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What Is Substance Abuse Treatment?

If a person in your family is addicted to alcohol, heroin, cocaine, prescription medications, marijuana, or other drugs, then it will affect your family. Millions of people living in the United States are dependent on either alcohol or drugs. But with substance abuse treatment, there is hope. Many people recover completely. There are many symptoms of a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. One of the major symptoms or signs is that the person will continue to use that drug or alcohol even though there have been major negative consequences because of that use. Instead of acknowledging where the problem actually resides, they will blame other people or situations even though the problem is their addiction. For instance, a person could say that the reason that they got fired was because the managers or owner is stupid. Or a person might say that the reason they got a driving under the influence ticket was not because they were drinking and driving, but because the cops were targeting them specifically.

Some of the biggest signs are not always immediately evident. For instance, a person will develop a high tolerance, which basically means that they will need more and more of the drug or alcohol in order to get drunk or high. Another sign is if they crave the drug or alcohol. They will have a very strong need to keep using the drug and will often be anxious or irritable if they are not able to assuage their craving. Another major sign is if the person has a physical dependence on the drug that they are using. What this means is that they will actually go through withdrawal symptoms if they do not have access to the drug or alcohol. These withdrawal symptoms include sweating, shaking, nausea, and major anxiety. People with these signs probably need substance abuse treatment.

Many different people can provide substance abuse treatment. These programs have specially trained professionals and caregivers that are certified or licensed to counsel and treat people for their addiction. Some of these counselors might actually be people who have recovered from addiction to a drug or to alcohol. The professionals might be a mix of counselors, doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. When a person enters a program, they usually go through an assessment. This test will help the professionals figure out the type of treatment that will be the best for them and then it helps them figure out what kind of plan they will use. There will also be frequent reassessments to figure out how well the person is going through the program and if the plan needs to be altered in some fashion to better serve the patient. The plan might include a medically supervised withdrawal. This basically means that the person will be monitored while they put their body through detoxification. The reason that it needs to be monitored by medical professionals is that going through that process can be dangerous, and a person might have convulsions, hallucinate, or other dangerous things.

Short and Long-Term Effects of Nicotine on Health

Nicotine is an active chemical substance present in tobacco that contributes to the negative reputation of tobacco. This chemical, when abused (through smoking or chewing) has harmful effects on the human body and it is also found to be as addictive as illegal drugs. The below are a few harmful and addictive effects of nicotine on humans, later followed by long and short-term effects.

Harmful effects:
Tobacco harms every organ of the body. It affects lungs, heart, kidneys, digestive system, liver, eyes and many other vital organs in the body. Further, people who smoke tobacco get their sense of smell and taste weakened.

Also 'passive smoking' or 'secondhand smoking' harms non-smokers. The tobacco smoke contains harmful chemicals. When inhaled by non-smokers in the smoker's proximity, it causes coughing, phlegm and decline in the functionality of the lungs. Studies show that it can cause heart diseases even among non-smokers who are subjected to secondhand smoking.

Addictive effects:
Nicotine is absorbed into the body when an individual smokes or chews tobacco. Nicotine causes elevation of mood. This is the principal reason for nicotine causing addiction. The nicotine absorbed by a smoker reaches the brain via blood. This leads to numerous chemical reactions in the brain and causes feeling of high. It lasts for a short span. Once the nicotine level declines, there is no longer the high-feeling. To have a similar feeling again, the smoker has to smoke again, thus it causes addiction.

Short-term effects of tobacco:
In the short-term, nicotine is found to cause high blood pressure, increased pulse rate and cough. The abuse of nicotine also has immediate effects on oral cavity which causes bad breath and staining of teeth. In severe cases, it may also lead to oral cancer.

•Bad breath: Smoking tobacco or chewing tobacco causes severe bad breath in the individual. Bad breath is because the nicotine, tar and other chemicals in tobacco get deposited in your oral cavity. The chemicals in tobacco drastically reduce the formation of saliva in your mouth, causing dry mouth, thus leading to the growth of odor causing bacteria.

•Stained teeth: When you smoke or chew tobacco, the chemicals like tar, nicotine and others burn and undergo chemical reaction producing sticky substances. When you take the smoke in by inhaling, the sticky substances in the smoke get deposited on your teeth and thus cause stains.

•Smoker's cough: Coughing is a protective physiological mechanism in order to remove irritants from the body, especially from the respiratory tract. Smoking damages cilia, the protective structure in the respiratory tract. When Cilia becomes defunct, harmful particles like dust, the chemicals from tobacco, etc. are deposited in the respiratory tract. Over a period of time, the body removes the accumulation of these foreign substances by coughing. Thus, the smoker suffers from heavy cough.

•Increased heart rate and blood pressure: Nicotine causes increased heart rate and blood pressure. This is because nicotine reduces oxygen supply to the heart and thus makes it less functional. Further, it makes blood vessels narrow because of the formation of blood clots. It thus, causes increased workload on the heart; hence, there is increased heart rate. All these factors cause increased blood pressure.

Long-term effects:
Long-term effects of nicotine include addiction, increased risk of heart diseases, and decline in insulin levels, cancer and premature aging. Long-term effects of nicotine are very harmful and may also lead to fatalities in many cases.

Addiction and dependence: As the effect of nicotine on the body is temporary, to enhance the feeling the smoker gets addicted and dependent on the drug in the long-term. Further, the body develops tolerance to the chemical, and thus needs increased amount subsequently and thus perpetuates the intake causing addiction and dependence in the long-term.

Increased risk of heart diseases: There is increased risk of heart diseases in the long-term due to nicotine addiction. Nicotine causes narrowing down of the blood canals. It is because nicotine gets attached to its receptor proteins in the blood vessel and stays there and thus causes constriction of blood canals.

Also, in the long-term, nicotine damages the lining of blood vessels that leads to deposition of cholesterol in the blood vessels. This may ultimately lead to a heart attack.

Inhibits the release of insulin: Nicotine leads to reduction in the secretion of insulin that is essential in absorption of carbohydrates in the body. Normally, when the glucose level rises because of food intake, insulin comes to the rescue by reducing the glucose levels. In smokers, this is not the case; insulin is released in less quantity. When glucose levels are present in higher levels than required in blood, it may cause harm to the heart and kidneys.

May lead to cancer: Nicotine as a causative substance of cancer is debatable. The other chemicals in tobacco like tar containing cyanide, benzene, formaldehyde, etc. are said to cause cancer. These chemicals are released in the body when tar enters because of smoking, over a long period.

Premature aging:
Smokers look older than they actually are. This is because of the effect of nicotine on the production and functioning of antioxidants in the body - responsible for fighting free radicals in the body formed due to environmental pollution, stress, etc. Antioxidants make the skin and other soft tissues look young.

By all accounts, nicotine has destructive effects on every part of your body - be in the short or long-term. Hence, a strict warning indeed to non-smokers is to never experiment with it!

Is It Relapse or Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)?

I was recently providing individual counseling to a patient who had just completed both inpatient and outpatient treatment for alcohol dependence. During our session she was giddy, energetic, demonstrated mood liability, cognitive problems, memory problems, and some physical coordination problems. My first thought was -I wonder if she has relapsed. Then I caught myself and reminded myself about PAWS. This syndrome is a set of persistent impairments that occur after withdrawal from alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines and other psychotropic drugs.

Common PAWS symptoms include:

• Mood swings, depression, anxiety, panic attacks

• Psychosocial dysfunction/Impaired interpersonal skills

• Anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure from anything besides drug use)

• Insomnia/Sleep disturbances

• Suicidal ideation, pessimistic thoughts, feelings of guilt and shame

• Excessive fatigue, excessive thirst, light-headedness, fainting

• Impaired concentration/Lack of initiative, Intense drug cravings

• Memory problems/general cognitive impairment/inability to think clearly

• Emotional overreactions or numbness

• Physical coordination problems

• Stress sensitivity/Increased sensitivity to pain

It is estimated that PAWS occurs in over 90% of people withdrawing from a long-term opioid abuse (such as heroin addiction), and about 75 % of persons recovering from long-term abuse of alcohol, methamphetamine, or benzodiazepines. It occurs less frequently with abuse of other psychotropic drugs.

The length of time PAWS symptoms linger varies from person to person. Symptoms of PAWS can last from a year to several decades, and some symptoms remain can indefinitely. The presence of symptoms vacillates between periods of relative remission, intermittent presence of symptoms and highly symptomatic periods. However, by the end of one year, most 'clean & sober' persons have returned to their baseline levels of functioning and the symptoms of PAWS dissipate.

Some believe the symptoms of PAWS occur because the brain's ability to react to stress has been weakened by long-term substance abuse. PAWS may be a result of the adaptations in the central nervous system and changes in the brain's communication system. Drug-related disruptions in the 'normal' communication between neurotransmitters and hyperexcitability of neuronal pathways may be an underlying cause. Research has demonstrated that when a person's drug abuse becomes an addiction, there are structural changes that occur in the brain.

It is important for treatment providers, 12-step sponsors, and the friends and family of the recovering person to keep PAWS in mind when interacting with the recovering person. The symptoms of PAWS sometimes mimic mental health symptoms, behaviors/symptoms that occurred during the person's active use, and mimic acute withdrawal symptoms from recent use.

This situation with my patient reminded me how important it is to balance knowing the high likelihood and incidence of relapse for recovering persons, knowing the relapse 'red flags' to watch for, and knowing that PAWS sometimes mimics the signs of relapse.

Health and Fitness: Drug Abuse Article Category

The adverse effects of smoking can be quite widespread. Smokers usually experience a decrease in their ability to take in and use oxygen effectively, which means that they will have less physical stamina than nonsmokers. When they do exercise, they will likely only be able to do so for short periods of time. Although some of the harmful effects that are associated with smoking can be reversed, men and women will have to carefully give up the habit and stay away from cigarettes in the following years.

Most medical experts agree that smoking also leads to a range of diseases, some of which can be fatal. Cancer is the most obvious one. Tobacco contains a number of carcinogens that can change the genetic material within cells over time. Eventually, this can lead to mutations and malignant tumors. Beyond cancer, however, smokers are also more likely to develop diabetes and even heart disease. If heart disease is already prominent within the family, cigarettes will only exacerbate the risk. Significant hardening of the arteries can eventually lead to a coronary event, which can be potentially life-threatening. Smokers who find that they have high blood pressure or high cholesterol may be strongly advised by their doctors to make a serious attempt to break the habit.

If men and women enjoy certain physical activities, they may find that years of smoking may prevent them from doing these. For instance, running, swimming, and backpacking all require strong and healthy lungs. Because smoking breaks down the lung components over time, smokers will tire quite easily. A few laps in the pool may become an extreme physical event. If individuals have also been diagnosed with asthma, smoking can make this condition much worse. They will likely have to carry an inhaler with them at all times. In the most extreme cases, people may require an oxygen tank to help them breathe. Deficiencies within the both the respiratory and circulatory systems are common with lifelong smokers.

Ultimately, the effects of smoking can be quite profound over time. Men and women will find themselves confined to their homes more and more. Though they may still be able to manage some shorter bursts of physical energy, they will likely be out of breath when they finish. As their physicians will also remind them, they will also be more likely to develop several serious health conditions. Most specialists now agree, in fact, that smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer in individuals of all ages. Despite all this, there are effective treatment plans that can help people finally break the habit.

The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and is not, nor is it ever intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice or professional recommendations, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician(s) or other qualified healthcare provider(s).

Kids and Drugs - Five Ways to Spot Inhalant Abuse

When you think about the term inhalant abuse (such as sniffing glue, turpentine, gasoline, etc., etc.) you usually start to picture the homeless, or pour lost souls that are already lost of hope. But the actuality of it all is that it is far different than what many people picture, and far much scarier. Around 17 million American's have stated they have used inhalants at least one time the most common age of this experiment is during later childhood and early teens, around the pre-teen ages.

What exactly is inhalant abuse?

Kids partake in activities such as sniffing glue, or other volatile chemicals like gasoline. They experience an intense high like a feeling of intoxication, which resembles being drunk. While they may appear to be drunk on the outside the intensity of the high or intoxication from inhalant abuse is much more high and stronger, which puts kids at more of a risk for impaired judgment and accidents occurring because of this. This makes it much more troubling that the risks are increased for acute danger and accidents and chronic health damages.

What does inhalant abuse cause?

Inhalant abuse can cause many major health issues such as deadly heart failure, there have been some reports of kids dying from their first experiment with inhalants. Constant or chronic use of inhalants can lead to brain damage, and damage to virtually all of the organs in the human body, which puts them at an increase for cancers. Much of the damage when it is caused is always irreversible.

The solvents used in inhalants are also very addicting, and kids that are trying out glue sniffing put themselves at risk for dependency and an increase of abuse with many additional health risks.

Because younger aged kids have a tough time getting other types of drugs inhalants is much easier for them to get their hands on as they are readily available at home or easily purchased in stores. Parents need to be aware of the signs of inhalant abuse and never ignore any of them, because the risks of this type of abuse are so extreme, it is important to get professional help immediately if you suspect any signs of abuse.

The five warning signs to watch out for.

  1. Inhalant items in their room, school bags, or other items they own such as old spray cans, or tubes of glue. Another sign is their bags smelling like glue or other solvents.

  2. A chemical type smell on your child or in their clothes. Unless your kid is working late night hours in a factory there shouldn't be a reason for their close to smell of chemical smells.

  3. Different stains on their faces that look unusual. Kids that abuse inhalants will usually spill small parts of those substances on their clothes and may even have small traces on their face from inhaling from bags.

  4. Loss of appetite: Those that abuse inhalants regularly will have negative effects on their hunger. It is unusual for healthy kids that are growing to be lacking in the hunger department.

  5. The appearance of intoxication. You should never ignore such an obvious sign of intoxication thinking that your kids are too young to be experimenting with any substances.

If you suspect that your child is a victim of teenage drug abuse you may consider enlisting the services of a private detective. Private detective services can help find useful information and clues as to what exactly is happening in your child's life.

Effective Treatments for Inpatient Alcohol Rehab

Inpatient Alcohol rehab centers are the kind of rehab centers which treats the patients who are severely addicted to alcohol and need 24 hours surveillance. During an inpatient treatment program the patient is kept under constant supervision. In this process the patient is kept in a different environment where they are kept under vigilance and proper care all the time. Furthermore, the patients are being detoxified and proper medication is provided by the doctors. The programs here are well structured and follow a rigid routine format. In addition to proper medication, the patients are taught to adapt new situations and how to deal with the withdrawals that comes after quitting alcohol. Mostly inpatient alcohol treatment's duration is 30 days but in some cases it can be stretched to 60 to 90 days also.

Some of the techniques used under this method are effective detoxification, abstinence, eating disorder treatment, pain treatment and guidance to deal with addiction. One of the first steps taken in this procedure is to detoxify the patient. It is the process where the alcohol residues are eliminated from your body and the body normalizes itself after becoming physically dependent on alcohol. This procedure follows a very strict regime and don't give the patient any chance to run away from the rehab center. The patients have to follow a set of rules and instructions without any fail. Before taking such intense treatment the patients many a time have to go through an assessment test to prove that they can go through such a treatment. Some of the practices used during this treatment are:

• Group therapy: During this therapy the addicted person can discuss their problems with others and got to learn things from them and build a social setting that crates a support system.
• Reality therapy: It teaches the person to control the things which they and to learn to deal with things which they cannot.
• Cognitive behavioral therapy: It teaches the addicted person the actions can be controlled and moreover they should be controlled.
• Psychotherapy: It finds about the underlying causes and triggers that provokes the addicted to drink and diagnoses co- occurring situations, manages denial
• Family therapy: During this procedure the family member are involved and teaches them about how to cope with the addicted person in their family.

You should always have the knowledge that recovering from addiction to alcohol will take some good amount of time and won't happen instantly. You need to give both the rehab center and the patient some time so that they can be able to cope with the addiction and recover from it efficiently and effectively. A large number of people have been benefited by taking services from these inpatient alcohol rehab centers. Since there are a good number of these rehab centers available nowadays, it is important on your part to do some enquiries and go for the one which you think is suitable for your needs and budget.

Health and Fitness: Drug Abuse Article Category

Nowadays a large number of youngsters are getting addicted to drugs and other types of substance abuse. An addicted person doesn't only create problems for himself and his family but also for the society as a whole. If you see someone in your family or friend circle who is addicted to some kind of drugs, then it's your moral duty to tell him about the side effects of drugs and help him to get out of the addiction. Christian centers are quite helpful when it comes to treating people who are addicted to them. They make the addicted person to realize the power of his inner faith and believe in god to cope with his addiction. There are many benefits of going for such a center for recovery:

• Going to a well known Christian rehab center helps in strengthening your faith along with treating you to recover from your addiction. Since getting out of an addiction is not easy, you need a good support system to cope with it. These centers not only help in the patients in recovering but also provide religious services where you can pray with other Christians.

• Another main benefit of going for them is that most of these services come for free of cost. At present there are many such rehab centers that do not charge for their services as they are funded by Christian mission or some other Church related organization. So these service centers are economically viable also.

• A vital characteristic of these service providers is that they involve the family members of the addicted person in the treatment procedure. It's very important for an addicted person to get care, support and affection from his family. By this the patient gets self confidence which gives him the motivation to fight with his addiction.

• Moreover, part from regular treatment of the drug addiction that involves detoxification and other therapies, these service centers also includes other services like scriptures learning, regular visit to church, daily community and church services, pastoral counseling, group discussions, etc. These extra procedures are effectual for the addict to cope up with their recovery process. These treatment approaches also make the addict aware of the negative effects that addiction is having on him as well as his family members.

• One more way these centers help the patient is by making them realize the beauty of life. They make understand the patient about the beautiful creations of nature and how to enjoy life without being addicted to drugs. By this the patient feels rejuvenated and appreciate the beauty of life.

• They provide hope to the patient about the future and encourage them to overcome the troubles that are going to come. The patients are treated with optimum privacy so that they don't feel embarrass about themselves.

You can see there are many benefits of taking these services, so if anyone in your vicinity is facing problems with any kind of addiction, then take him to a well known and capable Christian Drug cure center and get benefited.

Brazil's Exponential Crack Crisis

Proving that Latin American drug production is not entirely consumed by America, a recent study in Brazil has shown that there are now 10 times more crackheads in the nation than just 8 years prior. It is now thought to be the predominate form of substance abuse in the nation of 191 million, even more popular than alcohol.

The administration is responding by putting over $2 billion towards trafficking crackdowns and substance abuse treatment. Unfortunately this means putting another 8,500 troops on their border, shared with 10 other countries including some that already have enough problems with militarized borders, including Colombia, Bolivia, and Venezuela. These troops will also be expected to crack down on illegal mining and deforestation efforts deep in the Amazon.

Crack is not only taking hold in the area but another, even more dangerous form of cocaine known as "Oxi," which is usually cocaine mixed with quicklime, paraffin, or petrol. It is extremely cheap, short-lasting, and addictive and is a favorite of extremely poor substance abusers in Sout America.

The efforts of the military operation have already born fruit as the Brazilian government has announced that at least 10 clandestine airstrips used for varying forms of smuggling have already been shut down.

However, just as in America and Mexico, Brazil's policy falls short of dealing with social and economic problems fueling drug abuse. While it is unlikely that Brazil's humungous border could actually be secured against contraband, the country's chronic and expansive poverty problems can be dealt with. However the Brazilian government, despite having record cash reserves thanks to its relationship to the energy industry, has largely continued to ignore expanding social services to its worst-off citizens. Brazil's generationally poverty-stricken are perhaps best known in slums where orphans live on the streets of slums where many people are packed into one-room apartments and there is little clean food or water to be had for many miles.

For anyone really looking to curb crack cocaine abuse in Brazil, they'd be better off starting with those that whose suffering make them vulnerable to drug abuse in the first place. Brazil's chronic poor have been a drug epidemic in waiting for years, and now the government is running out of excuses.

Treating poverty, lack of education, mental health problems, and addictions are the only way to curb destructive and generational drug abuse. When funds for social services are put towards taking care of unwanted children, treating mental illnesses, and facing up to drug addiction, guns and imprisonment are often found to be unnecessary in confronting drug menaces.

The Effective Alcohol Cure

An effective alcohol cure program is a program that addresses both the physical and mental dependency components of addiction. Alcoholism is not a disease that you are destined to live with for the rest of your life. With the right treatment program, it is possible to cure your alcohol addiction forever.

The first step is to find an alcohol treatment program that is dedicated to focusing on finding and treating the underlying cause of the dependency. Traditional programs generally only treat the symptoms and the emotional aspect of addiction. It is important to find a program that will treat the body holistically (as a whole), and that offers complete services to address the emotional, physical, psychological, and/or neurological cause or causes of your addiction.

Unlike programs that label you an alcoholic for life, programs that offer an alcohol cure realize that alcoholism is not a disease to be managed but rather a situation that can be cured. These programs use scientific, medical, and holistic approaches together in resolving the alcohol addiction. They use advanced neuroscience techniques such as brain scans, brain mapping, neuro and biofeedback, biophysical rehabilitation, and other advanced technologies to address the body's systems and functions. They combine these techniques with therapy, counseling, and education to rehabilitate the mind and soul. Detoxification, stabilization, and rejuvenation of the mind, body, and spirit are crucial in achieving your complete alcohol cure.

All of these tools help lay a strong foundation for a renewed body and psyche. In an effective alcohol cure program, you will come to learn and understand the unique factors that first triggered your alcohol addiction and how it is impacting your life and the lives of those important to you.

Everyone's life experiences are unique and your treatment should be unique. You may have experienced a childhood trauma, an accident, emotional abuse, or other negative experiences that are contributing to your addiction. The way you cope with fear, anxiety, sadness, aggression and other feelings are unique to you and may be completely different than someone else who is experiencing alcohol addiction. Thus, it is important that you seek a program that recognizes you and your plan of care as distinguished from another. Your treatment should be personally tailored in order to achieve success.

In the proper program, you will be provided the personal care, treatment, and tools to take control of your life. You will be empowered to make your own decisions and be responsible for those decisions. With the proper diagnosis and treatment you will be able to take control and end your addiction for good.

Finding the right treatment center with all of the qualifications you expect and deserve is the first step on your road to success in achieving your independence from alcohol. Getting the right diagnosis, receiving the appropriate integrated care, and committing to your recovery can ensure your alcohol cure. Alcohol addiction will be a thing of the past to leave behind forever. Your future will be free to enjoy without exception.

The Naked Truth Behind Marijuana

Smoking weed, marijuana or cannabis was once considered to be a very dangerous, not to mention illegal pastime. In modern times however, advances in information technology have allowed the proliferation of free speech leading to more open talks on the uses of marijuana as well as the true effects of smoking weed on the human body. In fact, one could say that marijuana's reputation has made an almost full heel face turn within only a few years thanks to better information dissemination. The notoriously famous internet celebrity Mugenjohncel has even created a Ren'Py visual novel game about called "Marijuana - The Truth," which is pretty much an informational documentary about the true impact of Marijuana on physical health as well as the applications of cannabis in the field of medicine. Although the negative stigma behind smoking weed still persists, people are now a lot more informed about the naked truth behind Marijuana.

The fact of the matter is that smoking weed or pot is not really any more dangerous than overindulging in alcohol or smoking ordinary cigarettes. In fact, among substances which have been labeled as dangerous drugs, Marijuana is considered to be the least addictive. In fact, cannabis or weed is actually considered to be much less dangerous than smoking tobacco or cigarettes. Authorities on the subject matter of substance dependence rank Marijuana's addictive properties to be less than that of coffee.

One issue about smoking weed that is often the subject of heated debates with compelling arguments from both sides of the Marijuana camp is about Marijuana being a gateway drug - in other words, a drug that could lead to further drug addiction towards more potent drugs such as cocaine. On the pro-Marijuana Legalization side of the camp, they claim that since Marijuana is not an addictive drug, smoking weed is no more dangerous than smoking cigarettes with high nicotine content and that nicotine is a much more potent gateway drug than Marijuana could ever be. One the other hand, studies undertaken on Marijuana as a gateway drug are inconclusive at best. While some studies state that there is a statistical relationship between Marijuana and other more potent drugs such as cocaine, the scientific rationale towards the transition from Marijuana to hardcore drug abuse is still a work in progress at this point.

Just what are the effects of smoking weed on the human body? Marijuana has a number of long-term as well as short-term effects, although only a few of them can be considered to be serious. For its short-term effects, smoking pot has been known to cause loss of coordination, difficulty in problem-solving and analytical thinking, memory and learning difficulties, as well as generally distorted senses. In fact, although alcohol is a legal substance, drinking alcohol has much more dangerous short-term effects such as acute alcohol intoxication or what is better known as alcohol poisoning. As to the long-term effects of Marijuana, they are pretty much on par with that of cigarette smokers including lung damage, increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and daily coughing and increased phlegm production.

Another effect of smoking pot, which is largely unconfirmed, is that it might cause the development of cancer. What is better known is that smoking tobacco and cigarettes can cause cancer. A study conducted on people who smoke weed regularly did show an increased risk for the development of cancer, but the results of this study could not be confirmed by related, relevant studies. It can be inferred however, that due to the similarities between smoking pot and cigarette smoking that the development of cancer through marijuana use is a definite possibility.

The 5 Most Common Alcohol Test Methods

Most industrial accidents and deaths in car accidents in the United States are caused by alcohol abuse. Being a legal substance consumed by most of the population, its abuse is widespread and requires certain organizations to do their own testing in order to curb some of its negative effects.

The demand for new and better testing methods to detect alcohol use is increasing, with institutions ranging from small town schools to multinational corporations making more of an effort to detect problems by random testing and screening. While the most common means used are the breathalyzer and saliva tests, for their simple and non-invasive process, blood and urine tests can also be performed. There is also hair testing which is a fairly recent method of alcohol screening.

Alcohol Testing Methods

The five most common alcohol consumption tests are: blood, saliva, breath, hair, and urine tests. Each has its own peculiarities which we'll discuss below.

The Blood Alcohol Test

The most invasive method of testing for alcohol, this test directly measures the alcohol content in a person's blood. The test is relatively expensive and makes it possible to determine the degree of a person's intoxication, to know if they stayed within the legal limits or abused the substance. Despite the invasiveness, there are some limitations to the test. It cannot determine things such as the time the person drunk or how addicted the person is to alcohol.

The Saliva Test

Effective for up to a full day after consumption, the saliva test looks for alcohol in the saliva of the person which would indicate alcohol use. Because of the ease, low-cost and non-invasiveness of the procedure, it is usually performed by institutions such as companies to test their workers. The results are very quick and usually as good as that of a blood alcohol test.

The Breathalyzer Test

Used mostly by law enforcement to check drivers for intoxication, the breathalyzer test is performed with a handheld device which can provide results instantly. The portable device checks for alcohol on a person's breath as a way to determine their overall blood alcohol and intoxication level.

The Urine Test

Regarded by some as the most convenient method, the test will usually check for alcohol in the urine. This method is effective for a couple of hours after ingestion, though depending on the amount consumed could show results for up to two full days. Newer tests check for ethyl glucuronide which is a result of alcohol consumption and can be detected up to four days after the ingestion of alcohol. The newer methods are important since fermentation within the body could generate a false positive when checking directly for alcohol, such as in cases of diabetes.

The Hair Test

While hair testing has been around for a while, it only started being performed to check for alcohol in 2008. The hair acts as a historical record of a person's alcohol use, showing their usage pattern over many months instead of just the last couple of hours or days. This is very useful to deal with people suffering from substance addiction problems.

Discover the Benefits of an Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center

One of the most difficult conclusions for an addict to come to is to realize they are in need of treatment. They absolutely need to come to a full understanding about their addiction and accept the fact that they need a treatment program that will help them on their journey to recovery. All too often the addicted person is unable to recognize their addiction for what it is. This can be very frustrating for the family as they watch their loved one be consumed and enslaved by their addiction, unwilling to recognize they need professional help.

Whether it's alcohol, drugs, food, nicotine or anything else you can think of that can become an addiction, the consuming thoughts and lifestyle are never healthy, nor do they produce a positive experience in the long term. Often times, as in the case of drugs and alcohol addiction, it can become life threatening. If you or someone you love struggle with addiction, the best thing you can do is get professional help as soon as possible. There are many inpatient treatment facilities available that offer a secure and supportive environment and will deal with the heart of the addiction.

Making the decision to seek professional care with an inpatient rehabilitation center will take a lot of commitment on behalf of the person in need of treatment. While there are many benefits from attending an inpatient rehab verses seeking outpatient care, it can be a difficult decision based on the needs and personal responsibilities of the addict. Inpatient treatment can last anywhere from 30, 60 to even 90 days depending on the advice of the counseling staff. Residential programs are also available for those who may need an extended care program for up to 1 year.

While inpatient and residential care programs tend to be more expensive than outpatient treatment, there are many benefits to the patient. Around-the-clock care is typically available, providing ample supervision and support. Inpatient facilities typically provide structure, freeing the patient from outside distractions and the possibility of relapsing further into their addiction. While participating in inpatient care, the patient will be subject to a community of individuals who are also seeking sobriety. Close connections can be established with other recovering individuals and this support is vital in the long term.

If you or someone you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it is important to have them speak with a professional as soon as possible. The goal should be to get them into a drug or alcohol program that will greatly assist them on their journey to recovery. At 'Free by the Sea', our beautiful 5 acre campus provides a serene healing environment that inspires patients to discover new possibilities for a life of recovery.

The Highs and Lows of Heroin Addiction

What is Heroin?

Heroin is a highly addictive and rapidly acting illegal drug that is the single most abused opiate in the United States. Heroin is processed from morphine, which is the main component of opium. Opium is the naturally occurring substance that is extracted from the seedpod of the opium poppy. Heroin has one of the most serious addiction rates of all illegal drugs.

While found in a variety of forms, heroin is typically sold as a white or brownish colored powder. A black sticky substance known on the streets as "black tar heroin" is the dirtiest form of heroin. Although purer heroin is becoming much more common, most street heroin is cut with other drugs or substances such as sugar, starch, powdered milk or quinine. Black tar heroin is usually cut with glass and other substances that can be potentially fatal or cause some sort of brain damage and is much more harmful than regular heroin.

Street heroin can also be cut with poisons such as strychnine. Abusers of heroin have no way of knowing the actual strength of the heroin, nor do they know the true contents of the drug. For this reason, they are at a higher risk for overdose or death. Heroin addicts are also at a higher risk for HIV and other diseases because of the sharing of needles that can occur among addicts.

The Heroin High

When compared to other drugs such as meth, cocaine, alcohol or marijuana, heroin is taken less for recreational and social reasons than it is for the purposes of self medication. People who suffer from deep seeded emotional problems, have endured a history of trauma, experience chronic pain or live a lifestyle that may be seen as disadvantaged, are at an even greater risk for addiction.

The heroin high creates changes in thoughts, feeling and sensations. While some of theses feelings are directly caused by the changes that occur in the brain and the central nervous system, other feelings are directly related to the personal history and expectations of the person taking the drug. This is why some people may experience immediate relief from the drug while others may consider the effects to be awful. Feelings of euphoria give people who suffer with anxiety and/or depression, the opportunity to experience pleasure and escape from their feelings of despair or intense racing of thoughts. Some people have been known to describe the heroin high as providing them with feelings of warmth and safety. In reality, heroin addicts are far from warm and safe. Heroin can also be very effective in reducing or eliminating both physical and emotional pain. For this reason, the drug can be particularly appealing to those who suffer from chronic pain or for those who engage in physically painful activities.

Heroin Withdrawal

If you have become addicted to heroin, you can expect to experience some withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can vary in intensity depending upon the severity of use and physical addiction. Typically, withdrawal symptoms will begin within 6-12 hours after the last dose of heroin. Symptoms can be expected to peak within 1 to 3 days and will gradually subside over the course of the next 5-7 days. Keeping this in mind, there have been addicts who have experienced severe withdrawal symptoms for weeks or months. This is known as post acute withdrawal syndrome.

There is often a strong desire to use more heroin for those who have become addicted to the illegal substance. The body will crave the substance that provided them with pleasure and eventually the addict will desire to use again simply because the physical pain experienced from not using can become so intense and the addict knows that if they use again, it will ease the pain. Heroin blocks the body's pain pathways. For an addict, heroin becomes their medicine, blocking the aches and pains typically felt in the back and leg regions of the body.

As heroin withdrawal progresses, an overproduction of bodily fluids may be experienced. Excessive sweating, teary eyes and a runny nose are very common. Vomiting, diarrhea, fever and chills are symptoms that will keep you feeling very uncomfortable. As the body begins to bring itself into balance, one may begin to notice their hairs standing on end as well as other physical symptoms. Until homeostasis is achieved, an addict can expect restless nights, insomnia, and agitation. Feelings of depression, irritability and anxiety are a normal part of the withdrawal process. They are often very intense, but typically pass once the withdrawal stage has subsided.

Stop Drinking Alcohol - Methods For Getting Over The Addiction

Drinking too much alcohol can damage your relationships, affect your job performance, and cause various health problems. If you just decided that you should stop drinking alcohol, then you have made a very good decision. If you stop drinking alcohol, you can enjoy many benefits such as reducing your weight, preventing liver disease, avoiding hangovers, and preventing strokes. Here you will find some useful tips on how you can stop consuming alcohol without seeking professional help or taking medications. However, knowing how to stop consuming alcohol is not enough because you will need to be determined to quit drinking alcohol if you really want to succeed.

Useful Tips on How to Stop Drinking Alcohol

The first thing you have to do if you really want to stop drinking alcohol is to turn yourself into a person who really wants to quit consuming alcohol. If you are only forcing yourself to stop because someone is forcing you to stop consuming alcohol or because your job demands you to quit consuming alcohol, then you have a slim chance of success. To really succeed in quitting alcohol, you need to do it because you want to and you are doing it for yourself. Quit drinking alcohol when you feel you are truly ready to do it and not because you are forced to do it. If you truly believe that you are doing it for yourself, then you are more likely to succeed and you are less prone becoming tempted and returning to your old habit.

You should also change your lifestyle if you want to stop consuming alcohol. Get rid of the alcohol cans and bottles inside your home. If you are having guests over at your home, remember that you don't always have to serve them wine, beer, or cocktail. You can serve them coke, lemonade, or tea so that you will avoid getting tempted to drink alcohol. If your friends are inviting you to a party where alcohol is being served, be brave and tell them that you will not be able to join them this time. Remember that your health is more important right now and don't worry about your social life for now.

Other Tips on How to Stop Drinking Alcohol

According to experts, it is easier to stop consuming alcohol if you reward yourself for your efforts. Reward yourself with a prize for each day that you didn't drink alcohol. You can reward yourself with a bar of your favorite chocolate or a scoop of your favorite ice cream. Do not reward yourself with a can of beer or a glass of wine because those will only make it harder for you to stop consuming alcohol.

It will also be easier for you to quit consuming alcohol if you keep yourself busy during your free time. Go to the movies or exercise at the gym to prevent the temptation of consuming alcohol. Spend your drinking money on other things such as a cheap new bracelet or ring so that you won't have the money to buy alcohol.

How to Avoid False Positives While Conducting a Home Drug Test

With home drug testing methods believed to produce reliable and accurate results, many of us overlook the cases of false positives and draw conclusions on the suspect before reconfirming the result. But, researchers from the Boston University have found out that drug tests may produce false positives in 5-10% of cases and false negatives in 10-15% of cases.

There are so many factors that can impact the results of a drug test, especially home tests; so, it is better to be aware of the possible causes of false positives.

Home drug testing is usually done using samples like urine and oral fluids to detect the use of alcohol or illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine, etc. The result of a test will be termed as 'false positive' when the test result shows positive for a substance which the subject under consideration has not abused.

Drug test kits detect the presence of drug metabolites in the sample by identifying the chemical structure of the drug. However, there are hundreds of over-the-counter legal medications, which have the similar structure as of illegal drugs. Lack of sensitivity of the drug test kits to differentiate almost similar structures of legal and illegal drugs, affects the results, thus producing false positive results. Even some foods can trigger this.

Medications and foods that cause false positive results
• Medicines for cold, anti-depressants can trigger this on tests conducted for amphetamines
• Painkillers and anti-depressants like Zoloft can show positive for benzodiazepine
• Taking antibiotics like Quinolone may result in false positives for opioids
• HIV medication, Sustiva can show positive for marijuana
• When it comes to food, poppy seed is very much effective in producing false results. Consuming foods with poppy seeds may alter your drug test results and show false positive results for opiates

Tips to avoid this false results:
If we really see, the majority of the medicines and foods that cause false positives are frequently used or consumed. Since the probability of using them is high, taking some precautionary measures can avoid the occurrence of false positives.

• Suspect should not use medicines before the test: As you are aware of the fact that medicines can cause false positives, ask suspect not to take any kind of medicines from 3 days prior to the scheduled drug test.

• Foods that should be avoided: As poppy seeds can alter the test results, ask the suspect to avoid foods containing poppy seeds, such as muffins and bagels.

• Second hand exposure to drugs: Consistent exposure to extremely concentrated second hand smoke (especially in case of marijuana and nicotine) may result in false positive results. So, ask the suspect to stay away from drug abusing friends before taking the test.

• Test procedure: One more important thing you should remember to get accurate results is to follow the test procedure carefully. Every home drug test kit will come with a brochure which clearly explains the test procedure. Especially, for the first time users, it is essential to study the booklet carefully before using the kit. For instance, while using urine drug test strips to detect drugs in the urine sample the results should be interpreted within 3-5 minutes after initiating the test. Ignoring this, may result in false positives.

• Test kit with broken seal: No matter from where you have bought your test kit, make sure that the seal of the test kit is not broken. Also check whether the kit contains all the items mentioned in the checklist on the outer box. All the testing tools should be in a proper condition.

It is always advised to use FDA approved drug test kits offered by reputed dealers. FDA approval confirms that the test kit is made of good quality material and no substance in the test kit alters or impacts the test results. Hence, in order to avoid false positive test results always go for reliable test kits.

Frequently Asked Questions About Treatment for Alcoholism

Alcoholism is not a 'one size fits all' diagnosis. Accordingly, treatment for alcoholism should not be approached generally. An individual's underlying cause of alcoholism is unique and should be treated with a personalized plan of care.

How do I know if I need treatment for alcoholism?

Self-assessment and your relationship with those who are important to you are the first steps to determining if you need treatment for alcoholism. If a loved one has encouraged you to seek treatment for alcoholism or if you feel you may be teetering on alcoholism, find a medical treatment center where you can get a professional diagnosis. If anonymity is important to you, call first and ask if you can get an initial consult and interview by phone.

Can I treat myself?

Alcohol misuse is different from alcoholism and alcohol dependency. Alcoholism which is defined as alcohol dependency has physical consequences if you attempt to treat yourself. Withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, nervousness, sweating, flushed skin, nausea, gastrointestinal symptoms, elevated heart rate, organ failure, and even death. Self-detoxification is not recommended and can have serious consequences, including death. Detoxification should be managed by medical and rehabilitation specialists.

Will I need to check into an extended overnight facility to treat my alcoholism?

Alcohol abuse and misuse can typically be treated through counseling and outpatient services. However, it is important to recognize that continued alcohol abuse and misuse can lead to alcohol dependency and alcoholism. Most treatment for alcoholism provide both outpatient and inpatient programs. For some, controlled detox and individualized outpatient alcohol drug rehabilitation and counseling may be successful. For others, inpatient programs lasting from 14 to 90 days may provide better results. What is important to remember is that every patient is unique and achieves success in his or her own way. What works for one may not work for another. Treatment for alcoholism should always be approached with the individual's unique diagnosis and goals for recovery in mind.

Will insurance pay for my treatment?

If your coverage allows for drug and alcohol treatment and if an alcohol treatment center is a licensed reputable treatment center, most insurance companies will pay for your treatment. In addition, most reputable treatment centers have financing available if some or all of your treatment will not be covered by your insurance company. Look for an insurance inquiry page at the treatment center's website to complete preliminary information to help determine if your insurance is likely to cover treatment. Most treatment centers also have a phone number you can call to talk to someone to see if your insurance is likely to cover your treatment and if there are any pre-treatments steps that may be necessary with your insurance company.

What are my chances for success?

Find a treatment center that is right for you and with proven documented success. For the best results, find a treatment center that will treat you holistically and provide advanced diagnostic techniques that treat your physical, psychological, or neurological cause or causes for your alcoholism. Your success depends on you and the treatment center you pick. With the right center, you can achieve a full and sustainable recovery.

What Is The Ideal Way To Seek Treatment For Alcoholism?

For an individual who has developed a physical dependency to alcohol, the first step towards sobriety is detoxification. The process, which begins with an abrupt cessation to consumption, is often aided by the use of cross-tolerant pharmaceuticals. Benzodiazepines, such as Valium and Librium, may help to reduce the severe withdrawal symptoms that range from body aches to delirium. Yet, while prescribing medications is often a useful way to catalyze recovery, it is not uncommon for patients to develop new addictions to the drugs intended to ease the transition from substance dependency to sobriety. Given that long-term use of Benzodiazepines can lead to effects as unwanted as those caused by the alcohol addiction itself, it would be preferable to seek a basis for recovery that is not reliant on drugs.

Recent studies have revealed that a more constructive way to devise a treatment for alcoholism includes identifying chemical imbalances and assembling a personalized therapy based on the psychological needs of each individual patient. This can be done though therapy and/or brain scans that are indicative of psychological pressure points. For example, a brain scan may reveal that a particular patient is more prone to anxiety and therefore needs an integrated therapy that caters to their imbalance. This is not to say that the most valuable approach to treatment for alcoholism is one lacking the aid of drugs completely, but rather, the approach that has yielded the most favorable results in recent studies are those modeled after the practice of holistic health.

Holistic health is a medical practice that combines various aspects of people's needs including the physical, psychological, and spiritual. Holistic routines include - but are not limited to - counseling, exercise, meditation, and diet remedies. This all encompassing approach towards recovery heals one's mind, body and spirit by paying proper attention to the entirety of a patient's host. Under the practice of holistic medicine, each patient is seen as an individual whose health issues stem from various contributing factors, as opposed to a patient being viewed as an example of a diagnosis. This form of therapy promotes a healthy lifestyle as well as serving to remedy conditions like addiction. There is an unwanted risk that lies in a broad-stroke diagnosis for alcoholism. The way to ensure a successful recovery is to develop a personalized treatment program through a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility that can be trusted to distribute attention where it is needed.

Five Damaging Effects of Alcoholism on Your Body

Many studies have been done on the effects of consuming high amounts of alcohol over an extended period, and they have consistently shown that alcoholism has long-term and damaging effects on your body. Below, we've listed five major consequences and the most vital organs that alcohol attacks.

1. Your Liver

Over 2 million people in the United States suffer from a form of alcoholic liver disease. The liver detoxes the alcohol and removes it from your bloodstream, preventing it from accumulating and destroying other cells and organs. However, the act of metabolizing the alcohol actually creates substances that are harmful to the liver itself. This can lead to:

  • Inflammation
  • Liver scarring
  • Liver failure
  • Death

2. Your Brain

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, studies have consistently shown that people with a history of alcoholism or repeated alcohol abuse have smaller, lighter and more shrunken brains than others of the same age and gender. This shrinkage in the brain has been shown to result in several damaging conditions, including:

  • Memory loss
  • Alcoholic blackouts
  • Damage to brain cells
  • Loss of cognitive thinking skills
  • Strokes
  • Dementia

3. Your Digestive System

Excessive drinking stemming from alcohol abuse or alcoholism has also been shown to damage all parts of the digestive system. If you consume several alcoholic beverages each day, you are at a higher risk for digestive system problems, such as:

  • Chronic inflammation of the esophagus
  • Pancreatitis
  • Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach)
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Cancer (in esophagus, mouth, throat, colon and rectum)

4. Your Heart

Another damaging effect of alcoholism is heart problems and diseases. At high concentrations, alcohol has been shown to interfere with the pumping action of the heart. It has also been linked to a number of other cardiovascular problems, listed below.

  • Loss of heart's ability to beat properly
  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary artery disease (the leading cause of death in Western society)
  • Heart attacks
  • Increased risk of stroke

5. Your Immune System

Alcoholics and people who drink heavily suffer from far more infectious diseases than people who drink moderately or not at all. One study found that alcohol abusers were 15 to 200 times more likely to get tuberculosis than nonusers. In extreme cases, the body can cease to accurately distinguish self from non-self, causing the immune system to actually attack your own body.

In addition to all of the health complications of high concentrations of alcohol, the University of Maryland Medical Center estimates that alcoholism can reduce your life expectancy by 10 to 12 years.

But there is hope. When alcoholics enter recovery, many of the affected vital organs begin to repair themselves and the overall health of the patient improves.

Entering into recovery can be a frightening, painful, even dangerous process. To guard the alcoholic's safety and increase the rate of long-term recovery, the first short-term goal is often a proven detoxification program to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and ease the detox phase. Then the next phase of rehabilitation and recovery can proceed with a better prognosis for success.

Youngsters in Drug Addiction

It is an obvious matter that the superfluous desires of youngsters are never ending. The effects of latest entertaining gadgets and fashion are more on them. Entertainment has already been a synonym to the youngsters. In search of pursuing entertainment, some goes beyond the limit and starts to misuse the pros of drug stating a false notion of achieving so called worldly pleasures.

The rate of teenagers, taking drugs in a habitual manner has increased tremendously. Drug addiction has already built a strong foundation and so the number of addicts are increasing, which is a pathetic fact. Those addicts when dive into the deleterious drug addiction get castigated for their aberrant behaviors in the society.

Cause of drug addiction is no more an unfamiliar matter. Every people know it well. The only thing is our ignorance. We know that the peer pressure, family's background, curiousness and frustrations are some leading causes. What I don't understand is that the youngsters, besides the addicts, do have such pressures and frustrations but they are seen tackling it very well, then why the addicts can't do so? Why are they very ignorant about life and their priorities? It might be a hard deal to renounce addiction at once, but they should give themselves a try at least.

HIV/AIDS, crimes, conflicts, and health problems are some aftermaths of consuming drugs like LSD, cocaine, coca, heroin and morphine. The addicts are seen refusing to abdicate drug addiction even after knowing the outcomes of drug addiction they should face in future. Rules and regulations implemented to control the addiction have resulted nothing great improvement but just sadness. Condition is exacerbating day by day. Even the work of rehabilitation centers is not fully successful in dragging the addicts out of the addiction. Most of the addicts after leaving those centers are seen involving in drug addiction again. Desultory and devoid minded addicts are seen pilfering to arrange for further doses. This condition is a matter of diffident for NGOS and INGOS working for control of drug addiction. The efficacy of the function conducted by those organizations is still not on the target as the numbers of addicts are increasing fiercely.

The teenagers should be provided with the information about the sensitive youth period and its best possible utilization for the bright career ahead. Also an adage 'Be a hero. Say NO to drugs' should be regulated among youngsters in an encouraging and convincing manner in order to counteract the problem. If this cannot be done, then there will be no meaning of just celebrating 27 June as International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. So an immediate response to this ever increasing problem is a must.

Cocaine - A Threat to Our Youth

Cocaine is a drug notorious for its immediate allure; it is equally notorious for its instantly addictive properties. The powerful stimulant often comes in a hydrochloric form to be snorted, or dissolved to be injected - both routes of administration that produce instantaneous mental and physical piquancy.

Cocaine increases the amount of dopamine distributed to the brain causing intense, concentrated pleasure. The sensation makes the drug highly addictive which is hazardous considering that cocaine causes the body's heart rate to accelerate and blood vessels to constrict, making cardiac arrest or heart attack a serious risk to even a first-time user. Given the threats of such a drug, the statistics illustrating usage among the youthful demographic are frightening. As reported by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the average age among the.6 million first time users of cocaine in 2010 was twenty-one years old. Similar numbers have been reported in previous years with 2009 averaging at twenty years old and 2008 averaging at nineteen. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health also estimated, in 2008, that adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one have an altogether higher rate of current cocaine use.

We may ask ourselves, "What is the appeal of such a hazardous drug to a young crowd? Where do young adults develop the impetus to fall into such a destructive habit?" It could be the way in which cocaine is romanticized in the media through outlets like Gonzo journalism and rock music. It is an unfortunate peril that many figureheads of today's popular medium have been widely known cocaine users. If the perpetuation of drug use is going to be encouraged in society, the sentiments must be negated with positive remedies.

Knowledge of the dangers posed by cocaine should be made accessible and appealing to the young adult population. In that same vein, when preemptive strikes fail to discourage drug use, it is important that users know where to seek aid on the track to rehabilitation. Individuals should know also how to approach cocaine addiction treatment. With the right facility, it is possible to maintain long-term stability thorough physical and mental revitalization. Addicts who aim for recovery should be able to find their ideal cocaine addiction treatment center -one that caters to the individual needs of their physical and neurological state. In the way that commercial media swarms with temptations and influences, options for preserving sobriety should be made apparent to anyone, yet particularly our nascent youth.

Are You Addicted to Your Prescription Pain Killers?

Prescription pills are becoming increasingly more deadly. Every day we hear in the news about someone else who has died because of prescription pills. The pills that have become so deadly are Xanax, Oxycodone, Morphine, Roxicodone, Hydrocodone, Lortab, Ambien, Soma, Norco, and other anti-anxiety medication or pain killers. Anti-anxiety medications are considered a Benzodiazepine or Anxiolytic and the pain medication are in the Opiate class of medication.

Pain medications are useful when someone has acute pain. This is right after surgery, or after an accident, broken limbs, cancer, and other severe injuries. Pain medications were not really meant to be a long term solution for pain. These opiate pills and anti-anxiety medications have become an epidemic of physical dependence, suicide attempts and overdose. There has been a spike in the number of people entering treatment centers to detox off of these medications. Many are cocktailing (mixing) with alcohol, and other medications, which increases; cloudy thinking, extreme muscle aches and fatigue and when a person runs out, the symptoms of withdrawal are; cold sweats, lack of sleep, eating disturbances, muscle and joint pain, paranoid thoughts, extreme irritability and agitation, nausea, black outs, extreme anxiety, itchy skin, and possibility of seizures. This is what these prescription pills are doing.

When someone is taking these types of medications becoming physically dependent is inevitable when they are used for long-term pain management. The reason for this is because of how the brain processes these pills and the way the body reacts to this process. Opiates are considered a synthetic type of heroin which in the brain this is processed as pleasure. This is a certain receptor that connects to the opiate and produces this type of pleasure. This pleasure is automatically sought after by the brain and the body. When the brain is deprived of this pleasure it then sends the message to the body of the need for this pleasure and this is how the physical dependence starts. When the body is told it needs more pleasure (opiate) it begins to feel fatigue, nauseous, sweaty, shaky, headaches, depression, extreme anxiousness, and diarrhea. These are just a few of the symptoms the body will send out. So when the next pill is taken it will relieve these symptoms again for a short time but eventually this one pill is not enough because it isn't the same as the first time it was taken so now the body responds by increasing the symptoms and so the person will take two pills to relieve these symptoms. This cycle goes on and on until the person is taking ten or more pills a day and then going to the Dr to let them know this isn't working anymore so the Dr gives more pills and maybe a different type of opiate medication, increases the dosage or adding an anti-anxiety medication like Xanax.

This continues until the person is taking Oxycodone and Xanax to decrease the anxiousness, they are taking Soma because they can't sleep. As soon as they get up they take Oxycodone (or the opiate they are on) because they wake up feeling sick and agitated. They feel shaky and their nose is dripping and eyes are tearing and once they take that pill they can then begin to function again. This still isn't enough so they go back to the Dr again and they prescribe something else for pain and depression and now the brain is screaming that this just isn't enough so they start taking more than prescribed and instead of six or eight in the day they are taking ten or twenty. Their body is so dependent on these pills that this is now the only thing that gets them going. All of their thoughts are about not feeling these physical symptoms so they begin to take them closer together so they don't have to feel withdrawals like; nauseous, agitated, shaky, foggy headed, fatigued, clammy, stuffy or runny nose, loss of memory and concentration, depression and anxiousness, and feelings of something crawling under their skin.

This cycle goes on and on until they finally are told by their Dr that they will not prescribe them anymore of these medications, so they go find another Dr to get their pills and when this Dr won't give them this many pills they go online and begin buying from someone in Canada or some other country. The pills come and they look like they are similar and so they begin taking these pills. Their body is so dependent on these pills that they are afraid to ever be without them. This fear continues to increase and the euphoria that was felt in the beginning is now replaced by fear, anxiousness and chasing that initial feeling of euphoria or pleasure.

This is a brief look into what these prescription pills are doing to people. This is the cycle of the physical dependence on these prescription pills. This is also why the overdoses on these pills are becoming so common. There is so much despair that they become hopeless and life becomes dark. They may be functioning and going to work or taking care of their family but they are not happy they are on auto pilot. To people around them they seem different, detached somehow, withdrawn, paranoid, and snappy. They may take everything personal and think that everyone is against them. Most people around them don't know what is going on because taking pills is something that is OK since it comes from the Dr so nobody thinks that this is the problem. As a matter of fact most family members will help them find a new Dr because of the physical pain they will be experiencing from the withdrawal effects, having no idea of the amount they are actually taking. They really are sick and it seems like they are sick a lot. They may be able to work, or function in the family but they complain of not feeling good and end up retreating to their bed or room.

One thing that happens when someone is physically dependent is as they try to get off of these pills the symptoms of withdrawal become so intense that many will not be able to get off of them on their own. There is also a potential for seizures when trying to get off of these medications which is why the numbers of people going into a detox center is rising.

Addiction Treatment

Addiction has to be distinguished from habit or experiment or party time. Addiction is the inability to predict what will happen in any day after the first use of a mood-altering substance or process. Will the person always - every time - be able to take it or leave it by choice or will an uncontrollable binge sometimes occur?

Habit is often related to home or social environment. That's the way things are usually done in the family, at work or socially.

Party time is what students and other merry-makers do. At times they go too far. Eventually they grow out of it or get bored.

Treatment will depend upon the cause: Party time is enjoyable just occasionally. Slow down if it is becoming too much of a good thing. Be concerned if you can't.

Habit is when you get stuck in a rut. Get out of it if it becomes tedious to you or to others. Worry about it if you can't.

Addiction is when you keep going back to a mood-altering substance or process after giving it up for a time. Be appropriately frightened if that is what happens to you or if you become depressed and angry when you are abstaining.

The three underlying influences in addiction are genetic inheritance, emotional trauma and social opportunity.

Social influences are treated by changing the environment. Abstain from anything and anywhere that causes you damage in any way.

Emotional trauma from the past is best treated professionally. EMDR is a psychological process that heals shame and promotes gentle acceptance of past hurts. NLP helps to re-frame past fear or sadness, seeing life in new ways. Psychodrama works on thoughts, feelings and actions all at the same time, enabling new insights and behaviours to develop.

Genetic influences are countered each day by choosing specific alternative behaviours. Obsession with self disappears when helping others with their compulsive or addictive behaviour anonymously.

Treatment of addiction through drug substitution, such as with Methadone or Prozac, simply creates another dependency. Treatment with CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is helpful for people who were confused but who had no emotional difficulties. Doctors and therapists tend to like CBT because it shows how clever they are. Psychodrama, EMDR and NLP require imagination, creativity, training and skill.

There are many psychological techniques that can help people to settle their tormented spirits. The tortuous processes of analysis should be confined to history. Positive psychology looks at what people do well and builds on that.

The tailor-made treatment for addiction is the Twelve Step programme, first formulated by Alcoholics Anonymous but now applied to many addictions. One day at a time, as with the treatment for any chronic illness, we meet other addicts, we work the Twelve Steps, we read the appropriate books and pamphlets, we find a guide to help us, and we abstain from all mood-altering substances and processes that affect us.

We come to depend upon a higher power than ourselves, specifically as each of us may understand this concept, to restore sanity to our troubled minds and order to our disturbed lives.

Professional treatment aims to help sufferers from addictive disease of any kind to develop peace of mind in spite of unsolved problems, happy and mutually fulfilling relationships, spontaneity, creativity and enthusiasm.

Shocking New Study on Drug Dependent Newborns

A combination of studies and news stories has been going around the internet the past few weeks regarding the impact of opiate drugs not just on adults, teenagers, and the elderly - but on newborn babies. While many of these discussions and statistics kind of fall into the same fear mongering mindset of many reports on drug epidemics, one estimated statistic does certainly tend to make an impact on those that see it:

Every hour a baby is born addicted to opiates.

The study took place between 2000 and 2009 and was conducted by the University of Michigan. It found that regardless of the reason, a five-fold increase in the use of these drugs during the study period has resulted in an astonishing increase to babies born with an opiate dependency. While unwanted and poorly maintained pregnancies amongst drug addicted women is already a well-documented phenomenon, another factor is certainly those that are prescribed opiates for a pain problem and either can't quit it during pregnancy or think that nothing is wrong with that.

Well that is certainly far from the case as "neonatal abstinence syndrome" can result in feeding intolerence, irritability, seizures, and breathing problems as well as low birth weight. Newborns who are cut off from the opiate supply they get in their mother's womb can start to experience these withdrawal symptoms within hours of being born.

Addiction to oxycodone and hydrocodone is one of the worst man-made health crises America has ever seen. While used all the time for pain-relief that would otherwise be impossible, it's danger to the overall public is extreme. Countless people are legally prescribed the drugs and immediately become addicted. Still others use them recreationally and end up in the same experience. Chronic addiction, overdose, death, and imprisonment are all common results of opiate abuse.

Hence a taskforce specially assigned to investigate this phenomenon in Florida. The suffering this problem creates is immense and deplorable. Some part of the blame for this must lay at the manufacturers and prescribers of these drugs - because unlike other addiction problems, this problem will occur even for those that are being safely medicated by an addictive substance and are not abusing it. While it is a slightly lesser problem, there are also millions of Americans taking CNS depressants that are looking at a difficult situation should they become pregnant and still be taking these drugs.

There is little information available for people facing this problem - in fact, many Americans today still think little of exposing pregnant women to cigarette smoke. Combined with other 21st century health catastrophes such as obesity, and the millions of people suffering increased rates of cancer, asthma, allergies, and other problems attributed to poor lifestyle choices and pollutants, opiate dependency in newborns is yet another pharmacological nightmare that America can ill afford.

Find out more about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and how it can be treated.

What Is Non 12 Step Rehab?

To understand what a non 12 step rehab program is, it is first important to understand the 12 step rehab program. The traditional 12 step rehabilitation program was pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in the 1930's. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and other similar 12 step programs followed later. The foundation of these programs is that addiction is a disease that the individual must struggle with for the rest of his or her life. These social treatment programs rely on counseling, peer support, and mentorship to treat addiction. Unfortunately, these programs do not address both the physical and mental dependencies to get at the root cause of a person's addictive behavior.

How is non 12 step rehab different?
Fortunately, non 12 step rehabilitation programs can and do address both the physical and mental dependency components of addiction. In a non 12 step rehab program, medical and rehabilitative specialists are able to determine the underlying cause of a person's dependency. This enables a person struggling with addiction to make a complete and sustainable recovery. Unlike the traditional 12 step program which labels an individual as an addict with a disease they must fight against for the rest of his or her life, the non 12 step program provides the tools for a complete recovery, making addiction a thing of the past. Non 12 step programs identify drug and alcohol addiction not as diseases but rather as resolvable situations. A non 12 step program allows an individual to move forward in life without the shadows of alcoholism always looming in the background.

A holistic and integrated approach
Non 12 step rehab programs use new advances in medical technology to determine the root cause or causes of an individual's addiction. New medical techniques used by non 12 step programs may include brain scans, brain mapping, neuro and biofeedback, biophysical rehabilitation, and other advanced technologies. Medical and rehabilitative specialists combine medical treatment and therapeutic counseling to address the body's systems and functions to determine and treat a patient's unique underlying cause or causes of addiction.

If detoxification is necessary (a detoxification process is not necessary for all patients), medically managed biophysical detoxification can help remove toxins stored in the fatty tissues of the body and reduce withdrawal symptoms. Once detoxification is complete, biophysical rehabilitation and neuroscience technology become an important part of the non 12 step rehab program. Addressing the body as a whole and with an integrated approach to treat the physical, emotional, and neurological systems, helps to provide an individual with the tools necessary for a complete and sustainable recovery. A traditional 12 step program does not address all of these issues; thus, the threat of relapse remains constant in a person's life.

The holistic approach used in non 12 step programs ensures that the individual gains a comprehensive view of how he or she fell victim to addiction and exactly how the addiction has impacted the quality of his or her life.

A Brief History of Drug Abuse and Addiction Treatment

Illegal drug use has been growing in this country since World War II. In the 1950s and early 1960s, if addiction treatment was spoken of, it was presumed that drug addiction was something that only happened to the poor in the city slums. 

The Vietnam War escalated in the mid-1960s, and it was mostly fought by draftees who came from middle class and working class families. During that war many of those young soldiers were introduced to illegal drugs for the first time. This usually happened while on patrol, in remote base camps and in the city of Saigon, which was home to a pervasive black market. 

As those soldiers were discharged from the service, many introduced drugs to their circle of friends. So, it is no surprise that a few years into that war, illegal drug use obtained a foothold in mainstream youth culture. Returning soldiers who were addicted to drugs found that their habit was much more expensive at home. Many of these soldiers were forced to kick the habit and enter addiction treatment programs.

Eventually the Veterans Administration was forced to deal with the problem and sponsored many addiction treatment activities with follow-up therapy and support groups. Ever since that time, the nation has struggled to deal with the epidemic of drug use which has crept into every part of our culture.

Getting Into Treatment

Desperation does play a role because the individual seeking treatment has to enter an addiction treatment program to avoid what would most likely be a slow but certain death. Addiction is a disease that is ultimately fatal if it is allowed to progress unchecked. Like any disease, it can be treated with some success if the patient goes through detoxification in a treatment center. 

Drug addiction treatment rarely goes smoothly. Once the initial withdrawal symptoms have subsided, there may be a long period where the patient undergoes a number of difficulties such as depression, panic attacks, impaired cognitive abilities as well as a long list of other problems. This is what is known as Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, which requires a prolonged course of treatment and therapy. These therapies may include group counseling, individual counseling or experimental treatments. Regardless of the methods used, the person that is undergoing the addiction treatment has a much better chance of success if they are kept informed and understand the process.

Religious and other charitable organizations provide resources to help addicts see that they need treatment. Government at every level, from the city or town level to the Federal level subsidizes the efforts of these organizations.

The Problem is Getting Worse

To make a troubling situation a bit more serious, synthetic narcotics are now on the street. These new drugs can be much more powerful and more addictive than many of the older drugs. The dealers have taken a page from the pharmaceutical industry and have started to distribute their product in pill form. This makes the illegal drugs easier to distribute and store.

With all these new developments it is imperative that addiction treatment programs keep pace with the new street drugs and develop new methods of dealing with the addictions that they cause.

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