Best Strategies for Parents to Prevent Underage Drinking

underage drinking

Although teenage drinking has declined in recent years, underage drinking is still fairly commonplace in America today. A 2016 Monitoring the Future survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found the following high school drinking statistics: roughly 17% of eighth graders, 38% of tenth-graders, and 56% of twelfth graders consumed alcohol in the past year. While these numbers are lower than in past years, they are still high considering that alcohol consumption is illegal for all of these age groups. Such high levels can be attributed to easy access to alcohol; since it is legal for adults over the age of 21, minors with an older friend or inattentive parents can usually find alcohol if they want to.  Some parents even accept underage drinking as a right-of-passage and do not mind or worry about it. Some parents even go so far as to purchase alcohol for their teens, hoping that if they drink at home, with some level of adult supervision, they will be safer. However, teens are typically not responsible enough to handle the effects of alcohol, leading to tragic consequences.

The Dangers of Underage Drinking

Underage drinking is a problem because teens lack the maturity to drink responsibly. Physically, their young bodies cannot handle the alcohol, and they become intoxicated quickly. Mentally, teens are not mature enough to make good decisions concerning alcohol. With poor self-monitoring skills, they may quickly drink too much and make impulsive, irresponsible decisions about whether or not to drive, have sex, or engage in reckless behavior such as swimming, diving, or daring each other to complete outlandish stunts. These types of behaviors can lead to injury and death. In addition, underage drinking increases the chances of abusing alcohol as an adult. According to the following teenage drinking death statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive drinking leads to more than 4,300 deaths of underage youth each year, including:

  • 1,580 motor vehicle deaths
  • 1,269 homicides
  • 245 poisoning, burns, falls, or drownings
  • 492 suicides

The consequences of underage drinking are not always deadly but are still quite severe. According to the CDC, teens who drink are more likely to experience:

  • Problems in school, such as frequent absences or poor grades
  • Social problems, such as fighting and lack of participation in activities
  • Poor health, such as hangovers, illness, and disruption of normal growth
  • Higher risk of physical and sexual assault
  • Memory problems
  • Other substance abuse
  • Changes in brain development that may be lifelong
  • Unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity

How to Prevent Underage Drinking

The most important step in preventing teenage alcohol-related deaths is parental involvement, followed by community support, including the schools, extracurricular groups and activities, and governmental policies. Parents can help their teens by:

  • Establishing solid lines of communication with their children
  • Listening and making their teens feel comfortable
  • Providing consistent discipline and clear expectations
  • Monitoring the teen’s friendships and activities
  • Strengthening family bonds

Schools can help by:

  • Providing developmentally appropriate information about drugs and alcohol
  • Teaching skills to resist peer pressure

Extracurricular programs, which may or may not be affiliated with the school, can:

  • Provide positive adult role models
  • Provide supervised activities
  • Provide opportunities for teen leadership

Policies made by the community and the government can impact teen drinking by:

  • Maintaining a minimum drinking age of 21
  • Imposing excise taxes on alcohol
  • Limiting availability of alcohol to minors

Strong parental involvement goes a long way toward preventing underage drinking. If you are a parent concerned about your teen’s drinking habits, we can help. Call our toll free number today.

Married to an Addicted: How to Know When It’s Time to Leave

drug addict

A marriage can be a beautiful and a rewarding union, and usually, it is. Typically, it is just that. Sometimes, however, things can come up that can create difficult issues and hardships within the marriage, and this is pretty normal. However, sometimes things can get really, really tricky within a marriage and the issues and the struggles that a marriage can face can be too much for it to bear. Certain things can come up in a marriage that can create difficulty and a hardship and a lot of struggles for people, and these can truly create a grueling and big problem situation for the marriage. Things can come up like adultery, serious financial problems, power struggles, and addiction.

A marriage can veritably be ruined by drug and alcohol addiction. When addiction comes into a marriage, people wonder, do drug addicts ever change? Well, as soon as they realize that drug addicts do not change unless they get into a rehab center that can help them kick their addiction habit, those spouses often then wonder how to end a relationship with an addict. Having a drug addict or an alcoholic for a spouse is one of the worst life situations that one could possibly face, and this is the simple and concerning truth of the matter. Though drug and alcohol addiction is a constant and a growing issue for those who have to deal with it, it is also a huge problem and a big worry for the family members and loved ones of those who are connected to that addict too.

How to Know When its Time to Go

How to know when its time to go? Love is not something you can just turn on and off like a switch. It just doesn’t work like that. There are a lot of other factors here to consider. People often wonder when the right time to leave an addicted spouse or loved one is. People often wonder just exactly how they are going to find peace of mind and freedom in their lives when faced with the struggles and difficulties of having an addicted spouse.

The simplicity of it is there are very straightforward signs and indicators that show you when it is time to leave your addicted spouse. For some of these signs, just one indication or happenstance is enough to call it quits. For some of these signs, several of them adding up indicate it is time to leave them:

  • Has your spouse, partner, or significant other abused you or the kids physically or verbally?
  • Has your spouse, partner, or significant other used drugs or alcohol in front of you or the kids?
  • Has your spouse, partner, or significant other gotten high or strung out or drunk in front of the kids?
  • Has your spouse, partner, or significant other refused to go seek help at a rehab center?
  • Has your spouse, partner, or significant other ever stolen from you or from anyone else?
  • Has your spouse, partner, or significant other seriously impacted the lives of your kids or your life?
  • Has your spouse, partner, or significant other created constant and permanent turmoil in your life or in the lives of your kids because of their substance abuse?

How to Leave a Drug Addict?

Do you know how to leave a drug addict? The thing with leaving a drug addict or alcoholic spouse, partner, or significant other is that the above situations have gotten so bad that your life or the lives of your kids are now being seriously, negatively impacted by the person’s habits. When this happens, you need to throw in the towel and call it quits with them. When this happens the truth of the matter is that people really do need to stop with what they are doing. They need to just put their foot down and leave the person.

What they don’t realize is that their leaving their spouse will often have a very good effect on their spouse. Realistically, getting away from the spouse is a form of the tough love approach, and this can actually have a very good effect on the person. Suddenly losing their spouse and kids can be enough of a slap in the face to show them that they really do need to make a change and they really do need to do something about their habits.

Getting away from a substance-abusing spouse can give a person the peace of mind and the stability that they need to start rebuilding and stabilizing their lives. This can make a spouse want rehab. Furthermore, getting people off of an addiction and getting them these types of tools can be very helpful and very effective for getting that person to realize the direction their lives are going in. Call Choices Recovery today for more information at 877-692-2313.

Delayed Adulthood: Why It’s Putting More Young Adults at Risk for Addiction

addiction and young adults

There is no doubt that adulthood absolutely does have its challenges. When people become adults, they are suddenly thrown into a totally different lifestyle with demands for self-sufficiency, self-sustainability, etc. They are suddenly living a new and different life, one of which is very different, very demanding, and sometimes very scary and even hard to confront for them.

Studies show that the millennial generation is notorious for staying at their parents’ home for longer, or for coming back to live at the home of their parents after they leave college. For some reason, the youth of today has a harder time spreading their wings and leaving the nest, really jumping into adulthood, than generations of previous years. There are a lot of different schools of thought as to why this is, and as to why it is so that young people today seem to have a proclivity for delaying adulthood. The important factor here is that this is happening, and it is happening all too often.

Substance Abuse Drugs and Alcohol

At the same time that young people are experiencing delayed adulthood more then perhaps ever before, we are also seeing skyrocketing statistics of young adults who are starting to use and abuse drugs and alcohol. True enough, young adult substance abuse and drug and alcohol abuse are now at levels never before seen, which makes the whole future of the new generation look even more concerning than it already is. For a substance abuser and their family, life can get very hectic and unpleasant very, very quickly.

When people use and abuse drugs and alcohol, they essentially sign themselves up for failure in all other areas. It is thought that there is a connection between substance abuse and alcohol abuse and all that goes into these problems and difficulties. It is thought that delayed adulthood is actually a strong, leading factor in why young people are abusing drugs and alcohol at rates never before seen.

How to Address the Issue

The way to properly approach and handle this issue is twofold. There are basically two methods of handling young adults and substance abuse and they are prevention and rehabilitation.

  • Prevention. We already know that young adults are statistically speaking a lot more likely to use and abuse drugs and alcohol than other demographics are. Following from logic then it would make the most sense to give these individuals a lot of quality education on the matters of substance abuse and to really get them thinking about drug and alcohol abuse and addiction as being a very serious and a very real problem for them. Really, these individuals need to fully and completely understand all of the factors and issues involved with substance abuse, as it all comes down to their own need to know and better understand these issues and problems.
  • Rehabilitation. For those who are already addicted to drugs and alcohol, there is, of course, the necessary rehabilitation approach that has to be taken at this time. When people use and abuse drugs and alcohol they find themselves in a position where they struggle immensely and intensively with the issue, and they need to kick the habit with the right tools and the right treatment methods and services. This is the approach of rehabilitation. With rehabilitation, anyone who is addicted to anything is able to go free from their habit for life.

With the help of prevention and rehabilitation both, people can actually go free from a habit once and for all. Call Choices Recovery today, 877-474-7025, to get started on the path to recovery and abstinence from drugs and alcohol.

Do You Know Someone Who is Addicted to Prescription Drugs?

Addicted to prescription drugs

Do you have a friend or family member who is addicted to prescription drugs? Prescription drugs play a vital role in health care, addressing conditions as diverse as high blood pressure, diabetes, and infection, as well as countless others. While there is no doubt that these medications benefit many people, some of these drugs have a downside which is the potential for dependency and addiction. While we do need prescription drugs to manage both chronic and acute pain, some of the more commonly abused medications include prescription painkillers.

As many as 1 in 5 Americans admit to abusing a prescription drug at some point. For some, it is an isolated incident, but for too many, that abuse develops into an addiction. If you know someone who is addicted to prescription drugs, please help them see that they need professional help immediately. Addiction to opioids and opiates (painkillers) is at epidemic proportions in the US today.

Prescription Drug Addiction

Addiction occurs when a person feels compelled to take a drug, even when it will cause them to suffer adverse side effects. The person physically craves the drug and will go to great lengths to obtain it. But how does a person become addicted to prescription drugs in the first place?

Some people start out taking medication for a legitimate medical need, but some people just decide to use prescription drugs recreationally. Many prescription painkillers give the user a feeling of euphoria and well-being.Either way, over time the body becomes accustomed to the drug and becomes tolerant to the current dose. This tolerance requires a higher or more frequent dose to achieve the same effect. The body becomes dependent on the drug, and the user may experience symptoms of withdrawal without it.

Addicted to Prescription Drugs

Prescription painkillers are among the most commonly abused prescription medications. Opioid painkillers, which share the same basic chemical structure as heroin, carry the highest potential for abuse and dependency. They work by binding to receptors in the brain and spinal cord to prevent the release of a chemical called GABA. GABA normally regulates dopamine production, so when painkillers block GABA, dopamine floods the brain. This combination blocks pain messages to the brain and produces a pleasurable high.

Because opioids carry such a strong potential for habit formation, it is critical to take these drugs only when necessary. To prevent becoming addicted to prescription drugs, you must follow the doctor’s instructions for timing and dosage. The greatest risk is that an overdose of opioid painkillers can cause coma or even death. Accidental overdose is the number one cause of mortality in prescription drug addiction today.

Dangerous Prescription Drugs of Abuse

Vicodin

Vicodin is an opioid used to manage short-term pain. It is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen (known over-the-counter as Tylenol). Vicodin is a tablet to be swallowed so that it will affect the brain slowly, but abusers may use other means to speed up the body’s reaction. Crushing the pills to snort or mix with water to inject into the veins provides a more rapid but more dangerous high. The most dangerous side effect is death from overdose. Other adverse side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Decreased heart and breathing rate
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Poor judgment
  • Drowsiness or loss of consciousness

Long-term Vicodin abuse can also lead to liver failure. Prolonged use of the acetaminophen in Vicodin damages the liver, leading to failure, and that failure can be fatal.

Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a highly powerful painkiller, reserved for pain that will not respond to other medications. It is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Physicians prescribe fentanyl under the brand names Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze. As a painkiller, doctors administer it as either an injection, a transdermal patch, or a lozenge, but abusers will modify that form to speed up absorption. For example, an abuser may break open the transdermal patch and directly consume the gel orally or inject it. The fentanyl dose that is intended for slow release over many hours rushes to the brain in a matter of minutes. Because fentanyl is such a potent opioid, rapid absorption can be deadly, and most often is. Fentanyl can lower breathing rate so quickly as to cause instant death.

Choices Recovery can help with prescription drug addiction. Call to speak with a professional counselor if you have a loved one or friend who is addicted to prescription drugs. Don’t wait until it is too late.

Knowing the Basics of Drug Addiction for Rehabilitation

drug addiction

Substance abuse costs Americans more than $700 billion a year in increased health care costs, crime, and lost productivity. Furthermore, it contributes to the deaths of almost 100,000 citizens, tens of thousands of those from accidental overdoses. Drug addiction is so prevalent in our society, it behooves all of us to understand this enemy of prosperity.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the drug addiction definition is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the structure of the brain and how it works. These changes can be long-lasting and can lead to harmful, often self-destructive, behavior.

Drug Addiction Anatomy

All drugs, alcohol included, disrupt the brain’s reward system. Most addictive drugs flood the circuit with dopamine, a neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, cognition, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. The overstimulation of this system, which rewards our natural behaviors, produces the euphoric effects sought by people who use drugs and teaches them to repeat the behavior.

Long-term usage can cause changes that influence the brain’s ability to function, affecting areas that tie to decision-making, memory, learning, and control of behavior.

Drug Abuse vs. Drug Addiction

Substance abuse is the act of either (a) using illegal drugs, or (b) inappropriate use of legal drugs. The latter includes taking prescription medications for recreational purposes such as pleasure, relaxation or altering of reality, using someone else’s prescription, and alternate forms of ingestion, such as crushing and snorting tablets meant for the user to take orally.

Drug addiction occurs when a person cannot control the impulse to use drugs despite adverse consequences—the defining characteristic of addiction. This behavioral change is accompanied by changes in brain functioning, especially in the natural inhibition and reward centers. At this point, drug addiction is a disease.

Dependence vs. Addiction

Physical dependence may occur with regular use or abuse (usually daily) of any substance, whether legal or illegal. It occurs as a result of the body’s adaptation to daily exposure to a substance, resulting in withdrawal symptoms when it is taken away because the body has to re-adapt. It can lead to a craving for the substance to relieve those symptoms.

Addiction will include this physical dependence factor, but there are additional factors, usually psychological.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) lists impairment or distress factors indicating a substance use disorder when occurring within a 12-month period:

  • Taking the substance in larger amounts or for a longer period than intended
  • Unsuccessful efforts/persistent desire to reduce use of the substance
  • Significant time spent in obtaining the substance or recovering from its effects
  • Powerful desire or urge to use the substance (cravings)
  • Failure to fulfill obligations as a result of use of the substance
  • Continuing to use the substance despite its creating or contributing to social or interpersonal problems
  • Abandonment of activities previously held as important
  • Recurrent use of the drug in situations in which it is physically hazardous
  • Continuing use despite knowing it is harming one physically or psychologically
  • Tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms

Treatment

Addiction is a chronic disease, similar to diabetes and asthma, which also have both physiological and behavioral components. Treatment is possible, and there are many options.

The treatment center must tailor an individual program for each client. Per Wickstrom, himself a recovered addict, founded several treatment centers to help others find their way to rehabilitation.

Note that a relapse does not mean treatment has failed. As with any chronic disease, treatment involves changing deeply imbedded behaviors. Lapses indicate that the client may need an alternative treatment program or need to adjust their current treatment.

What is Alcoholism and How Does it Affect You?

alcoholism

There is always a lot of talk about drug addiction, and rightly so. Drug addiction is one of the single biggest problems in this nation, one of which needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Actually, drug addiction is currently one of the single biggest health-related problems that this country faces. It is also a huge socio-economic problem too. But why do we rarely hear about alcoholism, alcohol abuse, and alcohol addiction?

This is a whole different problem here. Alcohol addiction is severely underreported, but it is actually a problem that causes more trouble and worry than drug addiction does, believe it or not. To understand this problem a little bit better, take a look at the following statistics to get a better idea of just how serious alcohol abuse and addiction really is in this country, (Statistics brought to you by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).

  • Alcohol abuse kills about sixty-thousand to eighty-thousand Americans each and every year. Drug addiction and drug abuse, while a devastating problem and a socioeconomic crisis of its own, only kills about forty-thousand Americans each and every year.
  • Alcohol addiction and alcohol abuse are a lot more difficult to get rid of than most drug addictions. The true problem is that it is totally legal to consume alcohol. In fact, it is totally legal to consume as much alcohol as you want in the confines of your own home. There is no limit to it. Drugs are illegal and are therefore harder to use, get, keep, and continue to use.
  • Alcohol is more commonly accepted in society, even with the increase in acceptance of drugs. It’s harder to fight a substance that everyone thinks is commonplace.

Alcohol

Alcohol is a dangerous substance that causes a lot of problems and a lot of worries for a lot of people. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse, in general, is a dangerous substance, one of which affects the body severely. Alcohol addiction has now risen to a point of actually being more severe and more concerning than drugs are, and this increase in the problem has led tens of thousands of alcohol addicts and hundreds of thousands of their family members to become very concerned and worried indeed.

The effects of alcohol are often understated and swept under the rug, partially because alcohol is such a big industry and such a huge cash-flow for thousands of Americans. So what is alcoholism, and what are the effects of it?

Alcoholism is the addiction to alcohol or the continuous, compulsive use of alcohol in spite of reasons not to. Alcohol addiction is truly an addiction. A person cannot stop drinking the stuff, no matter what. Alcohol addiction is an ongoing habit, wherein a person will compulsively drink alcohol over and over again, year after year, either until they kill themselves with it, or until they get help.

The effects of alcohol could be an entire essay in and of itself.  For a quick look at some of the effects, consider the following:

  • Slower reaction time
  • Reduction in brain activity
  • Bad reflexes
  • Lower inhibition
  • Having respiratory issues
  • Vision blurry
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Violent tendencies
  • Bad decisions

If you are seeking help for yourself or a loved one struggling with an alcohol addiction, call Choices Recovery today. We can be reached at 1-844-288-9127. Addiction is tough and a difficult problem to say the least, but it does not have to be the end of it all. Call today.

Can an Individual Build a Tolerance to LSD?

Tolerance to LSD

When abusing a substance, it is possible for tolerance to build before you know it. Some questions you may ask yourself might be, does it take more for you to get the effect you want? Do you feel more of a need for the substance? Building a tolerance to LSD is a sure sign of bigger issues to come down the path of addiction.

What is LSD?

LSD, which stands for lysergic acid diethylamide, is a hallucinogenic drug manufactured from lysergic acid. Lysergic acid is a chemical derived from a particular type of fungus. It is often sold on blotter paper, although it can also be in tablet form, made into thin gelatin squares, or soaked into sugar cubes. It has no legitimate medical use, so all use is illicit.

Building a Tolerance to LSD

LSD dependence is typically psychological, not physical. While the drug does not cause physical cravings, individuals who take it often associate it with people and circumstances. They make a habit out of using the drug whenever they are in social situations. This type of use can make quitting difficult, since it may require that the user stops associating with friends who use LSD. Users may develop a tolerance to LSD, which means that they require increasingly more of the drug each time to achieve the same effect. Higher doses carry an increased risk of harmful side effects, so increasing the dose can quickly become dangerous. Not only do you now have a tolerance to LSD, but you are also in danger every time you use the drug.

Effects of LSD Abuse

Different people experience different effects from taking LSD, depending on the dose and the individual’s body chemistry. Even the same person may experience different effects from using LSD at different times. Most people experience some form of mood change when taking LSD. This attitude change can include feelings of euphoria, depression, anxiety, or peacefulness. The user might also cycle between different moods. A high dose of LSD can produce hallucinations, delusions, or changes in the way the user perceives sound, color, movement, and touch.

Some users experience “crossing over,” a state in which senses are confused, such as when color is perceived as sound or taste. In some cases, the user may experience feelings of terror or panic. Physical effects include dilated pupils, nausea, loss of appetite, a rise in body temperature, sweating, a rise in blood sugar, an increased heart rate, an increase in blood pressure, dry mouth, sleeplessness, and tremors. These effects typically begin within 30 to 60 minutes after taking LSD, and they can last for up to 12 hours.

More on The Effects of LSD Abuse

The effects of LSD are the result of the drug interrupting the regular interaction between brain cells and the neurotransmitter serotonin.We do not completely understand the full interaction between the drug and the serotonin system in the brain. Coming down from LSD is typically a gradual process as the drug filters out of the body. There is no hard crash after using LSD. The user’s perceptions of the world just gradually return to normal. LSD can create long-lasting after-effects in some people.

Users may experience flashbacks days or months after the initial use. These flashbacks come on without warning, so a user may experience them at school, work, or during routine activities. There is no way to predict, prevent, or stop a flashback. Long-term users of LSD may also develop depression or schizophrenia. Another problem with LSD use is that users may put themselves into dangerous situations while in an altered or hallucinatory state. For example, the user may perceive a flat walking surface when faced with what is actually a steep incline or stairwell, a situation that could easily lead to serious injury.

If you or someone you love is abusing LSD do not hesitate to call for help today!

 

 

Is There a Difference in Alcohol Abuse and Addiction?

Alcohol abuse and addiction

Many people ask the question, “Is there a difference in alcohol abuse and addiction?” The answer to this question is yes, but they are very similar, and alcohol abuse can quickly turn into alcohol dependence.  Abusers are typically heavy drinkers who continue drinking regardless of the results. Alcohol can be an addictive substance. Not everyone who consumes alcohol will become addicted. However, certain people may be more susceptible to addiction than others.

Alcohol Abuse and Addiction are Not the Same

Everyone should note that alcohol abuse and addiction are not the same. It’s important to understand the facts on alcohol abuse. Alcohol addiction refers to a psychological and physical dependency on alcohol. Individuals who suffer from alcohol addiction may build up a tolerance to the substance, as well as continue drinking even when alcohol-related problems become evident.

Alcohol abusers are not necessarily addicted to alcohol. Abusers are typically heavy drinkers who keep drinking regardless of the results. Abusers of alcohol may not drink on a consistent basis. For example, an individual who abuses alcohol may only drink once a week. However, when that person drinks, he puts himself into risky situations or drinks enough to cause problems, such as alcohol poisoning. Certain individuals who abuse alcohol may eventually become dependent on it.

What is Alcohol Dependence?

Alcohol dependence the inability to control drinking due to both a physical and emotional dependence on alcohol. Symptoms include repeated alcohol consumption despite related legal and health issues. Those with alcoholism may begin each day with a drink, feel guilty about their drinking, and have the desire to cut down on the amount of alcohol.

Alcohol dependence (alcoholism) consists of four symptoms:

  • Craving: a strong need, or compulsion, to drink.
  • Loss of control: the inability to limit one’s drinking on any given occasion.
  • Physical dependence: withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety occur when one stops alcohol use after a period of heavy drinking.
  • Tolerance: the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get high.

Severe dependence can lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms including convulsions, starting eight to twelve hours after the last drink. The delirium tremens (DTs) begin three to four days later when the person becomes extremely agitated, experiences shakiness with hallucinations, and loses touch with reality.

The Differences in Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

Someone who has alcohol addiction needs it to get through the day. They also have a high tolerance, needing increasingly more drinks to feel any effect. Alcoholics also suffer from withdrawal and will drink to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal, which include anxiety, tremors, sweating, insomnia, nausea, depression, fatigue, headache, and irritability.

Tolerance and withdrawal are very telling signs of alcohol addiction. There are others too, which include:

  • Losing control – you cannot stop yourself from drinking too much and too often, no matter how hard you try.
  • Drinking despite the legal, financial, and personal problems that it is causing you.
  • Allowing alcohol, drinking, and thinking about drinking to dominate your day-to-day responsibilities and activities.

The difference between alcohol abuse and addiction is a matter of degree. If you are abusing alcohol, but are not yet addicted to it, you may experience a little bit of tolerance or a small level of withdrawal, but nothing as severe as what an alcoholic experiences.

As an abuser, your first signs will more likely be neglecting responsibilities so that you can drink. For instance, you must call in sick to work often because of hangovers, or you don’t spend enough time with your kids because you feel the need to go out drinking with friends.

Other signs of abuse include:

  • Taking serious risks while drinking – maybe you drink and drive, or you mix alcohol with prescription drugs to enhance your high.
  • Continuing to use alcohol even when you get sick or hurt from drinking.
  • Your drinking is attached to emotions, such as drinking because of stress or to cope with feelings of depression.

Although alcohol abuse and addiction are very similar, there is a difference between the two and alcohol abuse can very quickly turn into alcohol dependence. It is imperative to seek help right away if you or someone you love may think a problem is developing.

 

 

When to Get Help for Drug Addiction

Help for Drug Addiction

Getting help for drug addiction takes a lot of courage. Before wanting to seek help, a person must first realize they have a problem. A lot of people who have an alcohol or substance abuse problem are in denial and do not believe they have an issue. They may think they are not dependent but unbelievably they most likely are. Not everyone is able to realize they have a problem right away, it can and may take some time. It could be while they begin receiving help and they realize they do have a problem and that they are doing exactly what they should be doing, getting help!

Signs that Your Loved One Needs to Get Help for Drug Addiction

As you probably know, it can be very difficult to recognize early on that your friend or family member is involved in drugs or another addictive behavior. You should also know that your loved one is unlikely to admit to a problem. Addicts tend to cover their tracks. But there are a variety of signs that you might be seeing now, even ones you may have brushed aside, not wanting to believe that an addiction could be at play. See how many of these common warning signs of addiction that your loved one may have:

  • A shift in mood, attitude, and motivation
  • New friends and new hangouts
  • Poor performance at school or work and/or being absent
  • Secretive behavior such as lying
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • A sudden, unexplained increase in spending
  • Bloodshot eyes or enlarged pupils
  • Giving up once-favorite pastimes and hobbies
  • Strange body odors; trembling hands
  • Unusual changes in sleeping patterns or schedule

In addition, you may notice that your loved one now has angry outbursts and is more volatile or unpredictable. He/she may be inattentive and not follow through on assignments or obligations on time, or at all. You may find your loved one making secretive, unexplained phone calls or cash withdrawals, concealing what’s on his/her computer screen, or creating new bank or online accounts. His/her schedule may change frequently, often without your knowledge. Your loved might also be sleeping more or suffering from insomnia, choosing to wear sunglasses often, trying to cover up unusual breath or body odors. They, in general are changing in ways you cannot explain, excuse, or understand.

It’s also possible that your loved one is not paying their bills, asks to borrow money, or is taking or stealing money from you and others. You may notice your partner, friend, or relative feeling more melancholy and depressed (these can be psychological symptoms of withdrawal). And then, there are common physical symptoms when an addict tries to quit a substance; these withdrawal symptoms may include muscle aches, vomiting, sweating, trembling, fever, insomnia and diarrhea.

What to do When You Realize your Loved one has an Addiction

If simply talking to the person with the problem doesn’t work, a group intervention is an effective next step. Interventions also show addicts how their actions affect those they care about. The goal is to help the person struggling get into addiction recovery and rehabilitation. It can be hard to approach someone struggling with addiction. Although friends or loved ones mean well, they might not know what to say. The addicted person might also deny that they have a drug or alcohol problem, making open conversation difficult.

But it is very important they realize that they need to get help for drug addiction right away. The sooner a person receives help for drug addiction, the better. That does not mean it is ever too late. a fatal overdose is possible at any time and unexpected, but it does happen.

If you or your loved one have an addiction problem, do not hesitate to call for help today!

 

Is There Such a Thing as a Functioning Addict?

A functioning addict carrying out daily responsibilities

We often think of addicts as not being able to function in normal society. They may be considered thieves, homeless, or otherwise at the fringe of mainstream society. Believe it or not, there are addicts in places such as hospitals, law offices, and teachers’ lounges. Addicts are frequently highly ambitious people who seek extremes in life. They may perform surgery and then step out for a shot of heroin. A person may not remain a functioning addict for very long. If they don’t get help for their addiction, it will only get worse until they become non-functioning.

How Would You Define a Functioning Addict?

A functioning addict is most likely a person whose drug or alcohol use hasn’t caught up with them yet. It’s a person who can hide the severity of their addiction to the people close to them, often at tragic costs. A functioning addict can fulfill obligations while being addicted to drugs or alcohol. They can go to work, pay their bills and still handle living expenses, provide necessary care for their families, and stay away from criminal activities.

Today, people view an addict as a person who cannot control their addiction, an individual who steals, lies and no longer cares about their well-being. It is not often you know of someone who is an addict that still properly functions for their welfare. For a while, addicts can maintain their lifestyle and obligations while being addicted to drugs or alcohol. Sometimes the addicted person can continue to carry out daily responsibilities for several years until the addiction becomes more severe. Eventually, they become less and less able to balance their obligations with the growing compulsion to seek and abuse mind-altering substances.

Functioning addicts are often able to perform their tasks in a daily manner, but there can be tell-tale signs. Some of these signs include making excuses for their behaviors while trying to justify their drug use. The people they hang out with says a lot as well. If all their friends are using drugs or alcohol or they don’t want to attend events unless drugs or alcohol is there, that’s also a sign of a bigger issue. And if they suddenly lose interest in their hobbies, the addiction could be starting to take over their life.

What Allows an Addict to Be Functional?

One of the main differences between an addict who is high-functioning and one who’s not is in the perceptions they have of their substance use. For the high-functioning addict, the abuse of alcohol or drugs is usually still seen as a reward or a way to unwind after a long day. A functioning addict might not see that they have a problem because they can function the way they should.  For these individuals, there will occasionally be times when they cannot justify alcohol or drug use, especially when it would prohibit them from fulfilling some obligation, so they refrain from using in those instances. On the other hand, addicts who aren’t high-functioning don’t need to justify their substance abuse because it has taken the central place in their lives. Alcohol and drugs have already become more important than a career, relationships, and other such things.

A Few Things a Functioning Addict May Experience

  • Denial

High-functioning addicts and alcoholics must live in a world of denial to keep their ruse afloat. Addicts often think that if they drink fine wines, beers, and liquors that they must not be alcoholics. They believe alcoholics only drink bottom of the barrel liquor. They may also rationalize their substance abuse by pointing out that they have important jobs, despite the fact that they experience blackouts on a regular basis. However, they are often only fooling themselves. The people who see the truth of the situation, often those closest to them, must endure the wild mood swings, frantic lifestyle, and continued instability of life with an addict.

  • Confinement

A high-functioning heroin addict is often confined to a set routine. He needs his fixes at certain times of the day, and he has to rely on his dealer being available when he needs to score. High functioning heroin addicts often are loath to travel, because any time away from their fix will mean dope sickness (early withdrawal) and a frantic search for more. A high-functioning alcoholic may not own a car for fear of DUI charges, despite having a license and even driving a company car during working hours. The alcoholic might also attempt to cover daytime drinking with breath mints or other ineffective methods. Prescription drugs and high functioning addiction often go hand-in-hand. Many people think they are functioning ‘just fine’ since their drug of choice is prescribed to them.

  • Double Life

High-functioning alcoholics and addicts often need to lead a double life to satisfy all of their needs. They cannot afford to have one life spill into another and so may go to great lengths. Some will find bars on the other side of town from where they live in hopes of not running into any ″straight″ friends or colleagues. Others will hide in shame of their drug addiction and may disappear during off-work hours, only to reappear at home or work appearing frazzled, tired, and bleary. Family members might look for signs such as mysteriously disappearing funds, extra credit cards, and even secret bank accounts.

Are you a functioning addict or know someone who is? The first step is realizing you have a problem and that you need help. Do not hesitate to call for help today; there is help for everyone.