Although not without controversy, much of the treatment of addiction revolves in one-way or another around the theory that addiction is a disease, or, as many like to state it: dis-ease. In many ways, calling addiction a disease is simply another way of stating that addiction is, among other things, a serious medical problem. The American Medical Association declared alcoholism as a treatable illness in 1956 and the World Health Organization acknowledged alcoholism as a serious medical problem in 1951. Accepting the idea that addiction is a disease or dis-ease often makes it easier for the addict to accept help.
Archive for the ‘Drug Abuse Information’ Category
While a basic understanding of the function of narcotics and their effect on the (normal) brain of a chronic user is simplistic when determining who is likely to abuse opiate medications and why they are in a particularly high risk group for opiate addiction, the truth is, of course, much deeper than that.
Historically, opiate addicts–those who abuse and become dependent on heroin and other other forms of opium including synthetic opiates, such as methadone–have been characterized primarily by their low functionality on the social spectrum. Stimulant addicts; those abusing cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine and other stimulant drugs are the “go-getters” of the addiction spectrum, as a general rule. Therefore, it is important to determine who is likely to become addicted to and dependent on opiates. This information can educate those in the medical field about who are more likely to use and abuse opiate medications.
By and large, there is a certain amount of truth in the theory that “B-type” personalities are those drawn to the opiate family of drugs. There is a certain tendency for opiate addicts to come from certain types of personality and character development patterns. The largest tendency for opiate addicts is those who suffer from disorders stemming from development of social anxieties or having difficulty with relationships, both personal and social. This group also has a low tendency toward regulation of affect, along with little or no development of psychosis. Another group predominantly tending to abuse opiates is those with a low threshold of reality-based cognitions, with impaired views of reality vs. fantasy regarding relationships. The third group is probably the most highly-functional of the three, socially and intellectually. They are somewhat disillusioned about reality ideation, but not psychologically impaired. They are somewhat, mildly depressed as a rule, but not clinically depressed or impaired. Many in this group function with a low energy for many years, with and without opiates.
In today’s trend toward abusing prescription pain killers (synthetic opioids) the latter is probably the most frequently found group. While a certain amount of social functioning is present, due to the high cost of maintaining their addiction and the necessity for obtaining and maintaining numerous prescriptions, they are highest in likelihood of pulling this off. In astonishing numbers, we see them in hospitals, public sector jobs, and other places where drugs are part of the world they inhabit.
Heroin and other opiates are considered “street drugs.” The groups using these substances are more traditionally recognized as the addicts who steal money and goods to pay for their drugs, rather than those who must maintain employment and insurance and who are more functional socially. This group is lower functioning and less likely to be involved in the workplace, unless it is on jobs where they have low productivity and poor attendance records.
Initially, opiates will have beneficial and highly pleasurable effects on the user. Dependence develops quickly because the drugs produce euphoric sensations that lead to more frequent use.. Dependence also develops due to the tolerance to specified amounts of the drug that develop rapidly with use. Because these are the drugs most frequently used for pain management, those with chronic pain symptoms and long-term and chronic pain are highly susceptible to addiction and more likely to go through symptoms of opiate withdrawal. Understanding the nature of those who are likely to become dependent on the drugs is important for monitoring patients on pain medication regimens for early signs of abuse. Figuring out what caused the addiction initially and figuring out other solutions is the first step toward opiate recovery.
Kelly McClanahan has an MSW in clinical social work, with a specialization in substance abuse treatment. Having worked in this field for over 20 years, she is currently working on her certification as an addictions’ counselor.
Methadone is a medication that is used in the treatment of opiate addiction. Methadone is a long-acting opiate that is designed to stay in the system for 24-48 hours, making it possible for addicts to only take the medication once a day, as opposed to a short-acting opiate like heroin, which many addicts use every few hours in order to avoid symptoms of withdrawal. Methadone works very similar to other painkillers such as Vicodin and Oxycontin, and can be prescribed as part of an ongoing pain management regimen, and researchers have found that it’s a very effective form of treatment when used to treat opiate addiction.
When a person is prescribed methadone to treat addiction, the person comes to a methadone clinic once a day to get a dose of methadone that is taken in front of a nurse. Methadone is usually dispensed as a liquid, although also comes in pill and wafer form. Addicts are closely monitored by a doctor to make sure they are not taking too much methadone and that there is no interaction with other medications. Addicts also provide random urine specimens on a regular basis in order to be monitored for illicit drug use. As part of treatment, addicts are also expected to attend individual and group therapy in order to address some of the issues that may have led to initial drug use.
Benefits of Methodone
There are several benefits to using methadone as a way to treat opiate addiction:
- When a person is on the correct dose of methadone, the medication allows them to feel normal, and not “high.” Methadone allows the addict to avoid symptoms of withdrawal while performing activities of daily living such as raising a family and going to work.
- Methadone only has to be taken once a day, as opposed to other opiates that need to be taken several times a day to avoid withdrawal. Addicts do not have to worry about trying to get their next “fix” and, therefore, the amount of crime and illegal activity associated with active drug use drops dramatically.
- Methadone is often times much cheaper for the addict to take, as addicts often times spend hundreds of dollars a day on street drugs.
- Methadone is regulated by the FDA and is, therefore, much safer for the addict to take than street drugs, which can be laced or cut with chemicals or poisons.
- The incidence of contracting or spreading diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV is also reduced, as addicts do not use or share needles to take methadone.
- Finally, methadone that is taken by pregnant women helps to reduce the chance of miscarriage and risky behavior while pregnant, and the fetus will not be going into withdrawal. Women also have a greater chance of seeking out healthcare and seeing an OB regularly if they are able to be on a stable dose of methadone.
Many people that subscribe to an abstinence based model of treatment believe that because methadone is still a drug, people taking methadone are not really clean and sober. When viewed from a risk-reduction model of treatment, methadone can be seen as a medication that helps opiate dependent individuals lead healthier, productive lives.
Jessica Parks is a certified alcohol and drug counselor in the state of Illinois and has her M.A. in art therapy counseling.
There are likely a lot more people who would smoke marijuana if they didn’t have concerns about not being able to pass a drug test…and then along came Spice. It relieved those worries because now anyone who wanted a “weed like” high could have one and still test clean for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). With no legal risks involved, anyone over the age of 18 can walk into a head shop or some gas stations and pick up the herbal compound called Spice.
Most adults learn about Spice from teens who have already tried it and are quick to offer advice on which brand to buy and which brands got them so high that they just sat there “spacing out.” Whatever you want to call it–Spice, Posh, or K2– it is dangerous, addictive, cheap, and very popular. Many see Spice as a safe alternative to marijuana when in fact, it is not.
What Is Spice?
Spice, one of the new designer drugs on the market, is a combination of herbal material and synthetic cannabinoids. When inhaled, Spice damages the lungs and the respiratory system. Spice is so damaging that many countries have made the synthetic additives that are found in Spice illegal. There are also states that are following suit and trying diligently to get Spice off of the market. Even though the label clearly reads that the product is not safe for human consumption, people are still eager to use it. It is loaded with the synthetic chemicals HU-210 and JWH-018.
Spice is even more perilous because of the way that it is produced and the fact that it does not have to have FDA approval. It is produced in environments similar to in-home meth labs. It has to answer to absolutely zero regulations. If home labs run out of one ingredient they can substitute it for any other ingredient of their liking. This means that those who use Spice have no idea what they are getting.
Side effects are the likely reasons why there are so many Spice-related emergency room visits annually. It is known to cause heart palpitations, panic attacks, delusions, nausea, vomiting, restlessness, and weakened motor coordination. It will not take long before a full-blown addiction occurs. A Spice addiction is like any other addiction and includes compulsively seeking it out and ignoring negative health and personal consequences.
Spice addiction requires formal treatment like any other addiction. Withdrawal from Spice is also likely where individuals will suffer from trembling, tremors, panic, headache, nausea, heart palpitations, agitation, insomnia, vomiting, and depression. While none of these symptoms are considered to be life threatening, the process of withdrawal from Spice is nothing short of uncomfortable. Individuals who are abusing Spice should be treated in a professional care facility under medical supervision. Usually, addiction of any kind is intertwined with some kind of mental problem. Inpatient treatment can treat both the addiction and the concurring disorder.
Spice and other designer drugs such as Bath Salts are being abused more and more. Spice has already caused deaths and hospitalization. Specialists in the field of treating addiction now have to learn even more about these new drugs and how to treat people. This is even more concerning since many of the ingredients are unknown. Some of these designer drugs are even causing psychosis in some people and irreparable brain damage.
Spice may not show up on a drug test but it might show up on an MRI or some other brain scan image. That should account for something. Anything that is labeled as not for human consumption might be wise to avoid.
Cheryl Hinneburg writes web content for KLEAN Treatment Center in Los Angeles, CA. KLEAN specializes in offering dual diagnosis drug and alcohol treatment. Cheryl is currently pursuing her MS in Substance Abuse Counseling.
Prescription drug abuse is at an all-time high which means that treating prescription drug addiction is more imperative than ever before. Teens are overdosing at shocking rates, more people are becoming involved in the legal system, and people are even dying from prescription drug abuse. The numbers are literally in the millions. The highest numbers represent opiate-related pain medications. In fact, according to a study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) over the decade from 1998-2008 the number of those who sought out help from prescription drug treatment rose nearly 350%.
These numbers signify that there is even a greater need for prescription drug treatment than ever before. While some drugs warrant more of a psychological treatment from the drugs this is not the case with prescription drug treatment. People that are coming off of prescription drugs need a more stringent line of treatment that includes medical supervision during detox, a formal inpatient treatment, counseling regimens, and a complete after care program.
People that abuse prescription drugs usually develop a severe addiction problem and withdrawal from the drugs is, in fact, life threatening. No one that is abusing prescription drugs should ever consider anything other than professional prescription drug treatment. This is because there is a medical staff constantly monitoring patients in detox and they can make the often difficult process of treating prescription drug addiction much easier to get through.
The detox process is followed by residential prescription drug treatment. This program will last a minimum of 30 days. The program is supervised and quite structured offering complete concentration on treating prescription drug addiction. The prescription drug treatment includes individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, drug education, and how to make healthy lifestyle choices. These are all of the tools necessary for long-term abstinence.
The exact type of prescription drug treatment that each patient requires can vary based on various factors. The first factor is if the patient is addicted to opiate pain pills, stimulants, tranquilizers, or a combination. Each drug type requires a different form of prescription drug treatment so that it is successful. This is why it is so important that every individual gets a thorough evaluation before entering prescription drug treatment.
The basis of prescription drug treatment is basically the same as it is for other types of addictions however it is more likely that a combination of efforts will be used for treating prescription drug addiction. These may include cognitive behavioral therapy to target the way that patients think about and make decisions about drugs. It is also important for the patient to understand the root causes of their addiction and that a better life is waiting for them once they are clean and sober.
The reason that treating prescription drug addiction is different than treating other addictions has a lot to do with the way that the brain is affected by prescription drugs, especially opiate pain pills. Opiates stimulate opiate receptors that are all over the brain, stimulating the brain’s reward system. Opiates affect pleasure and pain relief in the brain. The brain produces endorphins that trigger opiate receptors. This must all be thoroughly understood when effectively treating prescription drug addiction.
Treating prescription drug abuse is much more difficult than treating other drug addictions. While all recovering drug addicts do experience powerful cravings that often lead to relapse, treating prescription drug addiction is more complicated. This is because of what the prescriptions often do to the brain. More simply put, to treat cocaine addiction and prescription opiate addiction the same would be a great wrongness to the patient.
Because of new developments in technology there is much more success in treating prescription drug abuse than ever before but there is always room for improvement. Pairing behavioral and pharmacological efforts together is working the best right now. Treating prescription drug abuse must encompass education that specializes in living without drugs, how to handle drug cravings, how to avoid situations that glorify substance abuse, and what to do in the event of a relapse.
Cheryl Hinneburg writes web content for KLEAN Treatment Center in Los Angeles CA . KLEAN specializes in offering dual diagnosis drug and alcohol treatment. Cheryl is currently pursuing her MS in Substance Abuse Counseling.
Only fifty percent of drug rehabs offer a dual diagnosis programs. Furthermore, according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Episode Data Set, most of the drug addiction treatment centers that offer comprehensive dual diagnosis programs are privately owned, not state funded and of that number not all comprehensive programs are integrated sufficiently.
Until the last decade or so, dual diagnosis was typically not recognized by treatment professionals. Today, the number of people entering treatment with a mental health disorder continues to grow. In 2002, it was estimated that 40 percent of alcohol abusers also suffered from an independent mood disorder, and 60% of drug abusers suffered from a form of mood disorder. It has been noted that more women suffer from a mental health disorder and substance abuse than men.
A drug rehab that offers comprehensive dual diagnosis programs should have a multidisciplinary team of addiction certified physicians and behavioral health nurses with expert knowledge of mental health disorders. Therapists must be experienced in mental health disorder treatment protocols as well as addiction treatment protocols or best practices.
The ability of a person suffering from both a mental health disorder (such as PTSD, anxiety, or panic disorder for example), and a substance abuse problem to succeed in long term abstinence and recovery will be much more likely if both health issues are properly diagnosed and treated simultaneously.
A comprehensive dual diagnosis program will provide the patient with:
• Regular psychiatric evaluations
• Individualized treatment plan
• Dual diagnosis education
• Medication management education
• Group and Individual counseling (using a variety of therapies)
• Addiction education
• Life skills training
• Exercise and nutritional counseling
• Spiritual workshops or 12 Step meetings
• Individualized after care plan
Without addressing the problems and symptoms of the mental health disorder and without a thorough understanding of drug and alcohol triggers, the person in a drug rehab for dual diagnosis is at greater risk for relapse and a worsening of the mental health disorder symptoms.
There is an endless cycle of addiction. For example, the addict is depressed and longs to be free of those feelings. In desperation, the addict uses drugs or alcohol to alleviate the symptoms. After a short period of time, the alcohol or drugs no longer provide relief and the body has grown accustomed to the drugs and alcohol and demands more, and the symptoms of the depression worsen.
This cycle is repeated until the cycle of addiction is broken, drug use is abandoned, the patient receives a medically supervised detox, proper diagnosis of the mental health disorder is made, stabilizing medication is prescribed if needed, and addiction treatment is obtained.
It is a complex process to accurately diagnose someone who has both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse problem. This is why it is important for the patient to choose a drug treatment center that is able to manage his or her mental health disorder. The first step is always to stop using substances through the aid of a medically supervised detox unit.
This article was contributed by Lakeview Health Systems, a nationally recognized treatment center located in Jacksonville, Florida.
Drug addiction is a growing threat and an individual does not realize when they turn from a medication consumer to a medication addict. But there are explicit prescription drug addiction signs that will help realize the need for recovery from the addiction. Read on to understand the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of prescription drug addiction.
What is prescription drug addiction?
When an individual takes medication for a longer duration than advised or for purpose other than the intended one, it becomes an addiction. The individual becomes dependent on the medication for performing his day-to-day activities and can possess extreme craving for the medication. There are few basic prescription drug addiction signs that will help understand the scenario so as to take necessary action.
Why is the dependency caused?
Prescribed medications are drugs which can affect the brain’s chemical activity on prolonged or improper usage. This causes a dependency or craving exhibited by the body on the drug resulting in prescription drug addiction signs.
Prescription Drug Addiction Signs
The most basic prescription drug addiction signs are that an addict individual will tend to be affected by anxiety and depression. Sometimes the addict will also suffer from sleeplessness and can be viewed as a person who is always complaining or creating vague symptoms on health so as to gain access to more medication. They might also be at times show lack of interest in treatment or other options other than medications and will be more interested in consuming medications. Prescription drug addiction signs may also include at times loss of interest in social circles and relationships.
Prescription drug addiction signs also include mood swings and anxiety levels on constant changing levels. Some addicts can also be linked with a past history of drug addiction which can be linked to prescription drug addiction also. People who show prescription drug addiction signs can be seen using pills for a longer period than mentioned or for purposes other than the indicated ones. They also at times see multiple doctors so as to obtain the same medication in huge amounts.
It is mandatory that at many times we need to turn to prescription drugs for handling health conditions and problems. These drugs when taken on a prolonged basis or on large doses tend to induce harmful effects on it. The drugs cause an illness on the body and mind creating an expectation on the drug even for basic survival. This is where prescription drug detox plays an important part in cleansing the body from these harmful effects. Read on to understand more about the detox process and its importance.
Prescription drug detox is a process of cleansing the body from the harmful effects and dependency induced by prescribed medication. The detox process is the first step towards effective drug treatment in prescription drug rehabilitation.
Whenever a medication is taken for pain or for trauma, the drug creates a dependency on it especially when taken for a long duration. This dependency happens without the knowledge of the patient and can cause moderate to serious withdrawal effects depending on the drug. Prescription drug detox helps in getting rid of this dependency towards the medication. This indicates the importance of prescription drug detox followed by drug abstinence.
Prescription drug detox centers are available in most of the areas and they can help in resolving any initial queries or concerns about the prescription drug detox and treatment process. Prescription drug detox centers works on the idea that the body needs and aches are addressed before resolving the issue of drug abstinence. The initial prescription drug detox process similar to the withdrawal symptoms might be moderate to painful depending on the drug. The individual undergoing the prescription drug detox might experience pains, dizziness and aches. Medications are also used for this purpose so as to reduce aches and anxiety levels to a considerable level.
Drug addiction is a serious disease. It can strike anyone, regardless of age, race, culture, background or socioeconomic status. You’re never too young, too old, too rich, too broke or even too religious to struggle with drug addiction. At any point in time you may find that you’ve crossed the line from drug experimentation to drug addiction.
Is it drug addiction or drug abuse?
The difference between drug addiction and drug abuse tends to be situational. People who abuse drugs may do so during periods of high stress or trauma. This could be a major life transition or transformation such as divorce, death or being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or disease. In circumstances like this, people are looking for ways to cope with overwhelming feelings of grief and despair. Alcohol or drug abuse can occur as a result of people attempting to cope with these feelings. Generally as the situation improves or these people seek outside help, the alcohol abuse or drug abuse abates and they are able to return to a fairly level normal of functioning without crossing the line into alcoholism or drug addiction.
There are people who are more susceptible to alcoholism and drug addiction based on their genetic make-up. For these people, turning to alcohol or drugs to cope during a bad time can spiral straight into alcohol or drug addiction. Even when the situation has passed and things have balanced out, these individuals continue to abuse alcohol or drugs because they enjoy the effects and aren’t ready to quit. If they don’t recognize the problem and get help, a trip to alcohol rehab or drug rehab is inevitable.
Are you struggling with drug abuse or drug addiction?
In order to determine if you are struggling with drug abuse or drug addiction, there are a few questions you have to ask yourself. How often do you drink or take drugs? Do you take just enough to get by or do you get loaded every time? Is work or school attendance or performance sliding because of your alcohol or drug usage? Have you changed the people you hang out with? Do you isolate more? Have friends and family members expressed concern about your alcohol or drug use? Do you have withdrawal symptoms (headache, nausea, anxiety, body aches) when you quit drinking or using drugs? If you honestly answer these questions, you’ll have a better understanding of how serious your drug use is.
Whether you are dealing with drug and alcohol abuse or drug addiction, most people need professional help to quit drugs and alcohol. The level of care you need depends on the type of drug, how much you take and how long you’ve been taking it. While physical addiction is severed generally within a week, psychological addiction can take months and even years to break. If you suspect that you or a loved one is either struggling with drug abuse or drug addiction, don’t wait any longer. Seek professional help today.
What are alcohol and drugs doing to you? You had a big test but were too hungover to think clearly. You were supposed to meet a friend for dinner but had a few too many cocktails and were too drunk to drive. You find that you can’t function the morning after you tied one on unless you take something – another drink, a pill, a line. You’re canceling plans more and more with friends or business associates with excuses when the truth is you want to drink, use or you’re too sick from drinking or using.
How Important is Your Alcohol or Drug Use?
When alcohol and drugs become more important than family, friends or work it can be said you are in the grips of alcoholism or drug addiction. There are people who use alcohol and drugs periodically but still manage the day to day events of their lives without allowing alcohol or drug use to interfere. Then there are people who cannot live life without their alcohol or drug use – it becomes consuming. Their lives revolve around when they can get it, when they can consume it and when they can get more. A person whose alcohol or drug use has escalated to this level is in the grips of alcoholism or drug addiction.
What Is Your Alcohol or Drug Use Costing You?
The cost of alcohol and drugs is immeasurable, not only financially but in terms of relationships, work and opportunities. Your girlfriend or spouse leaves you, your children are taken away, you lose your job, you get passed over for the promotion, you miss out on high school graduation, you flunk the class you needed to qualify for graduate school, you end up in jail with a DUI and now you can’t pursue your dream of becoming a pilot. Any one of these scenarios and thousands more are lived out on a daily basis by people in the grips of alcoholism and drug addiction.
If you or a friend thinks you need help before your use of alcohol and drugs gets worse, call a drug rehab center today. Most centers have professionals on staff who can help you determine if you need help for alcoholism or drug addiction and the steps you have to take next. They’ll walk you through the whole process. Don’t let alcohol and drugs waste one more minute of your life.