Drug & Alcohol Addiction

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What is Addiction?

Addiction is a mental illness that can happen to anyone, at any stage of life. An addiction occurs when someone begins using a substance more than is needed and cannot stop using the substance no matter how hard he or she tries, becoming dependent on the it. A person can become addicted to a plethora of substances, including:

  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Prescription drugs

When someone has developed an addiction to a substance, it will eventually wreak havoc in other areas of his or her life; finances, relationships and health become serious risks an he or she faces.

Many experts define addiction as a mental illness. Compulsive behavior can rewire an addict’s brain, forcing the addicted person to place the substance over other priorities losing complete control. The effects of addiction depend on the type of substance the addicted person is abusing.

Typically, an addiction to a substance doesn’t happen overnight. Many users simply experiment with drugs or alcohol over a significant amount of time. Soon enough, their body will build up a tolerance. To feel the same effects they once felt, users will begin to take higher dosages and consume the substance more often. Eventually, the addiction will take over all other areas of life, causing those suffering from an addiction to act out, become irritable and go through withdrawal symptoms if they try ever try to stop.

Addiction is a serious disease. If you or someone you know is going through an addiction, know that you are not alone. We can help. Learn how to stage an intervention and find the appropriate rehabilitation facility and treatment for the type of addiction you’re going through.

The Addicted Brain

Drugs and Alcohol have the power to rewire one’s brain into thinking that person must consume their favorite substance, making him or her feel sick and trapped without it. Rehab, prison or death are the only three options one has to break out of that trap. If you are ready to enter rehab, then please call us now. We have people by the phone who can help you get started.

 

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Is addiction a Brain disease?

If you struggle with an addiction, you may ask yourself how you got there. You may feel as though something is wrong with you or you are a bad person. The truth of the matter is that addiction doesn’t discriminate. It will come after anybody.

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What part of the brain controls addiction?

Drugs impact the brain’s reward system through dopamine. The brain feels like it’s rewarded whenever someone does drugs. However, it’s a synthetic, false reward.

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What Causes Addiction?

Addiction is caused by a myriad of factors. Most importantly, however, addiction isn’t something that happens to bad people who want to hurt others. However, a combination of genetics, trauma and environment can combine to make addiction possible.

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How to break free from the cycle?

Dopamine and Addiction: Dopamine is stimulated by drug use. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in creating feelings of pleasure that our brains generally relate to eating and sex.

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Recognizing The Signs of Addiction

 

Addiction severely alters your brain’s chemistry. Once you become addicted, the people around you can usually determine a very clear change in behavior, attitude, and actions. One of the first noticeable differences friends and family may notice is a loss of control. When you become addicted to a substance, you won’t be able to control other areas of your life. In fact, all your thoughts are focused on when, where and how your next hit will arrive. Loved one’s may notice that you fail to continue engaging in hobbies you once loved. Soon enough, your only priority in life will be the substance.

Some drugs show different signs of addiction. However, the most common signs that your friends and family may notice include:

  • Altered sleeping patterns
  • Change in behavior
  • Change in eating habits
  • Denial
  • Financial difficulties
  • Hallucinations or other mental effects
  • Health issues
  • Isolation
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Missing work, school, or other important engagements
  • Muscle weakness
  • Relationship issues
  • Taking dangerous risks
  • Trouble with the law
  • Withdrawal symptoms, including a bad temper, violence, poor focus, depression, and severe cravings

Finally, your close friends and family are likely to catch you in many lies as you try to hide your addiction, eventually leading to even more issues. If loved ones try to reach out to get you help, you may feel like you’re being attacked, continuing to isolate yourself to hide your addiction, costing you to lose some of your closest relationships.

What to Do for a Loved One Suffering from Addiction

AIf you know someone who is suffering from addiction, it’s important that you fully understand what he or she is  going through. An addiction can completely change a person’s behavior, turning them into someone you may not even recognize. This is because the drugs will alter your loved one both physically and mentally. To get your loved one the help that they need, take part in the following actions.

Primarily, if you know someone suffering from addiction, learn about the symptoms you can expect as he or she continue to use. That way, you can be aware of the behavioral and physical changes that the drug is causing. Then, study the specific withdrawal effects that your loved one may go through when they stop using the substance for a specific length of time. Symptoms like dizziness, nausea, vomiting and shaking are common. Depending on the drug, your loved one may also have a lowered heartbeat, slip into a coma and even die if they don’t have the drug in their system.

Finally, research the various rehabilitation facilities available. There are countless options to help them get control back of their life, including local outpatient treatment centers, inpatient facilities, and even rehabilitation areas they can travel to. If you help lay the groundwork and show your loved one their options, they can take the next step to get the help they need. You may be the only hope your loved one has for support.

If your loved one is showing severe withdrawal effects, like shallow breathing or coma-like symptoms, don’t wait. Call 911 to get help immediately.

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30, 60, 90-Day:

Inpatient VS Outpatient Rehabilitation

Users who face withdrawal symptoms usually become angry and violent, and in many cases, withdrawal can be life-threatening. That’s why it’s recommended that those who are suffering from an addiction enter a professional detox center to get all the help and support that’s needed to make a full recovery, instead of trying to face the symptoms alone.

Different addictions have different lengths of withdrawal symptoms and lengths of time, requiring different detox periods. Research the different options available to find the best rehabilitation program for your needs.

Typically, doctors recommend that you enter an inpatient facility to be treated. Here, you will be surrounded by trained medical staff all day that can help maintain and control the withdrawal symptoms you may face. Sometimes, the licensed professionals can even provide medicine to help lessen the pain and suffering you may feel. Since many withdrawal symptoms can cause severe pain or life-threatening effects, it’s important that a staff can monitor your progress and give you help as needed. While you’re here, you will also enter therapy to learn key coping mechanisms that will help prevent you from using in the future.

Outpatient treatment centers are also available to those suffering from an addiction. Here, people can come into the center two or three times a week to track their progress and be a part of therapy sessions. While not at the treatment center, patients can focus on other areas of their lives, like school or work. This type of rehab can be harder for addicts, since they most often go home to the same stressful environment that caused them to use in the first place.

To find out which type of rehabilitation is best for you, contact a professional today.

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    920 4th Ave N
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    The Treatment Philosophy is centered upon recognizing addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disorder characterized by compulsive use of drugs and alcohol. When co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar are present, therapy must be...
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    400 W Live Oak St
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    As a leading nonprofit treatment provider, we offer affordable evidence-based care to teens, adults, and families, as well as unique programming for mothers with young children and the military community. At our Phoenix House Academies, teens receive...
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    Issaquah, WA 98027
    Whether it’s a spouse, child, parent, friend, or you who is struggling to break free from addiction, trust Celebrate Hope for a comprehensive Christian rehab program. Guiding you along a Christian based and customized treatment plan, our evidence b...
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    3050 5th Ave
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Understanding Addiction: It doesn’t Discriminate

How Addiction Changes Your Brain

Drugs are chemicals that can permanently alter your brain. In fact, the chemicals in drugs will affect important parts of the brain that are responsible for life-sustaining functions. Along with being the organ responsible for making you feel all the addictive qualities, your addiction can affect the following areas of your brain:

  • The brain stem. This can alter your heart rate and breathing patterns. Depending on the drug you take, it either slows down or speeds up these processes, putting you at risk for severe effects, coma or death. This area is also responsible for your sleeping patterns, which will become irregular over time.
  • The cerebral cortex. This part of your brain is responsible for processing information from our five senses. The cerebral cortex is also considered the thinking center of the brain. It powers our ability to think, solve problems and make appropriate decisions. Drugs can severely damage this section of the brain, causing you to act irrationally and make decisions based on where and how you’re going to get your next hit.
  • The limbic system. This part of your brain controls and regulates your ability to feel pleasure. Your limbic system is altered as you build up a tolerance and become addicted to any type of drug. It also changes your perception of emotions, causing you to act out, act aggressively or violently, or even cause severe mood swings.

If you use drugs for long periods of time, you run the risk of causing permanent brain damage. Your ability to experience any type of pleasure will be exponentially reduced, causing you to have mood swings and long bouts of irritability or aggression. Eventually, you will feel depressed, lifeless, and unable to enjoy things you used to love. This can lead you to use even more to forget these depressive feelings, causing a seemingly never-ending cycle.

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Underlying Issues of Addiction

The cause of addiction varies on a case by case basis. Typically, addiction isn’t caused by a singular event, but instead, several different factors play a part. Some underlying issues of addiction include:

  • Initial curiosity. Sometimes, all it takes is a curiosity to feel the effects of a certain type of drug. Once you continue to use it, you won’t want to stop.
  • After time, you may want to stop taking drugs, only to realize that your body is now dependent on them. If you stop using, you’ll feel the effects of withdrawal. These range from moderate effects like nausea or vomiting to severe effects, sometimes including coma or death. To avoid these symptoms, as well as the stressors they’ve caused in other areas of their life, users will continue to stay dependent on the drug.
  • Mental illness. Pre-existing mental health disorders are common among addicts. To help them overcome symptoms of their mental illness, addicts generally turn to taking drugs. As they build up a tolerance, these users begin to use drugs increasingly more often.
  • An addiction can also form after a person has been given a prescription. Many times, these prescriptions are given to control pain after a severe injury or extreme surgery. Unfortunately, pain killers are highly addictive, leading to an addiction before the user even realizes it.
  • Comorbid conditions. This means that users have two or more disorders existing at the same time. This can include illnesses like anxiety disorders and depression. To help control the feelings that these conditions can cause, users often turn to drugs and quickly gain a dependency.

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It Can Happen to Anyone

Addressing Addiction to Alcohol

An alcohol addiction is one of the most common types of addiction across the country. Since it is legal, easily accessible and lowers anxiety, more people quickly turn to it to forget about their problems. Oftentimes, this addiction occurs as a social phenomenon. In other words, abusers begin to drink in social situations and talk to others in a relaxed, happy manner. Soon enough, a user will drink copious amounts of alcohol alone to feel its mind-numbing effects.

It’s important to note that not everyone who drinks is addicted to alcohol. It only becomes an addiction once the user can’t control how much  or how often he or she drinks or the cravings that are felt if one goes without drinking for marked periods of time.

Alcohol slows down your mental and bodily processes as it affects your central nervous system. Although dangerous on its own, alcohol becomes even more lethal once mixed with other drugs. It can cause slurred speech, muscle spasms, blackout periods, vomiting, coma and death.

Many alcohol abusers don’t even realize there is a problem until it has already seeped into other areas of life. Alcohol abusers may continue to use for years without thinking that they need to find help or seek treatment. If you or someone you know is addicted to alcohol, call a treatment center today. Professionals who can provide you the support and therapy you need to take back control of your life.

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Addiction to Prescription Drugs

An addiction to prescription drugs is surprisingly common. All it takes is one visit to the doctor or one quick sell on the street to get ahold of the substances. The most common types of abused prescriptions include:

  • Opioids meant to treat pain
  • Central nervous system depressants like sedatives, hypnotics and tranquilizers that are used to treat anxiety or sleep disorders
  • Stimulants that are commonly used to treat disorders like ADD or narcolepsy

Typically, this type of addiction begins by taking the regular dosage as prescribed by a doctor. As your body builds up a tolerance to the prescription, you may find yourself taking a higher dosage more often than necessary to feel the same effects. After time, you’ll find yourself being unable to stop taking your drugs. Lying to your doctors and exaggerating your pain to get more refills becomes common.

Eventually, your lies will flow into your everyday life. You’ll begin to isolate yourself to hide your addiction from others, causing harm to some of your closest relationships. You may even lie to your workplace to stay home and use. Soon enough, your job may terminate your position because of your addiction, leading you to have increased financial trouble. As you spend increasingly more money on your prescription pills, you may be late on important payments, causing your company to shut off your phone, electricity, or even forcing your bank to take over your home and kick you out on the streets.

An addiction to prescription pills can be completely damaging to your life. While the risks you face depend on the type of prescription you’re abusing, they all have the potential to kill you. If you or someone you know is showing signs of prescription drug addiction, seek help immediately. The sooner you can seek treatment, the more likely you’ll be able to get back control of your life.

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“Your life can change. It’s a beautiful life and I don’t have to use anymore…”

Read about real, everyday people who fell into the world of Substance abuse as they share their personal histories of addiction and eventual triumph. Learn that recovery is possible and that there is always a better way.



Heroin Addiction – A modern epidemic

The Horrors of Escalating Heroin Addiction

An addiction to Heroin is becoming more common as street prices drop and finding a good dealer becomes easier. It’s easy for your friends and family to discover that you’re addicted to Heroin; your constant possession of paraphernalia, including needles or syringes, spoons, aluminum foil and pipes, and excessive skin picking are obvious signs.

Over time, people can also tell that you’re addicted to Heroin by the changes in your behavior. Common symptoms can include:

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Compulsive scratching
  • Contracting diseases like HIV and hepatitis B and C
  • Deceptive behavior
  • Hiding injection sites
  • Hostile and aggressive behavior
  • Increased sleep
  • Infections or abscesses near injection sites
  • Isolation
  • Lack of interest in hobbies you used to love
  • Lying
  • Poor hygiene
  • Skin picking
  • Slurred or incoherent sleep
  • Stealing or borrowing money
  • Weight loss

Oftentimes, abusers are afraid to stop using, because of the withdrawal symptoms they may feel. Some of the worst symptoms include intense cravings, cramping of the limbs, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, cold sweats, decreased mental functions, heart problems, liver disease and even death.

Because of the severe side affects you may feel when coming off Heroin, detox should never be attempted alone at home. We recommend entering an inpatient treatment facility, where you will be constantly surrounded by a trained medical staff that will monitor your symptoms and lessen your pain. That way, you can come down off Heroin safely.

If you or someone you know is experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms now, call 911 immediately to get the help you need.

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Cocaine Addiction: The 21st century plague

The Characteristics of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine has been compared to the plague because of its quick spread across the country. Like Heroin and certain prescription pills, cocaine provides a sense of euphoria that you may feel you can’t live without. Every time you use, you put yourself at serious risk for disease, psychiatric disorders, and death. Your friends and family may begin to put the pieces together and recognize the signs of addiction like:

  • A sense of excitement
  • Extra confidence
  • Agitation and aggression
  • Apathy
  • Delusions or paranoia
  • Depression
  • Dilated pupils
  • Hyperactivity
  • Extended periods of sleeping
  • Marks from injection sites
  • Nosebleeds
  • Symptoms that are typical of the common cold
  • Severe changes in concentration and focus
  • Severe cravings
  • Symptoms of ADHD

When you are addicted to cocaine , you’ll likely put your body at risk for severe and permanent damage, including heart muscle damage, stroke and brain damage. Over time, cocaine can even lead to inflammation of your heart’s inner tissues. These can lead to fatal conditions like heart attacks and cardiac arrhythmias. Cocaine can even cause your aorta to rupture, causing a painful death.

Cocaine addiction is serious. The sooner you can seek treatment, the more likely you’ll be able to live a quality life. If you or someone you love shows signs of a cocaine addiction, go to an inpatient rehabilitation center immediately. You’ll get the treatment and support you need to become healthy, and less likely to suffer severe long-term mental and physical damage.

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Meth Addiction and The Breakdown of Society

The Symptoms of Meth Addiction

Since Meth can provide an intense and long-lasting high, it is extremely addictive. With the addiction comes severe side effects that will permanently affect your life, including brain damage, psychological illness, and physical afflictions. Your friends and family may become aware of your addiction when you show the following symptoms:

  • Aggression and violence
  • Declining dental health, including tooth decay
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Hallucinations and paranoid delusions
  • High motivation to accomplish tasks
  • Inability to focus
  • Increased blood pressure and breathing rate
  • Lack of hunger
  • Lack of sleep
  • Repetitive motions
  • Scars from skin picking
  • Speaking rapidly
  • Unable to sit still
  • Uncontrollable jaw clenching
  • Unpredictable behavior

Meth is an extremely dangerous substance. Once you use, dopamine, a neurotransmitter that causes motivation and rewarding sensations, is released in extremely high doses. This is the euphoria you feel immediately after you snort, smoke or inject Meth intravenously. It also prevents dopamine from being reabsorbed back into your brain, allowing you to maintain a sustained high that Cocaine can’t even produce.

If you abuse Meth over a long period of time, you put yourself at risk of heart attack, seizures, breathing issues, stroke, and even death. That’s why it’s crucial to seek help immediately to get the treatment you need. Since the withdrawal symptoms you may feel can be extremely severe, professionals recommend that you seek out an inpatient facility. Here, you will be monitored all day by a trained medical staff to help ease the side effects that you may feel during detoxification.

If you or someone you know is abusing Meth, seek help immediately. You may be the only one that’s willing to help save their life.

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Understanding the Crack Cocaine Problem

The Debilitating Signs of Crack Addiction

Crack is one of the most powerful drugs on the market. It has gained appeal amongst drug users because of its potent and quick high for an inexpensive amount of money. It can increase your energy, attention and focus within minutes.

Crack becomes extremely addictive because the effects only last for about 5 or 10 minutes. To feel the high for longer periods of time, users will continue to smoke, snort or inject cocaine into their system.

It’s important to understand that nobody can use Crack as a recreational drug. Rather, it’s always a dependence, because of its extremely addictive qualities. Your close friends and family will know that you’re addicted to Crack when you display some common symptoms, including:

  • Aggressive and violent outbursts
  • Delusions
  • Dilated pupils
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of hunger
  • Muscle twitches
  • Paranoia
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Regular nose bleeds

As with any drug, your body will eventually build up a tolerance to Crack. This will cause you to take higher dosages and use more often to feel the same high. Using for extended periods of time can cause extreme anxiety, depression, irritability, psychotic symptoms, malnutrition, heart attack, stroke and even death.

Since the withdrawal symptoms put you at risk for serious physical and mental symptoms, we recommend that you seek treatment at an inpatient facility. That way, you will be supported and monitored by a trained medical staff that can help ease the withdrawal effects you’ll feel.

Crack is powerful and extremely dangerous. If you or someone you know is addicted, seek help immediately. The sooner you can get treatment, the more likely you will be able to get back control of your life.

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Stats & Facts

Stats & Facts

The CDC reported that nearly 13,000 died in 2015 due to Heroin overdoses.

In 2015, Opioids were involved in about 33,000 deaths per a report released by the CDC.

The NIAA reported in 2013 that 24.6 % of people ages 18 and up admitted to binge drinking in the last month.

About 88,000 people die each year in the US from alcohol-related deaths, according to NIAAA.

Getting Help with Drug & Alcohol Addiction

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