Addiction is a chronic disease much like heart disease or diabetes. It can be successfully managed with the ability to regain a healthy and productive life. Treatment is life saving and requires commitment from the person with substance use disorder. Physicians who specialize in substance-abuse treatment are a good place to start. They can help them get through withdrawal and cope with cravings as well as direct them to ongoing supportive care that will address underlying issues contributing to the disease such as feelings of low self worth, boredom, bad home life, associating with people who abuse drugs.
Opiate addiction is a dangerous and potentially deadly condition that requires long term treatment and care in order to promote recovery. It is recognized as a brain disorder that is caused by the use of opiate based drugs such as Oxycontin, morphine, oxycodone, opium, heroin and others.
Over time, people become physically dependent on these drugs as the body becomes accustomed to their presence. Opiate addiction can happen to anyone, whether you are taking the drugs because you are prescribed or if you are illegally abusing them.
Prolonged use of opiates can lead to nerve damage within the brain that causes cells to stop producing their own opiates (natural painkillers known as endorphin’s). This can lead to an inability for the body to stop pain because there are no endorphin’s to mask the pain initially. The degeneration of the nerve cells that reduce pain can lead to a physical dependence on opiates as an external supply source. This leads to what is known as opiate addiction.
Common Opiate withdrawal symptoms include:
- Cravings to use the drugs
- Cramping in the stomach
- Chills or goose bumps
- Irritation or agitation
- Muscle aches
- Shakes or trembling
- Dilated pupils
- Bone pain
Alcoholism is used to describe a situation where an individual has developed a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. This person is no longer drinking simply because they like to engage in this behavior. If they don’t drink they will begin to feel unwell, and they will also have a compulsion that drives them to keep engaging in this type of substance abuse. Once a person has become an alcoholic they will never be able to regain control over their drinking. Their only option is complete abstinence.
The symptoms of alcoholism include:
* The individual experiences increased tolerance for alcohol. This means that they have to drink more in order to get the same effects.
* The alcoholic has a strong compulsion to drink.
* They will often drink more than they intended to.
* They are likely to experience blackouts. This refers to a type of amnesia that people can experience when they drink too much.
* They may try to hide the extent of their drinking.
* Drinking alone.
* They will experience withdrawal symptoms if they attempt to significantly reduce or quit alcohol.
* The individual deliberately sets out to become intoxicated.
* Feelings of guilt about their drinking.
* They will become irritable if there is no alcohol available at a time when they would normally drink.
* Lack of interest in activities that do not involve alcohol.
* Drinking alcohol before going to a party.
* Hiding alcohol around the home.
* The individual continues to drink even when alcohol is causing problems in their life.
* They alcoholic will repeatedly neglect their responsibilities because of alcohol.
* This individual struggles to reduce their alcohol intake.
* They feel uncomfortable if they do not have access to alcohol.
* Legal problems as a result of drinking.
* Financial problems as a result of drinking.
* Relationship problems as a result of drinking.
It is not necessary for people to have all these symptoms in order for them to be considered an alcoholic.
Heroin produces a “downer” effect that rapidly induces a state of relaxation and euphoria (related to chemical changes in the pleasure centers of the brain). Like other opiates, heroin use blocks the brain’s ability to perceive pain. Heroin abusers, particularly those with prior history of drug abuse, may initially be able to conceal signs and symptoms of their heroin use.
Loved ones or co-workers may notice a number of signs of heroin use, which are visible during and after heroin consumption:
- Shortness of breath
- Dry mouth
- Constricted (small) pupils
- Sudden changes in behavior or actions
- Cycles of hyper alertness followed by suddenly nodding off
- Droopy appearance, as if extremities are heavy
The above signs are not unique to heroin abuse. More definitive warning signs of heroin abuse include possession of paraphernalia used to prepare, inject or consume heroin:
- Needles or syringes not used for other medical purposes
- Burned silver spoons
- Aluminum foil or gum wrappers with burn marks
- Missing shoelaces (used as a tie off for injection sites)
- Straws with burn marks
- Small plastic bags, with white powdery residue
- Water pipes or other pipe
Behavioral signs of heroin abuse and addiction include:
- Lying or other deceptive behavior
- Avoiding eye contact, or distant field of vision
- Substantial increases in time spent sleeping
- Increase in slurred, garbled or incoherent speech
- Sudden worsening of performance in school or work, including expulsion or loss of jobs
- Decreasing attention to hygiene and physical appearance
- Loss of motivation and apathy toward future goals
- Withdrawal from friends and family, instead spending time with new friends with no natural tie
- Lack of interest in hobbies and favorite activities
- Repeatedly stealing or borrowing money from loved ones, or unexplained absence of valuables
- Hostile behaviors toward loved ones, including blaming them for withdrawal or broken commitments
- Regular comments indicating a decline in self esteem or worsening body image
- Wearing long pants or long sleeves to hide needle marks, even in very warm weather
Users build tolerance to heroin, leading to increases in the frequency and quantity of heroin consumption. With growing tolerance, more definitive physical symptoms of heroin abuse and addiction emerge:
- Weight loss
- Runny nose (not explained by other illness or medical condition)
- Needle track marks visible on arms
- Infections or abscesses at injection site
- For women, loss of menstrual cycle (Amenorrhoea)
- Cuts, bruises or scabs from skin picking
Cocaine addiction is a psychological and sometimes rather physical dependence that comes from an individual’s need or desire to use cocaine. The psychological desire that individuals who are addicted to cocaine have to use this dangerous drug will often lead them to using so much of the drug that they have very adverse reactions physically, psychologically and on their own families. Cocaine addiction can cause emotional trauma for families, financial distress, and a range of complications for the user and for their loved ones.
The risk of an individual becoming addicted to cocaine is relatively high. Classified as a Schedule 2 drug by the DEA, cocaine addiction is a risk for just about anyone who abuses the drug. In fact, according to a landmark study that was published in 2005, the risk of an individual becoming addicted to cocaine after just one use is 5%, this risk increases with each subsequent use of the drug and can elevate to an alarming 90% or more.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction to this powerful stimulant develops easily, in part because the effects of the drug only last for a very short time. To sustain the high, users typically repeatedly take cocaine in a short period of time and at increasingly higher doses. This leads the user to develop a habit of using the drug over and over again in an effort to continue or to produce the same “high”, leading to addictive behaviors quickly.
Short term effects of cocaine abuse include:
- Cardiovascular problems
- heart rhythm disturbances
- heart attack
- chest pain
- neurological effects such a strokes or seizures
- loss of appetite
- abdominal pain
- difficulty swallowing
- hoarse throat or voice
- runny nose
- sinus infections
As with other types of illicit drugs, marijuana abuse can lead to addiction. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about one in every 11 marijuana users will become addicted.
The difference between abuse and addiction is defined less by how often a person engages in an activity and more by how difficult it is for a person to cope without the activity or stop it for any length of time. It is difficult to say how much marijuana use causes dependence. It likely varies among individuals. It’s also possible for you to become dependent on marijuana without becoming addicted. Dependence and addiction occur in two different areas of the brain. However, it’s common for dependence and addiction to develop together.
Marijuana potency has increased in the past 20 years. A stronger THC level increases the chances of addiction. According to the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education, addiction is likely both physical and psychological. When physically addicted, your body craves the drug. When psychologically addicted, you consciously desire the drug’s effects.
Symptoms of marijuana addiction are similar to symptoms of addiction to other drugs.
Common symptoms are:
- increased tolerance
- continued use, even if it interferes with other areas of life
- disengagement from friends and family
- withdrawal symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms generally start about three weeks after the last use. Marijuana addiction withdrawal symptoms may include:
- weight loss
Prescription Drug Addiction
Fastest Growing Addiction In America.
Prescription drugs are the third most commonly abused category of drugs, behind alcohol and marijuana and ahead of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.
Prescription drug addiction can begin quite innocently, as when a person is given prescription drugs like pain killers to treat a medical condition. Lortab, Oxycontin, Vicodin and Hydrocodone are commonly prescribed by medical doctors to alleviate pain and anxiety due to pain. These drugs are highly addictive and doctors who prescribe them, rarely provide any information that explains this fact, people are becoming addicted at an alarming rate. Many individuals who have had a minor surgery, experience arthritis, been injured on the job, or in a car accident were prescribed some version of pain killers to alleviate the symptoms and now are unable to stop taking the pills.
You’re in the right place. We treat prescription drug addiction.
Simply put – people who do not follow the labeling and take the prescription drugs in a manner or dosage other than prescribed can become addicted and hopelessly so. Overall, an estimated 48 million people have abused prescription drugs, representing nearly 20% of the U.S. population.
Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription pain relievers include the Opioid class of drugs, such as hydrocodone (i.e., Vicodin), Oxycodone (i.e., Oxycontin), Morphine, Fentanyl and Codeine. Opioids work by mimicking the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals, attaching to receptors in the brain to block the perception of pain. Opioids can produce drowsiness, nausea, constipation, and slow breathing. Opioids also can induce euphoria by affecting the brain regions that mediate what we perceive as pleasure.
Tranquilizers and sedatives are central nervous system depressants, such as Xanax, Valium, and Librium, which are often prescribed to treat anxiety, panic attacks and sleep disorders. Central nervous system depressants, known as Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines, slow normal brain function to produce a drowsy or calming effect. Stimulant medication for ADHD can also be abused.
Recognizing prescription drug abuse, symptoms include:
- Stealing, forging or selling prescriptions
- Taking higher doses than prescribed
- Excessive mood swings
- Increase or decrease in sleep
- Poor decision-making
- Appearing to be high, unusually energetic or revved up, or sedated
- Continually “losing” prescriptions, so more prescriptions must be written
- Seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor
Getting Help For A Prescription Drug Addiction
The best way to help a person struggling with an addiction to prescription drugs is to get them into treatment. A long-term prescription drug treatment program is often needed to put the addict on the path to full recovery. Because prescription drugs are so highly addictive, the human body now needs these drugs in order to feel balanced in the day.
At Direct2Recovery, we are here to provide our patients whom are addicted to prescription drugs a safe and easy transition to medication assisted treatment (Buprenorphine, Naltrexone,(Suboxone)) as a first level of care. Once our patients start treatment we provide and maintain the proper level of care for them based on the detailed assessments given by our medical doctor. We also encourage the importance, and recommend each patient start addiction counseling with a licensed addiction counselor as soon as possible.