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Drug Addiction, Treatment and Rehab Posts

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.

Alcohol-related death and crime prevention the Swedish way

Sweden’s government-controlled alcohol stores and strict regulations help save lives, lower crime and cut down on sick days, according to a recent study by Stockholm University.

Swedish System

The Scandinavian country, which is regarded as a shining beacon of socialism, only sells alcohol above 2.25% alcohol by volume in the 400 government-run Systembolaget stores. The exception is beer with alcohol content up to 3.5%, which is sold in grocery stores throughout the country.

Systembolaget’s opening hours certainly are restrictive for anyone in need of a late night booze run. Its doors are closed all day Sunday, only open until 3p.m. Saturdays, 7p.m. Thursdays and 6p.m. on Fridays and the rest of the week, according to the study conducted by Thor Norstrom et. al.

Expensive booze

The cost of drinking in bars in Sweden is notoriously high too, even for visitors from London. The average price for a beer in a Stockholm bar is almost $8 as I’ve found to my cost– forcing many weekend revelers to party before heading out for the night.

Study’s Findings

Norstrom et. al’s study projected two scenarios in which Systembolaget’s monopoly over retail alcohol sales was broken and replaced with systems more commonly seen throughout the rest of the industrialized world.

If Systembolaget was replaced with 800 government-licensed speciality alcohol shops, the study said that alcohol consumption would increase by 17%, resulting in an annual increase of 770 alcohol-related deaths, 8,500 assaults, 2,700 drink driving offenses, and 4.5 million additional sick days in the country of a little more than 9 million people.

Even more startling were the study’s projections if Sweden’s grocery stores were allowed to sell all alcohol. As has been the case in Great Britain, the study said that fierce competition among the large chains would lead to lower prices.

Anarchy in the U.K.

British-daily newspaper, the Independent, recently reported that alcohol-related hospital admissions in the U.K. have risen by 825 a day in five years to almost a million. Cut-price alcohol sold by grocery stores and drinks deals in bars have been blamed for much of the damage.

The Stockholm University study said that if Sweden went the same route, it would expect an additional 2,000 deaths, 20,000 assaults, 660 drink driving offenses and 11.1 million extra days of sick leave per year.


The study also pointed out the Systembolaget doesn’t advertise, but it seems likely that private retailers would. It cites a previous study by Saffer and Dhaval that said advertising of beer, wine or spirits raised consumption by 5%.

You Decide

In Sweden’s case it seems that government intervention, more than education has helped limit alcohol-related problems that have blighted equivalent countries in recent years.

In times where government control of any area of life is being fought by the right in the United States, Swedes make little fuss about government-controlled alcohol. The system works, but is it an abuse of peoples’ freedoms or the government performing its duty to benefit the majority?

How to Stop Drinking Alcohol Cold Turkey: Get and Stay Sober Without Alcoholics Anonymous

When you make the decision to finally quit drinking alcohol cold turkey, you have made the monumental decision to choose your health and well-being over addiction. Excessive alcohol consumption is socially acceptable drug abuse, and the habit can wreak havoc on a person’s body, organs, mind, and relationships. If you have arrived at a place in your life when you are ready to quit, your will and resolve will make it possible for you to quit on your own.

Admit to Yourself That You Have a Drinking Problem

If your drinking interferes with your daily life, your work, or your relationships, you have a drinking problem. You owe it to yourself to admit this to yourself. Once you have admitted this truth, you are ready to quit drinking cold turkey.

Quit Drinking Now

Heavy drinkers often make excuses that they can’t quit now. Excuses include the fact that they can’t quit because it’s the holidays, or because they are going through a stressful period in their life. The truth is nothing puts a body and mind under more stress than drug and/or alcohol abuse. Make the decision to begin an alcohol-free life now. If you have alcohol in your home, dispose of it all immediately.

Get Rid of Toxic Relationships

If you have friends with whom you drink, you need to rid your life of these people. Unless they are willing to embark on the journey to quit drinking alcohol cold turkey with you, you will need to stop spending time with them. These people are toxic to your mind and spirit, and could cause you to start drinking alcohol again.

Set Up a Support System

Talk to family members and friends who you think will be supportive of your decision to stop drinking cold turkey. Discuss with them your decision, and ask that they help you make it through this difficult time by being with you and occupying your mind and time.

Take Up New Relaxing Hobbies and Habits

A relaxed body creates a relaxed mind. Take up new hobbies that will help you relax your body and mind. Gentle exercises, like walking, Pilates, and yoga can be very beneficial while you quit drinking alcohol cold turkey. Start meditating daily, in order to clear your mind and help you resolve to maintain your new alcohol-free life. Relaxing, healthy hobbies like gardening, painting, or sculpting can help occupy your mind.

Additional Resources for Information on Staying Sober

This article should not be considered medical advice. Consult a physician before you stop drinking alcohol cold turkey, as your dependence may be psychological and physical.

Also, research the subject of how to quit drinking alcohol cold turkey without AA more in depth by checking out the following resources and sites:

  • How to Quit Drinking Without AA is a book by Jerry Dorsman (an addictions counselor and recovering alcoholic)
  • The Cult Called AA – by Paul Roasberry

The First Prohibition of Alcohol: Religious Temperance and Nativism Ban Drinking

Most Americans know that the prohibition of alcohol was a historic aberration from the 1920s and 1930s. Americans know much less about the prohibition era of the 1850s when thirteen states passed “dry” laws.

Religious Temperance

The crusaders of the 1840s and 1850s wanted government to take the lead in enforcing their religious agenda. They also organized themselves into large national organizations like the American Temperance Society. That the various temperance societies were able to become as large and powerful as they did is a testament to the passion of their rank-and-file membership. By 1836, the American Temperance Society claimed 1.5 million members, 10 percent of the country’s total population. The Society campaigned hard, telling employers that alcohol made workers less productive and telling women that alcohol made their husbands less reliable.

Technology Forwards the Prohibitionist Cause

Simultaneously, cities improved their drinking water, making it safer and better tasting. Previously, urban water sources were polluted and unhealthy. In New York, for example, many people drank spirits because the local water supply was so foul. Then New York began bringing water in from Croton, forty miles away, via a newly constructed aqueduct. A combination of the religious zeal and technological improvements helped the “cold water warriors” make headway. By 1845, Americans drank only about one quarter the amount of alcohol as 15 years earlier. Nevertheless, there was no sign that the state governments were preparing to impose and enforce prohibition.

Nativism as a Political Force

In the late 1840s, world events gave evangelical prohibitionists the answer to their literal prayers. A failed revolution in Germany and the Potato Famine in Ireland brought immigrants from those two countries to America. Both groups were known for their drinking habits. With the influx of hard drinking immigrants, the prohibitionists had what twenty-first century political analysts would have called “an issue.” Temperance became a patriotic issue. Germans and Irish were viewed as foreign and un-American. They lived in ethnic communities, celebrated different holidays, and flew their native flags.

The reactionary response came in the form of the American Party, or the Know-Nothings. The Know-Nothings were a political party whose platform was based completely on nativism, the mistrust of foreigners. They latched onto prohibition as a way to show the cultural differences between immigrants and natives and also as a way to shut down the Irish tavern and German biergartens, which had become key to incipient immigrant politics. The Know-Nothings’ apogee came in 1855, when they had six Governors elected.

The First Prohibition

The combination of well-organized religious enthusiasm and nativism was enough to gain what the prohibitionists sought. Maine was the first state to enact prohibition, in 1851. Finally, the people who worked so hard to stop the evils of drinking in America had a victory.

From 1852 to 1855, 12 more states passed prohibition laws. Not coincidentally, this time period matched precisely with the time in which the Know-Nothings enjoyed their rapid rise. In every state where the Know-Nothings gained a measure of power, a prohibition law was passed. The Know-Nothings and their nativist, prohibitionist message seemed to be gathering momentum, but events overcame them. We know that there was very little in the way of education of what alcoholism was or how to treat it. Certainly there was no “cure” for it as some people claim pills like Antabuse and others are.

The Civil War and the End of Prohibition

The idea of a unified, culturally monolithic America could not survive the Civil War. The Northern armies were reliant on immigrants to achieve the numerical superiority necessary to win the war, and once the Irish became comrades in arms it was difficult to demonize them. Moreover, the army followed in the tradition of American armies, and drank to excess. This helped revive the drinking culture, and lead to the repeal of prohibition in all but three New England states. Even there, it was largely ignored by the drinking masses. The Civil War ended the first era of prohibition in American history.

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.

Ways To Get Rid Of Or Recover From Drug Addiction

Whoever says that getting rid of the habit is easy enough, has not been addicted to drugs. You not only require a lot of courage and strong determination, but you need to watch yourself going through the grind of withdrawal symptoms and still want to see the end of the tunnel. It is the recovery phase which is pretty hard for most people to understand, and that is where lies the sole determination of a person in getting rid of drug addiction. Below are some of the methods that can be used to recover from drug addiction.

  1. Go for a holiday to a country that does not have any drug circulation. Countries like Philippines, Cambodia, and a few other Middle East countries that are pretty strict when it comes to the usage of drugs can help you to get rid of the drugs in your system without any new drugs getting into your body. It could be a form of detoxification where you will be able to enjoy the beauty, the sights and sounds of the city while at the same time forgetting all about drugs. After an entire day of travel, you would be tired enough in order to go to sleep or have a whole some meal and chat with the people that are on the trip with you. You need to get rid of the thought of having drugs at every opening an opportunity that you get and a visit to such places will definitely help you out.
  2. Try and go for extra jobs, jobs that can make you sweat excessively. You need not bother about your educational qualification; you could be a PhD, and still go for a job that involves lifting crates in the warehouse. What this does is to detoxify your body, and also ensure that all your free time which would otherwise be spent on drug usage is now used for your second of the job. You might not need the money, but this activity is going to help you to kick off the drug addiction pretty fast by controlling the urge to take drugs.
  3. Take to religion, and understand about the ethics and the social benefits and values that it brings to your life. Get engrossed in the religious texts, and visit the holy establishments to understand more about God and the meaning of life. You can start by reading books, watching documentaries, and remembering to practice all the teachings in your daily life. What this does is to inculcate values that help you to fight against drug addiction, and helps you to lead a path to purity.
  4. Do not go for Gateway addiction like smoking and drinking in order to numb the pain due to the deficiency of drugs in your body. It would be like jumping from a frying pan into the fire. Get rid of all kinds of bad habits from your life at a single go, and you will find that you can lead a healthy life without the need for any vices.