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Helping an Addict Post Rehab

Helping an Addict Post Rehab

If you’ve lived with an addict who was actively using, you know only too well that their habit affects not only them but the entire family. When your loved one comes home from a treatment facility, they’re not cured of their addiction, nor will it have gone into remission. It still exists, and your loved one has to deal with it on a daily basis. Their recovery is a lifelong journey, not a destination that they reach where they can relax and say that they don’t have to be concerned about it anymore. Recovering Addict Defined What do we mean by “recovering addict”? Someone is in recovery once they’ve gone through a drug and alcohol treatment program and they display the following characteristics: Have developed personal boundaries and understand the difference between their problems and someone else’s Deals with their own problems without using chemicals (drugs and alcohol) Takes time out to restore themselves physically and emotionally when they feel fatigued Have at least one person in their life that they can be honest with How to Help a Loved One Coming Home From Rehab The transition to coming home after spending time at a treatment facility is going to take some adjustment for everyone in the family. No one can pretend that you are welcoming someone home who has been away on vacation or working out of town for a time, and it would be a mistake to try to pretend that nothing of significance happened. Both the person arriving home and the family members awaiting their arrival will likely be experiencing a variety of emotions. Each wants... Read more
What to Do If a Family Member Has an Addiction Problem

What to Do If a Family Member Has an Addiction Problem

Family presents an interesting dynamic for most people. These are the people in your life you love the most, but because you know them so well, conflict is not unusual among family members. Most of us spend a lifetime working on family relationships to make them better and keep them close. Addiction can interfere with healthy family relationships in a way that is unlike any other turbulence you could experience. Addiction can creep into a person’s life, changing their behavior before they know what is happening. Often family members are the first to recognize the problem. Like any serious problem, addiction can be difficult to talk about. No one wants to admit they have a problem, and no one wants to accuse someone they love of having an addiction. This is not a problem that will go away on its own, however. Having that uncomfortable conversation could actually mean the difference between life and death. Does My Family Member Have an Addiction? If there is a disturbance in your family dynamics related to drugs or alcohol, it is a good idea to consider addiction as a cause. If you can rule it out, then you can move forward with addressing the disturbance in the usual ways. If there is an addiction, however, at the root of the disturbance, you’ll need a different tactic. If a loved one has shown signs they are using drugs or alcohol frequently, investigate a possible addiction before making any accusations. Although 9.4 percent of Americans used illicit drugs in 2013, up from 8.3 percent in 2002, addiction has a terrible stigma in our society.... Read more
Understanding Detox

Understanding Detox

It is undeniable — America’s addiction epidemic is worsening. The cost of substance abuse to society as a whole is substantial. Between healthcare costs, crime and overall lost productivity, illicit drug and alcohol abuse data estimates that costs relating to crime stemming from illicit drug and alcohol abuse costs the United States an estimated $700 billion each year. Additionally, 80% of people in our prison systems abuse drugs or alcohol, while almost 50% of that population is considered to be clinically addicted. Perhaps one of the saddest things is a report to Congress from the Department of Health and Human Services that estimated somewhere between one-third and two-thirds of all child abuse cases are affected by substance abuse issues to some degree. Substance Abuse by the Numbers Alcohol abuse in the US is extremely pervasive due to the social nature of drinking. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) the number of adults who self-report either past or present alcohol consumption is approaching 90%. Of this nearly 90%, 71% report consuming some amount of alcohol within the previous year. Almost 57% report consuming it during the past month. As if those numbers weren’t staggering enough, consider this: About 25% of US adults report having an episode of binge drinking within the past month. With those statistics, it should come as no surprise that 33% of all visits to the emergency room are related to alcohol consumption. There is a common misconception that alcohol isn’t a dangerous substance because it isn’t illegal. Due to its pervasive and public use, it’s important that everyone knows the major... Read more
Difference Between Abuse, Addiction and Dependence

Difference Between Abuse, Addiction and Dependence

Abuse, addiction and dependence are words people tend to use interchangeably when they are trying to describe someone they care for who has a problem with drugs or alcohol. These words may also be bandied about when discussing the subject in general, as though all three words refer to the same thing or, at the very least, different levels of severity of the same illness. In truth, these ideas all describe completely separate things. It’s important to understand the difference between these three terms so we can be specific in our language around addiction. It can be a challenging thing to talk about, with professionals and within our own families, and we need to make sure all of us are on the same page so that we can understand each other clearly.  Definition of Dependence A dependence on a drug, including alcohol, occurs after exposure to it over time. The body adapts to its presence and needs more in order to achieve the same effects experienced when the drug was first used. If the drug use is suddenly stopped, the user will experience withdrawal symptoms. Physical Dependence on a Drug This doesn’t necessarily mean you or your loved one is addicted to something or has developed an addiction. It’s possible to develop a physical dependence on a prescription drug you have been taking for a long period of time and following the doctor’s instructions exactly. Some medications cannot be stopped all at once. Instead, people need to be weaned off them by lowering their dosage over a period of time in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms. For example, antidepressants... Read more
Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?

Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?

Pick up a newspaper or scan a news site on any day, and you are likely to come across an article on the legalization of the marijuana. Many people are in favor of making marijuana more accessible and legal because they think it’s a harmless drug. It’s easy to get at any age and in most social circles. So, is marijuana that bad? Is it dangerous? Is it addictive? The fact is that millions of Americans every year abuse or become dependent on marijuana. Hundreds of thousands of people admit that marijuana is interfering with their daily lives and their productivity, leading them to get treatment for their addiction in order to get healthy and stay healthy. Seeking treatment is not something that you want to put off. Nipping this problem in the bud can’t prevent future addictions. Taking preventative action now may be able to stop long-term damage to the brain. If you are worried about yourself or someone you love because you suspect marijuana addiction, read on to learn more about the real dangers of marijuana. Is Marijuana Addictive? Many people believe that marijuana is not an addictive drug in the same way that drugs like cocaine or heroin are. Marijuana might not be as addictive as harder drugs but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t addictive. It might surprise you to learn that marijuana is, in fact, an addictive substance according to many research studies and anecdotal evidence. How addicting is marijuana? Studies have shown that people under the age of 18 who are frequent users of marijuana, are 4 to 7 times more likely to... Read more
Factors That Contribute to a Person’s Risk of Becoming Addicted

Factors That Contribute to a Person’s Risk of Becoming Addicted

While there are numerous factors that influence a person’s risk of addiction, before looking at them, it is important to understand exactly what addiction is. Drug addiction is a disease of the brain that that has the potential to actually change the brain’s structure and workings. Like diseases of other organs of the body, drug addiction impedes the regular functioning of the brain. While drug addiction is a chronic problem, it can be treated, and it is preventable. Drugs impact the brain in a variety of ways. They cause interference with how nerve cells communicate and increase the amount of the chemical dopamine. When a person engages their addiction, the brain releases dopamine. The extra dopamine released means that the person will want to experience the high again and again. As the body adjusts to the extra dopamine and the resulting high, the person will no longer be able to experience feeling good by activities other than doing drugs, and will need to keep using in order to maintain that pleasurable feeling. The need to seek out and use drugs will eventually overwhelm other desires, so that pleasure once obtained by enjoying the company of family or friends will be replaced by this almost irrational need to seek out drugs. The number of drug and alcohol addicts in the U.S. alone is staggering. Since 2002, the number has stayed at around 22 million. Of that number, those that are addicted to illegal drugs are approximately seven million.  Factors That Contribute to Addiction  As addiction to drugs and alcohol in the U.S. is an ongoing concern, scientists and researchers have... Read more
What Is Cross Addiction?

What Is Cross Addiction?

When dealing with a substance abuse addiction, it’s easy to focus your treatment on the one particular substance you are dependent upon. For example, if you have been diagnosed as an alcoholic, your treatment is likely based on avoiding the use of alcohol and the triggers that cause you to drink too much. You might not consider how other substances, like prescription drugs and illegal street drugs, can affect your sobriety since you haven’t come in contact with them in the past. While most people assume their addiction problems are only focused on one substance, many people in recovery find it’s easy for them to become addicted to other substances as well, especially after their initial addiction is resolved. Even when the original substance abuse problem is a thing of the past, people in recovery need to stay vigilant to avoid developing another addiction, whether that’s a relapse into their old substance abuse problems or the use of a new drug. Additional Substance Abuse Consider someone who is in a drug treatment program due to a dependency on prescription pain killers. As this person recovers, they might be tempted to celebrate their recovery with a few alcoholic drinks, as this is a common way for many Americans to let off steam and celebrate an accomplishment. Since the original addiction was drug-based, most people think they are not likely to get addicted to other substances. Unfortunately, the opposite might be the case for addicts, especially those who are new to recovery. Although alcohol might not be the addicted person’s main problem, indulging during happy hour can make you more likely... Read more
Signs of Addiction

Signs of Addiction

Addiction occurs when an individual is no longer able to control use of a particular substance. The use continues despite the potential for harm. What starts out as recreational often progresses until the person becomes addicted. Recognizing indicators of addiction helps you encourage a loved one to seek help or for you to seek help for your own substance abuse. The specific symptoms of addiction and the severity of those symptoms vary based on the individual situation, substance and genetics. Physical Signs and Symptoms of Addiction The physical signs of addition are the changes that take place inside the body or the person’s outward appearance due to the substance abuse. They involve the various systems of the physical body. These physical side effects are often due to the drug use itself. Other physical symptoms happen during the withdrawal period, when the person stops using the substance for any period of time. These signs are perhaps the easiest to spot for both the substance user and loved ones. Changes to the outward appearance alert others about the problem. It may take time to notice some of the changes, but as the addiction progresses, the physical effects tend to increase, making them more noticeable. The addict may also be aware of those physical symptoms when looking in the mirror. Internal physical symptoms aren’t easy to spot for others, but the individual abusing substances can feel them. Nausea and headache are two examples of symptoms felt by the individual but not easily detectable by others. Watch for these physical signs and symptoms that can occur with substance abuse: Eyes: Drug and alcohol... Read more
Items Recovering Addicts Shouldn’t Have in Their Home

Items Recovering Addicts Shouldn’t Have in Their Home

When you or a family member returns home after undergoing drug or alcohol recovery, you need to plan so that your home will be conducive to recovery and not an ongoing source of temptation. When someone leaves a rehabilitation center, they will have left a very clean, supportive, nurturing, environment that was free of temptations. The daily routine had structure and positive activities. There was always someone to talk to. Venturing back into the real world with its everyday problems and stresses can be overwhelming. A person alone in their home can get into trouble with everyday items. Because they used drugs and alcohol for coping in the past, they might be drawn to those substances again. Relapses following rehabilitation aren’t unusual, but by keeping certain items out of your home, you can reduce the chances. There are a many items recovered addicts should avoid, and substitutions that you can make for them. The Need for Family Support at Home It might be obvious to you that maintaining drug paraphernalia and bar equipment in your home isn’t a good idea during recovery. Artisans and manufacturers create stunning barware that might appear decorative to you, but to a recovering alcoholic, those items can be a reminder of past behaviors. They can be an invitation to indulge in social drinking or drug use. Social drinking is never a good idea, because it can quickly spin out of control. Before the person comes back from rehab, you should lock up or completely remove alcohol and recreational drugs from the house. You aren’t trying to send a message of mistrust. You’re trying to... Read more
Halfway Houses

Halfway Houses

To determine if someone should be go to a halfway house, it is first necessary to ask the question, “What are halfway houses?” A halfway house is transitional housing for someone recovering from drug or alcohol abuse. People can come to halfway houses from a variety of places, including prisons, homelessness or treatment centers. Often, halfway houses require that their prospective residents undergo breathalyzer or drug screening tests to determine that they are clean, because many halfway houses are not equipped to handle the medical manifestations of withdrawal. Many times, halfway houses are managed by former residents of halfway houses who have a good understanding of what it takes to stay in recovery. Much of the success of a recovering addict hinges on first determining their primary addiction — whether it is alcohol or drugs. If their primary addiction is alcohol, they should be attending meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and if their primary addiction is drugs, they should be attending Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. The reasoning is simple: If someone is addicted to alcohol, they will be able to better identify with alcoholics, and if someone is addicted to drugs, they will be better able to identify with drug addicts. The people who usually respond well to halfway house environments are those with addictions to drugs, alcohol, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Halfway houses are a step below inpatient treatment and may be used when someone is in an outpatient treatment program. They can help an addict bridge their treatment from living in an inpatient facility to living in a world filled with temptations. The halfway house will enable... Read more