Addiction (also known as substance use disorder) is a devious and sometimes confusing disease. However, many signs and symptoms may alert loved ones to the fact that a person is in trouble with their drug or alcohol use. Drug-seeking behavior, financial issues, and drama with relationships and even the law are signs that something is wrong. People who are addicted to drugs may have different symptoms, depending on the drug they use. People can become addicted to any mind-altering substance. However, some drugs are more addictive than others. These are important to know because “hitting bottom” or experiencing negative consequences can snowball quickly for the drug user as they begin to need more of the drug.
- Heroin: Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs and one of the most dangerous. It’s been used in many years all over the world as a narcotic, derived from the poppy plant. As an opiate, heroin quickly affects the brain, eliminating any pain signals and giving the user an intense euphoric high. Users rapidly also develop a tolerance to the drug, making them need more amounts to get the same rush they first experienced when getting high. When a person who uses heroin problems tries to cease using, they experience intense withdrawal symptoms. Often they choose to use again because these symptoms are so unpleasant or painful.
- Opioids: Similar to heroin, opioids are fueling an addiction crisis across the Unit4ed States due to lax prescribing and regulation. Opioids such as Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicoden are all highly addictive drugs. They operate in the same way as heroin, with the difference being that they’re pharmaceutical drugs. They are made in a lab, not from the poppy plant, but they work the same way. Withdrawal is a considerable issue that stops people from getting help for this addiction, and people often resort to heroin when they can’t get their drug of choice.
- Crack cocaine: Crack cocaine spurred a crisis of addiction, drug wars and mass incarceration throughout primarily inner-city communities in the 1990’s. Many stereotypes still surround this drug, and a lot of stigmas encompass its use. However, crack is incredibly similar (just more potent) to its more “designer” counterpart, cocaine. Crack is considered more addictive than cocaine because it’s more powerful, and its high is short-lived. Many people who use crack are unable to quit because of its powerful high. It gives users euphoria and more energy, making them jittery as well as high. The intense lasts about 15 minutes. People who become addicted to crack crash from that high and seek it again immediately, without realizing that they are quickly becoming addicted to the drug.
- Methamphetamine: This drug is also an “upper” with a high that can last for hours and cause the user to stay awake for hours or days. The high stimulates almost ten times as much of dopamine as is normal, causing extreme euphoria, adrenaline and sometimes paranoia too. The brain chemistry is immediately effected when a person has used meth. With the extreme high comes an extreme crash – making the user feel depressed and lethargic almost immediately after they “come down”. The withdrawal effects of meth are dangerous and can include nausea, vomiting, tremors, fever, seizures and hallucinations.
Many other drugs are addictive out there, but these are some of the most dangerous and, unfortunately, popular among addicted persons. Help is available no matter how bad you feel your addiction is! Recovery is possible.
If you or somebody you know thinks they have a problem with drugs, help is available. Please give us a call at 619-363-4767.
Are Interventions Effective way to get your family into Addiction Treatment?
About 95 percent of all addicts are in denial, so they’re unlikely to seek treatment completely on their own. They often don’t realize how destructive their habit is to themselves and to others. The primary aim of an intervention is to motivate them to enter treatment. If they manage to stay the course and even achieve long-term sobriety, then the intervention will have far exceeded expectations.
Many intervention strategies exist but these are the most common:
Formal intervention where family and friends, or co-workers, supported by trained interventionists, engage the addict on the destructive addiction behavior and present a treatment plan.
Forced court intervention where the addict is suicidal, has a serious mental disorder, or some other condition that’s self-harmful or dangerous to society. Kentucky and 37 other states have laws enabling parents to get adult children into drug centers via a court order.
Forced court intervention where the addict has committed a non-violent drug or alcohol-related offense, such as drunken driving. The addict avoids jail time by enrolling in a drug treatment program.
Do These Interventions Work?
Evidence suggests that family and concerned people’s interventions are extremely successful especially when professionals are involved. The success rate may be as much as 90 percent, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) says. Family and friends are important in helping addicts to admit to the destructive nature of their habit and to agree to treatment. But since emotions run high in relationships involving addiction, a trained interventionist should be on hand to guide the proceedings in an objective way so that the addict doesn’t feel ambushed.
A successful intervention involves careful planning by the intervention team. At the subsequent meeting with the addict, the destructive effects of his or her habit are carefully outlined, as are the consequences of refusing treatment, including being deprived of financial assistance or denied access to children. In the workplace, the worker, normally a key employee, may face the sack for refusing treatment. But the consequences are more effective when presented in a calm, compassionate way so the addict sees that it is for his or her own good. The stakes are also high for the intervention team. Family members want to preserve the family unit, while in the workplace, management wants to hold on to a valued employee.
The addict must decide on the spot whether to opt in or out of treatment. If the decision is positive, the addict is immediately checked into a prearranged addiction program which will likely provide counseling for the family, for all they’ve been through, and to make them effective in the recovery process.
Coercive interventions through the courts are extremely successful too, despite the force used. An estimated 60 percent of people enter rehab this way and there’s evidence of lowering crime and substance use among this group. In one study, only 29 percent were found to have subsequently failed drug tests compared to 46 percent of non-treated offenders while 52 percent were deemed less likely to be arrested compared to 62 percent of their non-treated counterparts. A 2005 study found coerced and non-coerced methamphetamine addicts to have similar treatment results and similar post-treatment sobriety levels, while another study found coerced addicts to have achieved even better treatment results than their non-coerced counterparts.[1, 4] The reason for this is not entirely clear. Perhaps it’s because of the constant threat of legal action they face, or because they gradually become aware of the merits of staying clean.
Elements of an Unsuccessful Intervention
Interventions are hard work. They may need constant revision before the right formula is achieved. Here are some reasons why an intervention may fail:
Family or friends intervene only when there’s a crisis so the action is a quick-fix and unplanned, so the addict doesn’t buy into it.
A professional interventionist is not involved in family or friendly interventions, so there’s little impartiality or clear direction.
Family and friends don’t seek an immediate commitment to treatment. So the addict is able to build a wall of resistance to treatment.
The consequences for refusing treatment are not presented empathetically, but in a threatening way which only serves to scare off the addict.
Once scared off, family members fail to follow through with the agreed consequences of refusal thus enabling the addict to keep abusing drugs or alcohol.
Family and friends show a lack of interest in court-ordered processes.
Interventions clearly work best when family and support personnel are included, even when they don’t initiate them. Court ordered admissions to treatment programs may be the only resort when all else has failed but tremendous success has been achieved here too. That’s why by mid-2012, over 2000 drug courts were already operational in the United States.
Scott Weiland, from the Stone Temple Pilots, dies on a tour bus from drug related issues. And yet again another celebrity that is tossed to the shocking waves of the largely misunderstood disease of drug addiction, yet there still seems attention on media related to the past and mental health, as if to say it is not the drugs, but a difficulty that comes to certain special individuals. The thing is, there are millions suffering and it deserves the attention it needs: addiction requires a recovery process that ultimately means change and continuous work. It is interesting that his family, specifically his wife, chose to mention the fact that he was not present. Weiland himself spoke of stopping heroin, yet still having difficulty with alcohol. So common for many who had drug problems rationalize to themselves and their social circles that its not as bad. Not so says the wife, the problem continued. Are we addressing addiction to the face or circumventing it? Are we giving a special treat to an artist because he or she made work that was positive to this world and we have a hard time accepting that one does not rationalize the other? How is the music industry going to change on these grounds? Will they not care on the health of a battling celebrity and continue to pump money out of their talent? When will a death get the attention it deserves: drugs. Its dirty. However, as we point the light the solution will come about. Prevention. Education. But above all, treatment and wellness.
I saw this and it reminded me of my initial thoughts of recovery. I thought I was different, and that my problems were unique....thanks for the message!
Present Moments detox and drug rehab center is the premier provider of comfortable and safe Addiction treatment in San Diego. Call us and get help today.
Obama prepares to address the epidemic of addiction, specifically heroin and overdoses that can be prevented and supported through non emergency lay responders and education, not to mention naloxone and narcon. We commend the presidency for doing more than speaking about the issue and supporting states that are having progress and evidence based results.
New Jersey, though a state pushing hard on advocacy and attention to substance use disorder and preventive resources such as Naloxone training, presents tension in residential settings for inpatient drug rehab use. NIMBY, or not in my backyard, is the concept of placing restraints or barriers for uses other than family settings for residential areas. Treatment, in an inpatient setting, is meant to have a one on one family atmosphere and change the format of living permits. This situation of a drug rehab suing the state shows that there is still stigma and a need to overcome the communication between neighborhoods and its effect, mostly positive shown on research, to the community.