Motivation For Treatment

What does it mean to hit rock bottom?  Richard Rohr puts it well in his book Breathing Under Water, “Until you bottom out, and come to the limits of your own fuel supply, there is no reason for you to switch to a higher octane of fuel.  For that is what is happening!  Why would you?  You will not learn to actively draw upon a Larger Source until your usual resources are depleted and revealed as wanting.  In fact, you will not even know there is a Larger Source until your own sources and resources fail you.”  

As the “intake guy” at Stonegate Center, I love to ask the question “What brought you here today?”. (and you would be amazed at how often a parent or spouse will want to answer for the client).  As my friend Steve M. says, “I went through 5 treatment programs telling myself that ‘I just want my life back’, but as I entered my 6th program I realized ‘I DON’T WANT THAT LIFE BACK, I WANT A NEW LIFE!!!”  

This is not a time or a place for you to make a few changes in your behavior and hope to pick back up right where you left off minus the daily use of substances.  That would be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and then hoping that the ship doesn’t sink.  “I’m going to straighten up the what everyone can see but ignore the giant hole that has just been ripped open beneath the surface.”  Now is the time for core change, now is the time for heart change.  SOBRIETY SUCKS!!!  Don’t go to treatment just to gain a white knuckled grip on what you’re not allowed to do.  Go to treatment to taste the freedom that is found in transparency and accountability.  It is being fully known and fully loved.  I know, it sounds scary but it is the real deal…I promise. #surrender

Forgiving Ourselves

This is from Richard Rohr's "The Art of Letting Go; Living the Wisdom of St Francis"

Perhaps the most difficult forgiveness, the greatest letting go, is to forgive ourselves for doing it wrong. We need to realize that we are not perfect, and we are not innocent. “One learns one’s mystery at the price of one’s innocence” says Robertson Davies. If I want to maintain an image of myself as innocent, superior, or righteous, I can only do so at the cost of truth. I would have to reject the mysterious side, the shadow side, the broken side, the unconscious side of almost everything. We have for too long confused holiness with innocence, whereas holiness is actually mistakes overcome and transformed, not necessary mistakes avoided.

Letting go is different than denying or repressing. To let go of it, you have to admit it. You have to own it. Letting go is different than turning it against yourself. Letting go is different than projecting it onto others. Letting go means that the denied, repressed, rejected parts of myself are seen for what they are. You see it and you hand it over to God. You hand it over to history. You refuse to let the negative story line that you’ve wrapped yourself around define your life.

This is a very different way of living. It implies that you see your mistake, your dark side, and you don’t split from it. You don’t pretend it’s not true. You go to the place that has been called “the gift of tears.” Weeping is a word to describe that inner attitude where I can’t fix it, I can’t explain it, I can’t control it, I can’t even understand it. I can only forgive it—weep over it and let go of it. Grieving reality is different than hating it.

Letting go of our cherished images of ourselves is really the way to heaven, because when you fall down to the bottom, you fall on solid ground, the Great Foundation, the bedrock of God. It looks like an abyss, but it’s actually a foundation. On that foundation, you have nothing to prove, nothing to protect: “I am who I am who I am,” and for some unbelievable reason, that’s what God has chosen to love. At that point, the one you’re in love with is both God and yourself too, and you find yourself henceforth inside of God (John 14:20)!

Recovery By The Numbers: Forsake

I love the word Forsake because it implies a trust relationship.  Listen to the definition found on www.yourdictionary.com: “Forsake: To give up something formerly held dear”.  You see, I cannot forsake a total stranger because there is no trust relationship.  But, in all honesty, I do havethis trust relationship with my sin, my struggles, my addiction.  In fact, I nurture, protect, feed, and hide my deepest struggles and I when turn my back on it in the name of health and wholeness it can get ugly.  When I make the decision to “forsake” the crap in my life it will typically cry out and say, “Really, after all we’ve been through together?  You know that I am the only one that truly knows you.  You know that I am the only one that is there for you in the quiet, dark and lonely times.  You will be back and I will be here.”  This is where community comes in.  This is where REAL relationships are able to replace those that were built on lies and self-centered, destructive behavior.

It is scary to walk out on something or someone that we have looked to for comfort and control for so long.  We are asking the men in our program turn their backs on the familiar;  To forsake that which has been the coping mechanism for anger, stress, conflict, relationships, communication and well, all of life and enter into relationships that are rooted in all transparency and accountability.  To trade unrest for real rest. 

Recovery By The Numbers: Readiness

Most of us know that a key component to successful recovery is a sense of urgency for change.  Now I will say that this urgency can progress as people progress in their recovery program.  I refer to this as Readiness.  Many of the calls we take are from family members and loved ones that are REALLY ready for their struggling son/husband/father/brother to embrace recovery but the struggling individual may or may not be there…yet.  As I talk with family members, I like to ask them where they think there loved one is on the Readiness Spectrum.  Here is how it works:

It goes from 1 to 10.  The number “1” represents the addict/alcoholic that says, “I don’t have a problem, it’s my parents/spouse/boss/judge/doctor that has the problem!”.  We don’t really have a place for this individual in our treatment center.  Now, on the opposite end of the spectrum is “10”.  This individual says, “hey, can you pack my bags for me while I wait in the car?  I don’t care where I go to get help but I need to go NOW”.  We do get quite a few 9’s and 10’s that walk through the door and they are just so happy to be there.  However, most people that come into treatment are closer to a 4, 5, or 6 on the Readiness Spectrum.  These are the folks that know that things are not right with their lives but are scared to death at the thought of life apart from the relationship they have with their addiction. 

I am hopeful that the right program nurtures the struggling addict up the readiness spectrum.  I am hopeful that it holds up a mirror and in the context of relationship says, “Hey man, we don’t think you see you the way we see you.” And in all compassion and patience is willing and able to walk the path of change together.

Recovery By The Numbers: Chapter 1, NEED

Need

Finish the statement…”The 1st step in solving a problem…”

Did you get it?  The answer is “…Admitting you have one”.

Most of us are repulsed by the notion of “being needy”.  Everything in our culture and society says “Go and be anything you want to be just don’t be needy”.  It says Please just don’t be needy and that we are to be strong.  They tell us that weakness equals failure and that only the strong survive.   So what is the opposite of being needy?…BE INDEPENDENT!

I want to believe that I'm a mature person living in a colony of the immature.  If I do bad things, I do them not because of what's inside of me, but because of the pressures that I am forced to deal with that are outside of me. You see, I put a lot of time and effort into convincing myself and others that I'm capable and okay; that I am strong and independent.

•Listen to what Paul Tripp says in an article entitled The Delusion of Independence, “The quest for independence is not simply a spiritual mistake; it's a fundamental denial of my humanity. The pursuit of independence always leaves me addicted to a list of things that I've looked to in order to give me hope, life, strength and rest; and in a vain attempt to distract myself from the evidence that I'm not, in fact, independent, I get hooked on things that have the ability to distract me, but can never give my heart rest.”

Well, the message of real change and real recovery is quite different.  I believe we are created to be needy.  I believe we are created for connection with God, others, and self and in the depths of my deepest struggles I am on the run from all three of these. (How do I hide from self?…Distraction)

The more we rely on our ego to bootstrap our way out of the ruts of life, the more we empower our deepest struggles against us- MY EGO IS NOT MY AMIGO!

Recovery is a paradox.  Check out this definition.

Paradox: a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth; an opinion or statement contrary to commonly accepted opinion.

It is counter-intuitive.  It does not make sense to the mind that wants to believe, “I got myself into this mess and I can get myself out of it”.

Why are we so comfortable with other people’s needs and so surprised/repulsed by our own needs? 

Drunk Driving Kills Thousands Each Year

Drunk driving in the United States alone has continually been increasing in the amount of tragic deaths that occur each year. Alcoholics, binge drinkers, or even those that do not understand their own limitations, get behind the wheel of a vehicle each day. This risk offers up the possible expense of their own or other’s devastating death. Drunk driving can become a normal habit, chancing life each time it occurs. Individuals who drive drunk once and luckily have the happenstance that nothing fatal occurs, believe that they are immune and continue this habit.

Although there are these drivers that may get home on luck every once in awhile; it only takes one accident to create life changing turmoil that may result in the death of the driver, or the death of another person or family.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Over seventeen thousand and six hundred people were killed in two thousand and six, with respects to alcohol related driving accidents. This amount, alone, accounted for approximately forty percent of all driving fatalities in that year.

Alcohol has numerous other effects besides that of altering abilities to drive safely. Some of these effect include, but are not limited to:

* Financial Losses * Poor Job Performance * Broken or Negative Relationships with Family and/or Friends * Loss of Memory * Loss of Agility & Physical Performance * Serious Health Issues

In the case of most statistics, teenagers are the increased hazard when it comes to alcohol related fatalities and accidents. Families are now giving their children cars at younger and younger ages, allowing them the freedom to drive at time of leisure.

It is important to consider talking to teenagers that are driving, or plan to drive soon. Placing importance on the consequences of killing another, or themselves, is only the ‘tip of the iceberg‘. Other consequences may include, but are not limited to:

* Imprisonment * Fines and Fees * Damage to Vehicle * Insurance Claims and Court Appearances * Loss of Work * Loss of Pay

Consistent drunk driving is also amongst the possible signs of alcoholism in an individual. If you or someone you know is suffering from symptoms or alcoholic related issues, it is often in your best interest to contact a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. Professionals can assist with questions and possible rehab situations that may possibly reverse some of the negative effects alcoholism has on a person’s life.

The Importance of Sober Living after treatment

Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers are a great start to overcoming addiction. They can change lives, save families and most importantly; prevent some addicts from a tragic and untimely death. Rehab centers remove the addict from their harmful environments, their access to dealers and their bad influences disguised as friends. As wonderful as Rehab Centers are, once the program is completed the addict needs to take those tools and use them in their daily life, which can be a very difficult transition for most.

It is no surprise that along with this healing process come both physical and emotional withdrawals. Each day can be a struggle to break away from old habits and the people they once called friends. It only takes one moment of weakness to send an addict into relapse, where their months of progress can vanish in an instant. This is where the halfway house comes into play. A sober living house can be an incredible boost and can supplement the rehabilitation and road to recovery. This is where an addict can turn what they learned during rehab into daily lessons for continued progress.

Clinical studies show that sober homes help to provide long-term recovery results after successful completion of a Texas rehabilitation center. There are many great benefits of continuing your sobriety in a sober house, some include:

Friendship –One of the most difficult steps in recovering from addiction is eliminating all of your negative influences, which, for many, can be their entire circle of friends. Feeling alone can send an addict straight into relapse. At a sober house there is a definite sense of fellowship and camaraderie among recovering addicts. They are going through the most difficult times of their lives and can provide a positive support system to one another.

Work Programs—Many sober houses make holding a job mandatory, and some even hold training and skill classes, where recovering addicts can gain confidence and learn how to sharpen their professional skills. Work provides them with a sense of accomplishment and responsibility.

Responsibility—Each recovering addict is given their own chores and are taught how to care for themselves, something they might not have been doing for years while trapped in addiction. Some houses have continued therapy which keeps their patrons busy and actively involved.

Reduced temptation—Sober houses have very strict rules and monitor recovering addicts behavior very closely. Cutting out temptation forces these recovering addicts to focus on their lives and solving daily problems without the use of drugs and alcohol.

Sober houses bridge the gap between the therapy-centric rehabilitation process and the much less accommodating real world that the addict will now face on their own. These houses can provide a stable and scheduled lifestyle for addicts, where they can focus on their own goals and responsibilities while still enjoying the guidance and fellowship they received from their rehab treatment centers. Halfway houses teach recovering addicts to focus on their new independent lives and practice self-control without temptation.

An Overview Of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

There are numerous alcohol related illnesses, and deaths related to alcoholism each day. Although, not all of these illnesses or deaths are categorized directly under alcoholism. This long list of alcohol related illnesses can effect the body and its mobilization, your physical appearance, how your body internally operates, as well as long-term effects on the brain. Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome can be one of those very alcohol related illnesses. Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is commonly known as wet brain, alcoholic encephalopathy, Korsakoff’s psychosis, or wet brain syndrome. Simply put, the illness is an enormous vitamin B1, or thiamine deficiency within the body.

The syndrome itself is actually a combination of two disorders: Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s syndrome. Combined, it is formally known as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Although approximately twenty percent of all cases are actually diagnosed, it is said that almost fifty percent of alcoholics may have this syndrome without proper diagnoses.

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome in the United States, is normally found in alcoholics that are suffering from malnutrition. In surrounding countries, however, it has been recorded that a diet consisting of mostly polished rice, can result in a similar syndrome.

Some common ‘tells’ that Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome may be an issue are:

* Anterograde Amnesia and Confusion with Questioning

* Dislike for Sunlight (as it alters the brain’s memory)

* Peripheral Neuropathy (a numbness or pains in the limbs, especially hands and feet)

* Involuntary Shaking of the Eyes

* Paralysis of Eye Muscles

* Retrograde Amnesia (Forgetting Past Occurrences or Memories)

* Mental Confusion

* Impaired Vision

It is often the case that when amnesia of any sort has occurred within an individual with Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, recovery is not likely. Although if the syndrome is caught early enough, a reversal of the deficiencies will proceed, via supplements, oral dosages and often times intravenous doses of B1 or thiamine.

If not treated, and Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome does proceed and take its course, comas and death have been some of the detrimental outcomes. If you or somebody you know is struggling with alcoholism, it is often in the best interest of that individual that you or he/she consult with a professional. A Drug and alcohol rehabilitation center can often be extremely informative, and provide emotional support for the alcoholic, and his/her family and friends.

Long Term Effects of Alcoholism on the Body

When we think or our body we often forget that there are thousands of pieces working together just to get us through each day. From our fingertips to our brains, and back down to our toes, each piece works in unison with the others to formulate our daily health. Studies have recently been conducted to show the long term effects of alcohol on the body as a unit, and specifically, which pieces of the body are most effected. The results are quite shocking. When individuals are facing alcoholism themselves, or witnessing it in others around them, they immediately think of the consequences that can be seen and touched. Very rarely does an alcoholic think beyond each day, therefore, the overall health of their body. Here are some of the top portions of the body and health that are effected in the long run, by alcohol abuse.

The most commonly known side effect is that of an individual’s liver and intestines. Most people joke that when somebody drinks too much, “you are going to have to get a new liver!” Unfortunately, the effects on the liver and intestines are quite intense; and liver transplants are sometimes the only answer. Effects such as liver disease, inflamed pancreas, internal bleeding and more can often not be spotted until the symptoms are severe.

The most visual effect that alcoholism has on the body, is to the skin. A yellowish color begins to appear on an individual that abuses alcohol. This connects to the prior effect, as this is the first sign that a person’s liver is damaged in some way. This yellowed tone is a pigmentation known as jaundice.

Another visual long term effect of alcoholism is an inflamed mouth area. As saliva thickens when using abusing alcohol, this is caused by a swelling that occurs due to infection and blockages in the salivary glands.

The center point for all things operational in the body - the heart - is greatly effected by long term use of alcohol. It has been proven that the heart is severely weakened by the abuses of alcohol.

When the heart is weak, there is great chance for blood clots, abnormal heart beats and the possibility of heart attack. As the heart also effects the remainder of the body directly, regarding blood flow and overall energy, there are a number of other symptoms that may occur overtime due to this weakness created within the heart.

Alcoholism is a serious issue facing a great number of people in the world today. It is always in the best interest of an alcoholic’s surrounding family and friends to contact a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for answers to questions, and assistance. It is never too late to help a friend or family member turn their life around, with respects to the abuse of alcohol or any other substance.

Campus Substance Abuse Growing Each Year

Campuses around the globe have been known for the continual influx of substance abuse in students over the years. Although, it continues to grow, especially within the United States. For years, abusing alcohol and drugs on a college/university campus has been somewhat of a rite of passage or a statement of freedom. Although the effects of these rites and statements can often be quite frightening.

Experimentation of drug use and abuse is starting younger and younger in children’s lives, although a large amount of this experimentation can begin on a college campus. Without the construction of parental boundaries, teenagers and young adults in their early twenties continue to push the drug and alcohol limitations. These experiments with drugs and alcohol may be the start of a long life of substance abuse and addiction if not caught in their early stages.

Alcohol is definitely seen to be the most popular of substances abused on campuses, although the rate as which prescription drugs are being use, becomes higher with each passing year. Marijuana, seen to be the leading gateway drug of the nation, is also a substance that is becoming abused more with each passing year.

When a study was done at Columbia University for an article on campus substance abuse and its relationship to addiction, there were many informative reports recorded. Here are some of the highlighted facts regarding students and on-campus drug and alcohol abuse at Columbia in these such findings:

In nineteen ninety-three over five percent of students were using illegal drugs other than that of marijuana. These drug included, but were not limited to: heroine, cocaine, acid, and mushrooms. Within twelve years, the percentage has now increased to over eight percent of students reported to be using these same illegal drugs, and more.

With respects to prescription drugs, Columbia students reported in nineteen ninety-three, to only have less than one percent using and/or abusing. Then, as of ten years later, over three percent of students had been reported to be using prescription drugs as a hobby, on weekends, and during party scenes. The most popularly abused prescription medications reported were OxyCotin and Percocet.

Although the number of students reported to drink alcohol during their campus experience has remained in regular flux over the years, the amount of binge drinking students has increased incredibly. In nineteen ninety-three only a little over nineteen percent of students had reported to have had a bring drinking spree once or more in their college/university experience. Then, in two thousand and five, over eighty percent of students were said to have not only been binge drinking on a regular basis, but some were included in arrests due to this drinking.

Administrators, faculty and staff can only do so much on campus, and parents are often miles away. Educating young adults on the dangers of substance abuse is important before they leave the nest. This will hopefully leave a lasting impressing within them that they will turn to in a questionable drug and alcohol related situation on campus.

If you have a student that is abusing drugs or alcohol and may need assistance, it is always in the best interest of a family to direct questions and concerns to a professional. Inquiring with a professional drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, may give you and your family the answers you need to stop the alcohol or drug abuse before it leads to even more harmful outcomes.

Marijuana: Addictive or Not?

People have been debating whether or not marijuana is an addictive substance for decades. Addiction experts say yes, however many disagree insisting that it depends on your definition of “addictive.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines addiction as: “The compulsive use of a substance despite ongoing negative consequences, which may lead to tolerance or withdrawal symptoms once the substance is stopped.” Based on this definition alone at least 10% of those who use marijuana regularly are indeed addicted.

In fact, according to Dr. Nora Valkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, when a psychological addiction develops it results in a biological change in the brain. This is because there are different brain activities that involve the drive a psychological substance addiction after a person stops using. Dr. Volkow and other addiction experts also agree that a psychological compulsion to use is more powerful than the physical act of withdrawal. Crack cocaine addiction is a perfect example of this. This drug doesn’t result in the physical withdrawal symptoms, but its users can develop an extreme craving. The result is a very powerful psychological addiction.

The active ingredient in marijuana is called THC. When you consume it, it connects with cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Cannabinoid receptors control sleep, mood and appetite. When you use marijuana, there is a lot taking place in your brain. The cannabinoid receptor system and the opiod receptor system being interacting at a higher level. Addiction experts state the activity of the opiod receptor system is what makes consuming THC in marijuana so pleasurable. Marijuana activates the same receptor system as opiod drugs like heroin, morphine and oxycotin. The opiod system then stimulates the dopamine reward pathway. The result is a rewarding and addictive experience, just as with other drugs.

Another issue surrounding the marijuana addiction argument involves the issue of withdrawal. When many people think of addiction, they think of alcoholics or heroine junkies, vomiting and shaking as a result of withdrawal. Many people don’t consider marijuana addictive because it isn’t associated with these severe, physical symptoms commonly associated with withdrawal. Still, the majority of addiction experts agree that even if the addiction to marijuana is a psychological one, it is no less significant than a physical addiction.

No Health Insurance Coverage Affects Options for Drug Rehab Treatment

Health insurance is a hotly debated topic affecting individuals across the nation. As the cost of coverage continues to rise, more and more Americans are unable to afford coverage. Many employers are forced to cut employee benefits in an effort to cut expenses. That means an increasing number of working Americans are unable to afford treatment even when they become sick. Unfortunately, the lack of health care coverage means that more individuals are less likely to seek drug rehab treatment as well because they think they can’t afford it. Treatment Costs Variables

Treatment cost is impacted by many different variables. For instance, residential treatment generally costs more than outpatient treatment. Some addictions, like alcoholism require more time to treat, and therefore over time involve more cost. The location of a treatment center, available amenities and staffing are also determining factors in treatment cost.

The Private Insurance Dilemma

As of July 1st, 2010 new regulations went into affect requiring private group health insurance plans to offer coverage for rehab treatment of disorders just as coverage is offered for other illnesses. According to National Drug Control Policy Director, Gil Kerlikowske, these regulations were put into place to help “close the gap” among U.S. residents in need of substance abuse treatment. The trouble is fewer working Americans are able to afford private insurance these days.

Expensive Insurance Coverage Leads to Lack of Drug Rehab Treatment Options The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) published a report in 2010 tackling the issue of uninsured/ underinsured workers and substance abuse. According to the reports, data collected from 2007-2008 showed that 18.4 million full-time workers between the ages of 18 to 64 were uninsured. That’s about 15.5% of all U.S. workers within that age range.

The reports also estimated that up to 3.o million full-time workers needed drug rehab treatment within the past year: 13.3 needed alcohol rehab treatment, 5.6% needed treatment for elicit drug use and 2.7% needed both alcohol and drug rehab treatment. Out of the estimated 3.0 million full-time workers in need of treatment, only 378,000 were treated at an alcohol and drug rehab treatment center.

Possible Solutions

Successfully substance abuse recovery can depend heavily on the quality of treatment a patient receives. It’s important to choose a drug rehab treatment center that can provide the best personalized treatment program and support from a qualified, competent staff of professionals. Treatment centers must charge patients because they have fixed expenses. Those without insurance coverage may have other options such as Medicaid and Medicare (if accepted), military insurance and employer sponsored programs.

Alcohol and Drug Addiction: Exploring the Genetic Link

What makes it so easy for some people to use alcohol or drugs casually while still maintaining a somewhat “normal” existence while others fall victim to addiction after using the same drug only a few times? The simple answer: genetics. The fact is not everyone who uses drugs or alcohol becomes addicted. Behavior plays a big role in drug use. Genetic influences make addiction even more complex. There has been quite a bit of family research study proving that the incidence of drug use among family members is higher when compared to the general population.

Understanding the Genetic Influence on Addiction

Scientists studying the role of genetics in drug and alcohol addiction usually look for specific biological differences that increase the likelihood of an individual becoming addicted. Their goal is to isolate the “addicted genes” and discover what makes it harder for some individuals to quit using a drug once they get started. For example, why do certain genes make one person feel sick after taking an illegal substance, yet make another person feel a euphoric high? Or why do some people experience more sever withdrawal symptoms after quitting a drug than others?

There has been extensive research conducted on pedigrees within larger families tracking incidents of addiction. A pedigree makes it easier for scientists to tell whether or not a train is tied to genetics. Research has determined that addiction is influenced by several different genes. For instance, the A1 allel of the dopamine receptor gene known as DRD2 is common among people addicted to alcohol. A study using mice revealed that with a gene known as the Creb gene are less likely to become addicted to morphine.

Keep in mind that it is also heavily influenced by environmental influences. There are several genetic and environmental influences that can add up and cancel on another out. Not ever addict carries the same gene associated with addiction. Also, not every addict that carries an addiction gene will exhibit the trait. This is what makes isolating the genetic influences of addiction so tricky.

Genetic Effects and Addiction Medication

If genetics plays a major role in addiction to drugs and alcohol, it stands to reason that it would also play a role in the effectiveness of certain medications Recovery from certain drug addictions requires special treatment using what is known as addiction medication. Methadone is an example of a commonly known addiction medication used to treat drugs like heroine, codeine and hydrocodone.

Marijuana: Then and Now

Marijuana has had a long history, from its early beginnings to its psychedelic era in the sixties. Although some states are deciding to legalize the drug for its possible medical usage, there are still proven side effects that are seen to be dangerous and life-altering. To better understand the effects of marijuana one must understand its history and the plant itself. Marijuana was said to have been brought to the New World by the Spanish in the mid fifteen forties. Grown as a source of fiber, alongside tobacco, this plant was extremely commercialized in its mere beginnings.

In the late eighteen hundreds hemp was replacing cotton rather quickly, and marijuana was in several medications, just as cocaine (in extremely small percentages). It was used in cases revolving around nausea, rheumatism and labor pains. Marijuana did not rid people of pain, but was reported to have instead distracted them from that reality it contained.

Then, in the nineteen thirties, the United States declared marijuana as the number one ‘gateway drug’. Testing started on individuals who had used, and continued to use marijuana for ‘medical purposes’ and/or recreation. Over eighty percent of individuals tested, had used marijuana as a gateway drug and had entered into dealings with heavy narcotics shortly thereafter. Over sixty percent of these individuals had become addicted to both the marijuana and other narcotics, after only a few uses of marijuana to begin with.

In nineteen seventy, the United States finally classified the drug marijuana alongside other drugs such as heroine and LSD. These drugs were all considered Schedule I drugs by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. They were seen to be the most addicting of all drugs, and most abused substances that were considered to call within the category of drugs.

In late nineteen eighty-two the United States cracked down on marijuana users, sending masses to jail for sales and growth out of their personal homes. In nineteen ninety it was reported that the largest amount of teenagers ever, were using marijuana, starting in middle school. The drop-out rate of middle school and high school students was directly effected by this use of marijuana at such a young age. Ten percent of all fatal accidents in the United States were additionally related in some way to marijuana, in the late nineteen nineties.

The reported side effects for marijuana include, but are not limited to:

*Heart Palpitations *Stroke and/or Heart Attack *Irregular Breathing *Lung Cancer

There are also they life-altering effects of marijuana that can include, but are not limited to:

*Imprisonment *Lack of Motivation to Succeed or Live *Uncontrollable & Compulsive Cravings for the Drug *Failed and Neglected Relationships

Marijuana is a powerful drug, that can effect the lives of an individual and the family and friends that surround that individual. If you or someone you love is facing issues relating to marijuana, it is in best interest to contact a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for advice and/or assistance.

Steps To Preventing Drug Addiction In Kids

Drugs use can become a serious addiction that may begin in the earlier stages of a child’s life. Parents and teachers are now, unfortunately, finding that the age in which children start to learn about drug use has moved from high school age, to grade school age. Although schools are working drug-free seminars into their curriculum, starting the education on serious substance abuse begins at home. Leading by example can be a very efficient way in which children learn about the safe ways in which to treat medications and steer clear of drug abuse. Children learn most everything from their parents and family at the youngest of ages. Young children learn by imitating parents, sisters, brothers and other family members. The initial conversation regarding drugs, drug education and drug abuse, cannot be started without leading by good example, first.

There are many other ways in which to lead your kids in the right direction when attempting to prevent drug or alcohol abuse. Limiting your children’s television and internet viewing on these topics will keep them from getting too familiar or desensitized from the subject’s media humor or positive light. But do give your children information to read, or discuss on the harm that comes from a serious drug dependence. Be open to answering questions, and researching further information if additional conversations do occur.

Integrating school education on drugs and drug abuse is sometimes helpful for parents. Have a sit down discussion with the entire family, after a seminar occurs at school regarding topics of being drug-free or drug abuse. Ask the opinions of your children and give information to answer any questions they may have. The more comfortable children feel discussing drugs and drug addiction with you, the better the chance your child will come straight to you with further questions or incidents at school.

Another way in which to stop dangerous curiosities early is to keep your personal prescription medications, nicotine cigarettes and alcohol out of reach of children. Often having a small lock on a prescription cabinet helps keep little hands out of dangerous spaces. Also, making sure to have child security caps on all liquid and pill medications or over the counter drugs also prevents small children from accidentally taking powerful medications.

Preventative drug abuse education starts at home, now, at a very young age. Never hesitate to have conversations with children about occurrences at school and peer pressures regarding drug usage.

If you or anyone you know does need assistance, and may have a substance abuse problem, it is often in your best interest to consult with professionals within a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center near you. As parents hope that their children come to them with questions, professionals at rehab centers can assist with questions of the parents of a child/children who may be using a dangerous drug or substance.

Do Women Benefit Best from Gender-Responsive Drug Rehab Treatment?

Do women require different drug treatment programs than men? According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHA) that might not be such a bad idea. SAMHA has developed a new treatment protocol targeting female addicts called Substance Abuse Treatment has been focusing on gender specific research and best practices in substance abuse treatment. Their new Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) focuses on providing effective, modern treatment options for women recovering from drug addiction.

What Does Gender-Responsive Drug Rehab Treatment Involve?

The TIP provides important clinical and administrative information to help drug treatment personnel including program administrators, counselors and clinical supervisors apply the best treatment options and strategies based on the specific treatment needs of female patients. It also provides a guide to additional resource material if more information on the topic is needed.

According to TIP, women respond best when drug rehab treatment is comprehensive involving the different aspects of their lives from a social and environmental standpoint while also addressing their relationships with immediate family members, extended family, friends and other support networks. Research has also shown that women in treatment experience more positive outcomes when their treatment program includes supportive therapy, onsite childcare and children’s services and other such treatment services.

Female Addiction Patterns Revealed

Many women report stress and troubled relationships as major triggers that can initiate early drug use. A large majority of women who use drugs are grappling with relationships, issues surrounding relationship status or have a partner who abuses drugs . Even though studies show that more men abuse drugs than women, it also reveals that women are just as likely to develop and addiction after experimenting.

One problem that must be addressed in regards to female drug use is the issue of using while pregnant. Using/abusing drugs while pregnant can cause serious harm to the unborn child. TIP encourages mandatory screening for substance abuse as part of prenatal care.

Treating Addiction and Co-Occurring Mental Disorders

Women needing drug rehab treatment are more likely than men to also have diagnosed mental disorders such as eating disorders, post partum depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress and other mood disorders. When mental disorders go untreated, it significantly increases the chances for relapse. It is important to continue treating any known mental disorders in addition to providing a drug rehab treatment program to provide the best chance at a successful recovery.

Crystal Meth Increases Risk for Heart Attack

Methamphetamine, or crystal meth as it is commonly known, is currently one of the most potent, addictive psycho stimulant drugs being abused in the U.S. It has quickly spread throughout the country infiltrating even the most rural, remote locations. According to a recent report published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a survey revealed that “10 million people in the U.S. have tried meth at least once” (http://www.nida.nih.gov/ResearchReports/methamph/methamph.html). This statistic is a frightening one considering the fact that meth abuse can lead to serious physical and psychological consequences. Crystal meth is a drug classified under the category of drugs called amphetamines. There are many reasons users of the drug find it so appealing among them are the fact that it’s cheap, easy to produce in mass quantities, and gives users a very powerful, fast high making it hard to resist trying it again and again. Symptoms of meth abuse include insomnia, irritability, decreased appetite/noticeable weight loss, nervousness/anxiety and tremors.

Meth abuse can lead to serious long-term damage to different parts of your body. The heart is particularly vulnerable to the affects of meth. When the drug is snorted, smoked or inhaled, one of the most common symptoms users experience are rapid pulse, irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure. These symptoms can also be accompanied by inflammation of the small blood vessels that line the heart and brain.

Research has shown that meth users have a higher than average risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke as a result of the damage repeated meth abuse creates over time. When you take meth it causes dangerous blood pressure changes, blood vessel spasms and inflammation. Much of the physical cardiovascular damage caused by repeated abuse can’t be reversed, even once an addict becomes clean and sober. Their long-term risk for developing a stroke or heart attack remains higher than normal for the rest of their life.

A 2008 study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence revealed research results for over 3 million people between the ages of 18 and 44 who were hospitalized between 2000 and 2003. This study was on of the first to detect a relationship between meth use and heart attacks within this relatively young group.

As the old saying goes, “prevention is the best cure.” Educating people about the physical dangers of drugs like meth, and getting addicts the help they need as soon as possible can reduce the likelihood of dealing with heart disease in the future.

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