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,
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.
Late nights partying at the club – is ok, every now and again. Going to the occasional dinner gathering or holiday event, where alcohol is overconsumed, perfectly fine. Binging daily or making it a continuous habit, not so cool. This type of dangerous behavior could possibly turn deadly. Alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful and it is out to destroy. It does not discriminate, care what your socioeconomic status is, the size of your family or chosen profession.
Let’s define what alcohol dependence VS alcohol abuse is:
Being dependent on an alcoholic drink, both psychologically and physically. According to the DSM – 5, in 2013, it was reclassified as alcoholism
Once you take the first drink, you cannot stop. You are unable to put your drink down and you are powerless over the magical liquid. You are drinking to get drunk, every single day.
Alcoholism has you telling yourself you will quit soon, but you are unable to. For example, you mark days off on the calendar of when you will give up, the day arrives, and you cannot fathom life without a drink.
Your family and close friends notice your behavior is erratic and your life is unmanageable.
Individuals who regularly are dependent on alcohol have consciously chose to pattern themselves in disengaging full responsibility in all areas of their lives.
Often, we will see dependents significantly increase the amount of alcohol they purchase and drink, they will drink for extended periods of time and behaviors are unpredictable.
Alcoholism: the disease that makes you too selfish to see the havoc you created and care about the people you shattered. – quotesgram.com
Alcohol abuse is commonly referred to as consuming way too much, too frequently. You are off to the races, but you can stop after ten, even if you do not pass out. You probably bask in the euphoria of drinking 4-5, nightly, most days of the week.
Alcohol is probably the easiest substance to abuse because the potential is there. It’s legal, and it’s available. – Lance Penny, QuoteHD.com
Alcohol not only destroys us, it hurts people we lovingly care about, in the grueling process. Sometimes an intervention is necessary when an alcoholic has hit rock bottom. Our team at Pacific Bay Recovery standby to assist you and your family.
Trained, compassionate and successful healthcare experts want to guide you on your path to recovery. You are welcome to visit our website for additional information and to ask questions https://www.pacificbayrecovery.com/.
We encourage you to seek treatment with the help of caring specialists. Our facility is different than any other rehab center because you are not just a number with us. Each person that checks in to our treatment center is designed a special protocol, tailored to your individual recovery needs!
Remember, one day at a time and do not quit five minutes before your miracle. We want you to live a life of optimal wellness but that means you will face difficult challenges and you must learn to never give up!
Maybe you had a crazy night out with friends, fueled by many alcoholic drinks. Maybe you attended a party and consumed so much alcohol you don’t remember anything. If something like this happens more than once, is it a problem? Does drinking like this lead to addiction? What is alcohol dependence versus alcohol abuse?
Searching for answers to these questions or reaching out for support should never be discouraged. Pacific Bay Recovery Drug Treatment Center can help, www.pacificbayrecovery.com. Thanks to significant advances, there are a variety of treatment methods, and Pacific Bay Recovery Treatment Center can create a plan to treat both the body and the mind.
How Much Can You Drink?
Many adults drink moderately, without complications. Recent research even touts modest health benefits from alcohol consumption. For women, low-risk drinking is defined as no more than three drinks a day, not to exceed more than seven drinks per week. For men, it is no more than four drinks a day, with no more than 14 drinks per week.
When is Drinking Dependence or Abuse?
An estimated 16.6 million Americans have Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), which includes a range of mild, moderate and severe alcohol problems. AUD is identified by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over drinking alcohol, and a negative emotional state when not drinking.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) There are several questions to ask to determine when to seek help:
Experienced drinking more or for extended periods of time than intended?
Tried to stop drinking or cut down, without success?
Experienced a strong need to drink?
Spent a great deal of time seeking relief from the aftereffects?
Has drinking, or becoming sick from drinking, interfered with taking care of home or family, or caused job or school problems?
Continued to drink even though it caused trouble with family or friends?
Skipped activities, or reduced participation in things important to you or that gave you pleasure, to drink?
Experienced unsafe situations more than once while or after drinking (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in dangerous areas, or having unsafe sex)?
Increased drinking to achieve desired effects or found the usual number of drinks less effective than before?
Continued to drink even when depressed or anxious, or adding to another health problem or after experiencing a memory blackout?
When the effects of alcohol wear off, experienced withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating, or even sensed things that were not there?
If you have any of these symptoms, this may be a cause for concern. The more symptoms you experience, the more urgent the need is to change.
A health professional at Pacific Bay Recovery Drug Treatment Center, www.pacificbayrecovery.com, can provide a formal assessment of your symptoms. Ultimately, receiving treatment improves chances of success and provides a better path to enjoy life.
A JAMA Psychiatry article that was published in September 2017 has shown that Americans are consuming more alcohol than ever before. An estimated one out of every eight Americans which equates to around 30 million people, struggle with an alcohol disorder.
The study looked at the drinking patterns of around 40,000 individuals between 2002 and 2003 and compared it to that of people in 2012 and 2013. The findings were shocking, to say the least, especially in light of other substance abuse problems affecting the country such as the opioid epidemic.
The following findings were made in the study:
Alcohol use disorders rose by almost 50 percent. Nearly 9 percent of the population was affected in the initial research period compared to nearly 13 percent during the second part of the study.
Alcohol use disorders have almost doubled amongst the African American population.
There has been an increase of 84 percent of the female population struggling with alcohol use disorders.
It was also noted that alcohol use disorders increased more than double (106 percent) in individuals over the age of 65 and by nearly 82 percent in those between 45 and 65 years of age.
As can be seen, these statistics show the increase in alcohol use disorders. This is the complication of alcohol use and using alcohol in itself has spiked tremendously. High-risk drinking, a situation that is defined as consuming four or more drinks a day in women and five in men and including a day where this limit is exceeded at least once a week, has increased from nearly 10 percent in 2002/2003 to nearly 14 percent in 2012/2013.
What is Alcohol Use Disorder?
Alcohol use disorder is a condition that is associated with a pattern of alcohol use that involves:
Being preoccupied with alcohol.
Having problems controlling one’s frequency of drinking.
Continuing the use of alcohol even if it causes problems such as getting into trouble with the law.
Having to drink more alcohol in order to achieve the same effect.
Using alcohol to the point where the body becomes dependent on the substance and stopping it abruptly will lead to the user experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Complications of alcohol use disorder may include:
Alcohol intoxication – the higher the alcohol level in the bloodstream, the more impaired one becomes and this can lead to issues such as mental changes and behavioral problems such as unstable moods, inappropriate behavior, slurred speech, poor coordination, and impaired judgment.
Alcohol withdrawal – when alcohol use is stopped or greatly reduced, the user can experience problems such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating, hand tremors, hallucinations, sleep-related problems, anxiety, agitation, and even seizures.
Pacific Bay Recovery
Pacific Bay Recovery is a top drug and alcohol rehabilitation center that specializes in helping patients with substance abuse issues such as alcohol use disorder.
The facility includes managing patients on an inpatient and/or outpatient basis depending on their needs and unique circumstances and offers the services of healthcare professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists, and occupational therapists to name a few.
A recent article on Foxnews.com explored just how dangerous attempting to deal with alcohol withdrawal at home without treatment can be. Alcohol addiction is a difficult illness to overcome, especially in people who can’t afford expensive long-term residential programmes. However, going cold turkey without the proper medication can be deadly. Luckily there are alternatives but currently, there is a lack of understanding about the options for alcohol withdrawal treatment at home.
If you don’t remember your biology classes from high school take a minute to remind yourself about homeostasis. Homeostasis explains how the body keeps itself in sync. Homeostasis explains why you are able to maintain a body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (by sweating if you become too hot or shivering if you are too cold). The same principle applies to alcohol. When you consistently consume alcohol, your brain adapts to its new normal. The neurons (the signaling cells in the brain) adapt and get used to the alcohol. Of course, the alcohol is having detrimental effects on the body – particularly the liver – whilst a person drinks. When you take the alcohol away you put the body out of sync. The brain is no longer in homeostasis. Without the depressant effect of the alcohol, the brain goes into overdrive causing a number of distressing symptoms:
Tremors – your hands may shake as the brain wrestles to control the body
Hallucinations – This occurs in the brain cannot process what is a genuine stimuli (aka what the brain is seeing) and what is part of the imagination. This can be particularly distressing.
Alcohol Withdrawal medication
A much safer way to detox from alcohol is with a certified recovery practice. This can either be as an inpatient, but can also be managed at home. You may have heard of many of the alcohol withdrawal medications which include:
Benzodiazepines: these drugs have been used for years to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. They work by decreasing brain activity (which you need during the withdrawal period). They have a sedative effect, relaxing the patient and putting them to sleep.
Anticonvulsants: You might have heard of these drugs being used for epilepsy. That’s because they were originally designed to treat epilepsy. However, addicts undergoing withdrawal can often have seizures (much like an epileptic would) and these drugs can help prevent that.
As we have seen – alcohol withdrawal is dangerous but there are options for addicts looking for alcohol withdrawal treatment at home. A number of alcohol withdrawal medications are available to avoid some of the distressing and occasionally deadly side effects of withdrawal. If you do try to detox at home, make sure you seek help from an experienced recovery clinic that can prescribe withdrawal medications and guide you through the process with experienced practitioners.
It isn’t what you plan, but sometimes, drinking causes you to cross the line from the occasional use or social use to problematic everyday drinking. This leads to alcoholism or alcohol abuse, which is related to genetics, social environment, and psychological issues. Certain ethnic groups are more at risk for alcohol abuse than others, such as Native Alaskans and Native American Indians. Alcoholism tends to run in families, too, and heavy drinkers suffer from numerous mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression.
Do I have a Drinking Problem?
Drinking is more acceptable in many cultures and the effects of alcohol use vary from person to person. When social drinking becomes problem drinking, then the alcohol is in control. You may suffer from alcohol abuse if you:
Lie to others or hide your drinking habits.
Feel ashamed or guilty regarding your drinking.
Need to drink for the purpose of relaxation.
Experience “blackouts” after drinking.
Have family members or friends who are concerned about your drinking.
Drink to excess on a regular basis.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse
Substance abuse physicians and counselors do not consider alcohol abuse to be the same as alcohol dependence, which is essentially alcoholism. Alcohol abusers do have the ability to limit their drinking, whereas alcoholics do not. However, excessive use of alcohol is dangerous and self-destructive either way. The common signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse include:
Continuing to drink regardless of problems in relationships, work, or other.
Repetitively neglecting responsibilities due to the drinking.
Using alcohol while driving or operating heavy machinery.
Having repeated legal problems due to the drinking.
Drinking to relax or reduce stress.
When Alcohol Abuse turns into Alcoholism
Not all people who use or abuse alcohol develop full-blown alcoholism. However, frequent abuse of this substance is a major risk factor for alcoholism. Certain losses or tragedies often trigger binge drinking or other substance use issues. When a person becomes reliant on alcohol in order to function or feel physically well, then he or she is considered an alcoholic.
One of the first warning signs of alcoholism is tolerance. This is when you can drink considerable amounts without getting drunk or feeling “buzzed.” Tolerance is when a person requires more and more alcohol in order to feel the same effects. Another warning sign is withdrawal. This is when someone has certain symptoms when alcohol has not been in his or her system for a while, such as tremors, anxiety, or mood swings. In severe cases, withdrawal from alcohol causes hallucinations, seizures, nausea, vomiting, fever, and confusion.
Denial of Drinking Problems
Denial is the biggest obstacle when considering rehabilitation (rehab) for alcohol abuse or dependence. For many alcoholics, the desire to drink is so strong that it causes problems with rational thinking and the consequences are ignored. Denial also leads to serious problems with relationships, work, social life, and finances. A person who is dependent on alcohol will deny this by:
Downplaying the amount he or she drinks.
Avoiding accepting consequences that are related to drinking.
Complaining that friends and family members exaggerate regarding the problem.
Blaming the drinking on other people or things.
Illicit Drug Abuse
Illicit drug use and abuse often lead to severe consequences, as in jail time or a prison sentence. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 70 percent of prison entrants report using substances in the year prior to incarceration. Men are more likely than women to have used drugs before entering prison, also. Among young people aged 18 to 44, around 73 percent have used an illicit drug during the previous 12 months.
Illicit drug use and addiction is one of the worse types of addict problems. Illicit drugs are illegal to make, use, and/or sell, and include cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, and various hallucinogens. Also, most of these substances are highly addictive and carry serious health consequences and risks, even when consumed in small or infrequent doses. While it begins as experimentation, illicit drug users often find themselves dealing with the mental and physical effects of the drug and withdrawal from the substance. A person can become addicted easily and endanger the safety and health of others. Researchers have found that addiction is a brain disease, which is characterized by chronic relapses and abnormalities in certain brain pathways.
Categories of Illicit Drugs
Illicit drug effects are dependent upon the substance. The main categories are opioids, stimulants, sedatives, and hallucinogens. These drugs are categorized based on their effects. These include:
Opioids – Painkillers and heroin that alter chemicals in the brain responsible for mood regulation, slow down the central nervous system, and decrease breathing effort.
Stimulants – Methamphetamines, and cocaine lead to increased heart rate, excessive brain activity, and a state of hyperactivity.
Sedatives – Drugs such as Xanax and Valium are sedatives, and these cause a slowing down effect, drowsiness, and confusion.
Hallucinogens – LSD, mushrooms, and marijuana can alter the perception of time, space, and reality.
The Signs of Illicit Drug Addiction
There are certain behaviors that indicate an addiction to an illicit drug. These include:
Aggressive behavior, violence, and/or mood swings
Unusual or sudden change of energy level
Preoccupation with obtaining and using a certain drug
Isolation from family and friends
Chronic mental and physical health problems
Inability to attend work or social activities
Legal consequences, such as loss of job or an arrest
Behavior that violates values and/or morals for the purpose of getting a drug
Inpatient rehab program – This is best for individuals who suffer from severe illicit drug addiction. Doctors, therapists, and counselors monitor the addict to provide safety and a healthy environment for recovery.
Outpatient rehab program – These facilities work for the addict who wishes to maintain his or her job or for those who have families. The person attends group activities and classes at the facility but returns to home and daily activities.
12-Step program – NA and AA are both good 12-step programs that offer support to people with addictions. These programs use the 12-step concept in order to help a person manage obsessions and compulsions of addiction.
Psychotherapy – Drug addiction often coexists with emotional and or mental health issues. This can lead to self-destructive patterns without appropriate psychotherapy.
Feeling good about yourself during the days, weeks, and months of recovery is a great way to prevent relapse. Some studies have shown that working with youth groups and schools will help you promote this feeling of self-worth. According to the NSDUH 2010 survey report, 10 percent of youths age 12 to 17 have used illicit drugs, 15.6 percent of college students are heavy drinkers, and 42 percent of college students are binge drinkers.
Recovering drug or alcohol addicts who speak to the younger generation may find some self-worth by educating others about staying sober. The feeling of being responsible and working to help others will lessen your risk of relapse, while reinforcing what you are doing to help yourself. Attending meetings with other addicts and groups is beneficial for your drug and alcohol relapse prevention. The support during these times is crucial to understanding why you are sober, and these individuals know what you are going through. Listening to how others have stayed sober from drugs or alcohol will help in your relapse prevention.
When recovering from a drug and/or alcohol addiction, you must keep yourself out of those high risk situations that might trigger you to relapse. It is very easy to find yourself back in these situations, especially today with our busy and hectic lifestyles and daily dealings with families, employers, or friends. But let’s face it — sometimes during your recovery you are not going to be able to avoid these issues and stressors. Have a plan for what you will do if these situations present themselves. Substance abuse professionals all agree that prevention is vital to your success or downfall during recovery.
Use the Three Way Approach
There should be as at least three ways you would handle the trigger situation, so you aren’t tempted if the first doesn’t work. For example, the easiest thing to do is leave the situation altogether and get away from the negative and unhealthy influences. Secondly, get to a place that calms you so you are able to get the cravings under control. A third option is to find a sober friend and talk it out, as this helps get your mind back in the right state. Find out what works best for you, and write down if it works or scratch it off your list if it does not help. Remind yourself of why you are doing this and what you went through to get to where you are at today.
List it Out
Making a list of situations you need to stay away from has helped others by identifying what days and times may be reminders of drinking or doing drugs, as well as point out who and where you need to avoid. Don’t worry what others may think of you if you decline a wedding invitation or if you choose not to go to a party late in the evening, because these situations could cause you to relapse. If they are true friends and family, then they will understand your situation and struggles.