10 Red Flags of Alcoholism

Not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic, but there are plenty of alcoholics who have no idea that they are struggling with the disease. The thought might cross their minds once in a while, but they shrug it off and go about their lives. Alcoholism affects millions of people in various ways. The disease is progressive and can take a normally happy individual and turn them into a miserable, lonely, angry person.

If you’re wondering if you are struggling with alcoholism or if you think a loved one is, here are 10 red flags when it comes to the disease:

You think about drinking a lot and tend to drink much more than you used to. You begin to base your life around alcohol, parties, etc.
When you get angry, stressed out, fearful, etc., you reach for a drink to try to cope with the negative emotion. Even though you think the alcohol will make you feel better, you end up feeling worse.
When confronted about how much or often you drink, you become angry and defensive.
You begin hiding alcohol and lying about home much or how often you drink.
You promise yourself and others that you will not drink anymore. You assure them that you are done, yet you find yourself drinking again despite negative consequences.
Your drinking gets you into trouble with the law, such as committing a crime while intoxicated, getting DWI, assaulting someone, etc.
Your relationship or marriage is suffering because of your drinking. Your partner comes to you concerned and you shrug it off or become defensive or angry.
You crave alcohol immensely when you try to stop drinking. You may even have some withdrawal symptoms like sweating, anxiousness, nausea, and more.
You do your best to just […]

Help for Heroin Addiction

With the recent death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the topic of heroin use has increased significantly. Heroin is actually one of the most common addictions in America among adults with many loved ones of addicts not recognizing the symptoms of addiction.
Signs of heroin addiction
If someone is high on heroin, they may be extremely calm, but when the high begins to wear off, they become anxious or even sick. Sometimes the only way to be able to tell if someone is struggling with heroin addiction is if you notice their withdrawal symptoms or needle injection marks.
Withdrawal signs
If you or your loved would like to stop using heroin, it will be helpful to enter a detox program so that the withdrawal symptoms can be monitored and you can be in a safe atmosphere. Substance abuse professionals will offer you support while you detox and oftentimes be able to provide you with certain medications that decrease the amount of withdrawal symptoms. During your detox period, your body will be rid of the chemical toxins and you’ll return to a drug-free state. Detox is just the first step in treatment, as after care treatment such as an inpatient or outpatient rehab is recommended to continue with education and heroin addiction treatment.

Withdrawal symptoms are rarely fatal, but they can be intense. You will find that the symptoms peak usually within 2 to 4 days and disappear altogether after a week to 10 days. The withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on how much heroin has been used and for how long. Common withdrawal symptoms include:

Feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, irritability
Body ache, particularly in the legs and back
Sweating, runny nose, teary eyes
Diarrhea, stomach pain
Nausea, vomiting
Restlessness, insomnia

The withdrawal symptoms will subside in […]

How Taking Cocaine Affects Your Brain Chemically

Cocaine is a powerful drug that many people are addicted to, largely because the first time someone uses it, the brain is affected in major ways resulting in an intense craving for more. Cocaine affects the brain in that it stops dopamine and serotonin from proper absorption, which results in an intense euphoric feeling that lasts for a short time. The feeling is intense and pleasurable, but once the high dissipates, the after effects are harsh, as you experience depression, anxiety, emptiness, and a huge craving for more.

Once someone begins using cocaine, the brain acts like it is starving from lack and sends off intense signals to get more of the drug no matter what. This is a key reason why many cocaine users will do just about anything to get more of the drug into their bodies.

The more one uses cocaine, the higher the tolerance, so the more you need in order to get the same high. This can become quite a habit and cause an addict a great deal of inner turmoil and outside problems. Relationships can crumble, jobs can be lost, health can be destroyed, and legal trouble can ensue as well.
How cocaine affects the body short-term

Elevated blood pressure
Increase in heart rate
Blood vessel constriction
Dilated pupils
High anxiety

How cocaine affects the body long-term

Liver damage
Kidney damage
Brain damage
High blood pressure
Lung damage
Tooth decay
Destruction of heart blood vessels

How cocaine affect the brain
Once someone ingests cocaine into the body, blood flow to the brain slows down considerably. In fact, research shows that just a very small amount of cocaine can constrict blood vessels in the brain of users. The actual use of cocaine changes the chemistry of the brain, resulting in the brain craving the drug desperately. In […]

By |February 28th, 2014|Addiction, Cocaine|

How to Create a Relapse Prevention Plan

Even though you may receive addiction counseling and/or work a program of substance abuse recovery, chances are you will encounter unexpected cravings when it comes to the drug of your choice. Addictions have a tendency to cause occasional cravings- especially when you face some common triggers. The best way to contend with such is to create an Addiction Relapse Prevention Plan that will help you to know what you can do when those cravings occur.

You can create your own Relapse Prevention Plan or you can ask someone for some assistance. Oftentimes a counselor, sponsor, or someone familiar with addictions will help you to create one that works for you. Here are some things to consider as you create yours:

Identify your addiction triggers.

A trigger is a person, place, or thing that causes you to want to use your drug of choice. For example, if you see a commercial on television for alcohol, it could cause you to crave a drink. Or if you drive by the dope man’s house, you could be tempted to turn into the driveway. Identifying your triggers and doing whatever you can to avoid them is helpful in staying clean. This is especially important in the beginning stages of recovery, as cravings can become pretty intense and relapses are more common among newcomers to recovery. You might think you have a lot of will-power, but sometimes will-power is not enough when it comes to addiction, so a plan is necessary.

Make a list of those you can call.

When you encounter a trigger or an intense craving, have a list handy of those you can call for support and encouragement. This will come in handy as you unexpectedly run into an urge or […]

Major Causes of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Among The Youth

There are numerous reasons why young people use drugs. Past studies in the field of substance abuse consistently show that young people use drugs as a way of “having fun”. Recent studies, however, have shown that many teens take drugs to solve problems. This is imperative for parents to understand because they often underestimate the impact of stress on their loved ones. By appreciating and understanding what motivates them, you can possibly step in and help them find effective ways to deal with their problems.
Top causes of substance abuse
Low self-esteem
A 2007 PATS Teens study reported that 65 percent of young people use drugs to “feel cool”. It is a well-documented fact that young people’s self-worth depends, almost entirely, on the approval of their peers. Desire for social acceptance can also drive teens to do things that may harm their lives, including abusing drugs. The same study also revealed that teens use drugs to “feel better about themselves”. Other studies have also shown that teens with low self-esteem are likely to seek acceptance from the wrong groups, including those that abuse drugs.
Partnership for a Drug-Free America, in their recent study, reported that the number one reason why teens use drugs is to deal with problems, pressures, and stress of school. Surprisingly, only 7 percent of American parents believe that teens can use drugs to solve problems. The truth is that more than 70 percent of young people who use drugs use them to escape reality. Maybe they are not doing well in school or maybe they feel that they are not appreciated by their teachers.
Studies have shown again and again that teens are widely misinformed about the dangers of substance […]

Sober Is One Thing But Recovery Is Another

For the alcoholic, putting down the drink is one thing and it’s a great thing, but it’s not all there is to recovering from alcoholism. Once you stop drinking, the work on yourself begins and self-reflection is not always an easy task. Alcoholism affects so many men and women and much of the time when they are ready to surrender to the fact that they have a problem, they are pretty far down emotionally. They may also be experiencing financial or relationship problems.

Various modes of alcohol addition treatments are available, from detox and rehab centers, to intensive outpatient counseling, and 12 Step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. Each of these methods of treatment treat addiction, but also help a recovering addict to contend and get through the negative emotions and behaviors they bring into recovery. One of the first things that recovering addicts learn is that just putting down the drink or drug does not mean you are recovering. You might be clean, but recovery is much more.
It’s a lifelong journey
Recovery from addiction is a lifelong journey. If you’re involved in a 12 Step recovery group, you probably run into a few recovering addicts who seem to have their lives together. Perhaps they’ve been in recovery for many years and have worked on themselves consistently. You might look at them and wonder why you aren’t feeling the same way they are. The answer is that they’ve been on their journey to self-discovery and growth much longer than you.

Sober is one thing, but recovery is another. What investment are you putting into your recovery? Are you attending counseling? Are you going to 12 Step meetings? Do you have a sponsor? […]