What Is It Like To Be Addicted To Drugs
If you havent struggled with addiction, it can be challenging to understand the mindset of someone in the throes of addiction. But if you want to help someone with an addiction, you have to start by understanding what its like to be addicted to drugs or alcohol.
First, its important to remember that people often start using drugs or alcohol because they feel like something is missing from their lives or they need relief from some aspect of life. It could be uncertainty about the future, past trauma, emotional instability, or a difficult family life. A common pattern is that addiction often takes root in feelings of discomfort and dissatisfaction. It should be no surprise that individuals who are comfortable with their place in the world or happy with the life they lead are not as prone to addiction as those who arent.
Someone struggling with addiction may have a hard time enjoying life to the degree that those around them are. They try drugs or alcohol, and suddenly, they feel good about life. When thats the only thing that makes them feel better, they continue to use drugs or alcohol, often feeding into addiction.
But over time, while the substance or substances theyre abusing may make them feel good, they may also begin to awaken to the reality that life isnt actually improvinginstead, its always almost the oppositebecause they arent dealing with underlying problems at the root of their discontent.
Physical Signs Of Heroin Use
Everyone responds to heroin differently.
A persons size and general health can influence an individuals reaction to heroin as can the dose a person consumes. Different batches or types of heroin can elicit different effects, as some are far more potent than others.
The physical signs can also differ depending on the method of use. Shooting heroin can leave track marks or scars on the arms or other injection sites. Snorting heroin can damage the nose, causing nosebleeds and damage to the nostrils. Heroin can also be smoked and cause noticeable breathing problems.
Effects can also increase if heroin is taken with other drugs. In addition, people whove used heroin for a long time and have developed a tolerance may appear less impaired than first-time heroin users.
Even so, the immediate and long-term effects of heroin are often apparent to the bystander.
Shattering Stereotypes Of The Typical Heroin Addict
Its not always easy to tell if someones using heroin. If you suspect someone you love is using drugs, these are some signs it could be heroin. Constant lying or acting extremely secretive are both signs of substance abuse as well. Any changes in behavior you notice should be taken very seriously.
Heroin addiction is very serious and is one of the biggest problems a person could face in a lifetime. Its one of the hardest addictions to overcome and has the potential to quickly destroy a persons life if left untreated. However, knowing what to look for could save someones life.People from all walks of life become hooked on heroin. To think theres a certain type of person who uses heroin is often common because of the stigma attached to heroin addiction. As more and more people become addicted to heroin, the stereotype of the typical heroin user is quickly being shattered. Heroin is everywhere, which is why its important to separate the myth from the truth behind who a heroin addict really is.
If you or someone you know wants to quit opiates or heroin, take the time to find a treatment method that works for you.
Thank you for doing what you do for people. Your a God send for us battling addiction. I’m clean because of you and what you have done for me and my family. I’m forever grateful for you so thank you from the bottom of my heart.-M. Whitaker
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Rates Of Meth Addiction In America
With the exception of marijuana, meth is used by more Americans than any other illicit drug including heroin, cocaine, and LSD. In 2014 there were about 569,000 Americans who reported using meth in the previous month a 29% increase from 2012 when only 440,000 people reported using this illicit stimulant. Meth use rates in the U.S. are continuing to rise on behalf of the drugs availability, low cost, and a purity rate that ranks above that of heroin.
Though meth use rates in the U.S. tend to be higher than that for other illicit drugs, the number of Americans who die from meth overdoses every year are far lower than the number of people who die from heroin, fentanyl analogues, and other opioids. But drug overdoses including those caused by meth continue to be a major public health concern, as there were more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths across the U.S. in 2016.
What Does Recovery From Addiction Look Like
There is no universal definition for recovery its understood differently by different people. But Opioids, A Survivors Guide , created by people that have experienced addiction first-hand and the BC Centre on Substance Use, describes recovery as:
a process of change through which a person improves their health and wellness, lives a self-directed life, and strives to reach their full potential.
Recovery is positive, achievable and sustainable. It can help people with substance use-related challenges build stronger connections with family, friends and community, and lead to more stability and improved quality of life.
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General Signs Of Drug Addiction
If a person is abusing any drug, there are some of the general signs to look for. These include:
- Difficulties at school, disinterest in school-related activities, and declining grades
- Poor work performance, being chronically late to work, appearing tired and disinterested in work duties, and receiving poor performance reviews
- Changes in physical appearance, such as wearing inappropriate or dirty clothing and a lack of interest in grooming
- Altered behavior, such as an increased desire for privacy
- Drastic changes in relationships
- A noticeable lack of energy when performing daily activities
- Spending more money than usual or requesting to borrow money
- Issues with financial management, such as not paying bills on time
- Changes in appetite, such as a decreased appetite and associated weight loss
- Bloodshot eyes, poor skin tone, and appearing tired or run down
- Defensiveness when asked about substance use
If you or your loved one are exhibiting signs of addiction but you dont know where to turn, American Addiction Centers can help. Our fully licensed team of medical providers and network of credentialed treatment facilities have helped thousands of people get back on their feet and lead a life in recovery. We offer best-in-class care for substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health disorders, treating the whole patient and setting them up for a lifetime of success. Take the next step by contacting us today.
Signs Of Alcohol Abuse
Unfortunately, public perception of alcohol may be that since it is legal, it is not a drug, but it is, and a lethal one at that. The history of alcohol and the Prohibition lay bare that this drug is legal mainly because of its popularity and commercial profitability, not because of its widespread acceptance. Even today, some Americans would support the efforts made in this time period, especially those who have firsthand experience with this illness.
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are associated with physical symptoms such as weight loss, redness of the cheeks and nose, and gastritis . This illness also gives rise to many of the behavioral changes discussed earlier. However, there are additional negative experiences associated with alcohol abuse, including:
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Contact New Directions For Women Today For Help
Do not consider any stigma related to treatment when considering joining a program. Your health is more important than stigma or shame associated with treatment. If you are a high-functioning addict, you may be afraid addiction treatment could cost you your family or job. New Directions has experience with treating professionals with addiction issues. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today.
What Is A High Functioning Addict
First, there really is no such thing as a functional addict. By definition, individuals who have moderate or severe substance use disorders have severe dysfunctions. It is probably far more accurate to designate between individuals with substance use disorders that are relatively high-functioning as opposed to using the fallacious term functional addict. Even in this context, the terms relatively high-functioning versus functional require quite a bit of subjectivity and are not defined in terms of clinical or even research criteria. Nonetheless, a number of individuals with moderate to severe substance use disorders do appear to be able to negotiate certain aspects of their lives while at the same time shielding many aspects of their dysfunctional behavior.
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What Does Addiction Look Like
Below are some of the signs of physical and behavioral changes to be aware of:
Mental and Physical ChangesAddiction interferes with many brain functions that will psychologically affect an individual. One of these effects is mood swings. There may be dramatic changes in mood or more subtle ones. Initially most substances will cause an increase in dopamine levels in the brain that produce feelings of euphoria, calmness and well-being. Stimulant drugs activate the central nervous system and cause a temporary increase in energy levels. Your loved one may become talkative, excitable and experience a decrease in his appetite and sleep cycle. He may become highly alert, restless, agitated and experience paranoia and panic attacks. To the contrary, the adverse effects of depressant drugs and alcohol may produce slurred speech, reduced attention, clumsiness, fatigue, confusion, dizziness and sedation.
There may be a pattern of repetitive speech that the addict is not aware of. The eyes may appear red and the pupils will be dilated. Your loved one may have symptoms similar to having a cold, like a runny nose and excessive sniffing. They may appear to look pale and undernourished and may exhibit a change in eating habits. There may be noticeable weight loss and clothing will become too big and not fit properly.
Physiological Addictions Related To Estrogen
Researchers are busy looking to see if women are more likely to develop addictions, especially to a substance like heroin, than men. Researchers have found that female animals are aware of addicting properties, because of estrogen, which triggers the drug receptors so they turn those illicit drugs into pleasure. The brain enjoys the feeling it gets when those drugs hit the receptors, so it forces women and their estrogen to seek out the drugs. The hypothesis is that women feel more joy and bliss than men do, and the blame is being placed on estrogen and how estrogen triggers cravings.
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Getting Help For Addictions
Addiction is a treatable condition. Whatever the addiction, there are lots of ways you can seek help. You could see your GP for advice or contact an organisation that specialises in helping people with addictions.
You can use the following online directories to find addiction treatment services in your area:
What Is Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine is a dangerously addictive drug that increases overall alertness, concentration, and energy levels. Some people called this a stimulant and its derived from a Coca plant, native to South America.
The illicit use of cocaine in the United States as a controlled substance under Schedule II remains illegal. It is classified as a drug with a high potential for abuse and acute psychological or bodily dependence. The cause of addiction tends to operate on the brains dopamine reward pathway.
The straightforward answer in understanding the risk for cocaine addiction is that it is addictive but some people who use it dont become dependent. The more comprehensive response to its risk is that many factors affect whether a person consuming it develops an addiction.
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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.
But Recovery Is Attainable
Finally, recoverythough a life-long processis attainable. People who struggle with addiction can live a meaningful life again. Ken Kilpatrick, a recovering drug addict, speaks to this and offers advice to those still struggling: Your addiction is a different kind of school and you can use the tough lessons you learned for your good. As you step into sobriety, you are entering a whole new worldand its not a bad place. After your body and brain are fully detoxed, take inventory of who you are. You walked a long bloody road at war with yourself, your addiction, and those who loved you most. But now, its peacetime. Face the shame regarding things youve done and focus on the person who you want to be and work toward new goals. Because you made it out of the prison of substance abuse, you will be able to accomplish anything you set your mind to and work for. As you grow in your sobriety, dont bury your pasttell others. I tell my family, my friends, and even my employees. Why? I want them to be acutely aware of the lifelong struggle with relapse I face. By being honest with them, I am less likely to fall because they keep a close eye on me and help me save me from myself.
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Targeting The Brain In Addiction Treatment
The tendency among addicts to relapse has led many scientists to seek ways of ending addiction once and for all. Whereas some doctors believe that replacement medications or vaccines are the keys to tackling addiction, there is no denying the fact that people who take these meds remain susceptible to relapse.
While the research is skim in terms of relapse rates, its safe to say that a portion of those who return to using every year tried medically-assisted treatment before they decided to use again.
Addiction Does Not Discriminate
Brooks Oscarson has been sober for 2.5 years now and is dedicated to raising awareness about drug addiction. She explains that addiction, like many other diseases, does not discriminatepeople from all walks of life experience addiction: Just like there are many different types of people in the world, there are many different types of addicts as well. I think when most people think of drug addiction, they picture a scary homeless person who wouldnt hesitate to hurt someone to get their next fix. And while those addicts most certainly do exist, thats not the whole picture the thing with addiction is that it can happen to anyone.
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Why Is Meth So Addictive
There are quite a few aspects to meth addiction. A big part of the addictive property is found in the process that occurs with the brain when meth is ingested. You see, the dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain is heavily released when using meth, to an unnatural extent and of course for unnatural reasons. The extent of dopamine release in particular is around twelve times more than that of other pleasurable activities such as eating food. In other words, meth use releases twelve times more dopamine than is normal and natural. This is what is behind the high the person experiences. Naturally this will create a problem once the high wears off though. The brain, therefore, is affected and sometimes this is permanent. Because after the high wears off, the dopamine level isnt sufficient anymore. Its depleted, generally, because a lot of it had previously just been released when it wasnt supposed to. This creates an imbalance in the person. They are rendered with negative effects, a low, and sometimes this low can become permanent or semi-permanent. The brain will only get in worse shape in this regard when using the drug over time.
Signs of Abusing Meth
There are specific signs that come along with abusing meth. These are some things to notice and look out for when faced with someone whom you suspect. These signs include:
- Messed up memory or loss thereof
- Brain damage
- Heart attack
Prepare For Setbacks And Relapse
Addiction is a lifelong disease, and the struggle never really ends. When recovering from addiction, relapse is common, but its important not to be discouraged. An individual may have to relapse several times to develop the awareness, experience, and insight they need to not only desire sobriety today but also sustain it for tomorrow. When you arent discouraged in the face of setbacks, the person you care about will feel more confident.
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