Recognizing a Drug Addict

Can You Recognize a Drug Addict When You See One?

Many of us think of drug addicts as unkempt, scraggly-looking people. However, today the picture of a drug addict can be very deceiving. Many addicts today are very good at hiding their addiction from family and friends. Some families have a family member who is in full-blown addiction before they have any idea they are even using drugs. Therefore, recognizing a drug addict is imperative if we want to help a family member before they are too far into an addiction.

How does Drug Addiction Start?

Not all drug addiction starts the same. Many individuals start using drugs recreationally or simply experimenting with different types of drugs. Most of these drugs are alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, and prescription drugs. Then there are others who have an accident or chronic physical problem which requires the use of prescription pain pills or opioids. An addiction to opioids can develop rather quickly. The patient may abuse the drugs by taking more or more often than prescribed. 

Recognizing a drug addict can be easily done if the person is on opioids and starts withdrawing from the drugs. However, when the abuse first starts, an outsider may not be able to pick up on the signs at the beginning. Some of the signs of opioid abuse or addiction include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Weight loss
  • Inability to control opioid use
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Uncontrollable cravings
  • Frequent flu-like symptoms
  • Financial problems
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Changes in exercise habits
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Stealing from family, friends, or the workplace

Recognizing a drug addict can be difficult, but if you watch carefully, you will gradually see these symptoms develop.

Recognizing a Drug Addict by Behavioral Signs

Drug addiction (Substance Use Disorder) is a disease that affects the brain and behavior.” There are many behavioral signs that you may recognize in an addict, or if you are addicted to a drug, there are signs that you will recognize in yourself. One of these signs is being obsessed with making sure that you have a supply of the drug. In fact, you may find yourself panicking if you think that you are going to run out of your drug of choice. At this point, you may find yourself doing things you would never normally do, such as stealing, to get your drugs.

You may also find yourself not meeting family or work responsibilities and obligations. You might stop attending family activities or recreational activities with friends in order to use your substance of abuse. When family and friends notice you showing these behavioral signs and withdrawing from others, they will suspect drug use. You will, of course, deny it, but the suspicion is already in their minds.

Recognizing the Signs of Addiction in a Loved One

If you are recognizing the signs of addiction in a loved one, confront them but let them know that you care about them and are only concerned about their wellbeing. If, in fact, they are having a problem with substance abuse or addiction, help them to realize that there is help out there for them. 

Possibly your loved one can get treatment through an outpatient addiction treatment clinic. With outpatient treatment, you can visit the clinic and receive counseling and treatment while continuing to attend school or work. You will receive one-on-one counseling as well as group therapy sessions.

However, if your loved one wants to get away from their physical surroundings and receive addiction treatment, they might opt for an inpatient addiction treatment facility. With inpatient treatment, your loved one will remain at the facility while they receive treatment and counseling. By doing this, they will remove themself from temptations and triggers that may make them want to use their drug of choice.

Contact New Beginnings Rehab Center

To learn more about addiction treatment in an inpatient addiction treatment facility or an outpatient clinic, contact one of our representatives and New Beginnings. They can answer any questions you may have about many different treatment plans. One will be sure to fit your loved one’s needs and preferences.

 

Resource:

Mayoclinic.orgDrug addiction (substance use disorder)

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Sober Living Transitional Home

What is a Sober Living Transitional Home?

A sober living transitional home can be very beneficial to those who are new to recovery. If your inpatient addiction treatment program is complete or if you are receiving addiction treatment in an outpatient clinic, you may want to look at a sober living facility. These homes are very popular today as a way for individuals to transition back into a sober way of living their daily lives. A sober living transitional home is a group home for individuals who are recovering from addiction.

Why live in a Sober Living Transitional Home?

Adjusting back into a daily routine after addiction treatment is not always an easy undertaking. While in an inpatient addiction treatment facility you are only with sober individuals. You are with your counselors and the staff members of the facility as well as others who are undergoing treatment for addiction. You don’t have to worry about being tempted to use alcohol or drugs.

However, after leaving the inpatient facility, you are thrust back into a life where drugs and alcohol are all around you. Now you have to have the strength to resist the cravings and temptations that will certainly confront you. Your life has been a completely structured life for weeks or even months now without temptation. You may have problems resisting the temptation when it first happens to you. A sober living transitional home can help you build your confidence before stepping back into the “reality” of everyday living.

What are the Benefits of a Sober Living Home?

A sober living transitional home is an excellent answer for individuals who do not yet have the self-confidence to return to their community of living before addiction treatment. A sober living home gives individuals a structured type of living with others who are also new to recovery. They have time to transition from addiction treatment to a new sober style of living. Living in a sober living home gives you a chance to make a new life while you remain away from friends with whom you did drugs or drank alcohol.

Sober living homes have rules and everyone living in the sober living home must obey all of the rules. Otherwise, you may have to leave the residence and make other living arrangements. Some of the rules which may apply are:

  • All residents must remain sober (Absolutely no alcohol or drugs allowed).
  • Everyone has to agree to random drug tests.
  • Each person must share the household responsibilities
  • Curfew times each night
  • Required to look for employment or attend school
  • No violence among residents of the home
  • Residents must attend house meetings
  • Everyone must have continued counseling and attend support group meetings

All of these rules are for the benefit of each resident of the sober living home. Each rule teaches them responsibility and helps them to become productive members of society.

Reduce Your Chance of Relapse

A sober living transitional home will help reduce your chances of relapse. When first leaving an inpatient addiction treatment facility, individuals are vulnerable and may be easily swayed by old friends to use drugs or drink alcohol again. It can be hard to resist the temptation when first leaving treatment.

Taking the time that you need to restructure your lifestyle after rehab may be the smartest thing for you to do. Before jumping right back into the environment from which you came when using substances, take the time to become the new you —- sober you with a new attitude towards life and others in your life. 

Take the time to make sure that you are confident in your ability to say no to the temptation to abuse substances. Make sure you can handle your cravings by having new sober friends that you can call when they hit. Check on a sober living home to reside in after your addiction treatment program is complete.

 

Resource:

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – What Did We Learn from Our Study on Sober Living Houses and Where Do We Go from Here?

 

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College Without Drugs or Alcohol

How to Make it in College Without Drugs or Alcohol

So, you are beginning a new year in college. Many of you are moving in for the first semester of college while others are returning for another year. You are excited and yes, a bit nervous at the same time. It can make you a little anxious, not knowing what the year holds in store for you and your friends. The thoughts of meeting new people and making new friends may have you thinking about how you will do it. Another question you may have is how are you going to make it through college without drugs or alcohol since it is so rampant on college campuses today?

College without Drugs or Alcohol is Possible

First of all, don’t feel like you have to participate in drinking alcohol or doing drugs to fit in with others. There will be plenty of kids you will meet who do not want to party all the time and abuse substances but want to get a good education and enjoy learning. There will be many fun sober activities you can take part in and enjoy with friends. 

Starting a new college year and worrying about studies and dealing with new friends can seem a bit overwhelming. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can easily have fun and mix in with others without saying “yes” to drugs or alcohol. Don’t let the stresses of your new college life cause you to start taking any drugs either. You don’t need them!

Individuals have Their Own Likes and Dislikes

You may not object to others drinking alcohol if that is what they desire to do, but you don’t like it for yourself. Maybe you don’t like the taste of it, or the way it makes you feel while drinking it, or the following day. Whatever your reasons, they are your reasons. You don’t have to explain to anyone why you don’t want to drink alcohol at parties.

If you want, you could take a bottle of water or a soft drink to parties you are attending. When someone asks if  you want a drink, tell them that you are “good,” or you are “fine.” This way, they probably won’t keep bugging you and trying to pressure you into drinking something else. Life in college without drugs or alcohol is very possible today.

Peer Pressure in College

When you are in college, it can be hard to avoid peer pressure. However, there are ways to get around it. For instance, if you are in a situation where you are being pressured to do something that you don’t want to do or that you know is wrong, tell the person pressuring you that you are not interested. If they continue to pressure, give them a firm “No.” Then move on to people who like you for yourself. There are plenty of people in college who are just like you and not into drugs and alcohol. There are even students in college today that are in recovery from substance abuse. These students are finding a way to make it through college without drugs or alcohol.

Peer pressure can also be used against you in other situations as well. Just remember, you are the one responsible for the decisions that you make. If these so-called friends are pressuring you to do things and get in situations where you are not comfortable, they are not really your friends. Your college campus is full of other students who want to go through college without drugs or alcohol.

Tips for Resisting Peer Pressure in College

Listed below are a few tips you can use to resist peer pressure when you need them. You can:

  • Say that you have to study for a test or have an assignment that is due.
  • Offer to be the designated driver for the occasion.
  • Say you are staying healthy.
  • Find something to do, like talking to someone or dancing.

If all else fails, simply leave and go home. You are not going to enjoy a party where you are continually being pressured to use drugs or drink alcohol. Don’t let peer pressure change you from the person that you are with the goals that you have set for yourself.

Seek Help for Substance Use Disorder

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use disorder, contact a licensed inpatient addiction treatment facility to receive the help that you need. Don’t wait for your problem to get worse. At New Beginnings, we have informed representatives who can answer any questions that you may have about a treatment program that will fit your individual needs and preferences. Contact us today!   Have a great and fulfilling year in college.

 

Resource:

teens.drugabuse.gov – Tips for Resisting Peer Pressure to Use Drugs and Alcohol

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Effects of Binge Drinking

What are the Effects of Binge Drinking?

The effects of binge drinking are both physical and mental. Likewise, the effects of binge drinking are both short-term and long-term. In other words, when binge drinking, you have more to worry about than that hangover you are going to have the next day!

Binge drinking is when males drink five drinks or more in two hours, and females drink at least four drinks in two hours. Binge drinking puts your health and safety at risk. The liver can only break down about one drink in an hour. Therefore, binge drinking can be very dangerous and affect your body in extremely negative ways.

Short-Term Effects of Binge Drinking

Since the liver can only process about one drink per hour, any more than that will go straight into the blood system. When your blood alcohol content (BAC) increases, so will the effects on your body and brain. Many other factors also play a part in your blood alcohol content. How quickly you drink the alcoholic drinks and whether you have eaten affects your BAC. In fact, how much you have eaten during the day also has a bearing on the blood alcohol content.

Other short-term side effects of binge drinking may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blackouts
  • Falls and other injuries
  • Arrests and charges from driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Unwanted pregnancies
  • Sexual assault

Even worse, binge drinking can also render fatal consequences such as alcohol poisoning, fatal car crashes, drownings, or criminal behaviors. Any number of things can go wrong in your life from only one night of binge drinking.

What are the Long-Term Effects of Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking as a regular habit can be a sign of alcohol use disorder (AUD). According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH), Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD.” Alcohol use disorder is indicated when a person has a compulsive alcohol use along with a loss of control over how much they drink.

Long-term effects of binge drinking may include:

  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver disease
  • Dementia
  • Anemia

If your binge drinking has developed into alcohol use disorder, you may give up typically enjoyed activities to drink instead or experience cravings when not drinking. Furthermore, you may have lost a job because of drinking alcohol. If binge drinking is now a pattern in your life, you more than likely are struggling with alcohol use disorder.

Help for Alcohol Use Disorder

If you have an alcohol use disorder or if you suspect that a loved one may be struggling with this, seek help at an inpatient addiction treatment facility.  Inpatient treatment will take you away from the temptation to use alcohol during your treatment because these facilities are alcohol-free and drug-free. You can focus on your counseling and treatment program without thinking about ways to obtain some alcohol.

At New Beginnings Rehab Center, if you need detoxification to remove the toxins from your body, you will have supervision around the clock as you go through the process. You will always have a staff member available should any medical issues arise. After detox, you will be ready to start your treatment program that we will design to fit your individual needs and preferences.

Contact one of our informed representatives at New Beginnings Rehab Center to learn more about our facility and the many treatment programs that we offer. They can answer any questions you may have. Contact us now!

 

Sources:

Niaaa.nih.gov – Alcohol Use Disorder

 

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Warning Signs of Overdose

Do You Know the Warning Signs of a Drug Overdose?

You may not think you’d ever be in a position to have to save someone from dying of a drug overdose.  But think about this. Last year, more than 70,230 people died from drug overdoses in the United States.  It’s possible that many of these deaths could have been prevented if someone had been familiar with the warning signs of overdose and knew how to react.  

Unfortunately, many overdoses occur when the individual is alone.  Or, it happens when others around the person are also high on drugs and unable to recognize the warning signs. With the overdose death rate increasing by more than 15% each year, it’s vital for us to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a drug overdose.  

Warning Signs of Overdose by Drug Type

Would you know if someone needs medical attention after taking too many drugs or drinking too much alcohol?  Is the person in danger, or do they need to sleep it off? How would you make that determination? First of all, it’s important to remember that everyone responds to substances differently.  Also, the warning signs of overdose may vary depending on the substance involved.  Here’s a breakdown of what to look for

Stimulants 

(Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Vyvanse, Dexedrine)

  • Profuse sweating
  • Agitation
  • Elevated temperature
  • Hallucinations
  • Convulsions

CNS Depressants 

(Barbiturates, Opioids, Benzodiazepines)

  • Clammy or blue-tinged skin
  • Weak pulse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma

Narcotics 

(Oxycodone, Codeine, Vicodin, Methadone, Lortab, Percocet, Dilaudid)

  • Cold, clammy, or blue-tinged skin
  • Lethargy, sleepiness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Shallow breathing
  • Hallucinations
  • Convulsions
  • Coma

Hallucinogens

(LSD, DMT, PCP, Mescaline)

  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Delusions
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures

Inhalants

(Spray paint, glue, cleaning fluid, gasoline, paint thinner, nitrous oxide, etc.)

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Disorientation
  • Choking
  • Hallucinations
  • Trouble breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma

Alcohol Poisoning or Overdose

  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Irregular breathing
  • Low body temperature
  • Blue-tinged skin
  • Vomiting
  • Stupor
  • Unconsciousness

This list gives you have an idea of what to look for. So, what do you need to do if you suspect someone has overdosed?

What Should You Do if Someone Has Overdosed?

As we mentioned above, don’t assume that the person will be okay if he or she could just sleep it off.  Also, it’s crucial that you don’t give them something to sober them up, such as coffee or other stimulants. Don’t induce vomiting or put them in a cold shower.  

The first thing you should do if you believe someone has overdosed is to call 911.  Stay with the person until medical help arrives. You should lie the person on their side and keep them warm.  Also, pay close attention to any symptoms that the medical team will need to know about.  

Fortunately, not all drug overdoses are deadly.  But, it’s always best to let professionals examine the person to be on the safe side.  

Prevent Overdose by Seeking Addiction Treatment

Another effective way to prevent overdose deaths is to convince the individual to get addiction treatment.  Far too many lives are lost each year due to drug-related causes. Take a look at these figures to see just how severe the problem has become.

From 1999 to 2017, the following drugs were involved in thousands of overdose deaths:

  • Opioids – 64,629 deaths
  • Heroin –  15,482 deaths
  • Psychostimulants – 10,333 deaths
  • Cocaine – 13,942 deaths
  • Benzodiazepines – 11,537 deaths
  • Antidepressants – 5,269

Alcohol is involved in more than 88,000 deaths every year.  Also, we haven’t included the number of overdose deaths from other drugs of abuse such as street drugs, club drugs, over-the-counter drugs.  The totals are almost too high to comprehend.

If you would like more information about the warning signs of overdose, or if you know someone who needs help for substance abuse, contact us now at our toll-free number.

Resources:
ncapda.org/education – Drug Overdose

cdc.gov – National Vital Statistics Report

nsc.org – International Drug Overdose Awareness Day

 

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Hate the Addiction, Not the Addict

Hate the Addiction, Not the Addict: Can We Change Our Perspective?

We’ve all heard the adage, “don’t shoot the messenger.”   It means that the bearer of bad news did not create the problem; he’s merely relaying the facts.  Maybe this logic can be applied before judging an addict as a hopeless loser. Can we try to think of an addict as a messenger?  He is relaying a message that something has happened that is out of his control. With this perspective, it’s possible we can learn to hate the addiction, not the addict.  

Learning to Hate the Addiction, Not the Addict

The amount of research and information available about the effects of drugs on the brain and body is astounding. Yet, millions of people still mistakenly believe that addicts lack the willpower or motivation to quit.  This outdated stigma prevents many addicts from seeking the professional help they need. Of course, we also have those who think the “tough love” approach to addiction is the best way to help. What do these individuals need to know that will help them hate the addiction, not the addict?  

Some facts that will help us treat addicts with empathy and compassion:

1. Addiction is a chronic disorder:

It hijacks a person’s brain. Drugs change the structure and function of the brain.  It interferes with decision-making, self-control, and response to pleasure or pain.  

2. The brain wants more:

Abused substances over-stimulate the production of dopamine in the reward center of the brain.  When the drug is withheld, dopamine drops and the brain produces withdrawal symptoms that force the person to seek more of the drug.  In many cases, withdrawals can be so severe they lead to seizures, coma, or death.

3. Drugs turn a person into a liar:

The effects of drugs are so powerful that the person loses interest in everything except getting their next fix.  Too often, addicts lie, steal, resort to prostitution, or become dealers themselves to fund their habit. Unwanted pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, STDs, and other health problems are a result of their desperation.

4. The initial drug use was a choice:

But, no one chooses to become an addict.  They mistakenly believed they could try it once and quit whenever they wanted. Unfortunately, addiction happens after one use with some drugs.  In some cases, a person uses drugs as a form of self-medication to help deal with depression or other issues.  When these disorders are combined with substance abuse, addiction is more likely to occur.

5. Addicts don’t have to “hit rock bottom” before they can get help.  

The earlier they enter treatment, the recovery process will be easier.  If you try to go the “tough love” route and leave it up to the addict to get help, they will likely continue with the substance use until overdose or death occurs.  You may need to enlist the services of a professional interventionist to convince your loved one to seek help.

6. Don’t be an enabler:  

Are you lying for the addict in your life?  You don’t want everyone to know what is going on, so you try to cover it up.  Do you make excuses for their substance use? Or, have you given the person money, paid their bills, or bailed them out of jail?  If so, you are preventing the person from suffering the consequences that might encourage them to seek treatment. You’re making it easy for the person to continue their behavior.

7. Relapse is common in recovery:

If your loved one goes through rehab and then relapses shortly after, don’t give up.  This doesn’t mean the rehab failed, and it doesn’t mean your loved one is a hopeless case.  He or she still needs your support and may need more time in rehab.

It’s important to point out that no matter how severe the addiction, the person’s core identity is still intact. This is why it is vital that we learn to hate the addiction, not the addict.  Your loved one is trapped in a body that is controlled by a force they can’t resist. But, with the right treatment program, these individuals can rediscover who they are and reach their full potential in a drug-free life.

You Can’t Fix Your Loved One’s Addiction Yourself

When a person becomes addicted, they aren’t the only one who suffers. Friends, family, employers, and the community also suffer the consequences of addiction.  As much as you may want to fix this situation, you can’t. Addiction recovery is a complex process that requires the perfect balance of detox, training, education, and counseling.  

Rehab programs are designed to provide a comprehensive curriculum that addresses all aspects of the addiction.  At New Beginnings Rehab Center, we understand the complexities of addiction and recovery and can offer your loved one a program designed for his or her specific needs.  Our counselors know how to hate the addiction, not the addict. Each of our clients is treated with ultimate respect and compassion at all times. Call now to learn more about how we can help.

Resources:

health.harvard.edu – What is Addiction?

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