it. As a result, users often find themselves taking higher and higher doses of drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone, until they eventually become addicted and are unable to get through the day without them.

How Opioid Painkillers Affect the Body

Opioid painkillers available legally by prescription work by attaching to and activating opioid receptor proteins on nerve cells in the body and brain, thereby inhibiting the transmission of pain signals. When taken for a short period of time under medical supervision, opioids can be safe and effective in the treatment of chronic pain. However, because the drugs produce euphoria in addition to pain relief, they carry a high risk of abuse and addiction. Even when used appropriately, opioid painkillers can result in dependency, and when misused, the drugs can lead to overdose, respiratory depression, and death. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, among the more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2016, the most dramatic increase occurred among deaths related to synthetic opioids, with over 20,000 overdose deaths.

The Jump from Opioid Drugs to Heroin

Opioid painkillers are dangerous enough on their own, and the risk of an opioid relapse is among the highest in the country. Sadly, because of the chemical similarities between opioids and heroin, people who abuse morphine and other prescription painkillers often graduate to heroin, a highly addictive, illegal drug made from morphine that is most often injected into the bloodstream to achieve a sensation of euphoria. According to data tracking heroin use in the United States, nearly 80% of heroin users reported using prescription opioids prior to heroin. The intense, pleasurable feeling from injecting heroin happens almost immediately, but wears off rather quickly, which typically results in repeated use and a physical dependence on the drug.

Individuals who become dependent on heroin may experience symptoms of withdrawal, which can include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sweating
  • Moodiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

Withdrawal is the uncomfortable stage that occurs after drug removal, and avoidance of these intensely unpleasant symptoms is a common reason for a relapse on drugs. In addition to opioid painkillers and heroin, some other drugs with high relapse rates include alcohol, marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and crack.

How to Avoid a Relapse on Drugs

One of the most important skills an addict learns in treatment is how to deal with relapse triggers – events, relationships or interactions that cause an addict to justify using again. These triggers are often associated with old memories or routines, so they vary from person to person, but the strategies for dealing with them remain the same.

The following are some ways to avoid a relapse on drugs:

  • Know your triggers
  • Avoid people and places that make you think about using
  • Avoid exposure to alcohol and drugs
  • Have a strong support system
  • Attend therapy or support groups after treatment
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • Remember your treatment program
  • Consider a sober living home
  • Take your medication regularly
  • Foster positive, healthy relationships with friends and family members

Signs of a Potential Drug Addiction Relapse

While relapse is a common occurrence, it’s not typically something that happens spontaneously, without warning. There are specific signs to watch out for in yourself or another recovering addict that might signal a possible drug addiction relapse.

These signs may include the following:

  • Reconnecting with old drinking or drug-using buddies
  • Longing for the old days of substance abuse
  • Feeling like you can use again without becoming addicted
  • Feeling depressed, anxious or lonely
  • Ruining healthy and supportive relationships
  • Feeling resentment towards the people who are trying to help
  • Experiencing a sudden reappearance of withdrawal symptoms
  • Experiencing intense feelings of stress or tension
  • Losing faith in your recovery program

Call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services Today

Drug addiction affects people of all ages and walks of life, and relapse, too, crosses all demographic borders. According to statistics, 47% of addicts relapse during the first year after substance abuse treatment, and 61% of those who relapse will do so more than once. The best way to avoid drug addiction relapse is by being prepared and having a plan in place. Discussing your relapse triggers with your therapist or support group can help ensure that you are aware of your triggers and how best to handle them should a potential relapse situation arise. If a relapse does occur, it’s likely you will experience feelings of guilt, anger, shame or regret, which may lead to further drug use if no one steps in to help. If you or someone you know is at risk for a drug relapse, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to discuss the best way to move forward.

Addictive Tendencies

Are Addictive Tendencies Fueling America’s Super Successful Leaders?

Addiction is a problem that affects millions of people around the world, and many of us know at least one person struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Still, the majority of people in this country don’t truly understand what drives a person’s addiction, and how even the most successful leaders in the business world can fall victim to substance abuse and possess addictive tendencies. In fact, the impulsive and compulsive tendencies and traits that compel an addict to continue using drugs or alcohol despite negative consequences may be the very same traits that fuel some of our most successful leaders in the United States, simultaneously driving their success and making them prone to addiction. If you know a successful individual who may be at risk for addiction, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to speak with a qualified addiction recovery counselor.

What is an Addictive Personality?

As a whole, our society tends to file drug addicts and alcoholics away in a convenient, albeit inaccurate, category. Addicts are weak-willed individuals with no discipline, self-control, or drive to succeed in life. They lack the morals and willpower to control their impulses, and that’s why they fall victim to their addiction time and time again. Successful people, on the other hand, are driven, determined and resilient, and these traits are the key to their success. The problem with this common perspective lies in the fact that successful people possess many of the same personality traits as addicts, and while these traits may make them more prone to addiction, they also help them succeed in the professional arena. In fact, some of the most revered figures in history – Alexander the Great, Sigmund Freud, Aldous Huxley and Winston Churchill, for example – had addictive tendencies and personalities, defined as a specific set of personality traits that predispose an individual to developing an addiction.

Some of the traits that factor into an addictive personality include:

  • Impulsivity
  • Heightened stress and lack of coping skills
  • A sense of social alienation and a tolerance for deviance
  • Valuing nonconformity
  • A weak commitment to socially valued goals for achievement
  • Experiencing other mental health disorders
  • Being disconnected and cautious
  • Apathy
  • A desire to take risks
  • Being obsessive and compulsive
  • The inability to self-regulate
  • Being adventurous

In regards to successful leaders, the impulsivity trait that spurs their desire to take risks and experiment with new, potentially dangerous activities is likely the main contributing factor to their addictive tendencies, and a 2010 study published by Reuters ties this hyper-impulsive behavior to the levels of dopamine in the brain and the individual’s sensitivity to the neurotransmitter. According to the study, “People with high levels of the hormone dopamine in the brain, and low sensitivity to it tend to be greater risk takers and may be more prone to addictive behavior drug abuse and gambling.” A person suffering from an addictive personality tends to spend excessive time on a behavior or activity, which could be anything from gambling to exercising to having sex to working, and an addiction occurs when the person’s engagement in the activity or experience begins to affect his quality of life. Many people with addictive tendencies and personalities isolate themselves from others in order to hide their addiction and to keep up the appearance of a successful and happy life, which is the definition of a high-functioning addict.

Why are Certain People Prone to Addiction?

Decades of research has identified pleasure as the driving force behind addiction – the reason addicts continue to use drugs or alcohol despite negative consequences – and studies suggest that the irresistible pleasure high-powered business leaders derive from professional success is borne of the same brain reward pathways that make addicts a slave to their substance of choice. The most important reward pathway in the brain is the mesolimbic dopamine system, which is responsible for producing feelings of pleasure in response to natural behaviors, like consuming food, drinking water or engaging in social interactions. However, the brain’s reward center can also be artificially activated by certain drugs, like cocaine, nicotine, alcohol or heroin, which carry a high risk for addiction.

When a person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, their addiction “hijacks” the reward center, and the brain is essentially rewired to release pleasure chemicals for actions that are harmful. With repeated use, the drugs begin to mimic these pleasure chemicals, or cause an overproduction of them in the brain, flooding neuroreceptors with the neurotransmitter dopamine and causing the “high” that is associated with drug abuse. Over time, the brain becomes unable to produce normal levels of the pleasure chemicals on its own, and, as a result, craves the drugs that will restore dopamine levels to normal, which is the very nature of drug addiction.

How Do Addictive Tendencies Affect Successful Leaders?

Drugs and alcohol aren’t the only things that can activate the brain’s pleasure circuits. Any action or behavior that triggers a pleasure buzz can become addictive tendencies, so to speak, and successful executives who find a compulsive pleasure in high-risk, high-reward business ventures may possess the same risk-taking personality traits often found in addicts. While these personality traits may serve them well in the business world, they also make them more prone to addiction. A person with an addiction-prone personality is more likely to act on impulses and has a hard time dealing with delayed gratification, much like the successful business leaders we admire for their tenacity, creativity, hunger for innovation, willingness to take risks and refusal to settle for less than the very best. Unfortunately, this type of person also tends to suffer from some sort of depression or low self-esteem and typically has a low tolerance for stress, and abusing drugs or alcohol often becomes a coping mechanism for dealing with these issues.

How to Spot an Addiction Disorder

For successful business leaders, hiding their addiction from others may be the only way they can continue to use without someone stepping in to stop them, and this often makes it incredibly difficult for family members to spot an addiction disorder in their loved one.

The following are some physical, behavioral and emotional signs to watch out for if you believe your loved one may be addicted to drugs or alcohol:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Change in eating habits
  • Appearing pale or undernourished
  • Excessive sniffing and runny nose
  • Being overactive or underactive
  • Repetitive speech patterns
  • Missing school or work
  • Legal or financial problems
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Irritability
  • Inability to deal with stress
  • Confused easily
  • Loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities
  • Isolating or being secretive about activities
  • Borrowing or stealing money
  • Being argumentative

Contact BRS Rehab Today for Help

Most of us would agree that super successful business leaders are wired differently than most other people, but what many of us don’t realize is that the personality traits that we admire in super successful leaders and that make them high achievers in the professional world – namely compulsive risk-taking and novelty-seeking behavior – are also central to the personality of an addict. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today. Our substance abuse counselors understand the importance of discretion in drug addiction treatment, especially for successful business leaders, and are trained to develop personalized treatment plans based on the unique recovery needs of each individual client.

Education and Substance Abuse

Graduation: What is the Link Between Education and Substance Abuse?

Inaccurate stereotypes of any kind are harmful, and those that perpetuate the negative stigma of addiction only further damage efforts to reduce substance abuse rates in this country and improve access to effective treatment for individuals of all ages and walks of life. For instance, it is a commonly-held belief that individuals addicted to drugs or alcohol, as a whole, are poor, homeless, unemployed and uneducated, and many people are of the opinion that addiction is an affliction of the lazy or weak-willed. Instead, research shows that, while substance abuse is, in fact, more common among individuals of lower economic status, or those living in poverty, the two aren’t directly linked, nor do they prove a cause and effect relationship. Rather, substance abuse is merely a byproduct of the lifestyle led by people of limited financial means. That being said, in most cases, a person’s propensity towards drug abuse and addiction is multifaceted, influenced by other factors, like education, genetics, and parental substance abuse. Below you’ll find more information about the link between education and substance abuse, and how to get professional help for someone struggling with a substance abuse disorder.

What Makes Someone an Addict?

There are a great number of factors that influence an individual’s propensity towards addiction, including, but not limited to, genetics, mental health, parental substance abuse, a history of abuse or neglect, socioeconomic status and level of education, and the latter two are perhaps the most hotly debated of these influences. It can be said that the risk factors that predispose certain people to substance abuse are less prevalent in higher-income families and among individuals with a higher level of education. However, that isn’t to say that wealthy people are immune to substance abuse and addiction – they most certainly are not – only that these issues are less likely to occur in households that aren’t living at or below the poverty level. Whatever factors that influence their addiction, what makes someone an addict is their compulsive desire to use drugs or alcohol despite negative consequences caused by the substance abuse, such as job loss, financial difficulties or strained relationships with friends and loved ones.

Warning Signs of Substance Abuse

It can be difficult to recognize the signs of substance abuse in a loved one, especially if that person has become practiced at hiding his or her addiction from friends and family members, which is often the case regardless of a person’s income or level of education. Sometimes students go to some great lengths to hide their drug abuse problems, and this makes it harder for loved one’s to notice the connection between their education and substance abuse.

The following are some common physical and behavioral signs of substance abuse to watch out for:

Physical:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Involuntary shaking
  • Chills and sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Decreased coordination
  • Anxiety
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Slowed reaction time

Behavioral:

  • Lack of interest in clothing or grooming
  • Sudden requests for money without a reasonable explanation
  • Unexpected weight loss or gain
  • Frequently missing work or school
  • A sudden drop in grades or work performance
  • Being secretive about where he or she is going
  • Stealing or borrowing money from loved ones
  • Drastic changes in relationships with family and friends
  • Lack of energy or motivation

Link Between Education and Substance Abuse

The link between education and substance abuse is an uncertain one. According to one survey comparing high school seniors from 1981 and 1986, seniors of all economic backgrounds in 1986 were using drugs less than seniors in 1981. What was most notable about the survey though, was that the most significant decline (13%) was among students whose parents had some graduate education, while the least significant decline (2.7%) was among students whose parents did not attend high school. In another study involving more than 30,000 men and women between the ages of 20 and 93, researchers measured education level, alcohol use, obesity and smoking, and found that those with the lowest level of education were most frequently heavy drinkers, heavy smokers, obese, and physically inactive.

As a general rule, education helps people develop accurate perceptions of risk and learn the skills necessary to keep themselves safe and out of serious trouble. High school students, for example, are taught basic information about their health and well-being that helps them recognize the serious health implications of abusing alcohol and drugs. An individual with a higher education may also have access to early intervention and prevention resources that allow them to avoid problem drinking or drug use. In one study published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers found that “Individuals who had dropped out of high school were 6.34 times more likely to develop alcohol abuse or dependence than were individuals with a college degree.” On the other side of the same coin, researchers have also found a strong association between early substance abuse and lower levels of educational attainment, meaning that teens and young adults who become dependent on alcohol or drugs are less likely to finish college than those who don’t use alcohol or drugs until later in life and never become dependent.

Substance Abuse Among Business Executives

It should also be noted that there is opposing research suggesting that individuals with a higher education are actually the ones who are more prone to addiction, and statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse seem to support that finding, reporting that, by the time individuals reach their senior year of high school, almost 70% will have tried alcohol, 50% will have abused an illicit drug, nearly 40% will have smoked a cigarette, and 20% will have used a prescription drug recreationally, and this behavior only continues into college. In this line of thinking, the higher an individual’s education, the more likely they are to abuse drugs or alcohol, either because they make more money and have the disposable income to support this type of habit, or because they are under a great deal of stress at work and drugs or alcohol become their escape. In fact, according to a 2015 Gallup poll, “upper-income and highly educated Americans are more likely than other Americans to say they drink alcohol,” and individuals earning more than $75,000 per year drink more alcohol than any other economic group. Another study conducted by a neuroscience professor at Johns Hopkins’ School of Medicine in 2013, even went so far as to suggest that the very personality traits that make business executives so successful – their determination, drive and risk-taking and novelty-seeking behavior – are the same personality traits of an addict.

Seeking Treatment for Education and Substance Abuse

It’s possible that individuals who drop out of high school and those who enter college but fail to earn a degree may be at increased risk for an education and substance abuse disorder. Still, it’s important to understand that a low education level is not a definite indicator of substance abuse. The majority of people who are not highly-educated do not go on to abuse drugs and alcohol. However, it’s possible that a lack of education, in combination with any number of other contributing factors, may predispose certain individuals to substance abuse and addiction. Whatever factors play a role in an individual’s addiction disorder, seeking treatment at a professional rehab facility can significantly improve the chances of lasting recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call today to speak to the substance abuse recovery counselors at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services about your treatment options, or to learn more about how education and substance abuse are tied together.

Lawyers and Addiction

Lawyers and Addiction: An Exploration of Drug Abuse in the Industry

The legal profession is characterized by risky business ventures, big paychecks and long hours at the office, and with that lavish lifestyle and competitive work environment comes a greater risk of substance abuse and addiction, which appears to be prevalent among successful lawyers and other high-powered executives. In one tragic story of a successful Silicon Valley lawyer and drug addict who died from a systemic bacterial infection common among intravenous drug users, his ex-wife, who looked back at the months leading up to his death, remarked, “The further I probed, the more apparent it became that drug abuse among America’s lawyers is on the rise and deeply hidden.” Unfortunately, this leaves the issue of lawyers and addiction unaddressed, and the functional alcoholics in the legal profession without the help they need. If you think someone you know may be a high-functioning alcoholic or drug addict, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today for help.

What is a Functional Alcoholic?

The issue of addiction among high-powered executives has been explored to some extent, but research on the prevalence of substance abuse and lawyers and addiction, in particular, is limited, and many in the legal profession seem content to leave it that way. One study, published last year in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, involved 12,825 licensed, practicing attorneys, and found that 19% struggled with anxiety, 21% qualified as problem drinkers, and 28% experienced mild or more serious depression. Only 3,419 of the lawyers responded to questions about drug use, a fact that Patrick Krill, the study’s lead author, and a lawyer himself, found telling. “It’s left to speculation what motivated 75% of attorneys to skip over the section on drug use as if it wasn’t there.” Of those that did answer, 5.6% used opioids, 5.6% used cocaine, crack and stimulant drugs, 10.2% used marijuana and hash, and nearly 16% used sedatives.

In the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health report on substance abuse by industry, released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), professional services, including the legal profession, ranked ninth out of 19 industries in terms of illicit drug use. In the 2014 Comprehensive Survey of Lawyer Assistance Programs, the American Bar Association named alcohol the number one substance abuse-related problem among lawyers, with prescription drugs being the second. Sadly, in spite of this research highlighting the issue of drinking and drug use among lawyers, the problem persists. “There are a lot of theories about what is going on in the legal profession,” says J. Kim Wright, author of Lawyers as Peacemakers: Practicing Holistic, Problem-Solving Law and Lawyers as Changemakers: The Global Integrative Law Movement, and a lawyer herself. “Something is broken. Lawyers often believe they are the broken piece of the system, rather than the culture is dysfunctional, the entire legal system is broken. Other lawyers think – or even say – ‘I’m doing fine, and if you aren’t doing fine, it is your fault.’ We’re left to our own devices to find a way to fix ourselves.

Causes of Substance Abuse with Lawyers and Addiction

Work-related stress is a major contributing factor to the trend of lawyers and addiction and even with drug abuse among high-powered executives who face immense pressure on a daily basis to meet certain professional expectations and stay a step ahead of everyone else in a fiercely competitive industry, where, as Wil Miller, a family law attorney in Washington state, puts it, “you are financially rewarded for being hostile.” Depression, too, plays a role. In a 1990 Johns Hopkins University study of more than 100 professions, researchers found that lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression, compared with other professions, and a 2014 survey of Yale Law School students reported that 70% of students struggled with mental health issues during their time in law school. In fact, lawyers being particularly vulnerable to alcoholism, depression, and addiction is an effect that appears to be initiated in law school, an environment that, as Dr. Link Christin, adjunct professor of law at William Mitchell College of Law in Minnesota, puts it, “is very confidential, secretive, competitive, and adversarial. It tends to be very intellectual rather than feeling, [and] it encourages you to isolate and not share because you don’t want to be seen as weak and vulnerable.

Lawyers and Addiction:  A Secret Problem

A common misconception about alcoholism is that an alcoholic is someone who drinks too much too often and whose life is falling apart because of their drinking, but not all problem drinking fits into that neat little mold. Some alcoholics manage to keep their problem drinking from interfering with their personal, professional and social relationships and may be in denial about their alcoholism. These people are called high-functioning alcoholics or functional alcoholics, and they are able to cover up the external signs of their alcoholism, making their problem drinking more difficult for others to spot. It’s important to remember that a person can still be an alcoholic even though he appears to have a great personal and professional life, with a loving family, a job that pays well and a large circle of friends.

For lawyers and addiction, their problem drinking or drug use is easier to hide from friends and loved ones because, on the outside, they appear to be successful, happy and well-liked. They also work long hours at the office, during which they can use, and are expected to nab prospective clients, which may involve drinking or drug use, and perform well in a highly-competitive industry, which may prompt the abuse of stimulants like Adderall, cocaine or amphetamine, or painkillers like Vicodin or OxyContin to stay on top of their game. Unfortunately, it’s a short jump from opioid painkillers to heroin, which is typically cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription drugs. Says Dr. Indra Cidambi, medical director at an ambulatory detox facility in New Jersey, “These aren’t the majority of lawyers. But there are quite a number abusing drugs, and once they get to heroin, it’s very hard to break it.

How to Tell if Someone is a Functioning Alcoholic

For all the ways we expect alcoholics and drug addicts to act, it’s not always easy to tell if someone is a functional alcoholic, especially when they make an effort to hide their problem drinking from friends, family members, and co-workers, and that is the nature of a high-functioning alcoholic. They somehow manage to keep up appearances while relying on alcohol to function on a daily basis.

Some functional alcoholic signs to watch out for include a person:

  • Planning their day around drinking
  • Having three drinks to everyone else’s one drink
  • Exhibiting physical signs of overindulgence (shakiness in the morning, insomnia, stomach problems)
  • Binging or getting so drunk they black out
  • Going through periods of abstinence where they make it a point not to drink, and then going back to drinking often and heavily

Treating Drug Addiction in the Legal Profession

Despite the growing trend of drug abuse and addiction in the legal profession, law-firm leadership is still slow to discuss substance abuse with their lawyers, often because they don’t know what signs to look for, and are simply too busy themselves to notice when these signs arise. So deeply rooted is the culture of privacy in the legal profession, and so devoted to clocking billable hours are law firms, that many lawyers who are functioning alcoholics don’t feel as though they can ask for help, or simply don’t have the time to. It’s this so-called “dysfunctional culture” that makes lawyers so susceptible to the effects of drug abuse and addiction. If someone you know is struggling with an addiction and doesn’t have the ability to ask for help, call today to speak to one of the addiction recovery experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services.