Substance abuse is known to be one of the most negative but common ways to handle difficult situations due to life stressors. People abuse substances for many reasons: to escape reality, suppress their true feelings, get high, whatever the reason, they are using it to alter their mind and natural state.

Ambien addictionAmbien, the brand name of the generic drug zolpidem, is a widely-prescribed, and also widely abused drug.  According to the National Center for Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health, about 30-40% of adults say they have some symptoms of insomnia within a given year. Another 10-15% of the adult US population report chronic insomnia, which is defined as the inability to fall and/or stay asleep more nights than not, for at least 3 weeks.  Ambien is generally prescribed for insomnia and sleep issues, but unlike many other sleep aids classified as barbituates, it falls into a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics.

As many of us know, insomnia and difficulty sleeping contribute to increased stress levels, depression, irritability and trouble functioning at work.  Making lifestyle changes takes time, and creating better sleep hygiene, exercising more and decreasing stress are often not easy to do.  Rather than wait weeks for results, many turn to the prescription drug Ambien for fast and effective relief.

The Dangers of Ambien/Zolpidem

One of the dangers of Ambien is its amnestic effect, in which someone under the influence of the drug can go into a blackout state and have no memory of his/her activities after taking Ambien.  This effect tends to be heightened when the drug is taken on an empty stomach.  Ambien’s warning label includes side effects of: sleep driving, sleep eating and sleep sex.  Once under the influence of Ambien, a user can easily forget that he/she has taken the drug and may take more.  It is also not uncommon for people to attempt to do regular activities after taking Ambien, such as making phone calls, writing emails, driving cars, completing things for work, etc. and then have no recollection of it the following day.  There have been numerous car accidents allegedly caused by the sleep driving effects of Ambien. The National Sleep Foundation has been an advocate about the dangers of drowsy driving and the dangers that are associated with it. They claim that drowsy driving is just as fatal as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as drowsiness will effect your reaction time, the awareness of one's surroundings, and impairs your judgement.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports the number of emergency department visits involving adverse reactions to the sleep medication zolpidem rose nearly 220% from 6,111 visits in 2005 to 19,487 visits in 2010.  SAMHSA also finds that in 2010 patients aged 45 or older represented about three-quarters (74 %) of all emergency department visits involving adverse reactions to zolpidem.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently required that the zolpidem dosage for females be cut in half, because zolpidem affects females differently from males.  It was found that the drug tended to be processed much slower in females.  Ellis Unger, MD, director of the FDA's Office of Drug Evaluation I reported it was unusual for the dosing recommendations to be different based on gender.

Ambien Addiction or Dependence

Many people do not know or do not fully understand that Ambien can be extremely habit forming.  Originally, it was thought that zolpidem was not very addictive, in comparison to barbiturates.  However, more studies are showing that dependence on Zolpidem can develop.  A Study indicates that the use of zolpidem among adolescents has become a dangerous concern.  Taking the drug on a regular basis almost always results in tolerance, meaning that more and more of the drug will be required to achieve the desired effect.

Ambien is prescribed to be taken immediately before bedtime because effects of the drug can be felt within minutes.  However, many people abuse the intense sedative and hypnotic effects of the drug and stay up in order to “overcome” the effects of the Ambien.  When purposely staying awake after taking Ambien, intense highs can be felt, leaving the user feeling euphoric and calm.

Like any other drug with abuse potential, it is very possible to become addicted and dependent upon Ambien, to the point that one cannot cut down or stop the use, becomes obsessed with obtaining and using the Ambien, and continuing to use Ambien despite negative consequences.  If you or someone you know may be addicted to Ambien, it is important to consider getting a chemical dependency evaluation to see if treatment may be necessary.  Once Ambien dependence is present, it can be very dangerous to stop the drug without the use of trained medical professionals. Remember, even if a drug is prescribed by a doctor, clients can abuse it or become dependent.

For more information about finding a treatment center right for you, 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.

Prescription Drug Rehab: 5 Important Questions to Ask 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.

Most Abused Prescription Drugs 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.

Warning Signs for Prescription Drug Abuse 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 toFoundation for a Drug-Free World here are some warning signs that someone is abusing prescription drugs.

Looking into addiction treatment programs (rehab) for yourself or a loved one can seem overwhelming.  Generally life is already stressful and unmanageable.  Trying to understand what options are available within the treatment world and what would work best is not an easy task.  To give you a starting point, here are 5 frequently asked questions about rehab and addiction treatment that will lead you in the right direction.

1.  How Much Does Addiction Treatment Cost?

The cost of treatment varies greatly based on the provider. It could be free or it could cost over $50,000.00. Many addiction treatment services are covered by insurance.  However, insurance coverage varies greatly by the carrier and the client's specific policy. Some treatment centers don't accept insurance, which means you may need to pay out of pocket at admission, and the provider will "Super Bill" you meaning you pay cash and they give you a bill to submit to insurance yourself. Insurance does not reimburse this amount at 100% or sometimes at all, which can be financially draining on the client and their family members. To avoid this, call your insurance carrier and ask them who is in network, your insurance company should be able to give you a list of facilities to choose from.

New Hope Recovery Center takes most major insurance and can check your benefits for you to determine what coverage you or your loved one has for addiction treatment.  Its important for treatment centers to review your insurance benefits with you and let you know if there are any costs you will need to pay prior to admission. Unexpected financial burdens can just cause more heartache during the recovery process, so if you ask the right questions up front, you should be able to alleviate unexpected bills later on down the road. Some questions that will be helpful when finding out about your insurance  coverage are: (1) Is there is a deductible and if so, how much has been met?  Are there any co-pays? (2) Is pre-certification required? (3) Do you need a PCP (primary care physician) referral (HMO policies only)? (4) If there is a maximum out of pocket cost and if so, how much has been met? (5) Is there a maximum number of sessions available? 

If you do not have insurance and cannot afford out of pocket expenses, state funded programs may be available in your area. Unfortunately, many state funded programs have wait lists and it can be difficult to qualify for treatment. The sooner you call, the sooner you can get in treatment. Always leave your name on the wait-list, they occasionally go quicker than than expected. Not all treatment centers participate in state funded options, but some may have scholarship opportunities or sliding scales. The important thing is to ask the questions about cost before your loved one gets admitted. It is important to remember, some people need to go to treatment more than once to obtain long term recovery, so find a place that fits your needs and is within your budget, paying tens of thousands of dollars on a treatment center will not guarantee your loved one will stay sober. 

2.  How Long Does Treatment Last?

Treatment will depend on the severity and/or type of addiction(s) a person suffers from. Treatment may range from:

  • Hospital based detoxification – Generally 3 to 7 days
  • Residential treatment program – 30 to 60 days
  • Partial Hospital Program (Day Program) – 1 to 4 weeks
  • Intensive Outpatient Program – 4 to 6 weeks
  • Aftercare Program - 6 to 24 months 

Providers offer different levels of treatment, you may need to go to a hospital for detoxification, and then transfer to a residential facility for treatment depending on the provider's continuum of care. Many treatment programs works with each other to ensure a smooth transition from one treatment center to another. 

3.  How Do I Know What Treatment Program Will Work For Me?

Treatment will only really work for you if you work it. Most addicts exhibit impulsive, compulsive, and obsessive thoughts and behaviors which will need to be overcome in order to succeed in rehab.  Also other areas of life can directly affect the chances of a successful treatment outcome. Having supportive friends and family, living in a safe environment, devoting time to your recovery can all  increase the chances of a successful recovery.  It is essential to be open, honest and willing to do whatever is necessary to begin living a sober life. What you put into it will be what you get out of it. It is important to put recovery first.

When looking into a treatment program, ask what the program consists of, visit the location, meet with counselors and staff. Most treatment centers will offer a free assessment to determine what level of care is most appropriate. The best treatment facility for you is one where you feel comfortable, where you feel welcomed and where you will want to stay.

4.  What Kind Of Family Involvement Is Needed?

For the best possible treatment results, family involvement is crucial. Addiction is a family disease, which means treating one member of the family will not ensure long term recovery for the family.  It affects everyone in the family and so the family must work toward wellness.  Even if there have been previous treatment episodes, family involvement is one of the most effective ways to heal the family and its members. Some providers have extended family programs which include support groups, such as, Al-anon and Family Anonymous.

5.  What Is The Process For Getting Into Rehab For Addiction?

The process begins by calling and speaking with an intake person and/or a certified alcohol and drug counselor who can answer any questions you may have. If you and the treatment center feel there is a good fit based on your situation, there will usually be an assessment to establish the severity of the addiction and other problem(s) and to determine what level of treatment is necessary. Information about the process at New Hope Recovery Center: Admissions Process.

Addiction is a progressive and fatal disease.  The longer an addicted person remains in treatment, the better the outcome.

For more information about finding a treatment center right for you, 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.

If you are considering addiction treatment, you may find these articles helpful as well:

Prescription Drug Rehab: 5 Important Questions to Ask

Overcoming the Fears of Going to Addiction Treatment

Intensive Outpatient Treatment: The New Standard?

Drug or Alcohol Addiction Rehab in Chicago

How to Find the Best Treatment Center in Chicago

 

There are differences between the men and women who enter drug rehab and alcohol rehab for substance abuse.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) conducts a census of all yearly admissions to addiction treatment facilities that are reported to SAMHSA.  A report issued in April 2014 shows the results from 2011 as compiled by SAMHSA.  Interesting differences between men’s and women’s use of drugs and alcohol are highlighted.

More Men Than Women in Rehab.  The SAMHSA report shows the gender differences and primary substance of abuse across different age groups.  The numbers show that of those who enter treatment (or rehab) for substance abuse 1/3rd are women and 2/3rd of them are men.  This is an increase from findings even in the last decade that showed 1 woman to every 4 men entering treatment.

Younger Females (Ages 12-17) Equal to Younger Males in Rehab.  Men 18 and older have almost twice the rate of substance dependence as women.  However, the rates for males and females are about the same for adolescents age 12 to 17.

Younger Women (Ages 12-17) Are Twice as Likely to Report Alcohol as Primary Substance of Abuse Versus Young Men (21.7% vs. 10.5%)

Women More Likely to Abuse Prescription Drugs Versus Men.  The SAMHSA report found statistically significant differences between the primary substance of abuse for women and men.  For instance, women are more likely to abuse prescription pills as their primary drug compared to men.  In the 65 and older bracket women are almost 3 times more likely to primarily abuse prescription pain relievers compared to men.

Young Men More Likely to Abuse Marijuana vs. Young Women.  Women were less likely to abuse marijuana compared to men in the 12 to 17 and 18 to 24 age brackets.

Women More Likely to Abuse Methamphetamine/Amphetamines.  Women 18 to 34 are significantly more likely than men to abuse methamphetamines/amphetamines as their primary drug of abuse.

Gender Differences and Primary Substances of Abuse

There is no denying that women suffer from the disease of addiction differently than men.  The research also shows that women have better outcomes in treatment when they have gender-specific programming.  New Hope Recovery Center is proud to offer gender-specific programming to meet the unique needs of women.  Our staff is culturally competent and attuned to helping women find their place in recovery.  For more information please call  888-707-HOPE (4673) or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

 

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 risks and detrimental effects of alcohol abuse by young adults under the age of 25 can have life-long consequences.  In a recent survey, nearly 80% of 17-18 year olds had consumed alcohol, with over 47% of these 17-18 year olds using alcohol regularly.

To help your young adult/teenager get the fullest from life, it is important to have an honest discussion about alcohol and its effects.  But what do you say and how do you do it? Here is a helpful guide on how to talk to your teenager about drinking.

First, don’t expect to only have one big discussion on alcohol, the subject should come up many times as your child grows.  Start young by creating regular, open, honest communications with your child.  Be casual and relaxed.  Be open to what your teen says, truly listen.  Keep your emotions in check (remember deep breaths if you hear something upsetting or irritating).  If your child feels comfortable talking with you, your discussions will be more effective.

Once you have good regular communications, you can begin to discuss alcohol.

  • Start with asking what your teen thinks about alcohol?  What does s/he know about it?  If your teen has used alcohol, calmly asked what they thought? Why they used it?  What was the result?
  • Share facts about alcohol.  It is a powerful drug.  Regular drinking by teenagers can create many problems:  teens have the highest rate of traffic accidents and alcohol use increases these risks; drinking affects coordination, the ability to think and make decisions; teens who drink are more likely to be the victim of violence; as well as experience longer term injury or damage to their brain. Point out the teen brain is still developing and alcohol affects normal development.
  • Talk about any perceived attractions or myths about drinking:  Does your teen feel peer pressure to drink?  Do they think drinking will let them be more social or fit in better?  Discuss alcohol commercials on TV and ads in magazines, where everyone is fit, beautiful, having fun.  What do they think alcohol will do or does do for them?
  • Point out that alcohol is a depressant and although it may seem to provide happy or pleasant feelings, these feelings don’t last and often people feel down, sad or even depressed after drinking.
  • Drinking is illegal, and there are serious consequences for teens arrested for drinking alcohol.
  • Be prepared to discuss your own drinking and history.  Your teen will likely ask.  Even if they don’t, it is best if you volunteer things you learned about drinking.  Share consequences you have experienced from drinking.
  • Also discuss any family history with drinking. If you have a family history of alcoholism, let your teen know that this means s/he is much more likely to become addicted, its in the family genes.
  • Ask about your teen’s friends.  What do they think about drinking or drugs?  Do they drink? Has your teen had any experience with people drinking?

All this may not happen in one conversation.  Always thank your child for the talk and for sharing. Appreciate their insights and their honesty. It is important to let them speak and feel open with you, but do not blur the lines on the parent/child relationship. Never allow your teenager to drinking at your house. It is illegal and it portrays the wrong message. Never drink with your teenager, even at family gatherings, its illegal, inappropriate, and damaging to their health.

Finally, be a role model.  Your actions speak much louder to your teen than words. If you drink, do so in moderation.  When discussing alcohol, don’t state it is good or helpful.  Also emphasize that for those older than 21 and particularly over 25 experience less brain impairment from alcohol.  Discuss the rules you have for yourself: never drinking and driving, setting limits on your own drinking either by quantity or days or amount of time, only drinking with friends or family, etc.

If you know or suspect your teen has a problem with alcohol, there are resources available that can help you and your teen. Early interventions are proven to be a helpful resource for many teenagers. If your teenager is over 18 years old, you may schedule an appointment with New Hope Recovery Center for a confidential assessment.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

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

Warning Signs Your Teen is Drinking Alcohol Although drinking in moderation can be safe for adults, drinking by anyone under 21 can be a serious issue and should not be ignored, dismissed or minimized.  There are, of course, the immediate risks and harms a young adult may experience from drinking alcohol: they are more likely to have driving accidents, experience death from alcohol poisoning (excessive drinking), have violent behavior, be the victim of violent crime, to have unprotected sex, and to have depression and anxiety.

Long Term Impact of Alcohol and Drug Use on Emerging Adults Emerging Adulthood, the period of life from approximately age 18 to the late 20's, 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.

Emerging Adults – Time of Stress, Change, and Possibly Addiction The period after high school through the late 20's is now considered a unique developmental phase, Emerging Adulthood.  For Emerging Adults life is typically filled with an unprecedented amount of change and a time for asking many deeply-personal life questions. Robin Marantz Henig discusses some of these changes in her New York Times Magazine article. Emerging Adults frequently change residences (slightly more than 30% move every year); change jobs (averaging seven jobs during their 20's these changes can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety.)

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.

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.

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.

 

Although drinking in moderation can be safe for adults, drinking by anyone under 21 can be a serious issue and should not be ignored, dismissed or minimized.  There are, of course, the immediate risks and harms a young adult may experience from drinking alcohol: they are more likely to have driving accidents, experience death from alcohol poisoning (excessive drinking), have violent behavior, be the victim of violent crime, to have unprotected sex, and to have depression and anxiety.

Equally concerning, a number of reports and studies indicate that drinking by young adults (anyone under 25 years of age) can have serious long-term consequences as well. It is now understood that the human brain is still developing and growing until the mid-20s.  Heavy drinking before the brain has completed its development can cause numerous long-lasting problems.  A recent study by neuroscientist Susan Tapert of the University of California, San Diego compared the brain scans of teens who drink heavily with the scans of teens who don't.  Tapert's team found damaged nerve tissue in the brains of the teens who drank. The researchers believe this damage negatively affects attention span in boys, and girls' ability to comprehend and interpret visual information.

According to a national survey of 43,093 adults, published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 47% of those who begin drinking alcohol before the age of 14 become alcohol dependent at some time in their lives, compared with 9% of those who do not drink until at least age 21.

In a study comparing the brains of youth ages 14 to 21 who did abuse alcohol with those who did not abuse alcohol, researchers found that the hippocampi of drinkers were about 10% smaller than in those who did not drink.  The hippocampus is the area of the brain critical for regulating emotions, for storing and recovering memory, in particular long-term memory and for spatial navigation.  Damage or stunting of the hippocampus can lead to loss of memory and difficulty in establishing new memories. For example with Alzheimer's disease the hippocampus is one of the first regions of the brain to be affected, leading to the confusion and loss of memory.

Drinking by young adults is a serious issue and can have potentially life-long consequences. So, how can you tell if your teen is drinking or abusing alcohol?  Here are some of the warning signs to look for:

Physical Warning Signs Of Alcohol Use And Abuse

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Shaking, tremors or seizures without a history of epilepsy
  • Poor personal grooming, hygiene and physical appearance
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination
  • Injuries or bruises that your teen can’t remember how they happened
  • Smell of alcohol on breath, body, or clothing
  • Sudden use of breath mints or gum
  • Incoherent or slurred speech
  • Finding alcohol in your teen’s room or with belongings
  • Alcohol missing from house, discovering watered-down bottles of alcohol

Behavior Warning Signs Of Alcohol Use And Abuse

  • Missing school or classes
  • Drop in grades
  • Getting in trouble at school, or with the law
  • Increase in arguments, fights, accidents
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, hobbies or sports
  • Missing money or valuables or frequently asking for money
  • Increased isolation, silence, being withdrawn
  • Increase in secretive or suspicious behaviors
  • Refusing to discuss new friends, activities
  • Locking doors
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts
  • Using eye drops to hide bloodshot eyes
  • Unexplained change in personality and/or attitude
  • Sudden mood changes, irritability, outbursts

Many of the items listed are common in all teenagers.  Nearly all teens will be irritable and have abrupt mood changes due to the hormonal changes they are experiencing.  However, if several of these warning signs occur, be alert for more.  If you do find your teen is drinking or abusing alcohol, talk to them about it.  Explain to them the new findings on what alcohol does to teenage brains and its lasting impact.  See our article on “How to Talk to Your Teen About Alcohol” for more suggestions.

Finally, if you discover your teen is regularly drinking and the drinking is having consequences, look into treatment options for help.  New Hope Recovery Center can offer treatment suggestions for your teen/young adult. The early you intervene on teen drinking the better. Call 888-707-4673 to set up a confidential assessment.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

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

How to Talk to Your Teenager About Drinking To help your young adult/teenager get the fullest from life, it is important to have an honest discussion about alcohol and its effects.  But what do you say and how do you do it? Here is a helpful guide on how to talk to your teenager about drinking.

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.

Emerging Adults – Time of Stress, Change, and Possibly Addiction The period after high school through the late 20s is now considered a unique developmental phase, Emerging Adulthood.  For Emerging Adults life is typically filled with an unprecedented amount of change and a time for asking many deeply-personal life questions. Robin Marantz Henig discusses some of these changes in her New York Times Magazine article. Emerging Adults frequently change residences (slightly more than 30% move everyyear); change jobs (averaging seven jobs during their 20s); move back with parents (more than 40% move back in with their parents at least once during their 20s); and often spend time living with a romantic partner (66%).  These changes can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.