Drug abuse and dependence is a lethal disease. Most people suffering from it end up in jail or pass away due to their usage leaving loved ones brokenhearted wondering what they did wrong. The difficultly with drug abuse is that in order to get sober, they must want the help.

Looking for Prescription Drug Rehab?  You are not alone.  Prescription drugs have become a serious concern.  In 2013, nearly 60% of all drug overdose deaths resulted from prescription drugs. Approximately two thirds of prescription drug abusers get them from family and/or friends.  If you believe someone you know is abusing or addicted to prescription drugs, look for these prescription drug warning signs.

How do you find the best Prescription Drug Rehab for you or your loved one?

There are a number of factors to consider in selecting the prescription drug treatment that will work best.

 1. Are you or your loved one abusing prescriptions that they are prescribed by your doctor?  If so, be sure to have the prescribing doctor involved in the addiction treatment.  The need for your prescription will be considered in order to find possible solutions.  You will want the addiction treatment provider to work closely with your doctor.  Your doctor may replace your prescriptions with non-addictive drugs, or may reduce your dosage, or may offer other alternatives to the drug that is the concern.  The important thing is to be honest about your prescription drug use with both the doctor and the rehab staff.

2. Are you or your loved one addicted to opiate-based drugs? If so, your treatment may include medications to aid in your recovery.  More addiction treatment rehab centers work with clients who are prescribed medications for recovery from opiate addiction, such as Suboxone and Vivitrol.  Consider finding an addiction treatment facility that will work with clients on Vivitrol and/or Suboxone if you are addicted to opiate prescriptions such as vicodin, oxycontin and codeine.

3. What are you or your loved one’s unique characteristics? You will want an addiction rehab choice that works extensively with people having characteristics similar to yours or your loved ones.  What is your age?  Find addiction treatment options that treat people in your age range.  The elderly, young adults and working parents have different treatment needs. What is your gender?  Some treatment centers specialize in serving only one gender, some have individualized groups devoted to a specific gender.  Both of these alternatives allow you to receive more personalized treatment. What is your sexuality?  If you are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender, consider finding an addiction facility that caters to the unique needs and circumstances of LGBT clients. What is your race, culture, religion and nationality?  Look for addiction rehab centers that understand your race, culture and nationality.  This will help you feel comfortable, which is very important for your treatment.  It also will allow your treatment to be customized to your situation.

4. What is your past treatment experience?  If you have received treatment for your addiction in the past, consider what led to your relapse.  Would you benefit from treatment that is different  in some way from what you experienced in the past?  A different location?  More involvement from family and friends? One specializing in your unique circumstances?    Longer period of treatment?  Smaller size?  

5. Do you feel comfortable at the facility and with the staff?  Seeking treatment is stressful and anxiety provoking.  However, even with these feelings, can you imagine feeling comfortable at the treatment location?  You will be spending your time at the facility and with the staff.  Do you feel welcomed, appreciated and understood?  Do you feel like you will be treated with dignity and respect? This is important for your recovery.

If you or your loved one is struggling with an addiction to or is abusing prescription drugs, seek help immediately.  Prescription drug abuse is dangerous, as shown by the high number of prescription drug overdose deaths mentioned above.  New Hope Recovery Center offers individualized treatment for prescription drugs and for many other addictions.  You can reach us at 888-707-HOPE (4673) or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

From all the research that has been done in the field of addiction over the past 30-40 years, we know several factors are involved in the development and continuance of addictive behavior.   Within the disease model of addiction, we understand the development of an addiction stems from the genes we have inherited.  Once these particular genes are activated, the disease progresses, from the point of onset to chronic and often fatal stages, unless it is treated.

Through this medical model, we learn that addiction is a biopsychosocial disease, with many factors contributing to the development of an addiction including our biology or genetics (bio); our thoughts, feelings and emotions (psycho); and our personal histories: the way we were raised, the environmental and cultural cues and messages we are exposed to (social).

Traditional learning theory (specifically operant conditioning) states that we tend to repeat behaviors that are pleasurable, thereby setting up a pattern of action, reward, repeated action.  Our brains are hard-wired to be able to learn this way, as it is critical for our survival.  For example, when we eat, dopamine is released in the brain, sending the message to repeat the behavior.  The concept of making associations is key to learning theory as are the concepts of reinforcement and punishment.   Getting a pleasurable response to a behavior (i.e. feeling satisfied after eating a tasty meal) increases the chance that we will seek opportunities to repeat the behavior.  On the contrary, being punished after doing a behavior (i.e. getting burned from touching a hot stove) drastically reduces the likelihood we will repeat the behavior.

When looked at against the backdrop of addictive behavior, it is easy to understand how one can get caught up in the cycle of repeating certain behaviors.  Although in time, addictive behaviors come with negative consequences (punishments), they are initially paired with the experience of pleasure.  In the case of certain drugs and routes of administration (for example shooting heroin), the behavior is paired with extreme pleasure.  In learning theory, the stronger the experience of pleasure, the stronger the association will be and therefore, the more likely one will want to repeat the behavior.

Classical conditioning, another subset of learning theory, can explain why formerly neutral stimuli become paired with the anticipation of pleasure as they become cues for the target behavior.  Environmental cueing and classical conditioning are theories that account specifically for relapse.  For example, a previously neutral or even negative stimulus such as a needle can in and of itself set off the phenomenon known as craving in an individual who is addicted to heroin or crystal methamphetamine.  In this case, one may experience intense psychological cravings without even coming into contact with the actual drug, only with the stimuli that have become paired associations with the drug.  These intense cravings can easily lead to relapse, if not addressed and dealt with properly.

Further, social learning theory, first explained by Albert Bandura in 1961, also explains addiction in terms of the biopsychosocial model.  Social learning theory posits that we can learn and make associations in a social context, simply by observing and imitating the behaviors of others.  The behavior(s) being observed are most likely to be repeated if reward is part of the observation.  For example, a person watching his/her peers drink, laugh and have fun will pair that association and increase the likelihood that he/she will attempt the behavior as well.  This is known as vicarious reinforcement.

With a pattern of addiction, social learning is often responsible for the initiation of drug/alcohol related behavior.  Once the addictive process has taken over, social factors fade out and become largely irrelevant to the maintenance of the addiction.  As the addiction progresses, opportunities to learn from healthy individuals engaged in healthy or adaptive ways of coping with stress become scarce, as healthy people begin to disengage from the addict and as the addict associates almost exclusively with other addicts or users.

Learning theory, including operant and classical conditioning and social learning can be applied to recovery as well.  In recovery, we re-learn the associations made in the brain during our addiction.  We pair craving and/or stress with picking up the phone and reaching out to our sober network.  We learn to avoid things, people or situations that will lead us back to using.  We make daily associations such as waking up in the morning and praying or meditating.  And finally, we learn socially acceptable behavior from our sober mentors, family and friends.

New Hope Recovery Center is an alcohol and drug rehab treatment center located in Chicago, IL. We provide Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient, and Aftercare. We also have a LGBTQI specific addiction treatment program entitled "New Hope With Pride.” We offer personalized, holistic treatment by examining the whole person: mind, body and spirit.  Our small intimate setting caters to your specific needs and we provide place of support, nurture and safety leading to hope and healing. If you are interested in a confidential assessment, or you know someone who is, call 888-707-4673 to talk to a staff member.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

The abuse of prescription drugs has been on an increase for many years.  Prescription drug abuse is the nation's fastest-growing drug problem, and the Center's Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic.  The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and over who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug non-medically.

The number of emergency room visits and the number of deaths from prescription drugs has increased greatly over the past 15 years.  CDC’s analysis shows that 38,329 people died from a drug overdose in the United States in 2010, up from 37,004 deaths in 2009 and 16,849 in 1999. In 2010, nearly 60 percent of the US drug overdose deaths (22,134) involved pharmaceutical drugs.

It should not be a surprise that the most addictive drugs are also the most abused.

Which Prescription Drugs Are Abused The Most?

The most abused prescription drugs tend to fall into three main categories:  opioids, sedatives/depressants and stimulants.

Opioids

Let’s start with the most abused prescription drugs: opioids.  These drugs are in the same family as heroin.  They are typically prescribed for pain relief and sometimes cough suppression.   According to the same CDC report, US overdose deaths involving opioid analgesics have increased from 4,030 deaths in 1999 to 15,597 in 2009 and 16,651 in 2010.  So prescription opioid deaths have increased by more than 400% in the past 11 years.

Over two-thirds of Americans abusing prescription drugs are abusing opioids.  Opioids are particularly dangerous because they slow the heart and breathing.  Opiate addiction frequently begins with a prescription due to an injury or other pain.  For some people, opiates are incredibly addictive and your body can become physically dependent on them, which then requires people to take more for the same pain relief or high.

The most commonly abused opioids are:

Generic Name                    Brand Name

  • Fentanyl                                  Duragesic, Actiq
  • Hydrocodone                          Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet
  • Hydromorphone                      Dilaudid
  • Oxycodone                             OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan
  • Codeine                                   Robitussin A-C, Tylenol with Codeine
  • Propoxyphene                         Darvon, Darvocet-N
  • Meperidine                              Demerol

 

Depressants

Depressants are the second most abused prescription drug.  The most abused prescription depressants fall into three categories: barbiturates, benzodiazepines and sleep medications.  Depressants slow brain activity and general body functions, they are generally prescribed for anxiety or as relaxants and sleep aids.  In addition to slowing brain activity, they lower blood pressure and slow breathing.

The most commonly abused depressants are:

Generic Name                                    Brand Name

  • Barbiturates                                         Amytal, Seconal, Phenobarbital
  • Benzodiazepines                                 Ativan, Halcion, Valium, Xanax
  • Sleep Medications:
  • Zolpidem                                               Ambien
  • Zaleplon                                                Sonata
  • Eszopiclone                                          Lunestra

 

Stimulants

Stimulants are most often prescribed for ADHD (attention deficient hyperactivity disorder), ADD (attention deficient disorder) and narcolepsy (sleeping disorder).  Stimulants are often abused in order to stay up for longer periods of time.  Some feel they aid in concentration or focus, and can be an appetite suppressant.

These are the most abused stimulants

 Generic Name                               Brand Name

  • Amphetamines                                    Adderall, Dexedrine
  • Methylphenidate                                 Ritalin, Concerta

 

Wondering if someone you know is abusing prescription drugs?  You can find out the warning signs.

Looking for more information about Prescription Drug abuse?

Want to know the difference between Vivitrol and Suboxone?

There is hope for those affected by prescription drug abuse.  There are a number of support meetings available across the country.  You can also contact New Hope Recovery Center for information about our programs or referrals to programs near you.  Info@new-hope-recovery.com, 888-707-HOPE(4673), or www.new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Methamphetamine (meth or crystal meth) is considered one of the world’s most addictive drugs. Why is it so addictive?  To really understand the addictive power of crystal meth, it is helpful to understand the drug and how it works on the human brain and body.

What does Crystal Meth do?

Methamphetamine is a stimulant that creates incredibly positive, euphoric, pleasurable, alert feelings over a prolonged period of time (several hours). The user often feels that everything around them is interesting, exciting and wonderful (including the user). Users often feel overly self confident and less self-conscious than when they are in a sober state.

Crystal Meth creates a stimulant action by acting on nerves that secrete biogenic amines.  The main effects of crystal meth involve these amines:

  • Histamine is a neurotransmitter (neurotransmitters are chemicals that pass information from one brain cell to another) that mediates arousal and attention
  • Serotonin is a central nervous system (brain and spinal chord) neurotransmitter involved in regulating mood, sleep, appetite, and sexuality
  • Norepinephrine (noradrenaline) is a neurotransmitter involved in sleep and wakefulness and attention; it is also a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands
  • Epinephrine (adrenaline) is another adrenal stress hormone and a neurotransmitter that stimulates the “fight or flight” response
  • Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in motivation, reward, addiction, reinforcement

When used, meth causes the body and brain to be flooded with these amines.  Because methamphetamine blocks the body’s ability to take in these biogenic amines, the amines stay in the body.  Normally, these amines are only used as an immediate trigger and then they are either stored or broken down.  This is the reason that meth lasts so long in the body.

In the heart, noradrenaline stimulates the heart to beat faster and stronger, increasing pulse and blood pressure. Body temperature and metabolism increases.  In the brain, the amines increase alertness, concentration, and energy.  They decrease appetite for food and increase sex drive.  They can also increase paranoia, cause hallucinations and lead to a fascination or compulsion with repetitively performing a specific task.

Meth Mouth is the commonly used name for the deterioration of the teeth and gums from meth use.  The chemicals in meth are very caustic and acidic.  In addition, methamphetamine causes the mouth to become very dry.  Normally, saliva protects teeth and gums from acids, but with decreased salvia, the acid attacks tooth enamel.  Furthermore, users often grind or clench their teeth, which weakens or wears down the teeth.

Crystal meth increases impulsiveness and impairs judgment.  It also heightens the user's desire for sex. For many users compulsive sexual behaviors occur. With the mixture of euphoric/pleasurable feelings and a false sense of self-confidence, this usually leads users to believe that  sex is better on meth. This creates a big problem when users try to stop using because they believe they won’t ever be able to enjoy sex again.

Meth Use

The stages of meth use are often stated to be:

  • The Rush – The initial surge of adrenaline and other amines into the body.  This tends to last about 20-30 minutes.
  • The High – The user feels aggressive, capable, wonderful.  This lasts for several hours.
  • Tweaking – The user may have gone on a binge and used meth for several days, but eventually the drug no longer produces any high because your body's natural supply has run out.  At this point users are said to be tweaking.  The user feels very empty and craves the drug.  They feel a loss of identity.  Intense itching is common:  the user feels as if there are bugs crawling under the skin. The user is often unable to sleep and yet feels exhausted.  Hallucinations are vivid.  The person may be hostile to self or others.
  • The Crash – The user may sleep for several days as the body shuts down to recover.
  • Withdrawal can happen slowly over several months.  (In addition to the more immediate withdrawals during tweaking and crashing, longer term withdrawal also occurs.)  The user becomes depressed, lacks energy and is unable to feel pleasure. The user craves meth and believes (incorrectly) that the only way to experience anything positive or even normal is by using meth.

Effects of Meth Abuse

It is often stated that the lows from a drug are in proportion to its highs.  Meth is no exception.  Meth users may feel wonderful for a time, but there is a price to be paid as the body tries to get back to a reasonable “normal”.

Because the body has been flooded with the amines, it believes it no longer needs to create them.  So it drastically decreases or even ceases to produce the amines naturally. The decrease in amine production lasts much longer than the time meth stays in the body. The longer and more intensely someone has used meth, the more the body’s ability to create the natural amines is affected.

Meth causes the body to release more than 10 times the normal levels of dopamine.  So users feel an incredible euphoria.  But the body believes that far too much dopamine exists, so it cuts production.  Because the body no longer produces its typical levels of dopamine, the lower levels of dopamine lead to feelings of sadness, unhappiness, and depression.    Epinephrine and norepinephrine cause the blood vessels to constrict.  Over time, blood ceases to flow to certain areas of the body.  This leads to lower levels of healing and skin tightening or pulling back (such as the gums pulling away from the teeth).

Meth also affects memory and coordination.  Studies have shown that meth may continue to affect the brain for over a year after last use.  Damage to blood vessels in the brain can lead to strokes.

Heart damage can occur after repeated meth use. Meth artificially stimulates and stresses the heart, permanent damage can result.  In addition, high blood pressure is common among former meth users.

So Why Is Meth So Addictive?

Methamphetamine produces a prolonged sense of well-being and energy.  Many meth users want to feel the initial high they first felt using meth and so reuse meth again, and again.  Also, in contrast to the high it produces, it also produces incredible lows, involving severe depression, fatigue, paranoia and irritability. Finally, because of its impact on the brain, meth causes intense craving for using more meth.  Many early meth users begin to use meth more often as they “chase” the first high they felt using meth.  (This is not attainable because the body adjusts to this initial high, and so it is very unlikely a user approaches the initial feelings attained on first use.)  After repeated uses, many users continue to use meth to avoid the psychological and physical pain caused during meth withdrawal, in effect fighting off the lows.  Finally, the cravings caused by meth use often pull former users back into using even after months or years of sobriety.  These three factors cause meth to be incredibly addictive.

Help for Crystal Meth Addiction

Recovery from crystal methamphetamine is possible. It is hard to do on your own.  There are Crystal Meth Anonymous meetings in many cities which are free of charge. In addition, many treatment centers have developed expertise in treating meth addiction.  New Hope Recovery Center has helped a large number of individuals who were addicted to crystal meth.  You can reach us at 888-707-4673 or info@new-hope-recovery.com.  Read more at www.new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about Crystal Meth? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below:

Crystal Meth Abuse and Addiction Symptoms How can you tell someone is abusing or addicted to crystal methamphetamine?  Crystal Meth (also called crystal, ice, tina, glass, quartz, tweak, crank) is an extremely addictive stimulant.  It is made from extremely caustic chemicals, which cause damage to any users beyond its simulative effects.

Warning Signs for Crystal Meth Abuse Methamphetamine, also called crystal meth, is highly addictive.  It can be used by snorting, smoking or injecting.  The components of Meth are highly toxic and include: sodium hydroxide (lye), brake fluid, lithium from battery acid, lighter fluid, rubbing alcohol, drain cleaner, paint thinner, anhydrous ammonia, hydrochloric acid, red phosphorus lye, ether, iodine and ephedrine.

Crystal Meth and Gay Men – What You Need To Know Crystal methamphetamine has a long and storied history.  From its discovery in 1893 to World War II where it was used by Hitler to energize the German troops  to the 1960’s where it became commonly used among motorcycle gangs, crystal meth is highly addictive and wreaks havoc on whoever uses it. More recently, it has become problematic, in the rural areas of the United States as well as in the LGBT community, most notably with gay men.  Chicago has been hard hit by the crystal meth epidemic.

 

Prescription drugs are often abused or misused. Like all types of abuse and addiction there is usually a component of secrecy or denial surrounding the problem. According to Foundation for a Drug-Free World here are 10 warning signs that someone is abusing prescription drugs:

1.  Usage increase – increased tolerance, taking a higher dosage to feel the same effect

2.  Change in personality – a relatively stable shift in mood, energy, and focus

3.  Social withdrawal – less time with people they normally spent time with in the past

4.  Ongoing use – filling the prescription even after the problem has subsided

5.  Time spent on obtaining prescriptions – visiting multiple doctors or spending time researching where and how to get pills

6.  Change in daily habits and appearance – decline in daily living habits and self care

7.  Neglects responsibilities – calling into work sick and not doing normal tasks adequately

8.  Increased sensitivity – sights, sounds, emotions may be more acute

9.  Blackouts and forgetfulness – gaps in memory and forgetting things

10.  Defensiveness – on edge because they may feel attacked even with simple questions

They may also demand more privacy, stay up at odd hours, hide prescriptions, sell possessions, steal from family members, visit multiple pharmacies and/or doctors, or even fake an illness of a child or animal in order to obtain more prescriptions. Not all warning signs means there is a drug addiction, but all warning signs are reason for concern of some kind. Take the next step and address your concerns with your loved one, and at the very least, ask them to get assessed by a professional. If there isn't a problem, then an assessment will be harmless.

Foundation of a Drug Free World: "According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, teens who abuse prescription drugs are twice as likely to use alcohol, five times more likely to use marijuana, and twelve to twenty times more likely to use illegal street drugs such as heroin, Ecstasy and cocaine than teens who do not abuse prescription drugs."  Although this report is extremely concerning, adolescents and teens that abuse prescription drugs benefit greatly from early interventions.

For more information about prescription drug abuse contact New Hope Recovery Center. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, it is important to call and go in for an assessment with a professional.  All assessments at New Hope Recovery Center are confidential with no obligation for further treatment. Recovery is possible, let us help. Call us at 888-707-4673 or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about prescription drugs? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below: 

Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction Prescription drug abuse and addiction is something frequently over looked. Stigma is guided by perception and in the field of addiction there is a hierarchy of stigma.  A common stigma easily identified is the public perception surrounding licit and illicit drugs.  Alcohol is perceived as a lesser evil because it is a legal substance, whereas heroin for instance is perceived as one of the most dangerous and hardcore drugs because it is illegal. Alcohol is in fact one of the most dangerous and toxic substances that people abuse and yet it continues to carry less of a social stigma. Prescription pills are perceived as more socially acceptable because they are legal substances that are prescribed by doctors.  However, prescription pills often get acquired illicitly and subsequently abused.

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse Parents of Emerging Adults (ages 18-late 20′s) are important partners in the prevention of drug abuse. In New Hope Recovery Center’s continuing efforts to assist parents, we want to pay special attention to a serious problem impacting Emerging Adults: prescription drug abuse which is the intentional use of medication without a prescription.  Parents may not be unaware of how serious this problem has become, so we want to share 5 must-know facts for parents of Emerging Adults.

More Pain Pills Prescribed In Suburbs Than Chicago People living in Chicago’s suburbs are prescribed up to four times as many pain pills per person as those who live in the city, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis shows. In the southern tip of Illinois, it’s up to seven times as much, according to the analysis of federal Drug Enforcement Administration records of the numbers of prescriptions written for the two most popular prescription pain drugs — Oxycodone and hydrocodone. Oxycodone, the more powerful of the two, is the key ingredient in the brand-name prescription painkillers OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan. Hydrocodone, which like oxycodone is an opiate-based drug, is the main ingredient in Vicodin, Norco and Lortab.

 

Prescription drug abuse and addiction is something frequently over looked. Stigma is guided by perception and in the field of addiction there is a hierarchy of stigma.  A common stigma easily identified is the public perception surrounding licit and illicit drugs.  Alcohol is perceived as a lesser evil because it is a legal substance, whereas heroin for instance is perceived as one of the most dangerous and hardcore drugs because it is illegal. Alcohol is in fact one of the most dangerous and toxic substances that people abuse and yet it continues to carry less of a social stigma. Prescription pills are perceived as more socially acceptable because they are legal substances that are prescribed by doctors.  However, prescription pills often get acquired illicitly and subsequently abused.

Prescription drug abuse is defined as taking a prescribed drug for non-medical use or not as prescribed.  Prescription pills come in almost every class of drug with the most commonly abused being pain killers (Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin), Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium), and amphetamines (Adderall & Ritalin).  Women and teenagers are two populations significantly affected by the prescription pill epidemic.  The CDC reports that the rate of deaths cause by prescription pill overdoses has more than tripled from 1999-2008.  There is a public notion that since prescription pills are legal, and people get them from a doctor, that they are in fact safer than illegal drugs.  This is not true. Many first time users and careless consumers will take a higher dosage than prescribed or mix combinations of drugs and/or alcohol which can lead to overdosing. In some cases overdose can occur without the presence of an addiction.

It is estimated by National Survey of Drug Use and Health that around 60-70% of prescription drug abusers get the pills from family members or friends, about 17% have a prescription of their own, and about 5-10% get them from dealers or the internet.  The accessibility of prescription pills being around the house of family members and friends entices a lot of curious first time users to experimentation, especially adolescents.  The public’s perception may blur the lines on the acceptability of using prescription pills recreationally or for self-medication but in actuality the line is clearly drawn.  Using prescription pills for nonmedical use or using someone else’s prescription for one’s own use is in fact drug abuse and needs to be addressed.

If you or a loved one needs help for prescription drug abuse, New Hope Recovery Center is here to help. If you would like information about our programs, contact us at 888-707-4636 (HOPE), info@new-hope-recovery.com or visit us in person.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about prescription drugs? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below: 

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse Parents of Emerging Adults (ages 18-late 20′s) are important partners in the prevention of drug abuse. In New Hope Recovery Center’s continuing efforts to assist parents, we want to pay special attention to a serious problem impacting Emerging Adults: prescription drug abuse which is the intentional use of medication without a prescription.  Parents may not be unaware of how serious this problem has become, so we want to share 5 must-know facts for parents of Emerging Adults.

More Pain Pills Prescribed In Suburbs Than Chicago People living in Chicago’s suburbs are prescribed up to four times as many pain pills per person as those who live in the city, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis shows. In the southern tip of Illinois, it’s up to seven times as much, according to the analysis of federal Drug Enforcement Administration records of the numbers of prescriptions written for the two most popular prescription pain drugs — Oxycodone and hydrocodone. Oxycodone, the more powerful of the two, is the key ingredient in the brand-name prescription painkillers OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan. Hydrocodone, which like oxycodone is an opiate-based drug, is the main ingredient in Vicodin, Norco and Lortab.

 

 

Heavy teenage marijuana use could damage brain structures critical to memory and reasoning and the effects may be long lasting. Heavy pot use during teenage years is also connected with lower IQ.  It is well known that the human brain is not fully developed until 25-28 years of age.  Chronic or heavy pot use by teenagers may affect the brain as it develops, perhaps permanently.  A number of interesting recent studies look at marijuana use by teens and the possible effects it has on brain development.

Marijuana and Memory

According to new research by Northwestern Medicine, the brains of heavy marijuana teen users were altered in regions that involve memory and reasoning. Young people with such alterations performed worse on memory tests than the non-using control subjects, despite the fact that the heavy users had not used marijuana for more than two years, on average, before the testing.

The study looked at MRI brain scans of several areas of the brain.  Heavy pot users showed greater brain abnormalities than those who had not used marijuana. The researchers found that memory-related brain structures appeared to shrink and collapse inward. These findings could indicate long-term detriments to chronic marijuana use during the teen years.

Although this study doesn't prove causation, it does provide evidence of a need for caution.  It also showed that the earlier or younger the pot use began, the greater the brain’s abnormalities.

Mental Illness and Marijuana Connection

In June 2013, an Australian study showed that prolonged use of cannabis or marijuana by young adults was linked to a higher risk of developing psychosis.  The highest risk was for those who started using the substance in their teens, and continued using it for 6 years or more into adulthood. For this group, the risk of developing psychosis was more than double that of those who never used marijuana.

Marijuana and Dopamine

A recent study by Imperial College London revealed that long-term use of cannabis depletes dopamine, the feel-good chemical in the brain that inspires a spirit of get-up-and-go.  The study found greater dopamine depletion if marijuana use was heavier and if the first initial use was at an earlier age.

Marijuana and IQ

A long term study in New Zealand indicates that early and long term marijuana use may cause IQ to decrease.  The study measured IQ prior to age 13 and then surveyed over 1000 participants from a single city born in the same year over a period of decades.  According to the study, IQ decreased an average of 7-8 points by age 38 for those who used marijuana heavily at some point in the 25 years between ages 13 and 38, with greater decreases in IQ for those with longer periods of heavy marijuana use.

Conclusions

All of the studies show correlations and not actual direct cause.  However, we are seeing that heavy marijuana use in teens could be creating possible lasting changes in the brain.  The earlier heavy use begins, the greater the changes to the brain.

New Hope Recovery Center is Chicago’s premier addiction treatment facility.  If you would like information about our programs, including our New Hope with Pride program, contact us at 888-707-4636 (HOPE), info@new-hope-recovery.com or visit us in person or online.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about marijuana or young adults and addiction? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below: 

Marijuana Warning Signs: Is Your Teen Smoking Weed? Are you concerned your teenager or young adult is using marijuana? Below you will find the warning signs and symptoms for marijuana use. Marijuana use is very controversial across the nation, but something that cannot be denied, is the detrimental effect it has on young adults. It has been proven that young adults/teenagers who use marijuana have more problems with memory, attention and learning. They also struggle with their school performance, have an increased risk of problematic behaviors, and are more likely to suffer from depression and or anxiety.

Marijuana and Addiction Treatment All too often people enter treatment for addiction from a variety of substances with the belief that marijuana is not a drug.  “Alcohol is my problem, not marijuana” or “Marijuana is not addictive” – the list of justifications people use could fill an entire page.  We have all heard the term “gateway drug” in reference to marijuana but often the thought process is that this occurs early in the stages of addiction. However, we have seen that marijuana can be a gateway drug at any point in addiction or recovery.

Fighting Peer Pressure: 3 Ways To Limit Addiction Risk in Young Adults Do you remember growing up and wanting to be liked and included in your peer group?  One of the hardest parts of growing up is feeling excluded from peer groups and while this can be challenging, it is also a normal part of the development of an Emerging Adult.  If it did not come naturally, you might remember changing your attitudes, values or behaviors to belong a certain peer group, which is exactly where your Emerging Adult may be developmentally.  Something that young adults may do to fit into a certain peer group is use drugs and alcohol as a means to fit in.  You can help them avoid drug or alcohol abuse and the risk of addiction by teaching useful skills for handling peer pressure and maneuvering this critical period of life.

Student Drug Abuse Warning Signs Young adults face many temptations and opportunities to use and abuse drugs and alcohol.  As a parent, it is important to allow for appropriate independence and growth for your student or young adult, but also to keep a watchful eye looking for warning signs or symptoms of drug or alcohol use/addiction. Part of growing up involves making mistakes and hopefully learning from them.  These teachable moments allow students and emerging adults to learn how to respond better in the future.  Students and emerging adults may not always be able to quickly identify and correct mistakes or difficulties they face. They also are more susceptible to peer pressure or having their viewpoints shaped by outside influences. For this reason, parents need to be closely aware of what is happening in their young adult’s life.

Long Term Impact of Alcohol and Drug Use on Emerging Adults Emerging Adulthood, the period of life from approximately age 18 to the late 20s, is not only a critical time for psychological and social development, but also for physical brain development. Contrary to a popular assumption that the brain is mature by the age of 18, recent studies have shown that profound brain growth and change still occur during Emerging Adulthood. [Studies]  The heavy use of drugs and alcohol during this time frame can inhibit a person’s brain development and have long term consequences.

 

 

The recent death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman has once again shined a spotlight on heroin addiction. A true epidemic that is not only impacting inner cities, suburbs and rural areas, but also poor, middle and upper classes, the rich and famous included. Phillip Seymour Hoffman passed away in his New York City apartment on February 2nd, 2014 from a drug overdose. In his home police found heroin, as well as several different prescription medications, such as xanax and klonopin. This tragic event has reminded us that addiction is a life threatening chronic disease that does not discriminate. Many people believe that drug addiction only impacts the poor who live in the gutter.  But  addiction can take any life at anytime. Regardless of who the victim is, where they live or what they do for a living.  Overdose deaths related to heroin and opiates have continued to increase and the numbers are staggering.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman was an Academy Award winning actor, who was not only loved by millions around the world, but was also considered one of the most respected actors of his time by his peers. Hoffman started his career with humble beginnings taking supporting roles in TV dramas such as “Law and Order”, but shortly moved to supporting roles in Hollywood films such as “Scent of a Woman” and “Boogie Nights”. In 2004 Hoffman played the starring role in the Truman Capote biopic “Capote”.  It was this role that won him an academy award for best actor. On paper and on screen, we saw what seemed to be a very successful actor, who when not working on his art, was spending time his family.

Hoffman attended New York University, which is where his problems with addiction began. He has stated in interviews that he would use whatever he could get his hands on. It was during these years that his drug use went from experimenting, to abuse and finally to addiction/dependency. In 1989, when Hoffman graduated he checked himself into a 28 day inpatient addiction treatment center.  He remained sober for 23 years. It was during these 23 years of sobriety that he did the majority of his acting and reached goals few actors ever reach. Little is known about Hoffman’s personal life; he was notoriously secretive and would rarely talk about his family or personal life in interviews. What we do know is that throughout the years, addiction stayed with him. Addiction, like diabetes, is a chronic disease which can go into remission, but can also reoccur at anytime if not managed properly.

Sadly, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s addiction to heroin and other drugs reoccurred after 23 years of sobriety.  In 2012, it was reported that Hoffman had began using heroin again after being prescribed strong opiate pain medication for a procedure he had the same year. The use of heroin after using opiate painkillers is a story we see and hear about quite often.  In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse nearly half of all young heroin intravenous users first abused prescription opioids.

In May 2012, Hoffman checked himself into a treatment program for 10 days, but at some point continued to use. 23 years sober and still struggling with addiction, Hoffman found himself in the exact place he was in 23 years prior.

On February 2nd, the world lost Phillip Seymour Hoffman to his addiction. The initial reaction to his death was a mixture of shock and sadness. The world was shocked we had a lost such an accomplished actor we all loved to addiction, but what the world missed is that Phillip Seymour Hoffman was no different than any other type of addict. Hoffman suffered from a progressive disease that when untreated can be fatal. Addiction does not discriminate.

If two good things can come out of this tragic story, it’s the increased awareness of addiction in general and the proof that even after years of sobriety, addiction can claim lives, because addiction is not curable and people have to fight everyday for their sobriety. Phillip Seymour Hoffman was a successful, respected man with a loving family.  Mr. Hoffman starred in over 50 films, won countless awards for his art and will be considered one of the most respected actors of our time. He had been sober for 23 years, but somehow the addiction reclaimed his life.  Underneath all this there was an addict and the addict in Phillip Seymour Hoffman was no different than the addict without a home you walk past on the street, the addict who makes your coffee in the morning or the addict who lives next door to you.

There is hope for those with addictions.  Many in Hollywood and elsewhere are urging people to speak out and better understand addiction as the disease it truly is.  Demi Lovato stated. “I wish more people would lose the stigma and treat addiction as the deadly and serious DISEASE that it is.” Addiction can be treated.  When it is not treated it can ruin and end lives.  If you or someone you know has an addiction, reach out for help.

New Hope Recovery Center is Chicago’s premier addiction treatment facility offering treatment for heroin, alcohol and other substances.  You can reach us at info@new-hope-recovery.com, 773-883-3916 or visit us at 2835 N. Sheffield Ave., #304, Chicago IL 60657.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about Heroin? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below:

Chicago Heroin Addiction and Facts Heroin use in Chicago and surrounding suburbs has continued to escalate.  Heroin is an extremely addictive opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin.”

Heroin Abuse Warning Signs Heroin has been receiving more attention in the news recently. CBS NEWS: Hooked on Heroin;  NY TIMES: Heroin in New England, More Abundant and Deadly; BBC News: Cory Monteith: The Heroin users that don’t fit the ‘junkie’ stereotype; USA Today: OxyContin a Gateway to Heroin for Upper-Income Addicts. Although it can be upsetting this is very helpful because greater awareness about Heroin and its warning signs can help save lives.   Sadly heroin use has increased all over the US, including in the Chicagoland area.

Parents’ Guide to Prevent Heroin Use and Addiction We previously discussed Chicago’s heroin epidemic and saw that the rapid increase in young adults becoming addicted to heroin is truly startling. There are steps that parents can take to prevent their loved ones from becoming a sad statistic of the heroin epidemic.

Chicago’s Heroin Epidemic – Parents Beware As an addiction treatment center in Lincoln Park, Chicago, we see trends in addiction first hand.  Although all addictions are heartbreaking, nothing has touched us as deeply as the current heroin epidemic among young people.  We have seen young adults in their late teens and early twenties struggling to recover from one of the most dangerous, addictive and life-threatening drugs.  It is a hard struggle – for both the addicts and their families.

Heroin (Opiate) Addiction – Suboxone vs. Vivitrol Medication-assisted treatment for addiction, especially opiates (such as Heroin, Vicodin, and Oxycontin), is not new nor is the controversy that accompanies it.  The most recent controversy involves the use of medications to aid in the treatment of opiate addiction, with Suboxone and Vivitrol receiving the most press.  There is an abundant amount of information available on the internet – unfortunately not all of it is accurate. Keep in mind the choice whether to use medication to assist in opiate addiction rehab is a personal decision best made with accurate information and support from an informed addiction health care team.

Women are the fastest growing segment of the population who abuse substances, according to several research studies that have been done recently. Although more women than ever are suffering from substance abuse disorders, there still is a small number of women who actually are receiving treatment for their addiction.

Substance abuse in women is often harder to detect than in men, and can easily be overlooked by friends, family members and health care providers.  For women, a fair amount of drinking is often done at home, during hours of the day when significant others and/or children are not at home. They are also less likely to have consequences such as a DUI because they are drinking at home. Three-martini playdates are often thought of as a fun way for stay-at-home mothers to blow off the steam of being with the kids all day and as a way to bond with other moms.

Further, many women turn to alcohol and drugs in order to be able to "do it all".  Use of stimulants can help a woman raise 3 kids, do well at a high powered job, keep up the household and still have energy for the gym on a regular basis.  On top of all of this, according to the research, women are more likely than men to see health care providers on a regular basis, thus increasing their access to prescription drugs with abuse potential.  Similarly, women are just as likely as men to drink or use drugs to medicate depression and anxiety, but are more likely than men to present to a mental health provider for help, resulting in more prescriptions for benzodiazepines and sleeping aids.

Substance abuse in women is often overlooked because the abuse itself is often normalized, seen as a response to today's pressures on women.  Often women recognize the fact that they are depressed or anxious and will go to treatment for the mood condition, unaware that substance abuse needs to be addressed as well.  If and when the need for substance abuse treatment is recognized, there are often gender specific barriers to women accessing and staying in treatment.  Some of the more common and problematic barriers are:

Fear- Women with children face the very real fear of being separated from or losing primary custody of their children.  In addition, image management, while also a factor for men, can deter a woman from entering treatment due to fears about what it will look like and what others will think about her.  Women also tend to have more fears about paying for treatment as compared to men, as many women do not earn as much as men, are underemployed or unemployed.

Childcare- It is well documented in the literature that women have a harder time accessing treatment if they are the primary caregivers of young children.  Treatment initiation and retention rates are much higher for women when there is some assistance with childcare and/or when the children are allowed to stay with the mother while she is in treatment.  For many women, paying for treatment along with childcare is too much of a financial burden.

History of Trauma-  For women with a history of physical and sexual trauma, entering mixed gender treatment is often a deterrent.  Programs that offer gender specific therapy groups and therapists equipped to handle trauma increase the success of a woman entering, staying in, and ultimately being successful in addiction treatment.

Psychological/Cultural- As stated above, women often view their own substance abuse as temporary, a crutch to help deal with the pressures of working, caring for children, caring for aging parents, running a household.  Though women are more likely than men to admit to needing help, they are less likely to actually go to treatment to get the help they need. Women also suffer from shame factors that are different from men's, and admit to higher levels of suicidal ideation and low self worth directly related to substance abuse and dependence.

The more that women's issues are well understood and addressed in treatment settings, the more successful a woman can be at obtaining help and achieving long term sobriety.  Addressing each woman's specific history thoroughly in an intake procedure can ensure that the right setting is available (i.e gender specific group for a woman with a lot of male perpetrated trauma vs. a mixed gender group for a woman needing to strengthen her platonic relationships with men).  It is also important for treatment providers to continue to address these needs along the course of treatment, as they may change, and for providers and treatment centers be sensitive to the needs of each woman individually, rather than generally as women.

New Hope Recovery Center offers gender specific programming. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, it is important to call and go in for an assessment with a professional.  All assessments at New Hope Recovery Center are confidential with no obligation for further treatment. Recovery is possible, let us help. Call us at 888-707-4673 or Email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about treatment for specific populations? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below:

Lesbians Seeking Drug and Alcohol Treatment Alcohol and drug abuse is a major concern for individuals who identify as lesbian. A reportpublished by SAMHSA in 2011 found people who identify as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) are significantly more likely than the general population to use and abuse drugs or alcohol. This same study found lesbians are significantly more likely than heterosexual women to drink alcohol heavily.

Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment for Latino and Hispanic People There are several things to be aware of when working with the Spanish communities for drug or alcohol addiction.  Cultural identity is one of the most important factors to keep in mind when working with the Spanish community.  For example: Cubans, Dominicans and Puerto Ricans identify themselves as Hispanics; while Central Americans and South Americans identify themselves as Latinos for the most part.

Senior Citizens: Alcohol Abuse and Misuse Seniors citizens and alcohol abuse and misuse is a serious problem. With the rapidly growing senior population, it is more important than ever to stay informed about the potential mental/behavioral health threats seniors are experiencing. People seldom think of alcohol abuse or misuse to be a problem in the senior population and rarely see that they are at risk of this behavior. There are major life changes affecting this population, which leads many seniors to begin abusing or misusing alcohol (and medications), even if they never showed signs of this behavior earlier in life.

Student Drug Abuse Warning Signs Young adults face many temptations and opportunities to use and abuse drugs and alcohol.  As a parent, it is important to allow for appropriate independence and growth for your student or young adult, but also to keep a watchful eye looking for warning signs or symptoms of drug or alcohol use/addiction. Part of growing up involves making mistakes and hopefully learning from them.  These teachable moments allow students and emerging adults to learn how to respond better in the future.

Are you concerned your teenager or young adult is using marijuana? Below you will find 38 warning signs and symptoms for marijuana use. Marijuana use is very controversial across the nation, but something that cannot be denied, is the detrimental effect it has on young adults. It has been proven that young adults/teenagers who use marijuana have more problems with memory, attention and learning. They also struggle with their school performance, have an increased risk of problematic behaviors, and are more likely to suffer from depression and or anxiety.

Physical signs of pot smoking or marijuana use:

  • red bloodshot eyes, squinting or half closed eyes
  • constant, mucus-filled cough
  • rapid heartbeat
  • dry mouth (cotton mouth)
  • poor coordination
  • slow reaction time

Behaviors that may indicate marijuana use or marijuana addiction:

  • Difficulty problem solving or keeping thoughts together
  • Poor memory, particularly short term or things recently occurring
  • Extreme or unusual hunger or increased eating (especially snacks and sweets), usually called the munchies
  • Acting silly or in a giggly manner
  • Acting slow, lethargic, dazed or confused
  • Lack of motivation, enthusiasm
  • Loses train of thought, rambling, disjointed in a conversation
  • Paranoia

Finding these items on your teen, in their room or with their belongings, likely indicates frequent marijuana use:

  • Visine or other products for red eyes
  • Cigarette Rolling Papers
  • Bongs
  • Metal clips or small clamps
  • Pipes
  • Cigars
  • Cans with holes cut on side
  • Small baggies
  • Dried plant residue, looking like dried oregano
  • Frequent use of incense, air freshener, cologne or perfume
  • Small burn marks on finger tips (particularly thumb and index or middle finger), lips
  • Posters, stickers, buttons, pins, clothing or other items with marijuana leaves, or mentioning marijuana or 420
  • Increased use of mouthwash, mints or gum
  • Smelling like marijuana or a skunk-like smell on your teen, in their bedroom, on their clothes
  • Signs that a towel has been put under the door (to stop smoke and smells from getting out)
  • Hemp Items

Changes in your teen that may indicate marijuana use:

  • Sudden change in friends
  • Talking in code or odd communication with their friends
  • Interest in taking short walks, going outside for short periods of time
  • Sudden drop in education or job performance
  • Loss of interest in once enjoyed activities, pursuits, hobbies
  • Absences from school or work
  • Frequent requests for money with nothing tangible to show
  • Lost valuables or semi-valuable items from the house

If you observe several of these warning signs, it is likely that your child is using marijuana. Finding any of the paraphernalia items, such as bongs, pipes, rolling papers, etc. is a very good indication that he/she is smoking pot frequently.

Marijuana can sometimes have lasting effects on young adults because a young adult’s brain does not fully develop until age 26.  If you are concerned about your teen’s use of marijuana or other drugs, it is important to get help immediately. Brief interventions are very beneficial resources along with individual counseling and therapy when necessary.

New Hope Recovery Center treats chemical dependency for adults 18 years of age or older, however if you know a teen that is struggling with drugs or alcohol, please call New Hope Recovery Center at 773-883-3916 or contact us via email at info@new-hope-recovery.com and we can direct you to the proper resources that can be of help for teens or adolescents.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center