resisting drug cravings

Quitting takes willpower, but when it comes to resisting cravings, what you really need is ‘won’t’ power. The problem is, the more you think about the things that you shouldn’t be doing, the greater the temptation becomes.

The human brain is a fascinating and sometimes fickle organ. You make up your mind. You quit, but at some point, you experience what is known as a ‘trigger’, and all the old associations and temptations come flooding back. What should you do?

Distract yourself

Have you ever noticed how you can distract babies and children from whatever’s making them cry by getting their minds occupied with new thoughts and activities? Of course, you’re not a child – but your mind still works in the same way. Give it a new ‘toy’ to play with, and the craving just goes away.

Since your current environment may have presented you with a trigger for your craving, it’s a good idea to get out and escape the situation. Take a brisk walk, or hop on your bicycle for some healthy exercise and a change of scene. Get down to the gym and put yourself through a strenuous workout. If you aren’t in the mood to get physical, you can take a drive to a pleasant lookout point in your area or take yourself out for a milkshake.

Talk to someone who supports you

Get grounded by calling or visiting someone who is supporting your recovery. Here’s a funny thing. If you tell them you aren’t going to backslide, and really mean it, you’ll be way less likely to go ahead and do it. Researchers have shown that once we take a standpoint and explain it to someone else, we’re far more likely to stick to our guns, no matter what. Strange, but true!

Do something you really get involved in

Whether it’s playing your favourite video game or working on your latest creative project, doing something that you find completely absorbing doesn’t leave room for the craving to linger. So choose something that you love doing and focus on just that thing.

Focus in – then change the channel

Why did you stop in the first place? Create images in your mind of all the things you used to do, and remember why they made you rebel against your addiction. Visualise the things that would have happened to you if you had continued on your old path of substance abuse or addiction. Now it’s time to change gear. Think about great things that have absolutely nothing to do with your addiction or your recovery. Conjure up positive images of people, places and experiences you love. Think about the things you still want to do in life and picture yourself actually doing them.

Get ‘in the zone’

Prayer, meditation and relaxation techniques can be your best friends when you experience cravings during your recovery. Take a bit of time out somewhere quiet and practice deep breathing techniques. Let your thoughts drift by without focussing in on anything or even judging it. This type of activity is called ‘mindfulness’, and it’s a great way of getting in touch with yourself and relaxing. Live in the moment and simply ‘be’. Experience the physical sensations, sights and sounds around you as if you were noticing them for the very first time. It’s a wonderful skill that’s worth developing, and it will help you cope with all sorts of stressors and add to your quality of life if you keep it up. Try spending a little time every day on this form of meditation. It gets easier as you go.

What if the craving is physical?

If you experience physical cravings, playing mind games with yourself isn’t going to work. What you need to do is to detox – preferably under expert supervision. Physical cravings and withdrawal symptoms are scary, unpleasant and even painful. Depending on your addiction, they may even prove fatal.

Even though you’ve resolved that you’re going to quit, your body isn’t accepting that. Having physical cravings doesn’t mean that you’re a weak-willed person, but it does mean that you’re an addict. And in case you didn’t realise it, addiction is an illness. Much as you may prefer to try going it alone, you really need help. Start by seeing your doctor, or if talking to the family doctor is too embarrassing to face, get in touch with a professional rehab center for advice as soon as you can.

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Risks of steroid use

Having a better, sleeker, stronger, high-performance body seems to be a big aim these days. And a lot of people are ‘cheating’ by using steroids. What are the risks of steroid use? And why is taking steroids such a bad idea? We check out just why, you shouldn’t resort to using steroids in your quest for the perfect body.

  1. Steroids can be addictive

Surprised? It’s a little-known fact, but using steroids can cause an addiction to the substances you’re pumping into your system. A pair of researchers from Yale University are the latest ones to confirm what everyone has been suspecting; you can get a physical addiction from using steroids.

The researchers say that heavy steroid users experience cravings and classic withdrawal symptoms when they don’t get their regular shot of performance enhancing drugs. These include depression, anxiety, headaches, fatigue and aching muscles and joints. It’s one of those things that creep up on you. You tell yourself you can stop any time. Then you find that you can’t. IF this is you, get help for your addiction before it’s too late!

  1. There are nasty physical side-effects

Although the image of a muscled athlete is something we all admire and want to emulate, you aren’t going to get that from using steroids. If you’re a guy, you certainly don’t want prominent breasts, you probably don’t want to go bald or see your testicles shrinking away and you seriously don’t want to find that you’re impotent or unable to have kids later on. Plus, an enlarged prostate is really uncomfortable and can cause you to need some very unpleasant medical procedures. You really don’t feel great with a catheter in place!

Women may prefer to keep a feminine speaking voice, and no woman wants more body hair or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, a bald head. Plus, steroids mess with your menstrual cycle, and we all know what a bad sign that is!

Neither men nor women love the idea of having acne, liver problems, high blood pressure, higher levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, psychiatric disorders or aggressive mood swings. Plus, if you’re injecting yourself you run the risk of infections. Glamorous? Definitely not!

  1. A host of other health conditions

There are really too many potential health problems to list. Heart disease, diabetes, aches and pains, cramps, dehydration and, ironically, muscle weakness are just a few more of the problems you may experience if you choose to use performance enhancing drugs.

Some of them can even kill you if you get too much of them, and let’s face it, you’re getting these drugs illegally and you’re using them without medical supervision for reasons that no medical doctor would condone. You’re taking an enormous risk, and instead of having a ‘better’ body, you actually have a body that’s less healthy than it was before.

  1. Some side effects are irreversible

Usually, if you have a bad reaction to a prescription drug, reversing the side effects is as simple as stopping the medication – but that’s not always true of steroids. Both men and women can experience irreversible side-effects because they have been toying with the way their hormones work. Once the hormonal system is off balance, it can be difficult or even impossible to reverse the effects of steroid use.

  1. It can lead to opioid abuse

Does this sound over the top? A study found that 10% of men admitted for treatment against opioid abuse started with steroids. They began using the opioids or opiates to counter some of the side-effects of the steroids like muscle pain and insomnia – and once you’ve started injecting yourself with one illegal drug, injecting yourself with another may not seem like such a big deal.

What should you do if you suspect you’re addicted to steroids?

As with any other addiction problem, the first step is to visit your doctor and come clean about the problem you’re experiencing. It’s not your doctor’s job to judge you – but it is his or her job to explain your options and provide assistance. Help is what you need.

If you’re physically addicted to steroids, you may benefit from addiction treatment  in a rehabilitation center, where you’re taken away from the circumstances in which you started using steroids and can get off to a fresh start.

Takeaways:

  • The risks of steroid use outweigh the benefits
  • You can be addicted to steroids
  • If you have difficulty stopping, get help

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parents abuse drugs or alcohol

When you’re a teenager, you’re in a really weird place. You’re almost an adult, and you aren’t really a child any more either. You don’t accept everything around you unquestioningly anymore, and you start seeing things that might make you feel uncomfortable. What should you do if you think one or both of your parents abuse drugs or alcohol?

Understand that they have a very deep problem

Sure, knowing that your parents abuse drugs or alcohol already shows they have a problem – but it may not be the drugs or alcohol that causes it! Does that sound strange? People who abuse drugs and alcohol usually have some other problem that drives them to use – and abuse substances. Maybe they have problems from way back when they were kids, maybe they even hate themselves. You may want to help, but there are limits to what you can do. What your parents need is professional help.

Understanding that there’s a deeper problem is all well and good, but how does that help you? Well, knowing that your parent isn’t actually a bad person and doesn’t hate you is some comfort. That drunk or drugged out parent is actually sick. Not in the sense of being a ‘sicko’, but as someone who really needs some kind of help. As a kid or a teenager, you don’t really have power over the situation, but there are things you can do to help.

  1. You don’t need to take responsibility for your parent

Your parent is responsible for his or her own behaviour and addiction. Don’t blame yourself and don’t try to protect them if others notice their addiction. You can’t ‘cure’ your parent, so don’t even try.

  1. Tell them they need to get help

Whatever you do, don’t do this when your folks are under the influence. Wait for them to sober and calm, and then tell them that you’ve noticed they have a problem and that they should look for help. If one of your parents doesn’t have a substance abuse problem, talk it over with them first and see if you can get support. You and your family can also talk to a counsellor to see how best you can persuade your substance abusing parent to go for help.

  1. Get help if there is any danger of physical abuse

If your parent is physically abusive, they are violating your rights and endangering your safety. At this point, you’re fully entitled to (and should) report the problem to a school counsellor, the police, or an adult whom you trust. Protect yourself by avoiding direct conflict.

  1. Understand your feelings

If you feel repulsed or disgusted at the sight of your parent under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that’s perfectly natural. But separate the problem from the person. Getting your parent to find help is something you do not only for yourself, but for them. At the same time, remember rule 1. You are not, and cannot be responsible for and adult’s behaviour!

  1. Get confidential help

You may not feel comfortable about talking to someone you know about the problems you’re experiencing, but help is at hand, and you can be anonymous. Get in touch with organisations such as Alateen. This group allows you to confidentially get in touch at organised meetings with kids who have the same problems that you do, helps you to find coping mechanisms, and ensures that you’re not all alone with your problem.

The National Suicide Prevention hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) isn’t just there for people who want to commit suicide. Expert counsellors will also help you with the situation you’re in by giving you good advice on how to deal with family problems such as this one.

  1. If your parent or parents decide to get help, be supportive

Just admitting that they need help is a big step for any adult to take. You should respect them for this and be ready to do what you can to support them. Of course, you aren’t a qualified addiction counsellor, and you don’t need to be. Suggest that your family goes for family counselling and find out what the experts think you can do to be supportive.

If your parent pulls through rehab and recovery, you’ll find that they really are the cool person you’d like them to be, but first they’re going to go through a pretty rough time. Remember: it’s the problem rather than the person that’s been making you so miserable. This might be hard for you to accept. If so, find a counsellor that you can talk to.

To sum up:

If one or both of your parents abuse drugs or alcohol, it’s not your fault, but it will affect you. Get advice on how you can help them to recognise their problem and find treatment for the disease of addiction.

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Recover from addiction

Did you know that the American society of Addiction Medicine and the National Institute on Drug abuse see addiction as a disease that actually changes your brain? If you’re an addict, you’ll be more accustomed to having others think that you are a ‘bad person’ who isn’t responsible rather than a person with a bona-fide illness. Perhaps you even share that opinion.

But you want to quit. You want to stop defining yourself in terms of your addiction and become the best person you possibly could be. You want to leave the past behind and recover from addiction. There’s just one problem: you’re an addict. That means that you actually can’t just stop, even if you actually want to. Does that mean you have to be an addict for ever?

If you haven’t done so yet, book into a rehabilitation center

No matter what your addiction is – even if you have a behavioural addiction rather than a drug or alcohol based addiction – you won’t be able to get through this on your own, no matter how positive your mind-set is.  If you’ve been for rehabilitation treatment and then returned to your habit, you should try again. Remember, failure isn’t failure unless you give in to it and stop trying. As long as you keep working on your problem, you haven’t failed.

Its’ not just a matter of ‘drying out’ or detoxing; what you need to do is to uncover the underlying psychological issues – the emotions and the thinking that actually turned you into an addict. If you don’t do that, you’re only treating the symptom and the cause has not been removed. If you don’t do that, you probably will relapse.

There’s no one size fits all route to recovery. Everybody is different. One on one counselling will help you to uncover the place where your mind got stuck in a rut, and help you to find strategies to overcome that.

Don’t be ashamed

Would you be ashamed of yourself if you had heart disease? Obviously not, but the misconceptions about addiction are perpetuated by addicts themselves. We think that we have a choice, that we are weak-willed criminals rather than people with a common, treatable illness. If you think these things about yourself, that’s the first change in your mind-set that you’ll have to overcome if you are to recover from addiction.

Shame prevents us from talking about our problem and getting help and without help, recovering from addiction becomes impossible.

Be determined

Make a firm resolution and don’t be deterred if you recover by fits and starts. Of course, you might get through the whole recovery process without setbacks, but a lot of people do experience setbacks and relapses. Changing your entire mind-set and forming new habits isn’t easy, but just because something’s not easy doesn’t mean you should simply give up. If you are determined, you WILL recover. You’ll also understand yourself a lot better than you ever did before.

Love your body

That might sound like quite a hard thing to do. You’ve been indulging in self-destructive behaviour for so long. You probably don’t love yourself all that much, and loving your body is likely to be the last thing on your mind.

But this is something you’ll have to learn, and if you check in for rehabilitation at a good rehabilitation center, there’ll be people who can help you to learn how to care for and respect your own body. You’ll learn healthful new habits: eating correctly, getting exercise and discovering how to build up your damaged vitality.

Leave your past behind

You can’t pretend it didn’t happen, but your past need not define you. You can build a whole new you and move into the future a better, wiser and stronger person than you were before. That’s something to look forward to.

There will be tough times, but tough times are an opportunity to prove that you’ve got what it takes, no matter what anyone else may say about you. Turn your face towards the future, and work towards the most worthwhile thing that you will ever have done before – recovering from your addiction.

Be ready to help others

Recovery is a painful process – and the really hard part only begins when you leave your rehabilitation center and return to your old life, hoping to be a new person from now on. Attend your twelve-step meetings and share your experiences. Listen to what others are going through and try to help them out if you’ve overcome similar problems yourself.

You can recover from addiction – if you have the right attitude to see you through.

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Drugs and alcohol

Many creative people seem to use alcohol and drugs. They may say that it helps them to be more creative than they are when they are sober. The fact is, that subjectively, they may feel more creative because drugs and alcohol limit your inhibitions. You just go ahead and do things. That’s part of the reason why people should never drink or take drugs and then drive. It simply isn’t safe. You take more chances.

Alcohol inhibits brain activity

A Harvard professor and neurologist researched the role of alcohol in creativity, and her finding isn’t encouraging for those who say they drink to be more creative. Alcohol actually reduces activity in your brain. You’re thinking more slowly, less clearly, and basically, you’re ‘dumbing down’.

But you don’t feel dumber, and you have fewer inhibitions, so you go for it and achieve a result. The truth is, you could probably have produced a much better result if you allowed your brain to work at its peak performance level. What’s holding you back isn’t a lack of alcohol-induced creativity; it’s your own habit of being critical of yourself that’s paralyzing you.

Pot makes you less creative

A test conducted in the Netherlands on pot smokers used a creative thinking process called ‘divergent thinking’ to test people’s creativity before and after smoking pot. Here’s what they found. Just about everybody said that they felt more creative, but they fared much worse at the creative thinking test after using pot!

So what really happened was a confidence trick. The pot caused the people in the test to think that they were more creative when in actual fact, they were much less creative!

Heroin and opiates jumble up your thoughts

Experts say that heroin brings our brains into a state that’s comparable to that experienced by people with a serious psychosis. So yes, you will have crazy thoughts, and if your idea of genius is madness, you’ll have some creative ones too, but the main contribution that heroin makes to creative people is what’s known as ‘disinhibition’.

So basically, you aren’t really more creative, but you are much less inhibited. That may sound pleasant enough, but the consequences of opiate use are well-known. Addiction happens quickly and getting off drugs is a slow and painful process for the addict – and those are the lucky ones.  It would be easy to make a list as long as your arm of famous people who have died as a result of heroin overdoses – and that’s just the famous ones!

Bod Dylan was a heroin addict at one point in his career. Then he quit. If heroin had been responsible for much of his creativity, that would have been the end of his career, but instead he went on to write some of his all-time best songs after quitting heroin. Did it make him more creative? Probably not!

Drugs and alcohol: a snare and a delusion for creatives

No matter which way you look at it, drugs and alcohol are not going to make you more creative than you already are. But creative people are often self-conscious when they use their talent and suffer from feelings of angst that what they’re doing isn’t going to be good enough.

They know that when they use substances they feel smarter and more creative, so they hit the bottle, smoke a joint, or resort to whatever their ‘favorite’ substance is. Then the delusion begins. The person is actually less creative than usual, but they’re less inhibited, they feel more confident and yes – they feel more creative. But it’s all smoke and mirrors. They aren’t any more creative than they were before their fix.

Now comes the big trap that lies in wait. Because the creative person thinks that they are more creative when using substances, they feel the need to use them whenever they are at work on a creative project. What if that’s every day? Or even several times a day? The path to addiction lies waiting for the unwary.

How can you boost creativity?

A real boost of creativity comes from a sober mind. If you’re feeling like you aren’t making progress, perhaps you are just being too self-critical. You could also have spent too much time sitting still. Research has shown that getting a bit of brisk exercise in the outdoors really does boost creativity – without making your brain dumb down or putting you at risk of addiction. Get up, take a walk, take a break and when you get back to what you were doing, just go for it! It really will be so much better than anything you achieve under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

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alcohol kills

People are inclined to think that alcohol doesn’t present a major health risk. After all, it’s perfectly legal to drink. But the World Health Organization lists alcohol as the third greatest health risk after tobacco and high blood pressure. That’s because alcohol kills – and you don’t even have to be particularly heavy drinker for it to impact on your health.

Just a little too much…

You’re at risk if you’re a man who drinks more than a pint and a half of lager a day, or if you are woman who drinks more than one large glass of wine a day. Alcohol use promotes cancers, brain disorders, osteoporosis, heart disease and gastritis.

Not all of these are necessarily fatal, but both heart disease and cancer can kill you – and who wants to develop dementia? Of course, you never see any of this in alcohol advertising. It’s all glitz and glamour or rugged-looking, healthy men throwing back a pint of lager with ‘the boys’. No images of hospital beds feature – that’s ‘behind the scenes’ stuff that they’d prefer you not to know about.

Much too much now and then

There’s a lot of joking and a light-hearted attitude towards binge drinking. Hangovers, memory loss and, of course, the previous night’s party, are all seen as something to laugh about. But death from alcohol poisoning is no laughing matter. Six American die every day and 2,200 die each year, simply from drinking too much alcohol.

These people aren’t alcoholics. Many of them don’t drink all that regularly, and according to the CDC, 75% of them are aged 35 to 64. It’s not the sort of thing we even think about when heading out to ‘celebrate’ the weekend with a few drinks. In the popular mythology, alcohol poisoning only happens to college students – but reality paints a different picture. Most alcohol poisoning fatalities occur amongst the middle-aged.

And it really is only a few drinks away. You don’t have to polish off a bottle of bourbon or pile into the beer all that much to get potentially fatal alcohol poisoning.  Just five or more drinks places you at risk if you’re a man, and women reach the danger zone after only four drinks.

Much too much on a regular basis

At this point, we’re crossing the border between abuse and addiction. If you drink a lot and you drink often, you are at risk of reaching a point where you are no longer able to function without alcohol. And the health risks you face are very grave indeed.

80% of people who are admitted to hospital with liver disease use alcohol regularly. In very severe cases, irreversible damage has been done to the liver and it is impossible for the organ to function. 10% of liver cirrhosis patients will contract cancer of the liver. The CDC reports that over 18,000 people in the US die of alcohol-related liver cirrhosis every year.

And of course, all the other health risks related to alcohol are much more severe if you frequently drink too much.

How much is alcohol shortening your life span? There’s no way to be sure, but alcohol kills. It’s a fact that nobody can deny.

Death on the roads

10,076 traffic fatalities in the US involve alcohol-impaired drivers. That’s 31% of all deaths on the road. And 17% of road deaths in which children are killed involve a drunk driver. It’s all very well risking your own life, but when you drive drunk, you might end up having to live with the knowledge that you killed someone else.

What should you do?

Be aware of the risks that you face when you drink, and either don’t drink at all, or drink very moderately. Never binge drink.

If you can’t face that thought, you probably need help – even if you aren’t actually physically dependant on alcohol yet. Go for one on one counselling, consider joining group-therapy sessions, or book yourself into a rehabilitation center to detox and get your mind-set right for sober living.

Any of these might sound a bit radical – after all, just about everybody drinks. But it’s important to understand that problem drinking, though a common problem, should be treated as an illness and cannot be ignored. Just because a lot of other people share your problem, doesn’t mean that it isn’t serious. Take it seriously, and get help now. Remember: Alcohol kills! In total, excluding alcohol-related road accidents and homicides, more than 29,000 people in the US die from alcohol-related illnesses.

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Buying prescription drugs online

Buying prescription drugs online is a disturbing trend that may have far-reaching health implications for users of these medicines. The FDA’s launch of the Be Safe Rx campaign is an indication of just how widespread and worrying this problem is

But what exactly is the problem? Is the FDA protecting big pharma? That’s definitely not the case. The FDA is a non-partisan organisation. But what the organisation is trying to achieve is heightened awareness about the dangers of buying prescription medications from dodgy online sources.

What’s wrong with the drugs you buy online without a prescription?

Many unscrupulous online pharmacies claim to offer ‘cheap generics’ without a prescription. They may assure you that the drugs were produced in a facility that’s up to US safety standards, but how do you actually know what you’re getting? The answer is, you don’t.

If you’re ‘lucky’, you’ll get a harmless placebo that does absolutely nothing, but there have been much worse case scenarios. People have received counterfeit drugs that attempt to mimic the effects of the real thing and that are positively dangerous. Others have received expired drugs that aren’t safe to use any more, and even if you do luck out and get the ‘real thing’ you have absolutely no idea of the conditions it was manufactured under.

The drugs could be contaminated. There has even been talk of rat-droppings found in analyzed medicines that were intercepted by the FDA – and they could kill you. A 17 year old boy who ordered Vicodin online was found dead after using the prescription painkiller that he’d bought online and a school teacher who bought ‘seeping pills’ online was given a powerful antipsychotic that affected her so badly that she had to be hospitalized.

As many of these so-called ‘pharmacies’ cover their tracks very well and ensure that they can never be found, they aren’t even held accountable for the ways in which they ruin people’s health.

Why do people buy drugs from black-market pharmacies?

Some people are just in ‘too much of a hurry’ to see a doctor, some are buying drugs for embarrassing conditions that they don’t want to talk to their doctor about, and some of the victims of fake pharmacies are people with a huge problem: they’re addicted to prescription drugs and simply can’t get enough of them legally any more.

What should you do if you’ve bought drugs from a suspicious online pharmacy?

The easy answer is to flush them down the toilet and never buy from such a source again. Even if the medicines seem to have been working, the quality standards and ethics of the manufacturers who are willing to supply an unaccredited source with large volumes of prescription drugs are, at best, questionable.

But what if you simply can’t do without these medications? You experience horrible side-effects when you stop taking them, and although you know you shouldn’t take as much of the medicines as you do, you seem to need more of them all the time.

If this is you, it’s time to face facts. You are the victim of an addiction, but you shouldn’t allow yourself to become a victim of what are, essentially, drug dealers. And you don’t know what you’re getting. You can buy from the same supplier and get something completely different next time around. It’s time to escape from being a victim, but you have to make the first move.

Only you can save yourself- but others will help

The first thing you need to do is to go and see your doctor. Although you may feel ashamed to talk about what you have been going through, a doctor will understand your problem. It probably won’t be the first such case he has seen either. Your doctor will discuss your options with you, and provide you with all the information you need on various treatment methods.

Do consider going for inpatient rehabilitation if it is recommended for you. You can see it as going to a health spa if you don’t like the term ‘rehabilitation center’. The big advantage of doing this is that you’ll have all the help and support you need to get through the difficult early stages of detoxing your body from the medicines you’ve been taking.  Some of them will even offer you aftercare support if you need it.

If you have been buying prescription drugs online, you have to ask yourself why you have been taking such a risk. It could be that you have a problem and need help.

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peer pressure

Drugs and substance abuse have been sore spots in society for a long time. However, the number of teen abusers has been climbing steadily lately. This isn’t restricted to illegal drugs like crack and heroin, but alcohol as well.

Many of the teenagers who take drugs are just normal teens who are under bad influence; mainly the influence of peer pressure from their substance abusing friends.  You may think to yourself, “Why would my friends pressure me into substance abuse?”  It’s very likely that your friend is under a certain amount of pressure himself.

If you are in a situation where you are under immense pressure to abuse substances, or if you know someone who needs help, use our guide to help you avoid falling prey to peer pressure.

  1. Avoiding Substances

Prevention is always better than cure. It is always better to stay away from substances. After all, it’s always harder to quit once you’re hooked. Imagine this situation, you are at a party with your friend and he or she tries to offer you drugs, what should you do?

The best way to deal with such a situation would be to reject the person and avoid all contact with them. You should also quickly leave before he or she tries again. Even if you are offered an opportunity to try the drugs for free, you should never accept this offer as it will only leave you wanting more and give others an opportunity to extort money from you.

You may think that you have a strong will and just trying a drug will not get you hooked. The truth is that most people who unintentionally end up abusing substances also started out thinking that way. No matter how strong willed you may think you are, you should never take the first dose as it could easily end in you getting hooked for life.

  1. Stand Up for what is Right

If someone is trying to pressure you to take drugs or alcohol, be firm with them. We all know that taking drugs and underage drinking is illegal and that you can get arrested for it. So do not cave in under peer pressure but rather, do the right thing by saying no to drugs and alcohol.

If your friends are pressuring you to take drugs or alcohol by threatening to no longer be your friends if you don’t, you would probably be better off without them in the long run. Such people will not build you up and you will only get into more trouble by remaining friends with them.

How to say “No!” Firmly

Many teens cave in under peer pressure as they do not want to offend their friend by saying “no” to them. Here are some ways that you can use to say “No!” firmly without coming off as rude or offensive:

  1. Just say no – In some situations, it is best to just say no immediately and leave – no questions asked. This is especially useful in a situation where you are about to cave in under the pressure.
  2. Humor – Certain situations call for some light joking and banter. By creating humor, you can avoid a tense atmosphere and direct attention away from you. Laugh it off with a joke that makes it clear you’re not going to try drugs or underage drinking.
  3. Reason it out – Explain why you think it is a bad idea and the potential damages it could cause. This not only helps you say ‘no’ but can also help others to understand why they should quit drugs or alcohol.
  4. Work as a pack – If you have a group of close friends whom you know you can trust, this may be the best solution yet. It is good to always have someone who can back you up in situations when peer pressure strong. It is also good to be able to mutually support one another. Talk it over with your friends!

That said, if you have already fallen victim to peer pressure, it is not the end of the world. You can still seek help for yourself or someone whom you know who needs help.

The best way to do so would be to seek professional counselling and if you are addicted, you may have to go for treatment at an inpatient rehabilitation center. That way, you can not only quit drugs and alcohol, but also prevent relapses and be clean for life.

Group therapy is also a good option as you can share experiences with fellow substance abusers and ex-addicts who can mutually help one another.

Nonetheless, prevention is always better than cure. Learn how to deal with peer pressure so that you will never fall prey to substance abuse.

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Substance abuse kills

by Per Wickstrom

Substance abuse

It is a widely known fact that drugs are bad for you. People generally know that drugs cause addictions and can get you arrested, and many people have tried drugs or know someone who does drugs.

Every year, substance abuse kills a staggering 60,000 people in the United States alone. Many people know that abusing drugs and alcohol can kill you, but how many people actually know how and why they do? Here are some ways that abusing drugs could potentially lead to your demise.

  1. Overdose

One of the most common causes of death due to abuse of drugs is overdose. This often happens when a person takes too much of a drug at once, causing his body to fail under the pressure and stress.

Overdoses often occur when heavy drug users who have been drug free for a long period of time relapse and end up taking too much at once. When a person takes drugs, they find that they need  to gradually increase dosages in order to feel the same effect due to the resistance the body develops to the drug.

However, when a person stops taking drugs for a long period of time, the body starts to lose its resistance to the drug. Thus, when relapsed users go back to taking drugs, they tend to overestimate their body’s resistance to the drug by taking the same dosage as they were taking before they stopped. Their bodies are overwhelmed by the dose and are unable to resist the drug, causing the user to overdose and possibly lose his or her life.

  1. Excessive Stimulation

Many of the common drugs that people abuse are stimulants, that is, they give people the feeling of pleasure by releasing adrenaline-like hormones in the user’s body. This can give a person the feeling of being high, but also comes with many nasty side effects.

Many of these stimulation-based drugs kill by over-stimulating your body. These drugs, such as cocaine and meth cause the abuser’s heart rate and blood pressure to rise, and blood vessels to narrow. These side effects can lead to death in a number of ways:

  1. Brain damage – Due to the increased blood pressure, a blood vessel could potentially rupture in the victim’s brain. The narrowed blood vessels can also reduce the amount of blood being pumped to the brain, and in both of these cases can lead to brain damage and in the worst cases, death.
  2. Cardiac arrest – The narrower blood vessels reduce the volume of blood that is pumped and the increased blood pressure can mean that the heart has to work harder to sustain the victim’s body. These could cause excessive stress to the heart, and may cause death by triggering a heart attack.
  3. Overheating – Stimulants also cause a release of dopamine in the human body. Dopamine regulates body temperature and such an increase will confuse the body and cause the body to be unable to cool down. This, coupled with the increased heart rate and blood pressure, can cause a victim’s body to overheat and will cause death if not treated immediately.
  1. Muscular Twitching and Paralysis

This is most commonly the cause of death in nicotine related substance abuse cases. This occurs when a person has an overdose of nicotine, which is often caused by using more than one source of nicotine at once (e.g. Nicotine patches, nicotine gum, cigarettes etc.).

When low levels of nicotine are introduced into a person’s body, it only causes stimulation in a person’s nervous system, causing addiction in the process. A person’s muscular system is not affected.

However, when a large dosage of nicotine is administered to a person, it can cause the person’s nervous system to enter into confusion, or seizures, and in the most severe cases, coma can follow. A large enough dosage will also cause a person’s muscular system to be affected , and can paralyze enough muscles to prevent a person from breathing, as well as causing heart attacks, which are both potential causes of death.

  1. Alcohol abuse

Impaired judgement under the influence of alcohol causes many deaths each year as a result of accidents. Alcohol also negatively affects your liver function and can ultimately lead to liver cirrhosis and death. Just one evening of binge-drinking can be the death of you. Alcohol poisoning can be fatal. We should never forget that alcohol is actually a very dangerous substance – even if  you aren’t addicted but abuse it.

Preventing Deaths from Substance Abuse

The best way to prevent death from substance abuse is by quitting drugs and not relapsing. Getting help from professional rehabilitation centers is the best way to help a person stay sober and prevent deaths from substance abuse.

Another solution to prevent deaths from substance abuse would be to counter crooked thoughts. Crooked thoughts are negative ideas that make people feel worthless or insecure and make them turn to drugs for relief. Addicts often use these thoughts to justify their substance abuse, blaming the world around them for their problem.

One of the best ways to overcome substance abuse, and death as a result of substance abuse, would be to tackle the problem at its roots and help people to think in a healthy way. That’s why counselling is so important to recovering substance abusers and addicts – it helps you to identify and correct crooked thinking.

If you are suffering from substance abuse, or if you know someone who is, seek help today. In the long run, it is always better to be drug-free. After all, substance abuse kills.

 

 

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Choosing an inpatient rehabilitation center

Choosing an inpatient rehabilitation center isn’t just a matter of grabbing the first opportunity that comes up. It’s worth doing your homework before you decide which center has the approach that’s most likely to work for you.

Each rehabilitation center has its unique features and programs, so finding one that really suits you is an important step on your road to recovery. Here are some of the factors you should consider:

  1. What percentage of patients experience a lasting recovery?

A good rehabilitation center will be open about the percentage of patients who relapse. There will always be some, so anyone who claims 100% success rate isn’t being entirely truthful. If a center refuses to divulge their recovery statistics, they’re probably not very good or haven’t been doing their homework. Choose facilities that have a good recovery rate to make your shortlist.

  1. Now look at the programs offered- especially support after detox

At the very least, a rehab facility should offer detox, individual counselling and group counselling. But look into the philosophy behind the treatment too. Faith based counselling for instance, may be ideal for you, or else not suit you at all. Some centers offer extra therapies worth considering, but bear in mind that aftercare is important to you too. Quitting an addiction takes more than just inpatient care. How can the different centers help you after you leave their facility?

  1. Check online for reviews

What you really want to know is whether there has been bad publicity at any point. Are the staff pleasant and helpful? Have there been any instances in which patients have felt that the center is falling short in terms of patient care? Of course, there are unscrupulous people who will post bad reviews because of a personal grudge of some sort, and overly particular people who complain easily, but if you see a lot of bad publicity around a center, you should cross them off your list.

  1. Visit the facility and take a tour

Now that you’ve whittled down your options a little, it’s time for the ‘job interview’. That is to say, you will be paying a visit to each of your shortlisted ‘candidates’ to see who gets the job of setting you on the road to recovery.

Look at the facilities offered. Are they clean, neat and well-maintained? An unprofessional image probably means an unprofessional service, so don’t hesitate to cross a rehab off your list if things look shoddy in any way.

During your visit, you should meet several members of staff. Do they seem to be friendly, supportive and professional? You will be placing yourself in the care of these people, so when choosing an inpatient rehabilitation center, the staff and their attitude towards patients is an important consideration. If you meet any residents during your tour, see if you can strike up a conversation. You may get a better perspective of what you can expect at the facility.

  1. Now you can make up your mind!

Now that you’ve got all the details and paid visits to the rehabilitation centers that look the most suitable, you can decide which of them seems to offer the service most likely to help you begin a new, sober life.

To help you make up your mind, create a checklist and grade the facilities you visited on several points to see if you get a clear winner. What’s important to you is what matters most, but just to get the ball rolling, here’s a list of ten items that you could include in your checklist along with any other factors that could be important to you:

  1. Success rate: the higher the better!
  1. Length of program: 6 to 8 weeks or even longer is generally considered the most effective.
  1. Programs offered: again, more is better!
  1. Extras: are any activities over and above basic detox and counseling offered?
  1. Is any support offered after you have been discharged? Who seems to offer the best aftercare support?
  1. What are other people saying about this facility? Are reviews particularly positive or negative?
  1. Is the facility neat and well maintained?
  1. Are the staff friendly and professional? What qualifications do they have?
  1. What do you think the residents’ experience is like?
  1. Is it near or far from your home and is that a good or bad thing? Some like to have their families close by. Others prefer to go for a complete change of scene.

Choosing an inpatient rehabilitation center should be done as soon as possible after realizing that you need treatment. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider your options first! Once you’ve found the right place, it’s all systems go! Good luck!

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