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Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is second biggest killer among illegal drugs. However, recognizing the signs of cocaine addiction is not easy. You could look out for these red flags.

Signs of Cocaine Use

The effects of cocaine use start soon after consumption and may last about an hour. Some of these are immediate side effects while others are the result of prolonged use.

  • Physical Signs – Nosebleeds, jaw clenching, muscle twitches, tremors or shakiness, increased body temperature, weight loss
  • Mental / Emotional Signs – Excitability, overconfidence, mood swings, depression, restlessness, paranoia, talkativeness
  • Other signs – Social isolation, risky behaviors, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, poor personal hygiene, financial problems

Since the high from cocaine lasts a relatively short period, users may use several doses. Consuming large quantities can lead to unpredictable and even violent behavior. Such changes in your loved one’s behavior could be signs of a cocaine abuse problem.

Drug Paraphernalia

Apart from the signs mentioned above, there are other indications of cocaine use – drug paraphernalia, such as white powder buildup, syringes, or glass pipes. And some of these items may be hiding in plain sight. For instance, dollar bills in a wallet are normal but rolled up dollar bills in a drawer aren’t. Watch out for –

  • Dollar bills
  • Hollow pens
  • Snuff bullets
  • Small mirrors
  • Lockets and bulky rings
  • Small, re-sealable plastic bags
  • Razor blades
  • Plastic cards

Harmful Effects of Long-Term Cocaine Use

Symptoms of prolonged use include:

  • Loss of smell
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Tooth decay
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Severe depression
  • Seizures
  • Delirium or psychosis
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Lung damage
  • Heart disease
  • Rare autoimmune diseases
  • Permanent damage to blood vessels

If you suspect a loved one of cocaine use, seek help right away.

 

I Relapsed, Now What?

Relapsing can feel like the end of the world. After going through the struggle of addiction, working the programs, and finally getting clean, it can feel like you are falling into a deep hole after a relapse. Whether it happened during a momentary weakness or falling into old unhealthy relationships and habits, relapses do happen, and there is hope for overcoming them. The most important thing is to recognize what is happening, keep a positive attitude, and take measures to ensure it is not ongoing and does not happen again.

Relapse often leads to intense feelings of humiliation and guilt. It is important to brace yourself for these feelings as they may make you even more prone to use again. Contact your support group should be one of the first things you do after a relapse. Addiction is one of the most difficult things to overcome on your own. Therefore, notifying your support group, whether that be family, friends, or a sponsor, is key to ensuring you get the help you need. Even if it’s just reaching out via phone call or text, letting your support group know what happened is vital to moving forward.

 

Each person’s addiction is different, just like each relapse scenario will be different. In some cases, it may be best to return to treatment after a relapse. Yet, in other cases, it may have been a one time slip that is avoidable in the future by making lifestyle changes and leaning on your support group. While it is important to keep a positive attitude, it is also important to recognize that relapse is a big deal. It is important to avoid the negative spiral of relapse, treatment, relapse treatment.

During a relapse, it is important to keep everything in perspective. While it may feel like a setback, you should try to look it at more as a stepping stone, or a challenge to overcome. Regardless of your substance of choice, having a support network is one of the most important factors in overcoming addiction and relapse, and staying clean. Determining what caused the relapse is another important factor. Was it feelings of stress, anxiety, guilt, or depression brought on by something going on in your life? Did you run into an old friend that you used to use with, and it sparked old memories? It is important to determine the trigger that caused the relapse in the first place, in order to put measures in place to avoid that trigger in the future.

A relapse can feel like the end of the world. Feelings of guilt and shame are amplified during a relapse. However, it is important to mitigate these feelings by surrounding yourself with a strong support system who love and care about you, and who knows how to get you to the help you need. Relapses happen to many people going through rehabilitation and recovery. It is ok. The most important thing is to put measures in place, so relapse does not become a habit, and so that you are able to live a fulfilling life after treatment.

Alcoholism Triggers

Recovering from an alcohol abuse disorder is a big deal and not many alcoholics are able to do so. It’s important to understand the triggers that cause relapse to be truly successful in overcoming alcohol addiction.

Alcohol Triggers

Alcohol abuse is one of the biggest causes of preventable deaths. People begin drinking for a variety of reasons, such as coping with trauma, pain, stress and so on.

Alcoholism triggers are causes that make a person drink again after having quit. It’s essential to identify these triggers so you can be stay sober.

Spending time with the wrong crowd

Your friends can have great influence over your recovery. For example, if you are with your friends where they are serving alcohol, you may be triggered to drink. If you always drank with a particular friend on a certain occasion, going out that night to the same places is also likely to be a trigger.

Dealing with emotional issues or stress

Life will present you with emotional problems and stressful situations. Whether it’s a lost job, a relationship issue, or some other upsetting situation, some people resort to self-soothing with alcohol.

It is important to go through rehab for appropriate addiction treatment and then continue with support groups and ongoing therapy for a lasting recovery.

Good rehabs are equipped to treat a wide variety of needs including full detox programs, inpatient care and robust aftercare programs.

Common Co-Occurring Disorders

Addiction is a serious disease that affects the brain. For many people, addiction does not occur alone. It is common for co-occurring disorders to be present along with addiction. Fortunately, these are often treatable. If you or a loved one is battling addiction and other mental health issues, finding the best dual diagnosis treatment center is key to treatment.

Common Co-Occurring Disorders

Several common co-occurring disorders can be seen with addiction.

  • PTSD, or Post-traumatic stress disorder is one of those disorders. PTSD can itself be the result of traumatic experiences like physical abuse, war or domestic violence, sexual abuse, and childhood neglect.
  • Depression is a common co-occurring disorder and one of the most common mental disorders. In some cases, substance use can induce depression, which can lead to more substance abuse.
  • The desire to relieve anxiety may make people turn to substances. For example, taking alcohol and other substances to suppress anxiety in social situations.
  • Bipolar disorder may cause depression and mania, both of which can lead to substance abuse. Bipolar disorder is typically caused due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Some people start using substances to relieve the symptoms but it usually leads to further substance abuse.
  • Other common disorders that coincide with addiction include borderline personality disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, eating disorders, ADHD, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Treating Co-occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders are treated with dual diagnosis treatment in trusted rehabs by qualified professional. Treatment often involves –

  • Medical detox treatment program
  • Psychotherapy
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy
  • Ongoing care to prevent relapse
  • Sober living home and aftercare programs
  • Holistic treatment options

 

How Can I Talk To My Kids About Drugs And Alcohol?

Talking to your kids about drugs and alcohol can be a difficult thing to do. Ideally, the subject could be avoided – but unfortunately, it’s unwise to allow your children to grow up without some knowledge of drugs and alcohol. The hardest thing to know is how to approach them properly.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can properly talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol.

Approaching Youth About Drugs and Alcohol

The first thing that many parents tell their kids about drugs and alcohol is that they’re completely bad and should be avoided at all costs.

 

While this might sound like the simplest thing to do, it’s also one of the easiest things to backfire on you. There are several reasons for this.

 

  • As anyone who has raised kids will know, simply telling them not to do something without just cause will make them want to do the thing.
  • Telling them that ‘drugs and alcohol are just bad’ will lead to them questioning others who choose to drink recreationally – their perspective on these individuals will either be soured or, if they respect the individual, they will question whether or not drugs are actually ‘just bad.’

 

Both of these situations could actually make your children more interested in drugs and alcohol, which is obviously an undesirable situation. There are a few suggestions that can help you keep your kids away from alcohol.

 

  • Be honest. Young children are especially receptive to truth and authenticity. If you explain that drugs can be very dangerous and that they can easily spiral out of control down the road to addiction, your genuine concern may make them more likely to avoid drugs than simply forbidding them from doing so.
  • Start early. If you’re watching a movie with your kid and someone lights up a cigarette, explain to them about the dangers and health problems caused by tobacco addiction. If you see alcohol glorified in movies, assure them that alcohol can actually be quite problematic.
  • Make sure that they’re comfortable. Be calm, collected, and open when discussing drugs and alcohol with kids. This will encourage them to engage in the conversation and will make them more likely to listen to you.

Tips for Laying Groundwork

There are a few tips that you might want to consider to lay a firm foundation for your kids.

 

  • Be available! If your kid is going through emotional problems, let them know that you are available to talk to them.
  • Consider role-playing. Role-playing can help your child come up with ways to refuse drugs if they’re offered.
  • Create a warm and positive environment where your child feels comfortable expressing themselves openly and honestly.
  • Be aware of their social life. Kids who are isolated may be more prone to drug use – but so are kids who socialize with other drug users.

Conclusion

It’s important to know how to talk to your children about drugs and alcohol. Following these guidelines can help you ensure that your children will never need to go to rehab.

How Can I Help Someone Who Has Just Relapsed?

Many recovering drug users experience a relapse at some point during their recovery. This is not a time for disappointment, rather, it is a time for you to figure out how you can help them. In this article, we’re going to talk about how you can help someone who just relapsed.

 

Understanding the Relapse

The first thing for you to do is to try to understand the relapse. This could be difficult if you’ve never used drugs before, but it’s important to try.

 

Recognize that a relapse doesn’t always mean that the drug user wants their habit to start up again. Relapses are usually the result of cravings, and cravings can cause serious physiological and psychological symptoms that can be hard for a user to maintain power over. Cravings are the biggest barrier to success.

 

A relapse might also mean that the recovering addict is struggling with a psychological problem. In many cases, relapses are caused by the same mental health problems that led someone to use drugs in the first place. If these problems aren’t addressed, then no amount of rehab is guaranteed to keep someone sober.

 

Before proceeding, it’s important to remember that this is the other person’s battle. You can support them as much as you can, but if there’s still something that they need to learn, being overbearing can actually accentuate the problem.

Reaching Someone After a Relapse

If the recovering user is open and honest about the relapse, then this is a good sign. This means that they are already aware of the problem and willing to work to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

 

Approaching a user who is trying to be secretive about their relapse can be much more difficult. You will have to tread carefully.

 

  • Make sure that you approach them in a manner that shows you are concerned and compassionate. Don’t allow yourself to make any judgments or assumptions.
  • Let them know that you are there to talk with them about any emotional issues that they might have — having someone to talk to can make users less likely to turn to drugs to manage their issues.
  • Provide alternatives. Are they lonely? Offer to hang out more. Do they seem bored? Encourage them to join you in your hobbies and activities, or help them find some of their own.
  • Encourage them. Remind them of how well they were doing, and remind them of the reasons that they wanted to get sober in the first place.
  • Set an example. Show them that healthy living really does have benefits. This can be particularly effective if you have also struggled with addiction in the past. Share with them your experiences of addiction, let them see for themselves how much happier and healthier you are now.

 

Conclusion

It can be difficult watching someone go through a relapse. The most important thing to remember during this time is that they’re still human.

 

Treat them with love and compassion, and provide as much support as you can without being overbearing. This is the best way to encourage them to stay sober.

 

If it’s necessary, consider getting them to go through treatment.

How Can I Help My Recovering Alcoholic Friend Stay Sober?

If you have seen a friend go through a struggle with alcohol, then you know at least a bit about how difficult addiction can be. Cravings, withdrawals, and both physical and mental health problems are things that many alcoholics have to deal with daily.

 

As a loving friend, your first instinct is probably to help them. However, if you have no experience working with an alcoholic, you might not be sure where to start. In this article, I’ll explain how you can help an alcoholic friend stay sober.

 

Understanding Alcoholism

The first thing that you’ll want to do is to make sure that you have a basic understanding of alcoholism.

 

Remember that very few alcoholics want to be where they are. In most cases, they are either struggling with some form of unaddressed mental or emotional condition; in other cases, recreational drinking caught up to them and led to a full-blown addiction. If your friend is struggling with a mental illness, you must take this into account, as well. Many alcoholics struggle with social anxiety, for example. How are you to help them if your mere presence makes them uncomfortable?

 

Following some of the following tips could help you maximize your ability to help your friend.

 

Tips on How to Help Your Friend

Get Some Education

It’s hard for someone who has never battled an addiction to understand what their addicted friends are truly going through. You can combat this by getting some basic education, through books or the Internet (like you’re doing right now.)

 

One thing to be cautious of is coming off as pompous. Don’t try to cajole or impress your friends with your knowledge of addiction – they’re likely aware that you’ve never experienced it firsthand, and this can come off as condescending.

Be There – Whatever the Case

The first and most important thing for you to do for your friend is simply be there for them. If they are open and talkative about their issue, then your simple presence will be a benefit. If they are less talkative, then let them know that you’re willing to hear them out if they want to talk about anything.

 

Remember that a recovering alcoholic will probably be going through emotional turmoil. They may lash out, become aggressive, or be otherwise unstable. Don’t take this personally, and remain as attentive and compassionate as possible.

Find Activities You Both Enjoy

The most common cause of relapse is boredom. Unfortunately, many recovering alcoholics have a hard time finding things that they enjoy enough to take their mind off of drinking. This is where you can come in.

 

Finding an activity that both of you enjoy can bring about an important social aspect. The bonding that occurs during these moments can be just as, if not more, important than the activity itself.

Be Encouraging

Be as encouraging and supportive as possible – but don’t let your kind words fall flat. Make sure your encouraging words are heartfelt and will help your friend see that they’re actually doing better than they were without alcohol.

 

In Conclusion

There are many ways to help a recovering alcoholic. Being educated about the topic and spending time together is one of the best things that you can do for them.

Various Phases of Drug Rehabilitation

Drug rehabilitation is a slow process; it is not something that happens overnight. It is also a process that needs to be tailored for each person. It is not a one size fits all. Drug rehabilitation requires a series of stages an individual must complete to give them the best chance for avoiding relapse. Understanding these phases, and ensuring they are fully followed is the most important component for an addict hoping to recover from his or her disease.

The first stage of drug rehabilitation is withdrawal. This is often present in those people who have become chemically dependent on their substance of choice. The pain of withdrawal is the reason many people are not able to quit using a substance on their own.  At a drug rehabilitation center, medical detox is used to treat withdrawal. The process can last one to two weeks depending on the substance in use. Detox is one of the most difficult stages of drug rehabilitation. Once the patient makes it through detox, he or she is finally able to begin feeling better.

 

To start, patients will not be allowed to use their cell phones. The goal is to have full focus on completely detoxing from the substance of choice. As patients make it through the inpatient medical detox program, they will slowly begin earning privileges back. In addition, they will attend groups and meetings focused on anger management, healthy lifestyles, and learning what unhealthy patterns they have created for themselves that have led to drug dependence. This inpatient treatment often lasts a few months and is followed by a couple of years of outpatient treatment.

The ultimate goal of drug rehabilitation is to completely clear the drug from the patient’s body and have the patient return to everyday life as soon as possible. It is almost impossible for a person addicted to substances to do this on his or her own. Routine is a significant part of drug rehabilitation. This is the reason patients are encouraged to continue with intensive outpatient care following their inpatient care. Drug rehabilitation sets the tone for the rest of the patient’s life when dealing with addiction issues. Because substance abuse is such a complicated disease, holistic treatments are typically the most effective. By taking a look at the person’s overall life, and understanding all the factors that have led to drug dependence, professionals have a better chance of helping the patient remain drug and alcohol-free.

Drug rehabilitation is no easy feat. It requires a strong support system and a team of professionals to allow for the best results. Each person has a different story. Therefore, each person’s treatment plan will look a little bit different. While there are differences, there are also certain steps that are necessary for drug rehabilitation. Ridding the body of the substance tends to be the most difficult part, and is the time the patient is most likely to relapse. Once medical detox is completed, scheduled meetings, sponsors, and lifestyle changes are the best way to help a person suffering from addiction stay drug and alcohol-free.

5 Telltale Signs your Teen is on Drugs

While parents may not consider kids and drugs to be a likely association, it’s not uncommon.

Although is true that sometimes your kid may simply be acting up as a typical teenager, it doesn’t hurt to know the tell tale signs of drug use to ensure that your kid is safe and can get help in time.

Unusual problems at school

Irritability due to drug use can cause problems at school. Such kids won’t complete homework and lose motivation to study which is usually followed by poor grades.

Unexplained injuries

Too many needle marks and bruises on your child’s forearm is a sign of a heroin abuse. It could also be linked to a psychological issue involving uncontrolled hurtful behavior towards self.

Unreasonable behavioral changes

Drug users lack inhibition. Such children may show strange behavior like suddenly laughing or crying at a very random.

Avoiding interaction

Unless your kid is usually reserved or shy, changing to such behavior, all of a sudden, could be an alarm bell. Drug users usually don’t like associating with non-users.

If you notice sudden disappearances at very odd hours, and avoiding all social interaction, it could be a warning sign of drug use.

Change in appearance

One of the most common signs of drug abuse is a drastic change in appearance. Most kids on drugs will have bloodshot eyes, a sleepy or very attentive look, frequent nosebleeds, unkempt hair and nails and a general lack of good personal hygiene.

Change in appearance is also related to poor appetite and weight loss, common with drug use.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Abuse

Mental health disorders and substance abuse often go hand in hand. In many cases, it is not clear whether mental health causes substance abuse or vice versa. However, the two often occur together. This is particularly true in the case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). About 50-60% of people who have PTSD also suffer from substance abuse. The comorbidity of PTSD and substance abuse can make it very difficult for the affected person to recover fully.

 

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a disorder that is caused by a person undergoing a traumatic or life-threatening event. This can include anything from soldiers at war to sexual assault victims, to car accidents, to domestic violence victims. The onset of PTSD can occur in as little as a few months after the traumatic experience and can be life long.

 

Symptoms of PTSD include:

 

  • Avoidance of people or things that are a reminder of the traumatic event
  • Re-experiencing the event through flashbacks or nightmares
  • Arousal and reactivity, such as being “on edge” or an inability to sleep
  • Cognition and mood symptoms such as feelings of guilt and a negative self-image.

 

Post-traumatic stress disorder induces a high level of stress for the suffering individual. People often use substances to help deal with high-stress levels. Substances can increase pleasure and help people temporarily forget about their problems. However, while these substances may temporarily help people forget about their problems, as the substance wears off, it often causes worsened PTSD symptoms. PTSD may lead a person to substance abuse, but that substance abuse often leads a person to experience worsened PTSD. It is a vicious cycle that typically requires the help of a medical professional.

 

When PTSD and substance abuse together, it is important to identify the two disorders and treat them in an integrated manner. If substance abuse has progressed to dependence, detox is often the first step towards recovery. Visiting a psychologist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy is an excellent step towards learning to manage stress better. Exposure therapy is another manner in which patients can learn to face their traumas head-on. In some cases, medications may be used to help manage anxiety, depression, or allow for better sleep.

 

Going through PTSD or substance abuse problems on their own can be a difficult process to navigate. However, dealing with the two together, can feel overwhelming and in some cases, impossible. It is important to understand that while PTSD symptoms may lead to substance abuse in an attempt to cope, substance abuse only makes PTSD symptoms worse. Having a strong support system is key to overcoming the vicious cycle of PTSD and substance abuse. In addition, having a strong network of medical professionals is key to helping the affected person live a fulfilling, healthy, and happy life. Dealing with PTSD and substance abuse can feel overwhelming. But, it is important to remember that there is hope, and there is a possibility to overcome the grueling diagnoses.