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Alcoholism & Social Media

An overwhelming number of people use social media on a daily basis all over the world. It has tremendous reach and impact and what circulates there finds its imprints in the lives of almost everyone. Alcohol-related content has among the highest circulation/readership on the internet. Given its vast implications, you find such content to be almost ubiquitous online. This ranges from proper advertisements of liquor to individuals posting selfies while consuming alcohol to influencers/bloggers advertently or inadvertently promoting lifestyles where alcohol is prevalent.

From the outset, all such content appears to be harmless, and continuous exposure also plays a role in our desensitization towards it. However, research has shown that posting alcohol-related content on social media is associated with high rates of alcohol consumption, cravings, and alcohol addiction. More studies are suggesting that these messages may be powerful enough to influence a person’s drinking habits. A recent study found that people who were shown Facebook ads promoting beer were more likely to indulge in an alcoholic beverage than those who viewed bottled water ads. Another study showed that alcohol-related messaging on social media primed people to think about alcohol which can influence them to drink. Another major concern is that of underage drinking. It is entirely possible that social media messages may promote underage drinking.

Research has shown that posting alcohol-related content on social media is associated with high rates of alcohol consumption

Direct alcohol advertising on social media is on the rise. Many major liquor companies have increased their digital marketing budget by more than 50 percent every year over the past several years. These ads are getting more creative and as a result, more effective. They are using contests, giveaways, and games to gain new followers and sell more alcohol. Researchers are finding out that such kind of content posted by alcohol companies on social media tends to normalize daily alcohol use and binge drinking. Furthermore, these social media ads are also increasingly targeting women, which is inducing a noticeable cultural shift that includes heavier and more frequent drinking among women. Studies show that heavy drinking among women is up 40 percent in the past 20 years. There is a significantly higher number of women are presenting to ER due to alcohol poisoning.

But it’s not just the ads. Social media users do a lot of alcohol promotion themselves as well. People on social media organize happy hours and parties online, and they share multimedia posts on various social media platforms. These online activities have a significant peer pressure effect on others. As we know that teens and young adults are the heaviest users of social media, and are especially susceptible to this pressure. In a recent study, it was found that brand allegiance increased the odds of being an underage drinker significantly and it was also associated with more frequent and heavier alcohol consumption.

All of this calls for more regulation on social media advertisement. It also calls for a more responsible online behavior on everybody’s part – as an individual and as a social community. Whether it is as someone posting content or consuming it as a user, there is a role we can all play to mitigate this problem.

What Happens When An Addict Fails Treatment Recovery?

Ideally, all addiction patients who go through the recovery process will recover from their disease and never relapse. Unfortunately, the world is not perfect, and many times, patients relapse. After a relapse, many addiction patients may find it very difficult to return to the recovery process. However, it is important to remember than many people experience relapse, and it is never too late, nor is a patient ever too far gone to begin the recovery process again.

One of the most challenging things for a patient to do is face their family and mend broken relationships. Restoring broken relationships with the family is an important step in ensuring the addict has a strong support system to help with rehabilitation. Often, it is helpful for the addict and family to have an unbiased person facilitating the initial conversations. Many families do not fully understand addiction, and in some cases, may actually be enabling the addict in their disease.

Another step to successful recovery includes creating healthy boundaries within the family. This can be everything from financial boundaries, boundaries in what is discussed about treatment and the addict’s disease, and understanding sensitive topics. Every family is different, so these boundaries may differ. However, all addicts need boundaries to help them in their recovery. If things go back to exactly the way they were, they may run the risk of relapse again. This is also why it is also important for addicts to seek out support groups aside from their families who may better understand their situation such as Alcoholics Anonymous or similar groups.

It is important for addicts who have failed treatment to remember that as long as they are willing to try again, it is a misstep, not a failure. Many people in the world have relapsed multiple times. The beauty of addiction treatment programs is they always offer a place for addicts to start when they are ready to deal with their disease.

Typically, people who follow the rehabilitation program steps will have success in remaining sober. However, relapse usually occurs when one or more of the steps is not followed. If treatment recovery fails, the addict, the family, and the rehabilitation center need to figure out where the breakdown was, so relapse does not occur again. In some cases, it may be that the addict was skipping appoints, or reverted to an old friend group, and in other cases, it may be that the addict’s family was enabling them.

There is a multitude of reasons why treatment recover fails. But, the important thing to remember is there is always time to start again. When an addict and their family are committed to fighting addiction, there is hope. Many rehabilitation centers encompass treatment for the patient, along with education for the family. Addiction is a terrifying disease and can do a lot of harm to a person’s life. It may take several tries before successful treatment occurs. The most important thing is to remember never to give up hope. There is always help right around the corner.

Keys to Successful Drug Addiction Recovery

Drug addiction recovery will look different for each person because all people are unique. Some people may need a stronger emphasis on certain parts of the recovery, and some people may struggle more with other parts. While drug addiction recovery is unique for each person, there are a few key factors that can benefit all people undergoing drug addiction recovery.

First off, typically the longer a treatment program is, the more successful it will be. This especially applies to those addicts who are deep in their addiction. Addiction occurs because neuro pathways in the brain have changed to make the addict need a drug. Every time the addict uses his or her substance of choice, those pathways are reinforced and become even harder to change. Therefore, a person who has been suffering from addiction for many years may benefit from a more extended treatment program than someone who is a new user. Some research has found that programs over 90 days offer the best chance for success.

It is also important for the person undergoing recovery treatment to have a strong network of people who understand their struggle. While healthy family and friend relationships are key to help an addict’s recovery last, it is equally as important for an addict to feel they have a network of people who understand what they have been through. Treatment programs that encompass a full lifestyle change versus solely focusing on no longer using typically have the best results.

While outside influences and support groups are important, at the end of the day, the addict is the most important part of drug addiction recovery. Patients need to be willing to put themselves first, to show up to all meetings, get a sponsor, go to family and individual therapy, re-learn how to manage money and be a productive member of society, and ultimately forgive themselves. Many patients end up relapsing because the guilt and shame they feel are just too much to bear. A key part of drug addiction recovery success is rooted in forgiveness. Forgiveness allows the addict to put themselves first and take the necessary steps to maintain their recovery and avoiding relapse.

There is no shortcut to a successful drug recovery. Patients and families must be willing to put in the work, both in the short term and the long term, to ensure the person suffering from addiction can stay sober. The most important thing is for an addict to undergo recovery for themselves. They need to remember it is ok to prioritize their recovery process, whether that means meetings every day, or therapy, or getting a whole new group of friends. Following the recovery process without taking any shortcuts is key to remaining sober.

Drug addiction recovery is not a one size fits all. Some people may stay in a treatment program for a few months, while others may remain for a year. Each person’s circumstance and needs are different. It is key to find a recovery program that focuses on creating a customized treatment plan. For this reason, it is also important for addicts not to compare themselves to others and to never lose hope. While recovery will not be the same for everyone, having a strong support system, sticking to the program, and forgiving oneself are all necessary keys for an addict to have a successful recovery.

What is a Functioning Addict?

Most people hear the term “addict” and immediately picture someone who is down and out. They imagine someone so addicted to their substance of choice that they may have lost their home and be living on the streets. Or someone involved in a life of crime, and maybe they have even been in and out of prison. While this is the reality for many addicts, there is another kind of addict called a “functioning addict.”

The term “functioning addict” is a bit of a misnomer. While yes, functioning addicts are typically able to maintain their jobs or losing all their money, they are not fully functioning people. The typical day of a functioning addict may start with a drink in the morning, and barely making it through the workday until they have a few more drinks when they get home. Functioning addicts are typically absent from their role in the family. They are removed from social groups and tend to keep to themselves.

While this may not cause physical harm, it can adversely affect the family unit and friendships.
Friends and family of an addict need to understand that addiction is a disease, even when it is in the form of a functioning addict. Often, people may look at a functioning addict and assume they simply do not want to get help or do not care to remain involved in their family and friend groups. However, functioning addicts are suffering from a disease that they may not be able to heal from on their own.

There are actual physical brain changes that occur in the brain of a functioning addict. Typically drugs and alcohol cause a dopamine release in the brain. After this pattern is repeated multiple times, as is the case with an addict, the brain stores the memory that using a specific substance will make the whole body feel better, even though the substance is harmful. The dopamine release is so powerful, it makes it very difficult for the addict to find happiness or joy from anything other than the substance to which they are addicted. The more a person uses a substance to feel better, the stronger the neuro connections in the brain become that drive the person to desire the substance.

One of the important parts of addiction treatment is building new neuropathways the re-teach the brain how to find pleasure in something other than the addict’s substance of choice. It is also important that addicts learn to avoid triggers, and when they do encounter triggers, learn healthier ways of dealing with them. Functioning addicts may be able to participate in most day to day activities. However, their lives are still negatively affected by substances. Many functioning addicts can find outpatient treatment, which can help them regain control of their lives. Addiction is a challenging disease to heal from without help. Fortunately, there are many resources available to those living with this disease.

4 Common Addictions to Familiar Substances

Addiction is a brain disease that can destroy an individual’s entire life. Regardless of how it began, substance abuse can turn your and your loved ones’ lives upside down. Unfortunately, the most common addictions are of substances that are easily accessible and can catch your unawares, if you are careful.

Marijuana

Marijuana is a drug that has recently been legalized in many states, for medicinal and recreational usage. But the drug still has its addictive qualities.

Marijuana has been shown to be helpful in specific cases, in small doses, in a medical setting, but not for recreational use. Continued use of marijuana can make a person addicted to the drug, and may even damage your cognitive abilities.

Tobacco

Tobacco is truly one of the most common addictions in the world. It is available almost everywhere – from the gas station to the grocery store. You can even buy it in bulk, depending on which form of tobacco you use. They are quite affordable too. Anyone over 18 can get their hands on a pack of cigarettes for a reasonable price.

Did you know that tobacco contains nicotine which causes addiction? Nicotine makes the adrenal glands release adrenaline and increases dopamine. But tobacco smoking can lead to lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.

The easy access to such an addictive drug makes it one of the most common addictive substance.

Beer

Beer stands right behind tobacco because of its consumption and addiction potential. Beer is made and sold worldwide. Almost anyone, above the age of 21 years, can buy and consume beer, legally. You can buy it in bulk, like tobacco and it is affordable. There is no restriction on how much you can buy at a time.

Fortunately, there are some regulations on beer that are stricter. For example, you can smoke and drive but it’s illegal to drink and drive.

Beer contains alcohol that affects the brain, in a way that it can cause phases of anxiety or depression, if you go without it for some time.

Medications

When a doctor prescribes some mediation, people generally do not think of getting high off of them. The problem is they’re easy for an addict to get their hands on.

If you are taking some prescription pain medication, it’s not difficult for anyone in your family to get their hands on these pills, since they since they’re lying in plain sight. Many such drugs are addictive too.

Many Over-the-Counter (OTC) medications are easily available and cost less.

If you or a loved one is addicted to a substance, it is best to seek professional help right away.

 

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Many people who suffer from a variety of substance abuse issues also suffer from some kind of mental illness. This is called dual diagnosis because the person suffers from multiple illnesses. The Journal of the American Medical Association states that the number of people suffering from mental illness who also suffer from some kind of substance abuse is as high as 50 %. Oftentimes mental illness can lead to substance abuse, which in turn, makes the mental illness even more difficult to deal with. People who suffer from dual diagnosis should seek treatment for both illnesses, not just one.

When a person suffers from a dual diagnosis, it is important to treat both illnesses at the same time. This typically creates better outcomes for the patient. Focusing on only one illness at a time can end up leading to relapse. Ideally, patients should be treated for both illnesses from the same center because it allows for a more comprehensive and harmonious plan. Facilities such as Pacific Bay Recovery offer such treatment plans.

When people notice these symptoms and feelings are becoming a part of everyday life, it may be time to seek help
Patients who are treated at Pacific Bay Recovery go through a process to identify the root issues in their dual diagnosis. Individualized programs are created for each patient because no two diagnoses manifest exactly the same in different people. Those suffering from dual diagnosis typically benefit greatly from individual and family therapy, behavioral therapy, and relapse prevention.

While dual diagnosis can include any combination of substance abuse and mental health issues, the most common mental health issues seen are anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. While mental health issues do not directly cause addiction, and addiction does not directly cause mental health issues, the two together make one another worse. Oftentimes, people will use substances to self medicate. Which, in turn, makes their mental health issues worsen.

Many people are ashamed of substance abuse or mental health illnesses. This can lead to denial which makes treatment and diagnosis even harder. For this reason, it is important to look out for signs that a person may be suffering from dual diagnosis, and remind them that it is ok to ask for help. Some of these signs include an inability to lower substance use, feeling guilty about substance use, substances causing issues in life, feeling hopeless, concentration problems, poor sleep, racing thoughts, irritability, and always feeling on edge. Many people experience these symptoms every so often. However, when people notice these symptoms and feelings are becoming a part of everyday life, it may be time to seek help.

Dual diagnosis is not easy to treat. It typically requires a very personalized approach where both problems are treated at the same time. Therapy is one of the most important components for treating dual diagnosis. Methods for treating dual diagnosis include coping skills, educating the patient on their dual diagnosis, learning better decision-making strategies, identifying and avoiding triggers, and social skills training. It is very important that those people suffering from dual diagnosis have a strong support system at home to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle after treatment has concluded.

Drug Abuse in the United States

Drug abuse is a major problem in the United States. It can come in the form of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, or prescription drugs. While some of these substances are legal, when people begin using any kind of substance in an effort to get high, it becomes drug abuse. Drug abuse is a problem that affects a wide range of people, from teenagers to adults, students to professionals, athletes, you name it. Drug abuse can occur for a wide variety of reasons. Therefore, those suffering from drug addiction require a personalized treatment plan in order to begin the process of recovery.

Alcohol is one of the most common drugs. Many people drink alcohol, and in moderation, it can be ok. However, 6.5% of the population in the U.S. admits to heavy drinking. Heavy drinking can lead to problems such as liver and pancreas disease. Women who abuse alcohol while pregnant can event affect their child. Many people discount signs of alcohol abuse because alcohol is “legal.” However, it is a very widely abused substance and should be taken seriously,

Hallucinogens such as PCP and LSD are commonly used among drug abusers
Marijuana is another widely abused substance and is very popular among the teenage demographic. While it may not be as fatal as other drugs, it can still negative effects on the user. Cocaine is another abused drug. People who use cocaine typically do so for its stimulant effects. It keeps people awake for long period s of time and can give the user euphoric effects. While the effects typically only last half an hour, the drug can quickly alter the person’s body putting them at a much higher risk of stroke. Hallucinogens such as PCP and LSD are commonly used among drug abusers. While it’s much harder to overdose from these drugs, many people who utilize them are at risk of secondary injuries from distorted perception such as falling.

Heroin is possibly the most addictive drug in the world. Unfortunately, in recent years, heroin use in the U.S. has surged due to the crackdown on prescription medications. Heroin is extremely addictive because it changes brain function. With regular use, those who use heroin quickly develop a tolerance and find themselves unable to function without more and more heroin in their systems. Another reason for heroin is so addictive is due to the painful detox. Even with one use, people may start feeling withdrawal symptoms after the drug has worn off. People who inject heroin will find themselves at a higher risk of blood-borne infections due to dirty needles. They are also at risk for Hepatitis C, HIV, kidney disease, abscesses, and even death.

There is a multitude of drugs people choose to abuse for various reasons. Sometimes it is because they were legally prescribed, sometimes it is because they were just curious to try a drug. However, regardless of the user’s drug of choice, treatment, and a strong support system is always important in the road to recovery. Much of the recovery includes detox, therapy, and coping mechanisms to help the drug abuser lead a healthier and drug-free lifestyle.

Who needs Residential Addiction Rehab?

Drug and alcohol addiction affect millions every year. When the individual is able to overcome denial and agree to professional help and treatment, it is a big leap for them. However, it is important to know that there are various treatment plans available, based on your specific situation.

Some treatment programs are available as inpatient or residential programs while others are in an outpatient setting. To make the right choice, read on to understand who needs residential addiction rehab.

Residential or Inpatient Treatment

In residential rehabs, patients stay in the rehab during their treatment, where they receive round-the-clock care. These facilities often provide more comprehensive services to help their patients recover.

Residential treatment usually consists of a number of stages. Beginning with medical detox, patients are weaned off the drug under medical supervision. In the next stage, these patients start going through counseling and therapy to address what caused their addiction, in the first place. This may include learning life skills and building healthy habits.

On the other hand, outpatient treatment, provides this treatment in parts, when patients come for appointments and meetings.

Who needs Residential Addiction Rehab?

Residential treatment is always the better choice because the individual receives 24-hour care from compassionate professionals. It is easier to recover because the substance is not available, and the person can stay away from the triggers and stressors that pushed him/her towards addiction. The person can look forward to faster recovery.

However, this type of treatment may not be suitable for those, who do not have anyone to help them with their responsibilities, like kids at home, when they are at the rehab. These people can opt for the intensive outpatient treatment.

Remember that detox should be done under residential treatment to ensure safer recovery. Many withdrawal symptoms can be severe and it is not a good idea to detox at home.

 

Hashish addiction

Hashish is a plant derivative substance, extracted from the trichomes, flowers, and fragments of leaves and stems of the cannabis plant. It contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the same active ingredients found in marijuana, but at a much higher concentration (up to 15% in hashish as compared to 5% in marijuana). Hash oil is another substance produced by solvent extraction of hashish/marijuana and ends up having even a higher dose of THC.

Based on the way it is prepared, it comes in various forms and preparations. Hash oil comes as a golden syrupy-like substance. Hash is typically consumed by smoking or ingestion, but the effects are much faster and stronger when smoked due to faster entry into the bloodstream through the lungs. How does hashish work? The active substance of hashish, THC acts by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the neurons, which results in physical, emotional, and cognitive effects.

The active substance of hashish, THC acts by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the neurons, which results in physical, emotional, and cognitive effects
While many studies have shown that there are medicinal effects of cannabis products, particularly a substance known as cannabidiol, it should be noted that the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still considers cannabis a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning that it is considered to have no medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.

So what does hash abuse look like? Hashish is typically smoked in pipes or bongs. Some users add hashish to food or brew it in a tea, and other casual ways. However, given the potent concentration of THC present in hashish, it has a higher potential for addiction and more serious side effects as compared to marijuana. The typical signs and symptoms of hash addiction include euphoria, increased relaxation, hunger, sore throat, panic, paranoia, anxiety, tachycardia, hypertension, impaired coordination, lack of motivation, impaired concentration, and hallucinations.

Long-term effects of hash abuse include immunosuppression, respiratory issues from chronic lung damage, sexual dysfunction in males, cardiovascular issues, mental issues, etc. As expected, hashish users face significant social issues as well, such as job loss, financial issues, legal issues, strained relationships with spouses, children, and other loved ones, just to name a few.

The use of hashish among teens is disproportionately high. There are several reasons for that – most of them having to do that mainstream acceptance and legalization (in some states) of marijuana, and coupling hashish with it as a comparable alternative, which of course, it isn’t. There is a tendency is downplay the potential for abuse, physical dependence, and other harmful effects of hashish. The teens are even more susceptible to its deleterious effects because of their greater propensity for the development of a substance use disorder. They are also more susceptible to peer pressure and having an underlying ADHD or conduct disorder which increases their predilection for hashish addiction, further leading to polysubstance abuse.

Health awareness and education play an important role in helping teenagers understand the hazards of hashish use. Preventing hashish addiction can also prevent falling prey to other even more serious drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

The Addiction of Sniffing Glue

Sniffing glue is a dangerous addiction. Glue is easily available and provides a degree of euphoria (feeling high) that gets people, especially younger individuals (teenagers) hooked. Solvent glue is categorized as an Inhalant, among others including aerosol sprays, cleaners, etc. There are various forms of solvent glues available, such as model glue and rubber cement.

While it might appear to be a casual activity, it can actually be life-threatening. But even if the result isn’t fatal, it can still lead to brain damage and serious lung injury. The degree of bodily harm this addictive behavior inflicts depends on the type of glue used and the frequency and amount of it inhaled. Some of the symptoms that can help identify someone who is sniffing glue include the chemical odor on clothes and breath, rash around the mouth, headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, mood swings and belligerence, decline in thinking skills, concentration, and decision-making ability, loss of interest in normal activities, lack of interest in personal relationships, numbness and tingling in hands and feet, loss of coordination, fatigue, hearing loss, apathy, impaired judgment, and loss of consciousness.

Inhalants have been known to cause various degrees of brain damage
Some of the most significant organ damage that can result from sniffing glue include:

Lung injury: Sniffing glue can lead to acute respiratory failure, which is a potentially fatal condition. It occurs by direct damage to lung tissue by the chemicals in the glue, which then limits the necessary amount of oxygen being absorbed into the blood. If other substances are being used as well, they can further promote lung damage in these users, and lead to irreversible chronic respiratory failure.

Brain damage: Inhalants have been known to cause various degrees of brain damage. The most widely implicated chemicals are toluene and naphthalene, which can damage the myelin sheath, and cause potentially severe and irreversible damage to brain function.

Cardiac injury: Sniffing inhalants can also cause damage to the heart, specifically its electric circuitry. This can lead to an irregular heartbeat, also known as arrhythmia, and can potentially lead to heart failure. There is a condition known as sudden sniffing death syndrome (SSDS), which may occur even after a single use of an inhalant.

In addition to the above, inhalant use can also cause liver and renal damage.

The treatment for inhalant use is emergent. If the user is found to be unconscious, call 911 immediately and remove them from the toxic environment they were found in. The focus of the emergent treatment is to get the person to be stable, followed by rehab therapy. Rehab therapy is focused on identifying factors that led to the use of inhalants, and help address any underlying causes, such as mental health disorders. While the acute rehab treatment is inpatient, the patient is switched to an outpatient setting once stable enough. It should be followed by relapse prevention programs and support groups to help the recovered patient stay away from the conditions that lead to inhalant use through continued support.