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Category: Drug Addictions

How Are Addiction, Tolerance, And Withdrawal Related To Drug Abuse?

Addiction, according to some, is an effect of an impaired decision-making. When you opt to abuse drugs, eventually, you will think poorly of matters around you.

The addiction cycle involves:

  • Tolerance
  • Sensitization
  • Withdrawal

Tolerance tells about how much drugs or alcohol can your body tolerate or how much the body needs to feel the same effects.

When you use drugs more than the dosage that your body has been accustomed to for a period of time, your body’s tolerance will be increased. Therefore, you will crave more and take more to satisfy oneself of the same affects you have had the first time you tried it. Tolerance is a high risk for addiction because your body will crave for the drug in an increasing amount.

Sensitization may also take place in the brain; one of the strongest reasons why a person becomes an addict.

The process of sensitization makes the person more sensitive to the environment, especially in factors that trigger the use of drugs. Sensitization is different from tolerance. While both are reasons for downward progress, tolerance equates to drug taking whereas sensitization is the craving for the drug. As tolerance levels increase, the cravings will also heighten. In no time at all, the motivation to take more and more of the drug strengthens. When this happens, a cycle is then created. It is like “I will take only a small portion before the cravings hit me, but I need to take a lot more drugs to satisfy it.”

Withdrawal is another ingredient to make the cycle of addiction go on.

If you are experiencing pain while being on the “cycle of addiction,” it only implies that your body needs for you to take a bigger dosage or a stronger different drug to relieve the pain. The process of withdrawal means that your body is on its way to restoring your “normal state of equilibrium” for proper functioning without needing drugs. It also signals your brain and your body that you need a pain killer throughout the withdrawal journey. Withdrawing from what the body has been accustomed to is life-threatening, but the most common symptoms include a headache, nausea, vomiting, violent shaking, and diarrhea, to name a few.

If there is some fortunate thought to it, it is the fact that deciding to withdraw from the habit is a big leap towards sobriety.

For some, withdrawal creates the downward spiral path for addiction; you get high after taking drugs, you take another drug if you feel the pain, and think that you need to take another drug just to feel great.  While this scenario is what is most common to those who have been caught inside the darkness of addiction, remember that change is still within you.

No one else decides for you, but yourself alone. So, get up! Going through the entire cleansing process may be difficult, but you do not have to do it alone.

Oxycodone High: It Is So Much More Than Physical Dependence

If you are worrying about a loved one who may be addicted to the use of oxycodone, you can usually tell with the signs if it is already severe or not. For one, the amount of time the person spends using or talking about oxycodone could be an indicator. Even mixing oxycodone with alcohol or other prescription medications could be a sign. Both of these often indicate that there is abuse or addiction.

Opioids including oxycodone can cause increasing tolerance in its users so you would have to take in larger doses of the drug to achieve the first “high” experience. If you have noticed that your friend or family member is increasing their doses without a doctor’s order or has difficulty stopping the use of oxycodone, then it is possible that he or she is physically dependent, if not fully addicted to the drug.

Oxycodone addiction may cause changes in the mood.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders determines the characteristics persistent to the set of disturbances in the mood like being irritable or depressed. The following, however, can serve as a general guide for addiction:

  • A lot of time is spent using, recovering or obtaining the drug.
  • Persistent desire or cravings for oxycodone or unsuccessful at efforts to stop or cut down use.
  • Occupational, recreational or social activities are reduced and may even be given up due to the addiction.
  • The presence of withdrawal symptoms or when the person continues to use the drug to avoid the symptoms.

Here are the physical symptoms of withdrawal from oxycodone:

  • Sweating
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Nodding off
  • Muscle and bone pain

The symptoms of an addiction to oxycodone can be treated.

First off, you may try intervention programs, which can either be informal or formal. No matter which type of intervention you choose, your goal will be to bring the addicted person directly to an oxycodone addiction treatment facility.

If you choose an informal type of intervention, you need to plan the action with family members and friends and probably gather everyone with the addicted person to discuss the problem. In your discussion, you may talk about how the use of the drug is already affecting the people around. If you find this difficult to attempt then you may go for a formal type of intervention that will include professionals like counselors and psychiatrists.

The symptoms of addiction to oxycodone are manifested as a result of psychological processes and chemical dependency. When the addiction becomes disrupted, mental symptoms will have to be addressed.

A common treatment used for oxycodone addiction and other types of addiction is the behavioral therapy, which determines the underlying emotional issues that need attention. You can also seek help from clinics or local practitioners and ask for the best referrals.

You can also opt for pharmaceutical treatments to stop some of the effects of the drug.

Some recovering addicts turn to opiate blockers or lower their dose of the drug gradually to be as comfortable as possible during withdrawal. Doctors also prescribe naloxone and buprenorphine to address dependency and the symptoms of withdrawal.

Addiction treatments can either be inpatient or outpatient treatment. For the latter, you will visit a clinic then go home whereas the former requires their patients to stay in the facility for some time. This option is actually seen as the best for people with a stronger addiction to oxycodone.


How to Tell if a Teen is Using Drugs and Alcohol: Warning Signs of Teenaged Drug Abuse Can Be Hard to Catch

According to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, illicit drug use among teenagers is down. This is good news, but it’s not the only news. Alcohol use is up among the underage crowd, as is the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Given these facts, it’s normal for a parent to be concerned about whether or not their teen is using or abusing drugs and alcohol.

Unfortunately, teenagers don’t wear signs around their necks telling parents the status of their drug use. And many parents are uncomfortable talking to their children about the subject. Drug abuse causes a personality and behavior shift in a teen. But lots of normal teen behavior is erratic, so it can be hard to know if moodiness is a result of adolescent hormonal surges or substance abuse.

Physical Signs that a Teenager May be Using Drugs

Finding drugs or drug paraphernalia in a teen’s room, car or backpack is a strong sign that he might be using. If confronted with physical evidence, many teens will deny the drugs are theirs and say they belong to a friend. This is almost never true.

Drugs and their ingestion methods come in many forms, but here are some things to watch for:

  • pills (oxycontin, xanax, vicodin, codeine, ecstasy)
  • powders (cocaine, heroin, meth)
  • leafy, sweet smelling herbs or rolled cigarettes (marijuana)
  • mushrooms (psychedelic mushrooms)
  • tiny tabs of paper (acid)
  • beer, wine or liquor bottles
  • water bongs
  • small pipes
  • lighters
  • spoons
  • needles

Home and School Signs that a Teen May be Using Drugs

Drug use is sometimes the culprit when a teenager suddenly starts bringing home lower grades or reports of incomplete assignments. Truancy often becomes an issue. A normally well-behaved child may suddenly begin getting detentions for behavior problems such as disrespect of teachers, classmates and property. He may also begin skipping practices or meetings for extracurricular commitments like sports, band or yearbook.

At home, he may withdraw from regular family activities, spend long amounts of time alone in his room and stop doing expected chores. Angry or violent outbursts can indicate a drug problem, as can a noticeable decline in personal hygiene. Some teenagers who are abusing drugs will take medications (both prescription and non prescription) found in the homes of their parents or other close relatives.

Emotional and Social Signs that a Teenager May Be Using Drugs

A teenager who is using illicit substance often changes his group of friends, seemingly overnight. He may speak poorly of old friends and criticize them for their choices or beliefs. He may also withdraw from groups that have always been important to him like church or Boy Scouts. Changes in his daily sleep or activity routines can also be a warning sign.

Other behaviors to watch out for include:

  • depression
  • sleeping more than usual
  • anxiety
  • paranoia
  • extreme weight gain or loss in a short period of time (three months)
  • blatant defiance or disobedience
  • erratic mood swings from high to low

In some cases, these behaviors are common in all teenagers, but if three or more of them are present, it is a good idea to consult a professional for further evaluation. It is also a good idea to learn how to talk to a teenager about drugs and alcohol. There are a number of options for help for a young person whose life is being affected by drug and alcohol abuse, to include treatment programs and 12 step recovery groups.

Relating Childhood Trauma and Chronic Distress to Drug Abuse

Ever wondered why people do drugs? Why you use a specific coping strategy to counter stress? How upsetting childhood trauma can be? It’s all interconnected.

People are a product of their genes and external influences from the environment. How a person chooses to manage stress, is dependent on personality traits and gene characteristics of that individual. The environment contributes significantly in shaping peoples response to stress.

Varying genes and exposure to different environments enable people to react in a different way when faced with stress i.e. people would perceive a stressful event differently, their neural circuitry would interpret it differently and their response along with adaptive reactions would also be different. So what regulates these differences?

Rajita Sinha in How does Stress Increase Risk of Drug Abuse and Relapse? is of the opinion that this dissimilarity in stress response amongst individuals can also be categorized in terms of:

  • childhood trauma
  • chronic distress

These two, of course, are not the only aspects that define an individuals stress response. Nonetheless, they do have a prominent impact on how a person deals with stress.

Stressful events or trauma during childhood such as seclusion, are known to induce a drug seeking behavior (Adler, Bendotti, Ghezzi, Samanin, & Valzelli, 1975). Similarly, increased levels of CRF have been associated with chronic distress (Arborelius, Owens, Plotsky, & Nemeroff, 1999), which in turn induce a drug seeking behavior.

Childhood Trauma and Drug Abuse

Instances of drug abuse in people with a traumatic background, is fairly common. Especially, people that have been traumatized physically during their childhood are prone to adapt a drug seeking behavior (Widom, Weiler, & Cottler, 1999).

Research regarding animal reaction to stress during its early phases of life, support a positive relation between stressful events and drug abuse. Such instances were found in rats (Kosten, Miserendino, & Kehoe, 2000) and rhesus monkeys (Higley, Hasert, Suomi, & Linnoila, 1991) when exposed to a stressful environment.

While there are varying categories of stressful events to which an individual might be exposed, during his/her childhood, isolation and social separation are prioritized during relevant studies. Here is what happens:

  1. An individual is socially isolated or perceives that he/she is isolated during childhood.
  2. This registers as a stressful event.
  3. This stressful event during childhood encourages drug seeking behavior and drug abuse.

In rats isolation during early life increases self-administration of cocaine and morphine (Adler, Bendotti, Ghezzi, Samanin, & Valzelli, 1975).

Chronic Distress and Drug Abuse

As vanity, pessimism and narcissism in college students, and the whole general populace increases along with pressures from an ever-evolving world that requires the youth to struggle more than their predecessors in order to adapt to the changing environment; distress is common.

The relation between stress and drug abuse is reasonable, evident and perhaps understandable to even those who are uninformed. If such a relation exists in association with a single stressful event, reasoning the relation between chronic stress and drug abuse is relatively elementary. Studies depict an increased usage of alcohol, nicotine and marijuana in subjects going through chronic distress. (Kandel, et al. 1997; King, Ghaziuddin, McGovern, Brand, Hill, & Naylor, 1996; Rao, Ryan, Dahl, Rao, Williamson, & Perel, 1999).

Moreover, chronic distress dysregulates the brain stress circuitry (Arborelius, et al. 1999). Neural connections and chemical interactions involved in the wake of a stressful event, as detailed in Understanding Stress and its Components, are disturbed by this continued distress and perhaps their involvement as a response to the event is altered overtime. These alterations contribute positively to enhance drug abuse in terms of increased sensitivity to drug use. Following is a list that connects chronic distress to drug abuse:

  1. An individual succumbs to chronic distress.
  2. Chronic distress upsets the brain stress circuitry involved.
  3. The individual seeks relief in drugs.
  4. This alteration apparently increases susceptibility to drug abuse.
  5. The individual increases his/her frequency of drug use.

The Connection

So why do people start abusing drugs? The answer is simple and dependent on various psychological and physiological happenings the individual experiences.

One aspect, the psychological aspect, is to take into account the mental state of the individual, the personality traits, grooming and effects of the surrounding environment. An individual brought-up in an environment supporting drugs or a stressed environment that pressurizes an individual to take drugs for relief (which may be due to a childhood trauma or social separation), fundamentally programs the individual to rely on such sources of relief from distress, with regards to future stressful events.

However, such an episode does not occur independent of physiological associations. As described earlier, the individuals brain stress circuitry is somewhat altered (Arborelius, et al. 1999) in connection with affective and cognitive modifications from the environment.

When people are faced with stress, they tend to employ a certain coping strategy to counter it. Those that have a poor coping capability, when faced with chronic distress or childhood trauma, are at an increased risk of drug abuse.

Thus, alteration in mental status and physiological changes in support of it, promote drug abuse in individuals who have experienced childhood trauma and/or chronic distress.

How To Help An Addicted Loved One

When you care about someone, and they ask for your help, it is important that you take a step towards a positive direction. The same can be told about somebody that you love that is addicted to drugs. The first step for recovery of a person addicted to drugs would be to ask for help, and that is something that is noteworthy. As a person close to the affected one, it is important for you to convince the person to get themselves to a rehab center or at least get proper evaluation from a medical practitioner.

There are various steps that can be taken in order to help a person get the proper recovery from drug addiction. If you need more expertise in the subject, there are over 4000 certified physicians in the United States alone that deals with addiction related issues. Contact one of them from the many classified websites as well as Yellow Pages that you have at your disposal. Each and every one of them would be more than helpful in taking care of the drug addicted person in their own, medically sanctioned manner. For further help, you can get in touch with the American Society for addiction. There are a lot of knowledgeable people in that forum, people that can give you a push in the right direction to help your drug addicted friend recover.

As a person willing to help out your loved one, it is also important that you conduct research and background check on your own in terms of the rehab centers. After all, there are always going to be a few treatment centers that may not go down well with the people being treated in those establishments. Most of them may adopt orthodox means of treatment that may not go well with the current generation of drug addicts. So, you have to walk a fine line, and ensure that you can actually conduct your own research to find out compatible drug treatment center.

If possible, go through the various helplines put out by such drug addict but centers and get to know about their rehab programs. That would be the first step to understanding whether the treatment center is something that would be of any help to your loved one. It is also important for you to search a treatment center that is near your house or near to the residence of your loved one. This way, friends and family can visit the person in order to provide moral support and courage in the face of such crushing de-addiction treatments.

Wherever treatment centers are concerned, it is important for you to understand if the people are experienced enough and they perform their daily duties towards the addicted patient. There are various specialists that can also be found in such treatment programs. Have a talk with them, and understand their prospective treatment program that can help out your loved one.

The initial courage to get into the rehab facility is with the addicted person, the rest lies upon the courage that you show towards helping out a person that is close to you.


Alcohol & Substance Abuse Teach Us 6 Big Life Lessons

In soberness, we learn numerous lessons that can be applied in all areas of our lives.

At any moment, we could make adjustments and select going forward to live a brand new life. Our day-to-day activities will teach us that the present days cannot eliminate our dark past. However, it will assist us to create a brand-new life, packed with the feeling of love and belonging. Your new you can start with eating healthier so to pivot from a previous addiction.

Reaching out for assistance is evidence of toughness, never a weak point.

Having the ability to say, “I require help” is a big sign of strength. Our dependencies often stay in the dark edges and silence is most of the time dangerous for those in soberness. Having the ability to reach out and ask for guidance is the most effect way to give in and eliminate the struggles that have caused burdens in our lives.

We always have a choice.

We can pick today to make ourselves wasteful or we choose to remain sober. Regardless of the intensity of the “desire” that we have, we have options. We should connect with others for assistance and make use of our coping skills to keep away from that damaging “desire.” Whether you are coming off the most dangerous drug to be addicted to, or you are coming off a low grad marijuana addiction, you have a choice to make every day.

Relationships can be difficult.

Sobriety is an obstacle. If we remain in to be with people, who show us that substance dependence is fine, our characteristics may soon transform into our darker selves. If we start to connect with the right people, we will be able to focus on our very own recovery, more than anything else. Remember, it takes a lot of maturity in developing borders, creating lines of communication, and establishing emotional guidelines in battles. One of the main battlegrounds with building real relationships. Most people are plugged into their smart phones and neglect interacting with actual people. However there are 5 Ways Technology Can Help You Over Come Your Addiction, which is really worth reading.

Recovering requires time.

Soberness is simply the initial step in the healing journey. A great deal of the job is done after we heal and obtain complete soberness. We have to accept that it takes time. And through looking for professional support, learning new healthy and balanced coping skills can help us achieve a healthier way of living. We need a plan in order to get rid of your addiction.

Offering assistance to others provides comfort.

With sobriety and recuperation, we learn to give back through offering support for those who also require help. To many, healing starts with sharing experiences with those that also go through the same road as them. Sharing gives hope to others that healing is possible.

Live one day at a time.

Life could frequently be frustrating. However, if we focus on today, it helps keep life manageable. Also, if we think of today and do our best from now on, it makes life so much more bearable. An entire life of soberness could relieve all the past frustrations. Sooner, life will be more worth living.

Learning a lot of lessons through the years of battling with substance dependency is one of the greatest things that we will discover throughout the ordeal. On a daily basis, we meet people and discover situations that show us what is the most important. Eventually, the lessons will teach that sobriety is an opportunity to grow and find opportunities to live a healthier and meaningful life.