Drug

How To Recognize Drug or Alcohol Abuse

How To Recognize Drug or Alcohol Abuse

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Take a moment to think about the 11, most-important people above age 12 in your life. Are you including family members, friends, coworkers, your boss, and people you barely know? Guess what? Out of these 11 people, statistically, one of them (9.2 percent of all individuals over age 12) is suffering from drug or alcohol abuse, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fortunately, you can give those with addiction a chance at sobriety by learning how to recognize drug and alcohol abuse, which includes recognizing the signs of addiction and considerations during treatment.

How To Recognize Drug or Alcohol Abuse

Signs of Addiction

The signs of addiction should not be confused with symptoms of specific drug or alcohol abuse. As explained by the Mayo Clinic, the signs of drug abuse may include the following:

  • Experiencing problems at school or work, such as frequently miss work or school, fail to maintain responsibilities, or see a decrease in performance.
  • Physical health problems may be an indicator of how drug or alcohol abuse are negatively impacting the body’s ability to function. This may include lethargy, a lack of motivation, or unexplained illnesses.
  • Neglecting appearance, such as not bathing, unkempt clothing, hair, or other typical grooming behaviors.
  • Demonstrating significant changes in behavior. Significant changes in behavior occur when the brain is incapable of functioning correctly due to drug or alcohol abuse. A person with an addiction may appear paranoid, angry, irrational, or unwilling to consider others’ opinions. Additionally, a person may be more apt to engage in risky behaviors, such as promiscuity, binge drinking, or illegal activities in order to continue abusing drugs or alcohol.
  • Unexplained expenses. Addiction demands payment, and those suffering from addiction may go to extreme measures to obtain money for drugs or alcohol. For example, a person may ask to borrow money unexpectedly or steal money and items of value.

Symptoms of Addiction

The development of a tolerance remains the most significant symptom of any addiction. In other words, a person with an addiction will need larger doses of alcohol or the substance in order to achieve the same effect. The symptoms of drug addiction include the following:

  • Experiencing cravings for the drug.
  • Feeling that use of the drug is necessary, not optional.
  • Stockpiling the drug.
  • Spending money on the drug, even when money is supposed to go towards other necessary expenses, such as rent, medical bills, and insurance.
  • Going to great lengths to get the drug, including violent actions.
  • Focusing more time and energy on getting the drug.
  • Attempting to stop using the drug, but failing to quit.
  • Experiencing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug, such as nausea, anxiety, vomiting, or malaise.
  • Engaging in risk behaviours, such as driving while under the influence of the drug.
  • Refraining from once-enjoyed activities in order to continue abusing the drug.

These symptoms of drug addiction closely mirror the criteria, as set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, reports the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), for diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder (AUD). However, a few differences include the following:

  • Drinking more than intended. “I’ll have just one more beer.”
  • Experiencing a greater chance of getting hurt due to drinking, such as when driving, swimming, boating, or having unprotected sex. “I’ll be fine to go to work.”

A Consideration in Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Withdrawal from severe alcoholism can be life-threatening. Whereas withdrawal from drugs is typically unpleasant, not dangerous. Fortunately, treatment for drug and alcohol abuse starts with managed detoxification (detox) in a supervised facility. This refers to the use of medications to control withdrawal symptoms, which may include benzodiazepines, anti-seizure medications, anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, and antipsychotics, if necessary.

The best treatment for addiction also focuses on beginning long-term medication and psychotherapy (talk therapy) treatment during inpatient hospitalization. This helps a person learn the skills to maintain sobriety and recovery. For those with severe addiction problems, residential treatment for several months after discharge may be necessary.

Addiction is a real mental health disorder, and those who know of or suspect addiction in a loved one or friend need to know how to recognize drug and alcohol abuse. Since addiction can be hard to admit, those closest often take the first steps towards getting help for someone with an addiction.

Addiction To Flesh-Eating Zombie Drug Spreading Across Country

Addiction To Flesh-Eating Zombie Drug Spreading Across Country

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Krokodil emerged secretively in the United States without much notice. When addicts started showing up at emergency rooms and treatment centers with the devastating effects caused from addition to the cheap heroin substitute, officials and treatment providers knew very little.

Krokodil ingredients include codeine and other common ingredients found at many hardware and big box stores. Lighter fluid, paint thinner, oil, alcohol and even gasoline or industrial strength cleaners mixed with the opiate painkiller and then injected immediately gives users the quick, cheap high. Another reason krokodil experienced such quick and widespread use is that the drug is easily “cooked” in the average kitchen by crushing the codeine tablets and then mixing it with the other ingredients.

Krokodil gets its name from the crocodile because of one of its most serious side effects: Users develop very scaly patches of skin and suffer from tissue death. Live Science says that necrosis or decay and death of tissue can set in quickly after krokodil use. Krokodil quickly became known as a “flesh-eating” or “zombie” drug because of its effects on users.

Addiction To Flesh-Eating Zombie Drug Spreading Across Country

One of the reasons for the devastating physical effects of krokodil is that the drug is not purified, leading to potential risk of abscesses, injury to veins and death of tissue. Live Science says that even after treatment, krokodil addicts “often walk away severely disfigured: severe scarring, bone damage, amputated limbs, speech impediments, poor motor skills” as well as varying degrees of brain damage.

Some sources apparently did not realize the prevalence of krokodil after it reached the U.S. In 2012, the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services stated, “The DEA reports that they are looking at the drug overseas but have not as yet seen it in the US.”

By 2013, several sources, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) and multiple media sources reported on the dangers and effects of using krokodil. CBS News told of details from the Chicago Tribune reporting in 2013 that authorities suspected that six people in Chicago used krokodil. Arizona reported two cases of krokodil addiction in 2013, among the first reported cases in the country, according to an Arizona poison control center.

That suspicion was confirmed in a statement that Live Science quoted from Fox News regarding the Arizona cases of krokodil addiction. “As far as I know, these are the first cases in the United States,” said Frank LoVecchio, director at Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center.

The United States is late to the knowledge and epidemic of krokodil. It is thought to have originated in Russia, then spread to other European countries, where more than an estimated one million people suffer from krokodil addiction.

Now that krokodil is in the United States, the substance abuse treatment community must address krokodil addiction. The National Institutes of Health says, “A comprehensive response to the emergence of krokodil and associated harms should focus both on the substance itself and its rudimentary production methods, as well as on its micro and macro risk environments.” Treatment providers must educate and train staff to recognize krokodil addiction and create a comprehensive and individualized treatment program, ensuring that each individual receives a full medical evaluation to address all substance abuse and mental health issues during recovery.

Alcohol Use On College Campuses

Alcohol Use On College Campuses

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Keg parties, drinking games and all-night drinking marathons are common occurrences on college campuses across the nation. Alcohol use on college campuses is not a new problem. It is, however, an issue that colleges and universities must continue to address.

The statistics are alarming. Four out of five college students drink alcohol in some form. Almost 600,000 students age 18 to 24 are injured each year while under the influence, almost 700,000 are assaulted, about 25 percent of students report academic problems due to drinking.

Binge drinking is the routine consumption of amounts of alcohol that bring the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to 0.08 g/dL or greater. This can pose serious safety and health risks, including car accidents, assaults and alcohol poisoning. With about one-half of college students who drink alcohol reporting that they binge drink, it has become a large problem. More importantly, it can lead to another problem: alcoholism. Research shows that almost 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder or alcohol related disorders. Studies also show that only around 5 percent of these students sought any kind of help or treatment for alcohol related problems.

Alcohol Use On College Campuses

Research is showing that there is a potential for long-term effects to students’ development and physiology. These may include issues with memory and slower reaction times. In addition, there is strong evidence that alcohol use in young adults may damage the frontal cortex of the brain, which continues to develop into an individual’s early 20s. This area of the brain is responsible for judgment, reasoning, impulse control, self-regulation and problem solving. Physiologically studies have shown that alcohol consumption in late teens and early 20s can affect growth as well as endocrine, liver and bone development. Problems later in life can include cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, a dual diagnosis of a mental illness, continued memory issues and increased chances of alcohol dependence moving forward into adulthood.

When a student has a problem and needs to seek help, there are numerous options, both inpatient and outpatient. Examples of these include rehabilitation centers and alcohol addiction treatment. Choosing an option is dependent on the needs of the student. The more intense programs include detox, rehab and halfway houses. Not all students would benefit from this rehab structure. Some students flourish in outpatient treatment, with a recovery counselor or a peer counselor. Each situation is different and requires the student to discuss options with his or her family and treatment team.

Regardless of the treatment choices made, it is imperative that the student have a good support system as they work through therapy. Recovery is possible by connecting with a good treatment center or therapist who can support and guide the student through the process of rehab and beyond.