Monday, January 11, 2010

Opioid Addiction

The dependence of opioids is more common than is discussed. Women and men of all races, ethnicities, educational levels, and ages are susceptible to opioids. No specific group of people, gender or age is protected from opioid dependence.

An opioid is a drug that is either created from opium, or is chemically related to opium. Some prescription pain medications are opioids (hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine). Heroin is also an opioid. Someone is considered opioid dependent when repeated opioid use is needed to avoid feeling bad and this use continues even when it causes negative effects on the user.

Any type of drug use usually begins as a choice but frequent use can catapult into addiction by causing the brain to think that the drug is necessary to exist. Many drugs, opioids included, cause changes in the brain that can cause cravings for years after the drug usage is discontinued. Opioids attach themselves to opioid receptors (specific places where molecules of opioid drugs or medications attach and begin to exert their effect) in the brain. This stimulates the release of dopamine (a naturally occurring chemical that helps cause feelings of pleasure). Eventually the opioid detaches from the receptors and causes cravings and withdrawal, making the user want to experience the feeling again.

The need to avoid withdrawal and appease cravings can be so intense that it can cause someone to do something he wouldn't ordinarily do to obtain more of the drug or similar ones. People who want to discontinue the use of opioids usually find it to be extremely difficult. For these reasons, opioid dependence can affect one's behavior.

Since 1972, the renowned Clearbrook Treatment Centers have been providing effective treatment programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from alcoholism and/or chemical dependency. Clearbrook’s rehabilitation program is based upon the belief that alcoholism and chemical dependency is a primary disease and that the suffering addict and his or her family members deserve immediate help.

Salvia, The New Drugh

The herb Salvia divinorum, or Salvia, has been getting its fair share of media coverage lately thanks in part to some not-so-positive You Tube videos depicting the herb users psychedelic-like experiences. Opponents of the herb compare its effects to LSD, with some journalists going as far as calling it "the new pot".

Salvia is a naturally growing herb, similar to marijuana. It has an extensive history of being used by Mexican Shaman to induce visionary states in the context of spiritual practices. However, unlike marijuana, salvia is categorized as a hallucinogenic. It is the only known naturally occurring substance to cause such hallucinations.

Salvia can be ingested three different ways: by smoking it, chewing it or by using a tincture. Smoking it will result in the mildest effects with the shortest duration, while chewing it and ingesting it in the form of a tincture produce a longer-lasting effect.

Salvia's main effects are visionary hallucinations and a trance-like state. The duration of the effects of smoked salvia last a very short period of time, usually only for a few minutes. The long-term reported effects are minimal with such symptoms as improved mood and “antidepressant-like effects”. This is likely attributed to the notion that salvia has a low level of toxicity, according to research preformed at the University of Nebraska.

Salvia has gained its fair share of attention primarily as a result of Brett's Law, named after 17 year-old Brett Chidester, whose suicide gained media coverage in 2006. Allegedly, several months prior to Brett's suicide, his parents discovered his experimentation with salvia. They attributed his suicide to the salvia-induced depression. As a result, the state of Delaware where Brett lived, passed Brett's Law classifying the herb as a schedule I controlled substance.

Since 1972, the renowned Clearbrook Treatment Centers have been providing effective treatment programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from alcoholism and/or chemical dependency. Clearbrook’s rehabilitation program is based upon the belief that alcoholism and chemical dependency is a primary disease and that the suffering addict and his or her family members deserve immediate help.

Help for Parents of Addicts

If you have a grown son or daughter who’s an alcoholic or drug addict, it can ruin your life, too, if you don’t find recovery yourself, as well as apply some basic survival tools.

What Not to Do:

•Don’t enable! This includes all forms of financial support. As long as you continue to rescue your grown child, he (or she) won’t get well, but worse. Granted, it’s not easy when he calls, asking for help. However, you have to learn to say no and mean it. Instead, tell your grown child, “We’ll support you emotionally, spiritually, and morally, but not financially”. If you have trouble getting the words out, first practice saying them before you have to give your speech. Then, once you’ve mouthed the words, stick by your guns. Otherwise, you won’t be taken seriously.

•Don’t lie or cover for them - If your grown child is out of control, you may have to call the police.

What You Can Do:

•Give helpful information – Encourage them to attend AA and/or NA meetings.

Check out rehabilitation and treatment centers – There are scores of different alcohol and abuse treatment centers found in almost every area of the country. Teen Challenge (not just for teens but young adults, too) not only attends to the physical issues of substance abuse, but also provides a faith-based program that address a substance abuser’s need for God.

•Listen – Instead of lecturing, learn to listen when your grown children calls without giving in and helping him financially.

•Set rules – If your child lives with you, but continues to abuse drugs and alcoholic, warn him that he’ll have to leave. Then, act immediately if he refuses to obey your rules. Throwing a son or daughter out of your house isn’t easy, but it’s something you have to do if he chooses to not respect you by not abiding by your standards and house rules.

•Let go –If you start to see your child falling, don’t rush in with a cushion, but just let him fall. Often alcoholics and drug addicts have to crash before they reach out for recovery. In other words, they have to want recovery.

If someone in your family has a substance abuse problem, it’s not just his problem, but everyone close to him. In fact, many parents suffer from codependency and need just as much (or even more) help as their addicted

Since 1972, the renowned Clearbrook Treatment Centers have been providing effective treatment programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from alcoholism and/or chemical dependency. Clearbrook’s rehabilitation program is based upon the belief that alcoholism and chemical dependency is a primary disease and that the suffering addict and his or her family members deserve immediate help.

Marijuana, The New Generation of Addicts

Research on the health and safety effects of marijuana strongly correlates with many mental, emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual problems. In addition, many crimes, accidents, job and school performance problems have been associated with the use of marijuana. Furthermore, while not everyone that uses marijuana becomes drug dependent, the reality is that as with alcohol and other drugs marijuana use certainly can lead to profound, chronic and progressive chemical dependency.

There are scores of scientific studies that prove that marijuana can be a harmful, addictive drug. As with alcohol and all drugs, marijuana can certainly lead to profound, chronic and progressive chemical dependency. Marijuana is currently up to 25 times more potent than it was in the sixties making the drug even more addictive, and many say that quitting marijuana is much more difficult than they thought (even more “difficult than quitting cocaine”).

The consumption of marijuana is not recommended. For many users it causes mild-to-severe distress and for many it may have even more serious and profound physical or psychological effects. This is especially true for who are predisposed to emotional issues and problems.

Overall, marijuana use in America tends to be correlated to age. As age increases beyond the youthful and young adult years and into adult years and then the senior years, marijuana use decreases to less than one percent of the population. In this regard then, note that marijuana use does not have the support of the majority of Americans, and in fact, is a behavioral phenomena specific to a small subgroup of the population. Remember, the consumption of marijuana is not recommended.

Since 1972, the renowned Clearbrook Treatment Centers have been providing effective treatment programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from alcoholism and/or chemical dependency. Clearbrook’s rehabilitation program is based upon the belief that alcoholism and chemical dependency is a primary disease and that the suffering addict and his or her family members deserve immediate help.

Steroid Abuse

Anabolic steroids are drugs that are pharmacologically or chemically related to testosterone; they are commonly used to promote muscle growth and improve physical performance. These substances exhibit both androgenic and anabolic effects.

The anabolic and androgenic effects of anabolic steroids cannot be completely separated, but some synthetic preparations are designed to minimize the androgenic effects.

Unfortunately, illicit use of anabolic steroids is relatively widespread. In the US, the reported use of anabolic steroids among high school-aged males is 6 to 11%. Among females in the same age group, the rate of use is approximately 2.5%. Surprisingly, many users are non-athletes. (Merck Manual, 18th Edition. 2006;1691.)

Athletes may routinely use up to 50 times the physiologic dose of anabolic steroids. When engaging in “stacking” (using several different steroids simultaneously) or “pyramiding” (using increasing doses through a cycle), doses may be as high as 10 times the physiologic dose.

At higher doses, the adverse effects of anabolic steroids become more prevalent. Some of these side effects are well-documented, while others are equivocal.

Adverse Effects of Anabolic Steroids:

•Abnormal lipid profile (decreased HDL cholesterol, increased LDL)
•Erythrocytosis (abnormally high production of red blood cells)
•Liver abnormalities (adenoma, peliosis hepatitis)
•Mood disorders, usually only associated with very high doses (“roid rage,” depression, irritability, erratic or irrational behavior)
•Androgenic effects (acne, baldness, virilization--possibly irreversible-- in females)
•Gonadal suppression (decreased sperm count, testicular atrophy)
•Gynecomastia in males
•Premature closure of bone growth centers in adolescents

Since 1972, the renowned Clearbrook Treatment Centers have been providing effective treatment programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from alcoholism and/or chemical dependency. Clearbrook’s rehabilitation program is based upon the belief that alcoholism and chemical dependency is a primary disease and that the suffering addict and his or her family members deserve immediate help.

When Using Drugs Becomes an Addiction

Those caught in the web of abuse or addictions, contrary to societal image, rarely choose to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Rather, the person voluntarily chooses to try a substance, even on more than one occasion, but these choices can quickly turn a user into an abuser.

Abuse is a pattern of substance use that results in repeated negative social consequences, such as missing work, school or not keeping appointments.

Those who are abusing drugs run the risk for dependence, tolerance, and addiction. Tolerance is when the body requires more and more of drug in order to achieve the same high, while dependence causes the body to require the drug in order to function. Addiction is a compulsion to seek and use drugs, despite the negative consequences of such behavior and abuse.

During 2006, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates 22.6 million persons aged 12 or older were classified with substance dependence or abuse.

Drug use becomes abuse when it begins to adversely affect the user's life. These problems can range from being late to work, skipping appointments and time with family or friends to get high, financial problems from drug use or trouble with criminal activity. As these events begin to occur, it is a clear sign the abuser needs professional help to overcome his abuse of drugs.

Drug abuse treatment can be found at more than 11,500 facilities across the U.S., and range from in-hospital services to residential programs to outpatient clinics. Treatment can include various psychological therapies, in which the client gains understanding about drug abuse and learns how to better deal with life stressors and daily functioning. Other programs, such as art therapy and recreational classes, can help abusers gain focus and meaning while recovering from drug abuse.

Since 1972, the renowned Clearbrook Treatment Centers have been providing effective treatment programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from alcoholism and/or chemical dependency. Clearbrook’s rehabilitation program is based upon the belief that alcoholism and chemical dependency is a primary disease and that the suffering addict and his or her family members deserve immediate help.

Helping a Meth Addict

Methamphetamine--also known as speed, meth, or crystal--boosts chemical receptors, such as dopamine, and inhibits the destruction of other chemicals, such as acetylcholamine, in the brain. The result is an addicting euphoria.

Sleep deprivation and nutritional deficiencies occur and over time, good feelings turn into abnormal thoughts, users focus on irrelevant objects or tasks, and drug tolerance develops so that increasing amounts are needed to gain the desired effects.

When the addict runs out of their drug supply, lethargy, irritability, and flu-like symptoms are experienced. Cravings for the drug become very strong. Physical detox takes five to seven days. Normalization of brain chemistry may take weeks or months after drug use stops.

Methamphetamine-induced psychosis, in which the user has delusional thoughts and may even hear voices, is exactly like some schizophrenic conditions except it is exaggerated and more intense. Drug-induced psychosis goes away when drug use is stopped; usually a great improvement can be seen within a few weeks.

Treatment offers the best solution for methamphetamine addicts and their families. Afterward, addicts can take responsibility for avoiding the behaviors that lead to active addiction and for taking actions that will keep them clean, such as attending meetings, working steps of recovery, and helping others. A social support system of friends in recovery is very important. Places of worship, family members, and co-workers may be very supportive, but they cannot substitute for the fellowship of other recovering addicts who understand the unique conditions an addict must face.

Those who want to help a meth addict should understand that relapse is part of addictive disease, as are denial and compulsions. It does no good to nag or check up on the addict. A relapse can occur without warning, and the person who wants to help would be wise to incorporate the concept of One Day at a Time, otherwise they will become too ill and stressed out to think clearly when relapse does happen. Addicts often learn from relapses to respect the seriousness of the disease and how to avoid future slips. In any case, help comes in the form of natural consequences (job loss, finding oneself out on the street) that compel the addict to get back into recovery.

Since 1972, the renowned Clearbrook Treatment Centers have been providing effective treatment programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from alcoholism and/or chemical dependency. Clearbrook’s rehabilitation program is based upon the belief that alcoholism and chemical dependency is a primary disease and that the suffering addict and his or her family members deserve immediate help.

Alcoholism & Abuse

Oftentimes, people who abuse alcohol do not know or will not admit that they have a problem with alcohol. But the effects of alcohol can obviously be devastating to a person’s health and the health and well being of their families and others.

According to the National Institute of Aging, there are two types of drinking patterns: heavy, binge drinking and long-term drinking that takes place over the course of several years.

Sometimes people turn to alcohol when major life changes happen, such as the loss of a job or loved one. Other times, alcoholism may begin slowly through social situations and build over time.

In many cases, drinking may seem like relief from problems or stressful situations. But, after continued use, drinking can often lead to problems.

It’s important to realize that not everyone who drinks regularly has a drinking problem and not all problem drinkers drink every day.

These are some of the signs to watch for if you think a loved one has a drinking problem:

•A person drinks to calm his or her nerves, forget their worries or reduce depression;
•A person gulps or guzzles drinks;
•A person frequently has more than one drink per day;
•A person lies about drinking or tries to hide his or her drinking;
•A person hurts people while drinking;
•A person continues to need more and more drinking to get high;
•A person feels irritable and resentful when not drinking; and
•A person has medical, social or financial worries caused by drinking, to name a few.

To get help for alcoholism, an alcoholic needs support from family and friends. To help someone get help for alcoholism, talk to a doctor. He or she can provide guidance and advice for treatment options.

Since 1972, the renowned Clearbrook Treatment Centers have been providing effective treatment programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from alcoholism and/or chemical dependency. Clearbrook’s rehabilitation program is based upon the belief that alcoholism and chemical dependency is a primary disease and that the suffering addict and his or her family members deserve immediate help.

Help a Recovering Addict

Try to hear what they have to say without judgment or “I told you sos”. This can be very hard to do. They may have things to say that are painful or hard to hear. They may be involved in things you find unacceptable.

Remember that respectful listening does not mean you agree with their view of things. Respectful listening does not imply that you condone their behaviours or activities, either. It simply means you are showing respect and caring by listening to what someone has to say.

Remember, you may be the only stable person in your adult child’s life—if you can’t listen to them without judgment, then who will? Addiction tends to isolate addicts from healthy people. As the addict’s problem intensifies, there are fewer and fewer support people around them. You don’t have control over your adult child’s addiction, but you do have a choice about whether you will listen. That may be a lifeline for your adult child in the future, so do what you can to keep the lines of communication open.

Talk over the situation carefully with friends or family you trust. Sharing your reactions to your adult child’s addiction with trustworthy understanding people is necessary and healthy. Supporting someone struggling with addiction is a tall order, so make sure you take care of yourself. You may want to consider joining a support group or seeking the services of a professional counselor.

With addiction comes chaos. Part of coping with your adult child’s addiction involves insulating yourself from the chaos. It is very easy to get wrapped up the addict’s problems. However, if this happens our own stability and wellness will be threatened. Make sure to detach from your adult child’s problems from time to time. Do things for yourself that you enjoy.

It’s important to educate yourself about addiction. Knowing more about addiction will help you understand your adult child’s struggle with substances. Knowing more will also help you look after yourself as you provide support to your addicted adult child.

Families play a strong role in substance abuse recovery. Many people who have recovered from active addiction state that what made the difference in their recovery was the non-judgmental support of family members. That non-judgmental support is only possible if you leave fixing and self-blame behind. Most importantly, educate yourself about addiction and develop strong supports for yourself.

Since 1972, the renowned Clearbrook Treatment Centers have been providing effective treatment programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from alcoholism and/or chemical dependency. Clearbrook’s rehabilitation program is based upon the belief that alcoholism and chemical dependency is a primary disease and that the suffering addict and his or her family members deserve immediate help.

Helping an Addict

Even though your child is an adult, the care-giving impulses you have used over the past 20 years or more don’t evaporate overnight. They can be hard to leave behind. The impulse to “fix” things for your child can be very strong.

This is particularly true when your addicted adult child is experiencing problems in life functioning. For example, they may have a hard time finding or keeping employment; they may have ongoing problems with the law; they may be in very poor health. They are often quite isolated from other people. You may be the only stable person your child knows.

The first instinct many parents have is to jump in and rescue the addict. Don’t do that. The only one who can save an addict is the addict himself. When you try to rescue someone from their addiction, you can end up entangled in their misery and frustrations. That will drag both of you down. Sometimes rescuing behaviour can actually endanger you or your adult child.

Rescuing addicts can also enable them to keep using substances or processes far longer than they otherwise would have. Remember that you should never be more committed to your child getting better than your child is.

Your second instinct might be to blame yourself. You might be asking yourself what you have done wrong as a parent. You may wonder if something you did caused your child to use substances or processes.

The truth is that addiction is a complex medical, psychological, and social problem with multiple “reasons” behind it. You may never know what combination of things influenced your adult child in their choices.

The bottom line is this: Whatever may have transpired in your adult child’s life so far, whatever the family history-- in the here-and-now, they use because they choose to use. They will continue to use until they choose to stop. You have no control over their decision to use; therefore, you have no responsibility for their decision to use, either.

Since 1972, the renowned Clearbrook Treatment Centers have been providing effective treatment programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from alcoholism and/or chemical dependency. Clearbrook’s rehabilitation program is based upon the belief that alcoholism and chemical dependency is a primary disease and that the suffering addict and his or her family members deserve immediate help.

How to Spot an Addict

Substance abuse is an increasingly problematic addiction that is prevalent among young adults. The effects of drug and alcohol addiction can be detrimental, not only hurting the user, but also those that love and care for the person as well. For an addict, getting help is essential to a normal, healthy lifestyle. However, many people don´t know how to recognize their alcohol and drug addictions, thus rejecting any help that may present itself.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines addiction as the “compulsive need for and use of a habit forming substance...” Both alcohol and drugs are known to carry highly addictive qualities than can compel a person to feel a need for the substance. The addiction quickly becomes stronger as it is fed, leading to substance abuse or drinking on a regular basis.

Drug use is another addiction that can get out of hand quickly. Drug addiction is not as easy to identify as it once was, mostly due to the increase in medical prescriptions being abused. Illegal drugs tend to have a negative effect on the physiological appearance of a person. Examples of these types of drugs include cocaine, heroine, and methamphetamines. Addiction to prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications can occur when a person begins to use pain killers, sleeping pills, or other mood altering drugs to function in everyday activities. This type of activity is growing increasingly popular among students, resulting in drug addiction at a very young age, sometimes the result of a legal prescription. Signs of drug addiction can include weight loss, extreme behavior, broken teeth, scabs, constant sniffing, lack of appetite, bloodshot eyes, droopy eyes, and slurred speech.

For a person wondering if he or she is an addict, the question to ask oneself is “Does my drinking or drug use affect my everyday life, or is it a disruption to the completion and quality of daily activities?” If one finds that alcohol or drugs are indeed a disturbance to daily functionality, then he or she can assuredly assume that there is an addiction that needs to be treated.

Since 1972, the renowned Clearbrook Treatment Centers have been providing effective treatment programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from alcoholism and/or chemical dependency. Clearbrook’s rehabilitation program is based upon the belief that alcoholism and chemical dependency is a primary disease and that the suffering addict and his or her family members deserve immediate help.

Inhalants Still Popular

According to Drug Aware™ more children die every year as a result of solvent abuse than from all other illegal drugs put together. According to the Volatile Substance Abuse Prevention Organization, the youngest person to succumb to solvent sniffing was only seven years old and the oldest was 80 years of age.

Youth between the ages of 10 and 16 are trying inhalants once or twice, or use them on occasion. Some of those youth are solvent sniffing more frequently and in some cases, continue this into adulthood. Chronic solvent users tend to be in their 20s. This form of abuse is associated with difficulty at school, lack of opportunities, poverty, and in families in which substance abuse exists
With about 15 to 20 sniffs, there is an instant “high” followed by a drowsy feeling. Some youth experience double vision, slurred speech and trouble walking. Feeling confused and having hallucinations is another effect. Other short-term effects include:

•sneezing and coughing
•trouble breathing
•rash on the face
•problems with sadness, anger and fighting

Long-term effects depend on which inhalant is used. Some possible effects are depression, irritability, paranoia, tremors, weakness, weight loss and sore on the nose and mouth. Some of these may be reversible, but some damage is permanent. There can also be damage to bone marrow, permanent hearing loss organ damage and chronic long-term use can cause the brain to atrophy.

Since 1972, the renowned Clearbrook Treatment Centers have been providing effective treatment programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from alcoholism and/or chemical dependency. Clearbrook’s rehabilitation program is based upon the belief that alcoholism and chemical dependency is a primary disease and that the suffering addict and his or her family members deserve immediate help.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Addiction to Pain Medications

In a society in which unregulated Internet pharmacies have made acquiring prescription drugs as easy as ordering from an online catalog, it may come as little surprise that thousands of suffering Americans are attempting to self-medicate their pain away. However, as many have discovered, taking highly addictive medications without the advice or supervision of a health care provider can cause many more problems than it solves.

Though not all of these off-label or recreational uses of prescription painkillers can be attributed to struggles with chronic pain, evidence indicates that many individuals develop dependency after using the drugs for legitimate purposes.

In her article on the website of the National Pain Foundation, Dr. Jennifer P. Schneider writes that chronic pain is "notoriously under-treated," and that the most common reasons patients gave for changing doctors included "too much pain," and "the belief that the doctor didn't take their pain seriously enough."

Some people who abuse prescription painkillers are able to overcome their addictions through counseling, participation in 12-step support groups, or outpatient therapy - but more severe cases may merit hospitalization or a stay in a residential treatment facility.

In addition to traditional rehabilitation efforts, which address a wide range of substance abuse disorders, some programs are designed specifically for individuals who are suffering from chronic pain and related dependencies.

One such chronic pain treatment program can be found at the Cleabrook Treatment Centers located in Pennsylvania. With extensive facilities and treatment programs you are sure to overcome your drug addiction.

Drug Treatment for Women

Addiction to drugs is a serious, chronic, and relapsing health problem for both women and men of all ages and backgrounds. Among women, however, drug abuse may present different challenges to health, may progress differently, and may require different treatment approaches.

Understanding Women Who Use Drugs

It is possible for drug-dependent women, of any age, to overcome the illness of drug addiction. Those that have been most successful have had the help and support of significant others, family members, friends, treatment providers, and the community. Women of all races and socioeconomic status suffer from the serious illness of drug addiction. And women of all races, income groups, levels of education, and types of communities need treatment for drug addiction, as they do for any other problem affecting their physical or mental health.

Many women who use drugs have faced serious challenges to their well-being during their lives. For example, research indicates that up to 70 percent of drug abusing women report histories of physical and sexual abuse. Data also indicate that women are far more likely than men to report a parental history of alcohol and drug abuse. Often, women who use drugs have low self-esteem and little self-confidence and may feel powerless. In addition, minority women may face additional cultural and language barriers that can affect or hinder their treatment and recovery.

Many drug-using women do not seek treatment because they are afraid: They fear not being able to take care of or keep their children, they fear reprisal from their spouses or boyfriends, and they fear punishment from authorities in the community. Many women report that their drug-using male sex partners initiated them into drug abuse. In addition, research indicates that drug-dependent women have great difficulty abstaining from drugs, when the lifestyle of their male partner is one that supports drug use.

Clearbrook Treatment Centers are here to help. They have specifically designed curriculums to address the unique needs of women who suffer from addicition. Visit Cleabrook Treatment Centers today and get on the road to recovery!

Treatment of Heroin Addiction

A variety of effective treatments are available for heroin addiction. Treatment tends to be more effective when heroin abuse is identified early. The treatments that follow vary depending on the individual, but methadone, a synthetic opiate that blocks the effects of heroin and eliminates withdrawal symptoms, has a proven record of success for people addicted to heroin; many behavioral therapies also are used for treating heroin addiction.

The primary objective of detoxification is to relieve withdrawal symptoms while patients adjust to a drug-free state. Not in itself a treatment for addiction, detoxification is a useful step only when it leads into long-term treatment that is either drug-free (residential or outpatient) or uses medications as part of the treatment. The best documented drug-free treatments are the therapeutic community residential programs lasting at least 3 to 6 months.

Although behavioral and pharmacologic treatments can be extremely useful when employed alone, science has taught us that integrating both types of treatments will ultimately be the most effective approach. There are many effective behavioral treatments available for heroin addiction. These can include residential and outpatient approaches. An important task is to match the best treatment approach to meet the particular needs of the patient. Moreover, several new behavioral therapies, such as contingency management therapy and cognitive-behavioral interventions, show particular promise as treatments for heroin addiction. Contingency management therapy uses a voucher-based system, where patients earn ÒpointsÓ based on negative drug tests, which they can exchange for items that encourage healthy living. Cognitive-behavioral interventions are designed to help modify the patient's thinking, expectancies, and behaviors and to increase skills in coping with various life stressors.

Alcohol Rehabilitation

Alcohol abuse differs from alcoholism in that it does not include an extremely strong craving for alcohol, loss of control over drinking, or physical dependence. Although alcohol abuse is basically different from alcoholism, many effects of alcohol abuse are also experienced by alcoholics. Alcohol abuse is defined as a pattern of drinking that results in one or more of the following situations within a 12-month period:

-Failure to fulfill major work, school, or home responsibilities;
-Drinking in situations that are physically dangerous, such as while driving a car or operating machinery;
-Having recurring alcohol-related legal problems, such as being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or for physically hurting someone while drunk; and
-Continued drinking despite having ongoing relationship problems that are caused or worsened by the drinking.

The type of treatment you receive depends on the severity of your alcoholism and the resources that are available in your community. Treatment may include detoxification (the process of safely getting alcohol out of your system); taking doctor-prescribed medications, such as disulfiram (Antabuse®) or naltrexone (ReVia™), to help prevent a return (or relapse) to drinking once drinking has stopped; and individual and/or group counseling. There are promising types of counseling that teach alcoholics to identify situations and feelings that trigger the urge to drink and to find new ways to cope that do not include alcohol use. These treatments are often provided on an outpatient basis.

Because the support of family members is important to the recovery process, many programs also offer brief marital counseling and family therapy as part of the treatment process. Programs may also link individuals with vital community resources, such as legal assistance, job training, childcare, and parenting classes.

Adolescent Substance Abuse

Being a teenager and raising a teenager are individually, and collectively, enormous challenges. For many teens, illicit substance use and abuse become part of the landscape of their teenage years. Although most adolescents who use drugs do not progress to become drug abusers, or drug addicts in adulthood, drug use in adolescence is a very risky proposition. Even small degrees of substance abuse (for example, alcohol, marijuana, and inhalants) can have negative consequences. Typically, school and relationships, notably family relationships, are among the life areas that are most influenced by drug use and abuse.

One of the most telling signs of a teen's increasing involvement with drugs is when drug use becomes part of the teen's daily life. Preoccupation with drugs can crowd out previously important activities, and the manner in which the teen views him or her self may change in unrealistic and inaccurate directions. Friendship groups may change, sometimes dramatically, and relationships with family members can become more distant or conflictual. Further bad signs include more frequent use or use of greater amounts of a certain drug, or use of more dangerous drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamines, or heroin. Persistent patterns of drug use in adolescence are a sign that problems in that teen's environment exist and need to be addressed immediately.

The earlier one seeks help for their teen's behavioral or drug problems, the better. How is a parent to know if their teen is experimenting with or moving more deeply into the drug culture? Above all, a parent must be a good and careful observer, particularly of the little details that make up a teen's life. Overall signs of dramatic change in appearance, friends, or physical health may be signs of trouble. If a parent believes his or her child may be drinking or using drugs, here are some things to watch for:

Physical evidence of drugs and drug paraphernalia
Behavior problems and poor grades in school
Emotional distancing, isolation, depression, or fatigue
Change in friendships or extreme influence by peers
Hostility, irritability, or change in level of cooperation around the house
Lying or increased evasiveness about after school or weekend whereabouts

Cleabrook Treatment Centers understands the difficulties in dealing with teenage drug abuse. Thus, they have opened the Clearbrook Lodge, a treatment center designed specifically to handle adolescent drug addicts. Visit the Cleabrook Treatment Centers website today and help your child on the road to recovery.

Senior Substance Abuse

Studies show that as many as 17 percent of American seniors may have alcohol abuse problems or alcoholism, yet this group is greatly underrepresented in addiction treatment programs.

Studies also show that when seniors do participate in addiction treatment programs, they show greater than average treatment compliance, are more likely to finish a recommended course of treatment and more likely to avoid relapse. Treatment for seniors works, but too many seniors never get the treatment they need.

Seniors are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol and prescription drugs. They do not metabolize these psychoactive substances as well or as quickly as younger people, and they are more likely to mix alcohol or psychoactive medications with other medications that can result in dangerous drug interactions. What may not seem like excessive drinking in an older adult may in fact be enough to cause significant intoxication and serious health consequences.

Once in treatment, seniors tend to stay committed to their long-term recovery. Convincing a senior who is abusing drugs or alcohol to get addiction treatment can lead to increased health and cognitive functioning, a decrease in the risks of mental health disorders, and in many cases, to additional years of life.

If an older adult you know and love is drinking too much or abusing medications, you can and should intervene.

Signs Of an Alcohol Addiction in Your Teenager

The following behaviors may indicate an alcohol or other drug problem, but it's important to note that some also reflect normal teenage growing pains. Experts believe that a drinking problem is more likely if you notice several of these signs at the same time, if they occur suddenly, and if some of them are extreme in nature:

-Mood changes: flare-ups of temper, irritability, and defensiveness

-School problems, including poor attendance, low grades, and/or recent disciplinary action

-Rebelling against family rules

-Switching friends, along with a reluctance to have you get to know the new friends

-A "nothing matters" attitude, for example sloppy appearance, a lack of involvement in former interests, and general low energy

-Finding alcohol in your child's room or backpack, or smelling alcohol on his or her breath

-Physical or mental problems: memory lapses, poor concentration, bloodshot eyes, lack of coordination, or slurred speech

If you think your child may be in trouble with drinking, you can protect them from years of pain by seeking advice from a mental health professional specializing in alcohol problems as soon as possible. The life you save may be your child's.

Be especially scrutinizing as you determine the drug rehab program that meets your specific needs. Clearbrook Treatment Centers have the Cleabrook Lodge that is specifically designed to meet the challenges of teen drug and alcohol abuse.

Types of Treatment Programs

There are several types of drug abuse treatment programs. Short-term methods last less than 6 months and include residential therapy, medication therapy, and drug-free outpatient therapy. Longer term treatment may include, for example, methadone maintenance outpatient treatment for opiate addicts and residential therapeutic community treatment.

In maintenance treatment for heroin addicts, people in treatment are given an oral dose of a synthetic opiate, usually methadone hydrochloride or levo-alpha-acetyl methadol (LAAM), administered at a dosage sufficient to block the effects of heroin and yield a stable, noneuphoric state free from physiological craving for opiates. In this stable state, the patient is able to disengage from drug-seeking and related criminal behavior and, with appropriate counseling and social services, become a productive member of his or her community.

Outpatient drug-free treatment does not include medications and encompasses a wide variety of programs for patients who visit a clinic at regular intervals. Most of the programs involve individual or group counseling. Patients entering these programs are abusers of drugs other than opiates or are opiate abusers for whom maintenance therapy is not recommended, such as those who have stable, well-integrated lives and only brief histories of drug dependence.

Therapeutic communities (TCs) are highly structured programs in which patients stay at a residence, typically for 6 to 12 months. Patients in TCs include those with relatively long histories of drug dependence, involvement in serious criminal activities, and seriously impaired social functioning. The focus of the TC is on the resocialization of the patient to a drug-free, crime-free lifestyle.

Short-term residential programs, often referred to as chemical dependency units, are often based on the "Minnesota Model" of treatment for alcoholism. These programs involve a 3- to 6-week inpatient treatment phase followed by extended outpatient therapy or participation in 12-step self-help groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous. Chemical dependency programs for drug abuse arose in the private sector in the mid-1980s with insured alcohol/cocaine abusers as their primary patients. Today, as private provider benefits decline, more programs are extending their services to publicly funded patients.

Rehabilitation Does Work

Rehabilitation is the process of recovering those capacities that have been diminished due to substance abuse and addiction. This recovery can only be sustained if the addict does not relapse or return to substance abuse. Thus, the proof of successful rehabilitation is in relapse prevention. However, rehabilitation is more than simply avoiding drugs.

The goal of a drug rehab is to help clients to re-integrate into their community as productive and valued people. The Whole Person Recovery concept is a way of understanding the process of rehabilitation as a long journey. The various methods and contexts for rehabilitation – such as individual, group and family counselling, self-help groups and vocational rehabilitation – are vehicles for the journey.

But the client is not a passive passenger in these vehicles. With the help of the counsellor, he is now back in the driving seat on the new journey along his life path. The counsellor acts as a guide and shows the route, takes on board travelling companions and can even act as mechanic to ensure that the vehicles are properly maintained. The vehicles of therapy and the support of the counsellor are essential, but the recovering person can only progress on the journey through his own participation and energies.

As the client comes out of the detoxification phase of treatment you can start to lay the foundations of the rehabilitation process. Abstinence in itself is not enough. If the addict does not see the benefits of remaining abstinent she will relapse sooner or later. The recovering person needs active guidance to clarify the paths to a major change in lifestyle.

Intervention is Sometimes Necessary


1) An addict needs to hit rock bottom before they’ll ever get help.
2) An addict has to decide when to get treatment.

Those two pervasive myths about addiction stop too many well-meaning and concerned family members from intervening to help their loved one get needed addiction treatment.

Addicts and alcoholics never need to hit rock bottom. Waiting for things to get worse only makes treatment harder and less likely to succeed, and many people never find their own rock bottom, until it’s too late.

Many alcoholics and addicts enter into substance abuse treatment programs initially on the urging of concerned friends or family members, at the request of employers or as mandated by the courts. Statistics show that people who do not enter into treatment as self-motivated participants are just as likely to succeed as anyone else. It does not matter how you feel walking in the door to that treatment center, it only matters how you feel walking out.

Talk to the person you love about drug rehab treatment. Sometimes you can convince them to get the help they need – sometimes they’re just waiting for someone to ask.

Often, though, it’s not that easy. Addiction hijacks the mind and treatment threatens the very existence of this addicted mind. Some of the strategies commonly employed to deflect treatment include:

Denying the problem or the extent of the problem
Lying about what they plan to do
Agreeing to get help, but not following through
Reacting with anger, deflecting the conversation away from their problem and back onto you

In many cases, an intervention is required to convince someone who is reluctant to get help into the addiction treatment they need.

A family intervention brings together everyone close to the addict or alcoholic for a loving conversation, during which the addict hears what harms their drinking or using does to them and to others.

When everyone comes together to tell personal stories of pain and to demand treatment, it is tough for the addict to continue to deny the existence of the problem and the need for treatment.

Interventions work well, but they should never be taken lightly. They are serious, difficult and emotional events that require forethought, planning and preparation. Be sure to get educated about the process before attempting your own, and consider enlisting the services of a professional interventionist to facilitate the event.

Help a Loved One Recover

It can be heart-wrenching to witness a loved one’s descent into addiction or alcoholism. Feeling powerless to create lasting change is often the hardest part as we watch a friend, parent, child or sibling risk early death to keep on getting drunk or high. It’s unbelievable, but it’s reality.

Fortunately, although you may feel powerless, you have more influence than you realize. Here are six ways that you can help get a loved one to stop abusing drugs or alcohol.

Until you get educated about the problem, you can’t hope to provide workable solutions.

The situation may seem black and white to you – “just stop using what’s killing you” – but with addiction, what seems to make the most sense isn’t necessarily what’s true or needed. Addiction creates physiological changes in the brain that make it very difficult to just “say no.”

Addiction erodes impulse control. Without treatment and relapse avoidance techniques, constant cravings are difficult to overcome.

Read all you can about the disease of addiction. It will help you to understand what your loved one is going through, why treatment is needed and what types of treatment are most likely to work – and it may increase your feelings of compassion. You are going to need the help and support of others in the family as well, so it’s important that you offer informed opinions about what can and should be done to create real and lasting change.

Go to the library and read online. You should also plan to meet with an addiction specialist to get opinions and recommendations for treatment.

Addiction affects the family, and family affects the addiction. If at all possible, family members should participate in the addiction treatment process. Family counseling and family education sessions can help reveal family dynamics that may contribute to the substance abuse and may help mend some of the wounds inevitably caused by addiction.

Getting educated as a family also prepares the group to offer the kinds of relapse prevention support that can really make a difference in those first tough months of sobriety.

How Long Does Addiction Recovery Take?

Addiction rarely occurs overnight, and like the descent into the disease, the journey out of it can take some time.

People naturally want to know how long treatment and recovery will take. They want to know when they can expect to feel better and when they’ll stop craving that drink or that hit so badly.

Frustratingly, concrete answers to questions like these are hard to come by. Every person recovers in their own time, and every person requires something different on what is always a very individual journey.

The only part of recovery that transcends this individual experience is the reality of a lifetime of recovery. No matter who you are, once addicted, addiction recovery is for life.

The Facts of Recovery

-Addiction remains an incurable disease. Although treatment can induce remission, recovery lasts a lifetime.

-The National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) does not recommend residential or outpatient programs that last fewer than 90 days, calling programs shorter than this “of limited effectiveness.”

-NIDA recommends staying involved in addiction treatment for “significantly longer” than 90 days as the best way to encourage lasting success.

-NIDA recommends that people taking methadone to help break their addiction stay on the medication for a minimum of 1 year before attempting to taper off.
Longer Is Generally Better

There are no quick fixes to overcoming an addiction, and you should be wary of those treatment methods that promise the impossible. When deciding to get treatment for your addiction, realize that recovery is a lengthy journey. For the best chance of continuing recovery, you will need to invest significant time and effort into your treatment experience.

People who enter a short- or long-term residential addiction treatment program will need to continue their involvement in aftercare outpatient programs to maximize their chances of success. That will provide them continued support and encouragement on their path of recovery.