An Active Addict In Adulthood
Besides the health consequences for addicts, families, and communities, an adult addict can usually be spotted by behavior. There is an old saying “how can you tell when an addict is lying?””Their lips are moving”. The addicted brain will stop at nothing to get what it feels it needs to be “normal”. Adult addicts are skilled in the art of lying and manipulation. You should never believe an addict. They will lie, steal, cheat, and do whatever they need to do to get their drugs. They will blame people that try to help them.
When someone becomes addicted to a drug, that drug will most likely take precedence over everything else in the user’s life, including work, children, their own health, morality, judgment, the list is endless. Most of the time addicts abuse multiple drugs at various times. A benzo will counter the nasty effects of speed, a drink takes the edge off, some pot helps give a “pick me up”, or the addict you know may have a preference to a specific “drug family”. By drug family, I mean downers, uppers, speed, etc…
Typical drug addict behavior in adults includes, but is not limited to
- Severe mood swings, extreme anger, depression, blaming
- Broken promises
Brain Therapies For Addiction
When someone battling addiction enters a facility, they receive medication and have access to innovative treatments. A common treatment to stabilize and soothe the brain after addiction is biofeedback therapy. This allows a professional to monitor the brain. They can figure out how to improve brain activity, reducing the effects of addiction and unhealthy impulses.
Biofeedback uses electroencephalograms . EEGs are typically used to help individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and can be helpful to individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder and other brain disorders. Biofeedback reduces stress and reduces involuntary functions. This therapy can also include meditation, guided imagery, and muscle relaxation.
When this is combined with therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy , biofeedback improves the individuals involuntary functions, like heartbeat, blood pressure, and muscle contraction. Neurofeedback, or EEQ therapy, is a type of biofeedback. This therapy is a brain-training treatment. In the case of addiction, this therapy monitors the brains activity. It helps patients to reduce stress and anxiety and can treat compulsions. The end result of both therapies is the administrator rewarding the brain to recover how it functions.
Euphoria Incoherence And Ill Feelings
If the heroin addict in your life is smart enough, they will never let you see this side in them. If you do happen to notice a sequence of euphoria, followed by incoherence, this is an obvious sign of heroin use. Angry ill feelings may ensue also because they are agitated as soon as heroin leaves their system.
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How Do People Overcome Drug Addiction
Although drug addiction creates physical and chronic changes in the brain, there is good news. The brain can be re-wired again. Substance addiction is actually very treatable and manageable. Of course, this cant happen overnight. Much like it took time for the persons brain to re-wire in favor of drug use, it takes time for the brain to re-wire back to a healthier state.
Overcoming addiction requires modified routines and thought processes. It means replacing drug use with healthy behaviors like exercise and cooking. It also involves re-framing a persons outlook and definition of drug use it is not a matter of survival, but a process of destruction. This requires education, combined with cognitive therapy to get to the root of their drug-using behaviors.
Over time, the brain can be taught to crave healthier behaviors and to dismiss drug cravings by considering the outcomes and alternatives. It can be taught to seek and prioritize meaningful relationships and activities, rather than drugs and alcohol. It can be taught this through abstinence, ongoing therapy, active management, cognitive reframing, and professional support.
What Causes Opioid Addiction
Opioid drugs alter your brain by creating artificial endorphins. Besides blocking pain, these endorphins make you feel good. Too much opioid use can cause your brain to rely on these artificial endorphins. Once your brain does this, it can even stop producing its own endorphins. The longer you use opioids, the more likely this is to happen. You also will need more opioids over time because of drug tolerance.
Drug tolerance is when your body, over time, gets used to the effects of a drug. As this happens, you may need to take a higher dose of the drug to get the same effect. When you take opioids over time, you need a higher dose to get the same pain relief.
If you stop using an opioid for a period of time, your tolerance will begin to fade. If you need to begin taking it again, you most likely will not need your former higher dose. That can be too much for the body to take. If you stop taking a medication, and then resume, talk to your doctor about dosage.
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Can Opioid Addiction Be Prevented Or Avoided
Many people are able to use opioids safely without becoming addicted to them. But their potential for addiction is high. This is especially true if you use them for long-term pain management.
In general, you are more likely to avoid addiction if you can use opioid drugs no longer than a week. Research shows that using them for more than a month can make you dependent on them.
When Should I Seek Urgent Help
If a person is having an unusual reaction to a drug or if youre worried about your own or others safety call triple zero immediately.
Drugs and alcohol can affect people in different and unpredictable ways. Signs of an unusual or dangerous reaction to a drug can include:
- blue fingernails or lips
- becoming pale or sweaty
Its important to seek immediate medical attention even if youre worried the person might get into trouble for taking illegal drugs. Emergency services will only notify police if there is a risk to them or the persons own safety, the safety of others or if someone dies.
A persons parent or guardian will only be notified if they are under 18.
If a person becomes aggressive or violent after consuming drugs or alcohol, dont stay with them if your own safety is at risk. You can still help the person by calling triple zero once youre in a safe place.
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How Drug Addicts Think Differently
On the surface, some drug addicts might seem like completely normal people. In many cases, they still very much are. But as you become closer to one, you may notice strange behaviorssome that are even unacceptable. Perhaps they have a tendency to become aggressive, and quickly backpedal later. They may struggle to let certain habits or feelings go, but why?
The truth is that severe addictions tend to change a persons mindset and affects their behavior. Their priorities shift, and their perspective of the world is differentfor better or worse. While they should be helped in treatment, understanding how an addict thinks is beneficial. You may be able to approach them easier and better understand their perspective.
What are the common patterns, and what traits are there to look out for? No addiction is the same, but nevertheless, there are common qualities to seek.
Healing Starts With Addiction Medicine
If someone in your life is wrestling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, helping them find effective treatment can be a worrying challenge. Gateway Foundation is here to help, with evidence-based addiction medicine and personalized treatment programs that have helped over a million people overcome their problems with substance abuse. We provide multiple levels of care, from residential treatment to outpatient treatment.
To find out more about our programs and services to help the addicted person in your life, give Gateway Foundation a call at 877.505.4673. You can also reach us through our online contact form with your questions about addiction and recovery.
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To Avoid Unnecessary Questions And Arguments
Deep inside, drug addicts are really scared of arguments and unnecessary questions. They dear it may expose the fact they are addicts, or that they had the substance of their choice again.
They are also emotionally aware of what they are doing and that their behavior is unacceptable. Addicts are not so good at processing their emotions or dealing with arguments.
Just to avoid an uncomfortable situation, another argument or fight on their addiction, drug addicts lie.
I Dont Care About The Long
This last lie that addicts tell themselves is another form of denial. If you can tell yourself you dont care about long-term consequences and that only today matters, then its easy to fool yourself into thinking another drink, pill, or hit of your favorite substance is okay.
There are always long-term consequences to your behavior. Its hard sometimes to realize what they are because the daily action of drinking or drugging doesnt immediately make you feel bad. If you overeat just 100 calories a day, within a year, you could gain considerable weight. There are consequences to your actions, even if you dont feel them immediately.
The same may be said for substance abuse. Today, you may not feel too bad. But what damage have you done to your brain, your liver, your heart, or your lungs? What changes have happened in your family, and what bad feelings have you generated with your children or your spouse?
Addiction has long-term consequences. Just getting through today isnt living. Your life is worth so much more than that. Recovery can help you get it back.
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The First Step To Overcoming Drug Abuse And Addiction
Developing an addiction to drugs isnt a character flaw or a sign of weakness, and it takes more than willpower to overcome the problem. Abusing illegal or certain prescription drugs can create changes in the brain, causing powerful cravings and a compulsion to use that makes sobriety seem like an impossible goal. But recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless your situation seems or how many times youve tried and failed before. With the right treatment and support, change is always possible.
For many people struggling with addiction, the toughest step toward recovery is the very first one: recognizing that you have a problem and deciding to make a change. Its normal to feel uncertain about whether youre ready to start recovery, or if you have what it takes to quit. If youre addicted to a prescription drug, you may be concerned about how youre going to find an alternate way to treat a medical condition. Its okay to feel torn. Committing to sobriety involves changing many things, including:
- the way you deal with stress
- who you allow in your life
- what you do in your free time
- how you think about yourself
- the prescription and over-the-counter medications you take
Its also normal to feel conflicted about giving up your drug of choice, even when you know its causing problems in your life. Recovery requires time, motivation, and support, but by making a commitment to change, you can overcome your addiction and regain control of your life.
How Addictive Substances Rewire The Brain
When we enjoy something especially pleasurable, dopamine levels in our brains are increased, triggering bliss, a sense of well-being, and motivation. Because addictive substances like drugs or alcohol trigger such unnaturally high levels of dopamine, the response is intensified, reinforcing a strong desire to repeat the experience. After time, the brain adapts to the presence of the addictive substance until it becomes unable to activate the reward system naturally, so it must rely on the drug or alcohol to achieve the desired effect.
Eventually, the addict will do whatever it takes to feel good, or to just feel normal. The part of the brain that controls morality and judgment may have become damaged, affecting the ability to make rational choices. The capacity for objective thought has become diminished. Addicts become masters of deception, saying or doing whatever is necessary to avoid the consequences of their actions, to obtain more of the addictive substance, and to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
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What Are Substance Abuse And Addiction
The difference between substance abuse and addiction is very slight. Substance abuse means using an illegal substance or using a legal substance in the wrong way. Addiction begins as abuse, or using a substance like marijuana or cocaine.
You can abuse a drug without having an addiction. For example, just because Sara smoked pot a few times doesn’t mean that she has an addiction, but it does mean that she’s abusing a drug and that could lead to an addiction.
People can get addicted to all sorts of substances. When we think of addiction, we usually think of alcohol or illegal drugs. But people become addicted to medicines, cigarettes, even glue.
Some substances are more addictive than others: Drugs like crack or heroin are so addictive that they might only be used once or twice before the user loses control.
Addiction means a person has no control over whether he or she uses a drug or drinks. Someone who’s addicted to cocaine has grown so used to the drug that he or she has to have it. Addiction can be physical, psychological, or both.
Educate Yourself On Addiction
Our society often blames people for their own addictions as if it is a moral failure on the person’s part. Make sure that before speaking to your loved one, you understand that addiction as a disorder. The more knowledge you have about addiction, the better you’ll be able to communicate.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes addiction as “an inability to stop using a drug failure to meet work, social, or family obligations and, sometimes , tolerance and withdrawal.” Currently, people in the medical community more often use “substance use disorder” to refer to addiction.
There is still a lot of stigma surrounding addiction. Harmful beliefs including that people with addictions are selfish, lazy, and destructive are still common. Watch your tone of voice and make sure you are not speaking to your loved one in a blaming or accusatory tone.
Learn more about addiction from reliable medical sources, and try to understand your loved one’s point of view.
At the same time, don’t assume you know everything about their addiction simply because you do research. Each person with an addiction is a unique individual with their own experience.
Why don’t you just stop using drugs? You’re being selfish.
You are still my friend, and I care for you no matter what. Is there any way I can help?
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External Validation & Socialization
Another reason that people begin to use drugs is that they were never given the proper love and acceptance that babies and children require from their parents.
If a child is not loved enough, it will begin its years in school believing that its not enough, or that somethings wrong with it. This pressure continues throughout the years of high school, and around this time, many troubled youths begin experimenting with drugs.
There are several reasons that drugs can seem useful for these individuals.
What Is An Addict
The Latin origin of the word addict is chillingly appropriate to sell out, betray, become enslaved by. Addiction profoundly rewires the brain, allowing the addictive substance to exert such a powerful hold that an addict will continue addictive behavior regardless of the consequences. Loved ones and others who see an addicts life becoming ruined often find it impossible to understand why the addict doesnt just stop using.
Individuals dont start out using an addictive substance with addiction as a goal. Usually, they are seeking to dull physical or emotional pain or to deal with feelings or behaviors they deem as negative. But when addiction sets in, compulsions and cravings make it increasingly difficult to stop.
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To Create An Alternate Reality In Regards To The Current Situation
As crazy as it sounds, it is true! At times, drug addicts may lie to their family, friends, loved ones, and even themselves just to get an escape from their desperate situation.
They might lie about their situation, stating that everything is going great, or that their bills are paid, their bank account is full, they are working out, they have an active social life, and much more.
Lying to their friends and family about their lifestyle can be oddly therapeutic for addicts because, in order to feel empowered, they need to lie. They create an alternate reality and live in their own lies.
Symptoms Of Alcohol Use Disorders
When someone has a substance use disorder, there are symptoms that the person displays your loved one may exhibit a few, or even all of these, which include:1
- Using more of a substance than was originally intended.
- Trying to stop using or cut back on using substances, but not being able to do so.
- Continuing to use a substance, despite being aware that the substance causes a physical or emotional problem to get worse.
- Experiencing cravings to use a substance.
- There is interpersonal conflict due to the persons use of a substance.
- The persons use of a substance results in them not fulfilling their responsibilities at work, school, or home.
- The person uses substances in high-risk situations, such as driving or swimming.
- The person spends a lot of time seeking out substances and using them.
- They will give up things that were once important to them, such as hobbies, in favor of using substances.
- The person develops tolerance to a substance, which means that they need more and more of a substance to keep getting the same effects from it.
- If the person stops using certain substances, they will experience physical symptoms of withdrawal.
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