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Although addiction is often talked about in terms of recovering from drugs or alcohol, what about people who are using both at the same time? Treatment teams are already using dual diagnosis, or the practice of treating addiction alongside diagnosable conditions like depression or PTSD. The use of multiple substances, sometimes at the same time, is also an extremely common behavior in addicts (source). For example, a higher-than-average percentage of alcoholics also use cocaine regularly. Just like dual diagnosis, a better understanding of which substances are being used together can help treatment teams provide more effective therapies (source). More research and awareness of multi-substance abuse also helps addicts and researchers alike get a better “big picture” of how addiction works—physically, mentally, and socially. Continue reading Alcohol The New Gateway Drug To Cocaine

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Due to the increase in alcohol usage, addiction and other related problems have become a common problem. Although seeking local treatment may appear convenient and may keep you in closer contact with family and friends, local facilities may not be sufficient. Choosing a facility near you may also make the recovery process difficult since you are likely to mingle with your old friends who might influence you to go back to drinking. It is also crucial to change the environment to achieve optimum results.  Continue reading Should I Travel for Alcohol Addiction Treatment?

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Quitting Heroine is Possible With a Comprehensive Treatment Program

Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs that exists. It is processed from morphine and typically has a brown or white powdery appearance. It can be smoked, snorted or injected. Virtually all experts agree that it is one of the world’s most dangerous drugs, as few substances are associated with so many life-threatening side effects, as well as psychological and social consequences of a catastrophic nature. Continue reading Quitting Heroin Symptoms and Treatment

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How Drug Addiction Affects the Brain

Drug Addiction and the Brain

Drug addiction is a term that refers to the intense craving for a substance and the loss of control over its use, despite the negative consequences that typically follow. Addiction also results in short-term and long-term changes to the brain, depending on the type of substance one is abusing and the time length of his or her addiction. Continue reading How Drug Addiction Affects the Brain

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What Will President Trump’s Opioid Speech Do?

In a speech today, President Trump declared opioid abuse to be a Public Health Emergency, saying “it is time to liberate ourselves from this scourge of drug addiction.”

Opioid abuse was a key campaign issue for Trump, and with good reason. Overdoses killed some 60,000 Americans last year (source). That’s almost the equivalent of one September 11th attack every month. If you’re an addict or someone you love is struggling, it’s important to understand what this declaration means and how it could help you. Continue reading Donald Trump’s Declaration on the Opioid Crisis

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Effects of Drugs

Drugs are important chemical substances. The first use of drugs that comes into the mind of anyone is the treatment of diseases and various medical conditions. Another popular use of drugs is to alter the feelings of a person, in other words, to get high. In medicine and pharmacology, one can classify a drug in two key ways, using its chemical activity or by the conditions that it treats. The most used are the chemical classifications.

1. Depressants

Depressants are the type of drugs that can slow down or suppress the activity of the nerves and the brain. They achieve this by acting directly on the Central Nervous System and the person using them will experience a calming or sedating effect. A common example of a depressant is alcohol. Most people will take depressants to manage seizures, anxiety or to enable them to fall asleep.

The short term effects of depressants include:

  • A reduction in the pulse rate, breathing and brain function
  • Reduced ability to concentrate and confusion
  • Slurred speech and sluggishness

The long-term effects of these drugs include:

  • Addiction because a person will progressively require higher doses to achieve the same effect
  • Depression
  • Problems in falling asleep
  • Reduced sexual activity

2. Hallucinogens

Another term used for hallucinogens is psychedelics. These type of drugs have a direct impact on your Central Nervous System. They will interfere with your normal perception of time, space, and reality. The terminology hallucinates from this effect. It is because the users will see or hear things that are not present or even imagine unreal situations. An example of a hallucinogen is Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, commonly known by its acronym LSD.

Other side effects of this classification of drugs include:

  • An increase in the breathing rate, temperature, and blood pressure.
  • Excessive body sweating
  • Loss of appetite which can ultimately lead to the loss of weight
  • Abnormal thinking that is not in sync with reality can an individual can start having suicidal thoughts

3. Stimulants

Stimulants just like depressants act directly on a person’s Central Nervous System. However, they have an opposite effect on the individual. Stimulants will increase the activity of the central nervous system. They will make the person feel alert, focused, and energetic. These are these positive effects of the drugs. There are many common examples of drugs that people abuse which fall under this category. They include crack cocaine, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana.

The short term effects include:

  • The loss of appetite
  • Disrupted sleeping patterns
  • Seizures, convulsion, and death from high doses
  • Irritability, becoming hyperactive, and hallucinations
  • Increased heartbeat, body temperatures, and blood pressure

The long-term effects of the drugs include:

  • Respiratory problems if the users smoke the drugs
  • Damage to the liver, lungs, and kidneys
  • Damage to the blood vessels due to the increase in blood pressure
  • Damage to the brain resulting in stroke and epilepsy in some people
  • Loss of weight
  • Addiction

4. Inhalants

The drugs that fall into this category are those consumed by people primarily through inhalation. However, other delivery routes can be used by a person. The other delivery routes include huffing, spraying, bagging, and sniffing. It is possible because most of the drugs in the category exist as a vapor at room temperature. The first destination of the drugs after inhalation is the lungs. There they are absorbed into their bloodstreams. Their action in the body is similar to that of taking alcohol. They act directly on the Central Nervous System causing the user to experience mind-altering effects.

Also, the chemical substances are present in many household items. The items include marker and pen ink, glue, paint, paint thinners, and gasoline among others. It is the reason of the increased potential for abuse by children and adolescents.

They have a negative effect on the body of the users. After inhalation users experience:

  • Difficulty in the coordination of their movements
  • Hallucinations and impaired judgments
  • Severe headaches which can even cause them to become unconscious
  • Irregular heartbeat which can cause death if they continue inhaling them for longer

The long-term effects include

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Irreversible damage to the heart, liver, and kidneys
  • Loss of hearing
  • Reduction in the individual’s intelligence

5. Opioids

These are narcotic pain medications. They work by binding to the opioid pain receptors in the spinal cord, brain, and others located in different parts of the body. After they attach to these receptors, they interfere with the sending of pain signals to the brain. The result is a reduction of the feeling of pain. These drugs treat pain levels that range from moderate to severe. An example of drugs that fall into this category is heroin, morphine, and hydrocodone among others.

These drugs are very potent and can cause different side effects. They include effects such as constipation, nausea and vomiting, and drowsiness. Opioids could be harmful when taken with other drugs such as alcohol, antihistamines, sleeping pills, and antidepressants. To avoid this, you should use them under the close supervision of a qualified physician.

Drugs are useful substances when used correctly. Abusing drugs is dangerous and can have severe consequences such as addiction and death. When a person becomes addicted, they will not be able to function no

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Opioids vs Opiates

For the last few years, health officials at the federal level have become increasingly concerned about what the government is now calling “America’s addiction to opioids.” According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Congressional testimonies have been heard all the way back to 2006, and yet the problem continues to worsen. Read our article on the Opioid Epidemic.

For individuals and loved ones struggling to make sense of it all, much of the frequently used terminology can be more confusing than it is helpful. Take the terms opioids and opiates, for example. What is the difference? These distinctions are important when seeking the right type of treatment for drug addiction.

Opioids Versus Opiates

According to Oregon’s Drug and Alcohol Policy Commission, the difference between the term opioid and the term opiate is mainly one of production.

In summary, an opiate is a substance that has been either extracted from or refined out of some type of naturally occurring matter, such as a plant. An opioid, in contrast, is a synthetic or man-made version of the same.

However, for the purposes of the media, the general public and even some healthcare officials, the term opioid has become preferred when referring to this class of drugs.

Both opiates and opioids are used for medicinal purposes and for generally similar results: reduction in pain, surgical anesthetic, pain management, control of severe medical symptoms such as coughing or diarrhea and also at times to try to treat opioid addiction.

The best known opiates include heroin, opium, codeine and morphine. The former two are currently illegal in the United States, while the latter two are legal if obtained with a doctor’s prescription for medical purposes.

The best known opioids include oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl and methadone. Certain opioids can be purchased over the counter without a prescription, while others require a doctor’s prescription to obtain.

Understanding Narcotics

The word “narcotic” comes from a combination of ancient Greek and Latin terms that essentially describe a state of numbing sleep. A narcotic is a type of painkiller and will either be an opiate or an opioid drug.

So when the term narcotic is used, this term always refers to the legal or illegal use of opiates or opioids or both.

How Dangerous are Opiates and Opioids?

PBS Frontline reports that the impact of opioid drug abuse is sufficient to rival deaths from AIDS during the 1990’s. As well, more people die from opioids than from car crashes annually.

An estimated 27,000 people pass away from opioid abuse every year, far surpassing the annual estimated death rate from cocaine abuse (which is just over 5,400). This works out to about 46 people every day according to NIDA.

Unfortunately, addiction to prescription opioids is now the leading culprit for addiction and annual fatalities, surpassing even heroin, an illicit street drug form of opioids. In some states, there are more prescriptions written for opioids each year than there are citizens registered in that state!

All this adds up to a very significant health risk posed by opioids and opiates today, with nearly 2 million people currently reporting addiction to these drugs. To date, it is a problem state and federal authorities do not know how to effectively address.

How Opioids and Opiates Affect the Brain and Body

Whether taken in illicit street drug or prescription medication form, opioids and opiates have the same basic impact on a person’s body and brain. They seek out and then connect with (“bind” with) special brain, spine or body receptors designed to accept opioids.

When opioids and opiates bind with these special receptors, pain messages that would otherwise continue to pass between the body and brain are interrupted and never make it to the brain. This is how these drugs work to ease pain.

So clearly opioids and opiates have powerful pain-relieving properties, which is why they are frequently prescribed during or after surgical procedures and for long-term issues of pain management. However, in addition to relieving pain, this class of drugs can also produce a “high” that many users describe as euphoric.

Symptoms of Opioid and Opiate Addiction

When a person first begins taking opioids or opiates in any form, they may experience certain temporary side effects such as constipation, nausea, vomiting or drowsiness, reports Web MD.

These side effects can become much worse if opioids or opiates are taken with any other substances that have known interactions, such as alcohol, sleep aids, some anti-depressant medications and also some anti-histamines.

At first, opioids and opiates can seem like a life-saver to people with severe or chronic pain. Where the trouble begins is when they have taken these drugs for a sufficient time period that their body begins to develop a tolerance to them. At this point, higher doses are required to achieve the same impact.

The longer a person takes opioids or opiates, the more risk there is of dependency. Addiction begins when a person tries to stop taking these medications and experiences what are called “withdrawal symptoms” like irritability, anxiety, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, nausea and muscle pains.

At this point, opioids and opiates are now potentially doing that person more harm than good, and the body and brain will experience some moderate to severe discomfort as the person tries to stop taking them (this is called “detox”). Medical supervision during detox is typically required for safety reasons.

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Looking for Marijuana Addiction Treatment?

Marijuana has long been a maligned drug thought to cause laziness, craziness, and even full blown addiction in its abusers. However, recent research into its medicinal benefits has caused much of the public to support the full medicalization and legalization of marijuana. With over 5 states now offering full legal marijuana sales, much of the American public is trying it for the first time. Continue reading Getting Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

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The Dangers of Prescription Drugs

When hearing the term “drug addiction,” many people imagine dirty needles, snorting powder. However, while perhaps less obvious, prescription drug addiction is also taking a toll around the world. According to the CDC, more than 10% of people are addicted to some sort of drug. This does not take into account dependence on prescription drugs, although this can also be a very serious risk. Here is an overview of some of the most addictive prescription drugs currently on the market. Generally, these drugs fall under the categories of opioids, stimulants, and tranquilizers. Continue reading The Most Addicting Prescription Drugs

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