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When someone you love and care about enters a rehab for substance abuse – whether it is alcohol or drugs – it can trigger some pretty intense emotions. You may worry about their safety. We have all seen those scary depictions of facilities where someone is held against their will, strapped to a chair or table, and force-fed drugs to keep them under control. It is important to remember that those are mostly fictional tales of a bygone era. Today, rehab centers are in the business to help their patients. Like any business, if they develop a “bad reputation,” they suffer and eventually go out of business. The bottom line is your loved one is in the hands of people who want to help others and who care about making a difference.
Rehab programs are voluntary – your loved one entered into the facility of their own free will, which is a huge and difficult step in the right direction. They chose to get better and take steps to create a healthier life for themselves. How can you help them?
Trust in the Process
Remember the person who chose to enter into the process of rehabilitation was the person you are concerned about. Maybe you didn’t even know there was an addiction problem. Maybe you are worried how it will look to your friends, colleagues, or family. Whatever your concerns, if you want to help your loved one you will need to focus on them and the process.
The staff that are going to help the addict through the treatment are professionals. They have received specialized training and education, and they care. The best way to help is to listen to them and follow their suggestions.
Under the care of the professionally trained care providers, patients receive individual counseling, group exercises, balanced diet, and medical care. Within this warmly held environment, your loved one identifies their substance abuse issues, what triggers using, and how to cope with those triggers.
Respect Their Privacy
At the beginning of treatment, patients are typically required to limit their contact with the outside world. Distractions take away from their main focus – making choices that help them stay clean. This is often a difficult stage for those who care about the person. Not knowing how they are doing can be frustrating and sometimes painful. The addict needs you to be strong so they can be strong.
Supporting Your Loved Ones
Family involvement in the rehabilitation process is an important step in the process for both the patient and the rehab team. Research indicates that when family members engage in the process in a positive way it reduces the chances of relapse significantly.
Typically, family members are invited to attend workshops to learn about their loved one’s addiction, ask questions, and share experiences and feelings related to the family member undergoing rehabilitation.
When those who love and care about the patient in rehabilitation choose to get involved with the recovery, it not only helps the person in recovery it assists the professional staff in understanding family dynamics.
But remember your involvement is not a time for you to seek therapy; it is for your loved one and their recovery. However, you may want to seek help for yourself, which will benefit your loved one. It is not unusual for the family of an addict to struggle with intense emotions surrounding past experiences and interactions while they were using.
One of the most important aspects of making healthy choices is taking responsibility for those choices. You can make a difference in your own life and theirs by modeling positive behaviors.
Arguably, one of the most exciting and terrifying moments in an addict’s life is leaving the safe and supportive confines of a treatment center. When your loved one leaves a substance abuse rehabilitation center they are stepping into a world of danger unarmed. It may sound silly, but the drugs or alcohol were a weapon or shield they used to cope with the stress and triggered emotions of their reality. Once the drugs are gone, they adopt new strategies for coping – healthy strategies. However, these new ways of coping are just that – new. For many recovering addicts, it is much easier to slip back into old destructive patterns to deal with the stress. That’s why it is essential for them to have a support system.
Unless you have struggled with substance abuse problems, it may be difficult to understand what they are going through. You may even think of them as weak. The fact is we all have our own challenges. In other words, every person alive struggles with something – whether it is drugs, alcohol, diet, anger, sex or some other negative coping strategy – so try not to judge.
Take the time to really understand what they are going through. Not just now, but the entire strategy. What triggers their choices? Why do they choose drugs or alcohol? What you can do to help them make positive choices? Get informed through classes, articles or speak directly to a counselor who understands addiction.
Another aspect of supporting them to stay clean is to make decisions that support that goal.
The best support we can offer anyone is to adopt a lifestyle that models positive behaviors and choices. For a recovering addict, this is vital. This can be difficult as well. Perhaps you like to enjoy a drink now and then; it’s not your fault they have a problem – why should you suffer?
There is some truth to the foregoing statement, but you are going to have to decide what’s more important, supporting your loved one or limiting your own use to when they are not around. It is extremely difficult for someone recovering from opiate abuse if there are bottles of Vicodin lying around in plain sight or in obvious locations like the medicine cabinet.
The solution can be simple. Put the pills and alcohol in a safe place where they cannot find them or stumble across them. Only you can decide whether or not the person is worth the extra effort, so choose wisely.
Once you decide to commit yourself to supporting your recovering loved one, it can be confusing as to exactly what you need to do and what support really is. It is not unusual for people who want to support their loved one to end up enabling them instead. Enabling is easy, support is challenging. Here are three more things to remember:
With chemistry know-how and a science lab, it’s possible for a person looking to make a buck to turn an illegal high into one that’s borderline lawful. Designer drugs are substances that people alter at the molecular level to mimic their banned counterparts. While the concept isn’t new, they’ve grown in popularity.
Some of the most popular designer drugs include ketamine, ecstasy, methamphetamine and LSD. Others go by names like Molly, 2C-E, 2C-I, or 3C-bromo-dragonfly. Many designer drugs, however, don’t have an official name and their names may differ by geographic region.
Designer drugs fall into the following categories:
It’s common for some of the drugs to produce common effects despite their structural differences. Or, they may have similar structures, but different effects, making designer drugs unpredictable and dangerous.
To evade law enforcement, many drug manufacturers market their products under the guise of a different item. For example, some may label substances that mimic the effects of marijuana as “spices” or “incense.” Others may use terms “insect repellant” or “plant food” for drugs that produce a cocaine-like high.
The manufacturing of designer drugs isn’t a new phenomenon. In the United States, the practice began in the 1920s, after the International Opium Convention, which banned morphine and heroin.
During the 1960s and 1970s, several synthetic hallucinogens entered the market, like the DOM tablets sold in San Francisco, LSD and PCP.
The term designer drug was first coined in the 1980s and referred to synthetic opioid drugs. During this decade, ecstasy boomed in popularity. Many of the black market drugs were also based on fentanyl, like MPPP and China White. The potency of the designer drugs led to several accidental overdoses. In some cases, impurities in the drugs caused severe brain damage from a single dose.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine became a public health issue across the U.S. Despite the attention it’s attracted from law enforcement, meth continues to dominate the designer drug market.
When the Internet became a household staple, a new trend in drug abuse emerged—the purchasing of designer drugs online. Manufacturers called the drugs “research chemicals” and sold them in powder form. Today, the type of designer drugs available are no longer limited by patents and scientific literature. Technological advances have helped broaden the range of designer drugs available and the access to them.
In addition to the wide range of substances sold, designer drug manufacturers brazenly market their products. With the rampant practice of intentionally mislabeling the substances to fly under the radar, it’s simple for drug seekers to get the wrong information.
Another danger is in the manner in which many of the substances are sold—as powders. The powders require precise measurements down to the microgram or hundredth of a milligram. Eyeballing a measurement or reading a scale inaccurately can taint a whole batch, making it more dangerous than it already is.
While doctors are familiar with the effects of the more popular forms of designer drugs, the effects of the newer concoctions are unknown. This makes it more difficult to treat patients who abuse the drugs or are suffering an adverse reaction because physicians don’t know what they’ve taken and what to expect.
While there is no immediate solution to the designer drug problem in the U.S., there is an effective, long-term solution if you want to take control of your life and health. The first step is asking for help.
Dealing with addictions is often a very painful and difficult time for many people. It is very important to believe that while it is difficult, you can stay sober and regain your life. An important step is to find your motivations and to remind yourself of the reasons you wish to remain sober. Find reasons that resonate with you and are important in your life.
For many people, their children are their biggest motivation. Think of your children and the image you want to give your child. Do you want your child to remember and think of you with your addiction or do you want them to see you clean and sober. You cannot change the past but you can change the future. A child who sees their parent regain their health and sobriety is a powerful lesson and one that you can give to your child.
Your spouse has undoubtedly suffered watching your addiction and it is an amazing feeling to know you are relieving their worry and pain and replacing it with pride and relief.
Think of your friends and family who have been affected by your addiction. Find the person who you have affected the most or who means the most to you. Think of that person and remind yourself why you don’t want addiction to do any more damage to that relationship.
Addiction is often the cause of losing a job or the inability to even get a job. Getting sober may allow you to find steady employment and the money gained from that is worth so much. Don’t let addiction rob you of steady employment.
Your health is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and one of the things you can damage the most with addiction. For every day you remain sober, you are improving your health and reducing your risk of dying from your addiction.
When you are addicted, you are often left with a constant sense of shame and guilt. With every minute, hour and day you are sober, feel the sense of pride. Staying sober is not easy and you should be proud of yourself. Pride is a wonderful gift you can give to yourself. It is also a much better emotion to feel than guilt and shame.
Take some time and create your own list of potential motivations. Find the things that mean the most to you. If you do not have family or friends that have been affected by your addiction, think of things that affect you – your health, fitness, life, job, coworkers, what limits you, what would you like to do that addiction prevents. Your list of motivations will be different from another person but what remains the same is the fact that we all have goals that we can work towards and for.
Find ways to remind yourself why you don’t want to fall back into your old habits.
Recovering from alcohol and drug addiction is no easy task. Making the decision to stay clean and sober may be easy, but sticking to it can be hard. Part of this difficulty arises from temptation from friends and even family; especially when it comes to alcohol.
Alcohol is part of everyday life. It is everywhere. Grocery stores, restaurants, homes, the media–it can seem like temptation exists at every turn. If you have made the decision to abstain from alcohol and drugs, it is up to you to create a safe environment for yourself, and minimize situations where you may be likely to relapse. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid and cope with tempting situations.
Being clean and sober is a lifestyle change. One way to help make it stick is to rid yourself of items related to using. It may feel difficult to let go of certain items, but it is a way to show your commitment to your new lifestyle and remove unnecessary temptation in the process. Be sure that you no longer have drugs or alcohol in the house. It may be helpful to have a supportive friend with you during this process, or even to have it done while you are not there. Remember to clean out your car or office as well.
For many people, certain situations can trigger a craving. If possible, it is best to avoid these triggers, especially in the beginning. This may mean avoiding people, places and things that you associate with using. Avoid bars and people who are actively using. This can be difficult; especially when it comes to people you are close to such as friends or family.
Work can be a big trigger. If you used to go out with co-workers on a Friday night for a few drinks, or if the company Christmas party is a big drinking occasion, you may need to back out of these situations. Again, this isn’t always easy, but it is something you need to do in order to protect your sobriety.
If you find yourself in situations that trigger temptation, you may want to enlist the help of a supportive friend. Examples of this would be the work-related event that you just can’t get out of, or a family get-together. Bringing a clean and sober friend along with you can be enormously helpful.
During this process, it is helpful to remind yourself why you have chosen to stay clean and sober. Removing tempting objects and situations will help give you the best possible chance of maintaining your new lifestyle. Remind yourself of what you are gaining by making this decision, such as improved health, better relationships, staying out of trouble and improved finances.
High school is tough for many teenagers. There’s the pressure of trying to fit in (or at least not stand out); there’s the challenge of trying to juggle sports, clubs, and academics with spending time with friends and family; and there’s the ever-looming question all high school students eventually hear, “Are you going on to college and, if so, where?” And, if not, “What will you do?”
That’s a lot to think about when you’re a teen.
Throw into that mix all the emotional and physical changes that happen during the teenager years and eventually the stress, pressure and expectations from peers, family and self are just too much for some teens to handle alone. What’s the result? Many high school students choose to experiment with drugs to temporarily numb their feelings, blur their thoughts and quiet their common sense.
While teens are still experimenting with drugs as they have for decades, the difference is – there’s a profound rise of drug use among today’s high school students.
As precarious and deadly as this narcotic is, heroin use among high schoolers is at an all-time high. Why? It’s inexpensive; in many neighborhoods, heroin costs less than a 6-pack of beer. Next, it’s easily accessible. In all communities with all demographics, heroin is available. High schoolers no longer have to drive down to their city’s version of skid row or the projects to buy heroin from a dealer on the corner. Today it’s available right in the suburbs. Another reason there’s a rise in the use of heroin today among high school students is the same reason it was prevalent back in the 60s – the instant high obtained from smoking it or injecting it. Whether they’re accessing it from a local dealer on the streets or from a neighbor’s basement, heroin’s purity and potency can never be counted on to be consistent. With this increase in use and decrease in consistent ingredients, the increase of deaths by overdose is rising as well. In fact, deaths by a heroin overdose are more prevalent today than violent crime or auto crashes.
Perhaps because it’s both legal for those of drinking age and readily–accessible in home kitchen cabinets, many high school students today opt to experiment freely with alcohol. From mixing hard liquor with juices and soft drinks to drinking beer from kegs and coolers, it is not uncommon to find alcohol in some form at most high school parties today. Often times the addiction for alcohol starts at an early age when young teens experiment with mouthwash or cough syrup.
With more states legalizing medical marijuana and others legalizing recreational marijuana consumption, many high school students today see no harm in using this drug. Of course, the biggest controversial issue with the rise in the use of this drug is that a teenager’s brain is not fully developed yet and marijuana use causes long-term, detrimental effects on the child’s brain. In a 2013 study, it was found that heavy cannabis use starting in the teen years and continued after high school causes a decline in the user’s IQ.
From tobacco, ecstasy, designer bath salts and acid, to cocaine, oxycontin, meth and everything in between, there’s lots of different street, prescription, man-made and naturally-grown drugs that teens experiment with, abuse and often become addicted to. However, these three drugs in particular, are on the rise among high school users today. Combine the factors of affordability, accessibility and their naturally-addictive components and it’s easy to see how so many teenagers today can get caught in the unforgiving and indiscriminate web of drug use.
It’s usually not surprising to hear about a famous person with an addiction nowadays, and some of those stories end in tragedy, others fight their addictions with rehab and help. In some cases however, the addiction is surprising whether it’s because of the person or the substance involved.
Below are 12 famous individuals with surprising addictions.
Heroin is a powerful and addictive drug which attaches itself to the pleasure centers of the body and creates a wave of immediate euphoria for the user. Heroin also blocks the body’s reaction and response to pain, creating an ideal situation for addiction. Heroin can be smoked or snorted, but is most often injected.
Since heroine affects both the pleasure and pain centers of the body, withdrawal symptoms can be quite severe. The amount of time and the severity of your withdrawal symptoms may vary, depending upon how long you have been using. Withdrawal symptoms usually begin between six and twelve hours after your last dose and the severity of the symptoms peak between days one and three. Symptoms usually disappear after about a week, but many addicts experience Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms, (PAWS) which may last for up to two years after you become clean.
Once you decide to quit heroin, you have a number of options for treatment, including going it “cold turkey” at home, a managed detox in an in-patient facility, or an outpatient rehabilitation program. Each option has a number of benefits, and the severity of your symptoms may determine your best course of treatment. If you are suffering from severe withdrawal, a doctor may prescribe a medical detox, in which prescription medication including methadone, clonidine, or suboxone may be used to help manage withdrawal symptoms.
Once the initial shock of detoxification has worn off, you may still experience some lingering side effects of your addiction. Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) are common, and may last for up to two years after your detoxification program is complete. PAWS include difficulty thinking or trouble thinking clearly, short and long term memory loss, trouble sleeping, and loss of coordination, increased stress, and being more emotional. A long term treatment plan can help you address these side effects and better manage your recovery.
Regardless of whether you choose an in-patient, outpatient or at home plan for your heroin detoxification, the success of your recovery ultimately depends on treating the emotional reasons for your opiate use and abuse and developing a long term sobriety plan. For many former addicts, detox is the first and although physically debilitating, easiest step in their recovery. A combination of therapy and support is essential for preventing relapse.
Addiction is a prevailing problem in our society today. Do you or does someone you know smoke, take drugs or drink too much? These are the most common actions associated with addiction, but an addict might also shop or gamble beyond their means, overeat, or dedicate too much time to fruitless pursuits, such as playing video games, watching TV or viewing pornography.
Whatever addiction you or your loved one faces, you must develop the following five skills to beat your craving.
Effective communication skills elude many people, especially those with substance abuse problems. What, how and when we say things – both verbally and nonverbally – impacts the way we relate to and socialize with others. Poor communication can result in misunderstandings, unhealthy relationship and difficulty managing conflict. All of these problems can lead to social alienation, feelings of helplessness and relying on an addiction to feel “normal.”
To improve your ability to communicate effectively:
Whether the problem is the inability to pay a bill, an ongoing relationship problem or dealing with a difficult child, we seek to hide behind our addictions. This doesn’t solve the problem.
To prevent resorting to your addiction as an escape:
It’s easy to bury a negative emotion with addictive behavior, but the cycle must be broken by learning to manage negative emotions in a healthier way. The trick is to get in touch with negative feelings and face the underlying issue head on. Anger, sadness and fear are emotions no one wants to experience, but if you understand what’s really troubling you, you can work toward a solution.
To better manage your negative emotions:
You know your addiction is harmful; that’s why you’re seeking help. However, unless you live in a plastic bubble, the addictions you are most tempted by will never disappear. The key is to develop a will that’s stronger than the addiction.
To help you resist urges:
It’s a huge accomplishment to overcome your addition, but relapse can rear its ugly head and undo everything you’ve worked so hard to accomplish. The skill of preventing relapse helps you stay clean from here on out.
To avoid relapsing:
Overcoming addiction is a journey, but you don’t have to go it alone. Non-12-step addiction treatment programs help you identify the root cause and overcome your addiction from the ground up.
Americans tend to stock up on over-the-counter drugs. Many of these substances – cold medicine and mild painkillers like Advil – can be safe and effective, but only when taken as directed. Although many drug campaigns focus on illegal substances, over-the-counter medicines can cause equally serious health problems and even fatal side effects.
Anyone can suffer from OTC drug abuse, but teens between the ages of 13 and 16 are often most at risk. Their parents’ medicine cabinets can potentially provide them with easy access to a quick high, perhaps without anyone being the wiser. Sometimes older teens will combine OTC drugs with other substances, including alcohol and illegal drugs.
Read on to discover some of the most frequently abused OTC drugs.
A great many over-the-counter cold and cough medicines contain this active ingredient, including NyQuil, Dimetapp DM, and Robitussin. A 2008 study showed that one in every 10 teens has used dextromethorphan, or DXM, to get high. That means cough medicine abuse is more popular among this age group than other drugs like cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, and meth.
Digesting large doses of DXM during a short period can stimulate euphoria, hallucinations, and distortions of color and sound for periods of up to six hours. This high can come at a dangerous price, however, as side effects can include seizures, loss of muscle movement, blurred vision, shallow breathing, vomiting, and impaired judgment. Combined with other drugs, an overdose of DXM can be fatal.
DXM can also be addictive. Withdrawal symptoms include depression or difficulty sorting out thoughts. Scientists still don’t know what all of the long-term effects of DXM abuse might be, but there have been cases of permanent brain, bone marrow, and nerve cell damage.
These are typically abused because the people who take them believe that taking more than the recommended dose will bring faster or better pain relief. Unfortunately, doing so can cause troublesome side effects. Large doses of a painkiller that contains acetaminophen can cause liver failure. Large doses of ibuprofen may result in kidney failure, stomach bleeding, and a heightened risk of cardiac issues.
This is another common cold medicine ingredient that is frequently abused. Its effects are similar to that of amphetamines, which is why it’s often used as an ingredient in the illegal street drug methamphetamine. It’s also commonly abused for its stimulating effects or taken as a weight-loss drug, but federal regulations make it difficult to buy in bulk. Side effects can include heart palpitations, heart attacks, and irregular heartbeats. Combined with narcotics, it make cause episodes of paranoid psychosis.
There are quite a few pills that contain caffeine, including NoDoz, and an endless amount of energy drinks and sodas that promise a burst of energy. But at what cost? Our modern lives can wear us out, so it isn’t especially surprising when many people fall back on caffeine for a little bit of extra energy. However, large doses of caffeine have huge drawbacks, including dehydration, panic attacks, heart irregularities, and gastric reflux. Caffeine has also been linked with a few accidental deaths – especially when a preexisting heart condition was involved. Some pain relievers contain caffeine, and taking too many of these pills can also cause these same side effects. Withdrawal symptoms include headache, fatigue, anxiety, and depressed mood.
A large dose of diet pills won’t cause more than a mild high, but over-dependency on diet pills may be a symptom of an eating disorder. These are among the most addictive OTC drugs and many of their ingredients pose serious risks. Although the FDC banned ephedrine and other diet pill stimulants, many now use bitter orange, which can cause stimulant-like symptoms, including irregular heartbeat, stroke, high blood pressure, heart failure, and fatality. Other diet pill ingredients can lead to hair loss, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, extreme paranoia, blurred vision, kidney trouble, and dehydration. Don’t be fooled by diet pills that claim to be “natural” – if misused, even these can cause dangerous side effects. Remember, when the FDA banned ephedra, it did so only for diet pills that are labeled as dietary supplements, not for herbal pills and teas like those that contain the ingredient ma huang, which actually is ephedra.
OTC sexual performance medicines can be found in abundance online, and both teens and adults have been known to combine these with other drugs and alcohol, which is when they are most likely to lead to heart problems.
OTC drug abuse isn’t something to be taken lightly. Luckily, help is available to those who need it. Many rehab programs and drug treatment centers have been proven to help those who suffer from addiction kick any unhealthy habits.