How to Help Your Loved One from Addiction

Addiction is a complex disease. Millions of Americans suffer from addiction and in the past decades, addiction has continued to grow. As a result, addiction statistics has reached an alarming rate. If you are reading this post, you have definitely someone grappling with addiction. Maybe your loved one, friend, spouse or colleague. Helping your loved one recover from addiction can be daunting. Fortunately, there are many drug and alcohol treatment centers that offer various addiction treatment. Before you search for the recovery centers of America, it is significant to know whether your loved one is definitely struggling from addiction.

Identifying the addition in your loved one is one of the most challenging tasks. Your loved one may not agree with addiction as they don’t want to change what they are doing. Sometimes they feel embarrassed to share their addiction problem with you. Each case is different and utmost knowledge about addiction is imperative to deal with your addicted loved one. Fortuitously, with your timely support and help addiction recovery in your loved one is possible. This post will walk you through the essential pieces of information you need to help your loved one from addiction.

How To Help Your Loved One From Addiction

Tell-tale signs that your loved one is in addiction 

If you are keen to help your loved one, then you should have an informed knowledge of addiction symptoms and other factors. Genetical, psychological, and environmental factors are the risks associated with addiction. People who are addicted will behave differently and it depends on the severity of the addiction. Different substances pose several consequences on the individual’s health. However, there are common signs and symptoms to look for which includes both physical and behavioural attributes

  • Looking intoxicated more and more often.
  • Being isolated and poor hygiene.
  • Stealing money for obtaining drugs.
  • Stammered speech and shakiness.
  • Behaving in an abnormal manner and becoming angry, sad too often.
  • Pupils dilated and poor memory.
  • Dropping out of school, office and neglecting personal relationships & commitments.
  • Insomnia and being restless all the time.
  • Lying too often and lashing out when questioned about their drug abuse.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Being aware of the symptoms of addictions, you will be able to help your loved one recover from addiction. Moreover, individuals may have mental disorders and use drugs occasionally to relieve their stress & depression. On the other hand, few individuals have chronic addiction and can’t live life without abusing substances. Therefore it is essential to scrutinize when your loved one started using drugs or alcohol and what caused them to do so. Knowing all these things will help you identify the right drug and alcohol treatment centers for your loved one.

Mobile addiction

Ways to help your loved one from addiction 

Having a sound knowledge of addiction and addiction symptoms will help you. Moreover, you can’t fix your loved one’s addiction problem directly. Perhaps you need expert guidance and here are the ways to help your loved one.

Intervention 

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says addiction is a complex and chronic disease which requires a medical intervention to overcome. In most cases simply talking with your loved ones don’t work, hence an intervention is required. Intervention is an organized conversation between an addict and the supporter, supervised by an intervention specialist. The best thing about intervention is the addict gets an opportunity to talk about their feelings and difficulties faced. An intervention can also be staged by a group of peoples including friends, family and intervention professionals.

During the intervention, these people come together to confront your loved one and make him accept the addiction treatment. The ultimate goal of the intervention is to motivate your loved one towards the addiction treatment and provides essential guidelines. Intervention helps your loved one identify the destructive behaviors and the negative consequences of addiction to one’s health.

Pill addiction

Encourage for an addiction treatment 

You may notice destructive behavioral patterns shown by your loved one and day by day the brain’s functions are also depleting. Owing to the long-term addiction its is high-time that your loved one should get a professional treatment. The severity of addiction differs among the individuals and depends upon the type of substance abused. Drug and alcohol treatment centers offer various addiction treatment including detoxification, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation, therapies, counseling, and 12-step programs. There are also short-term treatments offered by the recovery centers of America, where your loved one can receive expertise treatment without hampering personal & professional work. Initially, your loved one may be reluctant of getting an addiction treatment as they feel embarrassed to discuss it with a professional. An open talk between you and your loved one will help on encouraging the addict to seek a treatment.

In an event of a relapse 

A relapse is just an additional factor during the addiction recovery. Your loved one may have abstained from drugs and lived sober for months & years. However, due to the negative happenings & circumstances of life, your loved one might have turned back to the addiction and this is called a relapse. This kind of relapsing behavior could be disappointing for you and the addicts family. It is necessary to understand the fact that relapse is very common during an addiction treatment and is an “additional factor”. A new treatment approach can be provided for your loved one’s relapsing behavior. A relapse is considered serious if the individual refuses to stop the substance use and denies for an addiction treatment. You can help your loved one stop relapsing by removing the substances from the home that tempts to relapse or triggers the cravings. Your loved one and you can find new activities and pursue new hobbies together to avoid relapses.

Wrapping up- “Strong people don’t put others down. They lift them up.” 

Helping your loved one from addiction is possible! It requires earnest efforts and patience. The more you know about addiction the more you will help your loved one towards the recovery. Do not hesitate to get professional help and do approach the recovery centers of America for the right addiction treatment. Be strong, bold and aggressive to help your loved one face the greatest challenge of addiction recovery. After all, recovery is possible with your great support and compassion for your loved one.

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How to Manage Chronic Pain without Harming Yourself in the Process

Addiction can happen for a number of reasons. It may be because you are going through a hard time in your life right now or it could even be because you are constantly in pain and need to take something to try and alleviate the symptoms. Either way, taking certain kinds of pain relief can be very addictive and if you want to help yourself then it is a good idea for you to try and avoid them altogether by managing your pain holistically. If you want to find out more about that then you can find out whatever you need to know right here.

Learn Deep Breathing

Deep breathing and meditation can really help your body to relax. This can ease pain and it can

also help to relieve any tension as well.  There are so many ways that you can try and relax after a hard day, and when you give it a go for yourself, you will soon see how beneficial it can be to your mind and to your body. When you do relax, you need to try and focus on your breathing, and you also need to ignore your thoughts as well. Sometimes it may help to repeat a certain word or phrase. This can be your mantra, as this can also help you to achieve that relaxed state. If you struggle with the thought of meditation or if you feel as though it’s something that you just can’t do then it is a good idea for you to take a class. When you do this, you can easily learn more about the various techniques you can use, and you can also get to know yourself and your body as well. Find a nice and quiet location, get your body into a comfortable position and block out any thoughts that might be distracting. Then, picture a spot just underneath your navel. You want to try and breathe into that spot. Let your abdomen fill up with air and then let it lift you up. You should feel yourself inflate like a balloon. When you do this, you can then begin to understand how responsive your body is and this can help you to deal with pain as well. This is especially the case if you are able to focus yourself and your thoughts enough.

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Reduce Stress

Negative feelings such as stress, anger, anxiety and even depression can really increase your body’s sensitivity to pain. If you are somehow able to take control of this stress then you may find a good amount of relief from chronic pain. There are several techniques out there that can help you to reduce pain and they can also be used to promote relaxation as well. You can try and listen to calming and even soothing music, not to mention that you can also help to make your chronic pain much more bearable. There really are a ton of relaxation tapes out there that you can use to try and unwind. On top of this, they can also help you to get that mental escape. This can help you to feel way more at peace, not to mention that it can be a good idea for you to picture images that will really help you to focus on something else. Progressive muscle relaxation is another technique that you can use to try and reduce pain as well, so you might want to look into this.

Natural Endorphins

Endorphins are brain chemicals that will improve your mood. They work by blocking out pain signals. Of course, it’s important to know that exercise has another pain-reducing effect because it helps you to strengthen your muscles and it also helps you to stop yourself from being re-injured as well. Exercise can also help you to keep your weight down, and this is great if you want to control your blood sugar, reduce your risk of having a heart attack and diabetes. If you have a certain condition then you may want to consult your doctor because they will be able to work with you to make sure that the activity is suitable for your needs. If you are living with chronic pain then it’s a good idea to look into Cartia as it will help you to reduce inflammation without causing stomach ulcers or other side effects.

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Join a Support Group

When you are with people who also suffer from chronic pain, they can understand what you are going through. This can also help you to feel less alone as well. You can benefit from some of the wisdom that they have to offer and you can also help yourself to cope at the same time. You might also want to consider meeting up with a mental health professional. It is very easy to develop depression if you are living in constant pain, not to mention that counselling is another option as well. The last thing that you need is to have constant negative thoughts as this can really help to make your pain worse. Remember that asking for help is a symbol of strength and not weakness, too.

Track your Pain Level

If you want to effectively manage your pain then your doctor really does need to know how you have been feeling. If you do this all from memory then you may feel as though the pain is endless and that it is equally the same every single day. This probably isn’t the case, so it is a good idea for you to keep a “pain score”. When you do this, you can then effectively track your pain and you can also take note of the activities that you did every single day. You can then take your logbook to the doctor as well, as this will help them to gain a good understanding of how you are living and your physical level of activity. The more information you can give them, the more they will be able to help you so if you need to, keep a diary detailing all of your symptoms and the times you experienced them at.

Learn Biofeedback

Believe it or not, when you experiment with biofeedback, it is more than possible for you to have complete control over your bodily functions. You wear sensors that help you to see things like your pulse, your digestion, the temperature of your body and even your muscle tension as well. You can then try and teach yourself to control those beeps and wavelengths. Of course, it may take a few sessions before you can start to learn all the skills you need but at the end of the day, it can be a fantastic way for you to boost your own understanding.

Get a Massage

Massage can be a fantastic way for you to relieve stress. If you have never been for one before then now is a great time for you to get started.  Of course, it helps to direct the massage at the part where you feel pain., This could be in your back, your joints or anywhere else for that matter. When you do this, you can then feel confident knowing that you are actively dealing with the problem and this can also promote relaxation as well. Some massages are specifically designed to ease pain as well, so it is worth looking into this as it can really help you to feel better at the end of each session. You may need more than one session to reap the full benefits, but it is really worth giving it a go.

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10 Myths About Drug Addiction That Aren’t True

People love to talk about drug addiction and the harmful effects it has on the lives of those who indulge in it. Most of what people say is common and can be traced to a word of mouth process that dominates how people feel about one of the world’s most serious problems. In this article, we will try to eliminate some myths that revolve around the subject. Be warned – preconceptions can be challenging.

  1. Drug Addicts Can End Their Addiction at Any Time

It is not a choice that drug addicts are making. If you feel they can end their addiction at any time, well, they cannot. Drug addicts need a lot of time, love and patience in order to come out of their addiction. It may take many months, so you need to be calm and understanding to them.

  1. Everyone Who Uses Drugs is an Addict

People take drugs for a number of reasons. They take it when they feel like, or because they need to counter a psychological problem. Addiction, however, is not something that happens to them in their control. People can be addicted at any time – and they may not even realise it.

  1. Drug Addiction is a Moral Issue for The Addict

Addicts don’t choose to be addicted. In fact, most of them would be very happy to get rid of their problems. It would be incorrect to label them as faulty in character. If they really had a choice, the picture would have been different.

  1. Leaving the Addiction Is A Single Step Process

One of the other things people do is to appear for just one step of the treatment process. The rehab programmes are long and need dedication, so a one-step solution is no solution at all.

medical doctor

  1. Treatment Is A Farce and It Does Not Work

Every year, thousands of people are rehabilitated from their addictions. There is no reason to not believe in treatment – it is the only solution. It works better than the emotional methods adopted by most people!

  1. People Need to Be at Their Lowest to Seek Treatment

The quicker the addiction is treated, the better it is for those in need of it. People make the serious mistake of waiting till the last moment to apply for treatment. This could possibly worsen the situation of the addict.

  1. Everyone Can Be Treated in The Same Manner

Everyone who is administered to a rehabilitation programmed must have a dedicated plan that is unique to their needs only. For example, an adolescent rehab program will be different from that of any other similar or different program. Using the same treatment for two different people won’t work.Everyone Succeeds at The First Attempt to Rehabilitation

Not everyone comes out clean after rehabilitation. It may so happen that the first attempt to rehabilitate the addict fails. In such cases, the only way forward is by making a second attempt. Giving up should never be considered. Maybe the second attempt will turn out to be better than a first!

  1. People Will Never Touch Drugs After Treatment

Drug addiction is chronic, and people who have once been addicted may be affected again. It is not a matter of choice, so do not be harsh on the affected individual if you catch them with the substance a second time.

  1. Addicts Can Be Easily Identified by Their Behaviour

People believe that addicts can be easily identified by the way they behave. Actually, this is not quite true. You may not realise a person is an addict until you stumble across material evidence. Trained professionals could only tell the difference.

We often believe what we are told, and that too, without verifying the truth behind each statement we accept. For a person addicted to narcotics, it requires a lot of love, care and time for them to return to normal life. Impatience, arrogance and not understanding their problems may not be the best way to deal with them. Use a rehabilitation service, speak to doctors and try hard for them to get back to where they belong – in the cycle of daily life, free from the clasp of addiction.

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Addiction’s Toll on the Body

Addiction can have many dire consequences to our mind and body and therefore we must overcome them. Many of us do not realize how overusing both drugs and alcohol can damage every part of the body in different ways. Addiction is a difficult thing to overcome, but knowing the facts can help to bring a new perspective on the situation. Here are just a few ways in which addiction takes its toll on the body.

Addiction's Toll On The Body

The Brain and Mental Health

There are many different drugs out there and they can all have a different effect on the brain, whether this be depression, anxiety and even hallucinations. The nervous system and brain work in conjunction with each other and putting chemicals into our system that are not usually there disrupts this normal working order. Many drugs can cause psychological dependence, as the brain believes it can no longer function without them. This can damage your memory and concentration and flashbacks. Alcohol can make the user believe they really are invincible and can have devastating consequences. Both alcohol and drug addictions will decrease brain activity and concentration and affect mental health severely.

The Heart

Any addiction can cause a lot of extra strain on your heart which can be too much for it, often causing heart attacks. Many drugs increase how fast your heart is beating and therefore addiction causes the heart to work overtime every day. This can cause weakened muscles and heart irregularities. This also leads to other complications such as raised blood pressure, which can have many other effects on the body too. The heart can be permanently damaged from addiction and this is something that cannot be fixed.

Drug Addiction Pills On Hand

Withdrawal Symptoms

One of the biggest reasons addiction occurs is because people cannot cope with withdrawal symptoms and therefore continue to give their body what it craves until they cannot stop. Withdrawal symptoms affect the body in many ways, such as anxiety, depression and irritable mood, as well as sweating and itching. You may also have uncontrollable shakes and your brain will want you to do anything you can to get your next hit. This is where stealing and violence can also become a part of your addiction and its toll on the body. To battle addiction, you need to recognize the signs of withdrawal and overcome them in other ways.

Hair and Skin

Addiction can completely change how you look, from the strength of your hair to the appearance of your skin. When drugs or alcohol begin to degrade the skin, losings its ability to function as it should, it begins to scar easily and becomes prone to spots and wrinkles. People may also experience hair loss as the hair follicles and scalp are not getting the nutrients they need to grow and repair. If your scalp itches, this may be due to your addiction and the toll it is having on both your skin and hair.

The Gastrointestinal System

What is happening inside us is also very important and as lots of drugs are eaten, every organ it encounters along the way is also being affected. This means constipation or diarrhea is very common in those with addictions as well as bloating and liver damage. Most alcoholics will have an extremely damaged liver, some to the point where they need a liver transplant to survive.

If you or a loved one is battling with addiction, ensure they get help from the right person. Addiction can have many tolls on the human body and some more serious than others. The longer the addiction goes on, the worse the effects on the body will be.

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Drug Addiction, Health, and Life After

The word addiction comes from the Latin term “addictus” which means enslavement. The modern definition of drug addiction is the persistent and compulsive use of a harmful substance where the user is aware that the substances can harm his body. Anyone who has suffered from addiction understands why this word connotes slavery.

Addiction can influence the brain in three different ways. First, the person craves the object of addiction. Second, the person loses control of the way he uses the object of his craving. Third, the person continues to use it even if he knew that the substance has an adverse effect on his body.

Drug Addiction

There are many kinds of addiction that are seen in the world today. Some of them can be gambling, sex, internet, shopping, video games, plastic surgeries, and food addiction. This article focuses on drug addiction since many people may not understand how others become drug addicts.

Some people mistakenly thought that those who use drugs do not have willpower and moral principles. Some think that people who use drug can simply stop whenever they want. In truth, everything about addiction is not as simple as what others think. In terms of drug addiction, quitting is more than just strong will and good intentions. Drugs can change the way the brain is wired and quitting becomes harder than ever. Fortunately, many researchers have found treatments that can help people recover from their drug addiction.

Drug addiction needle

What Happens to the Brain after Taking Drugs?

Drugs are considered as chemicals. When a person puts these chemicals into his body through injecting, smoking, eating or inhaling them, they go directly to the brain’s communication system. These drugs normally manipulate the way the nerve cells send and receive information. For more information about drug addiction, click this link here.

These drugs work by imitating the chemical messengers of the brain and overstimulating the brain’s reward circuit. If a person feels good after taking a drug, he will continue using it even if the long-term effects are bad for his health. When a person takes drugs for the first time, the part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens is flooded with dopamine. Dopamine is a kind of neurotransmitter. When the brain releases dopamine in large amounts, it creates a feeling of reward and pleasure. Surges of dopamine can motivate a person to repeat a certain unhealthy behavior such as taking drugs.

More Drugs in the Long Run

The first time that a person takes a drug, it can be a free choice. When the drug is taken continuously, the brain will adapt by reducing the reward circuit response that it produces. This means that in the long run, the person will have to take more drugs to achieve the same high that they have experienced during their first time. They might even find the previous activities that they find pleasurable such as social activities, food or shopping to be lacking compared to drugs.

health after drugs running

Kinds of Drugs

There are a lot of drugs out there that can produce different effects on the body. Marijuana, hashish and cannabis substances can be inhaled, eaten, or smoked. They can give a feeling of euphoria. There are heightened feelings of auditory, taste, and visual perception, and exaggerated cravings for certain food in the middle of the night.

Spice, K2, and bath salts are a group of synthetic drugs that are mostly illegal. They can be prepared as an herbal tea and they can produce elevated moods, an extreme sense of euphoria, and increased blood pressure. Bath salts can alter the mind similar to the effects of cocaine and ecstasy.

Benzodiazepines, Hypnotics, and Barbiturates are used as depressants for the central nervous system. People are often addicted to them because they can produce a sense of relaxation. They can also be used as sedatives and to forget any stressful thoughts.

Cocaine, Methamphetamines and other stimulants can boost the energy of a person. They can promote increased alertness, behavior aggression and feelings of exhilaration. There are a lot more drugs in the market today such as inhalants, hallucinogens, club drugs, and painkillers with opium.

  

Rebuild Your Life   

When a person knows that he has an addiction and reaches out for help, then this is one of the bravest decisions that he will ever do in his life. Getting his life back in control after making a lot of bad choices requires courage and strength. You can get more information about how to rebuild your life with http://www.projectunbroken.com.

The first step is to visit your doctor. If your doctor does not specialize in drug treatment, ask for a referral. Go to a rehabilitation center if needed. Most people find that they are taking a drug to fulfill a psychological need during their childhood. Treatment can take months but recovery is a lifelong process.

While under treatment, the person can change his daily routine. He can build new social circles which are made up of people who are not into drugs. Avoid negative people who promote drug use. Overly emotional and stressful people can trigger drug cravings so one should also avoid them at all costs.

Life after Drugs

It is important to find a purpose before doing recovery. The person can set goals and expectations for himself. On top of that, damaged relationships can be rebuilt over time. One can start a new hobby and join recreational programs. One can also pursue education or getting a job. A healthy diet and good habits can develop over time. Maintenance and consistency is the key. Living a life that is not dependent on anything is bliss.

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After Addiction: Getting Back to Feeling Like ‘You’ Again

When addiction has its grasp on you, you truly do lose a part of yourself. The addiction becomes the most important thing in your life- it comes ahead of family, friends and everything you value and hold dear to you. When addiction has had its hold on you for a while, you begin to lose a sense of who and what you once were. Many people find they become a shell of their former selves, as the only thing they care about in that time is where their next fix is coming from.

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When addiction has its grasp on you, you truly do lose a part of yourself. The addiction becomes the most important thing in your life- it comes ahead of family, friends and everything you value and hold dear to you. When addiction has had its hold on you for a while, you begin to lose a sense of who and what you once were. Many people find they become a shell of their former selves, as the only thing they care about in that time is where their next fix is coming from.

Restore your looks

Addiction can be hard on a person’s looks. If you’ve been addicted to a substance for some time then your appearance will have probably suffered. One way you can get back to feeling like yourself is to restore your looks. Look into things like all on 4 dental implants to have missing teeth replaced. Go to a salon and have a facial, have them recommend some products that will bring a healthy glow back to your skin. Have your hair cut and coloured and buy some new clothes that you feel good in. Wanting to feel good isn’t being shallow. When you’re happy with the way you look you have confidence, and you’ll feel happier on the inside.

Make new friends

When you break your addiction, it also means breaking away from friends, relationships and acquaintances who were associated with that kind of life. Unfortunately if you want to stay clean in the long run, you need to keep away from anyone who is involved with your past habits. Be social, and meet new people who are suited to the new sober you. Enjoy activities and try new things which will make you feel fulfilled and keep you on the straight and narrow. New hobbies can give your life purpose and make it easier to resist the temptation of returning back to your old ways. There are lots of apps which schedule groups and meetups for people with different interests, go along and meet some new friendly faces. Go out there and live life to the fullest, making up for the time you missed out on when you were caught up in addiction.

Learn to forgive yourself

As an ex addict, chances are you’re harbouring a lot of guilt and blame yourself. One of the healthiest things you can do is to let this go. Instead of looking back, move forward- acknowledge the mistakes you made but use these to learn and become a better person. There are lots of complex reasons that people can become addicted to things, it’s something that affects all genders, races, wealth classes and more- you’re certainly not the first or last person it will get a hold of. When you can truly forgive yourself and let go, you’re able to put the past behind you and move on to something better.

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Substance Use Disorder: Is it a Mental Illness?

Addiction is a common disease that impacts millions of people across the United States, but the lens through which we see addiction can change significantly. Many of us are familiar with the stereotype of an underachiever suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction. It’s easy to see addiction when its effects have created visible marks throughout a person’s life, such as financial difficulties or a criminal record. However, addiction also has a hidden side.

Substance Abuse Disorder - Is It A Mental Illness?

Many high-achieving individuals use drugs and alcohol in ways that cause harm, but the effects of this abuse isn’t visible to the outside observer. There isn’t a typical drug or alcohol addict. This disease impacts people from all walks of life equally. However, people who are able to effectively hide their addiction are less likely to receive treatment than those who wear their addiction on their sleeve.

For high-achieving individuals, addiction is a deeply personal issue. Many professionals facing substance abuse issues may view their addiction as a sign of personal weakness or as a moral defect in their personalities. However, it’s important to remember that addiction is simply a misapplication of the brain’s natural reward circuitry. At its core, addiction is an issue where the brain has trained its reward circuitry to respond to harmful, artificial stimuli (such as drugs and alcohol) instead of natural, beneficial ones.

The reward circuitry in the human brain is driven by a complex chemical cascade. At the core of most reward pathways in the brain is dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. It’s also used by the brain as part of its reward system. When the human body does something that is considered beneficial (in terms of evolutionary survival and reproduction), the brain releases a burst of dopamine.

Lonely woman on pier

Human reward circuitry is designed to respond to activities and environments that improve the odds of passing on genes to the next generation. When we eat a delicious meal, our brains are flooded with dopamine. This is the way that our body tells us what we’re doing is a ‘good thing’ in terms of survival of the human species. When we engage in sexual activity, our brains are also flooded with dopamine, since reproduction is one of our core purposes in life (in evolutionary terms).

Unfortunately, this reward circuitry often backfires in the modern world. In the past, humans were primarily a hunter-gatherer society. To get that hit of dopamine from food, our early ancestors may have had to march dozens of miles across the savannah before they could capture game to eat. Their desire to hunt was driven by a combination of hunger and an unconscious desire to trigger the reward circuitry in their brain. The same applied to gatherers: Each sweet berry that a forager managed to find might trigger a small release of dopamine. Likewise, each time an early human copulated, their brain rewarded them with a hit of dopamine, helping to make sure that we, as humans, would still be around today.

Empty street with benches in autumn

While our brain’s reward circuitry helped humanity survive and flourish in a harsh environment, our modern world has caused problems for many of these systems. Instead of dopamine serving as a reward for behavior that benefitted ourselves (both on an individual and species-level), we can get that same hit of dopamine through many activities that are harmful or detrimental to our health.

Many of us know the dangers of consuming too much fat, sugar or salt. Overconsumption of this trifecta can cause Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and the many health problems associated with obesity. However, our brains are primed to love foods with these ingredients. For early humans, fruits like berries contained natural sugars, which served as a valuable energy source. This sweet tooth led early humans to forage for hours for these small tastes of sweetness nestled among bushes and trees.
Things have changed. Now, we can now go to the grocery store and buy a two-liter bottle of concentrated sugar water for only a few dollars. A single glass of a soft drink may contain the sugar equivalent of several pounds of berries or natural fruit. The same applies for fat and salt.

While fat and salt are essential for human health, our modern lifestyles allows us to consume these substances in amounts that can leave our arteries riddled with plaque and our heart valves crusted with cholesterol.

Drugs and alcohol hijack this reward circuitry in even more insidious ways. While fat, sugar and salt are now available to us in quantities that are harmful to health, they trigger our reward circuitry in the same way as our early ancestors. Drugs and alcohol, on the other hand, hijack this reward circuitry, causing a massive release of dopamine for little or no effort.

Young girls out at night

Just like a computer hacker gaining illegal access to a network, drugs and alcohol cross the blood-brain barrier to trigger specific clusters of neurons in the brain. The reason that drugs and alcohol feel good is because they activate our reward circuitry for an extended period of time. Instead of this reward circuitry being activated for brief moments throughout the day, drugs and alcohol allow us to open the dopamine floodgates in our brains, triggering euphoria in ways that aren’t naturally possible.

Not all drugs are the same. Some milder drugs, such as nicotine, may only trigger a small release of dopamine in the brain. Very addictive drugs, like methamphetamine and heroin, can trigger a release of dopamine that is greater than anything an individual has experienced in his or her life.

One of the reasons that drugs are so addictive is because our reward systems aren’t designed to be continually activated. When we hijack the reward pathways of our brains with addictive substances, we’re literally rewiring the way we pursue pleasure. Instead of getting enjoyment from a nice meal and a romantic evening with a loved one, addiction unconsciously teaches us that we can get an even better substance from a chemical.

Drug or alcohol addiction isn’t a moral failing, nor does it represent a weakness in character. Addiction is a learned behavior that has embedded itself so deep in our psyche that it can drive every decision we make. When the reward circuitry of the brain has been completely hijacked, an individual suffering from addiction will do whatever he or she can to achieve another cascade of dopamine. Addiction completely rewires an individual’s motivations from healthy ones to malicious ones.

 

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How Secondary Gain Fuels Alcoholism

While you may not know it by this name, secondary gain exists in alcoholism, whether we like it or not. Secondary gain plays a huge role in addiction, and, can be a significant contributor to denial and likelihood of relapse once sober.

Simply put, secondary gain equates to: what specifically alcohol is achieving for you, personally, as a “side-benefit”. If they go unchecked, these side-benefits can later morph into the main reasons we’re using alcohol at all.

But, there are ways to understand these underlying factors in our addictions, and undo the damage done. Let’s take a look.

While denial exists to protect our access to the coping mechanism called alcohol; secondary gain is more like – “what benefits am I getting from alcohol, that I may not have thought of?”….and what issues do those point me to?

How Secondary Gain Fuels Alcoholism

Consider the key questions:

  • How has alcohol served me?
  • How has alcohol not served me?

What has alcohol helped me do? What feelings does it help me achieve, that I’m unable to achieve  in other ways? What situations does it help me cope with, and what feelings am I running from, in those scenarios?

I could be drinking because…

  • When I have a drink, I feel “more worthy” or “good enough” again.
  • When I have a drink, I feel more important or respected
  • Or, when I have a drink, I feel more lovable, accepted…. or like “what I say matters”.

At one point in our lives, having a drink was ONE way to cope, but for the alcoholic in us, it quickly became the ONLY means to cope, because of these secondary benefits it gave us.

So we’ve learned over time, a survival strategy belief, for instance:

  • “the way to feel good enough again, is to drink”
  • “the way to feel worthy again, even in the face of outside stressors, is to have a drink”
  • “the way to feel like I matter again, is alcohol”
  • “the way to feel competent again, is to drink”

It’s clear therefore, that we’re using alcohol as a means to quell the underlying self-esteem beliefs, like “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not worthy”, “I’m not important”, or “I’m not acceptable”.

Do you recognise these underlying themes in yourself? In your behaviours when stressed?

Now, if we address these underlying core beliefs, therapeutically, (instead of with alcohol) is it clear  to you that there would be much less need to even turn to a coping mechanism at all?

These are the core elements of self – the highly individual, person-centered elements, that we must understand about ourselves, beyond the group support mechanisms such as A/A, N/A, mutual aid support, etc. Often these are discovered and explored in private rehab settings, such as the folks over at alcohol rehab Scotland.

These elements of secondary gain are the underlying drivers behind the addiction – that sit underneath the addiction. It is the fear of these underlying issues surfacing, untempered, that then drives the patterns of denial, and keeps us in the cycle of addiction, without ever truly understanding *why* we feel the way they do.

Bar Counter

So…How to break the cycle of alcoholism using this understanding?

  • Using the questions above, take the time to consider what secondary advantages alcohol could be giving (or have given you previously) in your life
  • To help this along, try to identify common patterns in your trigger situations, “I always turn to alcohol in _____ situation;” “I always feel like a drink when ____ happens”. What might you be trying to avoid, or gain, in these situations?
  • What feelings does alcohol bring to the fore in these situations, that weren’t there before? What does alcohol help you feel in these situations?
  • When you *do* have a drink, what does it make you/get you/get for you?
  • Now consider the mirror opposite – e.g. when you’re tempted to drink, and you don’t drink, what feelings surface at that point, that weren’t there before?
  • Now using your answers from the above, fill in the blanks: “What makes me ________ is drinking alcohol”; and “The way to feel _________ is to drink alcohol”
  • Usually, the blanks in the above are your core issues and core beliefs which need attention, to change the pattern of the addiction in your life.
  • Finally….stop blaming yourself for the small relapses – but instead – use them to help you truly know yourself, and your addiction, better. Examine what led to the binge or relapse, what you were trying to cope with at the time – and understand that these moments point you to the underlying issues – and as such – are a huge help in overcoming alcoholism in the longer term.

Often times the issues revealed from this exercise are deep core issues, self-esteem blocks, or specific traumas from the past, that need professional mental health assistance.

Just as in our step work, they require us to face our issues directly, accept responsibility for them, and accept that we have a human tendency to choose a negative behaviour over a positive one, whilst in the darker clutches of addiction.

But moving through these issues, getting the third-party help and fellowship we need, and making consistent progress, no matter how little, will ultimately result in us simply no longer needing the coping mechanism we once did….because the underlying truth has been faced.

Now, let’s be realistic, there’s much more to maintaining abstinence and long term recovery than just these issues….but, when we add this self discovery to the bigger picture of mutual aid support, sponsorship, and other mental health care tailored to individual needs – then recovery can feel much more realistic, and one degree more achievable. And that can make all the difference.

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Pros and Cons Of Medical Marijuana

Over the past 20 years, the medicinal value of marijuana has been well documented, and the massive supply of scientific study about the subject has verified its effectiveness when used to treat various health issues.

Michelle William, a budtender at Buybcweedonline.com, says that most firsthand accounts of the drug have been condemned by some people in the scientific community as just unreliable evidence. Knowledge of a substance might be one thing; however, shouldn’t the actual and real-life impacts of medical marijuana that are recognized to relieve health issues in patients be taken as seriously as statistical analysis?

Pros and Cons Medical Marijuana

Pros

You will find some possible health hazards of marijuana, like it can result in dependency and it can affect your memory. But you can also find numerous advantages of medical marijuana:

1. Prevent, fight and regulate numerous illnesses

While you may have heard lots of people say that weed might cause illnesses, scientific study shows that it can help cure a lot of physical issues and diseases. From helping you get through chemo, treating inflammatory bowels, relieving multiple sclerosis pain, helping fight Glaucoma, helping prevent the spread of cancer, easing arthritic pain, controlling epileptic seizures, decreasing side-effects of Hepatitis C, slowing Alzheimer’s  and much more.




2. Various consumption ways

Contrary to some other over the counter drugs, medical marijuana can be eaten, sprayed through portable vaporizers or even inhaled. Some types might be without any THC or tetrahydrocannabinol; the consciousness-altering ingredient that produces the high, permitting a wider choice of treatment options and medical applications.

3. Physiological impacts and positive psychoactive

Marijuana has for a long time been used as a highly effective medicinal agent in societies all over the world, and the practice continues today. Most physicians are in support of patients utilizing medical marijuana under watchful eyes, given the proven ability of the herb to heightened moods, euphoric feelings and promote relaxation.

Marijuana

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Cons

For every individual who is for marijuana legalization for medical reasons, there is another who opposes it. A few of the arguments include:

1. Marijuana is addictive

Researchers are still split with regards to addiction. Some allege cannabis is much less addictive as harder drugs such as meth and crack. Others allege, 1 in 10 users of marijuana develops dependence in the long run. They bring to attention the fact that quitting marijuana may result in turkey withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and bad temper. The same, however, might be said of using cigarettes (which is allowed by law).

2. Medicinal marijuana is not FDA approved

As it is not FDA approved, some hospitals and physicians might be hesitant to prescribe marijuana as a possible treatment. Most patients will be assuming an ultimately unsure level of risk provided that the substance remains un-FDA approved.




3. Reduced mental health

Those against legalization of recreational marijuana like pointing to research, which shows that marijuana smokers experience everything from the increased possibility of depression, to restricted blood circulation to the brain, to schizophrenia and memory loss. However, science is still not certain regarding these claims. The issue of depression and schizophrenia is especially unclear since scientists do not know if the drug itself causes the issue, or if users of marijuana use the drug to ease and manage the symptoms.

4. Anxiety problems

Marijuana is well-known to have the ability to induce anxiety problems, which include panic attacks. More infrequently, when wrong people use it, it might function as a trigger for psychotic states, which include schizophrenia.

5. Gateway drug

It has for a long time been regarded as a gateway drug. It is claimed that as soon as an individual tries marijuana, he is more prone to trying harder, more harmful drugs. Legalizing marijuana might multiply the number of people who try marijuana and then, ultimately, move on to harder drugs. This can put more financial strain on the public coffers and medical system to offer treatment for these people when they have serious issues.

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Discover The Dark Side Of Prescription Drugs

Let’s talk about drugs. No, not those type of drugs. I’m talking about the drugs that you can buy over the counter or that you were prescribed by a medical professional. These drugs are considered to be legal, and because of their legality, we often believe them to be safe. Is this the case? Not always and there are a number of dangers linked to legal drugs that you need to be aware of. So, what are the issues with legal drugs?

Prescription Drugs

They Can Be Addictive

If you check into a rehab centre, you will often find that there are a lot of people there who are addicted to legal narcotics rather than other common culprits like coke and meth. The reason for this is simple. We are, as a nation and even globally a drug taking culture. We take supplements to keep us fit and well, we take meds to make us feel better and ensure we don’t miss days of work and we take drugs even if we’re only feeling a little under the weather. To put this in perspective, a worrying stat reveals that eighty percent of opiates are prescribed by twenty percent of prescribers. As such, there is clearly an issue here, and they can be addictive. This type of addiction can ultimately result in death. A clear sign that a prescription doesn’t make a drug safe.

Legal And Illegal?

Legal vs Illegal drugs

Perhaps you have dealt with an addiction to a drug like heroin. You might find that a rehab clinic prescribes you with a different drug to weed you off the heroin – methadone. Methadone is just as addictive as heroin, is an opiate thus has a similar impact on the brain, and it has been linked to a number of deaths in rehab patients. As such, you need to be careful how much you take and even then you could still be in danger.




Side Effects

You might think that drugs prescribed by doctors are 100 percent safe, but that’s not true. There are plenty that have serious side effects. Although the risk of these side effects can be minor, the outcome can be great if you are one of the unlucky. You can, for instance, lose your senses from smell to hearing. If you do develop hearing loss after taking a prescribed drug, it’s important to contact a doctor immediately. Researchers at the Ear Science Institute and other similar labs may be able to reverse the effects if it’s caught early enough. Can you hold your doctor accountable for this type of prescription issue? Only if they didn’t advise you of the risks before you took the drug.




Altering Your Immune System

Finally, when you take drugs, you need to realise that you can actually weaken your immune system. If you are too reliant on meds to fix a medical issue, then it’s quite possible that your body will be weaker next time it needs to deal with an illness. This is why you should make sure that you are only using drugs if an illness lasts for more than two weeks or gets worse.

You see, although legal, prescription drugs are, in many ways, no better than the pills you can score on the streets.

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