Knowing the warning signs or symptoms of alcohol or drug abuse allows you to intervene before there are more dangerous consequences.

Xanax, generically known as alprazolam, is one of the most widely-abused prescription drugs in this country.  As prescriptions for this highly addictive drug rise, the rates of abuse and dependence increase as well.  As many have discovered, Xanax is highly addictive.

Xanax is a benzodiazepine in the sedative-hypnotic class of drugs.  It is generally prescribed to treat panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, some forms of generalized anxiety or social anxiety disorder and some phobias.  Like other sedative-hynotics, Xanax is also prescribed for difficulty falling asleep.  Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants, and like alcohol, work to slow down the brain’s activity as well as block the “alarm system”, which is responsible for excessive levels of anxiety.

Although Xanax may be prescribed legally by a physician, abuse and dependence can occur.  For many it is a highly addictive drug.

The crushing and snorting of Xanax has recently become more widespread, making the dangers of this drug even higher.  When snorting Xanax, the effects are felt faster.  Xanax abuse among teens is on the rise, as they have easy access to these drugs out of their home medicine cabinet if a family member is prescribed them as a PRN or “as needed”.xanax bar or xannie

Xanax bars (also known as zanies or planks) are 2mg elongated bars that can be split or quartered. People who are abusing Xanax may take multiple bars at a time or combine them with alcohol or other drugs.  One of the effects of a Xanax high is memory loss, causing the user to forget he/she has taken the drug or how much has been ingested.  This can lead to overdose.

Signs Of Xanax Abuse:

Indications of Xanax abuse are: 1) taking Xanax in dosages higher than prescribed, 2) taking Xanax without a prescription, and/or 3) taking Xanax for the sole purpose of getting “high”.  A person abusing Xanax may exhibit slurred speech, decreased motor coordination, impaired memory, sleepiness, lethargy and lightheadedness.  Xanax, especially in larger dosages or combined with alcohol (which can be extremely dangerous) can provide a crippling high that is similar to being drunk.  The high is achieved quickly, within 5-10 minutes of taking it.

Signs Of Xanax Dependence:

Physical dependence on Xanax can occur within just a few weeks of taking the drug regularly, even at prescribed dosages.  According to the DSM IV-TR, tolerance is one of the hallmarks of dependence.  Tolerance develops as the body adjusts to the presence of the substance and requires more of the drug to achieve the similar effects.  Once there is physical dependence, withdrawal effects can be felt when stopping the drug immediately. If you are taking a Benzodiazepine, you must consult a doctor before discontinuing the drug, as stopping the drug abruptly will lead to seizures and potentially death.

Xanax dependence tends to develop slowly over time and without the user or family members noticing.  However, once a dependence or addiction exists, one will begin to appear “checked out” or “zoned out” frequently.  He/she will not be able to be present emotionally for family members, and may have difficulty remembering conversations, etc. and will often deny there is a problem.

Xanax Detox:

Stopping Xanax or any other benzodiazepine once there is physical dependence can result in seizures, suicidal thoughts and even death, so should be done with medical involvement. Xanax addiction often requires a detoxification period which can last 5-10 days and is done in a medical setting under a physician’s care.  Following this, one may, depending on the severity of the addiction, opt to go into a residential treatment facility or intensive outpatient treatment program.  Abstinence from all mood and mind altering drugs will be necessary during this recovery process.  Ideally constructive coping skills will be learned that will aid in handling anxiety so that addictive drugs are no longer needed. 

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.  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

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

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

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 Use

Heroin can be (1) injected, (2) inhaled by snorting or sniffing, or (3) smoked. All three routes of administration deliver the drug to the brain very rapidly, which contributes to its health risks and to its high risk for addiction.  Repeated use of heroin causes changes in the brain, which frequently leads to uncontrollable drug-seeking no matter what consequences may occur.  For some people, heroin addiction begins after they are prescribed opiate pain drugs, but start misusing them.

Heroin Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms begin 6 to 12 hours after the last use, peaking within 1 to 3 days, and gradually subsiding over 5 to 7 days. However, some heroin users experience weeks or months or years of withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin Effects:

  • The heroin “rush” is usually accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and heavy feeling extremities.  It may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and severe itching.
  • After the initial rush, abusers often feel drowsy for several hours. Mental function is clouded by heroin's effect on the central nervous system. Heart rate slows. Breathing is also severely slowed, sometimes to the point of death. Heroin overdose is a particular risk because the amount and purity of the drug is not accurately known.
  • While using heroin and during withdrawal, the heroin user may experience:
    • Cravings
    • Mood Changes
    • Aches and Pains
    • Excessive Bodily Fluids
    • Diarrhea and Stomach Pain
    • Nausea and Vomiting
    • Fever
    • Restlessness
    • Sleep Problems
    • High risk of infections, such as HIV/AIDS
    • Collapsed veins
    • Infection of the heart lining and valves
    • Liver disease

Chicago Heroin Facts:

  • Heroin production and availability has grown significantly in the past decade. Reports from the National Drug Intelligence Center show larger yields from Mexico have led to purer, less expensive and more abundant supply heroin within the U.S.
  • In Chicago, nearly all heroin comes from Mexico via the Mexican drug cartels and is being distributed by Chicago street gangs, in what the DEA calls “the Perfect Storm”
  • For the past several years, Chicago has ranked first in the nation for heroin overdose emergency room visits.  Chicago heroin related visits are nearly double those of NYC and significantly more than 2nd ranked Boston.
  • From 2007-2011, mortality overdose/deaths increased by 115% in Lake County, IL, 100% in Will County, IL, and 50% in McHenry County, IL.
  • Heroin use in Illinois among white teenagers under the age of 18 has increased by 22%.

At New Hope Recovery Center, we have seen the increased use of heroin among Chicago area young adults first hand.  If you know someone who is using heroin, urge them to get help before it is too late for them.  You can contact us at 800-707-4673 or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

You may also be interested in reading other information about heroin use and addiction:

Heroin Abuse Warning Signs  Sadly heroin use has increased all over the US, including in Chicagoland area. How can you tell if someone you love is abusing heroin?  Look for these warning signs...

New Hope Recovery Center Review: Client Success Story When I first got to New Hope Recovery Center, I was no stranger to treatment. I had several attempts with inpatient treatment centers and detox units. At the time I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to be sober, I know I needed to be though. New Hope Recovery Center is where I learned “to want it.” At only 21 years old I was a daily heroin user and an alcoholic, I was not hirable and had burned up all but a few bridges with my family and ...

America's Failed Drug Policy The above Documentary: The House I Live In really pushes Americans to think about how we need to change our strategy when fighting the “War on Drugs.” Recently, Roosevelt University hosted the Third Annual Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy.  This year, the three main panels concentrated on (1) the opiate (heroin) epidemic in the Chicago area, (2) the potential Naloxone (an opiate antagonist that can reverse the effects of opiates) has to prevent overdose deaths and save lives, and (3) the future of drug policy in the United States...

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...

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Do you worry that you or a loved one is an alcoholic or is abusing alcohol? What factors distinguish the difference between a “social drinker” and someone that has a problem?

A huge factor in what people consider to be “normal” drinking is how they grew up and the habits of those around them. Just like many things in life, people choose to compare themselves to those around them. Although you or your loved one may feel your/their drinking is normal, it could be you have set your standard of “normal” based on who you/they surround themselves with. For example: If you grew up in a home where every family gathering involved large amounts of alcohol, family members falling asleep or blacking out, this may be considered normal to you. If your friends drink daily, it is more likely that you will feel that your drinking is normal since you only go out a few times a week.

The main focus in determining alcoholism is on how drinking affects your life, your activities and your body.

Behavior Symptoms of Alcoholism

  • Hiding your drinking, drinking alone or feeling guilty about your drinking
  • Drinking alcohol at times that are not considered “normal” (morning, during the day, before you go to work, etc)
  • Regularly feeling hungover in the mornings
  • Canceling plans or other responsibilities in order to hide your drinking
  • Failing to meet obligations, commitments and responsibilities due to drinking
  • Once you start drinking you cannot stop or control your drinking until you black out or people “cut you off”
  • Worry that your drinking affects others, such as your relationships with your family and/or friends
  • Drinking has impaired your ability to function in regular activities such as working, paying bills, keeping up with personal hygiene
  • Loss of interest in things that at one time brought you pleasure (reading, working out, traveling, volunteering)
  • Drink to “escape” issues, stress, problems, or feelings (such as sadness, loneliness, anxiety)
  • Keep or store alcohol in unusual places
  • Spend a lot of time and energy on drinking and recovering after drinking

Physical Symptoms:

  • Feel physically sick when you don’t drink (sweating, shaking, nausea)
  • Develop a tolerance, a need to drink more to feel drunk
  • Redness of the nose and cheeks
  • Swollen or bloated face
  • Retain water in your abdomen
  • Red and watery eyes
  • Poor complexion, large pores

New Hope Recovery Center  treats clients who suffer from alcohol and drug addiction problems. The lists above identify a partial list of symptoms of alcoholism or alcohol abuse and should only be used as a preliminary screening. 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.

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.

Here are 32 common symptoms of crystal meth abuse to look for:

Physical Symptoms of Crystal Meth Abuse/Addiction

  • Hair loss
  • Tooth decay or tooth loss (from meth mouth)
  • Skin picking and open sores, often on mouth and face
  • Dilated pupils
  • Eye twitching
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry itchy skin, acne
  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Excessive sweating
  • Body odor (smelling of ammonia or cat urine)

Behavioral Symptoms of Crystal Meth Abuse/Addiction

Crystal Methamphetamine affects a person’s behavior as well.  When a person is using or on crystal meth the following behavioral symptoms are common:

  • Attention and focus (often with repetitive compulsive behavior)
  • Insomnia
  • Hyper-activity and wakefulness
  • Talkativeness
  • Decrease in appetite with weight loss

Mental or Mood Symptoms from Crystal Meth Abuse or Addiction    

When a person is on crystal meth, you may notice the following behaviors:  

  • Euphoria
  • Aggression (including fighting or violence)
  • Paranoia
  • Increased libido (often with risky sexual behaviors)
  • Increased self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Greater sociability
  • Delusions of power
  • Hallucinations

When withdrawing from crystal meth, a person may exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Severe Depression
  • Increased appetite
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Paranoia

In general, crystal meth usually leads to outgoing, energetic, even hyperactive actions while someone is using it.  In contrast, coming down from and withdrawal from crystal meth often leads to exhausted, depressed behaviors.

New Hope Recovery Center treats all forms of substance addictions, including crystal meth addiction and abuse.  There are several treatment programs available to fit you and your loved one’s schedules.  New Hope Recovery Center also hosts numerous Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA) open meetings each week.  If you or a loved one is abusing crystal meth and would like help, you can email info@new-hope-recovery.com or call 888-707-4673 (HOPE).

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

When people abuse alcohol or drugs, they are taking risks with their health.  With Drug and Alcohol abuse it does not take long for damage to occur to one’s brain, body, and mind.  Along with the substance itself, there are risks and dangers associated with the lifestyle of substance abusers.  Certain lifestyle risks include financial, relationship, security, career, and overall personal health. People who take risks with their sexual health will likely come into contact with sexually transmitted diseases which can prove to be quite dangerous.

A sexually transmitted disease (STD) is any disease transmitted by direct sexual contact. Common types of STDs include Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Genital Herpes, Syphilis, HIV/AIDS, and Hepatitis.

Symptoms of STDs will depend on the type, but some of the most common symptoms people will experience include:

  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Discharge from the penis or rectum
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic Pain (menstrual like/female)
  • Testicular tenderness
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Warts at genital area
  • Itching at genital area

Due to the lifestyle, using addicts and alcoholics are more susceptible to STDs. There are a number of reasons for this, including when intoxicated, people are more likely to engage in unprotected sex. Alcohol/drugs lower inhibitions which may lead to promiscuity. Also, when intoxicated, physical symptoms will be less obvious and can easily be ignored. If on an Antibiotic to treat a STD, the use of substances may interfere with its effectiveness. Antibiotic compliance is less likely among substance abusers and the same goes for most medications.

Prevention is key, make sure to always use a condom for intercourse or dental dam for oral sex. Seek medical attention if any of the above symptoms are present. If unprotected sex has occurred, seek testing immediately. STD testing is simple, inexpensive or free, and confidential. Follow through with medical advice. (for example: repeat testing, full course of antibiotics, etc.)

If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol or drug abuse, seek help quickly. Alcoholism and Drug Addiction are diseases and gets worse over time. Seeking help or getting tested can be scary, but you don't need to do it alone. New Hope Recovery Center provides confidential assessments and treatment for substance abuse. We also have a nurse on staff who works closely with our Medical Director to handle medically related health concerns such as STDs. Contact New Hope Recovery Center by email or phone 773-883-3916.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Are you wondering if you or a loved one is addicted to gambling?  It is not always easy to determine what constitutes gambling addiction or gambling obsession.

How to tell if someone you love is addicted to gambling:

It can be difficult to tell if someone close to you is addicted to gambling. Gambling addicts often hide their addictive behaviors. Here are 38 behaviors or circumstances to look for that could be indications of gambling addiction or obsession.

  • Financial difficulties
  • Missing valuables or other household/personal items (sold to pay for losses)
  • Stays up late using the computer or phone, particularly behind closed doors
  • Spends increasing amount of time and money gambling or more frequently
  • Gets bored or irritable when not gambling
  • Borrows money from others
  • Gets numerous calls from collection agencies
  • Does not inform loved ones of their whereabouts, has unaccountable time
  • Increased moodiness when not gambling
  • Often angry or defensive if someone discusses or shows concern about gambling
  • Avoids socializing with others
  • Feels depressed
  • Increasingly dishonest
  • Unexplained charges or use of money, carrying large amounts of cash
  • Lying about how money spent
  • Absences from home/work
  • Preoccupied with gambling: relives past gambling wins or losses, plans next gambling opportunity, or thinks of ways to gamble

Are you addicted to gambling?

Gambling may be a fun form of entertainment.  However, for many people it can turn into an obsession or addiction.  If you have concerns about your gambling, see if any of the below items apply to you.

  • Gamble even though you have no more money, going into debt to gamble, or failing to pay bills while continuing to gamble
  • Chase your losses to win back money
  • See gambling as a way to make money
  • Stealing or selling family items to pay for gambling
  • Gamble alone or longer than intend to
  • Spend increasing amounts of time and money gambling
  • Boast about wins and downplay losses
  • Lie to cover up gambling, either directly or by omission
  • Gamble when upset, angry, frustrated, depressed, stressed
  • Gamble to celebrate good news
  • Become restless or irritable when trying to stop or reduce gambling
  • Use gambling to escape problems
  • Cannot cut down or stop gambling
  • Commit illegal acts to finance gambling
  • Jeopardized or lost significant relationships or education/career opportunities because of gambling
  • Rely on others to get out of debt
  • Refuse to explain your behavior, or lie about it
  • Look for new places or ways to gamble
  • Believe one big win will solve all financial and other problems or “make you happy”
  • Put yourself or a loved one at risk because of gambling
  • Fail to meet responsibilities to family and friends because of gambling

New Hope Recovery Center has experience treating all forms of addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with compulsive gambling, please call New Hope Recovery Center at 773-883-3916 or contact us via email at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center