How Drugs And Alcohol Affect The Digestive System
The digestive system or gastrointestinal tract consists of the path from the mouth and esophagus through the stomach and intestines. Here is where food gets broken down and digested, and nutrients extracted for the bodys use. Without a functioning digestive system, you cannot get all the vitamins and minerals you need from food, which can lead to damaging deficiencies over time. Some drugs cause indirect damage to the digestive system by forcing the liver to work harder, while others like alcohol cause direct harm to the cells lining the GI tract.
How To Get Help For Drug Addiction
There is plenty of misconceptions about drug addiction. Society has frowned upon drug addiction and its victims. This may be the reason why some people may think twice about getting help.
This is why support of their friends and families are important. Their support can help the victims throughout the process of recovery. Families can also be a reminder of things that are more important in life than the drugs.
If someone you love is suffering from drug addiction, its best to remember that the drugs have altered their minds and bodies. This means that the control isnt in their hands anymore. The drugs must be flushed out of their systems in order for them to gain control. But flushing them out is difficult, uncomfortable, and even dangerous.
Get help from medical professionals. There are plenty of rehabilitation centers across the country where you can seek advice from. These centers are experts in helping people recover from drug addiction. Find one near you and consult with them to know your options.
What About Smoking And Drinking Too Much Caffeine
As many recovery group members can attest, smoking is a problem with people recovering from addiction. Unfortunately, nicotine happens to be one of the most addictive substances on earth. It may even be the most addictive drug of all. Lists of the most addictive substances often put nicotine at the top of the list, followed by other drugs, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin.
A few years ago, people started to use nicotine vaping devices as cigarette replacements. Vaping became an unofficial way to quit smoking. Many people who used these devices continued to vape without any workable plan to discontinue the practice. They considered vaping to be a safer alternative to cigarette smoking, so they didnt see any reason to give up inhaled nicotine.
In the early days, experts did not provide clear guidance on why vaping was bad, they just made vague recommendations to not use these devices that had not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. Now, there are clear reasons to give up this practice, and the official reports on the dangers of vaping are in. Vaping can cause, among other problems, something called popcorn lung which is permanent damage to lung tissue.
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Ways To Strengthen Your Recovery
Once you complete your addiction treatment programs, consider the following ways to strengthen your recovery journey:
- Develop gratitude for small things
- Create a discipline of healthy living
- Attend 12 Step meetings
- Take responsibility for your actions
- Do service and help others
- Develop new habits
- Maintain a willingness to change
Life is a series of everchanging set of events, most of which are out of your control. Acceptance and recognition help you stay in recovery regardless of the stress, or unexpectedness an event may bring. There is an expression in 12 Step groups that says, You cant control it, you didnt cause it, you cant cure it. In the end, you are only responsible for how you respond to the event and your emotions. Learning to deal with your emotions is part of the recovery process. That process begins in substance abuse treatment and continues through an aftercare plan, which most likely will include individual counseling.
There Can Be Many Different Pathways To Remission But The Mechanisms By Which People Change Are The Same Heres Whats Needed For Recovery
Despite what people may tell you, changing behavior is easy. Its maintaining change thats hardcreating new and sustained ways of thinking and behaving. As Mark Twain quipped, Quitting is easy, Ive done it dozens of times. Many can begin a positive health behavior change, but most will run out of gas before theyre around the first bend.
The tragedy of the opioid epidemic, which has killed hundreds of thousands of individuals over the past 20 years, has thrust addiction into the spotlight, forcing a consideration of what addiction is and what helps people overcome it and recover. Not to discount the anguish caused by this epidemic, but there is some good news: Much has been learned about the nature of addiction, the processes of behavior change involved in recovery, and the active elements in the pathways that people take into remission and long-term stable recovery.
It is now well known that the repetition of rewarding behaviors produces changes in brain function and structure that facilitate habits and, for some, sustained compulsivity and addiction. Like other complex illnesses and disorders, addiction is multifactorial, resulting from a combination of genetic, social, psychological, and environmental forces.
The statistics are tremendously encouraging about recovery. Still, its important to recognize that the recovery change process itself is very difficult. The journey to remission can be bumpy, and it can take a long time.
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Be Honest With Yourself And Others
An addiction requires lying by default. You have to lie about getting it and using it and you have to hide the effect it has on you. Then you have to do it all over again as you plan your next hit or drink. The more you lie to others, the better you get at it, and the easier it becomes to lie to yourself. This creates a horrible cycle because the more you lie, the more you hate yourself, and the more you feel the need to use drugs and/or alcohol to escape your self hatred. Being rigorously honest is one of the most powerful skills to have to immerse yourself fully into successful addiction recovery.
What Can You Do To Help Repair Your Brain
- When you remove drugs from your body, you give your brain a fresh start to restore its balance. At first, your brain and body will be thrown out of alignment by the sudden change. At that point, you might experience some symptoms of withdrawal. But as you continue and complete the detoxification process, you stimulate a re-adjustment of your brains natural chemical balance. You might think of detox as a way to jumpstart your brain just as you would jumpstart a car. Drugs have caused your brain to temporarily malfunction. Once your body and brain are free of drugs, however, you are able to jumpstart your brain and prepare it for treatment, where you will learn to ignore drug cravings and adjust to functioning without drugs in your life.
#2. Participate in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
#3. Take Up Mindfulness & Meditation
Another study found that mindfulness and mediation can lessen the risk of relapse. Other benefits of Mindfulness can include:
- Increasing the amount of grey matter in your brain, which helps your sensory perception, including eyesight and hearing. Increased grey matter also helps you make healthier decisions and exhibit self-control.
- Increasing the cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which increases your memory and ability to learn new habits and behaviors.
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Recognizing Drug Abuse In A Loved One
Its not always easy to recognize if a loved one is abusing drugs. In teens, for example, drug abuse can often resemble normal adolescent moodiness. Furthermore, theres no specific amount or frequency of use that indicates someones drug use has become a cause for concern. Whether your loved one is using every day or every month, its the adverse impact their drug abuse has on their life that indicates a problem.
Signs your loved one may have a substance use disorder include:
Experiencing problems at work, school, or home. They appear high more often, for example, and take more days away from work or school to compensate. Their work performance or school grades suffer, they neglect their responsibilities at home, and encounter more and more relationship difficulties. They may even lose their job, drop out of school, or separate from a long-term partner.
New health issues, such as changes in sleep schedule, often appearing fatigued or run-down, pronounced weight loss or weight gain, glassy or bloodshot eyes, and forgetfulness or other cognition problems. Depending on the type of drug theyre abusing, they may also exhibit frequent sniffing, nosebleeds, or shaking.
Recurring financial problems. Your loved one may run up credit card debt to support their drug use, seek loans, or ask to borrow money without any solid reason. They may even steal money or valuables to sell for drugs.
Drug paraphernalia to look out for
Form Friendships That Include People In And Out Of Recovery
Of course making friends who are also in recovery is important but some of these friends will relapse. Forming friendships with stable people outside of recovery will help to create a balanced life. Make time for family and long-term friends who understand what you have been through and are supportive of your new lifestyle.
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Meditation During Addiction Recovery
The central principle of all forms of meditation is to focus attention on the present moment, the “now.” Some experts believe addictions result in part from an attempt to escape psychological pain. Meditation can help an addict face painful feelings and understand how these feelings contribute to craving. This can potentially help the person discover healthy ways of coping with bad feelings, without using drugs.
Supporting A Loved Ones Addiction Recovery
Theres no one-size-fits-all solution to overcoming an addiction to drugs, and its rarely a process thats quick or straightforward. While you can support your loved one and encourage treatment, you cant force them to change or control their decision-making. Letting your loved one assume responsibility for their behavior and choices is an important step on their road to sobriety.
Adjust your expectations. Everyone is different. Recovery for one person may mean total abstinence from drugs. For another, it could mean cutting back or staying mostly drug-free. Being too rigid in your expectations can lead to disappointment and a sense of failure, even if your loved one finds stability in their life again.
Encourage your loved one to seek help. While some people are able to quit drugs on their own, the more help and support a person has, the better their chances of success. Offer to sit with your loved one while they call a helpline or accompany them to a doctors appointment, counseling session, or peer support group meeting.
Help plan for triggers and cravings. Your loved one will need to find ways to cope with drug cravings and triggers. You can help distract them with other activities or encourage them to learn how to ride out the urge, but ultimately, they have to be responsible for their own sobriety.
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Brain Damage Caused By Marijuana
When a person takes , for example, THC enters the brain and acts on certain areas. This will affect the reward sector, as well as other parts of the brain that control balance, coordination, memory, and judgment.
Over time, the effects of a drug like this can be profound, leading to the death of brain cells. That means that the symptoms youre facing during a high can become more permanent, and you might have trouble with memory function or coordination even when you arent high.
Sober Support Systems & Relapse Prevention
Many people find it difficult to fill their time after becoming sober. People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol often spend a significant amount of their time getting, using, or recovering from using the drug.1 Once they are no longer using drugs or alcohol, boredom might set in if they dont have things to fill their time. Apathy is a common relapse trigger for many people.2
If you are recovering from a substance addiction, it is essential to find a support network of people who do not use and will help you by providing encouragement and support when you need it the most. They can help you by providing a distraction when you experience a craving to use.2
Mutual support or self-help groups are a great option for people who are in substance abuse recovery. These groups help provide emotional and social support for people throughout their recovery journey.3 Mutual support groups are an excellent adjunct to professional treatment, as they help extend and complement the benefits of rehab.4
Participation in mutual support groups significantly increases the likelihood of maintaining sobriety. The more that a person participates in these groups, the more likely they are not to use drugs or alcohol.3 Further, helping others by providing encouragement and guidance often helps you to remain sober.3
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Its Not Easy To Approach A Person About Their Addiction But Its Often Necessary For Starting The Recovery Process Learn About Ways You Can Help A Loved One Take The First Step
Whether its a close friend or family member, helping someone struggling with drug or alcohol addiction is often a long and heartbreaking journey. At times, it can be so overwhelming that ignoring the situation may seem like an easier solution. However, sweeping the issue under the rug can be damaging to you, your family and the person youre concerned about. As painful as it may be, its important that you take the time to encourage your loved one to get the help they need.
Respiratory Illnesses Tied To Substance Use
Continuing to use drugs can lead to a host of different respiratory illnesses. Some of the most common problems resulting from addiction are:
- Lung cancer
- Respiratory failure
Asthma is the most reversible of these conditions, and frequently goes away after a period of abstinence. Other illnesses like emphysema require treatment as soon as possible, or they may become fatal.
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Mindfulness Spirituality And The Brain
It also helps to remain mindful and even practice mindfulness as a discipline, actively bringing your awareness back to the present moment. Carefully consider your decisions and think before acting.
Thoughts and feelings come and go. You do not have to act on them, no matter how much you think you want to do something in the heat of the moment. When you have a strong desire to do something that you know is not good for you, it may be the more primitive parts of your brain, including the reward center and the emotion centers fighting against the decisions made by the more advanced prefrontal cortex.
According to some experts in neuroscience and spirituality, your conscious existence goes beyond the functioning of your physical brain. Imagine that you, the part of you that experiences the outside world and your inside thoughts and feelings, is something beyond what the neurons of your central nervous system are capable of creating.
Think of yourself, your spiritual existence, as an observer and passenger, connected to your brain and body. You experience thoughts and feelings, and you are aware of the world and the actions that you take in the world.
Learn To Relax In Any Situation
One of the main reasons people start using drugs and alcohol is to relax and reward themselves. Learning new skills to relieve tension is an essential part of long-term sobriety. If you are able to calm down on your own, then you wont need to use to escape. You may think youre too busy to relax, but that is a lie! Your addiction recovery has to become the most important thing in your life, so taking plenty of time for yourself has to become the most important too.
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What Drugs Lead To Addiction
Drugs that are commonly misused include:
- Synthetic cannabinoids .
- Synthetic cathinones .
- Tobacco/nicotine and electronic cigarettes .
While these drugs are very different from each other, they all strongly activate the addiction center of the brain. That is what makes these substances habit-forming, while others are not.
Tune In To Learn More About The Best Ways To Recover And Rebuild Your Life After Addiction
To learn more about addiction treatment, you may be interested in tuning into podcasts on the subject of addiction recovery. The best recovery podcasts will cover all aspect of treatment, including medication-assisted treatment. You will find many great podcasts on the subject of addiction recovery and other interesting subjects on our network, The Mental Health News Radio Network.
Whatever stage you are currently at in recovery from active addiction, now is a great time to reaffirm your commitment to moving forward and reevaluating your recovery program. A sober life is the best life. When you put drugs and alcohol behind you, there is no limit to what you can accomplish.
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Change Everything In Your Life That Needs To Be Changed
If going back to where you were living before treatment will mean rooming with someone who is still drinking or using, or living two doors down from your dealer, or across the street from your favorite bar you have to move. If your closest friends have problems with drugs or alcohol, but refuse to seek drug addiction recovery, you cannot maintain those relationships. Separate yourself with as much love and kindness as you can, explaining that you have to do this for the sake of your health and wellbeing.