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Tag Archive: drug abuse

How can I know if I need to seek treatment for drug addiction?

Not every drug user is sure of whether or not they need treatment. Some users claim that they are simply recreational drug users, and do not worry that their habit is causing problems.

Rarely, this can be the case. Unfortunately, in most situations, recreational drug users are on a path towards addiction. If you’re not sure of whether or not you need to seek treatment, then this article should give you the insight that you need.

When do I need treatment?

 

The simple way to look at this is to ask yourself if you are experiencing any of the following:

 

  • Signs and symptoms of drug abuse.

  • The development of tolerance.

  • Withdrawal symptoms.

If you do not reduce your drug usage early on, you will quickly experience drug tolerance

Signs and symptoms of drug abuse are the first indicators that you need to seek treatment. If you don’t seek treatment at this stage, you will begin to develop a drug tolerance. If you still refrain from seeking treatment after you’ve developed a tolerance, you are likely to develop withdrawal symptoms.

 

Here are some more details about these stages of addiction.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse

 

If you are displaying any of these signs or symptoms of drug abuse, it’s a good idea to seek treatment before the problem becomes any more serious.

 

  • Spending more money on drugs than you intend to
  • Missing out on social gatherings, work, or family time to do drugs
  • Feeling like you’re unable to socialize or find motivation without drugs
  • Hiding your drug use from friends or family
  • Thinking about drugs when you’re not using them
  • Having to lie or ‘bend the truth’ in regards to your drug use
  • Experiencing problems with authorities as a result of drug use
  • Developing mood instabilities or noticing cognitive issues, like ‘brain fog’ or slow thinking
  • Noticing changes in energy levels, lethargy

 

Drug Tolerance

 

If you do not reduce your drug usage early on, you will quickly experience drug tolerance.

 

A tolerant user requires larger and larger doses of a substance to experience the same effects that they did when they first started using. In most cases, drug tolerance will ‘plateau’ – that is, it will level out at a certain phase.

 

Most often, in this phase, users are unable to achieve the desirable effects that they once did. A person becomes physically or psychologically dependent on the drug and may experience withdrawal symptoms.

 

Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Withdrawal symptoms occur when your body is physically dependent on a drug. At this stage, you will require the drug to function normally. If you aren’t able to use the drug, you may experience symptoms like:

 

  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the joints and bones
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Anxiety, depression, and mood instability
  • Inability to socialize
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss
  • Itchy, crawling skin
  • Shaking
  • Diarrhea and digestive issues
  • Dehydration
  • Seizures

 

In Conclusion

 

If you experience any signs and symptoms of drug addiction or abuse, it’s best to seek treatment as soon as possible. If you don’t, then you run the risk of developing a more serious addiction down the road.

 

Written by Nigel Ford

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.

Drug Dependence vs Drug Addiction – How Our Alternative Approach Prevents These

There is a difference between drug addiction and dependence that is important to understand. Although some use these words interchangeably, the preferred term is now “Substance use disorder”.

Drug dependence often alludes to the physical dependence on a substance and is characterized by the symptoms of tolerance and withdrawal. It typically precedes addiction.

Addiction is characterized by a change in behavior caused by the biochemical changes in the brain after substance abuse has continued over a period of time. The addict develops full dependence on the substance and craves for it and seeks it at all costs, with no regard to the harm it causes to themselves or others. It is highlighted by irrational drug-seeking behavior.

Mental dependence is when a person desires a substance in response to an event or feeling, which are known as “triggers.” Triggers can be set off by another person, events, experiences, etc.

Drug abuse is considered to be the early stage of drug dependence

Addiction becomes evident when both, mental and physical dependence is present.

Drug abuse is considered to be the early stage of drug dependence. When the abuse becomes more frequent, the likelihood of developing a dependence disorder gets greater.

 

It is important to differentiate between addiction and substance dependence. Dependence may be present without addiction, but it frequently leads to addiction.

 

We employ an alternative approach to pain management with a goal in mid to keep patients away from drugs that they can develop dependence for. Opioids, antianxiety meds, and stimulants all have addiction potential. They develop tolerance towards it, which means that when people use it, they need more of it to have the same desired effect. This leads to higher or more frequent dosing (abuse). That eventually leads to dependence and then addiction.

 

In order to prevent this cascade of events, we try to employ alternative methods for pain relief – such as herbal supplements, nonsedating meds with no addiction potential, and nonpharmacologic activities, including acupuncture, meditation, yoga, etc. While they may be less strong pain-relieving methods as compared to opioids, they can be extremely effective. For severe, uncontrolled pain, you would require strong painkillers but a wide range of patients can achieve effective and lasting pain relief from these options. The key benefit of these is the fact that they have no addiction potential, and in most cases, promote a healthy lifestyle.

 

It is important to remember that the key tenet of medicine is – first do no harm. While necessary in some cases, opioids and other anxiolytics and sedatives have a high risk of dependence leading to addiction, which can even be life-threatening. We explore all healthy alternatives to them as much as possible to avoid these problems and heal the patients at the same time. We deeply care about the wellbeing of our patients and strive to improve their life experience as much as possible.

Cases of Severe Bleeding Linked with Synthetic Cannabinoid Use

Around the end of March of this year, 2018, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported that there were 50 cases of severe bleeding linked with the use of synthetic cannabinoids in that state, including two cases where patients died.

The synthetic drug which is referred to as fake weed, spice or K2 consists of a combination of hundreds of different chemicals. This makes it very difficult to determine what the user has smoked or consumed.

The drug is produced and sold as a cannabinoid product because it acts on the same receptors in the brain as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) does which is the main active ingredient in cannabis. According to the IDPH, synthetic cannabinoids have unpredictable side effects and can even be life-threatening to the user.

The perception around synthetic cannabinoids is that they are a legal and safer alternative to cannabis but many of the products that are available are actually illegal and can cause severe health-related problems.

Adverse Effects of Fake Weed

The symptoms of synthetic cannabinoids, or fake weed, that was reported by the IDPH included:

  • Bleeding from the ears or eyes.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Blood present in the urine.
  • Bleeding from the nose.
  • Bleeding from the gums.
  • Increased menstrual flow in women.

In general, synthetic cannabinoids are chemicals that are sprayed on plant material that is dried and these can then be smoked or converted into liquids that can be ‘vaped’ in electronic cigarette devices.

In the cases of the patients that suffered from episodes of bleeding, the blood samples taken from them showed that they had warfarin present in their bloodstream. Warfarin is an anticoagulant drug which is used in patients who have an increased propensity for developing blood clots or who are diagnosed with this problem. The medication is used to break up these clots by reducing the clotting factors in the bloodstream. Therefore, individuals who do not have any problems with increased clotting issues will develop a bleeding disorder if they consume or inhale warfarin.

Warfarin is also the main ingredient in older versions of rat poison.

The Problem with Synthetic Cannabinoids

The biggest problem concerning synthetic cannabinoids is the ease of availability of the product and that is can be purchased from virtually anywhere. The products can be found in:

  • Convenience stores.
  • Drug paraphernalia shops.
  • Gas stations.
  • Novelty stores.
  • Online stores.

Pacific Bay Recovery

Pacific Bay Recovery is a top drug and alcohol rehabilitation center that specializes in programs to help patients suffering from substance use disorders.

The services offered by the rehabilitation facility include:

  • Inpatient programs for withdrawing patients from the offending drugs as well as psychology, and occupational therapy sessions.
  • Psychiatry consultations for those who have any underlying mental health conditions.
  • Group therapy sessions for patients to help them relate to others with similar issues as them.
  • Outpatient programs for those who are assessed as being able to benefit from such a service.

The healthcare professionals at Pacific Bay Recovery help patients to discontinue using offending drugs in order to reduce health-related complications that may occur as a result of drug or alcohol use and to improve their social and occupational situations at home and work.

Exams and Tests for Drug Abuse and Dependency

A high index of suspicion is required for patients who show signs and symptoms of drug abuse or dependency. A complete evaluation of the patient is necessary, including physical examination and laboratory investigations. The clinical diagnosis of the patient is facilitated by the presence of specific signs – for example, nasal ulceration in cocaine abuse. Nevertheless, it is common for patients to have non-specific complaints related to drug withdrawal. A wide range of signs and symptoms has been attributed to drug abuse, including constricted or dilated pupils, coarse voice, abnormal heart rate, enlarged liver and collapsed veins.

Drug Addiction Treatment San DiegoDiagnosis of drug abuse is largely dependent upon the identification of important clues from patient history. For example, these may include frequent road traffic accidents, workplace absences, episodes of domestic violence, chronic pain with no underlying cause and a recent onset of seizures. The CAGE questionnaire is helpful in the diagnosis of alcohol dependence, and ideally, should be used to ensure the documentation of important information regarding alcohol dependency in a patient. It is also used as a screening tool to identify alcohol abuse and dependency. In terms of drug abuse, the Conjoint screening test is the tool of choice.

Substance abuse, in general, can lead to neuromuscular symptoms such as tremors, seizures, and rigidity. Psychological symptoms include nervousness, anxiety, confusion, slurred speech, irritability, a staggering gait, and hallucinations. Psychological problems always arise with CNS-acting drug abuse and confuse the clinical picture. The inspection of body and clothes of patients can provide additional evidence regarding drug abuse, for example, an alcoholic odor in the person’s breath, needle marks on their arms, residual cocaine around the nares and clothes that are stained with alcohol.

Laboratory investigations should be suggested if a clinical suspicion arises. Laboratory tests do not have diagnostic accuracy in detecting drug abuse. A few tests can help in identifying patients with drug abuse and they can also give information about chronic intake of specific drugs. They are also of value for the detection of organ damage from chronic drug abuse. Blood samples can be taken to run drug toxicology screens and measure Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV). The toxicology screens identify the pharmacological class of drugs.

 Drug metabolites are accurately detected in saliva and urine, therefore urine samples are useful in measuring hourly drug clearance. Positive findings in toxicology screens emphasize the need for confirmatory tests. Enzyme-mediated Immunoassay Technique (EMIT) is also used to confirm the presence of drugs in the bloodstream. In most cases, only metabolites of a particular drug are detected in significant quantities; traces of parent drug or complete absence thereof can make interpretation difficult, as metabolites of two or more different drugs can be similar. False negatives are common and can be brought about by additional drugs taken for the sole purpose of elimination. These drugs act as a ‘mask’ for the original drug being tested.  Other tests, such as gamma glutamyl transpeptidase and carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT), have a role in identifying alcohol abuse.

3 Unique Ways To Fight Drug Abuse

alcohol

The decision to overcome addiction and seek help is a big one. But once you have decided to do so, the bigger question is which rehab or program to choose. Good drug rehab centers offer multiple programs to help you recover from substance abuse. One of the best detox and drug rehab centers in San Diego, Pacific Bay Recovery, offers not one or two but several treatment options depending on your need.

MEDICAL DETOX

The first step with drug abuse patients is medical detoxification. Chemical dependency is dangerous and must be broken in a comfortable and positive setting, like Pacific Bay Recovery‘s drug rehab center in San Diego. Medical detox allows for systematic withdrawal, easing the discomfort of withdrawal from whichever substance dependence you suffer from.

INPATIENT PROGRAM

An inpatient treatment program lets you live in a safe, comfortable setting under medical supervision while you learn to live without drugs. For a period of 90 days, inpatient services at the best San Diego rehab center, Pacific Bay Recovery can help you to continually cultivate a drug-free lifestyle.

INTENSIVE OUTPATIENT PROGRAM

Outpatient rehabilitation is where a patient travels to a center to attend therapy sessions and can return home the same day. You may still need continual accountability and emotional support to succeed after leaving the inpatient drug rehab. The best rehab centers offer an intensive outpatient program, such as the one at Pacific Bay Recovery in San Diego.

To find out which program is best for you, visit pacificbayrecovery.com or call 858.263.9700 today!

Preventing Relapse with Drug and Alcohol Abuse

The Facts of Relapse Prevention

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 Drub Abuse San Diegoof 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.

Educate Others

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.

Avoid Triggers

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

Addiction Treatment Center San DiegoThere 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.

Resources

http:// http://www.rehabs.com/about/relapse-prevention/