About Different Types of Drug & Alcohol Addiction
What You Need to Know about Alcoholism
So if drinking isn’t the real problem, but alcoholism is, then what is the difference?
What Is Alcoholism? In the broadest sense, alcoholism can be defined as any uncontrollable drinking of alcoholic beverages that causes problems for the drinker – health, psychological, relationship, work, school, or legal issues, for example.
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More specifically, alcoholism can be described as a chronic, progressive disease characterized by excessive drinking that they are unable to stop, and that, if not treated, will result in severely negative consequences for the sufferer, both psychologically and physiologically. It is “progressive” because over time, the symptoms of the disease and the damage done by the abuse of alcohol worsen, while a physical dependency to and tolerance for alcohol increases. It is “chronic” because it is a condition that will last for the sufferer’s entire life.
Read More About Alcoholism
What You Need to Know about Marijuana
People who used marijuana recreationally do so for its psychoactive effect – the “high” that it produces. When marijuana’s active ingredient, THC, enters the bloodstream, many users report feeling more relaxed, euphoric, and creative. As with all mind-altering recreational drugs, however, those feelings actually turn out to be illusory. They may feel relaxed, but it’s only because they are not dealing with the real-life problems that gave them stress. They may feel euphoric, but when the effects of the drug were off, they can also suffer a crash that leaves them depressed equally as long. They may feel creative, but the grandiose ideas they had when they were stoned very rarely become reality when their mind clears.
Read More About Marijuana Addiction
What Is Prescription Drug Abuse?
Prescription drug abuse is when a person uses their prescribed medicine in a manner that was not intended by the prescribing physician, typically to experience the “high” or another effect of the drug. Because they are so relatively easy to get – from friends or family members or even through legitimate prescriptions – prescription medications are popular choices for abuse among young people.
What is surprising, however, is how prescription medication abuse among senior citizens is becoming increasingly commonplace, chiefly because that age group takes more prescription drugs than any other. Only 13% of the American population is over the age of 65, but they take more than one-third of all prescription medications. Because they may usually take several different medications daily, it is easier for older adults to “accidentally” abuse their prescription drugs. Read More About Prescription Drug Abuse
What You Need to Know about Methamphetamines
Methamphetamines, also known as “meth”, “speed”, “crank”, “glass”, “ice”, and “crystal”, are powerful, highly-addictive stimulants that can have a long-lasting effect on an individual’s central nervous system.
Methamphetamine is one of the most-used illicit drugs in the United States. More than 13 million people over the age of 12 have tried the drug. Many users of methamphetamines erroneously believe that it is a “safe” alternative to other stimulants such as cocaine. Physically, methamphetamines is an odorless, bitter, white crystalline powder that is easy dissolvable in alcohol or water. Younger people are the chief abusers of methamphetamines, because it is cheap and easily obtained.
Read More About Methamphetamine Addiction
What You Need to Know about Heroin
Heroin might be the most-addictive drug in the world. It is classified as an opioid because it is derived from morphine, but it is up to four times as powerful, and its effects are felt much faster. On the street, Heroin is known by several names – “smack”, “horse”, “boy”, “H”, and “black tar”.
Although it has medical use as a pain reliever, including for those suffering end-stage cancer or terminal illnesses, when used illicitly, typically by injection or snorting, heroin produces an extreme “downer” effect characterized by intense, almost transcendent euphoria. Back with a Vengeance Heroin seemed to go out of style in the last decade of the Twentieth Century, but it is currently enjoying a major resurgence. In 2013, over 700,000 Americans used heroin. Read More about Heroin Addiction
What You Need to Know about Cocaine
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant with a high potential for both addiction and overdose. Physically, it appears as a white, crystalline powder, and it is typically abused by either snorting or injecting. Other names for cocaine might include “coke”, “snow”, “blow”, “white”, or “nose candy”. Cocaine is strongly addictive because it affects the reward center of the brain. It prevents dopamine from being recycled, thereby creating a buildup in the brain’s synapses.
This in turn amplifies the effect of the dopamine and disrupts the normal communication of the brain. Cocaine abusers typically feel a sensation of euphoria and/or superiority, combined with increased energy. Like most stimulants, cocaine can also elicit feelings of restlessness, anxiety, paranoia, and nervousness to the point of panic. Another form of cocaine that is popularly abused is “crack”. Read More About Cocaine Addiction
What You Need to Know about Synthetic Drugs
Synthetic drugs are often sold openly in head shops, convenience stores, and the Internet,
usually disguised as innocuous products that are normally used in any home – plant food, bath salts, incense, and different spices. The reality is that these are hazardous man-made chemical formulations designed to create the same effects found in other illicit drugs. Four of the most commonly-used synthetic drugs are:
- Spice – typically marketed as a legal or safe alternatives to marijuana, Spice is sold as a mixture of different herbal materials under various names – fake weed, K2, Moon Rocks, Yucatán fire, etc. This type of synthetic cannabinoid contains dried and shredded plant material that has been treated with a number of chemical additives designed to produce mind-altering effects.
- Bath Salts – often sold as a “plant food”, “jewelry cleaner”, or “phone screen cleaner”, and labeled “not for human consumption”, bath salts are a type of synthetic cathinone, a amphetamine-like stimulant. It is known by a number of means – Scarface, White Lightning, Vanilla Sky, Lunar Waves, etc.
Read More About Synthetic Drug Abuse
Does Someone in Your Family Have a Drug or Alcohol Problem?
Substance abuse does not exist in a vacuum. When a person has an alcohol or drug problem, their behaviors and actions caused by that disease have a profound effect on everyone around them– their spouse, their loved ones, their family, their friends, their employers, and their coworkers. If you’re one of those people who are affected by someone else’s drug or alcohol problem, it can be confusing and stressful trying to figure out what you should do.
You might feel so overwhelmed that any action seems impossible. You might feel that if you simply keep quiet and ignore, the problem will just fix itself and go away. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. Problem with drugs and alcohol always get worse with time. It’s not going to fix itself, and it’s not going to go away. The longer you wait, the more damage that will be done to the person you want to help, the others around you, and yourself. So what should you do?
- Educate Yourself about the Disease of Addiction – There are tons of invaluable information available that can help you learn more about alcoholism, drug abuse, codependency, and recovery. The more you learn about this disease, the more you will know what to expect, and the better chance you will have of healthily supporting the addict/alcoholic and regaining your own sanity.
- Make Your Willingness to Help Known – Addiction is a disease of isolation and denial. The person suffering may feel as if they simply don’t have a problem. Even if they are honest enough with themselves to admit the problem, they may feel that they are unworthy of love and incapable of getting better.
Speak to them honestly and plainly. Let them know your fears and concerns. Help them face their problem. Reassure them that they are not alone and that you support them. Let them know that you are willing to help them seek a solution for their problem.
- Show Your Concern in a Loving, Supportive Manner – Be prepared to be met with negatives – excuses, rationalizations, blame, and anger. Pay no attention. That is the disease talking. Stay calm, and voice your concerns while being as specific as possible.
- Understand That outside Help Will Be Necessary – Don’t believe any empty promises that you may hear – “I’ll change”, “I’ll stop”, or “I’ll cut down”. Those words have no effect on the disease of addiction.
To overcome alcoholism or drug addiction, the person suffering is going to need treatment (in the form of rehab and/or counseling), support (from you, other loved ones, counselors, other people in recovery, and a sponsor), and a new set of life skills that will allow them to cope better and to more effectively deal with their addiction.
- Understand That Recovery Is a Process – Once the person starts receiving treatment/attending 12-step support meetings, continue your support. Stay interested in and appreciative of their active participation in rehab, aftercare, 12-step meetings, and other activities in recovery.
- Get Help for Yourself – You, too, are powerless over drugs and alcohol, and they have made your life unmanageable. To restore your serenity and regain your sanity, you should seek out services and 12-step support meetings specifically for the family members of addicts/alcoholics. Do this even if the other person hasn’t started recovery yet.
If you are the best, healthiest YOU that you can be, you will be able to offer the best support.